Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Lyonese Missal Part V: Two More Masses, Votive Prayers & Conclusions

Initially I intended to finish this series on the purportedly Jansenistic rites of France by considering the votive prayers of the Lyonese Missal. One reader was kind and enterprising enough to find and share with me a copy of the Rouen rite, which shares lineage with Sarum of course. I will do a one post overview of that Missal rather than an entire series and then we will begin our series of the lesser known founders of the traditionalist movement before the great hijack of the late 1970s.

Before covering some select votive orations let me share with readers two interesting votive Masses from the Missal, one for the celebration of a synod and the other for the election of a bishop, remnants of the days of local episcopal election and local synods that carried primatial weight.

The votive orations themselves are largely unremarkable in their content. Some orations, as with the proper texts of the Masses, are the exact same as in the Roman rite, with the same collects, but other orations, often the secrets and most commonly the post-Communions, differ. For example in the Roman rite the familiar collect A cunctis nos is followed by the secret Exaudi nos and the post-Communion Mundet et muniat. The Lyonese rite has A cunctis nos and the post-Communion Mundet et muniat, but with the secret Oblationem nostram, a prayer not found in the Roman liturgy.

The Missal contains some unique prayers, such as one specifically for the Lyonese church, for the King, for the Queen if she is pregnant, for the royal court, to know the will of God and others. The prayer for knowledge of the will of God again does not seem to bode well for accusations of Jansenism, given that it petitions "you may illuminate our minds with the light of clarity." As with the Parisian rite, these differences are deviations, but not heretical.


The local rites of France drew of the ire of the Ultramontanists who wished in their heart of hearts for everything Catholic to be everything Roman, for Roman liturgy and theology to become the only acceptable expression of the Catholic faith. Diocesan uses dating to the middle ages and new variations that developed either through legitimate variation or 17th century anti-Roman politicking fell to the cruel ax of centralization.

The rites of Paris do not directly descend from the glorious Norman family of rites. Instead it is clearly the Roman rite with conscientious differences, differences that could be categorized in any number of ways: ritual returns to the cathedral liturgies of France, new prayers that reflect a vibrant religious and literary culture, and unambiguous departures from uniquely Roman liturgical traditions such as the folded chasuble. The Lyonese use is more medieval in its origins, always a variation of the Latin liturgy and never the Roman original. Its rites, particularly the rites surrounding pontifical Mass, preserve many now lost aspects of liturgical theology, such as the apocalyptic significance of the seven candles held by the acolytes (also done in 8th century Rome according to the Ordo Romanus Primus). 

Certain facets of the Lyonese rite definitely depart from the Roman patrimony, not the least of which is the use of the Gallican psalter of St. Jerome over the traditional old Roman psalter in the proper chants. Earlier manuscripts of both the Lyonese and Parisian rites clearly indicate that the Roman texts were once followed. Aside from some of the late 20th century vernacular versions of the Pauline rite, a translation is not heretical. The use of the Gallican text instead of the old Roman one suggests bishops were giving in to the anti-Roman spirit in fervor in the royal court of the 17th century. It does not suggest rampant heresy. The need for correction does not necessary mean deviation.

Happily, I am told, the FSSP clergy in Lyon still celebrates this rite semi-regularly. Let us hope that this French gem, untainted by the Jansenists, is not lost in the vault of liturgical history as so many other Latin traditions are.


  1. It would be interesting if someone managed to capture its celebration on video.

    Where can one find theOrdo Romanus in the vernacular?

    1. English and Latin with commentary, a reconstruction of a 8th century Paschal Mass, and another Ordo from the same era inclusive and available for download as a pdf: