Monday, February 01, 2010

The Two Sets of Propers in the Ordinary Form

It is not entirely well known that the ordinary form contains within itself a serious tension as regards the propers of the Mass. There are two sets of propers: one in the Missal (presumably for spoken Masses) and a second set in the Graduale (presumably for sung Masses). They accord with each other sometimes but not all the time.

It is sometimes assumed that the Missale propers must accord with the new readings but Adam Bartlett has done an analysis of the two (building on Christoph Tietze's own work) to show that this assumption is wrong. For the most part, the Graduale propers match the readings more often than the Missale propers.

Here is his analysis in chart form.

  • Underlined texts are taken from the First or Second readings or to the Gospel of the given liturgy.
  • Yellow shows where the GR texts match the MR
  • Purple shows GR texts that were replaced by new MR texts
  • Green shows instances where a MR antiphon replaces a GR antiphon and the MR is more closely connected to the readings
  • Red WITHOUT AN UNDERLINE shows instances where MR antiphons that have no apparent connection to the readings replace GR antiphons
  • Red WITH AN UNDERLINE shows instances where MR antiphons do have a connection to the readings BUT replace GR antiphons that ALSO have a connection to the readings

It seems clear to me that this is an unstable situation. (note this post is updated since the posting date)

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: