In the Roman tradition we observe the Ember Days four times a year, around the changes of the seasons, during Lent, at Pentecost, and close to St. Lucy’s Day and Exaltation of the Cross (“Lenty, Penty, Crucy, Lucy”). These days are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of the week and they are penitential in spirit and aim. The learnéd Fr. Hunwicke at his blog Mutual Enrichment (olim “Liturgical Notes”) has some interesting notes about the displacement of the September Ember Days (which we really ought to be observing this week) to next week.
Thus, Fr. H:
But when are the Ember Days?
WHICH WEEK ARE THE EMBER DAYS?
According to the pre-modern versions of the Roman Rite, and the Book of Common Prayer, the September and December Ember Weeks come respectively after the festivals of the Holy Cross and S Lucy. What a nice easy rule. A child can apply it. So that is where you will find them in the ORDO which I compile, and in the admirable Saint Lawrence Press ORDO. [You can sense what is coming, right? If it was easy before, it had to be made harder.]
So why, in ORDOs printed according to the 1962 Roman books (LMS; SSPX), does the September Ember Week, this year, come a week later? [Good question.]
Technically, the reason why the Ember Weeks come where they do is that, in the Breviary, [that’s the Breviarium Romanum as it was during the Council, with the 1961 rubrics, I think] their readings are [now] tied into those of the week after the Third Sunday of September. Before 1962, the “First” Sunday of September might actually be at the end of August. So, this year, August 31 is the official First Sunday of September. But the 1962 revisers, dippy lot of cleverclogs, [aka pointy-headed academics] changed this so as to be clear-cut and logical … First Sunday of September for them has to mean literally First Sunday of September. Hence (if you’re still interested) [we are!] the Third Week of September starts September 14 according to the old reckoning, but not until September 21 according to 1962. [….?!?]
As so often happens when people try to tidy things up and to be neat and logical and clever, this decision of 1962 led to the potential dislocation of the Ember Week from its ancient mooring to Holy Cross Day. [BOOOOO!]
IMPLICATIONS OF THIS
Since the 1962 rite lasted in widespread use less than a decade, I find it hard to take it seriously in those matters where it conflicts with what the Latin Church had kept easy and natural for centuries. [This would also apply, I assume, to the use of the 2nd Confiteor and the ridiculous changes to the Solemn Mass, as when the priest sits down for the Epistle… but I digress.]
Summorum pontificum, [Pontificum… really] I presume, took the 1962 books as normative for ecumenical and practical reasons: because this is what the SSPX had done since Archbishop Lefebvre changed his liturgical policy around 1974. Logically, the 1965 rite should have been regarded as the last integral edition of a Missal before the Novus Ordo. But, although the 1965 Ordo Missae was ordered to be printed in editions of the Missal* and was declared typica in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, it seems that no copies of the Missale Romanum with the 1965 Ordo Missae in it ever in fact did roll off the printing presses. (Anybody got one?) [Hmmm… good question. Anyone?]
[NB:] But it appears that the 1962 Missal was never technically declared typica in the legal forum (AAS) in which it should have been so declared!!! Arguably, it does not exist (see the thread attached to my piece of 11 July 2014). [Hmmm… is this indeed the case?]
1962 should be regarded as an interim stop-gap.
Circa-1939ish should be the starting point for a measured, sensible reconstruction of the Vetus Ordo. [Thus avoiding the Bugnini innovations promulgated by Pius XII.]
* The 1967 variations were never promulgated as an Ordo Missae, simply as Variationes … inducendae; nor were they ordered to be incorporated into a complete Missale, as the 1964 Ordo Missae was, nor were they declared typica in the AAS.
Question for you cleverboots out there. There was an edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI which had to be withdrawn because there was theological error in the Praenotanda. Does anyone have one of those?