The multiplication of duplex feasts due to laziness?
#1
So in another thread, the historical phenomenon of duplex-ranked feasts replacing the offices of Sunday and ferias came up. A question I have wondered is whether this multiplication of duplex feasts was a way to get around the burden of the ferial office, in other words, laziness. I have seen this alleged, but I’m curious if there is any evidence this was the motivation. I’ve always assumed, especially after Trent, that most popes did not have the liturgical sense St. Pius V had, and just added saints without regard to the disruptions duplex feasts give the calendar, and the shorter offices were just gravy.

So for those who don't know, the old Roman Office (pre-1911) was quite long on ferial days compared to feasts, with 12 psalms at Matins (18 on Sunday), and various obligations to add the Little Office, the Office of the Dead, the Gradual Psalms, and the Penitential Psalms on certain days to the day’s office.
O unashamed intercessor of Christians, ever loyal advocate before the Creator, do not disregard the prayerful voice of sinners but in your goodness hasten to assist us who trustfully cry out to you: Intercede always, O Mother of God, in behalf of those who honor you!
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#2
(07-29-2017, 12:14 AM)aquinas138 Wrote: So in another thread, the historical phenomenon of duplex-ranked feasts replacing the offices of Sunday and ferias came up. A question I have wondered is whether this multiplication of duplex feasts was a way to get around the burden of the ferial office, in other words, laziness. I have seen this alleged, but I’m curious if there is any evidence this was the motivation. I’ve always assumed, especially after Trent, that most popes did not have the liturgical sense St. Pius V had, and just added saints without regard to the disruptions duplex feasts give the calendar, and the shorter offices were just gravy.

So for those who don't know, the old Roman Office (pre-1911) was quite long on ferial days compared to feasts, with 12 psalms at Matins (18 on Sunday), and various obligations to add the Little Office, the Office of the Dead, the Gradual Psalms, and the Penitential Psalms on certain days to the day’s office.

I don't know...we really can't praise God "enough," so changing the number of psalms to be prayed on feast days wouldn't make the amount go from "enough" to "not enough."  I could see reducing the prayers of the Office for those feasts that would typically have a solemn Mass.  Those can be quite long, so it makes sense in some ways to reduce other prayers to maintain day-to-day consistency.  I know I don't say as many personal prayers on days I go to Mass as on days that I don't, but I'm not bound to pray the Office either.  On the other hand, World War I began a few years after that- perhaps Europe needed an increase of prayer at that time, not a decrease.
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#3
Here's a cool comparison of the times to read the Office based on the version.
http://divinumofficium.com/www/horas/Help/times.html

Difference between Feria and Duplex is about 15 minutes in Trident. A little more so with the Divino Afflatu.
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#4
Interesting comparison, although I suspect a priest who's used to praying the Office would do so faster. Still, he'd do so faster no matter which Office it is, so it's at least relative. And it's almost half for Ferias between the 1568 and 1911 versions.

The length isn't the only problem with so many Doubles, though. Before 1911, the Psalms for Doubles and Semidoubles were always taken from the Common, unless they were proper. And then the Sunday Psalms would be used at Lauds on these Feasts, too, so the Psalms appointed for Ferias were rarely said. The Pius V Breviary in 1568 had 149 days that were Semidouble or higher; by 1907, there were 280. 1568 had 53 Doubles and 60 Semidoubles; 1907 had only 72 Semidoubles, but 133 Doubles - that's 70 new Feasts that took the place of Sundays after Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost. And that doesn't count local feasts, many of which were assigned to a particular Sunday of the month.

Then you have the votive Offices that were approved in the 1880s - those could be said on any Feria, and, like other festal Offices, had only 9 Psalms - shorter than the ferial Psalms, which, especially later in the week, are very long. Saturday includes 103-108, all of which are long, and that's only half of the Matins Psalms.
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#5
(07-29-2017, 12:14 AM)aquinas138 Wrote: So in another thread, the historical phenomenon of duplex-ranked feasts replacing the offices of Sunday and ferias came up. A question I have wondered is whether this multiplication of duplex feasts was a way to get around the burden of the ferial office, in other words, laziness. I have seen this alleged, but I’m curious if there is any evidence this was the motivation. I’ve always assumed, especially after Trent, that most popes did not have the liturgical sense St. Pius V had, and just added saints without regard to the disruptions duplex feasts give the calendar, and the shorter offices were just gravy.

So for those who don't know, the old Roman Office (pre-1911) was quite long on ferial days compared to feasts, with 12 psalms at Matins (18 on Sunday), and various obligations to add the Little Office, the Office of the Dead, the Gradual Psalms, and the Penitential Psalms on certain days to the day’s office.

Call me crazy but I love ferial days in the Benedictine or Old Roman Office. There is a lot of variety in the psalms being prayed. With multiple saints feasts and multiple octaves you have sometimes almost a month or more of nothing but the Sunday psalms. I am by no means a breviary expert but i've often seen the wisdom in the Byzantine Rite in that one can commemorate multiple saints on any given day just by a few Troparia and Kontakia without substantially changing the psalter arrangement or making the day about only one specific saint. Maybe this isn't where you were going with this but that's what I thought about.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
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#6
(07-29-2017, 01:32 PM)Paul Wrote: Interesting comparison, although I suspect a priest who's used to praying the Office would do so faster. Still, he'd do so faster no matter which Office it is, so it's at least relative. And it's almost half for Ferias between the 1568 and 1911 versions.

The length isn't the only problem with so many Doubles, though. Before 1911, the Psalms for Doubles and Semidoubles were always taken from the Common, unless they were proper. And then the Sunday Psalms would be used at Lauds on these Feasts, too, so the Psalms appointed for Ferias were rarely said. The Pius V Breviary in 1568 had 149 days that were Semidouble or higher; by 1907, there were 280. 1568 had 53 Doubles and 60 Semidoubles; 1907 had only 72 Semidoubles, but 133 Doubles - that's 70 new Feasts that took the place of Sundays after Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost. And that doesn't count local feasts, many of which were assigned to a particular Sunday of the month.

Then you have the votive Offices that were approved in the 1880s - those could be said on any Feria, and, like other festal Offices, had only 9 Psalms - shorter than the ferial Psalms, which, especially later in the week, are very long. Saturday includes 103-108, all of which are long, and that's only half of the Matins Psalms.

The bolded portion makes me think it wasn't a "lazy" thing. If the burden of length were a motivating factor, it seems foreseeable that the repetition of more or less the same psalmody day after day would become wearisome, too. My own thought is that it might be more a phenomenon of the Counter-Reformation emphasis on the cult of saints — Protestants object to something, Catholics double-down on it. I seem to recall that St. Pius X changed the "rules" surrounding doubles and Sundays instead of changing the rank of saints' feasts (which seems like a much easier change) in part so that the cult of saints would suffer no diminution. I suppose by that time you also had Jansenist influence afoot, especially in many of the Gallican breviaries, so I can see the sainted pontiff's motivation.
O unashamed intercessor of Christians, ever loyal advocate before the Creator, do not disregard the prayerful voice of sinners but in your goodness hasten to assist us who trustfully cry out to you: Intercede always, O Mother of God, in behalf of those who honor you!
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#7
(07-29-2017, 02:12 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Call me crazy but I love ferial days in the Benedictine or Old Roman Office. There is a lot of variety in the psalms being prayed. With multiple saints feasts and multiple octaves you have sometimes almost a month or more of nothing but the Sunday psalms. I am by no means a breviary expert but i've often seen the wisdom in the Byzantine Rite in that one can commemorate multiple saints on any given day just by a few Troparia and Kontakia without substantially changing the psalter arrangement or making the day about only one specific saint. Maybe this isn't where you were going with this but that's what I thought about.

No, but what you mention does reveal a big difference in the way the Roman office came to be handled compared to the Eastern offices (not just the Byzantine). The Eastern offices emphasize a very large measure of unchanging elements, into which proper elements are inserted. For instance, at Byzantine Vespers (though certain parish abbreviations are common, especially omission of the kathisma):

Introduction (blessing, Trisagion, invitatory; invariable)
Psalm 103 (invariable)
Great Litany (invariable)
Kathisma (one of 20 divisions of the psalter; VARIABLE outside the fasts, fixed 18th kathisma during)
Small Litany (invariable)
Lamplighting Psalms (140, 141, 129, 116; unchanging, though variable stichera are inserted between last 6 verses; last 10 on Saturday evening, 8 at Great Vespers; 4 at Small Vespers, which is very rare outside monasteries)
[Entrance at Great Vespers]
Hymn “O Gladsome Light” (invariable)
Prokeimenon (VARIABLE with weekday)
[OT Readings at Festal Great Vespers]
[Litany at Great Vespers]
“O Lord, vouchsafe us this evening…” (invariable)
Litany of Supplication (invariable)
[Litija stichera and litany at Festal Great Vespers]
Aposticha (invariable verses with VARIABLE stichera between)
Nunc Dimittis (invariable)
Trisagion (invariable)
Troparia and Theotokion (VARIABLE)
[Litany at Daily Vespers]
Dismissal (slightly VARIABLE with weekday)

The little hours are almost entirely unchanging, with the Troparion and Kontakion inserted into it at the appropriate point; the only change this introduces is the troparion determines in what tone the Theotokion of the hour is sung; textually, it is the same. The little hours do undergo a big structural change during Great Lent, though.

In the first millennium and early in the second, it seems the Roman office was a “double” office on feasts - first the ferial office was sung, then a festal office. Gradually the ferial gave way to the festal, until it was replaced entirely on feasts. This is the hypothesized origin of the "duplex" nomenclature.
O unashamed intercessor of Christians, ever loyal advocate before the Creator, do not disregard the prayerful voice of sinners but in your goodness hasten to assist us who trustfully cry out to you: Intercede always, O Mother of God, in behalf of those who honor you!
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