Predictably, I am offered comments by those who think that the slightest intrusion upon the Calendar of the 1962 Rite, is a "Trojan Horse" designed to undermine Tradition. This notion has again arisen in the wake of the new provisions made for the Old Rite by the CDF. I simply do not even begin to comprehend this nonsense.
This week provides a good example of how the Calendar of 1962 is in a mess because it has been unchanged since (in fact) 1960.
May 1. I'll be fair: I can see why Pius XII had the S-Joseph-Opifex idea in 1956. Here's a Pagan Festival: let's Christianise it!! It must, during the Cold War, have seemed quite clever. But it never caught on; possibly because the pagan festival itself had only been culturally skin deep. Anyway, little more than a decade later the Novus Ordo wisely reduced it to it an optional memorial, leaving the poor old Vetus Ordo saddled, all on its own, with this enormous, already dated yet innovatory, untraditional, unwanted, "First Class Feast". I have mental images of a large dead whale, marooned and decaying just above the line left by last week's Spring Tides. It would be absurd to do anything other than to clean up the beach, to spray some disinfectant around, and to put SS Philip and James (a quite ancient festival) back onto May 1 in both Calendars. And S Joseph?
Keen Josephites might enjoy the restoration of the previous (Blessed Pius IX: Gueranger says 1847; dumped by Pius XII) Feast of the "Patronage of S Joseph" on the Wednesday of the second week after the Octave of Easter. That would mean that, this year, we would be celebrating this Feast ... er ... today!! Those old propers traced nice typological themes linking S Joseph with his OT namesake. (Interestingly, the Novus Ordo permits Episcopal Conferences to transfer S Joseph (March 19) out of Lent into Eastertide.) I think it would be a good idea to ask the CDF definitively to solve the Josephprobleme. This could 'bring the EF into line with the OF' by eliminating the Pius XII festival on May 1, and reverting to how things were in 1954; but what's so terribly dreadful about both the EF and the OF walking back, hand-in-hand, to Tradition?
There is a story that B Pius IX said "I am Tradition", but, so it seems to me, it was Pius XII who behaved as if he were. His liturgical dispositions should be regarded as no more sacrosanct than he regarded the arrangements of B Pius IX.
From 1960 to 2020, the 'Vetus Ordo' was paralysed and set rigidly in stone. Compare this sixty-year period with the previous sixty years, 1900-1960. That saw the addition of four new prefaces to the Roman Rite, one of them 'neo-Gallican', the others newly composed. And there were many Saints added to the Calendar, some, such as S Maria Goretti, newly martyred and newly canonised; others, older Saints whose journey from local to universal celebration had been a more gradual process through the Appendix pro aliquibus locis.
The inert paralysis of the Old Rite during the years 1960-2020 has been profoundly unTraditional. Never before in two millennia has Liturgy been left so totally unresponsive to the evolving piety of the Faithful. The present attempt of the CDF to do some catching-up is the most modest and delicately careful step that could have been taken, especially considering the fact that everything 'new' is optional. Trojan Horse', indeed!! What nonsense. Take the 'new' Prefaces, for example. Most of them were 'Neo-Gallican' forms in use by indult long before Vatican II. The Francophone Ordo Recitandi of the SSPX indicates them ad lib.. So Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was a 'Trojan Horse', was he, engaged in smuggling Liberalism into the Church? Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense.
I will tell you where the true Trojan Horse is to be found. It is in the pathetic wreckage of Holy Week which Pius XII-Bugnini imposed in the 1950s. I would advise those with a philia for Horses, Trojan or otherwise, to read the Latin Commentarius which Bugnini wrote to accompany this horror story. At the front of his book is a lavish set of compliments to Pius XII for presiding over the liturgical revisions up to that point, and a fervent prayer that he will live to be famed as the Restorer of the Entire Liturgy. Then, throughout the text and the footnotes, there are deft little hints about what ought to come next in the process of 'reform'.
I am reminded of an old Thelwell cartoon with a tiny girl telling Mummy that her (Trojan?) pony "has just Been to the Bathroom outside the Front Door".
Is there nobody in the house with a big shovel?
But thank God for whoever is currently running the Liturgy section in the CDF. He is learned, sensitive and judicious.
Who is he?And how does all this link up with the "Questionnaire" about the Old Rite recently sent round to episcopal conferences? Watch this space!