Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Do you think they sing anything other Haydn Masses on Sundays in Eastertide in Heaven?
Tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of his death, the Holy Father is celebrating Mass, using one of the Haydn's Masses tomorrow, not sure which one.
Did you know he never composed anything without first saying the Rosary?
I've developed a passion about Solemn High Mass, it is about the Incarnation, about Divinisation, it is about the meeting of God and the high point of western art. It is the words and actions held sacred by generations of Saints and faithful people, the music and if you add the visual beauty, of fine vestments, of a building made for God's glory and consecrated by years of the prayer of His faithful, there is something quite mind blowing.
I had a meeting yesterday to discuss the music for Corpus Christi, as the obligation has been moved to the Sunday we thought we would have a High Mass on the Thursday evening, with a short procession.
We decided to settle on the Byrd Mass for Four Voices, isn't English Polyphony heavenly, all that soaring? Father Sean is going to be the celebrant, I am going to be subdeacon, first time ever, but we are still in need of a deacon, can anyone help out? A bed and dinner are on offer.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Which Irishman said
Speaking to a large audience at a public lecture in Cork’s Savoy Cinema he said, "You are the people who permit your children and the children of your communities to go into these institutions of punishment. You can do something about it." He called Ireland’s penal institutions "a disgrace to the nation," and later said "I do not believe that a child can be reformed by lock and key and bars, or that fear can ever develop a child’s character." However, his words fell on stony ground.
He wasn't simply ignored. He was taken to pieces by the Irish establishment. The then-Minister for Justice Gerald Boland said in the Dáil that he was “not disposed to take any notice of what ........... said while he was in this country, because his statements were so exaggerated that I did not think people would attach any importance to them.”
Catholics should vote according to a well founded conscience, sometimes I suspect they form their conscience according to cultural political beliefs.
Real Christians are a bit rare in politics today, it seems that in the current of Westminster sleaze allegations the number of practicing Catholic MPs seems a bit higher than it should be.
We should grateful for small mercies, at least it means we are spared the spectacle we see in the Americas, in Venezuela Chavez is trying to create his own breakaway Catholic Church whilst in the US Obama is trying to isolate the Church's bishops by promoting those Catholics whose consciences are formed by the liberal values of the Democratic Party.
Far be it from me to tell anyone to vote for a particular party in the European elections, but I was interested in this ....
The Christian Peoples Alliance is unashamed to declare its commitment to the principle of respect for life. God values everyone equally and so everyone from conception (fertilisation) to natural death deserves the protection of the law. Our objective is to develop a new caring, pro-life ethic that will embrace an end to all forms of violence, whether gun crime, domestic violence, the abuse of children, the violence of abortionism and embryo experimentation, sexual exploitation of women, people trafficking, slavery or cruelty to animals.Maybe good Catholics should consider voting for the CPA, whoever you vote for, vote Christian! Our bottom line concern should be to stop the massacre of the innocents, the killing of children in the womb.
We will be firm advocates in the Assembly of a UK repeal of the 1967 Abortion Act. Significant new support will be given to maternity units, such as resources for people-focused birth plans and new mid-wifery and nursing posts. A family-support service will be funded to ensure the provision of a 24-hour, 7-day a week helpline for women and couples who are seeking a positive alternative to abortion. We will back higher child benefits and family friendly tax policies, such as transferable allowances.
It is vital that a child's needs are placed at the heart of the adoption process. For this reason, the CPA will ensure that adoption is normally confined to the traditional family unit involving both a mother and a father.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna personally commissioned Alfred Hrdlicka to produce the sculpture of the Blessed Sr Restituta Kafka who was murdered by the Nazis during Second World War, she was declared a Beata by Pope John Paul II.
It was blessed yesterday by the rector of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.
Last year outraged Catholics forced the Cardinal to close a controversial exhibition of homoerotic pictures of the passion and death of the Lord he allowed to be displayed in St Stephen's.
I am fascinated by how evangelisation takes place. Bede seems to indicate that one of significant events in the evangelising of the people of Kent was Augustine’s procession of singing monks from Ebbsfleet to what is now called Canterbury, carrying the icon of Christ on high. The story of the conversion of Russia, the ambassadors witnessing the liturgy at ‘Agia Sophia, “not knowing whether we on earth in heaven” has parallels. The early Jesuits used boats travelling up the Amazon filled with oboes flutes and violins with a picture of Christ or the Mother of God fixed in the prow to excite wonder in the Amerindians. In the Gospel of John Jesus “awakens faith” in the Jews by signs and wonders, he works a miracle and they are amazed, and their amazement leads to a desire to listen.
A few years ago I had some correspondence with someone who had given a sizeable donation to equip a floating chapel which sailed down the Dnieper stopping of at settlement for a few days or so, they had a procession, gave two or three talks on the faith, celebrated the liturgy baptising, confessing and communicating those who wanted the sacraments, gave a few icons and pamphlets and moved on, returning possibly the following year or even later. The Orthodox would perhaps explain it as Evangelisation by Theophany. It seems to be more or less the model adopted by St Francis Xavier or those recusant priests of penal times. It seems to have been what the Wesleys did, leaving people with a few songs rather than a medal or two.
Nowadays the process of initiation is really supposed to take three years following the cycle of readings from the Lectionary, often this shortened to a mere year. It is supposed to be accompanied by the various Rites of Christian Initiation, Exorcisms, Giving of the Creed, Inscribing of the Names of the Catechumens, Anointings and Scrutinies. I am tempted to follow this liturgical path but then I think of the Ethiopian, who met Philip who explained Isaiah to him baptised him and left.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The Shrine has an interesting piece on the Tiara which refers to the Patriarchate of Lisbon, who was entitled to various Papal ornaments, all scaled down a bit. I remembered seeing these photographs on Far Sight which show some of them in use, the fans, a triregnum (here, in mitre form), a portable throne, was also used, but I can't find a picture. What I find fascinating is the threefold chapter, pictured here Canon Priests and Deacons, reflecting the College Cardinals.
We really know little about him. He is portrayed as converting England to Christianity, he did some of that but his important role was bringing England into communion with Rome, mainstream Christianity. England already contact with Christianity, especially in the west and the north through the Celtic Church.
It is easy for us to forget being a Catholic in communion with Peter is mainstream Christianity. Not only is that evident through sheer dint of numbers, a billion plus Catholics in communion with Peter. It is also pretty obvious from the texts of the Gospels that Peter is the Rock on which the wisest of men Christ built his Church, which would withstand the buffeting of storm and even the Power of Hell until the end of time. It is also obvious from the history of the Church that the centre of communion is the person of the Bishop of Rome.
Any contact with Christ is a good, Augustine knew that there was something better than the mere "good". The "best" for Augustine was communion with Peter, mainstream Christianity.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Dominic Lawson has a typically hostile Times interview but there are one or two interesting bits and pieces.
“We have been pushed out unnecessarily. There are 400 adoption agencies in this country and all but 11 – the Catholic ones – would accept same-sex couples. I don’t think it was appropriate to push out those 11 – who had a record of placing the most difficult children successfully. It was a disproportionate response [by the government] and the victims are the children, not the church.”
What does Nichols think about Blair lecturing the church in this way, so soon after joining?
“I think it was extraordinary. I also think his political instincts, which are very strong, are not a good guide to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and a bit more reflection is needed as to the relationship between political instinct in general – and certainly his – and the nature of the truth that the church tries to put forward . . . Maybe he lacks a bit of experience in Catholic life.”
Saturday, May 23, 2009
That talented photographer, tour guide and theoloical adviser John Sonnen has produced this nice video of Catholic Rome; pictures of clergy and religious.
I recognise one or two faces.
I know it is so retro in the the UK to say it but don't young men and women -and even older ones- in habits and proper clerical dress give a tremedous sign of hope: "the Church is young!"
Friday, May 22, 2009
People have suggested that Jansenism lies behind the appalling accounts of dehumanisation and abuse. What type of anthropology lies behind Jansenism? There is a heightened sense of sin, sin which cannot be overcome, but only beaten into semi-containment. There is a division of humanity into the saved and the damned, with the majority being damned. There is a tendency to see the poor, the weak as being damned, or at the very least as being beyond the influence of grace. Victims are damned, abusers are damned. Grace is given so sparingly, by a God who is mean with both love and Grace, and man, he is made in the same niggardly image. God is not merciful and forgiving but full of anger and rage, swift to condemn, waiting to punish. The wounds of the Son are not salvific but condemnatory, both victims and abusers are left without hope, the hell of now is but a foretaste of the hell to come. It is in this image man is created.
One has the vision of Jansenist liturgy celebrate perfunctorily in a damp chapel, poorly furnished with no joy, with no expense, with no understanding, with a mistrust of any movement of the heart. One is left with a vision of liturgy neither touching, nor being touched, by the divine. In the Usus Antiquior low Mass in every sense and in the Usus Recentior functionary anthropocentricity.
The rhythm of the Churches Liturgy, of Feast and Fast, is supposed to give us an insight into God, it is suppose to save a fallen world. It is meant to give us to celebrate what God has made us. In the Liturgy we join with our brothers and sister, the saints, united with God himself but if our theology of Gods has gone awry then so does understanding of man and so does our worship.
The phrase “Save the Liturgy, Save the World” is not a platitude or an empty slogan, the Liturgy forms our understanding of God, of the Church, of ourselves and of our neighbour. The Liturgy has become in the last 40 years reflective of what is deep inside of us, but in the first millennium the liturgy formed those who took part in it, hence in northern Europe monastic liturgists were the great missioners.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Music before Mass:
- Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit (J S Bach)
- Christe, aller Welt Trost (J S Bach)
- Grand Dialogue (Louis Marchand)
- Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist (J S Bach)
Before the Mass:
- Cathedral chaplains process to the sanctuary to sing Lauds together with the congregation
- Concelebrating priests, permanent deacons and seminarians enter the Cathedral
- Westminster canons leave the sacristy and take their places in the sanctuary
- The chapter sings Terce with the congregation
- The sanctuary procession enters the Cathedral
- Provosts and canons move from the sanctuary to the West Door
Solemn reception of the Archbishop:
- The choir sings "Tu es pastor ovium"
- Archbishop kneels at threshold of Cathedral
- A fanfare is sounded, the Archbishop is greeted by the Provost, who presents him with a crucifix, which he kisses
- The Archbishop sprinkles himself and the chapter with holy water
- Procession passes up the nave to the sanctuary, while the choir sings "Summae Trinitati"
- The Archbishop kneels before the high altar, while the Provost prays for him
Solemn installation of the archbishop:
- Bishop John Arnold reads the Apostolic Letter of authority from the Holy See
- The Provost leads the Archbishop to the throne, places him in it and reads the formula of installation
- Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor presents the Archbishop with the crozier
- The Provost and Canons greet the Archbishop, followed by other representatives of the diocese
- The choir sings "Benedictus Deus"
- The Archbishop of Canterbury greets the Archbishop
- All sing the hymn "All people that on earth do dwell"
- The Provost says the Collect
The Liturgy of the Word:
- First reading: Acts 22:3-16, read by Chris Nichols, sister-in-law of the Archbishop
- Responsorial psalm
- Second reading: Philippians 2:1-11, read by Jennifer Davies, secretary to the Archbishop of Birmingham
- Gospel acclamation
- The Gospel: Luke 10:1-9, read by Deacon Vincent Malone
- The archbishop proceeds to the pulpit to preach the homily
- The Creed is sung by choir and congregation
- The General Intercessions are read by Pamela Singh, member of the diocesan education commission, Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs, Bwalya Kangwa, member of the pastoral board, Mark Nash, of the agency for evangelisation, and Helen O'Brien, director of St Joseph's Pastoral Centre
The Liturgy of the Eucharist:
- The prayer of the gifts
- The preface: "Father, all-powerful and ever-living God"
- The Eucharistic Prayer: "We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving"
- The Communion Rite
- The sign of peace
- The motet, Ave Verum Corpus (Colin Mawby)
- The Communion Hymn, "Soul of My Saviour"
- The Postcommunion
- The Hymn of Thanksgiving
- The Apostolic Nuncio, followed by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, addresses the congregation
- Concluding rite
- The hymn "Praise to the Holiest in the Height"
- Archbishop and concelebrating clergy proceed out of the Cathedral
Organ music at the end of Mass:
- Marche Pontificale from Symphonie No 1 Op 13 (Charles-Marie Widor)
Prelude and Fugue in C (J S Bach)
from Catholic Herald site which will be updated during the day
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tomorrow, by the Grace of God and favour of the Apostolic See, you become the successor of St Augustine and the eleventh Archbishop of Westminster. I join with every Catholic in England and Wales in offering you my best wishes and congratulations.
At this particular time not only the Catholic Church in England and Wales, but Christian’s as a whole and our nation is hungry for clear spiritual leadership, you can offer this.
There is a crisis in the Church and nation, I see it as a crisis of Grace. In the Church and the nation there is a loss of a connection with God, we have allowed God to be sidelined, pushed to the edge. Even in the Church we have come to rely on our own efforts rather than His power. This has robbed the Church in England and Wales of a sense of Hope. We have got to the point where most bishops are managing decline, so many priests are expecting not to be replaced, our institutions: adoption societies, care agencies, schools are becoming more and secularised. We need you to tell us that shipwreck awaits us unless we turn to the Lord, and trust in His promises rather than our own efforts. Like the alcoholic in the gutter we need to discover, “the Power beyond ourselves”, that power is the Grace of God.
A tag traditional Catholics use is “Save the Liturgy, save the world” is important. The Liturgy is the public expression of the life of the Church. It is the “source and summit of Christian life” the fount from which and to which everything flows. At the centre of the Liturgy is the adoration of God, worshipped with, in and through Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Here mankind is raised from enmity with God to the position of Sons, here Christ raises us to share in his own Divinity. A mundane liturgy robs us of the sense of Grace, of Divine Power. If we are merely celebrating our own community then we are conscious only of our failure. The Liturgy, properly celebrated gives us a new anthropology, a vision of mankind conjoined to angels and saints in communion with God Himself. If we have a vision of what we have become through the sacraments, in the Church we will become the leaven that the world, and our nation desperately needs.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Do check out Michael's site and blog, and if you want to commission something remember the Australian dollar is very weak against the pound, dollar and euro, so you will get bargain.
Apart from me, other customers are Pope Benedict, Bishop Peter Elliot and Cardinal Pell. Michael's work deserves to be more widely known and appreciated.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
It is also so good to see what the servers were doing, the excellent Dominic Scarbrough had less than an hour to show them what to do, most had never served in the Extraordinary form before.
I am very grateful to everyone who helped make this such a wonderful day, including my marvellous parishioners who organised the reception.
God is good to me!
President Obama can count on support for these programs from Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Booth. One of the aims of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the think tank founded by the former British prime minister, will be that of remaking the major religions, just as his colleague Barack Obama will remake global society. With this purpose, the foundation in question will try to expand the "new rights," using the world religions for this end and adapting these for their new duties. The religions will have to be reduced to the same common denominator, which means stripping them of their identity. This cannot be done without establishing international law as inspired by Hans Kelsen (1881-1973), and charged with approving all of the laws of sovereign nations. This system of law will also have to be imposed on the world religions in such a way that the new "faith" may be the unifying principle of global society. This new "faith," this unifying principle, must allow the advancement of the Millennium Development Goals. These goals include "Promote gender equality and empower women" (number 3) and "Improve maternal health" (number 5). We know very well what these expressions cover and imply. The launching of the Foundation's program has been announced with a campaign against malaria. This is part of goal number 6: "Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases." The announcement was made in such a way that subscribing to this campaign will mean subscribing to the Millennium Development Goals as a whole.
In fact, Tony Blair's project extends and amplifies the United Religions Initiative, which appeared several years ago. It also extends the Global Ethic Declaration, one of the main proponents of which is Hans Küng. This plan cannot be realized except at the price of the sacrifice of religious freedom, of the imposition of a "politically correct" interpretation of the Sacred Scriptiures, and of the sabotage of the natural foundations of law. Machiavelli had recommended that religion be used for political purposes . . .
The former British prime minister's highly propagandized "conversion" to Christianity, as well as his interview with the gay magazine "Attitude" in April of 2009, make Tony Blair's intentions concerning religion even more clear, beginning with the Catholic religion. The Holy Father's statements, especially about condoms, belong to another generation. The fresh "convert" does not hesitate to explain to the pope not only what he must do, but also what he must believe! Is he Catholic? Blair does not believe in the authority of the pope.
So now we are back in the time of Hobbes, if not of Cromwell: it is civil power that defines what one must believe. Religion is emptied of its distinctive content, its doctrine; nothing remains but a residue of morality, as defined by the Leviathan. It is not said that one must deny God, but from now on God has nothing to do with the history of men and their rights: it is a return to Deism. God is replaced by the Leviathan. It is up to this to define, if it wishes, a civil religion. It is up to this to interpret, if and how it wishes, the religious texts. The question of the truth of religion no longer has any relevance. Religious texts, in particular the biblical ones, must be understood in their purely "metaphorical" sense; this is what Hobbes recommends (III, XXXVI). At the most, only the Leviathan can interpret the Scriptures. Religious institutions must also be reformed to adapt them to the changes. Some religious figures must be taken hostage and made to approve the new secularized "faith," that of the "civil partnership."
The rights of man as understood in the realist tradition are here put to the sword. Everything is relative. There are no rights left, except for the ones defined by the Leviathan. As Hobbes writes, "The law of nature and the civil law contain each other and are of equal extent" (I, XXVI, 4). Nothing remains of the truth, except for what the Leviathan says. It alone decides how the change should take place.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Yesterday was a wondeful day, lots of cards, emails of congratultion, and from many of you lots of nice compliments in the combox, even rabid old priests like me like a bit of "affirmation".
Lots of my parishioners turned up; for many, some of the priests included, it was their first experience of the Traditional Rite.
I was interested in what people had to say, my parishioners are kind people, so they were all complimentary, even the few negative comments were preceeded or followed by something positive:
"It was lovely Father, can't we do it every Sunday..."
"It was lovely Father but I am glad we don't have it every Sunday."
"It was a bit like Glynebourne..., I wanted to clap"
A priest said, "I loved the music but I hated all that bobbing up and down."
"I wept all the way through it, it was like heaven."
"Convinces me how much I hate Latin."
"I liked it but I didn't feel I was participating."
A priest who had never been to a Traditional Rite Mass said, "It was incredible, the silences were pregnant".
"I was the first time I found I was praying at Mass."
"It was so majestic, just so different from Mass in my parish".
A man in his thirties said, "When I was younger it had always been rubbished by priests, and at school, and treated as a joke, thirty five mortal sins before you got your vestments on, a language you can't understand, that sort of stuff but it was wonderful... "
Another young man asked if he could learn to serve it.
For my self, I loved being able to pray during Mass, to be a priest, rather than a "presider". All the stress is on the director of music and the MC. The priest's interaction with the people is strictly controlled, the texts of his private prayer direct him continually to God. From the priest's point of view he is one who prays, who performs the ritual, yes, he celebrates, but I am not sure he "presides". I don't know how we translate this to the Missal of Paul VI, which continually uses the term "President".
After 25 years of priesthood, I am convinced I am called to be a priest, I am equally convinced I have serious difficulty with "Presidency", I want to be the servant of the liturgy, and of Christ, and of his Church, and of his people. I think the term is at odds with the Gospel.
In the Traditional Liturgy, the "bobbing about", I suspect indicates Christ Presides.This video is the beginning of Mass, the sound quality isn't particularly brilliant. The organ pipes are right next to Nick who took the vid, but our schola were half the Church away.