Baptism of Our Lord

I’m just wondering… Is the Baptism of Our Lord next Tuesday a Holy Day of Obligation in the Universal Church?

And my second question is, was it ever?

Thank you!

(I’m referring to the 1962 calendar that is used by the FSSP)

I’ll be interested in what others have to say but I am not aware this was ever a Holy Day of Obligation but it is not one now.

Feast Days
Can. 1246 §1. Sunday, on which by apostolic tradition the paschal mystery is celebrated, must be observed in the universal Church as the primordial holy day of obligation. The following days must also be observed: the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension, the Body and Blood of Christ, Holy Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, Saint Joseph, Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostles, and All Saints.
§2. With the prior approval of the Apostolic See, however, the conference of bishops can suppress some of the holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.

Canon Law

My 1950 missal does not list it as a separate feast, but incorporates it in the Feast of the Epiphany, which wasn’t a Holy Day of Obligation in the U.S. as I recall.

Traditionally, the Baptism of Our Lord was commemorated as part of the Epiphany, and there was no separate feast. In 1955, one was created on the former octave of the Epiphany, 13 January. In 1970 it was moved to the Sunday after Epiphany. So no, the feast itself is relatively new and was never a holiday.

Even if it was a holy day in 1962 (which it wasn’t) it is not a holy day now. The 1962 missal governs the rubrics of the Mass but not holy days. Holy days are governed by Canon Law. Canon law published in 1983 governs all of us, no matter which mass we attend.

While it is correct that the 1983 code of Canon law is the current code, Canon 6 provides an important exception for acts occurring prior to its implemention, which was effective at midnight of the first Sunday of Adent in 1983. Prior acts are judged under the authorized Latin text known as the 1917 Pio-Benedictine code of Canon Law.

Only the Latin text of the 1983 code of Canon Law, known as the Johanno-Pauline text, has force of law. The English translation of the 1983 code of Canon Law is authorized only for consultation and study use. It does not have 'force of law".

There was no authorized English translation of the 1917 Pio-Benedictine code of Canon Law for any use. There are versions still available, but they are difficult to find and were never recognized by the Church.

However, for consultation and study use, the English translation of the 1983 code of Canon Law is very informative and useful for those fluent in English. I believe the translation is at least generally faithful to the official Latin text. But for any official proceeding under Canon Law, it is only the Latin text that has force of law.

Thanks - Joe K.


I found it interesting how one Priest mentioned that it was on the 13th, and another said it was today. Either way, Happy Baptism of Our Lord!:smiley:

God bless!


Are you suggesting that the English translation could be deficient (“generally faithful”) in matters as significant as which days require attendance at Mass? Now you’ve got me wondering if Canon Law is being correctly interpreted in the U.S., where Latinists aren’t exactly in abundance, and priests I know make no bones about the fact that any Latin they once may have had is long gone.

No, I wasn’t suggesting anything. What I provided were simply the facts. I thought some might find it interesting if they were unaware of this. The English translation from the Latin would certainly be correct about required days for attendance at Mass or anything at all straightforward. It is in a legalistic proceeding under Canon Law where this could possibly become important.

Lawyers are forever arguing about the meaning of a sentence in a law even when the sentence is written in English and they are both reading it in English, for example. :slight_smile:

Here is a link that explains what I mentioned above about the 1983 code of Canon Law.

Is it not the case that while there are authorised English translations of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the only authoritative code of Canon Law is the Latin one.

There are English translations of the 1983 code of Canon Law that have been approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for use as study guides and consultation. However, as explained in the link I provided above, only the authorized Latin text has force of law. This means only the Latin text has standing in a legalistic proceeding under Canon Law.

But I have to doubt this is really the practice in the U.S. Marriage cases (annulments) are, for example, legal proceedings conducted as a trial and under Canon Law. Marriage Tribunals have lay members. It would be very surprising to learn these trials are limited to the use of the Latin text or even that the official Latin text is often used at all.

I have read, and think true, that Latin is the official text because it is a dead language. That is, meanings do not change in day-to-day usage. Thus it is much easier to agree on the original meaning of the laws.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit