Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Parisian Missal IV: Feasts & Commons

The time has come to resurrect our defunct series on the Parisian usage of the Roman rite and its unique Missal which drew the ire of the 19th century Ultramontanists under Dom Gueranger. Thus far we have examined its rubrics, the Ordo Missae, its Holy Week and Pascha, and its Sundays per annum. The point is to gain a holistic understanding of the Missal's features and evaluate the claims levied against it by the Ultramontanists. Thus far no certain signs of Jansenism have appeared. Indeed, only one collect was found to be the least bit strange.
Today we shall examine the third Mass of Christmas day, the Mass for All Saints' day, the Common of a priest/bishop martyr outside Paschaltide, and the votive Mass of Ss. Peter & Paul outside Paschaltide. The selections are intentionally random.


The Parisian Missal, in both Holy Week and Christmas season, includes a reasonable amount of material that one would normally expect to find in a breviary. The genealogy of Our Lord is given after the Mass of Christmas Eve and is to be read following the last response at Mattins and [immediately] prior to the first Mass of Christmas day. Lauds is given for immediately after that Mass.
Third Mass of Christmas day
from a 1300 Parisian Missal
The third Mass of Christmas day is more or less the same as in the Roman rite, but, as we have found to be normal, with some local modifications. The familiar introit Puer natus est nobis is instead Parvulus natus est nobis. Parvulus is certainly acceptable and is used in the Vulgate translation of Isaiah 9:6, but it makes very little sense here at first. The Roman rite uses a pre-Vulgate translation of the Scriptures for the proper chants and antiphons, both in Mass and the Divine Office. Local rites agree with this. My copy of the Sarum Missal shows Puer natus est nobis as well. In fact a scan of a Parisian Missal from 1300 also has the more ancient wording. In lieu of this alteration and in the elimination of Roman vestments like the folded chasuble one wonders if the Parisian liturgy's real sin was not Jansenism as much as it was de-Romanization. The copy of the Parisian Missal we are examining, 1738, comes after a century of French aggression against Rome by Cardinal Richelieu and later Louis XIV. Could these men, or their servants, have taken to removing some distinctly Roman features of the liturgy which were read daily by the institutionalized intelligentsia known as the priests?
The epistle is the same as in the Roman and Sarum books (St. Paul to the Hebrews)—although to be accurate Sarum also reads from Isaiah today. The gradual is entirely different from the Roman/Sarum rite, taken from psalm 97. As is the norm on great feasts in the Norman rites there is a sequence after the Alleluia. The sequence is not a restoration, but an original composition and a very beautiful one at that; the word play is similar to Pange lingua:
Tu lumen de lunime/Ante solem fundere:/Tu numen de numine/Ab aeterno gigneris/Patri par progenies.
Tantus es! et superis/ Quae te permit caritas,/Sedibus delaberis:/Ut surgat infirmitas,/Infirmus humi iaces.
Not Roman, but hardly the makings of Jansenism. The Gospel is In principio as in the Roman rite and the Gospel of the Epiphany is read as the Last Gospel at the end of Mass, again as in the Roman rite. The Offertory verse differs, extracted from the Epistle to the Hebrews rather than from the psalms. The secret, different again from the Roman and Sarum rites, asks that we "may be reborn" through the sacrifice offered on this solemnity, the solemnity of the "worthy birth of the Son of Man." The Communion verse is not the Roman one, but the post-Communion prayer is.

All Saints

The Solemnity of All Saints begins with an introit extracted from St. Paul's letter to the Hebrews, which alludes to the "heavenly Jerusalem" and the "celestial armies." The collect and epistle are the same as in Rome, but not the gradual. There is a gorgeous sequence following the Alleluia ascribed to one "John de Contes, Deacon of Paris"—who apparently lived in the previously century. The sequence Sponsa Christi can be read in a very good translation here. The Gospel pericope is the same passage recalling the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew as is found in the Roman books. The Offertory verse is taken from psalm 67 rather than from Wisdom, but the Secret is the Roman prayer. The preface is of All Saints and will be for the entirety of the octave. The Communion verse focuses on the remaking of man by God through Christ's redemption, visible in His saints: "And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:9-10). The post-Communion petitions the Lord that the "table of pilgrims" may "pass to the heavenly homeland" one day. One might argue that this constructs the Mass as a meal, a protestant heresy, but such an interpretation, while possible during the Counter-Reformation emphasis on the sacrificial nature of the Mass, would make Pangue lingua, the Communion prayers in the Byzantine rite, and the Mandy Thursday Communion verse of the Ambrosian rite all heretical. All Saints' day in the Parisian rite was a lovely feast indeed.

Common of a Priest/Bishop Martyr outside Paschaltide

This common is quite different from that in the Roman books (which would be the familiar Statuit ei Mass). The introit comes to us from Acts of the Apostles and is very fitting for a martyr cleric: "That bands and afflictions wait for me at Jerusalem. But I fear none of these things, neither do I count my life more precious than myself, so that I may consummate my course and the ministry of the word which I received from the Lord Jesus." There are three potential collects, two for a bishop and one for a priest. The prayer for feasts of martyr priests may be an elaboration of the matching collect in the Roman Statuit ei Mass. The epistle, from 1 Corinthians chapter 2, matches not the Statuit ei Mass, but does match another Roman common for martyr bishops, the Mass Sacerdotes Dei! The Gradual comes from Acts of the Apostles and the Apocalypse, and the Gospel from Matthew chapter 10 rather than either of the matching Roman commons. The Offertory verse carries on the theme of the martyr as one who suffers for the Lord: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church." The first given Secret appears to be an elaboration of that in the Sacerdotes Dei Mass, but the other two are unique. The Communion verse comes from psalm 22 (not Roman). The first post-Communion prayer is very vivid, speaking of the intercession of the day's saint against lions and demons which bother the saints. The other two options, quite similar to each other, follow the simple Roman style of petition. Once again, not Roman and not heretical!

Votive Mass of Ss. Peter & Paul outside Paschaltide

Our introit is the same as is given for the feast of St. Bartholomew, psalm 95 (instead of Rome's psalm 138). The collect Deus cuius dextera should be familiar to anyone who has prayed the un-reformed Office. The epistle recounts St. Paul's shipwrecking in Acts chapter 27 and the conversion of a Roman centurion. The Mass's Gospel text is Christ's walking on water and Peter's near drowning. This contrasts with the Roman votive Mass, which focuses on St. Peter in both texts. The secret is actually the post-Communion prayer in the Roman rite and while the Parisian post-Communion oration is its own thanksgiving prayer—very similar to an oration used on the fourth Sunday of Advent in the Mass of Paul VI oddly. The Offertory and Communion chants are, again, taken from the Parisian texts for the feast of St. Bartholomew, but are not the Roman texts.

Other Note

While perusing the month of August I came across the collect Veneranda for the Assumption of Our Lady, the same collect used on that day in the Dominican and Sarum rites, which explicitly mentions the Virgin's death (the ancient belief).

Brief Conclusion

Thus far there is still no reason to doubt the orthodoxy of the Parisian rite, the only crime of which, it seems, is having intentionally departed from some Roman practices, possibly owing to political motivations. The Missal contains beautiful poetry and orations, and displays a literary expression of a vivacious and strong French Catholicism.
Our next, and last installment, will examine a few votive prayers. Then on to the rite of Lyons, the rite celebrated by St. John Vianney.
Archbishop Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII), then nuncio to France, about to
celebrate Mass according to the rite of Lyons.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder, thinking back to one of your earlier posts in this series, to what extent there was anti-Roman 'tweaking' going on by the seventeenth century?