15 January 2010

Old versus New

Truth to tell, I felt that there was a certain elegance in the way the Liturgia Horarum followed up the Epiphany theme ... the Manifestation of the Divine Wisdom ... by providing at the beginning of this week lections from the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach - although it is always irritating to get, so early in the volume as the Monday Office of Readings, an example of one of its most aggravating pieces of grammatical illiteracy. This is the determination to print 'utraque' as if it were always feminine ablative singular (utraque) even when it is manifestly neuter plural or feminine nominative singular (utraque). Interestingly, the person who proof-read Volume 1 did know the difference. Those responsible for the other three volumes should have been birched more often at their preparatory schools. Perhaps this means that those who work as 'latinists' in the Roman dikasteries never went to prep schools. Need I say more. (Actually, I never went to one either.)

If there is eventually to be a convergence between the two 'Forms' of the Roman Calendar, I would like to put in a word for the Baptism on the first Sunday after Epiphany. It is appropriate ... as well as ecumenical ... to give prominence to all three traditional themes of Epiphany; in other words, to the Baptism and to the Wedding at Cana as well as to the Magi. Indeed, taking up Byzantine aspects, I would be glad to see the dogma of Theotokos set before the Sunday congregations right after Christmass; the old Mass for January 1 could be used also on the Sunday after Christmass in places where the comites Christi - Ss Stephen, John, and Innocents - are displaced from Sunday Mass. As for the Holy Family (a bit schmalzy anyway?) and the Holy Name, they clutter the season conceptually; could they not be put in a revived Missae pro aliquibus locis ex indulto Apostolico, and placed in one of the Green seasons?

And, of course, the wonderful pericope of the Wedding at Cana needs urgently to be restored to next Sunday in all three of the Cycles of the post-conciliar lectionary.


Sui Juris said...

Yes, and yes again to your proposed lectionary reform. It strikes me as telling (and worrying) that Sunday-only-massgoers get the Holy Family (very motherhood and chicken soup - ugh!) but not necessarily the Theotokos (notherhood and salvation - hooray). And I think the importance of the Epiphany rather baffles many congregations - we do need the triple themes of Magi, Baptism and Cana to make enough of it.

Incidentally, here we kept St John on December 27th, used the Circumcision propers on 3rd January (making much of the first shedding), kept Epiphany on the day and the Baptism last Sunday. I quite like a slightly eccentric local use and am looking for an excuse to make St Antony a solemnity here this Sunday; I am hoping to find evidence of an obscure visit, in the style of Joseph of A.

Kiran said...

Holy Family might be a tad shmaltzy (and recent), but I think Circumcision, the first bloodshed, is quite appropriately placed in the Extraordinary Form.

And I am rather sorry to see the Holy Name sidelined, and not only because of the Dominican associations, or Jesu Dulcis. The Holy Name is, I think, a good time to explain the significance of naming, of God making Himself subject to human beings (which would absorb some of the most worthwhile elements of the Holy Family), of the significance of the Second Commandment.

GOR said...

I would be in favor of anything that would spruce up the 'ordinariness' of Ordinary Time.

Or maybe it's just that I have had my fill of all things green!

Chris said...

The Holy Name surely goes back to its Sarum/BCP date of August 7, from which the CofE's recent calendars have ejected it, presumably in a burst of ultramontanism.

Rubricarius said...

One of my favourite eleventh century texts is the Missal of Robert of Jumieges. That has the Marian orations now associated with the Circumcision on the first Sunday after the Nativity - a Western equivalent of the Synaxis of the Mother of God in the Byzantine rite?

Sir Watkin said...

It must be very difficult to remember these things if more Romano one is not allowed to vary vowel length, save as a concomitant of stress.

If you're accustomed to pronounce "utra" (feminine ablative singular) just the same as the feminine nominative singular and neuter plural, remembering that when you add -que the stress shifts in the former instance, but not the latter is surely confusing.

Figulus said...

I no longer have my copy of Vox Latina, so I may be betrayed by my memory, but did not that book advise that the usual rules of placing stress were not to be used with the enclitic -que, but where -que was used, the stress was always on the penultimate regardless of quantity? Perhaps the proof-reader of volume III was unduly influenced by the (too-trendy?) recommendations of Vox Latina, a book I have never missed till just now.

Forgive me if I am defiling the memory of William Sidney Allen, the undoubtably learned author of that book.

I also have vague memories of someone somewhere recommending non-standard stress placed in words and phrases like adhuc, adduc, and pater mi, on the grounds that these were actually contractions. I cannot recall whether this recommendation was from the same source as the other. I have not noticed that this latter recommendation has ever been followed by the Officium Lectionis, however.

Sir Watkin said...

Vox Latina (1989) does indeed discuss the position of the accent after enclitics (p.87ff.). Several ancient authorities state that the stress invariably shifts to the penultimate (i.e. the final syllable of the main word), but there are also grounds for doubting the truth of this: it may be a mere grammarians' rule. (Roman grammarians were especially prone to this sort of thing.)

Figulus said...

Fascinating. My implication that the recommendation is "trendy" is obviously erroneuous then. Nevertheless, I am chuffed that my memory, though bad, is not nearly so bad as I feared. Thank you!