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    St Martin, whose feast we kept two days ago, was succeeded in the see of Tours, as he had predicted, by a monk named Brice, a singularly unpromising candidate to come after such a holy bishop. Martin spent as much time as his episcopal duties permitted among a monastic community at Marmoutier near Tours, into which he himself had taken the orphaned Brice. St Gregory of Tours describes Brice as “proud and vain”, and Martin’s biographer Sulpicius Severus tells the story in his Dialogues (3.15) that Brice was led by devils to “vomit up a thousand reproaches against Martin,” even daring to assert that he himself was much holier for being raised from childhood in a monastery, while Martin was raised in a military camp. Although Brice repented of this (as Sulpicius believed, because of Martin’s prayers), and asked for the Saint’s forgiveness, he continued to be a very difficult character. Martin refused to remove him from the priesthood, lest he seem to do so as an act of vengeance, but expressed his tolerance in less-than-complimentary terms: “If Christ could put up with Judas, why should I not put up with Brice?”

    Ss Martin and Brice
    Martin had predicted not only that Brice would succeed him as bishop, but that he would suffer much in the episcopacy, words which Brice dismissed as “ravings.” Both predictions were fulfilled in the following manner. Although Brice was vain and proud, he was “chaste in body”, and yet he was accused of fathering a child. The revised Butler’s Lives of the Saints says, with characteristic (and characteristically irritating) reticence, that he vindicated himself by “a very astonishing miracle”, without saying what the miracle was. Gregory of Tours tells us that Brice called together the people, and before them ordered the month-old infant to say whether or not he was the father, at which the child did indeed say, “You are not my father.” The people ask Brice to make the infant say who its father was, but Brice replied (pride still unconquered), “That is not my job. I have taken care of the part of this business that pertains to me; if you can, ask for yourselves.”

    St Brice with the Infant, from the church of St Médard in Boersch in eastern France. (Image from Wikimedia Commons by Ralph Hammann
    This was attributed, perhaps understandably, to the use of magic, rather than holiness, and so Brice attempted to vindicate himself by carrying hot coals in his cloak to the tomb of St Martin; when he arrived his cloak was not burnt. But this sign was also not accepted, and so he was driven from his see, “that the words of the Saint might be fulfilled, ‘Know that in the episcopate, you will suffer many adversities.’ … Then Brice sought out the Pope of Rome, weeping and mourning, and saying ‘Rightly do I suffer these things, because I sinned against God’s Saint, and often called him crazy and deluded; and seeing his virtues, I did not believe.’ ” After staying in Rome for seven years, and purging his sins by the celebration of many Masses, he was restored to his see, which he governed for seven years further as a man “of magnificent sanctity,” according to Gregory, very much changed for the better by the experience. His popularity in the medieval period was very great, and his feast is found on most calendars, although not that of Rome. This is due in part to his association with St Martin, but perhaps more as an example of something that the medievals understood very well and loved to dwell on, that it is never too late for God’s grace to bring us away from sin to sanctity.

    The see of Tours also celebrates within the octave of St Martin another of its holy bishops, the historian and hagiographer St Gregory, whom we have cited above, whose feast is kept on November 17. A very charming story is told that he was unusually small, which must have been very small indeed to be noted in an age when people were generally much shorter than we are today. When he came into the presence of Pope St Gregory the Great during a visit to Rome, the Pope’s expression clearly evinced surprise at his stature, at which he quoted the words of Psalm 99, “He (i.e. God) made us, and not we ourselves.”

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    We conclude this year’s All Saints and All Souls photoposts with another very varied selection: a bit more of All Saints than usual, a lot of reliquaries, some vivid memento mori images, and one instance of the old double Vespers on the evening of November 1st. As always, we are very greatful to all those who sent these in, continuing the work of evangelizing though beauty!

    Shrine Church of St. Walburg - Preston, Lancashire, England (ICKSP)
    The photos of the Mass given below were taken on All Souls’ Day, but the catafalque in the first picture was made for Remembrance Day, November 11, the anniversary (and this year, the centenary) of the end of World War I. Notice the British flag on the coffin, and the large poppy wreath at front. This was built (with some guidance from the clergy) by the men currently discerning their vocation with the Institute at their House of Discernment in Preston - well done, gentlemen!

    Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini - Rome, Italy (FSSP)
    Relics on the high altar for the Mass of All Saints
    All Souls’ Day

    All Saints - Minneapolis, Minnesota (FSSP)
    Double Vespers of All Saints and All Souls on November 1 

    Mass of All Saints
    Mass of All Souls

    St Francis de Sales - Benedict, Maryland

    The feast of the Holy Relics on November 5th.
    Our Lady of Lourdes - Erath, Louisiana

    St Joan of Arc - Oberlin, Louisiana
    All Saints

    All Souls

    Blessing of graves on All Souls’ Day

    Wrocław, Poland

    Our Lady of Mt Carmel Pontifical Shrine - New York City
    All Saints Solemn Mass and Veneration of Relics

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    I am very pleased to announce the recent publication of The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms, a new resource for the continued study of the post-conciliar reform of the Missale Romanum.

    The aim of this new book is to allow easy comparison of the work of the Consilium ad exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia on the prayers of the Roman Missal with those found in the 1962 Missal and the 1970/2002 Missal.

    The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms. Edited by Matthew P. Hazell. N.p.: Lectionary Study Press, 2018. Paperback, 236pp. $24.95 (USA), £19.99 (UK), €21,95 + tax (Germany, France, Spain, Italy)

    As readers of NLM are no doubt aware, the Consilium was the main body that was responsible for the reform of the liturgy desired by Sacrosanctum Concilium. One of the documents of Coetus 18 bis of the Consilium, known as Schema 186, deals with the reform of the various orations (collects, super oblata, etc.) contained in the Proper of Time of the Roman Missal, and gives draft texts for each day in this section. [1] In many places, this draft of the orations for the Proper of Time differs significantly from both the preceding liturgical tradition and the outcome of the reforms. These differences, along with the work of the Consilium generally, have increasingly been the object of scholarly study and enquiry in recent years.

    Now, in The Proper of Time in the Post-Vatican II Liturgical Reforms, the text of the corpus of orations in Schema 186 is readily available for the first time, and each prayer has been arranged side-by-side with those of the 1962 and 1970/2002 Missals for easy comparison.

    Each individual prayer has been keyed into the Corpus Orationum, to make it much easier for researchers to consult this indispensable set of volumes during any future analyses and comparative studies. (The Corpus Orationum collates the orations from over 200 pre-Tridentine extant manuscripts, and makes it possible for one to determine how widely a given prayer was used, when it was used, in what contexts, and whether there are any textual variants.) Various other tools and indices are also provided in the book to aid further study into this important aspect of the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms.

    Finally, the Latin text of the first few pages of Schema 186, which explain some of the rationale and methodology of Coetus 18 bis, are provided, along with an English translation.

    Below are some preview pages. To purchase the book from Amazon, please follow the links above.

    Sample page for Septuagesima / 7th Sunday after Epiphany / 7th Sunday per annum
    Sample page for 4th Sunday after Pentecost / 13th Sunday per annum
    Sample page from the indices


    [1] Lauren Pristas makes many references to Schema 186 throughout her seminal work, The Collects of the Roman Missals: A Comparative Study of the Sundays in Proper Seasons before and after the Second Vatican Council (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013).

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    On Friday, November 23, the feast of Pope St Clement I, His Excellency Terrence Prendergast, the Archbishop of Ottawa, will celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the traditional rite in his cathedral, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the parish of St Clement. As we noted in an article earlier this year, St Clement, which is now run by the FSSP, was one of the few churches that held on to the celebration of the traditional rite after the promulgation of the post-Conciliar reform. For a ten-year period, it was constrained to use the new rite, and did so according to the mind of the Council, with Latin, chant and worship ad orientem; in 1984, the traditional rite was restored, and has continued ever since. This Mass will be the first Pontifical to be celebrated in the cathedral of Notre Dame since 1998. The ceremony will begin at 7:30 pm; the cathedral is located at 383 Sussex Avenue.

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    This article by Henri de Villiers was first published in 2014 on the blog of the Schola Sainte Cécile, to commemorate the centenary of the start of the Great War. It is translated and republished here and at Canticum Salomonis in honor of Armistice Day, and the centenary of the first armistice, which occurred this past Sunday.

    On August 3, 1914, Germany declared war on France, and Europe entered into a terrible four years of slaughter that would decimate believers on every side, wiping out the youth of thousands of towns and villages, and bringing about the loss of a great part of Europe’s Christian elite. In memory of this sorrowful centenary, we present a collection of photographs that testify to the faith of these men in the midst of the horrors of the front.

    We shall remember them.

    Requiem æternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

    “For the Lord will judge his people, and will be entreated in favour of his servants.” (Psalm 134,14) – Mass at the front in France during the First World War.

    “The sorrows of hell encompassed me: and the snares of death prevented me.” (Psalm 17,6) –Mass at the front for the French troops. New York Times, February 14, 1915

    “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer.” (Psalm 17,2-3) – 1915: A Mass at the 43rd battery of the 29th artillery regiment between Oostduinkerke and Nieuport.

    “My eyes have failed for thy word, saying: When wilt thou comfort me?” (Psalm 118,82) – Holy Mass for the French troops on the front of Champagne in 1915. Collection of Odette Carrez

    “The Lord will give strength to his people: the Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Psalm 28,10) – 1915: Sub-lieutenant Pape says Holy Mass for the 262nd infantry regiment. Photograph by Henri Terrier (1887† 1918). Musee de l’Armee, Paris.
    “With thee is my praise in a great church: I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him.” (Psalm 21,26) – German troops assist at Mass in the Belgian cathedral of Anvers. New York Times, March 21, 1915.
    “Salvation is of the Lord: and thy blessing is upon thy people.” (Psalm 3,9) – Austrian soldiers receive Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in 1915 in Russian Galicia. New York Times, 23 May 1915.

    “Praising I will call upon the Lord: and I shall be saved from my enemies.” (Psalm 17,4) – A Russian priest celebrates the Divine Liturgy for Russian troops in 1915. The soldiers have formed a choir and are chanting the liturgy next to the altar. The War Illustrated Album DeLuxe, Vol. 1; Amalgamated Press, London, 1915.

    “I have lifted up my eyes to the mountains, from whence help shall come to me.” (Psalm 120,1) – A priest says Mass for Italian troops on the Italo-Austrian front in the mountains of Tyrol. New York Times, February 27, 1916.

    “And they shall call them, The holy people, the redeemed of the Lord. But thou shalt be called: A city sought after, and not forsaken.” (Isaiah 62,12) – April, 1916: Soldiers of the Russian expeditionary corps taking an oath and venerating the icon and cross at the monastery of St Pantaleimon, Mount Athos, Greece. Photograph: Dubray.

    “God is with us.” (Isaiah 8,10) – April, 1916: In the Mirabeau camp near Marseille, men of the first regiment of the first Russian brigade pose around their flag, decorated with the face of Christ and emblazoned with the motto taken from Isaiah and chanted at Byzantine Great Compline, in particular on Christmas Day: С нами Бог – God is with us.

    “Behold, God is my saviour, I will deal confidently, and will not fear: O because the Lord is my strength, and my praise, and he is become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12,2) – April, 1916: Gathered on the parade grounds of Camp Mirabeau near Marseille, the men of the first Russian brigade receive the blessing from Fr. Okouneff, chaplain of the regiment, before their departure for the front.

    “And the Lord is become a refuge for the poor: a helper in due time in tribulation.” (Psalm 9,10) – April, 1916: Gathered on the parade grounds in Camp Mirabeau near Marseille, the troops of the second regiment of the first Russian infantry brigade celebrate Easter, with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Fr. Okouneff, chaplain of the regiment. The soldiers have formed a choir and are chanting the liturgy next to the altar.

    “The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me: and there is the way by which I will shew him the salvation of God.” (Psalm 49,23) – 1916: Renault car-chapel dedicated to St Elizabeth, donated by a businessman from Antwerp to serve the Belgian troops.

    “In that day man shall bow down himself to his Maker, and his eyes shall look to the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 17,7) – French soldiers assist at Mass before going into battle. Source: Vive la France, William Heinemann, Londres, 1916.

    “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak: heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.” (Psalm 6,3) – Mass in an Austrian military hospital in 1916.

    “Thou shalt no more have the sun for thy light by day, neither shall the brightness of the moon enlighten thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee for an everlasting light, and thy God for thy glory.” (Isaiah 60,19) – A priest, probably the famous Fr Paul Doncoeur, S.J., celebrates Mass at an altar – nicknamed the altar of Fr. Doncoeur – carved into the 1st Zouave Quarry, in the quarries of Confrécourt in the Soissonais. Paul Doncoeur was a Jesuit who become a military chaplain in 1914. He participated in the battles of the Marne, Aisne, Champagne, and Verdun, and was seriously wounded at the Somme. Then he rejoined these regiments for the battles of Reims and Flandres. His bravery and dedication to assuring a Christian burial to soldiers who died on the battlefield earned him an immense renown: seven citations, the War Cross, the Legion of Honor. This altar was sculpted by the 35th and 298th infantry regiments in 1914. There is a patriotic inscription written below: “God save France.” On the right, a ladder gave direct access to the front lines.

    “In my affliction I called upon the Lord, and I cried to my God: And he heard my voice from his holy temple: and my cry before him came into his ears.” (Psalm 17,7) – Mass celebrated for Austrian prisoners of war. Illustrated War News, Vol. 1, Illustrated London News and Sketch, London, 1916.

    “But I, O Lord, have cried to thee: and in the morning my prayer shall prevent thee.” (Psalm 87,14) – A chaplain preaching in a French church transformed into a hospital.

    “This hath comforted me in my humiliation: because thy word hath enlivened me.” (Psalm 118,50) – Mass for the troops in the region of Soissons.

    “By this I know, that thou hast had a good will for me: because my enemy shall not rejoice over me.” (Psalm 40,12) – Mass at the front.

    “Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say, Who sheweth us good things?” (Psalm 4,6) – French soldiers hear Mass in a chapel in the trenches: New York Times, February 25, 1917.

    “Come and behold ye the works of the Lord: what wonders he hath done upon earth, Making wars to cease even to the end of the earth. He shall destroy the bow, and break the weapons: and the shield he shall burn in the fire.” (Psalm 45,9) – March 1917: M. l’Abbé Louis Lenoir (1882-1917), military chaplain to the 4th colonial infantry regiment, celebrating Holy Mass for the troops at Gravena (Greek Macedonia), shortly before his death in May 1917.

    “Turn away from evil and do good: seek after peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 33,15). – Mass on the Italian front in 1917.

    “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the just wait for me, until thou reward me.” (Psalm 141,8) – Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war assist at Holy Mass in a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy in 1917. British Library.

    “Be thou mindful of thy word to thy servant, in which thou hast given me hope.” (Psalm 118,49). – Abbé Even, chaplain of the 51st division. Photograph taken 10 September 1917 by Paul Castelnau (1880 † 1944). Médiathèque de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris.

    “All the flocks of Cedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nabaioth shall minister to thee: they shall be offered upon my acceptable altar, and I will glorify the house of my majesty.” (Isaiah 60,7) – Field altar for Mass in the open air, installed in the back of a car in 1917. Photograph: Georges Pila.

    “All ye inhabitants of the world, who dwell on the earth, when the sign shall be lifted up on the mountains, you shall see, and you shall hear the sound of the trumpet.” (Isaiah 18,3). – June 22, 1918, blessing of Polish flags in the woods of Beaulieu, Aube. Photograph: Auguste Goulden.

    “You shall have a song as in the night of the sanctified solemnity, and joy of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe, to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel.” (Isaiah 30,29) – 1918: Mass celebrated in Amiens Cathedral, where the walls have been reinforced with sandbags to protect them from bombardments.

    “In the year that king Ozias died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated: and his train filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6,1) – Interior of Amiens cathedral, with sandbags to reinforce the building against shelling, 1918.

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    As a follow-up to our recent All Saints and All Souls photoposts, and yesterday’s photos of Masses celebrated by military chaplains during World War I, here are a few late submissions.

    On Tuesday, November 6, the Order of Malta in the Dallas area commemorated the centennial of the end of World War I with Solemn Vespers of the Dead at the University of Dallas’ Church of the Incarnation, celebrated by Fr Carlos Hamel of the Fraternity of St Joseph the Guardian (Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France). The Schola Cantorum Stellae Solae, directed by Brian Bentley, sang the Gregorian chant. The “Remembrance Day” Vespers drew well over a hundred participants from the university and local area, including clergy of the Dominican and Cistercian orders, as well as a dozen seminarians. (Photos by Anthony Mazur, reproduced by permission.)

    The Institute of Christ the King’s apostolate in Kansas City, Missouri, located at Old Saint Patrick Oratory, held a solemn Mass for the war dead for the centenary of the end of the Great War. As Armistice Day fell on Sunday, the Mass was held on Monday, November 12th.

    On Tuesday, November 13th, the church of St Vincent Ferrer in New York City held its annual Requiem Mass in the Dominican rite, sponsored by the Catholic Artists Society, the Society of St Hugh of Cluny, and the NY Purgatorial Society. Johann Michael Haydn’s Requiem in C was sung by the St Vincent Schola, led by James Wetzel, music director and organist.

    And finally, here are two Masses for the dead celebrated on All Souls’ Day at the Brompton Oratory in London.

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    The Saint Vincent Gallery, located on the campus of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvana, is currently hosting the exhibition of the 44 entries selected for Biennial Juried Catholic Arts Competition. This event was established in 2001 by the late Br Nathan Cochran, O.S.B., to cultivate and revive the sacred arts, and give artists who engage Catholic subject matter an opportunity to dialogue with the Church and pastors, in the hope of creating new, original artworks for churches and liturgical spaces. As seen below, some very nice vestments were also included in the competition; tomorrow we will have some more photos of these, and some interesting details about how they were created.

    The juror for the seventh edition of the competition was Dr Elizabeth Lev, an art historian who specializes in Christian art and architecture, Baroque painting and sculpture and High Renaissance art, and professor of art and architecture for the Italian campus of Duquesne University. In her lecture by entitled Catholic Art of the Modern Age: New Images for an Ancient Story preceded the exhibition on October 28, she noted, “The works of the Catholic Arts Exhibition demonstrate that art can still persuasively communicate ancient truths to the modern Church through the exploration of critical contemporary themes such as fatherhood, universality and religious persecution.”

    The exhibition continues through Sunday, Dec. 2. Gallery hours are from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and Thursday until 7 p.m. The Gallery is closed on Mondays and Nov. 21-26 for Thanksgiving. A complementary catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

    The presenting sponsor, H.E. Edward Malesic, Bishop of Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
    Dr Lev presenting the prizes.
    Our thanks once again to Jordan Hainsey, a seminarian of the diocese of Covington, Kentucky (here seen introducing the competition), for sending us this information and these photos. The photographic image seen above representing the killing of one of the 21 Coptic Martyrs of Libya is his work.

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    The Italian newspaper Avvenirereports that a general assembly of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (which owns the paper) has approved a new translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, which will now be submitted to the Holy See for approval. This translation includes two particularly notable bowdlerizations of the Ordinary of the Mass, one in the Lord’s Prayer, the other in the Gloria.

    The penultimate petition of the Lord’s Prayer as proposed will read in Italian “non abbandonarci alla tentazione – do not abandon (leave) us to temptation.” The traditional reading, “non indurci in tentazione - lead us not into temptation” has been in use for centuries, like its English analog, and is known to every Italian, even those who never attend Mass or pray. On a pastoral level, there is absolutely no need to change it whatsoever.

    It is also, of course, completely wrong as a translation. The Greek verb in question “eisenenkēis” does not mean “abandon.” It is a form of a highly irregular verb [1] “eispherō – to bring in, lead in, carry in, introduce.” No dictionary lists “abandon” or any synonym thereof as a translation. It is as if Christians have not been praying “lead us not into temptation” in countless languages for over 19 centuries, as if no one has ever bothered to consider what these words mean, and comment on them. It is impossible to believe that pastors with the cure of souls in Italy (or anywhere else) are suddenly besieged by anguished parishioners, tormented at the thought that the Eternal Father might be leading them into temptation. But even if that were the case, is it really an improvement to suggest that God cannot lead us into temptation, but can abandon us in it?

    It is equally impossible to believe that there could be another, even more grotesque and unjustifiable mistranslation, and yet there is. A phrase of the Gloria in excelsis has also been modified, from “pace in terra agli uomini di buona volontà – peace on earth to men of good will” to “pace in terra agli uomini, amati dal Signore – peace on earth to men, loved by the Lord.” I hazard a guess, and no more than that, as to the rationale behind this. To speak of “men of good will” implies that there are men who are not of good will, one of the most basic facts about human existence, and one which the Church has for over half a century wasted enormous time and effort on denying. The new reading permits the insertion of a comma, turning the phrase “loved by the Lord” into a non-restrictive adjectival phrase, (“men, who are loved by the Lord”), in a way that cannot be done by translating the actual text.

    Our readers may be curious as to whether this new version of the Gloria, if it is approved, will present Italian churches with the same problem recently faced by the English-speaking world, when the new translation was promulgated, and musical settings of the old and hideous paraphrase became unusable. The answer is, Probably not. There is much to be said for the thesis that in many places, the post-Conciliar reform made everything that was worst about pre-Conciliar liturgical practice normative, and Italy is decidedly one of those places. The four-hymn sandwich over a Low Mass is as common as it ever was, although the Low Mass itself is now in the vernacular, and often miked-up so loudly as to destroy all possibility of contemplation or recollection. It is normal for the Gloria to be recited by the congregation, not sung, even on major feasts like Christmas and Easter.

    However, the will of the Council is sometimes fulfilled in Italy, vis-à-vis the preservation of Latin in the liturgy, by the use of the so-called Gloria of Lourdes. This turns one of the Church’s most ancient hymns into a responsorial psalm (and one as unpleasant to listen to as any responsorial psalm) by the frequent repetition of the words “Gloria, gloria, in excelsis Deo”, leaving the rest to a solo cantor, or, more often, to be recited (not sung) by the congregation.

    The Italian Bishops’ also wrote in their final communiqué (again, as reported by Avvenire), “in a particular way, the suggestion is made to take care for the quality of singing and the music of the liturgies.” (in modo particolare, si suggerisce di curare la qualità del canto e della musica per le liturgie.) Their Excellencies would do far better to actually take this to heart, and apply their collective efforts to improving the appalling music heard in most Italian churches, rather than to “fixing” translations that were not broken.

    [1] “Eispherō” is a compound of the proposition “eis”, which means “into” (not “in”), and the verb “pherō – to bring, to carry.” The latter is a highly irregular word, in that it derives its various tenses from different roots, like the English “be, am, is, etc.” The present form is “pherō”, but the future is “oisō”, and the aorist, from which the verb in Matthew 6, 13 is derived, is “ēnenka.” This accounts for the radical difference between the main verb form by which it is located in a dictionary, and the specific form translated in the Lord’s Prayer, or mistranslated, as the case may be.

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    Photo courtesy of Liturgical Arts Journal
    November, the month of the Holy Souls, always brings with it a number of articles concerning the current state, or plight, of Catholic funerals and Masses for the Dead. As the years pass, we are fortunate to see a double outcome of Summorum Pontificum: first, an always growing presence of the traditional Requiem Mass with its full panoply of symbols and chants (including the great Dies Irae), as can be seen in the photo albums published here; and second, an ever more widespread acknowledgment that something has gone drastically wrong with the way Catholics approach prayer for the dead.

    I would like to mention here four recent articles of potential interest to NLM readers, and give a few excerpts.

    The first is “The scandal of the modern Catholic funeral,” one of my daily columns at LifeSite.
    Once upon a time, a very important person in my life died. I attended the funeral. It was a Novus Ordo canonization ceremony, conducted by a priest and three women in skirt-suits ministering in the sanctuary. Everyone at the funeral was dressed in black—except for the priest, who was wearing white. The disjunct was glaring and tasteless. The contrast between the deep human instinct of mourning, which can be said to be an ineradicable part of the sensus fidelium, and the crackpot liturgical reformers who introduced white as a color for Masses for the dead, was never so obvious to me.
              The day before, however, my family and I had gone to a traditional Requiem Mass, sung by a priest friend. The contrast was not just profound, but shocking. Between that day and the following, we were emotionally suspended between two radically different offerings for the dead: one that took death with deadly seriousness, that cared about the fate of the departed soul, and allowed us to suffer; another that shuffled death to the side with platitudes and empty promises. The contrast between Friday’s black vestments, Dies irae, and whispered suffrages and Saturday’s stole-surmounted white chasuble and amplified sentiments of universal goodwill seemed to epitomize the chasm that separates the faith of the saints from the prematurely ageing modernism of yesterday.
              I found myself thinking: The greatest miracle of our times is that the Catholic Faith has survived the liturgical reform.
    A few weeks ago, Dr Joseph Shaw, the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales and a much-appreciated blogger at LMS Chairman, officially joined the bloggers writing for LifeSite. In this capacity he has given us two articles of note:

    “Why Catholic funerals prior to Vatican II better expressed death’s gravity”
    The chants of the traditional Mass for the Dead, called by the first word of the Mass proper, Requiem, include some of the Church’s most ancient, solemn, and moving. They express the seriousness, the gravity of death, and seek God’s mercy for those who have died. It was shocking to many when the Dies Irae and other chants were removed from the Mass for the Dead in the liturgical reform that followed the Second Vatican Council. Annibale Bugnini explained the reasoning of the reformers as follows (The Reform of the Liturgy p. 773):
              "They got rid of texts that smacked of a negative spirituality inherited from the Middle Ages. Thus they removed such familiar and even beloved texts as the Libera me, Domine, the Dies irae, and others that overemphasized judgment, fear, and despair. These they replaced with texts urging Christian hope and giving more effective expression to faith in the resurrection."
              The idea that the texts at issue “overemphasize” “despair” (how much should despair be emphasized, one wonders?) is a gross mischaracterization. The texts of the ancient Mass for the Dead speak of God’s mercy and the gift of salvation, in the context of human guilt and God’s justice.
    And “Why Christians must honor those who have died in war”:
    It is an unsurprising sociological fact that people are more willing to sacrifice themselves for their community if they see that such sacrifices in the past have been honored by the community. If we are not prepared to honor them when they fall, we should not expect our young people to put themselves in harm’s way for our protection.
    (As a side-note: NLM readers might not expect to find liturgical commentary at LifeSiteNews, which has built its reputation as a pro-life, pro-family, general news source; but this expectation is not quite accurate anymore, now that Dr Shaw and I are writing on liturgical topics there with some regularity.)

    Last but not least, Shawn Tribe, founding editor of NLM, continues to promote the best and most beautiful elements of the Catholic liturgical aesthetic at his site Liturgical Arts Journal, as we see in “The Value of Black as a Liturgical Colour” and “Constructing a Catafalque for the Requiem Mass.”

    May each passing November, and indeed the passage of each one of Christ’s faithful into eternity, be accompanied by obsequies and orisons worthy of the dignity of Christian baptism, testifying to the reality of the Four Last Things and redolent of the piety, devotion, and earnest prayer of the ages.

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    Once again, we are very happy to share some photographs from a new apostolate, established by the efforts of young people who are rediscovering the traditional Latin Mass. These come to us from Jackson, Mississippi, where the local Una Voce chapter has been working diligently to restore the Extraordinary Form. Recently, the group obtained the use of a parish church, and has two young diocesan priests celebrating the EF every other Sunday evening. On Sunday, October 28, the feast of Christ the King, they celebrated the first Solemn High Mass in the Diocese of Jackson since the liturgical reform of the 1960s; a small step, but one of a great many. We can all take encouragement once again from the fact that none of the people who are working to make this happen are old enough to be doing so from any sense of “nostalgia”; what we see here is a true and sincere love for the richness of our Catholic liturgical tradition.