Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Requiem Mass and Tomb Dedication in Covington, Kentucky

On October 26, His Excellency Roger Foys, bishop of Covington, Kentucky, celebrated a Requiem Mass and Entombment for Camillus Paul Maes, who served as the third bishop of the diocese from 1885 to 1915, in the cathedral-basilica of the Assumption. Bishop Maes was the visionary behind the construction of the grand neo-Gothic cathedral, which is modeled after Notre Dame de Paris. The entombment of his remains in the church’s former baptistry fulfills his final wish to be buried in the cathedral, and honors his contributions to the Church in northern Kentucky. A video of the complete service is included below.


Designed by our friend Dcn Jordan Hainsey, in collaboration with Philadelphia-based Saint Jude Liturgical Studio, the new tomb features a sarcophagus of white and green marble with an effigy of Bishop Maes in full pontificals, lying in repose. Each item of his vestments modelled on something worn by a previous bishop of Covington; the entire tomb will sit beneath a newly completed starry vault, reminding God’s Pilgrim People that our ultimate destination is Heaven.

Very nice black vestments!

Traditional Latin Mass Conferences This Weekend in Houston (November 23-24) [UPDATE]

For our readers in the greater Houston, Texas area: The schedule for the day-long liturgical conference this Saturday at Prince of Peace Catholic Community in Houston, Texas, has been modified. See below for more details.


The topic and schedule for Sunday's event at Regina Caeli remain the same.


3,000-Years-Old Newsflash! God Commanded the Use of Graven Images

Last month, on Sunday, October 13th, the Eastern Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. I am happy to share with our readers the text that was the basis of the homily given by Fr Sebastian Carnazzo, pastor of St Elias Melkite Catholic Church in Los Gatos California, on that day.

There are several points that we of the Roman Church can take from this.

First, is the content. Contrary to what is commonly believed, the 10 commandments do not forbid graven images. The relevant commandment, often quoted by iconoclastic Protestants and out of context, does not condemn the making and use of religious imagery, but rather idolatry, which is very different. Graven, incidentally, means “made by hand.” Fr Sebastian (a Scripture scholar who is a colleague of mine on the faculty at www.Pontifex.University) explains why this is the case.

Second is the fact that Fr Sebastian thought this point is important enough to make it the central subject of his homily, and to send out a summary of his points in the church bulletin which he encouraged his parishioners to take home and study. In this homily, while he did mention in passing the many contemporary forms of idolatry in our neo-pagan or secular world, (a subject that many priests today are more likely to discuss in this context), he focused primarily on the use of images in the context of worship.

As Roman Catholics, we cannot afford to be smug about this. The general situation in my observation is that images are not incorporated in worship at all. And I am not referring here to the liberal, impious parishes with whitewashed, modern churches that reflect modern iconoclasm and are barely distinguishable from a puritanical Protestant church. I am thinking of your parish and mine, that of the orthodox, pious and religious who appreciate beauty, and very likely agree in principle with the need for sacred art in churches. They might have beautiful art in their churches, and Mass at such parishes might be dignified and beautiful, with expert choirs singing chant or polyphony, but I have never yet seen liturgical imagery used in the context of worship in the way that I see it in every Eastern Divine Liturgy. The understanding of the place of liturgical imagery in the actual process of worship is so small that, in my experience, Roman Catholics simply don’t know what I am referring to when I mention it. At Roman Catholic churches, the art is reduced to contributing to a beautiful backdrop that is incidental to the process of worship, which is an eyes-closed affair that involves us having our noses buried in Missals. Most of the art is devotional, and if it is engaged with at all, it is not in the context of the liturgy. Until we remedy this situation in the Roman Church, we cannot, in my estimation, revitalize the culture powerfully. I wrote about this specifically and in detail in the following article: The Good, the Better and the Sunday Best - Using St Thomas’ 4th Way to Evangelize the Culture.

The third is the importance of this feast in the Church calendar in the Eastern Church. Of the seven Councils recognized by the Eastern Church, the first six are celebrated together, but the Seventh Ecumenical is given its own day. This is a reflection of the history of the Eastern Church and its fight against iconoclasm. There are martyrs from the period, over 1,000 years ago, people who were prepared to die rather than concede the point. We have been through our own period of iconoclasm in the West (we are not out of it yet), but in contrast with its Eastern equivalent, it is marked not by resistance from the Catholic faithful and hierarchy, but by quiet acquiescence. Greater the fools we!

Images are the stepping stones by which the spirit of man can move from contemplation of the material world to contemplation of God. We neglect them at our peril, as the history of Church in the West for the last 200 years demonstrates. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that until we once again incorporate imagery directly into our worship, we will continue to lose the culture wars with the anti-Christian secular forces, and Mass ayyendance will continue to decline.

The Adoration of the Golden Calf – Picture from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century)
Here is Fr Carnazzo’s recorded Bible study on the topic.
And here is the written text, which was the starting point for his homily, made available at my request:

The Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council declared: “We, therefore...define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross, so also the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God, and on the sacred vessels and on the vestments and on hangings and in pictures both in houses and by the wayside, to wit, the figure of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, of our spotless Lady, the Mother of God, of the honorable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people. For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them; and to these should be given due salutation and honorable reverence not indeed that true worship of faith which pertains alone to the divine nature...but...according to ancient and pious custom” (NPNF, vol 14).

The Seventh Ecumenical Council made this declaration in AD 787, against the heresy of Iconoclasm, a heresy that had labeled the making and use of religious imagery in the Church as idolatry. The council condemned the heresy of iconoclasm on the grounds that it contradicted the Orthodox and Apostolic Faith. For the Church had used sacred images in both its liturgical life and catechesis from the earliest days, just as Israel had in both its synagogues and places of worship in the OT. And although the declaration of the venerable Council officially ended the problem for the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, the heresy lives on even to today.

Iconoclasm is found implicitly in the architecture and decor and explicitly in the doctrine of the vast majority of Protestant sects. These sects teach that the Bible forbids the making and use of religious imagery, such as statues and icons. The passage they most commonly cite is from the Ten Commandments given through Moses at Sinai: “You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them or serve them...”(Exod 20:4-5). When this passage is read out of context, it can appear that the Protestant position has some support and that the Bible really does condemn the making and use of religious imagery.

However, if one reads the passage in its original context, one can see that the commandment does not condemn the making of a graven image as such (“graven” simply means ‘fashioned by hand’), but rather the making of an image to be worshiped as a god. This is made clear by a careful reading of the words which appear immediately before and after the passage in question: “I am the Lord your God....You shall have no other gods before me.....for I the Lord your God am a jealous God....” Later on in the same chapter, God repeated his commandment in one succinct statement, “You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold” (Exod 20:23). Therefore the passage, usually quoted by Protestants and often out of context, does not condemn the making and use of religious imagery, but rather idolatry, that is the making and use of an image of a created thing to bow down and worship it as a god.

An examination of the broader context further supports this conclusion, since there are a number of passages, even in the very same book of Exodus, where God actually commands that religious imagery be made. For example, just a few chapters later, God began to describe to Moses how to build the Ark of the Covenant and the Sanctuary that would be God’s dwelling place among Israel (Exod 25:10-22). In this passage God told Moses to make an ark (a box about the dimensions of a bath tub) out of wood and to cover it with gold. Then he was to put two cherubim (a cherub is a type of angel) on the lid at either end, facing each other, wings out-spread, and touching in the middle. In this box, Moses was to place the Ten Commandments, and above this box God would sit enthroned on the outstretched wings of the graven images of golden angels (cf. 1 Sam 4:4; Ps 99:1, etc.), and from there speak to Moses about all of his commandments to Israel. Continuing on in the book of Exodus, one finds that from chapter 25 to the end of the book, the majority of the text is spent describing how God wants Moses to build the Sanctuary, and how he is to cover it with images of cherubim, palm trees, flowers, and fruit (cf. Exod 25: 31-40; 26:1,30-31; 28:31-34), all according to God’s command (cf. Exod 25:40; 26:30; 27:8; 39:43; 40:33-38). As one can see, God did not condemn the making or use of religious imagery; on the contrary, he actually commanded it for his most holy Sanctuary where he would dwell among Israel. Similar imagery appears later in the Old Testament, when Solomon built the Temple.

Like Moses before him, Solomon was appointed to build a place for God to dwell among His people. And like the Sanctuary Moses was commanded to build, Solomon built the Temple in accordance with the pattern he had been shown by God (1 Chron 28:18-19; Wis 9:8; cp. Exod 25:40). In the inner sanctuary of the Temple, Solomon put the Ark that Moses had built, and at the entrance he put two 15-foot (1 cubit = 1 ½ feet) statues of cherubim to guard the way (1 Kings 6:14-32). The Temple’s inner sanctuary was covered in gold and the rest of the Temple walls were lined in cedar and carved with images of cherubim, open flowers, gourds, palm trees, lilies, and lions (cf. 1 Kings 6:33-35; 7:28,36). Twelve life-sized statues of oxen supported a 10,000-gallon bath for liturgical washing (cf. 1 Kings 7:25-26). Hundreds and hundreds of golden pomegranates (a type of fruit) hanging from lengths upon lengths of golden chains draped from every pillar (cf. 1 Kg 7:15-22,42). What Moses had made for ease of travel through the wilderness, Solomon made for permanence in Jerusalem. As with the sanctuary built by Moses, Solomon’s Temple contained numerous examples of God’s command to make and use religious imagery for both catechetical decoration and liturgical function.

Another example of God commanding the making of graven imagery appears in an episode of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness when they were stricken by deadly serpents Here God commanded the making of a graven image in the form of a serpent as a medium through which he would save his people (Num 21:8-9; cp. 2 Kings 18:4).

Therefore, the common Protestant claim that the Ten Commandments condemn the making and use of graven religious imagery is clearly refuted, not only in the immediate context as already addressed, but by numerous other passages in the Bible, as the above examples demonstrate. God did not condemn the making and use of religious imagery in the Ten Commandments, but rather the sin of idolatry. Idolatry is the act of making or using an image to be worshiped as a god. One can see the difference by an examination of the well-known biblical account of idolatry, when Israel made a golden calf (cf. Exod 32). But notice what was at issue here. It was not the fact that Israel decided to make an image of a calf, Solomon had made twelve life-size statues of oxen to be used in the Temple he built (cf. 1 Kings 7:25-26), rather the issue here was the making of an image of a calf to be worshiped as a god (cf. Exod 32:1,4).

Another example of idolatry appears in the book of Daniel, when King Nebuchadnezzar built a 90-foot tall golden image (Dan 3). He then commanded all in his kingdom to come and worship it as a god (cf. Dan 3:6,11,14,18). Here again, notice that the problem was not that Nebuchadnezzar built a large golden statue, indeed Solomon had built two 15-foot golden statues of cherubim in the Temple (cf. 1 Kings 6:23), rather the issue here was that Nebuchadnezzar had built his statue to be worshiped as a god.

So we see how Protestantism’s erroneous interpretation of God’s teaching regarding graven images in the Ten Commandments, is not only contradicted by a careful examination of the immediate context, but also in numerous examples throughout the rest of Sacred Scripture. Let us recall the golden cherubim on top of the Ark of the Covenant, whose wings formed the very throne of God upon the earth, the two 15-foot golden cherubim who guarded the way into the Temple’s sanctuary, the twelve life-size statues of oxen which supported the bath of purity in the Temple, the cherubim, lions, palm trees, gourds, pomegranates, and open flowers that decorated the Temple, and the bronze serpent, fashioned that the people of God might live. Thus it is obvious from even the ‘Bible alone’, that God did not condemn the making of religious imagery in the Ten Commandments, but rather the sin of idolatry. And so while we renounce the idolatrous making of a graven image to be worshiped as a god, we also uphold the ancient and honorable practice of the making and use of religious imagery in the Church, received from Israel of Old, since as the Council Fathers taught: “For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them....” Therefore, let us proclaim with the great and venerable Fathers of that most blessed and glorious Council concerning the Iconoclasts of the past and their modern adherents today among the Protestant sects: “they have failed to distinguish between holy and profane, styling the images of our Lord and of his Saints by the same name as the statues of diabolical idols....[applying] to the venerable images the things said in Holy Scripture about idols.”

Here is the bulletin which is not only distributed to all who attend the Divine Liturgy but is emailed out to any who have ever attended the church. This contains a truncated version of the above. Again, this indicates the seriousness with which this topic is taken in the Eastern Church.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Why We Should Retain or Reintroduce the Communion Plate (“Chin Paten”)

At a time in my life when I was still attending daily Novus Ordo Masses, there was a particular year in which, due to what strange epidemic of butterfingers I could not say, I witnessed hosts falling to the ground several times. It happened with three different priests. Apart from further cementing my conviction that nothing dumber could ever have been imagined than switching from the safe, efficient, and reverent method of communicating the faithful on the tongue as they kneel along the altar rail to the unsteady, convoluted, and casual method of queuing up and sticking out hands or tongue at varied heights in relation to the distributor, these episodes prompted me to do a bit of research about what ever happened to the paten or “communion plate” held by an altar server in order to catch hosts or fragments.

The full story of “chin patens” or communion plates turned out to be considerably more interesting than I had realized: Monsignor Charles Pope relates it here. Although a recent (19th-century) development, they make a great deal of sense. After all, even if the “houseling cloth” was the traditional method and still possesses an aesthetic and devotional appeal of its own, it wouldn’t really work very well at catching anything unless it were suspended carefully under each communicant — as one sees in Byzantine practice, or in some First Communion services in the Roman rite (see photograph below). So the invention of the “chin paten” was a brilliant idea and deserved its universal acceptance around the Catholic world. We could consider it a classic example of organic development: a real need is met by an appropriate solution that harmoniously slides into what is already there.

We can all guess what happened to them in the 1960s: in the rush to modernize, the chin paten, together with maniples, birettas, amices, houseling cloths, altar rails, and a hundred other standard-issue features of a Catholic church, would have seemed fussy extras, sacristy clutter, scrupulous remnants interfering with the businesslike transaction and the clean lines of the new aesthetic, where less was thought to be more — more “authentic” and more “spiritual.”

Nevertheless, it does not take long experience to see that when a chin paten is used, fragments of the host do fall on its surface sometimes, and that it does catch falling hosts. [1] That, in and of itself, should be more than enough to force an earnest reconsideration of the importance of retaining or reintroducing chin patens during communion time.

What surprised me is that this is also the mens ecclesiae, as expressed most recently in 2004, in the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which states:
The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful ought to be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling. (Patina pro Communione fidelium oportet retineatur, ad vitandum periculum ut hostia sacra vel quoddam eius fragmentum cadat.)
The Instruction at this point cites n. 118 of the General Instruction, which lists all the things that should be provided on the credence table, including: “the Communion-plate [patina] for the Communion of the faithful.” It is true that a close reading of the GIRM would suggest that this paten is mandatory only when intinction is utilized (see n. 287), but nevertheless it is a common sense practice allowed for by the GIRM and certainly commendable for all sorts of reasons.

Houseling cloth and paten in use (a first communion in Germany) 

One reason has not yet been mentioned: quite apart from its utility, the chin paten reminds the faithful of the mystery of the One who is present to us under the sacramental species of bread. He is the Lord of glory, hidden under the humble veil of food, and we must approach It and handle It with utmost reverence. The paten is a simple and subtle way of underlining that communion is no mere symbolic token of communal belonging but a genuine participation in the Redeemer’s divine flesh. When we recover little signs like this — and in ideal circumstances, we would be restoring the altar rail, too, and the houseling cloth — we do our part in reversing the outrageously bad statistics about the ignorance of and lack of faith in transubstantiation that characterizes American Catholics and probably Catholics in many other parts of the world as well.

Another reason to use the chin paten is that it subtly encourages the faithful to receive on the tongue, since the paten seems to have its use most properly in that configuration. The signal is transmitted that something special is occurring in reception on the tongue that reception on the hand rules out. Psychologically, this could come across as: “The person in line ahead of me is treated more specially because the priest and the server cooperate when giving him communion. Maybe I should do that, too. It seems more appropriate somehow.” I grant that Boomers are not likely to reason this way, but others with less baggage might.

Although communion plates with no handle are sometimes used, plates with long handles tend to be much more convenient for altar servers. If a particular place is following the common though inefficient and impersonal “queuing up” model, the server should stand to one side of the priest and hold the paten under the chin of any communicant who receives on the tongue. It is harder to say what should be done with those who receive in the hands, apart from saying that they just shouldn’t, period. But that topic has been taken up in many other NLM articles, and is not the main point here.

For those who take the motto of “brick by brick” seriously, reintroducing the communion plate would be a simple and affordable brick that could be set into its place readily enough.


NOTE
[1] No method is perfect, since a host hard enough can bounce off of a paten, as I saw happen with the first generation low-gluten hosts, which tended to be hard rather than soft. Such mishaps can, in any case, be avoided as long as the paten remains close to the communicant's chin, so that there is not a long distance through which a host can fall.

Visit www.peterkwasniewski.com for articles, sacred music, and classics reprinted by Os Justi Press (e.g., Benson, Scheeben, Parsch, Guardini, Chaignon, Leen).

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Interview with Cardinal Sarah, Part 2 - Square Notes Podcast

We have now posted the second part of our interview with His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. In it, he discusses the role of emotion and sentiment in liturgical worship and sacred music; check out the episode at our website, on iTunes, or on YouTube.

And here’s a sneak peak at some of our upcoming episodes in season 2, including our next with NLM’s own Gregory DiPippo:
  • Episode 3 - All about Saint Cecilia, Or: When in Rome - with Gregory DiPippo
  • Episode 4 - The Spiritual Fruits of Singing the Mass for Both Priests and the Laity - with Fr. Nathan Cromly, CSJ
  • Episode 5 - Musical Treasures of the Mozarabic (Hispanic) Rite - with Jim Monti
  • Episode 6 - Beauty, Happiness, and Whether It’s All in the Eye of the Beholder - with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand
  • Episode 7 - St. Elizabeth of the Trinity as Musician and Spiritual Friend - with Dr. Anthony Lilles

 

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Ambrosian Office of the Dead

Since I recently described the Ambrosian Rite’s Requiem Mass and Absolution at the catafalque, in this final post of the series, I will describe its Office of the Dead. Since it is very similar to the Roman version, from which it was mostly copied, it will be sufficient to describe it in broad terms, with particular attention to the notable variants. The Roman Office of the Dead can be consulted in any version of the traditional breviary, and is also available on the Divinum Officium website. Various editions of the Ambrosian Breviary are available on Google Books.

Our longtime Ambrosian writer Nicola de’ Grandi intones an antiphon at Matins of the Dead, sung before a Requiem Mass for Mons. Angelo Amodeo in November of 2012, a couple of months after his death, with the Schola Sainte-Cécile
First, some general principles. The Ambrosian Office uses an Old Latin text of the psalms and canticles, different from that of the Roman Breviary known as the Gallican Psalter. The Office of the Dead is even more stripped down [1] than the Roman one. Where I write that a text is the same as in the Roman Rite, it should always be understood that the music for it is different. There are no introductory formulae at all, not even the silent Pater, Ave and Credo; the hours simply begin with the first antiphon, and all antiphons are semidoubled. The versicles, which are not a feature of the Ambrosian Office, are also everywhere omitted. The most notable difference from the Roman Office is that the words “Requiem aeternam…luceat eis” are not said at the end of the psalms in place of the doxology, which is simply omitted everywhere.

At Vespers, the same five psalms are said as in the Roman Rite (114, 119, 120, 129 and 137 by the traditional numeration). Their antiphons are almost the same, with a few minor variants in wording (e.g. “complacebo” instead of “placebo” for the first one.) The antiphon of 119 is slightly longer: “Alas for me, that my sojourning is prolonged, to dwell with them that dwell in Cedar.” The antiphon of the Magnificat consists of the same words which are used as the versicle in the Roman Rite: “I heard a voice from heaven, saying, ‘Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord.’ ”


As in the Roman Rite, the Lord’s Prayer is said in silence as all kneel. The preces which follow it are longer than the Roman ones.
V. Requiem aeternam. R. Et lux.
V. Non intres in judicium. R. Cum servis tuis, Domine. (Enter not into judgment with Thy servants, o Lord.)
V. Ne tradas bestiis animas confitentium tibi. R. Animas pauperum tuorum ne obliviscaris in finem. (Deliver not up to beasts the souls of them that confess to Thee: forget not to the end the souls of Thy poor.)
V. Domine, exaudi orationem nostram. R. Et clamor noster ad te perveniat. (Hear, O Lord, our prayer: and let our cry come to Thee.)
V. Exsurge, Christe, adjuva nos. R. Et libera nos propter nomen tuum. (Arise, o Christ, help us, and deliver us for Thy name’s sake.)

There follows Psalm 50, followed by another verse of the preces: V. Averte faciem tuam a peccatis nostris. R. Et omnes iniquitates nostras dele. (“Turn away Thy face from our sins, and blot out all our iniquities.”, the 11th verse of the preceding psalm, converted to the plural.) The celebrant then says “Dominus vobiscum” and the prayer or prayers relevant to the occasion. The hour concludes with V. Requiem aeternam and V. Animae istorum et omnium fidelium defunctorum per Dei misericordiam requiéscant in pace. R. Amen. (May the souls of these, (i.e., of those for whom the Office is specificially said) and of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. R. Amen.)

At Matins, there is no invitatory. (The regular Ambrosian Office does have an introductory section analogous to the Roman invitatory, but Psalm 94 is not a part of it.) The psalms, antiphons and readings of the first nocturn are the same as in the Roman Office. Following the normal pattern of Ambrosian Matins, there is a responsory after the first two readings, but not the third. The corpus of responsories is different from the Roman one, and will be explained in greater detail below.

In the second nocturn, the first two psalms (22 and 24) and their antiphons are the same as in the Roman Rite, as are the three readings; the third antiphon, however, is Psalm 30 (where the Roman has 26), with the antiphon “Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth; into thy hands I commend my spirit.” This was certainly chosen because the Lord Himself spoke these same words on the Cross.

In the third nocturn, the psalms are 34, 39 and 41, where the Roman Rite has 39, 40 and 41. The antiphon of Psalm 34 is “But my soul shall rejoice in the Lord; and shall be delighted for his salvation.” Those of the other two psalms are the same as in the Roman Rite. The first two readings are also the same; the third, however, is 2 Maccabees 12, 43-46, the Roman Epistle for an anniversary Requiem Mass, and a foundational text for the theology of prayer for the dead.

“In those days: the most valiant Judas, have made a collection, sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead; and because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”

Judah Maccabbee Redeeming the Sins of the Dead. From the Hours of Anne de Montmorency, 1550 (Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.)
Lauds begins with its first antiphon as soon as the last reading is done. The psalmody is the same as in the traditional Roman Rite: 50, 64, 62 and 66, said as a single psalm, an Old Testament canticle, and 148-149-150, said as a single psalm. (Psalms 66, 149 and 150 were not removed after St Pius X’s reform of the Psalter, which was not applied to the Ambrosian Rite in any way.) The antiphon of Psalm 50 is different, however: “In iniquitatibus conceptus sum: peccavi coram te, Domine: miserere mei.” (In iniquities was I conceived; I have sinned before Thee, o Lord; have mercy on me.”) The word “peccavi” instead of “malum feci” is chosen in reference to what King David says when confronted by the prophet Nathan about his affair with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, since it was on this occasion that he composed this Psalm, as is stated in its title.

The Ambrosian repertoire of Old Testament canticles does not include the canticle of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38, 10-20) which is said in the Roman Office of the Dead, and at the ferial office of Tuesday. The Ambrosian Office of the Dead therefore replaces it with Jonah 2, 3-10, which is also sung at Sunday Matins in summertime, and is one of the odes of Byzantine Orthros. However, the antiphon with which it is said is a slightly different version of the Roman antiphon from the canticle of Hezekiah: “A porta inferi erue, Domine, animas eorum.” (“From the gates of hell deliver their souls, o Lord.” The Roman version reads “deliver my soul.”)

The Benedictus follows immediately after the psalmody, with the same antiphon. The rest of Lauds is the same as the end of Vespers (from the Lord’s Prayer forward), except that Psalm 142 is said in place of Psalm 50.

The most significant divergence from the Roman Office for the Dead lies in the corpus of Matins responsories. Those of the first two nocturns correspond to some of the Roman responsories which accompany the readings from the book of Job at the beginning of September, rather than those of the Roman Office of the Dead. The third nocturne includes the Ambrosian version of the Libera me, which is much shorter than its Roman counterpart, and also serves as the Offertory chant of the daily and anniversary Requiem Mass. The final responsory is uniquely Ambrosian.

R. Non timebis, anima, quia Christus passus est, * per cujus passionem nos redempti sumus. V. Dominus custodiat te ab omni malo; custodiat animam tuam Dominus. Per cujus… (Thou shalt not fear, o soul, because Christ hath suffer, and by His passion we are redeemed. May the Lord keep thee from all evil: may the Lord keep thy soul. And by…)
Crucifix by Filippo Brunelleschi, ca. 1415, from the Chapel of the Cross in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. Back when it was common to have a Requiem Mass daily in cathedrals and large religious houses, the chapel for them was usually dedicated to the Cross.
The second volume of the Breviary also contains a special repertoire of fourteen responsories to be said in Lent, when the Office of the Dead was said on every ferial day. (This obligation was still kept until 1914, and the only two feasts which are celebrated in Lent are those of St Joseph and the Annunciation.) Here is one particularly nice example.

R. Scio, Domine, quia morti me traditurus es, ubi constituta est domus omnis viventis. Credo in te, Domine, quia non ad consumptionem meam emittis manum tuam: * Si in profundo inferni demersus fuero, inde me liberabis. V. Memento, Domine, quia manus tuae fecerunt me, pelle et carne me induisti, vitam et misericoridam dedisti mihi. Si in profundo … (I know, o Lord, that Thou shalt hand me over to death, where the house of every man that liveth is established. I believe in Thee, o Lord, that Thou puttest forth Thy hand not to my destruction. If I shall be sunk down in the depth of hell, thence shalt Thou deliver me. Remember, o Lord, that Thy hands did make me, Thou didst clothe me with skin and flesh, and give me life and mercy. If I shall be...)

[1] For descriptive purposes, it is easier to say that the Office of the Dead is “stripped down” compared to the regular Office. It would of course be more accurate to describe it as “not built up”, since the absence of hymns, chapters, the introductory formulae etc. represents an archaic state of the Office before these elements were introduced.

Photos of FSSP First Mass in Providence, RI

Following up on yesterday’s post of the priestly ordination of Fr William Rock FSSP, here are some photographs of his First Mass, which he celebrated the day after at the same church, St Mary’s in Providence, Rhode Island. The Veni, Creator Spiritus was sung before the Mass, and the Te Deum afterwards; Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who celebrated the ordination, and several members of the local clergy and the FSSP attended the Mass in choir. The last three photos show Bp Schneider blessing Fr Rock’s calice and paten the day before the ordination. (Photos by Claire Gruneberg and Tony Beretto.)
It is customary for a newly-ordained priest to celebrate his first Mass attended by an assistant priest in cope, who guides him through the ceremonies, basically doing much of what the MC normally does at a solemn Mass.

Chant Workshop in Ottawa, November 22-23

St Clement Parish in Ottawa, Ontario, will be holding Cantate Domino: A Weekend of Sacred Music featuring organist and chant director David Hughes, on Friday, November 22, the feast of St Cecilia, the patron of musicians, and on Saturday the 23rd, which is the parish’s patronal feast day. Please see the schedule and details below; registration (form linked here) and payment must be received in advance for participation in the chant workshop. For further information, contact ottawachant@gmail.com.


Friday, November 22nd - Feast of St Cecilia
7:30pm Vespers (1st Vespers of the Feast of St. Clement)
8:00pm Organ Recital - free will donation in support of religious vocations

Saturday, November 23rd - Feast of St Clement
10:00am High Mass
11:30am Chant Workshop ($20 lunch included OR $15 bring a bagged lunch - registration required in advance.)
5:00pm Vespers (2nd Vespers for the Feast of St. Clement)

Question on Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, Sept. 8

I am preparing a "Evangelarium" with the music to chant all the Gospels of the year according to the Dominican Rite.  This will replace, for the Gospels, the Cantus Lectionum Missarum pro Dominicis et Festis Maioribus, currently distributed by Dominican Liturgy Publications, which, as the title indicates, has music only for Sundays and major feasts.

The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary is the Genealogy of Our Lord according to Mathew.  It is identical to the Gospel sung at Matins of Christmas.  That Matin's Gospel has an elaborate solemn tone.

Does anyone know if that Gospel was sung using that solemn tone during the Mass of the Nativity of Mary? Or was it simply sung to the usual Gospel tone at that Mass? I can find nothing in the Dominican Caeremoniale, Processionarium, Graduale, or Missal indicating one way or the other.

Thanks for the kindness, if any of our readers can help me on this. Simply reply in the Combox.  Again, thanks!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Photos of FSSP Priestly Ordination in Providence, RI

On Saturday, October 26th, His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider ordained the Rev. William Rock FSSP to the sacred priesthood at St Mary’s Church, the home of the Fraternity’s apostolate in Providence, Rhode Island. Here are some photos of the ceremony, for which the church was completely packed. Tomorrow, we will share some photos of Fr Rock’s first Mass and a few other related events. NLM is very happy to offer our sincerest congratulations to Fr Rock, to his family and to the Fraternity of St Peter, and we thank Bishop Schneider for everything he has done on behalf of the traditional liturgy.

Fr Andrzej Komorowski, the Superior General of the F.S.S.P., reads the call to orders.
The ordinand comes forward and kneels before the bishop, who then reads a sermon from the Pontifical.
The Litany of the Saints is sung, led by two cantors who kneel at the entrance to the sanctuary; the ordinand prostrates himself, while all others kneel.
Towards the end of the Litany, the bishop rises, receives the crook and miter, then turns to the ordinand, and sings the invocations, “That Thou may deign to bless + this chosen one. - That Thou may deign to bless + and sancti+fy this chosen one. - That Thou may deign to bless +, sancti+fy and conse+crate this chosen one.”, making the sign of the Cross over him where I have put the + sign.
The imposition of hands.

First TLM at St Patrick’s Church in Rolla, Missouri. This Saturday

The church of St Patrick in Rolla, Missouri, will have its first Latin Mass in the traditional Rite this coming Saturday, November 16th, at 11am. The church is located at 17 St Patrick Lane.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

All Saints and All Souls 2019 Photopost (Part 4)

We conclude this year’s All Saints and All Souls photoposts with a lot of black, a lot of reliquaries, and some vivid memento mori images; this year we set a new record for this series, with over 220 pictures spread out over four posts. As always, we are very grateful to all those who sent them in, continuing the work of evangelizing though beauty!

St John Cantius – Chicago, Illinois

A Recording of the Dominican Libera me, Domine

On All Souls’ Day two years ago, I published a post about the Dominican version of the responsory Libera me which is sung at the Absolution over the catafalque; at the time, there was no recording of it available on the internet. Yesterday, I received an email from the directress of vocations at the Dominican Monastery of St Jude in Marbury, Alabama, letting me know that they have just posted a recording of it on their website. Below the video is the full text in Latin and English, followed by some notes on the ceremony which Sister very kindly sent in as well.


Many medieval Uses expanded the Libera me by adding more verses, and there are dozens of variants recorded. The Dominican version as sung on All Souls’ Day, which had three additional verses; the last and longest of these is particularly beautiful. Note that the verses Tremens factus sum and Dies illa are in the opposite order from the Roman version, and the Dominicans do not sing the words Requiem aeternam ... luceat eis with any of the responsories in their Office of the Dead. (The verses Quid ego miserrimus and Nunc Christe are sung only on November 2.)

R. Líbera me, Dómine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda, * Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra, * Dum véneris judicáre sáeculum per ignem.
V. j. Dies illa, dies irae, calamitátis et miseriæ, dies magna et amára valde. Dum.
V. ij. Tremens factus sum ego et tímeo, dum discussio vénerit atque ventúra ira. Quando.
V. iij. Quid ego misérrimus, quid dicam, vel quid faciam, cum nil boni pérferam ante tantum júdi-cem? Quando.
V. iv. Nunc, Christe, te pétimus, miserére, quæsumus; qui venisti redímere pérditos, noli damnáre redemptos. Dum.
V. v. Creátor omnium rerum Deus, qui me de limo terrae formasti, et mirabíliter proprio sánguine redemisti, corpusque meum, licet modo putrescat, de sepulchro facies in die judicii resuscitári: exaudi, exaudi me, ut ánimam meam in sinu Abrahae, Patriarchae tui, júbeas collocári. Repetitur R. Líbera me.

R. Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death on that awful day * when the heavens and the earth shall be shaken, * when Thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
V. j. That day shall be a day of wrath, of calamity and misery, a great day, and exceeding bitter. When the heavens...
V. ij. Trembling do I become, and fearful, when the trial and wrath shall come. When Thou shalt come...
V. iij. What shall I say or do, most wretched man that I am, since I have no good to bring before so great a judge? When the heavens...
V. iv. Now, o Christ, we ask Thee, have mercy, we beseech Thee; Thou who came to redeem the lost, condemn not the redeemed. When Thou shalt come....
V. v. Creator of all things, o God, Who formed me from the slime of the earth, and wondrously redeemed me with Thy own Blood, and, although it now rot, will cause my body to be raised up from the grave on the day of judgment: hear, o hear me, that Thou may command my soul to be placed in the bosom of Abraham, Thy Patriarch. Repeat Deliver me, o Lord...

Sister writes, “In our new booklet for the Libera, we included these rubrics from the Ceremonial for the Use of the Dominican Sisters of the Second Order, compiled by the Rev. Father Marie-Ambroise Potton, O.P. (our copy doesn't have a date, but it was around the 1860's):

Each week after the weekly Mass of the Dead, and after the Mass of the four Anniversaries, a procession for the dead is made in the Brother's Convents. The Sisters are not bound to this procession, even when they have not had the Mass applied for the intentions of the Order. . . .

After Mass the two Chantresses begin the singing of the Libera, and the Sisters leave the Choir processionally, preceded by the holy water, Acolytes and Cross. They may make their single station near the grave-yard or vault in which the Sisters are buried, or in the cloister or Chapter hall, as may be fitting. The two Chantresses or two other Sisters, sing the verses Dies illa, Tremens and Creator; and the Sisters sing the resumption, and after the last verse, the body of the responsory. Then is sung Kyrie eleison. The Hebdomadarian turned towards the Cross sings the two words Pater Noster. During the recitation of the "Pater" in secret, the Hebdomadarian may sprinkle the ground with holy water, if such be the custom of the Convent. Afterwards, the Hebdomadarian sings: Et ne nos, A porta, Domine exaudi, and the two prayers marked in the Processional: Deus veniae (Deus indulgentiarum if it is an Anniversary) and Deus cujus miseratione, under one conclusion. She adds Requiescant in pace, to which the choir responds, Amen; and the procession returns to the Choir, singing on the tone of the graces the psalm De Profundis, or the psalm Miserere, if the station is distant from the Choir. Several stations may be made instead of one; in this case the responsories, versicles, and prayers marked in the Processional are used.

Although there have been changes in our way of life since his day, this is essentially how we make the Libera Procession each week. On All Souls Day the procession is basically the same, although there are extra verses (the “Quid ego miserrimus?” and “Nunc, Christe,”) and special orations, and we always process down to our monastic cemetery if the weather at all permits.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

All Saints and All Souls 2019 Photopost (Part 3)

Continuing with your photographs of All Saints and All Souls liturgies, this will be the first year that we will get up to four posts in this series, so if you haven’t seen yours yet, be assured that they will be appearing soon. It is very encouraging to see that alongside the ever-increasing use of black vestments, people are also displaying relics on All Saint’s Day; we have four examples of this in this post alone. Always, our thanks to everyone who shared these, contributing to the good work of evangelizing through beauty.

Damenstiftkirche – Munich, Germany (FSSP)
All Saints’s Day
All Souls’s Day

Painting the Nude: The Theology of the Body and Representation of Man in Christian Art

I am delighted to announce that Pontifex University Press is publishing my new book on the place of the nude in Christian art. With a foreword written by Dr Christopher Blum (of the Augustine Institute), Painting the Nude: The Theology of the Body and Representation of Man in Christian Art will be of interest to artists and non-artists alike. It contains a discussion on the place of the nude in the Christian tradition historically and what its place ought to be today.


In his writing on the human person and art, St John Paul II created a renewed interest among Catholics in the nude in art generally, and particularly in sacred art. His call for artists to represent the human form ‘naked without shame’ has given many artists the inspiration to paint nude figures in service of the Church, with varied results and, frankly, not all of them good.

The 10,000-word essay contained in this booklet compares his writings on the representation of the human form with the traditions of the Church in order to assess how artists and patrons ought to respond. I conclude that far from representing a new Catholic permissiveness (as some have interpreted), John Paul II is reaffirming a very traditional line.

The book is broken down into three sections:

REMOVING THE FIG LEAVES uses the case of the recent renovations of the Sistine Chapel, completed in 1994, as a starting point to examine how Christian art should portray nudity so as to avoid licentiousness on the one hand and to reveal the full beauty of a creature made by God on the other.

THE THREE TRADITIONS OF FIGURATIVE LITURGICAL ART looks at the ways in which the authentic liturgical traditions in Christian art, the iconographic style, the Gothic and the Baroque, have dealt with the dilemma in the past. These traditions each deviate from perfect realism and stylistically depict essential truths that are not always visible to the naked eye. It is the invisible truths that the artist chooses to reveal that distinguish one style from another. Given this, as I demonstrate, they are not all equally appropriate for portraying the nude.

THE PROBLEM OF THE NUDE MODEL guides Christian artists towards an understanding of their responsibility to avoid the occasion of sin while producing the art and learning to draw and paint in the studio.

Some people that Pope St John Paul II’s work shifted the balance from an outdated “prudishness” toward a genuine openness to the beauty of the human body. This is certainly true to some degree, but I argue this aspect has been exaggerated. His writings can not be understood apart from a deep awareness of the Christian artistic traditions of sacred art. In truth, his ideas are a fresh presentation of deeply a conservative approach — far from being radical and new, they reconnect us to centuries of authentic Christian anthropology and tradition, and breathe new life into the contemporary conversation around body, soul, and spirit.

In his foreword, Dr. Christopher Blum (Academic Dean and Professor of History and Philosophy at the Augustine Institute) writes:
In addressing the topic of the nude in sacred art, David Clayton has performed an act requiring considerable courage. The temper of our spirituality today is highly emotional, to say the least. We are quick to accuse earlier ages of Jansenism and slow to admit that the mortification of the senses has a permanent place in the Christian way of life. Moreover, our tastes have been permanently affected by more than one artistic revolution. Clayton’s reminder that Christian art has always had a much higher purpose, then, is a call that asks us to swim against a very strong tide. 
Clayton takes us on a journey of rediscovery, anchored in a careful reading of St. John Paul II. With his help, we can newly appreciate the essentially iconic nature of Christian sacred art. 
Deacon Keith Fournier, General Counsel Director of Diaconal Formation for the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, wrote the following review of this book: 
Between September 5, 1979 and November 28, 1984, Pope St. John Paul II delivered a series of 129 catechetical instructions called “Human Love in the Divine Plan”. It is popularly referred to as a “Theology of the Body”, a phrase the late Pope called a “working term.” The term has led to a minimization of the depth of the theological anthropology of the integrated human person as gift which the late Pope presented. The thought of the late Pope was not new; it is rooted in the Patristic Tradition and must be seen in a hermeneutic of continuity.

One of the problems arises from an oversimplification of this body of teaching in some popular presentations, and which presents the work as a break with the teaching of the Church on modesty, purity, chastity and the virtuous life – particularly as it relates to the depiction of the human body in art. This is incorrect and in this respect a disservice to the four years of teaching of this great Saint.

David Clayton has demonstrated a deep knowledge and understanding of Christian sacred art, and of the writings of John Paul II on both anthropology and art. In this book, Clayton provides us with a synthesis that places all within the context of the greater tradition of Catholic thinking on these topics and shows how, far from being a radical departure from it, the Theology of the Body is reinforcing a traditionally Christian and conservative approach to the nude in art.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The National Catholic Reporter’s New Resolve to Promote the Traditional Latin Mass

Which bespeaketh clericalism?
As many readers no doubt have seen or caught word of, Zita Ballinger Fletcher’s article at the National Catholic Reporter, “The Latin Mass becomes a cult of toxic tradition” — the title really captures her entire message about how terrible-awful-no good the TLM is, which she develops ad nauseam and with impressive though unintentional poetic license — has opened up a fountain of responses, both sober and humorous. It seems that the Reporter, not content to ignore usus antiquior enthusiasts, has decided to take the new editorial tack of promoting the cause of Summorum Pontificum.

To my knowledge, there have been five earnest replies and two satirical ones. I have enjoyed all of them. In the first category:
And in the second category:
In light of all this discussion (which, in general, seems to me a good thing: there are common misconceptions to be dismantled and now decades-old arguments that still need to be addressed for the ever-growing number who are awakening to the questions), I found myself thinking again about Fletcher’s claim that the old liturgy is clericalist, which was repeated as a mantra in the 60s and 70s, and is now being warmed up again in the microwave.

It seems to me really obvious, having attending both the NO and the TLM for decades, that the old Mass is far less clerico-centric, precisely because it is so ritualistic, formal, dictated, and prayerful. There is very little room at all for the “personality” of the priest.

Then I saw, while working on a book by Michael Fiedrowicz, a beautiful passage in Fr. Engelbert Recktenwald, FSSP. Now, Fr. Recktenwald and I have exchanged a few jabs on another aspect of the liturgy (namely, the use of the vernacular for readings and the postures to be observed in giving the readings at Mass), but here we are absolutely of one mind. He writes:
This retreat [into the ritual] serves to visualize the divine reality that comes from God—the earthly liturgy is the image of the heavenly liturgy—and to make way for the action of the main celebrant, namely, Christ himself—the priest acts in persona Christi. The celebrating priest becomes the more unimportant in his individual personality the more priestly his action is. In the heart of the Holy Mass, during the Canon, in which the transubstantiation and thus the descent of the one eternal High Priest occurs, the priest no longer has a face: he stands—yes!—with his back to the people, he speaks what every other priest speaks at this point, he becomes in his person completely unimportant and replaceable, because he makes room for the One for whose sake alone the believer takes part in the sacred liturgy. To emphasize eye contact with the priest at this point therefore means the utmost misunderstanding of the priestly function in its proper sense. In the highest priestly act, the priest is pure instrument and perviousness for the One.
Let’s have a look at a few contrasting photos and ask ourselves how the necessarily unique and irreducible function of the priest in Catholic worship (for there will never be a Mass without a priest) translates phenomenologically into a perception of his role within the Mystical Body.

In the following photos of the traditional High Mass, one sees, on the one hand, a certain separation of the priest from the people and a surrounding of his office with great solemnity and decorum, but on the other hand, the overall impression given is that of a whole community united in prayer, intently focused on worshiping God, each in his or her own way.


If I had to give a name to what I see in the foregoing photos, I would call it “hierarchically differentiated co-participation.”

In the following photos of the Novus Ordo Mass as celebrated nearly universally, one sees, in conjunction with the separate standing of the priest (which, as I mentioned, is unavoidable in any case), a sense of the clergy being over-against the people, in charge of their act of worship, and lording it over the faithful as if the faithful did not enjoy their own equal dignity versus Deum.

I regret to say that in this next photo of a Mass concelebrated by a bishop, newly-ordained priests, and presbyterate, the overwhelming impression is one of a bunch of concessionaires in the limelight, saying grace over the snackbar. If that last cluster of metaphors is jarring, I submit it’s no more jarring than the aesthetic reality we are dealing with. (I say this with no disrespect intended to individual persons, who may interiorly hold the Catholic faith in its integrity, but who are compelled to use ritual forms that do not express this faith.)


Due to the virtually obligatory versus populum stance and other ceremonial elements and lacunae, the overall impression given is that of a clerical caste intent on doing something in sight of the people and to them, while the people are focused on the clerical caste, because it catches the eye. The personal interaction has become the rite. If I had to give it a name, I would call it “hierarchically confrontational codependency.”

Thus there is a confused sense of what exactly the common action is or where it is directed: is it primarily to God? Or to one another? Or maybe we don’t know? In any case, there is a serious ambivalence and ambiguity about what exactly is being done, by whom, for whom, and why. This, of course, plays into the whole question of understanding the Mass as being primarily a sacrifice or primarily a meal (and, since it is both, how they relate to one another). A sacrifice can also be a meal, by way of the sacrificial victim being shared in by the ones offering; it is much harder to see how a meal, as such, would also be a sacrifice, except in the very generic sense that it costs something to put on a meal.

I’m perfectly well aware that a Novus Ordo Mass can be celebrated to look somewhat like the solemn Mass, as in this fine photo from a past CMAA Colloquium:


But three points must be made.

(1) This happens about as often as it snows in Jamaica, and every possible factor in the Church is against it at this time.

(2) If the new Mass can, due to its flexi-rubrics, be made to look somewhat like the old Mass, the old Mass, for its part, can never be celebrated to look like the jamboree version of the new Mass. This is the same objection that has been made many times to the ROTR at this blog and elsewhere: a liturgy that need not be celebrated properly, with the correct orientation and priorities, is a liturgy defective at its core. It is no surprise that the moral and institutional evil of clericalism, by which individual personalities abuse their offices, would find its corresponding lex orandi and external image in just such a liturgy. It is no surprise that the traditional lex orandi, though it cannot prevent moral and institutional evils, runs decisively against clericalism in the exacting humility, precision, and anonymity of its ritual form.

(3) The differences between the two are not only on the surface, as important as surface beauty is; they run much deeper. As a result, even if a new pope came along who suddenly declared that all Novus Ordo Masses had to be offered ad orientem, in Latin, with chant, starting the first Sunday of Advent, it would solve only the external problems — not the internal ones. It would be like repairing the face of a crash victim with plastic surgery while neglecting the more harmful damage to the internal organs.

Needless to say, this article is not the place to go further. We can, at least, be grateful to the National Catholic Reporter for stirring up such important discussions.

Visit www.peterkwasniewski.com for articles, sacred music, and classics reprinted by Os Justi Press (e.g., Newman, Benson, Scheeben, Parsch, Guardini, Chaignon, Leen).

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