· Mass 

   Liturgical Science


The most obvious and necessary study for ecclesiastical persons is that of the laws that regulate the performance of liturgical functions. From this point of view liturgical study is a branch of canon law. The rules for the celebration of the Holy Mysteries, administration of sacraments, etc., are part of the positive law of the Church, just as much as the laws about benefices, church property, or fasting, and oblige those whom they concern under pain of sin. As it is therefore the duty of persons in Holy orders to know them, they are studied in all colleges and seminaries as part of the training of future priests, and candidates are examined in them before ordination. Because of its special nature and complication liturgical science in this sense is generally treated apart from the rest of canon law and is joined to similar practical matters (such as preaching, visiting the sick, etc.) to make up the science of pastoral theology. The sources from which it is learned are primarily the rubrics of the liturgical books (the Missal, Breviary, and Ritual). There are also treatises which explain and arrange these rubrics, adding to them from later decrees of the S. Congregation of Rites. Of these Martinucci has not yet been displaced as the most complete and authoritative, Baldeschi has long been a favourite and has been translated into English, De Herdt is a good standard book, quite sound and clear as far as it goes but incomplete, Le Vavasseur is perhaps the most practical for general purposes.


The development of the various rites, their spread and mutual influence, the origin of each ceremony, etc., form a part of church history whose importance is becoming more and more realized. For practical purposes all a priest need know are the present rules that affect the services he has to perform, as in general the present laws of the Church are all we have to obey. But just as the student of history needs to know the decrees of former synods, even if abrogated since, as he studies the history of earlier times and remote provinces of the Church, because it is from these that he must build up his conception of her continuous life, so the liturgical student will not be content with knowing only what affects him now, but is prompted to examine the past to inquire into the origin of our present rite and study other rites too as expressions of the life of the Church in other lands. The history of the liturgies that deeply affect the life of Christians in many ways, that are the foundation of many other objects of study (architecture, art, music, etc.) is no inconsiderable element of church history. In a sense this study is comparatively new and not yet sufficiently organized though to some extent it has always accompanied the practical study of liturgy. The great mediæval liturgists were not content with describing the rites of their own time. They suggested historical reasons for the various ceremonies and contrasted other practices with those of their own Churches. Benedict XIV's treatise on the Mass discusses the origin of each element of the Latin liturgy. This and other books of seventeenth and eighteenth-century liturgiologists are still standard works. So also in lectures and works on liturgy in our first sense it has always been the custom to add historical notes on the origin of the ceremonies and prayers.

But the interest in the history of liturgy for its own sake and the systematic study of early documents is a comparatively new thing. In this science England led the way and still takes the foremost place. It followed the Oxford Movement as part of the revived interest in the early Church among An Anglicans. W. Palmer (Origines liturgicæ) and J. M. Neale in his various works are among those who gave the first impulse to this movement. The Catholic Daniel Rock ("Hierurgia" and "The Church of our Fathers") further advanced it. It has now a large school of followers. F.C. Brightman's edition of "Eastern Liturgies" is the standard one used everywhere. The monumental editions of the "Gelasian Sacramentary" by H.A. Wilson and the "Leonine Sacramentary " by C. L. Feltoe, the various essays and discussions by E. Bishop, C. Atchley, and many others keep up the English standard. In France Dom Guéranger (L'année liturgique) and his school of Benedictines opened a new epoch. Mgr Duchesne supplied a long-felt want with his "Origines du suite chrétien", Dom Cabral and Dom Leclereq ("Mon. eccl. lit.", etc., especially the monumental "Dict. d'arch. chrét. et de liturgie") have advanced to the first place among modern authorities on historical liturgy. From Germany we have the works of H. Daniel (Codex lit. eccl. universæ), Probst, Thalhofer, Gihr, and a school of living students (Drews, Rietschel, Baumstark, Buchwald, Rauschen). In Italy good work is being done by Semeria, Bonaccorsi, and others. Nevertheless the study of liturgy hardly yet takes the place it deserves in the education of church students. Besides the practical instruction that forms a part of pastoral theology, lectures on liturgical history would form a valuable element of the course of church history. As part of such a course other rites would be considered and compared. There is a fund of deeper understanding of the Roman Rite to be drawn from its comparison with others, Gallican or Eastern. Such instruction in liturgiology should include some notion of ecclesiology in general, the history and comparison of church planning and architecture, of vestments and church music. The root of all these things in different countries is the liturgies they serve and adorn.

Dogmatic Value

The dogmatic and apologetic value of liturgical science is a very important consideration to the theologian. It must, of course, be used reasonably. No Church intends to commit herself officially to every statement and implication contained in her official books, any more than she is committed to everything said by her Fathers. For instance, the Collect for St. Juliana Falconieri (19 June) in the Roman Rite refers to the story of her miraculous communion before her death, told at length in the sixth lesson of her Office, but the truth of that story is not part of the Catholic Faith. Liturgies give us arguments from tradition even more valuable than those from the Fathers, for these statements have been made by thousands of priests day after day for centuries. A consensus of liturgies is, therefore, both in space and time a greater witness of agreement than a consensus of Fathers, for as a general principle it is obvious that people in their prayers say only what they believe. This is the meaning of the well known axiom: Lex orandi lex credendi. The prayers for the dead, the passages in which God is asked to accept this Sacrifice, the statements of the Real Presence in the oldest liturgies are unimpeachable witnesses of the Faith of the early Church as to these points. The Bull of Pius IX on the Immaculate Conception ("Ineffabilis Deus", 8 Dec., 1854) contains a classical example of this argument from liturgy. Indeed there are few articles of faith that cannot be established or at least confirmed from liturgies. The Byzantine Office for St. Peter and St. Paul (29. June) contains plain statements about Roman primacy. The study of liturgy from this point of view is part of dogmatic theology. Of late years especially dogmatic theologians have given much attention to it. Christian Pesch, S.J., in his "Prælectiones theologiæ dogmaticæ" (9 vols., Freiburg i. Br.) quotes the liturgical texts for the theses as part of the argument from tradition. There are then these three aspects under which liturgiology should be considered by a Catholic theologian, as an element of canon law, church history, and dogmatic theology. The history of its study would take long to tell. There have been liturgiologists through all the centuries of Christian theology. Briefly the state of this science at various periods is this:

Liturgiologists in the Ante-Nicene period, such as Justin Martyr, composed or wrote down descriptions of ceremonies performed, but made no examination of the sources of rites. In the fourth and fifth centuries the scientific study of the subject began. St. Ambrose's "Liber de Mysteriis" (P. L., XVI, 405-26) the anonymous (pseudo-Ambrose) "De Sacramentis" (P. L., XVI, 435-82), various treatises by St. Jerome (e. g., "Contra Vigilantium" in P. L., XXIII, 354-367) and St. Augustine, St. Cyril of Jerusalem's "Catechetical Instructions" (P. L., XXXIII, 331-1154) and the famous "Peregrinatio Silvæ" (in the "Corpus script. eccl. Latin. of Vienna: "Itinera hierosolymitana", 35-101) represent in various degrees the beginning of an examination of liturgical texts. From the sixth to the eighth centuries we have valuable texts (the Sacramentaries and Ordines) and a liturgical treatise of St, Isidore of Seville ("De eccl. officiis" in P. L., LXXXIII). The Carlovingian revival of the eighth and ninth centuries began the long line of medieval liturgiologists. Alcuin (P. L., C-CI), Amalarius of Metz (P. L., XCIX, CV), Agobard (P. L., CIV), Florus of Lyons (P. L., CXlX, 15-72), Rabanus Maurus (P. L., CVII-CXII), and Walafrid Strabo (P. L., CXIV, 916--66) form at this time a galaxy of liturgical scholars of the first importance. In the eleventh century Berno of Constance ("Micrologus" in P. L., CLI, 974-1022), in the twelfth Rupert of Deutz ("De divinis officiis" in P. L., CLXX, 9-334), Honorius of Autun ("Gemma animæ" and "De Sacramentis" in P. L., CLXXII), John Beleth ("Rationale div. offic." in P. L., CCII, 9-166), and Beroldus of Milan (ed. Magistretti, Milan, 1894) carry on the tradition. In the thirteenth century see DURANDUS) is the most famous of all the William Durandus of Mende ("Rationale div. medieval liturgiologists. There is then a break till the sixteenth century. The discussions of the Reformation period called people's attention again to liturgies, either as defenses of the old Faith or as sources for the compilation of reformed services.

From this time editions of the old rites were made for students, with commentaries. J. Clichtove ("Elucidatorium eccl.", Paris, 1516) and J. Cochlæus ("Speculum ant. devotionis", Mainz, 1549) were the first editors of this kind. Claude de Sainctes, Bishop of Evreux, published a similar collection ("Liturgiæ sive missæ ss. Patrum", Antwerp, 1562). Pamelius's " Liturgies. latin." (Cologne, 157 1) is a valuable edition of Roman, Milanese, and Mozarabic texts. Melchior Hittorp published a collection of old commentaries on the liturgy ("De Cath. eccl. div. offic. " Cologne, 1568) which was re-edited in Bigne's "Bibl. vet. Patrum.", X (Paris, 1610). The seventeenth century opened a great period. B. Gavanti ("Thesaurus sacr. rituum", re-edited by Merati, Rome, 1736-8) and H. Menard, O.S.B. ("Sacramentarium Gregorianum" in P. L., LXXVIII) began a new line of liturgiologists. J. Goar, O.P. ("Euchologion", Paris, 1647), and Leo Allatius in his various dissertations did great things for the study of Eastern rites. The Oratorian J. Morin ("Comm. hist. de disciplina in admin. Sac. Poen." Paris 1651, and "Comm. de sacris eccl. ordinationibus", Paris, 1655). Cardinal John Bons ("Rerum lit. libri duo", Rome, 1671), Card. Tommasi ("Codices sacramentorum", Rome, 1680; "Antiqui libri missarum ", Rome, 1691), J. Mabillon, O.S.B. ("Musæum Italicum" Paris 1687-9), E. Martène, O.S.B. (" De ant. eccl. ritibus; Antwerp, 1736-8), represent the highest point of liturgical study. Dom Claude de Vert wrote a series of treatises on liturgical matters. In the eighteenth century the most important names are: Benedict XIV ("De SS. Sacrificio Missæ", republished at Mainz, 1879), E. Renaudot ("Lit. orient. collectio ", Paris, 1716), the four Assemani, Maronites ("Kalendaria eccl. universæ", Rome, 1755; "Codex lit. eccl. universæ", Rome, 1749-66, etc.) Muratori ("Liturgia romana vetus", Venice, 1748). So we come to the revival of the nineteenth century, Dom Guéranger and the modern authors already mentioned.

RENAUDOT, Liturgiarum orientalium collectio (Frankfurt, 1847); MARTENE Le antiquis ecclesioe ritibus (Antwerp and Milan, 1736-8); ASSEMANI, Codex liturgicus ecclesioe universoe (Rome, 1749-66); DANIEL, Codex liturgicus ecclesioe universoe (Leipzig, 1847); DENZIGER, Ritus Orientalium (Wurzburg, 1863); NILLES, Kalendarium manuals (Innsbruck, 1896); HAMMOND, Liturgies, Eastern and Western (Oxford, 1878); BRIGHTMAN, Eastern Liturgies (Oxford, 1896); CABROL, Introduction aux études liturgiques (Paris, 1907); RIETSCHEL, Lehrbuch der Liturgik (Berlin, 1900); CLEMEN, Quellenbuch zur praktischen Theologie, 1: Liturgik (Giessen, 1910); The Prayer-books of Edward VI and Elizabeth are reprinted in the Ancient and Modern Library of Theological Literature (London); PROCTOR AND FRERE, A New History of the Book of Common Prayer (London, 1908); MAUDE, A History of the Book of Common Prayer (London, 1899).


The only important rite peculiar to the Benedictine Order is the Benedictine Breviary (Breviarium Monasticum). St. Benedict devotes thirteen chapters (viii-xx), of his rule to regulating the canonical hours for his monks, and the Benedictine Breviary is the outcome of this regulation. It is used not only by the so-called Black Benedictines, but also by the Cistercians, Olivetans, and all those orders that have the Rule of St. Benedict as their basis. The Benedictines are not at liberty to substitute the Roman for the Monastic Breviary; by using the Roman Breviary they would not satisfy their obligation of saying the Divine Office. Each congregation of Benedictines has its own ecclesiastical calendar.


The rite in use among the Carmelites since about the middle of the twelfth century is known by the name of the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre, the Carmelite Rule, which was written about the year 1210, ordering the hermits of Mount Carmel to follow the approved custom of the Church, which in this instance meant the Patriarchal Church of Jerusalem: "Hi qui litteras noverunt et legere psalmos, per singulas horas eos dicant qui ex institutione sanctorum patrum et ecelesiæ approbata consuetudine ad horas singulas sunt deputati." This Rite of the Holy Sepulchre belonged to the Gallican family of the Roman Rite; it appears to have descended directly from the Parisian Rite, but to have undergone some modifications pointing to other sources. For, in the Sanctorale we find influences of Angers, in the proses traces of meridional sources, while the lessons and prayers on Holy Saturday are purely Roman. The fact is that most of the clerics who accompanied the Crusaders were of French nationality; some even belonged to the Chapter of Paris, as is proved by documentary evidence. Local influence, too, played an important part. The Temple itself, the Holy Sepulchre, the vicinity of the Mount of Olives, of Bethany, of Bethlehem, gave rise to magnificent ceremonies, connecting the principal events of the ecclesiastical year with the very localities where the various episodes of the work of Redemption has taken place. The rite is known to us by means of some manuscripts one (Barberini 659 of A. D. 1160) in the Vatican library, another at Barletta, described by Kohler (Revue de I'Orient Latin, VIII, 1900-01, pp. 383-500) and by him ascribed to about 1240.

The hermits on Mount Carmel were bound by rule only to assemble once a day for the celebration of Mass, the Divine Office being recited privately. Lay brothers who were able to read might recite the Office, while others repeated the Lord's Prayer a certain number of times, according to the length and solemnity of the various offices. It may be presumed that on settling in Europe (from about A. D. 1240) the Carmelites conformed to the habit of the other mendicant orders with respect to the choral recitation or chant of the Office, and there is documentary evidence that on Mount Carmel itself the choral recitation was in force at least in 1254. The General Chapter of 1259 passed a number of regulations on liturgical matters, but, owing to the loss of the acts, their nature is unfortunately not known. Subsequent chapters very frequently dealt with the rite chiefly adding new feasts, changing old established customs, or revising rubrics. An Ordinal, belonging to the second half of the thirteenth century, is preserved at Trinity College, Dublin, while portions of an Epistolarium of about 1270 are at the Maglia, becchiana at Florence (D6, 1787). The entire Ordinal was rearranged and revised in 1312 by Master Sibert de Beka, and rendered obligatory by the General Chapter, but it experienced some difficulty in superseding the old one. Manuscripts of it are preserved at Lambeth (London), Florence, and else where. It remained in force until 1532, when a (committee was appointed for its revision; their work was approved in 1539, but published only in 1544 after the then General Nicholas Audet had introduced some further changes. The, reform of the Roman liturgical books under St. Pius V called for a corresponding reform of the Carmelite Rite, which was taken in hand in 1580, the Breviary appearing in 1584 and the Missal in 1587. At the same time the Holy See withdrew the right hitherto exercised by the chapters and the generals of altering the liturgy of the order, and placed all such matters in the hands of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. The publication of the Reformed Breviary of 1584 caused the newly established Discaleed Carmelites to abandon the ancient rite once for all and to adopt the Roman Rite instead. Besides the various manuscripts of the Ordinal already mentioned, we have examined a large number of manuscript missals and breviaries preserved in public and private libraries in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, and other countries. We have seen most of the early prints of the Missal enumerated by Weale, as well as some not mentioned by him, and the breviaries of 1480, 1490, 1504, 1516 (Horæ), 1542, 1568, 1575, and 1579.

Roughly speaking, the ancient Carmelite Rite may be said to stand about half way between the Carthusian and the Dominican rites. It shows signs of great antiquity -- e.g. in the absence of liturgical colours, in the sparing use of altar candles (one at low Mass, none on the altar itself at high Mass but only acolytes' torches, even these being extinguished during part of the Mass, four torches and one candle in choir for Tenebræ); incense, likewise, is used rarely and with noteworthy restrictions; the Blessing at the end of the Mass is only permitted where the custom of the country requires it; passing before the tabernacle, the brethren are directed to make a profound inclination, not a genuflexion. Many other features might be quoted to show that the whole rite points to a period of transition. Already according to the earliest Ordinal Communion is given under one species, the days of general Communion being seven, later on ten or twelve a year with leave for more frequent Communion under certain conditions. Extreme Unction was administered on the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, both hands (the palms, with no distinction between priests and others) and the feet superius. The Ordinal of 1312 on the contrary orders the hands to be anointed exterius, but also without distinction for the priests; it moreover adds another anointing on the breast (super pectus: per ardorem libidinis).

In the Mass there are some peculiarities. the altar remains covered until the priest and ministers are ready to begin, when the acolytes then roll back the cover; likewise before the end of the Mass they cover the altar again. On great feasts the Introit is said three times, i.e. it is repeated both before and after the Gloria Patri; besides the Epistle and Gospel there is a lesson or prophecy to be recited by an acolyte. At the Lavabo the priest leaves the altar for the piscina where he says that psalm, or else Veni Creator Spiritus or Deus misereatur. Likewise after the first ablution he goes to the piscina to wash his fingers. During the Canon of the Mass the deacon moves a fan to keep the flies away, a custom still in use in Sicily and elsewhere. At the word fregit in the form of consecration, the priest, according to the Ordinal of 1312 and later rubrics, makes a movement as if breaking the host. Great care is taken that the smoke of the thurible and of the torches do not interfere with the clear vision of the host when lifted up for the adoration of the faithful; the chalice, however, is only slightly elevated. The celebrating priest does not genuflect but bows reverently. After the Pater Noster the choir sings the psalm Deus venerunt genies for the restoration of the Holy Land. The prayers for communion are identical with those of the Sarum Rite and other similar uses, viz. domine sancte pater, Domine Jesu Christe (as in the Roman Rite), and Salve salus mundi. The Domine non sum dignus was introduced only in 1568. The Mass ended with Dominus vobiscum, Ite missa est (or its equivalent) and Placeat. The chapter of 1324 ordered the Salve regina to be said at the end of each canonical hour as well as at the end of the Mass. The Last Gospel, which in both ordinals serves for the priest's thanksgiving, appears in the Missal of 1490 as an integral part of the Mass. On Sundays and feasts there was, besides the festival Mass after Terce or Sext, an early Mass (matutina) without solemnities, corresponding to the commemorations of the Office. From Easter till Advent the Sunday Mass was therefore celebrated early in the morning, the high Mass being that of the Resurrection of our Lord; similarly on these Sundays the ninth lesson with its responsory was taken from one of the Easter days; these customs had been introduced soon after the conquest of the Holy Land. A solemn commemoration of the Resurrection was held on the last Sunday before Advent; in all other respects the Carmelite Liturgy reflects more especially the devotion of the order towards the Blessed Virgin.

The Divine Office also presents some noteworthy features. The first Vespers of certain feasts and the Vespers during Lent have a responsory usually taken from Matins. Compline has various hymns according to the season, and also special antiphons for the Canticle. The lessons at Matins follow a somewhat different plan from those of the Roman Office. The singing of the genealogies of Christ after Matins on Christmas and the Epiphany gave rise to beautiful ceremonies. After Tenebræ in Holy Week (sung at midnight) we notice the chant of the Tropi; all the Holy Week services present interesting archaic features. Other points to be mentioned are the antiphons Pro fidei meritis etc. on the Sundays from Trinity to Advent and the verses after the psalms on Trinity, the feasts of St. Paul, and St. Laurence. The hymns are those of the Roman Office; the proses appear to be a uniform collection which remained practically unchanged from the thirteenth century to 1544, when all but four or five were abolished. The Ordinal prescribes only four processions in the course of the year, viz. on Candlemas, Palm Sunday, the Ascension, and the Assumption.

The calendar of saints, in the two oldest recensions of the Ordinal, exhibits some feasts proper to the Holy Land, namely some of the early bishops of Jerusalem, the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Lazarus. The only special features were the feast of St. Anne, probably due to the fact that the Carmelites occupied for a short time a convent dedicated to her in Jerusalem (vacated by Benedictine nuns at the capture of that city in 1187), and the octave of the Nativity of Our Lady, which also was proper to the order. In the works mentioned below we have given the list of feasts added in the course of three centuries, and shall here speak only of a few. The Chapter of 1306 introduced those of St. Louis, Barbara, Corpus Christi, and the Conception of Our Lady (in Conceptione seu potius veneratione sanctificationis B. V.); the Corpus Christi procession, however, dates only from the end of the fifteenth century. In 1312 the second part of the Confiteor, which till then had been very short, was introduced. Daily commemorations of St. Anne and Sts. Albert and Angelus date respectively from the beginning and the end of the fifteenth century, but were transferred in 1503 from the canonical Office to the Little Office of Our Lady. The feast of the "Three Maries" dates from 1342, those of the Visitation, of Our Lady ad nives, and the Presentation from 1391. Feasts of the order were first introduced towards the end of the fourteenth century -- viz. the Commemoration (Scapular Feast) of 16 July appears first about 1386; St. Eliseus, prophet and St. Cyril of Constantinople in 1399; St. Albert in 1411; St. Angelus in 1456. Owing to the printing of the first Breviary of the order at Brussels in 1480, a number of territorial feasts were introduced into the order, such as St. Joseph, the Ten Thousand Martyrs, the Division of the Apostles. The raptus of St. Elias (17 June) is first to be found in the second half of the fifteenth century in England and Germany; the feast of the Prophet (20 July) dates at the earliest from 1551. Some general chapters, especially those of 1478 and 1564, added whole lists of saints, partly of real or supposed saints of the order, partly of martyrs whose bodies were preserved in various churches belonging to the Carmelites, particularly that of San Martino ai Monti in Rome. The revision of 1584 reduced the Sanctorale to the smallest possible dimensions, but many feasts then suppressed were afterwards reintroduced.

A word must be added about the singing. The Ordinal of 1312 allows fauxbourdon, at least on solemn occasions; organs and organists are mentioned with ever-increasing frequency from the first years of the fifteenth century, the earliest notice being that of Mathias Johannis de Lucca, who in 1410 was elected organist at Florence; the organ itself was a gift of Johannes Dominici Bonnani, surnamed Clerichinus, who died at an advanced age on 24 Oct., 1416.

ZIMMERMAN, Le cérémonial de Maitre Sibert de Beka in Chroniques du Carmel Jambes-lez-Namur, 1903-5); IDEM, Ordinaire de l'Ordre de Notre-Dame du Mont Carmel (Paris, 1910), being the thirteenth volume of Bibliothèque liturgique; WESSELS, Ritus Ordinis in Analecta Ordinis Carmelitarum (Rome, 1909); WEALE, Bibliographia liturgica (London, 1886). The oldest Ordinal, now in Dublin but of English origin, written after 1262 and before the publication of the Constitution of Boniface VIII, "Gloriosus Deus," C. Gloriosus, de Reliquiis, in Sexto, has not yet been printed.


This rite is to be found in the liturgical books of the order. The collection, composed of fifteen books, was made by the General Chapter of Cîteaux, most probably in 1134; they are now included in the Missal, Breviary, Ritual, and calendar, or Martyrology. When Pius V ordered the entire Church to conform to the Roman Missal and Breviary, he exempted the Cistercians from this law, because their rite had been more than 400 years in existence. Under Claude Vaussin, General of the Cistercians (in the middle of the seventeenth century), several reforms were made in the liturgical books of the order, and were approved by Alexander Vll, Clement IX, and Clement XIII. These approbations were confirmed by Pius IX on 7 Feb., 1871, for the Cistercians of the Common as well as for those of the Strict Observance. The Breviary is quite different from the Roman, as it follows exactly the prescriptions of the Rule of St. Benedict, with a very few minor additions. St. Benedict wished the entire Psalter recited each week; twelve psalms are to be said at Matins when there are but two Nocturns; when there is a third Nocturn, it is to be composed of three divisions of a canticle, there being in this latter case always twelve lessons. Three psalms or divisions of psalms are appointed for Prime, the Little Hours, and Compline (in this latter hour the "Nunc dimittis" is never said), and always four psalms for Vespers. Many minor divisions and directions are given in St. Benedict's Rule.

In the old missal before the reform of Claude Vaussin, there were wide divergences between the Cistercian and Roman rites. The psalm "Judica" was not said, but in its stead was recited the "Veni Creator"; the "Indulgentiam" was followed by the "Pater" and "Ave", and the "Oramus te Domine" was omitted in kissing the altar. After the "Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum", the "Agnus Dei" was said thrice, and was followed immediately by "Hæc sacrosancta commixtio corporis", said by the priest while placing the small fragment of the Sacred Host in the chalice; then the "Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei Vivi" was said, but the "Corpus Tuum" and "Quod ore sumpsimus" were omitted. The priest said the "Placeat" as now, and then "Meritis et precibus istorum et onmium sanctorum. Suorum misereatur nostri Omnipotens Dominus. Amen", while kissing the altar; with the sign of the Cross the Mass was ended. Outside of some minor exceptions in the wording and conclusions of various prayers, the other parts of the Mass were the same as in the Roman Rite. Also in some Masses of the year the ordo was different; for instance, on Palm Sunday the Passion was only said at the high Mass, at the other Masses a special gospel only being said. However, since the time of Claude Vaussin the differences from the Roman Mass are insignificant.

In the calendar there are relatively few feasts of saints or other modern feasts, as none were introduced except those especially prescribed by Rome for the Cistercian Order; this was done in order to adhere as closely as possible to the spirit of St. Benedict in prescribing the weekly recitation of the Psalter. The divisions of the feasts are: major or minor feast of sermon; major or minor feast of two Masses; feast of twelve lessons and Mass; feast of three lessons and Mass; feast of commemoration and Mass; then merely a commemoration; and finally the feria.

The differences in the ritual are very small. As regards the last sacraments, Extreme Unction is given before the Holy Viaticum, and in Extreme Unction the word "Peccasti" is used instead of the "Deliquisti" in the Roman Ritual. In the Sacrament of Penance a shorter form of absolution may be used in ordinary confessions.

Missale Cisterciense, MS. of the latter part of the fourteenth century; Mis. Cist. (Strasburg, 1486); Mis. Cist. (Paris, 1516, 1545, 1584); Regula Ssmi Patris Benedicti; Breviarium Cist. cum Bulla Pii Papoe IX die 7 Feb., 1871; BONA, Op. omnia (Antwerp, 1677); GUIGNART, Mon. primitifs de la règle cist. (Dijon, 1878); Rubriques du bréviaire cist., by a religious of La Grande Trappe (1882); TRILHE, Mémoire sur le projet de cérémonial cist. (Toulouse, 1900); IDEM, Man. Coeremoniarum juxta usum S.O. Cist. (Westmalle, 1908).


A name denoting the distinctive ceremonies embodied in the privileged liturgical books of the Order of Preachers.

(a) Origin and development

The question of a special unified rite for the order received no official attention in the time of St. Dominic, each province sharing in the general liturgical diversities prevalent throughout the Church at the time of the order's confirmation (1216). Hence, each province and often each convent had certain peculiarities in the text and in the ceremonies of the Holy Sacrifice and the recitation of the Office. The successors of St. Dominic were quick to recognize the impracticability of such conditions and soon busied themselves in an effort to eliminate the embarrassing distinctions. They maintained that the safety of a basic principle of community life unity of prayer and worship-was endangered by this conformity with different diocesan conditions. This belief was impressed upon them more forcibly by the confusion that these liturgical diversities occasioned at the general chapters of the order where brothers from every province were assembled.

The first indication of an effort to regulate liturgical conditions was manifested by Jordan of Saxony, the successor of St. Dominic. In the Constitutions (1228) ascribed to him are found several rubrics for the recitation of the Office. These insist more on the attention with which the Office should be said than on the qualifications of the liturgical books. However, it is said that Jordan took some steps in the latter direction and compiled one Office for universal use. Though this is doubtful, it is certain that his efforts were of little practical value, for the Chapters of Bologna (1240) and Paris (1241) allowed each convent to conform with the local rites. The first systematic attempt at reform was made under the direction of John the Teuton, the fourth master general of the order. At his suggestion the Chapter of Bologna (1244) asked the delegates to bring to the next chapter (Cologne, 1245) their special rubrics for the recitation of the Office, their Missals, Graduals, and Antiphonaries, "pro concordando officio". To bring some kind of order out of chaos a commission was appointed consisting of four members, one each from the Provinces of France, England, Lombardy, and Germany, to carry out the revision at Angers. They brought the result of their labours to the Chapter of Paris (1246), which approved the compilation and ordered its exclusive use by the whole Order. This same chapter approved the "Lectionary" which had been entrusted to Humbert of Romains for revision. The work of the commission was again approved by the Chapters of Montepulciano (1247) and Paris (1248).

But dissatisfaction with the work of the commission was felt on all sides, especially with their interpretation of the rubrics. They had been hurried in their work, and had left too much latitude for local customs. The question was reopened and the Chapter of London (1250) asked the commission to reassemble at Metz and revise their work in the light of the criticisms that had been made; the result of this revision was approved at the Chapters of Metz (1251) and Bologna (1252) and its use made obligatory for the whole order. It was also ordained that one copy of the liturgical books should be placed at Paris and one at Bologna, from which the books for the other convents should be faithfully copied. However, it was recognized that these books were not entirely perfect, and that there was room for further revision. Though this work was done under the direction of John the Teuton, the brunt of the revision fell to the lot of Humbert of Romains, then provincial of the Paris Province. Humbert was elected Master General of the Chapter of Buda (1254) and was asked to direct his attention to the question of the order's liturgical books. He subjected each of them to a most thorough revision, and after two years submitted his work to the Chapter of Paris (1256). This and several subsequent chapters endorsed the work, effected legislation guarding against corruption, constitutionally recognized the authorship of Humbert, and thus once and for all settled a common rite for the Order of Preachers throughout the world.

(b) Preservation

Clement IV, through the general, John of Vercelli, issued a Bull in 1267 in which he lauded the ability and zeal of Humbert and forbade the making of any changes without the proper authorization. Subsequent papal regulation went much further towards preserving the integrity of the rite. Innocent XI and Clement XII prohibited the printing of the books without the permission of the master general and also ordained that no member of the order should presume to use in his fulfilment of the choral obligation any book not bearing the seal of the general and a reprint of the pontifical Decrees. Another force preservative of the special Dominican Rite was the Decree of Pius V (1570), imposing a common rite on the universal Church but excepting those rites which had been approved for two hundred years. This exception gave to the Order of Friars Preachers the privilege of maintaining its old rite, a privilege which the chapters of the order sanctioned and which the members of the order gratefully accepted. It must not be thought that the rite has come down through the ages absolutely without change. Some slight corruptions crept in despite the rigid legislation to the contrary. Then new feasts have been added with the permission of the Roman Pontiffs and many new editions of the liturgical books have been printed. Changes in the text, when they have been made, have always been effected with the idea of eliminating arbitrary mutilations and restoring the books to a perfect conformity with the old exemplars at Paris and Bologna. Such were the reforms of the Chapters of Salamanca (1551), Rome (1777), and Ghent (1871). Several times movements have been started with the idea of conforming with the Roman Rite; but these have always been defeated, and the order still stands in possession of the rite conceded to it by Pope Clement in 1267.

(c) Sources of the rite

To determine the sources of the Dominican Rite is to come face to face with the haze and uncertainty that seems to shroud most liturgical history. The thirteenth century knew no unified Roman Rite. While the basis of the usages of north-western Europe was a Gallicanized-Gregorian Sacramentary sent by Adrian IV to Charlemagne, each little locality had its own peculiar distinctions. At the time of the unification of the Dominican Rite most of the convents of the order were embraced within the territory in which the old Gallican Rite had once obtained and in which the Gallico-Roman Rite then prevailed. Jordan of Saxony, the pioneer in liturgical reform within the a order, greatly admired the Rite of the Church Paris and frequently assisted at the recitations of the Office at Notre-Dame. Humbert of Romains, who played so important a part in the work of unification, was the provincial of the French Province. These facts justify the opinion that the basis of the Dominican Rite was the typical Gallican Rite of the thirteenth century. But documentary evidence that the rite was adapted from any one locality is lacking. The chronicles of the order state merely that the rite is neither the pure Roman nor the pure Gallican, but based on the Roman usage of the thirteenth century, with additions from the Rites of Paris and other places in which the order existed. Just from where these additions were obtained and exactly what they were cannot be determined, except in a general way, from an examination of each distinctive feature.

Two points must be emphasized here: (1) the Dominican Rite is not an arbitrary elaboration of the Roman Rite made against the spirit of the Church or to give the order an air of exclusiveness, nor can it be said to be more gallicanized then any use of the Gallico-Roman Rite of that period. It was an honest and sincere attempt to harmonize and simplify the widely divergent usages of the early half of the thirteenth century. (2) The Dominican Rite, formulated by Humbert, saw no radical development after its confirmation by Clement IV. When Pius V made his reform, the Dominican Rite had been fixed and stable for over three hundred years, while a constant liturgical change had been taking place in other communities. Furthermore the comparative simplicity of the Dominican Rite, as manifested in the different liturgical books, gives evidence of its antiquity.

(d) Liturgical books

The rite compiled by Humbert contained fourteen books: (1) the Ordinary, which was a sort of an index to the Divine Office, the Psalms, Lessons, Antiphons, and Chapters being indicated by their first words. (2) The Martyrology, an amplified calendar of martyrs and other saints. (3) The Collectarium, a book for the use of the hebdomidarian, which contained the texts and the notes for the prayers, chapters, and blessings. (4) The Processional, containing the hymns (text and music) for the processions. (5) The Psalterium, containing merely the Psalter. (6) The Lectionary, which contained the Sunday homilies, the lessons from Sacred Scripture and the lives of the saints. (7) The Antiphonary, giving the text and music for the parts of the Office sung outside of the Mass. (8) The Gradual, which contained the words and the music for the parts of the Mass sung by the choir. (9) The Conventual Missal, for the celebration of solemn Mass. (10) The Epistolary, containing the Epistles for the Mass and the Office. (11) The Book of Gospels. (12) The Pulpitary, which contained the musical notation for the Gloria Patri, the Invitatory, Litanies, Tracts, and the Alleluia. (13) The Missal for a private Mass. (14) The Breviary, a compilation from all the books used in the choral recitation of the Office, very much reduced in size for the convenience of travellers.

By a process of elimination and synthesis undergone so by the books of the Roman Rite many of the books of Humbert have become superfluous while several others have been formed. These add nothing to the original text, but merely provide for the Addition of feasts and the more convenient recitation of the office. The collection of the liturgical books now contains: (1) Martyrology; (2) Collectarium; (3) Processional; (4) Antiphonary; (5) Gradual; (6) Missal for the conventual Mass; (7) Missal for the private Mass; (8) Breviary; (9) Vesperal; (10) Horæ Diurnæ; (11) Ceremonial. The contents of these books follow closely the books of the same name issued by Humbert and which have just been described. The new ones are: (1) the Horæ Diurnæ (2) the Vesperal (with notes), adaptations from the Breviary and the Antiphonary respectively (3) the Collectarium, which is a compilation from all the rubrics scattered throughout the other books. With the exception of the Breviary, these books are similar in arrangment to the correspondingly named books of the Roman Rite. The Dominican Breviary is divided into two parts: Part I, Advent to Trinity; Part II, Trinity to Advent.

(e) Distinctive marks of the Dominican Rite

Only the most striking differences between the Dominican Rite and the Roman need be mentioned here. The most important is in the manner of celebrating a low Mass. The celebrant in the Dominican Rite wears the amice over his head until the beginning of Mass, and prepares the chalice as soon as he reaches the altar. The Psalm "Judica me Deus" is not said and the Confiteor, much shorter than the Roman, contains the name of St. Dominic. The Gloria and the Credo are begun at the centre of the altar and finished at the Missal. At the Offertory there is a simultaneous oblation of the Host and the chalice and only one prayer, the "Suscipe Sancta Trinitas". The Canon of the Mass is the same as the Canon of the Roman Rite, but after it are several noticeable differences. The Dominican celebrant says the "Agnus Dei" immediately after the "Pax Domini" and then recites three prayers "Hæc sacrosancta commixtio" "Domine Jesu Christe", and "Corpus et sanguis" Then follows the Communion, the priest receiving the Host from his left hand. No prayers are said at the consumption of the Precious Blood, the first prayer after the "Corpus et Sanguis" being the Communion. These are the most noticeable differences in the celebration of a low Mass. In a solemn Mass the chalice is prepared just after the celebrant has read the Gospel, seated at the Epistle side of the sanctuary. The chalice is brought from the altar to the place where the celebrant is seated by the sub-deacon, who pours the wine and water into it and replaces it on the altar.

The Dominican Breviary differs but slightly from the Roman. The Offices celebrated are of seven classes:--of the season (de tempore), of saints (de sanctis), of vigils, of octaves, votive Offices, Office of the Blessed Virgin, and Office of the Dead. In point of dignity the feasts are classified as "totum duplex", "duplex" "simplex" "of three lessons", and "of a memory". The ordinary "totum duplex" feast is equivalent to the Roman greater double. A "totum duplex" with an ordinary octave (a simple or a solemn octave) is equal to the second-class double of the Roman Rite, and a "totum duplex" with a most solemn octave is like the Roman first-class double. A "duplex" feast is equivalent to the lesser double and the "simplex" to the semi-double. There is no difference in the ordering of the canonical hours, except that all during Paschal time the Dominican Matins provide for only three psalms and three lessons instead of the customary nine psalms and nine lessons. The Office of the Blessed Virgin must be said on all days on which feasts of the rank of duplex or "totum duplex" are not celebrated. The Gradual psalms must be said on all Saturdays on which is said the votive Office of the Blessed Virgin. The Office of the Dead must be said once a week except during the week following Easter and the week following Pentecost. Other minor points of difference are the manner of making the commemorations, the text of the hymns, the Antiphons, the lessons of the common Offices and the insertions of special feasts of the order. There is no great distinction between the musical notation of the Dominican Gradual, Vesperal, and Antiphonary and the corresponding books of the new Vatican edition. The Dominican chant has been faithfully copied from the MSS. of the thirteenth century, which were in turn derived indirectly from the Gregorian Sacramentary. One is not surprised therefore at the remarkable similarity between the chant of the two rites. For a more detailed study of the Dominican Rite reference may be had to the order's liturgical books.

MORTIER, Hist. des mattres généraux de l'Ordre des Frères Prêcheurs, I (Paris, 1903), 174, 309-312, 579 sq.; CASSITTO, Liturgia Dominicana (Naples, 1804); MASETTI, Mon. et Antiq. vet. discipl. Ord. Præd. (Rome, 1864); DANZAS, Etudes sur too temps prim. de l'ordre do S. Dominique (Paris, 1884); Acta Capitulorum Ord. Proed., ed. REICHERT (Rome, 1898-1904); Litt. Encyc. Magist. Gener. O. P., ed. REICHERT (Rome, 1900); TURON, Hist. des hommes ill. do I'Ordre de St. Dominique, 1, 341; Bullarium O. P., passim.


The Franciscans, unlike the Dominicans, Carmelites, and other orders, have never had a peculiar rite properly so called, but, conformably to the mind of St. Francis of Assisi, have always followed the Roman Rite for the celebration of Mass. However, the Friars Minor and the Capuchins wear the amice, instead of the biretta, over the head, and are accustomed to say Mass with their feet uncovered, save only by sandals. They also enjoy certain privileges in regard to the time and place of celebrating Mass, and the Missale Romano-Seraphicum contains many proper Masses not found in the Roman Missal. These are mostly feasts of Franciscan saints and blessed, which are not celebrated throughout the Church, or other feasts having a peculiar connexion with the order, e.g. the Feast of the Mysteries of the Way of the Cross (Friday before Septuagesima), and that of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin (First Sunday after the octave of the Assumption). The same is true in regard to the Breviarium Romano-Seraphicum, and Martyrologium Romano-Seraphicum. The Franciscans exercised great influence in the origin and evolution of the Breviary, and on the revision of the Rubrics of the Mass. They have also their own calendar, or ordo. This calendar may be used not only in the churches of the First Order, but also in the churches and chapels of the Second Order, and Third Order Regular (if aggregated to the First Order) and Secular, as well as those religious institutes which have had some connexion with the parent body. It may also be used by secular priests or clerics who axe members of the Third Order. The order has also its own ritual and ceremonial for its receptions, professions, etc.

Coerem. Romano-Seraph. (Quaracchi, 1908); Rit. Romano-Seraph. (Quaracchi, 1910); Promptuarium Seraph. Quaracchi, 1910).


The Friars Minor Capuchin use the Roman Rite, except that in the Confiteor the name of their founder, St. Francis is added after the names of the Apostles, and in the suffrages they make commemorations of St. Francis and all saints of their order. The use of incense in the conventual mass on certain solemnities, even though the Mass is said and not sung, is another liturgical custom (recently sanctioned by the Holy See) peculiar to their order. Generally speaking, the Capuchins do not have sung Masses except in parochial churches, and except in these churches they may not have organs without the minister general's permission. By a Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, 14 May, 1890, the minister general, when celebrating Mass at the time of the canonical visitation and on solemnities, has the privileges of a domestic prelate of His Holiness. In regard to the Divine Office, the Capuchins do not sing it according to note but recite it in monotone. In the larger communities they generally recite Matins and Lauds at midnight, except on the three last days of Holy Week, when Tenebræ is chanted on the preceding evening, and during the octaves of Corpus Christi and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when matins are recited also on the preceding evening with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. Every day after Compline they add, extra-liturgically, commemorations of the Immaculate Conception, St. Francis, and St. Anthony of Padua. On the feast of St. Francis after second Vespers they observe the service called the "Transitus" of St. Francis, and on all Saturdays, except feasts of first and second class and certain privileged feriæ and octaves, all Masses said in their churches are votive in honour of the Immaculate Conception, excepting only the conventual mass. They follow the universal calendar, with the addition of feasts proper to their order. These additional feasts include all canonized saints of the whole Franciscan Order, all beati of the Capuchin Reform and the more notable beati of the whole order; and every year the 5th of October is observed as a commemoration of the departed members of the order in the same way as the 2nd of November is observed in the universal Church. Owing to the great number of feasts thus observed, the Capuchins have the privilege of transferring the greater feasts, when necessary, to days marked semi-double. According to the ancient Constitutions of the Order, the Capuchins were not allowed to use vestments of rich texture, not even of silk, but by Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, 17 December, 1888, they must now conform to the general laws of the Church in this matter. They are, however, still obliged to maintain severe simplicity in their churches, especially when nonparochial.

Ceremoniale Ord. Cap.; Analecta Ord. Cap.; Constit. ord. (Rome).


The Norbertine rite differs from the Roman in the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, in the Divine Office, and in the administration of the Sacrament of Penance.

(1) Sacrifice of the Mass

The Missal is proper to the order and is not arranged like the Roman Missal. The canon is identical, with the exception of a slight variation as to the time of making the sign of the cross with the paten at the "Libera nos". The music for the Prefaces etc. differs, though not considerably, from that of the Roman Missal. Two alleluias are said after the "Ite missa est" for a week after Easter; for the whole of the remaining Paschal time one alleluia is said. The rite for the celebration of feasts gives the following grades: three classes of triples, two of doubles, celebre, nine lessons, three lessons. No feasts are celebrated during privileged octaves. There are so many feasts lower than double that usually no privilege is needed for votive Masses. The rubrics regulating the various feasts of the year are given in the "Ordinarius Sen. liber cæremomarum canonici ordinis Præmonstratensis". Rubrics for the special liturgical functions are found in the Missal, the Breviary, the Diurnal, the Processional, the Gradual, and the Antiphonary.

(2) Divine Office

The Breviary differs from the Roman Breviary in its calendar, the manner of reciting it, arrangement of matter. Some saints on the Roman calendar are omitted. The feasts peculiar to the Norbertines are: St. Godfried, C., 16 Jan.; St. Evermodus, B. C., 17 Feb.; Bl. Frederick, Abbot, 3 Mar.; St. Ludolph, B. M., 29 Mar.; Bl. Herman Joseph, C., 7 Apr.; St. Isfrid, B. C.,' 15 June; Sts. Adrian and James, MM., 9 July; Bl. Hrosnata, 19 July, 19; Bl. Gertrude, V., 13 Aug.; Bl. Bronislava, V., 30 Aug.; St. Gilbert, Abbot, 24 Oct.; St. Siardus, Abbot, 17 Nov. The feast of St. Norbert, founder of the order, which falls on 6 June in the Roman calendar, is permanently transferred to 11 July, so that its solemn rite may not be interfered with by the feasts of Pentecost and Corpus Christi. Other feasts are the Triumph of St. Norbert over the sacramentarian heresy of Tanchelin, on the third Sunday after Pentecost, and the Translation of St. Norbert commemorating the translation of his body from Magdeburg to Prague, on the fourth Sunday after Easter. Besides the daily recitation of the canonical hours the Norbertines are obliged to say the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, except on triple feasts and during octaves of the first class. In choir this is said immediately after the Divine Office.

(3) Administration of the Sacrament of Penance

The form of absolution is not altogether in harmony with that of the Roman Ritual. The following is the Norbertine formula: "Dominus noster Jesus Christus te absolvat, et ego auctoritate ipsius, mihi licet indignissimo concessa, absolvo te in primis, a vinculo excommunicationis ... in quantum possum et indiges", etc.

The liturgical books of the Norbertines were reprinted by order of the general chapter held at Prémontré, in 1738, and presided over by Claude H. Lucas, abbot-general. A new edition of the Missal and the Breviary was issued after the General Chapter of Prague, in 1890. In 1902 a committee was appointed to revise the Gradual, Antiphonary, etc. This committee received much encouragement in its work by the Motu Proprio of Pius X on church music. The General Chapter of Tepl, Austria, in 1908, decided to edit the musical books of the order as prepared, in accordance with ancient MSS. by this committee


The Order of Servites (see SERVANTS OF MARY) cannot be said to possess a separate or exclusive rite similar to the Dominicans and others, but follows the Roman Ritual, as provided in its constitutions, with very slight variations. Devotion towards the Mother of Sorrows being the principal distinctive characteristic of the order, there are special prayers and indulgences attaching to the solemn celebration of the five major Marian feasts, namely, the Annunciation, Visitation, Assumption, Presentation, and Nativity of our Blessed Lady.

The feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated always on the Third Sunday of September, has a privileged octave and is enriched with a plenary indulgence ad instar Portiunculoe; that is, as often as a visit is made to a church of the order. In common with all friars the Servite priests wear an amice on the head instead of a biretta while proceeding to and from the altar. The Mass is begun with the first part of the Angelical Salutation, and in the Confiteor the words Septem beatis patribus nostris are inserted. At the conclusion of Mass the Salve Regina and the oration Omnipotens sempiterne Deus are recited. In the recitation of the Divine Office each canonical hour is begun with the Ave Maria down to the words ventris tui, Jesus. The custom of reciting daily, immediately before Vespers, a special prayer called Vigilia, composed of the three psalms and three antiphons of the first nocturn of the Office of the Blessed Virgin, followed by three lessons and responses, comes down from the thirteenth century, when they were offered in thanksgiving for a special favour bestowed upon the order by Pope Alexander IV (13 May, 1259). The Salve Regina is daily chanted in choir whether or not it is the antiphon proper to the season.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII
Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York