Monday, March 8, 2010

Low Mass in Hobart

I shouldn't say it, but it was relaxing to sit back, as it were, and not sing, but participate in a Low Mass - which the congregration of 45 or more made a Dialogue Mass, loudly and confidently giving the responses.  (I am aware that some curmudgeons and intransigents condemn this, but I reject that uncatholic opinion.)

Because this monthly Traditional Latin Mass, since its inception over a decade ago, has been sung on all but perhaps a very few occasions (this is the first one I know about), the congregation participated as they have become accustomed to, sitting, standing and kneeling as at a Missa cantata, and joining in, right from the start, all reading Psalm 42 in alternation with the priest - even reciting the Creed along with him, and, as is tolerated, the Our Father!  (I refrained from the latter, until the Sed libera nos a malo.)

I am aware that there are mixed opinions about Dialogue Mass, but above all it was evident that the people were thoroughly intent upon praying the Divine Service, for the salvation of their souls and the glory of the Trinity, and that is what matters.

As is his custom, Fr Quinn said Mass slowly and reverently, preaching only a very short homily.  Mass took exactly one hour.


Mark M said...

A side point, Josh: some of my more eccentric friends claim the Low Mass is an abberation. Do you know why? I can't seem to get sense out of them...

Joshua said...

Ideally, each and every Mass should be sung.

Alas, this is impractical - and hence the legitimate development of Low Mass.

I take it you're referring to the views of young Patricius on this subject?

Mark M said...

To use a choice phrase I hope you learned when here:

"mebbes aye, mebbes no" (means yes)...

Kate said...

I think dialogue Masses are weird.

What missal do they follow ?

Joshua said...

So far as I am aware the same missal is used for a Dialogue Mass as for any Traditional Latin Mass.

The only difference is that the people join with the server in making the responses, just as at High Mass they can sing the responses along with the choir.

It seemed to be a spontaneous decision on the part of those present - everyone had a missal with them, and there was an astonishing unity and strength of tone in all the responses.

You ought know that Dialogue Masses were brought in in Tasmania by the then archbishop, so anyone old enough to recall the Latin Mass here remembers that that is what was done. Hence there is continuity.

FWIW, if Mass cannot be sung (as is the ideal), then, when there is an intelligent and capable congregation, it seems bizarre not to give the responses.

I would suggest (in the best possible sense) that giving the responses makes sense (if the priest says Dominus vobiscum, it is obvious that all should reply Et cum spiritu tuo), and that it is an example of what our Pope has said about the OF and EF cross-fertilizing: people are used to responding at Mass in the OF, and so naturally go to do the same at the EF.

Beware the assumption that there is anything wrong with "giving the responses".

Mark M said...


Understood what you are saying, but there are some parts where - for whatever reason - Dialogue Masses are viewed as uncouth. They are, for example, not seen often in the UK... but then in southern Germany they're as normal as anything. Different places, different customs. Customs don't always make sense!

(Remember our discussions on the seemingly odd Scots people kneeling for the Offertory.)

Joshua said...

Yes, I understand. Even in Australia one finds divergence on this point - at my old parish in Perth, Western Australia, we NEVER had dialogue Mass. Nonetheless, because I was so used to giving the responses as a server, I would still give them, more or less sotto voce, if I was at a daily Low Mass.