All Souls Day Continued

Following up on my previous post, what about priests who are obliged to celebrate both forms of the Mass on both days?

Canon 905 establishes that priests may celebrate only one Mass per day. Two exceptions are envisioned. Written into section 1 is the exception “in cases where the law permits him to celebrate or concelebrate more than once on the same day.” The law, in this case, would be GIRM, 3rd ed., no. 205 which includes Christmas Day (c) and All Souls Day (d), and which incorporates the rules regarding intentions and stipends for All Souls Day established by Incruentum altaris sacrificum. The other exception is found in section 2, which allows a local ordinary for a just cause to allow bination on all days and, if pastoral necessity requires, it trination on Sundays and holy days of obligation. The intention and stipends stemming from this exception are governed by can. 951.

A priest who is obliged to celebrate both forms of the Mass on the same day presumably has the faculty to binate and trinate per can. 905, §2. No priest is required to take advantage of the All Souls Day exception to can. 905, but if he does, he must follow the rules laid down by Incruentum altaris sacrificum. This is all the more true on All Souls Days that fall on Sunday when the priest already has the faculty to trinate on Sunday. A priest with this faculty may elect to trinate in virtue of the exception found in section 2 or in virtue of the exception found in section 1. If he chooses the latter, he must be free to apply one Mass to all the faithful departed and one for the Pope’s intentions. But if he is obliged to offer two Masses for specific intentions (which due to circumstances he cannot transfer to another day), it seems then that he cannot take advantage of the All Souls Day exception—although this has no practical effect on him because he may still offer a third Mass in virtue of the grant by his local ordinary for whatever intention he wish.

The same principles apply to Monday, November 3, All Souls Day (EF), if a priest is obliged to celebrate the OF of the Mass. Even if he was not free to apply his OF Mass for his own intentions, this does not disrupt the norms of Incruentum altaris sacrificum, which allowed for one stipend Mass for any intention. This priest would be free to say two more Masses that day, but only in the EF because only in the EF form is Monday All Souls Day. If a priest, however, is obliged to celebrate two Masses (OF) for specific donor intentions, it would seem correct that he be able to celebrate a third Mass that day. This is because his two OF Masses were in virtue of the sec. 2 exception to canon 905 and his third Mass would be in virtue of the sec. 1 exception, again, as long as he celebrates it in the EF. This third Mass would, of course, be without stipend and for either the Pope’s intentions or—perhaps more fittingly—for all the faithful departed.

Oh the complications that stem from having two out-of-synch calendars…

Three Masses on All Souls Day

This year November 2 (Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed) falls on a Sunday, and this leads to a peculiar situation, namely All Souls Day will be celebrated on two days all depending on which calendar one is using. In the Ordinary Form (OF) of the Roman Rite, according to the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Calendar and the General Roman Calendar, All Souls Day trumps the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (cf. Table of Liturgical Days, nn. 3 and 6). In the Extraordinary Form (EF), however, according to rubrics of the 1962 Roman Missal, the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost trumps All Souls Day (cf. Rubricae Generales, ch. III, no. 16 b), which then gets transferred to Monday, November 3rd. This difference in dates does not affect priests which celebrate exclusively only one form of the Roman Rite. However, for those priests who take advantage of Summorum Pontificum, does this repetition mean that he is allowed to celebrate three masses on All Souls Day both on Sunday and then again on Monday?

Originally, the celebration of three Masses on All Souls Day was a privilege granted by Benedict XIV to only priests living in lands controlled by the kings of Spain and Portugal. In the Apostolic Constitution Incruentum altaris sacrificium, Pope Benedict XV extended this to the entire Church. This constitution was incorporated into the provisions of 1917 CIC 806, §1. This permission, however, was not specifically included in the 1983 CIC and was not found in the first two editions of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and so it was an open question whether Benedict XV’s constitution applied to the Post-Conciliar Mass. (See CLSA Comm. 2, p. 1101 note 25 for the canonical situation prior the GIRM 3rd ed.) The third edition of the GIRM, however, clarified that the permission for trination on All Souls Day according to the norms of Incruentum altaris sacrificium applied also to the Ordinary Form (cf. GIRM 3rd ed., 204 d).

This brings us to the question posed above. Does a priest who celebrates OF and EF Masses get to celebrate three masses on both November 2 and November 3 of this year? I think the answer is yes. There can be little doubt that the celebration of Mass for the poor souls in Purgatory is a favorable concession by the Holy See to all priests. The fact that Incruentum altaris sacrificium restricts the priest to only one stipend and requires one Mass be said for the intention of all the Faithful Departed suggests the beneficiaries of this favor are the Poor Souls, not the priest himself. Following the well establish canonical principle that odious things be restricted and favorable things broadened (cf. Regula juris 15), it seems only right that this concession in favor of and for the benefit of the souls in Purgatory be enjoyed both on November 2 (OF) and November 3 (EF). “Broad interpretation is normative when the law is favorable.” (CLSA Comm. 2, p. 75).

It is important to remember, however, that the principle favores ampliandi, odia restringenda is an interpretive tool designed to help apply a law to circumstances not envisioned by the legislator and not a means to vitiate the law itself. It is clear that the legislator in both Incruentum altaris sacrificium and in the GIRM, 3rd ed., foresaw there being only one form of the Roman Rite in normative use. Neither could have predicted that there’d be two forms of the Roman Rite, equally legitimate and equally available to priests of the Roman Rite. Priests who, however, for whatever reason celebrate only one form of the Mass fit into the circumstances envisioned by Benedict XV and John Paul II. It would be contrary to the law, then, to suggest that even in these circumstances three Masses may be said on November 2 and November 3, because only one of those dates is All Souls Day for a one-form priest.

One might argue that because Incruentum altaris sacrificium is an exception to 1983 CIC 905, §1, it should be interpreted strictly per can. 18, which specifically states that laws “which […] contain an exception from the law are subject to strict interpretation.” Does this mean then that any exceptions written into the law should be applied to as narrow a situation as possible? It depends. Many canons contain an exception when “necessity” requires it. In some contexts the exception restricts a right, in others it is for the benefit of the faithful. Should one judge exceptions that impact a true good of the faithful like those that don’t? It seems proper that can. 18 should also be interpreted according the maxim favores ampliandi, odia restringenda, such that “favorale laws, even if they are exceptions to the rule, are subject not to strict but to broad interpretation” (CLSA Comm. 2, p. 76). So while one cannot expand the permission to trinate on All Souls Day to days that are not All Souls Day, it seems right to allow the permission to trinate on All Souls Day to apply to both days when All Souls Day occurs twice in a given year.