Friday, July 31, 2009

1st Anniversary of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Today, the beautiful shrine church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, designed by architect Duncan Stroik, celebrated the 1st anniversary of its dedication, with Archbishop Raymond Burke as the celebrant of the Mass.

Archbishop Burke was formerly the Bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, where the shrine church is located. He has since served as Archbishop of St. Louis, and is now the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome.

One of our readers, a seminarian, decided to attend the Mass and took a few cell phone photographs.

The altar was setup for the Mass with the "Benedictine arrangement"

The homily

After Mass

If more photos are forthcoming, particularly of the Mass itself, the NLM will make certain to publish them.

More from St. Willibrord, Utrecht, the Netherlands

While searching for images to supplement the recent piece on "The Other Modern: Louis Comfort Tiffany" I ran across Daniel Mitsui's excellent site, The Lion and the Cardinal, where I noticed that he posted just a few days ago, some stunning images of a church we featured earlier this year on NLM, that of St. Willibrord in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

This stunning piece of architecture, which is stunning not only because of its basic architectural forms, but also because of its vibrant colour and ornamental details, was recently featured for the reason that it was brought back from a schism, placed under the auspices of the Dutch Society for Latin Liturgy, and now sees Masses regularly celebrated in both forms of the Roman liturgy.

I think you will enjoy these further photos from St. Willibrord.

"Bi-Form" Parishes and Priests Sought

Does your parish, as a parish, use both forms of the Roman liturgy?

Is it attempting to pursue the liturgical reform of Benedict XVI both through the pursuit of the re-enchantment of the modern Roman liturgy, and by bringing the usus antiquior into mainstream parish life in some capacity?

Or are you a priest who celebrates both forms of the Roman rite publicly?

If so, the NLM is interested in hearing from you.

Please write me if so.

Adoremus Bulletin, August 2009

The online edition August 2009 edition of the Adoremus Bulletin is now available.

Do recall that you are not privy to all of the articles in this periodical simply online. Accordingly, you may wish to consider making a donation to Adoremus so that you might receive the full benefit of their monthly periodical.

The Other Modern: Louis Comfort Tiffany

Ask one to describe the glass work of the Tiffany Studios. and one is most likely to think of domestic items such as lamps with colourful shades, or secular glass designs in public buildings (such as the Education window at Yale University), but one may not think of church glass and design. However, Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of Charles Lewis Tiffany who originally founded the storied Tiffany and Co., produced some extremely interesting ecclesiastical designs.

In addition to his glasswork, Louis Comfort Tiffany also produced some interesting church work generally, including that represented by the chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which found its way to the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, was moved to his personal estate, and now makes its present home at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Florida.

Let us look at each respectively, beginning with the Tiffany chapel.

The Tiffany Chapel

As was mentioned, the chapel and its furnishings were exhibited in 1893 at Chicago's World's Fair. The chapel employs classical and Byzantine influences, and employs glass mosaic and, of course, Tiffany windows.

Detail showing Ambo and Altar

The Baptistery

There is no mistaking the distinctly "modern" feel about a number of the chapel elements and yet for the most part, those elements are also quite evidently tied to a traditional architectural and artistic idiom. As well, unlike minimalist modernism, which is so often sterile and asymmetrical, the composition, colours and textures found in the Tiffany chapel give it life and order. As well, while there is a certain weighted-ness to it with its heavy columns, giving it a certain gravitas, it yet retains the important element of verticality which is so effectual to ecclesiastical settings.

One can imagine a style like this being employed with any number of variations as well. The mosaic reredos could become more iconographic, the lighting could also be shifted into other forms; a ciborium magnum could also be used in this style and with a few modifications.

(Image source: TFAOI)

Tiffany Church Glass

Tiffany's ecclesiastical glasswork clearly has unique elements that make it distinct from its mediaeval and Victorian precursors -- though there is yet a clear continuity with them as well. One part of this difference relates to composition, and the other, as I understand it, is by way of the technique used -- apparently, Tiffany used opalescent coloured glass instead of the more typical technique of painting clear glass. (Having local access to a church which has some significant Tiffany windows within its nave, I can speak from experience when I say that the particular qualities of light and colour which come through their windows is nothing short of stunning.)

The examples shown here come from various church buildings within the Northeastern United States.

(Image copyright James G. Howes)

Finally, a couple of details:

(Above two photos by Lisa Ruokis)

Tiffany Cope Design

I would be remiss to not show this cope design, which Louis Comfort Tiffany designed for the Rev. Edward McCurdy of St. Augustine's Church in Brooklyn. Whether this design would classify in "the other modern" category is up for debate of course, as it is difficult to tell how it would have been manifest when actually manufactured, but we show it as a bonus to round out our considerations of Tiffany's ecclesiastical designs.

(Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Benedictine Altar Arrangement Reaches Antarctica

An alert reader pointed out to me a photo of a mass said at McMurdo Station in Antarctica by a New Zealand priest, Fr. John Jolliffe. Clergy from that dominion have a long history of serving researchers stationed at McMurdo, ever since a priest from the Christchurch diocese celebrated mass there on December 25, 1957. Of interest, particularly, to our readers is the discrete but very evident presence of a modified traditional Roman altar arrangement of a cross between two candlesticks, of the sort increasingly called the "Benedictine" arrangement because of its promotion in The Spirit of the Liturgy. It is intriguing to think this arrangement, whether deliberately or by coincidence, has reached the final continent. (Or perhaps it never left, I don't know for sure.)

The rest of the article will be of general interest to our readers, given its rare glimpse into a chaplaincy existing on the edge of the world. It is striking to think that even out there you will find a chapel complete with stained-glass and images of Our Lord and Lady.

Details: The Wiseman Vestments at Westminster

Having recently shown you A.W.N. Pugin's mitre design for then Bishop Wiseman, I thought it would be fitting to also show you some details of this solemn Mass set of Wiseman which is also found at Westminster Cathedral -- which, to my knowledge, were also designed by Pugin.

(Detail of chasuble)

(Detail of Cope)

(Chalice Veil)


(Detail of Humeral Veil)

(Detail of Humeral Veil)

(Detail of Dalmatic)

(Detail of Dalmatic)

(Detail of Maniple)

(Detail of Cope)

(Photos: NLM/Shawn Tribe)

Knights of the Holy Eucharist on EWTN Tonight

I recently mentioned the Knights of the Holy Eucharist who are associated with EWTN.

For those who were interested in them, you may be interested to know that they will appear this evening on "Life on the Rock", EWTN's young adults program, at 8:00pm EDT.

(Some of the Knights are show here serving at the Altar. They serve in both forms of the Roman rite.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The largest average parish salary goes to musicians but is it enough?

From here: "The Pastoral Life study was based on information from 928 U.S. parishes and individual responses from 732 lay ministers and 336 pastors. It was commissioned by the Committee on the Laity of the U.S. bishops' conference, funded by the Lilly Foundation, and directed by David DeLambo, associate director of pastoral planning for the Cleveland diocese. This is the third national study of lay ministry that DeLambo, a sociologist, has overseen."

The study reports that: "The largest average salary, $42,778 for music ministers, represents a 145 percent increase over the 1990 figure."

Now, many directors of music are right now thinking: I only wish it were that high! In a case, this is an average but ask yourself whether a serious organist or serious choirmaster who has been training for a decade or two, reads modern notes and neumes, can improvise on chant, and can inspire volunteers on an unrelenting basis, in addition to directing several rehearsals on weekday evenings, and giving up the entire weekend every weekend--I know musicians in parishes who work 60 plus hours per week in a job as stressful as as brain surgeon but with none of the social status--is going to be attracted to Catholic music by this figure.

And consider too that music is absolutely essential to liturgical life, and that the Church has said that music is the greatest artistic treasure of the Church.

I would suggest that we have a serious disjuncture here that reflects a longstanding problem: music is not valued as highly as it ought to be in Catholic parishes. My own sense is that this figure is about half of where it ought to be. I'm sorry to bring up this mundane subject but this problem must be addressed.

I'll say again what I've said many times: stop spending so much money on music and start spending money on musicians.

Small Signs of the Liturgical Influence of Benedict XVI

There are various signs we can witness today of the influence and progress of the Pope's liturgical reforms and teaching, a programme which finds a role for both forms of the Roman liturgy. Some of these are very concrete and significant, while others are smaller or simply provide clues of an emerging liturgical culture which is defined by a greater openness to continuity/reform in continuity.

The following is one of those small signs, and was sent into the NLM recently. It shows a sight that would have been almost unthinkable only a few short years ago; namely, an image of Mass celebrated ad orientem, in the usus antiquior no less, as the current main image on a diocesan website.

For those working within (or simply interested in) the liturgical context of our day -- which, let me emphasize again, involves working in the context of both forms -- the presence of this simple photo in this context can prove a source of some encouragement and comfort insofar as it can emphasize this point: while things do not happen everywhere at the same time and in the same degrees, nor always in a visible way, things are indeed happening.

Take heart and take courage therefore.

Incoming Missal, from US Catholic

This morning the US Catholic posts a large piece by J. Peter Nixon ("Incoming Missal") that will be of intense interest to all readers of NLM. It begins with a portrait of one parish in California that has been completely reformed by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, and then moves on to a larger discussion of music and solemnity in Mass and the direction of change.

While few parishes have gone as far as St. Edward's, the movement to recover a more traditional approach to liturgy appears to be gaining ground. Some advocates of this approach are radicals who reject the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and prefer to celebrate the Mass according to the pre-reform liturgical books. Others accept the reforms of the council but criticize the way they have been implemented.

One of the most prominent advocates of a "reform of the reform" is Pope Benedict XVI. Prior to his election, his book The Spirit of the Liturgy (Ignatius) compared the liturgy prior to Vatican II to a beautiful fresco that had been whitewashed. The council had removed the whitewash and allowed the colors to be seen. Since then, however, "the fresco has been endangered by climatic conditions as well as by various restorations and reconstructions. In fact, it is threatened with destruction."

I'm generally pleased with the article, and the way the author quotes me, though I'm not entirely sure I can recall the interview itself. I have a vague memory of being in the cheese section of grocery store and talking to a reporter on my cell phone about this subject. If I had passing comments on how import tariffs have unjustly raised the price of gorgonzola, I'm glad he cut those out. The thoughts he attributed to me are good ones: the need to replace hymns with propers, the loss of our vast musical heritage, etc. One correction though: I'm not the chant director of my parish schola. I only conduct polyphony.

I do think that the article could have better captured the spectacular success that Fr. Keyes has enjoyed at his parish. His program is actually very moderate overall, and the childrens choirs are doing very well. Musicians, real ones, are being attracted to the parish and the pastor has emerged as a great leader in the cause of good liturgy. Again, it is not quite right to say that he is reforming the reform. All he is doing is what books themselves ask for us to do.

Please read this piece, which will reach a large audience.

Video of Pontifical Solemn High Mass Aired on EWTN

Some of you may recall that the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius were recently involved, along with Bishop Joseph Perry, in celebrating a pontifical Mass in the usus antiquior on EWTN.

The NLM brought you a few low-resolution photos, but, the folks at St. John Cantius recently informed the NLM that the entire video of the Mass is now available online here: Video of Pontifical Solemn High Mass - Solemn Feast of the Most Precious Blood

Monks of Heiligenkreuz to Sing in St. Peter's Basilica

On Thursday 19 November 2009, 5 pm, the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz, Austria, will sing the Gregorian Chant for the Solemn Holy Mass celebrated in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican by the Archpriest of this Basilica, His Eminence Card. Angelo Comastri. This will occur in the context of the 8th International Festival of Sacred Music and Art in Rome, the programme of which you can see here. The monks of Heiligenkreuz are, of course, well known to NLM readers, precisely for their chant (cf. e.g. here) and their celebration of the Ordinary Form in a hermeneutic of continuity (cf. e.g. here or here).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Byrd Festival 2009

The schedule is up for the splendid Byrd Festival, which runs August 7 through 23, in Portland, Oregon. There is a strong reason to travel to be there. If you are anywhere near this event, there is no excuse at all for not catching some of the concerts and Masses. This is certainly one of the great culture events of the year but also, in terms of Catholic liturgy, this is the very embodiment of the progress of our times.

The Other Modern: Alfred Gilbert, Sculptor, and the Tomb of the Duke of Clarence

This is part of a series exploring the extraordinary variety of "modern" styles that emerged at the turn of the last century, and yet have been largely eclipsed by the art and architecture of "modernism" of the Bauhaus and Gropius mold. See the introduction here.

The work of the Edwardian sculptor Alfred Gilbert for the tomb of Albert Victor, the somewhat dimwitted royal Duke of Clarence and Avondale, represents a tantalizing glimpse into two very rare things: a true English species of Art Nouveau and also the application of the style to an ecclesiastical subject. The tomb stands in the Albert Memorial Chapel near St. George's at Windsor, and is surrounded by an extraordinary metalwork railing embellished with dozens of intricate, highly imaginative and yet highly symbolic figurines of saints. Gilbert made a number of versions of these figures, some with colored embellishments; several photos of these appear below. Top to bottom, they are St. Michael, Our Lady (note the wealth of roses), and a particularly exotic St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Gilbert also produced the famous statue said to be of Eros in Picadilly Circus (actually the Greek mythological figure Anteros, also sometimes called "the angel of Christian Charity," and one of the first sculptures in aluminum), and produced several magnificent chains of office and numerous other sculptures. It is a shame that his work is not more widely known and respected, in view of his extraordinary ability to balance classical beauty with the restless energy of Art Nouveau.

The "Camp" Mentality in Relation to the Modern Liturgy: An Example Presents Itself

In a recent post, I shared some thoughts by Fr. Raymond Blake about the concern someone brought to him about an "either-or" mentality they were sensing. This was mentioned to Father Blake in the context of some of those attached to the usus antiquior, but just as Fr. Blake agreed that would be problematic, so too did he point out that this is likewise an issue within the context of adherents of the modern Roman liturgy.

Indeed, it would not be fair to somehow make this a "traditionalist" problem; it is not. It is just generally a problem amongst some. And certainly it would not be fair to those who find their home within the usus antiquior to be painted with that brush.

However, the point of this piece is that a good example of this principle in action from the opposite spectrum (that of some of those attached to the modern liturgy and with regard to the more ancient liturgy) quite unexpectedly showed up in the NLM inbox today, quite unrelated to the post in question.

The context is that this comes from the "daily meditation" on the Mass readings for the modern Roman liturgy for tomorrow, July 20th. This meditation is published by a very significant and prominent publisher of liturgically related materials in the United States, and would be widely read. In the "homily help" for tomorrow's reading, we read the following "help":

The Jews from the book of Exodus were nostalgic about their days in Egypt, even though they were treated much like prisoners. As soon as Moses asked them to trust God to deliver them from Pharoah's army, they longed for the days of slavery in Egypt, forgetting the terrible treatment they had suffered as slaves.

A certain percentage of Catholics have regretted all the changes in the church that have occurred since Vatican II. They yearn for a return to the Latin Mass, though they forget that the priest spoke to the wall, in a tone deliberately inaudible. Even among the very elderly priests there are few who want "the good old days" back.

(The italicized emphasis was their own.)

So then, what do we see here? For one, there is a rather questionable analogy by which one could easily enough confuse this "help" as suggesting that the pre-conciliar age too was an age of "slavery" and prisonry -- whether this was the intent, I know not, but it certainly was not well thought out as that would be utterly inappropriate, being entirely in a spirit of rupture.

The second problem is of course the mischaracterization of ad orientem as the priest "speaking to the wall" -- an even less satisfactory characterization than the "back to the people" image usually presented. This problem is multi-fold. For one, ad orientem is not particular to the usus antiquior, but remains an option for the modern Roman liturgy, and was never eliminated by the Council or any later legislation. As well, I suspect many a Roman rite priest, in either form of the Roman rite, or for that matter the priests of the Eastern churches, would be quite surprised to learn they are "speaking to a wall" rather than leading the faithful in offering worship to God. In short, it is a mischaracterization which is not liturgically, historically or theologically informed and amounts to nothing more than a mere polemic, and a particularly problematic one given the context.

Finally, there is the mention of the liturgy being done "deliberately" in an "inaudible" fashion. Well, in point of fact, the "sotto voce" element of the usus antiquior was essentially that of the Canon of the Mass. Certainly there were Masses which were being done in a hushed/quiet tone generally it is true, but let's make the proper distinctions. This was not essential, and neither does it take into account the activities of the Liturgical Movement in areas like the dialogue Mass, the sung Mass and so on -- so it was also not universal. Accordingly, it seems rather problematic to speak so generally as though it were the only or universal approach to those rites. It does not really paint a full or accurate picture.

Needless to say, there is nothing terribly edifying or helpful about this reflection, and it certainly is to be found wanting on a variety of levels. It is a good example of precisely the opposite sort of rupturism that Fr. Blake so aptly pointed out in his own thoughts.

Everyone Calm Down, the Choral Gradual is Complete

Richard Rice has completed the full liturgical year for his Choral Gradual. That is now available for free download. So say goodbye to sleepless nights worrying about Sundays one month from now. For my part, my email volume could fall by a third as all those anxiety-ridden directors of music and pastors who have fallen for these choral settings of propers can at last rest easy and save bandwidth writing

Pilgrimage, National Shrine

On September 25-26, a wonderful opportunity for a Pilgrimage to the National Shrine along with chant tutorial and EF sung Mass in the crypt, with sponsorship by St. John the Beloved, CMAA, and the John Paul II Cultural Center.

As a side note, for all of those who are somehow unhappy about the present state of things, consider that I just announced a chant tutorial and Tridentine Mass at the National Shrine co-sponsored by the JPII Cultural Center. Ten years ago, this would have been amazing to the point of causing shockwaves and hysteria. Two years after Summorum, we read that and think, well, that sounds pretty good. That's a dramatic change in a short period of time. Back away from it a bit and you can see that the pace of progress is stunningly fast.

Fr. Raymond Blake: Rejecting a "Camp" Mentality

Fr. Raymond Blake of Saint Mary Magdalen has up an important reflection that I think is worth sharing. He frames it in the terms of his visitor, namely in reference to the Harry Potter series of books which speaks of "purebloods" and "muggles" (or I might suggest "halfbloods" might also be relevant to the context being spoken of here) -- or in other words, the idea of the one community defined against the other, the pure versus the impure, so on and so forth.

Father Blake begins:

I had a visitor the other day who was very concerned about a worrying trend amongst those who are attached to to the Traditional Latin Mass. His claim was that there is an increasing trend for certain leading traddies to make a point of never attending Masses in the Usus Antiquor of priests who celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Not only that but they even refuse to attend churches where it is celebrated. He described it terms of "Purebloods" and "Muggles", the "Purebloods" refusing to mix with a Usus Utroque "Muggle" like me.

If this is so, it seems a direct contradiction of the Holy Father's thinking that is put forward in Summorum Pontificum. The Roman Rite now has two Forms, which are supposed to be mutually enriching.

Personally, I just love The Mass, I am growing increasingly attached to the usus antiquor but it is The Mass that matters...

While I am not personally acquainted with anyone who subscribes to this approach, there is really no question that there are certainly some who would and who do -- whether there are "certain leading figures" who do, I know not, and if my experience is indicative, I suspect that even on a general level, this is more the approach of a very vocal minority as opposed to a widespread or general problem.

Even still, it is yet an important subject to raise as it is something we should defend against and not fall into.

This doesn't of course mean that people may not have their preferred liturgical books in which they most feel at home -- this is natural. Likewise, people can hold to their particular positions as to what enrichment may or may not entail and how that might or might not be manifest; how organic development might be considered in the terms of the usus antiquior or what the reform of the reform might entail with regard to the Pauline liturgical books -- and the very fact that there should be a reform of the reform -- all without falling into this problematic approach. Similarly, we can (and should) distinguish between a rejection and avoidance of an entire form of the Roman rite as a point of general principle, as opposed the avoidance of a particular situation of significant liturgical abuse. All this is fair enough, for none of it entails an utter rejection of the other form. But while we should reject liturgical abuse, and while we might have particular preferences or hold to particular positions, these should never be paired with any kind of liturgical xenophobia if you will. This simply forms another manifestation of the hermeneutic of rupture.

Of course, Father Blake continues with an important additional point in this regard, which is that this can be and is manifest in two directions.
All that being said the "Pureblood" and "Muggle" thing works both ways, how many Catholics including priests and bishops refuse to have anything to do with Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite? Of the French bishops 25% of them have celebrated or presided at the Usus Antiquior, I suspect elsewhere in the world the figure would be considerably less. No bishop or priest should categorically refuse to celebrate, let alone attend, Mass in the Extraordinary Form...

It is an important point on both fronts.

A Funereal Sanctus - at a Wedding?

A person wrote me recently in great confusion. He had been away from the Catholic Church for some decades when he found himself at a Catholic wedding. The wedding was not of the goofy sort using pop music--so his experience was not as shocking as it might have been--but rather a somber and serious affair using Latin chant. When the Sanctus came, my correspondent express some confusion. This was the same Sanctus he heard as a child as part of the Requiem Mass for weekdays, the "Mass for the Dead." Why was this being sung at a wedding?

He is of course speaking of what was once called the Missa pro Defunctis, but which was later to emerge in 1967 as the Sanctus in the "Missa Primativa" and later came to be the main Mass setting published for every parish in Pope Paul VI's Jubilate Deo of 1974 (which was published into the public domain as an effort to spread it widely). It was a sort of last ditch effort to save the liturgical music from a complete plunge into pop culture, but it was both too little and too late.

Meanwhile, today, many parishes just starting out to recapture history and sing chant as Vatican II suggests are beginning with this setting, without an awareness of its historic use in the Requiem MAss. To me, the confusion of the correspondent illustrates the problem of beginning here and getting stuck here. It is a gorgeous setting in some contexts but a bad fit for Sunday Masses in Ordinary Time much less at a wedding. This gentlemen had an association that is reinforced by the stark and simplified sound of the setting.

It is long past time that we move beyond this Sanctus.

Reform of the Reform in São Paulo, Brazil

The Brazilian blog Salvem a Liturgia! - which is generally worth watching for those interested in the Reform of the Reform - has very encouraging news about a parish in the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil.

The parish of Ss. Joachim and Anne is in the Interlagos region in the Southern zone of São Paulo (diocese of Santo Amaro). It is, as Salvem a Liturgia! reports, a "simple, humble, place in the periphery", and has, thus, all the factors which are often cited as reasons for not celebrating in Latin. Nevertheless, the parish priest, Fr. Tiago Roney Sanxo, decided to begin celebrating in Latin once a month, at first only according to the Missal of Paul VI (Ordinary Form), but with a view to eventually alternating between that and the usus antiquior (Extraordinary Form). Last Sunday, Feast of St. Anne (and in the new calendar also of St. Joachim) and therefore patrocinium of the parish church, the first of these Masses was celebrated (by Fr. Renato Leite, another diocesan priest), and not only in Latin with chant, but also versus Deum and using the Roman Canon. Here are some photos which also show the good participation of the faithful, contrary to widespread prejudices.

There also is a video of the Canon:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Schubert's Salve Regina

My heart is with the Renaissance but there are times when it is impossible to resist the sweet charms of the classical era, and particularly Schubert seems to have it all together. This piece might have been standard repertoire at some point in history, but I've never actually heard this Salve Regina in any parish setting, though it appears easy for any choir that can manage four parts, and the music is immediately available here.

Here is a youtube that gives you a sense of it. I don't know the choir but think of how wonderful it would be to hear this following any communion.

Gregorian Chant and Sacred Music in Minnesota

If you are anywhere near St. Joseph Catholic Church, Miesville, Minnesota, on Saturday, Oct. 17, please do plan to attend a half-day seminar by David Saunders, organist and champion of sacred music. The seminar, which is still in the formation stages, will cover the frequently asked questions on sacred music, as well as the basic repertoire for chant in parishes. It looks like an outstanding program. You can RSVP or ask any additional questions at this email.

Prefect of the CDW: "The future of humanity is in the liturgy"

There is an excellent article posted on detailing an interview with the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, during which he made a number of profound statements on the foundational place of the sacred liturgy in building the culture of life.

Interview: Defenders of the Eucharist are Defenders of Life says Vatican Cardinal

By Hilary White and John Jalsevac

ROME, July 27, 2009 ( - For Catholics, between the Eucharist and the defense of human life there is an unbreakable connection, said the head of the Vatican's liturgical office in an interview last week. Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, spoke to on Thursday, saying that from the viewpoint of the Catholic Church there is "no doubt" about the inherent connection between Catholics' faithfulness to the Church's liturgical norms and faithfulness to her teachings on life and family. (Read the complete interview here)

The question of the link between the Church's beliefs about the Eucharist and its teaching on the value of every human life has received its most public airing in the controversy over whether or not pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be denied communion. In an earlier segment of this interview, printed last week, the cardinal spoke to this more specific issue, suggesting that the guiding principle for bishops considering withholding Communion from pro-abortion politicians in their dioceses should be "caritas in veritate" or "charity in truth" - the title of the Pope's recent encyclical.

However, the cardinal also spoke to the broader issue of how for all Catholics the Church's whole liturgical life is inextricably linked to a pro-life worldview.

"Between the Eucharist and the defence of life there is a link that cannot be separated," he said. "To live the Eucharist, is to enter in communion with Jesus Christ and as a consequence with His love. This is a communion of life and makes us participate in the life which is Christ. Divine life, eternal life, but at the same time it makes us be givers or carriers of love and defenders of life.

"If the Christians would live all that the Eucharist means, we would be defenders of life in every moment."

Formerly Archbishop of Toledo, Spain, Cardinal Cañizares is the current Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, that has competence over the way in which Mass is celebrated throughout the world. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

The cardinal spoke with on July 24th at the offices of the Congregation on the Via della Conciliazione in Rome, down the road from St. Peter's Basilica and the papal residence. He spoke about the influence of Pope Benedict XVI, who, he said, has made it a priority to "rekindle in the conscience of all the true sense of the liturgy."

He said it is the mission of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments to work to promote Pope Benedict's emphasis on the traditional practices of liturgy, such as reception of Communion on the tongue while kneeling. In this pope, he said there is hope of a "great new unstoppable liturgical movement."

"We want a Church that should be present in the world, that is ready to transform the world and [lead] the renewal of mankind in accordance with God's will.

"In other words, there is no new humanity and there is no hope for man that is not grounded in God that would come from God and would return everything to God as His glory. The future of humanity is in the liturgy."

He added, "When we read the last encyclical of the Holy Father, we can understand that the liturgy occupies a central role in the concerns of the Holy Father."

Related NLM articles:

The Sacred Liturgy: The Neglected Foundation to Building the Culture of Life

Pro-Life News Site Lists the Liturgy as the First Priority in Building the Culture of Life

Lighter Summer Fare and Working Projects

Readers will no doubt note that things are a little quieter these days. We are in those days of summer, so expect there will be lighter amounts of posting from time to time, some lighter fare from time to time, and so on. Mind you, the typical quiet of summer might also give more opportunity for the creation of original, researched pieces as well.

The NLM, you might be interested to know, is working on various pieces, inclusive of:

+ The "Other Modern" series
+ Interviews with a prominent architect and a prominent group of friars
+ Historical views of the Premonstratensian Rite
+ The Mozarabic rite series
+ The NLM Arts Initiative series recently announced
+ More on Liturgical Catechetics

and much more. It should be an interesting time.

As always, do feel free to send in your stories, your photos, and ideas for stories or topics of interest that you would like to see pursued and so forth.

New France and Old Québec: Some History and Architecture

Speaking at a dinner in his honour at the Windsor Hotel in Montréal in 1881, the writer Samuel L. Clemens, better known to the world as Mark Twain, commented that "[t]his is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window."

While he was speaking of this in the context of the city of Montréal, and speaking rather generally about "churches" at that, his comment does nicely paint an image of the depth of history of the Church within Québec as well.

I determined that it might be of interest to consider some of the history and architecture of the Archdiocese of Québec, especially since so many of us may be unfamiliar with its history. I do not claim to be an expert myself, though I have attempted to cull together some credible historical sources from the Archdiocese itself and others which, in keeping with the focus of the NLM, will also provide a nice bridge to the consideration of some of the architecture of some of the institutions mentioned. But at the same time, by no means should this be considered any attempt at a comprehensive presentation; it is really meant to just whet your appetite.

Let us begin with a very brief account of the founding history of the Archdiocese itself which sets out a bit of the context:

The first phase of the Church’s installation in New France dates back to 1615 with the arrival of the Jesuit community, who were followed by the Recollets in 1625. Both communities permanently established themselves in Québec City in order to serve the new colony and to evangelize the Amerindians.

Named as an official missionary territory by Rome, Québec was erected as vicariate apostolic by a Propaganda decree approved by Pope Alexander VII on April 11, 1658. The same decree named François de Laval bishop of Pétré and vicar apostolic of Canada in Northern America. The bulls of the new bishop of Pétré were given in Rome on June 3 of the same year.

Sixteen years later, the apostolic mission was raised to the level of a diocese, appointed directly by The Holy See. Clement X signed the Bull of erection of the new bishopric on October 1, 1674. Thus Mgr. de Laval became the first bishop of Québec ...


The aforementioned Bishop Laval, or Blessed François de Laval, was born in France in 1623 of a family descended of French nobility. Educated under the Jesuits, he was ordained at 24 and consecrated a bishop in 1658 in the Abbey of St-Germain-des-Près de Paris. He came to Québec City in June of 1659 and founded various institutions including the Seminary of Québec (erected 1663) and the Petit Séminaire (erected 1668).

Blessed François was known for his missionary spirit and was a bishop very close to his people, inclusive of visiting the sick and his priests. He died in 1708.

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Séminaire de Québec

Two views of the seminary as it is today. It is an impressive and stately structure.

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Cathedral Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Québec

The Cathedral Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Québec is located on the site of the first chapel built by Samuel de Champlain in 1633. The present church was built early in the 20th century after a fire consumed the previous one.

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Residence of the Archbishops of Québec

This Archbishop's residence was constructed in the mid-19th century, from 1844-1847 by architect Thomas Baillargé.

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The famed church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires was erected in 1688 by Mgr. de Laval on the site of Samuel de Champlain’s “l’Abitation”.

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

The history of this church is also tied up with the struggles between the French and the British. The British laid seige to Quebec City, a walled city, on the night of Thursday, July 12, 1759, causing great destruction. The church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires was one of the many buildings that were destroyed, with only the walls remaining. The church was rebuilt in the 19th century.

For those who would like to see more of the historical churches and religious institutions of Québec City, visit this link.

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Other Views of Old Québec

I thought some of our readers may be interested in a few other general views of the old city. Enjoy.

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(© Mark Schretlen)

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