Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: bells on thurible
bells on thurible QUESTION from Fr. Martin Farrell, O.S.D on February 17, 2002 I was browsing through your site for the first time in a few years and noticed a response you gave to a Mrs. Judy Watson regarding her question about bells on censers.
You were correct in stating that there is no specific instruction about how censers are assembled. In the Latin Rite, some censers have 4 chains, some have one, and some have none, and all are perfectly legitimate for use in the liturgy. Some Byzantine Christians tend toward bells (e.g. Antiocheans, Melkites), but others, like the slavs (Russians, Carpatho-Russians) do not. In addition, there are instances from the middle ages of bells or something similar being attached to censers used in the West. It really makes no difference, and the preference for or against is backed up by nothing more than personal preference.
Since incense is used SO infrequently in so many Latin Parishes, I think any sort of censer is a secondary consideration if it means that one is able to have so important a sense as the olfactory engaged in worship. Furthermore, even when incense is used in many places it used so stingily that whatever can draw attention to the act of censing, such as bells, is DEFINITELY on the side of the Angels.
There are LOTS of ritual elements the latin and the Eastern rites share in common. Furthermore, the Holy Father has asked Western Catholics to learn from the East's approach to Liturgy, and thereby enhance our own understanding and celebration of it. Even a casual reading of such documents as ORIENTALE LUMEN indicate the tremendous regard the Pope wishes Latins to develop for the way Eastern Christians approach and serve the Sacred Mysteries. As for adopting or adapting certain eastern customs in our western services, one does need to be cautious, but it is just simple-minded rigidity to suggest that this is out of the question. No less a luminary than the great Western Father of the Church and Liturgical Father, St. Ambrose of Milan (after whom the Western Rite of Milan or AMBROSIAN rite is named) suggested that the liturgical usages of the East should be the criterion of preference even in the west.
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on March 2, 2002 Dear Father Farrell,
I am happy to post your input to be considered next to my own.
Just for clarification, I have not ruled bells totally.. I would just prefer not to use them since they are not in our tradition.
Back to Index Page