Updating the Traditional Roman Calendar (Extraordinary Form)

Something has to be done.

I am a firm believer that the Extraordinary Form must not be tinkered with right now.  We need a long period of stability so that the right sort of “gravitational pull” of the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Forms can take place down the line, perhaps not even in our lifetime.  The rubrics, the Ordinary of Mass, should be left alone.

And let me head off here the dopey rumor that in 2013 some “hybrid” missal will be forced on traditional Catholics.  I don’t know where that rumor came from, but it is entirely absurd. That rabbit hole is closed.

That said, I think that the calendar of the Extraordinary Form should be updated with new saints.  I am talking about the “Sanctoral cycle”.  I leave aside for now the side issue of whether or not new Prefaces should be added.  That is another question.  We can leave aside the coordination of some days such as Corpus Domini and All Soul’s. Let’s restrict this to the updating of the Sanctoral cycle, the feasts of saints on the calendar whom we honor at the altar and in the Office.

We need some updating.

For example, on 7 October Sts. Hildegard of Bingen and John of Avila will be named Doctors of the Church by Pope Benedict.  Already the calendar of the older Missale Romanum is behind with some doctors, such as St. Teresa of Avila.  She is a now a Doctor of the Church.   She now gets, I believe, the Common of a Virgin Not A Martyr.  Fine.  But she is a Doctor of the Church now.

We should have the option, if not the obligation, to commemorate at the altar great saints who are more proximate to our time and devotions, such as St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Pio, and saints more recently canonized who are of great local importance.  Do Australians have an interest in St. Mary McKillop?

St. Damian of Molokai… St. Kateri Tekakwitha … St. Josemaria Escriva … St. Claude de la Colombière … St. Gianna Beretta Molla…

Each of these saints has a Latin proper Collect, if not an entire proper.  The Missale Romanum could be updated with these texts.  This is what happened all along the way with the Missale Romanum: the Ordinary was not changed, but the Propers and were updated.    The updates began soon after 1570 when Pius V issued his first edition of the Missale Romanum.  Clement VIII revised it in 1604.  Urban VIII revised it in 1634. Leo XIII revised it in 1884. Pius X revised it Benedict XV promulgated it in 1920. You get the idea.

That said, the issue of the calendar and the possibility of coordinating the calendars of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form seem to me a nearly insuperable challenge. I hope that, in the future, the Extraordinary Form calendar will over time pull by its gravitational force the new, post-Conciliar calendar back into some more recognizable shape. I would like to see in the Ordinary Form a return to the proper liturgical seasons, and a reintroduction of elements such as the Ember Days, a different concept of vigils and – for the love of God – a reclamation of our Holy Days. But I digress.

Expand the Sanctoral cycle.  Leave the rest alone.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Do those in Oz have an interest in St. Mary McKillop ?? You had better believe it . The Traditionalists still say the prayer for the conversion of Australia invoking our Patrons – Our Lady Help of Christians , St. Therese of the Infant Jesus & St. Francis Xavier as our Patrons , now many add St. Mary McKillop to our invocations . How many graces are given to souls through the intercession of our Patrons in Heaven ???
    Pax et bonum .
    From Our Lady`s Land of the Southern Cross .

  2. jflare says:

    “I would like to see in the Ordinary Form a return to the proper liturgical seasons, and a reintroduction of elements such as the Ember Days, a different concept of vigils and – for the love of God – a reclamation of our Holy Days. But I digress.”

    I’m having some trouble understanding what this means.
    We celebrate Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and a healthy degree of ordinary, daily life in both forms. What do we miss with the newer calendar that’s important?

  3. pberginjr says:

    Yes, Fr. The calendar, IMO is one of the places where the most improvement (in the OF) can be effected in a short time (I know that’s not what you said, but that’s how I feel about it). On the topic of reclaiming our holy days, did any one else notice that Epiphany will actually be celebrated on the right date this year?

  4. Darren says:

    I would definitely be overjoyed to see St. Claude de la Colombiere on an updated calendar. He is of particular interest to the those who practice the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He was the first spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. In the book on the devotion, by her second spiritual director (after the death of St. Claude), Fr. John Croiset, SJ… it is stated that, “Our good Father Claude de la Colombiere by his intercession in Heaven is the cause of what takes place here on earth for the glory of the Sacred Heart”

    I am also sure those in Quebec would love to see St. Andre Bessette also included. He is the great little Brother Andre who had a great big devotion to St. Joseph. St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal is there thanks to him.

  5. Father K says:

    ‘Do Australians have an interest in St. Mary McKillop?’
    Of course! She is also the patron saint of my diocese.
    ‘invoking our Patrons – Our Lady Help of Christians , St. Therese of the Infant Jesus & St. Francis Xavier’ – no -since 1975 St Therese and St Francis are no longer patrons as we ceased to be a ‘missionary’ country. Our Lady Help of Christians is at present, the patroness of Australia.

    I agree that an updating of the sanctoral cycle would be a good idea. That is an example of ‘reform in continuity.’

    ‘And let me head off here the dopey rumor that in 2013 some “hybrid” missal will be forced on traditional Catholics.’ I know that is true because the world, according to the Mayan calendar will end on 21st December this year!

  6. Charivari Rob says:

    Definitely the sanctory calendar should be updated. I’m a little surprised it doesn’t happen already on a yearly basis to reflect canonizations, etc…

    I’ll leave out my particular comments for another day and just say I hope serious work to reconcile the liturgical cycles/calendars happens soon.

  7. capchoirgirl says:

    YES, this needs to happen! Today’s feast of St. Therese is a great example. She, also, gets Virgin Not a Martyr. But she’s a Doctor of the Church now. So I say the Doctor of the Church prayers instead of the ones for Virgins. (And they have her named spelled wrong. This irritates me, since she was the saint I chose for my confirmation, and as such I am particularly devoted to her.)

  8. sekman says:

    I can report that at Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma they have supplemented their own calendar with some of these saints. They even celebrated Pope Blessed John Paul II’s feast last year.

  9. Nathan says:

    Father, I agree with you. I would only suggest that it be handled very carefully and very openly. There’s a lot of trust that has to be re-built on all sides between the relevant offices of the Roman Curia and those attached to the TLM (to include the SSPX, naturally). It would be sad for something as legitimate as updating the Sanctoral Cycle (a function the Holy See has always done for the universal Roman calendar) to become yet another point of contention and bitterness.

    In Christ,

  10. mrsschiavolin says:

    St. Andre is big here in Texas too due to the Holy Cross brothers. In fact, for a while my little boy called their college “St. Andre’s” instead of St. Edward’s. The institution could definitely use his intercession!

  11. Fr. Erik Richtsteig says:

    Restore the octaves!

  12. Fr.WTC says:

    The updating of the sanctoral cycle is a fine idea. It should be noted that even now Mass in honor of the new saints can be said by using the common proper to the saint. I see two problems though in the updating of the calendar. 1. If new offices are to be inserted into the missal for the new saints, those offices should not be taken from the novus ordo missal. The N.O. texts do not make use of the pre vulgate translation of scripture. The EF texts, on the other hand, use the old Latin translation for the chants of mass and the vulgate for the readings. 2. As noted above in the article, the church now has woman doctors, but the common of doctors assumes only masculin saints. A new office would need to be drawn up and inserted into the missal, and who could do that well today?

  13. On the other hand, there remains the certain necessity that the EF calendar needs to have its force against the OF calendar renewed. For example, in the new calendar, September 17 is the feast day of not one but now two Doctors of the Church: St. Hildegard of Bingen and St. Robert Bellarmine (it must be a good day to enter eternal blessedness!). In the EF calendar, the latter’s feast is on May 13 — a return to which would alleviate the conflict.

  14. Crucesignata says:

    I vote that if they MUST have a rite in the vernacular, that they just translate the TLM and leave the rest alone. XD

    (But seriously, at that point, why not Latin? As my Western Civ. I teacher (Dr. Steve O’Brien) says, “It makes sense if you have a universal language for the Universal Church. Even businesses get this– the universal language for business is English.” So why not Latin for the universal language of the Church? It certainly shows the truth that the Mass is outside of time and one and the same sacrifice MUCH better than the vernacular, lol. It’s a “rite” which means it is done the same every time. And that old “I can’t understand what’s going on” excuse is seriously flawed: the parts of the Mass that the people need to understand are said in the Homily– in the vernacular! But seriously, keep the Latin. As Dr. O would says, it shows that the Mass is “the same [sacrifice] yesterday, today, and tomorrow!”)

  15. Giuseppe says:

    @Fr. Erik Richtsteig says: Restore the octaves!

    I’ll trump your octave with a novena!

  16. greasemonkey says:

    Fr. Z’s ideas seem not only reasonable, but necessary. If the Extraordinary form is truely a form of the one Roman Rite, then each time a set of propers is generated for the OF, one should be generated for the EF as well.
    As for openess and engaging the SSPX in the process…. hahahahahahha…. these guys piss and moan about every saint that has been canonized since Paul VI!

  17. Manhattan Trid says:

    For new saints canonized since ’62 I would recommend an insert/supplement that would basically be a “Masses for Certain Places” that could be used ad libitum. Some religious orders I have noticed celebrate their saints twice: the Novus Ordo date and the 1962 date. (e.g. The Brigittines will celebrate October 8th as St. Bridget of Sweden and they celebrate the July Novus Ordo feast as well.) Even though some of the Novus Ordo saints’ days are closer to the actual dies natalis (if not the actual day) I would also recommend that the N. O. sanctoral restore some of celebrations to the date that they held, in some cases (e.g. St. Thomas Aquinas) for centuries.

  18. Fr.WTC says:

    The question of the new saints and the EF aside, it makes more sense to me to have the O.F. Adopt the traditional calendar, than for the E.F. To adjust itself to the new calendar. The readings, chants, and office of the old Mass are so interdependent that to start undoing this or that would throw the whole thing into chaos. the new mass on the other hand is not so constructed. A case in point are the readings. On the feast of a saint one may read the special readings set for the saint or one may use te cycle of daily readings. If reform and adjustments are needed lets start with making the new liturgy more like the old not vise-versa.

  19. JaneC says:

    There is, indeed, a lot of work to be done. We are not exactly an O.F.-E.F. parish, we have the O.F. and Dominican Rite. But this has its own set of problems, because instead of juggling two calendars, we have three: Roman, modern Dominican, and old Dominican. It’s sometimes a problem when it comes to celebrating feasts of Dominican saints–there are some saints for whom we can’t have a Dominican Rite Mass on the same day when the rest of the Province is celebrating them, because the feast has been moved. I know that Manhatten Trid above noted that some religious orders celebrate both feasts for their important saints, perhaps an acceptable solution for the time being, but wouldn’t it be preferable in the long run to have unity on this issue?

    Solving that problem is, of course, up to the Order rather than the Church as a whole, but I imagine that the same kinds of problems crop up in O.F.-E.F. parishes, and might be of special significance if your parish is named after a saint or feast day that has been moved. If you announce that your parish festival will be on the weekend of Christ the King, because that’s the name of your parish, and you mean that it will be at the end of November, your E.F. parishioners will be understanding I’m sure, but perhaps not in as celebratory a mood as everyone else!

  20. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. Messing around with the saints’ days was always kinda silly and pointless, not to mention being bad for continuity. Move the saints’ days back to the EF calendar. Update the EF calendar with the new saints, etc.

    2. Bring back Ember Days, Rogation Days, etc., to the OF, even if they aren’t mandatory. It’s not going to kill us to have built-in days of prayer and penitence, instead of having the bishops try to institute ones that nobody in a parish ever hears about.

    3. The hierarchy of feasts should be left alone for each form. Nobody with any sense wants to fiddle with all that now.

    4. Christ the King is a pretty new feast, and putting it on the last Sunday of the Church Year makes sense. Let the EF and OF both keep it its own way.

    5. None of this should be instituted until the new hymnals and missals start to wear out — ie, at least seven years.

  21. dominic1955 says:


    That’s exactly the problem with it-you mention the bare bones of what would is necessary for a Catholic liturgical calendar. But bare minimum should never be seen as ideal. The older calendar was much richer in seasons, subseasons, and days. Where is Septuagesima? How about Epiphanytide or the Octave of Pentecost? Ember days? Rogations? Why are the “green seasons” sloppily called Ordinary Time (its a translation issue)? Why not the older Time after Pentecost/Epiphany? Also, the rearranging of the saints on the calendar was reckless and of no advantage, other than uprooting any sense of tradition that had grown up around some of these days.

    Going along with what Fr. WTC said, I didn’t even realize the importance of the saints (liturgically speaking, at least) until I began assisting at the TLM. I had heard every now and again the saint of the day being mentioned from the pulpit by more “conservative” priests at a NO and saw them wear different colors but not much more than that. Once I saw the much more robust treatment of the various feasts in the TLM, I saw the general disuse that they had fallen into with the NO. While more an indictment of priestly ignorance or laziness than the full rite itself, it is pretty undeniable that the degree of optionality in the NO has greatly contributed to the way feasts are treated.

  22. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Aside from the reasonable suggestion of adding new saints to the MEF, I’m happy with both calendars. I think Christ the King should be the last Sunday of the year in the EF. In the OF I would welcome the Octave of Pentecost. In both forms I would wish a novena before Pentecost. Pentecost is as important as Christmas in the ranking of Solemnities, and both are second only to the Triduum. Pentecost needs emphasis for another reason: The Holy Spirit has become a stepchild of the Trinity; and when something is neglected, and when the Church’s R&D folks are napping, enthusiasts lacking balance rush in: in this case, the Pentecostals and the Charismatics. (An even more neglected stepchild is the Divine Office, perhaps the best thing about the OF.)

    Where I must disagree with Fr. Z is the need for reform now. True, a period of stability has its merits, yet sadly the longer something is around, the more ingrained it becomes. And the MOF needs reform!

    In fact, the MOF that we have is not what the Council Fathers wanted. After reading last month Sacrosanctum Concilium again, it seems to me that the Fathers wanted basically the EF Mass with a revised lectionary and the Prayers of the Faithful, the former the real strong point of the MOF, the latter I can live with.

  23. jflare says: We celebrate Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and a healthy degree of ordinary, daily life in both forms. What do we miss with the newer calendar that’s important?

    What we miss is how the old calendar tied every aspect of our daily lives, and every part of the year, into the supernatural. Did you know, for example, that the time after Pentecost — i.e., that time not included within Lent, Eastertide, Advent or Christmastide — stand for the remainder of time until the End of the World? I didn’t know that until recently; and the reason is because we now just call it “Ordinary Time.” If we think of yesterday, for example, as the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, that implies that we are looking forward, aiming toward the Consummation of Time. This is one more thread of the Four Last things woven right into the calendar. But if we think of yesterday merely as the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time, we do not have that forward aim: we are just in a seasonal cycle. The changes to the calendar were a key part of uprooting Catholics from the supernatural and the transcendent, and graying out their daily lives; personally, I think it was deliberate.

    I don’t think we can persist with two calendars. I cast my vote for just bringing back and updating the old calendar, and getting rid of the new one, as well as scrapping the Mass of Paul VI and bringing back the traditional Mass. I mean, if a need is felt to make the new ones more like the old ones, wouldn’t it make more sense just to go back to the old ones?

    (And yes, I think the Mass of Paul VI is valid — I just don’t think it’s as good, for a host of reasons.)

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you for this (post and comments)!

    When I read something like (of St. Paul the Hermit, in a popular-acholarly reference work of the 1970s) “Feast: […] 10 January in the West (suppressed 1969)”, what does this mean? What variety of ‘suppressions’ have there been? And so on. And is there any convenient, reliable online resource where such things can be looked up?

    Fr.WTC (at 8:49 a.m.) notes, ” The N.O. texts do not make use of the pre vulgate translation of scripture. The EF texts, on the other hand, use the old Latin translation for the chants of mass and the vulgate for the readings. ” I have been (very ignorantly!) wondering about such things – including, what of ‘Vulgate’ and ‘New Vulgate’ – and what of Breviaries?

  25. Pingback: MONDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | Big Pulpit

  26. St. Rafael says:

    What in the world is Corpus Domini? Do you mean the feast of Corpus Christi? [I meant what I wrote. That is what the feast is called in many places, such as Rome. Expand.]

  27. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Um… “ordinary time” was what the old calendar called it, too. It means “counted time.” That’s the “28th Sunday” part. And of course we’re heading towards stuff about the end of the world, etc. Christ the King is coming up in both calendars, All Saints is coming up in both calendars, Advent is coming up in both calendars.

    Catechesis is what’s lacking. We all need it.

  28. leonugent2005 says:

    Suburbanbanshee, one difference is that in the ordinary form we have actual end of time readings running up to advent. There may be more hope of getting rid of the bad music than there is of getting rid of the new lectionary, but I’ve been wrong before

  29. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Ack. I guess I was mistaken. I thought for sure I’d read about ordinary time in pre V-II books, but I was deluded. It did use to be all post-Epiphany or post-Pentecost.

  30. St. Rafael says:


    The problem is that the feast of Christ the King is celebrated at different times on both calendars. At the end of October in the old, and at the end of November in the new.

    I agree with Miss Anita Moore, O.P. We need to get rid of the new calendar and just have the old calendar, updating it with a couple of saints. Look at Ordinary Time in the new calendar. There is so many gaps and days were nothing is going on. I like to joke and call it the feast of “St. Ordinarius” during these days. In the old calendar we had all these feasts, saints, vigils, ember days, and ferias.

    This is all the result of the absurdity of having two calendars and two Roman rites. We have two different Masses and two different Roman rites with their own calendars. It’s unprecedented in the history of the Church. It’s not normal and it’s not right. The Mass of Paul VI has to be abrogated. [That’s not going to happen anytime soon.] We have a generation of clerics who don’t want to admit their mistakes or the mistakes of their predecessors.

  31. Imrahil says:

    Am I right that a priest who offers in EF…

    can just now say the Common of the Doctors for St. Therese, because she does not exactly have a proprium (for she has a Common) and, well, she is doctor of the Church?

    can just now offer a Mass in honor of any of the newer saints on the respective day, technically a Votive Mass, using the respective Common (viz., Common of a Virgin Martyr for St. Edith Stein, etc.)?

    I’m no canonist, but…

  32. dominic1955 says:


    Maybe I’m blind, but I don’t see “tempus per annum” but rather Hebdomadam (insert number) post Octavam Pentecostes for the time we are in now. [I believe Tempus per annum applied also to the older calendar. However, it was distinguished by time after Pentecost, Epiphany…]


    I think its near impossible to know what the Fathers *reeeeally* intended. SC was drawn up by Bugnini and friends and the Fathers rubber stamped it. When they sent out a survey of issues the bishops wanted to talk about before the Council, the most “radical” liturgical suggestions were conservative, even Traditionalist, compared to the NO and the rest of what we got.

  33. Geoffrey says:

    Amen! This should be done post haste!

    In the meantime, could the new texts be used for votive Masses, or would the priest-celebrant have to stick with the appropriate texts from the common?

  34. Imrahil says:

    I fall back: In suggesting to take the Doctors Mass for new doctors I forgot that it is a male-saints Mass. Thinking also that some Martyrs were not promoted Doctors apparently just because they were Martyrs and the Doctors missal assumes they are Confessors (St. Ignace, St. Irenaeus, to wit).

    Dear @Sid Cundiff in NC, I disagree with your saying that that the Feast of Christ the King should be the last Sunday of the year. That’s precisely where I think it doesn’t belong to, though it’s the time we have it now (in the OF)… The feast of Christ the King means the feast of the Kingship of Christ over heavenly and secular things, even with a little emphasis on the “and secular” (because for the other things there are other things). Hence, Pius XI in introducing it put it to the “end of the year” but purposely before the month that deals with the Four Last Things. The removal of place in the OF was, seemingly naturally interpreted as if we were now in fact content with salvation and heaven and gave earth and nature over to the unbelievers as their playground; against what the II Vatican Council (DH, chpt. 1, pre-last sentence) and, on the eve of it, Pope Bl. John XXIII in the very title of his encyclical Mater et magistra said; to be silent of the preconciliar Popes’ teaching.

    There is, in the EF also, a Sunday called Ultimate Sunday, which deals with the Last Judgment. Also, a bit forgottenly but yes, the First Sunday of Advent serves a similar purpose.

    What do we miss with the newer calendar that’s important?
    The structure of the ecclesiastical year (which I once compared to a Moebius strip, rather than a simple circle). It is true that both years begin at the First Sunday of Advent, but in the EF that’s more or less a technical point because some beginning had to be set after all. You can quite well begin the year on the Lord’s Circumscision (which is the beginning of Our Lord’s life as a Jew) and stop it on the feast day of the Pope in whose days the Church became legal (St. Silvester) – which after all is what our civil year does. You can quite well begin and end the year with Christmas, which represents the Lord’s first and second coming. You can quite well begin the year with Lady Day. You can quite well begin and end the Year with Easter. You can quite well (as traditional Protestants sometimes do [and these traditions, I think, rather predate 1500 and are not made from the rebellious parts of Protestantism) think of Michaelmas as a rather significant date which begins a new season, in which we think of the Second Coming especially. You have the highly significant theory that the Sundays after Pentecost are attached to the Easter Cycle, and are especially devoted to the Holy Spirit. (Yet I do not think they, as such, make you think of the Second Coming. The latter third of them does in their propria, though.) It all fits into each other.

    In the OF, it fits as well – yes – but in a quite different style. You have a beginning of the year, and an end. You have an Ordinary Time (what’s that in Latin, btw? tempus ordinarium?), and the “marked time” (geprägte Zeit) as it is at least called around here has the character of interruption. And after some weeks of Ordinary Time you get, shall I say it?, bored, and look forward to the next marked time. Not so in the EF; you just don’t quit celebrating there. You don’t really quit Epiphany until pre-Lent; you don’t really quit Pentecost until Advent; and when you do come to Advent, you have no interruption, because the Advent focusses on the Lord’s Second Coming (especially in its first weeks) and, of course the latter post-Pentecost Sundays have gradually switched to do the same.
    You may of course say that this is mere technicality; but then I think it does feel this way.
    And what is definitely an interruption in the OF is the Saints; to the point that the rubrics and directoria worry (in sentences that could be quoted) if there’s not to much of them which disturb the fine circle of Readings. In the EF, you celebrate always, even if it is a Votive Mass (except in Lent); in the OF, you (at least theoretically) only celebrate the Sundays, Solemnities, and Feasts (of what was once called II class).
    A note: In Germany, “Ordinary Time” is called “Time within the Annual Circle”. As you may have noticed I do not think this an ideal, but we are way better off than with an Ordinary Time. Don’t you think? Who wants an Ordinary Time?

  35. Fr.WTC says:

    Geoffrey, you cannot use the Office of the new saints in the old Mass because the structure is different. The gradual/tract/alleluia structure is different. The readings will be different (what do you do with the possibility of an O.T. Reading and an Epistle? What about the offertory antiphon? The introit and the N.O. Entrance antiphon are not the same thing. One could adjust this and pull from here and there to make things fit, but that’s the job of the Holy See not of anyone else.

  36. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    In reply to dominic1955: Words mean things. What Sacrosanctum Concilium means is what Sacrosanctum Concilium says. Sacrosanctum Concilium calls specifically for a revised lectionary. Sacrosanctum Concilium calls specifically for Prayers of the Faithful. Sacrosanctum Concilium calls specifically for nothing else. The MOF isn’t what Sacrosanctum Concilium called for.

  37. wmeyer says:

    Sid, while I agree with you in large part, it is also true that many of the articles in SC were ambiguous in wording, and (apparently with intent) left much room for interpretation. For example, articles 37-40, which as I read it were intended for mission lands, were instead applied to the whole Church, removing Latin from our lives.

  38. Rellis says:

    If the choice is between no changes at all or changes that involve the sanctoral and beyond, I vote for no changes at all. Stability is the key thing here, and we cannot risk a repeat of the Good Friday prayers fiasco.

  39. moon1234 says:

    “celebrated Pope Blessed John Paul II’s feast last year”

    Isn’t feast day and blessed an oxymoron? Sheesh. We have plenty of SAINTS. JPII has YET to be declared a saint. The same with Mother Theresa.

    I really dislike how all of the archangles have been lumped together in the NO. St. Michael holds a very special place in my heart. The other archangles deserve their own feast days due to their very special role in salvation history.

    I would think there would be no problems with inserting new saints into the calendar as long as they would not displace existing saints. The whole breveray would need to be updated if saints in the EF are bumped off their existing dates. The EF has MANY saints on EVERY day. We just normally see the main saint for the day. There may be 10 or 15 other saints who share the same day. These “extra” saints can be commemorated or have their own Mass after the main saint of the day their Mass.

    Of all of the saints listed, I would think St. Gianna Beretta Molla would be the one I would MOST like to see on the EF calendar. She made a unique sacrifice for the life of her children instead of aborting them. The GREATEST sin against humanity today is abortion. Her example and her intercession would be a powerful one for many women who are struggling with the fortitude to allow their children the right to live.

  40. dominic1955 says:

    Yes, I know words have meaning, and that is precisely what is wrong with SC. Those words can mean what you want them to mean, the folks who did the “restoration” took them as their justification, and subsequent legislation and documentation came straight from Rome supporting it.

    Some day in the future, the ideal thing to do would be to repudiate SC or merely relegate it to the dustbin of history where it belongs. It called for a revised lectionary? Well, that can mean any number of things. I think there was some valid justification for opening up the reading cycle a bit (specifically for ferial weekdays) with something other than votive Masses but the ’67 Ferial lectionary does that just fine. The 3 year monstrosity we got with the NO is bloated, unwieldly, and effectively cut off from much of liturgical tradition. SC also got rid of the office of Prime? For what reason? Who knows, but that is another ridiculous order.

  41. ecclesiae says:

    A few months ago, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, announced that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments had just approved prayer texts in Latin and Italian for a special “Mass for New Evangelization.”

    Prayer texts for this votive Mass should have been issued in Latin for both forms of the Roman rite, Ordinary and Extraordinary.

  42. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Christ the King was established as a feast in 1930 — hardly an inveterate tradition. It belongs at the end of the year because at the end Christ rules as king (the end of time is not the penultimate Last Judgement). And so what will come at the end of time is thus marked at the end of the year. This makes perfect since. November is the month of death; it ends with the Coming of the Kingdom and dovetails nicely with Advent.

    The reason Christ the King was put at the end of October was so that it would be close to All Saints. In 1930, there was little theological research into eschatology. Once again, the Church’s R&D was napping, and so the Dispensationalists moved in. Since then there has been a new awareness of the Second Coming and the finality of His Kingdom. One of the earliest best books on the revival of interest in eschatology was written by Ratzinger when a professor in Regensburg (1976). New Testament scholars recently have observed that the NT has a few things to say about “going to heaven”, but it has a great deal to say about eschatology: The Judgement, the General Resurrection, the Glorious Body, The Reign of Christ, etc. One could say that it is a principle theme in Paul’s gospel. He wrote 1st Thessalonians exclusively to deal with this, and 1 Corinthians 15.

    So putting Christ the King at the end of the year is just right.

    There was a fine discussion on the blog about the cycle of scripture in the OF and the EF on 23 August, and so as not lead us off topic, I refer Dominic1955 to it.

  43. Geoffrey says:

    Fr.WTC: Mea culpa! I was thinking specifically of the 3 “presidential” prayers!

    After reading through the old Roman Martyrology daily for a few years now, it seems that many of the reforms of the Sanctorale made sense. In the EF, the feasts of many saints are observed on days other then their ‘dies natalis’.

  44. Adding new saints to the calendar of the extraordinary form is a bare minimum requirement for maintaining a semblance of unity in the Roman Rite. We belong to a living Church, not a dead Church frozen in time. We worship the living God, the living Jesus Christ, and we need to be alive in the Spirit. Being alive means at least a bit of healthy change now and then.

  45. Manhattan Trid says:

    Some further observations: 1. Many saints canonized after 1965 had “Tridentine” proper Masses as beati. The rub comes in with those who were beatified after 1970 who would naturally have N. O. propers. 2. The feast of Christ the King should be kept (restored) in relation to All Saints/All Souls: the Church Militant (Christ the King) , the Church Triumphant (All Saints) and the Church Suffering (All Souls). Also in the United States it would be a REALLY appropriate since Election Day follows. 3. The feasts of St. Ordinarius can be overridden by the Votive Masses that are assigned to the weekdays (and they are in the NO missal just like in the EF missal). 4. The Embertides should be restored to the NO. That would add a little bit of calendar spice.

  46. Another thing we miss in the new calendar that we had in the old one is the hierarchy of feasts. We have a really dumbed-down hierarchy of feasts on the new calendar — despite 12 years of Catholic school, I myself really wasn’t aware of it until my mid-30s, when I started saying the breviary. The old order of feasts is much more multilayered, and I don’t even begin to have a handle on it, but one can see the point of it. Dietrich von Hildebrand talks about it in Liturgy and Personality, and he says it’s a reflection of the hierarchy of values, and the right ordering of priorities. The right ordering of priorities is something hugely lacking in society today.

  47. Daniel_Nekic says:

    The church where I attend the EF in Sydney, Australia, which is looked after by the FSSP, celebrates the feast of St Mary of the Cross (Mackillop) every year since her canonisation. I imagine that the local bishops conference gave permission, or a requirement, I’m not sure, to celebrate her feast every year as a 1st class feast.

  48. joan ellen says:

    I’ve never been able to understand why the Church calendar had to be changed. Which VII Document changed it. Or did it come afterwards?
    The old Church Calendar is orderly and stable. Like God, His Church, and the MEF.
    I pray the MOF using an old Missal so I can memorize the Latin. To avoid frustration I just listen to the readings and the Gospel. Fr. Z says: “We need a long period of stability.” For sure!

  49. Eriugena says:

    Here is where I think the problem lies: all these new Saints are truly Saints, and we can and must have a proper cultus for them. But which? Even if October 10 is to remain the Feast of St Francis Borgia throughout the Roman Rite, the Comboni Fathers can celebrate St Daniel Comboni on that day, and votive Masses of St Daniel Comboni (just to take an example) can be said by anyone when the rubrics so permit. But which Mass for a Confessor Bishop needs to be said? Does the Celebrant decide when he goes to open the Missal? No! Someone needs to rule whether the EF Mass is the Statuit, or the Sacerdotes tui, or a specially composed one. Is the Mass for St Pius of Pietrelcina the Os justi or the Justus ut palma? Someone must decide.

  50. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. WTC wrote (1 )ct., 3:24 p.m.) “One could adjust this and pull from here and there to make things fit, but that’s the job of the Holy See not of anyone else.” And Daniel_Nekic (11:50 p.m.) wrote of an instance, ” I imagine that the local bishops conference gave permission, or a requirement”.

    How does that all work, with respect to Feasts that are not Universal? And with respect to MEF(s) in this context?

    To take 1 Oct. as an example, I have seen a Dutch Missal (published during the Nazi occupation!) where it is Universally the Feast of St. Remigius, but in the Diocese of Haarlem the Feast of St. Bavo is celebrated – where St. Bavo also has an Octave (8 Oct.), a Translatio, and an Elevatio.

    Fr. Erik Richtsteig wrote, “Restore the octaves!” What governs – with what uniformity or consistency – what has happened and can Extraordinarily happen, below the level of the Universal (so to put it)?

  51. jflare says:

    Hmm. Yes, the whole point about “returning to the liturgical seasons” had precisely the meaning I thought.

    I think I would generally oppose this effort, at least for now.

    I can make sense of referring to a Sunday as the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, not the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, assuming that those two names would correlate to the same Sunday. If Pentecost marks the birth of the Church, so many Sundays afterward could be marking time since we received our “final marching orders”, all the way up to Advent, when we begin anticipating Christ’s birth at Christmas again. We can make similar arguments for other holy seasons.

    I get that.

    Here’s my problem:
    Some ten years or so past,I grew annoyed with the lackadaisic Novus Ordo in a certain city. Not knowing that a traditional parish functioned “illegally”–they weren’t in communion with the bishop, for starters–I grew curious and bought a traditional missal. Becoming quite bewildered with Doubles, Semi-doubles, Sundays of the Second Class, and all that, I looked to the internet. I found a site, traditio.com, which theoretically said lots about the traditional form, but didn’t explain anything about these. Thinking something was odd, I e-mailed a certain Fr Moderator, inquiring about these matters. I got a paragraph back; I imagine he thought he’d explained himself quite well. It told me absolutely NOTHING of any use at all.

    I have similar objections to Rogation Days, Ember Days, and other concepts. I asked my father about Rogation Days once, he told me something about special prayers for farmers and crops. Nice, but I’ve never been a farmer. If we’re that concerned about economic well-being or whatever, we could as easily pray for good weather for various other economic needs. Or for professors in colleges to inspire their students well at the beginning of each school year.

    To date, I have never seen anything like a competent explanation of all these, not even from traditional web sites. I don’t object to praying for special intentions, but I DO object to a mentality that attempts to make everything “special”. Like the line from the villain in “The Incredibles”, if we make everything “special”, nothing will be.

    Unless the Church would place a HUGE effort into explaining why Septuagesima, Rogation Days, or Doubles, or whatever have an ounce of relevance to daily life, I can’t think re-instituting these would help anyone in particular. Perhaps they won’t alienate anyone per se–though given the uproar over a translation, they might–but neither will the necessarily encourage people or cause people to be more reverent with Mass.

  52. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Sid Cundiff in NC,

    in danger of repeating myself (it won’t happen again), but the Feast of Christ the King was never meant to be about eschatology. (Though it can be accepted as rather accidental fact that Christ will rule as King without disturbances after His Second Coming.) True, there has been a revival of eschatology, and our Holy Father has written one of his best books about it (in which the Feast of Christ the King is never mentioned). But the Feast of Christ the King was instituded specifically to celebrate the fact (and remember the people) that He has lordship over secular things also (cf. “To me all power is given in Heaven and on earth”), as it is said in Quas primas 40,41. Also, I thank dear @Manhattan Trid for reminding me of the beautiful Church militant (Christ the King) – Church triumphant (All Saints) – Church suffering (All Souls) combination. The Election Day of Christendom’s leading worldly power is another interesting thing, yes.

    Dear @jflare,
    I have similar objections to Rogation Days, Ember Days, and other concepts. I asked my father about Rogation Days once, he told me something about special prayers for farmers and crops. Nice, but I’ve never been a farmer.

    Very well, I object to that. I too have never been a farmer; but it is farmers that, in the traditional order of society, had one (of the three) most important vocations (besides priest and warrior). It is farmers that, in just about any society, are the backbone of the same society. It is farmers that uphold the traditional customs; it is, by and large, farmers, who uphold the traditional religion. (The “reactionary farmer from the backwoods” is a progressist cliché.) It is farmers that, at this very day, form one of the most important section of the national economy (we only tend to forget that because in earlier times this section was still vastly more grand). It is farmers who are continuously exposed to the (in spite of, today, some meteorology) imponderable forces of nature, and thus, at least such as human beings are, to the Almighty God Who created nature. (Any man thinks about God when thinking about the weather; it takes a philosopher to think about God when thinking about the force of gravity.) It is farmers who take care for our daily bread; and, in doing so, can also very aptly symbolize metaphorically any other professions. And it is farmers who are, therefore, honored by America’s, after Christmas, second (or perhaps after Easter and Independence Day fourth) biggest feast of the year (Thanksgiving), though perhaps some Indians have a say there too; and such-like feast figure in just about any civilization. In the land where my (speaking of my alias) ancestors came from, the King would enter the Temple thrice a year: once to pray for a good harvest; once to worship and praise; once to do thanksgiving for the harvest. And Tolkien knew of what he spoke.

    I do think farmers – fittingly representing nature (blessed by grace) and not grace of course – deserve some special religious celebration.

  53. Imrahil says:

    to celebrate the fact (and *remind* the people)


  54. Fr.WTC says:

    jflare, you have thrown quite a lot at us. For starters Doubles, and semi-doubles and the likes is the system of ranking liturgical days in use before the rubrical reforms of 1960. I believe Wikipedia has a good but short article on the history of the now defunct system. As for ember days, these are days of penance to ask God for an outpouring of grace at the start of a new season. The great thing about the ember days is that they are saturated in history and link us to both the history and significance of the now superseded Hebrew holidays, as well as the pagan Roman calendar. In both cases grace fulfilled what nature anticipated, and now in this last age we the children of grace, fast so that grace may complete in us, who are on “the way” what our fallen but redeemed nature anticipates with Christian hope.

  55. dominic1955 says:

    Adding saints to the calendar is not a problem, on the surface. They used to just print missal page sized inserts when a new one was added to the calendar w/ all the necessary propers and rubrics that were to be put into your older altar missal. I have such a missal from the ’30s that is full of such inserts and other rubrical changes all the way up through the post-Vatican II changes. Back then, nothing changed that much and if you had an old altar missal that was still in good shape, it really didn’t matter if it was 5 years old or 100 years old, nothing was that different. If a priest needed a TLM missal, I could just lend mine-it doesn’t matter that its 80 years old! I remember that we used an Evangelarium from the 1840’s at one TLM parish I used to sit in choir at as a seminarian. Nothing changes that much, the books are useful for as long as you care to use them-a good practical thing about the ancient stability of the TLM.


    That is one of the problems of trying to be hyper-centralized, folks think they need to run around like a headless chicken if Rome hasn’t issued an official instruction on every point of minutiae. Its really not that difficult (and its explained in the missal/breviary). Basically, if a local feast (i.e. the patronal feast of a parish church or of a diocese) falls on a feast that ranks lower as given in the Roman Calendar, the local feast trumps it and the “regular” feast is commemorated. A local major feast (i.e. the patron of the parish) is usually considered to be a 1st Class Feast (according to the ’62 rubrical changes) and so it trumps just about everything except for very high feasts of Our Lord or Lady. It is explained in more detail in the missal/breviary how exactly this works and gives a lot of “what happens if” explanations to cover practically every situation that might arise. There are even tables given to help with the figuring of which trumps which. In your example, St. Remigius only gets a commemoration and not a proper Office anyway. The local feast easily trumps the universal commemoration.


    The Sundays cannot simply be renamed and mean the same thing. This last Sunday was the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, but in the NO it was the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The TLM calendar reckoning is specifically counting them after Pentecost and not just which one it is out of all of the green Sundays. They are, obviously, on the same day but nothing really corresponds.

    The doubles are the pre-60 rubrical rankings. Like Fr. WTC said, Wikipedia actually has a pretty good take on this system. Its really not that difficult and what makes it even easier is that outside of the priest and clerics/religious who have to recite the Office, folks wouldn’t have to worry about the intricacies of figuring out which Office to say and which feast trumps which etc. The average layman could just reckon them much like the present system or the ’62 system, knowing which were higher rank and which lower. After all, it doesn’t take knowledge of rubrics to know things like Christmas are liturgically higher ranking than saints days or commemorations of dedications of special Roman churches. As such, the way it presently sits, we either have the NO ranking system or the ’62 system, which roughly correspond to each other. Outside of largely historical curiosity, the double system is not used.

    The issue with Rogation Days that you bring up is a good example of what went wrong with Catholic culture and liturgical life. What does it matter if the Rogation Days do not have a direct “relevance” to you because you never were a farmer? What happens if the crops fail, or the livestock are striken with disease-are you not going to feel it eventually in the pocketbook or does food just magically appear in grocery stores? Its also a matter of tradition, the Major Rogation and Minor Rogation days are quite ancient and hold a much higher importance than any arbitrarily introduced “Day of Prayer” or some such. They encompass their original intention yet, they are another opportunity for prayer and pennance, they connect the Church here on earth and beyond by bringing to mind the needs of our fellow Catholics in other areas, our own parish plus all of those who have gone before us. Praying the days instituted in the time of the Early Church Fathers gives us a very pertinent reminder that the Church is not just of the now. This goes for the rest of the ancient liturgical days/seasons that got the axe in the new missal as well. These days do not make everything special, there are only a few more days and maybe an extra month or so of season (Septuagesima).

    Banking on “relevance” is a rationalistic notion, the same concept that was behind the neo-Gallican/Jansenist and Aufklarung ruining of the local liturgies. Liturgy is not mainly didactic, it is not supposed to be tinkered with according to whatever some committee thinks is supposedly relevant to each incoming generation. What is truly “relevant” is being properly and fully rooted in the living faith of the dead and not treating it as an add on that we do on Sunday. Living liturgically, which is exacly what things like Ember Days and Rogation Days make us do, is a huge part of being fully Catholic.

    Having a modern(ist) outlook on life with a veneer of Catholic ritual and symbol and a mere orthodoxy doesn’t open one up to the full beauty of what Catholicism is!

  56. jlduskey says:

    I think we should be able to have changes in the EF calendar, but they should be the same kind of changes that would have occurred if the concept of “wholesale changes of the Post Vatican II era” had never been introduced.

    The sermons that priests give on the feast of Christ the King usually point out how Christ the King should be King in our lives in the world today. Sermons on the Last Sunday after Pentecost are usually more directed toward the last things, the end of the world. Different concepts, and they shouldn’t be combined into one day. Leave Christ the King on the last Sunday of October.

    Also, take note of Saints like St. Edmund Campion (December 1). The fact that he was canonized in 1970 should not preclude his feast from being placed in the EF calendar. He has significance in that he was martyred at the hands of government, and his defense of the Catholic Faith remains important. St. Edmund Campion’s feast day would have been added to the calendar, except that in 1970, nobody was even thinking of making changes to the EF calendar.

  57. jflare says:

    Good afternoon.
    On reading comments like what I”m seeing above, I get the distinct impression that, perhaps due to what I didn’t write, I”m still not getting a point across that I think needs to be understood. So, I’ll try again.
    I’m not trying to argue that I don’t understand Rogation Days, Ember Days, or Sundays of the Second Class, or other liturgical calendar items [And the topic of this entry was about the SANCTORAL CYCLE. Right?] –and neither do most others of my generation–therefore we should not even consider these ideas. If I seem to someone to imply this, my error.

    Perhaps the best explanation for my concern lies thus:
    God always offers grace to us, by the Mass, by the other six sacraments, various other ways. Trouble is, if we don’t understand what those graces offer and/or we don’t understand that those graces exist in that sense, we won’t realize the full magnitude of those graces. We won’t act on those graces as effectively.

    If the liturgical calendar might better highlight the various graces from God in their varying characteristics, such highlighting won’t have the intended impact if we don’t comprehend what might be intended.

    If the average Catholic might see “Double” with reference to a particular Mass, such a Catholic might vaguely wonder whether “Double” means “twice the amount of something” as happens in daily life. Or, upon seeing “Sunday of the Second Class” , we might wonder whether “Second Class” in this case might refer to something being of lesser or greater importance than “First Class” or “Third”, assuming that such things exist. In this sense, knowing what might’ve been doubled or what a “class” might be would be very useful.

    To date, I have never seen a workable explanation of these ideas.

    I have long since wondered if even many traditionally-minded faithful, clergy or lay, have any idea either. I’m not trying to bash Fr Z, any other priest, or other faithful Catholics, by the way; rather to emphasize the degree of the problem. If someone comes up to me during some public event and asks me, “What do you Catholics mean by this?”, while pointing to a reference in a traditional missal, I doubt if I can answer competently. I might manage to suggest that it’s some form of “special” prayer, but that’s it.

    I find it tough to believe that we’ll ever transform the Church, never mind the nation or the world, if we can’t even properly explain the printing in our liturgical books.

    But I don’t see any serious effort within the Church to alter the situation in any meaningful way. Neither am I convinced that referring to various secular resources will be a wise idea.
    I think we need to address these problems before we get too eager to alter the calendar.

  58. jflare says:

    “And the topic of this entry was about the SANCTORAL CYCLE. Right?”

    For the most part, yes. I don’t believe I’ve argued against that notion.
    Well, OK, I understand I didn’t specify that I objected to the larger changes to the calendar for the OF. My goof.

    I don’t have a particular problem with updating the cycle of the saints, no.

  59. joan ellen says:

    Dominic1955 “Living liturgically, which is exacly what things like Ember Days and Rogation Days make us do, is a huge part of being fully Catholic” and helps us realize “…the full beauty of what Catholicism is!” Thank you for this important comment. I just love those words “Living Liturgically”.
    The old calendar helps put the right order into our thinking, saying and doing…just because it pulls us toward Christ the King on a daily basis. So, we become more like the Church. Orderly and Stable, in our thinking, saying and doing. BUT…I think Fr. is wanting us to think about adding the New Saints to the old calendar…FIRST. That can help us to live more liturgically, by emphasizing the importance of the New Saints. Saints are an important part of the (I just love these words) “full beauty of what Catholicism is” also. Then, maybe, Ember Days and Rogation Days can be re-emphasized, so that we all learn more about them in the calendar, as a help in making us live more liturgically.

  60. jflare: “To date, I have never seen a workable explanation of these ideas.”

    Ok, here it is, plain and simple. The old “double” and “semidouble” stuff no longer exists. Now, the liturgical classification of days is precisely the same on the EF and OF calendars, with only a difference of nomenclature:

    1st class (EF) = solemnity (OF)
    2nd class (EF) = feast (OF)
    3rd class (EF) = memorial (OF)
    4th class (EF) = feria (OF)

    And the liturgical function and significance of this classification is precisely the same in both EF and OF. Specifically, when the classifications of a particular day differ on the sanctoral and temporal cycles, the higher classification takes precedence for the celebration of Mass and Office on that day.

    For instance, whether or not one personally thinks of any Sundays as “second class”, most of the Sundays in OF tempus per annum–the official term (“ordinary time” being an unofficial ICEL English construct that does not exist on the official Latin OF calendar)–or EF time after Pentecost, nevertheless are indeed second class days. In that if a solemnity such as the Immaculate Conception falls on one of these Sundays, then the Mass and office of the solemnity takes precedence over the Mass and office of the Sunday, whereas the Mass of the Sunday takes precedence over any 3rd class memorial.

    So, in preparation for each day, anyone who attends daily Mass or says the liturgy of the hours must surely start each morning with an awareness of the classification of the day.

    Incidentally, the web site traditio.com (that you mentioned previously) is maintained by notoriously sedevacantist priests who not only are not in communion with Rome, but reject our Holy Father and openly proclaim him to be a heretic. There exists no allegedly “traditional” site that is less reliable as to traditional Catholicism. For a while I checked this site periodically to see if I could find a single post on it that did not contain a heretical statement, and finally gave up.

  61. Illustrating “liturgical precedence”:

    This year, the (1st class) solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist fell on Sunday, June 24, so at either OF or EF Mass on that day you heard the Mass of John the Baptist rather than that of the 12th Sunday in ordinary time (or 4th Sunday after Pentecost).

    And this past Sunday, September 30 was the (3rd class) memorial of St. Jerome on both the EF and OF calendar, so you heard the Mass of the 26th Sunday in ordinary time (or 18th Sunday after Pentecost) rather than the Mass of St. Jerome.

  62. jflare says: I have similar objections to Rogation Days, Ember Days, and other concepts. I asked my father about Rogation Days once, he told me something about special prayers for farmers and crops. Nice, but I’ve never been a farmer. If we’re that concerned about economic well-being or whatever, we could as easily pray for good weather for various other economic needs. Or for professors in colleges to inspire their students well at the beginning of each school year…I don’t object to praying for special intentions, but I DO object to a mentality that attempts to make everything “special”. Like the line from the villain in “The Incredibles”, if we make everything “special”, nothing will be.

    A couple of points. First, as Catholics, we have a duty to view everything in the light of eternity. And in the light of eternity, everything is special, because everything we have is a gift from God, given to us to help us to attain heaven, and therefore should constantly keep God in our minds. Secondly, the Church was very wise to set aside times of year for praying and offering Mass for certain temporal needs because, left to our own devices, we won’t do it on our own — just like we don’t do penance on Fridays on our own unless it’s required. We miss out on many graces because we do not ask for them. (Further reflections on these points here.)

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