May 13, 2011

Universae Ecclesiae: Answers and Questions

Like a lot of folks, I suspect, who have some interest in the Extraordinary Form, I planned some extra time in my morning routine today so that I could read Universae Ecclesiae when it appeared at 'Roman noon.'

The document is supposed to be a clarification of how Summorum pontificum is applied. For me it answered one of my own questions, but left another in an even more mysterious condition.

First, the question I feel is now somewhat clarified. SP 9,3 gives clerics the right to use the older Roman breviary to fulfill the Divine Office, for which the ordinary form is the Liturgy of the Hours. When I first read this, I was a new priest, and somewhat curious. I managed to find a complete 1962 Breviarium Romano-Seraphicum in the Capuchin use for what was--to me at least--a bargain (100 euro.) Using Fr. Hausmann's Learning the New Breviary (which you can download yourself here, note the Capuchin novitiate library stamp in the scanned copy) I started to experiment with the older form of the prayer.

But I wondered about a couple of things. First, was it o.k. to mix and match? Could I just use the older breviary for certain of the hours? It was nice compact volume, and so eminently suited to carrying into the world. Could I just use it for the little hours during the day, i.e. for what would be Daytime Prayer in the LoH? Second, if I were to use the older breviary, did I have to say all the hours, or just the analogues of what appears in the current LoH? In other words, did I have to say Prime and all three of the little hours?

It seems to me that UE answers these questions: 32. Art. 9 § 3 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum gives clerics the faculty to use the Breviarium Romanum in effect in 1962, which is to be prayed entirely and in the Latin language.

This language suggests to me that 'mixing and matching' is not the idea, and that one using the older breviary is supposed to pray all of it.

My second question is about the celebration of Mass alone, and about it I'm still confused. According to current law, it is possible to celebrate Mass without even another minister or server, for a just cause. The devotion of the priest or his desire to offer Mass is considered a just cause in this regard. This a relaxation of the former law that would have been in effect in 1962, in which it was far more difficult, and even impossible, to justify offering Mass alone.

this question, UE reitereates SP: 23. The faculty to celebrate sine populo (or with the participation of only one minister) in the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite is given by the Motu Proprio to all priests, whether secular or religious (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 2). For such celebrations therefore, priests, by provision of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, do not require any special permission from their Ordinaries or superiors.

Sine populo, "without the people," does not mean 'by yourself.' It just means off any public schedule, without the assistance of an assembly. It does not mean 'without a server' or 'one other minister' as the missal in the Ordinary Form puts it. Now it seems to me that the relaxation given in current law that enables one to offer Mass alone is sometimes imported into the EF (along with some other convenient modern rubrics, like the right to offer Mass at any time of day, for example.) The excellent FSSP training video for the older form of Mass even has a section on how to make adjustments to the Mass when it is offered alone, without even a server or some other person to make the responses. That would seem to suggest that such a thing was allowed!

I've never been sure about this, and after UE I feel even less so: 28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.

It would seem to me that the relaxation of being able to offer Mass alone, without even a server or someone to make the responses, is such a provision promulgated after 1962 and incompatible with the EF rubrics as they stand on their own. Now I'm neither a liturgist or a canonist, and a dilettante when it comes to the EF for sure, but so it seems to me.


Anonymous said...

I would think that you would be praying office in common, no? So would the whole community want to pray in the old rite? It doesn't make sense to me for a member of a religious community to pray the office alone.

Brother Charles said...

Dear Anonymous, thank you for the comment. I should clarify.

In my community we tend to only pray Morning and Evening Prayer in common. For us who are clerics in the community, that leaves us to fulfill the rest of the Hours on our own. There are also days when one misses the common prayer, such as when I have afternoon obligations at school, or on mornings when I offer Mass elsewhere, and on those days I also have to pray Morning and/or Evening Prayer on my own.

carl said...

I wonder what the "entirely" is refering to. I like the idea of mixing and matching as well, so I suppose I have an interest in defending it.

Perhaps the "prayed entirely" refers to maintaining the integrity of a given hour. I want to say that at some point between 62 and 69 there was permissions to reduce Matins to fewer than 9 psalms. It could be possible that "prayed entirely" is protecting against this, rather than mixing and matching within a day. And there has to be mixing and matching at some point: I would suppose Roman parish priests would some days use the BR, some days the LH. If there's mix and match across days, why not within a day? And I can't imagine that you would be obliged to pray Prime, since the obligation of clerics to say the Office now does not include it.

Just for thought.

Marc said...

Am pretty sure that the "et quidem integre et Latino sermone" means 'in Latin and without altering the text [of the approved BR edition]'. It would be unreasonable for the legislator to attempt to bind the prayer to a lifetime of the Breviarium Romanum, surely: if he wanted him to opt for one usus permanently or semi-permanently he would have said so. And there is lots of chatter about 'mutual enrichment'; the legislator will be wanting to ensure that the duty/officium is fulfilled.

Good luck with your other question!

Marc Puckett said...

Father Zuhlsdorf has addressed the BR question,, judging integre to mean 'the entire day's [office]'. Were I obliged to the office, I should not be pleased.