Monday, October 14, 2019

St. John Henry Newman, the Traditionalist

This is the kind of atmosphere Newman associated with the Mass.
(The photo is recent — the New Evangelization banner gives it away —
but the feel is timeless, and not simply because the photo is monochrome.)
It is ironic, to say the least, that Cardinal Newman is so often hailed as “the theologian of the Second Vatican Council” or the great proponent of reforming trends within the contemporary Church, when — at least on matters concerning fundamental theology, Christian morality, and sacred liturgy — he argued strenuously and consistently throughout his career against rationalism, emotionalism, liberalism, and tinkeritis. In the realm of liturgy in particular, he was staunchly opposed to ritual modifications and modernizations designed to “meet people where they’re at” or to (as Paul VI put it in his April 3, 1969 Apostolic Constitution promulgating the Novus Ordo) “accommodate the mentality of today.”

Newman was not just anti-liberal (which he says expressly of himself); he was not just a Burkean conservative with a loathing for revolutionary schemes. He was what is now called a traditionalist in matters dogmatic and liturgical, one who would have lambasted the entire conciliar project, and certainly the liturgical reform carried out in its name, as misguided and doomed to failure. “What points in common are there between the easy religion of this day, and the religion of St. Athanasius, or St. Chrysostom? How do the two agree, except that the name of Christianity is given to both of them?” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, sermon 25, Feasting in Captivity).

In his Essay on the Development of Doctrine he claimed that the Fathers of the Church, were they to return to England in his day, would bypass the grand houses of worship owned by the Establishment and seek out a little Catholic chapel, in the liturgy of which they would be able to recognize the spirit and the reality of their own faith:
Did St. Athanasius or St. Ambrose come suddenly to life, it cannot be doubted what communion he would take to be his own. All surely will agree that these Fathers, with whatever opinions of their own, whatever protests, if we will, would find themselves more at home with such men as St. Bernard or St. Ignatius Loyola, or with the lonely priest in his lodging, or the holy sisterhood of mercy, or the unlettered crowd before the altar, than with the teachers or with the members of any other creed. And may we not add, that were those same Saints, who once sojourned, one in exile, one on embassy, at Treves, to come more northward still, and to travel until they reached another fair city, seated among groves, green meadows, and calm streams, the holy brothers would turn from many a high aisle and solemn cloister which they found there, and ask the way to some small chapel where Mass was said in the populous alley or forlorn suburb?
Is there any doubt, did Newman come suddenly to life in our midst, that he would (with consummate politeness and decorum, of course) ask the way to some small chapel where Mass was said as he knew it and said it, and where he would find himself at home?

Newman was, I maintain, a Catholic traditionalist avant la lettre. One can see this in so many writings from every period of his life, and of every genre, that it takes little more than opening pages at random to be able to start a fine personal collection of polished gems of perennial, hence anti-modernist, wisdom. (Next week, I will share an annotated florilegium of such texts.) Because the postconciliar “progressives” in the Church are accustomed to craft and lying, which is how they have obtained the mastery of all important positions right up to the top (for the devil is lavish with his own), Newman has been selectively misquoted and misrepresented as a friend of their cause, which has led to his falling under a cloud of suspicion in the minds of more conservative or traditional Catholics who do not know his work well. He has even been accused of being a modernist himself, although in fact one finds him expressly refuting the modernists, in many cases long before their ideas became fashionable and widespread.

Moreover, it is worthy of note that Newman has always been a favorite author for traditionalist writers. Michael Davies edited a volume of his sermons entitled Newman Against the Liberals; Arlington House publisher and conservative American littérateur Neil McCaffrey, founder of The Latin Mass magazine, quotes Newman frequently; and two of our most appreciated Catholic clergy who were former Anglicans, Fr. John Hunwicke and Fr. Richard Cipolla, are steeped in the thought and words of the great Cardinal.

Another recent photo, but it might as well be from 19th-century England.

Newman played a crucial role in my own intellectual and spiritual “conversion” to traditional Catholicism. In college, I got hold of the one-volume Ignatius Press edition of his Parochial and Plain Sermons and somehow persevered in reading the entire book, over 1,000 pages of glorious (Anglican!) preaching. It did not make me think of Anglicanism per se; it made me think: “So this is what serious, biblical, Patristic, earnest Christianity looks like! It’s not anything I ever saw in the Catholic Church growing up in suburban New Jersey.” That book was one among many influences (reading Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, were two more) that prompted me to search harder to find this Christianity, if possible. As we know, some people are led by that search to the Catholic Eastern rites or to Eastern Orthodoxy; others, myself in their number, are led to the full-blooded, 2,000-year old reality of Western or Latin Catholicism that finds its supreme exemplar in the Tridentine Roman Rite and the culture of faith and beauty that surrounds it, of which the postconciliar establishment has been like a photographic negative or an algebraic cancellation.

In the exploration of the tradition(s) of the Church, Newman has long been for me a compagnon de voyage. This fall, with all the buzz about the canonization, I decided to make a study of his writings on worship, reverence, and ritual. What I discovered amazed me anew with its richness, variety, and eloquence. In addition to a few passages already well-known to traditionalists — such as where he says that the Church never abolishes her traditional liturgical rites, but always carries them forward (tell that one to the Consilium!) — Newman has page after page on the beauty and solemnity of Holy Mass, the importance of its aesthetic and linguistic qualities, the spiritual fruitfulness of objective predetermined ceremonial, the ample room that exists within set forms for differences in individual devotional engagement, and similar themes, all of them current in the traditionalist movement.

I therefore decided to create and publish a collection of all of the best texts of this sort that I could find, and the book is now available (from different sources, depending on one’s location). Below are the cover, the description, and links:

DESCRIPTION: The life and thought of John Henry Newman were permeated with the ceremonies and hallowed texts of Christian liturgies, which he celebrated for over six decades, starting as an Anglican deacon in 1824 and ending as a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. It comes as no surprise that allusions to liturgical worship are ubiquitous in his writings. The “ordinances” of the Church, her rich panoply of rites handed down through the centuries, are, for Newman, doors or windows into the heavenly society for which we were created and to which God is calling us throughout our lives. As Newman says in a number of places, we are given our time on earth to begin to live, through personal prayer and corporate worship, the life of the blessed in heaven. This new book gathers over seventy texts from a large number and wide range of Newman’s writings in all periods of his career, including forty-four of his incomparably great sermons. That Newman deserves his reputation as one of the finest English writers and theologians of all time is abundantly demonstrated in these spirited and subtle reflections on the duty of reverence, the benefits of ritual, and the privilege of divine worship.
Those in Europe may order from Amazon:
Those in the USA may order from Lulu:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Here is the Table of Contents for those who wish to see what is included (the pages are cropped and combined for convenience):

May St. John Henry Newman, who gave us a marvelous example of seeking the light of truth wherever it leads and who persevered in ecclesial prayer with Mary the Mother of God and the Apostles, intercede for us on earth, as we strive to love that same truth and to restore the lost splendor of our divine worship.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Edward the Confessor and John the Evangelist

St Edward the Confessor, king of England, died on January 5, 1066, after a reign of over 23 years. He is called “the Confessor” to distinguish him from King Edward the Martyr (died 978), another Saint who was very popular in pre-Reformation England. He is the last monarch of England honored as a Saint; Henry VI (1422-71) was the subject of a strong popular devotion, with many miracles attributed to him, but his cause for canonization was broken off at the Reformation, and subsequent attempts to revive it have failed. (This was a favorite subject of the great Mons. Ronald Knox.) The numeration of the English monarchs begins with the Norman Conquest, which took place shortly after, and largely because of, Edward’s death, and therefore neither he nor the Martyr is included in it. (Edward I reigned in the later 13th and early 14th centuries.)

Ss Edmund the Martyr (a 9th century King of East Anglia, also very popular before the Reformation), Edward the Confessor and John the Baptist present King Richard II to the Virgin and Child (The Wilton Diptych, 1395.) The Confessor holds a ring in his hand, in reference to the story recounted below.
He was canonized in 1161 by Pope Alexander III, who had a remarkably long reign (one week shy of 22 years), and lived to canonize another very important Englishman, St Thomas Becket. Since he died on the vigil of the Epiphany, which was considered far too important to displace, his feast was assigned to October 13, the day on which St Thomas himself translated his relics from their original place in Westminster Abbey to a shrine in the choir. They were later moved to a different shrine within the abbey behind the altar, where they remain to this day, one of two such shrines in all of England not destroyed by the impiety of Henry VIII and his successors. (The other is of a Saint called Wite of whom nothing is known.) In 1689, the year after the last Catholic monarch of England was dethroned, Bl. Pope Innocent XI extended his feast to the general calendar.

A Catholic Requiem Mass celebrated at the shrine of St Edward in Westminster Abbey in 2013 (from an NLM post by Charles Cole.)
The Sarum Breviary tells a charming story of St Edward and his devotion to St John the Evangelist. While attending the consecration of a church, Edward was approached by an elderly man who asked him for alms in the name of God and of St John. The royal almoner was not present, and having nothing else on him, Edward gave him his ring. Many years later, two English pilgrims in Jerusalem met an elderly man who, on learning where they were from, said to them, “I ask you brothers, return to your king, and give him the message which I shall send by you. I am John, the Apostle and Evangelist, and I love the holy king Edward for his chastity, for I know him to be near to God.” He then explained to them how he received the ring from Edward, “which I have kept unto this day for love and reverence for the man of God; I now send it back to him with glory, and within a short time, shall render even more pleasing gifts. For within half a year’s time, he will be clothed as I am in the robe of immortality…”

The pilgrims, cleverly described in the breviary as “apostolic legates”, returned to the king, delivering both the message and the ring. And indeed, St Edward took ill on Christmas night of that year, and by Childermas, was too sick to attend the consecration ceremony of the abbey of St Peter, which he himself had founded and built. The original Romanesque building was replaced by the famous Gothic church now known as Westminster Abbey in the mid-13th century. The only surviving representation of the original church is in the section of the Bayeux Tapestry which shows the body of King Edward being brought into it for burial.

“Here the body of King Edward is brought to the church of St Peter the Apostle.”

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Upcoming Lectures of Dr Kwasniewski in Rhode Island, October 26 & 27

In two weeks’ time, in conjunction with the ordination of Rev. Mr. William Rock, FSSP, by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider in Providence, RI (as announced here), I will be giving talks at two different parishes in the area. Each lecture will be followed by a Q&A and booksale.

On Saturday, October 26th, at 7:00 pm, the topic will be “The Priority of Adoration, Fear of the Lord, and the Virtue of Religion in Catholic Worship,” at The Church of the Holy Name of Jesus (99 Camp Street, Providence RI 02906 [map]). In the past, NLM has featured this parish more than once because of Fr. Joseph Santos’s annual celebration of the Palm Sunday liturgy in the rare and beautiful rite of Braga.

On Sunday, October 27th, at 6:30 pm, the topic will be “It’s Not Just a Matter of the Heart: Why What We Do and How We Do It Matters So Much in the Liturgy,” at The Church of the Holy Ghost (316 Judson St, Tiverton, RI 02878 [map]). NLM readers may also recognize this parish, which, under Fr. Jay Finelli, has been the center of so many good initiatives.

The posters below reproduce all pertinent information. I look forward to meeting many lovers of liturgy and Catholic tradition!

Friday, October 11, 2019

St Augustine and the Translation of His Relics

Many Augustinian congregations, both canons and friars, have traditionally celebrated October 11th as the feast of the Translation of the Relics of St Augustine. For centuries, the Premonstratensians even kept this feast with an octave, although this was suppressed after Pope St Pius X’s breviary reform.

The calendar for October from a Premonstratensian Breviary printed in 1490. The Translation of St Augustine is marked on the 11th; note that because the octave day, the 18th, is permanently impeded by the feast of St Luke the Evangelist, it is permanently anticipated to the 17th. (This may seem like an odd thing to do, but it was a common enough practice once upon a time, and the same is done with St Ursula and Companions on the 21st, since their octave is impeded by Ss Simon and Jude.)
St Augustine died on August 28, 430 A.D., as the barbarian Vandals were besieging the city of Hippo, where he had ruled as bishop for thirty-five years. The Vandals were Arians who often persecuted the Catholics of north Africa, and about 50 years later, their king Huneric expelled many of the Catholic bishops from his territory. Several of them fled to Sardinia, bringing Augustine’s relics with them to Cagliari on the south of the island, its major port and largest city. By the early 8th century, the Saracens had seized control of several coastal cities of the western Mediterranean, including Cagliari, while subjecting many others to continual raids and plunder. The king of the Lombards in northern Italy, one Liutprand, was able to ransom the relics from them in 724, and bring them to his capital city of Pavia, about 21 miles south of Milan. Since that time, they have been kept in the romantically-named church of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, “St Peter in the Golden Heaven,” where Liutprand himself is also buried.

From about 1360 to 1400, a monumental reliquary tomb for the Saint was made, of the type which is called an “arc.” (‘Arca’ in Italian; in the past we have shown similar arcs made for Ss Dominic and Peter Martyr.) It is attributed to a group of sculptors working under the brothers Matteo and Bonino da Campione, and Balduccio da Pisa. Originally kept in the sacristy, it was dismantled during the Napoleonic wars, and reassembled as the church’s altarpiece only in 1900. At four meters high, and covered with 90 statues, it is one of the most impressive monuments of late Gothic sculpture in Italy, with a remarkable richness of iconography. These photos were all taken by Nicola de’ Grandi.

Inside the altar is a silver box made by Liutprand for the relics of St Augustine, which were moved to a reliquary in 1833. They are exposed for the veneration of the faithful twice a year, on his principal feast day, August 28th, and the feast of his Conversion, April 24.

Inside the central register of the arc is depicted the death of St Augustine, who is shown in pontifical robes, with a Bible in his hand, surrounded by six deacons who hold his funeral veil. Above him, on the “ceiling”, as it were, of the open space, Christ appears to him, surrounded by Angels and Saints who are about to receive him into heaven. (Details can be seen by clicking the photo to enlarge it.)

The lower register shows the virtues of Faith (with the upside-down cross of the church’s titular Saint, the Apostle Peter, and a chalice), Hope (looking up to heaven), Charity (with a baby) and Religion, (founded on a rock, another reference to Peter.) On the panels between them are paired Ss Peter and John, James the Lesser and Andrew, Thomas and Bartholomew, each holding a scroll with a few words of the Apostles’ Creed. On the upper register are the episodes of St Augustine’s conversion: listening to the preaching of St Ambrose; the famous “Tolle, lege” episode; and the reading of St Paul’s words “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.” (Romans 13, 14) In the triangles at top are shown various miracles of St Augustine.
On the lower register of the left side are Chastity, Ss Stephen, Paul the Hermit and Lawrence, and Obedience (holding a copy of a religious rule.) In the center, St Ambrose and St Possidius, bishop of Calama, are seen from behind; the latter was an eyewitness to St Augustine’s death, and later wrote a biography of him. The upper register depicts Augustine when he was a teacher of rhetoric at Milan.
St Ambrose died 33 years before Augustine; he is represented as present, along with Ss Jerome and Gregory the Great on the opposite side, to make up the company of the four Saints first recognized as Doctors of the Church. (St Jerome died about 10 years before Augustine, while Gregory was born about a century after his death.)
On the right side, the lower register depicts Meekness with a lamb, and the Evangelists Mark and Luke, with St Paul between them, and Poverty on the right. Above them, Ss Jerome and Gregory the Great (with a dove on his shoulder) are seen from behind. In the upper register, the panel on the right shows Liutprand bringing the relics from Sardinia, and then on the left, into Pavia.

Photo- and Videopost Catch-Up, October 2019

We are always happy to receive photos and videos of your liturgies, even when we haven’t specifically asked for them for a major feast. Here are a few items that have been sent in recently, and one (my apologies!) not so recently. I also include here a nice little documentary on the Usus Antiquior, featuring Cardinal Burke and our own Ben Yanke.

Chapel of Our Lady of Fatima - Trnava, Slovkia
In the city of Trnava, the traditional rite was introduced on the feast of Assumption of Our Lady, with a Solemn Mass celebrated in the presence of Archbishop Ján Orosch, and his vicar, Canon Róbert Kiss, by the private secretary and master of ceremonies of archdiocese Fr. Ľubomír Urbančok. More then 200 people partecipated; the regular celebration of the TLM is held every Sunday and holy day of obligation in this chapel within the archiepiscopal residence.

The Latin Mass in New Orleans in 1967

Our recent photopost for the Exaltation of the Cross included some photos from St Patrick’s Church in New Orleans; as I noted in the post, this is one of the very few places anywhere in the world to have a weekly Latin Mass going all the way back to 1967. Following up on that, the current parish priest, Fr Garrett O’Brien, was kind enough to send in photos of a bulletin from that year sent out to the clergy of the diocese, announcing why the Mass was being so instituted. It is particularly interesting to note that Sacrosanctum Concilium is cited to explain this step, in addition to a pastoral need to accommodate those who do not speak English. It is perhaps hard to believe now, given how cavalierly the letter of SC was dismissed in the execution of the post-Conciliar reform, but there was indeed a period immediately after Vatican II when people took the letter of it seriously. The relevant section begins at the end of the first page.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Traditional Ambrosian Chants from the Choir of Milan Cathedral

Yesterday, the Church of Milan marked the centenary of the birth of Mons. Luciano Migliavacca. Ordained to the priesthood by the Bl. Cardinal Schuster in 1942, he studied Gregorian chant in Rome at the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music, where he obtained a degree in music composition; he also studied at the theological faculty of the Univ. of the Sacred Heart in his native city, where he wrote a thesis on the Ambrosian orations of the seasonal Masses. In 1957, he was appointed director of the cathedral choir, and served in that role for 41 years; after some years in retirement, he passed away in 2013 at the age of 94. His original compositions include over 70 Masses, numerous motets based on the texts of the Ambrosian liturgy, settings of the Magnificat and various psalms, as well as pieces for organ, and an oratorio for soloists, choir and orchestra called “The Gospel of St Mark.” He was also an active contributor to many scholarly publications in the field of sacred music, and directed a project to transcribe the innumerable polyphonic works in the musical archives of Milan cathedral.

Mons. Migliavacca (lower left) conducts the choir of Milan cathedral during an Ambrosian Pontifical Mass celebrated coram Summo Pontifice in St Peter’s Basilica during the first session of the most recent ecumenical council.
Here is a recoding of several different pieces of Ambrosian chant, sung by the choir of Milan cathedral, conducted by Mons. Migliavacca, with one exception. Some notes on the individual pieced and their liturgical use are given below.

The recording begins with three hymns by St Ambrose:
1. (0:01) Splendor paternae gloriae, which is sung in the Ambrosian rite at Lauds every day when the Office is of the season per annum; in the Roman Rite, it is sung at Monday Lauds per annum.
2. (3:57) Agnes beatae virginis, for the feast of St Agnes.
3. (7:30) Apostolorum passio, for the feast of Ss Peter and Paul.

4. (10:14) Omnes patriarchae, the antiphon ‘in choro’ of Second Vespers of the Epiphany.
5. (11:31) Tenebrae factae sunt, the responsory sung at the service “post Tertiam” of Good Friday, before the Passion of St Matthew. In choir, the solo parts of this are supposed to be sung by the senior cleric present, which in the Duomo means the archbishop, but the piece is very complex, and it was commonly sung by a canon standing next to the him instead. Many parts of the Ambrosian liturgical repertoire are assigned by the liturgical books to be sung by specific people or groups. (This part of the recording was conducted by Luigi Benedetti.)
6. (15:18) The Ambrosian version of Rorate caeli, which, like its Roman counterpart, is an optional chant commonly sung at Benediction. In this recording, it is sung in a manner common to many Ambrosian pieces, alternating between the men’s and boy’s choirs, and concluding with both choirs singing together.
7. (16:58) The psalm In exitu Israel (113) with a triple Hallelujah after each verse, from Vespers of Easter Sunday. In the actual liturgy, the entire Psalm would be sung, with psalms 133 and 116 added on, followed by a single doxology; this is the oldest form of festive psalmody in the Ambrosian Rite.
8. (18:14) The antiphon Venite omnis creatura, from Matins of the Epiphany. In the Ambrosian Office, all antiphons are semidoubled; this is one of a handful of exceptions, called “double antiphons”, which are sung in two parts. Before the Psalm, the first part is sung by the men’s choir, the second by the boys’s; the reverse is done after the Psalm. “Venite, omnis creatura: adoremus Dominum, qui illuxit nobis, quem praedicaverunt prophetae a Moyse usque ad Joannem Baptistam. V. Hodie apparuit Christus, Deus de Deo, lumen de lumine. – Come, every creature, let us adore the Lord, Who hath shown upon us, Whom the prophets foretold, from Moses to John the Baptist. V. Today Christ hath appeared, God from God, light from light.”
9. The psallenda Pax in caelo, from Vespers of the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany. A psallenda is a chant like an antiphon, sung in full before and after the doxology, but without any psalmody, at the end of Lauds and Vespers; there is usually more than one, and it is also used make commemorations. “Pax in caelo, pax in terra, pax in omni populo; pax sacerdotibus ecclesiarum Dei. – Peace in heaven, peace on earth, peace among every people; peace to the priests of the churches of God.”
10. (21:42) The psallenda Videntes stellam Magi from Second Vespers of the Epiphany. “Videntes stellam Magi, gavisi sunt gaudio magno: et intrantes domum obtulerunt Domino aurum, thus et myrrham. – Seeing the star, the Magi rejoiced greatly, and entering the house, they offered to the Lord gold, frankincense and myyrh.”

In the photograph which provides background for the video, Mons. Migliavacca is wearing the cape of a “mazzeconico”, as they were called, an Italian/Milanese corruption of “magister canonicus – a master canon.” These were a group of cantors assigned to the two chapters of the cathedral specifically to maintain a high level of liturgical chant. The boys are standing with him in a circle, during the singing of an antiphon ‘in choro’ at Vespers, which was originally sung by the cantors in a similar formation around the throne of the celebrant.

Requiem Mass and Tomb Dedication in Covington, Kentucky, Oct. 26

Camillus Paul Maes served as the third bishop of Covington from 1885 to 1915. When he arrived, he found the aging, wood-framed cathedral falling into disrepair, and the growing Catholic community in dire need of a larger building for worship. The cathedral that he built, Covington’s mother-church, stands as a testament to the great vision of Bishop Maes, who wished to give the city of Covington a token of his affection, and a monument to speak for centuries to come of the love of Christ, for as he said, “indeed, the message of the cathedral is the message of Christ himself.”

In gratitude for Bishop Maes’ lasting impact and contributions to the Church in northern Kentucky, H.E. Roger Foys, bishop of Covington, will celebrate a funeral Mass for the repose of his soul, followed by the solemn interment of his remains in a new tomb at the heart of the cathedral-basilica which he built. Located in the church’s former baptistery, the new tomb features a sarcophagus of white and green marble, designed to blend with the surrounding marble work. The lid features a hand-carved white marble effigy of Bishop Maes lying in repose, wearing the full set of pontificals, each item of which is modelled on something worn by a previous bishop of Covington. The entire tomb will sit beneath a starry vault, reminding God’s people that our ultimate goal is Heaven. The Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, October 26th, starting at 10 am; the cathedral is located at 1140 Madison Avenue. (Thanks to our good friend Dcn Jordan Hainsey for letting us know about this.)

An English Version of the Mass Os Justi for Confessors

Here is a resource which may prove to be useful, an English version of the Gregorian Mass Os justi for a simple Confessor. A friend of mine prepared this for the Mass of St John Henry Newman, but there are plenty of other Masses at which it can be sung, in whole or in part, and plenty of free days coming up on which a votive Masses of Card. Newman can be celebrated.

The creator of the project writes: “I undertook the project to create a Gradual for the Ordinariate(s) after the pattern of Burgess & Palmer, but with better text setting and following the texts and ordo of the Ordinariate Missal. Some of these changes are Vatican II-specific updates to propers for certain feasts. The melodies all come from the Graduale Romanum 1974, except when that doesn’t contain them, such as on some especially patrimonial days, or when alternatives are given from a Sarum source, or when an antiphon from the newer Missale Romanum was adapted into a graduale-type proper and so no melody existed. My first priority was to work through the Sundays of the year and the most important Solemnities, which are just about finished. Sometimes, however, I undertook to do some more specific chants, as in the case with the propers for soon-to-be-Saint John Henry Newman. I’m hoping the chants will soon move into a trial use phase with a few Ordinariate communities.”

Attempts to load this in pdf format directly into this post were not successful; if anyone wants this as a pdf, feel free to send me an message at, and I will be glad to email it to you. It can also be acccessed through Google Drive.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The Greek Mass of St Denys of Paris

Through most of the Middle Ages, knowledge of the Greek language was extremely limited in Western Europe. It is well-known, for example, that St Thomas Aquinas frequently cites the writings of Aristotle, but only knew them in the Latin translation of his friend William of Moerbecke. Nevertheless, from time to time we see evidence of interest in Greek in various types of liturgical texts, such as a number of medieval hymns with Greek words in them. One stanza of the Vesper hymn for Advent Conditor alme siderum originally began with the words “Te deprecamur, Agie – we beseech Thee, holy one”, a reading which may still be found to this day in the Uses of the monks and religious orders.

At the abbey of St Denys outside Paris, a major center of learning, a custom had developed by the second half of the ninth century of singing parts of the ordinary of the Mass in Greek, at least on some occasions. A sacramentary of that period now at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, but originally used at an abbey associated with that of St Denys, has the Gloria, Creed, Sanctus and Agnus Dei all in Greek. Much later, in the 16th century, St Denys itself instituted the custom of singing the entire Mass on the Octave day of their Patron Saint in that language, a tradition which continued until the French Revolution. This was not the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, but the Mass of the Roman Rite translated into Greek. By that period, St Denys was believed to be the same person as “Dionysios the Areopagite”, who is mentioned at the end of Acts 17 as one of the persons converted by St Paul’s discourse to the Athenians. (The name “Denys” derives from “Dionysios.”) The legend continued that he was the first bishop of Athens, who had then gone to Rome and been sent by Pope St Clement I to evangelize Paris, of which city he was also the first bishop, and where he was martyred.

The martyrdom of St Denys, and his companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, depicted in the tympanum of the north portal of the Abbey of St Denys. (12 century - image by Myrabella from Wikimedia Commons.) Denys is shown holding his own decapitated head, which his legendary medieval life says he picked up and walked with from Montmartre (“the mount of the martyrs”) to the place which would later become the site of the Abbey.
In the year 827, the Byzantine Emperor Michael II sent to the Western Emperor Louis the Pious a copy of the collection of Greek theological treatises and letters ascribed to the Areopagite, which are actually works of the late 5th or early 6th century. These happened to arrive in Paris and be taken to the Abbey of Saint-Denis on the very eve of his feast day. The abbot Hilduin translated them into Latin, a translation which, although not very accurate, and later supplanted by better ones, made “Dionysius the Areopagite” one of the most important influences on the theological writers of the Middle Ages. (He is actually cited more often in St Thomas’ Summa Theologica than Aristotle.) Hilduin also wrote a biography of the Saint, the first to identify all three personages as the same man; this imposture, which contradicts much of what earlier writers say about him, has unfortunately become an all-too-useful stick in the hands of hagiographical skeptics for beating on the legends of other Saints. (It also contradicts the tradition of the Byzantine Rite, which honors him on October 3rd as the first bishop of Athens, but knows nothing of his association with Paris.)

The Greek Mass was certainly instituted to honor the Abbey’s patron not only as an important writer of theology in Greek, but also the first bishop of the most important cultural center of the ancient Greek world. The complete text of the Mass was published at Paris in 1777; it can be found on Google Books by searching for “Messe grecque en l’honneur de Saint Denys”, but due to who-knows-what mysteries of copyright law, cannot be downloaded in every country. Here are a few pages of it, in honor of his feast day.

The Gregorian Introit “Sapientiam Sanctorum” from the Common of Several Martyrs (continues on following page). The Greek font used here is different from that used in modern printed editions of classical texts, since it is based on medieval Byzantine handwritten scripts. 

The Collect and the beginning of the Epistle, Acts 17, 22-34
The Gregorian Offertory “Exsultabunt Sancti”
The Roman Common Preface above, and the neo-Gallican proper preface below.

The Death of Pope Pius XII

Today is the 61st anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII. Here is another beautifully made video from the old Italian newsreel company Istituto Luce, an account of his final days and death, the tranlation of his body to Rome, and his burial in St Peter’s, with my translation of the narration, and a few notes.

“Pius XII died early in the morning of Thursday, October 9th, in his residence at Castel Ganfoldo. Two days of anguished uncertainly before his passing; people streamed to the Papal villa, anxious for news. The doctors were reserved; the Holy Father’s condition grew worse by the hour. The science of all the world was at the service of Christendom, for its spiritual father. Cardinal Tisserant, in his role as dean (of the College of Cardinals), arrived to temporarily assume the power of the Church. The comfort of the Faith was brought by the cardinals, as the doctors shrugged their shoulders in resignation. Moments of hope after a brief of improvement, but time marked out the signs of the inevitable. The last morning dawned, women, men, religious, boys, little girls, asked God that he be saved, all the world was in prayer. The doctors could speak no further words of comfort. (Newspaper headline at 1:10, ‘The Pope is dying’) Papa Pacelli [1] was dying. The crowd in silent waiting was still waiting for a miracle, but the fatal night had already arrived. The doctors simply said, ‘Pray.’

1:24 At 3:52 am, Pius XII finished his earthly journey. Cardinal Tisserant blessed the Pope, dead after a long agony. Fr Pellegrino (a popular personality on Italian radio) gave the final announcement on the radio, the journalists published the last bare details, the telexes typed without a break, the bells sounded fully in the anguished night, the flag hung at half-mast. Pius XII was dead.

1:56 On his sick bed, Papa Pacelli received the comforts of the faith in rochet and mozzetta, his profile sharpened by suffering, the hands that used to bless, crossed. The throne of a great pontificate is empty. Huge is the crowd in silent prayer. The first visitors arrive: prelates, civil authorities. (Italian President) Giovanni Gronchi and the Prime Minister (Amintore Fanfani) offer the condolences of the Italian people and of the government, the mourning of the Italians for the Roman Pope. Clothed in (sacred) vestments, Pius XII is brought into the room of the Swiss (guards) in the Pontifical villa. From the Castelli Romani, men and women have come together to pay tribute to the Pope who spent much of his time in the hills reflected in the Lago Albano. [2] In a silence that not even the whispered words of their prayers can break, (at 3:01, Giovanni Battista Montini, the archbishop of Milan and future Pope Paul VI) people of every age salute their ‘Pastor Angelicus’ [3] for the last time. He was a man among men, the Vicar of Christ, even in the midst of his constant attention to his sacred duties.

3:11 But the hour of the last earthly journey has arrived; Rome awaits its bishop, the Vatican, one of its most glorious leaders. The body is laid out in the pine coffin with the Pontifical vestments. The ‘sediari’ (the Italian word for the men who carried the sedes gestatoria), who for 20 years, in so many rites carried the sedes gestatoria, bear the fragile mortal remains to the hearse. Thus does Papa Pacelli returns to his native city.

3:50 It is a quick trip on the road he usually took to go vacation, and his returns at the first chill of autumn. A typical October illuminates the swift cortege. People of every sort crowd the way, in silence, in quiet prayer for the man who tried everything to save the world in fearful hours of calamity.

4:11 Pope Eugenio Pacelli, bishop of Rome, arrives at his beautiful cathedral. He returns to his home, among his people, for a few brief hours, with the humility of a priest who offers blessing and comfort. Afterwards, he will be in the glory of the Church. The Roman people, who loved him and today venerate him, all stand around its shepherd. They remember their Pope on two great occasions: one of grief, when he offered his comfort after the bombardment of San Lorenzo in 1943; the other joyful, when in Piazza di Spagna he opened the celebrations of the Marian year (1954). “A Pope and a people”, they said at the time.

4:52 Now Pius XII passes along the ancient roads of the city that saw his birth; here he returned as a student to meditate and ready himself. The people crowd the way of his passage, in silent devotion. In the official cortege, with the honorable Fanfani, the ministers Tambroni, Bigorelli, Connella and Magia, the whole of the Italian people is represented. Massive is the crowd waiting at St Peter’s, the same crowd that many, many times came here to hear words of comfort in moment of crisis, words of joy in moments of peace, and the Apostolic blessing, encouraging them to the better life. They greet their ‘Pastor Angelicus’ in an impressive silence, as if they can find no voice for invocation and prayer. It is a sad hour, but very sweet.

5:43 Now Pius XII enters the glory of St Peter’s. For 2 days, the huge piazza is full of crowds, waiting in line to pay tribute to Pius XII: a continual flow of Romans, of people who have come from every part of Italy, of foreigners who have hastened to Rome to salute him who in the darkest hours was truly, with his words and his example, the Defensor Civitatis, people of every race and color.

6:11 It is the moment for the final farewell. As he himself requested in his will, Pius XII is buried simply in a sacred place, all the more pleasing (to him) for its obscurity. His remains are received in the grotto near the Clementine chapel, next to the tomb of the Apostle Peter. Simple is the rite of translation; through the great naves that heard his voice proclaim Saints and blesseds, Pius XII passes for the last time. Near him are those who humbly assisted him in his glorious work. In the sadness and grief of the hour, the believers seems still to hear his voice in blessing ‘(Benedictio Dei omnipotentis), Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper.’ ”

[1] In Italian, the Pope is commonly referred to as “Papa (last name)”, and this is not considered the least bit disrespectful.
[2] Castel Gandolfo, the traditional summer residence of the Popes, is one of several towns around the Lago Albano, which as a group are called the “Castelli Romani - Roman castles.”
[3] Pope Pius XII was frequently referred to in his lifetime as “Pastor Angelicus - the angelic shepherd”, the title which falls to him in the so-called Prophecy of St Malachi. This was one of the relatively few times when this manifestly fraudulent document coincidentally manages to say something true.

Celebration of Newman Canonization in San Diego, Oct. 13

St Augustine of Canterbury Ordinariate Church in San Diego, California, will celebrate the canonization of John Henry Newman, with a Solemn Mass on Sunday, October 13th. The Rite will be in the form of the Roman Rite according to “Divine Worship: The Missal”, as used in the Ordinariates established under the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Cœtibus; special guest choir will be the Pope Benedict XVI Youth Schola, directed by Mrs Mary Ann Carr-Wilson. The church is located at 555 Del Mar Heights Road; the Mass will begin at 9:30 am, with refreshments afterwards.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

A Report on the UGCC’s Recent Church Music Conference

We are grateful to the organizers of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s annual Singing Conference, and to the Patriarchal Liturgical Commission, for this report on the event, and the videos which accompany it.

From Thursday, September 26, to Sunday, September 29, cantors, singers, choir directors, clergy, and all those interested in church singing gathered for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s second annual Singing Conference, or “SingCon,” a weekend of prayer, learning, and fellowship, at St Basil’s Seminary in Stamford, Connecticut. Under the leadership of Deacon Daniel Galadza, and with the support of the Patriarchal Liturgical Commission, the gathering was organized by a group of American and Canadian cantors, church musicians, and other clergy and laypeople, and hosted by the Eparch of Stamford, Bishop Paul (Chomnycky), and Fr Bohdan Tymchyshyn, rector of St Basil’s Seminary. Over seventy participants came from parishes in every part of Canada and the United States, as well as the UK and Germany, included many college students, young adults, professionals and married couples, along with several Roman Catholic and Orthodox participants, whose presence demonstrated the value of sacred music in strengthening ties between sister Churches and in ecumenical dialogue.

This year’s gathering continued the previous year’s initial efforts to advance both the availability and the quality of Church music in the English-speaking world by bringing together cantors and choir directors to meet one another, network, share resources, discuss various issues, and—most importantly—to pray together.

Four practical workshops were offered over the weekend, on 1) the Divine Liturgy (using The Divine Liturgy: An Anthology for Worship published by the Sheptytsky Institute), 2) introducing Vespers into parishes, 3) services from the Trebnyk, or Book of Needs (Baptism, Marriage, Funerals; the equivalent of the Rituale Romanum), and 4) the sources of the Kyivan and Galician liturgical music tradition. Networking sessions during meals led by Linda Dudar covered topics such as how to develop a choir, and how to trouble-shoot mistakes and misunderstandings that inevitably arise for leaders of church singing.
Part of Matins on Friday morning
The participants divided the remainder of their time between rehearsals, tours of the Stamford Seminary Museum and Library, and the celebration of liturgical services (Vespers, Matins, the Hours, and the Divine Liturgy) with homilies by Frs Martin Canavan and Joseph Matlak, culminating in a Saturday evening Vigil and Sunday morning Divine Liturgy. Bishop Bohdan (Danylo) of St Josaphat Eparchy in Parma, Ohio, the English-language coordinator of the Patriarchal Liturgical Commission, presided and preached at the Vigil on Saturday evening and at the concluding Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the chapel of St Basil Seminary. Roman Hurko’s new composition The Jesus Prayer had its world premiere, sung by the choir during the Communion.
On Thursday evening, after Vespers, dinner, and a word of welcome from Bishop Paul participants continued with a rehearsal and Town Hall/Armchair session moderated by Larisa Cronin, entitled “High Place, Altar, Krylos, Pew: Tell us, what’s your point of view?”, a forum for various perspectives on church singing in the UGCC, from bishops and priests to cantors and lay people. Metropolitan Borys (Gudziak), this year’s representative from the bishops, encouraged those present to continue their ministry of church singing and invited them to Philadelphia in 2020.

On Friday evening, cantor Joseph Roll gave a keynote address on the history of liturgical music at the Stamford Seminary. Professor Roll, who had organized similar church singing conferences in the 1980s and 1990s, provided an overview of the numerous liturgical translations and musical arrangements that were prepared in the seminary’s halls by its professors, clergy, and students, among them Fr (later Patriarch) Lubomyr Husar, Mother Andrea of the Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God, and Prof. Ivan Zadorozhnyj. The lecture received a standing ovation.

A key result of the conference is that the Patriarchal Liturgical Commission will have a better sense of the support, resources, and training that cantors, choir directors, and singers in the UGCC in North America need to fulfill their vocation. Participants expressed the urgent need for official translations and publication of liturgical books in both English and Ukrainian, as well as resources that will help them sing the services in those books.

SingCon’s focus on English-language liturgy and singing in the UGCC stems from the 2017 decision of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC to create local linguistic groups within the Patriarchal Liturgical Commission. At the encouragement of Bishop Benedict (Aleksiychuk) of Chicago, a committee was formed at this year’s SingCon to prepare statutes for the formation of the Church Music Association of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in North America. This meeting was attended by, among others, Bishop Basil (Losten), Bishop Bohdan (Danylo), and representatives of the Church Music Association of America (NLM’s parent organization).

Information on the schedule and the music, as well as photos and videos from the weekend, can be found on the conference website ( and on the Facebook page of the Patriarchal Liturgical Commission ( with the hashtag #SingCon2019.

The next SingCon is scheduled for October 1-4, 2020, in Philadelphia, and will be hosted by the Philadelphia Archeparchy. For updates, subscribe to the mailing list on or write to

Harmonious and Dissonant Proportions 2: Downtown Oakland, California

Earlier this month I made a trip into downtown Oakland, California, just south of where I live, to see a concert. I saw an interesting range of buildings in this city center, which shows that you don’t need to have winding medieval streets to create a pleasant environment in the city.

Along with a host of other grey-haired or balding, and portly rock fans, I saw the British progressive rock band, King Crimson. For those who are curious, they had their first hit album in the days when you still had vinyl albums, in 1969. They were always slightly edgy and avant-garde, delving into dissonant classical forms and eclectic rhythms and (dare I say it, as I struggle to make a valid connection), employed both harmony and dissonance in their music. Their guitarist, Robert Fripp, is now in his seventies. They were the sort of band that you wanted to people to know that you liked, as it branded you as a rebellious and bohemian 17-year-old intellectual. This was certainly the image I was seeking at that age; I wasn’t good at rebellion, but I alluded to it by being seen with a King Crimson album tucked under my arm at high school. Anyway, here you go…

This video is from about three years ago, but it is pretty much the setup I saw, with three drummers up front, and the musicians in the back. Unusually for a rock band, there was no dynamic light show, and the stage persona the musicians projected was one of a concentrated introspection. There was one small change occurred during this song, which is from an album called Red; appropriately, the lights went red during this song and then went back to white again once they had finished. No songs were introduced, there was no banter with the crowd. However, the rhythmical interplay of the drummers as they overlaid different and obscure time signatures provided a fascinating and mesmerizing visual dynamism. I’m thinking that this minimalism was deliberately created to contrast with the usual gaudy visuals a rock audience is accustomed to, not simply as a gimmick, but rather so that audience would focus on the musical rhythm and motion as much as melody, harmony, and counterpoint…

…speaking of harmony, (and finally getting to the point of this post) as I was walking from the parking lot to the Fox Theatre in Oakland, I was struck by the lively café culture of that part of the center of town. It probably doesn’t suit the more liberal inhabitants of the city to acknowledge that a process of gentrification is going on there, and furthermore, that the city is benefitting from it. That part of town felt safe due to the buzz of so many walking around and hanging out in cafés and restaurants.

The architecture of the buildings is interesting. Unlike the subject of my article of two weeks ago (Bedford Park in West London), these are not Victorian. They were built, I am guessing, in the first part of the 20-century, and have a neo-classical/art deco feel to them. They are just old enough for the architects who designed them to have some feel for harmonious proportion.

Remember the key feature of proportion as described last time - differing magnitudes of parts that relate to each other in such a way that, typically, the ground-level story is greater than the second, and the second greater than the third. Where there are multiple stories, as here in Oakland town center, the architects have done a number of things to retain the impression of proportion without reducing the windows every time (which would have forced them to make those of the upper layers so small that they would be the size of a postage stamp.)
This is the theatre where King Crimson played. What we see here is a large ground floor and then two small, shorter stories above, indicated by the window size. Because the artist doesn’t want the third story to be shorter than the second, he suggests the idea visually in a different way, by splitting the windows on the third floor into two parts, and so making them visually less important than those below.

Below are some office buildings and civic buildings in proportion, and also some new buildings which are not. As you look at them, remember from the last article the key elements to look for:
Above: I particularly like what the architect has done with the two buildings on the left that are part of this block. He has subdivided the whole building into three vertical sections. The lower is made of light stone, the middle brick, and the upper, right up in the clouds, is light stone again. In the lower section, he has created something which is on a human scale by subdividing it up into three, and using harmonious proportion in those three windows. Then in the middle section, he repeats that window dimension as he goes up, and then finally in the upper section he has smaller windows. Not only is the progression of the window size proportionate at each reduction, but the magnitude of the three large sections is also in proportion with the largest, in the middle, relating to the next in size on the ground, which relates to the smallest, the top section.
We can see in the buildings above, the architect has done something similar. I am glad that they haven’t demolished these but appear to be preserving the shell in the hope of finding a modern use for them.
This building is not in proportion and seems sterile and cold in comparison. It is such a shame: even using concrete, metal, and glass, the architect could have proportioned the parts to work in harmony with the older surrounding buildings. This is an example of architectural monotony! (See another previous article - Cacophony and Monotony, the Modern Principles of Architectural Design. In the meantime here’s a question for you: if I like the combination of dissonance and harmony that we hear in some music, such as that of King Crimson, is this going to affect my taste in architecture? If so, is this music contrary to a Catholic culture? I say not, but I’d be interested to hear your views!
Here are some more photos to study in light of this:

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: