Sunday, July 21, 2013

Two Latin Masses in Anglican Churches

Mass at the tomb of St. Edward the Confessor, King of England
There have been two, presumably MR1962, Masses of note celebrated at churches owned and operated by the Church of England. The one was at Westminster Abbey (where the Rad Trad once visited, but then left at the outrageous idea of paying £15 to see a church) and the other at Canterbury Cathedral. The former was celebrated by a Benedictine monk and the matter by a FSSP pilgrimage run by the Remnant newspaper.
The Westminster celebration, although a low Mass, was at the tomb of St. Edward the Confessor and intended for his wife, Queen Edith. You can read the particulars here. Aesthetically the Mass is very successful: neo-gothic vestments, no weird emblems on the back, very English altar, and the large candles at the foot of the altar are lit.
The Canterbury Mass was done by an FSSP priest, so as one might expect it was a low Mass, with some chant though, and a fiddleback chasuble. While not exactly "period" the server is wearing a more medieval/English surplice at least. Perhaps I am too distracted by aesthetics. This is not a historical reconstruction, it is an actual Mass. There is a video below.


  1. I like the Westminster Mass more. It's more medieval-ish :D

    Listen. There is a video on youtube
    in which there is only one Confiteor as is in this pre-1647 cistercian missal - is this some kind of error or just an ommitance for the sake of conserving paper or what..

  2. No error, it is to conserve paper. The book leaves out instructions concerning everything from the Gloria to the Credo, too. If you look next to the Confiteor you will see the familiar "R" with a line through it, meaning response, so there is some interaction between priest and servers. Perhaps it is omitted for the sake of space. The absolution prayer (nobis, nostrorum etc) would not make much sense otherwise.

    I like the Westminster Mass better, too! I visited a few cathedrals in England two years ago and could only imagine what the Masses were like back in the day.

  3. It is also peculiar that in Cistercian Missal there is no kyrie, and also priest isn't saying it in the video i linked. it might be that the kyrie was sung only by choir and that it wasn't said by priest originally.

    And what about the only one confiteor in the video? that must be an error then because this Mass setting was already in 1450, and in 1474 we have Roman Missal which is almost identical to that of 1570, and the Carthusian Rite of 12th century had two confiteors, and the Cistercian Rite from roughly the same time has two confiteors as you say. the dominican, carmelite and ambrosian rites also have two confiteors...

    1. The "celebrant" is a Dominican medievalist, Fr Anders Piltz OP. It's actually a very accurate reconstruction of how a medieval parish Mass would look: a capable man, who would have memorized large portions of the propers of the year, would act as cantor; the server(s) would be take from the more literate and apt boy(s) in town or loaned from the priestly-apprentices at the cathedral; a reverent informality would exist between the priest and laity. Only thing I do not like is the grill-like rood screen.

      As I know neither Swedish, which would go a long way to understanding the premise of this Mass, or the Cistercian rite I cannot really comment any further. Fascinating reconstruction though. I doubt it was a valid Mass, but still so interesting. He even said the Benedicite at the end!

    2. Well i heard from one of my friends that this was indeed a valid Mass for which he gained premission.

      I like the sound of the reverent informality. How is it accomplished?

      Also, what of only one confietor? :D

      (you could do a post on this)

    3. I may well do a post on when I have read the Missal a bit and some background on the rite.

      Ah reverent informality. It is accomplished by familiarity with all things Holy!

    4. Reverent informality - what are those actions? What do the priest and people say or do? Could you explain?

    5. The post at the top on Winchester Cathedral attempts to explain this idea a little bit more than I can in this space.

    6. Yeah yeah. I read and commented :)

  4. I once visited Canterbury Cathedral and was "asked" for a donation, upon entering the Holy Place.

    Whereupon, I said: "I am here to Pray" and was allowed through with no further problem.

    The Cathedral Guides are trained to request payment from the thousands of visitors per year, in order to try and raise funds for the heavy maintenance costs.

    However, to sum up, the next time you meet this obstacle in a Holy Place, just say: "I am here to Pray". They cannot, and will not, attempt to charge you for that.

    in Domino.

    1. I never got to Canterbury either. Is the Church of England low on money? Despite our own problems we Catholics have never had to charge admissions "fees."

      I remember when visiting Bathe I popped into a former Benedictine church next to the Roman Bath House and paid a suggested £2 before entering. At Salisbury and Winchester they were very upfront about getting their £5, even giving me a receipt! Next time I am in the UK I will have to make a little pilgrimage to Canterbury, free of charge!

  5. I dislike the Roman chasuble worn at Canterbury too. An ugly thing, and a true departure FROM tradition! Centuries ago, bishops and others couldn't move in their heavily ornamented vestments. Rather than simplify and get rid of the "bling", they had the sides of their chasubles cut away, thus allowing (of course) what was won under it to be encrusted with bling too.

    As for the "fee": old cathedrals and churches need constant repair and upkeep. It's reasonable that the thousands of tourist who go to Canterbury Cathedral, assist in this regard. Remember too that in the Middle Ages, pilgrims paid for religious souvenirs, candles, donated money to the cathedral, and if rich - to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket itself. They also bought indulgences when at this cathedral, when "paying" for them was the fashion.