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I note that here, and it seems all over the traddie web there has been a resurgence of interest (and celebrations of) the Rorate Cæli Mass.

Traditionally this is a very early morning candle-lit Votive Mass of Our Lady in Advent. The Introit begins Rorate Cæli, hence the name.

Historically this was permitted by the rubrics on some Saturdays in Advent. The custom of the early morning Mass with candles is, as I understand, is German in origin

The problem seems to be though, that if familiar with the 1960 New Rubrics of John XXIII, this practice, nice as it is, seems to be forbidden.


I am hoping someone with some liturgical background can help me understand where my read on things is wrong :

According to the 1960 Rubrics (nn. 24-25, 91) all ferias in Advent either III or II class days. Unlike Lent, III Class ferias in Advent admit III Class feasts.

If this is true according to nn. 328, 341, 384, and 387 any Votive Mass during Advent would need to be of the 3rd class (or 2nd class after Dec 16), to be permitted. But the Votive Mass of Our Lady during Advent is not a I class votive (Cf. n. 329), doesn't seem to qualify as a II Class (Cf. nn. 342, 370-377), is not a III Class (Cf. n. 385), so seems to be a IV Class Votive.

It does not seem to qualify under 370(a) as a "solemn extraordinary celebration" because if you look at the comparable events (academic graduation, notable anniversaries, jubilees, etc.) these are all external to the Mass. So a Marian Congress or Retreat would seem to qualify, but not just a desire to have a Rorate Mass. To suggest this seems to be to massage the rubrics into a point where we are doing whatever we want. That seems a bit hypocritical, given we roundly critique the Novus Ordo for the abuses and laissez faire rubrics, to massage the 1960 rubrics to the point of allowing something contra rubricas

A violation of the law, even if it allows something seemingly good, is still a violation of the law.

Some appeal to a long-standing or even immemorial custom, but the Motu Proprio of John XXIII promulgating these rubrics specifically revokes "statues, privileges, indults, and customs" contrary to the rubrics, meaning the appeal to a long-standing custom or privilege for the Rorate Mass, seems impossible.

Anyone who knows their rubrics keen to offer some ideas?
What about n. 317? "Quævis Missa votiva de mysteriis Domini, de B. Maria Virg. vel Sancto, prohibetur quoties occurrit dies liturgicus I vel II classis in quo fit Officium de eadem Persona. Tunc, loco Missæ votivæ, dicenda est Missa de Officio occurrenti. Occurrente vero die liturgico III vel IV classis, eligi potest aut Missa de Officio diei aut Missa votiva, exclusa alterius commemoratione."

And if the votive Mass of our Lady is prohibited in Advent, then why is it in the Missal and designated "Tempore Adventus"?

Sounds like another reason why the 1962 Missal never should have been the one chosen. While it's certainly much better than the 1970 Missal, or even the 1965, there's so much of the changes already in it - particularly Holy Week - and the 1960 Breviary's even worse.
I concur with Paul's question: why is there a Saturday Mass of Our Lady in Advent at all, if no ferias of Advent permit it?  The answer to this question might be, "because the 1962 changes do not make sense."

As for n. 317 however, I considered that, and I think the key words are "de eadem Persona".  Since the feast wasn't of Our Lady, we're not displacing one "of the same person" with the votive, rendering it irrelevant.  Thus is my reading, anyway.

As to the original question . . . good question.
(12-18-2017, 04:03 PM)Steven Wrote: [ -> ]I concur with Paul's question: why is there a Saturday Mass of Our Lady in Advent at all, if no ferias of Advent permit it?  The answer to this question might be, "because the 1962 changes do not make sense."

As for n. 317 however, I considered that, and I think the key words are "de eadem Persona".  Since the feast wasn't of Our Lady, we're not displacing one "of the same person" with the votive, rendering it irrelevant.  Thus is my reading, anyway.

As to the original question . . . good question.


It is, of course, quite possible that you would have a II Class Votive Mass of Our Lady during Advent, even if it is not common.

The rubrics do provide several example of when you might have a II Class Votive, and if of Our Lady, there is no reason not to use the one provided in the Missal for Advent. So for instance if you were having a general congress of a Marian Sodality on a Saturday in Advent, then certainly Our Lady's Mass would be allowed as a II Class Votive. 

I just don't see the fact of wanting to have the Rorate Mass as sufficient to justify a II Class Votive under the 1960 Rubrics.

Quite honestly, I see nothing non-sensical about the 1960 Rubrics. I'm not saying they are immaculate, but they are focused and generally well-though-out. The preceeding rubrics were a huge mess that I would never want to go back to.

Still, I find it quite funny that people so ready to critique the mess of options and abuses that in de facto the Novus Ordo, yet those who are "in communion with Rome" are happy to play fast and loose with the rubrics which Summorum Pontificum made obligatory for those Masses. Especially ironic is the seemingly increasing use of the pre-1955 Holy Week by diocesan priests, which is most certainly not allowed by any reasonable interpretation of the present law of the Church.
Wouldn't this be an example of organic development? It's all proceeding from otherwise good Catholic dispositions, it's not being imposed from the top down (ie inorganically), and it is not being suppressed by the guardians of the liturgy.  It seems to check off all the boxes of how salutary customs used to come about and take hold.
(12-19-2017, 10:07 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: [ -> ]Wouldn't this be an example of organic development? It's all proceeding from otherwise good Catholic dispositions, it's not being imposed from the top down (ie inorganically), and it is not being suppressed by the guardians of the liturgy.  It seems to check off all the boxes of how salutary customs used to come about and take hold.

Good point, I agree with you, and this is something I've been thinking about recently. 

However, these thoughts have led me to the conclusion that the good organic development of the liturgy that we always reference doesn't make much sense in the modern, centralized, and (at least in trad circles) very legalistic Church. MM's point supports this. Since if his interpretation is right, technically, something like the Rorate mass shouldn't happen according to the law, even if it may be good. 

For as it stands, a priest cannot lawfully change or add anything in the liturgy, but doesn't "organic development" imply that changes/additions (in some form) must happen? Currently, the only lawful developments in liturgy can come from above, which is not the same concept as "organic development." 

Can one be in support of the idea of the organic development of the liturgy, and at the same time wish to follow every rubric and liturgically law perfectly with no additions? I'm led to think no.
(12-19-2017, 10:07 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: [ -> ]Wouldn't this be an example of organic development? It's all proceeding from otherwise good Catholic dispositions, it's not being imposed from the top down (ie inorganically), and it is not being suppressed by the guardians of the liturgy.  It seems to check off all the boxes of how salutary customs used to come about and take hold.

They used to, but that was when each bishop had authority over the liturgy in his own diocese. The Council of Trent, in response to the Reformation, put a stop to that. And given the customs that come up today, like the hand-holding during the Our Father, maybe that's not a bad thing.

A better example might be the addition of St Joseph to the Canon. It wasn't something that the Pope just decided to do, but it had been requested for a while.
(12-19-2017, 10:07 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: [ -> ]Wouldn't this be an example of organic development? It's all proceeding from otherwise good Catholic dispositions, it's not being imposed from the top down (ie inorganically), and it is not being suppressed by the guardians of the liturgy.  It seems to check off all the boxes of how salutary customs used to come about and take hold.

I don't think the Rorate Mass is a bad thing, nor that the liturgy ought to be an unchanging fossil, but I would say that good dispositions and organic development never begin by doing something directly contrary to the law (contra legem) but rather outside of what the law concerns (præter legem).

An example is the second confietor, which is widely used, even though it was "suppressed". The Ritus Servandus prior to 1960 mandated the second confietor. The Ritus Servandus after 1960 does not mention it. So it has passed from law to a matter which is beyond the scope of the law, and as a legitimate option, it could become customary, and even could be said to have force of law by being a long-standing custom præter legem

That's a perfect example of legitimate organic development.

I don't think it really is an organic development when something is done contra legem, because this is the one of the same problems which got us into the liturgical mess. Even if the Rorate Mass encourages devotion, when it become every priest for himself deciding to avail himself of whatever things he likes, rather than following the rubrics (or at least asking for permission to do something), it is no different than a priest deciding to leave off the chasuble because he likes it better. When we become the judges of what is liturgically acceptable, we've lost. The standards have to be objective.

Now, if the Rorate Mass is not permitted, but its use is desired, I do not see why we cannot work within the rubrics to find some way of making it happen. For instance, why have a fe conferences on Our Lady during Advent, and then a Mass in conjunction, which could be justfied as a II Class Votive. How about having a Rosary Procession after the Rorate Mass, also qualifying as a II Class Votive (because there is some solemn celebration). Perhaps the Rorate Mass could end an all-night Adoration.

There are plenty of options which are perfectly legitimate, but from what I have been seeing it's more just the same problem we critique in "Novus Ordo land" finding following in more traditional circles, where every priest is his own authority.

Organic development is good. Chaos and ignoring the liturgical law because of one's own preference is not.
(12-19-2017, 10:34 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]In example is the second confietor, which is widely used, even though it was "suppressed". The Ritus Servandus prior to 1960 mandated the second confietor. The Ritus Servandus after 1960 does not mention it. So it has passed from law to a matter which is beyond the scope of the law, and as a legitimate option, it could become customary, and even could be said to have force of law by being a long-standing custom præter legem.

The rubrics do mention it, and specifically say that it's not to be said.

503. Quoties sancta Communio infra Missam distribuitur, celebrans, sumpto sacratissimo Sanguine, omissis confessione et absolutione, dictis tamen Ecce Agnus Dei et ter Domine, non sum dignus, immediate ad distributionem sanctæ Eucharistiæ procedit.
As if it wasn't already obvious, but I am no canon lawyer or liturgical law expert.  But, the CE for example, says this:

"From a merely ecclesiastical law either custom or desuetude may withdraw the obligation, wherever they may properly imply the assent of the lawmaking power in the Church."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01094b.htm

This seems to say that customs can legitimately go against the law and become legitimate themselves. I don't see any bishops or the Pope or the relevant congregations having a problem with the Rorate Mass (or the second confiteor for that matter)--in fact, there are a couple offered in Rome itself at Santa Maria dell’Anima from a quick google.
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