Monday, April 30, 2012

Shooting and breaking the legs of sheep and heretics

I remember hearing about a school inspector telling a class of Yorkshire children the parable about the Good Shepherd, then asking them what their dad's, most of whom were sheep farmers what there dads would do. One little girl said, "Sir, 'e'll shoot the b*gger, once one runs, he'll teach the rest of 'em to run".

 Jewish shepherds would leave the flock, and go in search of the lost one, the reason why he would carry it on his shoulder is because he would break or dislocate its leg, which meant until it healed the shepherd needed to carry it around.

The important thing was that whilst it was getting better it was also learning to stay with he flock and while it was disabled it could not teach the rest of the flock to run and it itself learnt to listen to and follow the shepherd.

 So what do we do with sheep who run off from the flock and teach others to do the same? In the past we might have called them heretics, now we call them dissidents, redolent of the political prisoners of the Soviet Gulags. The problem is that they remain to teach others to leap the fence, indeed, their role as "dissident" seems to give them importance in the secular world, and the "Liberal Catholic" establishment to comment on the Church and to condemn it.

 The Church has moved on from Pope Zachary's (741-52) Rite of Anathema and by doing so seems to have broken from Tradition and scripture 1 Timothy 1:201 Corinthians 5:5.
"Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N-- himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgement."
The problem with dissidents, (can we still call them heretics?) touches the whole issue of religious liberty, do we tolerate heretics, is this the message of scripture?

Saturday, April 28, 2012


This weekend we are asked to pray for vocation
The Bishops Conference intends to set up a "framework", listen to Fr Jamieson speaking at the press conference - it is in the side bar.

Our own diocesan Vocations Director, the excellent Fr Terry Martin has his blog here.

Nuncio to the Conference

The Catholic Herald carries the full text of the Nuncio's address to the Bishops Conference, in which he urges them to be outspoken, to support the Ordinariate, to engage dialogue with Muslims and Jews to promote the family, it is all good stuff.

People ask me what I know of him. I find it difficult to say, he is a little more outspoken than his predecessors but he is a diplomat, it is only when he starts appointing Bishops to the vacant dioceses that we will really know. The rumours going the rounds are that no new bishops will be appointed until after August but perhaps his address is more directed to Episcopabili than the Episcopacy.

It is important to write to him to suggest good loyal priests who will make good loyal bishops, Nuncioes like to know about good priests.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Future of the Liturgy

If you live in Brighton do try and encourage people to come to Mgr Wadsworth's talk, The Future of the Liturgy. I know there is a course on the other side of the deanery on Vatican II documents, both of these events were arranged sometime ago, the clash is unfortunate.
It will be interesting to hear what someone at the "nerve centre" of liturgical thought and "the man behind the new Missal translations" has to say about the future of the Liturgy: which will include the expectations of the Fathers of Vatican II and subsequent documents, the recent teaching of Pope Benedict and the Congregation for Divine Worship, as well as the whole subject of the mutual enrichment of both uses, and contemporary scholarship.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nike don't do XXXL

Irish Catholics are beginning to talk about "heresy", so too are Americans. At the moment it is, in Ireland, asking if those silenced priests are actually heretical, in the USA the same question is applied to nuns. For many there is perhaps a need to define a "heretic". In order to do that one has to define what Catholicism is. It has perhaps come as bit of shock for many that Catholicism has a particular content, and that people might actually be problematic if they don't actually believe it. That was really my complaint about the wishy-washiness of the Faith Cards.

For a generation or two "being Catholic" has been something about "self definition", amounting to "I am a Catholic, because that is what I choose to identify myself as", it fits well with a consumerist culture, where wearing a particular label, is a "choice"; a little like the obese couch potato, identifies himself with a healthy lifestyle by wearing a brand of sports clothing (but Nike don't do XXXL). The culture of the Church is different from the secularist consumerist world, the words of Christ in the Gospel are not about our choice but his, "You did not choose me but I chose you ...".

The reports from Ireland, but it could be from elsewhere in the world, including England and Wales, that most people do not actually believe what the Church teaches should not be a shock to anyone. We have been so concerned that people should identify themselves with belonging to the "Catholic brand", which is no more than a form of "tribalism" rather than bothering to evaluate the quality or content of that belonging.

When Liturgy and Catechises are subjective, a matter of personal tastes, likes or dislikes, certainly when bishops and clergy take on "on-judgementalism" as a virtue, then being a Catholic is whatever one likes it to mean. No wonder the idea not only of a teaching Church is shocking but so too is a Christian life that is about more than niceness and tolerance but is actually about a radical difference in choices and living.

The John 15:16 quote, "You did not choose me but chose you" ends, "so that you may bear fruit, fruit that will last". The lack of fruitfulness is seen simply in the fact that "Catholics" do not believe, empty churches, seminaries, convents and empty heads testify to this.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First Blessings

 Father James Bradley

Father Daniel Lloyd

These are the two priests ordained for the Ordinariate this morning at St Patrick's Soho.

Thanks to Andrew for the pictures.

James and Daniel to be ordained today

James Bradley here last year
Say a prayer for James Bradley & Daniel Lloyd who are going to be ordained to the priesthood at St Patrick's Soho today Saturday 21st Apr at 10:00 am.
They are first transitional deacons who haven't been ordained priest in the Anglican Communion to be ordained as members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, so today marks an important step in the maturation of the Ordinariate.
I was hoping to have been in choro myself but I made a bit of a muck up of my diary.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pope of Disunity

So the SSPX are likely to be in soon.
Already the Ordinariate is beginning to thrive in the States, and once they are given a church or two here that might happen in England and Wales - though they are doing pretty well using Spanish Place as their "Cathedral".
Those with a Catholic "sense" are given courage to live out their faith.
The liberation Summorum Pontificum gave the Traditional usage is slowly making an in road into the Church and parish life.
Seminaries are gradually becoming more Catholic, even if they are not, they are turning out young priests who want authentic Catholicism.
and yet,
Those American nuns who have "moved beyond Jesus" are likely to be out, at least as an organisation but there very presence shows how deep the rot goes.
Dissident Irish priests have been silenced but in Ireland dissidence seems to be the new orthodoxy.
In Austria there  is open disobedience and rather dubious decisions made by some of the hierarchy.
In the US the Bishops are fighting off the government and perhaps wondering whether they have much backing from the ordinary Catholic in the pew.

The US is interesting the Bishops are battling against the Liberal establishment and actually raising the old dusty banner, so carefully put away by their predecessors, of Catholic teaching on reproduction and sexuality. In Europe "gay marriage" is increasingly becoming an issue and the "equality" thing in general  seems likely to drive the Church out of the establishment niche that it has enjoyed for the last forty years. We are being forced to talk about sex and marriage for example by secular society, when we had perhaps forgotten how radical our own message is. Secular society does seem to understand.

Seven years ago many were expecting a "rottweiler" Pope, who would clear up doctrinal error, boot out heretical bishops, cleanse the Curia, clamp-down on liturgical abuses and theological errors and those peddling them. Instead we have had a Pope who teaches. His teaching however is constantly radical, a continual call out of the confused disunity of darkness into the light of Christ. Yet he is criticised for not using his authority to clean up the Church. How often does one hear amongst Roman dicastery officials the criticism, "he reigns but does not rule"?

What we have in the Church is increased division, and it is the Pope himself who is the source of division. There is an increased seperation between those who gather with Peter and those who don't. In many ways little by little there seems to be "sifting" of the Church, we boast over a billion members but most are almost pagan, on the edge of the Church.

Cardinal Koch recently said:
"A widespread criticism holds that the pope is not concerned" about the church as a whole but is focused on a small portion of his flock and "is content with that."
"The only thing that is true in this criticism is that, in reality, the pope is convinced that the true renewal of the church cannot begin with the masses, but only with small movements" inspired by the Holy Spirit and acting as leaven for the rest of the church, the cardinal said.
The idea of a smaller leaner Church is not exactly at the heart of Benedict XVI's writing but the idea of a small seed, a group that is leavening the lump, a candle flame that illuminates the darkness is, so too the Saint who has a profound effect an society around him is. More importantly is the triumph of Truth over error, of God over the un-Godly; rather than mass excommunications Benedict is more optimistic, he expects conversions because through the Resurrection God has triumphed!

Pope Benedict seems content to leave much up to Divine Providence because an over meddling Pope is likely to do more damage to the Church than one who directs attention again and again to Jesus Christ.
It is like the orientation of liturgy, it is about directing attention, not to "the poor servant of God labouring in the vineyard" but to God himself.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth in Brighton


Carrying on our series of 150th anniversary lectures: on Tuesday 1st May Mgr Andrew Wadsworth, the Secretary of ICEL will speak on "The future of the Liturgy"
This should be a fascinating evening with the "man behind the Missal".

Furness Abbey Crozier Find

Crozier The BBC reported the finding of a 12th cent(?) crozier and ring in a grave at Furness Abbey

Faith Cards

We received our "Faith Cards" yesterday, I had a group of parishioners in yesterday evening, I couldn't persuade any of them to take one.
I was quite enthused by the idea when it was announced but the criticism of people last night did have some substance.
I don't know how one sums up the Catholic Faith on a card the size of a visiting card but why is one side taken up with an "adapted" quote from Newman, rather than say, the Gospels or the Creed? And why a quotation on "Service",  rather than "Love" or "Worship" or "Sacrifice" or even "Taking up One's Cross"?
The other side too seems a little bland; why not quotes from scripture? Why a reference to loving my neighbour but not God? Why the reference to celebrating the sacraments regularly, rather than attending Mass on Sundays etc. or going to the Sacrament of Penance at least annually? What does "Use the gifts I have been given wisely" actually mean?
One woman last night, asked in what "emergency" a Catholic priest should be called?

I know it is easy to knock but I am not sure how well thought through this card is, whether it was trialed or not on a group of the faithful. It seems to convey a theology that belongs to the 1980s rather than today and the design is not that atractive either, and whilst I have plastic cards in my pocket I tend not to keep cards there.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Conical Chasubles

New Liturgical Movements has a picture of a thirteenth century chasuble from Toledo. I used to have one in this shape, I gave it away to a priest who liked I it, I must admit I did too.
It was the ancient shape of the cape or over coat worn over the tunic, it should come down to the knees. It is made from a semi-circle of fabric, with orphrey uniting the straight edge and giving a little extra movement so it isn't exactly 90 degrees.
In the West it was gathered up in the crook of the arms, giving it rather beautiful folds, with more or less an equal amount of fabric front and back, in the East in was worn so the back looked more like a cope and the front had less bulk. But East and West used the same vestment.
This is the vestment that the traditional Roman presumes the priest is wearing, hence he is supposed to be helped with it when his hands drop below the elbow, for example at the incensation. Worse problems are encountered at the elevation of the host and chalice, the server literally has to lift the fabric of the chasuble to enable the priest to raise his hands so the host might appear above his head.
  • Once the elevation was introduced two developments took place to ease things for the priest, those who thought the conical shape, little hutness, was important cut the sides of the chasuble from the curved edge to the shoulder, hence the Roman or "fiddleback" chasuble.
  • Those who thought the fullness was important eased the 90 degree angle sometimes to the 180 degree point, where there was a straight edge along the shoulder and the garment became, rather than a semi-circle, a full circle, especially in the late twentieth century when it could be made of cheap polyester. It is what is commonly call the Gothic chasuble.
Though the Gothic shape goes back at least to the 12th century, earlier the the Toledo chasuble, below is the Becket chasuble at Sens. Pugin favoured the Gothic version coming to the elbow joint, made with an angle of approximately 135 degrees, the prohibition of such garments by the Sacred Congregation of Rites was one of the issues that led to his increased neurosis, and eventual madness. Eventually the Comgregation allowed vestments that came either to the shoulder, elbow or wrist, the angle of the cut was not considered.

The 90 degree angle and the circularity was previously significant in so far as it was related to the square, a symbol of the universe, of perfection: the three corneredness to the Trinity.

The End of Easter Week

Sorry there hasn't been much up for the past week, like most priests Holy Week really is tiring, most of my confreres tend to take a holiday around now, I just love celebrating the the whole octave of Easter. I can certainly understand understand why some commentators are suggesting that the Holy Father is "looking tired and drawn" but then I am not celebrating my 85th birthday, nor have I preceded Holy Week by a trip to Mexico and Cuba.

The Triduum here was incredibly beautiful, bit simpler than most years, we just followed the Missal and did our best to let it speak for itself - the choir are getting better and better.

Easter week ended rather beautifully too, we kept Divine Mercy Sunday, really for the first time, as Divine Mercy Sunday, I was bullied by the charismatics in the congregation to have the Divine Mercy chaplet and Benediction at three o'clock; one of our Polish parishioners had given us a large picture of the Divine Mercy which was venerated, then later on there was Mass at a 5pm followed by the Traditional Mass at 6.30pm.
There was a largish congregation for the Traditional Mass which was very good as Lilly made her First Holy Communion. the first I have done in the Traditional Rite. She was beautiful, quite excited by the idea of receiving her Divine Lord for the first time but quite recollected and serene. We put a kneeling desk covered with an old cope between the kneelers and her parents Birgit and Achim knelt either side of her throughout the Canon of the Mass. One of our older parishioners said he wept at her recollection and and obvious joy. Pray for her!
After Mass I went out to dinner with two of our parishioner, one a student at the university here in Brighton who in the summer is going off join one of the new religious movements who celebrate the old Mass exclusively, his younger brother is going with him, and the other a young professional who is joining a community here in England which is progressively celebrating the Traditional Mass more and more - pray for them!
The trouble is that when these two go there will be no-one to MC a High Mass - so pray for us!
Deus providebit - I hope, he generally does.

Friday, April 13, 2012

ACN: Night of Witness

I just received the following email:
Happy Easter to you!

I work in the Fundraising and Marketing team at Aid to the Church in Need UK. I’m emailing in the hope that you won’t mind giving a plug on your blog, to the ‘Night of Witness’ event to support persecuted Christians that ACN is organising at Westminster Cathedral on the evening and night of Thursday 17th May.

ACN’s Night of Witness is the biggest UK event yet that ACN has organised. There is an extensive line up of inspirational guests and performers on the night, including several bishops from around the world, as well as Catholic band ‘ooberfuse’ – who had the winning UK entry for last year’s World Youth Day song contest. 

This event gives us a crucial chance to stand together with our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering persecution, in what is now a highly fraught era for Christians worldwide.

I know that you have posted in the past on the plight of persecuted Christians, and I hope this event may act as an opportune link for you to write a new piece should you feel inspired to do so. Of particular note, in recent weeks we have received the news that almost the entire Christian population of the Syrian city of Homs (50,000 or more people) has fled violence and persecution engulfing their homeland. As you will know, other high-profile (though not as high profile as we would like) issues include the current detention, awaiting execution, of Asia Bibi on blasphemy charges in Pakistan; the similar detention of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani on the same ‘charges’ in Iran; and, on a more positive note, the recent suggestion by Cardinal O’Brien that murdered Pakistani politician Shahbaz Bhatti might be made a saint for his heroic witness to the faith. Other recent news stories can be read on our news page here:

I attach a promotional flyer for the event in .jpeg format. The reverse of the flyer gives more details of the schedule and line-up on the night.

ACN web-page:

Many thanks in anticipation of your help and your prayers.
Mark Banks

Deadline: Low Sunday

This coming Sunday,  Low Sunday is the deadline for the reply of the SSPX to the the Holy See's Preamble. On it hangs either a schism or reconciliation, if schism then presumably there will follow further excommunications and a change in gear to any dialogue. If there is reconciliation then within the Church there will be groaning from the Liberal elements within the Church and cries of "the Pope rejecting Vatican II".

Interestingly Bishop Fellay says the SSPX accepts 95% of the teaching of Vatican II, which is perhaps far more than most "orthodox" bishops and clergy accept.

I must confess I do not understand the problems the SSPX with VII, I admit there are difficulties, a few contradictions in the Council documents with previous Magisterial statements, the Pope has been quite clear, and the Council is quite clear, that no new dogmatic teaching was presented in the Council's teaching and the Council must be read in a hermeneutic of continuity not of rupture. The nature of the Church too demands that the Council is read in the sense of continuity.

John R. T. Lamont has a very interesting analysis of the situation.
The problem seems to be the secret Preamble and as Lamont says the ultimate question, which is: what is the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church on the points that are in dispute between the SSPX and the Holy See?

What is in the Preamble and why is it secret? If it is merely concerned about religious liberty, collegiality, ecumenicism etc. these issues per se are discussed pretty freely by clergy "in good standing", so presumably there is something else. The more specific criticisms of the SSPX in the past concern the Assisi events, the toleration of dissent, the relationship of conscience to the Magisterium, the use of Collegiality, and the Liturgy. Indeed the SSPX when pushed would seem to say it is not so much the specific documents of VII that are a problem, except where they contradict the Magisterium, it is the interpretation.

I cannot help wondering whether their criticism is directed to both the Holy See and specifically to the person of the Pope, or at least to the post-Concilliar Popes. Is the SSPX really claiming that the last four Popes, and the Curia, have acted in a spirit of rupture towards the Magisterium?

Obviously examples might be seen in some of the strange actions of the Blessed John Paul; for example, being exorcised by a pagan priestess in Penitential rite, or praying with pagans, or venerating the Koran. Popes tolerating dissenting bishops, and even appointing known dissident priests to the Episcopacy is another example, so too bishops allowing publicly dissenting politicians to communicate and remain in good standing with the Church. As far as collegiality is concerned, the SSPX has criticised the rise in national Churches, with a localised theology, at the expense of unity with the Universal Church.

The problem is that reconciliation of the SSPX, and satisfying their demands will result in a narrowing and tighter definition of what it means to be Catholic. Benedict XVI has spoken a great deal about the hermeneutic of continuity but is he willing to following the logical follow on from this understanding of Vatican II, the pastoral demands of this policy, by a crackdown on dissent? His has always been a policy of "both, and" rather than "either, or", of wanting to include and win by arguement rather than dictat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pants: to the Bulgars

I thought you might enjoy this from "The Responses of Pope St. Nicholas I to the Questions of the Bulgars" (Letter 99), Chapter LVIIII, A.D. 866. It concerns "femoralia", women's things(?) which in this case are trousers or in the case of Americans are pants. It appeals to the schoolboy in me. I also find Pope Nicholas' reasoning elegant.
Trousers were a big issue then, they were considered un-Roman and therefore a mark on barbarianism: could one remain a trousered barbarian and be a Christian?
In Nicholas' "Response" he is answering the question: should Christianity extend beyond the ancient borders of the Roman Empire?
Of course it would take many more centuries for the Church to decide if it was appropriate for its clergy to wear trousers and dress as barbarians, in women's things, the femoralia.


I was very impressed, as I have grown to expect to be, with Bishop Mark Davis' Easter homily. He speaks of the notion of "progress", and warns of the dangers of cutting our culture off from its Christian roots.

This is the conclusion:
Yet today we are becoming increasingly aware that there are those in leading positions within our society who wish to see history somehow reversed, who wish the very light which Christianity brought to these islands would recede. This is often done under the plausible intention of “modernizing” yet it is in reality an attempt to turn the clock back: as if the Gospel had never arrived in this land, never shaped its laws and culture and never formed the basis of our civilization. They are sometimes called “anti Christian” as Christians do indeed suffer as a consequence of new laws and regulations. But in fact the mentality is “pre-Christian.” They see progress only in terms of moving this nation away from its Christian inheritance, from the very roots of its laws, its culture, its life. In the words of the Psalm today they wish to discard “the corner stone” (Psalm 117) on which so much good in our society has been built.
Pope Benedict repeatedly points out, as he did to the German Parliament recently, that it is from faith in God our Creator that the very idea of human rights and of equality before the law arose, and that the inviolable dignity of every human person came to be recognized (Address to the German Parliament, 22nd September 2011). Otherwise, without such a foundation we would become subject to any passing ideology. Dr. John Sentamu, the Anglican Archbishop of York, was accused of “exaggerating” when he spoke of the Government’s proposals to re-define the identity of marriage as linked to a totalitarian mentality (The Daily Telegraph 31st January 2012). Yet his analysis of recent history is clearer than that of many of the leaders of opinion in our society.
It has, indeed, been the experience of this past century, as both Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have observed how the most poisonous ideologies have arisen within the Christian nations of Europe. Thus Nazism or Communism attempted to discard the Christian inheritance of faith and morality as if it had never existed. They sought either to return to the pagan past or to “re-create” and “redeem” humanity by political will and ideology with terrible consequences. If Christianity is no longer to form the basis and the bedrock of our society then we are, indeed, left at the mercy of passing political projects and perhaps even the most sinister of ideologies.
Easter morning recalls us from these disturbing shadows to that wonderful Light which shines for ever. For Christ in our very humanity shows us our true nature, our real dignity and our eternal destiny in the face of death itself. He is “the morning Star” which never sets. This the Church sings every Easter, that Christ sheds His peaceful light on all humanity, He who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Christ has Conquered, Glory fills you.

Happy and Blessed Easter!

The Lamb is Victorious, Christ has Conquered, Glory fills you.

Satan lies imprisoned, bound. He has been defeated by Christ, he has been rejected by those who have renewed their baptismal promises, by the "swarm" who have been washed clean, by those who have confessed their sins: handed over their old lives for new life in Christ.

Satan has no more power over us, the Kingdom of darkness flees before the Morning Star, Christ our Light. Savation has come like the "Dawn that visits us from on High" to remain with us. We are of the Day, we are not of the Night. We live in the "Day of the Lord".

Again and again, punctuating the Gospel, first of all angels say, "Do not be afraid", "Do not be afraid Mary", to Joseph, "Do not be afraid to take Mary home", to the Shepherds, "Do not be afraid". Jesus says it as he walks across lake, "Do not be afraid, it is I". The same words are said to the women at the tomb by the Angel, "Do not be afraid but go tell the disciple ...", it is a part of the Easter message, "Do not be afraid, it is the Lord!".

The only power Satan has over us now, after the Resurrection, is the power of fear. In fact it is the power we are willing to give him. It is power we take from Christ, the Glory that belongs to him. Satan's power is merely illusionary, it depends on lies and on our willingness to believe the lies. He is the Lord of Lies. The lie is really "God is not Great", "God is not Almighty", "Satan has not been conquered", "The Cross has not Triumphed".

The illusion is similar, it is that we are still bound, still trapped, still living the old life, still the old Man.
In baptism, in the Sacrament of Penance, we hand over to Christ the our old life, the old man; for a new Life and the New Man. The sins we cling on to, for fear of giving them up is where we give him power.

It is fear and a lack of trust that stops us living the New Life of Christ that stops us from putting out into the deep. The gates of hell have been broken down, the locks and chains that held us prisoner are cast into the abyss, Satan is stripped and bound and is postrate under the Triumphant Lord's feet and he now leads Adam and Eve from death and their slavery to sin, along with all mankind into his New Life, if only we will believe in his Victory.

Friday, April 06, 2012


God could have reconciled mankind to himself by  a thought
but he chose to do it by giving us infinite value.
To redeem me he chose to give away his Only Begotten.
Oh Infinite, the value he places on me.
He gave away His own Son to purchase me!
I am the God Ransomed!

We are Divinely bought,
The Human Race, from our beginning to our end has today Infinite value.
Each infant, each drunk, each mother,
each murderer, each rapist, each hater,
each mad beggar, each boring fool, each oaf, each lout.
Each is of Infinite value, more precious even than the only Son of God.
Each dearly bought by iron nail and wood, blood and spittle, torn flesh and tormented Deity
There is no cheap, worthless humanity under the the shadow of the Cross,
or in the Divine Heart...

... nor in the true Christian heart.

Mass of the Lord's Supper

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Triduum at St Mary Magdalen, Brighton

Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord's Supper 8pm
Good Friday: Liturgy of the Passion 3pm
Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil 8.30pm
Easter Day Masses: 9am Traditional Latin Mass, Sung Mass 10.30am Polish Mass 12.30am

Anticipated Masses or Vigils

I was interested by the following little article on Chant Cafe.
It is a very bad habit of all Catholics to refer to the Saturday evening Mass as the "vigil" Mass even though most of the time it is nothing of the kind. It is the Sunday Mass said on Saturday. This makes it an "anticipated" Mass.

I was glad to see that the new issue of Today's Liturgy (OCP) actually pointed this out with absolutely clarity. It stated without any vagueness that the practice of calling every Saturday evening Mass a vigil is completely wrong.

There are Vigil Masses such as the Easter Vigil or the Vigil of St. John Baptist. The vigil Mass is a specific thing and it is different from the Sunday Mass.

I'm as guilty of this mistake as anyone. I'm going to try to fix this but more consistently calling the even time slot for Mass the "anticipated" Mass.

Join me in this effort?
I am in favour of offering Mass at times people will come, in the 1970s when the "Anticipated Mass" was introduced it was for those unable to attend Mass on the Lord's Day itself, there was mention of doctors and nurses and people who had to work. Now most seem to have people who no longer work but want Sundays free of Mass for some other purpose.
For the most part the Saturday Mass is not the one which is attended by young people or by those who are actually forced to work.
If Saturday Mass is a true "Vigil" the same rubrics should presumably apply, as apply to the Easter Vigil, namely that it should start after sunset, on what would be considered according to Jewish chronology the First Day of the week, a day being from sunset to sunset.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Pray don't Prattle

I was sent this, a nice little reminder of the importance of prayer in the Sacred Triduum.

Part two is here.

Cannon Wednesday

In the Ambrosian Rite, today; Spy Wednesday the whole of the Passion of St Like was sung. In the Cathedral of Milan, at the words about the veil being torn, the huge Lenten veil that screened the sanctuary was torn from top to bottom, whilst from the clerestory cannons were fired repeatably, apparently filling the gloomy interior of the Cathedral with flashes of fire and sulphourous smoke.
All very theatrical and Italian, designed to shock and cause confusion and muddle, after the chaos Mass continued, when the smoke died away the altar, the place of sacrifice was revealed, and the Holy Sacrifice was offered.

Amidst the emotional confusion and all the details of the Passion; its horrors, the weakness of men: betrayal, denial, human cruelty, suffering, pain, blood and torture: the Holy Sacrifice, the God-Man giving himself into the hands of the Eternal Father is revealed.

The earth spins and the Cross stands still.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Catholic Identity

I have a small range of penances I give to penitents and it is getting smaller. I found a lady looking through books at the back of church trying to find the "Hail Holy Queen" when a visiting priest was in "the box". Another woman told me she doesn't go to confession because she is "embarrassed", not just by her sins but also her inability to remember the correct prayers.

In parishes that don't have the Hail Mary during the Intercessions it isn't just children who can't remember the "Hail Mary", adults forget it too - bye the way, does anyone have any clear details about the Heenan CDW indult for its use during the Intercessions in England - like a protocol number? Apparently it was in the draft of the Papal Liturgies during the visit but removed by Office for Papal  Liturgies, presumably to stop setting a universal precedent.

The repertoire of  recited prayers of your average English Catholics is diminishing. Except for those under the the spell of Medge, younger people tend not to learn either the Rosary or its prayers. In our schools prayer seems to be "Charismatic" spontaneity rather than the ancient prayers of the Church. It is about Catholic identity as much as abstaining fro meat on Friday.

Part of catechesis should be teaching prayer, when the disciple ask the Lord to teach them to pray he gives them a text to learn.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Processional Thoughts

Holy Week begins, and ends, with a procession.
Processions were very much more significant in the pre-concillior Rites than they are in the present liturgy. It is worth meditating on their significance.

At their most basic level they symbolise the movement from one place to another, from outside the Church to inside it. It speaks, like pilgrimage, of the movement from this world to the next, of the growth in Christian perfection, of movement in the Church and in our own Christian life, of Man's ultimate destiny: Heaven.

Processions are essentially about moving with Christ, as a sacred community. Vatican II uses the metaphor of the procession, "the Pilgrim People", to speak of the Church, it seems a shame that their significnce has actually dimished.

In the Medieval world processions were designed to demonstrate and show the nature of the a Christian society, as much as the heirarchic and salvific nature of the Church. The Roman Stational Masses took the Pontiff on a tour of his diocese, presumably, at least signifying that the Bishop of Rome had nowhere permanent to lay his head. In the rites used in England the procession was an essential part of the rite Palm Sunday, elsewhere the taking of the Blessed Sacrament to some other place, often an altar in a cemetery was part of the usage of Holy Thursday.

The phrase "Creeping to the Cross" suggests quite clearly the ancient practice of the whole local community slowly, often on its knees, with great ceremony coming to venerate the either the Cross itself, or the recumbent figure of the crucified, a time for mourning and public grief and penance. For the mass of people this rite itself, as we see still in the great Holy Week processions of Spain was, rather than the Chuch's official liturgy, the great popular re-enactmenet of the Passion.

The Stations of the Cross, is essentially a processional rite, again in which we learn to conform ourselves to the Crucified.

The rather hodge-podge rites of the Easter Vigil begin with the blessing of what was presumably a newly kindled Easter beacon and the taking into the church (often as quickly as possible - lest it blow out) the lit Paschal Candle. Again it is rich in significance: following Christ, the tiny candle flame in the dark at the beginning, in the glowing shared  light; it is metaphor of faith, that leads to the unlocking of the mysteries of salvation.

The readings themselves are a procession, from creation to salvation.

The procession to the baptismal font (strange there is no procession from it) gives a wonderful image  of the local Church together with Saints in Heaven interceding for those to be baptised, it is about what Christ has already won for us.

And ...celebrating Mass ad Orientem is processional, and directs us to the eternal destiny of mankind, the Eucharist and the worship of the Eternal Father.

Donkeys: Palm Sunday

Are a liturgical abuse!

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...