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    This coming Monday, March 7th, for the traditional feast day of St Thomas Aquinas, Fr Réginald-Marie Rivoire of the Fraternity of St Vincent Ferrer will celebrate a Solemn Mass in the Dominican Rite at the FSSP’s Roman parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, starting at 6:30 pm.

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    On March 17 at 7 pm, Bishop Steven J. Lopes, the recently ordained first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, will come to Washington, D.C. to celebrate a Chrism Mass, at St. Luke’s at Immaculate Conception Church, an Ordinariate parish in downtown Washington. This will be the very first Chrism Mass for the Ordinariate.

    The Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, will be in attendance. As the Holy Father’s personal representative to the U.S., Archbishop Viganò’s presence at the Ordinariate’s Chrism Mass is a powerful sign of the Holy See’s support and encouragement for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

    Since only a bishop can bless the holy oils, Ordinariate priests have until now obtained the oils used for anointing from the geographical dioceses in which they reside. During the Mass, the priests of the Ordinariate will renew their priestly promises, as well.

    The Chrism Mass at St. Luke’s at Immaculate Conception will be additionally interesting because it will be the first such Mass in the Catholic Church celebrated with Divine Worship: The Missal, the newly propagated Missal which blends language from the Anglican tradition with a fully Catholic Mass.

    If you are in the D.C. area March 17th, you owe it to yourself to be present for this unique and beautiful ceremony. There will be a wine and cheese reception immediately after the Mass. Mark your calendar!

    For more information about the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, visit
    (reproduced from the website of St Luke’s at Immaculate Conception parish.)

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    I remind our readers, especially Dominicans, that the Cantus Passionis Domini Nostri Jesu Christihas been republished by Dominican Liturgy Publications.  This book contains the music for singing the Passion in Latin according to Matthew for Palm Sunday and the Passion according to John for Good Friday.  The texts have been shortened and reset to match the forms of 1962, which are to used when celebrating the Dominican Rite today.  A sample page is displayed ed to the right:

    Those who purchase this book for liturgical use will want to order three copies, one each for the narrator, Christ, and the crowd.  The volume is bound in attractive hard cover.  You can read about this book and other offerings at Dominican Liturgy Publications.  I also remind readers that the PDF for the Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae, that is, all the choir music of Holy Week in the Dominican Rite is available on the left side bar at Dominican Liturgy.

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    Earlier today, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych and leader of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, celebrated a hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the high altar of the Roman basilica of St Mary Major. Several other bishops of the UGCC and a very large number of priests concelebrated; the liturgy was sung by the choir of the Ukrainian College of St Josaphat, and the central nave of the church was packed with the faithful.

    The sermon was given in Ukrainian, but at the end of the ceremony, His Beatitude briefly addressed in Italian those who might happen to be present as pilgrims in the basilica, which is of course a focal point of the Jubilee celebrations and devotions in Rome. He spoke of the persecutions which the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church has undergone over the years, and how “the voice of the Evil One” (la voce del maligno) tried 70 years ago to force the Church which he leads to renounce its fidelity to See of Peter. He then stated that the same voice now seeks to convince them to become Orthodox or join the Patriarchate of Moscow “so as not to be an obstacle.” The celebration of the Divine Liturgy in a Pontifical Basilica in Rome, therefore, is a concrete sign of the continuing fidelity of the UGCC to the See of Peter. He then led the entire assembly in singing a prayer for peace in the Ukraine, to which we unite our own fervent prayers.

    During the Trisagion
    During the Prokimen (the chant before the Epistle)
    Incensation of the congregation during the Alleluia
    The chanting of the Gospel
    The sermon
    During the Creed, the concelebrating bishops wave the chalice veil over the chalice and diskos (paten). At a hierarchical Divine Liturgy, the principal celebrant places his head under the veil.
    At the Preface Dialog.
    After the Consecration, the deacon elevates the diskos and chalice.
    During the final prayer (the ambon prayer)
    His Beatitude addresses the clergy and faithful after the liturgy.

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    Fr Hunwicke has just published a series of three articles called “A Bluffer’s Guide to Pauline Pseudonomy.” Although the topic is per se tangential to liturgical matters, his articles will certainly be of interest to our readers, not the least because everything Fr Hunwicke writes is interesting, but also because much of what he says applies equally well to the dubious methodologies which were in the air, so to speak, at the time of the liturgical reform. (Click these links to read part 1, part 2 and part 3.)

    “Pseudonomy” and “pseudepigraphy” are the terms of art which Biblical scholars use to indicate that the putative author of a work did not actually write it. (A classic example in the liturgy is the large number of hymns falsely attributed to St Ambrose.) It has long been a conceit of New Testament scholarship that several of St Paul’s letters were not really written by him, but by his admirers of a generation or two later. Some have even gone so far as to declare authentic only one or two of the Pauline letters, but most modern NTEs, as Father calls them (New Testament Experts), will settle somewhere between 4 and 7: broadly speaking, Romans, I and II Corinthians, and Galatians, with Philippians, I Thessalonians and/or Philemon thrown in for good measure.

    The first four, he writes“are sometimes called the Tuebingen Four, because F.C. Baur of that University demonstrated that they alone are Pauline in the early nineteenth century. This conclusion (surprise surprise) fits snugly into the Lutheran assumption that, since Justification by Faith Alone is manifestly the heart of S Paul’s Gospel, Romans and Galatians are clearly his most important writings.” And he notes that this judgment was confirmed in the 1960s by the research of one A.Q. Morton, whose stylistic analysis purportedly demonstrated that there is a considerable difference in style between the Tuebingen Four and the rest of the Pauline Corpus.

    In the second article, Fr Hunwicke goes on to note a phenomenon which has been well-known for a long time, and inexplicably (or perhaps not so inexplicably) ignored by many Biblical scholars; namely, that the same stylistic analysis which proves that St Paul did not write many of his letters also “proves” any number of manifestly absurd things about other bodies of literature. It has been “demonstrated”, for example, that Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake cannot be by the same author, and that Jane Austen’s novels were not written during the Napoleonic Wars, since she never mentions them. Father also refers to (without explaining in detail) a famous episode in the career of Mons Ronald Knox, who once delivered a paper in which he “proved”, with the methods of modern (i.e. early 20th-century) Biblical scholarship, that many of the Sherlock Holmes stories were not written by their putative author, but by an admirer whom he dubbed “Deutero-Watson.” (The notoriously credulous Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, not realizing that the paper was written as a satire, sent Knox a letter to assure him that he was indeed the author of the entire Corpus Holmesianum.)

    Unsurprisingly, the digital age has given us more sophisticated methods of stylistic analysis than Morton had at his disposal in the 1960s, and Fr Hunwicke reports that Sir Anthony Kenny of Baliol College, Oxford, in his 1986 book A Stylometric Study of the New Testament, “comprehensively torpedoed below the waterline” several of the basic NTE assumptions about St Paul. Not only does he vindicate the Pauline authorship of the two Epistles to Timothy (the three Pastoral Epistles are generally considered the least Pauline of all), but also shows that the Letter to the Hebrews “achieves a correlation with ‘Paul’ higher than any other correlations in the New Testament except that between the three Synoptic Gospels.” (It is now titled in the modern lectionaries “A Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.”)

    To be fair, this kind of research has not been entirely shut out from consideration by the world of Biblical scholarship. Some years ago, I attended a lecture by the grand doyen of liberal Biblical scholars, Fr Raymond E. Brown, on this very topic. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him denounce as false the comparison between pseudonomy among the letters of St Paul and pseudonomy in the Old Testament. He stated that while everyone understood that the attribution of books like Ecclesiastes and Wisdom to Solomon was a literary device, because Solomon had been dead for hundreds of years when they were written, no one denies that the supposedly pseudonomous letters of St Paul were only written about 10-20 years after his death. I remember him saying, “What did the Ephesians think, it got lost in the mail?” (A priest sitting next to me whispered “He hears the rustling of death’s wings behind him”, and he did indeed die a few months later.)

    Fr Hunwicke gives more details in his articles, judiciously presenting Kenny’s research and conclusions without giving a lot of the technical jargon behind it. Again, I would encourage you to read all three articles. It remains to note here, however, how this applies to the field of liturgical studies; I will offer only one example. One of the continual sources of complaint about the Novus Ordo is the widespread displacement of the ancient Roman Canon by the blink-and-miss-it Second Eucharistic Prayer. At the time of the reform, this latter was considered one of its great triumphs, since it supposedly restored to use the even more ancient Eucharistic Prayer of Hippolytus. Laying aside the fact that very little of Hippolytus’ prayer found its way into EP II, no one would any longer seriously defend the idea that the original was ever used by the Church of Rome in her liturgy. The question therefore arises: how many of the other certitudes of modern liturgical scholarship will also eventually be proved false?

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    We just recently received notice of a new community devoted to the celebrate of the traditional Roman Rite, St Thomas Aquinas House in the Archdiocese of Detroit. As noted on their website, this community is currently “a non-juridical private association of men under formal ecclesiastical review by the Archdiocese of Detroit. The Archbishop has granted us his full permission to live our religious life according to the Statutes we have submitted to him, to call our community ‘Catholic,’ and to take private vows of religion.

    The proposed name for our community is ‘Canons Regular of St. Thomas Aquinas,’ though this is not yet official. We began our discernment in August 2012 at the invitation of Bishop Francis Reiss, one of the auxiliary bishops and vicar general, and with the generous help of the local Office for Consecrated Life. We aspire to become a priory ‘sui iuris’ of diocesan rite which will pray and offer ministry totally devoted to the extraordinary (old Latin) form of the Roman liturgy, thus placing us also within the purview of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei.’ ”

    In addition to cultivating a common prayer-life based on the EF, and providing the traditional liturgy for the faithful, the community ministers at Mother of Divine Mercy Parish in Detroit, teaching catechism and training altar boys to serve at the Traditional Latin Mass. The community also has engaged in door-to-door inner city evangelization and catechetical home visitation. Brothers who wish to discern the priesthood enroll in priestly studies at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary at Orchard Lake. (Mother of Divine Mercy Parish is the agglomeration of three of Detroit’s historic ethnic parishes, Sweetest Heart of Mary, St Joseph and St Josaphat.)

    You can visit their website and learn more about the community, including vocational information. at

    An EF Baptism at St Josaphat, celebrated by Bishop Reiss, and served by the brothers of St Thomas Aquinas House. 

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    In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the story of Susanna is read as the epistle of Monday of the fifth week of Lent. This episode is not in the Hebrew text of Daniel, but in the manuscripts of the Septuagint, it appears as the beginning of the book, probably because in verse 45 Daniel is called a “younger man;” this was apparently understood to mean “younger than he was when the rest of the story happened.” When Saint Jerome produced the group of translations now known as the Vulgate, he relegated the story to the end of the book, along with the other “apocryphal” episode known as Bel and the Dragon; hence the common designation of Susanna as chapter 13 of Daniel. Well before Jerome’s time, however, the great biblical scholar Origen had defended the canonicity of Susanna in a letter to his friend Africanus, who claimed that the Greek puns in the book proved that it could not be part of the original text. It is very important to note that Origen’s defense of the story, and of the other deuterocanonical books, repeatedly refers to the “use” of the book in the churches, i.e., in the liturgy. He also cites a saying of the book of Proverbs, “Thou shalt not remove the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set,” (22:28), a passage long understood by Jewish commentators as a command to preserve the ancient traditions of religious practice. His opinion, and not that of St. Jerome, is clearly that of the majority of early Christians, as reflected not only in theoretical consideration, but also in early Christian art, and the ancient traditions which find their way into the lectionaries. (Pictured right: Daniel in the lion’s den, from the Dogmatic Sarcophagus in the Vatican Museums, ca. 340 A.D. On the right, the prophet Habakkuk bringing food to Daniel.)

    A contemporary of Origen provides an exegetical basis for understanding the importance of the story of Susanna to the early Church. Among the fragments of a commentary on Daniel written by Hippolytus of Rome (died ca. 236) we read in reference to Susanna that she “prefigured the Church; and Joachim, her husband, Christ; and the garden, the calling of the saints, who are planted like fruitful trees in the Church. And Babylon is the world; and the two elders are set forth as a figure of the two peoples that plot against the Church – the one, namely, of the circumcision, and the other of the gentiles.” (On Susannah 7: the reader will understand, of course, that this quotation is in no wise chosen in endorsement of Hippolytus’ anti-Jewish sentiments.) And later on, “it is in our power also to apprehend the real meaning of all that befell Susannah. For you may find this also fulfilled in the present condition of the Church. For when the two peoples conspire to destroy any of the saints, they watch for a fit time, and enter the house of God while all there are praying and praising God, and seize some of them, and carry them off, and keep hold of them, saying, ‘Come, consent with us, and worship our gods; and if not, we will bear witness against you.’ And when they refuse, they drag them before the court and accuse them of acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, and condemn them to death.” (On Susannah 22)
    We cannot be certain that it is Hippolytus’ interpretation specifically which influenced the early Church to assign the story of Susanna to Lent. However, we can say with certainty that the Lenten readings for Mass were largely chosen as lessons for the catechumens who would be baptized at Easter, and that the story of Susanna was read to prepare the new Christians for the reality of persecution in the Roman Empire. This is reflected in the art of the catacombs, where stories from the Lenten lectionary are always very prominent, Susanna among them. In the catacomb of Praetextatus, for example, she appears as a lamb (the name Susanna is written over her), with two wolves on either side of her labelled “seniores – the elders.”

    Susanna as a lamb between two wolves, from the Arcosolium of Celerina in the Catacomb of Praetextatus, mid-4th century.

    In the catacomb of Priscilla, the story appears in three parts in the burial chamber known as the Greek Chapel, made in the second half of the second century A.D. On the right side, the two elders are pointing at Susanna’s midriff, indicating that “they were inflamed with lust towards her” (verse 8); on the left side, (further from the camera in this photo), the two elders, having been refused by Susanna, accuse her before the people of adultery by placing their hands upon her head (verse 34). She is condemned to death, but the prophet Daniel, inspired by the Lord, saves her by asking the two elders separately where exactly in Joachim’s garden they witnessed the supposed adultery. When they give different responses, the Jews of Babylon realize she is innocent, and put the two elders to death; in the final scene, Daniel (not visible in this photograph) and Susanna give thanks to God for her deliverance.

    The so-called Greek Chapel in the Catacomb of Priscilla, second half of the second century.
    The stories of Susanna appear on the side walls, with white backgrounds.

    In the traditional lectionary of the Roman Rite, the story of Susanna is assigned to the Saturday of the third week of Lent, the longest epistle of the entire year. The Station for that day is at the church of Saint Susanna, the niece of Pope St. Caius (283-296), traditionally said to be martyred, like her uncle and her father, St. Gabinus, under the Emperor Diocletian. This station was clearly chosen for the coincidence of names; in the Ordinary Form, it has been moved into the week traditionally known as Passion Week, although the stations have not been rearranged accordingly. In the lectionary of 1969, it may also be read in an abbreviated form which begins directly with Susanna’s condemnation at verse 41.

    The facade of Santa Susanna by Carlo Maderno, 1603.

    In the Ambrosian Liturgy, which in many respects provided inspiration for the post-conciliar revisions, the association with the Lord’s Passion is made even more explicit. The reading is assigned to Holy Thursday, which in the Milanese lectionary is focused much more on the Passion than on the institution of the Eucharist. At the service of readings and prayers to be said after Terce, the first reading is that of Susanna; the psalmellus (the equivalent of a gradual in the Roman Rite) which follows is taken from Psalm 34, “Unjust witnesses rising up have asked me things I knew not. They repaid me evil for good.” The second reading is from the book of Wisdom, chapter 2, 12 – 25, beginning with the words “In those days the wicked said to each other: Let us lie in wait for the just, because he is useless to us, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and divulgeth against us the sins of our way of life.” The Gospel that follows immediately after, Matthew 26, 14 – 16, tells of the betrayal of Judas, who sells the Lord for thirty silver pieces.

    Although the reading was chosen to prepare the catechumens for membership in a persecuted sect, it continued in use after the liberty of the Church, as did many other early liturgical references to the Age of the Martyrs. In the Breviary of St. Pius V, we read an explanation of this in the second nocturn of Passion Sunday, from the ninth Lenten sermon of Pope St. Leo the Great, whose feast is kept today in the traditional rite.
    (In Lent) a greater fast was ordered by the holy Apostles, taught by the Holy Spirit, so that by a common sharing in the Cross of Christ, we too may in some measure partake in what He did for our sake, as the Apostle says, 'If we suffer with Him, we will be also glorified with Him.' Certain and sure is the hope of blessedness promised to us, when we partake of the Lord’s Passion. There is no one, dearly beloved, who is denied a share of this glory because of the time he lives in, as if the tranquility of peace was without occasion for virtue. For the Apostle foretells us, 'All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution'; and therefore, there will never lack the tribulation of persecution, if the observance of godliness is not lacking. For the Lord himself says in his exhortations, 'He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.' And we must not doubt that these words apply not only to his immediate disciples, but belong to all the faithful and to the whole Church; who all heard of His salvation in the person of those present.

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    Our next major photopost will be for Laetare Sunday. Please send your photos (whether of the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form) to for inclusion. Photos of Vespers and other parts of the Office are always welcome, and for our Byzantine friends who follow the Gregorian Calendar, we will be glad to include photos of the Veneration of the Cross on the Third Sunday of Great Lent. Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important. Evangelize through beauty!

    From last year’s Laetare photopost, the altar of the Church of the Holy Name in Providence, Rhode Island.

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    Thursday of the Second Week of Lent - Santa Maria in Trastevere

    The beauty of this church today hides well the fact that in when Stations were instituted for the Thursdays of Lent by Pope St. Gregory II, (715-31), Trastevere was one of the poorest and least well-kept areas of the city, highly vulnerable to the winter flooding of the Tiber. The traditional Gospel of this day, of Lazarus and Dives, (St. Luke 16, 19-31) was almost certainly chosen for this reason, as a highly pertinent reminder to the rich of their duties towards the poor.

    Many of Rome’s churches still preserve this Medieval style of mosaic, known as Cosmatesque; this floor is from the mid-12th century. The individual strips of white marble and the colored tiles are both taken from the walls of ancient Roman buildings, which by the Middle Ages had long since fallen into decay. Much of the material had been brought to Rome in ancient times from the furthest corners of the Empire; the purple stone seen here, called porphyry, came from Egypt, and the green serpentine is from Asia Minor. Before the massive renovations of many Roman churches in the Renaissance and Counter-Reformation periods, the style was commonly used not just in the floors, but all over the buildings.

    Friday of the Second Week of Lent - San Vitale

    Like more than one of the ancient churches of Rome, San Vitale is now well below the level of the street and the modern buildings that have risen around it.
    After this, our Roman pilgrim Agnese was out of town for a few days, and missed several of the Stations.

    Thursday of the Third Week of Lent - Ss Cosmas and Damian

    Friday of the Third Week of Lent - San Lorenzo in Lucina

    The high altar is graced by one of the finest painting of one of the great masters of the 17th-century, Guido Reni. Even when standing out in the piazza in front of the church, one can see the pale body of Christ in the painting as if it were floating above the altar.

    Saturday of the Third Week of Lent - Santa Susanna
    The church of Santa Susanna is still under restoration, the third year in a row I have written this for today’s Station. Fortunately, it sits on a piazza with two other churches, so the faithful gathered in one of them, San Bernardo alle Terme (first three photos), then processed past Santa Susanna to Santa Maria della Victoria next door for the Mass.

    I have written previously about the fountain seen here to the right of Santa Maria della Vittoria’s façade, and the hideous lump of a statue of Moses in the central niche. The article, published in 2011, described the restoration of four great monuments of the Counter-Reformation in Rome. At the time, I noted that “When I first visited Rome in the summer of 1995, the Fountain of Moses had just been cleaned; before the most recent restoration, it was covered in black grime, and will likely be so again before too long.” This has indeed already come to pass, the whole fountain is completely filthy again.  

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    This coming Saturday, March 12, an EF Sung Requiem Mass will be offered for the repose of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away on February 13, at the Church of St Rita in Alexandria, Virginia, starting at noon. The church is located at 3801 Russell Road; click here for directions. Click here to see the Facebook event page. The Mass will be celebrated by the pastor, Fr Daniel Gee; Justice Scalia’s son, Fr Paul Scalia, was formerly the vicar at this church, and still visits frequently.

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    I recently published some photos of a hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated by Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych and leader of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, at the high altar of the Roman basilica of St Mary Major. His Beatitude was joined for the liturgy by a large number of concelebrating bishops and priests, and a very large crowd of the faithful; many of the latter were pilgrims visiting Rome together with their bishops, and many were members of Rome’s sizeable Ukrainian immigrant community, who always turn out in force when Archbishop Shevchuk is in the Eternal City. A good friend of mine, Mr Marc Williams, was also present, and since he is a much better photographer than myself, I asked him to share some of his photos with our readers, to which he very kindly agreed.

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    I happened recently upon a letter I had sent in 2007 to a priest with whom I was having an amicable disagreement. It is more than likely that some NLM readers are confronted with similar objections or rude remarks about St. Thomas, the scholastics, and traditional Eucharistic devotion and piety. I offer it today in homage to the Angelic Doctor, who departed to his heavenly reward on this day in the year 1274.

    March 1, 2007
    Dear Father ———,

    Thank you for the conversation we had recently. I’ve been pondering your claim that people who think there is a definite moment of consecration have gotten lost in trivial details and are missing the point, which is, according to you, that “the Eucharist is about our transformation.” Moreover, you expressed concern that any claim about a “moment of consecration” subjects mystery to rational dissection and that it’s more honest to say “we don’t know.” I hope you will not mind if I challenge these views.

    People are concerned to know about the moment of consecration for quite legitimate reasons, and certainly not because they have no sense of mystery. After all, some of the most poignant expressions of the conviction that consecration occurs through the “words of institution” are to be found in St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. Ambrose, none of whom could even remotely be considered rationalistic. On the contrary, they, with St. Thomas Aquinas, were well-known mystics of the Holy Eucharist.

    But they were also practical and pastoral men. They knew that the Lord truly present in His body and blood deserves our inward and outward adoration (latria). Therefore they quite reasonably wondered when they should show such adoration to the gifts on the altar. To do so towards ordinary bread is idolatry. But to fail to do so when the Lord is truly present would be irreverence. As parents know, little children will ask questions like: “Daddy, when does Jesus come to the altar?” “Mommy, why is the priest kneeling now?” “Is the host Jesus yet?” I would submit that these humble, child-like, and yes, “naïve” questions — some of them not very accurate theologically — are not at all displeasing to our Lord; they are “faith seeking understanding.” I believe that Jesus is more pleased by a naïve realism than by sophisticated postconciliar theories that leave us devotionally dry.

    In his final encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II called St. Thomas Aquinas “supreme theologian and impassioned singer of the eucharistic Christ,” summus theologus simulque Christi eucharistici fervidus cantor. We know the beauty of Aquinas’s Corpus Christi hymns and prayers. In his case, it was the very depth of his faith and the intensity of his desire to surrender himself to the mystery with all the force of his powerful intellect that propelled him to formulate such a “scholastic” question as “When does consecration take place? When is it completed or perfected?” And his answer is as serene as it is inherently plausible: when the priest finishes saying the entire formula “This is my body” or “This is my blood.” The reason is that only the entire statement has the meaning that sufficiently signifies what is taking place by divine power. “This is my…” without completion, or merely the words “my body,” would not signify that, but “This is my body” does. By Christ’s institution, these words have power to bring about what they mean to say (or, in the older language, they effect what they signify).

    (As an aside, it is clear that if a priest were to die after consecrating the bread alone, the body of Jesus — and concomitantly the blood, soul, and divinity — would be fully present, but the representation of the sacrifice would be imperfect and therefore another priest would have to be called in to consecrate the blood. After all, as Pius XII teaches in Mediator Dei, the fundamental reason for the separate consecrations is to re-present, in a sacramental fashion, the bloody immolation of the Victim on Calvary.)

    You were concerned that my interest in “explaining” the Anaphora of Addai and Mari in terms of Thomistic sacramental theology[1] might have been motivated by a reductionism or rationalism that sees itself as capable of “proving” what is and will always remain mysterious. This was absolutely not my intention! Rather, I sought to interpret an unusual anaphora in light of a familiar theological account that is reasonable and hallowed by tradition. My conclusion was that this familiar account did not have to be abandoned, because it has a more profound meaning than most people realize.

    I do not believe that speaking of a moment of consecration in any way lessens the mysteriousness of the event; on the contrary, for me at least, it heightens that mysteriousness by dramatically underlining the infinite divine power required to accomplish such a miraculous change, and the quasi-infinite faith it takes to accept it as fact. For me, the Mass has the shape of a mountain in which we climb to the summit and join our Savior on the Cross, to share His life; then we climb down, as it were, to our everyday life in the valley, carrying something of that immense love to everyone we meet. In that sense, the special sacramental presence of Jesus at the heart of the Eucharistic liturgy gives shape and order to the whole. He is not present in just that way on the credence table or on the altar during the Sanctus; He becomes present, and in a definite, priestly, liturgical, ecclesial way, when the gifts are transformed. To me, this speaks volumes about the drama of the divine; there is a narrative, a movement, a climax, and we are then allowed to share in that victorious redemption. God seems to like to paint in bright colors and bold strokes, rather than an indistinguishable haze of grays and browns.

    I hope you will not mind a final comment about the example you used, namely, of communion in the hand. You say it makes little difference whether the host touches my hands first or my tongue, because the hands and tongue of a sinner are sinful, while a man with a pure heart has pure hands. But as you well know, there is a phenomenological question here, too: what if kneeling to receive the host on the tongue were more conducive to the devotion of most people and helped to accentuate the seriousness of what they are doing, and what if standing in line to receive on the hand encouraged a more casual, relaxed, and unreflective attitude? Would this not be spiritually and pastorally relevant? Moreover, what if a certain posture had centuries of practice and symbolism behind it, while another was self-consciously new and lacked that benefit? Only a rationalist could ignore such immense aspects of the question.

    I believe that St. Thomas, like his patristic predecessors, was not preoccupied with “pinpointing” a miracle, but rather with submitting mind and heart to the mighty mystery that descends, like the flames of Pentecost, upon the altar of sacrifice. Their concern was the concern of the lover who wishes to be maximally attentive to the beloved, the mother who wants to be right there when her baby walks for the first time, the poet who does not wish to miss the sunrise or the sunset. I don’t see it as trivial at all; it shows a sensitivity to what is at stake in the act of adoration. I know that when Jesus comes, I want to be awake and ready to meet him. This is as true for his sacramental advent as for his Second Coming.

    I appreciate your taking the time to consider these ideas. I hope the foregoing clarifies what moves me to follow in the footsteps of St. Thomas in regard to Eucharistic consecration.

    Sincerely yours, in Christ,

    Peter Kwasniewski

    [1] The letter is referring to my article "Doing and Speaking in the Person of Christ: Eucharistic Form in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari," Nova et Vetera 4 (2006): 313–79, available here.

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    These were the words with which Sir Edward Elgar described J.S. Bach’s setting of the St Matthew Passion. This formidable work, also known as the ‘Great’ Passion, is something of a musical Mount Everest; its scale and complexity are a considerable challenge to both singers and players. Bach’s first setting of the Passion, the St John, was first heard in Leipzig on Good Friday in 1723, and the St Matthew followed a few years later. Both his Passions are for soloists, choir and orchestra, although the later St Matthew expands on the forces of the St John by dividing the forces into two choirs and two orchestras, and even adding a third ‘Ripieno Chorus’.
    J.S. Bach’s autograph MS
    of the St Matthew Passion
    Bach employs four distinct musical elements: the first of these is Recitative, largely sung by the Evangelist but also by the other characters such as Christ, Pilate and the High Priests. Secco, or dry, recitative, allows large amounts of text to be conveyed with great economy, whilst also giving the singer enormous expressive freedom. The Continuo accompaniment, mostly played by organ and cello, provides a sparing accompaniment, although a particular innovation which Bach brought to the St Matthew setting is the ‘halo’
 of strings which surrounds Christ each time he sings, emphasizing his Divinity.

    Secondly, there are the Choruses sung by the full choir. With the exception of the large opening and closing choruses, which buttress the entire work, the other choruses are turba (crowd) choruses, in which the choir represents variously the disciples, the high priests and their entourage, the soldiers who mock Christ, or simply the angry mob.

    Thirdly there are the Arias and their smaller relatives the Ariosos (with texts written by Picander, the pen name of Christian Friedrich Henrici), which break the Gospel narrative to allow pause for thought. The Ariosos provide commentary, whereas the Arias provide reflection, sometimes accompanied by a chorus which interjects and vocalises the thoughts of the listener on their behalf.

    Fourthly, the Chorales, Lutheran hymns which are strategically placed throughout the Passion. These hymns would have been well-known to the congregations in Leipzig, though they would not have joined in, instead listening to Bach’s exquisite renderings of these much-loved melodies using harmonies which seem to achieve utter perfection. Of the twelve Chorales which appear in the St Matthew Passion, five use the ‘Passion Chorale’ melody which many will know as the hymn ‘O sacred head sore-wounded.’

    The Thomanerchor performing at
    the Thomaskirche, Leipzig
    I will have the privilege of directing the London Oratory Schola, the Oratory Junior Choir and the Belgravia Chamber Orchestra in a performance of the St Matthew Passion next week, forces similar to the Thomanerchor, Bach’s own famous boys’ choir, still singing to this day, and having recently celebrated its 800th anniversary. Aside from the roles of Evangelist and Christus, performed by Nicholas Mulroy and Marcus Farnsworth, two leading singers of the professional world of music, all of the other roles and Arias will be sung by boys from the Schola. I can’t begin to describe how hard the choristers have worked for months in preparation - the St Matthew is more of a project than a piece. Even the sheer organization required in terms of marshaling the singers and players through the rehearsal on the day of the performance requires meticulous precision, ensuring that the soloists, choruses and instrumentalists (the wind and strings of both orchestras) are there at the right times. (I am most fortunate in this regard to have an orchestral manager who very much has his wits about him.)

    During the rehearsal we will start with all the Recitatives, then some of the Arias & Ariosos, followed by the Choruses and Chorales, and finishing with some remaining Arias. What this means is that the Passion is not heard by any of us from start to finish until the performance itself. It is rather like preparing a vast number of different ingredients, before assembling an incredibly elaborate meal, like Babette’s Feast. The fact that there is just one performance, one chance to hear it, one chance to get it right, gives both the listener and the performer a real sense of focus on the Mystery of the Passion. Please keep us all in your prayers next Tuesday, and if you can, come along.

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    Professor Francesca Murphy is giving a talk entitled Beauty and the Spiritual Senses as part of the series offered by the Catholic Artists Society in Manhattan this coming Saturday. 

    I wish I could go! 

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    St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy is pleased to announce that the ninth Fota International Liturgy Conference will be held at the Clarion Hotel, Cork City, Ireland, 9-11 July 2016.

    The Conference theme is Verbum Domini: Liturgy and Scripture and will examine aspects of the role of Scripture in the liturgy from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

    Among those participating in the colloquium are: Bishop Peter Elliott (Melbourne, Australia); Monsignor Michael Magee (Philadelphia); Joseph Briody (Boston); Sven Conrad (Germany); Paul Mankowski, S.J. (Chicago); Thomas McGovern (Dublin); Ann Orlando (Boston); Gregory DiPippo (New Liturgical Movement); Kevin Zilverberg (St. Paul, Minnesota).

    Further details and registration forms will be made available shortly after Easter.

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    For the feast of St Thomas Aquinas, priests of the Fraternity of St Vincent Ferrer were very graciously invited to celebrate a Solemn Mass in the Dominican Rite at the Fraternity of St Peter’s Roman parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini. A member of the FSVF, Fr Regniald Rivoire, has been studying in Rome for a few years, and offered Mass in the very Rite that St Thomas himself would have used the day before successfully defending his doctoral thesis. This was certainly one of the nicest solemn Masses I have ever seen; the Dominican Solemn Mass is rather more complicated than the Roman, but everything was done with great reverence and calm. A regular parishioner said to me afterwards, “that was so beautiful, I wish we could have that much more often!”

    As usual, I tried to take photos while being as little disruptive to the faithful as possible, so they are mostly from the same place in the church, from a place where a column blocks the view from the nave. These do not of course capture all of the things that distinguish the Dominican Solemn Mass from the Roman.

    Fr Reginald preached about St Thomas before the Mass began.
    The deacon prepares the chalice while the subdeacon sings the Epistle.
    The celebrant reads the Gradual and Tract at the sedilia.
    The subdeacon moves the chalice to the left side of the altar before the Gospel is sung.
    Preparing for the Gospel - the celebrant imposes incense at the sedilia. On solemn feasts, a processional cross is used at the Gospel; when it is sung, the cross-bearer stands behind the lectern, as seen (sort of) in the next photo.

    The Gospel book is placed on a lectern, rather than held by the subdeacon.
    At a Mass in which the Creed is said, the cross-bearer only removes the Cross from the sanctuary after the Creed is finished.
    The incensation at the Offertory, which is much shorter in the Dominican Mass
    The Lavabo is performed by the deacon and subdeacon, rather than the acolytes.
    The deacon and subdeacon are only incensed after the Preface has begun, followed by the rest of the clergy in choir.

    Immediately after the Consecration, the priest stretches his hands out in the form of a Cross, a very common custom of the medieval uses.

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    The organization Paix Liturgique, which, as many readers will know, publishes a fine newsletter in several languages, often including exclusive interviews (their English website is well worth checking out), has just published an essay on sacred music by the experienced composer and conductor Aurelio Porfiri. I recommend it highly to NLM readers. Here are a few excerpts:
    There have been few topics which have so captured the attention of liturgical experts like that of participation. This term has been impugned by one after another faction as if each one possessed its secret meaning, discovered by and revealed to only a chosen few, who thus turned even legitimate debates on the issue into Gnostic liturgists’ meetings. Gnostic because, especially after the Council, participation has become a battle issue in which lurks every sort of political, sociological, and psychological element.
              For some, “participate” means that everyone does everything. However, this interpretation goes against the true meaning of participation which lies not in the mode of doing but in that of being. This mode does not exclude doing, but rather contains it in a broader, more articulated process. Doing presupposes being and all that goes along with it, but it is not an end in itself. ...
              Unfortunately, while the abovementioned error was made by some of the reformers after the Council, some of those who felt attached to what later would be called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite have often had an equally inappropriate reaction, on the opposite extreme. For them it was a sign of fidelity to “tradition” to simply and passively attend Mass without worrying about singing in this or that part of the celebration, but only enjoying what the choir or organist was able to offer. Now, it seems that both these attitudes hide a basic impropriety, and that recovering a more authentic sense of participation will also clarify important facts about the Mass itself, which otherwise risk being pushed to the background, picked apart by “liturgical wars” that, in the end, lead to no victory.
              To participate, as the word itself says (pars + capere), means "to take part". Now, several important consequences come from the way in which we read this word. Unfortunately, in recent times much emphasis has been placed on “the one who takes part,” rather than “take part in what.” This slipping of the subject has also caused a slipping in value, as if the guests invited to a birthday celebration were more important than the one being celebrated. Actually, as we all know, the one being celebrated is certainly more important, and all the efforts of the guests at the “celebration” (another term widely used and abused in recent decades) are directed to the one celebrated. Otherwise, one runs the risk of what the Servite liturgist Silvano Maggiani calls “participationism”—the insistence on making everyone do everything—with the consequent loss of the center of the actio liturgica, which is not “the one who participates,” but rather that in which one participates. In the liturgy, it is not we who act, but we who are acted upon. ...
              Having said this, and using good common sense, in line with what the popes have asked, we must agree that even exterior participation must be cultivated. Regarding the exterior act, this means answering the priest, but also participating in certain parts of the singing. This requirement is not simply a result of the liturgical reform following Vatican II, but was also solemnly requested by the pre-Conciliar popes. The call to actively drink from the fount of the liturgy came already from St. Pius X, who affirmed the following in his Motu Proprio on sacred music on November 22, 1903: “Filled as We are with a most ardent desire to see the true Christian spirit flourish in every respect and be preserved by all the faithful, We deem it necessary to provide before anything else for the sanctity and dignity of the temple, in which the faithful assemble for no other object than that of acquiring this spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church”.
    Maestro Porfiri also has some strong words about the tyranny of fashion, the lack of taste, and the elite nature (properly understood) of all worthy artistic endeavors, which ultimately benefit the people more than any democratic and subjectivist schlock can do. Check out the whole essay.

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    On the feast of St. Gregory the Great, the Father of the Latin Sacred Liturgy, the Association “Amicizia Sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum” has organized a Solemn Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, at the altar of St. Gregory the Great, Saturday, March 12, 8:00 a.m. The altar is located on the left side of the church, near the entrance to the sacristy (#73 in the plan given below).

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    As always, we are very grateful to all those who contributed photographs of their Laetare Sunday liturgies and rose-colored vestments. Our next photopost will be of your Passiontide veils - Evangelize through beauty! (Photos are posted in the order received.)

    The Shrine of St Walburge - Preston, England (ICKSP) 

    Our first ever photo of simnel cakes served according to an old English custom on Laetare.
    San Joaquín de Flores - Heredia, Costa Rica (FSSP)

    Escuela de Cristo Oratory - Seville, Spain

    St Joseph’s Church - Archdiocese of Singapore

    Our Lady of Victory - Santiago, Chile
    Photos from Magnificat Una Voce Chile

    Holy Child Chapel, Naval Station, Fort Bonifacio - Taguig City, Philippine Islands

    Holy Innocents - Manhattan, New York City
    Solemn Mass and Vespers; Fr Zuhlsdorf was the deacon of the former, and celebrant of the latter. Click here to visit the church’s website; they are also on Facebook and Instagram.

    St Mary’s - Norwalk, Connecticut

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    Some of you may remember that on November 25th I wrote a short piece publicizing the idea of establishing parish based men’s groups that are part of the Holy League.

    The idea is that the men’s Holy League meets monthly and has been formed in response to a call from Cardinal Burke, to create a network of parish-based men’s groups in a structured Holy Hour.

    The Holy League was first formed as part of the call to holiness and fortitude that occurred when Europe was under threat from Islamic forces, before the battle of Lepanto in 1571. The aim is to reestablish this in every Catholic parish. The intention is that it will form men to be engaged in spiritual combat and to participate in the transformation of the culture, just as it did in the 16th century.

    I would love to hear of any groups that have started and how they are doing. I would be happy to publicize your Holy League meeting.

    The one I mentioned in my original blog post, in Manchester, New Hampshire, is still going strong; it is due to meet at St Raphael’s Church in Manchester this coming Friday at 7pm. The format is: Compline, Eucharistic Adoration, prayer, short spiritual reflections, the availability of the Sacrament of Confession, Benediction and fraternity. Following the Holy Hour there is a Social Hour - bring something to drink! The conversation in this crowd of men is always hard hitting, intelligent and fun.

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