Wednesday, December 20, 2017

New, Old Ordo Blog

The St. Lawrence Press has published its new Ordo recitandi for 2018, which will be reviewed in a coming post. In the meantime, take a gander back to the year 1865, when America had just ended its Civil War, my alma mater was in its infancy, and the relatively recently emancipated Church in England had a thriving parish setting.

Take a look at the Muniment Room blog for a year's Ordo from a layman's perspective in the year 1865 using re-discovered parish schedules from around England in that very year. Not only is the older kalendar still in place, but full parish schedules look remarkably different than they do today. Even modestly staffed parishes had Vespers at mid-afternoon on Sundays with adult instruction to follow, many hours of Confession each week, and evening devotions for lay people who could not make a daily Mass (Mass had to start by 1PM before Pius XII). Masses with sermons were advertised, since they were not guaranteed, and a sermon may well have been preached between Vespers and Benediction on Sundays instead. It is as if people learned the faith from their priests' instructions or in the domestic church rather than from a lecture, not that every sermon is a lecture. As the writer observes:
"I will leave this series with two thoughts: first, the old calendar, the old concept of the calendar, in which the rampant sabbatarianism of the worship of Sundays in the abstract is totally missing, is a better integrated, more human, less didactic, unclericalised, popular way of linking the Church's year to the seasons and to the lives of the faithful.
"The second is how much the life of the Church depends on priests in parishes, and on those in religious life who support them, rather than on Bishops, Cardinals, or Popes.  If we pray a lot, have lots of children, bring them up in the Faith, and are prepared to give them all to God if they have a call from Him that they will answer positively, we will be able to recreate a Church in England and Wales as holy and fruitful as it was in 1863."


  1. Pardon my ignorance on matters calendrical, but could someone please unpack this for me?
    " which the rampant sabbatarianism of the worship of Sundays in the abstract is totally missing..."

    1. I believe he means that a purely abstract view of Sunday excludes feasts or none-seasonal variation in what laymen experience in the liturgy. The absence of that in the old kalendar, he posits, was good for laymen.

  2. Nothing screams "high sabbatarianism" as much as people who insist, contrary to canon law, that the obligation for Mass is for the Fourth Sunday of Advent and that nothing else fulfills the obligation, including evening Masses of the feasts. Sorry, but the obligation is for Sunday, no matter what Mass must be said, which is why it's dumb to ask if we should have gone to Mass twice last year. It just so happens that it's both Advent IV and the vigil in lands where things are done properly, but for those who can't make morning Masses, they can still go in the evening without fear.

    1. " it's dumb to ask if we should have gone to Mass twice last year"

      People really asked this?....

      I find the opposite problem this year, wherein Christmas is on a Monday and many will go to Sunday evening Masses, presumably knocking out their Sunday and Holy Day duty. But it begs the question, does not the permission for a vigil Mass presume the Mass of the day will be said? Does doing Sunday night really meet both duties?