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.