Saturday, 2 July 2011

Corpus Christi to return to Thursday?

Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera is the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments. When he signs a document on liturgy and gives an instruction, it is with the approval of the Pope and we must obey; when he opines, as in this case, we need to listen and observe that where we are going. Enough of this lazy Catholic idea of transferred feasts to Sunday. Let's not forget Ascension THURSDAY and Epiphany on JANUARY 6 and the Octave of Pentecost and Gesima Sundays. These could be returned to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite (of which he is speaking, with little trouble. There are already Mass texts in the Missal for the three Sundays which these feasts impose. The Octave of Pentecost and Gesima Sundays would require a little more adjustment to the Propers.

This from Zenit:

Liturgy Official Backs Return of Corpus Christi to Thursday

Notes Desire That Christians Proclaim Christ's Presence

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2011 ( The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments says he thinks the feast of Corpus Christi should be returned to its traditional Thursday celebration, to better highlight the link with Holy Thursday and show how Christ is the center of everything.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera spoke to Vatican Radio about the feast, celebrated in many countries last Sunday, but traditionally marked on the Thursday before, as it still is in Rome.

"I think that to exalt the feast of Corpus Christi on its own, separate from Sunday, would be a very joyful and very hopeful reality, which would mean saying to all people in mid week that Christ is truly the center of everything," he said.

Corpus Christi is lived as an obligatory day to attend Mass in countries where it is celebrated on Thursday, such as Mexico.

In countries where the feast is moved to the Sunday following, the celebration is combined with normal weekend Masses.

Shining more than the sun

Cardinal Canizares proposed that if the feast is lived intensely, even if on Sunday, the time will not be far off when "Corpus Christi will be celebrated again on Thursday, as it was historically, which evokes, in some way, Maundy Thursday."

The 65-year-old Spanish cardinal also referred to an adage that reflects the popular tradition in Spain of celebrating the feast of the Eucharist: "There are three Thursdays in the year that shine more than the sun: Corpus Christi, Maundy Thursday and Ascension Thursday."

In the majority of Spanish cities today the feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated on Sunday; the preceding Thursday is a working day.

However, some local churches, such as Toledo, Seville and Granada celebrated the feast on Thursday.

"My personal wish has been for a long time that we return to Corpus Christi Thursday," said the former archbishop of Toledo and primate of Spain.

For the cardinal, this feast means "to recognize that God is here." To go out in procession through the streets with the Most Holy Sacrament is an invitation to adore the Lord, a public confession of faith in him and an acknowledgment that to go "with the Lord is what truly matters for the renewal and transformation of society."

"It is a day of very great joy, especially in Spain," he recalled. The cardinal noted his hope that all Christians would proclaim "that Christ is present in the Eucharist, that Christ is with us."


Young Canadian RC Male said...

Well I'm kind of mixed on this one: Theoretically/theologically I say yes! Do it! Do not be cowardly to exert your power Vatican and clean up this mess!!!
However practically I think that this will make diddly squat of a difference. Most Catholics go infrequently or don't even go to Mass on Sundays anyways. So why should they, during the middle of the workweek go to Mass? And most of them don't even know what a day of obligation is in the Church calendar or have even read their catechism to that paragraph that states what the major holy days of obligation are. At least my mother knew and taught me the Canadian mandated (booo CCCB) holy days.

And one more issue exists too: Will the bishops pass notice of this document once made along to their dioceses, to make the priests aware of offering an evening mass to fulfill the obligation? Will priests comply or disobey those orders once they get word of this?

Anonymous said...

Moving it to a weekday (which inevitably means a WORK day) will guarantee that most of the lay faithful will never have an opportunity to observe the feast. Apart from the very small number of lay people who are single or retired, the rest of us are just too overwhelmed with work and family duties during the week to observe solemn feast days. It's the reality today.

How many families are able to make it to weekday liturgical events? One? Two? None? Especially given the long distances we need to drive to attend a dignified Mass ...

Vox Cantoris said...

Anonymous 10:03.

You make a good point and in fact, Pope Leo XXIII granted an "indult" to the Church in the United States to celebrate both Corpus Christi and Sacred Heart on the following Sundays as what were/are called "External Solemnities" for this very reason. America was, is of course, a hard secular state. Corpus Christi in Europe and Quebec was a holiday. In the rest of Canada the Mass was sometimes transferred to Sunday for what we would call today "pastoral reasons" even though the Indult did not apply here.

I remember a few years ago as Schola Master for the FSSP. Father was going do the Corpus Christi Mass on Sunday. Somebody actually complained (NOT ME) and he looked it up and admitted that he was about to commit a "liturgical abuse." Well, I'm not sure I'd go that far...

Our busy modern life is also the reason for the fewer Holy Days of Obligation and the transfer of Ascension and Epiphany. These two transfer are especially egregious as the days are on a liturgical clock, if you will, Corpus Christi not so much the same (though the day has a parallel to the Last Supper).

So, how can all these are at least Ascension and Epiphany return to their dates and meeting your needs where you are?

By every parish having an evening Mass on those days with full solemnity and adherence to the rubrics.

Just like they do on Sunday.



Anonymous said...

I don't see any reason why there could not be an evening Mass during the week, along with some instruction as to what a Holy Day of Obligation is. Most people have no idea what that even means anymore.

And one must also remember that the "pastoral reason" for the change is pretty much no longer valid given the great number of people who actually have to work on Sundays these days.

Anonymous said...

We are too busy? Hogwash! Where I come from (Eastern Europe) the holy days of obligations are observed and churches are full (e.g. be prepare to stand if you do not come extra early). And believe me people over there generally work harder and longer hours. So the hard truth is that most Catholics in Canada would not come because it would not be CONVENIENT.