24 March 2024

Palm Sunday (3)

The admirable Fr Thurston, I have argued, may not have spotted all the exciting possibilities of the Palm Sunday Rites in the Missal of S Pius V. He writes: "It is a regrettable fact that in many of our Catholic churches the oldest and certainly most interesting portion of the ritual of Palm Sunday is too often not carried out". Interesting! Apparently, palms were blessed and distributed, but in 'many' churches there was no Procession! This was also once the 'moderate' Anglican practice, because processions were High Church. The Blessing and Distribution of Sacramentals, apparently, was not!

"The whole essence of the ceremonies peculiar to this day lies in the procession." [Thurston's italic.]

 This fundamental assumption lay, too, at the basis of the Pacelli-Bugnini changes in 1955.

"... we can only admire the piety which leads the faithful to preserve [their palms] thoughout the year ... [but] the boughs were consecrated primarily to be used in the procession ...".

Well ... ... up to a point, Lord Copper. But the next prayer calls these olive branches a 'tuae gratiae sacramentum'. This interesting phraseology must go back to before the word 'sacramentum' had had its meaning limited by the precisions of systematic theology (O'Connell/Finberg nervously translate it 'sacred symbol'). But it was, surely, even then a strong word.

I think we may have here a genuine deepening of understanding resulting in a, frankly, more sophisticated appropriation both of Scripture and of Ritual. The much despised peasant kneeling and kissing her palm cross and carefully preserving it throughout the year may, just possibly, have been onto something which Archbishop Bugnini and Papa Pacelli never quite spotted.


Unknown said...

I have preserved all of my blessed palms since becoming a Catholic twelve years ago. Earlier this morning I placed a palm cross on the exterior of the door of my home and a palm on the exterior back door that opens to a shared space. I felt I had to make a public expression of the Catholic faith at this time even though only two people will see it. It is an encouragement to read this article after having done so. Thank you Fr Hunwicke.

Rubricarius said...

I am firmly with the despised peasant on this as she clearly understood, if not intellectually but instinctively, what her blessed Palm represented.

If one looks at what the various collects ask for not only is there tuae gratiae sacramentum but numerous other implorations that the recipients of the Palms receive blessings and protection from keeping the Palms in their homes not just for carrying them in the procession. The Palms are clearly a symbol of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord and Palm Sunday an anticipation of the events of the week ahead and a mimetic representation of them. The collect before the reading from Exodus is an invitation to enter the mystery.

On the subject of such anticipation there is an excellent series of articles by Gregory DiPippo on New Liturgical Movement.

Banshee said...

Palms are good sacramentals for the safety of the house.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Holy Water is also useful in the home but the Revolution applied the modern sacramental of defenestration to it and so the Palms blessed at The Lil' Licit Liturgy today are not blessed because they were blessed using Wholly Water.


It is only Traditional Orders of Priests, whom Our Pope and Our Cross think Pharisees, who produce Holy Water than can be used to bless our families, homes, crops, boats etc.

Rubricarius said...

"(1) S Pius V
(2) Pius XII (1955)
(3) The Novus Ordo."

If views are wanted, although not asked for, on the subject of Palm Sunday:

(1) is clearly by far the best and the option of choice. Between (2) and (3) it is a close call. Both are far inferior and defective in many ways. (2) sees a major mutilation of the blessing of Palms and the introduction of the colour red into Roman Holy Week both of which have been carried over into (3). The Mass of (2), in violet, sees the suppression of the preparatory prayers with Mass beginning with the Introit ('Antiphon at the Introit' for '62 users), the suppression of major sections of the Passion narrative and the loss of the last Gospel (unless a Mass where Palms are not blesaed when the Palm Gospel is read). In (3) all is in red, (how peculiar to have a Sunday Mass in red vestments which does not have a Gloria), the Mass structure is even more excised with no preparatory prayers, Introit or Kyrie and begins with the collect. The Passion is restored textually but is read in parts in general parish use which takes longer than it either being simply read by the celebrant or chanted. Where the Passion is sung in Latin e.g Brompton (and the number of celebrations like Brompton on the planet?) (3) is probably best but (2) in said Mass form without the blessing of Palms is closest to (1).

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Because of certain circumstances existing I went to the Lil'Licit Liturgy today in Wellington, Florida at St Rita's Catholic Church and during the prayer of the Faithful we were asked to pray for an end to the death penalty.

Was this bright idea of praying for a change in Catholic Doctrine somehow linked to Palm Sunday and if it was, did the liturgists think that Jesus had not chosen that ignominious form of death?

During there reading of the Passion the congregation was asked to pray the words appearing on the tiny movie screens erected above the sides of the sanctuary;

Let him be crucified appeared the screen; nice passive language there so as not to offend the Messias-Deniers,

Loudly, I said CRUCIFY Him because that is what the Gospel of Luke says and the Gospel of today was Luke..

But they cried again, saying: Crucify him, crucify him.

The music was from some protestant praise radio station I sometimes bump into by accident when scrolling through radio stations and folks wonder why the Catholic Church is in such bad shape.

The reason is The Damasian-Gregorian-Tridentine Rite of Mass, over 1500 years old, has been destroyed and replaced by this banal novelty.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Magister Johannes, in addition to my usual.petition (de domina quadam oxoniense) could I ask for prayers for complete recovery from gall-bladder removal surgery during the Memento of the Living?? Gratissimo animo sim ...


Moritz Gruber said...

Dear Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque,

just curious, but why did they have the passion by St. Luke? In the Novus Ordo, we're in Year A, so it's St. Matthew there too...

Arthur Gallagher said...

We do not throw away sacred things. The blessed palms would of necessity be saved, and always were. Here in The Bronx, the apartment house "supers" would collect last year's palms for the parish priest, who would burn them, and then use the ashes for Ash Wednesday. It was important that no blessed palm ever went into the garbage.
The Italians always wanted the biggest handfuls of palm, and were adept at weaving them into crosses and other things. Sometimes, in the more Italian parishes here, people would have olive branches to go with their palm. Eastern Europeans would use pussy-willow as an added decoration. Men would put palm-crosses in their hatbands, and wear them all through Holy Week.
My old priest, Fr. Peter Rofrano, SAC, used to tell us to keep blessed palms in our homes, and to hold onto them during times of trial. He had been ordained in 1936, and worked as a simultaneous translator at conferences in Rome, doing Latin/Italian/English. So that was advice from an experienced priest, with a good education. I am sure that he got that advice from his parents.
Palms are part of our identity. My friend Ricky from White Castle, Louisiana, told me that when he was an altar boy, they would go with the priest and harvest the palm themselves down in the Bayou. Palms are what we do.
I should think it obvious that processions symbolize a journey, a continuing journey to our final destination. That journey is always going on. Any attempt to collapse the sacramentals of the Church, and its liturgy, into defined "worship periods" are deeply misguided.

Christophorus said...

I'm curious as to what church Ser. Jagger went to on Palm Sunday. In the traditional Mass Luke's Passion is used on Wednesday of Holy Week. In the new Mass it is used on Sunday cycle 'C'. This year the cycle is 'B' and we heard Mark's (short) passion.

Banshee said...

St. Casimir's Buffalo has a ton of pious palm folding craft videos from a few years back, which include Italian, German, and Polish palm traditions. A lot of the patterns have names, just like quilt patterns, and the Franciscan sisters developed a lot of symbolic patterns for church decoration on Palm Sunday. A priest also recalls how pastors used to take special care to make the elaborate tall palm branches that they carried, and how the parish enjoyed that.

A lot of the folks in Buffalo keep their palms in vases all year, although they also put them on the wall or behind their crucifixes, as my family is accustomed to do. The vase seems like a noble way to keep palms, though.

Also they called folded palms boshki or boushki?
I am terrible at this stuff... But I love it.

Banshee said...

Apparently "Stauroson auton!" in Mark is in aorist active imperative, 2nd person.

Matthew has "Staurotheto!" in aorist passive imperative, 3rd person, which the KJV translates as "Let him be crucified", and several English translations follow that.

I don't understand aorist very well.