From a reader:
Your post on the blessing of grapes got me thinking.
Are any provisions available for those in the Southern Hemisphere to transfer seasonal dates for their proper use?
These important Feasts and blessings that the Church makes available to us seem to go wasted around here as we’re at the opposite end of the seasonal calendar.
I suspect there aren’t provisions made simply to “flip” the calendar over, as it were, for the sake of staying in sync with seasons. The Latin, Roman Church used one calendar and retained its use when Europeans started to populate the southern climes.
Now, of course, we have two Roman calendars side by side, don’t we? Ironic. So, with the traditional calendar we have Ember Days and days when we sing litanies and go in procession in the fields at the time crops are planted in the spring. In the newer calendar, there are hints that something like the Ember Days can be observed, though it is little more than a mention.
It seems to me that, as least for the Novus Ordo calendar, diocesan bishops and conferences of same could have some flexibility in the establishment of local or regional feasts. I am not sure how that would be coordinated with the traditional calendar or the reformed calendar.
We have to simply embrace our Romanitas as Roman Catholics. For example, it is hard to figure out what to do with, say, the Feast of St. John Baptist, who is diminishing as Christ is growing, right at the time of year when, in Northern climes, the days begin to get shorter again.
Will some of us have to be “upside down”? I guess so. That’s the way it goes, at least for the traditional calendar. Let’s leave aside the problems facing those who would want to more closely coordinate the traditional and reform calendars. Whew!
Frankly, I think it was a huge mistake to reform the Roman calendar in the way it was reformed. We are paying for that now. However, that doesn’t address the issue you raised: if the seasons and feasts are more closely harmonized with the seasons as they rotate in the Northern Hemisphere, are Southern hemispherites simply stuck? Probably.
Perhaps the regional bishops can figure out some other practices. It would be interesting to know what has already been considered.