Saturday, December 8, 2018


Curious.  The Roman Mass counts as Propers (in addition to the Introit, Gradual, Collect, Alleluia (or Tract), Sequence and Readings) the Offertory and Post-Communion Prayer.  Lutherans typically treat the Offertory and Post-Communion Prayer as part of the Ordinary and not a Proper.  Anyone know why Lutherans decided to treat these pretty much as Ordinary (though with perhaps a few choices)?  I wonder why this survived even after the Liturgical Renewal Movement and its deference to Roman practice.  Does anyone know of a reasoned explanation for this?


Anonymous said...

I think an equally good related question is, "why does anyone defer to Rome on liturgical practice post VC II?"

In the mid-1960s, Rome lost its way completely with regard to the liturgy. It got it correct on putting the liturgy in the vernacular, but it messed up just about everything else. Why look to Rome for guidance, when it is clear that they are lost? The blind leading the blind ...

Continuing Anglican Priest

Deacon Nicholas said...

Not to mention your deferral to Rome on the filioque, which baffles us Orthodox.

Anonymous said...

Because the offertory and post-communion prayer are not part of the communion rite, which is from the Lord's Prayer to distribution. Because Lutheran theology resides behind it.

Anonymous said...

Okay Deacon, I'll bite.
While we all agree "and the Son" is a late addition, that doesn't make it untrue. Unless you want to say Jesus didn't mean what He ACTUALLY SAID in John 15 and 16 (namely 15:26) regarding the One HE )too) sends. Okay, explain away He didn't mean it and teach us all what Jesus actually meant to say...

But of course hold to widespread mysticism -not found in either the words of our Lord or Scripture, that gets added along the way, is all perfectly Orthodox.

Pastor Harvey S. Mozolak said...

I might guess that Lutherans were, at the time of the LBW, more careful and had concerns from various sides about what an offertory prayer might say... and so rather than allow a large number and any out-of-control-ness due to the number... they restricted them to just a couple that did not make us offering much more than money and care with regard to the elements. Post Communion... have to think about that. I wrote a series of them for the church year and used them for many years.

Pastor Harvey S. Mozolak said...

one more thought, when you think of the number of Masses most priests and parishes have during even an average week, their need for a prayer stock is probably necessarily larger than Lutherans.

Joshua said...

The Propers of the traditional form of the Roman Mass may be divided into the lessons, the chants sung by the choir, and the variable prayers of the priest: the lessons generally consist of an Epistle (or sometimes a Lesson) and Gospel; the chants, of the Introit, Gradual, Alleluia (or Tract), plus rarely a Sequence, then the Offertory and Communion; the prayers, of the Collect, Secret and Postcommunion.

Leaving aside the readings, and the reduction of Gradual and Alleluia to just one or the other for reasons of brevity (Luther being familiar with these in their full and sometimes lengthy plainchant, he suggested doing so), there are five chants and three prayers to consider.

The Offertory chants of the Mass, which are mainly Scriptural texts, rarely relate directly to the theme of offering and sacrifice, so it is curious that they were mainly abandoned after Luther; contrariwise, the Secrets nearly always do, so it is evident why they were nearly universally removed, easily enough because, as their name suggests, they were not sung aloud, but rather read sotto voce or "secretly", with only the last words of their doxological ending chanted aloud.

A few Lutheran orders did retain an epicletic prayer in place of the old variable Secrets, but this innovation may have been thought to savour too much of Reformed notions to be retained always and everywhere, in the face of the strong belief in the Verba as consecratory (though the Lord's Prayer was sometimes placed before the Verba precisely because of its petition for our daily bread to be given us). For example, for this, the 2nd Sunday of Advent, the Offertory chant is quite general, but I would expect the Secret to be unacceptable to Lutheran Eucharistic theology:

Offertory (Psalm 84:7-8, using the Vulgate numbering)
Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos, et plebs tua lætabitur in te: ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, et salutare tuum da nobis.

(Thou wilt turn, O God, and bring us to life: and thy people shall rejoice in thee: shew us, O Lord, thy mercy; and grant us thy salvation.)

Placare, quæsumus, Domine, humilitatis nostræ precibus et hostiis: et, ubi nulla suppetunt suffragia meritorum, tuis nobis succurre præsidiis. Per...

(Be appeased, we beseech, O Lord, by the prayers and sacrifices of our lowliness, and, where not any suffrages of merits support us, help with thy protections. Through...)

Why Communion chants - which again are mainly short passages of Holy Writ, of a general nature that rarely relate explicilty to the Eucharist - were mainly abandoned is also less than obvious (unless their very absence of explicitly Eucharistic themes made them less attractive than Eucharistic motets or hymns), and so too why the Postcommunion prayers were removed in favour of just one or two, since they to me at least don't seem to be opposed to Lutheran concepts. For example, to turn again to the propers of this, the 2nd Sunday of Advent, both the Communion and Postcommunion seem perfectly acceptable, apart from the obvious 'problem' that this particular Communion's text is taken from the Apocrypha:

Communion Antiphon (Baruch 5:5; 4:36)
Jerusalem, surge et sta in excelso, et vide jucunditatem, quæ veniet tibi a Deo tuo.

(Jerusalem, rise and stand on high, and behold the joy that shall come to thee from thy God.)

Repleti cibo spiritualis alimoniæ, supplices te, Domine, deprecamur: ut, hujus participatione mysterii, doceas nos terrenas despicere et amare cælestia. Per...

(Refreshed with the food of spiritual nourishment, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord, that, by sharing in this mystery, thou mayst teach us to despise earthly things and love heavenly things. Through...)

I happened to have these texts to hand, as they come from the Mass booklet I had prepared for this Sunday. I hope this helps a little.

Martin R. Noland said...

Dear Pastor Peters,

I seem to remember reading in Luther's Works, someplace in the English edition (AE), where Luther railed at the Offertory prayers for being the focal point of the "sacrificial" notion of the Mass, and the post-Communion prayers to a lesser degree. There was also in those prayers a lot of prayers to the saints, which were variable depending on the season of the church year, or the saint day being celebrated. He kept the idea of the Offertory and post-communion prayers, but threw out all of the seasonal variations--thus leaving a prayer with little variance, thus an Ordinary. I think Bryan Spinks talks about this in his booklet about Luther's liturgical reform, and maybe Hermann Sasse does too.

Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

Pastor Peters said...

I do understand that the content of these prayers was at issue, especially the offertory propers, but what was there to keep Luther and those who followed him, even to the present day, from creating new content and keeping these as propers instead of leaving them as ordinary?