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- 12/06/18--09:00: _Immaculate Concepti...
- 12/06/18--13:37: _1959 Documentary on...
- 12/07/18--06:10: _A New Catholic Hymn...
- 12/07/18--11:18: _Cardinal Slipyi on ...
- 12/07/18--18:55: _Photopost Request: ...
- 12/08/18--05:00: _Pontifical Mass in ...
- 12/08/18--11:37: _The Feast of the Im...
- 12/09/18--07:06: _The Second Sunday o...
- 12/10/18--03:46: _Our Lady of Guadalu...
- 12/10/18--06:11: _Consecrated Buildin...
- 12/06/18--09:00: Immaculate Conception Events in California
- 12/06/18--13:37: 1959 Documentary on the Carmelite Nuns
- 12/07/18--11:18: Cardinal Slipyi on the Need for Beauty in the Liturgy
- 12/07/18--18:55: Photopost Request: Immaculate Conception 2018
- 12/08/18--05:00: Pontifical Mass in Ottawa Cathedral for St Clement’s Parish Jubilee
- 12/08/18--11:37: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception 2018
- 12/09/18--07:06: The Second Sunday of Advent
- 12/10/18--03:46: Our Lady of Guadalupe: Notices for New York and Chicago
- 12/10/18--06:11: Consecrated Buildings and Their Officially Sponsored Profanation
The parish of Ss Peter and Paul in Wilmington, California, which is administered by the Norbertine Fathers of St Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, will have a Solemn Mass in the traditional Roman Rite for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass will begin at noon; the church is located at 1015 Lagoon Avenue. The Mass is also part of the Consecrate California event, (https://www.consecratecalifornia.com/) praying to defeat the culture of death, for the sick, elderly, and unwanted, and for an end to the violence caused by substance abuse, human trafficking, etc.
When this was filmed, the Carmel itself was fairly new, and the house had not yet been completed; there are several shots of the nuns doing the construction work themselves, with their full habits on, no less! The sisters were sleeping in temporary huts on the convent lawn, with only a brick taken from the oven to keep them warm in the winter, but when the presenter says to the Superior “You’ll be quite happy to leave them, I suppose?”, she answers, “Oh no!” There is no footage of either Mass or Office, but there is a bit of the rite of the clothing of a new member of the community, in which she enters the church dressed as a bride. At the end, the sisters since the Salve Regina, albeit recto tono, in keeping with the extreme austerity of the Discalced Carmelites. This Carmel was closed in 1988, but the chapel is still used. (Hat tip to Mr Jeffrey Morse.)
Our thanks to Fr Christopher Smith, one of our colleagues at Chant Café, for sharing with us his review of this exciting new project from Corpus Christi Watershed, the St John de Brébeuf Hymnal, a truly Catholic collection of hymns which can be used with both Forms of the Roman Rite.
There are voices crying in the wilderness that the propers must be restored to their pride of place, and they are being heard. The melodies of the Graduale Romanum with their Latin texts are being heard in more and more places; vernacular adaptations of them, and new compositions, metrical and more chant-like, are coming forth and being used. This is creating a desire for better liturgy and better music, but we all know that sometimes we have to make baby steps towards our ideals.
Hymns have become such a part of Catholics’ expectation of their Mass experience that calls for their removal and replacement with antiphons alone are often met with suspicion or anger. And so they remain. But the question about the hymns is then reduced to, “What texts, what melodies, what styles are appropriate?” The unseemly battles in liturgy committee meetings over whether young people want Isaac Watts, Marty Haugen or Matt Maher at Mass all miss the point: the relative merits of those varied styles are all paltry in comparison with the treasury of hymnody which the Church already has, still, unfortunately, largely untapped.
How then do the discerning musician and pastor mine the tradition for hymns to introduce to Catholics? How can we unlock the treasury and unleash the riches?
Enter the Saint John de Brébeuf Hymnal for Both Forms of the Roman Rite, published by the John Paul II Institute for Liturgical Renewal in 2018. Those familiar with the other projects which Corpus Christi Watershed has assisted with, will note a familiar design. But this is not the ordinary run of the mill “collection of hymns that people know with a few they don’t know.” This hymnal is a work of incredible scholarship, and one which puts the fruit of that scholarship to work in a practical vehicle for opening the treasures of Catholic hymnody to the people.
The first part of the book, entitled, “Ancient Hymns of the Catholic Church,” contains many of the hymns of the breviary. But these are presented in such a way as to provide several tunes and several texts in English, often taken or adapted from a wealth of English translations from centuries past, some of them even taken from English Catholic primers of the Renaissance and Baroque era. But they are not just borrowed from these sources wholesale. Discerning editors have given great thought to how a large swath of people in our pews would take to singing certain words or turns of phrase, and carefully adapting to what people might actually get their mouths around in singing!
(A version of the communion hymn Sancti, venite, from the 7th century Bangor antiphonary, in a translation by Adrian Fortescue.)
The second part of the book, entitled “Additional Hymns”, will be attractive to those who are open to introducing these “old but new for most” hymns, but want a resource that also contains appropriate hymns for the liturgical year, as well as general use hymns more familiar to English-speaking congregations.
An interesting feature of the book is that the index is placed not at the back, but in the middle of the book, after an attractive set of color plates exploring hymnals. The indices are quite well thought out. They provide the ability to search for name, hymn tune, and occasion in an admirable way, and their placement in the middle makes looking for them easier than wrangling the book at the end. There is also a section at the end with several versions of the Stations of the Cross, which is useful to have, in the same volumes as the hymns for many parishes, text and hymns without the multiplication of more little booklets.
A good choir program will of course contain many pieces of complexity, whether by Palestrina, Bach, or Duruflé. But the mature choirmaster knows well that simple pieces—such as the magnificent hymn tunes in the Brébeuf Hymnal—can be utterly sublime. Moreover, these simple melodies can always be enhanced by new harmonizations, descants, counter-melodies, and SATB arrangements.
This volume is useful to have in any music library or pastor’s office for reference, but is also the kind of volume which can be profitably sought out for choirs and for congregations. As a hymnal without the readings in it, which provides ample resources both old and new, it can truly be said to mark a new and exciting phase in the recovery of ancient liturgical texts for the use of the faithful in a practical way for all involved!
On the evening of November 22, Fr Joseph Bisig, one of the founding members of the FSSP, and the first Superior General, celebrated solemn First Vespers of St Clement in the parish.
|The Trinity and the Immaculate Conception, by Benvenuto Tisi da Garofalo, 1528-36. Prominent among the Doctors of the Church to either side of the Virgin Mary are Ss Augustine and Bernard on the left, Ss Ambrose and Jerome on the right.|
Pópulus Sion, ecce, Dóminus veniet ad salvandas gentes: et audítam faciet Dóminus gloriam vocis suae in laetitia cordis vestri. Ps. 79 Qui regis Israël, intende: qui dedúcis, velut ovem, Ioseph. Gloria Patri. Sicut erat. Pópulus Sion...
The Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, Illinois, an apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King, will have a Mass in the traditional rite for Our Lady of Guadalupe with sacred music by various Mexican composers, ranging from the 16th-18th centuries (Juan de Rivera, Francisco Capillas, Francisco de Quirós, and Hernando Franco). After the fire of October 2015, the community is currently celebrating its Masses at the church of St Thomas the Apostle, located at 5472 S. Kimbark Avenue; the Mass will begin at 6:30 pm.
On Tuesday, December 11, the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel in Manhattan will hold a vigil for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with Confessions and the Rosary at 7:00 p.m., and a sung Mass in the traditional rite at 7:30. On the feast day itself, a procession will be held at 7:00 p.m., followed by a Solemn Mass in Spanish at 8:00. The church is located at 448 East 116th Street.
|The back of the monastery chapel in Norcia|
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.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.
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.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.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|
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.” 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.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:
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.
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.…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:
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.
|Standing on the communion rail|
|The assembled cast|
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:
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.” 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.
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.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)
 Trans. Abbot Justin McCann, 119.
 McCann, 68–69.
 Pugin, Contrasts, 5.
 This verse, of course, is the Introit for the Mass of the Dedication of a Church.
 Bux, No Trifling Matter, 27.
 Bux, No Trifling Matter, 189–93.
 The luncheon is listed on the Vatican website’s itinerary for the trip. More photos may be found here.
 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.
 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.
 Bux, No Trifling Matter, 193–94.
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