2 December 2016


Those whose Altar Missal or Breviary dates from before 1962 will be familiar with the curious experience of realising, by seeing it in their books, that (e.g.) yesterday's S Andrew had, until very recently, a Vigil and a First Vespers. Whatever happened to them? Why are they nowhere to be seen in the 1962 books?

The tremendously Good News about Summorum Pontificum is that it has given seminarians and priests an enormous impulse to learn how to offer Mass according to the immemorially ancient Ordo Missae of the Roman Church.. If you, dear clerical reader, have learned how to do that, you don't need me to tell you that you have acquired a pearl of great price. But what is often not realised is that, as far as the Calendar is concerned, '1962' constituted a a very considerable break in continuity. You see, the process which led to the imposition in 1970 of the Novus Ordo did not start after 'the Council'; it had begun a couple of decades earlier when Pius XII and his youthful protege Annibale Bugnini set out on a two-decade journey to the Novus Ordo. During that period, Vigils and Octaves galore bit the dust; but perhaps the most questionable 'reform' of all was the abolition of First Vespers for all but the highest rank of festivals. This abolished the ancient Christian practice, inherited from the Synagogue, of starting a day on the previous evening.

What I am urging you to purchase, if you are not already familiar with it, is the Saint Lawrence Press ORDO for 2017. OK, you may very well not wish to follow it liturgically, but simply contemplating, day by day, what the old Roman Rite did before itching and twitching fingers got to work on it, is, believe me, a considerable education.

UPDATE: THE COMPILER HAS KINDLY PROVIDED A LINK FOR PURCHASERS. SEE THE THREAD. This ORDO can be sought from ordorecitandi@gmail.com; or from 59 Sandscroft Avenue, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7EJ, United Kingdom.

The Compiler of that ORDO also runs a blog explaining the pre-Pius XII Roman Rite the st lawrence press blog.

If 'Tridentine' is to refer to the actual liturgical books of S Pius V, as I think it probably should, then you can find out about the Tridentine Rite by looking at another blog by the same erudite author, called The Tridentine Rite. There you will discover that the Common Preface is (I mean, in the Missal actually issued by S Pius V) used on these green Sundays! You will also, I suspect, be surprised by some of the rather Puritanical prunings of the Calendar: for example, the elimination of 'non-biblical' feasts such as S Anne and the Presentation of our Lady. They soon returned, by popular demand; but they had sunk without trace under Pius V.

And the Office Hymns of S Pius V, of course, will not be those with which users of the 1962 Breviary are familiar. Those texts were produced in the 1620s by Urban VIII, aka Papa Barberini. The breviary of S Pius V had the ancient texts, sometimes totally different from the Barberini versions, which one will also find in the Sarum and Benedictine Breviaries.


Chris said...

As a swim father in the washington DC area, I am up at 4 am every day to take 3 of my 7 to the pool. Your website is my first spiritual/liturgical nugget each day. Thank you. It makes this cultish sport bearable.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

How wonderful to hear someone state these so-obvious, but seemingly unknown facts! As it happens I say the Office according to the pre-62 Breviary of S Pius X. The First Vespers of every day is such a joy, to look forward, ('anticipate' literally) the joys of the next days feast. This is is why my friends tend to get their Name-Day greeting by text on the eve!

Wonderful too are the Octaves of the great feasts, which continue their pleasures with the full Office for a week, and even lesser feasts retain an echo through parts of their Office ringing through the days which follow. It is so much more generous, both to us, who get a richer diet of intercessors, and to the saints, who are never forgotten, but the least of whom peek round the curtain of the Liturgy in commemorations on the eve and the morning of their feasts.

As you rightly say, this millennial custom links us to the Temple and Synagogue. Mankind was not invented in 1AD, but the Christian takes his place, warts and all, in the whole of humanity from the beginning, through all the earlier cultures which we used to call "partial revelation". This revelation was made up of physical practice as well as intellectual belief. It is hard to see what "pastoral benefit" all this chopping and changing has brought.

Then those who know me will also know my lament on the loss of other inherited patrimony, most notably the 'flabelli' which accompanied the Pope, inherited via the Roman Emperors and Cleopatra from Ancient Egypt; almost certainly the oldest thing in our Catholic ritual, about 5,000 years. It is all so arbitrary, after all, our vestments also derive from pre-Christian sources, the Dalmatic the dress of the Emperor and higher ranking Roman official (itself derived by them, not surprisingly, from Dalmatia), the chasuble the street dress of the Roman citizen. Yet these have been spared.

O mores!

philipjohnson said...

Fr.My Missal is 1962 and from The Angelus Press.Kansas, USA-compiled from The Missal Romanum.I use it for my Latin Mass.Is this what you mean?My family are also in possession of three volumes of pre 1962 -The Catholic Missal,The Life of Christ and The Prayer Book-Copyright,1955 and 1954 by The Catholic Press,Inc.These were my Fathers RIP.The Mass ,in these books is an English translation of the Latin.

David said...

In the old calendar, didn't all feasts have a first Vespers, but only Doubles and such would have had a second Vespers?

Chris said...

All doubles and semidoubles had second vespers, but the abolition of first vespers left simple feasts with no vespers at all.

Prayerful said...

I'm no priest, but I am curious, so I've ordered the Ordo. Would, say, my 1940 Missal work well withi it?

Rubricarius said...

Thank you dear Fr. for your very kind words.

Readers who would like to buy a copy((ies) will find this link convenient.

@Prayerful - Yes, is will match your missal almost completely

Tom Broughton said...

I must say, Father, that I am impressed with how knowledgeable you are about the intimate history of prayers, liturgy, and rubrics. I would wager that your average Catholic priest does not even have a quarter of your knowledge regarding thsi subject matter.

Joshua said...

Dear Fr Hunwicke,

I seem to recall an old post of yours, which I haven't been able to find again, from pre-Tiber-swim days, telling the tale of your first Sunday in a parish in Devon, I think, whose congregation had assured you they were "strictly BCP": so, anxious to please and not wishing to offend, you read that day's services, in full, most strictly according to the 1662 BCP, including the date determined according to the Julian calendar and its Easter (as England didn't adopt the Popish calendar until 1752), prayers for King Charles II, the use of the pre-1871 lectionary, with a whole chapter for each of the Lessons at Mattins and Evensong, and the rather fatiguing Sunday morning combination of Mattins, Litany and Holy Communion (the latter celebrated at the north end of the holy table, I presume), including, I hope, a suitable sermon of Restoration-style length… Afterward, it transpired that "we're strictly BCP" meant "except for the Secret and the Canon and the Dominus vobiscum", so the liturgy became rather more Anglo-Catholic after that first misunderstanding. Have I remembered correctly? I did like that post.

Mold Junction said...

Ordered mine Father!

Mold Junction said...

Interestingly, I've just received the PCED 2017 Ordo which of course is 1962. This will make an interesting comparison.

Tom Broughton said...

Fr. Hunwicke,

This is a very good interview given by Bishop Lopes regarding the Ordinariate in the U.S. In this article he mentions how they are "beta"-testing a new Daily Office for the Ordinarite; naturally I thought of you, and thought you would find it interesting. Here it is: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/bishop-steven-lopes-on-ordinariates-missal-and-gift-of-english-catholic-pat