The Armchair Liturgist: Passion Gospels

armchair1.jpgI’m sure CS readers know that the Passion gospels of Palm Sunday and Good Friday need not be done as they are presented in the missalette. How many sitting in the purple chair would prefer the deacon or priest to just read the Passion?

Any singing Passions in the reading audience?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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10 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Passion Gospels

  1. Fred says:

    I’d be disappointed if I didn’t have the opportunity to say, “Crucify Him!”

  2. Liam says:

    Actually, since 1988, the people in the pews are not supposed to be saying anything during the Passion. The circular letter from Rome clarifying the rules for the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week made that abundantly clear. Missalette makers have yet to catch up.

  3. Liam says:

    And at my parish, the Passion on Good Friday (not Palm Sunday) is chanted in its entirety. In the vernacular. No accompaniment. Men from the schola assist the celebrant in this task.

  4. Here the people do part of the Passions, and I would have no problem making the change, but I think that would not be well received. Maybe something to consider down the road. (Curiously, Msgr Peter Eliot, who is both fairly conservative about rubrics, and I had thought, careful, says its okay to have the people do part of the reading on Palm Sunday, using the “simple” form of that day’s liturgy; per Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year, paragraph 150.)

  5. Alter Liam says:

    When I was a child it both thrilled and terrified me to shout out “crucify him!”

    At my current parish, the Passion is sung by choir members in plainchant in English. I like that.

  6. Liam says:

    Section 33 of Paschale Solemnitatis, issued in 1988, the specific liturgical rule that informs how the Missal and Lectionary are to be interpreted in this regard, provides as follows:

    33. The passion narrative occupies a special place. It should be sung or read in the traditional way, that is, by three persons who take the part of Christ, the narrator, and the people. The passion is proclaimed by deacons or priests, or by lay readers. In the latter case, the part of the Christ should be reserved to the priest. … For the spiritual good of the faithful, the passion should be proclaimed in its entirety, and the readings that proceed it should not be omitted.

    Given this very specific direction, I don’t see how the people in general can be licitly permitted to participate in the proclamation of the Passion, unless the Latin original text allows for it in a way not translated in English (though, usually, when hunting for the legitimacy of a loophole that seems to appear in English, checking the Latin may often result in clarifying that it’s illusory!).

  7. aplman says:

    “How many sitting in the purple chair would prefer the deacon or priest to just read the Passion?”

    For some years now I have proclaimed the Passion alone and at the Mass at which my deacon is preaching, he proclaims it alone. While some parishioners have told me they miss the three reader presentation, the general response has been very positive.

  8. Tom says:

    Todd, do you recall, several years ago in our Waterloo parish, when Christine read the Passion, alone and with…passion? The lighting was right, and the congregation seemed to pay close attention. She was able to read it with the proper inflections and feeling that should be expected.

    I remember liking it and had been thinking of offering that as an option at my current parish.

    I too shared the thrill/terror of shouting “Crucify him!”, thinking to my self, “I would never have said that!”…

  9. Todd says:

    Peace, Tom. I do recall that. It would be my preference, and in fact, the pastor is doing it at his three Masses this weekend.

    “thinking to my self, ‘I would never have said that!’…”

    We all think and hope we would not.

  10. PrayingTwice says:

    We’re doing three singers (two cantors, priest) and the Victoria choruses for the “turba” parts.

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