20 January 2008

Conflicting Calendars

I suspect I am not the only priest now with a calendar problem; not least since the motu proprio. Take the Gesimas; these Sundays have lovely masses, all of them; Septuagesima has its papal statio at S Lawrence; Sexagesima at S Paul; Quinquagesima at S Peter. (There is a fun game anyone can play; look through the old masses in the old Roman Missal or in the Book of Common Prayer and try to spot covert allusions to these Saints in the details of the texts.) Scholars are not agreed who composed the Masses concerned; was it S Gregory the Great or a predecessor of his in the previous generation? But whoever is responsible, we clearly have here a coherent liturgical season in which, faced with tribulations internal and external (including barbarian invasions; again, it is fun to spot references to Affliction in the texts) the people of Rome led by their pontiff trooped along the continuous porticoes which lined their streets to visit, on the edge of the old City, the three great basilicas of the City's three great patrons to seek succour in tribulation. We have tribulations enough in our time; perhaps these Masses do deserve to be dusted off and brought back into use.

The problem? Well, are we really to bury Alleluia on the eve of Septuagesima? To tell the organist not to schedule hymns with A-word until Easter? To tell the sacristan to put away the green vestments? We can do this if the old calendar is the only calendar followed in the particular church. But what if some masses there are old usage (John XXIII or Thomas Cranmer) and others are new (Paul VI or Common Worship)? Similar probems occur throughout the year. For example, if I celebrate a P6 mass on January 13, I will observe S Hilary. If the following day pastoral imperatives or personal preference incline me to say a J23 Mass, I will find myself again 'doing' S Hilary ... because that rite displaced him from the 13th so that he did not collide with the Octave of Epiphany. But such duplication hardly seems very tidy. What solution should the Ecclesia Dei Commission make available? Anglicans have had a problem like this for generations; now that Rome has it too, perhaps we might get an answer!


Anonymous said...

Apparently there is a pretty decent Ordo published by a priest who used to be in the Exeter Diocese - maybe the next edition will have the answer... who knows?!

Anonymous said...

Under the new rules, as we can best understand them, is it within the bounds of extended legality (ie: what Anglo-Catholics do while trying to remain loyal to Roman practise) to use the 'Anglican Breviary'....I don't mean as a form of 'A Service of the Word' but under the same 'loyal to Rome' basis in which the English Missal was/ is used?