Saturday 2 September 2017

Holy Days of Obligation

Well, someone in the Bishops' Conference must have introduced a sensible thought for this to have happened. Finally, the holy days of obligation that are intimately connected, in the Scriptures and in Tradition, with liturgical time have been restored to their rightful place. Ascension Thursday and the Epiphany will once again be celebrated here in England and Wales on a day that common sense tells us they ought to be kept on.

Of course, the matter now is how seriously this will be taken. It is rather difficult to put the spilt milk back in the bottle. After all, how are the people in the pew - and indeed us priests - able to explain how it was sinful to miss Mass on those days, then for a few years it wasn't, and now it is again?

A reminder that we fiddle with our liturgical traditions at our peril. Wheels and the re-inventing thereof come to mind.

Here is the text of the Decree.


To His Eminence, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, having taken into consideration the letter received on 21st February 2017, by virtue of the faculty attributed to this Congregation by the Supreme Pontiff FRANCIS, we willingly grant that in future, in the calendar specific to the same Conference, the celebration of the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord will be celebrated on its particular day, namely, forty days after Easter; the celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord on its particular day, namely, 6th January. When the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord falls on a Saturday, it is to be assigned to the Sunday following; when on a Monday, to the Sunday preceding. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,
4th August 2017, on the feast of St John Mary Vianney, presbyter.

Robert Card. Sarah Prefect

+Arthur Roche Archbishop Secretary


David O'Neill said...

Great news, let us hope it is the return of good sense. For too long the Church has 'dumbed down' such feats I imagine in the hope that more laity might attend. How could they tell as those going on a Sunday would, presumably, have attended Sunday Mass anyway.

Unknown said...

At last!! Let us get back to some normality and start teaching the younger people what Holy Days of Obligation mean and how many there are in a year. Info for head teachers and their school diaries.

Simon Platt said...

What's your opinion, Father, of this business of transferring holy days from Saturdays and Mondays to the adjacent Sunday? I think it's hard to justify and I wish they wouldn't do it.

Fr Simon Henry said...

Not keen but I'm afraid that many people simply won't come to Mass two days on the run. I do think that the days tied to time - Epiphany and Ascension - really should be kept on the days they celebrate. I wonder if Christmas will be next? After all, we COULD move it tot he nearest Sunday - for the convenience of all...

Simon Platt said...

Thanks, Father. Perhaps you're right. It's a shame.

I am reminded of reports of churches, in America, I think, who cancelled Sunday services on 25 December because people would be too busy, it being Christmas.