From readers – September 27, 2018

| September 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

‘I confess to almighty God …”

While attending Mass in various parish churches over the past couple of years, I have noticed that the Confiteor is often not said at the weekday Masses. I also noticed at one of the churches that it wasn’t even said at the Sunday Mass. Mass is grounded on the very ancient Jewish custom of confessing before sacrificing, and it has been found in the oldest liturgies. The present Confiteor goes back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Before Vatican II, the Confiteor was said two times at Mass, as it was considered that important. It was said first before offering sacrifice, and then before the priest and people could receive holy Communion. It is time for the Church to be more firm on this matter: Once it was so important that it was said two times during Mass, and now it is often dropped completely.

William Petermeier
St. John, Dayton

Father Tom Margevicius, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Worship, responds:

The current Roman Missal (the Ordinary Form of the Mass) has three options for the Penitential Act: the Confiteor; the text that begins “Have mercy on us, O Lord,” to which the congregation responds, “For we have sinned against you”; or the three-fold invocations with the Kyrie (“Lord have mercy … Christ have mercy … Lord have mercy”). The priest-celebrant has the freedom to choose whichever of these he prefers. On some Sundays, especially in the Easter season, the entire Penitential Act can even be replaced with a sprinkling rite, and in some other Masses, such as a funeral or wedding Mass, the Penitential Act is omitted entirely. The Confiteor is normally required in the Extraordinary Form (pre-1962 Mass), but our current Missal offers other options because historically the Confiteor was a later addition to the Mass; it was not commonly part of our liturgy for the first 1,000 years of Catholic history. The current Missal continues to offer the Confiteor as an option but now also offers some of the liturgy’s other, more ancient forms.

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Category: From Readers