Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Solemn Pontifical Mass of Bishop Peter J. Elliott, Australia

One of our Australian priestly readers thought we here at the NLM might be interested to hear of a very splendid Solemn Pontifical Mass at the faldstool celebrated for the feast of Christ the King this year at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.

The Celebrant was His Lordship, Bishop Peter Elliott, one of the Auxiliary Bishops of Melbourne and a liturgist of international renown of course -- being perhaps best known for his popular book, The Ceremonies of the Modern Roman rite as well as Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year.

The occasion was the conclusion of a three day pilgrimage made on foot between Ballarat and Bendigo. The Christus Rex pilgrimage, now in its 17th year, draws pilgrims from around Australia and from overseas. It was inspired by the Chartres pilgrimage, and seeks to witness to Christ our King and to pray for His reign. The traditional liturgy is celebrated throughout the pilgrimage.

Father thought we would be edified; I have no doubt he is right. [More to follow the pictures as regards the homily.]

(All photos are copyright the Christus Rex Pilgrimage organization:

The event looks like it was a very spectacular one. To see more photos of the Mass itself, please click on the thumbnails below:

Aside from the pictures, Bishop Elliott had some interesting comments in his homily on the social reign of Christ the King, which includes comments about Summorum Pontificum and a quick critique of an aspect of the new breviary which struck me as interesting. A few excerpts:

"To offer the Divine Sacrifice for and with so many faithful Catholics is a great joy, especially at this time when we are giving thanks to God for the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, a pastoral provision which rests on the recognition of a canonical reality, responding to the just aspirations of Christ’s faithful."

"Today we celebrate the Universal Kingship of Jesus Christ. At this altar of sacrifice, in a text common to both forms of the Roman Rite, the majestic tones of the preface will ring out once more. The inspiring rhythm of the timeless language of the Roman Rite will proclaim the eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ: “….regnum veritatis et vitae, regnum sanctitatis et gratiae, regnum justitiae, amoris et pacis”: “A kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”

"However, in recent decades there has been a tendency to “spiritualise” the reign of Christ. I regret that this is even evident in the texts provided in the post-conciliar breviary.
[NLM: I wished to highlight this comment because such can be clearly seen as relating to that deeper aspect of the reform of the reform that we have been discussing here recently. I do not wish to put words into Bishop Elliott's mouth, and clearly he is not making any proposals here in his homily -- which would hardly be the place for it incidentally; he is certainly not rejecting the post-conciliar breviary, but what he has done is to highlight a deficiency that he sees in the newer breviary itself. This is a very similar exercise to those who examine the modern Roman missal and likewise identify aspects that may need to be looked at again. I think the parallel is important to bear in mind, because the action of doing such itself is not an extreme action and can be done completely in the heart of the Church -- even though it can also be approached wrongly.] Certainly, the kingdom of heaven is “within us”, and Jesus should reign spiritually and morally in our lives. But once we reduce those words “truth”, “life”, “holiness”, “grace”, “justice”, “love” and “peace” to abstractions or nice sentiments then something is missing - and what is missing is precisely what motivated Pius XI of blessed memory to institute this feast. It is the social reign of Jesus Christ."

(Full Homily Text Here).

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