Thursday, November 15, 2018

Exhibition on the Catholic Arts Competition at St Vincent Gallery

The Saint Vincent Gallery, located on the campus of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvana, is currently hosting the exhibition of the 44 entries selected for Biennial Juried Catholic Arts Competition. This event was established in 2001 by the late Br Nathan Cochran, O.S.B., to cultivate and revive the sacred arts, and give artists who engage Catholic subject matter an opportunity to dialogue with the Church and pastors, in the hope of creating new, original artworks for churches and liturgical spaces. As seen below, some very nice vestments were also included in the competition; tomorrow we will have some more photos of these, and some interesting details about how they were created.

The juror for the seventh edition of the competition was Dr Elizabeth Lev, an art historian who specializes in Christian art and architecture, Baroque painting and sculpture and High Renaissance art, and professor of art and architecture for the Italian campus of Duquesne University. In her lecture by entitled Catholic Art of the Modern Age: New Images for an Ancient Story preceded the exhibition on October 28, she noted, “The works of the Catholic Arts Exhibition demonstrate that art can still persuasively communicate ancient truths to the modern Church through the exploration of critical contemporary themes such as fatherhood, universality and religious persecution.”

The exhibition continues through Sunday, Dec. 2. Gallery hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and Thursday until 7 p.m. The Gallery is closed on Mondays and Nov. 21-26 for Thanksgiving. A complementary catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Photopost Follow-Up: Prayers for the Dead

As a follow-up to our recent All Saints and All Souls photoposts, and yesterday’s photos of Masses celebrated by military chaplains during World War I, here are a few late submissions.

On Tuesday, November 6, the Order of Malta in the Dallas area commemorated the centennial of the end of World War I with Solemn Vespers of the Dead at the University of Dallas’ Church of the Incarnation, celebrated by Fr Carlos Hamel of the Fraternity of St Joseph the Guardian (Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France). The Schola Cantorum Stellae Solae, directed by Brian Bentley, sang the Gregorian chant. The “Remembrance Day” Vespers drew well over a hundred participants from the university and local area, including clergy of the Dominican and Cistercian orders, as well as a dozen seminarians. (Photos by Anthony Mazur, reproduced by permission.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Holy Mass in the First World War: A Photo Collection

This article by Henri de Villiers was first published in 2014 on the blog of the Schola Sainte Cécile, to commemorate the centenary of the start of the Great War. It is translated and republished here and at Canticum Salomonis in honor of Armistice Day, and the centenary of the first armistice, which occurred this past Sunday.

On August 3, 1914, Germany declared war on France, and Europe entered into a terrible four years of slaughter that would decimate believers on every side, wiping out the youth of thousands of towns and villages, and bringing about the loss of a great part of Europe’s Christian elite. In memory of this sorrowful centenary, we present a collection of photographs that testify to the faith of these men in the midst of the horrors of the front.

We shall remember them.

Requiem æternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

“For the Lord will judge his people, and will be entreated in favour of his servants.” (Psalm 134,14) – Mass at the front in France during the First World War.

“The sorrows of hell encompassed me: and the snares of death prevented me.” (Psalm 17,6) –Mass at the front for the French troops. New York Times, February 14, 1915

“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer.” (Psalm 17,2-3) – 1915: A Mass at the 43rd battery of the 29th artillery regiment between Oostduinkerke and Nieuport.

“My eyes have failed for thy word, saying: When wilt thou comfort me?” (Psalm 118,82) – Holy Mass for the French troops on the front of Champagne in 1915. Collection of Odette Carrez

“The Lord will give strength to his people: the Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Psalm 28,10) – 1915: Sub-lieutenant Pape says Holy Mass for the 262nd infantry regiment. Photograph by Henri Terrier (1887† 1918). Musee de l’Armee, Paris.
“With thee is my praise in a great church: I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him.” (Psalm 21,26) – German troops assist at Mass in the Belgian cathedral of Anvers. New York Times, March 21, 1915.

EF Pontifical Mass in Ottawa on November 23

On Friday, November 23, the feast of Pope St Clement I, His Excellency Terrence Prendergast, the Archbishop of Ottawa, will celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the traditional rite in his cathedral, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the parish of St Clement. As we noted in an article earlier this year, St Clement, which is now run by the FSSP, was one of the few churches that held on to the celebration of the traditional rite after the promulgation of the post-Conciliar reform. For a ten-year period, it was constrained to use the new rite, and did so according to the mind of the Council, with Latin, chant and worship ad orientem; in 1984, the traditional rite was restored, and has continued ever since. This Mass will be the first Pontifical to be celebrated in the cathedral of Notre Dame since 1998. The ceremony will begin at 7:30 pm; the cathedral is located at 383 Sussex Avenue.

Book Announcement: The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms

I am very pleased to announce the recent publication of The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms, a new resource for the continued study of the post-conciliar reform of the Missale Romanum.

The aim of this new book is to allow easy comparison of the work of the Consilium ad exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia on the prayers of the Roman Missal with those found in the 1962 Missal and the 1970/2002 Missal.

The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms. Edited by Matthew P. Hazell. N.p.: Lectionary Study Press, 2018. Paperback, 236pp. $24.95 (USA), £19.99 (UK), €21,95 + tax (Germany, France, Spain, Italy)

As readers of NLM are no doubt aware, the Consilium was the main body that was responsible for the reform of the liturgy desired by Sacrosanctum Concilium. One of the documents of Coetus 18 bis of the Consilium, known as Schema 186, deals with the reform of the various orations (collects, super oblata, etc.) contained in the Proper of Time of the Roman Missal, and gives draft texts for each day in this section. [1] In many places, this draft of the orations for the Proper of Time differs significantly from both the preceding liturgical tradition and the outcome of the reforms. These differences, along with the work of the Consilium generally, have increasingly been the object of scholarly study and enquiry in recent years.

Now, in The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms, the text of the corpus of orations in Schema 186 is readily available for the first time, and each prayer has been arranged side-by-side with those of the 1962 and 1970/2002 Missals for easy comparison.

Each individual prayer has been keyed into the Corpus Orationum, to make it much easier for researchers to consult this indispensable set of volumes during any future analyses and comparative studies. (The Corpus Orationum collates the orations from over 200 pre-Tridentine extant manuscripts, and makes it possible for one to determine how widely a given prayer was used, when it was used, in what contexts, and whether there are any textual variants.) Various other tools and indices are also provided in the book to aid further study into this important aspect of the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms.

Finally, the Latin text of the first few pages of Schema 186, which explain some of the rationale and methodology of Coetus 18 bis, are provided, along with an English translation.

Below are some preview pages. To purchase the book from Amazon, please follow the links above.

Sample page for Septuagesima / 7th Sunday after Epiphany / 7th Sunday per annum
Sample page for 4th Sunday after Pentecost / 13th Sunday per annum
Sample page from the indices


[1] Lauren Pristas makes many references to Schema 186 throughout her seminal work, The Collects of the Roman Missals: A Comparative Study of the Sundays in Proper Seasons before and after the Second Vatican Council (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013).

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

All Saints and All Souls Photopost 2018 (Part 3)

We conclude this year’s All Saints and All Souls photoposts with another very varied selection: a bit more of All Saints than usual, a lot of reliquaries, some vivid memento mori images, and one instance of the old double Vespers on the evening of November 1st. As always, we are very grateful to all those who sent these in, continuing the work of evangelizing though beauty!

Shrine Church of St. Walburg - Preston, Lancashire, England (ICKSP)
The photos of the Mass given below were taken on All Souls’ Day, but the catafalque in the first picture was made for Remembrance Day, November 11, the anniversary (and this year, the centenary) of the end of World War I. Notice the British flag on the coffin, and the large poppy wreath at front. This was built (with some guidance from the clergy) by the men currently discerning their vocation with the Institute at their House of Discernment in Preston - well done, gentlemen!

Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini - Rome, Italy (FSSP)
Relics on the high altar for the Mass of All Saints

The Feast of St Brice, St Martin’s Bad Disciple

St Martin, whose feast we kept two days ago, was succeeded in the see of Tours, as he had predicted, by a monk named Brice, a singularly unpromising candidate to come after such a holy bishop. Martin spent as much time as his episcopal duties permitted among a monastic community at Marmoutier near Tours, into which he himself had taken the orphaned Brice. St Gregory of Tours describes Brice as “proud and vain”, and Martin’s biographer Sulpicius Severus tells the story in his Dialogues (3.15) that Brice was led by devils to “vomit up a thousand reproaches against Martin,” even daring to assert that he himself was much holier for being raised from childhood in a monastery, while Martin was raised in a military camp. Although Brice repented of this (as Sulpicius believed, because of Martin’s prayers), and asked for the Saint’s forgiveness, he continued to be a very difficult character. Martin refused to remove him from the priesthood, lest he seem to do so as an act of vengeance, but expressed his tolerance in less-than-complimentary terms: “If Christ could put up with Judas, why should I not put up with Brice?”

Ss Martin and Brice
Martin had predicted not only that Brice would succeed him as bishop, but that he would suffer much in the episcopacy, words which Brice dismissed as “ravings.” Both predictions were fulfilled in the following manner. Although Brice was vain and proud, he was “chaste in body”, and yet he was accused of fathering a child. The revised Butler’s Lives of the Saints says, with characteristic (and characteristically irritating) reticence, that he vindicated himself by “a very astonishing miracle”, without saying what the miracle was. Gregory of Tours tells us that Brice called together the people, and before them ordered the month-old infant to say whether or not he was the father, at which the child did indeed say, “You are not my father.” The people ask Brice to make the infant say who its father was, but Brice replied (pride still unconquered), “That is not my job. I have taken care of the part of this business that pertains to me; if you can, ask for yourselves.”

St Brice with the Infant, from the church of St Médard in Boersch in eastern France. (Image from Wikimedia Commons by Ralph Hammann
This was attributed, perhaps understandably, to the use of magic, rather than holiness, and so Brice attempted to vindicate himself by carrying hot coals in his cloak to the tomb of St Martin; when he arrived his cloak was not burnt. But this sign was also not accepted, and so he was driven from his see, “that the words of the Saint might be fulfilled, ‘Know that in the episcopate, you will suffer many adversities.’ … Then Brice sought out the Pope of Rome, weeping and mourning, and saying ‘Rightly do I suffer these things, because I sinned against God’s Saint, and often called him crazy and deluded; and seeing his virtues, I did not believe.’ ” After staying in Rome for seven years, and purging his sins by the celebration of many Masses, he was restored to his see, which he governed for seven years further as a man “of magnificent sanctity,” according to Gregory, very much changed for the better by the experience. His popularity in the medieval period was very great, and his feast is found on most calendars, although not that of Rome. This is due in part to his association with St Martin, but perhaps more as an example of something that the medievals understood very well and loved to dwell on, that it is never too late for God’s grace to bring us away from sin to sanctity.

The see of Tours also celebrates within the octave of St Martin another of its holy bishops, the historian and hagiographer St Gregory, whom we have cited above, whose feast is kept on November 17. A very charming story is told that he was unusually small, which must have been very small indeed to be noted in an age when people were generally much shorter than we are today. When he came into the presence of Pope St Gregory the Great during a visit to Rome, the Pope’s expression clearly evinced surprise at his stature, at which he quoted the words of Psalm 99, “He (i.e. God) made us, and not we ourselves.”

Painting Created by Artifical Intelligence Sells For $432K. Is This Art?

As a follow up to an earlier piece about the validity of reproductions as art, here is an article about an image produced by three computer developers with no background in art, which sold for a staggering $432,500. AI - artificial intelligence - is the latest fad artist, it seems.

Artificial intelligence is not intelligence as a Catholic would understand the term. I saw recently saw George Gilder (author of Life After Google) talking to Mark Levin about this, and he gave a good explanation as to why. For all the power of the machine to collect and process data, the way in which it does so is limited by the algorithm, which is, in turn, a reflection of the programmer who created it. He is saying in effect, it seemed to me, that because intelligence is a faculty of a spiritual soul, it can’t be in a machine. The idea behind the AI machine exists in the mind of the person who made it, just as the idea behind a work of art exists in the artist who painted it.

Without a spiritual soul, there can be no inspiration, and hence no authentic creativity. The AI machine, therefore, is an artifact and a sophisticated tool in this painting process, and the programmer is the artist.

So is this art? I say yes, perhaps. The artist, in the case of AI-generated paintings, is not the machine, but the programmer or programmers who created it. They can create a good algorithm or a bad one; the test is in the quality of the work that comes out at the end of the process.

My argument is not that the human element isn’t necessary for the creation of art. Rather, it is that the human element is not absent from AI (or from printed reproductions, from photography etc). All of these are just different ways of controlling the production of an image. And just like painting with a brush, the process by which the image is created can potentially produce good or bad art.

Art is the product of artifice, and is by nature artificial. Artificial intelligence, therefore, is a misnomer. It is a creation of the programmer who created the algorithm but it is not in itself creative. AI is artificial like art itself, and the print is an artifact, but AI is not intelligence.

Is this good art? I would say no. Art is as good as it looks, and if it looks good, it is good. And (this is just a personal opinion) I don’t think this is good.
But that could change, perhaps. The prodution of good art by these means would probably require programmers who understand art, and how to instill in the machine a systematic process of pattern recognition and image generation that is in harmony with good art, and thus controlling the image. If, at the end of the process, someone judges the quality before presenting it for sale, perhaps modifying the process in response to improve the image, you have a more authentic artistic process.
I’m not sure it’s worth the effort, but I imagine the programmers in this instance could come up with 432,500 good reasons to do it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Two Modest Proposals for Improving the Prayerfulness of Low Mass

With the increasing number of Masses offered in the usus antiquior, it is fair to say that Catholics are experiencing some of the same problems that were pointed to as reasons for the liturgical reform prior to the Council. While the list of such problems is lengthy, none of them in fact justified the liturgical reform as it actually played out. Nevertheless one would hope that the traditional movement could learn from past mistakes and make a special effort to avoid the same in the current fraught ecclesiastical situation. Since the manner of carrying out the Mass redounds immediately to either the edification and devotion of the priest and people or to their distraction and frustration, it behooves us to take it seriously. For indeed, nothing could be more serious than the sacramental re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross.

In this article I will look at two of the most common problems: nearly inaudible, inarticulate muttering of servers at Low Mass, and rapid-fire delivery of the Latin prayers by the priest, as if he were in a race against time.

The Dialogue Between Priest and Servers

While it would be ideal to have liturgy served by clerics in minor orders, religious brothers, or seminarians, most of the time, as we know, Catholics have recourse to “altar boys” filling in for acolytes. And I have no complaint about the institution of altar boys as such, provided they are tall enough and serious enough to fulfill their functions in the sanctuary.

However, as we learn from the High Mass, which is the real template of the Low Mass, the servers are making responses on behalf of the entire body of the faithful. At High Mass, we all sing “Et cum spiritu tuo,” and at Low Mass (I am purposefully not discussing the dialogue Mass in this article) the servers speak the same words in our place. Moreover, as the Roman Rite has developed, the preparatory prayers or prayers at the foot of the altar have ceased to be purely private prayers for the priest and ministers; they have come to belong to the faithful, too, who treasure them, follow them in their missals or from memory, and wish to hear them at Low Mass. As if in tacit acknowledgment of this fact, nearly all of the priests whose Masses I have heard over the past 30 years utter Psalm 42 and the additional prayers prior to the “Aufer a nobis” with a level of voice that can readily be heard throughout the church.

It is therefore asymmetrical and irritating when the servers mumble, swallow, or whisper their responses to the priest’s well-articulated phrases. It is the liturgical equivalent to someone walking with one normal leg and one peg-leg. Here is how it comes across to the faithful in the pews:

Priest. In nómine Patris, et Fílii, + et Spíritus Sancti. Amen. Introíbo ad altáre Dei. 
Servers. Ad Deum qui lætíficat juventútem meam.
P. Júdica me, Deus, et discérne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab hómine iníquo, et dolóso érue me.
S. Quia tu es, Deus, fortitúdo mea: quare me repulísti, et quare tristis incédo, dum afflígit me inimícus?
P. Emítte lucem tuam, et veritátem tuam: ipsa me deduxérunt, et aduxérunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernácula tua.
S. Et introíbo ad altáre Dei: ad Deum qui lætíficat juventútem meam.
P. Confitébor tibi in cíthara, Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es, ánima mea, et quare contúrbas me?
S. Spera in Deo, quóniam adhuc confitébor illi: salutáre vultus mei, et Deus meus.
P. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
S. Sicut erat in princípio et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculórum. Amen.
P. Introíbo ad altáre Dei.
S. Ad Deum qui lætíficat juventútem meam.
P. Adjutórium nostrum + in nómine Dómini.
S. Qui fecit cælum et terram.

And so forth, throughout the liturgy. The dialogue is often so unequal that the priest might as well be the only one speaking, in a bizarre vivisected conversation, somewhat like overhearing a telephone call. If the servers are representing us at the foot of the altar, they are doing a poor job of it. Why don’t they speak up a bit — “enunciate and articulate!,” as my high school rhetoric teacher used to say? Again, this is not about using a loud voice. It is simply about using a normal audible voice and not rushing through the words. They are, after all, prayers, and prayers are worth praying. Deo gratias after the Epistle should sound like it means “Thanks be to God!,” and the same with Laus tibi, Christe.

Am I asking too much of these cute and sometimes clueless boys? No. I believe that those who train altar boys should teach them what the words mean, and teach them how to enunciate them and articulate them at a normal volume and a walking, not running, pace. Not:

P. Kyrie eleison.
S. Kyrie eleison.
P. Kyrie eleison.
S. Christe eleison.
P. Christe eleison.
S. Christe eleison.
P. Kyrie eleison.
S. Kyrie eleison.
P. Kyrie eleison.

Above all, at the end of the Offertory, these words should be distinct and audible at Low Mass:

Suscípiat Dóminus sacrifícium de mánibus tuis ad laudem et glóriam nóminis sui, ad utilitátem quoque nostram, totiúsque Ecclésiæ suæ sanctæ.

And moving into the Preface dialogue, it is totally unfitting to hear the following:

P. …per omnia saecula saeculorum.
S. Amen.
P. Dóminus vobíscum.
S. Et cum spíritu tuo.
P. Sursum corda.
S. Habémus ad Dóminum.
P. Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro.
S. Dignum et justum est.

The priest is inviting us, in one of the most beautiful phrases of the Roman liturgy, to “Lift your hearts on high!,” and the response should be in earnest: “We have lifted [them] up to the Lord!” Then, in a phrase rich with Eucharistic meaning: “Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God.” To which the response must be equally meaningful, as if the servers are senators speaking for a holy nation: “It is worthy and just.” These are not phrases to be rattled off under one’s breath; they are to be sounded forth in public.

The inaudibility of the servers, the disharmony it creates with the priest, and the lack of “purchase” it offers the congregation are matters that deserve to be taken seriously by the adult trainers who prepare the servers and the MCs who regulate the teams. This is not a difficult problem to correct, but it does require awareness, attentiveness, and follow-through, together with positive reinforcement (“Johnny, it was great how you spoke your responses so clearly today. Keep it up!”)

Haste in Clerical Recitation of Texts

A related matter of concern is the post-Summorum reappearance of clergy who habitually rush through the Low Mass. As far as I can tell, we are dealing in most cases with genuinely devout men who intend no disrespect to Our Lord and no disedification to the faithful. Nevertheless, machine-gun Latin —




— does not carry any conviction of being speech truly addressed to the face of a living Person with whom one is communicating, as two friends would talk to one another, nor, for this reason, can it in fact increase the devotion of the speaker or of the listeners. It seems, on the contrary, to be a lost opportunity on the part of both priest and people for the intensification of acts of adoration, faith, humility, contrition, and other virtues. In spite of the daily repetition of the Mass, we could truthfully apply to its celebration the familiar words of the Quaker who said: “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” This particular Mass will never be repeated, nor will this particular congregation assist at it. And as we know from the dogmatic theologians, the subjective devotion of the priest and of the people have a role to play in the spiritual fruitfulness of the Mass.

Perhaps the most germane statement made on this subject is St Francis de Sales’s: “Beware of it [haste], for it is a deadly enemy of true devotion; and anything done with precipitation is never done well. Let us go slowly, for if we do but keep advancing we shall thus go far.”

Dom Chautard, author of The Soul of the Apostolate — one of the few truly essential spiritual books written in the past century — has a lot to say on this subject. The author spends several pages unpacking the meaning of the prayer said before the Divine Office, in which the cleric asks for the grace to recite it digne, attente, devote, worthily, attentively, devoutly:
DIGNE. A respectful position and bearing, the precise pronunciation of the words, slowing down over the more important parts. Careful observance of the rubrics. My tone of voice, the way in which I make signs of the Cross, genuflections, etc.; my body itself: all will go to show not only that I know Whom I am addressing, and what I am saying, but also that my heart is in what I am doing. What an apostolate I can sometimes exercise [this way]! …
DEVOTE. This is the most important point. Everything comes back to the need of making our Office and all our liturgical functions acts of piety, and, consequently, acts that come from the heart. “Haste kills all devotion.” Such is the principle laid down by St. Francis de Sales in talking of the Breviary, and it applies a fortiori to the Mass, Hence. I shall make it a hard and fast rule to devote around half an hour to my Mass in order to ensure a devout recitation not only of the Canon but of all the other parts as well. I shall reject without pity all pretexts for getting through this, the principal act of my day, in a hurry. If I have the habit of mutilating certain words or ceremonies, I shall apply myself, and go over these faulty places very slowly and carefully, even exaggerating my exactitude for a while.
          Fill my heart with detestation for all haste in those things where I stand in Your place, or act in the name of the Church! Fill me with the conviction that haste paralyzes that great Sacramental, the Liturgy, and makes impossible that spirit of prayer without which, no matter how zealous a priest I may appear to be on the outside, I would be lukewarm, or perhaps worse, in Your estimation. Burn into my inmost heart those words so full of terror: “Cursed be he that doth the work of God deceitfully” (Jer 48:10).
Another classic text, The Hidden Treasure by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, counsels the priest in the following words:
Use all diligence to celebrate with the utmost modesty, recollection, and care, taking time to pronounce well and distinctly every word, and perfectly to fulfill every ceremony with due propriety and gravity; for words ill articulated, or spoken without a tone of meekness and awe, and ceremonies done without decorum and accuracy, render the divine service, instead of a help to piety and religion, a source of distress and scandal. Let the priest keep the inner man devoutly recollected; let him think of the sense of all the words which he articulates, dwelling on their sense and spirit, and making throughout internal efforts corresponding to their holy suggestions. Then truly will there be an influx of great devotion into those assisting, and he will obtain the utmost profit for his own soul.
There is no question that a reverent Low Mass Mass can be offered in 30 minutes by a priest whose Latin flows well, who is extremely adept at the ceremonies, and who knows many of the prayers by heart. It is also true that sometimes Low Mass takes longer than it should because the celebrant is still learning the ropes and has not yet “mastered” the liturgical form. But regardless of the total duration, any appearance of rushing in words or gestures is never edifying and always detracts from the dignity and beauty of the celebration — and consequently from the prayerfulness it is meant to induce as well as the spiritual fruit likely to be derived from it.

Little things make a difference in the spiritual life; why would it not be the same in the greatest act of worship we can offer to God, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? For a long time Catholics have fought simply to have access to the old Mass, an immense reservoir of grace, doctrine, and godly piety. We should not stop fighting for that access if we do not yet enjoy it, but now that we are some years down the road from the Mass’s reintroduction on a wider scale, it is time to correct the bad habits into which we may have inadvertently slid.

Some may be wondering: Can we possibly concern ourselves with such matters when the Church on earth seems to be falling apart in front of our very eyes? My view, however, is quite the opposite. This crisis we are living is a crisis of worldliness, of lukewarmness, infidelity, and apostasy. The ultimate solution to it is not investigations (however necessary), proclamations of doom and hand-wringing (however correct and satisfying), or a flurry of activism (however tempting). The solution begins and ends with drawing near to the Father and joining with the citizens of the fatherland. Now is the very best time to attend to the service of Almighty God in His holy sanctuary and to do what is right, because it is right, for the love and glory of God.

Dominican Rite Ceremonial (1869) Now Available for Purchase

I am pleased to announce that Dominican Liturgy Publications is now able to make available a paperback reprint of the Caeremoniale juxta Ritum S. Ordinis Praedicatorum, published by order of Fr. Alexandre Vincent Jandel, O.P., Master General of the Dominican Order, in 1869. It was the last ceremonial published for the Dominican Rite. It is reprinted in a convenient pocketbook-size format.

When celebrating the Dominican Rite, this volume should be used in conjunction with the revised rubrics of the Breviary and Missal of 1962. This older book gives detailed instructions for many processions and other ceremonies in addition to those of the Mass and Office. It also supplies instructions that are lacking in more modern books.

The volume is also useful for historical studies, as it includes abrogated medieval rubrics, along with the legislation that changed them; for example, use of yellow vestments for Confessors, something dropped even before the Council of Trent.

Purchasers should note that is a photographic reprint from scans of the original printing, which is itself a bit muddy. We have tried to clean up these scans as much as possible, but they are still imperfect, and the “gutter” is a bit tight. Therefore, purchasers should carefully check the preview to see if the quality is sufficient for their needs.

Readers may find this book and our other publications here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Litany of St Martin

Until the time of the Revolution, and even beyond, to the beginning of the 19th century, some dioceses in France preserved the custom of singing a litany known from its opening words as Dicamus omnes. The ancient character of this text is unmistakable; prayers are offered for the Emperor and the Roman army, which may date it back to the fourth century.

This litany is probably one of the very few remnants of the ancient Gallican Rite which survived the suppression of that rite decreed by Pepin the Short and Charlemagne, in favor of the Roman Rite. It is known in a similar form in the rites of territories which border that of the Gallican Rite; in the Ambrosian Rite, it is still sung to this day at the beginning of the Masses of the 2nd and 4th Sundays of Lent, and in the ancient Celtic Rite of Ireland, it was sung between the Epistle and Gospel.

In the most precious witness to the latter, the Stowe Missal (Royal Irish Academy, Dublin; D ii 3, f° 16), which dates to the end of the 8th century, the litany is titled “Deprecatio Sancti Martini pro populo – St Martin’s prayer for the people.” The importation of a Gallican prayer into the Celtic liturgy is explained by the close ties between the monastic practice of Ireland and that observed early on in Gaul, in the time of St Martin.

The attribution of this prayer to him is perfectly plausible: the whole tone of the text takes us back “to the era when Caesar ruled the world.” Without being an exact translation of an Eastern diaconal litany, the similarity of expressions used therein indicates that the text is probably the reformulation of a model litany originally written in Greek. The people’s response, as in the East, is “Kyrie eleison”, here translated into Latin, “Domine miserere”, or, in the version in the Stowe Missal, “Domine exaudi et miserere.”

Here is the chant notation for it from the Processional of Laon (Processionale Laudunense), published by Jean-François-Joseph de Rochechouart, bishop and duke of Laon (1755). Even in the middle of the 18th century, it preserves all the beauty of the primitive deacon’s chant, in the third mode. The litany was probably originally sung at the beginning of the Mass, like the Great Litany of Peace in the Byzantine Rite, and the Ambrosian Litanies of the Sundays of Lent. Like certain other texts of the ancient Gallican liturgy, it was able to survive the Carolingian suppression by being incorporated among the chants used on the Rogation Days, which were instituted in Vienne in the 5th century, and from there passed into the Roman Rite.

V. Dicamus omnes, Domine, miserere. (Let us all say, Lord have mercy.) R. Domine, miserere.
V. Ex toto corde, et ex tota mente, adoramus te. (With all our heart, and all our minds, we worship Thee.) R. Domine, miserere.
V. Pro stabilissima pace, et prospera Imperii constitutione, supplicamus te. (For long-lasting peace, and the prosperous condition of the Empire, we beseech Thee.) R. Domine, miserere.
V. Pro Congregatione Catholica, quæ est in hoc loco constituta, invocamus te. (For the Catholic Church, which is established in this place, we call upon Thee.) R. Domine, miserere.
V. Pro imperatore nostro, et& omni exercitu ejus, Rex regum. (For our emperor, and all his army, o King of Kings.) R. Domine, miserere.
V. Pro aëris temperie, et fructibus ac fœcunditate terræ, largitor bone. (For mildness of weather, and the fruits and fertility of the earth, Good Giver.) R. Domine, miserere.
V. Pro civitate ista, et conservatione ejus, deprecamur te. (For this city and its preservation, we beseech Thee.) R. Domine, miserere.
V. Pro his qui infirmantur et diversis languoribus detinentur, sana eos. (For those who are sick, and detained by various illnesses, heal them.) R. Domine, miserere.
V. Pro remissione peccatorum, et emendatione eorum, invocamus te. (For the forgiveness of sins, and the correction of them.) R. Domine, miserere.
V. Exaudi nos, Deus, in omni oratione nostra, quia potens es. (Hear us, o God, in our prayer, for Thou art mighty.) V. Dicamus omnes. R. Domine, miserere.

With some modifications (see the text used for the Offertory in this Mass booklet), we sing the Litany of St Martin at the church of Saint-Eugène in Paris, especially on his feast day, on the Rogations, and this year, on November 11, the centenary of the of the Armistice which ended the slaughter of the First World War, on which occasion we ardently pray “for lasting peace, and the prosperous condition of France.”

Mass this morning at the church of Saint-Eugène; the Litany of St Martin begins at 1:03:25.
The original version of this article was published earlier today on the website of the Schola Sainte-Cécile; translation by Gregory DiPippo. 

Special FSSP Masses, Adoration, Confessions in Baltimore during USCCB Meeting (Nov 12-15)

In a most timely and appropriate initiative, the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter has made a special schedule of Masses, Confessions, and Eucharistic Adoration at St Alphonsus in Baltimore for the plenary meeting this week of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Information in the poster and card below. Please help spread the word!

St Alphonsus has one of the most beautiful sanctuaries of any church in the greater metropolitan area around the nation’s capital.
Whether you are able to go to St Alphonsus or not, please pray earnestly for the bishops of the United States this week, as they face not only massive problems in the Church at large but the more insidious problem of deep rifts, heterodoxy, and cover-up within their own ranks. May the Immaculate Conception intercede for them and for all who invoke Her as patroness!

Dominican Little Office of the BVM and Prayers for Lay Tertiaries

I have often been asked, especially by members of the Dominican Laity (Third Order) where they could get a book with the texts of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary as it was in 1962. I assume that the reason for this is that they were interested in using that text in private recitation of their Office as allowed under the norms of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae.

Through the kindness of one of our readers I can now make available a volume printed by the Order in 1962 of which I was ignorant. In that year, the Dominican General Curia in Rome published the Dominican Prayer Book, fourth edition. It not only has the Little Office in Latin and English in parallel columns, but also sections of music, devotional prayers, litanies, the Office of the Dead, Penitential Psalms, and so forth. Many of these are also in Latin-English parallel columns.

This volume was intended especially for the members of the “Dominican Third Order Secular” (Laity) and the “Dominican Third Order Regular” (Active Sisters), but I think it would also be welcomed by our friars and cloistered nuns.

Copies are available for purchase at Dominican Liturgy Publications. Although the scans are good, I urge those interested to view the preview first and decide if the quality meets your needs.

The Feast of St Martin

In the Missal used at Tours before the Tridentine reform, the Sequence of the feast of St Martin begins as follows.

Gaude Sion, quae diem recolis / Qua Martinus, compar Apostolis, / Mundum vincens, junctus caelicolis / Coronatur.
   Rejoice, o Sion, who recall the day when Martin, equal to the Apostles, overcoming the world, is crowned among those that dwell in heaven.

The full text of the sequence, here called “Prosa”, is given from the Paris Missal of 1602. (Click to enlarge)
The first Responsory of his Office also compares Martin to the Apostles, although somewhat more obliquely.

R. Hic est Martínus, electus Dei Póntifex, cui Dóminus post Apóstolos tantam gratiam conferre dignátus est, * Ut in virtúte Trinitátis Deíficae mererétur fíeri trium mortuórum suscitátor magníficus. V. Sanctae Trinitátis fidem Martinus confessus est. Ut.

R. This is Martin, God’s chosen Priest, upon whom, after the Apostles, the Lord deigned to bestow such great grace, * that in the power of the divine Trinity, three times he merited gloriously to raise the dead to life. V. Martin confessed the faith of the Holy Trinity. That.

The medieval liturgical commentator William Durandus explains why the liturgy refers to him in this fashion.
He is called “equal to the Apostles” not, as some people think, because he raised people from the dead, since many other martyrs and confessors have done the same; nor because of the multitude of his miracles, but especially because of one particular miracle... (while he was celebrating Mass) a globe of fire appeared over his head, by which it was shown that the Holy Spirit had descended upon him… as He came upon the Apostles at Pentecost. Whence he is rightly called “equal to the Apostles,” and is indeed equal to them in the liturgy. (VII, 37)
Durandus also notes that among the feasts of Confessors, only Martin’s was considered important enough to be kept with an octave, as was the general custom in the Middle Ages, and in many places well beyond that. It was also the only feast of a Confessor kept with a proper Office in the medieval use of the Papal chapel at Rome, which formed the basis of the Tridentine liturgical books; not even the four great Doctors or Saint Benedict have their own Offices in the Roman Use.

The hymns of this Office, however, are taken from the Common of Confessor Bishops, in part because the Church has always been very conservative about new hymns, but also because the Vesper hymn Iste confessor was originally composed for St Martin. The original version of the third stanza (later changed under Pope Urban VIII) reads as follows:

  Ad sacrum cujus túmulum frequenter / Membra languentum modo sanitáti, / Quólibet morbo fúerint graváti, / Restituuntur.
   At whose sacred tomb the members of the sick are now often restored to health from whatsoever ailment weighed them down.

The basilica of St Martin at Tours was one of the most important pilgrimage shrines of the Middle Ages, and as the hymn notes, particularly renowned for miracles of healing. Not by coincidence does the Mass of St Martin share some of its parts with that of another famous wonder-worker, St Nicholas, who is named right after him in the Litany of the Saints. A great many medieval Uses also kept a second feast of the Saint on July 4, which commemorated two events: his episcopal ordination in 371, and the translation of his relics on the same day about a century later, roughly 70 years after his death, from his original burial place to a large basilica built over it. This church was rebuilt twice, in 1014, and again in 1230 after a fire, each time on a larger scale.

It was not, however, the cathedral of Tours, which is dedicated to St Gatian, Martin’s predecessor-but-one as bishop; his own church, while very important, was at first a monastery, and later a collegiate church. For much of the Middle Ages, the area around it was known as “Martinopolis,” later “Chateauneuf” (New Castle), and legally a separate city from Tours. An indication of its importance is the fact that the abbey had the right to mint its own coinage, known as the “livre tournois” (the “pound of Tours”, like the English pound-sterling), which became the coin of the realm in France, and remained so until the Revolution. Sadly, both the tomb and the relics of St Martin were mostly destroyed when the church was sacked by Protestants in 1562; the basilica itself was then razed during the French Revolution. A modern church was built to replace it in the later 19th-century; of the original there remains only the towers built on either side of it.

Engraving showing the basilica of St Martin above. and the ruins of it after the first wave of destruction in the Revolution.
A huge number of other churches throughout the world are dedicated to St Martin; Dom Guéranger states that there were 3660 in France alone. He shares a basilica in Rome with Pope St Sylvester I, traditionally said to be the first Pope who did not die as a martyr; they are the first Saints to be honored as “Confessors” in the traditional sense of the term, and their church was the first in Rome not titled to a Biblical personage or a martyr. The feast of Pope St Martin I, the last Pope to be martyred, is kept the day after Martin of Tours, even though he died on September 16, because his relics were placed in the church of his holy namesake. St Bede states that a church dedicated to St Martin of Tours in Canterbury was the very first ever built in England, dating back to Roman times (and of course, if this is so, originally under a different dedication.) It was from there that St Augustine of Canterbury began the evangelization of that country.

Although St Martin lived to be about eighty, and was famous for many miracles both in life and after death, he is most commonly represented in an episode that took place when he was a young soldier, even before he was baptized, the famous story of the cloak. As told by his biographer Sulpicius Severus,
Once, when he had nothing but his weapons and the simple cloak of a soldier, in the midst of a colder-than-usual winter, such that many had already died, he met at the gates of Amiens a naked beggar. And since this man prayed the passers-by to have mercy on him, and they all just passed him by, the man of God understood that that man was reserved for him, since others showed him no mercy. But what could he do? He had nothing but the cloak with which he was clothed. … Therefore, taking his sword, … he cut it in half, gave part to the beggar, and clothed himself with the rest. … On the following night, when he had gone to sleep, he saw Christ clothed with the part of his cloak in which he had clothed the beggar. … Then he heard Jesus clearly say to the multitude of Angels that stood about Him: Martin, though yet a catechumen, covered me with this garment. (Vita Beati Martini, cap. 3. These words spoken by Christ are sung as the first antiphon of Matins of St Martin: “Martinus adhuc catechumenus hac me veste contexit.”)
St Martin Divides His Cloak with a Beggar, by Simone Martini, in the lower basilica of St Francis of Assisi, 1320-25.
Although it may seem like a folk-etymology, it is actually true that the word “chapel” derives from the Latin word for cloak, “cappa”, in reference to the relic of St Martin’s cloak. As explained by the Catholic Encyclopedia, “This cape, or its representative, was afterwards preserved as a relic and accompanied the Frankish kings in their wars, and the tent which sheltered it became known also as cappella or capella. In this tent Mass was celebrated by the military chaplains (capellani). When at rest in the palace the relic likewise gave its name to the oratory where it was kept, and subsequently any oratory where Mass and Divine service were celebrated was called capella (in Latin), chapelle (in French), chapel.”

The liturgical calendar also served the Middle Ages as an almanac for weather and agriculture, with many rules, customs and proverbs bound to certain feasts. One French tradition says that if there is a full moon on St Martin’s day, the winter will be very snowy. In Italy, his feast is connected with the opening of the “vino novello – the young wine”, which is to say, wine made earlier in the same year, generally very light in alcohol content. An Indian summer may also be called “St Martin’s summer” in England, and this is the standard term in Portugal and Italy. In Milan and Toledo, his feast is the key to the beginning of the liturgical year, since the six-week long Advent of the Ambrosian and Mozarabic liturgies starts on the Sunday after his feast.

Friday, November 09, 2018

A Troped Epistle for the Dedication of a Church

In the Middle Ages, it was a very common custom to embellish the original texts of the liturgy with additions known as tropes. The most popular of these were the ones added to the Kyrie; the Mass Ordinaries in the Liber Usualis are still to this day named after them, as for example Kyrie fons bonitatis. When the tropes were used, the choir would sing the first Kyrie as follows: “Kyrie, fons bonitatis, Pater ingenite, a quo bona cuncta procedunt, eleison.” (Lord, fount of goodness, Father unbegotten, from whom all good things proceed, have mercy.) There was a troped Gloria which was written specifically for feasts and votive Masses of the Virgin Mary, which is found in a very large number of medieval Missals, and many others for the rest of the Ordinary.

A page of the Missal according to the Use of Cologne printed in 1494, with the troped Gloria for Masses of the Virgin in the left column, introduced by the rubric “Another (version of the) angelic hymn, of Our Lady on Saturdays and her feasts.”
One also occasionally finds tropes added to the Scriptural readings of the Mass; the Sarum Missal, for example, has a reading from Isaiah at the Midnight Mass of Christmas before the Epistle, which is actually more trope than scripture. In honor of today’s feast, the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, here is a particularly splendid example, the epistle for the Dedication of a Church, Apocalypse 21, 2-5. This comes from a very important late-medieval chant manuscript known as Codex Engelberg 314, which was copied out by several hands at the Abbey of Engelberg in Canton Obwalden, Switzerland. Below is the text in Latin and English, with the tropes in italics. Note that the tropes are sung by one voice, and the Biblical text by another, but they sing the conclusion together. (The German pronunciation of Latin is used, so that C sounds like TS.)
Ad decus ecclesiae recitatur hodie lectio libri Apocalypsis Johannis Apostoli, cui revelata sunt secreta caelestia. In diebus illis: talis divinitus ostensa est visio: Vidi civitatem sanctam Jerusalem novam, quae constituitur in caelis, honos ex lapidibus, descendentem de caelo nuptiali thalamo a Deo, paratam sicut sponsam ornatam viro suo super solem splendidum. Et audivi vocem magnam nuntiantem nova gaudia de throno dicentem: Veni, ostendam tibi, ecce tabernaculum Dei cum hominibus, et ad eum venient omnes gentes et dicent: Gloria tibi, Domine, et habitabit cum eis, nunc et in aevum. Et ipsi populus eius erunt, omnes Dei gratia, quos a morte redemit perpetua, et ipse Deus cum eis erit eorum Deus, qui moderatur cuncta creata: et absterget Deus omnem lacrimam ab oculis eorum, quorum non sol, luna, sed Christus vera est lucerna:  et mors ultra non erit, sed caeli praemia perpetua, neque luctus, neque clamor, ubi cum beatis gloriantur, nova canunt Deo carmina, neque dolor erit ultra, gaudia permanent sempiterna, quia prima abierunt, justi florebunt. Et dixit, qui sedebat in throno in supernae majestatis arce: Ecce nova facio omnia. duo simul:
Divina Providentia,
Sancti Spiritus gratia,
Per sacra mysteria
Renovatur ecclesia.

For the glory of the Church is recited today a reading from the book of the Revelation of the Apostle John, to whom heavenly secrets were revealed. [1] In those days, a vision of this sort was divinely shown: I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, which is built in the heavens, honor from the stones, [2] coming down out of heaven, the bridal chamber, by God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, more splendid than the sun. And I heard a great voice, proclaiming new joys, saying from the throne: Come, I will show thee: [3] Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and all the nations will come to it, and say, “Glory to Thee, o Lord.” [4] And he will dwell with them now and forever. And they shall be his people, all by God’s grace, those whom He hath redeemed from everlasting death; and God himself with them shall be their God, who ruleth over all created things. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, whose true light is not the sun or moon, but Christ [5]: and death shall be no more, but the rewards of heaven, everlasting, nor mourning, nor crying, where they glory with the blessed, and sing new songs to God, nor sorrow shall be any more, everlasting joys abide, for the former things are passed away. And he that sat on the throne in the height of supreme majesty, said: Behold, I make all things new. The two together:
By divine Providence,
And the Holy Spirit’s grace
Through the holy mysteries
The Church is renewed.

The right wing of the St John Altarpiece, by Hans Memling, 1474-79.
[1] A quote from the antiphon at the Benedictus in the Office of St John the Evangelist. “Iste est Joannes, qui supra pectus Domini in coena recubuit; beatus Apostolus, cui revelata sunt secreta caelestia. - This is John, who rested upon the breast of the Lord at the supper; blessed is the Apostle, to who heavenly secrets were revealed.”

[2] A citation of the Vesper hymn for the Dedication of a Church, Urbs Jerusalem Beata. The cantors in this recording seem to have replaced the word “vivis” in “vivis ex lapidibus” with “honos - honor”.

[3] Apocalypse 21, 19

[4] A citation of the second responsory in the Office of a Dedication. “Fundáta est domus Dómini supra vérticem móntium, et exaltáta est super omnes colles: Et venient ad eam omnes gentes, et dicent: Gloria tibi, Dómine. - The house of the Lord is founded upon the height of the mountains, and exalted above all the hills, and all the nations will come to it, and say, ‘Glory to Thee, o Lord.’ ”

[5] Apocalypse 21, 23

All Saints and All Souls Photopost 2018 (Part 2)

Continuing with your photos of All Saints and All Souls liturgies, today we have a bit more than usual of All Saints, including a video of a very beautiful Offertory motet, and of course once again, it is great to see so many churches using black vestments. There will definitely be at least one more photopost in this series, so we’ll be happy to receive any late submissions - evangelize through beauty!

St Mary’s Parish - Kalamazoo, Michigan

Tradition will always be for the young!

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: