24 September 2017

Mary and heresies and the Reign of Sex

I wish all readers a wonderful solemn Day of our Lady of Walsingham. Today is the first time since the erection of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham that our titular Solemnity has come on a Sunday, thus replacing the Sunday Mass. She it is who  Ransomed three Ordinariates out of slavery in (what our other Patron, Blessed John Henry Newman, once called) the House of Bondage.

We are blessed with quite a number of feasts of our Lady at this time of the year. In the Breviary Common of our Lady, there is a phrase that sticks in my mind: one of the antiphons at Mattins credits the Theotokos with "destroying all heresies throughout the world".

This was, of course, particularly true in the period of the first Four Councils, when Arianism and Nestorianism were both put down by the assertion of her title as Mother of God.

But what is the great heresy of our own day? Surely, the Reign of Sex. Pius XI and Paul VI effectively foretold the preoccupations of the current world. Some people, simple souls, believed that pharmaceutical contraception would simply enable nice respectable married couples to ensure nice respectable two year gaps between the nice babies they would have ... nothing more than that.

How naive. How pathetic.

So we now have a culture in which ... but, since you can guess what I'm going to say, I don't need to spell it all out.

And we are told by the current occupant of the Roman bishopric that it is no longer polite to describe adulterous relationships in terms which the adulterers might find upsetting. And we are told by the secular State that, if we are not very careful in what we say, the Diversity Police will come knocking on our doors.

It's not that some new problem has arisen. Ever since the Fall, human sexuality has been assaulted by disorders. Somebody once wittily observed that Sexual Intercourse was invented in the 1960s. But did nobody ever feel and fall for a sexual temptation before then?

The only difference between this age and every preceding culture? Now, it is the Official Message of the ministers of the Zeitgeist that, in sexual matters, Fay ce que voudras admits no qualification (except as regards paedophiles).

Paul VI spoke about the Smoke of Satan entering the Church. Some traddies have tended to assume that liturgical disorder is what he had in mind. I wonder whether it might have been the complete collapse of the concept of boundaries within Sexuality.

Mary, Mother of God, Mary Ever-Virgin, Mater Purissima, stands as the great condemnation of the Reign of Sex, as she does of every other heresy.

Could there have been any better day on which to publish the Correctio Filialis?

23 September 2017

Breaking News

There are wild rumours on the Internet about News due to break tomorrow, Sunday. They are, as far as I know, all wrong. Far too wild. Far too dramatic. Far too much in the febrile spirit of the current pontificate. Calm down! ... No; it's not that, either !!

But, tomorrow, a piece of news will break: an action taken by a small group of small and very humble Christian people from many countries; some men, some women, some lay, some clerical.

It may not (to quote Churchill) be "the beginning of the end" of the disorders of this pontificate.

Its effect will depend on you and thousands like you. Depending on how you, with God's grace, take it forward, it might be looked back upon in the future as (Churchill again) "the end of the beginning".

It's up to you. And to our Lady of Fatima and Walsingham, who promised that her Immaculate Heart will prevail.


Pope Honorius I

Surprising, isn't it, how many people seem to be interested in the case of our late beloved Holy Father Pope Honorius I, just now ...

But I would like to be frank about something I don't understand.

Here it is: the claim of the subsequent Magisterium to have expelled Honorius I from the Church. I do not see how it is possible to do this to someone who is dead. Ecclesiastical authorities, as far as I am aware, only claim and have jurisdiction over or within the Church Militant (indulgences, for example, can only be applied to the Departed per modum suffragii). Or does the phrase mean something like deleting his name from the diptychs of the Dead ... a sort of ecclesiastical version of the secular damnatio memoriae? Can any Conciliar or Patristics expert explain?

I feel much happier with the way our Holy Father Pope Leo II wrote to the Spanish Bishops: " ... Honorio, qui flammam haeretici dogmatis non, ut decuit apostolicam dignitatem, incipientem extinxit, sed negligendo confovit".

I like two things in particular about this:
(1) it exemplifies Newman's highly important point that the job of the Roman Church is to be a remora, a barrier against innovation ... the duty of its bishop, because of his apostolic, Petrine, dignity, is to 'extinguish the fire of heretical doctrine as soon as it first begins'; and
(2) it makes clear that Honorius encouraged heresy by neglect.

Does this have any relevance for our times and our troubles?

Whatever may be the objective meaning of Amoris laetitia, whatever the intentions of the current pope in issuing it, there can surely be little doubt that he has de facto encouraged heresy by neglecting to correct those bishops and episcopal conferences which have promoted interpretations of the document constructively allowing for adultery.

This, in my own personal, subjective, and fallible opinion, is what most securely brackets Francis I with Honorius I, although, as a dutiful Catholic, I respect and love both of them equally and enormously.

Comments which try to get headway out of this distressing situation by advocating sedevacantist nonsense will, for reasons I have explained often enough in the past, not be enabled. Nor will mindless abuse of the current pope.

22 September 2017

PARRHESIA

More idleness on my part! Here is another old post, which has already appeared more than once! But I think it is more relevant than ever!! I have added one or two phrases. The earlier dates could be reconstructed from the thread.

PARRHESIA is a Greek noun [which, some time ago, was] used with great frequency by our Holy Father Pope Francis; it means speaking openly, boldly, fearlessly, standing like a free man rather than cowering like a slave, epecially in contexts where it might be apprehended that some powerful person could turn beastily nasty. A good, authoritative, example of its use, and a (fairly) authoritative gloss about its meaning, were provided when the Holy Father in 2014 told the Synod Fathers to speak with parrhesia, and his close friend "Archbishop" Fernandez [somebody should write a Gilbert-and-Sullivan chorus about this individual] was overheard interpreting this for the edification of common ordinary not-in-the-know not-one-of-us bishops as meaning "Mueller [then Cardinal Prefect of the CDF] won't come after us". Assuming that this concept is meant to apply symmetrically, clearly Fernandez also meant that he, Fernandez, and Pope Francis, wouldn't "come after" anybody, either. Good News for both Bishops and Bloggers worldwide. [It is a shame that those in various places who persecute, or urge others to intimidate, opponents of Pope Bergoglio's innovations, have not interiorised his calls for Parrhesia but still "come after" people they deem off-message.]

The term is quite common in the New Testament: S Mark 8:32; S John 7:4,13,26; 10:24; 11:14,54; 16:25,29; 18:20; Acts 2:29; 4:13,29,31; 28:31; etc. etc.. For the verb parrhesiazomai, mainly in Acts, see 9:27,28; 13:46; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8; 26:26 ...

[Anybody got a Concordance for the Septuagint? The Vulgate rendering is often palam ... loqui. For a link to a good (Oz) talk about Parrhesia in the Classical period of Attic Greek, see a comment of my own on the old thread infra.]

[In Italian and Spanish, it is written without the h, and, sadly, the rather limited chappies who do the English versions of Vatican statements sometimes don't realise that the English, transliterated of course directly from the Greek, is parrhesia. Don't let them confuse or worry you. Not now, not ever.]

21 September 2017

Whose hands?

Here's a Medieval oddity which I don't think anybody has noticed.

In the Statuta Antiqua, when a bishop is consecrated, "two bishops place and hold a book of the Gospels over his neck, and as the Ordainer pours the Blessing over him, the bishops who are present touch his head with their hands".

Now to the Spanish, Mozarabic, rite for the ordination of a presbyter. "The presbyters lay hands on him, and he is blessed by the bishop as follows ...".

Spot it? Well, in neither of these very different sources does the rubric actually say that the Ordainer himself lays hands on the ordinand.

I know what you're going to say. The imposition of hands by the ordainer is taken-for-granted. The rubrician doesn't bother to specify the blindingly obvious. And you might very well be right. But I'm not totally sure.

In each of these cases, I am convinced that what we have is a collegial act. The new bishop is being incorporated into the world-wide (and, as E L Mascall would insist, time-wide) college of bishops. The new presbyter is being incorporated by the corporate, collegiate presbyterium, into the priesthood of the local church (and since the local church is the manifestation of the Church Universal, this simultaneously incorporates him into the whole priestly body of Christ's whole Church).

I am quite certain that those presbyters could not so incorporate a new member if they acted on their own without the presidency of their head, the bishop. An attempt to do so would be, in the still appropriate language of the old manuals, 'invalid'. But with him they truly can do what they could not do without him. Just like the coconsecrators in the episcopal rite, they truly confer the sacrament.

And I feel pretty sure that in the Mozarabic rite, it was thought appropriate for the form to be uttered by the Bishop, the matter supplied by his presbyterium. See I Timothy 4:14.

20 September 2017

Grumps

There is a great deal to be joyful about; in fact, I feel on something of an emotional high. These are exhilarating times to be a "traditional" Latin Catholic! And not least of the sources of joy is the sense of panic in "Liberal" quarters: almost hysterical panic that, although in this pontificate they have their hands on all the central levers of power in the Church, they seem to be making so little headway in stifling the Gospel and the Tradition.

I say that so as to put some grumps into perspective.

Grump (1) I hope you have read, on LifeSiteNews, the account by Diane Montagna of what has just been done to the S John Paul Institute for the Family.

Diane is a remarkable young journalist; at the Vatican News Conference when the Graf von Schoenborn "presented" Amoris laetitia, she asked the one, real, important question. The Graf proceeded, with that ready smile which some odd people find so winsome, condescendingly to put her down by a misrepresentation of the teaching of Blessed John Henry Newman.

Her piece on LifeSiteNews is a deft and penetrating analysis of this latest attack on the Magisterium of S John Paul.

Grump (2) Fr Zed reveals the aggression perpetrated against the SSPX when they went on pilgrimage to the Shrine of our Blessed Lady at Knock; the use of security men to prevent the SSPX group from offering the Holy Sacrifice or saying the Rosary within the Shrine precincts.

The fact that the Society has been allowed to pray in Roman basilicas, and in the Concrete Submarine at Lourdes [see a lovely video of the pontifical High Mass celebrated there by His Excellency Bishop Fellay, which I access by googling Fr Ray Blake SSPX Lourdes], makes this illiberal act stand out like a sore etc.etc..

Questions are in order. (a) Was a pretext offered? Ex. Gr. "You haven't booked in and another group is booked in to use the same facilities at precisely the same moment." Even if there was a technical pretext, one doubts whether a group, say, of Orthodox or Anglicans would have had detachments of security men let loose on them.
(b) Was the diocesan bishop involved in this debacle?

When I was at Knock, I was pleasantly surprised by how very friendly the staff were in enabling me to say Mass (EF) at the Altar of the Vision. One brother priest to whom I said this remarked "I can only tell you that you were remarkably lucky". Could it be that the fact I was in company with Cardinal Pell influenced people?

Not a grump at all but just a question (3): NLM has an interesting primer on how to Enrich the Novus Ordo. Among much else, it suggests wiping thumbs, forefingers three times on the Corporal at the start of the Qui pridie. Three times is not what I was taught at England's most prestigious Seminary, Staggers (1967), in our Mass Practices, nor can I find it in O'Connell. Do I now need, in advanced old age, to triple the habit of a lifetime?

19 September 2017

Irreversibly Bye Bye to Vatican II

Fr Zed revealed a week or so ago that the Vatican publishing house had no plans to do a reprint of the Latin text of the post-Vatican II Breviary, the Liturgia Horarum. It is, apparently, out of print and unobtainable.

Unobtainable? But if I go into Blackwells in Oxford, they can rush off, within a fortnight, a one-off reprint of any out-of-print book. And it is very cheap. Yet the Libreria Editrice Vaticana didn't make any such offer to their enquirer. Just: "It's out of print. We have no plans."

Remarkable. Vatican II, in its liturgical decree Sacrosanctum Concilium, explicitly mandated that (except in a tiny number of exceptional cases) the clergy should continue to recite their Office in Latin. 

Is that Conciliar liturgical prescription "irreversible"? You will have to submit a dubium to the current occupant of the Roman bishopric if you want a quick answer to that question. I thought I heard recently that he takes a rather strong view on the "irreversibility" of all the Vatican II and post-Vatican II liturgical stuff. I rather think he even described his own opinions on this subject as "Magisterial", whatever, in this context, that means. But his own Vatican publishers seem very relaxed about the whole business.

I can only draw two possible conclusions from this puzzling episode. Either
(1) hint hint, the clergy are no longer expected to recite the Divine Office; or
(2) hint hint, the clergy are expected to procure copies of the (very much still in print) 1962 , pre-Conciliar, Latin Breviary, and to use that.

Clearly, we have now definitively (irreversibly?) moved out of the dark shadow of Vatican II. If those in Rome whose job it is to render physically possible the observance of what the Council explicitly ordered couldn't care less about it, obviously we lesser men (and all you lesser women too) can now just totally (irreversibly?) forget about it. What was it that Newman and Ratzinger each said about Councils?

I know how to take a hint, and how to take it irreversibly ...

18 September 2017

Lighten our darkness ...

Lighten our darkness we beseech thee O Lord: and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night.

This prayer comes from Anglican Use Evensong, and had originally been the concluding prayer of the Sarum Compline. Here is the Sarum original:

Illumina, quaesumus, Domine, tenebras nostras: et totius huius noctis insidias tu a nobis repelle propitius.

In other words, Cranmer, as his custom was, expanded propitius to by thy great mercy and insidias  ['ambushes'] to perils and dangers. the ambushes of this whole night thus became all perils and dangers of this night. 

Just as Cranmer padded and expanded, lest his vernacular version of the prayer be finished before the worshippers had quite realised it had started, so, through the Middle Ages, this prayer had already grown in the Latin. Here is the version in the 'Gregorian Sacramentary', with those words crossed out which were subsequently added.

Illumina, quaesumus, Domine, tenebras nostras: et totius huius noctis insidias tu a nobis repelle propitius.

But what will really surprise you is the Heading a little way above it the 'Gregorian Sacramentary'.

INCIPIUNT ORATIONES MATUTINALES

Gracious! It was apparently a collect for the Dawn!! It did not ask for God to protect us through the darkness of this night; it asked God to push away (repelle) the dangerous darkness of night. Look back at the Latin text!

[It may be that I am wrong. Another prayer in this section does look like a late evening prayer, so perhaps the Heading is erroneous. Illumina is certainly an evening prayer in the 'Gelasian Sacramentary'. But this exercise may serve to remind us how things are not always what they seem!]

When I am Cardinal Prefect of the CDW, I shall permit all who have Anglican Previous to use this prayer instead of Visita nos; which seems to be just a trifle odd when not used in a Religious House.

17 September 2017

Sister Teresa Forcades UPDATE

UPDATE: A rather odd correspondent has accused me of accusing the Sister of expurgating the text of Scripture. I think it should be clear to any reader that this is the opposite of what, in the following, I am implying she may have guiltily done. My view is that she appears to me to be guilty of making the swaggering, macho claim that she expurgates Scripture ... when (since it has already been expurgated in the Novus Ordo) she doesn't!

Context: I would never pay money for The Tablet but in a weak moment I signed up for their you-can-read-online-six-articles-a-month-free offer. I now wish to comment on an article I read: but I can't revisit it to check the facts, having used up my allocation. I rely upon readers to tell me if through poor memory I am doing someone an injustice, so that I can amend or withdraw this post.

Recently I read in the Tablet a piece about a Catalan nun called, I think, Teresa Forcades. In the course of this article, she was reported as saying that, when reading in Church the First Letter of Timothy, she always left out Chapter 2 verse 12 (in which S Paul does not allow women to teach in Church).

What puzzled me here was the fact that, in the Novus Ordo, that verse is not included in the Lectionary ... in other words, the post-Conciliar revisers had already expurgated it from the text, thereby wilfully and wickedly depriving Sister of the fun of expurgating it herself.

How can I be sure of this? Because I checked it up in Matthew P Hazell's Index Lectionum, which enables you to check such things in an instant. If you haven't got this admirable book already, I recommend it highly. ISBN 978-1-5302-3072-3. It reveals the locations of so very many interred corpses.


But perhaps this verse was included in a pericope from the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours? I checked the index at the end of each of the four volumes: no luck.

I think ... frabjous day! ... I may just have discovered a New Argument against the Novus Ordo ... videlicet:

It deprives radical nuns and progressive layfolk of the simple daily joy of chopping out of Holy Scripture the bits with which they disagree!!

Spoil Sport!

As for Sister ... does she, perhaps, very occasionally, allow her imagination to run away with her?

16 September 2017

The Eucharistic Fast

Some time ago, as I was talking to one of the Russian Orthodox clergy here in Oxford, I was interested to hear that the Orthodox, when, during Lent, they receive Holy Communion at an evening Liturgy of the Presanctified, are only nowadays expected to fast from midday (I hope I've got that right). It brought home to me that it is not only the West which, since the time of Pius XII, has felt that a discipline of fasting (which was apparently manageable to a European peasantry that toiled all day beneath the sun at their subsistence agriculture) is too much for our own soft culture.

But enough of grumps. I want to advance the notion that a Hermeneutic of Continuity might incline us to reconsider our practice of the Eucharistic Fast; which Pius XII first reduced to three hours and then Blessed Paul VI reduced to one hour. And that is one hour before the time of Communion, not one hour before the beginning of Mass. And recent legislation has permitted binating clergy on Sundays to snack between Masses even if that cuts into the one hour. To all intents and purposes, the Fast has been abolished.

When I retired to Devon at the age of sixty, I found myself not infrequently saying three Masses on Sunday morning (trinating! I took it that unreprobated custom and pastoral necessity justified this rather iffy practice). I continued my habit of fasting until after the third Mass ... which meant until about 12.30. And I am one whom gluttony has rendered self-indulgent and unfit. I'm not boasting when I say that I never had any problem with it. And, in conversation once with the Syrian Orthodox who came to celebrate their Liturgy in S Thomas's, I discovered that they fasted from supper-time the evening beforehand: as, of course, did their priest: who had just driven from Croydon to celebrate a Liturgy that lasted from 12.00 until after 2.00. It can be done.

I'm not going to rant about the effective reduction of the Eucharistic Fast from a rigid rule to an option, however horrified our Tractarian Fathers would have been by this. I would never write anything to make others feel guilty or to discourage others from going to Mass and receiving the Lord's Body and Blood. But I wonder if we ought to be doing more to move towards a more Traditional and Patristic habit in this matter.

My own practice is: when I am de facto observing the old convention that Mass be celebrated between Dawn and Midday, I observe the old (Western) rule of fasting from the previous midnight. When I am being modern and saying Mass after Midday, I keep B Paul VI's modern rule of a one-hour fast. Is this really so desperately impossible or absurdly illogical?

For what it's worth, Pius XII did urge all those capable of doing so to observe the old rule. And I have heard rumours that, before legislating, he sought confirmation that it was within his power so to legislate. Among Anglo-Catholics, who had spent decades arguing for the Apostolic importance of the Eucharistic Fast, there was consternation. I have been told that the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament asked my erudite predecessor, Dr Trevor Jalland, to explain what was going on.

15 September 2017

CDF: throw the archives open

In his illuminating Cuddesdon paper, Fr Aidan Nichols reminded us that, according to reports, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (then directed by the admirable Gerhard Mueller) submitted copious corrections to the draft of Amoris laetitia ... all, or most, of which were ignored.

Let me remind you why this matters. As Fr Aidan said, we would find it preferable to be able to believe that the errors and (at least prima facie) heresies in AL were a matter of negligent language on the part of Papa Bergoglio, rather than the result of a positive intention to teach what he knew to be error. We can only judge which of those two verdicts needs to be passed on our Holy Father (and, obviously, the latter is a graver matter than the former) if we can collate the corrections offered to him by the Congregation with the successive drafts of AL and its final text.

I know we can hardly expect, in this pontificate, so open and frank an action as the publication of the CDF's comments. That, in a sense, is the problem about this troubled period in the history of the Church Militant. The current occupant of the Roman See talks without ceasing when it would become him to be silent; and keeps his mouth zippered when it is his duty to open it and to defend the Fides tradita and to confirm his brethren. Where there should be secrecy there is openness; where we need openness, there is secrecy.

Incidentally, may I appeal for help? There are reports in a the German digital newspaper, Mannheimer Morgan, that Gerhard Cardinal Mueller has made some rather important points. I would be interested to see the text (or an English crib, if possible) of the Cardinal's actual words. Can anybody supply me with a link? This is how the report sums up the part I am mainly interest in: "To rely solely upon the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in theological questions? A frightening idea for [Mueller]. Mueller makes reference here to the example of S Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621); he pointed out to Clement VIII (1536-1605) in clear words his lack of theological competence".

(To be clear: I do not want another link to the newspaper report but to his Eminence's actual words which are here merely summarised.)

I suspect that Mueller may have made an important contribution to the problem of how we handle a doctrinally disfunctional pontificate.

14 September 2017

We need a Novena ...

Tomorrow, September 15, Feast of our Blessed Lady of Sorrows, is a good day to start a Novena leading up to the Feast of our Lady of Walsingham, on Sunday 24 September (in the English Ordinariate, of course, the feast of our Lady will this year supersede the Sunday Mass and Office).

Nine days of prayer, that the intercession of the Mother of God might bring succour to the Ecclesia adflicta of her divine Son. Has the Church, in your lifetime, ever needed this more than it does today?

Mgr Armitage, current Administrator at the Catholic Shrine (known to Anglicans as The Barn), has put out texts for the Novena, and the Ordinariate Secretariate has passed these on to us.

I am not willingly negative; indeed, I would not deny the propriety of a rich diversity of approaches to Marian devotion. I don't regard it as my job to criticise others and to disparage their own initiatives and to snarl at anybody who does things differently from the exact way I would do them. But I do have a couple of reservations about the texts issued.

(1) This is technical: the translation given of the Angelus is the English Roman Catholic text. I would advocate, in the Ordinariate, the traditional Anglican translation, especially the use, at the end, of the Anglican (Cranmerian and Prayer Book) translation of the ancient Collect.
(2) My next reservation is more substantial: a form of Litany of our Lady is offered, clearly designed to be be more 'modern' than the traditional Litany ("of Loretto"). You know what I mean: instead of (ex.gr.) "Turris Davidica", one might invoke "Woman of Faith"; instead of "Ora pro nobis", one might pray "Keep us in mind".

I mention this not for the rather cheap motive of inviting you to groan at the inept 'modernity' of such things, but because what we are losing here is in fact something extremely important: the typological character of the old Litany. The titles of our Lady in that Litany include many of the  typological titles which Christian devotion, since at least the time of the Council of Ephesus, has discovered in the Old Testament as pointers to the Mother of the Incarnate Word.

Typology is discerning in the Old Testament the Figure of Christ and his Mother and the events of their lives, so that the Old Testament passage is the Type and the New Testament Figure or event is the Antitype. Typology is the central way in which the Great Tradition of both East and West has appropriated the Old Testament. It goes back to the New Testament texts themselves: Christ as the New Adam ... and see I Corinthians 10:1-11 ... and look at I Peter 3:20-21 ... etc.etc.. Typology is part of the fundamental Grammar of the Faith; something even deeper than dogma.

Today ... the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross ... liturgical texts reminded us that the Lifting up of the Son of Man on the Cross is the Antitype of which the Lifting up of the serpent in the desert was the Type (Numbers 21:4-9; S John 3:13-17; S John 12:32).

I know that most laity have not been taught about Typology; because the Clergy weren't taught it either; because there were so much more important things for them to be taught in seminary (the Synoptic Problem... the inauthenticity of most of S Paul's letters ...)*. But seeing the Lorettan Litany displaced by a modernist 'relevant' formula devoid of Typology brought home to me again the radical impoverishment of current Catholic culture.

The Catholic Church needs a John Mason Neale redivivus. Come to think of it, perhaps that is precisely what God has raised up the Ordinariates for.

*None of my strictures apply to the admirable Fr John Hemer, of Allen Hall, who understands perfectly about Typology!