Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

Today marks our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, just days before His Passion.

I will assist at a 100-year-old, utterly gorgeous diocesan church (my four-year-old calls it the “castle church” because of its Gothic architecture), where the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass is celebrated according to the 1962 rubrics. My attendance today at this particular church is the result of a compromise, but ironically, the Mass we will enjoy is itself a compromise.

Modernisms were being introduced into the last Traditional Missal, which is the one we’ve been given permission (thank you so much) to use. Many of these are almost unnoticeable to the average Mass-goer: elimination of the second Confiteor just before Communion, elimination of a prayer here or there; that kind of thing.

But today is an example of huge, important chunks of the liturgy having been stripped out, like so much elegant copy stricken by a wicked, minimalist editor. Here are some of the changes for which I weep:

  • directing that red vestments be used, as in the Novus Ordo service, instead of the traditional violet vestments;
  • eliminating the Introit, Collect, Epistle, Responsory, Gospel, Preface, and Sanctus of the First Mass, after which the palms are blessed;
  • directing the priest to leave the altar and face the congregation Novus Ordo-style while blessing the palms;
  • eliminating four of the five ancient prayers of blessing;
  • eliminating the prayers and ceremonial of re-entering the church after the procession of the palms;
  • directing that the priest chant the final Collect facing the congregation Novus Ordo-style with his back to the Holy Tabernacle;
  • eliminating entirely the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar;
  • eliminating the beginning and end of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew; and
  • eliminating the Last Gospel, as in the Novus Ordo service.

“It is better to weep with wise men than to laugh with fools.” — Spanish proverb

“…Little sorrows sit and weep.” — William Blake


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