Saturday, February 3, 2018

Candlemas: A Case of Mutual Enrichment (Conflation?)

Having just returned from a celebration of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Mater Dei (aka Tradistan Dallas) I feel uncertain as to whether or not I can pinpoint exactly which edition of the Roman Missal was celebrated last night. Was in the old rite? Was it 1962? Was it the Novus Ordo Missae? The only possible response is "yes."

Candles were in a basket in the narthex, which I found odd. The procession entered the church to Ave Regina coelorum, an odd choice since the Nativity season ends after Vespers of the feast, not prior to its Mass. Alma Redemptoris Mater at the beginning with Ave Regina coelorum at the end would have been a nice touch. I noticed the celebrant was wearing a violet cope, a first for Mater Dei, and mistakenly got my hopes up.

The blessing of the candles happened, but the candles were not near the altar to be blessed, although the table to hold them was there and barren. Instead, it seems as though the candles already in our hands, acquired in the narthex, would be it. At this point we transitioned from the pre-Pius XII rite to the Novus Ordo, summarily leaving out large chunks of traditional liturgical action for the purpose of pastoral accommodation. The celebrant traversed the aisle, sprinkling lustral water as he went; the use of incense, prescribe in the [presumably 1962] Missal was omitted.

Candles in hand and priest in purple cope, we skipped the antiphon and old rite Flectamus genua for an immediate Procedamus in pace, at which point the choir began to sing the antiphonal setting of the Nunc dimittis prescribed for the distribution of candles (!) and skipped the processional antiphons. Whatever time the organizers hoped to save by eschewing the distribution of candles was lost because one person genuflected when leaving his pew for the procession, causing the next three hundred people to do the same thing, making it take five minutes for people simply to leave their seats. Would grabbing a candle and kissing the priest's hand have taken longer? Maybe only a little.

After the procession a regular Missa cantata was celebrated, sans the preparatory prayers, per 1962, that rite's first clear appearance last night. The absence of the psalm and Confiteor temporarily confused people as to whether they should stand, like the celebrant, or kneel as is customary for the Introit and Kyrie. The Mass continued according to the rite of Econe, with bows to the Cross at the Holy Name and the Confiteor at Communion. The servers made the innocent and forgivable mistake of not lighting our candles for the Canon of Mass, although they did so for the Gospel; such things will happen; I once forgot to light the Paschal candle on Low Sunday as a young altar boy.

At the end of the Mass the Last Gospel was said, which is in the pre-Pius XII rite and may well be in 1962, but which has not been said on Candlemas at this parish in past years.

So, once again, which Roman Missal was followed? Or was this a case of mutual enrichment betwixt three editions by way of Econe?


  1. Isn't Mater Dei a FSSP parish? I thought they were supposed to be quite "strict" in following the books.

    1. They are FSSP, so you could be forgiven for assuming they'd follow the '62 books. Deviations wouldn't be as confusing (ICRSS imports old rite stuff all the time) if not for them also leaving out things and switching at random.

  2. Oh my, sounds like a classic 1990's American FSSPX "efficiency" liturgy! In other good news, they got some religion up in Madison, WI yesterday. Folded chasubles under the auspices of the Zed and the Ordinary of the diocese. Should hopefully convince a lot of fence-sitters to restore the Roman Rite, but not according to the strange brew you experienced.

  3. Nice to hear about good things in Madison! At the ICRSS yesterday, we got the good 'ol Old Rite, albeit with only Missa Cantata as there were insufficient clergy for a Solemn liturgy (for which they would have brought out the violet folded chasubles!)

  4. Obviously a "night" mass could never be the old rite.

    A nearby parish did the traditional rites in the evening yesterday. It has the appearance of a "museum liturgy": a historical recreation of a liturgy that only could have taken place between 1953 (when evening mass was first allowed) and 1960 (when the rites for the Purification were simplified).

  5. I'm glad I missed it! My theory for all these mix-and-match shenanigans: the most influential clergy in the US branch of the FSSP nowadays were mostly formed under the Novus Ordo. They then made a transitus to the FSSP, unwittingly bringing their Liturgy-as-subordinate-to-Celebrant mindset with them. (I've witnessed similar things at the local FSSP parish.)

    Perhaps in a few years, FSSP clergy formed entirely within a more or less traditional liturgical life will take the reins and eliminate this high-handed approach to the S. Liturgy. Quod faxit Deus!

  6. We used the Old Rite ceremonies of Candlemas for the first time this year. Thank God we didn't messed up and did the mix-match that Mater Dei ended up doing. It's a shame really, considering that Mater Dei has enough resources to do a proper Candlemas celebration...