Bishops Conference Guidelines for the Celebration of Public Mass

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keitha
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Bishops Conference Guidelines for the Celebration of Public Mass

Post by keitha »

I understand that the attached are the Guidelines that have now come out - interesting...and lots of food for thought!
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Keith Ainsworth

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Re: Bishops Conference Guidelines for the Celebration of Public Mass

Post by Southern Comfort »

Some things that struck this reader:
there should be no congregational singing at Mass.
This appears to have been left deliberately or unintentionally ambiguous. Does this mean that cantors and choirs can now operate? Surely choirs are still hazardous, according to all the science. The role of the cantor would become that of a soloist. The fact that many of our congregations do now sing (hurray!), like to sing, and will sing if the cantor sings, means that if cantors sing (and incidentally they have continued to do so for streamed Masses in the US throughout the closure of churches) they may in fact end up singing pieces deliberately selected so that the people cannot join in with them — in other words, background music. That seems bizarre!
Any worship aids (missalettes etc.) should be for single use and taken with the user when the Mass
ends. They should not be left in the church at the end of Mass.
This has clearly been cut-and-pasted from a US document. "Worship aid" is not terminology that we use in the UK ("service sheet" or "order of service" would be more usual). I think persuading the people to take away their disposable pieces of paper is a forlorn hope. Litter and clean-up will be a problem, and the document itself admits this when it says further on "Any discarded printed materials should be removed and bagged for disposal."

But in any case, why would the sheets be necessary? There won't be any hymn or song texts, people know the responses, they don't need to (and shouldn't be encouraged to) read along with the readings and prayers but should listen.... Many US churches, incidentally, seem to be now abandoning printed sheets in favour of projecting onto screens.

Nothing at all is said in the document about streaming Masses, but mention might have been made at this point of the desirability of posting service sheets online for those worshipping from home.
Readers should be supplied with single-use gloves and should avoid touching the microphones or the
Lectionary during the Liturgy of the Word, apart from page turning.
Readers (and others) should also avoid touching the ambo itself. Many hold it, grasping the sides.
The homily should be brief, to minimise the time that people are congregated in the church building.
This is tantamount to admitting that being in church for any length of time is actually dangerous!
After the prayer and its response “Behold the Lamb of God…Lord I am not worthy,” the priest should
hold up the Host to the Congregation and say audibly “The Body of Christ” to which the people
should respond “Amen.” In the same way, he elevates the chalice and says, “The Blood of Christ”
and again the people respond “Amen.” The priest should receive Holy Communion under both kinds
using his own Host and Chalice. The priest will need to explain this to the congregation at this point.

There are two options for the distribution of Holy Communion. In both cases, because the people
have already acclaimed the presence of the Lord, at the Priest’s Communion, the People’s
Communion is distributed in silence with no dialogue between minister and communicant.
I know that this is an extraordinary set of of circumstances, but it nevertheless amuses me that folk who normally emphasise the fact that no jot or tittle of the Order of Mass can be changed are now doing precisely that. If this kind of pastoral provision can be made now, why not latitude for other pastoral provisions at more normal times?
• Option 2

The priest receives Holy Communion as described and immediately cleanses his paten and
chalice. He then holds a reverent silence before the Prayer after Communion, giving the Blessing
and dismissal. At this point, the other Ministers of Holy Communion who will assist the priest
come forward, cleanse their hands and receive Holy Communion under one kind. They then move
to the points for distribution and communicants are stewarded forward in an orderly manner to
receive Holy Communion as above, and then immediately leave the Church. The remaining
Blessed Sacrament is placed into the Tabernacle and the vessels cleansed in the usual way.
This is what the US bishops' liturgy office suggested as the only option, because in their haste they simply copied the guidelines produced by the Dominican House of Studies on the next street corner to their own offices, and they were roundly condemned for it. The Dominicans clearly had little or no liturgical knowledge. Encouraging the separation of the distribution of Communion from the action of the Mass was seen as a retrograde step. The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, which also acts as an agency of the US Bishops' Conference, immediately produced a different (and better) set of guidelines that did not include Communion outside Mass as an option.
25th June 2020
Revision 6
Interesting to see that this document has undergone an amount of editing before being deemed worthy of release. The backroom statistics are not normally made public.

High Peak
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Parish / Diocese: Diocese of Nottingham
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Re: Bishops Conference Guidelines for the Celebration of Public Mass

Post by High Peak »

A draft copy of this document read.......

"Until further instruction is given on singing, there should be no congregational singing at Mass. A soloist or cantor is permitted as long as there is supplementary mitigation of risk, such as a persplex screen or face covering, to prevent aerosol transmission from the singer."

This appears to have been omitted from the version posted which is a shame as it was slightly less ambiguous.

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keitha
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Re: Bishops Conference Guidelines for the Celebration of Public Mass

Post by keitha »

I imagine someone worked out that there might be hearing problems if you have a cantor wearing a mask or behind a screen! In fact, the changes to the law that will be required to enable public acts of worship have not yet been published. Public Health England has, I understand, been conducting experiments under laboratory conditions with Salisbury Cathedral Choir (near to Porton Down?) to provide some definition on the 'travel' of the virus through singing (in droplet and aerosol form), with a view to including something in the necessary legislation. That is a space we will need to watch.
Keith Ainsworth

Southern Comfort
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Re: Bishops Conference Guidelines for the Celebration of Public Mass

Post by Southern Comfort »

Plenty of cantors in the US are singing, unmasked, behind plexiglass screens. They have mics to ensure that they are heard by those with hearing difficulties.

The Salisbury experimental test results will be very useful, but do not go far enough (the same was true of the Munich experiments).

I would be even happier if they were testing people who have not been taught how to use their voices. Typically, a proportion of "amateur" singers sing with a breathy vocal production, and so are producing much more in the way of droplets and aerosol than those who have been taught how to focus their voices.

Many praise-and-worship practitioners come into this category. Not only do they not know how to sing well, they also do not know how to breathe well.

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