Monday, November 29, 2010

Use of the Capuce at Office in Light of Dominican Tradition

I have recently been asked about what the Dominican tradition is for raising and lowering the capuce (hood) at the Divine Office. I previously posted on this but I think that it would be more convenient to represent my conclusions. Especially note-worthy is the traditional rule on not lowering the capuce when one makes the "bow to the knees" (incinatio ad genua).

Those interested in the rules for raising and lowering the capuce in the traditional Dominican Rite may find them in nn. 730-740 of the Caeremoniale iuxta Ritum S. Ordinis Praedicatorum of 1869 (the last ceremonial of the order); an English version of these rubrics was published by the Eastern Province as Rubric Pamplet I: Choir in 1907. Both books are available at Dominican Liturgy on the left sidebar in PDF format for download. To your right you can see friars with their capuces raised during a vestition with the habit in the Western Dominican Province

I have already done a post on the pre-Vatican-II reform rubrics. In 1963 those traditional rubrics were suppressed, and the capuce was raised only when friars were seated listening to readings. Even this practice fell out of use by the time the Order adopted the new Roman Liturgy of the Hours in 1972. Although occasionally, especially in cold weather, or when meditating, individual friars occasionally put up their hoods in choir even today.

Assuming there might be a desire to revive use of the capuce in choir, here are my suggestions as to how this would be done in continuity with the older practice.

1) The capuce would be raised and kept up at Office following the Gloria Patri and alleluia at the beginning of each hour. In the traditional rubrics, the bow at this Gloria Patri was profound, which meant the capuce was down until it was over. The following would be exceptions to this rule:

a) The capuce would be raised after the verse "Lord, open my lips" and its response before the Invitatory of the first Office of the day. This verse and response used to be followed by a Gloria Patri, and the capuce was not raised until it was over. As the Invitatory Antiphon now follows immediately, one would raise the capuce after the response to the verse.

b) At Compline, the capuce would be down until the hymn. The verse, response, and Gloria Patri at Compline are today followed by the Examination of Conscience, which the Dominican Proper of 1983 directs to be said kneeling (not bowed as in the old rite) or even prostrate on the forms. As the old rubrics required that those kneeling or prostrate lower the capuce, it would be left down for the Examination of Conscience. The older rubrics required that the capuce be lowered for the Nunc Dimittis antiphon, the Collect, and then remain down for the Salve Regina and O Lumen processions, so the capuce remain down for the rest of Compline after the short reading.

2. Once it is raised the capuce is not lowered for the Gloria to the Father after the psalms or during the Short Responsory. That bow was traditionally a bow to the knees, not a profound bow (to the toes) as at the beginning of the Office. There may have been a Roman practice of uncovering for the Gloria Patri, but this was not the Dominican use.

3. At Lauds and Vespers, the capuce would be lowered at the antiphon of the Gospel Canticle. This was the traditional rubric. The capuce would remain down for the rest of those Offices. This follows the old rubrics, which required that it be lowered for the Preces when these were said, as well as for collects; so the capuce would remain down during the modern Intercessions and Our Father, and for the Collect and dismissal.

4. At the Little or Day Hours, the capuce would be lowered for the Collect and Benedicamus Domino. The same practice would be followed at Office of Readings, should it be separated from Laudes.

5. Readers at Office would, as was traditional, lower the capuce while reading. Should, for some reason (e.g. a "Protracted Vigil") the Gospel is read at Office, all would uncover their heads along with the reader.

6. It was the practice in the old rubrics not to cover the head during devotions and traditional prayers after or before the Office. So if the Sacra Convivium is said before or the Angelus after, the capuce would be left down.

7. Finally, although it was the Dominican practice to make a profound bow in Office at the names of Jesus, Mary, and Dominic, the capuce was not lowered for those bows at Office. I mention this because of the secular practice of tipping the biretta at the Holy Names. I see no reason that we should adopt this Roman rubric, which gets messy with a capuce. Something might be said for restoring the profound bow at the Holy Names, especially during the Salve Regina and O Lumen processions--custom still preserved those bows when I was at the Western Dominican House of Studies in Oakland CA during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

These are, of course, merely suggestions. As no rubrics on the capuce exist in the modern (1982 and 1996) editions of the Dominican Propers, houses are, of course, free to establish their own customs.

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