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    The St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy has announced the program for the Fota IX International Liturgy Conference, which will be held at the Clarion Hotel, in Cork City, Ireland from July 9-11, 2016

    Saturday, July 9
    8.15 Registration
    9.30 Opening of the Conference
    9.45-10.45 Bishop Peter Elliot: The Heritage of Israel in the Roman Rite.
    11.00-12.00 Fr. Joseph Briody:Rediscovering the Septuagint: Text, Reception, Significance, Canon. 

    2.30-3.30 Fr. Thomas McGovern:The Eucharistic Liturgy and Scripture.
    3.45-4.45 Fr Paul Mankowski, SJ:Latet Novum in Vetere: Old Testament tributaries of Catholic Worship.
    4.45-5.45 Professor Dr. Stefan Heid: Function and Direction of the Ambo in the Byzantine and Roman Traditions.

    7.30 pm Pontifical Vespers at Sts Peter and Paul’s celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

    Sunday, July 10

    11.30 Pontifical High Mass at Sts Peter and Paul’s celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

    4.00-5.00 Gregory DiPippo: The Ambrosian Rite and the Reform of the Roman Lectionary
    5.00-6.00 Fr. Sven Leo Sven Conrad, SSP: Observations on the Theology of the Liturgia Verbi with Reference to the Forma Extraordinaria.
    6.30-7.30 Launch of Sacrosanctum Concilium: Sacred Liturgy and the Second Vatican Council, edited by Fr. John Cunningham, OP, Proceedings of the Fota VI International Liturgy Conference (2013)
    Launch of A Chosen Race, A Royal Priesthood, A Holy Nation : Aspects of the Priesthood of Baptism, edited by Fr. Joseph Briody: Proceedings of the Fota VIII International Liturgy Conference (2015)
    8.00 Gala Dinner

    Monday, July 11
    9.30-10.30 Fr Kevin Zilverberg: The Neo-Vulgate as Official Liturgical Translation.
    10.45-11.45 His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

    12.30 Solemn High Mass in St. Peter and Paul’s

    2.45-3.45 Dr. Ann Orlando: The Unity of Scripture and Liturgy in Augustine's Homilies on John's Gospel.
    4.00-5.00 Mons. Michael Magee: The Reform of the Lectionary: Evaluation and Prospects.

    5.00-6.00 Fr John M. Cunningham, OP: The Oldest Christian Sermon

    Please note that speakers and times may be subject to variations. For further inforamtion, contact Terry Pender, Hon Secretary at colman.liturgy@yahoo.co.uk

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    Sacra Liturgia UK opens in just over two weeks. Thus far, registered participants will be coming to London from over fifteen different countries throughout the world to meet each other and to study and discuss questions of liturgical formation and celebration in the life and mission of the Church today.

    The conference is open to anyone interested in the liturgy. Full conference, single day, and student rate registrations remain available. It is possible to register for the opening afternoon session (which includes Cardinal Sarah’s opening address and the concert of sacred music following it) or for any of the three whole days of the conference.

    All liturgical celebrations will be open to the public, with seating reserved for conference delegates.

    For details on the speakers and the programme, and to register full-time or part-time, please visit the conference website: www.sacraliturgiauk.org


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  • 06/18/16--00:01: Ugly Churches Win Awards
  • The website of the Italian Episcopal Conference’s newspaper Avvenirereported Wednesday on the winners of the 6th edition of the International “Frate Sole” prize for sacred architecture. I would normally ignore an item like this when it pops up, as it did, on my Facebook feed, but for the grossly inappropriate headline, “Here Are The New Most Beautiful Churches in the World.” Tourism accounts for around 10% of Italy’s economy, which is the 8th largest in the world; the nation received over 57 million foreign visitors in 2013, while every holiday season, millions of Italians travel within their own country to visit what they call the “Città d’arte – Art cities.” (This classically Italian expression means both cities that are full of art, but also cities that are in and of themselves works of art.) One cannot help but ask, What kinds of churches, and what kind of beauty, do the editors of Avvenire imagine these people are coming to their country to see?

    This photograph of the 3rd prize winner highlights the problem perfectly; at first glance, most people would probably assume that the building in the background was the church, and the one in the foreground a train station, or perhaps a library dedicated to the works of really depressing philosophers.

    (photograph from Wikimedia Commons by RobKohl)
    Unfortunately, the one in the foreground is the Propsteikirche (Provost’s Church) of the Holy Trinity in Leipzig, Germany; the only thing to indicate this architecturally is the cross on the bell tower, which looks a great deal like the clock tower of the train station in my home town of Providence, R.I. The building in the background is the early 20th century city hall.

    Things don’t get any better inside.

    (photograph from Wikimedia Commons by Martin Geisler)
    And then there’s the first prize-winner, the Iglesia de Iesu (it is apparently officially spelled that way, according to the Greek, for no discernible reason) in San Sebastián in northern Spain. Here we will start with the sanctuary, featuring a retable that is completely blank. (closer view - photos from Wikipedia by Simoncio)

    ‘Charles,’ said Cordelia, ‘Modern Art is all bosh, isn’t it?’ ‘Great bosh.’

    The tabernacle
    Just over three years ago, I noted a critique of this style of church design from no less a personage than Dr Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museum, which applies here just as much as it does to the modern churches in the periphery of Rome about which they were originally said: ”They look like warehouses. ... Spaces that do not invite (us) to meditation, devoid of the sense of the sacred, without a breath of mystery or religion.”

    The problem here is that the title of this article is not just true in the immediate sense, a way of saying in the classic style of newspaper headlines that specific ugly churches have just won awards. It is also true aphoristically; ugly churches win architectural awards all the time, because they are designed to win awards, not to serve as the House of God and the home of His people.

    To cleanse the palate, here’s a photo of the Greek Orthodox church in Venice, San Giorgio dei Greci, recently taken by our Ambrosian correspondent Nicola de’ Grandi. Not designed to win awards.



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  • 06/19/16--00:18: Information About Cerecloths
  • In response to a reader’s request about where to get a cerecloth, the waxed linen cloth which traditionally goes under the altar-cloths, a few suggestions were given in the combox on the original post. Here are the responses I received by email.

    - The website of St Joseph’s Apprentice, a company that makes portable altars, and offers cerecloths for them. (A cerecloth for a portable altar would of course be too small for a regular one, but they might be interested in making a full-sized version.)

    - “The last cere cloth that I purchased came from C.M. Almy. Admittedly, that was over 40 years ago and they no longer have them in their catalog. Nevertheless, I have found that, if they still have the ‘recipe’ in their files, they are often willing to fill orders. It will not be cheap, but, then, it wasn’t cheap 40-some years ago, either.”

    - This post from the “The Altar Guild Resource for the (Episcopal) Diocese of Rhode Island.”

    - Mr Louis Tofari of Romanitas Press points out that the Catholic Encyclopedia article I cited in the first post explains how to make a cerecloth; the process seems complicated and potentially very, very messy.

    “To procure cerecloths, melt the remnants of wax candles in a small vessel. When the wax is in a boiling condition, skim off the impurities that remain from the soiled stumps of candles. Dip into this wax the linen intended for the cerecloth, and when well saturated hang it on a clothes-line, allowing the surplus wax to drop off. When the wax cloth has hardened place it between two unwaxed sheets of linen of like dimensions. Iron thoroughly with a well heated flat iron, thus securing three wax cloths. The table on which the cloths are ironed should be covered with an old cloth or thick paper to receive the superfluous wax when melted by the iron. It should be remembered that unwashed linen when dipped in wax shrinks considerably, hence before the cloths are waxed they should be much larger than the size of the altar for which they are intended.”

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    Chavagnes International College, a Catholic boarding school for boys located in Chavagnes-en-Paillers in western France (near Nantes), will host a conference entitled “The Virgin Mary in Liturgy, Literature and Life,” from August 1-5, commemmorating the 300th anniversary of the death of St Louis Grignot de Montfort. The keynote address by Bish. Athanasius Schneider is on “The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Defence of the Faith”; Chavagne’s principal, Mr Ferdi McDermott, will talk about “Mary as the Air that We Breathe; the Legacy of St Louis de Montfort.” Click this link for the full program; to request further information, email: studium@chavagnes.org, and see the school’s website here.



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    Readers of the works of Blessed Columba Marmion, O.S.B., know firsthand the riches he spreads before us — a veritable banquet of the mystical life, rooted in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s traditional liturgy. Relatively few, however, are aware of his disciples and the correspondence he conducted with men and women throughout the world, especially religious men and women who turned to him for spiritual direction at a distance. One of these disciples was a monk, Dom Pius de Hemptinne, O.S.B. (1879–1907), who left behind precious spiritual writings of his own.

    In keeping with the purpose of my occasional “Classics of the Liturgical Movement” series, I would like to share with NLM readers some excerpts from the writings of Dom Pius, who gives expression to a profoundly Benedictine fusion of liturgy, personal prayer, and the whole of life, including the message of the natural world. In this way he illuminates and encourages us to live ever more deeply the meaning of the sacred mysteries.

    All excerpts are drawn from A Disciple of Dom Marmion, Dom Pius de Hemptinne: Letters and Spiritual Writings, trans. Benedictines of Teignmouth (London: Sands & Co., 1935).

    On the Liturgy and the Eucharist

    The death of a God, dying for the salvation of men, is the central point in the history of mankind. All ages bear witness to and converge towards it: the preceing centuries point to its coming, the others are destined to harvest its fruits.
    The death of Christ is the centre of history, and also the centre of the life of each man in particular. In the eyes of God every man will be great in proportion as he takes part in that deed; for the only true and eternal dignity is that belonging to the divine Priest. The degree of each one’s holiness will be in exact proportion as he participates in that bloody immolation. For the Lamb of God alone is holy.
    But although Jesus Christ the divine High Priest appeared only once on earth, to offer up His great sacrifice on Calvary; yet, every day He appears in the person of each one of His ministers, to renew His sacrifice on the altar. In every altar, then, Calvary is seen: every altar becomes an august place, the Holy of holies, the source of all holiness. Thither all must go to seek Life, and thither all must continually return, as to the source of God’s mercies. Those who are the Master’s privileged ones, never leave this holy place, but there they “find a dwelling,” near to the altar, so that they never need go far from it; such are monks, whose first care it is to raise temples worthy to contain altars. Making their home by the Sanctuary, they consecrate their life to the divine worship, and every day sees them grouped around the altar for the holy sacrifice. This is the event of the day, the centre to which the Hours, like the centuries, all converge: some as Hours of preparation and awaiting in the recollection of the divine praise — these begin with Lauds and Prime continued by Terce, the third Hour of the day; the others, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline, flow on in the joys of thanksgiving until sunset when the monks chant the closing in of night.
    Thus the days of life pass, at the foot of the altar; thus the life of man finds its greatness and its holiness in flowing out, so to say, upon the altar, there to mingle with that Precious Blood which is daily shed in that hallowed place: for, if the life of man is as a valueless drop of water, when lost in the Blood of Christ it acquires an infinite value and can merit the divine mercy for us. He who knows what the altar is, from it learns to live; to live by the altar is to be holy, pleasing to God,—and to go up to the altar to perform the sacred Mysteries is to be clothed upon with the most sublime of all dignities after that of the Son of God and His holy Mother.  (pp. 145–47)
    A pure kiss is the great mark of love. A kiss may be given from different motives, as there are many kinds of love — but it is always the sign of a perfect union, of mutual and entire complaisance. . . . A true, sincere and faithful kiss is a noble act; but a false kiss is an infidelity, and almost always a betrayal. This mark of affection should only be given between persons united by blood or marriage. Between friends it should have only the meaning of union of souls; sensual motives should have no part there. The kiss of friendship is so great and noble a sign that it is given around the Altar. Here it is the Christian kiss, and under these conditions remains pure and sublime as love itself. But who knows the worth of a kiss? On all sides, this sign — like love itself — is profaned. (February 23, 1902, p. 140)
    Jesus Christ is the great Master of souls. He nourishes them with His Flesh, His Blood and His whole Self. He really makes Himself their Food. And, just so, it seems to me that no one receives the care of souls without taking upon himself the duty of feeding them with his own self. We must give ourselves up to the souls put in our charge, with such fullness of love that the grace given to our own souls shall overflow into theirs.
    We shall meet, perhaps, with souls that are famished, weak or wounded: little souls that throw themselves on to us, and would fain feed from us with too great avidity and familiarity. Such conduct will wound us, as it wounds Jesus Christ. But after His example we must feed these poor sheep, in order that they may recover strength and life.
    O Jesus, from this day forward grant that the souls given into my care may drawn from my poor heart the grace that Thou givest me. It is Thou Thyself who hungerest; eat, then, and drink all that Thou findest in my poor house. May my soul be a manger where Thy lambs can be filled with Thee. (June 4, 1902, pp. 148–49)
    Most holy and eternal Father, your divine Son has taught us that no one can come to Him unless you draw him, and that none shall be lost of those whom you have given Him. I beg of you, therefore, in the name of the mutual love you bear to Him and He to you, to offer me and all whom I love to this divine Son, begotten of you, so that being born again in Him, your Word, we may have a share in the eternal glory which He gives to you, and that we may thus be sanctified in you.
    Eternal Son, whose holiness is equal to that of the Father, you have promised that “when lifted up from the earth, you would draw all to yourself.” Draw me, then, to you, O well-beloved of my soul, that being fed by you I may live by you, even as you live by your Father.
    Holy Spirit, who descended upon the Virgin to accomplish the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, come down upon me, O joy of my heart and strength of my soul! Impregnate me, to the end that Jesus Christ may grow in me, so that by your power, the closest union may be effected between my Saviour and my poor soul, inflamed by your love.
    O adorable Trinity, look down and behold how I burn with longing to glorify you — see how my soul shrinks into nothingness — see how little it is — how it abandons itself utterly to you! . . . I love you by the Heart of Jesus and by every one of the souls on earth, and therefore I will bring them all to you. To this end, Christ Jesus, only object of my desires, I take refuge in the bosom of your Father, and in His Name I give you all these precious souls, that not one of them may perish. Uniting myself to you, I offer them all to the Father, for the eternal honor and glory of the most adorable Trinity. Amen. (April 18, 1901)

    On Prayer

    Labour is preceded and followed by rest; rest restores the strength and fits it for fresh effort. So it ought to be with the soul of the monk. His work is divine praise; his rest is prayer. In the first, he sings to God; in the second, he reposes in Him; first celebrating the object of its love, and then giving itself up to the caresses of that Love whom it adores. In that solemn prayer, the soul like a soaring eagle gives a few strokes with its wings, but soon rests in prayer and lets itself be borne on the impetus of grace.
    The fruit of self-surrender is found in the ineffable peace and sweet repose which the soul, by the effect of loving confidence in God, keeps in the midst of difficult and sometimes inextricable situations. (p. 171)

    On Nature as Revelation

    A soul in love with the beauties of nature, which reveal God to it, does not want to dissect in genders and species the One, Indivisible Object of its admiration, but prefers to contemplate the works of the Creator with the simplicity of love. Is it not enough for the enthusiasm of a pure soul to admire the picturesque rocks in a lovely valley; to see their mantle of moss freshly watered drop by drop; the torrent rushing at their feet and then spreading a silver cloth over the verdant fields? A thousand flowerets perfume the air; hidden under its leaves, the violet is betrayed by its fragrance, the wild lilies open their chalices wide and look up to heaven. How many wonders of beauty that escape our notice! . . . And, if, in the silence of your soul, you listen to that voice of nature that speaks to your heart, you will hear one flower telling you, “I speak of humility” – another – “I love purity” – the crystal water says, “I praise chastity” – and the rose calls aloud, “I sing of love.” Listen to all these voices chiming together in such wondrous harmony, and you will better understand the praise sent up by Nature to her Author. (p. 115)
    When twilight is ended and all around is silent, and nature alone, plunged in profound recollection, speaks aloud of the Divine Author of all things: then the pure soul hears and understand you, O God. . . . Yes, indeed – at the close of an autumn day, some mysterious influence which I cannot express seems to descend from heaven, and to hush the noises of broad day, even as the fading of noontide glare. How good it is – this time of peaceful dusk, enwrapping our very being and penetrating us with the sense of our need of love! So, surely, when all is tranquilly silent within the soul, when the passions seem to sleep and cease to excite it to the feverish pursuit of frivolous things, or even to a restless search after things divine – if the soul knows how to dwell “at home within itself” – what loving silence it will find in this interior sanctuary! This solitude is full of God! (September 1901, pp. 122-23)
    Suffering isolates [us] from creatures. He who knows God is drawn into closer union with Him by suffering, but he who knows Him not, loses everything – created things fall away from him, and to divine things he is a stranger. To unite oneself to Thee, my God, in the silence of crucified nature, of a humble spirit, with a pure heart and in oblivion of all besides — this is not merely to love — but to live! (p. 122)

    Littleness

    A good action, being not so much the work of human frailty as of the divine Mercy, is not our best claim to merit before God. Man has his little share — not much more than his goodwill — the great part is God’s, since it was He who inspired the thought and gave the strength to perform the action. Thus, such an act is at once a sign and as assured pledge of God’s goodness in our regard. Our true Title to the divine favour is the Blood of Christ, to which we have the right through our own destitution and humbly acknowledged frailty. (January 26, 1902, p. 139)
    When divine love has grown sufficiently in the soul to produce union between the soul and God; when that union has become deep enough to bear no longer the fragile stamp of human fidelity, but depends solely on the strong foundations of faith in immutable Truth; when that union has gained enough intimacy to allow of a holy familiarity (born of a more enlightened knowledge of the Divinity) — then, for the first time, the soul sees itself in God. The sight of the Infinite teaches it the nothingness of the finite: as soon as the soul considers the divine goodness, immediately it sees its own wretchedness. The warmth of divine charity makes it feel the chill of its own tepidity. The vision of the great All produces the understanding and scorn of the Nothing. It ponders over these things with the strength of reason and now it fathoms them by the light of faith. Formerly its action was guided by human wisdom, but henceforward by the touch of a divine influence. The soul now feels its own very littleness but this gives it an infinite peace, for even its own nothingness is to it a divine truth, divinely understood. (pp. 141–42, emphasis added)
    The divine Master made me understand the necessity of ever advancing in the way of union of the soul with His own Sacred Heart. Herein, indeed, lies the principle of our life, the condition of our spiritual fecundity, and, as a consequence, our sanctity. Let us give all to Jesus. I feel so strongly that He asks from us all that we do, whether of good or indifferent things; let us bring them all to Him, like grain that has not yet been winnowed. He will refine the harvest Himself, and will increase its value by reason of the confidence which inspires us. How simple, then, is perfection! And yet, where do people go to look for it? But there is nothing astonishing in that; unless we consider how mistakenly men rely upon their own human strength in supernatural things; and, too, how the simple understanding of true holiness is a very rare grace. I believe it is the precious pearl of the Gospel. (Letter of October 8, 1902, p. 245)
    In the ordinary course of things, God perfects us more through waiting — through asking us to wait — than through anything else. (p. 213)


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    Thanks to Gina Switzer (an artist whose decorated Easter candles have been featured on the NLM to great interest) for drawing my attention to this write-up in the Orthodox Arts Journal of an exhibition that took place in Moscow earlier this year, a presentation of contemporary Russian icon painters.

    What is interesting is the variety of styles on dsiplay that nevertheless all sit within bounds of what could legitimately be considered a holy icon. Many incorporate stylistic features that might not have been seen in the icons of Rublev in the 15th century. I would characterize what they are doing in the following way: the artist may be breaking past rules, but they never contravene the timeless principles that define the tradition. In the way I am using these words, a “rule” is precise and unbending, the particular application of a “principle” suited to a particular time and place. For example, a rule would be “only use gold for the background in an icon,” which is what I was told when I first started to learn iconography. The underlying principle, on the other hand, is flexible, and is applied in different ways according the needs of the time and place. The principle behind the use of gold for backgrounds is that the background must seem flat and not create the illusion of space, in order to suggest the heavenly realm which is outside time and space. If you look at such icons, you see a variety of background colors and even geometric patterned art, something I was told in my first icon classes should never be seen in an icon! However, they can all be used to suggest flatness, and therefore work well in conforming to the underlying principle.

    Similarly, when I first learned icon painting I was told that I had to start with a dark background, and then build the form by putting successive layers of lighter toned paint on top; there was even a theological argument used to justify this. Then it was discovered that ancient iconographers used a method whereby a monochrome underpainting was laid down first, and then both light and dark transparent layers washes of paint were put over it. Because the end result - what the final icon actually looks like - was the most important principle, my icon-painting teacher immediately adopted this quicker and easier method of building form.

    This flexibility is the sign of a vibrant living tradition, one in which individual expression is allowed, but always in conformity to the principles that define it. As a result, the tradition reinvents itself with each new generation and so is able to connect with the people of its day. No tradition can rely exclusively on its canon of past works to maintain its relevance; it must always create anew, or else it will die. 

    This is what Benedict XVI calls for in his analysis of culture in his book, Sing a New Song, in which he explains that it is the responsibility of the artist to connect with people beyond the esoteric circle of the artists and academics who “understand” the tradition. In Benedict’s phrase, he must connect with “the many.” Furthermore, he says that it is “the mark of true creativity” that the artist is able to do this. In other words, the responsibility of the artist is to be popular by creating good and beautiful works of art.

    Art that is popular isn’t necessarily good, but the very best art will be popular. If the most popular aspects of mass culture today are not edifying and uplifting, then it is the responsibility of Christian artists to produce work that is and which, importantly, connects with modern people. If the artists fail to do so, the fault lies not with the audience, but with the artists for failing to create something that is beautiful enough to command a decent price. This simple test of quality is often seen as too harsh, and I find that there is resistance to it from practicing artists, especially those whose work doesn’t sell.
     
    It is to the credit to those who in the mid-20th century reestablished the iconographic tradition in its modern form, that they laid down the foundational principle that allowed for the right sort of flexibility, and so created a living tradition. These people were Russian ex-pats living in France in the mid-20th century, most notably Vladimir Lossky and Leonid Ouspensky. Lossky was a theologian, Ouspensky was a practicing artist as well as a deep thinker. A third artist whose work was influential in the same regard was Gregory Kroug.

    Oupensky and Lossky had to develop the greater part of these principles themselves. There were no detailed writings about art by the Church Fathers that they could draw on to define the stylistic elements in the way that was necessary to guide artists, and which anyone who has done an icon class will hear from his teacher. They analysed icons that they judged to be good and holy, and developed a theology of form that seemed consistent with what they were looking at. This is what artists needed in order to create work. The principles of this newly established iconographic tradition tell us not so much what artists did in the past, but rather what artists ought to do in the future in order to produce work that bears the mark of the holy icon.

    The test of the validity of this is not historical accuracy of the principles as proposed, but rather the quality of the work produced by the artists who follow them, and the resilience of the tradition they established - can it outlast the generation that created it? We simply don’t know if the formulae that Ouspensky and Lossky developed correspond precisely to what Rublev would have been aiming for hundreds of years ago.

    I feel that iconography has passed the test. We are now several generations of teachers and students past Ouspensky. The very best of today’s icon painters are producing icons in this style that stand alongside the great works of the past. and moreover, they are engaging with modern people in the place where they are meant to, in the context of the liturgy.

    The analysis of these 20th century Russian ex-pats may very well have little credibility in the art history departments of our secular universities, where, I am guessing, it would be dismissed as purely personal speculation. But that doesn’t prevent what they proposed from being good and valid, given the end that they had in mind, namely, the creation of beautiful art that is in harmony with the liturgy.

    I have to admit that I do not know how flexible Ouspensky and Lossky were themselves in their presentation of this. I once had some excellent classes from someone who was taught directly by Ouspensky in Paris, and who constantly referred to him. The instructions of how to do it were presented as inviolable laws; there was no room for discussion, and from the way that she described Ouspensky, it seems this is how it was presented to her. Nevertheless, she did explain the reason for the rule in each case. Once we understand why we are doing something - the end towards which the rule is directed - then regardless of how flexible Ouspensky would have been himself, this builds the possibility of changes that can be justified, provided they bring about the same end.

    Even if we discover in the future that these principles are at variance with those used centuries ago - perhaps with the discovery of the some set of ancient scrolls - this in no way alters the validity of what has been developed in the 20th century. It simply gives us an alternative set of principles available to the artist who wishes to paint for the Church.

    We can look to this pattern for reestablishing artistic traditions in the Western Church too. There are different things we can do. First is to work within the iconographic style and produce styles that connect with those who worship in the Roman Rite. Icon painters such as Aidan Hart have been doing this. Aidan is Orthodox, but he looks for inspiration to the styles of the Church in the West prior to the schism that were consistent with the iconographic prototype, such as the Romanesque. As a result, he is creating a 21st century style of Western iconography that connects with worshipers in the West, who worship in both the Roman and Byzantine Rites. Moreover, he passes the Benedict XVI “creativity test” - his work connects with the many and is in great demand.

    The other thing that we can do is apply the Ouspensky/Lossky type of analysis to the other liturgical traditions of the Roman Church, the Gothic and the Baroque. St John Paul II understood this, and for this reason called in his Letter to Artists for a renewed dialogue between the Church and artists. The final section of my book The Way of Beauty is my attempt to do just this. You can judge for yourself the validity of what I propose, but regardless, we need our own Losskys and Ouspenkys in the Roman Church!

    I present my favorites from the article - for the credits for the artists go to the Orthodox Art Journal. The one name I will mention here is the painter of the first icon below, Fr Zinon, who is perhaps the most famous icon painter of the present day.








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    The website of the Fraternity of St Peter’s European seminary at Wigratzbad, Germany, has posted photographs of the priestly ordinations held this past Saturday in the cathedral of Auxerre, France. His Eminence Jean-Pierre Cardinal Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, ordained Fathers Pierre-Emmanuel Bonnin, Cyrille Perret, Antoine de Nazelle et Sébastien Damaggio. (Shown from left to right before processing into the church.)


    Here is a just a small selection (which was not easy to make among so many beautiful images) of the more than 200 photos; the complete set can be seen via Googlephotos or Flickr. Below the break, you can see a photo of one of the most beautiful customs associated with the traditional ordination rite, although not formally part of it. After the priest’s hands are anointed, they are bound with a cloth to keep the oil in place for the rest of the ordination ritual. Once the ritual is complete, he presents the cloth to his mother; it is a long-standing tradition that when a priest’s mother dies, she is buried with the cloth between her hands, to symbolize that she gave a priest to God, and will be rewarded for this in heaven. (Last year, we posted a photo of a priest giving the cloth to his mother to our Instagram account, which automatically reposts everything to our Facebook page, where it surpassed every record for views and likes by an enormous margin.)

    NLM is very happy to offer warmest congratulations to the newly ordained priests and to their families, as well as to the Fraternity of St Peter, and likewise, our thanks to Card. Ricard for his pastoral solicitude on behalf of the Fraternity and the faithful who follow the traditional liturgy. In this season when so many priestly ordinations are taking place throughout the world, let us remember to thank God for all the blessings and mercies He gives us through the ministry of the priesthood, for the families in whom religious vocations are born and fostered, to pray for their increase, and for all of our bishops and clergy.

    The sermon, preached at the beginning of the ceremony, rather than after the Gospel.
    Fr John Berg, the Superior General of the F.S.S.P., reads the call to orders.

    Towards the end of the Litany of the Saints, (for which the ordinands proestrate, while all other kneel) the bishop rises, receives his crook and miter, then turns to the ordinands, and sings the invocations, “That Thou may deign to bless + these chosen ones. - That Thou may deign to bless + and sancti+fy these chosen ones. - That Thou may deign bless +, sancti+fy and conse+create these chosen ones.”, making the sign of the Cross over there where I have put the + sign.
    The imposition of hands by the Bishop.
    All the priests present lay their hands in turn on the heads of the newly-ordained.

    The anointing of the hands.
    The “traditio instrumentorum - the handing over of the instruments” of priestly sacrifice,
    Fr Bonnin hands the cloth with which his hands were bound to his mother.
    The deacon of the Mass prepares the altar.
    Each of the newly ordained priests concelebrates Mass with the bishop, kneeling at a small desk with a Missal on it. They are traditionally accompanied by older priests to help them through the ceremony.



    Until the end of the ceremony, the new priests’ chaubles are pinned up at the back; at the end of the ordination right, they are unpinned by the bishop, as a symbol that he has released them to the exercise of their priestly ministry.
    The final admonition to the new priests.



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    acra Liturgia has now published the full version of the paper that Cardinal Sarah delivered at his inaugural address at Sacra Liturgia 2016. He did not have time to deliver the full text on the day, and so what we have seen so far is an abridged version.

    The full text can be accessed the Sacra Liturgia website, here.



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    I recently visited the OQ Farm near Woodstock in rural Vermont. It is a retreat center which is connected to The Sword and Spoon Foundation, an ecumenical group interested in promoting a Christian culture of faith and beauty. The occasion was a gathering of Christian artists, musicians, and filmmakers, who gave talks about their work and shared ideas about the transformation of the culture.

    I was curious to see this place that is quietly become a hub for artistic renewal. If you look at the program of events over the summer, for example, there are two workshops by internationally known Russian iconographers, Anton and Ekaterina Daineko, who are coming from Russia to teach here. Also, the highly respected Catholic playwright and screenplay writer Buzz McClaughlin is offering a a workshop on story development. I first met Buzz about 10 years ago, and read his book on the structure of story narrative; I have kept in touch with him ever since, because his ideas regarding engagement with the culture, in the context of film, are in harmony with my own. The organizer of these events for the OQ Farm is Keri Wiederspahn, who is herself an accomplished icon painter and teacher in the Russian tradition.

    One evening while I was at this event, as the sun was going down, I took a walk around the property and a particular detail caught my eye, a red English telephone box sitting between the farmhouse and the barn. This was a nice coincidence, since the K2 telephone box was described in a book I had just read, Roger Scruton’s excellent How to Be A Conservative (a review of which will appear on this blog shortly).
    I asked about this and was told that it had been at the farm for some years, placed there by previous owners, but the current management had decided to keep it. 
    Why would someone have gone to the trouble of importing a heavy chunk of painted steel at a cost of what must have run to thousands of dollars in the first place? 
    I suggest that the story of the K2 telephone box can explain why, in many ways a humble piece of street furniture could become an icon of what we are seeking in cultural renewal, and how, unlikely as it may seem, the liturgy is connected to this. 
    This begins with the Victorian Neo-Gothic movement in architecture, which had its roots in the mid-18th century, but became popular in the first part of the 19th with the rise of High Anglicanism and the legalization of Catholicism in Britain. One of the most influential figures during its rise in popularity was the Catholic convert, architect A.W. Pugin.
    It has been said that “historically, all the great art movements began on the altar,” and this includes Neo-Gothic architecture. A style which began as the model for new churches then became a standard for civic buildings and homes in Victorian England. Many of these English architects were hired by Americans, and introduced the Neo-Gothic to cities int he United States. In the eastern part of the country in particular, there are many wonderful churches, colleges, and civic buildings in this style.
    Some time ago, I featured on the NLM a small Neo-Gothic church in Maine, St Andrew’s, which was designed by the English architect Henry Vaughan. He was involved in the design of many grand churches in New England, and also one of the architects of the Episcopal Washington National Cathedral.
    St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan is another famous American Neo-Gothic church, built in the middle of the 19th century.

    With these liturgical buildings as their archetype, we see architects bringing the Neo-Gothic style out into the civic buildings of the city. As a result, their form is derived from, and points to, that which is connected to and in harmony with the liturgy.
    Here is St Pancras Station hotel in London designed in the 1850s by George Gilbert Scott, exterior and interior:

    It was George’s son, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who designed the last completed Gothic church in England, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. This was started in the early years of the 20th century and completed in 1978, when it was opened by the Queen. I was a schoolboy living about 10 miles from Liverpool at the time, and I can remember being awestruck when I visited it. We were told stories at school of stonemasons who had worked on this one building for their whole working lives, just as in medieval times. 

    Contrast the above with Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral, started and finished in the 1960s. It is known by the locals as 'God's wigwam'.

    Image from Wikipedia by John Driscoll

    Moving on as quickly as we can from the concrete teepee, we can consider another civic building that is derived from the liturgical style, one of the most famous buildings in the UK. Westminster Palace, including the Houses of Parliament, was designed by Sir Charles Barry. The iconic Elizabeth Tower, as it was re-named in honour of our present Queen, which houses Big Ben, was designed by Pugin, who was working under Barry on the project.

    And now, in the foreground we see the familiar site of the red telephone box, looking at home in its urban surroundings. 
    The telephone box was designed by the same man who designed Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Although this designer was steeped in Neo-Gothic architectural design, the inspiration for this came from the architecture of the 18th century Neo-Classical architect, Sir John Soane, whose in London house is a famous museum. At the time of the design competition for the K2 in the early 1920s, Giles Gilbert Scott was a trustee of the Soane museum; his telephone box is influenced by the mausoleum which Soane himself designed. This is in the gardens of St Pancras Old Church, just around the corner from the railway station in London.
    Scott designed the K2 and the subsequent modifications including the most common, the K6 designed by him in 1935. This telephone box sits as happily in the city, in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament, as it does beside the rural colonial architecture of America (which, incidentally, has its roots in Neo-Classical, Palladian architecture, but that’s another story.) 
    Scott’s sense of proportion is influenced by his training as an architect. The basic proportional scheme is common to both styles, and broadly speaking, to all traditional Western architecture prior to about the Second World War, going back to the ancient Greeks. 
    I think that it is interesting that one of the leading architects in the nation took the design of a piece of street furniture so seriously the he applied to it all the skill and experience that he might also employ in designing a cathedral, while realizing that one uses greater restraint and simplicity in designing a phone box than one would in designing a cathedral.
    The design of the phone box directs us intuitively to the liturgical architecture that traditionally the design of the civic buildings participates in, in all styles, not just the Neo-Gothic. Ideally, this crystallizes in exemplary fashion in the place of worship, which contains the heartbeat of the city. As the tabernacle and altar should be the focal points of the church design, so the cathedral should be the focal point of the city.
    The numerical source of traditional proportional schemes was originally derived in the pre-Christian classical world from the observation and analysis of the order of the cosmos, which it was believed gave rise to its beauty. These were adopted by Christian culture, and employed by architects as a matter of course until the period between the wars in the last century. Because it conforms to this cosmic beauty, this little telephone box, like a village church, looks at home in the rural beauty of both an English village and a Vermont farm. It is a simpler design than a cathedral, or a hotel, or even a farmhouse, but that is as it should be; after all, one of the attributes of beauty is due proportion - it is appropriate to its place in the hierarchy of human activity.
    While the ultimate expression of this beauty will ideally be in the place of worship, this is not the end, for the beauty of the cosmos and the beauty of the culture direct us to heavenly beauty, and ultimately, to the beauty of the Creator Himself, who left His mark on Creation and inspired the culture of beauty created by man.

    Here are some more pictures of phone boxes in English villages. They are so beloved that even in this age  of mobile phones, when the need for them has long since past, people keep them as familiar and beautiful icons in the scenery. Sometimes they find an alternative use for them, such as a miniature lending library.
    The Vermont phone box is one of many that have been transported to the US, because of their beauty. Here is one on the campus of the University of Oklahoma:
    This is the first photograph so far in which the box looks somewhat incongruous in its setting. The imposter in this scene is not the phone box, however. Rather, it is the featureless brick wall of a building, which dominates as a result of its size and aggressive ugliness. This is the building that dissents from a participation in cosmic beauty.

    You might ask why the box is K2, and not K1? The answer is that the K1 design was rejected by the phone company because they couldn’t persuade the London boroughs to allow it on their streets because of its ugly design. So they ran a competition for a new design which, they hoped, would be appealing enough to persuade the local governments to adopt this new, cutting edge technology. One wishes that today’s utility companies would go to similar lengths in the design of such things as electricity pylons or wind turbines!

    This is the reason why the OQ Farm is appropriate as an artistic retreat. It’s the countryside, the buildings, and even the telephone box all speaking to us of the cosmic beauty, which in turn directs us to Beauty itself, giving us, as Benedict XVI puts it, an insight into the “mind of the Creator!” This is an inspiration for all hoping to create beauty for the greater glory of God!




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    On Saturday, July 16, starting at 12 noon, the Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson, New Jersey, will celebrate an EF Pontifical Mass for the patronal feast day at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, located at 259 Oliver Street in Newark. The Mass will be followed by an outdoor procession through the Ironbound with the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, accompanied by a full symphonic brass band, and stopping in front of private homes and businesses, then solemn Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the church.

    A traditional Italian street festival will take place in front of the church with stands, food, games and live musical entertainment. The church was for some time home to St. Frances Cabrini, and the celebrant, Bishop Seratelli, is a son of the parish.


    In Royal Oak, Michigan, the organization Invictus Christus is holding a Eucharistic procession, which will go for 2.5 miles from the National Shrine of the Little Lower Basilica (1621 Linwood Avenue), starting at 10:30 a.m., to St Mary’s Catholic Church. See their website and the poster below for more information.


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  • 07/13/16--07:57: A Personal Note of Thanks
  • I recently attended the ninth edition of the Fota International Liturgical Conference in Cork, Ireland, which is organized each year by the St Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy. The theme of the conference this year was Liturgy and Scripture, and the paper I delivered was about the relationship between the Ambrosian Rite (which our regular readers know is one of my favorite topics) and the post-Conciliar reform of the Roman lectionary. I will post a full account of the conference soon; suffice it to say here that all of the papers were very interesting, and I was quite sorry to be unable to stay for the final day.

    While I was at the conference, many people were kind enough to express to me their appreciation of what we do here NLM, and on behalf of our publisher, Dr William Mahrt (who also gave a paper at the conference), and all of our writers, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their very kind words of praise and support; in particular, His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke, His Excellency Bishop Peter Elliot, and Monsignor James O’Brien, who invited me as a speaker.

    The music for the liturgical events was provided by the marvelous Lassus Scholars, directed by Dr Ita O’Donovan, who excel in both chant and polyphony; on Saturday, July 8, Cardinal Burke celebrated Pontifical Vespers, and the next day, Pontifical Mass. Enjoy these excellent performances of the first Psalm of Saturday Vespers (the first part of Psalm 143), the Magnificat Septimi Toni by Orlando di Lassus, and the Kyrie and Gloria from Palestrina’s Missa Papee Marcelli.






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    Catholic World Report has published an excellent interview with Dom Alcuin Reid, in which inter alia he discusses some of the issues that have arisen from Cardinal Robert Sarah’s proposal, made during the recent Sacra Liturgia conference in London, that priests exercise the use of a perfectly licit option and begin to celebrate Mass ad orientem more frequently. Dom Alcuin’s words are very useful in shedding the light of truth on some of the false statements, and calming some of the hysteria, that have arisen from the Cardinal’s perfectly reasonable words - it is very much worth your time to read the full text  linked above from CWR, of which we here reproduce some of the more excerpts.

    CWR: Why did Cardinal Sarah choose to focus on the issue of orientation?

    Dom Alcuin Reid: The Cardinal has emphasized the importance of facing East before – in the Vatican newspaper (June 12, 2005) and in the French journal Famille Chrétienne this past May. So it could be expected that he would speak on this again. Perhaps, though, his appeal to priests to adopt this beautiful practice “with prudence and with the necessary catechesis, certainly, but also with a pastor’s confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people” from the first Sunday of Advent this year added an immediacy that his previous mentions of this did not have. I imagine that he wanted not just to talk about this, but to encourage priests to begin the necessary work of formation so as to implement it. ...

    There are many, many other important things contained in the Cardinal’s Address. We should not forget that, as its title indicates, he was exploring ways in which we can be more faithful to the Second Vatican Council’s desires for the Sacred Liturgy. People should carefully read the full and official text which was published on Monday in English and French at his direction. It is a mine of profound insights and practical reflections on how to implement the Council more faithfully today. ...

    CWR: Have you been surprised by the response outside the conference and by the Vatican’s “clarification”?

    Dom Alcuin Reid: It has to be said that some responses on internet sites and even in prominent journals have been astonishing. To accuse Cardinal Sarah of lying in respect of what Pope Francis has said to him about continuing the work of the Pope Emeritus or about studying a possible reform of the reform, or to say that the Holy Father ‘slapped down’ the Cardinal, is patently absurd and utterly untrue. No one who has the privilege of knowing the man, or indeed who has read his recent book God or Nothing, could believe him to be a liar. A more humble and honest priest and bishop one could not wish to find! And there is no evidence from the Vatican’s statement, or elsewhere, that the Holy Father was either angry with him or rebuked him. It is quite normal to clarify false reports: that is what has been done – though the clarification itself could perhaps do with some clarification!

    Cardinal Sarah remains in post and his Address has not been withdrawn. Indeed, it should be noted that he asked us to publish it after his meeting with the Holy Father, and he has withdrawn nothing of what he said in London.

    It is clear, though, that his Address has touched a very raw nerve amongst those who have turned certain modern liturgical practices– such as celebrating Mass facing the people – or indeed the whole of the modern liturgy, into an idol. And it is well known that Curial officials have abhorred any use of the term “reform of the reform” for many years lest their idol be in some way impugned. Cardinal Sarah has dared to challenge such prejudices and, seemingly, those who murmur in the shadows have been busy whipping up a storm so as to distract from what the Cardinal in fact said. They have not responded to his arguments or his proposals with counter arguments. Rather, they have set up straw men and screamed hysterically at the sight of the creations of their own minds.

    Once again I would say, and emphatically: read the Cardinal’s full text. Engage with what it says. Ponder the fact that this is not a point-scoring salve in the so-called liturgy-wars, but the profound personal reflections of a priest, bishop and cardinal who was called – apparently against his will – by Pope Francis to serve as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. There may well be other approaches, but those he propose at least deserve a respectful and serious hearing. (end excerpts)

    Our writer Matthew Hazel was present for Sacra Liturgia; you can read his accounts of each days events at the following links. Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4. Extracts from the various talks are also available via the Sacra Liturgia Facebook page.

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    Mr Marco da Vinha, author of the blog Alma Bracarense about the Use of Braga, sent in some pictures of asterisks from three different Portuguese cathedrals, Braga, Lisbon, and Bragança. In the Byzantine Rite, the asterisk, the “little star”, is a collapsible stand which is used to hold up the veil that covers the diskos (paten), so that the veil itself does not touch the Prosphora, or “Lamb”, the bread which has been prepared for consecration. The article about it in the old Catholic Encyclopdia is not quite correct when it states that it “is not used in the Roman Rite at all.” A version of it, which is called an asterisk, although it does not close like the Byzantine one, was used at the old Papal Mass for the Pope’s communion of the Sacred Host, which the assistant bishop brought to him at the throne on a veiled plate, with the veil supported by an asterisk. It would appear that the use of it was granted to Lisbon, along with various other privileges, when that See was raised to the status of a Patriarchate in 1716, and from there passed to other Sees.

    All three of these were made in the 18th century. The first, which has only six points, is from Braga; the second is from Lisbon, the third from Bragança, and like the Papal one, they have twelve points, each of which is inscribed with the name of one of the twelve Apostles.




    In this set of vessels and instruments for the Byzantine Liturgy made in Moscow in 1679, now in the treasury of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, the asterisk is seen standing on the diskos at the back left.


    During the office of preparation, when it is time to incense the gifts, the priest touches the folded asterisk to the thurible, then opens it and places on the diskos, over the Lamb and the various particles which are on it, saying, “The star came and stood over the place where the Child lay with Mary, His Mother.” For this reason, many of them have a small star hanging from a small chain in the middle. The veils are removed before the Preface dialog, but the asterisk is left in its place; at the last words of the Preface, the deacon takes the asterisk, and knocks it lightly against the diskos at the four cardinal points, as the priest sings “singing the triumphal hymn, shouting, crying aloud, and saying.” (In some traditions, he also knocks it lightly against the chalice three times at the words “Holy, Holy Holy!”) He then folds it, presents it to the priest, who kisses it, and lays it on the altar.

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    In honor of Pope Francis’s decision to elevate the liturgical rank of St. Mary Magdalene, the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena will host an “Hour of Mercy” and sung Mass for her Feast Day.
    5–6 pm: Hour of Mercy with Confessions
    5 pm: Reflection on St. Mary Magdalene by Sr. Maria Teresa, CFR
    5:30 pm: Solemn Vespers
    6 pm: Sung Mass with Cantor and Organ


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    Everyone who is interested in the ongoing controversy over Cardinal Sarah’s proposal to begin celebrating ad orientem more generally should betake himself to Fr Hunwicke. The immediate controversy is, of course, largely not real, inasmuch as the celebration of Mass ad orientem has always been a perfectly legitimate option, one which is foreseen in the rubrics of the Missal, and which recent Popes, including Pope Francis, use on occasion. Fr Hunwicke has rightly understood what this is really about:

    “Sarah and Nichols are both 100% right: this does matter. It goes to the heart of the question of what the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass really is. It touches upon that whole raft of practical changes (“Reordering”) which were not in any way whatsoever mandated by the Council but which were put into effect by those who subsequently got their hands on to the levers of power. It bears powerfully upon the crucial question of whether the mighty task of the redintegratio of Catholic worship, set in motion by Papa Ratzinger, will continue under Papa Bergoglio’s successor.

    Even further than that, it encapsulates the fundamental question raised by Benedict XVI, of whether we should see Vatican II in terms of reform within a hermeneutic of continuity, or whether the structural ruptures inflicted on the Church in the 1970s, with such catastrophic effects within the Church over the following four decades, are now to be set in dry, cold, inflexible stone.

    We have reached a turning point at which every priest knows that if he heeds Cardinal Sarah’s exhortation, he makes it easier for his brother priests also to do the same; and that that if he opts for a quiet life, it will be that bit easier for the Tablet and ACTA (the English liberal group ‘A Call to Action’) to pick off his bolder brother clergy by demanding their episcopal persecution. There is no reason why a start cannot be made, after catechesis, by introducing versus Orientem on alternate Sundays, or even just on the first Sunday of each month. Advent, when priest and people go forward together to meet the Lord who Comes to us, is indeed a highly suitable occasion.”

    And thanks to Eye of the Tiber for this hilarious take on the controversy: “Cardinal Nichols Asks Priests To Face Him During Mass.

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    July 15th is the traditional day for the feast known as the “Divisio Apostolorum – the Division (or ‘Dispersion’) of the Apostles”, a feast which was very popular in the Middle Ages, and continued into the Tridentine period on many local calendars, but was never on the general Calendar. It is the liturgical commemoration of an ancient tradition that some time after the Ascension, (Durandus says twelve years), the Apostles cast lots for which part of the world each one of them would take, and spread out from Jerusalem to preach the Gospel in the various nations. The common Office of the Apostles refers to this idea repeatedly, as, for example, in the first antiphon of Matins, taken from Psalm 18. “Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world.”, and likewise the third antiphon from Psalm 44, “Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth; they shall remember thy name, O Lord.”

    The earliest reference to this specific feast is a sequence which was well-known and widely used in the Middle Ages, written by one Godeschalk, a monk of Limburg abbey in western Germany, who died in 1098. It is written in the earlier and freer style of sequences like the Victimae Paschali, with less rhyme and structure than later ones such as St Thomas’ Lauda Sion or the Stabat Mater. It makes frequent use of the Patristic interpretation of the first words of Psalm 18, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God”, according to which the “heavens” are understood to be the Apostles, as St Gregory says in the Breviary. (Common lesson of the 2nd nocturn of the Apostles.)

    The Sequence “Caeli enarrant gloriam” in the Mass of the Division of the Apostles, starting towards the top of the second column here. (Click to enlarge.) From the Missal according to the Use of Augsburg, Germany, ca. 1510.
    Thus the prayer which concludes it, (as is typical of the genre,) reads, “These are the heavens, in whom Thou dwellest, the Angel of great counsel, whom Thou didst call no longer servants, but friends, to whom Thou makest known all things which Thou hast heard from the Father. / Keep undivided, and in the bond of peace, the flock that was gathered by their division, that we may be one in Thee, as thou are one in the Father. / Have mercy on us, Thou that dwellest in the heavens.”

    The Gospel of the feast is that of the Ascension, (Mark 16, 14-20) but with the first verse left off, “Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again.” This omission is entirely appropriate for the common use of the feast among missionary congregations, since it celebrates the mission of the Apostles and their fulfillment of the commandment which Christ gives them in the verse which now opens the Gospel, “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

    There is a tradition known from the 4th century that the baptismal creed now called the Apostles’ Creed was composed as a rule of the Faith by the Twelve before this dispersal, with each one of them contributing an article. This is often represented in art, as here in the border of this page of the famous Hours of Catherine of Cleves, ca. 1440. (In the center is depicted the legend of the Ten Thousand Martyrs, represented symbolically by ten figures.)


    It is also seen here in a Carthusian Breviary ca. 1490, (starting near the top of the right column), in which the name of an Apostle is printed in red before each article of the Creed.



    Like many of the traditions held dear by the medievals, it was called into question by some of the scholars of the Renaissance, particularly at the time of the Council of Florence in 1438. As the Council wrestled with the question of reunion between the Eastern and Western churches, the issue of the Creeds, and especially the Latin addition of “Filioque” to that of Nicea, was of course one of the most important topics of discussion. The Latins, who recognized three Creeds used in the liturgy, the Apostles, the Nicene, and the Athanasian, were unpleasantly surprised to learn that the Greek delegates had never heard of the first of these.

    Fr Nicholas Ayo, C.S.C., in a book on St Thomas’ Sermons on the Apostles’ Creed, beautifully summarizes why we may still refer to it by this name. “With the Apostles’ Creed we have the teaching of the Apostles as passed on by authentic apostolic succession. … The Creed summarizes the Scriptures, which in turn summarize the teaching of the early Church by the Apostles, who in turn were taught of Jesus, who was taught of God.” (Sermon-Conferences of St. Thomas Aquinas on the Apostles’ Creed, p. 175)

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  • 07/17/16--04:22: Patrem Omnipotentem
  • A leading German theologian was discoursing in learned and abstract fashion on the omnipotence of God when an Ethiopian metropolitan, with huge beard, a kind of black pancake of a headdress and several elaborate pectoral crosses - a thoroughly exotic figure - rose to his feet with great dignity and interrupted the German theologian in full flow. ‘Pantokrator does not mean omnipotent’, he said, and sat down abruptly. The German theologian tried to dismiss him with a few patronising remarks about pantokrator being the Greek equivalent of the Latin omnipotens. The Ethiopian rose to his feet again, this time visibly angry. He clasped his arms in front of his chest like a mother cradling a baby and swayed gently from side to side as he said, ‘Pantokrator, as all the Greek Fathers affirm, means that God holds the whole world lovingly in his arms and protects it, as a mother her child. God has the power he needs to care for the world. God is not an arbitrary despot.’ When he sat down there was silence. No reply was possible.” – Duncan B. Forrester, Truthful Action: Explorations in Practical Theology, p. 77 (T&T Clark, 2000. This took place during a study of the Nicene Creed held by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.)

    Giusto di Menbuoi, The Creation of the World; detail of the dome fresco in the Baptistery of Padua, 1378
    h/t Fr. A.M.

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    Dr Ite O’Donovan, the director of the Dublin-based Lassus Scholars, has posted some more videos of the music for the Pontifical High Mass celebrated by Cardinal Raymond Burke for the ninth annual Fota Liturgical Conference in Cork, Ireland, at the church of Ss Peter and Paul. I was present for the conference and this Mass, and I just cannot praise the quality of the music highly enough. Particularly noteworthy was the use of Heinrich Isaac’s polyphonic settings for the propers of the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, from his famous Choralis Constantinus. (Click here for more from Fota IX, or visit Dr O’Donovan’s Youtube channel.)

    Introit  Suscépimus, Deus, misericordiam tuam in medio templi tui: secundum nomen tuum, Deus, ita et laus tua in fines terrae: justitia plena est déxtera tua. Ps 47 Magnus Dóminus, et laudábilis nimis: in civitáte Dei nostri, in monte sancto ejus. Gloria Patri. Sicut erat. Suscépimus.


    Creed from Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli


    Sanctus and Benedictus from the Missa Papae Marcelli


    Communio  Gustáte et vidéte, quoniam suávis est Dóminus: beátus vir, qui sperat in eo.


    Te Deum (Victoria) and Recessional


    Cardinal Burke’s Sermon



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    A regular NLM reader sent in this letter some weeks ago; it is reproduced below with the author’s permission.

    ***
    Men being ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the traditional Roman Rite (2016)

    I enjoyed your post on “The Logic of Incarnation and the Temptation of Disincarnation.” I am so weary of the snide remarks and condescending attitudes characteristic of those who dismiss the Traditional Latin Mass and traditional Roman devotions as a nostalgic preoccupation with externals. As if these things existed in a vacuum or were alien to the heritage of the universal Church! As if they were not the bread and butter of countless saints, still as powerful today in their meaning and impact as they ever were!

    I would propose a scriptural sign that God Himself prizes “the externals.” If we re-read the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, etc., we discover a stunning amount of exacting detail that the Lord Himself insisted upon, concerning the specifications of the construction and adornment of His own ark and even the details of vesture and behavior of His priests. The best woods, precious metals, precious stones, and finest fabrics were specified by name. Burlap, ceramic, clay, and sand, incidentally, were not. Those books of the Old Testament are full of accounts of God specifying clearly who was to do which job and exactly how — down to which fingers to use for blessings (I think we could safely call that an early instance of rubrics). God was specific about how, in the externals, He wished to be worshipped, not because He’s an arch-snob but because He knew (as the architect of the human species) that fragrant cedars and jewels and gold filigree would inspire the human heart to higher thoughts of the Fountain of Pure Love than would bare wood and asymmetrical cement.

    While there is room for some organic evolution in the minutiae of liturgy as the millennia progress, and while Christianity brings with it a certain artistic freedom as it moves through cultures, how could we ever be justified in the too-frequent modern enshrinement of ugliness and banality in construction, vesture, ritual, music, self-styled liturgical amendments (to “make” the liturgy “more relevant”), and general approach to God, simply because a few measly thousand years have passed? Has the immutable God evolved or devolved? Or rather, have we lost our way?

    Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI reminded us that the first Mass, which Our Lord offered on the eve of His Passion, was replete with ritual and formality, stemming from the detailed worship of the Jews. The Mass of the Last Supper would have lasted several hours. Jesus did not despise or scorn such ritual; why should we? Nor was He in any hurry, despite the immense weight of sorrow resting on His sacred shoulders, and His divine knowledge that the gears of His own demise were cranking away. Why should we be in a hurry and consider it too much to kneel for a long while in God’s presence, or to pray in silence, or to sing the chants and listen to them?

    I see (and lament) the fruit of the shallow theology that spawns a casual or perfunctory worship in many of the Catholic churches I have visited. It is revealed in the amount of respect shown the Real Presence by the congregants therein — both during Mass and outside of it. Does the cursory head bob truly equal a genuflection? Would any modern day human sovereign recognize one as equivalent to the other? Which, if they could choose, would they prefer for themselves as a sign of allegiance and fidelity?

    Does the fact that many lay folk go right up to the Tabernacle and help themselves to its august Occupant bespeak a proper respect for Him? When they dare to handle the Body of Our Lord at Communion time, does it show deep respect for the Lord’s establishment of the priesthood itself and His sacrament of Holy Orders, in which the priests’ hands have been consecrated and anointed unto the specific purpose of handling the precious Body and Blood of the Creator of the world? Have we no humility to accept our status as fledglings that need to be fed by hand in the mouth? Have we forgotten that God struck down dead one Uzzah in the Old Testament (2 Sam. 6:6-7) when he presumed with seemingly good intention to lay his hand upon the exterior of the ark of the covenant to steady it (let alone its contents!)? Is this not the same God? While we know that Jesus taught us to pray to God as our Father, “Abba,” and while we find our salvation in communion with His flesh and blood, Jesus did not nullify all the previously known (Old Testament) attributes of His Father. “I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. . . .”

    I heard a story recently that sent a chill down my spine. Apparently a Moslem had been inside a Catholic church (I'm not sure why), and afterwards, he was talking with someone about what he had experienced. When this person said to him that Catholics believe that the Eucharist is really the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ, he replied: "No, they certainly don't believe that, because they would behave in a totally different way if they actually believed it. They would get down on their faces in homage to the Almighty. But they acted as if nothing special were there."

    I think what is missing from the current age is the HOLY FEAR and its concomitant respectful behavior that are born of the realization of just WHO is enthroned — albeit in humble estate — in that little box in the center of the church that was once known and revered as the Holy of Holies. It bespeaks a pitiable blindness to the invisible realities, the angelic spirits, who are nevertheless present and attendant upon the King of Kings. Once upon a time, the Church was convinced that the Lord should be given royal treatment and worship. Thankfully these practices are still retained in the Church’s treasury of the Traditional Latin Mass.


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