Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Making it better.

Taking a good look at the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours and the various issue of Notitiae have helped me to get around some of the more unsavoury parts of the new breviary by taking advantage of different lawful options. (Eg, it is permissible in the sung office to use antiphons other than those assigned, which means I can sing the office of Our Lady using the old antiphons. Permission is also given to use other appropriate readings, and in privileged seasons, the readings of one day of the week may also be used on other weekdays of the same season. It is also allowed, without abandoning the cycle, to choose a reading from one year of the cycle of matins readings to use on the same day of a different year.

What this eventually ends up meaning is that it is permissible, taking into mind the bounds of the rules regarding rank and season, to re-create old offices. You use the antiphons and readings from the old one as far as rubrics allow, and everything else is taken from the new one. One example where the CDW has done this is the office of the Assumption, where in place of the antiphons and long responsories of the new office, everything is replaced with texts from the old office of the Assumption. A similar thing is done on the Immaculate conception and All Saints. Taking into mind the rubrics for readings, at lauds and the little hours, one could take the chapters from the old office. (But not at vespers, since at vespers, the readings must be from the new testament.)

Another wonderful thing these rules do is help to re-instate something of the old tenebrae. Year two of the cycle of readings has restored the readings from the book of Lamentations read during Holy week and the triduum. This, with the fact that the Ordo Cantus Officii replaces many of the new office responsories with ones from the old office, and the same for antiphons, one could be using an office that is essentially an abridged version of the old office. ( And with the permission restored in the new breviary to anticipate Matins, it could even be done at the old times, something you cannot legally do with the '62 office.)

There are also other little things you have to root around to find out about. (E.g., that the Liber Hymnarius restores as an option the verse Impleta sunt quae fulgida from the Vexilla regis, and that the Dies Irae can be sung in the office of the dead throughout the year.

Personally, I think it would be helpful to unite some of these rulings in a single place, rather than having to scrounge about looking for them. I didn't even find out about the lamentations ruling till yesterday, and it would have been helpful to know that during holy week, but it's such an obscure rule that I doubt many people know of it.

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