22 July: Mary Magdalene and the Creed at Mass – POLL!

At NLM there is a really good post by Greg DiPippo about the roller coaster history of the liturgical observance of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene.

You might recall that in 2016 Pope Francis made her day – in the Novus Ordo – a Feast with its own Preface (with a glaring error in Latin). I have some photos from older missals. HERE

At NLM we read about an interesting liturgical innovation concerning recitation of the Creed in the Tridentine usage.  Perpend:

In the Missal of St Pius V, the Creed is said on every Sunday, and several categories of feasts: all those of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, Angels, Apostles, Doctors, etc. To this list is added one other woman, St Mary Magdalene, in commemoration of the fact that it was she who announced the Resurrection of Christ, the foundation of the Faith, to the Apostles; for this reason she has often been called “the Apostles of the Apostles.” [NB] This custom was widely observed in the Middle Ages, but originally not accepted at Rome itself; the Ordinal of the papal liturgy in the reign of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) specifies that the Creed is not to be said on the feast, indicating that it was known to be done elsewhere. It was still omitted according to the rubrics of printed editions of the Roman Missal in the first half of the 16th century; [NB] its addition in the rubrics of 1570 is one of the rare cases where a new custom was added to the Roman Rite from elsewhere in the highly conservative Tridentine reform. (It was removed from her feast in 1955, and from the Doctors in 1961.)

So, she had the Creed and she lost the Creed and, in the Novus Ordo the Creed was absent.  Should it be brought back, at least in the older form, as it once was a Double with Creed?

So… here’s a question for you:

  • given that Pope Benedict, when he promulgated Summorum Pontificum, intended that the older, traditional form of Holy Mass act as both a stabilizer and a catalyst for the organic liturgical life of the Church, and
  • given that he thought that “mutual enrichment” might result, and
  • given that Mary Magdalene had a Creed in her Mass formulary after the Tridentine Reform for 385 years until the concerted attack on the Roman Missal began in 1955,


Omitting those situations in which a patronal feast is celebrated, etc. etc., should those who celebrate Holy Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum simply add a Creed for St. Mary Magdalene even though it is not provided for in the Ordo?

Let’s have a poll.  Anyone can vote but only registered and approved readers can post comments and explanations.

In the TLM add the Creed for St. Mary Magadalene even though it isn't indicated in the rubrics?

View Results

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  1. philosophicallyfrank says:

    We tend to be critical of many who add & subtract from what the Ordinary Form was suppose to be; so, we, who appreciate the Extraordinary Form, need to seek desired changes thru the “official channels” to the Rubrics. It seems to me that we’d be hypocrites otherwise.

  2. Dismas says:

    What, no “Meh” or “I’m not touching this with a thirty foot pole” options?

  3. APX says:

    I voted yes, but I misunderstood the question. I assumed it meant, if Rome approved. I don’t think we should just add of our own free will.

  4. Unwilling says:

    Yeahbut… why not the Doctors?

  5. TonyO says:

    The creed would be a good addition to the Mass for Mary Magdalene, but not enough of a good to supercede obedience to the rubrics as written. As p.frank suggested, we have to not only push for the best liturgy, but do so in the proper manner, and been seen to take the slow, patient, proper way, through official channels. It is by being seen to follow the rules that we will induce others to give their obedience to the rules even when they are “sure” something else is “better”.

  6. Hb says:

    Well, many of us follow the pre 62 rubrics as well as use pre 55 Holy Week so I don’t see the problem since it already exists in earlier rubrics. It would seem to me using a long established custom of the past is far different than innovations.

  7. Well, of course, if you are unhappy with rubrical violations that don’t fit your taste, it is hypocritical to encourage violations that fit your taste.

    But I was surprised to find in our 1965 Missal that the revisers of the Dominican Rite in 1961 Romanized and dropped the Credo for St. Mary Magdalen, which had been our medieval practice since she, as St. Catherine of Siena often called her, was Apostola ad apostolos.

    So, I will not use the Creed on her day in obedience, just as I recite the Last Gospel, which was forced on us back in the 1600s. It would have been best if our Rite had been left alone.

    In fact, as some liturgists have supposedly said, the Roman Church should have adopted it, since it already had virtually all the simplifications and reforms called for by the Council Fathers (expect, of course an expended lectionary).

  8. Charles E Flynn says:

    The attack of 1955 is no more privileged than the later attacks in the 1960s. The unique position of St Mary Magdalene in the life of Christ deserves a unique position in the most reverent and historically-informed liturgy.

  9. Fr_Andrew says:

    If we decry the abuses of the Ordinary Form by celebrants making up their own liturgy and ignoring the books, then is it not just as much an abuse to ignore Summorum Pontificum and Universæ Ecclesiæ and use the pre-1962 books which are not approved for use?

    I understand that due to the abuses of some, the 1955 Holy Week was conceded to the FSSP ad experimentum, but that’s not license to do as we wish.

    It also smacks of the condemned antiquarianism from Mediator Dei to argue that because it used to be done, we should do it now.

    There may be a good argument, and I am sympathetic to such, for using the Creed for Doctors, et al., but it should go through the proper channels, and if done, at least be done contra legem but with the explicit approval of the authorities.

    In the present culture, I imagine such permissions would actually be fairly easy to obtain.

  10. JSPizzo says:

    absolutely agree. the question of should in theory is different than in practice

  11. richiedel says:

    I can imagine on some future weekday Low Mass on July 22, Father deciding to give a short homily wherein he mentions how the Creed will be recited shortly and giving the reasons why this would be appropriate to St. Mary Magdalene and her feast. A few people in the pews reach for their missals and upon looking in the back discover that it’s July 22 and/or the feast of Mary Magdalene, thereby enhancing even more the catechetical benefit of adding the Creed to this feast day.

  12. GIRM # 68 provides the justification for adding a Creed in the NO celebration on this feast. If we take that into account and load it into our epikaia machine, I think the end result is being able to include the Creed in the EF celebration also, under the heading of “mutual enrichment”.

  13. Legisperitus says:

    That 1955 date seems, at first glance, to have the baleful Bugnini influence written all over it. Still, I agree with Fr_Andrew… seek permission to restore the Creed to her feast day. It’s a minor thing compared to Holy Week.

  14. Argument Clinician says:

    In defense of the proposal: The rubrics of the Mass are a means to an end, namely, the end that the Mass be celebrated in accord with the orthodox faith and Christian piety. We obey the rubrics not just because they are there, but because they are the safeguards of piety and orthodoxy.

    Thus, a practice in accord with Catholic piety–which the creed for Mary Magdalen clearly is, having been used in virtually all the medieval uses and actually ADDED to the Missal of Pius V–should clearly be permitted. The reason we get upset with lax priests and demand that they follow the rubrics is that they have no piety of their own (or malformed piety), so that the Christian spirit must be supplied by the rubrically-defined practices of the Church, and false individualistic practices must be prohibited. But this doesn’t limit what honest, pious Catholics can do in the liturgy, in accord with tradition.

    Now, of course, the Church has the authority and the duty to restrict even pious practices within her ceremonies, for the sake of clarity of doctrine, etc. But this is not the reason that the creed was removed in 1955. Rather, that change was made due to a false anachronistic view of the Roman Rite–“It was not the ancient practice, so it must be gotten rid of.” No. This was a legitimate development, and it seems perfectly reasonable to reinstate its use. Should it go through official channels? Sure. Does it have to? No.

  15. JMody says:

    Hm, it would probably be best to be as obedient as possible. St Pius V’s bull DID say that those forms older than 200 years were allowed to be added. I would appeal to my bishop, the “conference”, and the Pope to allow the addition in light of the words of the sainted Pope.

  16. Fr_Andrew says:

    If I may, Clinician, the problem is not in the principle (“the rubrics are a means to an end”), but in the practical application of this.

    What you say is not incorrect, the rubrics are a means, but look at how easily that principle is applied to do as we choose with things far more significant than the Creed at a Mass.

    If I can choose to add a Creed or not because I judge that it’s a good pious practice, then why not add 3 prayers, or revert to the Breviary of Leo XIII, or even offer a Votive Mass of Our Lady on a Sunday because the people here “just love Our Lady” and it will be a great edification and support to Christian piety and the orthodox faith?

    Someone, namely the authority, has to be the judge, or we create chaos. I’m all for a little lío, but not the kind that such anarchy and personal decisions on how I say my Mass works.

    My Mass is not mine. I am merely the instrument of the Church and Christ Who offer it. I read my Mass from the Church’s official book, follow her dictates, as much as I might prefer something else. I hope by that fidelity that it never becomes “my” Mass, but always stays the public prayer of Our Holy Mother the Church.

  17. We were blessed to venerate a first class relic of St. Mary Magdalene after Mass Sunday evening.

  18. grumpyoldCatholic says:

    I voted yes Then I got curious and looked in my St Joseph Daily Missal Imprimatur 1950. It has the creed as part of the Mass on July 22. I am wondering why people use the 1962 Missal anyways ??

  19. Argument Clinician says:

    Fr_Andrew: Thank you for your reasonable reply. I agree with you that “piety” is not a good operational principle, precisely because it is too vague. Who gets to be the determinant of piety? Not the individual priest or congregation, but the Church, through her sacred pastors.

    My point is that piety should be the general guiding principle for liturgical practice, and that if things are done in accordance with the rubrics, piety is preserved. But the Creed for Mary Magdalen IS in conformity with the rubrics (up until the abrupt and inexplicable change of 1955). So it would not be out of line to restore it. Sometimes, the Church needs to “clean up” the divergent liturgical practices by explicitly forbidding some of them. This takes the form of a statement like, “The practice of singing hymns at holy Mass is forthwith forbidden, as it is not in keeping with the ancient practice of the Church in singing texts taken from the scriptures themselves.” But this never happened with the 1955 (and subsequent) reforms, so I do not see any problem with “undoing” them, even without explicit permission. (Whereas I would not be okay with the “restorations” or “personal pieties” of the other suggestions you listed, precisely because these things have been explicitly forbidden.)

    Now, if priests were to start saying the creed at the feasts of Mary Magdalen and Doctores Ecclesiae, and CDW were to issue an instruction telling them to stop, they would have to stop, of course. But sound liturgical development occurs through the modest adornments of personal and local piety, and as good practices spread, they are either confirmed or pruned.

    Finally, you are completely correct in saying that Mass should not be “my” Mass. It belongs to the Church, who is the divinely-appointed steward of the sacred Mysteries. But I didn’t think up the creed for Mary Magdalen on my own initiative. I got that from the Church.

  20. What Augustine Thompson O.P. said. The motu proprio is clear that the usage of 1962 (with certain indulgences permitted by the PCED) is the authoritative use.

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