LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Kontinuing to ponder . . .

I’ve been thinking more about it, and also reading what my commentors have said; and one or two further thoughts have crossed my mind on the subject of the Kalendar.

I have no desire to cause a schism amongst the adherents of either form; but it does seem to me that no-one could reasonably argue with the idea of a modest degree of rationalisation of things which effectively conflict for no good reason.

Let me give you a single example, which I have actually mentioned on this blog before, albeit in a different context.

Our Holy Father S. Dominic’s principal Feast is now on 8th August; although it used to be on 4th : but it was changed in the revision of the Kalendar for, as far as I can see, the perfectly rational reason that as S. Dominic himself actually died on 6th August – which he clearly can’t have, because it’s the Transfiguration of Our Lord – either date is only two days away from the actual date of his death; whereas S. John Mary Vianney actually did die on 4th August, so it is really fairly silly to celebrate him on another date just so that S. Dominic could also be celebrated on a day on which he didn’t die.

Obviously principal Saints should retain their original Feasts where there’s a clear reason; but where the date is arbitrary, then there seems to me to be much merit in modest rearrangements so as to provide a single, rational, Kalendar which means that each day celebrates the same thing in both Forms of the liturgy.

Similarly, I rather agree with David when he suggests that there may be merit in making some celebrations optional; in fact my personal feeling is that the Kalendar might well have more feasts in it, but the larger part of them would be globally optional, although it would obviously be open to a Conference of Bishops to make locally relevant ones obligatory – in the same way that Orders, for instance, celebrate their own members who may not even get a mention anywhere else. (As, for instance, S. Luigi Scrosoppi was celebrated yesterday by Oratorians, and yet no doubt not only not celebrated, but not even known of, by everyone else !)

In fact as far as I can see the greatest issue might be the question of the ‘Gesimas’ . . . because that would require a complete rearrangement of the period before Lent in the Ordinary Form : but I’m not sure that that would be a bad thing; even if it did take a little time to be implemented completely in the Ordinary Form because of the need to modify the texts for those three weeks substantially.

At the same time, though, I think that some of the other suggested modifications to the Extraordinary Form might well be considered; the introduction of some additional Prefaces, for instance, seems not totally undesirable – simply because there were in fact a great many of those in use, even if only in Orders, or local liturgies; but if that was acceptable, then it is hard to see why there could not be at least a few more that are globally available.

Essentially I am entirely in favour of keeping the essentials of both Forms as unaltered as possible : but I believe that bringing them into step in terms of the less crucial things, like the Kalendar, would encourage more people to make use of the Extraordinary Form at least for special occasions, and perhaps help bring the Ordinary Form back into what I might call ‘classical usage’ . . . and I think that both of those things would be valuable.

Finally, Mac; the reason I use the spelling Kalendar for the liturgical one, is precisely because I use Calendar for the ordinary one : because it allows one to know exactly what I’m talking about without needing to make it clear by further explanation every time it comes up. The person from whom I derived that habit also used to use ‘quire’ for the liturgical one, to distinguish it from the ‘choir’ of singers – who is in his church were situated entirely invisibly in a gallery at the back – and I have to say that it has always seemed to be a practical device, which is why I do it.

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