Category Archives: Liturgy

Phenomenology of the Mass, Part II

It was pointed out in the comment box for Part I of this series that there are more Trinitarian elements in the EF than I noted. First, during the Priest and Server exchange, the “Glory be to the Father” is said. Furthermore, many Introits have a “Glory be to the Father.”

Moreover, we could add that the triplicity of the Kyrie is itself trifold in the EF, being said Nine Times.

At any rate, let me continue my analysis. I should be clear that I am analyzing the Mass said on weekdays in the OF, and the Low Mass of the EF.


Extraordinary Form Ordinary Form
First Reading First Reading
Gradual Responsorial Psalm
Cleanse my heart and my lips, O almighty God, who didst cleanse the lips of the Prophet Isaias with a burning coal, and vouchsafe, through Thy gracious mercy, so to purify me, that I may worthily announce Thy holy Gospel. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen. Almighty God, cleanse my heart and my lips that I may worthily proclaim your Gospel.
Yet another prayer in preparation.  
Silently: By the words of the Gospel may our sins be blotted out. Silently: By the words of the Gospel may our sins be blotted out.


In the typical Low Mass of the EF, the Gloria is prayed. The Gloria is not prayed in the typical OF Mass. The Gloria is emphatically a prayer of worship, of praise. It is also decisively Trinitarian in Structure.

At this point, we can note a few complexities of analysis. At High Mass, the Gloria is sung, or rather chanted. It is a noble, ecstatic moment. The people chanting the great prayer of praise. Now, every Sunday Mass of the OF involves such singing, or at least recitation. At some OF Masses, the beautiful Latin chants are utilized. At some, various new melodies are utilized, some better than others. Sometimes, it is simply recited. But at Low Mass, it is not recited or chanted by the people.

We thus run into the important phrase in Sacrosanctum Concilium, which is a text of an Ecumenical Council, that it is desired that there be “actual participation” (translations vary). Our Lord was God made flesh. Hence, “being in the body” is integral to Christian economy. It is my opinion that such “being in the body” was what the Fathers of Vatican II meant when they uttered this directive for liturgical reform. At the Gloria, and at the Pater Noster, and at numerous other parts, the OF has the congregation itself reciting or chanting the prayers with, or in dialogue with, the priest. This “physical” participation does allow a way of entering the dialogical character of the Mass not typically enacted in the Low Mass. True, “active participation” can have various forms. Its essence is internal prayer. Nonetheless, the becoming human of the Word is that integral factor that, I think, guided the Fathers at the Council to point the reform in this direction. Anyone who has assisted at an Eastern Liturgy will readily note that such “physical” participation is the very warp and woof of such a liturgy.

Thus, we have an “on the other hand” to consider. What are the different kinds of “ways of being” that emerge from these two different kinds of Mass, the High Mass / ordinary OF (with physical participation) and the Low Mass?

Put aside caricatures. I am not saying that the Low Mass involves being inert and no physical movement, etc. It does involve limited vocal participation. So, perhaps a better word is “Vocal”. It is difficult to analyze. I grew up immersed in Liberal Chicago Catholicism. Then went to Notre Dame, where, by God’s providence I met believers who showed me the Rosary and spoke well of the Church. I was blessed, in D.C. while a graduate student, to assist at Masses with a well-known Cistercian Monk, who chanted the Novus Ordo so marvelously (High Masses) that I nearly died of the beauty. I appreciated that the “vocally dialogical” character of the Novus Ordo could be so profound, so utterly un-banal. (Unlike many instantiations of it in the suburbs.) I then discovered the Eastern Liturgies, esp. Maronite and Melkite. Once again, and twice again, I was blown away by the beauty and high theology. “True Worship” I said to myself. Only recently have I been experiencing the EF, thanks to Pope Benedict’s famous document.

I am making no caricature – not consciously. And this is my background, which surely affects my analysis. My suggestion is that the way of being when vocal participation occurs is more complete, “fuller”; for me, more satisfying. Which is why, if I attend a Sunday EF, I go to High Mass. In short, it seems to me that I am invited “up”, “towards the sanctuary” when I am, together with the servers, responding and dialoguing with the priest. I found it interesting that a congregation recently, almost spontaneously, joined the servers at Low Mass saying, “Non sum dignus ut intres…” whereas, if I am not mistaken, the Missal calls for only the servers to make that response audibly.

Can there be a unique participation when one does not vocalize? I have heard the argument, “Yes”. Interestingly, the OF has an option of such a Mass. I experienced one or two in Laredo, TX. One can enter spiritually within the veil, contemplatively. I don’t deny this; I only think that this spiritual hack (me) can enter worship better when I vocalize. Then, it seems to me, do I enter worship more fully.

Let me make a related remark that cuts at this differently. Pius X wanted more “vocal participation”; so, he allowed hymns to be “tacked onto” the liturgy at the various parts. Why? Some say that the laity were not so easily able to enter the complex chants of the Mass. These hymns had good theology in the 20’s through the 50’s. But in the 70’s and 80’s they deteriorated; now they are quite inane.

Many recognized that to have hymns inserted into the liturgy left untapped the resources available in the Public Liturgy. Hence, many called for a reform (before the Council). Michael Davies said a reform was necessary – precisely to tap into the riches available but infrequently accessed.

So, I am suggesting that Pius X’s desire could be fulfilled if the very Graduals, etc., were recited by the laity, at least by a talented choir or schola. The OF has many such elements that are never accessed; instead, we hear banal hymns – unless we are lucky enough to worship at a place that utilizes the resources. (I am lucky enough.)

If we follow out on this suggestion, we could inquire whether it could be a natural development of the EF to extend, in some measure, the responses of the altar boys to the laity in general. If Benedict hoped for the “mutual enrichment” of the two forms of the Latin Rite, and I think he hoped for this, perhaps such an extension would constitute one such enrichment.

I have said nothing of the OF itself. However, the implication is clear in my first post. Indeed, quite clear. For the sacrificial language is notably lacking. The differentiation of priest and people is underplayed. The Gloria is also lacking in the daily Mass. Yet this is a very rich prayer. Observe also the power of the prayer the priest recites before preaching the Gospel. In the EF, it is truly of biblical proportions. We are facing sin and grace, light and darkness, death and life. We are not merely hoping for some good. The OF prayer is significantly muted by comparison. The difference we see here with these ordinary parts of the Mass is exacerbated when we examine the propers. (On that, see Lauren Priestas.)

Phenomenology of Two Masses: Part 1

Fr. Robert Sokolowski has developed a form of theology he calls “Theology of Disclosure”. It is a way of practicing theology informed by the discipline of philosophical phenomenology.

Phenomenology is not “descriptive” analysis. It involves a difficult “change of approach” or viewpoint, one that requires us to think being in terms of how it is manifested to us, and correlatively to think of the different ways in which we approach being. Things are as they manifest themselves; they manifest themselves as they are. There are essential structures of manifestation. All of this is very difficult to get one’s mind around. Indeed, one might take solace in knowing that the founder of phenomenology realized the difficulty and sometimes stated that what he had taken to be a phenomenological analysis was really only descriptive analysis.

That said, we can really get somewhere with at least an attempt to see the various ways in which being manifests itself and, correlatively, the ways in which we approach being, and vice versa.

Sokolowski made this application, among other realms, in the arena of liturgical and sacramental theology. I wish not simply to report his achievements but to follow out some further explorations in this area. If the endeavor is not successful entirely because not truly a child of the phenomenological reduction (as this change of viewpoint is called), it may perhaps be stabbing in the right direction.

Briefly, then, let us look at the opening of Two Masses, the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form.


We notice immediately distinct beginnings, after the sign of the Cross:


Extraordinary Form Novus Ordo
Priest kisses the altar.
“I will go in to the altar of God.” The server responds, “To God who giveth joy to my youth.” The priest then beseeches God to consider him set apart from sinful heathen. Priest and server alternate exclamations and exhortations. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Or another a similar alternative formula.
Then Priest Confesses to Almighty God his sins, beseeching forgiveness. Everyone, including priest, confess sins together.
Then server (and the people actively and interiorly) confess their sins.
Priest prays that the congregation’s sins be forgiven. Priest prays that everyone’s sins (his included with the congregation’s) be forgiven.
Then the priest grants everyone absolution.
Finally, priest goes in to the altar and kisses it.
More prayers beseeching God’s mercy for sins of everyone.
Then there is an Introit.
Kyrie Kyrie (unless it was said in lieu of confession)


What “ways of being” are manifested in each liturgy? The extraordinary form brings out Mass as Sacrifice. Correlatively, we are to gear our approach as that to sacrifice, being offered by a sacred minister, through whom we offer our prayers and participate in our distinct way. It is a service to God. Whereas, the Novus Ordo approaches liturgy in the context of fellowship. Now, as a matter of fact, the Mass is primarily a sacrificial event. This is a matter of doctrine, not opinion. See Pius XII Mediator Dei and the constant Tradition. So, the EF gears its participants for this mode of targeting the event (approaching the “being of the Mass) better.

On the other hand, at first sight we see a more Trinitarian element to the NO (absolutely no pejorative intent or implication here; I am saving time by abbreviation). There is an explicitly Trinitarian ring to the NO. This is not suggested in words at this point in the EF. Nonetheless, there is the suggestion in the deeds. How? Because the EF involves one precise direction: Towards the altar. To whom is the sacrifice made? Ultimately, to the Father. This Trinitarian implication of the gesture is brought out explicitly throughout the Canon. The People approach the Father through the Son, who is represented distinctly by the Sacred Minister. Hence, the very structure of the entire worship is “ontologically / gesticularly” Trinitarian. In the NO, it is standard practice for the priest to “face the people” from behind the altar (during the canon) or from near the “chair.” This is not mandated in the rubrics, so far as I can tell, but it is what almost invariably happens. The altar, then, really becomes a “table”. What is stressed is not sacrifice but communion (reception of the Eucharist). Pius XII teaches that the essence of the Mass is sacrifice, and that reception of the Eucharist is most highly encouraged – but it is not mandated for an integral Mass. (Only the participation of the priest is so required.)

If we simply stop here: It is no wonder that so few Catholics really recall that the Mass is a Sacrifice to honor God and appease his righteous anger for the sins of the world (and our sins). Those who do are heroic, for they exegete the NO through the lens of sound doctrine. However, the sacrificial character of the Mass is not as it were signaled so clearly as to call the participants to approach the event in this manner. In short, in order to comport ourselves in the right way for a particular manifestation of being, we must have some clues. These clues should be embedded in the very event, rather than foisted onto the event from afar. For instance, cherished family portraits are framed well and placed beautifully; or they are collected in a handsome album. In this way, those who approach are invited to approach with a proper respect and nostalgia for their loved ones. The EF does this with the placement of the altar, the priest’s approach thereto, and the Trinitarian structure of the worship. The NO does not exhibit the Trinitarian structure in its (typical) action and does not bring out the sacrificial character (not yet at this point of the liturgy), with the exception of the initial kiss of the altar. But note: That initial kiss begins straight away, without preparation. Such a procedure can lead to a certain familiarity. The lengthy preparation to ascend to the altar in the EF calls for a “fear of the Lord”, not a terror of servility, but an honoring that recognizes Magnificence.


Next, the EF presents two distinct confessions of sins, the priest’s and the server’s (and people’s). The priest is set apart. He is not the congregation; the congregation is not he. He has a sacred role to perform. They assist him in this: They are present with him, in their place and in their role. His service is primarily for the honor and worship of God; secondarily for the nourishment of the faithful. Is this neglect of the good of the congregation? Do they feel lonely? Do they need accompaniment and fellowship? Affirmation? Emphatically, this is not abandonment of the people. This is not neglect. To honor God above all is man’s highest activity. Man’s happiness is only in reaching out. In total “self-gift” as John Paul put it. Performing the liturgy precisely as an act of service to almighty God is the lifting out of self that makes man happy. By the lifting of my hands to God, I come to myself. Further, the community is built up most in this mode. Why? Because we have a greater union with one another through our union with God. If each person is united with God, each will be more concerned for the other than if each is thrust upon each as a focus of attention. After all, you cannot meet my need. Not even the Sacred Minister can, as man, meet my need. He can do so only as Christ’s representative. When he stands their behind the altar affirming me, he gives me human help. This is good, but not good enough. I need divine help. I must be brought outside myself. When I encounter only human others, I am left in my agony (or my passing pleasures). When I encounter God, I am taken up into ecstasy.

In the NO, priest and people together confess their sins. (Unless of course another option is used. And frequently enough, we see other options used. These are all well and good, but they do not involve that very important formula.) Similarly, in the NO, the priest only offers one prayer for everyone, beseeching God’s forgiveness. In the EF, he offers a prayer for himself and a distinct one for others and finally, absolution to everyone. There is no absolution in the NO. The distinction between priest and people is brought forth; they are each called to act according to their distinct gifts and place. This is not competition. It is order, actuality, being; for order is brought about through distinction.

There is no question of validity here. There is no question of liceity here. Both Masses are valid and licit. Both conduce to salvation. However, one is more apt to call the people to the attitude of sacrifice, which is precisely what the Mass essentially and primordially is. It is not secondly, it is not even “equiprimordially” sacrifice and fellowship / communion. It is primarily sacrifice, worship of God. One is more apt to bring out the distinction of roles of laity and priest. One is more apt gesticularly to invoke the Trinitarian structure of worship, although the opening of the NO brings this out explicitly and, with the exception of the sign of the Cross (which both share), the EF does not at this point.

Can the Catholic Church Gain from non-Catholic churches?

This is a most important question. And one the answer to which will surprise people on all sides.

For, one group will say, “Of course the Catholic Church can gain. She is not the full Church of Christ anyway. There are many churches of the Church of Christ that are not Catholic and which therefore can teach the Catholic churches.”

Another group will say, “If the Catholic Church is the very Church founded by Jesus Christ, then she can gain nothing from non-Catholic churches.”

To answer this question, we must begin with some basics. First of all, the second group states a truth of dogmatic authority in its “if” clause: The Catholic Church most certain is the very Church founded by Jesus Christ. There is a “full identity” here; hence, no distinction at all.

But second, this does not mean that the Catholic Church can gain nothing from non-Catholic churches. Why not?

We must distinguish the essence of the Church – the ingredients of which I refer to as her intensive plenitude, e.g. her sanctifying power, her governing power, his teaching power, her holiness, catholicity, etc. – from her “lived life”. The “lived life” of the Church refers to the quality of the lives of her individual members, the quality of the theological reflection at some given age in some given place, the quality of the relations among the members, the quality of the liturgy, etc. The “lived life” of the Church may suffer in one age or another. There come times when Catholics do not live their faith well, run through the motions of the liturgy, do not study theology and philosophy, do not love the poor, do not order the temporal order to Christ the King, etc. For instance, before St. Francis, the Italians were far from the way of Christ and his Church. St. Francis brought about a renewal. At the times of the Protestant objections, many Catholics including priests were not living holy lives ordered to Christ the King. At different times in the Church’s history, liturgical reforms were made that were not so edifying. For example, the reform of the Divine Office in the early 16th century. It was a badly done reform; the Church eventually went back to her prior practice.

When we make these distinctions between the essence and the lived life, we can further reflect on our non-Catholic brothers and sisters. We can ask ourselves, “Is it possible that a Greek Orthodox liturgy is more beautiful than the liturgy as practiced in many Catholic parishes?” Now, I think just about anyone who assists at an Orthodox liturgy will agree: “Yes, they do liturgy better than do many Catholic parishes.” Thus, we can ask, “Can the Orthodox teach us how to do liturgy better?” I think surely everyone will now agree: “Yes, they most certainly can.”

Let’s continue. We can even ask more incisively: “Does the Orthodox liturgy itself – not just in its practice – not give us an objectively more beautiful presentation and more comprehensive catechetical portrait of our faith (excepting of course the Roman primacy and certain other crucial truths, such as some Marian dogmas) than that given in the Novus Ordo? Here, I contend the answer is, “Yes, it surely does.”

But someone will object: If you say that, you are questioning the validity of the Novus Ordo. Answer: No I am not. One can hold – and on grounds – that some liturgy is more adequate an expression of the Eternal Faith than another liturgy. Adequate here would be judged in terms of the comprehensive and articulate expression of the Church’s faith and in terms of the goal of liturgy, the pointing of man to God in fitting religious worship. Of secondary concern, but not of no concern, would be the “accessibility” of the liturgical reality. This is a concern, but it is of secondary importance.

Now, a full evaluation of the matter would be complex. It would involve analysis of the precise prayers, the order, the movements, the vestments, etc., of the liturgies. How well do the prayers convey, substantially, the faith of the Church? That Christ died for our sins to snatch us from the fires of hell! That Christ is God and man! That the Holy Trinity accepts the sacrifice of Christ our High Priest. That through the liturgy we are sanctified and ushered towards glory. That we must repent of our sins. That the saints are in heaven with us as we pray. That we rely on them. Etc. Now at the liturgies of John Chrysostom, the congregation sings again and again to God implorying his mercy and repenting of sin. Sanctification in light, removal of darkness. These are stressed. Christ as God and man. These are stressed. The liturgy is accessible though transcendent and even foreign. It lifts us up to worship.

Is that level of richness present expressively in the Novus Ordo? Is the saving sacrifice of Christ as abundantly expressively present in the Novus Ordo as in the Greek Orthodox liturgy? What of his holy Godhead, his exalted humanity, his kingly power and rule, etc.? These are serious questions. Of course, the one same sacrifice of the Mass is present; that is not in question.

Let’s return to our opening question: Can the Catholic Church gain from non-Catholic churches. The answer is indeed surprising. The answer is yes, contrary to what some, who love Tradition, may think. Yet paradoxically, this answer does not mean a dilution of Tradition, contrary to the misguided and the rebels. It means that we must be insightful enough to realize that the current “lived life” of the Church may be very sick, just as it was at the time of St. Francis. She may, in her members and expressed life, need to undergo an authentic reformation. And sometimes non-Catholic churches can point the way towards a healthier lived life.

Further, as should be evident by now for the reader, the Ordinary Form of the liturgy might stand to gain from consideration of the Extraordinary Form. The Novus Ordo may stand to gain from consideration of the Mass of many ages. The prayers, the gestures, the movements, the vestments, the sequences; the deep theology of the Cross, the battle of sin and grace, the transcendence of God, etc. Could it be that in an age in which we focus on the secondary concern – accessibility – we have lost sight of the primary concerns of liturgy? Could it be that accessibility thus stressed has eclipsed the Theo-centric character of liturgy?

The questions are double edged. Chiefly and immediately, they target the bad performances of the Novus Ordo. That is the chief ill of the day. For it is evident that the transcendence of God is not infrequently eclipsed by the very character of the way the Mass is celebrated. Balloon masses, etc. These are utterly banal; an insult to the human person. But secondly, and less forcefully but not without all force, the foregoing questions may well target the Novus Ordo itself. Not as anything illicit much less invalid. Not as anything false. Indeed, not. But rather as, perhaps, something less comprehensively expressive of the faith as would be desirable. See, e.g., the concerns of Siri, Ottaviani, even J. Ratzinger, et alia.

Final objection: But even to raise such questions is disobedience.

Final retort: Do you accept Paul VI’s missal? (He answers: Yes.) What are its roots? (Vatican II). You’re correct, though of course the normal interpretation of Vatican II might be different from what the texts themselves stipulate. For instance, the next never said that Latin should go on holiday. By the way, I got that expression from Cardinal Arinze. But back to my retort: What are the roots of Vatican II? (The liturgical movement of the 1900s). And was that movement suggesting a change in the then current liturgy? (Yes.) So it is not per se rebellious to suggest a change? (Well, hmm. I guess not.) No indeed. It must be done with tact and respect, loyalty to Rome and to the Great Tradition, and with an eye on the eternal glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Again and on a different note: Can a community of reformed Christians teach the Catholic Church anything? Indeed yes. How zealous many are! How deeply immersed in the bible. And yes how thoughtful. No, not all evangelicals are “fundamentalists” without brains. Many are very thoughtful. Indeed, I heard Denis Prager on the radio yesterday talking with a group of Christians who are scientists arguing scientifically for the perspective of an ordered, divinely ordered, world. This is excellent. And much needed. How much of the bible and history do Catholics know? Do they know how to go to a disaster area and lend a hand? Do they challenge the culture or just go along with it? Well, our evangelical brothers and sisters can teach us considerably on this score.

By the way, none of this is new to God’s plans. Who was it who told Moses how to organize the people in the desert? Not Aaron. Not Moses himself. No. His non-Jewish father-in-law! The bible is filled with surprises such as this.

The point is, we must measure our standards not by current practice alone but by the weight of Tradition, Divine Transcendence, etc. It just is a fact: Many people are currently bored with the current parochial practice of Catholicism.

If man is deep and built for transcendence, we will become relevant in the measure to which our lived Catholicism becomes deep and transcendent (not fickle and flighty), radically theo-centric (not anthropocentric), Godward (not manward), accessible yet difficult and wonderful (not conquerable, banal and forgettable).

Organic Development of the Liturgy

I’ve been reading a fine text by Alcuin Reid entitled The Organic Development of the Liturgy. Cardinal Ratzinger reviewed this text with favor.

In chapter 1, Reid narrates a certain failed attempt to reform the Liturgy and draws an important lesson from it. Humanist Pope Leo X (d1521) wanted Breviary reformed. He wanted it simpler and less burdensome for the clergy. Two legitimate desires.

He commissioned Bishop Ferreri, who produced a highly stylized Latin text, which was approved by Pope Clement VII in 1523. This text was roundly criticized.

So, Clement appointed Cardinal Quignonez to produce another. Quignonez tried to go back to ancient practices, jettisoning countless marvelous the traditions that were added to it over the centuries, organically. He changed the distribution of the psalms, etc. In short, it was radically different; not an organic development.

In 1536 Pope Paul III approved and promulgated it. There it was, officially promulgated. But this too was widely criticized. It was so violent a development that it could not be called a development. It was eventually rejected by Pope St. Pius V of immortal memory. Here is the very poignant lesson Reid draws from this episode in Church history.

“The repudiation of this breviary by rescript of Paul IV in 1558, and its subsequent proscription by St. Pius V in 1568, is the pre-eminent demonstration in liturgical history of the priority organic development of the Liturgy enjoys over approbation by competent authority. The prudential judgment of Paul III promulgating this reform in 1536 was an error, finally corrected some five popes and thirty-two years later, in the light of the evident dissatisfaction of the faithful and at the prompting of scholars,” Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy, p. 29.

This text speaks for itself. That Ratzinger received it favorably is significant; the same Cardinal who spoke of the problems connected with current practices of the liturgy as “banal”. For the only copy of his remarks that I can find in full, see here.

Tale of Two Collects

From the Breviary of 1961, Annunciation: “It was your will, O God, that your divine Word should become flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the Angel made his announcment: grant that your faithful who believe in this divine motherhood may have their prayers heard through Mary’s intercession.”

From the current breviary: “God our Father, your Word became man and was born of the Virgin Mary. May we become more like Jesus Christ, whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man.” (This is the current translation. The Latin is much better: Deus, qui Verbum tuum in útero Vírginis Maríæ veritátem carnis humánæ suscípere voluísti, concéde, quæsumus, ut, qui Redemptórem nostrum Deum et hóminem confitémur, ipsíus étiam divínæ natúræ mereámur esse consórtes.)

Tale of Two Collects

2nd Sunday in Lent. Collect from the 1961 Breviary: “God, you see how weak we are. Guard us within, guard us without; protect our bodies against the dangers of this life and cleanse all dissolute thoughts from our minds.”

From the current breviary, 1st option: “God our Father, help us to hear your Son. Enlighten us with your word, that we may find the way to your glory.” (This is the official translation. The Latin is much better: Deus, qui nobis diléctum Fílium tuum audíre præcepísti, verbo tuo intérius nos páscere dignéris, ut, spiritáli purificáto intúitu, glóriæ tuæ lætémur aspéctu.)

The second option of the current English is also better: “Father of light, in you is found no shadow of change but only the fullness of life and limitless truth. Open our hearts to the voice of your Word and free us from that original darkness that shadows our vision. Restore our sight that we may look upon your Son who calls us to repentance and a change of heart, for he lives and reigns with you for ever and ever.”

Tale of Two Invitatories and Two Collects

From the 1961 Breviary, Invitatory of Seven Sorrows of Mary: “Let us stand by the Cross with Mary the Mother of Jesus; A sword of sorrow pierced her soul.”

From the current Breviary, Our Lady of Sorrows: “Let us adore Christ the Savior of the world, who called his mother to share in his passion.” (This is the official translation of the Latin. Perhaps it could read “Come, let us adore the savior of the world, who united his mother to his passion.” Thus, the current translation misses the invitation “come,” yet places all action on the side of Christ. The Latin: Salvatórem mundi, qui passióni suæ Matrem sociávit, veníte, adorémus.)

From the 1961 Breviary, Collect of Seven Sorrows of Mary: “O God, at Whose suffering the prophecy of Simeon was fulfilled, and a sword of sorrow pierced through the gentle soul of the glorious Virgin and Mother Mary, mercifully grant that we who speak worshipfully of her woes, may obtain the saving purchase of thy suffering” (cited not from the Baronius edition but from Divinum Officium, a most recommendable site.)

From the current Breviary, Our Lady of Sorrows: “Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, his mother Mary stood by him, sharing his sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ and in his suffering and death and so come to share in his rising to new life.” (This is the official translation. It could read, “God, who, when your Son was lifted up on the cross, willed his Mother to stand by and suffer with him, grant that your Church be made to share in the passion of Christ so as to merit to partake in his resurrection.” The Latin:  Deus, qui Fílio tuo in cruce exaltáto compatiéntem Matrem astáre voluísti, da Ecclésiæ tuæ, ut, Christi passiónis cum ipsa consors effécta, eiúsdem resurrectiónis párticeps esse mereátur.)

Tale of Two Antiphons and Responsories

From the 1961 Breviary, responsory at 1st Vespers for Exaltation of the Holy Cross: “This sign of the cross shall be in the heavens. When the Lord shall come to judge.”

From the current Breviary: “This sign will appear in the heavens, when the Lord comes.” (This is a decent translation of the Latin: Hoc signum erit in cælo, * Cum Dóminus vénerit.)

From the 1961 Breviary, antiphon of the Magnificat at 1st Vespers for Exaltation of the Holy Cross: “O Cross more refulgent than all the stars, honoured throughout the world, deeply loved by men, holiest of all things: you alone were worthy to bear the price of the world’s ransom. O sweet wood, O sweet nails, that held so sweet a burden: save this flock gathered today to sing your praises.”

From the current Breviary: “It was ordained that Christ should suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead.” (This is the current official translation. Perhaps it could read “It was necessary that Christ should suffer and rise from the dead and so enter into his glory.” The Latin is: Oportébat pati Christum et resúrgere a mórtuis, et ita intráre in glóriam suam.)

The Tale of Two Collects

Vespers of Ash Wednesday from the 1961 Breviary: “Prostrate before your majesty, Lord, we implore you to look upon us kindly. You have renewed our strength by your divine gifts; keep nourishing us with your heavenly sustenance.”

From the  Breviary of the Ordinary Form: “Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil. As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this day holy by our self-denial.”