Postscript to Holy Water Blessing Differences[Comments? Ideas for a future column? Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns are available at www.stjosaphatchurch.org. Hat tip to A.B.]
Following up on last week's column, the significantly greater length of the Extraordinary Form Blessing of Holy Water as compared to the Ordinary Form is more than simply additional verbosity. The traditional blessing involves an exorcism of the salt to be used, as well as an exorcism of the water, before the two are mixed. As with the traditional form of Baptism, these exorcisms are performed so that the people who are sprinkled or bless themselves with this water are ritually purified before the start of the Holy Mass. This is an entirely appropriate way to prepare souls for the august sacrifice about to take place.
In contrast, the Ordinary Form blessing is more about those who will use the Holy Water. Part of this orientation derives from the 1960s-era (and now dated-sounding) English translation.
Is There a Shorter Form Traditional Holy Water Blessing?
The Roman Ritual includes a shorter form of the Baptismal Water blessing formula, intended for use in mission territories. There is no shorter form blessing of conventional Holy Water.
What should we do in "emergencies"? For example, what should we do when a celebrant arrives late for Mass and cannot take the time to perform the full blessing? Here is a question we might ask the Ecclesia Dei Commission: What would be better in such a situation: 1) Delay the start of Mass to allow for the blessing; 2) Take Holy Water that has been blessed according to the Ordinary Form from a font [But does this not fall under the prohibited "mixing of forms"?]; or 3) Skip the Asperges altogether. Arguments can be made for all of these options. It would be risky to introduce a shortened form blessing, lest it become the norm, and lest the exorcism prayers become rarely utilized.
Candles at the Altar
You may have noticed a change in the use of candles at the altar at St. Josaphat and St. Joseph Church. After some investigation and consultation with liturgical expert Dr. Alcuin Reid, we have learned that no more than six candles are to be lit on the altar during a sung Tridentine Mass. Even the recent Extraordinary Form Ordination Mass at Lincoln, Nebraska's Cathedral of the Risen Christ only had six candles on the alter. In an effort to be faithful to the rubrics, we will no longer be lighting the various smaller candles at the altar before Mass.
For Benediction, we will light the seven -candle Benediction candelabras on either side of the altar that had formerly been lit before Mass. These actually contain the proper number of candles for Benediction; the rubrics specify a minimum of twelve (additional) candles to be lit for this ceremony. We will no longer use the two five-candle candelabras at St. Josaphat, as they are redundant and do not contain sufficient candles anyway.
At Assumption-Windsor, we have only been lighting the six high candles on the altar already, so no change will be made. However, we plan to acquire proper Benediction candelabras that sit on the altar, to replace the floor-standing candelabras that we have been using.
We do not know the specific rationale for this limitation on the number of candles, however we suspect that the objective may be to restrain distraction and crowding on the altar.
Congratulations to David Wolski and Susan Liss, who were married on Saturday, October 4 at St. Josaphat Church according to the Tridentine Form. The St. Josaphat Choir sang William Byrd's Mass for Three Voices.
The next Extraordinary Form wedding will be that of James Lasorda and Julie Hodgson, to be held on Saturday, November 15 at 1:00 PM at Windsor's Assumption Church. The Assumption Tridentine Choir and members of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra will perform Schubert's Mass in G.
Is the Tridentine Mass a Separate Rite?
Language that we take for granted or toss around casually may actually have specific meaning that deserves closer attention. Such is the case with the word "Rite."
Our Holy Father has taken care to refer to the Traditional Latin Mass as the Extraordinary Form, because he has identified the Tridentine Mass as one of two forms of the Latin Rite, the Novus Ordo being the Ordinary Form. For years, we have been used to referring to the Traditional Latin Mass as the Tridentine Rite. Even Ecclesia Dei Commission President Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has recently taken to referring to the Traditional Mass as the "Gregorian Rite," a term which appears to conflict with our Holy Father's thinking.
Until official written clarification comes from Rome, our Holy Father's Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, remains the law on this subject, thus the Tridentine Mass cannot be considered a separate rite, no matter how easily the term slips off the tongue.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Tridentine Community News
The following issue is from the St. Josaphat Catholic Church Sunday bulletin insert of October 12, 2008:
Posted by Pertinacious Papist at 10:22 AM