Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lay Readers at Funerals and Weddings: Feedback Sought

fter the Second Vatican Council, permission was given for lay men and women to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture (except the Gospel) at liturgical celebrations.1 Lay readers are found in nearly all parishes. While some perform this task better than others, all should have received careful training.2 No conscientious pastor would knowingly depute a reader who attends Sunday Mass only when he or she is scheduled to read, or who notoriously flouts the Christian faith, or who is obviously incapable of suitably proclaiming the word of God.

So, why is it that when it comes to weddings and funerals, the family members and friends of the bridal couple or, as the case may be, of the deceased, are routinely invited to serve as readers, with no questions asked about their competence or even, for that matter, their standing with the Church?3 I expect the answer has everything to do with a well-meaning but wrongheaded application of the principle of “active participation” — a subject of great concern to the old Liturgical Movement as well as the New. Experience has taught me that people should not be invited to proclaim the readings at weddings and funerals, with the possible exception of those who already regularly carry out the ministry of lector (whether formally instituted or not).4 At the very least, the lay reader should be a practicing Catholic5 who believes what he or she is reading and can bring people’s attention to it.6 I am curious to know, by means of the combox, what policies my priestly confreres implement with respect to non-instituted readers at funerals and weddings. (Please refrain from stating the obvious by pointing out that we need not concern ourselves with lay readers in the usus antiquior. I know, I know.)
1 Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Letter Ministeria Quaedam (15 August 1972) reserves the formal installation of lectors to men.
2 General Instruction of the Roman Missal, third typical edition (2002), no. 101; Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, second typical edition (1981), nos. 52, 55.
3 Most funeral directors I know have their own copy of the Order of Christian Funerals. As a matter of course, they provide their clients with the biblical readings that may be used in the funeral liturgy and invite them not only to choose the readings but also to appoint readers, after which they inform the priest (!) as to who will be reading what. I have asked my local funeral directors not to mention readings or readers, but rather let the family itself, on its own initiative, bring up the topic, in which case I will involve myself accordingly. I do not mind letting family members select appropriate readings should they care to do so, but when someone presumes to tell me that so-and-so is “doing the readings,” my reply is (in these or similar words): “I’ll be the judge of that, thank you.”
4 I say “possible exception” because, at funerals especially, the reader’s emotional state often makes it difficult to carry out this liturgical function.
5 “The reading of Scripture during a Eucharistic celebration in the Catholic Church is to be done by members of that Church. On exceptional occasions and for a just cause, the Bishop of the diocese may permit a member of another Church or ecclesial Community to take on the task of reader” (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism [25 March 1993], no. 133). Leaving aside the question of how often bishops are asked to grant such permission, I would wager that weddings involving parties of mixed religion are the most common “just cause.” (Which raises the question of whether such ceremonies should take place within Mass.) As one would expect of this ecumenical (not interfaith) Directory, there is no mention of allowing the absurdity of an unbaptized person to exercise this or any other liturgical (and thus inherently ecclesial) ministry.

The Feast of St Roch

Among the Saints listed in the Roman Martyrology on August 16th is St Roch, one of the most popular Saints to invoke in times of plague. According to the supplement to the Golden Legend, he was born in 1295, the son of the governor of the French city of Montpellier. (Modern scholarship tends to place his birth in the middle of the 14th century.) On the death of his parents, he distributed the considerable patrimony which they left him to the poor, and became a full-time pilgrim.
St Roch Among the Victims of the Plague, and the Virgin Mary in Glory, by Jacopo Bassano, ca. 1575. The inclusion of the Virgin Mary above refers to the fact that Roch’s feast is celebrated the day after the Assumption.
The hospices which built near many major pilgrimage centers to receive the pilgrims also served as hospitals for the poor (hence the two versions of the same word, deriving from the Latin word for guest); in Roch’s time, plague was running rampant, and he encountered many sufferers in these places, as he traveled to Rome and through various cities of northern Italy. Many of these he healed simply by making the sign of the Cross over them, until he himself became infected. Not wishing to impose any further burden on the local hospital, he went out into the woods to die, but was miraculously brought food by a dog, until its master found him and took care of him. On recovering, he continued to cure many people of the plague.

When he returned to Montpellier, however, he was not recognized, and therefore arrested as a spy and imprisoned, remaining in captivity until his death five years later. When they came to take care of his body, he was recognized as the son of the city’s former governor from a cross-shaped birth-mark on his chest. A plaque was found next to the body with these words written on it: “I indicate that those who suffer from the plague, if they flee to Roch’s protection, will escape from that most cruel contagion.” A magnificent church was built, and his body laid to rest therein, where many miracles continued to happen at his intercession.
A statue of St Roch made in Normandy in the early 16th century. The richness of his clothing indicates his status as the son of a nobleman; his pilgrim’s hat is adorned with the keys of St Peter, indicating Rome as his destination; the dog which brought him food is traditionally shown at his side. Roch is also typically shown lifting up his garment to reveal a sore or injury on his leg from which he was miraculously healed. (Public domain image from the website of the Cloisters Museum in New York City, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.)
Devotion to St Roch spread very rapidly over the course of the later 14th and early 15th century. Although his feast is rarely found on liturgical calendars, votive Masses in his honor are very commonly included among those dedicated to healer Saints. In the Missals of Sarum, Utrecht and elsewhere, his votive Mass is found in the illustrious company of those of Saints Sebastian, Genevieve, Erasmus, Christopher, Anthony the Abbot, and the Archangel Raphael. One common version even includes a proper Preface, something almost unheard of in the pre-Tridentine period; it refers, however, to God’s mercy in sparing the Ninivites, and asks for His merciful deliverance from the plague, but makes no mention of Roch. The somewhat clumsy collect reads as follows: “O God, who are glorious in the glory of the Saints, and to all those that flee unto their protection, grantest the salutary effect of their petition; by the intercession of Thy blessed Confessor Roch, grant to Thy people, who hold forth their devotion in his festivity, that they may be delivered from the sickness of that plague which he suffered in his body for the glory of Thy name, to which may they ever be devoted.”

The supplement to the Golden Legend also mentions that his body was stolen by the Venetians in 1475, and enshrined in a “most renowned” church they built dedicated to him, which still exists. The seat of a pious confraternity named for him is located close by, and is justifiably known as the “Sistine Chapel of Venice”, filled with paintings by the great Venetian master Tintoretto. As one of the busiest ports in Europe, in regular contact with the East, Venice was a city to which new plagues (or new strains of old ones) were continually arriving; over twenty outbreaks are recorded there between the mid-14th and mid-16th centuries. It may be that the Venetians acted from sheer desperation in stealing St Roch; on the other hand, pious thefts of this sort were a specialty of theirs, and over the years, they also managed to nick St Mark the Evangelist and St Athanasius from the Copts of Alexandria, St Lucy from the city of Syracuse, and one of St Peter’s chairs from Antioch.
The altar of the church of San Rocco in Venice; the relics are in the urn with plaque on it in the middle. (Public domain image from Wikipedia by Didier Descouens.)

EF Votive Mass of St Francis de Sales in Brooklyn, August 21

The Visitation Monastery in Brooklyn will have its first traditional Latin Mass since the post-Conciliar liturgical reform on Monday, August 21, starting at 7:30 p.m. The monastery is located at 8902 Ridge Blvd. It will be a Sung Votive Mass of St Francis de Sales, co-founder of the Visitandine Order, on the 450th anniversary of his birth, with the commemoration of the other founder, St Jane-Frances de Chantal, on her traditional feast day.

Temporary Profession for the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer

On the feast of St Alphonsus Liguori, August 2nd (EF), Fr Celestine Maria made his temporary profession of the vows of religion, poverty, chastity and obedience, as a member of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, the traditional Redemptorist community based on the Scottish island of Pap Stronsay. Our thanks to them for permission to reproduce these photos from their blog and Facebook page.

The novice is questioned by the superior regarding his desire to give his life entirely to God in Holy Religion, and his firm resolve to persevere therein.
Prostrate on the ground and covered with the funeral pall, while the Veni Creator Spiritus is chanted by the community, the novice prepares to die to the world.
Fr Celestine Maria, F.SS.R. pronounces his vows, kneeling before the exposed Blessed Sacrament.
He receives the pallium (cloak) of the professed.
All kneel while the newly-professed recites a prayer of thanksgiving.
Our congratulations to Fr Celestine Maria and his whole community, and prayers for the prosperity of all their good work. Ad multos annos!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

November 1, 1950: The Dogmatic Definition of the Assumption

From the archives of British Pathé, a report on the dogmatic definition of the Assumption made by the Ven. Pope Pius XII on November 1 of the Jubilee year 1950.
And here is a wonderful photo taken during the Mass of that day from inside the dome of St Peter’s Basilica.

Reports of the Death of the Virgin Mary...Are True!

Did Our Lady die? Until recently, I would have said no; She was assumed into heaven because of Her purity. I must admit I had not investigated the idea thoroughly, but for a long time, I was under the impression that this meant that she underwent a transition from earth to heaven that was like a sort of Marian Ascension.

This impression was reinforced by paintings such as the one below in which She is elevated by angels, while, it appears, very much alive. And, furthermore, this special transition through a stage of between earth and heaven has a special name in the Eastern churches, which refers to her “Dormition - falling asleep.” Or so I thought.

To my knowledge there is nothing wrong theologically with the painting above, which is by the great Italian baroque artist Guido Reni. (1575-1642) However, it doesn’t tell the full story. Have a look at this painting of the Assumption by the Italian painter, Annibale Carracci (1560-1609).
At the top, we have the familiar scene of Our Lady being drawn up to heaven by angels, but at the bottom, we see in addition a group of onlookers who surround a tomb. This scene begs the question, if Our Lady didn’t die, why have a tomb? We see the same in the painting below by another Italian, Giovanni Battista Piazetta (1682-1754). Here, not only do we see the tomb, but also there is great shock, revealed by a dramatic gesture, at the fact that the tomb is empty.
Clearly, the reason for this is that Our Lady did die at the end of Her earthly life, or at least these artists believed so. In fact, this always been the tradition of the Church, East and West. It can be traced back as far as the fourth century, the period to which is attributed a document called The Account of St John the Theologian of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The word “dormition” means literally “falling asleep,” but is used to mean a peaceful death. The tradition says that three days after her death, She was not in Her sarcophagus, which instead was full of fragrant flowers, as we see here in this painting by Francesco Granacci, made in 1515.

Below we see two iconographic representations in which the death is more apparent. There is a separation of body and soul, which is received by Christ himself, even before the Assumption. It is represented by the white clad figure he is holding. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Visit to Innsbruck (5): A Marian Miracle Shrine with an Unusual Image of Our Lady

One of the most charming places we visited in Innsbruck is the little parish church of Amras, dedicated to “unserer Lieben Frau Mariä Himmelfahrt,” that is, “the Assumption of our dear Lady Mary.” Evidence exists that this part of Innsbruck began as a village at least 3,000 years ago. It acquired political significance in the 12th century A.D. A romanesque church was built here in 1221 in honor of the Saints Pancras and Zeno. The first description of the church as dedicated to Our Lady comes in 1408. Around 1480 the church was rebuilt in late gothic style, with three altars being consecrated in 1482. The church was baroquified in 1733-1756, with stucco by the local artist Joseph Gratl and frescoes by Joseph Adam Mölk.

The venerated statue of Our Lady over the high altar is from around 1490. This image has been cherished for centuries as a wonder-working image (wundertätiges Gnadenbild). One also sees the same statue depicted colorfully outdoors on the facade of the church, with pilgrims approaching to it.

EF Solemn Mass at St Theresa’s Shrine in RI, August 20th

St Theresa’s Shrine in Nasonville, Rhode Island, will hold a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form during their annual feast day on August 20th. Founded on August 23, 1923, just four months after her beatification, it has the distinction of being the first shrine / parish in the world dedicated to St Thérèse. The day will include Prayers at the Holy Stairs, Stations of the Cross, a concert, procession with the statue of St Thérèse, a Living Rosary, and the Solemn High Mass. Food and refreshments will be available. All events will be held outdoors. Clergy are welcome to sit in choro vested in cassock and surplice. The church is located at at the intersection of Routes 102 & 7 in Nasonville. More information is available at: 401-568-0575 or 401-568-8280, email:

10:00 am - Prayers at Holy Stairs
11:00 am - Stations of the Cross
12:00 pm - Lunch & Concert directed by N. Peter Lamoria
1:00 pm - Procession with St Theresa
1:30 pm - Outdoor Living Rosary
3:00 pm - Solemn High Mass In the Extraordinary Form (Fr. Albert Marcello, J.C.L. Celebrant and Homilist); Blessing with St Theresa’s Relic.

Update on Mater Ecclesiae’s Assumption Mass

Tomorrow, August 15th, the 17th annual Mater Ecclesiae Assumption Mass will take place at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. The Mass will begin at 7:00 PM.

For those who cannot attend, the Mass will be live streamed on the internet. You can find the link on Mater Ecclesiae’s Facebook page.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Photopost Request: Assumption 2017

Our next major photopost will be for the feast of the Assumption, this coming Tuesday, August 15th; please send your photos (whether of the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form) to for inclusion. We are always very glad to include photographs of celebrations in the Eastern rites, as well as Vespers and other parts of the Divine Office, blessings, processions, the vigil Mass etc. Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important. Evangelize through beauty!
From last year’s Assumption photopost, the high altar of the Piarist church of Our Lady in Krems, Austria.

The Second Vatican Council and the Lectionary—Part 3: The First and Second Sessions of the Council (1962-1963)

Note: This is the final part of a three-part series. Part One, on the antepreparatory period, can be found here, and Part Two, on the preparatory period, can be found here.

The Second Vatican Council was solemnly opened on 11 October 1962, with Pope John XXIII's declaration Gaudet Mater Ecclesiae. [1] Discussion on the Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium (hereafter SC), began on 22 October 1962, and would continue throughout the first and second sessions of the Council until its solemn promulgation by Pope Paul VI on 4 December 1963. For the purposes of this short series, we are not so concerned with the history of the Council itself, or of all the discussion that was had over SC; there are many books and articles that examine various aspects of both of these. [2] We will be looking specifically at what the Fathers had to say about the lectionary, and the question of its potential reform.

Before we begin our brief examination, it should be noted that the Acta Synodalia Sacrosancti Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani II for the first two sessions (ten volumes) are absolutely vital reference material for anyone wishing to read exactly what was said on the Council floor about the constitution on the liturgy (along with any written submissions of the Fathers). I have previously made these freely available at NLM: the Acta Synodalia (hereafter AS) for the first session can be found here, and those for the second session can be found here.

The opening of the Second Vatican Council (October 1962)
Using the AS, I have also prepared a compilation of the interventions of the Council Fathers on what would become SC 51 (as well as paragraphs 24 and 35):

Lectionary Reform at the Second Vatican Council: The Latin Text of the Interventions of the Council Fathers Regarding Sacrosanctum Concilium 51, 24 and 35 (PDF)

The draft of SC presented to the Council Fathers at the 4th General Congregation (22 October 1962) had the following to say about the lectionary:
38. [Lectiones in Missa]. Ut fidelibus cum mensa eucharistica etiam ditior mensa verbi Dei paretur, thesauri biblici largius aperiantur, ita ut, decursu plurium annorum, praestantior pars Scripturarum sanctarum populo praelegatur.
[38. [Readings at Mass]. In order that a richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word together with the eucharistic table, the treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that, through the running of more years, a more representative part of the sacred Scriptures will be read before the people.]
We have already seen that, in the Central Preparatory Commission, this paragraph of the draft schema was not particularly controversial, and not much commented upon. The same could be said of this paragraph at the Council. There were a total of six in aula interventions at the 10th General Congregation [3] and two at the 12th General Congregation [4], along with 13 written submissions that mention this section of SC. [5] Other issues, such as the proposed reform of the Ordo Missae and the use of vernacular languages in the liturgy, understandably got far more attention from the Fathers. Be that as it may, there is still some interesting variation in these interventions, as not all of them are uniformly positive, and there are multiple proposals about the suggested reform.

Stanislaus Lokuang, bishop of Tainan (Taiwan), suggested that plurium annorum be changed to unius anni, for the very practical reason that otherwise the Missal would either have to be published in multiple volumes or it would be very large, and this would be "very difficult for the missions" (valde difficile pro missionibus). [6] In the course of a longer intervention, Agostinho Lopes de Moura, C.S.Sp., bishop of Portalegre-Castelo Branco (Portugal), said that, although paragraph 38 seemed good in principle, it did not seem to please all sides (non videtur undequaque placere). [7]

Though a couple of Fathers made specific reference to how many years they thought plurium annorum should be (always two or three) [8], there were differing opinions on what this would mean in practice. Alexandros Scandar, bishop of Lycopolis (Egypt), suggested a three reading system, with the first reading being from the Pauline Epistles, the second from the Catholic epistles, and the third from the Gospels, thereby excluding the Old Testament from consideration [9]. However, José Souto Vizoso, bishop of Palencia (Spain), suggested the three reading system that would later be implemented (Old Testament, Epistle, Gospel), commenting that "it seems opportune to me to restore this former custom" (opportuna mihi videtur restauratio pristini moris). [10]

Simon Landersdorfer, bishop of Passau (Germany), suggested something very much like Heinrich Kahlefeld's proposal in the Preparatory Commission on the Liturgy (which we have seen in Part 2 of this series):
Regrediunter ad antiquissimam Ecclesiae Romanae consuetudinem, quae tempore S. Gregorii Magni in evangeliario suo pericopas posuit non pro die dominica tantum, sed etiam pro feria 4, feria 6 et pro sabbato. [11]
[There could be a return to a most ancient Roman custom, that of St Gregory the Great, where Gospel pericopes are assigned not only for that Sunday, but also for the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.]
Several other Fathers were happy to leave most of the specifics to a post-Conciliar commission, to bishops' conferences, or to individual bishops themselves. [12]

Council Fathers and periti leaving St Peter's Basilica (c. 1965; photo: Lothar Wolleh)
At the second session of the Council, an amended version of chapter 2 of the draft liturgy schema was presented to the Fathers (8 October 1963; General Congregation 43), with the paragraph on the lectionary now numbered 51 and in the form we know it today in Sacrosanctum Concilium:
Quo ditior mensa verbi Dei paretur fidelibus, thesauri biblici largius aperiantur, ita ut, intra praestitutum annorum spatium, praestantior pars Scripturarum Sanctarum populo legatur.
[The treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word. In this way a more representative portion of the holy scriptures will be read to the people in the course of a prescribed number of years.]
The two main changes are the deletion of the words cum mensa eucharistica etiam, and the replacement of decursu plurium annorum with intra praestitutum annorum spatium. In the relatio given to the Fathers by Jesús Enciso Viana, bishop of Mallorca (Spain), [13] these changes are explained as follows:
Difficultates vere paucae, quae huic articulo oppositae sunt, procedunt ex timore nimis protrahendi Missae celebrationem. Non tamen agitur de multiplicandis lectionibus in eadem Missa, sed de maiori varietate lectionum per annum vel per annos obtinenda. Et ne expressio « plurium annorum » videatur periodum nimis longam, scripsimus « intra praestitutum annorum spatium ».
Verba « cum mensa eucharistica etiam » omissa sunt, ne ideam de duplici mensa iteraremur. [14]
[There were few true difficulties here; those that there were against this article proceeded from the fear that the celebration of Mass would be exceedingly prolonged. Still, this [article] does not urge the multiplication of readings in the same Mass, but rather to obtain a greater variety of readings during the year or years. So, lest the expression "more years" be seen as a very long period, we have written "in the course of a prescribed number of years".
The words "together with the eucharistic table" have been omitted, so that the idea of the two tables is not repeated.]
[Cf. SC 48]
Since these amendments were not substantial, they did not receive an individual vote on the Council floor. The emended chapter 2 as a whole received 1,417 placet votes, 36 non placet votes, and 781 placet iuxta modum (i.e. "yes, but...") votes at the 47th General Congregation (14 October 1963). [15] This was 78 placet votes short of the required two-thirds majority, and therefore the chapter had to be reworked once more. Paragraph 51 was unchanged by the time the Fathers again voted on the chapter as a whole at the 71st General Congregation (20 November 1963), this time receiving 2,112 placet and 40 non placet votes. [16]

In conclusion, it is worth noting that, among all these interventions, not one Father seems to have any radical rearrangement of the existing cycle of readings in mind, or that they thought that the existing cycle would disappear completely in any future reform. Granted, it could be argued that some of their suggestions tend towards that direction, but the mind of the Council Fathers seems to be that a pastoral augmentation and expansion of the existing readings was desirable, especially for the catechetical benefit of the Christian faithful [17], and perhaps also allowing for some flexibility on certain occasions and at certain times of year. This is also, as we have seen in the preceding parts of this series, in keeping with the general feelings of the bishops and prelates as expressed before the Council.

As Dom Alcuin Reid rightly points out:
[R]egardless of what experts may have hoped that the Council would approve, or may even have read it as approving, then or afterwards, an accurate reading of the Constitution is one that is in accord with the Council Fathers' intentions expressed in aula and the consequent explanations and redactions of the Conciliar Liturgical Commission which were again considered by the Fathers before the text was finally approved and promulgated. [18]
In this light, then, the post-conciliar reform of the lectionary may be in accord with the letter of SC 51 on a very basic level, but it would seem to be an open question as to whether it is truly in the spirit of SC 51 and in accord with the intentions of the Council Fathers.


[1] An English translation by Joseph Komonchak can be found here (PDF).

[2] For example (and this short list is by no means exhaustive!): Agostino Marchetto, The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council (University of Scranton Press, 2010); Giuseppe Alberigo (ed.), History of Vatican II (5 vols.; Peeters, 1995-2006); Ralph M. Wiltgen, The Inside Story of Vatican II (TAN Books, 2009); Roberto de Mattei, The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story (Loreto Publications, 2012); Serafino M. Lanzetta, Vatican II: A Pastoral Council (Gracewing, 2016). Recent bibliographical surveys of works on Vatican II have also been carried out by Massimo Faggioli: "Council Vatican II: Bibliographical Survey 2010-2013", Cristianesimo nella Storia 34.3 (2013), 927-955; "Vatican II: Bibliographical Survey 2013-2016", Cristianesimo nella Storia 37.3 (2016), 675-716.

[3] From the following Fathers: Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. (President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), Custodio Alvim Pereira (archbishop of Lourenço Marques, Mozambique), Stanislaus Lokuang (bishop of Tainan, Taiwan), Paulus Rusch (apostolic administrator of Innsbruck-Feldkirch, Austria), Karmelo Zazinović (auxiliary bishop of Krk, Croatia), Bernhard Stein (auxiliary bishop of Trier, Germany).

[4] From the following Fathers: André Perraudin, M. Afr. (archbishop of Kabgayi, Rwanda), Agostinho Joaquim Lopes de Moura, C.S.Sp. (bishop of Portalegre-Castelo Branco, Portugal).

[5] From the following Fathers: Pedro Arnoldo Aparicio y Quintanilla, S.D.B. (bishop of San Vicente, El Salvador), Marino Bergonzini (bishop of Volterra, Italy), Raphaël Bidawid (bishop of Amadiyah [Chaldean], Iraq), Joseph Fady, M. Afr. (bishop of Lilongwe, Malawi), Charles Henry, C.S.Sp. (archbishop of Onitsha, Nigeria), Simon Konrad Landersdorfer, O.S.B. (bishop of Passau, Germany), Sergius Méndez Arceo (bishop of Cuernavaca, Mexico), Eduard Nécsey (apostolic administrator of Nitra, Slovakia), Dragutin Nežić (bishop of Poreč i Pula, Croatia), Alexandros Scandar (bishop of Lycopolis [Coptic], Egypt), José Souto Vizoso (bishop of Palencia, Spain), Cesar Gerardo Maria Vielmo Guerra, O.S.M. (vicar apostolic of Aysén, Chile), Antonio Gregorio Vuccino, A.A. (titular archbishop of Aprus).

[6] Cf. AS I.2, p. 34.

[7] Cf. AS I.2, p. 125.

[8] Namely André Perraudin (per spatium duorum vel trium annorum: AS I.2, p. 123) and Dragutin Nežić (per cyclos 2-3 annorum: AS I.2, p. 257).

[9] Cf. AS I.2, p. 269.

[10] Cf. AS I.2, p. 274. On the question of whether three readings was ever the custom in the Roman Rite, see Gregory DiPippo, "The Ambrosian Lectionary and the Reform of the Roman Rite" in Joseph Briody (ed.), Verbum Domini: Liturgy and Scripture. Proceedings of the Ninth Fota International Liturgical Conference, 2016 (Smenos Publications, 2017), pp. 212-225; also idem"Did the Roman Rite Anciently Have Three Readings" (17 November 2013).

[11] Cf. AS I.2, p. 244. Landersdorfer does not specify whether the cycle would work in a multi-year manner similar to Kahlefeld's proposal, but this can probably be inferred from his ex corde assentio to paragraph 38.

[12] For example: Custodio Alvim Pereira (Conferentia episcopalisAS I.2, p. 32), Paulus Rusch (Conferentias episcoporumAS I.2, p. 36), Karmelo Zazinović (Liceat episcopo ergoAS I.2, p. 41), Bernhard Stein (Commissio exsecutivaAS I.2, p. 50), Gregorio Vuccino (Ordinarium, with the rationale that they would libidinosas inventiones praecavendas (!): AS I.2, p. 286).

[13] Cf. AS II.2, pp. 290-308. A synopsis of the proposed draft and the emended text of chapter 2 can be found before the relatio, on pp. 280-289.

[14] Cf. AS II.2, p. 301.

[15] Cf. AS II.2, p. 520. Note that there were also 8 null votes. The votes on the individual amendments to chapter 2 can be found in AS II.2, pp. 329, 335, 338, 342, 360, 384, 435.

[16] Cf. AS II.5, p. 631. As this was, in effect, the final version, placet iuxta modum was not given as an option for this vote: it was a straight yes or no.

[17] This comes out especially in some of the longer interventions; that of Karmelo Zazinović or Bernhard Stein, for example.

[18] "After Sacrosanctum Concilium - Continuity or Rupture?" in Alcuin Reid (ed.), T&T Clark Companion to Liturgy (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016), p. 305.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Cathedral of Pistoia

As a follow-up to a recent post on the relic of St James the Greater kept at the cathedral of St Zeno in Pistoia, here are some photos of the main church which I took during a wonderful nighttime tour last November. These hardly show all of the church’s artistic treasures, some of which could not really be photographed in the low light.
The Romanesque bell-tower and façade, both of the mid-twelfth century, with considerable alterations and additions made in subsequent centuries.
The high altar, with the Sacrament chapel on the left. The whole medieval sanctuary, including a 13th-century apsidal mosaic by Jacopo Torriti, was demolished between 1598 and 1614 and replaced in the Baroque style. Interventions of this sort were sadly very common in Medicean Tuscany.
The left aisle. The monument seen on the right commemorates Pope Leo XI, né Alessandro de’ Medici, bishop of Pistoia for just over 10 months, from March 9, 1573 to January 15, 1574, before his appointment as Archbishop of Florence. During his 31 year reign in the latter See, the Carmelite Saint Maria-Magdalene de’ Pazzi predicted to him that he would be elected Pope, but that his reign would be brief. This prophecy was realized in 1605; elected Pope on April 1st, and choosing the name Leo in honor of the first Medici Pope, Leo X (1513-21), he was crowned on April 10th, he died on the 27th. His papal reign is the eighth shortest.
A Madonna of the 15th century.
On the counterfaçade, a 13th century fresco of the cathedral’s titular Saint, Zeno, who was a bishop of Verona in the 4th century, and evidently holy enough to be adopted by a city 150 miles away. The tomb of St Atto, shown more clearly in the next photo, is on the lower left.
The tomb of St Atto, bishop of Pistoia from 1134-53, who obtained the cathedral’s famous relic of St James the Greater. His relics were discovered in the church of St John in Corte, and enshrined in this tomb in 1337. In 1786, the tomb was transferred to the cathedral, and the colored marble panel added.

Assumption Celebration at St Mary’s in Norwalk, Connecticut, August 19

St Mary’s in Norwalk, Connecticut, will celebrate a Solemn High Mass on Saturday, August 19th, for the external solemnity of the church’s patronal feast, the Assumption, in the presence of the local ordinary, His Excellency Frank Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport. The Mass will begin at 4 pm, followed by a procession through the local streets, and dinner at the parish hall. (For information about tickets to the dinner, see the parish website.)
St Mary’s is well-known for its excellent music; this Mass will include, in addition to the Gregorian propers, Mozart’s Spatzenmesse (Missa brevis in C- major) and motets by Elgar, Guerrero, Mozart and Victoria.

St Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, August 10th

For the latest in our occasional series on the Saints of the Roman Canon, here are some pictures of St Lawrence. He was one of the seven deacons of the Roman church under Pope St Sixtus II, who was martyred only a few days before him, in the reign of the Emperor Valerian (253-260). He is one of the most celebrated Roman martyrs.

Lawrence is generally shown wearing the deacon’s vestment, the dalmatic, and holding a book of psalms, and alms for the poor. He also appears with the general symbol of martyrdom, the palm branch, and his specific symbol, the grid iron on which he was tortured to death. You can read about his life on New Advent here.
Above, St Lawrence painted by Spinello Aretino, (Italian, 14th century), and below, by Bernardo Strozzi, (Italian, 17th century). The Strozzi painting is called The Charity of St Lawrence, since as part of his duties as deacon, he distributed alms and the treasures of the church, that were coveted by the Emperor. Lawrence continued to distribute alms, and told the Emperor that the poor themselves were the real treasures of the Church.
And finally, in the Niccoline Chapel in the Vatican, there is a series of frescoes painted by Fra Angelico.
This is one of a series of articles written to highlight the great feasts and the Saints of the Roman Canon. All are connected to a single opening essay, in which I set out principles by which we might create a canon of art for Roman Rite churches and a schema that would guide the placement of such images in a church, which you can read here.

In these essays, I plan to cover the key elements of images of the Saints of the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) and the major feasts of the year.

For the fullest presentation of the principles of sacred art for the liturgy, take the Master’s of Sacred Arts: www.Pontifex.University.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Monastic Compline

A nice recording of the Hour of Compline according to the Monastic Breviary.

Bishop Elliott on the Recent PCED Clarification

Our thanks to Bishop Peter Elliott, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia, for these observations on the different forms of Pontifical Mass. His Excellency is of course well-known to our readers for his many writings on liturgical matters, and his books The Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite and Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year.

But Were There Exceptions to the Rule?
A comment on the clarification of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
The clarification of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei is to be welcomed, so as to ensure that the distinctions between the three forms of a Pontifical Mass are maintained in the Extraordinary Form. (editor’s note: the solemn high Pontifical, the Missa praelatia, and the Mass in the Presence of a bishop.) But let us not imagine it has always been as simple as that. In mission territories, which came under the Sacred Congregation Propaganda Fidei, I wonder what privileges and modifications were available to bishops in celebrating Mass in their own territory. Some research would be welcome. Until 1978 my own country, Australia, came under Propaganda Fidei and was deemed to be a “mission territory”. One thus has some historical intimations of a certain flexibility.

In 19th-century rural Australia, newspaper reports of the blessing and opening of new churches describe the bishop celebrating a “High Mass”, with an assistant priest, deacon and subdeacon, local clergy who are always named. There is no mention of deacons of honour. Unless this was Solemn Pontifical Mass at the faldstool, these reports suggest that Ordinaries celebrated a modified form of Solemn Mass at the Throne.

As was normal in 19th-century colonial society, the music was of a high standard, Masses by Haydn, etc. with a local orchestra or band, and often soloists were imported from the bigger cities. The music was an ecumenical effort, as was the collection taken up to build the new church, that is, up to the later years of the century, when rising Irish nationalism smothered nascent ecumenism.

In 19th-century Melbourne, when our immense Gothic cathedral of St Patrick rose on the Eastern Hill, Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool was favoured for major events, with Bishop Corbett of Sale as celebrant, and the Metropolitan and other Ordinaries assisting in choir. Bishop Corbett had a legendary voice; the other prelates admitted that they were not good singers, nor could they project the voice as well as he could, in an era before microphones.

Photographic evidence is also interesting. When Bishop Phelan of Sale consecrated his modest cathedral in 1915, he celebrated Mass with a deacon and subdeacon, who had no doubt acted as the assisting deacons during the long and complex rites that preceded the Mass. He did not wear dalmatic and tunicle, but they are fully vested. The Metropolitan was represented by the then-Coadjutor Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Daniel Mannix, in choir dress. Was this a Pontifical Mass in a modified form?

However, before the several interesting reforms of the rites for the dedication of church, the long ceremonies were very tiring for aging prelates, also expected to fast for the occasion. Therefore, the Mass at the Consecration of a church was often only a Pontifical Low Mass, as happened when Auxiliary Bishop Jerome Sebastian of Baltimore consecrated the new cathedral of Mary Our Queen on October 13th, 1959.

Returning to Australia, in 1966 a later Bishop of Sale, Dr Patrick Lyons, celebrated the centenary Mass of the Sisters of St Joseph, founded by St Mary of the Cross McKillop. Here, during the post-conciliar transition, we see the first blurring of the three pontifical forms of Mass. The deacons of honour are replaced by a deacon and subdeacon at the throne, with the assistant priest in cope making perhaps his final appearance. Bishop Lyons was punctilious and traditional.

After Vatican II, a major factor that broke down the classical distinction was the arrival of ritual Masses for the Sacraments, in particular, Confirmation. I celebrate these Masses every week in the Winter-Spring Confirmation season in Melbourne (May to November). The variations in the Ordinary Form are wide, ranging from a solemn form with fine music to a minimalist affair with no servers and the parish priest juggling with my chrismatory and crozier. The music at these latter events is best forgotten.

It should also be remembered that Mass for the Ordination to the Priesthood before Vatican II was often a Pontifical Low Mass. The ordaining prelate was bound to wear pontifical vestments; he used the crozier and two miters, and, in accord with the rubrics, he was assisted by two chaplains in surplice. The common and proper were sung, apparently even before the wider provision granted in 1958 for singing at Low Mass. It was thus a much more modest liturgy than our post-conciliar ordinations with hordes of concelebrants, wandering deacons and tumbling MCs.

But those two chaplains in the old rite had a specific role. They strictly supervised the word and action of the bishop to ensure validity and liceity. One famed bishop had a penchant for reaching out and turning two pages of the Pontificale at once. Now that could be a problem, particularly before Pope Pius XII defined the matter and form in 1947. Two beady-eyed Redemptorists kept him under control.

Our post-conciliar episcopal ordinations should be easier, with matter and form clearly indicated in the rite, thanks to Dom Botte. However, recently I watched an elaborate episcopal ordination in Italy. As far as I could see, the chief consecrator alone said the form, and, although they had laid hands on the candidate, the twenty aging co-consecrators seemed unaware that they were also meant to articulate the form! But not long ago during a rather prominent episcopal ordination in the US, the ancient practice of deacons imposing the Book of the Gospels just did not happen. An MC forgot? Not good. Bring back those strict chaplains.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Chant Workshop in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 10-12

A Gregorian chant workshop entitled The Gregorian Melody – The Expressive Power of the Word will be held by Fr. Stephen Concordia, OSB, at the Dominican Church of St Patrick in Columbus, Ohio, from Thursday, August 10, through Saturday, August 12. The church is located at 280 N. Grant Ave. The workshop will conclude with a sung Novus Ordo Mass in Latin. Suggested donation of $20 per participant at the door; registration is suggested but not required. To register or for additional information, please email or call Kathleen Tully, director of music at St Patrick, at or 614-224-9522 ext. 152.
Topics include:

Why sing Gregorian chant today, and how should we sing it? (7:00 p.m., Thursday, August 10)

Where did the chant come from?
History and Sources
Gregorian chant is sung prayer
Singing Latin texts - Melody and Rhythm (Modes and Neumes)
7-9:00 p.m., Friday, August 11
10:00-Noon & 1-3:00pm, Saturday, August 12

Repertoire to be studied
From the Graduale Simplex: Parts of the Mass for the Schola and the Assembly
Syllabic Antiphons (Propers)
Simpler more ancient Mass Ordinaries

Fr. Stephen Concordia, O.S.B., a Benedictine monk since 1989, has more than 30 years of daily contact with the Gregorian Chant repertoire. He is assistant professor of music and director of programs in sacred music at Saint Vincent College, where he directs the Saint Vincent Camerata, the Camerata Scholars, the Saint Vincent Schola Gregoriana and a Diocesan Schola Cantorum for regular celebrations of the Mass in the Extraordinary Rite. He holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston (B.M.,M.M), and from the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, Rome (Licentiate and Magistero in Organ, Licentiate and Magistero in Gregorian Chant), where he studied Gregorian Chant with Nino Albarosa and Alberto Turco.

His recent activities in the fields of Gregorian Chant pedagogy and performance include workshops and presentations at Penn State University, Bard College Conservatory, Duquesne University, National Assoc.of Pastoral Musicians (Greensburg, PA); presentations to the American Choral Directors Association: national, regional and state conventions; conducting the Saint Vincent Schola Gregoriana at Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2009, 2012); CDs with the Monastic Choir of Montecassino (Foné 1999), with the Saint Vincent Camerata Scholars (JADE 2011, 2013) and with the Schola Cantorum of Holy Family (JADE 2013); and a translation from the Italian of the chant textbook “Tones and Modes” by Alberto Turco (Torre d’Orfeo Editrice, Rome 2003). Previous positions include director of music at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC, and invited professor of Gregorian Chant at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Rome.

Why Eros and the Worship of God Are the Keys to Countering Philosophical Error

From where does our worldview come? If we are worried about the philosophical errors of modernity, it would be helpful to be able to answer this question.

If all right philosophy is derived from the adoption of right premises, the question then reduces to: how do we choose the axioms, the foundational truths, upon which the whole edifice is built?

The simple answer, it seems to me, is that most people just choose what looks good to them. It is a somewhat arbitrary process, an act of faith of sorts. Discursive reason does have a part to play in this, but in my experience, it is used most commonly to validate the intuitive choices already made, rather than to investigate their validity with a truly open mind.

Consequently, however rational and well worked out we think we present the case for the Christian worldview, unless people are ready to listen, we are unlikely to get anywhere.

If we wish to change people’s minds then there are two approaches. One is to examine their worldview rationally and point out any contradictions. As mentioned, this is least likely to convince, simply because on the whole people don’t want to listen. If people do want to listen, it might be because they are facing a crisis by which, in some way, the contradictions or inadequacies of their current worldview are slapping them in the face.

But even then, most will still only be prepared to listen if the second approach is taken as well; that is, people must be presented with a set of premises that are better and more attractive than the ones they already have. How can we do this?

I would say that this is what the method of the New Evangelization, as described by Benedict XVI, is aiming to do. (I have written an article about this, here).

For Catholics, the strongest presentation of these premises is encountered in the person of Christ in the liturgy. Through this encounter, because we are in relation with Truth, we are more likely to respond with an acceptance of the basic assumptions of, for example, the nature of existence in regard to all that we perceive around us. We say: I am - You are - it is. If this were to happen, in one stroke, the radical skepticism of much of modern philosophy would be banished, and by this we can accept the ideas of objective truth, beauty and goodness.

If this is right, then we can say that the acceptance of the pattern of truth that is the foundation of all good philosophy is made possible by the acceptance of the love of God, for to know Christ, we must love Him. As I described in a recent article, the place where this love is most powerfully offered to us is in the liturgy and the acceptance of this love is an act that is termed eros. (See A Reflection on Eros, Acedia and Christian Joy.)

I suggest, therefore, that the best preparation for the study of philosophy for Catholics, and the best defense we have against attraction to the errors of modern philosophy, is offered to us in the sacred liturgy. It sets forth a liturgical and mystagogical catechesis, which to my mind is one that is grounded in Sacred Scripture, as a priority in a Catholic education. This point has been made before. Following the work of Leo XIII (Providentissimus Deus), St Pius X stressed the importance of the study of Scripture in the formation of priests in his letter Quoniam re biblica. What about the unbaptised and those who never make it into church? How do we reach them?

The answer is that we must present Christ to them. Again this goes to Benedict XVI’s little paper on the New Evangelization. We must become supernaturally transformed and partake of the divine nature - a pixel of light in the transfigured mystical body of Christ, the Church. Then, when we relate to others we present them, in some way, in the person of Christ. People will see the pattern of love, that is the foundation of good philosophy in us and be attracted to it... or at least that’s the hope.

Once presented with Truth, people are free to either adopt or reject what they see, but they are unlikely ever to adopt it if they are never presented with it!

It is possible to discern dimly the pattern of Christ through creation. The ancient Greeks did so, as we know, through the beauty of the cosmos. But the cosmos does not reveal it as fully as the Church does.

This is why I would say that there is no true philosophy without the Faith, grace and the supernatural; and a lover of true wisdom is always a lover first of divine wisdom.

The good philosopher is really a philohagiosopher!

Above, an icon of the personification of Holy Wisdom, and belowm an ancient Russian icon of St Sophia with her three daughters, Faith, Hope and Love

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