Sunday 13 April 2014

More on Passiontide

Following my recent lament about the suppression of Passiontide, I have had some interesting correspondence with Fr Francis Coveney, who emailed me as he did not know how to post a comment. He has confirmed he is happy for me to post anything he has written that might be of interest, so I am posting all the relevant parts of both his emails (with gratitude for an interesting contribution - I love this stuff, learning as I go...)

 In his first email, he wrote, (inter alia):
The Preface in the Missal to be used during the 5th week of Lent is described as “Preface I of the Passion of the Lord”.

Before the 5th Sunday of Lent, the prefaces used are either one of the four general Prefaces for Lent – or one of the special Sunday Prefaces (with references to the Year A gospels).

So I think we can still legitimately refer to the Fifth Sunday of Lent as being the First Sunday in Passiontide.

Preface I of the Passion of the Lord” states: “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation......For through the saving Passion of your Son the whole world has received a heart to confess the infinite power of your majesty since by the wondrous power of the Cross your judgement on the world is now revealed and the authority of Christ crucified....”

And in “Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year” (ISBN 0-89870-829-x) Bishop Peter J Elliot  writes:

“As is already noted, the First Preface of the Passion is used during the Fifth Week of Lent, marking the beginning of the last phase of Lent, traditionally known as Passiontide. The custom of veiling crosses and images in these last two weeks of Lent has much to commend it in terms of religious psychology, because it helps us to concentrate on the great essentials of Christ’s work of Redemption. The Episcopal conference decides whether this should be obligatory within its territory  (33) but any pastor may choose to restore or maintain this wise practise in his own parish. The violet veils should preferably be made of a plain light fabric, without any decoration. The Stations of the Cross and images in stained-glass windows are never veiled. Crosses and images are veiled before the First Vespers or vigil Mass of the Fifth Sunday of Lent. Crosses are unveiled after the Good Friday ceremonies. All other images are unveiled, without any ceremony, just before the Easter Vigil begins.”  Page 67-68

(33) Cf. Missale Romanum, Fifth Sunday of Lent; Circular Letter concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts, no. 26

To which I replied (inter alia):
I am always happy to be corrected when I get things wrong: in fact one of the best things about blogging is that many well-informed people pick me up on things, and so I have learned a lot (I introduced a tag 'Ben gets it wrong again' recently, but have not tagged nearly as many posts with that as perhaps I should.)
However, I remain confused as regards Passiontide. 
On the one hand, there are the points you have made, which were new to me; on the other, hand, we have Bugnini's statement, the official Bishops' calendar, and at least my Sunday (CTS) Missal. The preface for the Fifth Sunday (as opposed to the weekdays) is the one referring to the Samaritan Woman (Year A) or Preface 1 or 2 of Lent (other years). Also, today seems now to be called Palm Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord, which would be odd if last Sunday were still Passion Sunday.
To which he kindly replied (inter alia) 
I am not an expert on Liturgy - and I have not read Bugnini - but........ 
1. It is definitely permitted - i would say recommended but not compulsory -  to veil images and crucifixes from the 5th Sunday of Lent 
A priest in another diocese, who has a License in Liturgy, once told me that if something was not forbidden in the Liturgy changes following the Second Vatican Council then it is still permitted and encouraged. 
He was referring to the use of bells at the Consecration. 
Some minimalists (including Bugnini?) tried to abolish the use of bells because they are not (as far as I know) specifically mentioned in the General Instruction to the Roman Missal. 
But my informant says they are still permitted - and encouraged. 
But veiling of Statues and Crucifixes during Passiontide is specifically mentioned. 
Sometimes Sunday and Weekday Missals produced by the CTS and others can make mistakes (even with an Imprimatur!). They are of course only extracts from the Roman Missal used on the altar. 
And it is of course the Roman Missal that is the definitive text - which definitely mentions the veiling of crosses and images to begin from the Fifth Sunday of Lent.  
Of course each diocese is supposed to produce an Ordo to guide priests in the celebration of Mass and the Divine Office. 
In the Ordo for Westminster (and for Brentwood - my own diocese) it reminds us immediately before the Fifth Sunday of Lent: 
"The practice of covering crosses and images in the church may be observed. Crosses remain covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday; images until the beginning of the Easter Vigil." 
2. Does Passiontide begin on the 5th Sunday of Lent or on Palm Sunday? 
In my late father's Daily Missal (given to him ironically by my Grandmother for Christmas 1960 - just before the changes!) it states that the Preface to be used from Passion Sunday until Maundy Thursday (except on feasts having a proper Preface) is the Preface of the Passion and the Holy Cross. 
The present Roman Missal has MANY more Prefaces than the Extraordinary Form Missal. 
As you rightly mention, particular Prefaces are to be used for the Sundays in Lent
1A/B/C - The Temptation of the Lord
2A/B/C - The Transfiguration of the Lord
3A - The Samaritan Woman
4A - The Man Born Blind
5A - Lazarus 
But on the 5th Sunday of Lent for Years B & C, we still use Preface I or II of Lent - rather than "Preface I of the Passion of the Lord". 
I find this rather confusing! 
But as I mentioned before - the Preface in the Missal to be used during the weekdays of the 5th week of Lent is described as “Preface I of the Passion of the Lord”.  
The subheading to this Preface reads "The power of the Cross". A rubric then adds: "The following Preface is said during the Fifth Week of Lent and in Masses of the mysteries of the Cross and Passion of the Lord". 
And from today we are instructed  to use "Preface II of the Passion of the Lord" - "the victory of the Passion" on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week. 
So for the last two weeks of Lent, we use "Preface I of the Passion of the Lord" and "Preface II of the Passion of the Lord" - but we start using these Prefaces of the Passion of the Lord only on the Monday following the 5th Sunday of Lent. 
"today seems now to be called Palm Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord, which would be odd if last Sunday were still Passion Sunday." 
But in the old Daily Missals I have from 1960, they referred to:  
So Palm Sunday was referred to in 1960 as being the Second Sunday in Passiontide.
Therefore I think that combining the rubrics in the current Roman Missal about the veiling of crosses and images for the last two weeks of Lent and the mandatory use of "Preface I & II of the Passion of the Lord" for the last two weeks of Lent, it is legitimate to still refer to these last two weeks as the two weeks of Passiontide. 
But I don't understand why we don't use “Preface I of the Passion of the Lord”" on the 5th Sunday of Lent in Years B and C.

So I am heartened that the veiling of statues is explicitly permitted, rather than a pious hangover that some diligent liturgist could legitimately stamp on.

But I remain confused about Passiontide itself.

All in all, I still think Bugnini's mission to simplify, simplify.... was applied here too.

But I am grateful to Fr Coveney for taking the time to contribute his knowledge and thoughts to the discussion.


Simon Platt said...

It seems that Abp. Bugnini failed in his mission.

Matthew Hazell said...

Bells are mentioned in the newest edition of the GIRM at para. 150: I'm sure they were also in older editions, but I don't have access to them at the moment.

With regard to Passiontide in the Novus Ordo... well, the reason we don't use Preface I of the Passion on the 5th Sun in Lent is because Passiontide no longer exists. A glance at the calendar demonstrates that. Sure, one could call the 5th Sunday in Lent the 1st in Passiontide, but the two Sundays in their respective missals have so little in common it seems incongruous to do so. Sadly, all we have left of Passiontide in the OF are the (now optional) customs and liturgical quirks that don't make a lot of sense without the season itself.

As you said previously, we are (perhaps) more logical but far poorer than we were before the reforms.