Much fine work has been published over the last couple of decades on the Scandal of the Collects. What Scandal? That not one of the three greatest Festivals of the Year was allowed to keep its ancient Roman and Western collect; not one Sunday in the three great seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter was allowed to keep its collect. The vandals who, after the Council, ignored the wise moderation of the Conciliar Decree Sacrosanctum Concilium, judged it self-evident that not a single one of these simple, powerful, elegant prayers, was now fit for purpose.
Only now is it really possible to address the (very similar) Scandal of the Readings. Because only now do we have the essential tool: Index Lectionum A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite, by Matthew P Hazell (with a Foreword by Peter Kwasniewski), ISBN 978-1-5302-3072-3 (paperback). It is a fine piece of detailed and meticulous work; anybody who wants to make comments from now on about what the 'reformers' did to the readings will be wasting their time if what they write does not spring out of Hazell's pages. Its layout is simple and pellucid; we go from the beginning of Genesis to the end of the Apocalypse, and every verse which appeared either in the OF or in the EF is carefully listed. So we can see which passages the 'reformers' added in order to provide a ditior mensa Scripturarum ... because, after all, Sacrosanctum Concilium did require this to be done. We can also detect ... what the Council most certainly did not mandate ... which passages modern Catholics are now forbidden to hear read in Church.
Let's be topical. The Church's discipline with regard to the reception of the Sacraments by "remarried" divorcees rests on Mark 10:1-12 and its Synoptic parallels, combined with I Corinthians 11:27. The good news: the OF gives the Marcan passage to be read on Sunday once every three years. This is better than the EF provides. The bad news: on the two occasions when this section of S Paul is to be read in the OF, verse 27 appears to be carefully singled out for omission. In the EF, it is to be heard on Maundy Thursday and Corpus Christi. Draw your conclusions!
I will not repeat the good discussion by Dr Kwasniewski, dealing with the tendenz of so many of the omissions. I would simply add that, in my view, doctrinal motives are not the only reasons for omissions. Sometimes it seems to be a matter of the purest, most wanton, vandalism. Take the superb passage Proverbs 31:10-31 ... the Good Wife. The OF lectionary abbreviates this by crude omission ... and, of course, here we have another of the post-Conciliar corruptions which can claim no mandate in Sacrosanctum Concilium: the crazed passion for brevity. (Incidentally, when various parts of the Anglican Communion decided to adopt versions of the OF lectionary, they demonstrated a strong tendency to restore the integrity of readings, even if this might mean that the laity would be detained in Church for two or three minutes longer.)
But this pericope at the end of Proverbs is the antidote to any claim that 'traditional' attitudes to gender roles are "repressive". The Good Wife is a most competent and efficient administrator (-trix?) who runs the entire industrial and 'business' side of the household and is in charge of the purchase of real estate. Her husband appears little more than her trophy appendage who, one feels, is respected among the all other chaps mainly upon the grounds that his wife is so strikingly effective! The immemorial, almost universal, human cultural division whereby the husband is head of the household ad extra while the wife is head ad intra, is beautifully laid out. It deserves better than the OF gives it.
One tiniest, minutest, criticism. Hazell, very logically, confines his information with regard to the EF to the 1962 Missal. This means that the readings of the old pre-Bugnini Easter and Pentecost Vigils are excluded. Even at the risk of a minor inconsistency, I think it might have been helpful to include them.
This is not a book to miss! And Matthew and Lucy Hazell are to be most warmly thanked.