Sunday, June 22, 2008

About that Second Confiteor

The second Confiteor is, perhaps, the paradigm metaphor for 'tempest in a teapot.' A discussion on this topic went well over 200 combox responses when Fr. Z brought it up...and perhaps contributed to the early demise of a server or two.

Briefly, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Old Rite) has undergone changes since the Council of Trent. One change was the elimination of the little absolution before Communion, which consisted of a Confiteor, Miserere, and Absolutio said by the priest and altar boys.

I know very well that it was eliminated, because I was an altar boy at the time it happened.

But as it turns out, that's the case only because I was an altar boy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

In a pleasant conversation with a Midwestern pastor whose parish uses both forms of the Liturgy, I discovered that he, too, uses the second Confiteor. I was a bit surprised and told him so. He advised me that in HIS Archdiocese, it was retained--and laughed a bit, remarking that only in Milwaukee, St. Louis, and St. Paul (MN) were the Roman regulations actually followed to a "T," which is why the disparity exists.

Therefore, some may legitimately claim that their 'tradition' is to use the second Confiteor, even though their 'tradition' is erroneous.

The good Father also mentioned that the SSPX uses it regularly, and there was some desire to accomodate SSPX attendees should they wish to regularize their church membership.

For some of us, 40 years of battling "adjustments" and "slight deviations" from regulations is quite enough. One wishes that the battle did not have to continue.......


GOR said...

Yes Dad, it does appear to be a 'storm in a teacup' and there are more important things to be concerned about.

It was in place when I was an altar boy in 1950s Ireland. Someone opined that it was put in place to cater to people who might not have arrived when the first Confiteor was said at the beginning of Mass...

If so, it might have had an Irish provenance - giving the propensity for rural Irishmen to gather around the church gate until the '5-minute bell' rang. Then, like the schoolboy in As You Like It, they would be seen "creeping like snail, unwillingly..." to Mass.


Dad29 said...

It most certainly was used for those who showed up (during the week) only for Communion at the 6:00 AM Mass (e.g.) here in the US.

That's not the point, however. I'd like to be consistent: after 40 years of pointing out the fact that the Revolutionaries DO NOT OBEY Rome's laws on liturgy, it would be hypocritical for me to ignore the same damn thing from the "counter-revolutionaries," no?

GOR said...

Agreed, Dad. There are extremists in both camps and both extremes are to be avoided or called out.

While there has been utter disregard for the rubrics by clergy in the Novus Ordo, there is a rigorist element among some traditionalists that borders on pararnoia. Case in point: the discussion on Fr. Z's blog about Maniples some time back.

Yes, there were changes to the Liturgy pre-Vatican II, but they were less obvious or earth-shattering than recent decades. Case in point: the addition of St. Joseph to the litany of saints in the Roman Canon. Of course there were fewer 'experts' around then to make a big deal of them!

Reminiscent of Our Lord's criticism of the Pharisees about the 'letter of the Law'...