July has now been deprived of two notable Feasts, by the transference of the Visitation to May (as previously explained in this column) and by the deleting of the Feast of the Precious Blood.
This was introduced into the general calendar only in 1849; and the Blood of Our Saviour is honoured by implication in other Feasts, notably Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart. The Mass has, nevertheless, been retained among the votive Masses.
So as to leave the solemn last days of Advent free, St. Thomas has been moved from December 21 to July 3..This is the date of the transfer of his body to Edessa, and he is commemorated with great festivity on this date in the Syrian rite and in South India.
St.. Benedict, too, has been
moved to July 11 in order to take his feast out of Lent. March 21 was the date of the placing of his body in Monte Cassino, but there was also a dies natalis S. Benedicti in some Gallican liturgies as early as the 8th century.
Other saints have been moved out of July, normally to their date of death (e.g., St. Vincent de Paul). A few, like St. Alexius, have been excluded because of their fanciful histories, or relegated to local calendars.
Of these last the most familiar is St. Christopher. His legend does not stand up to the severe historical standards or the revisers. Also, it does not belong to the Roman tradition, having been placed in the Calendar only in 15.50.
St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More no longer appear in our local calendars on July 9, because they have been promoted to the Universal Calendar, on the day of St. John's martyrdom, June 22. St. Joachim now shares the 26th with his wife, St. Anne — but in Brittany,where she is the Patron Saint, one feels he will be very much in her shadow.
St. Mary Magdalen (July 22) raises a difficult problem. The revisers have refused to commit the Calendar to the long-held opinion that the two, or three, Mary Magdalens are the same person, and they state that the one in the Calendar is the one who saw Our Lord on Easter morning. Hence she is no longer described as "Penitent." But the scriptural problem is still — and looks like remaining — an open question.
(Fr.) Michael Crowdy