Leonine Prayers

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The Leonine Prayers are a set of prayers that from 1884 to early 1965 were prescribed for recitation by the priest and the people after Low Mass, but not as part of Mass itself. Hence they were commonly called Prayers after Mass. [1] [2] The name "Leonine" derived from the fact that they were initially introduced by Pope Leo XIII. They were slightly modified under Pope Pius X.

Low Mass is a Tridentine Mass defined officially in the Code of Rubrics included in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal as Mass in which the priest does not chant the parts that the rubrics assign to him. A sung Mass in turn is a ‘High’ or Solemn Mass if celebrated with the assistance of sacred ministers ; without them it is a Missa Cantata.

Mass (liturgy) type of worship service within many Christian denomination

Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, as well as in some Lutheran, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches.

Pope Leo XIII 256th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Leo XIII was head of the Catholic Church from 20 February 1878 to his death. He was the oldest pope, and had the third-longest confirmed pontificate, behind that of Pius IX and John Paul II.

Contents

The intention for which the prayers were offered changed over time. Originally they were offered for the defence of the temporal sovereignty of the Holy See. After this problem was settled with the Lateran Treaty of 1929, Pope Pius XI ordered them to be said for the restoration to the people of Russia of tranquillity and freedom to profess the Catholic faith. This gave rise to the unofficial use of the name "Prayers for the Conversion of Russia" for the prayers. [3] [4]

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholics around the world. As a sovereign entity, the Holy See is headquartered in, operates from, and exercises "exclusive dominion" over the independent Vatican City State enclave in Rome, Italy, of which the pope is sovereign. It is organized into polities of the Latin Church and the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.

Lateran Treaty Treaty between the Holy See and Italy establishing Vatican City State

The Lateran Treaty was one of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 or Lateran Accords, agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, settling the "Roman Question". They are named after the Lateran Palace, where they were signed on 11 February 1929. The Italian parliament ratified them on 7 June 1929. It recognized Vatican City as an independent state, with the Italian government, at the time led by Benito Mussolini as prime minister, agreeing to give the Roman Catholic Church financial compensation for the loss of the Papal States. In 1947, the Lateran Treaty was recognized in the Constitution of Italy as regulating the relations between the state and the Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XI 20th-century Catholic pope

Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was head of the Catholic Church from 6 February 1922 to his death in 1939. He was the first sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929. He took as his papal motto, "Pax Christi in Regno Christi," translated "The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ."

The final form of the Leonine Prayers consisted of three Ave Marias , a Salve Regina followed by a versicle and response, a prayer for the conversion of sinners and the liberty and exaltation of the Catholic Church, and a prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. Pope Pius X permitted the addition of the invocation "Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us", repeated three times.

Hail Mary traditional Catholic prayer

The Hail Mary is a traditional Catholic prayer asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Roman Catholicism, the prayer forms the basis of the Rosary and the Angelus prayers. In the Oriental Orthodox Churches, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, a similar prayer is used in formal liturgies, both in Greek and in translations. It is also used by many other groups within the Catholic tradition of Christianity including Anglicans, Independent Catholics, and Old Catholics.

<i>Salve Regina</i> hymn by von Reichenau

The Salve Regina, also known as the Hail Holy Queen, is a Marian hymn and one of four Marian antiphons sung at different seasons within the Christian liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. The Salve Regina is traditionally sung at Compline in the time from the Saturday before Trinity Sunday until the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent. The Hail Holy Queen is also the final prayer of the Rosary.

A response, or respond, is the second half of one of a set of preces, the said or sung answer by a congregation or choir to a versicle said or sung by an officiant or cantor. In the following opening of the Anglican service of Morning Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), the first line is the versicle and the second is the response.

The Holy See's 26 September 1964 Inter Oecumenici which came into force on 7 March 1965, simply declared: "The Leonine Prayers are suppressed." However, many celebrations of Mass in the 1962 form are still followed by the same prayers with some discussion surrounding the intention for which they are offered.

Summorum Pontificum is an apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued in July 2007, which specified the circumstances in which priests of the Latin Church may celebrate Mass according to what he called the "Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962", and administer most of the sacraments in the form used before the liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council.

History

In 1859, Pope Pius IX, facing rebellion against his temporal sovereignty in the course of the Risorgimento, ordered that Masses celebrated in the Papal States be followed by three Ave Marias, a Salve Regina, a versicle and response, and a collect. He did not make these prayers obligatory in other countries, but did ask Catholics everywhere to pray for the defeat of those bent on destroying the Holy See's temporal sovereignty. [5]

Pope Pius IX 255th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti, was head of the Catholic Church from 16 June 1846 to his death on 7 February 1878. He was the longest-reigning elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving for over 31 years. During his pontificate, Pius IX convened the First Vatican Council (1869–70), which decreed papal infallibility, but the council was cut short owing to the loss of the Papal States.

Italian unification political and social movement that consolidated different Italian states into a single state

Italian unification, also known as the Risorgimento, was the political and social movement that consolidated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century. The process began in 1815 with the Congress of Vienna and was completed in 1871 when Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.

Papal States Territories mostly in the Appenine Peninsula under the sovereign direct rule of the pope between 752–1870

The Papal States, officially the State of the Church, were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from roughly the 8th century until the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia successfully unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a campaign virtually concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.

On 6 January 1884, in the context of anti-clerical political and social developments in the new Kingdom of Italy, Pope Leo XIII ordered that the prayers be recited throughout the world. [6] In 1886, the prayer that follows the Salve Regina was modified to make it a prayer for the conversion of sinners and "the freedom and exaltation of Holy Mother Church". The prayer to Saint Michael was added at the same time. [7]

Kingdom of Italy kingdom on the Appenine Peninsula between 1861 and 1946

The Kingdom of Italy was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946—when civil discontent led an institutional referendum to abandon the monarchy and form the modern Italian Republic. The state was founded as a result of the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which can be considered its legal predecessor state.

Two slight changes were made later to the prayer after the Salve Regina, and in 1904, Pope Pius X granted permission to add at the conclusion of the Leonine Prayers a threefold invocation, "Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us", a permission that was universally availed of. [8]

In 1929, the state of Vatican City was created, resolving the troubled relationship between the Holy See and the Italian state, which had been the object of the Leonine Prayers, and thus removing their raison d'être. But the following year, Pope Pius XI ordered that the Leonine Prayers should be offered "to permit tranquillity and freedom to profess the faith to be restored to the afflicted people of Russia". [9]

The 26 September 1964 Instruction Inter Oecumenici on implementing the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council decreed: "The Leonine Prayers are suppressed". [10]

Rubrics

According to the original decree of 6 January 1884 that imposed the Leonine Prayers, they were to be said after every Low Mass, but later decrees, whose interpretation was not always clear, spoke rather of "private Masses", what in present-day legislation are called Masses without the people. According to one influential rubricist, the Leonine Prayers could be omitted after a Low Mass that was celebrated with special solemnity, such as an ordination or funeral Mass, a First Friday Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart, a Nuptial Mass, or the Mass after distribution of the ashes on Ash Wednesday, or if the Mass was followed immediately by function such as Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament or a Novena. [11]

They were customarily said kneeling. [12]

Continued use

The Leonine Prayers, which were suppressed in 1964, before the appearance of the post-Vatican II editions of the Roman Missal, were prayers after Low Mass, not prayers ofthe Mass, and so were not included in either of the two new pre-Vatican II editions that followed their imposition, that of Pope Benedict XV in 1920 and that of Pope John XXIII in 1962.

Anthony Cekada says that, even if the Leonine Prayers had not been suppressed in 1964, they would by canon law have lost their obligatory character when a 1990 Russian law gave Catholics in that country the right to profess their religion, the new intention for which, after the 1929 solution of the "Roman question" of the dispute between the Holy See and Italy, Pope Pius XI decreed that the prayers were to be offered: that Christ "would permit tranquility and freedom to profess the faith to be restored to the afflicted people of Russia". However, such prayers may optionally be said after Mass from time to time with the at least presumed permission of the Ordinary. [13]

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References

  1. "Prayers after Mass" in The Tablet, 26 November 1904
  2. Pope, Charles. "Prayers after Mass", Our Sunday Visitor, May 8, 2013
  3. "Handbook for Altar Servers", Archconfraternity of St. Stephen
  4. "Parts of the Traditional Latin Mass", St. Andrew's Daily Missal
  5. Qui nuper, 18 June 1859, PapalEncyclicalsOnline
  6. This instruction was published by a decree Iam inde ab anno of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, published in Acta Sanctae Sedis 16 (1884), pages 249–250.
  7. Russia and the Leonine Prayers
  8. DiMillo, Kevin. "How the Leonine Prayers Helped Create the Vatican State and Crushed the Soviet Union". National Catholic Register, May 4, 2016
  9. Allocution Indictam ante of 30 June 1930, in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 22 (1930), p.301
  10. Inter Oecumenici
  11. J. O’Connell, The Celebration of Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal, (Milwaukee: Bruce 1941), vol. 1, pages 210–211
  12. A Guide to the Celebration of Low Mass
  13. Anthony Cekada, "Russia and the Leonine Prayers" in Sacerdotium 5 (Autumn 1992), pp. 4–5, 14, 17