Monday, July 09, 2007

More on the Lectionary Mess

UPDATE: Thanks to some sensible observations by Shawn and also by Fr. Zuhlsdorf, I am quite happy to go back on my word. Writing to me, Shawn noted that there wouldn't seem to be need to permit something that is already a permitted practice, i.e. reading the lessons before the homily as is the present custom. Regarding the new lectionary, Fr. Zuhlsdorf posts the following from guidelines issued by PCED in 1991:

"5.Following upon the "wide and generous application" of the principles laid down in Quattuor Abhinc Annos and the directives of the fathers of the Second Vatican Council (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, nos. 51 and 54), the new lectionary in the vernacular could be used as a way of "providing a richer fare for the faithful at the table of God’s Word" in Masses celebrated according to the 1962 missal. However, we believe that this usage should not be imposed on congregations who decidedly wish to maintain the former liturgical tradition in its integrity according to the provision of the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei. Such an imposition might also be less likely to invite back to full communion with the Church at this time those who have lapsed into schismatic worship."

I happily retract what I said earlier, and apologize for opening my mouth prematurely. (I'll bet that's a blogging first! :)) I shall wait for word from PCED before I open my mouth again.


Original post:

Many of you may have seen tonight's EWTN special on Summorum Pontificum. During this show, Msgr. Moroney, secretary of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, asserted that the motu proprio gives permission for the readings of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to be rendered from the Lectionary that belongs to the Ordinary Form. Fr. Kenneth Baker, Editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, politely disagreed and asserted that this is not the case. Rather, Baker said, it refers to permission for the priest to read the lessons in the vernacular after they had been read in Latin. He bases this interpretation from his reading of the official Latin text of the motu proprio, which says that the readings may "also" be done in the vernacular.

Moreover, Baker referred to the custom in France and Germany--different from that in the U.S., where the readings are read together in the vernacular before the homily--of doing the vernacular of each lesson immediately following it. For instance, the priest would read the Epistle in Latin facing the altar, then turn around and face the people while reading the Epistle in the vernacular. Et cetera. I was unaware of this custom. I think I like the American custom better.

This is far different from the two interpretations that have been proposed thus far. However, Seminarian Zach discusses this as well, and has the support of a canon lawyer in this interpretation.

This issue seems to be destined to land on Cardinal Castrillon's desk sooner rather than later.

UPDATE: Several good folks have mentioned the previous permission from PCED regarding the use of readings from the new Lectionary. I went looking, and this is what I found, thanks to the St. Bede Studio:

This pontifical commission sees no difficulty in the celebrant's reading an approved vernacular translation of the Epistle and the Gospel proper to the 1962 Missal while otherwise adhering to the rubrics laid down in the Ritus Servandus.

If I have found the correct document, this would seem to indicate that the new lectionary is not allowed, at least by virtue of this statement. I suppose we'll just have to wait for the definite interpretation of art. 6 of the MP from PCED.

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