Motu Proprio of Pius X, promulgated 2 July, 1911, relating to Holy Days of obligation. On Holy Days of precept a twofold duty is incumbent on the faithful, of hearing Mass and of abstaining from servile work. Owing particularly to the high cost of living and to the necessity of caring in due season for crops, fruits, etc., the discipline of the Church has tended to lessen the number of Holy Days in certain countries. Pius X deemed it advisable to extend this policy to the Universal Church, thus effecting greater uniformity. Aside, then, from all Sundays, the obligation of hearing Mass and abstaining from servile work is now confined to eight days: Christmas, New Year's Day or the feast of the Circumcision, Epiphany (6 Jan.), the Ascension of Our Lord , the Immaculate Conception (8 Dec.), the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (15 Aug.), the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (29 June), and, finally, the feast of All Saints (1 Nov.). Where, however, any of the above feasts has been abolished or transferred, the new legislation is not effective. In the United States consequently the Epiphany and the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul are not days of precept (see Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, tit. III, a. ii and p. cv). Feasts of patrons are no longer Holy Days of obligation. Bishops may, if they choose, transfer the celebration of these patronal feasts to the following Sunday in accordance with liturgical laws. If it is desired in certain countries or dioceses to retain as days of precept one or other feast abrogated by the Constitution "Supremi disciplinæ", permission must be obtained from the Holy See.
There is no longer any obligation, as formerly in many countries, of assisting at the Holy Sacrifice or abstaining from servile work on the feast of St. Joseph (19 March), the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (24 June), or Corpus Christi . According to the present Motu Proprio the feast of St. Joseph, with an octave, is to be celebrated on the Sunday following 19 March, unless that date fall on Sunday ; the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on the Sunday preceding the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (29 June); Corpus Christi on the first Sunday after Trinity Sunday. Scarcely, however, was the "Supremi disciplinæ" promulgated, when (S. R. C., 24 July) it was modified as follows: The solemn commemoration of St. Joseph without an octave remains on 19 March. The feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph, however, on the third Sunday after Easter is raised to a double of the first class, a primary feast with an octave. Likewise the feast of Corpus Christi with its privileged octave is observed as formerly on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday , but the solemnity of the feast is transferred to the following Sunday. Liturgical questions, to which the above changes gave rise, were settled by a Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, 28 July, 1911.
The present Motu Proprio institutes another important change in legislation. As feasting and fasting are incompatible Pius X has abolished the obligation of fasting as well as that of abstinence for the Universal Church, should such obligation coincide with any of the eight feasts, as above. According to the "Nouvelle Revue Theologique", November, 1911, by decree of the S. Cong. of the Council, 28 August, 1911, this dispensation is not for feasts already suppressed, like the Epiphany in the United States. The same general dispensation from the laws of abstinence and fasting is granted by the Holy Father on patronal feasts, abolished by the present Constitution, should they be celebrated solemnly and with a large concourse of the faithful.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online