23 October 2009

Calendars yet again

I first started saying the EF regularly after my first retirement, in 2001, when I went down to Devon and had churches in which there was no tradition of a daily Mass: so I was at liberty to use whatever rite I liked without any pastoral repercussions. What I said was the EF, but with the OF calendar, and with the OF elimination of "commemorations" and the OF rules on the Gloria. I know from comments on my blog that not a few clergy do this, and I still think that it would be good if the PCED regularised it.

More recently, however, I have begun to use the EF calendar at my EF Masses. I am warming to this. The advantages are that one gets an uninterrupted liturgical tradition. I use red vestments much more often, because the EF calendar still - after all these centuries - reflects the primacy of Martyrdom as a path to Sainthood and still asserts the formative experience of the entire Church in the campaigns of the "great" Imperial persecutors to expunge Christianity. I now wonder about that elaborate Introduction issued with the Novus Calendar when it was first promulgated; it carefully showed that there were in the new Universal Calendar proportionate numbers of Saints from each age of the Church and from each Continent and from each 'constituency' - Virgins; episcopal founders; etc.. This clinical committeeism now seems to me distinctly unnatural. The old Calendar does update itself by natural, organic, means. Older saints fade from memory and their observancces are reduced in rank; new ones come in and the former occupants of particular days fade into being mere commemorations. I currently have a distinct feeling that this is a more Catholic way of doing things than the post-conciliar "quota" system.

Of course, a fundamentalist adherence to "1962" is just as unnatural as quotas artificially placed like straight-jackets on the Sanctorale. For the old natural organic development to be stopped is itself deeply untraditional. And there could well be a little tidying up. For example: before 1962, S Irenaeus was on the same day as the Vigil of SS Peter and Paul. He shared the day with them. But in 1962 this was thought a bad thing and so he was shifted into the period after the Solemnity. But Bugnini then abolished Vigils, and put S Irenaeus back onto his original day. Celebrating the Saint on his 1962 date - which only held good for less than a decade - can hardly be a touchstone of safe "Traditionalism"

What are the experiences of others?

3 comments:

Michael McDonough said...

The old Calendar does update itself by natural, organic, means. Older saints fade from memory and their observances are reduced in rank; new ones come in and the former occupants of particular days fade into being mere commemorations.

Beautifully put, like flowers blooming and fading, and all the while "picked" into eternal life.

Jon said...

Father,

I've long admired your liturgical erudition from this side of the pond.

I'm of course perplexed at how one so Catholic can be, well, not Catholic.

I'm sure you've covered the ground here on your blog somewhere before, but I'd be very respectfully interested in your defense of the validity of Anglican Orders.

If you have covered the matter before, could you perhaps point me to the post in your archive?

FYI, as to my perspective, I'm a member of an FSSP parish in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Although a 47 year-old cradle Catholic, during my early adolescence my parents for a few years returned to their High-Anglican parish, where I was stamped with a life-long affection for Anglican liturgy.

Thank you, and please be assured at this exciting time of my prayers for yourself, and the entire Anglican Communion.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

I dealt with this quite recently. Try trawling the Blog!