Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Like Bells Calling People to Sunday Mass

On Septuagesima Sunday, I tried to think of a good analogy for describing how I appreciate this time of transition to Lent. I didn't come up with anything really good. But Pope Paul VI did. I just didn't know it until I read an article by Shawn Tribe, posted on New Liturgical Movement:

Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, in the twenty-first chapter of The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: 1948-1975 (p. 307, footnote 6), readily noted that the removal of Septuagesima in the modern Roman calendar was the source of some disagreement. He specifically notes Paul VI's own thoughts on the matter: "On one occasion Pope Paul VI compared the complex made up of Septuagesima, Lent, Holy Week, and Easter Triduum to bells calling people to Sunday Mass. The ringing of them an hour, half-hour, fifteen, and five minutes before the time of Mass has a psychological effect and prepares the faithful materially and spiritually for the celebration of the liturgy." In the end, whatever Paul VI's (and others) personal thoughts might have been on the preparatory value of the steps of Septuagesima season in relation to both Lent and ultimately Easter, the desire for simplication and an emphasis on the season of Lent, Archbishop Bugnini notes, was what won the day during those times -- and so it was removed from the modern Roman calendar.

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