30 March 2020




In happy yesteryear, the feasts of the Roman Calendar Year appeared in an intoxicating variety of  categories ... stretching from the lordly Doubles of the First Class (corresponding to Pop at Eton) all the way down to poor little Simples (fags). This diversity had not arisen out of a desire for Complexity in se, but to take account of practical distinctions which needed to be clarified. Twentieth century revisers made a bonfire of nearly all these distinctions (rather like the Jesuits in Oxford burning all their relics) when, on 26 July 1960, the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued the Decree Novum Rubricarum, establishing instead the classifications of First, Second, and Third Class feasts (with mere Commemorations available for some real celestial losers). (The eagle-eyed will have noticed that this had nothing to do with 'the Council', which had not then begun.)

                                                   THE NEW DECREE

But the need to make practical distinctions between levels of liturgical celebration tends to reassert itself. So, in the new 2020 CDF Decree about the Calendar of the 1962 Missal, a new category has been invented. We now have a List (Elenchus) of III Class feasts "which cannot be impeded". This specifies some seventy such feasts which are Protected from being displaced by new liberties conceded in the Decree.

There is another feature to this List: these Protected celebrations may, optionally, be used on ferias of Lent and Passiontide. So, if the CDF had not left the publication of this Decree until it was too late (Conspiracy? or Cock-up?), you could have said Mass of the Archangel S Gabriel on March 24. (But ... no; the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of our blessed Lady does not appear on the List.)

["I've got a little list ... I've got a little list ..." The provision that these Protected third class feasts could even displace Lenten and Passiontide Ferias, may possibly have been added at a late point in the drafting. I make this textcrit comment on the following evidence: in a Decree generally speaking free of howlers (I only noticed 'pubblici'), this sentence has two typos ... as if it had been added by an unlatinate typist on the instructions of somebody with dodgy handwriting ... "Dieta festa celebrari possunt etiam in feriis III classis Quadragesimae et Passionis, facta commemoratione ferire iuxta rubricas."]

Of course, the most interesting thing about this Decree is the addition to the Calendar of those canonised since 26 July 1960. What has been done? Are we all going to have to say Mass of ... e.g. ... S Paul VI? How soon? Can I say Votives of him too? Please please, tomorrow? The cloth of gold vestments ... hang on, chaps ... don't go wild ...

                                    ADDITIONS TO THE EF CALENDAR

 I think the CDF has been remarkably sensitive and pastoral. 100 marks out of 100. Because:
(1) It doesn't add any such Sancti to the EF Calendar at all.
(2) It permits such observances. And leaves it all to you!
(3) If you say such a Mass, you  may say the corresponding Office (or you may choose not to).
(4) If you do go down these paths, you are not allowed to use even the Collect authorised for the Ordinary Form. You have to stick to the Extraordinary Form Communia.
     [I think that in some ways (4) is a shame. I have been using the OF Collect for S John Henry Newman, simply changing presbyterum to confessorem. BUT there may very well be rational folks around who are prepared, even if grudgingly, to accept the proposition that "Saint X" really is in heaven, yet rather dislike the grounds alleged in his Collect for his liturgical commemoration. When the Not very nice Ordo was invented, the text of some of its its Collects was one of the cracks through which the virus of error seeped theough into liturgical life. So I sense here a deft and judicious piece of Social Distancing ... at least two yards of it  ... between the Spirit of the Roman Rite and the Spirit of Hannibal Bugnini.]

Good on yer, Cardinal Ladaria. Nice one.

So, Fathers, you will need to use the Communia. You can select which Common, where the Missal provides alternatives. (Incidentally, there is no mention of beati.) Just think: each of you can devise his own Supplementum of post-Conciliar Popes and Saints, and compose his own Decree authorising himself to use it!! What more could a faithful presbyter want!!! The CDF Decree instructs you to observe these Saints on the day provided legislatively for the Universal Church. And, of course, you must avoid the dates of feasts on the List.

                                          HOW MANY TO CHOOSE?                  

Wikipaedia helpfully indicates 238 canonisations as having occurred since the date in 1960 specified (111 of them by S John Paul II). If any keen researcher had the energy to work through the data, it would be interesting to know how many of those 238 reached the Universal Calendar (a) as optional memorials, or (b) as compulsory memorials. And then to know if any of these collided ('Occurrence') with the Protected Feasts on the new List.

My only criticism of Cardinal Ladaria is that he didn't save eventual time and hassle by providing a place on the Calendar ... and fullest, fullest, propers ... for Pope S Francis I. I could have helped him to compose them ....

                                                 REJOICE, REJOICE

Three concluding observations.
(1) The Decree carefully explains how widespread its consultations have been (did they include the SSPX?). The corresponding Decree promulgating the 'new' Prefaces makes no such claim.

(2) Despite some levity in my above comments, I applaud the emphasis on Subsidiarity in this legislation. It carries on the radical application of Subsidiarity (which so infuriated poor Cardinal Cormac and his cronies) in Summorum Pontificum. For fascisti episcopali, 'Subsidiarity' tends to be glossed to mean 'All Power To Bishops And Especially To Me'.

(3) The Decree twice quotes the De Servorum Dei Beatificatione et Beatorum Canonizatione. Since the learned and admirable Prospero Lambertini wrote his magnificent treatise before his election as Benedict XIV, it is interesting to see it referred to in the footnotes as by 'Benedict XIV'. And it is nice to know that it now has full Magisterial status!! I had better nip along and tell him. Oops ... I forgot ... Ashmole is closed because of ... quo confugiemus ...


Fr PJM said...

Canadian readers could also be humming "There's a little room on my list for tonight..." by Gordon Lightfoot.

vetusta ecclesia said...

New stuff must be ok to judge by the reaction in “certain quarters”.

Pastor in Monte said...

Presumably on an 'impeded' feast, one might at least make a commemoration (as permitted by the 1962 rubrics) of newly-canonised saints.

Ben of the Bayou said...

Father Hunwicke,

You write,"This specifies some seventy such feasts which are Protected from being displaced by new liberties conceded in the Decree." In your judgment,would it be correct to say that those feasts on the new list *must* be celebrated rather than the IIId class feria of Lent, since "impediri non possunt"?

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Ben: I think not, because the text says possunt, not debent. But I take your point.

RStevens said...

Does the decree allow the option of celebrating any post-1960 saint on the day assigned to them in the current Martyrology? Or does the decree only allow celebration of those post-1960 saints who have made it into the General Roman Calendar as memorials or optional memorials?

Ben of the Bayou said...

Bless me, Father. Yes, that is so. And yet, there is this phrase in the Decree, "Dies festi III classis qui his ordinationibus neque impediri neque omitti possunt enumerantur in sequenti tabella." The "neque omitti possunt" is what has me stumped. Even still, you are of the opinion that they are not obligatory in Lent?