Rorate Caeli

The Eastertide Collects in the Post-Vatican II Missal: A Problematic Reform

One obvious difference between the two Eastertides of the usus antiquior and usus recentior is the size of each of them. The 1962 Missal has proper Masses for each Sunday after Easter, as well as each day in the Octave of Easter and for the Ascension. In the 2008 Missal, however, all the Sundays and weekdays within Eastertide have proper Masses assigned to them, with collects unique to each day. [1]

Given this, one might have thought that the corpus of Eastertide orations in the older Missal would have been carried over directly into the newer Missal, and supplemented with other Eastertide prayers from the vast repository of the Church’s liturgical tradition. However, as seems to be the case with so much of the post-Vatican II reforms, this is at best only half-true. Some prayers have been edited in ways completely unknown in their manuscript history; others with a long tradition of use in particular times of the liturgical year have been moved to where they have never been used before; still others have been freely combined with one or more other prayers to create novel and original texts.

Thanks to the work of those such as Dr Lauren Pristas and Dr Peter Kwasniewski, more and more people are becoming aware of these sorts of major differences between the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. The availability of scholarly tools, such as the Corpus orationum and similar volumes, [2] has made the task of examining the post-Vatican II liturgical books much easier now than in the recent past. And Pope Benedict XVI’s liberation of the usus antiquior has given renewed impetus to the much-needed critical reassessment of the post-conciliar liturgical reforms.

So, as we approach the end of Eastertide, it seems an opportune time to look at some of the changes made by the Consilium to the orations of Easter, and illustrate some aspects of their reform that, on the face of it, are problematic. We will be looking specifically at the collects assigned to weekdays, as they comprise the largest group of orations and provide a good, representative sample for the purposes of our conclusions; an examination of the prayers over the offerings (super oblata) and postcommunions will wait for another time.


The Fate of the Eastertide Collects in the 1962 Missale Romanum

However, before we move to the post-Vatican II Missal, an examination of the fifteen [3] Eastertide collects of the 1962 Missale Romanum is in order. What did Coetus XVIII bis of the Consilium decide their fate would be?

Four of them are carried over directly into the reformed Missal, used on the same days and with no changes to their text: Easter Wednesday (CO 1917), Easter Thursday (CO 1537), Easter Friday (CO 4014), and Ascension (CO 762). [4]

Two more are preserved on their respective days in the reformed Missal, but with edits to their text: Easter Vigil (CO 1651), [5] and Easter Sunday (CO 1669 A); the latter has been centonized with another oration (CO 1992). [6]

The collect for Low Sunday (CO 4536) has been moved to the 7th Sunday of Easter, with no changes made to its text. 

Two further collects have been moved elsewhere in Eastertide, but with changes made to their texts: Easter Monday (CO 2111: edited and moved to Easter Tuesday), [7] and Easter Tuesday (CO 1574: edited and moved to Easter Monday). [8] The swapping of days here in the reformed Missal is particularly puzzling, mainly because CO 2111 is nearly always used on Easter Monday (forty-five out of forty-six manuscripts), CO 1574 is nearly always used on Easter Tuesday (forty-nine out of fifty-one manuscripts), and neither is ever used on the other day!

For the following three collects, their texts have not been changed, but the orations have been moved in the reformed Missal to outside of Eastertide: 4th Sunday after Easter (CO 1633 A: moved to 21st Sunday per annum), 5th Sunday after Easter & Vigil of the Ascension (CO 1085: moved to 10th Sunday per annum), [9] and the Sunday after Ascension (CO 3837 A: moved to 29th Sunday per annum). Only the latter of these orations is attested as ever having been used in tempus per annum (either after Epiphany or after Pentecost).

The following two collects have been moved in the reformed Missal to outside Eastertide and have also had their texts changed: 2nd Sunday after Easter (CO 1737: edited and moved to the 14th Sunday per annum), [10] and the 3rd Sunday after Easter (CO 1582 B: lightly edited and moved to the 15th Sunday per annum). [11]

Finally, the collect for Easter Saturday (CO 761), attested on this day and no other in forty-eight extant manuscripts dating from the 7th/8th century, is not used in the reformed Missal at all, having been replaced with a centonized prayer (see further below).

The Weekday Eastertide Orations of the Post-Vatican II Missal

In my opinion, although it is a novel concept in the Roman liturgical tradition, there is no reason in principle why the corpus of Eastertide prayers in the 1962 Missal could not be added to and augmented with weekday orations, taken from some of the older missals and sacramentaries. Note that I am not saying that it should be done, only that it could be. Considerable thought would have to be given to how such orations would interact with, for example, the feasts of the saints celebrated in Eastertide (commemoration of the weekday?). 

Still, in part, this augmentation is what took place in the post-Vatican II liturgical reform. But only in part—yet another half-truth of the reforms.

In total, forty-five collects are assigned to Eastertide weekdays in the 2008 editio typica tertia emendata of the reformed Missal. [12] Ten of these texts (22.2%) are taken up unchanged from their sources

1. Easter Wednesday (CO 1917)
2. Easter Thursday (CO 1537)
3. Easter Friday (CO 4014)
4. Monday in Week 2 of Easter (CO 2608)
5. Monday in Week 3 of Easter (CO 779)
6. Tuesday in Week 5 of Easter (CO 1327)
7. Wednesday in Week 5 of Easter (CO 1260 a)
8. Monday in Week 6 of Easter (CO 665)
9. Friday in Week 6 of Easter (for use in places where Ascension is transferred to Sunday) (CO 2481 b) [13]
10. Saturday in Week 7 of Easter (CO 4536)

A further twenty-two (48.9%) have had their source text edited in some way before their inclusion in the reformed Missal: 

1. Easter Monday (CO 1574)
2. Thursday in Week 2 of Easter (CO 2037)
3. Friday in Week 2 of Easter (CO 2185)
4. Saturday in Week 2 of Easter, option 1 (CO 1058)
5. Saturday in Week 2 of Easter, option 2 (CO 1802)
6. Tuesday in Week 3 of Easter (CO 2050)
7. Friday in Week 3 of Easter (CO 4526)
8. Saturday in Week 3 of Easter (CO 1507)
9. Tuesday in Week 4 of Easter (CO 4540)
10. Wednesday in Week 4 of Easter (CO 2213 a)
11. Thursday in Week 4 of Easter (CO 1693)
12. Friday in Week 4 of Easter (CO 1609)
13. Saturday in Week 4 of Easter (CO 2110 a)
14. Monday in Week 5 of Easter (CO 2628 c)
15. Thursday Week 5 of Easter (CO 1656)
16. Tuesday in Week 6 of Easter (CO 4386)
17. Wednesday in Week 6 of Easter (CO 273)
18. Thursday in Week 6 of Easter (for use in places where Ascension is transferred to Sunday) (CO 2014)
19. Saturday in Week 6 of Easter (CO 6827)
20. Saturday in Week 6 of Easter (for use in places where Ascension is transferred to Sunday) (Pref 1600)
21. Tuesday in Week 7 of Easter (CO 4580)
22. Friday in Week 7 of Easter (Pref 73)

Finally, thirteen orations (28.9%) have been composed via centonization of two or more source texts:

1. Easter Tuesday (CO 1958 + CO 2111)
2. Easter Saturday (CO 1508 + CO 1329)
3. Tuesday in Week 2 of Easter (Pref 17 + Pref 616)
4. Wednesday in Week 2 of Easter (CO 6181 + Pref 1412 + CO 635 a)
5. Wednesday in Week 3 of Easter (CO 178 b + CO 892)
6. Thursday in Week 3 of Easter (CO 3884 + CO 814)
7. Monday in Week 4 of Easter (CO 2185 + Triplex 227 + CO 2195)
8. Friday in Week 5 of Easter (CO 5920 + CO 905)
9. Saturday in Week 5 of Easter (Pref 1134 + Pref 1125 + CO 2237)
10. Friday in Week 6 of Easter (CO 1328 + CO 1329)
11. Monday in Week 7 of Easter (CO 218 + CO 3823)
12. Wednesday in Week 7 of Easter (CO 1001 + CO 1568)
13. Thursday in Week 7 of Easter (CO 4423 + CO 916 + CO 3734)
Let us start with the smallest group of collects—the ones included in the post-Vatican II Missal with their texts unchanged from their sources. The relevant entries in the Corpus orationum tell us that all of these prayers are attested in Eastertide, so there has been no change in the time of the liturgical year they were previously used in.

The least well-attested prayer, that of Tuesday in Week 5 of Easter, occurs in only six manuscripts, while four are attested in at least forty-eight manuscripts: Easter Wednesday (49), Easter Thursday (48), Easter Friday (48) and Saturday in Week 7 of Easter (57). It should be noted, however, that the selection of these ten orations is rather eclectic: there is no one single manuscript that contains all of these prayers. As Dr Lauren Pristas tells us in her examination of the Sunday Collects of proper seasons:

Those responsible for producing the Tridentine Missal adopted en bloc a corpus of Mass collects that had been used for at least 800 years… [T]he post-Vatican II revisers did not adopt an antecedent tradition of usage. They produced something unique. The four Sunday collects of Advent come from three different sources… The new set of six Lenten Sunday collects consists of one prayer from the Missale Romanum, two from the Romano-Frankish codex, and three new compositions… The set of Paschaltide collects of [the post-Vatican II] Missale Romanum is likewise diverse. Three collects come from the 1962 missal… Six come from ancient liturgical books… Four are new compositions, three of which are centonised… [14]

Pristas’s observations hold up well for the selection of orations for the Eastertide weekday collects: of this first group of ten, four are taken from the 1962 Missal, [15] another four are attested in the Gelesianum Vetus, [16] and two are contained in the Sacramentarium Triplex. [17]

This eclecticism persists when we turn our attention to the twenty-two orations edited before their inclusion in the reformed Missal. Only the collect for Easter Monday has the 1962 Missal as its source. Another nine are found in the Gelesianum Vetus, [18] four are contained in the Sacramentorum Gellonensis, [19] three in the Sacramentarium Triplex, [20] and another three in the Missale Gothicum. [21] The remaining two orations actually have prefaces as their source texts, rather than collects. [22]

With regard to how these sources have been edited, the whole range between major and minor edits is covered. Some of these changes are barely perceptible. For example: the omission of in from dominica in perpetuo gratulemur in the collect for Thursday in Week 6 of Easter (where Ascension is transferred); the change in the beginning of the collect for Thursday in Week 5 of Easter from Deus, qui hoc nobis confers gratia, ut iusti to Deus, cuius gratia, iusti; the replacement of foetu with prole in the collect for Easter Monday. It is perhaps a little problematic that, for these three examples, there is no precedent in the manuscript tradition for the changes made in the reformed Missal, but this is not always the case. For example: the change of habitando to inhabitando in the collect for Tuesday in Week 7 of Easter, attested in twelve of the thirty-nine manuscripts that contain this prayer; the change from dele to depelle at the beginning of the collect for Saturday in Week 2 of Easter (option 1), attested in fourteen of the twenty-three manuscripts in which this prayer is extant. [23]

One change where we can observe a bit of a pattern is linked to one of the general policies of Coetus XVIII bis: that, in general, the orations of the Roman Missal be directed to the Father. [24] The policy would later be changed to “always directed to the Father (unless certain reasons persuade otherwise).” [25] This explains a number of changes we see to the source texts of the Easter weekday collects

Saturday in Week 6 of Easter: the beginning of this collect, Deus, qui, ad caelos adscendens, discipulis tuis spiritum sanctum collaturum te dignatus es polliceri, makes it very clear that the Son is being addressed. In the reformed Missal, this is changed to make the Father, not the Son, the one being addressed: Deus, cuius Filius ad caelos ascendens Apostolis Sanctum Spiritum dignatus est polliceri. This oration is extant in only three manuscripts, and the changes made by the Consilium are not attested in any of them.

Friday in Week 4 of Easter: quos sanguinis tui effusione redemisti, which implies that the Son is being addressed, is changed in the reformed Missal to quos sanguinis Filii tui effusione redemisti: “your Blood” has become “your Son’s Blood”. This collect only appears in two manuscripts, and in neither of them is the Father the one being addressed.

Monday in Week 5 of Easter: ut, paschali interveniente sollemnitate, ab omni pravitate defensam is changed to ut, Filii tui Unigeniti resurrectione, ab omni pravitate defensam. This is an instance where the possible ambiguity about whether it is the Father or the Son being addressed in the source prayer has been completely eliminated by the Consilium. There is no precedent for this change in the twenty manuscripts where this collect is extant.

Tuesday in Week 6 of Easter: in resurrectione domini nostri Iesu Christi is changed to in resurrectione Christi Filii tui. It seems clear enough from the source that this oration is directed to the Father, but Coetus XVIII bis obviously felt that there was too much ambiguity here. Suffice it to say, there is no warrant for this edit in any of the twenty-five manuscripts that contain this collect. [26]

These changes are of a piece with what Dr Peter Kwasniewski, in a recent article, has called “Patricentric Purism”, an almost mechanistic rewriting of any orations that address the Son to address the Father. As Dr Kwasniewski writes:
[E]ven if we may truthfully say that the primordial and fundamental mode of Christian liturgical prayer is offered ad Patrem... it remains no less true that Christ — indivisibly one with the Father and the Spirit — is the end as well as the means of our prayer.

The traditional Roman liturgy in its bimillenial heritage teaches this inseparable pair of truths by predominantly praying to the Father through Christ, while regularly praying to Christ as our God. The former mode should be normal, so that we internalize the Trinitarian “flow” or “rhythm” of the liturgy, which begins and ends with the Father, yet the latter mode should be frequent enough to inculcate in us a habit of worshiping Jesus and praying to Him, so that we do not lapse into some half-baked form of adoptionism or subordinationism. [27]

To this, I would add that the policy of the Consilium to always address all orations to the Father (with very few exceptions) results in a ‘flattening’ of liturgical prayer, and means that some of the natural variety in the prayer of the Roman Rite is lost. It is a similar effect to the standardisation of the placement of the hymns at the beginning of each hour in the reformed Liturgia Horarum. In the traditional Breviarium Romanum, the hymn comes after the psalmody at Lauds and Vespers, but occurs at the beginning of the other hours. Is it rational to always have the hymn at the beginning of each hour? Yes, probably. But does this logical reform, coupled with the reduction and standardisation in the number of psalms at each of the hours, have the unintended side-effect of ‘flattening’ them and making them all feel the same? Definitely!

One oration worth noting because its edit would seem to be a “sign of the times” is the collect for Friday in Week 3 of Easter, where two alterations have been made to the source text. The first is the change of agnovinmus to cognovimus, which is a minor change but one without precedent in the thirty-two manuscripts this prayer appears in. The second change is in the last clause of the oration: ipsi per amorem spiritus a morte animae resurgamus has, with no warrant in the tradition, become ipsi per amorem Spiritus in novitatem vitae resurgamus. This expression of post-Vatican II optimism, which in hindsight seems almost quaint today, has unfortunately left us with numerous distortions and deformations in our liturgical prayer that it seems only a return to our tradition can remedy. 


More issues arise with the thirteen centonized collects, which are effectively new compositions. Here, we will mainly examine the three that take prayers from the 1962 Missal and combine each of them with one other oration: Easter Tuesday, Monday in Week 7 of Easter, and Wednesday in Week 7 of Easter.

For the Easter Tuesday collect in the reformed Missal, parts of the Easter Monday collect from the 1962 Missal (CO 2111) are combined with parts of CO 1958, a paschal collect attested in sixteen manuscripts including the Gelesianum Vetus and that has some overlapping vocabulary with the Easter Monday oration, plus some further slight edits:

CO 2111: Deus, qui sollemnitate paschali mundo remedia contulisti, populum tuum, quaesumus, caelesti dono prosequere, ut et perfectam libertatem consequi mereatur et ad vitam proficiat sempiternam.

CO 1958: Deus, qui paschalia nobis remedia contulisti, populum tuum caelesti dono prosequere, ut inde post in perpetuum gaudeat, unde nunc temporaliter exsultat.

MR 2008: Deus, qui paschália nobis remédia contulísti, pópulum tuum cælésti dono proséquere, ut, perféctam libertátem assecútus, in cælis gáudeat, unde nunc in terris exsúltat.

As mentioned above, the Easter Monday collect of the 1962 Missal is very well-attested, occurring in forty-six manuscripts, and in forty-five of these it is used on Easter Monday. Something is not right when a prayer with over a millennium of constant use in the Roman liturgy has been chopped up and blended with another prayer in this manner.

For the collect of Monday in Week 7 of Easter, the first half of the collect for Pentecost Tuesday in the 1962 Missal (CO 218), attested on or around this day in forty-four manuscripts dating from the 6th century including the Leonianum and Gelasianum Vetus, has been combined with a clause from CO 3823, a considerably less well-attested prayer (nine manuscripts) but one that also appears in the Leonianum and Gelasianum Vetus:

CO 218: Adsit nobis, domine, quaesumus, virtus spritus sancti, quae et corda nostra clementer expurget et ab omnibus tueatur adversis.

CO 3823: Omnipotens sempiterne deus, da nobis voluntatem tuam et fideli mente retinere et pia conversatione depromere, ut ecclesia tua, a profanis vanitatibus expiata, non aliud profiteatur verbis, aliud exerceat actione.

2008 MR: Advéniat nobis, quǽsumus, Dómine, virtus Spíritus Sancti, qua voluntátem tuam fidéli mente retinére, et pia conversatióne deprómere valeámus.

It should be noted that the change at the beginning of this prayer from adsit to adveniat is not attested in the manuscript tradition of CO 218. In my opinion, this robs the collect of much of its divine intimacy: “may the power of the Holy Spirit come to us” does not feel as close as “may the power of the Holy Spirit be near to us.” It should also perhaps be noted that the clauses in each of the sources that could be considered ‘negative’, ab omnibus tueatur adversis (CO 218) and a profanis vanitatibus expiata (CO 3823), are omitted from this centonization.

The collect for Wednesday in Week 7 of Easter in the reformed Missal takes part of the collect for Pentecost Friday in the 1962 Missal (CO 1001), an oration that dates from the 6th century and is contained in forty-two manuscripts on or around Pentecost Friday, and combines it with the final part of CO 1568, a prayer that only occurs in the Leonianum in the month of September:
CO 1001: Da, quaesumus, ecclesiae tuae, misericors deus, ut, sancto spiritu congregata, hostili nullatenus incursione turbetur.

CO 1568: Deus, qui ecclesiam tuam in dilectione tuae divinitatis et proximi cuncta servare caelestia mandata docuisti, da nobis spiritum pacis et gratiae, ut universa familia tua et toto tibi sit corde devota et pura sibi voluntate concordet.
2008 MR: Ecclésiæ tuæ, miséricors Deus, condéde propítius, ut, Sancto Spíritu congregáta, toto sit corde tibi devóta, et pura voluntáte concórdet.

Other collects in the Eastertide weekday corpus of the Ordinary Form have been centonized from three source texts, such as the one for Saturday in Week 5 of Easter. This collect combines parts of two prefaces and one oration, none of which are very well-attested in the tradition, into a new prayer:

Pref 1134: Vere dignum… Qui omnia mundi elementa fecisti, et varias disposuisti temporum vices, atque homini ad tuam imaginem condito universa simul animantia rerumque miracula subiecisti. Cui, licet origo terrena sit, tamen regeneratione baptismatis caelestis ei vita confertur. Nam, devicto mortis auctore, immortalitatis est gratiam consecutus. Et praevaricationis errore quassato, viam reperit veritatis.

Pref 1125: Vere dignum… Qui nostras mentes expiando iustificas, et immortalitatis efficis iustificando capaces.

CO 2237: Dirige, domine, quaesumus, ecclesiam tuam dispensatione caelesti, ut, quae ante mundi principium in tua semper est praesentia praeparata, usque ad plenitudinem gloriamque promissam, te moderante, perveniat.

2008 MR: Omnípotens ætérne Deus, qui nobis regeneratióne baptísmatis cæléstem vitam conférre dignátus es, præsta, quǽsumus, ut, quos immortalitátis éfficis iustificándo capáces, usque ad plenitúdinem glóriæ, te moderánte, pervéniant.

Pref 1134 is an Easter preface from the Ambrosian tradition, attested in ten manuscripts as well as the Missale Ambrosianum. Pref 1125 occurs in only two manuscripts: the Leonianum, where it is assigned to the month of July, and Berlin, lat. 105 (according to Moeller, a manuscript strongly related to the Leonianum), where it occurs in Lent. CO 2237 is a collect that exists solely in the Leonianum, assigned to the month of September. We have here, then, three texts, two of which are unrelated to Eastertide and dropped out of use at an early stage in the liturgy, and two of which are prefaces and not collects. As Dr Lauren Pristas points out, this practical use of sources would seem to go against one of the earlier policies of Coetus XVIII bis: that, for each oration appearing or inserted in the Roman Missal, its proper literary genre be preserved. [28] The collect for Saturday in Week 5 of Easter as it exists in the reformed Missal is, at best, only tangentially related to its sources; there is no common theme or purpose between the source texts, nor is much of their content preserved in the centonization.

This is not to say that the technique of centonization is always to be avoided. After all, it was utilised by Pope St Gregory the Great in the composition of the Advent collects. [29] But the character and tenor of the centonization of the Consilium is too often very different to that of the great Pontiff. When we read some of what Coetus XIII, the group responsible for the reform of the ad diversa orations of the Missal, had to say about their work, this fact is perhaps not surprising:

It is often impossible to preserve either orations that are found in the [current] Roman Missal or to borrow suitable orations from the treasury of ancient euchology. Indeed, prayer ought to express the mind of our current age, especially with regard to temporal necessities like the unity of Christians, peace, and famine… In addition, it seems to us that it is not always possible for the Church on every occasion to make use of ancient orations, which do not correspond with the doctrinal progress visible in recent encyclicals such as Pacem in terris and Populorum progressio, and in conciliar documents such as Gaudium et spes. [30]

Half a century on from the liturgical reform and the optimism of the ‘conciliar age’, it is difficult to believe that liturgists really considered ‘modern man’ so unique that, for example, the prayers for peace contained in older missals and sacramentaries were deemed entirely unsuitable for the modern age. Of course, advances in military technology mean that particular ethical considerations are more prominent in our day, such as whether the use of nuclear weapons in any way can ever be morally licit. However, if there is anything we should have learned in the last century, it is that ‘modern man’ is fundamentally the same as man ever was—sinful, wretched, and in dire need of the salvific grace of God.

The more one examines the reform of the liturgy carried out after the Second Vatican Council, the more inescapable the conclusion seems that the spirit of the reform was not what it should have been. We have seen, even in this relatively small group of collects, that prayers were edited in ways entirely unknown in their history, moved from days they had occupied in some cases for over a millennium, used at times of the liturgical year they had never been before, and freely cut up and recombined with parts of other prayers to make completely new compositions. It is difficult to see this as anything but an impoverishment of the Roman Rite, which will only be able to be addressed by a return to the fullness of the Church’s liturgical tradition.


NOTES

[1] There is some repetition of the super oblata and postcommunion prayers, but within Eastertide (excluding Pentecost) there are still twenty-one unique orations for each of these genres. For a full list of repeated prayers in the post-Vatican II Missal, see Juan Manuel Sierra López, “Oraciones que se repiten en el Misal Romano edición del año 2002”, Notitiae 481-482 (2006), pp. 463-485.

[2] Reference will be made throughout this article to E. Moeller, J.M. Clement & B. Coppieters ‘t Wallant (eds.), Corpus orationum (CCSL 160-160M; Turnholt: Brepols, 1992-2004), abbreviated to CO, and E. Moeller (ed.), Corpus praefationum (CCSL 161-161D; Turnholt: Brepols, 1980-81), abbreviated to Pref.

[3] I am here counting from the Mass of the Easter Vigil to the Sunday after Ascension; note that the collect for the 5th Sunday after Easter is also used for the Vigil of the Epiphany.

[4] Ascension is given a choice of two collects in the 2008 MR, and this one is used as the second option.

[5] The middle of this prayer, conserva in nova familiae tuae progenie adoptionis spiritum, quem dedisti, ut… has been changed in the post-Vatican II Missal to éxcita in Ecclésia tua adoptiónis spíritum, ut… The text in the reformed Missal is unknown by all fifty-eight manuscripts (dating from the 8th century) in which this prayer is extant.

[6] “Centonization” was the term Coetus XVIII bis used to denote the creation of effectively new prayers from parts of pre-existing ones. In this case, the first half of the collect for Easter Sunday in the 1962 MR (Deus, qui hodiérna die per Unigénitum tuum æternitátis nobis áditum, devícta morte, reserásti: vota nostra, quæ præveniéndo aspíras, étiam adiuvándo proséquere), a prayer used on this Sunday in fifty-four extant manuscripts dating from the 8th century, has been combined with the second half of a far less well-attested Easter prayer (Deus, qui per unigenitum tuum aeternitatis nobis aditum, devicta morte, reserasti, da nobis, quaesumus, ut, qui resurrectionis dominicae sollemnia colimus, per innovationem tui spiritus a morte animae resurgamus), contained in 13 manuscripts also dating from the 8th century (one of these is the Gelesianum Vetus), but that had fallen out of use by the 11th century. Not only are we left with what is basically a newly-composed collect for one of the most solemn occasions in the entire liturgical year—and the tradition does not lack for prayers used on Easter Sunday, so there seems very little justification for this sort of new composition!—but the ending is different: tui spiritus a morte animae resurgamus has been altered in the post-Vatican II Missal to tui Spíritus in lúmine vitæ resurgámus. There is no precedent for this textual change in the manuscript tradition.

[7] The major change made to this text in the reformed Missal, from ut et perféctam libertátem cónsequi mereátur, et ad vitam profíciat sempitérnam to ut, perféctam libertátem assecútus, in cælis gáudeat, unde nunc in terris exsúltat, has no precedent in the manuscript tradition.

[8] The word foetu has been changed to prole in the reformed Missal. Again, there is no precedent in the manuscript tradition for this alteration.

[9] There is a slight difference in the word order (cursus) of this oration: largire supplicibus tuis becomes tuis largire supplicibus. However, as this does not affect the meaning in any way, I have included this prayer in the “unchanged” category.

[10] Quos perpétuæ mortis eripuísti cásibus has been changed to quos eripuísti a servitúte peccáti in the reformed Missal. Although this change would appear to have been made with an eye to the “slaves of sin” language in Romans 6 (see vv. 6, 17, 20), there is no precedent for this change in the fifty-five extant manuscripts that contain this collect, and it is not as if the original text lacks biblical parallels (see, e.g., Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 1:10)! Moreover, this prayer has no history of use in tempus post Epiphaniam or tempus post Pentecosten.

[11] The word iustitiae is omitted from the text of this prayer in the reformed Missal. On this occasion, this is attested by two of the earliest manuscripts of the forty-five that use this oration in Eastertide: the Gelasianum Vetus and Prager.

[12] Note that I have excluded the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord and its Vigil here, as we are only examining the ferial Eastertide collects on this occasion. We are also using the 2008 edition of the post-Vatican II Missal, as a number of small changes and additions were made to the corpus of Eastertide prayers from the 1975 editio typica altera, and it only seems fair to use the edition of the Ordinary Form’s Missal currently in force.

[13] Alternative collects are provided for Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Week 6 of Easter, for use in regions where the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is transferred to the 7th Sunday of Easter.

[14] Lauren Pristas, The Collects of the Roman Missal: A Comparative Study of the Sundays in Proper Seasons before and after the Second Vatican Council (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013), pp. 207-208.

[15] Easter Wednesday, Easter Thursday, Easter Friday, and Saturday in Week 7 of Easter.

[16] Monday in Week 2 of Easter (GeV 519), Wednesday in Week 5 of Easter (GeV 495), Monday in Week 6 of Easter (GeV 527), and Friday in Week 6 of Easter (in places where Ascension is transferred to the following Sunday) (GeV 552).

[17] Monday in Week 3 of Easter (Triplex 1520), and Tuesday in Week 5 of Easter (Triplex 1361).

[18] Thursday in Week 2 of Easter (GeV 479), Friday in Week 2 of Easter (GeV 567), Saturday in Week 2 of Easter, option 1 (GeV 526) and option 2 (GeV 557), Tuesday in Week 3 of Easter (GeV 525), Saturday in Week 3 of Easter (GeV 490), Wednesday in Week 4 of Easter (GeV 562), Thursday in Week 4 of Easter (GeV 485), and Saturday in Week 4 of Easter (GeV 474).

[19] Friday in Week 3 of Easter (Gell 736), Tuesday in Week 4 of Easter (Gell 735), Monday in Week 5 of Easter (Gell 832), and Tuesday in Week 7 of Easter (Gell 1045).

[20] Thursday in Week 5 of Easter (Triplex 1672), Tuesday in Week 6 of Easter (Triplex 1519), and Saturday in Week 6 of Easter (Triplex 1797).

[21] Friday in Week 4 of Easter (Goth 298), Wednesday in Week 6 of Easter (Goth 293), and Thursday in Week 6 of Easter (in places where Ascension is transferred to the following Sunday) (Goth 305).

[22] Saturday in Week 6 of Easter (in places where Ascension is transferred) (GeV 564), and Friday in Week 7 of Easter (Leon 221).

[23] Though for this latter example, the addition of Christi to the phrase per resurrectionum Christi Filii tui vacuasti at the end of the prayer is not attested in the manuscript tradition.

[24] Schema 186 (De Missali, 27), 19 September 1966, p. 4: “Placetne Patribus: a) ut omnes orationes missalis romani ad Patrem dirigantur? b) optatisne ut etiam collectae in diebus dominicis Adventus in hoc sensu recognoscantur?”

[25] Schema 319 (De Missali, 56), 7 October 1968, p. 2: “Orationes ad Deum Patrem (nisi certae rationes aliud suadeant) semper dirigantur.”

[26] We see a very similar edit in the collect for Wednesday in Week 6 of Easter, where resurrectionis domini nostri Iesu Christi is changed to resurrectionis Filii tui. This prayer is only extant in two manuscripts and, once again, in neither of them do we find any precedent for this change.

[27] Peter Kwasniewski, “Patricentric Pluralism and the Elimination of Liturgical Prayer Addressed to Christ”, New Liturgical Movement, April 12, 2021.

[28] Pristas, The Collects of the Roman Missal, p. 212; Schema 186, p. 3: “Placetne Patribus ut unicuique orationi in missali exstanti vel inserendae, restituatur character suus proprius et originalis?”

[29] For more information on this, see Pristas, The Collects of the Roman Missal, pp. 32-38.

[30] Schema 306 (De Missali, 52), 9th September 1968, p. 7: “Plerumque impossibile est vel servare orationes quae inveniuntur in Missali Romano, vel etiam hauriro orationes aptiores ex thesauro euchologiae antiquioris. Etenim debet oratio exprimere mentem nostrae aetatis, praesertim cum agitur de necessitatibus temporalibus sicut Unio Christianorum, Pax vel Fames… Insuper nobis videtur quod Ecclesia non potest semper et pro semper uti antiquioribus orationibus, quae non respondent progressui doctrinae expresso in recentioribus Encyclicis sicut Pacem in terris et Populorum progressio et in documentis conciliaribus sicut Gaudium et spes.” English translation from Matthew P. Hazell, The Post-Communion Prayers in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite: Texts and Sources (Lectionary Study Press, 2020), pp. xxi-xxii.

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