ULTON J. SHEEN used to say: “If the Catholic Church were as holy as some wanted it to be, they themselves would be afraid to join because of their sins.” On a telephone call, Monsignor Robert Skeris reminded me that the men of the Church are often corrupt, but the institution itself remains sine ruga et macula (“without blemish or wrinkle”). Sometimes it takes centuries for the Church to ‘course correct’—and a good example would be the hymn corruptions introduced by Pope Urban VIII, which were not corrected until 330 years later. JANSENISM would be another example.
Special Hymn • In a moment, we will discuss the season of Septuagesima. Did you know there’s a special hymn for that season? Here it is:
Season of Septuagesima • I believe it was wrong for the post-conciliar reformers to eliminate the season of Septuagesima. Someday, this will be corrected. One of the most prominent post-conciliar reformers was Father Louis Bouyer (d. 2004), who was a close friend of Pope Saint Paul VI. (I’m told Paul VI wanted to make him a cardinal, but Bouyer refused.) Here is what Father Bouyer said about eliminating Septuagesima:
“I prefer to say nothing, or very little, about the new calendar, the handiwork of a trio of maniacs who suppressed—with no good reason—Septuagesima and the Octave of Pentecost and who scattered three quarters of the Saints higgledy-piddledy, all based on notions of their own devising! Because these three hotheads obstinately refused to change anything in their work and because the pope wanted to finish up quickly to avoid letting the chaos get out of hand, their project, however insane, was accepted!”
“Ordinary” Time? • Some people hate the term Ordinary Time (which translates “Tempus per annum”). Father Valentine Young, OFM, refused to use that term. He always called it: Through the Year. In the 1962 MISSALE ROMANUM, the time after Epiphany is called: “Tempus per annum ante Septuagesimam,” as you can see:
The 1962 Missal has the “Season of Septuagesima,” which reminds Catholics that Lent is coming: