29 April 2020


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!


Scribe said...

Dear Father, thank you for this very interesting posting. I have always regarded the 1st of May as Labour Day, a secular celebration linked to dreary left-wing myths about 'the workers'. For this reason I never liked the festal title 'St Joseph the Worker', which to the Anglophone mind reeks of Communist ranting rhetoric, as though the Patron of the Universal Church and protector of Our Lord was some kind of ancient Hebrew stakhanovite. Consequently, I followed the usage of my Father Lasance Missal, which gave May 1st as Sts Philip and James, Apostles (Double of the Second Class), reserving the Wednesday before the third Sunday after Easter as the Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patron of the Universal Church. It was a Double of the First Class, with Common Octave. Pope Pius XI wrote to Fr Lasance in May 1927, saying: 'His Holiness wishes that [this work], which assuredly will promote the spiritual life, may receive an ever increasing welcome in all the Christian families of your country.' O tempora...

Ryan Carey said...

100% correct. Restore the 54 in both rubrics and calendar. Add the new saints, as was done. Include whatever ad lib prefaces you want. And the job is done. Restoration complete as far as the Mass goes.

Rubricarius said...

Father as someone who is usually so accurate why do you refer to the 'Patronage' of St Joseph when that title had changed to 'Solemnity' by a decree on 24th July 1911?

Incidentally the same decree moved the March feast from the Sunday after the 19th March back to the 19th March which had been changed by an earlier decree 20 days earlier. The March feast was also given an Octave on the 2nd July and had it removed on the 24th of the same month. The shortest surviving Octave in the history of the Church?

Paul-A. Hardy said...


Jeremy said...

To be fair, the calendar remained frozen because once the OF rite was brought it, it was supposed to sound the death knell of the old rite. Fortunately this didn't happen. Locally, without authorised texts, nothing can be done. Allowing the texts already in existence for new feasts (eg recently canonised saints) to be used in both forms might be a good start however.

Fr SImon Heans said...

The Universalis website insists that the Feast was not introduced to provide a Catholic alternative to May Day. The author then rather shoots himself in the foot by adopting Marx's case against capitalism ( the alienation of the worker from the products of his labour, his reduction to a commodity or a unit of 'labour power') as the reason for the Feast.

On Pius XII's taste for innovation Fr Michael Chaberek in his brilliant Aquinas and Evolution points out that Humani Generis effectively abandons the traditional teaching of the creation of the human body by handing that issue over to palaeontology to solve. Chaberek comments: 'And this is the greatest shift in Pius XII's teaching- the truth belonging to faith was subdued to the scientific judgement, which implies that it is a problem of science.'

There is a link between these two disparate observations. Marx tried, without success, to persuade Darwin to allow him to dedicate the first volume of Capital to the English naturalist.