VATICAN Council Fathers this week went on record as not being opposed in principle to fixing Faster on a determined Sunday in the Gregorian Calendar. They also do not oppose the various plans for establishing a perpetual Calendar.
In deciding its views on these two issues, the Council said that its view on a fixed Easter depended on the proposal being agreeable to all others concerned with the problem, "especially the Christian brethren separated from communion with the Holy See".
On the question of a perpetual calendar. its view depended on preserving the week of seven days with its Sunday and provided the regular succession of weeki remains intact.
However, if "most serious reasons" convinced the Holy See otherwise, the Council would agree to the addition of certain days, not in the ordinary week. whenever this would become necessary to regulate the perpetual calendar.
Difficulties in reaching agreement on a fixed calendar would arise principally in the case of the Orthodox Churches, which have a different Easter from ours and which, in any case, use the Julian calendar. Pressure for a fixed Easter has been coming. in recent years from civil societies which object to the present irregularity. The case for a perpetual calendar has also been strongly supported in recent years. Many different proposals have been put forward for devising a suitable one.
The Council attitude suggests that the Church would object to those systems which would incorporate ideas such as a "world day" every three months in order to regulate the perpetual calendar.
The Council decided to give its views on Easter and the 'perpetual calendar in an appendix to Chapter Five of the Liturgy Schema.
The Council fathers also voted in favour of an amendment providing that only those saints' feasts should normally be observed which have a genuinely universal character or interest in order that the calendar be not overloaded with saints' feasts which obscured the seasonal cycle.
Saints are to be honoured and their images and authentic relics held in veneration.
The Council also passed the following amendments: 1. The relation of feasts of Mary to those of Our Lord, as well as their purpose in Christian piety, is stated more clearly;
2. The Liturgical Year is also the framework for various practices of instruction, prayer, works of penance and of charity to our
ne3ig.hCbotitonrp;etent territorial authority may take steps to transfer certain feasts to some other suitable day, apart from Sunday;
4. The Sunday is explained in clearer detail as the basic celebration of the Christian year. It is a day of joy and of rest front work, and because it is so important other feasts should normally not take precedence over it;
5. The nature of Lent should become clearer in liturgical instruction as well as in the liturgy itself as a season of preparation for or remembrance of baptism, as well as of penance: 6. Lenten instruction should not fail to stress the social character
and consequences of sin, and to make clear the nature of sin as an offence against God. Earlier. the Council had voted in favour of providing special prayers at Lauds and Vespers for the needs of the world and of the Church. It had also approved giving powers to Bishops to dispense from the Divine Office and recommending the common recitation of the office by clerics living together or attending conventions.
The general principle of retaining the use of Latin in the office was approved though the Fathers voted to give Ordinaries permission to permit the use of the Vernacular in individual cases of extreme personal difficulty. The whole of Chapter 4 of the Liturgy Schema, into which these amendments came was passed by a substanti:11 majority. D.F.