Friday, September 27, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I wish to thank an old friend, JB, for sending me the link to a very funny tumblr site, The Low Churchman’s Guide to the Solemn High Mass. I believe many of you will laugh over it as much as I have. Here are some excerpts from a few recent posts; do follow their internal links and archive. Chapeau to the author(s), whoever you are!

The Thurifer: A thurifer is a lesser Ritualist functionary, ranking below the Master of Ceremonies but above the torchbearers and the people that serve sherry at receptions. The thurifer’s function is to wield a censer which he uses to spew forth noxious clouds of incense when he feels that this is appropriate, which is often.

Prospective thurifers go through an extended process of training in which they are taught the correct technique for the use of the thurible and gradually desensitized to human suffering. The well-trained thurifer will stand with deadpan facial expression and impeccable posture, keeping the thurible under his complete control at all times, even if the person he is censing has collapsed on the floor and seems to have stopped breathing.

On Latin: The Latin tongue was first spoken in the late ninth century A.D. in the Palatinate Forest region of southwestern Germany, after which the language is named. (The language is conventionally referred to as “Latin” rather than “Palatin” to distinguish it from the typeface Palatino.) The invention of Latin is usually ascribed to a mysterious figure named Gondulph of Maastricht, who used it as a secret code to plot against his enemies. Gondulph’s new language was enthusiastically adopted by ecclesiastical figures from neighbouring regions, until word of this new innovation spread to Pope Marinus I. Quick to see the tactical advantages of conducting covert services in an incomprehensible language, the Pope issued an edict that from henceforth the services of the church must be conducted in Latin, appointing a team of translators to render the services into the Latin tongue from their original English. This event is viewed by historians as the beginning of Ritualism.

On the MC at High Mass: Various sorts of people serve as MCs in ritualist churches. At a service of special note, another priest may serve as MC; priests do this if they have fallen upon hard times and are unable to find other employment. Usually, however, the MC is a layman who has worked his way up to the top of the parish acolytes’ guild by slaying his predecessor in ritual battle.

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