20 February 2012

Bugnini And The Offertory

Ben Trovato has posted here on the changes to the Offertory in the New Mass.  I had a look at Bugnini's History of the Reform to see how he described the changes.

Here they are: forgive the punctuation, which was American anyway and has probably been mangled in the OCR process.  bear in mind too that I have extracted his comments on the Offertory from his section on the revision of the Mass. Bear in mind that there is some paraphrase from me to try to keep the sense.

By 1965 a proposal for a new Order of Mass was under consideration.

The offertory begins with the washing of hands; it continues with the preparation of the gifts, which are brought to the altar, where the celebrant places them on the altar to the accompaniment of short formulas.

A passage from the Didache (with some adaptation) was proposed for the placing of the bread on the altar: "As this bread was scattered and, having been gathered, is now one, so may your Church be gathered into your kingdom." For the chalice: "Wisdom has built herself a house; she has mixed her wine and set her table. Glory to you through all ages" (Prov 9:1-2). The Fathers approved the formulas, with five nays for the formula for the bread.)

After the prayer "In a spirit of humility . ," the celebrant immediately says aloud the prayer over the gifts; he then enters into the Eucharistic Prayer by beginning the dialogue before the preface.

On 24 October 1967 an experiment was made of this Mass.

It must be said flatly that the experiment was not a success and even that it had an effect contrary to the one intended and played a part in the negative vote that followed. Few of the Fathers were disposed and ready for the experiment; this was even more true of those who had grasped the value and essential character of the normative Mass. The majority of the Fathers entered the Sistine Chapel with their minds made up and ill-disposed to the new Mass.

As a result a vote was taken

3. Observations on the liturgy of the Eucharist:
a) The offertory seems impoverished; therefore, keep the prayers and rites now in use, especially the mingling of water with the wine and the accompanying prayer.
b) The prayers to be said by the priest privately during the offertory should be obligatory.
c) The Orate, fratres and its answer should be kept.

All these details show how disagreeable many of the Fathers found the path of reform. It is not easy to cut one's ties with age-old practices, open oneself to new horizons, and force oneself to accept the demands expressed in the signs of the times. That which may seem obvious in theory must come to grips in practice with armour-clad contingencies.

In addition, a unique international assembly such as a Synod shows the human variations amid which the Church lives, grows, and acts.

Among the qualifications opposing viewpoints are at times found side by side. For example, one man calls for more numerous moments of silence, but another calls for the elimination of all such moments; one asks greater freedom of action for the conferences, bishops, and individua:, celebrants, while another-and there were many-asks for rigid, specific inflexible legislation.

An editor was left with the task of selecting and choosing from the mass of materials thus provided and of proceeding with extreme cautie-to build the house of prayer. It was the Consilium that had to undertake this task, which demanded responsibility, sensitivity, and prudence, and to do so in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Fathers.

After all comments had been taken into consideration, a report was sent to the Pope on 10 December. After pointing out that the negative votes received should not be taken as being in any way representative, it brought to the attention of the Holy Father that in the Offertory every "action" should to be accompanied by a formula. After considering the reasons pro and con the Orate Fratres, and with a view to giving prominence especially to the prayer over the gifts, the dialogue before the preface, and the Canon, the Consilium was not averse to doing away with it, though if the Pope thought appropriate to keep it, the formulas would be revised. The problem was discussed at length in the Consilium. The following arguments were offered in favor of retention: the formula is in current use and is one of those in which the congregation participates more fully; it is an expression of participation in the offering of the sacrifice; unlike other prayers of the offertory, this one does not anticipate ideas proper to the Eucharistic Prayer. Against retention: lack of uniformity in the way the Church uses the formula (said aloud in read Masses; said in a low voice in sung Masses); lack of congregational participation because of the difficulties in translating the formula in many regions; it detracts from the solemn dialogue of the preface; the difficulty of some ideas expressed in it ("my" sacrifice and "yours," as though these were two distinct and juxtaposed sacrifices); repetition of ideas already expressed during the prayer of the faithful in the intention for the congregation here gathered.

As an experiment, the new Mass was said in the presence of the Pope early in January 1968 in simply said, mainly said with hymns, and sung forms. The Pope commented:

The offertory seems lacking, because the faithful are not allowed any part in it (even though it should be the part of the Mass in which their activity is more direct and obvious) and because the offertory formulas are reserved to the celebrant and are said silently and in Latin. The offertory should be given special prominence so that the faithful (or their representatives) may exercise their specific role as offerers.

(The offertory rites were organized differently than in the original schema for the normative Mass. Their sequence was the one regularly followed in the celebration of Mass that time: placing of the bread on the altar with a formula said in a low voice by the celebrant; mixing of water with the wine, with its formula; presentation of the wine, with its formula; the prayer "In a spirit of humility"; washing of the hands, immediately followed by the prayer over the gifts.

The texts differed from those found in the first schema for the normative Mass and were the product of a study undertaken by Professor Jounel at the bidding of the secretariat of the Consilium:

-Presentation of the bread: "Holy Father, accept this bread which we offer from the fruit of our labors, that it may become the body of your Only-begotten Son."
-Mingling of water with the wine: "Lord, by the mystery of this water and wine may it come to share the divinity of him who deigned to share our humanity, Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord."
-Presentation of the chalice: "Lord, we offer you this cup that expresses the mystery of the unity of your people, so that it may become the blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ."

-Washing of the hands: "Create a clean heart in me, God, and renew in me an upright spirit.")

The views of the clerics who had attended the Masses were collected as follows:

First remark: "I do not see why the offertory is still in Latin and said in a low voice. An offertory that is more understandable (in language and gesture) would be more effective." Another made the point that "the rite should have an air of greater simplicity. It should be reduced to a simple offering of the bread and wine."

Several thought the Lavabo to be superfluous: "It should be kept only in Masses in which the celebrant must really dirty his hands, for example, by using incense. Eliminate it from other Masses."

By the end of January, and with an aim of starting to use the new Mass in Advent 1968, Bugnini made a statement of the Pope's views:

"There should be a single set of formulas that will express the idea of an offering of human toil in union with the sacrifice of Christ. There should also be active participation of the congregation, at least when there is no singing. In the latter case, the priest recites the formulas in a low voice."

In April the Consilium met to discuss the Pope's wishes. It concluded regarding the Offertory that there should be a new redaction of the formulas. But the experts asked again that the priest be free not to say the prayers aloud, even when there was no singing. The reason: to give the faithful an opportunity to recollect themselves in some moments of silent prayer after the liturgy of the Word. The experts also pointed out that the acclamation of the people did not fit in with the structure of the offertory and that it duplicated their participation through their "Amen" at the prayer over the gifts. The new redaction yielded substantially the formulas later approved and put into use. In the schema, which was then submitted for study to the prefects of the curial agencies and to the Holy Father, the phrase "which we offer to you" ("quem/quod tibi offerimus") was lacking. The Pope was the one who added it. This formula, which was the same for the bread and the wine, was judged appropriate by the committee, because it expresses God's generosity, human collaboration through work, and the destining of the gifts for the Eucharist, while not promoting an erroneous understanding of the meaning of the offertory. This meaning is clearly different from the meaning of the sacrifice of Christ's body and blood. In his letter of February 26, the secretary had suggested the adoption for this purpose of the acclamation in the Didache: "Blessed be the Lord for ever." The Orate, fratres was not included in this schema either.

Bishop Manziana was asked by the Pope for his comments.

"Offertory: This part of the Mass is especially criticized both because of the change of formulas and because of the formulas proposed . . . . In my view, they are successful and remove the equivocal impression that the offertory rite is a "little Canon"; they are further explained by the prayer over the gifts. The collaboration of human work with creation is a disposition for sacrifice. If the newer prayers over the gifts are insufficiently expressive, they can be revised.

With regard to the formula for mixing water with the wine: . . . it is to be noted that the present formula is a Christmas oration which in its full form is not suitable for the action. The preparation of the altar for the sacrifice, after and not during the prayers of the faithful, allows room for singing, and for an offertory procession, if there is to be one.

(The Pope had been giving special attention to the organization of this part of the Mass; in the margin at this point he lightly penciled in a question mark.)

By September, the Pope made his comments on the final version:

"Offertory. The Pope noted that the formulas used in offering the bread and the wine are two fine euchological utterances, but they do not express any intention of offering if the phrase "which we offer to you" is removed from the two formulas; without it they are not offertory formulas. The phrase seems to be what gives the gesture and words their specific meaning as offering. However, I leave the decision as to their retention or removal to the collegial judgment of the Consilium."

After lengthy discussion the collegial judgment of the Consilium took this form: 12 for retention of the phrase, 14 against, and 5 in favor of finding an expression that would refer to the presentation of the elements for the sacrifice, but without using the term "offer." This was the word that caused difficulty, since it seemed to anticipate, or at least detract from the value of, the one true sacrifice of the immolated Christ that is expressed in the Canon.

The phrase suggested was kept, since it could ease the difficulties earlier pointed out in the translations. The Italian version, for example, has: "which we present to you." Almost all the languages followed the same line.
With regard to the offertory, the Pope also asked: "Is it necessary to shorten and thus mutilate the prayer, '0 God, who wonderfully ennobled ...'?' The reply to this was the one given in the observations of Bishop Manziana, and the text remained as it was.

Orate, fratres. The Pope asked: "Should the Orate, fratres be removed? Is it not a beautiful, ancient, and appropriate dialogue between celebrant and congregation before beginning the prayer over the gifts and the sacrificial liturgy? Its removal would be the loss of a pearl."

Here again the reasons were given, and they were such that the Consilium once again asked itself whether the Orate, fratres should be kept. The result: 15 against retention, 14 for, 1 in favor provided some phrases were altered, 1 abstention. The prayer was therefore kept.


Ben Trovato said...


Thanks for posting this very interesting account.

Fascinating that the Consilium sat in judgement over the Holy Father's comments...

Also that they kept going trying new things (despite the initial Observations amounting to 'leave well alone') until they got through much of what they wanted.

Mike Cliffson said...

Is this Bugnini or TTony's able renderings?: the thing is, I can understand this.
I did NOT want to be part of a parish liturgy commission when so invited many decades ago, for the simple reason I had never been able to understand enough of it.The theology, all sorts. I tried again then, and couldn't, and declined. I can follow occasional explanations of occassional points , sometimes things on FRz's blog, whatever.
There's something wrong, very, if I CAN understand it . Too effable, as twere.
Just as well it remains a mystery!
We ought to conk out flat at everysingle mass, rite notwithstanding!

Sixupman said...

".. parish liturgy commission(s) ..."
multiple exacerbation of the disease?