ASK FATHER: Newly canonized saints and the Traditional Roman Rite. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

From a reader…


In the 1962 Rubrics, Votive Mass of any Saint with an entry in the Roman Martyrology. Does this include the current Martyrology?

Yes, no?

No and yes.

No, in the sense that Summorum Pontificum authorized the use of the books in force in 1962, not those after.  If the saints aren’t in the 1962 calendar, well… that’s that.  Right?

That said, I am inclined to say, yes, we could take our cue from the newer, 2005 edition of the Martyrology but in a limited way.

For example, if in the older, 1962 calendar there is a dies non which permits the recognition of saint in the older Martyrology, and, turning to your newer edition you find a great saint who was canonized after the 1962 edition was printed, I can’t see a good reason why you couldn’t use the appropriate Common from the 1962 Missale for that saint.

The purist at this point might be having a conniption along the lines of, “Father Z you aren’t a true traditionalist!  As a matter of fact, I’m going to drop you from my blog roll and then put scare quotes around “Father” when I mention you… which will never be again!  EVER!  Unless you do something else I don’t agree with.  I’m going to tell everyone that you would use – *gasp* – a new book!  That’s clearly … heresy, or scandal, or… something like that.  And… you says the Novus Ordo too??  YOU HATE SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM!”

The lack of coordination of the two calendars, traditional and post-Conciliar, is a thorny problem.   This is one of those narrowly-defined situations in which I think we can use the newer calendar to honor a canonized saint that isn’t in any of the 1962 books.  BTW, the last edition issued before 1962 was the 1956 edition.

We need a way to integrate our newly canonized saints into our traditional calendar.

It would be great to have mutual enrichment between the calendars.

On the one hand, it would be a great service and cause no harm to anyone to re-establish Pre-Lent in the Novus Ordo along with Ember Days, Days of Rogation, and the Octave of Pentecost.  BTW… eliminating those was NOT called for in the Council’s documents.  As a matter of fact, the Council Fathers warned against doing innovative things like that.  And no one even wanted those changes anyway.

On the other hand, it would be a wonderful thing to have integrated into traditional calendar the feasts or commemorations of new saints.

Think about this.

Some saints canonized by Paul VI, hence after 1962.

St. Charles Lwanga (wow, do we need his intercession now!)
St. John of Avila (now a Doctor of the Church since 2012)
St. Elizabth Ann Seton
St. Oliver Plunket
St. John Ogilvie
St. John Neuman
St. Charbel Makhluf

Some saints canonized by John Paul II.

St. Maximillian Kolbe (amazing but not in our traditional calendar)
103 Korean Martyrs
St. Andrew Dung-Kac
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
St. Marie-Margueritte d’Youville
St. Claude de la Colombière
St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross (Edith Stein! No no… forget about her.  Can’t do it.)
St. Mary Faustina Kowalska
St. Augustine Chao and 119 companions
St. Katharine Drexel
St. Josephine Bakhita (wow!  REALLY?)
St. Pio of Pietrelcina (It’s only “Padre Pio”, after all. TLM… nope! Sorry!)
St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (Good enough for the BVM, good enough for ’62)
St. Gianna Beretta Molla (nothing for her… nope)

Some saints canonized by Benedict XVI.

St. Damien of Molokai
St. Hildegard of Bingen (she’s been around for a while, too, but was canonized in 2012)
St. Marianne Cope
St. Mary MacKillop
St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Some saints canonized by Francis.

St. Antonio Primaldo and the 813 martyrs of Otranto! (Muslims did it…)
St. Peter Faber
St. John Paul II (noooo… he’s not at all popular… ignore him on 22 October)
St. Junipero Sera
Sts. Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin
St. Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad
St. Teresa of Calcutta (nope… not in the traditional calendar, you can’t celebrate her!)
Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto (saw Our Lady of Fatima… but fuggetaboutit)

Hmmm… 22 October, St. John Paul II’s feast in the newer calendar, is a dies non in the older, traditional calendar.  Hmmm… that means we could celebrate a saint listed in the 1956 Martryologium Romanum in force in 1962!

Let’s look at our options for 22 October in 1962.  There’s Sts. Eusebius and Hermes, martyred in the time of Julian the Apostate. Okay.  How about St. Maria Salome of Jerusalem from the Gospel.  I imagine that some of you ladies are devoted to her.  Raise your hands, please.  Then there’s Alexander, Heraclius, Miles and companions.

HEY!  22 October is also the feast of Sts. Nunilo and Alodia!  I talk about them all the time on this blog.  These two young girls were killed horribly because they refused to convert to Islam.  They share the feast day of St. John Paul II.  They are all great saints to remember in our own day.  However, I’m gonna guess that most people – even if they live in Huesca – are going to have a crack at celebrating John Paul before Nunilo and Alodia.   We remember fondly the two girls, and their cult is still appropriate in our day, given the issues we face with Islamic terror and invasion by migration.  That said, it seems to me that traditionalists should have the option to celebrate John Paul II.  No?  Yes?  Reasonable?  Think about how his magisterium is under attack.

Look. The older, traditional calendar is to be respected. But, to my mind, it is simply nuts not to celebrate these saints.

Sure, St. Joseph Vaz of Sri Lanka, canonized by Francis in 2015, isn’t a saint whom I venerate with special fervor, but I have a friend in England, of Sri Lankan heritage, who does and who dearly loves the traditional Roman Rite. He, and the faithful of Sri Lanka, should have the opportunity to celebrate his feast day with the propers for his dear saint. Do you know, off hand, how many Sri Lankan saints there are. ONE! But he’s not on the 1962 calendar. Nope. Too bad for traditionalists there.

Saints come and go from the calendar according to the devotions of the people and the needs of the times. In centuries past, many people invoked the Fourteen Holy Helpers for aid. However, I suspect that fewer people today than of yore now pray to St. Agathius or pine to celebrate his feast on 7 May. His feast was pushed off the calendar by St. Stanislaus.

Saints come and go.

More and more I am of the mind simply to dig up the Propers for some of these great modern saints and just do it. And, yes, I’ll probably have a set of Pontifical vestments made in BLUE this year, too. For a Marian feast like Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. How’dya like them apples?

¡Hagan lío!

Thus endeth the rant.

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Of course, if on a day it is legitimate to pick a saint from the martyrology of the day (technically a votive Mass of the 4th class), then it is also legitimate to celebrate any other votive Mass of the 4th class – such as that of a different saint who could not have been picked on his day.

  2. APX says:

    It would be nice to be able to have a votive Mass offered for St. Teresa of the Andes using the actual collect from her Feast Day:

    Merciful God, joy of the saints, who inflamed the youthful heart of St. Teresa with the fire of virginal love for Christ and His Church and who made her a joyful witness of charity even in the midst of suffering, grant us through her intercession that, inundated by the sweetness of her spirit, we may proclaim in the world, in word and deed, the gospel of love. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen”

    Instead of the generic:

    Hear us, O God, our Saviour: and as we rejoice in the Feast of blessed N., Thy Virgin: so we may learn a filial devotion to Thee. Through our Lord…

  3. iPadre says:

    That is about the only change I desire in the EF. I want some of the new saints.

    And, I wish that we could use double collects in the OF. I really hate it when there are two saints in the OF and I have to choose. We can have the same to saints in the EF and use double collects. That stinks!

  4. Vincent says:

    Very good rant!

    At some point someone is going to have to start working on a revision of the calendar (and various other things) for the Extraordinary Form… but who and when and how?

  5. Traductora says:

    Go for it! I love some of the “old saints,” that is, the ones people have forgotten about, too and I just wish they were better known. Priests now never seem to preach on the saint of the day.

    But the new ones should be incorporated (although I think we might need to wait a bit and reexamine Francis’ panoply of Latin American leftists who seem to have done nothing in the name of the Faith)

    I wish we could stop saying EF for the old Mass because there’s nothing extraordinary about it. I think the thing that’s going to be extraordinary in a few years, after Francis has shuffled off this mortal coil and his minions have done likewise, is the New Rite (Novus Ordo). New meaning seriously dated – a rite should never be called “new,” because this means it is not drawn from tradition or not even a legitimate development, and is indeed a new imposition – and thus dated to the time of its creation.

  6. Father Z’s solution is almost exactly the one I have taken for my annual Calendar for the Dominican Rite.

    If a Dominican beatified before 1962 has been canonized, then I place the saint on the earlier date. And, if now obligatory, the saint is a 3d class feast. If the Dominican saint was beatified and canonized after 1962 and placed on the Dominican calendar by a General Chapter, that saint is on the “modern” date as 3d class. I treat Dominican optional memorials as “memories,” i.e. an extra collect. On my calendar, I have followed the same principle for saints proper to the United States and the dioceses where Dominicans have houses.

    As for saints added to the Roman Calendar since 1962, I do not add them: the Dominican Order only put new non-Dominican saints on our calendar by a vote of a General Chapter. That does not, of course, mean that Dominicans celebrating the Dominican rite cannot celebrate such new saints by a Votive Mass on their “novus ordo” day (or any other day they wish).

    The Dominican Rite Calendar for 2018 can be downloaded here: on the left side bar under “Downloadable Texts.”

  7. (St Hildegard of Bingen is also a Doctor of the Church from 2012.)

  8. ServusChristi says:

    @Traductora – I hear you and agree you on this one. We need to start calling the TLM simply the mass again instead of the EF, until the Novus Ordo Missae it’s always been the OF in the Roman Rite. And I continue to pray for the day that the TLM becomes the mass celebrated in all Roman Rite parishes.

    On another note, I really love the old saints, such as St Philip Neri or St John Baptiste De La Sale. To this day I’m still scratching my head over a number of the saints St JPII canonized and whom Pope Francis may consider canonizing (think Teilhard De Chardin or similar). I find myself asking the question: “what if the Promotor Fidei had looked at this person? Isn’t this a smoking gun that’ll end their canonization process?”

  9. Tom says:

    “it would be a great service and cause no harm to anyone to re-establish Pre-Lent in the Novus Ordo along with Ember Days, Days of Rogation, and the Octave of Pentecost” — as the three Personal Ordinariates of Anglicanorum coetibus fame show, it is quite doable, as they have restored all those elements in their full glory to the baseline of the 1970 calendar on which they are otherwise based. (Bishop Lopes of the North American Ordinariate did move the Advent Ember Days to earlier so as not to conflict with the new daily propers for Dec 17-24, which IMHO is fine. After all, 1960 moved the September ember days too.)

  10. PTK_70 says:

    @Traductora…..Try traditional Roman Mass or usus antiquior in place of EF. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the term “extraordinary form” refers, properly speaking, to the Rite (i.e. Roman Rite) and not to the Holy Mass (which may be celebrated according to a variety of different Rites, eastern and western). Some may say this is semantics, but the beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was careful to note that the Roman Rite is one, albeit with more than one “form”.

  11. Fr. Kelly says:

    In Pope Benedict’s leter to Bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum, we read:
    … the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard.
    Even pre SP, in seminary we recognized that incorporating the new saints into the calendar was something we should do where possible. It is one good way of drawing the calendars together.
    Typically, this would be done byusing the collect for the saint along with the appropriate Common from the 1962 missal.

  12. Eriugena says:

    Here is what I think the whole problem comes down to: if a Priest likes a particular Confessor not in the universal calendar, which Mass should he say? Os Justi? Justus Ut Palma? In olden times the Sacred Congregation of Rites would have decided which Mass should be said for each Saint, but this Congregation has been suppressed and there is now nobody to tell us which Mass it is. For Holy Popes it is easy, as there is only the one; but what about other cases? Who decides, or do we just do whatever we think best as usually happens with the new liturgy?

  13. Fr. Kelly says:

    PTK_70 and Traductora
    RE the use of the phrase “Extraordinary Form”, I had not seen it in use before Summorum Pontificum and its accompanying letter to the Bishops. There, Pope Benedict uses it as a descriptor rather than as a name or title, as he predicts that its use will remain rare in relation to the newer form. His point, it seems to me is what PTK said: there is one Roman Rite with more than one use or form.
    Consequently, in my parish, I refer to it as a “forma antiquior” since this is more descriptive in a parish context where the relative prevalence of the use of one over another is not really a question. Rather, quite a few of my older people remember the so-called TLM as the way Mass used to be said when they were younger. (Hence, forma antiquior)

  14. Uxixu says:

    There is some conflation of the Calendar with the Roman Rite/Form. The Church has always had multiple calendars, the proper local calendar versus the universal, those of the Orders, etc. One of the (few) good ideas of 1969/1970 was to reinforce the local calendar. Unfortunately, there were so many novelties introduced that it’s effectively tainted by association (if not overwhelmed byu them entirely).

    While we should clearly have universal feasts, by 1960 there were entirely too many 16th and 17th century Italian Confessors on the universal calendar, especially when they reduced 3rd and 4th century Martyrs to Commemorations. And the invidious blanket reduction of every semi-double and simplex to Commemorations was horrible and never corrected. Many, especially the Martyrs should have been III Class. This distinction arguably should under the provision of the local Ordinary (or perhaps better the Metropolitan Archbishop for the ecclesiastical province), or even the dreaded national episcopal conferences.

    The imposition of the Roman calendar at Trent was really rather novel to the time, though was mitigated by the expectation of St. Pius V that older Rites/Uses of more than 200 years of age would implicitly remain, instead of voluntarily Romanizing. This concept accelerated after up until St. Pius X’s reforms were rather callously imposed on the Dominicans, etc which effectively destroyed their unique character that they had carefully preserved to that point (and which point it really became a Dominican Use of the Roman Rite). See Bonniwell’s description of bewildered Dominicans trying to understand all the Roman terminology in the Office after Divino Afflatu).

  15. Imrahil says:

    Dear Uxixu,

    general agreement

    and a slight correction: former semidoubles were not reduced to commemorations (except the few cases of “simple which, if not superseded, may be celebrated as a semi-double if the sayer of the Office so desires”, such as St. Remigius, whom being the baptizer of King Chlodwig I happen to think a rather important saint at least where France and Germany, but possibly the world, are concerned, but that’s just my less than two cents).

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