When the Venerable Pius XII and Blessed Paul VI made their respective interventions with regard to the Eucharistic Fast, the assumption (very strongly asserted by Pacelli) was that all who could do so would continue to fast from midnight ... the new rules being an accommodation to the constraints of life in the modern secular polis, provided for those who need them.
All that seems now forgotten. I have just been looking at the Horarium of a Novus Ordo religious community; they start at 7:00 with the Office of Readings; at 7:15, Personal Prayer; at 8:15, Breakfast; at 9:05, Morning Prayer; at 9:30, Eucharist. My purpose is not to criticise other Christians who are probably a great deal holier than I am but to draw attention to the fact that they are quite willing to get out of bed to appear in Chapel at 7:00, but there is apparently no instinct whatsoever
(1) to organise their time so that they begin with Laudes, the service which should be the first, because it lauds God at the time of the rising Sun, the great icon of Christ our Orient; or
(2) to celebrate the Eucharist fasting before diving into the happy dissipations of breakfast. Yet, being Religious, there is probably no practical reason why they cannot do this.
When I was a seminarian at Staggers in the mid-sixties, we had Mattins, then Meditation, then Mass, then Breakfast, so as to be free to start the academic day at 9:00. Before Staggers, as an undergraduate, I used to go to Mags before breakfast every morning, and usually there were visiting priests saying private masses at the other altars during the public Mass.
But my main grouse today is that not even traditionalists assign much of a priority to Mass-before-breakfast. And this post is not an attempt to rerun discussions we've had together before, in which we all agree that it would have been better if the Church had stuck to the three-hour fast. Brekker at 8:00 for example, then Mass at, say, 12:00, is not what I think accords with the Tradition of both East and West. It is not what anybody in the West or East before Pius XII would have considered to be real 'Fasting Communion'. And even when we come to organise traddy conferences, we don't seem to attach much importance to having Mass before breakfast.
I am not all hot and bothered about this, nor am I terribly flush with solutions: I just wanted to raise the question.