21 April 2021

THE YEAR OF S JOESPH! S Joseph should have his proper, pre-Pius XII, respect.

(1) S Joseph's Feast on March 19 got under way in the 15th century and gradually spread. It celebrated S Joseph, Spouse of the Theotokos.
(2) Then his Feast as Guardian of the Universal Church was added (universal in the Latin Church from 1847), fixed on the Second Sunday (EF) after Easter (='Third Sunday of Eastertide' in the OF).
(3) Then, when S Pius X liberated Sundays from feasts which perpetually occurred upon them, this feast moved from the Sunday to the subsequent Wednesday. But for some decades clergy were allowed to celebrate External Solemnities of S Joseph on the Sunday, in places where their people had become attached to the custom.
(4) During the Cold War, Pius XII had the clever-clever idea (1955; in the decade when his minions had already set to work to vandalise the Easter Vigil) of making the Workers' Day, May 1, the Feast of S Joseph the Worker as a witness against Marxism. Ss Philip and James, who hasd been the ancient (570) celebration on May 1, were ... er ... kicked unceremoniously into the long grass.
(5) For a variety of reasons, S Joseph the Worker (happily!) never caught on and is now, in the OF, merely an optional memoria. (In the official EF it is still, sadly, in situ as a top-class festival on May 1, though I find it hard to imagine that traddidom really wants it.)

(6) But S Joseph the Guardian (see 2) had been abolished in order to make space for this new substantial Josephine celebration within Eastertide (see 4). His title of Guardian of the Universal Church had been amalgamated with his March 19 festival.
(7) But the old Mass texts of S Joseph the Guardian survived and survive still as the Votive of S Joseph in the Weekday Votives of the pre-Conciliar Missal.
(8) S Joseph's Guardianship of the Universal Church is, in this pontificate, a theme just begging for revival.
(9) Episcopal Conferences (did you know this?) have the faculty (in the OF) of moving S Joseph out of Lent.

Although some traddies get nervous about ideas like the following, I believe that a judicious, careful, gentle realignment of the EF and the OF is a good idea, as long as it is not made a cheap excuse for rubbishing the EF. The relegation of S Joseph the Workman to being merely an Optional Memorial in the OF sets a general example which the EF should follow, restoring S Joseph the Patron to his S Pius X date as described in (3) supra. 

Indeed, where a date in the OF coincides with a date in the Missal of S Pius V, or in a pre-Pacelli edition of the Roman Missal, I think that, prima facie, the earlier date witnessed by both the Missal of S Pius V and the OF should be preferred. (Have a look, for example, at S Irenaeus, where the OF restores him to the date he had before Pius XII+Bugnini.)

I think the relevant department in the CDF should relegate S Joseph the Workman to Pro aliquibus locis (and among the Votives) and restore SS Pip and Jim to May 1. If they made clear that they were doing this as a mark of respect for the Anglican Communion, how could critics possibly complain?!

Quite apart from anything else, it would be nice again to see the churches and the Sacred Ministers garbed in deepest red on May Day ... for the martyred Apostles, of course, rather than for Karl Marx. And in some places ... such as Oxford ... May Day still has a historic memory.


6 comments:

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

This is excellent. A truly devotional and pastoral proposal. May it come to pass under our Holy Father Pope Francis.

I for one have kept the Office of this former feast. As I understand, the Patronage was first adopted by the Carmelites in 1621, and then as our august author states, extended to the Universal Church in 1847. The beautiful hymns, with their wonderful metres, are 17th Century, and thus we may safely assume of Carmelite authorship. "Te, Joseph, celebrent" in the Asclepiadic Strophe, at I Vespers and Matins, and "Coelitum Joseph" and "Iste, quem laeti", at Lauds and II Vespers, most likely two halves of a single hymn, in the Sapphic Strophe, surely the two most delicate and beautiful of all the hymn metres, as befits the glorious Patron of the Church in Heaven and Earth, Spouse of the Virgin, Foster Father of the Lord and Terror of Demons!

Joseph said...

The original date was the *third* Sunday after Easter, not the second. Therefore, Pius X anticipated the feast to the preceding Wednesday. Rubricarius gave a good history on his blog today, which I can confirm with my pre DA breviary.
On a related note, I know of a community of "bi-formal" Franciscans who originally planned to celebrate the feast last Wednesday, getting the NO and traditional week numbering confused.

Paulus said...

It was the third Sunday after Easter, not the second.

Anita Moore said...

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I deplore the overturning of tradition. On the other hand, I was baptized under the patronage of St. Joseph the Worker, at a parish named after him under this title. Because I was so baptized, I have a lovely little statue of St. Joseph the Worker, complete with worker’s apron and some of the tools of his trade.

If the best thing to do would be to restore May 1 to those to whom it was formerly and for centuries dedicated, let it be done. But I would rather wait until it can be done by trustworthy shepherds who will not use it as an excuse to inflict more wreckage.

Rubricarius said...

Bravo Father, hear, hear!

What could be better on May 1st than high Mass of the Apostles and, strictly afterwards, a rousing rendition of 'The winter's sleep'.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

Dear Father, I hope the eye treatment is going well. This post rather raises the related question of why the Ordinariate has not celebrated St Mark today, which is invariable Prayer Book tradition. And a lot earlier! One cannot help feeling that there is a degree of playing at bits of patrimony which don’t raise criticism in mainstream quarters.