HE LITURGICAL REFORMS from the 1960s are certainly not irreversible. We know this because so many have already been reversed (and re-reversed) over the last five decades. Examples would include: Communion in the hand; female Altar servers; using an audible voice for the Canon; whether we are free to ignore the Vatican II mandates on Latin; women lectors inside the Sanctuary; secular texts replacing the Propria Missae; whether cardinals are free to reject the second Eucharistic Prayer; whether the USCCB can overrule the GIRM; whether we are free to ignore Vatican II mandates on Gregorian Chant; and so forth.1
Epiphany Too Short: It’s only a matter of time until serious reforms will be made. When that time arrives, the Church must restore the season of Epiphany—which traditionally was very lengthy. The three “cardinal” feasts of the Church (according to Father Fortescue) are: EPIPHANY, EASTER, and PENTECOST. For at least 1,700 years, each cardinal feast gave a “marked character” to its season: Sundays after Epiphany, Sundays after Easter, and Sundays after Pentecost.
(1) Epiphany (which originally included the Nativity) = Christ’s Divinity;
(2) Easter (and its preparatory season, Lent) = Redemption and Resurrection;
(3) Pentecost = how Christ sanctifies the Church.
Trio Of Maniacs: Vatican II never said anything about Epiphany: not one word. The people who reformed the calendar decided to make Christmas and Epiphany very short. (One of the major 1960s reformers—Father Louis Bouyer—called the calendar reformers “a trio of maniacs.”) This year, the season of Epiphany only lasted three days—although it was slightly longer in dioceses where the Epiphany was moved to a Sunday. Three days. Three days! In the traditional calendar, the season of Epiphany sometimes lasted six weeks! Destroying Epiphany was in direct disobedience to Vatican II; cf. SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM §23.
Lack Voices? No Problem: The Brébeuf hymnal is the best source of authentic Catholic hymns for the season of Epiphany. Oh, so many excellent hymns from which to choose! One of them (O Sola Magnarum Urbium) goes all the way back to the 4th century—and the Brébeuf hymnal includes several different translations and melodies for it. Due to the high rate of Covid-19, last Sunday it was necessary for us to choose hymns that can be sung well with a limited number of voices.
Some of you might appreciate these live recordings from last Sunday:
Final Thought: It’s sometimes claimed that the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is a “Novus Ordo” invention. This is not true, and betrays a misunderstanding of the different mysteries or “manifestations” celebrated on the Epiphany. Father Adrian Fortescue reminds us: “The Epiphany commemorates three manifestations of Christ’s divinity: the visit of the Wise men, our Lord ’s Baptism, and the miracle at Cana.”
Below are two items for your consideration; one from 1759AD and the other from 1962:
The following hymn—#286 in the Brébeuf hymnal—is for the Baptism of the Lord:
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Notice I’m not telling you whether I agree with certain items; I’m simply pointing out that post-conciliar legislation has frequently been reversed (and re-reversed). You don’t have to take my word for it; the very people who came up with the reforms have made this clear. For example, Giacomo Cardinal Lercaro was president of the CONSILIUM, which was responsible for the 1960s liturgical reforms. On 2 March 1965, Lercaro published an article (in l’Avennire d’Italia) which strongly condemned those who criticized the reforms. But his article also condemned liturgical abuses Lercaro called “fanciful” and “deplorable.” What were those “abuses” condemned by the chief reformer? Lercaro was very specific: (1) Communion in the hand; (2) speaking the Canon in an audible voice.