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    The website of Commonweal published a very nice piece on the traditional Mass a few days ago; as a friend observed on Facebook, this may be a sign that “the end is near”, so go to Confession. (This is always good advice.) I don’t know if the author, Mr Michael Wright, chose the title “Silent Grace” himself, but it sums up his theme very well.

    “I watched these strange ways of doing familiar things. The priest faced away from us. We knelt to take communion on the tongue. All the altar servers were male. I bowed at the priest during the recessional, incense still in my nostrils. Then I did something I’d never done after Mass. I sat in a pew, and I felt it: peace. Since then, much in my life has tried to upset this peace. ... But when I go to Mass at St Mary’s (the cathedral of Austin, Texas) with my daughter, I leave with a sense of peace. ”

    I know that this fits well with the experience of many people who, like the author, did not grow up with the TLM, myself included. If I had to identify a theme that sums up what younger people say to me about the Latin Mass, it would precisely this, that it is peaceful, and instills peace within them. The quiet and regularity of the traditional rite, the fruit of centuries of pastoral experience, gives us all necessary room to pray the Mass peacefully, and live our life of faith peacefully.


    Likewise, he makes a good observation that “(t)he English Mass is too easy; the unfamiliarity of the Latin Mass requires me to quiet my mind, to focus, to attend to my faith in a way that Mass in English does not.” Twenty-five years ago, when the one Latin Novus Ordo in my hometown was switched over to the traditional rite, a much larger portion of the congregation remembered the old Mass from their youth than is now the case. I was present for the very first such Mass, and remember two ladies talking about it afterwards, with one saying to the other, “But the young people don’t understand it!”; I remember thinking, “That is precisely why we will like it and keep coming back.” The Hebrew word for “holy” (qadosh) is derived from a verbal root that means “to separate, set apart”; that which is set apart from ordinary life captures and holds our interest, that which no different from ordinary life is easily ignored. This is why the default position of all religions is to worship God in a manner that is separate from ordinary life, in ritual, language and music.

    Mr Wright briefly quotes a piece published on the same site back in February, one much more in keeping with the usual tenor of Commonweal, called “Extraordinary Divisions”, by Prof. Massimo Faggioli of Villanova University, to the effect that “disputes (over liturgy) have wounded the sense of communion between Catholics”, and then says “He may have a point.” I make bold to assure and reassure Mr Wright that he does not.

    In the cited article, Prof. Faggioli refers several times to the “bi-ritualism” which he says is now a “fait accompli” in the Roman Rite, and which, he worries, fragments the Church and leads to further polarization among the different groups within it. “There can be no reconciliation between Catholics that does not involve some kind of liturgical reconciliation, given the liturgy’s primary position in the life of the (C)hurch.” By all means. However, no such reconciliation can possibly take place if we cannot even admit to ourselves that the liturgical reform went far beyond both the letter and spirit of what Vatican II asked for, something which its own creators admitted repeatedly and unapologetically. No such reconciliation can take place if we cannot admit to ourselves that, granting for the sake of argument that all the changes were made for the better, they have nevertheless failed catastrophically to evangelize the modern world for whose benefit they were made.

    The Roman Rite was not made “biritual” by Summorum Pontificum; it was made kilo-ritual by Missale Romanum, the Apostolic Constitution which promulgated the Novus Ordo Missae. It was the post-Conciliar liturgical reform, and not the old rite, that gave the celebrant of each individual Mass (and his chosen collaborators) a broader degree of liberty than had ever previously existed to decide what shall be said or sung, how it shall be said or sung, whether it shall be said or sung, with what rituals accompanying, and in which language. The people who created the liturgical reform were convinced that this liberty (which extends to the whole of it, not just the Mass) was a feature, not a bug. If Summorum Pontificum were to be withdrawn tomorrow, there would still be within the Roman Rite a vast number of licit liturgical options, and countless fractures from one parish to the next, and even from one Mass to the next within the same parish.

    Not very long before the TLM which I mentioned above was instituted, a young cleric on pastoral assignment in my other church went up to the pulpit before Mass on the first Sunday of Advent, to explain to the congregation that we were going to be doing something new for Advent that year. Before he could say a word of what it was, the elderly woman in the pew behind me said, with evident disgust, “Oh, not another g****mn new thing!” (The result of this particular innovation was, by the way, actually quite nice, but something which I have never seen or heard of since.) It was not Pope Benedict’s action in the liturgical field that wounded that woman’s communion with the earnest young cleric and her fellow-parishioners, but that of Pope Paul VI.

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    This video really needs to be shared around as widely as possible. “Think about what we are asking people to believe, and then we present it to them like this, and then we ask ourselves why they don’t believe, and why the Faith is in such dramatic decline in places where this is common practice.” Bravo, Mr Holdsworth!



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    Not too long ago, I brought back into print an old catechetical textbook, The Life of Worship: Grace, Prayer, Sacraments, and the Sacred Liturgy[original title: Exposition of Christian Doctrine, Part III: Worship], written by an anonymous seminary professor of the Christian Brothers in France in the late nineteenth century, and published in English in the early twentieth.

    It is a classic of its genre. Although written in a question-and-answer format, the well-formulated, wide-ranging questions and thorough answers — including frequent references to Scripture, Church Fathers, and scholastic doctors — puts to shame any of the catechetical materials produced in the past half-century, the supposed new springtime of the Church. I would wager to say, on the contrary, that a new springtime will only start blooming if we take up materials like this textbook and humbly put them to good use again, building on the truly substantial accomplishments of our predecessors.

    In any case, there is a particular section of this book that I would like to share with NLM’s readers, both for its inherent interest, and because it gives a sense of the confidence and clarity typical of Catholic writers of the past. It could serve as a model for us today, who are at last finding our way out of self-doubt, ecumenical relativism, aesthetic brutalism, and millimeter-thin religious content. The author is speaking about why Catholic worship is “of incomparable perfection and beauty.” May it once again become so! May it remain so where tradition has been retained or recovered; may it spread across the world and reclaim it for Christ, on whom aggiornamental churchmen have turned their backs.
    The worship rendered to God outside the true religion, consists for the most part either of puerile ceremonies, gross rites, cruel and obscene practices, as among the pagans of old, and the followers of Brahmanism [Hinduism] and Buddhism of to-day; or of innumerable prescriptions and prohibitions, many of which are totally wanting in religious character, as among the Mahometans [Moslems]. Even within the Christian fold, the sects that took private judgment for their rule of faith have so mutilated dogma that they have ended by impoverishing worship and drying up its sources, to such an extent that nothing in their temples and their ceremonies recalls the infinite greatness and the unspeakable goodness of God.
              In the Catholic Church alone, the worship given is of incomparable perfection and beauty. Now these qualities manifestly indicate the presence of divine revelation in its essential elements, and when they are found in the work proper to the Church, they give testimony also to the assistance of the Holy Ghost.
              The first perfection of Catholic worship is to be at one and the same time a means both of honoring God and of obtaining His grace. In it the glory of God and the salvation of man are inseparable. God wills to place all His glory in saving us, and we shall be saved only by glorifying God. All the practices of worship, prayers, the sacraments, the celebration of Sundays and festivals, correspond to this double end. They are so many acts of adoration, praise, and thanksgiving, and at the same time, so many appeals for God’s mercy, that He may forgive us our sins and grant us the spiritual or temporal favors of which we stand in need in our short and painful journey to our heavenly country.
              Another perfection of Catholic worship is its intimate union with dogma and morals. There is not a ceremony, not a word, not all outward sign, that does not embody the idea of a mystery or a precept of our religion. Thence comes that admirable unity, that harmony of parts, which is the seal of God’s works. To illustrate: prayer supposes the dogmas of the existence of God, of His providence, of grace, and of free will; and at the same time, it implies the command to adore Him, and indeed all the rules of morality. The celebration of feasts lifts our hearts above the perishable things of this life and attaches them to the blessings of life everlasting. Here too faith teaches that we were created by God for a life that will never end, and the moral law forbids us to make the miserable pleasures of this world the last end of our actions. The holy sacrifice of the Mass, the representation and renewal of that of the cross, is founded on the very dogma of redemption and on the law of atonement. The sacrament of baptism is inseparable from the dogma of original sin and from the precept which God imposed on the first man after his fall, of earning his bread by the sweat of his brow. The sacrament of penance supposes a transgression of the moral law, and consequently it implies the dogma of reparation. Indeed, in all the sacraments without exception, in all the sacred rites of Catholic worship, may be found the like intimate relation with both dogma and moral; for there is neither rite nor sacrament that does not remind us of some truth to believe and some duty to fulfill.
              A third perfection of worship is its admirable unity. Every thing in it converges to the one centre, the adorable sacrament of the altar. The Eucharist contains the Very Author of divine grace, who is communicated to us through prayer and the sacraments. Moreover, this sacrament is the end for which all the others exist, it is the very motive of sacred orders, the principal object of all feasts, the most excellent means of fulfilling all our duties to God and of obtaining His graces and blessings.
              It is to honor the holy Eucharist and to give sensible testimony to its adoration and gratitude, that Christian genius has created those magnificent temples, in which architecture, sculpture, and painting have rivaled one another in their efforts to reproduce, in the most brilliant and most touching forms, all that is majestic and ravishing in this august mystery. It is to celebrate the God of the Eucharist that so many masterpieces of poetry and eloquence have been composed, and so many melodies have been written, now joyous, now sad, according as the Church contemplates, on the one hand, the glory and the triumph of her divine Spouse, or, on the other, His sufferings and death. The altars and their ornaments, the vestments and the sacred vessels, the ceremonies of the holy sacrifice with their symbolic signification, the divine office, processions and pilgrimages, the whole liturgical year with its feasts for every day—everything in worship has for its object Jesus Christ reigning in heaven and residing among us; and, through Jesus Christ, the most holy and adorable Trinity. (pp. 809–11)


    Link to this book at Amazon.


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    Building the Way to Heaven: The Tower of Babel and Pentecost 
    The End of the Fiery Sword: Adam and Eve and Jesus and Mary 
    Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb: Jonah and Jesus

    These are the first in the Old and New Series, all written by Maura Roan McKeegan and illustrated by T. Schluenderfritz. Their goal is to introduce to children to the principle of biblical typology, that is, how the Old Testament people, symbols, and events foreshadow those in the New Testament. I do not know of any other children’s books that approach these topics in this way. It’s a great idea and it has been executed well.

    There are attractive illustrations which use some of the visual vocabulary of Christian tradition (e.g. halos, and a mandorla) and the two streams of narrative are placed side by side so that the parallels cannot be missed.

    I would certainly recommend all of these as part of Scriptural education for all children. Thank you to all involved for this project!

    Reading through them, it seems to me that they would work best for those children who have a prior knowledge of the Biblical passages, and sufficient intellectual formation to be able to understand the concept of literary symbolism. The publisher recommends 7 years old; I wonder if for most it might be a little older than that. You can order them on the publisher’s website, here. Thanks to Peter K. for bringing these books to my attention, by the way, (Peter recently featured a wonderful book that does the same for grown-ups, Jean Danielou’s From Shadows to Reality)

    There are so many reasons which the study of Scripture is
    important, but here are some that relate to the value of biblical typology in particular, which these books address.

    The first is that the themes in salvation history are a pattern of events that relate to each of us in our personal pilgrimage of salvation. Once we grasp the idea of the interrelatedness of all things, by understanding how particular and significant episodes in Scripture are related to each other, it facilitates a mode of thinking by which we more naturally place our own story, and hence ourselves, into that picture. So, for example, the crossing of the Red Sea relates to the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan and the descent of the Spirit, and then also to our own sacramental Baptism and Confirmation, by which each of us dies and rises spiritually and receives the Spirit (1 Cor, 10, 1-5). Our foretaste of eternal life to come, like Israel eating manna in the desert on the way to the promised land, is our reception of Holy Communion, the pledge of our own future life and resurrection (John 6, 54). Each of us has a story by which we die with Christ, and as Christians are raised up with him too. I am reminded that this applies to me every time I walk into a church and cross myself with the holy water - ‘Jordan water’.

    The second is that this can be the basis of a formation that is, in my estimation, more likely to help children retain their faith when they get older, and see them through the teenage years. This goes further than simply teaching the truths of the Faith, which is, of course, vitally important too. Those that develop this way of thinking will then be more inclined to read the Book of Nature and those aspects of the culture, including the natural hierarchies in society, allegorically, and take delight in it. For such people, all that they see points to the unseen, and all that is good points to God. They will perceive a pattern in the world around them and be able to fill in the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle, so to speak. Except that this piece is not missing exactly; rather, it is real and present, but invisible. I wrote about this mode of thinking in greater depth in an earlier article, here: The Good the Better and the Sunday Best: Using St Thomas’s Fourth Way to Evangelize and Retain Faith in the Young.

    The place where all of this comes to together and is illuminated most powerfully for us in the liturgy. The actions of the liturgy are powerfully symbolic. These books, therefore, will help to enrich participation in the liturgy, both through the content learned and the stimulation of this mode of thought by which we start to read what is happening, even relating to those aspects not directly taught in the books. I need hardly describe to readers of this website how beneficial this will be, in turn, to all aspects of human life if realized.

    In a matter relating to my own particular focus of interest, in my opinion, the study of Biblical typology is something that should be mandatory for all people who wish to paint sacred art. Danielou’s book is more likely to be appropriate for the training of the artist, but all artists should be able to create art, intended for children or adults, which reflects such a training and communicates the truth of the Faith through beautiful art. In the Roman Church, we are at the early stages of re-establishing this as a living tradition, but once done (and I remain hopeful that it will be done), then a book could connect the themes described even more directly to the traditional liturgical art of the Church. I look forward to the day when a seven-year-old could walk into the Baptistry in Florence and instantly understand what he or she is seeing, because it not only reflects the lessons learned in a book such as this, but also the images they see in their recently built hometown parish church!


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    Last Thursday, we published the last of our four Corpus Christi photoposts for this year, which all together included over 220 photos! (This is after the painful process of going through each submission and making a selection of the better photos.) The first set within that post came from the recent celebrations for the reopening of the church of Corpus Christi in Maiden Lane, London, which His Eminence Card. Vincent Nichols officially established as a diocesan shrine dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, after an major restoration. At the Catholic Herald, columnist Tim Stanley writes about the event as follows:

    “...the English church has been through two iconoclastic periods: the 16th-century Protestant one and the liberal revolution of the Seventies, which did just as much to strip our altars and degrade our churches. The latter reforms were sadder because the Catholics inflicted them on themselves. There was no glorious martyrdom this time around. Just self-harm.


    Today, however, a new spirit is stirring. Popular devotions are back; confessions are on the up; and a new generation of priests is reviving beauty and the Old Rite. It’s a restoration. In 10 years’ time, the Corpus Christi procession will be a feature of many local churches – and the English unbelievers will watch and think, ‘Ooo, that looks interesting. How do I join in?’ That’s the way you convert. With magnificence.

    We also had a special post for the particularly outstanding celebration of Corpus Christi in Rome by the FSSP parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini. Pursuant to that, and to our recent post of a video by Brian Holdsworth on why good music is essential to Catholic worship, here is a brief but very powerful reflection from a blog called The Classical Contrarians on one young man’s experience of the beauty of the traditional Mass, which he first encountered there. (Our thanks to the author, Mr Nicholas Bonds.)



    “On a study abroad trip, a professor took us to a Latin Mass ... It was, I feel no shame in saying, magnificent. I cried as the smoky incense rose in the domed pilgrim church in downtown Rome, just blocks away from the Vatican and Piazza Navona. Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini would forever become my spiritual parish church. It was a surreal moment for me. The faith I feigned for so long had become solidified and real. I felt the pangs of regret I am sure my uncle must have felt, finally understanding the time spent away from such beauty. I felt love and devotion that I had never known. The frustration and sorrow I carried since my uncle’s passing began, although I did not know it, to heal. The Latin prayers offered to God gave a glimpse of the eternal. The parishioners, offering their gratitude in prayer, sang in a homogenous union. As I wept on my knees, I, too, was grateful.”

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    Here is the program for the upcoming Fota XI International Liturgy Conference, which will be held from July 7-9 at the Clayton Hotel (former Clarion Hotel) in Cork City, Ireland. The subject of the conference this year is Psallite Sapienter: The Liturgy of the Hours. (Please note that speakers and times may be subject to variations.) For information about registering for the conference, please click over to this recent post.

    Saturday, July 7

    8:15  Registration
    9:30  Opening of the Conference
    9:45-10:45  Fr. Dom Benedict Maria Andersen, OSB: Erant semper in templo: The Divine Office in the Life of the Church
    10:45  coffee
    11:00-12:00  Gregory DiPippo: The History of the Church in the Divine Office
    10:45  luncheon
    2:30-3:30  Matthew Hazell: The Second Vatican Council and Proposals for Reform of the Roman Breviary (1959-1963)
    3:30  coffee
    3:45-4:45  Prof. William Mahrt: The Role of Antiphons in the Singing of the Divine Office
    4:45-5:15  Discussion
    7:30  Pontifical Vespers at the church of Ss Peter and Paul, celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

    Pontifical Vespers during last year’s conference. (Courtesy of Mr John Briody)
    Sunday, July 8

    11:30  Pontifical High Mass at the church of Ss Peter and Paul, celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

    Pontifical Mass during last year’s conference. (Courtesy of Mr John Briody)
    3:30  coffee
    4:00-5:00  Fr. Sven Leo Sven Conrad, FSSP: Praying in the name of the Church - The liturgy of the hours as public prayer
    5:00-6:00  Fr. Joseph Briody: The Imprecatory Passages of the Psalms and their use in the Divine Office
    6:30-7:30  Launch of Resourcing the Prayers of the Roman Rite: Patristic Sources, Proceedings of the Fota X International Liturgy Conference (2017), edited by Fr. Joseph Briody
    8:00  Gala Dinner

    Monday, July 9

    9:30-10:30  Sr. Maria M. Kiely, OSB: Sobria Ebrietas: the role of the hymn in the Divine Office
    10:45-11:45  His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke: Canonical Questions regarding the Liturgy of the Hours
    12:30  Solemn High Mass at the church of Ss Peter and Paul
    1:30-2:30  luncheon
    2:45-3:45  Dr. Peter Kwasniewski: Useful Repetition in the Divine Office: A Case Study for Questioning Sacrosanctum Concilium 34
    3:45  coffee
    4:00-5:00  Fr. Dennis McManus: The Reform of the Liturgy of the Hours in Light of Nostra Aetate 

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    On June 9th, the FSSP church in Warrington, England, St Mary’s Shrine, welcomed His Excellency Malcolm McMahon, Archbishop of Liverpool, to celebrate the priestly ordination of a member of the order, Fr Seth Phipps. A video of the complete ceremony was just posted yesterday on the FSSP’s LiveMass Youtube channel.

    In the traditional rite, the ordination of a priest is just done before the conclusion of the last chant between the Epistle and Gospel, be it the Gradual, Tract, or Alleluia. The Mass on this occasion was that of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, (coinciding with the feast of the Immaculate Heart on the calendar of the Ordinary Form). The choir therefore sings the Alleluia up to the end of the verse (44:50); this is followed by some introductory remarks, the bishop’s sermon (49:10), the call for the ordinand to come forward, his presentation to the bishop (1:00:46), the reading in Latin of a very ancient sermon which is a fixed part of the ordination rite (1:01:35), and the Litany of the Saints (1:07:55). Towards the end of the Litany (1:20:50), the bishop rises, receives his crook and miter, then turns to the ordinand, and sings the invocations, “That Thou may deign to bless + this chosen one. - That Thou may deign to bless + and sancti+fy this chosen one. - That Thou may deign bless +, sancti+fy and conse+crate this chosen one.”, making the sign of the Cross over him at the + sign. The Litany concludes, followed immediately by the imposition of hands, first by the bishop, then by all other priests present.

    The bishop then says a prayer over the newly ordained (1:27:00) which segues into a consecratory Preface. He then sits on the faldstool; the new priest comes forward, and the bishop changes his stole from the deacon’s form to the priest’s, and clothes him with the chasuble (1:33:20). This is followed by another prayer, then the Veni, Creator Spiritus (1:37:10), during which the priest comes forward, has his hands anointed, and receives the chalice and paten, after which the Mass resumes, and the newly ordained concelebrate with the bishop.

    Our congratulations to Fr Phipps, to all of his family and friends, and to the FSSP, and our thanks to His Excellency Bishop McMahon for his pastoral care for the faithful attached to the traditional rites of the Church. Ad multos annos!

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    On Saturday, June 9, the Confraternity of St Ninian made a pilgrimage to Arbroath, Angus, Scotland, to honour St Columba of Iona, Patron of the local Diocese of Dunkeld, on his feast day, and to launch their main event of 2018, the Two Shrines Pilgrimage. (Photos from the Confraternity.)


    The day began with a Holy Hour at St Thomas’ Parish Church, before pilgrims walked to the ruins of Arbroath Abbey. The abbey was founded in 1178 by King William “the Lion” of Scotland, and dedicated to the martyr St Thomas Becket, who had been slain in Canterbury Cathedral only eight years before; King William, who had met the Archbishop at the English court, was eventually buried under the high altar. The foundation, the richest in Scotland, was entrusted to Benedictine monks of the Tironensian Order, and thrived until its destruction at the hands of John Knox’s “reformers” shortly after 1560. It is most famous for the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath, in which the Scottish nobles asserted the independence of the Scottish nation in the face of English aggression; in more recent history, the town, which developed around the harbour built by the monks to allow pilgrims to visit the abbey, became an important North Sea port.

    Holy Mass was celebrated outdoors at the site of the former high altar by Fr Ninian Doohan, a member of the local diocesan clergy; the liturgy, which was in the Extraordinary Form, included commemorations for the sixth anniversary of the consecration of the diocesan bishop, Stephen Robson, who is a noted friend of tradition in Scotland. After Mass, the pilgrims processed through the town singing the Rosary and hymns in honour of St Columba; this witness to the Christian faith was very well received by the people of the town. (In 2016, we posted some photos of Masses celebrated by Fr Doohan shortly after his ordination.)



    At lunch following the Mass, Confraternity president Mark Hamid launched the Two Shrines Pilgrimage 2018, which is the centre of the Confraternity’s annual programme and will take place from August 4-6. Modelled on the Chartres Pilgrimage, the event will begin at the national shrine to St Andrew in St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, and conclude with Holy Mass at the former shrine to St Andrew in St Andrews Cathedral, which this year marks the 700th anniversary of its consecration in the presence of King Robert the Bruce. During the three-day walk, pilgrims will pray the Rosary and other devotions and be supported by the chaplaincy of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer from Golgotha Monastery on the island of Papa Stronsay. Mass will be celebrated each day in the Extraordinary Form and other highlights will include a Holy Hour with Pontifical Benediction in the Chapel Royal, Falkland Palace and the opportunity to enjoy Christian fellowship throughout the event. Registrations for the pilgrimage are now open with an “early bird” discount available to registrants during the month of June.

    At St Andrew’s during last year’s pilgrimage
    Confraternity president Mark Hamid said, “Our pilgrimage to Arbroath today has been a wonderful opportunity to honour God and to bear witness to our beautiful Catholic Faith in this ancient monastic town. Our efforts to promote the reconversion of Scotland through penance and Christian witness will continue as we undertake our third annual Two Shrines Pilgrimage in August. I warmly invite everyone to get involved and thank them for their continued spiritual and financial assistance without which we would be unable to reach St Andrews. In recognition of the Cathedral’s important anniversary this year, we have set an ambitious fundraising target of £700 and greatly appreciate all contributions to allow us to reach this goal.”

    The Confraternity of St Ninian is a lay association and Scottish charity which promotes the re-conversion of Scotland to the Catholic Faith through pilgrimages incorporating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and traditional devotions. For more information on the Confraternity and the Two Shrines Pilgrimage, including how to support its efforts, please visit the website www.confraternity-of-st-ninian.com, or the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CofStNinian, or e-mail: cosn.president@gmail.com

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    Beauty and solemnity teach the young to love the worship of God in the sacred liturgy. (Reproduced from the Facebook page of the Liturgical Arts Journal, with thanks to Shawn Tribe.)

    Tunicled acolytes in Spanish blue for the Immaculate Conception.

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    On Sunday, July 8, 2018 at 5:00 pm, the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in New York City will host a group of priests from the Syriac Catholci Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark, for a celebration of the Qurbono Qadisho (“Holy Offering” or “Holy Sacrifice”) according to the Antiochian Rite of the Syriac Catholic Church. Attendance at this liturgy will fulfill the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday; following Holy Liturgy, the infirm are invited to approach the Altar Rail to be blessed. The church is located at 448 E. 116th St.
    This Liturgy at Our Lady Mt Carmel is a part of the Pallottine tradition of presenting Eastern Catholic liturgies, especially during the Octave of the Epiphany, and now the Novena in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

    The Syriac Catholic Church is one of 23 Eastern Catholic Churches based in Syria; the Patriarch, His Beatitude Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Yonan, has the Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syriacs since his election on January 20, 2009, and resides in Beirut, Lebanon. The languages used for the sacred Liturgical Rites are Syriac and Aramaic, the languages Our Lord himself would have used.

    ON Saturday, July 21, the Seventh Annual Traditional Mass Pilgrimage to the same church will take place, the culmination of the 134th annual feast of the Shrine and Parish’s Patroness, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.


    At 10:00 am, there will be a sermon on the Virgin Mary, followed by the Holy Rosary will be recited. Thereafter, the children will sing and present to the Blessed Mother a gift of flowers. Penitents will be invited to process down the nave on their knees and or discalced. Solemn Mass will be offered at 11:15 am. At 12:30 pm, there will be a Procession with the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Veneration of the Relics of Ss Vincent Pallotti and Elena di Laurino. Pilgrims will be able to take part in a potluck lunch in the parish hall, or eat at one of many nearby restaurants. The pilgrimage concludes with the ceremony of clothing with the Brown Scapular at 2:30 pm. See the Facebook event page here.

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    A somewhat belated Corpus Christi photopost, from the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione in Milan, where the traditional Ambrosian Rite is celebrated. The Mass was celebrated coram Sanctissimo; here we see the celebrant removing the Host from the tabernacle, and then incensing it, before the Mass itself begins. The vestments are red, which in the Ambrosian tradition is the liturgical color of the whole season from Pentecost until the third Sunday of October, on which the dedication of the cathedral of Milan is celebrated. Note the form of the monstrance, which is smaller than a typical Roman one, and cylindrical; this type was very common in the Middle Ages, as may be seen in innumerable illustrations in medieval liturgical books.




    A decorative collar called a cappino is attached to the top of a chasuble, dalmatic or tunicle at the back. During the incensations, the chasuble is held up higher than is typical in the Roman Rite, parallel to the floor.
    The thurible has no top, and is swung in circles in a manner than keeps its contents from flying out. (This takes some practice.)
    The acolytes bowing at the conclusion of the Oratio super populum, the equivalent of the Collect.
    The celebrant does not wear the biretta for the sermon, since the Sacrament is exposed.
    Incensation at the Offertory


    Benediction after the Mass.





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    St Augustine notes that John the Baptist is the only Saint whose birth the Church celebrates, apart from that of the Savior Himself, since the feast of the Virgin Mary’s Birth had not yet been instituted in his time. This custom is observed in fulfillment of the Angel Gabriel’s words to John’s father Zachariah, which are read in the Gospel of the vigil, that “Many shall rejoice in his birth.” (Luke 1, 14) The Roman Rite originally observed two Mass on June 24th, one to be celebrated early in the morning, after Prime, and another after Terce, as attested in the Gregorian Sacramentary. These correspond to the dawn and day Masses of Christmas; the greater solemnity of the birth of Christ, of whom John said “I must wane that He may wax”, is proclaimed by the fact that it is celebrated with three Masses.

    This custom of the two Masses gradually died out, and was observed only in a few places at the time of the Tridentine liturgical reform; the Mass which survived, and is included in the Missal of St Pius V, is the second one. Here is the full text of the dawn Mass; medieval commentators such as William Durandus noted that the day Mass was the more solemn of the two, since it has more proper texts, while most of the Gregorian chants for the dawn Mass are also used on the feasts of other Saints.

    Folio 174v of a 13th century Missal according to the Use of Paris, with the morning Mass of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, beginning in the upper part of the left column, and the day Mass beginning at the lower right. (Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des manuscrits. Latin 1112)
    The introit is one used in Roman Missal for the feasts of simple Confessors, but the same words from Psalm 91 are also used in the Office of a Martyr.
    Introitus Ps. 91 Justus ut palma florébit: sicut cedrus Líbani multiplicábitur: plantátus in domo Dómini, in atriis domus Dei nostri. ℣. Bonum est confitéri Dómino: et psállere nómini tuo, Altíssime. Glória Patri. Justus ut palma...
    Introit The just man shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus, planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. ℣. It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O most High. Glory be. The just man...

    The three proper prayers of the Mass are all found in the Gregorian Sacramentary, and the Missals of those Uses which retained the dawn Mass until the post-Tridentine reform.

    Collecta Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui beati Joannis Baptistae solemnia colimus, ejus apud te intercessione muniamur. Per.
    Collect Grant, we ask, almighty God, that we who keep the solemnity of blessed John the Baptist, may be defended by his intercession. Through Our Lord...

    The Epistle for this Mass varies from one Use to another; in the Parisian version shown above, it is taken from Isaiah 48 (verses 17-19), the chapter preceding that from which the Epistle of the day Mass is taken.

    Thus saith the Lord thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord thy God that teach thee profitable things, that govern thee in the way that thou walkest. O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments: thy peace had been as a river, and thy justice as the waves of the sea, and thy seed had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy womb like the gravel thereof: his name should not have perished, nor have been destroyed from before my face.

    The Gradual repeats the text of the Introit, with the second verses of the same Psalm.

    Graduale Justus ut palma florébit: sicut cedrus Líbani multiplicábitur: plantátus in domo Dómini, in atriis domus Dei nostri. ℣. Ad annuntiandum mane misericordiam tuam, et veritatem tuam per noctem.
    Gradual The just man shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus, planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. V. To show forth thy mercy in the morning, and thy truth in the night.

    In some places, the Alleluia repeats the same words from Psalm 91 a third time, but in others, it was taken from the Savior’s own testimony to the greatness of John, from Matthew 11, 11.

    Alleluia, alleluia. Inter natos mulierum, non surrexit major Joanne Baptista. Alleluia. (Among those born of woman, there hath arisen no greater than John the Baptist.)

    The Preaching of John the Baptist, by Domenico Ghirlandaio, in the Tornabuoni Chapel of Santa Maria Novella, the Dominican parish in Florence, 1485-1490.
    On the vigil, the Gospel, Luke 1, 5-17, tells of the Angel Gabriel’s appearance to Zachariah in the temple, and his prophecy of the conception and birth of John. In the Missal of St Pius V, the story of Zachariah’s doubting of the Angel’s words, and being struck dumb, and the words of Elizabeth about her conception are not read; this was the Gospel of the dawn Mass, verses 18-25.

    At that time: Zachary said to the angel: Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years. And the angel answering, said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God: and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings. And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time. And the people were waiting for Zachary; and they wondered that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak to them: and they understood that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he made signs to them, and remained dumb. And it came to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived, and hid herself five months, saying: Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he hath had regard to take away my reproach among men.

    The Annunication to Zachariah, by Giovanni di Paolo (ca. 1455-60; public domain image from the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.)
    The Offertory is taken the Mass of Confessors.

    Offertorium In virtute tua, Domine, laetabitur justus, et super salutare tuum exsultabit vehementer; desiderium animae ejus tribuisti ei.
    Offertory In thy strength, O Lord, the just man shall rejoice, and in thy salvation he shall exsult exceedingly; thou hast given him his soul’s desire.

    Secreta Munera, Domine, oblata sanctifica; et intercedente beato Joanne Baptista, nos per haec a peccatorum nostrorum maculis emunda. Per...
    Secret O Lord, sanctify the gifts offered; and by the intercession of blessed John the Baptist, through them cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through Our Lord...

    The Communion antiphon is one commonly used for the feasts of Confessors.

    Communio Posuísti, Dómine, super caput ejus corónam de lápide pretióso.
    Communion Thou hast set, o Lord, upon his head a crown of precious stones.

    Postcommunio Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui caelestia alimenta percepimus, intercedente beato Joanne baptista, per haec contra omnia adversa muniamur. Per...
    Postcommunio Grant, we ask, almighty God, that we who have received the food of heaven, by the intercession of blessed John the Baptist, may through it be defended from all adversities. Through our Lord...

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    The following dialogue occurs between a traditionalist and a Catholic of good will who has started attending the old Mass but is still trying to understand the traditionalist’s position.

    Oliver: I've often hear you say, Charlie, that the Novus Ordo represents a huge rupture with the preceding liturgical tradition. But you never comment about other changes in the history of liturgy, like the development of the whispered low Mass, that also break with preceding tradition — I guess because traditionalists are okay with these things. So what’s the difference? When is a new direction not truly a rupture? Or is it a “development” if you happen to agree with it, and a “rupture” if you happen to dislike it?

    Charles: Great question. I would say that developments come in two basic “flavors”: those that flow forth in harmony with something profoundly within the liturgy, like a flower from a tree, and those that are imposed from without in a mechanistic way, like a prosthetic limb.

    Oliver: Could you illustrate your distinction in reference to the low Mass example?

    Charles: The liturgy is certainly meant to be sung in its solemn form — you, of all people, know I’ve defended that many times. However, the mystery of the Mass also allows for and invites the priest to an intense mysticism of intercession, oblation, and communion. Thus, it is easy to see how, especially in monastic settings with an abundance of priests, the private daily Mass emerged in contradistinction to the conventual or parochial Mass. This need not be seen as a problem, unless it becomes the norm for communal Mass and edges out the sung liturgy.

    Oliver: But how would you defend the proposition that this change was incidental and not substantive?

    Charles: One might say that the same Mass exists at different levels of execution, like the difference between a Shakespeare play read quietly to oneself, the same play read aloud by a group of friends, and the play fully acted out in costume on the stage with props and so forth. It is the same play, but realized more or less fully according to its essence as a play. Any of those actualizations of the play are based on one and the same play. Think how different it would be if, instead of this, you had a modernized redaction of Shakespeare that purged Catholic references so as not to offend Protestants, changed the vocabulary to contemporary English, and changed the gender of the starring roles! In the latter case, even if the play was given the same title, it would no longer be the same reality — no matter how well you acted it out on stage.

    Oliver: I see what you’re getting at. But here’s something that’s bothered me. How long does it take until something can be considered part of ecclesiastical tradition? If a parish has communion in the hand for 40 years, does this then become part of tradition? Imagine if — God forbid! — altar girls are the norm for the next hundred years. In the year 2118, can one look back and say “this is not and never has been ecclesiastical tradition,” or would one say “this is a tradition, but it’s bad and we should change it”?

    Charles: Let’s take up the question of communion first. When the Latin Church shifted in the Middle Ages to communion under the species of bread alone, given on the tongue to faithful who are kneeling, it was for good reasons: it fosters a spirit of humility and adoration, and, on a practical level, is easier and safer. It is, in other words, completely in accord with the letter and spirit of the liturgical action, something that emerges from a deeper grasp of the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, there could never be a compelling reason to undo this development, unless we wanted less safety, less humility, and less adoration. But that could only come from the devil.

    In fact, Paul VI himself recognized that communion on the tongue was superior and reasserted it, although he then allowed the abuse of communion in the hand to sweep over the Church because he was an indecisive and confused shepherd — even his best decisions still have something of Hamlet mixed in with them, as when he called a commission to look into contraception, which raised false hopes among the progressives. But I digress…

    Oliver: So you don’t buy the argument that it was good to restore communion in the hand because “it’s what used to be done in ancient times”?

    The right way
    Charles: This both begs the question — why did the custom change if it was so good to begin with? — and contradicts the teaching of Pope Pius XII that we should avoid antiquarianism, i.e., returning to an older practice just because it is older. When an early custom was universally left behind and another put in its place, we should see this as a recognition of a superior line of conduct.

    Oliver: Would this apply to the Novus Ordo as well, since it was universally put in place of the old rite of Mass?

    Charles: Of course not. First, thanks to the protection of the Holy Spirit, Paul VI, who wanted to abolish the old liturgy, never successfully abrogated it, as Pope Benedict XVI later acknowledged. So the old liturgy has always remained legitimate (and, indeed, it could never be otherwise). Moreover, while the Tridentine liturgical books were eventually received universally, the Novus Ordo was resisted from the beginning by an intrepid number of clergy and laity, and this refusal to accept the rupture has not faded away but has actually grown over the decades. In this way it is simply a fact that the Novus Ordo, while unfortunately the predominant rite, cannot be said to have supplanted and replaced the old rite, whereas communion on the tongue to kneeling faithful totally replaced any other manner of reception in the Middle Ages. Thus one cannot, in principle or in practice, make the argument that the more recent rite is superior to the more ancient rite. But one would have to say quite a bit more on this matter, and maybe we are drifting from the main point...

    Oliver: Let me ask a general question. Why don’t you think there should be continual change in the liturgy — you know, different things for different ages and peoples?

    Charles: I recognize that there can and will be small changes, like the addition of new feasts or saints to the calendar, or new prefaces, but not large-scale changes. Church history shows that development starts out at a more rapid pace and slows down increasingly as the liturgy reaches perfection. In a way, it is like molten lava that erupts from a fissure and gradually cools to become solid. In the same way, the liturgy gushed forth from the heart of Jesus on the Cross, and solidified over the centuries as holy men and women continued to pray it, showing great reverence to what they inherited from their predecessors.

    Oliver: The Byzantine Divine Liturgy, for instance, has changed very little over the last several centuries, and the great majority of Eastern Christians see no need to change it, since it accomplishes so well what it exists for.

    Charles: Exactly. The traditional Roman liturgy grew to its mature grandeur more slowly than did the Byzantine, but the same progressive solidification and the same conservative instinct can be seen in it. The Roman Canon was complete by the start of the seventh century; then most of the remaining ceremonies by the early Middle Ages; and finally the prayers at the foot of the altar and the Last Gospel in the late Middle Ages. At this point it no longer needed to evolve and could remain solid and stable for almost 500 years (from 1570 to 1962). Those who use it today see no need to “develop” it further; on the contrary, they unanimously wish to keep the Mass in its fullness, prior to the corruptions introduced by Pius XII after 1948.

    Oliver: I know that some people compare the process you are describing to the way a human being develops. Do you think that analogy holds? It seems like one would run into the problem of aging and senility…

    Charles: Rightly understood, this analogy works. A child changes tremendously on the way to adulthood, but the pace of change becomes less as time goes on. Everyone knows that one year of time means something very different in the first 10 years of life, the second 10 years, and the remaining decades. Time, for organic things, is not simple and undifferentiated. And if we were not fallen beings, we might remain adults at approximately age 33 for our entire lives. The liturgy grows to maturity and then remains at maturity, without fail, until the second coming of Christ. Hence, a strange custom that arises in the 20th or 21st century cannot lay claim to being a natural development but is more like a cancerous tumor in a body. It is like an infantilization, a rejection of maturity.

    Oliver: But what do you make of my altar girl example? What if we had them for over a century?

    All made up and nowhere to go
    Charles: As St. Athanasius says, even if the whole world agreed that Christ was not God, the handful of Christians who still worshiped Him as God would be correct; they would be the Church. “They have the buildings, you have the Faith,” he famously said to the small band of anti-Arian Catholics. Similarly, even if we were to have altar girls for 200 years, they would always be an aberration of the Western liturgical tradition, and never an organic development. A machine is a machine; it will never turn into an organism. Schizophrenia will always be a disorder, no matter how long one has it. A man is a man and a woman a woman, regardless of what the confused gender-ideology of the day wants to say about it.

    Oliver: That makes a lot of sense.

    Charles: And by the way, you have to resist a lie that has gained a great deal of ground, namely that matters of liturgy are on a different plane than matters of doctrine. Someone might say, disputes about the divinity of Christ are one thing; disagreements about the liturgical discipline of altar servers is quite another. Don't lump together Arius and Bugnini, or Honorius and Paul VI. But in reality, every liturgical question stems from and resolves to a doctrinal question. Nothing we do in our worship is doctrinally neutral or irrelevant or inconsequential.

    Oliver: That certainly seems true, if you just look at the shift in the beliefs of ordinary Catholics from preconciliar to postconciliar times. The next logical question, I guess, would be this: How do we know what stage of development the Church is in right now? I could imagine the faithful in the 15th century saying: “A strange custom that arises in the 15th century cannot lay claim to being a natural development but is more like a tumor.” And are not some innovations, such as the centralized tabernacle on the altar, considered to be a non-tumorous change even though it did not come about until rather late?

    Charles: Perhaps the solution to this conundrum is to look at why people make the changes they make. In the 15th century — or, for that matter, any century — liturgy is developed in the direction of expansion. People add processions, litanies, extra prayers, repetitions. They do this out of devotion. It is rare that such things are pruned, though it does happen from time to time. However, what is absolutely unprecedented is for very many things to be cut back simultaneously and as a result of utilitarian, rationalist, and activist presuppositions, as occurred in the 1960s. So I think one can see a crucial difference between earlier phases of development, which involve positive growth, and the contrary motion of corruption, which is opposed to that growth and in fact tends to hate it and attack it iconoclastically — always a sign of the Evil One. When altars got bigger and grander, it was a development. When altars were jackhammered and dumped, it was a rupture.

    Oliver: How is one to know that some change ought to be made?

    Charles: Anything that belongs to the practical order will involve the exercise of the virtue of prudence: we are making a judgment about what it is prudent to change. But always with a tremendous, even fearful respect for all that has been received in tradition! That is why the Second Vatican Council, in one of its more sober statements, said: “There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 23). The Council Fathers were mostly pastors of souls, and they knew that too much change at any time, for any reason, is a bad thing, as St. Thomas explains when discussing why even laws that are imperfect should not necessarily be replaced with better laws, because it weakens the confidence people have in habitually following laws in general.

    Oliver: Of course, bringing back the old Latin liturgy is a change of custom for most Catholics, so it, too, could weaken their sense of ecclesial stability or trust. What do you say to that?

    Charles: The only justification that can be given for such a big change is that the good of recovering liturgical tradition overwhelmingly outweighs the evil of disturbing people’s habits. Besides, churchmen since the Second Vatican Council have given us so many reasons to distrust their decisions that it’s rather silly at this point to suggest that we can be destabilized more than we have already been by all the doctrinal confusion, moral laxity, and liturgical chaos of the past five decades. The return of tradition means a return of dogma, holiness, and right worship — all stabilizing factors. It’s like going from anarchy to government, or from a starvation diet to a royal banquet. Only a cruel person would say: “The poor are so accustomed to malnutrition that we should just let them stay at that level, even though we are capable of providing them with abundant nutrition.”

    Oliver: Your arguments make me wonder about the use and abuse of Church authority. Would you say there was a similar (although not nearly as bad) problem when the Council of Trent suppressed rites? It seems to me that after Trent the idea of what the liturgy is in relation to the Vatican undergoes a shift.

    Charles: Yes, Trent, or perhaps I should say St. Pius V, does introduce a new dynamic. He did not abolish any rite older than 200 years, but the way the new missal was imposed showed a tendency to overreach.

    Oliver: One can sympathize; it was a centralized response to the centrifugal force of Protestant experimentation and diversity.

    Charles: For sure. I don’t deny that. But in 1570, for the first time in history, a pope took upon himself the role of officially promulgating a missal for the Latin rite Church. It’s quite striking, isn’t it, to think that Catholicism endured for 1,500 years with a rich liturgical tradition that had never been administered or validated by the Vatican?

    Oliver: The only thing more striking, one could say, is that Paul VI was audacious enough to introduce a new missal, which Pius V would never have done, or even conceived of doing. His 1570 missal was, for all intents and purposes, the same as papal curial missals had been for centuries before.

    Charles: You are provoking me, aren’t you, to take up the question of whether or not Paul VI’s manufactured liturgy can seriously be called the Roman Rite, and whether this talk of “two forms” can really be defended. That’s a longer conversation, for another day. But this much should give us pause: never in the history of the Catholic Church had there been a new missal, until 1969.

    Oliver: Whatever the answer may be, it won’t change where I’ll be heading for church on Sunday. See you at the High Mass for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost!

    Charles: You bet.
    *          *          *
    (NLM readers may be interested in another dialogue that took place one day between two other friends, Terence and William, on whether faithful Catholics are permitted to question the liturgical reform.)

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    In past blog posts, (for example here) I have described part of the story of how, nearly 30 years ago, when I was living in London, I met a man who showed me a series of spiritual exercises which would, he promised, enable me to discern my personal vocation, and then follow the path towards it. I followed his guidance, and it gave me exactly what he promised, along with many more unexpected benefits. Not only did I change my career path completely, so that I became an artist without having any formal qualification in this or any even remotely related field; I was also converted from a bitter and unhappy atheist into a believer whose life was (and still is), generally, happy. Furthermore, this set me on a path that led, about five years later, to my reception into the Catholic Church. I have now written a book (with a forward by Fr Marcelo Navarro, I.V.E.) that tells the story of how this happened and describes in detail how to do these exercises. It is called The Vision for You.


    What is remarkable about my contact with him, it seems to me, is not only the process he showed me (which I describe in detail), but also the fact that he was able to entice someone as antagonistic, and indeed, hostile, to the idea of God and to Christianity as I was, into being prepared to commit to a process of deep reflection, prayer, and meditation in the Western tradition. I realize now that the way he presented it to me was a perfect model of evangelization, and so, with the thought that this might be of interest to others too, this is why I tell the whole story of my conversion. 

    The man who showed this to me was called David Birtwistle. He was in his mid-60s when I met him, and I was 26. I was introduced to him by a mutual friend, who was already being guided by him. David was a Catholic (and ultimately became my sponsor when I was received into the Church), but he didn’t talk of his Catholicism or of the Christian roots of the process. He just told me what to do in order to have a happy life. This was good judgment in my case; if he had pushed religion onto me at that stage I would not have been interested.

    This program of spiritual exercises, while clearly coming from the Christian tradition, was as far as I can tell, unique to David both in the way he had put it together, and in the fact that it contained elements which he had developed himself. It is a program of activity that requires some time and work, rather like Ignatian exercises, but they are not the same as anything coming from St Ignatius that I have read. It involves first a structured daily routine of prayer and meditation, which establishes and maintains a connection with God; second, a period of deep reflection on one’s sins and our need for forgiveness; and finally, of listening to God’s call and following it. 

    When the time was right, he did show his hand in regard to his own faith. So, for example, I had known him for three years when I told him that I had decided I was Christian and was shopping around churches of different denominations to see where I fitted in. I was still unaware that he was Catholic. He didn’t even tell me at this point, but he did direct me to “a church in South Kensington” which he thought I might enjoy. “Make sure you go at eleven o’clock,” he had said to me firmly. What I didn’t know was that he was directing me to Solemn Mass at the London Oratory!

    I was not the only one he helped. Aside from my friend, in the time I knew him he I saw him show this process to dozens of people upon whom it had the same impact. He died of a heart attack nine years after I met him, and over 600 people came to his funeral in West London, some of whom had flown in from thousands of miles away in order to be there. They were people from a whole range of social backgrounds, from investment bankers to construction workers.

    I decided to write this book for a number of reasons. First is my belief that the combination of these exercises (which I still practice daily even now) and the sacramental life of the Church offer the greatest happiness that I can have in this life. I thought that some, both inside and currently outside the Church, might be interested in the gift I was given.

    Furthermore, I thought that those who are in the Church and are happy, so that they do need feel any particular need to go through such a process, might nevertheless be interested in David’s method of evangelization so that they can use it themselves. The main weapon, so to speak, that David had was that he was so obviously at peace, and he also knew how to transmit this to others. I describe in some detail, as best as I can remember so many years later, the conversations we had and how he went about convincing me that he had something he could pass it on to me, without my ever feeling I was being manipulated or pushed into something I didn’t want to do.

    Finally, the route to happiness that this program gave me was through the discernment of my personal vocation. My belief is that many people who are unhappy in life, whether Catholic or not, are unhappy because they are not doing what they are meant to do. This process, I believe, can offer a new direction that may bring the happiness you are looking for. When I met David, I was so unhappy that I was about to look for a therapist or psychiatrist who could offer counsel - or a prescription - that could change the way I felt. David suggested to me that I might like to wait and see how I felt after the process, because he thought it might solve my depression. I am glad that I followed his advice.

    My experience is that this process was able to take me from where I was to where I ought to be. The degree to which this will re-order you life depends, of course, on how far you are from the path that God intends for you. In my case, this was a profound dislocation that didn’t just change the direction of the path I was on, it helicoptered me onto a whole new path. And again, what is remarkable about this, is that once I discovered the degree where it was taking me, I was more than happy to go along with it.

    I decided to write it now, so many years after David died, in part because I noticed that the blog posts I referred have had as positive response as any that I have written. Also, I have now had experience of taking several dozen people through this process myself and have seen it work for them too. All of them were given either a new or deeper faith in God, and several have even converted or returned to the Church. This has given me the confidence to believe that I have sufficient experience and understanding of the process to put it writing for, one hopes, the benefit of others.

    The Vision for You, How to Discover the Life You Were Made For can be ordered online here.

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    The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Saints John and Paul, as recounted in the pre-Tridentine Breviary according to the Use of the Roman Curia.

    At Rome, (the passion) of John and Paul, brothers… when the Caesar Julian was taken by sacrilegious lust for money, he sought to color his greed by the witness of the Gospel. For as he took from the Christians their goods and properties, he would say, “Your Christ says in the Gospel, ‘Who renounceth not all that he possesseth cannot be my disciple.’ ” Now it came to his notice that Paul and John were helping the crowds of Christians by means of the riches which the virgin Constantia (the daughter of Constantine, whom John and Paul had formerly served) had left to them. And he sent a man to see them, and say that they must adhere to him. But they answered … “Because of your iniquity we have desisted from greeting you, and withdrawn ourselves entirely from all association with your rule. For we are not false, but true Christians. … We do not do you this injury, that we prefer any sort of human person before you. We prefer to you the Lord, who made the heaven and earth, the sea and all things that are in them.” (The saints also declare their refusal to return to the court, where they had formerly served Constantine, and greet the emperor.) Julian said to them, “I give you a pause of ten days. When they have passed, if you come to me willingly, I will hold you as my friends; if you do not come, I will punish you as public enemies.”

    Despite the great antiquity of the cultus of Ss John and Paul, and the presence of their names in the Roman Canon, they are rarely represented in art. These paintings decorate the place within their house where they were originally buried; other martyrs whose connection to them is not altogether clear, Ss Crispus, Crispinian and Benedicta, are represented alongside them. The relics have long since been moved into the altar of the church dedicated to them, which was built on top of the house. 
    Then the holy men John and Paul, calling the Christians to themselves, gave orders concerning all the things which they could leave behind, and for the whole of the ten days busied themselves with almsgiving day and night. But on the eleventh day they were confined within their house. (A military officer named Terentian is then sent to their house and says to them) “Our lord Julian has sent a little golden statue of Jove to you, that you may adore it and burn incense. But if you do not do this, you will both be struck with my sword. … ” John and Paul said, “If Julian is your lord, have peace with him. We have no other Lord, but the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whom he (i.e. Julian the Apostate) did not fear to deny. And because he was once cast away from the face of God, he wishes others to come down with him to destruction.” (Terentian has them decapitated and buried in their house.)

    The exterior of the church of Ss John and Paul, which was completely rebuilt in the 12th century. 
    Julian was at once slain in the war with Persia, and when Jovinian had become the most Christian emperor, the churches were opened, and the Christian religion began to rejoice. (Following this, many possessed persons are healed in the house of Saints John and Paul, including the son of Terentian, who himself converts to Christianity, and writes the passion of the Holy Martyrs.)

    A later and apocryphal tradition says that Julian the Apostate was killed by a Christian soldier in his army named Mercurius, (who is honored in the East as a Saint), as depicted here in a Coptic icon. (image from wikipedia.) The true historical date of Julian’s death is the same as the feast of Ss John and Paul, June 26th.
    R. Hæc est vera fratérnitas, quæ numquam pótuit violári certámine: qui effúso sánguine secúti sunt Dóminum: * Contemnentes aulam regiam, pervenérunt ad regna caelestia. V. Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum habitáre fratres in unum. Contemnentes. Gloria Patri. Contemnentes.

    R. This is the true brotherhood, which could never be injured in the struggle; who by shedding their blood, followed the Lord. * Disdaining the palace of the king, they came to the heavenly kingdom. V. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity. Disdaining. Glory be to the Father. Disdaining.

    In the Breviary of St Pius V and its predecessors, this responsory is said on the feasts of Several Martyrs who are also brothers. The devotion to John and Paul is one of the oldest in the city of Rome, and the responsory was almost certainly originally written for their feast day.

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    The opening Mass of the CMAA Colloquium in Chicago took place yesterday afternoon. A Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit was celebrated in the Madonna della Strada Chapel at Loyola University, by His Excellency Joseph Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago. Also pictured are Fr Robert Pasley KCHS, chaplain of the CMAA, and Horst Buchholz, organist and director of one of the Colloquium’s polyphonic choirs.


















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    Other writers on this blog have often highlighted the role of organic vs. inorganic change in the liturgy, especially as regards the reforms and effects of the Second Vatican Council. It’s not my purpose to discuss this here. My purpose is instead to discuss the role of wisdom and prudent change within boundaries of an obedient, reverent liturgy celebrated according to the relevant norms. I wish further to discuss the topic of role fatigue and subsidiarity as it relates.

    If faith put in practice is to persevere, it must also be sustainable and dynamic. Quite simply, the Eucharist is the source and summit of all Catholic life; therefore, if someone burns out with the liturgy, he or she will not persevere in faith. This is where questions of prudence and role fatigue come into play. Let’s begin with two examples:

    I recall an invitation to sing in a Gregorian chant schola that rehearsed Sunday mornings at 5:30 am and sung for a 7:00 am Mass. It was a good group, so naturally I was interested; however, as much as our readers know my deep love of Gregorian chant and traditional liturgy, I confess that my first utterances upon hearing the alarm at 4:30 that morning were not in praise of the benevolent Creator. The time simply didn’t work with my other responsibilities, and I quit after the first season. Three of the men in that group are now faithful Benedictine monks, and I am a faithful lay Catholic, married and serving full-time in a parish. If practicing my Catholic faith required me to wake up every Sunday at 4:30am, I probably would have quit. Thank God there were options that were more prudent for me at the time.

    Prudence and role fatigue don’t simply apply to time commitments but also to ideological tenacity, one’s participation in society at large, the battles one fights, one’s emotions, and even family and intergenerational dynamics. I call to mind someone who, in younger years, had been a public champion for traditional liturgy with all of the trappings. All of a sudden one day, she quit Catholicism entirely, because she had grown tired of fighting. She could only conceive of Catholicism as a sort of sacralized politics, an ever-present revolution where every minute detail was a sign of a larger battle of good and evil. She had fatigued in a role, a closed cycle of anxiety, that admitted no change, development, or relief. The last I heard, she was delivering pizzas.

    In these two examples, one might argue that God’s grace was not lacking. Grace gives one supernatural ability to accomplish what is naturally impossible. No Catholic marriage lasts, nor does any priest remain faithful to his vocation, without it. Every good action is inspired, sustained, and brought to perfection through the working of grace. I get it; but no person receives exactly the same gifts and graces. I have prayed for the grace of being a cheerful early riser, and all I have been given is black coffee and an alarm clock.

    Nevertheless, prudence and subsidiarity are key principles for perseverance and sustainability. Prudence is key insofar as a community must apply the liturgical norms obediently, to the letter of the law, but also in a manner that takes into account the stakeholders in the community. Early risers, golfers, monks, and farmers may appreciate a quiet 6:00 am Mass; urban families may prefer a sung 11:00 am; college students may appreciate a candlelit 10 pm. Within the norms, therefore, a parish needs to cast a broad net. In this sense -- and obediently keeping the applicable norms -- the variation of practice is a sign of healthy subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is key insofar as it allows one local parish to differ from another; similarly it allows the pastor to vary the culture within the parish from a short low Mass with no music, to a two-hour High Mass with incense, soaring music, and innumerable servers. A good shepherd knows his sheep, and accordingly a good pastor, in his role as liturgist, knows what sustains the people he serves, and what they in turn can support in the various para-liturgical ministries such as choirs, altar servers, etc. It is often a varied diet.

    Others also share in the pastor’s responsibility to sustain the faith of the people of the parish. Writing as music director in a parish of 4,500 families, with extraordinarily strong Mass attendance and a regular diet of orchestral Masses, Gregorian chant, polyphony, hymns, and organ repertoire, my responsibility is to engage as many people as possible in our various choirs, scholas, and other ensembles; and through them, to support the sung prayer of all in the parish. My success or failure depends on my ability to make participation in my choirs sustainable, fun, worthwhile, and engaging for each member, while at the same time reaching deeply, together, into the authentic sacred treasury of our Catholic tradition. All is done so that God would receive fitting praise, as beautiful and noble as our community is able to offer. It is possible to have the right goals, and still miss the mark-- whether it's the right music at the wrong time, or too much unfamiliar repertoire at once, or not enough fun and recreation. It takes time and wisdom to find the balance.

    I respectfully issue a challenge, to anyone who might join me, that the work of restoring the liturgy isn’t so much about argument, as about ongoing education; it isn’t so much a sprint, as it is daily persistence toward a worthy goal. The old house is not restored in one effort, nor the fractured neighborhood reunited in a single week; both are restored by a commitment to live and to remain amid the challenges, with joy and gentle strength. Virtue is the wisdom to fix the roof before the rains, the humility to ask for help when “you’re in over your head”, the patience to teach one’s children to keep the garden, the generosity to help a neighbor with a project… and lastly it is respect for the tools, for the work itself, and for one’s companions.

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    My thanks to an old friend, Mr John Boyden, for bringing to my attention this film made by the Franciscans to promote vocations in 1962, starring Jack Nicholson, (yes, the Jack Nicholson!) as a young friar looking back on how he found his way to the priesthood. It is interesting to see some of his characteristic facial expressions and accents applied to such a role.
    The film is perhaps a bit melodramatic for modern tastes, very much in the tenor of its times, but no less interesting for all that. The strong emphasis on the theology of the priesthood as a spiritual ministry, rather than a form of social work, is very edifying, especially for those of us who grew up in the era immediately following, when this was very much out of fashion. Also in keeping with the tenor of the times, no one thought it was out of place for the good Padre to be shown reminiscing about his journey to the priesthood while smoking; I think this would earn it a PG-13 today. Much has changed since this film was made, for better and for worse, but some things never change in Hollywood; if Nicholson looks a little old for a high school senior here, it’s because he was 25 when he made this, just as Tom Holland, the actor who plays high-school student Peter Parker / Spiderman in the Marvel Universe films, is 22.

    In December of 2016, we shared a film made by the Paulist Fathers in the mid-1960s to promote vocations, in which the actor Brian Keith, who later played Uncle Bill on Family Affair, had a small part.

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    Last week, His Excellency David O’Connell, the bishop of Trenton, New Jersey, participated in a Theology on Tap event at Princeton, discussing the current state of the Faith, and especially the notable drop in religious practice among young people. As reported in the diocese of Trenton’s newspaper The Monitor, during the question-and-answer session at the end, the topic of the Latin Mass came up.

    “One person asked whether there would be more parishes celebrating Mass in the extraordinary form, to which the Bishop replied, ‘Tell me, what is the attraction to the Latin Mass? It’s interesting to me that the push for this is coming not from the old, but from the young.’

    ‘I think what drew me to the Latin Mass was the beauty and the mystery,’ said one responder. ‘It’s probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.’ Bishop O’Connell agreed. ‘There’s something about the mystery of the Mass, in a time when many things are so mundane ... so for those for whom Latin is spiritual nourishment, I encourage it.’ Another attendee, Francis, called it ‘a beautiful, living history – it made me want to grow deeper in faith.’ ”

    On that subject, I thought I would share with our readers these two videos by Peter Kwasniewski’s son Julian, age 18, which he made “to show, through music and images, what appeals to him and his college friends about everything comprised in the phrase ‘Catholic Tradition.’ ” The first is set to music by Victoria, and gives a broad picture of the Catholic liturgical tradition; the second is focused particularly on the priesthood with music by DuFay. (We have shared some of Julian’s work previously here and here.)




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    Our Ambrosian correspondent Nicola de’ Grandi provided these photos from a show currently going on at the Regia di Venaria, the former Royal Palace near the city of Turin. “Restituzioni 2018” (Restorations) showcases over 200 works which have been recently restored in one way or another; art restoration is, not at all surprisingly, a field in which the Italians have a tremendous expertise and to which they devote enormous resources. The works in this show come from every part of the country, and cover every kind of art, brought from churches, museums and archeological sites, broadly representing the whole of Italy’s inestimable cultural patrimony. Here is a selection of some very nice liturgical items; tomorrow, we will post pictures of some of the many paintings also displayed at the show. (The catalog for the show can be consulted here.)

    Lamp made in either Flanders or Germany, with stories of St George, 1421-40

    A velvet chasuble of the mid-15th century, reworked in the mid-18th, decorated in the middle with silk embroidered with metalic threads.

    Reliquary of the arm of St Eugene, from the Co-cathedral of St Peter in Noli, Liguria, 1430
    The upper part of a crook, mid 15th-century, from the cathedral treasure of Tropea, Calabria.
    Pyx with hunting scenesm, sicilian-arabic work ca. 1250-1335, from the church of St Stephen in Verona.

    Silver statue of the Virgin of the Assumption, from the diocesan museum of Gerace, Calabria, 1772
    Gilded bronze statues of various Saints by Ciro Ferri, from the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus (aka ‘il Gesù’) in Rome, 1688-89.
    Frontal from the church of St Philip Neri in Turin, 1701, made of a variety of materials (poplar, walnut, rosewood, ivory, tortoise-shell, mother-of-pearl, lapis lazuli, jasper, etc.) The cross below is part of the same altar.

    A kneeler made in the workshop of the Florentine carpenter Giorgio Tedesco, wood covered in ebony and inlaid with ivory; from the Casa Della Rovere in Urbino, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche; originally made at the end of the 16th century, reassembled in the mid-17th.
    Chest with the Four Cardinal Virtues, made in Tuscany in the later part of the 15th cenutyr; Candelabras decorated with Roman motifs (dolphins on the left, putti and masks on the right) by a Lombard sculptor, 16th-17th century.
    Fragments from the tomb of St Julian at his church in Rimini, made in Byzantium sometime from the 9th-11th centuries.
    Decorated cloth made in the mid-14th century in Lucca, now in the Bargello Museum in Florence.
    Decorated cloth made in the mid-15th century in Granada, Spain.
    Decorated cloth from central Italy, 15th-16th century.
    Statue of St Lucy, from the parish church of the Assumption in Caramagna Piemonte, 16th century.
    St Mary Magdalene, by an assistant of Pietro Bussolo (Donato Prestinari?), from the church of Corpus Domini in Pagliaro, Lombardy, 1500-05 ca.
    Throne from the choir of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Andria, Puglia, made of walnut, 1470-1500
    These amazing choir stalls are not part of the show, but are displayed as part of a different show at the Regia di Venaria. They are the work of group of sculptor led by one Luigi Prinotto, a master ‘ebanista’ (specialist in the working of ebony), done for a Franciscan church in Turin in 1740. The entire choir disappeared when the properties of the religious orders were stolen by the Piedmontese government at the beginning of the 19th century, and later discovered in a basement in Nice by an Irish politician, Edward Joshua Cooper, who brought them to his castle at Markree. From there, they were donated to the cathedral of St Mary in Tuam; 20 years ago, the choir was dismantled, put in storage for a time in London, and finally returned to Turin only nine months ago.


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