Roman Advice Regarding HWHM

The other night I was perusing my copy of Sacrosanctum Consilium, the main statement on liturgical matters from Vatican II. (This requires a much longer post which is in the works, but as the ’79 BCP is as much a fruit of the council as the Novus Ordo mass, I’ve been rereading the council’s documents.) I came across this little bit which I found of great interest, especially given the developing Episcopal situation with HWHM (thanks, Ren!):

102. Holy Mother Church is conscious that she must celebrate the saving work of her divine Spouse by devoutly recalling it on certain days throughout the course of the year. Every week, on the day which she has called the Lord’s day, she keeps the memory of the Lord’s resurrection, which she also celebrates once in the year, together with His blessed passion, in the most solemn festival of Easter.

Within the cycle of a year, moreover, she unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the coming of the Lord.

Recalling thus the mysteries of redemption, the Church opens to the faithful the riches of her Lord’s powers and merits, so that these are in some way made present for all time, and the faithful are enabled to lay hold upon them and become filled with saving grace.

103. In celebrating this annual cycle of Christ’s mysteries, holy Church honors with especial love the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, who is joined by an inseparable bond to the saving work of her Son. In her the Church holds up and admires the most excellent fruit of the redemption, and joyfully contemplates, as in a faultless image, that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be.

104. The Church has also included in the annual cycle days devoted to the memory of the martyrs and the other saints. Raised up to perfection by the manifold grace of God, and already in possession of eternal salvation, they sing God’s perfect praise in heaven and offer prayers for us. By celebrating the passage of these saints from earth to heaven the Church proclaims the paschal mystery achieved in the saints who have suffered and been glorified with Christ; she proposes them to the faithful as examples drawing all to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she pleads for God’s favors.

. . .

108. The minds of the faithful must be directed primarily toward the feasts of the Lord whereby the mysteries of salvation are celebrated in the course of the year. Therefore, the proper of the time shall be given the preference which is its due over the feasts of the saints, so that the entire cycle of the mysteries of salvation may be suitably recalled.

. . .

111. The saints have been traditionally honored in the Church and their authentic relics and images held in veneration. For the feasts of the saints proclaim the wonderful works of Christ in His servants, and display to the faithful fitting examples for their imitation.

Lest the feasts of the saints should take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation, many of them should be left to be celebrated by a particular Church or nation or family of religious; only those should be extended to the universal Church which commemorate saints who are truly of universal importance.

How interesting…

I see here a specific injunction for local kalendars. Not bad advice given our possible upcoming odd proliferation.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that this document is binding on Anglicans, I simply raise it as an example of how a parallel ecclesial body has wrestled with this same issue…

5 thoughts on “Roman Advice Regarding HWHM

  1. John-Julian, OJN

    If HWHM makes it through GC 09 (and that is by no means guaranteed given the negative feedback all over the place) that business of local commemoration is what will HAVE to happen — but it would be nice if it were stated (suggested?) overtly.

    You know, something like: “These are approved for use — if you want to use them.”

    OJN will certainly not use all those commemorations.

  2. Joe Rawls

    John-Paul II canonized people like crazy, so that by the time he died there were (I think) over 1000 official RC saints. The folks who compiled HWHM apparently chose to imitate this part of the Pope’s agenda but nothing else. Some kind of local winnowing will be both necessary and inevitable.

  3. Hoosierpalian

    Isn’t it ironic? The folks most likely to have daily Mass and/or daily public Offices are the least likely to want to adopt HWHM.

  4. Ren Aguila

    Well, there’s nothing ironic about that. Whatever happened to ferial time, I must say? Having an excessive number of saint’s days without some form of winnowing does violate one aspect of the reforms that led to the English Prayer Book which is, if I am correct, that as much as possible, the sanctorale should be limited either to apostolic feasts or to those mentioned in the Bible or those of long standing (hence the Conception of the BVM, without the propers).

    I would agree that a bit of winnowing is necessary at this point, not to mention an attempt to adopt the laudable practice of the Church of England’s Common Worship materials of prescribing different levels of observance.

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