29 August 2014

Prefaces

I reprint this piece from June (with its thread) because of its relevance to the Feast today of the Decollation of my Patron S John Baptist. 

I am moved by the great fear that many traddies have of the slightest change to the Missal of 1962. Truly, people have been wounded. But:
(1) S John Baptist, whom we celebrate today, is at least as great a Saint as S Joseph. One could even argue that, in popular devotion, recent centuries have seen S John Baptist overshadowed in the Western Church by S Joseph. Now ... if it was OK to give S Joseph a preface in 1919, why would it be completely beyond the pale for S John Baptist to be given a Preface in 2019?
(2) In fact, this has been done already. There already is a "Gallican" preface for S John Baptist, authorised before 1962. In the SSPX French language ORDO, it is marked as ad libitum. Are those who oppose any change to '1962' arguing that somebody should go round and tear this preface out of all the SSPX missals?
(3) Why, in any case, is '1962' so sacrosanct? It is at least arguable that the 'Conciliar period' began with the election of Pius XII, who commissioned Annibale Bugnini and others to effect the extremely radical 'reforms' which came on stream in the 1950s. And feasts galore of our Lady were added in that Pontificate on impulse, rather as if a child were randomly playing with a rubix cube. Before Pius XII, for example, May 31 was in very many places the Feast of our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces; a fine and edifying Mass which would benefit us all by being brought back and made universal. This feast was displaced by our Lady, Queen ... which would be very suitably observed on the Octave of the Assumption ... etc etc..
(4) After S Pius V promulgated his recension of the Roman Missal, in every generation the feasts of 'new' Saints were added to the Calendar and the Sanctorale. Every pontiff did it. Just have a look at any pre-1962 Altar Missal preserved in any Sacristy throughout the world: you'll discover the 'new' masses glued in by the parish priest as they arrived hot off the press from Rome. Glue was an essential liturgical accessory in the pre-Conciliar period. The fact that no addition has been made since 1962 is thus, in itself, paradoxically, very profoundly untraditional. This does not mean, by the way, that every saint canonised was promptly added to the Universal Calendar. Quite the contrary. Accretions were gradual and cautious.

I feel that informed traddies do have a duty gently and sensitively to educate the more fearful. Complete, rigid, preservation of the very unsatisfactory Missal of 1962 is far from ideal. It would be best for a representative commission to take the status quo of 1939 as its starting point and then, very very gently, discern the sort of extremely light and gradual and organic developments which could have occurred if Pius XII had not ushered in an era of violent 'reform'.

15 comments:

Joshua said...

Uniformly excellent, as usual.

Rubricarius said...

There is something rather pleasing about having the preface of the Nativity due to the Octave today - a reminder of what the Precursor was all about.

W.C. Hoag said...

I am very convinced of Laurence Paul Hemming's argument in "Worship As Revelation" that we need to dump ALL the revised liturgical books of the 20th century since none were truly organic developments of the liturgy. Reset the books to those as they existed under Leo XIII and let organic development take over. S. John the Baptist will have his Preface!

Joshua said...

Indeed, extend to the whole world the Prefaces granted pro aliquibus locis: that of Advent, that of Corpus Christi, that of All Saints (of which more below), that of St John Baptist, that of the Dedication of a Church, that of Marriage.

I would go so far as to assign the Preface of All Saints to each and every saint's day not otherwise provided for, relegating the Common Preface to ferias.

All these are as least as traditional as the Prefaces of the Dead, of the Sacred Heart, of St Joseph, of Christ the King - and the proper prefaces granted to religious orders, such as the Prefaces of St Dominic, St Francis, etc.

This would be a decent enrichment of the rite, without running into the oversupply of prefaces besetting the Novus Ordo.

Ryan Ellis said...

I am sympathetic to the idea that we should leave well enough alone for a good long time. While the 1962 is flawed, and while organic development/restoration from the 1950s errors should be allowed to continue, that doesn't mean it has to happen right now. Let's let the liturgy become a calmer issue for a couple of decades before opening things up like this.

6c51 said...

Does this tendency to be a little precious over the 1962 missal stem from the insistence on it's use (with any changes up to the at time) for masses in the EF? It was much pointed out in some circles (of course, we may use older books, but have to check the mention of St Joseph in the canon, check the calendar, and remember to follow the 1962 rubrics) and I think there may be a tendency to do it "by the book" literally, lest the provision be withdrawn if there's evidence of spanish practices popping up

Kathryn Rose said...

Joshua - why Corpus Christi preface? The Preface of the Nativity is perfect for Corpus Christi, and was the law and practice for centuries, establishing the link between the physical Coming of Our Lord and His Spiritual Coming daily upon the Altar.

ansgerus said...

1939 is a very good starting point if you accept the reform of Pius X, eventhough the changes of the temporale in the Breviary in a certain way were the beginning of "commission-made" liturgies as clearly indicated in "Divino afflatu" given in the preface of the new Breviary of S. Pius X (..Nos..aliquot viros delegimus doctos et industrios quibus commisimus ut consiliis studiisque collatis certam aliquam reperirent rei efficiendae rationen quae nostri optatis responderet. Illi autem commissum sibi munus e sententia exsequentes novam Psalterii dispositionen elaborarunt..). Instead, it would have been possible to leave the distribution of the psalms as it was, in congruence with century old practise and without disturbing the unity with the monestary uses, and just to implement the changes of the rubrics which I think were very wise, as they keep the honour of the saints while allowing the prayer of the daily course of the psalms. Anyway, I love my Breviary of 1941 (actually the editio typica of 1939) with the several glued-in later alterations as well as the small sheets with local officii. What a cultures of liturgical observances we still had in the 1950-years with clerics carefully observing all changes and implementing the respective leaflets immediately. What a difference to nowaday's liturgies with self-made prayers read by church committee members in ordinary everyday clothes...

ansgerus said...

1939 is a very good starting point if you accept the reform of Pius X, eventhough the changes of the temporale in the Breviary in a certain way were the beginning of "commission-made" liturgies as clearly indicated in "Divino afflatu" given in the preface of the new Breviary of S. Pius X (..Nos..aliquot viros delegimus doctos et industrios quibus commisimus ut consiliis studiisque collatis certam aliquam reperirent rei efficiendae rationen quae nostri optatis responderet. Illi autem commissum sibi munus e sententia exsequentes novam Psalterii dispositionen elaborarunt..). Instead, it would have been possible to leave the distribution of the psalms as it was, in congruence with century old practise and without disturbing the unity with the monestary uses, and just to implement the changes of the rubrics which I think were very wise, as they keep the honour of the saints while allowing the prayer of the daily course of the psalms. Anyway, I love my Breviary of 1941 (actually the editio typica of 1939) with the several glued-in later alterations as well as the small sheets with local officii. What a cultures of liturgical observances we still had in the 1950-years with clerics carefully observing all changes and implementing the respective leaflets immediately. What a difference to nowaday's liturgies with self-made prayers read by church committee members in ordinary everyday clothes...

Matthew Roth said...

Yes, I think the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary fits the day after the feast of the Sacred Heart, as it is in the NO, thereby freeing up August 22 for the feast of the Queenship of the BVM. I admit that the sanctoral cycle has a few improvements (not many) in the Pauline calendar. This is one of them.
Joshua, I agree completely, and it would not require using the newer prefaces, which have a markedly different than those already in the 1962 Missal.

Nic said...

Few other commenters have followed Mr 6c who says :
"I think there may be a tendency to do it "by the book" literally, lest the provision be withdrawn if there's evidence of spanish practices popping up"
I fear he has this right. Furthermore, if the principle of interference from the other (the wrong) direction were established there would be the danger of liberals thinking they could impose the 1969 calendar with the readings and all.
(I have seen this actually proposed in the pages of the tablet, that strange publication whose readership must be smaller than its authorship but is somehow still supplying us with fish wrapping). A reverse reform of the reform, if you will. I think that is the fear. It's all fruit of the same tree but 1962 is rather better. Good luck with reestablishing 1939. My 1903 holy week book is indeed the acme of good practice, but in these evil times I take 6c's point.

William G. said...

The one very important change in the 1962 missal was of course the deletion of the adjective perfidis in relation to the Jews. Protecting the Church from charges of anti-Semitism is a reasonable price to pay for the unpleasant alterations made elsewhere in the Triduum. If a pre 1962 missal is to be used as the basis for a restored Mass, it is imperative that the reform of John XXIII be applied to it; what would be ideal would be a missal preserving his change, and deleting everything changed by his predecessor.

Robster said...

I found a very tortured English version of the Preface mentioned.

John the Baptist is the titular Patron of the Primatial Cathedral Church of Lyons, France. The Missal proper to the Patriarchal See of Lyons, therefore, has a proper Preface for the Feasts of the same glorious Precursor of Our Lord.

This text is taken from the Missale Romanum in quo antiqui ritus Lugdunenses servatur Apostolicæ Sedis auctoritate recognitum et probatum (Lyons: Typis Emmanuel Vitte, 1956), approved by authority of His Eminence Pierre Marie Cardinal Gerlier, Archbishop of Lyons and Vienna, and Primate of Gaul (29th of June, 1953). Here is a vernacular translation:

Truly is it worthy and just, becoming and healthful, that we should ever and everywhere make thanksgiving unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: And to collaud Thy magnificence in the day of the festivity of blessed John the Baptist; who, not yet having been brought forth, hath perceived the voice of the Mother of the Lord, and, yet enclosed in the womb of [his] mother, hath announced the coming of the Salvation of man in the midst of prophetic joyous leaping: who, being conceived, hath taken away the sterility of [his] mother, and, being born, hath loosened the tongue of [his] father, and, alone amongst all the Prophets who had foretold the Redeemer of the world, hath shown forth Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Whom Thy majesty is praised by the Angels, adored by the Dominations, feared by the trembling Powers: and co-celebrated by the celestial Virtues of heaven and by the beatified Seraphim, united in the midst of rejoicing. With whom we pray that Thou mayest ordain our voices to be admitted, in suppliant confession saying:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord

katolske said...

Thanks, Father, for this very thoughtful and thoughtprovoking comment. Of course you are right on the principle - in normal times. However, in the current climate, where bishops and even cardinals seem open to reform not just prefaces but the faith itself, including the theology and Church laws on marriage etc., I certainly share the fear you mention initially that the 1962 missal would soon be sorely missed - should the same men begin to tamper with it.
Surely a frozen missal is untraditional and abnormal but... we are in the midst of a huge crisis of leadership and faith in the Church and deep into the congregations who would have to manage these changes. For this reason, many faithful (as myself) cling to the version of the true Mass that we have... we have so much to loose as the distance between it and the chaos of the parish next door.

Patrick Langan said...

Sage words eloquently laid down! I do not like the term (traddies) however. Anything that even seems to divide has to be avoided, we are all Roman Catholic in the true sense!