Wednesday, 29 October 2014

All Souls Sunday - A Conflicted "Commemoration"

As you no doubt know, November 2 is the date on which falls the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed -- or All Souls. This is the Church Suffering in Purgatory. Yes, there is a purgatory and yes, those in purgatory will one day enter the beatific vision of Heaven; one might describe it as the Mudroom of Heaven. We are saved by Christ and His blood atonement and we are "washed in the blood of the Lamb" and notwithstanding those that say "we have a reasonable hope that there is nobody, or very few, in Hell" this is simply not true. There is a Heaven and a Hell and for those of us who through God's mercy and His grace, merit heaven, there is place of purification, of purgation. This is what the Church has taught, it is part of our Sacred Tradition and it is found in Sacred Scripture and to say otherwise is error and heresy.

According to the traditional calendar last revised in 1962 with the Missal of St. John XXIII, the Commemoration is transferred to November 3. Note that this is a "Commemoration" it is not a First Class or Second Class Feast as in the Johannine Missal nor is it a Solemnity, Feast, Memorial or Optional Memorial as in the Pauline Missal, -- the Missal of Bl. Paul VI of 1969. In fact, it has "no assigned rank" -- more about this absurdity later.

Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite

Why is the Commemoration transferred off of the Sunday to November 3 according to the traditional calendar? 

First, it is a Requiem Mass, a Mass of Rest for the all the faithful departed, it is very close to enactment of a funeral and we don't do funerals on Sunday! The liturgical chants are that of a Requiem Funeral Mass as are most of the prayers though there are variances in these and the Readings as no body is present and it is for "all the faithful departed." The basic liturgical norms, however, apply -- black vestments, no Gloria or Credo, the Dies Irae sequence, the catafalque prayers with some minor modification from the funeral. The fact that it is a Commemoration which by its nature cannot outrank the Lord's Day a complete irony. Funerals are not permitted on a Sunday, nor are black vestments and the Gloria and Credo are always sung when the vestments are not violet. 

Simple, eh? Sunday is Sunday and we have our Requiem on Monday.


Then came along Annibale Bugnini and the liturgical destructionists who put before the recent Blessed Pope a series of conflicted and destructive documents. As has been told, Bugnini would go to him and say "Holy Father, the Concilium has decided this" and he would agree. Then some from the Concilium would come to him and say "Why did you agree to this" and he would reply, "Because Bugnini said you wanted it!" What a mess the poor man had on his hands, not unlike today. He was manipulated and deceived and for reasons known only to him and the Lord, he could not or would not take control of it. He "wept" over the loss of the Octave of Pentecost and most of us have been weeping ever since. 

Now, after that little diatribe, back to the matter at hand. 

Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite

The absurdity in the Pauline Calendar is that a "Commemoration" which according to the Canadian Ordo calendar has "no assigned rank" actually outranks a Solemnity which is what every Sunday happens to be! When another Solemnity falls on a Sunday, -- Epiphany, Ascension and Corpus Christi being ridiculously transferred off their proper date of January 6 and 40 days after the Resurrection and Thursday, or as we have seen this year, Candlemas and Holy Cross as well as Sts. Peter and Paul, the Birth of St. John the Baptist, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and All Saints, these Solemnities are celebrated on Sunday rather than the normal Sunday Propers (readings and prayers). These Solemnities (mostly old Holy Days of Obligation somewhere) took precedence in both the old and new over the Sunday texts and sequential day. In the Extraordinary Form it includes Immaculate Conception when on a Sunday as in 2013 which is actually a Solemnity transferred off of Sunday in the current calendar as it was last year as we can't replace an Advent Sunday in the new. 

There, are you confused yet?

How then is it possible for a Commemoration of "no assigned rank" to ever displace a Solemnity of any kind, let alone a Feast a Memorial or an Optional Memorial! 

Want more?
A priest in both Forms is permitted to say three Masses of All Souls, each with its own readings and propers, (the antiphons/psalms are consistent in the EF, varied in the OF, because we can). How does this affect a Sunday? If the parish has three Masses, does he do one of each? What if it has only one? Does he add two?


How do you have a Sunday which is a Solemnity outside of Advent or Lent without a Gloria or Credo? It is not part of the Commemoration of All Souls. 

Well, not in Canada. In its usual tentanda via, the Canadian Ordo specifies a Gloria and Credo even though the Universal Ordo does not, it is silent. Actually, I think the Canadian bishops are right on this. How can you have a Sunday outside of Advent and Lent without a Gloria and Credo? It simply points out more the absurdity of All Souls on a Sunday.

What of the vestments?

We have a green Sunday in Ordinary Time, that is usually a Solemnity and now is a Commemoration, Though it is Sunday and it is absurd to wear black! The Canadian Ordo normally states for All Souls, White, Violet or Black vestments; this year, black is left out -- I can't believe I am admitting this, they are right -- black vestments are not a Sunday colour, in fact, it is the absence of all colour.

So, what of violet, or purple? Well, it is penitential and some choose to wear it on All Souls, though I would say it is worse than wearing white because All Souls is not about our penance as in Advent or Lent or Vigils (as in the EF) but it is about the suffering souls, black is obvious. Since 1965 though, white has been the overwhelmingly predominant colour for funerals and it is the norm generally now throughout, though black is always the norm the EF. 

So what colour to wear then on Sunday, white or purple?

Far be it from me to advise any priest but it would seem to me that if one is singing the Gloria and Credo then one is not wearing violet!

A further note, the Requiem can still exists in the OF but you have to open the chant books to find it. A funeral could have the proper antiphons, Requiem aeternam, Requiem, Absolve, the mournful Offertory Domine Jesu, and the Lux aeterna. The Dies Irae was summoned off to the Liturgy of the Hours but one could chant it as prelude or communion "hymn". This could also be the case for this Sunday - absurd.


The reforms were so determined to trim all additions to the calendar and all things that took away, in their minds, from Sunday. Even in the Ordo a few years ago when Assumption fell on Sunday we were cautioned not to make too much of Mary, as it is the Lord's Day. Yet, here we have a simple Mass of Commemoration that actually displaces the Sunday! It is absurd, no? Well, let us ask why or at least try to determine, their rationale. It will be argued that it is suitable to do this on Sunday because Sunday is the Lord's Day, the Day of the Resurrection. While the funeral Mass is properly referred to now as the Mass of Christian Burial, many priests and liturgical nazis refer to it as the "Mass of the Resurrection" which is of course, Easter Sunday's proper liturgical name. White is the colour because there is no Hell, or if there is, nobody really goes there and there really is no purgatory. "Good old Uncle Buck, he's now playing golf on the heavenly green, just like he did every Sunday instead of being at Mass." Recently we've been told as well, that people don't need to "convert" and we are not to "proselytise" and people should be true to all of their other religions. We can see now why this confusion which Michael Voris speaks about was so rampant at the Synod and even stems from the top. Those Cardinals, bishops and priests were formed in this heretical and protestant ethic that invaded the seminaries of the 1940's onward. They did away with black because it made us think of death. They got rid of the Dies Irae because it was scary and not pleasant

They changed our beliefs without changing doctrine and they did it through pastoral means, through a change in the liturgy and then an abuse of it to be even more pastoral. Sound familiar? Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi!

Annibale Bugnini said that it would take two generations to rid the Church of the traditional liturgy. He was right, but something happened. Along came two men that would ensure that that situation would never happen. One was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (and this writer firmly believes that one day, it may be a century from now, this holy man will be exonerated and raised to the Altars notwithstanding what in the fullness of time, I believe will be considered, holy disobedience. The second happened on the 7th day of July in 2007 with Benedict XVI gloriously reigning and that was the promulgation into law of his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum!

What do we do?

It is clear to me that those who put this together must also have struggled with this. They must have recognised that Sunday must take precedence which is why there is a Gloria nad Credo called for; so we sing or recite the Gloria and Credo, we try to do sing the Propers, at least at Holy Communion and if we are selecting hymns, let them be appropriate to what we are doing. CanticaNova is a great place to begin. If we do anything, we follow the norms and in Canada that means we follow what the Ordo states. If we do not, then we are guilty of doing what the liturgical destructionists have long done. We follow the rules and we seek a better way out of this and that is coming, notwithstanding, and it begins below.

Saturday is All Saints Day. At 11:00 I will chant the Mass for the Feast in the Extraordinary Form (see below) and then at 5:00, I will chant an Ordinary Form Mass of the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed and sing the Gloria and Creed. I will be psychologically conflicted but I'll get over it and will offer it up for the Holy Souls. On Sunday, I can return to sanity after a two-hour drive two dioceses away to sing the XXI Sunday after Pentecost and mercifully on Monday, November 3; a proper Requiem Mass for the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.

Someday, a Pope will fix this mess.

In the meantime, we carry on and we seek out the truth and beauty of that which came before even whilst we labour in the vineyard where we have been placed.

1 comment:

Brian said...

....On Sunday, I can return to sanity after a two-hour drive two dioceses away to sing the XXI Sunday after Pentecost....

And those of us who attend this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are very grateful, to you, for your dedication and commitment