CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
Note for the presentation of the Decree Cum sanctissima
on the liturgical celebration in honour of Saints
in the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite
With the Decree Cum sanctissima of 22 February 2020, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which since January 2019 deals with those matters formerly assigned to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, completed the work initiated several years earlier by that Commission in order to fulfill the mandate given by Pope Benedict XVI to facilitate the celebration of more recently canonized Saints according to the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite. Indeed, since the Sanctoral of the forma extraordinaria is determined by the liturgical books in force in 1962, Saints canonized thereafter were not included therein.
The studies carried out in order to develop a practical solution for the liturgical celebration of more recent Saints in the Usus Antiquior provided an opportunity to address the many issues that this matter raises, such as the density of the existing calendar (particularly as regards III class feasts), the consideration of all the repercussions of any potential changes, the always preferable consistency between Mass and the Divine Office, and the matter of the liturgical texts to be used.
In this context, it appeared that rather than dealing with this or that more recent Saint, it would be more appropriate to lay down a general principle that would enable, within the general rubrical context of the forma extraordinaria, and when the liturgical day permits, the celebration of any Saint canonized after the 1960s, on the date of their proper feast.
Specifically, the Decree broadens the scope of missæ festivæ latiore sensu referred to in n. 302-c of the Rubricæ Generales Missalis Romani (which hitherto only applied to IV class days), to a number of III class feasts and to III class vigils (cf. Decree, n. 1). It is therefore clear that the new provisions will not in any way affect other celebrations, and in particular those of the I or II classes. In addition, the Decree specifies that missæ festivæ latiore sensu may be celebrated in honour of Saints canonized after 26 July 1960 (which is the date of the last amendment to the Martyrology of the forma extraordinaria), on their respective liturgical feast day (n. 2).
With this principle in mind, the other provisions of the Decree give the necessary indications that derive therefrom, such as the applicability to the Divine Office, which in such a case is to be celebrated in full in honour of the Saint (n. 3), the requirement to make a commemoration of potentially occurring III class feasts, as the case may be (n. 4), and the rules relating to the selection of the liturgical texts to be used (n. 5). Regarding this particular point, one should note the three successive sources from which texts are to be drawn, namely in the first place the Proprium Sanctorum pro aliquibus locis which already exists in the Missal of the forma extraordinaria, secondly a special Supplement to be published by the Holy See in the future, and finally, should the two former sources be lacking, the existing Commune Sanctorum.
It is noteworthy that the celebration of more recent Saints pursuant to the new provisions is a mere possibility, and therefore it remains optional. Accordingly, those who wish to continue to celebrate the Saints according to the existing calendar of the forma extraordinaria as it appears in the liturgical books, remain free to do so. In relation to this, one should be reminded that the existence of optional feasts in honour of the Saints is not a complete novelty in the Roman Rite, given that throughout the post-tridentine period, and up till the rubrical reform carried out by Pope St. Pius X, the calendar included no less that twenty-five such so-called ad libitum feasts.
The new Decree also opens a further possibility for cases in which whilst following the existing calendar, one wishes at the same time to honour eventual other occurring Saints. Specifically, according to n. 6 of the Decree, an ad libitum commemoration of an occurring Saint may be made, if said Saint appears in the Proprium pro aliquibus locis or in the future special Supplement.
In choosing whether or not to make use of the provisions of the Decree in liturgical celebrations in honour of the Saints, the celebrant is expected to make use of good pastoral common sense. As regards the particular case of celebrations in Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, n. 7 of the Decree provides some useful clarification.
The Decree concludes (n. 8) with reference to a list of seventy III class feasts that may never be impeded by its provisions. This list, which is provided as an annex, reflects the particular importance of the feasts in question, on the basis of precise criteria, e.g. the importance of these respective Saints in the Plan of Salvation or in the history of the Church, their importance in terms of either the devotion they have generated or their writings, or the antiquity of their worship in Rome.
 Cf. Francis, Apostolic Letter in the form of Motu Proprio on the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, 17 January 2019.
 “New Saints (…) can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the Usus Antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard”: Benedict XVI, Letter to the Bishops on the occasion of the publication of the Apostolic Letter “Motu Proprio Data” Summorum Pontificum on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the reform of 1970, AAS 99 (2007) 798. This mandate was further confirmed and completed in 2011 by the Instruction Universæ Ecclesiæ of the same Pontifical Commission: cf. Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, Instruction on the Application of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of His Holiness Benedict XVI given Motu Proprio, n. 25, AAS 103 (2011) 418.
 In fact there is only one such III class vigil in the calendar of the forma extraordinaria, namely that of St. Lawrence on 9 August. On this subject one may be reminded that from 1568 until the Codex Rubricarum of 1960, non-privileged vigils such as that of St. Lawrence were of the simplex rite, and accordingly, when they fell in occurrence with a semiduplex or duplex feast of a Saint, that feast would prevail over the vigil. With the reform enacted under St. Pius X in 1911-1914, in non-conventual Masses the celebrant could, in certain cases, choose between the Mass of the occurring Saint or the Mass of the vigil (cr. Additiones et variationes in rubricis Missalis, n. 1).
Friday, May 1, 2020
Press Release: CDF Decrees on new Prefaces and Saints for the Extraordinary Form - From the President and Officers of the FIUV
26th March 2020
Yesterday the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), now exercising the functions of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has issued two decrees, one on Prefaces to be added to the 1962 Missal (), and the other on the possibility of saints, canonised since 1962 to have Masses celebrated in their honour (). (English summary here.)
The Federation was consulted on both issues, and we would like to thank the CDF for taking the views of our members into account in developing these decrees.
The Federation welcomes in particular the possibility of making a liturgical commemoration of saints canonised since 1962, without excessive disruption to the Sanctoral Calendar as it has come down to us. We wish, however, to issue some notes of caution.
On Prefaces, we note that the Note presenting the decree explains that while three of the seven newly permitted Prefaces are of the ‘Neo-Gallican’ tradition (of 18th century French origin), the other four are Prefaces used in the Ordinary Form, though not composed from scratch for the reformed Mass: ‘their central section(s), known as the “embolism”, appear in ancient liturgical sources’.
This implies that these ancient Prefaces have been adapted for use in the Ordinary Form, a process which makes them conform less, rather than more, with the spirit of the Extraordinary Form. If the value of these Prefaces lies in their antiquity, it is not clear what is to be gained by their being used in the Extraordinary Form in a redaction designed to make them conform to the themes and preferences of the Ordinary Form.
Further, we would like to appeal to priests celebrating the Extraordinary Form to bear in mind the great antiquity, theological importance, and centrality to the ancient Roman liturgical tradition, of the Preface of Trinity Sunday, and the Common Preface, whose use would become less frequent if the newly optional Prefaces were systematically employed. These two Prefaces have been of such centrality to the celebration of ancient Mass up to this point, that to downgrade them to mere options among others would be to make a fundamental change in the balance of texts and theological ideas which the Missal presents to the Faithful over the course of the year.
On the Saints, we note the list of saints celebrated as 3rd Class feasts, whose celebration remains obligatory. We recognise that in order to make possible the celebration of the new saints room must somehow be made for them, and we endorse the method proposed. We have reservations, however, about the composition of this list.
We note with particular dismay that the only male lay saints on the list are SS Cosmas and Damian: this seems an omission in need of correction, particularly as the excluded category include men central to the development of their countries: St Louis of France, St Stephen of Hungary, St Henry the Emperor of Germany, St Edward the Confessor of England, and St Wenceslas of Bohemia, outstanding examples of the vocation of the laity to ‘to penetrate and perfect the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel’.
Also completely absent are female founders of religious orders, such as St Angela Merici, St Juliana of Falconieri, and St Jane Francis de Chantal.
Although we are pleased to see two widows on the list—St Monica and St Francis of Rome— it would seem in general that non-clerical vocations, of the active or the religious life, which are richly represented in the ancient sanctoral calendar, have been set aside as of marginal importance.
Another category poorly represented on the list are Doctors of the Church. Some of the highest importance have been excluded: St Isidore, St John Damascene, St Bede, and St Irenaeus.
The imbalance represented by the list of obligatory saints appears to have been inherited from the list of non-optional Memorials found in the sanctoral cycle of the Ordinary Form, which it closely resembles. The lack of interest in the lay vocation and in the Doctors of the Church shown by the reformers of the 1960s should not be allowed to distort the presentation of the Church’s great patrimony of saints in celebrations of the Extraordinary Form today.
In choosing when to avail themselves of the option to celebrate newly canonised saints, we would like to appeal to priests celebrating the Extraordinary Form to consider carefully the balance of the categories of the saints, the importance of maintaining the connection to the distant past represented by the most ancient saints, and the value of the Marian devotional feasts also now rendered optional, such as Our Lady of Lourdes and the Presentation of Mary.
As an indication of feasts which we regard as particularly worthy of continued celebration, we give the following, non-exhaustive, list.
14/01 St Hilary
10/02 St Scholastica
11/02 Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (of Lourdes)
17/03 St Patrick
18/03 St Cyril of Jerusalem
27/03 St John Damascene
4/04 St Isidore
27/05 St Bede
3/07 St Irenaeus
15/07 St Henry, Emperor
25/08 St Louis, King
30/08 St Rose of Lima
2/09 St Stephen, King
28/09 St Wenceslas, Duke and Martyr
8/10 St Bridget, Widow
13/10 St Edward, King
24/10 St Rafael the Archangel
15/11 St Albert the Great
21/11 Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
25/11 St Catherine of Alexandria
 Second Vatican Council Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam actuositatem 5
We will start the first part of these articles with the latest developments concerning the Tridentine Mass.
Pope Francis has now taken a major new step concerning the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Mass and the motu proprio Summorum pontificum issued by Benedict XVI. Pope Francis has sent two letters to all the Bishops of the world pertaining to Summorum Pontificum to ask a number of questions. The bishops are directed to respond to the questionnaire of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith by 31 July 2020.
The worrying issue is related to the fact that many bishops are hostile to the traditional Latin Mass. Therefore their responses are expected to be almost universally hostile to the Tridentine Mass. If one looks at the Maltese dioceses, the situation is that the Tridentine Mass is only allowed in one small church in Malta every Sunday. This has meant that other priests in Malta are de facto prohibited from celebrating the Tridentine Mass in public. Even though in some occasions more than 100 persons attended Tridentine Masses organised by Pro Tridentina (Malta) when a fully functioning committee was in place. In Gozo, the situation is even worse, because the Tridentine Mass is not allowed at all!
This could provide a pretext for the Pope to come to the conclusion that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Mass has not been widely or well received and that, therefore, Summorum Pontificum and its permissions will be abolished.
Such a development may come into effect this Advent or the Advent of 2021. Presumably the Tridentine Mass will revert to the status given to it in 1984 and 1988 by Saint Pope John Paul II.
Having said that, it's the opinion of this Blog that the provisions of Summorum Pontificum will be retained as the second and third parts will show.