Monday, October 31, 2022

The Vigil of All Saints

In the Roman Rite, the term “vigilia – vigil” traditionally means a penitential day of preparation for one of the more important feasts. The Mass of a Saint’s vigil is celebrated after None, as are the Masses of the ferias of Lent or the Ember Days, and in violet vestments; however, the deacon and subdeacon do not wear folded chasubles, as they do in Lent, but the dalmatic and tunicle. The Mass has neither the Gloria nor the Creed, the Alleluja is omitted before the Gospel, and not replaced with a Tract, and Benedicamus Domino is said at the end in place of Ite, missa est.

A folio of the Echternach Sacramntary, 895 AD, with the Mass of the vigil of All Saints, and the collect of the feast. (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Latin 9433)
Before the Tridentine reform, the vigil of a Saint consisted solely of the Mass, and had no presence in either the Roman version of the Divine Office, or in that of most other Uses. A minority custom, which seems to have been predominantly German, gave an Office to the vigils of Saints, which consisted of a homily at Matins, and the use of the collect of the vigil as the principal collect of the day; the rest of the Office was that of the feria. The Breviary of St Pius V adopted this latter custom for the vigils of Saints, a rare example of change in an otherwise extremely conservative reform; but even for the Roman Rite, this was not an absolute novelty. Historically, the vigils of the major feasts of the Lord (Christmas, Epiphany etc.) did include the Office, and the change in 1568 simply extended the scope of a well-established custom.

The feast of All Saints was not definitively established as a major solemnity of the Roman Rite until the mid- to late 9th century, but in every book in which it is attested, it is accompanied by such a vigil. It seems reasonable to assume, therefore, that were instituted at the same time. Because of the preeminent position of the martyrs in Christian devotion as the first and most widely venerated Saints after those who appear in the New Testament, the liturgical texts of All Saints are often borrowed or imitated from those of the feasts of martyrs, and the same is true of its vigil.

The Introit of the vigil is taken from the third chapter of the book of Wisdom, the source of many liturgical texts of all kinds for the feasts of martyrs. “Júdicant Sancti gentes et dominantur pópulis: et regnábit Dóminus, Deus illórum, in perpétuum. Ps. 32 Exsultáte, justi, in Dómino: rectos decet collaudatio. Gloria Patri. Judicant. – The Saints judge nations, and rule over peoples, and the Lord their God shall reign for ever. Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the righteous. Glory be. The Saints.”

The Adoration of the Lamb, from the Gospel book known as the Codex Aureus of St Emmeram, 870.
The Epistle is taken from the Apocalypse, chapter 5, 6-12; this part of the book, St John’s vision of God on His throne with the heavenly court and the Saints standing before Him, has long been a favorite source for artistic depictions of Heaven. This specific passage contains the first mention of Christ as “the Lamb that was slain”, and the book’s first occurrence of the word “Saints”.

“In those days, behold I, John, saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints: And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the ancients; and the number of them was thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction.’ ”

As I described in an article five years ago, the feast of All Saints was instituted in part as a response to the iconoclast heresy which the Byzantine Emperors invented, and enforced with a brutal persecution. Roughly a generation before iconoclasm began in 726, the Emperor Justinian II had called a synod now known as either “the Synod in Trullo” or “the Quinisext Council”, which among other things forbade any representation of Christ as an animal. In response, Pope St Sergius I (687-701) added the Agnus Dei to the Mass, and the church of Rome began regularly depicting Christ as a lamb in art. This Epistle, in which the Bible itself calls Him a lamb, was most likely chosen in reference to this; likewise the Epistle of the feast itself, chapter 7, 2-12, in which John sees “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb.’ ” In the same vein, the Magnificat antiphon for Second Vespers of the feast says “O how glorious is the kingdom where all the Saints rejoice with Christ; clothed in white robes, they follow the Lamb wheresoever he goeth!”

In the church of Ss Cosmas and Damian in Rome, Pope Sergius added the gold-background mosaic on the proscenium arch, filled with images from the book of the Apocalypse, including the Lamb of God on His throne. (Photo by Fr Lawrence Lew.)
The Gradual is taken from Psalm 149, “Exsultabunt sancti in gloria; laetabuntur in cubilibus suis. V. Cantate Domino canticum novum; laus ejus in ecclesia sanctorum. – The Saints shall rejoice in glory: they shall be joyful in their resting places. V. Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: let his praise be in the church of the Saints.” The first part of this is frequently said in the Office of Several Martyrs, and was chosen in reference to the fact that the original focus of devotion to the Saints was always at the place of their burial. (There is no recording of it available on YouTube, but it is very similar to the Gradual Tecum principium of the First Mass of Christmas.)

The Gospel, Luke 6, 17-23, is taken from the beginning of the Sermon on the Plain; this is St Luke’s shorter version of the Beatitudes with which St Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount begins (chap. 5, 1-12), the latter being the Gospel of the feast. As St Ambrose explains in the breviary sermon on this Gospel, “Saint Luke sets out only four of the Lord’s Beatitudes, while Saint Matthew gives eight; but in those eight are contained these four, and in these four those eight. For the former in these four embraced the cardinal virtues, and the letter in those eight set forth a number full of mystery. … For as the eighth beatitude names the perfection of what we hope for (i.e., the kingdom of Heaven), so it is also the sum of the virtues.”

The Offertory is taken from the same Psalm as the Gradual, and includes a small variant from the Old Latin version, rather than the Vulgate version of St Jerome. “Exsultabunt sancti in gloria; lætabuntur in cubilibus suis. Exaltationes Dei in faucibus (“gutture” in the Vulgate) eorum. – The Saints shall rejoice in glory: they shall be joyful in their resting places. The high praises of God shall be in their mouth.”

Finally, the Communion also comes from Wisdom 3, and in fact has the same text as the Offertory of the feast, without the Alleluja at the end; the music, however, is completely different.

“Justórum ánimae in manu Dei sunt, et non tanget illos tormentum malitiae: visi sunt óculis insipientium mori: illi autem sunt in pace. – The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of malice shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: but they are in peace.”

In the Middle Ages, October 31 was also celebrated in England, France and the Low Countries as the feast of St Quintinus (“Quentin” in English), a Roman who came to Gaul, preached in the area of Amiens, and was martyred at a town which is now named for him. In many parts of Germany, it was the feast of St Wolfgang, bishop of Regensburg in Bavaria. Where one of these or some other feast was kept, two Masses would be celebrated on the day, one of the Saint after Terce, and the other of the vigil after None, with First Vespers of the feast normally following immediately after the second Mass. The vigil of All Saints receives little attention from medieval liturgical commentators such as Sicard of Cremona or William Durandus, but they do note that it was supposed to be kept with a fast, which was not to be broken until after None and Mass, and was not to be dispensed with because of the occurring feast.

The south façade of the basilica of St Quentin. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons by René Hourdry; CC BY-SA 4.0)

Sunday, October 30, 2022

The Feast of Christ the King 2022

Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honor. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Ps. 71 O God, give Thy judgment to the King, and Thy justice to the King’s son. Glory be... As it was... Worthy is the Lamb... (The Introit of the feast of Christ the King.)

The Crucifixion, and Christ in Majesty among the symbols of the Four Evangelists. From the Gotha Missal, so called after its owners in the 18th century, the Dukes of Gotha; originally made ca. 1375, most likely for the chapel of King Charles V of France (1364-80), now in the Cleveland Museum of Art. (Image from Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0)
Introitus Dignus est Agnus, qui occísus est, accípere virtútem, et divinitátem, et sapiéntiam, et fortitúdinem, et honórem. Ipsi glória et impérium in sǽcula sæculórum. Ps. 71 Deus, judícium tuum Regi da: et justítiam tuam Fílio Regis. Glória Patri... Sicut erat... Dignus est Agnus...

Friday, October 28, 2022

Photopost Request: All Saints and All Souls 2022

Our next photopost series will be for the feast of All Saints and the Commemoration of All Souls, which will be celebrated next Tuesday and Wednesday. As always, we welcome pictures of Mass in either Form, or the Ordinariate Rite, as well as the vigil Mass of All Saints, celebrations of the Divine Office on any of these days, and displays of relics. We will also include celebrations of the traditional feast of Christ the King, and other feasts occurring in these days, if anyone sends them in. Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important; email them to (Zipfiles are preferred.) Evangelize through beauty!

From our first All Saints and All Souls photopost of last year: the absolution at the catafalque at Old Maleizen Monastery in Belgium.
Solemn Mass of All Souls at St Mary of Redford in Detroit, Michigan
From the second post: the Brothers of the Little Oratory in San Diego, California, celebrate Vespers on the feast of Christ the King within the former site of the old presidio, almost certainly the first religious service to be held there since the fort was abandoned by the Spanish in 1831.

The chanting of the Gospel during the solemn Mass of All Saints at the Oratory of St Mary in Wausau, Wisconsin. (ICRSP)

From the third post: relics displayed on the high altar of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, the FSSP church in Rome, on All Saints’ Day.

A Eucharistic procession on the feast of Christ the King at the church of the Holy Innocents in New York City.

The Patronages of Saint Jude

Georges de La Tour, "Saint Jude Thaddée," 1620

Saint Jude, who shares a feast today with Saint Simon the Zealot on October 28, is also called “Thaddeus” (the Brave One) in the New Testament. Jude was one of the original twelve Apostles and probably the brother of St. James the Less. It is also speculated that he was the nephew of St. Joseph and hence the legal cousin of Our Lord, one of those blessed few who were considered the “brethren” of Jesus (Matthew 13:55).

Jude is also the author of the fifth-shortest book in the Bible and one of the seven “Catholic Epistles,” so called because they address a general audience and not a specific person or congregation (like St. Paul’s letters). In his 461-word Epistle, Jude warns the faithful about false teachers who have infiltrated the Church and are spreading a loose morality that disregards the authority of apostolic tradition. This brief admonition is strongly worded and pulls no punches: it calls these false teachers “sensual men” and “grumbling murmurers” who are “clouds without water which are carried about by winds; trees of the autumn, unfruitful, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; [and] raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own confusion” (Jude 12).
Jude also mentions in his Epistle the curious detail that St. Michael the Archangel and the Devil fought over the remains of Moses and that rather than risk blasphemy, Michael said to Satan, “May the Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9). Some speculate that the Devil had wanted Moses’ body to be given a grand monument to tempt the Hebrews into idolatry, but Michael hid it instead.
Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard, "Michael and Satan Disputing about the Body of Moses," ca. 1782
Little is known of what happened to Saint Jude after the first Pentecost. He is believed to have preached the Gospel first in Mesopotamia and then in Persia, where he teamed up with Saint Simon and “begot numerous children to Jesus Christ and spread the faith among the barbarous inhabitants of that vast region” before suffering martyrdom. According to an Armenian tradition, however, Saints Jude and Bartholomew introduced the faith to that nation; the ancient Monastery of Saint Thaddeus in northern Iran was once a part of Greater Armenia.
Understandably, Jude is a patron of Armenia, but he is most famous for being the patron saint of desperate or hopeless causes, possibly because his name was so similar to that of the traitor Judas Iscariot that people would not pray to the “forgotten apostle” unless all else had failed! The patronage itself is relatively recent, dating back to 1929 when a Father James Tort encouraged the devotion among his parishioners in southeast Chicago, most of whom were laid-off steelworkers. The devotion grew rapidly; on the final night of a solemn novena held on St. Jude’s feast, there was an overflow crowd outside the church. The next day, the stock market crashed, and soon more Americans were turning to St. Jude during the Great Depression and World War II.
Father Tort also organized the Police Branch of the League of St. Jude in 1932; to this day, Jude is the official patron of the Chicago Police Department. And because, it is conjectured, many a person feels desperate or hopeless when hospitalized, Jude is also the patron of hospital workers and the hospitalized. Either that, or because of another client of St. Jude, to whom we now turn.
Danny Thomas, 1957
Amos Muzyad Yaqoob Kairouz was a faithful Maronite Catholic, who is better known as the actor and entertainer Danny Thomas. Thomas was down on his luck when he remembered how a stagehand had praised St. Jude for miraculously curing his wife of cancer. A devout Catholic who went to Sunday 6:00 a.m. Mass on his way home from performing all night in a New York club on Saturday night, Thomas prayed to St. Jude and promised him that he would do “something big” if St. Jude helped him out. Jude kept his end of the bargain, and so did Thomas, founding the world-famous St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee in 1962. It was the first fully integrated hospital in the American South, and it has gone on to transform the treatment of child cancer around the world. Thanks in large part to the physicians and scientists of St. Jude, the overall survival rates for childhood cancers have gone from 20% when the hospital opened to 80% today. “Help me find my way in life,” Danny Thomas had prayed to St. Jude, “and I will build you a shrine.” Thanks to Thomas’ gratitude and the patronage of the forgotten Apostle, some hopeless causes are looking less hopeless.

An earlier version of this article appeared as “Who is St. Jude?” in the Messenger of St. Anthony 122:10, international edition (October 2020), p. 37. Many thanks to its editors for allowing its inclusion here.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Chapel of St Thomas Aquinas at the Univ. of Nebraska in Lincoln

Since we just saw the chapel of Thomas Aquinas College’s campus in Northfield, Massachusetts, here are some photos of another very nice college chapel, that of the Newman Center at the Univ. of Lincoln, Nebraska, which is dedicated to St Thomas. This project by McCrery Architects was completed and dedicated in 2015, happily replacing a very unattractive structure from the early 1960s. 

Solemn Mass of Christ the King in Bridgeport, Connecticut

This coming Sunday, the Oratory of Ss Cyril and Methodius, the ICRSP’s Apostolate in Bridgeport, Connecticut, will have a solemn Mass for the Institute’s patronal feast, followed by an indoor Eucharistic procession, and the recitation of the Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart. The Mass begins at 10:15 a.m.; the church is located at 79 Church St.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Feast of the Holy Relics

In the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, the entry on Relics states that “It has long been customary especially in churches which possessed large collections of relics, to keep one general feast in commemoration of all the saints whose memorials are there preserved. (As will be explained below, this is something of an overstatement.)

Part of the relics collection of the basilica of St Petronius in Bologna.
An Office and Mass for this purpose will be found in the Roman Missal and Breviary, and though they occur only in the supplement Pro aliquibus locis and are not obligatory upon the Church at large, still this celebration is now kept almost universally. The office is generally assigned to the fourth Sunday in October.” The author, Fr Herbert Thurston SJ, wrote “generally” because there was a variety of uses in regard to the date. I have seen the feast on October 26 in a 19th century breviary printed at Naples, while the Dominicans kept it on the 30th, and the Premonstratensians on November 14th. The Catholic Encyclopedia article was published just prior to the reform of St Pius X, which abolished the custom of fixing feasts to particular Sundays; after that reform, the most common date was November 5th.

The Divine Office for the feast is that of the common of Several Martyrs, with lessons in the second nocturn taken from St John Damascene’s Treatise on the Orthodox Faith, which perfectly summarize the Church’s theology of relics.

“Christ the Lord granted us the relics of the Saints as fonts of salvation, from which very many benefits come to us. … In the (old) law, whosoever touched a dead person was deemed unclean, but these (i.e. the Saints) are not to be reckoned among the dead. For from that time when He who is life itself, and the Author of life, was reckoned among the dead, we do not call them dead who have fallen asleep in Him with the hope and faith of the resurrection.”

This mid-11th century fresco in the lower basilica of St Clement in Rome shows the translation of the relics of St Clement, which Ss Cyril and Methodius discovered while they were evangelizing the Slavs in the region to which Clement had been deported, and where he had been martyred in the early 2nd century. The two Saints are depicted at left with Pope St Nicholas I, to whom they gave the relics; in the middle, St Clement is depicted as a living person, lying on a bier and covered with a red blanket, holding up his head, to indicate that the relics are his living presence among us. At the right, the Pope is celebrating Mass, with the Missal open to the “Per omnia saecula” and “Pax Domini” before Communion. (Public domainimage from Wikimedia.)
He goes on to note various kinds of miracles that are worked by relics: “demons are expelled, illnesses driven away, the sick are healed, the blind regain sight, the leprous are cleansed, temptations and sorrows are scattered, and every best gift descendeth through them from the Father of lights (James 1, 17), unto those who ask with unwavering faith.”

As a theologian and Doctor of the Church, St John is best known for his defense of sacred images against the iconoclast heresy. “Iconoclasm” literally means “the breaking of images”, but in its Byzantine form, it also attacked the Church’s devotion to relics, just as the Protestant form would eight centuries later. Shortly after the Synod of the Hieria, which took place in the Emperor’s palace in Chalcedon in 753, and made iconoclasm the official policy of the Byzantine Empire, the altar of the nearby basilica of St Euphemia was dismantled, and her relics removed from it and cast into the sea. This was the first in a twenty-year long campaign of similar desecrations, and persecution of the iconodules. When the Second Council of Nicea was convoked in 787 to reestablish the orthodox faith, several accounts of miracles worked by both images and relics were adduced in their favor, and incorporated into the Council’s official acts, following the line set out by St John.

The Mass of the Holy Relics found in the supplement to the Missal is a fairly recent composition; its three prayers are all proper to the feast, but the Gregorian propers and Scriptural readings are selected from other Masses. The Introit is taken from the feast of Ss John and Paul, the first martyrs whose relics were buried inside a church within the city of Rome. “Many are the afflictions of the just; and out of them all will the Lord deliver them. The Lord keepeth all their bones, not one of them shall be broken.” The Epistle, Sirach 44, 10-15, is that of the octave day of Ss Peter and Paul, over whose tombs and relics the Emperor Constantine built two of Rome’s earliest public churches; it is here selected for the verse “Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation.” The Gradual Exsultabunt Sancti and the Gospel, Luke 6, 17-23, the beginning of the Sermon on the Plain, are both taken from the vigil of All Saints, since the feast of the Holy Relics is effectively celebrated as a part of All Saints’ Day. The remaining chants are taken from the Masses of various Martyrs.

A 15th-century reliquary of St James the Greater, the presence of which in the cathedral of Pistoia made that city into one of the major pilgrimage centers of medieval Italy.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of relics in the devotional life of the medieval Church, and a general commemoration “of the relics” is often found in medieval breviaries among the series of votive commemorations known as “suffrages.” However, a general feast of relics per se is actually quite rare in the Middle Ages; one of the few notable examples is found in the Use of Sarum, which kept such a feast on the Sunday after July 7th. This date was chosen because July 7th was the feast of the translation of perhaps the most important relics in pre-Reformation England, those of St Thomas of Canterbury. Translation feasts were also celebrated for St Martin of Tours and St Benedict, and indeed, all three were kept within a single week, with the former on the 4th and the latter on the 11th.

In point of fact, it was a much more common practice to celebrate the translation or reception of a specific relic or group of relics, rather than a feast of relics in general. In 1194, a feast of this kind was established at Paris, celebrated on December 4th under the title “Susceptio Reliquarum – The Receiving of the Relics.” The objects in question were believed to be several of the Virgin Mary’s hairs, three of St John the Baptist’s teeth, the arm of St Andrew the Apostle, some of the stones with which St Stephen was killed, and a large portion of the skull of St Denis. The pre-Tridentine Breviary of Paris has a special Office for the day, which mixes together parts of the Offices of these Saints with others from that of All Saints’ Day, and the hymns of Several Martyrs. Particular emphasis is laid on the Virgin, to whom the cathedral of Paris, where these relics were kept, is dedicated, and on local hero St Denis. This Office remained in use in the post-Tridentine period, with modifications that did not change its basic tenor.

(Many of the relics kept at Notre Dame de Paris were destroyed during the Revolution; the following video shows the monthly exposition of one of the most famous ones that survived, the Crown of Thorns, which had its own feast on the Parisian calendar on August 11th.)
I am sure that some of those who read this article will smile (or perhaps smirk) at the idea of relics of the Virgin Mary’s hair or the stones used to kill St Stephen. In this, they will not be alone. In the early decades of the 18th century, the church of Paris turned to a general and radical revision of its liturgical books, the reform which we now call “neo-Gallican.” This reform embraced many of the rationalist critiques brought against some of the Church’s traditional stories and legends; in the 19th century, Dom Prosper Guéranger, the great enemy of the neo-Gallicans, complained bitterly of their splitting up of both St Mary Magdalene and St Denis into different personages according to the various parts of their legends.

Likewise, suspicious (to say the least) of the authenticity of these relics, the neo-Gallican reform completely erased the original character of the “Susceptio Reliquiarum”, transforming it into a general feast of relics. Renamed as “the Veneration of the Holy Relics”, and transferred to November 8th, the octave day of All Saints, it was then given a completely new Office, which contains no references at all to the specific relics for which it was originally instituted, or the Saints whose relics they were.

The neo-Gallican liturgical reforms contain a great many lapses in taste and judgment which almost beggar belief; however, the new Office of the Holy Relics, whatever its history may be, is from a literary point of view one of the better efforts of its kind. Like most people who put their hand to changing historical liturgies, the Neo-Gallican revisers were painfully obsessed with making everything “more Scriptural,” and the new antiphons and responsories consist almost entirely of direct citations from the Bible. But they are very well chosen from a wide selection of books, and do demonstrate effectively that the Church’s veneration of relics is a tradition thoroughly grounded in Scripture. Just to give one example, the following responsory cites an Old Testament episode which was later used by Cardinal Newman in his Apologia to justify the veneration of relics.

R. They cast the body into the sepulcher of Elisha, and when it had touched the bones of Elisha, the man came back to life, and stood upon his feet. (4 Kings 13, 21) V. By faith they received their dead raised to life again. (Hebr. 11, 35) And when…

It is also, I believe, the only example of a neo-Gallican Office that was adopted for use outside France, and continued to be used, at least in part, even after the neo-Gallican liturgies were definitively suppressed in the 19th century. The Neapolitan breviary which I mentioned above contains it in almost exactly the same form as it appears in the 1714 edition of the Parisian Breviary. The one feature of the Office which the neo-Gallican reforms could not make into a chain of Scriptural citations is the corpus of hymns, to which a great many new compositions were added. The new Parisian Office of the Holy Relics includes a hymn written by a cleric of the diocese of Paris named Claude Santeul (1624-84) which was adopted by the Benedictines for their version of the feast, and is thus still part of the Antiphonale Monasticum for the Office to this very day. The meter is one used by the classical poet Horace called the Third Asclepiadean, not previously part of the traditional repertoire of Christian hymns. Some of Santeul’s odd vocabulary (e.g. “Christiadum” instead of “Christianorum”) is determined by the need to find words that fit the meter, but his complicated word order is a deliberate imitation of Horace’s style.

Reverence their poor and sadly dear remains!
Folded in peace their earthly vesture lies,
Dear pledges, left below, but thence to rise,
Pledges of heavenly bodies, free from pains!

And here ye may lift up your thankful strains,
Ye Christian companies. The spirit flies,
And hath its recompense in quiet skies,
And leaves with you below its broken chains:

Yet for their bones meek Piety shall plead,
Blest Piety, which honoureth the dead!
Though scatter’d far and wide, yet God’s own eye
Doth keep them that they perish not; and when

The promised hour shall come, their God again
Shall gather them, and as He builds on high
His habitation, each there, moulded by His grace,
Shall live and find a sure abiding place.

To us the places where your ashes be
Shall be as altars, whence shall steadier rise
Our prayers to Heav’n; and that blest Sacrifice,
Where God the Victim cometh down from high,

Shall consecrate to holier mystery;
He here accepts your deaths as join’d with His,
Here builds all in one body, and supplies
Our dying frames with immortality.

And hence your graves become a tower of aid,
A refuge from bad thoughts, a sacred shade;
Until, fresh clad with new and wondrous dowers,
Our flesh shall join the angelic choirs, and be

A living temple crowned with heavenly towers;
Where evermore the praises shall ascend
Of the great undivided One and Three,
And God be all in all, world without end. Amen.

(English translation by Isaac Williams from Hymns translated from the Parisian Breviary, Rivington, London, 1839)

The neo-Gallican use also has a different Gospel from the one named above for the feast of the Holy Relics, Luke 20, 27-38, in which Christ disputes with the Sadducees about the nature of the final Resurrection. The conclusion of this passage is particularly important as the foundation of what St John Damascene says, that the Saints are not truly dead. “Now that the dead rise again, Moses also showed, at the bush, when he called the Lord, The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; for he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to him.” In the Parisian Breviary, the homily that accompanies it is taken from a treatise written by St Jerome against a priest from Gaul named Vigilantius, who had denied the value of praying to the Saints and venerating relics, a work in which we see the Saint at his wittiest and most acerbic.

“Vigilantius is vexed to see the relics of the martyrs covered with a costly veil, and not bound up with rags or hair-cloth, or thrown down the midden, so that Vigilantius alone in his drunken slumber may be worshipped. Are we, therefore guilty of sacrilege when we enter the basilicas of the Apostles? Was the Emperor Constantius guilty of sacrilege when he transferred the sacred relics of Andrew, Luke, and Timothy to Constantinople? In their presence the demons cry out, and those who dwell in Vigilantius (i.e. the devils) confess that they feel their influence. And at the present day, is the Emperor Arcadius guilty of sacrilege, who after so long a time has conveyed the bones of the blessed Samuel from Judea to Thrace? Are all the bishops to be considered not only sacrilegious, but fools as well, because they carried that most worthless thing, dust and ashes, wrapped in silk in golden vessel? Are the people of all the churches fools, because they went to meet the sacred relics, and welcomed them with as much joy as if they beheld a living prophet in their midst, so that there was one great swarm of people from Palestine to Chalcedon with one voice re-echoing the praises of Christ? They were forsooth adoring Samuel and not Christ, whose Levite and prophet Samuel was. You imagine he is dead, and therefore you blaspheme. Read the Gospel: the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

St Jerome the Penitent, by Titian, 1575; when depicted in this fashion, he is traditionally shown holding a rock with which he is said to have beaten his breast as an act of penance. Given the ferocity of Jerome’s polemical writings, and a general apprehension of his character (he quarreled violently with several of his friends), Pope Benedict XIV is supposed to have remarked on seeing such a representation of the Saint, “If it is true, that would be the only way you got into heaven.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Chapel of Thomas Aquinas College’s New England Campus

Beginning with the fall semester of 2019, Thomas Aquinas College has been operating a second campus in Northfield, Massachusetts. The property was built for a Protestant school originally known as the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies, which later became the Northfield Mt Hermon School, and now operates on a different campus. The campus includes a beautiful chapel in the collegiate Gothic style, which was rededicated as a Catholic chapel named for Our Lady of Perpetual Help when TAC took over. A friend of Peter (who is an alumnus of the California campus) recently visited, and very kindly shared these pictures with us. Most of the decorations have been added within the last three years, and I’d say the place has Catholicked up very nicely!

Oh Happy Fault! God Permits Ugliness in the World So That Its Beauty Can Be Even Greater

Gargoyles and dissonant chords have a role in our appreciation of beauty, through the ancient Via Pulchritudinis Negativa - the Way of Beauty by Negation.

If beauty is good, and ugliness is the absence of beauty, then isn’t ugliness always bad? The answer is yes…generally. However, if we accept that all that is bad is permitted by God so that a greater good can arise from it, then this principle must apply to ugliness too. That is, that ugliness is present in this world so that a greater beauty can arise from it.

This was the view of some medieval commentators, who believed that the juxtaposition of ugliness and beauty can be used to enhance our ability to apprehend what is beautiful. For example the Irish Neo-Platonist philosopher John Scotus Eriugina wrote in the 9th century AD: 
For anything that is considered deformed in itself as part of a whole not only becomes beautiful in the totality, because it is well ordered, but is also a cause of Beauty in general; thus wisdom is illuminated by the relation to foolishness, knowledge by comparison with ignorance, which is merely imperfection and wanting, life by death, light by the opposition of shadows, worthy things by the lack of praise for them, and to be brief, all virtues only win praise by comparison with the opposite vices but without this comparison they would not be worthy of praise...As is the case with a beautiful painting, for example. For all that is ordered according to the design of divine Providence is good, beautiful and just. Indeed what could be better than the fact that the comparison of opposites lets us sing the ineffable praises of both the universe and the Creator?
De divisione naturae, V; quoted in The History of Beauty by Umberto Eco. 
Johns Scotus Eriugina depicted on the Irish 5-pound note.
One might perhaps think of this as a sort of apophatic aesthetics. We approach the apprehension of Beauty by contrast with what it is not. This is analogous to apophatic theology (apophatic is Greek for negation), alternatively referred to as the via negativa (in Latin the ‘road of negation.’) These are commonly used terms for a way of approaching God that emphasizes His unknowability and the inadequacy of positive theological attributes to define Him. By the via negativa we describe God by referring to what he is not. For example, He is not finite, rather he is infinite; He is not bound by time, rather He is eternal. By this principle, we can also follow what one might call the via pulchritudinis negativa - the Way of Beauty by Negation - help us apprehend beauty.
Artists and musicians have applied this principle creatively through centuries.
As a general principle, artists will know that in a painting if everything is in accord with a perfectly idealized template or pattern it tends to look sterile and dull. When he introduces judiciously small and occasional deviations and aberrations, however, suddenly the whole work looks richer and more interesting and, paradoxically, more perfect. As an artist, I aim to paint things that incorporate principles of order, symmetry, harmonious proportions, and balance in the application of tone and color. Nevertheless, I always introduce anomalies that subtly break free of a rigid application of the idealized pattern in small details because I have found that it adds to the beauty of the whole.
Through centuries, artists who paint in Christian figurative traditions have always deviated from strict adherence to natural appearances. This partial abstraction is present in all authentic Christian art. The fact that we recognize that a piece of art conforms to, say, the iconographic, the gothic or baroque styles is because artists deviates from strict naturalism in accepted ways. The fact that when we look at traditional paintings in these styles and typically it doesn’t even think of this partial abstraction as ugly distortion is testament to how well traditional practices employ the via pulchritudinis negativa to raise the beauty of the painting.
Christ Pantocrator, by the 20th century iconographer Gregory Kroug
Similarly, when a virtuoso musician plays a piece of music, they do not play precisely what the composer has written down. So when Glenn Gould plays Bach, or Alfred Brendel plays Bach, they deviate subtly from the precise rendition of the score, lagging slightly in the rhythm here, leading slightly there, as they interpret the score. These tiny subtle aberrations contribute to what becomes a brilliant interpretation of the piece as a whole. And again, if we are even aware of what the pianist is doing, the effect is so powerful that we never interpret his variations as mistakes. It is often said that the greatest artists, musicians and composers master the rules and then know how to break them. I would say that in fact, they are not breaking the rules, rather, they are transcending them. By this I mean that they understand that such rules are simply man’s attempt to capture the beauty of an ideal and will be incomplete. They are necessary, but can only get us so close. The virtuoso intuits the ideal to which the rules are directing us, but which they cannot capture completely.
So we see gargoyles in Gothic cathedrals, which are skillfully and intricately carved distorted figures arising from the imagination of the mason that add to the overall beauty of the edifice.
A gargoyle from Salisbury Cathedral
Similarly, when illuminating manuscripts, monks would deliberately introduce ‘mistakes’. The reason often given is that this reflects an acknowledgement that man cannot match the perfection of God; this helps to remind us that even the ‘perfect’ version that would have been produced without the deliberate mistake cannot in fact match the perfection of God. To the modern eye is is difficult to see the ‘mistake’, but the beauty of the whole is still apparent.
A folio from the Lindisfarne Gospel

Monday, October 24, 2022

“To the Illustrious Assassins of Our Holy Liturgy”: Msgr. Domenico Celada, 1969

The following clear-sighted and prophetic letter was penned by the composer, musicologist, organist, and essayist Msgr. Domenico Celada in 1969. It is a document that prophesied what would happen in the Church—all the more relevant today when Traditionis Custodes attempts to stifle fidelity to the Tridentine Rite, without caring about the liturgical degradation that, with the introduction of a new Mass, has been perpetrated and continues dramatically in these times of deep crisis in the Catholic Church. Msgr. Celada’s open letter unmasked (and unmasks) the spirit that animated (and animates) the saboteurs of tradition. Nor did Msgr. Celada, who taught music and history of Gregorian chant at the Lateran University, fail to suffer for his outspokenness: he was removed from all his positions. (Some of the foregoing has been adapted from here.)

To the Illustrious Assassins of Our Holy Liturgy
Msgr. Domenico Celada (1969)
For a long time I have wanted to write to you, illustrious assassins of our holy Liturgy. Not because I hope that my words will have any effect on you, who have too long fallen into the claws of Satan and become his most obedient servants, but so that all those who suffer from the countless crimes committed by you may find their voice again.

Do not deceive yourselves, gentlemen. The atrocious wounds that you have opened in the body of the Church cry out for vengeance before God, the just Avenger.

Your plan to subvert the Church, through the liturgy, is very ancient. Many of your predecessors, much more intelligent than you, tried to carry it out, and the Father of Darkness has already welcomed them into his kingdom. And I remember your anger, your mocking sneer, when, some fifteen years ago, you desired the death of that great Pontiff, the servant of God Eugenio Pacelli, because he had divined your designs and opposed them with the authority of the Triregnum. After that famous conference on “pastoral liturgy,” on which the very clear words of Pope Pius XII had fallen like a sword, you left mystical Assisi foaming with anger and venom.

Now you have succeeded—for now, at least. You have created your “masterpiece”: the New Liturgy.

That this is not the work of God is demonstrated first of all (leaving aside the dogmatic implications) by a very simple fact: it is frighteningly ugly. It is a cult of ambiguity and equivocation, not infrequently a cult of indecency. This is enough to understand that your “masterpiece” does not come from God, the source of all beauty, but from the ancient slasher of God’s works.

Yes, you have deprived the Catholic faithful of the purest emotions, derived from the sublime things that have substantiated the liturgy for millennia: the beauty of words, gestures, music. What have you given us in return? A hodgepodge of ugliness, of grotesque “translations” (as is well known, your father down there has no sense of humor), of gastric emotions aroused by the mewing of electric guitars, of gestures and attitudes that are equivocal to say the least.

But, as if that’s not enough, there is another sign that shows that your “masterpiece” does not come from God. And that is the instruments you have had to use in order to realize it: fraud and lies. You have succeeded in making people believe that a Council had decreed the disappearance of the Latin language, the archiving of the heritage of sacred music, the abolition of the tabernacle, the overturning of the altars, the prohibition of bending the knee before Our Lord present in the Eucharist, and all your other progressive steps, which are part (the lawyers would say) of a “single criminal design.”

You knew very well that the “lex orandi” is also the “lex credendi,” and that, therefore, by changing the one, you would change the other.

You knew that by pointing your poisoned spears at the living language of the Church, you would practically kill the unity of the faith.

You knew that, by decreeing the death of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony, you could introduce at will all the pseudo-musical indecencies which desecrate divine worship and cast an equivocal shadow over liturgical celebrations.

You knew that by destroying tabernacles, by replacing altars with “tables for the Eucharistic meal,” by denying the faithful the opportunity to bend their knees before the Son of God, you would in short order extinguish faith in the Real Presence.

You have worked with your eyes open. You raged against a monument to which heaven and earth had set their hands, because you knew that with it you were destroying the Church. You went so far as to take away the traditional Holy Mass, even tearing out the heart of the Catholic liturgy—that same Holy Mass for which we were ordained priests, and which no one in the world will ever be able to forbid us, because no one can trample on a natural right.

I know: you may now laugh at what I am about to say. Go ahead, laugh at it. You have gone so far as to remove from the Litany of the Saints the invocation “a flagello terraemotus, libera nos, Domine” [from the scourge of earthquakes, deliver us, O Lord], and never before has the earth trembled at so many latitudes. You have removed the invocation “a spiritu fornicationis, libera nos Domine” [from the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Lord], and never have we been so covered over as we are now by the mud of immorality and pornography in its most repellent and degrading forms. You have abolished the invocation “ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliare digneris” [that you might deign to humiliate the enemies of Holy Church], and never before have the enemies of the Church prospered in all ecclesiastical institutions, at every level.

Laugh, laugh… Your laughter is boisterous and joyless. Certainly none of you know, as we do, the tears of joy and sorrow. You are not even capable of crying. Your bovine eyes, whether glass or metal balls, look at things without seeing them. You are similar to the cows watching the trains pass by. To you I prefer the thief who snatches the gold chain from the child, I prefer the mugger, I prefer the robber with weapons in his fist, I even prefer the brute and the violator of graves. They are people far less dirty than you, who have robbed God’s people of all their treasures.

While we wait for your father down there to welcome you into his kingdom, “where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth,” I want you to know of our unshakeable certainty that those treasures will be returned to us. And it will be a restitutio in integrum [a total restoration]. You have forgotten that Satan is the eternal loser.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Dominican Sequence for the Dedication of a Church

In the Dominican Rite, today is the collective feast of the dedication of all of the Order’s consecrated churches. This is a fairly new custom, instituted when the Dominican calendar was revised in the wake of St Pius X’s breviary reform; prior to that, each such church kept its own dedication feast. In the post-Conciliar rite, the Dominicans have reverted to the older custom, but the feast on October 22nd is retained for those churches whose real date of dedication is unknown; a rare example within the Novus Ordo of a return to an authentic historical custom.

Earlier this year, I addressed the persistent misunderstanding that the liturgical reform of St Pius V removed the great majority of sequences from the Mass. The reality is that the Roman Missal had always had very few sequences, and as various churches and orders adopted it, they adopted its sparse repertoire of them along with it. However, some churches and orders that did not adopt the Roman Missal nevertheless reformed their own missals in one way or another in imitation of it. One of the most common such reforms was to take out of most of the sequences, and in 1687, this was done to the Dominican Missal when the master general Antonin Cloche had a new edition published. (The Premonstratensians had done something similar in the 1620s.)
The Sequence Rex Salomon in the Codex of Humbert of Romans, the prototype manuscript of the medieval Dominican liturgy. (Rome: Santa Sabina MS XIV L1). This manuscript was compiled by the Master of the Order Humbert of Romans, in accord with the commission of the Dominican General Chapter held at Buda in 1254, and approved by the General Chapter of Paris in 1256. The sequence begins with the large blue R in the left column.
Prior to Cloche’s reform, the Dominicans sang the following sequence, Rex Salomon fecit templum, on the feast of a church’s dedication; it is attributed (with some uncertainty) to one of the most prolific authors in the genre, Adam of St Victor, who flourished in the first part of the 12th century. After serving as precentor of Notre-Dame de Paris, he entered the abbey of Augustinian Canons Regular dedicated to St Victor in Paris’ Rive Gauche, very close to the Sorbonne. This abbey was one of the major intellectual centers of the High Middle Ages, and literary works produced by its members were swiftly diffused throughout Europe. Dreves’ Analecta Hymnica (vol. 55) lists a very large number of sources for the piece, including several early manuscripts of the Dominican Use, several from the abbey, and various others from the British isles, the Low Countries, etc. The English translation is taken from The Liturgical Poetry of Adam of St Victor (vol. 1), by Digby Wrangham of St John’s College, Oxford. (Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., London, 1881.)

Rex Salomon fecit templum,
Quorum instar et exemplum
Christus et Ecclesia.

Hujus hic est imperator,
Fundamentum et fundator,
Mediante gratia.
Solomon the king a temple
Built, whose pattern and example
Christ, with Holy Church, appears:

He, its founder and foundation,
Sway, through grace’s mediation,
As the Church’s ruler bears.
Quadri templi fundamenta
Marmora sunt, instrumenta
Parietum paria.

Candens flos est castitatis,
Lapis quadrus in praelatis,
Virtus et constantia.
Squarely built, this temple’s bases
Are of marble; each wall’s space is
Formed of stones cut evenly.

Chastity’s fair flower there twineth;
Each squared stone therein combineth,
Prelates’ nerve and constancy.
Templique sublimitas.

Fide recta
Sunt fides, spes, caritas.
Its far-reaching
Length, and stretching
Width, and height that tempts the sky,

Faith explaining
The true meaning,
Are Faith, Hope, and Charity.
Sed tres partes sunt in templo
Trinitatis sub exemplo:
Ima, summa, media.

Prima signat vivos cunctos,
Et secunda jam defunctos,
Redivivos tertia.
Tripartite is this fair Temple,
After the Triune’s example,
With first, third, and middle floor:

First, the living signifying;
Second, those in death now lying,
Third, those raised to life once more.
Sexagenos quaeque per se
Sed et partes universae
Habent lati cubitos;

Horum trium tres conventus
Trinitati dant concentus
Unitati debitos.
All the parts together rated,
Or alone, are calculated
Threescore cubits wide to be:

Triply do these three, thus blending,
Harmonize with the transcending
Trinity in Unity.
Templi cultus
Exstat multus:
Odor domus,
Murra, stactis, cassia;

Quae bonorum
Decus morum
Atque bonos
Precum sonos
Sunt significantia.
Gorgeous ritual
And perpetual
Scents, sweet smelling,
Fill God’s dwelling,
Cassia, myrrh, and cinnamon;

Christian graces,
Prayers, and praises,
Grateful offerings at His throne.
In hac casa
Cuncta vasa
Sunt ex auro
De thesauro
Praeelecto penitus;

Nam magistros
Et ministros
Decet doctos
Et excoctos
Igne sancti spiritus.
In this palace
Is each chalice
A gold measure
From the treasure
Pre-elected secretly:

For all teachers’
Minds, and preachers’,
Throughly furnished,
Purged, and burnished,
By the Spirit’s fire should be.
Sic ex bonis
Quae rex David
Fiunt aedificia;

Nam in lignis
Rex insignis
Juvit Tyri,
Cujus viri
Tractant artificia.
Thus with treasure
David’s pleasure
Had collected
Is erected Solomon’s
great sanctuary;

But the dwelling,
All excelling,
– Timber sending,
Craftsmen lending, –
Tyre’s art fashioned cunningly.
Jam ex gente Judaeisque,
Sicut templum ab utrisque,
Conditur Ecclesia.

Christe, qui hanc et hos unis,
Lapis huic et his communis,
Tibi laus et gloria! Amen.
Formed of Jew and Gentile races,
Builds the Church her holy places,
As did both the Temple raise.

Christ, Who both in one unitest!
Corner-stone of each! the brightest
Glory be to Thee and praise. Amen.

Cardinal Montini, Sixty Years Ago Today: A Window into the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms

The 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (11th October 1962) has recently passed, accompanied with the usual panegyrics and plaudits, this time round with the addition of so-called "synodality". Indeed, we should, so the Pope says, "return to the Council's pure sources of love... rediscover the Council's passion and renew our own passion for the Council."

I thought, then, that it would be perfectly in keeping with the Pope's words to look at what the Council Fathers actually had to say about the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, beginning with the man who would be elected as Supreme Pontiff in 1963: the then-Archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Battista Cardinal Montini.

Sixty years ago today, Cardinal Montini gave a spoken intervention on the floor of the Council, in which, with the benefit of hindsight, we are given a window into the post-conciliar liturgical reforms and how Sacrosanctum Concilium would be applied by the future Pope and the Consilium ad exsequendam. In this speech, we can see a via media expressed by Montini: he wishes Latin to be preserved in the "priestly parts" of the liturgy, but vernacular for the "didactic parts"; damaging "innovations" are to be avoided, but "prudent" and "wise" changes to the liturgy are necessary for the "men of our age". Of course, this 'middle way' did not come to pass: Montini's own conviction that "the Liturgy was instituted for men, not men for the Liturgy", as well as his principle that "the greatest pastoral efficacy may be given to the Sacred Liturgy", would seem, in the end, to have overruled almost every other consideration, and opened the way for exactly the sorts of "fickle, damaging innovations" he declared himself to be against in 1962.
Still, with regard to Montini's via media, others would express similar intentions about, for example, the question of Latin and the vernacular, and notably it was what the Council Fathers were specifically told that Sacrosanctum Concilium nn. 36 and 54 meant:
[A]rticle [36], as it is in the schema, is the best way to follow the via media between the two extremes... (Relatio, General Congregation XXXIV, 5th December 1962: AS I.4, p. 285) 
Regarding article n. 41, now n. 54... Others judge that the entire Mass is to be said in the vernacular. But exiling Latin from the Mass contradicts the principle already established in article 36... Rather, we ought to walk by the via media... (Relatio, General Congregation XLIII, 8th October 1963: AS II.2, p. 290)
That these intentions were later ignored and abandoned by the Consilium and Paul VI should prove, contrary to various recent assertions (notably Desiderio desideravi, n. 31), that to question the post-Vatican II reforms is in no way to "reject" the Council, whatever that means! And readers of NLM should remember, particularly over the next year when, no doubt, much will be written about "the Council" and the "spirit of Vatican II", that the Acta Synodalia demonstrate the accuracy of Cardinal Ratzinger's words in 1976:
The problem of the new Missal lies in its abandonment of a historical process that was always continual, before and after St. Pius V, and in the creation of a completely new book, although it was compiled of old material, the publication of which was accompanied by a prohibition of all that came before it, which, besides, is unheard of in the history of both law and liturgy. And I can say with certainty, based on my knowledge of the conciliar debates and my repeated reading of the speeches made by the Council Fathers, that this does not correspond to the intentions of the Second Vatican Council.
*    *    *    *    *

Giovanni Battista Cardinal Montini, Archbishop of Milan
Spoken Intervention on Sacrosanctum Concilium
Given at the Second Vatican Council,
General Congregation IV, 22nd October 1962
Latin text: Acta Synodalia I.1, pp. 311-313
Translated by Matthew P. Hazell, with emphases
May I also, as metropolitan of the region of Lombardy and moderator of the Ambrosian rite, openly pledge that I approve the proposed schema as to its substance, and ask this very large group of Fathers to favour the principle on which, it seems to me, the whole schema is based: the principle that the greatest pastoral efficacy may be given to the Sacred Liturgy.
In fact, the schema seems to highly recommend this, because of what is affirmed in paragraph n. 5, namely: “Although the sacred Liturgy does not include the whole sphere of the activity of the Church, it is nevertheless at her centre, which is the Divine Eucharistic Sacrifice, the summit to which all things must be directed, and at the same time from which all things proceed.” [1]
Therefore, in this outline of the sacred Liturgy, viewed as a whole, there is a true balance, I think, between two sentences which equally serve the pastoral purpose of the Council, namely:
1. The schema is not of the kind to yield to those who want to introduce innovations with fickleness of mind and at their own discretion, or, worse still, cause damage to those highly esteemed things, divine and human, that are contained in the sacred Liturgy and which have been transmitted to the Christian people over the course of many centuries, preserving the authentic unity of this tradition as regards its substance. Those who follow the Ambrosian rite wish to present themselves, in a particular way, as faithful in regard to this.
2. Further, the schema does not favour the opinion of those who assert that the rite must be completely unchangeable, or who adhere too much to the ceremonies handed down by history, preferring the form in which the worship is expressed over the essentials signified by this very form.
And so the proposed schema appears to effect its purpose, so that it is constantly attached to two things: the essence of the Liturgy itself, which must be completely defended and preserved, and its traditional or historical form, that is, the way in which the celebration of the divine mysteries is, as it were, clothed; this form can indeed be changed, but prudently and wisely, and for more suitable reasons revived. The schema thus in no way diminishes the divine patrimony of Catholic worship, received from our forefathers, but it permits and recommends that the post-Conciliar commissions to be established – in which even bishops who are pastors of souls must be present – render this same patrimony more clearly, so it is more comprehensible and useful to men of our age, to whom, as shepherds, we are bound by duty out of conscience.
Indeed, on account of our burden, for which we must protect the tradition of ecclesiastical forms, we may not detract from the even greater obligation that we owe to both God and Christ, as well as to the Christian people and men of our times. For we know that this society of ours, in so much crisis when it comes to religion, can still come today to Christ, to the Church, and to salvation, especially with the help of the liturgical word.
The following is to be examined: especially when it comes to the language to be used in worship, that the use of the ancient language handed down by our ancestors, namely the Latin language, should for the Latin Church be firm and stable in those parts of the rite which are sacramental and properly and truly priestly. This must be done so that the unity of the Mystical Body at prayer, as well as the accuracy of the sacred formulas, is religiously observed. However, as far as the people are concerned, any difficulty in understanding can be removed in the didactic parts of the sacred Liturgy, and the faithful also given the opportunity to express in comprehensible words their prayers, in which they call upon God.
We must not forget Saint Paul’s eloquent teachings in 1 Corinthians 14, that is to say, he affirms that he who prays in the Church must understand with his mind what he utters with his mouth, and must answer “Amen” knowing what he is saying. The Liturgy was instituted for men, not men for the Liturgy. It is the prayer of the Christian community; if we desire that this community not abandon our temples, but that they may willingly approach them, and there have the interior life of the soul formed and express their faith worthily, the hindrance of a language that cannot be understood, or is appropriate for only a very few, must be removed, prudently, but without delay or hesitation. Whatever does not attract our people to participate in divine worship but alienates them from it is to be examined, as is excellently stated in n. 24 of the constitution. [2]
The sentence of Saint Augustine himself is not in vain, which warns: “better that linguistic experts should find fault with us than that people should not understand” (Enarrationes in Psalmos, 138, 20).
Likewise, the principle of reducing ceremonies to a simpler form seems commendable to me, not in order to diminish the beauty and rich meaning of worship, but to ensure that the brevity of the ceremonies may be properly considered and that repetitions and all complications are avoided; the liturgical reform here announced is supported by this principle, very appropriate and in keeping with the character of the men of our age, even pious and faithful ones.
Now I would like to add some particular observations in writing, which are proposed to the relevant commission, especially concerning the liturgies of the religious orders; for I wish that, on p. 169, after n. 32, [3] mention should be made or a new paragraph introduced about these liturgies, properly revised if necessary, of exempt religious, [4] due to their historical importance and spiritual dignity. Dixi.

Translator's Notes
[1] This paragraph would later be added to, and split over SC, nn. 9-10.
[2] Equivalent to SC, n. 36.
[3] Equivalent to SC, n. 41. The page reference is to the printed copy of the draft liturgy schema given to the Fathers.
[4] See 1917 Code of Canon Law, Can. 488, 2°, and passim; also, 1983 Code of Canon Law, Can. 591.

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