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Restore the minor orders! - Printable Version

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Re: Restore the minor orders! - Christus Imperat - 01-25-2011

Quote:In short, I don't think it devalues the liturgy in any way if the pontifical Mass doesn't play out with as much pomp as, say, the one broadcast from the National Basilica in Washington, D.C. last year. What's important is that the bishop himself is leading an example for other priests to follow. And in addition to the main pontifical Mass, all other Masses at the cathedral ought to be solemn, all the time. There's no excuse for it to be otherwise, at least if you have an order of canons regular in residence.

I don't think this makes sense HK.  If you have an order of canons regular, you would have many priests who all need to offer their daily Masses.  Are you going to have 10 solemn Masses every day?  I believe in Fontgombault, the Benedictines have Solemn Mass every day, but then the priest-monks have individual low masses served by a brother. 

Presumably, this is what the side altars are for.


Re: Restore the minor orders! - The_Harlequin_King - 01-25-2011

(01-25-2011, 03:42 PM)Christus Imperat Wrote: I don't think this makes sense HK.  If you have an order of canons regular, you would have many priests who all need to offer their daily Masses.  Are you going to have 10 solemn Masses every day?  I believe in Fontgombault, the Benedictines have Solemn Mass every day, but then the priest-monks have individual low masses served by a brother. 

Presumably, this is what the side altars are for.

Excuse me, I meant publicly scheduled Masses when I wrote that. I think side chapels and low Masses for private intentions (including a priest's desire to say Mass once a day) are fine, but they wouldn't have regular schedules posted. But would canons regular be obliged to celebrate Mass daily? If they are, I totally overlooked it. I see their main duty as praying the Office together.


Re: Restore the minor orders! - Christus Imperat - 01-25-2011

(01-25-2011, 03:57 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote:
(01-25-2011, 03:42 PM)Christus Imperat Wrote: I don't think this makes sense HK.  If you have an order of canons regular, you would have many priests who all need to offer their daily Masses.  Are you going to have 10 solemn Masses every day?  I believe in Fontgombault, the Benedictines have Solemn Mass every day, but then the priest-monks have individual low masses served by a brother. 

Presumably, this is what the side altars are for.

Excuse me, I meant publicly scheduled Masses when I wrote that. I think side chapels and low Masses for private intentions (including a priest's desire to say Mass once a day) are fine, but they wouldn't have regular schedules posted. But would canons regular be obliged to celebrate Mass daily? If they are, I totally overlooked it. I see their main duty as praying the Office together.

I'm not sure if they are obliged to offer Mass every day, but I think priests ought to.  Every Mass individually has infinite potential value.  Offering Mass is essential to the priest's identity and I think that would become blurred if the canons were reduced to a liturgical choir.  Otherwise, you are back to concelebration.

There are a limitless number of intentions which need Masses offered for them.




Re: Restore the minor orders! - The_Harlequin_King - 01-25-2011

(01-25-2011, 04:13 PM)Christus Imperat Wrote: I'm not sure if they are obliged to offer Mass every day, but I think priests ought to.  Every Mass individually has infinite potential value.  Offering Mass is essential to the priest's identity and I think that would become blurred if the canons were reduced to a liturgical choir.  Otherwise, you are back to concelebration.

There are a limitless number of intentions which need Masses offered for them.

Sure, I agree with that. As far as the public worship in the cathedral goes, though, the presence of canons allows for a fuller experience of the liturgy at all times. Ideally they'd be able to balance public and private work together.

I suppose if singing and celebrating Mass becomes too burdensome for the canons to do by themselves, as bishop I could just build a monastery attached to the cathedral and invite monks from all those failing or bankrupting houses to sell their properties and move in.


Re: Restore the minor orders! - jovan66102 - 01-25-2011

As has been discussed before here in the tank, priests are not obligated to celebrate daily Mass. What they are obligated to do is to recite the Daily Office. It is their job and, according to pre VII moral theologians (Jone, e.g) can be docked a percentage of a day's pay for failing to recite the entire office.


Re: Restore the minor orders! - cgraye - 01-25-2011

(01-25-2011, 03:34 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: For pontifical Mass, the vesting would still be completed by the time Mass is scheduled to start. I've never personally attended a pontifical Mass in the traditional rites, but as I understand it, the bishop's vesting is traditionally done in a chapel while the hour of Terce is sung. I know some places have the bishop vest at the throne, but that's only in the absence of a "suitable chapel"; so that's not necessarily a part of the viewing experience, and it's not part of the scheduled Mass time.

But it could potentially eat into the time during which other Masses could be scheduled in the cathedral - there are practical considerations here.  And yes, you could dispense with the musical preludes any long procession of clerics, and shorten things more, but I am not sure this is really in the spirit of a pontifical solemn Mass.  Wasn't it only (relatively) recently that bishops were even allowed to celebrate a solemn Mass like a priests does?  It seems like the Church has endeavored to keep the pontifical solemn Masses as grand as possible as befits the dignity of a bishop.  Is it better to scale it back somewhat so the bishop can say a solemn Mass himself more frequently or is better to have it less frequently and really pull out all the stops when it does happen?

What if you were the pope?  Would you celebrate the full papal solemn Mass every Sunday (assuming the Papal Court were in place, etc.)?  I can't believe even you would go that far :laughing:

Council of Trent, 23rd Session Wrote:Nowhere does it say they must be transitional, but transition to the subdiaconate for long-serving parishioners may be logical.

But in practice they were.  These days, you are not going to get a bunch of guys to be celibate clerics who aren't looking at the priesthood; and allowing married men into these ranks, while possible, seems at odds with precedent.  It seems more logical to me to use the minor orders in the way they were used just prior to being suppressed, at least at first, before making changes like this.

Too bad it's it's us having this conversation instead of actual bishops...


Re: Restore the minor orders! - The_Harlequin_King - 01-25-2011

(01-25-2011, 05:23 PM)cgraye Wrote: But it could potentially eat into the time during which other Masses could be scheduled in the cathedral - there are practical considerations here.

I wouldn't try to cram as many scheduled Masses as possible into the cathedral. This isn't liturgically sound. If people need to attend Mass outside of the main Mass (or, say, the three or four solemn Masses scheduled for the Sunday), then there may be side chapels where they may attend low Mass while the Office is being sung before the high altar. Sorry, but the Office and solemn Mass must take precedence before just getting as many Masses at the high altar in as possible. The cathedral isn't just another parish: it's the model that all parishes must follow as close as they can.

Quote:And yes, you could dispense with the musical preludes any long procession of clerics, and shorten things more, but I am not sure this is really in the spirit of a pontifical solemn Mass.  Wasn't it only (relatively) recently that bishops were even allowed to celebrate a solemn Mass like a priests does?

Yes, but I didn't have that in mind. I had in mind pontifical Mass from the throne, as commonly understood. This is where that whole "noble simplicity" phrase legitimately comes into play. Follow the rubrics, yes. Have all the ministers in place, yes. But the National Basilica-style of pontifical Mass isn't necessary, at least not on normal Sundays. For holy days, that's fine. But having the bishop sit in choir for regular Sundays simply because the National Basilica-style Mass can't be had all the time misses the bigger picture. So this question:

Quote:Is it better to scale it back somewhat so the bishop can say a solemn Mass himself more frequently or is better to have it less frequently and really pull out all the stops when it does happen?

There's no scaling back of the pontifical Mass, and no reducing his dignity as a bishop. There's no rubric saying one needs to have all the Knights of Malta in the procession or precede Mass with a symphonic suite. Rubrically, a pontifical Mass is like a priest's solemn Mass, but the bishop has an assistant priest, two assistant deacons, quite a few more acolytes, and he sits at the throne for the Mass of the Catechumens. He also usually sits down while loading the thurible with incense, with a gremial across his lap to prevent staining the chasuble.

But definitively, I answer it's better to have a bishop celebrate the traditional Mass himself regularly, rather than sit in choir. Regular exposure is preferable to an occasional bombastic display. Still, this doesn't rule out having more "pompous" Masses. But when those do happen, the bishop and all his ministers won't need any great amount of additional training, since they're already used to doing it every Sunday. Just add what needs to be added.

Quote:What if you were the pope?  Would you celebrate the full papal solemn Mass every Sunday (assuming the Papal Court were in place, etc.)?  I can't believe even you would go that far

Maybe. I don't see why not. I'd probably also celebrate Mass at Saint John Lateran way more often than the Popes currently do.

Quote:But in practice they were.  These days, you are not going to get a bunch of guys to be celibate clerics who aren't looking at the priesthood; and allowing married men into these ranks, while possible, seems at odds with precedent.  It seems more logical to me to use the minor orders in the way they were used just prior to being suppressed, at least at first, before making changes like this.

The usage of the minor orders directly prior to their suppression is largely responsible for their being suppressed in the first place. They were reduced to ceremonial ranks that no one outside of seminary culture was familiar with. I'm surprised no traditionally-minded bishop saw the axe coming.

The bottom line is: what's better to have serving and singing at Mass, clerics or laymen? Clerics, of course. That's why they exist. So ordain your servers and choristers as clerics.


Re: Restore the minor orders! - cgraye - 01-25-2011

(01-25-2011, 05:49 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: Maybe. I don't see why not.

If there were no reason not to, why has this never been done?  The full papal solemn Mass was reserved for special occasions.  Were all the popes just uninterested in liturgy?  Was it just too long and too much trouble to do that often?  And/or did it have something to do with reserving the most special kind of liturgy for the most special occasions?  I agree that the bishop should not just be sitting in choir every Sunday, but a solemn Mass with full pontificals is not the only alternative to that.

Quote:The usage of the minor orders directly prior to their suppression is largely responsible for their being suppressed in the first place. They were reduced to ceremonial ranks that no one outside of seminary culture was familiar with. I'm surprised no traditionally-minded bishop saw the axe coming.

Fair enough, but is it not still more prudent to return to some earlier arrangement that was actually in practice before introducing unprecedented changes to the system?

Quote:The bottom line is: what's better to have serving and singing at Mass, clerics or laymen? Clerics, of course. That's why they exist. So ordain your servers and choristers as clerics.

Perhaps, but is that worth cheapening the clerical state by requiring you to essentially give up nothing to attain it?


Re: Restore the minor orders! - The_Harlequin_King - 01-25-2011

(01-25-2011, 06:01 PM)cgraye Wrote: If there were no reason not to, why has this never been done? The full papal solemn Mass was reserved for special occasions.  Were all the popes just uninterested in liturgy?  Was it just too long and too much trouble to do that often? 

I suppose I'd find out once I become Pope. I wouldn't say Pius X and XII were uninterested in liturgy, but I'm sure a whole lot of popes couldn't have cared less. For the rest, I don't know. Maybe it was too much trouble. One simple answer would be to celebrate a toned-down Mass regularly at Saint John Lateran, and the full papal Mass at Saint Peter's on occasion.

Quote:Fair enough, but is it not still more prudent to return to some earlier arrangement that was actually in practice before introducing unprecedented changes to the system?

I'd still have the minor orders implemented in the diocesan seminary, assuming it gets that far. At the same time, I'd be implementing the instituted ministries in the parishes as it's already intended to be done (but isn't since it would keep women out). After that, implement the traditional minor orders in the parishes.

Quote:Perhaps, but is that worth cheapening the clerical state by requiring you to essentially give up nothing to attain it?

What's doing the cheapening? On the contrary, restoring the minor orders would enrich the service by forcing boys and men to learn how to perform easier or "smaller" services before approaching the altar as an acolyte. I've always thought it was illogical that boys as young as 7 go straight from the pew to serving low Mass, which is really the most complex form of service short of maybe being a master of ceremonies. That should actually be the last thing an acolyte learns after several years of service, since many of those duties in low Mass are the deacon's and subdeacon's.

Rather than just any boy being able to serve Mass as an acolyte, it would take months or years to attain that privilege, and by the time they're acolytes, they'd have had full experience with all the orders and duties below that position. And not only for Mass, but the hours of the Office as well. If they go on to major seminary after that, it'd be a piece of cake because they'd have already lived a large part of the experience at the parish level.

Furthermore, it's odd that all the traditional parishes and chapels I've ever known don't have any sort of ceremony or rite of passage at all that a boy or man must go through before becoming a server at Mass. It's kind of a come-as-you-are affair. A very Novus Ordo style approach, if you ask me.


As for what they'd give up, they'd be giving up a lot of time. It would take a lot of time to learn how to first sit in choir, then how to sing all the Ordinary and Proper chants, then how to pray all the hours of the Office (or at least Lauds, Vespers and Compline). Then the duties of the porter, lector and exorcist. Then how to serve solemn Mass, sung Mass, and finally low Mass. If you want to be a low Mass server, you'd have to do all those above things first (in my ideal plan, at least).


Re: Restore the minor orders! - cgraye - 01-25-2011

(01-25-2011, 06:49 PM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: What's doing the cheapening? On the contrary, restoring the minor orders would enrich the service by forcing boys and men to learn how to perform easier or "smaller" services before approaching the altar as an acolyte. I've always thought it was illogical that boys as young as 7 go straight from the pew to serving low Mass, which is really the most complex form of service short of maybe being a master of ceremonies. That should actually be the last thing an acolyte learns after several years of service, since many of those duties in low Mass are the deacon's and subdeacon's.

As for what they'd give up, they'd be giving up a lot of time. It would take a lot of time to learn how to first sit in choir, then how to sing all the Ordinary and Proper chants, then how to pray all the hours of the Office (or at least Lauds, Vespers and Compline). Then the duties of the porter, lector and exorcist. Then how to serve solemn Mass, sung Mass, and finally low Mass. If you want to be a low Mass server, you'd have to do all those above things first (in my ideal plan, at least).

In the past, if you were a cleric, you were celibate - not permanently yet, but you were heading down that road, and you weren't looking.  A wife and children are the most precious things in this world.  And being a cleric is a great privilege.  It is fitting that to receive that gift you give up what is most precious in this world in order to dedicate yourself to serving God and his Church.  It is not necessary, and not universal in the entire Church, but it is a long tradition in the Latin Church and with good reason behind it.  It sets clergy apart in a special way.  When you see a cleric, you know he has sacrificed (or is in the process of sacrificing) the greatest joys in life to be there, for God and for you.

Giving up a little of your time does not compare to that.  It's not hard or time-consuming to learn these things - as you pointed out, a seven-year-old can do it.