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 Post subject: Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist.
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:03 pm 
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Today, Fri 24-Jun-2005, is the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist.

There are several unusual (unusual, not unique) things about the feasts of John the Baptist in the Roman Catholic Calendar.

The first unusual thing is that he has two feasts; that is fairly rare in itself. Today's (June 24) celebration is the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist. It is a Solemnity (the highest class of Feast) which is properly celebrated starting the evening before (as are Sundays and other Solemnities). Evening Prayer (of the Liturgy of the Hours) last evening was Evening Prayer I of the Birth of John the Baptist. This Solemnity even has its own Vigil Mass (with different prayers and readings than the regular liturgy of the day itself). Many Solemnities do not have a separate Vigil Mass. There is another John the Baptist celebration, although only at a Memorial level, for the Beheading (Martyrdom) of John the Baptist on August 29.

The second usual thing is that this Solemnity commemorates the birth of John the Baptist. The Roman Catholic Church, in general, does not celebrate the birthday of saints as their feastdays, but usually the (supposed) anniversary of their death or some related date, e.g. a close date if some higher feast occurs on the death date or for the transfer of relics. The only "birthdays" celebrated in the RC calendar are of Jesus (of course on December 25), Mary on September 8, and John the Baptist on June 24. So John the Baptist is in pretty high company with this distinction.

By the way, since this Solemnity falls on a Friday this year, any obligation for abstinence from meat or other Friday penitential action is suppressed.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:08 pm 
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And the third thing that makes this feast unique is that it is also my birthday. I loved it when I was growing up, the old Catholic calendars had my birthday ornately decorated.

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 Post subject: Re: Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist.
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:10 pm 
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Edward Pothier wrote:


The second usual thing is that this Solemnity commemorates the birth of John the Baptist. The Roman Catholic Church, in general, does not celebrate the birthday of saints as their feastdays, but usually the (supposed) anniversary of their death or some related date, e.g. a close date if some higher feast occurs on the death date or for the transfer of relics. The only "birthdays" celebrated in the RC calendar are of Jesus (of course on December 25), Mary on September 8, and John the Baptist on June 24. So John the Baptist is in pretty high company with this distinction.

Right, the three born without original sin (John is held to have been sanctified at the Visitation, not dogma of course)

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By the way, since this Solemnity falls on a Friday this year, any obligation for abstinence from meat or other Friday penitential action is suppressed.


Do you know when the Church first changed this rule? Even with Paul VI abstinence was only lifted on Holy Days of Obligation, not solemnities pure and simple.

"Apart from the faculties referred to in VI and VIII regarding the manner of fulfilling the precept of penitence on such days, abstinence is to be observed on every Friday which does not fall on a day of obligation, while abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday or, according to local practice, on the first day of 'Great Lent' and on Good Friday"

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:10 pm 
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our priest was reading from the hours and it was stated that the birth of John was the beginning of the New Testament. No small event.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:12 pm 
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mots137 wrote:
our priest was reading from the hours and it was stated that the birth of John was the beginning of the New Testament. No small event.

Right. Also, traditionally he is held to have been born without original sin (like Christ and Mary)

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 Post subject: Re: Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist.
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:25 pm 
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Pro Ecclesia Dei wrote:
Edward Pothier wrote:
By the way, since this Solemnity falls on a Friday this year, any obligation for abstinence from meat or other Friday penitential action is suppressed.


Do you know when the Church first changed this rule? Even with Paul VI abstinence was only lifted on Holy Days of Obligation, not solemnities pure and simple.

"Apart from the faculties referred to in VI and VIII regarding the manner of fulfilling the precept of penitence on such days, abstinence is to be observed on every Friday which does not fall on a day of obligation, while abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday or, according to local practice, on the first day of 'Great Lent' and on Good Friday"

As far as I can tell the extension to all Solemnities (note: All Holy Days of Obligation are Solemnities, but there are Solemnities which are not HDO) was done in the 1983 CODE OF CANON LAW.
The 1983 CODE OF CANON LAW wrote:
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

A commentary which I have on the Code comments of the connection with the rule from Poenitemini (which is what I think you quoted above) but notes the extension to all solemnities.


Edward Pothier


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 7:11 pm 
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The Orthodox also have a feast of the Conception of John the Baptist, on Sep 23, so the four conception/nativity feasts of John and Jesus divide the year almost evenly into four.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:13 am 
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David Chiang wrote:
The Orthodox also have a feast of the Conception of John the Baptist, on Sep 23, so the four conception/nativity feasts of John and Jesus divide the year almost evenly into four.

The solstices and equinoxes are all covered!

Edward Pothier


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:29 am 
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Edward Pothier wrote:
David Chiang wrote:
The Orthodox also have a feast of the Conception of John the Baptist, on Sep 23, so the four conception/nativity feasts of John and Jesus divide the year almost evenly into four.

The solstices and equinoxes are all covered!

Edward Pothier


Yes, pagans don't have to give up any parties to turn Catholic. Just change the decorations. :D

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