Prayer Book Society angry as religious names dropped from Letts diaries

London, UK - Traditionalists are up in arms after a diary manufacturer dropped a series of historic names for the Sundays before Lent.

The Prayer Book Society, whose patron is the Prince of Wales, has called for a boycott of Letts’ diaries, which have replaced Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima and Quadragesima with the appropriate number of “Sundays before Lent”.

Like Ash Wednesday, these are moveable feasts in the Anglican year. The Roman Catholic Church eliminated the terms in the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

The society has accused Letts of throwing out centuries of tradition by dropping the names. Its members are also alarmed that the number of Sundays “after Easter” has been replaced with “of Easter”.

Prudence Dailey, the society’s chairman, said: “In one fell swoop, centuries of Church tradition have been lost. Most confusingly, the new numbering of Sundays as being ‘of’ Easter is different from the traditional numbering of Sundays, which were always referred to ‘after’ Easter.

“For example the Second Sunday after Easter, according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, now becomes the Third Sunday of Easter in the new nomenclature.”

Claire Donnelly, from Letts, said that it had moved in its 2010 diaries from following the Book of Common Prayer to using the Book of Common Worship, published by the Church in 2000, because it is more contemporary. She said in a letter to Miss Dailey that it would have been impractical to show both systems in one diary.

A Church of England spokesman said: “The decision between which of the two calendars to use in their diaries is clearly one for the individual publisher. The majority of Church of England churches are now following the Common Worship calendar and lectionary for their principal services. It may well be that publishers are finding that their customers are demanding products that reflect that.”