RESPONSE from PCED about Sunday, Conversion of St. Paul

I received a dependable note of a personal nature from a staffer of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei who assures me that it is legitimate to use the texts for the Conversion of St. Paul this Sunday, 25 January, instead of the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany.

As a matter of fact, the response came several days ago, on the 19th but I missed it!  I think my spam filter ate it.

I am the one who is tardy, not the Commission, which responded nearly instantly to my query.

Since the note contained personal comments, I will not share the text.

The upshot is that this is the year of St. Paul.  Of course we can celebrate this!

It just makes sense.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ken says:

    Okay, since we’re just making this up now, should the second collect, secret and postcommunion prayers be that of Saint Peter, with the third ones for the Third Sunday After Epiphany, or vice versa.

    Since we’re talking about a third class feast bumping a second class Mass, this is where things get tricky.

  2. Does this mean – as I think it does – that we say the relevant prayers for the Sunday as well?

  3. Brian Mershon says:

    Of course. Do whatever you want to do and don’t worry about it. It is the Year of St. Paul anyway. In fact, let’s celebrate the feast of St. Paul on every day of the year to emphasize its importance and rely upon internet blogs to determine what we will do as parish priests. Let’s all send letters to the PCED (better hurry quick before it is swallowed up by the Congregation of Divine Worship)asking them how we can help to modify and update the silly, outdated 1962 calendar. Let’s all do it as soon as possible!

    Change. Change. Change. Change. Change. Change. Change. Change.

    If the PCED is intent on driving traditionalists to SSPX chapels, then I guess I will oblige them.

    [If something this small is the excuse you need…. ]

  4. Folks: You can gripe and moan and wheeze and carp and throw stones all you want.

    This is the Pauline Year and Sunday is the Feast of St. Paul.

    Perhaps a little commonsense and goodwill is called for.

    But let’s see if you can leave your sourness somewhere else for a change.

    It’s boring.

  5. Fr. Abberton: That would be a good idea. Do a commemoration of the Sunday.

  6. Ken says:

    And of Saint Peter — that commemoration cannot be deleted, even in this weird situation.

    My question is which proper becomes the second collect, secret and postcommunion, and which one is the third? Saint Paul, Saint Peter then 3rd Sunday After Epiphany? Or Saint Paul, Third Sunday After Epiphany then Saint Peter.

    Anyone? If there is going to be permission for something radically different, then there is going to have to be precise instruction on how to do it.

  7. AM says:

    It’s not so radical. Why not treat it as a world-wide, once-only Patronal, Class I, and do the red accordingly?

  8. Ken says:

    AM, says who? We can’t just make this stuff up and declare Sunday a first class feast day. The decree does not do that.

    So, we’re left with the same question — what order for commemorations?

    “In an Office or Mass of St. Peter, there is always a commemoration of St. Paul. In an Office or Mass of St. Paul, there is always a commemoration of St. Peter. These commemorations are said to be inseparable.”

  9. Paul Goings says:

    Mr Mershon appears to be sadly unaware that the S.R.C. used to grant these sorts of permissions and exceptions to parishes, dioceses, and the whole Church on a regular basis. This is nothing at all unusual, or untraditional.

    Unhappily, this just goes to show that there are still far too many traditionalists who are possessed of what a friend of mine refers to as “Bayeaux Cathedral Syndrome;” that is, whenever a liturgical question arises, the “correct” answer is–obviously–whatever the respondent saw as a boy in Bayeaux Cathedral (or, more likely these days, in some ghastly American suburb).

  10. Brian Mershon says:

    Paul, Wonderful. Actually, all one has to read is a 1962 missal to know what you outline has happened for years.

    However, I doubt very much that the Congregation of Divine Worship made this exception throuh private letter from the PCED to someone (even a priest) who posts it on a weblog without announcing it formally to everyone else.

    This is no slight to Fr. Z. Just an acknowledgement of what appears to be proposed here. If the calendar machinations were common sense, we wouldn’t be in the particular liturgical sutation were are in with the Church right now.

    Is that the way things were done pre-1962?

  11. Paul Goings says:

    Well, the form depended on what sort of privilege or dispensation was being asked for, and, generally, they originated in the diocesan level, even for questions that were entirely parochial, such as a parish that wanted to celebrate a certain Votive Mass on a Sunday for one reason or another. I have a book on procedure at the Curia which gives the format to be used in writing the letters.

    The decisions were sent by letter, usually, and later compiled in (I believe) the Acta, and collected from time to time in book form. The complete collection of S.R.C. decisions from the mid-sixteenth through the late nineteenth centuries runs to eight large volumes of small type; Garadelli (sp?) compiled a small volume of the more general ones, also in the late nineteenth century.

    I agree that the format of this particular decision is unusual, but the general practice is completely normative.

  12. Tyler says:

    I find it funny Fr., that your email thinks the PCED is spamming you. Clearly you are the kind of guy who wants nothing to do with a Commission that focuses on dusty antiques :P

  13. Greg Smisek says:

    AM said: “It’s not so radical. Why not treat it as a world-wide, once-only Patronal, Class I, and do the red accordingly?”

    Since the decree grants permission for one Mass rather than changing the calendar rank of the feast, I wonder whether it ought not be considered an as a Votive Mass on Certain Special Occasions, according to the General Rubrics of the Roman Missal (n. 370). Thus: “A Mass of this kind, a single Mass for the individual occasion, is a votive Mass of the 2nd class, and is celebrated either by order of the respective ordinary or with his consent.”

    The only difference is that the permission for this votive Mass is granted universally rather than “to certain particular groups or to only a part of the faithful”.

    Alternatively, perhaps it amounts to an external solemnity granted by special indult, although I’m not sure whether the decree counts as such as an indult. Normally “one sung and one low Mass, or two low Masses” of the external solemnity are allowed, but the decree permits only one Mass (“una tantum Missa”) of the Conversion of St. Paul to be celebrated in any given church. In any case, Masses of an external solemnity are also celebrated “as votive Masses of the 2nd class.” (See General Rubrics of the Roman Missal, nn. 356-361.)

  14. Hey Folks! I know Paul Goings1 He’s an old friend of mine and if he says the procedure is normative you can be pretty confident that it is.

  15. Penitent says:

    Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?

  16. prof. basto says:

    The EF Epistle reading must be that of the Sunday, because the Decree states that the “Second Reading” (OF’s name for the Epistle) is to be that of the Sunday.

    That means, a contrario sensu, that the Gospel must be that of the feast of the conversion of St. Paul.

    The propers for the feast of the conversion clearly are also to be the first collect, first secret and first postcommunio, in this scenario.

    In the OF, there is always only one collect, secret and postcommunio, and since the Legislatior only specified detalis for the OF, but it is safe to assume that if the legislator had provided details for the application of this Decree in the EF, the inclusion of a commemoration of the Sunday would be provided for.

    Then, the only open question is if the Sunday’s collect, secret and postcommunio prayers are to be read as the second propers, with the petrine propers as the third ones, or vice versa.

    Maniples NOW!

  17. Sigh, sigh.

    Much ado about nothing.

    1) The Pope gave a gift. You can celebrate a Mass (in fact, one could argue the decree allows one and only one Mass, but that’s a whole other issue) of Saint Paul, using the proper for January 25. The commemoration would be of Peter, and then of the Sunday, since Peter-Paul are inseperable. The decree does not mention the Office, since the decree doesn’t speak of raising the rank of Paul or having his liturgy replace Sunday…it allows a Mass.

    2) I am certain this wasn’t some sinister plot of the PCED, the CDW, or the Papal Office for Ministry to Devotees of the Rite of Amber to destablize the 1962 Missal.

    3) Prior to Pius X, everyone would have celebrated Paul anyway. Go figure.

    So no need to panic.

  18. Carlos Palad says:

    “3) Prior to Pius X, everyone would have celebrated Paul anyway. Go figure.”

    Precisely! From the point of view of liturgical history, the innovation lies
    in NOT observing January 25 as the Conversion of St. Paul.

    Now, I’m not advocating that we throw the 1962 Missal out and reinstate the pre-1962
    Missal of our choice, but to act as if the Pope is permitting a complete innovation
    is simply uncalled-for. If anything, he is giving us a one-time opportunity to
    do what the Church would have done on this day prior to any liturgical reforms.

  19. Re: Professor Basta’s question: The Collect, Secret and Postcommunion of st. Peter always follow directly after those of St. Paul and vice Vers when the Feast is a Petrine Feast.

    If the Mass is sung the second and third Colects follow under one conclusion.

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