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Articles on this Page
- 05/25/18--09:00: _FSSP Ordinations To...
- 05/26/18--02:00: _The Introit of Embe...
- 05/28/18--04:52: _Ireland’s National ...
- 05/28/18--07:37: _The “Inauthentic” F...
- 05/29/18--02:33: _Traditional Liturgy...
- 05/29/18--10:31: _Choosing Art For th...
- 05/29/18--12:50: _Corpus Christi in t...
- 05/30/18--02:51: _Pentecost 2018 Phot...
- 05/30/18--08:50: _In the Heart of the...
- 05/30/18--09:00: _Pentecost 2018 Phot...
- 05/31/18--02:52: _Photopost Request: ...
- 05/31/18--05:00: _Corpus Christi 2018
- 05/31/18--09:00: _Fota XI Speakers an...
- 06/01/18--02:52: _A Troped Kyrie on t...
- 06/01/18--05:00: _Traditional Baptism...
- 06/01/18--13:00: _Other Readings for ...
- 06/01/18--15:58: _Bishop Athanasius S...
- 06/03/18--20:21: _“The Holy Mass—Our ...
- 06/04/18--07:20: _The Byzantine Litur...
- 06/05/18--07:42: _St Boniface, the Ap...
- 05/25/18--09:00: FSSP Ordinations Tomorrow - Live-Streaming Available
- 05/26/18--02:00: The Introit of Ember Friday of Pentecost
- 05/28/18--07:37: The “Inauthentic” Feast of the Holy Trinity
- 05/29/18--12:50: Corpus Christi in the Norbertine Rite in California
- 05/30/18--02:51: Pentecost 2018 Photopost (Part 2)
- 05/30/18--09:00: Pentecost 2018 Photopost (Part 3)
- 05/31/18--02:52: Photopost Request: Corpus Christi 2018
- 05/31/18--05:00: Corpus Christi 2018
- 05/31/18--09:00: Fota XI Speakers and Papers Announced
- 06/01/18--02:52: A Troped Kyrie on the Feast of the Holy Trinity
- 06/01/18--05:00: Traditional Baptism of a Bell Celebrated in Omaha
- 06/01/18--13:00: Other Readings for the Octave of Corpus Christi
- 06/01/18--15:58: Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s Sermon in Winnipeg for Corpus Christi
- 06/03/18--20:21: “The Holy Mass—Our Divine Treasure”: Bishop Athanasius Schneider
- 06/05/18--07:42: St Boniface, the Apostle of Germany
If you can’t be there in person, you can watch the live webcast at LiveMass, either through the website here or the iMass app, with commentary by Fr. Robert Fromageot, FSSP. The ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. Central, (11 a.m. Eastern, 8 a.m. Pacific.)
|From this post last year of the FSSP ordinations celebrated by Cardinal Burke; reproduced with permission.|
Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise, alleluia: that I may be able to sing, alleluia. My lips shall rejoice as I sing to Thee, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 70 In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be put to shame; in Thy justice deliver me, and rescue me. Glory be. As it was in the beginning. Let my mouth be filled...
The French composer Jacques Colebault (1483-1559), generally known as Jacquet of Mantua from his thirty-three year long career as Master of the Chapel at the cathedral of St Peter in that city, composed a motet based on the same text, which was later used by Palestrina as the basis of one of his Masses.
This sermon was preached today by Dom Mark Kirby, O.S.B., at Silverstream Priory.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
On this feast of the Most Holy Trinity, two days after Ireland’s national apostasy from the Holy Catholic Faith, how can we hear the Gospel that was sung just moments ago, and not recall the Constitution that the Irish people gave themselves 80 years ago in 1938? Friday’s vote was not about abortion only; it was about killing Ireland’s soul, about snuffing out all that made Ireland a beacon among the nations, about publicly renouncing all that, from the time that Saint Patrick kindled his blazing fire on the Hill of Slane, made this island home of ours a great welcoming Catholic hearth in a world grown cold and dark. Ireland was, among all the nations on earth, the one that unsparingly sent forth sons and daughters, intrepid in confessing the Holy Trinity, to bring the light of faith to the most far-flung corners of the globe.
And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28, 18)How did we come to this? Among those who voted “Yes” on Friday, the vast number were baptized, and sealed with the sign of the Gift of the Holy Ghost in Confirmation. Some of these would have been confirmed but a few years ago. Among them were people who once knelt at the altar to receive the adorable Body of Christ, formed by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, immolated on the Cross, risen from the tomb, ascended into heaven, and returning in glory. Among them are people who, (and I say this with fear and trembling), will dare even to present themselves for Holy Communion today. To these, I can only repeat what the Apostle says:
Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 11, 27–29)One cannot say that we were not warned. God did send his prophets to Ireland. I think of Frank Duff. I think of Saint John Paul II who, in October 1979, was given a rapturous welcome. Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, written only eight years ago, was prophetic. What became of it? Why was it filed away and not heeded?
There are reports of victory celebrations in Dublin and elsewhere: a satanic crowing, jeers hurled at Our Lord, against His Virgin Mother, and against the Church. The whole climate is eerily reminiscent of France in 1789, of Mexico in 1910, of Russia in 1917, of Germany in 1933, and of Spain in 1936. Even worse than the crowds hell–bent on celebrating the choice of death over life are the complacent lies of those government ministers who, with a smug satisfaction, speak of A New Modern Ireland At Last, an Ireland of compassion, justice, and respect for women. The accent in all such discourses is that of the ancient serpent:
Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3, 1–5)You will forgive me if I repeat today the words of the prophet Ezechiel:
Thou hast played the harlot with the nations among which thou wast defiled with their idols. Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister, and I will give her cup into thy hand. Thus saith the Lord God: Thou shalt drink thy sister’s cup, deep and wide: thou shalt be had in derision and scorn, which containeth very much. Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness, and sorrow: with the cup of grief, and sadness, with the cup of thy sister Samaria. And thou shalt drink it, and shalt drink it up even to the dregs, and thou shalt devour the fragments thereof, thou shalt rend thy breasts: because I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. (Ezechiel 23, 30–34)What is remains for us? I will tell you what remains:
And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13, 13)Draw near to the altar of the Holy Sacrifice, even as our forefathers drew in around the Mass Rocks. The altar is Ireland’s Divine Hearth. Not for nothing was the altar of the Lamb shown at Knock in 1879. Fall down in adoration and in reparation. Cry out to the Immaculate Mother of God, still Ireland’s Queen and Sorrowful Mother. My own dear father, with all the wisdom of his 91 years, said to me yesterday, “God has a plan. God will have the last word.” And what says Our Lord in today’s Gospel? He says this: “Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matthew 28, 20). In this promise of His, let us rest all our hope.
What Pope Alexander and Bernold of Constance say in this regard needs to be read in light of the great reform movement going on in the Church at the time, and the role of Rome and the Papacy in that reform.
Rome has usually been a late-comer to the great movements of reform and renewal in the Church. St Nicholas I, who traditionally shares the epithet “the Great” with Ss Leo I and Gregory I, and is famous inter alia for his defense of the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, died in 867 after a reign of nine years. From him, it was a distance of but thirty years and eight Popes to Stephen VI, whose reign of roughly sixteen months is summed up as follows in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
“Whether induced by evil passion or perhaps, more probably, compelled by the Emperor Lambert and his mother Ageltruda, he caused the body of (his predecessor) Formosus to be exhumed, and … placed before an unwilling synod of the Roman clergy. (Note: this is often referred to as ‘the Cadaver Synod’.) A deacon was appointed to answer for the deceased pontiff, who was condemned for performing the functions of a bishop when he had been deposed and for passing from the See of Porto to that of Rome. The corpse was then stripped of its sacred vestments, deprived of two fingers of its right hand, clad in the garb of a layman, and ultimately thrown into the Tiber. Fortunately it was not granted to Stephen to have time to do much else besides this atrocious deed. Before he was put to death by strangulation, he forced several of those who had been ordained by Formosus to resign their offices …”
This state of things continued until the reign of another particularly unworthy successor of St Peter, Benedict IX, whom St Robert Bellarmine described as “the nadir” of the Papacy, and over whose career we draw a veil, as the sons of Noah drew a veil over their father. However, after his deposition in 1048, and the 24-day reign of Pope Damasus II, the papal throne was occupied by Leo IX, an active and enthusiastic reformer, now canonized as a Saint. From this point on, the reform party within the Church was in the ascendant, and would go from strength to strength, with the Popes very much at its fore; the clerical vices which were universal in the mid-11th century were almost entirely gone by the end of the 12th.
Alexander II, however, was elected in 1061, only 13 years after Benedict’s deposition; the like-minded Popes who preceded him were all fairly short-lived. Moreover, the ascendancy of the reform party was only made possible by the direct intervention of the German Emperor Henry III, for it was he who effectively deposed Benedict and then appointed to the Papacy a series of German bishops, all of whom owed their episcopal see to him; the short-lived Damasus II, his own kinsman St Leo IX, and then Victor II.
In these circumstances, it was perhaps only natural that once the reform party had taken control of Rome, it should begin to insist that the specifically Roman form of the Roman Rite also be followed, as a sign of unity with the Papacy and the worthy cause it had only very recently embraced. This was also the period when the Mozarabic liturgy was to a large degree forcibly suppressed, despite coming out the victor in a trial by fire; a similar attempt was made on the Ambrosian Rite, endorsed by St Peter Damian, and only stopped because Alexander II was himself Milanese.
|The trial by fire of the Mozarabic liturgy.|
Richard Krautheimer, one of the great historians of the Christian art and architecture of Rome, writes à propos of the end of the 13th century, when the Papacy was about to pass into another of its less edifying phases, of “a problem recurrent in the history of Rome. Basically she was conservative. Her past, Christian and pagan, was her pride; but it weighed her down. The mistress of the world, see of the successors of St Peter, did not take easily to new ideas. Not by chance did she never house a medieval university. Bologna, not Rome, developed Roman law; Paris developed scholasticism. Similarly, for long periods patrons and artists remained untouched by new concepts of art evolved elsewhere in Europe. … the upsurge of a new art was (at various points) linked to a political revival; and it was interwoven with a rediscovery of the Roman past, Christian and pagan, rejuvenated. The alien ideas only took root when wedded to the living tradition. But a plainly conservative undercurrent lazily moved along beneath the recurrent upsweeps.” (Rome: Profile of a City; 2000 edition, p. 211. He could have added references to Gothic architecture and medieval music theory at this point.) This is very much the attitude embodied by Pope Alexander’s remark, and Bernold’s characterization of the feast of the Holy Trinity as “inauthentic.”
But even for all this, Pope Alexander’s critique of the feast evinces an astonishing lack of historical perspicacity.
The unicity of God was taught by the Jews and the pagan philosophers long before the coming of Christ, and inherited from them by the Church without question. This is why St Paul was able to preach to the Athenians that the “unknown god” to whom they had dedicated an altar had in fact finally revealed Himself, and come to seek the salvation of man, citing in support of his teaching the Greek poet who said “For we are also his offspring,” which is to say, of one God, not of many. (Acts 17, 22-31) This is also why it was a commonplace among the early Church Fathers that Plato had learned many of his ideas from Moses; already before the end of the 2nd century, St Clement of Alexandria calls him “the philosopher who learned from the Hebrews.”
It hardly needs to be said that the doctrine of the Trinity, on the other hand, the central mystery of the Christian Faith, was the subject of considerable discussion, which required seven ecumenical councils, innumerable local councils, and a vast body of theological writing for its defense.
The First Council of Nicea, depicted in a 14th-century fresco within the monastery complex of Panagia Sumela, in modern Turkey. The Emperor St Constantine, as he is called in the Byzantine churches, presides over the Council; in the lower left corner, St Nicholas is shown slapping Arius in the face for his impiety. (The monastery has been abandoned since 1923, and the frescos are sadly much damaged by vandalism.)
“If there is one question which the enlightened and liberal have the habit of deriding and holding up as a dreadful example of barren dogma and senseless sectarian strife, it is this Athanasian question of the Co-Eternity of the Divine Son. On the other hand, if there is one thing that the same liberals always offer us as a piece of pure and simple Christianity, untroubled by doctrinal disputes, it is the single sentence, ‘God is Love.’ (1 John 4, 16) Yet the two statements are almost identical; at least one is very nearly nonsense without the other. The barren dogma is only the logical way of stating the beautiful sentiment. For if there be a being without beginning, existing before all things, was He loving when there was nothing to be loved? If through that unthinkable eternity He is lonely, what is the meaning of saying He is love? The only justification of such a mystery is the mystical conception that in His own nature there was something analogous to self-expression; something of what begets and beholds what it has begotten. Without some such idea, it is really illogical to complicate the ultimate essence of deity with an idea like love. If the moderns really want a simple religion of love, they must look for it in the Athanasian Creed.”
The Trinity first appeared at the Baptism of Christ, as the Byzantine Rite states in the tropar for January 6th: “When you were being baptized in the Jordan, o Lord, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest.” But the Western Church did not place the feast of the Holy Trinity on a Sunday after Epiphany. (Neither for that matter did the East, which keeps Pentecost itself as its feast of the Trinity.) The salvation of man was accomplished and revealed at the Resurrection, but the Church did not place the feast of the Holy Trinity on a Sunday after Easter. On the first weekly commemoration of the Resurrection after Pentecost, the Church pauses to contemplate not only what was done for us in the Passion and Resurrection, and the sending of the Holy Spirit, but also to contemplate Who exactly did these things, and now sends Her forth to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
I think it unlikely to be mere coincidence that once the Gregorian reform had largely achieved its purpose, the blanket rejection of new feasts and devotions as “inauthentic” seems mostly to have faded away. There was a similar controversy over the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the days of St Bernard, who was opposed to it. But in the 13th century, it was the Pope himself, Urban IV, who commissioned St Thomas Aquinas to write the great masterpieces which are the Office and Mass of Corpus Christi. It is yet another oddity of liturgical history that Pope Urban’s initiative was not received even in the Papal court itself until the time of John XXII (1316-34), perhaps another example of the undercurrent of Roman laziness described by Krautheimer. It was the same Pope who canonized St Thomas, and extended the feast of the Trinity to the universal Church.
The Holy Trinity, from the Grandes Heures d’Anne de Bretagne (The Great Hours of Anne of Brittany), made by Jean Bourdichon, 1503-8, for Anne, Duchess of Brittany and Queen of France (1477-1514), and considered to be one of the finest illuminated Books of Hour ever made. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits Latin 9474.
|Monks at Clear Creek: no lack of vocations here!|
Can we find any external confirmation that this analysis is correct?
I would say yes. A sign of its truth is how often one encounters young people who either converted to the Faith or discovered a religious vocation precisely through the traditional liturgy. It was the liturgy itself that powerfully drew them in. Conversion and vocation stories in the Novus Ordo sphere seem to have a lot more to do with “I met this wonderful person” or “I was reading the Bible” or “I found this great book from Ignatius Press” or “I got to know the sisters in my high school” or “their devotion to the poor was so moving.”
All these motives are truly good, and the Lord wants to use them all. But it is still noteworthy that the Novus Ordo is rarely the powerful magnet that draws them in; it is a thing that people who are already drawn in for other reasons will go ahead and do as a regular prayer service. It’s the difference between relying on a neighbor for help and falling in love. Young people today rely for help on the Novus Ordo; they fall in love with the traditional liturgy. Or it is like the difference between acting from duty and acting from delight. We dutifully attend the Novus Ordo because it’s seen as “good for us,” like oatmeal; we get excited when the Latin Mass is available, because it’s delicious to the spiritual palate.
Perhaps readers may object that I am exaggerating the contrast. It may be that I am. But I can only speak from my own experience, as well as from conversations I’ve had as a teacher, choirmaster, or pilgrim with hundreds of young people over the past twenty years. There seems to me to be a vast difference in the perception of the attractiveness or desirability of the old liturgy versus that of the new — so much so that if a Catholic college or university wished to increase daily Mass attendance, all they would have to do is to provide the old Mass, or to provide it more frequently, and the number of communicants would significantly increase. It might seem utterly counterintuitive, and yet it is borne out again and again at chaplaincies across the world.
he wrote to all the bishops of the world: “It has clearly been demonstrated that young persons, too, have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction, and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist particularly suited to them.”
The reformed liturgy in its Genevan simplicity has never won any awards for seductiveness. It can barely be looked at head on before people feel embarrassed about its nakedness and try to clothe it with every accoutrement they can find or invent. We have to bring to it a devotion or a seriousness of purpose that we ourselves possess, if we are going to be in a position to benefit from the divine sacrament it spartanly houses. Without love of the Lord presupposed, this would be a wearisome, unrewarding business, rather like having to convince an indifferent person to be friends with you. It’s an uphill battle from the start. Why should young people be interested in something that is so boringly lecture-like, so logical and efficient, or so much in need of artificial sweeteners, like sacro-pop music? Most of them would rather be anywhere else.
|A nun of the traditional Benedictines of Mary|
Since the Novus Ordo valorizes the active and denigrates the passive, it seems to fit well with the activist or Americanist mentality. Thus it seems that active religious orders could find it somehow amenable, as long as they could keep bringing to it an interior life cultivated largely through other means. But the priesthood, which must be rooted in the mysteries of the altar in order to remain strong and fruitful, and the contemplative religious life, which focuses on offering up the sacrifice of praise and not on an external apostolate, cannot flourish on a subsistence diet. What may seem “good enough” for the laborer in the vineyard is perilously inadequate for the priest and the contemplative, who need a truly sacerdotal and contemplative liturgy if they are fully to realize their great callings.
This is why we see everywhere across the world that serious priests and contemplatives will either “traditionalize” the Novus Ordo as much as they can, or adopt the traditional Mass and Office, or both. Examples of this variety of tradition-friendly approaches may be found in communities such as the Abbey of St. Joseph de Clairval, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, the Community of St. Martin, and the monks of Norcia, Fontgombault, Clear Creek, and Heiligenkreuz.
Am I saying, then, that the (relatively few) healthy religious communities that use the Novus Ordo would be even better off with the Vetus Ordo? Yes, absolutely. The good they have would be multiplied, their power of attraction and intercession greatly intensified. Unfortunately, however, even those who have come to recognize the superiority of tradition will be discouraged by the hostile climate introduced under this pontificate from returning to the Church's authentic lex orandi, lest they suffer the fate of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate or the Trappists of Mariawald. In this official opposition to the desperately-needed restoration of Catholic tradition we can see the telltale signs of the Devil's implacable hatred for the celibate priesthood and the contemplative religious life.
But neither human nor angelic opposition should prevent any community from quietly and judiciously incorporating the traditional liturgy into its daily life. “Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints” (Rev 13:10). The ancient Latin liturgical rites and uses have nourished the saints of the Western Church for over 1,600 years. They have an imperishable power to do the same for all the saints Our Lord desires to raise up today. Traditional liturgy never failed to attract vocations of every kind or to support the Christian life of the laity; it continues to exercise the same fascination and fortification among us. The new-fangled liturgical rite of yesterday, like the Americanist world in which it was inculturated, is failing. A healthier Church, a healthier spiritual polity, is in the making.
|Seminarians of the FSSP in Germany|
My purpose in writing this is to encourage the praying of the psalms and the Divine Office fruitfully. It is not primarily to reestablish the tradition of sacred art for psalters, but because I believe that sacred art is necessary for the most fruitful encounter with the Word, whether it be at the Mass or the Divine Office.
The first approach to consider might be the simple one. Assuming that we think that these psalters of the past did a good job and people prayed the psalms fruitfully in the 13th century, why not just do exactly they did in the ,13th century? With modern technology, we could even mass produce facsimiles of the St Albans Psalter or the Westminster Psalter that look and feel authentic, and are small enough to handle easily. They would be cheap enough for most people to be able to buy them. You could have vellum-like pages (so well produced that most of us couldn’t tell the difference) with ornate historiated initials like this one, if you wanted to. (We’ll discuss if that’s a good idea in a moment.)
It might be possible to adapt this idea, though. I think that the style of some of the images from this period does connect with people today, so those images that relate to the general themes of salvation history, themes which are contained within the psalms, could be reproduced and put into, say, an English- or Spanish-language psalter, with an attractive but readable typeface.
We could begin by using reproductions of great art from the past that we feel are most likely to connect with people today, and use these as the foundation for an artistic tradition that develops organically from this point on, so as to speak to people today powerfully. This is same approach to re-establishing the traditions of liturgical art in general that I have suggested in the past.
In regard to which psalters to choose, my suggestion for a starting place is the art of Englishman Matthew Paris and the 13th-century School of St Albans, as we see in the Westminster Psalter. I have found that people respond well to this style when praying, and when I teach this style in art workshops, students seem to understand it so naturally that the quality of the art they produce is high.
This form of instruction is the mystagogical/liturgical catechesis, rooted in scripture, that has been asked for by recent Popes, and like so many other such requests, seems to be largely ignored. I would say that it should be included in the general education of every Catholic as a matter of absolute priority. It should be there at the start and the finish. It is surprising to me, for example, how little emphasis on the study of scripture, the greatest book, we see in some Catholic Great Books programs.
Realistically, however, this is not going to happen soon, but given that the liturgy itself is the best vehicle for catechesis, our newly designed psalter can contain this catechesis too. There can be explanations to support the images, supplied in some detail in supporting text sidebars. Keywords and references to connected scripture from elsewhere can be placed by the artist in the painting itself. It has always been part of the tradition to name key figures, and for a festal icon, to write the name of the feast day on the icon. This is part of the tradition that should be reestablished today and perhaps, with judgment, extended slightly.
Many people today pray the office via smartphones, using, for example, Universalis.com or prayer.covert.org. It might be possible to have the option of accessing an appropriate image through a tap or a stroke of the screen and then with a further action seeing its accompanying explanation.
After the question of what images we would have, the next is, Where do we put them? This is where I might use a different approach to the psalters of the past. It has to be useable to the modern reader. I would not take the route of commissioning a new “retro” psalter along the lines of the St John’s Bible Project. This was the project commissioned in 1998, in which the text of the Gospel was written by an expert calligrapher, and master artists who worked in traditional styles (sometimes with a deliberate modern twist). For all the value that this might have had artistically, I am not convinced that it encouraged many to read the Bible because it was large and unwieldy, and therefore difficult to read.
I would aim for a high-standard mass-produced psalter as described, in which the placement of paintings within the pages is changed for the modern reader too. To explain: many of the images in the Gothic psalters were placed in particular places in the psalter for practical reasons that don’t apply today. They were used, for example as bookmarks, to help people locate a particular psalm. We don’t need whole pages devoted to an image in order to create a bookmark nowadays, because we use page numbers to find a psalm, and this works much better.
I would retain the broad-themed images at the start of the book, such as King David to represent the psalms as a whole, and some incidental illustrations within the book itself. Many of these generally themed images which relate salvation history to the mysteries of the Faith are the same as those that are the basis of the icon corner and of the liturgical art in the church (and which are described in my book, co-written with Leila Lawler, called The Little Oratory). The following image of King David was painted for that book and was based on an original which is found in the Westminster Psalter.
Because the smartphone has a small screen, photographic images of large paintings reduced in size drastically, say from 3 feet to 3 inches, will lose much valuable detail. The best images for such a medium will be those painted small (like those of Matthew Paris, incidentally) or designed deliberately for reproduction on the device. If artists paint art intended for social media and smartphones, they could also take into account in a positive way the changes in color, clarity and transmitted detail that occur in an electronic reproduction, so that their effectiveness is optimized. This represents an opportunity for the contemporary artists; art that is good and reproduces well on smartphones and social media is more likely to attract attention.
Furthermore, the placement of images should be considered in conjunction with the particular way that the psalms are prayed, so as to encourage actual engagement with them. As part of the ritual of praying the Office, we can pause after the opening versicles, look at the images, and venerate them with a kiss (if in a book) or a bow, and with incensing if we are at the icon corner or church. We could develop the same habit during the Glory Be. Perhaps the day will come when the person who studies and kisses his smartphone in church is not someone who is hooked on technology, but the pious man praying the Office well!
A similar ritual can be established for the repeated texts, such as the Gospel canticles: Magnificat, when we can venerate an icon of Mary, or if we have one, an image of the Annunciation; for the Benedictus, any image of John the Baptist would be good, and for the Nunc Dimittis, the Presentation or of Mary presenting her son to us, (which would be the Simeon’s-eye view of the scene!).
From last year’s Corpus Christi celebration - the deacon at the solemn Mass wearing the “almutium”, a large garment of white rabbit fur worn over the maniple at the singing of the Gospel and the “Ite, missa est.”
New Liturgical Movement is pleased to make this announcement on behalf of the Carmelite sisters of Fairfield. Their noble project will be of great interest to many of our readers. Pray for God's blessings on their worthy endeavors.
Confirmations celebrated by H.E. John O’Hara, Auxiliary Bishop of New York
Fr. Leo Joseph Camurati, O.P., offered his first traditional Mass.
From our second Corpus Christi photopost of last year, a particularly good shot by one of our regular contributors, Mr Arrys Ortañez; the Eucharistic procession in Manhattan from the church of the Holy Innocents.
Folio 22r of the Hours of René of Anjou, King of Sicily (15th century; Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits.)
The text of this responsory is taken from the Bull Transiturus of Pope Urban IV (1261-64), by which he ordered the establishment of the feast of Corpus Christi; it is such a beautiful piece of writing that it was commonly read in the Divine Office at Matins of the feast. This custom was changed in the Roman Breviary by the Tridentine reform, but it continued elsewhere, most notably at Liège, where the feast was first celebrated, and where Pope Urban had been archdeacon; also in the Carthusian Breviary.
When Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, was about to pass from this world to the Father, as the time of His Passion drew nigh, having taken supper, He instituted unto the memory of His death the most exalted and magnificent Sacrament of His Body and Blood, giving His Body to eat and His Blood to drink. For however so often we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. In the institution of this saving Sacrament, He said to the Apostles, “Do this in memory of Me”, so that this august and venerable Sacrament might be the special and particular memorial of the exceptional love with which He loved us: this memorial, I say, wondrous and astounding, full of delight, sweet, most secure, and precious above all things, in which signs are renewed and wonders changed, in which is contained every delight and the enjoyment of every savor, and the very sweetness of the Lord is tasted, by which we do indeed obtain the support of our life and salvation. This is the memorial most sweet, most sacred, most holy, profitable unto salvation, by which we recall the grace of our redemption; by which we are drawn away from evil and strengthened in good, and advance to the increase of virtues and graces, by the bodily presence of the Savior.
The Institution of the Holy Eucharist, by Federico Barocci, from the Aldobrandini Chapel of St Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome; 1603-8
1. Dom Benedict Maria Andersen, OSB (Ireland): Erant semper in templo: The Divine Office in the Life of the Church
2. Fr. Joseph Briody, (St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts): The Imprecatory Passages of the Psalms and their use in the Divine Office
3. Fr. Sven Leo Sven Conrad, FSSP (Germany): Praying in the name of the Church - The liturgy of the hours as public prayer
4. Gregory DiPippo (U.S.A.): The History of the Church in the Divine Office
5. Matthew Hazell (United Kingdom): The Second Vatican Council and Proposals for Reform of the Roman Breviary (1959-1963)
6. Sr. Maria M. Kiely, O.S.B. (U.S.A.): Sobria Ebrietas: the role of the hymn in the Divine Office
7. Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (U.S.A.): Useful Repetition in the Divine Office: A Case Study for Questioning Sacrosanctum Concilium 34
8. Prof. William Mahrt (U.S.A.): The Role of Antiphons in the Singing of the Divine Office
9. Fr. Dennis McManus (U.S.A.): The Reform of the Liturgy of the Hours in Light of Nostra Aetate.
Kyrie, fons bonitatis, Pater ingenite, a quo bona cuncta procedunt, eleison. --- (source of goodness, unbegotten Father, from whom all good things come forth)
Kyrie, qui pati Natum mundi pro crimine, ipsum ut salvaret, misisti, eleison. --- (who sent Thy Son to suffer for the sin of the world, that He might save it)
Christe hagie, caeli compos regiae, melos gloriae cui semper astans pro numine Angelorum decantat apex, eleison. --- (Holy one, Lord of the kingdom of heaven, to whom the highest Angels sing the song of glory as they stand forever before the Godhead)
Christe, caelitus adsis nostris precibus, pronis mentibus quem in terris devote colimus; ad te, pie Jesu, clamamus, eleison. --- (from heaven be present to our prayers, whom we devoutly worship in earth, our minds turned toward Thee; to Thee, holy Jesus we cry out)
Kyrie, Spiritus alme, cohaerens Patri Natoque, unius usiae consistendo, flans ab utroque, eleison. --- (kindly Spirit, united to the Father and Son, consisting of one essence, proceding from both)
Kyrie, qui baptizato in Jordanis unda Christo, effulgens specie columbina apparuisti, eleison. --- (who, when Christ was baptized in the waters of the Jordan, appeared in brightness in the form of a dove)
Kyrie, ignis divine, pectora nostra succende, ut digni pariter decantare possimus semper, eleison. --- (divine fire, enkindle our hearts, that we may always be able to sing with the same worthiness)
The bell is suspended in such a way that it can easily be touched on both the inside and outside, and so that the bishop can walk around it.
the long-standing custom that bells are named for Saints, this bell is called Leo, after Pope St Leo I.
“Bless, O Lord, this water with a heavenly benediction, and may the power of the Holy Ghost come upon it, so that when this vessel, prepared to call together the children of the Holy Church, has been washed with it, there may be kept far away from wheresoever this bell may sound, the power of those lying in wait, the shadow of spectres, the ravages of whirlwinds, the stroke of lightning, the damage of thunder, the disaster of tempests, and every breath of storm; and when the sons of Christians shall hear its ringing, may their devotion increase, so that hastening to the bosom of their loving mother the Church, they may sing to Thee, in the Church of the Saints, a new canticle, bringing therein to play the proud sounding of the trumpet, the melody of the harp, the sweetness of the organ, the joyous exultation of the drum, and the rejoicing of the cymbal; and so, in the holy temple of Thy glory by their service and their prayers, may they bid come the multitude of the angelic hosts. Through our Lord...”
The washing is completed by the sacred ministers with sponges; the bell is washed inside and out, from top to bottom, and then dried. While this is done, the bishop sits at the faldstool, and with the other clergy present recites the final six psalms of the Psalter, without an antiphon; the last three, psalms 148, 149 and 150, are recited as a single psalm with a single doxology, as they are at Lauds.
“O God, who through the blessed Moses, the law giver, Thy servant, didst command that silver trumpets should be made, through which when sounded by the priests at the time of sacrifice, the people, reminded by their sweet strains, would make ready to worship Thee, and assemble to offer sacrifices, and encouraged to battle by their sounding, would overcome the onslaughts of their enemies; grant, we beseech Thee, that this vessel, prepared for Thy Holy Church, may be sancti+fied by the Holy Spirit, so that, through its touch, the faithful may be invited to their reward. And when its melody shall sound in the ears of the peoples, may the devotion of their faith increase; may all the snares of the enemy, the crash of hail-storms and hurricanes, the violence of tempests be driven far away; may the deadly thunder be weakened, may the winds become salubrious, and be kept in check; may the right hand of Thy strength lay low the powers of the air, so that hearing this bell they may tremble and flee before the standard of the holy cross of Thy Son depicted upon it, to Whom every knee bows of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confesses that the same our Lord Jesus Christ, swallowing up death upon the gibbet of the cross, reigneth in the glory of God the Father, (Philippians 2, 10), with the same Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end. R. Amen.”
Aña The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of majesty hath thundered, The Lord is upon many waters.
While this is sung,the bishop makes with the Oil of the Sick seven crosses on the outside of the bell, and with Chrism four on the inside. As he makes each cross, he says, “May this bell be sancti+fied and conse+crated, o Lord. In the name of the Fa+ther, and of the + Son, and of the Holy + Spirit. Unto the honor of Saint N. Peace to thee.”
At each place he anoints the bell twice, at the words “sanctified” and “consecrated”, and then makes the sign of the cross with his right hand over the same place three times at the words “In the name of the Father etc.” (This is similar to the practice by which various anointings are done during the consecration of a church.) He also names a saint to in whose honor the bell is dedicated.
The anointings being done, the bishop says the following prayer.
“Let us pray. Almighty, Eternal God, Who, by the sounding of trumpets before the Ark of the Covenant, didst cause to tumble down the stone walls within which the army of the enemy was entrenched, do Thou pour out upon this bell a heavenly bene+diction, so that at its sound, the fiery darts of the enemy, the stroke of lightning, the hail-storm and the damage of tempests may be driven far away; and to the prophet’s question, “What ailed thee, O sea, that thou didst flee?” (Psalm 114, 5) being driven back in their movements as was the river Jordan, they may give answer, “At the presence of the Lord, the earth was moved, at the presence of the God of Jacob, Who turned the rock into pools of water, and the stony hill into fountains of waters. Wherefore, not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy’s sake.” (Ps. 114, 7-8; 115, 1) And thus when this vessel here present, like the other vessels of the altar, is touched with Holy Chrism, anointed with Holy Oil, may all those who assemble at its call be free from all the temptations of the enemy, and always follow the teachings of Catholic faith. Through our Lord...”
Meanwhile, the choir sings the following antiphon, and the last five verses of Psalm 77 (76), from which it is taken, with the doxology and the repetition of the antiphon.
Aña Thy way, O God, is in the holy place: who is the great God like our God?
The bishop then says the following prayer.
“Let us pray. Almighty Ruler, Christ, Who in the flesh, which Thou didst assume, were asleep in the boat, when the rising tempest disturbed the sea, which directly at Thy awakening and command did fall silent, come kindly to aid Thy people in their needs; pour out upon this bell the dew of Thy Holy Spirit, so that at its sound the enemy of the good may always flee, the Christian people may be invited to faith, the hostile army may be struck with terror; Thy people summoned together be comforted by it in the Lord, and, as if delighted with David’s harp, may the Holy Spirit come down from above. And even while Samuel was sacrificing the suckling lamb as a holocaust to the King of the Eternal Empire, the noise of the rushing winds drove away the multitude of his adversaries: so in like manner, when the sound of this vessel pierces the clouds, may angelic hands preserve the assembly of Thy Church; may everlasting protection save the fruits of those who believe, their souls and their bodies. Through Thee, O Christ Jesus, Who with God the Father livest and reignest in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end. R. Amen.”
the traditional Gospel for the feast of the Assumption. St Mary Magdalene is traditionally understood to represent the contemplative life in religion, and St Martha the active life; this Gospel is sung here to signify that the church bell rings to call the faithful to all the different activities that take place within the church.)
“At that time, Jesus entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord' s feet, heard his word. But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
The bishop makes the sign of the cross a final time over the bell, and departs.
|Folio 87r of the 9th century Lectionary of Alcuin, showing the Epistle then in use for the Octave of Ss Peter and Paul, Galatians 2, 6-10.|
In the mid-17th century, most of the churches of France began revising their liturgical books on their own initiative, and without reference to the authority of the Holy See, as part of the liturgical movement which we now often call “neo-Gallican.” Paris was, of course, one of the leaders of this trend, and the first See of importance to change the order of the Breviary Psalter, which would later become the model for the reformed Psalter of St Pius X.
When the first neo-Gallican Parisian Missal came out in 1685, the Mass of Corpus Christi remained unchanged. However, the Mass for the Sunday within the Octave was extensively revised to make it fit in more with the theme of the feast. (The neo-Gallican revisers were very fond of easily grasped themes.) The 1602 Paris Missal has the same Epistle as the Roman Rite, 1 John 3, 13-18; the 1685 Missal changes it to 1 Corinthians, 10, 16-21, principally because of the opening words, “The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread.” This is clearly very suitable for Corpus Christi, and in fact provides the text for a responsory of the feast which was composed by St Thomas, and found in almost every liturgical Use apart from the Roman. The Gospel, Luke 14, 16-24, beginning with the words “A certain man made a great supper, and invited many,” is left unchanged for obvious reasons.
If one Archbishop of Paris could arrogate to his office the right to re-edit the liturgical books used in his See without reference to the Roman authorities, there was no particular reason why subsequent Archbishops should not avail themselves of the same right. Consequently, the liturgical books of Paris went through multiple revisions between 1680 and their definitive abolition in 1873. The most momentous of these were the editions of Abp Charles de Vintimille, the Breviary of 1736, and the Missal of 1738.
The frontispiece of the 1685 Parisian Missal; conspicuously absent are the words “ad formam sacrosancti concilii Tridentini emendatum – emended according to the form (laid down by) the sacred council of Trent.”
Friday: Genesis 14, 17-20 – Matthew 26, 26-29
Saturday: Exodus 12, 1-11 – Luke 22, 7-20
Sunday: 1 Corinthians 10, 12-21 – Luke 14, 16-24
Monday: Exodus 16, 13-18 – John 6, 27-35
Tuesday: Wisdom 16, 20-28 – John 6, 41-44
Wednesday: 2 Corinthians 6, 14 - 7, 1 – John 6, 51-55
Thursday: Hebrews 7, 18-28 – John 6, 58-70
The first two of the added Gospel readings are taken from Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of the Institution of the Eucharist; a parallel passage from St Mark (14, 17-25) is added to the readings assigned for the Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament. The four Gospels from John 6 (Monday to Thursday) give a broader selection from the long passage known as the Eucharistic Discourse, ending with St John’s account of St Peter’s confession. “Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.”
Of the two readings from Exodus, the first is repeated from Good Friday, describing the preparation of the Paschal Lamb; the second is the instruction given to the children of Israel about collecting the manna in the desert. These were certainly inspired by the citation of the same passages in the first two Matins responsories of St Thomas’ Office for Corpus Christi.
The second half of the book of Wisdom (from verse 10, 16 to the end) is a long meditation of the events of the Exodus; the passage given above for Tuesday also refers to the manna with which God fed the children of Israel in the desert, and to which Christ and his interlocutors refer in John 6. The words of verse 20, “Thou gavest them bread from heaven ... having in it all that is delicious” are the versicle of Vespers of the feast, and also sung at Benediction.
The Wednesday Epistle from St Paul is included here as an admonition on the proper disposition for reception of the Sacrament: “You are the temple of the living God... Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God.” That of the Octave day speaks of the worship of the New Covenant as “a setting aside of the former commandment.” This passage is perhaps also chosen for Corpus Christi as a deliberate rebuke or challenge to the Calvinists, who often cited the words of verse 27 “Who needeth not daily (as the other priests) to offer sacrifices first for his own sins, and then for the people’s, for this He did once, in offering Himself”, against the Catholic doctrine of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
The neo-Gallican revisions made a number of very bold changes to the Missal; it was a common preoccupation of the revisers that original liturgical compositions should be replaced with Scriptural quotes, but St Thomas’ Mass for Corpus Christi was already mostly Scriptural anyway, and was therefore left alone in 1685. (Their great enemy of the movement, Dom Prosper Guéranger, speaks of these changes, with classic French délicatesse, as “Honteuses et criminelles mutilations, témérités coupables – shameful and criminal mutilations, rash acts deserving of condemnation.”)
|St. Thomas Aquinas in Glory among the Doctors of the Church, by Francisco de Zurbarán, 1631|
The Missal of 1738 has two other interesting things to note in regard to Corpus Christi. The first is that during the Sequence Lauda Sion, the verse “Ecce panis Angelorum” is sung three times on the feast day itself, and on the octave, but only once on the days within the octave. The celebrant and the major ministers kneel when it is sung, while the members of the choir “face the altar until the end of the Sequence.”
The second is that when it was issued, the feast of the Sacred Heart had not yet been formally approved by Rome, or accepted outside a few religious orders; however, this Missal did fulfill one aspect of the requests made by the Lord to St Margaret Mary Alacoque in His appearances to her. Among the collection of votive Masses is a special Mass “for the reparation of injuries done to Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament”, placed between the votive Mass of the Sacrament and that of the Passion. A rubric after the Octave of Corpus Christi prescribes this Mass be said on the following day, which is now kept everywhere as the feast of the Sacred Heart. The proper texts of this Mass can be read in Latin and English here.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit who stays always with us. The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, dwells in those souls who live in the state of grace. The Holy Spirit lives always in the Church, because the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. The soul gives life to the body and to each of its parts. When the souls departs from the body, the body becomes dead, without life. This applies also to the Church. The Church cannot live without the Holy Spirit. The Church cannot move without the Holy Spirit. All good and holy deeds in the Church are accomplished with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Which is the greatest, the most important, the most indispensable act, which the Church could accomplish? This act is the celebration of the Holy Mass. And why? Because the Holy Mass is really and substantially the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. It is the same and identical sacrifice which Jesus offered upon the Cross for the salvation and the eternal redemption of humankind. On the Cross, Jesus accomplished the most sublime act of the adoration of the Father, of the whole Holy Trinity, offering as the High Priest the sacrifice of His body and of His blood. He did this through the Holy Spirit (cf. Heb 9:14), with the power of the eternal Flame, Who is the Holy Spirit and Who burned always in the soul of Jesus. The sacrifice of the Cross, offered through the power of the Holy Spirit, is really and actually present in all its substance and in all its effects in the celebration of the Holy Mass.
Jesus, our High Priest, offers His sacrifice continuously—that means without interruption—through His priests. The human priest is the living instrument of Christ. The human priest was made a true priest by the power of the Holy Spirit. The human priest offers in the celebration of the Mass, also through the power of the Holy Spirit, the immense and divine sacrifice of Christ. The sacrifice of Christ is to such an extent great, that it can not be limited in the tight frame of time and space. The sacrifice of Christ is infinite and eternal. Whenever Holy Mass is celebrated, heaven is being opened, and Jesus Christ, our Eternal High Priest, is present with His immolated body, with His blood poured out, with His merciful Heart where without interruption burns the flame of the act of His total surrender to the Father for the salvation of men. Hence, in the Mass we are gazing spiritually at the living Christ with His wounds, His luminous and radiant wounds like divine diamonds. The mystery of the Holy Mass shows us the truth that Jesus Christ is our High Priest «ever living to make intercession for us» (Heb 7:25).
In each Holy Mass heaven is being opened, and with our spiritual eyes we see the immense glory of God, we see with the eyes of our soul the immolated and living Lamb, before Whom all the Angels and Saints in heaven prostrate themselves, falling down on their faces, adoring and glorifying Christ the Lamb with joyful and awed love. When the priest offers the sacrifice of Mass in the moment of the consecration and elevation of the living and immolated body of Christ, the heavens are truly being opened. What should we do in these sublime moments? We too should fall down on our knees, offering to our Savior the affects of our love, of our contrition, and of our gratitude, pronouncing in the depth of our heart maybe such words as: «Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a poor sinner», or «My Lord and my God, I believe!», or «My God and my All».
And then, this Eucharistic Body of Christ, filled with the immense divine glory and with His radiant wounds, is being carried by the consecrated hands of the priest in order to be delivered to our souls as divine food in the moment of Holy Communion. And what we shall do in this moment? Without any doubt, we should greet our Lord in the same manner as did the apostle Saint Thomas, who fell down upon his knees professing: «My Lord and my God!».
Saint Peter Julian Eymard said: “Has Jesus not a right to still greater honors in His Sacrament, since He multiplies His sacrifices therein and abases Himself more? To Him the solemn honors, the magnificence, the richness, the beauty of worship! God regulated Mosaic worship in its minutest details, and it was only a symbol. The worship and honors paid to Jesus Christ are the measure of the faith of a people. Let honor therefore be given to Jesus Eucharistic. He is worthy of it; He has a right to it” (The Real Presence. Eucharistic Meditations).
The form of the Holy Mass which we celebrate today is the form which had been celebrated even in its details during more than a thousand years. All our ancestors, almost all Saints whom we know from the second millennium—as, for example, Saint Francis, Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint John Mary Vianney, Saint Therese of Child Jesus, Saint Padre Pio, the young Saints: Saint Maria Goretti, Saint Francisco and Jacinta of Fatima—all of them were drawing their spiritual strength from this immemorial liturgy of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
This form of the liturgy is therefore very ancient and venerable, it is the form which expresses the constant liturgical tradition of the Church. It should therefore not be called the “extraordinary form” of the Mass, but the “more ancient and constant form” of the Mass. The Church makes it available to us in our days. In this way we can feel as one and the same big family, which embraces Christian generations of more than a millennium. This represents for us a moving fact, which fills us with gratitude and joy. We not only have the same faith, we can as well pray and glorify God in the same liturgical manner, which has been valid and which had been loved by our ancestors. «Jesus Christ is same yesterday, today and forever» (Heb 13:8).
Come, O Holy Spirit, and make our faith unshakeable, so that we may not allow ourselves to be confused in our holy convictions by anyone. Come, O Holy Spirit and kindle in our soul the flame of a deep and awed love for the Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Body of our Savior Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, stay always with us with your Holy Sacrifice and with your Eucharistic Body. The Eucharist is our true sun, our true life, our true happiness, our paradise already here on earth. Amen.
Today NLM is pleased to publish the sermon preached by Bishop Athanasius Schneider on May 30, 2018, at the Pontifical Low Mass offered in St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Winnipeg, Canada. We are grateful to His Excellency for the permission to share these inspiring words with our readers.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen said: “There are certain things in life which are too beautiful to be forgotten, such as the love of a mother. Hence, we treasure her picture. The love of soldiers who sacrificed themselves for their country is likewise too beautiful to be forgotten; hence, we revere their memory on Memorial Day. But the greatest blessing which ever came to this earth was the visitation of the Son of God in the form and habit of man. His life, above all lives, is too beautiful to be forgotten; hence, we treasure the divinity of His words in Sacred Scripture, and the charity of His deeds in our daily actions. Unfortunately, this is all some souls remember, namely, His words and His deeds; important as these are, they are not the greatest characteristic of the divine Savior. The most sublime act in the history of Christ was His death. … If then death was the supreme moment for which Christ lived, it was therefore the one thing He wished to have remembered. He did not ask that men should write down His words into a scripture; He did not ask that His kindness to the poor should be recorded in history; but He did ask that men remember His death. And in order that its memory might not be any haphazard narrative on the part of men, He Himself instituted the precise way it should be recalled.”
Archbishop Sheen continues, saying: “Hence the Mass is to us the crowning act of Christian worship. A pulpit in which the words of our Lord are repeated does not unite us to Him; a choir in which sweet sentiments are sung brings us no closer to His Cross than to His garments. A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and is meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the altar, and not the pulpit or the choir or the organ, is the center of worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. The Mass is the greatest event in the history of mankind; the only holy act which keeps the wrath of God from a sinful world, because it holds the Cross between heaven and earth.”
When we recognize and really believe in what each Holy Mass is, then every detail of the rite of the Holy Mass, every word, every gesture is important, is deeply meaningful and spiritual. Even from the moment we enter a church to participate in the Holy Mass, we have to try to lift up our mind and heart to Golgotha and to the heavenly liturgy. Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote: “The Catholic Church alone is beautiful. The celebrant, deacon and subdeacon, acolytes with lights, the incense, and the chanting — all combine to one end, one act of worship. You feel it is really a worshipping; every sense, eyes, ears, smell, are made to know that worship is going on. The choir singing out the Kyrie, and the priest and his assistants bowing low, and saying the Confiteor. This is worship, and it is far above reason” (words of Mr. White in the novel Loss and Gain).
Saint John Mary Vianney explained the greatness of the Holy Mass: “All good works together are not of equal value with the sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men, and the Holy Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison; it is the sacrifice that man makes of his life to God; the Mass is the sacrifice that God makes to man of His Body and of His Blood. Oh, how great is a priest! If he understood himself he would die. God obeys him; he speaks two words, and Our Lord comes down from Heaven at his voice, and shuts Himself up in a little Host. God looks upon the altar. ‘That is My well-beloved Son,’ He says, ‘in whom I am well-pleased.’ He can refuse nothing to the merits of the offering of this Victim. If someone said to us, ‘At such an hour a dead person is to be raised to life,’ we should run very quickly to see it. But is not the Consecration, which changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of God, a much greater miracle than to raise a dead person to life? If we knew the value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, or rather, if we had faith, we should be much more zealous to assist at it.”
Saint Peter Julian Eymard said: “Why has our Lord willed to establish so close a relation between the Sacrament of the Eucharist and His death? It was, in the first place, to remind us of the price His Sacrament cost Him. The Eucharist, in fact, is the fruit of the death of Jesus. The Eucharist is a testament, a legacy, which becomes valid only at the death of the testator. To give His testament legal force, Jesus had then to die. Every time we come into the presence of the Eucharist, we may therefore say: ‘This precious testament cost Jesus Christ His life; He thereby shows us His boundless love, for He Himself said there is no greater proof of love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jesus gave me the greatest proof of His love when He went to His death in order to make the Eucharist possible and give it to me. How many think of this price paid for the Eucharist? And yet Jesus is there to remind us of it. But like unnatural children we are bent only on using and enjoying our riches, without ever thinking of the One Who acquired them for us at the cost of His life” (The Real Presence. Eucharistic Meditations, ch. XIII).
Dear brothers and sisters, let us receive the Eucharistic Lord with love, with purity of heart, with a gesture of adoration kneeling down, with a gesture of humility and littleness opening our mouth and receiving the Holiest of Holies, the King of the universe, in the little sacred Host. O Lord, when we have You in the Eucharist, we have all things and we want for nothing. Amen.
But one sometimes encounters Byzantine Catholics who, misled by superficial similarities between the Byzantine liturgy and the Novus Ordo (e.g., that they are usually done in a vernacular language audibly pronounced) and by the obvious differences between the Byzantine liturgy and the traditional Roman rite (e.g., that there is much more silence in the latter than in the former, and that the people seem to play a more “active” role in the one than in the other), maintain that the Byzantine and Novus Ordo liturgies are spiritually more akin, and thus, when presented with a choice, will choose the Roman usus recentior over the usus antiquior. Indeed, protagonists and apologists of the Roman liturgical reform often pretend to be admirers of the Eastern tradition and like to point out the many seemingly “Eastern” features of the neo-Roman liturgy.
Now, if it is true that the Byzantine liturgy and the traditional Latin liturgy have far more in common with each other than either has with the Novus Ordo, we ought to be able to state precisely what this commonality consists in. I propose that we can see it in the following principles, which I will first list, and then expound:
1. The principle of tradition;
2. the principle of mystery;
3. the principle of elevated mode;
4. the principle of ritual integrity or stability;
5. the principle of density;
6. the principle of adequate and repeated preparation;
7. the principle of truthfulness;
8. the principle of hierarchy;
9. the principle of parallelism; and
10. the principle of separation.
1. The Principle of Tradition. Both are the result of an organic development of an ancient apostolic core, transmitted through centuries of living faith; in spite of attributions of this or that liturgy to a famous saint such as St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil, in fact the rite is the work of many whom we cannot name. No Byzantine liturgy or classic Roman liturgy is the product of a committee of avant-garde experts out of touch with the people and captive to fashionable theories long since exploded. We may call this the principle of tradition, of receiving what is handed down. Put simply: it is not the case that a liturgy is good because the authority of the Church deems it to be good; rather, the Church knows it to be good because she has received it. Here we strike at the root of that bizarre ultramontanism in the West that considers liturgy to be nothing other than what papal authority has promulgated — as if liturgy is an infinitely malleable clay whose shape is wholly left to the sculptor’s will. Prior to Paul VI, papal authority promulgated that which was already known and loved as traditional in the Latin Church.
2. The Principle of Mystery. Each of these liturgies exhibits the principle of mystery: the liturgy is palpably sacred, a work and a wonder that God does in our midst, to which man is permitted to unite himself in fear and trembling. Traditional liturgy is like a cloud in which God dwells, and unto which Moses dares to approach. There is no sense of a meeting with an agenda, conducted by company managers, characterized by a lot of reading of texts and sharing out of tasks. We lie prostrate on holy ground before the burning bush of divine self-revelation.
3. The Principle of Elevated Mode. The prayers and lessons of traditional Eastern and Western liturgies are either chanted by cantors, deacons, subdeacons, and choirs, or whispered in the sanctuary by the priest, but never merely recited like the daily news or a school lesson. Part of this elevation is the use of what we might call “high language.” In the East it takes the form of exquisite poetic compositions; in the West, of venerable Latin locutions. Latin is as truly, properly, and definitively the language of the Roman Catholic Church as the vernaculars are the languages of Eastern rites. Something that has endured for 1,600 years in the West is not a random accident but a constitutive principle, as none other than Pope John XXIII declared in his Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia, signed on the altar in St. Peter’s in 1962. Those who attend the usus antiquior are well aware of the powerful effect on the faithful of the ceremonial use of an ancient language that has acquired a numinous force with the passage of time. The very fact that this language is specially set apart, consecrated as it were for the public worship of God, objectively represents and subjectively induces that separation of sacred from profane that is at the heart of sacrificial religion.
5. The Principle of Density. The old Roman liturgy, and likewise the old Byzantine, is shot through with dogmatic, moral, ascetical-mystical content. The prayers are thick and rich and full of religion. They are a poetic tapestry of Scripture and other devout utterances. The Novus Ordo is patently exiguous by comparison. Think of the various troparia of the Byzantine tradition, or the wealth of proper antiphons in the Roman Rite, and the collects, secrets, and postcommunions, almost none of which survived intact the bowdlerizing scalpel of the Consilium.
6. The Principle of Preparation. Closely connected with the foregoing is the principle of adequate and repeated preparation. In both East and West, the clergy and ministers prepare themselves thoroughly before the liturgy for their work, whether it be at a side table preparing the offerings with abundant prayers, or at the foot of the altar reciting Psalm 42, the Confiteor, and prayers of ascent. How could anyone imagine just sauntering out of the sacristy and walking right up to the altar, as if it’s no big deal? As if one were going to a fundraising luncheon?
As Catherine Pickstock noted so well, the repetition of prayers in all genuine liturgies is deliberate and of immense spiritual importance. The Byzantine liturgy has the priest frequently praying secretly from start to finish as he prepares himself again and again for the next wondrous step that has to be taken into the mysteries of Christ. The authentic Roman liturgy is no different, with its ample Offertory, its three prayers of preparation for communion, prayers of ablution, Placeat, and Last Gospel. Famously, we find much repetition of certain prayers in the Divine Liturgy and the Roman usus antiquior — in the former, litanies of “Lord, have mercy” or “Grant it, O Lord”; in the latter, the ninefold Kyrie, the triple Confiteor, the triple “Domine, non sum dignus” (done twice to indicate the distinction between the priest’s communion and the faithful’s).
7. The Principle of Truthfulness. The whole of the Gospel message is present in the traditional lectionaries — the so-called “difficult” parts, too, as well as the easier ones. In the Novus Ordo, as is well known, Scripture is heavily edited to conform to modern prejudices. More broadly, the traditional lex orandi contains and transmits with apostolic vigor the full lex credendi of the Catholic Church, without any editing for contemporary sensibilities or sensitivities. Thus, to take one example from a thousand, the damnation of Judas, and the real possibility of hell for any of us, is taught unflinchingly, while the cursing psalms directed against our spiritual enemies are made use of plentifully. This kind of thing is excised from or heavily reduced in the Novus Ordo. In this regard, it fails to pass on the fullness of the Faith as we find it in Scripture, the Fathers, the Councils, and the Doctors of the Church. In this way it fails in its role as lex orandi of the orthodox Church.
In fact, many doctrines of the faith are seen and heard in the old liturgies, whereas they have to be studied and blindly accepted in the context of the neo-Roman liturgy, because the rite itself does not make them evident. As examples, consider the veneration that ought to be paid to the saints, or the adoration of latreia that ought to be shown to the Blessed Sacrament. One who attends either the Byzantine or the traditional Roman liturgy will have a visceral experience of the venerability of the saints and the adorableness of the Eucharist. In contrast, the Novus Ordo has systematically pared down the focus on the saints as well as the signs of reverence to be paid to the awesome mysteries of Christ.
The liturgy is a true embodiment of ecclesiology instead of an imaginary alternative to it. One would never be able to derive a coherent and consistent account of the hierarchical nature of the Mystical Body from the Novus Ordo, whereas it is easy to do so from either the Divine Liturgy or the traditional Roman Mass. Participation, therefore, is understood in a fundamentally different way in the traditional liturgies and in the neo-Roman rite. The correct view is that participation should befit the distinct roles of various parts of the body, and that this should be visible to all in the dress, bearing, location, and tasks assigned — and not assigned — to participants.
9. The Principle of Parallelism, which is in keeping with that of hierarchy. In any authentic Eastern or Western liturgy, we find that several things are often happening simultaneously (or to use the technical term, there is “parallel liturgy”). The deacon is leading a litany when the priest is reciting his own prayers; the people are singing the Sanctus while the priest has started the Canon. Those who attend either Byzantine or traditional Latin liturgies come to see the liturgy as a multi-layered action made up of many individual actions converging on a common goal. It is most definitely not a logical sequence of discrete acts, where only one thing is allowed to take place at a time (as in “sequential” or “modular” liturgy, exemplified in the Novus Ordo).
10. The Principle of Separation. All authentic Christian liturgies preserve and make ritual use of the theology inscribed in the architecture of the Old Covenant temple, which, as the Epistle to the Hebrews teaches, is recapitulated in Christ and therefore symbolized forever in our Eucharistic sacrifice. In the East, the separation of the sanctuary or holy of holies from the nave is more obvious due to the presence of an iconostasis through which only certain clergy may enter. In the West, curtains gave way to the rood screen, which in most places diminished into the communion rail, but always the sanctuary remained distinct, elevated, and off limits to the laity. Moreover, in the Western liturgy the visual iconostasis has yielded to a “sonic iconostasis” of Latin alternating with silence. Both the hieratic language and the enveloping absence of sound lower a veil over the holy of holies and shield the sacred mysteries from the profanation of casual treatment. Thus, while Eastern and Western liturgies accomplish this “veiling of our faces to the Presence” in different ways, both are highly effective in achieving it, powerfully drawing the worshiper’s attention to the hidden glory of God.
The following chart summarizes our findings.
If someone objects at this point that the Novus Ordo can be celebrated in a way that is “in continuity” with the preceding Roman tradition (and therefore in a manner not dissimilar to the Divine Liturgy), my response is simple. Several of the ten principles summarized above are not embodied at all by the Novus Ordo — and this by design (here, I would include at least 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9); while the remaining principles (2, 3, 8, and 10) might be acted on — or then again, they might not, depending on who the “presider” is. In short, they are possible but not necessary. This fact, in and of itself, already demonstrates the profoundly anti-traditional character of the Novus Ordo, which depends for its very coherence with tradition on the free decisions of its celebrant, rather than relying on adherence to a fixed rule. Thus, the Novus Ordo could be offered in a quasi-traditional way, whereas the Byzantine and Tridentine liturgies must be offered in a traditional way — there is no choice in the matter.
In that one difference alone, we can see the almost infinite gap that separates the modern Roman Rite from any historic rite of Christianity, Eastern or Western. Its lack of doctrinal, moral, rubrical, and ceremonial density, its modular-linear-rationalist structure, and its “optionitis” separate it in essence from the sphere of sacred culture that the Roman usus antiquior and the Byzantine Divine Liturgy inhabit in common. One might adapt to this situation the words of Abraham in the parable of Dives and Lazarus: “Between us and you, there is fixed a great chasm, so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither” (Lk 16:26).
What is truly surprising, given the foregoing, is how many Byzantine Catholics and “experts” in Eastern liturgy — Robert Taft, S.J., being the most prominent — favor the “reformed” Roman liturgy, overlooking the monumental discrepancies and contradictions between its principles of composition and execution and those that are common, as I have shown, to Byzantine and traditional Latin liturgy. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the Pauline liturgy, both as a whole and in its particulars, is a deformation of Latin liturgy that cannot be classified with authentic Catholic rites of history. It is therefore due to a profound inconsistency that Byzantine Catholics would prefer the Novus Ordo on account of secondary or tertiary characteristics while overlooking, tolerating, or even seeming to approve of its deviations from fundamental principles of classical liturgy.
To return to the beginning: Byzantine Catholics who love their own liturgical tradition will do well to expose themselves to the Western liturgical tradition as preserved and handed down in the usus antiquior, and — precisely out of love for what is common to East and West — to avoid the neo-Roman liturgy, with its mingling of inconsistent antiquarianism and modern novelties, its cognitive dissonance and rupture with Christian tradition. It is nothing less than a counter-sign to both the Greek and Latin traditions, contradicting age-old dogmatic and moral truths that the liturgy has always shown forth and inculcated in the faithful. Roman and Byzantine Catholics know themselves to be safe, in good hands, when attending one another’s authentic rites; but neither can feel safe attending the Novus Ordo.
I conclude with the words of Martin Mosebach: “All the striving towards ecumenism, however necessary, must begin not with attention-grabbing meetings with Eastern hierarchs but with the restoration of the Latin liturgy, which represents the real connection between the Latin and Greek churches.”
 Geoffrey Hull in The Banished Heart shows that the problem of papal interference in liturgy goes back many centuries. Nevertheless, he recognizes the abyss that separates anything done by popes prior to Paul VI from the monstrous rupture Montini introduced. There is a difference in kind, not just a difference in degree. I know a Catholic philosopher who actually maintains that the only reason a rite of Mass is valid is because the Pope has declared it so, and that if the Pope wanted to gut all the content of the rite and replace it with something totally different, it would be a true Catholic rite as long as it contained the words of consecration.
 Carl Olson made this observation: “Having now attended a Byzantine parish for nearly 20 years, it’s interesting that while the Eastern Liturgies are not silent in the way that the Latin Mass is — in fact, there is little silence in a Byzantine liturgy — the deeper similarities and convergences are found in reverence, transcendence, and theological richness. Frankly, listening to many of the prayers said at a Novus Ordo Mass about makes me lose my mind. Put another way, the Divine Liturgy and the Latin Mass both speak to the mind, the heart, and the senses in mysterious and deep ways that, while somewhat subjective to certain degrees, are at the service of objective truth and divine reality.”
 I am well aware that these prayers were built up over time, and that, e.g., the Last Gospel was a relatively late addition. But all the additions happened for good reason; they happened under the gentle influence of the Holy Spirit. To remove them after they had been appropriately and harmoniously added and had become a fixed part of the rite for centuries is nothing less than a repudiation of their theological content and liturgical function, and thus a sin against the Holy Spirit. Sacrosanctum Concilium thus errs in claiming that the liturgy contains “useless repetition” that must be purged. In reality, anyone who enters prayerfully into the repetitions of the old liturgy understands their purpose, which has never presented any difficulty to Christians until the narrowly rationalist and utilitarian assumptions of modern times.
 See my article “A Tale of Two Lectionaries: Qualitative versus Quantitative Measures” for more on this troubling aspect of the revised lectionary.
 On Judas, see my article “Damned Lies: On the Destiny of Judas Iscariot”; on the omission of psalms, see my article “The Omission of ‘Difficult’ Psalms and the Spreading-thin of the Psalter.”
 The Roman Canon, like the anaphora of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, mentions many saints. The neo-anaphoras severely pare down this homage and appeal.
 In Sacrosanctum Concilium, however, participation becomes ideological because it is exalted above all other principles, which unavoidably causes distortion and corruption: “In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else” (n. 14); contrast this statement with Pope Pius X’s Tra le sollecitudini: “We deem it necessary to provide before all else for the sanctity and dignity of the temple.” Perhaps a better concept than participation would be assistance: every member of the body assists at the liturgy, each according to his place. Belonging is a more basic category than doing, just as our insertion into Christ at baptism is more basic to our identity than any particular act we perform.
 There are a very few moments when the priest can be doing something in the Novus Ordo when the people and/or choir are doing something else: the prayer before the Gospel, during the alleluia; the offertory prayers, if a chant is being sung; the breaking of the host while the Agnus Dei is being sung. But the number of such moments has been severely pared down, and their euchological content has been eviscerated.
 Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so a liturgy filled with options is only as good as the worst of these options. It should be judged not by what it might be if many unlikely best choices were to be made, but by what it usually is when customary choices are made.
 This is not to say, of course, that the traditional Roman rite will always be offered in an edifying or aesthetically appropriate manner — but that is not something that can ever be guaranteed in any rite, for we are still dealing with human beings in their variety and frailty. Rather, I refer to the rules and customs that govern the ceremonies as such.
 From the forthcoming revised and expanded edition of The Heresy of Formlessness (Angelico Press, 2018), 187. Elsewhere in the same book Mosebach says: “It is characteristic of this century that just as the axe was being applied to the green tree of liturgy, the most profound insights into liturgy were being formulated, albeit not in the Roman Church but in the Byzantine Church. On the one hand, a pope dared to interfere with the liturgy. On the other, Orthodoxy, separated from the pope by schism, preserved the liturgy and liturgical theology through the terrible trials of the century. For a Catholic who refuses to accept the cynic’s easy conclusions, these facts produce a baffling riddle. One is tempted to speak of a tragic mystery, although the word tragic does not fit in a Christian context. The Mass of Saint Gregory the Great, the old Latin liturgy, now finds itself on the ‘lunatic fringe’ of the Roman Church, whereas the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is alive in all its splendor in the very heart of the Orthodox Church. The idea that we have something to learn from Orthodoxy is not a popular one. But we must accustom ourselves to studying — and studying thoroughly — what the Byzantine Church has to say about sacred images and the liturgy. This is equally relevant to the Latin Rite; in fact, it seems as though we can only get to know the Latin Rite in all its Spirit-filled reality if we view it from the Eastern perspective” (57).
|Breathe with both lungs, yes — but in their healthy condition, not their diseased condition.|
|St Boniface, by Cornelius Bloemaert, ca. 1630 (Public domainimage from Wikipedia.)|