Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Simple Octaves

In addition to the current observance of the Octave of the Immaculate Conception with Simplex rank, we also propose that the following octaves be likewise observed:

Octave of S. Stephen, Protomartyr
Octave of S. John, Apostle & Evangelist
Octave of the Holy Innocents
Octave of the Solemnity of S. Joseph
Octave of S. John the Baptist
Octave of S. Lawrence, Deacon & Martyr
Octave of the Nativity of the BVM

The Simplex Octave is to be observed thus:

* All Dies infra Octavam are ranked Simplex and follow the usual rules governing Simplex feasts, i.e. only First Vespers, precedence over Feriae per Annum but yielding to major Feriae in Advent. These days are always commemorated at both Vespers and Lauds of a higher ranking Office, unless the Office is of a Duplex I or II Class feast in which case commemorations of most octaves are generally omitted.

* The Octave Day itself is a Duplex feast and carries precedence in occurrence and concurrence accordingly. It is not transferable, however, when it occurs on a privileged Sunday, in which case it is to be commemorated in the Sunday's Office, e.g. Octave Day of the Immaculate Conception falls on Gaudete Sunday.

* The psalmody when the Office is of the Dies infra is ferial at Vespers and Mattins and festal from Lauds to None as is the case for Simplex feasts; all other texts are taken from the feast day itself or Proper as noted.

* The lessons at Mattins on the Dies infra are ordered such that the first two lessons and responds are taken from the occurring Scripture, lesson two being the concatenation of the second and third lessons from the occurring Scripture; the third lesson is formed from concatenating the pre-Sarto second nocturn lessons for the day in the Proper into one lesson (or using only the text which is Proper and not from the Common).

* During the entirety of these octaves, unless specifically stated to the contrary, any proper doxology and/or melody for the hymns for the particular octave is to be observed continuously. However, during the Octave of the Immaculate Conception, when the Office is of the Sunday or Feria, the Advent formulae are observed, but during the same octave when the Office is of a feast without a proper doxology, the formulae of the BVM are observed. The same rules hold for the verse at the short respond at Prime.

* Unless otherwise stated, the colour of the Office and the Preface at Mass are determined by the octave on all days within it, including Sundays, except in Advent or when higher privileged octaves hold the determining rule. The Credo, by rule, is omitted during Simplex octaves unless the Mass of a particular feast (or a higher concurrent octave) occurring within it requires it, e.g. Doctor of the Church.


This, we believe, is the best approach to borrow from Sarto's organization and distinction of octaves without sacrificing the nature of octaves (i.e. there are still days within). This also accords further usage of the ferial psalms in our quest to achieve optimal and actual, and not just theoretical, usage of the Ancient Roman Psalter.

As a review, the remaining Octaves not listed above retain the usual Semiduplex rank and rite on the Dies infra and a Duplex Majus for the Octave Day. Furthermore, the Octaves of Epiphany, Pascha, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi are privileged to the exclusion of all or nearly all occurring feasts.












5 comments:

  1. Ah, falling back into Sartian bad habits! I do not see how the concept of a Simple octave would apply to Ss. Stephen, John, and the Innocents, given that their octaves can never be fully observed in any case. St John the Baptist does not deserve such a demotion either, given that in ancient times they celebrated three Masses on his feast. The concept of a simple octave with ferial psalms misses the point of an octave, which is celebration, a break from the cycle of psalms and penitential prayers in favor of joy at God's renewed creation (hence the 8 days) as manifested in some saint or event. In past times octaves were treated a bit differently. The 1911 attempt to categorize them missed the point. The heavy psalter and prayers of Advent, Lent, and the long periods without major feasts during the time after Pentecost (except for August, which is laden with them) ensures that the Tridentine Office already has a strong ferial psalter. Octaves are a welcomed change of pace.

    I thought about the Immaculate Conception and came to the conclusion that, as a minor feast until Pius IX and a minor feast in the East, it does not deserve an octave which obstructs the vivacious readings and antiphons of Lent. Perhaps a compromise might be to give it a double octave day without the actual octave, much like how St Agnes has January 21 and 28, a relic of an octave now gone?

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    1. I would also add that St Lawrence was second only to Peter & Paul in significance in the Church of Rome....

      In the old system not all octaves were the same anyhow. The ad hoc rules reflect how people viewed the significance of the feasts in relation to the ferial system. For example, on Ss Peter and Paul, a Double of the I Class, the octave of St John the Baptist is ignored (despite St John being a Double of the I Class himself) while the Christmas season octaves are allowed to overlap, even on the comites Christi feasts.

      If there was a distinction in the old rite, it was between super important octaves (Pentecost & Pascha) and the rest. Perhaps Epiphany & Christmas do not have the rules that the other two have because they are not movable and so falling on a Sunday does not matter and overlapping another major feast is not possible.

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    2. "I do not see how the concept of a Simple octave would apply to Ss. Stephen, John, and the Innocents,..."

      True that in their cases it would be the nomenclature and have affect whatsoever on the already existing commemorations on their dies infra.

      "St John the Baptist does not deserve such a demotion either"

      Maybe, maybe not. There are already a glut of octaves at that time of year, and I think a little pruning is needed. Again, not much changes de facto (save the reduction in Mattins' lessons) since his octave would still take precedence over Feriae per annum.

      "The concept of a simple octave with ferial psalms misses the point of an octave."
      Does it? According to Gregory DiPippo, there is a precedent for Simplex octaves among the non-Roman Western Rites. Would you also argue against the (1568 I believe) change from festal to ferial psalmody for Simplex feasts in their apparent confusion of feast vs. ferial?

      "I thought about the Immaculate Conception and came to the conclusion that, as a minor feast until Pius IX and a minor feast in the East, it does not deserve an octave which obstructs the vivacious readings..."

      I would rather say "let's extend the abolition of octaves to all of Advent to make it congruent with Lent" as a firmer basis to your well taken point.

      "In the old system not all octaves were the same anyhow."
      Agreed, but I think that a further distinction needs to be made among the non-privileged octaves. Universally, it makes little sense to treat S. Lawrence and All Saints equally. Regarding your point about S. Lawrence, I agree if the question is limited to a particular observance in and around Rome.

      In all of it, I am not trying to categorize 1911 style, but introducing a lesser privilege to some octaves as I have, over time, experienced a bit too much "suffocation" from the some of these octaves, both with respect to their redundancy (which is a given) and their relative to importance to other days which certainly merit being redundant for eight days (e.g. Epiphany).

      "Perhaps a compromise might be to give it a double octave day without the actual octave, much like how St Agnes has January 21 and 28, a relic of an octave now gone?"

      We'll leave S. Agnes alone, but I would be reluctant to introduce a very 1911 concept of octaves without intervening days within.

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    3. If a simple octave misses the point, the Dominicans have been missing it for several centuries. The Dominican breviary of 1851 lists five kinds of octaves, the octava cum sola memoria, the octava trium lectionum, the octava simplex, the octava solemnis and the octava solemnissima.

      The octave with only a memory is only commemorated during its entire octave and also on its octave day. This was the rank for St Andrew Apostle, St Vincent Martyr and St Joseph Confessor.

      The octave with three lessons is commemorated during the week and celebrated as a feast of three lessons on its octave day (similar to the Roman simple feast). This was the rank for the Comites Christi feasts.

      The simple octave was celebrated with three lessons throughout the week and as a simple feast (corresponding to semidouble in the Roman calendar) on its octave day. Thus were celebrated Epiphany, Dedication, Nativity and Visitation of the BVM, St John Baptist, Sts Peter and Paul Apostles, St Lawrence Martyr, St Martin Confessor, St Michael Archangel, St Mary Magdalen and several Saints peculiar to the order.

      The solemn octave was celebrated as a simple octave, but the Little Office of the BVM and the preces at Prime and Compline were omitted. This was the octave rank for Ascension, Trinity, Conception, Annuntiation, Assumption, Holy Rosary, All Saints, and for Sts Dominic, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, of course.

      The most solemn octave was celebrated as a solemn octave but did not admit the celebration of any feast during the octave, Christmas and some pathological cases with Corpus Christi excepted. This was for Christmas, Easter, Whitsun and Corpus Christi.

      So it isn't that 1911 at all to have octaves with only a memory on the intervening days or even the octave day itself.

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  2. On the contrary, in previous time rubrics were more descriptive than prescriptive. The five gradations of octaves in the Dominican rite may well be a reflection of the Dominicans' scholastic tendency to categorize and distinguish on all matters, in this case the existing ad hoc [non-]system.

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