25 March 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 26 March

The Easter Indulgence is announced

+ 26 PASSION SUNDAY, semidouble. Second prayers for the Church or Pope. Violet.

Hexham and Newcastle The Octave is not commemorated.

Plymouth Vespers of the Five Holy Wounds with commemoration of Passion Sunday. Red.

27 Monday Feria. Violet

Hexham and Newcastle Octave of St Cuthbert Confessor Bishop, double. Creed. White

Plymouth The Five Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ, greater double. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red.

28 Tuesday Feria. Violet

29 Wednesday Feria. Violet

30 Thursday Feria. Violet

31 Friday The Seven Dolours of the BVM, greater double. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence.

1 Saturday Mass of the Saturday. Violet

Clifton, Menevia-Newport, Plymouth Principal Mass is Votive Mass of Our Lady on Saturday (even if offered for grave matters), Gloria, one prayer, Creed; followed by Litany of the BVM, and if possible Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. White.

18 March 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 19 March

 The Feastday of Devotion of the Assumption is to be announced

+ 19 SUNDAY Fourth of Lent, Violet. Vespers of the Sunday. First Vespers of St Cuthbert, commemoration of the Sunday. White.

Liverpool, Plenary Indulgence

Southwark, Plenary Indulgence for eight days for St Joseph.

20 Monday St Cuthbert, Bishop Confessor, double. White.

Hexham and Newcastle, Patron, double of first class with an Octave (even though in Lent). Creed. Plenary Indulgence. In County Durham Missa pro Populo.

21 Tuesday St Benedict, Abbot Confessor, double. White.

22 Wednesday St Joseph, Spouse of the BVM, double of the second class (transferred from 19 March). White.

Hexham and Newcastle Creed said in Mass.

Plymouth St Edward, King Martyr (transferred from 18 March), double. Red.

23 Thursday The Five Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ, greater double. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red.

Plymouth St Joseph, Spouse of the BVM, double of the second class (transferred from 19 March). White.

24 Friday Plenary Indulgence. The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Creed, Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence.

25 Saturday (Feast of Devotion) The Annunciation of the BVM, double of the second class. Creed. Preface of the BVM. Plenary Indulgence. White.

‡ At solemn Mass when Et incarnatus is sung in the Creed, the Celebrant and Ministers genuflect.

‡ The Suffrages of the Saints are not said until 8 July.

‡ Before Vespers Crucifixes and images should be covered in purple veils.

11 March 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 12 March


+ 12 SUNDAY, third of Lent, semidouble. Violet. Plenary Indulgence (for the feast of St Gregory). Vespers of the feast of St Gregory with commemoration of the Sunday. White.

13 Monday St Gregory the Great, Pope Confessor Doctor, Apostle of England, double of the second class (transferred from 12 March). Creed. White.

Birmingham, St Frances of Rome, double (transferred from 9 March). White. 

St David’s and Newport, St Felix, double (transferred from 9 March). White.

14 Tuesday The Forty Martyrs, semidouble (transferred from 10 March). Third prayers A cunctis. Red.

Birmingham, and St David’s and Newport St Gregory the Great, Pope Confessor Doctor, Apostle of England, double of the second class (transferred from 12 March). Creed. White.

15 Wednesday Feria. Violet.

Birmingham, and St David’s and Newport The Forty Martyrs, semidouble (transferred from 10 March). Third prayers A cunctis. Red.

16 Thursday Feria. Violet.

17 Friday St Patrick Confessor Bishop, greater double. White. Plenary Indulgence.

18 Saturday St Gabriel Archangel, greater double. Creed. White.

04 March 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 5 March


+ 5 SUNDAY, second of Lent, semidouble. Violet.

Liverpool and Northampton Collection for the establishment of the Clergy

The Indulgence ends

6 Monday, Feria. Violet.

7 Tuesday St Thomas of Aquinas, Confessor Doctor, double. Creed. White.

8 Ember-Wednesday St Felix, Bishop Confessor, double. White.

St David’s and Newport, Feria. Violet.

Northampton Plenary Indulgence for eight days.

9 Thursday St Frances of Rome, Widow, double. White.

Birmingham Feria. Violet.

10 Ember-Friday The Holy Winding Sheet of Our Lord Jesus Christ, greater double. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence.

11 Ember-Saturday St John of God, double (transferred from 8 March). White.


26 February 2023

The Lenten Fast

I blogged the rules for the Lenten Fast a couple of weeks ago. Fasting used to be a larger part of Catholic life than it is today. The understanding of fasting as penitential was somehow transformed into its being something onerous after the Second World War, and both fasting and abstinence have been transformed into something (it seems to me) largely symbolic.

The Law of Fasting was applied to the Universal Church from at least the end of the sixth century until 1966, although various dispensations had reduced its breadth considerably. In the mid 1880s, the Bishops of England and Wales issued an instruction regarding the rules: it stated the Law of Fasting, and explained the relaxations then in place. I have added below two of the requests made to Rome to allow the English Bishops to make dispensations to show what considerations were in play.

This is pretty long but, I think worthwhile.

The following Instruction has been issued by the Bishops.


The following instruction of the Cardinal Archbishop and the Bishops of England has been addressed to the Clergy; and is to be kept in the Archives of each mission.

I. THE LAW OF FASTING, when there is no relaxation, is as follows: -

1. All persons who are seven years of age are commanded to abstain from meat on all fasting days; and from meat, eggs, milk, butter, and cheese, on all the days of Lent, Sundays included.

2. Those who are twenty-one, and have not yet reached their sixtieth year, and are not occupied in laborious work, besides abstaining as above, are commanded also to restrict themselves on fasting-days to one full meal a day, to be taken at any hour after midday. Besides the one full meal, however, a collation of not more than about eight ounces weight of food (S. Alph., Lib. 4, Tract 6, n. 1026) is permitted, which should also be taken any hour after mid-day. Meat or eggs may never be taken at collation; and of fish not more than two or three ounces (S. Alph., ibid., n. 1028). Milk, butter, and cheese are also excluded, when not specially allowed by Indult.


1. A refection, of not more than two ounces in weight, is allowed by custom, in the morning, to those who fast.

2. The use of milk and butter is allowed in England, by custom, on all days in the year, at all times when a full meal is permitted by the general law.


1. By the authority of the Holy See, the Bishops of England are accustomed to renew every year the following permissions, granted to the faithful generally for the time of Lent.

i. They allow, at any time when a full meal is permitted by the general law :—

Meat on all days except Wednesdays and Fridays, Ember Saturdays, and the last four days of Holy Week. But when meat is taken, on any day in Lent, or any fasting-day throughout the year, fish is not permitted at the same meal.

Eggs on all days except Ash Wednesday and the last three days of Holy Week.

Cheese on all days except Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Dripping and lard (not suet) on all days except Good Friday.

ii. They allow at collation, to those who fast :

Milk, butter, and cheese, on all days except Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Dripping and lard (not suet) on all days except Good Friday.

All these kinds of food may be taken in small quantities only, as a part of the collation and by way of condiment. Milk, in the Papal Rescript, is classed as food: and, therefore, like the other condiments, it may be taken only in small quantity. (Note: The Papal Rescript permits "in collatiuncula esum butyri, casei, et lactis juxta preces;" and the prayer was "to use at collation, as an addition to the bread, or as condiment, a little butter, or cheese.")

2. Besides the permissions of the Lenten Indults, the use of dripping and lard at dinner and collation—and of milk, butter and cheese at collation—is permitted by the Holy See on all other fasting-days throughout the year. 

Here are two of the requests for dispensation. (I have copied an explanation of the Formulæ at the end.)



1.            In Formula 2 , which is sent to the bishops of England, power is given "to dispense, when they think fit, as to abstinence from meat, eggs, and things of a milky nature, on fasting days and during Lent". Now the Bishops, considering that oil is not a product of England, and hence cannot be used as a condiment, have, by virtue of this faculty, permitted the use of lard and of that melted fat (dripping) which, in England, is used for lard, in its stead. Seeing that its use was allowed in Lent, the faithful have for some years and in good faith been using it on abstinence days out of Lent.

The Fathers, therefore, of the Third Provincial Synod, humbly begged that your Holiness will deign, in your compassion for the wretchedness of the poor, and in consideration of the devotion with which they want to keep the laws of abstinence as well as of their good faith, to sanction the practice already commenced, and confirm the temporary Indult of the bishops who have the Formula, in such a way that for the future use may be made of the said substances, that is, lard and dripping, as well in Lent is on the other fasting and abstinence days of the year.

2.            For the same cause, namely, the want of oil, and because fish is scarce in many places, and other kinds of Lenten diet, such as fruit, salad, &c., cannot be had during the season of Lent, and inasmuch as a variety in the kinds of food allowed in Lent renders the observance of the fast more easy, they likewise beg that your Holiness will be pleased to grant that in the collation which is allowed amongst the strictly conscientious of the faithful, use may be made of milk and butter, the which are already allowed in Scotland and in Belgium, and other northern parts, as well as of cheese which is one of the principal condiments amongst the poor.

Wednesday, May 9, 1860.

Our Most Holy Lord, by divine providence, Pope Pius IX, at the accustomed audience, granted to the Reverend Father, the Assessor of the Holy Office, having heard the above-mentioned petition, together with the opinions of their most Eminent and Reverend Lordships, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, acting as Inquisitors General throughout the whole Christian republic against the evils of heresy, as regards the first of the requests contained in the above-mentioned petition, graciously yielded thereto as asked for, with the exception of Good Friday, so long as the faculties granted in Formula 2 to the petitioning Bishops are in vigour. Whatsoever things to the contrary, notwithstanding. As to the second request, our Most Holy Father commanded the reply to be given that it is non-expedient.

Angelo Argenti, Notary of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.



As Lent is drawing near and the Bishop of Clifton is in Rome, he begs respectfully to lay before you in the name of the other Bishops, that in England it is found necessary to dispense many persons from fasting by reason of their inability to provide themselves with the food allowed for the evening collation which is permitted by the Church to those who fast over and above the chief meal. It would not be necessary to dispense such persons from fasting if they could avail themselves of the permission which the Church gives to take a slight meal in the evening. But (1), oil, vinegar, salad, fruit, and such like things which are allowed as condiments, cannot be obtained in England except at a price beyond the means of the common people. (2), From the very fact that these kinds of food and condiment are not within the reach of the people, it follows that they do not make use of them and hence cannot get into the custom of eating them. (3), A great number of these persons live with Protestants either in service or otherwise, and they, although not refusing to give them meagre diet, on the days prescribed, are of course unwilling to procure them victuals and condiments which are not commonly used by the people. Hence confessors have no other resource than to dispense such persons altogether from fasting.

It is now asked if, instead of dispensing them from fasting, it would be lawful for confessors to keep them bound to the fact, but to tolerate the use of a little butter or cheese at the said collation by way of condiment, for these form the ordinary condiment or accompaniment of the people of England and other northern countries. Such permission exists in Scotland, Holland, Belgium and the northern parts of France, countries adjacent to England; and if it existed in England also, the number of those who fast, which is ever on the decrease, would be greatly augmented.

Wednesday, March 18th, 1880.

Our Most Holy Lord, by Divine Providence, Pope Leo XIII, at the usual audience granted to the Reverend Father, the Assessor of the Holy Office, having heard the above petition and the opinions thereupon of the Most Eminent and Reverend the Cardinals Inquisitor-General, graciously granted that the Right Reverend Petitioners might permit the use of butter, cheese, and milk on fasting days at collation in accordance with the petition, provided that in other respects the fast be kept — Ash Wednesday and Good Friday excepted. All things whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding.

J. PELAMI, Notary of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition.



The Bishop of Salford humbly begs that your Most Eminent Reverence will deign to declare whether those who are dispensed from the laws of fasting by reason of ill health can eat meat more than once on days when meat is allowed?

The Sacred Penitentiary, having maturely and carefully considered the doubt raised, has decided that the answer should be, that the faithful who are lawfully exempted from the law of fasting, that is, taking only one meal, may eat meat at every meal on those days in Lent when the eating of meat is granted by Indult.

Given at Rome, at the Sacred Penitentiary, March 16th, 1882.


Hip. Canûs. Palombi, S.P., Secretary.

The Formulæ are explained in a dosument from a diocesan Synod.

"It may be useful to mention, that the special powers over cases reserved by the Holy See, which are ordinarily granted to Bishops, are described in various lists, varying in the extent of the faculties given or in the conditions attached to them. These lists are called the Formulæ, and they are ten in number. Usually, the bishops in Ireland receive the Sixth Formula, and the bishops in England the Second; and according to the circumstances of each country, other Formulæ are granted. The expressions employed in them are sometimes transferred to the papal concessions in pari materia, e.g., to a Bull granting a matrimonial dispensation; and hence you may have noticed that moral theologians, in discussing the clauses occurring in dispensations, generally quote the very same expressions as descriptive of such clauses.

In addition to these Formulæ, which are sometimes called in Italian Ordinarie, because they are generally given, or Stampate, because they are in print, the Holy See grants other Extraordinary faculties to Bishops.

Sede Vacante, the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda can renew the Formulæ, but (generally speaking), not the Extraordinary Faculties. The Formulæ are usually granted for six years, and thus the Vicars Apostolic of England, named in 1840, applied for a renewal of Formula II during the Conclave of 1846." 

Source: Synods of Southwark, page 82.

25 February 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 26 February

 The Indulgence begins.

Proclamation of the Lenten Fast. In Liverpool and Northampton announcement of next Sunday's collection.

+ 26 SUNDAY, first of Lent, semidouble. Violet. Vespers of the the Holy Crown of Thorns, with commemoration of the Sunday. Red.

Salford: Collection for the establishment of the Clergy

27 Monday, The Holy Crown of Thorns of Our Lord Jesus Christ, greater double. Commemoration of the Feria, Creed, Preface of the Cross. Red.

28 Tuesday, Feria. Violet.

March has 31 days

1 Ember Wednesday, St David, Confessor Bishop, double. White.

St David’s and Newport, Patron of Wales, double of the first class (without Octave this year)

2 Thursday, St Chad, Confessor Bishop, double. White.

Beverley. Plenary Indulgence

Birmingham. St Chad, Confessor Bishop, Patron of the Cathedral, double of the first class (without Octave this year). White.

3 Ember Friday, The Lance and Nails of Our Lord Jesus Christ, greater double. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence.

4 Ember Saturday, St Casimir, Confessor, semidouble. White.

18 February 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for the Week Beginning 19 February


The Lenten Fast, the Feast of Devotion of St Matthias, the Plenary Indulgence of the Crown of Thorns, and Easter Duties are to be announced, and in Salford next Sunday's collection

+ 19 QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers free. Violet. Vespers of Quinquagesima Sunday.

Westminster and Southwark collection for the Orphanages.

20 Monday Feria. Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday (omitting Tract and Creed). Second prayers Fidelium. Third prayers A Cunctis. Violet.

21 Tuesday Feria. Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday (omitting Tract and Creed). Violet.

No Nuptial Solemnities may be celebrated until 17 April

22 Ash-Wednesday Feria. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers Omnipotens. Preface of Lent (until Passion Sunday, except when otherwise directed). Violet. FAST.

  The Fast of Lent is to be continued till Easter on all days except Sundays, on which Abstinence is to be observed, unless Dispensation be granted. On fasting days all flesh meat is forbidden, and only one meal and a collation are allowed to those who are bound to fast. On Sundays of Lent unless dispensation be given by the Bishop flesh meat is forbidden.

The following are the usual Dispensations for Lent granted each year by the Bishops of England for their respective Dioceses, by the Authority of the Holy See.

1. Flesh-meat is allowed at the single meal of those who are bound to fast, and at the discretion of those who are not so bound, on all days except Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and Ember-Saturday, and the four last days in Holy-Week. On Sundays, even those who are bound to fast may eat flesh-meat at their discretion.

2. Eggs are allowed at the single meal of those who are bound to fast, and at the discretion of those who are not so bound, on all days except Ash-Wednesday and the three last days of Holy-Week.

3. Cheese, under the same restrictions, is allowed on all days, except Ash-Wednesday and Good-Friday.

4. The use of dripping and lard is permitted at dinner and collation on all days, except Good-Friday.

On those days, Sundays included, whereon flesh-meat is allowed, fish is not permitted at the same meal.

‡ The time for complying with the obligation of Paschal Communion commences on Ash-Wednesday, and continues till Low Sunday inclusively.

23 Thursday Vigil St Peter Damian, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double. Second prayers of the Feria and Last Gospel of the Vigil, Creed. White.

24 Friday (Feast of Devotion) St MATHAIAS, Apostle, double of the second class. Creed, Preface of the Apostles. Red. Plenary Indulgence for the feast of the Crown of Thorns of Our Lord. Abstinence.

25 Saturday St Peter’s Chair at Antioch, greater double (transferred from 22 February). Second prayers of St Paul, Apostle, Creed, Preface of the Apostles. White.

11 February 2023

Pres-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 12 February

In Westminster and Southwark next Sunday's collection for the Orphanages is announced. 

12 SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers free for the priest to choose. Violet. Vespers of Sexagesima Sunday, commemoration of Sts Vincent and Anastasius.

Westminster Vespers of Sts Vincent and Anastasius with commemoration of Sexagesima Sunday.

13 Monday Sts Vincent and Anastasius, Martyrs, semidouble, (transferred from 22 January). Second prayers A cunctis. Third prayers free. Red.

Westminster St Scholastica, Virgin, double (transferred from 10 February). White.

14 Tuesday St Valentine, Martyr, simple. Second prayers Fidelium, third prayers A cunctis. Red.

Westminster Sts Vincent and Anastasius, Martyrs (transferred from 22 January). Commemoration of St Valentine. Third prayers A cunctis. Red

15 Wednesday SS Faustin and Jovita Martyrs, simple. Second prayers A cunctis, third prayers free. Red.

Westminster Second prayers Fidelium, third prayers A Cunctis.

16 Thursday Of the Blessed Sacrament, semidouble. Second prayers A cunctis, third prayers free. Preface of Christmas. White.

17 Friday The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, greater double. Votive Mass of the Passion, Gloria, proper prayers, Creed, Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence. Abstinence.

18 Saturday Of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, semidouble. Second prayers of St Simeon, Bishop Martyr, third prayers Deus qui corda, Preface of the BVM. White.


04 February 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 5 February


5 SUNDAY SEPTUAGESIMA. Second prayers A cunctis, third prayers free. Violet. Vespers of St Titus with commemoration of Septuagesima and St Dorothy Virgin Martyr. White.

6 Monday St Titus, Bishop Confessor, double. Second prayers of St Dorothy, Virgin Martyr. White.

7 Tuesday St Romuald, Abbot Confessor, double. White.

8 Wednesday St John of Matha, Confessor, double. White.

9 Thursday St Agatha, Virgin Martyr, double (transferred from 5 February). Red

Westminster: The XXVI Martyrs of Japan, double. Red

10 Friday The Prayers of Our Lord Jesus Christ, greater double, Creed, Preface of the Cross. Red. Abstinence.

11 Saturday St Scholastica, Virgin, double (transferred from 10 February). White.

Westminster St Agatha, Virgin Martyr, double (transferred from 5 February). Red

29 January 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 29 January

The Feast of Devotion of the Purification is announced

29 SUNDAY Fourth after Epiphany, St Francis de Sales, double. Second prayers and last Gospel of the Sunday. White. Second Vespers of St Francis to the Little Chapter, thence of St Martina, with commemorations of St Francis and the Sunday. Red.

30 Monday St Martina, Virgin Martyr, double. Red.

31 Tuesday St Peter Nolasco, Confessor, double. White.

FEBRUARY has 28 days

1 Wednesday St Ignatius, Bishop Martyr, double. Red.

2 Thursday (FEASTDAY OF DEVOTION) THE PURIFICATION OF THE BVM, double of the second class, Creed, Preface of Christmas. White. Plenary Indulgence.

Before Mass the Candles are blessed and there is a procession. The celebrant wears a violet cope, and the sacred ministers wear folded chasubles without maniples.

After Compline, Ave Maria until Maundy Thursday

3 Friday St Paul, First Hermit, double (transferred from 15 January). Second prayers of St Blaise Bishop Martyr. White. Abstinence.

4 Saturday St Andrew Corsini, Bishop Confessor, double. White.

On all Sundays from now until Easter the Gloria is not said and the Alleluia is replaced by the Tract, even on the feasts of Saints.

21 January 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Begining 22 January 2023

22 SUNDAY Third after Epiphany, semidouble, second prayers of the BVM, third prayers for the Church or the Pope. Green. First Vespers of the Espousals of the BVM, commemoration of the Sunday and of St Emerentiana, Virgin Martyr. White.

23 Monday The Espousals of the BVM, greater double. Second prayers of St Emerentiana, Virgin Martyr, Third prayers of St Joseph, Creed, Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence.

24 Tuesday St Timothy, Bishop Martyr, double. Red.

25 Wednesday The Conversion of St Paul, Apostle, greater double. Second prayers of St Peter, Creed, Preface of the Apostles.  White.

In the Diocese of Liverpool, third prayers (Collect, Secret and Communion) from the Mass Deum Omnium on the anniversary of the succession of the Bishop.

26 Thursday St Polycarp, Bishop Martyr, double. Red.

27 Friday St John Chrysostom, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double. Creed. White. Abstinence.

28 Saturday St Raymund of Pennafort, Confessor, semidouble (transferred from 23 January). Second prayers of St Agnes, Virgin Martyr, third prayers of the BVM. White.



14 January 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 15 January 2023


15 SUNDAY Second after Epiphany. The MOST HOLY NAME OF JESUS, double of the second class.  Second prayers and last Gospel of the Sunday, third prayers of St Maur, Abbot. Preface of Christmas. White. Second Vespers of the Feast, commemoration of the Sunday and of St Marcellus. Plenary Indulgence.

16 Monday St Marcellus, Pope Martyr, semidouble.  Second prayers of the BVM, third prayers for the Church or the Pope. Red.

From today until first Vespers of Passion Sunday the Suffrages of the Saints are said at lauds and Vespers when appropriate (see Latin below for details.) St George is commemorated as patron, except for the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, where St Cuthbert is the patron, and the dioceses of Northampton and Plymouth, in which St Thomas and St Boniface (respectively) are commemorated before St George.

17 Tuesday St Anthony, Abbot Confessor, double. White.

18 Wednesday St Peter's Chair at Rome, greater double. Second prayers of St Paul, Apostle, Creed, Preface of the Apostles. White.

19 Thursday St Wolstan, Bishop Confessor, double. Second prayers of SS Marius and Companions, Martyrs. White.

20 Friday SS Fabian and Sebastian, Martyrs, double. Red. Abstinence.

21 Saturday St Agnes, Virgin Martyr, double. Red.

07 January 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 8 January 2023


8 SUNDAY within the Octave, and 1st after Epiphany, semidouble, second prayer of the Octave. White. Vespers of the Sunday, commemoration of the Octave.

9 Monday Third day in the Octave, semidouble, second prayers of the BVM, third prayers for the Church or the Pope. White. No Votive Masses or Masses for the Dead.

10 Tuesday Fourth day in the Octave, semidouble, second prayers of the BVM, third prayers for the Church or the Pope. White. No Votive Masses or Masses for the Dead.

11 Wednesday Fifth day in the Octave, semidouble, second prayers of St Hyginus, Pope Martyr, third prayers of the BVM. White. No Votive Masses or Masses for the Dead.

12 Thursday Sixth day in the Octave, semidouble, second prayers of the BVM, third prayers for the Church or the Pope. White. No Votive Masses or Masses for the Dead.

13 Friday Octave of the Epiphany, double, Creed. White. Abstinence.

14 Saturday St Hilary, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double, second prayer of St Felix, Martyr. Creed. White.

01 January 2023

Pre-1910 Calendar for Week Beginning 1 January 2023

JANUARY has 31 days

Announcement of the of Feast of the Epiphany

In London and Liverpool parishes and in the Dioceses of Beverley and Southwark notifications to be announced are found in the diocesan Ordo.

1 SUNDAY (Vacant) CIRCUMCISION OF OUR LORD double of the second class. Creed (till the Octave of the Epiphany inclusively); Preface of Christmas (till the Epiphany). White. Second Vespers of the Feast, commemoration of the Octave of St Stephen only.

NB Plenary Indulgence from the First Vespers till sunset of the Feast; and thus on all Feasts of OUR LORD and the BVM.

Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence on the first and second Sundays of each month.

Liverpool Plenary Indulgence on all Sundays.

2 Monday Octave of St Stephen, Proto-Martyr, double. Commemoration of Octaves of St Thomas, St John and Holy Innocents. Creed and Preface of the Nativity but not its Communicantes. Red.

3 Tuesday. Octave of St John, Apostle and Evangelist, double. Commemoration of Octaves of St Thomas and Holy Innocents. Creed, Preface of the Apostles. White.

4 Wednesday. Octave of the Holy Innocents, double. Commemoration of the Octave of St Thomas. Gloria, Creed, Preface of Christmas. Red.

5 ThursdayVigil. Octave of St Thomas Bishop Martyr, double. Commemoration of Vigil of the Epiphany and St Telesphorus; last Gospel of Vigil. Creed, Preface of Christmas. Red.

6 Friday EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD, double of the first class, with an Octave, during which the Preface of the Epiphany is said. Creed, proper Communicantes. White. Second Vespers of the Feast. Plenary Indulgence. Abstinence.

The Indulgence ends.

7 Saturday. Second day in the Octave, semidouble; second prayers of the BVM (Deus qui salutis), third prayers for the Church or the Pope, Creed. White. No Votive Masses or Masses for the Dead.

CliftonSt David's and Newport, and Plymouth, after principal Mass Litany of the BVM, and, if possible, Exposition and Benediction. White.

‡ From today Solemn Nuptials may be celebrated.


Promulga festum.

In Civitat Londin et Liverp et in DD Beverl at Suthwarc promulga Notif in calce Ord.

+ 1. DOM (vacat). INDULG PLEN. CIRCUMCISIO DNJC, dup 2 cl ; ° ut in Nat Dni usq ad Epiph; in M Cr, Præf et Coic Nat. In V com seq taut, ant v et or pr.                                          A

Hag-Novic. INDULG PLEN, et in prima et secunda Dominica singulorum. mensium.

Liverp. INDULG PLEN, et in omnibus Dominicis per annum.

2 Fer 2. Octava S Stephani Proto-M, dup ; com Octt SS Thomae, Joannis et Innoc in L et M, Cr,

Præf (sed non Coic) Nat. V a cap seq, com præc et Octt SS Thomæ et Innoc.             R

Salford. Com Octt SS Joannis, Thomas et Innoc in L et M.

3 Fer 3. Octava S Joannis Ap, dup ; com Octt SS Thomæ et Innoc in L et M, Cr, Præf App. In V com seq et Oct S Thomæ.                                                                                                        A

4 Fer 4. Octava SS Innoc MM, dup ; ad Mat in resp 8 dic Gloria Patri et loco resp 9 Te Deum; com Oct S Thomæ in L et M, GI in exc, loco tract dic Allel cum v seq, Cr, Præf Nat. V a cap seq (ut in 1 V fest) com præc, Vig et S Telesphori MP (ant Qui odit v Justus ex L)                                     R

5 Fer 5. Vigilia Epiph. Octava S Thomæ MP, dup ;  ll 1 n Vig, 2 n Principes de coi 2 loco, 3 n ut in Suppl vel ex Dom 2 post Pasch, 9 l et ult Evang Vig, com ejus et S (ant Iste sanctus v Gloria ex 1 V) in L et M, Cr (Secreta pro S Hostias ex M Statuit pro MP), Præf Nat. V seq sine com, ° et per Oct. R

+ 6 Fer 6. INDULG PLEN. EPIPHANIA DNI, dup 1 cl A cum Oct ; ad Mat dictis Pater, Ave et Credo, omitt Dne labia et absolute incip ab ant Afferte Dno ; ad Prim resp brev Qui apparuisti hodie (et per Oct) ; in M Cr, Præf et Coic pr, et per Oct                                                                        A 

Desinit Indulgentia

7 Sab. De 2 die infra Oct, sem ; ad Mat di Dne labia,  Invit et hymn ; ll et ant ad Bened et Magn quotid pr per  Oct; resp 1 Tria sunt, in 3 n ant Homo cum psalm Fundamenta ; in M 2 or Deus qui salutis, 3 or Ecclesiæ vel pro Papa, Cr (prohib M V et Def). V a cap Dom infra Oct, com Oct (ant Videntes stellam, v Omnes de Saba).                                                                                                                      A

Clift, Menev-Newp, Plym. Post M principalem Litan Lauret, et si fieri potest, Expos et Bened SS Sacr.

Hodie aperiuntur Solemnitates Nuptiarum.

Pre-1910 Calendar for 2023

 I have published before a series of blogposts illustrating what the week in church would have looked like to the Catholic in the pew if the liturgical changes of the twentieth century hadn't happened.

I'm going to do it again (better and more realistically, I intend to try to do it again) for 2023 but with a change: this year's Ordo will have all of the instructions in Latin for priests and will cover not just Mass but the Office as well. A separate translation in English will be what we might imagine the Sacristan in a modest parish would have needed: odd additional commemorations in Lauds and Vespers weren't his business, while making sure the priest and the altar were dressed in the right colours were.

I intend to be a bit less profuse with the obiter dicta: my views on what matters and what doesn't aren't everybody's (and aren't necessarily accurate anyway) but I will choose every now and then to draw attention to the pulse of the year: to the Sanctoral taking precedence over the Dominical (so green will be a pretty rare colour to the Catholic who attends Mass on Sundays and Holydays); to the priority that diocesan celebrations have (we will see on occasion a Mass that can only be celebrated in one place in the entire Universe), a cast of mind in which the local has an importance mainly absent today; and to a system rooted in 1800 years of slow, organic, change.

Please feel free to ask questions via the combox or via Twitter (@themunimentroom)

I will post this week's Ordo in a moment, and will try to post on Saturdays henceforth.

23 April 2020

A pre-1955 Triduum

"(Monasteries) became, accordingly, especial targets. Satan, issuing orders at nightfall to his foul precurrers, was rumoured to dispatch to capital cities only one junior fiend. This solitary demon, the legend continues, sleeps at his post. There is no work for him; the battle was long ago won. But monasteries, those scattered danger points, become the chief objectives of nocturnal flight; the sky fills with the beat of sable wings as phalanx after phalanx streams to the attack, and the darkness crepitates with the splintering of a myriad lances against the masonry of asceticism. Piety has always been singled out for the hardest onslaught of hellish aggression."

Patrick Leigh Fermor A Time to Keep Gifts

I think, sometimes, that the same junior fiend who is responsible for capital cities has had the Catholic traditionalist twittersphere added to his responsibilities, it being as easy for him to foment rancour and strong language between supporters and opponents of the SSPX to the detriment of all concerned as it is to corrupt the denizens of cities. And in the same way as cities can become hellish places, the lack of charity displayed at times by traditionalist Catholics on Twitter is scarcely an invitation to calm consideration.

I am reminded of this at the moment as, during a #twitterdueltodeath between supporters and opponents of the SSPX, I digest having been able to participate in a pre-1955 Triduum courtesy of the FSSP streaming from Fribourg. I'm not old enough to remember it, though I can remember serving the 1962 Missal's Triduum, and, of course the modern version.

I have studied the differences between what I never knew and what I remembered, but up to this year it has always been an intellectual exercise.  This year I could witness the difference, and I felt, in a way I have never felt before, just how monumentally disastrous the twentieth century has been for Catholic worship and just how acceptance of the 1955 Triduum changes would lead inexorably to everything that followed.

 A couple of examples: the 1955 reform cuts the number of prophecies from twelve to four, because that there were only four prophecies in the Gregorian Missal. But if that's important, why not make the four prophecies used from 1955 onward the same four as used at the end of the sixth century? And why does Pope St Gregory's four trump the earlier twelve in use in Jerusalem in the fifth century?

As it happens, the chanting of the twelve prophecies took just under an hour: I could read them and meditate on them as they were chanted. And as the celebration began at 5.00 pm (they weren't quite brave enough to restore celebration to the morning) the service wasn't extended indefinitely, nor was there the slightly shoddy liturgical pretence that "after dusk" is better than "before dusk" when part of the point of the 1955 Reform was "midnight".

And why would you want to get rid of the triple candlestick, and upset the old rhythm of fire and water, and make the Paschal Candle the centre of the first part of the ceremony only to suddenly mix in a completely new "rite": the renewal of baptismal promises?

The answer of course is, first, because they could; second, because a bunch of very clever people persuaded the Pope that he could do anything he liked to the Liturgy because he was Pope; third, because they then persuaded him that the Reform was, in some way, "needed"; and fourth, because they were looking much further ahead to a complete transformation of the Roman Rite. I mentioned some months ago here that Mediator Dei in 1948 had stood on its head the idea of Lex orandi lex credendi in order explicitly to say that rites should be changed to change people's beliefs.

If you want to see how out of tune the 1962 Missal is with what preceded it look not to the Triduum but to the Vigil of Pentecost. Pentecost until 1962 the second most important feast of the Church's year, had a vigil that in large parts mirrored the Easter Vigil: only six Prophecies; blessing of the font as on Holy Saturday though no new fire. This was all dispensed with. Every time I hear somebody bemoaning the loss of the Pentecost Octave, or telling the story of Pope Paul not realising what he had signed up to, I am reminded of all the times people don't bemoan the loss of the old Vigil. By the time of the 1970 Missal, Christmas has become the second feast in the Church's year: what was the problem the reformers had with the Holy Spirit?

I never expected that I would ever see a pre-1955 Triduum licitly celebrated - I never expect I will live anywhere where even a 1962 celebration will be available to me. I'm no longer worried about the second of these two facts, though. 1962 won't cut it.

03 February 2020

How To Get A Synod To Agree With You

It was a couple of paragraphs in the live feed from the German Synod which set me thinking:

"The results of more than 5,000 emails that Catholics from all over Germany had sent to the Synod authorities in the past few weeks were also presented. Only a small majority of the letters had requested the acceptance of married priests. Many Catholics had emphasized that they wanted priests who were experienced pastors, and that priests should not get bogged down in administrative and committee work. The questions of sexual abuse and ordination of women were very rare in the emails.

In the debate that followed, the Professor of Theology from Erfurt University, Eberhard Tiefensee, called the current crisis-ridden priesthood a 'debilitating wound' that had to be studied very closely in order to be healed. Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück said that in the future priests should be free to decide whether they wanted to live a celibate life or not."

Choose a sample of messages and don't give any clue to how representative the people who send them are (we'll come back to this theme), choose the subject you really want to change and say (again, without producing any evidence) that a small majority is in favour, and then get one hysterical and one outrageous comment from "leaders" so that down the line, these can be reined back in a "compromise" which will coincidentally be exactly where those who organised and are manipulating the Synod can get exactly the result they first thought of.

We have our own experience of this: the Catholic Church in England and Wales launched exactly such a "Synod" which assembled in Liverpool in 1980 (see the footnote for a discussion of what Canon Law thinks these two meetings actually are). What was then, and is being now, sold as a movement to reform the Church in the light of Vatican II (oh, and "prompted by the Holy Spirit"—always reference the Holy Spirit when you want to introduce significant, unwonted and probably unwanted change) was actually a heavily clericalist, top-down, solution to issues internal to the local Church hierarchy and which did not interest the vast majority of the knees-on-kneeler Catholics, who, en masse, tend to be treated as an amorphous, ignorant, pliable and barely-relevant-other-than-as-a-source-of-revenue, lumpenpewletariat.

Thus it was in England and Wales. A National Council of Priests had been set up by a number of activist priests in the wake of Humanae Vitae, whose main focus was the relationship between priest and bishop: not, as you will have guessed, a relationship based on filiality and docility, but on the "rights" of priests vis-a-vis Bishops, in particular the right of a priest in dispute with his bishop about a matter of theology to have arbitration from outside his diocese. Archbishop Worlock (who else!) had understood the threat to the episcopacy posed by the NCP and came up with a policy of neutralising its strength by furious agreement, ensuring a detailed exchange with the NCP to prevent confrontation before it could happen, and a compromise based on the bishops accomodating the demands of the priests which did not limit the bishops' authority.

One of the bees in the NCP's bonnet was the need for a 'national pastoral strategy' for England and Wales, and this was something Worlock, on behalf of the Bishops, decided should be embraced as a way of overcoming the NCP as a separate focus of authority. So a joint working party was set up between the Bishops' Conference and the NCP. As the 1970s progressed this became the major strategic initiative of the Church in England and Wales, and the idea developed that it needed a national conference, an assembly of bishops, priests and laity which would deliver the momentum needed if the strategy developed and endorsed was to take root.  So far, so good, but the NCP asked for the working party to "give special consideration to the problems of married life in the contemporary world, taking note of the sensus fidelium concerning contraception and divorce in particular".  It took a lot of time, and the expenditure of many of the brownie points Worlock had built up to remove references to the supposed sensus fidelium though the NCP priests who most vocally had supported this line were not removed.

The Bishops' Conference took on sponsorship of the National Pastoral Congress, with Worlock becoming Chairman of the organising committee; Fr Tom Shepherd, Chairman of the NCP became its secretary. Archbishop Dwyer wanted to make sure that contraception in particular should not be a dominant theme of the Congress, and in fact would have blocked it as a subject, but his term as chairman of the Bishops' Conference ended in 1979, and Cardinal Hume, who took over from him, ensured that a full section of the Congress would discuss 'marriage and family matters'.

You will have noticed that so far, mention of the laity taking part has been light.  But the "representatives" of the laity were being selected. Mgr Mario Oliveri, deputy to Archbishop Heim at the Apostolic Delegation wrote to Rome complaining that Congress delegates "appeared to be drawn, on the whole, from either those holding progressive views or from amongst those who know little or nothing about the nature of the Church" but when Worlock found out, Heim was persuaded to go to Rome to sweep Oliveri's difficulties under Vatican blankets. The laity were told in 1978 that the Congress would take place in 1980 and that "in the eighteen months preceding the Congress every diocese in England and Wales will make its own preparation so that at the Congress itself a substantial representation of the Church, prepared in mind and spirit, will be able to reflect together on the developing life and mission of the Church." What would "substantial" mean? How would attenders be "prepared in mind and spirit"? They certainly didn't mean that the lay representatives would be representative of the laity at large.

It was decided that each diocese should send one delegate for each 1000 of its Mass attendance on any one Sunday. As dioceses varied dramatically from the rural to the densely populated industrial areas, each diocese was left to find its own method of choosing representatives, though with the encouragement of the organising committee, most representatives were chosen at deanery level. In the code of Canon Law in force at the time, the deanery was a unit or practical administration. Were priests resident in their parishes, preaching, catechising and anointing? Was Mass being celebrated worthily? Were instructions given by the Bishop following his visitations being implemented? Were sick priests being looked after? Were they being buried decently? For understandable reason Canon Law did not envisage the deanery as a way of by-passing parishes which weren't on-message, but that is what happened.

The report of the Bishops' Conference says: "Deanery 'link-men' were important in the chain. Each deanery consists normally of nine or ten parishes. Usually, one priest in each deanery, acting in close collaboration with the diocesan coordinator, was responsible for promoting the Congress in his deanery. It was an attempt to develop the deanery as a pastoral unit and a possible way of stimulating local interest even if individual clergy were not on occasions cooperative." The last sentence is a pretty blatant exercise in post-hoc justification: it was purely a way of ignoring recalcitrant priests.  Only 70% of parishes bothered to respond to the paperwork, and no records have been published about how many of those responses were against what was clearly, from the paperwork, the direction of travel, but by changing the level at which representatives were being selected from that of the parish, the selection could be manipulated so that only people who were not going to be opposed to the party line would be chosen.

A series of discussion groups, pastoral councils, and small-group meetings prepared representatives in mind and spirit: of course the majority of the people who could attend so many meetings and read all the paperwork surrounding the preparations for the Congress were the educated middle class, who tended to be from the same background as the bishops and NCP priests. As Clifford Longley puts it: "Among the lay people from all over the country who attended the Congress were many who were prominent in their own careers and professions, experts in their field and well informed theologically." This isn't a description of anything other than a small proportion of the laity in any Catholic parish I have ever known, but it ensured that there would be no surprises in the resolutions of the Congress because everything was neatly stitched up beforehand. 

Hume and Worlock got their way, and a reference to contraception formed part of the final report but they had made a major strategic error. Not only was the Pope, John Paul II, completely unimpressed by their views, he had announced that the Synod of Bishops, scheduled to take place a few months after the end of the Liverpool Congress, would discuss matters of family, marriage and sexuality.  A papacy showing it self to be more and more conservative swept aside Hume and Worlock’s priorities, to the extent that the Cardinal felt it necessary to warn the Bishops’ Conference and the NPC that a period of reticence on the part of all of them would be a very good idea.

Hume and Worlock came close, bur didn't win the approval they sought. The effects of their Congress were dire and are with us still, but they didn't manage to "change doctrine". However, I bet the German Bishops haven’t got as far as they have without learning to make sure the Vatican has been squared off first.

Footnote: According to Canon Law (Canons 431-459) Liverpool 1980 and Frankfurt 2020 are both examples of 'Particular Councils': "Can. 445 A particular council, for its own territory, takes care that provision is made for the pastoral needs of the people of God and possesses the power of governance, especially legislative power, so that, always without prejudice to the universal law of the Church, it is able to decide what seems opportune for the increase of the faith, the organization of common pastoral action, and the regulation of morals and of the common ecclesiastical discipline which is to be observed, promoted, and protected. Can. 446 When a particular council has ended, the president is to take care that all the acts of the council are sent to the Apostolic See. Decrees issued by a council are not to be promulgated until the Apostolic See has reviewed them."

12 January 2020

A Reflection On Calendars

If you are reading this, the chances are you are aware of my increasing conviction that the changes to the structure of worship, instituted by Pope St Pius X in Divino Afflatu, which began in 1911 were disastrous for several reasons: the complete reversal of the relationship between the sanctoral and the temporal; the idea that the Liturgy was a mutable object, able to be changed on a whim, instead of an immutable reality; the role of the Pope as autocratic ruler which no longer obtained across the Papal States being transferred into the inner life of the Church; the encouragement given to that wing of the Liturgical Movement which thought that lay participation in the Mass meant giving lay people things to do in, or at least during, Mass.

The more I study what happened, the less I understand how what happened actually came about. The changes happened because the Office was perceived as so burdensome to priests, especially priests in parishes who had other sacerdotal claims on their times.  Hold that thought for a while: the calendar had to be changed for the whole Church because the daily Office was too much of a burden for some priests.

A look at parish life in England and Wales during the fifty years preceding Divino Afflatu shows that there was a rich liturgical and devotional life available for lay people in their parishes: Mass on Sundays, of course, but also catechism and instruction classes, Vespers and Benediction; parish Sodalities and Fraternities to encourage regular prayer; and a clear sense of cradle-to-grave practice of the Faith.

From the point of view of a parishioner, the priest’s role was pretty clear: it was completely set apart from the role of the laity, involving, as it did, knowing how to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass and being ordained to do so; celebrating the other sacraments; teaching the Faith. Priests were set apart: even when from the people, not of the people; educated, but not for matters of this world. The Office was theirs.  Parishioners would be aware of Vespers, for many parishes celebrated Vespers as a Sunday evening devotion (a taste of the Liturgy for those forced to work at a time when there were no anticipated Masses on Saturday evening, or Sunday evening Masses). Those attending Cathedrals would possibly be familiar with the celebration of Terce before major Masses, and may have come across other parts of the Office while waiting for Confession. But otherwise, the Office was something the priest said, possibly wandering about parish grounds, possibly seated in the Sanctuary, lips moving soundlessly.

How burdensome was it? There’s no way of knowing. Unlike today, the priest wasn’t hemmed in with a burden of non-priestly duties imposed by the state and the diocese. From Health and Safety at one end, to attending Safeguarding courses at the other, today’s priest has far more things to attend to outside Church than did his predecessors. But the fundamental reason for the question’s being unanswerable is lex orandi lex credendi: the fact that priests stopped praying the Office the old way has changed the Church into one where the old way is no longer imaginable as part of normal praxis.

This is one of the reasons why the 1962 Missal and the 1960 Breviary can be touted as part of a solution to the Church’s problems: simply because they represent a way of doing things that can still be remembered, at least by people in their sixties or older, as normative.  Yet the fact that most Masses are celebrated in Green, instead of Green being almost as rare as Black, would be a visual assault on anybody who had attended Mass before Divino Afflatu. The idea that there could be a maximum of three collects in a Mass would be bizarre. And if our time traveller from 1910 attended EF Mass on Sundays in 2020, and asked why there was only one Last Gospel, he would be looked at as though he had lost his senses: surely everybody knows that only at the third Mass on Christmas Day can the Last Gospel be other than In Principio. Look at this comparison of the time since Christmas (clicking on it should make it legible):

How can anyone say that the worshipper in the pew simply wouldn’t have noticed?

The crisis in the Church goes, of course, much deeper than the Calendar, but its origin, I am increasingly convinced, is in a Pope who was persuaded that the practice of the Church—perhaps the Church itself—was something for him to control actively and directly.

24 November 2019

A New Composer Of Good Liturgical Music

I bet I'm not the only Catholic over whom a red mist descended this morning when the priest's final sermon - the one before the blessing - took as its theme the football scores from yesterday and his predictions for today's games.  But there is a certain irony in the fact that as the liturgical life of the average parish in England and Wales declines, and fewer and fewer Catholics are being exposed to the numinous; and as the now forty and fifty year old hymns are wearily strummed out each Sunday; the necessary tools needed to beat them back into the obscurity from which they should never have been released are being assembled, ready for the day when a reverent liturgy, freed from the personality of the priest becomes once more part of our liturgical cycle.

I am drawn to write by my discovery of another young English composer, Nicholas Wilton, who has turned his attention to serious Church music.  On his website there are plenty of samples of his music, and on his homepage there are mp3s ofpart of his Missa Brevis which show how much of the music and mindset of Renaissance polyphonic music he has absorbed.

Let me offer you this extract from YouTube - and make sure you listen to the sublime Kyrie at 7:45.