Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Some Romanesque Churches in Northern Italy

No matter how many trips he makes, Nicola will never run out of pictures to share of Italy’s cultural and artistic patrimony. Here are some photos taken in the little town of Gravedona (population 2,752; accent on the o), on the west side of the upper part of the Lake of Como, which has four interesting churches, of which we will show two today and two tomorrow.

Gravedona seen from the ferry. The church on the left with the polygonal apse is called San Vincenzo, a paleo-Christian church rebuilt in the 11th century; the taller one on the right is the 12th-century church of Santa Maria del Tiglio. The site was perhaps that of an ancient Roman temple, since both churches incorporate a fair amount of ancient material.
A original Christian structure on the site of Santa Maria del Tiglio was the baptistery of San Vincenzo; much of the material from the baptistery was incorporated into the new church in the 12th century. The new structure is a Greek cross, with apses on three sides; the position of the bell-tower over the façade is unique in Lombard architecture, but the tower itself is very typical of the Italian Romanesque, with windows getting larger as they ascend.
Looking back across the lake.
 A Crucifix of the 12th century.
A fresco of the Last Judgment on the counterfaçade, 14th century.
 The left apse of the church, with some fragments of fresco.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tradition is for the Young (Part 15) - Pontifical Mass in Louisiana

On the feast of St John the Baptist, His Excellency Glen Provost, Bishop of Lake Charles, Louisiana, celebrated a solemn Pontifical Mass in the traditional rite at the cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; our thanks to Barbara Wyman for sending in these photos of the ceremony, who also wrote to let us know that attendance has been steadily growing at these Masses.

Anyone who has ever served this rite of Mass knows that it is especially hard work, something which requires a good amount of organizing and rehearsal to do properly; the reward for such work is, of course, a ceremony which truly impresses upon one, forcibly and unmistakably, the power and majesty of what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass truly is. We can all take encouragement once again from the fact that none of the people who are making the effort and committment to put this together are old enough to be doing so from any sense of “nostalgia”; what we see here is a true and sincere love for the richness of our Catholic liturgical tradition. (The assistant priest here is the same Fr Jacob Connors whose parish was featured in the very first “Tradition is for the Young” post.)
Praying before the Blessed Sacrament
Pontifical vesting

Dominican Rite Books for Sale

A reader of this blog has asked me to let other readers know that he is offering some Dominican Rite books for sale.

The prices listed are the opening price. He will entertain bids for that price or above until 6:00 p.m. July 21, 2018. You should send your bid to him at

He will keep those interested informed of higher bids by return email so that potential buyers can make higher bids if they wish.

In my opinion, the items are in good condition given their age and the opening prices reflect what seems common in used-book offerings for these items.  For each he provides an image of the title page, spine, and cover, so that you have an idea of the condition.

1. The Saint Dominic Missal. Latin-English. First Edition. New York: St. Dominic Missal, 1959.  Bidding opens at $150.

2. Breviarium iuxta Ritum Ordinis Praedicatorum. Michaelis Browne iussu editum. Rome: Santa Sabina, 1962.  TWO VOLUME SET--only one volume shown, other in same condition.  This was the last printing of the Latin Dominican Rite Breviary. Bidding starts at $200.

How Artists Create a Dynamic of Prayer Through Style and Content in Sacred Art

As I described last week, praying with sacred art is not difficult if it is practiced regularly, and if the art is well chosen. Some holy images are created so as to promote good prayer, by artists who understand deeply what prayer is and how visual imagery can nourish it. In this article, I will consider how artists working within the three liturgical traditions of the Church - the iconographic, the Gothic and the Baroque - have employed the visual vocabulary of style to this end. I should point out that this analysis is my own. I cannot cite accounts from the artists themselves of their intentions in order to support what I am saying. I am drawing personal experience of painting and praying with art to formulate the account that I give you now.

Prayer is “...the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God” (CCC 2559), and within these aspects listed by the Catechism, we can distinguish also between two movements. One is passive (or receptive) by which we listen to what God is saying to us. The other is active, responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, by which we might, for example, give praise or thanks to God or ask something of Him.

A well-painted piece of sacred art will engage the viewer in such a way that it promotes both attitudes of prayer, active and passive, and each of the traditions of liturgical art has been developed to serve this double role, but in different ways. Each is painted to use visual devices that engage us, so that we might see what God is telling us through the image, and then be inspired to respond in love.

Iconographic art and Gothic art employ similar techniques, and as a result, engage us in a similar dynamic of prayer. Both are more stylised and less naturalistic than later Western traditions such as the Baroque. The less naturalistic styles of these traditions promote a sense of emotional distance between the observer and the Saint portrayed; the lack of naturalism always gives a painting an other-worldly feel. The stylization is also deliberately unsentimental - it does not evoke the sense of a Hallmark type prayer card, for example - and this ensures that we are not beguiled by prettiness. The austerity reminds us that this is an image and not the actual Saint. A spiritual hunger is created by this as we long for a relationship with the real Saint. At this point there is a mental jump in our imaginations, and our thoughts move from the image to the real Saint in heaven.

The image acts as a mental stepping stone by which we come to contemplate the real Saint in heaven. This is why these styles of art are often described as “windows to heaven.” When we see Christ in an icon, through this image there is a profound awareness of the real Christ beckoning to us from heaven and saying, “Come to me, join me in heaven!”
There is another way in which an image can create a sense of distance, which the power of the prayer dynamic just described overcomes. This is the way that the artist combines the angle of vision with the amount of detail visible. I will explain how this works.

In nature, the closer you are to an object the wider the angle of vision. So a man close to us appears large and the angle that subtends his limits - say from feet to head - is large. However, if the man moves away from us, that angle is reduced. We naturally judge how far away a man is from us by matching his apparent height (i.e. angle vision) with the height we assume him to be. Without being able to quote precise numbers we develop through experience an innate sense of the fact that a man who is 6ft tall will create an angle of vision of about 15 degrees of arc when he is 18 feet away.

If the artist wants to control the perception of distance, he must be aware of the point where the image is most likely to be observed from, and then he controls the angle of vision accordingly to create the desired perception of distance. So if the image is seen from 12 feet away, and the image is 4 feet high, then the angle of the arc that subtends the height of the image will be about 15 degrees; we will not think we are seeing a 4 foot tall man 12 feet away, but a 6 foot-tall man 18 feet away. We assume this because on the whole, men aren’t only 4 feet tall.

A reasonable question might be, but there are some people who are 4 feet tall; how do we know that this isn’t a life-size image of one of them? The answer is that there are other signs. First of all, we do the same intuitive calculation for every other person or object portrayed in the picture. We quickly gauge that unless everything else in the painting is also proportionately reduced in size, which is unlikely, then this person is a 6 feet tall, not 4. As I mentioned before, we don’t think of the numbers when we look at the image, any more than when we look at an ordinary person, we just have a sense of how far away someone is and how tall he is.

Something else that gives us a clue as to how far away something is from us is the amount of discernible detail we can make out, what we might call “detail perspective.” Through the experience of seeing things around us, we know whether, e.g., at a distance of 18 feet, we can to make out individual strands of hair on a head, or if we will see a broad swathe of color which we recognize as a mass of hair. It takes great skill for an artist to match this detail-perspective with the angle of vision so that all is in harmony. If the two factors are not in harmony, then usually we will sense that something is wrong, and we feel uneasy about it. Getting the balance of these two effects wrong is a common error made by inexperienced or poor artists. It is a fault of many well-known artists who should have known better, for example, many of the Pre-Raphaelites. Their paintings were over-packed with detail, so that every blade of grass and every individual leaf might be painted. Typically, our brain struggles to interpret what is seen in paitings like this, because one way of discerning distance, the amount of detail, tells us “This is close”, while the other, the angle of vision, says, “This is far away.” This generally causes a feeling of unease.

Baroque art of the 17th century, unlike Pre-Raphaelite art, is a naturalistic style that balances these two factors perfectly. However, paradoxically, iconographic and Gothic art deliberately introduced a mismatch, but in such a way that they contrive to enhance their spiritual power.

Both iconographic and Gothic art are designed so that when measured by angle of vision, the image is in the middle distance; we can get close enough to kiss an icon, for example, and it still seems in the middle distance because of the angle of vision. This further reinforces the dynamic of prayer described above. However, by the measure of detail-perspective, Gothic and iconographic art seem to break the rule of harmony with the angle of vision; there is lots of detail, and so the images are much closer to us than the angle of vision ould lead us to judge.

Ordinarily, we would expect to feel disconcerted by this, but generally we don’t. What then, is the difference between iconographic and Gothic art, where it works, and the Pre-Raphaelites, where it doesn’t? Clearly, something else is at play here. The difference is that while the Pre-Raphaelites attempt to portray things as they are naturalistically, the Gothic and iconographic styles are not intended to portray things as they are naturally. The style of both is informed by a theology of what man is like in heaven; the integration of theology and form in these traditions is so well worked out that we pick up on this instinctively. In heaven, to see someone is to know them perfectly, and so all the detail of their lives (in fact, more than simply the visual details) would be known to us. When we look at an icon or Gothic image, we see that they are otherworldly, and therefore the excess detail doesn’t seem unfitting to us. If this were just an arbitrary stylization that was not reflective of a truth, it would not be a convincing portrayal, but it works because these styles really do reflect something of the heavenly reality to us. In short, it rings true, because it is true.

To recap: in the case of Gothic and iconographic art, all of this “visual engineering” by the artist comes together to create a natural dynamic of prayer as follows. We look at the image, and because it seems to be in the middle distance, we are drawn toward it; we want to pull the image into the foreground so that we can establish a firmer relationship with the Saint. As we move closer, the image rewards us, so to speak, with a clearer vision of all the rich detail, which then increases our sense of wanting to get closer. However, we just can’t get close enough to satisfy our desire. Even if our noses are pressed against the image, it seems to be in the middle distance because of its design. The only way to get closer is through the use of our imaginations, which take us through the image to the real Saint in heaven; this is a profound connection that nourishes prayer. The Saints in heaven call us to be with them through the sacred art; each is saying, “Come to me and be in heaven with me.” The image of Our Lady will be seen, for the most part, from a great distance, and so will have a small angle of vision when viewed by most people.
Some will point out, quite legitimately, that there are life-size images in the iconographic style. The images at ground level on the walls are commonly close to life size. In these examples, the artists want the images to appear closer so that we know the Saints are praying alongside us in the liturgy. But even then, in my experience, the images are often slightly smaller than full-size on the side walls. (Often, but not always; this shows icons where are definitely close to life size, if not larger. This is the reason why I carefully inserted the word “generally” before my argument above.) I would say in regard to these paintings, that the other stylistic aspects that affect our engagement in the way I describe are still present, and these continue to reinforce the heavenly, otherworldly reality of the image. Secondly, if I was commissioning or painting such images today (a big “if”, I hear some of you say!), I would make efforts to ensure that there were no mixed messages by making them just slightly smaller than life-size.
Baroque art contains a visual vocabulary of style which, in contrast to the iconographic and Gothic styles, is intended to portray man on earth, what John Paul II called “historical man”, in a Christian way. This naturalistic, but nevertheless authentically liturgical style has been carefully worked out so that, in contrast to the iconographic and Gothic styles, the level of detail matches perfectly the perceived distance of the image from the observer when judged by angle of vision. This creates a different dynamic of engagement, and therefore of prayer, from that generated by iconographic and Gothic art.

To illustrate, consider the following situation: have you ever had the experience of seeing a beautiful large traditional oil painting in an art gallery? If you are like me, you want to get closer, but when you approach the image, it transforms. What was originally a clear image changes into a mess of rough brush strokes and you can no longer see the image as clearly. Then, in order to make it cohere visually again, you have to retreat back to the place where you first saw it. This is not accidental. The artist has deliberately painted the image so that it is out of focus when you are close, and in focus when you are several feet away.

Baroque art generally works like this. This effect is that rather drawing us into the image, as a Gothic painting might, the image jumps out to us. And when the image is of Christ, for example, God is made present to us here on earth. It says, “You stay where you are, I am with you.” This sense of the presence of God on earth is reinforced further by the artist when this device is combined with the other distinctive aspects of the visual vocabulary of Baroque art. The strong contrast between shadow and light, for example, communicates to us a sense of Christian hope that transcends suffering - the Light of the good that overcomes the darkness of evil.

Here is Velazquez’s crucifxion.

And here are two details of that same painting.
The different dynamics of prayer that we see in the different liturgical traditions need not be seen in opposition to each other; rather, they are complementary. One can think of them working together as the angels on Jacob’s ladder. Some go up, taking us with them, others come down to give us solace, and all help us on our path to God.

Ordinarily, I bemoan the fact that in the Roman Church we are detached from our authentic liturgical traditions. (I have devoted so much time to trying to understand them int he hope of helping to re-establish them as living traditions.) But there is some good in this. We can look more objectively at the past from our current position of detachment from it, and so choose what we feel is best for a new beginning.

In regard to this discussion, we could, potentially, establish a double tradition today, one that allows for both dynamics of prayer and so enrich our worship and prayer in a way that has not been done before. We might choose the come-to-me style for the side altar and for our contemplative prayer; and the I-am-with-you style, for greater and more immediate impact, for the reredos or altar piece that is in the sanctuary and will be viewed from a distance. The task for artists who set out to do this would be to do so in such a way that each side of the coin is connected stylistically, as well as distinguishable from the other, so to maintain the sense of unity that a single tradition has.

Monday, July 16, 2018

World War I Army Mass Kit

Many readers will be familiar with the site Sancrucensis, where they will find the learned lucubrations and edifying epigrams of Pater Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., not to mention a fair share of uplifting photographs of the yearly round of monastic life at the thriving Heiligenkreuz Abbey.

Recently Pater Edmund shared with me the exciting news that he had received the gift of a portable Mass kit that once belonged to a World War I chaplain, which an antique store in Oberösterreich had put up for sale.[1] It features a built-in altar stone and altar cards that fold out, and in the compartments inside there are not only chalice and linens, etc., but even four chasubles in different colors (!). The chalice seems to have been made in Fulda, while the Missal is from Regensburg. The whole set-up is typical of kits in the World War I era.

Pater Edmund asked that I share these pictures at NLM. I must say, it is both a pleasure and a challenge to do so. A pleasure, for obvious reasons; how could a more complete and better portable kit ever be devised? A challenge, because this war-time worst, this compact gear meant to be carried through mud and bullets, is more complete and more appropriate than what one might find in many peace-time sacristies today!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Musica Sacra Florida 2018 - Registration Extended

There’s still time! The registration deadline for Musica Sacra Florida 2018 has now been extended to Tuesday, July 24.

Musica Sacra Florida 2018
10th Annual Gregorian Chant Conference
Friday, July 27 & Saturday, July 28, 2018 
“Treasures of the Catholic” Church Camp
Monday, July 23 to Friday, July 27

at Royal Palm Academy and Saint Agnes Chapel, Naples, FL 

The conference will include:
“Treasures of the Catholic Church” Camp (July 23-27): For young people from 8 to 18. Children will receive instruction in Gregorian chant and Catholic culture (including great art) from an expert faculty, including Father Jonathan Romanoski, FSSP, Susan Treacy, Ph.D., and others.

Musica Sacra Florida 2018 Workshops (July 27-28): 

“What Came before the Square Notes” (Edward Schaefer, D.M.A.) - Learn the fascinating history of pre-square-note notation.

“A Plain and Easy Guide to Square Notation” (Susan Treacy, Ph.D.) – Are you mystified or intimidated by those little square notes? Fear not! In this workshop you will receive basic instruction on how to read Gregorian chant notation. Likewise, if you need a refresher course, come join us.

“Gregorian Chant as the Basis for Choral Excellence” (Larry Kent, D.M.A.) - This workshop will examine various ways that correct chant technique is an essential element in mixed choral ensembles, especially with regard to sacred music of the sixteenth century. Participants will work with excerpts of works by Byrd, Victoria, Tallis, and Palestrina.

Keynote Lecture for the Musica Sacra Florida 2018 Gregorian Chant Conference:
Dr. Edward Schaefer (University of Florida): "The Place of Gregorian Chant in Western History and Its Importance Today”

Gregorian Chant Conference Faculty 
Larry Kent, D.M.A., Director of Florida Pro Musica, Tampa
Edward Schaefer, D.M.A., University of Florida College of Fine Arts
Susan Treacy, Ph.D., Ave Maria University

For all the details about registration, schedule and conference hotel, visit their website:

Friday, July 13, 2018

Santa Maria in Organo in Verona, Italy

The church of Santa Maria “in Organo” in Verona takes its name not from its own organ, but from an ancient Roman water clock which was powered by the river Adige, which runs through the city; as the water flowed through the device and turned it, it also passed over pipes that played music. The clock was perhaps already badly damaged by the flooding of the Adige when it was destroyed by the Lombards in the 8th century.

In 1444, the church was given to the Olivetan monastic order, who held it until the suppressions of the Napoleonic era, in 1808. At the very end of the 15th century, a monk of this order, Fra’ Giovanni da Verona, built and decorated the sacristy, a work of which the great artist historian Giorgio Vasari described as “the most beautiful sacristy in all of Italy. ” Here are some photos taken by Nicola; those of the church itself are given below.

“ the lunettes he painted various Popes in pontifical habit, two per section, those who were elected to the papacy from the order of St Benedict. Around the sacristy ... there is a band ... in which are depicted in monastic habit various emperors, kings, dukes and other princes, who left the states and principalities which they had, and became monks.” (Vasari)

“And truly it was because of this decoration that this became the most beautiful sacristy in all of Italy, because, apart from the beauty of the well-proportioned space of a reasonable size, and the fact that the paintings are very beautiful, there is also in the lower part the doors of the cupboards, worked in cut and inlaid wood, with lovely images in perspective, done so well that in those days, and perhaps also in our own, none better are to be seen, since Fra’ Giovanni da Verona, who made the work, truly excelled in that art...  as is also demonstrated (by his other works.)” (Vasari)
The city of Verona has an ancient Roman amphitheater, known simply as “the Arena”, built in the first century, but severely damaged by an earthquake of 1117, as seen here in Fra’ Giovanni’s representation of it. After various modern restorations, it is now used for operatic performances and many other events.

Card. Arinze to Celebrate Patronal Feast at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in NYC

On Sunday, July 8, the Divine Liturgy (Qurbono Qadisho) was offered according to the rite of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch at the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in New York City. This annual liturgy is part of the Pallottine tradition of presenting Eastern Catholic Liturgies during the Octave of the Epiphany, and now also as part of the Novena in preparation for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. (Photographs by Father Christopher Salvatori S.A.C.)

Here is the schedule of Masses and other liturgical celebrations for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Saturday, July 14
9 AM - EF Sung Mass, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and praying of 1,000 Hail Mary’s until 5 PM

Sunday, July 15
10:25 AM - EF Sung Mass
Noon - 1:30 PM - Rosary Rally & Street Evangelization in front of the Rectory, East 116th Street
5:30 PM - EF Sung Mass
7:30 PM - 1st Solemn Latin Vespers (EF), & Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament
9 PM - Outdoor Candlelight Procession
11 PM - International Rosary & Litany of the Blessed Virgin chanted in Latin
Monday, July 16
12 AM - EF Solemn Massm starting at Midnight
6 AM - EF Low Mass
7 AM - EF Low Mass
(Masses offered every Hour, Last Mass at 8 PM)
10 AM - Solemn Mass, Ordinary Form (ad orientem) celebrated by His Eminence Francis Arinze, Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments
11:30 AM - Grand Procession

See this recent post for the schedule of events on Saturday, July 21, when the church will hold its the Seventh Annual Traditional Mass Pilgrimage as the culmination of the 134th annual feast of the Shrine and Parish’s Patroness.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Feast of St John Gualbert

On the calendar of the Extraordinary Form, today is the feast of St John Gualbert, founder of the monastic congregation known from their mother-house as the Vallumbrosians (the “Shady Valley” monks.) Like his contemporaries Ss Romuald and Peter Damian, he played an important role in the great reform movement taking place within the Church in the 11th century. The life of the Vallumbrosians was extremely austere in an age of terrible laxity among monks, and Pope Alexander II (who died very shortly before him in 1073) testified that it was largely though St John’s efforts that the vice of clerical simony, which had become so common it was hardly even noticed, was largely extirpated in central Italy.

The Vallumbrosa Altarpiece, by Perugino, 1500. The Saints at the bottom are, from left to right, Bernardo degli Umberti, a member of the Vallumbrosian Order who became a cardinal in 1097, and bishop of Parma in 1106, John Gualbert, Benedict and the Archangel Michael.
However, St John is particularly known for an episode that took place in his early life, before he embraced the monastic state. He was born into a Florentine noble family in the later 10th century, when faction-fighting and street-battles among the nobility were a routine fact of life. In the course of this, his older brother Ugo was murdered, and John determined to avenge him privately. One day (the Breviary says it was Good Friday), when he was in the company of his friends and supporters, all of them fully armed, he came across the murderer, unarmed, in an alley from which there was no way to escape. As John advanced to kill him, the man fell on his knees and threw out his arms like those of Christ on the Cross; the sight of this moved him to repent, and he not only forbore his revenge, but embraced and forgave the murderer. John then went to pray at the church of St Miniato on a hill outside the city, where the crucifix on one of the altars nodded to him, signifying the Lord’s acceptance of this gesture of true Christian forgiveness. For this reason, the Gospel of his feast day is not the taken from the Common of Abbots, but repeated (in part) from the Friday after Ash Wednesday.

“You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this? Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5, 43-48)

In the altarpiece show above, by Giovanni del Biondo, (ca. 1370), St John is shown forgiving his brother’s killer in the upper left section. Below it is depicted an especially famous episode in the ecclestical history of Florence, one which is connected to a contemporary of St John known as “Petrus Igneus - Fiery Peter.” A simoniac bishop, Peter of Pavia, was made bishop of Florence, much to the indignation of the populace, who demanded a trial by fire to determine the legitimacy of his appointment. Their appellant, a monk of St John’s order also called Peter, celebrated Mass in the presence of a crowd of some 3000 people, then, removing his chasuble (of course), walked between two raging pyres set close very to each other, remaining totally unscathed, even though the fire seemed to fill his alb, and he sank into the hot coals up to his ankles. This was taken as God’s judgment that his cause was just, and Peter of Pavia was removed from the See at the order of Pope Alexander, while Peter the monk was eventually made a cardinal and Papal legate. His feast is kept in Florence and by the Vallumbrosian order on February 8th.

Liturgy and Laity: Dom Alcuin Reid Reviews a History of Una Voce

First Things has just published Dom Alcuin Reid’s very interesting review of a history of Una Voce by Leo Darroch, who was president of that organization from 2007-13. (Una Voce: The History of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce) Here we give a few excerpts; I encourage you to read the whole of the original. The title of the review reflects one of the many ironies with which the post-Conciliar liturgical reform was fraught from start to finish, namely, that the greatest opposition to it came largely from the lay people for whose benefit it was purportedly being done.

“Una Voce’s history, faithfully compiled by Leo ­Darroch in the present volume, is indeed the history of lay men and women coming of age in the life of the Church. It is not too much to say that following the Second Vatican Council, Una Voce formed a lay movement that, in spite of at times not insignificant opposition, came to be of singular importance. For at a time when the required obedience had anesthetized the greater part of the clergy ... it was the laity who enjoyed the freedom necessary to organize themselves to ­promote the goods that were ­seemingly being squandered by the Church herself.

... The history of Una Voce is the history of devout, intelligent, and indeed obedient Catholic men and women (at times, to be sure, severely frustrated and almost driven to distraction) seeking for decades to convince ecclesiastical authorities at every level, including the highest, that the Church had made a fundamental error not in reforming or developing her public worship—that she had done throughout history—but in excluding substantial and important elements of her liturgical tradition (including Latin) in so doing. They argued that the almost complete prohibition of the older forms of worship was pastorally harmful, culturally deleterious, and gravely unjust to the worthy aims of the fathers of the Second Vatican Council.”

In mid-March of 1964, when the Consilium ad exsequendam was not yet two months old, Dom Gregory Murray of Downside Abbey in England wrote in the Tablet, “The plea that the laity as a body do not want liturgical change, whether in rite or in language, is, I submit, quite beside the point. … (it is) not a question of what people want; it is a question of what is good for them.” The great Michael Davies, who of course figures very prominently in Darroch’s book, rightly observed in “Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II”, that this contempt for the laity was no different from that of the Soviet Communist Party for the people; as the Party “ ‘interpreted the will of the people,’ so the (liturgical) ‘experts’ interpret the wishes of the laity.” Dom Reid gives an excellent example of the the very Soviet behavior characteristic of those sad and difficult years from no less a person than the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worhsip.

“It is by no means an easy task to inform a naked emperor that he is wearing no clothes, as the early Una Voce leaders learned only too quickly. Darroch’s history is replete with polite but firm reminders from ecclesiastics that the old ways have been replaced by newer and better ones and that everyone needs to make the best of them. A 1970 petition to Pope Paul VI requesting the preservation of the older rite of Mass received this reply from Cardinal Benno Gut, prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship: ‘You know that the decree . . . ­issued with the ­publication of the new Ordo provided for a certain period of transition. . . . But after this period of transition all the faithful should get used to the new form.’ His Eminence conceded that the difficulties ex­perienced by many of the faithful with the new order were ‘due to (very genuine) psychological inhibitions.’ He concluded: ‘Your letter, written in such a ­distinguished tone, gives us the ­assurance that you will find the ­correct attitude.’ ”

In this age of the Church’s life, as in every other, there are many reasons to take encouragement, and many for discouragement. For those are for whatever reason inclined to the latter, it will certainly be useful to read this remarkable prophecy made by the first President of Una Voce, Dr Eric de Saventhem, in 1970.

“...from the outset Una Voce was blessed with the leadership of the German-born convert from Protestantism Eric de Saventhem—a providential unifier, spokesman, and coordinator of the movement. While for many years he too had received polite but firm replies entreating him and his associates to adopt the “­correct attitude,” his vision was ­nothing less than prophetic. As early as June 1970, speaking as the guest of honor at the annual meeting of Una Voce USA at the Liederkranz Club in Manhattan, de Saventhem would assert:
A renaissance will come: asceticism and adoration as the mainspring of direct total dedication to Christ will return. Confraternities of priests, vowed to celibacy and to an intense life of prayer and meditation will be formed. Religious will regroup themselves into houses of strict observance. A new form of Liturgical Movement will come into being, led by young priests and attracting mainly young people, in protest against the flat, prosaic, philistine or delirious liturgies which will soon overgrow and finally smother even the recently revised rites.
He continued:
It is vitally important that these new priests and religious, these new young people with ardent hearts, should find—if only in a corner of the rambling mansion of the Church—the treasure of a truly Sacred Liturgy still glowing softly in the night. And it is our task, since we have been given the grace to appreciate the value of this heritage, to preserve it from spoliation, from becoming buried out of sight, despised and therefore lost forever. It is our duty to keep it alive: by our own loving attachment, by our support for the priests who make it shine in our churches, by our apostolate at all levels of persuasion.”

TLM for Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Newark, New Jersey

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Newark, New Jersey will celebrate a Solemn High Mass in the traditional rite on the eve of the patronal feast day of his parish, this Sunday, July 15th, starting at 5:00 p.m. Following Mass there will be a grand procession with a statue of Our Lady and a full symphonic brass band, and the streets of the parish will host an Italian festival with live entertainment. The church is located at 259 Oliver Street; there is ample parking on premises.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Recent TLM Pilgrimage In Spain

Our thanks to reader Daniel Martínez Pasamar for sharing with us this account of a pilgrimage / retreat recently held in Spain for a group of the faithful attached to the traditional Latin Mass.

From Thursday, June 28th to Sunday, July 1st, the first edition of the Family Retreat ‘Vayamos Jubilosos’ for people attached to the Traditional Liturgy of the Roman Rite in Spain took place. This is the first time ever that such an initiative, geared at deepen knowledge of the Mass of Ages and the values and principles of Christendom has been held in Spain.

In addition to the lectures for adults, and the parallel educational activities and talks specifically designed for the children, the participants in the retreat were able to attend Mass every day, either one of the Low Masses celebrated by the priests present at the event, or the Solemn High Mass which was the spiritual core of each day. Furthermore, the attendees took part in different traditional devotions: daily solemn Vespers in Gregorian chant, Benediction and the Holy Rosary.

On Saturday, the group walked on pilgrimage to the shrine of Blessed Virgin Mary of the Cross, the site of a famous and offically recognized apparition of the Virgin Mary to a young shepherd girl named Inés, which took place in 1449. This shrine was visited by personages such as the Emperor Charles V, Don John of Austria (the victor of Lepanto), and Cardinal Franisco Cisneros went on pilgrimage to the shrine when Saint Juana de la Cruz was the abbess of the convent attached to it. The Stations of the Cross were prayed on the way to the Shrine.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: