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Articles on this Page
- 03/03/16--00:52: _Dominican Solemn Ma...
- 03/03/16--05:00: _Ordinariate Use Chr...
- 03/03/16--09:23: _Dominican Chants fo...
- 03/04/16--01:25: _“Our Fidelity to th...
- 03/04/16--05:00: _Another Excellent S...
- 03/05/16--02:00: _A New TLM Community...
- 03/05/16--03:00: _The Story of Susann...
- 03/05/16--09:00: _Photopost Request: ...
- 03/06/16--02:28: _A Roman Pilgrim at ...
- 03/06/16--11:29: _Month-Mind for Just...
- 03/07/16--02:35: _More Photos of Arch...
- 03/07/16--12:46: _On “Pinpointing” Co...
- 03/08/16--02:42: _“The Noblest Sacred...
- 03/08/16--05:00: _Francesca Murphy to...
- 03/08/16--08:34: _Fota IX Conference ...
- 03/09/16--03:22: _Dominican Rite Sole...
- 03/09/16--06:00: _Excellent Article o...
- 03/09/16--12:18: _Solemn Mass for the...
- 03/10/16--03:35: _Laetare Sunday 2016...
- 03/10/16--08:00: _The Holy League, in...
- 03/03/16--00:52: Dominican Solemn Mass in Rome, March 7
- 03/03/16--05:00: Ordinariate Use Chrism Mass in Washington, D.C., March 17
- 03/03/16--09:23: Dominican Chants for Holy Week
- 03/04/16--05:00: Another Excellent Series from Fr Hunwicke
- 03/05/16--02:00: A New TLM Community in Detroit
- 03/05/16--03:00: The Story of Susanna in the Liturgy of Lent
- 03/05/16--09:00: Photopost Request: Laetare Sunday 2016
- 03/06/16--02:28: A Roman Pilgrim at the Station Churches 2016 (Part 4)
- 03/06/16--11:29: Month-Mind for Justice Scalia in Alexandria, VA, March 12
- 03/07/16--02:35: More Photos of Archbishop Shevchuk’s Divine Liturgy in Rome
- 03/08/16--02:42: “The Noblest Sacred Work in Existence”
- 03/08/16--08:34: Fota IX Conference Dates and Speakers
- 03/09/16--03:22: Dominican Rite Solemn Mass in Rome
- 03/09/16--06:00: Excellent Article on Sacred Music by Aurelio Porfiri
- 03/09/16--12:18: Solemn Mass for the Feast of St Gregory the Great in St Peter’s
- 03/10/16--03:35: Laetare Sunday 2016 Photopost
- 03/10/16--08:00: The Holy League, in Manchester NH This Coming Friday
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 ordinariate.net.
(reproduced from the website of St Luke’s at Immaculate Conception parish.)
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.
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|
|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.|
“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?
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 www.traditionalcanons.org.
|An EF Baptism at St Josaphat, celebrated by Bishop Reiss, and served by the brothers of St Thomas Aquinas House.|
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)
The stories of Susanna appear on the side walls, with white backgrounds.
(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.
|From last year’s Laetare photopost, the altar of the Church of the Holy Name in Providence, Rhode Island.|
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.
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.
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.
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 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,
 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.
|J.S. Bach’s autograph MS |
of the St Matthew Passion
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
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.
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.
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.|
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”.
|Our first ever photo of simnel cakes served according to an old English custom on Laetare.|
Photos from Magnificat Una Voce Chile
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 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.