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A History Of The Mass And Its Ceremonies In The Eastern And Western Church -Rev John O'Brien A.M.

AS we shall have occasion to refer frequently in the course of this work to several rites that do not accord in everything with that which is strictly termed Roman, we have thought it well to give the reader a general survey of them here, in order to make our remarks hereafter more intelligible and to save unnecessary repetition.

The learned Cardinal Bona, in speaking of the different rites within the Church, compares them to the dress of the spouse in the Canticle of Canticles, which abounded with such a variety of colors. At one time there was hardly a locality which had not some peculiarity of its own in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice. This, of course, was nothing touching the substance of the Sacrifice itself, nor, indeed, could it be considered a change in the general norma of the Mass. It was rather “præter Missam,” as theologians would say, than “contra Missam.” It was some embellishment or other in the ceremonies which was not prescribed in the ordinary rules laid down for the celebration of divine service. But as these peculiarities often gave rise to much dissension, and tended in some cases to the formation of national churches, the Holy See thought well to direct immediate attention to them and stay their rapid progress. The matter was taken in hand by the Sacrosanct Council of Trent, under the auspices of Pope Pius V. His Holiness issued a decree to the effect that all those rites which had not been approved of by Rome from time immemorial, or which could not prove an antiquity of two hundred years, should be abolished then and for ever. The result was that only three orders could prove an antiquity of two hundred years—viz., the Carthusians, Carmelites, and Dominicans—and only two of the other class could show that they had been approved of from time immemorial—viz., the Mozarabics and Ambrosians or Milanese. All these were allowed to stand and retain their own peculiar ceremonies and liturgical customs, but the rest were abolished at once. Some of the French primatial churches, such as that of Lyons, and one or two others throughout Germany and Naples, were permitted to retain some laudable customs of a minor nature; but as these did not constitute what would be technically called a rite, we shall give them but a passing notice.








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