Wednesday, April 30, 2014

First Saturday Dominican Rite Mass, May 3, at Carmel of the Holy Family, Canyon CA

Chapel of the Carmel, Bishop Barbar Celebrant (New Rite Roman)
This is just the briefest of reminders to readers in the San Francisco Bay Area that the Dominican Rite Votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, sung by the student friars of the Western Dominican Province as part of First Saturday Devotions, will not be at St. Albert's Priory in Oakland, this week.

The Mass will be at the Carmel of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph* in Canyon CA, this Saturday, May 3, at 10:00 a.m.  This Mass will be a Solemn High Dominican Rite Mass to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Profession of Mother Sylvia Gemma, O.C.D., the superior of the Carmel of the Holy Family. This event is open to the public and will be the last First Saturday Mass until the Fall.

*How to find Canyon Carmel, which has no street number: Canyon is just east of Oakand CA. Start from the Canyon U.S. Post Office (99 Pinehurst Road), and go north about one half mile to “John McCosker Ranch Road” on right (easy to miss); take this mostly gravel private road up to the right turn onto “Old Home Ranch Road,” which is signed for “Carmel.” This gravel road ends in the parking lot of the monastery.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Graffiti in English Medieval Churches

I bring this curiosity to you courtesy of Deacon Paul Iacono of the Fra Angelico Institute of Sacred Arts. He, in turn, drew on reports that appear in the Guardian newspaper, here. As part of a systematic study of graffiti in Churches in East Anglia they have found some signed by a writer and monk John Lydgate (an admirer and friend of Chaucer). What strikes me about all of these is how timeless the images are. Graffiti, it seems was just a bad (or good, depending on how you look at it) in the 14th century as it is now!

To the left you have a bishop in mitre. Below is an inscription found in St Mary's church, Lidgate, Suffolk. The text on the pillar, a few millimetres high, translates from the Latin as 'John Lydgate made this on the day of St Simon and St Jude'. That feast day is 28 October, with the year some time between 1390 and 1450. Underneath that is the church where the inscription was found. Other examples include devils or dragons and even geometric patterns.

Given the great interest in these, it does make one wonder if the past whitewashing of graffiti in the New York subway might be seen as a destructive act of iconoclasm by future commentators!

This looks like a dragon or a devil

Below, a montage of various compass drawn designs:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Final Images from Holy Week and Easter

Cathedral of Saint John Berchmans - Shreveport, Louisiana

St. Mary MacKillop Church - Keilor Downs, Victoria, Australia

Dom Mark Kirby on John XXIII on the Traditional Divine Office

In company, no doubt, with many NLM readers, I often find very deep spiritual and intellectual nourishment in reading the Vultus Christi blog, maintained by the Prior of Silverstream, Dom Mark Kirby, OSB. Just a few days ago, Fr. Kirby posted a splendid article entitled "Saint John XXIII: The Divine Office & the Council," which, in addition to the author's insights, offers us the full text of Pope John's Apostolic Exhortation Sacrae Laudis of 1962. To read this is quite simply to see, in its full starkness, how bitterly Pope John has been betrayed, how ruthlessly his own piety and doctrine were trampled under foot, and how much rebuilding falls to us if we wish to reconnect with the living stream of worship that comes to us from our forefathers.

Here, then, are some of Fr. Kirby's reflections.
The Apostolic Exhortation Sacrae Laudis (6 January 1962) is, to my mind, wonderfully revealing of the piety of “Good Pope John”. There were and there are many, both in the Church and in the secular media, who would have us believe that Papa Roncalli was a revolutionary, a modernist, an iconoclast. Nothing could be further from the truth. How exactly did this misrepresentation of Pope John XXIII become so prevalent?   It was, it seems to me, a question both of image and of personal style. Pope John XXIII differed in a number of very obvious ways from his predecessor, the Venerable Pope Pius XII. Whereas Pius XII was thin and hieratic–looking, John XXIII was rotund and grandfatherly — not only Papa, but also Nonno. Although both Popes were seasoned diplomats, Pacelli’s diplomacy was aristocratic in style; Roncalli’s diplomacy had the shrewdness of the Bergamasque peasant. Pacelli was convincing; Roncalli was winning.
          The piety of Pope John XXIII was liturgical, priestly, and devotional. (Do not miss Pope John’s lovely proposal that priests pray the Divine Office together with their Guardian Angels!) It was, at once, lofty and childlike.  Sacrae Laudis reveals his profound understanding of the sacred liturgy in the life of the Church and, in particular, of the uniquely exalted quality of the Divine Office, the Church’s daily sacrifice of praise. In reading the holy Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation on the Divine Office for the Council, it becomes clear that he had no intention of overturning the liturgical practice of the Roman Church as it had developed organically, over the centuries, under the gentle guidance of the Holy Ghost. Thus does he write:
          "The Breviary is in very truth a perennial and inexhaustible fount of supernatural light and grace. Small wonder, then, that the Breviary serves this Second Vatican Council as a source-book, as is evidenced in the reports of the careful, unremitting work of the various preparatory Commissions. It is a mine of purest doctrine and wisest counsels of ecclesiastical discipline, admirably adapted to present needs. We are therefore justified in Our assertion that in entering upon a new era we have preserved our ancient heritage intact. It is an era which seems to hold the promise of a great spiritual advance."
          I, for one, am gripped by a certain irony in reading these words. A mere ten years after his splendid Apostolic Exhortation, the very Divine Office that Pope John XXIII extolled in glowing terms had been hacked apart and, out of its dismembered parts, reassembled into something entirely different. Without any respect for the law of organic continuity that had — until the dodgy iconoclastic operations of certain liturgical experts in high places in the 1960s — wisely restrained even the most questionable earlier liturgical reforms, the creation of the reformed Liturgia Horarum, instead of fostering the ongoing renewal of liturgical piety, announced its demise. One of the most bitter fruits of the post–Conciliar liturgical reform (never intended by Pope John XXIII) was the widespread abandonment of the breviary by diocesan clergy, the virtual silencing of countless choirs in the mendicant Orders, and among the monastic Orders, the degeneration of choral prayer into a chaotic diversity of forms that, in no way, reflect the letter or the spirit of Saint Benedict’s liturgical legislation. [ . . . ]
          The aim of the Council was, wrote Saint John XXIII, “to seek to recapture some of that ardor displayed by the Church in her youth, and thus to restore to her the full splendour of her countenance”. We can certainly pray, even now, through the intercession of “Good Pope John,” that this aim of the Council will, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, be realised even at this late hour in spite of the accumulated contradictions, disappointments, and failures of the past fifty years. The full splendour of the countenance of the Church will not be restored until the prayer of the Church is restored to its rightful place and until her bare ruined choirs, warmed and illumined by the flames of a living liturgical piety, begin to resound again with the sound of many voices.
Amen to that!

Fr. Kirby's post then gives the text of Pope John XXIII's Apostolic Exhortation Sacrae Laudis.

John XXIII in His Own Words (4): The Defense of Catholic Truth

No nonsense when it comes to doctrine
John XXIII’s eight encyclicals are relatively little known and studied today, with the possible exception of Mater et Magistra and Pacem in Terris. As an avid reader of papal encyclicals issued over the past 250 years, I can definitely recommend John XXIII’s for the contemporary Catholic. They deserve to be dusted off and reconsidered, not least because they show a Pope who is conscientiously and continually linking his teaching with that of his predecessors, especially Leo XIII and Pius XII.

Here, I will quote some splendid passages from John XXIII’s inaugural encyclical Ad Petri Cathedram and some from Mater et Magistra that show the clarity and vigor of his defense of Catholic truth. He is so opposed to relativism, indifferentism, laxism, or muddled thinking that he would probably have caused heart failure in a gathering of ecclesiastics today. His language reminds me a great deal of Pope Benedict’s “dictatorship of relativism” theme.

So, the next time someone praises John XXIII for “opening up the Church” or “moving her into the modern world” or “introducing a new spirit” or some such slogan, you might counter with a depiction of the saint’s intransigent defense of Catholic truth, his insistence on the unity and unicity of the Catholic Church, his urgent invitations to Protestants to let go of their errors and return to their common Mother, his skirmishes against the emerging cult of hedonism, the idolatry of technics, and the dictatorship of relativism—in short, all of the ways in which he prepared for the Paul VI of Humanae Vitae, the John Paul II of Veritatis Splendor, and the Benedict XVI of Deus Caritas Est.

Ad Petri Cathedram (June 29, 1959)
        All the evils which poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth—and at times even more than ignorance, a contempt for truth and a reckless rejection of it.  Thus arise all manner of errors, which enter the recesses of men’s hearts and the bloodstream of human society as would a plague.  These errors turn everything upside down: they menace individuals and society itself.
        Some men, indeed do not attack the truth wilfully, but work in heedless disregard of it.  They act as though God had given us intellects for some purpose other than the pursuit and attainment of truth.  This mistaken sort of action leads directly to that absurd proposition: one religion is just as good as another, for there is no distinction here between truth and falsehood.  “This attitude,” to quote Pope Leo [XIII] again, “is directed to the destruction of all religions, but particularly the Catholic faith, which cannot be placed on a level with other religions without serious injustice, since it alone is true.”  Moreover, to contend that there is nothing to choose between contradictories and among contraries can lead only to this fatal conclusion: a reluctance to accept any religion either in theory or in practice.
        The peace, then, which we must seek, which we must strive to achieve with all the means at our disposal, must—as We have said—make no concessions to error, must compromise in no way with proponents of falsehood; it must make no concessions to vice; it must discourage all discord.  Those who adhere to this peace must be ready to renounce their own interests and advantages for the sake of truth and justice, according to the words: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice.” (§95)
        There is one truth especially which We think is self-evident: when the sacred rights of God and religion are ignored or infringed upon, the foundations of human society will sooner or later crumble and give way.  (nn. 6, 17, 95, 140)

Mater et Magistra (May 15, 1961)
        There are some indeed who go so far as to deny the existence of a moral order which is transcendent, absolute, universal and equally binding upon all. . . .
        But the moral order has no existence except in God; cut off from God it must necessarily disintegrate.  Moreover, man is not just a material organism.  He consists also of spirit; he is endowed with reason and freedom.  He demands, therefore, a moral and religious order; and it is this order—and not considerations of a purely extraneous material order—which has the greatest validity in the solution of problems relating to his life as an individual and as a member of society, and problems concerning individual States and their inter-relations. . . .
        Let men make all the technical and economic progress they can, there will be no peace nor justice in the world until they return to a sense of their dignity as creatures and sons of God, who is the first and final cause of all created being.  Separated from God, a man is but a monster, in himself and toward others; for the right ordering of human society presupposes the right ordering of man’s conscience with God who is Himself the source of all justice, truth, and love....
        The most perniciously typical aspect of the modern era consists in the absurd attempt to reconstruct a solid and fruitful temporal order divorced from God, who is, in fact, the only foundation on which it can endure.  In seeking to enhance man’s greatness, men fondly imagine that they can do so by drying up the source from which that greatness springs and from which it is nourished.  They want, that is, to restrain and, if possible, to eliminate the soul’s upward surge toward God.  But today’s experience of so much disillusionment and bloodshed only goes to confirm those words of Scripture: “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”...
        Similarly, Our Predecessor, Pius XII, rightly asserted that our age is marked by a clear contrast between the immense scientific and technical progress and the fearful human decline shown by “its monstrous masterpiece. . .transforming man into a giant of the physical world at the expense of his spirit, which is reduced to that of a pygmy in the supernatural and eternal world.”
        And so the words of the Psalmist about the worshipers of false gods are strikingly verified today.  Men are losing their own identity in their works, which they admire to the point of idolatry: “The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold, the works of the hands of men.”  (nn. 205, 208, 215, 217, 243-244)
Is this a clear, forceful proclamation of the truth, in season and out of season? You bet. Is this an example of old-fashioned papal triumphalism? No question; it looks and sounds like the best and noblest of our Catholic Tradition. May the Church of today and her leaders recover this truly humble certainty of proclaiming the truth that saves mankind from his unenlightened arrogance.

Saint John XXIII, pray for us.

EF Pontifical Mass at the Cathedral of Providence, Rhode Island

The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence, Rhode Island, (my native city!) will have a Solemn Pontifical Mass next Sunday at 1 p.m., as part of the celebrations for the church’s 125th anniversary. Further details, including the musical program are given in the poster below, and on the cathedral’s website.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Maniples, Amices, Cassocks—Lost and Found

Fr. Richard Cipolla has done us all a great service by translating a fantastic article by Alessando Gnocchi: "Traces of the Hegelian Guillotine in the Liturgical Reform." Gnocchi is speaking primarily about the sudden disappearance of the maniple, the amice, and the cassock after the Council, and what this says about our attitude towards the world, the Church's (and the clergy's) place in the world, and the veneration of tradition. Because each vestment carries, by the force of long-developed tradition, an inherent theological meaning and is a true component of the spiritual profile of the Christian and of the priest as alter Christus, it follows that changing or discarding such vestments amounts to a redefinition of one's identity and mission. Vesture is a form of anthropology: it is not mere clothing but, in some sense, constitutes the wearer as a certain 'what' and a certain 'who'.

On the maniple:
For obscure reasons, it seems as if someone wanted to erase the memory of this vestment that originated from the mappula, the linen handkerchief that the Roman nobility wore on their left arm to wipe away tears and sweat. It was used also to give the signal to begin the combat games in the Circus.  Merear, Domine, portare manipulum fletus et doloris; ut cum exsultatione recipiam mercedem laboris, says the priest as he puts it on while vesting.  “O Lord, may I be worthy to wear the maniple of tears and suffering, so that I may receive with joy the reward of my labors.”  And once again the battle begins against the world and its prince, in which mystically the priest sweats, cries, bleeds, and does battle in so far as he is on the Cross as the alter Christus. But there needs to be that painful and manly interpenetration in the sacrifice, of which the maniple is the sign and instrument.  Meanwhile, instead, if the memory of it has been lost willingly so that one can dedicate oneself to the festal banquet of a salvation lacking any sweat and toil, then there is no place for the signs of the battle to which one must consign one’s own body.
On the amice:
Impone, Domine, capiti meo galeam salutis, ad expugnandos diabolicos incursus.  Place on my head, O Lord, the helmet of salvation so that I may conquer the assaults of the devil”. So prays the priest when, preparing for the celebration of Mass, he puts on the amice, another vestment that recalls the battle and the sacrifice, fallen into disuse in the reformed Mass.  Today, in the post-Conciliar Church, one speaks to speak, one dialogues to have a dialogue, to have an amiable conversation with the world, all made drunk by the illusory and seductive power of chattering.  There is no need any longer for a vestment like the amice that, in addition to symbolizing the helmet of the warrior, symbolizes also the castigatio vocis, or “discipline of the voice”, and banishes from the act of religion every word that is not part of ritual and, therefore, inexorably, too many.   
On the cassock:
The capacity for ritual has been lost, and, therefore, the aptitude for command has been lost, and for this reason priests have abandoned the practice of wearing the cassock as a rule.
And more generally, on the "militancy" of the Christian:
The idea of giving orders and of battle, of arms and the armature of the spirit, have been dismissed by the Christians who love to be rocked in the cradle of acedia, the most perverse of the capital sins. ... Having succumbed to the sickness of acedia, the Church has ended up seeing herself and presenting herself as a problem instead of a solution to the deepest ill of man.  When she speaks of the world she lets show forth her awareness of her incapacity to point to a way of salvation, as if she is excusing herself for having done so for so many centuries.  She has doubts about fundamental and ascetical principles themselves, and, at the very time she proclaims that she is opening up to the world, she declares herself to be incapable of knowing it, defining it, and, therefore, incapable of educating and converting it.  At the most, she makes herself available to interpret it.
        But it is not in becoming like the world or in being wedded to the language of the world that one wins over the world. It is not in the exaltation of the gesture and the word of which ritual is the “castigatio” (correction) that the world is conquered.  For the world has above all an abhorrence of itself, and it is not by secularizing himself that the Christian conquers the world.
(H/t to Fr. Z)
I will say that, although one can sympathize with Gnocchi's pessimism, there are heartening signs of a rediscovery of all of these vestments on the part of younger clergy, at least in certain parts of the Catholic world. I know (and many NLM readers know) quite a few priests who wear the cassock regularly and who don the amice even for the Ordinary Form. In fact, there is a steadily growing number who tie on the maniple, too. But there can be no question that this practice of the hermeneutic of continuity is found predominantly, almost exclusively, in the traditionalist milieu. It is truly a moment of opportunity for all the clergy in the West, even in the context of the Ordinary Form, to rediscover their soldierly part in the apocalyptic battle by wearing the symbolic vestments that remind them of who and what they are.

Anyway, just do yourself a favor and read Gnocchi's essay...

Holy Week at the Ordinariate Church of St John the Evangelist, Calgary

The report and photos below are from the Ordinariate Parish of St John the Evangelist in Calgary, Alberta. The parish website is here.

The Ordinariate church of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, Alberta celebrated the sacred triduum with full ceremonies this year. The parish was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church in December 2011, and has over doubled in size since its inception as a part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The parish uses exclusively the liturgical books authorised for the personal ordinariates, known as Divine Worship, and boasts the public recitation of morning and evening prayer (Mattins and Evensong) daily, alongside the celebration of the Mass.

Maundy Thursday was celebrated with the mandatum (or maundy), together with the traditional procession to the altar of repose at the conclusion of the Mass. The choir sang chant from the Anglican tradition, mainly in English and from the Wantage and English Gradual collections, together with hymns and anthems familiar to the faithful.

A solemn watch was kept at the altar of repose until midnight, and an all night watch was kept by the lay faithful before the Blessed Sacrament until the celebration of the Solemn Liturgy on Good Friday. After the conclusion of the Mass the choir sang Psalm 22 as the altars were stripped and washed, and Evensong was recited by the clergy in quire.

On Good Friday, after Mattins in quire in the morning, the solemn liturgy was celebrated at midday with the passion of Saint John being chanted by three clerics before the rood screen. The choir sang the chants during the veneration of the cross by the faithful, who maintained the tradition of ‘creeping to the cross’ with three genuflections.

Over 150 people ventured through the Good Friday snow to the liturgy. The cross was carried aloft through the church to the elaborate chant of the Behold the wood of the cross, from the Roman Gradual, set to music in many of the Anglo-Catholic chant editions.

The solemn intercessions were sung by the priest, before removing the black vestments and changing into the violet vestments prescribed for the Communion Rite. The Blessed Sacrament was brought from the altar of repose, and the faithful invited to receive Holy Communion kneeling at the altar rail of the sanctuary, as is the parish custom.

After the liturgy, Evensong was recited in quire and the cross and candles remained on the altar for the veneration of the faithful until Holy Saturday. On the morning of Holy Saturday, after Mattins, the church was prepared for the Paschal Vigil.

The vigil began with the blessing of the new fire, incense, and the paschal candle by the entrance to the church as the people gathered outside. The penitential character of the liturgical vigil is marked by violet vestments, except for the deacon who changes into gold in order to bear the paschal candle into the church and to sing the Exsultet.

The blessing of water took place at the epistle corner of the sanctuary, before bring carried to the font for the baptism of a new Christian, who was also confirmed during the ceremony.

After the vigil itself and the ceremonies of initiation, the first Mass of Easter was celebrated at the High Altar of the church. On Easter Sunday morning, a Solemn High Mass was offered, preceded by the Sprinkling with Holy Water (Vidi Aquam) and a procession around the church - one of the traditional characteristics of Anglican worship on feasts.

The choir sang the chant for the rite of sprinkling, and also vernacular settings of the chants of the Graduale Romanum for the Introit and Gradual, and an English setting of the great Easter Sequence.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rogation and Ember Days - An Illustrated Guide

April 25th sees the coincidence of three observances this year: the Friday within the Octave of Easter, the feast of St Mark the Evangelist, and the Major Litanies, or Rogation Days. Traditionally, St Mark would be transferred to the next free day after Low Sunday, but the Major Litanies would be celebrated together with the Easter Octave, with a procession and a Mass. In the Breviary, the Litany of the Saints would be recited after Lauds by those who do not participate in a Rogation process. Our friend Fr Christopher Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina and one of the writers at Chant Café, put together an excellent illustrated guide explaining both the Rogations and Ember Days, with a number of very useful quotes from various liturgical sources. It can be downloaded from dropbox.

Ordinariate Pilgrimage to Walsingham

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Holy Week and Easter - Your Photos

Once again, we wish to thank the readers who sent in photographs of their Triduum and Easter services. If we receive more over the coming week, we will have another photopost sometime during the coming week. A reminder that we are happy to receive photographs and links to videos any time, not just for major occasions, but it is not always possible to publish them all.
Ss. Peter and Paul - Würzburg, Germany
There are many more pictures available on the parish’s facebook page.
Gospel on Maundy Thursday
Good Friday

The Exsultet on Holy Saturday
The Gloria on Holy Saturday
Immaculate Conception - Omaha, Nebraska (F.S.S.P.)

St Alphonsus - Baltimore, Maryland
Altar of Repose
Main altar after the Easter Vigil
A representation of the Empty Tomb in a side-chapel
St Basil the Great Greek-Catholic Church - Bucharest, Romania

St Mary’s - Remsen, Iowa

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