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.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 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 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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.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.
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.
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".
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".
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.
They were customarily said kneeling.
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.
The Roman Missal is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.
Sedevacantism is the position, held by some traditionalist Catholics, that the present occupier of the Holy See is not truly pope due to the mainstream church's espousal of what they see as the heresy of modernism and that, for lack of a valid pope, the See has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958.
The Mass of Saint Paul VI is the most commonly used form of the Mass in use today within the Catholic Church, first promulgated, after the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and published in the 1970 edition of the Roman Missal. It "is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria" of the Roman Rite Mass, as intended for use in most contexts.
The Tridentine Mass, also known as Traditional Latin Mass, or Usus Antiquior, is the Roman Rite Mass which appears in typical editions of the Roman Missal published from 1570 to 1962. The most widely used Mass liturgy in the world from its issuance in 1570 until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in 1969, it is celebrated in ecclesiastical Latin.
Traditionalist Catholicism is a set of religious beliefs made up of the customs, traditions, liturgical forms, public, private and group devotions, and presentations of the teaching of the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). It is associated with an attachment to the pre-1970 Roman Rite Mass, referred to as the Traditional Latin Mass.
The Prayer to Saint Michael usually refers to one specific Catholic prayer to Michael the Archangel, among the various prayers in existence that are addressed to him. From 1886 to 1964, this prayer was recited after Low Mass in the Catholic Church, although not incorporated into the text or the rubrics of the Mass.
In the Latin Catholic Church, a sacramentary was a book used for liturgical services and Mass by a priest, containing all and only the words spoken or sung by him. Compared to a missal, which carries all texts and readings read by the priest and others during Mass, a sacramentary omits the texts and readings said by everyone other than the priest, but also includes texts for services other than Mass. As the sacramentary presupposes that the celebrant is normally a bishop, it also usually supplies the texts for ordinations, at the consecration of a church and altar and many exorcisms, blessings, and consecrations that were later inserted in the Pontifical and Ritual.
A missal is a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year.
The Society of Saint Pius V, is a Traditionalist Catholic society of priests, formed in 1983 and based in Oyster Bay Cove, New York. The priests of SSPV broke away from the Society of St. Pius X over liturgical issues, and hold that many in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church no longer adhere to the Catholic faith but instead profess a new, modernist, Conciliar religion. SSPV priests regard the questions of the legitimacy of the present hierarchy and the possibility that the Holy See is unoccupied (sedevacantism) to be unresolved. The SSPV is led by its founder, Bishop Clarence Kelly, and named after Pius V, who promulgated the Tridentine Mass.
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office or Work of God or canonical hours, often referred to as the Breviary, is the official set of prayers "marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer". It consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns, readings and other prayers and antiphons. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.
In the Latin liturgical rites, a commemoration is the recital, within the Liturgy of the Hours or the Mass of one celebration, of part of another celebration, generally of lower rank, that is impeded because of a coincidence of date.
A Latin Mass is a Roman Catholic Mass celebrated in Ecclesiastical Latin.
The Roman Rite is the main or Western liturgical rite of the Roman Catholic Church, the main particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It is the most widespread liturgical rite in Christianity as a whole. The Roman Rite gradually became the predominant rite used by the Western Church, developed out of many local variants from Early Christianity on, not amounting to distinctive rites, that existed in the medieval manuscripts, but have been progressively reduced since the invention of printing, most notably since the reform of liturgical law in the 16th century at the behest of the Council of Trent (1545–63) and more recently following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65).
Missa cantata is a form of Tridentine Mass defined officially in 1960 as a sung Mass celebrated without sacred ministers, i.e., deacon and subdeacon.
Anthony J. Cekada is a Sedevacantist Catholic priest and author. Once a month during the academic year Cekada travels to Brooksville, Florida where he teaches Canon Law, Liturgy, and Scripture at Most Holy Trinity Seminary.
Latin liturgical rites, or Western liturgical rites, are Latin tradition Catholic liturgical rites employed by the Latin Church, the largest particular church sui iuris of the Roman Catholic Church, that originated in Europe where the Latin language once dominated. Its language is now known as Ecclesiastical Latin. The most used rite is the Roman Rite.
Ave Regina caelorum is one of the Marian antiphons said or sung in the Liturgy of the Hours at the close of compline. In the Roman Breviary as revised by Pope Pius V in 1569 it was assigned for this use from compline of 2 February until compline of Wednesday of Holy Week. Since the revision of the Liturgy of the Hours in 1969, the only Marian antiphon for whose use a fixed period is laid down is the Easter season antiphon Regina caeli.
Louie Verrecchio, M.I. is a traditionalist Catholic author, columnist and speaker residing in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, MD. He is the President and Founder of Salve Regina Publications, Inc., and the author of the highly acclaimed Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II series of conciliar document study materials which explore the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.