Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Flat Sundays

There is a very good piece in the Herald on Ascension "Sunday" which has been linked to in various places, I agree with Fr Alexander Lucie Smith.

I must say that I felt this year this year the Ascension was particularly flat, we had the Proper chants, together with a couple of 19th century hymns, but actually it just seemed like just another Sunday in the latter part of Easter, the time when are rather looking forward to its end.
Maybe I have a particularly high theology of the Ascension, it is the last feast in the cycle of Christ's life, as Christmas or the Epiphany/Baptism are foreshadowed by the feast of the Annunciation, so the Ascension concludes the mysteries of the Christ's Resurrection, it is re-iteration of Easter and yet says something in addition.
The Ascension celebrates God becoming Man so that Man might become God, it is about the taking up of humanity into divinity - literally, in the words and imagery of the Gospel.
In the Extraordinary Form it is marked by the snuffing of the Paschal Candle, there is no such liturgical oddity in the Ordinary Form. There seems to be a need to make some special liturgical mark, the image of Christ being concealed in baroque cloud perhaps, or greater clouds of incense, something just to stop it being "Flat Sunday".
I agree with Fr ALS about the loss of a sense Sacred Time, I myself have written about the loss of the Novena and he is right about this as an act of secularisation, so too about how difficult it is correct such a foolish and destructive error, my words, he is more judicious.
The problem is that all the feasts that have been moved to Sunday become flat Sundays, we are a bit tired of Christmas by the time we get to the Sunday that Epiphany, and as for Corpus Christi in a big parish where First Communions are spread over a series of Sundays we are a bit bored with endless Masses that celebrate the Eucharist.


Kinga Grzeczynska said...

I personally felt that it was a big mistake moving these Holy Days of Obligation to Sundays.

I understand that the argument may have been persuasive in so far as the Conference Of Bishops thought that the Faithful would attend Masses on a Sunday and also fullfil the Holy Day of Obligation on the Sunday.

Unfortunately, the Holy Day of Obligation lost it's deep meaning as a result of 'the move'.

Therefore, I propose a remedy:

Conference of Bishops of England and Wales:
Please reverse the action and allow back the Holy Days of Obligation on 'the day'.

We need to bring back traditional Catholicism.

You have tried new ways and they don't work. Catholic Faith has been watered down too much.

Time to go back to the traditional old and trusted way in the Catholic Churches in England and Wales.

Kinga Grzeczynska

David Lindsay said...

I was unable to attend the Extraordinary Form last Thursday, although I shall be able to make it for Corpus Christi. We don't all live in London, you know? And in any case, we should not have to seek out the Extraordinary Form merely in order to keep the Ascension on the Biblical day, 40 days after Easter.

There are, however, those in England who will still have been keeping it on the same day as the Pope. In the Church of England. Quite a senior member of which once asked me in all seriousness whether or not we were still keeping Christmas Day on 25th December rather than moving it to the nearest Sunday. If I miss anything about the Church of England, then it is the way in which it would never do anything as crass or as philistine as this.

We had rather hoped for a reversal when Archbishop Nichols was installed on the real Ascension Day. So, where is it? Meanwhile, liberals like ecumenism. Let them do the ecumenical thing by doing the Ultramontane thing, restoring the Epiphany and Ascension Day, and with them Corpus Christi, to their proper days, as kept both by our separated brethren and by our Holy Father.

Supertradmum said...

It is important to keep the Holy Days of Obligation in the correct times which have been honored for over a thousand years. The laity need seriously Catholic identity in today's world. We need to sacrifice time and money and selfishness to go to Mass during the week.

In addition, the change is missed by many people, who do not pay that much attention to Sunday liturgy. In this way, the Ascension, the pivotal point in our life as the Church and as humans, Christ going up into heaven with His Body, is overlooked.

Bring back tradition, please.

Jonathan Marshall said...

I can add nothing to Kinga's excellent post except to say that I agree with her wholeheartedly.

Over to you, my Lords Bishop.

Patricius said...

The present situation in England and Wales seems illogical. Feasts of the Lord (not including Christmas) which are holy days of obligation are transferred to the Sunday. Other feasts which are holy days of obligation are transferred to the Sunday if they fall on a Saturday or Monday but not if they fall on any other day. Does this not rather give the impression that Ss. Peter and Paul or The Assumption are of greater importance than- e.g. Our Lord's Ascension?
I thought that there was to be some consultation from the bishops on restoring the holy days. At the very least it would be a good idea at the very least, in my opinion, to restore Ascension Thursday so as to highlight the Novena of Pentecost.

Physiocrat said...

The way that Holy Days of Obligation have been treated is not so very different from cuts in public services due to the alleged deficit. But what is the real motivation behind it? Where was the call for these changes?

JARay said...

We all seem to be of one mind here, however, I really do think that putting the genie back into the bottle is going to be very, very difficult. Unfortunately those around us are moving more and more to a seven day working week and many families now need two workers to support them in these times of greater financial stress. If the old Holy Days of Obligation are re-introduced I can only see more people ignoring them and carrying on working and then forgetting all about them! That's the real dilemma I would suggest.

amator Dei said...

Strange that the "anti-Catholic" BBC still keeps Ascension Thursday - a verse of 'Hail the day that sees him rise' before the 8 am news and a complete Anglican Eucharist in the evening. Maybe "secular" society is not quite so secular after all!

nickbris said...

C of E dissidents crossed over and formed what is known as the Ordinariate.What do dissident Catholics do when they disagree with anything?

They seem to be wandering about from parish to parish to find what they think is the right way.

We can still go to Mass any day we like as well as Sunday which is obligatory.

I'm not sure but I think these decisions about changing the Holy Days to the Sunday were made after a very long period of research.

Some of us septuagenarians have seen a lot of changes but we were brought up to do as we are told without question and that is what it means to be an obedient Catholic

vetusta ecclesia said...

One result of the moving of the feasts to Sundays is that it drives a coach and horses through the coherence of the revised Sunday lectionary, especially in the early days of summer.

Et Expecto said...

Some time ago, I believe that the bishops of England and Wales promised a consultation process about reinstating the Holy Days. So far as I know, there has been no public consultation. Does anyone know of any?

In the absence of formal consultation, I would advise anyone who feels strongly on the matter to write to their bishop.

gemoftheocean said...

And we pretty much 'mark time' until Christ the King. Save the Assumption. [When I can I try to go to the eastern rite on that day -- they have a nice custom of blessing flowers.]