Wednesday 22 April 2015

PDF Download: C. Vagaggini, “The Canon of the Mass and Liturgical Reform”

Dom Cipriano Vagaggini, O.S.B., was one of the more influential members of Group 10 of the Consilium, the group responsible for the revision of the Ordo Missae. This revision was to involve, among other things, the composition of three new Eucharistic Prayers to sit alongside the Roman Canon. (For more information on how new anaphoras were transplanted into the Roman Rite, see the Adoremus article From One Eucharistic Prayer to Many: How it Happened and Why by Dom Cassian Folsom, O.S.B.)

As part of this work, Dom Vagaggini published a book called Il canone della messa e la riforma liturgica in 1966, and this was translated into English the following year under the title The Canon of the Mass and Liturgical Reform. In this book, Vagaggini went through what he saw as the ‘merits’ and ‘defects’ of the Roman Canon (perhaps unsurprisingly, the defects outnumber the merits by a ratio of more than 2:1), argued for the introduction of one or more new Eucharistic Prayers to ‘enrich’ the Roman Rite, and gave a couple of examples of what they might look like.

Vagaggini’s book is, in my opinion, one of the more important works contemporary to the post-Vatican II liturgical reform itself, and is illustrative of some of the attitudes of the reformers towards the liturgical tradition. Unfortunately it has been out of print for a good while, and, at the time of writing, second-hand copies of it are difficult to come by. So, I am happy to say that a PDF copy is now freely available by clicking the link below:

Also, since what we now know as Eucharistic Prayer III has its genesis in Vagaggini’s book above, I have also put together a side-by-side comparison of his “Canon B” (see chapter 4 in the book above) with EP III, which can be downloaded by clicking the following link:

There are more historical goodies and curiosities to come very soon, so watch this space!

Monday 13 April 2015

ICEL and "The Problem of Exclusive Language": The 1980 Eucharistic Prayers Green Book

In 1980, ICEL issued a "Green Book" to the member and associate member Conferences of Bishops, proposing some revisions to the Eucharistic Prayers as they appeared in the Sacramentary at that time. (The term "Green Book" denotes texts that ICEL sends to Conferences for study and comment; after any comments/suggestions are incorporated into the text, ICEL re-issues it as a "Gray Book" for the Conferences to vote on it.) These revisions were described by John R. Page, then Executive Secretary of ICEL, as follows:
The proposed changes are designed to eliminate from these liturgical texts anything that has been judged to be exclusive or exclusionary, in particular, anything that may be considered discriminatory to women. (Eucharistic Prayers: For Study and Consultation, Green Book [ICEL, 1980], Foreword, p. 3)
To give some context for their work, ICEL provided a statement in the same book entitled "The Problem of Exclusive Language with Regard to Women". This statement makes for very interesting reading, and makes clear that ICEL's policy (at that time) of foisting inclusive language upon us all - a principle writ large in the rejected 1998 Missal translation - goes all the way back to the mid-1970s.

I have transcribed the foreword to the 1980 Green Book, along with the proposed emendations to the Eucharistic Prayers, and the Statement in its entirety (including the bibliography ICEL provided) - click here to download it as a PDF. Attached to the end of the PDF is an interesting 1982 letter from John Page to the Methodist theologian Geoffrey Wainwright, which happened to be in my second-hand copy of the Green Book.

As an aside regarding my last post of ICEL material, I have also updated the PDF of An Original Eucharistic Prayer: Text 1, since I have discovered that, though this original composition of ICEL was never given any sort of recognitio by Rome (and thus was never allowed for liturgical use), it was actually approved by eight Bishops' Conferences, and also made it, in a slightly edited form, into the Anglican book Common Worship as "Eucharistic Prayer G". So, I have added the Anglican text to the end of the document for the purposes of comparison.

Friday 10 April 2015

Some history behind the 1998 Missal: ICEL's work in the early 1980s

One of the numerous reasons ICEL's 1998 translation of the Roman Missal was denied recognitio by the Holy See was the proliferation of original texts. (See this copy of Cardinal Medina Estévez's letter from March 2002 for more information on that.)

However, ICEL had been working on original texts for some considerable time before (this article on Adoremus gives a lot more background detail for those of you interested). Indeed, as early as the 1973 translation, there were alternative opening prayers provided alongside those that were translated from the Latin. The relation of these original compositions to the Latin texts were described in the foreword to the Sacramentary as follows: "The alternative opening prayers are not direct or faithful translations of the corresponding Latin text. They follow its theme or are inspired by it, but they are generally more concrete and expansive." Comme le prévoit n. 43 was cited as justification for their inclusion. ICEL continued to be enthusiastic about original English compositions, and we read in its 1980-81 report to the member and associate member bishops' conferences that:

In 1981 ICEL commissioned authors to compose a set of original presidential prayers. After reviewing these prayers in June, the Advisory Committee chose a number of authors to continue the project by composing alternative opening prayers loosely related to the readings of the day for Sundays and solemnities. In addition the Advisory Committee requested the composition of twenty alternative prayers over the gifts and prayers after communion which would be divided up among the liturgical seasons and take their themes from the seasons. This project will be reviewed by the Advisory Committee in November 1982. At that time a proposal will be made to print sets of newly-composed prayers for trial use in a consultation beginning with the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (11 September 1983) and continuing through Pentecost (10th June 1984). (Report of the Episcopal Board to the Member and Associate Member Conferences, 1980-81 [ICEL: 24 June 1982], pp. 7-8)
I have been fortunate enough to come across the book of these prayers in the wild, as well as some other historical curiosities - click on the links to download PDF transcriptions!
  • Presidential Prayers for Experimental Use at Mass (ICEL: July 1983). This is the document referred to in the above quote from the 1980-81 report. In the event, the experiment ran from the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time up to the Feast of the Holy Family in 1983 (11 Sept - 30 Dec). Those of you who have access to the 1998 translation may notice that some of the original compositions in this booklet were edited slightly and included in the 1998 Missal (e.g. 1983, 4th Sun of Advent, text A = 1998, 4th Sun of Advent, alternative opening prayer for Year A);
  • Eucharistic Prayer of Saint Basil: Text for Consultation (ICEL: August 1985). Continuing the work of ICEL's Eucharistic Prayer subcommittee, this is not just a translation of the anaphora of St. Basil, but is a substantial "accommodation" of it, as a comparison with the actual text of the anaphora in use by, e.g., the Greek Orthodox, will demonstrate.
    (As a side note, the Consilium did give serious consideration to including the anaphora of St. Basil alongside the other new Eucharistic Prayers, but when it came to the vote a small majority of the members, backed by Paul VI, prevented this from happening - cf. A. Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 [Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990], pp. 458-462. Was ICEL attempting to stealthily introduce something its own members thought should have prevailed in the post-conciliar liturgical reforms...?)
I have a few other ICEL snippets to transcribe, so for those who are particularly interested in that sort of thing, look out for those soon!