Monday 1 December 2008

A Preferential Option for Tradition

We have responded today to a chain of combox posting on the Sentire cum Ecclesia blog.

We think this may be of interest in describing the features of these Monthly Masses. In summary form, this is what we said:

The watch-words are reverence, promotion of the sense of the sacred, following the wishes of the fathers of the Second Vatican Council authentically interpreted, the Holy Father's teaching and example and continuity with Catholic Tradition.

- Mass is offered "ad orientem" for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This single change is the most important for re-orientation of heart and mind to God and to overcome some of the dubious theology and psychology that is continuing to make its presence felt in the celebration of Holy Mass.

- Mass is chanted throughout

- Mass is offered in Latin

- the vernacular is used only in the prayers of the faithful and the sermon.

- the Ordinary is sung to the Gregorian settings proper to the season.

- we sing the Propers from the Graduale Romanum for Introit and Communion and where time and resources allow we also sing the Gradual/Tract (not the Responsorial Psalm which is really meant for read Masses not Sung Mass), the Alleluia and the Offertory from the Graduale Romanum, otherwise from the approved Solemes Version abridged chants for Graduals/Tracts, Alleluias and psalm tones.

- the Prayers of the Faithful / General Intercessions are fixed whenever possible

- the congregation almost always receives Holy Communion on the tongue whilst kneeling, according to the traditional practice.

- taking up the traditional practice of only using hymns "outside" Mass, we use only one hymn: the recessional. These hymns are from the traditional repertoire of Catholic hymnody.

- beautiful vestments are preferred to render appropriate solemnity and reverence for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

- the schola cantorum is vested in cassock and surplice, in accordance with the tradition.

- Latin/English Mass booklets are provided that seek to be as simple and as beautiful as possible. The traditional missal settings of a delicate type-face, font and formatting in red and black are used and art-work comprises classical engravings or traditional missal etchings

Where there is legitimate choice to be had, our approach is to adopt a Preferential Option for Tradition. So, if there is a legitimate degree of lee-way on something, we will choose the more traditional option (a classic example is certain options given in the Chant books: we will go back to the Extraorindary Form as see what it stipulated there, and choose that).

We try and do our little bit to show what can be and with very limited resources. It's not beyond any parish to do what we do.

Indeed, we are happy to consult with anyone on how to implement this.

Contact us at