9 September 2015

But when are the Ember Days?

WHICH WEEK ARE THE EMBER DAYS?
According to the pre-modern versions of the Roman Rite, and the Book of Common Prayer, the September and December Ember Weeks come respectively after the festivals of the Holy Cross and S Lucy. What a nice easy rule. A child can apply it. So that is where you will find them in the ORDO which I compile, and in the admirable Saint Lawrence Press ORDO.

So why, in ORDOs printed according to the 1962 Roman books (LMS; SSPX), does the September Ember Week, this year, come a week later?

Technically, the reason why the Ember Weeks come where they do is that, in the Breviary, their readings are tied into those of the week after the Third Sunday of September. Before 1962, the "First" Sunday of September might actually be at the end of August. So, this year, August 31 is the official First Sunday of September. But the 1962 revisers changed this so as to be clear-cut and logical ... First Sunday of September for them has to mean literally First Sunday of September. Hence (if you're still interested) the Third Week of September starts September 14 according to the old reckoning, but not until September 21 according to 1962.

As so often happens when people try to tidy things up and to be neat and logical and clever, this decision of 1962 led to the potential dislocation of the Ember Week from its ancient mooring to Holy Cross Day.

IMPLICATIONS OF THIS
Since the 1962 rite lasted in widespread use less than a decade, I find it hard to take it seriously in those matters where it conflicts with what the Latin Church had kept easy and natural for centuries.

Summorum pontificum, I presume, took the 1962 books as normative for ecumenical and practical reasons: because this is what the SSPX had done since Archbishop Lefebvre changed his liturgical policy around 1974.

1962 should be regarded as an interim stop-gap.

Circa-1939ish should be the starting point for a measured, sensible reconstruction of the Vetus Ordo.

8 comments:

David Wade Decoste said...

A very good point Father concerning the reconstruction of the Vetus Ordo. It is important to consider the whole of our liturgical history and its development.
Fr. DeCoste

Fr. Dennis Duvelius said...

And it would be such an utterly simple reform to restore the rule that the first Sunday of the month is that closest to the first day. New books would not be needed for those currently possessing the 1961 breviary, though a small supplement would be needed for the second week of November, the readings of which are no longer in the book.

Matthew Roth said...

I have always wondered why the SSPX anomaly became the norm. Most others used pre-Pian books.

Frank Maldonado said...

Fr. Hunwicke,

Do you happen to know what Lefebvre used up until 1974? '65?

Zephyrinus said...

Amen, dear Fr.

Andrew said...

"Since the 1962 rite lasted in widespread use less than a decade, I find it hard to take it seriously in those matters where it conflicts with what the Latin Church had kept easy and natural for centuries."

Should the period 1911-1939 be taken seriously?

"...to the [1911] reformers of the psalterium romanum belongs the distinction of having brought to an end the universal observance of a religious practice which was followed, one can say, by the Divine Redeemer Himself, during His life on earth."

guinimom said...

What think ye of the move of the Advent Ember Days in the Ordinariates to the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the First Week of Advent?

guinimom said...

What think ye of the move of the Advent Ember Days to the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the first week of Advent?