PCED respond: bishops can’t force changes to Roman calendar for TLM

Our friend at Holy Smoke Damian Thompson has an interesting post, written in his usual gentle and conciliartory manner   o{];¬) 

My emphases and comments:

Vatican slaps down English bishops over holy days of obligation
Posted By: Damian Thompson at Nov 10, 2008 at 12:40:37

The Vatican has stopped the Bishops of England and Wales from trying to force traditionalist Catholics to celebrate holy days of obligation – feasts such as the Ascension and Corpus Christi – according to the new calendar that the bishops imposed on the Church without consultation.

Basically, this is a slap in the face for vindictive liberals in the Bishops’ Conference who relished the idea of wrecking the calendar of the traditional (Tridentine) Missal. It’s a complicated story, so here’s today’s press release from the Latin Mass Society in full. Note that, with characteristic lack of transparency, the Conference had refused to release relevant details of its earlier correspondence with Rome:

Transferred Holydays of Obligation: an Important Clarification From the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei

In April 2008, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales sought a ruling from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei aimed at harmonising [Which in itself is not such a bad idea where it can be handled appropriately.  Forcing the TLM to shift from Ascension Thursday to a Sunday was NOT appropriate.  It isn’t appropriate for the Novus Ordo either.  But I have written about that elsewhere.] the celebration of certain Holy Days of Obligation in the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. The bishops had, in the case of the Epiphany, the Ascension and Corpus Christi, transferred these to specific Sundays and in the case of all other Holy Days of Obligation that are kept in England and Wales, with the exception of Christmas, transferred them also to specific Sundays, whenever they fall on a Saturday or a Monday. They wished to ensure that these Holy Days were also kept on Sundays by those attached to the Extraordinary Form.

Consequently, the Bishops’ Conference submitted a dubium  [heh heh… don’t ask questions unless a) you really want to know the answer or b) you already know the answer.] to Rome but declined to release the full text or of Ecclesia Dei’s reply. The LMS therefore submitted its own dubium to Rome in July and a reply, dated 20 October, has now been received.

The reply from the Ecclesia Dei Commission confirms that the Mass and Office of Holy Days can continue to be said on the days prescribed in the calendar for the Extraordinary Form ["can"…but… "must"?] and that the right to use this calendar is intrinsic to the right to use the Extraordinary Form.

The LMS’s letter requested confirmation that:

 I. the legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 decreed by the Sovereign Pontiff in Summorum Pontificum includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books.

II. That, whilst in accordance with Canon 1246 the Episcopal Conference with the approbation of the Holy See legitimately transfers Holydays of Obligation or suppresses the obligation of Holydays, it is legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.

III. That, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae generales Missalis romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday [A good solution.] to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.

Ecclesia Dei’s reply stated:

1. The legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books[That settles it.   Bishops cannot force TLM celebrates to not observe the old calendar.]

2. While in accordance with Canon 1246 §2 of the Code of Canon Law the Episcopal Conference can legitimately transfer Holydays of obligation with the approbation of the Holy See, it is also legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.

3. Thus, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae Generales Missalis Romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference, as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.”  [Pretty good, all in all.]

Ecclesia Dei’s reply is signed by its Vice-President, Mgr Camille Perl.

As a consequence of the Ecclesia Dei ruling, the Latin Mass Society will continue to organise Masses on the days prescribed in the 1962 calendar for Holy Days but will also, where appropriate, organise feast day Masses as External Solemnities on the Sundays prescribed by the English and Welsh bishops so that obedience and communion are maintained whilst respecting the sensibilities of those who wish to celebrate the feasts on the traditional days.

Mr Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, said: ‘This ruling is very important. It confirms that the calendar for the Extraordinary Form is integral to the rite [I don’t know that that is a proper conclusion from this response.  It simply means that the old calendar can be used without interference.] and cannot be suppressed or altered by bishops’ conferences. It also confirms the right of those attached to the Extraordinary Form to continue to celebrate the traditional feast days. Of course, when we organise Masses on the Sundays prescribed by the bishops to celebrate transferred Holy Days we will organise external solemnities of the Holy Days to fulfill the bishops’ requirement that feast days in both Forms of the Roman Rite be celebrated in common’.

The full texts of the LMS’s dubium and the Ecclesia Dei reply can be seen on the LMS’s website: www.latin-mass-society.org

I think we can welcome this news.
 

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33 Responses to PCED respond: bishops can’t force changes to Roman calendar for TLM

  1. Anthony says:

    I’m curious to see how the next “conflicting” calendar option will pan out on Sunday, January 4th, when the OF transfers Epiphany to this date, while the EF still maintains the feast of the Most Holy Name.

  2. Brian Mershon says:

    Father Z. We celebrated the Commemoration of All Souls in the extraordinary form at my diocesan parish on Sunday, Nov. 2 instead of the Commemoration day of Monday, Nov. 3. Is it not a bit odd to have a Sunday Mass without the gloria and Credo in black vestments on a Sunday? I know this is not a holy day of obligation, but shouldn’t this Mass have been offered on Monday instead of Sunday?

  3. Chris says:

    I don’t want to simply state the obvious, but the first response from Ecclesia Dei where they call the traditional calendar “intrinsic” to the Traditional Latin Mass is just incredible and a real blessing.

    That statement, a statement that cannot possibly be made stronger, should finally stop the movement — more like the assault — to force the Novus Ordo calendar on traditionals.

    This is the biggest thing to happen since the Motu Proprio itself.

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    Brian: Is it not a bit odd to have a Sunday Mass without the gloria and Credo in black vestments on a Sunday? I know this is not a holy day of obligation, but shouldn’t this Mass have been offered on Monday instead of Sunday?

    Yes, of course it seems obvious that the EF All Souls Day Mass should have been celebrated according to the EF calendar, on Monday, Nov. 3.

    But if your Sunday All Souls Mass had been in the ordinary form, wouldn’t it also have been celebrated in black vestments without Gloria? (I don’t know the OF practice for Sunday All Souls Day, because I was at an EF resumed 4th Sunday of Epiphany on Nov. 2.)

  5. Flambeaux says:

    I’m praying that a harmonization of the calendars is accomplished soon. This get’s very jarring for those of us who don’t have the particular blessing of an EF parish. Straddling two calendars only serves to stress a lack of unity of Rite, although I’ll stipulate it is an accidental, not essential, lack of unity.

  6. Maureen says:

    “Of course, when we organise Masses on the Sundays prescribed by the bishops to celebrate transferred Holy Days we will organise external solemnities of the Holy Days to fulfill the bishops’ requirement that feast days in both Forms of the Roman Rite be celebrated in common’.\”

    You know, if the EF-positive parishes and organizations organize a bunch of processions and cool stuff and festivals after Mass to celebrate the holy days or Sunday/holy days, that could be mighty attractive to people, especially people who don\’t normally bother to go to church any day.

    So, party as a parish! :)

  7. This makes me wonder, could an argument be put forward in favor of celebrating these feasts on their calendar day in the Novus Ordo as well? I am thinking, for instance, of Corpus Christi which is transferred perpetually to the following Sunday in the United States. Would it be appropriate to argue for the celebration of the feast on its day (Thursday) albeit in a non-obligatory manner, as laid out for the TLM above?

  8. invocante says:

    Although it is heartening to see Rome protect the Vetus Ordo in this way the real mystery is why on earth Rome agreed to the English bishops moving the feasts to a Sunday in the first place. A simple and easy place to begin the Reform of the Reform would be for the Pope to announce to all the Bishops’ conferences that henceforth all feats will be celebrated on the traditional day/date and no moved to a Sunday. This necessitates no reprinting of mass books or anything and would also be a good way of Rome imposing its authority on the current Galician mindset of the episcopate.

  9. AM says:

    All the (South-Western Ontario) OF parishes I know about celebrated the Commemoration on Sunday Nov 2 and the Gloria _was_ said. I think the rubric is ambiguous, since of course it doesn’t say “dicitur Gloria” for Nov 2 (since it’s not a Solemnity); but in tthe general instruction it says the Gloria is dicitur diebus dominicis, which Nov 2 was. And of course the Mass in Commemoration in the OF is not a Requiem, as in the EF.

  10. therese says:

    Another brick for you Fr Z. I went to Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, hoping to get confession and to maybe join in the Advent event. The Cathedral was FULL to its fire limit so I didn’t get in. So I went to the little bookshop to get a spare mantilla. I bought one last year before SP – and they had a boxful then (and had to go into the back of the shop and rummage to find them). This time there were only two left (at $40 dollars each – so not an impulse buy). The assistant said they no sooner came into the shop than they were sold. Apparently they are a hot item now! Perhaps someone should tell the Bishops Conference!

  11. John Polhamus says:

    Acquiescing to the English Bishops in this matter would have made a FINE impression on the SSPX, not to mention the Orthodox, now wouldn’t it. This is what it’s like to have a Pope with a plan, and spine to back it up! Ad Multos Annos, Benedictus.

  12. Ken says:

    What reason did the priest give for celebrating All Souls Day in the extraordinary form on Sunday 2 November? There was absolutely no legitimate justification for that.

    If folks here are looking for a small present for a priest, I recommend the 2009 FSSP Ordo. All of these crazy questions about All Souls Day on Sunday and when Epiphany is can be answered by cracking open that very well-researched and well-designed Ordo.

    I was happy to see the FSSP finally list the fasting and abstinence discipline/rules as they were in 1962 as the main guidance in the Ordo. Although not technically in force, it always seems weird when one tries to do the watered down discipline concerning fasting and abstinence while using the 1962 Latin books.

  13. Michael J says:

    I’m still a bit confused about what this means to the laity.

    If I am reading this correctly, Holy Days can be celebrated according to the traditional calendar but there is no obligation to do so. This means that one cannot be bound under pain of mortal sin to celebrate on that particulaer date, correct?

    Conversely, is your obligation fulfilled if you do attend on the traditional date?

  14. B. says:

    Michael J:
    I don’t think that’s of any interest, because they always transfer everything to sundays, so the obligation to attend on sunday exists anyway.

  15. Joshua says:

    Several points

    1. Corpus Christi has been celebrated as an External Solemnity on Sunday since the 1870´s in the USA, way before Vatican II. The Thursday Mass was non-obligatory

    2. Epiphany was not an HoD in America before Vatican II. It is actually a rubric of the 2003 Missale Romanum that Epiphany, Corpus Christi and Ascension Thursday be celebrated on the nearest Sunday if not HoD. So it is wrong to say that the Bishops transferred these to Sundays, Rome did. In America Epiphany at least was transferred by Rome automatically with the new Missal, since we only had 6 HoD´s anyways.

    3. This allows external solemnities, but does not mandate them. External Solemnities are allowed for Feb. 2 and Sacred Heart, and Holy Rosary as well, by the very rubrics of the 1962 Missal, but there is no requirement that one utilise this. My take is that in a regular parish or college it would be wise to utilise the External Solemnity for Ascension Thursday, but not Epiphany, and for two reasons. One is that Epiphany was not an HoD on its proper day before the new Mass (in America), and two because doing the external solemnity will overide either the Feast of the Holy Name or Holy Family

  16. Joshua says:

    One “complaint” about the FSSP ordo, it does not have particular feasts for dioceses other than where the FSSP is located. I had to spend hours finding that out for my college, and unfortunately since I left my list, as a supplement to the Ordo,was lost. (Certain feasts like those of diocesan patrons, the Cathedral, election of the bishop,etc)

  17. Brian Mershon says:

    Ken, There was no reason given. I could guess as to the reason, but it would only be speculaiton.

    As far as I could tell with my poll, we were the ONLY place that had the All Souls Day Mass in the extraordinary form on a Sunday.

  18. mao now says:

    The Old Faith is still putting up A vicious fight for survival, and now its position is being vindicated by the Vatican its self!
    Deo gratias!!!!!!

  19. AM says:

    Brian, the schola I belong to sang the All Souls Day Commemoration (e.f.) on Sunday night, November 2. It was the first sung e.f. Mass at that parish for 40 years. (Ontario)

  20. therese says:

    I always remember having fits of worry because Jan 1st used to be a holyday of obligation in Scotland – but not in England, when I was a child. It was frequently the day we left my sister’s house in Scotland to return to our home in England, so I worried that we had missed Mass.

    I suppose the situation no-one wants is a situation arising such as the gradual divergence between the Celtic church observance and Rome’s in the dark ages (this – over the celebration of Easter) – where the redoubtable Abbess Hilda had to knock a few heads together at the Synod of Whitby (if my memory serves me right).

    Still – it’s nice to belong to a Church that can quote precedents over a thousand years old!

  21. Romulus says:

    Brian, if your diocesan parish is dual-form, I would guess that most mass-goers (those attending the OF) assisted at an All Souls mass. I speak with no authority whatever, but it seems to me an argument can be made that the variance from what’s called for in the 1962 missal was made for legitimate pastoral reasons — namely the parish’s interest in calendars coinciding as much as possible.

  22. Brian Mershon says:

    Romulus, again, I refuse to speculate on the reasoning since one was not given. HOwever, I believe this entire issue is indicative of a much larger problem–the Bishops’ conferences authority to eliminate, almost entirely this year in the U.S., our Holy Days of Obligation outsidef of Sundays. It has gotten to be ridiculous.

    Catholics petitioning their priests to have Holy Day Masses on the days they are on the calendar. Otherwise, effectively, we eliminate Sunday Masses that are coordinated very methodicallyl from a spiritual, liturgical and theological perspective, at least in the Traditional rite. Just because the Novus Ordo calendar was thrown together like a tossed salad with little rhme or reason does not mean that those of us who adhere to the Traditional form should be penalized. The fact that bishops continue to slide nearly all of the Holy Days off of their non-Sunday dates is cause for concern–more than has been given its due.

  23. Brian Mershon says:

    Romulus, on another note: The parish priest has no authority whatsoever to decided how to “coordinate the two calendars.” This should now be clear from the PCED correspeondence to the UK bishops.

    If the bishops do not have authority to “harmonize calendars,” then neither do the priests.

  24. Romulus says:

    Brian, this layman’s perception is that pretty much no one is in charge of harmonising the calendars; that, from an official point of view, the problem is barely acknowledged.

    You’ve now had a week to ask your pastor what authority he was relying upon. I look forward to your report of his response.

  25. David D. says:

    Brian,

    I had a similar experience two Sundays ago. The church I attended was not my usual TLM location. From what I gather, the pastor, an older priest, has been offerig the TLM at the request of a small group for several years. From the two homilies I’ve heard him give, I have no reason to believe that the preist is anything but orthodox. I certainly don’t think he was attempting to harmonize the two calendars on his own initiative. Still, the whole thing left me a bit unsettled.

  26. The other David says:

    So, If I understand the ruling and father’s commentary correctly, the Bishops have no right to force the followers of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to use the Ordinary Form calendar, though the Church could decide to revise the TLM rite sometime and change the calendar itself.

    It seems to be a wise decision, preventing the abuse of authority to harass followers of the 1962 missal. In the long run, it seems that a coordinated calendar would be good so that all celebrated the same things on the same days.

    I wonder if that means in time, we may revised Missal of TLM to achieve this.

  27. Mark says:

    Father Z:
    The priests at our parish are very supportive of the EF and have been celebrating it for over a year now. However, they recently informed our congregation that the Ecclesia Dei Commission had issued a ruling stating that EF feasts must follow the OF calendar. As a result, All Souls was celebrated on Sunday November 2nd rather than Monday the 3rd and we will be celebrating Christ the King on the same Sunday as the OF. They may have misread the England and Wales dubium. Has anyone else heard of such a ruling?

  28. Brian Mershon says:

    Romulus said, “You’ve now had a week to ask your pastor what authority he was relying upon. I look forward to your report of his response.”

    You may be waiting for a long while. I submitted a question to him about it on 29 October 2008. So far, no reply at all. I doubt I will be receiving one.

    Despite the volumes written by esteemed priests and bishops on the reason for the change of the liturgical calendar to the end of the year in the Novus Ordo (to emphasize the Pilgrim Church and de-emphasize the building the kingdom of Christ “on earth as it is in heaven,” I fear we will be too celebrating the Feast of Christ the King in the Extraordinary form on the same date as the Ordinary form.

    Problem is, my family and I already celebrated the Feast of Christ the King on the traditional date in Mt. Holly with Fr. Novak and the SSPX, finished off with a splendid procession shutting down traffic and presenting our Lord in adoration and benediction at Protestant seminary–because the local Catholic Church threatened to have us arrested if we did it there.

    We had the Novus Ordo on the Feast of Christ the King because our pastor was out of the coutnrty and it was “too difficult” to find a replacement to offer the TLM.

  29. Brian Mershon says:

    sorry. Not “at Protestant seminary” but instead “at a Protestant cemetary.” So much for “ecumenism.”

  30. paul says:

    kather-
    I agree with you so much- especially the change of Ascension thursday to Sunday in the Novus ordo. Makes no sense to change it- Jesus rose 40 days after the ressurection Ascension thursday. Nine days later whence we get the first Novena- Pentecost. This whole reality is destroyed by transferring Ascension thursday to Sunday.

  31. paul says:

    Sorry, I meant to type Father

  32. dcs says:

    Flambeaux wrote:
    I’m praying that a harmonization of the calendars is accomplished soon.

    I too am praying for the Novus ordo to adopt the traditional Calendar of the Roman Rite.

  33. S says:

    But, according to the 62, the Feast of the Holy Name is 1st class when it’s a Sunday. How does one 1st class feast of Our Lord abolish another?

    If it was the 17th after Pentecost, it wouldn’t matter…. but when it’s the Feast of the Holy Name….