An inconvenient holiness:
the Canon Missae saints in the 18th century French diocesan calendars
Between the end of the Seventeenth Century and the French Revolution, numerous diocesan breviaries and missals were published. Those who planned these works often began them with a revision to the liturgical calendar by unanimously adopting several principles: priority accorded to local saints, restriction of “Roman” saints, suspicion towards saints of doubtful pedigree… Nevertheless, these principles seem to have been contradicted when it came to the saints mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. Despite their presence in the most sacred part of the Eucharistic ritual, these saints did not have legends consistent with the hagiological criteria employed by the the liturgists concerned. This paper aims to analyse how they resolved the dialectic tension between tradition, faith and historical criticism brought about by the ambiguous epistemological status of these saints.