Saturday, July 21, 2018

Open Question: Your Favorite Ignored Rubric

Amplius lava me....
source: FSSP Liege

No one really does the 1962 Missal as the rubrics state. We have covered the transitional liturgy, the rite of Econe, and the rite of Gricigliano here; almost all current traditionalists use one of these variations of the old rite, which is generally better than 1962 strictly done. In the Pauline Mass, too, we have elements like "the priest turns to the congregation" ignored because he is already facing the congregation. 

It seems meet and right to gather opinions from readers as to which ignored rubrics from the various editions of the Roman rite need to be re-applied and which are so antiquated that they could safely be discarded. A few that come to my mind follow.

  • The celebrant recited the Miserere psalm during the aspersion of water outside Paschaltide and the Confitemini during Paschaltide
  • Cantors wear copes and sing the proper chants in medio choro on greater feasts days
  • There should only be one altar card; the Lavabo psalm, ablution prayers, and Johannine prologue were supposed to be committed to memory
  • Candles are not lit at Mass depending on whether the Mass was high or low, but the festive rank of the day:
    • two candles for ferial days and simple feasts
    • four candles for semi-double feasts, ember days, and lesser vigils
    • six for double feasts, Sundays, days within octaves, and the major vigils
  • The celebrant does not wear the biretta in the sanctuary
  • The celebrant is no longer asked to bow his head to the Cross on the altar, only towards the Missal, wherever he happens to be standing whilst he read it
  • The Confiteor is not recited before Communion
Paul VI:
  • The celebrant turns toward to people to say Dominus vobiscum, presuming he is not already facing them (this may have been more a copy-paste from the old liturgy than a true desire for Mass ad orientem)
  • The pseudo-Hippolytan Eucharistic Prayer is only to be used on weekdays
  • The proper chants of the days are to be sung in plainsong, hymns only being a permissible substitution
Ignored All Around:
  • There is no mention in older rubrics of an entrance procession up the center aisle in the Missals, although some commentators provide for such an action; in the medieval world in which the older Missals originated Mass was sung after Terce, which suggests the clergy were already in the sanctuary
  • The Introit is the entrance hymn, not #128 in your blue booklet, Immaculate Mary
My immediate reaction is that the old[er] rite and the Paul VI Mass would benefit greatly from tidying up these loose points. The transitional rite would probably seem a bit barren and awkward if everything were observed to the letter. The Byzantine liturgy, by contrast, in your average Eastern Catholic or Orthodox church will have its flaws, but consistently comes closer to meeting the ideal, almost always done by a priest taught by another priest without the aid of too many written rubrics.


  1. For the servers for pre-1962 and 1962, I believe a more strict enforcement of the reverences would be good, particularly the body bows and, since too many times, instead of a medium bow while kneeling, I see them doing something akin to prostration, especially the young boys. I think the head bows can be a little bit more lax, since it is really hard to tell medium from slight; for me, just slight and profound head bows would be good.

  2. Commemorations, when to do them, when not to do them. It's a rare priest who gets them right in 1962ville. Worse, the priest who knows bits of the old rubrics but then applies them inconsistently or incorrectly according to both 1962 and "pre-1955". There are many more complications to these rules in 1962 than previously; hence, the confusion and need to (re-)adopt the old system of commemorations wholesale.

  3. Priest Gives Communion without saying "Corpus Domini..."

    BTW,what exactly is the Rite of Michael Napier?

  4. OF
    I don't think i've ever seen people do the profound bow at the Incarnation in the Creed.
    Some people do bow their heads at "adoramus te" even if they don't have to.
    I've seen some priests bow their heads at the mention of the Trinity, Jesus, Mary (this even more often than the name of Jesus ... kinda weird), but most of the people just doesn't know they're supposed to do it.

    And also EMHCs ... those... they're everywhere here in Ireland... at least in Galway...

    1. Marlo, have you left Croatia?

      I have seen the low bow at the new Mass on Lady Day and Christmas in a few very conservative places, but it’s generally neglected.

    2. Yeah. I've been living in Galway for the past 4 and a half months. I'm here for economic reasons, and once those are gone, i'm back to Croatia.

      Lucky you, although, according to the rubrics, that should've been a genuflection, which i've encountered in Đakovo cathedral, but i haven't seen the inclination on other days so the genuflection was done probably because it was specially indicated in the missal for that day.

  5. I suspect the most ignored rubric of all is part of R.S. X, 6 referring to what the server offers to communicants after they have received: 'Minister autem dextera manu tenens vas cum vino et aqua, sinistra vero mappulam, aliquanto post Sacerd. eis porrigit purifactionem, et mappulam ad os abstergendum.'

  6. Do the rubrics mention the cloth on the altar rail?

    1. Again this is part of R.S. X,6. The rubrics say that the server is to take the cloth and spread it before the communicants before reciting the Confiteor. At High Mass the liturgical authors say acolytes hold the cloth before the communicants. I believe this is referred to in the Caeremoniale.

  7. While I certainly wouldn’t doubt that coped cantors would sing during the Office, but would they ever sing the Mass while wearing copes in the Roman Rite? Is there a source or a rubric directing the cantors wearing copes during Mass? I am very much interested to know more about this.

    What I do know is that monastic cantors seem to wear them during Mass (or at least I have heard that such is the case).

  8. My favorite ignored rubric is the Sanctus Candle.

    Our local traditional chapel lights the Sanctus Candle at every Low Mass but ours is the only altar I've seen in person which obeys the rubric.