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Articles on this Page
- 10/25/18--05:13: _Young People™ 2018 ...
- 10/25/18--09:00: _Church Restoration ...
- 10/25/18--20:42: _The Church of San M...
- 10/26/18--05:00: _A New Regular TLM i...
- 10/26/18--09:00: _Dr Kwasniewski on L...
- 10/26/18--13:11: _A Northern Italian ...
- 10/27/18--11:16: _EF Mass for All Sai...
- 10/27/18--11:26: _The Beginnings of a...
- 10/27/18--13:41: _Liturgical Versions...
- 10/29/18--08:26: _For the Liturgical ...
- 10/30/18--08:38: _Why Reproductions a...
- 10/30/18--13:33: _All Saints’ and All...
- 10/30/18--17:23: _Photopost Request: ...
- 10/31/18--06:23: _The Smoke of Satan ...
- 10/31/18--13:24: _All Saints and All ...
- 11/01/18--06:46: _The Feast of All Sa...
- 11/01/18--13:19: _All Souls Notices f...
- 11/01/18--18:14: _Brian Holdsworth on...
- 11/02/18--05:00: _The Feast of All Sa...
- 11/02/18--09:00: _Archimandrite Rober...
- 10/25/18--05:13: Young People™ 2018 - Part 2
- 10/25/18--09:00: Church Restoration in Rochester, New York
- 10/25/18--20:42: The Church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence
- 10/26/18--05:00: A New Regular TLM in Queens, New York
- 10/26/18--13:11: A Northern Italian Romanesque Monastery
- 10/27/18--11:16: EF Mass for All Saints’ Day in Fairfield, Connecticut
- 10/27/18--11:26: The Beginnings of a Serving Tradition: St Mary’s 11 Years Later
- 10/29/18--08:26: For the Liturgical Progressives, Dialogue Means “Agreeing With”
- 10/30/18--08:38: Why Reproductions are Legitimate Art
- 10/30/18--13:33: All Saints’ and All Souls’ in Palo Alto, California
- 10/30/18--17:23: Photopost Request: All Saints and All Souls 2018
- 10/31/18--06:23: The Smoke of Satan Enters From the West...at Our Invitation
- 10/31/18--13:24: All Saints and All Souls Announcements: NYC, Colorado, Bridgeport CT
- 11/01/18--06:46: The Feast of All Saints 2018
- 11/01/18--13:19: All Souls Notices for Chicago and Louisville KY
- 11/01/18--18:14: Brian Holdsworth on “Keeping Youth in the Church”
- 11/02/18--05:00: The Feast of All Saints 2018: the Praise of God by All Creation
- 11/02/18--09:00: Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ, RIP
Various versions of this have been circulating over the last few weeks, but I dare say none quite as skillfully done as this one. The original screen shot comes from an episode of 30 Rock; you can see the clip here. For a more serious take on the current Synod, this article by Carl Trueman is well worth reading. (I promise that NLM is not converting to a meme-based site, but this one is just too good not to share. Thanks to the maker!)
The restoration was overseen by Granda Liturgical Arts; highlights include the addition of an altar rail, marble flooring in the sanctuary, complete restoration of the statuary and altars, newly commissioned paintings for the sanctuary and apse, and a baptistery. Thanks to reader David O’Donnell for sending in these pictures.
The façade, built towards the end of the 11th century, is decorated with a classically Tuscan mix of local white and green marbles, as can also be seen in the city’s Baptistery and the façade of Santa Maria Novella.
|Sacred Heart Church, New Haven, was the location for the traditional rites until it closed in September of 2009.|
St Mary’s is now one of the leading parishes in the country, offering both forms of the Roman Rite. The church now boast close to 60 servers, most of which are seen during the Sunday High Mass.
These editions contain the official Latin text of the Rules and the official English translation on facing pages. We have also made available paperback versions of the two rules for private consultation and study. They are economically priced at $6.95.
These books may be purchased at Dominican Liturgy Publications. They are the first four titles on the purchase page. I ask readers who know members of the Dominican Laity or priests in the Priestly Fraternities to let them know about these publications.
|The two healthy (liturgical) lungs of the Church|
An article there exactly one month ago caught my attention — this paragraph in particular:
Some Catholics (usually of the more traditional variety), upon hearing that I am an Orthodox Christian, have made it a point to proclaim their love for the Orthodox liturgy and critique the changes to the Mass after Vatican II. Mainly, they lament the loss of beauty and reverence of their experience of the Novus Ordo and long for the Tridentine Mass. I smile, but, as a scholar of liturgy, know that the Mass of Paul VI has much more in common theologically (e.g. its stronger pneumatological dimension) and ecclesiologically with the Eastern Church than the Tridentine Mass. Still, having attended a few Masses (of the post-Vatican II style) that I found (in their words) overly “informal” and/or “dry,” their concern resonates.If ever one needed an illustration of understatement, I would submit this quotation.
Interestingly, the reform of the liturgy after Vatican II is also debated within some Orthodox circles. Some Orthodox Christians are critical of the reform of the Mass after Vatican II as well. In this case, they fail to distinguish between the greater theological and historical similarities of the Orthodox liturgy and the Mass after Vatican II while overemphasizing some of the phenomenological differences.
The Mass of Paul VI has “more in common” with the Eastern Church only in the sense that (a) it was artificially Easternized by its architects, who had little or no respect for the Latin tradition and had a strange but ill-informed craze for all things Byzantine, and (b) it was conceived in a textual testtube which was cerebral, abstract, and academic, as Ratzinger has pointed out. For example, it was all the rage ot insist on the need or the desirability of an epiklesis for the anaphoras, because the scholars were too caught up in their theories to admire the Roman Canon’s antiquity that predates the Macedonian heresy over the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
Then, the author (as if waking up to the fact for the first time) admits that some Eastern Orthodox have problems with the liturgical reform. In reality, those that are well informed understand it to be a disaster of the highest degree, a thorough disembowelment of Western tradition. This is why the Moscow patriarchate (much in the news these days) hailed Summorum Pontificum with joy.
|Notice any resemblances?|
I found this phrase in particular incredibly condescending: “I smile, but, as a scholar of liturgy, know…” The lure of gnosis, abundantly on offer in the pseudo-scientific mystery cult of contemporary liturgists. May the Lord in His mercy preserve us from professional liturgists!
One recalls the famous exchange between Fr. Pierre-Marie Gy and Cardinal Ratzinger concerning the latter’s book The Spirit of the Liturgy. Ratzinger had dared to criticize some of the untouchable “truths” of the liturgical reform, and Fr. Gy, whose life had been invested in this lame duck, was not amused: “How dare he write such a book — he is not a liturgist!” The same reaction, of course, greeted Pope Benedict’s intriguing if not always successful Jesus of Nazareth series, which the historical-critical gurus could not abide. In reality, with The Spirit of the Liturgy Ratzinger was doing the work of a true theologian: he was writing liturgical theology, based (it goes without saying) in a solid grasp of liturgical history and texts, but going far beyond that limited scope into more fundamental theological and philosophical principles, as well as offering a more realistic assessment of the actual cost, in souls and in sanity, of the liturgical reforms, from the vantage of one who had extensive pastoral experience, which many of our smiling theoreticians lack. It is, in truth, the specialists who are wearing blinders or suffering tunnel vision, and the non-specialists who can see deeper and farther, just as we notice today that the youth are instinctively and intuitively drawn to liturgical tradition while their elders, be they teachers or pastors, embarrassingly chase after the evanescent relevance of the new and improved whatever.
|Pontiffs of the world, unite!|
While there are some fine general points made in this article, it is certainly not true to say that the reformed Roman liturgy has more in common with the traditional rites of the East. This statement is often made, but it is true only in the sense that certain Eastern features were artificially, unhistorically, and unliturgically introduced into the Roman rite where they had never existed before, while many features common to both East and West — notably, the use of sacred chant, the eastward orientation, the use of a liturgical language (still preserved in Slavonic and ancient Greek), the reservation of the sanctuary to vested male ministers, and plenty more — were abolished in the 1960s and 1970s in the West.Shortly after posting it, I received the following email from the editor of Pray Tell, Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota:
At New Liturgical Movement, I published a study on the ten principles that the traditional (i.e., unreformed) Roman liturgy shares in common with the Byzantine liturgy — principles that are either rarely found in celebrations of the reformed Roman rite or were even abolished from it in principle:
1. The principle of tradition;
2. the principle of mystery;
3. the principle of elevated mode;
4. the principle of ritual integrity or stability;
5. the principle of density;
6. the principle of adequate and repeated preparation;
7. the principle of truthfulness;
8. the principle of hierarchy;
9. the principle of parallelism; and
10. the principle of separation.
The article may be found at this link.
Dear Peter,I found this initially quite surprising, and said so in my reply:
I just deleted your comment on east/west. The first reason was that it wasn’t so much a response or dialogue with the author’s main points as a promotion of your post. I’m not comfortable having posts such as that linked at Pray Tell, for it doesn’t fit our mission of promoting rich discussion and a wide variety of viewpoints among all those who support Vatican II and ecumenical liturgical reform. Secondly, your tendentious portrayal of the liturgy of the Catholic Church is, to be honest, scandalous to me by its mocking, condescending, disrespectful tone. I’m truly sorry to have to do this but I think it is better for the mission of Pray Tell and the kind of conversation and dialogue we want to promote.
Dear Fr. Ruff,
I think this is a mistake. NLM, which of course takes a very different line, never deletes comments from people who disagree, even sharply, with the main points of the author. The only comments stifled are those that are personally insulting. I doubt if anyone reading my comment would consider it of this type. If you want PT to be an echo chamber that excludes reasoned critique of the liturgical reform, that is your prerogative, but it will increase your reputation as a one-sided progressive platform.
|A "phenomenological similarity"|
What I learned from this exchange is that, as is so very often the case, dialogue — for liberals and progressives — means “agreeing with me.” We can see the same dynamic playing out in the various Synods that have been held under Pope Francis. Each Synod has always heard many voices, from Cardinals to laymen, dissenting from the liberal baseline assumptions and conclusions that are supposed to prevail in this exercise of “walking together,” but these voices are sidelined, padded, or suppressed in the final results, and quite simply ignored in the day-to-day implementation (as we saw in a rather dramatic way with the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and with the grab-bag of fashionable sociological truisms bequeathed by the Youth Synod).
In short, there is no dialogue, only monologue. Or perhaps soliloquy, as would befit a liturgical reform pushed through, with many a self-doubt and self-contradiction, by the pope who compared himself to Hamlet.
|No Hamlets here.|
Briefly, here are my reasons:
Art is as good as it looks. If you look at a painting and you can’t tell if it is a reproduction, then it doesn’t matter if it is an original or not. With modern methods of reproduction, this is becoming possible. Even if you can tell the difference, it doesn’t automatically mean that it is inferior to the original. Sometimes, the process of reproduction can be controlled so that it creates a distinct work of art that is better than the original. In such a case, the one who is reproducing is contributing to the creative process. In this regard, sculpture is an art form in which reproduction, through casts, has been part of the creative process for centuries. Many of the statues we see in the church or public square are not only not the original sculpture, but they are also composed of new composite materials that imitate the old, such as bronze resin. No one suggests that this compromises the creative process. Just because this wasn’t the case with paintings in the past, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be now.
I am not pushing for a lowering of standards here; I am arguing that if high standards and good judgment are used at all stages in the creation of an image, whether the process is traditional or recently invented, then good art will result.
Even if it is the case, in your judgment, that reproductions can’t match originals, and that technology is not as powerful as I suggest, there are still good reasons to have them in church. I would rather have an attractively framed and well-chosen reproduction than an ugly and badly painted original. I do not believe there is any moral imperative to support artists by buying paintings we don’t like or which are inferior to those of the past. If we aim for quality, that will force artists to up their game and create new work that matches the quality of the past. We know this can be done. Contemporary Eastern Christians, led by Russians, Greeks, and Copts, have had great success as artists through the sheer quality of their work, which is as good today as the great iconographic art of the past. When artists meet this standard, they have the edge over any reproduction of past works, no matter how well reproduced or how brilliant the original. Only contemporary artists of today can create work that simultaneously participates in traditional forms, and meets the distinctive needs of the Christian community of today. This is precisely what the modern iconographers have worked out. By creating icons in styles that were previously unimagined, but which nevertheless conform to tradition, they have created a demand for icons that didn’t previously exist there before. Beauty does this.
I would go further and say that the possibility of selling reproductions creates opportunities for artists to increase their earnings that were not available to artists in the past. On the whole, any business that offers higher quality products at a lower price than their competitors makes more money, not less. The consumer, in this case, is the pious Catholic who prays with the imagery. If the artist serves this need, then he will sell reproductions. This also becomes a promotional tool for originals which will become sought-after items. I would recommend that artists look at offering reproductions of their work. I think of the Catholic artist Jim Gillick here, who told me that every month he gets a significant income stream from reproductions ordered from his website, and a Gillick original sells for more in the galleries of London than any other artist that I know personally.
The moment that an artist blames the market or the Church for not commissioning his work, or suggests that we should buy originals as a duty in order to support artists, and not because we like their work, that tells me his work isn’t good enough.
As a final recommendation for looking at this site, I will give you the following screenshot:
|All Souls’ Day at the Church of St Paul in Birkirkara, Malta, from our first All Saints and All Souls photopost of last year.|
How Halloween Corrupts Us and Why Ad Orientem Worship is the Antidote
At one point we all turned as directed by our pastor to the west, in order to renounce Satan loudly and to make the gesture of spitting on him. We then turned around and to the east, ad orientem. This was as much, it seemed to me, to turn our backs on Satan as to look for the Risen Christ. It was a powerful moment.
The power of actions and words to affect our hearts profoundly was made very strongly in the St Elias bulletin for that very Sunday, which reproduced a letter from Russian Orthodox Bishop Irenei of Sacramento to his flock, and was talking about something else also connected to the devil - Halloween.
In the letter, he is advising Christian not to participate in Halloween celebrations. At one point he says:
Where secular people may feel they have the option to divorce the spiritual realm from the physical and do one thing with their bodies while believing another in their minds, we Christian people do not. We know that the actions of our bodies, and the things we do with our lives, affect our hearts and are directly connected to spiritual realms of which we are, on account of our weakness, not always immediately aware. Can you honestly think—you who gaze at and touch the holy icons in your home and in our temples, and know that the saints are present with you, and that you are drawn into their holy lives—that to be willingly surrounded by images of the demons (however childish and infantile their representation) will not also affect your heart, and your children’s hearts, and draw them closer to powers that none would call holy? And not just to gaze upon such images, but to fashion them into clothes and costumes and wear them on one’s body?How many of us in the Roman Church, even the pious, actually venerate holy images as a habit that would make the Bishop’s words true for us, I wonder? We neglect such piety at our peril, as the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council knew over 1,000 years ago. This neglect might well have contributed over many decades to the decline of the Faith and so many of the problems we see in the Church and beyond. Accompanying the lack of engagement with visual imagery in our liturgy, there is the rise, in the wider culture, of the veneration of images of evil that the Russian Orthodox Bishop is describing. We would do well to reintroduce the veneration of sacred art into our liturgy as a matter of urgency.
And, perhaps the same neglect opened the west door of the Church and left it ajar and unattended, drawing the “smoke of Satan” into the vacuum created by the absence of fragrant incense, followed (who knows?) by the entrance of Satan himself. If he did enter, he would as likely as not be greeted by a shower of spittle, but greeted in a spirit of diversity by a priest facing him directly, worshiping and making a sacrifice. What sort of message does that communicate, I wonder? Those who do realize the seriousness what is going on and object are too often showered with spite, if not spittle, for their troubles.
Look at the imposing west facade of the Gothic Beverly Minster in Yorkshire, England. This is the gate of a fortress designed, I would say, as much to keep certain forces out (and to reassure us by making this clear), as much as it is to let people in.
We know that the actions of our bodies, and the things we do with our lives, affect our hearts and are directly connected to spiritual realms of which we are, on account of our weakness, not always immediately aware.Unthinking participation by Catholics in the promotion of the symbolism of Satan is not limited to reckless, light-hearted partying on Halloween. Think for a moment of the modern desire to flee the urban environment to “commune” with nature by experiencing “pristine natural beauty” (i.e. unaltered by man); this is not in itself evil, but it is a sign of something that is - the view that man and his work are unnatural and necessarily destructive to the world. The wilderness used to be the place to go and become civilized through settling and cultivation, and was seen as the place of spiritual warfare with the devil. Christ and the early Church fathers both went out to the wilderness for this reason. Now we flee civilization to embrace the spiritual wild west.
Man is both part of the natural world, and capable, with God’s grace, of raising it up to something greater than anything it could be through its own momentum, by cultivation and civilization in harmony with Creation. When he does so, he participates in the creative force that draws the world to its final end, that is, towards what it ought to be. A symbol of this is beautiful farmland, and even more so, a garden cultivated for its beauty, which bears the mark of the gardener who made it, inspired by the Gardener. Certainly, man is fallen, and his work can destroy too; but where faith and freedom predominate, the general rule is one of improvement.
The public park or botanical garden used to be a place within the city that elevated it through their beauty. Even the New Jerusalem has gardens, new Edens. Now gardens are deliberately unplanted, so to speak, with native plants. This still might be beautiful, but it is not as beautiful as it ought to be. Whether this is the specific intention of the new gardeners or not, it symbolizes the hatred of the influence of man on nature, and the desire to undermine good society, for it says that those species cultivated by man are not natural, not good, because man himself is not part of nature.
And as I said before: symbols matter.
Such gardens, by degrees, bring the wilderness into the polis, and thereby contribute to the forces that bring its spiritual overlord in too. They are anti-Edens, gardens of the culture of the abolition of man. They tell us that the existence of mankind is a failed mission of a God they reject. It tells us that the whole project of mankind itself ought to be aborted.
By contrast, here is a public garden, also in Yorkshire, England, Breezy Knees Garden in the city of York. My guess is that there is not a single uncultivated species in view, and it is all the better for it.
It is the great deceit of the devil that he convinces so many of us today that he doesn’t exist; I suspect that most who propagate his influence are doing so unwittingly, and would consider the idea that they are the useful fools of Satan risible. And they are likely to scoff at those who suggest it. But this should not put us off.
We have no need ever to fear Satan, as we know, for victory over him has been won, and those of us who have been baptized and have put on Christ participate in that victory. But that does not mean we must pretend he is not a threat and cease to be vigilant in guarding against his influence. Evil is the absence of good. The vacuum created by neglect is itself a problem; what subsequently comes in to fill it will be a greater evil if good does not fight to occupy and tame the wilderness, as St Anthony Abbot did and so many have done since.
St Cyril of Jerusalem wrote the following in his Mystagogical Catechesis (XXXIII, 1073B):
When you renounce all compact with Satan, all compact with hell, God’s paradise is opened for you, which he planted in the East, and whence our first parent was driven forth for his disobedience. This is figured in your turning from the West to the East, which is the symbol of the sun.And as Gregory of Nyssa pointed out, paradise is here, now, for the baptized, and open for us to enter if we wish.
Every day when we turn towards the East where God planted his paradise, and when we remember our exile from that blissful locality in the East, we have a right to enter ourselves once more.Representations of paradise and its four rivers in early baptistries and apses confirm this connection. Here is the apse of St John Lateran in Rome showing the four rivers, in the East, with the deer who yearn for those running streams.
Any symbolism that reinforces this wonderful message of joy in the here and now, as much as in the hereafter, is worthy of encouragement, just as any that undermines it should be discouraged. Let us hope that when the devil tries to enter our lives from the west, that he does not do so unnoticed, but rather that we are there to spit on him! St Michael pray for us!
From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the beginning of the sermon for the second day in the Octave of All Saints.
From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the second day in the Octave of All Saints.
|The Funeral of St Jerome, with the Holy Trinity in the midst of the Angels, by Fra Filippo Lippi, ca. 1452-60; from the Cathedral of Prato, Italy. (Public domainimage from Wikipedia.)|
Fr Taft was ordained to the priesthood in the Byzantine Slavonic Rite in 1963, and for decades, regularly celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the church of the Pontifical Russian College, generally known as the Russicum. Here is a beautiful video of the Liturgy at the Russicum on Pentecost Sunday, 2009, in which he was the principal celebrant. The choir is conducted by his confrère Fr Ludwig Pichler, upon whose extraordinary work is built the magnificent choral tradition of the Russicum. (Fr Pichler passed away in May of last year at the age of 101.)
Вѣчная Памѧть - Eternal memory!