[Rumour mill time again... let's hope and pray that these things come to pass in actuality, and not merely in rumoured anticipation!]
Our friends over at Rorate Caeli are reporting that at least one Italian source (Archivum Liturgicum) is stating that His Holiness yesterday signed the papal act granting/recognizing freedom for the classical Roman liturgy.
A very rough translation of the Italian states:
"According to authoritative sources, His Holiness Benedict Pp. XVI, happily reigning, yesterday signed the Decree with which grants freedom in the celebration of the Tridentine liturgy. The terms of these concessions are still not known, but it seems a prelude to the reconciliation with the members of the Society of Saint Pius X."
Friday, March 31, 2006
[Rumour mill time again... let's hope and pray that these things come to pass in actuality, and not merely in rumoured anticipation!]
By Patrick Henry Reardon
The usual subjects were under consideration at our annual symposium of
Orthodox clergy this past summer: parochial ministry, the formation of
lay leadership, worship and music, Christian education, counseling,
medical ethics, and so on. There was even a workshop on the use of the
Internet in pastoral work. On the whole those discussions were useful
and helpful to the ministry.
As is common at these symposia, most of the presentations were made by
ordinary parish priests who have become especially proficient in
this-or-that aspect of the ministry and are willing to share the
fruits of their mature experience with the rest of us. Moreover, ample
time was provided for conversation among ourselves, and this informal
discussion of the material was likewise helpful.
I believe that the chance to discuss the practical aspects of the
ministry with fellow ministers is probably the major advantage of
these events. Without such opportunities, in fact, parish priests can
become extremely isolated, so the concentrated opportunity to talk
with (and worship with) one another and with our bishops is arguably
the best benefit of our gatherings, and I invariably return from them
with a general sense of refreshment.
It is inevitable, nonetheless, that "experts" are also invited to
speak at these symposia, and, if one may speak candidly, the
presentations of the experts sometimes provide the truly low points of
the whole enterprise. On former occasions, for example, we have been
obliged to bear up under onslaughts of "the renewal of feminine
ministries" and to endure the ravages of rationalist biblical
exegesis. This year we were, on the whole, mercifully spared such
The single exception to this mercy was a disappointing lecture on
"liturgical renewal" by a professor from one of the Orthodox
seminaries. The material was essentially the same shortsighted
nonsense that the Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans were
forced to endure thirty or forty years ago.
We clergy, three quarters of us adult converts to the Orthodox Church,
sat in sackcloth and inwardly groaned like pelicans in the wilderness,
while a life-long Orthodox liturgical expert explained to us at length
that Orthodox worship "no longer speaks meaningfully to modern man"
and suggested ways in which an established panel of his cronies and
clones might bring their expertise to bear on this crushing problem of
Orthodox irrelevance to American life. They would pull our worship up
to date and make it more meaningful to the refined sensibilities of
Growls and low rumblings were audible in the assembly. The fact that
there was not a sudden, violent rush at the speaker's podium is
chiefly to the credit of Orthodox restraint and ascetical discipline.
Afterwards, by way of constructive reaction to the presentation, the
more devout among us went off to the chapel to breathe deeply and
recite the Jesus Prayer repeatedly in order to regain their inner
composure. Others went out jogging with a view to lowering their blood
pressure and using up the excess adrenalin that only a liturgist, or
perhaps an exceptionally adept terrorist, is able to elicit. Neither
devout nor strong, I confess that I was not to be found in either of
these groups. Rather, I was among those lesser brethren gathered in
the recreation room to deplore the event, regretting meanwhile my
failure to tote along a flask of Scotch or Bourbon to serve as a
restorative. In this age of international terrorism and liturgical
renewal, one must take every precaution.
Among the more objectionable aspects of this most objectionable
lecture was the sustained presumption that academic experts know more
about the requirements of modern life than the rest of us do. Even a
priori we should suspect that this is not the case, because a certain
abstraction from the urgency of "life in the world" has always been
considered one of the essential requirements of an academic education.
Our prior suspicion on this point, moreover, is rather often justified
by what the professional academic actually has to say.
A Quaint Cosmology
Let me cite a single example from the liturgical lecture that I just
Among the more deplorable shortcomings of traditional Orthodox
liturgical texts, we were told, is the dominance of an outdated
cosmology, evidenced in our liturgical references to the "four
elements" in creation. How, we were asked, are such references going
to strike "the average high-school student"? This hypothetical
student, our lecturer assured us, knows that four is not the correct
number of the world's elements. He has studied the Periodic Table and,
we were given to infer, he ponders it incessantly. Day and night he
prowls the earth, this modern high-school student, reviewing in his
mind the process of photosynthesis and reciting the formula for oxalic
acid. Therefore, his imagination would be overly taxed by Orthodox
liturgical references to the four elements, because these are quaint,
confusing, and obscure.
In the refutation of such a suggestion, one hardly knows which of a
thousand possible handles is the first to be grabbed.
My initial reaction was to inquire why in the world we should measure
our liturgical texts by the dubious standards of contemporary
high-school students. However, when I expressed this query down in the
recreation room (drinking my Coca-Cola), a young deacon properly
yanked me up short. Today's high-school students, he pointed out, seem
not to be so fixated on the Periodic Table. Indeed, they appear to
experience no deep cognitive dissonance respecting the alleged four
elements of the universe. One suspects this, in fact, from their
apparent enthusiasm for literary and dramatic works based on that same
This young deacon cited the Tolkien sensation as an obvious example.
The companions of Frodo would probably have not the slightest trouble
with the Orthodox Baptismal service, which refers to the water as one
of the four elements of the world. Boromir, Gandalf, and their friends
rather often speak of earth, water, air, and fire, whereas their
allusions to calcium oxide and sodium nitrate are somewhat rare.
I further reflected that I, even I, went to high school once.
Admittedly, it was a very long time ago, and I was hardly a stellar
student, but still it was during a period somewhat after the discovery
of the atom, and I did pass some of my courses. I, too, was obliged to
know that nitrogen was designated by the atomic number 7 and that the
specific weight of helium was 4.003. Until this past week it had never
occurred to me that such information would destroy my ability to pray
the Psalms or sing the traditional hymns of the Church. Even though I
have known, pretty much all my life, that the daily reappearance of
the sun is a phenomenon caused by the spinning of the earth, I still
find myself praying the Jam lucis orto sidere ("Now the lightsome star
is risen") when this phenomenon occurs, and, if feeling especially
romantic at the moment, I have been known to refer to it as "sunrise."
Let me suggest that most of us are like this. The last thing we need
is a liturgist to tell us how to pray and how to look at the world.
Should the Orthodox liturgy be reformed to rid our souls of the
aforesaid anachronisms? I don't think so. It would be more proper,
rather, to study the Sermon on the Mount in order to remain in the
State of Grace when dealing with liturgists.
Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox
Church in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of Christ in the Psalms,
Christ in His Saints, and The Trial of Job (all from Conciliar Press).
He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
Original: Touchstone Magazine
Vatican City, Mar. 31, 2006 (CNA) - The St. Pius V Missal, which the Catholic Church used until 1962 before it was replaced by the new ordinary following the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, could be approved for universal use, according to sources close to the Vatican.
The decision on the use of the Missal, which was the subject of consultations between Pope Benedict XVI, the cardinals of the Church and the heads of the different Vatican diacasteries, could be announced after another meeting the Pope has scheduled for April 7 with Curia leaders.
The Pius V Missal contains the Mass celebrated in Latin according to the “Tridentine” rite and is currently allowed only with the permission of the local bishop. Universal approval would mean the traditional rite could be celebrated freely throughout the world by priests who wish to do so.
The move is not directly related to the Lefebvrist schism, since as a theologian the Pontiff had always expressed in interest in bringing back the rite. Nevertheless, Vatican sources note that this would be an important step in resolving the schism, as the possibility of freely celebrating the Mass of St Pius V is one of the points of contention with the Lefebvrists.
In July, the Society of St. Pius X—known as the Lefebvrists—will elect a new superior. The group will chose between openness to reconciliation embodied in the current superior Bernard Fellay or the decidedly anti-Vatican stance of Richard Williamson, another of the four bishops illicitly consecrated by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
Original Story: Catholic News Agency
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Sandro Magister has a piece up on the continuing success of Into Great Silence, the two and half hour documentary film on the silent life of the Carthusians.
Incidentally, I asked the producers about the films release to the North American market, as well as to DVD, and I am told by those officials that it will be in North America "in the next months". The DVD won't of course come out until after that.
I am hopeful that this film will help stir up interest in monasticism in the West again -- where monasticism has become lost to our Catholic consciousness in many regards.
Perhaps it will also stir again interest in Gregorian chant on a wide scale.
Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Interview With Fr. Gabet, Msgr. Schmitz…Part 2 of 3
By BRIAN MERSHON
Published in the March 30 edition of The Wanderer
Phone: (651) 224-5733
This article is the second of a three-part series based upon interviews with Msgr. Michael Schmitz, who heads up the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) in the U.S., and Fr. George Gabet, the North American General Superior for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP).
Both priests reveal the phenomenal growth they are experiencing in Traditional Latin Mass communities, both in terms of numbers of families, as well as the number of young men attracted to vocations to the priesthood in the traditional rites.
Some well-meaning Catholics may object to measuring spiritual growth in pure numbers and raw data. Indeed, the totality of the spiritual life within the Church cannot be entirely measured and calculated as accountants measure success in the business world.
However, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Salt of the Earth, by Peter Seewald, gave the following answer to this very question put to him by Seewald.
“In this sense, we can’t calmly sit down and say, ‘Well, there’s no promise of large numbers; success isn’t one of the names of God; we’ve done our part, and we’ll see who comes and who doesn’t.’ This inner restlessness that comes from knowing we have a gift that is meant for humanity must always be present in the Church,” said then Cardinal Ratzinger in this Ignatius Press book published in 1997.
The facts of the extraordinary measurable decline of Baptisms, conversions, priestly vocations, religious vocations, and seminarians in the U.S. Church since 1965 are well documented by Kenneth Jones in his Index of Leading Catholic Indicators. This steep slide is especially stark in comparison to the explosive growth in these statistics in the U.S. Church from the 1930s to the 1960s.
The fact that this comparatively small, and much persecuted, pocket within the Church has an influx of both parishioners and priestly vocations indicates the Holy Ghost is at work in these Traditional Latin Mass communities.
This outward-looking, evangelical Catholicism is also alive and well, as these communities grow in such Bible Belt bastions as Chattanooga, Tenn.; Atlanta; Tyler, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; and Taylors, S.C. A surprising percentage of these priestly vocations and attendees are converts or reverts to the faith.
One comment particularly stood out in this particular interview. This is when Msgr. Schmitz said, “You cannot condemn a form of liturgy that has always existed and that has produced, through the help of divine grace, so many saints and so many holy priests and religious.”
Indeed, this same thought is echoed by the current Pope, again, from Salt of the Earth:
“A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent. Can it be trusted more about anything else? Won’t it proscribe tomorrow what it prescribes today?”
+ + +
Q. Msgr. Schmitz, at the November 2005 Una Voce conference in Providence, R.I., you said that the Classical Roman rite was the rite that best expressed the Catholic faith. Why do think that? Can you elaborate for those who are new to the Classical Roman rite?
Msgr. Schmitz: First, let me make clear that I said that without any polemic or aggressive attitude toward the newer developments in the Church.
But you have immediately the impression that younger people, especially, understand the presence of the divine and the awe and veneration toward God in a deeper sense in many cases through the Traditional Latin Mass.
I have celebrated both rites in the past. Today, at the Institute, with the permission of the Holy Father, I celebrate exclusively the Traditional Latin rite, and have never witnessed so many conversions to the Catholic faith, or so many reversions to the Church by fallen-away Catholics since the time I have celebrated only the Traditional Latin Mass with the Institute of Christ the King.
Also, I have been deeply touched by the fact that all of our faithful want to become holy. The faith that is part of their daily lives is very alive within the realm of traditional Catholics. That does not mean that this is not so outside [of the traditional movement].
But it is a general wish for those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass to make the liturgy part of their lives. They want to bring the awe they experience during the liturgy into their private homes. They want to become part of the supernatural also in their daily duties.
I have had the impression that there has been in the past this Catholic feeling that the liturgy does not end at the Communion rail. Whereas, many people today make it only part of their private religious life. It’s not their fault. And this translation of the supernatural -- the beauty, the doctrine, the faith -- into what you do daily is evidently something the faithful who attend the Traditional Latin Mass feel very strongly about.
And certainly, we try to foster that because we do not want to be a private religion that is celebrated in a forlorn little pocket of the Church. The Catholic mentality is very outgoing. The Traditional Latin Mass seems to foster this outgoing mentality that integrates your daily life into your religious convictions.
[SRT: section cut out]
A Sense Of The Sacred
Q. In an age of a dearth of vocations, why do you think there are so many young men discerning calls to the priesthood to traditional orders, and so many diocesan seminarians desire to offer the Classical Roman rite of Mass and sacraments?
Msgr. Schmitz: I believe it is the essence of the priesthood that is being discovered by these young men. The priesthood is about the sacrifice of the Lord. The priesthood is centered on the sacraments, and the first and foremost sacrament, to which all the other sacraments lead, to the Holy Eucharist. By discovering they are men of the Holy Eucharist, they certainly also discover the Holy Eucharist has a history. And to this history, there belongs beauty; there belongs awe; there belongs respect for the liturgical detail.
And they find all those things in the Traditional Latin Mass.
Therefore, even if many of these young men want to be diocesan priests and stay faithfully in their dioceses, they ask to learn the Traditional Latin Mass simply because it is attracting them from the standpoint of their vocation to the priesthood, which is a priesthood of sacrifice.
And then I believe also that more and more, the break with history that had been established in the past in the formation of the priests has been replaced with a more organic view of the past and the present of the Church. You cannot condemn a form of liturgy that has always existed and that has produced, through the help of divine grace, so many saints and so many holy priests and religious.
And now those who are appointed to form these young priests understand that and it leads them to a greater generosity when it comes to discovering the riches of the liturgical treasure of the Church.
Fr. Gabet: You wonder. We’re growing. Some of the places we’re in like Lincoln, Neb., they have plenty of priests. Some of the dioceses we’re in, the bishops are doing something right. But some of the others who won’t accept us, they wonder why they’re not getting any vocations.
I believe part of the reason why we’re attracting so many men to discern their vocations in traditional orders is because of the reverence in the Traditional Latin Mass and sacraments. You actually give them a sense of the sacred. And that is what it takes to attract these young men to discern a vocation.
For me, I saw that the actions showed what we believe. Using the old idiom -- lex orandi, lex credendi.
When I saw the priests, the servers and the faithful, doing a genuflection -- not just a slight bow of the head -- but an actual genuflection to the King of Kings each time before they pass before the tabernacle, it shows they truly believe that God is truly present in the tabernacle. And we have come to worship Him.
In the Traditional Latin Mass, the emphasis is on the sacrifice. The priest has not come to be the master of ceremonies, but the actual mediator between God and man. He therefore directs himself toward the tabernacle. He does indeed turn toward the people to invite them to pray and to offer up their prayers, sacrifices, and supplications -- but to put them on his shoulders so that he will offer them during the holy sacrifice.
Certainly, it is a community gathered together. And of course it is obvious they will partake of a spiritual meal. But the emphasis is certainly on the sacrifice.
At the canon of the Mass, there is that respectful silence -- that anticipation that in just a few moments -- Christ Himself will come down from Heaven and take the form of bread and wine on the altar. The fact that it is silent when you are coming to the most important part, and your attention is just focused on that.
It was certainly this reverence that attracted me to the Traditional Latin Mass. It caused me to say, “This…I will give my life for.”
And I think that is exactly what the young people need today. They need something that is spiritual that will really attract them to give up the material things of the world that we are entrapped in -- and to say, “Okay. This is so beautiful. This is what God is calling me to do. I can do this.”
[SRT: Much more follows this...]
To read the entire interview in PDF format, click here.
Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
A reader wrote in to ask the following question. I wanted to open it up to the NLM readership, particularly the parish priests out there reading the blog, or the choir directors, to see your thoughts. That being said, it's open to all, not just priests and choir directors (but I figure their expertise and experience would be particularly valuable.)
I'd ask that people avoid throwing out simple personal opinion and try to ground their responses in church documents, present liturgical law as pertains to the modern Roman rite, etc.
The question is as follows:
"What arguments (practical and theological) have been offered for and against placing the choir in robes?"
(I believe there may be some reference to this in the GIRM, but I cannot recall off the top of my head. I know this comes up as pertains to readers, EMHC's, etc.)
Please post a comment on this if you think you can help answer this question.
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Monday, March 27, 2006
The CIEL (Centre Internationale d'Etudes Liturgiques) 2006 colloquium page has been updated with a list of speakers and the specific talks they will give. The lineup, as usual, looks fantastic.
(As some of you probably know, your host here at NLM is the delegate for CIEL in Canada. Please take a look at my CIEL Canada website for more information on CIEL and its mission.)
As for the Topics and Speakers, here they are:
Pope Benedict XVI and the Liturgy
Professor Eamon Duffy (Magdalene College, Cambridge)
The Development of the Roman Calendar
Professor Lauren Pristas (Caldwell College, New Jersey, USA)
Music proper to the Roman Liturgy
Professor László Dobszay (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest)
The Early Development of Christian Latin as a Liturgical Language
The Rev Dr Michael Lang (London Oratory/Heythrop College)
Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Organic Development of the Liturgy
The Rev Dr Alcuin Reid (London)
"Missa secundum romanos" :
Emigration and adaptation of the Roman Mass in the franco-roman world (VIII – XI cent.)
M. l’Abbé Frank Quoëx (Sorbonne and Geneva)
The Rite of Braga
The Rev Joseph Santos (Providence RI, USA)
The Genius of the Roman Liturgy: Theological Aspects
The Rev Professor Don Nicola Bux (Bari, Italy)
Liturgies of the Military Religious Orders
Dr Christina Dondi (Lincoln College, Oxford)
The Kiedricher Choral
Herr Rainer Hilkenbach (Kiedrich, Mainz, Germany)
Roman Liturgy and Popular Piety
Dr Sheridan Gilley (Durham University)
The Mystical Interpretation of the Sacred Liturgy
M. l’Abbé Claude Barthe (Centre St Paul, Paris)
Theological Perspectives on the Traditional Liturgy
The Rev Dr. Laurence Hemming (Heythrop College, London)
[This book appears to be fairly straight-shooting, certainly will arouse some discussion and controversy and looks to make a hardhitting critique of the post-conciliar era. Certainly not for the faint of heart. However, what seems interesting in particular is Fr. Barthe's focus on the need for the Tridentine and Reform-of-the-Reform movement to work together.]
Beyond Vatican II
Author: Abbe Claude Barthe
Published by Roman Catholic Books. (Link to Product)
Is this the Pope who will “transition” the Church fully back to tradition?
Why the signs are hopeful, and how Benedict will need the cooperation of all Catholics of good will.
Forty-one years after Vatican II, there is much disagreement about what can be done to reverse all the collateral damage. This important new book by Rev. Claude Barthe was first published in France shortly before the election of Benedict XVI, and now contains a major new section on how the German Pope with his vast experience and learning can “transition” the Church to a period of restoration and genuine renewal “beyond Vatican II.”
The secret to the book’s power? Fr. Barthe, who possesses a Vatican-issued celebret enabling him to use the old Latin liturgy exclusively, analyzes the Council and the causes of its undoing by using the same methods as Pope Benedict.
In so doing, he shows that there are encouraging signs that the Church is heading for a gradual “disengagement” from what he sees as an unbalanced attachment to one particular Council. In the process, Benedict, following his colleague and friend, John Paul II, will begin to restore:
- reverence to the liturgy
- sanity to doctrine
- trust among the beleaguered faithful.
Some highlights of Fr. Barthe’s inspired—and inspiring—book:
The new generation of orthodox priests, even bishops: poised to lead a real renewal?
Making the exit from a false “spirit of Vatican II” ideology: what must be done in areas of doctrine, liturgy, discipline, and the formation of priests.
Growing evidence that Pope Benedict is moving away from the Conciliar “spirit”—and sees the liturgical issue as crucial to restoring orthodoxy and tradition.
The bad news: how, by nearly every measure—baptisms, conversions, vocations, and more—the post-Vatican II “renewal” has in fact been a collapse.
The “very particular political genius” that actually enables Benedict XVI to catalyze and guide Catholic expectations and reflexes more convincingly than John Paul II.
Benedict’s broad and solid base among the faithful, the clergy, ecclesial organizations, and the episcopate—and why it is likely to grow.
Why alliances must be forged between Latin Mass traditionalists and those committed to the new.
How a select few reforms to the new Mass would go a long way to mitigating its harmful excesses.
The case for the preservation and increase of parishes where the traditional Mass is offered—and for a Latin Mass bishop who answers directly to the Holy Father.
“Priestless parishes” never happen in Latin Mass communities.
How, atypically in Church history, Vatican II was a pastoral council without a dogmatic mandate. How, as a “non-council patterned on a council,” Vatican II opened the way to confusion and dissent.
How the corruption of the liturgy became the vehicle for communicating the democratic “spirit of the Council”.
The few Vatican II texts that can be considered doctrinally definitive—and how they reveal points of view that were frankly new.
How Vatican II often unintentionally left many teachings subject to debate
How, by trying to seem “relevant,” the Church lost her influence.
How it has become all but impossible today for heretics to be excluded from the Church (but still is possible if you say the old Latin Mass is better than the New).
Why Catholic liberals have abandoned their traditional social emphasis to advance “democracy in the Church”.
The need for a “re-presentation” of the Second Vatican Council in continuity with Tradition.
Why today’s orthodox young priests are a “generation without fathers”—often at odds with their liberal superiors, and lacking the guidance and ecclesial protection of past generations of young priests.
What to do about the liturgy: Liberate the Old Mass? Reform the New? Why both are necessary—and probable this year under Benedict, who has said so.
APPENDICES: Benedict XVI’s address about Vatican II to the Roman Curia * Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1988 “Remarks to the Bishops of Chile” summarizing in remarkably blunt terms “mistakes” made by Church leaders after the Council which prompted some traditionalists to rebel.
Saint Austin Press is a small Catholic publisher in the United Kingdom that has been producing high quality books for a number of years now. It should be noted that while these books are not "new" in the sense one typically expects for reviews, they are relatively unheard of and worthy of having readers attention drawn to them. Two of the three books are published under anonymous authorship. These are Four Benefits of the Liturgy and Discovering the Mass. The author of both books is likely Dom Gerard Calvet, a prominent French Benedictine, whom some consider a spiritual father of the (moderate) traditionalist movement. What is known for certain is that these books come out of the cradle of a traditional Benedictine Abbey in France, that of Le Barroux. With prospect, under our present pontiff, of the Benedictines again becoming cradles of genuine liturgical, ecclesiastical and cultural renewal, these books seem more relevant than ever.
Four Benefits of the Liturgy, by A Benedictine Monk. St. Austin Press: 1999. ISBN: 1901157083. $4.95 USD.
While a short volume at 37 pages, it is one packed with inspiring insights. Dom Calvet takes us through four primary benefits of the liturgy: transcendence, beauty, interior formation, and education in the sense of the Church. The book is marked by a balance of constructive teaching and critique of the modern approach that some bring to the liturgy – an approach that has been horizontalized. The section on liturgical beauty is particularly edifying, reminding us that beauty "opens to the small and the great alike the treasures of its [the liturgy's] magnificence: the beauty of psalmody, sacred chants and texts, candles, harmony of movement and dignity of bearing... exercises a truly seductive influence of souls." This section also tackles the objection which some propose; namely that liturgical richness and beauty are somehow unnecessary or contrary to poverty. Readers are reminded that it is by means of beauty, rather than intellect, that most people are drawn into the Faith, and through which the Faith speaks to them. As for poverty, none other than Cardinal Ratzinger, reminds us that this richness "is not the richness of some priestly caste; it is the richness of all." The remainder of the book speaks of how a Catholic's "sense of the faith" (sensus fidelium) is nourished by good liturgy, and ultimately it aids in the growth of our supernatural life. As a small book, it makes for an excellent summary or introductory volume, and would be a great gift for the purpose of liturgical formation.
Discovering the Mass, by A Benedictine Monk. St. Austin Press: 1999. ISBN: 1901157067. $16.95 USD.
The second book by "a Benedictine Monk" can be called nothing less than a detailed and concise catechism of traditional liturgy. In fact, the first quarter of the book is laid out in question and answer format and covers all of the basics which surround the liturgy and sacraments. Following this, there is a detailed breakdown and comments on all the parts of the traditional Roman liturgy. What makes the book particularly rich is that the author includes many references and bits of information pertaining to both the Eastern liturgical rites as well as some of the lesser known Western liturgical rites, such as the Dominican, Carthusian, and so on. This richness is carried over also by the inclusion of beautiful, full page photographs of various liturgical rites. That being said, the book is firmly rooted in the ancient Roman rite. Besides laying out the theology and spirituality of the liturgy, readers are also treated to a concise but detailed historical explanation of the origin and development of many liturgical practices. For example, have some readers wondered why a "maniple" (a small stole like piece of cloth worn on the arm) is worn by the clergy in the traditional liturgy? Questions such as these are treated. Readers of this book will not only come away with a greater sense of the history of the Roman liturgy, they will also come away with an appreciation for the legitimate variety of liturgical rites and a deepened appreciation for our liturgical inheritance.
A Bitter Trial: Evelyn Waugh and John Carmel Cardinal Heenan on the Liturgical Changes, 2nd ed. Scott M. P. Reid, ed. St. Austin Press: 2000. ISBN: 1901157318. $9.95 USD.
Evelyn Waugh was not only a popular novelist, he was also a devout Catholic man; one whom struggled with the liturgical and theological changes that occurred after the Second Vatican Council. Waugh corresponded on this matter with Cardinal Heenan, primate of England during those tumultuous times. Waugh, in fact, was quite bitter about these changes and was not shy in expressing those frustrations. Obviously the book is of interest to Waugh fans, but it is more interesting as a chronology of the liturgical changes and theological shifts which occurred. In 1965, Cardinal Heenan would tell Waugh that "at present the Mass is an untidy mess." Heenan would eventually alter his position as seen in the latter letters in the book. This raises some interesting questions. Does this shift on Heenan's part, which is representative of a shift many would make, suggest that the initial response to the changes was merely rooted in a general dislike for change – the removal of a comfortable routine if you will – but that in the end, they were able to be more objective about them? Or, on the other hand, is it indicative of a spirit of resignation and rationalization – a psychological defense mechanism – which caused this shift? Readers will have to see the "before" and "after" of Heenan to decide for themselves, but the truth is probably somewhere in between. What is clear in Waugh's letters is that he perceived a radical shift, both in liturgical practice and in theological approach. Many of the concerns which Waugh raises echo precisely concerns that are raised to this very day. The book makes for truly interesting and insightful reading.
[Please note: the first two books are part of a kind of informal series coming from the Abbey of Le Barroux. The other title, which I believe is out of print at present, is The Sacred Liturgy.]
Sunday, March 26, 2006
[Tbe following information and translation comes by way of Rorate Coeli. They have taken it from the Italian journal La Stampa. It goes without saying that this is not an official report and at present can only be considered a rumour of events and discussions pertaining to the possible regularization of the SSPX. We will have to wait and see how true the rumour turns out to be. Time and again we see that things are not always as they are portrayed in the media. Read it with interest, but read it with a grain of salt and reservation until we hear from the Holy See itself. Here follows the text:]
On the Lefebvrists, meanwhile, Benedict XVI has obtained a free way [via libera, the go-ahead] from the porporati [the Cardinals], even if some resistance from some cardinals, historical opponents of the Fraternity Saint Pius X, was noticed. Cardinal Kasper noticed the fact: "There are different approaches," he said. But the will of the Pontiff, who last August received Bishop Fellay and Father Schmidberger, has prevailed over the hesitations, even though the success of what is to come is not certain.
The "package" for the reintegration of the Lefebvrists is substantially ready, result of the work of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (Clergy) and of Cardinal Julian Herranz (Legislative Texts). A kind of worldwide super-diocese would be established, guided by a bishop named by the Pope, who would then delegate portions of his jurisdiction to vicars. Other than that, which would render Lefebvrists [Translator's note: actually, all Traditionalists] independent from the local bishops, the creation of a seminary, for the formation of future priests, is expected, keeping the future spiritual identity of the organization.
A secret two day meeting in Rome, in mid-November, between the leader of the "Fraternity Saint Pius X" and Cardinal Castrillon, had clarified some aspects; and bishop Fellay, and his right hand [man], Franz Schmidberger, seemed willing to [give] a definitive step, even if that would have cost the loss of some extreme fringe.
However, in that meeting, it had been agreed that the Fraternity would write the Pope a letter asking that, in view of the new situation which was being established, the excommunications issued when Marcel Lefebvre had illicitly ordained four bishops be eliminated. And the letter has not yet arrived. There was then a second point, observed yesterday by cardinal Kasper: "Each one of us wants the reconciliation, even if there are always signs of different experiences. The problem is knowing if the situation has already matured. If they are willing to recognize the Council, there is the possibility of a resolution". Cardinal Castrillon was even more optimistic: "The Church welcomes them with open arms. We are in the way, we need God's help, everything depends on the Lord, it is he who is in charge and who guides everything. In every family, there are many voices and many points of view." And the Lefebvrists would be, in the inside of the Church, one of those voices.
Title: Papal Legislation on Sacred Music: 95 A.D. to 1977 A.D.
Author: (Msgr.) Robert F. Hayburn, Mus.D.
Publisher: Roman Catholic Books (Reprinted 2005. Originally published 1979 by The Liturgical Press.)
IBSN: 1929291787. 619pp.
Link to Product
Reviewed by Shawn R. Tribe
Few topics today stir as much passion as the question of the sacred liturgy, Vatican II and the liturgical reform. And of those topics, particularly passionate is the discussion which surrounds the question of sacred music. In fact, many hold that much that passes for liturgical music today is not of a sacred character, and can in fact be a source of dismay and distraction – or at very least does not raise one to the heights which one should be raised to during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
I wish to provide a summary review of an important text which Roman Catholic Books has done us the immense favour of putting back into print. That book is Papal Legislation on Sacred Music. Now, do not let the publishing date fool you. While one might expect that any book published during the very time of the most exuberant application of the zeitgiest in the name of the "spirit" of Vatican II would most likely not be of much merit where Catholic tradition is concerned, Such is not at all the case with this text however. Msgr. Hayburn's analysis is most certainly written with a keen eye for the tradition of Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony, as well as an awareness of the problems with post-conciliar liturgical music:
"The legislation of Vatican Council II opened the door for radical changes in Church music. Emphasis on congregational participation and the introduction of the vernacular languages rather than Latin introduced a host of new problems. The result was an abundance of 'instant music' characterized by secular style and artistic shallowness... The traditional norms of popes and the Congregation of Sacred Rites have been overlooked."
All that being said, it should be noted that Msgr. Hayburn does not focus on polemics, but rather on the task at hand, which is a study of the sacred music of the Catholic Church in the light of papal legislation on the same. Still, it is good for readers to know that the author is not uncritical of certain types of modern liturgical music.
As the subtitle of the book suggests, this study spans the nearly 2000 year history of the Catholic Church. That being said, lest readers be disappointed, note that you will not find a great plethora of first millenium material on sacred music. Much of what we have are fragments, however, they are interesting and worthwhile nonetheless, and there is a great deal which looks at the role of Pope St. Gregory the Great, which is of significant interest as well.
The majority of the material in the book begins with the Council of Trent in the 1500's where more sources have come down to us. In particular, we have a great deal from the 19th century and the time of Dom Gueranger, Solesmes and Pope St. Pius X.
In terms of subject matter, there is of course a very good focus on Gregorian Chant, that form of sacred music so unique and central to Catholic liturgy. In addition, Hayburn then takes us through the introduction of and controversies surrounding polyphony, and the Church's continual struggle to maintain the intelligibility of the sacred texts and to exclude inappropriate showmanship, secularization and other abuses.
One of the most attractive features of this book is its academic apparatus. It includes significant and extended appendices – almost 200 pages worth. This includes responses from the Congregation for Sacred Rites, spanning from 1597 to 1959, on matters pertaining to sacred music; a chronological index of papal documents which address sacred music; a collection of conciliar era documents on sacred music and of course a bibliography and index.
Beautifully and sturdily bound in a blue cloth hardcover binding, with gold gilt letter on the spine and front cover you will want to run out a grab a copy of this book if you are interested in the role of sacred music in our liturgy. Past controversies can help serve in present one's as we seek to redefine what is and is not appropriate to the liturgy. Moreover, the presence of so many primary sources (found throughout the text in lengthy quotations, or as entire chapters in the appendices) makes this a rare and valuable resource.
Prior to it being reprinted, finding copies of this book was a scarce chance at best, being often only found in libraries. When they were found, they were priced between $200-250 each for used editions. Thus, to now have the book available for $69.75 is of great benefit. I would heartily recommend you pick up a copy now, before they again go out of print.
The Tablet has been re-vamped and re-designed and it now contains a new weekly article by Dom Daniel McCarthy, OSB, called 'Listen to the Word', which is a study of the Sunday Collect (Opening Prayer) in the Roman Missal, using the Latin version of the editio typica. This Latin prayer is compared with the current I.C.E.L. translation of it. In my opinion, this is one of the more interesting articles in the magazine as it highlights the paucity of the English translation that we use in the Liturgy, as well as the shift in theological nuance, and the crying need for a more elevated and faithful translation of the beautiful Latin prayers. For example, Dom McCarthy noted today that the subject of the prayer for Laetare Sunday is God in the Latin prayer but in the English version, "we" are the subject.
Even without this study though, those among us who are fortunate to use the translation of the Liturgy of the Hours, approved by the English Bishops' Conference (and others) will notice that in Lent and Advent and on Sundays per annum, the translation of the Concluding prayer in the Office, which is a translation of the Latin Collect from the Mass of the day, is rather different from the I.C.E.L. translation of the same Latin Collect which is found in the Missal. This is because a special commission based in Leeds translated the Collects for the English Breviary but the I.C.E.L. version was foisted into the Missal and the American Breviaries. Even a cursory glance at these will reveal the notable difference in tone, nuance and theology between the I.C.E.L. and Leeds Commission versions.
In this season of Lent, it is particularly noteworthy that the while the Leeds Commission would translate the word 'gratia' as 'grace', the I.C.E.L. would translate it as 'help'...
Anyway, it seems The Tablet wishes to highlight these discrepancies to their readership and I applaud them for it! Sadly the articles by Dom McCarthy are not available online, so you'll have to buy or borrow a copy or have it photocopied and sent to you!
Friday, March 24, 2006
Original Story: South Bend Tribune: "Converting the spirit At monastery, monks chant the liturgy, focus on worship
By CHARMI KERANEN
The view from Father Nicholas' study takes you out of this world. Sit down at his desk and you might as well be sitting on the deck of a ship, looking out from the captain's chair.
Lake Superior stretches out in front of you. The glass walls of the Superior side of the study, along with the rest of the world, seem to disappear.
It's a perspective that the monks of the Holy Transfiguration Skete appreciate. Here on the shores of Lake Superior, on the northern edge of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, they've found a place that affords them the opportunity to chart their own unique monastic course.
Wind your way out of Eagle River on Michigan 26 and you'll spy the golden domes rising out of the woods, just past some cascading water called Jacobs Falls. There's a little garden out front filled with hostas and wildflowers and a long wooden ramp that leads to some heavy wooden doors. A sign says welcome and reminds you to dress modestly.
On Sunday mornings you can worship with the monks. Inside it's quiet. Don't be surprised if you're the only one here.
Walk softly and poke your head into a large room that seems to be a chapel. The walls are stark white, but they're covered with pictures -- icons -- painted in rich golden hues. The aroma of incense fills the air.
Sit down on the single pew in the back of the chapel and wait. In time, four monks will file into the room. They will come in singing. They expect that you will sing, too.
But you're not their focus. They are here to worship, and that's what they're going to do. They will motion you"
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The general attitude at a meeting Benedict XVI held with cardinals this week was to seek reconciliation with the followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
"The Church awaits them with open arms," Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy and of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," told the press when he summarized the conclusions of the Thursday meeting.
"We are on the way," he added. "We need the Lord's help, he is the one who guides everything."
"Now the best way is being studied," added the Colombian cardinal in response to the question about the possibility of a "prelature" under the Pope.
Archbishop Lefebvre, founder of the Society of St. Pius X, contested publicly some of the key elements of the Second Vatican Council.
Pope John Paul II stated in an 1988 the apostolic letter "Ecclesia Dei" that the "illegitimate" ordination of four bishops within the society by Archbishop Lefebvre was a "schismatic act."
That ordination truncated the attempt of an agreement between the Holy See and the group, which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- had worked on in John Paul II's name.
Archbishop Lefebvre died in March 1991 and was succeeded by Bishop Bernard Fellay, one of the ordained prelates, in the leadership of the Society of St. Pius X. Benedict XVI received Bishop Fellay in private audience last Aug. 29.
"The meeting unfolded in an atmosphere of love of the Church and the desire to arrive at perfect communion," a Vatican communiqué reported afterward. "Aware of the difficulties, the willingness was expressed to advance gradually and in reasonable times."
According to several Italian newspapers today, some of the cardinals on Thursday requested that for reconciliation to take place, the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre must publicly accept Vatican II.
Cardinal Julián Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, told journalists that "the Pope listened to all with great interest and has made a perfect synthesis of the debate that took place."
As many of you know, I've reviewed various Mass videos. What I find interesting as I do so is that each and every video seems to have a particular quality which, while possibly even the same rite, is unique to it. Perhaps this is because, while there is a unity of spirit in the traditional sacred liturgy, there can be much variety in terms of the style of sacred music, the architecture, and so forth.
Fr. Michael Magiera's DVD of his first Mass is certainly no different. In fact, its probably one of the first modern DVD's out there of a certain kind of solemn celebration of the Mass which isn't so often seen these days. I say "modern DVD's" because when I first saw this DVD, I was brought to mind of an old Mass video that circulates out there in the Tridentine Mass communities. It was a black and white video, hosted in a grandiose church, possibly in Chicago. It was narrated by Fulton J. Sheen. That video was marked by the carefully choreographed liturgical movements of the priest, deacon and subdeacon as they performed the sacred rites. This DVD set is representative of that tradition, and is of significantly better production quality than the aforementioned video of a Mass in the 1950's.
There is something almost baroque about this Mass. Let me clarify. I don't mean that the setting is baroque in the sense of baroque vestments, music, or German style Baroque-Rococo architecture. Rather, what I mean is that there is certainly a sense of splendour and it is set from the get-go. The Mass is set inside the beautiful Italianate Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. As far as settings go, one can't get much better.
The grandiose architecture is matched by the impressive procession of priests, the processional banners and the beautiful golden vestments worn by the sacred ministers. The baroque quality I speak of is further carried in Fr. Magiera's deep and penetrating intonations. The choir itself is quite large and are able to fill this cathedral more than adequately. The setting used is polyphonic, including for some pieces which aren't typically set as such, such as the Asperges Me, and the choir is able to pull all this off with incredible quality and professionalism - I wouldn't be surprised if they were professionals.
From a production standpoint, the videography is excellent and includes a number of angles, many closeups of the cathedral itself as well as the art inside of it.
Fr. Magiera's first Mass DVD certainly gives one a sense of the splendour of the liturgy.
For more information, or to order the DVD, please visit: Fr. Michael Magiera's First Mass
Price: $24.99 (shipping included)
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Some more used books for sale. Not yet posted in the NLM Used Books section, but here if anyone wants to email me to arrange a purchase right now.
Looking at the Liturgy: A Critical View of its Contemporary Form
Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P.
Ignatius Press, PB.
Cardinal Reflections: Active Participation and the Liturgy
Cardinals Pell, George, Arinze and Medina-Estevez
Like New PB.
The Mass of the Roman Rite: It's Origins and Development (vol. 1 of 2 only)
Fr. Josef A. Jungmann
PB, Christian Classics
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Dogmatically, Liturgically and Ascetically Explained
Rev. Dr. Nicholas Gihr
HC, ex-lib, otherwise clean.
The Book of Ceremonies
4th printing, 1950.
HC. VG shape.
The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross
trans. Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez
1964. Hard cardboard binding.
A Companion to the Summa (4 vols. complete)
Fr. Walter Farrell, O.P.
ex-convent lib, but VG.
History of Philosophy
Fr. Frederick Copleston
17 Volumes, complete.
PB, Image edition.
VG, clean inside, prev. owners signature only.
(From the March 23 edition of The Wanderer)
by Brian Mershon
In light of reported activities at the highest levels of the Church to possibly find a canonical solution and regularization for the bishops and priests of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), The Wanderer decided to interview the U.S. and North American superiors for the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest (ICKSP), and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). (Two related articles will follow this one.)
Providentially, the interview with Fr. George Gabet, FSSP, took place on the Feast of the Station of St. Peter, the heart, soul and source of unity for all Christians.
Msgr. Michael Schmitz of the ICKSP gave a rousing talk to Una Voce leaders in Providence, R.I., in November 2005, on the importance of Tradition to Catholics and the Catholic faith. The Institute of Christ the King was canonically founded in 1990, and its general superior is Msgr. Gilles Wach.
Msgr. Schmitz was ordained by then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1982, after completing studies at the Gregorian University in Rome and earning a licentiate in dogmatic theology. Pope John Paul II elevated him to the rank of chaplain of His Holiness in 1998. In 2000 he was incardinated in the Institute of Christ the King and appointed vicar general and provincial superior for the Institute in the United States.
The U.S. headquarters has recently moved from Cashton, Wis. (Diocese of La Crosse), to Chicago, at St. Gelasius Parish. In addition, as Archbishop Burke moved from LaCrosse to St. Louis, like a wishbone with LaCrosse as the northernmost point, the ICKSP has opened up apostolates in St. Louis, as well as its new Chicago headquarters under Cardinal George. Most recently, the order has been invited into the Diocese of Kansas City, Mo.
The ICKSP is a growing international Society of Apostolic Life with 45 priests, about 70 seminarians, 10 brothers, called oblates, and currently about 10 sisters. The motherhouse and seminary are in Florence, Italy, where formation and instruction are given in French.
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) was founded by Pope John Paul II in 1988 as a Society of Apostolic Life. Its North American headquarters (including the U.S. and Canada) is in Elmhurst, Pa., in the Diocese of Scranton, with its new Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Bishop Bruskewitz's Lincoln, Neb., Diocese.
The FSSP currently has 180 priests worldwide, with 65 in North America. They have 107 total seminarians, with 60 currently in their seminary in Denton, Neb.
Fr. George Gabet is the district superior of North America, and was ordained in 1997 after studies in Wigratzbad, Germany. The FSSP's European seminary is in Wigratzbad. Both Fr. Gabet and Msgr. Schmitz emphasized how friendly Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger, has been to their priestly societies. The German connections with Msgr. Schmitz's Ordination and the FSSP German seminary location are evidence of the importance of these ties.
In light of the Society of St. Pius X's (SSPX) Bishop Bernard Fellay's August 29 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos (president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission), a much-overlooked detail is that another German — Fr. Franz Schmidberger — accompanied Bishop Fellay. The importance of these German ties, most likely, cannot be overemphasized with the traditionalist movement and this pontificate.
In Bishop Fellay's recent talks, recorded at SSPX chapels around the U.S., the bishop revealed that Pope Benedict XVI told him that the SSPX could no longer use "the state of necessity" provided for in the 1983 Code of Canon Law to continue their apostolates outside of formal Church governance because the Pope was attempting to solve the crisis. However, Bishop Fellay also said the Pope later told him that a crisis to justify their situation in France and Germany might actually still be valid.
In the question-and-answer interview below, Msgr. Schmitz sheds some interesting light on this understanding of the faith in Europe and the United States. In fact, anyone who has studied Pope Benedict XVI's writings can discern that he believes the United States is a much more Christian culture and environment than Europe is.
Msgr. Schmitz reiterates this common Roman and European clerical perspective, which would affirm the Pope's comments relayed from Bishop Fellay regarding the same.
Q. During your presentation at the Una Voce conference in Providence, R.I., in November 2005, you said that the culture in the United States was still quite traditional, markedly different from that in Europe. Would you elaborate?
Msgr. Schmitz: When a foreigner from Europe comes to the United States, he will be astonished to see immediately, at least in the Midwest, and also in some other parts of the country, I'm sure, how many values have been preserved that have been lost in Europe for a long time. On a cultural level, that is a positive statement.
And also on the level of Christian culture and lifestyle, America has much to give to Europe. You see it in many family gatherings. You see it at events that are catered by the Church. There is still a lot of good Catholic formality in society in the Midwest of America, but also in other parts.
I see that the clergy are treated with respect, even in spite of what has happened recently. People still have a sense of the role of the clergy and expect the clergy to fulfill that role.
With the bishops, many people today sometimes have an aggressive attitude. But still, the bishops are treated with great respect. They also show in their public appearances, most of the time, they are representatives of Christ.
In my experience, that is not so clearly visible in the parts of Europe that used to be traditionally Catholic.
Q. So from the perspective of the average European, be he from Germany or France, this is not the case any more?
Msgr. Schmitz: No. This may seem strange for you [Americans] to hear. We [Europeans] have grown up surrounded by monuments of culture and Christian presence. If you come to the formerly Catholic countries like France and others, you are every day confronted with the Church, and her past.
But people [Europeans] live without it, and they do not appreciate it. And even on a public level, this Christian background is even denied [Editor's Note: The European Union refused to acknowledge any role of Christianity in forming Europe].
I do not find that in the United States. Of course, one can find that if one looks for it. But, my more general feeling is that these [traditional] values are still respected.
I believe that it is again, positively intended, the Church in the U.S. is in a situation where the Church in Europe was 40 years ago. I see that many faithful, many priests, and many bishops, understand that. And they are still able in this moment to steer the route of the ship of the Church in a direction where all of these values will be kept.
In Europe, we have to recuperate them. In America, we can still strengthen them because they are still there.
Q. Do the Pope, the Roman Curia, and those in the halls of the Vatican understand this phenomena as you are describing it?
Msgr. Schmitz: Those who know the United States, and especially the Holy Father, and his immediate surrounding [curial members], still appreciate the values America has to offer. And they are very well aware of the fact that Europe is formerly Catholic — not actually Christian [anymore].
Q. In a Latin Mass Magazine interview in 2004, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos said that the Vatican was working on a "juridical guarantee" for the traditional Catholic faithful.
In light of recent developments and reports, what do you think Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos might have in store for the Catholic lay faithful attached to the Latin liturgical tradition and the fullness of ecclesiastical Tradition?
Msgr. Schmitz: I simply have to say that I am not a prophet. There has been so much speculation and so many questions about what we should do — about what the Holy Father should do — about what the cardinals should do. I simply have to say that I leave it to the good Lord.
I am certain it would not be good for the Traditional Roman rite to be in any kind of a ghetto. We are part of the universal Church, and if it would be possible for the bishops simply to grant generously the permission to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass where it is wished and where it is needed, then I believe that all of the problems would very much decrease.
Whether it is prudent or not to do anything else, and to create any special entities [Editor's Note: I.e., the rumored apostolic administrations or ordinariates, similar to the military chaplaincies] or make some special canonical provisions, I have to say that I leave it to the wisdom of the Holy Father who can judge the needs of the Church much better than I can from my limited perspective.
Those Who Really Know
Fr. Gabet: We have heard a lot of these rumors and rumblings before. I have talked to one of our priests who is studying in Rome, and one of my friends who has said before: "Those who really know, don't say anything; and those who say, don't really know."
And I think that is really true. Rome has to keep some of this stuff under its hat. They don't want to just come out with something, with the rumors, because if it is something good, the Devil is definitely going to fight against it.
Of course, we understand there are talks though, and I do believe there is something coming on down the pike. What that will be, I really don't know.
As far as what might be done, I really can't say. There have been those rumors that perhaps as early as this year that the Society of St. Pius X will be brought back into full [canonical] communion. And we at the Fraternity certainly pray this will happen. That would make the traditional movement a lot bigger. We would certainly benefit from that.
But most importantly, our traditional brothers will be in full communion with Rome and we'd be able to have churches in the different dioceses with all the rites that we would have from the Church herself through that formal connection with Rome.
One of the things I noticed in your talks with Bishop Bruskewitz and Bishop Corrada [The Wanderer, January 26 and February 9, 2006 editions] were their concerns about a universal indult. You know, a lot of our people were kind of excited about it.
To me, I thought at first I was the only one; that it would not be a good idea unless of course it was handled correctly. There are so many priests that would just do the Latin Mass as a novelty. That is exactly what we don't want.
We would want priests who know their Latin, first of all, and then also that they have been trained in how to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the books of 1962. Pope John Paul II was very clear that he did not want a mixture of the two rites. We don't want to create some monster hybrid between the two rites.
And certainly, the Latin Mass can be said just as badly as any Mass. And what a disgrace it is to see something like that.
Unfortunately, the seminaries today are not teaching Latin on a regular basis. They [seminarians] might get one year of Latin. And how can you even read it in one year? There is no way you can know what you are saying.
At the diaconate [for the FSSP], we are supposed to begin practicing the Mass. Most of us will do it piece by piece because it is so important to follow the rubrics. It is very important to have that reverence for the sacred — if you're just running through it, or you're ad-libbing — it's not going to work that way. It will be a monster. And not something worthy of the Holy Sacrifice of our Lord.
I would be very cautious about a universal indult.
Now, as far as an apostolic administrator, it sounds like a very delicate situation. It would have to be the right man. He would have to work with the bishops and with the different groups — the Society of St. Pius X, the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King — just to name a few — to make unity within those groups, and then to apply it to the different dioceses that already exist. It is not going to be easy. It will take a lot of thought and a lot of prayer to get the right solution. But, if it is God's will, it is going to happen.
Full Of Joy
Q. What advice would you give to the lay faithful who are hoping for some measure of relief from the Vatican?
Msgr. Schmitz: First, I would encourage them from my whole heart to pray — to pray for the Holy Father and for the involved cardinals that they find the right decision.
But also, I would suggest they be very respectful in asking their bishops to fulfill their spiritual needs. The number of people who desire the Traditional Latin Mass is growing in all age groups, but especially among the youth. I am sure the bishops will be very willing to fulfill this wish because the Mass that has been celebrated for nearly 2,000 years in the Church is not dangerous. It is, on the contrary, a great gift for those who want to assist at it.
I am sure all of the bishops want to foster the spiritual life of the laity. They use so many means for that, and I would very much recommend to the laity to ask their bishops to also allow the traditional instrument for deep spirituality, which is the Mass that Pope St. Pius X, Blessed John XXIII, and all the fathers of the Second Vatican Council celebrated.
Q. Msgr. Schmitz, you were ordained by then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1982. What was your personal reaction to having your spiritual father raised to the Chair of Peter?
Msgr. Schmitz: I was certainly full of joy when I heard of the election of the Holy Father. It is a very special feeling you have when the bishop who ordained you is suddenly elevated to the See of Peter. I had the chance during my studies in Rome to sometimes meet with the Holy Father.
And just a few weeks before his election, he received the prior general [Msgr. Wach] of the Institute of Christ the King and me in a very kind and warm private audience. So I was especially intrigued hearing he was elected and had accepted to become the Successor of Peter.
I also have personal links to some people in his surroundings. I know well how much the Holy Father thinks for the Catholic Church and how deeply also in his speeches and in his whole personality, he is profoundly Catholic in the sense I just explained. This has certainly given me deep satisfaction as a priest.
A Great Friend
Q. Fr. Gabet, the same question for you: What was your and the FSSP priests' reactions when Cardinal Ratzinger was raised to the Chair of St. Peter?
Fr. Gabet: Concerning the present Holy Father, the Fraternity of St. Peter was overjoyed when, of all people, Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope in the one of the shortest conclaves in modern times.
He has always been a friend of the Priestly Fraternity. It was actually he who suggested to Pope John Paul II that our founders form a Society of Apostolic Life. He helped us to get started in Wigratzbad, Germany. And he also helped us in the United States by asking some of the bishops to give us a chance to build a reputation and a track record. And then he actually even traveled to our seminary in Wigratzbad to offer the Pontifical High Mass on Easter Sunday of 1990. That was the year before I was there.
I was blessed by getting to see Cardinal Mayer. And we have had seven different cardinals who have done our Ordinations, including Cardinal [Castrillon] Hoyos.
We have a great friend of the Fraternity and to the Traditional Latin Mass movement in Rome on St. Peter's chair.
Brian Mershon is a commentator on cultural issues from a classical Catholic perspective. His trade is in media relations, and his vocation is as a husband to his beloved wife Tracey and father to his six living children. He attempts to assist his family and himself in attaining eternal salvation through frequent attendance at the Traditional Latin rite of Mass, homeschooling, and building Catholic culture in the buckle of the Bible Belt of Greenville, South Carolina.
© Copyright 2006 by Brian Mershon
Original Article: Vatican sees U.S. situation as hopeful, but at crossroads
[Another variant on this story from Catholic News Agency. Full text below.]
Vatican City, Mar. 23, 2006 (CNA) - As the Pope met today with members of the College of Cardinals, who are in Rome for tomorrow’s Consistory where 15 new cardinals will be added to their ranks, the subjects of the schismatic Saint Pius X Society as well as the use of the Latin missal and retirement age for bishops largely held the floor.
According to CNA’s sources in the Vatican one of today’s main topics of conversation surrounded the possibility of lifting the excommunication on Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the four bishops ordained by him before his death. Their group, the Saint Puis X Society broke away from the Church following the Second Vatican Council.
In addition, the Pope and the Cardinals discussed whether or not they may declare a full amnesty for the free use of Pope V's Latin missal; and how to do so without betraying the spirit of the Vatican II Council.
The second major topic of conversation surrounded the retirement age for bishops.
Given that life expectancy and quality of life have improved since the original age of 75 was put in place, some cardinals have suggested the possibility of postponing the legal age of retirement to 80.
150 of the 193-member College of Cardinals were in attendance today for a day of prayer and reflection called for by Pope Benedict ahead of the Ordinary Public Consistory--including the 15 which will be incorporated tomorrow. The Vatican said that today’s meetings followed the general format of discussions used prior to last year’s papal conclave.
The official languages of today’s meetings have been English, Italian, French and Spanish.
[Excerpts from todays meeting between the Pope and the Cardinals. Full Article: CNS STORY: Pope, cardinals discuss several issues, including dialogue with Islam]
By John Thavis
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI and most of the world's cardinals sat down for closed-door discussions on a number of administrative and pastoral questions, including dialogue with Islam.
The pope presided over the day of reflection and prayer March 23, the day before he was to hold a public consistory to induct 15 new cardinals. The cardinals-to-be, dressed in bishops' purple, were also invited to the meeting in the Vatican's synod hall.
There was no formal agenda, but in an opening talk the pope mentioned three specific concerns for discussion, according to a Vatican press statement:
-- "The condition of retired bishops."
-- "The question raised by (Archbishop Marcel) Lefebvre and the liturgical reform desired by the Second Vatican Council."
-- "Questions connected with the dialogue between the church and Islam."
The pope invited the cardinals to raise other issues of their own and said the exchange should take place in a spirit of unity and communion.
In the morning session, several cardinals spoke about recent Vatican efforts to reconcile with the followers of the late Archbishop Lefebvre, one cardinal told Catholic News Service. Among those who spoke was Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Congregation for Clergy, who has spearheaded a recent move to bring the Lefebvrites back into communion with the church.
The comments were varied, with some questioning the terms on which such a reconciliation could and should occur.
Cardinal Wilfrid F. Napier of Durban, South Africa, told CNS that he did not think the pope was looking for a "yes or no" response from the cardinals on the Lefebvrites.
For one thing, Cardinal Napier said, the situation among Lefebvrites is so different in various parts of the world that a thorough investigation would probably be needed before any global solution is reached.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
THE SAMUEL DORSKY SYMPOSIUM ON PUBLIC MONUMENTS: Remembering Pope John Paul II Through the Tridentine RiteShawn Tribe
THE SAMUEL DORSKY SYMPOSIUM ON PUBLIC MONUMENTS: Remembering Pope John Paul II Through the Tridentine Rite
New York, NY - (Catholic PRwire) On March 24th, 2006, the Monuments Conservancy will present its 16th Annual Symposium, held in Rockefeller Center, NYC. Founded by Donald M. Reynolds in 1991 on the 20th anniversary of the death of the renowned art historian Rudolf Wittkower, the symposium is made possible by the generosity of the Late Samuel Dorsky, in whose honor it is named. The foundation seeks to recognize those whose work perpetuates the beliefs, habits, and ties that are the foundations of a moral and stable society.
This year, religious leaders, scholars, and laymen will pay tribute to John Paul II. The focus of the gathering will be the Pope’s Apostolic Letter of July 2nd, 1988, “Ecclesia Dei,” which encouraged the frequent celebration of the traditional liturgy for those Catholics who desire it. The traditional Latin Mass is “one of the great monuments of the Catholic Faith,” Mr. Reynolds noted, and therefore an apt topic for the foundation’s annual symposium.
Thirsty Scribe has a long post, with numerous pictures showing the life of the Clear Creek, Benedictines; Benedictine monks who use the ancient Roman liturgy and whom come from Fontgambault in France.
One seldom get to see pictures like these, as even their own website is fairly sparse. I'd recommend you take a look:
Notes of a Thirsty Scribe: visiting Clear Creek monastery
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 21, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Council for Culture will hold a plenary assembly March 27-29, dedicated to "beauty as a way of evangelization and dialogue."
According to a communiqué of this Vatican dicastery, the theme of the meeting was decided at the end of the previous plenary assembly, held in 2004.
"Together with the traditional proofs of the existence of God," the statement said, "… in recent times 'beauty' has been affirmed as a way to reach God, Supreme Beauty, and to transmit something of God’s life to men, both through the fascination of nature as well as artistic creation."
The members and consultors of the pontifical council will focus on three beauties: "the beauty of nature, the beauty of art [and] the beauty of Christian holiness," the statement said.
The council said it will also analyze "the threats of a new secularism and of religious indifference; the illusion of beauty in sects and new religious movements; the contemplation of creation and the new debates on evolution and the safeguarding of nature; the use of the Christian artistic heritage for a new evangelization; the beauty of the liturgy and, finally, holiness."
[It would be nice to see this develop as a trend, with bishops taking the initiative. There are some points that could be discussed, about the council, about active participation, but I think the good Father's do a good job, and we can be thankful to them and to the bishop for their openess.]
By Mary Frances McCarthy
Herald Staff Writer
(From the issue of 3/23/06)
Something old is something new for St. Lawrence Parish in Alexandria and St. John the Baptist Parish in Front Royal.
As a result of Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde’s reflection on how the liturgy is celebrated in the diocese, he has asked Fathers Christopher Mould and Edward Hathaway (pictured at right) to celebrate a weekly 1962 Latin Mass — sometimes known as a Tridentine Mass — at St. Lawrence and St. John Parishes, where they serve as pastors, respectively.
“… Wishing to make available to the faithful all of the options which the Church permits … I will extend the Church’s permission to allow the use of the 1962 Missal at one Mass each Sunday (at St. Lawrence and St. John the Baptist Churches),” the bishop said in a letter to the diocese. “Recognizing the riches which the 1962 Latin Mass offers, I pray that the spiritual needs and aspirations of those drawn to this liturgy will be met.”
“It is the bishop’s initiative,” Father Hathaway said. “He saw the need and is putting the (1962 Latin Mass) into effect.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It is something new for St. John Parish and gives people another option — hopefully to enrich our Sunday worship.”
A papal directive was issued by John Paul II in 1984 setting strict conditions for the use of the 1962 Latin Mass, which was replaced by the Missal of Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council. The main condition for those seeking to celebrate the old form was that they must accept the teachings of Vatican II and the validity of the Mass in its new rite.
“I am glad to help make this form of the Mass available to those who are attracted to it,” Father Mould said.
In his 1988 Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei, Pope John Paul II asked for a “wide and generous application” of his earlier directives permitting the use of the Latin-language 1962 form of Mass.
“John Paul II gave an indult (papal permission) that is meant to legitimize the aspiration of people and Bishop Loverde has agreed that people have the liturgical right to the Tridentine rite as a legitimate spirituality,” Father Hathaway said. “People can embrace the Second Vatican Council and also find a spiritual Mass celebrated in the Tridentine form. Bishop Loverde is extending that right and I think there will be a lot of rejoicing.”
While some might think that the 1962 Mass would be attended mostly by those born before Vatican II for nostalgic reasons, Father Hathaway believes there is a spiritual pull, not just an academic or sentimental attraction, to the 1962 Latin Mass.
“Some like to pray in Latin,” he said. “There is an interest in the spiritual heritage and patrimony as expressed in the Tridentine rite. Particularly those born after Vatican II, I think they’ll be curious of this history.”
Father Mould also warns that attendance at a 1962 Mass should not be simply a journey back in time to one’s childhood.
“The use of this ritual should not be a matter of nostalgia, but an encouragement of understanding of the mystery of our faith,” he said.
The principal Mass on Sundays at St. John Church already includes parts in Latin and Father Hathaway feels that is important.
“We shouldn’t lose in 50 years the language that was in place for 1,500 years,” he said. “The Latin language connects us in space and time with Catholics around the globe and in history. That said, many prefer to pray in the language they speak at home too. There are a lot of desires that can be united in a variety of Catholic worship.”
For those who may be concerned that the diocese may be turning back in time instead of advancing by allowing the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated, Father Hathaway said, “It is not a step backward. It is extending the universal Church and in no way denying the statements of the Second Vatican Council.”
“I see the goal of this Mass as partial fulfillment of the Second Vatican Council’s call for full, conscious, active participation in the Mass,” Father Mould said.
While he feels that the widespread use of the vernacular allowed many people a better understanding of the Mass and allowed them to participate more fully, “for many people, the use of the Latin and older rituals also allow a deeper participation,” Father Mould said.
“Understanding the words in one’s native language is only one level of one’s understanding of the Mass,” Father Mould said. “The mystery of our faith is not captured fully by hearing the words once or even hundreds of times. Respect for mystery and transcendence may be appreciated in silence and in the use of language and rituals that have stood the test of time.”
The most noticeable difference between the 1962 Latin Mass and the Mass that has been celebrated since the Second Vatican Council is that the priest as well as the lay participants all face the “liturgical east”, that is, toward the tabernacle.
“The sun rises in the east and Christ, the Son of God, is also compared in Scripture to the Sun of Justice. The direction of prayer turns us to the light that comes from the Lord,” said Father Paul deLadurantaye, Secretary for Religious Education and the Sacred Liturgy. “All things should be oriented to Christ.”
In addition to the language, the actions of the Mass and rituals of the priest are different. Priests must undergo training to learn how to celebrate the 1962 Mass.
“I’ve been a priest for almost 15 years so it’s kind of weird to be learning how to say Mass again,” Father Hathaway said, but he said he is looking forward to learning the older Rite.
The 1962 Latin Mass includes additional prayers at the beginning of Mass, usually Psalms, and Mass is ended with the Prologue of the Gospel of Saint John, John 1:1-14, read after the dismissal. There is also an option of adding the Leonine Prayers: the Prayer to St. Michael and three Hail Marys at the conclusion of the Mass. Pope Leo XIII added these prayers and in 1930 Pope Pius XI specified that they be prayed for the intention of the conversion of Russia.
There are various forms of the 1962 Latin Mass — the two most common are the low Mass and the high Mass. Initially the low Mass, which is mostly recited with little music, will be celebrated in the Arlington Diocese. One priest and one altar server will be involved in the celebration of the Mass. The server will have to learn the Latin responses and new ritual actions. As priest celebrants and servers gain more familiarity with the prayers and rites of the 1962 Mass, other forms of the Mass may be celebrated.
While the readings and Gospel will be read in Latin, they may be reread in English before the homily. It has not been decided if both the readings and the Gospel will be translated.
“Many who attend would probably have missals with translations so that they could follow along,” said Father deLadurantaye.
He said there have been requests by members of the diocese to have a 1962 Latin Mass for many years, even before Bishop Loverde came to Arlington.
“In October, the Synod on the Eucharist asked us to take a look at the Eucharist in our lives,” Father deLadurantaye said. “Bishop Loverde thought it was an appropriate and fitting time to allow the options in our diocese that the Church as a whole allows. It will meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of the faithful that have been requesting the 1962 Mass in the diocese.”
Those wishing to attend a Tridentine Mass have had to travel to Old St. Mary Church in Washington or to churches in the Richmond Diocese in the past.
The first Tridentine Mass will be celebrated at St. Lawrence Parish on April 30, the feast of St. Pius V. A time has not been determined.
The first Tridentine Mass at St. John the Baptist Church will be celebrated on Aug. 6. A time for the weekly Mass will be chosen once Father Hathaway consults with his parishioners.
Original Story: 1962 latin mass
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Milan, Mar. 20 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI is reviewing plans for papal liturgical celebrations, the Vatican's top liturgist has disclosed.
Archbishop Piero Marini, the master of ceremonies for papal liturgies, spoke to the Italian internet site on March 20, during a visist to Milan for the publication of his book, Liturgy and Beauty. Archbishop Marini revealed that Pope Benedict XVI has been more demanding than his predecessor in watching plans for liturgical celebrations at the Vatican.
"With John Paul II I had a bit more freedom," the Italian prelate told the Affaritaliani.it web site, "We had an implicit pact, because he was a man of prayer and not a liturgist." With the new Pope, he continued, "I have to be a bit more attentive, because he is an expert on liturgy."
The master of papal ceremonies said that he and the Pope are now carrying out a re-examination of papal liturgical celebrations. He reported that he regularly sends his notes to the Pontiff, who returns them with corrections, suggestions, or a note of approval.
Since 1987, Archbishop Marini has made plans for all major papal liturgical celebrations. During that time he has become a figure of some controversy at the Vatican, with some prelates objecting to the ceremonies he has devised. For instance, after canonization ceremonies that incorporated traditional African and Indian dance elements in October 2003, Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, spoke of "uncontrolled creativity" and a "too fertile imagination." Archbishop Marini has also been criticized for downgrading the use of Gregorian chant and polyphony in favor of more contemporary and popular music.
Archbishop Marini became involved in liturgical affairs as a young priest, serving as personal secretary to the late Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the principal architect of liturgical changes in the wake of Vatican II. His approach has been criticized by those who favor a more traditional approach-- including, in the past, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
The history of past disagreements between the current Pope and his chief liturgist have caused Vatican-watchers to predict that Archbishop Marini would soon be replaced as the papal master of ceremonies. But nearly a year after the Pope's election he remains at his post.
In his interview with the Affaritaliani site, Archbishop Marini offered a blunt comment on prospects for reconciliation between the Holy See and the traditionalist Society for St. Pius X. The schism can be repaired, he said, only "if the Lefebvrists accept totally the Second Vatican Council and its teachings." Otherwise, he said, "there is nothing to be done."
Original: EWTN.com - PAPAL LITURGICAL CEREMONIES UNDER REVIEW
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
Pope’s upcoming Apostolic Exhortation likely to call for increased liturgical solemnity, reintegration of LatinShawn Tribe
Vatican City, Mar. 20, 2006 (CNA) - In June Pope Benedict XVI will receive the final proposal from the recent Synod of Bishops for the drafting of his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist. The commission of 12 cardinals and bishops from around the world, led by the secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Archbishop Nicola Eterovic, will meet in June to present the Holy Father a final proposal based on the 50 propositions that were made at the conclusion of last October's Synod.
According to a Vatican source, the commission will approve “a proposal and a plan for liturgical reform,” which will be made public in the Apostolic Exhortation that the Holy Father will tentatively issue in October.
The Vatican source said that the exhortation would include an invitation to greater use of Latin in the daily prayer of the Church and in the Mass—with the exception of the Liturgy of the Word—as well as in large public and international Masses.
The document would also encourage a greater use of Gregorian chant and classical polyphonic music; the gradual elimination of the use of songs whose music or lyrics are secular in origin, as well as the elimination of instruments that are “inadequate for liturgical use,” such as the electric guitar or drums, although it is not likely that specific instruments will be mentioned.
Lastly, the Pope is expected to call for “more decorum and liturgical sobriety in the celebration of the Eucharist, excluding dance and, as much as possible, applause.”
Original Story: Catholic News Agency
Posted Monday, March 20, 2006
Archdiocese of Boston - 03/17/2006 - New life for treasures of closed churches
By Mary Catherine Brouder
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — It seems that some people can find the silver lining of any dark cloud. Father Joseph Santos, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Providence, R.I., is one of those people. He has been working to collect artifacts and remnants of closed churches from the Archdiocese of Boston for the restoration of the church he oversees.
“Instead of being given away to antique dealers, they are being used as they were meant to be used,” said Father Santos of the items he has received to improve the aesthetic quality of his parish.
The pulpit of the former Nuestra Senora del Carmen Parish in Lowell, as well as several other items from closed churches in the archdiocese, has found a new home in Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Providence, R.I. Photo courtesy Holy Name of Jesus Parish
Holy Name of Jesus, one of the few churches in New England with special permission to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass every Sunday, lost its pulpit, Communion rail and many other treasured objects to a fire in the church a few years ago.
Rather than being discouraged by the misfortunate occurrence, Father Santos found out where the remains of churches that were closing would be going and asked the archdiocese to help him to give the unwanted sacred remnants a new home in his parish. Father Santos was able to acquire a new pulpit, Communion rail, six bronze candlesticks and two angel candelabras and other small pieces for his beloved parish. The pulpit and Communion rail, which came from Nuestra Senora del Carmen Parish in Lowell, are both valuable antiques at over 100 years old.
“I have been working on [obtaining] them since over a year ago,” said Father Santos, adding that he will now only “have to worry about putting them in place.”
While the church finalizes its plans for renovation, the pulpit and Communion rail will be stored safely in the rectory until their expected installation in 2008. Each of the pieces received by Holy Name of Jesus “fits in stylistically with the church,” said Father Santos, who said the project is a success “because it is for the bettering of the church but also is in keeping with the style of the church.”
Some of the smaller articles have been put on display after they were received, and many have garnered support as positive additions to the church.
Father Santos said, “people were thrilled,” about seeing two angel candelabras in church during the Christmas season. In addition, six bronze candlesticks that were retrieved from St. Mary Church in Marlborough provided majestic lighting to the pontifical “Missa Cantata” celebrated by Bishop Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan, who came from Brazil in September for the event.
“Many things are starting to be reused, it is wonderful,” said Father Santos, later adding, “The more attractive the church is, the more active people will be in their faith and will find God.”
“Doing some real restoration will increase the atmosphere of the liturgy and worship,” said Father Santos. “Keep us in your prayers so that we can accomplish everything we need to do.”
Posted Monday, March 20, 2006
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro has a piece in Feb. 2006 newsletter of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales looking a themes such as the recent Synod on the Eucharist, his view of how Pope Benedict is working to restore the liturgy and give guidance on the interpretation of Vatican II.
Again, linking to this article is not to suggest that I necessarily agree with every jot and tittle of the Monsignor's, however, it is interesting as a reflection.
One point which struck with particular truth, however, was this one:
"concrete juridical measures should be adopted to protect the rights of the faithful who are committed to preserving the classical liturgy of the Church. Many of them are suffering real distress."
I invite people to look at the entire piece here:
Tidings of Comfort and Joy?
Posted Saturday, March 18, 2006
Since the beginning of Lent, I have preceded the main post of each day with a reference to the Stational church of the day and a short paragraph about them. Mention is frequently made of ancient churches in Rome that are called tituli. The brilliant liturgical historian, Archdale A. King (writing in 1957) explains the meaning behind these Roman usages:
"The term 'station', which we find in our Roman missals, is a reminder that Rome is the centre of Christendom, and we are referred back to a liturgy over twelve centuries old, when the Pope, surrounded by his clergy and people, celebrated a solemn Mass in the basilicas and parish churches (tituli) of the city.
Titulus or 'title', the name given to the original twenty-five parish churches of Rome, seems to have been suggested by a passage in the book of Genesis, which is found today in the rite for the consecration of an altar: 'And Jacob said: How terrible is this place; this is no other but the house of God and the gate of heaven. And Jacob arising in the morning took the stone which he had laid under his head, and set it up for a title (erexit in titulum), pouring oil upon the top of it.
Thus, in early Christian usage, a 'title' signified a consecrated altar of stone, and in a wider sense the church that contained the altar... these twenty-five tituli or parish churches were certainly in existence in the 5th-century, and the priest attached to them received the name of 'cardinals' (incardinati). A relic of this practice is found today in a cardinal receiving one of these ancient churches by way of a 'title'.
'Station' is a military term, which, in the ecclesiastical terminology of the 2nd-century, implied a day on which Christians 'mounted guard', choosing for this purpose the actual hours at which the imperial legionaries were accustomed to change guard.
'Christians', declared Tertullian, 'are the militia of God'; while St Ambrose said in a sermon that 'our fasts are our encampments against the attacks of the evil one; and we call them 'stationes' because we assist on our feet (stantes).'
The 'stations' were originally semi-fast days... later the term 'station' came to imply a liturgical reunion, and it was used in this sense in North Africa from the middle of the 3rd century, and in Rome a century later...
'Statio' came finally to denote a solemn liturgy celebrated by the Pope or his delegate, either in one of the basilicas or, with the growing cult of the martyrs, in a cemetery... The stational Mass was concelebrated, and on Sundays, when the parish priests were required in their own tituli, the Pope, as a symbol of unity and communion, sent them a particle from his Mass known as the fermentum.
It is not known who it was that perfected the system of stations, as we find them in the 7th and 8th centuries, but they were probably arranged in three successive stages, following the phases of the Lenten fast...
The stational liturgy began normally at about the hour of none, that is 3p.m. The Pope, with his clergy and faithful, assembled in the basilica which had been appointed as the assembly place (collecta). A prayer, called the 'oratio ad collectam' or 'collecta', was then said, and a procession was made to the church at which the stational Mass was to be celebrated. Preceded by the cross, the whole assembly sang psalms, antiphons and the litany of the saints, when the name 'litany' was given to the procession. "
Those of us who watched the Liturgy of Ash Wednesday in Rome would have seen the above being done, as the Pope gathered with the clergy and people at San Anselmo and then went in procession, singing the litany, to Santa Sabina (photo above).
Posted Saturday, March 18, 2006