23 January 2024

S Joseph, and the English Bishops

 In my trusty 1874 breviary, I read the following in the Officia Propria Sanctorum Angliae for January 23: In Festo Desponsationis B. M. V.:

'Omnia ut in fine Breviarii sine commemoratione S. Josephi.'

I expect yours is the same.

What on earth is going on? 

Back to the Appendix pro aliquibus locis, the 'finis Breviarii'.

"The feast of the Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary with S Joseph". And, yes, there are Commemorations of S Joseph at First Vespers, Lauds, and Second Vespers; but the rubric says that, where it is granted, before the other commemorations there is to be a commemoration of S Joseph.

So the English Vicars Apostolic had sought ... and received ... permission to use this Proper. But ... if they also sought permission to commemorate S Joseph, they had not received that.

The liturgical Espousals of our Blessed Lady had been observed for some time, on different days and in various places. But it was in the Diocese of Arras that this Feast was instituted (1556) to be kept on 23 January. And from there that it spread. Liturgical provsion was drafted by a Dominican, Pierre Dore (obiit 1569), Confessor to the Duke of Lorraine.

Originally, it was a Festival of Blessed Mary; it did not immediately and universally spread to be a Feast of the Engaged Couple. S John Henry and his English contemporaries were, I presume, not accustomed to include S Joseph. Except if they were in Dublin founding Universities, and if the Irish arrangements differed from the English. In which case, Irish clerics would have needed care as they boarded the packet at Holyhead.

What a complicated subject Liturgy is.

I wonder what is going on here ... conservatism (resistance to the introduction of S Joseph, as a new and major devotion) ... some species of liturgical sexual politics ...

1 comment:

Rubricarius said...

"I expect yours is the same."

No, mine is not the same. My 1910 Breviary has the same rubric in the PAL section but the proper for use in the dioceses of England is different, indeed it states the opposite. On the cover page of that supplement it refers to a decree of 14th August 1883. For the feast it states:

"Desponsationis BVM cum S. Joseph, dm. Omnia ut in Officis pro aliquibus locis eadem die, cum commem. S. Joseph"