From a reader:
Father, is it ever allowed in the Extraordinary Form that a Requiem
Mass be celebrated on a Sunday?
Perhaps for a private Mass. If I, for example, were to learn of the death of a friend, I wouldn’t hesitate to say Mass as soon as I uncould, Sunday or not, for the sake of the deceased. But there would not be a funeral on Sunday. Nor would there be a Requiem on Sunday in the older form.
That said, I can think of a couple situations in which that might happen.
First, consider that when 2 November falls on a Sunday, in the older calendar the Mass for All Soul’s should be transferred to the next day. With the Novus Ordo calendar, All Souls can, oddly, be observed for Masses on a Sunday. Otherwise, funerals and votive Masses for the dead should not be celebrated on Sundays.
However, I suppose if the diocesan bishop wanted to have all the Masses on 2 November be for All Souls, for both calendars, he could permit the use of the 1962 All Souls on a Sunday. I also suppose that we could come up with some dire scenario in which, for pastoral reasons, the diocesan bishop would consider it opportune to permit a Requiem on a Sunday. I struggle to imagine what that would be, however. Most of the scenarios involve images of bodies stacked like cords of wood during time of plague, or praying for the dead inhabitants of a city that was nuked or slammed with an earthquake, hundreds of thousands of people pleading on their knees for forgiveness of the sins of their loved ones as smoke rises in columns from the shattered cathedral to obscure the red dying sun, sated crows no longer even to croak their ghastly calls in the cold mephitic air… the bishop so moved by the weeping of the children that… ummm… opps. Okay, you get the idea.
This is one of those calendar conflicts between the traditional calendar and the post-Conciliar reformed calendar that should be worked out by Rome. The tradition of prayer for the dead is so important that, in my opinion, people should be on the same page. It makes sense to me that the traditional way of observing All Souls should be adopted in the newer calendar. Sundays should be Sundays. There are six other days for Requiem Masses.
On the other hand I can see the value of keeping both on the Sunday when 2 November is a Sunday.
For decades Catholics’ understanding of the need to pray for the dead, that it is a work of mercy to pray for the dead, has been eroded. It has eroded under the constant din of hearing “for all” during the consecration in English, white vestments, funerals that are more like canonization ceremonies than moments of prayer for the soul of the deceased. The realization that the Four Last Things are real has nearly vanished.
For this reason, I can see the sense in having All Souls on Sunday. Exposing people to good preaching, black vestments, and even the somber prayers of the older form of Holy Mass could be very fruitful.
For the sake of repairing something of damage that has been done, I can see doing that.
In any event, for now it would be best to follow whichever Ordo is appropriate.
[CUE GLOOMY MUSIC]
When you’ve had a tough day of crawling out of the wreckage of a shattered metropolitan center, torn with despair and wondering if the end has come at last, not knowing if you will ever experience happiness again, if anyone will ever feel joy again, try some….
… well… just have some coffee.
It’s still swell.