Happy 1988th anniversary!

A blessed Pentecost to everyone! Today, Holy Mother Church celebrates the 1988th anniversary of Her beginning, having been founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who ordained thus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.

Pentecôte | Jean II Restout | 1732

EXEVNTE·MDCCCCLXXXVIII·ANNO
A·PARACLYTO·PER·FILIVM·A·PATRE·EMISSO
QVI·DVM·TAMQVAM·SPIRITVS·VEHEMENS·DESCENDENS
VT·IGNIS·LINGVA·SEDIT·SVPRA·DISCIPVLOS
DEDIT·ECCLESIAE·A·CHRISTO·AEDIFICATAE·EXORDIVM
OMNIBVS·HANC·SENTENTIAM·VISVRIS
SALVTEM·IN·DOMINO·PRO·EIS·DESIDERAMVS
FAVSTISSIMVMQVE·EISDEM·EXITVM·GRATVLAMVR

Vivat Sancta Mater Ecclesia !

Happy 1987th anniversary!

A blessed Pentecost to everyone! Today, Holy Mother Church celebrates the 1987th anniversary of Her beginning, having been founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who ordained thus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.

Pentecôte | Jean II Restout | 1732

EXEVNTE·MDCCCCLXXXVII·ANNO
A·PARACLYTO·PER·FILIVM·A·PATRE·EMISSO
QVI·DVM·TAMQVAM·SPIRITVS·VEHEMENS·DESCENDENS
VT·IGNIS·LINGVA·SEDIT·SVPRA·DISCIPVLOS
DEDIT·ECCLESIAE·A·CHRISTO·AEDIFICATAE·EXORDIVM
OMNIBVS·HANC·SENTENTIAM·VISVRIS
SALVTEM·IN·DOMINO·PRO·EIS·DESIDERAMVS
FAVSTISSIMVMQVE·EISDEM·EXITVM·GRATVLAMVR

Vivat Sancta Mater Ecclesia !

Probing the flores de mayo

Flores de mayo starts today. May in the Philippines is without doubt fiesta season, and with the ongoing community quarantine in all its varied enrichments and generalities, our compatriots are finding creative ways to celebrate feasts, and the ceremonies and rituals associated with them. We, however, choose to dedicate our time towards investigating the origins of this devotion, which witnesses Catholics throughout the archipelago trooping to churches and chapels every afternoon in May to offer fresh flowers and sing hymns of praise to the Blessed Virgin.

Las flores de mayo | Cayetano Vallcorba y Mexía | 1892

In the course of our investigation, we developed two theses that might not sit well with the conventional reading of the history of the flores de mayo, which we shall call here the theory of unified origin. To this theory, we juxtapose our first thesis: that different places developed their own flores de mayo ritual. If we are to credit a single manual for establishing a widespread devotion, we must contain it within a reasonable ethnolinguistic domain. We can think of a parallel in another paraliturgy: semana santa processions. The list of saints and tableaus that make their salida varies from place to place. What unites this is the pageantry that, disappointingly, though not strangely, projects repressed childhood fascination with Barbie dolls.

To explore this thesis, let us consider one example. The beginnings of the flores de mayo ritual observed in Iloilo goes back to as early as 1855, when the Augustinian friar, Fray Raymundo Lozano Mejía, parish priest of San Miguel, published his Diario de María, courtesy of the University of Santo Tomás. Ten years later, in 1865 (yes, the same year Padre Mariano Sevilla y Villena published his Mangá dálit cay María, courtesy of the Imprenta de los Amigos del País), Fray Lozano republished his Diario, together with a new booklet called Mes de María. The archbishop of Manila, Don Gregorio Melitón Martínez Santa Cruz, granted an indulgence of 80 days for each day of devotion from either the Diario de María or the Mes de María. The bishop of Cebú, Fray Romualdo Jimeno Ballesteros, O. P., and the bishop of Nueva Cáceres, Fray Francisco Gaínza Escobás, O. P., each granted 40 days of indulgence, recouping a total of 160 days of indulgence. These two booklets provided daily meditations on the titles of Mary invoked in the Litany of Loreto. While no longer read in the flores de mayo, their erstwhile prevalence is still palpable in the practice of carrying before the reina of the day a titulus bearing a Latin phrase lifted from the Litany (say Mater purissima for 5 May, and Turris eburnea for 20 May). Sometimes, to save on effort, organisers simply nail the titulus on the arco of the day’s queen.

In 1867, the same year that Padre Sevilla published Mangá mariquit na bulaclac, Fray Lozano reorganised his previous booklets, composed meditations for each day, and, most importantly, added a hymn. In the booklet’s front matter, Fray Lozano finally provided the seasonal backdrop of the flores de mayo, why Spaniards offered flowers and sang hymns to the Holy Mother of God in May. This booklet, which he called Flores ni María Santísima, carried the papal grant of indulgence, dated 21 March 1815, numbering 300 days for each day of devotion, plenary when completed for the whole month of May under the usual conditions. Besides this, the booklet also reminded devotees of the papal exhortation of 28 June 1822 to apply the indulgences for the souls in purgatory. To these papal indulgences were added the customary 80 days from the bishop of Manila, and 40 days apiece from the bishops of Cebú and of Nueva Cáceres. The hymn Fray Lozano wrote for Flores ni María Santísima became the ancestor of one of the hymns that is still being sung in scattered parishes throughout the Visayas.

San Miguel, 1867Otón, present
Dayawon ta si María,
Gugmaon ta ang aton Ilóy,
Halaran ta ang flores niya,
Agud hatagan kalooy.
Dayawon ta si María,
Bitoon labíng maanyag,
Maghalad kitá sa iya
Sing matahúm nga mgá bulak.
Kumarí, mgá binunyagan,
Sa atubangan ni María,
Inyo siya panhalaran
Ang igò sa flores niya.
Kon kamó binunyagan,
Karí kamó kay María
Karí, kay aton halaran
Sing rosal kag azucena.

And comparing a parish in the Western Visayas and a parish from the Eastern Visayas, a separation of around 500 kilometres via the Western Nautical Highway, or, to provide more geographical context, a distance crossing the islands of Negros, Cebu, and Bohol:

Otón, presentCabalían, present
Dayawon ta si María,
Bitoon labíng maanyag,
Maghalad kitá sa iya
Sing matahúm nga mgá bulak.
Daygon ta si María,
Bitoon nga labíng maanyag,
Nagahalad kitá kaniya
Sa matahúm nga bulak.
Kon kamó binunyagan,
Karí kamó kay María
Karí, kay aton halaran
Sing rosal kag azucena.
Umarí kamó binunyagan,
Umarí kamó kang María,
Ngarí, ngarí, atong halaran
Sa rosal ug azucena.

While Padre Sevilla was translating the hymns for the Tagalogs, and Fray Lozano was composing his own for the Ilonggos, Bicolandia could not be bothered by any vernacular hymn whatsoever. Why translate, when the Spanish works fine? So, if by chance you get lost in Sorsogón May next year, you’ll probably hear the following sung for the flores de mayo, taken verbatim ac litteratim from the 1832 Mes de María.

Dulcísima Virgen,
Del cielo delicia,
La flor que te ofrezco
Recibe propicia.

Here we end our first point: the ritual of the flores de mayo developed independently in different geographical units, following ethnolinguistic domains, arising from a priest who championed the devotion.


Flores de mayo | Arturo Montero y Calvo | 1884

Before we proceed to our second thesis, allow us first to rectify an error that exemplifies how plotpoints mutate as a story changes mouth, an error that evaded even the stringent proofreaders of The Manila Times. Articles on the Internet often report that Padre Sevilla’s Mangá mariquit na bulaclac was based on the Italian Misa de maggio. Some of these online pieces correctly state that this Italian opus was authored by the Jesuit priest Padre Alfonso Muzzarelli. But the error persists, and we discover it in the title: misa is not an Italian word; the Italian for Mass is messa. The correct title of the book is Il mese di maggio, meaning the month of May, and it was first published in Ferrara in 1785, translated into Spanish in 1832, into English in 1848, into Arabic in 1853, and into other languages thereafter.

That said, our second thesis is this: It is more reasonable to posit that Padre Sevilla’s work was based on a Spanish translation of Muzzarelli’s booklet, than to trace pedigree directly from an Italian original. We are not casting doubts on Padre Sevilla’s linguistic abilities. What we are suggesting is that it would have been infinitely easier to find Spanish books in Intramuros during the Spanish era, than to hunt for Italian books in the same time and place.

In this vein, we will be subjecting Padre Sevilla’s hymn to textual comparison, and measure the concordance of the texts. Why the hymn only, and not the meditations as well? First, the meditations, elaborated by Padre Muzzarelli, and designed as examples (esempio in the Italian, ejemplo in the Spanish, halimbawà in the Tagalog), were all based on the Affetti scambievoli written by the Jesuit priest Padre Tommaso Auriemma, and so these were rendered as faithfully as the translators saw fit. While Fray Lozano composed his own meditations eschewing the established Jesuit text, he nevertheless referenced Padre Auriemma in his examples (termed pananglit in the Ilonggo booklet). Second, an 1809 edition of Padre Muzzarelli’s Il mese di maggio, published in Rome by the typographer Bernardino Olivieri, does not provide any hymn text. Other versions of Il mese di maggio, both earlier (such as the version published in 1732 by the Jesuit priest Giuseppe Mariano Mazzolari) and later (such as the version published in 1853 by a priest of the Diocese of Crema), do not contain hymns. Only some ninety-odd years later do we see such hymns, in the 1895 edition of Padre Muzzarelli’s version published in Fiorenzuola d’Arda by the typographer Giuseppe Pennaroli.

The first stanza of Padre Sevilla’s dalit is based on a Latin verse that Padre Muzzarelli quoted in his advice for daily meditation. Since he did not provide an Italian translation for this verse, we will have to match Padre Sevilla’s stanza against the original.

Sevilla, 1865Muzzarelli, 1785
Matamís na Birhéng pinaghahandugán
Kamí’y nangangakò namán pong mag-aalay
Ng isáng girnalda bawat isáng araw
Na ang magdudúlot yaríng mgá murang kamáy.
Nulla mihi, pia Virgo,
dies sine floribus ibit,
Serta quibus capiti
dem placitura tuo.

If we look at the Spanish edition, however, lo and behold, a Spanish translation is provided for the Latin verse! In particular, we’re looking at the 1832 edition published by the Imprenta de D. Eusebio Aguado in Madrid.

Sevilla, 1865Spanish edition, 1832
Matamís na Birhéng pinaghahandugán
Kamí’y nangangakò namán pong mag-aalay
Ng isáng girnalda bawat isáng araw
Na ang magdudúlot yaríng mgá murang kamáy.
O dulce Virgen,
de purpúreas flores
Cada día pondré

con blanda mano
Tuhog na bulaklák sadyáng salit-salit
Sa mahál mong noó’y aming ikakapit,
[…]
Guirnalda hermosa
en tus divinas sienes:
[…]

At this point, we are convinced Padre Sevilla was looking at a Spanish copy when he was writing the hymns. The Tagalog uses noó, which means forehead, and it squares with the Spanish sien, which refers to the side of the forehead, whereas the Latin uses caput, which means the entire head. (The Latin for forehead is frons.) The next verse, then, galvanises this conviction, as it is in whole adapted from the estribillo of the first hymn appointed in the 1832 Spanish edition.

Sevilla, 1865Spanish edition, 1832
Halina at tayo’y mag-unaháng lahát,
Magtaglay ng lalong masamyóng bulaklák,
At sa kay María’y magkusang humaráp,
Pagká’t Iná nating lubós ang paglingap.
Venid, y vamos todos
Con flores a porfía,
Con flores a María,
Que Madre nuestra es.

And here we end the second part, with a recapitulation of our thesis: On the strength of the textual concordance between Padre Sevilla’s hymn and the verses and hymns in the Spanish edition of Padre Muzzarelli’s work, we can conclude that Padre Sevilla accessed a Spanish edition rather than the Italian original when he produced his Dálit in 1865 and his Mariquit na bulaclac later in 1867.

Happy 1986th anniversary!

A blessed Pentecost to everyone! Today, Holy Mother Church celebrates the 1986th anniversary of Her beginning, having been founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who ordained thus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.

Pentecôte | Jean II Restout | 1732

EXEVNTE·MDCCCCLXXXVI·ANNO
A·PARACLYTO·PER·FILIVM·A·PATRE·EMISSO
QVI·DVM·TAMQVAM·SPIRITVS·VEHEMENS·DESCENDENS
VT·IGNIS·LINGVA·SEDIT·SVPRA·DISCIPVLOS
DEDIT·ECCLESIAE·A·CHRISTO·AEDIFICATAE·EXORDIVM
OMNIBVS·HANC·SENTENTIAM·VISVRIS
SALVTEM·IN·DOMINO·PRO·EIS·DESIDERAMVS
FAVSTISSIMVMQVE·EISDEM·EXITVM·GRATVLAMVR

Vivat Sancta Mater Ecclesia !

Mandatum

Three years ago, on 6 January 2016, the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued the decree In Missa officially introducing the Franciscoid variation of the rite of the mandatum. We will not attempt to discuss the merit and demerit of this variation, which has now rendered the rite more facile to integrated into latent sloganeering and other patent social activism.

And below is a rare photograph of the twelve beggars whose feet were washed during the mandatum in the Cathedral of Nueva Segovia in 1916.

One notices that these selected men, viri selecti in rubrical Latin, are not the best dressed of the citizenry. We are probably reading too much from this one picture, because from what we see these men look poor, and were probably poor, and, perhaps, because of their poverty, they were given matching attires.

Below is a very brief, almost passing, description of how the mandatum was carried out in the then Diocese of Nueva Cáceres.

During the meal of the Apostles at the [Episcopal] Palace, the seminarians designated by the Fr. Director shall assist to serve the poor at the table and to accompany the Bishop. At two-thirty in the afternoon, the washing of the feet shall begin, and the maundy shall follow, as well the praying of compline.

A la comida de los Apóstoles en Palacio se asistirán los seminaristas que designe el P. Director, para servir a los pobres la mesa y acompañar al Obispo. A las dos y media de la tarde se comenzará el lavatorio, seguirá el Mandato y el rezo de las completas.

A few observations are in place. The first part mentions apóstoles and later pobres. These two mean the same thing. They are the viri selecti, men who have very little or no earthly possessions at all, selected and appointed as apostles whom the bishop invites to his table on Maundy Thursday. Later, after the meal, the bishop washes the feet of these poor men. Largely due to this tradition of calling the twelve men apostles that the new dicasterial decree had to be approached carefully in some places. In these places, the viri selecti are still exclusively men, but a new paraliturgy evolved where, while Mass is suspended in midair, the twelve men go to designated places inside the church and wash the feet of layfolk—men, women, children, etc.

Today, when we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist, let us offer our Lenten sacrifices for the transmission of the things which we received from the apostles, who in turn received them from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Today, we usually hear charity highlighted, and not so much as obedience, which the mandatum demands, for where there is command, there obedience should be.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Redding the purple

The biggest decisions that ended up changing the Palm Sunday liturgy happened on a Tuesday evening, on 11 May 1954, in the residence of Cardinal Gaetano Cicognani, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, which was in the Pontifical Spanish College. The 40th meeting of the Commission for the General Reform of the Liturgy, formed by Pius XII on 28 May 1948, started at 05:30 that evening, with the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting.

Two matters were in order for this day: the first was the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene; the second, Palm Sunday. After the Magdalene affair, Father Josef Löw, C. Ss. R., distributed to the members a report, which he prepared in collaboration with then-Father Ferdinando Giuseppe Antonelli, O. F. M., containing the historical exposition and the general principles of the reformed rite, that foresees the simplification of the blessing of the palms, and the reappreciation of the primitive notion of a solemn homage to Christ the King, something which by then was no longer very clear. Two new collects, one for the blessing of the palms, and another for the conclusion of the procession, were also prepared and proposed. The structure of the Mass remained intact. The Commission was favourable to the proposal.

Dom Joaquín Anselmo María Albareda y Ramoneda, O. S. B., member of the Commission, then made a distinction between the blessing of palms (the first part, the dry Mass) and the Mass itself (the second part) of Palm Sunday, and proposed, to enact said distinction, situating the entire blessing of palms outside the church, just like the blessing of fire on Holy Saturday. The Commission, however, identified difficulties in implementing this change. Dom Albareda, moreover, proposed using rose vestments in the blessing and procession, considering that there are already two instances in the liturgy for this colour, during parentheses of joy in the midst of sorrow. The conclusion thereby admitted the possible use of either rose or red vestments for the first part of the liturgy.

Msgr. Enrico Dante then proposed simplifying the first part as well, in this way: singing of the Hosanna, blessing of palms using the last of the current collects, distribution, reading of the gospel, procession, final collect. This schema mirrored the prepared and proposed texts, which had abandoned the collects for the blessing of palms, except the last, wherein homage to Christ the King is sufficiently expressed, revised from a stylistic point of view to emphasise said homage. The meeting then ended with the usual prayer at 06:40 in the evening.

Changes on the agreed terms from this meeting were introduced in the next meeting on Tuesday, 25 March 1954. But the next time Palm Sunday came under the liturgical microscope in time for the excision of some lengthening factors was on a Friday evening, 21 October 1955, at 05:00 pm, in the same place, with all members of the Commission present. Again, two matters were in order for this day: first, the examination of the instruction that would later be released together with Maxima redemptionis barely a month later; second, the transfer of the Passion of Saint Matthew from Palm Sunday to Holy Monday. The first matter immediately started after the usual prayer, and the Council members agreed that only peremptory norms should be kept in the decree, while directive norms placed in the instruction. The texts were then reconsidered norm by norm, letter by letter, word for word.

Passing into the second matter, the Commission, considering that ancient tradition of reading the Passion on Palm Sunday, unanimously agreed against transferring the Passion of Saint Matthew to Holy Monday, but the Commission likewise admitted the proposal of reduction presented by then-Father Augustin Bea, S. J., pericoping it from Mt. 26, 36 until Mt. 27, 61, thereby removing a total of 40 verses. With this, the meeting ended with the usual prayer at 07:00 in the evening.

So, now we can map the major items in the synopsis for the Palm Sunday reforms prepared years before by the NLM to their originators: red vestments, abandonment of folded chasubles, omission of the veil on the processional cross, by Dom Albareda O. S. B.; reorganisation and simplification of the entire blessing rite, removal of old readings and prayers, introduction of new prayers, by Msgr. Dante; suppression of old responsories and antiphons, and permission of new hymns in honour of Christ the King, by Fr. Löw, C. Ss. R., and Fr. Antonelli, O. F. M.; reduction of the Passion of Saint Matthew, by Fr. Bea.

Revisiting these processes is an exercise in frustration. The procession of palms on Palm Sunday, interpreted under the reclarified light of a solemn homage to Christ the King, a notion that demands reassertion and revaluation, must be a parenthesis of joy in a period of sorrow. And since the Church allows other colour for such joyous pockets of time, so a less severe colour must be used during the entire blessing of palms, to which is intimately united the procession. The choice is rose or red. Red wins. To reconnect the new colour to the reemphasised element, red must be marketed to the audience as the true purple colour of royalty. But what can be truer than purple except purple itself?

Watch ye, and pray!

One of life’s prudishness that future generations can accuse us of is the moral obligation under which we labour when we feel inordinately repentant for the mistakes of other people. We feel sorry for what the reformers did, because their actions deprived us of the patrimonial riches of the Church, locked safely behind formulations of legality and appearances of abrogation, for quite a long time. The compelling reasons they so thought necessary to alter the age-old rites of the Church exist in an academic utopia built on the foundations of liturgical revisionism and false parallelisms.

REFERENCE

Verbale delle 40a, 41a, e 54a adunanze. See: Nicola Giampietro, O. F. M. Cap., Il cardinale Giuseppe Ferdinando Antonelli e gli sviluppi della riforma liturgica dal 1948 al 1970 (Rome 1998), pp. 343–344, 358.

Vespers of All Hallows

The world has gone a long way in its parallel history for Christian celebrations. The Evil One has succeeded in producing thought-provoking “evidences” that make alternative histories delectable enough to send proponents of a Church-less faith-less religion-less society into an ideological orgasm. We then understand how appropriate it is for the Devil to appoint a secular feast for him and his minions. Schedule it on the day before the feast of the Church Triumphant no less! On Halloween! But Halloween is Catholic. It was, it is, and always will be. A refresher on its history, as well as its outstanding observances, is in order. Below, moreover, is the etymology.

CGSCOX - Halloween

The origin of the term is rather straightforward. Break down Halloween into hallow and e’en. Hallow descended from the Middle English halwe (saint), itself descended from the Old English hālga (saint). A related word in German is Heilige (saint). E’en, on the other hand, a contraction of even, descended from the Middle English even (evening), itself descended from the Old English ǣfen (evening). Its related word in German is Abend. It is evening and saints, evening and saints. No sprightly tricksters whatsoever.

And for us who serve in the choral office, it is even more compelling, for in Old English, ǣfen is linked not only to evening, but to the canonical hour of vespers. How is it that the Eve of All Hallows is observed on 31 October, not on 1 November itself? After all, 1 November still has an evening, right? Well, it is because feasts in Christendom always began with first vespers (ǣfen ǣrest in Old English). It was not until the Johannine reforms that the ancient reckoning of feasts beginning with first vespers was confined only to great and solemn feasts, and the vesperal celebration of lesser feasts shifted emphasis to the day itself.

Before we end, here are some more on vespers connection in Old English: the hour of vespers is ǣfentīd (vespertina hora in Latin); the time of vespers is ǣfentīma (vespertinum tempus in Latin); the office of vespers is ǣfengebēd or ǣfenþeо̄wdо̄m (both vespertinum officium in Latin); and the chant at vespers is ǣfendreām or ǣfenleо̄þ or ǣfensang (all vespertinus cantus in Latin). Though this will never catch on, calling Halloween the Vespers of All Hallows would be one way of asserting the Catholicity of a Catholic observance.

Ut omnibus, cunctis sanctis Dei intercedentibus pro nobis, laudetur Dominus.

Saint Rose of Lima

Today is the feast day of Saint Rose of Lima, Secondary Patroness of the Philippines. Unlike the feast of Saint Pudentiana, the other Secondary Patroness of the Philippines, which was completely impeded by the Vigil of Pentecost this year, the feast of Saint Rose of Lima is celebrated this year on its proper day in the calendar of the usus antiquior.

_DSC0084

Saint Rose of Lima became patroness of the Philippines by virtue of the bull Sacrosancti apostolatus cura, issued by Clement X on 11 August 1760.

We, remembering, with the great spiritual joy of Our mind, the merits of the aforementioned Blessed Rose, who for a long time and abroad hath filled the whole Church with the sweet odour of Christ, favourably desiring to accede to the pious and devout requests humbly made to Us on this subject by the aforesaid King Charles (II of Spain) and Queen Maria Anna (of Neuburg), and adhering to the footsteps of Our predecessor Clement (IX), by the aforesaid authority, and by the tenor of these presents, select and declare Blessed Rose of Lima, with the same prerogatives, universal and principal patroness of each and every province, realm, isle, and clime of the entire American continent, of the Philippines, and of the Indies.

Nos, gloriosæ B. Rosæ praedictæ, quæ Ecclesiam universam bono Christi odore longe lateque perfundit, merita magno cum spirituali animi nostri gaudio recolentes, piisque et devotis dictorum Caroli regis et Mariannæ reginæ supplicationibus nobis super hoc humiliter porrectis favorabiliter annuere cupientes, ac memorati Clementis prædecessoris vestigiis inhærentes, eamdem B. Rosam de S. Maria in universam et principaliorem patronam omnium et singularum provinciarum, regnorum, insularum, et regionum terræ firmæ totius Americæ, Philippinarum, et Indiarum, cum eisdem prærogativis, dicta auctoritate, tenore præsentium, eligimus pariter et declaramus.

In our ordines, Saint Rose of Lima was ranked duplex I classis, and enjoyed the title Patrona Principalis Indiarum (while Saint Pudentiana was Patrona Principalis Insularum Philippinarum), and later Patrona Principalis Insularum Philippinarum (this time, together with Saint Pudentiana). When Pope Pius XII declared the Immaculate Conception principal patroness of the Philippines, Saint Rose and Saint Pudentiana became secondary patronesses. Nevertheless, the feasts apparently continued to be celebrated as first-class liturgical celebrations until, for still unknown reasons, they were dropped from our national calendar in September 1963. These two stories remain anecdotal, as we have not yet found any corroborating document.

So, for those reciting the Divine Office, recite the Commons of Virgins with the appointed proper lessons (of the second nocturn) and collect. Mass is also from the Commons, with incipit Dilexisti. Latin America, as well as some few other places, makes use of a proper Office and Mass of Saint Rose. The ordines of the Philippines, however, consistently indicate the Commons for this feast. Mass is here, and Office is here (pp. 31–33).

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

Happy 1985th anniversary!

A blessed Pentecost to everyone! Today, Holy Mother Church celebrates the 1985th anniversary of Her beginning, having been founded by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who ordained thus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her.

Pentecost
Pentecôte | Jean II Restout | 1732

EXEVNTE·MDCCCCLXXXV·ANNO
A·PARACLYTO·PER·FILIVM·A·PATRE·EMISSO
QVI·DVM·TAMQVAM·SPIRITVS·VEHEMENS·DESCENDENS
VT·IGNIS·LINGVA·SEDIT·SVPRA·DISCIPVLOS
DEDIT·ECCLESIAE·A·CHRISTO·AEDIFICATAE·EXORDIVM
OMNIBVS·HANC·SENTENTIAM·VISVRIS
SALVTEM·IN·DOMINO·PRO·EIS·DESIDERAMVS
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Vivat Sancta Mater Ecclesia !

Saint Joseph the Worker: Propers in chant

Previous part 1: Chant-hunt in the books
Previous part 2: Timeline of the institution

_DSC0881

It is often said that history is written by the victors. Our previous post detailing the minutes of the meetings of the Commission for the General Reform of the Liturgy discussing what to be done with 1 May leaves no room for what the attenders felt about what they were discussing. One must note that the authors and personalities quoted were sympathetic to the liturgical reform. Father Carlo Braga is a known collaborator of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini. Cardinal Ferdinando Giuseppe Antonelli, O. F. M., on the other hand, whose point of view Father Nicola Giampietro, O. F. M. Cap. explored in his book, was relator general of the Sacred Congregation of Rites at the time of the meetings on Saint Joseph, later secretary to the committee entrusted with the implementation of the reforms of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Contemporary authors obviating bias oftentimes come across sounding like an accommodating triage nurse summoning the next patient through the hospital intercom. For that, we may remain in the dark about what many of them actually felt before, during, and after the changes.

If the feast was established in 1955, and the new propers were released in 1956, why then does the 1957 liturgical book for the choir not contain the melodies? The simple answer would be this: The Sacred Congregation of Rites did not like the new feast. The Pope himself needed to intervene in order to force the Congregation to publish the Office and Mass of the new feast in 1956. It would take four more years for the Congregation to finally set the new propers to chant. The diary of Cardinal Antonelli simply presents the facts chronologically, meticulously cataloguing each and every item tackled and treated, every problem discussed and resolved, every solution proposed and approved, every reflection contemplated and considered, even presenting everyone as cooperating to achieve the goal of the task placed in their charge, enough for us to somehow conclude that nothing but the sheer bulk of the work caused the delay. From the clinical emotion-agnostic realm of meeting minutes, let us shift to that more sensational and thought-provoking province of popular reaction. We will let Fr. Jean Crété’s testimony [1] speak for itself for précising his account might reduce its power:

Fr. [Didier] Bonneterre recognises that this decree signaled the beginning of the subversion of the liturgy, and yet seeks to excuse Pius XII on the grounds that most people, except those who were party to the subversion, are thought of today as having been ignorant as to what was going on. I can, on the contrary, give a categorical testimony on this point. I realized very well that Pius XII’s decrees were just the beginning of a total subversion of the liturgy, and I was not the only one. All the true liturgists, all the priests who were attached to tradition, were dismayed. The Sacred Congregation of Rites was not favorable toward the proposed innovations, which were the special work of a modernising commission. When, five weeks later, Pius XII announced the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, which caused the ancient feast of SS. Philip and James to be transferred, and which replaced the Solemnity of S. Joseph, Patron of the Church, there was open opposition to it. For more than a year the Sacred Congregation of Rites refused to compose the Office and Mass for the new feast. Many interventions of agents purporting to represent the pope were necessary before the Congregation of Rites agreed, against their will, to publish the Office in 1956—an Office so badly composed that one might suspect it had been deliberately sabotaged. And it was only in 1960 that the melodies of the Mass and office were composed—melodies based on models of the worst taste. I relate this little-known episode to give an idea of the violence of the reaction to the first liturgical reforms of Pius XII.

L’abbé Bonneterre reconnaît que ce décret marque le début de la subversion de la liturgie, mais cherche à excuser Pie XII en disant qu’à l’époque personne, en dehors des hommes du parti de la subversion, ne pouvait s’en rendre compte. Je puis au contraire lui apporter sur ce point un témoignage catégorique. Je me rendais très bien compte que ce décret n’était que le début d’une subversion totale de la liturgie ; et je n’étais pas le seul. Tous les vrais liturgistes, tous les prêtres attachés à la tradition étaient consternés. La congrégation des rites n’était pas du tout favorable à ce décret, œuvre d’une commission spéciale. Lorsque, cinq semaines plus tard, Pie XII annonça l’introduction de la fête de saint Joseph artisan, l’opposition se manifesta ouvertement : pendant plus d’un an, la congrégation des rites refusa de composer l’office et la messe de la nouvelle fête. Il fallut plusieurs interventions du Pape pour que la congrégation des rites se résigne, de mauvaise grâce, à publier à la fin de 1956 un office si mal composé qu’on peut se demander s’il n’a pas été saboté volontairement. Et c’est seulement en 1960 que furent composées les mélodies (qui sont des modèles de mauvais goût) de l’office et de la messe. Nous racontons cet épisode peu connu pour donner une idée de la violence des réactions suscitées par les premières réformes liturgiques de Pie XII.

Hopefully, at this point, the reason is now clear.


IMG_6126
Left to right, up: (1) Start of the entry of the feasts of May in the 1957 Liber usualis, two years after the feast was established, and one year after the new propers were approved, showing omission of the new feast of Saint Joseph the Worker; (2) entry for 1 May in the 2015 Ordo Divini Officii published by the PCED, indicating that for the Mass of Saint Joseph the Work, the Mass Adiutor of the suppressed Solemnity of Saint Joseph may be used; (3) photocopy of the appendix to the 1964 Liber usualis containing the propers of Saint Joseph the Worker set to chant, with imprimatur dated 1 April 1961.

There appears to have been a blueprint materialising in the innovative minds of the reformers of that time, and to its consequences we are now heirs. If we leave out the feminist undertone, appropriating Mrs. Lintott’s take on the meaning of history for ourselves becomes too irresistible: “History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men” [2]. In our case, it’s “men of the cloth”. Nothing is perhaps more damning to a once-in-vogue worldview than when the judgment of history reaffirms the wisdom of tradition: From the highest of the three liturgical ranks (first class) in the 1962 Missal, the new feast descended to the lowest of four (optional memorial) in the 1970 Missal. Let us ask Saint Joseph in these trying times, to guide all of us who look upon him as our champion and the protector of Holy Mother Church, that we may offer our travails, our labours, our sorrows, for the preservation of the Holy Catholic Faith.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.


[1] Jean Crété, Le mouvement liturgique: Itinéraire (January 1981) p. 133.
[2] Mrs Dorothy Lintott (Frances de la Tour) in The history boys, dir. Nicholas Hytner (Fox Searchlight Pictures: 2006).