Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Council of Trent on the Silence of the Canon

As a follow-up to Matthew Hazell’s post earlier today on the GIRM and the silent Canon, this is what the Council of Trent has to say on the matter, in session 22, celebrated on September 17, 1562, in the reign of Pope Pius IV.

Chapter 5. On the solemn ceremonies of the Sacrifice of the Mass

And whereas such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot easily be raised to the meditation of divine things; therefore has Holy Mother Church instituted certain rites, to wit that certain things be pronounced in the Mass in a low, and others in a louder, tone. She has likewise employed ceremonies, such as mystic benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind, derived from an apostolical discipline and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be recommended, and the minds of the faithful be excited, by those visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of those most sublime things which are hidden in this sacrifice.

Among the disciplinary canons which follow, canon 9 states, “If any one say, that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the Canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low voice, is to be condemned; or, that the Mass ought to be celebrated only in the vulgar tongue; or, that water ought not to be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice, for that it is contrary to the institution of Christ; let him be anathema.”
The Canon cited above, from an edition of the Decrees of the Council of Trent printed in Bavaria in 1565; the last session of Trent was held in early December of 1563.

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