Ah, yes. The Hissing Lady. All too common in some places where the TLM is celebrated I’m afraid.I've not run into any hissing gents or ladies at E.F. Mass, though I have had a priest embarrass me at an N.O. Mass for kneeling after Agnus Dei and after receiving Communion...something about breaking the unity of the Church and my thinking I was more Catholic than the Church. It was quite memorable as I was a new Catholic.
There is no hard and fast rule about vocal responses. I think you have to go with the flow.
That said, various Popes before the Council encouraged congregational responses, the so-called "dialogue Mass".
On 3 Sept 1958 (anniversary is coming!) an extremely important document, De musica sacra, was issued by the Sacred Congregation of Rites. This document established rules for the outward participation of the congregation in three different levels for the Missa cantata and the Missa solemnis.
In the first, the people would also sing the liturgical responses. In the second, they would also sing the Ordinary. In the third, they would also sing the Proper.
De musica sacra also established rules for Low Mass in four levels of outward participation. First, answering aloud the short responses. Second, also saying all the responses the server would say as well as the Domine non sum dignus. Third, also reciting with the priest celebrant his parts of the Ordinary, the Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Our Father, etc. Fourth, also saying the Propers, the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, Communion antiphon.
In my travels, I have seen various levels of participation. In some places the congregation is pretty silent, leaving everything to the servers or choir. In others, the Hissing Ladies are vigilant. In yet others, people speak and sing without censorship. Much will depend on what the priest wants and promotes.
But yes, congregational responses are permitted and, in many cases, a good idea.
Personally, I prefer responses from the congregation and have no problem at all with them saying the parts pertaining to the server, and even prayers like the Gloria and Creed.
What I do not like are the Hissing Ladies of both sexes.
But I think you have to go with the flow.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Hail the Hissing Ladies
~In response to a reader's question about when it is appropriate to join in the servers' responses at an EF Mass, Fr. Z says