Liturgists, ORDO Compilers, historians, have a handy volume which never wanders far from beside their computers."Cheney" enables you to turn up the complete calendar for any year between 400 and 2100 within twenty seconds: look at the lists of Dates of Easter; then find the relevant calendar. There they all are laid out; from years when Easter is as early as March 22 (a rare one; it last happened in 1818 and will not recur in your lifetimes) right down to the latest possible date for Easter, April 25 (1943; you might live to see another one in 2038). The most recent 'extreme' year was, of course, 2008 (Easter on March 23), which caught out the chappies who manufactured the recent C of E Lectionary system. Septuagesima was the second Sunday after the Epiphany.
Thus our present year, 2010, last occurred in 1999 and will recur in 2021, 2083, and 2094. If you kept your old ORDOs carefully filed away, you could reuse them then. Except that you couldn't, because modern lectionary systems (see last post) delightfully complicate the possibilities and also have an exquisite tendency to be dumped every few years as a new generation of even cleverer people comes along anxious to produce an even more brilliantly constructed lectionary. The Bugninis and the Stancliffes are the very exemplars of the red-blooded male when it comes to begetting new generations of perturbatores liturgici.
Among past years which are exact matches of 2010 is 1847; an interesting year. Blessed Pius IX had been elected only months before and was still enjoying a remarkable honeymoon, even among the non-Catholic intelligentsia of Europe. He was young, liberal, modern, and progressive. In him, the Catholic Church had opened its windows to the optimistic and glorious Spirit of the Nineteenth Century. It was a time of some euphoria.
Divertingly, the next year brought something of a nemesis: 1848 produced the Spirit and Spectre of violent insurrection to haunt Europe, and Pius IX experienced the atrocities of the Roman Revolution. He learned from his experiences; he was to be the pontiff who discerned the need for the Definitions of Vatican I; I do not find it easy to see how the Church could have survived intact into the following centuries if it had not been fortified by these definitions.
And there are the glories of his Syllabus of Errors:
"If anyone shall say that the Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with, Progress, Liberalism, and Modern Civilisation: Anathema sit.
"If any man shall say that every man is free to embrace and profess the religion which, guided by the light of Reason, he shall consider true: Anathema sit ...".
You can find them all on the internet. I invite readers with the leisure to to provide arguments for the timeliness now of their favourite condemnations.
More on Cheney later.