07 January 2009

The Dominican Rite (UPDATED)

The Western Dominican Province (USA) is sponsoring and hosting a conference on the
Dominican Rite of the Mass.

I'll be in the US then, so there's a good chance I'll fly out to attend. Depends on my U.D. teaching schedule and the inevitable limitations of the budget. [Update: looks like the summer term at U.D. will prevent me from attending. . .%$#@!]

If you would like to donate to the conference scholarship fund to help needy Dominicans (novices, students, etc.) attend, send your donations to:

The Living Tradition
Holy Rosary Church
375 N.E. Clackamas Street
Portland, OR 97232

Mark your donation: "for scholarships to attend the Living Tradition Conference"

Why should you donate? Easy, cheesy. Now that our incomparable Holy Father has given universal permission to all priests to celebrate the Mass in the Extraordinary Form (a.k.a. "Tridentine Mass"), Dominicans all over the world are reviving our unique tradition of the Mass as one more way of fulfilling the Pope's desire for a more solemn celebration of the sacrament that is at once organically faithful to the Church's longest liturgical tradition and appealing to a growing number of Catholic who long for an experience of the transcendent in worship. Your donation to the scholarhship fund will make it possible for budget-challenged OP's to attend. Think about what the next generation of priests will do for the Church armed with the Extraordinary Form AND the Dominican Rite! Not to mention what these two traditional rites will do to help bring the Ordinary Form (a.k.a, "Novus Ordo Mass") out of the crippling experimentation and goofiness of the 1970's!

Check it out! If you are a blogger, please link to this post so we can get the word out. . .

God bless, F. Philip, OP


  1. I will be working in a parish in Verona, Italy for the summer. I regret that there is no way I could get to the US for it (unless a generous benefactor from "Domine,da mihi hanc aquam" were to come forward!). -Fr. Benedict Croell OP (friar at Angelicum with Fr. Philip also studying)

  2. FYI: Fr. Benedict is notoriously irresponsible with money. All donations should come to me directly.


  3. No! Send them to Holy Rosary Church in Portland and mark them "for scholarships to attend the Living Tradition Conference."

  4. Now, fra. Augustine, let's not get greedy...


  5. Funny Friars

    Inform the ignorant here.

    WHAT exactly does "Dominican Rite of Mass" mean and how will reviving it (that's what's happening, right?) "fulfill the Pope's desire for a more solemn celebration of the sacrament that is at once organically faithful to the Church's longest liturgical tradition and appealing to a growing number of Catholic who long for an experience of the transcendent in worship"

    matter of fact...if you could just restate that whole sentence in 2nd grade English I might catch on a bit better.

    Sorry to be stupid here.

  6. Mom,

    Most of the older religious orders had their own versions of the Mass. Each order shaped their version around the model of the Roman rite but their own rite distinctive to their spirituality. Differences usually included the number and kinds of prayers used, distinctive gestures based on the order's habit, different readings from the order's saints, and most importantly, different hymns and styles of music and chant.

    For the most part, the Dominican rite served a monastic spirituality; that is, a way of relating to God within the daily life of a monastery of friars rather than the daily life of parish. So, for example, a monastery of friars had no need for a baptismal font.

    Over time, the various editions of the Roman rite were codified into the so-called Tridentine Rite (after the Council of Trent) in 1570 by Pope Pius V (an OP). He allowed rites older than this to remain in force.

    Again, over time, the various religious orders changed their rites to reflect developing spiritualities. In 1969, the OP's voluntarily abandoned their own rite in favor of the new Roman Rite, the so-called "Novus Ordo.") This made some sense given that a lot of friars in the US particularly were working in parishes.

    The N.O. is the Mass approved by Paul VI in 1970. It is a "bare bone" rite that attempts to re-create the Mass liturgies of the ancient Church. This is the rite you attend on Sunday. The N.O. is what Benedict XVI has called "the Ordinary Form of the Mass," that is, the form ordinarily used in the parish.

    Though abandoned, the OP Rite was never canonically suppressed or forbidden. With four decades of liturgical experimentation and one disaster after a another in trying to faithfully implement the N.O. behind us, many OP's want us to return to the OP Rite.

    What I mean by "organically developed" is that some think that the N.O. is a "made up" rite, that is, the rite represents a radical departure from the liturgical tradition of the Church. Rather than allowing the older Roman Rite to grow and change naturally, impatient progressives simply uprooted the older rite, clipped off it medieval roots, stripped off its devotional flowers, and replanted a naked twig. That twig has grown into a vast root system of dissent, experimentation, goofiness, and embarrassment.

    The N.O. can be celebrated with proper dignity according to its rubrics. It can also be celebrated in Latin. However, it is rarely celebrated with either dignity or in Latin.

    One solution to this problem is to return to a truly organic liturgy like the OP Rite or the older Tridentine Rite. In 2005, Benedict XVI gave all priests in the Church papal permission to celebrate the older rite. This is revolutionary! This move has driven progressive wingnuts batty b/c the Tridentine Rite offers Catholics a more solemn, less easily manipulated Mass in Latin. So, no more inclusive language fascism; no more Fr. Hollywood's hijacking the Mass for their personal pursuit of local stardom; no more hoards of communion ministers swarming the altar playing priest, and no more goofiness at all...ever. This is really what the progressives hate more than anything: the older form appears to privilege the priest's role over the laity's role. Of course, they have problem when a priest using the N.O. exercises his clerical power to change prayers and readings to fit his political ideologies. This is OK b/c it advances the Protestantization of the Church.

    Hope this helps.

  7. actually that helped tremendously! thanks!

    I"ve never been to a Latin Mass...could you explain how or why it is considered "more solemn" or "better" or "truer" or whatever in Latin than in (for example) English?? I can understand some services being more solemn and others more silly...I've seen that in other churches, but how does what language is spoken change things....other than I have to read rather than hear to understand? -- I should say I don't really do well with subtitles overall so this is hard for me to grasp.

  8. oh and generally speaking, how long is a Dominican Mass? Are we talking a change in quantity as well as quality?

  9. Mom,

    Never been to an OP Rite Mass, so I have have no idea how long it would take to celebrate one...

  10. Fr. Phillip (and any other friars willing to comment),

    What is the attitude of the average friar in the United States towards the using the Dominican Rite? I'm sure it differs according to age and according to province. Is there any talk of introducing the student brothers to the Rite in the various houses of study on an infrequent basis?

    I'm sure the Dominican Rite will never completely replace the Novus Ordo in the priories, and certainly not in the order's parishes, but is there any future of both rites existing side by side, as the Holy Father has envisioned for the Universal Church? Will most friars some day be familiar and competent with both?

    Finally, one more question for Fr. Augustine: Fr. Phillip mentioned the Dominican Rite being a more monastic rite. Do you believe that its use within the priory (as opposed to in the parish) would benefit the friars spiritually better than the OF currently does?

    Thank you for allowing me to pick your brains!

    In Christ,

    Doug Gates
    Yokosuka, Japan

  11. Doug,

    You might want to click over to Fr. Thompson's site to get his take on these questions...

    My own view is that the popularity of the OP Rite can be accurately predicted by dividing friars into generations across provinces. The older the friar, the less popular the OP Rire becomes. Here at the Angelicum I've found that some otherwise traditional friars are fairly hostile to a revival. Reasons for the hostility vary from "it's illegal" to "the nostalgia of friars to young to remember the Bad Old Days" to "too much work, too complicated." So, we run into misinterpretation of the canons, condescension, and laziness! Younger friars are not only supportive but excited about the prospect of a revival...of course, there are always exceptions.

    There are very few priories in the US that do not have a lay public for the conventual Mass. Most priories large enough to have public Masses would be very resistant to making the OP Rite the choice for the conventual Mass. No doubt the reason given would have something to do with the inability or unwillingness of the laity to understand the changes. The larger priories in the US tend to be either houses of formation or houses attached to universities. In these you would get the same objections, plus formattors would object that the friars in formation should be learning the Mass they will celebrate in their future parishes as pastors.

    All of these objections are easily overcome, but we won't see the OP Rite revived for general use anytime soon. Why? B/c none of these objections are the real objections to the revival.

    For most revival objectors, what's at stake is the maintenance of the "Spirit of Vatican Two." Reviving the OP Rite is seen as a "step back to a pre-Vatican Two Church." That there is no such thing as a "pre-Vatican Two Church" escapes them.