1 August 2023


An advantage in the the current Roman legislation regarding the "Extraordinary Form": it is currently legal, on August 1 to say Mass of the Maccabees.

This is very important. This celebration was the only relic on the Roman Calendar of the old principle that the History of God's People, "Old Testament" and "New Testament", is a continuum. There is no break. Abraham, as the Canon of the Mass insists on 363 days of the year, is our Patriarch; our great forefather. Lauds and Vespers both proclaim his importance in their 'Gospel Canticles'.

There is no theological reason against having "Old Testament" figures on a Catholic Calendar. The local Calendar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has them ... because, there, they are local Saints. One of the joys of helping out at Lanherne is that the old Carmelite Calendar provides "Old Testament" figures in large numbers. Then, of course, there are the Eastern Christian Calendars.

So why the dearth of "Old Testament" names in the Calendar of the Church of Rome? Because, in the earlier centuries, Church dedications so often related to relics (a reason why there are so few churches dedicated to our Lady from before the Council of Ephesus). And the relics of the Maccabees are, indeed, in Rome.

"But the Maccabees were not martyrs for Christ". But they were. They were martyrs for the Torah, and the Man from Nazareth was, is, the Wisdom and Word of God, which means, the Torah. "Christ now stands on the Mountain, he now takes the place of the Torah", as Rabbi Neusner interprets S Matthew. "Jesus understands himself as the Torah -- as the word of God in person ... [he claims to be the] Temple and Torah in person", comments Joseph Ratzinger. (I have emphasised before the importance of the middle volume of his Jesus of Nazareth, pages 103sqq, Ratzinger dialoguing at length with his friend Rabbi Jacob Neusner).

Witnessing to the Torah in those days before the Torah stood among us Incarnate, the Maccabees are His martyrs. Secondarily, of course, they are the perfect paradigms of the numberless martyrs of the early Christian centuries ... and of our own.

The confectors of the Novus Ordo frankly admitted that the Feast of the Maccabees is of extreme antiquity, and, indeed, universality. But they wanted to put S Alfonso on August 1, and they bound themselves by their own silly fetich not to have "Commemorations". So they left the Maccabees "to local calendars".

Oh yeah?

You might think, therefore that in the Novus Ordo local calendar "Pro clero almae urbis eiusque districtus, typis polyglottis Vaticanis MCMLXXIV" might have the Maccabees. Er ... No ...

You'd never guess whose name appears at the bottom of the Decree authorising this supplement. It begins with B.

I think it's time somebody raised a great cry: "The Novus Ordo is anti-semitic".

It deprives us of a vivid reminder of our glorious Jewish heritage.


Moritz Gruber said...

If only it wasn't the feast of St. Peter in Chains, both traditionally and as it is granted to the FSSP. And even for those who don't want to deviate from the law, the Commemoration of the Holy Maccabees Mm. does allow fourth-class votive Masses - so having a votive Mass of St. Peter seems rather logical, and of course you'd take the Mass of St.-Peter-in-Chains as such a votive, what else is there to take on such a day?

Coincidentally, that is why precisely today is the feast of the Holy Maccabees Mm. Their relics are venerated in the Roman Church of ... St. Peter in Chains.

Speaking of votive Masses, though... and dreaming of a world where today would be the feast of St. Peter in Chains in the whole Church... maybe there could be a more generous allowance to say a votive masses of the saint commemorated on a feast? Say, on feasts from major doubles downward?

But yes...: it is a great thing to have Old Testament Saints.

Atticus said...

I always think the Maccabees sound like a highland clan: "Sir Benjamin MacCabee, of that Ilk". Some of us indietrist converts (et in Caledonia ego) still commemorate today as Lammas Day, as per the 1929 Scottish Prayer Book Kalendar. "Say a Low Mass for Loaf Mass!", could be the battle cry. When Mrs Atticus was used to frequent "eastern stretch" classes, which usually concluded with an invitation to intone the word "Namaste" together, she would discreetly substitute "Lammas Day" to avoid any concomitant offense to God or disquiet to her fellow stretchers.