24 February 2009

Problems of "Utraquism" and what did M l'Abbe Gilles Wach think?

A treat to see the great Fr Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, in choir at Saint Alyoggers at Vespers on Sunday. I am sure he will have admired the competence and naturalness with which the Oxford Oratorians do Vespers according to the pre-Conciliar Breviary. All right-minded people appreciate it, and I think a survey of how many Anglicans habitually turn up might yield interesting results. But there were some technical oddities for the M. le Prieur Generale to puzzle over.

We had Old Rite Vespers of Quinquagesima Sunday; but the liturgical colour was green as ordered by the New Rite. We omitted, of course, the Alleluia at the beginning, because in the old usage we say farewell to Alleluia on the eve of Septuagesima. But, between the Office and Benediction, we sang Chatterton Dix's great Anglican Eucharistic hymn "Alleluia, sing to Jesus" in which Alleluia re-echoes throughout every stanza.

In ecclesiis in quibus Ritus Romanus in utraque forma de more celebratur, quid agendum? In churches where the Ordinary Form is always or nearly always used, there are no Calendar problems. Ditto in those happy places where the EF is the standard. But what about churches which have a foot in both camps? Is Septuagesima time done in purple or green? Is Alleluia sung? Is the Paschal Candle extinguished and put away on Ascesion Day? Do we continue to use Paschal conventions through the Octave of Pentecost? And which dates for the memoriae of Saints does a priest observe who, like me, says the EF Mass perhaps as many as five times some weeks on weekdays but follows the OF for Sunday Mass and some weekday Masses? Switching from the one calendar to the other on a more or less daily basis would yield considerable confusion.

I suggest we could recover from the Hussites (who gave it a quite different meaning) the term Utraquist for such churches. And I think that, as the number of Utraquist churches grows, some guidance is called for. I expect many readers could suggest intelligent ideas. And, as the Pontifical Commission Ecclesis Dei is merged with the CDW, perhaps we could expect from the combined body some practical and sensible guidlines. (Incidentally. the same problems entangle those C of E churches in which some services are Common Worship and some are Book of Common Prayer.)

I wish I'd known Fr Wach was in Oxford. I would have invited him to preach in S Thomas's.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Wach. Remindes me of a favorite cartoon.


Chris said...

A common solution, in my experience in an Anglican context, is to mix and match: BCP service, but with CW calendar, collect and lectionary. I imagine this would work less well with EF/OF, though; CW seems to have been designed, at least in some respects (e.g the Office lectionary) with backwards compatibility in mind, due to an understanding that the BCP would inevitably continue in use; those who compiled the OF largely sought to completely replace what is now the EF. And neither Anglican use has the wealth of liturgical detail found in the Roman forms, so there's less to clash.

(Surely I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here?)

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

As a parish/Church we follow the OF General Calendar as a rule, using the EF Rite and Propers. The principle being to express solidarity re observing Feasts etc with the "majority" of Catholic Christendom. Though we observe the traditional dates of the Greater Solemnities even if midweek!

The priestly fraternity to which I belong, uses the Liturgia Horarum which doesn't very often seem to conflict thematically with the EF lectionary... certainly it doesn't re Feasts/Solemnities.

However, if there isn't a Saint or Feast for a given day in the OF, we will supplant from the EF if that Saint/Feast wouldn't otherwise be observed. When permitted of course, this replaces the dreaded "Feria" with at least a votive!

This isn't "ideal" but it "works" and to me seems a logical way to attempt to harmonise the EF with the modern Calendar. I realise the traditionalist purist would rather it were the other way around... However as "Catholic" means "universal" it seems appropriate to try and pray with the majority of the Universal Church?

Sundays we generally follow the sequence and nomenclature of the Old Kalendar, thus we have observed the "gesima" Sundays recently.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Yes Father, and thank you. That's very like what I do. But it's not quite legal, is it? Could you. or somebody else in full communion with Mgr Perl, ask him for a ruling?

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

Dear Father

I seem vaguely to recall Fr "Z" mentioning that he or someone had sent a "dubia" to Msgr Perl's office very shortly after the "motu proprio" exactly on this question?! As yet, or to my knowledge, a reply hasn't been posted...

Perhaps the Holy Father - if last Sunday's "The Times" correspondent John Follain, is to be believed - is wading through all the incongruities himself shut away in his office, in order to present a "fait accompli" re a total presentation of both Latin Rites, Calendar, new Missal Translation etc completely harmonised... before the end of his pontificate without interference and procrastination from anyone else?!