Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ordination Pictures

When the members of the Institute of Christ the King first got their new canonically approved habits and started appearing in public, I asked one member, "What is all that for?" I must have been grinning, because he replied, "To bring a smile to your face".
So just to cheer a few people up, with unabashed and extravagant, triumphalistic over the top exaltation in the priesthood, with a touch of real beauty...
Click here and then here.
I am afraid these pictures make Otto von Hapsburg's Requiem look decidedly dull.
Thanks to NLM


Physiocrat said...

As an enthusiast for traditional liturgy, I nevertheless feel that this flamboyance is disturbing.

Where is the middle way?

Fr Ray Blake said...

As St Theresa said, "There is a time for partridge and a time for penance".
A bit of partridge now and again isn't a bad thing.

johnf said...

I found the pictures of the new priests giving their first blessings to their families and friends very moving

Evagrius Ponticus said...


Partridge is one thing. Swan stuffed with widgeon on a base of lobster thermidor served with caviar and a silphium sauce is quite another.

Liturgical revival is a good thing, I don't think there can be any doubt. But all that lace is simply ugly, and we shouldn't want in any liturgical revival a baroque absurdity every bit as revolting as the worst excesses of the Easter People.

I find the seeming embrace by large swathes of the Traditionalist movement of the baroque - often including elements like baroque Mass settings (which were forbidden by Pius X).

For my part I agree with Fr Ratzinger's somewhat stinging description of the baroque Mass as a "sacred opera" and a "para-liturgy".

The chant should always be the normative music for the Mass, and should set the tone for the liturgy: solemn and dignified.

Just my tuppence ha'penny.

parepidemos said...

Dear Fr. Blake,

A nice response, quoting the great St. Teresa of Avila. However, if my memory serves me correctly, she said this because of a concern that some of her more zealous nuns were fasting to the extreme and seeing visions. Teresa is also reported to have said something along the lines of "Eat properly and the visions will cease."

So, I'm not sure that Teresa would be thrilled at you using her words to bolster an OTT flamboyance such as one sees in the links.

Having said this, I really do like a bit of roasted patridge with bread sauce, game chips. Yummy. Roll on autumnal cooking.

Dymphna said...

What happened to Catholics. Are we ever happy about anything, anymore?

Evagrius Ponticus said...

Erratum: "I find the seeming embrace by large swathes of the Traditionalist movement of the baroque - often including elements like baroque Mass settings (which were forbidden by Pius X)."

This should read: "(which were forbidden by Pius X) somewhat alarming."

Dilly said...

One small institute.
4 new priests.

I would be very happy to donate all my lace curtains to the local diocese if it would produce this result.

SMJ said...

Very english comments here... :)

GuidoM said...

I would probably rather Otto von Habsburg's funeral (excpet for the rather useless little altar in the sanctuary of st Stephans).

Don't get me wrong: I love the traditional liturgy, I was brought up with it. I love solemnity and beauty in the liturgy, and i love good sacred music.

Nevertheless, this is far too over the top, sickenning in actual fact.In such a context you can see why some trendies hate that sort of liturgy. If you look at the photos, rare are those smiling!

Like i said i'd rather Otto von Habsburg's funeral. Watching it live, it was beautifully done, very noble and roysl, yet not over the top. The music was fantastic and the liturgy reverent and beautiful. (only dampener was the altar). I'm sure all these qualities are present in the ICRSS only they are over exaggerated, which makes them appear (although in reality they are not) very false and surface.

georgem said...

Sorry, but I can't get my head round this kind of display.The danger is that style overcomes substance. Nothing wrong with grandeur to honour God's glory but this seems to me to teeter on the edge of vanity. Frankly, I think it's time to ditch the cappa magna. It's just gross.
But on the positive side, nuns in full habit, plus lots of young people and all kneeling to receive.

Martina Fitz said...

It brought a smile to my face, I don't think I could cope with it everyday but it is glorious.

It did cheer me up, I'm 7mths pregnant and I've got backache.

p.s. Do they do solemn Baroque baptisms?

Annie said...

It made me smile too! Fabulous, the lace, the splendour, the reverence, the nuns, what's not to like once in a while? And I'm not a great fan of baroque anything.

It's a special occasion, an ordination, it's not an every day event.

Anonymous said...

I liked the Requiem of the Archduke Otto very much...

Cormac said...

I agree with many of the comments above. To me this is over the top exuberance. Solemnity is solemnity but this goes beyond honouring the Lord as georgem has said. There is a huge danger I think that the intention gets sidetracked, and the physical act somehow becomes the most importnant thing.

Also the cappa magna, for example, looks ridiculous to me. This is supposed to be a humble servant of the Lord not a monarch or royal. Sacred vestments which enhance the solemnity of the Mass are one thing, this superfluous garment is another.

Evagrius Ponticus said...

GuidoM - I didn't mind the altar, myself, so much as the rows of gold, bowl-shaped patens and the use of two chalices.

Evagrius Ponticus said...

Not directly related to the post, but... what is the obsession with vestments that look like Victorian parlour wallpaper? All drooping flowers which look like they're beginning to rot and so on...

I mean, I'm hardly a fan of the green-polyester-with-a-gold-cross variety, either, but surely there's a middle ground?

As a general rule, this does seem particularly to affect the roman-cut chasuble, too.

parepidemos said...

Dear Fr. Blake,

Like some others here, I thought the funeral of Otto von Habsburg was gloriously tasteful and quite beautiful (though I understand that he was not much keen on pomp when it came to himself). I liked the rather moving - and most appropriate - inclusion of a Jewish cantor in the ceremony on the plaza.

The ordination ceremony for the Institute was certainly quite flamboyant and colourful, but the funeral of HIH was (to steal the words of my father) "significantly more dignified".

Pete said...

2 or 3 hours of pomp for 50 years of priestly service; sounds reasonable to me.

But a lace alb wihtout anything but a stole covering it does look a bit silly.

Thomas Alban Fisher said...

Ahem, its not over the top, the focus doesnt shift away from Our Lord, it isnt vain or flamboyant, its absolutley jaw droppingly beauitiful, it glorifies God and His sacred msyteries like nothing visible on this earth, it does exactly what the liturgy is supposed to do, and its been missing for far too long, are we Catholic or arnt we? Triumphantalistic??

YOU BETTER BELEIVE IT!! What is the Catholic Church if not triumphantalistic?? We proclaim the eternal reign of Christ the King! What could possibly me more triumphantalistic than that?

Whats telling is that these guys cannot restore rooms in there 'flamboyant' (also ancient, cold and falling to pieces) seminary quick enough becuase young european men (and now women for the new Sisters)are killing themsleves to joing them and another certain 'triumphantalistic' community while the rest of the catholic world has got empty seminaries (closed in some cases), clerical abuse reports and banal liberal liturgy that nobody is interested in (except the 70's) feminist nuns, if that the alternative give me 200 miles of lace and Palastrina any day.

Long Live the Glorious Catholic Church. We should be proud of this liturgy, too many people shed their blood for it.

Daryl said...

Beautiful as it is, there are other issues that continue to distract and are not resolved.

Today's news:

"Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny criticizes the Vatican after a report into child sex abuse
Kenny: "The rape and torture of children were downplayed" to uphold the church's reputation"

Claire said...

@ georgem

You write:

"Frankly, I think it's time to ditch the cappa magna. It's just gross."

Father Ray. Isn't its use restricted, but who judges what are occasions of "very special solemnity"?

"With the motu proprio Valde solliciti of 30 November 1952 ordered that the train of the cappa magna should be shortened by about half (from 15 metres to 7). The 1969 Instruction on the Dress, Titles and Coats-of-arms of Cardinals, Bishops and Lesser Prelates laid down that:

The cappa magna, always without ermine, is no longer obligatory; it can be used only outside of Rome, in circumstances of very special solemnity."

RR said...

Before anyone goes much further with this whole line that the baroque is decadent and even obscures God, you might want to consider the implications that would have for much of Catholic Europe, not the least of which Rome and the papacy itself which has been clothed in the baroque for some time now.

While you're at it, you might also like to consider the implications on the Byzantine Christians whose ornaments and paraments are also quite comparable to the baroque.

You don't have to prefer it, nor is there any requirement to even like it, but I think people need to be a bit more careful.

Edward P. Walton said...

Those albs with lace were once the standard. Long white tunic like albs were only seen in monastic type places.

Except for the continental flourish, this event would not be seen as extravagant.Very soon,all those who are familiar with this, will be gone.

Evagrius Ponticus said...

I believe the cappa magna can't be ditched altogether because of the complex rules over high-ranking prelates (?) of the three main religions in Jerusalem, and the Latin Patriarch there. The laws date back to Ottoman times, but haven't been changed, presumably to avoid sparking controversy.

Annie Elizabeth said...

Thank you for this post, Father. The ICRSP are an inspiring and successful order with a healthy stream of vocations and are a solid bulwark of orthodoxy particularly in an increasingly heterodox French church. These young men are devoting their lives to Our Lord -- if that isn't worth a bit of pomp and circumstance, I don't know what is! I thought it all looked beautiful. A friend of ours was there and I'm looking forward to hearing a full report...

Conchúr said...

The naysayers above have obviously never watched an Orthodox pontifical liturgy if they think that this event was extravagant.

CatholicVoice1962 said...

One may use the words "extravagant" or "decadent" but I would prefer to use the word "tasteless". I don't enjoy seeing these things: they are not essential to Tradition. The Church had many splendours before the Baroque overlay.

It's a pity that ICRSP is so firmly wedded to this style, because it attracts the (unjust) criticism that they are just about "dress-ups".

Gigi said...

Oh my. No-one does ceremony quite like Catholics. And did you ever see such clean priest's shoes? There is a very opulent and flamboyant beauty here, which can so easy slip into vanity; but a beauty none the less. How often do we see this kind celebration? And who does it harm?
One man's glorification is another's OTT. I have to echo Dymphna here.
I have to admit I don't like the lace albs. I love a bit of Laura Ashley; just not on a priest please.

Lee Lovelock-Jemmott said...

Those who seem to hate Catholic triumphalism might as well go on to hate the equally trimuphalistic Orthodox who pretty much don comparable baroque an equally colourful vestments as many days as possible. An example is the Liturgy of St Basil if one wants to try and call this over the top. Peeves me off sometimes that Catholics are suppose to be dreary and miserable in their worship.

Lautensack said...

In the last years I regularly took a group of Art History students from Cambridge to the South of Germany, primarily to look at late Gothic art.

However, I took every time some pleasure to show them the small chapel of St John Nepomuk in Munich, which is an epitome of the joys of South German Rococo (it was built by two wealthy artists next to their house - they were brothers; I am not sure if it was primarily built for devotional reasons or for the fun of designing a church without meddling patrons).

The standard reaction was first gasping unbelief, then horror. I wonder if quite a few of the commentators here have a similar 'Anglo-Saxon' mind-set.

I do not mind the least Gothic chasubles, apparreled albs etc, but would they really fit into such a glorious Baroque church?

Anonymous said...

Applying parity of reasoning to the
liturgy and ecclesiastical art from
the argument in "God's Philosophers"
about science, philosophy, etc.,
one can only come to the conclusion
that the classicalism and baroque
following it were retrograde steps
(not to mention decadent).

+ Wolsey

Physiocrat said...

Had a closer look, it is definitely more swan than partridge. What I found disturbing was not so much the ecclesiastic pomp but the late nineteenth century aspect of the whole thing. What were the two men at either side doing dressed up in a fancy dress version of an Italian police uniform? What rubric specifies that?

I have been to lots of Orthodox liturgies but they always stop well short of being over the top.

josephmchardy said...

Evagrius, Physiocrat,
I'm bemused at your implication that whenever the great artists of the 17th and 18th centuries gave of their best at Mass, the Heavenly host tutted. To paraphrase Chesterton, as long as we're inside the walls we can enjoy the playground.

RR said...

Physiocrat, none of course, but then there is no rubric either for an honour guard of the Knights of Columbus with their uniforms, swords, plumed hats, etc. as might be seen at comparable occasions in some countries.

My reason for pointing that out is that there seems to be a desire to specifically critique this particular liturgy, but yet, that kind of aspect is not uncommon, baroque or otherwise.

John said...

What do you say when, having watched this, your Catholic students say:

"That's well camp" .

Richard said...

Utterly stunning.

Whilst I greatly prefer Gothic myself, I am very glad that someone is continuing the over-the-top baroque.

And although "swan stuffed with widgeon on a base of lobster thermidor served with caviar and a silphium sauce" might be over the top for everyday, I would love to try it.

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