Monday, 3 May 2010

The Invention of the Holy Cross

Today's feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross is a Double of the Second Class. The feast celebrates the discovery of the Holy Cross by the Empress Helena.

The Office of the feast began with first Vespers yesterday, described in the post below. The Office is proper. At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem crucifixum, Venite adoremus, alleluia. In the first nocturn the antiphon Inventae Crucis etc is sung, the first lesson is from St. Paul to the Galatians with the poignant words: 'Christ have redeemed us from the curse law, being made a curse for us: for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.' The second lesson is from the Epistle to the Philippians with the passage so familiar from the Triduum and the third lesson from the Epistle to the Colossians. In the second nocturn the antiphon Felix ille triumphus etc is sung, the lessons relate the work of St. Helena in fourth century Jerusalem finding three crosses buried in a cistern. Not knowing which cross the LORD had died on each was placed on a woman with a sickness by Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem. When touched by the True Cross the sick woman was instantly restored to health. In the third nocturn the psalms are sung under the antiphon Adoramus te Christe etc, the lessons are from a homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of St. John. The ninth lesson is of the commemorated feast of SS Alexander, Eventius, Theodulus & Juvenal.

At Lauds the antiphons O magnam pietatis opus etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. A commemoration is sung of SS Alexander etc.

At the Hours the Paschaltide Doxology is sung with all the Office hymns, the antiphons of Lauds are sung with the Dominical psalms, at Prime the festal psalms are sung (Ps. 53, 118i & 118ii), the short lesson is Humiliavit semetipsum.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria and Creed are sung. In private Masses the second collect is of SS Alexander etc. The Creed is sung, the preface of the Cross is sung.

Vespers are second Vespers of the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross with a commemoration of the following Office of St. Monica.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross has been abolished as its observance in the West only dated to the seventh century (it appears on May 3rd in Martyrologium Hieronymianum. Today becomes a ferial day with a commemoration of SS Alexander etc at Lauds and low Mass. The Paschaltide Doxology (and tone) is not sung at the Horae Minorae. In sung Mass there is one collect. Vespers are of the ferial day without a commemoration of St. Monica. In contrast even Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer preserved the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross in the Kalendar.

Art: A ninth century MS illustration of the Invention of the Holy Cross by St. Helena from Wikipedia.


Patrick Sheridan said...

I wonder how many ''traditionalist'' churches kept this wonderful Feast? Judging by recent liturgical travesties which I have been unfortunate to witness, hardly any. It sickens me the way Traddies celebrate novelty (the so-called ''Extraordinary Form'' - how sick I am also of hearing that stupid term) as though it is Tradition, or make idiotic deference to novelty for ''pastoral reasons.'' Let the Papalist idiots carry on with their extraordinary forms and other traditionalist causes - in reality, the '62 Rite is just as pleasing to God as the tamberine-waving yokels in the nearest parish, worship rising as smoke to choke the celestial court of Heaven.

But PLEASE stop referring to the Old Rite as the ''Extraordinary Form'' - if you're going to have this so-called rite, at least celebrate it properly according to the rubrics of '62. But if you're going to celebrate the Old Rite, at least do so consistently and have more respect for it. Four years ago there was no such thing as the Extraordinary Form...

Adulio said...

I think Patricius is throwing a nutty!

Rubricarius said...


It doesn't appear to me like that.

The 'Extraordinary Form' of the new rite certainly is not the Old Rite and people do tend to 'mix 'n' match' to suit themselves. How many 'EF' celebrants bow to the Cross at the Holy Name and have the Confiteor before the distribution of Communion?

But so much of the contemporary Traditionalist Movement has compromised itself to such an extent that proto-traditionalists such as Frs. De Paaw, Baker, Gilbey, the formidible Misses Pond, Restieaux, Hobbs and the likes of Evelyn Waugh, Arnold Lunn and Geoffrey Houghton-Brown must be spinning in their graves and looking down with immense sadness to see how their noble and splendid efforts have virtually collapsed.

But Phoenix and ashes...

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should be too exercised by another term for the Old Rite. After all, we already had Old Mass, Traditional Mass, Traditional Latin Mass, usus antiquior, Tridentine Rite, Gregorian Rite and who knows what else. Why the fuss about Extraordinary Form? The term was invented three years ago, but not the Mass.

Rubricarius, you speak of so much compromise and I'm not unsympathetic to such views, but in my own experience and that of many others I know, the Rubicon is crossed when one gives up the Novus Ordo and passes over to any missal prior to 1963.

Keep up the good work!

Rubricarius said...


Thanks for the kind words.

The point is the 'Extraordinary Form' is not another name for the Old Rite. It is the name for the rite found in the 1962 MR, that was itself a product of committee work forty-eight years ago.

I believe the Rubicon was crossed a few decades before 1963, meandering somewhat across the liturgical landscape between the Office and Mass.

Personally I think the 1962 MR represents the nadir in the history of the Roman Rite.

Peter said...

Many traditionalists adhere to the 1962 rite because, quite simply, they do not know the extent of the changes that transpired before Vatican II - especially the horrors of the new Holy Week, for example. When one discovers the "old rite" (even in its mutilated Bugnini form) after living in the Novus Ordo, one is generally so relieved that criticism of the changes under Pius XII can seem like minor historical details (... until one comes to realize how bad these really were). One happy, but surely unintended, side effect of Benedict XVI's motu proprio seems to be that, in this new atmosphere of enthusiasm for our liturgical heritage, traditionalist Catholics are waking up to the need for a far more extensive restoration of liturgical tradition than that represented by the 1962 rite. But for Catholics who recognize the authority of Benedict XVI there is sometimes a hesitation to go back to the "real thing", perhaps out of concerns for prudence or obedience. Anglo-Catholics and sedevacantists naturally have more liberty in using the old rites. As to "mixing" traditional rubrics with the 1962 rubrics (such as bowing to the Cross), either it is done out of ignorance (since many traditionalists, alas, do not realize how brutal was the slaughter between 1951 and 1962), or else because these people are trying to "get away with" as much as they possible can. Let us hope the day will come when they just decide to return to the old rite without compromise.

Anonymous said...

"after living in the Novus Ordo, one is generally so relieved that criticism of the changes under Pius XII can seem like minor historical details".

Peter, I think you put that well. Yes, that's my experience. That was the Rubicon I was referring to, one's personal spiritual/liturgical journey, rather than reform of the liturgy (sorry, Rubricarius, if my meaning was not clear in my original comment).

"But for Catholics who recognize the authority of Benedict XVI there is sometimes a hesitation to go back to the "real thing", perhaps out of concerns for prudence or obedience."

I'm not sure that there is any hesitation on the part of most of us! Just a lack of opportunity (the same story with any form of the traditional Mass, including the 1962 Missal). Don't know about prudence, but obedience hasn't been a hallmark of the traditionalist movement! No, I think it's quite simply that most of us aren't aware of the extent of the changes, and the 1962 Missal is all that's on offer.

What seems clear to me is that the next few years are going to be liturgically messy. Not ideal I know, but things are now moving in the right direction.


Novian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

"It somehow seemed dishonest to accept the 1950-62 changes, but not the 1963-70 changes to which they were clearly leading."

This is perhaps the best argument for going back to the pre-Bugnini Old Rite! If only most traditionalists had this much sense.

Rubricarius said...


I admire your integrity and clear logic.

Feel free to appeal for information, your comment has given me the idea for a post.

I don't know what the situation is like in North America but in the UK in the past there has been much trouble from the '1962 police' when celebrants have used the Old Rite.

There are a growing number of places where the Old Rite is used but I would not proffer their locations for concern over potential 'police brutality'.

Adulio said...

"It somehow seemed dishonest to accept the 1950-62 changes, but not the 1963-70 changes to which they were clearly leading."

The SSPX would argue (not that I think their argument is strong) that the changes of 1945-1962 cannot be compared with the changes of 1965-1970. The latter is really a revolution, in that, the excising of prayers which did not fit with the euphoria that followed the close of Vatican II.

In any case, if one is left with a choice of the 1962 Missal and the 2002 Missal, I would certainly go for the former. Attending the mass according to the 2002 Missal, would more or less imply an approval of all the hideous changes that happened from 1945 to 1969.

Peter said...

I do not know how many places are lucky enough to have the full-fledged Old Rite (calendar and all), but a number of places seem to have adopted at least some of the traditional rubrics. It is now quite common in high Masses, for example, even those offered in a "motu proprio" context, to include the reading of the Epistle and Gospel by the celebrant silently at the altar. Many churches now include at least some aspects of the traditional Holy Week. Naturally such half-measures are not wholly satisfactory but at least it shows that some traditionalists and waking up to the problem and (may we hope) working their way bit by bit to the Old Rite in all its glory.

Who make up the "1962 police"? Officials from Rome? Self-proclaimed traditionalists who think the Old Rite means whatever they remember from their childhood in 1960? Members of lay or clerical traditionalist groups?

Rubricarius said...


There was some gross unpleasantness over a decade ago from some over-zealous 1962/NO clergy here in London. I won't go into details as I suspect most of them have moved on, considerably, liturgically speaking, since then.

A priest of the Institute of Christ the King in the USA who takes the Ordo told me of similar issues in the States.

Many years ago at the SSPX church in London there was a man who 'phoned Econe when folded chasubles were used!


+ Peter said...

Personally, I think the reform of the liturgy changed gears between Pius XII's reform of 1951-56, and the next stage of the reform that was implimented in 1960-62. From that you would be right in deducing that it is the new-old calendar that is my personal bridge too far. That may well be because I have used the 1958 edition of the English Missal for a goodly chunk of my ministry.

Rubricarius said...


I would not disagree with about the reform 'changing gear'. I believe the important point is that those doing the 'driving' were heading in a well-planned direction.

Personally, 1958 is too late for me with the reform of Holy Week and the loss of the Octaves, Vigils etc and, of course, the damage to the Office both in the 1950's changes and those forty years earlier.

+ Peter said...

Yes, there is a sense that getting away with Holy Week reform emboldened the liturgical wreckovators. After all, in those days the laiy were not oer familiar with the Holy Week rites so they were a relatively easy target for a dry run at "reforming" the liturgy. When mission was accomplished with regards to Holy Week it was time to move on the regular liturgy. It is interesting to note that the 1928 American BCP has more Octaves (6) than Rome observed by the end of Pius XII's Pontificate.

I am not all that sure where my own personal cut off point lies. I certainly find the 1960/62 rubrics and calendar too utilitarian. Logically, I tend to think that one has to embrace the whole reform - i.e. the modern Rite, or just say "no" and go with what existed prior to 1951.

I am sure this has been said many times before, but I am convinced that both SSPX and the Vatican have latched on to "1962" as being still largely Tridentine, but reformed enough to show that one accepts the principles of liturgical reform/vandalization. For the SSPX this allows them to but clear water between themselves and the Sede-vacantists, and for the rest it allows them to say, we are not against Vatican II, just some of the post-Conciliar nuttiness.