In the context of the Tridentine Mass of the Catholic Church, a Pontifical High Mass, also called Solemn Pontifical Mass, is a Solemn or High Mass celebrated by a bishop using certain prescribed ceremonies. The term is also used among Anglo-Catholic Anglicans. Although in modern English the word "pontifical" is almost exclusively associated with the Pope, any bishop may be properly called a pontiff. Thus, the celebrant of a Pontifical High Mass may be the pope or any bishop.
In the early Church, Mass was normally celebrated by the bishop, with other clergy. In the Roman Rite this evolved into a form of Solemn High Mass celebrated by a bishop accompanied by a deacon, subdeacon, assistant deacons,thurifer, acolyte(s) and other ministers, under the guidance of a priest acting as Master of Ceremonies. Most often the specific parts assigned to deacon and subdeacon are performed by priests. The parts to be said aloud are all chanted, except that the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, which before the reform of Pope Pius V were said in the sacristy or during the entrance procession, were said quietly by the bishop with the deacon and the subdeacon, while the choir sang the Introit.
The full Pontifical High Mass is carried out when the bishop celebrates the Mass at the throne (or cathedra) in his own cathedral church, or with permission at the throne in another diocese.
A Low Mass celebrated by a bishop is almost identical with one celebrated by a priest, except that the bishop puts on the maniple only after the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, uses the greeting "Peace be with you" rather than the priest or deacon's "The Lord be with you", and makes the sign of the cross three times at the final blessing, which may be preceded by a formula that begins with "Sit nomen Domini benedictum" (Blessed be the name of the Lord).
In contrast to celebration by a priest, a bishop celebrates almost the entire first half of the Solemn High Mass until the offertory at the cathedra , often referred to as his throne, to the left of the altar. Instead of saying Dominus vobiscum "The Lord be with you" as the opening liturgical greeting, a bishop says Pax vobis "Peace to you".
A bishop also wears vestments additional to those of a priest:
When the bishop sits at the cathedra, a special silk cloth, called a gremial(e), of the same liturgical colour as the bishop's vestments is placed in his lap.
The Pope's Pontifical High Mass, when celebrated with full solemnity, was even more elaborate. As is still done in papal Masses on occasions such as the inauguration of a pontificate, the Gospel and Epistle were sung not only in Latin by a Latin-Rite deacon and subdeacon, but also in Greek by Eastern clergy, wearing the vestments of their own rite and observing its customs, such as placing the deacon's stole on the Gospel Book and bowing rather than genuflecting. This custom stresses the unity of the universal Catholic Church, formed by both the Eastern and the Western (Latin Church) Churches in full communion.
At the elevations of host and chalice, the Silveri symphony was played on the trumpets of the no longer existing Noble Guard. Through a misunderstanding of the name Silveri, English speakers sometimes referred to this as the sounding of silver trumpets. An asterisk – a common eucharistic implement in the Eastern Rites, in which it is shaped differently from the twelve-ray asterisk that was used in Papal Masses - was used to cover the host on the paten, when it was brought to the Pope at his throne for communion. The Pope drank the Precious Blood, the wine having been consecrated, through a golden tube. Even for the laity, the use of a tube is one of the four ways envisaged in the 1970 revision of the Roman Missal for receiving Communion from the chalice, cf. also General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 248–250. It was also customary for some of the bread and wine used at the Mass to be consumed by the sacristan and the cup-bearer in the presence of the Pope at the offertory and again before the Our Father (Pater noster) in a short ceremony called the praegustatio as a precaution against poison or invalid matter.
In the Anglo-Catholic tradition of Anglicanism, the term Pontifical High Mass may refer to a Mass celebrated with the traditional Tridentine ceremonies described above. Liturgical manuals such as Ritual Notes provide a framework for incorporating Tridentine ceremonial into the services of the Book of Common Prayer. More generally, the term may refer to any High Mass celebrated by a bishop, usually in the presence of his or her throne. The Pontifical High Mass is one of four full-form pontifical functions, the other three being pontifical Evensong, High Mass in the presence of a greater prelate, and Solemn Evensong in the presence of a greater prelate. In its more traditional form, the ministers required at the service are a deacon and subdeacon of the Mass, assistant deacons in dalmatics, and an assistant priest in cope and surplice, who acts as the episcopal chaplain, along with the usual servers.
The Tridentine Mass, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), is the Roman Rite Mass of the Catholic Church which appears in typical editions of the Roman Missal published from 1570 to 1962. Celebrated exclusively in Ecclesiastical Latin, it was the most widely used Eucharistic liturgy in the world from its issuance in 1570 until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI.
Subdeacon is a minor order or ministry for men in various branches of Christianity. The subdeacon has a specific liturgical role and is placed between the acolyte and the deacon in the order of precedence.
Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religion, especially among the Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans. Many other groups also make use of liturgical garments; this was a point of controversy in the Protestant Reformation and sometimes since, in particular during the Ritualist controversies in England in the 19th century.
The stole is a liturgical vestment of various Christian denominations. It consists of a band of colored cloth, formerly usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. The stole is almost always decorated in some way, usually with a cross or some other significant religious design. It is often decorated with contrasting galloons and fringe is usually applied to the ends of the stole following Numbers 15:38–39. A piece of white linen or lace may be stitched onto the back of the collar as a sweat guard, which can be replaced more cheaply than the stole itself.
The chasuble is the outermost liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist in Western-tradition Christian churches that use full vestments, primarily in Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. In the Eastern Orthodox Churches and in the Eastern Catholic Churches, the equivalent vestment is the phelonion.
The dalmatic is a long, wide-sleeved tunic, which serves as a liturgical vestment in the Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, United Methodist, and some other churches. When used, it is the proper vestment of a deacon at Mass, Holy Communion or other services such as baptism or marriage held in the context of a Eucharistic service. Although infrequent, it may also be worn by bishops above the alb and below the chasuble, and is then referred to as pontifical dalmatic.
The maniple is a liturgical vestment used primarily within the Catholic Church, and occasionally used by some Anglo-Catholic and Lutheran clergy. It is an embroidered band of silk or similar fabric that is hung over the left arm. It is only used within the context of the Mass, and it is of the same liturgical colour as the other Mass vestments.
The cope is a liturgical vestment, more precisely a long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp. It may be of any liturgical colour.
Low Mass is a Tridentine Mass defined officially in the Code of Rubrics included in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal as a 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.
The tunicle is a liturgical vestment associated with Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism.
A Papal Mass is the Solemn Pontifical High Mass celebrated by the Pope. It is celebrated on such occasions as a papal coronation, an ex cathedra pronouncement, the canonization of a saint, on Easter or Christmas or other major feast days.
The Use of Sarum is the Latin liturgical rite developed at Salisbury Cathedral and used from the late eleventh century until the English Reformation. It is largely identical to the Roman rite, with about ten per cent of its material drawn from other sources. The cathedral's liturgy was widely respected during the late Middle Ages, and churches throughout the British Isles and parts of northwestern Europe adapted its customs for celebrations of the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours. The use has a unique ecumenical position in influencing and being authorized by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches.
Episcopal sandals, also known as the pontifical sandals, are a Roman Catholic pontifical vestment worn by bishops when celebrating liturgical functions according to the pre–Vatican II rubrics, for example a Tridentine Solemn Pontifical Mass.
A Latin Mass is a Roman Catholic Mass celebrated in Ecclesiastical Latin. While the liturgy is Latin, any sermon may be in the local vernacular, as permitted since the Council of Tours 813.
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.
Solemn Mass is the full ceremonial form of the Tridentine Mass, celebrated by a priest with a deacon and a subdeacon, requiring most of the parts of the Mass to be sung, and the use of incense. It is also called High Mass or Solemn High Mass. However, in the United States the term "High Mass" is also used to describe the less elaborate Missa Cantata, which lacks deacon and subdeacon and some of the ceremonies connected with them.
The Mass is the central liturgical rite in the Catholic Church, encompassing the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where the bread and wine are consecrated and become the Body and Blood of Christ. As defined by the Church at the Council of Trent, in the Mass, "the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, is present and offered in an unbloody manner". The Church describes the Holy Mass as "the source and summit of the Christian life". It teaches that the sacramental bread and wine, through consecration by an ordained priest, become the sacrificial body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ as the sacrifice on Calvary made truly present once again on the altar. The Catholic Church permits only baptised members in the state of grace to receive Christ in the Eucharist.
Pontifical vestments, also referred to as episcopal vestments or pontificals, are the liturgical vestments worn by bishops in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and some Lutheran churches, in addition to the usual priestly vestments for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments. The pontifical vestments are only worn when celebrating or presiding over liturgical functions. As such, the garments should not be confused with choir dress, which are worn when attending liturgical functions but not celebrating or presiding.
The liturgical books of the Roman Rite are the official books containing the words to be recited and the actions to be performed in the celebration of Catholic liturgy as done in Rome. The Roman Rite of the Latin or Western Church of the Catholic Church is the most widely celebrated of the scores of Catholic liturgical rites. The titles of some of these books contain the adjective "Roman", e.g. the "Roman Missal", to distinguish them from the liturgical books for the other rites of the Church,.
The liturgical vestments of the Christian churches grew out of normal civil clothing, but the dress of church leaders began to be differentiated as early as the 4th century. By the end of the 13th century the forms used in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches had become established, while the Reformation led to changes in Protestant churches from the 16th century onward.