Fr. Z has been writing for years on the strangeness of the Book of Blessings. It seems to have a different theology of blessing, and is just not very good. He always suggests using the 1952 or 1957 edition of the Rituale Romanum and/or the Collectio Rituum. The first is only in Latin, the second allows for the vernacular to be used at different points. Well, the good canons of St. John Cantius have the 1964 edition, which was a translation into English of the Ritual following the desires of the Commission on the Liturgy led by Msgr. Annibale Bugnini. The same happened with a 1964/1965 Ordo Missae, so that at least in the USA the Mass could begin to be said in the vernacular.
Anyways, I clearly found the ritual for enrollment in the confraternity of the Brown Scapular. I recognized it, at least in structure: opening verses, a collect, blessing, placement on the candidate, etc. What intrigued me is that one did not need permission for a Carmelite to enroll you (a Discalced Carmelite, to be more precise...somehow this was separated from the ancient order). Apparently the Congregation of Sacred Rites allowed in late 1964 for any priest to bless objects and enroll the faithful in confraternities formerly reserved to religious orders, unless one had permission.
The translation is decent. It uses some formal language without being Latinate, which appeases the leftists in the Church (If you want Anglo-Saxon diction, then read Beowulf.) And there is no hierarchic English. The Confraternity Bible was apparently decent, but I have always heard that the Psalms in the 1950s onward stink, both in the new Latin versions and some of the translations (the Office...yuck). Now, I don't have the enrollment ritual in front of me, but I can tell you I was not instructed in the Scapular properly, as the 1964 enrollment ceremony requires. I certainly did not realize that the confraternity prayers are not just for you, but for the whole of the membership. I didn't learn that until I read about the Angelic Warfare Confraternity
That gets me to my next point: I was surprised to see that the blessing of the cincture of St. Thomas Aquinas was there. It only contained the blessing of the cincture, and not the full enrollment in the Angelic Warfare Confraternity with the blessed medal and cincture presented. I also recall asking a Dominican priest to enroll me. Neither minded, for it is their privilege...
The question is:
- Why is St. John Cantius providing a book of dubious legitimacy? A form of the Collectio published in 1963 or 1964 is of a different nature than the Rituale, since it already had vernacular rituals. PSummorom Pontificum allows for the 1962 forms of the rituals. It is obvious to me that the 1964 'English Missal' that we use for the 'official' translation of the Epistle and Gospel, proclaimed before the sermon, is not allowed. Perhaps I am completely off altogether: it says in the foreward that it is in compliance with the editio typica of 1952, and it is also possible that the titles of the two books have been accidentally amalgamated. One typically doesn't go wrong with anything from St. John Cantius, for what it is worth.
- What is the status in regards to Our Lady's promises? Non-Catholics can wear a Brown Scapular, but cannot be confraternity members. Most Catholics wear it because of the promises, I think, so the form needs to include investiture and not just blessing (which is allowed, but I would think unusual).
- When was the decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites regarding the complete grant of faculties for blessings-at the time- formerly reserved to religious orders abrogated? I liked going to a Dominican actually. It is a treasure of their order, and custody shouldn't be taken lightly. Emails with a 'cc' sent to the enrolling priest directed to the Province director are sufficient, so if you are not near a preacher, then you can still join. But, I'm curious as to when this reverted. More importantly, if this text is allowed, what pages need to be asterisked to indicate that they are out of compliance with the motu proprio?
- Why was only the cincture blessing included in the 1964 edition? That is totally strange.
Oh and on number 3: this is why we need to codify liturgical law! We have lots of confusing decrees, particularly from the old Congregation of Sacred Rites. The mail was slow. Customs were still considered important, and so was organic development. Some things weren't abrogated until the 2002 GIRM, which in translation for the United States was issued in 2010 (and guess what? I really dislike the changes to genuflections). Also, the GIRM is itself explained upon elsewhere by the CDW, like in its clarifications on the tabernacle...so why not just put it all into one big book and issue it with the Missal? Even better, put it online.