|Doubling at readings.|
"Yes, so to speak, but it was so annoying. He has his own Gloria and I hate it."
That morning Mr. Grump attended his first sung Mass in a considerable time and was maladjusted to the tremorous experience of not kneeling for 45 continuous minutes.
"No he doesn't," interjected Mr. Grump's little lady. "He just starts the Gloria and sits, and then we sing it with him. Don't we?"
"No," Grump grumpily disabused her. "No, he starts our Gloria and our Creed, but then we sung it while he recites his own and then he sits down while we sing. It's stupid and I hate it. It's one Mass; there should be one song of praise and one profession of faith."
Thus Mr. Grump grouchily discharged his mind concerning the great matter of liturgical "doubling," a squabbling point of many reformers and traditionalist Romans in the last hundred years. Doubling is not a uniquely Roman corruption of a pristine liturgy which unified past congregations in audible acts of latria. Doubling is done in the Byzantine rite, especially after the Creed: the priest in most of Byzantine Christianity will recite the Cherubikon while the choir sings it; he will recite the text after the preface dialogue until "singing, proclaiming, shouting the hymn of victory...." to begin the Holy, Holy, Holy, which he in turn also recites so he can say the anaphora until "Take, eat....", which is done aloud. In the old Mass—not 1962, except for the ICRSS and courageous diocesan types—there are many acts of doubling. At solemn Mass the priest and deacon follow the epistle from the Missal while the subdeacon sings it; the priest and subdeacon read the Gospel pericope during the Gradual, during which the deacon receives the Evangelium and makes his preparations; and of course the priest reads antiphons throughout the Mass.
The reading of antiphons by the priest, much like the recitation of the Cherubikon in the Greek rite, has never bothered me. The celebrant is engaged in other acts during the Introit, Offertory, and Communion verses, so he "catches up" on them. The Dominican and Norman rites also have a similar provision in the first half of Mass for the readings and gradual from the sedilia, as the priest and subdeacon are preparing the gifts throughout the Mass of the Catechumens. I have also never been bothered by the reading of lessons by the priest in the Roman rite. At first one is tempted to say it is an intrusion of the Low Mass ceremonies into the Solemn Mass, but this is not quite the whole story. The presumed setting of the Roman Mass is Papal or Pontifical Mass, during which the bishop officiates from his throne. At Masses celebrated without a bishop, the priest is not necessarily presumed to sit; indeed, prior to 1960 the rubrics for Mass assumed a low Mass, and high Mass was a matter of tradition. Without sitting, the priest is left at the altar with little to do other than follow the text printed in front of him.
The Gloria and Credo are another matter entirely. The act of the priest reciting the text on his own and sitting has nothing to do with the received liturgical praxis, nothing to do the tradition of the rite, and nothing to do with architecture. It has everything to do with polyphonic music. The priest traditionally sang these texts with the congregation and other ministers, but polyphonic Masses precluded singing, so the priest said his part and had a seat. The scarcity of sung Masses in the Counter-Reformation and abandonment of the Office inculcated the idea that polyphony was the normal when the abnormal Solemn Mass was celebrated. There is no real reason for this to continue in Masses where Mass is chanted. I knew one Polish priest, ordained by Archbishop Wojtyla in Krakow and no lover of the reformed Mass, who sometimes sat for these parts and sometimes remained at the altar to sing with the people.
The only hard line advocates of doubling in the Roman tradition are sedevacantists along the lines of Fr. Anthony Cekada and bishop Dolan, who view the removal of some doubling in the 1960 rubrics as a creeping tendency towards the Pauline liturgy.
At least the priest doesn't have his own Mass!