We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Innovators

Thus Anglicans found themselves in the same predicament as Roman Catholics, who used a (somewhat corrupted) version of the same ancient Eucharistic lectionary, and the mutilated lectionary of the thirteenth century Breviary against which Cranmer had reacted. One sensible response to this problem was the provision of an Old Testament lesson complementary to the Prayer Book gospels and epistles [as: here]. But the Roman Catholics went further, and decided to invent a Sunday morning lectionary which would provide both for the doctrinal themes of the Church’s year and an extensive sequential reading of the Bible. With this aim in mind, in the Ordo Lectionum Missae (OLM) of 1969, they abandoned almost entirely the ancient Eucharistic lectionary [whereas: The 1922 English and 1962 Canadian Sunday and holy day office lectionaries provide Old Testament lessons that very often have a real thematic link to the Eucharistic lessons], and devised one that was entirely new. A three year cycle took the place of the one year ancient cycle, with most of the gospels for each year chosen from one of the synoptics (Year A is Matthew; Year B is Mark; Year C is Luke; with lessons from John spread through the three years.) A reading from the Old Testament, the psalms, and the other books of the New Testament precede the gospel lesson. For part of the year (Advent to Epiphany, and Lent to Trinity Sunday), these lessons aim at doctrinally thematic coherence (albeit with less success than the ancient lectionary). But for the rest of the year (Epiphany to Lent and Trinity Sunday to Advent), clumsily dubbed “ordinary time”, the gospels and epistles are selected according to the principle of lectio continua (or semi-continua). As a result, the gospels and epistles are in principle unrelated. Though the Old Testament lessons, were still chosen for their relation to the gospel lessons, the result is a loss of coherence in the Sunday lectionary. By intention it is no longer a doctrinally coherent, cohesive presentation of the Christian mystery, but an attempt to increase the amount of Scripture read. (The canary in the coal mine was the scrapping of the Sundays before Lent, an ancient feature of the Church’s year in east and west, causing an abrupt transition from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday. The Church year’s doctrinal articulation was mutilated for the sake of three more Sundays of lectio semi-continua.)

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