Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cardinal Cañizares Transferred to Valencia

It was announced today that His Eminence Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera has been transferred to his native diocese, the Archiepiscopal See of Valencia in Spain, the former archbishop, His Grace Carlos Osoro Sierra, being transferred to Madrid to succeed Cardinal Antonio Varela. Cardinal Cañizares’s successor as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has not yet been announced. We should all offer a prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide Pope Francis to choose a wise and worthy successor.

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

V. Fiat manus tua super virum dexterae tuae.
R. Et super filium hominis quem confirmasti tibi.

Oremus. Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Franciscum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Let us pray for our Pope Francis. May the Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth: and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

V. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand.
R. and upon the son of man whom thou hast confirmed for thyself.

Let us pray. O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all the faithful, look mercifully upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou didst will to be the shepherd of Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Feast of Saint Augustine

The celebrated day has come, on which the holy bishop Augustine, released from the bond of the flesh, was taken up with the Angels; where he rejoices with the Prophets, is made glad with the Apostles; full of their spirit, he made clear to us what they mystically foretold; after them he shone forth as first in the grace that came after, to dispense the word of God. (The antiphon of the Magnificat at First Vespers, from the proper Office of St Augustine sung by the various orders of the Augustinian tradition.)
The Triumph of Saint Augustine, by Claudio Coello (1642-93), 1664; Museo del Prado, Madrid
Aña  Adest dies célebris, quo solútus nexu carnis sanctus praesul Augustínus, assumptus est cum Angelis, ubi gaudet cum Prophétis, laetátur cum Apóstolis; quorum plenus spíritu, quae prædixérunt mýstica, fecit nobis pervia; post quos secunda dispensandi verbi Dei primus refulsit gratia.

From the same Office, the ninth responsory, as sung by the Dominicans : R. Until the very time of his illness, he preached the word of God in the holy Church without ceasing, eagerly and mightily, being of sound mind and sound council; healthy in all the members of his body, his sight and hearing unimpaired. * Before his brothers, as they knelt and prayed, * he fell asleep with his fathers. V. He made no will, for as one of Christ’s poor, he had nothing to will. Before his brothers, as they knelt and prayed. Glory be unto the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. He fell asleep with his fathers.

The Funeral of Saint Augustine, by Benozzo Gozzoli (ca. 1420-1497), in the Church of Saint Augustine, San Gimignano, Tuscany, 1464-65.
R. Verbum Dei, usque ad ipsam suam aegritúdinem, impraetermisse, alácriter et fórtiter, sana mente sanóque consilio in Ecclesia praedicávit. Membris ómnibus sui córporis incólumis, íntegro aspectu atque audítu, * coram pósitis frátribus et orántibus, * dormívit cum pátribus suis. V. Testamentum nullum fecit, quia unde fáceret pauper Christi non hábuit. Coram. Gloria Patri. Dormivit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pilgrimage Churches in the Mountains of Ethiopia

The website of the BBC has posted some very beautiful photos from their correspondents’ visit to the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, a region which, as they note, bears no small resemblance to parts of the southwestern United States. High up in the Gheralta Mountains are a number of churches carved directly into the rock, many of which are frescoed, and well preserved because of their remoteness. The church to which the monk in the third picture here is making his way is a popular pilgrimage destination for new mothers to give thanks for the successful delivery of a child. You can see the complete photoset with commentary by clicking here.




New Facebook Page for the Society for Catholic Liturgy

Check out and "like" the Society's new Facebook page. There you'll find updates on the upcoming conference in Colorado Springs and other events, as well as information about the latest issues of Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal.

Assumption 2014 Photopost

We have another awesome photopost, showing many beautiful liturgies from around the world. Thanks to all those who sent in pictures!

Pontifical Mass at the Throne with Bishop Robert Morlino
Bishop O'Connor Center, Diocese of Madison, WI




St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church in Columbus, Ohio
Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos


Solemn Mass (EF)
Christ the King in Kansas City, MO


Birmingham Oratory

Solemn Mass (EF)
Church of the Holy Ghost, Tiverton, RI


Solemn Mass (EF)
Gesù Church, Miami, FL
One of the first solemn Masses celebrated entirely by diocesan clergy (the FSSP have been assisting in that area for some time)



High Mass (EF)
Holy Family Parish, Diocese of Cubao, Philippines



Saalbach, Austria

Solemn Mass (EF)
St. Ann, Budapest, Hungary


High Mass (EF) and Blessing of Herbs
Holy Innocents, New York City, NY


High Mass (EF)
St. Cecilia Church, Diocese of Brooklyn, NY


Diest, Belgium
Cathedral of St. John Berchmans

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sacred Liturgy Conference with “Father Z”


The Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius will host a conference on the Sacred Liturgy with Father John Zuhlsdorf, October 3-5, at Saint John Cantius Parish in Chicago. The conference begins with dinner on Friday the 3rd and continues through the weekend. High Mass each day in the Extraordinary Form. For more information, or to register, CLICK HERE.

A Model for a Cultural Center for the New Evangelization

flogoGoing Local for Global Change.
How About a Chant Cafe with Real Coffee ..and Real Chant?
There is a British comedienne who in her routine adopted an onstage persona of a lady who couldn't get a boyfriend and was very bitter about it (although in fact as she became a TV personality beyond the comedy routines, she revealed herself as a naturally engaging and warm character who was in fact happily married with a child). Jo Brand is her name and she used to tell a joke in which she said: 'I'm told that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I know that's nonsense - guys will take all the food you give them but it doesn't make them love you. In fact I'll tell you the only certain way to man's heart...through the rib cage with a bread knife.'  Well wry humour aside, I think that in fact there is more truth to the old adage than Jo Brand would have acknowledged (on stage at least). Perhaps we can touch people's hearts in the best way through food and drink, and in particular coffee.
There is a coffee shop in Nashua NH where I live called Bonhoeffer's. It is the perfect place for conversation. They have designed it so that people like to sit and hang out - pleasing decor, free wifi, and different sitting arrangements, from pairs of cozy arm chairs to highbacked chairs around tables. The staff are personable and it is roomy enough that they can place clusters of chairs and sofas that are far enough apart so that you don't feel that you are eavesdropping on your neighbors' conversation; and close enough together that you feel part of a general buzz of conversation around you. There is not an extensive food menu but what they have is good and goes nicely with the image it conveys of coffee and relaxed conversation - pastries, a slice of quiche or crepes for example. It  has successfully made itself a meeting place in the town because of this.
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This is all very well and good, if not particularly remarkable. But, you wouldn't know unless you recognized the face of  Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the cafe logo and started to ask questions, or noticed and took the time to read the display close the door as you are on your way out, that it is run by the protestant church next door, Grace Fellowship Church. Furthermore a proportion of turnover goes towards supporting locally based charities around the world - they list as examples projects in the Ukraine, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Haiti and Jamaica on their website. Talks and events linked to their faith are organised and there are pleasant well equipped meeting rooms available for hire. I include the logo and website to illustrate my points, but also in the hope that if Bonhoeffer's see this they might push an occasional free coffee in my direction...come on guys!
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Well, it was worth a try. Anyway, back to more serious things...the presentation of their mission does not even dominate the cafe website which talks more about things such as the beans they use in their coffee, prices and opening times and the food menu. The most eye-catching aspect when I was nosing around is the announcement of the new crepes menu! There is one tab that has the heading Hope and Life Kids and when you click it it takes you through to a dedicated website of that name, here , which talks about the charity work that is done.
I went into Bonhoeffer's recently with Dr William Fahey, the President of Thomas More College, just for cup of coffee and a chat, of course, and he remarked to me as we sat down that this is the sort of the thing that protestants seem  to be able to organize; and how we wished he saw more Catholics doing the same thing.
Cafe_SeatI agree. What the people behind this little cafe had done was to create a hub for the local community that has an international reach. It is at once global and personal. I would like to see exactly what they have done replicated by Catholics. But, crucially, good though it is I would add to it, and make it distinctly Catholic so that it attracts even more coffee drinkers and then can become a subtle interface with the Faith, a focus for the New Evangelization in the neighborhood.
I don't know how to run coffee shops, so I would be happy with a first step that copied precisely theirs - the establishment of coffee shop that competes with all others in doing what coffee shops are meant to do, sell coffee.  Then I would offer through this interface talks and classes that transmit the Way of Beauty, many of which are likely to have an appeal to many more than Catholics (especially those with a 'new-age spiritual' bent). There are a number that come to mind that attract non-Christians and can be presented without compromising on truth - icon painting classes; or 'Cosmic Beauty' a course in traditional proportion in harmony based upon the observation of the cosmos; or praying with the cosmos  - a chant class that teaches people to chant the psalms and explains how the traditional pattern of prayer conforms to cosmic beauty.
A yoga class that has the word yoga but is simply a adoption of the physical aspects would attract people who are open to spirituality. Yoga is very successful in turning people with no previous inclination to the spiritual to Eastern spirituality - so why not offer Christian mediation/contemplative prayer and incorporate this into the instruction. I once had discussions with a Dominican about the known prayer postures of St Dominic. He showed me some stick figure diagrams he had drawn to represent them. He thought that these could be the basis for a Christian yoga that engages people spiritually through a focus on the physical. I don't know if he was right, but something on these lines would be good.
Another way of engaging people who are then going to be open to mediation, chant and retreats is to have 12-step fellowship groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous meeting closeby. I am aware of several priests who go to AA and also many converts to Catholicism who were first given a faith in God through such groups. The 12 steps are a systematic application of Christian principles (without reference to the Church). The non-demoninational character of the groups does mean that people can be misdirected towards other faiths in their search, but if we were present to provide an attractive picture of the Faith, it would attract interest I am sure.
dsc_0405Another class that might engage people is a practical philosophy class that directs people towards the metaphysical and emphasizes the need of all people to lead a good life and to worship God in order to be happy and feel fulfilled. This latter part is vital for it is the practice of worship that draws people up from a lived philosophy into a lived theology and ultimately to the Faith. For it is only once experienced that people become convinced and want more. This works. When I was living in London I used to see advertisements in the Tube for a course in practical philosophy. These were offered by a group that had a modern 'universalist' approach to religion in which they saw each great 'spiritual tradition' as different cultural expressions of a single truth that were equally valid. The adverts however, did not mention religion at all but talked about the love and pursuit of universal wisdom that looked like a new agey mix of Eastern mysticism and Plato. The content of the classes, they said, was derived from the common experience of many if not all people and from it one could hope to lead a happy useful life. They had great success in attracting educated un-churched professionals not only to attend the class, but also to go in to attend  more classes and ultimately to commit their lives to their recommended way of living. They were also prepared to donate generously - this is a rich organisation. Their secret was the emphasis on living the life that reason lead you to and not require, initially at least a commitment to formal religion. Most became religious in time, which ultimately lead some to convert to Christianity - although many, because of the flaws in the opening premises and the conclusion this lead to, were lead astray too. It was by meeting some of these converts that I first heard about it. There is room, I think, for a properly worked out Catholic version of this.
wifiAlong a similar line are classes that help people to discern their personal vocation, again using traditional Catholic methods. Once we discover this then we truly flourish. God made us to desire Him and to desire the means by which we find Him. While the means by which we find Him is the same in principle for each of us, we are all meant to travel a unique path that is personal to us. To the degree that we travel this path, the journey of life, as well as its end, is an experience of transformation and joy.
11-sacred-heart-chapelDrawing on people from the local Catholic parishes I would hope to start groups that meet for the singing of an Office - Vespers and or Compline or Choral Evensong and fellowship on a week night; and have talks on the prayer in the home and parish as described by the The Little Oratory. This book was intended as a manual for the spiritual life of the New Evangelization and would ideally be one that supports the transmission of practices that are best communicated by seeing, listening and doing. These weekly 'TLO meetings' would be the ideal foundation for learning and transmitting the practices. They would be very likely a first point of commitment for Catholics who might then be interested in getting involved in other ways. It would enable them also to go back to their families and parishes teach any others there who might be interested to learn.
We could perhaps sell art by making it visible on the walls or have a permanent, small gallery space adjacent to the sitting area (provided it was good enough of course  - better nothing at all than mediocre art!). All would available in print form online as well of course, just as talks could be made available much more widely and broadcasted out across the net if there was interest. This is how the local becomes global.
What I am doing here is taking the business model of the cafe and combining it with the business model of the Institute of Catholic Culture which is based in Arlington Diocese in Virginia. I wrote about the great work of Deacon Sabatino and his team at the ICC in Virginia in an article here called An Organisational Model for the New Evangelization - How To Make it At Once Personal and Local, and have International Recognition. His work is focussed on Catholic audiences, and is aimed predominently at forming the evangelists, rather than reaching those who have not faith (although I imagine some will come along to their talks). By having an excellent program and by taking care to ensure that his volunteers feel involved and are appreciated and part of a community (even organising special picnics for them) Deacon Sabatino has managed to get hundreds volunteering regularly.
Another group that does this just well is the Fra Angelico Institute for Sacred Arts in Rhode Island run by Deacon Paul Iacono. I have written about his great work here. The addition of a coffee shop give it a permanent base and interface with non-Catholics and even the non-churched.
imagesI would start in a city neighborhood in an area with a high population and ideally with several Catholic parishes close by that would provide the people interested in attending and be volunteers and donors helping the non-coffee programs. It always strikes me that the Bay Area of San Francisco, especially Berkeley, is made for such a project. There is sufficiently high concentration of Catholics to make it happen, a well established cafe culture; and the population is now so far past 'post-Christian' that there is an powerful but undirected yearning for all things spiritual that directs them to a partial answer in meditation centers, wellness groups, spiritual growth and transformation classes, talks on reaching for your 'higher self' and so on. Many are admittedly hostile to Christianity, but they seek all the things that traditional, orthodox Christianity offers in its fullness although they don't know it. Provided that they can presented with these things in such a way that it doesn't arouse prejudice, they will respond because these things meet the deepest desire of every person.
Here's the additional element that holds it all together. As well as the workshops or classes I have mentioned I would have the Liturgy of the Hours prayed in a small but beautiful chapel adjacent to and accessible from the cafe on a regular basis, ideally with the full Office sung. The idea is for people in the cafe to be aware that this is happening, but not to feel bound to go or guilty for not doing so. I thought perhaps a bell and announcement: 'Lauds will be chanted beginning in five minutes in the chapel for any who are interested.'  Those who wish to could go to the chapel and pray, either listening or chanting with them. The prayer would not be audible in the cafe. So those who were not interested might pause momentarily and then resume their conversations.
From the people who attend the TLO meetings I would recruit a team of volunteers might volunteer to sing in one or more extra Offices during the week if they could. If you have two people together, meeting in the name of Jesus, they can sing an Office for all. The aim is to have the Office sung on the premises give good and worthy praise to God for the benefit of the customers, the neighbourhood, society and the families and groups that each participates in aside from this and for the Church.
When the point is reached that the Office is oversubscribed, we might encourage groups to pray on behalf of others also in different locations by,  for example singing Vespers regularly in local hospitals or nursing homes. I describe the practice of doing this in an appendix in The Little Oratory and in a blog post here: Send Out the L-Team, Making a Sacrifice of Praise for American Veterans.
As this grows, the temptation would be to create a larger and larger organization. This would be a great error I think. The preservation of a local community as a driving force is crucial to giving this its appeal as people walk through the door. There is a limit to how big you can get and still feel like a community. Like Oxford colleges, when it gets to big, you don't grow into a giant single institution, but limit the growth and found a new college. So each neighborhood could have its own chant cafe independently run. There might be, perhaps a central organization that offers franchises in The Way of Beauty Cafes so that the materials and knowledge needed to make it a success in your neighborhood are available to others if they want it.
I have made the point before that eating and drinking are quasi-liturgical activities by which we echo the consuming of Christ Himself in the Eucharist (it is not the other way around - the Eucharist comes first in the hierarchy). So it should be no surprise to us that food and drink offered with loving care and attention open up the possibilities of directing people to the love of God. If the layout and decor are made appropriate to that of a beautiful coffee shop and subtly and incorporating traditional ideas of harmony and proportion, and colour harmony then it will be another aspect of the wider culture that will stimulate the liturgical instincts of those who attend. (I have described how that can be done in the context of a retail outlet in an appendix of The Little Oratory.) We should bare in mind Pope Benedict's words from Sacramentum Caritatis (71):
'Christianity's new worship includes and transfigures every aspect of life: "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1Cor 10:13) Here the instrinsically eucharistic nature of Christian life begins to take shape. The Eucharist, since it embraces the concrete, everyday existence of the believer, makes possible, day by day, the progressive transfiguration of all those called by grace to reflect the image of the Son of God (cf Rom 8:29ff). There is nothing authentically human - our thoughts and affections, our words and deeds - that does not find in the sacrament of the Eucharist the form it needs to be lived in the full.'
So Jo Brand, we'll put away the bread knife and offer the bread instead!
Step one seems to be...first get your coffee shop. Anyone who thinks they can help us here please get in touch and we'll make it happen!

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Upcoming Mass for Persecuted Christians: Juventutem Lehigh Valley Votive Mass Pro Ecclesiæ Defensione

Juventutem Lehigh Valley will be having a mass for persecuted Christian this Thursday, August 28th. The Mass will be a Votive Mass Pro Ecclesiæ Defensione.

Let us pray for our persecuted Catholic and Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering horrible atrocities in Iraq and throughout the Mideast. Join us for a MASS FOR  PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS.

Thursday, August 28th at 7:00 PM

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Bath, PA

A Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form
sponsored by Juventutem Lehigh Valley

Celebrant: Rev. Msgr. Francis A. Nave, M.Div.
Homilist: Rev. Msgr. Alfred A. Schlert, J.C.L., V.G.

Music: Sacred Heart Schola
Servers: Juventutem Lehigh Valley

Society for Catholic Liturgy Conference - Oct 2-4 in Colorado Springs


I'm delighted to share with readers the announcement of the program for the upcoming annual conference of the Society for Catholic Liturgy.
This year's conference presents a thought-provoking track of papers, as well as a newly-revitalized pastoral track of workshops ranging from practical issues in implementing a sacred music program to training altar servers, as well as things like rubrics for the deacon, baptism, and wedding traditions. Clergy and lay faithful who work in the Church will find the conference immensely useful, both in terms of offerings, as well as networking with people who work diligently for the renewal of the liturgy around the English-speaking world. 
Mindful of the financial sacrifices that so many make in working for the Church, the conference is very affordable - $100 for SCL members, and $125 for non-members. 
I hope you'll be able to join us for what is always an intellectually-engaging and enjoyable conference. 

“The Temple Transformed”:
Society for Catholic Liturgy annual conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado 
October 2–4, 2014  


The Society for Catholic Liturgy is hosting its annual conference at St. Mary Cathedral, Colorado Springs, Colorado this October 2–4. The theme for this year's conference is “The Temple Transformed: Liturgy, Art, Music, Architecture, and the fulfillment of the Old Testament.” The conference will explore the relationships between the robust worship of the Old Covenant and that of the New. Scholarly presentations from a number of related fields will be given. In addition, the Pastoral Track of the conference will offer practical workshops for parish and diocesan personnel. Topics will range from music to art to the ars celebrandi, including introducing chant into a parish and training altar servers.

His Excellency Bishop James D. Conley will deliver the keynote address, “Light Shining out of Darkness” at 7 pm, Thursday, Oct. 2. Other speakers include renowned architect Duncan Stroik speaking on Renaissance churches as the fulfillment of Jewish temple architecture and Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, hailed as Pope Benedict XVI’s favorite liturgist, speaking on Augustine’s conception of sacrifice and the Eucharist.

Founded in 1995, the Society for Catholic Liturgy is a unique professional organization that brings together faithful Catholic scholars, architects, and artists from around the world to recover, discuss, and promote the rich liturgical tradition of the Church.

DATE: Oct. 2, 6:15 pm through the afternoon of Oct. 4.

LOCATION: St Mary Cathedral Colorado Springs www.stmaryscathedral.org/ 
For more information and for conference registration, go to www.liturgysociety.org/conferences/

New Ordinariate Chant Schola in DC

As the Saint Luke ordinariate community moves to downtown Washington DC next month, a new initiative is beginning, to build on an existing tradition of Sacred Music. Named in honour of Saint Benedict and the Benedictine tradition of Gregorian chant, and with a nod of gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (who founded the ordinariates), the women of The Saint Benet Schola will provide the chant at the 8.30am Sunday Mass at Immaculate Conception, 8th Street NW. The group will draw on the Anglican plainsong tradition, whilst at the same time emphasizing the universal, Catholic nature of our worship, by singing the ancient chants and texts of the Sacred Liturgy.

More details here: www.stlukesordinariate.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

Permanence and Change in the Liturgy

It is a fact of history that the liturgy changes over time, it develops. This it usually does slowly, absorbing surrounding influences, in an organic process. Most often, elements are added to the liturgy: it grows, expands, like a plant or animal growing towards maturity. More rarely, it demands pruning, which is typically done carefully and conservatively, out of respect for the quality of the growth that has come before.

Just as a living organism reaches a point of maturity after which it no longer grows but preserves itself and reproduces its species, so too, analogously, we can expect the liturgy to develop more extensively at first, in its infancy, and for its rate of growth to slow down dramatically as it attains perfection of form, fullness of ritual, text, music, and meaning. Thus, the liturgy will develop more in the first 500 years of the history of the Church than in the next 500, and in the first millennium more than in the second. At least before the middle of the twentieth century, it was taken for granted that the rate of liturgical change has slowed down as the inherited forms were of greater coherence and completeness. Change, after a certain point, pertains far more to accidental or incidental features, such as the cut of a chasuble or the design of a candlestick, than to what is done or what is said.

On the other hand, given that man’s nature never changes and Christ’s sacrifice never changes—given that man, for whom the liturgy is intended, and Christ, whose worthy praise and sacrifice the liturgy makes present and shares with us, do not vary—one might wonder what exactly would develop in the liturgy, and why. For one thing, we cannot say there was something inherently flawed about the apostolic liturgies of the early Church, such that they were defective until they received augmentation and amplification over time. Nevertheless, insofar as it is a human activity, the liturgy does not fall ready-made from heaven but is assembled slowly over the centuries by monks, popes, and other saints privileged with an experiential savoring of the beauty of God, a living contact with divine glory under sacramental veils. While not reducible to an artifact or construct, public worship is shaped and regulated by men who are cooperating with a divinely implanted instinct for holiness and goodness of form.

The essence of the liturgy was there from the beginning, as the oak tree in the acorn, but the fullness of its expression, the richness of its meaning and beauty, were meant by God to take many centuries to unfold before the eyes of Christian man, until he could behold the tree in all its glory and majesty, and taste the sweetness of its fruits most abundantly. It was not absolutely necessary that the liturgy develop, but it was supremely fitting that it do so—and the Holy Spirit brooded over this development with bright wings, as He led the Church into the fullness of truth. One is reminded of the words of Christ: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father” (Jn 14:12).

St. Pius X celebrating Mass
If it makes sense that development both comes from saints and slows down over time, would it not be impossible for the Church ever to legitimately change her liturgy in a radical manner? For to do so would necessarily imply a negative judgment on the “greater works” of which Jesus speaks, a kind of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by implying that it was not in Christ’s name but rather Beelzebub’s that the Catholic Church promulgated her liturgy throughout the centuries (cf. Pius XII, Mediator Dei, nn. 50, 59, 61). Thus, although development is natural and good, a certain kind of development—namely, that of sharp discontinuity—would necessarily be bad, a corruption or deviation rather than the flowering of an organic reality.

An essay I once read argued that man’s existential identity as pilgrim or viator is the reason why the liturgy must change in each generation. The writer, from the Reform of the Reform school, was attempting to explain how there could be room for something as drastically different as the Novus Ordo, while simultaneously upholding the value of keeping the usus antiquior available, as stipulated by Summorum Pontificum. The proposed solution involved asserting that some modern people needed a more modern liturgy, while others didn’t and could do fine with a more ancient one.

But the fact that man is a pilgrim is irrelevant to whether the liturgy, as such, should change. After all, man as man never changes; he is always this kind of being, with certain powers in need of certain objects for their perfection. A liturgy imbued with divine and human strength will permanently suit this pilgrim being. Nor does his Savior change, or the Sacrifice by which his salvation was (and is) accomplished. A different kind of liturgy, were it fashioned, would only suit a different kind of being. To have permission to undertake a radical liturgical alteration, there would have to be not merely a substantial change in man—a thing which happens all the time, whenever conception or death occurs—but also an essential change, the emergence of a new species, together with the arrival of a new Savior and a new Sacrifice. There is, after all, a Christology latent in every act of worship, in any ritual, utterance, or music.

Liturgy, indeed, is a transitory action, but its origin, meaning, and finality are unchanging. It is a temporal event with a permanent nature—in that respect much like man himself, who clearly comes into being and changes throughout his life and yet has the very same immortal soul giving him a singular and everlasting identity. An individual’s spiritual development takes place within and by means of an unchanging liturgy, which acts as a fulcrum for his elevation, a center for his revolutions, a focus for his shifting sight.

The Traditional Mass Comes to Mississippi

Mississippi is the only state in the USA without the Extraordinary Form. That will soon change. At the request of the new bishop of the Diocese of Jackson, Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, and in cooperation with Una Voce Mississippi, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius will offer a ‟Sancta Missa” Workshop to train priests and servers at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson during the first week of September; for more information, click HERE. Also, St. Joseph’s Church in Starkville (which serves Mississippi State University) will host Mass in the Extraordinary Form and a talk on the sacred liturgy (from the Canons) this coming Thursday, August 28, at 5:30 pm.

Prayer Vigil for Christians in the Middle East at Holy Innocents in Manhattan

On August 22nd, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (EF), the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan held a Solemn Mass, followed by a prayer vigil in Herald Square for Christians persecuted in the Middle East. A parishioner of the church, Mr Arrys Ortanez, has posted a large set of photographs which you can access by clicking here. The photos include some nice shots of the church’s beautiful mural on the wall behind the altar.

An important reminder: the church of the Holy Innocents is the only church in Manhattan where the Extraordinary Form is offered daily, and is one of the churches which the Archdiocese of New York is considering for closure as part of a plan of consolidation. You can click here for links to more information in a recent post of ours, and to a petition to Cardinal Dolan to keep the thriving and pastorally vibrant church open.