From a reader… actually quite a few readers, but this e-mail is representative:
I’m wondering if you have an opinion on whether the Conversion of St. Paul can be celebrated this Sunday in the EF? It’s not mentioned in the FSSP Ordo. Have you heard anything about what celebration different places are planning?
Below I’ve pasted the decree from the CDW. It doesn’t exclude the EF [or even mention it], but it’s oriented towards the OF.
CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS
granting a special faculty for the celebration of the Conversion of St Paul, Apostle in the Jubilee Year bimillennium of his birth
The Apostle St Paul, who proclaimed the truth of Christ to the entire world and, after having been his persecutor, employed all means to announce the Good News to the peoples, committing himself with zeal for the unity and harmony of all Christians, has always been and is still now venerated by the faithful, especially in this particular Year, bimillennium of his birth, that the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI has willed to institute it as a special Jubilee Year.
Therefore, in force of the faculties attributed to this Congregation by the Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XVI, grants, in an extraordinary way, that next 25 January 2009, the Third Sunday "per annum", the singular churches can celebrate a Mass according to the formula Conversion of St Paul, Apostle, as found in the Roman Missal. In this case, the Second Reading of the Mass is taken from the Roman Lectionary for the Third Sunday "per annum", and the Creed is recited.
This concession, by special mandate of the Supreme Pontiff, is valid only for the Year 2009.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary.
From the Congregation for Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 25 January 2008, on the feast of the Conversion of St Paul, Apostle.
Cardinal Francis Arinze
Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith
You ask if I have an opinion. I do.
I would say yes, the Conversion of St. Paul can be celebrated on that Sunday for the following reasons.
First, this is a special year dedicated to St. Paul. Let that fact not be obscured.
Second, this comes from the Pope, rather than just from the Congregation. The Congregation does not have competence in matters concerning the older, Extraordinary Form, the Holy Father’s jurisdiction is not so limited. The Holy Father simply used that Congregation to make known his will. I grant that he did not make this explicit.
Third, the language of the decree says "Third Sunday ‘per annum’". The typical edition of the 1962 Missale Romanum indicates that 25 January would be in the "Tempus per annum ante Septuagesima" and it would be the Third Sunday, namely after Epiphany.
Fourth, in the Novus Ordo calendar this last year the Solemnity of St. Joseph was transferred to 15 March because of Holy Week. Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" stated that this applied also to the Extraordinary Form. Given that precedent, we can guess that the decree on Conversion of Saint Paul would pertain also to the Extraordinary Form.
Fifth, it just makes sense.
I put the question to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei for a response.
I have heard nothing back.
Perhaps this isn’t important?
Judging from the number of people who have written to me with this question, I would say it is.