Monday 17 May 2021

Update - and hopefully a return to more regular programming after July

It has been a fair while since the last update here - apologies! I have been busy both at work and on a number of liturgical projects. Some highlights:

  • A few volumes have been added to the Acta Synodalia links section on the right hand of the page. The project to scan in and make available all the volumes of the Acta of Vatican II continues: it would be nice to be done or nearly done by the time the 60th anniversary of the Council's opening comes around next year, but I can't make any firm promises!
  • A new links section has been added: Draft Schemata to be Discussed at the Conciliar Sessions (Vatican II). This will be made up of the four volumes of schemata, entitled Schemata Constitutionum et Decretorum de quibus disceptabitur in Concilii sessionibus, that were given to the Council Fathers so that they could examine them and prepare for the various discussions. These volumes do not officially make up part of the Acta Synodalia, but they are very much related.
  • I have updated the links to my books on the left hand of the page to include my recently-released title The Post-Communion Prayers of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite: Texts and Sources. More information, along with a sample of pages, can be found at this post at New Liturgical Movement
  • My recently-published article, "An English Bishop at the Second Vatican Council: George Patrick Dwyer and the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" can be read in vol. 25, no. 1 of Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal. This is an excellent journal, published three times per year, that I have read for a good while now, and if good scholarship on the liturgy is the sort of thing you'd be interested I would thoroughly recommend a subscription! The article itself is an annotated transcription of one of the Council notebooks of George Dwyer, at the time Bishop of Leeds, later Archbishop of Birmingham, that contains his handwritten account of the discussions on Sacrosanctum Concilium at the first session of Vatican II. It was a surprising amount of work to get this completed, and I am very happy that Antiphon accepted it for publication!
  • The 13th Fota International Liturgical Conference scheduled for last year had to be postponed, along with many other things, but it will hopefully take place in Cork (Ireland) this July, circumstances permitting. I will be presenting a paper on the suggestions for the reform of the Mass lectionary in the vota of the Council Fathers and at Vatican II itself, and looking at whether or not the eventual post-conciliar reform of the lectionary was really carried out with the "spirit of the liturgy" in mind.
  • Finally, the paper I gave at the 2019 Fota International Liturgical Conference, "A Historical Survey of the Reform of De Benedictionibus (1959-1984)" will be available later this year, along with the rest of the conference proceedings. Summaries of each day of the 2019 conference can be found at New Liturgical Movement.

I have also been working on various projects related to the lectionary and missal, including the Index Psalmorum, but I have not had as much time to devote to these as I would like recently - primarily because half of our house is due to be renovated over the summer, and the preparations for things like this always take up more effort than one expects. However, once both the building works and Fota XIII are finished, I hope to get back to blogging a bit more regularly!

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Proceedings of Fota XI, and other updates

A few recent things to mention. First, the proceedings of the 11th Fota International Liturgical Conference have just been published in Psallite Sapienter: The Liturgy of the Hours. Copies can be ordered from the Smenos Publications website, or via e-mail (smenosbooks AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk); I think they are €25 (plus postage). The collection of papers is, as always with the Fota volumes, very interesting, and anyone who has a particular interest in the Breviary/Divine Office will be well-rewarded by reading them.

On a personal note, this volume marks the occasion of my very first published article, "The Proposals for Reform of the Roman Breviary in the Antepreparatory Period of Vatican II (1959-1960)" (preview here). So, I'm pretty pleased about that! As I examined almost 700 of the 2,150 vota of the future Council Fathers, writing this paper was a lot of work, but I think it turned out well. I also gave a paper entitled "A Historical Survey of the Reform of De Benedictionibus (1959-1984)" at this year's Fota conference, which will be published next year as part of the proceedings.


Secondly, there have been some new links added under the headings at the sides of this blog, including (among other things) some of the Latin typical editions of the liturgical books for the forma ordinaria, as well as a couple of additions to the Acta Synodalia and Acta et Documenta material. Of particular note is that all sixteen volumes of the antepreparatory material of Vatican II are now freely available online. As almost all of these volumes were originally printed sub secreto, they are very scarce. If you want to know what the opinions and wishes of the bishops were before the Council, these are the primary sources to consult in the first instance.


Thirdly, I should mention that my most recent book, The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms (preview here), is currently available from Amazon (US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain). The aim of the book is to allow easy comparison of the work of the Consilium on the prayers of the Missale Romanum with those found in the 1962 and 1970/2002 Missals. 

One of the various documents of Group 18 of the Consilium, Schema 186, deals with the reform of the orations contained in the Proper of Time of the Roman Missal, and gives draft texts for each day in this section. The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms makes this corpus of prayers available for the first time and arranges it in parallel with the texts of the 1962 and 1970/2002 Missals. To aid in further study and research, each prayer is also keyed into the Corpus orationum, a collection of volumes that presents (in alphabetical order) every oration found in over 200 extant Latin liturgical books, and for each one gives its sources, uses and textual variations.


Finally, I am currently working on the second printed volume of the Lectionary Study Aids series, the Index Psalmorum. This will comprise various comparative indices of the gradual chants and responsorial psalms/canticles from the OF and EF Missals, as well the various antiphons (introit, offertory, etc.). I am hoping that it will (finally!) be ready by Advent this year.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

On Liturgical "Experts" and Selective Citations

The introduction that Benedict XVI has written for the recently-published festschrift on the occasion of Cardinal Müller's 70th birthday has drawn a few comments, specifically on what the Pope Emeritus has to say about the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms. An English translation of the full text can be found at Rorate Caeli, but here is the relevant extract:
In the confused times in which we are living, the whole scientific theological competence and wisdom of he who must make the final decisions seem to me of vital importance. For example, I think that things might have gone differently in the Liturgical Reform if the words of the experts had not been the last ones, but if, apart from them, a wisdom capable of recognising the limits of a "simple" scholar's approach had passed judgement.
Fr Anthony Ruff over at PrayTell has picked up Fr Matias Augé's blog post critical of these brief remarks of Benedict XVI, with Fr Ruff writing that it is "not quite accurate to claim that experts were the final authority on the reform of the liturgy". A citation from p. 383 of Annibale Bugnini's memoirs The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 (Liturgical Press, 1990), detailing a handwritten note from Paul VI to Benno Cardinal Gut (at the time, Prefect of the Congregation of Rites), is given as evidence that Paul VI was intimately involved in the reforms at every stage.

However, Fr Augé and Fr Ruff are rather selective in their citations from Bugnini's memoirs. One of the other handwritten notes from Paul VI to Cardinal Gut detailed by Bugnini, regarding the lectionary, reads as follows (Reform, p. 420, my emphasis):
In the very limited time allowed me, I have not been able to get a complete and detailed grasp of this new and extensive Ordo lectionum Missae.
But because of the confidence I have in the skilled and devout individuals who spent a long time compiling it, and because of the trust I owe to the Congregation for Divine Worship, which has examined and corrected it with such expert care, I gladly approve it in the name of the Lord.
The feast of St. John the Baptist, June 24, 1969.
Paul VI, Pope
What else is this but an admission from Paul VI himself that he left the complete overhaul of the Roman Mass lectionary to the experts, merely rubber-stamping it at the end of the process? And why was he only "allowed" around one month to examine the OLM (he received the proofs in May 1969)?

From Bugnini's account, it is apparent that Paul VI involved himself more in the reform of, for example, the Order of Mass than some other aspects. But even here, the Pope had to fight against the experts in order to make sure that the new offertory formulas actually had the word "offer" in them (p. 371)! Moreover, even after his decision in 1966 that the Roman Canon was to remain unchanged in the reform (p. 450), the experts tinkered with the words of institution and made parts of the Canon optional. Again, in 1967, the Pope insisted that the words of consecration in the Canon not be changed, and the experts basically ignored him (p. 462).

With regards to vernacular translations of the Roman Canon, Bugnini also lets slip that in 1967:
The Holy Father had asked that the translations be ''faithful and literal,'' but in fact practically no liturgical commission was observing this criterion. (p. 168)
Yes, ultimately Paul VI was the final authority, insofar as he was required to approve and promulgate the reformed liturgical books. However, when one reads the whole of Bugnini's memoirs, in many respects Paul VI arguably comes across as negligent, naive, and often a prisoner of the liturgical establishment "experts".

In short, the "experts" may not have been the final de jure authority, but for large parts of the post-conciliar reform, they very much seem to have been the de facto one.

Thursday 27 July 2017

My letter in this week's Catholic Herald

I have had a letter published in this week's Catholic Herald - the only letter, in fact, that I have ever submitted to the magazine, so that's nice!

The subject is Fr Raymond de Souza's article in last week's issue about Cardinal Sarah's proposal for "liturgical reconciliation":
SIR – Fr Raymond de Souza raises the question of the lectionary in his article on “liturgical reconciliation” (Comment, July 21). He declares that the OF lectionary is an improvement because it “includes far more Scripture than the EF one”. However, bigger is not always better, and if this is the only—or even primary—justification for declaring the OF lectionary an ‘enrichment’, that is not good enough. A qualitative, rather than quantitative, analysis of the two lectionaries is required. 
Is it really, for example, an ‘enrichment’ that Ephesians 4:25-28, verses read every year in the EF (19th Sunday after Pentecost), and containing the well-known advice “do not let the sun go down on your anger” (v. 26), are nowhere to be found in the entire OF lectionary? Or that the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), read in the OF on the 33rd Sunday per annum in Year A, has an optional short form that omits any mention of the men with two and one talents, thereby completely gutting the parable?
Moreover, the “wide consensus that the OF lectionary is superior” is, in my own experience, not anywhere as common as Fr de Souza supposes. In the nine years since I converted to Catholicism, I have come across an increasing number of clergy and laypeople who are decidedly unsure about the supposed benefits of key aspects of the OF lectionary, such as the three-year Sunday cycle of readings. 
There is obviously a lot more that could be said on this subject - but the Herald do ask that letters are kept below 250 words!

It should be noted that Fr de Souza's original article (and his follow-up) spawned a lot of commentary online - Gregory diPippo at NLM; Joseph Shaw of the LMS (and also this); Fr Timothy Finigan on his blog (who was also kind enough to recommend the Index Lectionum); and Fr John Zuhlsdorf at WDTPRS, to name a few. I hope to be able to make my small contribution to the ongoing discussion about "mutual enrichment"/"liturgical reconciliation" very soon over at New Liturgical Movement.

Thursday 13 July 2017

Spanish Experimental Lectionary (1966-69)

Many apologies for the delay in blogging! Our house has needed a lot of work on it (but we knew this when we bought it, so that's fine), and I have also changed jobs, so it has been a little busy behind the scenes. However, I have garnered a fair amount of new material to share over the next few weeks.

Let us start with the Spanish Experimental Lectionary, in use from 1966-69 (PDF). The lections themselves were published in a small, hand-missal sized book, entitled Lectura continuada de la Biblia para el misal de los fieles: Textos, introducciones y comentarios (Barcelona: Editorial Litúgica Española, 1968). This volume was obviously designed for use alongside a hand-missal, and its late date of publication (the nihil obstat was given on 26th October 1968) is interesting, given that the Ordo lectionum Missae was published only seven months later.

The Spanish Bishops made use of the German experimental scheme, but made some changes to it. Other countries that did the same thing were the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rica. Among these changes are the following:

  • The addition of Graduals and Alleluia verses for each weekday in the scheme (with the exception of Alleluia verses for Advent and Pre-Lent; for weekdays in Eastertide the Aleluya Pascual replaces both the Gradual and Alleluia verse).

  • There are some changes in the order of the Old and New Testament books read, along with adjustments made to the division of certain pericopes. Perhaps most notably compared to the German scheme, the Spanish scheme moves Acts and Revelation into Years I and II of Eastertide, with Ephesians, Colossians and Hebrews being moved to Time after Pentecost in Year I.

  • The following books are added to the scheme in Time after Pentecost: 
    • Year I: Titus (week 21, three pericopes);
    • Year II: Deuteronomy (weeks 1-2, six pericopes), Ruth (week 4, three pericopes), Obadiah (week 24, one pericope), Nahum (week 25, one pericope).

  • There are also some slight differences in the division and content of Gospel pericopes in Time after Pentecost (Appendix 2 in the PDF gives more details).

For those whose Spanish is better than mine, a PDF of the Introduction to the Lectura continuada can be found here.

Friday 1 July 2016

Sacra Liturgia UK and Fota IX

The summer is upon us, and I shall be attending both Sacra Liturgia UK in London and Fota IX in Cork. The papers due to be delivered at both conferences sound fascinating, and I'm really looking forward to them! I'm also looking forward to meeting in real life a few people who I have only spoken to over the internet, as well as many others who are passionate about the Catholic Church and her liturgy.

By nature I am an introvert, so I can be a little shy at times, but if you are a reader of this blog or New Liturgical Movement and are attending either Sacra Liturgia or Fota (or both!), please introduce yourself to me and we can have a nice chat about liturgy-related things, life in general, or whatever you like!

A reminder of what I look like for those who want to talk
to me about lectionaries and other liturgical topics

I will also have a few copies of my book Index Lectionum: A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite for those who are interested in looking at it in the flesh, as it were, and I might be persuaded to part with some of them at a discounted price... :-)

Thursday 2 June 2016

New Liturgical and Historical Resources for Download

It has been a little while since the last update, and I have gathered some more useful liturgical and historical resources over the last few months. So, here they are:

1. Dom Adrian Nocent’s proposal for an optional cycle of 2nd readings for Sundays per annum (PDF): Dom Nocent was a member of Group XI of the Consilium, the group responsible for the reform of the lectionary. In 1994, he wrote a book called A Rereading of the Renewed Liturgy, in which he advocated for several more reforms in the post-Vatican II liturgy, including an additional, optional cycle of 2nd readings for tempus per annum. The aim of Nocent's proposed cycle is to thematically link the 2nd reading with the 1st reading and Gospel, as in his opinion, the current structure of the lectionary makes it "impossible to use the second reading in the homily with any coherence." The PDF file gives Nocent's proposed readings, along with a short extract from Rereading in which he explains his proposal.

2. Permissions given by the Consilium for the use of ad experimentum lectionaries, 1965-69 (PDF): This has been in the sidebar for a little while, but is worth highlighting. Between 1965 and 1969, the Consilium gave permission to many countries regarding the use of ad experimentum lectionaries for use on weekdays and various occasions (such as confirmations, funerals, weddings, etc.). This PDF document is comprised of two tables that detail all the permissions recorded in Notitiae: the first table organised by date, the second alphabetically by country.

3. Text and Tables of the Consilium’s « Lectionaria particularia », Notitiae 4 (1968), 40-88 (PDF): Again, this has been in the sidebar for a little while, and links in with the "Permissions" PDF above. Some conferences of Bishops, instead of designing their own ad experimentum lectionaries, asked for permission to use one or more parts of the Consilium's lectionaria particularia, which ended up being printed in Notitiae 4 (1968). This document is a tabulation of the Consilium's experimental lectionary, which could be used on particular occasions, e.g. Confirmations, funerals, Masses with children, Masses on camping trips, etc.

4. The Resolutions of the International Liturgical Congresses, 1951-1953: Maria Laach, Ste. Odile and Lugano (PDF): These congresses held in the early 1950s give an insight into what certain members of the cutting-edge (at that time) of the liturgical movement were hoping for in terms of a future reform of the Catholic liturgy. There are a number of striking similarities between these resolutions and the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms.

5. Bishops of England and Wales, The Manual of Prayers: Authorized by the Hierarchy of England and Wales for Congregational Use (London: Burns & Oates, 1953) (PDF): This book, originally published in 1886, is a collection of devotional prayers for use with congregations. It is an interesting insight into what the English and Welsh bishops were encouraging parish churches to use in order to foster the devotional life of the faithful before the Second Vatican Council. (In my opinion, we in England and Wales could do with reviving the use of some of these prayers in parishes, before and after Mass!)

6. Mgr Derek Worlock (ed.), English Bishops at the Council: The Third Session of Vatican II (London: Burns & Oates, 1965) (PDF): This book, edited by the man who would later become Bishop of Portsmouth and then Archbishop of Liverpool, gives English translations of the speeches made by the English bishops at the third session of Vatican II, as well as talks by Mgr Worlock and press conferences given by the Bishops and periti.