Thursday, March 29, 2007

What To Do with the Annunciation This Year

Now this is an interesting thing. I put up a little post on Passiontide (below) and, next thing I know there's a huge discussion about it going on over at Fr, Petersen's blog. It seems he's pointed out that my source on the transferral of the Annunciation is Anglican and doesn't agree with the Roman system. Lots of folks have chimed: Pastor McCain has gone on his usual adiaphora rant, while Fr. Curtis has done an admirable job defending the traditional rules, their being adiaphora notwithstanding.

Anyhow, here's my own further musing on the matter, which I also posted over there:

OK, Petersen, I admit to being Anglican on this, and I'll even tell you why (though I gather you already know): it's because when I used the Anglican resource it impressed me so much that I didn't bother to check the Romanist resource. I still haven't. I'm just taking your word for it, because I'm still too lazy to look it up right now.

Actually right now I'm pretty much in agreement with Curtis's posts on this matter, but I have a bit to add.

Although this is adiaphora, it would be best if we saw this as something (among many somethings) on which we ought all come to agreement, and then all do it the same way. There is mass confusion (pun intended) when everyone just does whatever he pleases and cries adiaphora.

Now as to the matter itself: look, if you're going to be liturgical at all, then it's kind of pointless to throw liturgical directions to the wind without even giving them so much as a passing consideration, which is evidently what McCain has consented to, with his 1200 adoring adulators (I could launch into a diatribe on I Corinthians 1 here, how God has chose the things that are not, etc., but I'll resist).

For those who want to try to come to a unified approach on this, here are my reasons for opining that the Anglican system is a bit better; but I admit it isn't set in stone for me.

First, in agreement also with Rome, the integrity of the Sundays in Lent and their interrelation is a matter which ought never to be taken lightly, and goes together with the whole notion of a church year. That's why they're all First Class Sundays, and it makes perfect sense. But since the Annunciation is also First Class, it is not ignored, but transferred, so it also gets its due, all for the edification of God's people. See, you get both this way, which is in agreement with all the venerable traditions.

Second, regarding whether to transfer one day or over two weeks (this is what started this whole debate), I admit to being a bit troubled about celebrating a First Class Feast when everything's veiled, and we're supposed to be excluding all Glorias. That seems to lessen the First Class nature of it. OK, for the Glorias you can make an exception in this case, but remember that you're also making an exception in the case of the Gloria in Excelsis on Maundy Thursday, and soon, with all your exceptions, you can hardly tell the difference, especially for people who don't come every day. So the Anglican reasoning is still the most sensible to me, whatever the source.

Third, I do happen to agree that we are beset with a problem when we transfer something to a date on which few will attend. I think the LSB suggestion for "a weekday" rather than a requirement of Monday following Quasimodogeniti is helpful, but the jury's still out. We'll be observing it on Wednesday after Quasimodogeniti here, only because a healthy number of people come on Wednesdays. Maybe that's a copout, but for now it works, and it serves the purpose of setting the Annunciation before people.

Having said all that, maybe I'd be for getting together, say, for a sort of Lutheran Lambeth Conference of sorts, and deciding how we're all going to do it.


Past Elder said...

Holy Moly. Well, a few observations from a pre Vatican II altar boy turned past WELS elder now LCMS layman.

In my old books Judica is a semi-double, but not First Class. The Annunciation is Double First Class. You do the math.

There is an option for celebrating both, so to speak. Rather than being transferred to another date, it can be commemorated, so its Prayer, Secret and Post Communion are used in the Mass of the higher ranking feast. The rules are different for doubles and semi-doubles. Rather than get into all that, my point it is it possible to oberve them both at the same divine service, an option which if it has been brought up in this discussion I missed it.

As to the larger question of Anglican sources, I think American Lutheranism has already had quite enough of being translated into high church Protestantism already from Anglican sources, and we would do better to stick to more ancient sources in an effort to present genuine Lutheran worship in face of other efforts to translate American Lutheran worship into low church Protestantism.

And it is indeed worth remembering that whatever we do, it is not by the command of Scripture but to serve good order in the church, and the purpose of good order in the church is to serve the proclamation of what is commanded in Scripture.

Pr. H. R. said...

I like that idea of a Lutheran Lambeth, Fr. Eckardt. You start to work that up. Why not have a voluntary association among us, the Lutheran Liturgical League or whatnot. Each year at Gottesdienst Octoberfest, we look at the liturgical year ahead and vote on these questions. Then we all go home and observe all the Sundays the same - at least among the League of Extraordinary Clerics.


Father Eckardt said...

Well, yeah. Maybe we can arrange something to piggy-back on Octoberfest, which I was sort of thinking of doing anyhow. Like on Tuesday, maybe.