Monday, 28 April 2008

On bishops, calendars, and b****s

Lest this be perceived as a bishop bashing blog, let me assure any readers that in principle I want to support our shepherds, so I promise to find a 'good' bishop story for tomorrow. However, one of my correspondents drew my attention to a story on Fr Z that really is important to traddies (wouldn't you like to join the blog Peter?).

It seems the UK bishops have obtained a ruling from the Ecclesia Dei Commission that requires the harmonisation of major feast days between the old and new calendars. The most problematic part of the ruling is this:

"Where the [holy day of] obligation has been removed and the Holyday transferred to the Sunday, the Epiphany of the Lord, the Ascension of the Lord and Corpus Christ, this is to be followed in both Ordinary and Extraordinary celebrations of Mass."

In other words, Ascension should no longer be celebrated on the Thursday but shifted to the Sunday instead. As Peter from Australia points out in the comments column:

"The (apparent) answer to this dubium is very disturbing.
However the fact that the Bishops of England & Wales (no less!!) proposed such a dubium is even more disturbing (‘utter bast****’ springs to mind). And surely PCED wouldn’t have engaged in ‘respecting of persons’ in crafting their response?

As a number of other commenters have expressed the view that it would be good to have some resolution of the differences between the calendars of the 2 forms of the Roman rite.

I agree, but surely this piecemeal approach, and starting with days where the LOCAL observance is NOT in keeping with the UNIVERSAL Roman calendar for CANONICAL HOLY DAYS (see the code), is a very poor one. If this was the genuine motivation for the dubium, then there are other aspects of the calendar they could have started with, such as accommodation of new saints made after 1962.

The PCED answer was perhaps predictable in light of the answer they gave on the transfer of St Joseph and St Patrick.

However I am cynical enough to think that this question was designed precisely to further marginalise, even hide, the OF by removing points where its celebration stood out, such as on the days in question. After all, it is on these days that those promoting the OF might be expected to publicise such celebrations to their OF coreligionists so they won’t hindered by perceived obligations to attend their own OF celebration (I do!).

From a number of things that have happened over the last year or so, it does seem to me that the standard approach by PCED IS piecemeal. Perhaps this has something to do with the nature of the commission – that they haven’t been delegated the necessary (any?) authority to do more than provide interpretations of the decree Ecclesia Dei adflicta and of Summorum Pontificum and assist with the implementation of their provisions (only).

Fr Z, I am surprised that you haven’t given some analysis of what you think the (apparent) response means. Perhaps you could give a view?
Australia has the same weak approach to Holy Days – in these difficult modern times in first world countries where people couldn’t possibly be expected to attend Mass on any other day than Sunday. In fact our bishops, presumably adopting the laconic ‘she’ll be right mate’ approach Australians are so famous for, have imposed only 2 days of obligation: Christmas and the Assumption."

There are a few more exchanges on the subject, so its well worth reading the debate here:

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