Tuesday, November 02, 2010

What has happened to the Offertory

I was hoping to celebrate an EF Missa Cantata this evening but it is low Mass, there was a bit of confusion over singers, the same last night too. Actually I was quite shocked last night, there were about fifty people at Mass, despite the fact that we, like the rest of the UK celebrate All Hallows on Sunday in the Ordinary Form and at least my parishioners knew it was a low Mass. The congregation for Extraordinary Form Masses here is much younger than the Ordinary Form.

The Ordinary Form Mass here this morning, I thought was quite beautiful. We used black vestments, purple frontal, unbleached candles, we celebrated Mass ad Orientem, one of the countless options in the Missal. My people know the Requiem Ordinary, so we sang the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus. This morning Clare came along and sang the Entrance, Offertory and Communion antiphons, rather elegantly.

Does anyone know why the Missal doesn't print the Offerory Antiphon? Does anyone know if they will be printed in the new Missal? I mean it is in the new Graduale which Solemnes has just produced under instructions from the CDW but that seems to be the only source for it in the Ordinary Form.

An old priest friend of mine described hymns at Mass as a "nasty German habit". e are trying to get away from hymns here, it is just so difficult trying to get ones which echo in anyway the sentiments of the antiphons they might possibly replace. My big problem especially is: what hymns are suitable for the Offertory? There is a very limited choice. You don't want something rousing, people are either writing out cheques for several thousand guineas and filling in the Gift Aid envelope or looking for loose coppers in the bottom of their pockets for the plate.

The Propers of the Mass, I presume were never intended for congregational singing, they are too complicated. In the Novus Ordo the Gradual is replaced by the Responsorial Psalm but the Entrance, Offertory and Communion antiphons in the official book, the Graduale, are quite difficult, even in a monastery they tend to be sung by the schola rather than the whole community. The Missal speaks of people singing the Mass, hymns aren't the Mass, the problem is, what is the Mass, as far as singing, is it really just the Ordinary of the Mass?

P.S.
One additional thing that has always interested me  is why young men prefer to come to the EF than the OF. Someone yesterday said one important factor was men don't like singing, unless they are good at it, in the older form of Mass the choir sings the difficult bits, the congregation can if they want to, join in the Ordinary, but there is no obligation on Joe Bloggs in the pew.

20 comments:

Dev Thakur said...

Well, my reason as a young man to prefer the EF is different, probably many reaons. I like to sing, though I'm not very good, and I love many hymns, but don't feel they need to be at Mass.

at the EF I sing the ordinary when I know it, and I feel that they idea we should ignore complex chant and polyphony just so **I** can sing along is sad and a bit ridiculous

shane said...

I've always noticed that about the EF. There seems to always be both a lot of very old people and men in their 20s and 30s.

Alex said...

Father, being a young man, I can tell you that I find the EF simply to be more masculine in its form than the OF. It is marked with a sort of Roman economy of style. That, coupled with the fact that I am not being forced to participate in things like singing, shaking hands, etc., is the reason why I prefer the EF.

Mac McLernon said...

I think there is something in the style of worship in the two forms - in the EF, for example, the roles of the servers are very strictly laid out in the rubrics, as are the prayers.

In the OF, the whole thing is much more touchy-feely, with bidding prayers and an offertory procession, and hymns... and the Mass is much more turned-in on itself, especially if it is celebrated versus populum rather than ad orientem...

At Blackfen, we always seem to get more men at the Novus Ordo ad orientem Mass than the NO versus populum and more men at the EF Mass than either of the NO forms...

Physiocrat said...

Offertory is in the Gradual Romanum, as you say. People can't sing if they are sitting so leave it to the choir or have a voluntary or silence.

The responsorial psalm does not work liturgically for various reasons unless sung. If people have not forgotten the response altogether the words might as well as well be rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.

Paul, Bedfordshire said...

Offertory Hymn. Priest: "Blest are you Lord God of all creation, thanks to your goodness this bread we offer, fruit of the earth, work of our hands, it will become the bread of life. People: Blessed Be God, Blessed Be God, Blessed be God for ever Amen. Blessed Be God, Blessed be God, Blessed be God forever Amen. (you can guess the second verse). Modern but dosent replace the proper with something else.

Gradual: Interestingly the Wikipedia article on this claims that in the OF the responsorial psalm is not compulsory and the gradual can be used instead. Anyone know more?

Young Men at EF. Young men don't much like singing but very much do like chanting as can be seen at any football match. Reading the text of the two liturgies I find the OF far more "feminine" than the EF. The prayers of the EF are hard, unyielding challenging and a little uncomfortable if you ponder them. For example, after the offertory 25:6-12 "Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked, nor my life with men of blood. In whos hands are iniquities, their right hand is filled with gifts."

The first time in my adult life I heard the EF, I was an outdoor rail engineer working on the track around Sussex (including the odd night shift at Brighton!) and clocking up miles in a white van on the A23, M23, A27, A264 etc., and found it related to me far more than the OF, which bangs on about God loving you all the time - which is fine for my 8 year old daughter and Miss Marple but a bit "wet" for a hardened track worker or White Van Man, which is probably why far fewer such people attend Mass these days.

Cecilia said...

Ah, Physiocrat, I can see you too are not an aficionado of the responsorial psalm. I confess I have on at least one occasion stuck my fingers in my ears to try and avoid hearing it; other strategies, including the purchase of noise cancelling headphones, have been considered. (I am rather appalled at myself.)

Joshua said...

What was said above holds: as a young bloke myself, I prefer the EF as it is more masculine and, frankly, less touchy-feely than the OF as too often celebrated (an elderly priest dominated by bossy women, with "niceness" the only virtue praised, and smug mediocrity all round).

Crux Fidelis said...

Fr Ray: You state that, in common with the rest of the UK, All Hallows in the OF was celebrated on Sunday. In fact All Saints was celebrated on Monday 1st November in Scotland. However, it was not a holiday of obligation this year. Obviously you can't expect people to go to Mass two days running.

Marc Stenger said...

I've noticed that there are more men in masses celebrated ad-orientem, be it in the ordinary or extraordinary form.

I understand that men (no matter which age they are) don't like having another guy standing opposite to them, taking up eye-contact, interaction and so on.

Celebrating the mass ad orientem (in both forms of the rite) is an important approach in pastoral care for men, I guess.

Most hippie-style feel-well-parishes are missing real masculine men. That is not without a reason.

Annie said...

Cecilia, I've done that as well...

And I agree with Alex, and Joshua, and Paul the White Van Man. Not all women like touchy-feely either.

josephmchardy said...

I'm with Mac, Paul, Joshua. The EF offers but doesn't demand. The OF is always asking for things: "hi! pay attention, sing this, say that, shake his hand, why aren't you going to communion? hurry up there's a second collection, goodbye, sing that, Nescafe?"
There's not a lot of EF round here, but if there were I'd be there like a shot!
Joe (29 yrs old. Is that still young?)
And my mum and my fiancée think EF is just weird :)
And just think of the potential pub quiz questions contained in Fortescue!

Shadow said...

@Annie: well-said! I'm a woman too but do not like 'touchy-feely' Masses at all.

gemoftheocean said...

I liked the last OF Mass I attended. At the sign of peace the priest merely said 'the peace of the Lord be with you always' then the congregation said 'and also with you' and THAT, was...THAT. No 'now let us offer each other the sign of peace.' Although, I must tell you, my deceased mother would have kissed the priest full on the lips for that alone. [She HATED the handshaking. One reason was due to cancer her having less resistance to all sorts of germs etc. And especially in winter time with hacking people INSTISting on blowing into their hands then walking half way across church to be 'nice']

Ma Tucker said...

I would not agree with the masculine feminine view of the Mass. The prayers of one Mass are plainly simplistic childish and dull compared to the other. This has nothing to do with a sexual category (I hope!). As regards the male female distribution of the congregation I suspect women follow more than men in general. They are less likely to step out of the herd. Men are more independent. It is worth remembering that lay Catholics (men and woman) did not choose the liturgy we were given it. I find it insulting to womanhood to classify the childishness of the liturgy as some sort of female characteristic. Women are not silly by nature. The care of children brings a great deal of maturity generally. Furthermore, who were the women involved in the manufacturing of this banal liturgy? Who were the women involved in the translation of the texts? I could be wrong here but I'd be surprised if even one woman was involved. I do not blame men in general on this account. I would simply suggest that heresy makes you think, say, do and produce stupid things.

Benjamin DeFazio said...

Marc Stenger - what is a real masculine man? It sounds like an insult to many if not most men. What is the cut-off for being masculine enough to be a real man? Do I have to have muscles and go to the gym every day? Do I have to be able to drink seven pints of lager and then vomit in the street? Do I have to have promiscous sex with as many young ladies as possible? Do I need to be anti-intellectual and red The Sun newspaperI don't do any of the above so am I not a ''real man''. Please tell!

The rite of mass used has nothing to do with gender, it's a preposterous argument.

georgem said...

Cardinal Heenan on witnessing the first NO Mass in Rome:
"At home it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass.
"If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday in the Sistine Chapel we would soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children."
Preposterous.

Joshua said...

When you think about it, having more men at the EF actually means the gender balance is about right - which is how it should be, with equal numbers of both sexes, each equally drawn to the liturgy.

By contrast, at the worse banal sort of OF (not in Fr's parish of course!), one finds "old women of both sexes" - in the pejorative, not the literal sense,of those who fit with the sentimental, mediocre, therapeutic tone of too much modern liturgy.

IanW said...

Paul, Bedfordshire:

It's quite licit to replace the responsorial psalm with the gradual from the Graduale, as it is to replace the Missal propers with those from the same. The Graduale Romanum of 1973 is designed for this purpose, and there is a strong argument for viewing the Missal propers (ex the responsorial psalm) as spoken alternatives to the Graduale, for use when musicians are unavailable.

There's nothing radical in any of this, or in opposition to either the letter or spirit of the Mass of Paul VI. The introduction to the 1973 G.R. is signed by one Archbishop A. Bugnini. What better authority?

IanW said...

It is, of course, possible to set the responsorial psalm verses to a psalm-tone, and to derive a response from that tone.

This approach has a number of benefits. It uses the music - chant - that the Council Fathers and subsequent Popes have commended to us. It offers a more contemplative experience than the typical modern alternative. It does not intrude into the liturgy in the way that composed settings tend to.

Psalm tones are useful for other proper texts, too, whether the Missale or Graduale text is employed, in Latin or the vernacaular. They allow a cantor or schola to sing those parts of the mass, where it might not be possible for them to sing the often complex Graduale chants.

Another useful resource is provided by Adam Bartlett and the Church Music Association of America, who have a project to produce chant settings of English translations of the Graduale proper texts. The work is being published regularly through the Chant Cafe blog, e.g.

http://www.chantcafe.com/2010/11/simple-propers-for-32nd-sunday-in.html