Monday, December 22, 2008

Ask a Trad II

A question comes from someone who prefers to remain anonymous: Can a priest who is offering the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Novus Ordo), use the so called "prayers at the foot of the altar" or recite the so called "Last Gospel"? The answer to both questions is yes. Let me explain.

A priest COULD lead the congregation in the prayers at the foot of the altar before the Entrance procession or could say them privately himself during the entrance procession as Father Fessio recently admitted he's been doing with the Ordinary Form since learning to offer the Extraordinary Form. A more risky position, one that I will need to do some further research on, is that a priest hypothetically could process out and begin the prayers at the foot of the altar from the words Introibo ad altare Dei etc instead of the Sign of the Cross, and then at their completion, ascend the altar, and begin the Mass as per usual, that is of course unless there is something in the general instruction that prohibts the priest stopping in the entrance procession. But the other two options certainly hold. Regarding the Last Gospel. The Mass is ended literally when the deacon or celebrant says "the Mass is ended", and so anything COULD be done here. However, just like with the prayers at the foot of the altar, my assumption is that it is the intention of the General Instruction for the Roman Missal to instruct the priest to process without delay to the altar at the start of Mass and recess without delay at the end of Mass. THAT being said, It is entirely within the priests rights to do what was originally done with the Last Gospel and recite it from the sacristy, perhaps even over a microphone for the congregation to hear, God willing this would occur after the congregation recited the St. Michael prayer, something that the Holy Father John Paul II, took initial steps to restore to the end of Mass. Intresting times are ahead, we may see changes just like these, particularly the prayers at the foot of the altar, and the St. Michael prayer restored to the Ordinary Form.