Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Marian Pilgrimage in Hungary

On October 11th, His Excellency Lajos Varga, auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Vác in Hungary, celebrated a Pontifical High Mass for the 5th time at Hungary’s Franciscan-run national Marian shrine, Mátraverebély – Szentkút, for the conclusion of the annual traditional pilgrimage “Peregrinatio Fidei”. Each year the faithful in Hungary who are attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite come from all over the country, to pray at this beautiful shrine of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of Hungary. The assistant priest was Fr. Ervin Gellért Kovács O. Praem, the deacon was Fr. Dénes Takács, pastor of Jánok Slovakia, and the subdeacon was brother Csaba Frigyes Orbán O. Pream. Both Norbertines come from the Priory of Gödöllő. The Budapest EF community’s altar boys served the mass, with music provided by the schola of the Capitulum Laicorum Sancti Michaelis Archangeli. A group of knights from the Militia Templi also attended as well. In the afternoon, Vespers was sung, followed by the Litany of Loreto, and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. (Photos courtesy of Mr Bertalan Kiss and the Capitulum Laicorum Sancti Michaelis Archangeli; click link for more photos)





Saturday, October 18, 2014

Photopost: Reader Photographs of Recent Events

We are always very glad to receive photographs of your liturgical events, apart from those which we specifically request for major feasts, be they OF, EF, or Eastern Rite. Here are some from three different recent submissions.

Solemn Mass on the feast of the Maternity of the Virgin Mary
Holy Name, Brooklyn, New York
Courtesy of our friend Arrys Ortanez; click here to see the rest of the photostream. Holy Name recently underwent a complete and magnificent de-wreckovation.






The Feast of St Luke the Evangelist

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us, according as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou may know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed. (The Gospel of St Luke 1, 1-4)

A blessed feast day to all artists and doctors. Sancte Luca, ora pro nobis!

Friday, October 17, 2014

“Fearless Heralds of the Truth” - The Third Day of a Synod, from the 1595 Pontifical of Clement VIII

The third day of the synod begins as the first two. After Mass, a faldstool is placed before the altar, and the bishop, in cope and precious miter, accompanied by deacon and subdeacon, kneels before the altar, and intones the same antiphon as on the first day: “Exáudi nos, Dómine, quoniam benigna est misericordia tua: secundum multitúdinem miseratiónum tuárum réspice nos, Domine. – Hear us, o Lord, for kindly is Thy mercy; according to the multitude of Thy mercies look upon us, o Lord.” The choir continues the antiphon, followed by the whole of Psalm 68, “Save me o God, for the waters have entered unto my soul”, during which the bishop sits until the psalm is finished and the antiphon repeated.

The bishop then turns to the altar and says:
Let us pray. Crying out to Thee, o Lord, with the cry of our heart, we ask as one, that, strengthened by the regard of Thy grace, we may become fearless heralds of the truth, and be able to speak Thy word with all confidence. Through our Lord Jesus Christ etc.
All answer “Amen”, and the bishop adds a second prayer.
Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, who in the sacred prophecy of Thy word, did promise that where two or three would gather in Thy name, Thou wouldst be in their midst, in Thy mercy be present in our assembly, and enlighten our hearts, that we may in no way wander from the good of Thy mercy, but rather hold to the righteous path of Thy justice in all matters. Through our Lord Jesus Christ etc.
The bishop now sings, “Oremus”, the deacon “Flectamus genua”, and the subdeacon, after a pause, “Levate”, after which the bishop sings this prayer.
O God, who take heed to Thy people with forgiveness, and rule over them with love, grant the spirit of wisdom to those to whom Thou hast given to rule over discipline; that the shepherds may take eternal joy from the good progress of holy sheep. Through our Lord Jesus Christ etc.
The deacon then sings the following Gospel, Matthew 18, 15-22, with the normal ceremonies of a Pontifical Mass.
At that time: Jesus said to His disciples: If thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by My Father who is in heaven. For where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them. Then came Peter unto Him and said: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith to him: I say not to thee, till seven times; but till seventy times seven times.
The First Vatican Council
As on the previous two days, the bishop now kneels to intone the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, which is continued by the choir, after which he sits at a chair which is set up facing the assembly, and addresses it. A brief model for his address is given, accompanied by a rubric that he himself, or a “learned and suitable man” appointed by him to this task, may address the synod with words more appropriate to the circumstances for which it was called.
Venerable and most beloved brethren, it is fitting that all things which have not been done properly, or as fully as they ought, in regard to the duties of ecclesiastics, and the priestly ministries, and canonical sanctions, because of various distractions, or (which we cannot deny) our own and others’ idleness, should be sought out by the unanimous consent and will of us all, and humbly recited before your charity; and thus, whatever is in need of correction may be brought to a better estate by the help of the Lord. And if anyone be displeased by what is said, let him not hesitate to bring the matter before your charity with kindliness and gentility, so that all which is established or renewed by this our assembly, may be kept and held in the harmony of holy peace by all together, without contradiction, to the increase of all our eternal blessedness.
There are then read out the constitutions put forth for the approval of the synod (presumably those which were voted upon the previous day), which are confirmed by those assembled. The bishop sits, and commends himself to the prayers of all present; the names of all those who are supposed to be present are read out, and each answers “Adsum – Present.” Notice is taken of those who are not present, so that they may be fined by the bishop.

In the Pontifical, there follows an immensely long model sermon, over 1000 words in Latin, in which the bishop reminds the priests of their many duties, both spiritual (“Receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ with all reverence and fear.”) and temporal (“Let your churches be well decorated and clean.”) The bishop then says another prayer.
O Lord, the human conscience hath not such strength that it can endure the judgments of Thy will without offense; and therefore, because Thy eyes see our imperfection, deem as perfect that which we desire to conclude, merciful God, with the end of perfect justice. We have asked for Thee to come to us in the beginning, we hope in this end to have Thee forgive what we have judged wrongly; to wit, that Thou spare our ignorance, forgive our error, and grant, though the prayers now completed, perfect efficacy to the work. And since we grow faint from the sting of conscience, lest ignorance draw us into error, or hasty willfulness steer justice wrong, we ask this, we beseech Thee, that if we have brought upon ourselves any offense in the celebration of this synod, that we may know we are forgiven by Thy mercy. And since we are about to dismiss this synod, let us be first released from every bond of our sins, as forgiveness followeth transgressors, and eternal rewards follow those that confess Thee. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
The bishop gives the Pontifical blessing and proclaims an indulgence. The archdeacon then sings “Let us depart in peace”, and all answer “In the name of Christ.” All rise and accompany the bishop back to his residence.

Program of Events for "Populus Summorum Pontificum" Next Weekend in Rome and Norcia

The Populus Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage will take place next weekend in Rome and Norcia, with a large number of liturgical events scheduled from October 23-26. A flyer with all the information in English can be downloaded here, and a map with the locations of the various events can be consulted here.

Thursday, October 23, 7:15 pm
At the F.S.S.P. parish of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, Solemn Pontifical Vespers, presided over by His Grace Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. The musical service will be provided by a choir of seminarians of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, directed by Fr. Matthieu Raffray.

Friday, October 24, 9:00 a.m.
At the Basilica of Saint Augustine (Sant’Agostino in Campo Marzio), recitation of the Holy Rosary for children to be born, before the statue of the Madonna del Parto. (This statue of the Virgin Mary is still to this day a popular place for women to pray for a safe childbirth, and is constantly covered with colored ribbons and other ex votos left by grateful mothers.)

3:00 p.m.
On the Palatine Hill, the Stations of the Cross of Saint Leonardo of Port-Maurice. Meeting at the beginning of the via di San Bonaventura, near the Arch of Titus. (St Leonard was the great Italian promoter of the Stations of the Cross, and persuaded Pope Benedict XIV to allow him to set the Stations up in the Colosseum. The large cross which he placed in the middle of the ancient arena was later removed to the tiny church of San Gregorio de’ Muratori, the F.S.S.P.’s former Roman church.)

6:30 p.m.
At Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Eminence George Card. Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the foundation of the Internation Federation Juventutem. The musical service will be provided by the choir of the Basilique de Notre-Dame, the F.S.S.P. church in Fribourg, Switzerland, directed by Mrs. Christiane Haymoz.

Saturday, October 25, 9:30 a.m.
At the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso, Eucharistic Adoration, lead by Fr. Marino Neri, secretary of Amicizia Sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum, with organ accompaniment by Mr Jean-Yves Haymoz, followed by a procession to St Peter’s Basilica.

12:00 p.m.  
At the Basilica of Saint Peter, Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Segnatura. The musical service will be provided by seminarians of the North American College, directed by Mr. Leon Griesbach, and accompanied by Mr. Garrett Ahlers on organ.

5:00 p.m.
At Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, a spiritual concert of Gregorian chant and polyphony, by seminarians of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, directed by Fr. Matthieu Raffray.

Sunday, October 26, 11:00 a.m.
At the Basilica of St Benedict in Norcia, Solemn Mass for the feast of Christ the King, celebrated by Fr. Cassian Folsom, prior of the Abbey. The homily will be given by His Eminence Walter Card. Brandmüller, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Historical Commission.  (Pilgrims will depart by bus for Norcia from Termini Station in Rome at 8 a.m., reservation information at nitorin@tin.it, or by calling (+39) 05 23716510. A buffet lunch will be served for the pilgrims; reservation required by writing lazio.cnsp@gmail.com)

In Rome, 11:00 a.m.
For those pilgrims who are not traveling to Norcia, at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, His Grace Archbishop François Bacqué, Nuncio Emeritus to the Netherlands, will celebrate a Pontifical Mass.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

RIP Jacques and Simone Wach, Parents of the Prior General of the ICK

Via the blogs Notions Romaines and Sancta Trinitas Unus Deus, I learned today that the parents of Msgr. Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King, both passed away very recently, Mrs Simone Wach on September 7th, and Mr Jacques Wach on Monday. Please be so good as to pray for the repose of their souls, and for the peace and consolation of their family members and friends.

The Order for a Synod, from the 1595 Pontifical of Clement VIII (Second Day)

The second day of the synod begins with the same ceremony as the first, although it is not specifically stated in the rubrics that the Mass of the day is to be the Mass of the Holy Spirit. When this is over, a faldstool is placed before the altar, and the bishop, in red cope and precious miter, accompanied by deacon and subdeacon also in red, kneels before the altar, and intones the following antiphon. “Propitius esto * peccátis nostris, Dómine, propter nomen tuum: nequando dicant gentes: Ubi est Deus eórum? – Forgive us our sins, o Lord, for Thy name’s sake: lest ever the gentiles should say: Where is their God?” The choir continues the antiphon, followed by the whole of Psalm 78, “O God, the heathen are come into Thy inheritance”, during which the bishop sits until the psalm is finished and the antiphon repeated. (These are different from the psalm and antiphon said the day before.)

The bishop then turns to the altar and says:
Bending the knee of our hearts before Thee, o Lord, we ask that we may accomplish the good which Thou seekest of us; namely, that we may walk with Thee, ready in solicitude, and do judgment with most careful discretion; and with love of mercy, shine forth in our zeal for all that pleaseth Thee. Through Christ our Lord.
All answer “Amen”, and the bishop adds a second prayer.
Let us pray. Kindly pour forth upon our minds, we beseech Thee, o Lord, the Holy Spirit; so that we, gathered in Thy name, may in all things hold to justice, ruled by piety, in such wise that here our will agree with Thee entirely; and ever pondering on reasonable things, we may accomplish what is pleasing to Thee in word and deed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ etc.
This prayer is a cento of the first collect of the Ember Saturday of Pentecost, the first prayer of the preceding day of the synod, and the collect of the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany.

The previous day the Litany of the Saints was said at this point; it is not repeated today. The bishop now sings, “Oremus”, the deacon “Flectamus genua”, and the subdeacon, after a pause, “Levate”, after which the bishop sings this prayer.
O God, who command that we speak justice, and judge what it right; grant that no iniquity be found in our mouth, no wickedness in our mind; so that purer speech may agree with pure heart, justice be shown in our work, no guile appear in our speech, and truth come forth from our heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ etc.
The deacon then sings the following Gospel, Luke 10, 1-9, the common Gospel of Evangelists (and some Confessors), with the normal ceremonies of a Pontifical Mass.
At that time: The Lord appointed also other seventy-two: and He sent them two and two before His face into every city and place whither He himself was to come. And He said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send laborers into his harvest. Go: Behold I send you as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; and salute no man by the way. Into whatsoever house you enter, first say: Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And in the same house, remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house. And into what city soever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them: The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
As on the previous day, the bishop kneels to intone the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, which is continued by the choir, after which he sits at a chair which is set up facing the assembly, and addresses it. At the corresponding point the previous day, a brief model for his address is given; the rubric of this days specifies that he speaks “his verbis – with these words,” but also says that he may omit them.
My venerable and most beloved brethren, just as we reminded your kindness and gentility yesterday, concerning the divine offices, and the sacred grades of (service at) the altar, or even (our own) mores and the needs of the Church, it is necessary that the charity of all of you, whensoever it knoweth of any matter in need of correction, hesitate not to bring forth in our midst such matters for emendation or renewal; that by the zeal of your charity, and the gift of the Lord, all such matters may come to the best, to the praise and glory of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A sermon at a synod; illustration from a 1595 edition of the Roman Pontifical. (Permission to use this image has been very kindly granted by the Pitts Theological Library, Candler School of Theology at Emory University.)
As on the previous day, before or after the bishop’s address, a “learned and suitable man” delivers a sermon “on ecclesiastical discipline” and other matters “as the bishop may determine”. The archdeacon then reads any Apostolic Constitutions which may not have been promulgated hitherto in that place, and other such documents, as the bishop may decide. There are then read out the constitutions put forth for the approval of the synod, which are then voted upon. (One must assume that in accordance with local traditions, various other matters may also be dealt with.) The bishop then gives the Pontifical blessing, and all depart.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Monks of Norcia 2015 Calendar

I recently received in the mail a copy of the new calendar of the Monks of Norcia. This 2015 edition is just as magnificent as last year's. Most readers of NLM probably need no introduction to these wonderful monks, who live a simple life utterly faithful to the Rule of Saint Benedict and the liturgical tradition that has nourished monasticism for 2,000 years (and beyond, if we think of the place of the Psalms in Hebrew worship). Their cause is absolutely worth supporting, especially as their number of postulants and novices continues to grow, and as the Church needs more than ever islands of sanctity where the noble vision of St. Benedict and Pope Benedict XVI can flourish.

But those who are shopping for a calendar are, quite naturally, wondering not only if the cause is worth supporting, but if the calendar is beautiful and usefully laid out. In this regard, pictures do speak a thousand words, so I will simply attach a bunch below. The layout of the days, with feasts of the old, new, and Benedictine calendars, and the size and readability make this calendar my favorite for the calendar I keep at home in my kitchen and the calendar we put up on our refectory bulletin board at Wyoming Catholic College.

To find out more and purchase copies of the calendar—they make great gifts, too!—go to this website.

(Some of the photos make the page color look more yellow than its natural white color.)







Pontifical Requiem Mass in Madison - November 3

On November 3rd, Bishop Robert Morlino will be celebrating a Pontifical Requiem for All Souls Day at 7pm at the Bishop O'Connor Center in Madison, WI. Victoria's Requiem a4 will be sung. I hope those in the area will be able to attend this rare treat!

The Order for a Synod, from the 1595 Pontifical of Clement VIII (First Day)

It occurred to me that, with the Extraordinary Synod currently going on, and making headlines almost on an hourly basis, our readers might find interesting the traditional order for holding a synod, according to the 1595 Pontifical of Clement VIII. It is divided into three days, and seems to presume that a lot of the business of the Synod will be determined by the bishop and his assistants beforehand. The rubrics are given here in summary, omitting several of the less pertinent details such as the places where the bishop removes his miter etc.

On the first day, the bishop who has called the synod processes to the church, accompanied by the clergy who are called to the synod “by right or custom”, all in choir dress, and celebrates a Mass of the Holy Spirit. When this is over, a faldstool is placed before the altar in the middle, and the bishop, in red cope and precious miter, accompanied by deacon and subdeacon also in red, kneels before the altar, and intones the following antiphon. “Exáudi nos, * Dómine, quoniam benigna est misericordia tua: secundum multitúdinem miseratiónum tuárum réspice nos, Dómine. – Hear us, o Lord, for kindly is Thy mercy; according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies look upon us, o Lord.” The choir continues the antiphon, followed by the whole of Psalm 68, “Save me o God, for the waters have entered unto my soul”, during which the bishop sits until the psalm is finished and the antiphon repeated.

The bishop then turns to the altar and says:
We are here, o Lord, Holy Spirit, we are here, hindered by the enormity of sin, but gathered especially in Thy name; come to us, be here with us, deign to come down upon our hearts. Teach us what we ought to do; show us, where we ought to go; work Thou what we ought to accomplish. Be thou alone the one who prompts and effect our judgments, who alone with God the Father and His Son possess the name of glory. Permit us not to be disturbers of justice, Thou who love righteousness most mightily; that the evil of ignorance may not lead us, that favor may not sway us, that the receiving of gift or person may not corrupt us. But unite us to Thee effectually by the gift of Thy grace alone, that we may be one in Thee, and in no way depart from the truth. And thus, gathered in Thy name, in all things we may hold to justice, ruled by piety, in such wise that in this life our decree agree with Thee entirely, and in the future life, we may obtain eternal rewards, for the sake of what we have done well.
All answer “Amen”, and the bishop adds a second prayer.
Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy mercy hast safely gathered us especially in this place, may the Comforter, who procedeth from Thee, enlighten our minds, we beseech Thee; and bring us unto all truth, as Thy Son did promise; and strengthen all in Thy faith and charity; so that, stirred up by this temporal synod, we may profit thereby to the increase of eternal happiness. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ etc.
The bishop then kneels at the faldstool, and all others present also kneel, as the cantors sing the Litany of the Saints. After the invocation, “That Thou may deign to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed”, the bishop rises, takes his crook in hand, and sings the following invocation; at the place marked, he makes the sign of the Cross over those gathered for the synod . “That Thou may deign to visit, order and + bless this present synod. R. We ask Thee, hear us.” The cantors finish the Litany.

All rise, and the bishop sings, “Oremus”, the deacon “Flectamus genua”, and the subdeacon, after a pause, “Levate”, after which the bishop sings this prayer.
Grant to Thy Church, we beseech Thee, o merciful God, that gathered in the Holy Spirit, She may merit to serve Thee in sure devotion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ etc.
A session of the Council of Trent in the Cathedral of St Vigilius. (Image from Italian wikipedia)
The deacon then sings the following Gospel, (that of the Thursday within the Octave of Pentecost, Luke 9, 1-6,) with the normal ceremonies of a Pontifical Mass.
At that time: Calling together the twelve Apostles, Jesus gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And He said to them: Take nothing for your journey; neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats. And whatsoever house you shall enter into, abide there, and depart not from thence. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off even the dust of your feet, for a testimony against them. And going out, they went about through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.
The bishop kneels to intone the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, which is continued by the choir. He then sits at a chair which is set up facing the assembly, and addresses it. A brief model for his address is given, but the rubric specifies that he speaks “in hanc sententiam - along these lines.” (In many rites, such as ordinations, sermons of this kind are part of the rite, and must be read exactly as they given in the Pontifical.)
My venerable fellow priests and dearest brethren, having first prayed to God, it is necessary that each one of you take up the matters upon which we must confer, whether they concern the divine offices, or sacred orders, or even our own mores and the needs of the Church, with charity and kindliness, and accept them, by the help of God, with supreme reverence, and all his might; and that each one may faithfully strive with all devotion to amend the things that need amendment. And if perchance what is said or done displease anyone, without any scruple of contentiousness, let him bring it forth before all; that by the Lord’s mediation, such matter may also come to the best result. And in this way, let strife or discord find no place to undermine justice, nor again the strength and solicitude of our order (i.e. the clerical order) grow lukewarm in seeking the truth.
Before or after this address, a “learned and suitable man” delivers a sermon “on ecclesiastical discipline, on the divine mysteries, on the correction of morals among the clergy”, as determined by the bishop. Complaints may then be heard (“querelae, si quae sunt, audiuntur”), presumably in accord with the matters the synod has been called to address.

The archdeacon then reads several decrees of the Council of Trent on disciplinary matters pertaining to synods, and the Profession of Faith known as the Creed of Pope Pius IV. Finally, all are “charitably admonished that during the synod, they conduct themselves honestly in all regards, even outside the synod itself, so that their behavior may worthy serve to others as an example. The bishop gives the Pontifical blessing, and all depart.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mass in Honor of Blessed Karl of Austria, Washington DC, October 21

Photos of a Italian Sculpture of the Mother of God and Our Lord as a Child by Cody Swanson

Thanks to reader Ciro Lamonte in Italy for bringing to our notice the sculpture of Cody Swanson. I know little of him, but it seems from his commissions he is well known to others and I am guessing many NLM readers will already know more of his work than I do! Reading through his website, here, he is based in Florence and teaches at the Florence Academy.

I like this very much. Clearly Cody has great skill as a sculptor. Beyond this I offer just a couple of personal thoughts on what I like so much about it: first, I see first an idealised face of Our Lady that seems to me to draw on the classical ideal. I would rather see this than something that is so individualized that it looks like a portrait of the girl nextdoor dressed up in old-fashioned costume. I always feel that even in the naturalistic styles sacred art must have some idealization so that it emphasizes the common humanity - those aspects of Our Lady to which we can hope to emulate. Second, I see strong angular  folds in the drapery as one might have seen in 17th century sculpture and which gives the form vigour and acts against sentimentality.

I took the following photos from Cody’s Facebook page. We see drawings, the development of the model in clay in which, as I understand the process the creative work of the artist takes place. And then finally the translation of the clay model into the final medium, which is more of a mechanical process.






Monday, October 13, 2014

Fortune Favors the Brave

The reader of Annibale Bugnini’s Memoirs comes upon a passage early on concerning a questionnaire sent around in 1948 to “almost a hundred liturgical experts in all parts of the world” by the editors of the Roman periodical Ephemerides Liturgicae, concerning “reform of the Missal, Breviary, calendar, Martyrology, and other liturgical books.” Bugnini writes:
This questionnaire, sent as it was by the editorial staff of a periodical regarded as the semi-official voice of Roman liturgical circles, was the first alarm signal that something was stirring. In those days it was unheard of for anyone to challenge even a rubric or to use the word “reform.” The questionnaire was therefore a bold move. In this case the proverb was proved true: “Fortune favors the brave.” (p. 11)
Although this motto is not repeated again in the almost 1,000-page book, nevertheless the spirit of the motto, if one may call it so, hovers everywhere. Bugnini presents himself countless times as the intrepid visionary who dares to take action whenever and wherever he can to push forward the “renewal” of the liturgy. The moment there is an opening, he takes it.

Today we look back sorrowfully (at times, wrathfully) over the utter devastation caused by Bugnini and his companions, but we cannot dispute their mastery of the psychology of attack, alliance, subterfuge, feint, calculated compromise, redoubled attack. They were men who seized their opportunities and did not sit on their hands wondering when other people would do the job for them, or worse, waste their time on endless bickering and hairsplitting. Like our political liberals, they could lay aside small differences for the sake of gaining major objectives.

In his splendid commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict (featured in last week's article), Canon Simon quotes the same saying, but sees in it a larger spiritual lesson—one that all of us who are striving to recover and promote all things traditional, particularly the widespread celebration of the usus antiquior, would do well to heed and put into practice:
Probably a miracle will not be necessary to relieve our trouble. For, as we may repeat, the incapacity of men often arises from sloth or pusillanimity. They too often forget the simple truth that if a thing is to get done we must do it. And when we have spent long hours in contemplating, in a spirit of false and foolish self-pity, the real or pretended difficulties of our duty, we have not changed the reality of things one whit: our duty is always our duty, and the will of God abides: we have only succeeded in weakening ourselves. “Fortune favors the brave”: in this case fortune is the grace of God. (p. 475)
It is ever so. One must do all that one can to accomplish the good. The battle is never over, one can never rest on one’s laurels. In recent years the tables have begun to turn, the tide is shifting, even in spite of more recent setbacks. Now is the acceptable time for the true liturgical renewal that failed after Vatican II—a renewal that begins with the age-old tradition of the Church as contained in the Missale Romanum, Rituale Romanum, and Divine Office that predate the Council, and ends with the full, solemn, conscientious and devout celebration of these same rites, enriched with noble sacred art and music, and made fruitful by a deep formation of clergy and laity in the spirit of the liturgy.

Let us, then, do our part in this great work of liturgical renewal, which is to say, liturgical restoration and optimal celebration. Let us not grow weary, in spite of all obstacles, setbacks, and delays, or succumb to a kind of fatalistic resignation or quietism. Let us not indulge in foolish self-pity as we contemplate the real or imaginary difficulties of our duty. Duty will always be difficult, and the world within the Church will always be opposed to true reform. Rather, taking hold of every opportunity divine Providence gives us, using all our energy and every talent we have, let us take the steps and make the moves that will advance our side towards victory. Time is short, the stakes are high, and fortune favors the brave.

*          *          *
Some resources that can help us:

For priests:
Extraordinary Form Workshops with the FSSP
Extraordinary Form Workshops with St. John Cantius
Sancta Missa Resources

For laity:
Fr. Z’s 5 Rules of Engagement and Tips for Writing to Bishops
Una Voce America's Suggestions and Sample Letters
How to Establish the Traditional Latin Mass at Your Parish

For everyone:
Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei

If readers out there would like to recommend other resources, please do so in the comments!