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Articles on this Page
- 07/29/16--08:25: _Trucks, Trees, and ...
- 07/29/16--13:08: _St Martha Kills a D...
- 07/30/16--08:47: _A Virtual Reconstru...
- 07/31/16--16:26: _An EF Requiem Mass ...
- 08/01/16--05:00: _NLM’s 11th Anniversary
- 08/01/16--16:42: _What Makes a Family...
- 08/02/16--05:58: _Chartres Cathedral ...
- 08/02/16--17:46: _Pope Appoints Commi...
- 08/03/16--05:00: _Radio Maria Intervi...
- 08/03/16--18:07: _Mother Angelica’s F...
- 08/04/16--05:00: _Eparchy Created for...
- 08/04/16--09:00: _Dominican Rite Mass...
- 08/04/16--18:10: _The History, Develo...
- 08/05/16--03:00: _Tempo: What's the r...
- 08/05/16--18:20: _The Dedication of S...
- 08/06/16--08:00: _A Byzantine Combina...
- 08/06/16--18:53: _The Psalms of the T...
- 08/09/16--08:51: _Book Sale - Chant, ...
- 08/09/16--15:21: _ICC Workshop on the...
- 08/09/16--19:37: _Miracles: A new fil...
- 07/29/16--08:25: Trucks, Trees, and Missalettes
- 07/29/16--13:08: St Martha Kills a Dragon
- 07/30/16--08:47: A Virtual Reconstruction of the Old St Peter’s Basilica
- 07/31/16--16:26: An EF Requiem Mass for Fr Jacques Hamel
- 08/01/16--05:00: NLM’s 11th Anniversary
- 08/01/16--16:42: What Makes a Family Holy?
- 08/02/16--05:58: Chartres Cathedral and the Liberal Arts Personified, by Carrie Gress
- 08/03/16--05:00: Radio Maria Interview with Dom Alcuin Reid
- 08/04/16--05:00: Eparchy Created for Syro-Malabar Catholics in Great Britain
- 08/04/16--09:00: Dominican Rite Mass in Youngstown, Ohio, August 19
- 08/05/16--03:00: Tempo: What's the right pace for liturgy?
- 08/05/16--18:20: The Dedication of St Mary Major 2016
- 08/06/16--08:00: A Byzantine Combination Breviary and Hand-Missal
- 08/06/16--18:53: The Psalms of the Transfiguration
- 08/09/16--08:51: Book Sale - Chant, Liturgy, Liturgical Arts, Rare Historic Items
- SOLD Canti per la Messa Ambrosiana. Antiphonale Missarum Schuster-Sunol. Ristampa anastatica parziale. Milano, 2012. Brand new. $40.
- Graduale Novum. Editio magis critica, iuxta SC 117. Tomus 1. De Dominicis et Festis. Conbrio Verlagsgesellschaft Regensburg/Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2011. Brand new. $50.
- SOLD Palmer-Burgess, Plainchant Gradual, vols. 1-4 (printed in two paperback books). $30 for the set.
- SOLD Guide to the Graduale Romanum. Preface, Rubrics, and Titles in English to assist in using the Graduale. 6 copies. $10.
- Chrysogonus Waddell, O.C.S.O. The Twelfth-Century Cistercian Hymnal. Vol. 1: Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 2: Edition. This is available online as a PDF, but original printed copies are extremely rare. $50 for the set.
- SOLD Green and Koch, The Complete Proper of the Mass, Set to Gregorian Themes and Psalm Tones for Sundays and Feasts of the Liturgical Year. 1957. $50
- SOLD Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B. Words of Life on the Margin of the Missal. Ed. Dom Thibaut, trans. Mother M. St. Thomas. St. Louis: Herder, 1952. 488 pp., hardcover. Mint condition. $40.
- Benedictionale, seu Ritus Servandus in Expositione et Benedictione Sanctissimi Sacramenti. Cui adjunctae sunt quaedam preces in piis exercitiis per annum occurrentibus adhibendae. Cura Rev. J. B. O'Connell. New York/Turnhout: Brepols' Catholic Press, 1950. $100
- SOLD Caeremoniale Episcoporum. Ex decreto Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II Instauratum Auctoritate Ioannis Pauli PP. II Promulgatum. Editio typica. Vatican, 1985. It's not even clear whether this is still in print. $80.
- Marion P. Ireland, Textile Art in the Church: Vestments, Paraments, and Hangings in Contemporary Worship, Art, and Architecture. Nashville/New York: Abingdon Press, 1971. Large format book. $50.
- SOLD Devotions for Holy Communion. Ed. Hubert McEvoy, S.J. Burns & Oates, 1964. Order of Mass (usus antiquior), followed by 30 sets of preparation and thanksgiving prayers and meditations drawn from Scripture, the Fathers, and the mystics. $35.
- SOLD James Monti, A Sense of the Sacred: Roman Catholic Worship in the Middle Ages. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012. New copy. $19.
- SOLD The Story of the Twenty-Eighth International Eucharistic Congress held at Chicago, Illnois, United States of America, from June 20-24, 1926. Compiled by Rev. C. F. Donovan. The Official Record published by The Committee in Charge at Chicago. 1927. 529 pp. with many illustrations and fold-outs. $50.
- F. O'Nelis, Rome. The Holy Year 1950. Printed in Italy in 1949 in a limited edition for pilgrims. $30.
- SOLD Carthusiana lot: a set of 18 booklets on a large variety of Carthusian subjects, including the history of the houses and illustrious members, certain letters of Saint Bruno and Guigo, papal documents, meditations by former and current monks, etc. $18.
- Johannes Quasten. Patrology. 3 vols. (1950, 1953, 1963), hardcover. Excellent condition. $160. (This same set in a garish paperback edition costs $112.)
- Fernand Prat, S.J. The Theology of St. Paul. 2 vols. (1956, 1958), hardcover, with dustjackets, not ex-library, excellent condition. $120. (Wipf & Stock wants $119 for a paperback reprint of this work.)
- Summa Theologiae Moralis by H. Noldin, S.J., ed. A. Schmitt, S.J., in 3 hardcover volumes, 1934-36. I: De Principiis; De Censuriis; De Sexto (1936). II: De praeceptis. III: De Sacramentis. Bindings strong, pages a bit fragile. Lovingly and neatly annotated by a cleric and filled with typewritten addenda. $150 or b/o.
- Saint Thomas Aquinas Meditations for Every Day, drawn from the Summa theologiae and arranged according to the liturgical year. Father E.C. McEniry. Columbus: College Book Company, 1941. 536 pp., hardcover. Very good+. $50.
- Gallus Manser, O.P. Das Wesen des Thomismus. Freiburg: Paulusverlag, 1949. 728 pp., hardcover. $100.
- Otto Hermann Pesch. Die Theologie der Rechtfertigung bei Martin Luther und Thomas von Aquin. Mainz: Matthias-Grunewald Verlag, 1967. 1010 pp., hardcover. $50.
- Josephus Fuchs, S.J. Theologia Moralis Generalis. Pars Prima: Conspectus praelectionum ad usum auditorum. Rome: Universita Gregoriana, 1971. 218 pp., paperback. $30.
- 08/09/16--15:21: ICC Workshop on the Prayer Life Described in the Little Oratory Book
- 08/09/16--19:37: Miracles: A new film from St Anthony Communications
|Infographics from giamusic.com|
We do things differently because we understand how high quality sacred music is integral to the liturgy. We follow a different organizing principle: as St. Pope Pius X would remind us, “don’t sing at Mass, sing the Mass; don’t pray at Mass, pray the Mass.” These sentiments have been echoed by anyone with common sense for the past century. The printed hymnals and online materials developed through the New Liturgical Movement reflect a strong commitment to this goal. Having attended the CMAA Colloquium in St. Louis this past year, I can attest to the curb appeal of these materials and the immediate appeal of the beauty of this sort of liturgy. When you’ve seen and heard what is possible, what in fact ought to be in every parish, you would never want to settle for less. Bravo to the brave entrepreneurs who are developing these materials, and kudos to the brave musicians and pastors who invest the effort to make it happen in real time!
Now that it’s missalette renewal season, I would like to propose a few ways the New Liturgical Movement might grow its influence and break into the wider market:
1. We still need books. Develop “package deals” for liturgy and music materials, simple enough that a pastor of a small- or medium-sized parish can click once, online, and receive comprehensive printed liturgy and music materials for the year, for the entire parish, at reasonable cost. This means developing printed pew hymnals, cantor and choir resources, accompaniment copies, and--dare I say it!--missalettes (or at least something which has daily and weekly readings) which all fit together into a seamless product. If you know of projects of this sort underway or already available, please share in the comments.
I’m off to renew our parish’s subscription, and I expect you’re eager to know what we picked. Well, the pastor and I haven’t decided yet. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!
|St Martha and the Tarascon, from the Hours of Louis de Laval, 1470-85; Bibliothèque nationale de France, ms Latin 920, folio 317v|
|(Image from Wikipedia by Gérard Marin)|
|(Image from Wikipedia by Chosovi)|
By the beginning of the 16th century, when the church was close to twelve centuries old, parts of it were collapsing under the weight of the ceiling, and the north wall had a stretch of about half its full length which was sagging about a meter off the perpendicular. It was therefore torn down in various stages, and after a long series of fits and starts, rebuilt as the church which we know today by the genius of Michelangelo and his successors. In the year 1590, a canon of the church, Tiberio Alfarano, published this famous plan which shows where everything was in the ancient basilica. (Click to enlarge.)
In the past eleven years, we have had over 26 million page views. Sometime not too long ago, (I didn’t notice when precisely) we passed the 12,000 post milestone; all of our past posts remain accessible in our archives, although some of the older links within them are now dead, including the link which provided our very first article, a piece by Stratford Caldecott (R.I.P.) entitled, “Why a New Liturgical Movement?”
For myself, I would say that the purpose of NLM is summed up very neatly in the logo at the top of the page, in the circular band around the thurible: “Dirigatur oratio mea sicut incensum.” The Douay
The purpose of NLM, then is to help set the prayer of the Church in order, for it is pointless to deny that in many respects it is not in order. Our very first post was a report on a liturgical conference held in England, at which Fr. Mark Drew proposed (almost two years before Summorum Pontificum) the lifting of restrictions on the celebration of the traditional liturgy, stating “Don’t fear anarchy. … Anarchy is what we have already.” To this purpose, we examine every facet of the Church’s liturgical life, and everything related to it, however marginally, historical and contemporary, in the hope of contributing to the process of setting the prayer of the Church in order. We share the essential goal of the first Liturgical Movement: to restore the liturgy in its entirety to pride of place in the Church as the highest and most perfect expression of Her life of prayer.
The words that follow, “sicut incensum – like incense” remind us that the prayer life of the Church is also the best example which She can offer to the world of Her service to God, “For we are the good odor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.” The thurible itself is a reminder also of the duty of charity, the greatest of the virtues, for when the priest returns it to the deacon, he says before he is incensed, “May the Lord enkindle within us the fire of His love, and the flame of eternal charity.” Let it serve as a reminder to all, in the midst of all the controversies and difficulties that inevitably result from such an enterprise, that the goal of the Church’s prayer is union with God in eternal charity.
In order to do so, we need to identify the causes of family holiness, lest we be arbitrary about the effects we should be looking for or prioritizing. One might, after all, skew in this or that direction because one is not holding oneself responsible to the root causes. It’s like defining man as risible, tool-using, linguistic, social, and religious, without saying that he is rational, which is the root of all of these things.
The teaching of the authentic Magisterium is of great help to us, because it shows again and again the primacy of prayer, the sacramental life, and the Holy Eucharist for the holiness of all Christians, whether single, married, religious, or clergy.
The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. . . . [T]he renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way. (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium 10)
Participating in the Eucharistic sacrifice, the source and culmination of the whole Christian life, they [the faithful] offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It… (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 11)Confirming this doctrine by their lives, all of the saints prioritize prayer over action, the interior life over the exterior apostolate, the Holy Eucharist over any other work of devotion or charity. In this respect they are simply taking their cue from Our Lord: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). In an age preoccupied with activism, engagement, and “results,” there is no truth as frequently neglected or even denied as this one, for which the perfect remedy was (and still is) Dom Chautard’s book The Soul of the Apostolate.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the Magisterium stresses the intimate bond between the sacrament of holy matrimony, the sacred liturgy, the Most Blessed Sacrament, and a holy family:
The sacrament of marriage is the specific source and original means of sanctification for Christian married couples and families … The gift of Jesus Christ is not exhausted in the actual celebration of the sacrament of marriage, but rather accompanies the married couple throughout their lives. … Just as husbands and wives receive from the sacrament the gift and responsibility of translating into daily living the sanctification bestowed on them, so the same sacrament confers on them the grace and moral obligation of transforming their whole lives into a “spiritual sacrifice.” (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio 56).
“Fairest love” is learned above all in prayer. Prayer, in fact, always brings with it, to use an expression of Saint Paul, a type of interior hiddenness with Christ in God; “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). (John Paul II, Letter to Families 20).
Christian marriage, like the other sacraments, “whose purpose is to sanctify the people, to build up the body of Christ, and finally, to give worship to God,” is in itself a liturgical action glorifying God in Jesus Christ and in the Church” (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio 56).
The Eucharist inexhaustibly strengthens the indissoluble unity and love of every Christian marriage. By the power of the sacrament, the marriage bond is intrinsically linked to the eucharistic unity of Christ the Bridegroom and his Bride, the Church (cf. Eph 5:31-32). The mutual consent that the husband and wife exchange in Christ, which establishes them as a community of life and love, also has a Eucharistic dimension. Indeed, in the theology of Saint Paul, conjugal love is a sacramental sign of Christ’s love for his Church, a love culminating in the Cross, the expression of his “marriage” with humanity and at the same time the origin and heart of the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis 27)This “community of life and love” extends outwards in works of charity (including the spiritual and corporal works of mercy), beginning with one's own children and radiating to one's parish, town, and larger society, according to the proper order of charity. Yet everything we do as Christians flows from and leads back to the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of which the Holy Mass is the supernatural re-presentation, and of which the Holy Eucharist is the supreme sign and mystical reality. We are pilgrims who live from and for the Bread of Life, until we gaze upon His divine and human face in the beatific vision.
We are entering into dark times, when fidelity to the integral teaching of Scripture, the witness of Tradition, and the fullness of the Church’s Magisterium will be met with increasing incomprehension, incredulity, mockery, ostracism, penalties, and eventually outright persecution. We must do our utmost not to lose sight of these authoritative guideposts, by which we can confidently walk, with God’s grace, along the path of holiness — as men and women, as husbands and wives, as parents and children, as priests and religious. Nor can we accept any substitutes, dilutions, or subterfuges. Christ and His Church have spoken clearly about who we are and what we are to do, if we would remain in the truth of Christ, and live the truth in love.
In it, she contrasts a traditional approach to philosophy, as it would have been taught at the medieval School of Chartres with the typical modern approach. The example she gives of the discussion in a contemporary philosophy class emphasizes how philosophy - the love of wisdom - has become too focused on analytical thinking, which looks at details, and neglects synthetic thinking. Synthetic thinking allows us to take a step back, so to speak, and place the detail in the context of the whole. This is precisely what a traditional formation in beauty - which included the seven liberal arts that Carrie mentions - trains the person to do naturally. Knowledge only becomes wisdom when we can understand how information relates to a bigger picture, which in the final synthesis (as distinct from final analysis!) is our human purpose.
Carrie is a philosopher, author (and mom) who, among other things, specializes in teaching philosophy courses for artists in any creative discipline. I encourage you also to check out her personal site: carriegress.com.
I’ve just started doing some research on Chartres Cathedral and ran across this quotation from 11th century Thierry of Chartres.
In his work, the Heptateuchon, Thierry says, “Philosophy has two principal instruments, the mind and its expression. The mind is enlightened by the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music), its expression, elegant, reasonable, ornate is provide by the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric and dialectic).”
These seven liberal arts and the artists who most exemplify them are featured on the Royal Portal of Chartres Cathedral. (Geometry: Euclid, Rhetoric: Cicero, Dialectic: Aristotle, Arithmetic: Boethius, Astronomy: Ptolemy, Grammar: either Donatus or Priscian)
What is striking about this is:
A) How foreign the notions of the Quadrivium and Trivium seem to us today. What does astronomy have to do with philosophy?
B) How technical and abstract philosophy has become. Philosophy, the love of wisdom, has only a few academic corners where it can actually call itself that. In most university settings, philosophers resort to very precise language and techniques that strike most on the outside as, at best, impenetrable, and at worst, nonsensical.
The one semester I spent doing doctoral studies at a well-known university drove this home to me. The methods of logic have overtaken the field in strangely anachronistic and confounding ways. For a course on Plato, a general assignment would be to read five paragraphs from a given text and then evaluate the argument as logical or illogical, while the rest of the text was of no consequence. When I suggested that one paragraph was made clearer by understanding what Plato said in another book, my comment was met with glazed eyes and a quick changing of subject. Such elements were simply irrelevant. The imposition of twentieth-century techniques upon an ancient text was really what we were after.
Thinking of Thierry of Chartres, few philosophers today give much if any consideration to the elegant, ornate, reasonable expressions available to their trade. For all the efforts to understand the logic of great thinkers, philosophers in the trade have left entire generations of philosophy students empty-headed about great works. Ironically, because philosophy has become so off-putting in content, it has also left students bereft of its modern raison d’etre, the use of logic.
I noticed while Googling the matter that almost all of what is available on the internet about this matter relates either to the Pope’s original statement back in May that he would consider appointing such a commission (in the statement linked above), or to today’s announcement. Very few results come back with any reference to the International Theological Commission’s study of women deacons, which examined the question during the papacy of St John Paul II. Their report was published in 2002 after four years of work, “approved in forma specifica by unanimous vote of the Commission on 30th September 2002. It was then submitted to its President, Card. J. Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, who authorised its publication.” It is available here in English from the Vatican’s official website.
Including the titles, foreword, introduction and footnotes, it clocks in at a bit over 42,000 words; this works out to about 85 single-spaced pages in the standard layout (Times New Roman, 12-point). The members of the new commission probably don’t have to worry about whether they can keep their day jobs, since a very large portion of their work has already been done for them. It is difficult to imagine that any significant historical documents or liturgical texts referring to women deacons in the ancient Church have been discovered since 2002.
I make bold to suggest to any fellow bloggers or Catholic journalists who may read this article that the existence of this earlier study really is essential information on the topic, and should be included in any future articles regarding what the Pope has done today and the work of the commission.
This guest article comes to us from writer Roseanne Sullivan, who has shared other items with us previously, for this interesting article which, as she writes below “vividly illustrates some pervasive misunderstandings about the actual intentions of the Second Vatican Council about the liturgy.”
And I want to let you in on the end of the story, with some snippets from a recent interview I did with Raymond Arroyo that are about how the liturgical conflicts between Mother and the American bishops played out with a hands-down victory at Mother Angelica’s funeral Mass.
|Mother Angelica and Raymond Arroyo|
Mother sent some of her Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration to study the Vatican II document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, and related decisions from the Vatican, and they discovered that the use of Latin and of Gregorian chant and the saying of the Mass ad orientem had never been forbidden. Those who frequent the New Liturgical Movement website, members of the Church Music Association of America and many others had been aware of this for years, but the average Catholic, not to mention, it seems, the average priest and the average bishop, has apparently never heard the facts of the matter, and Mother Angelica and her nuns had to determinedly ferret those facts out for themselves, in self defense.
As Raymond Arroyo wrote, “The nuns discovered that the Second Vatican Council had never intended a wholesale abandonment of Latin in the new Mass. Quite the contrary, the official council and papal documents encouraged the retention of Latin and use of Gregorian chant in the renewed Liturgy. . . .”
Masses on EWTN are routinely celebrated according to the Missal of Pope Paul VI, in what Pope Benedict XVI later called the Ordinary Form and what Arroyo referred to as the New Mass. At EWTN’s chapel in Birmingham, the friars began to sing the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin. And they celebrated the Masses ad orientem.
Arroyo wrote, “Though the monastery celebrated the new Mass of Vatican II, the priest with his back to the people, the sounds of the service, and the old devotions were often mistaken as a throwback to a bygone era. In point of fact, it was much closer to the renewal foreseen by the Second Vatican Council--and it was beaming into nearly every diocese in America.”
Most of the American bishops objected. One USCCB priest commented that they didn’t like “her kind of theology.” But, as Arroyo wrote, Mother Angelica’s local bishop, David Foley, who was installed as the bishop of Birmingham in 1994, was on her side, at least about the use of Latin and chant. Arroyo quoted Bishop Foley as recalling, “They didn’t like the interspersing of the Latin. But to any bishop who objected, I would say, ‘I don't care. I like it.’ ”
“To show the power of EWTN and Mother Angelica: When I first came here people were saying, ‘Why are they doing the Kyrie... Why are they doing the Lamb of God as Agnus Dei?’ ” Bishop Foley also told Arroyo. “But if you go into a lot of churches today, they are singing the Agnus Dei and the Kyrie now. They would never have done that if it hadn't been for EWTN.’ ”
The USCCB couldn’t take any action in these matters because Mother Angelica’s bishop supported those changes. But Bishop Foley later would lock horns with Mother Angelica over ad orientem celebrations of the Mass.
The battle lines about ad orientem were drawn in 1999 during the planning for the dedication of the Shrine to the Blessed Sacrament that Mother Angelica had built 75 miles away from EWTN. Bishop Foley had gradually become closely linked to EWTN, where he even hosted his own show. He had celebrated ad orientem Masses at the little EWTN chapel for the past several years, under the rationale that “the celebrant had to give his back to the congregation in order to face the nuns, who sat behind the reredos.”
However, he refused to agree to celebrate the Mass ad orientem at the Shrine’s consecration. Bishop Foley told the friars that his rationale for celebrating Masses with his back to the congregation was no longer valid in the Shrine chapel, where the nuns sat behind a golden cloister grate to the right of the altar. Mother Angelica replied to him that an ad populum orientation of the priest towards the people would “offend the architectural design of the chapel and break the 145-year tradition of her order.”
Bishop Foley countered by consulting the USCCB liturgy office, and then asserted his authority as Mother’s bishop. He explained his position against the ad orientem posture as coming from how “it was not the norm for the Pope, the bishops, or the priests of Birmingham.”
In her reply to this latest broadside, Mother showed her chutzpah. She shot back that the bishop had been “misinformed by his consulting canonists.” She protested that the law of the Church allows priests to face either way during Mass, and that she had witnessed for herself that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II celebrated Masses ad orientem in his private chapel.
Bishop Foley did not like her defiance of him in his role as chief liturgist of the diocese, and he would not back down. He promulgated a law outlawing the ad orientem posture in the Birmingham diocese on October 18, 1999. In a follow-up cover letter to priests in the diocese, Bishop Foley referred to ad orientem as “a political statement dividing the people” and also as “an illicit innovation or sacrilege” for a priest to “turn his back to the people." Any priest who defied Bishop Foley’s decree would face “suspension or removal of faculties.” The decree was to go into effect three days before the scheduled consecration of the Shrine.
Mother appealed to Rome. She sent two EWTN executives to hand-deliver letters to the Vatican congregations responsible for the Mass and Church doctrine. She knew that Cardinal Ratzinger was on the same side as she was.
The future Pope Benedict XVI was prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 until he was elected to the papacy in 2005. And, as Arroyo wrote, “Cardinal Ratzinger had long espoused the virtues of the ad orientem priestly posture, saluting its theological emphasis--principally the unified orientation of the priest and the people offering sacrifice to God rather than to one another.”
A fax came with unprecedented haste from the notoriously slow-acting Vatican. The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments ruled against his prohibition. The fax read in part:
1. No custom presumed or otherwise could intervene against the liberty of the celebrant to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy in accord with the rubrics of the Missale Romanum.
2... After having heard the opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has expressed to this Congregation its own serious concerns, this Dicastry has concluded that individual Diocesan Bishops may not prohibit celebration of the Sacred Liturgy facing the apse (ad orientem), and therefore, it must respectfully ask that Your Excellency withdraw this Decree because it is contrary to the ius commune with regard to liturgical matters.
To shorten this long story a bit, Bishop Foley lost that battle, but before it was totally over, he got in another glancing blow. Bishop Foley couldn’t ban ad orientem Masses, but he could and did ban televising them, based on the rationale that broadcasting Masses like that would damage unity.
In the little chapel at the EWTN studios in Birmingham, the friars began to celebrate Masses facing the people whenever the Mass was televised, because their bishop said they had to. Beautiful, reverent Ordinary Form Masses continued to be routinely celebrated ad orientem at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, but they were not televised. I’ve been there for a few.
After Bishop Foley retired in 2005, the ban of televised ad orientem Masses was lifted by the next bishop of Birmingham, Robert J. Baker, S.T.D.
During a recent interview I had with Arroyo about his biographical sequel Mother Angelica, Her Grand Silence: The Last Years and Living Legacy for an article upcoming in the August issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, I asked him about the battles Mother had with the bishops and the toll those battles took on her. Here follow some excerpts from the interview.
Sullivan: You wrote about what is commonly called a “near-death experience” in 2001 in which Mother said she left her body three times and that when she came back she said she wasn’t afraid of death any more. It’s significant that she also mentioned she was no longer afraid of the bishops either! Question: Do you have any more new insights about her battles with some members of the Church hierarchy affected her?
Arroyo: “Psychologically and physically, it was a great trial. It’s one thing when people from outside the Church come after somebody, but Mother was really fighting a two-pronged war, because she was fighting those outside the Church, and then she was fighting those inside the Church.
The stroke probably would not have happened if she hadn’t been under such stress and duress.”
Sullivan: You wrote in the first biography about run-ins that she had with some American bishops, who were trying to launch a Catholic network of their own. Many of them expressed their distaste for what one priest called “her kind of theology.” It seems now that she won over the opposition, and that “her kind of theology” is now accepted. Question: Did you add any more details about those kinds of battles she went through and their outcomes after the initial biography?
Arroyo:“The [first] biography is pretty conclusive on those battles. She really did win all of them in my mind. The things she fought for, the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, Latin in the Mass, ... those things were considered relics of another age, never to be seen again. Mother Angelica not only kept them alive, she popularized them. She put all those devotions in front of the eyes of the masses so they could see what they had been missing.
Remember that she had a titanic battle with her local bishop, Bishop David Foley, near the end of her active life. He didn’t want the Mass televised ad orientem, facing away from the people. [And Bishop Foley’s fellow bishops in the USCCB didn’t like the use of Latin in EWTN Masses.] The Mass had to be in English.
Well, I had to chuckle a little at her funeral because I saw Bishop Foley there on the altar. And I thought to myself, only Mother Angelica could pull this off. Not only did she get a Mass with Latin, celebrated ad orientem, but it was broadcast on television, and an archbishop was celebrating it. Only Mother could have pulled that off.”
And as Arroyo put it another way in a subsequent email: "Mother managed to not only get an Ad Orientem Mass in Latin on air, but Foley had a front row seat on it."
During Mother Angelica’s funeral I posted a Tweet with a screenshot from the Mass.
I had been hoping that it would be a traditional Requiem Mass, but it turned out to be a splendidly reverent Ordinary Form Mass with sung Latin Ordinary, Pater Noster, versicles and responses, concelebrated ad orientem by Archbishop Charles Chaput, Birmingham’s current Bishop Robert J. Baker, Bishop Emeritus David Foley, Mother’s MFVA friars, and many other priests associated with EWTN.
The following is a press release from the Roman Catholic diocese of Lancaster.
It is reported that the Holy Father Pope Francis, was happy to give this new diocese to Great Britain, because he knew there were so many Syro-Malabar faithful living in Britain and it is important for them to have the official support and structures of their Church.
The new Diocese or in the Eastern tradition ‘Eparchy’ is one of only three dioceses of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church outside of India, the others being in the United States (founded in 2011) and Australia (founded in 2014).
Upon hearing the news of this development whilst leading the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes, Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster said: "I welcome this exciting news and in particular Bishop Srampickal as the first Bishop of the Eparchy of the Syro-Malabars in Great Britain. I look forward to working with him as a close colleague and friend while he has care of his brothers and sisters throughout the whole country."
Bishop Campbell added that the establishment of the new Eparchy is "a clear indication of the care of the Holy See for the thousands of Syro-Malabar Catholics who have settled in Great Britain. I congratulate the Major Archbishop, Cardinal George Alencherry, the Holy Synod and all the Syro-Malabar priests, religious and faithful living in Great Britain upon this development. I am particularly pleased that the seat of the new Eparchy will be the wonderful St Ignatius Church, Preston (St Alphonsa, Parish) given our close collaboration”.
|The Major Archbishop, Cardinal Alencherry with Bishop Campbell.|
These personal parishes – one is for Preston and is based at St Ignatius - were the first of their kind - for the Syro-Malabar Church - in Europe. In Preston over 250 people – many of them children, teenagers and young working professionals with their families - attend the current single Sunday Mass at St Ignatius with an additional scheduled Mass to follow shortly. The usual rounds of Baptisms, First Communions and Confirmations are now re-established in this vibrant parish. Recently, 9 family units have been formed as basic Christian communities to support prayer and faith formation in the family. The Keralan Sisters of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel are now settling well and are involved in diocesan apostolates in Lancaster and also catechetical work in the Preston Syro-Malabar parish. Such a foundation is the first of its kind of Syro-Malabar Religious Sisters in Great Britain.
We also wish a happy feast of St Dominic (EF) to all the son and daughters of the Order of Preachers throughout the world, and a special word of thanks to those who have been making so many efforts of late to maintain their great liturgical tradition!
This article by Shawn Tribe was originally published in October of 2008, and republished in 2013. He and I recently noticed that all of the photographs, which were originally linked from an external source, have disappeared, so I thought it might be nice to repair it and reprint it again. It is listed here under my name, but still entirely Shawn’s work.
The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that the origin of the antipendium might be “traced to the curtains or veils of silk, or of other precious material, which hung over the open space [NLM note: or “confessio”] under the altar, to preserve the shrines of the saints usually deposited there” which later developed into the altar frontal we now know.
In his work, The Christian Altar, the Anglican Cyril Pocknee notes that “even in the primitive period not only was the altar covered with a linen cloth or pall for the celebration of the Eucharist; but also the Lord’s Table was vested with silk cloths... Palladius writing about 421 mentions some Roman ladies, who renouncing the world, bequeathed their silks to make coverings for the altar... The Liber Pontificalis testifies that during the eighth and ninth centuries coverings for the altar made of gold thread and decorated with jewels and pearls and embroidered with figures of our Lord, the B.V. Mary and the Apostles were given to the great Roman basilicas by succeeding Popes.”
Pocknee speaks to the development of the form as follows:
While the altar remained cubical in form, the ‘throw-over’ type of pall continued in use... this linen cloth, known as the Palla corporalis, was thrown over the altar, much as an ordinary table-cloth is spread today, by the deacons, and it fell down around all sides of the table. But in the Gothic period, when the altar tended to be lengthened, two things happened: (a) the linen pall became divided into two parts, one part being a long strip which covered the top of the altar and fell down over each end of the mensa, while the other part became the ‘corporal’ which covered the elements; (b) the silk pall becomes the antependium or frontal covering the front elevation of the altar only when it stood close to a wall or screen. But it should be noted that where the longer type of altar was free-standing a ‘frontal’ was provided for both back and front.Both Cyril Pocknee (The Christian Altar) and J.B. O’Connell (Church Building and Furnishing) comment that the earliest frontals were “often made in purple and gold and ornamented with jewels, or with beautiful embroideries.” (O’Connell). The following image from the Benedictional of St. Ethelwold shows this, as well as what Pocknee describes in terms of the fuller, more “table-cloth” like form of the early altar covering:
O’Connell continues by noting that in the 8th or 9th centuries, some frontals were also made of precious metals such as silver or gold. A classic example of this would be the altar of the Basilica of St. Ambrose in Milan:
It was during the middle ages that we begin to see the vesting of the altar match the colour of the vestments of the day.
Speaking to the symbolism attributed to the frontal, Geoffrey Webb in The Liturgical Altar calls it “a covering of honour for the body of the altar which... represents Christ Himself...” He quotes Bishop J.F. Van der Stappen in his work, Sacra Liturgia as saying: “For the altar is Christ, therefore, on account of its dignity, it is clothed in precious vestments, as the Pontifical says in the ordination of sub-deacons.” Webb continues speaking of the colour that the frontal brings to the altar: “Our Lord, as represented by His consecrated altar, puts on robes of majesty... and when the Robes of Majesty are all removed on Holy Thursday, more is indicated than the removal of His garments. His faithful, His costly garments, His disciples, are all stripped from Him; and His desolation is made all the more evident by this complete annihilation of colour.” The use of colour is “part of the splendour of the liturgy” but “the instinct to provide colour seems less vigorous today than in most other centuries, and one doubts whether its place is sufficiently realized as one instrument of a concerted orchestra, in whose harmony its omission forms a gap.” Finally Webb suggests that “the frontal serves to give to the altar that architectural prominence which its central position in the liturgy requires.”
“...at the ordination of a subdeacon, the bishop in his charge to the candidate says ‘the cloths and corporals of the altar [which represent Christ] are the members of Christ, God’s faithful people, with whom, as with costly garments, the Lord is clad, according to the Psalmist: The Lord reigns as king, robed in majesty.’ The clothed altar with its beauty and changing colours is a symbol of the Mystical Body... it translates this doctrine into the language of colour and form. In addition to its symbolical value, the frontal -- with its sequence of colours and its changing form and decoration -- lends variety and new beauty to the altar, and helps to mark the degrees of festivity in the Church’s liturgy. In presenting an unbroken coloured surface it also draws attention to the altar, as the focal point of the church, giving it architectural prominence.”A visual comparison of the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, unvested and vested, might serve to illustrate the visual and liturgical difference a frontal can make.
The NLM has often appealed to clergy to consider re-instituting the use of altar frontals in their parishes and apostolates. It is to be hoped that these descriptions of the history and symbolic and liturgical value of the frontal will serve as further inspiration.
Now this said it must be stated that, as with any sacred arts, not all frontals are created equal. In my experience, the finest frontals are characterized by neatness, not hanging too loosely (being either stretched onto a frame or at very least of heavy fabric and generally weighted), thereby drawing attention to the form and substantiality of the altar itself; they cover the entirety of the front of the altar, and they are characterized either by a verticality in ornamentation, or a fullness of ornamentation. (What I mean by this will become more evident shortly.)
There are a few problems here. First, the use of a single colour without other ornamentation or orphreys. But worse is the use of pleating which takes away from the altar itself and approximates not so much paraments for the altar as curtains before it.
This frontal’s ornamentation is rather plain and could be much improved by being weighted better and by including a greater vertical dimension in terms of its decoration.
While both are quite neat, neither of them seem to accomplish the dignified vesting of the altar, nor create the focus upon the altar that a full frontal accomplishes.
Here is another example of this sort of less than edifying attempt at a frontal, but quite a bit less neat:
Our next example is likely to be the most controversial in my proposal about what is not successful; it is the Laudian frontal:
This form, which finds itself draped over the entire altar, certainly approximates some of the earlier form of the altar covering discussed in this history, however, this form of frontal seems to lack the neatness and elegance of the frontal as it developed. It must also be remembered that the original forms related to the cube shaped altars of the earlier Church and not to the longer altars that developed.
A final example of a less than successful attempt:
Now let us compare the former examples with altar frontals that better serve to vest the altar in a dignified manner, drawing attention to it and to the liturgical seasons. I have tried to include stylistic variations to show the range of possibilities.
There has been some discussion and questions about the making and hanging of frontals. Here is what O’Connell notes in Church Building and Furnishing:
Material of the Frontal
[...] The frontal is best made of some textile -- because it is part of the clothing of Christ -- brocade, tapestry, velvet, silk, damask, etc.; or more simply for lesser days, or in small churches, with orphreys of silk, or with braid or fringe. Designs should be bold since the frontal is viewed from a distance. In the traditional Roman frontal the material is divided vertically into panels (generally five) by narrow strips of braid; across the frontal (about one-fourth of its depth from the top) is a deeper strip, and the upper part of the frontal above this is divided into twice the number of panels (normally ten) by braid or galloon. The frontal may be adorned with woven or painted figures or scenes, or with suitable symbols (e.g., of the Blessed Eucharist).
Fixing a Frontal
The frontal must cover the entire front of the altar. It may be fixed on to a wooden frame (telarium)... which slips into a groove under the table of the altar [NLM note: I have also seen peg like objects which the frontal inserts into and then it further tied to the sides of the altar with to hold it tight against the altar; this is the case at Ss. Trinita in Rome]; or it may hang, by small rings, from a rod, supported on metal lugs in the front elevation of the altar. The rod and its attachment are concealed by a frontlet [NLM note: or “superfrontal”; it is the short but long rectangular piece that hangs across the top foot or so of the front of the altar, also the section which was referred to above as having double the panels of the lower half; this is the arrangement at the chapel of Merton College, Oxford]. It is sometimes desireable to back a frontal with some heavy material, like strong canvas, to get it to hang well.
Nonetheless, impatience has no place in the liturgy. An effective liturgist never “twiddles his thumbs” while waiting. Let me provide a key example: It is not uncommon in many parishes for the opening procession to reach the sanctuary before the organist has finished the introduction to the opening hymn. Having arrived at the altar, the priest sits there and looks at everyone, as they look at him; and together they glare and wait for those annoying few people to stop singing verses one and two, so that Mass can begin… forget about singing verses three and four! If we wonder why people don't sing, it may have nothing to do with the song selections, the music, or the musicians-- and it may have everything to do with the pastor and the altar servers.
|The Miracle of the Snows, by Jacopo Zucchi, ca. 1580; from the Vatican Museums|
Each year, during the principal Mass of the Dedication, a shower of white jasmine petals, representing the miraculous snowfall, is let fall from the roof of the basilica during the Gloria; the ceremony is repeated in the evening during the Magnificat of Vespers. It is seen here in a video taken by John Sonnen of Orbis Catholicus in 2010.
Painful as it is to impugn the story behind such a beautiful liturgical tradition, it is now regarded as purely legendary. The text of Pope Sixtus III’s dedicatory inscription is preserved, and does not mention it; indeed, the story is not heard of until several hundred years after it supposedly took place. The legendary character of the episode is also implicitly recognized in the Tridentine liturgical reform. In a Roman Breviary printed in 1481, the story is told in six unusually long lessons at Matins, each almost a full column in length; the Breviary of St Pius V preserves the essence of the legend, but reduces it to the bare facts at just over 200 words. The feast also had a proper collect, which reads as follows: “O God, who, to declare the glory of Thy Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, by a snowfall in the heat of summer didst deign to show forth the place in which a church should be built for Her; grant, we ask, that, devoting ourselves to Her service, by the cooling of concupiscence, we may be cleansed in the brightness of innocence.” In the Tridentine reform, this prayer was replaced by the generic prayer from the common Office and Mass of the Virgin.
the Council of Ephesus in 431. In the Breviary of St Pius V, this passage was read on September 15th, the Octave of the Virgin’s Nativity, but it also makes an especially appropriate choice for the Dedication of St Mary Major. The church was built by Sixtus III, and decorated with mosaic images of the Virgin’s life, in the wake of the great controversy stirred up by Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who declared that it was wrong to refer to the Virgin Mary with the title “Theotókos – Mother of God”, and that She ought rather to be called “Christotókos – Mother of Christ.” The Council of Ephesus was called to respond to Nestorius’ heresy, and at that Council, St Cyril was the adamant defender of the orthodox faith, the “unconquered teacher that the most blessed Virgin Mary is Mother of God”, as the traditional collect of his feast calls him.
Therefore, rejoice with us, holy and mystical Trinity, that called us all to this church of Mary, the Mother of God. Rejoice with us, Mary, Mother of God, the venerable treasure of the whole world, the ever-shining light, the crown of virginity, the scepter of orthodoxy, the indestructible temple, the place of Him whom no place can contain, Mother and Virgin; through whom is named in the Holy Gospels the Blessed One, who comes in the name of the Lord.
Rejoice, thou who in thy virginal womb held Him who cannot be held; through whom the Trinity is sanctified; through whom the cross is called precious and is venerated throughout the world; through whom heaven exulteth; through whom the angels and archangels rejoice; through whom demons are put to flight; through whom the devil, that tempter, fell from heaven; through whom the fallen race is taken up to the heavens; through whom all creation, possessed by the madness of idols, hath come to the knowledge of truth; through whom cometh baptism to them that believe, and the oil of gladness; through whom the Church hath been established throughout the world; through whom the nations are led to repentance.
What need is there to say many more things? (This is somewhat ironic, since St Cyril goes on to say a great deal more than can be reproduced here.) Through Thee, the only-begotten Son of God hath shone as a light upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; the prophets foretold, the apostles preached salvation to the nations; the dead are raised to life, and kings rule through the holy Trinity.
|The famous icon of the Virgin Mary titled “Salus Populi Romani,” painted in the 6th or 7th century, and now housed in the Borghese Chapel at Saint Mary Major. The jewels and crowns seen here have been removed in subsequent restorations.|
It begins with a number of private prayers, including prayers before meals and going to bed, followed by Small Compline, prayers of preparation for Communion and Confession, the Akathistos of the Mother of God, and the minor Hours. The second section of over 320 pages is dedicated to “the Services of Sunday”: Vespers, the Midnight Office, and Orthros, followed by the Liturgies of St John Chrysostom, St Basil and the Presanctified Gifts (the latter is not of course ever said on a Sunday.) The Resurrection Gospels of Sunday Orthros, and the Sunday Epistles and Gospels are also included. There follow the main texts of the Menaion, or Calendar of Saints, and then the whole series of movable observances, the Triodion (the equivalent of the Septuagesima season), Lent, Great Compline, Holy Week, and finally the Pentecostarion, which includes everything from Easter to All Saints, the Sunday after Pentecost. (As may be imagined, a fair amount of this is in eye-wateringly small type.)
|The Menologion, or calendar of fixed feasts, starts on September 1st with the Indiction, the beginning of the Byzantine liturgical year.|
|The beginning of the “Sunday services” section, Vespers on Saturday evening. The liturgical day in the Byzantine Rite always begins on the evening before.|
|The beginning of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete (26 pages), a very popular Lenten penitential service.|
|The table of movable feasts according to the “new” system, i.e., the Gregorian Calendar, covering the 40 years from 1961 to 2000.|
One such change was the addition of the doxology for the feast of the Epiphany: “Glory to Thee, o Lord, who didst appear today, etc.” (A new doxology was created in Pope Urban VIII’s reform of the hymns, but older one was retained by the Benedictines, Dominicans and others.) This is noteworthy because at the Mass of the Transfiguration, the preface is that of Christmas, not Epiphany. But the connection between the “new” feast and the manifestations of the Lord celebrated by older liturgical feasts is expressed most clearly in the third nocturn of Matins, where the psalms and their antiphons were clearly not chosen merely for accidental references to “glory” and “light”, but as a deliberate echo of these same older feasts.
The first psalm (seventh of Matins as a whole) is Psalm 88, which is used at Matins on only one other feast day, namely Christmas. The antiphon reflects the common tradition, not stated in the Gospels themselves or in the Second Epistle of St Peter, that Mt Tabor in Galilee was the “high mountain” on which the Transfiguration took place. “Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name: Thy arm is with might.” This reflects the fact that at Christmas we celebrate the manifestation of God’s humanity, whereas at the Transfiguration, we celebrate the manifestation of Christ’s divinity.
|Mt Tabor (Image from Wikimedia by Eliot from the Negev.)|
The third psalm, 103, is also sung on only one other feast day, Pentecost. As a group, together, therefore, these psalms indicate that the mystery of God’s Incarnation, which is revealed privately at Christmas and Epiphany, to Israel in the shepherds, and to the gentiles in the Magi, is now revealed privately to the Apostles, who will preach it publicly to the world once the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost.
The Church traditionally marks the public manifestation of Christ with the feast of His Baptism, which in the Roman Rite is celebrated as the Octave of the Epiphany, and in the Byzantine is the main object of Epiphany itself. The Apostles, however, were chosen after the Baptism. We must note therefore, that the same words of the Father at the Baptism, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” (Matt. 3, 17) are repeated at the Transfiguration, with the addition of a special commission to the Apostles “Hear ye him!”
Just as the Creeds of the Apostles and Nicaea focus on the events of the beginning and end of Christ’s earthly life, (“born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate”), so does the liturgical year. We do not keep feasts as such to mark events of Christ’s public ministry like the many miraculous healings or the multiplications of the loaves and fishes, although many of these stories are read in the Sunday Gospels. The Transfiguration is uniquely chosen among these events to be celebrated with a particular feast, because it marks the point at which both the Incarnation and its purpose, the Passion and Resurrection, are revealed to the Apostles, who in the fullness of time will reveal them to the rest of the world.
|The Church of the Transfiguration on Mt Tabor (Image from Wikimedia Commons by Zairon.)|
SOLD Devotions for Holy Communion. Ed. Hubert McEvoy, S.J. Burns & Oates, 1964. Order of Mass (usus antiquior), followed by 30 sets of preparation and thanksgiving prayers and meditations drawn from Scripture, the Fathers, and the mystics. $35.
SOLD The Story of the Twenty-Eighth International Eucharistic Congress held at Chicago, Illnois, United States of America, from June 20-24, 1926. Compiled by Rev. C. F. Donovan. The Official Record published by The Committee in Charge at Chicago. 1927. 529 pp. with many illustrations and fold-outs. $50.
Johannes Quasten. Patrology. 3 vols. (1950, 1953, 1963), hardcover. Excellent condition. $160. (This same set in a garish paperback edition costs $112.)
|Some of the book owner's notes (which are at times quite amusing)|
|These books were studied very closely!|
Gallus Manser, O.P. Das Wesen des Thomismus. Freiburg: Paulusverlag, 1949. 728 pp., hardcover. $100.
Otto Hermann Pesch. Die Theologie der Rechtfertigung bei Martin Luther und Thomas von Aquin. Mainz: Matthias-Grunewald Verlag, 1967. 1010 pp., hardcover. $50. (Who knows? Could come in handy, depending on what happens in Sweden in October.)
Josephus Fuchs, S.J. Theologia Moralis Generalis. Pars Prima: Conspectus praelectionum ad usum auditorum. Rome: Universita Gregoriana, 1971. 218 pp., paperback. $30. One among many authors whose errors prompted (eventually) Veritatis Splendor.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I should point out of course, that the Little Oratory was co-written with Leila Lawler. What made this cooperation so effective was that we were both converts who had come to very similar conclusions about praying in the home through quite different experiences. Leila's 'story in prayer' - the spiritual journey by which she reached that point - is different to mine as one would expect. But I always felt that it was that dual perspective of the same truths that helped to make the book as rich as it is. Of course if you want Leila's story in prayer, you'll have to invite her to talk about it. She's a great speaker I can assure you!
It was because the pattern of personal prayer that I was given right from the beginning of my journey was modelled on that of the liturgy, albeit subtly, that when much later I walked into a church with beautiful liturgy I was so receptive to what I saw, My daily prayers had formed me to be so. I had no idea about that at the time, of course; and if I had known, I would probably have refused to do any of it given my prejudices at the time. When this offer was made to me I was a miserable, bitter anti-religion atheist. I will describe how a man called David managed to attract my attention in the first place, so that, suspicious and sceptical as I was, I was prepared to pray and how very quickly because of the effect it had, I became convinced of the power of prayer. Furthermore, I was shown how by the same man how to discern my personal vocation. He inspired me to believe that God want me to be joyful and free and this lead to my changing direction altogether in my career and doing what I do now. I will talk about this too.
What are miracles? Are miracles possible and, if so, how do we know? Do miracles happen and, if so, what is their purpose? What attitudes should we take towards reports of miracles? How might miracles impact on our prospects for future happiness? What are the perspectives of science, theology, and philosophy on miracles today?
The exploration of miracles raises some of the most important spiritual, intellectual and personal questions that we face. An understanding of miracles is important for catechesis in parishes and in the home, for personal spiritual and intellectual growth, for devotions, as well as many courses in religious studies and the humanities in general today.
This film explores these questions from a Catholic perspective, informed by historical and modern discussions in science, philosophy, and theology, as well as cases of particular miracles, ancient and contemporary.
This film can be purchased from St Anthony Communications, and for readers in the USA, many of their popular titles can be purchased from Ignatius Press including:
- To Be A Pilgrim: The Canterbury Way
- Marriage: God's Design for Life and Love
- Lead Kindly Light: The Life and Message of John Henry Newman
- Prayer: A Surge of the Heart
- Faith of Our Fathers: In Search of the English Martyrs
- The Why? Course
- Powers and Dominions
- The Last Things
- Gifts from God