SIR,—Mr. H. A. Young would like to know why the clearly expressed wish of the Pope that people should " PRAY the Mass " is not obeyed.
The fact is that the expression to "pray the Mass" is a perversion of Pope Pius the Tenth's saying to some choristers that they should not " sing at the Mass," but " sing the Mass." The other phrase has simply been constructed by people who wished that he had said it.
That the present Holy Father wishes the faithful to take as much as possible an active part in the liturgy is undoubted. At the same time there is the fact, that Leo X111 in 1893 ordered the daily recitation of the Rosary in October, and that his three successors have renewed the injunction. Neither the Bishops nor the Priests have a choice in the matter. If in the opinion of the hierarchies of the world the October Rosary did real harm they would be bound to make representations to the Holy See and ask to have the law altered. Apparently they have not done so.
It is true that it must be said either at Benediction or during Mass. But in many cases, especially where there is only one priest or where the people cannot be got to come for daily Benediction, there is no other way left by the law except to say it at Mass. Whether in certain churches there could or should be daily Benediction during October depends on circumstances which will be judged by the parish priest or on appeal by the bishop. This question cannot be settled at all in newspapers, for neither the editor nor the readers are competent to deal with the matter, and such letters, if taken notice of at all, will only annoy some loyal Catholics, who presume that the Church is right.
Perhaps the " October grumblers" who have turned up annually in speech or writing for the last forty years might do well to consider whether the Rosary really spoils the holy sacrifice or vice versa.
A very prominent liturgical authority, Canon Parsch of Klosterneuburg, in Austria, does not think so. He sees that the mysteries, not only the sorrowful ones, deal with the same facts of faith as holy Mass. It is not so difficult to apply them, say, to the principal purposes for which holy Mass is offered. The first mystery of each group might, e.g., be directed to the idea of the sacrifice of atonement (Jesus came to redeem us for our sins. He was in agony on account of our sins, on Easter. He rose for our justification and gave the power to forgive sins). The second mysteries might be used to offer the Mass as a sacrifice of petition (the unborn Saviour obtained St. John's purification, our Lord offered his prayers for us with sighs and tears, He went to heaven to make intercession for us).
If I might express a private opinion I should agree with Mr. Young that whilst saying the Rosary one should not ignore the Holy Mass; from what has been pointed out it would appear that there is no need for spoiling either.
LAMBERT NOLLE, O.S.B. Besford Court, Worcester.