In the traditional Roman liturgical calendar the glorious solemnity of Pentecost has its own Octave: eight days under the grace of the Holy Spirit, eight days of joy in the fire and light of His presence, eight days of thanksgiving for His gifts. The Octave of Pentecost was one of the most beautiful moments in the Church Year, not only by reason of the liturgical texts, but also by reason of its effect in the secret of hearts. Each day of the Octave the Church would sing her “Golden Sequence,” the Veni, Sancte Spiritus: a chant of such unction that one never tires of repeating it.
And, yet, we have it ... not ... but must console ourselves, instead, with blog posts about "the Gospel of the Mass of Ember Friday in the Octave of Pentecost." This voice -- of cynicism?, of reality? -- then, perforce, must make itself heard:
Let's face it, any Ordinary Form "Latin" Rite Catholic priest ordained since 1980 most likely doesn't know a word of Latin and kept the 10th Week in Ordinary Time. Such priests are probably at least 90% of all "conservative/orthodox" post-Vatican II "hermeneutic of continuity" clergy. For them, a Pentecost Octave and Ember Days are a curiosity and priests who deliberately keep such an Octave or Ember Days and mention them are almost counter-revolutionaries.
Some had, of course, some hopes. But the hopes of others, on closer inspection, seem much less than promising. This is not exactly what many of us had in mind. The 1960s, it seems, can never die: and so the undead continue to torment our dreams.
And a further problem (and one that, it seems, is holding up the whole business of final publication) is that all of the Introits, Graduals, etc. now have to be rewritten or edited to fit in with the lectionary. I am slightly confused: we are going to have (1) a series of Collects, Propers etc. fitted around a traditional Sarum-influenced Sunday calendar with Septuagesima and Sundays after Trinity, but (2) a three year lectionary cycle based on the Novus Ordo. So which will the Introits and Graduals and Tract follow, the triennial lectionary or the annual festal cycle? The lectionary, I presume, since the Tract is linked to the Gospel: perhaps I am wrong but this seems to be the inevitable logic and outcome. I find this incoherent.
At this point, I can only believe (pray, hope) that the year 1947 is frozen hard, in ice, such that by about 2022, we can begin to readdress these questions, by means of a very slow thaw. If the following tale has any prospect of being true, then someone somewhere is surely laughing:
The story goes that on the Monday after Pentecost in 1970 His Holiness Pope Paul VI rose early and went to his chapel for Holy Mass. Instead of the red vestments he expected, green ones were laid out for him. He asked the Master of Ceremonies, “What on earth are these for? This is the Octave of Pentecost! Where are the red vestments?” “Your Holiness,” replied the Master of Ceremonies, “this is now The Time Throughout the Year. It is green, now. The Octave of Pentecost is abolished.” “Green? That cannot be,” said the Pope, “Who did that?” “Your Holiness, you did.” And Paul VI wept.