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    Robert Cardinal Sarah, in his recent book The Power of Silence, raises once again the question of a silent Canon in the Ordinary Form:
    I am familiar with the regrets expressed by many young priests who would like the Canon of the Mass to be recited in complete silence. The unity of the whole assembly, communing with the words pronounced in a sacred murmur, was a splendid sign of a contemplative Church gathered around the sacrifice of her Savior. [...]
    Nevertheless, the intention of the liturgical reform was commendable: the Council Fathers wanted to rediscover the original function of the Eucharistic Prayer as a great public prayer in the presence of God. But we notice also a strong temptation to look for variety by introducing improvisations into the Canon. The liturgy now runs the risk of trivializing the words of the Eucharistic Prayer... [Cardinal Ratzinger] had proposed practical solutions and forcefully declared that the audible recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer in its entirety was not the only means of getting everyone to participate in this act. We must work for a more balanced solution and offer the possibility of intervals of silence in this area. [1]
    However, one of the obvious obstacles to the Cardinal’s “more balanced solution” is paragraph 32 of the current General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), which reads as follows (my emphasis):
    32. The nature of the “presidential” parts requires that they be spoken in a loud and clear voice and that everyone listen to them attentively. Therefore, while the Priest is pronouncing them, there should be no other prayers or singing, and the organ or other musical instruments should be silent. [2]
    What precisely is it about the “nature” of the presidential parts that requires them to be spoken out loud? This is a question that has puzzled me for some time, and that I was reminded of upon reading Cardinal Sarah’s book. So, as the GIRM has a footnote in this paragraph, I thought I would take a look at the reference to see if that provides any answer to this question.

    Footnote no. 44 directs us to paragraph 14 of Musicam sacram (EnglishLatin), the Instruction on sacred music issued by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on 5 March 1967, which reads as follows (my emphasis):
    14. The priest, acting in the person of Christ, presides over the gathered assembly. Since the prayers which are said or sung by him aloud are proclaimed in the name of the entire holy people and of all present, they should be devoutly listened to by all.
    Sadly, this says nothing about the “nature” of the presidential parts; it only says that those prayers proclaimed aloud by the priest should be devoutly listened to by the assembly - and, at this point, this stipulation would not have included the Canon. Two months later, Tres abhinc annos (4 May 1967) would give permission for the Canon to be said aloud, but this remained optional (pro opportunitate) until the promulgation of the new Ordo Missae. [3] 

    Musicam sacram does, however, reference Sacrosanctum Concilium 33 in a footnote in this paragraph - so, does the Constitution on the Liturgy shed any light on the question? Unfortunately, the answer is no. In fact, we move even further away from GIRM 32 (my emphasis):
    33. Although the sacred liturgy is above all things the worship of the divine Majesty, it likewise contains much instruction for the faithful. For in the liturgy God speaks to His people and Christ is still proclaiming His gospel. And the people reply to God both by song and prayer.
    Moreover, the prayers addressed to God by the priest who presides over the assembly in the person of Christ are said in the name of the entire holy people and of all present. And the visible signs used by the liturgy to signify invisible divine things have been chosen by Christ or the Church. Thus not only when things are read “which were written for our instruction” (Rom. 15:4), but also when the Church prays or sings or acts, the faith of those taking part is nourished and their minds are raised to God, so that they may offer Him their rational service and more abundantly receive His grace. 
    The underlined section of SC 33 is used in GIRM 30 to define the “presidential prayers” of the Mass. But there is no indication in SC itself that it pertains somehow to the “nature” of these presidential prayers that they be proclaimed aloud. This is a later, rationalistic assumption which has been superimposed onto the text of both SC and Musicam sacram, and is seemingly just asserted to be true. It is also inconsistently applied in the OF Missal itself: the Benedictus es, Domine prayers at the Preparation of the Gifts are normally prayed submissa voce, but if the Offertory Chant is not sung, they may be prayed elata voce. Are they, then, defined as public prayers or private prayers?

    GIRM 32 also raises serious questions about continuity and rupture. If, as a presidential prayer, the very nature of the Canon demands (exigit) that it be spoken aloud, then what does that say about the organically-developed, centuries-long tradition of the Western Church?

    In proposing this particular instance of mutual enrichment of the two forms, Cardinal Sarah is channeling Cardinal Ratzinger’s well-known thoughts on the reintroduction of the silent Canon into the Pauline Missal. [4] However, it would seem that GIRM 32, and the assumptions underlying it, [5] urgently need revision in any future “liturgical reconciliation.”


    [1] Robert Cardinal Sarah, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise (Ignatius Press, 2017), pp. 129-130.

    [2] Note that, with the exception of the numbering and the footnote (added for the editio typica in 1969), this paragraph of the GIRM has not been changed in any of its versions (draft or otherwise) from 1968 through to 2002. See the Synopsis of the various versions of the Latin IGMR in Maurizio Barba, Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani. Textus - Synopsis - Variationes (MSIL 45; Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2006), pp. 389-667 (specifically pp. 422-423).

    [3] Cf. Tres abhinc annos, 10 (EnglishLatin). For a very interesting examination of how a trace of this paragraph of Tres abhinc annos persisted in the rubrics of the U.S.A. vernacular OF Missal until 2011, see Matthew S. C. Olver, “A Note on the Silent Canon in the Missal of Paul VI and Cardinal Ratzinger”, Antiphon 20.1 (2016), pp. 40-51.

    [4] For example: “it is not essential for the entire canon of the Mass to be recited aloud on every occasion. The idea that it must rests on a misunderstanding of its nature as proclamation.” (The Feast of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy [Ignatius Press, 1986], p. 72).

    [5] Notwithstanding this attempt by Fr Ryan Erlenbush to read the GIRM as excluding the Canon from the “presidential parts”, which I ultimately find unconvincing.

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    As a follow-up to Matthew Hazell’s post earlier today on the GIRM and the silent Canon, this is what the Council of Trent has to say on the matter, in session 22, celebrated on September 17, 1562, in the reign of Pope Pius IV.

    Chapter 5. On the solemn ceremonies of the Sacrifice of the Mass

    And whereas such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot easily be raised to the meditation of divine things; therefore has Holy Mother Church instituted certain rites, to wit that certain things be pronounced in the Mass in a low, and others in a louder, tone. She has likewise employed ceremonies, such as mystic benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind, derived from an apostolical discipline and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be recommended, and the minds of the faithful be excited, by those visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of those most sublime things which are hidden in this sacrifice.

    Among the disciplinary canons which follow, canon 9 states, “If any one say, that the rite of the Roman Church, according to which a part of the Canon and the words of consecration are pronounced in a low voice, is to be condemned; or, that the Mass ought to be celebrated only in the vulgar tongue; or, that water ought not to be mixed with the wine that is to be offered in the chalice, for that it is contrary to the institution of Christ; let him be anathema.”
    The Canon cited above, from an edition of the Decrees of the Council of Trent printed in Bavaria in 1565; the last session of Trent was held in early December of 1563.

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    Saint Adelaide Parish in Peabody, Massachusetts (Archdiocese of Boston) will host a conference on liturgical formation and sacred music, with Dom Alcuin Reid as the featured speaker. For schedule and registration information, click HERE. Those interested in sponsoring the conference or underwriting the cost of priests or religious to attend should e-mail HERE.

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    My favorite photoposts are the ones which show not only the beauty, but also the great variety and richness of the Catholic liturgical tradition, and the submissions which we received for the Assumption this year are a great example of this. We have Masses of the feast in the EF and OF, as well as the OF vigil Mass, the blessing of a statue of the Virgin Mary, Benediction, and Pontifical Vespers. The photos have come in from all over the world, and we have enough to make two posts out of them; the second will appear tomorrow, with a few other things. Our thanks and best wishes to all those who sent them in - Evangelize through Beauty!

    Monastère Saint-Benoît - La-Garde Freinet, France
    Pontifical First Vespers of the Assumption, celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke, in the presence of the local ordinary, His Excellency Dominique Rey, bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, assisted by Dom Alcuin Reid, and members of the Fraternity of St Joseph the Guardian. (This event was part of the Fourth Intl Sacra Liturgia Summer School.)

    Prince of Peace - Taylor, South Carolina

    Tradition is for the young!

    Chapel of St Andrew’s School - Parañaque City, Manila, Philippines
    First EF Mass in the chapel since 1970

    Annunciation Catholic Church - Houston, Texas
    St Gianna Oratory - Tucson, Arizona (ICKSP)

    San Giovanni Battisti - Grottammare, Italy
    Fifth annual pilgrimage and Mass, beginning at sunrise (5:15 a.m.)

    The Adriatic Sea at dawn. The historical center of Grottammare is on a rather high hill; on clear days, you can see the Dalmatian coast on the other side.

    St Benedict - Chesapeake, Virginia (FSSP)

    St Mary’s - Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Vigil Mass of the Assumption, celebrated by His Excellency Paul Bradley, Bishop of Kalamazoo, who afterwards blessed a new statue of the Virgin Mary.

    EF Mass on the feast day, followed by a procession with the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction

    Sanctus candle!

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    Since the early 14th century, the Franciscans have kept August 19th as the feast of St Louis, bishop of Toulouse and son of Charles II of the royal house of Anjou. In the year 1285, when he was eleven, his father received the crown of Naples from the Pope, but at that time, was being held as a hostage by the King of Aragon. To obtain his freedom, Charles’ three sons, of whom Louis was the second, took his place, and were kept for seven years in the Franciscan house at Barcelona. Louis was deeply impressed by the Friars, so much so that he adopted their life as far as was possible for a man of rank being then held in honorable captivity. Two members of the community lived with him in his apartments, and he not only kept to their prayer regimen, but also undertook the study of philosophy and theology, preparatory to joining the order in fulfillment of a vow he had made during a serious illness.
    St Louis of Toulouse, by Antonio Vivarini, 1450. St Louis is represented in art as a young man in the robes of a bishop, but with the habit of a Franciscan underneath.
    In 1295, he was set free, but in that same year, his elder brother passed away, leaving him heir to the throne. Like another famous nobleman before him, St Thomas Aquinas, Louis had to overcome significant opposition from his family in order to enter the religious life, and for a time, the Friars Minor dared not admit him. While living in a castle near Naples, he became a friend and benefactor to a scholar from France, one Jacques D’Euse, who later on, at the recommendation of his father, was appointed bishop of Fréjus in 1300.

    Before very long, Louis was able to abdicate his title in favor of his younger brother Roger, and follow the Poor Man of Assisi. For a variety of complicated political reasons, he was made not only a priest, but also bishop of the see of Toulouse in France, with a special dispensation granted by Pope Boniface VIII to receive these orders at the age of only twenty-three. A man of his position might very easily have followed the common bad practice of the era, and appointed a vicar to perform most of his episcopal duties; Louis chose not only to take personal position of his see, but also to continue living the life of a poor friar, even wearing a old and patched up Franciscan habit, celebrating Mass daily, and preaching frequently.

    Like many holy men thrust into such positions of power, St Louis found the burdens of the episcopal office quite overwhelming, and expressed his desire to resign. His “resignation”, as it were, was accepted by God Himself, since St Louis died on August 19th, 1297, less than eight months after his episcopal consecration.

    In 1316, Jacques D’Euse, by then a Cardinal, was elected Pope, taking the name John XXII, and the following year, canonized his old friend and benefactor as a Saint. (He would also canonize St Thomas six years later, and towards the end of his reign, bring the Papal name “John” into bad odor with his heretical teachings on the Beatific Vision.) That same year, Louis’ brother King Robert, now known to history as “the Wise”, commissioned the altarpiece seen below from one of the best painters in Italy, Simone Martini; it is now in the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. In the main panel, St Louis himself is represented being crowed as a Saint by two angels, as he passes his earthly crown down to his brother. The predella shows a series of events from his life: Louis accepts nomination to the See of Toulouse; Louis takes his vows and is consecrated bishop; as bishop, he feeds the poor with his own hand at table; his funeral; Louis miraculous raises a dead child to life.

    Public domain image from Wikipedia.

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    This second part of our Assumption photopost has just as much interesting variety as the first; we have plenty of Marian blue, another Pontifical Vespers, this time at the Cistercian abbey of Heiligenkreuz in Austria, the traditional blessing of flowers, the Byzantine Rite, the Ordinariate Rite, and a beautiful Offertory chant. We start, however, with something absolutely unique, a Low Mass celebrated according to the Use of Lyon at the Fraternity of St Peter’s church in that city. Evangelize through beauty!

    Collegiate Church of St Just - Lyon, France, (FSSP)

    As in most medieval Uses, the priest stretches his hands out in the form of a Cross at the Unde et memores.
    After the Consecration of the chalice, the corporal, which is very much longer than a modern Roman one, is used to cover the consecrated elements.

    Heiligenkreuz Abbey - Lower Austria
    Pontifical First Vespers celebrated by the Abbot. (Photos courtesy of Fr Edmund Waldstein O. Cist., from his blog Sancrucensis.)

    Cathedral Basilica of Ss Peter and Paul - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    The annual Assumption Mass organized by Mater Ecclesiae parish in Berlin, New Jersey

    Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Grazia - Palazzo Adriano, Sicily
    This is one of the churches of the Greek-Catholic Albanian community in Sicily, which has its Eparchy at Piana degli Albanesi. On the August 13th, the Sunday before Assumption, the eparch, H.E Giorgio Gallaro, installed the new parish priest; a shroud representing of the Dormition of the Virgin is already set up in the church for the upcoming feast.

    Cathedral of St Eugene - Santa Rosa, California
    Fr Jeffrey Keyes, who sends in the much-liked photos of the designs made from amice ties, blessed a new Marian vestment before celebrating the EF Mass of the Assumption.

    Atonement Academy - Sant’Antonio, Texas
    Installment of the new pastor by His Excellency Stephen Lopes, Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter (Photos by Kristen von Berg.)

    Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel - Manhattan, New York City

    St Charles Parish - Imperial Beach, California

    St Joseph Oratory - Detroit, Michigan (ICKSP)

    St Anthony - Des Moins, Iowa

    Parish of Bl. John Henry Newman - St Aloysius Church, Caulfield North, Australia

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    Today is the final installment of my series on Innsbruck. I have saved the most exotic for the end.

    On the last day of my visit, my host took me to the city's Hapsburg castle, Schloss Ambras, for a special exhibit on the erudite collector-prince Ferdinand II of Tirol (1529-1595). Ferdinand, who lived at Ambras once he was installed as ruler of Tirol, embarked on a building and collecting campaign that would lead to the opening of Europe’s first museum, dedicated primarily to his extensive armor gallery and his remarkable gallery of “curiosities and wonders.” While some of these pieces remain at the Schloss, many have been dispersed to other museums; hence, the special exhibit attempted to pull them back together more or less the way Ferdinand intended. The museum was so extensive that I could not hope to do it justice here. I paid special attention to religious items that would be of interest to NLM readers. (The descriptions of many of the objects are adapted from the museum’s placards.)

    First, the castle itself that houses the collection:

    On the many suits of armor the detail that captured my attention was this little crucifixion scene etched on the breastplate, in which the knight kneels before his Lord.
    One room was devoted to victors of famous battles, including that of Lepanto. Here are Don Juan of Austria, Marc Antonio Colonna, and Sebastiano Venier, and then matching portraits of Andrea Doria and Chaireddin Barbarossa.

    One of the more remarkable types of object in the archduke’s collection are things (often Passion scenes) made from carved and polished coral and shell, obtained from Genoa and processed in Bavaria or Tirol.

    A font made of gilded copper with coral decorations.
    The Viennese had to make annual tribute payments to the Ottoman Porte, but instead of simply handing over a brick of gold, their craftsmen made clever (and, one might think, ironical) objects, such as this mechanical clock. At quarter hours, half hours, and hours, the figures begin to move: the guenon bites into the apple, the rower turns his head, and the pasha rolls his eyes.
    Some of the “wonders” are pieces of exquisite craftsmanship that can have few equals anywhere, such as this replica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem made of carved and turned wood that strains the limits of static possibility; the portable writing desk, made of wood and bone; the depiction of the Baptism of Jesus painted on to a slice of marble so that the veins mimic natural phenomena; and a scene made up entirely of little pieces of colored glass.

    Ferdinand wanted to have examples in his collection of every natural material out of which anything at all could be fashioned; thus, we have amber figurines (amber being the fossilized resin of the amber pine tree, which grew in the early Tertiary period):
    And a last small object, a shot glass with the monogram of the Holy Name of Jesus.
    This is something I had never seen before: part books for a coronation anthem, made out of silk and linen (that is, the musical notation is made up of threads sewn into the fabric), for the Emperor Charles V in Bologna in 1530. The books contain a Latin motet and a German song as well. The cover features the imperial coat of arms.
    Another part book, this time of a Kyrie by Blasius Amon, but this one not made out of fabric (!)
    Of liturgical interest, chalices, a set of cruets (marked V and A because the material is opaque), vestments (note the thickness of the embroidery), a portable reredos with relics (for the traveling chaplain), and a book of hours for the archduke’s first wife.

    Of architectural and interior design interest, there is the great hall of the palace, decorated with frescoes of Hapsburg ancestors and mythical heroes, not to mention the occasional decapitated Moor.

    A couple of drawings connected with the exequies of Ferdinand II, and a charming genealogical chart featuring just one royal nun.

    A portrait of Benedetto Odescalchi (1611-1689), better known as Pope Innocent XI.
    And on the way out, a set of original Roman milestones.

    All in all, a most interesting and worthwhile visit.

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    Here is a fascinating paper by Dr Tom Larson of St Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, entitled Man, Music and Catholic Culture; he presented it at the Institute of St Anselm Studies, an annual symposium which takes place the college campus each summer. It has just been published in the proceedings and is now online.

    Dr Larson examines first the place of music in Greek philosophical tradition and compares this with accounts of two modern commentators. The first is a non-Christian philosopher, Allan Bloom, whose thoughts he presents as a foil to a modern Christian view, that of Pope Benedict XVI.

    Larson’s discussion clearly applies to sacred music and reinforces all that has been said by many others on the importance of music in the liturgy. But he extends this also to the profane and considers the place of music in the wider culture and in general education.

    Here is the abstract for the paper:
    The topic of this paper is the place of music within the Catholic intellectual tradition. The paper discusses the dignity of music, its relationship to man, and its place in education. The paper begins with the pagan classical treatment of music. The classical account of music is bound up with certain claims about human psychology, education, and culture, as well as certain claims about the universe. Allan Bloom’s discussion of music in the Greek philosophic tradition is examined as a foil to the Catholic vision discussed in the second part of the paper. The second part presents Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI’s understanding of music’s place in Catholic culture. Music, along with laws of beauty and order, has its source in God; it contributes to the re-integration of Man and directs him toward union with God in prayer; it has an intimate relationship with the human longing for transcendence; as a universal language, it has a role in evangelization and facilitating inter-cultural dialogue; in its beauty we are enabled to experience the presence of Ultimate Beauty; and in its own and very powerful way, the beauty of the music that has grown out of Christian culture serves as a kind of verification of the Christian faith.
    Read the rest of the paper here.

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    The Marie Reine du Canada pilgrimage will take place this year from September 2nd to the 4th; this a great opportunity to participate in the North American version of the annual Chartres pilgrimage, and see some of sites and historic churches of Catholic New France.

    Marie Reine du Canada, a lay-led apostolate of St Clement Parish in Ottawa, organizes the annual three-day 100 km pilgrimage on foot from Saint-Joseph-de-Lanoraie to Notre-Dame-du-Cap shrine at Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec. Priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter celebrate Mass each day of the pilgrimage in parish churches along the route: in Berthierville, Yamachiche, and in the historic Small Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape at Cap de la Madeleine, with the blessing of the Bishops of Joliette and of Trois-Rivieres, and the local parish priests. Two priests are normally available to hear confessions in French and English throughout the pilgrimage, whether en route, in camp or before Mass. Click the poster to enlarge, and feel free to share it.

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    From the archives of the Istituto Luce comes this wonderful newsreel report on an event of the Marian year proclaimed by Pope Pius XII, which ran from the feast of the Immaculate Conception of 1953 to the same date of the following year.
    “The Marian year (1954) is at its most moving display. From St Mary Major, the miraculous image of the Madonna has reached St Peter’s. On the sedes gestatoria, Pius XII comes down among the faithful, to proclaim the liturgical feast of the Queenship of Mary, fixed by a recent encyclical to the 31st of May each year. At the end of his affectionate pilgrimage, inside the basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, the Pope crowns the sacred image of the Madonna Salus Populi Romani, to whose materal protection Rome owed its preservation from the war. (The voice of the Pope): ‘The regality of Mary is a reality beyond this earth, but one which at the same time, penetrates to the very depth of the heart.’ In the piazza, the faithful greet and celebrate their bishop, the Pope who crowned as Queen the Madonna of Rome, and the Pope, smiling, paternally blesses his children, invoking the divine mercy upon the earth, and asking from heaven the love of Mary to protect Rome and the world.”

    (The full discourse of the Pope, pronounced on November 1st of 1954, can be read on the Vatican website, but only in Italian.)

    The crowning of images of the Virgin Mary was a tradition important enough to be included in the Pontificale, and one especially dear to the Italian people. However, many of these crowns have subsequently been removed by restorers, including the one given here by Pope Pius, the idea being to bring the images back to their “original” appearance. This has been done with two others among the many famous Marian images in Rome, the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and Michelangelo’s Pietà; in the case of the latter, the crown was not, of course, fixed to the statue itself, but held over the Virgin’s head by two angels affixed to the wall over it.
    The Pietà, photographed in 1949, before the angels and crown were removed. The altar has been disused since the statue was attacked by a lunatic in May of 1972, and the cross, candlesticks and altar cards have also been removed, along with the frontal seen in the photo below.
    A wider view of the chapel of the Pietà in St Peter’s Basilica, photographed in 1949. The column seen behind a cage on the right is one of twelve which in the ancient basilica of St Peter were arranged around the Apostle’s tomb, supporting an architrave; statues of the twelve Apostles stood on top of the architrave over each column. These are known as “Solomonic columns from the popular legend that the Emperor Constantine recovered them from the ruins of the Jerusalem temple, and brought them to Rome to decorate the original church. From there it was but a short step to the belief that the Lord Himself leaned upon one of these columns when He spoke “in the portico of Solomon”, as recounted in John 10, 22. Long after the old basilica was destroyed, it was moved into this chapel, and subsequently to the treasury museum, where the visitor can see it today, and note that a great many pieces were hacked off by overzealous pilgrims. The baseless tradition regarding the columns’ origin was accepted by Jews in the later Middle Ages as well as Christians, and Solomonic columns also figure prominently in Italian Jewish art.