Liturgical Calendar

Defy Mob Justice by Celebrating the Life of Robert E. Lee

On October 12, 1870, a good man closed his eyes on this world. Although loved by many, and respected by most at the time of his death, history has since laden Robert E. Lee with abuse and hatred. The change has been long coming, but Dylann Roof's 2015 racist shooting raised disgust to a fever [...]

A Spiritually Meaningful Lent After Mardi Gras

When I was a kid, my siblings and I always felt short-changed on Fat Tuesday. Lent loomed on the horizon, with no sweets for forty days until we got a motherlode of chocolate eggs for Easter. It seemed like we should be able to pig out on Fat Tuesday, since, obviously, it was our last [...]

Making New Year’s Day a Holyday of Worship

January 1, 2018, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, falls on a Monday. Because it falls on a Monday it ceases, according to norms the American bishops adopted in 1992, to be a holy day of obligation. The Code of Canon Law contains ten holydays of obligation but allows local conferences of bishops to [...]

On Celebration and Lamentation

A writer can learn a lot from people who comment on his writings. My Thanksgiving Day piece on the “Secular Puritan Covenant” elicited one reader’s opinion that we should celebrate a “Native Americans’ Day” to celebrate the contributions they made and the experiences they suffered during the settlement of North America. I initially demurred, noting that [...]

Abolish Ordinary Time

With Ascension and Pentecost looming, and with their passage an end to the Paschal season, it’s time to reconsider and abolish Ordinary Time. As dramatically drastic as this may sound, it would not be a move without precedent. For centuries, for most of Church history in fact, there was no Ordinary Time on the Catholic [...]

Should the Solemnity of the Ascension Be Moved?

Thursday, May 14 was the Solemnity of the Ascension in the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, Newark, New York, Omaha, and Philadelphia. In the rest of the United States, the Solemnity of the Ascension was marked on Sunday, May 17, which suppressed the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Church discipline in the United States allows for [...]

Holy Days of Obligation: A Defense

With the approach of the Solemn Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, American Catholics can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the work of the USCCB. For this year, the Assumption, a holy day of obligation, falls on a Saturday. Ordinarily, this would mean—horrors!—that the faithful must attend Mass on the [...]

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