Friday, September 23, 2016

Early Modern Reforms of the Traditional Dominican Rite.


The Dominican Rite, both for the Mass and Office is famous for its stability and resistance to liturgical changes.  And, at least for the text of the Mass, this is certainly true.  The Office, however, after resisting many changes affecting
Elevation at the Solemn Mass (Star of the Sea Church, SF 2015)
other Latin rites, such as the adoption of the reformed hymnal of Pope Urban VIII, did conform to the new Psalter arrangement of the Psalms in 1923.

    My recent historical work on the history of the Dominican lay brothers (today called "cooperator brothers"), included reading through the nine volumes of Acta of the Dominican General Chapters from 1220 to 1843.  As I was doing this, I noted the legislation that reformed or modified the liturgy.  Here are the major reforms.

    For me, the most suggestive piece of legislation was not directly liturgical, but involved the preparation of priests.  In 1345, the General Chapter at Manresa, required that the prior of the local priory (priestly formation was the responsibility of each priory in those days) make sure that any friar to be ordained "understand the Canon of the Mass from the Te igitur to the Pater noster. Ignorance of the meaning of the Latin was such a problem that neither subpriors or vicars were allowed to make this decision.  But now on to liturgical changes.

    Today some of the most controversial issues for Catholics in church involve how to show respect to the altar, cross, and Blessed Sacrament.  In the middle ages, the profound bow was the usual way of showing respect.  The Dominican Rite only slowly adopted genuflection that became the Roman practice in the later middle ages..

Dominicans added the Elevation of the Chalice in about 1300
The General Chapter of Rome 1569 (Acta Capitulorum Generalium S.O.P., 5: 90) explicitly required that the priest bow ("inclinet") after each of the Consecrations, a clear sign that some Dominican priests were imitating the Roman practice of genuflecting.  This chapter also strictly forbad the priest to say the Words of Institution in the Canon out loud, "which certain priests are doing contrary to many chapters and the decree of the Council."  It was only some forty years later, at the Paris General Chapter of 1611 (ACG 6:145) that the Dominican Rite finally suppressed the use of bows at the Consecration and Elevation, replacing them with the modern four genuflections. This was also the point that the rite adopted the use of a genuflection before and after touching the Sacred Species, a practice often considered traditionally Dominican.

    Introduction of genuflections where the medieval Dominican Rite prescribed bows had actually begun earlier than that.  For example, the General Chapter of Rome 1569 (ACG 5: 90) instructed the priest to simply bow while all others present knelt at the words Incarnatus est in the creed.  Rome 1580 (ACG 5: 192) then introduced kneeling at the word "procedentes" in the Epiphany Gospel, during the Te Deum, and at the word "vereremur" in the hymn Tantum Ergo, "following Papal Chapel example."  And finally the chatper of Lisbon in 1618 (ACG 6:300) confirms for general use the "pious custom" in Spsnish Provinces of kneeing at the words "Eia ergo" in Salve Regina.


A Dominican Deacon Sings the Gospel (ca. 1950)
   Early modern chapters also changed the texts of the medieval liturgy and modified rubrics to conform to Roman practice or developed theology.  For example, the Rome Chapter of 1569 (ACG 5: 102) changed the collect of Pope St. Gregory the Great from "ex poenis aeternis" to "ex poenis purgatorii," to reflect the developed doctrine of Purgatory.  Famously, and against considerable resistance, the Chapter of Rome in 1589 (ACG 5: 281) mandated the reading of the Last Gospel at the end of Mass, as in the Roman Rite.  Later, the chapter of Rome, 1656 (ACG 7: 390) required that the priest at Solemn Mass read the Gospel quietly before deacon chanted it, duplication finally made optional by rubrical reforms in 1060.  I find nothing about the priest's reading the Epistle quietly at sung Mass. Probably introduced by custom about this time like the Gospel.  Another change in practice, that of Rome 1656 (ACG 7: 394), which rquired the priest is to say the Sign of the Cross and the verse "Confitemini Domino" in a loud voice at Low Mass, which explains this practice during the use of the "moderate" voice during the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, something I have often wondered about..

    The early modern period also so introducted ritual changes that friars often think of as dating back to the
Salve Procession after Vestition, St. Dominic Church, SF, 2012
days of Humbert of Romans in the thirteenth century.  Take, for example, the lighting of the Sanctus Candle during the Canon at Low Mass.  This was not made obligatory until the Rome Chapter of 1580 (ACG 5: 169), although it does seem to have been a custom at Solemn Mass already.  This introduction was again approved at Lisbon in 1618 (ACG 6: 296).  Bologna 1625 (ACG 6: 241) introduced the wearing of the cope and stole when incensing the Sacrament during Benediction, as well as requiring the singing of the Litany of the Blessed Virgin during the procession after Compline on Saturdays.  Finally, in 1622, the Chapter of Milan (ACG 6: 325) introduced the "Dominican" practice of moving to center of the altar for the Dominus Vobiscum when Mass is before the tabernacle so that the priest's back not be turned to the Sacrament.  This is a clear sign that Dominicans were adopting the modern practice of reservation of the Sacrament on the main altar.  This chapter also introduced the practice of  priests wearing the stole over their cappas when receiving Communion on Holy Thursday, as well as placing over the cappa of a deceased friar prior to interment.

    I had always wondered about the origin of the idea that medieval friars broke sleep to rise for "Midnight Matin" and then returned to their cells for a couple hours rest before Lauds.  This was not the case.  In the middle ages, the friars rose early, usually around 3 a.m. to sing both Matins and Lauds together, finishing before dawn.  I now know that the first example of breaking sleep is only witnessed at the Chapter of Valencia in 1647.  It was then confirmed at Rome in 1650 (ACG 7: 282), where the "usus" of rising for "Midnight Matins," is required of all priories in the order, "according to the custom of the provinces as to when midnight is."  This is the first time Matins is separated from Lauds as a "midnight" office."  But small houses, at least, could rise before dawn for the traditional single office of Matins-Lauds.  In the north the combined office of Matins-Lauds should be at 4 am in winter and 3 am in summer, as it was usually in all the middle ages.

    Finally, I now know when the Order finally adopted a ritual for distributing Communion to the laity present
at conventual Masses, something not done in the middle ages.  The Chapter of Rome, 1583 (ACG 5: 239) provided as follows:  First, the Confiteor was recited by the laity with the priest giving the two absolutions.  Then he asked each communicant, "Credis hunc esse verum Christum Deum et Hominem?" as he displayed the Host.  The recipient responded "Credo" and then recited the formula "Domine non sum dignus, etc." three  times.  The priest then gave Communion using the usual formula, "Corpus Domini nostri Iesu Christ," etc.

    I have also found some interesting legislation on music and the use of the organ, but will save that for another posting.

Monday, September 19, 2016


If you are in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. you may be interested in this event organised by 'Juventutem DC'. There will be a Low Mass in the Dominican rite at the Lourdes chapel in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, followed by the Dominican blessing of roses and Rosaries – please bring your own if you would like to avail of this sacramental blessing. There will also be a short talk after this entitled The Rosary: Medication against Spiritual Alzheimer's. Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. of the Province of England will deliver the talk and also say the Mass.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Gloria and Credo in the post-1960 Dominican Rite


I have been asked to summarize the use of the Gloria and Credo at Mass in the Dominican Rite according to the  rubrcs in force in 1962.  This means under the new ranking system of feasts and the new assignations of the chant ordinaries. Here is a summary


All 1st-class Feasts:
        Gloria and Credo are both always said
         Mass Ordinary I. "In Festis solemnibus" Graduale S.O.P., p. 126*ff
                 Except when it is a feast of the Blessed Virgin, then:
         Mass Ordinary V. "Sabbatis, Festis, et Octavis B.M.V." GSOP, p. 139*ff

All Sundays of the Year except Easter and Pentecost
       Credo is always said, Gloria is said outside of Advent, Lent, and Passiontide.
       Mass Ordinary II. "In Duplicibus communibus et Dominicis majoribus" GSOP p. 132*ff

2d-class feasts of Apostles:
        Gloria and Credo are both always said
        Mass Ordinary III. "In Duplicibus et Dominicis minoribus" GSOP, p.135*ff
 
 2d-class feasts of BVM:
        Gloria and Credo are both always said
        Mass Ordinary V. "Sabbatis, Festis, et Octavis B.M.V." GSOP, p. 139*ff

All other 2d-class feasts: 
         Gloria is said but not the Credo
         Mass Ordinary III. "In Duplicibus et Dominicis minoribus" p.135*ff

Note that during Paschal Time on 1st- and 2nd-class feasts. not of the Virgin, the Easter
        Kyrie is used from Mass Ordinary IV. "Tempore Paschali" p. 138*

 3d.- and 4th-class feasts of BVM (i.e. Votive on Saturday): 
         Gloria is always said, but not the Credo
         Mass Ordinary V. "Sabbatis, Festis, et Octavis B.M.V." GSOP, p. 139*ff

All other 3d-class feasts: 
         Gloria is said but not the Credo
         Mass Ordinary  VI. "In Semiduplicibus et Simplicibus" GSOP p.143*ff

All other 4th-class ferials and days of penance (i.e. 2d-class Ember Days) 
         Gloria and Credo are never said
         Mass Ordinary VI. "Profestis diebus"  GSOP p.145*ff with "Ite Missa" in 1985 Missal
         Note  the "Benedicamus Domino" is only used when some function IMMEDIATELY
              follows the Mass---e.g. Procession on Holy Thursday---see 1965 Missal

Other Mass Ordinaries may, of course, be substituted for the Dominican Cycle.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

St. Martin de Porres, Donatus


AN UPDATE (Aug. 4) AT THE END!

As some readers know, I am currently on research leave (commonly. but incorrectly. called "sabbatical") from my teaching at the Dominican School of Philosophy in Berkeley.  The project I have been working on will, I hope, result in a history of the non-ordained Dominican brothers.  Today these brothers are normally called "cooperator brothers," but in the past they were referred to as "lay brothers" (in contrast to priest brothers, who are "clerics") or, most commonly in written documents, conversi (singular conversus), a word hard to translate into English, but basically meaning an individual who has undertaken a "conversion" of life to live like a religious, often within the context of a monastery. In our order, however, conversi (lay brothers) made solemn vows and were not mere affiliates of the order, but brothers in the same sense that the clerics are and were. One of the surprises for me during this research  was to discover that there is no contemporary evidence whatsoever that the great Dominican saint Martin de Porres (1579–1639) was ever a lay or cooperator brother.

The usual version of the saint's life (for example, in Butler's Lives of the Saints, the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, or even Giuliana Cavallini's biography prepared for his canonization in 1962) says that originally Martin was first a member of the Dominican Third Order who was permitted to live in the Dominican community, what was and is still called a donatus, which might best be translated "oblate," a term usually associated with the Benedictines. Then, because of his holiness, he was supposedly allowed to make profession as a lay brother, the date usually being 1603.  This struck me as strange, as the oldest painting of the saint, reproduced in this post, does not show him in the habit of a conversus or lay brother.  Rather, he is wearing the habit of a tertiary.  Modern members of the Dominican Laity do not wear a habit, unlike those before the 1700s.  The reason is that before the late 1700s all Dominican tertiaries made a promise of celibacy. They were in a loose sense "religious" as we now understand the term.  Their habit was a white tunic bound with a leather belt and a black cape or mantle. They did NOT wear a scapular of any color.  Contrary to the usual images and statues, this is how St. Catherine of Siena dressed, as can be seen in the oldest painting of her by her contemporary Andrea Vanni, which I also reproduce in this post.  She correctly wears a white (tertiary) veil, no scapular, and a black mantle, just like Martin de Porres in the famous painting. Technically in the language of the time, Martin would have been a "religiosus donatus" or a "tertiarius professus."  The former term, donatus is still used for men who have made promises as a member of the Dominican laity but are allowed to live in a Dominican community and wear the modern clerical (white) habit.

Therein lies a problem that had been bothering me.  After his supposed profession as a lay brother in 1603 at the age of 24, Martin de Porres, would not have worn a tertiary habit. When professed, he would have worn the lay brothers' habit, which, in his time, had a gray scapular.  The lay brothers' scapular was changed to black in the late 1600s, after his death.  Nearly every painting and statue I have ever seen of Martin shows him, anachronistically, with the "modern" black lay brothers' scapular.  But the problem with the painting is that it portrays Martin in late middle age, not in his twenties, and he is still wearing the tertiary habit.  That the image is accurate is shown by a modern reconstruction of Martin's face based on forensic reconstruction from his skull.  I have also included a photo of that reconstruction to the right.You can read about this here. If accurate for the face, even more so for the habit. So, now the problem: why isn't the elderly Martin wearing a lay brother's habit?

In the course of my work, I discovered the startling reason.  After Martin's death, his obituary was included in the acts of the Dominican General Chapter of 1642.  When I reached those acts in the nine-volume Latin edition of the "acta" of all the chapters from 1220 to 1844, I was shocked to find that he is not called "conversus" but rather "donatus."  The text reads: "In provincia s. Ioannis de Perù in conventu Limensi ss. Rosarii obiit vir mirae virtutis et santimoniae fr. Martinus de Porres, donatus,"  That is: "In the province of St. John [the Baptist] of Peru, in the priory of the Holy Rosary in Lima, a man o f great virtues and holiness died, brother Martin de Porres, donatus."  Note it does not say "conversus" that is "lay brother."  And this is not an accident.  The same acts also give obituaries for two holy lay brothers of the Province of Peru, and it calls them "conversus."  This led me to try and find any evidence that contemporaries referred to St. Martin as a lay brother (conversus).  I found none.  Instead, I find that the life composed in Spain at the time of the first move to canonize him in 1675 specifically calls him "de la tercera Orden de N.P. Santo Domingo" ("of the third order of Our Holy Father Dominic"), not a lay brother.  And the process of his canonization published in 1686 calls him "religiosus donatus professus" ("professed oblate religious"), not "lay brother."  I have not found any evidence that anyone ever referred to him as a lay brother before the twentieth century.  In fact, at the time of his beatification in 1837, the life prepared for that process (which is available online) specifically calls him "terziario," a member of the Third Order, not a lay brother.


So where did the idea that he was a lay brother come from?  I suspect, and this is just a guess, that, it happened when statues started to be made of him after his beatification, like that reproduced on the left.  It was natural to portray him like a nineteenth- and twentieth-century donatus, who would have worn the "modern" lay brothers' habit.  No one would have remembered what a seventeenth-century tertiary habit looked like, just as they would not have known what a lay brother's habit of Martin's time (gray scapular and a large black poncho rather than the modern cappa or cape) would have looked like.  So the saint's image in modern art is, I suspect, the origin of the mistaken idea that he was a lay or cooperator brother.

UPDATE: I now have found more information on St.  Martin's status.  The Lima Process for his canonization, containing witnesses questioned in 1660, 1662, and 1671 (ed. Valencia, Spain, 1960), consistently refers to the saint as "religioso donado," as do the later documents I have already cited.  But the testimony given in 1683 at Lima by Bernardo de Medina, who wrote the first biography of Martin, reads as follows: "sa' che il detto servo di Dio Fra Martino de Porres fu religioso donato professo dell'ordine de Predicatori, e che in quanto ad giorno, mese, e anno che ricevette l'abito e professo', si rimette ai libri delle profezioni."  That is: "He knows that the said servant of God, Bro. Martin de Porres, was a professed oblate (donado) religious of the Order of Preachers, and as to the day, month, and year when he received the habit and professed, one may refer to the books of profession."  What this profession entailed, is explained in the Summarium prepared in 1732 as part of his canonization process.  It reads as follows: "Vix quindecim annos natus Ordini S. Dominici tamquam donatus  seu tertiarius laicus nomen dedit, ac post noviciatus annum, ad sollemnem trium votorum professionem, quod perraro hac tempestate donatis concessum est, die 2 iun ii anno 1603 admissus fuit."  That is :At about the age of fifteen years, [Martin] give in his name as a donatus or lay tertiary, and after a year of novitiate he was allowed on June 2, 1603, to make solemn profession of the three vows, something very rarely permitted to donati at that time.  I quote these texts from Acta Sanctorum 68 (Nov. III): 111, 115.

So St. Martin's status is now clear.  He was not a conversus or lay brother, but a tertiary oblate (donatus), however one who was granted the privilege of making solemn vows as would clerical friars, lay brothers, or cloistered nuns.  But he did so while remaining a donatus and not thereby changing his category to that of a lay brother.  So, the profession of 1603 and his tertiary habit in he painting are now both explained.  All that remains to trace is the origin of the erroneous identification of him as a lay brother, something that seems to be 20th-century.

Now (Aug. 28) another update! I just got a copy of Celia Cussen's book Black Saint of the Americas: The Life and Afterlife of Martín de Porres, which came out from Cambridge Univ. Press in 2014. This is a major work and the first "historical" study of St. Martin. She correctly identifies him as a donado. The "afterlife" section includes a review of images of the saint in art. These show, with one interesting exception that up to the 1800s he was always shown in the tertiary habit, not the lay brother's habit. The one exception she considers 17th-century, but it is "anonymous" and "whereabouts unknown." If it is authentic, it is the earliest example of the mistaken habit. Oddly, Dr. Cussen does not notice the discrepancy. I urge those intenersted in Martin and his remarkable life to take a look at this book. It seems that I am not the first to wonder about whether St. Martin was actually a lay brother.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Away from California on Research Leave

Greetings Readers!

As of July 2016, I am away from my office at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.  Most importantly this means that, if you want to order used Dominican Rite liturgical books, I cannot process the order as I am out of state.  So watch for the reappearance of the link "Buy Used Dominican Rite Liturgical Books" after I get back from my research leave ("sabbatical") in September 2017.  When that happens, I will be taking  orders.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Dominican Stabat Mater

Nuns Singing in the Bologna MS
As Good Friday is approaching and many churches sing the Stabat Mater at Stations of the Cross, I thought it would be suitable to reprint the transcription of the text and music of a thirteenth-century version of the Stabat Mater, recently discovered by Prof. Cesarino Ruini in a manuscript that once belonged to a convent of Dominican Nuns in Bologna, Italy, and on which I have already posted. A miniature of the Bologna nuns, from their manuscript, decorates this post.

The discovery of this manuscript, as explained in the article available here (in Italian), shows, by the date of the manuscript that the traditional ascription of authorship to Jacopone of Todi can no longer be sustained. The date, however, leaves open the possibility, often mentioned, that it is the work of Pope Innocent III.  Perhaps it was composed by the Dominincan nuns of Sant'Agnese in Bologna.

This version is interesting for a number of reasons. First, this is the earliest use of the text as a sequence. Until the discovery of this version, it was only known as a hymn until the late middle ages. This manuscript shows that the earliest known use of the text as a sequence was among Italian Dominican nuns in the 1200s. Next, the text includes not only a number of verbal variants, but also includes two verses absent from the commonly received version. Those who wish to examine these can download my transcription and compare the text to the received version here.

Even more interesting is the music. As pointed out to me by the Dominican nuns of Summit NJ, this ancient sequence borrows, with the exception of one stanza (cf. verses 19 and 20), the melodies of the Sequence of St. Dominic in the Dominican Rite. There are a number of minor musical variants as well. Those interested might want to compare the music to that found in the Dominican Gradual for the Mass of St. Dominic.

Through the kindness of a reader who converted the PDFs of this music into JPGs, here are images of the newly discovered 13th-Century Stabat Mater.  I am aware that these images are a bit blurry; if you click on them or download them, you will get a clearer image.



Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dominican Chants for Holy Week

I remind our readers, especially Dominicans, that the Cantus Passionis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi has been republished by Dominican Liturgy Publications.  This book contains the music for singing the Passion in Latin according to Matthew for Palm Sunday and the Passion according to John for Good Friday.  The texts have been shortened and reset to match the forms of 1962, which are to used when celebrating the Dominican Rite today.  A sample page is displayed ed to the right:

Those who purchase this book for liturgical use will want to order three copies, one each for the narrator, Christ, and the crowd.  The volume is bound in attractive hard cover.  You can read about this book and other offerings at Dominican Liturgy Publications.  I also remind readers that the PDF for the Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae, that is all the choir music of Holy Week in the Dominican Rite is available on the left side bar here at Dominican Liturgy.