Monday, June 27, 2016
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Six authors from New Liturgical Movement participated this year (from left to right in the photo): Charles Cole, William Riccio, Fr. Robert Pasley, Peter Kwasniewski, Jennifer Donelson, and Joel Morehouse. (Joel had to depart before this photo was taken.)
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Father Gabriel Torretta, O.P., addresses that lacuna in a recent edition of The Thomist. In his essay “Rediscovering the Imprecatory Psalms,” Torretta first covers the history of the removal of these imprecatory verses from the liturgical hours. He then examines the state of scholarship on the nature and meaning of these passages, and extensively analyzes St Thomas Aquinas’s “subtle and fruitful” approach to the phenomenon of biblical imprecation. Thomas’s interpretive framework, Torretta argues, can bolster a broader rationale for reintroducing these sacred verses into the liturgical prayer of the Church.3 With the caveat that “any reintroduction must proceed carefully and with much education,” the author makes a useful contribution to the question of the necessity of reforming the reform, however narrowly or broadly one may conceive that project.
1 General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, no. 131.
2 Annibale Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy (1948–1975), trans. Matthew J. O’Connell (Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1990), 503.
3 Within the Catholic Church, the question concerns only the ordinary form of the Roman Rite.
|On the back, St Peter heals a mute, causes a cloud to cover the sun while he preaches outdoors, and heals a sick man and an epileptic.|
|The dome and vaults of the chapel were painted by Vincenzo Foppa from 1464-68.|
Friday, June 24, 2016
A reliquary of a finger of St John the Baptist, from the museum of the cathedral of Florence, where he is honored as Patron Saint of the city. Attributed to Matteo di Giovanni; first half of the 15th century.
Ceteri tantum cecinere Vatum
Corde praesago iubar affuturum:
Tu quidem mundi scelus auferentem
Translated literally, “The rest of the prophets in their foreseeing heart told only that the day-star would come; but Thou with Thy finger reveal Him that taketh away the sin of the world.”
The Mass will be celebrated by His Excellency Matthieu Madega Lebouankehan, Bishop of Mouila in Gabon. Bishop Madega is the president of Gabon’s Bishop Conference, and was the representative of the African continent on the committee during the recent Synod on the Family to oversee the draft of the final document. Additionally, Bishop Madega was one of the Bishops who signed the “Filial Appeal to His Holiness Pope Francis” asking the Holy Father to clarify and preserve Church doctrine on the family and the sacrament of matrimony.
At the end of the Mass, there will be a small reception in the parish hall where parishioners will have the opportunity to meet Bishop Madega.
|Bishop Madega conferring tonsure on seminarians of the Institute of Christ the King.|
Dominican School Offers Formation for Artists- Now Including Sacred Geometry and English Gothic Illumination PracticumDavid Clayton
The new information is that I have been invited to teach the elective in the Spring 2017, which will be a practical course including the creation of a Gothic image in the style of illuminations from the 13th century School of St Albans, and sacred geometry. In the geometry course, students will construct a traditional geometric pattern as found in Cosmatesque floors of the period. In support of the practical skills, I will teach the supporting theory as described in my book, the Way of Beauty.
The Certificate program of studies is organized by the Academic Dean of the DSPT, Fr Chris Renz; readers may remember that I highlighted his excellent article on liturgy and culture recently published in Antiphon.
Fr Renz will use my book the Way of Beauty as one of the texts for the opening course of the Certificate program. Anyone who has read any of my writings over the years will see why I am enthusiastic about this – these themes of inculturation, worship and fresh creativity are at the heart of my own ideas about the evangelization of the culture.
1. Foundational Principles of Catholic Liturgy and Worship (next offered Fall 2016)
2. Liturgical Piety: Anthropological Foundations of Catholic Worship (next offered Spring 2017)
3. One elective offering from any advisor-approved Religion and the Arts course. These are the courses that will particularly focus on practical elements, such as painting.
4. Christian Iconography (offered Fall 2016)
The format for all courses is once-per-week for just under 3 hours. They will typically be offered on a weekday, which means that you have to be within traveling distance of Berkeley, California in order to take it.
The named goals are:
• to imbue students with an understanding of sacred art and its relationship to sacred liturgy;
• to provide students with the philosophical and theological foundations for the anthropological as well as the transcendent aspects of art;
• to provide basic principles for using the fine arts as a vehicle for “preaching the gospel” to the contemporary culture.
Application ProcessApplicants must complete the DSPT Certificate of Theological Studies application (found at the DSPT website), including a statement of purpose, official transcript, and two letters of recommendation. Application is on a rolling admission process.
Tuition and FeesTuition rate for 2016-2017 academic year is $715 per semester unit (all courses are 3 units). For further information, contact Fr. Chris Renz, O.P. at email@example.com, or 510-883-2084. You can read about this course on the DSPT website at www.dspt.edu/sacred-arts.
Posted Friday, June 24, 2016
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Our thanks to Mr Mark Cousineau for providing us these photos of the church of St Paul the Apostle in Westerville, Ohio, and to Mr Bruce Buchanan for his description of the project to install in the church 164 stained glass windows, many of which were rescued from recently closed churches in the Diocese of Cleveland. The project was just completed a few days a Click here to read an article about the project from the Columbus Dispatch, which quotes Dennis McNamara, whom we have featured here many times, one the return to traditional church designs, and away from “churches that look like airplane hangars.”
|Working on a window of Our Lady of t Carmel|
|The finished product, along with St Sebastian|
Saint Paul purchased stained glass windows, all between 70 to 100 years old, from three separate closed churches. One set had incredibly colorful geometric patterns and dozens of medallions of saints and religious symbols, another group had large narrative scenes of the New and Old Testament, with ornate painted scrollwork borders. The third set had large round windows with scenes from the life of Christ. All of the windows were beautiful in their own way, but markedly different in style; the challenge would be to synthesize the windows into a cohesive overall scheme.
A decorative zig-zag border pattern was pulled from the geometric windows, then copied and used in
Given that the windows were so old, they all benefited from being taken apart, cleaned, and rebuilt with new lead, a typical procedure with older, time-worn stained glass panels. Once apart, they could be re-arranged to the new specifications. Some parts, like the geometric knot patterns and the painted scenes were rebuilt exactly as they had been. Other decorative painted pieces were too good not to re-purpose and incorporate wherever possible. New glass borders and backgrounds were cut to frame the painted scenes and medallions.
There were dozens of windows to re-arrange and fit into the new church’s design scheme, but one could hardly expect the found treasures to meet all of the needs of the new church. There were Saints and symbols that would need to be made from scratch to match the old glass. In the end, two dozen new medallions were painted to complete the clerestory, confessionals, and shrines. A series of 40 new standing-figure Saint windows were created to line the ambulatory around the perimeter of the church. Working with the parish and the donors to design the medallions and Saint windows was an incredible learning process, which gave us the opportunity to research lesser known Saints and learn more about the ones we thought we knew.
|St Charles Borromeo|
|Preparatory work for a window of St Damian of Molokai, and the final product.|
Over the course of the years, it has been satisfying to see Saint Paul the Apostle Church slowly filled with stained glass. Bit by bit, window by window, patron by patron, the place has been transformed. It will be satisfying to install the last of the remaining windows, but the biggest change came last December when the final windows in the sanctuary itself were installed. The natural light in the church was forever changed. The outside world was obscured, and the sacred space inside felt different, becoming quieter and more serene. Old stained glass windows that had watched over worshippers for 100 years were once again doing their work.
(more pictures below)
As bearers of the image of God the Creator, and following Adam himself, our most basic vocation is to tend God's garden, to cultivate and create using the material and plot God has given us. As musicians, liturgists, pastors, and really as human beings, we’re given opportunity either to cultivate or neglect these little “gardens.” Our life's work is arranging the "plants" in a proper relationship with the sun and each other (Matthew 22:36-40).
Our “cultus” or "worship" stems from what we cultivate, from what we love most deeply. What we hold in highest esteem will, without a doubt, inform and direct our worship and our character. For this reason, we ought to cultivate "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, [whatever is] excellent or praiseworthy..." (Philippians 4:8). Culture, a word very much related to "cultus," is not just what turns milk into cheese; it is the outworking of our mores and deepest values. Culture is the fruit of the things we cultivate. Culture in this sense is part of our conversion. Not to create, not to cultivate, not to care, not to "work at it," is a violation of the best and most fundamental aspect of our identity, the imago dei that we bear. Accordingly, worship requires the cultivation of the arts. We must not neglect the "garden" God his given us.
Speaking of our relationship to each other and to the "sun," Catholic culture, worship, and community, if they are truly rooted in the Incarnation, must maintain a healthy and sustaining relationship with our tradition, because we preach the life, death, and resurrection of the real, historical Jesus. There is one story of salvation and one Messiah, and he is the "root" (Rev. 22:16). The leaf can neither curse the branch, nor the trunk, nor the root. If it does, it will wither (John 15:6).
To claim that Catholics simply "got it dead wrong" for centuries until Martin Luther came along, or the Second Vatican Council came along, or Karl Rahner came along, or really any other person or movement came along, is to deny the ongoing and irrevocable action in every age of the Holy Spirit, the teacher Jesus promised would "lead us into all truth" (John 16:13). What hubris! Rather, there is no "new" and "old," no "hard break" with the past, but rather all things are made new for those who remain in Christ, who is the fullness of God's revelation (II Cor 5:17). And so our relationship with tradition must be healthy and sustaining, and our future must be understood in a hermeneutic of continuity with our past. It's never the root or the trunk that is pruned and tossed aside, but rather the withered branches which do not bear eternal fruit.
The crisis of liturgy and sacred music today is not a mere question of taste. It is the garden left untended. It is the withering leaf that cursed the branch. It is the lukewarm pablum, neither hot nor cold, which even God himself wants to spit from his mouth (Rev. 3:14-18).
The 26th CMAA Colloquium wins high marks for good taste; for loving, diligent, and scholarly renditions of sacred music in their proper liturgical context; and perhaps most interestingly for outsiders -- diversity. Musical selections range from medieval chants, Esquivel, Byrd, and Purcell to Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcellae; Sweelinck, Bach, and Lotti to Mozart's Sparrow Mass; Stanford, Franck, and Bruckner to new compositions by Frank La Rocca, not to mention numerous modern chant adaptations. New compositions written by participants are read and critiqued each day. The repertoire spans centuries and continents. Diversity is not only present in the repertoire, it is present in the participants. Men and women are equally represented; and numerous clergy and religious representing dozens of dioceses, monasteries, and congregations are participating alongside laypersons of all stripes. As a participant, the overwhelming feeling is, to quote Rosie the Riveter, "we can do it." Whether you are keen on simple or complex, easy or difficult, ancient or modern, beauty is within your reach. There are flowers that can bloom in your "garden" with just a little care and effort.
CMAA is growing and building a future on quality foundations. Young musicians and young priests from across the country and the world are majority of the attendees at this conference. The participants I met are quality people pursuing advanced degrees, working in growing parishes and cathedrals, and teaching in schools, colleges, seminaries, and universities. Look out! This is the future, folks; and this is why we do what we do. We love Sacred Music: we love our story, we love our God, and we love each other. Not to mention, it's fun!
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
|"Every Liturgical celebration...is a sacred action surpassing all others." Sacrosanctum Concilium I.1.7|
|"Do you promise to celebrate faithfully and reverently the mysteries of Christ... especially the Sacrifice of the Eucharist...?" Rite of Ordination|
|A copy of Raphael's Transfiguration (1520) adorns the apse|
|Various choirs from the Colloquium sung throughout the Mass|
|Dr. Paul Weber at the console of the Wicks/Hauptwerk organ|
We recently receive this information about The Scholasticum, a new institute for the study of scholastic theology and philosophy which has recently been established in Bagnoregio, Italy, the native city of St Bonaventure. You can see their website at is link; https://www.studium-scholasticum.org/ Also, see the poster below.
In the summer of 2016 the Scholasticum Institute, a graduate institution dedicated to the Scholastic Theology of St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio and St. Thomas Aquinas, opened its doors in the very town where Bonaventure was raised and where Benedict XVI urged further study of the Seraphic Doctor of the Church.
Pope Sixtus V explained the importance of Scholastic Theology: “[T]here has been discovered by Our ancestors, most wise men, Scholastic Theology, which two Doctors glorious above all, the angelic Saint Thomas, and the seraphic Saint Bonaventure, most brilliant professors in this capacity…with excellent genius, assiduous study, great labors and vigils have refined and decorated, and have passed on to those who would come after…” He went on to say that “a salutary understanding and practice of this science [Scholastic Theology]… could certainly always bring the greatest assistance to the Church.” (Triumphantis Hierusalem, § 10)
The Scholasticum is the only institute dedicated to reviving the study of Scholastic Theology in the modern world. Students can pursue graduate programs in Medieval Philosophy, Medieval Biblical Studies, and the Scholastic Theology of St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas. These three cycles of two years each will not simply teach about Scholastic Theology, rather they aim at reproducing the course of study in thirteenth-century Paris that produced St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure. Since the mastery of Latin is a prerequisite to any thorough treatment of Philosophy and Theology, the Scholasticum also offers a premier education in the language of the Church, which can be taken as a prerequisite course of study or for its own sake. While our immediate object is to study the works of the greatest minds of Scholasticism, we hope to form thinkers who will be the Thomases and Bonaventures of tomorrow.
In God’s Providence, the Scholasticum has obtained a 25-year lease on the Franciscan Convent in Bagnoregio. As a result, the institute can offer a world-class education with extremely inexpensive room and board for those who choose to enjoy the historic buildings, town, and landscape in residence. The institute also offers residential students a two-week special course on The Manuscript Libraries of Rome and several trips to medieval sites of special interest.
One characteristic that sets Scholasticum apart is that students have the option of studying telematically (i.e., through the Internet) from anywhere in the world. In fact, a number of the courses are taught through video conferencing by professors who are engaged in cutting-edge research related to Scholastic Theology at universities throughout North America and Western Europe. This pioneering approach to collecting expert faculty has created a concentration of youthful zeal and scholastic competency that could hardly be matched by a traditional institution.
Our faculty are enthusiastic about advancing Scholastic Theology and thereby the good of the Church. They are a sign of hope for the future in an age where so much seems to have gone wrong. The time is ripe for a revival of Scholastic Theology, and students graduating from the Scholasticum will be in the best position to bring this about, for the good of the church and of the whole world. Considering the low cost and the immeasurably high value of learning to practice theology like two of the Church’s greatest theologians, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure, the Scholasticum offers the opportunity of a lifetime, or perhaps of a millennium.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Here is a just a small selection (which was not easy to make among so many beautiful images) of the more than 200 photos; the complete set can be seen via Googlephotos or Flickr. Below the break, you can see a photo of one of the most beautiful customs associated with the traditional ordination rite, although not formally part of it. After the priest’s hands are anointed, they are bound with a cloth to keep the oil in place for the rest of the ordination ritual. Once the ritual is complete, he presents the cloth to his mother; it is a long-standing tradition that when a priest’s mother dies, she is buried with the cloth between her hands, to symbolize that she gave a priest to God, and will be rewarded for this in heaven. (Last year, we posted a photo of a priest giving the cloth to his mother to our Instagram account, which automatically reposts everything to our Facebook page, where it surpassed every record for views and likes by an enormous margin.)
NLM is very happy to offer warmest congratulations to the newly ordained priests and to their families, as well as to the Fraternity of St Peter, and likewise, our thanks to Card. Ricard for his pastoral solicitude on behalf of the Fraternity and the faithful who follow the traditional liturgy. In this season when so many priestly ordinations are taking place throughout the world, let us remember to thank God for all the blessings and mercies He gives us through the ministry of the priesthood, for the families in whom religious vocations are born and fostered, to pray for their increase, and for all of our bishops and clergy.
|The sermon, preached at the beginning of the ceremony, rather than after the Gospel.|
|Fr John Berg, the Superior General of the F.S.S.P., reads the call to orders.|
|The imposition of hands by the Bishop.|
What is interesting is the variety of styles on dsiplay that nevertheless all sit within bounds of what could legitimately be considered a holy icon. Many incorporate stylistic features that might not have been seen in the icons of Rublev in the 15th century. I would characterize what they are doing in the following way: the artist may be breaking past rules, but they never contravene the timeless principles that define the tradition. In the way I am using these words, a “rule” is precise and unbending, the particular application of a “principle” suited to a particular time and place. For example, a rule would be “only use gold for the background in an icon,” which is what I was told when I first started to learn iconography. The underlying principle, on the other hand, is flexible, and is applied in different ways according the needs of the time and place. The principle behind the use of gold for backgrounds is that the background must seem flat and not create the illusion of space, in order to suggest the heavenly realm which is outside time and space. If you look at such icons, you see a variety of background colors and even geometric patterned art, something I was told in my first icon classes should never be seen in an icon! However, they can all be used to suggest flatness, and therefore work well in conforming to the underlying principle.
Similarly, when I first learned icon painting I was told that I had to start with a dark background, and then build the form by putting successive layers of lighter toned paint on top; there was even a theological argument used to justify this. Then it was discovered that ancient iconographers used a method whereby a monochrome underpainting was laid down first, and then both light and dark transparent layers washes of paint were put over it. Because the end result - what the final icon actually looks like - was the most important principle, my icon-painting teacher immediately adopted this quicker and easier method of building form.
This flexibility is the sign of a vibrant living tradition, one in which individual expression is allowed, but always in conformity to the principles that define it. As a result, the tradition reinvents itself with each new generation and so is able to connect with the people of its day. No tradition can rely exclusively on its canon of past works to maintain its relevance; it must always create anew, or else it will die.
This is what Benedict XVI calls for in his analysis of culture in his book, Sing a New Song, in which he explains that it is the responsibility of the artist to connect with people beyond the esoteric circle of the artists and academics who “understand” the tradition. In Benedict’s phrase, he must connect with “the many.” Furthermore, he says that it is “the mark of true creativity” that the artist is able to do this. In other words, the responsibility of the artist is to be popular by creating good and beautiful works of art.
Art that is popular isn’t necessarily good, but the very best art will be popular. If the most popular aspects of mass culture today are not edifying and uplifting, then it is the responsibility of Christian artists to produce work that is and which, importantly, connects with modern people. If the artists fail to do so, the fault lies not with the audience, but with the artists for failing to create something that is beautiful enough to command a decent price. This simple test of quality is often seen as too harsh, and I find that there is resistance to it from practicing artists, especially those whose work doesn’t sell.
It is to the credit to those who in the mid-20th century reestablished the iconographic tradition in its modern form, that they laid down the foundational principle that allowed for the right sort of flexibility, and so created a living tradition. These people were Russian ex-pats living in France in the mid-20th century, most notably Vladimir Lossky and Leonid Ouspensky. Lossky was a theologian, Ouspensky was a practicing artist as well as a deep thinker. A third artist whose work was influential in the same regard was Gregory Kroug.
Oupensky and Lossky had to develop the greater part of these principles themselves. There were no detailed writings about art by the Church Fathers that they could draw on to define the stylistic elements in the way that was necessary to guide artists, and which anyone who has done an icon class will hear from his teacher. They analysed icons that they judged to be good and holy, and developed a theology of form that seemed consistent with what they were looking at. This is what artists needed in order to create work. The principles of this newly established iconographic tradition tell us not so much what artists did in the past, but rather what artists ought to do in the future in order to produce work that bears the mark of the holy icon.
The test of the validity of this is not historical accuracy of the principles as proposed, but rather the quality of the work produced by the artists who follow them, and the resilience of the tradition they established - can it outlast the generation that created it? We simply don’t know if the formulae that Ouspensky and Lossky developed correspond precisely to what Rublev would have been aiming for hundreds of years ago.
I feel that iconography has passed the test. We are now several generations of teachers and students past Ouspensky. The very best of today’s icon painters are producing icons in this style that stand alongside the great works of the past. and moreover, they are engaging with modern people in the place where they are meant to, in the context of the liturgy.
The analysis of these 20th century Russian ex-pats may very well have little credibility in the art history departments of our secular universities, where, I am guessing, it would be dismissed as purely personal speculation. But that doesn’t prevent what they proposed from being good and valid, given the end that they had in mind, namely, the creation of beautiful art that is in harmony with the liturgy.
I have to admit that I do not know how flexible Ouspensky and Lossky were themselves in their presentation of this. I once had some excellent classes from someone who was taught directly by Ouspensky in Paris, and who constantly referred to him. The instructions of how to do it were presented as inviolable laws; there was no room for discussion, and from the way that she described Ouspensky, it seems this is how it was presented to her. Nevertheless, she did explain the reason for the rule in each case. Once we understand why we are doing something - the end towards which the rule is directed - then regardless of how flexible Ouspensky would have been himself, this builds the possibility of changes that can be justified, provided they bring about the same end.
Even if we discover in the future that these principles are at variance with those used centuries ago - perhaps with the discovery of the some set of ancient scrolls - this in no way alters the validity of what has been developed in the 20th century. It simply gives us an alternative set of principles available to the artist who wishes to paint for the Church.
We can look to this pattern for reestablishing artistic traditions in the Western Church too. There are different things we can do. First is to work within the iconographic style and produce styles that connect with those who worship in the Roman Rite. Icon painters such as Aidan Hart have been doing this. Aidan is Orthodox, but he looks for inspiration to the styles of the Church in the West prior to the schism that were consistent with the iconographic prototype, such as the Romanesque. As a result, he is creating a 21st century style of Western iconography that connects with worshipers in the West, who worship in both the Roman and Byzantine Rites. Moreover, he passes the Benedict XVI “creativity test” - his work connects with the many and is in great demand.
The other thing that we can do is apply the Ouspensky/Lossky type of analysis to the other liturgical traditions of the Roman Church, the Gothic and the Baroque. St John Paul II understood this, and for this reason called in his Letter to Artists for a renewed dialogue between the Church and artists. The final section of my book The Way of Beauty is my attempt to do just this. You can judge for yourself the validity of what I propose, but regardless, we need our own Losskys and Ouspenkys in the Roman Church!
I present my favorites from the article - for the credits for the artists go to the Orthodox Art Journal. The one name I will mention here is the painter of the first icon below, Fr Zinon, who is perhaps the most famous icon painter of the present day.