Monday, January 31, 2011
Photo source: Bart Dewaele/De Standaard
The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem are deeply grateful to God and Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling/Charleston (West Virginia) for permission granted on Friday, January 28, 2011, to establish ourselves in that diocese for an initial period of two years.
We can have no doubt that this permission, the fruit of mature deliberation on the part of Bishop Bransfield and his collaborators over the past two years, has come to us through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the long prayer, fasting, and sacrifices made on our behalf by hundreds of friends and benefactors around the world.
The CRNJ publicily expresses a particular gratitude to all who have prayed and worked so diligently for this important development. We wish to assure each of you of our continuing prayers for you in all your needs. May Our Lady of Walsingham continue to guide our humble work, ever using us to draw souls closer to the Heart of Jesus, the beginning and end of our life in religion and priestly service to His Church.
Posted Monday, January 31, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Further to a recent posting about a Coptic style Stella Maris icon, here are two more icons by Dr Stephane Rene in his ‘neo-Coptic’ style. St Joseph of the House of David and Mary Mother of the City are in St Joseph’s Catholic church, in Bunhill Row in the City of London. I remember this Church because it is just around the corner from the offices of the Catholic Herald, where I once worked. They come courtesy of a NLM reader who brought them to my notice. So if you're reading thank you Martin Pendergast and Sr Jean for supplying the images.
The name, St Joseph of the House of David, is a reference to the fact that St Joseph, although poor, was of the Royal House of David. There are four narrative scenes from the gospel in each corner. The one of the Holy Family in a boat is depicting them on the Nile - representing the period of exile. Notice also the beautiful patterned border the Dr Rene has designed.
In this huge icon (3 metres x 2 metres). Mary is shown coming from an enclosed garden (a reference to the sybolism in the Song of Songs). The peacock is a traditional symbol of eternal life. The stream flowing from a cave represents the womb from which Christ emerged to live among us and give us the living water.
Above and below are in situ photographs (kindly taken especially for this by Mr Pendergast) to give a feel for the scale of the icons.
In celebration of the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, two items of interest to our readers. First, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, the Studium of the Western Dominican Province, has put up a wonderful Web-Exhibit of the VITA D. THOMAE AQUINATIS by Otto van Veen and published in 1610 in Antwerp. Itis a pictorial history of the life of St. Thomas Aquinas accompanied by a short Latin text of explanation accompanying each of the thirty-one illustrations. The inages are lovely and the explanations by Fr. Michael Morris, O.P., Professor of Religion and the Arts at DSPT are very informative. You can access the exhibit here. The first page of van Veen's Vita decorates this post.
Liturgically, in honor of the 15th anniversary of the dedication of the church, a Dominican Rite Missa Cantata of the Dedication of a Church will be celebrated at Holy Rosary Church, Portland OR, on Sunday, January 30, at 11:00 a.m. The pastor, Fr. Anthony-M. Patalano, O.P., will be the celebrant. Music will be by Cantores in Ecclesia and a reception will follow in the parish hall. You can read more about this event and get driving informatino here.
A blessed feast day to you all!
The Seminary of St Cuthbert at Ushaw, four miles from the City of Durham in the north of England, and commonly known as Ushaw College, occupies a 500 acre site at the top of a hill, near the village of Bear Park. The village takes its name from the hunting grounds of the Prince Bishops of Durham of pre-Reformation times. First opened in 1808, the college is a successor of the English College in Douai, northern France, which was forced to close at the time of the French Revolution. Until recently, it served eight dioceses in the north of England, and was by far the largest seminary on English soil, accommodating as many as 400 students in 1960.
The original buildings are Georgian in style and are arranged around a central lawn. As numbers increased, additional storeys were added and new wings built to provide more sleeping accommodation and much else. A new chapel by Augustus Pugin in the decorated style was opened in 1848, but was soon found to be too small for the expanding seminary. It was replaced in 1884 by the magnificent chapel dedicated to St Cuthbert that we see today. Designed by Dunn and Hansom, it incorporates many features, including the seven light west window and other stained glass salvaged from Pugin’s chapel. The brothers Joseph and Charles Hansom were responsible for the library, another gothic addition, which was opened in 1851. This impressive building contains a valuable collection of books and medieval manuscripts. There is also a cassock of Pope St Pius X which was given to the college by Cardinal Merry del Val, his Secretary of State. In 1859 a new and self contained junior seminary was opened to accommodate 150 boys. This was built to the design of Peter Paul Pugin, and included its own chapel dedicated to St Aloysius. Ushaw College gained its final form in 1964, when a five storey block containing 75 study bedroom and additional classrooms was built.
Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some photos.
A striking example of the gothic revival.
As noted, a petition has been written in an effort to save this beautiful structure. The petition reads as follows:
To The Most Rev Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, and the trustees of Ushaw College.
We, the undersigned, are concerned by the news that Ushaw College, including the seminary of St Cuthbert, is to close in June 2011, and that the ancillary activities, including the successful conference and tourism businesses, are to close at the earlier date of 31st December 2010. In expressing this concern, we are mindful that the extensive buildings, including the architecturally meritorious chapel dedicated to St Cuthbert, were paid for by earlier generations of Catholics, who, no doubt, expected their generosity to extend to future generations in perpetuity. We are also mindful of the immense contribution that Ushaw College has made in the past 200 years to the cultural, educational and religious history of the north of England, particularly as the alma mater of many thousands of Catholic priests.
In particular, we are concerned by the following:-
1. The absence of any consultation or discussion prior to the decision being made,
2. The prospect of St Cuthbert’s Chapel no longer being available for Catholic worship,
3. The apparent lack of consideration given to ways of securing a future for the college,
4. The loss of more than 60 jobs in an area where alternative employment is scarce.
In the light of these considerations, we urge that the trustees of Ushaw College forestall its closure until such time as:-
1. a proper study has been made of options that would enable it to continue to serve the Catholic population of northern England,
2. there has been the opportunity for the closure to be debated publicly.
Those interested in the petition may find it here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ushaw/
That particular conference explored "Joseph Ratzinger’s theology of beauty, with reference to the integral role of art and architecture as the context of liturgical worship."
The volume will include the following papers:
George Cardinal Pell, The Aesthetic Theory of Joseph Ratzinger
Joseph Murphy, The Face of Christ as Criterion for Christian Beauty
Janet E. Rutherford, The ‘Triumph of Orthodoxy’ and the Future of Western Ecclesiastical Art
Daniel Gallagher, The Philosophical Foundations of Liturgical Aesthetics
Dr. Alcuin Reid, Noble Simplicity Revisited
Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, Benedict XVI and the Theological Foundation of Church Architecture
Helen Ratner Dietz, The Nuptial Meaning of Classic Church Architecture
Fr. Neil J. Roy, The Galilee Chapel: A Mediaeval Notion Comes of Age
Duncan Stroik, Benedict XVI and the Architecture of Beauty
Ethan Anthony, New Gothic and Romanesque Catholic Architecture in North America
The title is expected to be published this summer and will be hardbound, 224 pages and priced at €27.00.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
As Matt Alderman and I have mentioned the noble beauty and simplicity of mediaeval Cistercian architecture quite a bit of recent, I thought it might be apt to show this Abbey church.
The stonework is particularly beautiful. Also worth noting is the beautiful ironwork within the sanctuary -- which is unfortunately not terribly visible within any of these photos. However, for those of you who would like to see more of the Abbey church, here is an excellent virtual tour.
In a traditional Roman apsidal mosaic, the frieze under the figures of Christ and the saints normally depicts a row of sheep, symbolizing the apostles, looking towards the Lamb of God. However, in this mosaic, which marks the first major work in a new phase of Byzantine-inspired church decoration in Rome, there is a row of apostles, saints, and archangels. The basilica is famous for its mosaic medallions of all the popes. However, what is especially beautiful and rather moving is a tiny mosaic figure of Pope Honorius III clinging to the foot of the Lord in this apsidal mosaic.
Executed within the lifetime of the pontiff, he is shown dressed in pontifical vestments. The details reveal his red buskins, an alb trimmed with a blue chevron pattern, and cuffs like the 'epimanika' still worn in Eastern rites. The fringe of a decorated stole can be seen, and over this he wears a russet dalmatic with a tasselled fringe, and trimmed with jewels or an embroidered orphrey. The fabric itself is woven, it seems, with gold dots. Over this is a wide flowing chasuble with a repeating pattern of gold dots, stars and clovers. Finally, over this is the pallium in its full and ancient form.
It's not clear, of course, how much of these details concerning the vesture of Honorius III actually reflects what he wore in the early 13th-century. Mgr Guido Marini notes that the "long pallium crossed over the shoulder was not worn in the West as from the 9th century onwards. Indeed, the painting in the Sacred Cave of Subiaco, dating back to ca. 1219 and representing Pope Innocent III with this type of pallium, seems to be a deliberate archaism". So, perhaps the same archaising tendency is evinced here in this portrait of Pope Honorius III? Nevertheless, it is a beautiful detail that shows the richness of material and noble form of ancient vestments, and it appears to be a style with which that reigning pontiff wanted to associate himself.
Click the image of Pope Honorius III above to enlarge it.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Readers often ask what kind of training sessions are available to Dominican friars for learning to celebrate the traditional Dominican Rite in response to requests for such celebrations in the wake of Summorum Pontificum. I can now announce that the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, the Studium of the Western Dominican Province, will offer this spring a course on celebration of the rite. LSFT 2405 "Dominican Rite Practicum," which will be open, for credit, to Dominican friar students, in particular those finishing their studies for ordination. I will be the instructor. The class will be taught at the chapel of St. Albert the Great Priory, Oakland CA, which is shown in the above photo (more photos here) and is home to the Western Province Studentate. I am pleased to report that the course has enrolled all the transitional deacons and those scheduled to be ordained transitional deacons, as well as two Dominican priest auditors. With such a good response, this course will probably become a regular offering at DSPT. The course listing may be found here.
In addition, I am pleased to announce that the monthly celebration of the Dominican Rite Mass for the students of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (2301 Vine St., Berkeley CA), shown in the photo to the left, will be continued this spring. The DSPT is the classroom campus of the Western Dominican Province House of Studies. This Mass was instituted in fall 2010 at the request of our lay students, and the strong attendance by both lay and religious students makes it likely that the number of celebrations will be increased to more than one a month. It has been offered by Fr. Anselm Ramelow, O.P., but we expect to add additional celebrants. I will announce the days and times when they are set. DSPT has been drawing large numbers of new lay students for the M.A. programs in philosophy and theology (e.g. Thomistic Studies and Religion and the Arts) and this is one of our responses to their spiritual needs.
These particular podcasts are likely to be of some interest to our readers for in this series, Fr. Thomas takes listeners through a consideration of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy.
Here they are::
Part One: Introduction to Worship in Spirit and Truth - Fr. Thomas Hopko begins a brand new series taking us through the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church (53:15)
Part Two: It’s All About The Gospel - In the 2nd installation on his new series, Fr. Tom Hopko talks about the biblical and evangelical nature of the Divine Liturgy. True worship in Christ and the Holy Spirit (42:05)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Images from the website of the ICRSS posted with permission.
Regarding the music, they comment:
The chant of the variable parts of the Mass was taken from "Cantoral 23.3 (A)" of the eighteenth century, preserved in the Cathedral Chapter of Toledo. A pre Solesmes-restoration form of Gregorian which possibly had its origin in the simplification of the song which was made after the Council of Trent.
Here is one of the videos.
They also mention that a Pontifical Mass was celebrated in the Hispano-Mozarabic rite -- as the question will likely be asked, this would almost certainly be in accordance with the post-conciliar Mozarabic books published in 1991 -- by Archbishop Braulio Rodríguez Plaza, archbishop of Toledo and primate of Spain earlier this same day in the Cathedral of Toledo. (Any reader who may have photos from this year's Mass, please contact us. Here are some images of the same Mass last year.)
The website of the Archdiocese of Toledo further reports that, following this Mass, a portrait of Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, prefect of the CDW and former archbishop of Toledo, was presented and placed alongside the other portraits of the archbishops of Toledo.
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Complete Text of Athanasius Schneider's Proposals for a Correct Reading of the Second Vatican Councilby Shawn Tribe
While that was only a partial translation, a complete translation of Bishop Schneider's talk has now been made available. It is too long to quote in its entirety, so allow me to simply point you to the link: Proposals for a Correct Reading of the Second Vatican Council
(Many thanks to Diane M. Korzeniewski for drawing it to our attention.)
Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, OSB, has an interesting post up on his blog, On the Psalmody of the Divine Office, which was originally an address he gave to the National Assembly of the Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious. (One should bear this context in mind in case one wonders why Fr. Kirby is particularly focused upon the Divine Office in relation to clergy and religious. But what Father has to say has much value and fruit for the laity who pray the Divine Office, as well as for pastors who wish to bring sung Vespers to their parishes.)
Here are some excerpts. We pick up the article midstream:
In order to respond effectively to the liturgical vision of religious life articulated by Pope Benedict XVI, I will focus on the single most important element of the Divine Office in its various forms: the recitation of the Psalter.
The psalms, inspired by the Holy Spirit and entrusted to the Children of Israel in view of the day when Christ Himself and, after Him, His Bride, the Church, would pray them, are lyrical poems expressing every sentiment of the human heart, and directing those sentiments Godwards. The psalms are, at once, universal and personal. Rowland E. Prothero, writing over a hundred years ago, says:
"The Psalms are a mirror in which each man sees the motions of his own soul. They express in exquisite words the kinship which every thoughtful heart craves to find with a supreme, unchanging, loving God, who will be to him a protector, guardian, and friend. They utter the ordinary experiences, the familiar thoughts of men; but they give to these a width of range, an intensity, a depth, and an elevation, which transcend the capacity of the most gifted."
Chanting the Evangelical Counsels
Choral psalmody resembles, at more than one level, the virtues corresponding to the three vows of religion: poverty, chastity, and obedience. It gives corporate expression to the evangelical counsels and, at the same time, impresses them, day after day, more vividly in the heart.
Poverty: the melodic formula draws upon very limited musical resources. Recto tono has but a single note. Modal psalm tones are limited to a certain number of closely related notes and combinations. By resolutely choosing to pray within the limitations of a certain tonal poverty, one enters sacramentally into "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who being rich, became poor, for our sakes; that through his poverty we might become rich" (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9).
Chastity: the psalmody of the Divine Office is chaste when it abstains from drawing attention to itself. In liturgical psalmody there is nothing that seeks to entertain, to charm, or to possess. One who surrenders to this form of prayer day after day assimilates its attributes. Choral psalmody fosters chastity; it is a school of purity of heart. Rightly does the psalmist pray: Eloquia Domini, eloquia casta, "The words of the Lord are chaste words" (Psalm 11:7).
Obedience: liturgical psalmody is obedient to the sacred text. It obeys the natural accents and verbal harmonics of the inspired Word of God, embracing it, espousing it, and remaining within the limits that it defines. The musical treatment of the psalmody is an ecclesial expression of Our Lady's response to the Archangel Gabriel in the mystery of the Annunciation: "Be it done unto me according to Thy Word" (Luke 1:38).
The psalmody of the Hours, executed in organic continuity with the Church's tradition of choral prayer, fosters the evangelical virtues in an almost imperceptible but entirely effective way. Just as one becomes what one contemplates, so too does one become what one sings. The psalmody of the Divine Office, held in honor by the Church for centuries, is a humble but strong support of the vowed life.
Through Psalmody to the Trinity
... I should like to return to the core of my thesis: that the psalmody of the Divine Office is a path to holiness for the apostolic religious. The Fathers of the Church have reflected on why and how psalmody engenders interior dispositions favorable to contemplative prayer.
A community engaged in choral prayer is an image of the Mystical Body as defined by Saint Augustine: "one Christ loving Himself." One-half of the choir offers its verse, not only to God through Christ, but also offers the bread of the Word to those of Christ's members who form the other half of the choir. In choral psalmody, the daily bread of the Word is continuously offered and received as it passes from choir to choir, providing believers with a compelling image of one Christ feeding Himself and, by means of that food, uniting His members among themselves, and to Himself, the Head of His Mystical Body. This Eucharistic dimension of the Divine Office is, in its own way, a means of communion with the ceaseless prayer that Christ, Eternal High Priest, offers to the Father in the Holy Spirit.
Saint Ambrose of Milan, rather unexpectedly, in his meditation on the six days of creation, refers to alternation of two choirs when, in a poetic vein, he compares the beauty and the beneficial effect of psalmody to the creation of the sea:
"How beautiful and mighty is the sea when the tempest raises her waves. Even more beautiful is she when nothing apart from a light breeze moves over the surface of the waters and her waves break upon the shore with a sound that is gentle, regular, and harmonious, a sound that does not trouble the silence but is happy, rather, to give it rhythm and to render it audible."
Saint Ambrose, in effect, describes the ideal of liturgical psalmody: a sound that does not trouble the silence but rather gives it rhythm and renders it audible. He goes on to say:
"What else is that melodic sound of the waves if not the melody of the people . . . as the whole people unite in prayer, there is a whisper of receding waves; the echo of the psalms when sung in responsive harmony by men and women, maidens and children is like the sound of breaking waves. Wherefore, what need I say of this water other than it washes away sin and that the salutary breath of the Holy Spirit is found in it?"
By comparing liturgical psalmody to a peaceful breaking of waves upon the shore, Saint Ambrose suggests that each wave receives movement from the other and renders movement in return, sustaining all the while a continual rising and receding that remains ineffably tranquil.
In his Exegetic Homilies, Saint Basil the Great profits from his exposition of Psalm 1 to set forth the benefit of all psalmody. Describing the Sacred Scriptures as a general hospital for souls, he demonstrates the outstanding curative and therapeutic effects that are proper to the Psalter.
Saint Basil emphasizes the medicinal and formative properties of psalmody. It is clear from the following passage that the psalmody of the Divine Office is an integral and indispensable element in the initial formation to the vowed life and at every subsequent stage of it.
"When, indeed, the Holy Spirit saw that the human race was guided only with difficulty toward virtue, and that, because of our inclination toward pleasure, we were neglectful of an upright life, what did He do? The delight of melody He mingled with the doctrines so that by the pleasantness and softness of the sound heard we might receive without perceiving it the benefit of the words, just as wise physicians who, when giving the fastidious rather bitter drugs to drink, frequently smear the cup with honey. Therefore, He devised for us these harmonious melodies of the psalms, that they who are children in age or, even those who are youthful in disposition might to all appearances chant but, in reality, become trained in soul."
The psalmody of the Divine Office prepares the soul for union with God by purifying the emotions, by ordering the passions rightly, and by fostering charity, apart from which there is no authentic contemplation. Psalmody accompanies the soul through the purgative, illuminative, and unitive phases of the interior life. At no moment in one's spiritual journey does it become superfluous or redundant.
"A psalm implies serenity of soul; it is the author of peace, which calms bewildering and seething thoughts. For, it softens the wrath of the soul, and what is unbridled it chastens. A psalm forms friendships, unites those separated, conciliates those at enmity. Who, indeed, can still consider as an enemy him with whom he has uttered the same prayer to God? So that psalmody, bringing about choral singing, a bond, as it were, toward unity, and joining the people into a harmonious union of one choir, produces also the greatest of blessings, charity."
Here, Saint Basil adopts a lyrical style worthy of the psalms themselves. His teaching makes clear the value of choral psalmody not only in the context of an enclosed monastic life, but also in the context of apostolic religious life in all its expressions.
"A psalm is a city of refuge from the demons; a means of inducing help from the angels, a weapon in fears by night, a rest from toils by day, a safeguard for infants, an adornment for those at the height of their vigor, a consolation for the elders, a most fitting ornament for women. It peoples the solitudes; it rids the market place of excesses; it is the elementary exposition of beginners, the improvement of those advancing, the solid support of the perfect, the voice of the Church. It brightens the feast days; it creates a godly sorrow. For, a psalm calls forth a tear even from a heart of stone."
Finally, Saint Basil presents psalmody as a school of the moral virtues: courage, justice, self-control, prudence, penance, and patience. The Psalter is, for the great legislator of the common life a perfect, that is to say, a complete theology.
"A psalm is the work of angels, a heavenly institution, the spiritual incense. . . . What, in fact, can you not learn from the psalms? Can you not learn the grandeur of courage? The exactness of justice? The nobility of self-control? The perfection of prudence? A manner of penance? The measure of patience? And whatever other good things you might mention? Therein is perfect theology, a prediction of the coming of Christ in the flesh, a threat of judgment, a hope of resurrection, a fear of punishment, promises of glory, an unveiling of mysteries; all things, as if in some great public treasury, are stored up in the Book of Psalms."
Read the entire piece on Vultus Christi.
A full photo gallery is available here.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Here at the parish that I am working at, we have (I believe) every single Missal that has been produced since 1864 [the parish was founded in 1854]. In other words, every Missal translation that came out since 1864, we have (we have quite a few from the years after Vatican II). Our parish is quite unique in that in did not throw anything away...and I mean anything. So we are in possession of many things that may be of interest. ... Another exciting thing that is happening at our parish, is that we will be celebrating the Tridentine Mass every 1st Sunday of the month. The Institute of Christ the King will be assisting us in this endeavor. In addition to all of that, our current church will be going under a renovation to restore a few of the things that are in disrepair (walls, floor, ceiling, sanctuary).
The good father was kind enough to send some handsome photos of his parish's 1864 missal, which is quite beautifully printed and illustrated, and worth sharing. I am particularly impressed with the binding.
I. The Mass
First and foremost, we should understand and promote the centrality and importance of the Mass. It should be celebrated well, with reverence and beauty, and be given a clear priority in parish life. It should be a point of focus. Let all renewal and revivification of Catholic life begin here -- and from a parish perspective, it is that point which all will come into contact with. It is the solemn, public worship of God, offered to the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.
"...the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper." (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10)
"... people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year - in fact, forever. The church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart, and have a salutary effect upon the whole of man's nature. Man is composed of body and soul, and he needs these external festivities so that the sacred rites, in all their beauty and variety, may stimulate him to drink more deeply of the fountain of God's teaching, that he may make it a part of himself, and use it with profit for his spiritual life." (Pius XI, Quas Primas)
"'The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows.' It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1074)
II. The Divine Office
After the Mass comes the Divine Office, breviary or Liturgy of the Hours. The Divine Office also forms a part of the liturgical prayer of the Church. It is something which should be fostered and encouraged both as part of parish life, and also in day to day life. The praying of the Office also brings with it the benefit of a close contact and familiarity with the psalms and with the liturgical year.
"The Breviary should be the ladder on which the soul mounts to heaven. As the seasons of the year have their effect on nature, giving the trees growth and blossom and fruit, so too the Church year with its course of feasts and seasons should affect the soul. Through contact and "exposure" to the Church year, our soul matures for heaven; no book offers more contact with the life of the Church's liturgical year than does the Breviary. With this prayer book, moreover, the Church accompanies us through the day, and for each hour of the day she gives us a sword and a shield to spread and defend the kingdom of God in our soul: all this accomplished by the marvelous arrangement of hourly prayers." (Pius Parsch, Why Pray the Breviary?)
“...it is greatly to be desired that they [the laity] participate in reciting or chanting vespers sung in their own parish on feast days. We earnestly exhort you, Venerable Brethren, to see that this pious practice is kept up, and that wherever it has ceased you restore it if possible. This, without doubt, will produce salutary results.” (Pius XII, Mediator Dei, 150)
"...the Liturgy of the Hours 'is truly the voice of the Bride herself addressed to her Bridegroom. It is the very prayer which Christ himself together with his Body addresses to the Father.' The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole People of God. In it Christ himself 'continues his priestly work through his Church.' His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives: priests devoted to the pastoral ministry, because they are called to remain diligent in prayer and the service of the word; religious, by the charism of their consecrated lives; all the faithful as much as possible: 'Pastors of souls should see to it that the principal hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and on the more solemn feasts. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1174-75)
"The divine office, because it is the public prayer of the Church, is a source of piety, and nourishment for personal prayer. And therefore priests and all others who take part in the divine office are earnestly exhorted in the Lord to attune their minds to their voices when praying it. The better to achieve this, let them take steps to improve their understanding of the liturgy and of the bible, especially of the psalms." (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 90)
III. Sacred Scripture and Lectio Divina
Familiarity with sacred scripture, the Old and the New Testaments, is an important aspect of our Faith. Sacred Scripture is the Word of God and as St. Jerome wrote, ignorance of it is ignorance of Christ. Further, a familiarity with salvation history is important, including for a new liturgical movement. We should read scripture, familiarize ourselves with its passages and with its stories, meditate upon it, and understand it through the light of the Magisterium; we should further study and familiarize ourselves with biblical typology.
"...I urge you to become familiar with the Bible, and to have it at hand so that it can be your compass pointing out the road to follow. By reading it, you will learn to know Christ. Note what Saint Jerome said in this regard: "Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ" (PL 24,17; cf Dei Verbum, 25). A time-honoured way to study and savour the word of God is lectio divina which constitutes a real and veritable spiritual journey marked out in stages. After the lectio, which consists of reading and rereading a passage from Sacred Scripture and taking in the main elements, we proceed to meditatio. This is a moment of interior reflection in which the soul turns to God and tries to understand what his word is saying to us today. Then comes oratio in which we linger to talk with God directly. Finally we come to contemplatio. This helps us to keep our hearts attentive to the presence of Christ whose word is "a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Pet 1:19)." (Benedict XVI, Message to Youth for 2006 World Youth Day)
"I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime." (Benedict XVI, Address to International Congress commemorating 40th anniversary of Dei Verbum, 16 September 2005)
"God is the author of Sacred Scripture. 'The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.' 'For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 105)
IV. Mystagogical Catechesis
Mystagogical catechesis is particularly important in relation to a new liturgical movement.
"The Church's great liturgical tradition teaches us that fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated, offering one's life to God in unity with the sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of the whole world. For this reason, the Synod of Bishops asked that the faithful be helped to make their interior dispositions correspond to their gestures and words. Otherwise, however carefully planned and executed our liturgies may be, they would risk falling into a certain ritualism. Hence the need to provide an education in eucharistic faith capable of enabling the faithful to live personally what they celebrate. Given the vital importance of this personal and conscious participatio, what methods of formation are needed? The Synod Fathers unanimously indicated, in this regard, a mystagogical approach to catechesis, which would lead the faithful to understand more deeply the mysteries being celebrated. (186) In particular, given the close relationship between the ars celebrandi and an actuosa participatio, it must first be said that "the best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself, celebrated well." (187) By its nature, the liturgy can be pedagogically effective in helping the faithful to enter more deeply into the mystery being celebrated. That is why, in the Church's most ancient tradition, the process of Christian formation always had an experiential character. While not neglecting a systematic understanding of the content of the faith, it centred on a vital and convincing encounter with Christ, as proclaimed by authentic witnesses. It is first and foremost the witness who introduces others to the mysteries. Naturally, this initial encounter gains depth through catechesis and finds its source and summit in the celebration of the Eucharist. This basic structure of the Christian experience calls for a process of mystagogy which should always respect three elements:
"a) It interprets the rites in the light of the events of our salvation, in accordance with the Church's living tradition. The celebration of the Eucharist, in its infinite richness, makes constant reference to salvation history. In Christ crucified and risen, we truly celebrate the one who has united all things in himself (cf. Eph 1:10). From the beginning, the Christian community has interpreted the events of Jesus' life, and the Paschal Mystery in particular, in relation to the entire history of the Old Testament.
"b) A mystagogical catechesis must also be concerned with presenting the meaning of the signs contained in the rites. This is particularly important in a highly technological age like our own, which risks losing the ability to appreciate signs and symbols. More than simply conveying information, a mystagogical catechesis should be capable of making the faithful more sensitive to the language of signs and gestures which, together with the word, make up the rite.
"c) Finally, a mystagogical catechesis must be concerned with bringing out the significance of the rites for the Christian life in all its dimensions – work and responsibility, thoughts and emotions, activity and repose. Part of the mystagogical process is to demonstrate how the mysteries celebrated in the rite are linked to the missionary responsibility of the faithful. The mature fruit of mystagogy is an awareness that one's life is being progressively transformed by the holy mysteries being celebrated. The aim of all Christian education, moreover, is to train the believer in an adult faith that can make him a "new creation", capable of bearing witness in his surroundings to the Christian hope that inspires him." (Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 64)
"In the patristic period properly, catechumenal formation was realized through biblical catechesis, based on recounting the history of salvation; immediate preparation for Baptism by doctrinal catechesis, explaining the Creed and the Our Father which had just been handed on, together with their moral implications; and through the phase following the sacraments of initiation, a period of mystagogical catechesis which help the newly baptized to interiorize these sacraments and incorporate themselves into the community." (General Directory for Catechesis, 89)
"The historical character of the Christian message requires that catechesis attend to the following points: [...]
– it should situate the sacraments within the history of salvation by means of a mystagogy which "...re-lives the great events of salvation history in the 'today' of her liturgy"; reference to the historico-salvific 'today' is essential to such catechesis, and thus helps catechumens and those to be catechized "to open themselves to this 'spiritual' understanding of the economy of Salvation...'" (General Directory for Catechesis, 108)
"Liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ ( It is "mystagogy." ) by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the "sacraments" to the 'mysteries.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1075)
One might give this the acronym of MOST: Mass, Office, Scripture, Teaching Mystagogy.
Someone might ask, what of the traditional devotionals? Evidently these most certainly do have a place in Catholic life, and can also be extensions of a new liturgical movement, though they must be understood properly in relation to the liturgy, which they are secondary to:
"The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church's sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc. These expressions of piety extend the liturgical life of the Church, but do not replace it. They 'should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some way derived from it and lead the people to it, since in fact the liturgy by its very nature is far superior to any of them.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1674-75)
Where can Catholics go to learn the skills necessary to learn to paint in the baroque style? In a past article I wrote about possible places to study the iconographic technique in depth. However, the baroque is also one of the three liturgical artistic traditions of the Church (the third is the gothic) and anyone who is serious about being an artist for the Church should consider whether they want to learn this form. One place to consider is the Ingbretson Studio in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The ideal education would consist of the following: first, a Catholic formation (perhaps studying a liberal arts degree at a Catholic college); second a sound knowledge of the Catholic traditions in art. For those who wish to learn this aspect in isolation the Maryvale Institute’s excellent distance-learning programme Art, Inspiration and Beauty from a Catholic Perspective recommended. They are about to offer this in the US, through the Diocese of Kansas City, which saves students on this side of the Atlantic from a trip over to the UK for the one weekend residential requirement. Full-time undergraduate-level students can receive both of these aspects at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. Their liberal arts degree offers the formation and this includes my Way of Beauty program as part of the core curriculum.
The third aspect is to learn the drawing and painting skills. The skills are those of the academic method. This is the rigorous drawing method that is named after the schools that were created in the 16th and 17th centuries (especially that of the Annabale Carraci, his brother Agostino and his cousin Ludovico. The method has its roots in the methods used by the Masters of the High Renaissance going back to Leonardo. This method is different and far more rigorous than that offered in the drawing classes in a mainstream college-level art department.
This training usually begins with cast drawings because casts have no colour and so the eye learns to ‘see’ in tonal values. The casts that are chosen as models of beauty worthy of study, so even at this stage the taste of the student is being educated. After this students progress onto the use of colour; perhaps through portrait painting or still life (I did portrait painting). The value of an academic training cannot be underestimated. It is being able to draw and paint accurately that enables the artist to realize his ideas. Whatever style he seeks to work in he needs a high level of skill so that he can create an image that conforms to what it ought to be, corresponding to the well conceived idea in the mind of the artist. Even my icon painting teacher Aidan Hart encouraged me to study naturalistic art for a year in Florence saying that all the best icon painters were also skilled draughtsmen. I do not regret following his advice.
Most of the schools that teach this method now are termed ‘ateliers’ after the French word for workshop. They are small schools in which the main teacher is a Master painter. A few were established in the 1970s by individuals taught by an artist called R.H. Ives Gammell in Boston, who at that stage was an octogenarian. Gammell, who trained as a young man in the early years of the 20th century, almost singlehandedly kept the academic tradition going after all the established art schools in Europe and the US had ceased to teach it. The best teachers of today that I know of (on both sides of the Atlantic) received their training from him.
If you want to investigate the available ateliers yourself, a starting point is the Art Renewal Centre website, where you can run down the list of approved ateliers. Do be discerning. Look at the work in each school's gallery - this indicates the style that you will be taught so it is important that you respect what is going to be passed down to you. From my point of view, while many of these ateliers will train you to draw, there is a danger in that some tend to push a particular version of 19th century academic art that is detached from Christian worldview. If you are not careful this could affect your style detrimentally. The result will be either the extremes of a cold, sterile detachment (a form of neo-classicism) or a saccharine sentimentality.
If, on the other hand, you are armed with a full knowledge of the Christian context of this tradition (such as the courses at TMC or the Maryvale Institute would give you) you should be able to make good use of the skills you learn. You can contrast some aspects of 19th century atelier art with the baroque style of the 17th century by reading these two articles, written earlier, here and here respectively.
Another problem which would be a concern for some is that one cannot assume that a taste in traditional art necessarily means that a traditional attitude to faith and morality pervades in the atelier you attend. Many have a hostile attitude to the Catholic faith, and students will have to be ready to face this, just as they would in mainstream art schools. Quite apart from the fact that an immoral atmosphere is undesirable in itself, the worldview of the artist affects the style in which he paints, whether done consciously or not. When studying in an atelier, we take precise direction via the critiques of the Master who runs it. For the period that you are his student, your work reflects his taste and style. Having the humility to be told what to do in such minute detail is a necessary aspect of the training. However, if this taste and style reflect values that are flat contrary to your own, then the learning process is not going to be such a happy one. As a quick test, take a look at the online galleries of work, especially paintings of the human person, by the teachers and top students at those same ateliers listed on the Art Renewal Centre. Ask yourself in each case if you think that the figure is portrayed with the dignity that reflects the Catholic understanding of the human person.
The one place that I know of in which the training is of the highest quality and that Catholics can flourish without compromising their faith in any way is Ingbretson Studios in Manchester, New Hampshire. Paul Ingbretson is a modern Master of the Boston school and is one of those I mentioned who was given his training by Ives Gammell in the 1970s. He has been teaching ever since. His school has an international reputation (we were all well aware of it, for example, when I was studying in Florence).
For those who are about to go to college but don’t want to leave their art behind while they study a traditional liberal arts programme at a Catholic college, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts is the one place where you can study both. By coincidence Ingbretson Studios is just 10 minutes drive from the TMC campus. This semester for the first time, undergraduates at Thomas More College have the opportunity to study the academic method at the Ingbretson Studios for a a full day a week. Those who have a strong enough interest will also have an opportunity to train full-time for three solid months each summer if they wish to do so. This is part of the college art Guild of St Luke in which students are able to learn also traditional iconography and sacred geometry at the college.
The painting above is The Incredulity of St Thomas painted by Gerrit van Honthorst in 1620. It hangs in Madrid's Prado.
Below are photographs of students on their first day at Ingbretson Studio in Manchester, New Hampshire. Notice how the students are not looking at the cast as they actually put charcoal to paper. In fact they are drawing from memory. The walk back a few feet, make a comparison between their work and the cast itself, make a decision on what to do next, walk forward and draw. Then they retreat again, and check that what they just did is what was intended. And the process is then repeated.
Below are the first drawings at the summer school at Thomas More College, taught by Henry Wingate, who is a former pupil of Paul Ingbretson. These constitute about 5 full days' work.
Below is a still life set up for a more advanced student at the Studio.
Finally I show a couple of typical student finished cast drawings.