TITLE X.—THE TRANSLATION OF FEASTS.
offices fall on the same day, only one office, the one of highest rank
or most important, is said. The others are transferred or commemorated.
The last section dealt with commemorations, and now we come to the
difficult question of the translation of feasts. Title X. of the
general rubrics must be read in connection with the Apostolic
Constitution, Divino Afflatu (1911) and with the Abhinc duos Annos (1913).
Translation of a feast may mean the removal of a feast from an impeded
day to a day which is free. Thus a feast of higher rank may fall on a
feast day of a saint whose feast is of lower rank; the latter may then
be transferred. Transference is either perpetual or accidental and
temporary. The former applies to feasts which are always impeded by the
meeting with a feast of higher rite on their fixed days. A feast which
would fall on 6th January would suffer perpetual translation. This
translation bears different names in rubrics, decrees and liturgical
writings–translatio ad diem, fixam, translatio ad diem assignatam, mutatio, etc. Accidental translation means occasional transference, a transfer in one year and not in another.
Title II., section i, of the Divino Afflatu gives the characters of preferential rank which are to be considered in occurrence, concurrence or translation of feasts, Ritus altior, ratio primarii aut secundarii, Dignitas Personalis, solemnitas externa.
Although in the General Rubrics of the Breviary, the title De Festorum praestantia
is not found, the four principles, (1)gradation of rite,
(2)classification as a primary or secondary feast, (3)personal dignity,
(4)external solemnity, are mentioned in the sixth section of Title X., De Translatione Festorum, and the degrees of personal dignity are added in the second section of Title XL, de commemorationibus.
Before 1897 precedence, and hence transference, was settled first by
the rank of the rite (Double major, etc.); then, too, between two
feasts of the same rite, transference was settled by dignity and
finally by solemnity. But in 1897 the Sacred Congregation of Rites
indicated two further notes to be observed in the weighing of claims
for transference, (1)the classification into primary and secondary
feasts, (2)the distinction between fixed and movable feasts. This
latter distinction—between fixed and movable feasts—has been suppressed
by the new legislation and some changes made in the others.
I. Gradation of Feasts
makes a distinction between doubles, semi-doubles and simples, and
distinguishes the various kinds of doubles. The order of procedure will
be–(1)Doubles of the first class, (2)doubles of the second class,
(3)greater doubles, (4)doubles, (5)semi-doubles, (6)simples. But as the
section shows (Tit. II., sec. i) this is subject to the privileges of
certain Sundays, ferias, and octave days or even days within an octave.
And hence, an ordinary Sunday, though! only a semi-double, will take
precedence of a double; and an octave day, though only a double, takes
precedence of a greater double.
II. Classification as a
primary or a secondary feast. Tables of classification are to be found
in the prefatory part of the new Breviary, under the headings Tres Tabellae.
They give a revised list of feasts with their rank and rites. Some
feasts are reduced from primary to secondary rank (e.g., Feast of the
Dolours); and the tables give a new division of primary and secondary
doubles and semi-doubles.
III. Thirdly, the order of
precedence among feasts will be determined by the dignity of the person
who is the special object of the office that is to be recited. Hence,
in the order set down in General Rubrics (Title XI, De Concurrentia officii,
sec. 2) all feasts of our Lord, other things being equal, take
precedence of the feasts of our Lady. And then, in order, come the
festivals of the angels, of St. John the Baptist, of St. Joseph, of the
Apostles and other saints. Amongst the saints who are honoured as
martyrs, confessors or virgins there is no precedence as to personal
IV. Lastly, there is the note of "external
solemnity," which may give precedence to one or two feasts, which are
equal in the above-mentioned matters—i.e., in Gradation I.,
Classification II., Precedence III. But the main point is that only
doubles of first and second class have the right, as a rule, of
transference. Transference is now rather rare.
these rules it will be seen that in cases of concurrence, occurrence,
perpetual transfer or translation, precedence between two feasts will
first be decided by gradation of rite, a double of the first class
being preferred to one of the second, and so on. If the feasts are of
equal rank recourse must be had to the second test, the distinction
between primary and secondary feasts. If both happen to be primary, or
both are secondary, then precedence will be granted to the feast which
has the greater personal dignity. And if both feasts should have the
same dignity, then the fact of external solemnity would confer
precedence" (The New Psalter and its Uses, p. 79). For practical help, a look at the first of the Duae Tabellae is a guide to find out which office is to be said, if more than one feast occur on the same day.
Before discussing new offices it may be well to remember that votive
offices of all kinds, including the votive offices conceded by the
decree of July, 1883, are abolished. These offices were drastic
innovations, introduced to get rid of the very long psalm arrangement
of the ferial office. The new distribution of the psalms got rid of the
onus, and votive offices are no longer given in the Breviary.
SECTION: Title XI.—Concurrence.