Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why a one-year cycle of Mass readings is better
Daniel Mitsui explains Fr Peter Robinson’s point that three-year schemes mean people hear three times as much scripture but know it only a third as well
I can understand protecting the temporal cycle from undue encroachment by votive Masses and sanctoral feasts, but that is an old problem, one which probably could be remedied without altering the traditional rhythms of the liturgical year.
Exactly what St Pius V and others have tried to do periodically as needed.

This answers the common knowledge :) that traditionalists are ignorami who think liturgical change has never happened and is impossible.

On the contrary as a Continuing anglican (not Anglican as in invited to Lambeth) priest recently wrote:
...we recall that the earliest eucharistic liturgies were composed ex tempore by a faithful bishop using a more-or-less set pattern, and were only later written down to protect against heresy.
The last part is also true of definitions of doctrine!
But a criticism of the old way is in not the same as a positive argument for the new way.

The positive argument advanced in favor of the new way is that it provides more scriptural nourishment to the laymen; but who actually benefits from this? I would be surprised if most laymen attending the new Mass can remember what Gospel was read three weeks ago, much less three years - nobody save a mnemonic freak will sit in his pew and think:
I don't need to pay attention. I just heard this last year. Can anyone who argues for the three-year lectionary remember what he heard at Mass one liturgical year ago this day? If not, then a one-year lectionary is every bit as fresh and enriching as a three-year lectionary. If anything, more repetition is needed, to inculcate the wisdom of holy writ despite ordinary human forgetfulness.
Echoing Derek Olsen’s point about the value of a repetitive folk office like the Little Office.
Laymen will remember and intuit the liturgy the same way they always have, if allowed to do so: by developing popular devotions to commemorate liturgical events. People do not remember in three-year cycles; they remember according to the annual rhythms of God's blue heavens and God's green earth - aided by feasts and fasts, seasonal foods, patterns of weather and nature. Three-year cycles are not only untraditional; they are unnatural. Man does not do things in three-year cycles. God does not do things in three-year cycles. Why should the Church?

The reformed lectionary was not developed from the immemorial liturgical tradition from which a spontaneous popular piety grew; it was imposed from the top down by curial fiat. The connection between worship and popular religious sentiment was rent, and the laymen have never been more ignorant for it.

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