This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

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Wednesday 30 November 2011

Office for the Dead, Dominican Rite

A brief comparison of the Traditional Office for the Dead in the Dominican Rite with the Roman Rite.

I recently undertook to say the Office for the Dead in the Dominican rite for a deceased acquaintance who was a Tertiary of the Order, so have been reflecting on the minor variations between these forms of the Office. The differences are minor but, to the careful liturgical observer, interesting.

The main difference is in the order of the responsories at Matins, with a characteristic version of the final responsory Libera me (other religious orders seem to have had variations on that one as well). Otherwise, there is a different Magnificat Antiphon at Vespers, and a few minor variations to the text, as outlined below.

The Roman Office for the Dead may be consulted on the website which also contains a brief introduction to this Office.

There is also a general introduction in the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

According to Fr William Bonniwell, in his History of the Dominican Liturgy,

"The final choral obligation of the friars was the office of the dead. The addition of it to the Divine Office is also attributed to Innocent III. This office is believed to have originated at Rome in the eighth century. The body of the deceased was brought to the church in the evening; after its arrival the office would begin. It was really a vigil, and as such had vespers, three nocturns and lauds. That is why Humbert refers to this office as the "vigil." Humbert speaks of two different kinds of office for the dead, the vigil of nine lessons and the vigil of three lessons. The former is what is known commonly today as the office of the dead; it was said every week, though there were exceptions to the rule. The latter office, which has disappeared from the Dominican rite, needs some explanation. It was said as follows: on Sunday and Wednesday, the psalms of the first nocturn, together with its antiphons, versicle, lessons and responds; on Monday and Thursday, the psalms, etc., of the second noctum; on Tuesday and Friday, those of the third nocturn. The prayers used in the office were the same as those used to-day for "familiares and benefactors of the Order." The entire community did not say the office; only the hebdomadarian of the week, with the deacon, subdeacon and friar who were assigned for that week to the Mass of the Dead. But the ordinary adds: "Any others who wish to do so, may be present." This office was recited nearly every day."
(Second edition, 1945, pp146-7)

The variations in the Dominican from the Roman rite are as follows:

There is no Pater or Ave (or Credo) said before the hours.

There is no versicle and response V. Audivi vocem etc. at Vespers and Lauds after the psalmondy.

However, this is converted into an antiphon in its own right which is used at the Magnificat at Vespers instead of the Roman Omne quod dat mihi. Here is the text from the Dominican Antiphonal of 1933:

The Pater noster is said silently after the Magnificat and Benedictus, i.e. the last two lines are not said as versicle and response, unlike in the Roman rite.

After Psalm 145 or 129 the following is used:

V. A porta ínferi.
R. Erue, Dómine, ánimas eórum.
V. Dóminus vobíscum.
R. Et cum spíritu tuo.
V. Dómine, exáudi oratiónem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te véniat.)
Then the Collect.

After the Collect is said only:
V. Requiéscant in pace.
R. Amen.

There is never an invitatory and psalm Venite exsultemus before Matins; whereas in the Roman rite this is used whenever Matins of 3 nocturns is recited.

The Pater noster in each nocturn, before the readings, has its final two verses said as versicle and response.

The responsories of the first nocturn are the same as in the Roman rite. The responsory after the third reading does not contain V. Requiem aeternam etc. at the end, unlike in the Roman rite.

The responsory after the first reading of the second nocturn is Heu mihi etc. which is used in the Roman rite after the second reading; the responsory after the second reading is Ne recorderis etc. which is used in the Roman rite after the third reading; the responsory after the third reading is as follows, which is a variant of that used in the Roman rite after the second lesson of the third nocturn:

R. Dómine, secúndum actum meum noli me judicáre: nihil dignum in conspéctu tuo egi; * ídeo déprecor majestátem tuam, ut tu, Deus, déleas iniquitátem meam.
V. Amplius lava me, Dómine, ab injustítia mea, et a delícto meo munda me: quia tibi soli peccavi. * ideo deprecor majestatem tuam, ut tu, Deus deleas iniquitatem meam.

The responsory after the second reading of the third nocturn is Memento mei etc. which is a variant of that used in the Roman rite after the first reading of the second nocturn:

R. Meménto mei, Deus: quia ventus est vita mea, * Nec aspíciat me visus hóminis.
V. Et non revertetur oculus meus, ut videat bona. * Nec aspíciat me visus hóminis.

After the final reading of the third nocturn, the following responsory is used, which is a variant on that used in the Roman and other rites. This responsory is an ancient composition, and seems to have many variants.

R. Líbera me, Dómine, de morte aetérna in die illa treménda: * Quando caeli movéndi sunt et terra: * Dum véneris judicáre saeculum per ignem.
V. Dies illa, dies irae, calamitátis et misériae, dies magna et amára valde. * Quando caeli movéndi sunt et terra.
V. Tremens factus sum ego, et tímeo, dum discússio vénerit, atque ventúra ira. * Dum véneris judicáre saeculum per ignem.
V. Creator omnium rerum, Deus, qui me de limo terrae formasti, et mirabiliter proprio sanguine redemisti, corpusque meum, licet modo putrescat, de sepulcro facies in die judicii resuscitari: exaudi, exaudi me, ut animam meam in sinu Abrahae Patriarchae tui jubeas collocari.
R. Líbera me, Dómine, de morte aetérna in die illa treménda: * Quando caeli movéndi sunt et terra: * Dum véneris judicáre saeculum per ignem.

The versicle Creator omnium rerum isn't in the Roman. Here's a translation:

Creator of all things, O God, who formed me out of the dust of the earth, and wonderfully redeemed me with Thine own blood, and although I now decay, will make my body rise again from the sepulchre on the day of judgement: graciously hear me, so that you may command my soul to be placed into the bosom of the Patriarch Abraham.

(This chant is from the Dominican Antiphonale of 1862).

It is intended to follow up this article with similar ones on the Office of the Dead in the liturgies of other religious orders.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Octaves of Feasts

Octaves of Feasts

An octave is 8 days of commemoration of a major feast, including the day itself. The 8th day is called the octave day, and always falls on the same day of the week as the feast itself. So the octave day of Christmas is New Year's Day.

The first octave that was kept was the dedication of the Churches of Tyre and Jerusalem, under Constantine - these solemnities, in imitation of the dedication of the Jewish Temple, lasted eight days. In the fourth century, Easter and Pentecost were given octaves, and from this time onwards the celebration of octaves is becomes more frequent. In the sacramentaries of Gelasius and St. Gregory, on the octave day the office of the feast is repeated, but there was no provision for the intermediate days.

Amalarius tells us that it was customary in his time to celebrate the octaves of the feasts of SS. Peter and Paul and other saints. By the thirteenth century, perhaps under the influence of the Franciscans, octaves were extended to many other feasts.

In the Tridentine calendar of 1568, octaves were celebrated by the same office being repeated on each day of the octave. Some octaves overlapped, especially in the period after Christmas, so there were multiple commemorations of octaves.

In the calendar, as reformed by Pope St Pius X in 1911, there are:

Privileged Octaves

1. Octaves of the first rank: Easter and Pentecost - no other feast may be celebrated during this time;

2. Octaves of the second rank: Epiphany and Corpus Christi - the octave days are greater doubles, and the days within the octave are semidoubles, being displaced only by doubles of the first class;

3. Octaves of the third rank: Christmas, Ascension, Sacred Heart - displaced by any feast day above rank of simple;

Common octaves

Immaculate Conception, Assumption, Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Solemnity of St. Joseph, SS Peter and Paul, All Saints, and the principal patron saint of a church, cathedral, order, town, diocese, province, or nation - displaced by any feast day above rank of simple.

Simple octaves
Saint Stephen, Saint John the Evangelist, Holy Innocents, Saint Lawrence, Nativity of Mary, and secondary patrons - kept as doubles of the second class, octave day was a simple, no days within the octave commemorated.

In later reforms, octaves have come under the knife, as have vigils, the alleged principle being for greater simplicity. In the reform of 1955, only the octaves of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost were kept, and during these octaves there are no commemorations.

In the Novus Ordo, the octave of Pentecost was suppressed. This appears to have been a mistake, and took Paul VI by surprise when, on Whit Monday, he appeared at his private chapel to celebrate mass, and was met with green vestments, rather than the accustomed red for the Holy Spirit. "But, it's Whit Monday." "You've abolished it, Your Holiness."

One octave which is not celebrated liturgically, but is often observed, is the "Octave of prayer for Christian unity," which runs from 18th January to 25th January - from St Peter's Chair at Rome to the Conversion of St Paul. This was started in 1908, approved by Pope St Pius X, and Pope Benedict XV encouraged its observance throughout the church.

The Catholic encyclopaedia on Octaves:

Saturday 5 November 2011

'Work of Human Hands' on Youtube

"Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI" by Fr Anthony Cekada was published in 2010 by Philothea press - and has been praised highly in traditionalist periodicals, including 'Christian Order' and 'Usus Antiquior', although not necessarily supporting all of Fr Cekada's theological positions.

The book is a serious work of substantial scholarship, and is well worth reading by anyone seriously interested in what went wrong with the liturgical reforms of the 1960s and 1970s (which are, of course, still with us).

For those who want a briefer overview, there is now a Youtube channel, which is going to include a number of short videos, presented by Fr Cekada, about the content of his book. Each video will give an overview of a chapter from the book.

Fr Cekada argues that the difference between the two rites is not simply a matter of "beauty, preference and sentiment." Rather, "The doctrinal ideas behind the new rite are different to the doctrinal ideas behind the old rite." There is a different theology of the real presence and the purpose of the mass, which lies behind the difference in gestures, ritual, and language.

Two videos are already posted:

1. Old Mass of New: What's the Fuss?

2. The Liturgical Movement: The Change Agents

For more information about the book, including extracts, see the Philothea press: -

It's also worth visiting the website that provides supplementary information and commentary about the book, including reviews by other traditionalists: