I was very surprised this morning to discover that the regular TLM being celebrated by the pastor was that of the Epiphany rather than the Holy Name. I am not aware of any legal provision for such an “external solemnity.” He referred to his decision to celebrate Epiphany rather than Holy Name in his sermon so it was not an oversight. What say you?
Ah, “external solemnity”, my old nemesis. We meet again.
Yes, in the traditional Roman Rite it is possible to celebrate “externally”, that is “external” to the true date, great feasts, namely, on the nearby Sunday. This should not be an observance instead of the true day. The feast is still to be celebrated on the actual day. However, on a Sunday the Mass formulary – but not the Office – of nearby feast can be used.
The 1962 Rubric, provides for this in 356-361, especially 358 and 359.
The SSPX describes this HERE:
On the Sunday after some Feasts, the feast may be solemnized in a special way with a votive Mass celebrated (the Office remains of the day); this is called an external solemnity. They are permitted but not required. The Sunday is commemorated in the Mass of the External Solemnity unless the solemnity is of a feast of Our Lord.
In the USA, the following feasts may have an external solemnity on the following Sunday: Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart, and Sts. Peter and Paul. The rubrics allow for an external solemnity on the Sunday either preceding or following these feasts: that of the primary patron of the territory/diocese, that of the primary patron of the institute to which the church belongs (e.g., St. Pius X), and that of the titular of the church. In addition, the Mass of October 7, feast of the Holy Rosary, may be celebrated as an external solemnity on the first Sunday of October (only).
In the case of today, Holy Name, Epiphany has a higher liturgical rank. So, you could have the external celebration today, Sunday.
One could argue – could – that if a Bishops Conference has transferred a feast to a Sunday (which one should argue – should – is a bad idea) then there is an additional justification (to hide behind) for the “external celebration” of feast like Epiphany to Sunday, the Feast of the Most Holy Name. Of course one should then observe Epiphany on 6 January.
So, in the Novus Ordo the Bishops can transfer a feast. In the traditional Roman Rite there may be an observance of a feast on a nearby Sunday, while preserving the true feast day.
Therefore, oh boy, I’m really behind this permitted “external solemnity” thing!