Rorate Caeli

Traditional Mass for All Souls on Sunday? Possible

The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" responded to a question sent by an Italian layman on whether the Requiem Mass for Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed could be celebrated on a Sunday (as Nov. 2 fell on a Sunday this year), also considering the circumstances that the choir and musicians which would perform Mozart's Requiem during the Mass would only be able to be present on Sunday. The letter, dated Sep. 22, 2008, and signed by Mons. Camille Perl, Vice-President of the Commission, said that the celebration of the Mass for All Souls was possible on a Sunday. Perl affirmed that, "It seems logical to me that the celebration of the 'Commemoratio omnium Fidelium Defunctorum' be common for both forms of the Roman Rite".

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  1. First, congratulations to the gentleman whose initiative it was to organize a liturgical performance of the Mozart Requiem, and who was conscientious enough to ask for an indult to do it on the Sunday.

    That said, this is a very unfortunate precedent, which yet again raises a question that I have often pointed out before. What exactly are the powers of the Commission to regulate the traditional liturgy? Its original published faculties from 1988 contain no such powers, and yet it behaved for years as though it was authorized to grant dispensations from the rubrics. "Summorum pontificum" states that the Commission may be given further powers, but so far we have no reason to believe that this has happened.

    And yet Mgr. Perl continues to behave as though he can freely authorize departures from liturgical law in accordance with what "seems logical to him". Since what seems logical to him is the opposite of what the rubrics of the extraordinary form require, but the same as what the ordinary form requires, we have another example of the homogenizing drift which always seems to be away from the traditional norm.

    The real problem here is not that the Commission is ultimately contemplating some reconciliation of the Calendars. That would eventually be a good thing. The problem is that it's being done piecemeal on the whims of individuals who view the traditional liturgy largely from the outside, and without the detailed knowledge and sensibility that comes from experiencing it as a lived reality over years, combined with serious study. The officials of the Congregation of Rites used to provide that kind of expertise, and there are plenty of priests who could do likewise now.

  2. Anonymous4:53 PM

    Cerimoniere makes important points about 'unfortunate precedent'. After all, the rubrics of the Missale and Breviarium are clear: the Commemoration of the Faithful cannot occur on a Sunday. Sometimes PCED seems to make decisions rather... um... whimsically?

  3. Anonymous5:45 PM

    Monsignor Perl's response possibly takes into account that the United Kingdom (and perhaps other countries of the Commonwealth or old Empire) had the privilege of offering Requiem Mass on the 1st Sunday in November to commemorate the fallen in war. It is therefore, at least in the United Kingdom, not a new thing to have the Requiem Mass on the first Sunday in November.

  4. Anonymous6:01 PM

    (someone feel free to delete this and my comment above, please; I have been reliably informed this is a kind of "external solemnity" type thing, as with Corpus Christi transferred, etc.)

  5. Actually, knowing Msgr. Perl personally, I would suggest that his efforts here are deliberate. He is NOT a friend of the Traditional Liturgy, and his end goal has always been to reintegrate the "integrists" into the Novus Ordo. He is ever ready to undermine the integrity of the Traditional Roman Rite, and slow to ackowledge that Rite's prerogatives.

  6. Anonymous6:41 PM

    All Souls is a requiem. You can't say a requiem on Sunday. End of story.

  7. Anonymous7:45 PM

    I am skeptical, largely because celebrating the feast of All Souls on a Sunday is without precedent and flies in the face of a millenial tradition that dates back befire the Messiah: ask an observent Jew whether a day can be simulateously one of feast and fast and he will laugh. This is one bit of idiocy the Novus Ordo calendar should be spared.

  8. Mark: There is no such thing as an external solemnity of All Souls' Day within the rubrics. Apart from anything else, only feasts may have an external solemnity, and All Souls' Day is not a feast.

    Fr. Michael Mary: The indult for a Requiem for the war dead in Britain and elsewhere is for Remembrance Sunday, which is the second Sunday of November, not the first. The issue is not whether a Requiem Mass can take place on a Sunday, even on a Sunday in November. Exceptionally, this can happen.

    The issue is that the Commission is encouraging variations in the traditional calendar to conform to the new calendar; not as an exception, but generally. This is parallel to the response given to the English hierarchy over the transfer of Days of Obligation to the Sunday. It creates an odd kind of new external solemnity, which only serves to encourage the dissolution of the traditional liturgical year in the minds of the people. That is exactly the opposite of what we should all be working for, and I believe it is contrary to the effect the Holy Father intends to be the wider availability of the traditional liturgy to be.

  9. The PCED is staffed with people who have no interest or even the slightest affinity for the traditional liturgy: Pearl, Calkins, etc.

    It is high time that someone from Una Voce writes a polite and firm letter to Mgr. Pearl and say that any dilution of the traditional liturgy, to cover up for the liturgical deform, will be resisted.

  10. As I was hinting earlier, I also believe the problem lies largely with the staff of the Commission, particularly in these matters of detail.

    One of the great unmentioned issues of the moment is that Cardinal Castrillon is now less than seven months from his eightieth birthday. Much may depend on the identity of his successor as President.

  11. Anonymous7:31 AM

    Cardinal Castrillon had little regard for the tradtional luturgy when he spoke to the newly ordained FSSP priests and asked them to concelebrate. I asked a FSSP priest about this and he responded by saying that Cardinal Castrillon is a product of the NO and will always ask such things and the FSSP will always resist such things.

    God help us.

  12. Anonymous8:06 AM

    I note that all presidents the PCED has ever had have continued in office past their 80th birthdays,each by a longer period than the last.It may well be that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos will continue this tradition,though he was the first not to have retired from a Curial Prefecture at 75 before taking the position to begin with.

  13. Anonymous8:40 AM


    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the rubrics actually allowed an "external solemnity", but rather that the two things were similar. That is to say that - in this situation - All Souls would actually be November 3rd, but a Mass of All Souls may be celebrated Novemberf 2nd. I'm not explaining myself well!

  14. Louis E: Each President of the Commission has been replaced when he was eighty years old. I don't see any reason to doubt that Cardinal Castrillon will be also. I would imagine that the Holy Father has devoted considerable thought to the question of his replacement.

    Mark: Understood. It does indeed represent a strange extension of the external solemnity idea.

  15. Anonymous11:33 AM

    Can some one post the letter from PCED so that it can be pinted out, or read?

  16. Anonymous5:29 AM

    Mgr Perl says: "It seems logical to me that the celebration of the 'Commemoratio omnium Fidelium Defunctorum' be common for both forms of the Roman Rite."

    Therefore, it follows that we should move the Novus Ordo celebration to the MONDAY, so that it may be on the same day in both forms!

    (Likewise, we should move Epiphany back to Jan. 6, Ascension Thursday Sunday back to Thursday, etc., etc. What's the point of Summorum Pontificum if the N.O. influences the TLM but not vice versa?)


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