An interesting argument that arose in the discussion surrounding my recent article "Old 100th is really new again" was in the classification of the Ordinary of the Eucharist.
In the historic Western liturgy, the Ordinary (those parts of the Mass that do not change week to week) includes the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei.
These fixed elements are interspersed with variable elements, the Proper: Introit, Gradual, Alleluia/Tract, Offertory, and Communion.
A criticism of the practice of singing "the Doxology" ("Praise God from whom all blessings flow..." sung to the tune of OLD 100TH) was that it causes this short piece of music to join the "Ordinary" of the Mass, giving it an unduly elevated status in the liturgy.
But commonly accepted practice in the Episcopal Church has grafted other optional element into the "Ordinary" of the Mass.
Consider, if you will, how "Ordinary" is the Collect for Purity. This prayer is mandatory in Rite I but optional in Rite II. And yet, every Episcopal parish in which I have worshipped has included it weekly. Why?
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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