The ABC’s of Memorial Acclamations

Get used to one slightly altered and two new memorial acclamations in the new Mass:

We proclaim your death, O Lord

and profess your Resurrection

until you come again.

When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup,

we proclaim your death, O Lord,

until you come again.

Save us, Savior of the world,

for by your Cross and Resurrection

you have set us free.

Commentary:

The US bishops’ suggestion to retain the most popular MA in use, “Christ has died …” was rejected by the CDWDS, along with every other suggestion the bishops sent in. Do you suppose that will hasten or slow the approval process on this side of the Atlantic?

As many liturgy geeks know, there are only three acclamations in the official Roman Rite. I’m not familiar with the story as to why a brief one was added to the three.

The new “B” may be the new favorite, as it requires minimal adaptation to existing settings of the Mass.

Students of capitalization may note a few things. Cross and resurrection are capitalized, but death is not. Does the capitalization of Bread and Cup satisfy those who are preoccupied with addressing the consecrated species as Body and Blood? Or is this more evidence that everything since John XXIII is pure heresy?

I predict these new A and C acclamations will go down easily. Catholics have already embraced “unofficial” texts like “We Remember” and “Keep in Mind,” so the novelty will be an advantage over the new words and cadences in the Gloria and Sanctus.

These acclamations may also be one point of local resistance. Lots of parishes still sing the unofficial stuff from time to time. I can imagine the “old” ICEL MA’s will linger on in some parishes. “When we eat …” may get used at a lot of Confirmation Masses.

Imagine if we had a counter clicking off somewhere of the numbers of Mass settings composed (and not necessarily published) now that the new Ordo Missae is up and available to more than just members of the chastened in-crowd. I think a few musicians have been up all night and this morning’s counter is somewhere near the mark of ten or twenty. Render a guess as to how many new Mass settings will be composed by the end of the month? The end of the year?

Any other comments out there on these texts?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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18 Responses to The ABC’s of Memorial Acclamations

  1. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Catholics have already embraced “unofficial” texts

    Unofficial doesn’t warrant quotes, in my opinion…

    As for comments on these texts, I’m quite satisfied with them. I’m curious why calicem was rendered as “cup” instead of “chalice” here, but I’m not going to dwell on that.

  2. Liam says:

    Todd

    By “approval process on this side of the Atlantic”, I assume you mean for the rest of the Missal, since there is no more approval process for the texts that just received recognitio.

    Also, I believe a couple of minor changes by the USCCB were acceptable, or so I read somewhere in the past couple of days in a comment box, but we’ve never been given line-by-line analysis….

    I am not getting your reference to a “chastened in-crowd” – would you please explain?

  3. Charles in CenCA says:

    Ditto, Jeff, my pastor and I mused over that “cup/chalice” issue as “chalice” is so pre-eminent in EP II.
    My pastor’s take is very positive, ‘ceptin’ a minor discomfit with “dewfall.” ;-)

  4. Charles in CenCA says:

    Ditto, Jeff, my pastor and I mused over that “cup/chalice” issue as “chalice” is so pre-eminent in EP II.
    My pastor’s take is very positive, ‘ceptin’ a minor discomfit with “dewfall.” ;-)
    In discussing the whole enchilada, where, for example no such translation issues were debated in Spanish sees, or for that matter in former English commonwealth sees outside of Canada, I also pointed out it might just be easier to sell “Latin” straight up as the easier alternative. The only codicil there, for composers, is that Musica Sacram seems to quash the notion that liturgical Latin texts may be set only to music forms directly tied to chant or polyphony.
    Too late, cat’s outta da bag.

  5. Liam says:

    I love “dewfall” because of the connection to the image of the manna, and am glad that connection has been revived in this translation.

    The main issue will be to teach presiders to use a correctly distinct pronuncation: “dyoofall”. I think most of the problem with “dew” only arises in areas where people don’t distinguish “dew” and “do” in their pronunciation, but that’s eminently fixable and is hardly a sufficient reason to avoid the word (I am trying to wonder how people deal with “dewpoint” – do they think it’s a variation on DuPont?)

  6. Rob F. says:

    I was disappointed that the American bishops were trying to save this “acclamation”, and I am glad that Rome stepped in to the rescue. If the purpose of the acclamation is to acclaim Christ now present on the altar, then “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” should be considered a failure. It addresses the Lord in the third person, rather than the first. And it talks about him as if he were distant, rather than on the altar.

    These problems are further compounded by the current mistranslation of “Mysterium Fidei” as, “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith”, which makes it sound like the mystery of faith is our proclamation, rather than the actual presence of Christ.

  7. Todd says:

    “It addresses the Lord in the third person, rather than the first.”

    Yet we do quite a bit of this in other texts of the Mass, not to mention the Psalter.

  8. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Todd – Regarding the third person addressing of Christ, it stands out during the Memorial Acclamation because the other three options aren’t third person, they’re second person (not first!).

    Where are there choices of text in the Mass that change the person from second to third?

  9. Liam says:

    Jeff

    I assume Todd is referring to the Creed, though the syntax of the Creed (esp now that the English will more closely hew to the Latin) is not quite the same thing.

  10. Todd says:

    Jeff,

    The Eucharistic Prayer addresses God the Father in the second person. The institution narrative refers to Christ in the third person. The doxology, too, refers to Christ in the third person, “him.”

    I’d grant a case may be made against Memorial Acclamation A on a few points. But not a difference of grammatical person.

    The memorial acclamation is in effect a credal statement. And the creed refers to God in the third person all through.

  11. Jeff Pinyan says:

    ToddThe Eucharistic Prayer addresses God the Father in the second person. The institution narrative refers to Christ in the third person. The doxology, too, refers to Christ in the third person, “him.”

    Right, because the priest is not praying to Christ, he is praying to the Father. He is praying to the Father and mentioning Christ. Now, during the “Lord Jesus Christ you/who said to your apostles…”, the priest IS praying to Christ.

    The Memorial Acclamation (a novelty in the Roman Rite) is not so like the Creed because the Acclamation, in Latin, is addressed to Christ, while the Creed is not. So it is a “credal statement” in that it is stating a belief, but it is professing that belief to the one believed in.

  12. Tony says:

    Todd,

    “Christ has died…” is the only formulation of the Memorial acclamation which does not include us. (Which I find odd, it being the most popular in our me-centric churches.)

  13. Matthew Meloche says:

    I am so glad that dewfall is in there… I can’t for the life of me see my pastor saying dewfall, and he usually uses EP2 almost exclusively.. Maybe this will mean we’ll see 3 or (egad!) 1 more often.

  14. Rob F. says:

    Todd said, “Yet we do quite a bit of this in other texts of the Mass, not to mention the Psalter.”

    An acclamation is not another part of the mass, nor is it a psalm. It’s purpose is different, as is its form. I’m sorry I did not make this clear in my comment.

    During the anaphora, outside of the direct quotes of Jesus, the 2nd person is God the Father, the 1st is the congregation, everyone else is in the 3rd person. Then Christ becomes present on the altar, and the priest interrupts the anaphora, so that the people can address Jesus. This is the purpose of the acclamation. Someone new (the Son) has shown up, we interrupt our prayer to the Father to say hello. No one says hello in the 3rd person, not in other parts of the mass, and not in the psalms.

    The other purpose of the acclamation is to empahsize our obedience to the Lord’s command, “do this in memory of me”. “Acclamation” A actually does this pretty well, but no better than the other (i.e. real) acclamations.

    The interruption for the people’s acclamation is a novelty, a modern accretion. The purpose of this accretion is to fulfill two imperatives of the council. The first is active participation; it is the people who acclaim Jesus. The second is to drive home the Mysterium Fidei, the real presence; Jesus is physically present on the altar now. The 3rd person credo-like “acclamation” obscures both of these purposes. There is no longer a greeting of the Son by the people, but just a flash back to the creed, which has already been said by the people. Nor is there is a hammering home of the real presence; in fact, there is no indication in the “acclamation” that Christ is present at all.

    So “Christ has died, etc.” does not fulfill well the purpose of the acclamation anymore than another part of the mass or a psalm would.

  15. Todd says:

    “Someone new (the Son) has shown up, we interrupt our prayer to the Father to say hello. No one says hello in the 3rd person, not in other parts of the mass, and not in the psalms.”

    I do see where you’re going with this, but this would not be the most orthodox expression of our understanding of Catholic liturgy. We certainly acclaim the presence of Christ in the Scriptures, in the priest, in other sacramental celebrations at Mass, and in the gathered assembly.

    There are indeed “flashbacks” at Mass: a repetition of pentionary prayer in the anaphora, often repeating what came before in the general intercessions, the credal elements in both Gloria and Credo, the calling of God’s mercy in the Agnus Dei.

    Real Presence is a vital part of liturgical orthodoxy, but it is not the only orthodoxy the Church has deemed vital enough to hammer home through repetition.

  16. Jim McK says:

    “Christ is risen” is not a simple historical fact, but an assertion that Christ is present now, here. I guess proper catechesis is not able to convey theological meanings like that. (not to mention the English language, with its lack of a present imperfective to signify something ongoin)

    In any event, our recognition of the presence of Christ happened with our entrance to the heavenly banquet, singing the Sanctus that was sung by the angels in heaven and by the people in Jerusalem as the passion approached.

  17. Rob F. says:

    Todd, sorry about not being the most orthodox; I was intentially being glib to make a point. You got the point, so I’ll let it rest.

    You are right that the mass is full of flashbacks, but the memorial acclamation is not intended to be one of them. It’s purpose is to be an interruption, a pause, to allow the people a chance to revel a bit in the present, in the amazing thing that just happened, in the Mysterium Fidei.

  18. sacerdos says:

    If I had my vote, we would eliminate the “Memorial Acclamation” altogether and move the “Mysterium Fidei” back to the institution narrative whence it came.

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