Saturday, August 25, 2007

History of the Dominican Liturgy, 1946-1969 [The Pre-Conciliar Reforms - Part 3]

[Continuing Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P.'s history of the reforms of the Dominican liturgy.]

The reforms of 1961-1962 were the result of legislation from the General Chapter of the Order held at Bologna from 18-24 September 1961, which itself was responding to John XXIII's project to reform the Roman Rite rubrics and calendar.1 This chapter requested the Master General to transmit to the Congregation of Rites reforms prepared by the liturgical commission and others requested by the provinces during preparation for the publication of new liturgical books. Changes in the calendar, described in part above as the result of earlier legislation, went into effect on [39] January 1, 1961 in correlation to similar changes in the Roman Rite. This reform made official the new nomenclature for feasts and, in addition, reduced some old feasts of three readings to memoriae with just a collect. These feasts were mostly Marian feasts or occurred during the Octave of Christmas.[40] The logic here seems to have been to reduce the excess of Marian feasts and to rehabilitate the Christmas Octave. Eight feasts were abolished outright or merged with other feasts.[41] In that case, the goal seems to have been to remove duplications and purge the calendar of legendary material.

Much of this legislation was dedicated to restoring or simplifying the Temporal Cycle.[42] This work was necessitated by the drastic reduction in the number of octaves during Paschaltide and after, and by the need to produce ferial offices to replace them. Ascension Time was created for the days after Ascension and new Sunday offices (or rehabilitated old ones) were provided for the "Green Sundays" after Trinity. The loss of the Sunday in the Octave of Epiphany was remedied by moving the Baptism of the Lord to that date. Along with these changes came a series of rubrical reforms related to them. Holy Innocents, which Dominicans had always observed somberly out of respect for the sorrow of the child martyrs' mothers, now got a Gloria, and its violet vestments were replaced by white. The legend-filled readings of eight feasts’ second noturns were replaced by those of the new Roman Office. Assumption lost its medieval allegorical Gospel of Mary and Martha, and the collects against pagans and schismatics received new, more polite, titles ("For Propagation of the Faith," "For Unity of the Church"). Finally, a new collect for the civil authorities replaced the old one "For the Emperor."[43] Certain remaining medievalisms were also addressed: superiors received the rite to determine which little hour Mass would follow, thus solving the problem of penitential Mass after None.

In the middle ages, the responsories of Sunday Matins came in series known as "histories." Medieval piety considered these musical presentations of Old Testament narratives very important, and, if they were impeded by a feast overriding the Sunday, they were transferred to a day in the following week, lest they be lost. This practice was abolished as the histories had ceased to play a role in most friars’ liturgical piety, and they were usually just recto-toned rather than being sung with their ancient Gregorian melodies. On the other hand, the melodic antiphons of the psalter were now to be sung before, as well as after, the psalms. The Litanies of the Rogation Days could now be done in vernacular--a somewhat odd place to introduce the common tongue, as the Litany response of "Ora pro nobis" was probably among the easiest for laity to learn.[44]

These changes in the calendar and rubrics were so numerous and so complex, that the Order's liturgist, Fr. Ansgar Dirks, provided a summary of them (correlating them with changes in the Roman Rite) so that friars could more easily make the necessary changes in their books.[45] Six months later the New Calendar and its rubrics were printed in toto in the Analecta, in a format that was easy to copy or cut out and insert into the Missal. It was too large to fit in the Breviary, but this was less pressing since a new edition of that book would come out by the end of the year.[46] This new calendar included one addition, the feast of the newly canonized St. Martin de Porres.[47] Perhaps the single most useful item in this material was the Fr. Dirk's tables of concurrence and occurrence, which show which offices and Masses to use when there is a conflict of feasts.[48] This put a set of still very complex rubrics onto a single page in a convenient form.

One year later, Pope John XXIII's reforms of the Roman Rite Mass, issued in his decree Rubricarum Instructum (15 December 1960), were adapted for the Dominican Missal and put in force on January 1, 1961 along with the calendar by a comprehensive decree.[49] Aside from institutionalizing the changes made earlier for Holy Week and the calendar, which they repeat, these reforms are mostly fairly minor and mostly concern simplification of the rituals of the Solemn High Mass. The priest no was no longer required to read the Epistle and Gospel quietly while they are sung by the subdeacon and deacon, something he had done sitting (not at the altar), although he did continue to read quietly the Ordinary and Proper chants (nn. 477-78, p. 89). This restored the thirteenth-century practice. The replacement of the "Ite Missa Est" with "Benedicamus Domino" on minor feasts (when one of the minor hours followed immediately) was abolished, to be retained only if a procession was attached to Mass, as on Holy Thursday (n. 471, p. 87). Conversely, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were to be omitted when other rites preceded, as at the Easter Vigil or on Candlemas (n. 388, p. 75). And, most famously, the recitation of the Confiteor before the people's communion was suppressed (n. 467, p. 87). This rite, like exposition of the host at the "Ecce Agnus Dei" that followed it (which is even later), were elements from the rite for distribution of communion outside of Mass that had crept in after earlier reforms that placed the people's communion back within Mass. If the logic of omission was that the Confiteor was an "accretion," then it would have probably been best to omit both of these. But the “Domine non sum dignus” remained.

The rubrical changes promulgated were relatively minor, but two were quite radical. Now ministers who did not have the skill to sing the Epistle or Gospel could simply recite them without music (n. 479, p. 89--as in Rubricarum Instructum, n. 514). This went totally against the Dominican cultivation of the choral Mass as a purely musical expression of worship and was a big step toward the modern practice of the priest merely reciting Mass with (often extraneous) songs interspersed. Another provision specifically affected Low Mass: the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar might now be recited in pleno (loud enough for the people to hear). Although it was never mentioned in any Order legislation, this change is probably connected with the newly popular "Dialogue Mass," in which the congregation recited not only the people's responses but also what had previously been private dialogues between the priest and ministers. Dialogue Mass was first approved in 1958 by Pope Pius XII, but the practice was older and Dominicans had probably begun to use it by at least that date.[50] This change simply regularized the practice. In this change the distinct roles of the priest, his other ministers, and the congregation were becoming conflated and confused--in the name of participatio actuosa.[51]

It is of interest that the Dominican Rite, as in use in 1962, did not include the name of Joseph in the canon. As the liturgist Fr. Ansgar Dirks noted in his "Adnotations" to the Order's adoption of the new communion rite on 19 February 1964, it was only with the approval of that reform that the friars received verbal permission to include Joseph in the canon, a full two years after that change had been made in the Roman Rite.[52] Some, perhaps most, Dominican priests had already added the name of Joseph after the papal decree, wishing to conform to the practice of the Roman Church.[53]

The last item in the volume of the Analecta containing this legislation was a series of abstracts from "Veterum Sapientia," Pope John's directive that Latin instruction be improved and that seminary classes all be taught in Latin. It seems that, in spite of the rapid changes of the last few years, few anticipated abandonment the Western Church's liturgical use of the Latin language.[54] But even before that year was out, the General Chapter of Bologna (18-24 September 1962) was drawing up requests for the next extensive rubrical revision on the missal.[55]

[The series continues in the next installment, looking at the conciliar adaptations to the Dominican litury between 1962-65]


[39] Acta Capituli Generalis Provincialium S. Ordinis FF. Praedicatorum, Bononiae (18-24 Sept. 1961) (Rome: Curia Generalitia, 1961), esp. nn. 147-175, pp. 95-101 "De Re Liturgica."

[40] "Variationes in Calendario," ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): nn. 6-7, pp. 94-95. Affected were: St. George, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, The Stigmata of St. Francis, Our Lady of Mercy, St. Thomas Becket, St, Silvester, and the Compassion of Virgin.

[41] Ibid., n. 8, p. 95: Chair of Peter at Rome and Chair of Peter at Antioch (merged), Invention of tbe True Cross (May 3), St. John before Latin Gate, The Apparition of St. Michael, St. Leo II, St. Peter in Chains, St. Vitalis, and the Discovery of the Body of St. Stephen.

[42] "Variationes in Officium de Tempore," nn. 18-32, ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): 96-101.

[43] "Variationes in Proprio Sanctorum and Variationes in Communi Sanctorum," ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): 102-105 (Matins readings suppressed for Conversion of St. Paul, Purification of Virgin, The Crown of Thorns, Vigil of Sts. Peter and Paul, St, Irenaeus, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Raphael; ibid., n. 43, p. 102 (Holy Innocents); ibid., n. 52, p. 104 (Assumption); ibid., pp. 105-06 (collects).

[44] ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962), nn. 174-175, p. 39 (antiphons); ibid., n. 212, p. 44 (responsories); ibid., n. 85, p. 19 (litanies).

[45] "Variationes in Breviario et Missali O.P. ad Normam Novi Codicis Rubricarum," ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): 94-109.

[46] SCR, "Instructio de Calendariis Particularibus" (14 Feb. 1961), ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): 213-225, is the promulgation; the new calendar follows on pp. 227-38, with its own promulgation, "Calendarium O.P. Iuxta Novas Rubricas" (Prot. Num. 8.88/961--14 June 1961) attached. The new Breviarium iuxta Ritum Ordinis Praedicatorum, 2 vols. (Rome: S. Sabina, 1962) had to be amended for last minute changes by Supplementum ad Breviarium Ordinis Praedictorum, Novis Rubricis et Novo Calendario Aptandum (Rome: S. Sabina, 1962) as soon as it was published.

[47] A third-class feast for Bl. Diana, Cecilia, and Amata (9 June) would be added by the end of the year: SCR decree (Prot. N. o.92-962), ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): 649

[48] ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): 91-92. This decree also provides that the requirement of reciting the antiphons before and after the psalms in the Office as required by the new Roman rubrics was dispensed until the new Dominican Breviary was published.

[49] ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): 1-4, reprints "Rubricarum Instructum" (SRC Prot. N. O. 126/960--21 Jul. 1960). The Dominican adaption is "Rubricae Breviarii et Missalis Iuxta Ritum Ordinis Praedicatorum," pp. 5-106, which Brown sent for approval to the Congregation on 25 Jul. 1960.

[50] Experiments with dialogue Mass go back to at least the 1930s. Pius XII approved it in "Musica Sacra et Sancta Liturgia" (3 Sept. 1958).

[51] Fr. Dirks borrowed the phrase from the instruction "Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia (3 Sept. 1958), in ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): 50: "fidelium actuosa participatione fusius actum est."

[52] ASOFP, 36 (1963-1964): 485: "Inde adhinc fere duos annos factum est nomen S. Ioseph Canoni Missalis nostri inserendum, sed tunc gratia 'viva voce' concessum est." St. Joseph's name was inserted into the Roman Canon by papal motu proprio on 13 November 1962. Joseph's name entered the Roman Missal issued on Nov. 13, 1962 in accord with the SCR decree "Novo Rubricarum Corpore" of 23 Jun. 1962--not a text never printed in ASOFP as no formal petition was made by the Order to adapt its contents.

[53] Oral communication of Fr. Albert Gerald Buckley, O.P., of the Western Province, U.S.A. (11 Aug. 2007).

[54] ASOFP, 35 (1961-1962): 657-82: reprints those parts of Veterum Sapientia (22 Feb. 1962) that would effect Dominican education.

[55] Acta Capituli Generalis Provincialium S. Ordinis FF. Praedicatorum, Bononiae (18-24 Sept. 1961) (Rome: Curia Generalitia, 1961), n. 153-58.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: