Christmas Kalenda Proclamation


Am I the only one who was glad and rejoiced when the Christmas Kalenda Proclamation aka the Proclamation of the Nativity of Christ which is chanted at the beginning of Midnight Mass was updated?

It used to read:

“In the year, from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created Heaven and earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine…”

Now it reads:

“when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world, when God in the beginning created heaven and earth, and formed man in his own likeness”

As can clearly be seen, the old translation was formed from a pre-modern scientific young earth creation view (saying the world is only 7,000 years old) and the modern one simply says ages beyond number.

I went to a parish half a decade ago for MM before I really knew much about the faith, and it scandalized me so badly to hear the young earth version I walked out and didn’t go back to Mass for months. I was so dissapointed because I mistakenly thought the Church officially embraced what I knew to be a untrue. Young earth theory is based on anti-intellectual pseudo-science… But anyway.

Thank God for the Church always being a bastion of intellectual integrity.



At our abbey, it is chanted after Lauds on Dec. 24. The text is from the Roman Martyrology.

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Thanks, yeah I read it originated in the Martyrology connected to the Office of Prime in medieval times.

Which version do you guys chant? The medieval version or the modern one? I think both are permissible, but the USCCB website uses the modern one.



And if anyone is interested, here’s the two versions:

1584 Medieval text:

The twenty-fifth of December.
The … day of the Moon.

In the year, from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created Heaven and earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine;

from the flood, two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven;

from the birth of Abraham, two thousand and fifteen;

From Moses and the coming of the Israelites out of Egypt, one thousand five hundred and ten;

From the anointing of King David, one thousand and thirty-two;

in the sixty-fifth week, according to the prophecy of Daniel;

In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

in the year seven hundred and fifty-two from the founding of the city of Rome;

in the forty-second year of the empire of Octavian Augustus,

when the whole world was at peace, in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ, eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months having elapsed since His conception, is born in Bethlehem of Juda, having become Man of the Virgin Mary.

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh

2005 Modern text:

The Twenty-fifth Day of December,

When ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world, when God in the beginning created heaven and earth, and formed man in his own likeness;

When century upon century had passed since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood, as a sign of covenant and peace;

In the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees;

In the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt;

Around the thousandth year since David was anointed King;

In the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

In the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the City of Rome

In the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus,

The whole world being at peace, Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man:

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

I prefer the Modern text infinitely over the Medieval text because the historically uncertain dates have been modified while the historically certain dates were retained.

The modern and medieval text both agree that the Nativity of Christ occured in the 42nd year of Caesar Augustus, in the year 752 after the founding of Rome, in the 194th Olympiad, in the 65th week of the Prophet Daniel.

But then the Medieval text gives exact (and very historically uncertain, ESPECIALLY for the Flood and Creation) dates and says 1,032nd year since David, 1,510th year since the Exodus, 2,015th since Abraham, 2,957th since the Flood, 5,199 since the Creation of the World…



Whereas the Modern text gives approximate, and much more historically plausible dates and says “around the thousandth” year since David, the 13th century since the Exodus, the 21st century since Abraham, since “century upon century” had passed since the Flood, and “ages beyond number had run their course.”

I prefer the modern text because the dates enumerated don’t flatly contradict archaeology and a dozen other scientific fields of study.

Using the medieval text IMO runs a serious risk of scandalizing people and making them think the Catholic Faith is unreasonable and illogical.

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I prefer the old.

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What about people like me who got scandalized by it?

Or what about inquirerers who may be scandalized and driven from the Church?

A lot of people are not willing to reject science and embrace anti-intellectualism in favor of the Catholic Faith.

IMO, making people embrace anti-science and anti-intellectual views in order to become Catholic is wrong.

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I’m it’s speaking for them. I’m speaking for myself.

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Okay so you’re saying your own personal preference and not saying the modern text is wrong, correct?

I could respect that viewpoint… Somewhat.



Good question, I haven’t heard it proclaimed in ages as I’m not typically at the abbey on the 24th after Lauds. They chant it in French on the Gregorian melody. I’m going to be there on Wednesday, I’ll try to remember to ask.



Yes. I said I prefer the old, didn’t I?



There are many things said in prayers that are not literally true. If I were scandalized every time I heard a reference to the sunrise or the dewfall, I wouldn’t be able to go to Mass. You have to accept a certain amount of scientific or historical liberty in the way things are expressed. That said, I love the Christmas proclamation. It makes the Incarnation real. This isn’t a “once upon a time” event, it’s something that actually took place in history. What an amazing gift.



Well obviously I agree with that, but uhh…

Isn’t it kind of difficult to apply that principle when the text in question is literally spelling out exact numbers of years, and the genre of the text is a historical chronology?

I mean, how do you interpret “the creation of the world 5,199 years ago” any other way than the world was created 5,199 years ago?

It’s not like the ages of the Patriarchs in Genesis which are set in the context of an ancient Semitic creation myth. It’s easy to say those numbers are symbolic, allegorical, hyperbolic, etc.

But not so easy when the text in question is a historical chronology giving exact dates of historic world events.



They give specific numbers of years for other events as well like the flood. I guess I just interpret them all as a way of saying these things happened in history and so did the birth of Jesus. Perhaps because I’m in a different frame of mind when I go to Mass I’m not looking for a history lesson as much as looking for the the ways that God breaks through into our lives and changes everything.

I understand you don’t like it and I’m sorry for that. For me, it’s a God moment.



Only if they don’t do further research and formation.



I guess you don’t like the Hebrew calendar either? According to it, we’re in the year 5779.



Also, it’s speaking my heart language.



The Hebrew calendar is a medieval Jewish invention…

It’s not science.

Science has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the world is billions, not thousands of years old. 4.52 billion years old, to be precise.

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Oh, I forgot that the Mass was supposed to be science. :rofl:



The Liturgy of the Church shouldn’t proclaim things which are flatly contradicted by science. The world being 6k years old is flatly contradicted by science.

And I know what your response is going to be - “but Jesus rising from the dead and being present in the Eucharist contradicts science!” Actually, no, it doesn’t. Miracles are by there very nature outside the purview of the natural sciences. Natural science cannot say one way or another whether Jesus was born of a Virgin, etc.

However, in matters where natural science DOES have authority to speak - matters of astronomy and geology, for instance - the Church takes great pains to learn from them and not be at odds with them. Especially when you consider modern science, including the Big Bang Theory formulated by a Catholic priest, took form within the bosom of the Church.


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