Going against the flow to preserve our Anglican tradition

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Yesterday, an interesting discussion arose on a social media thread about whether or not the observance of Ascension Day was being transferred for the Anglican Ordinariate in North America to the following Sunday, per the general practice of the USCCB.

As the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter’s 2016-2017 Ordo confirms, “Upon the recommendation of the Governing Council on 9 June 2016, Bishop Lopes has decreed that the following Solemnities will be observed as Holy Days of Obligation in the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter: …Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Solemnity of the Ascension (kept on its traditional date forty days after Easter, nine days before Whitsunday)…” On Thursday, May 25th, it lists “ASCENSION OF THE LORD. Solemnity. HDO”, leaving Sunday the 28th as the Seventh Sunday as Easter.

Many Catholics of a more traditional formation deeply resent the common practice of episcopal conferences in routinely transferring certain fixed feast days to the nearest Sunday, seeing it as one of the Church’s more lamentable concessions to the secular world’s low prioritization of religious observance. It is becoming more widely recognized, however, that this is not only a function of our loss of faith but encourages it.

As a result, there are some dioceses and regions where these feast days are not transferred but are kept on their traditional, logical, Biblical dates. The Feast of the Ascension, for example, was not arbitrarily set for the Thursday in the sixth week of Easter by a committee of episcopal conference functionaries, but was determined two thousand years ago by the Ascension of our Lord forty days after His Resurrection.

As this debate plays out on social media forums amongst Catholics of various rite and jurisdiction, it is of the Anglican custom that we in the ordinariates are to be mindful. Anglicans have traditionally marked Ascension Day on its proper Thursday, and have not been accustomed to its bizarre and anachronistic celebration on a Sunday. One Anglican custom is the singing of motets to the rising sun at dawn on the rooftops of cathedrals and collegiate edifices (as seen in the photo above taken atop Wells Cathedral a few years ago on Ascension Day morning – photo credit to Iain MacLeod-Jones). The unmistakeable symbolism is undermined and downgraded by its being moved to a few days later.

The fundamental problem of transferring feast days is that such a move conveys a complete lack of belief in the importance of our own faith and religious tradition. Moving such a feast day to a date when hopefully a few more bodies will occasion to be in church is, to be frank, pathetic, and it is unconsciously seen as such by anyone who cares to notice. It holds us all to the lowest common denominator and challenges no one to do anything out of the ordinary to mark the great events of salvation history. Our faith is something only to be practiced on Sundays, this says, and some might even start to wonder why they even have to go then. If the Church were to mandate attendance on a day other than Sunday, why people might get the idea that something important was happening!

While the Holy See has delegated authority to episcopal conferences to make decisions on transferring feast days, to protect our own Anglican patrimony our leaders have to demonstrate a bit of their own courage and initiative. There are voices in the Church who argue against doing our own thing, saying that as Catholics we have to demonstrate our unity with our fellow Catholics. Yet we in the Anglican tradition know full well that this is a call to a false unity. Remember, we were welcomed into the Catholic Church on the understanding that our tradition would be “united, not absorbed”. Ironically, you’d think this would be particularly the case when our tradition is also the Roman and universal tradition!

Ascension, to take this one example, is not transferred in any of the Eastern rites that I’m aware of, nor in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite. Given one of the two principle forms of the Roman rite retains Ascension Day proper, why wouldn’t our Anglican liturgical form also do so? We are not second class members of the Catholic Church!

The supreme law of the Church, and canon law reflects this, is the salvation of souls. If a decision of an episcopal conference, whether on their own authority or on the delegated authority of the Holy See, scandalizes or under-serves Catholics of the Anglican tradition, our pastors should take steps to rectify the situation and defend and uphold our custom, whether it is Ascension Day or any other feast or worthy custom.

If there is a lacuna in canon law vis-à-vis our patrimony, then we need to take steps to address it. The real problem, however, seems to be an underlying bias towards treating the Anglican Use as a subset of the Ordinary Form, thus automatically subjecting our liturgy to any changes imposed on the Ordinary Form, without regard to their compatibility with our unique patrimony. This is not the way the equal dignity of liturgical rites is respected.

The idea that changes to the Ordinary Form should be blindly and automatically applied to our liturgy, a practice not done for any other Latin rite, is a very dangerous one for the preservation of the Anglican tradition in the Catholic Church. Catholics outside the ordinariates can’t be expected to exercise full diligence in conserving or cultivating our tradition. It is up to our bishop, our clergy, and our lay faithful to do so. It is we who have a unique responsibility for the preservation of our patrimony and customs.

The bishop of each diocese has a special and unique authority over the liturgy in his diocese: he is its first custodian. Our bishop has a particular responsibility, as the sole custodian for our patrimony on these shores. No one else in the USCCB or CCCB will give a moment’s thought to the impact their decisions will have on the Anglican heritage in the Catholic Church. It is up to our bishop, our clergy and our faithful to do what it takes to protect this treasure. If we don’t jealously guard and preserve our unique liturgical heritage and way of life, no one else will. Thankfully, Bishop Steven Lopes has shown much leadership in this regard, but all of us need to work together to this end.

Our three ordinaries, Mgr Newton, Mgr Entwhistle, and Bishop Lopes, ought to consult together regularly to find as many ways as possible to act in concert for the preservation of our patrimonial ways.

For this coming Ascension Day, however, don’t forget to give three cheers for Bishop Lopes! Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to move Corpus Christi and the Epiphany back to their proper dates too.

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26 Responses to Going against the flow to preserve our Anglican tradition

  1. EPMS says:

    As of this year Epiphany in the OCSP will now be celebrated on the relevant Sunday rather than on January 6, however. I think Bp Lopes felt that being out of step with the USCCB on both feasts would have been provocative.

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  2. Rev22:17 says:

    This article reflects a major misconception. In the process of restoration of the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, the magisterium of the Catholic Church determined that several solemnities are so important that they should not go essentially uncelebrated in places where social and/or political circumstances make it impracticable to keep them as holy days of obligation, and thus that the best course of action was to move each affected celebration to a Sunday so the faithful can participate fully in it. Most such solemnities, including the Ascension of the Lord and Corpus Christi, transfer to the Sunday after the day appointed in the general Roman calendar. The notable exception is the Epiphany of the Lord, which transfers to the Sunday after New Year’s Day, with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord moved to the next day when impeded by the transfer of the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.

    In the dioceses of the United States, there were only six holy days of obligation before and during the time of the Second Vatican Council — the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (08 December), Christmas (25 December), the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord (01 January), the Ascension of the Lord (Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter), the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary (15 August), and the Solemnity of All Saints (01 November). When the liturgical restoration took effect, the former National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) voted to retain only those six holy days of obligation, with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God of the revised calendar taking precedence over the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord. This decision caused the automatic transfer of the other solemnities to the respective Sundays, with the consequence that those who routinely go to Sunday mass now participate in the celebration, albeit by default.

    I’m not persuaded that this is the ideal policy. It seems to me that some celebrations are so important that they should be holy days of obligation everywhere. Nevertheless, the decision on this matter rests with the magisterium rather than with me. The decision of the NCCB clearly makes a lot more sense in the context of the history than apart from it!

    More recently, the present United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), formed as a reorganization of the NCCB and the United States Catholic Conference (USCC), adopted two measures affecting holy days of obligation in the United States.

    >> The first measure dispensed the obligation to assist in the celebration of mass on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on the Solemnity of the Assumption, and on the Solemnity of All Saints whenever these celebrations fall on a Saturday or a Monday. This measure was motivated by the difficulty of sustaining adequate mass schedules to serve the faithful on successive days with fewer clergy, especially in more rural areas.

    >> The second measure authorized the Bishop of Honolulu to legislate that his diocese, the territory of which is the state of Hawai’i, would observe the same holy days of obligation as the territory of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific. The Bishop of Honolulu promulgated the associated legislation very soon thereafter.

    >> The third measure authorized each provincial council to determine the policy for the Solemnity of the Ascension within its territory. The Solemnity of the Ascension remains a holy day of obligation, celebrated on the Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, in the provinces (states) of Boston (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine), Hartford (Connecticut and Rhode Island), New York (New York), Newark (New Jersey), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), and Omaha (Nebraska). It is transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter everywhere else.

    Against this backdrop, Bishop Lopes is faced with the personal challenge of trying to figure out what is best for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter — and here, the Anglican heritage of celebrating major feasts on the traditional day is clearly a significant consideration. However, I also bear the personal experience of service in the armed forces, and of being stationed at bases where the bishop of the surrounding diocese had dispensed the obligation for a holy day and the Military Ordinary (then Cardinal Terrance Cook, the Archbishop of New York) declined to do so. This created no small amount of confusion, especially for members of the armed forces who did not know that the dispensation announced in the local parish where they chose to worship did not apply to them. The same sort of confusion is bound to arise when diocesan Catholics who choose to worship with an ordinariate congregation hear the announcement of a holy day, but can’t get to the ordinariate congregation’s mass, and then discover that the diocesan parishes don’t have any special masses on the appointed day. For this reason, there is a very significant pastoral benefit to ordinariate congregations conforming to the practice of the respective dioceses within which they ate located with respect to celebration of holy days of obligation.

    Bishop Lopes has to weigh all of these factors. Having heard the ordinariate’s governing council, I have no doubt that he has done so.

    Norm.

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    • mahonchristopher says:

      Thanks, Norm. In spite of other factors which the good bishop ought to consider, I still think it is too easy to underestimate the pastoral harm that can be done by choosing to conform to local diocesan parishes instead of to our own customs and traditions. Any confusion that arises is merely an opportunity for education, formation, and increasing awareness of the Catholic Church’s beautiful diversity in unity. The preservation of Anglican tradition, however, is our task exclusively, and so we ought always to prioritize it. No one else will.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rev22:17 says:

        I agree wholeheartedly with the goal of preserving important elements of Anglican patrimony.

        But you might come to a different conclusion about the importance of celebrating a feast on the actual day when you face the challenge of having to explain to your boss why you, as a Catholic, need time off from work to go to mass on a holy day of obligation but none of your Catholic coworkers do. (I originally typed “non-Christian boss” but then I realized that a Catholic boss, whose diocesan parish celebrates the feast on Sunday instead, might be even more likely to take issue with your stated need than a non-Christian.) Our bishops, in their exercise of pastoral judgement, are sensitive to such issues.

        Norm.

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      • EPMS says:

        “Prioritize” it over what? Harmonious relations with the wider Church?

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      • mahonchristopher says:

        Harmonious relations are a matter of charity and good manners, not of uniformity. A good relationship with other Catholics in no way requires us to drop our customs. We are as much a part of the Church as any local parish, and we have as much right (& duty) to follow our customs as they do.

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      • EPMS says:

        Firstly, a quick look around the internet will remind you that the Ordinariate is no monolith: ad orientem, versus populum, male servers, female servers, vested lector, lector from the congregation, biretta, no biretta, Palestrina, “I Need Thee, How I Need Thee”. It reflects the varied denominational backgrounds and congregational customs of its constituent groups, nothing more or less..Secondly, although there are a few clusters of OCSP groups, most are hundreds of miles from their nearest Ordinariate group. Seeing the local diocese in terms of “pastoral harm” and denial of “rights” is probably a mistake.

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    • Mark C says:

      I think Norm makes some excellent practical points. It could indeed be complicated for family, work reasons etc. to have the Ordinariate calendars out of sync with Roman Catholic diocesan calendars on feast days of obligation. However, there is no question that something is lost liturgically by having the Ordinariate calendar simply conform to the decisions of local bishops’ conferences or dioceses and losing the traditional dates for many important feasts of the Church (which are also the traditional Roman dates as recognized on the General Roman Calendar). Furthermore, moving the celebration of these feasts may scandalize some traditional Anglicans who may see this as evidence of the Ordinariates are being forced to abandon traditional Anglican practice in order to conform to Roman authority.

      For the most part, I think this issue can be resolved through the use of external solemnities. I would propose the following rule of thumb: for those feasts of obligation on the General Roman Calendar which local Catholic bishops’ conferences have transferred to the nearest Sunday, and which are also considered to be Greater Feasts in the traditional Anglican calendars (1662 / 1928), the Ordinariates should celebrate the feasts on the date in the General Roman Calendar / traditional Anglican calendars, but the obligation should be transferred to the nearest Sunday, which should be marked with the celebration of an external solemnity.

      Here are the Feasts of Obligation on the General Roman Calendar which are also Greater Feasts on traditional Anglican Calendars:

      January 1 – Solemnity of Mary / Circumcision of Our Lord
      January 6 – Epiphany
      Thursday of 6th Week of Easter – the Ascension
      June 29 – Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul / St. Peter the Apostle
      November 1 – All Saints
      December 25 – Christmas

      Where the national bishops conferences have moved these feasts to the nearest Sunday – for the most part the case for the Epiphany and the Ascension – I think the Ordinariates should continue to celebrate the feasts on their traditional dates, but have an external solemnity on the nearest Sunday. For the other feasts, the local Catholic bishops conferences have generally kept them on their usual dates, although in some cases have suppressed the obligation to attend Mass. (In England and Wales, Sts. Peter and Paul and All Saints are moved to the adjacent Sunday if they fall on a Saturday or Monday.) Keeping these feasts on their traditional dates would be very much a matter of retaining Anglican traditions which have nurtured Catholic faith. It would seem to me inconsistent for the Ordinariates to have taken such welcome measures as restoring the Sundays of Shrovetide (the “Gesimas”) or the Pentecost Octave, conforming to both traditional Anglican and traditional Roman / Sarum Catholic practice, but then accept the moving around of feast days as essential to the Anglican and Catholic calendars alike as the Epiphany and the Ascension.

      This still leaves the question of what to do about other Roman Catholic Holy Days of Obligation, recognized on some Anglican calendars or celebrated in Anglo-Catholic circles, which are sometimes transferred to the adjacent Sunday by national bishops’ conferences (St. Joseph, Corpus Christi, the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception). For these, I would suggest that the Ordinariates retain the celebration on the traditional Roman dates and allow pastors the discretion to celebrate an external solemnity on the adjacent Sunday if it is pastorally desirable to do so. Similarly, for those traditional Roman Catholic feast days honoured with an external solemnity in times past (Sacred Heart, Most Holy Rosary) I think the Ordinariates should allow similar pastoral flexibility.

      Another issue this could be used to resolve is the contemporary Roman Catholic practice of not allowing any feasts to impede the Sunday liturgical cycle. This year, for instance, we will not celebrate either St. Matthias or St. Barnabas in the Ordinariates as their feasts fall on Sundays. In Anglican practice, Feasts of the Apostles can either displace the Sunday or be transferred to the next available weekday. In my view, the latter is a more sensible practice, and I think would be a wise practice for the Ordinariates to follow.

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      • Rev22:17 says:

        Actually, the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception cannot occur on a Sunday because it falls during the season of Advent.

        In the Roman Rite, there’s a “Table of Liturgical Precedence” that determines what happens when two or more celebrations would fall on the same day. I won’t bother to replicate the whole table, but here’s how it applies to significant feasts.

        >> The Paschal Triduum, the solemnities of Christmas, Epiphany, Ascension, and Pentecost, the Sundays of the Advent, Lent, and Easter seasons, the days of Advent from the 17th through the 24th of December, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, and the Octave of Easter have precedence over all other celebrations.

        >> Solemnities in the general calendar have precedence over solemnities in a proper calendar, but feasts in a proper calendar have precedence over feasts in a general calendar.

        >> Solemnities and feasts “of the Lord” have precedence over ordinary Sundays, but, ordinary Sundays have precedence over feasts of saints and all memorials.

        >> Solemnities transfer to the next unimpeded day that is not a feast of the Lord when they are impeded by a celebration of higher precedence. If the solemnity is normally a holy day of obligation, the obligation does not transfer.

        >> Feasts and memorials are omitted when they are impeded by a celebration of higher precedence.

        Here in the Archdiocese of Boston, we have a very illustrative example of how this can play out in practice. The dedication of our Cathedral of the Holy Cross occurred on the 8th of December, so the celebration of the anniversary of the dedication is always impeded by the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on the same date. When the 8th of December falls on a weekday, the celebration of the anniversary of the dedication occurs on the 9th instead. But when the 8th of December falls on a Saturday, the celebration of the anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral has to move to the 10th because the 9th is the Second Sunday of Advent, which also impedes it. And when the 8th of December falls on a Sunday, the celebration of the anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral again has to move to the 10th because the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is impeded by the Second Sunday of Advent and thus moves to the 9th. And in any case, the celebration of the anniversary of the cathedral occurs only in the cathedral church, where it ranks as a solemnity, because it would rank as a feast elsewhere in the archdiocese.

        The Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, on 19 March and the Solemnity of the Annunciation on 25 March also are illustrative. When both of these celebrations occur on or between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter (now also called “Divine Mercy Sunday”), they must move to Monday and Tuesday of the second week of Easter — up to fifteen days!

        BTW, there’s also a provision allowing transfer of a celebration that’s of particular importance to a local community to a weekend — either Saturday or Sunday — to enable the people of the affected parish or other community to participate therein. This would most often apply to the celebration of the titular saint or, in a so-called “national” parish, some saint of particular importance to the respective ethnic community.

        Norm.

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    • Viola Hayhurst says:

      And Bishop Lopes has been charged to do this all IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT HE HOLDS NO PERSONAL ANGLICAN BACKGROUND. Being an overseer of the resumes of those Anglican priests who desired to enter the American Ordinariate is simply not a qualifier. You are born into this culture and its tradition or you are not; similarly is that one born outside the Germanic cultures and its traditions shall always remain an outsider !

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      • We in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter are grateful for Bishop Lopes and we do not consider him an outsider. He was not foisted upon us by Pope Francis, but was on a terna chosen by the Ordinariate’s governing council. While Anglican patrimony may not be his native tongue, he has caught on very quickly and his immersion has involved far more than overseeing the resumes of our clergy. He played a key role in the development of our liturgy, which for most of us, is a dream come true.

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      • Viola Hayhurst says:

        Well enough …. “not an outsider”…..but the irony that I and others find in this decision as you commented is that the Ordinariate’s governing council …. hence voted an administrator in Bishop Lopes, to lead their organization, whom as a cradle Catholic is prevented membership in their very organization. Such “fuzziness “ is at the root of World Wide Anglicanism of whatever “specie” and one of the push/pull elements that in fact lead the Blessed John Cardinal Newman into the Catholic Church. And one can only add good speed to Bishop Lopes, as he – as he has been charged— navigates this culture !

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  3. Mark C says:

    I’m all for moving the Epiphany and Corpus Christi back to their traditionally appointed days, but I would point out that Corpus Christi itself is hardly an example of Anglican patrimony but rather of a recent Anglican importation of Roman Catholic practice, which you normally decry! It was only officially included in the Church of England in 1980. But in this case, I most definitely think the custom of the broader Roman rite should prevail. (Of celebrating Corpus Christi, that is, not moving the celebration from a Thursday to a Sunday.)

    A more distinctly patrimonial change to the calendar would, I think, be the restoration of the Feast of Sts. Phillip and James (Pip’n’Jim) to its traditional date of May 1. I’m not sure that the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, proclaimed in 1955 and intended as a Catholic counterweight to socialist and Communist May Day celebrations, makes as much sense outside of the Cold War environment of post-War Italy, and in any case I don’t think it should outrank a major feast of the Apostles, particularly one with many cultural ties to English May Day traditions.

    I also agree that the three Ordinariates should work together to develop, where possible, a common Ordinariate liturgical calendar. It would be good to have common criteria for determining which distinctly English saints not in the General Roman Calendar should be universally celebrated in the Ordinariates, and which should be simply local or optional observances. And it would also be good to be able to appeal to a common Ordinariate practice (on issues like the date of the Epiphany or Ascension) where they may differ from those of national episcopal conferences.

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    • mahonchristopher says:

      Touché, Mark, but it wasn’t so much a “Latinization” as it was a natural development of Anglican practice, done freely by Anglo-Catholics as a natural expression of their Anglo-Catholic faith, and it was done in a thoroughly Anglo-Catholic way well before 1980 even if inspiration came from the Roman example. One only has to explore the historical photos on the basement walls of the famous Anglo-Catholic parish of St Mary Magdalene’s in Toronto to see images of splendid Corpus Christi processions as far back as the 1960s. In those photos you can see our fathers and grandfathers, and others now in the ordinariate, singing and processing, and our aunts as children strewing rose petals along the street in front of the monstrance. I wouldn’t want us to start doing Corpus Christi exactly as the Romans do just because we’re now in the ordinariate, but to continue doing it in accordance with our young but worthy Anglican custom. The differences wouldn’t be very substantial anyway, but our reference should be to our own precedents internal to our tradition.

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    • Rev22:17 says:

      Catholic liturgical calendars actually are quite complex, with the ordo of a diocese being the union of several calendars.

      >> First, there’s the General Calendar of the Roman Rite, which prescribes the universal celebrations for the entire Roman Rite.

      >> Second, there is a proper calendar for each country or region that designates feasts and holidays commemorated therein. This includes liturgical celebrations connected to national holidays and civic occasions, such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving Day here in the States, as well as commemorations of saints that are of particular prominence in the country or region. This calendar may also elevate the solemnity of celebrations prescribed in the general calendar that are of particular importance to the nation or region.

      >> Third, there is the proper calendar of the local diocese, which contains celebrations that occur only therein. These celebrations typically include the patron(s) of the diocese (with elevated solemnity, if they are in a general, national, or regional character), the anniversary of the dedication and the titular feast of the cathedral, and other occasions and commemorations of saints who are of local importance. By way of example, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter falls on 22 February in the general calendar, but the proper calendar of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter elevates its titular feast to the rank of solemnity.

      >> Fourth, a parish or other community may have a proper calendar that prescribes celebrations that occur only in that community. If the community’s church is solemnly dedicated rather than simply blessed, its proper calendar must contain the anniversary of the dedication. It may also contain the titular feast and other celebrations that are of particular importance to the parish community (historically very common in so-called “national” parishes established for immigrants from the respective country).

      In a normal diocesan ordo, each date has two entries normally printed on facing pages. The entry on the right page contains the fusion of the general, national or regional, and diocesan calendars, with conflicts resolved by an established table of liturgical precedence, with impeded solemnities moving to the next available day that is not a feast of the Lord. The left page contains (1) celebrations that appear in proper calendars of the parishes and other communities within the diocese, (2) special commemorations such as the anniversary of the episcopal ordination and/or installation of the diocesan bishop and, if applicable, of the metropolitan bishop, and (3) the necrology (anniversaries of deaths of the clergy of the diocese) of the day. Thus, the anniversary for the dedication of a diocesan cathedral actually gets a double entry — as a feast throughout the diocese on the right page and as a solemnity in the cathedral itself on the left page. In practice, the ordos for several dioceses are generally published in a single volume, with applicable differences indicated by the initials of the diocese in parentheses after the entry.

      Now, even the proper calendars of the three ordinariates cannot be identical. I believe that there is a common list of saints of particular importance to the Anglican patrimony that forms the core of the proper calendars for all three ordinariates, but each ordinariate’s proper calendar probably elevates the feast of its principal patron, its titular feast, and the titular feast and, if applicable, the anniversary of the dedication of its principal church. However, these get fused with the proper calendars set by the national or regional conference of bishops — and each of the three ordinariates now operates in the territory of at least two such episcopal conferences, so and actually has a distinct ordo for each territory.

      Norm.

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    • Matt says:

      Mark C, it should be remembered that the feast of Corpus Christi predates the protestant revolt by a significant amount of time and was quite popular in England.

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  4. EPMS says:

    Was/Is the Corpus Christi procession at St Mary Magdalene’s on a Thursday?

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    • mahonchristopher says:

      I don’t know when they held them back then, but my comments about Corpus Christi aren’t so much about the date, but about the customs associated with it. As for date, Ascension Day seems the more important to not transfer because of its more directly Biblical and historical origins: that is, the date for the feast is an intrinsic part of its pattern in the life of our Lord and the foundation of the Church.

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  5. EPMS says:

    Corpus Christi is on a Thursday because it is the major celebration of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper which Maundy Thursday cannot entirely be.

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    • Rev22:17 says:

      That may be the reason for the original choice back in the thirteenth century, but I have not found it recorded in any documented history.

      For those who are interested, there’s a concise history of Corpus Christi on the “New Advent” web site. It appears that the first celebration of this feast occurred in 1247 and that it really did not become universal until a couple decades into the fourteenth century. Thus, it is a relatively recent innovation in popular piety.

      What’s especially interesting about this feast is the historical emphasis on processions through the streets. When it came into being, frequent reception of communion was not the normative practice of the laity — those who received communion four times per year were considered to be exceptionally devout! — and emphasis had shifted to eucharistic adoration and benediction, and to popular devotions, in lay piety because the linguistic barrier of the liturgy still being in Latin in most places foiled participation therein. The procession was simply another form of “ocular communion” whereby the majority of the laity would pause gaze on, and adore, Christ present in the sacrament as it passed by them on its way through the village.

      Norm.

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    • EPMS says:

      The scholars of Wikipedia support my explanation https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_Christi_(feast)

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  6. William Tighe says:

    The Feast of Corpus Christi was introduced into the Church of England at some point between 1318 and 1325. It was removed in 1548 as the Church of England was being frog-marched into Protestantism by the cabal of plunderers and heretics (Somerset, then Northumberland; and of course Cranmer) who ruled England under Edward VI). That it was removed in 1548 (or, for that matter, restored in 1980) is supremely irrelevant regarding its “Anglican Patrimony” status.

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  7. EPMS says:

    Looking around the internet I have seen many Ordinariate worship spaces with the Divine Mercy picture on display, many mentions of regular recitation of the Divine Mercy chaplet, many references to Divine Mercy Sunday. Was this a feature of any Anglican church any OCSP member grew up in? No. Ditto Knights of Columbus, or anything like them, I’m sure we could multiply examples. But we’re all Catholics together now. The Ordinariate is a buffet, not a prix fixe menu. Getting defensive about the Anglican way of doing things is an exercise in futility.

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    • Rev22:17 says:

      “Divine Mercy Sunday” was not exactly part of the spiritual heritage of most “cradle Catholics,” either. Pope John Paul II (papacy: 1978-2005) was the first pope to promote this devotion actively and, in the year 2000, officially assigned the title of “Divine Mercy Sunday” to the Second Sunday of Easter — but with no change to the liturgy for this day.

      And as to your comment about the ordinariate being a buffet, the same is true of the larger Catholic Church.

      Norm.

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    • Getting defensive may be futile, but being protective, unearthing, protecting, and passing on our Anglican patrimony certainly is not. Without a conscious effort to identify and preserve and promote that patrimony, a kind of entropy will set in and homogenize everything.

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