Lamentations

I have been saying the 1962 breviary during the Triduum. Matins has lots of chunks from the book of Lamentations which is stoutly referred to as Lamentatio Ieremiae Prophetae - just as "Hebrews" is uncompromisingly called Epistola beatae Pauli Apostoli ad Hebraeos. The office is a little shorter because the Glorias are all missed out, as is the capitulum and versicle. For all the day hours, the verse Christus factus est is said kneeling and then the collect is said without Oremus.

On my shelves, I have a copy of the Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae, the Order for Holy Week, revised by Pius XII, which came into force on 25 March 1956 which was Palm Sunday that year. It was interesting to read the introduction and then to read Bugnini's account of the changes in his The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975. The decree has a brief reference to the history of the rites, stating that they all moved to the morning during the Middle Ages. The principal thrust of the reasoning, however, is "very grave" pastoral need because of the secular change that had made these days no longer festive but days of work, preventing lay people from attending.

To be honest, this doesn't really seem a good line of reasoning and if the change hinges on accessibility to the ordinary person, it would make sense to change them all back to the morning. Certainly, the long Easter Vigil service would suit people better on Saturday morning, I think, and leave them free to have a nice dinner in the evening - as used to be the custom. Significantly, Bugnini notes that the people principally involved in the discussions were all academics but that they were terribly concerned about pastoral matters. Perhaps they should have had some parish priests on the committee :-)

There is a short office meant to be said after Communion at the Vigil Mass. Before the reforms of Pius XII, this was a short Vespers, said around midday, I suppose, with just one psalm and the Magnificat. The reformed version put the Vigil at night and changed the short office to Lauds with one psalm and the Benedictus. Whoops! did someone admit that Lauds was part of the Night Office. tsk tsk!

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