Saturday, 3 January 2009

On Calendars.....


I wanted to highlight the issues around the different calendars currently in use, and put forward some suggestions on how to tackle reforming the calendars myself, or at least provide the raw material to help others do so, by comparing Ordos for this coming week (I'm not committing to do this every week, it is too much work!). So a separate post (this one is getting a little long) will set out the various Ordos for this week for comparison purposes - traditional Benedictine, Extraordinary Form (TLM), pre-1962 and Novus Ordo.

Now this task is primarily one for 'reform of the reformers' it seems to me - but if done right, could possibly serve as a way of bringing the OF and EF a little closer together.

I've also included cross-references to page numbers in Farnborough's Monastic Diurnal for those attempting to follow the Benedictine office.

Now I should say that I'm not an Ordo expert, I've simply taken what I can find from Ordos online or in books I own, so it is perfectly possible that I've missed a rule or other. In addition, I don't have access at the moment to a current Ordo for Australia (traditional or novus ordo!). So corrections and additions will be gratefully accepted!

The case for reforming the calendars....

I don't know how the current Novus Ordo calendar came into being - there is certainly nothing in the documents of Vatican II that even hints at the need for a wholesale revision - but I think most people could agree it is a problematic elements of the Novus Ordo, notwithstanding its adoption by some TLM-saying traditional monasteries!

The Novus Ordo calendar eliminates most of the traditional seasons in favour of something called 'ordinary time'. It shifts feasts traditionally celebrated on particular days seemingly randomly. And it included a politically correct purging of saints days that saw many old favourites dumped altogether. It also reduced the degrees of solemnity of a day, to a choice of solemnity, feast, memorial, optional memorial.

On the other hand, it has to be said that the rot in relation to calendar reform really started before Vatican II, particularly with the dumping of various octaves and vigils (including that of Epiphany) in the 1962 calendar.

It is too late now, I think to go back to the full pre-1962 calendar ( really can't get a handle on semi-doubles etc!). But it would be nice to find some way of moving the EF and OF calendars rather more closely to alignment, potentially making it easier for bi-ritual parishes and those saying the traditional office but without access to the traditional mass, and thus eliminating a source of tension with bishops and others!

Some notes on this week's calendar

I might talk about some possible principles that might guide such a reform down the track, but I thought for today I'd just point out a couple of key features of the competing Ordos, and few comments on the bleeding obvious.

First, the differences between the Extraordinary Form and Ordinary (Novus Ordo) Form in terms of the season:


  • in the Ordinary Form we are in Christmastide up until January 11, then move to 'ordinary time', whereas in the Extraordinary Form (TLM) we move to epiphanytide (Suggestion 1: eliminate 'ordinary time'. The whole point of the liturgical seasons is to santify time, not make it ordinary!;

  • Epiphany is celebrated on the proper date (January 6) in the EF, but moved to the nearest Sunday in the OF (Suggestion 2: celebrate all feast days on their proper date!).

  • personally think the 1962 revisions - which eliminated the Vigil of Epiphany and the following octave - were a step in the wrong direction. Suggestion 3: restore the Vigil and Octave!

    • Secondly, in terms of saints days, the traditional calendar, sensibly in my view, shifts most feasts (such as Ss Raymond Pennafort, Edward, Titus &Andrew Corsini) that might otherwise occur this week to other dates so as to keep us focused on the celebration of Our Lord's birth and early life. The OF has added some new ones in - clearly if we go back to a more solemn observance of the season, moving the relevant saints to other days should be considered!

      Finally, a few curiosities for calendar fetishists!

      • Le Barroux's traditional Benedictine Ordo for this week follows the pre-1962 Monastic Antiphonale in several respects (inclusion of the commemoration of St Telesphorus, Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus), which aligns it more closely to the traditional Roman Ordo than the Farnborough Abbey 1962 Ordo (or the Monastic Breviary of 1963) is;
      • the traditional traditional Dominican Ordo posted by Fr Augustine Thompson aligns perfectly with the Roman EF Ordo this week as far as I can see.
        So, what do you think?

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