you allow me a few words of comment on letters which have appeared in your columns sincc my previous letter?
I think there is some danger lest an excess of zeal for liturgical and intelligent ideals should make some people take too insular a view of the desirability of communion being received during the celebration of Mass.
I think Fr. Valentin deduces more from the rubric which he quotes from the 1925 edition of the Roman Ritual that it contains. The section of the Ritual to which he refers deals with the proper method
of administering Holy Communion. It is concerned at least as much with how this should be done out of Mass as in Mass. There was a similar rubric in the previous edition of the Ritual. The only real alteration in the 1925 edition is the additional permission to give Communion before as well as after Mass.
If Fr. Valentin will study the relevant sections of the Code of Canon Law, he will find no discouragement to those who find it more convenient to receive communion outside the Mass, nor does there seem to be anywhere an official retractation of the S.R.C. decree of 1894, nor of the official interpretation thereof, which I quoted in my previous letter.
Seventeen years ago during three months
I was saying almost daily the earliest; public Mass in the parish church of San Rocco in Rome. 1 was instructed by the parish priest to give communion before, in and after Mass if people presented
themselves. There were very few days when I did not give communion three times. Moreover, when there was an interval between Masses at the Blessed Sacrament altar, a priest in cotta and stole gave communion there about every 15 minutes. This, 1 believe, is still, as it was then, the practice in all the big parish churches and basilicas in Rome, and my experience has been that it is also the practice in great cities in other Catholic countries, and that too in spite of the fact that there Masses are much more numerous and frequent than they can be in this country with our smaller number of priests and people.
It may happen in many parishes in this country that the comparatively leisured find the middle of the only early Mass a convenient time for receiving communion and making a decent thanksgiving afterwards; but there are certainly some who on account of their work honestly have to leave the church before , Mass is finished. Do not these—no mean number—deserve consideration? The Church does provide for their Circumstances by her legislation and approved customs. How could she do otherwise when she urges all her children to frequent communion?
Ins conclusion I quote Priimmer (Tom. iii, 221), who after discussing the tern pus debitum says, " It is fitting indeed, that the faithful should communicate in the Mass after the communion of the priest, because thus there is a greater union with the Sacrifice of the Mass. But nowadays the faithful can communicate both before and after Mass (even one of Requiem), and even at all hours of the day, as was said above. But a priest wearing Mass vestments is not to give communion before or after a Mass which is solemn, or sung, or even conventual (S.R.C. Deer. auth. n. 4177, ad 3)."
The last remark seems to interpret the meaning of a private Mass for the purpose of the rubrics.
Of course there is nothing to prevent a priest in cotta and stole giving communion before or after such Masses.
R. G. WEBB (Rev.).
The Rosary at Mass
SIR,—Both Dom Nolte and Canon Parsch command the deep respect of their brother priests, but will Dom Nolte bear with me if I relate some insistent questionings in my own mind about public rosary recitation at Mass?
In the first place I would ask what becomes of the teaching office of the Liturgy throughout October if attention is fixed on the Rosary daily at Mass? In principle it seems to me as strange to have the public recitation of the Rosary simultaneously with the public recitation of Mass (which is an external action with parts ordered to be said aloud) as it would be for a Benedictine Choir of monks to attempt to recite the Rosary, on one side of the choir and to recite the Office on the other side! We profess to regard the Gospel as Christ speaking to us, so we stand in respect, the book is kissed, and so forth. Is it then excusable when Christ thus speaks to us for us to interrupt His words with a conversation with Our Lady?
Let me state another possibility. Should All Saints fall on a Tuesday, and therefore All Souls on a Wednesday, can it be maintained that the most admirable way for the Faithful to enter into the Liturgy of those days is by reciting at the All Saints Mass the Sorrowful Mysteries and on All Souls the Glorious?
Might I suggest that if any Devotion is to be used on All Saints' Day it should be the Litany of the Saints and not the Litany of Loretto. Can it be denied that there is a marked decrease of devotion to saints and angels? How many of our people come to Mass because of an Apostle's feast? How Many take the slightest notice of either the feast of St. John Baptist or St. Michael? The reason for this dying out of great spiritual influences is obvious.
In many churches the Litany of the Saints is never heard; indeed I know intimately one large parish church where for over 25 years the evening service consisted without any change whatever of the Rosary before the sermon and the Loretto litany during Benediction!
Can Our Lady really desire this concentration on devotion to herself at the expense of begetting so marked an indifference to the full content of that glorious profession " I believe . . . in the communion of Saints '"? As a priest who has worked single-handed a parish for over 15 years, may 1 assure Dom Nolte that daily Benediction for the October Devotions is normally quite practicable, and more can usually manage an evening or late afternoon service than Mass in the morning.
ARTHUR JOHN VALENTIN (Rev.). The Catholic Rectory,
The Congregation's Rosary
SIR,—Dom Nolte seems to think that where there is only one priest the Rosary should be recited during the one and only Mass to the distraction of those who try to follow what the celebrant says and does.
I think on the contrary that it wouldn't be so bad if there were two priests, so that one of them could offer the choice of a Mass without distraction!
People will come to daily Evening Devotions if they are given something to do. In this small scattered parish they come in numbers to recite the October Prayers among themselves. I open the Tabernacle and give Ciborium Benediction. During their devotions I recite the Office— especially if I have a later engagement! They pray with fervour, and sing without accompaniment. This method is much simpler and more obvious than the elaborate efforts of " a very prominent liturgical authority " to reconcile the irreconcilable.
Catholic Rectory, Pembroke Dock.
Opera Musk at Benediction
SIR,—I e once ore to intrude on your spa dee to the question
ofeer"“" e music in churches now being ventilated in your columns.
At a church near here with a high reputation for its performance of the Church's ceremonies, I recently attended Benediction, and was astonished to hear that the music used for a hymn to Our 1.4cly was lifted straight out of Mozart's extremely secular and a-moral opera, " Figaro."
In the same church, on Christmas Eve, we were treated to a selection of Handel's ballet music from the " Gods go a begging" in the middle of the Midnight Mass.
Last Sunday after Benediction the hymn chosen was " Now Thank we all our God," magnificent words and tune certainly, but in view of its close association with Luther and its almost "National Anthem " poeition in Protestant churches a little unnecessary if there was an alternative available.
And surely there must be. The Church has been in existence for 1,900 odd years, and can it be that in all that time no music suitable for Benediction has been composed and that it is necessary to collect odds and ends from operas and ballets and heaven knows where in order to do honour to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady?
And the hymns, some of them! Words fail me . . . as they seem to have failed some of these 19th century clerical poets!
Harley House, Arundel, Sussex.