Thursday, April 25, 2013

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 5.2: The Reconciliation of a Church (1961)

In the 1961 revision of the Pontifical, the reconciliation of a violated church is definitively separated from that of violated cemetery. The latter will be treated in a separate article. The color of the vestments worn by the bishop and major ministers is changed from white to violet. The bishop wears the mitre called “auryphrigiata” in Latin, the less ornate kind used in Advent and Lent, rather than the simple mitre with no ornamentation.

The external sprinkling of the church with simple holy water is suppressed, and with it, the chant of the antiphon “Thou shalt sprinkle me” and Psalm 50 that accompanied it. The first two prayers of the previous version of the rite are suppressed. The prayer for the violated cemetery is removed to the rite of reconciliation of a cemetery, which is now always a separate rite. The Litany of the Saints is suppressed, and with it the special invocations proper to this rite which are sung by the bishop. The first prayer of the ceremony (O God, who, by the Passion of Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, didst loosen the bonds of death…”) is suppressed.

The ceremony begins with “Deus in adjutorium” and “Gloria Patri”, like the hours of the Divine Office, but without Alleluia. There follows at once the blessing of the Gregorian water, but the water may also be blessed before the ceremony. After blessing the water, or immediately after “Deus in adjutorium”, the bishop begins to sprinkle the Gregorian water, starting behind the altar, then going to his left around the church, only once (rather than three times), and saying nothing. He then sprinkles water up the middle of the church, from the altar to the door, and then from across the church, in front of the gates of the sanctuary. (The rubric does not specify left to right or right to left.) The rubrics no longer specify that the bishop sprinkles the water on the walls, or the specific place where the violation of the church took place.

As he does this, the choir sings the antiphon “Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered: and let them that hate him flee from before his face,” and repeats it after every two verses of the Psalm 67 Exsurgat Deus; at the end, Gloria Patri is not said. The antiphon is no longer intoned by the bishop. If the bishop returns to the cross before the choir has reached the end of the psalm, they cease the chant, even if they have not finished the psalm. (In the previous version, this antiphon was repeated in this manner after each of the last eleven verses of the psalm; the whole psalm was then sung with a different antiphon at the end of the rite.)

On returning to the altar, the bishop turns away from it and faces the nave (and hence also the people present,) and says the following exhortation. (This was formerly as the prayer leading into the consecratory preface of this ceremony.)
Dearest brethren, let us humbly beseech God, that forgiveth crimes, washeth away every pollution, God, who purified the world hardened by original sins in the glory of His coming; that He may come to us and mightily fight against the snares of the raging devil; so that whatever be stained and corrupted in this place by his cunning, that daily longs for and pursueth man’s destruction, may be cleansed by the mercy of heaven. For as it belongeth to him to break what is solid and perfect, so belongeth it to our Maker, to restore what is fallen, stay that which swayeth, and purge what is corrupted.
The word ‘hardened’ marked in bold is changed from ‘corrupted’ (concretum – corruptum). The word ‘whatever” marked in bold is changed from ‘if anything’ (quidquid – si quid).

Turning to the altar, the bishops says with the major ministers “Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise.” and the following prayer.
O God, who of Thy clemency and kindness art present in every part of Thy dominion to purify it, hear us, we beseech Thee, and grant that henceforth, the building of this place remain inviolable: and may the society of all the faithful, which Thee imploreth, merit to receive the benefit of Thy favor. (long conclusion.)
The word “henceforth” shown here in italics is omitted from the previous version. The order of the words is changed, and a single word added; neither change alters the sense. This prayer was formerly said after the singing of a psalm and antiphon, as the bishop stood at the altar, all of which was done after the preface. It is now said with the long conclusion, since it now segues into the preface dialogue and preface.
Truly it is fitting and just … Whose measureless goodness, as it had no beginning, so also shall have no end. Who being full of holiness divine and natural, choose rather to restore in us what has been lost, than to smite what would otherwise perish. And if negligence polluteth anything, or wrath commit offense, or drunkenness disturb, or lust destroy, this, O Lord, Thou bearest with patience and clemency; so that Thou might purify by grace, before Thou strikest in wrath. And caring for the work Thou createst, Thou choose rather to lift up what lieth low, than to punish and condemn. We humbly beseech Thee, o Lord, that Thou may look in peace upon this Thy dwelling place, and by the infusion of heavenly grace purify Thy altar, that hath been polluted by the harm of the pursuing enemy; and having purified it, take possession thereof, and keep it hereafter that it never be stained again. Henceforth let every spiritual wickedness depart and be driven out: let the envy of the ancient serpent be destroyed, and the devil’s throng with all its deceits be driven away. Let him bear away with him the stain which he brought in, and since he is destined to eternal punishments, let him gather the seeds of his works with him, that they may perish. Let the guilt of the contamination which has now passed from this place incur no further harm, let there remain nothing which has been polluted by the fraud of the enemy, since it hath been purified by the infusion of Thy spirit. Let the pure innocence of Thy Church rise again, and the luster of innocence hitherto stained, rise again unto glory, since it hath received Thy grace: and so may the crowds of faithful peoples here assemble, and pouring forth their prayers of petition, know that they have received what they have ask for.
The words in italics here are omitted from the previous version. The long conclusion is sung out loud as part of the preface, where it was previously said in a low voice. The blessing concludes with “Dominus vobiscum” and “Benedicamus Domino”.

The chanting of Psalm 42 and the antiphon “I will go forth” is suppressed. The antiphon “Confirm o God” is suppressed; the psalm with which it was sung is now used during the sprinkling of the water. The concluding prayer is suppressed.

The Mass which follows the blessing is now optional, where it was formerly required. (“…juxta opportunitatem, Pontifex vel alius sacerdos Missam celebrat.”) As previously, the bishop may say the Mass himself, or he may delegate another priest to say it in his stead. The proper prayers to be added to the Mass of the day for the occasion are no longer included in the text of the Pontifical, and are now found in the 1961 edition of the Missal itself.

A new set of rubrics concerning the Mass itself is added, which says that the Introit is sung “juxta opportunitatem – according to convenience, fitness, opportunity”, as the celebrant approaches the altar. This seems to imply that it may be omitted, but is quite vague. All the prayers before the altar are to be omitted, and the Mass begins with the celebrant kissing the altar and incensing it. The Last Gospel is omitted. This same rubric is added to other ceremonies of the Pontifical, as has already been mentioned apropos of the dedication of a church.

It should also be noted that the new ceremony is conformed almost exactly to the 1961 form of the blessing of a cemetery, to such a degree that I was able write this article in about a thirty minutes by copying the previous article on the blessing of a cemetery, and pasting the appropriate texts into their proper places.

Two leaves of a Pontifical according to the Use of Lisieux, mid-13th to mid-14th century, showing the chants to be sung at the beginning of the rite of Reconciliation of a Church. The first is a responsory from the series sung after Trinity Sunday with readings from the books of Kings: “Lord, if Thy people shall be converted and pray at Thy sanctuary, Thou wilt hear them in heaven, o Lord, and deliver them from the hands of their enemies. V. If Thy people shall sin against Thee, and being converted, shall do penance, and coming her shall pray in this place. Thou wilt hear.” There follows a series of psalms and antiphons: the first antiphon is from Tenebrae of Good Friday, “From those that rise against me, deliver me, o Lord, for they have caught my soul.” ; the third psalm (78) begins with the words “O God, the heathens are come into thy inheritance, they have defiled thy holy temple.” The rubric preceding these chants (not shown here) reads, “The reconciliation of a sacred place where blood has been spilled or murder done.”

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