Monday, November 10, 2008
Vatican slaps down English bishops over holy days of obligation
The Vatican has stopped the Bishops of England and Wales from trying to force traditionalist Catholics to celebrate holy days of obligation – feasts such as the Ascension and Corpus Christi – according to the new calendar that the bishops imposed on the Church without consultation.
Basically, this is a slap in the face for vindictive liberals in the Bishops’ Conference who relished the idea of wrecking the calendar of the traditional (Tridentine) Missal. It’s a complicated story, so here’s today’s press release from the Latin Mass Society in full. Note that, with characteristic lack of transparency, the Conference had refused to release relevant details of its earlier correspondence with Rome:
Transferred Holydays of Obligation: an Important Clarification From the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
In April 2008, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales sought a ruling from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei aimed at harmonising [Which in itself is not such a bad idea where it can be handled appropriately. Forcing the TLM to shift from Ascension Thursday to a Sunday was NOT appropriate. It isn’t appropriate for the Novus Ordo either. But I have written about that elsewhere.] the celebration of certain Holy Days of Obligation in the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. The bishops had, in the case of the Epiphany, the Ascension and Corpus Christi, transferred these to specific Sundays and in the case of all other Holy Days of Obligation that are kept in England and Wales, with the exception of Christmas, transferred them also to specific Sundays, whenever they fall on a Saturday or a Monday. They wished to ensure that these Holy Days were also kept on Sundays by those attached to the Extraordinary Form.
Consequently, the Bishops’ Conference submitted a dubium [heh heh… don’t ask questions unless a) you really want to know the answer or b) you already know the answer.] to Rome but declined to release the full text or of Ecclesia Dei’s reply. The LMS therefore submitted its own dubium to Rome in July and a reply, dated 20 October, has now been received.
The reply from the Ecclesia Dei Commission confirms that the Mass and Office of Holy Days can continue to be said on the days prescribed in the calendar for the Extraordinary Form ["can"...but… "must"?] and that the right to use this calendar is intrinsic to the right to use the Extraordinary Form.
The LMS’s letter requested confirmation that:
I. the legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 decreed by the Sovereign Pontiff in Summorum Pontificum includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books.
II. That, whilst in accordance with Canon 1246 the Episcopal Conference with the approbation of the Holy See legitimately transfers Holydays of Obligation or suppresses the obligation of Holydays, it is legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.
III. That, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae generales Missalis romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday [A good solution.] to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.
Ecclesia Dei’s reply stated:
1. The legitimate use of the liturgical books in use in 1962 includes the right to the use of the calendar intrinsic to those liturgical books. [That settles it. Bishops cannot force TLM celebrates to not observe the old calendar.]
2. While in accordance with Canon 1246 §2 of the Code of Canon Law the Episcopal Conference can legitimately transfer Holydays of obligation with the approbation of the Holy See, it is also legitimate to celebrate the Mass and Office of those feasts on the days prescribed in the calendar of the liturgical books in use in 1962 with the clear understanding that, in accordance with the legitimate decision of the Episcopal Conference, there is no obligation to attend Mass on those days.
3. Thus, in accordance with nn. 356-361 of the Rubricae Generales Missalis Romani of 1962, it is appropriate to celebrate the external solemnity of Holy Days on the Sunday to which they have been transferred by the Episcopal Conference, as has been customary in many other countries hitherto.” [Pretty good, all in all.]
Ecclesia Dei’s reply is signed by its Vice-President, Mgr Camille Perl.
As a consequence of the Ecclesia Dei ruling, the Latin Mass Society will continue to organise Masses on the days prescribed in the 1962 calendar for Holy Days but will also, where appropriate, organise feast day Masses as External Solemnities on the Sundays prescribed by the English and Welsh bishops so that obedience and communion are maintained whilst respecting the sensibilities of those who wish to celebrate the feasts on the traditional days.
Mr Julian Chadwick, Chairman of the LMS, said: ‘This ruling is very important. It confirms that the calendar for the Extraordinary Form is integral to the rite [I don’t know that that is a proper conclusion from this response. It simply means that the old calendar can be used without interference.] and cannot be suppressed or altered by bishops’ conferences. It also confirms the right of those attached to the Extraordinary Form to continue to celebrate the traditional feast days. Of course, when we organise Masses on the Sundays prescribed by the bishops to celebrate transferred Holy Days we will organise external solemnities of the Holy Days to fulfill the bishops’ requirement that feast days in both Forms of the Roman Rite be celebrated in common’.
The full texts of the LMS’s dubium and the Ecclesia Dei reply can be seen on the LMS’s website: www.latin-mass-society.org
Posted by Deacon John Giglio Jr at 12:44 PM