Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trinity Sunday 2015

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Data est mihi omnis potestas in caelo et in terra: euntes ergo docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, docentes eos servare omnia quaecumque mandavi vobis. Et ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus, usque ad consummationem saeculi. (Matthew 28, 18-20, the Gospel of Trinity Sunday)

Pope St Clement I adoring the Trinity, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1737-38
At that time: Jesus said to His disciples: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cardinal Burke celebrates St Philip's Day at the Oxford Oratory

Cardinal Burke celebrated a Solemn Pontifical Mass for the feast of St Philip Neri at the Oxford Oratory, in the 5th centenary of the Saint's birth. The pictures below appear courtesy of the Oxford Oratory and there are more over at the the Oxford Oratory website. During the sermon (full text here) Cardinal Burke spoke of St Philip's example in countering the secular culture and recalled the words of Cardinal Ratzinger immediately preceding the 2005 conclave:

Celebrating the fifth centennial of the birth of Saint Philip Neri, let us all take particular example from the manner in which he encountered a secularized and, therefore, corrupt culture. Let us implore his intercession as we ourselves confront a culture in which even the most fundamental truths, the truth about human life and the truth about its cradle in the family constituted by marriage, are consistently ignored, defied and grievously violated. I recall how Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger addressed the contemporary secular culture in his homily during the Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff, celebrated before the conclave during which he was elected to the See of Peter. He spoke of how the “the thought of many Christians” has been tossed about, in our time, by various “ideological currents,” observing that we are witnesses to the “human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error,” about which Saint Paul wrote in his Letter to the Ephesians. He noted that, in our time, those who live according to “a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church” are viewed as fundamentalists, as extremists, while relativism, that is, “letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’,” is extolled. Regarding the source of the grave moral evils of our time, he concluded: “We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires.”

Called to transform the world in Christ, let us, with Saint Philip Neri, turn to Christ, to His truth and love handed on to us in His Mystical Body, the Church. Let us practice the humility which recognizes that only the grace of God saves us from our sins and animates us for the pure and selfless love which conquers sin and everlasting death. Let us follow the counsel which Saint Philip gave to his niece. Let us give our hearts into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the opening of His glorious pierced Side, and let us strive, through prayer and penance, never to leave that home in which alone we find forgiveness, peace and strength. This is not fundamentalism. This is not extremism. This is living in Christ, in the Wisdom of God. As Christ sanctified the times of Saint Philip with an abundant outpouring of the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit into Saint Philip’s heart, so may He sanctify our times through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts.









Friday, May 29, 2015

Pentecost 2015 Photopost

Thank you to all the readers who sent in their pictures from Pentecost. I’ll also remind you that another photopost will be created for the feast of Corpus Christi coming up next week. Evangelize through beauty!

St Anthony of Padua, Jersey City, New Jersey
Solemn Mass on the Vigil of Pentecost
Courtesy of the Society of St Hugh of Cluny - (click here to see the full photoset)




Immaculate Conception Parish (FSSP), Omaha, NE
Confirmation, and Absolution of the Dead




Event Notice: Corpus Christi With a New FSSP Priest in Campbellford, Ontario

On Sunday, June 7, the church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary in Campbellford, Ontario, will welcome Fr Ian Verrier, FSSP, for a Solemn High Mass on the external solemnity of Corpus Christi. Fr Verrier will be ordained in Lincoln, Nebraska, this Saturday, May 30, and so this occasion will also serve as a thanksgiving for his ordination. Fr Jean-Pierre Pilon, the parish priest, will serve as deacon, and Fr Joseph Devereaux, chancellor of the Diocese of Peterborough, Ontario, and pastor of Assumption parish in Otonoabee, will serve as the subdeacon. The Mass will begin at 12:30 p.m, and be followed by a Eucharistic procession and Benediction; afterwards. The church is located at 21 Center St.


Minor Litanies Celebrated in the Ambrosian Liturgy

In the Ambrosian liturgy, the Minor Litanies are celebrated on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the Ascension, not before, and with a more austere tone than in the Roman Rite. The vestments are black, also their standard color for the ferias of Lent. In the Divine Office, all the proper features of the Paschal season, such as the antiphons consisting of only the word Hallelujah (spelled thus) are suspended; the three Masses of the triduum, which cannot be impeded by the feasts of the Saints, are stripped of almost all their antiphons. The Minor Litanies are also the proper Ambrosian occasion for the blessing and imposition of ashes, since the rite does not have Ash Wednesday. Last week, the first day of the Ambrosian Minor Litanies was celebrated at the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione; these photographs by Luca Geronutti are reproduced from the facebook page of the Messa Tradizionale Ambrosiana a Milano.

At the blessing of the ashes, the following prayer is said:
Omnipotens et misericors Deus, qui peccantibus Ninivitis triduano jejunio mortis jacturam evadere tribuisti, adesto supplicationibus nostris: et huic cineri, quem pro peccatis nostris suscipere contrito corde decrevimus, tuae benedictionis virtutem + infunde de coelis; ut sicut in veteri populo vitulae cinis cum aqua respersus lustrationem peccantibus, te jubente, praestabat; ita et hinc, in tuo nomine sancti+ficatus, cinis iste ad abluendas peccatorum nostrorum sordes proficiat, et animarum nostrarum salutem operetur. Per Dominum...
Almighty and merciful God, who granted to the sinful Ninivites to evade destruction and death by a fast of three days, be present to our supplications, and upon these ashes, which we with contrite heart have decreed to receive for our sins, pour forth from heaven the power of Thy blessing; so that, just as the ash of the heifer sprinkled with water on the people of the old covenant granted, at Thy command, the purgation of sins; so also here, sancti+fied in Thy name, this ash may profit to the washing away the filth of our sins, and work the salvation of the our souls. Through our Lord...


The imposition of ashes.
Our own Nicola de’ Grandi 
A prayer is said before the penitential procession begins.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A New Home for the Adoremus Bulletin

From The Badger Catholic comes the following news about Adoremus: Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy, which had suspended publication of the Adoremus Bulletin after the death of long-time editor Helen Hull Hitchcock. After some uncertainly about the future of the Bulletin, a new issue has just come out, in which (inter alia) the announcement is made that Christopher Carstens, director of the Office of Sacred Worship for the Diocese of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and a faculty member of the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein Seminary, has taken over as the new editor. The publication will henceforth be based in LaCrosse; Mr Carstens writes in the recent issue about the futures plans, including a great expansion into social media. Our best wishes to him and all those involved with the publication of the Adoremus Bulletin, as they continue Mrs Hitchcock’s valuable legacy.

Pictures from a Dominican Rite Solemn Mass in California

Corpus Christi Monastery
The Dominican Nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery in Menlo Park, California, hosted a day of study and prayer on the Dominican charism as part of their observance of the year of consecrated life. These photos show the Dominican Rite Solemn Mass that was celebrated as part of this event. The celebrant of this Mass was Fr. Ambrose Signman, O.P., assistant pastor of St. Raymond of Peñafort Church, Menlo Park CA, the deacon was Fr. Christopher Fedok, O.P., pastor of St. Raymond’s, the subdeacon was Fr. Robert Verril, O.P., of the Province of England, a student at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley CA. The novices of the Western Dominican Province were present and three served the Mass as acolytes and thurifer. There was no crucifer, since the Mass was that of Our Lady on Saturday, which is a Fourth Class Votive celebrated with the ceremonies of a Second Class of Our Lady (i.e., with a Gloria and Credo). Mass was sung in Dominican Gregorian chant by the nuns of the monastery.

The monastery is a house of Perpetual Adoration, and the throne for the monstrance can be seen above the grill opening. Normally during Mass, as there has never been a tabernacle on the altar, the Blessed Sacrament is moved temporarily to an ambry on the Epistle side of the altar. It can be seen behind the ministers’ chairs. Since at this Mass use of the ambry would have put the minister’s backs to the Sacrament, it was moved to a chapel inside the monastery. Thus the movements and positions of the ministers are those used when Mass is celebrated on an altar where the sacrament is not reserved, e.g. the Dominus vobiscum and collect are sung at the missal, not in the center of the altar.
The congregation awaits the ministers
The ministers recite the Gloria
The priest about to turn in place for the Dominus Vobiscum
The subdeacon chants the Epistle while the deacon unfolds the corporal
The priest and deacon quietly recite the readings and chants during the Gradual
The priest quietly reads the Gospel during the Gradual

Philosophy, Tradition and Gregorian Chant : A Radio Talk By Fr Eric Andersen

Mater Dei Radio, a Catholic radio station based in Portland, Oregon, has available to listen and download a talk by Fr Eric Andersen, of Holy Trinity Church in Bandon, Oregon. The talk is called “Philosophy, Tradition and Gregorian Chant”; here is Fr Andersen’s synopsis of it.

Greek Philosophy is a science (scientia) which finds its origins in the ‘love of wisdom’ (Latin: sapientia) handed down from the gods. The holy scriptures too offer us a sapiential literature handing down God’s wisdom which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Josef Pieper’s book, “Tradition: Concept and Claim”, presents tradition as something handed down with a sense of mystery as opposed to knowledge (scientia). Music bridges science and this mystery of tradition. It is scientific in that it is mathematical. It is Tradition, insofar as it is passed down and preserved. Sacred Music, and in particular Gregorian Chant, unlike other music, is truly sacred because it is Traditional. It is handed down, not from men, but from God, and its origins are mysterious. We can come to know Gregorian Chant and to participate in it, yet it will always transcend us because it is Traditional. We can participate in it, but our participation is spiritual. Yet, it is also scientific in the highest way, because it is a participation in the gift of the Holy Spirit called scientia. When our participation in Gregorian Chant becomes second nature, and not just reading music, then it becomes the very voice of the Holy Spirit through us, as the glossolalia, or uttering of sounds without words, and thus the authentic speaking in tongues of the early Church.

Click here to listen to the program on Mater Dei Radio’s website.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Byzantine Gospel of Pentecost

After Nicodemus’ discourse with Christ in chapter 3, he will appear two other times in the Gospel of St John. At the end of chapter 19, he comes to help Joseph of Arimathea bury the Lord, bringing myrrh and aloe. Before that, he is mentioned in chapter 7, in the passage which the Byzantine Rite reads on Pentecost Sunday. (John 7, 37-53 and 8, 12)
On the last, and great day of the festivity, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. He that believeth in me, as the scripture saith, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Now this he said of the Spirit which they should receive, who believed in him: * for as yet the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Of that multitude therefore, when they had heard these words of his, some said: This is the prophet indeed. Others said: This is the Christ. But some said: Doth the Christ come out of Galilee? Doth not the scripture say: That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem the town where David was? So there arose a dissension among the people because of him. And some of them would have apprehended him: but no man laid hands on him. The ministers therefore came to the chief priests and the Pharisees. And they said to them: Why have you not brought him? The ministers answered: Never did man speak like this man. The Pharisees therefore answered them: Are you also seduced? Hath any one of the rulers believed in him, or of the Pharisees? But this multitude, that knoweth not the law, are accursed.
Nicodemus said to them, (he that came to him by night, who was one of them:) Doth our law judge any man, unless it first hear him, and know what he doth? They answered, and said to him: Art thou also a Galilean? Search the scriptures, and see, that out of Galilee a prophet riseth not. And every man returned to his own house. ** Again therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
The first part of this reading makes an obvious and appropriate choice for Pentecost, even though the festivity mentioned at the beginning is the feast of Tabernacles, which takes place in the autumn. From very ancient times, Pentecost has been celebrated alongside Easter as a great baptismal feast. In his treatise in defense of the divinity of the Holy Spirit, St Basil the Great refers the beginning of this passage to Baptism, when explaining the words of 1 Corinthians 10, “our fathers … drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.”
The faith in the Spirit is the same as the faith in the Father and the Son; and in like manner, too, the baptism. … as a type, that rock was Christ; and the water a type of the living power of the word; as He says, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” The manna is a type of the living bread that came down from heaven; and the serpent on the standard, of the passion of salvation accomplished by means of the cross, wherefore they who even looked thereon were preserved. So in like manner, the history of the exodus of Israel is recorded to show forth those who are being saved through baptism. (chapter 14)
The Mass of St Basil, by Pierre Subleyras, 1743.
This tradition is shared in various ways by the Roman and Ambrosian liturgies. In the former, it provides the text of the Communion antiphon on the vigil of Pentecost, although the Gospel passage itself is not read on that day. The church of Milan reads the first paragraph (up to the red asterisk) on Easter night at a special Mass said for the newly baptized catechumens, and the same passage (including the words after the asterisk) at the parallel Mass for those baptized on Pentecost.

The question arises, though, as to why the Gospel continues with the discussion of Christ’s origins, the failure of the ministers to arrest Him, and the dispute between Nicodemus and the Pharisees, which would seem at first to have nothing to do with Pentecost.

When the ministers who were supposed to arrest Christ come back without Him, the Pharisees note, as a point against Him, that His followers come not from among themselves or the rulers, but rather, from “this multitude that knoweth not the Law (and) is accursed.” The Jewish feast of Pentecost commemorates the giving of that very Law to Moses on Mt Sinai; in the Synaxarion, broadly the Byzantine equivalent of the Martyrology, the notice for Pentecost states, “This feast we also took from the Hebrew Bible; for just as they celebrate Pentecost, honoring the number seven, and that when they had passed through fifty days from Pascha they received the Law, so we too as we celebrate for fifty days after Pascha receive the all-holy Spirit, who gives laws and guides into all truth and lays down what is pleasing to God.”

The scene known as the “traditio legis - the handing down of the Law”, represented in an ancient Christian sarcophagus now in the Pio-Christian collection of the Vatican Museums. The scroll in Christ’s hands is that of the new Law which replaces the Mosaic Law, and which He consigns to the Apostles for them to teach to all nations.
When read on Pentecost, therefore, these words refers us reminds us, as St Paul says in the Epistle to the Galatians (3, 13-14), that “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law … That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus: that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.” This is precisely what happens in the Acts of the Apostles, as first the Jews, and then the Gentiles are baptized, receive the Holy Spirit, and begin to live under the new law given to the Church. The Byzantine tradition has a special chant from the same chapter of Galatians, “As many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ, alleluia,” which is sung on Pentecost in place of the Trisagion (“Holy God, Holy Mighty one…”), as also on the other days originally dedicated to the celebration of the Baptism, such as Easter and Epiphany.

Part of the dispute also refers to Jesus’ supposed origins in Galilee, whence no prophet comes. When Nicodemus asks for Him to be heard before judgment, in accordance with the Law, the Pharisees say to him sarcastically “Art thou also a Galilean?”, as if to say that he could have no other good reason to ask this than as a fellow countryman. Although Christ Himself was born in David’s city of Bethlehem, the Apostles were natives of Galilee; at Pentecost, the Jews from various places who hear them speaking in their local languages ask themselves “Are not all these that speak Galileans?” (Acts 2, 6) St Peter tells them that what is happening is the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, “I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” This to the Jews; in Acts 10, 37, when he preaches to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius, Peter notes that Christ’s ministry “began from Galilee.” St Paul will later state (Acts 13, 31) that the witnesses to the Resurrection were men who had come with Christ “from Galilee.” Therefore, the Pharisees who prided themselves on their knowledge of the Law and the Scriptures, and spoke of the ignorant as “accursed”, are shown to be wrong, as prophets have indeed arisen from Galilee.

Lastly we may note how at the end, the Gospel jumps from the final verse of chapter 7 to verse 8, 12 (at the point marked above by two asterisks.) The eleven verses not included here are the Pericope of the Adulteress, also sometimes known as the Wandering Pericope. This passage is missing entirely from several important early manuscripts of the Bible, and occasionally appears at the end of Luke 21, rather than the beginning of John 8. Among others, Ss John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria both pass it over in silence in their respective commentaries on the Gospel of St John; the gap in the lectionary therefore reproduces the Gospel text before the Pericope of the Adulteress had wandered into it.
A leaf of a ninth-century Greek lectionary. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Grec 277
All this is summed up beautifully in the first Ode of the Byzantine Matins of Pentecost. “Indeed, as Thou once promised Thy Disciples, Thou sent forth the Paraclete, the Spirit, O Christ, and shed light on the world, O Lover of mankind. That which was proclaimed of old by the Law and the Prophets has been fulfilled; for today the grace of the divine Spirit hath been poured out on all believers.”

More Information About the Upcoming Fota VIII Liturgical Conference

The prospectus of speakers for  the upcoming Fota VIII Liturgical Conference, to be held in Cork, Ireland, from July 4-6, has just been made available for consultation and download at gloria.tv. The St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy, which sponsors the conference each year, has also created a facebook page where all relevant information about the conference will be posted. The subject this year is A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation: Aspects of the Priesthood of Baptism, and will be explored by a panel of theologians drawn from the United States, Germany, Brazil, Switzerland and Ireland.

EF Confirmations and Pontifical Mass in Rome, Trinity Sunday

On Trinity Sunday, May 31, at 11 a.m., His Excellency François Bacqué, Titular Archbishop of Gradisca and Apostolic Nuncio, will celebrate Confirmations, followed by Pontifical Mass, at the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter’s Roman parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, on the occasion of the parish’s Patronal Feast. This year, the parish also commemorates, along with the Congregation of the Oratory, and the whole city of Rome, the fifth centenary of the birth of the church’s founder, St Philip Neri; next year will see the fourth centenary of the church’s consecration on June 12, 1616.

Archbishop Bacqué at Trinità dei Pellegrini on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 2013.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Could the Traditional Latin Mass Be Improved—And Should It Even Be Attempted?

After reading my article “How the Traditional Latin Mass Fosters More Active Participation than the Ordinary Form,” a friend of mine objected that my stance seemed to rule out even the possibility that the usus antiquior could be improved in regard to participatio actuosa. I replied to him that it was not my intention to assert that conclusion. Perhaps improvement in regard to this laudable goal (properly understood, of course) would be possible, slowly, over time, and in response to the promptings of saints or of the faithful People of God themselves.

What I am convinced of is that assembling a committee of trigger-happy liturgical “experts” whose brains are stuffed with debatable scholarship and ideological agendas is not the way to improve anything that has been handed down to us by the Church, and I am equally convinced that even as it now stands, the usus antiquior, celebrated by and for liturgically well-informed Catholics, allows for the realization of the main goals of Sacrosanctum Concilium better than the Ordinary Form does—even assuming ROTR-favorable circumstances, which, needless to say, seldom obtain.

Nor should it seem strange that this would be so. After all, most of the members of the Liturgical Movement thought that the solution was not so much to change the Church’s rites as to educate the people in the rites we inherited. Even Sacrosanctum Concilium goes out of its way to say: “There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (§23). In other words, regardless of what Bugnini (one of the Constitution’s drafters) may have wished it had said, or may have imagined it said, the actual promulgated text expresses, to any fair-minded reader, an essentially conservative stance—one that was, of course, massively contradicted by subsequent developments.[Note 1]

After all, it was no less than Pope Paul VI who, in a General Audience of November 26, 1969, openly endorsed and defended the ousting of Latin and the repudiation of Gregorian chant, in spite of manifest conciliar teaching to the contrary—teaching that he, in company with over 2,000 bishops, had approved only a few years earlier. Such scandalous contempt for an ecumenical council can hardly be found in the annals of Church history. With such flagrant disobedience in the shepherd, it is no wonder his pontificate was marked and marred by such disobedience in the flock. It could be seen as a form of divine poetic justice.[Note 2]

One of the first objections raised against Catholics who love the traditional Latin Mass and labor for its broadest possible restoration is that we are viewing the past through rose-colored glasses and that, in reality, things were terribly bad before the Council and urgently needed changing. The problem with making this claim or refuting it is that the relevant evidence one might draw upon is vast and diversified beyond belief, with many conflicting elements. Nevertheless, while admitting for the sake of argument that there were plenty of problems prior to the Council, I think it is safe to say there is one supremely obvious difference between the period before the heyday of liturgical rupture (ca. 1965-1970) and the period after.

Before this period, Catholics around the world were known for their widespread attendance at Mass, and it seems that a great many people were trying to be devout, or at least respectful, at Mass. Families attending low Mass together, praying the rosary or reading devotional books, may not have been the pinnacle of participatio actuosa in the Mass, but then again, as the Liturgical Movement pointed out, many places had never implemented what St. Pius X had called for—namely, that Mass be sung, that the people sing the chants and dialogues of the Mass Ordinary, and that they become familiar with the actual prayers of the liturgy. Still, there was a distinctively Catholic thing that Catholics did every Sunday (and the more pious, more often than that); they knew that this was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that Jesus was really and truly present in the Eucharist, and that you couldn’t receive Him if you were in a state of mortal sin.

Mass attendance was already decreasing in the mid- to late sixties, for social and cultural reasons known to all, but after the liturgical rupture embodied in the Pauline Missal, attendance fell precipitously. The situation we have on our hands today, with only a small percentage of the baptized still going to church at all, has its birth in this period of unprecedented liturgical insolence, experimentation, disruption, and confusion. A decline had already set in, to be sure, but it was the outrageous shock of substituting a new rite of worship for an age-old bearer and transmitter of Catholic identity that confirmed definitively the modernizing madness of the institutional church. This was the death knell. To paraphrase Joseph Ratzinger, if this is how the Church treated her most valued possession, her mystical treasures, what other betrayals could be expected from her? Would anything remain stably in place? Could doctrine itself survive the onslaught?

This is why some, rightly in my opinion, consider the Synods on the Family (last year’s and the forthcoming) to be the logical continuation and completion of the conciliar reforms. The years during and after the Council were preoccupied with changing ritual and discipline as widely as possible, while doctrine seemed to be left untouched, but all along the modernists have been preparing as well as they could for an opportunity to “renovate” the doctrine as well. Given the freedom to do so, there is almost nothing in the faith that they would not falsify or modify, in the same way that almost nothing in the Mass was left intact.

Sadly, even with a liturgy entirely in the vernacular, Catholics today by and large seem barely aware of those basic truths of the faith—and again, it’s not reasonable to say the problem is merely poor education. The very form of the liturgy doesn’t convey those truths as effectively. If you don’t hear aloud (or read in your missal) prayers indicating that the Mass is a true and proper sacrifice, then can we say that the Eucharistic liturgy is being true to itself, true to its very nature and purpose? In short, the reformed liturgy was as much a repudiation of Sacrosanctum Concilium’s principles as the traditional liturgy was capable of fulfilling them if only patient formation had been pursued.

In this sense, I am definitely of the opinion, which has been discussed at length by Dom Alcuin Reid, that authentic liturgical formation is the golden key to participatio actuosa, and that without this formation, no amount of fiddling and fidgeting with the liturgy is ever going to make a real difference, a profound difference, in how the people participate. They will be devout or semi-devout spectators at a TLM, bored or semi-bored spectators at a Novus Ordo. For this reason, too, a growing number today are of the opinion that the traditional liturgy, which carries within it so very much to participate in, is the ideal point of departure for the spiritual revitalization of Christian worship that Pope John XXIII seemed to have numbered among his objectives for Vatican II but that Paul VI thwarted with his myopic modernizations.

Does this mean there can be no improvements in the liturgy handed down by our forefathers? That conclusion would not seem to follow from anything I’ve argued; on the contrary, the liturgy should continue to develop organically, because that is both a sign and a cause of its vitality. Eventually, for example, the old Missal should accommodate some of the most beloved of the more recent saints. Still, it is eminently reasonable that, after the maelstrom of the past fifty years, change doesn't seem to be high on the list of desiderata for lovers of the sacred liturgy. Truly organic development takes time, plenty of time, and no one need be in a rush. The improvements most desperately needed in the Church today are those that will take place in our minds and hearts when we throw ourselves anew into the Church’s treasury of worship and so learn how to be Catholic once more. Fundamentally, we ourselves are the ones who need reform, not the liturgy.


NOTES

[1] We see a similar problem with John Courtney Murray’s interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae. He helped formulate the document, but in the end, it does not say what he wishes it said nor what he went around afterwards claiming that it did say. Put simply (and without pretending to solve the enormous difficulties presented by this document), it does not embrace the Lockean privitization of religion and idolatry of toleration, and therefore does not endorse the American understanding of the good of separating Church and State. Regarding Sacrosanctum Concilium's conservatism, I do not deny for a moment that it contains moments of insane rupture, e.g., the suppression of Prime. But the document, no matter how you look at it, right side up or upside down, simply can't be turned into a blueprint for the Novus Ordo Missae that rolled off the production line some seven years later. A strict application of it might have yielded something like the 1965 interim missal or the current Anglican Ordinariate liturgy. There were loopholes, to be sure, but the funny thing is that the loopholes ended up dominating the implementation, rather than the clear (or somewhat clear) principles and specifications.

[2] See my article "Paul VI: A Pope of Contradictions." Someone out there might be tempted to say something like this: “The Pope is, of course, above a council, and he need not follow a council’s promulgated documents at all; indeed, their very meaning is so totally subject to his judgment that one could never say that a pope was rejecting or disobeying a council, since it has authority only by his consent, and he can withdraw that consent.” This seems to me to be an irrational ultramontanism that no Catholic who respects tradition, the magisterium, or the papacy should ever countenance.

Monday, May 25, 2015

“God So Loved the World” - The Gospel of Pentecost Monday

As noted previously, the first part of the Nicodemus Gospel, John 3, 1-15 or 16, was said at two other Masses before it was assigned to the Finding of the Cross, where it remained for over 11 centuries. On the other hand, the second part, verses 16-21, is found in the very oldest Roman lectionaries on Pentecost Monday, and remains there to this day. This may seem an odd choice, given that it speaks entirely about the mission of the Son, without reference to the Holy Spirit. It is assigned to this day as a compliment to the Epistle of the Mass, which is determined by its Roman Station church.

On Easter Monday, the Station is at St Peter’s Basilica, and the Epistle, Acts 10, 37-43, is part of Peter’s discourse in the house of the centurion Cornelius.
You know the word which hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached, Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed, hanging him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he arose again from the dead; And he * commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God, to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him.
On Pentecost Monday, the station is at the basilica of St-Peter-in-Chains; the Epistle repeats the last two verses of the Epistle of Easter Monday, (beginning at the star noted above,) and continues to verse 48.
While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished, for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the gentiles also. For they heard them speaking with tongues, and magnifying God. Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Baptism of Cornelius, represented on the bronze baptismal font of the church of St Bartholomew in Liège, by Reiner de Huy, completed by 1118.  Image from wikipedia by Jean-Pol Grandmont.
The second part of the Nicodemus Gospel, therefore, clarifies Peter’s statement that Christ is “judge of the living and of the dead.”
For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.
In the post-Conciliar lectionary, with the abolition of the Octave of Pentecost, this passage has been moved to the Wednesday after Low Sunday, as part of the lectio continua of the Gospel of John in Eastertide, broadly imitating the custom of the Byzantine Rite. A longer version, John 3, 14-21, is read on the 4th Sunday of Lent in the second year of the three-year cycle, and a shorter version, only verses 16-18, is read on Trinity Sunday in year A. Part of the Gospel is also assigned to the Exaltation of the Cross, verses 13-17. The first sentence is frequently used as an Alleluia verse in the new lectionary, although it is not part of the historical chant repertoire.

In the Byzantine Rite, this verse has a particularly prominent place, since it is cited at the celebration of every Divine Liturgy when the Anaphora of St John Chrysostom is used. During the Sanctus, the priest reads as follows.
We also with these blessed powers, o Lord and lover of mankind, cry out and say, ‘Holy art Thou, and all-holy, and Thy only-begotten Son, and Thy Holy Spirit. Holy art Thou and all-holy, and magnificent is Thy glory. Who did so love the world, that Thou gavest Thy only-begotten Son, that everyone that believeth in Him may not perish, but have eternal life.
This anaphora was created as a substitute for the much lengthier Anaphora of St Basil the Great, in which, by the word-count in Greek, the parallel prayer is almost exactly five times as long. Where St Basil recounts the whole history of our salvation, from the creation and fall of man to the Resurrection, Ascension and Second Coming of Christ, with many citations of the Sacred Scriptures, St John Chrysostom sums up the whole economy of salvation with a single verse: “For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.”

Memorial Day

From the website of the Polish city of Limanowa comes this image of a military chaplain, Col. Józef Joniec, a native of that city, celebrating Mass in May of 1944 after the Battle of Monte Cassino, close to the site which is now a Polish military cemetery.


The funeral of Col. Jerzy Jastrzebski, the first Pole killed in the battle, in which the Polish army played a vital role.


Col. Joniec praying at the grave of a soldier.


(h/t Mr Alek Schrenk)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pentecost 2015

Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes, erant omnes pariter in eodem loco, alleluia: et subito factus est sonus de caelo, alleluia, * Tamquam spiritus vehementis, et replevit totam domum, alleluia, alleluia. V. Dum ergo essent in unum discipuli congregati propter metum Judaeorum, sonus repente de caelo venit super eos. R. Tamquam spiritus vehementis, et replevit totam domum, alleluia, alleluia. (The first Responsory of Matins on Pentecost Sunday.)


R. When the days of Pentecost were fulfilled, they were all together in the same place, alleluia, and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, alleluia. * as of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house, alleluia, alleluia. V. Therefore, when the disciples were gathered together in one place for fear of the Jews, there suddenly came upon them a sound from heaven. As of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house, alleluia, alleluia.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pictures of the Mozarabic Mass in St Peter’s Basilica

Last Saturday, the Archbishop of Toledo, H.E. Braulio Rodríguez Plaza, celebrated Mass in the Mozarabic Rite in St Peter’s Basilica, as part a pilgrimage to Rome sponsored by his archdiocese. The liturgy was celebrated in both Latin and Spanish, with the Mass Propers and Ordinary sung in Latin by a small but talented schola. (I had an opportunity to speak with the Archbishop before the ceremony, and he mentioned that at the principal home of the Mozarabic Rite, the Capilla del Sacramento in Toledo Cathedral, the Mass is still celebrated daily in Latin.) This was only the 4th time the Rite has been celebrated at St Peter’s, the others being in 1963, during Vatican II, in 1992, when the revised books of the Rite were promulgated, and in the Jubilee of 2000; St John Paul II was the celebrant of the one in 1992. Rome Reports has posted an interview with Fr Salvador Aguilera, a priest of the archdiocese and expert on the Mozarabic Rite, who served as the Master of Ceremonies. The archdiocese has a large photo album available, from which I have made the following selection, focusing on the particular rituals of the Mozarabic Rite. Most notable among those visible in the photographs, the Evangeliarium is carried under a veil at the Gospel procession, and the veiling of the Eucharistic elements at the Offertory. You can see the complete photo album by clicking here.

The acolytes wear amice, alb, and cincture, as was commonly done in the Middle Ages also in the various Uses of the Roman Rite.

The celebrant recites a prayer similar in thought to the traditional Roman Rite’s Aufer a nobis, but (as is generally the case with the Mozarabic Rite) rather longer.

The thurible is swung in a manner more like that of the Ambrosian Rite than the Roman, with a number of small circles as the celebrant goes around the altar.

Photopost Request: Pentecost 2015

Our next major photopost will be for Pentecost, this coming Sunday, May 24th; please send your photos (whether of the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form) to photopost@newliturgicalmovement.org for inclusion. We are also always glad to receive photographs of celebrations in the Eastern rites, as well as Vespers and other parts of the Office, and Confirmations. Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important. Evangelize through beauty!

Veterum Sapientia: A Latin Conference in DC, Aug. 2-8

This August, Catholic Univ. of America and the International Institute for Culture will host a conference called Veterum Sapientia, a week-long Latin program for Catholic priests, seminarians, and those men and women belonging to religious orders. This program seeks to respond to the call of Saint John XXIII’s Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia to revitalize the Latin language in the Catholic Church. This full-immersion (Latine tantum) program offers intensive instruction in the language to intermediate and advanced students of Latin.

Veterum Sapientia offers a unique, guided exploration of the most important categories of writing that make up the Church’s Latin patrimony, with exercises ordered toward helping participants grow in their understanding of the mechanics of the language and internalize new vocabulary through active use. Classes and related activities (e.g. meals, games, walks) will be conducted in Latin and in a combination of Latin and English, as appropriate to participants’ level of experience. Plenary class sessions and some small-group work will be devoted to reading and discussion of texts representing the major genera of Latin writing in the life of the Church: scriptural Latin, patristic Latin, liturgical Latin, scholastic Latin, ecclesiastical (curial) Latin, and Gregorian chant (hymns). In other small-group sessions, participants will be guided through active exercises in speaking and in simple writing, based on material from these representative texts. Participants will work with instructors every day, experiencing a series of plenary and small-group class sessions for a minimum total of six hours of instruction daily. Common lunches, dinners, and evening recreational activities will also be provided, offering opportunities for informal conversations in Latin. All class sessions, common meals and recreation activities will be conducted on the Catholic University of America and Theological College campuses.

Further information, including such details as tuition and lodging, can be found at the conference wesbite: https://veterumsapientia.com/.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pontifical High Mass of St Philip at the London Oratory

Bishop John Sherrington celebrated Pontifical High Mass for St Philip's Day at the London Oratory earlier today. The Mass was celebrated in anticipation for the boys of St Philip's School who will be on holiday next week. The Deacon was the School Chaplain, Fr Dominic Jacob and the Sub-deacon was Fr Rupert McHardy, a former pupil of the school. The St Philip's Schola sang plainchant, Croce, Elgar, Jacob and Sewell's Pangamus Nerio, accompanied by organ, trumpets and timpani. After Mass, Bishop Sherrington blessed the school with the relic of St Philip and gave every boy a prayer card of St Philip.

The Solemnity of St Philip is on Tuesday 26 May and there will be a High Mass at the London Oratory at 6.30pm. The preacher will be Fr Ian Ker, and the Oratory Choir will sing Haydn's Heiligmesse with orchestra (see poster at the foot of this post for details).




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