Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Caecilia, Amazing Archives

A treasure trove of largely unseen (by this generation) issues of The Caecilia, published in the United States by the predecessor organization of the Church Music Association of America, arrived yesterday (thank to the donor!).

The files are not prepped with bookmarks and the list obviously needs something like a table of contents because right now you can only click and guess. Still, I thought it would be good to post these now, just because they are so amazing.

What do they show? Well, that there was a thriving chant movement in the "old days," that it was working very hard, that it was putting out great material, that progress was being made. I do think there are reasons why its roots weren't deep enough to head off the onslaught but that is for another day.

  • The Caecilia, June 1933

  • The Caecilia, August 1933

  • The Caecilia, September 1933

  • The Caecilia, October 1933

  • The Caecilia, November 1933

  • The Caecilia, December 1933

  • The Caecilia, January 1934

  • The Caecilia, February 1934

  • The Caecilia, March 1934

  • The Caecilia, April 1934

  • The Caecilia, May 1934

  • The Caecilia, June 1934

  • The Caecilia, August 1934

  • The Caecilia, September 1934

  • The Caecilia, October 1934

  • The Caecilia, November 1934

  • The Caecilia, December 1934

  • The Caecilia, January 1935

  • The Caecilia, February 1935

  • The Caecilia, March 1935

  • The Caecilia, April 1935

  • The Caecilia, May 1935

  • The Caecilia, June 1936

  • The Caecilia, August 1936

  • The Caecilia, September 1936

  • The Caecilia, October 1936

  • The Caecilia, November 1936

  • The Caecilia, December 1936

  • The Caecilia, January 1936

  • The Caecilia, February 1936

  • The Caecilia, March 1936

  • The Caecilia, April 1936

  • The Caecilia, May 1936

  • The Caecilia, June 1936

  • The Caecilia, August 1936

  • The Caecilia, September 1936

  • The Caecilia, October 1936

  • The Caecilia, November 1936

  • The Caecilia, December 1936

  • The Caecilia, January 1937

  • The Caecilia, February 1937

  • The Caecilia, March 1937

  • The Caecilia, April 1937

  • The Caecilia, May 1937

  • The Caecilia, June 1937

  • The Caecilia, August 1937

  • The Caecilia, September 1937

  • The Caecilia, October 1937

  • The Caecilia, November 1937

  • The Caecilia, Decemeber 1937
  • Complete Video of the Harmoniemesse at St. Peter's Basilica

    For those of you who would like to see and hear the papal Mass of today which used an orchestral setting, Haydn's Harmoniemesse, one of our readers shared with us this link which shows the entire Mass: KTO: Messe de Pentecôte.

    Some of you may also be interested in the discussion about orchestral Masses over at WDTPRS, taking place between various commenters.

    Solemn Vespers of Pentecost, Birmingham

    It is always a treat (though sadly, an all too rare treat in my opinion) to share with you some sights from Solemn Vespers -- something which, be it solemn or simply sung, is an aspect of parish liturgical life which we need to promote, foster and pursue. Feast days such as those today may be a good place to begin this process.

    I would encourage all priests interested in pursuing a new liturgical movement to make it one of their liturgical priorities if at all possible.

    Did any other of our readers experience sung vespers this evening? Do tell us about it in the comments.

    Image source: Jackie Parkes

    Pentecost Sunday at St. Peter's Basilica

    Today's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica was that which employed an orchestral setting, Haydn's Missa Solemnis in B-flat major (Harmoniemesse), which was reported here on May 3rd.

    Here are some photos of the Mass:

    Source: Daylife

    Pentecost Sunday at the Basilica of Santa Maria ad Martyres (the Pantheon)

    "May 31, 2009: rose petals rain through the open oculus of Rome's Pantheon (the Basilica of Sancta Maria ad Martyres) during their annual celebration on the Solemnity of Pentecost while the Veni Sancte Spiritus is chanted."

    Source: John Paul Sonnen

    Pentecost Sunday at the Birmingham Oratory

    Source: Jackie Parkes

    More from St. Augustine's in Brandon, Manitoba

    This particular parish renovation was shown here on the NLM two weeks ago, but at the time, we did not have the before and after photos to show you -- only the after.

    I am pleased to be able to supplement that post today with the actual before and after images for your consideration.



    A very tastefully executed renovation which has added back into the church some colour and detail.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009

    News from the Chartres Pilgrimage

    The first reports from the Chartres Pilgrimage are now beginning to trickle in, beginning with a report from La Salon Beige who have a reporter participating in the pilgrimage. They report as follows (translation by NLM):

    The 27th Whitsun Pilgrimage from Notre-Dame de Paris to Notre-Dame de Chartres began this morning at dawn. We had over 6000 registered by Friday night.

    Mgr. Jérôme Beau, auxiliary archbishop of Paris, welcomed the pilgrims in the cathedral before sending them on their journey. The theme of this pilgrimage: "Thy kingdom come."


    Saturday was focused on the theme "Kingdom of truth and of life", under the patronage, in the year of Saint Paul, of Saint Paul, the Apostle to the nations.

    The organization counted 1,500 people more than last year during the Mass at the Bièvres stop. The Mass of the Vigil of Pentecost was celebrated by Father Eric Iborra, curate of the parish St-Eugène-St.Cecile in Paris.

    The march went smoothly, with a good sun, tempered by a fresh wind...

    The NLM will bring you photos of the pilgrimage as they come in.

    Two Reforms Associated with Pentecost: The Vigil and the Octave

    One of the matters of interest for liturgical study and consideration today surrounds two particular liturgical reforms which pertain to the Feast of Pentecost. One pertains to the usus antiquior and the other to the calendar of the modern Roman liturgy.

    With regard to the usus antiquior, I refer to the reforms applied to the vigil of Pentecost, which Gregory DiPippo presented in part 7 of his series on the Holy Week reforms of Pius XII, The Vigil of Pentecost and the Readings from Sacred Scripture in Holy Week. Here he compares the pre-1955 Vigil as well as the revisions to it, noting, for example, the relation of vigil of Pentecost with that of Easter, including the recitation of six prophecies, the blessing of the baptismal font and the penitential character in which the Vigil begins. It suffices to simply point you to Gregory's summation of this rather than summarize it again here.

    However, it is with regard to the modern Roman liturgy that we see a matter of probably wider liturgical interest; namely, the suppression of the ancient octave of Pentecost from the modern Roman calendar -- an octave being the extended liturgical celebration of a particular feast for a period of eight days.

    Now it should be noted that the question of the reduction of octaves is not uniquely post-conciliar; it should likewise be noted that the modern calendar still maintains octaves for the Nativity and Easter. This noted, the suppression of that of Pentecost has remained a matter of some particular discussion and should be a point of consideration and further study for the reform of the reform today.

    Of course, the concept and history of an octave will likely be foreign to many, so a more generalized consideration may be useful:

    In the fourth century, when the primitive idea of the fifty days' feast of the paschal time began to grow dim, Easter and Pentecost were given octaves. Possibly at first this was only a baptismal custom, the neophytes remaining in a kind of joyful retreat from Easter or Pentecost till the following Sunday. Moreover, the Sunday which, after the feasts of Easter and Pentecost, fell on the eighth day, came as a natural conclusion of the seven feast days after these two festivals.


    The liturgy of the octave assumed its present form slowly. In the first period, that is from the fourth to the sixth and even seventh century, little thought seems to have been given to varying the liturgical formulæ during the eight days. The sacramentaries of Gelasius and St. Gregory make no mention of the intervening days; on the octave day the office of the feast is repeated. The dies octava is indeed made more prominent by the liturgy. The Sunday following Easter (i.e. Sunday in albis) and the octave day of Christmas (now the Circumcision) are treated very early as feast days by the liturgy. Certain octaves were considered as privileged days, on which work was forbidden. The courts and theatres were closed ("Cod. Theod.", XV, tit. v de spect. leg. 5; IX, de quæst. leg. 7; "Conc. Mog", 813, c. xxxvi). After Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas had received octaves, the tendency was to have an octave for all the solemn feasts. Etheria speaks of the feast of the Dedication (cf. Cabrol, op. cit., pp. 128-9). Theodomar, a contemporary of Charlemagne, speaks only of the octaves of Christmas and the Epiphany but it must not be concluded that he was ignorant of those of Easter and Pentecost, which were more celebrated.


    The capitularies of Charlemagne speak of the octaves of Christmas, the Epiphany, and Easter. Amalarius, after mentioning the four octaves of Christmas, the Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost, tells us that it was customary in his time to celebrate the octaves of the feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul and other saints... At the time of the reformation of the Breviary (Breviary of St. Pius V, 1568) the question of regulating the octaves was considered. Two kinds of octaves were distinguished, those of feasts of our Lord, and those of saints and the dedication. In the first category are further distinguished principal feasts -- those of Easter and Pentecost, which had specially privileged octaves, and those of Christmas, the Epiphany, and Corpus Christi, which were privileged (the Ascension octave was not privileged). Octaves, which exclude all or practically all occurring; and transferred feasts, are called privileged.

    Source: Catholic Encyclopedia, "Octave"

    Octaves then, provided an emphasis to festal days of particular importance within the liturgical year. (As an aside, readers particularly interested in this subject may also like to read the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on the Octavarium Romanum, "a liturgical book which may be considered as an appendix to the Roman Breviary, but which has not the official position of the other Roman liturgical books" and which intended to "introduce a greater variety in the selection of lessons... to each day of the octaves.")

    The quotation above comes from 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia. In 1955, with the decree, Cum hac nostra aetate, a reform of the octaves was undertaken during the pontificate of Pius XII, which reduced the number of octaves to three: the Nativity, Easter and Pentecost. The remaining octaves were suppressed. (e.g. the octaves of the Ascension, Epiphany, Corpus Christi, and so on.) So it was and is still today in the present day calendar of the usus antiquior.

    As regards the calendar of the modern Roman liturgy, these reforms were to be followed with the removal of the octave of Pentecost in addition, thus leaving two octaves: that of the Nativity and Easter. Accordingly, what was (and is in the usus antiquior) a week of the liturgical colour of red -- which liturgical colour of course relates to the Holy Spirit -- focused upon this great feast of the Church and the Holy Spirit, became one of green, with the days of the octave of Pentecost turning into days simply of "Ordinary Time."

    While this is a matter which is fundamentally tied to the need for liturgical study and ecclesial authority, it may do well, particularly as we sit upon the very time itself, to leave off with a practical suggestion for parish priests wishing to recover some sense of the octave, even within the present circumstances of the modern Roman calendar. For those to whom this applies, they may wish to consider Fr. Thomas Kocik's suggestion from his piece, The Reform of the Reform: What Can We Do Now?:
    Although, lamentably, the Octave of Pentecost does not exist in the Ordinary Form, there is nothing to prevent the offering of the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit (and thus the use of red vestments) on the ferial days after Pentecost Sunday.

    Sequence for Pentecost

    We are so fortunate to have technology that allows the spread of such great music as the Sequence for Pentecost. Sung in the manner of this video below, most any parish choir can sing the official version, alternating high and low voices at the double bar. As with all Gregorian Chant, an edition of this is easily available online for free.

    The Sound of Pentecost

    Here is the introit (or perhaps you can call it something else such as entrance song, processional, gathering song) as given for parishes and cathedrals by the normative music book of the Roman Rite, the Graduale Romanum, whether the form of the rite being celebrated is ordinary or extraordinary. There are English versions available as well. There are choral versions of English and perhaps the Latin too.

    And yet, in the overwhelming number of parishes, the entrance music will be something else selected locally and by the music director or liturgy team, from one of the many published hymnals that not only fail to publish the chant for Pentecost but also exclude (or mutilate) basic people's hymns for Pentecost such as Veni Creator. And so we sing vernacular hymns or jingles.

    Whatever else is chosen, let us not forget that this is the ideal, the way the beginning of Mass sounds in its most preferred form. Here is that art that Vatican II said has inestimable value, greater than all other arts.

    Friday, May 29, 2009

    PCED declares validity of MP "Summorum Pontificum" for the Ambrosian Rite

    It is a great pleasure to announce to our readership that the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" has finally sanctioned the full validity of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" also for the Ambrosian Rite.

    As many readers may remember, the NLM always supported this view, which seemed the only canonically possible (see articles here, and here).

    The Archdiocese of Milan, on the other hand, and in particular the Vicar for the Evangelization and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Msgr. Manganini, obstinately opposed this thesis, and tried to force everyone willing to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Ambrosian Rite to admit that the Motu Proprio didn't apply to it.

    In this regard, it is important to point out that Msgr. Manganini's argument, based on the subtitle added to the MP "De usu extraordinario antiquae formae Ritus Romani", has now been openly belied by the Commission's new response.

    The case considered by the PCED was important and revealing, because it highlighted a blatant injustice against Ambrosian Rite faithful.

    In fact, an American priest living and incardinated in the bi-ritual Diocese of Lugano, and serving for a church whose faithful belong both to the Roman and to the Ambrosian part of the Diocese, pointed out that, whereas he, under MP "Summorum Pontificum" provisions, was undoubtedly free to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite for his young Roman faithful, he wasn't sure whether he could consider himself also free to do so also for the Ambrosian Rite faithful.

    He also pointed out that he considered pastorally and morally unjust that the faithful of the Ambrosian Rite be deprived of the fruits of the Holy Father's generosity.

    This case was presented to the President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", His Eminence Darìo Card Castrillón-Hoyos, during an audience last January.

    And the answer of the commission, signed by the Vice-president of the Commission, Msgr. Camille Perl, is very clear.

    And here's the translation of the text by Fr. Zuhlsdorf, slightly modified:

    Reverend Father,

    Your letter of January 7, 2009 has had our attention but is still waiting for a reply. You express a desire to “receive the comfort of having the approval of the possibility that also your Ambrosian students (that is, of the Collegio Papio at Ascona) who ask for it can enjoy the benefits guaranteed by the Holy Father” in the Motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”.

    While it is true that the Motu proprio of the Holy Father does not expressly cite the Ambrosian rite, it doesn’t exclude the other Latin rites; if the will of the Holy Father asserts for the Roman rite, considered superior in dignity, consequently much more for the other Latin rites, including the Ambrosian rite.

    Wishing the blessings of the Lord on your pedagogical work, I greet you fraternally.

    Camille Perl

    Vice President

    A Solemn High Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Ambrosian Rite will be celebrated next week in the Archdiocese in thanksgiving for the restoration of the true rights of the Ambrosian Rite.

    Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi?
    Calicem salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo
    Laudans invocabo Dominum, et ab inimicis meis salvus ero.

    Catholic Bamberg: The Vestments of Pope Clement II and Other Treasures from the Diocesan Museum

    As already mentioned in the installment about Bamberg Cathedral, this cathedral is distinguished by containing the only tomb of a pope north of the Alps. The Pope buried there is Clement II.

    Clement II, born Suidger Count of Morsleben and Hornburg (1005 – October 9, 1047), was Pope from December 25, 1046 to his death. He was the first in a series of reform-minded Popes from Germany. In 1040, he became the second Bishop of Bamberg. In 1046, he accompanied King Henry III on his campaign to Italy and in December, participated in the Council of Sutri, which deposed former Popes Benedict IX and Sylvester III and persuaded Pope Gregory VI to resign. King Henry nominated Suidger for the Papacy and the council elected him. Suidger took the name Clement II. Clement remained simultaneously bishop of Bamberg, his "sweetest bride" as he called the Church of Bamberg in a famous document of September 1047, considering that it was impossible for him to be divorced from her (translations of bishops to other Sees wee only possible in exceptional cases then). Immediately after his election, King Henry and the new Pope moved to Rome, where Clement crowned Henry III as Holy Roman Emperor.

    Clement II's short pontificate, starting with the Roman synod of 1047, initiated a period of reform that was carried on by his successors. Clement lost no time in beginning the work of reform. At a great synod in Rome, January, 1047, the buying and selling of things spiritual was punished with excommunication; anyone who should knowingly accept ordination at the hands of a prelate guilty of simony was ordered to do canonical penance for forty days. A dispute for precedence between the Sees of Ravenna, Milan, and Aquileia was settled in favour of Ravenna, the bishop of which was, in the absence of the emperor, to take his station at the pope's right. Clement accompanied the emperor in a triumphal progress through Southern Italy and placed Benevento under an interdict for refusing to open its gates to them. Proceeding with Henry to Germany, he canonized Wiborada, a nun of St. Gall, martyred by the Huns in 925. On his way back to Rome he died bear Pesaro. His remains were, according to his wishes, transferred back to Bamberg.

    In 1942, the tomb (as well as that of Saints Henry and Cunegond) was opened and the remains removed to a safe place to protect them against air bombardments during the war. The pope was completely vested in liturgical vestments. Shortly before pope Clement was solemnly reburied in 1947 it was decided to remove the vestments from his remains and to restore them. This is why we can today admire them in the diocesan museum, the oldest complete set of papal vestments still in existence. They are made of Byzantine silk of the early 11th century.

    The chasuble, corresponding to the earliest form, the bell shape, of that vestment (as ever, click on images for larger versions):

    While the excellent quality of the material can already be seen from this image, a closer look reveals the pattern (make sure to enlarge):

    The pontifical dalmatic:

    The buskins:

    Various other objects from the tomb, including the stole (note the narrowness characteristic for the time) and the cingulum, the cuffs of the gauntlets, crosses from the pallium, and the lappets of the mitre:

    The diocesan museum also has some other spectacular vestments. First among them is the so-called "starry mantle of Emperor Henry":

    The holy Emperor received it as a gift around 1020 from Melus of Bari and donated it to the cathedral for use in the liturgy. The cope as we see it today is, however, not the one St. Henry received in the 11th century. Between 1453 and 1455, the embroidered ornaments were cut from the original dark purple mantle (which can still be gleaned within the ornaments) and reapplied, in the same arrangement, though lightly altering the inscriptions, to a blue damask cloth. The original ornaments show in the middle of the back the Majestas Domini: in a square Christ in the mandorla, surrounded by the symbols of the four Evangelists, the letters Alpha and Omega, and slightly above Him, sol and luna. The rest of the mantle is strewn with images of Saints and signs of the zodiac. Here is a detail of the middle:

    Then their is the equally magnificent mantle of St. Henry's wife, Empress St. Cunegond, which was also used as a cope in Bamberg Cathedral. It shows the history of salvation through the Old and New Covenant in 40 medallions, in the centre again Christ in the mandorla:

    Another cope ascribed to St. Cunegond from the early 11th century; the shield and the fringe were added in the 15th century. The pearls with which all of these mantles were originally studded were cut off and sold by weight in the Napoleonic secularisation of 1802/03:

    The bishops of Bamberg used to wear a rationale (as the bishops of Paderborn, Eichstätt, Cracow and Toul still do). One such rationale has been preserved, sewn onto a cope of blue damask (similar to the new cloth of St. Henry's mantle) in the 15th century, possibly also for conservatory reasons:

    There are also precious vestments of later periods in the museum's collections. Here we have a beautiful blue chasuble of a splendid French early 18th century brocade (interestingly, the description on the showcase itself mentions that the use of blue vestments was dfeclared illicit by the Congregation of Rites):

    Then there is this rose red-coloured set for pontifical Mass of a brilliant red-and-silver French (Lyonese) brocade of 1727:

    Interestingly, the mitre is made from the same material as the rest of the set:

    And a magnificent cope of gold and silver damask, with some restrained floral embroidery:

    It was made for Bishop Lothar Franz von Schönborn (reigned from 1693 until 1729; he was also Elector-Archsbishop of Mainz, and one of the most famous and proliferous builders of the German baroque), whose coat of arms is embroidered on the seam:

    Some othe pieces of interest in the diocesan museum:

    The Cathedral Cross, the largest Ottonian Cross still existing in the German countries from the 11th century, in a precious casing of the 18th century. It is still carried each year in the Corpus Christi procession by 18 men:

    A silver Madonna from the 18th century, which is also still carried in procession each year:

    Various monstrances and cruets (note the As and Vs for aqua and vinum) from the Cathedral treasure:

    The relic of a part of the towel with which Our Saviour girded Himself at the Last Supper to wash His Disciples' feet:

    A portable altar from the 12th century (it would be very desirable if the use of portable altars could be resumed - of course they wouldn't have to be as ornate as this splendid example - instead of priests just celebrating on all sorts of surfaces, sometimes less than appropriate for the Most Holy Sacrifice):

    Previous entries of the Bamberg series:

    A Piece of Heaven on Earth: Bamberg

    The Church of St. Getreu

    House Shrines, Wayside Crosses and Easter Wells

    Banz Abbey

    St. Michael's Abbey


    Bamberg Cathedral

    Alcuin Reid: We are Lucky this Pope is Ecclesiastically Incorrect

    Dr. Alcuin Reid has an article in today's edition of The Catholic Herald, We are lucky this Pope is "ecclesiastically incorrect"

    On April 18 2005 a 78-year-old cardinal, at the end of his working life, preached the sermon for the cardinal-electors before they entered the conclave to elect a new pope. Joseph Ratzinger spoke that evening of the Church "moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognise anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires", and reminded the cardinals that the Church's true role is "to distinguish the true from the false, and deceit from truth".

    His remarks were direct and incisive. They were the words of a man utterly without ambition who was ready to retire under the new pope. So "ecclesiastically incorrect" were they that one cardinal-elector, a strong supporter of his candidacy, later remarked that he wondered whether, by speaking thus, Ratzinger was deliberately trying not to be elected pope.

    But the following day he was elected. Journalists, most famously Margaret Hebblethwaite on BBC television, bewailed that "Rottweiler Ratzinger" now held the Keys of St Peter. Even those of us who had read him for decades and who had known him as cardinal in brief but profoundly convincing encounters could barely believe that the cardinal who had so resolutely held and reaffirmed the Church's teaching on faith and morals - with the clear support of Pope John Paul II - and who had pioneered critical debate about the state of the Church following the Second Vatican Council, in fact emerged on the balcony of St Peter's as the Successor of St Peter.

    But the cardinals knew Ratzinger personally, better than anyone, which is why, under the influence of God the Holy Spirit, they elected him. The media and most Catholics only knew his public reputation, which is why we had such hysteria.

    The Tablet took a more nuanced tack. Whilst reporting the "shock and dismay" of many at Ratzinger's election, it expressed the hope that the "gamekeeper" would become more of a "pastor". And for a while his critics fell silent as they came to know the professor, the priest and the new pope, almost for the first time. Some asserted that one could no longer attribute to him the stances of the former cardinal - as if his new office had put him above such "intemperate" behaviour.

    But events this year have shown that this honeymoon, within and without the Church, is well and truly over. We now have world figures such as Alain Juppé presuming to assert that "this Pope is becoming a real problem', and Catholic journals publishing articles lamenting that Benedict XVI stands "like a solitary monarch in a curia that has lost its bearings". Why? Yes, one can point to some real mismanagement of papal initiatives in the Vatican which do require urgent remedy. The handling of the Regensburg address and of the recent lifting of the excommunication from the SSPX bishops was unsatisfactory. The appointment of Fr Wagner as an auxiliary bishop in Austria may not have been wise (less unwise, though, than Pope John Paul II's 1986 appointment of Hans Hermann Groër to Vienna). And perhaps the Pope should have addressed the "condom question" in an extended discourse rather than in a brief reply on an aeroplane.

    But these matters of management are not the root cause of the discontent. When Pope Benedict freed the older liturgical rites from legal restrictions in July 2007, one Catholic commentator stated that "this is the strongest indication so far that the theological conservatism of Cardinal Ratzinger... is still in place in the papacy of Benedict XVI". Until then it was hoped that it was not. "A secret liberal at heart he is not," they lamented.

    Indeed. That much ought to have been clear from his seminal and apparently programmatic address of December 2005 in which he distinguished an acceptable "hermeneutic of reform in continuity" from the unacceptable "hermeneutic of rupture" espoused By many following the Second Vatican Council. What Cardinal Ratzinger had been arguing for years was proposed by the Pope.

    If we understand this - that the Pope is concerned that all aspects of the Church's life are in (or, where necessary, are restored to) clear continuity with her Tradition, without excluding legitimate development that does not break from her past - we can see why he acted so decisively on the older liturgy, why he does not fear to re-assert the Church's unpopular but life-giving teaching on human sexuality, why he did not hesitate to show real paternal mercy to the SSPX bishops in the hope of reconciliation and why he does not shrink from substantial dialogue with other faiths, even when he may be misunderstood.

    We also need to understand that the Pope has a pretty clear understanding of his role. As Cardinal Ratzinger he observed that "the Successor of Peter is the rock which guarantees a rigorous fidelity to the Word of God against arbitrariness and conformism: hence the martyrological nature of his primacy". Pope Benedict is prepared to suffer the price of misinterpretation and even ridicule in his battle against relativism. That's his job.

    It is interesting that his assertion in Africa "that without Christ life lacks something" and his insistence on the traditional Catholic missionary stance that "we do no injustice to anyone if we present Christ to them and thus grant them the opportunity of finding their truest and most authentic selves, the joy of finding life," as well as that "it is our duty to offer everyone this possibility of attaining eternal life," has not provoked much reaction. Perhaps the outcry over his refusal to worship the condom-god has deafened people to this clear restatement of the Church's belief in the definitive revelation of God in Christ.

    "What he will say next?" Christopher Howse asked recently in the Daily Telegraph. Whatever words Pope Benedict chooses to utter, it will be out of the prophetic fear of Almighty God, to whom he must give an account of his stewardship, and not out of timidity for the opinions of men or the media. Those who seek to understand Pope Benedict XVI would do well to grasp this.

    Thursday, May 28, 2009

    Mass in the Private Chapel of an Estate North of Rome

    I cannot resist showing these wonderful images from Catholic Italy that John Sonnen has shared with us.

    Speaking personally, there is always something I find particularly enchanting and inspiring about small, traditional country shrines and chapels -- and all the moreso when they are being used within the context of the usus antiquior or reform of the reform.

    In this instance, the Mass was being offered in the usus antiquior in memory of Abbé Franck-Marie Quoëx who was particularly known within French and Italian speaking Europe as an excellent Master of Ceremonies and liturgist.

    The chapel is the Barbarano chapel north of Rome and John tells us that "the private chapel was constructed in the nineteenth century and is located on the old estate of a bishop's summer villa, hunting acreage and hobby farm."

    Please say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Abbé Franck-Marie Quoëx.

    Reader Question: Vestment Fabrics

    A reader from Germany writes in with the following question:

    I am a transitional deacon from Germany and faithful reader of the NLM. Thank you for the service you do for the solemnity and dignity of the liturgy.

    Today, I read your post "Some Liturgical Details for the Installation of Archbishop Vincent Nichols" with great interest... I am searching for (European) companies that sell high-quality vestment fabrics...

    Do you think it is possible to publish a list of manufacturers of high quality church fabrics on the NLM and ask your readers to add to the list? I believe that this would be interesting to a lot of people reading your webpage.

    Thank you for your help and God bless you

    I would invite readers to use the comments.

    As far as European vendors go, some of the finest liturgical materials I have seen come from Watts and Co. in England.

    Ordination at the Toronto Oratory

    As already alluded yesterday, the Toronto Oratory celebrated St. Philip's Day in a particularly special way, namely the ordination of Br. Michael Eades to the priesthood.

    The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Thomas Collins, the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

    Readers will no doubt find it of interest that the Mass was celebrated by the Archbishop ad orientem.

    (The chapel where the Archbishop vested for Mass)

    (In the courtyard of the Toronto Oratory)

    (Mass, celebrated ad orientem)

    (Fr. Michael Eades)

    Congratulations to the Fr. Eades, and to the Toronto Oratory for another priest in their midst.

    Father Eades celebrated his first Mass yesterday, May 27, 2009 at 11:30 AM in the same church. It was a Low Mass in the usus antiquior.

    In addition, on Pentecost Sunday, Father Eades will be celebrant at the Toronto Oratory's church of St. Vincent de Paul at 9:30am, where he will celebrate the Solemn Mass of Pentecost, also in accordance with the liturgical books of the usus antiquior.

    Those in the Toronto region, I would encourage you to go out to this solemn Mass and give your support and congratulations to Fr. Eades.

    The NLM will bring you photo and possibly some video coverage of this Mass.

    (All photos courtesy of Greg Schilhab)

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