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    The new Missal is only two weeks away, and the national press is only now getting interested in what is about to happen to Catholicism in the English-speaking world. There is a sense that this is important, and yet there is also widespread confusion concerning why it is important. After all, the most prominent examples of profound change don’t seem that profound. I mean, does it really matter that Catholics will respond to “The Lord be with you” with “and with your spirit” instead of the older response “and also with you”? This is hardly earthshaking.

    But they have to write their stories anyway. I’ve been fielding lots of calls from these nice people and had to explain to them that the more substantive textual changes actually come not from the pews but from the sanctuary. The celebrant is the one who is fielding most of the robust changes, and they affect the entire Mass, from the collects to the canon to the post-communion prayers.

    The language is completely different. What previously was choppy and plain is now extended and elegant. Options for prayers that aren’t even in the Latin edition have been eliminated. The incessant talk about “peace and love” that reflected the political-cultural concerns of 1970 are gone and replaced by actual English equivalents of the Latin. The language is generally higher and more prayerful. The text sounds like liturgy, sounds like Church, sounds like prayer, and the attempt to render all of this in dress-down-Friday prose is completely gone.

    The overall effect is about more than the text, as important as that is. The really substantive change concerns the overall ethos of the Mass that will come through in the new language. It is serious, solemn, dignified, and even a bit remote in the way that mysterious and awesome things really should be. The sentence formulations are not like vernacular. They are elevated but without being affected.

    The biggest evidence of this change concerns the music. There is a long history in the Catholic Church of missteps in this regard. The people who produce the Missals don’t think much about the music question. This problem vexed the years following the Council of Trent, and it was no less true in the reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council. There is a tendency to focus on the words alone while forgetting that the Roman Rite really is a sung ritual and has been since the beginning.

    The people involved in the production of the English version of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal got it right. They embedded the music as part of the text. You can hardly turn a page in this Missal without bumping into musical notation. This is just fantastic because it establishes a norm for both tunes and for the preferred style of the music to be used at Mass. This style is call chant. The prayers are all chant. The people’s parts are chanted. There is a provision for all the parts of the Mass to be sung from beginning to end. We won’t have to wait 50 years or 300 years for the music question to be settled. It is already settled with the printing of the Missal itself.

    This is just great because it solves a serious and major problem that currently exists within the Catholic Church: the music that is commonly employed in the liturgy works at cross purposes with the ritual itself. The establishment of a new (actually old) musical norm will have a gradual effect on the choices that the musicians make in the future. Pop music will not fit in well with a chanted Mass. There will be a gravitational pull toward making the entire Mass a chanted event, thereby fulfilling one of the goals of the Second Vatican Council to grant chant “first place” at Mass.

    Now, in talking about these issues with reporters, I’ve noticed something that Catholics rarely talk about. The existing problems in the musical area are well known by these reporters. They’ve variously attended Mass with the expectation of hearing chant but come away with a sense of alarm or even shock that this is not what they heard. They tell me nightmare stories I’ve heard a thousand times, stories of amateur guitar quintets that strum away from the altar, stories of bongos and electric basses and trap sets, stories that make your hair stand on end and make you want to hide from embarrassment.

    In some way, all these reporters, Catholic or not, are rooting for a dramatic change. They want the Catholic Church to be true to itself. They are aware of what a mighty contribution that Catholicism has made to our culture and they worry that this contribution is not fully appreciated by the Catholic Church herself. They want it to come back, under the conviction that the world really needs Gregorian chant to be a beautiful place. And they want it to exist in every single Catholic parish.

    For this reason, I’ve found a very friendly group among the reporters. They want to hear what I have to say and they are obviously sympathetic to what I’m saying. They freely laugh about the pathetic attempts to spruce up our formal prayers with finger snapping and groovy bass rhythms. As the interview goes on, these reporters become even more open about their disdain for this transparent attempt to popularize what is actually a robust and serious experience. No, they don’t believe in the faith but it makes sense to just about anyone that people who do believe in the faith ought to be serious about it.

    To be sure, not everyone that these reporters call are willing to discuss the profound implications of these changes in the Missal. The USCCB is generally downplaying the extent of the changes so as not to alarm the faithful. The big publishers are only talking about their products and the marketing opportunities that the change represents - which strikes me as rather cynical. I don’t begrudge anyone a chance to make a buck, but there is still something unseemly about regarding the liturgy as a cash cow. What’s more, the best music for the Mass at this point is entirely free and available for instant download, offering a chance for total liberation from the cash nexus.

    And so obviously we are talking about more than meets the eye here. This is a serious change, a big improvement, and wonderful opportunity for the Catholic faith to express itself with a new voice in changed times.

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    Occasionally, we have mentioned the Sakramentshaus, or sacrament house, a particular form of freestanding tabernacle, which developed in German gothic architecture from the late 14th/early 15th century onwards, the use of which was (mostly) discontinued after the rubrics of the Tridentine liturgical books called for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament on the altar. (See here, e.g., for the rather splendid one of St. Lawrence, Nuremberg.)
    One such sacrament house is extant in the cathedral of Fürstenwalde, a small town east of Berlin, where the see of Lebus, one of the three medieval bishoprics of the March of Brandenburg, was translated in 1373. The city church, dedicated to Our Lady, was raised to cathedral of the diocese, but destroyed by Hussites in 1446 (bishop John V of Lebus had been one of the main accusers of Hus), after which a new cathedral was built. For this cathedral, bishop Dietrich von Bülow (of the same family to which in the 20th century belonged, among others, Prince Bernhard von Bülow, Chancellor of the German Empire, as well as the great and recently deceased humorist Vicco "Loriot" von Bülow) in 1517 commissioned a sacrament house by the Saxon sculptor Franz Maidburg (although this atrribution is being disputed, as well as Maidburg's authorship of the sacrament house of Cologne Cathedral). The cathedral was practically completely destroyed by Allied bombardment at the end of World War II (16-23 April 1945), and has since been rebuilt, although the interior remains mostly a shell. Fortunately, the sacrament house, along with several grave-slabs was walled in as a precuationary measure in 1942 and thus, almost miraulously survived. At this link you can see the state of the cathedral after bombardment; at the pillar to the left, you can see the walled-in sacrament house.

    This is how the interior of the cathedral looks today:

    And here, to the Gospel side of the altar (the usual position for sacrament houses), is the sacrament house:

    The inscription on the ledge: Domine, dilexi decorem domus tue, et locum habitationis glorie tue - I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of thy house; and the place where thy glory dwelleth (Ps 25, 8). Also note the little animals.

    The other side, with St Jerome in the middle:

    This is the very fine grave-slab of bishop Dietrich von Bülow, also attributed to Franz Maidburg:

    Two more grave-slabs show some liturgical minutiae. Here we have a canon of Lebus wearing the almuce:

    And this is bishop John VII von Dreher (1443–1455), who amusingly exhibits one of the pet peeves of many of today's liturgically minded regarding pontifical vesture - the pectoral cross above the chasuble - nothing new under the sun:

    In case it is hard to make out on the photograph, I have highlighted it here:

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  • 11/15/11--13:00: A Bologna School Cardinal?
  • From Chiesa:

    The school of Bologna is getting the purple

    One of its prominent representatives, Luis Antonio Tagle, will soon be made a cardinal. He was the one who wrote the key chapter in the world's most widely read history of Vatican Council II, interpreted as a rupture and "new beginning." But in the curia this has been kept quiet

    Read the entire article over at Chiesa.

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    As always, a great response to our quiz, and our congratulations go out to those of our readers who correctly identified that the plate depicted here, (a) comes from a Mozarabic missal, and (b) that it represents a conflict on the question of the use of the Mozarabic vs. the Roman liturgical books in Toledo, and (c) that the context is the so-called "trial by fire" in the time of King Alfonso VI. (A couple of our readers even correctly identified which particular edition of the Mozarabic missal this came from, but I removed those references as I had planned to show that as a follow-up post today, following this quiz. Thanks to them for their understanding.)

    To detail the matter then, the plate in question contains three Latin scripts that translate:

    "Both books were thrown into the fire."

    "The Gothic one was unharmed in the flames."

    "The Roman leapt out of the flame."

    What is interesting to further note is that in my own research of this particular legend, I can find a few variants; one is that described above, whereby the Mozarabic missal stays in the flames unharmed, while the Roman missal leaps out of them. (Evidently, this would make the most sense contextually.) In Archdale King's Liturgies of the Primatial Sees, however, he provides an account of just the opposite, taken, he says, from the "Chronicle of Najera." In that account the Mozarabic missal leaps out (with Alfonso VI kicking it back into the flames) and the Roman book stays in the flame unharmed.

    King sets out the broader background:

    In Castille, Alfonso I, his French queen Agnes and the Cluniacs were in favour of the Roman rite, while the people, clergy and some of the bishops were for the Mozarabic. On 14 March 1075, we find Alfonso, together with El Cid and Simeon of Oca, at the opening of the holy ark (arca sancta) of relics at Ovideo, where the two rites were represented. The king exhorted those who were present to redouble their prayers for a solution of the liturgical controversy. It would seem that in the following year Alfonso decided to abolish the Mozarabic rite, but, perceiving the very real affection of the people for it and unwilling to cause rebellion, he suffered the formal act of suppression to remain in abeyance for two years. It is evident that there were strong manifestations of national sentiment. On 9 April 1077 (Palm Sunday), it was decided to settle the thorny question by means of a duel, which took place at Burgos. The date is attested by two texts originating from that city. One of the champions, says the Chronicle of Burgos, was a Castillian, the other came from Toledo (a knight in the service of the king), and the Toledan was vanquished. The Annales do not say who was the victor. The 'knights' knight' was defeated according to the Chronicle of Najera, which records a subsequent trial of the rival liturgies by fire...

    Which, of course, brings us to the illustration in question and what we have already detailed. (The same missal, incidentally, from whence this plate came, also shows the duel between the two knights in another plate. We will show you images of this rather unique edition later today, including that plate.)

    Whatever one thinks of the legend of the "trial by fire" itself, the particular point of interest, for myself at any rate, is how this legend typifies the historic tensions that have existed between other historical liturgical rites and uses and the trend toward Romanization; the tension between liturgical diversity (properly expressed) and liturgical homogoneity. It is a story, of course, which is told not only with regard to the Mozarabic tradition, but with regard to various Western liturgical rites and uses, including, not so very long ago, the Ambrosian rite. And indeed, if I might be permitted a brief bit of editorial commentary, it is arguable that this very same tendency at least in part underlay some of the suspicion and opposition that can exist with regard the freer and wider use of the more ancient forms of our liturgical books today; be they the older Roman or Ambrosian liturgical books, or be they those of the religious orders. Whatever the causes however, the effect is surely the same: the erosion of the rich tapestry that are our liturgical rites and uses and the enrichment they bring.

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    As a brief addendum to our recent Mozarabic piece, and of course to our recent quiz, some of you might find the following edition of the Mozarabic Missal rather interesting. It was published in 1770 and is titled the Missa Gothica seù Mozarabica, but what is interesting about this particular edition of the Mozarabic missal -- to me at least -- is that it was published not in Rome, Paris, or other usual places for altar missal printing in Europe, but rather in Mexico.

    It is a very nice edition to say the least, one which I confess to coveting for the NLM liturgical library.

    I would be remiss to not note to our readership that this particular copy of this Missal is actually coming up for auction.

    All photographs copyright Dorothy Sloan Rare Books. Reprinted with permission.

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    No doubt by now you have heard the news, announced by Archbishop Wuerl, that the American ordinariate will be erected on January 1, 2012. This epochal event deserves considerably more commentary than I can offer at this point, but while you are in a patrimonial frame of mind, I would like to mention to our readers in Southern California that a Solemn Evensong in honor of Christ the King and St. Cecilia will be held at St. Mary of the Angels, Hollywood, this coming Sunday, November 20, at 4 PM. The choirs of St. Mary of the Angels and the Blessed John Henry Newman Society of Orange County will be accompanying the liturgy. St. Mary of the Angels, a historic Anglo-Catholic parish founded in 1918 to minister to the fledgling film industry, will be joining the new Ordinariate on its establishment. Readers may also enjoy this photo-gallery showing the parish's delegation to an archdiocesan-wide procession in honor of Our Lady of the Angels held in Los Angeles Cathedral earlier this year.

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    We received an interesting book notice recently about a new book by Fr. Aidan Nichols: The Latin Clerk: The Life, Work and Travels of Adrian Fortescue.

    Here is a description from the publisher, Lutterworth Press:

    Adrian Fortescue once shot a man.

    It was not this, however, that caused his crisis of faith.

    This new biography of the renowned Roman Catholic theologian Adrian Fortescue, reconsiders the man perceived by contemporaries to be a very symbol of Roman Catholic traditionalism. Nichols challenges this now entrenched perception and explodes the implied stability of Fortescue’s self-proclaimed title of ‘The Latin Clerk’ declaring ‘Don Adrian’ to be ’a mass of inconsistencies’ [from Conclusion].

    Based on diaries and correspondence together with his published writings, The Latin Clerk interweaves Fortescue’s personal life with his public persona and in so doing reveals a far more exciting individual than history has hitherto related. As the reader follows Fortescue on his travels through the Ottoman empire, his insights into the Greek fathers, the schisms between Orthodoxy and Rome, the condition of the Nestorian, Monophysite and Uniate-Catholic churches become clear. Having understood this physical journey one comes to understand the spiritual path which lead him away from the intellectual and spiritual traditionalism of the Papacy towards Liberal Catholicism, and almost to the Byzantine Rite.

    Through Fortescue’s personal concerns The Latin Clerk also reveals the often hidden internal discords within the Church as a whole; for example the tension between attempts at liberal reform, prompted by the rising popularity of Anglican Ritualism, and traditionalism, an issue still relevant today.

    Even more relevant today, in a time of great expectation over the newly translated Roman Missal, The Latin Clerk investigates Fortescue’s theoretical writings on the Eastern and Western liturgies, and how he sought to create an intense liturgical life in a model parish in Letchworth.

    Informative and educational far beyond the narrow confines of traditional biography, this book will be of interest to both theologians and historians concerned with the Eastern Rite, English cultural developments and Catholicism both ecclesiastical and personal.

    It certainly promises to be an interesting read.

    The book is due to be published in December 2011 and will be 308pp. in length. It is priced at £25.00 (or $50.00 USD) -- though it is presently available for pre-order on for $38.00 USD.

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  • 11/17/11--09:00: Pope: Pray the Divine Office
  • Here at NLM we have often promoted the recitation of the Divine Office, not only in its sung form within parishes, but also outside of the parish as a particularly efficacious means for the laity to attach themselves to the cycle of the liturgical year and foster a liturgical life. Certainly this was one of the refrains of the 20th century Liturgical Movement, and I think, surely also an important goal for Benedict's new liturgical movement.

    Accordingly, I was delighted to read the following from the Holy Father in yesterday's Wednesday General Audience, speaking within the context of the value of praying with the psalms:

    I would like to renew my call to everyone to pray the Psalms, to become accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. Our relationship with God can only be enriched by our journeying towards Him day after day.

    The catechesis is worth reading in its entirety.

    Many have spoken here about their own personal experience of praying the Divine Office -- and hence, of praying the psalms. They typically comment on how important it has been to them in their spiritual lives, how profound, and how the psalms carry within them great solace and spiritual nourishment for whatever they happen to be going through in their lives. Speaking from my own personal experience, I can only emphatically agree. Indeed, once one moves past the initial learning curve and establishes the habit of this prayer, one will doubtless find themselves taking great consolation in it, even longing for the next time they will pray it and wondering how they ever did without it. The Divine Office fast becomes a faithful spiritual guide and friend.

    Of course, I have occasionally heard it said by some that the breviary is simply too time-consuming for the laity to possibly take on. "We are laymen with jobs and families, not religious or priests" the refrain may go. The crux of the idea is that the laity haven't the time to pursue this by comparison with other forms of prayer.

    However, this is a perception and not really the reality.

    Certainly when one is initially learning the Office it is going to be a bit more ponderous and slow-going at first. The same may be said of anything, be it the breviary or be it the rosary. However, this is a temporary situation -- and learning the breviary is not so complex as learning a language; it doesn't take years to acquire a basic familiarity with it, but rather a few weeks.

    Once one has moved past this initial lack of familiarity and begins to become more accustomed to the rhythm of the Office, one will find that prayerfully praying one of the hours takes less than 10 minutes -- hardly an unmanageable or unreasonable time investment. And if one were to determine pray two of the hours, let us say Lauds and Vespers, then one would be looking at about 15-20 minutes per day. If we were to add Compline, being shorter than the other hours, this would add only a few minutes more.

    But of course, the other point is that one could choose to pray only one of the hours per day, or two or three. It would be ideal if one could pray Lauds (Morning Prayer), Vespers (Evening Prayer) and Compline (Night Prayer), but if one cannot, even doing one or two of these a day would be of great merit.

    If I were to offer some advice, it is that which I have offered here many times before:

    First, while not underestimating what you can do, do not bite off more than you can chew either. Some start out over-zealous and in so doing become discouraged and burnt out. (I would compare it to trying to begin praying the rosary by praying all 20 of the mysteries everyday.) Start off with a reasonable goal for yourself. That might mean starting with one of the hours (I would recommend either Lauds or Vespers) until you've established enough familiarity to expand into other hours.

    Second, establish a routine around the praying of the Divine Office. That might be a particular time, or a particular chain of events. For example, you might determine to pray Lauds first thing on rising in the morning, or perhaps immediately after your breakfast. Similarly, you might make Vespers the first thing you do on coming home from work, or the first thing you do following supper. Be it a specific time, or be it a sequence of events, do what works for you in your particular circumstances; then stick with it.

    The third suggestion I would give is for you to buy a liturgical wall calendar. Why? Because having this, you will easily be able to keep track of the particular time and week of the liturgical year. In fact, this is the perfect time of year to buy one with a new (calendar) year coming up and the one I personally find best is that which is produced by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, which is inclusive of both forms of the Roman liturgy.

    In closing, I'd invite our readers to read again these meditations by Fr. Pius Parsch on the breviary.

    Why not start praying the Divine Office today? (Don't own a copy of the breviary? Not a problem. There are many online versions.)

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  • 11/17/11--13:00: Liturgical Music on Kindle
  • I am very pleased to announce what is probably the first-ever music book for liturgy in an ebook format. Here is The Simple English Propers for your Kindle!

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  • 11/18/11--05:00: Society of Catholic Artists
  • New Liturgical Movement readers will be aware of events organised by the Society of Catholic Artists, you can see their web site here. Inspired by Pope Benedict XVI's call to artists to be 'custodians of beauty', it describes it's aims as 'fraternal, spiritual and intellectual'. I like their approach. It puts artist (and media professionals) in touch with each other; it promotes the idea that the work of the artist is founded upon his spiritual life and that artists develop intellectually so that they understand their tradition and their own place within it. There is a strong emphasis on the liturgy and the events they have organised are talks and recollections organised in conjunction with Mass and, very encouragingly, the Divine Office. Two of the figures involved will be well known to you: Fr George Rutler (speaking in Boston at Thomas More College's symposium on the liturgy entitled the Language of the Liturgy, Does it Matter? on December 3rd, more details here); and Fr Uwe Michael Lang whom I remember from my time of attending the London Oratory.

    One thing that the society has avoided is endeavouring to promote contemporary art and artists. This seems to me to be a good decision. It is a difficult balance to strike. On the one hand we want to be encouraging to those people who respond to the Pope's call and are prepared take the risk and try to be those custodians of beauty in service of the Church. But on the other, how do we decide who has been successful? Inevitably personal choice has to play a part. Choice by committee, especially if that committee contains artists, always seems to move towards mediocrity. Artist's tend not to want to openly criticise each other, because they know that it then gives others assent to be brutally frank about their own work. Also, if competitions or exhibitions are held, then in order to have sufficient paintings to show, the organisers of any such exhibition must compromise standards. This immediately undermines the idea that they are trying to encourage the highest standards and undermines the credibility of their message, which in all other respects might be very good.

    Behind the idea of having exhibitions and competitions to promote artists is the assumption that the top quality artists are out there, it's just that we don't know where they are. In the naturalistic forms I do not think this is correct. There are very few artists that match up the highest standard and we already know who the best ones are. As someone who paints, my belief is that at this stage our work is one of the training and education of artists and re-establishing the principle of tradition. Perhaps the next generation of artists will emerge as capable of emulating or even surpassing the glorious work of the past by building on what some us hand on to them. Many of friends who are artists, and some of them are in my opinion the very best of those around today, happily admit that they do not compare with the greats of the past, but hope to contribute to the training and formation of the next generation in service to the Church.

    So bereft are we at the moment of genuinely high quality artists, that those of genuine ability stand out in the crowd and do not need to be promoted by a not-for-profit organisation. There are already enough channels of communication to get their work out there - today more than ever. Their work speaks for itself and looking at this, my instincts tell me that market forces are the best mechanism for distribution. Those who are paying, choose what they want. It's not perfect, but I can't think of anything better.

    This does seem to be what happened in the field of iconography, where the reestablishment of the tradition began earlier (in the early/mid 20th century). We are now several generations of artists into the renewal of this tradition and we are seeing steadily more top quality artists who are getting commissions. On the whole, it is their work is their greatest advertisement. The lesson for all artists here is very clear in my opinion (and I acknowledge very happily that this applies to me): if patrons are not hammering at my door to commission work, then the one thing that I can try to change is the quality of my work. I must become a better artist if I want to sell more paintings.

    For all this, and strange as it may seem, I am not pessimistic about the future. I do think that things are moving the right direction. We do see signs of cultural renewal, in the wake of liturgical renewal (which forms artists and patrons alike). We should be realistic about where we are, but at the same time strive to encourage artists to continue to improve. It seems that the Society of Catholic Artists recognises this and aims to help them to do so.

    The images are above: St Luke (patron saint of artists) by El Greco, in which he points to the famous icon of Our Lady and Our Lord, the 'hodegetria', that he painted; and below an icon by an unknown Russian iconographer of St Luke painting his icon.

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    The Roman Martyrology notes on November 18th the translation of the relics of San Frediano, a sixth-century bishop of the Italian city of Lucca in Tuscany. His feast was traditionally kept by many congregations of Canons Regular on the following day, since his death occurred in mid-March, hence always in Lent, and the day of his translation is also the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul. Frigdianus, as he was called in Latin, was an Irishman who decided to settle among the hermits living on Monte Pisano, between Lucca and Pisa, while returning from a pilgrimage to Rome. For the great holiness of his life, he was chosen as bishop of the former city, much against his will, for he loved the life of solitude in the mountains; during his long tenure as bishop, he would periodically retire to his old hermitage, just as Saint Martin lived in monastic community just outside the city of Tours. His clergy lived a common life, and maintained a reputation for austerity and discipline for many centuries; when Pope Alexander II (1061-73), formerly bishop of Lucca, wished to reform the canons of the Lateran Basilica, he brought into the church canons from San Frediano. The strict observance of the Canons of San Frediano remained one of the most important models for canons regular even after they were formally merged with the Lateran Canons in 1507.

    St. Frediano moves the river Serchio, fresco by Amico Aspertini (1474-1552), in the chapel of the Cross. The moving of the river so that it would no longer flood into Lucca and the surrounding countryside, damaging buildings and crops, is reported by Frediano's contemporary, St. Gregory the Great, in the second book of the Dialogues, chapter 9.
    The rather plain façade of the first part of the 12th century was decorated with a Byzantine mosaic of the Ascension roughly a century later by the painter Berlinghiero of Lucca.
    The late-12th century baptismal font, sadly much damaged, is the work of three different sculptors. The lower part, signed by "Maestro Roberto", shows the life of Moses; a very rough Good Shepherd and the Prophets (opposite side) were added by another hand, and the upper part, showing the Apostles and the months of the year, by an unknown Tuscan sculptor. Behind it, a 15-century glazed terracotta Annunciation, by the famous school of Andrea della Robbia.
    A few paintings survive on the columns and walls below the clerestory. In the Middle Ages, it was a common custom, at least in Italy, to add frescoes, often commissioned as votive offerings, to any and every uncovered part of a church; the result could be a jumble of different styles with no unified program to their subject matter. After the Council of Trent, most such images were removed as a distraction to the faithful, who should focus their attention on the Mass celebrated at the main altar.

    The main altar, where the relics of San Frediano repose.
    The Assumption of the Virgin, by Masseo Civitali, ca. 1500, nephew of the more famous sculptor Matteo Civitali.

    Lucca is less than ten miles away from one of the major centers of Italian Romanesque architecture, Pisa, and the influence of the ecclectic Pisan style is evident in several of the city's church façades. Here we see the deconsecrated church of San Cristoforo, from about 1200; typically Pisan are the stripes of different colored marble, and the various heights and shapes of the arches in the various stages of the façade.
    The façade of San Giovanni preserves an elaborately decorated Romanesque portal in the middle of a classically Renaissance frame. The earlier version of this church served as the cathedral for a time before the new Duomo of San Martino was completed in the 14th-century.

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    Chapel of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, Midland, Ontario, Canada

    NLM Guest article by Claudio Salvucci

    As we continue to pray for our departed under the last of the stunning autumn foliage, there’s no more perfect time to look at some uniquely North American Requiem Masses.

    These Masses come from the Tsiatak Nihonon8entsiake, or Book of Seven Nations, published in Montreal in 1865 for the American Indian mission of Lake of Two Mountains, which contained both Mohawk-speaking and Algonquin-speaking Catholics. This mission, like others in the area, was permitted to use the vernacular for the sung propers and ordinaries of the Roman Mass.

    The Requiem Mass was called in Mohawk, Iako8entaon Akohasera. It is the first one featured in the Book of Seven Nations and, judging by its prominent position and the inclusion of the chant notation, seems to have been the main Requiem in use at Lake of Two Mountains.

    The listed ordinaries and the propers follow the Latin Requiem Mass quite closely, except rendered in the Mohawk language. I have not attempted to translate them but they seem to be fairly straightforward renderings of the Roman texts. The “8” seen in some of the words, e.g. Se8enniio = “Lord”, literally “you who are master”, is a letter devised by the Jesuit missionaries for a “w” sound.

    Two more Requiem Masses are listed under the commemorations for the faithful departed on Nov. 2, though without chant. One is the Mass “Kana8akeha” — according to the use of Kahnawake.

    Kahnawake, now mostly known as a site of pilgrimage for the relics of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, formerly had an important political role as the “principal fire” or capital of the Seven Indian Nations of Canada, a confederacy of Catholic Indian tribes around the St. Lawrence River. Undoubtedly, its political and religious significance gave a certain prominence to its liturgy.

    The third and final version is the Mass “Erontaksneha”, or according to the Algonquin use, and written in the Algonquin language:

    This third Mass is missing many propers of the original Roman Rite. There is no Gradual, Tract, Offertory, or Communion; just the Introit Requiem and the sequence Dies Irae. In this respect, it is similar to Requiem Masses found in the paroissiens of neighboring Montagnais, Micmac, and Penobscot missions, which are also missing these propers to varying degrees.

    These vernacular Mass settings are an excellent illustration how genuine inculturation was put into practice in the North American missions in the period between Trent and Vatican II. Certainly, they also show the affection that American Indian Catholics had for the ceremonies of the Roman Rite — which they had made in a unique way their own.

    Claudio Salvucci is the author of The Roman Rite in the Algonquian and Iroquoian Missions: From the Colonial Period to the Second Vatican Council (2008), available from Evolution Publishing.

    Chapel of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, Midland, Ontario, Canada

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    As many of you will be certainly aware, the season of Advent is fast upon us, beginning this Saturday evening with First Vespers (with apologies to our Ambrosian readers who, of course, are already in the midst of Advent, being as they have six weeks of Advent rather than four). Of course, with that, that also means we are entering into a time of preparation for the great feast of the Incarnation, not to mention a time rich in customs and traditions.

    In fact, Advent is perhaps one of those times when it is easiest for families to draw the liturgical year into their domestic life since there are so many popular customs associated with this time of the liturgical year. And of course, with Advent just a few days away, if you haven't thought about this yet, now is certainly the time to do so.

    Here are a few thoughts.

    I. Advent Wreath

    One of the most widely adopted and loved customs of Advent is surely the Advent wreath. While not strictly Catholic in its origins, it nonetheless is easily adapted to Catholic purposes and is a beautiful way to mark the progression of Advent to the Nativity.

    Fr. Francis X. Weiser, SJ, in his work, The Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, comments that "in the sixteenth century the custom started of using such lights as a religious symbol of Advent in the houses of the faithful. This practice quickly spread among the Protestants of eastern Germany and was soon accepted by Protestants and Catholics in other parts of the country. Recently it has not only found its way to America, but has been spreading so rapidly that it is already a cherished custom in many homes." He continues: "The traditional symbolism of the Advent wreath reminds the faithful of the Old Testament, when humanity was "sitting in the darkness and in the shadow of death" (Luke 2:79); when the prophets, illumined by God, announced the Redeemer; and when the hearts of men glowed with the desire for the Messiah. The wreath -- an ancient symbol of victory and glory -- symbolizes the "fulfillment of time" in the coming of Christ and the glory of His birth."

    There are various variations on the Advent wreath. In North America it is popular to use three violet and one rose candle, symbolizing the respective liturgical colours of the four Sundays of Advent. In Germany, red candles are used. Others might choose to use natural beeswax and mark colours in other ways -- such as ribbons or what not.

    As an aside, we talk about the importance, within our churches and liturgies, of using items of beauty and quality. These things not only inspire us and uplift us, they also speak to us of the dignity and value of the sacred mysteries; they speak to the value of what lay underneath. My own recommendation then is that, wherever possible and practical, this should likewise be brought over into the our "domestic churches" as well. Whatever you use, try to use items of beauty and quality. Children (let alone adults) notice these things and it will teach them something about the importance that we attribute to our Faith. This will almost certainly be a memory they take with them into their adulthood -- and it may well serve them in darker times so to speak. In the case of an Advent wreath, I'd recommend the use of real (rather than fake) greenery for your wreathes. And if at all possible, beeswax candles would also be a plus.

    II. The Jesse Tree

    Another domestic Advent custom is that of the "Jesse Tree."

    From Catholic Culture:
    Jesse was the father of the great King David of the Old Testament. He is often looked upon as the first person in the genealogy of Jesus.

    In Church art a design developed showing the relationship of Jesus with Jesse and other biblical personages. This design showed a branched tree growing from a reclining figure of Jesse. The various branches had pictures of other Old and New Testament figures who were ancestors of Jesus. At the top of the tree were figures of Mary and Jesus. This design was used mostly in stained glass windows in some of the great medieval cathedrals of Europe. The Cathedral of Chartres (which was dedicated in 1260) has a particularly beautiful Jesse Tree window.

    Another development in religious art during the Middle Ages was that of Mystery Plays--drama that depicted various Bible stories or lives of Saints and Martyrs. These plays were performed in churches as part of the liturgical celebrations. One such play was based on the Bible account of the fall of Adam and Eve. The "Tree of Life" used during the play was decorated with apples. (Quite possibly this is also the forerunner of our own Christmas tree.)

    Combining the two ideas of the stained glass Jesse Tree window and the Tree of Life from the Mystery Play we come up with our Jesse Tree Advent project. This custom has been used for years to help Christians to prepare for Christmas.

    What I particularly like about the Jesse Tree, at least as it is proposed by Catholic Culture, is how it incorporates into each day a reading from Sacred Scripture, inclusive of which are many from the Old Testament. We have noted many times here on NLM the typological and mystagogical importance of familiarity with the Old Testament, and this is a great way to familiarize yourself and your family with these. (And needless to say, putting the other aspects aside which are more oriented toward children, even those without children could profit from simply using these readings during Advent, particularly with lectio divina in mind.)

    Here are the readings noted by Catholic Culture along with some suggested symbols for a Jesse Tree project (and do note how the "O" Antiphons of Advent are tied into):

    December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
    December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman
    December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite
    December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
    December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain
    December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush
    December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder
    December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
    December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes
    December 10 Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple
    December 11 Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd's staff
    December 12 David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star
    December 13 Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
    December 14 Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle
    December 15 Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart
    December 16 John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river

    On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the "O" Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the "O" Antiphons.

    December 17 Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols: oil lamp, open book
    December 18 Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets
    December 19 Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower
    December 20 Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains
    December 21 Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18) Symbols: sun rising or high in sky
    December 22 Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter
    December 23 Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host
    December 24 Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun

    Read more about it on Catholic Culture.

    III. Divine Office

    Tying into the Pope's call for all of the faithful to become familiarized with the Divine Office, Advent may be the perfect opportunity for you to begin reciting the Office -- perhaps Vespers would be a good start. Or for those who are not beginners, but have simply fallen out of the habit of praying the Divine Office, might I encourage you to use Advent as an opportunity to rekindle that habit?

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  • 11/21/11--13:00: Pius PP. XII

  • (Found via Facebook...)

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    This seems worthwhile to post now, rather than waiting until tomorrow. (Thanks to a reader tip for sending this in.)

    This comes from Andrea Tornielli, and, for what it's worth, what I can tell you is that about a month or two back, I was myself first given wind of something of this sort being established in these areas. At the time I chose not to publish it, but given that Tornielli is now speaking of it, I think it has enough substance to be worth sharing.

    Here is the relevant excerpt.


    New Vatican commission cracks down on church architecture

    The new commission will be established shortly, as part of the Congregation for Divine Worship. It will also be in charge of music and singing in the liturgy


    A team has been set up, to put a stop to garage style churches, boldly shaped structures that risk denaturing modern places for Catholic worship. Its task is also to promote singing that really helps the celebration of mass. The “Liturgical art and sacred music commission” will be established by the Congregation for Divine Worship over the coming weeks. This will not be just any office, but a true and proper team, whose task will be to collaborate with the commissions in charge of evaluating construction projects for churches of various dioceses. The team will also be responsible for the further study of music and singing that accompany the celebration of mass.

    Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Benedict XVI, consider this work as “very urgent”. The reality is staring everyone in the eyes: in recent decades, churches have been substituted by buildings that resemble multi purpose halls. Too often, architects, even the more famous ones, do not use the Catholic liturgy as a starting point and thus end up producing avant-garde constructions that look like anything but a church. These buildings composed of cement cubes, glass boxes, crazy shapes and confused spaces, remind people of anything but the mystery and sacredness of a church. Tabernacles are semi hidden, leading faithful on a real treasure hunt and sacred images are almost inexistent. The new commission’s regulations will be written up over the next few days and will give precise instructions to dioceses. It will only be responsible for liturgical art, not for sacred art in general; and this also goes for liturgical music and singing too. The judicial powers of the Congregation for Divine Worship will have the power to act.

    If this comes to pass, it certainly is very important news indeed.

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    Gregory recently wrote about that wonderful Lucchese basilica of San Frediano. As was mentioned in the comments to that post, this basilica also contains, in a chapel behind the baptismal font shown in Gregory's post, the relics of St. Zita, the patroness of domestic servants. Here are two pictures I took when I visited San Frediano:

    Since the distinctive style of the façade of the Pisan-Lucchese Romanesque was also mentioned in the earlier post, I thought I'd also add photographs of the other two major churches of Lucca. This is the Cathedral of St. Martin:

    And this is the church of St. Michael in the old Roman forum of Lucca, and still the centre of the city:

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    Guest article by Frater Anselm J. Gribbin, O.Praem.

    Part Two - Further alterations, 1919-1930

    Although the abbey church at Tongerlo was more or less completed at the end of the nineteenth century, further, important changes were to take place under Abbot Hugo Lamy (1915-37). There was a significant problem with the size of the choir, as it could not accommodate all the community, especially when large numbers of canons returned home from the external apostolate. This was due to the fact that the community enjoyed successive periods of growth. The new east wing of the abbey, with refectory and rooms above, had already been built to accommodate rising numbers in 1911. In 1887 there were 66 religious ; in 1896, 82 religious (and lay brothers were again accepted in the abbey the following year) ; in 1906 there were 113 religious, of whom 78 were priests. The number of religious continued to rise during Lamy’s abbatiat : by 1936 there were 223 religious, of whom 128 were priests. Just after, if not during World War One, it was decided that choir ought to be enlarged. Three plans were considered :

    1. Removing the two altars at the entrance to the choir, and enlarging the choir by one aisle, which would thus shorten the nave, leaving the High Altar intact.

    2. Taking the choir benches across to the transept crossing.

    3. Erecting a High Altar in the transept crossing, and removing the altars at the entrance of the choir and the old High Altar, thus allowing space to enlarge the choir.

    There were also plans to erect more side altars around the choir in neo-gothic chapels, as there were still too few side altars for low masses. A young architect was chosen for this work, Jules Ghobert of Brussels (1884-1971). However ‘neo-gothic’ had fallen out of favour in this period, and ‘art décor’ was the preferred style for the new work. It seems that the abandonment of neo-gothic did not meet with everyone’s approval, at least initially, and it was said, rather mischievously, that Ghobert had lost the neo-gothic plans for the new side chapels on a train ! In any case, as far as the expansion of the choir was concerned, the third plan was the one that was chosen, and it was, for its time, quite radical. Ghobert was the architect responsible for this work, and it included an extensive redesign of the interior of the church, in favour of art décor : though the keen eye will see that other styles were also used. The imposition of art décor in a neo-gothic church can be compared to the introduction of the baroque and rococo styles in many medieval churches.

    Apart from the removal of the all the neo-gothic altars in the church – except the altar of St. Siardus – and other adaptations, sections of the walls of the nave, and elsewhere, were covered with grey bricks, and the floor level of the choir, and the site of the new, central High Altar, was raised, to incorporate a crypt, where the abbey’s relics were to be kept. The existing choir benches of greenwood (groenhout), were extended, and an elaborate ‘throne’ (‘prelaatstroon’) was made for the abbot.

    The new choir at Tongerlo, with abbot’s throne and relocated area for cantor and succentor (pre-1929). Note the old organ (top right).

    The choir could now seat seventy canons, and the lay brothers were re-located to the side of the new High Altar. Curiously, but perhaps understandable, the abbot’s ‘throne’ was designed in the neo-gothic style, based on a design by Fr. Milo Bertram, and matched the existing neo-gothic confessionals in the nave. The walls of the choir were further decorated, with geometric designs, as were the lower sections of the pillars in the nave.

    The new, free-standing High Altar, southward facing (in the direction of the nave), stood under a ciborium, made of grey bricks. This was intended as a temporary arrangement : the grey bricks would be easy to dismantle at a later date. The ciborium was decorated with various motifs, painted on paperboard, which were to be eventually replaced by mosaics. Surmounting the corners were various armorial shields, including those of Abbot Lamy and the abbey of Tongerlo. Hanging underneath the ciborium was a beautiful ‘corona’ (chandelier) : a similar example can be still be seen in the church of the sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Antwerp. The first Mass was celebrated at the new High Altar – before the new ciborium was in place - at Christmas 1919. The first pontifical Mass, with the new ciborium in place, took place on 15 August 1920.

    View from the choir of the new High Altar and ciborium at Tongerlo (c. 1920-30)

    View of the new altar and ciborium from the nave, with the entrance to the crypt

    Close-up of altar and crypt entrance, decorated for the feast of St. Siardus

    There were also further additions to the church in the same period, two of which were also intended to play a role in the solemn liturgy of the High Altar. Ghobert designed two ambos, in black marble (‘belge noir’) – this material was used elsewhere in the remodelling of the church - one for the reading of the epistle (southward facing), and the other, for the proclamation of the gospel (eastward facing). The upper part of the gospel ambo was added by 1935, and both ambos were decorated with mosaics by Charles Counhaye (1884-1971).

    Ambo for the Gospel

    Ambo for the Epistle

    The gospel ambo was decorated with the Lamb of God, the sower, and the four evangelists, while the epistle ambo was decorated with a bust of St. Paul, symbols representing the four great doctors of the Latin Church (SS. Ambrose, Gregory, Jerome and Augustine). A new Blessed Sacrament chapel (with stained glass by Charles Counhaye), of black marble, was also constructed in the west transept, and also an altar in honour of Our Lady in the east transept.

    Blessed Sacrament Chapel, in the west transept, designed in 1920, constructed in 1927-28

    Altar of Our Lady, in the east transept

    Plans were also made to construct an ambulatorium with side chapels, thirteen in total. However sufficient funds were not forthcoming to complete the ambulatorium. Yet sections of the ambulatorium were realised, with altars in honour of the Sacred Heart, the Holy Family and St. Thérèse of Lisieux (west side) and two altars on the east side. On 1 May 1928 the altar of the Blessed Sacrament was consecrated by Mgr. Micara, the papal nuncio, the altar of the Holy Family by Abbot Lamy, and the altar of St. Thérèse by (titular) Abbot Seadon of Corpus Christi Basilica, Manchester: our abbots have the privilege of consecrating altars.

    Altar of the Sacred Heart

    The unfinished ambulatorium (west side)

    It is clear that Abbot Lamy was very much the driving force behind these far-reaching changes in our abbey church. The necessity to enlarge the choir also presented him, and the canons of Tongerlo, the opportunity to express other ideals. The ambos for the reading of the sacred scriptures during Mass, the free-standing altar and ciborium, the elaborate throne for the abbot (which was also decorated for use during pontifical services) and other, modern features of the redesigned interior of the abbey church, point towards the strong influence of the old ‘Liturgical Movement’, not excluding some of its negative aspects. This influence can be seen in an openness to newer styles of architecture, and the re-interpretation of older styles, and clearly a certain ‘romanticism’ for the liturgy of the early Church, as well as solid liturgical convictions. We should be aware that Tongerlo, at this time, was very much involved in promoting devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and to enhancing divine worship, as well as spreading the ideals of the Liturgical Movement (e.g. the work of Fr. Antoon Van Clé), which were encouraged by Pope St. Pius X : the emphasis on Eucharistic piety was clearly not viewed as undermining the Liturgical Movement. The following extract from our old abbey magazine, from 1920, recalls the first pontifical Mass on the new altar, before the erection of the ciborium (Christmas 1919), and relates much about the motivations behind the re-ordering of the church, and the enthusiasm for the liturgy. It appeared under the title, ‘Tongerlo’s new liturgy’ :

    Whoever was present at the divine service in our abbey church at Christmas, would certainly have been deeply moved, more than usual, by the excellence of our Norbertine liturgy. This is more apparent (lit. ‘it has come into its own’) than in former times, now that our church - due to the continual increase of the number of religious - is undergoing a fortunate change, that qualified persons find most agreeable, and that the [new] arrangement comes close to the sanctuary of the early Christians … Before the entrance of the previous choir stands the High Altar, a simple stone table, as it was before the third century … a simple table [‘tafel’] of sacrifice … How solemn, how enthralling, was that [first] Mass sung by our abbot … behind [sic] the altar stood the religious in their temporary choir ; in front [sic] of the altar, in the church [i.e. the nave] kneeled the flocking faithful. Everyone, the canons as well as the multitude in the church, could watch every action of the sacred ceremonies: we prayed with him [i.e. the abbot], we offered with him the divine lamb of atonement to the heavenly Father … It was as if Heaven became opened, before our eyes … “Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the elders, a Lamb that seemed to have been slain. I looked again and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honour and glory and blessing’” [Apoc. 5 : 6, 11, 12] … the High Altar must still be crowned with … the ciborium … which directs the attention of the visitor … to the altar, and says to him “This is God’s throne”.

    The beauty of the liturgy of the re-designed abbey interior is also evident from an old film apparently made in the 1930’s to raise funds for the rebuilding of the abbey after a devastating fire in 1929: thankfully the interior church was largely spared any damage. It was after this that the abbey was to obtain a permanent High Altar.

    Canons in the choir (early 1930s, before 1935)

    The conclusion of pontifical High Mass at the new High altar : Abbot Lamy, with the sacred ministers and assistants.

    Preface : the deacon begins the incensing of the altar



    General view of the altar and ambos from the nave (about 1929)

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    Musica Sacra Florida will be holding a conference entitled “Gregorian Chant and Modern Composition for the Catholic Liturgy: Charles Tournemire’s L’Orgue Mystiqueas Guide," to be held February 1-3, 2012 at NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauterdale, Florida and the Church of the Epiphany, Miami. More on the event can be found here. On-site registration will not be provided, so make sure to do it in advance! While we have posted about this upcoming event in the past, we have not yet passed on the exciting news that part of the conference will include a Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite celebrated by His Excellency, Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami. Musical highlights will Tournemire’s office from L’Orgue Mystique for the day (Purificatio B. Mariæ Virginis), a Missa Brevis by Zachary Wadsworth, and a specially-commissioned motet by Dr. Paul Weber. I am unsure when the last solemn pontifical mass was celebrated in Florida by a sitting ordinary; I suspect, as it was quite a long time ago, this is quite a newsworthy event, and one which bodes well for the Church in Florida.

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  • 11/23/11--05:00: St. Clement and San Clemente
  • Today is the feast of St. Clement, one of the earliest popes and the namesake of what is surely one of the most unique and liturgically interesting basilicas in the city of Rome -- which is saying much.

    For his feast today, I thought we would recount what is said of him in the Liber Pontificalis:

    Clement, by nationality a Roman, from the district of the Celian Hill, son of Faustinus, occupied the see 9 years, 2 months and 10 days. He was bishop in the time of Galba and Vespasian from the consulship of Tragalus and Italicus (a.d. 68) until the year when Vespasian was consul for the 9th time and Titus was consul with him (a.d. 79). He wrote many books in his zeal for the faith of the Christian religion and was crowned with martyrdom.

    He created 7 districts and assigned them to faithful notaries of the church that they might make diligent, careful and searching inquiry, each in his own district, regarding the acts of the martyrs. He composed two epistles which are called catholic. He, by direction of the blessed Peter, undertook the pontifical office of governing the church, even as Peter received the seat of authority from the Lord Jesus Christ; moreover in the epistle which he wrote to James thou mayest learn in what manner the church was entrusted to him by the blessed Peter. Therefore Linus and Cletus are recorded before him for the reason that they were ordained bishops also by the chief of the apostles to perform the priestly ministry. He held two ordinations in the month of December, 10 priests, 2 deacons and 15 bishops in divers places. He died a martyr in the third year of Trajan. He also was buried in Greece, November 24. And the bishopric was empty 21 days.

    The Martyrdom of St. Clement


    An impious Caesar in his rage cast thee into the sea,
    Now Rome venerates thee in prayer before these altars.
    In the ampitheatre near this spot thou wert loaded with insults,
    For this, the honours paid to thee here make amends.

    * * *

    Here are some other posts we have done on St. Clement and the basilica of San Clemente over the past couple of years, which you might enjoy reading on this his feast day:

    The Iconography of San Clemente (March 30, 2011)
    St. Clement of Rome (Nov. 23, 2009)
    Lower Church of the Basilica of San Clemente (Nov. 23, 2009)

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