Friday, June 6, 2008

Vicariate Apostolic of Mars

I am grateful to the inestimable (not to say unidentifiable) cœtus behind Coo-ees from the Cloister for noising abroad news of the Papal erection - of the Vicariate Apostolic of Mars of the Latins...

As I have suggested to them, it is of course most necessary speedily to give succour to any Martian natives or intending settlers dying of thirst and inanition for want of the one thing necessary: liturgical books.

Mars, as all men know, has a year of 668.6 sols (Martian days), and hence, as the good guys at NASA suggest, the most appropriate calendar for the planet is one of years alternating in length between either 95 or 96 weeks. This means that the calendar is perpetual, with the same day of the week falling on the same date ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.

(Remember: on Mars, June hath 10 weeks; April, May and July each hath 9; March and September, 8; January, February, October, November, 7; December hath 6; while in even years, August hath 8, but in odd years, 9. A prize to anyone who can versify this!)

Since over 70 weeks of Ordinary Time manifestly would cause insuperable psychological difficulties, and encourage the growth of atheism, it is agreed that only the Missal and Breviary of the Extraordinary Form, supplemented with extra feasts and fasts, can plug the present lamentable gap in Martian spiritual life.

Indeed, a moment's consideration will shew that many Traditionalists are all-too-adapted to life in outer space; indeed, some may as well be living on Mars already.

(To avoid any confusion: Traditionalists are from Mars, Modernists are from Venus. The latter is, after all, a planet closely resembling Hell.)

The skeleton of the Martian calendar reform needed to be applied to Missal and Breviary is as followeth.

First, as Vatican II permitted, it will be well to fix the date of Easter on Mars to a given Sunday there, since else the date, if tied to the Earthly, would wander all through the year, causing endless confusion (after all, what to do when Christmas and Easter coincide?).

Second, since the day and date always coincide, the first of each month always being a Sunday and so forth, all feasts of saints shall be permanently assigned to weekdays, as St Pius X's reforms clearly intended to keep Sundays free for, well, Sundays.

For utterly the same reason, all Saturdays shall be at the least commemorations of Our Lady, if not Marian feasts.

The season of Lent shall likewise, as recent Papal reforms have indicated, be kept free of saints' days.

These measures still leave over 440 days free for Mass and Office of saints: an increase over the allowance for them at present, and making possible the feasting of many obscure figures, to the joy of their votaries and clients on all worlds.

It will be well, in order to fill in the time, to extend Advent (as in the Ambrosian Rite) to six full weeks before the Solemnity of Our Lord's Temporal Nativity.

For much the same reason, Christmastide shall last a full forty days until Candlemas; ransacking of liturgical books shall provide suitable Propers.

Septuagesimatide, Lent, and the Paschal Season (including Whitsuntide) remaining the same - but for the fixing of Easter Day - there shall be the restoration (as in the Carmelite Rite) of the Octave or rather Triduum of the Trinity, but Wednesday before Corpus Christi shall be made the Vigil of the latter. The Octaves of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart shall likewise be restored, and the first three Sundays and weeks after Pentecost moved wholesale until after the end of the last such Octave, pushing back all the post-Pentecost green season.

Since the great length of the Martian year will still not be filled up, recourse is to be had to the Ambrosian Rite to provide extra Proper Sunday Masses.

Many cœtûs are even now convening to begin this valuable work, an offworld presage of the Reform of the Reform - that is to be, as is the only sensible and organic option, a supplementation, not a destruction, of the classical terrestrial liturgy of Rome.

It is anticipated that these liturgical forms will be available online, to save valuable space and mass on interplanetary vessels.

Finally: beware! An heretical sect trumpeting itself as the Universal Church of Mars is already active! Let Catholics crusade against such wickedness!


Anonymous said...

HAH! This reminds me of A Canticle for Leibowitz intensely.

Now, humour aside, if you were left in charge of the Roman calendar, what would you do to it?

I would use the '62 or '55 Calendar as a base structure and then add all Solemnities and Feasts occurring within the novus ordo Missae of 2002 are to be added, in situations where they do not conflict with feasts of a greater liturgical rank.

Then I would expunge all Solemnities and Feasts which were deprecated in the 1962 Missale Romanum, but put back those done away with after Vatican II (c.f. Mediator Dei, n. 59). I would also make sure Epiphanytide and Whitsuntide were retained, as well as mandating the practice of observing Ember Days.

Last but not least (bored yet?), it would be good to make reference to scholars of the Eastern Orthodox Churches in order to create a firmer link with the history of the Church in both east and west, and to create a common, harmonised calendar.

Actually, do you have my email address? I had a blog idea that this post goes VERY well with! ;-)

Joshua said...

Thanks, Mark!

After my burst of creativity, I'll have to give further calendar reform a bit more time to consider...

No, I don't have that email - as you can find from my profile, I can be reached via

friar.erstwhile - then "at" -

David said...

What an excellent proposal!

Mark, I too was reminded of Leibowitz.

Fr Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. said...

However you organize the calendar, please don't leave out the great Redemptorist saints and beati who have not made the GRC: Clement Mary Hofbauer, Gerard Majella, John Neumann, Peter Donders, Gaspar Stanggassinger, Gennaro Sarnelli, Francis Seelos, Domincik Trcka, Ivan Ziatyk, Nicholas Charnetsky, Basil Velychlkovskyi, and Zynovij Kovalyk. And there will be more raised to the altars, God willing.

Surely with so many days to fill they can all be receive their due.

Joshua said...

Indeed, Fr! I was blessed to make two retreats at St Clement's, Galong, a Redemptorist monastery and former minor seminary about 100km further inland from Canberra (, and there saw many images and relics of Redemptorist saints: it was there I learned about the redoubtable St Clement Mary Hofbauer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joshua. I've just emailed you!

By the way, I might need some Breviary help... specifically (and you can email if you like), my question is how does one work out the matins readings if it is a plain feria?

Joshua said...

OK, Mark:

Last week, Tuesday the 3rd of June was a feria.

Obviously, the nine (portions of) psalms of Matins were those appointed for Tuesday in the Psalter (i.e. Pss 34 i-iii, 36 i-iii, 37 i-ii, and 38), where too you would have found the Invitatory Antiphon (Jubilemus Deo...), the Hymn (Consors paterni luminis...), and the Versicle (Deus ne sileas...) after the end of the psalmody.

In the Ordinary of the Office, which you would have used to read the opening psalm Venite, you would find the Pater noster to be said after the Versicle.

Now, a feria has only 3 Lessons, all of them from the Scripture. Hence, you next look in the Ordinary and see that the correct Absolution (really, a short prayer after the Pater noster) to read is that for Feria III (which is Church Latin for Tuesday): Ipsius pietas...

The blessings to be read before each lesson will be the same as those appointed for the 2nd Nocturn (if it had been a day with 3 Nocturns totalling 9 Lessons): Deus Pater... ; Christus perpetuae...; and Ignem sui...

All this leads up to the Lessons.

Having been to Mass on the Sunday before the Tuesday, you would have known that it was the 3rd after Pentecost.

Therefore, the Lessons come from "within the 3rd week after the octave of Pentecost" (Infra. hebd. III post oct. Pentecostes), and obviously are those for Feria III (Tuesday).

These Lessons, with their responsories, are therefore from the first book of Kings (De libro primo Regum), which is the same as I Samuel in modern English Bibles:

Lectio i - I Kings (I Samuel) 12:1-5 "Dixit autem Samuel..."
Resp. i - Domine, si conversus...

Lectio ii - I K (I Sam) 12:6-9 "Et ait Samuel..."
Resp. ii - Factum est...

Lectio iii - I K (I Sam) 12:10-14 "Postea autem..."
Resp. iii - Ego te tuli...

Remember, you end each lesson by saying "Tu autem Domine, miserere nobis. Deo gratias."

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

It does indeed!

I caught Fra' Freddie after Mass, and he said exactly the same. :)