Dat Boexken van der Missen

The woodcuts here reproduced belong to a rare Flemish or Dutch devotional book of the early sixteenth century written by a certain Gherit vander Goude.  The only complete edition of the work is that printed at Antwerp in 1507 and called "Dat Boexken van der Missen" or "The Booklet of the Mass".

The English text below is taken from a version, complete, but without illustrations, printed by Robert Wyer in the parish of S. Martin-in-the-Fields on 1532, the very year of the "Submission of the Clergy" and the abolition of papal annates.

The booklet provides extremely interesting insights into the celebration of the Mass in Northern Europe immediately prior to the Reformation.  Notice the pre-Reformation use of the word "table" for "altar" as in the Prayer-book.  Note also the description of the position of the priest at the beginning of Mass, "How the preest after that with great reuerence doth begynne the masse / betwene deacon and subdeacon at the one syde of the aulter" ("op die een side vanden outaer"): this "side" is the south part of the east side.  As Dearmer notes, there was no anomaly in the revisers of the Prayer-book (1662) retaining the word "side" when the Holy Table had been replaced in its old altar-wise position ("And the priest standing at the north side of the Table shall say the Lord's Prayer").

I have produced this version from Alcuin Club Collections. V.–Dat Boexken van der Missen. 'The Booklet of the Mass,' by Brother Gherit vander Goude, 1507.


The interpretacyon / and syngyfycacyon of the Masse.

¶ Here begynneth a good deuoute Boke to the honoure of god / of our lady his mother / & of all sayntes / and ryght profytable to all good Catholyke persones / to knowe howe they shall deuoutly here Masse.  And how salutaryly they shall Confess them. And how reuerently and honourably they shall go to the holy Sacrament or table of our sauyour Jhesu chryste / With dyverse other profytable documents and oraysons or prayers here conteyned / Composed and ordeyned by frere Gararde / frere mynoure / of the ordre of the Obseruauntes.


¶ Here endeth the ryghte deuote Boke / of the sygnyfycacyon of the Masse / to the honour of god: of our lady his mother & of all sayntes.
¶ Imprynted by me Robert Wyer / dwellynge at the synge of saynt John Evãgelyste / in saynte Martyns parysshe in the felde / in the Bysshop of Norwytche rentes / besyde Charynge crosse.
¶ In the yere of our Lorde God a. M.CCCCC.XXXII.  The viiii. daye of the moneth of Octobre.
¶ Cum priuilegio Regali: pro spatio septum annorum.

¶ The fyrste Artycle of the masse.

Howe the preest doth make hym redy in the vestry to saye masse / and the deacon and subdeacon do helpe hym / but the preest alone doth take & caste upon hym the chesuble.

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Anglo-Catholic Liturgical Anarchy

There is a very interesting article on Psallite Sapienter about the liturgical situation in the Anglo-Catholic world. I already touched upon this subject here on this blog some time ago when I quoted Adrian Fortescue:

I think the habit of making up new liturgies could easily grow on a man, like dram drinking. It must be quite fun to spread out before one translations of all the best liturgies, and then to pick out and string together the prettiest snippets from each. Orchard has not the ghost of a sense of liturgical style; he understands nothing about the historic development or the inherent build of the rites he plunders. He just takes the pretty bits and strings them together anyhow. Lots of people have done this sort of thing. The Irvingite Liturgy is another famous example; so are all the High Anglican combinations of their Prayer book with the juiciest morsels from the Roman Mass. To me all this is silly and ugly. It is like a man with no sense of construction or style who tries to make a new architecture by jamming together all the pretty details of all the buildings he has seen. I admire the dome of St Peter’s and the windows of Chartres and the Propylaia at Athens and the columns of Karnack; but I should not like to see them all jammed together.

The problem is simple. We have a sublime Office that has been made beautiful through its noble simplicity and centuries of musical talent in England’s cathedrals and college chapels. On the other hand, we have a crappy Eucharistic rite in the 1662 Prayer Book, which has been somewhat improved and made more Catholic in the American and Scottish Episcopalian Churches. If I seem excessive, don’t forget I am English and have the 1662 English Prayer Book in mind. Despite the wonderful classical English idiom, the content is even more artificial and contrived than Monsignor Bugnini’s rite which is still the “ordinary” Roman rite. It is not a primitive liturgy, and it is not Catholic. It has been imposed for centuries on the English clergy on pain of severe punishments including imprisonment!

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