Rorate Caeli

20th century demotions for Saint Mary Magdalene

A multitude of customs and traditions were lost in the second half of the twentieth century.  The 1962 calendar today marks the third class feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, penitent, which the novus ordo calendar calls a "memorial" for Saint Mary Magdalene with no title after her name (unlike other saints' days). The 1969 missal also changed the Gospel of the Mass to remove the penitent woman references in Saint Luke's seventh chapter, verses 36-50, which concludes with our Lord proclaiming: "Thy faith has made thee safe; go in peace."

Even before the massive reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council, however, there were a host of changes under Pius XII and John XXIII, many of which might have been linked to Archbishop Annibale Bugnini.

One such changed involved the Credo in the Mass appointed for this feast day of Saint Mary Magdalene, penitent.  Here are excerpts from two popular English language handmissals from 1945, when the liturgical day was ranked as a double class feast:

"Her brother Lazarus, died in the island of Cyprus.  His body was brought to Constantinople by the Emperor Leo VI and laid in the Lazarion, (899).  The body of Mary, his sister, who according to a tradition dating from the Sixth Century, had been buried at Ephesus, was soon brought and laid beside him in the new sepulchral basilica of Byzantium.  The Greeks give to her the title of 'like unto an apostle' because she first announced to the world and to the apostles themselves the resurrection of the Lord.  For this reason the Credo is said in the Mass today, as in Masses of the apostles."
Father F.X. Lasance New Roman Missal
"Then, when like the spouse in the Canticle, she went to find where they had laid her Divine Spouse, Christ called her by her name, and gave her the mission of telling His disciples of His Resurrection. This is probably why the Credo is said today as in the Masses of the Apostles."
Saint Andrew Daily Missal

 Alas, the post-1945 reforms binding for the 1962 missal removed the Credo from the Mass for 22 July.

The irony, though, stands, where Saint Mary Magdalene -- revered by many Catholic liberals -- actually had more honor and splendor granted to her annual feast day Mass than after two rounds of mid-20th century liturgical liberalizations.