Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Any regular reader of this blog will know that I have long maintained that the style of art is every bit as important as the content, and that since the Enlightenment style has declined because artists have rejected the traditional Catholic forms.
Monday, December 29, 2014
|Master of Portillo, Mass of St Gregory|
The central and definitive “word” is Jesus Christ, the Logos or Verbum of the Father, made flesh for us men and for our salvation. It follows that the liturgy of the Word par excellence is the Holy Eucharist itself. To go further, the liturgy of the Word, in the fullest sense, must be the Eucharistic sacrifice, because in this sacrifice the Word which is “spoken” by the Father is offered back to Him, thanks to His human nature, in a perfect self-offering—and this oblation of Christ on the cross is the sole reason we ourselves can receive, can be made “hearers of,” the word of God in nature and in divine revelation. If, instead, one appropriates “word” to the Bible, then this portion of public worship, in terms of the phenomenology of the Mass, risks becoming an equal to the Eucharist, if not its superior.
The verbum Domini or Word of the Lord is the Logos, Jesus Christ Himself. Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis. It also refers to the “word” (in the idiomatic sense of that which summarizes: “in a word…”) of consecration, which is the mystery of faith, mysterium fidei. Christ, above all, is this mysterium fidei; all other sacred mysteries are such because of their being rooted in Him or flowing from Him. The Church is a mysterium because she is united to Christ, the great mystery, magnum mysterium. Through the consecration, we are taken from the promise of revelation (the Mass of Catechumens) to the Real Presence (the Mass of the Faithful)—a transition from verbum (in the ordinary sense of something spoken) to res (in the sense of the thing signified by word).
The problem, then, with the phrase “Liturgy of the Word” is that the Word, as such, is fully and really present only in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, when the Word Himself is personally present in His divinity and glorified humanity. The sign of the difference is that, while we offer incense to the Gospel in honor of Him whose Gospel it is, it would be sinful for someone to bow down and adore the lectionary, placing his faith and trust in it, and loving it above all things, whereas it is precisely this adoration or latreia that must be given to most holy Eucharist; indeed, as Saint Augustine says (and Benedict XVI often quotes him to this effect), we would be guilty of sinning were we not to adore It.
A Protestant confusion is thus introduced and subtly fostered. According to the Catholic faith, “God’s Word” is chiefly and primarily in the Holy Eucharist because it is Jesus Christ, and only secondarily in the Sacred Scriptures that contain His teaching and bear witness to Him. Like all mere signs, Scripture will pass away in heaven, as the Book of Revelation teaches: “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev 21:22-23). Like all mere signs, it is only for the wayfarer. In Protestant churches, one often sees the Bible sitting up on the main altar, where the tabernacle ought to be, as though at the center of Christianity were a book, something written in lifeless letters on lifeless paper; such an architectural arrangement expresses the very essence of the Protestant heresy, where words replace the Word in His living and life-giving flesh and blood. The Novus Ordo structure follows, in a sense, this verbalistic architectural schema, which makes it more understandable that in Catholic churches all over the world the tabernacle was removed from the center and placed off to the side, usually not in a place of great honor.
No one could have appreciated more than the Jewish Christians of the early Church how vast and profound a change was inaugurated by Christ in the New Covenant. It might seem logical, then, that they should discard the old forms of worship (the old wineskins, as it were) in favor of new ones. But nothing of the sort happened; the Christian worship grew organically out of the pre-existent Jewish worship. When the Christians began to worship exclusively in their own communities, no longer visiting the synagogue for the service of readings, they nevertheless kept and fostered the Jewish traditions in their own Eucharistic worship. The very fact that the Christians saw in the Holy Eucharist the fulfillment of what the Jews read about in their Scriptures indicates that the liturgical connection was understood to be much deeper than merely two back-to-back segments of ritual, one pertaining to “books” and the other to “sacrament” or “mysteries.” From a Patristic perspective, the division of “Mass of the Catechumens” and “Mass of the Faithful” renders the relationship far more accurately: the catechumens are those who, whether Jew or Gentile, remain on the outside of the fold but are approaching entrance to it, whereas the faithful are those who have embraced Jesus Christ as their Lord in the mysteries of initiation and can now, entering into the Holy of Holies, reap the fruits foretold in the Scriptures that are read aloud to everyone (including the catechumens).
|The Temple of Solomon|
How strange it is that, in so many respects, the attitude and decisions of those who replaced the organically developed Roman liturgy with a committee-generated fabrication treated the preceding form of Catholic worship as more foreign than the early Christians had treated the worship of the Israelites! Perhaps it is no more strange than the general loss of a sense of obligation or bond to God’s revelation of Himself in the past. We would rather have our own creation from our own time period than something handed down to us by our ancestors. Needless to say, this mentality is profoundly unscriptural, untraditional, unecclesiastical. One may wonder if it is not ineluctably bound up with the Hegelian (or Teilhardian) model of inexorable historical progress through the constant overcoming of the given, as we all march towards Absolute Spirit. But this way madness lies.
The Incarnation is the pivotal point, not the present moment; and the Christ who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, who has been given to us in the apostolic rites of the Church, is the measure of our doctrine and practice—not our own sociological models or theoretical constructs.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Our grateful thanks to a kind NLM reader who remastered the clip and made it available to us.
A more complete description is available here: http://ustpaul.ca/upload-files/Theology/cours2014-2015/THO_2141_H_2015_-_Course_Description_2.pdf. Students can register for the course (for credit or as an auditor) by completing this fillable PDF form: http://ustpaul.ca/upload-files/Admissions-Recruitment/registration-form-special-student_new.pdf and submitting it to Christine Prévost via email at email@example.com.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
We will be doing a photopost for the Christmas, for Masses in both forms as well as celebrations of the Office. Please send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in the photopost.
|The Nativity of Christ, by Pietro Cavallini, Santa Maria in the Trastevere, Rome, 1296-1300|
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
“O Sapientia” refers to the eternal pre-existence of the Word, and His role in creation, an idea of which the Church Fathers often speak. St Paul calls Christ “the wisdom of God” in 1 Corinthians 1, 24; the antiphon says that Wisdom “came forth from the mouth of the Most High”, i.e. it is spoken, like the Word. St Hilary of Poitier writes in his book On the Trinity, 3, 21, commenting on the figure of Wisdom who speaks in Proverbs 8, “There is with God Wisdom, begotten before the worlds; and not only present with Him, but setting in order, for it was with Him, setting them in order. Mark this work of setting in order, or arranging. The Father, by His commands, is the Cause; the Son, by His execution of the things commanded, sets in order.”
“O Adonai” speaks of Christ as the one who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and gave him the Law on Mount Sinai; “Adonai”, Hebrew for “My Lord”, is the word which Jews, when reading the Bible, say in place of the Divine Name YHWH that was revealed to Moses in Exodus 3. The prayer to “come to redeem us with arm extended” refers to God’s own words when speaking to Moses in Exodus 6, 6, “I am the Lord who will bring you out from the work-prison of the Egyptians, and will deliver you from bondage: and redeem you with a high arm, and great judgments,” as well as the canticle which Moses sings after the crossing of the Red Sea, “Let fear and dread fall upon them, (i.e. upon the Egyptians) in the greatness of thy arm.” (Exod. 15, 16)
O Radix Jesse” quotes two chapters of the prophet Isaiah (11 and 52) which are cited by St Paul in Romans 15, although the citations are not exactly the same. (After the Psalms, Isaiah is the Old Testament book most often quoted in the New.) This antiphon and its predecessor demonstrate that in the Old Testament, both the Law and the Prophets bear witness to the coming of Christ, just as Moses and Elijah appeared to either side of Him at the Transfiguration, the former as the representative of the Law, the latter of the Prophets. St Leo the Great, in a homily on the Transfiguration, says that in the preaching of the Word, “the pages of each covenant agree with each other; and the splendor of the present glory shows manifestly and clearly that which the signs that went before it had promised under the veil of mysteries.”
The O antiphons do not explicitly mention the Incarnation, to which the whole season of Advent is dedicated; nor do they anticipate the birth of Christ, which is celebrated at Christmas. Likewise, it would also be out of keeping with the joyful nature of the season to work in any explicit reference to Christ’s passion and death; instead, these are spoken of obliquely in the fourth and fifth antiphons.
“O Clavis David – o key of David” and the term that follows, “scepter of the house of Israel” refer to the Angel Gabriel’s words to the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation, that Her Son would be given the seat of David, and rule in the house of Jacob, whose other name is Israel. Where the antiphon prays that Christ may come “to lead out the prisoner from the house of the prison, and him that sitteth in the darkness and the shadow of death”, the prisoner is Adam, the forefather of the human race, and by inference, all the just who died before the death and resurrection of Christ had opened the gates of heaven, and thus remained “in darkness and the shadow of death.” Note in the image below how Christ at the Harrowing of Hell is shown holding the Cross, which is suggestive of a key in its form. Behind, the locks and bars of the Limbo of the Fathers are broken. Of course, the Harrowing of Hell is necessarily preceding by the passion and death of Christ, which in turn are necessarily preceded by the Incarnation.
“O Oriens” is about the Resurrection, since “Oriens” means “the rising one.” This antiphon describes Christ as “the splendor of eternal light, the sun of justice”, which is to say, the Light and Sun that shall see no setting. Here the Church professes its hope in the future resurrection, by speaking of the “eternal light” on December 21, the winter solstice and the shortest hours of daylight. It is surely not a coincidence that this is also the shortest of the O antiphons. The object of the prayer at the antiphon’s end is repeated from yesterday, but now in the plural: “come and shine upon those who sit in the darkness, and the shadow of death.” This indicates that the fruits of Christ’s passion and resurrection are to be shared with the whole of the human race in each of its members.
“O Rex gentium”, therefore, refers to the Ascension, Pentecost, and the establishment of the Church. On the feast of the Ascension, the first words of the Magnificat antiphon at Second Vespers are “O Rex gloriae”, sung in the same mode and with the same notes as the beginning of the O antiphons. These are the only two antiphons of the ancient corpus in general use throughout the Roman Rite that begin with these words. The word “gloriae – of glory” is substituted by “gentium – of the nations” to symbolize the nations that come into the Church, beginning with the Apostles’ preaching to nations of diverse languages at Pentecost.
Christ is then called “desideratus earum – the one desired by (the nations)”, words taken from the prophecy of Haggai 2, 8, in which God says that He will fill His house, i.e. the Church, with glory when He stirs up all nations. He is also called “lapis angularis – the corner stone”, in reference to the corner stone rejected by the builders in Psalm 117, and also to the Lauds hymn for the Dedication of a Church, “Angularis fundamentum – Christ is sent as the corner stone and foundation.”
On the morning of December 23rd, the Church sings the canticle Benedictus with the antiphon “Behold, all things are completed which were said through the Angel about the Virgin Mary.” This being so, the last O antiphon, “O Emmanuel”, addresses Christ with the name meaning “God is with us”, the name of the child whose coming was prophesied by Isaiah when he foretold that “a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son”.
There follow the titles “our King and lawgiver, the expectation of the nations, and the Savior thereof.” In the previous antiphon, the word “desideratus – the desired (of the nations)” is a past participle, indicating that the longing of the nations for the first coming of Christ has been fulfilled. Here He is “the expectation of the nations”, the Latin word “expectatio” indicating an ongoing action, as we await the Second Coming of Christ, who “shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom shall have no end.” This returns us to a theme which has been present from the very beginning of Advent, which recalls both the First Coming of Christ in the fullness of time, and His Second Coming at the end of the world.
|Christ the Savior, by El Greco, 1610-14|
Seven is the number of the old covenant and eight is the number of the new, with Christ himself representing the ‘eighth day’. (You can read more about this here: the path to heaven is a triple helix...and it passes through an octagonal portal). I described how even the structure of the texts has this liturgical pattern - so St Thomas tells us that the book of Psalms is most appropriate for liturgy and praise of God because alone in the Bible it contains ‘all of theology’. He goes on to say that there are 150 psalms which can be broken up into 70 and 80 where ‘70 denotes 7, the number of the old covenant, and 8 denotes 8 the number of the new covenant.’
At the end of the talk the Dominican Friar, Fr Michael, told us how the Lord’s Prayer has this same liturgical structure. He directed us to St Thomas’s commentary on the Lord’s Prayer which ‘among all prayers holds chief place’. He described how St Thomas considered each petition as given in Matthew’s gospel into seven petitions.
The first three petitions are all related to God:
Hallowed Be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It Is in Heaven
and the last three relate to man and to earthly things:
And Forgive Us Our Trespasses
As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us.
And Lead Us Not Into Temptation. But Deliver Us from Evil. Amen
He then described how at the center of the prayer and at the conjunction of the two sections is the petition, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ This is both the seventh and the eighth petition and they meet where God and man meet, in Christ, in the Eucharist. So this petition refers to daily sustenance in both temporal and spiritual terms. The temporal is our need for daily food, and the spiritual sustenance is both the Sacramental bread which is consecrated daily in the Church and the nourishing Word of God.
“It must be noted that in the first three petitions of this prayer only things spiritual are asked for—those which indeed begin to be in this world but are only brought to fruition in the life eternal. Thus, when we pray that the name of God be hallowed, we really ask that the name of God be known; when we pray that the kingdom of God may come, we ask that we may participate in God’s kingdom; and when we pray that the will of God be done, we ask that His will be accomplished in us. All these things, however, although they have their beginning here on earth, cannot be had in their fullness except in heaven. Hence, it is necessary to pray for certain necessaries which can be completely had in this life. The Holy Spirit, then, taught us to ask for the requirements of this present life which are here obtainable in their fullness, and at the same time He shows that our temporal wants are provided us by God. It is this that is meant when we say: ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ ”
“One may also see in this bread another twofold meaning, viz., Sacramental Bread and the Bread of the Word of God. Thus, in the first meaning, we pray for our Sacramental Bread which is consecrated daily in the Church, so that we receive it in the Sacrament, and thus it profits us unto salvation: ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven.’ ”
Monday, December 22, 2014
My thanks to an old friend, Mr Lucas Viar Basterra, for providing us with this assessment of the on-going restoration of the cathedral of Chartres, and critique of some of the controversies related to it. Mr Viar was born in Houston, Texas, but has lived most of his life in Bilbao, Spain. After studying architecture in San Sebastián, and Restoration and Sacred art at La Sapienza in Rome, he has worked for the Municipal Museums of Florence and the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute. He is currently starting his own firm.
|photo from ND-Cretiente.com|
The great cathedral at Chartres is not only an important Catholic centre for France, It is also one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture. Chartres defines the archetype of what a Gothic cathedral should be. It’s proportions, arches, stained glass windows, spires, sculptures, are what all other Gothic churches in France are measured against.
The building has had a fortunately uneventful history. It survived the French Revolution almost unscathed, when churches such as Notre-Dame de Paris were plundered, vandalized or repurposed. It was also heroically saved from bombing during World War II by an American Army Officer. This makes the cathedral of Chartres one of the best preserved 13th century Gothic churches in France.
|The vaults before restoration. Photo by Andreas F. Borchert|
Everybody seems very happy to see the windows cleaned and restored, but another side of this restoration is proving to be more controversial. I am referring to the alleged “repainting” of the vaults, pillars and walls of the church. The fact that the interiors of medieval churches were commonly plastered and painted seems to be something new and somewhat uncomfortable to some in the art history community, not unlike the idea that Greek sculptures were vividly colored. In 1989 the first findings of mural painting at Chartres were published, and an extensive sampling campaign conducted in 1994 determined that around 80% of the interior surface of the church had preserved its 13th-century decoration.
|The original decoration emerges during the cleaning process.|
The aim of the restoration in progress is to uncover these original decorations. I believe that most specialists agree that 13th-century mural decorations have the same historic importance as 13th century stained glass. Therefore, I find that the effort to clean, consolidate and preserve them very laudable. A short video published by the French Ministry of Culture shows different stages of the restoration process. At 00:36, we can see how the painted decoration appears miraculously when the grime is removed with a brush. Other parts need to be painstakingly cleaned with a scalpel. The parts where the 13th century rendering has been lost are repainted in imitation of the original, a process is known as reintegration. Today, halfway through the project, we can see side by side the before and after states of the nave.
|The nave and the restored sanctuary. Photo by Marianne Casamance|
As an architect specialized in heritage restoration, I feel a strong empathy towards the people behind the restoration at Chartres. Coincidentally, a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by Prof. Anne Vuillemard-Jenn. The subject was historic mural painting in French Gothic churches, among them, Chartres.
Everybody is entitled to an opinion, and, in the case of these gentlemen, it’s the way they make their living. I would certainly not argue against criticism towards some of the criteria applied in Chartres. For example, one could argue endlessly on the manner and degree in which the walls were cleaned, or on if they should have reintegrated the missing parts using a muted color instead of reproducing the masonry motif, or if the vision of the stained glass has been distorted by a too bright interior.
Mr Filler, fueled by the feeling of disappointment during his last visit, accuses the team lead by Frédéric Didier, of repainting the cathedral in what he terms “garish”colors. He doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that what we see today has been there for the past 800 years. He is keen on the idea that what he saw when he last visited Chartres 30 years ago was not an accumulation of grime and soot over this decorations, but actual stone.
In an attempt to discredit the professional capabilities of the project’s director, Didier, he brings up a previous project, the Sanctuary of the Sacred Heart at Paray-le-Monial. This church, where St Margaret Mary of Alacoque had her famous visions, had underwent a very aggressive renovation during the first half of the 20th century, when all the walls were scraped to bring out the stone. The project, directed by Didier, who according to Mr. Filler “wrecked” the church, included the rendering of the bare stone walls in white and ochre, colors close to the few original remains left.
The article in the New York Review was almost immediately answered by two renowned scholars, Madeline Caviness and Jeffrey Hamburger. As members of the American Friends of Chartres advisory board they have had a very detailed knowledge of what has been done there, and in their response they politely point out the article’s mistakes and describe clearly the extent of the works. Nevertheless, Filler responds shortly after, with another aggressive tirade, doubting the impartiality of these two scholars and the quality of the scientific research behind the project.
|Vaults of the nave. Photo by M. Mensler|
Sunday, December 21, 2014
A particular feature of this service is the interplay between the Oratory's Junior Choir, for boys and girls aged 8-16, and the professional Senior Choir, in medieval cantiones as well as in the traditional German alternation of Quem pastores, in which the 'Angels' (the Junior Choir) sing from the gallery while the 'Shepherds' (the Senior Choir) respond from below with 'Nunc angelorum gloria!'. The service will include a carol by the Oratory's organist, Matthew Martin, on the text of the 'O' Antiphon for December 22, O Rex Gentium.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Further details are available here.
The Spatzenmesse or Sparrow Mass was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1775 or 1776 in Salzburg. This Mass had its debut on Easter Sunday 1776 at the Cathedral of Salzburg. It is called “the Sparrow Mass” from the violin figures played at the words “Hosanna in excelsis”of the Sanctus, which sound like the chirping of birds.
A concert of Seasonal Sacred Music will begin at 8:30, and will include selections from Handel’s Messiah, as well selections from the Renaissance and Romantic Periods. The program also includes the ancient Gregorian Chants sung by the Men’s Schola. Selections from Monteverdi’s Vespers and Vivaldi’s baroque masterpiece, Gloria will also be performed.
The director, Simone Ferraresi, studied at the Conservatory of Music in Ferrara, Italy where he earned his degree with highest honors; at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna he studied with world renowned pianist and musicologist Paul Badura-Skoda. Maestro Ferraresi specialized in interpretation of classical composers; at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he was awarded the Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music – the highest examinable award given by the Royal Academy. He was also awarded three special prizes for best performance in the final recital. He is the founder and artistic director of the Ferrara International Piano Festival.
St. Anthony’s Church is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Sites. The church built in the Victorian Gothic Style is a pristine example of a church untouched by modern elements and remains a true example of Roman Catholic aesthetic rarely seen today. The church parking lot is located on 6th St. between Coles and Monmouth Street and is easily accessible from the Grove Street PATH, the Newport PATH and Light Rail stop.
Friday, December 19, 2014
In an English-language interview on Gloria TV with Una Voce Austria, recently transcribed, His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke spoke about a variety of issues facing the Church today. What I appreciate most is the Cardinal's beautiful reflections on Catholic life as it used to be and his sober assessment of the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council. It can be tiresome to hear people go on about "how bad things were before the Council" and "how much we needed the Council." Sure, there were problems, and no one can deny it; did we ever expect the Catholic Church on earth to be free from problems? Is the fallen human race ever free of problems? But what men like Cardinal Burke help us to see is that, in fact, things were a great deal better, in general, before the Council, and that we are still very much in a rebuilding and recovery mode right now, like emergency workers after a giant earthquake or tsunami strikes.
Q. Your Eminence, you grew up before the Second Vatican Council. How do you remember those times?
A. I grew up in a very beautiful time in the Church, in which we were carefully instructed in the faith, both at home and in the Catholic school, especially with the Baltimore Catechism. I remember the great beauty of the Sacred Liturgy, even in our little farming town, with beautiful Masses. And then, I'm of course most grateful for my parents who gave me a very sound up-bringing in how to live as a Catholic. So they were beautiful years.
Q. A friend of mine who was born after the Council used to say, "Not everything was good in the old days, but everything was better." What do you think about this?
A. Well, we have to live in whatever time the Lord gives us. Certainly, I have very good memories of growing up in the 1950's and early 1960's. I think what is most important is that we appreciate the organic nature of our Catholic Faith and appreciate the Tradition to which we belong and by which the Faith has come to us.
Q. Did you embrace the big changes after the Council with enthusiasm?
A. What happened soon after the Council - I was in the minor seminary at that time, and we followed what was happening at the Council - but the experience after the Council was so strong and even in some cases violent, that I have to say that, even as a young man, I began to question some things - whether this was really what was intended by the Council - because I saw many beautiful things that were in the Church suddenly no longer present and even considered no longer beautiful. I think, for instance, of the great tradition of Gregorian Chant or the use of Latin in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. Then also, of course, the so-called 'Spirit of Vatican II' influenced other areas - for instance, the moral life, the teaching of the Faith - and then we saw so many priest abandoning their priestly ministry, so many religious sisters abandoning religious life. So, there were definitely aspects about the post-conciliar period that raised questions.
Q. You were ordained a priest in 1975. Did you think that something in the Church had gone wrong?
A. Yes, I believe so. In some way, we lost a strong sense of the centrality of the Sacred Liturgy and, therefore, of the priestly office and ministry in the Church. I have to say, I was so strongly raised in the Faith, and had such a strong understanding of vocation, that I never could refuse to do what Our Lord was asking. But I saw that there was something that had definitely gone wrong. I witnessed, for instance, as a young priest the emptiness of the catachesis. The catechetical texts were so poor. Then I witnessed the liturgical experimentations - some of which I just don't even want to remember - the loss of the devotional life, the attendance at Sunday Mass began to steadily decrease: all of those were signs to me that something had gone wrong.
Q. Would you have imagined in 1975 that, one day, you would offer Mass in the rite that was abandoned for the sake of renewal?
A. No, I would not have imagined it. Although, I also have to say that I find it very normal, because it was such a beautiful rite, and that the Church recovered it seems to me to be a very healthy sign. But, at the time, I must say that the liturgical reform in particular was very radical and, as I said before, even violent, and so the the thought of a restoration didn't seem possible, really. But, thanks be to God, it happened.
Q. Juridically, the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Latin Mass are the same rite. Is this also your factual experience when you celebrate a Pontifical High Mass in the new or the old rite?
A. Yes, I understand that they are the same rite, and I believe that, when the so-called New Rite or the Ordinary Form is celebrated with great care and with a strong sense that the Holy Liturgy is the action of God, one can see more clearly the unity of the two forms of the same rite. On the other hand, I do hope that - with time - some of the elements which unwisely were removed from the rite of the Mass, which has now become the Ordinary Form, could be restored, because the difference between the two forms is very stark.
Q. In what sense?
A. The rich articulation of the Extraordinary Form, all of which is always pointing to the theocentric nature of the liturgy, is practically diminished to the lowest possible degree in the Ordinary Form.
Q. The Synod on the Family has been a shock and sometimes even a scandal, especially for young Catholic families who are the future of the Church. Do they have reasons to worry?
A. Yes, they do. I think that the report that was given at the mid-point of the session of the Synod, which just ended October 18th, is perhaps one of the most shocking public documents of the Church that I could imagine. And, so, it is a cause for very serious alarm and it's especially important that good Catholic families who are living the beauty of the Sacrament of Matrimony rededicate themselves to a sound married life and that also they use whatever occasions they have to give witness to the beauty of the truth about marriage which they are experiencing daily in their married life.
Q. Most practicing Catholics in an average parish in Western Europe and the U.S. are those who were baptized and catechized before the Council. Is the Church in these countries living from her past?
A. I think that my generation, for instance, was blessed to grow up at a time in which there was a strong practice of the Catholic Faith, a strong tradition of participation in Sunday Mass and the Sacred Liturgy, a strong devotional life, a strong teaching of the Faith. But in some way, I believe, we sadly took it for granted, and the same attention was not given to pass on the Faith as we had come to know it to the success of generations. Now what I see it that many young people are hungering and thirsting - and this already for some time - to know the Catholic Faith at its roots and to experience many aspects of the richness of the tradition of the Faith. So I believe that there is a recovery precisely of what had been for a period of time lost or not cared for in a proper manner. I think that now there is a rebirth at work among the young Catholics.
It has been called to attention the the second volume of the English translation of the Breviary according to the Rite of the Order of Preachers, published by order of fr. Aniceto Fernandez, O.P., translated by the Irish Dominican Sisters (Dublin: St. Saviour's, 1967) has been made available online by Corpus Christi Watershead, in four PDF files.
I have also made these files available on the left side bar, at Dominican Liturgy. Note, however, that this download may be slow on some computers. Let us hope that this wonderful resource will soon be followed by files for volume 1.
I also remind readers that since this edition was translated after Sacrosanctum Concilium, 89 (1963), it lacks the Office of Prime. That office is available in English as part of the Dominican Rite Ordo for 2015, published by Dominican Liturgy Publications.
Posted Friday, December 19, 2014
The Society's mission is ambitious and well in keeping with the best and noblest of Catholic ideals:
The Society's mission: the salvation of souls through the rediscovery of the contemplative Catholic tradition in her arts, her liturgy and the lives and writings of her Saints. Incorporated in Winnipeg -- as a private association of the lay faithful -- it promotes spiritual conferences, public talks and cultural events which emphasize the Spiritual Acts of Mercy; to instruct the ignorant; to pray for the living and the dead. Under the dual Queenship of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Society of St. Dominic invokes the patronage of one monastic and two mendicant saints: Saint Dominic of Silos, Saint Dominic Guzman and Saint Therese of Lisieux.My purpose today is simply to direct readers to the stunningly beautiful website they have developed, itself a testimony to their principled love of sacredness and beauty. Its four sections are Musica Sacra, Sacra Liturgia, Architectura Sacra, and Sacra Doctrina. Although currently the Society is mostly making available articles and documentaries produced by others, their website is establishing itself as a very nice gathering spot for lovers of tradition and beauty. I highly recommend a visit.
We are happy to share with our readers the following information from Prof. Adam Bartlett of the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago.
As a new member of the faculty and staff of The Liturgical Institute, I am offering a series of chant workshops throughout the year on the Mundelein campus, and am also making available a traveling workshop program to dioceses around the country. These day-long workshops have been designed around the liturgical seasons, and are intended primarily for parish musicians and clergy as a resource for continuing formation and training.
Those who work with the liturgy on the parish level know that mere training is not enough. In order to renew and strengthen parish music programs, quality music resources are also needed. This is why the Institute’s chant workshops will make use of the books and resources in the Lumen Christi Series, which I have edited with Illuminare Publications, alongside the Church’s official chant books. In this way, theory can be put into practice on the parish level with reliable resources that are accessible to parishes today.
The first workshops are being offered this January, at the USML Mundelein Conference Center, focusing on the Chants of Lent and Holy Week.
Join us on January 9th, 2015 for a workshop on The Chants of Lent, which will provide a general introduction to the principles of liturgical chant, and will explore the antiphons and propers of the Lenten season. Find out more and register for the conference here.
Also, on January 15th, 2015 the popular conference Treasures of the Triduum will explore the Chants of Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday through the Easter Vigil. Learn more and register here.
I am very excited to begin this new effort with The Liturgical Institute, and am very glad to bring my work with the Lumen Christi Series into collaboration with an educational program that will help parishes enact lasting, authentic liturgical renewal. I hope that you will join me, and encourage your pastors and music directors to send their liturgical musicians to these and future workshops!
To learn more or to learn how to host a chant workshop in your diocese, please contact The Liturgical Institute at email@example.com, or call 847-837-4540.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
The workshop is sponsored by the Office of Liturgy of the Archdiocese of New York and St. Joseph’s Seminary. The cost of the workshop is $30 and includes lunch and a copy of Reflections on the Spirituality of Gregorian Chant by Dom Jacques Hourlier.
To register for the workshop, visit this link.
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2014
The Delegate of the Apostolic See for the Oratorian Fathers, the Very Rev. Fr.Felix Selden, C.O. was present as well as the Procurator General of the Oratorian Confederation, the Very Rev. Fr. Mario Avilés, C.O.. The Mass was presided by the Archbishop of Kingston, the Most Rev. Charles Dufour, D.D. and concelebrated by diocesan and religious clergy. The two Emeriti Archbishops also concelebrated, Archbishops Donald Reece and Edgerton Clarke. It was a wonderful celebration. There were over 500 people present.
We wish them well and would like the community to know they are in our prayers. If anyone would like to donate, then I would encourage to contact the Provost, Fr. Michael Palud, at the following address and phone number:
Rev. Fr. Michael Palud, C.O.
Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri
Port Antonio Oratory
Saint Anthony's Parish
14 Queen Street Titchfield Hill,
Port Antonio Portland, JAMAICA
- Sacra Liturgia USA - a four day academic conference including liturgical celebrations from June 1-4, 2015 to be held in New York City
- Sacra Liturgia Summer School will be held in La Garde-Freinet, in Provence, France, from 4-19 July 2015, providing opportunities for practical and academic formation, prayer, pilgrimage and rest in the south of France
- Sacra Liturgia UK, in conjunction with CIEL UK at Merton College, Oxford from 16-19 September, 2015
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2014
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
It is also, I find, accessible for the singer - I would say that most parish choirs could sing this well (although not all perhaps as beautifully as the professional choir on the CD). I could also hear different influences in his style, especially liturgical music for the Eastern rite. Nevertheless it seems wholly appropriate for the Roman rite for which this is written.
I was curious therefore to know of the opinion of an established composer in the Eastern rite, Roman Hurko, so I asked him what he thought about it and, if he liked it, would he write a review of it for us.
Roman writes for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic liturgy. I have put a recording of his music at the bottom of this article along with some of Paul's music (both would make a good present for someone!) You can hear more at www.romanhurko.com, and if you want to purchase his music on iTunes, then the link is here.
Roman wrote as follows:
‘Composer Paul Jernberg has composed a new setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for a cappella choir. It was recorded this past summer with the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle in Chicago under the direction of Maestro J. Michael Thompson, and is now available for purchase at: www.pauljernberg.com
‘I find this Mass setting very beautiful; very contemplative. As a composer from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church tradition, I feel very much at home in its aesthetic, one that I would characterize as eschewing the harshness of electric light in favor of the soft glow emanating from candlelight.
‘As in the Eastern church tradition, this Mass setting is sung completely from A – Z by priest, choir, and readers. Mr. Jernberg’s musical transitions between priest and choir are stylistically coherent and seamless. I would recommend that all young composers study Mr. Jernberg’s organic setting, as I have often found it jarring when a priest sings chant and is then responded to by the choir in a completely different musical style.
‘Another eastern rite similarity is the use of a melody over an is on, or drone. This essentially monophonic device is complemented in this setting by polyphonic consonant harmonies, with a judicious use of suspensions and appoggiaturas, often ending with stern, medieval sounding open fifth chords. However, no matter the harmonic texture, the text of the prayers is always clear to the listener (kudos to Maestro Thompson and his choir!), and is always served beautifully by the music. Clearly, Mr. Jernberg was guided in his compositional process by the principle of Noble Simplicity, and although there are similarities to the Eastern polyphonic style in this setting, it is clearly grounded in the greatness of the Western tradition.
‘Finally, in a mere forty years, the year 2054 will mark the millennium of the Great Schism between the ‘two lungs’ of the church: Eastern and Western. To my mind, Mr. Jernberg’s setting helps bring these two traditions closer together. Kudos to Mr. Jernberg and kudos to the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle under the direction of Maestro Thompson!’
A couple of notes: when Mr Hurko refers to the ‘polyphony’ of Paul's music I understand that he is using the word in the broadest sense, i.e. ‘many sounds’, rather than the narrower meaning some will be used to, which refers to the form of music dominated by counterpoint as in for example, the polyphony of the High Renaissance. Some might use the word ‘homophony’ to apply to Paul’s music instead.
Also, if anyone like me didn’t know, an appoggiatura is a non-harmonic tone that happens on a strong beat or strong emphasis in the melody and ultimately resolves into the main note. Paul uses these judiciously, but in way that adds greatly to the beauty of the overall piece. Without knowing the technical word, I could hear that he was momentarily ‘stepping out’, so to speak, in order add to the sense of resolution when he steps back in again at the end of a phrase.
Below we have the Our Father from Paul Jernberg’s Mass, and below that Holy God from Roman Hurko’s Liturgy No.2
Monday, December 15, 2014
The upcoming issue of Sacred Music features many excellent new essays, including a particularly insightful essay by Harold Boatrite, a few essays about "Viennese Masses", and an article by Dr. John Pepino about Louis Bouyer.
There are also some important announcements from the CMAA at the very tail end of the issue, which I cross-link here for convenience.
The new issue should arrive in mailboxes soon!
- Participation | William Mahrt
- Louis Bouyer and the Pauline Reform: Great Expectations Dashed | John Pepino
- Beyond the “Viennese Mass”: Thoughts on the History, Use, and Modern Understanding of the Eighteenth-Century Austro-German Orchestral Mass Repertoire | Erick Arenas
- Problems in Church Music in Late Eighteenth-Century Vienna and Their Relevance for Catholic Church Musicians Today | Jane Schatkin Hettrick
- Aural Asceticism: The History and Spiritual Fruits of Silencing the Organ During Certain Liturgies | Jennifer Donelson
- A Stunning Pentecost Motet: Jacobus Gallus’ Factus est repente | William Mahrt
- Art and Its Replacements | Harold Boatrite
- Announcing the St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians: An Interview with Father Matthew Ernest | Mary Jane Ballou
- Mystic Modern: The Music, Thought, and Legacy of Charles Tournemire | New CMAA Publication
- Introducing the CMAA Annual Fund
- CMAA Colloquium XXV
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014
The most notorious victim of this process of journalistic simplification has been the notion of “active participation” or participatio actuosa. The word actuosa itself is very interesting: it means fully or totally engaged in activity, like a dancer or an actor who is putting everything into the dancing or the acting; it might be considered "super-active." But what is the notion of activity here? It is actualizing one's full potential, entering into possession of a good rather than having an unrealized capacity for it. In contemporary English, "active" often means simply the contrary of passive or receptive, yet in a deeper perspective, we see that these are by no means contrary. I can be actively receptive to the Word of God; I can be fully actualizing my ability to be acted upon at Mass by the chants, prayers, and ceremonies, without my doing much of anything that would be styled “active” in contemporary English.[Note 1] As St. John Paul II explained in an address to U.S. bishops in 1998:
Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural. [link]If your choir or schola sings Proper chants or motets at Mass, or if you’d like to see this happen someday, make sure you have this text from John Paul II ready for the person who objects: “But the people need to be singing everything!” Dom Alcuin Reid explained the Council’s intention very succinctly in an interview last December:
The Council called for participatio actuosa, which is primarily our internal connection with the liturgical action—with what Jesus Christ is doing in his Church in the liturgical rites. This participation is about where my mind and heart are. Our external actions in the liturgy serve and facilitate this. But participatio actuosa is not first and foremost external activity, or performing a particular liturgical ministry. That, unfortunately, has been a common misconception of the Council’s desire. [link]Now, even with the common misunderstanding of “actual” cleared out of the way, it is an extremely curious fact that the full expression from Sacrosanctum Concilium 14 is rarely quoted: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy” (in the original: "Valde cupit Mater Ecclesia ut fideles universi ad plenam illam, consciam atque actuosam liturgicarum celebrationum participationem ducantur, quae ab ipsius Liturgiae natura postulatur"). Whatever happened to “full” and “conscious”?
Of course, this lack of attentiveness can happen in the sphere of any language: as someone once put it, I can be doing finances inside my head while chanting the Credo in Latin—if I have been chanting it every week for years. But it nevertheless seems evident that this danger is significantly less present with the usus antiquior, for two reasons:
First, its very foreignness demands of the worshiper some effort to enter into it; indeed, it demands of the worshiper a decision about whether he really wants to enter into it or not. It is almost pointless to sit there unless you are ready to do something to engage the Mass or at very least to begin to pray. The use of a daily missal, widespread in traditional communities, is a powerful means of assimilating the mind and heart of the Church at prayer—and for me personally, following the prayers in my missal has amounted to a decades-long formation of my own mind and heart, giving me a savor for things spiritual, exemplars of holiness, ascetical rules, aspirations and resolutions. When I attend the EF, I am always much more actively engaged in the Mass, because there is more to do (I’ll come back to this point) and it seems more natural to use a missal to help me do it.
Second, the traditional Latin Mass is so obviously focused on God, directed to the adoration of Him, that one who is mentally present to what is happening is ineluctably drawn into the sacred mysteries, even if only at the simplest and most fundamental level of acknowledging the reality of God and adoring our Blessed Lord in the most Holy Sacrament. I am afraid to say that it is not clear at all that most Catholics attending most vernacular OF liturgies are ever confronted unequivocally and irresistibly with the reality of God and the demand for adoration. Or, to put it differently, the old liturgy forms these attitudes in the soul, whereas the new liturgy presupposes them. If you don’t have the right understanding and frame of mind, the Novus Ordo will do very little to give it to you, whereas the EF is either going to give it to you or drive you away. When you attend the EF, you are either subtly attracted by something in it, or you are put off by the demands it makes. Either way, lukewarmness is not an option.
At a Low or High Mass, depending on the feast, one might make the sign of the Cross 8 times:
- In nomine Patris…
- Adjutorium nostrum…
- Cum Sancto Spiritu (end of the Gloria)
- Et vitam venturi (end of the Credo)
- Benedictus (in the Sanctus)
- if the Confiteor is repeated at communion;
- At the final blessing.
Moreover, one will end up striking the breast up to 15 times (!)
- 3x at the “mea culpa” of the servers’ Confiteor;
- 3x at the Agnus Dei;
- 3x at the second Confiteor;
- 3x at the Domine, non sum dignus;
- 3x at the Salve Regina (O clemens, O dulcis, O pia).
While the postures of the faithful at certain times in the Mass are not as regimented as in the Novus Ordo, a Low Mass will typically have the faithful kneeling for a long time (from the start all the way to the Gospel, and from the Sanctus all the way through the last Gospel), which is a demanding discipline and really keeps one’s mind aware that one is in a special sacred place, taking part in a sacrifice. At a Sunday High Mass, there will be quite a lot of standing, bowing, genuflecting, kneeling, and sitting, which, together with the signs of the cross, the beating of the breast, the bowing of the head, and the chanting of the responses, amounts to what educators call a TPR environment—Total Physical Response. You are thrown into the worship body and soul, and, at almost every moment, something is happening that puts your mind back on what you are doing. The OF has tended to drop a lot of these “muscular” elements in favor of merely aural comprehension and verbal response, which, by themselves, constitute a fairly impoverished form of participation, and surely not a full one.
Most distinctive of all, perhaps, is the immensely peaceful reservoir of silence at the very center of the traditional Latin Mass. When the priest isn’t reading the Eucharistic Prayer “at” you, as it were, but instead is offering the Canon silently to God, always ad orientem, it becomes much easier to pray the words of the Canon oneself in union with the ministerial priest, or, if one prefers, to give oneself up a wordless union with the sacrifice. This makes the Canon of the Mass a time of more intensely full, conscious, and actual participation than is facilitated by the constant stream of aural stimulation in the Novus Ordo.
One can still hold the new rite to be integrally Catholic, and yet consider that the culture of the extraordinary form, where the people are supposedly passive, tends to teach people to pray independently, while the culture of the ordinary form often tends to create a dynamic in which people just chat to each other in church unless they are being actively animated by a minister.What we have seen, therefore, is a conclusion that flies completely in the face of the conventional wisdom. “Active participation,” in the manner in which it is usually understood and implemented in the Novus Ordo sphere, actually fosters passivity, while the Catholic who receives in a seeming passivity all that the traditional Mass has to give is actualizing his potential for worship to a greater extent. Consequently, if you are looking to fulfill the Council’s call for full, conscious, and actual participation, look no further than your local traditional Latin Mass and you will find, with due time and effort, a richness of participation more comprehensive than the reformed liturgy allows.
Note 1. I have rewritten the preceding sentences in response to some excellent criticisms leveled against my treatment of the Latin word actuosus in the first version of this article. Readers who are interested in the details may find them in the comment thread below.
(First and third images courtesy of Joseph Shaw and the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales; second photo courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed and the Campion Missal, used with permission.)