27 July 2017

Cardinal Sarah and the Ordinariate Rite

In his latest lecture, the very admirable and very courageous Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites (Oops ... have I perpetrated an anachronism?) adds, to the suggestions he had made earlier, at least two new points for the improvement of the Ordinary Form:

(1) The priest should genuflect immediately after the Consecration of the Host and of the Chalice.

It is, surely, unnecessary to explain why this is so desirable. I point out that it already happens in the Ordinariate Rite. (You will remember that, upon seeing a copy of our Ordinariate Missal, His Eminence wistfully commented "Why can't we have something like this?")

(2) The holding of thumb and index finger conjoined after they have touched the Consecrated Host.

After the regime of Edward Tudor had imposed the First Prayer Book upon the suffering clergy and people of England, the tyrants discovered that the clergy were assimilating the service as closely as possible to the Sarum Mass. So draft Articles of Visitation ordered "For a uniformity, that no minister do counterfeit the popish mass, as to kiss the Lord's table; washing his fingers at every time in the communion; blessing his eyes with the paten, or sudary; or crossing his head with the paten; shifting of the book from one place to another; laying down and licking the chalice of the communion; holding up his fingers, hands, or thumbs, joined towards his temples; breathing upon the the bread or chalice; showing the sacrament openly before the distribution of the communion; ringing of sacrying bells; or setting any light upon the Lord's board ...".

I suspect that the section I have boldened refers to the conjoining of thumb and index finger ... what, in the 1960s, trendy vandals used to call "finger pinching".

We of the Anglican Patrimony have a long experience ... centuries ... of catholicising defective liturgies imposed by soi-disant authorities.

Perhaps we should set up a lucrative Consultancy to show those who want to catholicise their bog-standard Novus Ordo how it's done? No need ... if they attend a Latin Mass Society training week on the Extraordinary Form, they'll find it fairly obvious how to transfer the skills from EF to OF.

26 July 2017

Nazis and Nazis

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the Sunday upon which the Dutch Hierarchy had ordered a Pastoral Letter to be read in all their churches, protesting vigorously and explicitly against the Nazi persecution of Dutch Jewry.

Not surprisingly, this Letter sent the Nazi authorities into paroxysms of rage.

It contained a sentiment which equally infuriates the currently dominant faction in the Catholic Church, and in particular, so we are told, the German and English hierarchies.

It hoped for the Conversion of the Jews.

Sancta Anna ora pro nobis

I have always had a soft spot for S Anne, not least because she is the Patron of my wife's college at Oxford (we sent two of our children there) ... and, indeed, contributes one of her own names. Some years ago, I found it touching to seek out some of the remnants in Brittany of their devotion to their Patron ... Anna Potentissima, for example, and all that, written in large letters around the walls of the Church at Pontrieux. I pointed it out to Junior Granddaughter, whose name is Anna.

Dom Gueranger, in his marvellous collection of materials, gives us a Responsory in her honour (Anna sanctissima Britonum spes et tutela: quam in prosperis adiutricem, in adversis auxiliatricem habemus ...). reminding us of how the people of that land once suffered because they were hesitant to accept the Evil which is embodied in the godless prayer Vive la Republique. 

Gueranger reminds us that S Anne was also the  splendor Provinciae. But I will leave you with this Breton hymn ... and a question.

Lucis beatae gaudiis
Gestit parens Ecclesia,
Annamque Iudaeae decus
Matrem Mariae concinit.

Regum piorum sanguini
Iungens Sacerdos avos,
Illustris Anna splendidis
Vincit genus virtutibus.

Coelo favente nexuit
Vincli iugalis foedera,
Alvoque sancta condidt
Sidus perenne virginum.

O mira coeli gratia!
Annae parentis in sinu
Concepta virgo conterit
Saevi draconis verticem.

Tanto salutis pignore
Iam sperat humanum genus:
Orbi redempto praevia
Pacem columba nuntiat.

Sit laus Patri, sit Filio,
Tibique Sancte Spiritus.
Annam pie colentibus
Confer perennem gratiam. Amen.

My question relates to the fourth stanza: "O wondrous grace of Heaven! in the womb of her Mother Anne, the Virgin, having been conceived, treads down the head of the savage serpent".

Does that quite fit in with the defined dogma of the Immaculate Conception: that our Lady was preserved from original sin in the first instant of her being?


25 July 2017

Compostella

Ah, S James the Great, Compostella ... how often have I sat, perhaps for half an hour or more, just gazing at wonder at the great Portico de la Gloria in Compostella Cathedral. Not, of course, that I've ever been to Spain. Indeed, I don't think I've ever knowingly entered His Most Catholic Majesty's domains at all ... unless the old embassy church of S James, Spanish Place, counts, with its Spanish royal banner just waiting for the parish priest to haul it up the flagpost if he gets a sudden email warning him that the King's Majesty is on his way to pay a visit.

If you can't afford, given the present ruinous state of the exchange rate between Sterling and the Euro, to go to Spain, you can contemplate the Portico de la Gloria ... and Hadrian's column ... and the Plantagenet tombs at Fontevrault ... and the main door of Arles Cathedral ... simply by visiting the Casts Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

And, as we all know, for those who can't afford a holiday in Italy, there is always the Oratory Church next to the V and A. And, for those who can't afford a visit to France, there is the Racine Restaurant.

24 July 2017

Concelebration in the Roman Colleges (6)

The great Catholic Anglican theologian, Dr Eric Mascall, writing at the time when Concelebration was the new sexy -ation among trendy Western liturgists, put in a spirited defence of the practice of the Private Mass. I particularly commend to you its Catholic understanding of "Corporate", so very much more Pauline than the naively infantile understanding of the term which we find in the Roman draft Working Paper we have been considering. Mascall, in truth, is simply unfolding the teaching of Pius XII in Mediator Dei " ... this Sacrifice , always and everywhere, necessarily and of its very nature, has a public and social character. For he who offers it acts in the name both of Christ and of the faithful, of whom the divine Redeemer is the Head ...".

If, Mascall wrote, you want to make "anybody understand wherein the corporateness of the mass really consists" the best thing you can do is to take him into a church with lots of simultaneous private masses going on, and tell him that "the different priests saying their different masses at their different altars are doing not different things but the same thing, that they are all taking part in the one eternal Liturgy whose celebrant is Christ and that their priesthood is only a participation in his ... the multiplication of masses emphasises the real unity of the mass and the true nature of the Church's corporate character as nothing else can ... what makes the mass one and corporate is not the fact that a lot of people are together at the same service, but the fact that it is the act of Christ in his body (corpus) the Church ... 'Look at those men at their various altars all around the church, each of them apparently muttering away on his own and having nothing to do with the others. In fact, they are all of them doing the same thing - the same essentially, the same numerically - not just a lot of different things of the same kind, but the very same identical thing; each of them is taking his part as a priest in the one redemptive act which Christ, who died for our sins and rose again for our justification, perpetuates in the Church which is his Body through the sacrament of his body and blood'".

Professor Mascall's description fits the Church of S Mary Magdalene in Oxford, then a busy Anglican Catholic centre but now sadly lapsed. It was there that, except when he was on the rota to celebrate in Christ Church Cathedral, he said his daily Mass, old style, Introibo ad Altare Dei through to Et Verbum caro factum est. Not infrequently, every altar in that church was occupied by a priest offering that same eternal sacrifice. One thinks also of the Anglican Shrine Church at Walsingham, its twenty or so altars all abuzz with Sacrifice at the height of the pilgrimage season. Come to think of it, that's probably why the lower basilica at Lourdes has an altar to each of the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary. One can imagine palmy days when priests were queuing up on rotas to say their masses and (if there were a shortage of trained servers) making, each of them, the then customary arrangement with the priest just before him or the one just after, to serve his Mass in return for him serving yours. This was the time of my adolescence before the Council when churches which are now empty or even closed or demolished were full of busi-ness; alive and electric with sacramental and devotional life.

And, after the contempt into which the Private Mass fell in the decades after Vatican II, we should  welcome with unconfined joy its increasing return to the main-stream repertoire of every-day Western Catholicism. When there are laypeople needing a Mass, it is obviously the first duty of a priest to serve that need (and a desire to say an additional Mass solo would not be a sufficient reason for binating). But we should remember that Vatican II did preserve inviolate the right of every priest to celebrate a Private Mass, with a couple of caveats (not during a concelebration within the same church; not on Maundy Thursday). And subsequent magisterial documents, including the Code of Canon Law, have repeated this right. And successive editions even of the Novus Ordo Missal have provided (and, most recently, substantially revised) the rite for celebrating the 'New Mass' privately.

According to one prominent Vaticanologist, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, from which emerged the draft Working Paper we have been considering, is the current pope's closest friend in the Curia. It seems strange that such an important and well-connected man, apparently, knows (or wishes to know) so little about the teaching and praxis of the Catholic Church.

God will, in Pope Benedict's words, win in the end, even if the boat, full of water, seems about to capsise!

23 July 2017

NOTICE

Again, I am taking a week off from moderating and enabling comments. I shall endeavour to give you something to read each day, but I shall read none of any comments you may submit until mid-July. Nor shall I be reading emails or checking the blogosphere!

Concelebration in the Roman Colleges (5)

A little more about Paragraph 57 (2) of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

"Salva tamen sit semper sit cuique sacerdoti facultas Missam singularem celebrandi ..."

[Abbott: "Nevertheless, each priest shall always retain his right to celebrate Mass individually ..."] 

I dealt last time with the Hermeneutical Miracle, the Circaean Touch in the iniquitous daraft Working Paper, whereby this Conciliar mandate is metamorphosed into meaning "A priest may only withdraw from concelebrating in order to serve the needs of the Laity". I want to emphasise this morning that the Suppressio veri and Suggestio falsi involved here are so shameless as, in effect, to constitute barefaced lies.


Vatican II is clearly preserving here a right which the clergy had before the Council. While permitting Concelebration, with the limitations made clear in Paragraph 57 (Maundy Thursday, Councils, Ordinations and abbatial Blessings, other occasions to which the Ordinary has explicitly consented), it is also preserving an existing right. As Canon 902 in turn puts it,

" ... integra tamen pro singulis libertate manente Eucharistiam individuali modo celebrandi ..."

["... for each and every priest, the freedom remains intact of celebrating the Eucharist in the individual way ..."]

Notice manente. The liberty remains. Notice integra. It remains intact. In other words, the pre-Conciliar freedom is not abrogated. It is preserved, it is set in stone.

Not even the dodgy group which put together this disgraceful Working Paper could go so far as to rewrite History and to claim that, before the Council, 'private Masses' were forbidden or discouraged. They were an integral part of universal priestly culture in the Latin Church. They were vigorously defended by Pius XII (Mediator Dei) in 1947, who explicitly condemned the very errors now resurrected by the draft Working Paper (I will quote him in my final piece).

And, less than two decades after the teaching of Pius XII, the Council, followed by the Novus Ordo Missal, and, a few years after that, the Conciliar Code of Canon Law, all carefully and unambiguously preserved his right to every priest of the Latin Churches. How decisive and repeated does the Magisterium of the Church have to be before the wayward and the heterodox take notice of it? Why are curial departments so cluttered up with the wayward and the heterodox?

But what the H**l: if one is part of a Vatican culture engaged on the exciting and far-reaching project of subverting the Sacrament (and Natural Institution) of Holy Matrimony, one is hardly going to draw the line at telling a few lies in order to put a stop to private masses and the Extraordinary Form.

To be concluded.

22 July 2017

Noli me tangere

In the 9th Reading at Mattins on this feast of S Mary Magdalene, we find S Augustine writing about the Woman Who Was A Sinner: "If such a woman had approached the feet of that pharisee, he would have been about to say what Isaias says about such people "Go away from me, do not touch me, for I am clean" [Recede a me, noli me tangere, quoniam mundus sum".

This seems eerily similar to what the Lord says to Mary of Magdala in the Garden; in a passage of which the commentators make heavy weather (no, this is not an invitation for everybody to write in with their own favourite explanation of that crux interpretum).

Is this just the wildest of strange coincidences, or could there just possibly be something worth sorting out here?

What is the reference in Isaias?

21 July 2017

Concelebration in the Roman Colleges (4)

You will have been asking: does this Working Paper forget to mention the explicit words of Sacrosanctum Concilium, of the liturgical books, and of the Code of Canon Law, which secure to a presbyter his right (facultas) of celebrating a private (singularis) Mass?

Not a bit of it. To be fair, it grasps that problem very firmly and with both hands. It quotes it, gives the references, and then this is what it says (the highlighting is in the original draft):

Il criterio fondamentale che giustifica la celebrazione individuale nello stesso giorno nel quale la Chiesa o la comunita propone la concelebrazione e quando il beneficio dei fedeli lo richieda o lo consigli.

(The fundamental criterion which justifies individual celebration on the same day on which the Church or the community proposes concelebration is when the benefit of the faithful requests or advises it.)


Yes. I thought that would take your breath away. I really do not think it necessary for me to labour the nastiness of this ... and its cleverness in seeking to prevent young priests from saying their daily Mass. It completely perverts the plain and contextual meaning of the Council, the rubrics, and Canon Law.

Another anxiety: papal and curial documents like to build up a 'position' by citing previous documents, regarded as precedents. If the Congregation for Clergy gets away with this cheap dodge, there is every risk that their enactment will be littered around in the footnotes of future repressive documents until we are told that it has become the Church's settled position.

I will merely add that the Working Paper does not deal with another right canonically secured to every presbyter of the Roman Rite: that of celebrating a private mass daily in the Extraordinary Form (vide the opening sections of Summorum Pontificum). If the Working Paper had taken up this question, doubtless its conclusion would have been just as clever and equally nasty.

I have one more piece (5) about this a nasty document put together by a nasty group in pursuance of a nasty plot. After that, my final piece (6) on this subject will throw the windows wide open to the clean fresh air of the wholesome paradosis of our wonderful Western and Latin Christendom. It will contain extensive quotations from somebody whom I consider one of the great theologians of the last century, whom I knew and whose teachings greatly influenced my own vocation to the Sacred Priesthood. So hang on there: something good is on the way

To be continued.


20 July 2017

Concelebration in the Roman Colleges (3)

Today: a couple of dogs that failed to bark in the night.

(1) Dog A is the CDW, still nominally under the direction of the disgraced not-sufficiently-bergoglian Cardinal Sarah. There is no evidence in the Working Paper which we are considering that the CDW was consulted. Yet the Working Paper is exclusively about a liturgical matter! Here we have another example of bergoglian method: the dodge of not entrusting something to an actually relevant dicastery. There would, you see, be the terrible risk that they might not come up with the right answer. After all, the Holy Father told Sarah to change the rules concerning the Maundy Thursday pedilavium and Sarah did nothing until, a year later, Bergoglio kicked him. Sarah then did as he was told but made it public that he was acting under duress. Just so, Amoris laetitia was presented to the Press by the Graf von Schoenborn and not by the (then) Cardinal Prefect of the CDF. Far, far safer! Gerhard is so, so off message!

(2) Dog B is the Divine Office. True, the Working Paper we are currently considering is, according to its explicit heading, concerned with Concelebration. But the closely connected question of the common recitation of the Divine Office cannot be irrelevant here. The Institutio Generalis de Liturgia Horarum makes clear (paragraphs 9 and 20) the great desirability of the common recitation of the Offoce. And it draws upon the same advice of Sacrosanctum Concilium which the Working Paper on Concelebration mentions. Why does the Congregatio pro clericis not allude to this?

I think the reasons for this deafening silence are practical and obvious. Any attempt to force student clergy in Roman Colleges to celebrate (ex. gr.) Lauds, Vespers, and the Office of Readings and Compline in common would probably lead to a general insurrection. The Offices in the Liturgy of the Hours are short and the daily pensum could probably be got through by an individual, moving his lips silently, in less than a total of twenty minutes. The Office need cause very little interruption to the working life of a priest or student. But if one had to stop what one was doing, go to chapel, and sing the texts, they would take up very much more time. I'm not denying that this might be a good thing ... I haven't forgotten the view of S Benedict that the the opus Dei should take priority over everything ... I'm simply saying that the students, being only human, might not all embrace it with equal enthusiasm ... I mean, they would cut up rough.

So ... the drafters of the Working Paper decided to let that potentially irritable Sleeping Dog lie. After all, Who Cares? Our priority, they mused, is to put a stop to this pernicious practice of all these disgraceful young priests getting out of bed early and slipping off before breakfast to access an altar on which to celebrate that Extraordinary Form which the current pope so dislikes; which encapsulates an entire attitude to Priesthood and to life which he fears and loaths.

To be continued.

19 July 2017

Quaestiones caninae diesque

A priest of my acquaintance has recently acquired a new dog, a Rottweilerish mongrel with a rather uncertain temper. (The animal has none of the refinement of His Feline Eminence Cardinal Pushkin up the Hagley Road.)

He calls it Francis or, when stroking it or wobbling its dewlaps, Santo Padre.

Are these canonical offences?

When one hears Father calling his new pet by name, should one doff ones biretta? Or bow the head as one does ad nomen Summi Pontificis in the Te igitur?

More dogs tomorrow. If you like, you can call these the Dog Days. The already drafted post on Hesiod which you all await will eventually follow, probably on September 5.

Tomorrow, Concelebration in the Roman Colleges (3).

18 July 2017

Concelebration in the Roman Colleges (2)

I do not know whence this proposal ultimately arises, but it seems to me to bear all the hallmarks of the current regime. We have come to recognise the methodology of Bergoglian realpolitik. "Doctrine is not changed", and so a document like Amoris laetitia may even contain an explicit assertion of the indissolubilty of Marriage ... several hundred pages apart from rhe deft little footnote, or the crafty ambiguity, by which this doctrine may in practice be set aside. Episcopal Conferences may not have been formally given the right to attack the Sacrament of Marriage, but nods, winks, and private letters single out those Conferences which Have Got the Message.

This is a culture in which Cardinal Sarah has not been sacked, but he is publicly humiliated and neutered by having his colleagues and staff sacked and replaced by bergoglians ( I except from this generalisation Bishop Alan Hopes who, being a former Anglican, has sound and orthodox liturgical instincts).

So it is with the proposal that priests in the Roman Colleges should be bullied into forgoing their canonical right to celebrate individually the Holy Eucharist. Summorum Pontificum is not set aside, but it is circumvented.

Not that this document explicitly mentions Summorum Pontificum, or indeed the Extraordinary Form. It is far too cunning to do that. But this is what it is all about. Consider:  
since Concelebration is permitted in the Novus Ordo, but (except at Ordinations) forbidden in the Classical Roman Mass, 
and since the readers are repeatedly told that the young men must be intimidated into prefering Concelebration, 
what we have in this draft document is, in practical, political terms, a major initiative to prevent the use of the Extraordinary Form by "student priests".

Doubtless it is hoped that the provisions of this illiberal document will spread, particularly in places under the watchful eye of rigidly bergoglianist bishops.

To be continued.