29 March 2019

Did Vatican II ban Mothering Sunday?

Whatever Vatican II did or did not initiate, daily sackloads of suggestio falsi and suppressio veri, deftly interwoven, must certainly be on the list of its legacy. "The Council mandated the exclusive use of the vernacular" .... "The Council prescribed Mass facing the People" ... you know what I mean. Let's not go into all that yet again ... it could only be divisive. I would simply like to point out some additions, with the same semantic, historical, and logical substructures, which we could, very fairly, ask to be added to this already long list of pseudo-semi-quarter-truths.

"Vatican II forbade Mothering Sunday".

"Vatican II forbade S Valentine's Day".

'Mothering Sunday' is intimately bound up with the Vetus Ordo liturgical propers for Lent IV, when the Roman Pontiff went to the Basilica of S Crucis in Jerusalem, built upon cartloads of soil from Jerusalem, designed to be 'Jerusalem-in-Rome'; and the texts were about Jerusalem, the True Jerusalem, the Jerusalem quae sursum est, quae est mater nostra. Wonderful texts; wonderful Biblical exegesis bound up in them. Upon this grew the easy, pleasant social customs of Mothering Sunday. This is a superb example of the combination, within our Christian culture, of high theology, high liturgy, graciously incarnated into popular customs so attractive that they even have the power to survive the demise of the culture which gave birth to them. 'Inculturation', and with a vengeance! But none of this had any weight with those who, after the Council, ruthlessly, unreflectively, demolished the liturgical foundations upon which this entire superstructure rested.

And, of course, similar points could be made about the Festival of S Valentine. And here I have PF with me. One year, he had a ginormous gathering of engaged couples organised on that day, and he preached to them about ... er ... Wojjer think? Ss Cyril and Methodius? ... the importance of the Cyrillic Alphabet? The necessity of using papal authority to discipline (as S Methodius did) the German bishops? No he didn't. Instead of boring the pants off all those ardent lovers, he forgot about the post-Vatican II calendar ... and gave them S Valentine! (Don't, by the way, blame the Council for the squidging of S Valentine; Sacrosanctum Concilium urged caution. Blame, if you want someone to blame, the post-Conciliar hijackers.)

I think it would be very useful to help the Catholic laity to understand that, when they hanker after Mothering Sunday and S Valentine's Day, they are in fact manifesting their instinctive, praiseworthy, preference for that liturgical culture which constitutes the 'bad', 'regressive', Traditional Latin Mass. It is noteworthy that, in the half-century since the Council, the post-Conciliar liturgical texts have not themselves had any apparent power to inculturate themselves into our society and to generate anything similar to what the classical texts had produced. Those who most vigorously promote the new texts seem, in practice, much more determined to ignore the texts they sponsor and to create a parallel calendar of  'Missions Sunday', Thingummy-gig Sunday ... and all the rest. There so often seems to be something for them which it is so very much more important to preach about than the lections which the 1960s proudly bestowed upon us when they stole Mothering Sunday away from us. Actually, the trendies seem to be just as unenthusiastic about the post-Concilar Calendar as the Traddies do, when it actually comes to deciding what to do in church next Sunday. As I've asked before, is there anybody who really likes the Novus Ordo? If so, s/he should be stuffed and mounted for the edification of posterity.

Perhaps a solution, which is not without precedent, would be for the Celebrant to read silently the prescribed Novus Ordo readings, while somebody else, aloud, read the Mothering Sunday readings.


gw said...

Dear Father
You have done it again for me. Nevrmind novus ordo, the Ordinariate Mass has been annoying me with its disconnect on many Sundays between propers, often correct, and the 3 year lectionary Lent 4 and Lent 3 among these Sunday’s
The BCP at least has the right readings but no propers.
Must you have that robot thing! I can.t even see it. Anyway I am a robot,,

Terry said...

I think you are right, Father Hunwicke, to suggest that traditions originating from different religious customs and practices become “incarnated into popular customs so attractive that they even have the power to survive the demise of the culture which gave birth to them.” (After all this is surely the explanation for the fact that we celebrate the birth of Jesus around the time of the winter solstice and the Roman festival of Saturnalia.) So it is unsurprising that what people now call ‘Valentine’s Day’ and ‘Mothers’ Day’ (and indeed Christmas itself) have been adopted, and indeed promoted, by the ideology that has taken over from Christianity – consumer capitalism. If consumer capitalism were to have patron saints, then 14 Feb and the fourth Sunday of Lent would surely be feasts of the patron saints of florists and restaurants:-)

But I think you would be deluding yourself if you were to believe that the majority of people who call themselves Catholics “hanker after Mothering Sunday and St Valentine's Day” in any religious sense. They may go to Mass on Sunday and (a small minority) may refrain from using ‘artificial’ contraception, but in my experience most Catholics are just as in thrall to consumerism as their fellow non-catholic purchasers of stuff for Valentine's Day and Mothers' Day.

Richard said...

From Kwasniewski downwards the internet is awash with voices pointing out the greatness of the traditional Mass and the shortcomings on the new version. I am persuaded.
But given that almost all Masses in England and Wales are said in the NO, isn't it funny that nobody ever seems prepared to make a case for it. Surely it must have some advantages, otherwise why would it have been introduced and so enthusiastically adopted?

Paul-A. Hardy said...

Heiko Maas, minion of Merkel, instaurator of the 4th Reich, pray for us! Theresa May, pray for us! Pope Francis, saint whilst living, pray for us!

William Tighe said...

Terry wrote:

"(After all this is surely the explanation for the fact that we celebrate the birth of Jesus around the time of the winter solstice and the Roman festival of Saturnalia.)"

Most likely not; cf.:


Rubricarius said...

WRT the feast of St. Valentine it is surely not the 'the post-Conciliar hijackers' who are to blame but the pre-Conciliar one (largely the same crowd). In the vetus ordo St. Valentine was a simplex feast but got the chop with the Pacellian changes of 1956. Then the day was ferial with a commemoration of the Saint. Likewise with the 1960/2 changes the Office of the day is ferial and the saint commemorated, except in sung Masses of the day.

Of course the broad equivalent of a votive Massesof St. Valentine could be said on the 14th February but that could be said on any such similar ranking day anyway.

E sapelion said...

I'll rise to that :-
Yes I really like the Novus Ordo. I like the widened selection of scripture, particularly OT, I like the choice of Eucharistic Prayers, which my Parish Priest uses freely (and always the Roman Canon for High days). Do I like everything about it? NO, but I like being able to hear and follow the orations. Are parts of the Calendar a mess? yes definitely. Could it be improved, yes, for example the Ordinariate's Use is better.
Is there a generally high level of ars celebrandi? NO, I have probably attended over 5000 OF parish Masses, I would give α+ to just one. I do not remember things being that nuch better before Vatican II. I sometimes served Mass for a Benedictine monk whose obituary included "for him the Mass was the still point in a turning world", it showed, not least in the contrast with the Masses of his brethren..

Pater Raphael said...

Dear GW (1st comment scribbler!,

You do have a valid point, which is why, when I celebrate with the Ordinariate Missal, I invariably use the Vetus-Ordo lectionary; as you so clearly point out, it just fits better to the Mass formula. Just occaisionally - with some of the newer Saints, I may take the readings from the new lectionary, ... to spice things up a wee tad ...

It seems almost as though some manipulative schemer in the Ordinariate hierarchy had planned this deliberately in order to undermine the people's love for the new lectionary and to make the AO Mass as traditional as possible. Quite scandalous! How it ever got through the control checks in the Vatican I just cannot imagine?