Friday, 9 January 2009

The Dominican Rite revival...

I mentioned in an earlier post the conference on the Dominican Rite, offering training on how to say it, being held in the US later this year. Responding to a question on a post on this (looking for financial support for the scholarship fund to allow friars to get there - Dominicans are mendicants after all!), Fr Philip Powell OP wrote a rather nice summary of the arguments for the revival of the Rite (and the TLM) which is well worth a read:

"Most of the older religious orders had their own versions of the Mass. Each order shaped their version around the model of the Roman rite but their own rite distinctive to their spirituality.

Differences usually included the number and kinds of prayers used, distinctive gestures based on the order's habit, different readings from the order's saints, and most importantly, different hymns and styles of music and chant. For the most part, the Dominican rite served a monastic spirituality; that is, a way of relating to God within the daily life of a monastery of friars rather than the daily life of parish. So, for example, a monastery of friars had no need for a baptismal font.

Over time, the various editions of the Roman rite were codified into the so-called Tridentine Rite (after the Council of Trent) in 1570 by Pope Pius V (an OP). He allowed rites older than this to remain in force. Again, over time, the various religious orders changed their rites to reflect developing spiritualities.

In 1969, the OP's voluntarily abandoned their own rite in favor of the new Roman Rite, the so-called "Novus Ordo.") This made some sense given that a lot of friars in the US particularly were working in parishes.

The N.O. is the Mass approved by Paul VI in 1970. It is a "bare bone" rite that attempts to re-create the Mass liturgies of the ancient Church. This is the rite you attend on Sunday. The N.O. is what Benedict XVI has called "the Ordinary Form of the Mass," that is, the form ordinarily used in the parish.

Though abandoned, the OP Rite was never canonically suppressed or forbidden. With four decades of liturgical experimentation and one disaster after a another in trying to faithfully implement the N.O. behind us, many OP's want us to return to the OP Rite.

What I mean by "organically developed" is that some think that the N.O. is a "made up" rite, that is, the rite represents a radical departure from the liturgical tradition of the Church. Rather than allowing the older Roman Rite to grow and change naturally [Which is what I have advocated in an earlier post], impatient progressives simply uprooted the older rite, clipped off it medieval roots, stripped off its devotional flowers, and replanted a naked twig. [wow! What a wonderful description!!]

That twig has grown into a vast root system of dissent, experimentation, goofiness, and embarrassment. [oh, yeah!] The N.O. can be celebrated with proper dignity according to its rubrics. It can also be celebrated in Latin. However, it is rarely celebrated with either dignity or in Latin.

One solution to this problem is to return to a truly organic liturgy like the OP Rite or the older Tridentine Rite. In 2005, Benedict XVI gave all priests in the Church papal permission to celebrate the older rite. This is revolutionary!

This move has driven progressive wingnuts batty b/c the Tridentine Rite offers Catholics a more solemn, less easily manipulated Mass in Latin. So, no more inclusive language fascism; no more Fr. Hollywood's hijacking the Mass for their personal pursuit of local stardom; no more hoards of communion ministers swarming the altar playing priest, and no more goofiness at all...ever.

This is really what the progressives hate more than anything: the older form appears to privilege the priest's role over the laity's role. Of course, they have [no] problem when a priest using the N.O. exercises his clerical power to change prayers and readings to fit his political ideologies. This is OK b/c it advances the Protestantization of the Church."

Great stuff! I hope some of the local OP's are heading to the training conference - if so, do consider supporting them to do so!


David said...

I know some of the older OPs still know the Rite.

But the only local Masses I have been to that were celebrated by the Doms were by Fr Chifley OP and Fr Mannes Tellis OP, and they were Tridentine / Roman rite Masses.

If you want a great Dominican Use site, check out Fr Augustine Thompson's "Dominican Liturgy" site.

Heaps of resources, chant books, training manuals, information, photos, etc. He's the Dominican Father Zee.

Terra, you ought to link to him!

Joshua said...

Don't forget that Fr Christopher Dowd offers the Dominican Rite (many people give him stipends specifically for him to say such, which helps support the brethren) and at least until he moved to Adelaide from Melbourne he was frequently saying Roman Rite Latin Masses or assisting at High Mass.

Fr. Philip Powell, OP said...

One very important way to help revive the OP Rite is to donate to the scholarship fund so that novices and students in the Order can attend the conference! These guys are the only future the Order has. Since we are a democratic Order (we elect our leadership for limited terms), it is important that young friars receive a proper introduction to the Rite. One day, they will serve as priors, student masters, novice masters, provincials, and even Master of the Order! Without exposure, training, and the support of the people in the pews, we can expect another generation of OP's trapped in liturgical goofiness.

Fr. Philip, OP