ANNOUNCING: Roman Rite Q&A

tlmSeveral weeks ago, I posted an interview with one of the world’s foremost experts on the Tradition Roman Rite, Founder of Romanitas Press, Louis J. Tofari.

Based on the responses that both Louis and I received afterwards, it is obvious that even those who have assisted at the Traditional Latin Mass for some time have very good questions about specific liturgical practices and how they came about; i.e., why we do what we do at Holy Mass.

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No surprise here… I think most readers of this space realize that the Roman Rite is so glorious that we can spend an entire lifetime exploring its riches.

Well, Louis Tofari has done, and continues to do, just that. He is a tremendous resource.

With this in mind, I’m truly honored to announce that akaCatholic, starting today, is launching a new regular feature: Roman Rite Q&A, where readers are invited to submit whatever questions they may have about the Traditional Roman Rite, whether they be historical, rubrical, symbolic, pastoral, or otherwise.

Louis is also incredibly well-versed in the origins of the Novus Ordo for those who are perhaps beginning to question its peculiarities.

So, whether you are new to tradition, a layperson, an acolyte, or a clergyman, please feel free to submit your questions, via email, to RomanRite@akaCatholic.com.

NOTE: The identities of those who submit questions will not be posted. (This may be especially important for any Novus Ordo priests who are just beginning to question the new Mass and are perhaps giving serious consideration to learning and celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass.)

At this, it is with sincere gratitude to Louis Tofari that I offer the first installment of Roman Rite Q&A. 

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Dear Louis,

In my parish, for the Missa Cantata, the choir sings the Sanctus in two parts.

As expected, they being: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis.

However, they always stop here and continue with Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis only after the consecration.

Is this an improper innovation, or does it have a place in the Church’s liturgical tradition?

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Thank you for you inquiry!

What you describe used to be a common practice, even with the Gregorian chant versions of the Sanctus.

The main reason for this splitting of the Sanctus into two parts, however, was due to lengthy polyphonic compositions of the Kyriale (e.g., the Palestrina Masses).

These polyphonic versions could be so long that it was impossible to finish the entire Sanctus before the Consecration. This resulted in the celebrant having to stop praying just before the Consecration itself, and even to wait some time until the Sanctus was finished.

Of course, the sacrificer and mediator should not be kept waiting! Hence arose the practice of splitting the Sanctus, which in some places was applied even to the chant versions of the Sanctus, even though this was not necessary timewise.

In 1958, the Sacred Congregation of Rites (which determined the rules for the liturgy) published its Instruction on Sacred Music and Liturgy; clarifying the rule for splitting the Sanctus:

  1. (d): If the Sanctus and Benedictus are sung to the Gregorian settings they are to be chanted without a break between them; otherwise Benedictus is to be sung after the Consecration.

If you’d like to read the full Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, you can find a digital version online at the Adoremus website. Note, the referral site is not entirely devoted to the traditional Mass, but it offers many good resources nonetheless.

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Please feel free to submit your questions about the Traditional Roman Rite, via email, to RomanRite@akaCatholic.com

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