Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mass from Highfield in 1967

I was recently given a cassette tape recording of a BBC radio broadcast of the Sunday Mass of November 27th 1967 from St Joseph`s, Highfield, near Rowlands Gill. The celebrant was Fr Hugh Lavery, one of the finest preachers and spiritual writers of this diocese in recent times. However it is a fascinating record of the changes in the Mass at that time.
The Mass appears to be a Missa Cantata in that the proper is sung by some very well-spoken girls but other elements such as the prayers and the Our Father are said . The whole Mass is in English apart from the canon which is said aloud in Latin. A lay reader reads the Epistle and bidding prayers and there are a couple of hymns too. The Introit and Communion antiphons are sung with extended psalm verses.
I can imagine there was great excitement at the time about these changes (although for a different reaction see Evelyn Waugh`s reaction in the book `A Bitter Trial`) as it represented the fulfilment of the hopes of the Liturgical Movement and the culmination of a process which had been at work throughout the 20th century to restore the liturgy and free it from the accretions of centuries. Certainly everyone on the tape (including the commentator) sounds quite excited by it all. However I think I`d be with Evelyn Waugh on this one.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Father. Of course the missal used is now known as the "interim rite", essentially, a reformed version of the tridentine mass. I have often wondered if people at the time, thought of it as an interim rite,a stop gap before the new mass came in.
I have a small edition of '65 missal, which belonged to my father.I have always been struck by how traditional it was.Iindeed i used it for a long time at traditional masses before I got an earlier edition of the missal. There is no suggestion that it was only a temporary rite.
This missal was flexible enough to allow for very traditonal and very avant- garde celebrations. So I have often wondered why was there a completely new form of the mass within 5 years.

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

I too would agree with Waugh, a brilliant writer and a very sensitive man, (perhaps too sensitive,) whose entire being was revolted by the liturgical changes of the 1960s.

I have always wondered if the loss of the "old" Mass did not help kill him off at the early age of 63.

Certainly, it caused him great anguish.

At least his death, shortly after luncheon on Easter Sunday 1966, when he had just that morning attended the Mass at Combe Florey, was mercifully sudden.

After all these years, I still think : Evelyn Waugh R.I.P.

Alnwickian said...

The 1965 Missal incorporates all the changes in the Mass mandated by Sacrosanctum Concilium. It, rather than the Missal of Paul VI, is properly the "Missal of Vatican II".

If only things had stopped there...