Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Octave of the Immaculate Conception

The author of this CTO belongs to a Facebook Group dedicated to the promotion and discussion of the Divine Office, under its many legitimate and demonstrably illegitimate iterations. The group's administrator and this author, at the urging of the former some time ago, have been posting weekly, personal ordines, and in the last posting of the CTO on that site, a discussion arose concerning what frequency the Advent ferial Office should be accorded relative to festal days and, in particular, what should be the case concerning the Octave of the Immaculate Conception vis-a-vis Advent.

Last year, when we were ironing out the wrinkles of octaves in general (post-Sarto systemization vs. Tridentine ad-hoc rules), it was settled that we stick with the Tridentine system as was stated here. For review, every octave would, at minimum, consist of semiduplex dies infra octavam and a duplex dies octavae; additional privileges would apply to specific octaves (e.g. Pascha). However, Mr. Gregory DiPippo of the New Liturgical Movement, who is also a regular contributor on the Facebook page, stated that among some non-Roman Western rites, there is a precedent for simplex octaves, and such was not first invented under Sarto. He suggested that it would be beneficial to reduce the days within the Octave of the Immaculate Conception to simplex rank while keeping its Octave Day as a Duplex. The same could be said for some other octaves (e.g. Holy Innocents). This has caused this author to reevaluate our octave system and now reopen the discussion to the readers before next week's Ordo is posted.

Having followed the Traditional Roman Breviary under CTO guidelines for nearly 18 months, I am of the opinion that not all octaves should be treated equally. Leaving aside the obvious privileged octaves, should the Octaves of All Saints and the Assumption, on one hand, have the same status as those of S. Lawrence and the Holy Innocents? Furthermore, should the prohibition of octaves mandated for the entirety of Lent also be extended to all of Advent beyond Sapientiatide? If not, should the Octave of the Immaculate Conception, in fact, be downgraded simply (no pun intended) for the fact that it is Advent.

I am partial to the Advent ferial Office; it gets too little exposure, especially in the first two weeks. When I switched from 1962 to Divino Afflatu five or six years ago, I regretted that I had greatly reduced my praying the Advent Office despite the other obvious gains in such a transition. Switching from DA to the CTO last year resulted in no significant change to the balance because of the IC Octave. Does 1962 have something reasonable to offer in its relatively good balance between feast and feria this season but without abolishing the IC Octave?

If we were to establish a system of Simplex octaves, it would not be the Sarto system of a non-octave octaves, but simply the reduction of the six days infra octavam to Simplex; in effect, these days would trump feriae per annum, but would give way to the major feriae in penitential seasons according to the same rule governing Simplex feasts. Hence, Dec 9, 10, 12, and 14, on the universal kalendar would be Advent Feriae with a commemoration of the octave. The preces would still be omitted per the rules governing octaves, so there would be an increase to the ferial Office but with a leniency owing to the octave at the same time. Is this a reasonable amendment to our octave system?

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