Sunday, January 1, 2017

For Auld Lang Syne: Ordo 2017

I recently began re-reading JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which I last pursued in 2003 as a freshman in high school amid the film installments that brought nerds interested in Elvish minutiae out of the woodwork. To this author Tolkien's work is, at least in part, a take on other epic adventure stories and hearkens back to a different social structure when entertainment took place in the form of stories and songs. When I read Lord of the Rings I make up melodies for the [gratuitous] songs in my mind (Bilbo really needs to stop). Christmas may well be the only time of the year when the general populace can be counted on to know a traditional song, something that does not have a studio original that charted in the last ten years; even at that, most can only muster the first verse of Hark! The Herald Angels. At a charming New Year's Eve gathering last night I attempted to start Auld Lang Syne after the clock struck midnight. Most knew the tune, but absolutely no one knew the words. Not one.

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
  • commemorations
  • 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."


  1. For today, though, I would rather do the Octave-day of St. Stephen, rather than the Holy Name. Yesterday's feast was enough to honor the Holy Name!

  2. It'd be great if an english version of it were available for those like my own self who can read nine words of Latin

  3. What stops priests from using the 1910 Missal and Breviary? Or for that matter the ones before Divino Afflatu? Or for that matter the 1570 Missal and Breviary? Or for that matter the ones from 1474? Or for that matter the rites described in OR1? Or for that matter the rite of Rome according to st. Justin the Martyr?

    1. Maybe they don't know them and seminary teaches them only Novus Ordo so they must assume that the rest is forbidden.

    2. Among other things, ultramontanism, which started with Pius X's forbidding any pre-1911 breviary and missal in Divino Afflatu.

    3. So could a bishop have a Eucharistic sacrifice in the way st. Justin martyr describes it?

      Didn't ultramontanism over liturgy start with st. Pius V's Quo Primum which forbade the usage all previous Roman Missals and other ones who are younger than 200 years?

    4. S Pius V's bull also required the unanimous consent of the chapter to suppress any local usage, which the bull seemingly presumes to remain the norm. Cost effective book printing probably had more to do with centralization in the post-Tridentine period than Ultramontanism. Borromeo was more than a little what we'd call ultramontane and he continued the Ambrosian rite.

      The two great differences between the "way st. Justin martyr describes it" and what is in the Ordo I am plugging are that the Ordo reflects a complete set of liturgical texts that require no imagination (antiquarian imagination has influenced the liturgy in a generally harmful way the last century) and the more recent texts convey the Roman tradition fully developed, not nascent. As I have said before on this blog, the Roman rite is a series of elements, not a particular book: the psalter, the structure of the Office, the Canon of Mass, the lectionary, the antiphons, the orations. While going back beyond "pre-Pius XII" would in fact mean a more accurate conveyance of the Roman rite (it would include the proper psalter), older is not necessarily better or worse: what is different between 1910 and 1568, other than a bunch of Duplex feasts creating clutter? Very little. The liturgy was never supposed to ossify as it did, but to advance requires a substantial foundation that the full Roman rite may provide.

    5. For the Benedictine monks, it is otherwise. Pre-1911 is better, since after 1911, they eliminated Semiduplex feasts, except for the days within octaves, reduced the Double Minor feasts to a mere 3 lessons for Matins, and other things that in some respects go over what the 1950s-60s reforms of the Roman Rite did!

  4. Hopefully one day groups like the ICKSP and FSSP will help restore tradition to the Church by utilizing the older books.

  5. Oh, RadTrad, why do you invoke such 'worldly' considerations as "1962 police", "no one can stop you", etc? Shouldn't any priest first of all be interested in the salvation of his immortal soul? If so, he would fear not some real or imaginary 'police', but rather the Last Judgement. Isn't knowingly transgressing the rubrics (those currently in force) a sin? I think that the Ordo you promote here can be used only by a breviary-praying layman, i.e., not bound by law to pray the Divine Office. Perhaps, a cleric can add the parts of the Office abolished after 1955 to his daily Office under the title of 'private prayer'. But I have a difficulty to imagine how that Ordo could be used in celebrating Mass, save for a certain flexibility allowed for ferial days.

    1. There are quite a few exceptions with priests and other clerics being allowed to pray the Divino Afflatu missal and breviary. Rome is very loose nowadays. And if we follow this logic, then the pre-1955 Holy Week (office and Mass) ought never be celebrated and only 1962. But even in the FSSP chapels, that's not happening.

    2. And anyways, aren't you rather reading the TheRadTrad rather carelessly? He didn't encourage priests transgressing the rubrics at all, but to utilize as much as they can the older stuff. Of course, the 1962 priestly societies are much more restricted; that goes without saying. But nonetheless, to keep the pre-Pius XII rites from being abolished or forgotten utterly, I agree with The Rad Trad.

    3. I think the following post from Fr. Hunwicke might provide some insight into the question:

      Basically, Fr. Hunwicke cites some older, classic manuals of moral theology that characterized celebrating the "wrong" feast day on a given day as a sin, but not if the priest 1. had a good reason for using a different feast day (and not as an expression of disobedience), and 2. did not cause scandal.

      I realize the manuals Fr. Hunwicke cited were dealing mostly with a situation like celebrating feast A instead of feast B, not so much offering Mass according to one edition of the missal vs. another, but I think it's a fairly strong analogy. The desire to pray in accordance with the more authentic traditions of the Roman Rite has to qualify as a "good reason," and for priests who are praying the Old Rite privately or with a sympathetic congregation, the risk of scandal is essentially zilch.

    4. Thus saith the Lord, "Did thou celebrate Joe the Communist over my friends, Philip and James, on May 1 in accordance with the 1962 rubrics? Enter ye in the labor union prepared for you before the creation of the world."

      In all seriousness, we have been muddled with an unofficial mindset that whatever is currently prescribed by central law is the same as right and wrong. That simply is not true. Preserving the genuine Roman tradition in as full a way as possible (with complete books, not merely cobbled up speculation) is a good unto its own and it constitutes a passing on of the Roman sensus fidelium from one generation to another. If that is not true, we may as well find the nearest versus populum Mass and stick out our hands at the Pax.

    5. " If that is not true, we may as well find the nearest versus populum Mass and stick out our hands at the Pax."

      Well celebrating ad orientem isn't contrary to the law, but rather implied, and also it was said by the CDW that it is a legitimate practice (i wouldn't need their words for it, but i'm just saying).
      Omitting the Pax is also legitimate as per the Missal (although i would say that according to tradition it should not be omitted).

      But consciously breaking the rubrics is something else. For example omitting the offertory altogether, or the bishop offered prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assented, saying Amen. That was the practice in time of st. Justin Martyr and thus we could say that it has the sanction of the Church, but now it's contrary to the law and i would say that it would be a great offense to do something like that.

      I live in a dreamworld that i will once become pope and allow for all the historic rites of the Church to be practiced - all, with as few guidelines as possible, just to ensure orthodoxy and validity.
      And then, let the best man win. And that dreamworld gives me hope against all that has gone wrong in history (not only post Sacrosanctum Concilium).