Saturday, March 1, 2014

Quinquagesima Sunday and the week ahead

Codex Egberti
This week's Gospel in the Vetus Ordo and 1962 Benedictine calendar warns of Jesus' coming Passion, and the healing of the blind man of Jericho.  You can find the third Nocturn readings for Matins on it, over at my Lectio Divina Notes blog or at Divinum Officium.

The Office from from Ash Wednesday

Lent officially starts this Wednesday.  In the Office though, the rubrics don't really change much until after the First Sunday of Lent.

The period from Ash Wednesday to the coming Saturday was something of a 'later' add-on to Lent to make up the correct number of days (given that Sundays are not counted for fasting and other purposes, although in reality we still don't quite make it to forty days, due to the several first class feasts that intervene).

The liturgy does intensify  a little however, with canticle antiphons for both Lauds and Vespers, for each day.  At Matins, the readings are Patristic, on the Gospel of the day.  The rest of the Office at Lauds to Vespers, though, remains that of  'throughout the year' up until the First Sunday of Lent.

The Benedictine (1962) Office this week in summary

Sunday March 2 – Quinquagesima Sunday, Class II
Monday March 3  – Class IV
Tuesday March 4 – Class IV (Shrove Tuesday) [EF: St Casimir]
Wednesday March 5  – Ash Wednesday, Class I
Thursday March 6  – Thursday after Ash Wednesday, Class III; SS Perpetua and Felicitas, memorial
Friday March 7 - Friday after Ash Wednesday, Class III; St Thomas Aquinas, memorial
Saturday March 8 – Saturday after Ash Wednesday, Class III [EF: St John of God]


Anonymous said...


I was wondering if you could clear up something for me. Is the Monsatic Diurnal - as said in English - an approved prayer of the Church, in the same liturgical sense as the LOTH is.

Thank you for all the time and effort you put into the site! It's a wonderful resource!


Kate Edwards said...

It's something of a grey area - so far as I know there is no official ruling on this.

There is no doubt that the Office in the form set out in the Diurnal is officially approved - it is used in many monasteries through a number of books.

And when permission was given to use English in the Office, many monasteries simply swapped to the English side of the Diurnal and used it.

Even today there is no officially approved printed version of the Benedictine Office (new or old) in English - each monastery effectively constructs its own. So doing your own thing is a bit of modern Benedictinism!

The translation in the Diurnal was officially approved at one point (it had an imprimateur), but depending on what country you live in, its current status is not clear as permissions for some older translations were withdrawn (ie the US).

Its clearly fine for devotional use, but if you are worried about whether it is liturgical the safest approach would be to use the Latin. Certainly in the case of the Roman Office, it is the Latin that has official status, not the English.

But given the diversity of practice amongst Benedictines I suspect the Diurnal's English version is being used somewhere with appropriate permissions....

Anonymous said...

Hello Kate,

Thank you, that clarifies the situation a little better. So, if I'm understanding you correctly, to pray the Office and have it be a valid part of the Church's liturgy, one would have to stick with the Roman Office in Latin or the LOTH. Or perhaps be an Oblate affiliated to a monastery that uses the English translation of the Diurnal. Would that be about right?

Thanks again!


Kate Edwards said...

John - Sorry to be ambiguous in my answer, but no I think it probably is a valid part of the Churches liturgy even when said in English.

First of all I should emphasize that I have no authority to give a definitive ruling on this. Secondly I'm not a canonist.

That said, let me have another go at explaining my personal opinion.

First, if you just use the Latin, it clearly is a legitimate part of the Churches liturgy, as it conforms to the 1962 breviary which is still approved for use (and widely used). The Benedictine Confederation approved, in 1979, a range of other options as well, but one of them was the continued use of the traditional psalter so the 1962 books remained valid, even apart from the permission granted by Summorum Pontificum.

Secondly, the 1962 Monastic Breviary is approved for use by all Oblates, not just ones affiliated with a monastery that says the 1962 Mass. So if you are an oblate and pray it in Latin, I think it is pretty clearly liturgical (the situation for non-Oblates is fuzzier, but it is a legitimate rite of the Church, the issue is whether an individual has a right to use it).

On the question of saying it in English, my guess would be it is liturgical even in English, but I'm not absolutely sure of this (and I've changed my mind on this questions several times!).

My guess would be that is, firstly because so many monasteries have or do use it (so Rome has approved its use at some stage) and secondly because even if the permission to use the particular translation had subsequently been revoked at some point (which I haven't been able to find out one way or the other) in a particular country, Summorum Pontificum effectively revived it.

Personally, I think it probably does satisfy the requirements of canon law as to constitute liturgical prayer, but that is my opinion only - there are some who argue that laypeople praying even the LOTH by themselves as opposed to with a cleric are not praying liturgically.

And in the end, I'm not sure how concerned we should be with whether or not it is strictly speaking a liturgical prayer or merely devotional unless you are a priest or religious bound to say the Office. The distinction is in many ways a fairly artificial one introduced at the time of Trent in order to clamp down on heretical forms of prayer. In the end, if you say it, you are still joining yourself to the many who have said this form of prayer down the ages.

Anonymous said...

Hello Kate,

Thank you for your explanation, it gives me a better understanding of the situation.
And thank you also for your many efforts in maintaining your various websites! I just came across another one (Psalam Domino) that I've just added to me blog roll. May God Bless You!

"That in all things God may be glorified"