More Revisions to 1962 Extraordinary Form Roman Missal

Pray Tell reported earlier this month how Pope Francis issued a Decree to add the memorial of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to General Roman Calendar and also add new optional memorials of Hildegard, Gregory of Narek, and John of Avila., a “non-profit international Catholic social network and a video / news sharing platform … that is not directly connected to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church”  reported yesterday that in the latest Ordo Divini Officii Recitandi Sacrique Peragendi 2021, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, some other observances that had been abolished prior to the John XXIII edition of the Roman Missal of 1962 that is normative for the Extraordinary Form liturgies, have been reinstated “as an option.” These include the “Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady, Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross (May 3rd), Feast of St John Before the Latin Gate (May 6th), Feast of the Apparition of St Michael (May 8th), Feast of the Finding of the Body of St Stephen (August 3rd), Holy Maccabees and St Peter in Chains (August 1st).”

Additionally, reports that the new Ordo “allows the Corpus Christi Octave in some form where the devotion exists. In Septuagesima and Lent, the ‘Benedicamus Domino’ can be used instead of the ‘Ite Missa est,’ and the Preface of the Nativity has been restored to the feast of the Transfiguration.” Some photographs of the relevant pages of the Ordo can be seen in photographs linked to the report.

It is interesting to note that there is still a tendency to promote pre-1962 observances and practices in the Extraordinary Form. While obviously there is nothing wrong with these newly reinstated observances, I wonder if we are losing sight of our liturgical seasons by allowing nearly every day to have some observance or other in both Forms of the Roman Rite.

One of the head librarians of a university I know has a policy for academic periodicals that might be interesting for us to consider in our liturgical calendar. He allows any academic department to add any new periodical subscription that they might like, however, for every new subscription they must cancel two existing ones.

In the history of the calendar periodically there are renewals when many feast days are removed from the calendar. Then gradually feasts are added again until the calendar is overburdened again and needs parring down once more. Maybe if every time a new observance is added another existing one is removed, this could allow the Universal Roman Calendar to retain the preeminence of the liturgical seasons. This would help fulfill the wish of Vatican II, which warns “lest the feasts of the saints should take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation, many of them should be left to be celebrated by a particular Church or nation or family of religious; only those should be extended to the universal Church which commemorate saints who are truly of universal importance” (SC 111).


    1. No, these are for the Extraordinary Form calendar. However the Ordinary Form has had many new observances added to it in the last few years.

  1. The same forces that made the 19th century celebration of the Roman Missal what it was are in many ways still impacting both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. Priests illicitly want to make earlier and earlier the Easter Vigil and the Nativity Vigil. Certain parishes in Germany lose the 1st OT reading, and the calendar becomes filled with multiple celebrations.

    In terms of overburdening the calendar, perhaps we should focus on making it possible for multiple celebrations to occur on the same day with appropriate emphasis given to the rank of each celebration and without confusion. We are able to celebrate the Octave of Christmas, Mary Mother of God and World Day of Peace all on one day.

    The Roman Missal used to allow multiple orations to be prayed in a row. The back to back prayers may or may not be an answer. But you could place a proper collect at the end of the bidding prayers and the bidding prayers themselves could reflect multiple facets of the day being celebrated.

    How can we make the Sunday Celebration of the resurrection stand out while still celebrating a Saint feast or memorial? Same during the Lenten weekday?

  2. The calendrical issue is not really a revision. One was always permitted to celebrate festal votives like the Invention of the Cross; they’re included in the appendix to the 1962 Missal.

    But yes, one way to address calendar clutter is to allow multiple orations/readings on a given day. It’s the traditional practice East and West.

  3. Not that it matters, but I wonder what is the sanction for such changes? Is a yearly Ordo an accepted official mouthpiece by which changes in the liturgy are to be conveyed?

  4. At a time when Sunday Mass attendance has slipped, some “liturgists” circle the wagons and pile on the specials for their personal parties. To be sure, not as bad as Sen. Cruz high-tailing it to Mexico while the 99% freeze, but a misstep nonetheless. Rather than remove an old feast every time a new one appears, what about some evangelical marker in the wide world? Ten million meals served, a million refugees housed, the reform of a hundred-thousand bullies, or something significant if not miraculous. If we haven’t mastered “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” no sidebar saint (who would be pointing to Christ anyway) is going to help us.

      1. It depends on how much energy and effort we put into either task. But I don’t think it promotes the mission of Matthew 28:19-20

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