Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Feast of Ss Peter and Paul 2019

On this day, * Simon Peter ascended the gibbet of the cross, alleluia: on this day, he that beareth the keys of the kingdom of heaven passed rejoicing to Christ: on this day, Paul the Apostle, the light of the world, inclining his head, for the name of Christ was crowned with martyrdom, alleluia. (The antiphon at the Magnificat for Second Vespers of Ss Peter and Paul.)

Ss Peter and Paul, with Ss John the Evanglist and Zeno; the left panel of the polyptych of San Zeno by Andrea Mantegna, 1457-60.
Aña Hodie * Simon Petrus ascendit crucis patibulum, alleluia: hodie clavicularius regni gaudens migravit ad Christum: hodie Paulus Apostolus, lumen orbis terrae inclinato capite pro Christi nomine martyrio coronatus est, alleluia.

A polyphonic setting of the same by William Byrd.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Corpus Christi 2019 Photopost (Part 3)

With occasional exceptions, photopost submissions are published in the order in which they are received, so it just happened to work out that the photos included in this set come from six different countries: Brazil, England, Mexico, France, the United States and Denmark. We also include some photos from one of our regular Byzantine Rite contributors, the church of St John the Baptist in Minneapolis, which recently celebrated its patronal feast. To all our readers, we wish most blessed feasts of the Sacred Heart and Ss Peter and Paul!

São João Del Rei - Minas Gerais, Brazil
Mass celebrated in front of the church of Our Lady of the Rosary, followed by the procession celebrated, by H.E. José Eudes, bishop of São João Del Rei.

A Liturgical Curiosity for the Feast of the Sacred Heart

Just as devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is older than the liturgical feast of Corpus Christi, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus predates the formal institution of a feast in its honor, by many centuries in fact. For example, St Gertrude the Great, who lived from 1256 to the first years of the following century, writes of a vision of St John the Evangelist which she beheld on his feast day, in which he brought her to lay her head upon the breast of the Lord, as he himself had done at the Last Supper. St Gertrude than ask John if he had also heard the beating of the Lord’s heart as she did, and when he replied that he had, and that the sweetness of it had penetrated into his very marrow, she asked him why he had not written about this in the Gospel. St John replied:
My duty was to write to the young Church only about the uncreated Word of God the Father, ... To speak of the sweet beatings of (this heart) was reserved for modern times, so that from the hearing of such things, the world might grow warm again when it had become old and tepid in the love of God. (The Herald of Divine Piety, 4, 4)
The Last Supper, by Ugolino di Nerio, 1325-28
Like the feast of Corpus Christi, that of the Sacred Heart was first proposed in a vision vouchsafed to a nun; during a Forty-hours Devotion held within the octave of Corpus Christi in 1675, the Lord appeared to the French Visitandine St Margaret-Mary Alacoque, the consummation of a long series of visions. He then asked her to work for the institution of a feast in reparation for the ingratitude and indifference which so many show to Him “in the sacrament of love,” to be kept on the day after the Octave of Corpus; this day is of course Friday, the day of His Passion. Within the Saint’s lifetime, the feast had begun to be celebrated by her order and among certain other congregations; as it slowly gained ground, it was formally recognized and permitted by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, and extended to the universal calendar of the Church by Blessed Pius IX in 1856.

When the neo-Gallican Missal of Paris was issued in 1738 by the Archbishop Charles de Vintimille, the feast had not yet been formally approved by Rome or widely accepted outside a few religious orders; however, the new Parisian Missal did fulfill one aspect of the request made by the Lord to St Margaret Mary. Among the collection of votive Masses is a special Mass “for the reparation of injuries done to Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament.” This Mass is placed between the votive Mass of the Sacrament and that of the Passion; furthermore, a rubric after the Octave of Corpus Christi prescribes this Mass be said on the following day, which is now kept everywhere as the feast of the Sacred Heart. Here is the full text of the Mass. The translations of the prayers are my own; the Scriptural quotations are taken from the Douay-Rheims translation, with a few modifications necessary to the sense.

The Apparition of Our Lord to St Margaret Mary Alacoque; stained glass window in St Brendan’s Church, Birr, County Offaly, Ireland. (Image from Wikimedia Commons by Andreas F. Borchert, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)
Introit Quanta malignatus est in-
imicus in sancto! in terra pollue-
runt tabernaculum nominis tui,
Domine. Usquequo, Deus, irri-
tat adversarius nomen tuum in
What things the enemy hath done
wickedly in the sanctuary! they have
defiled the dwelling place of thy name
on the earth. How long, O God; doth
the adversary provoke thy name
forever?  Psalm 73
Psalm. Ut quid, Deus, repulisti
in finem? iratus est furor tuus
super oves pascuae tuae. Gloria
Patri. Quanta malignatus...
O God, why hast thou cast us off unto
the end: why is thy wrath enkindled
against the sheep of thy pasture?
Glory be. What things.

Oratio Gementes et dolentes su-
per cunctis abominationibus
quae fiunt in domo tua, propi-
tius respice, Deus omnipotens;
et pro contumeliis quibus in Sa-
cramento sui amoris impetitur
Dominus Jesus, ipsum fac pro
nobis esse apudte propitiatio-
nem. Qui tecum.
The Collect Look with mercy, God
almighty, upon those who mourn and
grieve for all the abominations that
take place in Thy house; and for the
injuries by which the Lord Jesus is
assailed in the Sacrament of His love,
make Him the propitiation before
Thee for our sake. Who liveth
and reigneth with Thee...

The Epistle, Hebrews 10, 22-31 Brethren: Let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (for he is faithful that hath promised), And let us consider one another, to provoke unto charity and to good works: Not forsaking our assembly, as some are accustomed; but comforting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching. For if we sin willfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins, but a certain dreadful expectation of judgment, and the rage of a fire which shall consume the adversaries. A man making void the law of Moses, dieth without any mercy under two or three witnesses: how much more, do you think he deserveth worse punishments, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath esteemed the blood of the testament unclean, by which he was sanctified, and hath offered an affront to the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said: Vengeance belongeth to me, and I will repay. And again: The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Graduale Viderunt altare profa-
natum, et sciderunt vestimenta
sua, et planxerunt planctu ma-
no. V. Imposuerunt cinerem su-
per caput suum, et ceciderunt
in faciem super terram, et cla-
maverunt in caelum.
They saw the altar profaned, and they
rent their garments, and made great
lamentation. V. They put ashes on
their heads, and fell down to the
ground on their faces, and they cried
towards heaven. 1 Macc. 4, 38-40
Alleluja, alleluja. Zelus domus
tuae comedit me, et opprobria
exprobrantium tibi ceciderunt
super me. Alleluja,
Alleluja, alleluja. Zeal of Thy house
hath eaten me up, and the reproaches
of them that reproached thee are fal-
len upon me. Alleluja. Ps. 68, 10

The Gospel, Matthew 22, 1-14 At that time: Jesus spoke again in parables to the chief priests and Pharisees, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage; and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my calves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. But they neglected, and went their own ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise. And the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard of it, he was angry, and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways; and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good: and the marriage was filled with guests. And the king went in to see the guests: and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

Offertorium Ad Christum acce-
damus cum vero corde in ple-
nitudine fidei, aspersi corda a
conscientia mala, et considere-
mus invicem in provocationem
caritatis, et bonorum operum.
Let us draw near to Christ with a true
heart in fullness of faith, having our
hearts sprinkled from an evil con-
science, and let us consider one an-
other, to provoke unto charity and
to good works. Hebrews 10, 22 & 24
Secreta Deus, qui Unigenitum
tuum in Cruce pro transgresso-
ribus orantem exaudisti; quae-
sumus, ut nos, qui in altari tuo
ipsum offerimus pro contami-
atoribus mensae illius orantes,
clementer exaudire digneris.
Per eundem.
The Secret O God, who didst harken
to Thy Only-Begotten Son as He
prayed upon the Cross for the trans-
gressors; we ask that Thou mercifully
deign to hear us, as we pray upon Thy
altar for them that defile His table.
Through the same.
Communio Quanta putatis me-
reri supplicia, qui Filium Dei
conculcaverit, et sanguinem
testamenti pollutum duxerit,
in quo sanctificatus est?
Communion How great punisments
do you think he deserveth, who hath
trodden under foot the Son of God,
and hath esteemed the blood of the
testament unclean, by which he was
sanctified? Hebrews 10, 29
Postcommunio Domine Jesu
Christe, qui zelo domus Dei
succensus, vendentes et e-
mentes de templo ejecisti:
da comedentibus panem tuum,
eodem zelo animari; et propter
reos corporis tui aut tabescere
gementes, aut ad prohibendum
fortes ignescere. Qui vivis..
Post Communion Lord Jesus Christ,
who, kindled with zeal for the house
of God, didst cast out from the tem-
ple them that bought and sold: grant
to those that eat Thy bread, that they
may be filled with the same zeal;
and either to languish with mourning
over those guilty of Thy body, or
to burn mightily to stop them. Who
livest and reignest.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Corpus Christi 2019 Photopost (Part 2)

The second Corpus Christi photopost of this year includes photos from one church which reinstituted the procession, and another which held it for the first time in its history - Deo gratias! We also have an American church which makes carpets with religious designs in them to cover the processional route, similar to those we saw the other day from Assisi. Several churches are doing the procession with Benediction at altars set up along the processional route, another excellent sign of how this ceremony is seeing a real renaissance.

We are happy to accept more submissions, ( since there will certainly be at least two more posts in this series, and as always, we are profoundly grateful to everyone who sent these in.

Sacred Heart – Clifton, New Jersey
The parish re-introduced the Corpus Christi procession this year, with hymns sung in Latin, English and Spanish.
Holy Martyrs Catholic Church – Tarentum, Pennsylvania
Since 1943, the parish has had the traditional of decorating the route of the Corpus Christi procession with carpets of dyed sawdust, with religious images of various kinds.

EF Solemn Mass of the Visitation in Brooklyn

On Tuesday, July 2nd, the church of the Holy Name of Jesus in Brooklyn, New York, will have a solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the feast of the Visitation, beginning at 7 pm; the church is located at 245 Prospect Park West.

Our Lord’s Request for the Institution of the Feast of His Sacred Heart

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has deep roots; texts can be found in the ancient and medieval periods that speak of the love of His wounded and glorious Heart, and of the appropriate response of adoring love we should make to Him.

However, the devotion in the form more familiar to Catholics today is traceable to the private revelations made by Our Lord Jesus Christ to St Margaret Mary Alacoque in the later 17th century. The content of these revelations was written down for her spiritual director, St Claude de la Colombiere, and are widely available (see, e.g., here).

A priest mentioned to me a detail that had previously escaped my notice. When Our Lord appeared to St Margaret Mary on June 16, 1675, to request the institution of a feast in honor of His Sacred Heart, He spoke as follows:
I ask of you that the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special Feast to honor My Heart, by communicating on that day, and making reparation to It by a solemn act, in order to make amends for the indignities which It has received during the time It has been exposed on the altars. I promise you that My Heart shall expand Itself to shed in abundance the influence of Its divine love upon those who shall thus honor It, and cause It to be honored.
The very Son of God — God from God, Light from Light, Word Incarnate, Eternal High Priest, Head of the Mystical Body, Creator, Savior, and Judge of the universe — refers as a matter of course to the “Octave of Corpus Christi” and places His request for a special feast precisely in this context. Moreover, He specifically asks that the feast be one of reparation, and that this reparation be connected with the extended Eucharistic adoration during the Octave of Corpus Christi. Finally, He promises to shed His divine love on those who shall thus honor His Heart, that is, honor It in the manner He has explained.

Is it not disturbing, then, to think of liturgical reformers under Pius XII simply chucking out this Octave of Corpus Christi, which had endured from the time of its widespread observance in the 14th century until 1955, at which time all octaves were abolished except those of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost? [1] The invisible supreme Head of the Church endorsed this octave and made His requests based on it, but no matter; committees know better, and popes always know better, as we can see today.

Although the feast of the Sacred Heart always possessed a reparatory character, this was underlined by the new Mass and Office for the feast promulgated by Pius XI in 1928, to replace the Mass and Office first approved by Clement XIII in 1765, and extended to the universal Church in 1856. For 41 years, this Collect, which so aptly mirrors Our Lord’s request, was recited at Mass:
O God, Who in the Heart of Thy Son, wounded by our sins, dost mercifully vouchsafe to bestow upon us the infinite wealth of Thy love; grant, we beseech Thee, that revering It with meet devotion, we may fulfil our duty of worthy reparation. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ…
Moreover, the Postcommunion prays for detachment from worldly goods and attachment to heavenly ones, a petition characteristic of the usus antiquior in general, and fitting for this feast in particular, which is very much about the truth “where your heart is, there your treasure is also”:
May Thy holy mysteries, O Lord Jesus, produce in us a divine fervour, whereby, having tasted the sweetness of Thy most dear Heart, we may learn to despise earthly things and love those of heaven: Who livest and reigneth.
In contrast, the Novus Ordo Collect borrows some of its phrasing from Clement XIII, while recasting it in a more generic Christological way that does not emphasize the rationale behind the institution of the feast:
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son…
Happily, the Collect of Pius XI was added back as an option in the most recent edition of the Pauline missal, which will bring it back into circulation to some extent. The Postcommunion, regrettably, excises the unfashionable sentiment discamus terrena despicere, et amare caelestia, and, recasts the prayer to the Father, due to the subordinationist principle that we must nearly always address the Father rather than the Son in our public prayer:
May this sacrament of charity, O Lord, make us fervent with the fire of holy love, so that, drawn always to your Son, we may learn to see him in our neighbor. Through Christ our Lord.
As a friend commented on this prayer, “All man, all the time.” As Gaudium et Spes 12 begins, “According to the almost unanimous opinion of believers and unbelievers alike, all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown.”

In 1904, Pope St Pius X added the threefold invocation Cor Iesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis to the already-existing Leonine prayers after Low Mass. In 1964, the Instruction Inter Oecumenici abolished all of the prayers after Mass. For sixty years, Catholics on every continent, of every culture, in every conceivable situation, prayed, “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.” But this was, one supposes, just another of those useless repetitions that had to be purged for the benefit of . . .

Come to think of it, cui bono? Why was the character of the feast tilted away from the theme of reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for sins, blasphemies, outrages, sacrileges, indifference, and worldliness? Why was the octave of Corpus Christi abolished, depriving the Church and the world of more solemn, calendrically set-apart opportunities to adore the Lord with Eucharistic adoration, exposition, and procession? Why did we abandon the humble collective invocations that united us to one another and to the merciful God at the end of Low Mass?

A mere observer might come away thinking that the liturgical reformers under Pius XII and Paul VI were actually seeking ways to add to the “sins, offenses, and negligences” for which we are called upon to make reparation. Indeed, the very Offertory of the Mass in which the priest says that he is offering sacrifice for his sins, offenses, and negligences, as also for the welfare of the living and the dead, was abolished, as was the Placeat tibi at the end of Mass:
May the homage of my bounden duty be pleasing to Thee, O Holy Trinity; and grant that the sacrifice which I, though unworthy, have offered in the sight of Thy Majesty may be acceptable to Thee, and through Thy mercy be a propitiation for me and for all those for whom I have offered it. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
On a good day in October 1946, a day when chopping off digits and limbs from the liturgical calendar wasn’t on the agenda, Pius XII said, “Perhaps the greatest sin in the world today is that men have begun to lose the sense of sin.” Whatever else may be said, this much is clear: the changes to the liturgy have not helped us regain it.

Cor Iesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis.
Cor Iesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis.
Cor Iesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis.


[1] As the incomparable St. Andrew Daily Missal of 1945 tells us on p. 782: “To resist the attacks of renewed heresies against the Holy Eucharist and to revive in the Church a zeal which had somewhat grown cold, the Holy Ghost inspired, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, the solemnity of Corpus Christi. In 1208, the blessed Juliana of Mount Cornillon, near Liège, saw in a vision the full moon with an indentation indicating that a feast was missing in the liturgical cycle. . . . It was thought that immediately after Paschaltide a feast with an octave should be established. As the Last Supper took place on Thursday, the Bishop of Liège instituted in 1246 this solemnity in his diocese on the Thursday which follows the octave of Pentecost. In 1264, Pope Urban IV extended this feast to the whole world.”

This commentary brings several truths to mind: first, that the Holy Spirit is the principal agent of organic liturgical development, who also inspires the conservation of that which has been established; second, that the double fittingness of a Thursday feast followed by an octave was intuitively grasped, precisely because of the need to resist heresy and rekindle fervor; third, that if this feast was needed by medieval Catholics, a fortiori it is needed by Catholics today, who are facing heresy, apostasy, and indifference several magnitudes greater; fourth, that the Church observed this Corpus Christi octave for between 500 and 700 years (depending on the region, as the feast was of variable diffusion), before Pius XII unceremoniously scrapped the octave and later bishops bumped it to a Sunday (I refer not to the concept of a so-called “external solemnity,” but of a simple switch from the proper day to the nearest Sunday, thereby effectively surrendering to the Protestant conception of the secular work week). The changes offer another a textbook example of how badly mistaken recent popes and liturgists have been in “interpreting the signs of the times.”

Visit for events, articles, sacred music, and classics reprinted by Os Justi Press (e.g., Benson, Scheeben, Parsch, Guardini, Chaignon, Leen).

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Corpus Christi 2019 Photopost (Part 1)

We have received many beautiful photos of your Corpus Christi celebrations, and so begins the painful process of making a selection among them. In order to share as many as possible (within reason), we will have slightly fewer churches than usual per post, and more photos per church. In the meantime, we are very glad to accept more (; as it stands now, we will definitely have at least two more posts in this series, probably three. Evangelize though beauty!

Our first two sets come from our friends of the Fraternity of St Joseph the Guardian, based in the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon.

Chapel of St Francis de Paul - Bourmes les Mimosas, France
Mass and Procession on the traditional date of Corpus Christi, the Thursday after Trinity Sunday

Ss John and Paul in the Ancient Liturgy of Rome

On the calendar of the Extraordinary Form, today is the feast of the Martyrs Ss John and Paul, two Roman brothers killed for their Christian faith by the Emperor Julian the Apostate, who reigned from 361-63. According to the traditional account of their lives, they had been military officers under Constantine, and later served in the household of his daughter, Constantia, who at her death left them her large fortune to take care of the poor. When Julian, the son of Constantine’s half-brother, came to the throne, they refused to attend him at the court because of his apostasy from the Faith. The emperor would have used this as a pretext to seize the money left by Constantia, but granted them ten days to reconsider; the two Saints therefore gave all the money away for its intended purpose. Terentian, the captain of Julian’s bodyguard, then came to their house, bearing a statue of Jove and the Emperor’s promise that they would be greatly honored if they would worship it; otherwise, they would be immediately killed. The words of their response are sung as the second antiphon of Lauds on their feast day: “Paul and John said to Terentian, ‘If Julian is thy lord, have thou peace with him; we have no other than the Lord Jesus Christ.’ ” They were beheaded at once, and buried within their own house on the Caelian hill, directly across from the imperial residence on the Palatine.

This plaque in the floor of the basilica of Ss John and Paul marks the “place of (their) martydom ... within their own house”. This photo was taken on the Friday after Ash Wednesday, when the Lenten Station is held there, by Mr Jacob Stein, author of the blog Passio Xpi, and reproduced with his kind permission.
Not long after, Julian was slain during a military campaign against Rome’s ancient enemy, Persia, a campaign which he had instigated and in which he apparently believed the pagan gods would grant him victory as a vindication of his “revival” of their worship. A later apocryphal tradition says that he was killed by a Christian soldier in his army named Mercurius, who is honored in the East as a Saint; his death happened on the feast day of Ss John and Paul, which is probably not coincidental. Julian’s successor Jovian converted the Saints’ house into a church, and many possessed persons were healed there, including the son of Terentian; the latter became a Christian, and wrote the passion of the Martyrs.

Scholars of hagiography do not regard the details of this traditional account as historically reliable, but there can be no reasonable doubt that devotion to Ss John and Paul is extremely ancient. One of the most interesting suggestions of this is found in the manuscript improperly known as the Leonine Sacramentary, now kept in the library of the cathedral chapter of Verona. This is actually not a sacramentary, the ancient predecessor of the Missal, which contains only the priest’s parts of the Mass, namely, the prayers, prefaces and Canon. It is rather a privately made collection of the texts of a large number of “libelli missarum”, small booklets which contained the prayers and prefaces of Masses for specific occasions. These elements often varied from church to church even within the same city; the Leonine Sacramentary is a wildly irregular gathering of them, and has twenty-eight different Mass formulae for Ss Peter and Paul, fourteen for St Lawrence, and eight for Ss John and Paul. The collection was certainly made in Rome itself, since it contains numerous specific references to the city; it is generally dated to the mid-6th century.

In the fifth Mass of Ss John and Paul, the preface reads as follows.

VD. Quamvis enim tuorum merita pretiosa justorum, quocumque fideliter invocentur, in tua sint virtute praesentia, potenter tamen nobis clementi providentia contulisti, ut non solum passionibus Martyrum gloriosis urbis istius ambitum coronares, sed etiam in ipsis visceribus civitatis Sancti Johannis et Pauli victricia membra reconderes, ut interius exteriusque cernentibus et exemplum piae confessionis occurreret et magnificae benedictionis non deesset auxilium. Per.
Truly it is worthy… For although the precious merits of Thy just ones are present in Thy might wheresoever they be faithfully invoked, Thou didst nonetheless in Thy merciful providence mightily deign not only to crown the bounds of this city with the glorious passions of the martyrs, but also to place the victorious bodies of Saints John and Paul in its very heart, so that those who behold it from within and without may be met with the example of the holy confession (of the Faith), and not lack the help of Thy magnificent blessing. Through (Christ our Lord.)

In ancient times, there was a boundary within Rome called the pomerium, and for a variety of legal and religious purposes, only what was inside this boundary was counted as part of the city. Traditionally, when an Emperor had expanded the territory held by Rome, the pomerium was also expanded, until the reign of the Emperor Aurelian (270-75), who made it coterminous with the city walls. It was illegal to bury the dead inside the pomerium, and this is part of the reason why the Christian catacombs, and hence the tombs of the Martyrs buried within them, are all found outside the city. The words of the preface given above about “crown(ing) the bounds of the city with the passions of the Martyrs” refer to the placement of the Martyrs’ graves encircling the city.

An inscription from the reign of the Emperor Claudius, which notes that “having expanded the territories of the Roman people (by the conquest of the island of Britain in 43AD), he expanded and set the bounds of the pomerium.” The photographer has highlighted in red an upside-down F in the last line of the inscription; this device was invented by Claudius personally as a way of writing the consonantal sound W, to distinguish it from the vowel U, both of which were written with the letter V. The new letter never caught on, and was abandoned after Claudius’ death in 54AD. (Image from Wikimedia Commons by Pierre Tribhou; CC BY-SA 4.0)
It is not known why the Roman law about the pomerium was not heeded in regard to the burial of Ss John and Paul, but the author of the preface was clearly aware that this was very unusual, and saw in it a special act of God’s providence in the Christianization of Rome. In order for this to be noteworthy, the ancient Roman laws and taboos about the burial of bodies within the pomerium would need to be not necessarily in force, but at least remembered. This suggests that the text of the preface may be rather older than the manuscript, going back to a time when such laws and taboos were in fact known and obeyed, or had been so in living memory, and Christianity was still ascendant, but not yet wholly triumphant, in the Eternal City.

Historical Videos of Corpus Christi Processions

Every year around the feast of Corpus Christi, videos of this sort pop up on Facebook and elsewhere; here are a few of the more interesting ones I have spotted recently, starting with some footage from Vietnam in 1962.

From the archives of British Pathé, a report on the Corpus Christi Procession in Cologne, Germany, from 1947.

Another from Liverpool, 1934.

And some unedited footage, without soundtrack, of a procession held sometime during WW1.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Floral Carpets for Corpus Christi in Assisi

We will begin our Corpus Christi photoposts very soon; in the meantime, I wanted to share these photos as a special post, courtesy of a friend who is currently living in Assisi. In many Italian towns, the path of the Corpus Christi procession is decorated with elaborate designs made out of flower petals, the work of many patient hours, and of course, destined not to last; there is an Italian word for these, “infiorate”, which has no direct equivalent in English. Each section is done independently, mostly on religious themes, especially, but not exclusively related to the Eucharist, and often with a remarkable degree of detail, while others may be a bit more abstract.

St Clare of Assisi holding a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament, a reference to one of her more famous miracles (among many). In the year 1234, the army of the Emperor Frederick II, which counted a great many Saracens from Sicily in its number, were plundering the part of Umbria which includes Assisi. As the invaders sought to enter the convent at San Damiano, Clare took the ciborium from one of the chapels within the complex, and brought it to a window near the place where the soldiers had set a ladder against the walls in order to scale them. When she raised the Blessed Sacrament on high, the soldiers fell off the ladder and away from the wall as if dazzled, and the whole company of them fled.

FSSP Priest’s First Solemn Mass This Thursday in Los Angeles

This Thursday, as part of the 2019 CCW Sacred Music Symposium currently going on in Los Angeles, the participants will sing at the first Solemn Mass of a newly-ordained priest of the FSSP, Fr Luc Poirier. The setting will be Palestrina’s Missa Jam Christus, which is based on a famous hymn tune; the Agnus Dei will be the exquisite Mille Regretz (6-voice) by Fr Cristóbal de Morales. The ceremony will take place at the San Fernando Mission Church, located at 15151 San Fernando Mission Boulevard, Mission Hills, California, starting at 7pm.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Who Was Captain of the Ship in the Liturgical Reform? The 50th Anniversary of an Embarrassing Letter

Bugnini tells it like it is. (Well, sometimes.)
I am surely not the only reader who has noticed that the English translation of the great big important book by Annibale Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975, has been out of print for quite a long time. This is the single most detailed record of the ins and outs of the Consilium’s work, with extensive lists of personnel, summaries of crucial conversations, reproductions of memos and letters (including not a few that were still, in fact, classified material at the time of this book’s original appearance in Italian, which did not seem to bother the author, who wrote the work to memorialize his project and defend his reputation). One might think such a book would never go out of print in one of the key languages in which liturgical studies have been conducted for decades.

But then one gets to reading the book... and one realizes just how revealing it is. Bugnini does not sanitize anything; he lets you know his principles, his strategies, and his victories over obscurantist enemies of progress. As Chiron shows in his biography, The Reform of the Liturgy is by no means a complete account, nor could it be described as unbiased. Its businesslike way of talking about the wholesale dismantling and modular reconstruction of liturgy is, however, so repugnant to younger generations that one begins to suspect that The Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minnesota, is deliberately avoiding reprinting this volume, copies of which are selling on Amazon for between $75 and $1,999 (admittedly an outlier, listed as merely “acceptable” in condition: someone’s strange idea of humor?) Of course, the persistent scholar will find it at certain libraries or order it via interlibrary loan; it cannot be hidden altogether. Yet its Promethean spirit and embarrassing frankness can be hidden to some extent by making it hard to get.

In truth, the liturgical establishment sees that, however many particular battles it has won over the decades, it is losing the war. The old guard of Consilium defenders is a dying breed and they have few to replace them. In members of the younger generations who still believe and who care about liturgy, the momentum is with the usus antiquior and, in one packaging or another, the Reform of the Reform. (I wrote about this and related issues in my piece “The Queen of Sheba in the Court of Solomon: Liturgical Boredom and Ecstasy.”)

All this by way of introduction to a marvelous example of the sort of surprising things one finds out when perusing Bugnini’s tome. Exactly 50 years ago today, June 24, 1969, Pope Paul VI sent the following handwritten letter to Cardinal Benno Gut, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. He had received in May 1969 the proofs for the new Lectionary, and was passing along his judgment:
     In the very limited time allowed me, I have not been able to get a complete and detailed grasp of this new and extensive Ordo lectionum Missae.
     But because of the confidence I have in the skilled and devout individuals who spent a long time compiling it, and because of the trust I owe to the Congregation for Divine Worship, which has examined and corrected it with such expert care, I gladly approve it in the name of the Lord.
     The feast of St. John the Baptist, June 24, 1969.
                                                                                          Paul VI, Pope
In Gut we trust. 
In other words, now that the Roman Church is about to abandon a lectionary at least 1,200 years old (and in many of its elements certainly older) and replace it with a new multi-year lectionary created from different principles, priorities, and pericopes, the Pope is telling the folks in charge, “Hey, fellows, I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to dig into the details of these books you’ve sent me, but it’s okay -- I trust you hard-working, clever experts, and I know you’ve come up with something better than any immemorial tradition could be. I can see it’s got lots more Scripture -- good, that’s what Vatican II wanted. Looks like you more or less go through most of the books, skipping stuff here and there -- not sure what you’re skipping or why, since I didn’t look closely, but I’m sure it’s all fine. After all, we have the brightest minds working on this, under the capable direction of Msgr. Bugnini. So it’s got my approval, for what it’s worth.”

I just can’t read this letter without either wincing in embarrassment for Montini, who is too busy to read a major liturgical book he’s about to approve for over 600 million faithful, or getting steamed up in annoyance at his negligence, which overlooked so many and such great flaws in this lectionary, the unmitigated praise of which has become well-established as a sort of party orthodoxy. In any case, the letter shows the captain of the barque of Peter in about as favorable a light as Captain Joseph Hazelwood of the Exxon Valdez.

Matthew Hazell has some interesting remarks on this letter over at Lectionary Study Aids:
What else is this [letter] but an admission from Paul VI himself that he left the complete overhaul of the Roman Mass lectionary to the experts, merely rubber-stamping it at the end of the process? And why was he only “allowed” around one month to examine the OLM (he received the proofs in May 1969)?
       From Bugnini's account, it is apparent that Paul VI involved himself more in the reform of, for example, the Order of Mass than some other aspects. But even here, the Pope had to fight against the experts in order to make sure that the new offertory formulas actually had the word “offer” in them (p. 371)! Moreover, even after his decision in 1966 that the Roman Canon was to remain unchanged in the reform (p. 450), the experts tinkered with the words of institution and made parts of the Canon optional. Again, in 1967, the Pope insisted that the words of consecration in the Canon not be changed, and the experts basically ignored him (p. 462).
       With regards to vernacular translations of the Roman Canon, Bugnini also lets slip that in 1967, “The Holy Father had asked that the translations be ‘faithful and literal,’ but in fact practically no liturgical commission was observing this criterion” (p. 168).
       Yes, ultimately Paul VI was the final authority, insofar as he was required to approve and promulgate the reformed liturgical books. However, when one reads the whole of Bugnini’s memoirs [sic; rather, the source is Bugnini’s account of the reform; his actual memoirs were published only recently in Italian], in many respects Paul VI arguably comes across as negligent, naive, and often a prisoner of the liturgical establishment “experts”.
       In short, the “experts” may not have been the final de jure authority, but for large parts of the post-conciliar reform, they very much seem to have been the de facto one.
In light of these facts, we may revisit with profit the words of Benedict XVI:
In the confused times in which we are living, the whole scientific theological competence and wisdom of him who must make the final decisions seem to me of vital importance. For example, I think that things might have gone differently in the Liturgical Reform if the words of the experts had not been the last ones, but if, apart from them, a wisdom capable of recognising the limits of a “simple” scholar’s approach had passed judgement. 
This is a stinging indictment of Paul VI, who evidently lacked “a wisdom capable of recognising the limits of a ‘simple’ scholar’s approach.”

No wonder Bugnini’s Big Book has been allowed to go out of print -- and stays out of print.

A lot of compromising material between these covers.

A Relic of St John the Baptist

Oft in past ages, seers with hearts expectant / Sang the far-distant advent of the day-star; / thine was the glory, as the world’s Redeemer / First to proclaim him.

A reliquary of a finger of St John the Baptist, from the museum of the cathedral of Florence, where he is honored as Patron Saint of the city. Attributed to Matteo di Giovanni; first half of the 15th century.
The text given above is a rather free translation of the third stanza of the Matins hymn for today’s feast, the Nativity of St John the Baptist, taken from George Herbert Palmer’s translation of the hymns of the Sarum Breviary. The Latin is:

Ceteri tantum cecinere Vatum
Corde praesago iubar affuturum:
Tu quidem mundi scelus auferentem
Indice prodis.

Translated literally, “The rest of the prophets in their foreseeing heart told only that the day-star would come; but Thou with Thy finger reveal Him that taketh away the sin of the world.”

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Photopost Request: Corpus Christi 2019

Our next major photopost will be for Corpus Christi, which is celebrated either on Thursday, June 20, or Sunday, June 23. Please send your photos (whether of the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form) to for inclusion. Of course, we are especially glad to include pictures of Eucharistic Processions, one of the major features of this feast, but also those of celebrations in other rites, as well as Vespers and other parts of the Office. Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important.

After several years in which we received enough submissions to make three separate posts, last year we got up to four, plus two special posts – let’s keep this tradition going, as we continue the important work of evangelizing through beauty!

From our first Corpus Christi photopost of last year: the Eucharistic Procession at Bl. Charles de Foucault Monastery in La Marsa, Tunisia.
From the second post: expert young thurifers at the church of St Catherine of Siena in Columbus, Ohio.
From the third post: the canopy carried over the Blessed Sacrament at the Collegiate Church of St Just, home of the FSSP’s apostolate in Lyon, France.
From the fourth post: frequent contributor Arrys Ortañez outdoes himself with this beautiful photo of the Eucharistic Procession at Holy Innocents in New York City.
From a post on the Ambrosian Rite celebration of Corpus Christi: Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass at Santa Maria della Consolazione, with the classic Ambrosian cylindrical monstrance, and red vestments, which are used from Pentecost to the feast of the cathedral’s dedication on the third Sunday of October.
From a post on the Eucharistic Procession at Trinità dei Pellegrini, the FSSP church in Rome: the sacristan of the nearby church of Santa Maria della Quercia, following an old Italian custom, waves a thurible at the door of his church as the Blessed Sacrament passes by.  

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Program for the Fota XII Liturgical Conference, July 6-8

St Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy is pleased to announce the program for the Fota XII International Liturgy Conference, which will be held at the Clayton Hotel in Cork City, Ireland, July 6-8. The topic of the conference this year is The Ritual: de benedictionibus and the Rite of Exorcism. For information about registration, contact the Secretary of the St Colman’s Society, Terry Pender, at The same address may be used to order the Acta of last year’s conference, which will be formally present at this year’s conference, as noted below.

Saturday, July 6
8.15am – Registration
9.30 – Opening of the Conference
9.45-10.45 – Prof. Dieter Boehler, SJ: The Priestly Benediction in the Psalter
11.00-12.00 – Matthew Hazell: A Historical Survey of the Reform of De Benedictionibus, 1959-1984
2.30- 3.30pm – Fr. Ryan Ruiz: Mutual Enrichment and the De Benedictionibus: Revisiting the Scriptural Euchologies of the Usus Antiquor and Their Possible Application in the Ordinary Form Rites of Blessing
3.45-4.45 – Daniel Van Slyke: Exorcism Rites of the Past and Present: Similarities and Differences
4.45-5.15 – Discussion

7.30pm – Pontifical Vespers at the church of Ss Peter and Paul, celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. The Lassus Scholars, under the direction of Dr Ite O’Donovan, will sing the Gregorian propers, a Magnificat by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), and the Salve Regina by Peter Philips (1560-1628).

The Benedictus from the Missa Papae Marcelli of Palestrina, sung by the Lassus Scholars during the Mass of Holy Thursday at St Kevin’s church in Dublin this year.

Sunday July 7
11.30am – Pontifical High Mass at the church of Ss Peter and Paul, celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. The Lassus Scholars will sing the Mass Propers from the Choralis Constantinus of Heinrich Isaac (c. 1450-1517), the Missa Domine Dominus Noster as the Ordinary of the Mass and the Offertory Illumina oculos meos, both by Orlando de Lassus (1532-94) and the Te Deum and Ecce Sacerdos Magnus of de Victoria.
4.00-5.00pm – Fr. Anthony Ward, SM: Aspects of the Psalm Prayers in the de Exorcismis of Pope St John Paul II
5.00-6.00 – Fr. Joseph Briody: A Scriptural Reflection on the Evil Spirit and Saul in 1 Samuel
6.30-7.30 – Launch of Psallite Sapienter: The Liturgy of the Hours, edited by Fr. Joseph Briody, Proceedings of the Fota XI International Liturgy Conference (2018), with contributions by Prof. William Mahrt, Prof. Dennis McManus, Sr. Maria Kiely OSB, Prof. Joseph Briody, Gregory DiPippo, Dom Benedict Andersen OSB, Fr. Sven Conrad FSSP, Matthew Hazel, and Dr Peter Kwasniewski.
8.00: Gala Dinner

Monday, July 8
9.30-10.30 – Prof. Manfred Hauke: What is ‘exorcism’? A critical assessment of terminology
10.45-11.45 – His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
12.30pm – Solemn High Mass at the church of Ss Peter and Paul; the Lassus Scholars will sing the Gregorian Propers and Palestrina’s Missa brevis.
2.45-3.45pm – Fr. Dennis McManus: Three Significant Reforms in the 2004/5 Rites of Exorcism
4.00-5.00 – Fr. Sven Conrad FSSP: The Apotropaic Effect of the Sacred Liturgy

Please note that speakers and times may be subject to variations.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Fostering Young Vocations (Part 9)

Tradition will always be for the young! Props to these young men for honoring Our Lady with a nice blue chasuble – no rigid legalism here...

Courtesy of St Mary’s Oratory in Wausau, Wisconsin, via their Facebook page.

The Feast of St Aloysius Gonzaga in Rome

Each year on June 21st, the Jesuit church of St Ignatius in Rome opens the rooms where St Aloysius Gonzaga lived and studied while he was at the Roman College up to the public. (These rooms can be visited throughout the year, and priests can say Mass in them, but an appointment must be made first.) The church of St Ignatius was the first to be named for the Jesuit founder, and begun shortly after his canonization in 1622; the project was financed by Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, nephew to one of the College’s more prominent alumni, Pope Gregory XV. Although he reigned for only two years and five months, Pope Gregory had the honor of canonizing, at a single ceremony, Ss Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Theresa of Avila, Philip Neri, and Isidore of Madrid, generally known as Isidore the Farmer. (The Romans joked at the time that the Pope had canonized four Spaniards and a Saint.) The church was not intended to receive the relics of its titular Saint, which still repose in the Order’s mother church, the Gesù, but rather to serve as the chapel for the 2,000 students enrolled in the Roman College by the beginning of the 17th century. Of the sixteen Popes who reigned from the accession of Gregory XV in 1622 to the suppression of the Society in 1773, half were alumni of the College.

St Aloysius died on June 21, 1591 at the age of 23, after receiving the Last Rites from his spiritual director, St Robert Bellarmine. He had come to the Roman College to begin his studies for the priesthood after completing the novitiate at the church of St Andrew on the Quirinal Hill. With the permission of his superiors, he was allowed to attend to those who had already recovered from the plague in one of the Roman hospitals, but wound up contracting it himself, and although he did not die immediately, was fatally weakened. Among the still-extant rooms of the Roman College which he knew were a common room with a chapel next to it, the very chapel in which he made his first vows in the Order after the novitiate, on November 25, 1587. Over time, the rooms have been decorated, and two more chapels built; collectively, the three are known as the “Cappellette (Little Chapels) di San Luigi.” His relics were formerly kept in one of them, but now repose in the magnificent Lancellotti chapel in the south transept of St Ignatius. Another of the cappellette formerly housed the relics of another youthful Jesuit saint, John Berchmans (1599-1621), but he has also been moved into the main church, opposite St Aloysius in the north transept.

The altar of the Lancellotti Chapel, which contains the relics of St Aloysius; in the reredos, St Aloysius in Glory, by Pierre le Gros.
The altar of St John Berchmans, in the transept directly opposite; he was a Jesuit seminarian from Flanders, and like Aloysius, was seen by his superiors as one of the most promising seminarians in the order, but died in Rome when he was only 22, before he could be ordained. He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.
In 1923, the relics of St Robert Bellarmine were placed in this altar, which is dedicated to St Joachim, immediately next to St Aloysius’.

The courtyard of the Roman College, seen from the roof of the church of St Ignatius. The rooms of St Aloysius and the cappellette are within the lighter-colored part of the building in the upper right of this photograph. With the fall of the Papal State in 1870, the Roman College was seized from the Jesuits by the Italian government and transformed into a public high school.

The Jesuit Fr Angelo Secchi, one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century, and the discoverer of astronomic spectroscopy, worked in and ran this observatory tower during his long and illustrious career; craters on both the Moon and Mars are named after him.

The entrance to the Saint’s room, now transformed into a chapel. (Kudos to the celebrant for ignoring the table.)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Poetic Translation of Elevation Prayer

I was pleased to receive this morning a poetic rendition of the Elevation Prayer that I posted yesterday for Corpus Christi; it is the work of Mr Anthony M. J. L. Delarue, who happens to be a knight in obedience of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. 

At the elevation of the Body of Christi.

All Hail, O holy flesh of God,
Who save our souls from guilt and shame;
While hanging on the mystic Rood
Thy sinful servants did reclaim.

Thou pourest forth the cleansing wave,
From stain of sin our souls to free,
Which Adam’s sin did first enslave,
With stolen apple from the tree.

Thou cleansest me with holy flesh,
Of roseate blood a kindly wave
From all life’s filth doth me refresh,
And save my soul beyond the grave.

By Thy benign and kindly grace
Grant me a true and mystic health,
And by Thy gentle holy peace,
To soul and flesh eternal wealth.

Thrust down to earth mine enemy,
And bring to nought his worldly pride,
And let us thence companions be,
The King of Angels as our guide.

O haven of salvation, Thou,
Who as my life hands back its lease,
O Mighty God, do me release
From lion’s roar and dragon’s fire;
Grant me a seat amidst the choir
Of those who righteous paths have trod,
Through endless ages without end,
Who live and reign, forever God. Amen.

Tastes may differ, but I do believe that Mr Delarue’s choice of the ABAB rhyme scheme works better in English than the AABB scheme of the original. 

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