Articles on this Page
- 11/30/15--07:00: _Recent Typeface Des...
- 11/30/15--21:12: _A Reliquary of St A...
- 12/01/15--21:30: _Christmas Gift Idea...
- 12/02/15--07:00: _Dom Mark Kirby on t...
- 12/02/15--22:26: _Divinum Officum Now...
- 12/03/15--03:52: _St Andrew’s Day in ...
- 12/03/15--11:02: _A Catholic Praise T...
- 12/03/15--22:35: _The Feast of St Fra...
- 12/04/15--07:00: _Denis McNamara on t...
- 12/04/15--11:51: _EF Mass for Immacul...
- 12/04/15--12:25: _Advent to Epiphany ...
- 12/04/15--22:44: _Ambrosian Prefaces ...
- 12/05/15--22:59: _Solemn Mass, Dec. 8...
- 12/06/15--04:20: _Elements of the Cat...
- 12/06/15--23:03: _The Feast of St Nic...
- 12/07/15--04:21: _Photopost Request :...
- 12/07/15--07:00: _Beat Your Own Breast
- 12/07/15--21:02: _Photographs of Rora...
- 12/07/15--23:04: _Ambrosian Prefaces ...
- 12/08/15--07:00: _To Sing With the An...
- 11/30/15--07:00: Recent Typeface Design and Calligraphy from Daniel Mitsui
- 11/30/15--21:12: A Reliquary of St Andrew the Apostle
- 12/01/15--21:30: Christmas Gift Ideas from NLM Authors
- Icons. There are, alas, a lot of cheap and ugly icons out there, but if you take your time you can find something very beautiful — either a well-made reproduction (two excellent sources are Jordanville and St. Isaac Skete) or an original icon (see, e.g., here or here).
- A good daily Missal. The two best for the TLM are The Roman Catholic Daily Missaland the Baronius Press Daily Missal. For the OF, one can’t beat the Midwest Theological Forum editions.
- A nice chapel veil— this could make a great gift from a fellow to a lady, a sister to a sister, etc. Here’s one very good source.
- Hand-carved olivewood statues from the holy Land that help support the Christians of the Holy Land. They certainly need our support, and the gifts are really lovely. One such source would be here.
- Oplatki Christmas Wafers for Christmas Eve.
- Mystic Monk Coffee. I don’t think this really is a devotional item (although, in Thomistic fashion, one might consider it such by extention, inasmuch as it removes impediments to devotion.) But it’s comforting to be able to support great liturgy and get great coffee at the same time. The progress the monks are making on their Gothic monastery is heartening and deserves our support.
- Christmas in Harvard Square by The Boys of St. Paul’s Choir School.
- To Be a Pilgrim: The Canterbury Waywith Fr. Marcus Holden and Fr. Nicholas Schofield.
- Many religious communities are now producing excellent records of sacred music (what a change from the bleak musical situation even just 10 years ago!). You could try these: Benedicta(from the Monks of Norcia); several fine recordings from the Benedictine Nuns of Ephesus; In Medio Ecclesiae: Music for the New Evangelization (Dominicans in D.C.); Best of Solesmes.
- A French classic for Christmas: the Midnight Mass by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. For the best historic recording of this polyphonic Mass, see here.
- Byzantine Christmas: a nice book & CD set.
- Mary Reed Newland, We and Our Children: How to Make a Catholic Home.
- Mary Reed Newland, The Year and Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season.
- The Little Oratoryby David Clayton and Leila Lawler. (NLM review)
- A Short Guide to Praying as a Family: Growing Together in Faith and Love Each Day,with photos by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.
- Treasure and Traditionby Lisa Bergman. Simply the best single-volume detailed introduction to the Traditional Latin Mass that has ever been published. Wonderful! (NLM review)
- A Missal for Young Catholics. (Read more about this missal for the traditional Latin Mass, along with some other items for children, at this link.)
- Of Bells and Cells.A book on religious vocations and religious orders.
- Maria Montessori, The Mass Explained to Children. (NLM review of this and the preceding)
- The Life of St. Benedictby Br. John McKenzie, O.S.B. (NLM review)
- The Holy Gospels of St. Luke and St. John. The handsomest reader-friendly edition of these Gospels that you can give to your child. (NLM review)
- The Miracle of St. Nicholas — one of the best ever.
- Joseph Ratzinger, The Theology of the Liturgy— this incredibly handy volume brings together all of Ratzinger’s writings on the liturgy, including his now-classic The Spirit of the Liturgy. (It’s unfortunate that Amazon doesn’t delete the reviews that referred to the initial printing of the book, which was marred by a manufacturer’s error. The problem was quickly solved with a new printing, but now these one-star reviews are weighing it down.)
- Romano Guardini, Sacred Signs. (NLM review)
- Peter Kwasniewski, Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church. (See NLM review by Dom Alcuin Reid)
- William Mahrt, The Musical Shape of the Liturgy.This book deserves to be better known than it is. A collection of Dr. Mahrt’s wise articles from years and years of Sacred Music, it represents the pinnacle of aesthetic, musicological, and theological thinking about the organic interconnection of church music (especially Gregorian chant) and the sacred rites. For serious students of liturgy and the fine arts.
- Fr. Samuel Weber’s The Proper of the Mass for Sundays and Solemnities.If you are going to sing the Introit, Offertory, and/or Communion chants in English, this is the gold standard. (NLM review.)
- Fr. Samuel Weber’s Hymnal for the Hours. This exceptional book contains English plainchant settings of nearly all the hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours. If you sing the LOTH, it’s a must-have. Available in hardcover or paperback. (NLM review)
- Adam Bartlett’s Lumen Christi series (NLM review of one of the books in the series)
- Aristotle Esguerra’s Modal Responsorial Psalms.
- The Parish Book of Chant,2nd ed. (for both OF and EF)—this is the flagship chant publication of the Church Music Association of America and has found a home in hundreds of churches and chapels. It is an ideal compilation of authentic Latin Gregorian chant for parish use.
- Peter Kwasniewski’s Sacred Choral Works, a collection of 91 choral pieces (motets, antiphons, acclamations, Masses) for various choral ensembles, mostly SATB. The table of contents and audio samples are found at this link. (see NLM interview)
- Missale Romanum (1962): the altar missal that no sacristy should be without.
- The traditional Rituale Romanum.
- Joseph de Sainte-Marie, The Holy Eucharist – The World’s Salvation. This book forever changes the way a person thinks about Mass and concelebration. (NLM review)
- U. W. Lang, Turning Towards the Lord. The definitive work on ad orientem.
- U. W. Lang, Signs of the Holy One. Fr. Lang’s new book, a little masterpiece, hasn’t yet received the attention it should. Check out the table of contents at Amazon.
- Athanasius Schneider, “Dominus Est” – It is the Lord!The best short book on reverence (and signs of reverence) towards the Blessed Sacrament.
- David Clayton, The Way of Beauty: Liturgy, Education, and Inspiration for Family, School, and College. (NLM review.)
- Basil Cole, O.P. The Hidden Enemies of the Priesthood.
- Cardinal Sarah, God or Nothing. This book has rightly attracted a lot of praise (and doubtless caused more than a few raised eyebrows among the progressives). Cardinal Sarah is somehow able to be simultaneously gracious and amazingly blunt.
- Festal Orations by St. Gregory the Theologian, in the splendid edition from SVS Press. Includes his Christmas and Theophany homilies in beautiful translation — some of the best Christmas preaching ever, and the core of many Byzantine liturgical hymns.
- If you want to offer a good gift of vestments for your priest, visit here. Superior work at an affordable price. (Of course, we also always recommend all the companies who advertise with NLM in our sidebars. We do not accept every ad; we take ads from people whose work we know and love.)
- Every well-dressed cleric should have a biretta; it is the correct headgear for the priest of the Roman Rite. See here for a good source.
- Alcuin Reid and Adrian Fortescue, Ceremonies of the Roman Rite (EF)
- The Roman Catholic Ceremonial, vol. 1: The Ordinary Ceremonies(EF). Recommended by NLM’s William Riccio as one of the most useful resources an MC can have.
- Britt, How to Serve in Simple, Solemn, and Pontifical Functions (EF)
- Peter Elliott, Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite (OF). The closest thing to Fortescue that exists for the Ordinary Form.
- Peter Elliott, Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year (OF). A companion volume to the preceding.
- H. J. A. Sire, Phoenix from the Ashes.Difficult to praise this book highly enough! It is a well-crafted, penetrating presentation of the crisis moments in the history of the Church, with special attention to the past 50+ years.
- Christopher Ferrara and Thomas Woods, The Great Façade, second edition. If you own the first edition, you’ll want to get the second—it has an additional 250 pages by Ferrara on the period from 2002 to the present (mainly, the pontificates of Benedict and Francis to date). Hot stuff, as P.G. Wodehouse would say.
- Roberto De Mattei, The Second Vatican Council – An Unwritten Story.If you ever wanted the real scoop on what happened at the Council, including the intentions of its major players, the way the procedures were tampered with, how the documents actually got written, and so forth, this is the book. Wiltgen’s The Rhine Flows into the Tiberis a classic, of course, but De Mattei drills deeper — he’s not a journalist but a true historian, with a vast knowledge of primary sources and the careful habits of a scholar, with the benefit of hindset that Wiltgen did not enjoy.
- Romano Amerio, Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the Twentieth Century.This book is, in a way, The Great Façade, avant la lettre. Amerio casts his net wider than Ferrara and Woods by surveying the entire 20th century and documenting the (usually) gradual shift in positions on a whole host of subjects. Check out the table of contents at Amazon for a sense of the breadth of the coverage.
- 12/02/15--22:26: Divinum Officum Now Available with German Translation
- 12/03/15--03:52: St Andrew’s Day in Scotland
- 12/03/15--11:02: A Catholic Praise Tradition?
- 12/04/15--07:00: Denis McNamara on the Church, Part 8 - A Hierarchy of Sacred Images.
- 12/04/15--12:25: Advent to Epiphany at Holy Innocents, Manhattan
- 12/04/15--22:44: Ambrosian Prefaces for Advent - Part 1
- 12/05/15--22:59: Solemn Mass, Dec. 8th, Tiverton, R.I.
- 12/06/15--04:20: Elements of the Catholic Mass - Video 5: the Processions of the Mass
- 12/06/15--23:03: The Feast of St Nicholas 2015
- 12/07/15--04:21: Photopost Request : Immaculate Conception 2015
- 12/07/15--07:00: Beat Your Own Breast
- 12/07/15--21:02: Photographs of Rorate Mass at Holy Innocents NYC
- 12/07/15--23:04: Ambrosian Prefaces for Advent - Part 2
Following up on my earlier post about the layouts and typography of Dom Benedict Andersen, I wanted to share with NLM readers some of Daniel Mitsui’s recent experiments with designing his own typefaces, a painstaking art form he is pursuing in order to work towards the publication of new illustrated fine press editions of late medieval books. Two of the pieces now on display in Steubenville are typographic broadsides, one of them prepared in anticipation of the Synod on the Family:
here and here.)
In toto, Daniel has designed four typefaces: Benedict, Victor, Adam, and Michaëla. The marriage and family texts above are written in Benedict; the Lord's Prayer in Victor. Here are samples of Adam and Michaëla:
Some time ago Daniel did this "Ecce quam bonum," which is a masterly example of the art of illuminating a text (we see again the Benedict font):
his website for a complete portfolio and items for sale.
This photograph was taken by Dom Jakobus of Herzogenburg Abbey in Austria, a house of the Order of Canons Regular of St Augustine, and is reproduced here with his kind permission. Dom Jakobus also maintains a facebook page about the Order, (under their Latin title, “Ordo Canonicorum Regularium Sancti Augustini”), with lots of information about the various orders and houses of Augustinian Canons Regular, and many interesting pictures, both modern and historical, of the canons and their liturgies.
The lists below are book-heavy. The reason is simple enough. We need to keep studying, we need to form and inform ourselves intellectually. There is a huge amount of ignorance and error in the Church today, and, obviously, no one of us is ever fully “finished” with our education. Miseducation and lack of knowledge are not static problems; like weeds in a garden, they multiply and take over if they are not uprooted and valuable plants cultivated in their place. I saw recently a quotation attributed to St. Thomas More: “One of the greatest problems of our time is that many are schooled but few are educated.” So, NLM authors not surprisingly like to recommend good books.
CDs and DVDs
Books for Parents & Families
Catholic Childrens’ Books
Books on the Sacred Liturgy
Great Resources for Sacred Music (OF)
Books for Your Parish Priest (if he doesn’t already have them)
Other Gifts for the Clergy
Books for Masters of Ceremonies
Essential Reading on the Contemporary Church
In connection with this incident, I was struck by an article posted by Dom Mark Kirby, O.S.B., of Silverstream Priory, where he ponders the connection between novel liturgical customs and the kinds of irreverence they make possible today on a scale that beggars the imagination. I shall quote here most of the article, but encourage the readers to go to Vultus Christi for the whole piece (and for other posts -- it is always a most enlightening and edifying blog).
A priest friend said to me this morning that bishops the world over need to consider a moratorium on Holy Communion in the hand. Perhaps for the Year of Mercy? Are we to show no mercy to the One who is present among us under the appearances of a thing so fragile as the Host? Do we not recognize in the Sacred Host God become, for love of us, vulnerable, poor, silent, and defenseless? Do we not see that the Sacred Host is the ultimate expression of what Saint Paul (see Philippians 2:7) calls the kenosis of the Son of God, that is His utter self-emptying?
The Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum promulgated eleven years ago by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments 25 March 2004, seems, in most places, to have had little or no effect. One wonders if the clergy were at all given the opportunity to come together to study the document and, with one mind, plan its implementation. Among other things, in article 92, the Instruction says clearly: “If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful”. Many times I have had Sacred Hosts, sometimes bearing the imprint of shoes after having been trampled, brought to me by aggrieved layfolk who picked them up from the floor of churches. I think it only reasonable to conclude that there is, in fact, widespread risk of profanation. Consequently, article 92 of Redemptionis Sacramentum needs to be invoked and implemented. Not to do so would be, I think, more than a mere oversight.
What has so inured the clergy and laity to the extreme abasement of Jesus Christ in the Sacred Host that sacrileges and profanations meet with no more than a passing measured expression of regret? Have we no mercy for the defenceless Christ? No tears for God? No voice to cry aloud when the Body of God is defiled? One forgets, I think, that the culture of death denounced by Saint John Paul II is, in fact, an attack on the human body. Every attack on the human body and every profanation of the human body is, in the final analysis, an attack on the Body of Christ. Conversely, every attack on the Eucharistic Body of Christ and every profanation of that Sacred Body attacks and profanes the human body.“Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it to the body of one of these my least brethren, you did it to my Body; and as long as you did it to my Body, you did it to the body of one of these my least brethren” (cf. Matthew 25:39). [...]
A society that admits the practice of abortion — dismembering the body of a child — will, ineluctably, feel indifferent towards sins against the Eucharistic Body of Christ, the hóstia pura, hóstia sancta, hóstia immaculáta – the pure Victim, the holy Victim, the spotless Victim. By the same token, irreverence towards the Eucharistic Body of Christ opens the door to every manner of sin against the human body: abortion, pornography, sexual perversion, and every manner of violence and abuse. Everything that affects the body has repercussions upon The Body; and everything that affects The Body has repercussions upon the body.
“The stench of putrefaction”, says the old Italian proverb, “begins from the head of the fish”. I would argue that every loss of reverence at the altar leads to a loss of reverence in the sanctuary; that every loss of reverence in the sanctuary leads to a loss of reverence in the body of the church; that every loss of reverence in the body of the church leads to a loss of reverence in the marketplace, schools, hospitals, and theatres; that every loss of reverence in the marketplace, schools, hospitals, and theatres leads to a loss of reverence in the home; and that every loss of reverence in the home leads to a loss of reverence in the marriage bed.
Hitherto, the site has provided the side-by-side translations in English, Italian, Hungarian and Polish; I have just received word that, as of the First Sunday of Advent, German has been added to that list; information about the source of the German texts is available here. These translations will be a tremendous help to German-speaking priests and laity who may want to pray the EF Office, but who need some help with the Latin. The creators and administrators of the site have clearly put a tremendous amount of time and effort into the site, which must involve some rather complicated programming to account for all the different possible options, especially in the Office. They are very much to be commended for making such a valuable site available to all for free!
Without belief in the authentic, real presence of God, liturgy slips into a comfortable and bloodless deism, where God is distant and disengaged, a watchmaker who winds the watch and walks away. In this counterfeit spirituality, we attempt to make God present through human interaction (support, community, etc). But ultimately this is madness. As Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy, “The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head, and it is his head that splits.” God has already made a way for us to get our heads (and someday, please God, our whole body) into the heavens, and that way is faith. The psalms are a sort of litmus test, a way to show our faith in action; it is impossible to sing the psalms without faith that God is indeed "our refuge and our strength, our ever present help in time of trouble" (Psalm 46). In keeping with the Jewish tradition, praise is the correct response to God's deliverance and liberation from sin and oppression.
|The altar, designed by Pietro da Cortona, contains the painting of “The Death of St Francis Xavier” by Carlo Maratta, and the reliquary of his arm (closer view below).|
|St Francis Xavier Assumed into Glory in Heaven|
|The interior of the Cathedral of Ss Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.|
(photo from Wikipedia by Beyond My Ken)
|The frontispiece of an Ambrosian Missal printed at Milan in 1522|
Truly...Almighty God: To whom it is proper and unique that Thou art good, and in Thy very nature not subject to change. Have mercy upon Thy suppliants, and show to Thy Church the mercy which She confesseth, making known to Thy people the wondrous mystery of Thy Only-Begotten Son; so that what Thou didst promise through the Gospel of Thy Word may be fulfilled in all the nations of the world, and the fullness of adoption may have that the truth brought forth in witness. Through the same Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy majesty etc.
Truly...Through Christ our Lord. By whose incarnation was wrought the salvation of the world, and by whose passion was brought about the redemption of Man whom Thou didst create. May He lead us, we beseech Thee, to eternal reward, who redeemed us from the darkness of hell, and in His second coming, justify us, who redeemed us in the first: that His glory by defend us from all evils, whose humility raised us up to life. Through whom the Angels praise Thy majesty etc.
Truly...Through Christ our Lord, whose coming we await. Who for the sake of man’s salvation, did so deign to enter the womb of the Virgin, that he imparted to us the way of salvation, and was never separated from the majesty of Thy divinity, the same Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who together with Thee, almighty Father, and with the Holy Spirit, the Angels praise etc.
|A 16th-century Russian Icon of St Nicholas, from the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg|
R. Ex ejus tumba marmorea sacrum resudat oleum; quo liniti, sanantur caeci, * surdis auditus redditur, et debilis quisque sospes regreditur.
V. Catervatim ruunt populi, cernere cupientes quae per eum fiunt mirabilia. Surdis auditus redditur, et debilis quisque sospes regreditur.
Sospitati reddit aegros olei perfusio.
Nicolaus naufragantum affuit praesidio.
Revelavit a defunctis defunctum in bivio.
Baptizatur auri viso Judaeus indicio.
O quam probat sanctum Dei farris augmentatio!
Vas in mare mersum, patri redditur cum filio.
Ergo laudes Nicolao concinat haec concio.
Nam qui corde poscit illum, expulsato vitio,
Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Et debilis quisque sospes regreditur.
R. From his marble tomb comes forth a sacred oil; and when they are anointed with it, the blind are healed, * hearing is given back to the deaf, and every lame man walks away healthy.
V. In crowds the people rush, wishing to see the wonders that take place through him. Hearing is given back to the deaf, and every lame man walks away healthy.
The pouring of the oil brings the sick back to health.
Nicholas was present as to help to sailors risking shipwreck.
At a crossroad, he raised a dead man from the dead.
A Jew is baptized when he sees the miracle of the gold.
Oh how the multiplication of grain proves God’s Saint.
A vessel sunk into the sea is given back to a father with his son.
Therefore, let this assembly sing praises to Nicholas,
For he that seeks him in his heart, vice being driven away,
walks away healthy.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
And every lame man walks away healthy.
The reference to the baptism of a Jew “when he sees the miracle of the gold” is one of the less known posthumous miracles of St Nicholas. The story is told in the Golden Legend of Bl Jacopo de Vorgine that a man who had borrowed a sum of money from a Jew tried to cheat him by claiming falsely that he had already repaid it. Going to court, he filled his hollowed out walking-staff with small pieces of gold, to a value greater than what he owed, and then handed the staff to the Jew to hold for him, while he solemnly (and in a certain sense, truthfully) swore his oath that he had given him what he owed and more. While returning from court, however, the cheat was run over by a chariot at a crossroads and killed, and his staff broken, revealing the fraud. When it was suggested to the Jew that he reclaim his money, he refused “unless the dead man should return to life by the merits of the blessed Nicholas,” which did indeed happen, leading to his conversion and baptism.
|From last year’s Immaculate Conception photopost - blue vestments used in the Philippine Islands!|
Why do we beat our breasts? Many years ago, Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., prior of the Monastery of Norcia, wrote a lovely article entitled “Sacred Signs and Active Participation at Mass: What Do These Actions Mean, and Why Are They So Important?” Apropos our topic, Fr. Cassian says:
This is a sign of repentance, of humility, like the parable of the Pharisee and publican in the Gospel: “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Lk 18:13). In the Missal of Pius V, the rubric for this gesture was very specific: “He strikes his breast three times, saying: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” The rubric in the Missal of Paul VI is less precise. It simply says: “Striking themselves on the breast they say mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” … The words express our repentance verbally. Striking the breast expresses our repentance physically, in body language.Fr. Cassian continues, quoting one of my favorite books, Guardini’s Sacred Signs:
Guardini has something to say about this gesture too. He asks the question: “What is the significance of this striking the breast? All its meaning lies in its being rightly done. To brush one’s clothes with the tip of one’s fingers is not to strike the breast. We should beat upon our breasts with our closed fists. In the old picture of Saint Jerome in the desert he is kneeling on the ground and striking his breast with a stone. It is an honest blow, not an elegant gesture. To strike the breast is to beat against the gates of our inner world in order to shatter them. This is its significance.” … The gesture of striking the breast, made carefully and with full awareness, can communicate to ourselves and to others more than mere words can say, that we recognize our sinfulness and publicly declare our sorrow for our sins. … Try it yourself. The rib cage is like an echo chamber. If you strike your breast properly, you’ll hear the sound of it: like the sound of thunder.This, then, is why we have this gesture and why it is important not to let it slip away into a manner of worship that is too verbal and not sufficiently physical and interior.
I don’t know if others have done the same, but ever since the new translation of the Roman Missal appeared, I’ve been wondering if the People of God in my neighborhood would start beating their breasts as they say: “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” After all, this rhythmic repetition, evidently not a useless repetition but a highly necessary one, almost begs to be accompanied by some bodily action: “through my fault (thump), through my fault (thump), through my most grievous fault (thump).”
The results seem to be mixed so far. The younger people pick it up quickly: they are natural imitators, they delight in ritual observances, and as soon as they see a few adults who do it, they start to emulate. But those who have lived a very long time without the beating of the breast — which was, I’m afraid, lost during the confusion of “the changes” — for the most part do not seem to have resumed the custom, and, alas, I cannot remember a single homily in which the custom was mentioned, either to explain it, or to encourage it.
Still, there’s hope. The beating of the breast will come back, for three reasons: firstly, the increasing number of Catholics who attend the Extraordinary Form cannot avoid seeing it happening many times (and, perchance, reading it in their missals); secondly, members of the younger generation who are liturgically conscientious are taking it up again at both the Ordinary and Extraoridnary Forms; thirdly and most deeply, it is a profoundly human, natural, humble, and effective sign, of which we always stand in need. This gives it a kind of elemental claim on us that easily reasserts itself in spite of decades of abeyance. One sees the same thing with the reintroduction of kneeling for communion, the use of incense, the Benedictine altar arrangement, ad orientem, and lots of other examples. They may have been totally unfamiliar in a certain community, but when they reappear on the watch of a pastor more attuned to Catholic tradition, they make such intuitive sense in worship that the reaction of many is: “Ah, yes — that’s what we’ve been missing.”
At the the Agnus Dei (Angelus Press Missal, pp. 906–7; Lasance, p. 788; Saint Andrew, p. 981), I have noticed that people in the pews strike their breast three times. They often do the same at the Communion of the Priest (Angelus Press Missal, pp. 910–11; Lasance, p. 790; Saint Andrew, p. 983). My understanding, perhaps mistaken, is that at these two points in the Mass, the priest is the only person who should be doing this, while the faithful in the pews are supposed to do it only at the Communion of the Faithful (Angelus Press, pp. 912–13; Lasance, p. 791; Saint Andrew, p. 984). There seems to be some confusion about this amongst those of us in the pews. I’d appreciate it if you could let me know what is correct.It’s a good question, and similar to many other questions that people can and do raise about posture and customs at the TLM. In response, let me mention a few points:
1. As surprising as it may seem, what the laity are supposed to do in the old Mass is nowhere explicitly determined. There are no obligatory rubrics for the laity. There are customs and expectations, but no instructions. (In this regard it is different from the Novus Ordo, which specifies what the congregation is supposed to do at every stage of the liturgy. When Fr. Cassian said above that the old rubric is more precise than the new, he was of course referring to the old rubric for the priest and server; there was none for the laity in attendance. The new rubric is less precise about how many times to beat the breast, but it is more inclusive in that it prescribes the action for all present.) Accordingly, it cannot be “right” or “wrong” to beat one’s breast at any point during the traditional Mass. Granted, if someone were to beat his breast so often and so loudly that it became a distraction to his neighbors, that could well be a venial sin against charity. Otherwise, whether you sit, stand, kneel, pray the Rosary, read your missal, etc., is all up to you.
2. That being said, certain customs are so widespread and longstanding, e.g., standing during the Gospel or kneeling during the Canon, that departing from them would be strange. To kneel during the Gospel or to stand during the Canon would be symbolically unfitting and certainly a huge distraction to others. Frankly, it’s very rare to find a community that is not united around such obvious symbols.
3. But then there is the realm of local customs that prevail in a given region or country, in a given parish or chapel, or in a given religious order that may be in charge of the liturgy you attend. There are bound to be some consistent customs, and, if you are new or visiting, it is wisest to follow St. Augustine’s advice in his famous Letter 54 to Januarius to fall in with local custom if there is nothing inherently evil in it. (One of his examples is which days to fast on: if in a place you are newly residing the choice of days is different from the choice you are accustomed to, you should not stubbornly maintain your past practice but adopt the one of your new locale.)
4. Now, I would have to do more research to find out about how widespread is the custom of beating the breast three times at the Agnus Dei. Still, the Agnus Dei is a part of the Mass Ordinary, which belongs (at High Mass) to the people to sing. Why should they not strike their breasts, too? Indeed, one might infer that this custom had been around before the Council because one almost always sees some people today at OF Masses striking their breast during the Agnus Dei — which is certainly not something mentioned in the new rubrics and could be a carry-over from the past. When, on the other hand, the priest strikes his breast at his“Domine, non sum dignus,” it would not make equal sense for the people to do so, because he is preparing for his own communion, and shortly afterwards, when he raises the host and says “Ecce Agnus Dei,” the people have their own opportunity to say “Domine, non sum dignus” three times and to strike their own breasts, as is right and fitting.
Thus, in my opinion, people shouldn’t do this at the priest’s communion, but they should do it at the Agnus Dei and for their own communion. But this is merely my opinion, since there are no official rubrics for the people’s postures and gestures. (And let's not forget all the other wonderful opportunities for striking one's breast that the traditional liturgy offers — active participation to the max!)
As we move towards the season of Christmas revelry, when people are apt to celebrate more and more, let’s not forget the Catholic B.Y.O.B.: Beat Your Own Breast.
For the feast of St Ambrose, we continue our series on the Ambrosian Prefaces of Advent. Click here to read the first part.
|Two folios of an Ambrosian Missal printed at Milan, with the end of one of the two Masses assigned to the Sixth Sunday of Advent, the Mass “de Exceptato”, and the beginning of the Mass for Christmas Eve.|
Truly...Almighty God: To whom it is proper to generously grant the forgiveness of sins, rather than threaten with punishment. Who deigned to raise up again through the same stone what Thy work had built, lest the living image which had been made in Thy likeness, should by death become unlike Thee. Thou didst grant the gift of pardon and forgiveness, that Thy boundless mercy might restore life, where sin had brought in death. Through the same Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy majesty etc.
Truly…Through Christ our Lord. The unbegotten greatness of Thy might begot the power of His divine nativity, Whom we proclaim was ever the Son, and unbegotten before all time; for Thy name of eternal Father has ever been fully and perfectly Thine. But we also confess Him equal to Thee in honor, majesty and might, as we believe that in three Persons there is but one majesty. Which the Angels praise etc.
Truly...Through Christ our Lord, whose coming we await. Truly…eternal God, and humbly to beseech Thy majesty, that in this present age, Thy only-begotten Son may so enlighten us with His countenance, that when He comes again, He may find us cleansed of every fault. Through Whom the Angels praise etc. etc.
By Virginia A. Schubert, PhD
This is a signature volume chronicling the history of the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale, founded in 1955 by Father (later Monsignor) Richard J. Schuler. The Chorale is now in its 42nd season of singing with professional orchestra the great Classical and Romantic Masses of composers like Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, as a part of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated in Latin at the Church of Saint Agnes in Saint Paul, Minnesota. This book also recounts the important role that Monsignor Schuler played in the area of sacred music in the post-Vatican II Church. It was his heroic commitment, through word and deed, to the authentic implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s document on music and liturgy, that helped keep the patrimony of Catholic sacred music alive in the United States for a new Renaissance.
When Monsignor Schuler was accused of living in the past, he often said that he was rather forty years ahead of the times. And he is being proven correct.
ABOUT THE AUTHORVirginia A. Schubert has sung in the soprano section of the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale for many years, and is currently president of the Board of the Chorale. She assisted Monsignor Schuler when he was editor of Sacred Music magazine, and is a member and former officer of the Church Music Association of America. She is a professor emerita of Macalester College, where she taught French, chaired the French Department, and served as Associate Provost during a 37 year career. Dr. Schubert was decorated by the French government as an Officer in the Order of Academic Palms. She is a Lady Commander in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Dr. Schubert is a member of Saint Agnes parish and the parish of Nativity of Our Lord, both in Saint Paul, MN. To contact the author, email at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE BOOK WILL BE AVAILABLE BEGINNING DECEMBER 8, 2015
TO ORDER COPIES OF TO SING WITH THE ANGELS visit:
• Leaflet Missal Co., 976 W. Minnehaha Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104 (651-487-2818 or 1-800-328-8582), www.leafletonline.com
ISBN: 978-0-692-42105-5 260 pages including 16 color plates $24.95
PRAISE FOR TO SING WITH THE ANGELS: “To Sing with the Angels is an account of the unique Twin Cities Catholic Chorale and the splendid Latin liturgy for which it sings at the Church of Saint Agnes in Saint Paul, MN. Behind it all is Monsignor Richard J. Schuler, who had a consistent vision of the mandates of the Second Vatican Council maintaining the Church’s magnificent treasure of sacred music….” -William P. Mahrt, President of the Church Music Association of America and Editor of Sacred Music
“Dr. Schubert’s remarkable history of the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale is a beautiful witness to the preservation of sacred music in the liturgy, a truly great endeavor that can and should be repeated in many parishes and dioceses throughout the world.” - Reverend Mark Moriarty, Pastor, Church of Saint Agnes
“To Sing with the Angels” is an account of the unique Twin Cities Catholic Chorale and the splendid Latin liturgy which it sings at the Church of Saint Agnes in Saint Paul, MN. Behind it all is Monsignor Richard J. Schuler, who had a consistent vision of the mandates of the Second Vatican Council maintaining the Church’s magnificent treasure of sacred music; this was an unfailing guide to the liturgy, fulfilling the hermeneutic of continuity articulated by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.” - Jeffrey Tucker, Editor, New Liturgical Movement.org; Director of Publications, Church Music Association of America
“Though the artistic heritage of Catholic sacred music was acknowledged and encouraged (by the Second Vatican Council) …as a treasure of inestimable worth, five decades after the last Council the musical tradition of the Universal Church has in fact been eliminated from Catholic sanctuaries and choir lofts…except at the Church of Saint Agnes in Saint Paul, MN. This book explains how and why that happened.” - Reverend Robert A. Skeris, Director for Ward Method Studies, Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.