14 August 2010

Evening Prayer today

August 14 is a day to say Vespers from some form, any form, of the Roman Rite which precedes the Bugnini 'reforms'. So as to have the magical experience of that great shout of triumph and joy suddenly going forth: Assumpta est Maria in caelum gaudent Angeli laudantes benedicunt Dominum. Compare that with the pedantic Marian minimalism of the Liturgy of the Hours. You can just imagine those grim committee-men sitting round their table ... "We really had better begin the Assumption by setting it in the theological context of the Ascension of Christ". Let us hope that they are now suffering some sort of Theological Context in some sort of painful place. By the way: try looking through the actual prescriptions of Vatican II and see if you can find anything that could conceivably be seen as a mandate for such tinkerings.

Even if you use the Pius XII forms, you will still get Ave Maris Stella at II Vespers, despite Fr Genovesi's dominance of the rest of the Hymnody. In Pius XII's time they at least kept Ave Maris Stella for II Vespers on most Marian Festivals. Bug knew better and he knew wrong.

The real loss in 1951 was of the Collect for the Assmption. We beseech thee O Lord forgive the offences of thy servants: that we who are not able to please thee by our own deserts; may by the intercession of the Mother of thy Son our Lord be saved. It was replaced by a modern composition which I would describe as a dollop of dogma followed by a platitude. The older collect emphasises the ancient conviction of East and West that the purpose of the Assumption is that our Lady might intercede for us; it reminds us that only through the Mediatrix of All Graces, reigning body and soul in heavenly glory, can we attain Salvation; it always reminds me of the homilies of the Greek Fathers, culminating in S Gregory Palamas, about the Mediation of our Lady. And of the plea one hears in the Byzantine Rite Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

14 comments:

Bishop of Ebbsfleet said...

The reform is perhaps a little bit less grim than you suggest. Assumpta est Maria remains as the first antiphon at Vespers II (though its thunder nowadays will be stolen by the earlier placing of the hymn). Vespers I now has Quae est ista, which used to be the antiphon to the Benediotus at Lauds. The new Benedictus antiphon is Pulchra es,which used to be the now unnecessary antiphon five in the psalmody of Vespers I and II. Singing through Vespers I, using the new Antiphonale Romanum II, was a delight and it will be good that tomorrow night's antiphons and psalms are not, as they were in the pre-conciliar order, simply a repeat of tonight's. Without further research it seems that even the new collect for Vespers I, with its emphasis on the Coronation of the Virgin as a sign of our own salvation and redemption, is simply another treasure. The pre-conciliar Vespers I simply used the one collect for the solemnity. The musical effect remains satisfying -tone I for the psalms and solemn tone VIII for the Magnificat.
+ Andrew

none said...

Bishop Andrew raises some good points. My main quibble with the breviary changes for this feast in 1951 center on Matins, where the lovely tradition of the Canticle of Canticles was lost in favor of a rather artificial selection of instructional passages from Genesis and I Corinthians, along with the Pian reading in the second nocturn and the new gospel homily.

I wonder if the decline of the Roman Rite can be traced to the day someone thought it would be a grand idea to insert papal bulls and other documents in the Office in place of the Fathers. The passages for San Giuseppe Communista are particularly ghastly...

-Lee Fratantuono

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

The post and the first two comments refer to three distinct possibilities in terms of the office: the office pre- Munificentissimus Deus, the office as revised by Pius XII and the Liturgia Horarum.In some senses they represent diverse aspects of the Church's celebration of the Assumption and as a body of liturgical texts they communicate something of the wonderful richness of this mystery.

The text of the definition of the dogma should not be seen as a simple act of papal administration but rather as an exercise of the Magisterium at its highest level. For that reason, Roman Catholics of the Latin Rite only have two options in terms of the texts for the feast: the Pius XII texts for the Mass and Office in the EF and the texts of Paul VI in the OF.

Joshua said...

The Dominican Breviary features magnificent treasures at 1st Vespers - and the rest of their Assumption Office includes the very valuable ancient Collect Veneranda, which teaches - against the immortalists - that Our Lady truly died and yet could not be held in the bonds of death, as she had brought forth the Incarnate Son:

* Only one, extremely long and elaborate antiphon for the five psalms (which are the Laudate Psalms used for all first Vespers: Pss 112, 116, 145, 146, 147):

Tota pulchra es, amica mea, et macula non est in te: favus distillans labia tua, mel et lac sub lingua tua: odor unguentorum tuorum super omnia aromata: jam enim hiems transiit, imber abiit, et recessit: flores apparuerunt, vineæ florentes odorem dederunt, et vox turturis audita est in terra nostra. Surge, propera, amica mea: veni de Libano, veni, coronaberis.

(Cant. 4:7,11,10;2:11,12,13,12,10;4:8)

* Little chapter: either (1956) In omnibus requiem (Ecclus 24:11b-12), from the Common, but actually highly appropriate, what with Our Lady being granted rest in the Lord's tabernacle; or (1962) Benedixit te (Judith 13:22b,23b), since the Dominicans adopted the new proper readings from Pius XII's new Office for the Assumption - which frankly are a distinct loss.

* Long responsory, its opening based on St Luke 1:45:

R/. Beata es, Virgo Maria, Dei Genetrix, quæ credidisti Domino: perfecta sunt in te quæ dicta sunt tibi: ecce exaltata es super choros Angelorum. * Intercede pro nobis ad Dominum Jesum Christum.
V/. Benedicta et venerabilis es, Virgo Maria, quæ sine tactu pudoris inventa es Mater Salvatoris. * Intercede... Gloria Patri... * Intercede...


* Hymn - the traditional Ave, maris stella

* Versicle Exaltata es

* Magnificat antiphon most lengthy and ornate, which - Fr H.? - seems to betray a Byzantine original:

Ascendit Christus super cælos, et præparavit suæ castissimæ Matri immortalitatis locum: et hæc est illa præclara festivitas, omnium Sanctorum festivitatibus incomparabilis, in qua gloriosa et felix, mirantibus cælestis curiæ ordinibus, ad æthereum pervenit thalamum: quo pia sui memorum immemor nequaquam exsistat.

(Christ ascended above the heavens, and prepared a place of immortality for his most chaste Mother: and this is that goodly festival, incomparable to the feasts of all the Saints, on which the Glorious and Happy, all the orders of the heavenly court a-wondering, came to the ethereal nuptial chamber: so that no one should be unmindful of the pious memory of it.)

* Collect (for the Vigil; the Dominicans read the Sunday Collect on the Vigil itself):

Deus, qui virginalem aulam beatæ Mariæ, in qua habitares, eligere dignatus es: da, quæsumus, ut, sua nos defensione munitos, jucundos facias suæ interesse consortes: Qui vivis...

(O God, Who didst deign to choose the virginal chamber of blessed Mary wherein Thou wouldest dwell: grant, we beg, that, we strengthened by her defence, Thou make us to be sharers of her joy: Who livest...)

none said...

The Monastic Breviary of 1963 (really 1962, as the December decree shows, but published in '63) prints both the pre- and the post- dogmatic definition offices. Some Benedictine communities were apparently allowed to use the pre-1951 Office.

-Lee Fratantuono

Bishop of Ebbsfleet said...

A further twist: opening LH for the morning offices, as a festal treat, I discover that Ascendit Christus is set as the first antiphon at Vespers I. This has been replaced in Antiphonale Romanum II by Quae est ista. Clearly a bit of organic development between 1987 and 2009. It is encouraging to think that someone out there is making sure that none of the treasures is finally lost.
+ Andrew

none said...

Bishop Andrew's point about the new Antiphonale is well taken. The "official" Roman books for the Divine Office are themselves not yet complete (let alone the chant volumes); we still await the publication of the "5th" Office volume, some forty years after Liturgia Horarum was hastily published.

Indeed, the Divine Office is the stepchild of the reform. The situation is especially bleak in the States, where most clergy use an Office translation of 1975-6 that is based on a now outdated Latin typical edition and replete with vintage 70s era hymnody. Lucien Deiss is indeed the composer who will not die.

-Lee Fratantuono

Steve Cavanaugh said...

Actually, a fortunate few of us Latin rite Roman Catholics (in the US) can make use of the Anglican Use Office/Mass for today's feast. We will have solemn Mass this morning and choral evensong & benediction this evening. The collect from the Book of Divine Worship for the feast is:

O God, who hast taken to thyself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of thy incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may, through her intercession, share with her the glory of thine eternal kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Patricius said...

As I have explained on my own blog belief in the reality of this dogma is most clearly expressed by using the older, superior, Propers for the Assumption - a feast with a very ancient liturgical witness in both East and West. The Pacelli propers are irrelevant, unimaginative and in my opinion unworthy of this feast.

It is most grievous that hardly anyone will be using Gaudeamus...

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

Although personal insight may suggest a preference for older texts, I really don't think that any lawfully promulgated texts of the Roman Rite used by millions of Catholics past and present can ever be described as 'irrelevant'!

Rubricarius said...

Undoubtedly the pre-Pius XII texts are more beautiful and hallowed by tradition - as is so often the case in comparison with modern compositions.

The older sacramentaries give two collects for the Assumption, the stunning Famulorum to which our learned blog host refers and also Veneranda nobis that appears to have been used at Vespers (and Mattins/Lauds?). Veneranda nobis migrated to be the Mass collect in late Medieval period so we find it as the collect for the feast in both the 1502 Hereford Missal and 1526 Sarum Missal.

The new texts (1951) were not part of 1950 definition but published 'in honour of it'. As other commenters have noted they are vastly inferior and even banal. Religious Orders such as the Benedictines decided on a congregation basis whether to adopt the new texts or retain the traditional forms, hence as late as 1963 there still be traces of the old form. Such a sensible approach seems at odds with the rapid, highly-destructive and fanatical ultramontanism of the time.

However, even that, ostensibly, most ultramontane of establishments, in Brompton never adopted the new first vespers hymn as the fathers were too fond of their Monteverdi setting of Ave, maris stella.

Rubricarius said...

Oops! For 'rapid' above read 'rabid'.

Patricius said...

I agree with Rubricarius.

I don't see that a quote from the Apocalypse has anything to do with the Assumption. Moreover the Collect (too relevant, as Fr Hunwicke points out) is clearly a domination of Papal teaching over the prayer of the Church...it doesn't do to be slapped in the face, as it were, during Mass. The once highly significant Epistle, about repose in the Lord, has been replaced with nonsense about the woman Judith - who isn't a type of Mary. The Gospel has been changed without warrant from a wonderful pericope about Martha and Mary, two women who symbolise the Mother of the Lord in two different, and complimentary ways (Mary was, after all, both a passive and an active agent in the ministry of Salvation) to St Luke's account of the Visitation. The Gradual, Secret and Postcommunion prayers have suffered similar damage, and in my opinion, if it ain't broke...

Kind of makes that quote from Summorum Pontificum about things being ''sacred and great'' for previous generations funny doesn't it - yes, ''sacred and great'' for people still living! Although I don't think that anything Pius XII accomplished for the Church is sacred and great in any way whatsoever...

Rubricarius said...

I need to amend my earlier comment of 15 August.

Whilst the new Office texts were indeed promulgated in 1951 (c.f. AAS 43 (1951) pp. 385-399) by a decree of the SRC dated 27 April of that year on checking the new Mass texts were published by a separate decree of SRC dated 31 Oct 1950 (c.f. AAS 42 (1950) pp.793-795) though again in honour of the definition not part of it.