Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sacramental Forms in the Dominican Rite

I. The Sacrament of Penance (Confession)

I recently posted on the left sidebar links to the Post-Vatican-II publications of the Dominican Order allowing adoption of various Dominican elements for use with the Rites of the reformed sacraments. I have been asked by friars for some explanation of forms for the sacraments where the traditional Dominican Rite had its own particular forms. This might be of topical interest in the wake of Summorum Pontificum.

The Dominican Rite is a monastic rite and, as such, does not have forms for Baptism, Confirmation, Orders, or Matrimony. Dominican friars, like other religious, are assumed to be adults, and they are celibates, so there is no need for Baptism, Confirmation, or Matrimony. When they become bishops they canonically cease to be members of the Order, so Dominican bishops use the Roman rituals. If a friar is serving in a parish or other place where baptisms are performed, marriages witnessed, or an emergency Confirmation of an infant must be done, they would use the Roman rituals. We do have a form of the Missa Pro Sponsis in our missals, but its readings and collects are borrowed from the Roman Rite and it is a post-Tridentine addition. It is used with the customary forms for marriage.

Aside from the Mass, two sacraments were, and are, regularly performed in monasteries: Penance (Confession) and Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick). So the Dominican Rite has its own forms for those sacraments and these were also used in pastoral service to non-Dominicans. Both, like the Dominican Mass, represent ritual practice of the thirteenth century rather than the fifteenth- century usages codified in the Roman Rite after the Council of Trent.

Penance According to the Dominican Rite

The major external difference between the Roman and Dominican rites of Penance is in vesture. Roman priests traditionally heard confessions in cassock and surplice wearing a purple stole. Dominicans heard (and may still hear) confessions wearing the habit (which is white) and the cappa (the black cape), without a stole. The traditional explanation of the absence of the stole is that the scapular (a white apron-like part of the habit) is considered a stole. I think this story unlikely. The lack of church vestments in our rite is probably a vestige of the early medieval practice of using vestments only during administration of Public Penance on Holy Thursday. "Private" sacramental penance was not usually administered with external formalities at the time of the foundation of the Order. The black cappa was penitential enough.

The formula of Dominican Rite Penance is different in text and form from that of the traditional Roman Rite. As not all readers may be familiar with the older Roman form, I will describe it. In the modern period, both rites began with the penitent confessing his or her sins and then proceeded to the absolutions.

The Roman "Common Absolution" began with an invocation of God's mercy (Misereatur tui) similar to the priest's prayer in the modern Penitential Rite at Mass. He then raised his right hand and prayed a two-part absolution prayer. The first part invoked God's pardon, absolution, and remission of sins in the third person; the second part, the formal absolution, is in first person and first absolved the penitent from excommunication, suspension (if in orders), and interdict, and then from sins with a single Sign of the Cross. The priest then added the prayer Passio Domini Nostri, which remains an option in the new Rite of Reconciliation.

In the Dominican form, the priest began by absolving the penitent from excommunication, suspension (if a cleric), and interdict, explicitly stating that this restored the penitent to the communion of the faithful. Putting this first reflects the ancient practice that only those in full communion can pray with the faithful or receive ecclesiastical sacraments and rites. So it begins the rite as a whole. The Dominican priest then recited the Misereatur in a form identical to that used during the Dominican Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.

In thirteenth-century practice, this Misereatur prayer probably followed a ritual now absent from the rite. It was very common for priests to help penitents make confession by using a Formula Confessionis in question and answer form: "Did you take the Lord's name in vain?" "Did you commit adultery" etc. Priests can still do this today, if the penitent seems to have trouble identifying sins; and it is often used when a penitent makes a general confession. What today is relatively uncommon, seems, from my research, to have been nearly universal in the 1200s. After confessing their sins, penitents said a Confiteor (or some other formula of contrition) to which the priest added the Misereatur prayer, which normally followed it, as at Mass.

The priest then pronounced the Absolution. The Dominican form, in comparison to the Roman, because it lacks the absolution from censures, focuses more directly on sins and judgment. This is a remarkable prayer and incorporates not only the typical thirteenth-century focus on God's mercy, but also an explicitly eschatological dimension. Here is my translation of the Dominican formula:

May Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, through his most gracious mercy, absolve you; and by his authority, through which I act, I absolve you of all your sins, so that you be absolved both here and before the tribunal of Our Lord, the same Jesus Christ, and so that you might have eternal life and live forever. In the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy + Spirit. Amen.

Here, for comparison, is the parallel prayer in the Roman Ritual:

May Our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and by his authority I absolve you from every bond of excommunication, suspension, and interdict, to the extent of my power and your need. Finally I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Note also the triple blessing in the Dominican form, something used in the Roman rite of Penance only by bishops. The Dominican, like the Roman, then concluded with the prayer Passio, which in the Dominican form mentions St. Dominic along with the Virgin, intentions as well as actions, and concludes with a final blessing in the name of the Trinity. Both the Dominican and Roman rituals provided shortened versions for use when penitents were many and a brief absolution for emergencies.

By analogy, in my opinion, as the use by Roman priests of older sacraments is now permitted for pastoral need, this form of absolution might be used by Dominican priests.

Those interested in seeing the whole formula in the original Latin may find it on the sidebar of this blog, "Dominican Liturgy," to the left of this post under "Domincan Rite Resources."

II. Viaticum: Communion of the Dying

As explained earlier, the rituals for the Sacraments in the Dominican Rite, our Rite is a monastic rite and presupposes the context of a religious house (which is commonly referred to by Dominicans as a "convent" even when it is a house of men) for the celebration of the sacraments. In the case of Confession and Mass, there is nothing particularly "monastic" about the rituals that make them more difficult to perform in a parochial or extra-conventual context than their parallels in the Roman Rite. This is not the case for the Dominican rituals for Viaticum and for Extreme Unction, what is called in the new Roman rite the "Anointing of the Sick." These rituals in our Rite properly require the presence of a choir of the friars and a sizable group of ministers. As the rite includes processions and music, it is not surprising that it is found in the Processionarium, which collects music for processions and other rites that are not part of Mass or Office.

In their complexity these rituals reflect those of the Italian/Roman family of liturgical books that I examined in chapter 10 of my Cities of God: the Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325 (University Park PA: Penn State Univ. Press, 2005)--See link on left sidebar. Italian/Roman books of that period envision the presence of a choir and sometimes as many as seven priests. In contrast, however, the Ambrosian books of the period envision no music and could be used by a single priest. This rite also had only two anointings, not seven, just like the modern Roman rite for anointing the sick.

The evidence from saints' lives, chronicles, synodalia, and other sources suggests that in the high middle ages, most lay people did not receive Extreme Unction. The rites of dying focused on Confession and Viaticum. Anointing seems to have been in great part a ritual for religious and for clerics living in community. The development of the Tridentine form of the Roman ritual in the later middle ages, which dropped the music and complex ceremonies so that a single priest could perform it, finally made it available to the laity on a wide basis. The rites I will now explain were pretty much exclusively used with in the monastery. Dominican priests engaged in pastoral work with the laity in the modern period used the Roman Ritual, with its simplified rite, when attending the dying at home or in the hospital.

The term "Last Rites" refers to a complex of three separate rituals, Confession, Communion as Viaticum, and Anointing (or in the modern order: Confession, Anointing, and Viaticum). The old and new Roman rituals include a form for administering all three ceremonies in a single ceremony. This continuous rite was, and is, commonly used. The Dominican "Last Rites," as they are preserved in our Processionale, appear as separate ceremonies. It is not assumed that they will take place in a single event. I have already discussed the Dominican form of Penance, the first rite of the "Last Rites." A sick friar or nun would have confessed, as did the laity, in a private ceremony using the forms I have previously described. When it appeared that the illness was terminal, but while the sick were still well enough to receive Communion, the next rite was final Communion (Viaticum).

When Viaticum was to be administered, the bell for Office was wrung in a special way to indicate that the brothers should assemble in the sacristy for the procession. The friars then went in procession to the tabernacle in this order: two acolytes in surplice carrying lighted processional candles, two friars without surplice holding a lantern and a bell, a friar with the holy water, a friar with cruets and lavabo bowel, friars of the community, friars with candles to escort the sacrament, umbrella or canopy bearer(s), the prior (or, if absent, a senior priest) wearing surplice with stole and humeral veil. All knelt. The prior removed the ciborium or pyx and covered it with his humeral veil. The umbrella or canopy was arranged over him and the candle-bearers around him. The procession then went to the sick room, singing the Gradual Psalms in tono directo.

On arrival at the sick room, the prior said Pax huic domui, and, after the response, intoned the Asperges, which was sung by the friars as he sprinkled the room. This ended, the verses and collect of this rite were sung. The prior then urged the sick friar to be reconciled to any present whom he had offended and to forgive any who had offended him. This done, the sick friar then recited the Confiteor in the Dominican form, with the prior pronouncing the Misereator and Absolutionem. The formula Ecce Angus Dei and Domine non sum dignus was not used as it was not a Dominican practice, although it was added to our Communion Rite at Mass in 1958, one of a number of Romanizations during the 1950s. It was not added to the Viaticum rite.

The prior then presented the Host to the sick friar and asked him: Credis quod hic sit Christus Salvátor Mundi? He responded: Credo. The prior then gave him Communion using the Dominican Viaticum formula: Corpus Dómini nostri Iesu Christi custódiat te, et perdúcat ad vitam ætérnam. The friar with the cruets washed the prior's fingers and the ablution was given to the sick friar to consume. The prior sang the collect Exaudi nos. The community then returned in procession to the sacristy, with umbrella or canopy folded, escort candles extinguished and no bell-ringing (unless there were additional Hosts to return to the tabernacle first).

The same ceremony was used in houses of nuns, with the priest chaplain as the celebrant. In contrast, ordinary Communion of the Sick, even in the monastery, used a much simpler form of the rite. A single priest came with the host preceded by a one acolyte, reciting (not singing) alternately the psalm Miserere. The question Credis was omitted and the normal Communion formula of our Rite (which omits the phrase et perducat from the Viaticum formula) was used.

Later, when the sickness became critical, it was time for Extreme Unction.

III. Extreme Unction: Anointing of the Dying

Like the Rite of Viaticum, the ritual of Extreme Unction in the Dominican Rite begins with the assembly of the community in the sacristy for the procession to the room where the sick friar is dying. The procession consists of the Holy Water bearer, two candle-bearing acolytes in surplice, a lantern bearer and a friar with a hand-cross, then comes the sacristan with the Oleum Infirmorum and a case containing six wool or cotton balls or six strips of linen. Last comes the celebrant followed by the community in order of seniority.

At the sick room the celebrant gives the greeting and sprinkles Holy Water during the singing of the Asperges, as for Viaticum. This complete, he intones the collect Domine Deus, qui per Apostolum tuum Iacobum. This prayer is also found in the old Roman ritual of Extreme Unction (with minor differences of phrasing), but in that rite it follows the Pater Noster after the anointings. As the prayer summarizes the institution of the rite in the Epistle of James, it serves as a scriptural warrant for the rite about to be preformed. In an interesting parallel the Epistle passage itself is now used at this point in the modern Roman ritual.

As in Viaticum, the dying friar asks and gives pardon for offenses given or received from community members. He then recites the Confiteor to which the celebrant gives the usual absolutions. The celebrant then offers the dying friar the Cross to kiss. This is a ceremony absent from the Tridentine Roman form, although nearly universal in the high middle ages––it was probably also in the Roman ceremony before its simplification. After the veneration of the Cross, the celebrant intones the antiphon: Intret orátio mea in conspéctu tuo: inclína aurem tuam ad preces nostras, Dómine. The friars of the convent chant the Seven Penitential Psalms. The anointing itself is performed during the chanting of these psalms.

The Dominican, like the old Roman, practice, consists of seven anointings: first the five senses, then the hands and feet (which, although requiring a anointing on both extremities, were considered single anointings for formula purposes). As in the Roman ritual, priests are anoninted on the back of the hands, others on the palms. This is so as not to "repeat" the anointing on the palms that priests receive at ordination. As the celebrant finishes each anointing, an appointed friar uses a different one of the cotton balls or linen strips to clean away the Holy Oil. They will be burned after the rite and the ashes put down the sacrarium in the sacristy, practice also part of the old Roman rite.

When the celebrant has finished, the sacristan washes his hands. The formulas used during for the Dominican anointings parallel the Roman ones, differing only in minor vocabulary choices or word order. In only one case is there a significant difference of meaning: the Dominican anointing of the mouth mentions the sin of taste (gustum) but not of that of speech (locutionem). This shorter form is probably the older one and focused, in parallel to the other formulas, on the corporal sense anointed alone. But the both sets of formula are so close that they certainly derive from a common ancestor.

When the community finished chanting the Penitential Psalms, the antiphon was sung again, and the Pater Noster was recited silently. After a series of verses and responses slightly shorter than the Roman use, the celebrant sings seven collects: Quaesumus Omnipotens Deus; Respice Domine; Deus qui facturae; Deus infirmitatis; Deus qui humano; Virtutum caelestium; and Domine sancte Pater. The Roman ritual has here only the three collects: Domine Deus (which opens the Dominican Rite ceremony); Respice Domine, and Domine Sancte Pater; all of which have minor verbal differences from the Dominican forms but clearly go back to a common source. The seventh collect finished, the priest imparts an absolution using a long prayer, absent from the Roman version, beginning Dominus Iesus Christus qui dixit discipulis suis. The community then leaves in procession to return to the sacristy. As with Viaticum, the same forms were used in convents of nuns when the priest chaplain administered Last Rites to a sister.

Those who know the old Roman ritual of Extreme Unction will notice that the Dominican form is shorter because it lacks a number of Roman elements: two of the three long Roman collects after the Asperges; the reading of Matthew 8: 5-10, 13; the Litany before the anointing; and the final blessing. In spite of these differences, both rites are clearly members of the same liturgical family and resemble and share prayers with the high medieval Italian / Roman forms of the rite I have studied. In practice, they differ most conspicuously in the absence of the Dominican chanted psalms and external formalities from the Roman. This difference, however, is late medieval. In the thirteenth century, Italian/Roman versions of the ceremony would still have assumed music and external formalities.

As I wrote earlier, a number of elements from the old Dominican rite of Extreme Unction, including the kissing of the Cross, were approved in the 1970s for use in the context of the new Roman Rite of Anointing of the Sick. We now have official Latin texts for the approved Dominican forms of the Roman Ritual for Anoiting and for Funerals. They can be downloaded on the left side bar of Dominican Liturgy. Only the Australian Province has produced English translations of the ceremonies. and they may be consulted at the Australian Province Website. They are not yet approved for use, but have been made available "for the sake of study."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Historical Dominican Liturgical Colors

A discussion the proper color for tabernacle veils and antependia at Requiem Masses, moved me to do some investigation about Dominican practices. The result was something of a surprise, and nothing about it is found in Bonniwell's history of our Rite.

Since the edition of 1687 edition of the Dominican Missal produced under the direction of the Master of the Order Antonin Cloche, O.P., Dominican vestment colors have been identical to those of the Roman use. Before that date, however, the practice was different. Use of white, red, and green basically followed the modern Roman use, but there were interesting exceptions. On simplex feasts of confessors, where the Roman use was white, the celebrant had a choice between using yellow or green. This use of yellow for confessors is a well-known aspect of the Sarum Rite.

The use of green assimilates, at least in the time after Epiphany and Trinity, simplex feasts to the ferial. This is not surprising, as the Dominican Rite of Humbert (1256) and the middle ages resisted the early modern practice of introducing so many saints' days and raising them in so much rank as to erase the ferial office and even that of Sundays (as was generally the case before the Pius X calendar reform). Indeed, the number of feasts above simplex was very limited in the ancient Dominican liturgy, even Apostles were only semidoubles. Although I cannot find any rubric on it, I suspect that the use of the ferial color was also at least an option on feasts of three lessons. In the 1200s and 1300s confessor feasts with yellow vestments included, among others, Gregory the Great, Benedict, Ambrose, Bernard, and Francis. All were only simplex feasts. It is also interesting that the vestment for the "highest feasts" was to be "the best one," but "a violet vestment cannot be used on Easter, nor a white one on Pentecost, nor a red one on Christmas."

Another surprise is the following rubric in the 1868 Ceremonial that does seem to go back to Humbert: "Violet may be used in place of black." This odd phrase speaks to a thirteenth-century development underway in Humbert's time. Innocent III forty years earlier had spoken of the liturgical colors as only "white, red, green, and black." But he mentions that violet has come into use in certain places. This Dominican rubric seems to reflect that older practice of using black not only for Requiems, but also on all other penitential days. So the friars had the option of conforming to the local use of violet during Lent, Advent, and Ember Days, where this had happened, but the assumption was they were still using black on those days as Innocent had considered normal. In 1869, of course, this rubric would also have permitted violet in place of black at Requiems–a practice that seems to have existed even in the Roman Rite in some places up to that time. Lest there be any confusion as to what the current Dominican practice was, the Caeremoniale of 1869 explicitly states that since the promulgation of the Cloche Missal these old rubrics completely abrogated and not to be followed. That they had to say this causes me a bit of suspicion. Were some Dominicans still following them? Perhaps the nineteeth-century French yellow chasuble decorating this post belonged to some French Dominicans?

The question of the interchangeability of black and violet brings up the issue of what color the paraments would be at a Requiem Mass if the Blessed Sacrament were reserved on the altar. Here what the Caermoniale of 1869 says and does not say is very interesting. About the tabernacle veil we read the following: "The exterior of the tabernacle is to be decently covered by a canopy (conopaeum). The canopy is to be of cotton, woolen, or hemp cloth, and to be white in color or, better, matching the color of the office of the day." The form of this rubric (which is not in Humbert) suggests to me, at least, that the specification "cotton, wool, or hemp" (gossypio sive lana sive cannabe), instead of "silk" (serica), is quite ancient and that the use of material matching the vestments, which would have been in silk, is later. Notice there is nothing to exclude use of any color of the day, including black. And I was unable to find any rubric to forbid a black conopaeum.

So, as of 1869, there was no formal rule in the Dominican Order against use of black tabernacle veils or black antependia on an altar with a tabernacle. But I suspect this was not the practice because of a related rubric. This involves an altar on which there is on-going Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. In that case, the altar paraments are all to be white, "even if that does not match the color of the vestments for a Mass being celebrated at it." This, of course, concerns Mass in the Presence of the Sacrament Exposed. Again, however, nothing is said about violet or black when the Sacrament is not exposed. Nevertheless, although the rubrics are silent, the earlier specification that the conopaeum may always be white, and the association of the Blessed Sacrament with white here, suggests that perhaps the practice in 1869 might have been to use a white conopaeum at Masses using black vestments at an altar with a tabernacle. But finding out what was actually done in our priories will require much more work than I am ready to undertake right now.

As it is my understanding that the debate over use of black or violet antependia at altars with tabernacles in the Roman Rite was only resolved in the mid-twentieth century, I am not surprised about the lack of clarity in the 1869 Caeremoniale. In any case, I suspect in the last century at least, many Dominican parishes probably just followed whatever the local Roman practice was. The medieval rubrics for Dominican vestment color options seem to envision this kind of accommodation to local practice. And I can assure you that not doing something the "Roman Way" can generate unpleasant comments from those who attend Dominican Rite Masses and from those who see pictures of them. The pressure on Dominicans to follow the common practice, alien to our traditions as it might be, will always be great.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Dominican Liturgical Texts

Readers may now found on the left sidebar links for downloading the following Latin liturgical texts issued by the Liturgical Commission of the Dominican Order in 2006:

Ritus Professionis: the new rite for Dominican professions, vestition with the habit, etc.

Ordo Unctionis Infirmorum: the new rites for Dominican practice in administering Anointing of the Sick and pastoral care of the sick.

Ordo Exsequiarum: the new rites for Dominican funerals and prayers for the dead.

Draft translations into English may be found at the site of the Australian Dominican Province.