Sunday, November 4, 2012

Customary Queries

Having looked through – and prayed Mattins and Evensong from – the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham, I wonder:
  1. Why on Sundays the Psalms are proper, rather than taken from the appropriate day of the month (the period over which their recitation is spread), since such an arrangement seems to unduly restrict the number and variety of Psalms heard by a Sunday congregation, in contradistinction to Anglican practice?
  2. Why one of the two Scriptural Readings provided for both Mattins and Evensong is so short, when surely having two fairly long Lessons is a very hallmark of the Daily Office in the Anglican Patrimony?
  3. Why the Prayer for All Conditions of Men, and other optional Prayers and Thanksgivings, is not included, when the reading at choice of various intercessions "After the Third Collect" is another venerable Anglican tradition?
  4. Why the prefatory use of a Penitential Rite is allowed before Evensong only, rather than also before Mattins, and, similarly, why the opening versicles at both are not exactly the same, as has been traditional Anglican practice?

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Luke, a North American correspondent, emailed me the following comment:

"About question #1: Every major edition of the Prayer Book that I've seen from 1662 on has special psalms for Sundays. Take a close look at the lectionary tables and you'll find them."

Au contraire, mon frère: the 1662 BCP I have before me as I speak appoints proper psalms solely for Christmas Day, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter Day, Ascension Day and Whit-Sunday.

I know that the US BCP's, and the 1928 Proposed BCP, gave lists of proper psalms for Sundays; but the Customary goes further, in restricting the particular Psalms to be said on Sundays through the year to those Psalms which appear at Sunday Lauds and Vespers in the Roman Rite (pre- and also post-Conciliar), thus:

Evensong on Saturday evening: Pss 144, 145, 146, 147 (either the former, or the latter, or all four); or Pss 141, 142; or Pss 119 XIV and 16; or Pss 113, 116; or Pss 122, 130.

Sunday Mattins: Pss 93, 63, 118, 148-150 (either all, or just the last three, or a selection therefrom)

Sunday Evensong: Pss 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115 (either the first four, or the last two, or all six, or 110 and one other of these)

This seems to me an unwarrantable Romanization; for, whereas in the Anglican past there were no fixed Psalms on Sundays, and so over the year those who came weekly heard the whole Psalter, and even more recently quite a range of psalms have been used by Anglicans on Sundays, according to the Customary this compass is much restricted.