External (TLM) Observance of Corpus Christi on Sunday… yes? no?

Today I had qualms… qualms I say… about the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost for the traditional celebration of the Roman Rite.   Why?  “External celebration”?

One of the long-time readers here posted in a comment (tossing some of my words back into my very teeth… pesky things, words…):

“In the Novus Ordo many people are celebrating Corpus Christi today”

As are many in TLM communities, in accordance with he 2013 FSSP Ordo provision as follows: [The FSSP doesn’t get to make provisions… but let that pass…]

Regarding the Feast of Corpus Christi when it falls on a weekday, it is still celebrated on that week day. In addition, “the external solemnity of the feast must be transferred in the United States and celebrated on the following Sunday, when this feast falls on a week day (Indult of Nov. 25, 1885). Hence, where on Sundays the principal Mass is usually a sung Mass, on the Sunday following this feast this sung Mass in churches and public oratories must, and in semi-public oratories may, be of the transferred external solemnity (S.R.C. 2974, IV; 4269, IX).” A procession of the Blessed Sacrament must follow the Mass.

Reading at face value, it might even appear a violation of this provision to celebrate the Mass of the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost instead of the external solemnity of Corpus Christi in a community with only a single Sung Mass on Sunday. Or is it?


I decided to consult with trusted sources.

The best answer I got back says something that contradicts what I had thought (though I will defend myself with the reminder that I wasn’t heavily invested in the issue).

I’ll edit the “subjunctive of CYA” (“it would seem”, etc.) from post a reply I received:

The principal Mass today, in the EF, in the United States, should be the external solemnity of Corpus Christi. [Here is the salient point… and I refer readers to Universae Ecclesiae.] The indult of 1885 was still in effect in 1962, and, mutatis mutandis with the Novus Ordo, remains in effect today. Therefore, it is a violation to omit the external solemnity and celebrate the Mass of the second Sunday after Pentecost.


I think we need a discussion of this.

But I am ready to shift my position.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    It seems solid to me. For the OF Ordo, it states that “In the USA, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is perpetually transferred to Sunday following Holy Trinity Sunday.” It seems the same intent has carried over.

  2. M. K. says:

    At least one local EF community here (Archdiocese of Toronto) had the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost today, but I know some other EF parishes in Canada celebrated the External Solemnity today. I don’t know if we have any legislation equivalent to the 1885 U.S. indult, but on the ground practice is less than uniform.

  3. Does it matter to the average layperson whether it is OF and EF? I say just do the procession anyways as an expression of our Catholic identity, law or not.

  4. disco says:

    The FSSP had the second Sunday after Pentecost today, at least on LiveMass. We had Corpus Christi with procession (diocesan EF, Boston)

  5. disco says:

    Julian, yes it matters.

  6. I can verify MK’s account. Likely he attended the 11am Missa Cantata at Holy Family parish where I was present. They did liturgy for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost.

  7. Hank Igitur says:

    On Thursday we had sung Mass for Corpus Christi. On Sunday we had the Green Mass for Low Mass and the sung Mass of Corpus Christi again (with small procession, due to bad weather).

  8. Disco, why do you say it matters then? I meant my conment from an average layperson’s perspective vs a legalistic/church law perspective obviously

  9. Joy says:

    In Quincy IL at St Rose of Lima, FSSP Chaplaincy, Father Devillers sang the High Mass. Corpus Christi Solemnity. We processed around the whole block with the Blessed Sacrament afterward. Beautiful Mass!

  10. jlmorrell says:

    We had diocesan TLM with External Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Then Procession followed by holy hour of adoration ending in benediction.

    But, the 2013 Ordo by Canons Regular of St. John Cantius has an option for either 2nd Sunday or Ext Sol. If the above rules are correct it should have listed the only option as Ext Solemnity for this year. So, one can expect that the practice at the grassroots level would be mixed since the Ordos present both as legitimate options.

  11. Anchorite says:

    We were traveling and attended the EF Mass at St. Martin of Tours in Louisville, instead of St. John Cantius. In both cases it was external solemnity of Corpus Christi with procession.
    Although I fully see the rationale in maintaining a strong public expression of the Catholic identity in doing external solemnity Masses on that Sunday, I think a greater and a more long term benefit in making Corpus Christi a Holy Day of Obligation and keeping the option (without violations) of doing 2nd Sunday after Pentecost. Naturally, OF Calendar can continue the circus of transferring every weekday holiday on Sunday in perpetuity (until OF adopts EF Calendar and rests in peace).

  12. JabbaPapa says:

    Perhaps the following will help, or possibly it might just confuse …

    I belong to an extremely unusual parish, in that it belongs to two separate dioceses ; which themselves belong to two different countries. One of these countries has a strict separation of Church and State, and Corpus Christi is not a public holiday, and the Feast is ordinarily transferred throughout this country to the Sunday ; in the second country, Catholicism is the State Religion, Corpus Christi is a public holiday, and the Feast is ordinarily celebrated on the Thursday, with a solemn procession organised for the Cathedral Mass.

    Yesterday, I attended the Sunday Mass our parish church in the first country, Novus Ordo, and we celebrated Corpus Christi ; AND I attended the diocesan celebration of the TLM in the evening, in the second country, and we celebrated the Mass of the second Sunday after Pentecost.

    Our parish priest had co-celebrated Corpus Christi with our Bishop at the Cathedral on the Thursday (in the second country), and he neither celebrated nor co-celebrated at either of these Sunday Masses, despite providing his assistance at both of them. Our parish also had a Thursday celebration of Corpus Christi in the morning, I believe, though I was unable to attend that one for health reasons.

    Both our parish priest and myself have been obedient to both our Bishops, despite having celebrated two separate Sunday masses on the same Sunday (well, three in his case), and he also having co-celebrated Corpus Christi at the Cathedral on the Thursday, and likely having celebrated it on the Thursday too (I don’t know which of our priests presided the Thursday Mass).

    Confusing, possibly, but the attention to the detail of who does what under which conditions and whose authority is scrupulous, particularly by our parish priest, who is a also a civil and canon lawyer.

    The bottom line here, surely, is : obey the decisions of your Bishops in this matter.

  13. We celebrated the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost here at the FSSP Mass in Calgary. (Beautiful solemn Mass and lengthy procession on Thursday.)

  14. q7swallows says:

    As layfolk with some different liturgical choices, we didn’t know quite where to throw our energies. But after thinking about what the feast was all about and the appalling dearth of reverence we see all around us for Jesus in His Eucharistic Presence, we decided that it warranted our celebrating it twice this week for good measure—if we could. So our family went to an EF on Thursday and had planned on attending a Corpus Christi EF + procession in a large city 3 hours to our south today but had to change to a local Divine Liturgy instead due to young children’s first public music recital scheduled months ago for early pm. So we did the global hour of adoration (of sorts) at the Byzantine Church before Liturgy too.

    My humble vote: please allow external EF recognition on both Thursday and Sunday to help remedy the disastrous lack of reverence for the Lord’s Real Presence.

  15. Legisperitus says:

    I don’t even understand why the 1885 indult says “when this feast falls on a week day.” Doesn’t the feast always fall on a Thursday? Or was Corpus Christi formerly fixed on a certain date?

  16. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Fr. Perrone celebrated Corpus Christi on Thursday in EF; Sunday, we had the external celebration, followed by our annual Corpus Christi procession.

  17. disco says:

    It matters because the average layman should have confidence that when he goes to Mass he gets what the church wants him to get. The idea that the average guy in the pews doesn’t care one way or the other is what got us into this mess in the first place.

  18. CGPearson says:

    The Church of St. Agnes in St. Paul (Diocese parish) celebrated Corpus Christi with a procession during their 10am EF.

  19. yatzer says:

    EF Corpus Christi on Thursday; EF External Celebration with procession on Sunday.

  20. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    I know that many followers of this blog are still suffering in liturgical wastelands. To those of you living in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island: The “reform of the reform” continues apace here at St Anne’s in Fall River, MA. Yesterday’s 10:00 am Mass (Corpus Christi, OF) featured chanted Propers, a sung Gospel (with Gospel procession), sung orations and Preface, incense and torches at the Consecration, all male servers (in recently purchased cassocks and surplices, replacing the unisex albs), and a kneeler placed before the altar for the convenience of those who wish to receive Our Lord kneeling. Immediately following Communion (approx. 11:00 am; 5:00 pm Rome time), the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the altar and a Holy Hour commenced, coinciding with the Holy Hour presided over by Pope Francis.
    By the way, sung Masses (including Latin parts) with incense are standard fare here on Sunday mornings and holy days.
    At Holy Ghost Church in nearby Tiverton, RI, where my friend Fr Jay Finelli is pastor, the external solemnity of Corpus Christi was observed with a 12:00 pm EF Mass followed by a Eucharistic procession. Holy Ghost offers an EF Mass every first Sunday of the month at 12 noon.
    This Friday, June 7, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, I will celebrate a Missa Cantata (EF) at 7:00 pm — the first public TLM celebrated here since the imposition of the Novus Ordo of Paul VI.

  21. Nathan says:

    I guess the key question still unanswered is, “What does the indult really say?” The language in the FSSP Ordo makes the external solemnity obligatory at the principal Mass, based on a quote from a secondary source. What would be useful is seeing the whether or not the language of the indult says the same thing.

    It would also be helpful to know because we’re going to run into the same situation in a few weeks when the same indult applies to the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul on June 29. Is the external solemnity mandatory at the principal Mass on Sunday June 30?

    Would the only TLM at a parish be the principal Mass?

    In Christ,

  22. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    See why we need to codify liturgical law? How on earth are pastors supposed to think of checking an indult of 1885 to see what page of the sacramentary to open up to once a year? Or should they? http://www.canonlaw.info/a_labyrinth.htm

  23. acardnal says:

    Thank you Fr. Kocik. Hopefully, the frequency of the TLM/EF at your parish will increase, too, over time.

  24. mark1970 says:

    Just to give a UK perspective, the Ordo for the Latin Mas Society of England and Wales also mentions that the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi was to be observed yesterday. According the LMS Ordo and website: “The Bishops of England and Wales have requested that any Holyday of Obligation in England and Wales that is transferred to a Sunday in the New Rite (the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) should likewise be celebrated on that same day in the Old Rite (the Extraordinary Form). In reply to a dubium from the LMS the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (N107/97 20 October 2008) confirmed that such an external solemnity is regulated according to the General Rubrics of the Missal (356-361). It further confirmed that it is legitimate to continue to celebrate the Mass and Office of these holydays on the days prescribed in the 1962 Calendar. The solutions in Appendix 2 have been compliled in accordance with these norms.”

    [So, while for Corpus Christi there must be an external observance on the Sunday, it is still okay to have its regular observance on Thursday.]

  25. Titus says:

    If the indult is from 1885, it’s seemingly moved into the realm of “normal.” Certainly my Baronius Press 1962 missal has a note about transferring Corpus Christi. You can find it at the beginning of the propers for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost.

  26. HolyPhoenix says:

    We celebrated Corpus Christi at my FSSP parish here in CO, at least for the High Mass. I was surprised considering that we just had a sermon the week before complaining about how the Ascension had been moved to a Sunday. I guess the rules are just different for the different feasts.

  27. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Our FSSP small parish had the External Observance of Corpus Christi, Low Mass, but with commemorations recited of the Second Sunday after Pentecost. We had Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass, and Father’s homily on the Holy Eucharist was outstanding.

  28. Nathan,

    Although I don’t have the 1885 indult available in Latin to check, the quotation marks in the FSSP ordo suggest that the clause “the external solemnity of the feast must be transferred in the United States and celebrated on the following Sunday” is intended as an English translation of the original Latin.

    In diocesan EF Masses in different churches of the Knoxville (TN) area, we had both the Mass and procession of Corpus Christi on Thursday, and the external solemnity of Corpus Christi (with procession and benediction) on Sunday.

    In regard to upcoming June solemnities:

    #357 of the rubrics printed in the 1962 Missale Romanum says (in English translation) that the Mass of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus may by right (i.e., not merely by special indult) be celebrated as an external solemnity on the following Sunday (June 9 this year).

    The FFSP ordo appears to say that the 1885 U.S. indult implies the same thing for the feast of Stts. Peter and Paul as for Corpus Christi. If so, it seems that the principal sung Mass on June 30 must be the external solemnity of Stts. Peter and Paul, and not the Mass of the 6th Sunday after Pentecost.

    Thus three of this June’s Sundays could be external solemnities of 1st class feasts. Following the solemnities of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday winding up May, indeed a high season of liturgical solemnity!

  29. Father Z: “[So, while for Corpus Christi there must be an external observance on the Sunday, it is still okay to have its regular observance on Thursday.]”

    Whether or not the Mass of Corpus Christi can be celebrated as an external solemnity by indult on the following Sunday, there surely is no doubt that (in the EF) Corpus Christ must–not merely may–be celebrated on its proper Thursday.

    The feast day itself is not “transferred” merely because an external solemnity is celebrated on another day. In particular, the Divine Office is not transferred along with the external solemnity, and one continues to say the Office of Corpus Christi on Thursday, whenever one attends the Mass of Corpus Christi.

    As you know, there so such thing in the 1962 calendar as transfer of the whole feast day. Although paragraphs (a) through (i) of rubric #358 list a whole host of possibilities for external solemnities–seemingly of almost any feast for sufficient reason for the benefit of the faithful–in each case (as I understand it) the feast day itself remains in place with its Mass and Office.

  30. Nathan says:

    Henry, excellent points. I don’t mean to downplay the FSSP Ordo (a truly useful liturgical reference, IMO) or suggest they’re incorrect. It’s useful at times to see what the original says, and (given the fact I work in a library) it is now an interesting puzzle to figure out where one can find the 19th century decrees of the old Sacred Congregation for Rites.

    As I think external solemnities go for the TLM, the feast is not transferred to the Sunday. On Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart, or Sts Peter and Paul, the Mass and Office would be said for that day on the actual feast day. The external solemnity allows for one Mass to be said on the following Sunday (the principal Mass), but all other Masses and the Office would be of the Sunday.

    The external solemnities were, I think, a way for the faithful in countries where Holy Days of Obligation were not civil holidays to be able to partake liturgically in the feasts, which may be one reason why the Corpus Christi indult from 1885, according to the FSSP Ordo, requires a procession after the Mass for the external solemnity. The Sacred Congregation of Rites gave France a similar indult in 1804, in the wake of the revolution and the civil rejection of the Church’s calendar.

    Dr. Peters, codify liturgical law? What Madness Do You Speak Of? Sure, it would make priests’ lives easier and lead to clarity, understanding and spiritual benefits, but would you deny us lay trad fogies the opportunity to spend hours researching and discussing the fine points of the liturgical calendar?

    In Christ,

  31. APX says:

    We celebrated the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost here at the FSSP Mass in Calgary. (Beautiful solemn Mass and lengthy procession on Thursday.)

    As did the Anglican Use Parish, which was celebrated and attended by a number of diocesan priests. Hopefully we can have another solemn Mass next year. If I hears correctly there were 400+ in attendance. It was indeed a long procession.

    In the past we celebrated Corpus Christi on Sunday and combined it with First Communion.

    Logistically speaking, in order for us to be able to get extra priests for a Solemn Mass, Thursday is the better day for Corpus Christi.

  32. tjg says:

    At Immaculate Conception in Cedar Rapids Iowa, Fr. Podhajsky celebrated the NO Mass ad orientum. 20 or so servers in attendance along with a high school MC, Fr. P followed that up with a procession around the church. I am guessing we had 150-200 parishioners at least in attendance, the choir sang Latin hymns, followed by children dropping flower petals, followed by Fr. P with the Blessed Sacrament (under a canopy toted by 4th degree Knights), followed by the rest of the assembly saying the Rosary between alters. It was absolutely perfect and brought tears to my eyes (it does even as I type this), I sent a note to Fr Z asking how to post pics to share. Viva Cristo Rey!

  33. tjg says:

    Wow. I need a spell check. That should say “altars” my apologies to all.

  34. gloriainexcelsis says:

    P.S. I should have added that indeed, the Mass for Corpus Christi was offered on its Thursday date, and the External Solemnity on Sunday at our FSSP parish. We have only one priest and except for Fridays (2 masses allowed), and a 9 a.m. on Saturday, the one daily Mass is at 7 a.m.

  35. WaywardSailor says:

    At our parish north of Boston, for the Extraordinary Form we had a Missa Cantata followed by a solemn procession on Thursday and Mass for the Second Sunday of Pentecost on Sunday. The parish Masses in the Ordinary Form for Sunday celebrated Corpus Christi, including processions after the Masses.

  36. wolfeken says:

    If this is true, then why bother having a Second Sunday After Pentecost in the missal?

    The point of external solemnities is to observe a feast twice if the first observation is on a weekday where almost no one attends.

    But if a parish has a big Corpus Christi High Mass and procession on the actual day of Corpus Christi (the Thursday after Trinity Sunday), such as parishes like Holy Innocents in New York and Saint Mary’s in Washington, D.C. each year, then it makes little sense to omit the Second Sunday After Pentecost propers on the Second Sunday After Pentecost (and its important Gospel on making excuses and their ramifications).

    Finally, wouldn’t time be better spent working to get people to Mass on Corpus Christi? It is still a holyday of obligation in the universal Church, even if most conferences have rounded it off.

    We’re not protestants. There can and should be big feast days that don’t fall on a Sunday.

  37. Dan says:

    This past Sunday I attended Solemn Mass for the external solemnity of Corpus Christi in the Extraordinary Form at one of our diocesan parishes that offers the usus antiqiuor.

    I consulted a collection of handmissals for guidance on the question in this post, and here’s what I found:

    1945 “Fr. Lasance New Roman Missal”: The Sunday after Corpus Christi Thursday is styled “Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi, which is the Second after Pentecost.” While the Mass is Factus est Dominus, white vestments are prescribed, and there are commemorations for the octave of Corpus Christi.

    1957 “St. Joseph Sunday Missal”: The Sunday after Corpus Christi Thursday is styled “Second Sunday after Pentecost.” The Mass is Factus est Dominus, but green vestments are prescribed.

    1962 “Roman Catholic Daily Missal” (Angelus Press): The Sunday after Corpus Christi Thursday is styled “Second Sunday after Pentecost.” The Mass is Factus est Dominus, and green vestments are prescribed. However, the introductory note provides “when the Feast of Corpus Christi is transferred to the following Sunday, the Mass Cibavit eos is celebrated as on the feast, with Commemoration of the Second Sunday.”

    Based on the foregoing, it looks like the circa 1945 Sunday after Corpus Christi was a compromise between the Second Sunday after Pentecost (I.e., mass text Factus est Dominus) and Corpus Christi (i.e., white vestments, commemorations of the octave). In the 1962 calendar, however, the Second Sunday after Pentecost is just that (green vestments, Mass text Factus est, no commemorations), while permission is extended to celebrate the Mass Cibavit eos on that Sunday as an external solemnity. Given that the 1957 handmissal prescribes green for the Sunday after Corpus Christi, it looks like this rubrical change occurred sometime between 1945 and 1956. I’m no liturgical expert, but that’s what I can deduce from a quick glance at my handmissals!

    In any event, I’m glad the possibility of celebrating Corpus Christi as an external solemnity exists in the extraordinary form. Why not give more options to celebrate Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist?

  38. Nathan says:

    wolfeken: You make good points, and I agree that the 2d Sunday After Pentecost is in the Missal for a good reason. I can also see where in the case of an Old St Mary’s or a Holy Innocents, where the external solemnity makes little sense–aside from parking, both locations are ideal for the Solemn High Mass and procession on the feast itself.

    I think the key question (at least as presented in the FSSP Ordo) is whether or not the external solemnity is mandated by the indult and whether or not it fully applies in the context Summorum Pontificum, et al. The indult comes from a time where, I believe, Holy Mass could only be celebrated in the morning, and where conditions for the majority of lay Catholics in the USA (which is the sole country covered by the 1885 indult) would keep them away from the Mass and procession of Corpus Christi (especially since it hasn’t been a Holy Day of Obligation in the US). Could it be time for the Ecclesia Dei folks to re-think whether the external solemnity is mandatory in the USA?

    As an initial skeptic of the external solemnity, I have noticed some unexpected benefits of having the TLM in a mostly OF parish follow the Sunday Corpus Christi Mass and procession. Out at St Lawrence in Alexandria, VA (BTW, I think I’ve seen you there on occasion, Ken, thanks for joining us!) the Missa Cantata followed by procession starts the parish’s 40 hours devotion. The benefit is that it brings a number of the non-TLM parishoners to this Mass and exposes them to one of the most beautiful liturgies of the year. IMO, that in and of itself keeps us trads out of the “late Mass ghetto” and has brought an increasing number of people to appreciate the beauty, clarity, and majesty of the EF.

    In Christ,

  39. Nathan and Ken,

    Why have the Mass of the 2nd Sunday still in the 1962 missal? Let me count the reasons. Well, at least three:

    (1) If indeed the 1885 indult requires that (only) the principal sung Sunday Mass on the Sunday following Corpus Christi be the external solemnity, then the other parish Masses that Sunday will use the Mass of the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost.

    (2) The Mass of the 2nd Sunday of Pentecost may still be needed for any ferias during the following week.

    (3) Whether or not an external solemnity of Corpus Christi is celebrated on that Sunday, it’s still the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, so the Office of the 2nd Sunday is said that day, and who with any feel for the Roman rite can imagine an Office without a Mass? The Mass of the day being in effect one of the nine “hours” of the Church’s official liturgy when we pray daily (addition to matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers, and compline).

    That said (as the one who raised this matter originally), in a metropolitan area such as where you both live, I personally would prefer to attend the Mass of Corpus Christi on its proper Thursday, and the Mass of the 2nd Sunday of Pentecost on its proper Sunday.

    However, in the 19th century much of this country was mission territory with circuit-riding priests where many outlying Catholic parishes had Mass only on Sundays, if that. And this is precisely the same situation we have today in much or most of the country, insofar as the TLM is concerned. Certainly, in my part of the country, where many people must travel two hours or more (one-way) to get to a Sunday TLM, it would be impractical to expect families with young children to make it to a Thursday night Mass–and not even good to encourage them to–even if one were available in all TLM locations.

    So, the fact is that an external solemnity on Sunday is the only way to make it possible for most TLM folks today to experience this arguably most beautiful Mass in the entire liturgy.

  40. Vecchio di Londra says:

    To add to Mark1970 – ” In reply to a dubium from the LMS the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (N107/97 20 October 2008) confirmed that such an external solemnity is regulated according to the General Rubrics of the Missal (356-361). It further confirmed that it is legitimate to continue to celebrate the Mass and Office of these holydays on the days prescribed in the 1962 Calendar. The solutions in Appendix 2 have been compliled in accordance with these norms.”

    But the Provision in 356-361 is for the allowance of external solemnities in the form of a Votive Mass, something already provided for in the 1962 Missal. The Archdiocese of Westminster was attempting to dictate that the feast of Corpus Christi would have to be observed on the Sunday (like the newly transferred NO). Ecclesia Dei saw that it was obviously idiotic for the EF to be forced to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi twice in three days, found an elegant workaround and published it as an Appendix 2, as follows:
    External Solemnity of a Holyday of Obligation
    “Only 2 Low Masses, or 1 Low and 1 High or Sung Mass, are allowed.
    Sun 2 June ad lib EXTERNAL SOLEMNITY of CORPUS CHRISTI Votive Mass II Class*, White
    Gl Seq Cr Pr of the Holy Trinity
    (No Commem of Sunday)
    [*My gloss:Second Class, not First, as it’s a Votive Mass of the Feast Day celebrated in EF the previous Thursday]
    “Ad lib” of course meaning that the pastor/celebrant may choose freely to say the External Solemnity as a Votive Mass, or say the Mass of the Second Sunday after Pentecost instead.
    Yesterday we had the Mass of Second Sunday after Pentecost.

    Corpus Christi is still firmly in the EF Calendar as a Class I Feast on the Thursday, and was so celebrated at several churches in London on Thursday. Most churches held the Procession (if they had one) on Sunday afternoon – as they used to for practical reasons long before the NO transfer of the Feast, even though back then the Mass of Corpus Christi was invariably celebrated on a Thursday. (And was up to the 1970s a Holyday of Obligation in England and Wales. Many of us carry on keeping it as if it were still a H of Ob.)

    Ecclesia Dei by making this ‘ad lib’ provision also made it delicately clear that the Archdiocese of E & W does not get to rewrite the EF calendar, and Rubrics Rule Okay. :-)

  41. Nathan says:

    Well said, Henry! (You knew I’d say that, didn’t you?) The only thing that doesn’t make sense to me in the current context is precisely for those urban TLM “powerhouse” churches (BTW, the men’s schola at Old St Mary’s in Washington is superb; I want them to sing at my Requiem when I die). If they offer a Solemn High Mass and procession on the feast itself, should they be required by the indult to offer the Mass of Corpus Christi (and another procession) at the principal Sunday Mass?

    In Christ,

  42. Vecchio di Londra says:

    As with Ascension Thursday, there are excellent reasons why the Feast should be maintained on its original Thursday.
    It is placed there as an echo of Maundy (=Holy) Thursday, the sacred day on which the Eucharist came into being, as Pope Urban IV pointed out in the very first line of his bull ‘Transiturus’, (September 1264) with which he instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Trinity.
    C Xti is a symmetrical counterpart of that pre-Passion Thursday nine weeks previously, as the infant Church now moves into independent life in the Holy Spirit, and begins to understand the true nature of God, aided, as Pope Urban wrote, by the life of Christ inside us in the Eucharist:
    ‘When He was about to ascend to heaven, He said to the Apostles and their followers: “Behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the world”, comforting them with this benign promise, that he would remain and be with them even in bodily presence….Going beyond all the fullness of generosity, exceeding all manner of true love, he gave himself as food (attribuit se in cibum). O what singular and admirable generosity, where the Donor came as donation, the gift no different from the Giver….This bread is taken, but not consumed; it is eaten, but not changed because it is never transformed into the one who eats (in edentem minime trasformatur); but if worthily received, the one who receives is conformed to it (sibi recipiens conformatur).’

    But hey, what did Pope Urban and St Thomas Aquinas know: we all have far more important things to do on a Thursday ;-)

  43. Thanks, Nathan. Let me return a compliment, because I think of no other frequent WDTPRS participant whose comments are so invariably perspicacious as yours. In regard to the question you pose regarding Old St. Mary’s:

    “If they offer a Solemn High Mass and procession on the feast itself, should they be required by the indult to offer the Mass of Corpus Christi (and another procession) at the principal Sunday Mass?”

    Far be it from me to argue that they should. But sometimes the requirements of canon law (if this is indeed the case here) may seem counter-intuitive, and perhaps not even applicable in some particular circumstances.

    I’ve heard that the Roman viewpoint of law is to rather freely allow exceptions based on common sense. Whereas in the Anglo-Saxon viewpoint, the law is to be unexceptionable–as when it prohibits the building of a dam that might greatly benefit thousands of human beings, if it might inconvenience a dozen protected snail darters.

  44. Marysann says:

    I missed the Feast of Corpus Christi entirely this year. I live in the Diocese of Rome, Italy which celebrates Corpus Christi on Sunday, unlike the Vatican City State which does celebrate it on Thursday. On Friday we traveled to the Archdiocese of Berlin, Germany, which celebrates the feast on Thursday. The Sunday Mass we attended was a Confirmation Mass, and the readings were specific for that. This left me without having attended a Mass for Corpus Christi. I read special meditations for the feast on Corpus Christi Thursday, but I was looking forward to the Mass. We have encountered the same situation for Ascension Thursday at home in the States. I wish that the Church would standardize the dates for these feasts, and bring them back to Thursday where they belong.

  45. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Fr Z – just saw your comment at mark1970 above:
    “[So, while for Corpus Christi there must be an external observance on the Sunday, it is still okay to have its regular observance on Thursday.]”

    There’s no ‘must’ about it. As Ecclesia Dei says in their reply to the dubium, the External Solemnity on the Sunday is ‘ad lib’ so ‘may’ be provided in the EF – as a Class II Votive Mass – or may be omitted altogether on the Sunday in favour of the Second Sunday after Pentecost.
    The feast of C. Ch. is celebrated as always on Thursday in the EF Ordo for ‘all dioceses of England and Wales’ – and that does not change.

    All churches provide one or several Corpus Christi NO Masses on the Sunday, unless they are specifically EF parishes, in which case their parishioners will have been reminded they should turn up the previous Thursday for the Feast. It was possible at my own church last Sunday to attend a sung Latin NO Mass of Corpus Christi and a Low Mass of the Second Sunday after Pentecost on the same day.

    PS – I looked just now at the Diocese of Westminster website just now, and discovered that Westminster has apparently not understood Ecclesia Dei’s response to the dubium of the E&W Bishops. The website claims that ‘Where the obligation has been removed and the Holyday transferred to the Sunday, the Epiphany of the Lord, the Ascension of the Lord and Corpus Christi, this is to be followed in both Ordinary and Extraordinary celebrations of Mass.’

    Not so: Ecclesia Dei specifically ruled that the External Solemnity on the Sunday is ‘ad libitum’ (=optional) for the EF Mass.

    So the Westminster announcement is wrong. It is not ‘to be followed’ – it ‘may’ be provided if the pastor/celebrant so chooses.

  46. Rellis says:

    This indult (really, a directive) makes a lot more sense when one remembers that the feast of Corpus Christi used to be a First Class Double with a privileged octave. Unless a double or higher occurred, the octave was to be used.

    Sundays after Trinity are semi-doubles. Therefore, the situation in 1885 would have called for the Mass to be the Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi. This would, in fact, have been a repeat of the Mass of Corpus Christi itself. Hence, the indult was not a change in text (as reading it from 1962 backwards would indicate). Rather, it simply moved the obligation from the Thursday to the Sunday.

    This should really be cleaned up at some point, as what once made a lot of sense no longer did by 1962.

  47. Vecchio di Londra says:

    @Rellis – I can’t claim any inside knowledge of US practice, but in general an external solemnity is not a transfer of the Feast – just another Mass of the Feast (without the Office) to be said on the Sunday following the Feast. The US indult (I looked it up just now) says that “an External Solemnity of the Feast of Corpus Christi (indult of November 25, 1885) and of the Feast of Saints Peter & Paul (indult of December 19, 1840) must be celebrated on the Sunday following the Feast. One Mass is to be celebrated as on the Feast, with the commemoration of the Sunday (under its own conclusion) and the Last Gospel of the Sunday.”
    NB One, which means only one, Mass of the Feast is to be celebrated on the Sunday following the impeded Feast – the clear implication of the rule is that all other Masses on that Sunday are to be those of the relevant Sunday in Pentecost, and for the other nine Feasts listed as having External Solemnities, even observing them is ‘optional’. There is nothing in the Indult to suggest the Feast Day has been canonically transferred from Thursday to Sunday.
    I can see no practical problem for the EF with – as per Indult – keeping the Corpus Christi Feast Day on its Thursday and saying a full Class I (US) [or in England a Votive Class II] Mass of Corpus Christi on the Sunday. As for Octaves, they were all suppressed by Pius XII in 1955, except for Christmas, Easter and Ascension, and that holds true for the 1962 EF as well.

  48. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Sorry, I meant ‘liturgically transferred’ not ‘canonically’.

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