3 March 2024


In an idle moment, I thought I would just check.

Let me explain. When the CDF authorised those 'new' Prefaces three or four years ago,  I decided to give the Preface for Martyrs a bit of a whirl, it being of respectable, ancient, origin ('Leonine Sacramentary' alias Verona Sacramentary, circa 600). So I typed it neatly out and gummed it in. There ought to be a special prayer for performing this essential liturgical manoeuvre.

But now I got a shock.

The villains of the 1960s took indecent liberties with this Preface when they incorporated it. 

I have now removed it from my Altar Missal. I won't get caught like that again. There definitely ought to be a prayer for such removals ... purple stole and all that.

The venerabilis with the sanguis of the Martyrs has, of course, disappeared. But where the present post-Vatican II text reads "vires infirmas ad testimonium roboras", the Verona codex had "ita nostris et studiis dat profectum et fragilitatibus praestat auxilium." And the subject of these verbs is now the Father, not, as in the Codex, the outpoured blood of the Martyrs.

In other words, the old ... probably original ... text did not inform God that he strengthens us to bear witness; it explained that the outpoured Blood of the Martyrs gives us progress in our endeavours and grants assistance to our weaknesses.

(The traditional syntactical framings ... sicut ... ita ... have, not surprisingly, disappeared.)

You might think that "progress in our endeavours" (studiis dat profectum) is rather bathetic. You might feel that commemorating the Martyrs by talking about Strength to Bear Witness is a distinct improvement (I think 'enrichment' is the technical term).

But this morning, while ploughing through another breakfast jar of Frank Cooper's Original Oxford Marmalade ... Coarse Cut ... I browsed through those early 'April' pages in the Verona Sacramentary; they appear to provide a collection of Masses for Martyrs. I looked, of course, particularly at the Vere Dignums.

And it seemed to me that the conceptual connection we enthusiastically make between the 'Witness', Martyrion, of the martyrs, and our vocation also to 'bear witness' in our own generation and context, was not terribly much in the minds of those who composed (or those who collected) the Prefaces in these old Masses.

Hence the apparent bathos with which this Preface, adopted and adapted by the 'reformers' of the 1960s, concludes.

Perhaps and perhaps. But I like to know where I'm standing; whether some ingenious connection in a text is the product of a clever-clogs of circa 600 or of a smartie-boots of circa 1970.

In future, I'll go slower on the glue-pot.


Catholic said...

Fr,do you think it prudent to have at least 1 of the few remaining pre-June 18 1968 Bishops to traditional Rite Ordain & Consecrate clerics before they pass away? (Even conditional Holy Orders if possible?)I ask this in all sincerity and due respect,simply want your opinion,not to argue.

Marc in Eugene said...

I know that Father Hunwicke doesn't do marmalade reviews but can someone tell me what the difference is between Frank Cooper's Vintage and Frank Cooper's Original? This marmalade is destined for Easter; it won't make it to Pentecost.

Robert said...

Frank Cooper's website describes the Vintage marmalade thus:
"The Oxford Marmalade is inspired by the original Sarah Jane Coopers 1874 recipe, made using a dark seriously intense coarse cut Seville orange marmalade. Sure to appeal to the mature palate of the true marmalade connoisseur."

Whereas the "Original" is:
"The Original Oxford Marmalade is directly descended from Sarah Jane Coopers 1874 Recipe, made using Seville oranges to deliver a robust coarse cut marmalade with real bite. The perfect choice to wake up your taste-buds in the morning."

So the Original, is not really the original, it's only descended from the original. The Vintage is really the original.

Marc in Eugene said...

Many thanks, Robert. Will try the Vintage, although in Britain it contains 'sugar' etc while over here it's made of 'glucose-fructose syrup and sugar' etc. The Health people have tried to teach us that the syrup is A Bad Thing but I'll hope for the best. :-)