The Server
#1
How did the server at Mass originate?
 
I ask this because I notice that the Eastern rite congregations still respond in their liturgies, but how did it end up that in the Roman rite there came to be just one man representing the congregation instead of direct responses from the congregation? Is the dialogue Mass as presented by Pius XII then not really ideal?
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#2
It is not ideal, because in the Roman Rite we use Latin, while in the eastern, the tendencies are toward vernacularization. It is very easy to respond in the vernacular, much more difficult to respond in Latin. The people may understand it perfectly, but for many, articulating the words, and doing it cleanly and quickly to fit in with the rest of the liturgy is nearly impossible. In addition, if the dialogue Mass were the ideal, I am certain it would have been mandated by Sts. Pius V or Pius X. It was not introduced until the movement for "liturgical reform" by the modernists was heating up under Pius XII. While I do not believe that there is anything theologically wrong with the people responding, the tradition in the West is to have altar servers respond on behalf of the people. This does not limit the faith of the congregation in any way, because they are more than welcome (and are encouraged) to pray the Mass along with the priest and altar servers. In addition, the fact that they are not required to speak is a good thing, in that it frees them to practice other devotions during mass, such as specialized devotional prayer and reading, the rosary, the "Eucharistic Rosary," etc. I would also argue that the practice of utilizing altar servers is beneficial for another reason, in that it gives the young boys a foretaste, if you will, of serving at The Lord's altar, and serves as a much greater aid in developing vocations than it would should the altar servers essentially have no special duties apart from the congregation. Historically, the Mass has always been sung. The Low Mass developed to allow priests to more efficiently say their daily mass without a congregation. "The norm" has always been a sung "High Mass." Consequently, there is no need for the faithful to have "dialogue," and this might be a negative practice, in that it will serve to institutionalize the Low Mass as the common form of the Mass on Sundays, if the people become used to the sort of 'active participation' which ordinarily they only experience when assisting at a sung High Mass.
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#3
Why would one pray the Rosary during Mass? I thought one should pay attention to what is going on?
 
Why is High Mass the usual norm not so great really if I thought you said, Eric, that the people participate more in it?
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#4
I thought High Mass was supposed to be the usual Mass on Sunday?
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#5
Kepha, that is what I said. The High Mass is supposed to be the usual Mass on Sunday. Low Masses are sadly a necessity nowadays, and we shouldn't try to make them "more like a high mass with congregational responses" because it might tend to blur the distinction. The Liturgy is a sacred thing, and has evolved over 2,000 years of pious devotion to what it is now. Any new, arbitrary changes are by definition a bad thing, and may have unexpected results. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." We don't go to Mass to get an emotional high, we go to worship Our Lord in the manner that He proscribed. If we feel the need for "active participation," then we ought to either assist at a High Mass if possible, rather than a low, so that we may sing the responses and prayers along with the choir, perhaps in it, or we ought to humble ourselves as Catholics have done for the last 500 years without demanding "dialogue masses."
 
Quote:
Why would one pray the Rosary during Mass? I thought one should pay attention to what is going on?
 
Why is High Mass the usual norm not so great really if I thought you said, Eric, that the people participate more in it?
 
Rosary at Mass is less ideal than following along in the missal, but it is a perfectly acceptable way to assist at Mass, and has been practiced by Catholics for centuries. Here is a quote from Fr. F. X. Lansance's "My Prayer Book," published by Benziger Brothers in 1908.
 
Quote:You may also very appropriately recite the Rosary during Mass, and in particular the Eucharistic Rosary is a most excellent devotion, in which we weditate on the life, passion, and death of Our Lord in connection with the sacred mysteries of the altar. Formulate your own prayers occasionally. Converse with God in a familiar manner. Prayer is the elevation of the soul to God. Speak to your heavenly Father from your heart with filial piety, simplicity, and confidence.
 
Pre-Vatican II, many people preferred to recite the Rosary, or to read from a prayerbook, or some other devotion, rather than by following along in a handmissal. While various popes have said that the handmissal is the best way to assist at Mass, it is by no means the only way, and it may not be the best for all persons at all times.
 
As for High Mass, you misunderstand me. High Mass is supposed to be the usual norm, and I know very few who prefer a Low Mass to a High Mass. The people participate more in a High Mass, as they should. However, they do not have to participate actively with responsorial singing in a High Mass, should they desire to assist at the Holy Sacrifice in a more passive manner. In fact, very few sing at the High Masses I've had the pleasure of assisting at.
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