Shared Lent, Holy Week, and Easter Octave in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms: a Proposal

With Summorum pontificum and the later instruction Universæ ecclesiæ, Pope Benedict XVI has granted broad permission for the celebration of Missale Romanum 1962 as well as the other sacramental rites licit at the eve of the Second Vatican Council liturgical reforms. Summorum pontificum established two forms of the Roman Rite: the post-conciliar “Ordinary Form” (OF) and the pre-conciliar “Extraordinary Form” (EF). The removal of most restrictions on the celebration of the older rite has reinvigorated small but highly devoted communities of Roman Catholics attracted to the EF.

In an letter to bishops which accompanied Summorum pontificum, Pope Benedict advocates for a “mutual enrichment” of the EF and OF. He calls for the inclusion of OF prefaces in the EF, as well as a revision of the 1962 sanctoral calendar to include saints canonized after that date. Pope Benedict’s opinion echoes Summorum pontificum §6, which permits the proclamation of scripture in the vernacular from the altar.

In both personal experience and in an informal survey of the traditional Catholic blogosphere, I have found that Pope Benedict’s proposals for mutual enrichment have been met with a tepid response. While some clergy have opted to proclaim scripture in the vernacular particularly during EF said Mass, others have decided against this reform. As of yet, there has been no revision of Missale Romanum 1962 which includes some or all of the OF prefaces. Pope Benedict’s vision of mutual enrichment has met with logistical and often popular barriers to implementation.

I propose that a revised EF missal for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter octave inclusive might foster greater enichment between the two forms. In this way, parishes which celebrate both forms can share in the mysteries of the summit of the Christian year rather than follow two different paths for the lectionary and presidential prayers. My hope and vision for this missal follows.

As with Missale Romanum 1962, this proposed missal would be a “full missal” as it would contain the lectionary. Perhaps this EF missal could include all three cycles of the reformed lectionary for Sundays, with the option of proclaiming only the Cycle A readings every year. The option to proclaim Cycle A every Lent is consonant with the rubrics of the OF. The option to proclaim Cycle A every Lent also harmonizes well with the EF’s one-year lectionary. The inclusion of the three Sunday cycles in this proposed missal allows parishes who celebrate the full lectionary cycle in the OF extend this custom to the EF. All lections would be printed in Latin and the vernacular. The decision to proclaim scripture in Latin or the vernacular would be left to the ministers at Mass, per Summorum pontificum §6.

Perhaps the vernacular could also be prayed in other liturgies of the season, such as during the Palm Sunday procession and the bidding prayers of Good Friday. This would certainly require an amendment to the documents which regulate the use of the Extraordinary Form. Nevertheless it is not incongruous to hope that vernacularization might expand beyond the proclamation of scripture into other prayers and petitions closely connected to lay participation. In turn, a greater vernacularization of the EF might draw the laity into a greater awareness of their integral role in the Mass through their common priesthood.

Perhaps this EF missal could also include rubrical and textual changes to align 1962 EF Holy Week with the 1970 revisions. I would think it desirable that EF adherents might celebrate the same Holy Week which the Holy Father and the vast majority of Catholics observe. A common Holy Week encourages prayer in union with the entire Roman Rite and its intentions.

I would not foresee any changes to the ordinary of the Extraordinary Form save perhaps for the inclusion of seasonal prefaces from the OF. Many in the traditional Catholic movement grant pride of place to the Roman Canon. For that reason I do not expect many in the traditional Catholic community to welcome the inclusion of newer eucharistic prayers from the Ordinary Form.

I pray that a revised EF missal along these lines, even if fully optional, might join parishioners and parishes more closely together in these holy seasons.

28 comments

  1. I would think it desirable that EF adherents might celebrate the same Holy Week which the Holy Father and the vast majority of Catholics observe.

    I think it would be a better use of everyone’s time to try and think about not some ideal world liturgy, but initiatives that would improve the liturgy as it is celebrated in both OF and EF communities in a gradual way and that won’t, to the extent possible upset people.

    Here’s one possible example: the number of readings in the OF Vigil is greater than the number in the 1962 Vigil, but fewer than the one in the pre-1950’s vigil. Traditionalists and pro-OF liturgists could both presumably get behind a move to restore the full cursus of readings in the EF vigil, since the NO vigil admists in a way that they were overly limited in the revisions of the 1950s. That’s an example of how to make win-win reform happen.

    In turn, a greater vernacularization of the EF might draw the laity into a greater awareness of their integral role in the Mass through their common priesthood.

    I’m sorry Jordan, but frankly, this reads almost like a parody of a proposal designed to sabatoge support for the ideas it espouses. EF communities fear that changes to the EF will be imposed on them to make it more like the OF. To suggest changes in this way… using rhetoric in this way… it’s boggling.

    1. I guess I’m in agreement with Samuel on this. Both the OF and the EF need to do the best with what they have got rather than trying experiments in mutual enrichment. Whatever the possibilities of mutual enrichment, my interpretation of SP is that it is there primarily to meet the pastoral needs of the people who find their spirituality nourished by the EF.

      When it comes to praying from the same page during Holy Week, I certainly wish the OF would make greater use of some of the Latin chants used in the EF and which are still available if unused in the OF.

      The thing that I had hoped for the most when B16 became Pope is that he would encourage greater use of Latin chants in the OF. I wish people who support the OF and EF would rally around that, especially during Holy Week, rather than tinkering with some hybrid. It is not like we would have to change any rules or create any new and contraversial missals!

      1. Sorry, Jack. IMO, this is about ecclesiology and the continued friction between OF & EF and all kinds of variations does harm to the people of God. Too many EF afficiandos try to re-invent the four sessions of VII but lack the education, experience, or understanding that led to this point.

        Years ago most conferences of bishops overwhelmingly begged JPII not to allow or release SP. EF has little appeal in the southern hemisphere where more than 60% of all catholics live.

        Listen to these interviews of Richard McBrien:

        http://ncronline.org/node/2112

        Especially parts two and four.

  2. NO to mutual enrichment that leads to hybridization.

    Let the EF be the EF and the OF be the OF.

    Adding vernacular to the EF would be met with the same resistance as changing to ad orientem in the OF…. Mass confusion (pardon the pun 🙂 and lots of unhappy laity.

  3. I think that leaving the EF alone is essential for the relatively small minority who want it regularly and a bit larger group that likes it on occasion. It is a wonderful option to be able to celebrate for certain occasions in a parish. Jack’s concern about Latin and Latin chant is legitimate and the only way I think Latin and Latin chant will be preserved is in the EF where it is mandated otherwise the majority if people certainly prefer the vernacular.
    However, there is no reason not to allow more flexibility for the OF Mass and allowing the enrichment of the EF to shine forth, since in fact the OF is the EF’s reform, the two are related and intimately so. On Easter Sunday we’ve added a Mass at 1:00 PM which will be the OF Sung Mass in Latin, completely so, except for the Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, Preface and Post Communion Prayer. The Liturgy of the word will be in English from Cycle B except the Responsorial Psalm with be replaced with the EF’s Gradual in Latin and the EF’s chanted Sequence, but the Gospel Alleluia and verse will be from the OF in English. I’ll use the Roman Canon in Latin, but chant the Epiclesis and institution narrative. Communion will be by intinction and with the option of kneeling at 4 stations.
    We are using all Gregorian chant for the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith and Agnus Dei plus the official Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons in Latin Chant. The only radical thing we’re doing besides ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion as an option and intinction is the Asperges as a distinct prelude to the Mass but in the EF Form with cope. The Holy Water will be the consecrated Easter Water from the OF’s Easter Vigil. After it is completed, I change to chasuble and then begin the OF Mass in Latin with the schola chanting the official Latin Introit as I incense the altar. We’ll use English Easter Hymns for the procession to the altar for the Asperges, at the recession and at Holy Communion.

  4. re: Samuel J. Howard on April 5, 2012 – 9:22 am

    Sam: I’m sorry Jordan, but frankly, this reads almost like a parody of a proposal designed to sabatoge support for the ideas it espouses. EF communities fear that changes to the EF will be imposed on them to make it more like the OF. To suggest changes in this way… using rhetoric in this way… it’s boggling.

    No need for apology. I wrote this piece not so much to discuss its contents but rather to discuss its implications.

    The EF movement’s unwillingness to allow even incremental changes, such as an update of the sanctoral calendar, suggests that the last version of the Tridentine missal has become for some a calcified emblem of liturgical-ideological allegiance rather than living worship. The use of a sacral language such as Latin does not render a liturgy impervious to change. Indeed, western medieval liturgies were quite diverse in content, even if most medieval liturgies were in Latin. The Latin language itself is not the true point of contention.

    Fears in the traditional Catholic community over possible vernacularization, calendar renewal, and even changes to the lectionary often do not derive from a concern about doctrine alone. Rather, I have often noted that some in the traditional Catholic community view vernacularization in particular as a dilution of a particular culture or praxis which has greatly diminished or disappeared with the post-conciliar reforms.

    No language, not even Latin, is a bulwark against either liturgical or sociocultural evolution. The calcification of the 1962 Missal will only seal traditional Catholics off from liturgical and theological developments which have spurred growth in other areas of the Roman Rite. Perhaps a movement of ideology will triumph, but at the expense of growth in belief.

  5. The EF movement’s unwillingness to allow even incremental changes, such as an update of the sanctoral calendar,

    I won’t be able to respond in depth until after the Triduum, but I think there is little or no opposition to the addition of new saints per se (except from true sedevacantists). But I don’t think you’re understanding the complexity of the situation. There are more factors at play than “Do we want to have the new saints on the calendar?” In the meantime, the calendar update done badly is worse than the calendar update not done at all. The first principle of the Missal doctor is “First do no harm.” Not “You have to break a few eggs to make an omlet.”

    Fears in the traditional Catholic community over possible vernacularization, calendar renewal, and even changes to the lectionary often do not derive from a concern about doctrine alone. Rather, I have often noted that some in the traditional Catholic community view vernacularization in particular as a dilution of a particular culture or praxis which has greatly diminished or disappeared with the post-conciliar reforms.

    And that’s the whole point. Religion is not separable from culture and certainly not from praxis. Concerns about the destruction and alteration of the culture and practice ARE concerns about the destruction and alteration of belief. We tried optional vernacularization once before.

    1. You need to read up on +Williamson’s remarks (start with this EC) about why the newsaints and newblesseds that are the product of recent newcanonizations and newbeatifications are a trojan horse.

  6. My impression from other traditionalists is that they generally dislike the Holy Week as found in the 1962 Missal and wish the older (pre-50s) form were allowed. A reform moving it closer to the OF would likely meet a lot of resistance.

    I agree with mostly leaving the two forms alone. However, I feel quite strongly that new saints need to be added to the EF calendar. I also support the use of vernacular, as that would greatly broaden the appeal of the EF in “reform of the reform” circles.

  7. I think this is very true – many/most traditionalists would prefer the older Holy Week, and it has become a point of discussion within the Traditionalist community. The changes of 1955 are already seen as a “hybrid liturgy” in many of these circles, because they are the rites where +Bugnini et al. tested some of the changes that were to become the New Mass. Among many of the Traditionalists this is the perceived situation, thus the idea of any changes to Holy Week (other than wider permission for the pre-1955 rites) are fraught with emotion. For an example, look at the anxiety that came about with the 2008 Good Friday prayer for the Jews — a relatively minor change that as far as I know was widely put into practice, but that caused much anxiety just the same.

    Even the Calendar is a sticky subject — I agree that most Traditionalists on principle would accept the new Saints and Blesseds on the calendar, and I think some even on occasion celebrate them liturgically, using the appropriate Commons. However, even here there is a fear that accepting the new Saints might necessitate accepting the entire OF Calendar. Even I, as someone who frequents liturgies in both forms, find our current calendar to be anemic compared to the EF one.
    I think what Jordan suggested might have worked, had it been done in 1965 or even 1970… but now, the traditionalists who experienced the violence (real or perceived) of drastic changes to the rites, and who experienced belittling and marginalization (real or perceived) by clergy and laity in the larger Church, are now too gun-shy to want to change anything. It isn’t a matter of ossifying the 1962 Missal — it is a matter of not having their heritage taken away from them again.

    If we are seeking a common Missal, that is a project that will take generations — there are too many emotions still swirling to do it now. We also have to admit the possibility that we might conclude that the EF is its own separate Rite.

  8. Jordan, your proposal could work if it were flipped around. What you propose could become the new OF Missal for Holy Week, and the EF would stay the same, or preferably, return to the pre-1955 situation.

    That would help the cause of mutual enrichment and be accepted by traditionalists.

    Your proposal, as stated, seems designed to drive traditionalists into the arms of the SSPX, who would never accept such a thing.

  9. Just phase out “Summorum Pontificum” after Benedict has left the scene. His successor will more than likely put it in the “dead letter” box anyway. While it’s given a round of widely advertised lip service and bishops allow it to die a natural death. Which it richly deserves.

    We’re seeing the price Benedict is paying for failing to address the core liturgical issues directly from the start . He had the chance when he became pope, with 40 years of experience from which to draw inspiration, and he blew it. Now we have open civil war with one or the other group contemptuously declaring what they will or will not accept.

    Those who don’t like change, just let them move on.

    1. Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae have not been tried and found wanting — in most places they have not been tried at all.

      When you say that the Holy Father failed to address “core liturgical issues,” what issues are you speaking of?

      And you’re not entirely clear about who this “open civil war” entails. If you speak of SSPX, then you have missed the point — for once, the issue is no longer about liturgical issues, but rather about some of the theological points of the Council. SP and UE calmed the liturgical issues between the Holy See and SSPX, and so in that sense it has been a great success.

      But also you said “Those who don’t like change, just let them move on.” – surely you don’t suggest that they should leave the Church? Perhaps it has become time to admit that the Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form are separate Rites and should be treated as such… but I hope that you are not suggesting we let them leave entirely. Remember that such sentiments cut both ways.

      Clarence, a seminarian

      1. Core liturgical issues – IMO, these are grounded in ecclesiology – an ecclesiology that was graphically laid out by the fathers of Vatican II. Would suggest that your opening phrase actually applies to the SC, etc. from VII; not more recent papal announcements such as SP. SC and the directions of the council carry much more weight than some papal document (and would agree that future popes will take SP and move it to the dustbin of history).

        The issue with SC is that is was never given fully and comprehensively implemented. Before VII was even closed, curia elements were doing everything in their power to minimize the council’s directives (not just in liturgy). This pattern has happened over and over in church history – the current PC phrase is that it takes a 100 years for a council to be realized. We are fifty years in.

        We have repeatedly posted about the “two rites”…reality, EF was abrogated. Multiple rites only create confusion especially when it comes to ecclesiology. Folks who espouse what you have said minimize the input of the bishops’ conferences that overwhemingly did not want SP, etc.

    2. Those who don’t like change, just let them move on.

      Ah, the pastoral approach, the fruit of the spirit of the pastoral Council!

      1. I suppose they want a smaller, purer church.

        The resistance to the EF makes no sense to me whatsoever. The unpastoral means by which the old Missal was suppressed and the shockingly bad way in which later permissions for it were handled (the indult) have created the division and confusion those who decry SP speak of. It was just easier to ignore the problem prior to SP when it was more acceptable to treat those who wanted the old Mass like dog poo and expect them to be grateful for it. Division is a fruit of the Vatican II liturgical renewal – it just isn’t a good fruit.

  10. Sam Howard writes: Religion is not separable from culture and certainly not from praxis. Concerns about the destruction and alteration of the culture and practice ARE concerns about the destruction and alteration of belief. We tried optional vernacularization once before.

    Vernacularization is a cultural and practical question. It is also a doctrinal and theological question. I have long suspected that some in the EF movement conflate cultural and practice with doctrine and theology. This conflation might be counterproductive to the viability of the EF. All aforementioned variables must be disambiguated and consistently analyzed in a robust EF apology.

    Some traditionalists might perceive vernacularization as a threat to “traditional worship” because the shift to contemporary languages has sometimes also brought about ad-libbing, novel prayers, etc. This putative attack on Catholic liturgy does not change that the OF is orthodox as printed in its its approved vernacular traditions. Vernacularization does not necessarily imply heterodoxy, even if some priests illicitly modify translations.

    Dunstan Harding’s comment that “[w]e’re seeing the price Benedict is paying for failing to address the core liturgical issues directly from the start” (my addition) highlights the perils of traditionalist conflation rather than Pope Benedict’s opinion. Pope Benedict recognizes that age does not impart doctrinal certitude. Pope Benedict’s call for the inclusion of some of the newer prefaces, for example, recognizes that recent compositions cannot be declared heterodox on age alone.

    With regard to the first post: The recent lectionary arrangement might better evince certain theological concepts more clearly than the old lectionary, despite its lack of provenance.

    1. I think traditionalists shoot themselves in the foot when they become obstructionists for the legitimate development of the EF Mass to include new prefaces and even vernacular for some parts, such as those parts that change, leaving the unchanging parts in Latin.
      I think there would be many more people appreciative of the EF Mass if more vernacular could be used and the revised lectionary. In the case the these two allowances I know that more priests would allow the EF Mass to take the place of a normally scheduled Sunday OF Mass thus increasing the number of those who attend.

      1. I think vernacular could work for the EF if it had some sort of logic to how it is to be applied (like graduated solemnity, or keeping the ordinary in Latin).

        Many EF communities (particularly those staffed by priests who use it exclusively) would voluntarily retain exclusive use of Latin – just as they voluntarily keep older fasting and abstinence rules.

  11. I find this whole discussion to be absolute nonsense. I await the day that a new Pope can put a lid on the EF and restore the liturgical integrity of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. We only have one rite. Let’s move on!

    1. re: Mike Burns on April 7, 2012 – 4:11 pm

      Even if the EF were to be suppressed again (which I do not foresee), I would hope that bishops would tolerate certain liturgical expressions in the OF such as ad orientem, altar rails and kneeling communion, and the extensive use of Latin in worship, among other practices. Here in Connecticut there are a few parishes which celebrate the OF with the latter practices. Akin to Fr. McDonald’s comments, the call for the EF would be less in some areas if more bishops would readily accept the aspirations of some clergy and laity for older liturgical practices within the OF.

      The road to harmony and perhaps eventual reunion in the Roman Rite is through the recognition of theological unity within liturgy, and not an aesthetic or performative liturgical “unity” which is held in place through imposed uniformity. I, perhaps unwisely, wrote this article only because Holy Week, triduum, and Easter, the heights of the liturgical year, would be an ideal time for even a moderate reconciliation within the liturgical forms of the Roman rite.

  12. Thanks, Mike. Agree completely – its like an EF form of the “Twilight Zone” complete with words such as “disambiguated”.

    IMO, you have too much confidence in B16’s decision and the fact that its impact could not be expected – history is filled with things that were “unintended”.

    Also, the refrain – “just let them move on” has become jaded; if not completely meaningless. In every period of Church history, we have a very small percentage of folks who refused to accept church changes despite education, emotional appeals, etc. Unfortunately, the great Easter cry of Jesus – Be Not Afraid – falls on empty ears with this minority. Or the fact that you can not put “new wine” in “old wineskins”.

  13. One sore point in the “old” and “older” Holy Week texts — what about the prayers for the “judaicam perfidiam”? This phrase is explicitly contrary to the text that is mandated for all worship aids for Good Friday.
    Additionally, the recognition of a shared baptism with other Christians makes problematic the Good Friday prayer for “heretics and schismatics” — the view of Protestants that required them (upon joining the Catholic Church) not only to profess faith in “all that the Catholic Church teaches to be revealed by God” but to repudiate their previous heresies. And the prayer for “pagans” to relinquish their “idols” seems problematic, in the light of authoritative teaching that all who seek the truth and the good, according to the dictates of their conscience, are not far from God’s mercy. (Although maybe we should bring it back into the OF as a good prayer for investment bankers who idolize “the market” as the source of all goodness, justice, and public policy — a move which would also accord with the Church’s approach economic justice.)

    In these matters it’s not just that the Latin differs from the vernacular; they do not reflect current authoritative teaching in *any* language.

    Regarding the proposal for a revised EF missal that would reflect possible enrichments from the OF — it “would be a ‘full missal’ as it would contain the lectionary,” — can you imagine how large this book would have to be? The lectionary itself is the size of — if not larger than — most 1962 missals.

    1. re: Ann Riggs on April 8, 2012 – 11:05 am

      Thank you Ann for all your very good points.

      The intransigent position of a number of traditionalists towards any change to the preconciliar “prayer for the Jews”, let alone the substitution of the current prayer into EF Good Friday, is one of the reasons why I no longer consider myself traditionalist. I attend OF Holy Week because I cannot attend a traditional Holy Week and assent to prejudices said on my behalf. That said, I account only for my own conscience. We all must face our prejudices and consciously decide to accept or reject them. This decision ultimately cannot be made for a person by another, even if we Christians are called to help each other realize and grow past prejudices.

      Indeed it has always struck me odd that even in the reformed Good Friday liturgy we pray for persons of other religions, albeit not anymore in a deprecative or even hostile manner. Good Friday is the day when Catholics confront not only the end to sin in Christ’s atonement but our own sins, limitations, misgivings, and prejudices. Why then should we presume to pray for others when we Catholics are always struggling in charity in light of the atonement? Perhaps it would be better for us to pray that we might be strengthened in charity and be emboldened to show Christ to others, rather than presume that others will view us as charitable.

      1. . I attend OF Holy Week because I cannot attend a traditional Holy Week and assent to prejudices said on my behalf.

        Jordan, what specifically is it that you object to? Because it sounds like you’re objecting to orthodox Christian teaching on the relationship between Judaism and other non-Christian religions and Christianity. Otherwise, you’re accusing the Pope of approving a “prejudiced” or unorthodox liturgy.

      2. If Jordan is referring to the unreconstructed prayer for the Jews from MR 1962 as prejudice, he has a point. The introduction includes the phrase “(Dominus..Deus) ….auferat velamen de cordibus eorum” The prayer itself contains the expression “”quas pro illius populi obcaecatione deferimus,” It is one think to speak in terms of taking a veil from the eyes and blindness in relation to oneself. It’s quite another to speak in those terms of another group of people, to which one does not belong.

        Secondly, if he’s referring to the revised prayer, the introduction to which contains the expression “…ut agnoscant Iesum Christum salvatorem omnium hominum.” he’s expressing a legitimate concern, namely, the mutually exclusive positions of recognising Jesus as the saviour of all human beings, on the one hand, and on the other, holding to orthodox Jewish theology.

        He is perfectly within his rights to point out the problems, as he sees them, with the current position. And if, in the process of doing so, he is, in your terms, ‘accusing’ the Pope of approving a prejudiced or unorthodox liturgy, so be it. It won’t have been the first time such a claim was made, and with good reason.

    2. If Protestants are not required to repudiate heresies, and “pagans” are not required to relinquish their “idols”, may I be permitted a heresy and an idol? So long as I am seeking the truth and the good, of course. 😉

      On a slightly related note, did anyone notice that we are no longer asked if we “reject” Satan (and all that goes with him) but rather to “renounce” him? Any commentary on that change of vocab?

      Happy Paschaltide! 🙂

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