LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

At the risk of starting another agonised debate . . .

I have been wondering whether, post Summorum Pontificum and the re-establishment of the Extraordinary Form as an ‘ordinary’ part of the Church’s life, there isn’t at least some degree of argument in favour of a review of the Kalendar . . . in this case in favour of arriving at a single Kalendar for all forms.

It just seems to me that there’s little purpose, and no real merit, in having two different Kalendars for the two Forms. I’ve never quite got my head round the reasons why the changes were made so as to produce the ‘new’ version; and it seems to me that there might be merit, if one is going to review the whole question, in allowing people to say their piece about the options before a decision is made . . . but the crucial point is that I simply can’t see any merit at all in having two different – often only very slightly different – Kalendars which create particular difficulties for parishes and churches where both Forms are used on a regular basis.

The same, of course, might be said of the three pre-Lenten Sundays of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima : I express no opinion on the merit or otherwise of retaining them, restoring them, or abolishing them utterly : but I do think that there’s even less merit in having two completely separate approaches to the Holy Fast than whichever of those you personally detest most.

So : what do you think ? Can you explain why there need to be two different Kalendars ? What is the merit in having a situation where someone who regularly says the Office can quite easily find him/herself out of step with the Mass he hears on a given day because it is in the other Form to that of the office book used ?

Your thoughts will be welcomed.


  1. There definitely needs to be a review of the Calendar - sorry, I can't bring myself to spell it with a "K" - if only to accommodate some of the newer saints...

  2. I agree. It seems odd to say the Office in (say) the new form for the memoria of St X and then go to Mass at noon for the third class feast of St Y.

    Also, the LMS Ordo doesn't, as far as I can see, make any provision for saints who have been canonised since Vatican 2.

    Will priests in the UK who say the EF Mass this Saturday use the Common of Bishops (or whatever would be appropriate) for the feast 3rd cl of Bl John Henry Newman, or will the feast simply be omitted?

    (The Oratorians in Rome have already published the texts for the OF memoria of Bl JH Newman in both Latin and English on their website, so it would be perfectly possible to celebrate the feast in the EF combining elements of the OF Propers with the EF Common...).

    I know the Roman Rite and Eastern Rite calendars are different, but the EF and OF are two forms of the same rite, not different rites, so having different calendars seems a little eccentric.

  3. I can't be bothered trying to understand it at all, which is why it makes much more sense for me, to find someone who can, to tell me, what to do. And then just get on with it!!

  4. If just the OF calendar was used it would make the EF appear far more 'normal' and aid its integration in parish settings.

  5. Regardless of the merits of reforming a calendar, attempting to revise the Traditional calendar would provoke a Schism at the present time. Incorporating additional feasts would, I think, be acceptable; making some of the lesser known memorials optional might work. But moving major feasts, tampering with Septuagesima or Ember Days, or imposing 'Ordinary Time' - these would be enormously damaging, and might undo all of the good work begun by Summorum Pontificum.

  6. Perhaps a compromise could be reached -- moving Christ the King in the EF to the end of November, where I think it makes most sense, and perhaps some rearrangement of EF saints days to match the OF, while reintroducing some ancient treasures from EF, like the 'Gesimas and Ember Days in the Ordinary Form. Of course part of the problem with meshing the calendars is that the OF is based on a three year lectionary for "Ordinary Time". I am one who likes the increased scriptural readings in the OF, so I would be loath to give up the three year lectionary, but perhaps some clever compromises could be made to keep the riches of the new lectionary while having some of the greater yearly familiarity and simplicity of the readings in the EF.