Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Basilica di Santa Croce, Lecce, Italy

The Wall Street Journal on Abbot Suger and Sacred Art

Opulence Fit for the King of Kings


It is one of the greatest liturgical objects of the Medieval world. Known as the Chalice of Abbot Suger, it was made about 1140 and used for more than six centuries for the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at the Basilica of St. Denis, the Parisian abbey and church where, under the direction of Abbot Suger, the Gothic form of architecture was invented.

The chalice stands less than a hand high. At its heart is a fluted sardonyx cup carved in Hellenistic Alexandria about a century before Christ. Writing circa 1148 about his "precious chalice," the abbot described this cup of "partly sard and partly onyx, in which the red sard's hue, vying with the blackness of the onyx...seem to compete in trespassing on each other"—phrasing that reveals Suger's visual sensitivity and descriptive powers.

The cup was already more than a thousand years old when Suger had it made into a chalice by setting it into a gilded-silver enclosure atop a broad base. The monastery's craftsmen then added five medallions, of which only one original relief remains: that of Christ as Pantocrator. The chalice was further enriched with double-beading filigree designs, and with precious stones (some are actually glass) and pearls, adding to its luminous glory.

Suger, born in 1081 into a modest knightly family, at about age 12 was enrolled in the Abbey School of St. Denis. This was most fortuitous, for the institution was then powerful, and traced its origins back to Denis, the first Bishop of Paris. The banner French monarchs carried into battle was kept at St. Denis, along with the relics of this saintly protector of the realm. The original building had been consecrated by King Charlemagne in 775, establishing an institution that would serve as the royal abbey, church and necropolis until the execution of Louis XVI in 1793.

It was King Louis VI—whose son, the future Louis VII, was then being educated at St. Denis—who first took notice of the young Suger. A full measure of his rise at court can be seen in 1137 when Abbot Suger, the prince and some 400 escorting knights rode south to the royal son's wedding to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her marriage gift to her husband of a rock-crystal bottle was in turn given by him to Suger, who had it mounted as a vessel for Eucharistic wine. In 1147, now-King Louis VII and Eleanor departed for the Holy Land (she in knee-high red boots) leading the Second Crusade. During their two-year absence, the kingdom was ruled by Abbot Suger, appointed by the king as the most powerful of three regents.

Suger was not so esteemed by Abelard, one half of the 12th century's other famed couple. Following the discovery of his illicit affair with Heloise (and their illegitimate son), Abelard had been sent to St. Denis; there he began to attack this royal church for its worldly manner. Suger and the king had Abelard removed.

Bernard of Clairvaux also would challenge the Sugerian ornamentation of St. Denis.

Read the rest of the article at the Wall Street Journal.

Christ the King, in the EF, in Chile

Before we move into All Saints and All Souls (and readers, do send in your photos, most esepcially of All Souls Day), I wanted to share one more photoset from the Feast of Christ the King in the usus antiquior, coming this time from the diocese of San Bernardo in Chile.

Acción Litúrgica report that the Mass took place within the Cathedral church of the same diocese, the celebrant being Don Marcelo Guzmán Jacob. They also reports that diocesan seminarians assisted in the Mass, as well as the vicar general of the diocese, Mario Bernal Rodriguez who attended the Mass.

They further report that the usus antiquior is offered in this cathedral on the last Sunday of each month, including on one occasion by the Bishop himself, Don Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz.

Suffice it to say, one of the reasons I wished to show these photos is for the reason that I know our readers are always interested in and encouraged by these events taking places in other parts of the world than North America and Europe.

Source: Acción Litúrgica

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lumen Christi: A New Pew Book for the Ordinary Form

Musician Adam Bartlett has been very busy for the last twelve months on a project I suspected was extremely important to the future of Catholic liturgy. He tried many times to engage me and talk to me about what he was doing, but I had a hard time keeping up with his plans and ideas. They struck me at the time as visionary but I couldn’t quite see what he was seeing. He admits now that he found this fact very frustrating since we had been close collaborators on his book Simple English Propers. I had finally resolved that I would wait until the product appeared on my doorstep to begin to make sense of it.

I’ve now had this book in front of me for a full week. Initially, I found myself tongue-tied, nearly speechless about what to say. Having now spent two days with the book, I do know this: this book has an amazing future. It redefines every conventional impression of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite. Instead of a hodgepodge of options, readings, and song, we gain a glimpse of a stable and beautiful liturgical structure, something completely coherent and serious.

If I were a parish priest, regardless of the parish’s history of demographic, I wouldn’t hesitate to put it in the pew racks. The money spent is pure investment in the knowledge of the parishioners and the savings from having to buy any more throw-away materials, ever.

The book is not what I had expected at all, which was an expansion of the Simple English Propers with lectionary texts. No, this goes far beyond that. It is a reworking of the entire liturgical experience for the average person in the pew. And somehow this book manages this seemingly impossible feat without creating a book that is forbidding or alarming or requires a risky leap into a new conception of the ordinary form of the Mass. Somehow, Adam’s clarity of mind has produced that singular thing, and at long last, a resource that exudes clarity of purpose even within a Catholic liturgical culture too often characterized by directionless confusion.

Perhaps the most thrilling single fact I’ve found about the Lumen Christi Missal: it is a book that could right now be put in the pews of any parish and make everyone extremely happy. I really mean everyone. It doesn’t matter what the outlook or traditions of the parish or the parish priest are or have been. This book is a viable replacement for, and an upgrade to, all the seasonal missalettes and resources that parishes pay for now. It is the one book that a parish would need. If the pastor bought it and left for another parish, his successor would thank his predecessor for years to come. And I really mean that it could go into any parish, without shock or alarm but rather great relief.

The book is itself beautiful, like it was meant to exist, as if it has always existed. The printing is gold and the cover red, and it has two ribbons so you can mark the day and the Mass setting you are using. It is one thousand pages, but the book is not too thick. In fact, it is thinner than the Worship Hymbook. But keep in mind: this is not a hymnbook. In fact, once you see it, you begin to understand that a hymbook is not really what needs to be in the pews, since hymns are not really an integral part of liturgy. The liturgy is part of liturgy, and that’s what you will find in here: the parts of the Mass that pertain to the people. That means readings, ordinary chants, propers of the Mass, and extra material for Benediction, Stations, and other matters.

Let me explain in greater detail the structure here. For daily Mass throughout the year, it has the entrance and communion antiphons with the mode marked. The last page of the Missal contains the tones that pertain so that they can easily be sung. The text is pointed for singing. It also contains an original but very simple antiphon for the Responsorial Psalm. This is what is necessary for daily Mass.

Then Sunday comes on the next page. We have the entrance antiphon in text and the music for this appears in the back in an incredibly economical Gradual for the entire entire. The antiphon is in English and Latin so that we don’t lose sight of our heritage. “Cantate Domino Sunday” will mean something again. So too for “Requiem” and “Quasimodo.” Then we have the full first and second readings in English plus the Gospel. The Responsorial Psalm and the Alleluia is here, beautiful compositions that are just slightly more complex than the settings for daily Mass.

Sundays include the offertory antiphon. This is a huge benefit. This antiphon does not appear in the altar Missal, a fact I very much regret and still strikes me as a mistake. But it is here printed so that it is obvious that the offertory is something more than an intermission with a money collection. This addition will subtly shift attitudes. The offertory is of course taken from the Roman Gradual, precisely as the GIRM specifies. In this way, this book can be enormously valuable if the schola in the parish starts to sing from the authentic Graduale. Then Sundays finish with a communion antiphon. Again, all the music is in the back for these.

All three years are covered.

The next section is the order of Mass. This is from the Missal and offers the music in easy-to-sing four-line staffs. It contains all forms and prayers. The pages are shaded at the edge so that users can quickly find where they need to be. It also contains guidelines for receiving communion. This is the ultimate section for the sung Mass. If you can do this in your parish, you have what you need. This section also contains excellent English and Latin versions of the sprinkling rite for Easter and the the rest of the year.

The next section is amazing. It has Mass settings in English and Latin, fully 18 of them. Some are newly composed, and these are wonderful. Some come from the Roman Gradual and some are from the Simple Gradual (which might be the most overlooked official liturgical book of the Church). The notation is outstanding in every way. This section alone makes the entire book worth owning even as an individual, but remember: this book is for the pew, not the altar or loft or the bookshelf. That’s what makes it distinctive.

The Simple Gradual is next. I don’t know how Adam did this but it has entrance, offertory, and commnunion antiphons for the entire year, not just words but music too. It excludes the Psalms for each because those belong to the choir. The Simple Gradual herein also covers votive Masses, Ritual Masses, and common Responsorial Psalm for the entire year. There is also a long list of alternate Alleluias.

Then we move to the devotional section: preparation for Mass, thanksgiving after Mass, prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the sacrament of penance, forumas of Catholic doctrine, prayers before confession, prayers after confession, common prayers, the rosary, the Memorare, and much more. It has the Rosary, Stations, and a full service of Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction with the correct chants for these (it might be the only book in print that has these correct).

Finally, we have Te Deum. Bring it back!

The indexes are complete. The back page has the entire lectionary cycle table and the antiphon tones for daily and Sunday Psalms.

This book is a triumph. It is a treasure. Again, It belongs in every pew.

If you have read carefully, this fact stands out: it contains no hymns of the sort we are used to singing. You might think that this would kill this product. On the contrary, I’m convinced that this enhances its value. The hymn repertoire is too broad and diverse, and parishes tend to land again and again on 15 to 20 hymns (in my experience) aside from seasonal standards. What’s the point in printing 750 hymns to cover every possible use? Regardless, hymns aren’t even part of the official liturgy, even if there is a pastoral need for them. If you want to sing them, nothing prevents a parish from making its own little book or getting some small hymn supplement from its favorite publisher. This sends a message: these hymns are not part of the official liturgy.

Even if you parish doesn’t use sung propers, even not one person in the pew has a consciousness about the new changes in the liturgy, even if the pastor has no interest whatever in doing the liturgy the way it is intended, this book will be immediately useful and instructive. It is just dazzling and beautiful in every way. It is a book for the universal Church in the English speaking world. It really lifts the spirits. And it will gradually lead the congregation toward a better and better understanding of the liturgy.

As an important side note, consider this: there are no licensing fees for the use of this book. Ever. For anyone involved in budgeting or resource management in a parish, this is a much-welcome fact.

The Lumen Christi Missal is bold, brave, brilliant, and paradigm changing. This might be the first word you have heard about it but it won’t be the last. This book will have a very long life in the annals of Church history. You can find out more at

The Feast of Christ the King in Toledo, Spain

We have shared photos many time before from the Fraternidad de Cristo Sacerdote y Santa María Reina in Toledo, Spain, and here they are again this past Sunday, which was the Feast of Christ the King in the usus antiquior.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Premonstratensian Chant from St. Michael's Abbey

Milan Records is publishing their fourth CD of Premonstratensian chant coming from St. Michael's Abbey in Orange County, California.

The CD in question is called "Gregorian Chant: Together On The Way" and is due to be released on Nov. 6th -- though obviously you can pre-order. (The CD is also available for purchase on

Do consider lending your support to these good folks.

Calming the Storm

One of our readers comments, on this day in which many of our readers (and this correspondent) on the eastern seaboard of North America are starting to bear the brunt of Hurricane Sandy, to remind us that:

[T]here are a wealth of Masses "pro variis necessitatibus" that can be used on ferial days such as today. Particularly apt would be "Ad Repellendas tempestates", #18 in the Extraordinary Form and #37 in the Ordinary Form.

The Extraordinary Form has a proper Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion:

ORATIO. A domo tua, quæsumus Domine, spiritales nequitiæ repellantur: et aeriarum discedat malignitas tempestatum. Per Dominum nostrum.

SECRETA. Offérimus tibi, Dómine, laudes et múnera, pro concéssis benefíciis grátias referéntes, et pro concedéndis semper supplíciter deprecántes. Per Dóminum.

POSTCOMMUNIO. Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui nos et castigándo sanas et ignoscéndo consérvas: præsta supplícibus tuis; ut et tranquillitátibus hujus optátæ consolatiónis lætémur, et dono tuæ pietátis semper utámur. Per Dóminum.

The Ordinary Form has only a proper Collect, particularly well-rendered in the new English translation:

COLLECTA. Deus, cuius nutu universa obœdiunt elementa, te supplices exoramus, ut, sedatis terrentibus procellis, in materiam transeat laudis comminatio potestatis. Per Dominum...
Obviously, also, a votive mass for rain would be contra-indicated. I also might remind our readers that in medieval Europe, church-bells were rung to ward off storms and indeed, this pratice is mentioned in passing in the blessing for bells contained in the old Roman Ritual (here, from the 1964 translation):
At its sound let all evil spirits be driven afar; let thunder and lightning, hail and storm be banished; let the power of your hand put down the evil powers of the air, causing them to tremble at the sound of this bell, and to flee at the sight of the holy cross engraved thereon.
Lastly, let me say that our prayers go out to those who will be in the path of the hurricane and those already touched by it.

Image: St. Nicholas calming the storm (Wikimedia).

Sights and Sounds of a Young North Carolina Priest's First Mass

It is more and more common these days to hear about new, young priests who, shortly after their ordination (and sometimes immediately thereafter) make efforts to celebrate Mass according to the usus antiquior.

One such young priest is Father Jason Barone of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, who was ordained this past June 2nd and who celebrated a Solemn Mass in the EF the very next day at St. Ann's in Charlotte. Momentum Studios was on hand to record this event for Father Barone and we are pleased to share it with our readers as well.

Music for the Mass was William Byrd's Mass for Five Voices.

If you would like to see the entire Mass in its entirely, you may view that here.

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby on The Ordinary Form after "Summorum Pontificum"

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, OSB, Prior of Silverstream Priory and blogger at "Vultus Christi" has written a very interesting article recently there,
The Ordinary Form after "Summorum Pontificum"

Now I could just publish an excerpt, but I think its worth reprinting the entire article as its a very interesting read, written from Dom Mark's own personal experience with both forms of the Roman liturgy, as well as with some historical insights.

Here it is. (But please do make certain to go over to his site for a visit.)

* * *

The Ordinary Form after "Summorum Pontificum"

By Father Mark
on October 25, 2012

De retour

I returned from France last evening. Ah, the beauty of France, the intelligence and wit of the French, the grace of so many friendships rooted in the faith, the reverent approach to food, drink, and the shared table! While in France, given the circumstances of my séjour, and for compelling pastoral reasons, I celebrated Holy Mass in the so-called Ordinary Form, something I have rarely been obliged to do since the gift of Summorum Pontificum.

Dignity and Loveliness

Let it be said, straightway, that in both places where I offered the Holy Sacrifice in the Ordinary Form, the setting was impeccable: worthy sacred vessels, exquisite chasubles in wool with hand-embroidered adornment, immaculate altar linens, beautifully arranged flowers, etc. The singing too was lovely -- all in French (even the Ordinary of the Mass) -- but executed with reverence, attention, and artistry.

Introductory Rites

I thought that I might, however, share with my readers and, especially, with my brother priests, some reflections on the experience of the Ordinary Form, given that I have celebrated daily in the Usus Antiquior since 2007. The first thing that struck me was the inappropriateness of beginning the Holy Sacrifice from the chair facing the congregation, rather than at the foot of the altar facing the liturgical east. Beginnings, introductory rites, and the crossing of thresholds are hugely important, precisely because they have such an impact on all that follows. Nowhere is this more true than in the sacred liturgy.

Introibo Ad Altare Dei

It is more than curious that the verse from Psalm 42 traditionally recited at the foot of the altar before the Confiteor was eliminated from the Missal of Paul VI: Introibo ad altare Dei; "I shall go unto the altar of God." I find it strange that in a Missal characterized by a multiplicity of options, the traditional use of Psalm 42 was conceded no place. Instead, other options were invented, adapted, or otherwise introduced into the introductory rites.

Toward the Holy Sacrifice

Upon leaving the sacristy and the entering the church, the heart of the priest is set upon the altar, not the chair, nor the ambo. All that precedes the heart of the Holy Sacrifice (that is, the Canon of the Mass) is ordered to it. Even the proclamation and hearing of the Word of God, culminating in the Holy Gospel, is ordered to the Great Thanksgiving, to the Sursum Corda, and to the mystic actualization of the Sacrifice of the Cross.

Chair and Altar

The priest enters the sanctuary in order to approach the altar, conscious that he will stand before it to offer the Holy Sacrifice. By going directly to the chair, albeit after having venerated the altar, the direction of the liturgical action is skewed. The priest himself becomes the focus of attention. His sign of the cross, and his greeting; his introduction to the Act of Penitence, all tend to deflect the attention of the faithful away from the latreutic finality of the Mass, latria being, of course, the technical term for the worship and adoration due to God alone.

At the Foot of the Altar

By placing the introductory rites, including the Act of Penitence, at the chair, the Mass begins in the configuration of a self-contained, closed horizontality. Even though the Confiteor is addressed to Almighty God, the impact of it is substantially diluted by praying it (a) from the chair, facing the people; (b) while standing erect rather than while inclining profoundly; and (c) into no particular direction, if not into some vague space around one's own feet or above the heads of the people. This particular element of the New Order of the Mass is not a success. It does not do what it is supposed to do. It needs to be corrected. Is it not time to rediscover the significance of praying, and of bowing low at the foot of the altar?

Dominus Vobiscum

The correction of the Introductory Rite and Act of Penitence in reference to the Usus Antiquior and the replacement of the first salutation of the congregation (Dominus vobiscum) after the Gloria (or Kyrie) and before the Collect, will go a long way toward the recovery of a sense of the Godward direction of every liturgical action and, in particular, of the significance of approaching the altar with a view to offering the Holy Sacrifice.

The Poor New Offertory

The second thing that struck me was the paucity of the reformed Offertory rites and prayers. Others have commented on this matter at length. It would seem to me necessary to restore the Offertory Antiphon to the New Order of the Mass and to restore the Offertory prayers and gestures of the Missal of Saint Pius V as well.

Ad Orientem

It goes without saying that the rubric of the New Order of the Mass that assumes the eastward position from the Offertory until Holy Communion needs to become always and everywhere normative. Nothing has done more to distort the ars celebrandi than the habit of offering the Holy Sacrifice facing the people. It is, in many instances, an affront to the Divine Majesty. It is, moreover, a tedious distraction to both priest and people, and a symbolic and, alas, subliminal, but all too effective, devalorization of the sacrificial character of Holy Mass. No amount of catechesis, however well-intentioned, will be able to restore to the ars celebrandi of the New Order of the Mass what the position ad orientem will bring about of and by itself. Here, more than anywhere else, actions do speak louder than words.

The Roman Canon

It was when I came to the Eucharistic Prayer, using the Roman Canon as adapted -- I rather think mutilated -- in the New Order of the Mass, that I found myself most deeply disturbed. The elimination of the traditional signs of the cross and genuflexions is redolent of a puritanical rationalism that either fears the participation of the body in worship or sneers at it; it is, in effect, the divorce of word from action, a kind of disincarnation of the text.

There is absolutely no reason to have altered the age-old and venerable words of consecration in the Roman Canon. Nothing in Sacrosanctum Concilium authorizes or justifies so barbaric an assault on a text universally regarded as sacrosanct and fixed by tradition. Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council, has not the moment at last come to repair the damage done by an erroneous interpretation and brash disregard of the letter of the Conciliar text and the intentions of the Council Fathers?

The Words of Consecration and Mysterium Fidei

I would propose, then, that the words of consecration in the Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV of the New Order of the Mass be brought into conformity with the traditional text of the Roman Canon as found in the Missal of 1962, and as used at the Second Vatican Council and in the years immediately following it. This would entail the replacement of the mysterium fidei within the words of consecration of the chalice and the suppression of the acclamation introduced in the Missal of Paul VI, which, to be honest, would be, to my mind at least, no great loss. Its inorganic insertion into the Canon has the effect of an interruption of the flow and movement of the prayer itself.

Eucharistic Prayers?

Of course, one needs to ask if four Eucharistic Prayers are, in fact, necessary in the New Rite of the Mass. Of the four, Eucharistic Prayer II is the one most widely used, not because of any intrinsic sublimity, but because of its brevity. It is a routinely rattled text that has longed passed its expiration date. It should be given an honourable burial alongside the breviary of Cardinal Quignonez. Eucharistic Prayer IV is used very rarely, if at all, in most places. Eucharistic Prayer III, the so-called Canon of Paul VI is the second most widely used. Has the time not come to reduce the Eucharistic Prayers of the New Order of the Mass from four to two, keeping only the venerable Roman Canon and what is now called Eucharistic Prayer III? It should, I think be legislated that the use of Roman Canon be obligatory on all Sundays, solemnities, feasts of the Apostles and of the saints named in the Communicantes and in the Nobis Quoque.

Domine, non sum dignus

The threefold Domine, non sum dignus needs to be restored to the New Order of the Mass. The single recitation of the centurion's heartfelt prayer sounds pathetically and artificially truncated. The threefold Domine, non sum dignus is no vain repetition; it is a trirhythmic grace of compunction that batters the door of even the most hardened heart.

Holy Communion

The manner of distributing Holy Communion to the faithful has been addressed by the example of the Holy Father, but his example has not garnered the support it deserves in the episcopate. It would seem that most bishops are insensitive to the persuasive language of example and, thus, must be compelled by legislation. Holy Communion in the hand and the scandalously abusive proliferation of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are matters that must be addressed by clear and binding legislation. The grave scandal among the Eastern Orthodox Churches that these practices cause is, of itself, sufficient to warrant their immediate suppression.

The Last Gospel

Finally, it is, I think, a good thing to close the Holy Sacrifice en douceur with the reading of the Prologue of Saint John. It is, in effect, a kind of final blessing over the heads and hearts of the faithful, a thanksgiving after Holy Communion, and a bridge from the Holy Mysteries into the world that they alone can redeem, heal, sanctify, and elevate. I would argue, then, for the addition of the Prologue of Saint John to the New Order of the Mass, except on those occasions when the Mass itself is immediately followed by another liturgical function.

Reform of the Reform?

These are but a few thoughts on my experience of returning -- out of pastoral necessity -- to the New Order of the Mass for less than a week. I could not wait to resume the Usus Antiquior. The New Order of the Mass is in dire need of correction, enrichment, and consolidation. The "reform of the reform" is the single most urgent task of the New Evangelisation. Is it not time to place clear and binding liturgical law at the service of life? The example of the Holy Father, however edifying and consoling it may be, is not sufficient to curb the liturgical abuses rampant in the Church and to "fix" the New Order of the Mass. Something more is required.

This article was originally published on Vultus Christi

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Treasury of Ornament: Pattern in the Decorative Arts by Heinrich Dometsch.

Here is a book worth considering for students of traditional patterned art. The series is the Library of Design and the title is Treasury of Ornament - Pattern in the Decorative Arts by Heinrich Dolmetsch.  This and a number of similar books by the author are available here. I came to it by way of one of the freshman students at Thomas More College, Meg Berger, who has a personal interest in these traditions. It is a recent publication of a book first produced around the turn of the last century in Germany, the first English edition coming out in 1908. Each plate is an arrangement of up to 15 or so different patterns from different original sources in each classification discussed. He covers both 'hard' geometric patterns and 'soft', more calligraphic forms in ancient non-Christian and Christian traditions, East and West. Particular examples are numerous plates in each category of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Chinese, Japanese, Arabian, Turkish, Persian and Indian. Two thirds of 85 plates are Christian covering Celtic, Western 'medieval', Byzantine, and Renaissance styles.

This will be of interest, I think, to those who are seeking to re-establish (or perhaps one might say  reinvigourate) the Christian tradition of geometric and patterned art. While one does not want to look exclusively at Christian traditions now any more than those who formed these traditions in the first place did, one must look discerningly at the art of non-Christian cultures. The principle of universality is very important in this process of discernment. (though not the only one). The task, therefore in studying the art of other cultures is to try to separate out the universal qualities from the parochial. This is not absolutely straightforward. We might look for visual elements that are common to all of course. That is helpful, but also restricting because as every general principle is manifested through the creation of a particular example it might cut out some forms that are worthy of consideration even though unique.That is because principles are unchanging, but their application is not. We might have two distinct forms that neverthless participate fully in one governing principle. In other words the idea behind two things that look quite different, might be the same. It is that idea that we are trying to discern.

A way of looking at universality was described to me recently by Thomas More College's Composer i Residence, Paul Jernberg. As a composer he is always trying to create new applications of the general principles that define sacred music. He talks of particular forms, with plainchant being the best exemplar, that might characterise a time and place, but nevertheless are accessible to people who are not from either. Universality, is therefore, another way of describing this noble accessibility.

In the context of art, a lot of this will be a judgement call on the part of the artists. We cannot always define precisely what it is we are looking for, but that does not mean we should not try. If we ask the question, at least, will this appeal across different cultures, then we are more likely to get a satisfactory result.

The images below are, from the top: Byzantine, Chinese, French Renaissance, Italian Renaissance, Arabic-Moorish, and Italian Renaissance pottery.

Fr. Tim Finigan Report on the CCC Colloquium

Father Tim Finigan provides us with a report on the Autumn colloquium of the British province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy which took place from October 23-24 at the Reading Oratory School and which saw Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, Msgr. Keith Newton and Fr. Uwe Michael Lang speak -- amongst others. Here are a few excerpts: [NLM emphases]

The Colloquium of the British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy was a great success...

Fr Michael Lang spoke in the evening on the subject of “Fifty years after Sacrosanctum Concilium, Towards a New Liturgical Movement.” As we have come to expect from such a scholar, his lecture was informative, amusing, and encouraging. I look forward to reviewing it again when it is published in due course.

I think it is fair to say that we all look forward to reading that particular paper by Fr. Lang.

Father Finigan continues further on in his report:

The Ordinariate were well represented at the Colloquium, as well as many old friends. I was delighted to see Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett who happened providentially to be in England at the right time. Bishop Jarrett has been a sterling supporter of the Australian CCC and it was good to hear from him about developments there.

The last talk of the Colloquium was from Fr Andrew Pinsent on Science, Grace and Catholic Enlightenment, raising matters for discussion on these questions.

The Liturgy at the Colloquium was very much part of the reform of the reform. The Masses were celebrated in the Novus Ordo with the ordinary and propers in Latin and the rest of the texts in English. Priests either concelebrated or attending in choro, some having celebrated private Masses earlier in the morning. After my own 7am Mass, I made my thanksgiving by serving Fr Hunwicke’s Low Mass. As a priest I enjoy serving for other priest’s Masses – it is a way of reminding oneself of the real meaning of participation at Mass – something that the priest needs to be aware of himself.

Read his entire report on his blog.

Fr. Finigan also provides us with some photos.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Liturgical Products from Monasteries

There are a few products of a liturgical bent which have come our way from two different Benedictine monasteries that I wished to mention to our readers.

The first comes from the Monastere Saint-Benoit in France. They have produced cards for the vesting prayers, one each for the priest, deacon and subdeacon. You can buy them separately or as a set. They also have vesting prayer cards for bishops celebrating pontifically according to the OF, or non-pontifically in the OF/EF. Do take a look at their site for more details.

The second item which I wished to mention was brought to our attention by the Monks of Norcia last week. They have put out a Liturgical Wall Calendar for 2013. Wonderfully, like the wall calendar put out the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, includes both the EF and OF calendars, though with the addition of specific Benedictine saints as well. Those who love the monastic or Benedictine tradition should be pleased about that, as well as the fact that the calendar gives photos of the Norcia monastery and monastic community for each month of the year.

I have noted in the past that these calendars are useful as aids in living a liturgical life at home. They serve those who pray the Divine Office well, and are also generally useful insofar as they quickly put the liturgical year before us with its various feast days and seasons.

I've also noted the importance of recovering a sense of connection with the monastic life. This liturgical wall calendar seems to serve both purposes quite well.

Pilgrimage in Rio de Janeiro

On October 13th, approximately 600 people made pilgrimage in Rio de Janeiro at the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Penha de France. The Mass was celebrated by a priest of the Apostolic Administration, Fr. José Edilson Lima.

Photo credits: Lucilene Cristina Vieira

Methods of Hearing the Mass

I was priviledged to attend a talk given by a canon of the Institute of Christ the King sponsored by a local branch of Juventutem on the method devised by St. Francis de Sales of hearing the mass. As the Institute are great devotees of that holy bishop of Geneva, I can think of no better way to get acquainted with the subject.

The common stereotype of such methods is that they belong to the hoary pre-Liturgical Movement world of popular piety that is often unfairly maligned by both a certain type of traditionalist and a certain type of post-Conciliar Catholic, and also perhaps uncritically embraced by yet another type of traditionalist. Neither group usually seems to know what it is talking about, as both tend to assume such methods hinge on the ceaseless repetition of disconnected rosaries while the priest does something else up at the altar.

Until recently, I, too, took a somewhat jaundiced view of such practices, and I still have something of a bias for the more monastic, Benedictine tendencies of the old Liturgical Movement. However, when I encountered a book listing about fifty or so different pious ways of following the Extraordinary Form, I was pleasantly surprised. One was meant to meditate on specific mysteries, Scriptural events, or liturgical elements when one said a particular decade of the Rosary in such schemes, synchronizing private piety with public liturgical praxis. St. Francis de Sales' method is similar, though it does not incorporate the rosary. Instead, one is meant to meditate on the chronology of the Passion of Christ as the priest goes through the liturgy. I had once heard such a practice criticized as unduly allegorical or detached from the historical development of the Mass, but nobody, not least St. Francis de Sales, would intend such a method to be exclusive, nor to be an accurate representation of liturgical history. Such spoil-sport literalism (one of the less pleasant features of the twentieth-century Liturgical Movement) is more often a hindrance to piety than anything else. We are not all monks, and there is room for devotional popular piety alongside a more sober liturgical sensibility in parish life.

The great beauty of the Mass is that it can be fruitfully participated in in a wide variety of ways. Obviously, it is best to pray the Mass rather than merely praying at Mass, but Sunday in and Sunday out (or day in and day out for many), it is a laudable thing to engage with the liturgy, its texts and actions, in a wide variety of ways, whether praying aloud or meditating in silence. Indeed, the evening, which was preceded by a Low Mass at which all the young people in attendance responded most vigorously at the Et cum spiritu tuo and Domine, non sum dignus, was a model of how both sensibilities ought to coexist and mutually enrich each other.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Your Forthcoming Events -- All Souls Day, etc.

I have had quite a number of requests lately for upcoming Masses to be published for All Souls Day and other days. Evidently, it can often be very difficult for us to post most of these simply for the reason that there can be so many events that are happening, particularly around certain feast days, that if we tried we could post almost nothing else!

As such, I wanted to provide this post as an opportunity for those of you who have contacted me recently to have a chance to share your events.

Please use the combox -- and readers, please do read them, you just never know what might be happening in your area. I know I've personally heard about a forthcoming Pontifical Mass in Trenton, New Jersey, as well as a Dominican rite Mass for All Souls Day in New York City.

Excerpts of a Solemn Mass from Pluscarden Abbey, 1948 -- in Colour

Here is a very rare bit of video -- colour no less -- coming from 1948 and showing highlights of the Solemn Mass which took place on the site of the original high altar in the ruins of Pluscarden Abbey as part of the restoration of the same.

This will be of interest from a variety of perspectives, including those interested in monastic liturgy and the monastic liturgical character, as well as for those interested in ceremonial dress and protocol in the pre-conciliar years.

The whole video is worth watching, but if you wish to focus on the liturgical aspects of the video, skip ahead to the 4:00 minute mark.

Inauguration and Tour of the Birra Nursia Brewery

A few months back, we had mentioned that the Benedictine Monks of Norcia had started up their own brewing initiative, Birra Nursia. Here is a video which shows you some scenes from inauguration day and which gives you a tour of the brewery.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ordinariate Customary Printed

The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham, which we mentioned a few months back, has now been put into print.

Here's a quick preview the UK Ordinariate has provided.

We will provide more on this hopefully in the near future.

Two Recent Dominican Rite Masses

We have a couple of Dominican rite events to report to our readers.

The first event I wished to mention is attached to the annual Oxford Martyrs Pilgrimage. We have reported on this many times before, and as part of this a Solemn Mass in the Dominican rite was offered at Blackfriars, Oxford by Fr. Thomas Crean OP. Br. Gregory Pearson was deacon, and acting as subdeacon, Fr. Richard Conrad. Music was provied by the Schola Abelis and Newman Consort.

Here are some photos, courtesy Joseph Shaw and the Latin Mass Society:

And here are two from the pilgrimage through the streets of Oxford:

Our second bit of Dominican rite news comes by way of Hinsley Hall, Leeds, where NLM's own Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. offered a requiem Mass according to the Dominican rite. The Mass took place within the context of an Associates' Weekend for the famed Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, founded by the late Dr. Mary Berry. (Photos by way of Fr. Lawrence Lew.)

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