- RSS Channel Showcase 8906465
- RSS Channel Showcase 7127881
- RSS Channel Showcase 4183087
- RSS Channel Showcase 6816858
Articles on this Page
- 11/03/15--02:35: _New Series of Video...
- 11/03/15--09:00: _All Souls in Rome
- 11/03/15--23:03: _The Feast of All Sa...
- 11/04/15--05:00: _Another New Black V...
- 11/04/15--11:37: _Introducing Divine ...
- 11/04/15--23:42: _The Feast of All Sa...
- 11/05/15--09:05: _Card. Burke on the ...
- 11/05/15--11:32: _Grant of Indulgence...
- 11/06/15--00:20: _The Feast of All Sa...
- 11/06/15--06:00: _How Do We Paint Dis...
- 11/07/15--01:20: _The Feast of All Sa...
- 11/07/15--08:39: _Card. Burke to Spea...
- 11/08/15--01:28: _The Feast of All Sa...
- 11/08/15--08:30: _The Octave of All S...
- 11/09/15--01:40: _To Be A Pilgrim
- 11/09/15--08:07: _The Comparative Nob...
- 11/10/15--00:32: _Second Video on the...
- 11/10/15--06:00: _Titian the Trailbla...
- 11/12/15--02:22: _New Arrangements fo...
- 11/10/15--12:20: _Cardinal Burke at t...
- 11/03/15--09:00: All Souls in Rome
- 11/03/15--23:03: The Feast of All Saints 2015 - The Virgin Mary
- 11/04/15--05:00: Another New Black Vestment Set
- 11/04/15--23:42: The Feast of All Saints 2015 - The Angels
- 11/06/15--00:20: The Feast of All Saints 2015 - The Patriarchs and Prophets
- 11/06/15--06:00: How Do We Paint Disfigurement and Bodily Imperfections in Saints?
- 11/07/15--01:20: The Feast of All Saints 2015 - The Apostles
- 11/08/15--01:28: The Feast of All Saints 2015 - The Martyrs
- 11/08/15--08:30: The Octave of All Saints 2015
- 11/09/15--01:40: To Be A Pilgrim
- 11/09/15--08:07: The Comparative Nobility of the Sacraments
- its institution by the Creator in the beginning, as the highest form of friendship between man and woman;
- its fertility in providing citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem — a fertility blessed by God and beloved to Him because it is the echo, in the material world, of His own infinite and eternal processions and the overflowing of His goodness in creating the universe;
- its use by Divine Providence as an instrument by which the race of Israel gave to Christ His human flesh and blood;
- its elevation by our Lord to be a sacred sign of His indissoluble union with His immaculate bride, the Church.
- 11/10/15--00:32: Second Video on the Mass from the Liturgical Institute, Mundelein
- 11/10/15--06:00: Titian the Trailblazer - the Balance of Naturalism and Symbolism
- 11/10/15--12:20: Cardinal Burke at the London Oratory this Sunday
They will come out each week on Youtube on Sunday evening, and can also be accessed at a website created to host them, www.elementsofthecatholicmass.com.
|Note the Memento mori at the base of the catafalque between the two smaller candles!|
From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the sixth day in the Octave of All Saints.
|The Immaculate Conception with Saints, by Giuseppe Angeli, 1765; from the Franciscan church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (Glorious Saint Mary of the Friars) in Venice,|
From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the sixth day in the Octave of All Saints.
The St Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy has sent us the following press release concerning the recent presentation at the Basilica of St Clement in Rome of the Proceedings of the Sixth Fota International Liturgy Conference. The conference was was held in Cork, Ireland from July 6-8, 2013, to mark the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. The text was presented by His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, who had a number of very interesting things to say about the implementation of the Constitution; the full text of his presentation is given below.
The event was introduced and chaired by His Eminence George Cardinal Pell.
An overview of the work of the Fota Conference was presented by Mons. James O’Brien. He noted that the objective of the conference was to promote the liturgical vision of Pope Benedict XVI through its annual gathering and through the publication of the acta of the conference as well as through other studies published through Smenos Publications (www.smenospublications.com). He thanked the editor of the sixth volume in the Fota series, Fr. John Cunningham, OP, prior of San Clemente and professor at the Angelicum for having agreed to act as editor and for the competence with which he carried out his task despite simultaneous work on three other publications.
Sacrosanctum Concilium: The Sacred Liturgy and the Second Vatican Council was envisaged as a commemorative volume to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of the conciliar constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Through a range of subjects, it seeks to demonstrate how the hermeneutic of continuity operates in the interpretation of this important document – especially by setting it in its historical and theological context which includes the pre-conciliar magisterium, especially of Popes Pius XII and Pius X and the Council of Trent. Moreover, that same context includes the post conciliar applicative instructions issued by the Holy See and the magisterium of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Fr. John Cunningham, OP, referred to the extensive range of topics covered in the collection of essays which makes up the volume Sacrosanctum Concilium: The Sacred Liturgy and the Second Vatican Council. He made particular reference to the assistance the book provided to students of both liturgy and theology through its scholarly critical apparatus which gave ample research opportunities. The editor expressed the wish that the book would be widely read by all who seek to promote the Sacred Liturgy rather than remain an unread classic.
Cardinal Burke’s ample presentation of the Fota VI volume paid particular attention to the objectives of the council Fathers in drawing up Sacrosanctum Concilium and the manner in which they envisaged their task of renewing the Sacred Liturgy in harmony and continuity with the received teaching and practice of the Church. He spoke also of the ecclesial and social context of the early 1960s in which Sacrosanctum Concilium was published and implemented. The Cardinal then turned to the difficulties encountered in attempting to give faithful execution to the constitution’s objectives, and pointed to the abuses of interpretation and application often encountered in the liturgical reform of the 1970s as well as to the critique of some interpretations of the constitution cogently made in the writings of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI as well as to his call for a recovery of an hermeneutic of continuity in order rightly to understand the conciliar constitution and apply it faithfully. He then gave a short synopsis of the various contributions (see attached text).
|H.E. Raymond Cardinal Burke, H.E. George Cardinal Pell, and Fr John Cunningham O.P.|
Pope Benedict XVI manifested the legacy of his teaching on the Sacred Liturgy in a remarkable manner by his Apostolic Letter, given motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum of July 7, 2007, and the subsequent legislation for its implementation, the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Sadly, after the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, many abuses in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy took place. Pope Benedict XVI made explicit reference to the situation in his Letter to the Bishops of the world, at the time of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter. Writing about the desire of some of the faithful for the form of the Sacred Liturgy existing before the post-Conciliar reforms, he affirmed:
Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.There is no doubt that, at the time of the post-Conciliar reform of the Sacred Liturgy, in many placesthere was a lack of liturgical discipline, and many abuses were introduced which led the faithful to believe that the Church had abandoned her theocentric liturgical tradition and embraced a totally new anthropocentric approach. From my own experience, as a seminarian during the years of the implementation of the reform mandated by the Council, I, too, can say that the infidelity to the reform gave place to liturgical aberrations which were indeed difficult to bear and were profoundly harmful to the Catholic faith and its practice.
In his just-mentioned Letter to the Bishops, Pope Benedict XVI made clear that the celebration of the two forms of the Roman Rite, mandated by his Apostolic Letter, “can be mutually enriching.” Later, in the letter, employing “the ‘hermeneutic of reform,’ of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us,” he made clear that the celebration of both forms of the Roman Rite is an expression of the necessary continuity of the two forms of one only Rite of the Mass. He wrote:
There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.According to the mind of Pope Benedict XVI, the reform desired by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council will be carried out in fidelity to the Tradition through the faithful application of the juridical norms contained in Universae Ecclesiae and through their development and perfection over time.
What was the cause of such a radical, even violent, approach to liturgical reform? It was the sense that what had gone before the Second Vatican Council had been a gradual corruption of the purity of the Church in the first centuries of her existence. A predominantly anthropocentric understanding of the life of the Church failed to take account of the work of the Holy Spirit, throughout the Christian centuries, assisting the Church to deepen her understanding of the Mystery of Faith. At the same time, there was the sense that the Church is the creation of man, subject to even substantial alteration according to the changes of the times. What Pope Benedict XVI has described as the battle between the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture, and the hermeneutic of reform in continuity ensued. In other words, the liturgical reform was viewed as the repudiation of centuries of liturgical practice, in order to establish a new practice which was said to recapture the purity of the practice of the early Church. What the Conciliar teaching requested, however, was a reform within the unbroken continuity of the Tradition.
In his first Christmas address to the Roman Curia, in December of 2005, which also marked the fortieth anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pope Benedict XVI reflected at length upon the struggle between the two interpretations of the Council, the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture,” and the “hermeneutic of reform.” The hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church” and, thereby, justifies an interpretation of the Council not based upon the texts approved by the Council Fathers but upon what is called “the true spirit of the Council,” which is discovered “in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts.”
The fruit of the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” is described by Pope Benedict XVI in these words:
The nature of a Council as such is therefore basically misunderstood. In this way, it is considered as a sort of constituent that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one. However, the Constituent Assembly needs a mandatory and then confirmation by the mandatory, in other words, the people the constitution must serve. The Fathers had no such mandate and no one had ever given them one; nor could anyone have given them one because the essential constitution of the Church comes from the Lord and was given to us so that we might attain eternal life and, starting from this perspective, be able to illuminate life in time and time itself.In the years following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture was manifested, in a most striking way, in the betrayal of the liturgical reform ordered by the Council by means of a manipulation of the divine action of the liturgy to express the individual personality of the celebrant and of the congregation, and even to advance various human agenda, completely alien to the divine action of the Sacred Liturgy.
The presentations given during the Sixth Fota International Liturgical Conference address various elements of the Sacred Liturgy with a view, illustrating both the continuity of Sacred Worship as it has come to us from Our Lord Himself through the Apostolic Ministry and the richness of liturgical reform throughout the Christian centuries.
In my presentation, I take up the fundamental juridical structure of Sacred Worship, as the highest expression of our relationship with God, and the safeguarding and promoting of that relationship through liturgical law. Understanding the juridical character of the Sacred Liturgy, as I point out, “one also understands how the norms of liturgical law are all directed to the right disposition of man in the worship of God, that is, the care to offer worship to God in the manner that God Himself asks.”
Cardinal George Pell takes up the question of the language of the Sacred Liturgy and its irreplaceable role in expressing the unchanging faith of the Church. Particular attention is given to Latin as the universal language of our worship, and then the difficulty of translations into modern languages, so that “[t]he theological and linguistic richness of the original texts” are “uncovered and retained.”
Professor Robert L. Fastiggi treats the Holy Mass as Sacrifice, according to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, in order to address a false perception of the post-Conciliar reform whichconsidered the Holy Eucharist as a meal exclusively, that is, without consideration of the source of the Heavenly Bread: Christ’s rendering sacramentally present His Sacrifice on Calvary. Professor Fastiggi relates the accurate understanding of the teaching on the Holy Eucharist as Sacrifice to the correct understanding of “full, active, and conscious participation of the faithful in the Eucharist.” Later in the volume, Father Paul Gunter, O.S.B., provides an in-depth treatment of the question of active participation in the Sacred Liturgy on the part of the faithful.
Dr. Marius Bliniewicz and Professor Helmut Hoping address the fundamental theological categories by which the Council’s liturgical reform is necessarily understood. Dr. Bliniewicz rightly points out the falsification of the liturgical reform through rationalist philosophical presuppositions and indicates the unchanging theological key to which any reform must remain true. His presentation is further elaborated by the treatment of the unity of dogma and prayer by Father Serafino Lanzetta, F.I. Father Lanzetta concludes:
Fifty years after the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, it is important to view the reform of the sacred liturgy in the light of Sacrosanctum Concilium considered in the context of the entire Tradition of the Church. In this way, it will be seen that it is not possible for man to orchestrate ‘the full, conscious and active participation of the people of God.’ Certainly, much can be done to promote such participation but it is ultimately a task beyond man’s own abilities.Professor Hoping, in particular, treats the fundamental interpretative key of Sacrosanctum Concilium. He addresses both the light and the shadow found in the interpretation of the Conciliar text in terms of the true nature of Sacred Worship as a divine action, the action of the glorious Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father, who never ceases to dwell with us in His Mystical Body.
Professor Carmina Chapp reflects on the fundamentally apostolic significance of the Sacred Liturgy in the life of the Church. Rightly, as she observes, the Council first took up the reform of the Sacred Liturgy because it is only from the encounter with Christ in worship that every other aspect of the Church’s life receives its inspiration, direction, and strength.
The significant change in the Church’s practice regarding concelebration is ably examined by Professor Manfred Hauke. After a careful presentation of the ample discussion of the practice, he is able to provide a conclusion which respects “the original intentions of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.”
Father Sven Leo Conrad, F.S.S.P., presents the theology of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the light of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. The nucleus of the theology is the self-gift of Christ. It has a particular significance for the action of the priest in the Sacred Liturgy by which sacred worship retains its proper identity.
Finally, Father Robert Abeynaike, O.Cist., takes up the discussion of the Anaphora of the Apostles Addai and Mari, and the Institution Narrative. He is able to conclude that “the Narrative of the Institution of the Eucharist has always constituted an essential part of the anaphora in its oral recitation, notwithstanding the absence of a coherent Narrative of Institution from its written text.”
It is my hope that this brief presentation has uncovered a bit the important service which the studies contained in Sacrosanctum Concilium: Sacred Liturgy and the Second Vatican Council provide to the Church. I also hope that it has indicated, even if very succinctly, the depth and richness of that contribution.
It only remains to thank once again the Fota International Liturgical Conference for its highly qualified and faithful work of promoting a deeper knowledge and more ardent love of Our Lord as He comes to meet us in the Sacred Liturgy, the highest and most perfect expression of our communion with Him. In presenting the Proceedings of the Sixth Fota Conference, I express the hope that the Church will continue to be blessed by this annual conference in the years to come. Raymond Leo Cardinal BURKE
The official dates of the Jubilee are from 7 November, 2015 (Feast of All Saints of the Order) until 21 January, 2017 (the date of the official Papal Bull Gratiarum Omnium Largitori of Pope Honorius III). For events of the Jubilee in your area, consult the web page of your respective Dominican Province.
Dominican priests may wish to download the forms of Sacramental Absolution according to the traditional Dominican Rite available here and here. On the second of those cards, is included the addition to the form on the first card to be used during a Jubilee. Each download is two pages long. Print each double-sided, trim the card, and laminate it. They will fit easily into your wallet.
From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the sixth day in the Octave of All Saints.
|Zachary and Elizabeth, the parents of St John the Baptist. Although their feast was never on the general Calendar, in many places it was kept on this day, November 5th.|
A friend of mine, Gina Switzer, told me that she had been commissioned to paint and image of her, and we were discussing how artists might represent human disfigurement in Saints so that they retain the dignity of the human person. So this week, I thought I’d write about this. (We’ll come back to the series of architecture videos next week.)
The first point is that it is not immediately clear that human imperfections should be portrayed in holy images. One might assume that these are absent in heaven, and so, to the degree that we show the redeemed person, one might argue that they should not be there at all. I was reminded that Denis McNamara told me recently that when they were designing the stained glass windows for the new John Paul II chapel at Mundelein, they thought about this and deliberately left out St Maximilian Kolbe’s spectacles for just this reason.
The counter to this is that in order to make an image worthy of veneration, according to the theology of holy images established by St Theodore the Studite in the 9th century, two things need to be present. First, the name should be written on the image; and second, it should portray the essential visual characteristics of the saint. This last criterion refers to those aspects of the saint that together give the person his unique identity. This can include a physical likeness, although a rigid application of physical likeness is not appropriate; a holy image is not a portrait. We are thinking here of those things that characterize the person and his story, for example, St Paul’s baldness, or the tongs holding hot coal for Isaiah. With this in mind, to use the example of the JPII chapel again, Denis told me that for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta they did want to show her deformed feet because it symbolized her charity; this disfigurement arose because she always chose the worst shoes for herself from those donated to the order. We thought that for St Margaret, in this age of the culture of death, the portrayal of her as a joyful person, but with her physical imperfections, would be particularly important.
One idea was to look for inspiration to the dwarfs painted by Velazquez from the court of Philip IV of Spain, who have great dignity and bearing. This idea was rejected, firstly because they can also have a haughtiness about them which would be inappropriate and need to be changed. Secondly, to successfully incorporate all of these considerations into a naturalistic style would be very difficult indeed - it might almost require a Velazquez to do it. Even in naturalistic styles, there should always be a degree of symbolism (or idealism), and this is notoriously difficult for contemporary Catholic artists to get right even for easier subjects. (Below is Velazquez’s portrait of Sebastien de Morro.)
In the light of all these considerations, I thought that I would probably paint an image in a Gothic or iconographic style, in which Bl. Margeret’s natural physical characteristics were shown, retained but nevertheless redeemed in some way. The first thing I always do, as I was taught, is to look first at existing images, and if I can find one that is appropriate, just copy it. The aim to change as little as possible. If there is no perfect image to copy, then I look at other images from which I can use the particular characteristics that appear to be missing from my desired image, and patch them together into a single image. Only if I can find nothing that has already been painted do I attempt something original. I create drawings made from observation of nature and onto those I impose the stylistic form of the tradition that I am working in.
I found this picture of a sculpture of St Margaret.
I thought that a painting in egg tempera based upon this would work. One change I would make, however, would be to change make her face more joyful. I like the ones that I see in a series of Aidan Hart’s icons, such as St Winifride, St Hilda of Whitby, or St Melangell, which look to me as though they are based on an ancient icon of St Theodosia at Mt Sinai. You can see images of each below. I would also St Margaret’s her eyes to indicate her blindness.
|The Twelve Apostles, depicted on a leaf of an Ethiopian Bible ca. 1700|
Schedule of Events include:
9:30 a.m. Saturday, December 5, 2015
Panel Discussion on the present moral crisis: “The Natural Moral Law—Is it the Key to Happiness?” in the State Ballroom of the Talley Student Union at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. Sponsored by the TIC Student Club at NCSU. Panelists include:
• Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Member of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints and Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
• Fr Thomas Joseph White, OP Thomistic Institute, Washington, DC
• Santo J. Costa Of Counsel, Smith Anderson
• Deacon Brad Watkins St Thomas More Academy, Headmaster
• Dr Fulvio Di Blasi, Chair/Moderator of this event Attorney, Professor of Philosophy, President of Thomas International Center
Admission: Adults: $25; Students: Free Admission! Continental breakfast will be provided.
7:00 p.m. Saturday, December 5, 2015
Spirit of St Nicholas Ball Third Annual ball hosted by Thomas International Center & TIC Student Club at NCSU, in the State Ballroom of the Talley Student Union at NC State University in Raleigh. Keynote speaker: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke “Being a Citizen of Heaven on Earth”
8:00 a.m. Sunday, December 6, 2015
The Holy Sacrament of the Mass
Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, celebrant St Catherine of Siena, Wake Forest, NC
For reservations & tickets to the two events at NC State University, and more information please visit www.stnicholasball.com& www.TICenter.net
Thomas International Center is an educational institute seeking to renew the culture in the Western & Christian intellectual traditions.
|The Martyrdom of St Maurice and Companions, (the Theban Legion), by El Greco, 1580-81; from the chapter-house of the Monastery of St Lawrence in the Escorial.|
From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the conclusion of the sermon for the sixth day in the Octave of All Saints.
With these are numbered also all the confessors who held a lesser order, or were not ordained, some of whom obedience to a (religious) rule approveth (for our veneration), while others were not kept back from the way of God by tumult of the world. In spirit they kept aloof like doves, and dwelt in desert places, serving the world only in respect to their body, but in justice and holiness, living as if they were in heaven.
“Blessed will you be, says (the Lord), when they shall curse you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven.” Whoever seeks the delights of this world and the possession of temporal goods under the name of a Christian, let him consider him that our blessedness is inward, even as it said by the mouth of the Prophet concerning the soul of the Church “The King’s daughter is all glorious within.” (Psalm 44, 15) Without, she is reviled, and persecution and evil report are promised her. And yet for these very things, great is her reward in heaven, as indeed is felt in the hearts of those who sufferer, of those who can already “But we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Which is given unto us.” (Romans 5, 3-5)
'To Be A Pilgrim' is a new DVD from Saint Anthony Communications, the Catholic Media company which has produced other wonderful films such as Faith of our Fathers and Lead kindly light. In their latest collaboration, Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Nicholas Schofield walk to Canterbury, visiting several medieval Catholic treasures along the route.
An ancient trail of pilgrimage runs through south-east England; a pathway along which so much of English identity converges. It is the way of St Thomas Becket, the martyr who stood up to a King and inspired Christendom. It is a route that drew countless pilgrims in ages past, captured the imagination of Chaucer and is reviving in our own times.
This film follows Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Nicholas Schofield as they journey from London to Canterbury. Along the way they discover the story of St Thomas and some fascinating traditions: the Rood of Boxley, the splendour of Rochester, the 'second Carmel' at Aylesford and many more.
By retracing the steps of the medieval pilgrims, this film draws out the rich Christian heritage of England and reflects on what it means ‘To Be A Pilgrim.’
Here is the trailer:
The nobility of marriage derives chiefly from four things:
The Church’s teaching about marriage and the family is, therefore, an integral and central part of the glorious heritage of our faith. Nevertheless, I sometimes wonder if moderns do not fall into the tendency of viewing the sacraments individually, in isolation from one another (and largely depending on which of the sacraments might be getting neglected or attacked at any given time), rather than taking time to ponder and appreciate the entire sacramental system. If we do this, we might come to see, with St. Thomas Aquinas, that while marriage is truly a “great sacrament” (Eph 5:32), it is, absolutely speaking, the least of the seven sacraments. Rather than denigrating marriage, this only serves to magnify the underappreciated greatness of the other six! It is like a building in which the first room you enter is already magnificently decked out, but each successive room as you walk towards the throne room is more resplendent still; or like a chest of wondrous medicines in which the least is already more potent than any natural remedy known to man.
Let us, in any case, consider the reasoning St. Thomas uses in the first work where he tackles the question. In his Commentary on the Sentences, Thomas relegates marriage to last place among the seven sacraments, because while it has “the greatest signification [habet maximam significationem],” it works a lesser effect as regards the spiritual life than the other six sacraments do.
One sacrament may be said to be nobler than another in five ways.This conclusion can ring true only to one who has, like St. Thomas, a robust view of the effects produced by confirmation, holy orders, penance, and extreme unction. The question this poses for the Church today and for her leaders is this: Do we have a robust view of confirmation and extreme unction? I think it would be fair to say that believing and practicing Catholics have a pretty clear idea of the unique power of holy orders (it makes a man a priest) and penance (it takes away the guilt of mortal sin), but it’s harder to say whether we appreciate the mysteries of confirmation and (as we tend to call it nowadays) anointing of the sick. And yet, Aquinas is claiming that, as good as sacramental marriage is, confirmation and anointing are superior in their effects. We remember and celebrate the anniversary of our marriage, but do we remember and celebrate the anniversary of our confirmation? And do we pray and prepare for a holy death — one in which “the consolation of the sacraments” (especially extreme unction) is made available to us by the mercy of God and the ministry of the Church?
In one way, as regards the reality of the sacrament, or its effect; and thus baptism, which wipes away all guilt and takes away all punishment, is the greatest sacrament. In another way, as regards that which is contained in the sacrament; and thus the Eucharist is the noblest, in which is contained Christ himself. In a third way, as regards the grade of dignity in which it consists; and thus holy orders is the noblest sacrament. In a fourth way, as regards the minister; and thus confirmation, and holy orders too, are the noblest, because they are only administered by a bishop. In a fifth way, as regards what is signified and not contained therein, and thus marriage is the noblest, because it signifies the conjunction of the two natures in the person of Christ.
Nevertheless if we compare these dignities with one another, that dignity is found to be foremost that a sacrament has from its content, because that is more essential. And so the sacrament of the Eucharist is simply the most noble, and to it, in a certain way, all the sacraments are ordered. However, the dignity that consists in bringing about some effect prevails over that which consists in the signifying [of some reality]; and that which consists in bringing about some effect with respect to good, simply speaking, prevails over that which consists in the removal of evil.
And so, simply speaking, after the Eucharist the noblest sacrament is holy orders, through which a man is established both in grace and in a grade of [special] dignity; and after this, confirmation, through which the perfection of grace is conferred; and after this, baptism, through which is accomplished a full remission of guilt and punishment; and after this, marriage, which has the greatest signification [i.e., it signifies the greatest of mysteries].
But penance and extreme unction are placed between baptism and marriage, because they are directly ordered to the removal of evil, although in this regard penance has less efficacy than baptism, because it is ordered against actual guilt alone, and does not totally take away punishment; and still less has extreme unction, which is ordered against the remnants [reliquias] of sin.
Another interesting point to consider in the above text is where Aquinas says that “the sacrament of the Eucharist is simply the most noble, and to it, in a certain way, all the sacraments are ordered.” He must mean that marriage, too — not just the individual Christian who happens to be married — is ordered to the Eucharist. As far as I know, he never works out exactly how this is so or the implications of it, beyond the observations that, first, “marriage, at least in its signification, touches this sacrament, in so far as it signifies the conjoining of Christ and the Church, whose unity is represented (figuratur) by the sacrament of the Eucharist; hence the Apostle says: ‘This is a great sacrament, but I speak in Christ and in the Church’ (Eph. 5:32),” and, second, that the celebration of the Eucharist is the point of arrival in the celebration of other sacraments.
In the Tertia Pars of the Summa theologiae, written at the other end of his career, he describes the “excellence” of marriage as follows, in answer to an objection that tries to make baptism a greater sacrament than the Eucharist:
For in that way [i.e., from the vantage of necessity], baptism, since it is of greatest necessity, is the most powerful of the sacraments — just as holy orders and confirmation have a certain excellence by reason of their administration, and marriage by reason of its signification. For there is no reason why a thing should not be worthier from a certain point of view which is not worthier absolutely speaking.
 Response of In IV Sent. d. 7, q. 1, a. 1, qa. 3. Like other scholastic authors, Thomas talks simply of ordo or “order” rather than “holy orders” as we do in English. I have nevertheless used the phrase more familiar to us.
 For both observations, see ST III, q. 65, a. 3. The latter was also made in the Sent. text just quoted.
 ST III, q. 65, a. 3, ad 4.
This one is entitled “Intelligent Worship,” and discusses what is meant by “active participation” in the Mass by the lay faithful.
These videos are going up week by week, and each one has an accompanying study guide, which you can find at elementsofthecatholicmass.com.
Some people may be surprised, as I was, to discover that the High Renaissance (the style of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, from about 1490 to 1525) is not considered fully and authentically liturgical, which is to say, right for the Catholic liturgy. This is not to say that there are not individual works by these great artists that might be appropriate, but they did not form a coherent tradition in which a theology of form had been fully worked out, as was later to happen for the Baroque. Pope Benedict argues that for the most part, the High Renaissance was too strongly influenced by the pagan art of classical Greece, and as such, reveals the self-obsessed, negative aspects of classical culture in a way that is not fully Christian.
As a young man, Titian trained during the High Renaissance, and the influence of this can be seen in this early painting of his, the Enthronement of St Mark. At St Mark’s feet are Ss Cosmas and Damian on the left, and Ss Sebastian and Roch on the right. This was painted in 1510, and one could be forgiven for thinking it was painted by Raphael. Notice how sharply defined all the figures and details are, even down to the floor tiles.
If you compare this with the following paintings, we see how his work changed as he got older. The first is Cain and Abel, painted in 1543; and the second is the entombment of Christ, painted in 1558. In the latter, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and the Virgin Mary bring Christ to the tomb, as Mary Magdalene and Saint John the Evangelist look on.
In contrast to the first painting, we can see how diffuse and lacking in color so much of these later painting is. The edges are blurred in many places, and only certain areas have bright or naturalistic color; only the areas of primary focus are painted with sharper edges and with bright colors, to draw our attention to the important part of the composition. The artist cannot apply bright color to the figure of Christ, but notice how he uses the bright colors from the clothes of the three figures who are carrying him to frame his figure. In contrast, the two figures in the background are depleted of color and detail. He wants us to be aware of them, but not in such a way that they detract from the most important parts of the composition. He uses the white cloth draped over the tomb in the same way, making sure that the sharpest contrast in tone in the painting, light to dark, is between this and the shadow of the tomb. The eye is naturally drawn to those areas where dark and light meet, and this is another way that Titian draws our gaze onto Christ.
It is suggested that this looseness of style in Titian’s later works comes about because, as his eyesight declined, he was unable to paint as precisely as he had done as a young man. This may very well have been what forced him to work differently, but if so, all I can say is how well he accommodated his handicap so as to create something greater as a result!
Going forward to early 17th century Rome, Caravaggio is often credited with creating the Baroque style’s characteristic visual vocabulary of exaggerated light and dark. We see deep shadow and bright light before him, but Caravaggio exaggerated it and imbued it with spiritual meaning in a new way. The shadow represents the presence of evil, sin, and suffering in this fallen world; it is contrasted with a light which represents Christ the Light, who offers Christian hope that transcends such suffering.
This can be seen in the painting above of the incredulity of St Thomas. Notice how it is so pronounced that we do not see any background landscape at all; apart from the figures themselves, all is is obscured by shadow. Caravaggio does retain from the visual style of the High Renaissance edges that are sharp and well defined, even if partially obscured by shadow. Other artists studied this and, while adopting Caravaggio’s language of light and dark, to varying degrees also incorporated also the controlled and selective blurring of edges that characterized Titian.
Look at the following painting of St Francis in Meditation by the Flemish artist Anthony Van Dyck, painted in 1632, in which we can see how much he has taken from Titian.
Van Dyck trained under Rubens, who, as a young man traveled in 1600 to Italy, and lived there for eight years. His travels took him to Venice, where he saw the works of Titian, and both Florence and Rome, where much of Caravaggio’s work was. He was influenced strongly by both. and passed these influences on to his star pupil.
Many of you will be aware of Adam Bartlett’s chant compositions for the Propers of the Mass in the vernacular. They are in the Lumen Christi Missal and the Lumen Christi Simple Gradual, both available through his publishing house, Illuminare Publications. In addition, there is the Lumen Christi Hymnal, which has a selection of traditional hymns for liturgical and devotional use, and the proper hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours translated into English and set to the ancient melodies.
He has now published accompaniment editions for this material. For example, there are four part arrangements that can be played by organ or sung as SATB for choir, given for the chants of the Propers or the Responsorial Psalms.
For more information go to the Illuminare website: illuminarepublications.com/
I became aware of Adam’s music when I joined a choir in New Hampshire some years ago. We were a mixture of adults and children with varying degrees of experience of chant. We found that Adam’s chanted Propers were relatively easy to sing, allowed for a clear articulation of the text so that the congregations can understand it. Also, the priest was very excited by them, as he told me that to his pleasure and surprise the congregations were enjoy them and beginning to sing along.
Each Bartlett chant is modal and composed in the same mode as the Latin Proper from which it was translated. This means that they connect musically with original Latin propers. Therefore, when we sang the Latin after the English as a meditation, we found that congregations accepted them, and could thus be introduced to the Latin without being intimidated by texts they don’t understand.
I look forward to hearing these!