30 August 2010

Vatican II Reforms: So what?

These pieces have demonstrated that there is a an auctoritas* problem about LH. As Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, the idea that a Pope can muck around as he likes with the Liturgy if he has the mandate of an Ecumenical Council, is mighty dodgy. Even more flawed is a reform which was not mandated by a Council, and which in many respects went contrary to the explicit words of a Council: I mean the instruction that "There must be no innovations unless the good of the church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing". No innovations, indeed! Certainly, indeed!

It seems to me that, ideally,what we need is a revision of the Breviary which evolves organically from what was in place before the Council in the ways mandated by the Council. Ideally, it would go behind the revision of the Psalterium by Pius X and of the Hymnarium by Urban VIII, and would reconsider elements of the rubrical changes under Pius XII in 1955 which built on those of Pius X. However, to hope for this would, at the moment, be optimistic and beyond the realms of any likelihood. What would be comparatively easy for Authority to provide would be a decree which enabled one to use preconciliar books to say the Office in broadly the way mandated by the Council. In my view, this should leave Lauds and Vespers basically unchanged; diminish the obligation to recite the lesser hours in accordance with SC; and reduce the length of Mattins while permitting it to be used, as the Council suggested, at any hour by those not bound to say it in choir. Perhaps it would also permit ad lib the use of the Lentini Hymnarium. I recall once reading a comment on this blog the effect that there is a 1960s Decree broadly along these lines. Can anyone pin it down for me?

Are there practical ways ahead which the individual can take while remaining within the bounds of what is lawful? I would also remind readers that there is nothing illegal in saying some hours from the LH and others from the Breviary. This is in effect what happens in the English Oratories, and there is already an established praxis in those places, or in some of them (details?), of adapting the old form of Vespers to the modern calendar. (I am not sure whether one would describe that as contra legem or praeter legem.)

I admit that there are problems (mostly arising from diversity of Calendar) about - for example - saying Lauds and Vespers from the Breviary, and the rest of the Office from LH. But might it not be the best interim measure, or at least a viable option, for a generation or two?

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*I hope to return to what I mean by auctoritas.

7 comments:

Fr LR said...

My oh my, this all gets very confusing for a cleric-of-very-little-brain! Am I breaking the law by either reading the office from the old Benedictine Monastic Diurnal +Matins-book or from the Prayer Book? I don't even own LH. Will I go to hell forever if I don't pony up the $$ and change my ingrained habits? I love the Coverdale Psalter and the hymns translated by Neale.

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

The Liturgia Horarum, the Breviarium Romanum and the Breviarium Monasticum represent different forms of the office, each with its integrity, not least in the arrangement of the psalter. RC clerics of the Latin Rite may use either the LH or the BR. If they are also Benedictine monks or oblates, they may use the BM or the form of office used by their monastery. These options are sanctioned by Papal legislation and the recitation of the office by such clerics is under pain of sin.

I don't think Sunday Vespers in the EF constitutes a substantial 'mix and match' principle any more than celebrating a weekly EF Mass would. The majority of Oratorians use the LH for their recitation of the office.

As for non-RC clerics, I would imagine that they may adopt whatever form of the office they wish. Is there any obligation (in the formal sense) beyond the recitation of Matins and Evensong from the Prayer Book?

Sui Juris said...

As I understand it Anglican clergy are obliged to one of two options: morning and evening prayer from the prayer book, or twice-daily "services of the word" from Common Worship. The latter is essentially a set of rubrics ensuring inclusion of (for example) the Our Father, some scripture, etc. There is a lectionary but it's not obligatory to use it.

The Common Worship rubric covers, for example, LH (and BR, I guess), and BCP as well, meaning that a full mix-and-match does fulfil the Anglican obligation. I use LH in the mornings (Readings & Lauds), BCP in the evenings (when I'm usually joined by lay parishioners) and the Little Office of the Virgin for (canonically non-obligatory) lesser hours.

Pastor in Valle said...

I saw an edition of NotitiƦ once when staying at the Birmingham Oratory. It dated from the very early 70s, and dealt with those who would continue to use the Breviary instead of the LH. I really regret not having taken a photocopy.
I remember, though, the following permissions:
Matins need have only one nocturn.
Only one little hour need be said.
For some time I availed myself of this, until the frustration of only saying part of the psalter got to me and I started using the whole thing.

I'm not sure that I'm entirely with Mgr Wadsworth about integrity; at least, it seems to me that, using common sense, it makes little sense to celebrate the office of one saint and the Mass of another. Using the BR, I use the new calendar, simply because it is the calendar of the church of which I am a Parish Priest. I have made a sanctorale for the BR to the new calendar which uses official texts throughout (rather uncomfortably using the 2nd reading for the office of readings as the 3rd reading of Matins where there be none available).
I am aware that this is unsatisfactory in some respects, but I have the intent to fulfil the office as best I can.

On Mgr Ws other point, Pope Paul VI told Cardinal Heenan, who told Mgr Stonehill, who told me that the office does not in fact bind under the pain of sin.
The General Instruction says that Lauds and Vespers should not be omitted but for a serious reason, which rather underlines this, since the little hours, presumably may be omitted for a lesser reason.
Personally, whether it be sinful or not, I regard the celebration of the entire office as a serious charge on the cleric, and would habitually regard the omission, even of a little hour as something to be mentioned in confession. Not perhaps something that is in itself formally sinful matter, but as a failure in my duty.

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

We often celebrate a different Mass to the office we recite, such as all Votive and Ritual Masses. I would agree that some accomodation of the calendar is necessary, however, if one habitually uses EF office with OF Mass.

Fontgomabault and its foundations have done this sucessfully with the EF and the Barroux Diurnal Monastique supplies the collects of the modern sanctoral cycle and thereby aids its use with the OF calendar. The recent Barroux reprint of the Liber Usualis contains an appendix supplying all the supplementary chants necessary for using the book with the OF.

As for the reported comment of Paul VI - is it perhaps the reason why so few priests over the age of sixty say the office? For many, it went out of the window after the council.

Albertus said...

I am a RC priest ordained in Rome under the reign of Paulus VI. I have always only recited the Breviarium Romanum (or Officium Parvum) and celebrated the traditional Latin Mass. I can say, that none of the priests of my generation whom i then knew, and with whom i am still in contact, recite the Divine Office at all, not even Laudes and Vesperae. They consider it to have been abolished, if not by the Pope, then by their own authority. Since my eyesight has been bad for many years, i used to recite the old Officium Parvum BMV, my edition of which contains big letters. Since Summorum Pontificum, I recite once again Breviarium Romanum, but since i have been absolved of the obligation by the Ordinary, I feel free to make use of my own computer-made big letter edition of BR, including the Ordinarium, Commune Sanctorum, and the Propria of the more important Feasts. I follow the old calender for Divine Office as also for Mass. I own a copy of the Breviarium Romanum issued by Pius V, and from there have taken the traditional pre-PiusX psalms and antiphons for every day of the week, and the pre-UrbanusVIII hymns. Everyday i sing recto tono Invitatorium, Laudes, one of the minor hours in rotation (prima, tertia, sexta, nona), and Vesperae, and sing properly Completorium (always the same). On mondays i add Officium Defunctorum. If my eyes become too tired, i leave out the minor hour. Matutinum i simply cannot read, as the letters are too small, and i could not possibley produce my own big-letter edition of it!

Little Black Sambo said...

Albertus. Thank you; that is wonderful.