Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Confiteor Questions

Over the past week or so, there's one topic that I've been chatting about with some of my guy friends: the Confiteor. What is the Confiteor you may ask? It's this prayer...

"I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault,
through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God."

What I've been bringing up is the fact that I rarely hear it during Mass. Except for my spiritual director and the occasional priest, most other priests (at least in my neck of the woods) seem to prefer different variations during the Penitential Rite.

I'll go ahead and admit that, if I don't hear the Confiteor prayed during Mass, it doesn't seem right to me; it feels like something is missing. I don't know if it's because I grew up attending mostly Spanish Masses and the Confiteor is always used (and you always strike your breast during "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault..."). I don't know if it's a sign that I'm sort of a Mass "snob" because that can be very possible (I cringe when I see liturgical abuses).

This week I've decided to figure out why it seems to no longer be commonly used during Masses. Yes, I know it can be a preference thing amongst priests, but I am curious as to why. Are the options (I believe there's about 3 different prayer options during the Penitential Rite; someone correct me if I'm wrong) a product of Vatican II? When were the options introduced? When was the Confeitor introduced? When prayed during the N.O. (Novus Ordo/Ordinary Form) Mass, why do most people not strike their breast? I feel like I'm the only person under 50 who does it. lol. I have so many questions that are currently unanswered and I'm pretty sure they're going to bug me until I get the answers.

So, that is my mission for the week; to find out the answer to these questions. Does anyone know or can anyone point me in the right direction? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Anyway, that's it for now. Yes, I am well aware that I have been posting almost daily. See? I told you Journey of a Catholic Nerd Writer (back to) 1.0 was a good idea. lol. ;)

I hope y'all are having a good day.

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D


DarrylM said...

According to the old Catholic Encyclopedia, the confiteor in the Latin rite migrated from being something said by the priest in the sacristy to being said around the altar in the 10th or 11th centuries. The form was changed over the centuries.

Full article:

In the present Roman Missal, there are 3 options (besides a sprinkling rite, which is used "From time to time on Sundays, especially in Easter time").

Option 1: Confiteor is said (with people striking their breast during "through my fault, through my fault..."), then followed by the absolution ("May almighty God have mercy on us..."), and then followed by the Kyrie.

Option 2: This one is very rare in my part of the world. I'm not sure about elsewhere. It goes like this:
Priest: "Have mercy on us, O Lord."
People: "For we have sinned against you."
Priest: "Show us, O Lord, your mercy."
People: "And grant us your salvation."
This is followed by the absolution and Kyrie.

Option 3: The Kyrie, but with invocations to Christ are made before each verse. e.g.:
"You were sent to heal the contrite of heart: Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)
You came to call sinners: Christ, have mercy. (Christ, have mercy.)
You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us: Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)"
This is followed by the absolution. Different invocations can be used other than the ones above.

Hope that helps. :-)

Stephen said...

I must confess (pun intended :) ) that I too find it very odd if the Confiteor isn't prayed at the beginning of Mass. So much so that if the priest skips over it and goes right to the Kyrie, I'll often recite and pray the Confiteor quietly to myself.

For me, it's always been something that we've prayed at Mass, so it's almost jarring with it doesn't happen. So I don't see it as being so much a "snob" as being aware of our own faults and being humble enough to ask for the prayers of our brothers and sisters, Mary, and all the Angels and Saints intercessions (for the Lord knows I am a sinner and need all the prayers and help I can!).

Emmy Cecilia said...

Thanks, Fr Darryl!

Emmy Cecilia said...

Is it rarely skipped in your part of the world, Stephen?

Stephen said...

At my parish, it is normally said at the start of Mass (not sure about weekday Mass, as I'm not able to attend with any regularity) so it's rarely skipped or omitted. There is a parish near to my home that I go to occasionally with my mother where I find that it's more noticeable when they do it. I go to my parish even though it's further away (it was closer to me before I moved a while back) because I love the community there!

So I can't say definitely if it's skipped across the Diocese (I live in Alberta, so I'm Fr. Darryl's neighbour!) I suspect it depends more upon the parish or the Priest who's the celebrant.

But yes, personally, I prefer when we pray the Confiteor at Mass.