Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Notice: The Liturgical Vision of Pope Benedict XVI

The Liturgical Vision of Pope Benedict XVI: A Theological Inquiry

Mariusz Biliniewicz

Book synopsis

This book presents and evaluates the liturgical vision of Pope Benedict XVI and the theological background underlying that vision. It describes the main features of Joseph Ratzinger’s theology of the liturgy and analyses them within the context of his theology as a whole. Ratzinger’s evaluation of the contemporary Roman Catholic liturgy is explored in relation to his overall assessment of the post-Vatican II era in the Church, alongside an examination of his project of liturgical renewal (‘reform of the reform’) and its practical implementation during his pontificate. The author discusses the various critical voices which have been raised against the Pope’s liturgical agenda and against certain aspects of his general theology. Overall, the book offers an assessment of the importance of Ratzinger’s vision for the Church at the threshold of the third millennium.

Contents

Contents: Basic features of Joseph Ratzinger’s theology of the liturgy – Ratzinger’s assessment of the Roman Catholic liturgy after the Second Vatican Council – ‘Reform of the reform’: Ratzinger’s project of liturgical renewal – Benedict XVI and the liturgy: implementation of Ratzinger’s plan – Critical voices regarding Ratzinger/Benedict’s liturgical vision and actions – Evaluation of Ratzinger/Benedict’s liturgical vision and its importance for the Church at the threshold of the third millennium.

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2013. X, 341 pp.
ISBN 978-3-0343-0923-3 pb. (Softcover)
ISBN 978-3-0353-0440-4 (eBook)


Product website: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers

Sede Vacante



SEDE VACANTE MMXIII

Coat of arms of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church during
Sede Vacante

(Arms by Marco Foppoli)

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 2.7: The Lustration of the Altar (1961)

In the 1961 revision, the order in which the Gregorian water is sprinkled in the church is significantly changed, as may be seen in the following table.

1595

1961
1. procession to the altar

5. one circuit of the walls with one chant
2. five crosses made on the altar with the Gregorian water

6. aspersion of floor with one antiphon and a psalm
3. the prayer Singulare illud

8. one prayer (the other prayer and the preface are said later in the ceremony)
4. seven circuits of the altar, with the antiphon Asperges me

4. one circuit of the altar, without Asperges me (a different chant is said in its place)
5. three circuits of the walls with three different chants

2. five crosses made on the altar with the Gregorian water
6. aspersion of the floor with three different antiphons

3. the prayer Singulare illud
7. aspersion toward the four cardinal points


8. two prayers, followed by a preface



The Gregorian water has already been made before the ceremony, or at the beginning outside the church. When the Litany of the Saints has been sung, and the prayer after it said by the bishop, (see part 2.3), the bishop immediately begins to sprinkle the walls of the church, making one circuit only, (formerly three) starting behind the altar, and going to the left. As he does this, the choir sings the antiphon “This is the house of the Lord, strongly built; it is well founded upon a mighty rock,” repeating it after every two verses of psalm 121; Gloria Patri is not sung at the end. (The antiphons and psalms that accompanied the second and third aspersion of the walls are suppressed.)

The bishop sprinkles the water down the middle of the church, starting from the altar, and going to the main door, and then across the church from wall to wall. As he does this, the choir sings the antiphon “This is no other than the house of God, and the gate of Heaven,” repeating it after every two verses of psalm 83 Quam dilecta; Gloria Patri is not sung at the end. (This antiphon is sung without a psalm in the 1595 Pontifical; the other antiphons and versicles sung at the point are suppressed.) The sprinkling of the water towards the four cardinal points, and the chant that accompanied it, are suppressed.

Standing before the altar, the bishop turns and faces the people, singing “Dominus vobiscum”. When the reply is made, the bishop, continuing to face the people, says the following prayer. (This was formerly said at the conclusion of this part of the ceremony, leading into a preface.)
God of all sanctification, Sovereign almighty, whose mercy is known to be without end; o God, who embrace all things in heaven and earth together, keeping Thy mercy unto Thy people that walketh in the sight of Thy glory; hear the prayers of Thy servants, that Thy eyes may be opened upon this house day and night; and this church (changed from basilica), founded in holy mysteries in honor of Thy holy and most victorious Cross, and in memory of Thy Saint N., do Thou dedicate with Thy most great clemency, illuminate with Thy mercy, and with Thy own splendor glorify, and in mercy deign Thou to admit and propitiously to regard every person who shall come to adore Thee in this place. And for the sake of Thy great name, and Thy mighty hand, and Thy uplifted arm, willingly protect, mercifully hear, eternally defend and preserve all who supplicate Thee in this tabernacle; that always happy, and ever rejoicing in Thy religion, they may constantly persevere in the Catholic faith of the Holy Trinity. (changed from in the confession of the Holy Trinity, with Catholic Faith.)
This prayer now ends with the short conclusion, since it no longer leads into a preface. The words noted in italics above are removed; a few other minor verbal adjustments are made, which do not affect the sense.

The bishop now goes around the altar only once, (formerly seven times), sprinkling it with the Gregorian water, using an aspergil made of hyssop, and saying nothing. The antiphon Asperges me and the psalm which formerly accompanied this aspersion are suppressed.

He then ascends the altar, and with the water makes the same five crosses on it as in the previous version of the rite: first in the middle, then the upper left, lower right, lower left, and upper right. At each cross he says “Let this altar be sanctified, unto the honor of God almighty, and of the glorious Virgin Mary, and of all the Saints, and to the name and memory of Saint N. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. Peace be to thee.” The ministers respond “Amen.” (The words noted in italics are suppressed from the previous version.) At each of the five places, the bishop makes a single cross with the water; he no longer makes three crosses above it with his hand. This ceremony is no longer called “Consecration of the Altar” in the rubrical title, but rather “Lustration of the Altar.”

During the sprinkling around the altar, and the lustration of it, the choir sings the antiphon: “I will go in to the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth,” repeating it after each verse of psalm 42 Judica me, from which it is taken; Gloria Patri is not said at the end. (This antiphon and psalm were formerly said while the bishop proceeded from the blessing of the Gregorian water to the consecration of the altar with said water.)

At the same time, servers lay ash or sand before the gates of the sanctuary in the form of a Saint Andrew’s cross, in preparation for the ritual of the drawing of the two alphabets on the floor. This ritual was formerly done at an earlier point in the ceremony, before the blessing of the Gregorian water, and has already been described in the place where it occurs in the Pontifical of Clement VIII.

Having finished the lustration of the altar, the bishop says “Dominus vobiscum. Oremus.” and the following prayer. (In the Pontifical of 1595, this prayer is also said right after the crosses are made with water on the altar; it was formerly introduced by “Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate.” The words in italics are suppressed.)
(In virtue of) that one propitiation, offered on the altar of the Cross to redeem us, and prefigured by the patriarch Jacob, when he erected a stone as a title, for sacrifice, and the vision of heaven’s gate opened above; we pour forth our prayers in supplication to Thee, o Lord, that Thou may now command the polished substance of this stone, on which the heavenly Sacrifice is to be offered, to be enriched by the abundance of Thy sanctification, who didst once write the law on tables of stone. (short conclusion)
The bishop now goes to draw the two alphabets in the ashes (or sand) on the floor, as described in part 2.3 of this series. This part of the ceremony is given a new title in the rubrics of 1961, “the taking possession and dedication of the church.”
A leaf of a 14th century Pontifical according to the use of the archdiocese of Sens, showing the two alphabets to be drawn in ashes on the floor. Greek scholars may be interested to note that the obsolete letters such as digamma and koppa, which are only used as numerical symbols in the standard alphabet, are also included.
Turning towards the people, the bishop and says,
“Dearest brethren, let us humbly pray God almighty, that He may deign to bless and keep this dwelling place, that He may drive darkness from it, and pour in light, granting no power to the raging adversary, but (rather) that it be truly the house of God, and the enemy have no freedom to do harm therein.”
This exhortation has no analogue in the prior version of this ceremony. The bishop then says “Oremus.” The deacon says both “Flectamus genua,” and, after a pause, “Levate,” which is traditionally said by the subdeacon. (A similar change was introduced in the Holy Week reform of 1955.) These were formerly said facing the door, but are now said facing the altar; the prayer which follows, however, is said by bishop facing the nave, as it was in the previous version.
O God, who sanctifiest the places that are dedicated to Thy name, pour forth Thy grace upon this house of prayer, that the aid of Thy mercy may be felt by all who here invoke thy name.
This prayer itself is unchanged, but is now said with the long conclusion, leading into the preface dialogue and preface. (In the Pontifical of 1595, the prayer “God of all sanctification” noted above was said before this preface.)

The preface: (the words in bold type are added in the 1961 revision; the words in italics are omitted.)
Truly it is meet and just, right and profitable to salvation, that we always and everywhere give Thee thanks, o Lord, holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, and humbly to pray Thee: Be present to our prayers, be present to the sacraments, be present also to the pious works of Thy servants, and to us who ask for Thy mercy. Upon this Thy church, which we, though unworthy, consecrate under the invocation of Thy holy name, to the honor of the holy Cross, on which Thy co-eternal Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, deigned to suffer for the redemption of the world, and to the memory of Saint N., let there also descend Thy Holy Spirit, abounding in all the richness of His seven-fold grace; so that, as often as Thy holy name is invoked in this house, the prayers of those who call upon Thee may be heard by Thee, holy Lord. O blessed and holy Trinity, Who dost purify all things, clean all things, adorn all things. O blessed majesty of God, Who dost fill all things, contain all things, dispose all things. O blessed and holy hand of God, Who dost sanctify all things, bless all things, enrich all things. O God, the holy of holies, with most humble devotion Thy clemency we implore, that Thou may deign by our humble ministry, in the everlasting abundance of Thy sanctification, to puri + fy, to + bless and to conse + crate this Thy church, unto the honor of the holy and most victorious Cross, and to the memory of Thy Saint N. Here also, may the priests offer to Thee sacrifices of praise, here may Thy faithful people fulfill their vows, here may the burdens of their sins be loosed, and the fallen faithful restored. In this Thy house, therefore, we beseech Thee, o Lord, may the sick be healed, the weak strengthened, the lame cured, the lepers cleansed, the blind enlightened, and demons cast out. Here may the troubles of all the weak, by Thy favor, o Lord, be relieved, and the bonds of all sins made loose; so that all who enter this temple duly to beseech Thy beneficence, may rejoice at having obtained it, and this gift of Thy grace, which They receive, give them reason to glory in Thy everlasting mercy.
It ends with the long conclusion regularly said at the end of prayers, which is no longer said in a low voice, but sung out loud as part of the preface itself.

Sacred Liturgy: Past, Present, and Future

(By way of The Catholic World Report yesterday)

February 27, 2013

An interview with Dom Alcuin Reid about the liturgy, Vatican II, and the upcoming Sacra Liturgia 2013 conference in Rome

The Sacra Liturgia conference, to be held in Rome from June 25 to 28, 2013, is an international conference with the goal to study, promote, and renew the appreciation of liturgical formation and celebration and its foundation for the mission of the Church, particularly in the light of the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI. The conference is being organized under the direction of Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, France, and will feature many noted speakers, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Marc Aillet, Father Uwe Michael Lang, Don Nicola Bux, and Tracey Rowland, among others.

Dom Alcuin Reid, one of the organizers of Sacra Liturgia 2013, is a monk of the Monastère Saint-Benoît in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France. His major work, The Organic Development of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2005), carries a preface by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He recently corresponded with Catholic World Report about the conference, and reflected on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, the state of liturgy today, and the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

CWR: How did the conference Sacra Liturgia 2013 come about and what are some of its main goals?

Dom Alcuin Reid: This conference is a sequel, as it were, to Adoratio 2011 which my bishop, Msgr. Dominique Rey, organized in Rome two years ago. I was part of the organizing team and the question was asked whether we should do something in the future. With his characteristic enthusiasm, Msgr. Rey took up the idea of a conference dedicated to the Sacred Liturgy, particularly in the light of the importance that Pope Benedict XVI has placed on it.

From the outset the conference’s aim has been to consider various aspects of the liturgy from its unique role in the Church—as the source and summit of her life and mission, as the Council said. So our aim is not to hold an event for liturgical specialists or scholars or to produce experts in liturgical minutiae, but to make a significant contribution to the understanding of and formation in what the Sacred Liturgy is, and to underline its importance in every aspect of the Church’s life, especially as the Church launches into the New Evangelization.

In a way this is a conference for non-specialists, for anyone wanting to deepen their appreciation of the liturgy as a whole. Certainly there are specific topics, but they will be addressed in a manner that explores that area’s role in the New Evangelization: Professor Miguel Ayuso’s “The Sacred Liturgy as the heart and life of the mission of the family”; Dr. Gabriel Steinschulte’s “Liturgical Music and the New Evangelisation”; Father Michael Lang’s “Sacred Art and Architecture at the Service of the Mission of the Church,” etc.

We also aim to celebrate both forms of the Roman rite in an exemplary way. We will come together to pray as well as to think and talk. There will be two celebrations each of Mass and of Vespers. We hope that they will serve as models of good practice.

Any conference leads to meeting new people and forming new friendships. In God’s Providence these too will further our goals.

CWR: The conference’s website, noting the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, states that “it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities.” What have been some of the positive achievements since Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium?

Dom Alcuin Reid: Personally, I think that the greatest achievement, which is a direct fruit of the Constitution on the Liturgy, has been to place actuosa participatio in the liturgy at the center the spiritual life. This was the great desire of the 20th-century liturgical movement for 50 years before the Council, and of others, including St. Pius X, before that.

In the quote you mentioned, which is from Pope Benedict XVI’s closing message to the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin last year, “misunderstandings” are spoken of. “Actuosa participatio” has often been translated as “active” participation and has sometimes been applied in an activist way: the “everyone has to do something at Mass in order to participate” approach, so often seen in Masses with children, etc.

Sometimes, the busier people are “doing” things at Mass the less they actually participate. The liturgy is an action, Christ’s saving action, in which we are called to participate first and foremost with mind and heart, and with bodily expression second. The two are reciprocal, of course, but internal participation has to have priority. Perhaps it may be clearer, today, to speak about being “connected” to the liturgical action. Liturgical connectivity is what the Council called for, because it is by means of this connection Christ touches us and empowers us to respond to his grace with lives of faithful service. This is the motivation for the liturgical reforms called for by Vatican II.

Since Sacrosanctum Concilium there have also been more widespread efforts in liturgical formation. The Constitution regarded this as the pre-condition for fruitful participation in the liturgy, something I plan to explore in my own conference presentation.

Other achievements undoubtedly include the acceptance of the vernacular for liturgical readings from Sacred Scripture and in the rites of the sacraments. The promotion of the Liturgy of the Hours as the prayer of the whole Church and not just that of clergy and religious is most certainly an advance.

One more recent achievement is that the “misunderstandings and irregularities” that followed the Council are now more openly acknowledged. We owe this in no small way to Benedict XVI’s historical honesty, both as pope and as cardinal. Because of this we are now in a better position seek a more authentic reading of Sacrosanctum Concilium and to move forward and consider what adjustments or enrichments are necessary now.

CWR: What are some of the most notable misunderstandings and irregularities? What can lay people do to address those sorts of problems?

Dom Alcuin Reid: I’ve already mentioned the error of “activist participation.” Perhaps one of the others is how we sometimes perceive or approach the liturgy. That is, the liturgy is first and foremost ritual worship which the Church offers to Almighty God. It is not something we stage in order to affirm or to entertain ourselves or our particular community. And if I approach the liturgy—or worse, if I prepare or celebrate the liturgy—as if it is something belonging to me or us, there is a danger that its nature as the Church’s worship of God, in and through which Christ acts, may be obscured or lost. We need to be habituated, to be formed, in order fruitfully to connect with the Church’s ritual worship—and emphasizing that need is one of the reasons for Sacra Liturgia 2013. Abbot Zielinski’s presentation “Liturgy, ritual, and contemporary man—Anthropological and psychological connections” will make an interesting contribution on this.

Of course there have been and sometimes still are liturgical abuses. Authority must deal with them firmly, and lay people should make them known, calmly and with charity. There are also sometimes misunderstandings about practices such as the celebration of Mass facing the people, the exclusive use of the vernacular, receiving Holy Communion in the hand, receiving Holy Communion under both species, etc. In some places these have become untouchable idols of the modern liturgy, whereas they are in fact options. It is not unconscionable to consider whether other, more classical, practices may be more appropriate for facilitating our connection with the liturgical action, with Christ.

Also, some clergy—even bishops—still pretend that the older liturgical rites are somehow not to be used. The usus antiquior—the more ancient use—to use one of Benedict XVI’s phrases, should be freely available to all. It will bear much fruit in the Church of the New Evangelization.

Given the centrality of the liturgy, lay men and women should exercise prudence in respect to liturgical problems; prudence, that is, in respect of their own “spiritual health.” If there are irregularities and for some reason these are not corrected it may be necessary to change the church or chapel at which one regularly worships. This need may become a grave duty for parents whose vocation includes the primary formation of children in the faith. The liturgy is too important for us to accept practice that is second best, or worse. Our spiritual health, and that of those in our care, must come first.

Lay people can also “support good practice” as it were, be that by aiding particular clergy or religious, communities, liturgical institutes, publications, web resources, and so on. The “new liturgical movement” which has been given so much impetus by Benedict XVI is now a widespread reality and many lay men and women are leading key initiatives. Its further progress depends on each one of us contributing according to our means.

CWR: This past December, Pope Benedict XVI sent a note of encouragement to Bishop Rey regarding the conference. How would you assess the work that Benedict has accomplished in the areas of liturgy and worship?

Dom Alcuin Reid: Primarily in fostering the “new liturgical movement,” I think. Firstly, by his teaching, above all in Sacramentum Caritatis, which is a profound tutorial on the liturgical and ecclesial celebration of the Blessed Eucharist. Also by his acts, most certainly through Summorum Pontificum, where he authoritatively asserted that that the rites that were once “sacred and great…cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or considered harmful.” Finally, by his example: papal liturgies have shown us the meaning of ars celebrandi—the manner of celebrating the sacred mysteries with a true noble simplicity. And always, at the head of these liturgies has stood a man who has looked together with us toward the cross he had placed in the center of the altar. The liturgy is about Him, not me, he has taught us.

There is more to do, certainly, and that is our task. But Benedict XVI has laid solid foundations for us.

CWR: Do you foresee his resignation and the upcoming conclave having an effect on the Conference?

Dom Alcuin Reid: In the light of his retirement I imagine that many of the speakers will want to pay tribute to His Holiness. And perhaps it will focus us more clearly on exploring the task of building upon the foundations he has laid.

The conclave itself will not impact directly on the conference—unless one of our speakers is elected, in which case the program will probably have to be adjusted!

The new pope may well, and rightly, prioritize other areas of the Church’s life. He would be able to do so all the more securely in the light of the foundations for sound liturgical practice and teaching laid by his predecessor.

We plan to attend the papal Mass of Saints Peter and Paul on the morning after the conference closes, and one clear effect of his resignation is that Benedict XVI will not be the celebrant that day. In some ways this will add a note of sadness. But the Holy Spirit will give us a new pope who will be there, and as ever it will be a joy and a grace to be close to Peter, to pray with him, and to be strengthened by his teaching.

CWR: Who are some of the most notable speakers who will be presenting at the conference? What can participants expect in terms of key topics and themes addressed in the presentations?

Dom Alcuin Reid: Cardinal Ranjith’s opening address on the liturgy as the “source and summit of the life and mission of the Church” is certainly key. Three other cardinals will contribute: Cardinal Burke will speak of the place of liturgical law in the mission of the Church. Cardinal Cañizares will celebrate and preach at Mass, as will Cardinal Brandmüller.

Speakers have been selected because of their scholarship, good practice, and expertise. I’ve already mentioned some. Msgr. Guido Marini, the papal Master of Ceremonies, is well known. Don Nicola Bux may be familiar because of his publications on the liturgy. Professor Tracey Rowland’s work on Benedict XVI is widely acclaimed and I, for one, am looking forward to her paper on “The usus antiquior and the New Evangelization.” Some speakers may be less familiar because they work in a different language (there will be simultaneous translation available at the conference), but they have important contributions to make at an international level. The conference website has a full list of speakers and topics, with one yet to be confirmed.

CWR: How can readers learn more about the conference?

Dom Alcuin Reid: Our website has all the relevant information in the five languages of the conference, including facilities for online registration. It also gives the links to our Facebook page and Twitter account on which updates are posted regularly. People can contact the conference secretariat through the website if they need other information.

To date we have confirmed participants from over 20 countries. Registrations are coming in from lay men and women, religious, seminarians and other students, deacons, priests, and even bishops. Sacra Liturgia 2013 promises to be a large and diverse gathering which augurs well for the liturgical renewal encouraged by Benedict XVI and for the New Evangelization.

Source: The Catholic World Report

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Parroquia San Jorge, Puerto Rico

I came across the following photos on Acción Litúrgica, showing the Mass of the Second Sunday of Lent in the parish of San Jorge in Puerto Rico. I was particularly taken by the altar with its rich and yet also restrained use of colour.

The Mass shown was celebrated according to the usus antiquior by Fr. Luis Oscar Padilla Cruz, OFM Cap.





EF Mass at Polish Seminary

One of our readers send in this video from Poland which shows the EF celebrated on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, celebrated for a group of young Salesians at their seminary. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Władysław Grochal, SDB.

Msgr. Wadsworth on Benedict XVI: "A Supremely Liturgical Pope"

(Vatican Radio) One of the lasting legacies of Benedict XVI’s pontificate will be the mark he has left on the Liturgy as it is celebrated today. In short, he has re-focused our attention on how we, as Catholics, celebrate our faith in the light of tradition.

From his highly discussed 2007 Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontififcum, to his approval of the equally debated New English Language translation of the Roman Missal; from his elimination of all rites and gestures that are not specifically sacramental in nature from Papal liturgies to his recent changes to rites for the beginning of a pontificate, the "Ordo Rituum pro Ministerii Petrini Initio Romae Episcopi”, Benedict XVI has brought the Universal Churches’ focus back to prayer and the Eucharist, the source and summit of what makes us Church. In a way Benedict XVI has been a supremely liturgical Pope.

“I think we will be unpacking the significance of his impact on the liturgy for many years to come”, says Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of the Secretariat for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

Mons. Wadsworth, who was deeply involved in the New English Language translation of the Roman Missal, dropped by Vatican Radio to speak to Emer McCarthy about the liturgical mark Benedict XVI has left on the English speaking Church. Listen

“When the Holy Father spoke to his own clergy, the priest of the diocese of Rome for the last time, he said two very significant things about the Liturgy: Firstly he said that the Second Vatican Council was very right to treat of the Liturgy first, because it thereby showed that God has primacy. And in the Liturgy the most important consideration is adoration. He linked this to the fact that he has desired that in the celebration of our Mass there should be a Crucifix on the altar. So that the priest looks at the Cross and remembers that it’s the sacrifice of Calvary that’s being represented in the celebration of the Mass and that the people should look at the Cross rather than at the priest”.
“The Motu Propiro really is a very important moment in which the Holy Father puts two forms of the Roman Rite which potentially have been at loggerheads which each other since the Second Vatican Council in a creative dynamic relationship with each other. The Holy Father really is reminding us that the light of tradition should fall on all of our liturgical experience”.

“In relation to the New English Translation of the Missal…it was the Holy Father who judged on the whole question of pro multis for many, chalice rather than cup, those are his particular judgements and his prerogative as the Pope. He showed a great interest in the process as it was unfolding …over ten years in the making”.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Russian Statues - Some Answers About Their Status in the Eastern Church

Readers may remember that I have posted a couple of pieces recently featuring sacred images from the Russia that are statues (not relief carving, full 3-D images). As I mentioned, I had been under the impression that although they were not forbidden, that by tradition they were not produced and was surprised that the examples shown existed. I suggested that the reason they were discouraged was because it is difficult to produce a three-dimensional image that is consistent with the theology of sacred images as applied to the icon (for example, the deliberated elimination of space to suggest the heavenly realm). But I couldn't give much more information about their existence and place in the tradition of the Eastern Church.

I was happy to receive responses from two readers which are helpful, I think, and I reproduce them here.

The first is from Bishop Jerome, Bishop of Manhattan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and this seems to summarise the situation nicely. He says:

The reason that statues are avoided in the Orthodox Church (and in some of the Eastern Catholic Churches) is not that they were seen as "heretical", but as part of the struggle to overcome the iconoclasts. Prior to the iconoclastic controversy, there were bas-relief representations of holy figures in the East, and in Russia the iconoclasts seem not to have been as virulent as they were in Constantinople. 3-dimensional figures were used to some extent again in Russia in certain places, such as the cathedral of the Ss. Peter & Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, where the Royal Gates were topped by a small statue, or in the dome of St.Isaac's cathedral where there are statues of Angels.

The second made reference to an article published in a magazine published by an Orthodox church in Texas, Ember Tidings about statues in the Eastern Church, here (h/t Fr Anthony). This gives some history of the creation of statues, reinforcing the summary of the situation given above by Fr Jerome. It closes with the following point: 'The 1920’s discovered the Orthodox painted icon, the 1970’s the Orthodox statues. It appears the sometimes heated "two dimensional vs. three dimensional image" argument could be another example of culture intruding upon the faith.'

This second article brings up a couple of interesting thoughts. First, some of the examples that are shown in the pictures are of statues East and West. This shows clearly that the tradition of statues was well established early on and not always a minor part of the sacred imagery as it became later in the Eastern Church. It also reinforces one of the points made above. It does seem to me that a strict application of the theology of the icon as I have been taught it, would mitigate against the production of three-dimensional images. But the existence of a strong tradition of statues raises this question in my mind: if the statue which by its nature occupies three-dimensional space is permitted, does this mean that there ought to be greater freedom in 2-D images that create the illusion of space? Has anyone thought about this at all I wonder? Perhaps one could, for example, make the distinction between real 3-D space and illusional space critical in permitting statues?


Pictures from top: the Good Shepherd, 3rd century from the catacombs; 10th century Contantinople; Our Lady of Monserrat, Spain, 12th century.

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 2.6: The Consecration of the Altar (1595)

After the Gregorian water has been blessed, the bishop uses it to consecrate the altar (as the rubrical heading of the Pontifical itself describes it), and then sprinkles it throughout the various parts of the church. He first proceeds to the altar, where he intones the following antiphon: “I will go in to the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth.” It is continued by the schola, and repeated after each verse of psalm 42 Judica me, from which it is taken; Gloria Patri is not said at the end. Meanwhile, the bishop dips the thumb of his right hand in the Gregorian water, and with it makes a Cross in the middle of the table, saying:
Let this altar be sancti + fied, unto the honor of God almighty, and of the glorious Virgin Mary, and of all the Saints, and to the name and memory of Saint N. In the name of the + Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy + Spirit. Peace be to thee.
At the words “In the name of the Father etc.” he makes the sign of the Cross with his right hand over the cross he has made with the water. (Greek crosses, i.e. crosses with two bars of equal length, are usually cut into the mensa for this purpose.) Crosses are likewise made in the four corners, first the upper left, then the lower right, lower left, and upper right; at each one, the bishop repeats the words “Let this altar be sanctified etc.” The bishop and ministers then sing “Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate.” followed by this prayer.
(In virtue of) that one propitiation, offered on the altar of the Cross to redeem us, and prefigured by the patriarch Jacob, when he erected a stone as a title, for sacrifice, and the vision of heaven’s gate opened above; we pour forth our prayers in supplication to Thee, o Lord, that Thou may now command the polished substance of this stone, on which the heavenly Sacrifice is to be offered, to be enriched by the abundance of Thy sanctification, who didst once write the law on tables of stone. (short conclusion)
The bishop now sprinkles the altar seven times with Gregorian water, using an aspergil made of hyssop, in the following manner. Each time, standing before the altar, he intones the antiphon: “Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.” The choir completes the antiphon, and then sings three verses of psalm 50 Miserere, (two the last time) while the bishop goes around the altar sprinkling. Gloria Patri is not said at the end.

The choir sings the antiphon “This is the house of the Lord, strongly built; it is well founded upon a mighty rock,” the third of Lauds of the Dedication of a Church, and with it psalm 121 Laetatus sum; Gloria Patri is not said at the end of this or the following two psalms. Meanwhile, the bishop, starting from behind the main altar, proceeds to the right side of the church, and goes around it, sprinkling the walls near the bottom, and returns to the place behind the altar where he started.

The choir sings a second antiphon, the first words of psalm 67 Exsurgat Deus, “Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered: and let them that hate him flee from before his face,” and with it, the last eleven verses of the same psalm. Meanwhile, the bishop, following the same route, sprinkles the walls a second time, now in the middle, and then returns to the place behind the altar where he started.

The choir sings a third antiphon, the first words of psalm 90 Qui habitat, “He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob,” and with it, the whole of the same psalm. Meanwhile, the bishop, starting from behind the main altar, proceeds to the left side of the church, and goes around it, sprinkling the walls higher still than in the previous circuit, and again returns to the place behind the altar where he started.

He then sprinkles the pavement of the church down the middle, from the altar to the door, and then across the church from one wall to another, while the schola sings the following antiphons and versicles.
Ant. My house will be called a house of prayer. V. I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.
Ant. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of thy house. V. And the place where thy glory dwelleth.
Ant. This is no other than the house of God, and the gate of Heaven.
Standing in the middle of the church and facing the main altar, the bishop intones the following antiphon:
Jacob saw a ladder, the top of it touched the heavens, and Angels descending, and he said: Truly this place is holy.
The schola continues, while the bishop remains in the middle of the church, and sprinkles the water towards the four cardinal points, East, West, North, South. Turning towards the main door, the bishop and ministers then say “Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate.” followed by this prayer. (The prayer that follows, and the preface into which it leads, are also said facing the main door of the church.)
O God, who sanctifiest the places that are dedicated to Thy name, pour forth Thy grace upon this house of prayer, that the aid of Thy mercy may be felt by all who here invoke thy name. (short conclusion) 
The bishop and ministers then say “Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate.” again, followed by another prayer, which segues into a preface.
God of all sanctification, Sovereign almighty, whose mercy is known to be without end; o God, who embrace all things in heaven and earth together, keeping Thy mercy unto Thy people that walketh in the sight of Thy glory; hear the prayers of Thy servants, that Thy eyes may be opened upon this house day and night; and this basilica, founded for in holy mysteries to the honor of Thy holy and most victorious Cross, and in memory of Thy Saint N., do Thou dedi + cate with Thy most great clemency, illu + minate with Thy mercy, and with Thy own splendor glori + fy, and in mercy deign Thou to admit and propitiously to regard every person who shall come to adore Thee in this place. And for the sake of Thy great name, and Thy mighty hand, and Thy uplifted arm, willingly protect, mercifully hear, eternally defend and preserve all who supplicate Thee in this tabernacle; that always happy, and ever rejoicing in Thy religion, they may constantly persevere in the confession of the Holy Trinity, with Catholic Faith. (long conclusion, leading into the preface dialogue.)
the preface:
Truly it is meet and just, right and profitable to salvation, that we always and everywhere give Thee thanks, o Lord, holy Father, almighty and everlasting God. Be present to our prayers, be present to the sacraments, be present also to the pious works of Thy servants, and to us who ask for Thy mercy. Upon this Thy church, which we, though unworthy, consecrate this day under the invocation of Thy holy name, to the honor of the holy Cross, on which Thy co-eternal Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, deigned to suffer for the redemption of the world, and to the memory of Saint N., let there also descend Thy Holy Spirit, abounding in all the richness of His seven-fold grace; so that, as often as Thy holy name is invoked in this house, the prayers of those who call upon Thee may be heard by Thee, holy Lord. O blessed and holy Trinity, Who dost purify all things, clean all things, adorn all things. O blessed majesty of God, Who dost fill all things, contain all things, dispose all things. O blessed and holy hand of God, Who dost sanctify all things, bless all things, enrich all things. O God, the holy of holies, with most humble devotion Thy clemency we implore, that Thou may deign by our humble ministry, in the everlasting abundance of Thy sanctification, to puri + fy, to + bless and to conse + crate this Thy church, unto the honor of the holy and most victorious Cross, and to the memory of Thy Saint N. Here also, may the priests offer to Thee sacrifices of praise, here may Thy faithful people fulfill their vows, here may the burdens of their sins be loosed, and the fallen faithful restored. In this Thy house, therefore, we beseech Thee, o Lord, may the sick be healed, the weak strengthened, the lame cured, the lepers cleansed, the blind enlightened, and demons cast out. Here may the troubles of all the weak, by Thy favor, o Lord, be relieved, and the bonds of all sins made loose; so that all who enter this temple duly to beseech Thy beneficence, may rejoice at having obtained it, and this gift of Thy grace, which They receive, give them reason to glory in Thy everlasting mercy.
The preface ends with the long conclusion regularly said at the end of prayers, which is said in a low voice, not sung out loud.
H.E. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz sprinkles the altar of the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary. Photo © 2010 F.S.S.P., www.fssp.org

Vatican Radio: "Benedict XVI, the London Oratory and 'musical evangelization'"

(Vatican Radio) Among the estimated 150 thousand people who spilled from St Peter’s Square out onto via della Conciliazione for Pope Benedict XVI’s last Angelus Sunday, were the burgundy blazers and caps of one of Britain’s most famous Catholic schools, represented by their equally world famous choir: The London Oratory Schola Cantorum.

“I offer a warm greeting to all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer” said Pope Benedict, “especially the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. I thank everyone for the many expressions of gratitude, affection and closeness in prayer which I have received in these days”.

The boys together with their director Charles Cole were fresh from singing at morning Mass in St Peter’s Basilica. They were invited by the regular choir for all non-papal liturgies in St Peter’s, the Capella Giulia, which is marking the 500th anniversary of its founding this year by inviting choirs from around the world to come and sing at the tomb of the Apostle.

At the end of Mass, to the joy of the congregation, both choirs, situated opposite each other in the two transepts of the Altar of the Chair, sung the sublime double-choir motet Adoramus te, Christe by the late renaissance Slovenian composer Jacob Handl.

It was just one of the many moving moments at St Peter’s this Sunday, but without doubt the excellence of the singing and the beauty of the liturgical music was of great spiritual benefit to the pilgrims who had flocked to Rome for this last appointment with Pope Benedict.

“I think the music of the Church has such an important role in developing and nourishing our faith and reinforcing things” says Charles Cole, Director of the London Oratory Schola Cantorum. He dropped by Vatican Radio to speak with Emer McCarthy about what he termed ‘musical evangelization’ and the great boost Benedict XVI’s pontificate has given to the current renaissance in Catholic liturgical music. Listen

“I think certainly in this day and age where frankly being a Catholic is very, very difficult when we have a constant stream from the media telling us that Catholic truths are off target and no longer in vogue, there are certain truths within the music that tells us, no we are not wrong, we are definitely doing the right thing and we need to keep at it”.

“I think the music is something very comforting, its our dialogue with God, it’s the way we relate to Him through the liturgy and for that to be something available to the boys through the choir is something of huge importance.”

“Under the pontificate of Benedict XVI there has been a particular focus on the relationship of the liturgy and music and this remarkable heritage and its grown to ever greater prominence. But it never really went away its always been there and its something that we simply need to keep alive and nurture, because frankly that music is so special, so unique for the Catholic Church…because its our music”.

“Music and the liturgy have been given a huge boost under his pontificate and that will last for a long time to come”.

Monday, February 25, 2013

EF Mass at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada




(Thanks to John Sonnen for sending these our way. Incidentally, in case one wonders about the very humble chapel setting, it is worth noting that this is not a Catholic university.)

Organ Accompaniment for Campion Missal and Hymnal

by Jeff Ostrowski

Last week, 800 pages of organ accompaniments for the Campion Missal & Hymnal began shipping. Before long, the SATB scores will also become available. Using these large, easy-to-read organist scores, parish musicians can provide accompaniment for all the music found in the Campion book (Ordinarium Missae, Hymns in English & Latin, Simple Gregorian Chants). Here is the URL address to purchase these accompaniments:

     *  Organ Accompaniments • St. Edmund Campion Missal & Hymnal

The following is an abbreviated description for each volume:

ORGANIST VOLUME I  •  388 pages long, spiral bound.
This book contains three (3) different harmonizations of the the Gregorian Kyriale:
          1.) Achille P. Bragers, LOW KEY;
          2.) Carlo Rossini, MIDDLE KEY;
          3.) Flor Peeters et al., HIGH KEY.

ORGANIST VOLUME II  •  374 pages long, spiral bound.
This book contains four (4) sections. The chant accompaniments were done by Henri Potiron, Julius Bas, and others. Information given on the Vaticana chant rhythm also applies to Volume I.
          1.) Organ accompaniments for all hymns in the Campion Hymnal;
          2.) Transpositions & alternate harmonizations for many hymns;
          3.) Information on interpreting the Editio Vaticana rhythm;
          4.) Organ accompaniments for the “Simple Chants” in the Campion Hymnal.

The Nova Organi Harmonia accompaniments were created during World War II by faculty members of the Lemmens Institute (Belgium): namely, Flor Peeters, Msgr. Jules Van Nuffel, Msgr. Jules Vyverman, Marinus de Jong, Gustaaf Nees, Henri Durieux, and Edgard de Laet.  Achille P. Bragers, born in Belgium but famous in America, also studied at the Lemmens Institute, as you can see in Bragers' biography (PDF article).  Carlo Rossini, famous for his "Psalm Tones," was a priest musician who worked in Philadelphia (and, later, Rome).

ICRSS Church in Britain

Philip Chidell recently sent a notice our way about a film he produced about the Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena, in the Wirral, U.K., which is now under the care of the Institute of Christ the King. Here is that video:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Catholic College Provides Choir for the Extraordinary Form at a Local Parish

In what we hope will be a regular occurrence, the choir of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire provided the choir for Sunday Mass at a local parish, St Patrick's, Nashua, NH. It was the First Sunday of Lent in the Extraordinary Form.

This was a great experience for the choir. My observation is that it was great for the college to be doing something in cooperation with a local church - there is a tendency for students sometimes to lead a life as though marooned within a self-enclosed social bubble. This is why also we visit the local veterans' hospital, in Manchester, NH, and sing Vespers there on a regular basis. Having this opportunity to sing the Mass really seemed to motivate the students to work hard and pull together. The response of the parishioners was positive We weren't perfect by any means, but this was a great start I think and we hope to keep improving as we go on. Nevertheless, it was good enough for inspire one kind person to hand me a generous donation for the college choir so that it might encourage us to keep coming!

 We sang at the invitation of Fr Kerper, the pastor at St Patricks and we are very grateful for how graciously the resident choir, which normally does an excellent job, allowed us to support the music at the church. The college has enjoyed a long connection with the parish. The college's longest standing chaplain, Fr Healey, is resident at the church. The Mass we sang was composed by a German, Blasius Amon, in the 16th century – Missa Super ‘Pour ung Plaisir’. Our director, Dr Thomas Larson, did his usual and put his cell down amongst us in the choir stall and came up with these recordings. I had never heard of Blasius Amon before Tom introduced this to the choir, but it is a great Mass for a choir to learn polyphony on. Relatively simple, but still very good to listen to. I hope these recordings give a sense of it. As usual, remember this is an amateur choir recorded on a very simple piece of equipment. Below are the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei from the Mass.

I would draw your attention also to the Communion antiphon and psalm mediation. The antiphon is in the traditional plainchant, in mode III, as proscribed. The psalm is sung to the harmonised mode III tone composed by myself and harmonised by our Composer-in-Residence, Paul Jernberg.

For the offertory mediation we sang the Stabat Mater Dolorosa. I don’t have a recording of this, but we based what we did on a You Tube video I found recorded by a Norwegian choir, Consortium Vocale Oslo, I reproduce that for you. They have altered the rhythm slighly from what I am used to - those who know it will hear immediately. Also, they have a gentle organum drone going on underneath. Tom and I listened to this and Tom recognised that at various points they had not just one, but two organum drones going on (very subtly applied). So this is how we sang it: we sang the first verse in unison, in the second with the tenors and some altos singing an organum note corresponding to the very first note of the melody. The third we introduced in additional bass organum drone on a note a fourth lower. Then we started the cycle again. This has a powerfully contemplative effect. As Tom says - organum done well give a huge return for relatively little effort!

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 2.5: The Encomium of the Gregorian Water

In the Pontifical of Clement VIII, the making of the Gregorian water ends with a long encomium of the water itself, which also serves as a final blessing of it, and invocation of God’s providential care upon the church. Very shortly after, the bishop will use the water to consecrate the altar and bless the walls of the church on the inside. In the revision of 1961, this encomium is suppressed. In order to keep the post on the blessing of the Gregorian water to a manageable size, it is here given in translation as a separate post. I have borrowed some of this translation from an English and Latin text of this ceremony, (published, I believe, in England in the late 19th century,) but also made many modifications to its archaic style. The author’s name is not given on the title page. Whoever he was, I wish to thank him for his invaluable help in navigating this passage; no translation, however, can properly convey the majesty and poetic richness of the Latin original.
Be thou sancti + fied by the word of God, heavenly water, be thou sancti + fied, o water, that wast trodden on by the footsteps of Christ; that pressed down by the mountains, art not shut in, that dashed against the rocks, art not broken, that poured upon the earth, failest not. Thou bearest up the dry land, thou carriest the weight of the mountains, and sinkest not. On heaven’s top thou are contained; spread through all, thou washest all, and art not washed thyself. As the Hebrew people fled, hardened as a mass thou wast bound up. Again, released in briny whirlpools, thou didst destroy the dwellers of the Nile, and pursue their hostile band with raging flood; one and the same art thou, salvation to the faithful, and vengeance upon the wicked. Struck by Moses, the rock did spew thee forth, nor couldst thou lie hidden within its crags; when ordered by Majesty’s command thou camest forth. Borne in the clouds, thou makest fertile the fields with pleasant showers. Through thee, when bodies are dry with thirst, drink is poured forth, sweet unto pleasure, and wholesome unto life. Streaming hidden in inmost courses, thou givest vital air, or fertilizing sap, that the earth may not be exhausted, its bowels dried up, and deny us its wonted harvest. By thee rejoiceth the beginning, by thee the end. Or rather, from God it is that we know not thy bounds.
Nay rather, Almighty God, when we pronounce the favors of the waters, not unmindful of Thy mighty deeds, we proclaim the wonders of Thy works. Thou art the author of blessing, Thou the source of salvation . Humbly do we pray Thee and beseech, that Thou may pour forth the shower of Thy grace upon this house, with the abundance of Thy + blessing, bestow upon us all good things, grant us prosperity, and drive away adversity, destroy the demon of evil deeds; and establish here the Angel of light, friend, provider and protector of all that is good. May Thy + blessing strengthen this house that was begun in Thy name, and completed with Thy aid, that it may long endure. May these foundations merit Thy protection, these roofs Thy covering, these doors Thy entrance, this sanctuary Thy approach. Through the light of Thy countenance, be there benefit to men, and stability to these walls.
The 13th century liturgical scholar and canonist William Durandus, who created the first true Pontificale, gives a beautiful explanation of the reason for this special mixture of water, salt, ashes and wine.
There are four things which drive away the enemy (i.e. the devil). The first is the pouring forth of tears, which is symbolized by water; the second is exultation of the spirit, which is symbolized by wine; the third is natural discretion, which is symbolized by salt (traditionally a symbol of wisdom, whence also its use in the baptism); the fourth is profound humility, which is symbolized by ashes. Water then is penance, wins is exultation of the mind, salt is wisdom… ash is the humility of penance.
In another way, water is the people, or humanity, for there are many waters, many peoples. Wine is the godhead, salt is the teaching of the divine law, … and it is ash which attests to the memory of the Lord’s Passion. Wine is mixed with water, (as) Christ is God and man. For through faith in the Lord’s Passion, (which is had through the teaching of divine wisdom) the people sealed (or ‘marked’) by the water is joined through the union of faith to its Head, who is God and man. (Rationale Divinorum Officiorum I, 7, 8-9)
The tomb of William Durandus in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome. On the left side, he is presented to the Virgin and Child by St. Privatus, the patron saint of his see of Mende, France; St. Dominic is on the right.