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Articles on this Page
- 12/22/15--06:00: _Denis McNamara on S...
- 12/22/15--09:00: _Gaudete Sunday Phot...
- 12/22/15--12:00: _Rationale Worn by t...
- 12/23/15--04:33: _O Rex Gentium 2015
- 12/23/15--06:00: _Fota IX Conference ...
- 12/23/15--09:00: _Tonsure and Minor O...
- 12/23/15--18:01: _Recording of Advent...
- 12/23/15--19:33: _Advent Photopost - ...
- 12/23/15--15:00: _O Emmanuel 2015
- 12/24/15--04:45: _Dominican Rite Sole...
- 12/24/15--05:00: _Midwives to the Tru...
- 12/24/15--13:00: _The New Rite Prefac...
- 12/24/15--15:00: _Photopost Request f...
- 12/24/15--18:26: _Photographs of Midn...
- 12/25/15--05:00: _Merry Christmas!
- 12/23/15--06:00: _Fota IX Conference ...
- 12/26/15--06:20: _St Stephen the Firs...
- 12/27/15--05:27: _St John the Evangelist
- 12/27/15--05:55: _Video of Midnight M...
- 12/27/15--14:52: _Fr Hunwicke Needs Y...
- 12/22/15--09:00: Gaudete Sunday Photopost 2015
- 12/22/15--12:00: Rationale Worn by the Bishop of Eichstätt
- 12/23/15--04:33: O Rex Gentium 2015
- 12/23/15--06:00: Fota IX Conference Dates Announced for July 2016
- 12/23/15--09:00: Tonsure and Minor Orders in Toulon, France
- 12/23/15--19:33: Advent Photopost - Rorate Masses
- 12/23/15--15:00: O Emmanuel 2015
- 12/24/15--04:45: Dominican Rite Solemn Mass for Christmas Day, SF Bay Area
- 12/24/15--05:00: Midwives to the Truth: A Sacred Conversation about Christmas
- 12/24/15--13:00: The New Rite Prefaces for Advent
- 12/24/15--15:00: Photopost Request for Christmas 2015
- 12/24/15--18:26: Photographs of Midnight Mass 2015 at the London Oratory
- 12/25/15--05:00: Merry Christmas!
- 12/23/15--06:00: Fota IX Conference Dates Announced for July 2016
- 12/26/15--06:20: St Stephen the First Martyr
- 12/27/15--05:27: St John the Evangelist
- 12/27/15--14:52: Fr Hunwicke Needs Your Help - A Linguistic Challenge
He then goes on to highlight what the Council did ask for in regard to art and architecture, which on the whole reinforces the principles of the desirability of noble and resplendent beauty. Then, in his understated and polite way, he concludes by saying that nobody should ever think that Vatican II ever meant anything other than what it actually said, just because it came at a time that was “unfriendly,” as he put it, to ornament, image and traditional architecture.
Denis McNamara is on the faculty of the Liturgical Institute, Mundelein; his book is Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy.
The Passionists’ church of the Holy Cross, part of which was built in the mid-12th century as a reproduction of the Holy Sepulcher, was selected by Bishop Hanke, rather than his own cathedral, as the location of the Holy Door for the Extraordinary Jubilee.
|The Creation of Adam, by Andrea Pisano, 1335; from the bell-tower of the Cathedral of Florence.|
During the concert, images from Fra Angelico’s work that corresponded to the music were projected; the same images are used in the YouTube video. Thank you, Sr. Rosemary, and all the students who participated in this most worthwhile enterprise. As our editor likes to say (taking his cue from Pope Benedict XVI), evangelize through beauty!
|Procession on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the church of St Mary in nearby Norwalk|
|An 18th century Greek icon of Christ-Emmanuel, from the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.|
|Cloister Garden of the Carmel of the Holy Family|
Along with the other distinctive aspects of the Dominican Rite, this Mass of Christmas has two others. There will be three readings as we have a Prophecy from Isaiah along with the Epistle and Gospel. And our rite includes the famous medieval Sequence, the Laetabundus.
The Carmel has ample parking, but the chapel is small, so to insure yourself seating, come early.
|Something worth talking about: Sacra Conversatione (Paolo Veronese, 1528-1588)|
Parishes do their very best on Christmas. As no doubt Garrison Keillor would relate about Lutherans and Catholics in Lake Wobegone, we compete over the excellence of our flowers, sermons, music, candles, altar linens, hospitality… and all the other trappings of parish life and liturgy that keep folks coming back. It would be easy to forget that all of these things are signs of a greater and more important reality. Ironically, and perhaps paradoxically, they are signs directing us to a baby, God’s co-eternal Son, Jesus.
As St. Augustine relates in On the Teacher, without signs, without words, we cannot know the thing itself. We can’t identify or even think about something without using words and names, however the name is not the thing itself. So also with our Masses on Christmas Day: without our polished words, our beautiful singing, and even our lovingly decorated churches, the world would perhaps never know about the Christmas Child, Jesus. We are, however, only midwives, messengers, and teachers; we can only point to Jesus.
Liturgy is a sign of the presence of God among us. Through the Word of God, through the Priest, through the assembly of the people of God, and most particularly through the Blessed Sacrament, we can see God present (Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, #7). With the exception of the Blessed Sacrament and the Word, however, these things are just signs; thankfully neither the priest nor the assembly is God. Salvation and liberation come when, like the prophet Isaiah, one recognizes “surely God is my salvation” (12:2). It is only after this is known, that one can understand Theresa of Avila’s well-known saying “Christ has no body now but yours.” All of our service to our neighbor is a free gift to God, not a replacement for him or his divine work among us; and after all of our striving and effort, there is but one Savior, and it is the divine baby we celebrate.
What is the purpose of words and songs about Jesus, then? Again as St. Augustine relates, “if we do not know [what the words signify], then we cannot call to mind [what the words signify], though perhaps we may be prompted to ask” (On the Teacher, chapter XI). Put simply, those who know Jesus sing and speak about him that they might call him to mind, and hopefully those who hear the words and songs and do not know the meaning will be prompted to ask. Even after having received faith through baptism, the process of seeking understanding is ongoing this side of heaven. To use Augustine's words, "credo, ut intelligam" or "I believe, that I might understand."
So we might ask ourselves: is there enough mystery and beauty in our praises that someone not “in the know” would be eager to inquire? Sometimes we hear things in Church that we believe, but do not yet understand. Do our sermons demonstrate faith seeking understanding, or is the truth expediently confined to human reason, so as to demonstrate human power and authority? Lastly, do our postures and demeanor demonstrate humility and wonder before the vast truth that lies before us, the holy Christ Child who disarms all human power in an instant? If we don’t know, we should ask someone who does!
The influence of the Ambrosian Liturgy (whether correctly understood or not) and the Neo-Gallican uses was quite strong on the creators of the post-Conciliar liturgical reform. It might therefore be assumed that when the decision was made to add a Preface for Advent for general use in the Roman Rite, the most obvious choice would be the Neo-Gallican Preface already widely used in France, Belgium and elsewhere. Since in fact two such Prefaces were added, one to be said up until December 16th, and the second for rest of the season, a logical second choice would be the Ambrosian Preface for the major ferias “de Exceptato” at the end of the Milanese Advent, or possibly one of the eight other options in the Ambrosian Missal.
Inexplicably, but not surprisingly, none of the Prefaces for Advent then in use in the Latin Rites was in fact chosen. In May of 1968, the Sacred Congregation for Rites issued eight new Prefaces, including two for Advent, both of which were carried over into the Novus Ordo when it was promulgated a year and half later. These are partly ex novo compositions, and partly the result of the often rather bizarre process known as “centonization”, the compilation of fragments and phrases taken from a variety of sources, often no more than a word or two.
In 1989, Frs Anthony Ward SM and Cuthbert Johnson OSB published The Prefaces of the Roman Missal (Centro Liturgico Vincenziano, Rome), which meticulously documents the origins (liturgical, scriptural, and patristic) of all 81 of the Novus Ordo Prefaces. The Neo-Gallican and the Ambrosian Advent Prefaces are not even cited in either of the new Advent Prefaces; the sources for the first are mostly texts originally used on the Ascension, and those of the second are from Christmas and the birth of St John the Baptist. Johnson and Ward do however note the presence of the word “pervigiles – ever watchful” in the second one as a reference to the Collect of a Mass for Advent in the Gelasian Sacramentary.
|The beginning of the Gelasian Sacramentary in the Vatican Library manuscript Reginensis 316. (Public domain image from Wikipedia.)|
My translation: Truly … through Christ our Lord. Who by His first coming in the humility of the flesh which He took on, fulfilled the duty (laid upon Him by Thy) ancient dispensation, and opened for us the way of eternal salvation; so that, when He comes again in the glory of His majesty, we may at last receive of His gift made manifest the promise which we now dare to hope and watch for. And therefore…
Old translation: When he humbled himself to come among us as a man, he fulfilled the plan you formed long ago and opened for us the way to salvation. Now we watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ our Lord will come again in his glory.
New translation: For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh, and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago, and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, that, when he comes again in glory and majesty and all is at last made manifest, we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise in which now we dare to hope.
My translation: Truly … through Christ our Lord. Whom the proclamations of all the prophets foretold, whom the Virgin Mother bore and raised with love beyond all telling, whom John (the Baptist) prophesied would come, and showed when He came. Who granted to us to come with rejoicing before the mystery of His Birth, that He may find us ever-watchful in prayer, and exultant in His praises. And therefore…
Old translation: His future coming was proclaimed by all the prophets. The virgin mother bore him in her womb with love beyond all telling. John the Baptist was his herald and made him known when at last he came. In his love Christ has filled us with joy as we prepare to celebrate his birth, so that when he comes he may find us watching in prayer, our hearts filled with wonder and praise.
New translation: For all the oracles of the prophets foretold him, the Virgin Mother longed for him with love beyond all telling, John the Baptist sang of his coming and proclaimed his presence when he came. It is by his gift that already we rejoice at the mystery of his Nativity, so that he may find us watchful in prayer and exultant in his praise.
|Mass on St Stephen’s Day 2014 at the church of St Anne (Damenstiftkirche) in Munich, Bavaria, celebrated by the FSSP.|
|From the Grandes Heurs d'Anne de Bretagne, by Jean Bourdichon, 1503-08, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris|
|The martyrdom of St Stephen, from the Bedford Hours, ca. 1430|
|The central panel of the Apocalypse Polyptych, by Jacobello Alberegno, 1360-90 (Gallery of the Academy, Venice)|
Fr Hunwicke calls attention to one change in particular; any linguistic scholar who may happen to read this is called upon to look it over carefully, and propose answers to his query either here, where I will be happy to pass them on to the good Father, or over at his own combox on his page.
Leo wrote that Mary, a good Mother and a good spouse, gave a helping hand to both Son and husband,
si potest curas relevare fessis
[ ................. happy
if she can lighten, with a friendly duty,
cares for the weary.]
But, apparently, ‘fessis’ suggests to the Francophone ear not ‘weary’ but ‘buttocks’. So Dom Anselmo Lentini changed it to the problem-free word ‘lassis’, thus spoiling the alliterative “felix ... fessis” but sparing the blushes of that notoriously bashful constituency, the French clergy. (I will award this Blog’s Order of Chastity, Fourth Class, which authorises you to have a pink pompom on your biretta, to any reader who can demonstrate that there is another language in which ‘lassis’ is even more indelicate than ‘fessis’ is in French.)
Leo was a fluent French speaker. Yet, as a cultivated Latinist, he wrote “fessis” without a moment’s anxiety. What sort of cultural shift has landed us with an ‘emancipated’ society in which the word is too sniggerworthy to be printable?