A problem with using the old calendar

Yesterday, which in the old calendar was the Vigil of the Assumption, was in the new calendar St. Maximillian Kolbe.  

It is hard to know how those using the old calendar would celebrate the feast of St. Maximillian. 

Some people, I am one of them, are concerned that the calendars don’t match.

Yesterday, a possible solution suggested itself. 

When I used the old calendar yesterday, for the Vigil, there was a second set of prayers to recite for the commemoration of St. Eusebius.

Perhaps a solution to the calendar problem would be to produce a new old Missal, with adjustments and additions such that on days like the Vigil of the Assumption the commemoration could be that of St. Maximillian, such an important 20th c. saint.  It was ever the practice of the Church to adjust the calendar, removing and adding feasts as needs arose.

In any event, today, in addition to the glorious feast of the Assumption, is also the feast of St. Tarcisius.  I don’t think we need to bump the Queen of all saints for any saint, however!

Other saints share this day with the Mother of God’s feast.  Consequently they are somewhat overlooked, though I am sure they don’t knind in the least!   We can give them some due attention.  Here is his entry in the Martyrologium Romanum for St. Tarcisius:

2. Romae in coemeterio Callisti via Appia, commemoratio sancti Tarcisii, martyris, qui, Christi defendens sacratissimam Eucharistiam, quam insana gentilium turba profanare conabatur, lapidibus usque ad mortem mactari maluit quam sacra prodere canibus. … At Rome in the cemetery of Callistus on the Via Appia, the commemoration of Saint Tarcisius, martyr, who while defending the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, which a raging gang of gentiles was trying to profane, preferred to be slaughtered by being stoned to death rather than that sacred things be given to dogs.

This reminds me of the great Sequence for Corpus Christi by St. Thomas Aquinas … "non mittendus canibus".

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27 Responses to A problem with using the old calendar

  1. Liked your blog Fr…

  2. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    When I lived in Boston, the very kind retired priest who would celebrate Mass for us on occasion used the Commons on August 13th for a Votive Mass of St. Maximillian, some years ago, with commemoration of Saints Hippolytus and Cassian.

    More useful, I think, would be a beautifully composed Mass for such a feast, which could also be inserted into the Appendix as a Votive Mass. August 13th allows “any Mass”, after all.

    He did the same thing on September 24 for Padre Pio, from the Commons, with commemoration of Our Lady of Ransom.

    What he did could be implemented now by extraordinary usage communities, and would require no new rubrics.

  3. Perhaps a solution to the calendar problem would be to produce a new old Missal, with adjustments and additions such that on days like the Vigil of the Assumption the commemoration could be that of St. Maximillian, such an important 20th c. saint.

    Surely an updated old missal is inevitable, incorporating (as Card. Ratzinger has suggested) both new saints and additional prefaces. Perhaps this might better be called an opportunity (rather than a problem) in the old calendar. You could celebrate the Vigil of the Assumption, but with a 2nd collect, 2nd secret, 2nd postcommunion commemorating St. Maxmillian.

    Whereas in the new Mass — with its single opening prayer, single super oblata, single post communion prayer — a choice must be made; one can observe either the Vigil or St. Maxmillian but not both.

  4. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    14 August is problematic because of the different conception of vigils in the two usages.

    The Assumption has a vigil in the ordinary usage, but it is celebrated only at night. The morning is devoted to Maximillian.

    The extraordinary usage developed the idea of a vigil that would be celebrated by day (mind you, if I had my way, I’d restore all the ancient vigils to their proper times, but I digress). So 14 August is a rather high-ranking day, a II Class Vigil with proper Mass, which replaces any possible celebration of Maximillian (except where he would be a I Class feast, of course).

    Commemorations help, but they remain rather low-key. I think the closest free day, in this case 13 August, works well…the Mass can be entirely of Maximillian, since it is free already, and requires no new rubrics…though, again, I would prefer a proper Mass, of course.

  5. afanco says:

    Yes, an updated old calendar would certainly be in order. Who would undertake such an endeavour? Perhaps His Holiness already has someone working on that.

  6. Fr. W. T. C. says:

    Perhaps the best solution would be to adjust the old calendar according to its principles and then make that calendar the one and universal calendar of the Roman Rite—new and old. Any attempt to force “Ordo-Noverisms” into classical use will be resisted, and rightly so since it would violate continuity. The Pauline use on the other hand is by design receptive to alterations and changes, a new calendar and new cycles would do no violence to its organic system.

  7. Mary Jane says:

    St. Tarcisius is commemorated in the mosaic in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, where he is depicted as youth and stands along with St. Clare and another saint I can’t remember.

  8. Bailey Walker says:

    Dom Christopher, In both the Dominican missal and the 1962 Roman missal, the text for eleventh verse of the Lauda, Sion is indeed:

    Ecce panis Angelorum,
    Factus cibus viatorum:
    Vere panis filiorum,
    Non mittendUS canibus.

    Happy Feast Day!

  9. Nathan says:

    +JMJ
    Dr. Lee Fratantuono said: “The extraordinary usage developed the idea of a vigil that would be celebrated by day (mind you, if I had my way, I’d restore all the ancient vigils to their proper times, but I digress). So 14 August is a rather high-ranking day, a II Class Vigil with proper Mass, which replaces any possible celebration of Maximillian (except where he would be a I Class feast, of course).”
    Sir, you are right. Wasn’t the practice of setting aside the entire day as a vigil to incorporate the entirety of the Divine Office as well as the Mass of the day? In the totality of the Church’s Liturgy in the extraordinary form, the day of the vigil would be dedicated to the preparation for the next day’s feast. I thought that was a reason why the vigils to major feast days (such as the Assumption of the BVM) were also days of fast and abstinence in the past.
    I like the idea of re-working the calendar. I just hope that the extraordinary rite retains the practice of vigils as privileged liturgical days of penance and preparation. It not only helps prepare for the feast, but has (IMO) added to popular piety and Catholic culture by giving us a good (not self-initiated) reason to fast and pray.
    Have a blessed feast day.
    In Christ,

  10. Steve J says:

    What Fr. Z suggests doing systematically is exactly what our priest (of the Institute of Christ the King) did yesterday off his own bat: added a second commemoration of St. Maximilian to vigil and the commemoration of St. Eusebius.

  11. Jon says:

    For those of you interested in St. Maximillian: http://thecrescat.blogspot.com/2007/08/martyrdom-of-st-maximilian-kolbe.html

    Very moving.

  12. Syriacus says:

    Greetings to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone!

  13. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    I confess I’ve never understood why the issue of “new saints” was such a controversy in some quarters.

    The 1962 rubrics already allow quite a bit of leeway here.

    Also, some saints in the ordinary calendar have proper Masses in the extraordinary Missal’s Appendix…Peter Chanel, Louis de Montfort come to mind, also Rita of Cascia. They can be celebrated as Votive Masses on many days of the year.

    True, you might not be able to use the exact day you might want, but observing Maximillian votively on 13 August, or Padre Pio votively on 24 September, etc., seems perfectly fine.

    The one area I agree is a desideratum for “updating” would be the question of propers. Obviously, saints like Maximillian don’t have them for the extraordinary usage, and one would use the Commons.

  14. Dom Christopher says:

    Bailey Walker, & Fr. Z of course,

    My apologies; it is indeed “mittendUS”. I’m afraid I hadn’t fully emerged from my after None festal nap.

  15. Stephen M. Collins says:

    I also believe SOME updating of the Kalendar is in order. I would actually prefer to see some moves in the current Kalendar towards the more traditional. My worry would be that too much of the old Kalendar might be lost in the process. The work would, after all, be so open to politics on both sides!

    I particularly like the multiple-collects aspect of the Extraodinary Form. It just doesn’t mean as much to have all but the main theme of the day relegated to a phrase inserted in the Prayers of the People.

    Minor changes in the Rubrics of the EF would be sufficient to cover most of the Kalendar questions. Churches who have St. Max as a patron should be allowed to elevate the day to at least a Feast from a Memorial. And, while the penitential aspect of a traditional Vigil could still be obsrved, the actual Mass of the Vigil could be observed only after 5:00 on the Vigil – in the older tradition.

  16. Dan Hunter says:

    Father,
    Thanks for the wonderful suggestion!
    St.Kolbe is one of my favorite saints and the Church needs to acknowledge these,”saints of charity”, with these feast days.
    Thank you and God bless you.

  17. Fr. Z,

    This is a great idea. Might the incorporation of St. Maximilian Kolbe help to calm down the anti-Semitism racket?

  18. RBrown says:

    This reminds me of the great Sequence for Corpus Christi by St. Thomas Aquinas … “non mittendus canibus”.

    Which reminds me that John D Crossan, the ex priest Scripture Scholar, who doesn’t believe in the historical Resurrection. Jesus was probably buried in a shallow grave and his body eaten by dogs.

    So the perfidious Crossan, speaking of the Blessed Sacrament, would likely redact St Thomas:

    Ecce panis Angelorum,
    Factus cibus viatorum:
    Vere panis filiorum,

    Decet mittendum canibus.

  19. RBrown says:

    This reminds me of the great Sequence for Corpus Christi by St. Thomas Aquinas … “non mittendus canibus”.

    Which reminds me of John D Crossan, the ex priest Scripture Scholar, who doesn’t believe in the historical Resurrection. Jesus was probably buried in a shallow grave and his body eaten by dogs.

    So the perfidious Crossan, speaking of the Blessed Sacrament, would likely redact St Thomas:

    Ecce panis Angelorum,
    Factus cibus viatorum:
    Vere panis filiorum,

    Decet mittendum canibus.

  20. Mary says:

    Father, this (not quite the problem of new feasts, but of two different calendars) is something that’s rather bothered me as well, especially since no one seems ever to mention it. What troubles me more, though, is the mental disconnect produced by attending sometimes NO Masses and sometimes TLM (if you will pardon the abbreviations). I last year found myself at the Feast of Christ the King twice. I could have found myself at the feast of St Dominic twice and missed that of the good Cure’. Some feasts are moved months across the calendar and some only a few days for no apparent reason (St Clare). Perhaps you can post on this problem sometime?

  21. dcs says:

    Michael Lawrence asks:
    Might the incorporation of St. Maximilian Kolbe help to calm down the anti-Semitism racket?

    No, because St. Maximilian is viewed by the anti-anti-Semites as an anti-Semite.

  22. Anthony English says:

    In Australia there is a Mass in use in the old rite for the feast of Blessed Mary MacKillop, foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She was beatified in Australia by Pope John Paul II in 1992. It didn’t stop one good priest from preparing the prayers for use in the extraordinary rite and getting official approval of them for use in the liturgy.

    Anthony

  23. Scott Smith says:

    Perhaps there is a way in tradition that has been overlooked. Looking at the tradition before the simplification of the rubrics, one can see the possiblity of two different Masses on the same day. Commemoration and translation are not the only possiblities.

  24. Fr Jeremy says:

    Dear Father Z

    May I begin by firstly thanking you for this blog and the wonderful ministry you provide through it? WDTPRS never ceases to inspire and encourage me!

    Secondly. The issue of the Calendars perplexes me also. I have had the pleasure of being able to offer the ‘extraordinary’ form of the Mass for some years, but have recited the new Breviary rather than the old (not being a member of a 1962 community/order). This I have done for the simple desire to ‘pray with the majority’ of my brothers and sisters similarly bound to the recitation of the ‘Prayer of the Church’. Obviously this has meant occasionally observing a different “day” at Mass… or even repeating a celebration of a Saint e.g. Aug 4th and 9th respectively for St John Vianney!

    I have often wondered whether it would be possible to reconcile the Calendars by re-issuing a new version of the ‘extraordinary’ form but following the new Calendar? Perhaps with the “extra” or “left-over” Saints becoming “optional memoria” etc?

    Certainly, I have often felt that this IS an issue that DOES need addressing – where is the UNITY expressed by different members of the One Body (thinking esp’ of the West, of course) celebrating different feasts and reciting different Offices? Perhaps the WHOLE liturgical life of the Church requires re-thinking?! IT would be great if, say, the “fullness” of the Roman Rite encapsulated much of the old Rite (structure, propers etc) and Offices – with options for simpler celebrations (where a minimum number of psalms might be recited etc)? I must confess, and I admire my forbears for having been able and those that do now, but I would find it difficult to celebrate the Breviary entire in the ‘old’ way… the Night and Morning Offices especially… I should find very little time to sleep, eat and pastor?! (I am in awe of the Saints and holy men and women who were able, but wonder too how they would fare now?!)

    I and I’m sure many others, would welcome your thoughts on this?! (I would rather such an overhaul also reinstated the celebration of Solemnities back to their original dates and days… rather than the transfering of major feasts to the nearest Sunday etc too!)

  25. Scott Smith says:

    The Calendar “Problem” is, I believe, a real opportunity to re-evaluate even the 1962 Calendar as well as the 2002 Calendar. Ecclesial Tradition contains the key to this problem. Not everyone has to have the exact same calendar. The Universal or Roman Calendar is a starting point, not the end. In some ways, the Novus Ordo Calendar has reversed the reforms that resulted in the 1962 Calendar, putting some Saint’s days back where they were before the 50’s. In order to do a correct reform of the Calendar, one must first understand why the calendar was the way it was after the reform of St. Pius X. One must also have a love for the Calendar the way it was inorder to improve it. Otherwise one will just destroy what doesn’t please and add what does, resulting in a reform by whim. The Calendar before the 50’s is very different from the calendar of 1962. And I believe it is key to solving the over all conflict between the two uses. There is nothing to prevent a restoration of the Calendar. The only real conflict is between the Temporal and Sanctoral cycles, not between 1962 and 2002. I believe a single calendar is necessary to maintain that there is only one Roman Rite with two uses.

  26. “No, because St. Maximilian is viewed by the anti-anti-Semites as an anti-Semite.”

    I’ve never read that anywhere, but I doubt the possibility of the Holocaust saints serving as a bridge because I have read opinions calling them a Catholic appropriation of the Jewish tragedy of the Holocaust.

  27. dcs says:

    Samuel J. Howard writes:
    I’ve never read that anywhere

    Perhaps it has been overblown by the media, but I recall frequent references to anti-Semitism in articles about St. Maximilian.