Bishops’ Conference November 2017 – Magnum Principium

The Bishops at the November 2017 plenary meeting made the following statement:

The Bishops’ Conference welcomes the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio Magnum Principium and the affirmation of the role of the Bishops’ Conference in the oversight of the Liturgy.

We are grateful to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the guidance it has given to Conferences of Bishops that the Motu Proprio concerns future liturgical translations and cannot be applied retroactively. We look forward to the further assistance of the Congregation in its implementation.

We will continue to work with ICEL in preparation of the translations of the liturgical books so that the “sense of the original text is fully and faithfully rendered” and that the translations “always illuminate the unity of the Roman Rite”.

The Bishops’ Conference also approved the ICEL Grey book translation of Liturgy of the Hours: Lent & Easter.

See Catholic News for further Bishops’ Conference resolutions

Holydays of Obligation

With effect from the 1st Sunday of Advent 2017, two holydays of obligation are being reinstated. This decision was made by the Bishops of England and Wales, and has been confirmed by the Holy See. The days are:

  • The Epiphany of the Lord — 6 January (transferred to the adjacent Sunday when it falls on Saturday or Monday)
  • The Ascension of the Lord — Thursday after 6th Sunday of Easter

The Holydays of Obligation for England and Wales are therefore:

  • According to a decision of the Bishops’ Conference (1984) Holydays which fall on Saturday or Monday are transferred to the Sunday.

The Bishops decided to retain the decision made in 2006 for the Body and Blood of the Lord to be transferred to Sunday as it allowed for Eucharistic Processions and other devotional practices to be celebrated.

For further information:

CDF Instruction on Cremation and the Burial of Ashes

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released on 25 October 2016 an Instruction on Cremation and the Burial of Ashes. The document is called Ad resurgendum ad Christo — To rise with Christ. It reiterates Church teaching about death and resurrection, in particular the preference for burial  but allowing the practice of cremation.

In England and Wales the majority of funerals lead to cremation – and the figures suggest that this is the pattern for Catholics too. The concern of the Instruction is the need for the cremated remains to be ‘laid to rest’. In England and Wales this will usually mean burial. The Instruction notes that it is not part of Catholic tradition or practice for ashes to be scattered, nor to be preserved in jewellery or mementos.

The Department for Christian Life and Worship previously issued guidance on the Burial of Ashes in 2008 and also placed the liturgical texts for the interment of ashes on the Liturgy Office website.

Feast of St Mary Magdalene

Fra Angelico - Noli me tangereOn Friday 10 June the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments announced that the celebration of St Mary Magdalene on 22 July had been raised to a Feast. The decree recognises St Mary Magdalene as first witness to the Resurrection and the first evangelist. Called by St Thomas Aquinas  an ‘apostle of the apostles’.

The Decree can be found on the Vatican website. The Latin decree includes a new Preface for the feast which will be translated into English in due time.

Pope Francis announces World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

In a letter published on 6 August Pope Francis has announced a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation:

Sharing the concern of my beloved brother, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, for the future of creation (cf. Laudato Si’, 7-9), and at the suggestion of his representative, Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamum, who took part in the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato Si’ on care for our common home, I wish to inform you that I have decided to institute in the Catholic Church the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which, beginning this year, is to be celebrated on 1 September, as has been the custom in the Orthodox Church for some time.

The purpose of the day will be to

offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live. The celebration of this Day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective. It is my hope that this Day will in some way also involve other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and be celebrated in union with similar initiatives of the World Council of Churches.

The day has been incorporated into the Cycle of Prayer under the Autumn Intention: The Harvest, the Fruits of Human Work, and the Reverent Use of Creation.

Bishops’ Conference News

Homiletic Directory

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has issued a Homiletic Directory. Archbishop Roche’s introduction can be found on The Bishops’ Conference News site. There is an interview with him on Vatican Radio.

This fulfils a request for such a directory made at the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in 2008.

The Contents are as follows:

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Introduction

PART ONE: THE HOMILY AND ITS LITURGICAL SETTING

  1. THE HOMILY
  2. INTERPRETING THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LITURGY

III. PREPARATION

PART TWO: ARS PRAEDICANDI

  1. THE PASCHAL TRIDUUM AND THE FIFTY DAYS
  2. The Old Testament Reading on Holy Thursday
  3. The Old Testament Reading on Good Friday
  4. The Old Testament Readings of the Easter Vigil
  5. The Easter Lectionary
  6. THE SUNDAYS OF LENT
  7. The Gospel of the First Sunday of Lent
  8. The Gospel of the Second Sunday of Lent
  9. The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent
  10. Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

III. THE SUNDAYS OF ADVENT

  1. The First Sunday of Advent
  2. The Second and Third Sundays of Advent
  3. The Fourth Sunday of Advent
  4. THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
  5. The Liturgies of Christmas
  6. The Feast of the Holy Family
  7. The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God
  8. The Solemnity of the Epiphany
  9. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
  10. THE SUNDAYS IN ORDINARY TIME
  11. OTHER OCCASIONS
  12. Weekday Mass
  13. Weddings
  14. Funerals

APPENDIX I: THE HOMILY AND THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Cycle A

Cycle B

Cycle C

Other Holy Days

APPENDIX II: POST-CONCILIAR ECCLESIAL SOURCES RELEVANT TO PREACHING

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The Directory will be available from the website of the Congregation and will be published by the Catholic Truth Society.

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