NE REASON for convening Council of Trent was to make clear what Catholics believe, as opposed to the “Protestant” churches springing up. For this reason, the Council often issued decrees saying (in essence): “If anyone believes such-and-such, let him be anathema.” I like to call this very clear (if somewhat negative) system the “Trent method,” and I’ll use it to begin today’s article.
The other day, a knowledgeable and sincere defender of the Bugnini Lectionary said:
“In the ordinary form Lectionary, proper readings are retained on all solemnities, all feasts, and a sprinkling of the memorials.”
I clearly remember a priest making this claim more than a decade ago … but it’s not true. Here, for example, are some solemnities and feasts whose readings change because of a 3-year Lectionary cycle: Trinity Sunday, Christ the King, Transfiguration, Baptism of the Lord, Holy Family, and All Souls’ Day.
THE THREE-YEAR LECTIONARY has turned out to be a very hurtful thing for Catholics because it robs us of “yearly associations.” Considering the Ordinary Form has (wrongly) banished the Propers from 99% of Masses, the damage is compounded. We’ve discussed this many times, and earlier this week, Dr. Kwasniewski published an NLM article on this subject. We all seem to agree with what Professor László Dobszay said years ago:
The creators did not consider the capacity of the human psyche: the maximal size of a cyclic human memory extends to one year, which is “humanized” by the path of the Sun and the cycle of the seasons.
Please notice that nobody is criticizing Scripture itself, as Dobszay clarified:
First, however, we have to make an essential distinction. The Bible and the Gospels are holy to the very last letter. The very last “and” uttered by the Savior has meaning and conveys grace, simply because it was He who said it. Nobody has the right to select or omit the words of the Bible according to his perspective or taste. The Bible demands reverence and pious devotion, and it is only in its entirety that it has consecrating power. But another question is whether all parts of the Bible are equally suitable for becoming a pericope (in the sense defined above) — able to pervade, organize and characterize the liturgical day. When we discuss the choice of pericopes, it is not the biblical text that is criticized, and no distinction is made between the status of the various holy texts as part of Divine Revelation and doctrine. All we say is that one text is not as suitable to be a pericope as another.
Everyone ought to carefully reflect on Dobszay’s work, which has much to offer:
The article is available online courtesy of the CMAA and Catholic Church Music Associates.