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    The back of the monastery chapel in Norcia
    The Rule of St. Benedict has as one of its many virtues the ability to capture an entire vision of things in one lapidary phrase. There is not a single wasted word; what Benedict means to say, he says with vigor, brevity, and clarity. A splendid example is chapter 52, “Of the Oratory of the Monastery,” where the Patriarch writes:
    Let the oratory be what its name implies, and let nothing else be done or kept there. When the Work of God is finished, let all go out in deep silence, and let reverence for God be observed, so that any brother who may wish to pray privately be not hindered by another’s misbehavior. And at other times also, if anyone wish to pray secretly, let him just go in and pray: not in a loud voice, but with tears and fervor of heart. He, therefore, who does not behave so, shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory when the Work of God is ended, lest he should, as we have said, be a hindrance to another.[1]
    I have often wished that this text would be carved into wood or stone and mounted at the door of every Catholic church throughout the world, printed in every bulletin, and preached from every pulpit, with such unfailing regularity that the pervasive anteliturgical and postliturgical chitchat by which the reverent silence of the temple of God is globally snatched away Sunday after Sunday might begin to be suppressed and reduced to naught. I don’t know if it would work, but I’ve often wondered why so few pastors ever make the attempt to restore “deep silence” to our churches. It may have to do with a sinking feeling that the good habits of preconciliar days are gone forever and will not return among the cellphone barbarians in the pews; it may have to do with a simple loss of belief in the church as a sacred place. Considering that many suburban churches fall somewhere along the spectrum between a Jet Propulson Laboratory and a beige-carpeted athletics facility, it may not be surprising that the sense of sacrality is absent, even eradicated.

    Earlier in the Rule, in chapter 19, “On the Discipline of Psalmody,” St. Benedict bears witness to the dignity of the church and of the opus Dei that takes place in it, deducing thence what our inner and outer attitudes should be:
    We believe that God is present everywhere and that the eyes of the Lord in every place behold the good and the evil (Prov 15:3); but let us especially believe this without any doubting when we are performing the Divine Office. Therefore, let us ever remember the words of the prophet: Serve ye the Lord in fear (Ps 2:11); and again, Sing ye wisely (Ps 46:8); and, In the sight of the angels will I sing to thee (Ps 137:2). Let us then consider how we ought to behave ourselves in the presence of God and his angels, and so sing the psalms that mind and voice may be in harmony.[2] 
    This text helps us to grasp two lessons: the sacred liturgy is the time when, by God’s own design and good pleasure, we are most of all held to be standing in His divine Presence, yielding up our minds and hearts to Him; and the oratory or church in which we are doing this “Work of God” is a place like no other, a place consecrated for the sole purpose of worshiping God. In a well-known passage, Augustus Welby Pugin conveys this point with Victorian lavishness:
    [The church] is, indeed, a sacred place; the modulated light, the gleaming tapers, the tombs of the faithful, the various altars, the venerable images of the just, — all conspire to fill the mind with veneration, and to impress it with the sublimity of Christian worship. And when the deep intonations of the bells from the lofty campaniles, which summon the people to the house of prayer, have ceased, and the solemn chant of the choir swells through the vast edifice — cold, indeed, must be the heart of that man who does not cry out with the Psalmist, Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuae, et locum habitationis gloriae tuae.[3]
    Drawing on the insights of Benedict and Pugin, we might state this principle: The church building is the most sacred space we have; as a result, it is there that we will learn — or not learn — the meaning of the very distinction between sacred and profane. If there is not a strong sense, upon entering a church, of passing from one domain to another, of leaving the world (to some extent) and entering a different realm, of going from an earth-bound atmosphere in which we are at ease to a celestial temple that calls forth reverential fear, I am afraid there will usually be nothing else that offers an equally powerful communication of the distinction. There are, to be sure, other ways to evoke the distinction, such as the sound of Gregorian chant even in a Mass celebrated outdoors or in a humble tent; but the sacred space, the “oratory,” is normally the most obvious, impressive, durable, stable, all-encompassing sign of the sacred that we have. It either says to you: “This is God’s house, where you will meet Him in a special way — tread quietly, watch and pray”; or it says “This is just a building, where you can amble around, talk, text, take selfies, joke, sleep, or eat a snack.”

    Selfie in a church
    Eminent liturgical theologian Msgr. Nicola Bux writes in his book No Trifling Matter: Taking the Sacraments Seriously Again (a book I highly recommend):
    Jacob understood, once awakened from sleep: “Indeed, the Lord is in this place.” He became conscious of the fact, he was afraid, and said: “How awe-inspiring is this place! This is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven.”[4] The divine presence pushes the patriarch to fashion the stone, on which he had slept and received the dream, into a stele, the primitive altar, and to anoint it on top. We would say: to consecrate it. God, in fact, had established his abode, his house; for this reason he changed the name and called that place Bethel, in Hebrew, house of God. That stone founded the house of God.
              Consecration renders the Lord always present in a place made by human hands, and increases reverent fear and devotion for the abode and house of God. Consecration changes the designated use of the place: it cannot be used for profane purposes.
              But unfortunately today things are not always like that! And so God leaves us, is not with us, does not protect and accompany us in the journey of life, does not feed us, does not make us return safe and sound to our home.[5]
    Later on, Bux speaks at greater length of the grave significance of the consecration of a church — something that changes it objectively and permanently. His words are worth quoting in full:
    Though much emphasized as regards the effects and the changes it calls forth in the place that has been chosen for the purpose, the dedication of a building to Christian worship is very quickly forgotten these days: in fact, one is frequently present at the profanation of everything that was offered to the Lord with such a rite.
              In the Ordinary Form of 1977, the Mass of dedication underlines the will of the ecclesial community to dedicate the new building to divine worship, in an exclusive and perpetual way. In particular, the presence of the sacrament and the altar do not permit any other use; in fact they are there to recall to us that the church is the sign of the heavenly sanctuary where Jesus Christ has penetrated, in order to appear before the sight of God on our behalf (Heb. 9:24).
              Liturgists would say that for the sake of the truth of the sign, a church cannot be employed for purposes other than worship, on pain of gravely offending the Lord to whom it has been offered. Besides, its dedication is rightly commemorated every year on the anniversary day, especially within the church that was consecrated. It is therefore a grave error that, in practice, the consecration we have just described is emptied of meaning in our day by the actions of priests themselves, with the holding of events incompatible with the sacred place: concerts, performances, ballets, meetings of every type, which at one time were done outside or “in front of the temple,” as the Latin word pro-fanum recalls; the phenomenon of using churches for concerts of not only sacred but also profane music seems unstoppable. Acts that are not sacred, and normally done elsewhere, bring with them a profanation of the church.
              Welcome cannot be given to profane actions of this type, or to any others, in the place where the divine mysteries are celebrated. How is it possible that bishops and priests have forgotten that such a place as that, so often built with sacrifice by the faithful, has been “dedicated” — a word that recalls the act with which something very personal is offered to someone who is loved. To dedicate something means that it is no longer mine, but his. If I were to take it back, that would be a betrayal. It is a grave matter, because we take from God that which is his, what we ourselves had sworn we would give him. The rite itself of dedication shows that it is a kind of oath or vow, that is, a sacred act. What need is there for such solemnity, if afterwards the sacred place is employed for profane uses?
              Liturgists exalt the rite of dedication, but in contradiction with that, they go silent and speak not a word in the face of the transformation of churches into multi-purpose halls. This is worse than what was done by totalitarian atheist regimes, which had transformed these places into theaters, gymnasiums, and stores. It is a very serious phenomenon, because it means, first, that the sense of the church as a place offered to God, for the worship owed him, has been lost; we have consecrated something, and then we take it back in order to do purely human things there. In the second place, we favor in this way the eclipse of the divine presence, because in the church we practice activities proper to a theater or an auditorium, such as speaking, eating, applauding, and other attitudes typical of places of entertainment. When a church becomes a theater where people laugh, applaud, and shout, it then becomes difficult to demand, for the same place, the proper attitudes for worship: listening, recollection, silence, adoration, because the conviction that one is standing in a versatile locale has taken root. That conviction leads to obscuring the principal and characteristic function of a church, which is adoration, and to prohibiting kneeling for prayer, either when the liturgy is being celebrated in the church, or outside the liturgy. But in reality, the church remains a place of presence and prayer, and of silence, even when there is no liturgy being celebrated.[6]
    Two of the most egregious postconciliar examples of the contempt for sacred space that Bux laments were furnished, horribile dictu, by a cardinal and by the pope. The more recent, as reported last week by Infovaticana and Rorate Caeli, was the “World AIDS Day” rock concert held in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, under the auspices of the Cardinal archbishop, who sat in the front row and was photographed before and after with the performers (big photo album here). Some snapshots:
    Standing on the communion rail
    The assembled cast
    Quieter but no less scandalous was the papal luncheon held inside the cathedral of Bologna on October 1, 2017, as thousands who stood in the nave watched the Pope enjoy a meal with his invited guests.[7] Here are a few of the many photographs available online:

    Although the parallels are not exact, one cannot help thinking of the desecrations of the Hebrew temple recorded in the Old Testament, and of Belshazzar’s feast, who, I am sure, was also smiling pleasantly until the horrifying hand began to write on the wall. The sober words of Bux strike at the core of this callous secularism: “A church cannot be employed for purposes other than worship, on pain of gravely offending the Lord to whom it has been offered. … Acts that are not sacred, and normally done elsewhere, bring with them a profanation of the church. … It is a grave matter, because we take from God that which is his, what we ourselves had sworn we would give him.”

    Our Lord ate with sinners and publicans, yes — but not in the Temple. What he did to those pursuing secular business in the Temple is rather well known, and we could allow this picture by Cecco del Caravaggio to stand in for a thousand words:

    Bux reminds us of what the Soviets did at the end of World War II as their armies came through central Europe. They often chose to stable their horses in churches, to show their contempt for the space and what it represented. In this they imitated the Protestants who, at the time of the Protestant Revolt, ransacked churches, took the sacred hosts out of the tabernacles, and threw them to horses and dogs.

    It is not at all surprising that the same pope who denies in practice the distinction between worthy and unworthy communions should be the one who violates in practice the distinction between a consecrated and an unconsecrated place; nor that the one who has elevated Paul VI to the altars should be the one who disdains the meaning of the very rite of dedication that pope promulgated. Such things are fully consistent with the modernist theology of those who, as Ratzinger explains, deny the very distinction between the sacred and the profane, arguing that with the coming of Christ, everything and everyone has already been redeemed, is already blessed — is, as it were, automatically in Christ. If God is already all in all, then in a certain sense, to borrow a phrase from Dostoevsky, “all things are permitted.”[8] A church is no more special than the Church of which it is a sign; if extra ecclesiam nulla salus is incorrect, so must be intra ecclesiam nullum profanum.[9]

    Bux addresses this very point:
    There is no place more apt than a church for bringing people who so desire — and there are many of them! — to an encounter with God. The Church must not be considered as “the liturgical space” and nothing more than that! Is it possible that there are no available places for concerts, theatrical performances, and other such things? Then we should not be surprised that the sense of the sacred, the sense of the divine presence, has been lost. Few today know what sacred and holy mean. The “theology of secularization” considers that everything is sacred and that there is nothing profane, and so it wishes us to believe that the dedication of a church is not a consecration; it can also be used for profane activities.[10]
    In his book Signs of the Holy One, Fr Uwe Michael Lang documents how the category of the sacred was undermined in Rahner and Teilhard, among others. After all, “properly understood,” which means by way of a patristic ressourcement filtered through a Modernist prism, Christ’s Incarnation was a cosmic redemption, a recapitulation of the whole universe; so why reduce the effects of redemption to only a few old buildings, or, for that matter, a few old rites? The whole temple of creation has been consecrated, dedicated, and grace can be accessed anywhere. Teilhard seems to say that the sacraments are just “expressions,”particular upwellings of this cosmic grace that surrounds and permeates us. It is, needless to say, but one step from this view, which sounds vaguely pious, to a total secularization of the Church that evacuates God altogether.

    I believe these observations help us put into a larger context the disturbing lightshows that have been projected on the façades of various churches in Rome in recent years, showing wild animals running across them, or the building dissolving and toppling over (such as this one during the Youth Synod), as if we live in a new era in which the institutional Church will be overcome by a borderless, uninhibited, open-ended “luv,” the contemporary world’s substitute for grace. If this sounds very much like a rehash of 1968, with the false prophet Herbert Marcuse bloviating in the wings, rest assured: it is.

    Yet it is worse the second time around. The surge of revolutionary emotions in late 60s could be pardoned as an eruption of uncontrolled immaturity exacerbated by peculiar social circumstances. Today’s antinomianism, which is not ashamed to usher into the temple of God shirtless artistes with electric guitars or platters laden with lasagna, is premeditated, theoretical, programmatic, and totalitarian. I do not necessarily attribute this perfection of profanation to any one human agent; but an intelligence of exceptional power must surely lie behind it.

    In any case, the Word of God, inerrant and infallible, tells us what will be the end of those men of the cloth who persist in such conduct:
    Horribly and speedily will he appear to you: for a most severe judgment shall be for them that bear rule. For to him that is little, mercy is granted: but the mighty shall be mightily tormented. For God will not except any man’s person, neither will he stand in awe of any man’s greatness: for he made the little and the great, and he hath equally care of all. But a greater punishment is ready for the more mighty.  (Wis 6:6-9)

    NOTES

    [1] Trans. Abbot Justin McCann, 119.
    [2] McCann, 68–69.
    [3] Pugin, Contrasts, 5.
    [4] This verse, of course, is the Introit for the Mass of the Dedication of a Church.
    [5] Bux, No Trifling Matter, 27.
    [6] Bux, No Trifling Matter, 189–93.
    [7] The luncheon is listed on the Vatican website’s itinerary for the trip. More photos may be found here.
    [8] And this is actually true of those who are fully redeemed: the blessed in heaven. Since their wills are in perfect conformity with God’s and, seeing Him face to face, they can no longer desire evil, it follows that they may do whatever they wish, and it will be good.
    [9] For a thorough explication of the claims made in this paragraph, see the recent brilliant essay by Dr Thomas Pink, “Vatican II and Crisis in the Theology of Baptism,” published at The Josias. I consider this essay essential reading for understanding the transformation in Catholic theology and liturgy in the 20th century.
    [10] Bux, No Trifling Matter, 193–94.

    Visit www.peterkwasniewski.com for information, articles, sacred music, and Os Justi Press.


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    Here is a recently completed icon of the Harrowing of Hell, by Peter Murphy. Peter is an English iconographer who paints in a neo-Romanesque style reminiscent of the illuminated manuscripts of that period. He also teaches, and for those who are on the left-hand side of the pond, he has been making regular trips to teach summer workshops for the Sacred Arts Guild of Alberta in Calgary.

    This is based upon an image in the St Albans Psalter from about 1130 AD.
    I think I prefer Peter’s version. The subtle depiction of the rotation of the head, shoulders, and hips relative to each other in each figure reads particularly well. It is anatomically accurate while still remaining within the stylistic constraints of the tradition.

    There is one modification of the image that caught my eye, in the upper section where the flames of hell shoot out from holes in the canopy that contains it. The original had four flames, where Peter’s has three. I spoke to Peter about it, and he modified the number for artistic reasons; it created a better balance within his composition. I think this was a good choice. However, inadvertently, it created a connection for me as I was meditating upon it, which, now that I have seen this, I would choose to make more explicit if I was to paint this image in the future.

    It struck me that through Christ, the flames that burn in the hell of the damned are the purging flames of the Holy Spirit prior to the bodily resurrection for the saved. This would be the case regardless of how many flames there are, but I made the connection in my mind because I thought of the image of the three figures in the fiery furnacem which I wrote about here. The three figures sang the canticle of praise that is used at Lauds on feast days.

    If we were to emphasize this connection, we might choose to have four flames too. In the original narrative in the Book of Daniel, a fourth figure appears whose identity is not given and who is sometimes identified as an angel, or as John the Baptist (who can be referred to as an angel) or even as a pre-incarnational appearance of Christ. Here is the fresco in the Catacombs in Rome which appears in reproduction in the Catechism.


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    A proper review of this book will be coming along shortly at NLM from our contributor Matthew Hazell, but it seemed a good idea, especially in the Christmas season, to let our readers know about one of the great publishing events of the decade: the first full-length "scientific" biography of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini. Until now, the only biographies available have been short (usually hagiographical) accounts by Bugnini's disciples and friends, or the lengthy (and definitely hagiographical) writings left by Bugnini himself. No professional historian has tackled this important and intricate figure until Yves Chiron did so in Annibale Bugnini (1912-1982): Réformateur de la liturgie, which appeared at the beginning of 2016. Thanks to the diligence of John Pepino and Angelico Press, an English edition has now been released. Below is the publisher's announcement.
    *          *          *
    Annibale Bugnini: Reformer of the Liturgy
    Yves Chiron
    Foreword by Alcuin Reid
    214 pages, 5.5 × 8.5 in
    978-1-62138-411-3 (paper) $17.95
    978-1-62138-412-0 (cloth) $26.00

    In this book, French historian Yves Chiron turns his attention to one of the most influential figures of 20th-century Catholicism: Annibale Bugnini, guiding spirit of liturgical reform in the period surrounding the Second Vatican Council. Highly controversial in his day, and down to the present, Bugnini has attracted high praise from his disciples and vilification from his detractors—but all agree that without his energetic organizational skills and access to the levers of power, the most extensive overhaul of the Roman Catholic liturgy in the history of the Church would not have taken place as it did.

    Yet who was Bugnini, really? What were his formative experiences, personal ideals, intellectual assumptions, practical aims? How did he accomplish so much in so short a time? Why, after such a singular collaboration with Pope Paul VI, did he suddenly fall from grace and suffer exile? Should he be remembered as liturgiae amator et cultor, lover and servant of the liturgy (his epitaph), or as the éminence grise of an unscrupulous reinvention of Catholic worship? Can we cut through the legendary, the polemical, and the partisan, to arrive at a clear portrait of the man and his work?

    Until now, there has been no biography that makes extensive use of all available documentary sources, including Bugnini’s own memoirs, Vatican publications, private correspondence, interviews, articles, and lectures. The present book has filled this lacuna with the scholarly care and dispassionate analysis for which the author’s books are praised at all points on the ecclesiastical spectrum.


    “Yves Chiron’s incredible work reads like a novel and is one of the best introductions to the detailed history of the reform of the Latin rite.” — FR. MATTHEW S. C. OLVER, Nashotah House Theological Seminary

    “A perceptive portrait of the personalities, ideas, and events that remain central to questions surrounding the sacred liturgy even now, decades after the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missæ.” — JENNIFER DONELSON, St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie

    “Chiron’s study is invaluable for anyone interested in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council and the history of the liturgical reform.” — THOMAS CATTOI, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley

    “As the reform of the Roman Rite continues to be a part of the ordinary life of the Church, Annibale Bugnini: Reformer of the Liturgy provides an important and necessary perspective.” — REV. GERALD DENNIS GILL, Rector, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

    “An important contribution to English-speaking students of modern liturgical history.” — TIMOTHY P. O’MALLEY, University of Notre Dame

    “Yves Chiron’s biography is an enlightening and fair treatment of a significant and interesting personality.” — WILLIAM P. MAHRT, Stanford University

    “A dependable summary of the Consilium’s work that will be useful to any scholar in the field.” — REV. CHRISTIAAN KAPPES, Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius

    About the Author
    Yves Chiron, born in the Gard (Southern France) in 1960, obtained his degree in advanced studies in the History of Religions and Religious Anthropology at the University of Paris IV. After writing an authoritative biography of Edmund Burke, he turned his attention to modern Church history and has written biographies of Pius IX, Pius X, Pius XI, and Paul VI as well as works on the process of beatification and canonization. He lives in a small village in the Vendée.


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    The cathedral of St Paul in Birmingham, Alabama, will hold a Rorate Mass in the traditional Rite on Saturday, December 15th, beginning at 6:15 a.m. The church is locates at 2120 3rd Ave North.

    The Chapel of the Holy Cross, located at the Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida, (4701 North Himes Avenue,) will hold a Rorate Mass in the traditional Rite on December 15, starting at 6:30 a.m. The men of the St Dunstan Schola will sing the Mass chants, and the boys of the Archconfraternity of St Stephen and Jesuit High School will serve at the Altar. The chapel will be open at 5am for private prayer and devotions; pamphlets with the texts of the Mass will be available at the door. Jesuit High School is happy to collaborate with the community and clergy of Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church and the Latin Mass Society of Tampa Bay to host this beautiful liturgy in our newly dedicated Chapel.

    The high altar of the chapel of Holy Cross; from our post in August about the chapel’s dedication.

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    The churches of the Byzantine Rite are, unsurprisingly, as almost as cautious about adding new feasts (very rarely) as they are about suppressing old ones (never.) Nevertheless, after Pope St John Paul II declared Our Lady of Guadalupe Patroness of the Americas in 1999, the Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church added Her feast to its liturgical calendar. This represents a wonderful opportunity for the Byzantine churches to share the riches of their liturgical tradition with their fellow Catholics of Hispanic descent, all of whom are of course of the Roman Rite.


    The Byzantine Rite does not have Advent as a formally delineated liturgical season, but it does traditonally keep a fast in preparation for Christmas, which begins after the feast of St Philip the Apostle on November 14. (This is very close to the beginning of Advent in the Ambrosian and Mozarabic Rites.) However, there are many liturgical texts used in the period which refer to the approach of Christmas, and the troparion of the feast, the first of the two proper hymns sung at the Divine Liturgy, refers to this tradition. (From the website of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh; h/t to Fr James Rooney OP.)

    Tropar When you appeared in the New World, O Theotokos, you fixed your image on Juan Diego’s rose-laden tilma. All the poor, hungry, and oppressed seek you, Lady of Guadalupe. We gaze upon your miraculous icon and find hope, crying out to your Son concealed in your womb: Hear our plea for justice, O most merciful Lord.

    The second hymn, the Kontakion, speaks of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s role in the evangelization of the New World and the victory of Christianity over the native pagan religions. (The cathedral of Mexico City, which is also dedicated to Our Lady, is built over the site of the principal temple of the Aztecs’ capital, in which they practiced human sacrifice on an unimaginable scale.)

    Kontakion No longer shall the New World lie wounded in useless blood-sacrifice, for she who is clothed with the sun has revealed the Son to us. O Mother of the Americas, imprint his name upon our hearts, just as you wove your image into the cactus cloth. Teach your children to cry out: O Christ God, our hope, glory to you!

    The website linked above also provides a complete set of proper texts for the celebration of Vespers. The last of these beautifully unites the words spoken by the Virgin to St Juan Diego in the original apparition on the hill of Tepeyac in 1531 to some of the classic rhetorical phrases of the Byzantine tradition.

    Aposticha “Listen, my most beloved children; the things that afflict you are nothing! For I have given birth to the Conqueror of Hades, the Lord who removes the sting of Death. Let not your faces be abashed, let not your hearts be disturbed. Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Then return to the Lord and He will make all things new!”

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    The church of St John the Baptist in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, (in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area), a church of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, will have choral Evensong and Benediction this Friday evening, starting at 7:30 p.m. The church is located at 502 Ford St.


    On Saturday, December 15th, at 6:30 p.m. Saint Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Louisville Kentucky, and the Ordinariate Community of Our Lady of Saint John, will co-host a Christmas Lessons & Carols service, featuring the Choir of Saint Martin’s singing works by Palestrina, Rheinberger, Victoria, Bruckner, and Poulenc, as well as many favorite Christmas carols. This event is free and open to all ages. A light reception will follow in the parish hall; the church is located at 639 South Shelby St.


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    We are very glad to share this article about a high school choir which recently sang both an EF Pontifical Mass and a Byzantine hierarchical liturgy in a single day. The choir in question is that of The Lyceuma college preparatory school in South Euclid, Ohio, which follows a traditional classical curriculum, and, as you can read below, has a strong music program. We can all be grateful to see such examples of young people giving their best and working very hard indeed for the worthy celebration of the liturgy. Our thanks to headmaster Luke Macik and academic dean Mark Langley, the author of this piece, for permission to reproduce it; it was originally published on Mr Langley’s blog The Lion and the Ox.

    In what might be a new world record, or perhaps simply a first of its kind choral accomplishment, the fifty-five voice Lyceum Choir sang back to back liturgies – one in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, celebrated by Cardinal Raymond Burke, and the other in a Hierarchical Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite, celebrated by Bishop Milan Lach, S.J.!


    Now I have been a choir director for about thirty years and have had numerous occasions where I have been asked to prepare choirs for this or that solemn liturgy, at which this or that Bishop would be celebrating. Every such occasion is exciting for a choir, and of course these opportunities are events for which ordinarily a choir will attempt to do its very best. Of course cathedral and basilica choirs are habituated to such events. That is why many of them consist of both volunteer and professional choristers among their ranks.

    The students of The Lyceum Choir know that they are primarily singing ad maiorem Dei gloriam, but it’s not every day that one gets to sing with a Cardinal in the morning and a Bishop in the afternoon!
    As it was the feast of The Immaculate Conception, and as Cardinal Burke had been invited to celebrate the Mass at the gorgeous Immaculate Conception Church in Cleveland, we knew we had to meet such an occasion with every ounce of preparation we could muster. After all, this was a visit by the highest ranking Church prelate to the church since its cornerstone was laid in 1878!
    The students arrived an hour early to warm up for the 10 AM Mass in high spirits. Although the church itself is fairly large, its architect did not envision both a pipe organ and a fifty-five voice choir in the loft. Consequently we made the decision to locate the choir in the last four rows at the back of the church. Given that the church was packed, this was no easy feat.
    Now some of you might be thinking, “Ok…that’s pretty impressive….. but any school choir might be able to sing a Pontifical High Latin Mass with preparation. What’s so difficult about singing the Missa de Angelis along with a couple easy motets?” Well, just take a look at this program:
    • Introit – Gaudens Gaudebo (Gregorian Propers- in full!)
    • Kyrie from the Missa Brevis – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
    • Gloria – Missa Brevis – Palestrina
    • Graduale – Benedicta es tu, Virgo Maria (Gregorian Propers)
    • Alleluia – Tota Pulchra es (Gregorian Propers)
    • Credo III (Gregorian)
    • Offertory- Ave Maria (Gregorian Propers)
    • Offertory Motet – Alma Redemptoris – Palestrina
    • Sanctus – Missa Brevis – Palestrina
    • Agnus Dei – Missa Brevis – Palestrina
    • Communion- Gloriosa dicta sunt de te – (Gregorian Propers)
    • Communion Motets: Dixit Maria – Hans Leo Hassler; Rorate Coeli – Christopher Tye; Ave Maria – Jacob Arcadelt; Sicut Cervus – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
    And then, to top things off, the Mass ended with a glorious procession of the Blessed Sacrament complete with the regular congregational settings of O Salutaris, Pange Lingua, Holy God, and Immaculate Mary.

    After finishing this glorious experience which lasted for about two and half hours, the students quickly boarded a bus which transported them to St. Stephen’s Byzantine Catholic Church in nearby Euclid, Ohio. Timing was of the essence given that the students were to provide the choir for the Solemn Profession at 1:30 PM for a nun from Christ the Bridegroom Monastery.

    Now, it goes without saying that a choir cannot sing well at any liturgical function unless it is familiar with the rhythms and movements and traditions that are peculiar to it. Successfully providing the liturgical music for any liturgical event or service requires a choir that is able to cooperate and has the requisite skill to exercise flexibility so as to adapt to the various tones, pacing, and idiosyncrasy of this or that celebrant (or congregation).

    It is not any choir that can sing a full polyphonic Palestrina Mass and then seamlessly make the transition from west to east- singing the music for the incensation of the church and the Antiphons and Troparia and Kontakia and Trisagion and Prokeimenon and Anaphora – not to mention the many other regular polyphonic prayers like The Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.

    The young are especially adapted for making such swift transitions without blinking!
    Pope John Paul II famously said in his Encyclical Ut Unum Sint,
    the Church must breathe with her two lungs! In the first millennium of the history of Christianity, this expression refers primarily to the relationship between Byzantium and Rome… we understand clearly that the vision of the full communion to be sought is that of unity in legitimate diversity.
    Now although Pope John Paul II meant to signify the Church as a whole, as opposed to individual members of the Church when he said “the Church must breathe with both lungs,” I still think that he would have been very proud of the fifty-five students who sang a Solemn Pontifical High Latin Mass in the Morning and a Hierarchical Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite that very afternoon.

    Could there be a more effective response to Saint John Paul II’s encyclical? Singing certainly requires lungs! And anyone who is familiar with the harmonies of the east will agree that if the western music of Palestrina is produced from one lung, it certainly might seem that the music of the Byzantine Church is produced from quite another lung!
    These students certainly sang from both lungs that day. They sang from 9 AM to nearly 4 PM!

    And because of their youth, because of their reverence, because of their goodwill and because of their beautiful voices, they enhanced the beauty of two very significant liturgical events. They also inspired the many hundreds of people who came to witness these events.

    They demonstrated that there is much reason for hope!

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    Once again, we are very grateful to everyone who sent in their photographs of liturgies celebrated on the Immaculate Conception. We begin with two of the most recently established American apostolates of the FSSP, in Providence, Rhode Island and the Philadelphia suburb of Conshohocken; both churches are dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

    Our next photopost will be of both Gaudete Sunday and Rorate Masses; a reminder will be posted on Friday. (Last year, we got up to three; let’s see if we can mathc or beat that!)

    St Mary’s - Providence, Rhode Island (FSSP)





    St Mary’s - Conshohocken, Pennsylvania (FSSP, Archdiocese of Philadelphia)
    The Mass of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated like a Rorate Mass, early in the morning, and by candlelight. (Photos courtesy of Alison Girone.)




    Tradition will always be for the young!


    St Charles - Imperial Beach, California





    San Simon Piccolo - Venice, Italy (FSSP)





    Mater Ecclesiae - Berlin, New Jersey





    St Joan of Arc - Oberlin, Louisiana





    St Anthony of Padua - Des Moines, Iowa
    (Photos by Lisa Bourne









    Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa - Santa Rosa, California
    St Mary - Bishophill, York, England






    St Joseph Oratory - Detroit, Michigan (ICKSP)
    Solemn Mass, followed by a prayer of consecration to the Immaculate Conception. Before each Mass was the blessing and reception of the new altar boys’ cassocks.





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    In the penitential season of Advent, the church of Rome traditionally kept stations at various churches, where the Pope himself would celebrate the principal Mass, as in the other major penitential season of Lent. The Advent stations, however, were created later than those of Lent, (which are extremely ancient), and differ from them in some key respects. Seven stations are kept at only four churches, namely, St Mary Major, Holy Cross ‘in Jerusalem’, St Peter’s, and the church of the Twelve Apostles; such repetitions are few and far between in Lent. Apart from the three Ember Days, the ferias of Advent have no proper Mass or station, whereas every day of Lent has both a proper Mass and a station. The churches of Roman martyrs, which predominate on the list of Lenten stations, are not included at all in Advent. Most particularly, the connections between the actual texts of the liturgy and the choice of station are far more oblique in Advent, and in some cases, more evident in the Divine Office of the season than they are in the Mass.
    The choice of station for the first Sunday is an obvious one, the basilica of St Mary Major, Rome’s principal and oldest church of the Mother of God. This is also the station for the Mass of Christmas Eve, and the first Mass of Christmas itself; at a later period, the third Mass was transferred here from its original station at St Peter’s. The liturgy of Advent looks forward not only to the first coming of Christ as Savior, but also to His Second Coming at the end of the world as Judge. Therefore, the first Gospel of the liturgical year, St Luke 21, 25-33, in which Christ speaks of the signs that will precede the Second Coming, is read in the same place where the Church will later proclaim His Birth “in the fullness of time.” The Introit of this Mass begins with the words of Psalm 24 “To Thee have I lifted up my soul,” and may perhaps be chosen in reference to the words of the Virgin Mary herself which are said every day at Vespers, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.” It should also be noted that the Post-communion prayer of this Mass begins with a citation of Psalm 47, the same words that begin the final Mass of the Christmas season as the Introit of the feast of Our Lady’s Purification: “May we receive Thy mercy, o Lord, in the midst of Thy temple.” (They are also sung as the fourth antiphon of Matins on Christmas Day.)
    The Annunciation, by Jacopo Torriti, ca. 1295, from the apse of Santa Maria Maggiore.
    As I have described in another article, in the traditional lectionary of the Roman Rite, around which much of the stational observance is constructed, the Gospel of the Annunciation is not read until Advent is more than half over. In the Divine Office, on the other hand, there are several citations of it on the very first day, among them, the antiphons of the Benedictus and Magnificat. On the great majority of Sundays, these antiphons are taken from the day’s Gospel; the station at the Virgin Mary’s most important church may be reason why for those of the first Sunday are taken from St Luke’s account of the Annunciation. This Gospel is also cited in several of the Matins responsories and various antiphons of the first Sunday and week of Advent.
    We might expect the station to be held at Holy Cross in Jerusalem on the third Sunday of Advent, since Gaudete Sunday, as it often called, is the Advent parallel of Laetare Sunday in Lent; on the latter, the station is indeed kept there. Instead, the church of Rome visits the relics of the True Cross already on the second Sunday; perhaps, as the Blessed Ildephonse Schuster writes, to remind us that Christ came as man so that He might die as a man for our salvation. (The Sacramentary, vol. 1, p. 323) In many Roman churches, this union of the two holy cities, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, is depicted in the apsidal mosaics, where they are placed on opposite sides at the lowest part, a traditional begun in the mosaics of St. Mary Major.
    The Finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena, apsidal fresco of Holy Cross ‘in Jerusalem’, variously attributed to Antoniazzo Romano or Marco Palmezzano, later 15th century. Notice that the artist has kept to the very ancient Roman tradition of showing the two holy cities on either side of the work; the same motif can be seen in the fifth-century mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the twelfth-century mosaics of San Clemente.
    The station is referred to in the Introit of the Mass, “O people of Sion, behold the Lord will come to save the nations”, Sion being of course another name for Jerusalem; and likewise in the communion antiphon, a rare citation of the prophet Baruch, “Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high, and behold the joy that shall come to thee from thy God.” At Matins of this same Sunday, five of the nine responsories refer to the holy city of Our Lord’s Passion, three of them speaking to it as a person, such as this, the first: “Jerusalem, thy salvation shall swiftly come, why art thou consumed with grief? Hast thou no counselor, that thy sorrow is renewed in thee? I will save thee and deliver thee, fear thou not. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.”
    The choice of station for Gaudete Sunday may also seem rather counterintuitive; on the only Sunday whose Introit is taken from the epistles of St Paul, we might expect it to be kept at the church which guards his tomb, St Paul’s outside-the-Walls. Instead, the station is kept at St Peter’s, formerly the station for the principal Mass of Christmas Day; as the church of Rome proclaims “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men, for the Lord is nigh”, it anticipates the joy of the Savior’s birth in the place where it will be most solemnly celebrated in less than two weeks’ time.
    Saint Paul, holding the sword of his martyrdom, and Saint Peter handing the keys to Pope Eugenius IV (1431-47). These are the central panels of a set of doors made for the old Saint Peter’s Basilica by the Florentine sculptor Antonio di Pietro Averlino, usually referred to as “Filarete”, Greek for “one who loves excellence.” Commissioned by Pope Eugenius, and completed in 1445, they were saved from the demolition of the ancient church in the 16th century, and eventually placed in a new frame as the central doors of the new church. Beneath these panels are depicted the deaths of the two Apostles.
    In a certain sense, however, the basilica of St Peter in the Vatican is also dedicated to St Paul. The liturgy of Rome always remembers the two Apostles together, not only in their joint feast on June 29th, but also by adding to feasts such as that of Peter’s Chains or the Conversion of Paul a commemoration of the other Apostolic founder of the church in the Eternal City. This tradition was reflected in the art of the old St Peter’s Basilica, in which nearly every image of St Peter was accompanied by one of St Paul. In the modern basilica, on the other hand, there are many images of its titular Saint, but hardly any of St Paul; its decorative program, conceived in the Counter-Reformation, answers the Protestant rejection of the Pope’s authority by laying much greater emphasis on Peter alone.
    The ninth responsory of this Sunday, taken from the beginning of the second chapter of Isaiah, may also be an oblique reference to the station at St Peter’s. “The Lord will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths, for the law shall come forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Come, let us go up to the mountain (ad montem) of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob.” The modern buildings around St Peter’s, and the massive new basilica itself, largely hide the fact that the Vatican is really a hill; in antiquity, the hills in and around Rome were usually called “mons – mountain” rather than “collis – hill.” The “ways” and “paths” may be a reference to the three ancient roads, Cornelia, Aurelia Nova and Triumphalis, which ran close to the place of St Peter’s death in the Circus of Nero, and the nearby Vatican Necropolis where he was buried. “The Lord will teach us” and “the law will come forth” would then refer to St Peter’s God-given role as the first Pope and teacher of the Apostolic faith.
    A section of the Forma Urbis Romae by Rodolfo Lanciani (1893-1901), showing the ancient basilica of St Peter and its conjectured relationship to ancient constructions nearby. The Circus of Nero, where St Peter was crucified, is shown on the south side of the basilica; its precise size and location are unknown. Modern structures, including the current basilica, are shown in red.
    The stations of the Ember Days are the same in all four seasons of the year, being held on Wednesday at St Mary Major, Friday at the church of the Twelve Apostles, and on Saturday at St Peter’s. The Mass of Ember Wednesday commemorates the Incarnation in preparation for the Lord’s Nativity, joining to the Gospel of the Annunciation the famous prophecy of Isaiah that a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son; the station is therefore most appropriately held at St Mary Major. The station of Ember Friday at the church of the Twelve Apostles, on the other hand, has no obvious connection to any part of the day’s liturgy; the 12th century liturgical commentator Rupert of Deutz, after noting that the reason behind the choice of station is “quite obscure”, ingeniously finds a reference to it in the Communion of the Mass, “Behold the Lord will come, and all his Saints with Him, and there will be on that day a great light.” “This clearly refers to the glorification of these same Apostles, who will come with Him in the Second Coming unto judgment.” (De Divinis Officiis III, 9)
    The Embertides were originally the privileged season for ordinations, and those of Advent, being the oldest, were once the only season in which Holy Orders were conferred. On Ember Wednesday, a procession of all the clergy and people was held, similar to those which took place every day of Lent, from St Peter in Chains to St Mary Major, where the formal announcement was made of those who would be ordained to the priesthood. On Ember Saturdays, five prophecies are read before the Epistle and the Gospel, a total of seven readings. Tonsure was conferred after the Kyrie, and minor orders each after one of the first four readings, porters first, then lectors, exorcists and acolytes. Subdeacons were ordained after the fifth reading, (which is the same on each of the four Ember Saturdays), and deacons after the epistle; priestly ordination was then given after the next-to-last verse of the tract, so that nothing, not even the solemn rites of Holy Orders, might detract from the singing of the Gospel as the culmination of the Mass of the Catechumens. In this case, then, it is not the texts of the Mass or Office that determines the station, nor the station that determines the texts. The station is held at the tomb of the Apostle Peter to express the union of every member of the Roman clergy, from the lowliest porter to the archpriest of the cathedral, with Peter’s successor, the Pope. (pictured right - St. Peter ordains St. Stephen a Deacon, detail; from the Chapel of Nicolas V by Fra Angelico, 1447-9)
    In Rupert of Deutz’s time, no station had been assigned to the fourth Sunday of Advent, a fact which he explains by saying that the mystery of the Incarnation, with which this Sunday is principally occupied, is too great to be entrusted to any one of Christ’s Saints. (ibid., cap. 12). The later addition of a station at the church of the Twelve Apostles, where one had just been held two days before, seems also to be connected to the previous day’s ordinations. In this church, Peter is also honored, but as one of the company of Christ’s closest disciples; their head, to be sure, but as Pope St Leo the Great writes, the power of the keys “passed also to the other Apostles, and to all the princes of the Church.” (sermon 4, 3) As the Apostles, and those ordained by them, all collaborated in the same mission under the leadership of St Peter, so do the clergy of Rome, ordained by the Pope, all collaborate with him as their head. Hence also the epistle of this Sunday begins, “Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God.” These ministers and dispensers of the mysteries are the Apostles, and their successors in the clergy; once upon a time, these words were the very first sentence of the Sacred Scriptures to be read at every priest’s first Sunday Mass, at least according to the liturgical use of Rome.
    The Tomb of the Apostles Ss Philip and James, in the crypt of the church of the Twelve Apostles. The church was originally dedicated to just Ss Philip and James, and later to all Twelve, perhaps in imitation of the Apostoleion of Constantinople. Photograph by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.
    This reading is the beginning of the fourth chapter of I Corinthians, in which St Paul goes on say “For I think that God hath set forth us Apostles, the last, as it were, men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake … Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode; and we labor, working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer.” On various feasts of the Apostles, parts of this chapter are read as the epistle; it was later chosen as the Scriptual lesson for the common of Apostles in the Breviary of St Pius V.

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    Our next major photopost will be for Masses on Gaudete Sunday, featuring your rose-colored vestments, as well as Rorate Masses, in either Form of the Roman Rite or the Ordinariate Rite. We will be very glad to include anything else from your Advent celebrations, such as Vespers, Masses of Our Lady of Guadalupe etc. Let’s see if we can match the last two years, when we received enough to make three separate posts! Please send photos to: photopost@newliturgicalmovement.org for inclusion; be sure to include the name and location of the church, and any other information you consider relevant. Thanks as always - Evangelize though Beauty!

    From our first Gaudete and Rorate photopost last year, the altar set up for a Rorate Mass at the church of St Gianna Beretta Molla in Northfield, New Jersey.
    From the second post, the altar set up for Gaudate Sunday at the church of St Paul in Birkirkara, Malta.
    From the third post, a newly ordained priest celebrates his first Mass on Gaudete Sunday at the FSSP’s Roman parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini.

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    We are now more than halfway through Advent, and next Monday the Church will begin to sing the famous O antiphons each day at Vespers. These are one of the most loved features of the Church’s liturgy, and for good reason; the texts are especially rich in references to the Old Testament prophecies of the Divine Redeemer and His coming for the salvation of the human race, and the Gregorian chant with which they are sung is extremely beautiful. The Roman Rite has seven of these, and it of course well known that the first letters of the seven titles (O Sapientia, O Adonai etc.) form an acrostic when read backwards, ERO CRAS, Latin for “Tomorrow I will be.”; this is completed on the last day before the Christmas season formally begins on the evening of the 24th.

    The first six O antiphons in the Antiphonary of Hartker, written at the monastery of St Gallen in Switzerland at the end of the 10th century. (Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 390, p. 40 – Antiphonarium officii, https://www.e-codices.unifr.ch/en/list/one/csg/0390)
    When semidoubling antiphons was the norm in the Use of Rome, the O’s were always doubled, and the choir did not sit after they were intoned, as one usually does for the Magnificat antiphon. Various other particular customs were observed in other places. In the very ancient abbey of Fleury, for example, the intonation of each antiphon was assigned to a particular member of the monastic community: O Wisdom to the abbot, O Lord to the prior, O Root of Jesse to the gardener, O Key of David to the cellarer, (who held the key to all of the storehouses), etc. (Martene, De antiquis Ecclesiae ritibus IV.3.3)

    The medieval use of Augsburg in Germany contains a particularly interesting enrichment of the liturgy on these days. Each O is accompanied by a special chapter, and a special concluding oration, both of which refer back to it; these form a kind of scriptural and euchological commentary on the much older antiphons. Like many medieval uses, that of Augsburg also added other antiphons to the series, which I will note in another post next week; here are the chapters and prayers which go with the seven oldest antiphons, those found in the Roman Breviary. At Augsburg, the Os began on December 13th, and so I have noted them here.

    December 13 (17 in the Roman Breviary)
    Capitulum Ego Sapientia ex
    ore Altissimi prodivi, primo
    genita ante omnem creatu-
    ram. Transite ad me, omnes,
    qui  concupiscitis me, et a ge-
    nerationibus meis implemini.
    The Chapter
    I Wisdom came out of the mouth
    of the most High, the firstborn
    before all creatures. Come over
    to me, all ye that desire me, and
    be filled with my fruits.
    (Sirach 24, 5 and 26)
    Aña O Sapientia, * quae ex
    ore Altissimi prodiisti, attin-
    gens a fine usque ad finem,
    fortiter suaviterque disponens
    omnia: veni ad docendum
    nos viam prudentiae.
    Aña O Wisdom, * that comest out
    of the mouth of the Most High, that
    reachest from end to end, mightily
    and sweetly ordering all things,
    come thou to teach us the way of
    prudence.
    Oratio
    Festinantes, omnipotens De-
    us, in occursum Filii tui Do-
    mini nostri, nulli impediant
    actus terreni, sed caelestis
    sapientiae eruditio faciat nos
    ejus esse consortes. Per eun-
    dem.
    The Prayer
    Almighty God, let no earthly ac-
    tions hinder them that hasten to
    meet Thy Son Our Lord; but let
    the teaching of heavenly wisdom
    make us his fellow heirs. Through
    the same...
    December 14
    Capitulum
    Ecce Deus noster: ecce Domi-
    nus Deus in fortitudine veniet,
    et brachium ejus dominabitur:
    ecce merces ejus cum eo, et
    opus illius coram illo.
    The Chapter
    Behold our God: behold the Lord
    God shall come with strength, and
    his arm shall rule: Behold his re-
    ward is with him, and his work is
    before him. (Isaiah 40, 9-10)
    Aña O Adonai, * et Dux domus
    Israël, qui Moysi in igne flam-
    mae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Si-
    na legem dedisti: veni ad redi-
    mendum nos in brachio exten-
    to.
    Aña O Adonai, * and leader of
    the house of Israel, who didst ap-
    pear to Moses in the fire of the
    burning bush, and gavest him
    the Law on Sinai; come thou to
    redeem us with arm outstretched. 
    Oratio
    Deus, qui hominem de lapsu in
    mortem Unigeniti tui adventu
    redimisti: praesta, quaesumus;
    ut qui ejus gloriosam fatentur
    Incarnationem, ipsius Redemp-
    toris consortia mereantur:
    Qui tecum.
    The Prayer
    God, who didst redeem man from
    the fall unto death by the coming
    of Thy Only begotten Son; grant,
    we beseech Thee, that they who
    confess His glorious Incarnation
    may merit the fellowship of that
    very Redeemer; who liveth and
    reigneth with Thee...
    December 15
    Capitulum
    Ecce radix Jesse ascendet in
    salutem populorum: ipsum
    gentes deprecabuntur: et erit
    nomen ejus gloriosum.
    The Chapter
    Behold the root of Jesse shall
    arise for the salvation of the
    peoples; him the Gentiles shall
    beseech, and his name shall be
    glorious. (Isaiah 11, 10)
    Aña O Radix Jesse, * qui stas
    in signum populorum, super
    quem continebunt reges os
    suum, quem gentes depreca-
    buntur: veni ad liberandum
    nos, jam noli tardare.
    Aña O root of Jesse, * that stand-
    est as an ensign of the peoples,
    at whom the kings shall shut their
    mouths, whom the Gentiles shall
    beseech: come thou to deliver us,
    delay thou not. 
    Oratio
    Festina, ne tardaveris, Domi-
    ne, Deus noster: et a diaboli-
    co furore nos potenter libera-
    re dignare: Qui cum.
    The Prayer
    Hasten, delay Thou not, o Lord,
    our God; and deign Thou
    mightily to deliver us from the
    wrath of the devil. Who with
    the Father...
    The Prophet Isaiah, by Antonio Balestra (1666-1740). “And one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a live coal, which he had taken with the tongs off the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: Behold this hath touched thy lips, and thy iniquities shall be taken away, and thy sin shall be cleansed.” (Isaiah 6, 6-7 – Public domainimage from Wikipedia.)
    December 16
    Capitulum
    Dedi te in foedus populi, in
    lucem gentium, ut aperires
    oculos caecorum, et educe-
    res de conclusione vinctos,
    de domo carceris sedentes
    in tenebris.
    The Chapter
    I have given thee for a covenant
    of the people, for a light of the
    Gentiles: that thou may open the
    eyes of the blind, and bring forth
    the prisoners out of prison, and
    them that sit in darkness out of
    the prison house.
    (Isaiah 42, 6-7)
    Aña O clavis David, * et
    sceptrum domus Israël; qui
    aperis, et nemo claudit; clau-
    dis, et nemo aperit: veni, et
    educ vinctum de domo car-
    ceris, sedentem in tenebris,
    et umbra mortis.
    Aña O key of David, * and
    sceptre of the house of Israel;
    who openest, and no man shut-
    teth; shuttest, and no man open-
    eth: come thou, and lead forth
    the prisoner from the prison-
    house, and him that sitteth in
    darkness, and in the shadow of
    death.
    Oratio
    Aurem tuam, quaesumus,
    Domine, precibus nostris ac-
    commoda: et mentis nostrae
    tenebras gratia tuae visita-
    tionis illustra: Qui vivis.
    The Prayer
    Incline Thy ear, Lord, we be-
    seech Thee, unto our prayers,
    and lighten the darkness of
    our minds by the grace of
    Thy visitation; Who livest.
    December 17
    Capitulum
    Orietur vobis timentibus no-
    men meum sol justitiae, et
    sanitas in pennis ejus.
    The Chapter
    Unto you that fear my name,
    the Sun of justice shall arise,
    and health in his wings.
    (Malachi 4, 2)
    Aña O Oriens, * splendor lu-
    aeternae, et sol justi tiae:
    veni, et illumina sedentes
    in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
    Aña O Dayspring, * splendor
    of the light eternal, and sun
    of justice; come thou, and
    enlighten them that sit in
    darkness and the shadow of
    death.
    Oratio
    Mentes nostras, quaesumus,
    Domine, gratia tuae visita-
    tionis illustra: ut esse te lar-
    giente mereamur et inter
    prospera humiles, et inter
    adversa securi. Qui cum.
    The Prayer
    Enlighten our minds, we be-
    seech Thee, Lord, by the
    grace of Thy visitation; that
    of Thy bounty we may merit
    to be humble in prosperity,
    and safe in adversity. Who
    with the Father.
    December 18
    Capitulum
    Ecce dies veniunt, dicit Do-
    minus, et suscitabo David
    germen justum: et regnabit
    rex, et sapiens erit, et faciet
    judicium et justitiam in
    terra.
    The Chapter
    Behold the days come, saith
    the Lord, and I will raise up
    to David a just branch: and a
    king shall reign, and shall be
    wise, and shall execute
    judgment and justice upon
    the earth. (Jeremiah 23, 5)
    Aña O Rex gentium, * et desi-
    deratus earum, lapisque angu-
    laris, qui facis utraque unum:
    veni, et salva hominem, quem
    de limo formasti.
    Aña O King of the gentiles, *
    and the Desire thereof, and
    cornerstone that makest of
    twain one: come, to save
    man, whom Thou didst
    make from the mud of the
    earth.
    Oratio
    Excita, quaesumus, Domine,
    potentiam tuam, et veni: ut ab
    imminentibus peccatorum no-
    strorum periculis, te merea-
    mur protegente eripi, te libe-
    rante salvari: Qui vivis.
    The Prayer
    Stir up Thy strength, o Lord,
    we beseech Thee, and come;
    that we may merit to be deli-
    vered from the imminent
    dangers of our sins by Thee
    our protector, and saved by
    Thee our liberator. Who livest.
    December 19
    Capitulum
    Dominus enim judex noster,
    Dominus legifer noster, Do-
    minus rex noster, ipse sal-
    vabit nos.
    The Chapter
    For the Lord is our judge,
    the Lord is our lawgiver,
    the Lord is our king:
    he will save us. (Isaiah 33, 22)
    Aña O Emmanuel, * Rex et
    legifer noster, exspectatio
    gentium, et Salvator earum:
    veni ad salvandum nos, Do-
    mine, Deus noster.
    Aña O Emmanuel, * our King
    and Lawgiver, longing of the
    Gentiles, and Savior thereof:
    come Thou to save us, o Lord
    our God.
    Oratio
    Omnipotens Christe, Unige-
    genite Dei, propitius ad sal-
    vandum populum in te cre-
    dentem veni: ut benignitate
    solita ab omni dubietate et
    metu temporis nos jubeas
    liberari: Qui cum Deo Patre.
    The Prayer
    Christ Almighty, Onlybegotten
    Son of God, of Thy mercy
    come Thou to save the people
    that believeth in Thee; that by
    Thy wonted kindliness, Thou
    mayest command us to be
    freed of every doubt, and
    fear of our times. Who with
    the Father...
    The translations of the Scriptural passages are taken from the Douay-Rheims version; where the quotation is different from the actual words of Scripture (a common enough feature of medieval liturgical texts), I have placed the changed words in italics. The translations of the antiphons are based on those in the English version of the Roman Breviary by the Marquess of Bute, with many modifications; those of the prayers are my own. The Chapter which accompanies O Radix Jesse is based on Isaiah 11, 10, but is actually quoted from a responsory of the Third Sunday of Advent. Likewise, the prayer which accompanies O Clavis David is that of the Third Sunday of Advent, and that which accompanies O Rex gentium is that of the First Sunday.
    A 15th century stained glass window of Augsburg Cathedral, showing the Coronation of the Virgin Mary at top, the Annunciation on the lower left, and the Birth of Christ on the lower right.

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  • 12/15/18--09:13: Count Neri Capponi, RIP
  • Count Neri Capponi, a prominent Florentine legal scholar and canonist, and one of the great defenders of the rights of those attached to the traditional Mass, passed away on Thursday in his native city of Florence, Italy. Count Capponi taught for many decades at the University of Florence, while also serving on the marriage tribunal of the archdiocese; he was also recognized as a canon lawyer with the credentials to speak before the Roman Rota. He was one of the very few to argue insistently that the Roman Church’s traditional liturgy had never been formally abolished, a position which he sustained against all comers, and in which he was finally vindicated by Pope Benedict XVI in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. He was also a regular contributor to The Latin Mass and other traditionalist publications.

    Inclína, Dómine, aurem tuam ad preces nostras, quibus misericordiam tuam súpplices deprecámur: ut ánimam fámuli tui Nerium, quam de hoc sáeculo migráre jussisti, in pacis ac lucis regióne constítuas, et Sanctórum tuórum júbeas esse consortem. Per Dóminum.

    Incline, o Lord, Thy ear to our prayers, by which we humbly pray for Thy mercy; that Thou may set the soul of the servant Neri, which Thou hast commanded to depart from this world, in the place of peace and light, and command Him to share the lot of Thy Saints. Through our Lord...

    Count Neri Capponi and Michael Davies at an Una Voce conference.

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    I am pleased to announce that the Matutinum; seu, Antiphonarium S. Ord. Praed. pro Nocturnis Horis Majorum Solemnitatum has been republished by Dominican Liturgy Publications.

    This small hardback book contains the Dominican Chant music for Matins of the major solemnities of the year.  It is a photographic reprint of the original, which was published at the order of the Master General Stanisllaus Gillet, O.P., in 1939.  It does not contain the music for Lauds or the day offices. These are found in the Antiphonarium S.O.P. published in 1933, which can be downloaded in PDF on the left sidebar at Dominican Liturgy.

    Those interested in purchasing this book should first check the preview to make sure the quality of the reproduction meets their needs.  To order click here.

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    Today, His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke offered a Pontifical Mass in the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The nave was packed with faithful, with additional folding chairs set up around the church and overflow seating in the basement. The Mass was the traditional “Rorate” Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Advent. Music was provided by the Choir and Schola of St Mary’s Oratory in Wausau, Wisconsin (see final picture). Much gratitude is due to His Eminence for celebrating this resplendent, age-old rite in which Our Lord truly comes among us in word, chant, silence, and Sacrament, and for having initiated and guided the construction of this glorious temple of God built in honor of the patroness of the Americas and of the unborn.

    This Shrine was begun in 2004 and dedicated in 2008

    Tradition is for the young! This schola cantorum sang all the propers of the Mass in full (including the Gradual and the Alleluia), and the average age was about 18.


    The Epistle being chanted in the correct orientation (eastwards)

    The Gospel being chanted in the correct stance (facing northwards)

    His Eminence preached in English and in Spanish




    The Shrine is ornamented by all the titles of Our Lady in her Litany

    The Choir of St Mary’s Oratory with His Eminence

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  • 12/16/18--05:00: Gaudete Sunday 2018
  • At the Mass (of the Third Sunday of Advent), the Introit is about the second coming (of Christ): “Rejoice ye always in the Lord, and again I say, Rejoice!” For the Apostle does not speak of the first coming when he says “The Lord is near”, but about the second coming; by this, he invites us to spiritual joy, through which we steadfastly await the joys of His second coming. For this reason he says “Rejoice ye always in the Lord”, that is, in awaiting the second coming, and “Rejoice” is repeated, because spiritual joy causes us to sweetly bear with all the troubles of the world, so that nothing may tear us away from the hope of those things which are eternal. Therefore, because spiritual joy is so necessary, he repeats it in this manner; or else, because of the joy of both comings, which the Saints have. It is modesty which guards this joy, and therefore follow the words “Let your modesty (be known to all men, for the Lord is near.”) The Church expresses its desire for this joy, which is peace for all the Saints, for her sons in singing the verse “And may the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, (keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.)” – William Durandus, Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, 6.5.2


    In the Middle Ages, the verse which accompanies this Introit was usually not taken from Psalm 84, as we have it in the Missal of St Pius V, but rather from Philippians 4, continuing the text of the Introit, and it is this verse to which Durandus refers at the end of the passage given above. There were a few other examples of this in the Missal, such as the Introit of Pentecost, whose verse continued from the Book of Wisdom, and that of the Rorate Mass, which continued from Isaiah 45. The editors of the Tridentine Missal apparently decided it was better to have all the verses taken from the Psalms, a custom which is attested in some of the most ancient Graduals.

    The Mass of the Third Sunday of Advent (beginning in the middle of the left hand column), from a Roman Missal printed at Lyon in 1497, with the Introit Gaudete and the verse “Et pax Dei...”

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    Detail from Edward Arthur Fellowes, Benedicite Domino
    “And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). How do we preach the gospel to every creature — including stones, trees, brute animals?

    We cause them to participate in the gospel by elevating, as much as possible, each rank of being, through our cognition of them and our appreciation of their beauty, their intricacy, their strength, their usefulness[1]; through domestication of them if they are susceptible to human reason in this manner; and through the sacred liturgy, when it takes up each order of being and harnesses it for the worship of God: a church built of stone, vessels made of metal, vestments woven of silk and linen, windows crafted from glass, flowers on the altar, the blessing of fields, livestock, gardens, and wine. We preach the Gospel to them by preaching it through them, thus making them partakers of the mission of the Word and of the Church.

    The famous hymn of the Benedicite, taken from chapter 3 of the book of Daniel and incorporated into the Latin Divine Office, strongly underlines this truth. My attention was first drawn to this hymn by a reflection of Thomas Storck’s entitled: “All Ye Works of the Lord, Bless the Lord: A Rural Meditation from Daniel 3,” published in the singularly charming but long-defunct journal Caelum et Terra.[2] In the intervening years, I have grown familiar with this hymn from Sunday and festal Lauds, and have noticed, if I pray it slowly enough and think about what I’m doing — addressing imperatives to all of creation! — that something in it always stirs some faint memory, fosters a present gratitude, and incites a longing for a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness will be at home.

    More recently, I came across this exquisite passage in a book on the spirituality of Mother Catherine-Mectilde de Bar, foundress of the Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration:
    Man finds himself to be as the heart of creation. In our body, the heart is, in effect, only a small organ, and nevertheless it vivifies all the whole. In the same way, man, although tiny in the place he occupies on the earth, animates it in its totality. When the heart loves, it is the whole man that loves. And in the same way, when man adores his God, it is the whole universe that, in him, adores and glorifies its Creator. … Man is the priest of the universe: through his nature, at once bodily and spiritual, he is the intermediary between the visible world and the invisible world, between ponderous matter and the God who is Spirit. He alone is capable of offering that “worship in spirit and in truth” which the Father seeks and which Christ demands of the Samaritaness for quenching the thirst of His Heart.[3] 
    “Man is the priest of the universe … the intermediary between the visible and the invisible…” Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose coming in the flesh and whose Second Coming in glory we linger over each Advent season, is the Last Adam, the perfect Man, the divine Man, the Eternal High Priest — the one Mediator between God and man, visible and invisible. In the Son, “ponderous matter and the God who is Spirit” are united indivisibly, inseparably, unconfusedly. In the Heart of Jesus is the perfect glorification of God by material creation. His human knowledge of worldly things elevates them as no other man’s knowledge can do; His love and use of them bestows upon them a dignity they could never have by themselves. In Christ the world encounters its Maker, returns to its origin, attains its end.

    When Our Lord prayed the Benedicite, as He surely must have done, He was uttering to each kind of thing the echo of the creative word that called forth its realizations ex nihilo, the vivifying word that sustains them in essendi, the commanding word that harnesses them for salvation, the fearsome word that dooms them to finitude and fire at the end of time. In the Benedicite uttered by His holy lips, the creature heard itself called as if by name, called to bend before the Name above all other names. In particular, the things taken up by Christ as the matter of the sacraments acquired special status: they became, as it were, the aristocracy of material beings, a rank they will occupy until the world is no more. They have become quasi-natural signs of their Mediator.

    *          *          *
    At the end of the Benedicite, this hymn of creation to its Creator, we are given a fireworks finale of seven categories of humans, signifying the totality of the human race. If we add beasts of burden, which are the only animals that participate in human life through their cooperative labor, we can count eight categories:
    Benedicite, omnes bestiae et pecora, Domino,
         benedicite, filii hominum, Domino.
    Benedic, Israel, Domino,
         laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
    Benedicite, sacerdotes Domini, Domino,
         benedicite, servi Domini, Domino.
    Benedicite, spiritus et animae iustorum, Domino,
         benedicite, sancti et humiles corde, Domino.
    Benedicite, Anania, Azaria, Misael, Domino,
         laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
    8) Bestiae et pecora. Beasts and cattle are owned by another and profitable to their owners. They are elevated by their participation in human life and labors; we elevate them by imposing on them the rule of reason. Some higher animals even imitate the works of reason as from a distance, as can be seen with sheep dogs, guard dogs, guide dogs, or police dogs, which do some of what a rational animal would do, because they are capable of learning.

    7) Filii hominum.“Children of men” emphasizes generation — namely, that we are “from another”: we receive our humanity, establishing the basic anthropological pattern that “you are not your own” (1 Cor 6:19) and “what have you, that you have not received?” (1 Cor 4:7). So, even as the higher beasts receive their guidance, their training, from their human master and thereby come to participate in his reason, so man receives guidance and training in virtue from God. No man is self-sufficient or autonomous.

    6) Israel is brought into being by the Word of the Lord, by His promise, covenant, and mighty deeds. It is the Lord who chooses, who loves, who bestows value on the creature, on the nation, on the people He calls His own. He loves us not because we are already beautiful, but in order to make us beautiful and worthy of His love. “Not because you surpass all nations in number is the Lord joined unto you, and hath chosen you, for you are the fewest of any people; but because the Lord hath loved you” (Deut 7:7). “Because thou wast forsaken, and hated, and there was none that passed through thee, I will make thee to be an everlasting glory, a joy unto generation and generation” (Is 60:15); “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go and bring forth fruit” (Jn 15:16).

    5) Sacerdotes Domini. Building on the foregoing, the phrase “priests of the Lord” reminds us that the priest is one who is chosen, called, ordained. “Neither doth any man take the honour to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was” (Heb 5:4). Just as a Christian cannot baptize or confirm himself, a priest cannot ordain himself but must always be ordained by another. All spiritual generation in Christianity, like all paternal biological generation, has its source in the divine Fatherhood, source of the godhead of the Son and Holy Spirit, source of the whole of creation and all of its differentiated powers.

    Here, I cannot refrain from quoting Cardinal Ratzinger’s perceptive remarks about the problem of women’s ordination, as seen through the lens of a prominent feminist theologian:
    Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza … took a vehement part in the struggle for women’s ordination, but now she says that that was a wrong goal. The experience with female priests in the Anglican Church has, she says, led to the realization that “ordination is not a solution; it isn’t what we wanted.” She also explains why. She says, “ordination is subordination, and that’s exactly what we don’t want.” And on this point her diagnosis is completely correct.
              To enter into an ordo always also means to enter into a relationship of subordination. But in our liberation movement, says Schussler-Fiorenza, we don’t want to enter into an ordo, into a subordo, a “subordination,” but to overcome the very phenomenon itself. Our struggle, she says, therefore mustn’t aim at women’s ordination; that is precisely the wrong thing to do. Rather, it must aim at the cessation of ordination altogether and at making the Church a society of equals in which there is only a “shifting leadership.”
              Given the motivations behind the struggle for women’s ordination, which does in fact aim at powersharing and liberation from subordination, she has seen that correctly. But then one must really say there is a whole question behind this: What is the priesthood actually?[4]
    This final question rings out again and again, piercing through the din of controversy and the darkness of abuse, with a resounding answer in the bimillennial witness of faithful Catholic priests, imitators of and participants in the very priesthood of Jesus Christ, of whom they are living icons. No, true Christianity is not “a society of equals” with a “shifting leadership”; it is a hierarchical society, much like the cosmic order depicted in the Benedicite, reflected in the descending alignment of priest, deacon, subdeacon, and servers in a solemn Mass.

    4) Servi Domini. What are we, fundamentally? The Benedicite answers: “servants of the Lord” — servants who do their Master’s bidding. “Behold as the eyes of the servants are on the hands of their masters, as the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress: so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy on us” (Ps 122:2). The Aristotelian category usually translated as “relation” is, in Aristotle’s Greek, pros ti, or in Latin, ad aliquid — a much more concrete way of speaking: to be in relation is to be “towards something.” The servant is something of the master’s; he exists towards the master. His eyes are riveted on the Master’s hands, awaiting the signal for work or for rest. The servant depends on the master; without him, he is nothing.

    Does this not help us also to see the place of man in the material universe? It is entrusted to man as its master; the world and all that is in it is meant to be his servant. Even as the catalogue of creatures in the Benedicite looks to man for its ultimate explanation and elevation, so man looks to God, and in a special way to Christ, as his Dominus and Magister.

    3) Spiritus et animae justorum.“Ye spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord!” How tightly linked are the verses of this hymn! As we just saw, a servant is, by definition, something of his master. Here, the virtue by which we single out the holy ones in heaven is justice — the virtue that is inherently relational. Aristotle and Aquinas teach us that temperance, fortitude, prudence, and all the other moral and intellectual virtues are about a perfection of oneself in oneself, but justice is the perfection of oneself towards another. The classic definition of justice is “that by which we render to another what is his own.” We cannot have justice towards ourselves, strictly speaking, but only towards another in whose debt we stand.

    On the supernatural plane, we have our justice, our righteousness, not from ourselves but from Christ, by whom and in whom we are justified. Our justice, moreover, consists not in the flesh but in the rightly-ordered soul, where the lower is subordinated to the higher, and the highest in us is submitted to the Highest in Himself. “Spirits and souls of the just,” all ye angels and saints, bless the Lord for His mercy in saving you from perdition!

    2) Sancti et humiles corde. The “holy and humble of heart” are, we hope and we pray, the rest of us who are not yet saved. Why does the Benedicite use these two words, sancti and humiles corde?

    With the creative etymologies of St. Isidore of Seville in mind, St. Thomas traces the word sanctus to sanguine tinctus, sprinkled with blood, the blood of the sacrificial victim (Summa theologiae II-II, q. 81, a. 8) — as were the Hebrews at Mt. Sinai, and as are Christians in their baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ the unspotted Lamb. The only ones who are holy are the ones purified by contact with the blood pleasing to God, because in this way they are themselves claimed for Him and surrendered to Him in their totality.

    Humiles corde reminds us of the famous saying of St. Teresa of Jesus: “humility is truth.” Truth, for St. Thomas, is the adequatio rei et intellectus, the correspondence between thing and intellect, or rather, the intellect’s very identity with the knowable nature of the object. Christ came into the world to bear witness to the truth; the primary aim of the Christian must be to correspond to that truth. In this way we circle back to all the earlier verses: the generation of likeness; the priesthood as icon; servanthood; justice. Everything in the Benedicite strikes a note of “noble humility” or “humble nobility.”

    Aquinas reminds us that, while things are the cause of our knowledge, with God it is the other way around: His knowledge is the very cause of things. We can see a parallel in liturgy: tradition is the formal cause of liturgy, not liturgy the cause of tradition. That is, simply making a liturgy, however “correct,” does not establish it as tradition, for tradition is something received, not produced. Once there is a liturgy in existence, it is handed down and received. To make a new liturgy is to violate humility. According to Aquinas, our faculty of understanding is active, but acts upon a world given to us through our senses, so that we are beholden to things in their prior existence, independent of us. Even if material being is elevated in our souls, knowing is being humbled by what is. For Kant, on the other hand, our faculty of understanding can be said to produce reality and synthesize it. No Kantian could recite the Benedicite, and only a Kantian would construct a new liturgy.

    1) Anania, Azaria, Misael. At last, we come to the last and most surprising apostrophe in the hymn, prior to its doxology. I say surprising, not in terms of its context in Daniel 3, but for a detached liturgical hymn recited as part of Lauds: why are we addressing these three Hebrew children? A great deal has been and could be said about this, but here I will simply look at the very meaning of their names to see what they may reveal.
    • Hananiah (חֲנַנְיָה‎), “Yah (i.e., Yahweh) is gracious”
    • Azariah (עֲזַרְיָה‎), “Yah has helped”
    • Mishael (מִישָׁאֵל‎), “Who is like God?” (compare “Michael”)
    Note the progression in these names.
    • The first name denotes God’s basic stance towards creation: He is gracious, He gives and gives freely, to those to whom nothing is owed. As St. Thomas teaches, mercy — understood as bestowing good things on those who are in need — is the very root of all of God’s acts, because He creates from nothing, bestowing on the creature its primordial nature (see Summa theologiae I, q. 21, a. 4).
    • The second name denotes God’s active intervention in history: He is not only gracious as a settled disposition, but ready to help, to intervene in one’s life, to save those who call on Him. He is not only benevolent but beneficent.
    • The third name emphasizes the transcendence of God. However much He involves Himself in the course of the world and in the government of His rational creatures, God is still and always God: He is above and beyond all things and must be adored as such — as existing in and of and for Himself, and the end to which everything else is directed. Not even an infinity of universes of sinless creatures could pay Him adequate homage. Only in the Trinitarian perichoresis or circumincession is the knowledge and love of God sufficient unto Himself.
    The Benedicite thus fittingly ends on the cusp of its doxology with the name of the child who reminds us that God is “beyond all praising,” and yet, that our feeble praises please Him, as the three children in the fiery furnace pleased Him when they uttered their inspired words, immortalized in the Church’s liturgy.

    Three Men in the Fiery Furnace, from the Priscilla Catacombs in Rome
    NOTES

    [1] As Aquinas argues, a stone has a nobler mode of existence as an idea in the human soul, where it is alive with rational life, than it has in itself, being a lifeless lump of matter. At the same time, ideas in the soul are accidents, while the stone is a substance, and in terms of this comparison, the stone subsists or has esse simpliciter, while the idea of a stone exists only in another, having esse per accidens.
    [2] The essay may be found here, at the Storck archives.
    [3] Priez sans cesse, 10–11.
    [4] Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium (Ignatius Press, 1997).

    Visit www.peterkwasniewski.com for information, articles, sacred music, and Os Justi Press.


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    Here are three photographs of an old house in London called Boston Manor. (Many readers will know of the Tube station named after it, so for your benefit, I’m talking about the building for which the station was named after, not the station itself!) It was constructed in 1622, in the Jacobean style; a friend of mine just sent them to me, saying, “This seems to exemplify what you have been talking about!”  He had just read the article called Monotony and Cacophony, the Twin Principles of Modern Design, in which I set out the schema for modern design and contrasted then with traditional ideas of harmony and proportion in design.

    Here is the front view. You can see the three windows are in different sizes according to classical proportion. There is a rhythmic progression in the three different sized windows that dominate our perception of its design. This creates a harmonious relationship between each of them, in which the first is to the second as the second is the first.

    It is a musical chord in brick and plaster.

    Now, here is the back of the building. You can see that in order to squeeze in the door, the builders abandoned proportion in favor of three equal-sized windows. I don’t know if this is part of the original design or a later modification (I suspect the latter).


    It is instantly apparent that this column of equal-sized windows is at odds with the rest of the structure. I’m guessing that these windows let light into a staircase, but I suggest it was a mistake for the architect to do it this way.

    Equal spacing (or random spacing) is the design principle of most buildings built in the modern era. When the whole building uses equal spacing the result, as I have described before is dull monotony.

    Surely there must be some architects out there who can see that you could use the principle of harmonious proportion in contemporary designs, and so unite them to the traditions of the past by applying them in a new way? Once we get an architect who works this out, he will have the edge over all his contemporaries!

    I know that is a variation on an often repeated message, but the importance of this cannot be overstressed, and I will keep bringing it up until once again we see modern architects using proportion well. It is simply not an extra that architects might like to think about, but rather, the traditional way of embedding the code of the beauty of the cosmos into our environment. Mathematical proportion is not the only element that makes for this cosmic beauty, but it is an essential element. Any architect who considers him or herself Christian and doesn’t use these ideas should reflect very carefully on why not.

    Clearly, this must be incorporated into our church architecture, but it can be the most profound influence for evangelization when Christian style is reflected in the mundane too - it is how we reach people before they ever get to a church.

    I can direct any who wish to find out more. (And before you do so please, forget ideas of the Golden Proportion, it is a modern myth that it has anything to do with beauty!)

    For contrast, here is a picture of that Tube station. As we can see, any similarity between this and the original manor is purely coincidental!


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    I am pleased to announce that through the courtesy of Breviarium S.O.P. a Dominican Rite Ordo for 2019 is now available at Dominican Liturgy Publications. This Ordo is intended for use by anyone who prays the 1962 Dominican Rite Breviary. It includes a complete calendar for the Dominican Rite liturgical year for 2019.

    In addition, it includes the collect prayers for the Dominican blesseds who are not on the Dominican general calendar, so that a votive commemoration can be made of their feast, obits of the deceased Masters General, and announcements of days when Dominican Tertiaries (Lay Dominicans) can obtain plenary indulgences.

    Finally, it contains an English translation of the Office of Prime, which was omitted from the 1967 English translation of the Dominican Breviary. This edition also includes prayers for the coming General Chapter in Vietnam, and those for the 15 Tuesdays devotion to St. Dominic.

    I also remind readers that a simple Dominican Rite calendar for 2019 is available on the left side bar of Dominican Liturgy.

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    Back in January, we noted that Google Translate seemed to have come out in favor of the older style of liturgical translation; when you ask it for the English equivalent of “Kyrie, eleison” in Greek letters, and with a comma between them, it gives “Sir, take it easy.” The problem has still not been fixed; this screen shot was taken today.

    Kudos to Mr Sam Wamper for making the best of a bad translation, and sharing it with the world on his Youtube channel.
    Mr Wamper, if you see this post: Google Translate also still thinks that “Christe, eleision” means “Christ, elected.” This just begs to be given a full nine-part setting!

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    The St Ann Choir will observe the following schedule for the major feasts of the Christmas season, with a typically magnificent program of sacred music. Please note that the Masses will be celebrated at the church of St Thomas Aquinas, located at 751 Waverly St at Homer, but the Vespers on New Year’s Eve will be at the St Ann Chapel, located at 541 Melville Avenue at Tasso; both churches are in Palo Alto.

    Monday, December 24, at midnight
    The Midnight Mass of Christmas (Dominus dixit ad me) , with Willam Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices. Organ music and carols begin at 11:30 p.m.

    Tuesday, December 25, at noon
    Sung Mass for Christmas Day (Puer natus est), with Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Missa O Magnum Mysterium

    Monday, December 31, 8:00 p.m.
    First Vespers of the Solemnity Of Mary, including Josquin Des Prez’s setting of the five psalm antiphons (O admirabile commercium et al.), the hymn by Guillaume Dufay, and Jean Mouton’s St Ann motet

    Tuesday, January 1 at 12:00 noon
    The Solemnity of Mary, with Cristóbal de Morales’ Missa Caça

    Sunday, January 6, at noon
    The feast of the Epiphany, with Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Missa O magnum mysterium

    Sunday, January 13, at noon
    The feast of the Baptism of Christ, with Ludwig Senfl’s Missa Nisi Dominus.



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