Thursday, July 11, 2013

Octaves Revisited

The year 1955 was the atomic bomb as far as Octaves (and many other ancient liturgical observances) go, so it is beyond debate that ALL of the Octaves on the Kalendar as of 1911, most from antiquity, must be reestablished and continued here as part of the Current Tridentine Ordo (CTO). I would also keep the Octave of the Sacred Heart, but this can be debatable.

As one commentater here added some insightful remarks about the nature of Octaves in general, this question and other related questions beg for further discussion. Let's divide this into two considerations: 1. The nature of an Octave in general and 2. Questions arising from adapting Pian rules to restored Tridentine practices. With the Octave of St. Lawrence approaching next month (which is also the next Octave on the General Kalendar as we take a summer rest from such liturgical activity), we can use this as an example for these points.

1. The Nature of an Octave
While I believe the ordering of Octaves done by St. Pius X in 1911 was a welcome revision (more about this in part 2), St. Pius X also introduced a liturgical novelty when assigning the least important Octaves the rank of Simple. These would be all of the Octaves associated with those particular feasts of Double II class which merited an Octave. The novelty arises in creating a distinction between an Octave per se and the continuous celebration of a feast throughout eight days. Let's leave aside the Easter and Pentecost Octaves from this discussion; I believe this is a different topic and gets off track here. The Pian "Simple Octave" is in reality a duet - the feast itself and its octave day with a hole in between. Hitherto, an Octave meant exactly that, a continuous celebration of a feast for eight days with the feast day itself and its Octave meriting greater solemnity while the other six days are categorized as days within the Octave. The Pian reform would seem to "attack" the very nature of what an Octave is, and the CTO is now reconsidering whether or not to keep the "Simple Octave" in existence. This brings us to the practical application in part 2.

2. Questions arising from adapting Pian rules to restored Tridentine practice
a. Looking at the Tables of Occurrence and Concurrence from my 1854 Breviarium (i.e. pre-Pius X ranking), generic days within (i.e. Days 2-7) an Octave only supersede Simple ranked feasts. Hence, even minor Sundays per Annum take precedence, so if we look ahead to 11 August, the second day of St. Lawrence's Octave (a semidouble Office itself), the Sunday Office holds while the Octave is commemorated. This poses a question, though, that I am not entirely clear about - in post-1911 rubrics, whenever an Octave is commemorated on a Sunday, both the Dominical Preces and Athanasian Creed would be omitted at Prime, but in the Tridentine Sunday Office, those two elements are given as normative whenever the Sunday Office is prayed. The aforesaid commentater posited that an Octave would always supersede a Sunday, making our question moot, but I believe his posit to be incorrect per the tables referenced above. I am certainly in favor of the Tridentine practice of retaining the Sunday Office intact rather than "if a Double or Octave" occurs the rules change; with Double feasts superseding minor Sundays per Annum, this rule change should be moot, but it's not when 11 August is a Sunday (or 4 July, or 11 September, etc.).

b. It's in the nature of feasts to have distinguishing aspects of Octave celebration. Hence, the Tridentine rubrics already provided for keeping the Easter and Pentecost Octaves clear of any feasts; similarly, the Epiphany and Corpus Christi Octaves were cleared of all feasts save Doubles I class. The Christmas Octave, being fixed to specific Kalendar dates, functions such that any feast of nine lessons at Mattins supersedes the days within the Octave and this provides the basis for the Pian "Octaves of the Third Order" for the same treatment for the Ascension (and later Sacred Heart) Octaves. "Common Octaves" have the same precedence rules as the "Third Order Octaves" but in the post Pian Psalter, the distinction arises by using the Ferial psalms for the latter. Hence, in the restored CTO whereby festal psalmody continues throughout the days within Octaves, there is no difference in precedence or in practice between a "Third Order" vs. a "Common" Octave. So why keep both? But then it seems strange to put the Octaves of Sts. Peter & Paul, St. Lawrence, and the Ascension all on equal footing!  If we were to retain the "Simple Octave", it would itself be a liturgical novelty to adopt the ferial psalmody/single nocturn Office for days within an Octave, although this is precisely what St. Pius X did to the Octave Days of St. Lawrence, Nativity of Our Lady, and the comites feasts next to Christmas. I think there is no solution save to treat all Octaves below that of the "Second Order" as the same, and modify the Pian arrangement into three categories - First Order, Second Order, and Common. The days within all Octaves would remain Semidouble in rite (save for the Monday and Tuesday of the Easter and Pentecost Octaves), so all Octaves will retain a festal Office with three nocturns at Mattins throughout their entirety. The Octave Days would be Double Major if the feast itself is a Double I Class and Double (Minor) if the feast itself is a Double II Class. In any case, Octave Days would always supersede minor Sundays, while days within the Octave would not.

c. Tridentine rubrics stipulate that days within the Octave are not to be commemorated in occurrence when a Double I or II Class occurs. The Pian system retained this, so we also retain it for all Common Octaves. This would be rare in application for an Octave of the Second Order (we will retain the commemoration of such an Octave when a Double I Class feast occurs (e.g. the Nativity of St. John the Baptist falls within the Corpus Christi Octave), and never a consideration in a First Order Octave.











14 comments:

  1. "Back in the day" the octaves were not really treated equally anyway, there just were not formalized rules for dealing with them. For instance, the octaves of St Stephen and St John were commemorated on Holy Innocents (itself a Double II class), but the octave of the Nativity of St John the Baptist would be summarily ignored on Ss Peter & Paul. I think the reason St Pius X's octave system turned out so complex is that he tried to systematize a non-systematic practice. In late antiquity/early medieval period some octaves had a Mass and Office daily (ex. Pascha) and some had a feast and then a unique Mass and Office eight days later (Ss. Peter & Paul strikes me as one of these).

    I guess treating all octaves below that of the Second Order as equal works, I have never really thought it through. As for the preces and suffrages, I think they would be omitted on Sundays within octaves, even when the octave Office is below the Sunday Office owing to the idea of the Octave as a celebration. For the same reason there would be no third collect on a semi-double Sunday within an octave.

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  2. Dear CTO,
    Once again, thanks for your interesting and timely work here! This discussion of the Octaves is quite thought-provoking, and I think the rationale you propose is well thought out and fitting. I have to disclose, though, that I am particularly "jealous" for everything pertaining to St. Lawrence, my particular holy Patron. I meant to comment earlier on the posting for August regarding the reason for St. Lawrence's special place in the Roman Rite calendar. His martyrdom, so I have read, was considered to be the cause of the conversion of the City, and he is numbered (along with--of course!--the great and holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and with St. Sebastian) among the "Apostles of the City." Consequently, there are more churches in the ancient City dedicated to him than any other Saint (apart from the Bl. Virgin): namely, St. Lawrence Without the Walls (where his holy body is buried with that of St. Stephen the Protomartyr), "in Panisperna," "in Damaso," "in Lucina" (where a remnant of the gridiron is preserved), and "in Miranda" (at the Roman Forum). I might also mention (as a disciple of the Angelic Doctor) that he is one of the few Saints mentioned by St. Thomas by name in the Summa as the living embodiment of charity. Needless to add, I whole-heartedly would endorse his unimpeded Vigil and Octave after the manner of the pre-1911 octaves of the Christmas Companions. God bless you & yours,

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  3. @ Rad Trad, that's a very good point about the inconsistency of the Comites' Octaves vs. that of St. John the Baptist. Very strange since all of them are fixed to the same calendar dates each year. I had not thought of that previously. Perhaps we need simply to continue observing Octaves on a case-by-case basis as the specific rubrics indicate rather than standardizing them.

    I still find a difficulty in the case of 11 August whereby the semidouble Sunday has precedence over the day within the Octave of St. Lawrence. (Capreolus, thank you, by the way, for that great reminder of just how important St. Lawrence is; it is no accident that his cult merits the same rank as that of most Apostles and St. Stephen.) The Sunday Office , it seems to me, is fixed - i.e. when the Office is of the minor Sunday per Annum, the Suffrages at Lauds and Vespers and the Preces at Prime (also Athanasian Creed) and Compline are integral to said Office; it is only in the post-1911 world that the Suffrages and Preces are variable based on occurring Doubles or Octaves, likely based on the fact that those days would have previously superseded the Sunday rendering the matter moot. But did they ALL supersede Sundays previously? Going by the Table of Occurrence, I think not in the case of days within the lesser Octaves. However, the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas (if 30 December) is also a minor Sunday, and neither Suffrages nor Preces would hold, but again, the Office that day is not really "of the Sunday" but an Office proper to the Octave. Such would not be the case on 11 August, when the Office is of the Sunday rather than some Dominical variation of the feast of St. Lawrence. Or am I wrong and should the days within the Octave of St. Lawrence have precedence over the Sunday based on some specific rubric which trumps the Table of Occurrence?




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    1. I am fairly certain that a Sunday per annum, if it falls within an octave, is still observed in Office and Mass, but without the suffrages/preces/additional collects and with a commemoration of the octave. I just attempted to find some rubrics from 1474 Missal, a 1864 Missal, and a 1854 Office, alas all vague! I found one rubric though, in the 1864 Missal suggesting that dies infra octavam are treated as semi-doubles with "many" collects and directions on how to pick the third one! Convoluted!

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    2. Convoluted indeed, but it beats 20th. century rationalistic streamlining anyday! I'll have to peruse more thoroughly the Rubricae Generales in my 1854 Breviarium and see if any light can be shed on this matter. There is still no rubric given in Sunday's Prime to the effect of omitting the Preces or Athanasian Creed if an Octave occurs, though, it would be intuitive to do so. Stay tuned.

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  4. If I recall correctly, the only ranks in the Tridentine Calendar were Double, Semidouble, and Simple, and Octaves were not distinguished by type, although treated differently at times. The system in place just before the Pian reforms divided Doubles into four classes, and Octaves into five. In this revised calendar, do we want to retain this more complex system? I'd tend to say no, unless someone can make a case for it being useful.

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    1. Mr. Goings, it's been quite a while! I suppose internet liturgist (as Rad Trad would put it) circles are only so large. You are, indeed, correct that the pure Tridentine Kalendar only has the three ranks mentioned above, but it wasn't too long after that time (some time in the 17th. century) that Doubles were subdivided. I think this subdivision is helpful to distinguish feasts, all meriting Double, into a hierarchy of importance. The CTO adopts some post-1570 developments which do not harm the integrity of the Kalendar or the ancient Psalter; the Doubles' classifications provide rules by which we can determine whether or not a feast merits a transfer or which has precedence in concurrence at Vespers.

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    2. Mr Rotondi, actually not so long. I was "Enrico Dante" above; that happened because of an experiment in 'blogging anonymously, which I soon abandoned but never changed my Blogger settings back. But yes, I suppose these circles are only so large.

      Interestingly enough, after the Decline and Fall of S. Clement's, I started exploring the pre-Pian breviary, and decided that using it with a "modernized" and judiciously adjusted calendar was the way to go. I should say that I've been exhorted for years to abandon the Pian Psalter, but since we had so much of it in common at Clem's I stuck with it. Anyway, I now try to use a version of it (in English) with mostly Simples and a few Semidoubles, and the traditional Doubles (of various ranks). My goal is to basically have a comparable number of instances of the Sunday office as in the Pian breviary, but with more of the ferial Psalter on weekdays, and also greater emphasis on the Advent and Lenten feriae.

      Well, enough about me. I'm happy to see that others have similar ideas, and I find your new 'blog to be a great resource.

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    3. It seems Quicumque was prayed on all Sundays per annum after Epiphany and after Pentecost that did NOT fall within an octave (so treated like the suffrages and commemorations). In the 1911-1913 reforms, since semi-Double Sundays could outrank Doubles and Major Doubles, it is omitted whenever a Double or Major Double is commemorated. In the very odd 1961 "EF" Office it is only prayed on Trinity Sunday!

      The reformers killed Prime in 1964/5 and the Liturgia Horarum hit the shelves in 1975. I have no idea if Quicumque is prayed in that Office on Trinity or Ordinary Time Sundays.

      Mr. Going: excellent experiment! We internet liturgists ought to band together in such endeavors!

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  5. The Decline and Fall of St. Clement's?

    Is it safe to say that the "Quicumque" would not fit into the modernist, ecumenical mindset? I would be shocked if it still had any official usage after 1969. Before 1911, it was also prayed on the Sundays of Advent, Septuagesima, Lent, & Passiontide i.e. whenever the Office was of Sunday as in the Psalter (proper antiphons aside in those seasons).

    It seems that the CTO has "stolen" its very raison d'etre from Mr. Goings!

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    1. I shall email you, Mr Rotondi, if you are at all interested. For the 'blog, suffice it to say that the parish has finally achieved its Episcopalian apotheosis.

      Regarding the Athanasian Creed, I believe that it is never used in the modern liturgy; and of course only once a year in '61. I'm happy to have in on most post-Epiphany and post-Pentecost Sundays, as it's a very good affirmation of our beliefs about the Trinity.

      Someone once mentioned to me that it featured daily in the pre-Tridentine Prime, although I don't know this to be true. I do, it must be said, appreciate Pope S. Pius V rearranging the Sunday Prime Psalms throughout the week.

      And hardly stolen! Or, if you prefer, only stolen in that I stole it from someone else!

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    2. The Rad Trad has confirmed that Quicumque is not found in the new liturgy. John, you must remember bishop Athanasius was an intolerant man on the run from the consensus of the collegiate Church! If not for he and that other bigot, bishop Nicholas of Myra, our ecumenical discussions with the Arians would have yielded much dialogue, perhaps even a week-long conference at an Italian resort! While the Church of God subsists in the Catholic Church we must recognize the Arians and their noble leader, Fr Arius the Innovative, have much of the same belief as we do: they have ecclesiastical structure, valid bishops, they are part of the People of God, and they, with us and the Jews and Muslims, worship the one God! They even have magical views on Christ which, while not in the fullness of the truth yet, put them ever closer to full communion with us!

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  6. Rad Trad, you are such a...Rad Trad! LOL! Why I pray the Quicumque with gusto and am happy to find that its frequency is greater under older usage! For shame though that my parish prays this beautiful Creed (in English) on Trinity Sunday after the sermon, yet proceeds to pray for "religious liberty" and "liberty of conscience" weeks later for the "Fortnight" of Americanism. A bit schizophrenic, no?

    Mr Goings, yes you may send me a PM if you would like. Agreed that the distribution of Pss. 21-25 across the Feriae at Prime was a welcomed revision. Msgr. Battifol in his "History of the Roman Breviary" mentioned some derision among the medieval populace directed at priests taking too long to finish "their Prime" on Sundays!

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    1. Rather glorious, Mr Trad! I was thinking what a bad idea vat ii can had been the other day. 'Separated brethren' indeed.

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