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    On Saturday, August 4th, His Excellency Thomas Gullickson, the Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland and Lichtenstein, will celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass at the church of St Mary in Salem, South Dakota. The Mass will begin at 10:30; the church is located at the intersection of North Idaho Street and West Vermont Avenue.

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    NLM is delighted to be able to share with our readers an exclusive translation of a refreshingly direct letter written by the German novelist Martin Mosebach, who is well-known to lovers of the traditional liturgy for his book The Heresy of Formlessness, recently back in print in a revised and expanded edition by Angelico Press (see here).

    Mr. Mosebach’s letter, which appeared in Die Tagespost on July 28, was prompted by an article of Fr Engelbert Recktenwald FSSP that had appeared in the same paper exactly one month before. (Readers may recall that Fr Recktenwald’s charges of aestheticism, rubricism, and purism have been the subject of two rebuttals at NLM: this and this.) Those who love the usus antiquior will find this letter a most succint and elegant statement of the essence of the matter. Our thanks to Stuart Chessman of the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny for his translation, and to the author for his permission to publish it here.

    Lefebvre Provided Emergency Aid to the Church

    We only can agree with Fr Recktenwald FSSP when he regards with pride and joy the thirtieth anniversary of the Fraternity of St Peter (of which he is a cofounder). There can’t be enough orders, fraternities, and institutes that are dedicated to the preservation of Tradition. Based on this success, it would perhaps also have been still possible not to emphasize all too strongly the conflict with the FSSPX from which the FSSP emerged. It is an incontestable fact that liturgical Tradition would have come to an end except for the actions of Archbishop Lefebvre. In a critical hour in the history of the Church, Lefebvre provided emergency assistance to a Rome impaired in its freedom of action, and in so doing took upon himself the odium of disobedience. It seems that Rome also has adopted this view, by revoking the excommunication of the bishops consecrated by Lefebvre and by the papal declaration that the old Rite had never been abolished because it really never could be abolished. Gratitude for the 30 years of the FSSP must always go hand in hand with gratitude towards Archbishop Lefebvre — even if the FSSP arose from a conflict with him.

    Very surprising is Fr Recktenwald’s criticism of laymen knowledgeable in the liturgy, who stand up for Gregorian chant and the reading of the Gospel in Latin. As for the preservation of Tradition, Fr Recktenwald obviously has in mind the practice of the 1950’s, in which the singing of lengthy hymns often obscured the liturgical action. The liturgical reform was felt necessary in part just because of this two-track situation. Whoever would like to get to know the old rite better is disturbed by the singing of (not always first-class) hymns. The locations where the old rite is celebrated are not so numerous that a great variety of celebrations of the Mass can be offered. He who is seeking out the old rite will primarily be looking for a Mass that is “totally other” than the usual celebrations of the Eucharist — even, it should be noted, those completely reverential new Masses that fortunately exist in many places. But adoration is impaired because the priest, not the Cross, is the center. The norm of the Mass is precisely the solemn chanted liturgy.

    Fr Recktenwald should rather rejoice that the liturgical crisis has brought forth so many laypeople knowledgeable in the liturgy. But it may be difficult for him that this same crisis has discredited the concept of “pastoral.” “Pastoral” is understood more than ever as a clerical paternalism that pretends to know “what’s good for the people.” We cannot reproach anyone for this distrust. We continue to remember that the great crisis proceeded from the clergy. In this respect, the movement for liturgical Tradition belongs absolutely to the new spiritual movements, which are distinguished by a strong participation of the laity. In the interest of justice, it should be mentioned that, internationally, the line propagated by Fr Recktenwald is probably in the minority. The grand liturgies in Ssma Trinità dei Pellegrini, the Roman church of the FSSP, can be considered exemplary for the universal Church.

    Martin Mosebach
    60322 Frankfurt am Main

    (The original German may be found at the Pro Missa Tridentina website.)

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  • 08/01/18--13:00: NLM’s 13th Anniversary
  • Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the New Liturgical Movement, and as always, we cannot let the day pass without a word of thanks to our founder Shawn Tribe, for his nearly eight years of dedication to the site, to our long-time contributor Jeffrey Tucker, who succeeded Shawn as editor, to our publisher, Dr William Mahrt, to the Church Music Association of America, our parent organization, as well as to the rest of our team, new and old, for all the work they have put into NLM over these many years. And of course, thanks to all of our readers for your support, encouragement and the inspiration you provide to continue our work. We are currently up to over 13,300 posts; all of our past posts remain accessible in our archives, although some of the older links within them are now dead, including the link which provided our very first article, a piece by Stratford Caldecott (R.I.P.) entitled, “Why a New Liturgical Movement?”

    For your amusement, here are a few screen captures of some of the early designs of the site; after the third one, we’ve stayed pretty much the same. (Click images to enlarge.)




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    In the traditional Roman Rite, August 1st is the feast of the Seven Maccabee Brothers, long celebrated as a commemoration on the feast of St Peter’s Chains. Theirs is the only feast of Old Testament Saints kept on the general calendar, although certain others are found on local calendars, such as that of the Prophet Elijah, whom the Carmelites honor as their founder. From very ancient times, it is one of the most universally attested feasts in liturgical books of the Roman Rite, and is kept on the same day in the Ambrosian and Byzantine Rites.

    Folio 98v of the Gellone Sacramentary, a sacramentary of the Gelasian type written in780-800 AD. The long rubric above the decorated initial reads “The Kalends of August, at (the church of) St Peter at the Chains, the chains are to be kissed. Also on the same day, the birth of the Maccabees.” The Collect Fraterna nos, Domine, is the same as that in the Missal ad Breviary of St Pius V. (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Latin 12048)
    In 332 BC, Alexander the Great’s invasion of the Persian Empire, under which the Jewish people had been living for over two centuries, made them subjects of the Greeks. After Alexander’s death and the break-up of his empire, their land became the frontier between two of the successor states, the Egyptian kingdom ruled by his general Ptolemy, and the vast territory which fell to his general Seleucus, known as the Seleucid Empire. In the course of a series of wars, Judaea passed to the control of the latter in 198 BC.

    The two biblical books of the Maccabees tell the story of the persecution of the Jews initiated by the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus IV, who succeeded to the throne in 175 BC, as part of his empire-wide policy of forced Hellenization. The first book begins with some harrowing stories of the terrible punishments inflicted on the Jews for continuing to observe the Law of Moses; it goes on to narrate the rebellion which broke out against the Seleucids in 167 BC, led by a priest named Mattathias, which would ultimately lead to the reestablishment of an independent Jewish kingdom.

    “Maccabee” is derived through Latin and Greek from Aramaic “maqqaba – the hammer”, and is properly the nickname only of Judas, the third of Mattathias’ five sons, who on his father’s death took over the leadership of the rebellion (1 Macc. 2, 4). This nickname is extended to the two Biblical books, as well as several apocryphal works, and likewise to the other sons of Mattathias, and the Saints honored in today’s feast. However, nothing is known about the latter apart from the narration of their martyrdom in the seventh chapter of Second Maccabees, which does not give their names, and there is no reason to think they were related to Judah Maccabee and his family. There is a very ancient tradition that the name of the mother was Solomone, the Greek feminization of the name “Solomon”, although this is not stated in the Bible either.

    A fresco of the 6th or 7th century in the church of Santa Maria Antiqua in the Roman Forum, showing Solomone in the middle, with a halo and her name written to it, and Eleazar to the left, and his name written above his head.
    The second half of 2 Maccabees 6 tells of the martyrdom of an elderly scribe of the Law named Eleazar, who refused to eat pork, or even pretend to eat it, in obedience to the Emperor’s edict, and for this was beaten to death. Some of the Church Fathers assumed that he was the father of the seven brothers, although this is also not stated in the Bible. In the Roman Breviary of St Pius V, this passage and the beginning of chapter 7 were read in the first nocturn of the fifth Sunday of October; in the second nocturn, a reading of St Gregory of Nazianzen commends Eleazar as “the first-fruits of those who suffered in this world before Christ… (who) offered seven sons, the fruits of his discipline, a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, more splendid and pure than every sacrifice of the Law; for it is most right and just to refer to the father what belongs to the sons.” [1]

    The liturgical texts of the Byzantine Rite, on the other hand, refer to Eleazar several times not as their father, but as their teacher. This seems to have been inferred from the last verse of chapter 6, “Thus did this man die, leaving not only to young men, but also to the whole nation, the memory of his death for an example of virtue and fortitude,” since his death is followed immediately by the heroic martyrdom of the seven young men. At Orthros, for example, the following text is sung in their Canon. “Rejoice, Eleazar, seeing your holy disciples piously contending on this day for the laws and commandments of their fathers, and with wise words reproving the madness of the persecutor Antiochus.” The reading of the Synaxarion (the Byzantine equivalent of the Martyrology) for their feast day also gives names to the seven brothers, Abim, Antonius, Gurias, Eleazar, Eusebonas, Akhim and Marcellus; it should be noted that at least two of these are highly improbable, since Antonius and Marcellus are Roman names.

    In the traditional Ambrosian liturgy, the Maccabee Martyrs share their feast with St Eusebius [2], who was the first bishop of Vercelli in northern Italy from roughly 345 until his death in 371. As one of the great defenders of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity against the Arians, and a staunch supporter of St Athanasius, he suffered a long exile in the East at the command of the Roman Emperors; he was therefore one of the first “Confessors” in the original sense of the term, one who suffered for the Faith without undergoing a violent death. (In the Roman liturgy, he is traditionally honored a Martyr.) The lengthy Ambrosian Preface of the Maccabees celebrates this day also as that of St Eusebius’ birth unto eternal life.

    The reliquary of St Eusebius in the cathedral of Vercelli. (Photo by Nicola)
    Truly it is worthy and just, meet and profitable to salvation, that we, o Lord, in honor of Thy name, in the yearly feast of Thy Holy Martyrs the Maccabees, should celebrate with all wonderment those who, being brothers by birth, were companions in martyrdom. Their glorious mother conceived them in body and in spirit, so that those whom she had born into this world according to the flesh, she might also beget for glory unto almighty God, in spiritual fecundity. For those who were born according to the flesh that they might die, by died piously unto life. Their tongues were cut our, their scalps taken, but in the midst of these things, these most glroious youths did not grieve for the creulty of their torments, but exsulted that they died all the more gloriously, that they might each be a comfort and example to the others. After the rest, their mother by both blood and faith, followed them at last, not that she might be last, but that before herself she might send to God the fruits of her womb, and so in peace follow her beloved sons. What then can we say, and with what exsultation, for the fact that on the day of their passion, there passed from this world to the seat of eternity the witness of the faith and confessor of the truth Eusebius? Who on that very day, on which the martyrs of the Old Law suffered, as a champion of the New Testament was also taken to heaven. The former departed observing the commandments of the Jewish law; the latter fell asleep, affirming the unity of the undivided Trinity. Through Christ our Lord.

    In the official account of the changes made to the calendar published by the Vatican Polyglot Press in 1969, it is stated that “the memorial of the Holy Maccabees, although it is very ancient and nearly universal, is left to local calendars; until the year 1960, it was kept only as a commemoration on the feast of St Peter’s Chains.” It would have been more accurate to say that the feast of the Maccabees was kept as part of the feast of St Peter’s Chains, since the same Roman basilica that houses the relics of the chains also keeps directly underneath them, in a crypt under the altar, the relics of these Saints. It not certain when or how exactly these relics came to be in Rome, and it is known that they were venerated at Antioch in the 4th century. Antioch, which was built by Seleucus and named for his father at the very end of the 4th century BC, was severely damaged by a terrible earthquake in 526, and never really recovered from the blow; it is quite possible that the relics were taken to Rome shortly thereafter.

    This paleo-Christian sarcophagus in the crypt of St Peter in Chains is partitioned internally into eight compartments, which contain the relics believed to be those of the Maccabees. (Image from Wikipedia by Luciano Tronati, CC BY-SA 4.0)
    The calendar commentary goes on to say “But now, the memorial of St Alfonse-Maria de’ Liguori is kept on August 1st, and according to the rubrics, another memorial cannot be kept on the same day.” This refers, of course to yet another innovation of the post-Conciliar reform which was not asked for nor even hinted at in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the almost total abolition of commemorations. The suppression of such an ancient feast for a merely rubrical expedient speaks very poorly for the reformers’ capacity to correctly identify which feasts were “truly of universal importance.”

    [1] The reading from St Gregory was removed from the Breviary when the feast of Christ the King was instituted, which permanently impeded it; the readings from 2 Maccabees were redistributed through the week, with a special rubric to guarantee that they would almost always be read.

    [2] In the post-Tridentine editions of the Ambrosian liturgical books, St Eusebius is completely detached from the feast of the Maccabees and transferred to August 17th; this error was corrected by revisions made in the early 20th century.

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    When he was appointed bishop of the small town of St Agata dei Goti in 1762, St Alphonsus de’ Liguori (OF feast day August 1, EF August 2) began his episcopal ministry by sending missioners out to every corner of diocese. He “recommended two things only to these missioners, simplicity in the pulpit, charity in the confessional, and after hearing one of the priests neglect his advice he said to him, ‘Your sermon kept me awake all night... If you wanted to preach only yourself, rather than Jesus Christ, why come all the way from Naples to Ariola to do it?’

    At the same time he set about a reform of the seminary, and of the careless way that benefices were granted. Some priests were in the habit of saying Mass in fifteen minutes or less; these were suspended ipso facto until they amended their ways, and the bishop wrote a moving treatise on the subject: ‘ “The priest at the altar”, says St Cyprian, “represents the person of Jesus Christ.” But whom do so many priests today represent? They represent only mountebanks earning their livelihood by their antics. Most lamentable of all is it to see religious, and some even of reformed orders, say Mass with such haste and such mutilation of the rite as would scandalize even the heathen... Truly the sight of Mass celebrated in this way is enough to make one lose the faith.’ ” (Butler’s Lives of the Saints, revised by Herbert Thurston S.J. and Donald Attwater, 1956)

    St Alphonsus Kneeling Before the Blessed Sacrament; stained glass window in Carlow Cathedral, Ireland. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons by Andreas F. Borchert, CC BY-SA 4.0)

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    Our thanks to Mr Ryan Bjorgaard for sharing with us these photos and description of the liturgies celebrated during the Sacred Music Symposium recently held in British Columbia.

    From July 20-22, Ss Joachim and Ann Parish in Aldergrove, British Columbia hosted the 1st BC Sacred Music Symposium; 106 participants gathered for a weekend of fellowship, practical workshops, lectures, presentations on different aspects of sacred liturgy, liturgical celebrations in both forms of the Roman Rite, all employing music from the great treasury of the Church’s sacred repertoire. The keynote speaker this year was Bishop Joseph Perry, Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Being the first year we put this event on, the organizing team had no idea what kind of reception to expect, but we were amazed by the interest and enthusiasm of the participants, speakers, and volunteers.

    Anyone who is interested can visit the website ( for more information, to see the full photo set, and for eventually for updates on the 2019 Symposium.

    Friday Evening, July 20 - Opening Liturgy, Sung Vespers (EF) for the feast of St. Jerome Emiliani. 

    The music was prepared by the Ss Joachim & Ann Parish Schola, under the direction of Mr Alex McCune, who also taught the beginner’s chant workshop. The repertoire included Giovanni Asola’s four part setting of the Iste Confessor, and Ravenello’s three part setting of the Magnificat.

    Saturday July 21 - Vigil Mass of the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (OF).

    The Mass was celebrated ad orientem, as are all the Masses at Ss Joachim & Ann, with His Grace Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver as the principle celebrant. The schola chanted the full propers of the Mass from the Graduale Romanum, the readings were chanted in English by one of the seminarians of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, and the Ordinary of the Mass was William Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices sung by by the local choral group Belle Voci, under the direction of Ms Paula DeWit.

    Sunday July 22 - Closing Mass, Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool

    The mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago; the music was sung by the symposium participants, who sang the full Gregorian propers and ordinary, and several polyphonic pieces, including Victoria’s Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, Tallis’ O Salutaris, and Jeff Ostrowski’s setting of the Agnus Dei based on Allegri’s Miserere.

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    On Sunday, August 5th, a Solemn Mass in the Dominican Rite will be celebrated at St Patrick’s Church in Columbus, Ohio, beginning at 3:00 pm. The church is located in downtown Columbus at 280 North Grant Avenue; light refreshments will be served afterward in the parish hall, courtesy of the Dominican Laity.

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  • 08/03/18--11:59: A Priest’s Silver Jubilee
  • Our thanks to reader Joseph Janidlo for sending in the video and pictures of a Mass recently celebrated for his pastor’s silver jubilee.

    On the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, a Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving was offered at Queen of Peace Church in Patton, Pennsylvania, celebrated by Fr Ananias OSB, pastor of the church for 16 years; the occasion marked the silver jubilee of his priestly ordination. Hundreds of parishioners, friends, family and clergy were in attendance. Palestrina’s Mass Aeterna Christi Munera was sung; here is a recording of the Gloria in excelsis, accompanying a video montage of photographs of the ceremony.

    The Jubilee Museum in Columbus, Ohio, graciously lent some antique vestments for this solemn occasion, which were originally a gift from the Emperor of Mexico to the Shrine of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem (circa 1890s). These vestments and many gems of Christendom can be visited in person and seen on their website:
    Since the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI eleven years ago, the traditional Mass has been offered at this church every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. Fr Ananias remarks it is the “Old Mass” who truly gives “joy to his youth” and priesthood. For more information, photos and to help spread the word, please visit his parish website:

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    We are pleased to present a Chinese reader’s translation of the address given by Joseph Cardinal Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, on the occasion of the presentation of the Chinese edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s Collected Works: Theology of the Liturgy. The address was delivered as a video message posted on the Hong Kong page of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB-CIN) on July 29th, 2018. The text is being posted simultaneously on Canticum Salomonis.

    I had planned to introduce this book to you on the occasion of the Hong Kong Book Fair, and it would have been worthwhile to take this opportunity, but unfortunately I am suddenly called away for work and have to leave Hong Kong, but I still want to share some words with you.

    Pope Benedict is a great pope, and the greatest thing about him is his theology. He is a theologian, and not only a theologian, but a master of the spiritual life. What is the difference between theology and spirituality? Theology is about the ways revealed by God; the spiritual life is living in accord with the ways God and Jesus have taught us. One of the very important elements of the spiritual life is the liturgy.

    We all try to live our faith in our lives, but some saints excel over all others, and we call them mystics. These people have a very direct experience of God, and their mind is caught up ecstatically in the Spirit. [Mystical experience] is not reasonable, but this does not mean it is unreasonable. Rather, it surpasses reason.

    We have been blessed to see Pope Benedict many times and we can learn the spiritual life from him. So we thank God that this pope has been with us for many years and is with us even now. He is living by himself in a tiny hermitage, and he is still there praying for us.

    I will take a few examples at random from this very rich book.

    One of the very important things is that he returns to first principles. Our contemporary Catholics live in a new age, in the age of Vatican II. The aim of the Second Vatican Council was reform, but reform can be misunderstood very easily. Reform brings new things of course, but it is not equal to throwing away or abandoning the old. Rather, sometimes reform means returning to the origin of things. So this reform has to be understood accurately. The teachings of Pope Benedict can lead us to the true spirit of the liturgy, the real reform called for by the Council.

    It is easy for us to focus on what we see, because our attention is drawn to what we see. But what we Catholics see is very special, something it is not enough to look at superficially. We have to see the real quality inside it. This requires us to make great efforts, since liturgy is not something we can understand superficially. Vatican II was not accomplished in one day: it was prepared by many qualified theologians and experts of liturgy. Consequently, we have to follow the pope back to the real spirit of the reform.

    The spirit of the reform means more than celebrating the liturgy in the vernacular. Of course it is good to use the vernacular. It is not wrong. It is an important part of the reform. But this is not the most important thing. Whatever language is used, the most important thing is the integration of the human spirit with God. When you hear the pope’s teaching it is as if you leave the visible world behind and rise with him into the presence of God.

    Liturgy is a very important activity in the Church. The Church gave an excellent definition of liturgy at the Council, when she taught that the Church herself is a sacrament. At that time some people were surprised: We have seven sacraments, why do we need an eighth? But it doesn’t mean that. A sacrament is visible thing that helps us to understand invisible things. Because there are invisible things, so Jesus helped us use visible things to understand the invisible. Liturgy is completely in accord with this theology of sacraments: all things that can be seen in the Church. But we cannot stop there. We need a deeper meaning of their true meaning. Therefore, the liturgical reform of the Council does not mean only the use of vernacular languages, or a mere change in ritual, or that some actions are different. The most important thing is to help us encounter God, because God is invisible. Liturgy makes it easy for us to encounter him, giving us a deeper understanding of our faith and allowing him to be part of our life.

    In this book, the pope has given us many wonderful teachings. For example, in the sermons he gave when he consecrated churches, he preaches many different things that help us understand what kind of place the church is, and what we should pay attention to in the church.

    Sometimes, it is a pity... People know the pope wrote several articles about the ad orientem posture, about praying toward the East. Now the liturgy permits the priest to face the congregation to celebrate the Mass. But what the pope actually suggested was that we can face the Cross together, face the back of the Church, because the great churches of ancient times had a great mosaic of Jesus in the back of the church. In this way, we go together back to God.

    Cardinal Zen celebrating Mass at the church of Mary, Help of Christians, in Hong Kong, Christmas 2016.
    So the church building itself is also a sacrament. A church is a visible building, and its architecture can lead us up to the heavenly Jerusalem. Because we are in this world, the church is built with the precious materials of the universe. There are stones, wood, metals, and these things take up nature into the place where we worship God. These are things we can see. But we have to understand the deeper reality that the church is the symbol of God’s presence with us. The architects arranged these earthly materials so that they elevate our whole spirit toward God.

    If we visit the great churches of Rome and other famous basilicas of the world, especially the ancient basilicas, we can understand how the ancient people entered the church: they saw an architectural review of the whole faith, because in the church there are many things that help us to remember the contents of the faith.

    Of course, in history there are many artistic styles of church architecture, all expressing rich and colorful spiritual attitudes. But the most important thing they do is allow us to understand that in this house we are one family. The liturgical reform has emphasized the fact that we are one family gathering in the church. Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. We eat his flesh, drink his blood, and this meal aspect is significant because the family usually gathers together for the meal. But the Mass is not only taking a meal. The Mass is a special meal, the Paschal meal, a holy meal that Jesus transformed when he said “This is my Body, take and eat.” This flesh is also an offering, and this makes the Mass is a holy sacrifice. So in every moment we have to keep this spirit of veneration and worship in liturgy.

    Modern people especially need this. In the ancient church, in European countries with a Christian culture, it is very easy to remember God. The countryside is strewn with crosses and statues of Mary and the saints, and every city has many churches. All this makes remembering easy. But this is not the case in modern cities. Now people don’t have so many opportunities to remember God. In the church we have to reinforce the principle that the basis of society is Jesus who became incarnate for us, suffered for us, died and rose again.

    Liturgy is sacred. When the Church educates the clergy, its chief purpose is not merely to teach them the ritual, because this very easy, but to teach them the spirit of worship. The pope has used many wonderful words to express this. He said that in the Church Jesus captures us and unites us with him. We so need to be captured by Jesus, because contemporary society can’t help us to return to Jesus. Only when we make an effort to truly encounter Jesus in the liturgy can we bring Jesus to others. The pope expresses this thought repeatedly.

    It has been many years since the liturgical reform, and the pope is highly qualified to evaluate its results. Perhaps many Catholics feel that the reform was good. Indeed, after the Council the most conspicuous change is the reform of the liturgy. But perhaps the reform has remained on the surface of things. We hope that studying the thoughts of this pope will lead us to a more profound, more understanding, so that in the liturgy, in all its chants, actions, and other visible things, we can have a deeper encounter with the presence of the Holy God.

    One of the things we have to pay attention to is that liturgical reform does not mean abandoning the past. Sometimes, on the contrary, it leads us precisely back to the root, the origin, to its real significance, to the Bible, to the documents of the Council. After the Council ended, the liturgical reform was implemented later on by...certain people--who of course deserve credit for their many admirable efforts--but it is time for the Church to evaluate this liturgical reform, asking whether it completely, faithfully expresses the expectations of the global gathering of bishops at the Council. How to evaluate it? First, it means reading the council documents, Sacrosanctum Concilium, and looking at the work we are doing now. Obviously, the Church didn’t begin at the Council, so many experts were very clear about the liturgical tradition. In the Council, it is very clear that, simultaneously with reform, we must preserve the very precious traditions of the Church. This requires hard work. Certainly, not everyone has access to Latin or studies Latin. But there should be some people in the Church who especially study and evaluate whether the liturgical reform attained the goals pointed out by the bishops of the council.

    Pope Benedict represents the true spirit of the Council. On the one hand, if we go back to read Sacrosanctum Concilium, and at the same time read the very rich teaching of the Pope, it surely will lead us to the authentic spirit of the liturgy. On the other hand, [this true spirit] incorporates the long history of the Church: the saints and martyrs who used the liturgy of their time to lay the good foundations of their faith, and even sacrificing their lives for God to bring the Church to every corner of the world, and the missionaries brought the liturgy to every place where they evangelized. These things are the basis of the liturgical reform, from where to build the contemporary Church in the modern society.

    So, on the one hand the Church needs to absorb the interests and tendencies of modern people, since every age has its strengths, but it has to be very careful to avoid the false ideas prevalent in modern society, such as secular or relativist ideas. So we absolutely cannot suppose that reform means taking the present day as an absolute starting point.

    Perhaps some people were surprised when the Pope said that the Tridentine Mass is still a form that can be used by the Church. But if you participate in it, you will discover that there are many young people there. It is not necessarily only on account of old people who are nostalgic for the past that we began to offer this form of Mass. Many young people have come to relish the old rite. As I said earlier, in the liturgy there are things that surpass reason, things that can be felt but not expressed. Sometimes, perhaps, these precious things are easily lost in our modern liturgy. Sometimes we think that only those things clearly explained are helpful to us, but that is not necessarily the case. The Church says we need times of silence. Sometimes we don’t need to sing. Listening to music is also a kind of worship. For example we can use suitable music when we venerate the Eucharist or in personal prayer.

    This presents a great challenge to us, since every generation has the responsibility to pass on these precious traditions of the Church to the next generation. A generation does not make itself. Of course we know that every grace is granted by God, but the effort of man is not only the effort of his own generation. Each person has his own responsibility for the liturgy, in the society in which he lives, but he can’t bear this responsibility by himself, because liturgy doesn’t start from him. It was born from the Church and runs up to today, passing through Jesus, the Apostles, missionaries, and so many saints. The heritage they left is very precious.

    I think the pope has fulfilled this task, as you can see in his rich teachings. On many occasions, he takes pains to use his own experience in a very moving way to pass this heritage down to us. Perhaps we think, “he is a theologian, so his words are too complicated.” But that is not the case. He explains things very well. As I said earlier, he describes how Jesus captures us and brings us into himself.

    In this Book Fair there are many books. I hope Catholics cherish this book, because liturgy is our life. Liturgy is the life of the Church. Liturgy is a very precious thing. The whole Church and the seven sacraments are things we can see. Through these visible, tangible, edible things, we are granted to know what is invisible and intangible. These things rely on the Holy Spirit, who throughout history has stored up many precious instruments for us.

    If we want to improve the liturgy, we have to read more. The Book Fair encourages us to read and our Catholics really need to read. In our modern culture, perhaps, people don’t have the patience to read written texts, but we must read. We welcome new audio-visual instruments that make it easier to assimilate things, but we have to have close reading of written texts. For example, we have to read the Bible, because the liturgy is full of the Bible. The Bible enables us to understand the liturgy, enables us to absorb all the treasures accumulated in the history of the Church. In addition to the Bible, we also have to read the documents of the Council. Also, we need to read these teachings of the pope. Reading these things will ensure that we are not superficial and passive, because the basic principle of liturgical reform is active participation. Active participation does not mean “the more action the better.” We need to be silent. Active participation means that we need to think to understand to go deeper and to respond. And if we read these teachings of the pope carefully, it will be helpful to us.

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    The church of the Holy Name of Jesus in Brooklyn, New York, will have a special Mass in the Extraordinary Form to pray with and for priests on the feast of St John Vianney, Patron Saint of Priests, on Wednesday, August 8th. The Mass will begin at 7 pm; the church is located at 245 Prospect Park West.

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    Saint Dominic died on the evening of August 6, 1221, and was canonized in 1234 by Pope Gregory IX (1227-41) who had known him personally and declared that he no more doubted his sanctity than he did that of Saints Peter and Paul. At the time of his canonization, the feast of the Transfiguration had not yet been adopted in the West. August 6th, however, had long been kept as the feast of Pope St Sixtus II, who was martyred in 258 after a reign of less than a year. He is named in the Canon of the Mass, and was the Pope under whom St Lawrence served as deacon; his feast is part of a two-week long series of feasts associated with the great Roman martyr. One of the very first churches given to the Order (still the home of Dominican nuns to this day), was the ancient church of St Sixtus in Rome; for these reasons, the feast of St Dominic was assigned by Pope Gregory to August 5th, and kept on that day for over three centuries by the Dominicans and others.

    In 1558, however, Pope Paul IV ordered the general observance on August 5th of the titular feast of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, the feast of Our Lady of the Snows, and the transfer of St Dominic’s feast back one day to August 4th. This change was at first rejected by a general chapter of the Order held at Avignon in 1561, but was slowly accepted and eventually adopted formally in a revision of their liturgical books promulgated in 1603. St Jean-Marie Vianney, who is still often referred to simply as “the Curé d’Ars”, died on the feast of St Dominic in the year 1859, and was canonized by Pius XI in 1925. His feast was added to the General Calendar three years later, originally on August 9th, but later moved back to August 8th.
    The Madonna and Child with St Catherine, and St Dominic Presenting the Donor, by Titian, 1512-16.
    In the Calendar of the Novus Ordo, St Dominic and the Curé d’Ars were made to switch places; the idea being, apparently, that since Dominic’s feast could hardly be kept on the actual day of his death, which would involved bumping the Transfiguration out of the way, at least St Jean-Marie could. This seems a case where a basically good principle was applied with more zeal than wisdom, since no account was taken of the fact that the Curé d’Ars himself had celebrated that day as the feast of St Dominic, like centuries of priests before him.

    As it also the case with the feast of St Thomas Aquinas, many Dominican houses keep the feast of St Dominic on the more traditional feast day, including the basilica in Bologna where he is buried, and which is now named for him. It was originally known as San Niccolò nelle Vigne, (St Nicholas in the Vineyards), and at the time it was given to the still very new Order of Friars Preachers in 1219, was on the outskirts of the city. The friars were able to expand it rapidly into a large complex to serve one of their most important communities, near one of the oldest and most important centers of learning in Europe. It was here that St Dominic died and was buried, originally laid in the floor of the church’s choir.

    Upon his canonization in 1234, a proper Office and Mass were composed for his feast; this was sung for the first time in the choir of San Niccolò on August 5, 1234. At the time of St Dominic’s death, the prior of the Dominican house of Brescia, Guala Romanoni, beheld a vision, which he later described thus to Blessed Jordan of Saxony, Dominic’s successor as master general. Jordan writes:
    He saw an opening, in heaven, by which two bright ladders descended. The top of one was held by Christ, the other by His Mother; on either one, angels ascended and descended. At the bottom of the two ladders, in the middle, was placed a seat, and on it sat one who seemed to be a brother of the order, with his face covered by his hood, as we are wont to bury our dead. Christ the Lord and His Mother pulled the ladders up little by little, until the one who was sitting at the bottom reached the top. He was then received into heaven, in a cloud of light, with angels singing, and that bright opening in heaven was closed. … That brother who had the vision, who was very weak and sick, realized that he had recovered his strength, and set out for Bologna in all haste, where he heard that on that same day and same hour, the servant of Christ Dominic had died. I know this fact because he told it to me in person. (Libellus de Principiis Ordinis Praedicatrum)
    In the Office of St Dominic, the third antiphon of Lauds refers to this event: “Scala caelo prominens fratri revelatur, per quam Pater transiens sursum ferebatur. – A ladder stretching forth from Heaven is revealed to a brother, by which the Father passing was borne on high.” The very first time this Office was sung, it was Guala himself who intoned this antiphon. (He is now a blessed, and his feast is kept by the Order on September 4th.)

    The Vision of Blessed Guala, depicted on the tomb of St Dominic in his church in Bologna.
    Most of the propers for the Mass of St Dominic in the Dominican Use (the Introit, Epistle, Gradual, Gospel and Communio) are taken from the common of Doctors of the Church. Some of these parts are found in more than one Mass, but here the choice is a deliberate one, to express that St Dominic in his teaching and his life stands in the same position to the Order specifically as a Doctor does to the Church as a whole. (The Cistercians observe a similar custom on the feast of St Bernard.) The Alleluia verse is proper to the Dominicans, and like many medieval composition for both the Office and Mass, is in rhyme.
    Alleluia, Pie Pater Dominice, / tuorum memor operum, / Sta corum summo judice / Pro tuo coetu pauperum.
    (Holy Father Dominic, / mindful of thy works / stand before the great Judge / for thy gathering of the poor.) 
    A leaf of a Missal decorated by the Blessed Fra Angelico, the famous Dominican painter, from the museum of the Dominican church of San Marco in Florence, ca. 1430.
    This is followed by a lengthy sequence, In caelesti hierarchia, which can be read at this link in Latin and English. Both can be seen with their chant notation here. In the 1921, a newly composed proper preface for the feast of St Dominic was added to the Missal.
    Vere dignum … Qui in tuae sanctae Ecclesiae decorem ac tutamen apostolicam vivendi formam per beatissimum patriarcham Dominicum, renovare voluisti. Ipse enim, Genitricis Filii tui semper ope suffultus, praedicatione sua compescuit haereses, fidei pugiles gentium in salutem instituit, et innumeras animas Christo lucrifecit. Sapientiam ejus narrant populi, ejusque laudes nuntiat Ecclesia. Et ideo cum angelis et archangelis etc.
    Truly it is meet … Who for the glory and defence of Thy Holy Church did will to revive the apostolic manner of life through the most blessed patriarch Dominic. For he, supported always by the help of Thy Son’s mother, put down heresies by his preaching, established champions of the faith for the salvation of the nations, and won innumerable souls for Christ. The nations speak of his wisdom, and the Church declares his praise. And therefore with the angels and archangels etc.
    In the Tridentine period, the Dominicans instituted a special feast for all the saints of their order, as did several other religious orders. Ironically, this feast was also bumped from its original location by the dedication feast of a Roman basilica; initially kept on November 9th, the day after the octave of All Saints, it was later moved to the 12th to make way for the Dedication of Saint John in the Lateran. The preface of St Dominic noted above was appointed to be said also on this feast, a fine liturgical expression of the holy Founder’s position as the model for all the sons of his Order.

    Fr Thompson has written previously about the procession that accompanies the singing of the Salve Regina at the end of Compline in the Dominican Use. In many houses, it was also customary to add after it the antiphon of the Magnificat for Second Vespers of the feast of Saint Dominic; it is here sung by the Dominican students at Blackfriars, Oxford.

    O lumen Ecclesiae, doctor veritatis, rosa patientiae, ebur castitatis, aquam sapientiae propinasti gratis; praedicator gratiae, nos junge beatis.
    O light of the Church, teacher of truth, rose of patience, ivory statue of chastity, freely you gave the water of wisdom to drink; preacher of grace, join us to the blessed.

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    The Transfiguration, by Perugino, in the Collegio del Cambio in Perugia, 1497-1500
    Assumpsit Jesus Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem fratrem ejus; * in montem excelsum seorsum ascendens, ibi se transfigurans, suae gloriae claritatem eis ostendit. V. Ne videntes ejus passionem turbarentur, sed fortiori soliditate firmarentur. In montem. Gloria Patri. In montem. (The fourth responsory of Matins in the Monastic Breviary)

    Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother; * going up unto a high mountain apart, and there transfiguring Himself, He showed them the brightness of His glory. V. Lest seeing His Passion, they be troubled, but rather, strengthened with greater firmness of faith. Going up. Glory be to the Father. Going up.

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    Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) is without a doubt one of the most fascinating and complex mystics in a Catholic Church that already boasts a very large number of fascinating and complex mystics.

    From the time she was a tiny child, Anne Catherine experienced constant, vivid, often disconnected visions of faraway places, times, and individuals. Scrutiny of her descriptions indicates an uncannily detailed and accurate knowledge of countless things that she could never have directly experienced or even heard about, considering where she grew up and subsequently lived, her low level of education, and her limited circle of friends. To take an example, her descriptions of early Christian liturgical practices (such as wearing the Blessed Sacrament in a sort of pyx, receiving It in the hand on a cloth, receiving under both kinds) are striking, matching the scholarship of a later period, and utterly unlike the Church worship she was familiar with in her time.

    Unfortunately, Anne Catherine has been ill-served in English. Until quite recently, the available translations represented but a tiny sliver of her marvelous range of visions, edited with pious intentions and rendered in a stiff style. It would be like having only one Book of the Confessions, The Imitation of Christ, or the Showings of Julian of Norwich, each expurgated and translated by Edward Pusey.

    I say "until quite recently" because Angelico Press began to fill the void in 2015 with the release of a handsome set of 3 volumes, The Visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich (vol 1, vol 2, vol 3) which include extensive maps and hundreds of illustrations, and significantly improved translations of the texts.

    Angelico has just announced the publication of an even more impressive series: New Light on the Visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich, 11 matching volumes of the mystic's visions, plus a biography, all in both paper and cloth. These volumes, containing huge amounts of text never before published in English, represent the fruit of more than a decade of research and translation by James Wetmore. In 2009, the original notes of Anne Catherine’s visions, in 38 notebooks, became available for reference for the first time, and the present series incorporates much new material from them.

    With regard to individuals and themes, every reference thus far located in the notes and in prior translations have been woven together so that the reader can easily find in one place almost all of what Anne Catherine had to say on any topic.

    The volumes in this new series include:

    1. First Beginnings: Creation to the Patriarchs

    2. Mysteries of the Old Testament: From Joseph to Malachi

    3. People of the New Testament, Book I: St. Joseph, the Magi, St. John the Baptist, Four Apostles

    4. People of the New Testament, Book II: Nine Apostles, St. Paul, Lazarus, Secret Disciples

    5. People of the New Testament, Book III: Major Disciples and Other Friends of Jesus

    6. People of the New Testament, Book IV: Early Friends and Minor Disciples and Persecutors

    7. People of the New Testament, Book V: Holy Women, Female Disciples, Relatives

    8. The Life of the Virgin Mary(including her Essene ancestry)

    9. Scenes from the Lives of the Saints(treating of 59 saints)

    10. Inner Life and Worlds of Soul & Spirit: Prayer, Parables, Purgatory, Heavenly Jerusalem, Revelations, Holy Places, Gospels, etc.

    11. Spiritual Works and Journeys: The Nuptial House, Vineyard, Sufferings for Others, the Church, and the Neighbor

    12. The Life of Anne Catherine Emmerichby Carl Schmöger and Helmut Fahsel, with additional material

    Just to give two examples of the riches to be found in these volumes:

    First Beginnings commences with the visionary’s account of Creation, the Fall of the Angels, the formation of the Earth and Paradise, and the mysterious Mountain of the Prophets. The second part presents Adam and Eve, the Trees of Life and Knowledge, the Fall of Humankind, the Promise of the Redeemer, Cain and Abel, the Children of God, the Giants, Enoch, Noah, the Tower of Babel, and such ancient figures as Hom, Jamshid, Nimrod, Derketo, Semiramis, and Melchizedek, concluding with Job. The third part offers fascinating new insights into the lives and missions of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    Mysteries of the Old Testament commences with an account of Joseph and his wife Asenath in Egypt, with special focus on “The Mystery of the Promise”—perhaps the most unique and powerful theme running through all these volumes. Fresh perspectives are offered on Moses, Samson and Delilah, the Nazirites, Elijah and Elisha, Tobias, Ezra, Zoroaster, the Holy Book of Ctesiphon, and the final prophet, Malachi. The second part is thrilling, passing through several stages of the Ark of the Covenant, which reaches its consummation, in its fourth and final form, in the Virgin Mary herself.

    Christopher Ferrara says of this set: “Angelico Press has established a landmark in publishing definitive, revised editions (in many cases supplemented with material never translated before) of the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich, who was beatified by John Paul II in 2004. This multi-volume work will be the authoritative English-language reference for her testimony.”

    Kevin Vost reacts: “To call Angelico’s new, definitive editions based upon the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich a stunning, moving, and beautiful epic is an exercise in understatement. Their multi-volume editions detail not only the fascinating story of the stigmatist and visionary of the turn of the 19th century, but the even more enthralling stories of just what those visions contained, depicted both in words and images, supplemented and made complete by previously untranslated material from the original notes of Clemens Brentano, maps, chronologies, genealogies, and everything readers need to immerse themselves in the totally gripping world of the life of Jesus Christ as God revealed it to her, as well as stories from the Old Testament and the lives of the saints, teachings on the spiritual life, heaven, hell, purgatory, and more.”

    As time permits, I hope to share with NLM readers extracts from these volumes that pertain to the sacred liturgy. There are many such passages.

    I have been edified, dazzled, perplexed, nourished, and moved by what I have read in these new volumes, and can give them my unqualified recommendation.

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    What is so interesting about the work of iconographers Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova, as seen on their website, is how they are experimenting with style and medium. The icons and murals are in accord with the tradition, albeit with a very 21st-century look to them, but they are also prepared also to move into derivative art that might not considered iconographic, but is nevertheless influenced by it. They use unusual media and draw on modern compositional design style as one might see in book illustration, for example. At this point, they don’t move very far from the iconographic prototype; some might still consider them to be within the tradition, but pushing the envelope.

    I am guessing that they refer to this art as decoration and “graphic works” because they are aware that they might be going beyond the bounds into places where some purists night hold their noses. However, I am excited by this trend. I think this is not only interesting artistically, but it is actually a necessary part of the development of a Christian culture.

    While I am interested in creativity and innovation in the application of the principles of any authentic artistic liturgical tradition, I am most certainly not interested in undermining the principles themselves. This is why I think that the best approach is to be conservative in regard to the art we put in churches. We are playing with people’s souls if we experiment in church.

    However, there is room for art that is devotional, illustrative and simply decorative that is not liturgical, and so should not be in church. We need art that is clearly derived from the liturgical forms, but is distinct from it and directs us to the purest form, so to speak, by being part of the wider culture of faith. This is the beginning of the process by which the liturgy, which is a source of its own culture, begins to push out into the wider culture and transform it into a Christian culture.

    I think it is a sign that the recently reestablished iconographic tradition is flourishing and reaching a maturity that we can see this happening. May it continue to happen!

    So in the pictures I show below, I give you first some of the more conventional icons, and then items referred to as “graphic designs.”

    And graphic works:

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    Although it is still early, I am happy to announce that the Dominican Rite Liturgical Calendar for 2019 is now available for download in PDF format on the left-sidebar of Dominican Liturgy.

    I am making this available so that, should any user find errors in it, these can be corrected before the new liturgical year begins.  I would especially appreciate any input from the friars of the Central, Southern, and Eastern provinces correcting or supplementing the appendices of feasts particular to those provinces.

    Also, should there be consecrated (not merely dedicated) Dominican churches that I missed, let me know the date of consecration and the location of the church and I will add them to the proper appendix.

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    In the last few weeks, Catholics have been very forcibly reminded of the serious problems of doctrinal and moral corruption that run rampant in the Church. I do not intend to address these issues here, since this is not the purpose of NLM, and they are being addressed quite amply elsewhere. However, today is the feast of a Saint whose life provides us with a good example of what to do when the Church is in dark times.

    The Vision of St Cajetan, by Michelangelo Buonocore, 1733. While praying in the Chapel of the Crib at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome on Christmas Eve, the Saint beheld the Virgin Mary, who then passed the Baby Jesus to him to hold; he is frequently represented this way in art.
    St Cajetan was one of the founders of the Clerks Regular of the Divine Providence, the very first order of Clerks Regular. They are usually referred to as the Theatines, since one of the other founders, Gian Pietro Caraffa, was bishop of the city of Chieti, “Theate” in Latin, in the Abruzzo region; he would later be elected Pope with the name Paul IV (1555-59). Cajetan himself was born to a noble family of Vicenza in the Venetian Republic, but spent much of his life in Rome. After studying theology and both civil and canon law, he came to the capital of Christendom in 1506, convinced that he was called to do some great work there. He was ordained a priest in 1516, and was actively involved in the foundation or revival of several small confraternities, both in Rome itself and northern Italy, through which zealous and devout Christians, clergy and laity, were able to keep the true spirit of their faith alive.

    The revised Butler’s Lives of the Saints describes the state of the Church in his time as “not less than shocking. The general corruption weakened the Church before the assaults of Protestantism and provided an apparent excuse for that revolt, and the decay of religion with its accompaniment of moral wickedness was not checked by the clergy, many of whom, high and low, secular and regular were themselves sunk in iniquity and indifference. (my emphasis) The Church was ‘sick in head and members’.”

    To elaborate on this solely in reference to Rome: St Cajetan was ordained in the reign of Pope Leo X. Bad historians, who abound in every age, have in some respects unfairly tarnished the reputation of the two Medici Popes of the early 16th century, Leo (1513-21) and his cousin Clement VII (1523-34), along with that of their entire family. Nevertheless, Leo presided over one of great abject failures among the ecumenical councils, Lateran V (1512-17), which was called in part to deal with serious abuses that had become almost omnipresent in the Church, and did absolutely nothing to correct them. (The agenda of the Council of Trent is to no small degree that of Lateran V, done properly.) The failure of Lateran V did much to encourage the Protestant revolt, which could credibly point to the two highest authorities in the Church, the Pope and the ecumenical council, as evidence that things had gone badly wrong within it. Clement VII would then steer Rome into one of its greatest political catastrophes, the infamous Sack of 1527.

    Pope Leo X, with Cardinals Giulio de’ Medici (left), the future Clement VII, and Luigi de’ Rossi, painted by Raphael in 1518-19.
    Among those who participated in the conclaves that elected them was one Alessandro Farnese; his sister Giulia was the mistress of the infamous Pope Alexander VI Borgia, who made him a cardinal in 1493. In accordance with one of the common abuses that Lateran V notoriously failed to correct, Cardinal Farnese held several incompatible benefices at the same time, in order to draw the revenues attached to them. He was simultaneously first a Cardinal-Deacon, then a Cardinal-Bishop, while also administrator of a see in France, archpriest of the Lateran basilica in Rome, and bishop of Parma, holding the latter two positions until his election as Pope in 1534. In the early years of his episcopacy, he fathered five children.

    Butler’s Lives goes on to say, “The spectacle shocked and distressed Cajetan, and in 1523 he went back to Rome to confer with his friends … They agreed that little could be done otherwise than by reviving in the clergy the spirit and zeal of those holy pastors who first planted the faith; and to put them in mind what this spirit ought to be, and what it obliges them to, a plan was formed for instituting an order of regular clergy upon the model of lives of the Apostles.” The name “Clerks Regular of the Divine Providence” refers to the fact that, in imitation of the poverty of the Apostles, whose spirit they hoped to revive in the Church, they neither begged like the mendicants, nor accepted permanent endowments like the monks, but lived on whatever might be offered to them spontaneously by the faithful.

    At the time of the Sack of Rome, the Theatines numbered only twelve members; their Roman house was almost destroyed in the sack, and Cajetan himself was cruelly treated by soldiers who hoped to extort money from him, assuming (as well they might) that a cleric in Rome must be rather wealthy. The community was forced to flee to Venice. After serving for a time as superior, Cajetan was sent to Verona, where he and his confreres worked in support of a reform-minded bishop against the fierce opposition of both the clergy and laity. He then went to Naples, where he spent the rest of his life, and where the reforming principles promoted by his order bore greater and longer-lasting fruit. The Breviary lessons for his feast day note that “more than once he detected and put to flight the evils and subterfuges of heresies.” This refers to his successful opposition in Naples of three heretics (two of them apostate friars) who had been corrupting the faith of the people.

    The high altar of San Paolo Maggiore, the Theatine church of Naples. The order did not unlearn the important lesson imparted to the Church by earlier Orders like the Cistercians and Franciscans, that the poverty of religious is not practiced by impoverishing the house of God.
    The altar of the crypt, containging the Saints’ relics.
    What would a man like Cajetan have thought when a man with a past like that of Alessandro Farnese was elected Pope in 1534, taking the name Paul III? What would he have thought of the fact that within a month of his election, the new Pope had appointed his 14-year-old grandson, also called Alessandro, as his own successor in the see of Parma, raising him to the cardinalate shortly thereafter? Was he perhaps tempted to despair on learning that another papal grandson, Guido, was raised to the cardinalate alongside his cousin? Or did he sigh with relief, thinking that Guido, at the ripe age of 16, was at least more experienced in ecclesiastical affairs, since he had been a bishop since shortly before his tenth birthday?

    And yet, almost from the moment of his ascent to the Chair of Peter, Paul III showed himself the first Pope to actively and effectively work to oppose the Reformation, not only as a challenge to the Faith, but as a problem of internal reform. In 1540, he formally recognized the Society of Jesus, the shock troops of the Counter-Reformation, and despite political difficulties of every sort imaginable, began the Council of Trent in 1545. Among the many cardinals he made in his twelve consistories is numbered yet another of his grandsons, but also Gian Pietro Carafa, who was as ardent a reformer as Pope as he had been as a religious priest and then bishop, and a good many other worthy men. One of his two English cardinals, St John Fisher, died as a martyr for his opposition to England’s new pastoral approach to adultery. The other, Reginald Pole, was for the same reason very nearly murdered in a park outside Rome by men in the pay of his kinsman, King Henry VIII.

    In The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils, Mons. Philip Hughes wrote that “It fell to (Card. Pole) to write the opening address of the legates to the council--a frank admission that it was clerical sin mainly that had brought religion to this pass, and a passionate plea for sincerity in the deliberations. One who was present has recorded that as the secretary of the council read the speech, the bishops instinctively turned to look at Pole, recognising from its tone and content who was its actual author. Paul III could have given no clearer sign of his own sincerity than (this) in the direction of the longed-for council.”

    A sixteenth century image of one of the sessions of the Council of Trent, from the Tyrol region (now part of northern Italy) which includes Trent. (Public domainimage from Wikipedia.)
    St Cajetan’s ministry in Rome, and that of his order, was certainly important, but never very large, and would be overshadowed by that of his near contemporary St Ignatius, the founder of what would become a vastly larger and more widespread order of Clerks Regular, and by St Philip Neri and the Oratory in the following generation. He belonged to the generation of good men who suffered through evil days, trusting that the evils they deplored, but could oppose only partially or not at all, would come to an end in God’s time and by His grace. Though they knew not the day nor the hour, their good example laid the groundwork for the sweeping and highly effective reforms of the Counter-Reformation. Therefore, if the corruption and heresy we read about from the days of St Cajetan seem depressingly familiar, let us take encouragement from his example. Let us each do what we can so that future generations remember the Catholics of these days as those who laid the groundwork for the next Catholic Reformation.

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    As I mentioned on Monday, Angelico Press has released a new series of volumes on Anne Catherine Emmerich (12 volumes, to be precise, available in paper and cloth) that contain by far the most complete and accurate translation into contemporary English of her visions. The volumes are conveniently divided into themes, so that, for example, one who wishes to read everything the mystic has to say about the Blessed Virgin Mary may find it all in volume 8.

    And here, if I may, I should like to insert a note to readers. I was frankly astonished to see in the readers' comments the level of negativity that was directed toward Anne Catherine Emmerich in particular, and toward mystical visions in general. It is perfectly obvious, on the one hand, that some people can get carried away with such things and thereby fail to hold fast to the fundamentals of the Faith (as some other rare specimens might get carried away with liturgical finery or exquisite dogmatic distinctions); but it is also no less obvious that some have developed a disdainful attitude towards the rich Catholic history of mysticism, reminiscent in fact of the skeptical mindset of so-called "scientific reason" and the contempt for subjective devotion found in the first wave of the Liturgical Movement, by which it eventually vomited forth the rationalistic, linear-modular, didactic, symbol-bereft, unimaginative, and utterly unmystical modern liturgy, under the ill effects of which all Latin-rite Catholics are, to one degree or another, suffering.

    Personally, I am not wedded to mystical visions as if they were Gospel truth or as if one "had to read" them in order to be saved, or any such nonsense. I simply find them (at their best) refreshing, intriguing, thought-provoking, insight-begetting. They help me to make connections that I hadn't made before; they lead me back to the sources of the Faith with renewed appreciation. Can one not approach such writings with theological open-mindedness, and with an innocent enjoyment of religious literature? Must we reject the use because of the abuse? Shall we dismiss a surprisingly large part of the medieval Catholic heritage because it disturbs our tidy conception of a catechetical, rubrical, juridical, and scholastic universe? One thinks naturally of the glorious visions of St. Gertrude the Great, one of the greatest saints of the Benedictine order. I am sure that Our Lord would not have honored her by placing seven rings on her hand — a golden circlet on each finger, and on the signet finger, three — if He had thought she did not deserve it; and it would seem that her larger monastic family willingly concurs with the Lord by honoring this saint with three sets of special antiphons for Vespers I, Lauds, and Vespers II, something unique, as far as I know, in the entire Antiphonale Monasticum.

    Today I would like to share some striking passages from volume 11, Spiritual Works and Journeys: The Nuptial House, Vineyard, Sufferings for Others, the Church,  and the Neighbor, in which Anne Catherine speaks about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Most Blessed Sacrament. As will become evident, she was at once powerfully drawn into these mysteries with burning desire, as well as painfully aware of the irreverence, lukewarmness, and routine neglect that surrounded these great gifts of God in her own day. The parallels to our times will not be hard to see.

    It is also beautiful to note, throughout these volumes, how much Anne Catherine's visions were linked to the liturgical calendar and the sanctoral cycle in particular. She seemed to have internalized the calendar to such an extent that its themes and rhythm became the guiding lines of her interior world. She intensely lived the very mysteries re-presented in the sacred liturgy, not only the mysteries of Our Lord, but also those of all of His saints, who are present to us in a special way on their feasts.

    I once had a beautiful revelation on this point, in which I learned that seeing with the eyes is no sight, that there is another — an interior sight — that is clear and penetrating. But when deprived of daily communion a cloud obscures my clear inward sight. I pray less fervently, with less devotion. I forget important things, signs, and warnings, and I see the destructive influence of exterior things that are essentially false. I feel a devouring hunger for the blessed Sacrament, and when I look toward the Church I feel as if my heart were about to escape from my breast and fly to my Redeemer. (p. 9)
    In the vineyard were many beautiful houses, all in the very best order inside, although on the outside the weeds grew up to the doors and almost as high as the windows. I saw in them ecclesiastics — dignitaries of the Church — reading and studying all sorts of useless books. But no one took the least care of the vineyard. In the middle of the latter stood a church with several farmhouses around it, but there was no way to get to it — all was covered with rank weeds, even the church was as it were tapestried with green. The blessed Sacrament was in the church, but no lamp hung before it. The bishop appeared to be away. Inside the church — even there — was no clear passage. All was overgrown with weeds. It made me sad. I was told to set to work, and I found a two-edged bone knife like a reaping-hook with which to prune the vine, a hoe, and a basket for manure. The work to be done was all explained to me. It was hard at first but afterward became easier. (pp. 30–31)
    On the feasts of the holy peasant Isidore many things were shown me on the importance of celebrating and hearing Mass, and I saw how great a blessing it is that so many are said though even by ignorant and unworthy priests, as it averts all sorts of dangers, chastisements, and calamities from humankind.It is well that many priests do not realize what they do, for if they did they would be so terrified as not to be able to celebrate the holy sacrifice.I saw the marvelous blessings attached to hearing Mass. It facilitates labor, promotes good, and prevents loss. One member of a family returning from Mass carries home a blessing to the whole house and for the whole day. I saw how much greater is the advantage attached to hearing a Mass than to having one said without assisting at it. I saw all defects in the celebration of Mass supernaturally supplied. (pp. 95–96)
    Her desire for the blessed Sacrament becomes more violent. She languishes, laments the privation of her daily bread, and cries out in ecstasy: “Why dost Thou leave me thus to languish for Thee? Without Thee I must die! Thou alone canst help me! If I must live, give me life!” — When she awoke, she exclaimed: “My Lord has told me that I now must see what I am without him. Things are changed—I must become his nourishment, my flesh must be consumed in ardent desires.” (p. 96)
    On the feast of Pentecost (May 21st) the pilgrim, who had witnessed Anne Catherine’s anguish and tears on the preceding evening, found her this morning radiant as a spouse of Christ, breathing but joy and holiness:I have been in the cenacle with the apostles, and I have beenfed in a way that I cannot express. Nourishment under the formof a wave of light flowed into my mouth. It was exceedinglysweet but I know not whence it came. (p. 96)
    I felt as if I were wandering among the starry heavens. These vessels of God are of every variety of form and appearance, but all are filled with Jesus Christ. The same law governs all, the same substance pervades all though under a different form, and a straight line leads through each into the light of the Father through the cross of the Son. I saw a long line of royal females extending from the Mother of God, virgins with crowns and scepters, though not earthly queens, souls who had preceded or followed Mary in the order of time. They seemed to serve her as the twenty-four ancients serve the Most Holy Trinity. They were celebrating the feast by a marvelously solemn movement severally and all together. I can compare it only to beautiful music. The angels and saints advanced in one or many processions to the throne of the Most Holy Trinity like the stars in the sky revolving around the sun. And then I saw down on the earth innumerable processions corresponding to the celestial ones, also celebrating the feast — but how miserable! how dark! how full of breaks! To look upon it from above was like looking down into the mire — still there was much good here and there. (p. 102)
    Again I felt those pains like fine rays falling upon me, piercing me in all directions like threads of silver. Besides, I had to carry, to drag so many people along that I am all bruised; so that not a bone in my body is not, as it were, dislocated. When I awoke, the middle fingers of both hands were stiff, bent, and paralyzed, and my wounds have pained intensely all night long. I saw in numerous pictures the coldness and irreverence shown the blessed Sacrament, by which I understood the guilt of those who receive it unworthily, negligently, and by routine; and I saw many going to confess in very bad dispositions. (p. 104)
    I beheld the manifold and marvellous workings of grace by means of the blessed Sacrament as a light shining over all its adorers. Yes, even they who think not of it receive a blessing in its presence. (p. 104)

    I beheld pictures referring to the defects in divine worship and how they are supernaturally repaired. It is hard for me to say how I saw it, how the different scenes blended and harmonized, one explaining another. One thing was especially remarkable — that the failings and omissions in divine worship on earth only increase the indebtedness of the guilty. God receives the honor due Him from a higher order. Among other things I saw that when priests have distractions during the sacred ceremonies, Mass, for instance, they are in reality wherever their thoughts are — and during the interval a saint takes their place at the altar. These visions show frightfully the guilt of carelessly celebrating the holy mysteries.Sometimes I see a priest leaving the sacristy vested for Mass; but he goes not to the altar. He leaves the church and goes to a tavern, a garden, a hunt, a maiden, a book, to some rendezvous, and I see him now here, now there, according to the bent of his thoughts, as if he were really and personally in those places. It is a most pitiful and shameful sight! But it is singularly affecting to behold at this time a holy priest going through the ceremonies of the altar in his stead. I often see the priest returning for a moment during the sacrifice and then suddenly running off again to some forbidden place. Such interruptions frequently last a long time. When the priest amends, I see it in his piety and recollectedness at the altar, etc. In many parish churches I saw the dust and dirt that had long defiled the sacred vessels cleared away, and all things put in order. (pp. 111–12)
    I saw in all places priests surrounded by the graces of the Church, the treasure of Jesus Christ’s merits as well as those of the saints; but they were tepid, they were dead. They taught, they preached, and offered the holy sacrifice most slothfully. … Mass badly celebrated is an enormous evil. Ah! it is not a matter of indifference how it is said! I have had a great vision on the mystery of holy Mass and I have seen that whatever good has existed since Creation is owing to it. (pp. 116–17)

    To purchase this volume, go to its page at Angelico Press.

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    A Sacred Music Retreat for the Extraordinary Form takes place this week in Cincinnati, culminating in the following public liturgies at churches administered by the Oratorian Community of Cincinnati.

    •  Matins and Lauds of the Dead (Pontifical) – Old St. Mary’s in Over the Rhine on Saturday, 8/11 at 9:30 a.m.
    •  Requiem Mass (Pontifical) – Old St. Mary’s immediately following the Matins and Lauds above (starting approximately 10:15 a.m.)
    •  Sunday Mass (Pontifical) – Sacred Heart in Camp Washington on Sunday, 8/12 at 11:00 a.m.
    •  Sunday Vespers (Solemn) – Sacred Heart at 2:30 p.m.

    All are welcome to attend these liturgies, which will be sung by retreatants from around the country, and which will be directed by Nick Lemme (Lincoln, Nebraska) and Kevin Allen (Chicago, Illinois). The music will include Gregorian chant, and polyphony by Morales, Victoria, Palestrina, Lotti, Ravanello, and contemporary composer and retreat presenter Kevin Allen. Information regarding the liturgies and parking for both churches can be found at the Sacred Heart website:

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  • 08/08/18--18:17: Relics of the Curé d’Ars
  • Today is the EF feast day of St Jean-Marie Vianney, generally known as the Curé d’Ars, the Patron Saint of parish priests. He died in 1859 on August 4th, the feast of St Dominic; when he was canonized in 1925, his feast was assigned to August 9th, then moved back a day in 1960. In the post-Conciliar reform, he and St Dominic switched places, and he is kept on the 4th.

    Our thanks once agan to Fr Adrian Hilton of the Cincinnati Oratory for sending us these photos of relics of the Curé d’Ars from his private collection; we have previously shown his relics of Ss Camillus de Lellis, Charles Borromeo and Pius X.

    A piece of one of his shirts.
     A piece of a surplice.
     Some of the fabric and straw from his bed.
    A piece of the oven of the local orphanage “La Providence”; one day, when the flour supply had run too low to provide bread for the orphans, it was miraculous multiplied by the prayers of the Curé d’Ars.
    His autograph (rushed and abbreviated - the Curé was a very busy man!)
     The heel of one of his shoes.
     Labels for the relics of the autograph and the heel.

    A paving stone from his bedroom in the rectory at Ars.

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    On the feast of the Assumption, the FSSP Apostolate in El Paso, Texas, will have the first Pontifical Solemn Mass in the diocese of El Paso in over 50 years, celebrated by His Excellency Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago. The Mass will take place at the church of the Immaculate Conception, located at 118 N. Campbell St, beginning at 6:30 pm.

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