May 26, 2012

Mutual Enrichment Dubium: Pentecost Octave

In the cover letter to Summorum Pontificum, Benedict XVI expressed hope for a "mutual enrichment" of the newly-named Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman rite. How such a thing plays out will continue to be a matter of discernment and debate, a work of local custom and of the sensus fidelium.

In that spirit, here's a practical question. I'm curious to see what people think.

When I first acquainted myself with the older form of the liturgy, I became sensitized, like many, to the absence of the Pentecost Octave in the reformed calendar. Indeed, the relationship of Pentecost to the whole of the liturgy between Pentecost Sunday and the new beginning of Advent was transformed; where there used to be Sundays 'after Pentecost' we now have the second round of the time per annum, or as we call it in English, 'Ordinary Time'--which doesn't mean that it's ordinary in the sense of plain, but that we keep track of it with ordinal numbers.

So when I first was learning the Extraordinary Form, I began to 'enrich' my celebration of the Ordinary Form with certain elements from the older tradition. For instance, on the first of July, if nothing else were going on, I would celebrate the votive Mass of the Precious Blood, in recognition of the feast of the Precious Blood assigned to that day in the Extraordinary Form. (In the Ordinary Form, what we sloppily still call "Corpus Christi" is now the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, obviating the second observance.)

On the weekdays after Pentecost, as Ordinary Time resumed, I would sneak in a votive Mass of the Holy Spirit or two, so long as the day was free for such a thing. I thought I was recognizing the older observance of the Pentecost Octave by doing so. And I will admit that there was a little feeling in me, as many have felt, that the suppression of the Octave was one of the misfortunes of the reform.

So, is this a legitimate and sensible choice toward 'mutual enrichment,' or is it contrary to the form and flow of the Ordinary Form? Were my votive Masses of the Holy Spirit an enriching strategy for recognizing the tradition that used to be there--and now continues to be in the Extraordinary Form--or are they a distracting act of pretending that does violence to the change of season that the Ordinary Form supposes?

I was just thinking on this as I look forward to Monday, which will be a very odd liturgical day for me. It will begin in Boston as Monday of the eighth week in Ordinary Time, so my votive Mass of the Holy Spirit would be an option for the morning. God willing, however, I will conclude the day by transitioning into the Roman-Franciscan calendar in Italy, where Monday is the obligatory memorial of St. Mariana de Jesús de Paredes.

So, what do you think? Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit or not?

11 comments:

Marc said...

Go with the votive Mass.

I think that we who have somehow maintained an uncorrupted desire for the sentire cum ecclesia, in the years since the last ecumenical council etc, have managed also to maintain a sort of rubrical scrupulosity, as if 'the spirit of the Consilium's choice to suppress the Pentecost Octava' and 'the spirit of the Consilium's choice to create the Sundays per annum' are extant to be continuously breathed, living avatars of the Holy Ghost. I'd consider Pope Paul VI's intentions as having a more direct bearing on such questions were he still pope, and even Mons Bugnini's, were he, say, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship now. But the real Spirit in His government of Holy Church isn't stuck in 1977, for which I believe we can all be grateful.

carl said...

Certainly the votive Mass. If the 2002MR allows for an option that is in accord with the greater body of tradition, imho, that option should always be exercised. How else is mutual enrichment to be accomplished? When there are options, we shouldn't feel worried about exercising the traditional ones. I don't see how exercising a legitimate option could be against the form and flow of the OF.

Word in the Hand said...

The votive Mass definitely. If there are no saints or otherwise to honour then why not. Did we really mean to replace one dictatorship with another? As Thessalonians - test everything retain what is good.

Benedicta said...

Father... can't go wrong with the votive mass for the Holy Spirit. Have a safe trip to Rome.

Anonymous said...

Can hardly believe that you are finally leaving. Hope it
won't be the end of your blog. Pray for us as we pray
for you.

Godspeed,

Brynne

E said...

Will you get to wear red for the Holy Spirit? Then definitely the votive Mass. Red is a terrific liturgical color!

"John's Gospel tells us that after the Resurrection the Lord went to his disciples, breathed upon them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit....We can say, therefore, that the Holy Spirit is the breath of Jesus Christ and we in a certain sense, must ask Christ to breathe on us always....This means that we must keep close to Christ. We do so by meditating on his Word. We know that the principal author of the Sacred Scriptures is the Holy Spirit....and then, naturally, this listening, walking in the environment of the Word, must be transformed into a response - a response in prayer, in contact with Christ."

- Pope Benedict XVI

Have a safe trip!

-Lou (Louis) said...

Have a safe trip, Father!

Anonymous said...

Father,
July 1st is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Novus Ordo calendar. Are you sure you are allowed to celebrate a Novus Ordo votive Mass of the Precious Blood on that day?
Summorum Pontificum says we cannot mix rites, but I'm not sure we can mix calendars, either.
I think that just to be safe on the safe side, you should celebrate the Solemnity of the Precious Blood in the Extraordinary Form instead of the Novus Ordo.
Pax et bonum.

Brother Charles said...

Certainly it will be for me the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time this year.

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Brother Charles,

Happy 13th Sunday. Did you know in the Precious Blood congregations that today is a solemnity, and the Feast of the Precious Blood takes precedence over the Sunday? The LOTH propers exist, also for the Feast of the Precious Blood and is used by these congregations. They are wonderful, though somewhat different that what is found in the 1960 Roman Breviary.

Brother Charles said...

Fascinating! Thanks!