Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Sarum Low Mass: Mass of the Faithful

Low Mass: The Offertory

For the more theologically astute believers out there, the richness of the Tridentine offertory prayers is one of the main "selling points" for the Extraordinary Form. There's really no end to the polemical articles you can find on the Internet about how the Vatican II fathers stripped the old offertory down to a skeleton. The Sarum offertory's formula is actually even simpler because the priest has already mixed the water and wine into the Chalice before Mass. 

Just as the Tridentine priest, he turns to the people and says Dominus vobiscum, followed by Oremus. Then he reads the Offertory antiphon. After that, in the Tridentine Mass, he would make two separate offerings: one for the Host, where he prays Suscipe, sancte Pater, and one for the Chalice, praying Offerimus tibi, Domine. In the Sarum, the priest uncovers the Chalice and makes a single offering by lifting the Chalice, over which lays the paten and Host, up with both hands, praying Suscipe, sancta Trinitas. A form of this prayer to the Trinity also appears in 1962 after the handwashing. Below, we can compare the two:

Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam ego indignus peccator offero in honore tuo, beata Mariæ et omnium Sanctorum tuorum, pro peccatis et offensionibus meis: et pro salute vivorum et requie omnium fidelium defunctorum. In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti acceptum sit Omnipotenti Deo hoc sacrificium novum.
Receive, O Holy Trinity, this oblation which I, and unworthy sinner, offer in Thy honour, Blessed Mary's, and all Thy Saints, for my sins and offences; for the salvation of the living and the repose of all the faithful departed. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, let this new Sacrifice be acceptable to Almighty God.
Súscipe, Sancta Trínitas, hanc oblatiónem, quam tibi offérimus ob memóriam passiónis, resurrectiónis, et ascensiónis Jesu Christi Dómini nostri, et in honórem beátæ Maríæ semper Vírginis, et beáti Joánnis Baptístæ, et sanctórum Apostolórum Petri et Pauli, et istórum, et ómnium Sanctórum: ut illis profíciat ad honórem, nobis autem ad salútem: et illi pro nobis intercédere dignéntur in cælis, quorum memóriam ágimus in terris. Per eúndem Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Receive, O Holy Trinity, this oblation which we make to Thee in memory of the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ; and in honor of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, of blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, of these and of all the Saints. To them let it bring honor, and to us salvation, and may they whom we are commemorating here on earth deign to plead for us in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord.

The Sarum priest sets the Chalice back down on the altar and covers it again. He takes the paten, places the Host on the corporal in front of the Chalice, then places the paten to the Chalice's right, "under the cloths". Now, it's already time for the handwashing. The priest goes to the Epistle side of the altar, where his server pours water over his fingers as he prays:

Munda me, Domine, ab omni inquinamento mentis et corporis; ut possim mundus implere opus sanctum Domini.
Cleanse me, O Lord, from all pollution of mind and body, that I may in purity perform the holy work of the Lord.

The prayer is short enough to easily memorize without the use of an altar card (you'll recall, as said before, that altar cards were not in use during the time of Sarum). The Tridentine priest, however, recites Psalm 25, which is long enough that a card becomes very convenient in the absence of a Missal.

He returns to the center of the altar, inclined his head forward and prays (in place of where, according to Trent, he would pray Suscipe, sancta Trinitas):

In spiritu humilitatis et in animo contrito suscipiamur, Domine, a te; et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo, ut a te suscipiatur hodie, et placeat tibi, Domine Deus meus.
In the spirit of humility and with a contrite heart let us be accepted of Thee, O Lord; and let our sacrifice be in such wise in Thy sight that it may be accepted of Thee this day, and please Thee, O Lord, my God.

He then kisses the altar to the right of the sacrifice, stands erect, crosses it, then crosses himself, saying In nomine Patris, etc. At this point, he then turns toward the people and says:

Orate, fratres et sorores, pro me, ut meum pariterque vestrum acceptum sit Domino Deo nostro sacrificium.
Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and likewise yours may be acceptable to our Lord God.

In Trent, the rubrics specifically direct the priest to say Orate, fratres in an elevated voice and then the rest quietly as he turns back to the altar. Sarum has him say it in a uniformly "low" voice, presumably all while facing the people. What's especially interesting here is that Sarum has the priest address women specifically (et sorores).

The response of the server or ministers is not the familiar Suscipiat Dominus, but:

Spiritus Sancti gratia illuminet cor tuum et labia tua, et accipiat Dominus digne hoc sacrificium laudis de manibus tuis pro peccatis et offensionibus nostris.
The grace of the Holy Ghost illuminate thy heart and lips, and the Lord graciously accept this sacrifice of praise at thy hands for our sins and offences.

The priest ends this portion with the Secret prayer(s), just as in 1962.

The Canon of the Mass

A 9th century rendering of Te igitur, the first words of the Canon
The priest and the server or people alternate the versicles (Dominus vobiscum, Sursum corda, etc.) as usual. The two Missals have a similar collection of prefaces. Sarum and Trent both use the Preface of the Holy Trinity for Trinity Sunday and all Sundays to the end of the liturgical year. They both also have the same common preface, naming the ranks of angels, for ferial days.

The priest continues with the Sanctus, where Sarum offers one change. On certain days, a Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary modifies the Sanctus so it says "Blessed is the son of Mary that cometh".

The words of the Roman Canon are exactly the same in Sarum and all the other local uses of England as they were in Rome during the Middle Ages. The name of Saint Joseph, having been added by Pope John XXIII shortly before Vatican II, is not here. After the prayers for the Pope (Papa nostro N.) and the local bishop (Antistite nostro N.), Sarum also has the priest pray for Rege nostro N.: "N. our King". As far as I can tell, praying for the King or Emperor by name in the Canon was standard practice on the Continent as far back as Charlemagne's empire. The King is absent in the Missal of 1570, the first edition of the Mass of Trent, but an additional complication is raised in the fact that according to this hand Missal dated to 1806, printed in England for the Tridentine Mass, the King's name is still there in the Canon.

This raises a dilemma for any would-be restorations of the Sarum Mass in a republic like the United States: did the American Revolution declare a permanent sede vacante, freeing us from naming the King in the Canon forever? Or do we simply adjust it to correspond to our political situation? A book on medieval "ruler worship" in the liturgy by E.H. Kantorowicz notes that in the Republic of Venice, the Doge, though an elected official, was mentioned by name in the Roman Canon from 1296 onward (et duce nostro N.). Could a Sarum Mass celebrated in the US in the year 2012 then say et presidente nostro Barack?

At Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuorum N. et N., the priest prays for the living. Pearson's edition of the Sarum Missal gives a special instruction for the priest here:
"... in praying for whom a due order dictated by charity should be observed. Let the Priest pray five times--first, for himself; secondly, for his father and mother, carnal and spiritual, and other relations; thirdly, for special friends, his parishioners and others; fourthly, for all present; fifthly, for all Christian people; and here the Priest can commend all his friends to God: with the caution, however, that no one should pause there too long, both for fear of distraction of mind, and of suggestions which may be made by evil angels, as well as other dangers..."
There are contradicting rubrics among the various editions of Sarum for what the priest is to do immediately before, during, and after the consecration. Canon J. Robert Wright's essay on Sarum observes that some missals tell the priest to break the Host at the uttering of the word fregit ("brake"). Pearson's Missal acknowledges this custom and attempts to refute it with this rubric: "Here let him touch the Host but not so as to break it, as some do; for although the order of the words seems to imply that Christ brake before consecrating, tradition teaches the contrary".

The rubrics instruct the priest to bow before elevating the Host and before elevating the Chalice, but nothing is said of a bow after setting the Chalice down again. As I said before, though, it seems some modern celebrations of Sarum simply adopt the Roman genuflections here and elsewhere.

After setting down the Chalice, with his thumbs and forefingers enjoined, the priest continues the Canon with his arms stretched out in the form of a cross until he has to make the sign of the cross over the elements. The Canon continues as usual, though there is no minor elevation at the end. A server lights two candles. Pearson notes: "the Constits. Woodlake, 1308, grant an indulgence to all who hold lights at the Consecration."

The Lord's Prayer and Kiss of Peace

The Pater Noster and Libera nos continue as in Trent, but the Sarum priest waits until after reciting the Agnus Dei to mix the fractioned Host into the Chalice. Before the Kiss of Peace, the priest makes an additional prayer for peace which is different in the two missals. Sarum's is addressed to the Father, and Trent's to the Son:

Domine, Sancte Pater, Omnipotens æterne Deus, da mihi hoc sacrosanctum Corpus et Sanguinem Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi ita digne sumere ut merear per hoc remissionem omnium peccatorum meorum accipere et tuo Sancto Spiritu repleri; et pacem tuam habere; Quia tu es Deus solus, et præter te non est alius, cujus regnum et imperium gloriosum sine fine permanet in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, everlasting God, grant me so worthily to receive this most holy Body and Blood of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ that I may thereby receive forgiveness of all my sins, and be filled with Thy Holy Spirit and have Thy peace; for Thou only art God, and there is no other beside Thee, Whose kingdom and glorious dominion abideth ever world without end. Amen.
Dómine Jesu Christe, qui dixísti Apóstolis tuis: Pacem relínquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis: ne respícias peccáta mea, sed fidem Ecclésiæ tuæ; eámque secúndum voluntátem tuam pacificáre et coadunáre dignéris: Qui vivis et regnas Deus per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen.
O Lord, Jesus Christ, Who didst say to Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you: look not upon my sins, but upon the faith of Thy Church; and deign to give her that peace and unity which is agreeable to Thy will: God Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
In current practice, the Kiss of Peace in the 1962 form is usually only performed at solemn Mass, because it's required there by the rubrics. However, the Kiss is still an option for low and sung Mass if a pax-brede can be had. The vast majority of Latin Mass attendees have likely never seen or heard of one, and since few have even attended a solemn Mass, we have the unfortunate circumstance that many traditional Catholics assume the Peace was entirely invented for the Novus Ordo. 

Sarum instructs the priest to give the Pax, even at low Mass, first kissing the corporal, then the top of the Chalice. The formula and response is:

V. Pax tibi et Ecclesiæ Dei.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
V. Peace be unto thee and to the Church of God.
R. And with thy spirit.

The rubrics don't specify whether he gives the Pax to his server by an embrace or the pax-brede, but the server does present the pax-brede to the people regardless of whether Mass is high or low.

The pax-brede, by the way, is an icon that the priest kisses after kissing the Chalice. Medieval pax-bredes were ideally made of gold, silver, or ivory, but in the poorer parishes, wood was also used. It often has an image of the Lamb of God, but any holy image is acceptable. It has a handle on the back so a server may hold it and present it to the people to kiss at the sanctuary rail. The pax-brede was introduced sometime in the 13th century as a more orderly alternative to the previous practice of just having everyone in the congregation embrace one another (a sight which perhaps may not be so different from the average Catholic parish today). Nevertheless, the pax-brede was, by all accounts, a big deal in the Middle Ages. It was, in fact, often a convenient replacement for receiving Communion, as receiving the pax doesn't require confession and fasting. 

Just as the rubrics prescribe a certain order for the pax to be given within the sanctuary (deacon, then subdeacon, then any prelates in choir according to rank, etc.), the laity also fought among themselves for who would kiss the pax-brede first. Eamon Duffy, in his book The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580, cites recorded instances of violence breaking out over this issue:

'In 1494 the wardens of the parish of All Saints, Stanyng [England], presented Joanna Dyaca for breaking the paxbrede by throwing it on the ground, "because another woman of the parish had kissed it before her." On All Saints Day 1522 Master John Browne of the parish of Theydon-Garnon in Essex, having kissed the pax-brede at the parish Mass, smashed it over the head of Richard Pond, the holy-water clerk who had tendered it to him, "causing streams of blood to run to the ground." Brown was enraged because the pax had first been offered to Francis Hamden and his wife Margery, despite the fact that the previous Sunday he had warned Pond, "Clerke, if thou here after givest not me the pax first I shall breke it on thy hedd."'

The Priest's Communion

The priest's Communion prayers are completely different in Sarum. There are three in Sarum and two in Trent, though Sarum doesn't have the priest recite Domine, non sum dignus at all. The Sarum priest is holding the Host while reciting all of these:

Deus Pater, fons et origo totius bonitatis, qui ductus misericordia Unigenitum tuum pro nobis ad infima mundi descendere et carnem sumere voluisti, quam ego indignus hic in manibus meis teneo: Te adoro, te glorifico, te tota mentis ac cordis intentione laudo: Et precor ut nos famulos tuos non deseras, sed peccata nostra dimittas, quatenus tibi soli vivo ac vero Deo, puro corde et casto corpore servire valeamus; Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui ex voluntate Patris, co-operante Spiritu Sancto, per mortem tuam mundum vivificasti, Libera me, quæso, per hoc sacrosanctum Corpus et hanc Sanguinem tuum a cunctis iniquitatibus meis et ab universis malis: Et fac me tuis semper obedire mandatis: Et a te nunquam in perpetuum separari permittas, Salvator mundi; Qui cum Deo Patre et eodem Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Corporis et Sanguinis tui, Domine Jesu Christe, Sacramentum, quod licet indignus accipio, non sit mihi judicio et condemnationi; sed tua prosit pietate corporis mei et animæ saluti. Amen.
O God the Father, Fount and Source of all goodness, Who moved by Thy loving kindness didst will Thine Only Begotten to descend for us to this lower world and to take Flesh, Which I unworthy here hold in my hands, I worship Thee, I glorify Thee, I praise Thee with the whole purpose of my mind and heart, and beseech Thee not to forsake us Thy servants, but forgive us our sins, that so we may be enabled to serve Thee, the only Living and True God, with a pure heart and chaste body. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, Who by the will of the Father and the co-operation of the Holy Ghost hast by Thy death given life to the world; deliver me, I beseech Thee, by this Thy most holy Body and Blood, from all my iniquities and from every evil; make me ever obedient to Thy commandments, and suffer me not to be for ever separated from Thee, O Saviour of the world. Who with God the Father and the same Holy Ghost livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

Let not the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I albeit unworthy receive, be to me for judgment and condemnation, but by Thy goodness be profitable to the health of my body and soul. Amen.
Dómine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui ex voluntáte Patris, cooperánte Spíritu Sancto, per mortem tuam mundum vivificásti: líbera me per hoc sacrosánctum Corpus et Sánguinem tuum ab ómnibus iniquitátibus meis, et univérsis malis: et fac me tuis semper inhærére mandátis, et a te numquam separári permíttas: Qui cum eódem Deo Patre, et Spíritu Sancto vivis et regnas Deus in sæcula sæculórum. Amen.

Percéptio Córporis tui, Dómine Jesu Christe, quod ego indígnus súmere præsúmo, non mihi provéniat in judícium et condemnatiónem: sed pro tua pietáte prosit mihi ad tutaméntum mentis et córporis, et ad medélam percipiéndam: Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Who, by the will of the Father and the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, hast by Thy death given life to the world: deliver me by this, Thy most sacred Body and Blood, from all my iniquities and from every evil; make me cling always to Thy commandments, and permit me never to be separated from Thee. Who with the same God, the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but through Thy mercy may it be unto me a safeguard and a healing remedy both of soul and body. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Then, immediately before receiving the Host, he says:

Ave in aeternum, sanctissima Caro Christi, mihi ante omnia et super omnia summa dulcedo. Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi sit mihi peccatori via et vita, in Nomine + Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
Hail for evermore, most holy Flesh of Christ, to me before all and above all the highest source of joy. The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ be unto me, a sinner, the Way and the Life, in the Name + of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Corpus Dómini nostri Jesu Christi custódiat ánimam meam in vitam ætérnam. Amen.
May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul unto life everlasting. Amen.

The cross marks where the priest, in Sarum, would sign himself with the Host. He also signs himself with the Chalice before drinking from it:

Ave in aeternum cælestis potus, mihi ante omnia et super omnia summa dulcedo. Corpus et Sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi prosint mihi peccatori ad remedium sempiternum in vitam æternam. Amen. In Nomine + Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
Hail for evermore, Heavenly Drink, to me before all and above all the highest source of joy. The Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ be unto me a perpetual healing unto everlasting life. Amen. In the Name + of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Quid retríbuam Dómino pro ómnibus quæ retríbuit mihi? Cálicem salutáris accípiam, et nomen Dómini invocábo. Laudans invocábo Dóminum, et ab inimícis meis salvus ero. Sanguis Dómini nostri Jesu Christi custódiat ánimam meam in vitam ætérnam. Amen.
What return shall I make to the Lord for all the things that He hath given unto me? I will take the chalice of salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord. I will call upon the Lord and give praise: and I shall be saved from mine enemies. May the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul unto life everlasting. Amen.

After receiving from the Chalice, the Sarum priest has a prayer of thanksgiving without counterpart in the Tridentine Missal.

Gratias tibi ago, Domine, Sancte Pater, Omnipotens æterne Deus, qui me refecisti de sacratissimo Corpore et Sanguine Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi: Et precor ut hoc sacramentum salutis nostrae, quod sumpsi indignus peccator, non veniat mihi ad judicium neque ad condemnationem pro meritis meis; sed ad profectum corporis mei et animae saluti in vitam æternam. Amen.
I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, everlasting God, Who hast refreshed me with the most sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ; and I pray that this Sacrament of our salvation of which I, unworthy sinner, have partaken, turn not to judgment nor condemnation according to my deserts, but be profitable to the preservation of my body and soul unto everlasting life. Amen.

The People's Communion

In both liturgies, the Communion of everyone else besides the celebrating priest was considered part of a separate rite which was inserted into the Mass because Communion was not presumed to be given every time. At the moment, I can't find a rite for the people's Communion according to Sarum. We'll simply have to get back to this later. That being said, it was probably very unlikely that Communion would have been distributed at a Sarum low Mass in any case, since Communion was reserved mainly for solemn feasts.

The Ablutions

The Sarum priest goes to the Epistle side of the altar and has the server pour wine and water (as opposed to just wine, as in Trent) into the Chalice over his fingers, praying Quod ore sumpsimus. The second ablution applies wine only, with this prayer:

Hæc nos communio, Domine, purget a crimine, et cælestis remedii faciat esse consortes.
Let this communion, O Lord, cleanse us from sin, and make us partakers of a heavenly healing.

A third and final ablution with water is performed, the priest saying afterward:

Adoramus crucis signaculum per quod salutis sumpsimus sacramentum.
Let us adore the sign of the Cross, whereby we have received the Sacrament of salvation.

Sarum describes the priest washing his hands after having set the Chalice down. He then recites the Communion antiphon from the Missal, which the server has transferred back to the Epistle side. He returns to the middle for Dominus vobiscum, then back to the Missal to pray the Post-communion.

The Dismissal

The priest turns to the people for Dominus vobiscum, then says Ite, missa est (or Benedicamus Domino). In Sarum, the priest turns back to the altar to pray Placeat tibi, but unlike 1962, he doesn't give the people a blessing at all. He only signs himself at the end. He also doesn't recite the Last Gospel from the altar, but recites it from memory as he processes back to the sacristy.

The Last Gospel as it appears in the Black Book of Hours


  1. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Excellent work; we hear so much about the Sarum rite but this is the best actual investigation of it I've seen.

  3. Excellent post!

    My favorite part:
    "On All Saints Day 1522 Master John Browne of the parish of Theydon-Garnon in Essex, having kissed the pax-brede at the parish Mass, smashed it over the head of Richard Pond, the holy-water clerk who had tendered it to him, "causing streams of blood to run to the ground." Brown was enraged because the pax had first been offered to Francis Hamden and his wife Margery, despite the fact that the previous Sunday he had warned Pond, "Clerke, if thou here after givest not me the pax first I shall breke it on thy hedd." "

  4. This is how I celebrate Sarum Low Mass:

    1. Many thanks, Father. This covers a few items I neglected to mention, which I might append here later.

  5. In many ways like the preparation of the chalice before Mass; holding the arms in a cruciform manner; abbreviated confiteor; etc. reminds me very much of the Dominican Rite! I like it. The more I read about the other Latin Rites, the more I wish we had more (legitimate) liturgical diversity.

  6. Anyone know if holy orders in various rites (Sarum,Dominican,Mozarabic) differed from Trent before April 1969?