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)

Friday, December 11, 2015


One big problem with liturgical reform in general is that what looks like reasonable tinkering actually ends up producing hash. It all seems so doable but ... the end result ....

Retention of the Cranmerian Advent collects seems odd when the lectionary they make direct reference to is nowhere in sight. "Preparing the way" ain't just a venerable suggestion: it reduplicates the words of the Gospel of Matthew, read on that day.

What is needed is an ecumenical but traditional one-year lectionary. In the lectionaries of the past, there is already a vast area of agreement in both epistles and gospels. (In the following chart, the actual Advent days only apply if there are, in fact, six distinct lections given: the others are merely fitted in, best as they might be.)

There is so much thematic overlap, how difficult would it be to arrive at a meaningful Western lectionary?

On second thought, "no." Committee-think would produce only more (and worse) hash. Just look at the results to date!

And most important of all, I declare the following inviolable precept: Don't fuck with the most ancient features at all, simply because you do not understand them (no one does). That is a much better principle than, say, this: "to appreciate and incorporate the richness of the proper Masses for December 17-24 in harmony with [the Ordinary Form of] the Roman Rite." Just because someone "thought it desirable to prune away [Advent] Ember Days so as not to detract from the late-Advent focus on the Lord’s Nativity," doesn't give that proposition any real virtue or sustainable weight.

In a word, moving the Ember Days to the first week of Advent is just plain loony. Sorry.


  1. "desirable to prune away [Advent] Ember Days so as not to detract from the late-Advent focus on the Lord’s Nativity"...

    What?!@*! Did they even read the lessons for the Ember Masses in Advent, the Isaiah nativity prophecies, and the Gospel lessons of the Annunciation and Visitation?

    What a wonderful precept for liturgical revision you have enunciated. Thank you.

    1. An official correction has been issued to the traditional ditty:

      Fasting days and Emberings be
      Lent, Whitsun, Holyrood, and Lucie.

      New version:

      Fasting days and Emberings be
      Whenever the devil we want them to be.