Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This is a post about "Gravitational Pull"

It's a funny thing: the Church has Laws — these are in addition to the moral law, at least in the sense that one could reasonably not do what they prescribe under the counterfactual hypothesis that they didn't say it. Nonetheless the Law, justly proposed, itself imposes a moral character on acts that otherwise wouldn't suffer such character.

One such law, which pertains to Priests, accolytes, and cantors, is that Priests as such (accolytes, cantors...) have no authority either to set aside nor to add to the prescribed text and ceremonial of the Mass, except in narrowly described ways. There are good reasons for this on which we need not dwell, and there are annoying consequences of it.

One annoying consequence of it (for a Priest) is that the indulgence attached to the aspiration of "Doubting" Saint Thomas is not allowed him, even in the usual circumstances, at the First Elevation in a Mass he is himself celebrating — for this would be an illicit interruption of, or addition to, the Canon. An annoying consequence of it is that blue chasubles, dalmatics, and tunicles (which exist in plenty, and of which many are profoundly beautiful) are thoroughly outlawed. A most perplexing consequence of it, for the children of Summorum Pontificum is that there really isn't any way the Extraordinary Form can be made an excuse to depart from the edited text of the Missal for the Ordinary Form, nor vice-versa. The dressing of the altar, the vesting of the ministers, the words used and their order, have each their circumscriptions; the propers of a Sunday Mass (proper of the Season) may not be used for votive masses, but only on their own Sunday and feriae; there are more points, but these are enough to keep in mind (unless you are a priest, in which case you keep a fresh Ordo and GIRM and all the rest handy and what are you doing, in whose name, reading this waste of time?) So we're a bit funny, celebrating the Kingship of Our Lord twice a year, and calling 1st January both the Motherhood of Mary and the Circumcision of Our Lord... and for a time we will be funny. (We should always be some sort of funny!) It is not in any authority below the Supreme Pontiff to adjust these counterpoints.

Do we want to unify the Calendars? Perhaps we do, and so why not compose ideas for how to do so; or better: consider sound principles whereupon the Church might do so. Why not write a thesis on the matter together with an example revised biformal Calendar and send it to His Holiness — I understand he answers surprisingly many letters, so the odds are better than at other times that, if he doesn't approve the thing ad experimendum for your oratory, at least he might give you a good reason why.

It's another funny thing altogether (one on which our continued experiences of any kind in this Creation largely depend) that if essentially-two things exert a mutual gravitational pull out of parallel with their relative motion, they never meet.


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