At The Catholic Thing, John M. Grodelski makes an obvious but NOT thereby less valuable point. Let’s see.
January 1, 2022 was a Saturday. January 1, 2023 is a Sunday. January 1, 2024 is a Monday.
Only one of those January 1’s will be a holy day of obligation – 2023 – and that’s only because it falls on Sunday.
The mishmash is a result of the “Complementary Norm” adopted by the United States Catholic Conference back in 1991 which abrogated the obligation for the holy days of January 1, August 15, and November 1 if they fell on a Saturday or a Monday.
The logic behind the decision seems to be that, if a feast abuts a Sunday, one would have the obligation to attend two Masses. Apparently, the bishops find that excessive, though it’s not clear for whom: the laity or the diminished numbers of clergy in many American dioceses?
Furthermore, with the post-1969 “vigilization” of Sundays and holy days (Mass being offered the evening before the day itself), there would be liturgical confusion, e.g., is 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday, January 1, 2022 still the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God or anticipating the Solemnity of the Epiphany (which itself has been transferred from January 6 to a Sunday)?
We live in an increasingly secular society. God is not so much the “enemy” (unless you actually start living like a Catholic in public) as much as irrelevant. Stripping away the religious dimension of January 1 only advances that secularization.
The bishops have only succeeded in telegraphing to people is that being a Catholic isn’t all that important, not important enough to do anything about.
Some action items come to mind.
- Restore obligations: Holy Days, longer Eucharistic fast, Friday penance
- Diminish Saturday vigil Masses
- Phase out Communion in the hand
- Sideline Traditionis custodes, etc.
- Return to ad orientem worship.
- Multiply devotions: novenas, processions, Forty Hours
- Overhaul music: repertoire and get choirs out of view
- Return to traditional confessionals
- Require silence before and after Mass
- ¡Hagan lío!