30 July 2009


One the things I like most about the Prayer Book Divine Office is the provision that at each Office the final collect said should be that used at Mass. In this, of course, it follows the usage of the whole Latin Church (except that it's a bit crude: for example, it doesn't apply accurately when a votive or ritual Mass has been said). It means that, in traditional Anglican spirituality, there is a "Collect of the Week" - last Sunday's collect which will be repeated on the followng ferias. But the Bugnini revision eliminates this usage, providing that at most offices a collect should be used which concentrates on the "time of Day". Thus a usage taken from Prime and Compline is universalised, and the Week's Collect only gets a look-in at the Office of Readings.

Perhaps the reason for this is an over-reaction against the corrupt pre-conciliar practice of saying all one's office in one great lump: some clergy cheerfully got lauds of the following day "done" just after noon the previous day. But for many of us Anglicans the loss of the constant (not in the least "vain") repetitions of those lovely old collects from the Roman Sacramentaries is the biggest wrench in the 'new' Office. It's made worse by a suspicion that most of the new 'temporal' collects are committee-compositions (I know they all aren't).

Is that true? Are there precedents in the Tradition for what Bugnini did? Where do we go from here?


Joshua said...

Much as I dislike these time-of-day collects, apparently there is evidence for their use from old sacramentaries or whatnot; liturgical types indulging in antiquarianism revived them. Funny how they died out, like the Pax, bidding prayers, etc.

It could be worse: you could have the ICEL American Liturgy of the Hours, with its Psalm Collects...

Scott said...

I agree with Joshua about the American psalm collects...and one of the worst things about them is the erroneous placement before the repetition of the antiphon...how that error got perpetuated I'll never understand. Best to leave out the psalm collects entirely, for many reasons.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

I'd like more specificity.

Joshua said...

Could you specify in what respect? ;-)

Unknown said...

For what it's worth:

The collects for Lauds and Vespers are taken from the ancient sacramentaries
such as the Gelasian and others.

The decision to provide orations proper to the hour and end the custon of
repeating the Sunday Collect was made by the Consilium - after much debate -
in order to 'underscore the truth of the hours'.

My personal view is I think they wanted to make explicit that the hours were
to be celebrated at the proper time and not 'bunched together' as sometimes
had been the custom.

The pslm-prayers contained in the American versions of the Office were offered
up by some members in the consilium to revive the ancient custom of both
cathedral and monastic offices. Don't know if the current versions are
created by ICEL (now forbidden under Liturgiam Authenticam) or actual
translation. Anyway, the original proposal was to include them in a
separate volume for those wishing to use them.

Of course, the sad fact remains that what had once been a thriving practice
for a thousand years in the west (a public liturgy of praise
and intercession) has now been reduced to a mere prayerbook for
clerics and those layfolk who have the inclination to pray it.

Just my .02

Laurence Peter

Joshua said...

What finally killed Vespers as parish liturgy was the evening Mass.

It annoys me that Catholics will have a Mass for all sorts of inappropriate events - a school prizegiving, for instance - but the Hours are unheard of.

Evening Mass also did away with evening devotions, such as Novenas and Benediction - which some argue were the popular successors to the Hours in the West (just as the Paraclisis and Akathist are, in a sense, in the East).