Daily Archives: 25/04/2019
A Reader Asks: “Why Do the Eastern Orthodox Celebrate Easter One Week Later than Roman Catholics in 2019?”
Pope Gregory XIII’s 1582 Decree, Inter Gravissimas
By Which the Catholic World Ceased Using the Julian Calendar
And Adopted What Is Now Called the Gregorian Calendar
Which Corrected the Slight Error that Remained
In Julius Caesar’s Reformed Calendar
Still Today Some Eastern Orthodox Sects
Retain the Julian Calendar for Religious Purposes
Thus the Difference in the Date of Easter Celebrated by Them
Why do the Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter one week later than Roman Catholics? For example, the Catholics celebrate Easter in 2019 on April 21, whereas some Eastern Orthodox sects celebrate Easter on April 28.
THE TRADITIO FATHERS REPLY.
It is a matter of the calendar used. Up until the 16th century, all Christians used the Julian calendar, promulgated by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. to correct the woefully deficient Old Roman calendar. By the time of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585), however, the slight error that remained in the Julian calendar had accumulated to some ten days by 1582, when Pope Gregory introduced what is now called the Gregorian calendar into the Church. This charge also altered the calculation of the lunar cycle used to calculate the date of Easter, returning it to the method used in the early Church.
Although Catholic countries immediately adopted the Gregorian calendar, it took the next three centuries for most of the rest of the world to do so. However, some of the Eastern Orthodox sects still retain the Julian calendar for religious purposes. Thus the difference in the date of Easter celebrated by them.
Unbeknownst to virtually all Catholics, this new calculation is actually described in detail in the Missale Romanum published after the Council of Trent in the late 16th century, in the section “De Anno et Eius Partibus.” Next Sunday ask your traditional priest to show you this historic section in the altar missal.
Also unbeknownst to virtually all Catholics is a little-known Appendix to the Vatican II Anti-council’s Sacrosanctum concilium(Constitution the Sacred Liturgy), entitled “A Declaration of the Second Oecumenical Council of the Vatican on Revision of the Calendar,” in which the Anti-council says that it is willing to have a “New Calendar,” with a fixed Sunday for Easter rather than the Sunday calculated from ancient times in the Catholic Church.
A Reader Asks: “Have You Heard of the ‘Drops of Blood’ Devotion That Promises a Shortcut to Heaven?”
What Are We to Think of the “Promises”
For the “Drops of the Blood of Christ” Devotion?
There Seems to Be No End to the Number of Such “Promises
As a “Shortcut” to Heaven
Such “Promises” Are Not a Matter of Doctrine
Not even a Legitimate Pope Can Add to the Deposit of Faith
Which Comes to Us only from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition
In Catholic Moral Theology, We Are Bound to Avoid Superstition
Dear TRADITIO Fathers:
Recently I heard of a devotion to Christ’s “28,430 drops of blood lost during the Passion,” which promises Heaven to anyone who says three Paters, three Aves, and three Glorias a day for three years. The individual would be considered a “martyr,” and the “promise” purported extends to relatives to the fourth generation.
What are we to think about the validity of such “promises”?
The TRADITIO Fathers Reply.
It seems that there is no end to the number of such “promises,” promising this or that prayer as a “shortcut” to Heaven. First of all, be aware that none of such “promises” are doctrinal, but are at best pious beliefs with no ultimate certainty. Not even a legitimate pope can add to the Deposit of Faith, which comes to us only from Sacred Scripture (the Bible) and Sacred Tradition (the Apostles).
There is something crass about such “promises” of a “shortcut” to Heaven. There is no shortcut. The surest way to Heaven is to practice the true (traditional) Catholic faith devoutly, diligently to worship at the true Mass, to have recourse to the true Sacraments, and to practice the Christian moral and spiritual virtues in this life.
Daily prayer is, of course, very important, but there are many forms such prayer can take, and it is often best to vary one’s prayer. The Divine Office is, of course, the highest of such prayers (and there are many more than three Paters, Aves, and Glorias in it anyway). Then there are other traditional prayers such as the Angelus, the Psalter, particularly the Gradual and Penitential Psalms, the Litanies, Office hymns and Gregorian chants (even Christ sang on the way to the Mount of Olives),
Another form of prayer, which many Catholics forget, is mediation, no more than thinking about God. One good way is to spend 10-15 minutes thinking about the Sunday Epistle and Gospel and considering things such as: What is God trying to tell us in this passage. What comes before and after it in the Scriptures (after all, the Epistles and Gospels are only excerpts)? What is the moral and spiritual meaning for me personally about what is being taught. It is useful to have a commentary to consult, such as Fr. George Haydock’s commentary on the Douay-Rheims version.
The important thing is to pray regularly and devoutly. Avoid superstition and shortcuts. In the end, it all depends upon one’s interior disposition, one’s state of soul, and that is determined over a lifetime.