Monday, March 03, 2008

Why priests should pray the Roman Canon

There are priests, and laity of a more traditional bent, who advocate priests praying the first Eucharistic Prayer, aka the Roman Canon, predominantly if not exclusively. They bemoan the multiplication of Eucharistic prayers: the 1970s Missal featured, as I understand, four main Eucharistic prayers, but somewhere about that time came three for Masses predominantly with children, still later came two "reconciliation" prayers, and still later, came a "Swiss prayer" that actually has four variations--that is 13, if you are counting.

I have to say, I rather like using different Eucharistic prayers, although I like the ones for children the least. Many of us priests like to vary things, and a new priest, as I was at one time, will want to try out things that are provided for in the Missal.

That said, over the past couple of years, I have stepped back from this.

I considered that, from the perspective of folks in the pews, if they come to Mass 60 times a year, and I use all these prayers regularly, that's too much variety, too little regularity. How would they become familiar with any of these prayers? How vivid would they be for the faithful? And it conveys the idea that everything is up for grabs.

So I decided some time back that I wouldn't use the Swiss prayers or the reconciliation prayers on Sunday at all, and for daily Mass, I use them sparingly. I don't use the second prayer--the shortest one--for Sundays, and for holy days, only for the early morning or noon Mass, since folks have to get to work. I do use prayers three and four for Sundays.

From my first days as a priest, I have tried to use the Roman prayer frequently, I really don't get why priests shy away from it. I think I know why, even if I don't care to speculate publicly; but I don't find those reasons very persuasive.

Well, during Lent, I have found myself using the Roman Canon quite a bit. For one reason, the priest has the option of including prayers for those to be baptized, so I am using it for the Masses with the scrutinies--i.e., for the catechumens. But I noticed something yesterday--another reason to pray it--it anticipates the liturgies of the Triduum. The section, after the Mystery of Faith, known as "the offering," includes the following language. "...look with favor on these offerings, and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek..."

As I was praying it the other day, I thought: when do we hear about Abraham's sacrifice--and I realized, at the Vigil! (At least we will, this year, as we will have all the readings for the first time.) And we hear about Melchizedek on Holy Thursday. I can't recall when Abel comes up, but perhaps one of the readers can fill that in.

Another reason to pray the Roman Canon is that it conveys a strong sense of the Real Presence. All the Eucharistic prayers convey the real presence and a sense of sacrifice--contrary to the allegations of some so-called traditionalists--but the Roman Canon expresses them rather strongly. (As does the fourth prayer, in my judgment.)

Some will be surprised by this, but--I think the Roman Canon makes sense for younger children. Here's why I say that. As far as the language of the prayers, they are all over the head of young children; and they are all "too long." But the Roman Canon has two features that would seem to appeal to younger children.

First, you often hear how people need to say something back to the priest to be engaged--well, the Roman Canon includes that option: there are four points where the priest can say, "through Christ our Lord," inviting the people to respond, "Amen." Three of them are routinely omitted (including by me)--but there they are.

Second, the Roman Canon has the most "visuals"--which, if you want to keep children engaged, are helpful, along with singing. During the Roman Canon, the priest has more gestures and bows (which too many priests omit, I don't know why). If you're five, you may not find the words very engaging, but at least the priest is doing something curious. This is a good reason to use the bells, and also a reason to use incense, and shame on the parents who talk their children into being afraid of it. On the other hand, if you do as so many priests do, and take out singing (I mean on their part), incense, bells, gestures, what do you have? Some guy up there talking, talking, talking... What fun for the not-very-engaged!

Still other reasons to use the Roman Canon: it makes clear we care about something called the "Holy, Catholic Church," and that our faith "comes to us from the Apostles." That "final damnation" is something we need help to avoid as we seek "well being and redemption."

And, I think it does a very good job of conveying the idea of the Church as a unity that embraces this world and the next, as we pray for the living at one point, and seamlessly, for the dead, with "apostles and martyrs...and all the saints" generously sprinkled around. It invites a very reassuring mental image, helped by visual depictions of said apostles, martyrs and saints, in the sanctuary or nave of the church! How blessed are those parishes that have actual depictions of these saints, named in the Roman Canon; and if you have such a church, and if you have children, please point out who they are; hopefully, your priest will use the Roman Canon, and include the fuller lists of saints, and then your children can listen for them, and find them in church.

I am not saying the other prayers ought not to be used at all, but I think the Roman Canon should predominate, both in actual usage, and in the imagination of all. The other prayers have many virtues, and I think if the Roman Prayer has pre-eminence, then the other prayers can be suitably used for daily Mass-goers, and others really familiar with the Mass. My personal goal is to use it for about 30 of the 52 Sundays of the year, and regularly for holy days and weekdays.

These are some reasons I think the First Eucharistic Prayer is good to use; perhaps you have other reasons? And if you don't like it, feel free to say so as well.

41 comments:

japhy said...

I recently read From One Eucharistic Prayer to Many by Father Cassian Folsom, O.S.B.

This is my personal hierarchy (if I had any say in the matter):

=========================
a. EP I required all days with propers for the Canon; preferred for all solemnities, feasts, memorials, and vigils; suggested for any Mass.

b. EP III is acceptable on Ordinal Sundays, weekdays, as well as feasts and memorials.

c. EP IV and the Reconciliation EPs are acceptable on weekdays during Lent and Advent, and during Reconciliation-oriented Masses.

d. EP II is acceptable if the parish has caught fire.
=========================

I also did a comparison of EP II with the anaphora it's based on.

By the way, Father, do you have notes of some sort on when the priest faces which direction, during an ad orientem Mass? I've been trying to piece it together from the Sacramentary.

James Straight said...

Father,

Every time you write about the Mass I can't help but think that Piqua would be a pretty nice place to move to someday if I ever get tired of Columbus.


James

Jackie said...

Father,

I don't have a dislike of any of the main 4 Eucharistic prayers. I don't like the others simply because they are a 'novelty' as far as me being 'used' to them and it gets in the way of my focus at that time of Mass.

I do love the EP 1 - not only does it seem more connected with Salvation History (Abraham, etc.) but also Church history. All those saints - just love them. And having been to Rome - I've been to many of the Churches of the saints named in the prayer.

As far as kids - I agree. When my son was very young, we sat in the first pew so he could see. It's amazing how much they pay attention. (As they get older, a discussion of the saints mentioned is good too). As a small child, who would want to look a bunch of behinds or the backs of heads AND be quiet and sit still. Seeing the priest, the colors, the smoke ... - much more to keep ones attention!
Thanks for being a good priest.

Adrienne said...

Simple reason from a simple soul.

It is easier to follow when you have a clue what the priest is going to do. I use my own missal and I am having to find the prayer Father is using. Flip, flip, flip.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, I was taught by an old priest that in the Eucharistic Prayer I, when the priest says "then as we receive from this altar the sacred Body and Blood let us be filled with every grace and blessing", he crosses himself and *so should the congregation.* (This comes right after Abraham and Melchizedek.) It is actually a prayer that isn't expressed as clearly in the other EPs.
Also I was struck by your reference to windows. The church we visit in the summer has two windows over the high altar. One has Abraham and the other has Melchizedek. Clearly a reference to what's going on below. But when I mentioned this to someone who has attended that church for sixty years she hadn't noticed. Very sad.
Jane M

Anonymous said...

I strongly prefer the Roman Canon. The prayer is simply more beautiful and rich than the others. Besides, I got the name of my younger daughter (Anastasia) from it! I always loved the name Anastasia, partly because it truly is a beautiful name, and partly because St Anastasia was the LAST saint named. When I heard that name, I knew that Mass was nearly over! (I was pretty young back when the Roman Canon was the only EP, and it seemed terribly long to me.)Love it now, and still love the name Anastasia. (also Lucy and Cecilia)

Mary Margaret

A Simple Sinner said...

Children LOVE to hear the saints too. "Peter and Paul, Andrew, (James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude; we honor Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian)"... I loved statues, stained glass and all the piously over devotional paintings and murals and hagiography books made for children.

You teach about all of these saints and they will remember them when they hear these names.

The opportunity to pause and unite our intentions for the living and the dead is big for me now and as a child...

I am a Greek Catholic who makes it to about one RC Mass a week on weekdays or saturdays... Where I normally attend we almost always hear that one. I can tell you it is comforting to hear the same prayer, and I can tell you that Greek Catholics otherwise do just fine having one... (well, OK, there is some seasonal variaton for the Great Fast...)

Sharon said...

I can't remember the last time I heard the Roman Canon at Mass in my parish. Our parish is over 100 years old and the whole sanctuary from the altar (severed from the old high altar) with Abraham and Isaac, the Crucifixion and Melchisideck (sp) to the stained glass with its angels carrying the sacrifice to the Father and the Lamb who was victorious on the book with the seals echoes the Roman Canon.

I am soooo sick of EP II.

I also like EP IV but don't think I have ever heard it used.

We have a Eucharistic Prayer which has a lot of social justice in it but I don't know what one that is.

As for the stained glass windows in the body of the church - one day I was present at a school Mass and the little boy who was sitting with his grandma was asking her to explain them to him. Catechesis in action. Our stained glass windows (heritage protected thank God) have scenes from the bible not just bits of coloured glass arranged according to the whim of an interior decorator who entered them for an award.

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

that's a lot to think about Fr..thankyou..

Clavem Abyssi said...

Good point about the gestures, bells and smells impacting children (and the child in all of us, really).

It wasn't until my 20's that I first heard the angelus bell used (if that's the word for it) but I can still hear it in the back of my mind at the appropriate time during the Novus Ordo. Things like that really stick with you. I guess the reformers thought it was too magical and superstitious? Pity.

Anonymous said...

We have one Mass on Sunday at our parish here at St. Anthony's in Hot Springs, SD It starts at 10:30 am. Fr. normally starts at 10:35 with five minutes of announcements. He then provided a 23 minute homily. The final blessing took place at 11:52
This is the norm. EPII is a God send!!!!

Peace to all.

Ohevin

PS--Go OBAMA!!!

Anonymous said...

Another good reason is of course that this is the Canon that was already fixed by the 2nd/3rd century at the latest and was the sole canon in the Roman Church all the way up to 1970.

The other prayers are new creations. A Greek Catholic priest told me that the claims that some are Eastern anapharas is simply untrue. The changes are very great.

It should also be noted that the ICEL translation of the Roman Canon is quite disgraceful. Unless a person has heard it in Latin or read a proper translation then they have been denied knowledge of the great beauty and theological precision of the greatest prayer of the Roman Church.

Fr John Boyle said...

Well done, Father. I now use it as the default, using another when there is a reason to do so. And I never omit the saints or the 'Through Christ our Lord. Amen.' at the end of each prayer.

I began this on the feast of All Saints last year. Even at childrens/school Masses. There is more time for quiet, and the structure of the prayer just seems to lend itself to greater worship. I believe there is a greater humility in its wording.

Father Schnippel said...

I agree wholeheartedly and use The Roman Canon whenever I can.

But what about your favorite parables? http://fatherschnippel.blogspot.com/2008/03/ive-been-tagged.html

Fr. Ron Williams said...

Fr. Martin, I think you need to be very careful. Several years ago, the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments had something to say about this subject.

They got on the case of certain priests at EWTN who opined something to the effect that the Roman Canon was the only real Eucharistic Prayer, and that, therefore, they would only use that prayer at Mass. The Vatican responded that all the EP's were equally valid and encouraged them to provide more variety in the celebration of their Masses.

A few years later, Cardinal Arinze referred to the same ruling when he got on the case of the priests of the Neocatechumenate movement, who celebrate Mass only with Eucharistic Prayer II. Again, Cardinal Arinze said they needed to provide more variety.

I'd also like to refer you to a recent Zenit article:
http://www.zenit.org/article-21965?l=english

Anonymous said...

Fr. Williams
Where did Fr. Fox question the validity of the other EP's? So why need he "be careful?"

BTW, the Latin rite had one canon for hundreds of years and got by quite well without "variety."

Dave

Fr. Ron Williams said...

Dave, you should take up that matter with the Pope.

Father Martin Fox said...

Father Williams:

I appreciate your concern. I did not intend to say, nor do I think I did say, anything derogatory about any of the prayers, or about anyone using them.

But if what I wrote was insufficiently clear, I am happy to clarify: I think the Roman Canon merits "pride of place" in the celebration of the Mass, and my own judgment is to use it predominantly. But I do use the other prayers, at various points.

Are you suggesting that what I just proposed somehow runs afoul of some expectation from Rome? If so, can you say more please?

A Simple Sinner said...

I used to think I would be OK with only ever hearing the Roman Canon... But then it occured to me that only ever hearing EP2 growing up (I honestly didn't know there was any others until I was a teen) I wouldn't call for that anymore.

Honestly, part of my misgivings about the multitude of approved prayers has been my greater sense of the catholicity and infailability of the Church. (As well as exposure to Eastern ep's and learning a little about ancient ep's that have fallen into disuse but were along the path we traveled to get here in the 21st century...)

I am no longer as prone to second guess what is officially taught in my quest to find "perfect liturgy" which I have finally given up the ghost on and admit we will never experience anywhere this side of the Vale of Tears.

One thing I think we can all be agreed on is that with the multiplication of available authorized prayers, there really is now (not that there ever was!) NO GOOD EXCUSE for the adlibbing that is still all too common.

Theatrical embellishment for emphasis rather burns my biscuits too...

CourageMan said...

Cardinal Arinze's criticism of the Neocatechumens was that they ONLY used the Second Prayer on principle. Your own account of the EWTN priests is that they had said only the Roman Canon was valid.

There is all the difference in the world between saying "I prefer Prayer X" or "I prefer Liturgy X" and saying "Prayer Y is invalid" or "Liturgy Y is invalid."

Fr. Ron Williams said...

Fr. Martin, as you commented, “I think the Roman Canon merits ‘pride of place’ in the celebration of the Mass…”

I know you to be a solid Catholic concerned about orthodox teaching. Therefore, I’m not suggesting that you have “…somehow run afoul of some expectation from Rome.” I’m merely advising you to be careful, because your comments can very easily be taken out of context.

The previous blogger made an interesting point that preferring one Eucharistic Prayer over another is substantially different from questioning the validity of a particular Eucharistic Prayer. I would agree with that assessment. Clearly, Father Martin, you’re not questioning validity, but rather you’re stating your personal preference or opinion. However, even that itself is risky in the public forum.

Because the Vatican has emphasized on numerous occasions that all the Eucharistic Prayers are equally valid, I don’t think it’s fair to say that any particular EP (in this case EP I, otherwise known as the Roman Canon) “…merits ‘pride of place.’” If that were true, then why would the Church have introduced so many Eucharistic Prayers in the Roman Rite in such a small span of time? Also, even before Vatican II the Roman Rite had a variety of liturgical styles, for example, the Dominican Rite, the Carthusian Rite, the Mozarabic Rite, the Liturgy of St. Ambrose, and the Liturgy of St. Augustine; some of these are still celebrated today. It is the same Paschal Mystery that is celebrated and the same Body and Blood of Christ that is consecrated on the altar, no matter which Eucharistic Prayer is invoked. For that reason alone, I personally cannot confidently say that one Eucharistic Prayer is better than another. What this means is that unless the Pope changes things and decides that only one Eucharistic Prayer is sufficient for the Roman Rite, then ALL the EP’s have “pride of place.”

There is an ecumenical factor that also needs to be considered. You opined that the Roman Canon has “pride of place” “…in the celebration of Mass.” As we all know, the Mass has been celebrated according to a variety of liturgical Rites since the very beginning. For example, the oldest Rite in continuous use is the Maronite Rite (in Lebanon), which is based on the Liturgy of St. James. It has an apostolic name attached to it because, according to tradition, it was St. James that created it. The Copts (in Egypt) celebrate Mass according to the Liturgy of St. Mark, which has an apostolic name for the same reason. By the way, I find it interesting that we have the “Roman Canon,” but no one calls it the “Liturgy of St. Peter” or the “Liturgy of St. Paul.”

The point is that, since the first century AD, the Church has consistently celebrated Mass according to a variety of liturgical traditions. And even though the style of worship might be different for each and the styles have changed over the course of the centuries, nevertheless it is the same Paschal Mystery that is celebrated and the same Body and Blood of Christ that is consecrated at all these various Masses. Again, I personally cannot confidently say that the “…Roman Canon merits ‘pride of place’ in the celebration of Mass.”

I hope you don’t take my comments too personally. You’re a good friend, and I have high regard for your intellectual opinions. I’m merely encouraging you to speak cautiously about this particular subject. Keep up the good work of being a good pastor!

japhy said...

Fr. Ron Williams: I think that Fr. Fox is saying that, in the Roman Rite, the traditional Roman Canon should still retain pride of place.

As for "why would the Church have introduced so many Eucharistic Prayers in the Roman Rite in such a small span of time?" I invite you to read the link I posted in the first comment: "From One Eucharistic Prayer to Many".

How many other Rites of the Catholic Church have multiple Eucharistic Prayers?

A Simple Sinner said...

"How many other Rites of the Catholic Church have multiple Eucharistic Prayers?"

I believe most Eastern Churches have multiple prayers that are used at different times as dictated by the liturgical year (during Lent, Byzantines use a different one on Sundays...)

But as far as having a variety of prayers from which to somewhat arbitrarily choose, I am not familiar with any that do...

BUT, it may be the case with the Maronites and Chaldean Catholics as they made reforms to their own liturgies in the wake of the Second Vatican Council with the effect of leaving some of their liturgies looking very much like a "semetic language Novus Ordo" of sorts... They too may well have adopted options for different prayers... I really don't know.

japhy said...

I just bring it up because it clearly wasn't the tradition of the Roman Rite for some 1300+ years to have a choice of Eucharistic Prayers.

And as the article I linked to states (n. 1), there was nothing in Sacrosanctum Concilium that even implied the restoration or creation of additional Eucharistic Prayers. One wonders how the faithful can actively participate when the Roman Canon is used at Mass!

Father Martin Fox said...

Father Ron:

No, I enjoy your comments, no problem at all. Your points are very good ones, as always.

Anonymous said...

The priest at my parish uses all 4.He rotates based on the week being used for the Divine Office. Week 1 he uses Eucharistic Prayer 1 and so on. I think it is nice to hear all 4.

Fr. Ron Williams said...

Japhy, it's not true that Rome had only one Eucharistic Prayer for 1300 years. Many people don't realize that the standardized Mass of the post-Tridentine era was not the one commonly celebrated in Rome. What became known as the Tridentine Mass was in fact the curial Mass (named because it was celebrated by the Roman Curia), which was a kind of "abridged" version. With the reforms of the Council of Trent, the curial Mass became the standardized Mass for Rome and much of the West.

But even in the centuries between Trent and Vatican II, there still did not exist only one Eucharistic Prayer for the Roman Rite. I alluded to this fact in my earlier post. The Dominicans and the Carthusians had their own Rite; these were abrogated after Vatican II. Milan had the Ambrosian Rite, and Spain had the Mozarabic Rite; these are still celebrated today, though they're not as widespread as they once used to be.

It is interesting that even though the reforms of Vatican II introduced a multiplicity of Eucharistic Prayers for the Roman Rite, nevertheless Vatican II ironically did more to bring uniformity to the Mass. The religious orders no longer have their own Rites; they now celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass of the Roman Rite.

As far as the eastern Rites are concerned, yes, they have a multiplicity of Eucharistic Prayers. The Maronite Rite, if I'm not mistaken, has something like seventy EP's. The Byzantine Rite (i.e. that of the Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians, Melkites, and so forth) has several also; the one they use most often is the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, but they sometimes use the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.

Anonymous said...

So true, what you write, about engaging the children during Mass! We moved and are now at a new parish which didn't come with kneelers, so we are standing through consecration.

I asked the priest if he would consider ringing a bell at consecration. I pointed out that since we aren't kneeling, my children are only looking at the backs of the adults in front of them, and have no idea what is going on at that point during Mass. I said that if we had the bell, then they would be able to connect with what was going on better.

Sadly, he just said that there were different theologies on these things, and I wouldn't understand . . .

A Simple Sinner said...

"As far as the eastern Rites are concerned, yes, they have a multiplicity of Eucharistic Prayers. The Maronite Rite, if I'm not mistaken, has something like seventy EP's. The Byzantine Rite (i.e. that of the Greeks, Russians, Ukrainians, Melkites, and so forth) has several also; the one they use most often is the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, but they sometimes use the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great."

70 EPs in the Maronite Church? I would be interested in finding out more about that!

It is accurate enough to say we have three different EPs in the Greek Catholic churches - Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil, EP of the pre-sanctified gifts where there is a prayer that is consecratorial in nature when co-mingling the pre-consecrated bread and unconsecrated wine as the Holy gifts...

To be clear, however, these are all prescribed prayers, not "pick-ur-own".

Is there a website that has all 11 approved (general usage) Roman EPs to compare them?

Counting monastic rites as well as regional ones and the Anglican-use EP, I wonder what the total bumber of approved EPs in the West is...

A Simple Sinner said...

That would be "number"...

I did find reference to the 72 historic Maronite anaphrae... in the current Maronite missal, there are only 6.

japhy said...

I wouldn't consider the case of three separate liturgies in the Byzantine Rite the same as the single liturgy with a multitude of EPs that the Roman Rite has.

A Byzantine Catholic wouldn't use the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom halfway, and then switch to the Liturgy of St. Basil, would they?

a simple sinner: This web site has all 13 EPs.

A Simple Sinner said...

"I wouldn't consider the case of three separate liturgies in the Byzantine Rite the same as the single liturgy with a multitude of EPs that the Roman Rite has."

That is a good point of clarification I am glad you made. No one should be of the thinking that the prayers I mentioned are interchangeable... however similar the three different liturgies used by Greek Catholics are, they are three seperate liturgies with three seperate prayers.

Thanks for the link!

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

The Roman Canon absolutey deserves pride of place. I totally agree.

Fr. N said...

I am with you on this, Fr. Fox. I use the EPI all the time now and have done so for about a year.

Anonymous said...

I'm always grabbed in EPI by the phrase "All who hold and teach the Catholic faith"--that's me! That should be all of us, not just the bishops! The imperative to TEACH the faith as part of our identity appeals to me as a parent, a catechist, and one who prays for the exaltation of the Church.

A Simple Sinner said...

"Remember, Lord, your people, especially those for whom we now pray, {names}. Remember all of us gathered here before you. You know how firmly we believe in you and dedicate ourselves to you. We offer you this sacrifice of praise for ourselves and those who are dear to us"

I especially appreciate this opportunity within the context of EP 1 to take a moment to remember the dead and the living whose intentions I bring to place on the altar - it is a reminder to fix my intentions at the offetory and then fix my intentions at communion.

Prayer for the dead has been so utterly neglected in the Catholic Church today. This is something we may all, one day, come to see the tragedy of in a most uncomfortable light.

japhy said...

A Simple Sinner (whose full name I spell out because your initials are less than savory...) - you bring up a good point, re: prayer for the dead. Last week, at the young adult Bible Study I lead, we were reading Psalm 30, and I mentioned that David seems somewhat unsure about what will happen to him when he dies.

This led to a discussion about the "limbo of the fathers" and Purgatory, and the difference between the two. Two of the members aren't Catholic (one is a Baptist who is learning about the Church, the other is the (Presbyterian?) fiancée of another member) so there was a bit of discussion about where Catholics got the idea for it from Scripture. I pointed out Maccabees, of course, as well as 1 Cor 3 and Rev 21:27. But I also mentioned that during the EP at Mass, we pray for the dead. I asked "who, that is dead, needs our prayers?" Surely those in Heaven don't, and those in Hell cannot benefit from them...

Anyway. Back to the topic.

A Simple Sinner said...

Japhy the acronym was ill-considered (or at least uncosidered!) when I chose my blog monkier...

"Simple" seems to work just as well!

Good points all though!

Joe said...

Fr. Fox,

I generally prefer EP1, but I could live with some, slight, infrequent variation when/where not inappropriate.

AMDG,

-J.

Simon Platt said...

These days I am able to assist at traditional masses almost exclusively, but japhy's helpful reference to From One Eucharistic Prayer to Many helped clear up a point about the new mass which I had come across a few years ago.

Someone I know had complained that the first eucharistic prayer should be used on Sundays, whereas we nearly always heard the second.
The norms which Fr. Folsom quotes in his article are not so prescriptive as that, but seem to be clear nonetheless in strongly recommending eucharistic prayers I and III for Sundays. I think it's good news if more priests than hitherto are respecting these norms. I find "we thank you for counting us worthy" in eucharistic prayer II especially off-putting.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon this and wanted to make a few comments. The Roman Cannon was in earlier times called the Liturgy of St. Peter. It was the original Cannon of Mass in Rome if we are to believe the Church. It eventually fell out of use and there were a number of different cannons floating around but he Gallican was the main Cannon. Around 1200 or so several religious orders began with a rule for religious life that they would only use the liturgy of St. Peter, which at the time was only used on the feast of the chair of St. Peter. It is said that St. Francis requested the eariest copies of the liturgy from Rome and was given a Syriac version with a Latin translation sown to the it. Fastforward a houndred years and many people were attending Mass at the chapels run by religious orders that used the Roman Cannon "liturgy of St. Peter" and were rejecting many of the liturgical reforms of the Pope of that era (kind of like today). The Pope seeing how popular the Roman Cannon was decided to stop tinkering with the Gallican Cannon and just replace it and all the others all together. This did not happen over night but other prayers did begin to give way to the Roman Cannon. By the end of the Council of Trent there was the Roman Cannon as the undisputed winner and the Mozarabic and Ambrosian rites as localally important but not universal cannons.

Another thing we should note is that the "liturgy of St. Peter" does exist in the Greek and Slavonic schismatic churches and a Syriac version exist in the Syriac Churches. It is not used often, from what I understand only on St. Peter's feast day in Antioch but it exist. It potentially is the oldest of all the liturgies.

One last point is that the difference in liturgy in the eastern churches is not the same as we have with different optional prayers or replacable prayers. It is more akin to the the Mass of Paul VI or Mass of B. John XIII. If they do a liturgy they have to do that one liturgy, entirely and correctly or not at all. Just as we must do Mass according to Paul VI entirely and correctly or not at all, or do Mass of B. John XIII entirely and correctly or not at all.