Monday, 17 November 2008

Revisionism strikes again

I was somewhat amused the other week when I spent a delightful evening with the Saint Lawrence Press' two other directors. I was told how an SSPX priest, who shall remain nameless, had said that the "SSPX had always used" the 'liturgical books of 1962'. At best he was clearly misinformed and at worst...

Some years ago a friend, who has now departed this life, gave me a copy of a 1981 Newsletter for the District of Great Britain. The inside cover has the calendar for June:

The Octaves of the Ascension, Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart, St. John the Baptist and SS Peter and Paul are all quite clearly being celebrated as was the Pentecost Vigil. The traditional classification of liturgical days is also to be noted. I suspect SS Peter & Paul being reduced to a double of the second class is a 'typo'. What is also notable is the daily celebration of Prime, Sext and Compline at the chapel in Highclere. Where now in 'parish' situations does this take place?

On the rear cover mention is made of three Corpus Christi processions within the Octave (one albeit implicitly). Most interesting of all, to me at least, is the announcement for the events of the Pentecost Vigil at Highclere. The ancient Vigil ceremonies are being observed at 10:00am. Vespers of Pentecost Sunday are being celebrated at 3:00 followed by Mattins and Lauds at 5:00pm. Does the SSPX even celebrate Mattins and Lauds anywhere anymore one must wonder yet alone the Vigil of Pentecost?

I also used to wonder what was supposedly wrong with the Pentecost Vigil to cause its excision from the later editions of the Roman Missal? Was its time of celebration putatively wrong? The answer came a few years ago when the Latin Mass Society, in a daring mood, used the pre-1962 liturgy for a few months in the late 1990s in Central London. A sung Vigil of Pentecost was arranged which was rather good. After the Mass I saw the celebrant, a rather elderly and very decent priest, shaking with emotion. He said "That's how Holy Week used to be. What they use now isn't really the Old Rite." His honest appraisal answers the question as to why the Pentecost Vigil had to go. Its celebration would remind people too much of the old order.


John Canda said...

Thank you very much indeed for the column. Whilst I don't believe that the Society of St. Pius X is schismatic and that the excommunication was valid, I am against the Society's use of the 1962 Missal and of the 1956 "Restored Holy Week Ordo" and of their promotion of Distributism.

Anonymous said...

I can remember being at a SSPX retreat in about 1985: Passiontide in Oxford.The veteran traditionalist Miss Katherine Pond,T.O.S.D. said (thus breaking the silence !)"The SSPX USED to have proper liturgical retreats with some of the Divine office,now all we have is devotionalism" Miss Pond, was the founder of the Society of the Magnificat and an early promoter of the use of the Divine office by the laity.If anyone found old copies of the superb magazine - especially early one - they woudl be well worth editing and reprinting an anthology.In its later issues it went badly "off" and I think ceased in the mid-1950s. Alan Robinson

Rubricarius said...

Ah, one of the fabled names of illustrious ladies now sadly departed this life: Miss Pond, Miss Rustico, Miss Renold (a previous typist of the Ordo!), Miss Hobbs etc. etc.

May their souls rest in peace.