Guest speaker discusses Franciscan order and the liturgy

Liam Fanning
Staff Writer

A guest speaker said that writing liturgy has been a significant part of his life at a talk Friday at 3 p.m. in the Gentile Gallery.

The Rev. Patrick Whittle, TOR, gave a talk titled “The Franciscan Order and the Roman Liturgy: The 13th Century and Today.” Whittle is a 2006 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville and is a doctoral candidate at the Catholic University of America.

Whittle said he has written his dissertation for his doctorate on the subject of the Franciscan order and the Roman liturgy.

“So, in some ways, this talk is a preparation for my defense in a few weeks,” he said.

Speaking on the development of Franciscan liturgy in the early days of the order, Whittle said that “the Franciscans never really adopted their own ritual tradition. What they did was adopt the liturgy of the Roman church.”

He went on to say that this was significant since every other religious community in existence in the 1200s practiced their own version of the divine office with varying prayers and psalms. St. Francis of Assisi, however, chose to have his new order use the office said in the papal court.

“At that time, they had a distinctive liturgical tradition in the city of Rome,” Whittle said. This liturgy, with specific breviaries and psalters, was practiced solely in Rome during this period.

Rather than creating their own liturgical tradition, Francis chose to adopt the liturgy in use in Rome. This showed Francis’ desire early on for his order to remain obedient and closely linked to the pope in Rome, Whittle said.

Junior Peter O’ Toole said, “It was interesting to see how the Franciscans were one of the first orders to be truly a part of the Roman Rite. They had their own separate identity, but they also were so strongly connected with the church in Rome.”

The talk was part of the Friday Academic Lecture series, which will continue throughout the spring semester.

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