Monday, November 10, 2008

Holy Days: Bishops defeated by Rome

A victory for those attending the Traditional Mass, and a moral victory also for all those who opposed the transfer of holydays to the nearest Sunday, one of the very first campaigns joined by this blog.

Not content with annoying practically everyone by not removing the obligation to go to Mass on Ascension, Corpus Christi, and Epiphany, the Bishops of England and Wales made it impossible even to keep the feasts voluntarily on the original days. They moved the feast to the nearest Sunday, interrupting the Sunday cycle, on the bizarre pretext of fostering the 'rhythm of the liturgical year' (pdf).

When they discovered that people were going to the Traditional Mass on the original days out of devotion to the feasts, they suddenly turned their attention to the 1962 calender - not on many bishops' bedside table - and asked Rome to confirm that their authority to wreck things extended to this as well. They refused to publish either the question they asked or the answer they received, but claimed it backed them up and published a revised 1962 liturgical calender showing the feasts on the Sundays.

Now, following further questions sent to Rome, it emerges that all they have been able to do is remove the obligation from attending the Mass on the original day. The 1962 calender is part of the 1962 Missal, and is guaranteed by the Pope's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. The feast can be celebrated on the Sunday, under the 1962 rules, but while this makes sense (given that attending the feast in the week is no longer obligatory), as Fr Tim Finnigan says it is not obligatory.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen