· Mass 

D. From the Seventh Century to Modern Times. — After Gregory the Great (590-604) it is comparatively easy to follow the history of the Mass in the Roman Rite. We have now as documents first the three well-known sacramentaries. The oldest, called Leonine, exists in a seventh-century manuscript. Its composition is ascribed variously to the fifth, sixth, or seventh century (see LITURGICAL BOOKS). It is a fragment, wanting the Canon, but, as far as it goes, represents the Mass we know (without the later Gallican additions). Many of its collects, secrets, post-communions, and prefaces are still in use. The Gelasian book was written in the sixth, seventh, or eighth century (ibid.); it is partly Gallicanized and was composed in the Frankish Kingdom. Here we have our Canon word for word. The third sacramentary, caned Gregorian, is apparently the book sent by Pope Adrian I to Charlemagne probably between 781 and 791 (ibid.). It contains additional Masses since Gregory's time and a set of supplements gradually incorporated into the original book, giving Frankish (i. e. older Roman and Gallican) additions. Dom Suitbert Bäumer ("Ueber das sogen. Sacram. Gelasianum" in the "Histor. Jahrbuch", 1893, pp. 241-301) and Mr. Edmund Bishop ("The Earliest Roman Massbook" in "Dublin Review", 1894, pp. 245-78) explain the development of the Roman Rite from the ninth to the eleventh century in this way: The (pure) Roman Sacramentary sent by Adrian to Charlemagne was ordered by the king to be used alone throughout the Frankish Kingdom. But the people were attached to their old use, which was partly Roman (Gelasian) and partly Gallican. So when the Gregorian book was copied they (notably Alcuin d. 804) added to it these Frankish supplements. Gradually the supplements became incorporated into the original book. So composed it came back to Rome (through the influence of the Carlovingian emperors) and became the "use of the Roman Church". The "Missale Romanum Lateranense" of the eleventh century (ed. Azevedo, Rome, 1752) shows this fused rite complete as the only one in use at Rome. The Roman Mass has thus gone through this last change since Gregory the Great, a partial fusion with Gallican elements. According to Bäumer and Bishop the Gallican influence is noticeable chiefly in the variations for the course of the year. Their view is that Gregory had given the Mass more uniformity (since the time of the Leonine book), had brought it rather to the model of the unchanging Eastern liturgies. Its present variety for different days and seasons came back again with the mixed books later. Gallican influence is also seen in many dramatic and symbolic ceremonies foreign to the stern pure Roman Rite (see Bishop, "The Genius of the Roman Rite"). Such ceremonies are the blessing of candles, ashes, palms, much of the Holy Week ritual, etc.

    The Roman Ordines, of which twelve were published by Mabillon in his "Museum Italicum" (others since by De Rossi and Duchesne), are valuable sources that supplement the sacramentaries. They are descriptions of ceremonial without the prayers (like the "Cærimoniale Episcoporum"), and extend from the eighth to the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries. The first (eighth century) and second (based on the first, with Frankish additions) are the most important (see LITURGICAL BOOKS). From these and the sacramentaries we can reconstruct the Mass at Rome in the eighth or ninth century. There were as yet no preparatory prayers said before the altar. The pope, attended by a great retinue of deacons, subdeacons, acolytes, and singers, entered while the Introit psalm was sung. After a prostration the Kyrie eleison was sung, as now with nine invocations (see KYRIE ELEISON); any other litany had disappeared. The Gloria followed on feasts (see GLORIA IN EXCELSIS). The pope sang the prayer of the day (see COLLECT), two or three lessons followed (see LESSONS IN THE LITURGY), Interspersed with psalms (see GRADUAL). The prayers of the faithful had gone, leaving only the one word Oremus as a fragment. The people brought up the bread and wine while the Offertory psalm was sung; the gifts were arranged on the altar by the deacons. The Secret was said (at that time the only Offertory prayer) after the pope had washed his hands. The Preface, Sanctus, and all the Canon followed as now. A reference to the fruits of the earth led to the words "per quem hæc omnia" etc. Then came the Lord's Prayer, the Fraction with a complicated ceremony, the kiss of peace, the Agnus Dei (since Pope Sergius, 687-701), the Communion under both kinds, during which the Communion psalm was sung (see COMMUNION-ANTIPHON), the Post-Communion prayer, the dismissal (see ITE MISSA EST), and the procession back to the sacristy (for a more detailed account see C. Atchley, "Ordo Romanus Primus", London, 1905; Duchesne, "Origines du Culte chrétien", vi).

    It has been explained how this (mixed) Roman Rite gradually drove out the Gallican Use (see LITURGY). By about the tenth or eleventh century the Roman Mass was practically the only one in use in the West. Then a few additions (none of them very important) were made to the Mass at different times. The Nicene Creed is an importation from Constantinople. It is said that in 1014 Emperor Henry II (1002-24) persuaded Pope Benedict VIII (1012-24) to add it after the Gospel (Berno of Reichenau, "De quibusdam rebus ad Missæ offic,pertin.", ii), It had already been adopted in Spain, Gaul, and Germany. All the present ritual and the prayers said by the celebrant at the Offertory were introduced from France about the thirteenth century ("Ordo Rom. XIV", liii, is the first witness; P. L., LXXVIII, 1163-4); before that the secrets were the only Offertory prayers ("Micrologus", xi, in P.L., CLI, 984). There was considerable variety as to these prayers throughout the Middle Ages until the revised Missal of Pius V (1570). The incensing of persons and things is again due to Gallican influence; It was not adopted at Rome till the eleventh or twelfth century (Micrologus, ix). Before that time incense was burned only during processions (the entrance and Gospel procession; see C. Atchley, "Ordo Rom. Primus", 17-18). The three prayers said by the celebrant before his communion are private devotions introduced gradually into the official text. Durandus (thirteenth century, "Rationale," IV, liii) mentions the first (for peace); the Sarum Rite had instead another prayer addressed to God the Father ("Deus Pater fons et origo totius bonitatis," ed. Burntisland, 625). Micrologus mentions only the second (D. I. Chr. qui ex voluntate Patris), but says that many other private prayers were said at this place (xviii). Here too there was great diversity through the Middle Ages till Pius V's Missal. The latest additions to the Mass are its present beginning and end. The psalm "Iudica me", the Confession, and the other prayers said at the foot of the altar, are all part of the celebrant's preparation, once said (with many other psalms and prayers) in the sacristy, as the "Præparatio ad Missam" in the Missal now is. There was great diversity as to this preparation till Pius V established our modern rule of saying so much only before the altar. In the same way all that follows the "Ite missa est" is an afterthought, part of the thanksgiving, not formally admitted till Pius V.

    We have thus accounted for all the elements of the Mass. The next stage of its development is the growth of numerous local varieties of the Roman Mass in the Middle Ages. These medieval rites (Paris, Rouen, Trier, Sarum, and so on all over Western Europe) are simply exuberant local modifications of the old Roman rite. The same applies to the particular uses of various religious orders (Carthusians, Dominicans, Carmelites etc.). None of these deserves to be called even a derived rite; their changes are only ornate additions and amplifications; though certain special points, such as the Dominican preparation of the offering before the Mass begins, represent more Gallican influence. The Milanese and Mozarabic liturgies stand on quite a different footing; they are the descendants of a really different rite -- the original Gallican -- though they too have been considerably Romanized (see LITURGY).

    Meanwhile the Mass was developing in other ways also. During the first centuries it had been a common custom for a number of priests to concelebrate; standing around their bishop, they joined in his prayers and consecrated the oblation with him. This is still common in the Eastern rites. In the West it had become rare by the thirteenth century. St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) discusses the question, "Whether several priests can consecrate one and the same host" (Summa Theol., III, Q. lxxxii, a. 2). He answers of course that they can, but quotes as an example only the case of ordination. In this case only has the practice been preserved. At the ordination of priests and bishops all the ordained concelebrate with the ordainer. In other cases concelebration was in the early Middle Ages replaced by separate private celebrations. No doubt the custom of offering each Mass for a special intention helped to bring about this change. The separate celebrations then involved the building of many altars in one church and the reduction of the ritual to the simplest possible form. The deacon and subdeacon were in this case dispensed with; the celebrant took their part as well as his own. One server took the part of the choir and of all the other ministers, everything was said instead of being sung, the incense and kiss of peace were omitted. So we have the well-known rite of low Mass (missa privata). This then reacted on high Mass (missa solemnis), so that at high Mass too the celebrant himself recites everything, even though it be also sung by the deacon, subdeacon, or choir.

    The custom of the intention of the Mass further led to Mass being said every day by each priest. But this has by no means been uniformly carried out. On the one hand, we hear of an abuse of the same priest saying Mass several times in the day, which medieval councils constantly forbid. Again, many most pious priests did not celebrate daily. Bossuet (d. 1704), for instance, said Mass only on Sundays, Feasts, every day in Lent, and at other times when a special ferial Mass is provided in the Missal. There is still no obligation for a priest to celebrate daily, though the custom is now very common. The Council of Trent desired that priests should celebrate at least on Sundays and solemn feasts (Sess. XXIII, cap. xiv). Celebration with no assistants at all (missa solitaria) has continually been forbidden, as by the Synod of Mainz in 813. Another abuse was the missa bifaciata or trifaciata, in which the celebrant said the first part, from the Introit to the Preface, several times over and then joined to all one Canon, in order to satisfy several intentions. This too was forbidden by medieval councils (Durandus, "Rationale", IV, i, 22). The missa sicca (dry Mass) was a common form of devotion used for funerals or marriages in the afternoon, when a real Mass could not be said. It consisted of all the Mass except the Offertory, Consecration and Communion (Durandus, ibid., 23). The missa nautica and missa venatoria, said at sea in rough weather and for hunters in a hurry, were kinds of dry Masses. In some monasteries each priest was obliged to say a dry Mass after the real (conventual) Mass. Cardinal Bona (Rerum liturg. libr. duo, I, xv) argues against the practice of saying dry Masses. Since the reform of Pius V it has gradually disappeared. The Mass of the Presanctified (missa præsanctificatorum, leitourgia ton proegiasmenon) is a very old custom described by the Quinisext Council (Second Trullan Synod, 692). It is a Service (not really a Mass at all) of Communion from an oblation consecrated at a previous Mass and reserved. It is used in the Byzantine Church on the week-days of Lent (except Saturdays); in the Roman Rite only on Good Friday.

    Finally came uniformity in the old Roman Rite and the abolition of nearly all the medieval variants. The Council of Trent considered the question and formed a commission to prepare a uniform Missal. Eventually the Missal was published by Pius V by the Bull "Quo primum" (still printed in it) of 14 July 1570. That is really the last stage of the history of the Roman Mass. It is Pius V's Missal that is used throughout the Latin Church, except in a few cases where he allowed a modified use that had a prescription of at least two centuries. This exception saved the variants used by some religious orders and a few local rites as well as the Milanese and Mozarabic liturgies. Clement VIII (1604), Urban VIII (1634), and Leo XIII (1884) revised the book slightly in the rubrics and the texts of Scripture (see LITURGICAL BOOKS). Pius X has revised the chant (1908.) But these revisions leave it still the Missal of Pius V. There has been since the early Middle Ages unceasing change in the sense of additions of masses for new feasts, the Missal now has a number of supplements that still grow (LITURGICAL BOOKS), but liturgically these additions represent no real change. The new Masses are all built up exactly on the lines of the older ones.

    We turn now to the present Roman Mass, without comparison the most important and widespread, as it is in many ways the most archaic service of the Holy Eucharist in Christendom.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX, pp. 796-798
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor
Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York