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
Ah, yes. The Hissing Lady. All too common in some places where the TLM is celebrated I’m afraid.

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.
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.

4 comments:

DimBulb said...

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.

And even after all this time you still haven't learned to behave.

Argent said...

Yeah, I'm stubborn.

Quantitative Metathesis said...

In the Seattle Archdiocese, we're not allowed to kneel at either of those times, thanks to the directive of the Archbishop. The pastor at the church I attend in Bellingham made an announcement directly at me during Mass one day. Traumatized me out of kneeling in that church.

Argent said...

I hate it when the Mass turns into a battleground for liturgistas to display their power over the congregation.

This same priest yelled at a young girl, who, by the grace of God remains faithful to the Eucharist. But once in awhile, she'll mention the incident and you have to realize the trauma and embarrassment she felt at Holy Communion.

Which is why I'm so grateful for the traditional Mass in that the rubrics are clear...no handholding, no, "Good morning, everyone. Good morning, Father." No touchdown gestures by the cantor, no army of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion shoving and whispering among themselves who's going to do what. Just a holy silence...very difficult at first which makes people fidget...but eventually, with discipline and fortitude it isn't deafening silence but holy listening.

And when the schola begins a chant, at first, the austerity is foreign because it demands a fast from the subjective, emotive force of Broadway-style communion songs so common in our parishes. The chant transports us to a different place and time...and yes, it's a frightening thing to have to be unsettled like that. But then the ears start following the rise and fall of the schola's united voices.

...Ave, verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virginae, vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine, cuius latus perforatum unda fluxit et sanguine, esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine....

So I might not know Latin or know just a little...but I recognize, Ave...Hail..and Corpus....Body...immolatum...sacrificed...sanguine...Blood....

And I think, here I greet My Lord in His Body and Blood given for my salvation.

It's an awesome mystery...how can I not kneel in so great a participation in the promise of heavenly worship, here and now.

It's funny how, since Summorum Pontificum the mysterious language of Latin and Greek, have allowed for my over-analytical brain to stop critiquing this and that...in the silence, I have learned the actuosa participatio that is antithetical to the hubbub usually seen. Especially in our modern age where we are used to noise, physical silence at Mass can be scary. You never know what you'll hear in the stillness.

...And this is Low Mass, mind you. Don't get me started with High Mass, we'll be here till the Second Coming.