FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: pre-1970 Easter Vigil more fertile
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
This sermon is a good defense of the pre-'70 Easter Vigil:
Herbert McCabe, O.P. Wrote:In the 1956 restoration, as in the ancient rite, the baptismal font is seen in essentially sexual terms. It is seen as the womb of Mother Church fertilised by the entry of the Holy Spirit, and this is seen in the phallic form of the lighted paschal candle entering the waters. Christ’s fertilisation of the Virgin Mother Church by bringing her the Holy Spirit is compared in this liturgy to the fertilising of the primaeval waters, the waters of chaos, by the breath of the Spirit, in the reading from Genesis 1. So the bringing to new birth of believers in the womb of the Church is united with the bringing to birth of the universe. In the rite the priest is instructed to lower the lighted candle into the baptismal water in three stages, penetrating more deeply each time, and each time singing on a higher note: ‘Descendat in hanc plenitudinem fontis virtus Spiritus Sancti’. It is quite plain that an impression of mounting excitement is meant to be visibly, tactually felt. It was a very strange and primitive ceremony in the middle of the night. Finally, when the candle has reached its deepest point, the priest is to blow three times on the surface of the water in the form of the letter ψ (psi). (There are liturgists who say this is no more than the sign of the cross but others see it as the initial of psyche, life). The priest then continues ‘totamque huius aquae substantiam regenerandi fecundet effectu’: the Latin brings out the full resonance of ‘regenerandi’ and ‘fecundet’.

As the candle penetrates the water it is said to be entering ‘hanc plenitudinem fontis’: the ‘fullness’ (fem.) suggests the fullness of mother earth, the coming pregnancy of the womb of Mother Church, and this womb is to be fertilised by the ‘virtus’ which is the Holy Spirit-the word, of course, comes from ‘vir’, man. The Holy Spirit is the virility through which the fullness of the womb is pregnant with new life, ‘in order that the whole substance of this water may become fecund for re-birth’.

Now contrast this with the 1970 version as we have it in English: ‘The priest may’ (he doesn’t have to) ‘lower the Paschal Candle into the water either once or three times as he continues, “We ask you, Father, with your Son, send your Holy Spirit on the waters of this font.”’ It’s a nice little reference to the Trinity but all that primitive fertility symbolism is gone. ‘He holds the candle in the water and says: “May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him to newness of life.”’ An unexceptionable bit of theology; but you see what I mean about Mary Whitehouse.

The 1st FIUV paper on the Holy Week reforms has a footnote (fn16) that says, in addition to the reduction of the number of prophecies at the Vigil to 4, which actually has precedent in the Middle Ages,
Quote:Other examples include the abolition of the Asperges, Preparatory Prayers, and Last Gospel, and the Missa sicca at the blessing of palms, on Palm Sunday; the Mass of the Presanctified was also heavily cut down. The Psalm Iudica (Ps 42) was removed from the Preparatory Prayers during Passion Week and Holy Week. Cardinal Antonelli, who was in charge of the reform, explained that one of the goals was ‘to abbreviate’: see Reid Organic Development p173 and note 87, quoting Giampietro Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli pp24-6.
Also, "there were simplifications, such as the abolition of the folded chasuble, an ancient feature of the Roman liturgy in penitential seasons".

Thank you for posting this. Fascinating and beautiful! I must research this more and try to incorporate this information on the Easter page.