Liturgical Calendars from Pius V until Benedict XIV: the requirements
of universality versus the construction of localism
Pius V’s revision of the Roman Breviary reduced the number of feasts in the sanctoral by a large number. But both religious orders and dioceses kept their own feasts, whose number grew during the following two centuries, a phenomenon whose existence is witnessed in the archives of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. It was this body – at least in theory – which was required to approve liturgical calendars, whether to grant precedence to the feasts of the Universal Church or to allow the celebration of local feasts. Religious orders sought to preserve the memory of all the saints and blessed which had lived under their rule: such a practice of consistently adding names to their calendars necessitated periodic revisions to the whole calendar to provide a better distribution of the varied requirements to celebrate the feasts adequately. Since the existence of Propers particular to each diocese was not considered in the Roman norms, bishops took care to establish a calendar which would be observed throughout their own territory, and in which saints from the first centuries of Christianity in the area and those whose relics had been procured (even within the very recent past) were both given a place. Imbued with pastoral concerns and sensitive to developments in pietistic devotion, diocesan calendars are less stable that those produced by religious orders. Setting aside the differences between these two types, these calendars give an important role to secondary feasts (especially those for the translation of relics), and provide, as they were always badges of identity and belonging, a means of individualising the celebration of the saints.