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    The church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, located on Warwick St in London, England, will celebrate the feast of Bl. John Henry Newman, Co-Patron of the English Ordinariate, with Solemn Evensong according to the Ordinariate Use, a sermon, and Benediction, on October 8th, starting at 3:30 pm. The St Paul’s Service by Herbert Howell and Blessed City by Edward Bairstow will be sung; Fr Julian Large, Provost of the London Oratory, will be the preacher.

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    Here’s another great little discovery on Youtube, an educational video about monastic life made in England in the 1950s, illustrated with footage taken in the contemporary English monasteries. I am not familiar with any of these places, and the names aren’t given in the film; if anyone knows which houses they are, perhaps you could leave any pertinent information in the combox.

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    Our Ambrosian correspondent Nicola de’ Grandi visited Hungary this summer, and photographed a good number of vestments in a variety of museums: the treasury of the Cathedral of Esztergom, the National Museum of Hungary, and the Museum of Decorative Arts, the latter both in Budapest. The embroidery and decorations on some of these are remarkably thick and heavy-looking, in a way I don’t think I have ever seen elsewhere; hopefully, they were put out by the sacristans for feasts occurring in winter!

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  • 09/29/17--07:09: St Michael in the Apocrypha
  • The Archangel Michael is mentioned three times in the book of Daniel, once in the Apocalypse, and once in the Epistle of St Jude, and these are all of his Biblical appearances. Both New Testament authors introduce him quite abruptly, taking it for granted that their readers already know who he is. “And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon…” (Apoc. 12, 7) This would certainly be due to his prominence in pre-Christian Jewish literature, works of the sort which we now call (rather inexactly) apocrypha. And indeed, the mention of him in the Epistle of St Jude is taken from such a work.
    St Michael Defeating the Devil, by Guido Reni, 1635
    “When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee.” (verse 9) These words refer to an episode in a Jewish apocryphal work called The Assumption of Moses, which is only partially preserved; it is not in the part that survives, but ancient scholars such as Origen, who had the complete text to hand, say that it is in the work cited by St Jude. One explanation of the story is that the devil sought to claim possession of Moses’ body as that of a murderer, since he had killed the Egyptian, (Exod. 2, 11-12), and it was for this that St Michael said, “May God rebuke thee.” (In this context, it should be remembered that the Greek word “diabolos” means “slanderer.”) Another explanation is based on a tradition which goes all the way back to Tertullian, that idolatry was taught to mankind by the devil; therefore, in the story cited by St Jude, the devil’s purpose in trying to get the body of Moses would be to have the Jews worship it as an idol.

    The story has attracted almost no attention from artists, with one very prominent exception, a fresco of it in the Sistine Chapel. When the chapel was originally constructed, Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84) commissioned a group of some of the most prominent painters of the era (Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Perguino among them) to paint eight episodes each from the lives of Moses and Christ; they are paired to show how the Church understands the life of Moses, the lawgiver of the Old Testament, as a prophecy of the life of Christ, the lawgiver of the New Testament. The final two, however, The Dispute over the Body of Moses and The Resurrection of Christ, break the parallelism; Moses, the giver of the old Law, dies and stays dead, but Christ, the giver of the new Law, rises from the dead.

    These last two are on the chapel’s back wall, which has a large door in the middle, under part of each of the paintings. On Christmas Day of 1522, the architrave over the door suddenly cracked and fell, just after Pope Hadrian VI had passed under it while processing into the chapel to say Mass. (Two of his guards were killed.) This break would eventually lead to the complete deterioration of the paintings; around 1575, Matteo da Lecce replaced the original Dispute over the Body of Moses with the same subject, but in a very different style, as Hendrick van den Broeck had done about 20 years earlier with the Resurrection.
    St Michael also figures very prominently in another apocryphal work, The Testament of Abraham, which exists in two recensions; the longer of these mentions him 24 times, the shorter 44 times. The basic idea of both is that he is sent to Abraham, whose life is extended from the Biblical 175 years (Genesis 25, 7) to 995 in the long recension, to persuade him to accept that his time has come to die. When Abraham’s son Isaac comes to meet the Archangel, the latter says to him, “the Lord God will grant you his promise that he made to your father Abraham and to his seed.” (chapter 3) Later on, Abraham meets Death himself, who appears to him with the heads of various animals, including a “terrible lion.” (chapter 17) Finally, when Abraham dies, “the archangel Michael came with a multitude of angels and took up his precious soul in his hands … and they tended the body of the just Abraham …. but the angels received his precious soul.” (chapter 20) These passage were clearly the inspiration for the first part of the Offertory chant of the Requiem Mass.
    “O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the bottomless pit; deliver them out of the lion’s mouth, lest hell should swallow them up, lest they fall into darkness; but let Thy standard-bearer, Saint Michael, bring them into Thy holy light, which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed.”

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    On September 6th, His Excellency Robert Morlino, Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, while visiting his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, celebrated a votive Mass of Saint Joseph according to the Divine Worship Missal (“Anglican Use”) at the local Ordinariate parish, Saint Thomas More. Afterwards, he delivered a talk “Liturgy as an Aid in Evangelization”, focusing on the beauty of the liturgy as a necessary tool for evangelization in our modern world. A recording of the talk has just been posted via the parish website.

    In his address, Bishop Morlino enlarged on his vision of the liturgically beautiful: beauty does not lie in the eye of the beholder; it is not a matter of majority opinion; that which is beautiful must also be true. Our readers know that His Excellency has been strenuous in promoting sound liturgical practice in the diocese of Madison, following Cardinal Sarah’s call for greater use of ad orientem, and often celebrating Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

    Parishioner Robert Kurland writes about the celebration of the Mass according to the Ordinariate Use:

    It was particularly appropriate for Bishop Morlino to talk on beauty in the liturgy at an anniversary celebration of St Thomas More Parish, a parish the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The Anglican Usage liturgy is part of the Roman Rite, but has important differences in language, being based in part on the Book of Common Prayer, written by masters of the English language from Elizabethan times and later. I quote from the Ordinariate website: “The mission of the Ordinariate is particularly experienced in the reverence and beauty of our liturgy, which features Anglican traditions of worship while conforming to Catholic doctrinal, sacramental and liturgical standards. Through Divine Worship: The Missal — the liturgy that unites the Ordinariates throughout the English-speaking world — we share our distinctive commitment to praising God in the eloquence of the Anglican liturgical patrimony and Prayer Book English.”

    The language, including all the thee’s and thou’s, is beautiful and a reminder of our heritage. (Unlike the prescriptions of some present day liturgists, there is no attempt to debase the English language by subscribing to politically correct gender neutrality and inclusiveness.) There is also frequent and appropriate use of Latin, again as a reminder of the Church’s heritage from Rome. The music is without guitars and drums, using hymns from the English Hymnal compiled by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Communion is given on the tongue, kneeling at the altar rail, with the Host distributed by the priest with intinction in the Precious Blood.

    After this Mass, I feel that Bishop Morlino’s goal has been achieved: “[The Mass] must be nothing less than beautiful, reflecting the perfect beauty, unity, truth, and goodness of the object of our worship and adoration Themselves, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” —Bishop Robert Morlino, Madison Catholic Herald, Oct. 20, 2011.  

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  • 09/30/17--07:17: St Jerome’s Lion
  • There are very few episodes of what we might call a legendary character attached to the figure of St Jerome, at least in part because we have so much authentic information about his life from his own incredibly prolific pen. The Golden Legend gives only one such story in its account of him, which explains why a lion became his most distinctive attribute in art.

    “One evening, when Jerome was sitting with the brethren to listen a sacred reading, a lion came limping into the monastery; at the sight of it, as the other brothers fled, Jerome went to meet it as a guest. When the lion showed him its wounded foot, he commanded that its feet be washed and its wound carefully examined. This revealed that the sole of its paw was wounded by thorns; therefore, they took good care of it, and the lion recovered, and laying aside all its ferocity, lived among them like a domestic animal. Then Jerome, seeing that the Lord had sent the lion not so much for the healing of its foot as for their use, at the suggestion of the brothers imposed this duty upon it, that it should bring to pasture and watch over a donkey which they had, which carried wood from the forest.”
    St Jerome Bringing the Lion into the Monastery, by Lazzaro Bastiani, second half of the 15th century. (Public domain image from Wikipedia.)
    The story goes on to say that one day, the lion fell asleep while on duty, and the donkey was stolen by merchants passing by in a camel train. St Jerome therefore imposed the donkey’s job on the lion, which it faithfully did, until one day, it spied at a distance the same merchants, with their camels and the stolen donkey. By roaring and lashing its tail, the lion drove the whole camel train, including the thieves, back to the monastery; St Jerome received them as guests, while exhorting them not steal any more. As a token of their repentance, the merchants gave a certain quantity of oil as a gift to the monastery, and promised they would henceforth bring it every year in perpetuity, laying the same obligation on their heirs.

    Right after the episode of the lion, the Golden Legend says that the behest of the Emperor Theodosius and Pope St Damasus I, he arranged the traditional division of the Psalter over the days of the week, prescribing the singing of the doxology at the end of the psalms, and that he also created the Roman Mass lectionary, “which he sent from Bethlehem to the Supreme Pontiff, and it was heartily approved by him and his cardinals, and deemed forever authentic.”

    The Funeral of St Jerome, also by Bastiani. The lion attends in the lower left hand corner.

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  • 10/02/17--08:37: Revisiting Courtly Liturgy
  • When I published an article here some time ago, “In Defense of Liturgy as Carolingian Court Ritual,” a reader shared with me the following comments:
    Would you say that the monastic tradition of liturgy contrasts to the ‘courtly’ diocesan form of ritual, especially after Trent? That is my impression. My own sense and understanding of the traditional liturgy is more from reading the French Benedictines, and from Cardinal Ratzinger. It seems that most of the liturgical movement drew from the monastic tradition, as opposed to the Baroque and modern diocesan traditions of ritual. Might a renewal of the traditional liturgy drawing more from the monastic tradition answer the ‘needs of modern man’ more than a courtlier Baroque form?
    This is an interesting point. If one doesn't look too closely at the age of Cluny, it would be true to say that monastic liturgy is, on the whole, simpler; nor is it surprising that so many of the pioneers of the Liturgical Movement were Benedictine monks who sought to share the wealth they had preserved, particularly in the form of the Divine Office, with modern people who still felt moved by the witness of the monks and nuns when the lingering golden glow of the Baroque had long since faded. In every era the monastic liturgy has retained a profound consistency, tranquility, dignity, and loving attention to detail, which make it especially suitable for emulation and transplantation. We should not forget, however, that the abbot, a prelate in his own right, is treated regally according to the rubrics of the traditional Mass, and that the equation of ‘monastic’ with austere, angular, and efficient is more a heritage of Collegeville than of any thriving monastery prior to about 1950.

    Nevertheless, while I would want there to be a place for relatively simpler liturgy (as long as it was still thoroughly traditional), I also think we should not underestimate the “shock value” of Baroque liturgy. It is so different that it has something special to tell us right now. The Institute of Christ the King, with its French Baroque style of celebrating solemn functions, is making an important contribution to the life and mission of the Church today precisely by recovering and giving a suitable place to a rich part of our Catholic liturgical tradition that people who are too wedded to democracy and pragmatism have lost, or never cared to acquire. We need many tongues for proclaiming the Gospel; we have room for, and a need for, as many manners of celebrating authentic liturgical rites as our history has developed. One may go so far as to state that Baroque grandeur and excess are needed in direct proportion to contemporary reductionism and trivialization.
    Photo courtesy of St Peter’s Seminary, Wigratzbad, Germany (FSSP)
    Gregory DiPippo also pointed out to me another angle of argumentation that I had not exploited in my original post. When we are considering the courtliness of liturgy with its irreducible monarchical and aristocratic elements, we should not forget to breathe with both lungs of the Church. The Byzantine Divine Liturgy is positively bursting with courtly imagery and gesture, as befits its long sojourn in Constantinople. The Byzantines have retained many of these features because they did not succumb to the minimalism, utilitarianism, and democratic thinking that have poisoned the springs of Western social life and made of us men with hollow chests.

    Byzantine Christians have all the same kinds of “courtly” rituals that the Roman Rite has, such as the kissing of the celebrant's hands, the bowing towards persons, icons, and other objects, the candles, and the incense, rituals that had their origin in the veneration surrounding the emperor.[1] Nor should we be surprised: both the Byzantine court and the Carolingian court saw themselves as continuations of the Roman Empire, now consecrated in its new role as supreme governor of the Christian world, for the glory of God and the empire of Christ. It was completely natural to the clergy and faithful to adopt for their divine worship customs that accompanied the earthly ruler; indeed, in so doing, they restored, as it were, the proper immovable and incorruptible object of veneration, bestowing on the ruler the privilege of being an earthly icon of the divine King. What began on earth was raised to heaven and seated there at the right hand of the Father; thence it descended to the human throne as a mantle of authorization and responsibility.

    All four of the Cherubic hymns refer to Christ as King.

    Daily use:
    We, who mystically represent the Cherubim, and chant the thrice-holy hymn to the Life-giving Trinity, let us set aside the cares of life that we may receive the King of all, Who comes invisibly escorted by the Divine Hosts.
    At the Liturgy of the Presanctified:
    Now the powers of heaven do serve invisibly with us. Lo, the King of Glory enters. O, the mystical sacrifice is upborne, fulfilled. Let us draw near in faith and love, and become communicants of life eternal.
    On Holy Thursday:
    Of Thy mystical Supper, Lord, let me partake, O Son of God, for of Thy mysteries I will not speak to Thy enemies nor kiss Thee like Judas, but like the thief on the cross I will confess Thee: In Thy Kingdom, Lord, remember me.
    On Holy Saturday:
    Let all mortal flesh keep silent, and stand with fear and trembling, and in itself consider nothing of earth; for the King of kings and Lord of lords cometh forth to be sacrificed, and given as food to the believers; and there go before Him the choirs of Angels, with every dominion and power, the many-eyed Cherubim and the six-winged Seraphim, covering their faces, and crying out the hymn.
    The Byzantines currently use the last of these only on Holy Saturday, but it was the daily use Cherubic hymn for the Liturgy of St James, which is currently undergoing something of a revival among the liturgically outré. The traditional Old Church Slavonic version is incredibly impressive.

    Thus the Byzantine rite’s four chants for the Great Entrance refer to the coming of the King, including His post-resurrection life as king of the universe. This, of course, is nothing other than a consistent application of the imagery of kingship with which the Book of Revelation is rife:
    And the seventh angel sounded the trumpet: and there were great voices in heaven, saying: The kingdom of this world is become our Lord's and his Christ's, and he shall reign for ever and ever. Amen. And the four and twenty ancients, who sit on their seats in the sight of God, fell on their faces and adored God... (Rev 11:15-16 DRA)
    Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night. (Rev 12:10 DRA)
    And singing the canticle of Moses, the servant of God, and the canticle of the Lamb, saying: Great and wonderful are thy works, O Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, O King of ages. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and magnify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come, and shall adore in thy sight, because thy judgments are manifest. (Rev 15:3-4 DRA)
    These shall fight with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, because he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and they that are with him are called, and elect, and faithful. (Rev 17:14 DRA)
    It was once common to say, and one still hears it said once in a while, that the Mass is a mystical representation of the life of Christ, that it makes His life present to us in all of its mysteries, as if recombining the spectrum into pure white light so that all the colors are virtually there in a single moment. Since this is true, we must say that ALL phases of the life of Our Lord are present and active, including the 2,000 years of His Mystical Body over which He reigns as the glorified King and Son of God (in the Davidic and more than Davidic sense). In fact, while the Mass is the sacramental renewal of the once-for-all sacrifice of Calvary, we know at the same time that it is the offering of the risen Lord in His royal dignity, power, and beauty. Thus, however much we rightly emphasize the Passion, the Mass should be for us a tangible (i.e., sacramental) encounter with our glorious King. The traditional Roman rite, especially in its sung and solemn forms, does exactly this, in company with all the Eastern rites.

    It is currently, for some odd reason, fashionable to admire the colorful extravagance of the Byzantine liturgy while contemptuously dismissing anything in the Latin tradition suggestive of the same. We admire gigantic gold vessels and rich vestments in the East while settling for unsightly cups and drab drapes in the West; we catch our breaths at an impressive iconostasis, while shaking our heads at altar rails and other signs of separation between the nave and the sanctuary; we extol the marvelous poetry of the kontakion or troparion sung to a haunting traditional melody, while leaving our own incomparable Gregorian repertoire out in the cold. I doubt NLM readers are afflicted with this peculiar double standard or hypocrisy, but its ubiquitous presence in the halls of academia and power suggests that we are dealing with a psychological disorder, a kind of self-loathing that compels some people to strip themselves of the treasures of "the other" and to force themselves into a plainness that is almost a punishment or an echo chamber of one's own emptiness. We can point to the beauty elsewhere, like a tourist passing through Versailles, as long as we deprive ourselves of it here and now, and suffer our democratic fate.

    This, eventually, is where the rejection of Christ's kingship will lead, and has already led. His royalty will either be fully embodied in and expressed through our primary, fundamental, and culminating public, political, and civic action, namely, the sacred liturgy, which will form the reference point and stable basis of Christian society; or it will be rejected and replaced by the tyranny of man over man, the tyranny of fashion or ideology: "We have no king but Caesar."


    [1] "The liturgy had taken over from the court ceremonial of the pagan emperors the symbolic language for the presence of the supreme sovereign: candles, which preceded the emperor, and the thurible. Whenever candles and incense appear in the liturgy, they indicate a new culmination of the divine presence" (Martin Mosebach, Foreword to P. Kwasniewski, Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness[Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2017], xxii).

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    This past Sunday, October 1, would in other years be the commemoration of St Therese of Lisieux, also known as St Therese of the Child Jesus, in the Ordinary Form; today is her feast day in the Extraordinary Form. She was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1997, shortly after the centenary of her death.

    Here is a recent portrait of her by Henry Wingate. We have photographs of St Therese which many people are familiar with. Given this, it can be difficult to adapt a photograph to the abstracted style of Gothic or iconographic art. The Baroque style, which is more naturalistic, would seem to be a better way to go in many cases, and I think that this painting by Henry is as successful as any sacred image have seen of her.

    I asked Henry to write a few words about the commission, and he sent me the following. 
    I was given the commission to paint an image of St Therese by Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, who was the interim president of Human Life International. The painting was for the chapel in HLI’s headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia. Monsignor wished the painting to illustrate St Therese holding roses, but also handing a rose to the viewer.
    Monsignor was a pleasure to work with on this project. 
    We looked at many photographs of the saint and chose one to use for the painting. I paint almost exclusively from life, so this was an unusual project, because I had to use a photo to make the saint look as she did. The photo we chose did have good lighting and good shadows which are vital to have in order to produce a three-dimensional and real to life portrait. I did use a model in order to give my painting of St. Therese good color, and I used the same model to paint the hands. I borrowed a habit from the Carmelite Monastery in Brooklyn, New York, in order to have an authentic looking habit in my painting. 
    The painting was completed in February of 2016. It is a life-size image of the saint, painted on linen canvas with oils. The painting is 38 by 27 inches in size. It now hangs in the chapel in the Human Life International building. Monsignor Barreiro was happy with the portrait. He died just slightly more than one year later, on Holy Thursday of 2017, after a long battle with cancer. My prayer and hope is that Monsignor is now enjoying St. Therese’s company, and possibly she greeted him with a rose.

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    The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, will welcome His Excellency Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Maria Santissima in Astana in Kazakhstan, for a Pontifical High Mass on Tuesday, October 24th, the feast of St Raphael the Archangel. The shrine is located at 5250 Justin Road; the Mass will begin at 6 pm.

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    The First Saturday Dominican Rite Missa Cantata resumes at the Priory of St. Albert the Great, the house of studies of the Western Dominican Province in Oakland, Caifornia, on Saturday, October 7, at 10:30 am.

    The celebrant will be Fr. Bryan Kromholtz, O.P., Regent of Studies and Professor of Theology at the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology. The servers and singers will be the students of Western Dominican Province.

    The St. Albert the Great Priory Chapel is located at 6170 Chabot Road, Oakland, CA 94618, with ample parking available on the street or the basketball court parking lot.

    During the Fall 2017 semester, Dominican Rite Masses will also be celebrated on November 4 and December 2.

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    We have received unsolicited photos of a few different events over the last couple of weeks, enough to merit a photopost, (and give me chance to clean up my inbox a bit as well.) We start with four celebrations in thanksgiving for the tenth anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum coming into legal effect. The first is a Solemn Mass celebrated in the presence of a Greater Prelate, His Eminence Card. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Ireland. These photos were taken by Mr John Briody at St Kevin’s Church in Dublin, home of the archdiocese’s Latin Mass Chaplaincy, on Sunday, September 24th. The music was provided by the Lassus Scholars, Piccolo Lasso, and the Orlando Chamber Orchestra, all under the direction of Dr. Ite O’Donovan.

    Prince of Peace - Taylors, South Carolina
    (photos courtesy of Brent Hohman and Station Twelve Photography.)

    Yes, tradition is still for the young!

    Our Lady of Mount Carmel Pontifical Shrine - New York City
    Sung Mass of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, followed by the Te Deum.

    Cathedral of St Joseph the Worker - Tagbilaran City, Bohol, the Philippines

    Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood - Little Italy/Chinatown, New York City
    Solemn Mass for the feast of St Michael and All Angels, sponsored by the Sacred Constantinian Military Order of Saint George and the Circolo delle Due Sicilie USA.

    St Benedict’s Church - Chesapeake, Virginia (FSSP)
    The church welcomed for solemn Mass on the 15th Sunday after Pentecost three priests who discerned their vocations there: Fr Philip Johnson, a priest of the diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, ordained in January, was the celebrant, Fr David Franco, FSSP, the deacon, and Fr Robert Schmid Jr., also of the diocese of Raleigh, the subdeacon. It is an important part of the work of the Ecclesia Dei institutes not only to celebrate the traditional liturgy, but also to train diocesan and other religious clergy to celebrate it as well.

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    Here is what I believe could be a powerful contribution to the New Evangelization and the transformation of the culture.

    After reflection on the medieval theology of light of figures such as St Hildegard of Bingen, Bishop Robert Grosseteste, St Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas, Carrie Gresse has written a beautiful prayer called The Litany of Light, which has just received an imprimatur from the Most Reverend Liam Cary, Bishop of Baker, Oregon. This is the fruit of a unique online class she has created, A Survey of the Philosophy of the Good, the True and the Beautiful, from the ancient Greeks to the present day.

    So what has this got to do with the New Evangelization and the transformation of the culture?

    Well, as I see it, the Litany is an example of “para-liturgical” prayer, a prayer that can be said in common, and which through its themes and structured approach leads us to a deeper participation in the highest prayer - the worship of God in the sacred liturgy. (Other examples of such prayers that you might know about are the rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet.)

    In his statement on the New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI talked about the need for a balanced prayer life which harmonizes prayer in the liturgy, para-liturgical prayer and personal prayers. It is through prayer, he says, united to the person of Christ in His mystical body, the Church, that we are supernaturally transformed. (I wrote about this also in an article called The New Evangelization and the Domestic Church.) By grace, we have joyful Christian lives that shine with the light of Christ.

    It is the example of the Christian life that we give to others, despite ourselves, so to speak, that draws other to the Church, because they see it and want what we have. To the degree that we let Him work through us, our actions are graceful - literally - and speak of Christ beautifully. We become the New Evangelists whose work and activity will create a culture of beauty.

    This image of light, as exemplified by Christ in the Transfiguration, has always been associated with the highest goal of the Christian life - partaking of the divine nature in union with Him - by which all happiness is given to us. Therefore, a meditation upon the Light which is structured in such a way that it enhances our chances of participating in it is a valuable contribution to a radical transformation of the world twice over!

    Here is the Litany as described by Carrie herself, and featured in the National Catholic Register. 

    Litany of Light

    V. Lord, have mercy on us.
    R.Christ, have mercy on us.
    V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
    R.Christ, graciously hear us.

    God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
    God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
    God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
    Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

    Christ, Light of the World, hear us.
    Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
    Mother of the New Dawn, pray for us.

    Holy Trinity, source of all light, illuminate the darkness in our world:

    To the minds of those dimmed by sin, bring your light.
    To the hearts of those gripped by pornography, bring your light.
    To those suffering depression or mental illness, bring your light.
    To the souls enslaved by substance abuse, bring your light.
    To those burdened by same-sex attraction, bring your light.
    To those gripped by anxiety and fear, bring your light.
    To the hearts of those who mourn, bring your light.
    To the souls and bodies of abusers and the abused, bring your light.
    To those with no place to call home, bring your light.
    To those intent on killing in the name of God, bring your light.
    To abortion clinics, bring your light.
    To brothels and human-trafficking locations, bring your light.
    To hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes, bring your light.
    To classrooms of despair, confusion and falsehood, bring your light.
    To violent and drug-infested streets, bring your light.
    To war-torn territories, bring your light.
    To lands darkened, flooded, or destroyed by natural disasters, bring your light.
    Wherever there is confusion, despair, loneliness and anger, bring your light.

    St. Joseph, pray for us.
    St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.
    St. Lucy, pray for us.
    St. Augustine, pray for us.
    St. Hildegard of Bingen, pray for us.
    St. Claire, pray for us.
    St. Albert the Great, pray for us.
    St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
    St. Bonaventure, pray for us.
    All the Choirs of Angels, pray for us.
    Mary, Light in the Darkness, pray for us.

    V. Light of the World, who take away the sins of the world,
    R. Spare us, O Lord.
    V. Light of the World, who take away the sins of the world,
    R.Graciously hear us, O Lord.
    V. Light of the World, who take away the sins of the world,
    R.Have mercy on us.


    All sacred Christian art should in some way reveal this Light, whether it is the halo of the Saint, the uncreated light of the risen Christ, or the light of Baroque art contrasted with the darkness. The Gothic cathedral arose out of a desire to communicate divine light through the architecture.

    As I read through her words, it strikes me that this is a prayer in the spirit of the great Baroque art of the 17th century especially. One by one, she lists so many of the great evils which abound today and as a remedy calls for the Holy Trinity to “bring your light.” This contrast of shadow and light is deliberated accentuated in Baroque art so as to tell us visually that while there is evil and suffering in the world, there is also Christian hope that transcends it and which is in the Light which “overcame the darkness.”

    Perhaps meditation upon these themes might inspire artists to create new, 21st-century works in the Baroque style. Such a style would participate in the tradition of Rubens, but speak to people today visually, just as the icons of Gregory Kroug do, and as this Litany will speak to those who suffer today through its words.

    Art, main feature, Titian: the Transfiguration; Gregory Kroug: the Harrowing of Hades; San Chapelle, Paris; Rubens: the Deposition.

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    On Saturday, October 6th, at 6 pm, the Zipoli Institute will present a concert of sacred music written for the California missions, at the shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara, California, located at 2800 Mission College Boulevard. The concert is free to the public. The following morning, Mass will be said for the feast of the Holy Rosary with music also provided by the Zipoli Institute, starting at 8 am.

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  • 10/04/17--14:10: A Proper Hymn of St Francis
  • Here is a nice recording of the hymn for 2nd Vespers of St Francis, taken from the proper Office composed for him shortly after his canonization, and used ever since then by the Franciscan Order.

    Decus morum, dux Minorum,
    Franciscus tenens bravium,
    In te vite datur vitae,
    Christe, redemptor omnium.
    The glory of our way, the leader of the
    Friars Minor, / Francis, holding his prize,
    is given to life in Thee, the Vine,
    O Christ, Redeemer of all.
    Plaudat frater, regnat pater
    Concivis caeli civibus;
    Cedat fletus, psallat coetus,
    Exsultet caelum laudibus.
    Our brother hails, our father reigns
    a fellow with heaven’s citizens;
    Let weeping end, let the chorus sing,
    Let heaven exult in praise.
    Demptum solo, datum polo
    Signorum probant opera;
    Ergo vivit, nam adivit
    Aeterna Christi munera.
    His works of wonder prove that he is
    Taken from earth, given to heaven;
    Therefore he lives, for he entered
    The eternal gifts of Christ.
    Pro terrenis votis plenis
    Reportat dona gloriae;
    Quem decoras, quem honoras,
    Summae Deus clementiae.
    For the fullness of his prayers on earth
    He receives the gifts of glory,
    Whom Thou grace and honor,
    O God greatest mercy.
    Hunc sequantur, huic iungantur
    Qui ex Aegypto exeunt,
    In quo duce, clara luce,
    Vexilla Regis prodeunt.
    Let them follow him, and be joined to
    him / Who march out of Egypt;
    With him as leader, in bright light
    The standards of the King go forth.
    Regis signum ducem dignum
    Insignit manu, latere;
    Lux accedit, nox recedit,
    Iam lucis orto sidere.
    The sign of the king marks him on his
    Side and hand as a worthy guide;
    The light comes, the night departs,
    When the star of day has risen.
    Est dux fidus, clarum sidus,
    Ducit, relucet, devia
    Devitando, demonstrando
    Beata nobis gaudia.
    He is a trusty guide, a bright star
    He leads, he shines, avoiding
    The wrong path, showing
    Blessed joys to us.
    Mina gregem dux ad regem
    Collisor hostis callidi,
    Nos conducas et inducas,
    Ad cœnam Agni providi. Amen.
    Bring the flock to the king, our leader,
    Who dash down the clever enemy;
    May thou lead and bring us
    To the banquet of the Lamb. Amen.

    The Franciscan Office of their Holy Founder was composed by a German member of the order, Julian of Speyer, roughly ten years after the Saint’s death, and is one of the best known examples of a later type of Office known as a “rhymed office.” This particular hymn, however, was apparently added to it by Cardinal Thomas of Capua (1185-1239), Archbishop of Naples and a notary in the Papal court at the time St Francis was canonized by Pope Gregory IX. (The highly compressed rhyme scheme puts an accurate and poetic translation far beyond my literary skills.)

    Rhyme itself was not used by the ancient Greeks or Romans, and where it occurred it was considered a blemish on poetry. Verse was formed by the alternation of long and short syllables in regular patterns; the iambic pentameter used so much by Shakespeare is broadly similar. (His type of English poetry is however much freer than Latin verse.) An example of this type of poetry in the liturgy is an antiphon found in the Office of St Peter in Chains on August 1st.

    Aña Solve, jubente Deo, terrarum, Petre, catenas,
    Qui facis ut pateant caelestia regna beatis.

    Release at God’s order, o Peter, the earthly chains
    Who make the kingdom of heaven open to the blessed.

    These two lines are written in dactylic hexameters, the same metrical form used in the epic poetry of Homer and Virgil; they were composed by Pope St Leo I, (440-61) and inscribed on a wall of the ancient church of St Peter.

    As the Latin language evolved into the modern Romance languages, the vowel quantities on which ancient poetry was based came to be less and less perceptible, leading over the centuries to the emergence of rhyme as we understand it today. (The older forms, on the hand, never ceased to be used.) By the High Middle Ages, this new type of poetry had become extremely popular in the liturgy. Four of the five sequences in the Tridentine Missal (Lauda Sion on Corpus Christi, Veni Sancte Spiritus on Pentecost, Stabat Mater on the feast of the Seven Sorrows, and the Dies irae of the Requiem Mass) are all in rhyme. Likewise, whole Offices were routinely composed in which all of the proper musical parts, (antiphons, hymns and responsories), are rhymed.

    Julian of Speyer is considered one of the great masters of this type of liturgical composition, and the rhymed offices which he wrote for St Francis and St Anthony of Padua were widely imitated from his own time (he died in about 1250) until the Tridentine liturgical reform, when rhymed offices fell out of favor. Many continued to be used by the older religious orders, and churches which maintained their own proper Offices, but the newer orders, in the spirit of the Tridentine reform, preferred to base their proper Offices on Scriptural quotations. Thus, for example, the five antiphons used by the Oratorians at Lauds of St Philip Neri are all quotations from the Bible, while the proper hymns are all written in thoroughly classical meter. (The Jesuits, unsurprisingly, do not even have a proper Office for St Ignatius.)

    The disfavor into which rhymed offices fell is also a by-product of the increasingly common habit in the Tridentine period of reciting the Office in choir recto tono, i.e. singing everything on a single note, rather than with its longer, proper notation. This manner of saying the Office makes the sing-song quality of the medieval rhyme schemes far more obvious; most people would agree that the Dies irae, for example, sounds much better when sung then when read. The recording of the hymn above shows very nicely how the proper musical notation transcends the rhyme scheme.

    Medieval hymnographers also loved the trick used in this hymn, in which the last line of each stanza is the title (i.e. first line) of another hymn. (A similarly constructed piece is sung in the Cisterican Office of St Bernard.) The hymns thus quoted are all from the repertoire generally found in all medieval Uses of the Office.

    Christe redemptor omnium - from Vespers of Christmas, pre-Urban VIII
    Exultet caelum laudibus - from the Common of Apostles
    Aeterna Christi munera - from the Common of Apostles
    Summae Deus clementiae - from ferial Matins of Saturday, pre-Urban VIII
    Vexilla Regis - from Vespers of Passiontide
    Iam lucis orto sidere - the hymn of Prime
    Beata nobis gaudia - from Lauds of Pentecost
    Ad cœnam Agni providi - from Vespers of Eastertide, pre-Urban VIII

    The difficulty of this trick is to integrate the titles into the words of a new composition in a new sense, and the results here are quite good. Some of the expressions in the vocative case, such as “Lucis creator optime,” could be interchanged with any of the others, but I do not say this as a critique of the author; medievals valued originality far less than we do. “Aeterna Christi munera,” however, works very cleverly with the third stanza, as do “Vexilla Regis prodeunt” with the fifth and “Beata nobis gaudia” with the seventh.

    The citation of the Easter hymn in its original text, “Ad coenam Agni providi,” is the only real flaw, since in the original, the word “providi” does not modify “Agni”, but the main subject of the stanza, which appears in the fourth line. (“Ad coenam Agni providi, et stolis albis candidi, post transitum maris Rubri Christo canamus principi. - Looking forward to the banquet of the Lamb, and shining in white stoles, after the passing of the Red Sea, let us sing to Christ the prince.”) Here, “providi” is left marooned to modify “the Lamb”, who is now “looking forward” to no stated object; I have left it untranslated above. The exact same flaw occurs in a hymn to St Anthony the Abbot constructed in the same way, which I wrote about earlier this year.

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    As a follow up to last week’s post of a documentary on monastic life made in the 1950s, here is a beautiful new documentary on the monastic life of our friends at Silverstream Priory in Ireland.

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  • 10/05/17--15:44: An Ambo and a Pulpit
  • Via the Facebook pages of two friends, I happened across two interesting images, very different, but on a similar theme. The first is the ambo of the church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary in Kalabaka, a town in central Greece. (click to enlarge)
    The current church is from the 10th or 11th century, but the ambo is from the 5th, recycled from an earlier building. Ambos of this type were once upon a time standard for Byzantine churches, the place from which the litanies and Scriptural readings were sung. Hagia Sophia had a huge one, which was connected to the main sanctuary by a path formed by two marble balustrades. Certain features of the Byzantine liturgy are still traditionally done in the middle of the nave, in memory of this fact, the most notable being the final prayer, which is still called the ambo prayer. The church also preserves fresco work of the 12th century, but most of the painting is from the 1570s, and carved wooden iconostasis is from the 17th century.

    The second image also shows the place where the Scriptures were read in a church, this one in the West.
    Public domain image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. Click here to see a high-resolution version which can be viewed in very tight close-up.
    This is the work of an anonymous painter from the Netherlands, dated about 1525, and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It is known as “A Sermon on Charity”, from fact that a young and richly dressed man is shown in the church on the left, while in the background on the right, he has a money box and is giving alms to the poor. However, it also described as “The Conversion of St Anthony the Abbot”, who undertook to live the anachoretic life after hearing the words “If thou would be perfect, go and sell all thou hast, and give it to the poor” as the Gospel in church one day. The scene in the church is most definitely not the preaching of sermon, but the singing of the Gospel from a movable pulpit during Mass; this seems to make the explanation of it as a scene from the life of St Anthony more likely.

    The clergy are wearing black, but the Mass is not necessarily a Requiem; black vestments were used far more extensively in the Middle Ages than in the Tridentine period, and particularly in penitential seasons. The wings of the altarpiece are closed, showing a plain white image of the Annunciation; it was a common custom to close the altarpieces in Lent, so they could be opened again at Easter. The Annunciation was often painted in this very sober way on the back of the wings, to maintain the austere character of the season, while acknowledging an important feast that usually occurs in Lent. The subdeacon is holding the cross behind the pulpit; a similar custom is still observed in the Dominican Mass to this day on solemn feasts, but the cross is held by a server, and the subdeacon stands behind the deacon.
    The Gospel at a solemn Mass in the Dominican Rite at the FSSP church in Rome, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, on the feast of St Thomas Aquinas last year. The subdeacon stands behind the deacon.

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    On Tuesday, October 10th at 7:30 p.m., the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Harlem, New York City, will celebrate a Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form in honor of St Helen of Laurino, patroness of both Laurino and Pruno in the Italian province of Salerno. Four major observances are held in her honor; her principal feast day is August 18th, the others are on May 22nd, June 29th and October 10th. (August 18th is also the feast of another St Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine and discoverer of the True Cross.)
    Born in Laurino in the first half of the sixth century (some say late eighth- or early ninth-century), Sant’Elena was a beautiful and pious maiden. Abused at home, she fled to the nearby mountains of Pruno to live the ascetic life of a hermit in solitude and prayer, and died there after 21 years. Her remains were discovered in the grotto and translated to the cathedral of Capaccio-Paestum; over the centuries, her relics were moved several times before finally being interred in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Laurino. According to legend, neighboring Valle dell’Angelo contested the ownership of the relics. To appease the rival claimants, it was decided her body would be put onto a cart driven by two heifers; when they reached a fork in the road leading to the two towns, they chose Laurino. In 1923 Italian immigrants from Laurino in East Harlem created a replica of their hometown’s Shrine of Sant’Elena at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and obtained a major relic of the Saint, which will be venerated after the Mass.

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  • 10/06/17--09:52: More Good News From England
  • On Sunday, September 24th, His Excellency Michael Campbell O.S.A, Bishop of Lancaster, England, celebrated a Pontifical High Mass to open the Shrine Church of St Thomas of Canterbury and the English Martyrs in Preston. The church will now be run by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest; the Very Rev. Gilles Wach, Prior General and founder of the Institute, was present for the Mass. The Institute is welcomed by the parishioners of the parish, who packed the church full on Sunday to attend the beautiful ceremony; they are delighted the church has been saved from closure and are hopeful for its thriving long into the future with this new lease of life.
    The Diocese of Lancaster also put out this press release today, announcing that the Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus will soon be coming to the diocese as well.

    Only two weeks after a second church (English Martyrs) in Preston was given over to the care of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the Diocese of Lancaster and the Institute are pleased to announce that the Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest, the female branch of the Institute, have accepted Bishop Michael Campbell’s invitation to establish a House in Preston in the Diocese of Lancaster.

    The arrival date for the contemplative (but not enclosed) Sisters has yet to be determined, but it is hoped that the Sisters will arrive as soon as possible to set up their first UK foundation at St Augustine’s Presbytery, Avenham, Preston. The spiritual life of the Sisters will be an invigorating support to the life of the Church in Preston, and indeed the whole Diocese of Lancaster.

    The Sisters’ days will be centred around prayer - Holy Mass and the Divine Office in the extraordinary form, personal prayer and Eucharistic adoration in the evening, the Rosary, etc. Punctuating this rich life of prayer are periods of manual labour and intellectual training, including instruction in Gregorian Chant, Latin, Spirituality, Philosophy, and Theology, as well as the learning of crafts such as sewing, lace-making, and the care of liturgical vestments and altar linens.

    The announcement today comes as yet a further ecclesial investment into central Preston and is the fruit of a close collaboration of the Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Michael G Campbell OSA and the Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Monsignor Gilles Wach, over the last three years.

    Bishop Campbell upon making this announcement commented: “It’s a great joy for me to have the Sisters Adorers come into the Diocese, because I think it’s a great gift, not only to have such a strong and vibrant praying presence at the heart of Preston, but especially for the young women in our Diocese to see that some young women still choose this vocation, and that it can be a joyful and beautiful way to live one’s life.”

    Bishop Campbell said he anticipates “an exciting collaboration” between the Sisters and the Priests of the Institute as well as with Father John Millar, Parochial Administrator of St John XXIII, Preston in support of the mission of the Church in central Preston. Bishop Campbell concluded: “We remain very grateful for the historic communities who have served us so well in the Diocese over many years, and yet we are also so grateful for the new life that the newer communities - like the Sisters Adorers - bring to our future life in God.”

    Monsignor Gilles Wach added: “Following the beautiful and encouraging opening of a second Shrine in Preston, this invitation to our Sisters from the Bishop of Lancaster is another opportunity to continue the mission of the Institute of Christ the King within the Church. The daily prayer of the Sisters Adorers will be a great spiritual support towards the work of the Canons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in the UK, and will also benefit the Diocese of Lancaster. Their religious life, centred on Eucharistic Adoration and the Consecration to the Royal Heart of Jesus will bring more graces to Preston.”

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    For the feast of St Bruno, here is a wonderful treatise from the Directory for Novices of the Carthusian Order, a guide to forming their interior dispositions during the conventual Mass. This is taken from an edition printed near Grenoble in 1688, in the neighborhood of the Grande Chartreuse; it is included in a four-part collection of Carthusian statutes known as the Nova Collectio, a rare example of the word “new” being used by the venerable order. (The two pictures of the Mass below are from this wildly popular post from last year.)
    St Bruno, by Juan Sánchez Cotán (1560-1627), 1617. In 1603, Sánchez Cotán, then a very successful painter in Toledo, Spain, left the world to enter the Charterhouse of Santa María de El Paular near Madrid. He was later sent to the house at Granada, where he ended his days; he continued to work as a painter, doing a series for the Granada cloister on the foundation of the Order and the martyrdom of the English Carthusians. Laudabiliter pinxit.
    “When the priest begins the Mass with the humble confession of his sins, imitating him, also say the Confiteor, pronouncing it an act of contrition for your sins, and recognizing that you are unworthy to be present for this divine sacrifice.

    The Mass is divided into three parts.

    The first part, from the Introit to the Offertory, was formerly called the Mass of the Catechumens.

    While the Introit and the Kyrie are sung, remember how ardently the ancient patriarchs longed for the coming of the Messiah.

    At the Gloria, join yourself to the angelic choirs, praising God with them, and giving thanks for the mystery of the Incarnation.

    In the prayers, intend and ask for the same things which the Church intends and asks for.

    While the Epistle is read, be attentive, as if you were hearing one of the Apostles preaching; but at the Gospel, consider it to be Christ Himself that is speaking.

    Then put the Faith into practice by singing the Creed with everyone else.

    The second part is from the Offertory to the Canon.

    During the Offertory, join and conform your intention to the intention of the priest, and offer to God that holy sacrifice according to these four ends …

    1. As an act of worship, that is, of the supreme adoration, by offering acts of the adoration to the Eternal Father of the Incarnate Son, and joining your own (such acts) to them.

    2. As an act of thanksgiving, that is of the rendering of thanks to the Eternal Father by offering that sacrifice as a thanksgiving for the glory and merits of His Most Beloved Son, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, and for all the benefits which you have received through the merits of Christ, and receive even now.

    3. As an act of petition, offering it to the Eternal Father as the pledge of His love for us, handed down to us for our firmest hope that we will receive from Him the spiritual goods which we need; and ask for those things which you need, and especially for the emendation of this or that defect.

    4. As an act of propitiation, that is, offering it for satisfaction of all your sins, and for the expiation of so many crimes which are committed throughout the world. Humbly and confidently set forth to the Eternal Father, that all things may be forgiven us by Him, since He has already given us His only-begotten Son, and that very Son still offers Himself to Him in this sacrifice as a victim, that He may be the propitiation for our sins. …

    Having adored the most sacred Host, we lie prostrate, and remain thus until the sign is given to rise. In this first prostration, you may join your intention to those of Christ as He hung on the Cross, which you shall offer again to the Eternal Father with these words of the Psalm, “Behold, O God our protector, and look on the face of thy Christ.” (Ps. 83, 10)

    Or, you can call to mind the prostration of Christ as He prayed in the garden, and lay in that sad state, and wonder at His love in this mystery, by which in a certain way He seems to suffer once again for the wicked, for whose sake He was then in an agony, and sweated water and blood. …

    During the time we remain in silence, from the Preface to the Communion, think sweetly upon one of the things that were done in the death of Christ Who suffered for you, which death is represented in this mystery, and brought forth again, and take therefrom occasion for some holy aspiration, as devotion may suggest; now wondering at His love and suffering, now detesting your sins as the cause of his pain, now proclaiming thanksgiving, contemplating sometime the Holy Virgin as She stood present at the sad sight of Her Only-begotten dying; or ask God to meet your spiritual needs …

    At the Our Father, join your petitions to those of the priest.

    The third part of the Mass is from the Communion to the end.

    When the first Agnus Dei is sung, at the prostration, communicate spiritually in this or like manner.

    1. With ardent desire, long to be united to Christ, and recognize that you are pressed by urgent necessity to live though His life.

    2. Bring forth an act of contrition for all your sins, present and past.

    3. Just as Zacchaeus received the Lord Jesus in his house, so also, receive Him in spirit, invite Him into the deepest recesses of your soul, and ask of Him insistently the grace by which you may live to Him alone, since you can live in a holy manner only through Him. Then imitate Zacchaeus in your good proposals, and exercise yourself in devout imitation of that man…”

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    As part of its 10th anniversary celebration of Summorum Pontificum, St Mary’s Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, has partnered with the St Hugh of Cluny Society to invite Bishop Athanasius Schneider for a conference and Pontifical High Mass at the faldstool on Thursday, October 19.

    The Schola Cantorum of St. Mary’s Church, under the direction of David Hughes and Charles Weaver, will sing the Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament.

    Bishop Schneider is making his second visit to Norwalk, first celebrating a Pontifical Mass in January 2013. He and Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P, will each have a presentation, beginning at 5:30 in the school hall, followed by the Mass at 7:30. A reception follows. No registration is required for the conference, but a free-will offering will be accepted.

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