Sunday, June 30, 2013

Scriptural References for the Extraordinary Form Propers

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (June 23, 2013):
One of the most enduring myths about the Traditional Latin Mass is that it contains less Sacred Scripture than the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass. Previous editions of this column have made the point that the Propers – the readings plus the mandatory inclusion of the Introit, Offertory, and Communion Antiphons, along with the Gradual and Alleluia or Tract – provide significant additional scriptural content that is frequently omitted in the Ordinary Form, which often only offers the faithful the readings plus a Responsory Psalm.

A new blog has debuted, Lectionary Study Aids, which documents use of biblical passages in the Tridentine Mass. Most notably, author Matthew Hazell has put together a 24 page spreadsheet [PDF] delineating the scriptural excerpts used in each Mass, Sunday and weekday, of the entire liturgical year.

It is important to differentiate between what the Ordinary Form is capable of when certain options are selected, and the average experience of it in the average parish. If the Gradual and all Antiphons are employed, a broader spectrum of Scripture can be included, however in practice, the average Tridentine Mass, in which there are far fewer options, employs more Scripture than the average Novus Ordo Mass. Even more Scripture is present if one takes into account the scriptural excerpts present in the unchanging Ordinary of the Mass, for example Psalm 42 in the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.

Relationship of the Readings to the Other Propers

As part of their growing series of Position Papers concerning the Extraordinary Form, Una Voce has released an update to their document on the Lectionary. The main points made are as follows:

Because the Ordinary Form focuses more on working through the three-year cycle of readings for Sundays and the two-year cycle for weekdays, the readings have comparatively little relation to the Feasts. The readings also have less of a correlation with the [Entrance, Offertory, and Communion] Antiphons. Conversely, in the Extraordinary Form, there is a thematic continuity between the Antiphons and the readings.

Though there are more readings in the Ordinary Form cycles, some of the readings present in the EF are omitted in the OF. Thus there is “loss as well as gain” in the change. This point of view is succinctly summarized in Una Voce’s quote from a distinguished priest who celebrated the Windsor Tridentine Community’s 20th Anniversary Mass in 2011:
“The Oratorian priest and schola Fr Jonathan Robinson, in criticising the multi-year cycle of the 1969 Missal, remarks: ‘I think the diversity, rather than enriching people, tends to confuse them… This may be because the selections, as has been noted by others, were drawn up more to satisfy the sensibilities of liturgical scholars than on traditional liturgical principles.’ The Mass and Modernity: walking to heaven backwards (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005) p332”
The paper concludes by pointing out that any suggestion to harmonize the readings or liturgical calendar between the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms would damage the thematic integrity of the EF Propers. While standardizing on one calendar may seem to offer benefits, it’s not such a simple decision, as it affects the structure of the entire Liturgical Year and the relation of the Mass to the Breviary. Prudence dictates that each calendar be left alone.

Juventútem Events This Week

Canon Aaron Huberfeld, of the Institute of Christ the King, rector of St. Mary’s Oratory in Wausau, Wisconsin, has a busy week in our region: First, he is joining members of Juventútem Michigan at this weekend’s Sursum Corda gathering at Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary for young adults interested in the Extraordinary Form.

This Wednesday, June 26 at 6:00 PM, there will be Adoration at Lansing’s St. Mary Cathedral Crypt Chapel, followed by a talk by Canon Huberfeld at 8:00 PM at the Spartan Hall of Fame Café in East Lansing.

This Thursday, June 27 at 7:30 PM, Canon Huberfeld will speak on “The Theology of the [Traditional Latin] Mass” at the monthly Theology on Tap at Ann Arbor’s Conor O’Neill’s. Come early to assure yourself of a seat, as standing is not permitted in this facility. Finally, Canon Huberfeld will celebrate the June Last Friday Tridentine Mass for Juventútem at St. Joseph Church in Howell, Michigan, this Friday, June 28 at 6:30 PM. Those of all ages are invited to attend the Mass. A Swing Dance for Young Adults age 18-35 will follow the Mass at 8:00 PM.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 06/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Nativity of St. John the Baptist)
  • Tue. 06/25 7:00 PM: High Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. William, Abbot)
  • Fri. 06/28 6:30 PM: High Mass at St. Joseph, Howell, Michigan (Vigil of Ss. Peter & Paul)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for June 23, 2013. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

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