Auld Lang Syne is something out of auld lang syne, that is, days long ago. Should its acquaintance be forgot? Certainly not, nor should many older and venerable things from days gone by which are as ingrained in our senses as ever, even if they are scrubbed out of our active consciences. Take the Roman liturgy for example. There is an enduring simplicity and power in its words not latent in the elaborate ceremonies of the Greeks, the communitarian rites of the Reformers, or reduced forms of Summorum Pontificum. But we do not live in auld lang syne; we live in the now but are burdened with the past, for we possess nothing certain if not experience.
For those devotees, clerics, laymen, students, and plain Catholics looking to preserve the auld lang rite for the present, I recommend they buy the St. Lawrence Press's Ordo Recitandi Offici Divini Sacrique Peragendi here. As the name betrays, it is an ordo recitandi for the daily Office and Mass in the Roman rite before Pius XII and his epigoni (Bugnini, Bea, and others with Italian names) laid their hands on the liturgy and gradual evolved into the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Novus Ordo (the Paul VI and 1962 rites respectively). The Ordo contains information on every imaginable rubric that should put the uninitiated at ease and provide detail for full liturgical service options throughout the year, including:
- public and private, said and sung votive Masses, including those of Nuptial and Requiem
- Forty Hours devotions
- external solemnities
- proper Last Gospels
- colors and prefaces within octaves
- movable feasts
- the patronal feast of a church
- doxologies at the end of hymns
What's that? The 1962 police are after you? I assure you they are not! We do not live under auld lang syne and the halcyon days of Benedict XVI, but under the light yoke of Papa Peron Bergoglio, who is aggressively disinterested in liturgical form. Why not sentire cum Papa and just do the real thing? Why not celebrate St. Joseph's patronage of the Universal Church, or Pip'n'Jim on May 1, or the octave days of the comites Christi this week? The Roman rite reflects centuries of prayer, reform, preservation, and crystallization in the liturgy. Would it not be preferable to do the pre-Pius XII rite not because we can construe a legal argument for it, but simply because it is the
right rite thing to do for "sake of auld lang syne"?
If you are a priest and do not exercise your ministry in an environment conducive to doing the old old rite, then the Ordo 2017 is still useful to you. You can add the suffrage of Saints and preces to your Office on days that the old liturgy prescribes them, append commemorations (like Fidelium on the first Monday of the month) to the collects as they would have been, use the preface of the Nativity during the octave of Corpus Christi, dismiss the faithful with Benedicamus Domino when the Gloria is not sung, or say a votive Office of the Dead on the first free day of each week during Lent and Advent.
Are you a priest who celebrates the Mass of Paul VI on a daily basis? With a little imagination you may be in considerably better position to use the Ordo than those in 1962 communities. No one will stop you from using the old Office and the new Mass is surprisingly malleable in certain parts: unlike the saint-laden 1962 kalendar, the Ordinary form of the Novus Ordo has a number of ferial days comparable to the Tridentine kalendar, meaning one could use votive Masses to resurrect the octaves a certain Italian nobleman sent to the chopping block in 1955. The rubrics for Holy Week are also not as strict as in the extraordinary form of the Novus Ordo, so why not have a double-genuflection during the veneration of the cross on Good Friday?
So, venerable Fathers, it is 2017: buy an Ordo, reserve a set of folded chasubles at Gammarelli, find an old breviary, and start incorporating the traditional Roman liturgy into your church for "sake of auld lang syne."