or dry service, as it is sometimes called, consists in the recital of the ordinary of the mass without the canon, there being neither consecration nor communion. The rite is described and commented upon by Durandus, Rationale, IV, 1:23; Durantus, De Ritibes, II, 4; Bona, Rerum Liturg. I, 15:6; Martene, De Ant. Eccl. Ritibus, , 3:1; Bingham, Antiq. XV, 4:5; Neale, Eastern Church, I, 7:4. "As the canons forbid priests to celebrate the liturgy more than once in the day, except in cases of urgent necessity; and as some covetous and wicked priests were desirous of celebrating more frequently, with the object of receiving oblations from the people; they availed themselves of the missa sicca, and thus deceived the people, who intended to offer their prayers and alms at a real commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ" (Palmer). The earliest mention of this abuse is its condemnation in the Capitulars of Charlemagne (Neale), that is, in A.D. 805: the leading example is its practice by St. Louis, who died A.D. 1270. Durantus says that the book Liber Sacerdotalis, in which this rite is described, was approved by Leo X; and he finds the Missa Sicca in the passage of Socrates, Hist. 5:22, where Leo Allatius finds the rite of the presanctified. The more learned Roman theologians of the 16th century condemned this abuse, and Bona states its general suppression. Neale, however, says that it was common in Belgium as late as A.D. 1780. The rite was never in use in the East, except in Egypt.
Neale has charged the Church of England with deliberately retaining the Missa Sicca, but Blunt (Dict. of Hist. and Doctrinal Theol. s.v.) holds that "this charge is without foundation. There is an essential difference between the use of the eucharistic hymns, without which the rite could hardly be called a Missa, and the use of the prayer for the Church militant only, made real, as far as can be, by the offering of alms. The English custom is not an approval of abstaining from communion, such as certainly was more or less implied in the Missa Sicca, but a practical illustration of the words of the priest's exhortation, 'I for my part shall be ready,' and a protest against the remissness of the people." See calmer, Origines Liturgice, 2:164,165. (J.H.W.)