25 February 2022



I think I am right in saying ... given, for the sake of argument, the Gregorian Calendar ... that, for much of the Church, next Sunday will be Cheesefare Sunday. 

Those who possess a set of Gueranger will probably have noticed all the Byzantine texts for Cheesefare which he reproduces in his Septuagesima volume. They concern Adam and the Fall. One of the the enormous strengths of Gueranger is his awareness that Catholicism does not simply mean the Latin Rite. 

And I feel that few things are more edifying than these happy occasions when the instincts of Rome and Byzantium converge, as with the agreement that we prepare for Lent by meditating on the Fall.

Since Septuagesima, we Latins as we celebrate the Divine Office have been thinking about those magnificent and stately first chapters of Genesis. Byzantines, apparently, are also animated by similar instincts about how to prepare for Lent ... i.e. by recalling the Fall.

Why? I wonder if, originally, it could be as simple as this: the Fall of our race resulted from an incontinent act of Eating. It is appropriate for us to expiate this by a season of attenuated Eating.


I subscribe to the Conciliar mandate regarding the Breviary Hymns, and so I applaud the decision to restore to use the tenth century Lenten Office Hymn Iesu Quadragenariae. Medieval English usage employed this hymn at Lauds from Lent III until Passion Sunday. 

But why ... on earth ... did Dom Lentini and his merry men excise the second stanza: 

Quo Paradiso redderes/ Servata parcimonia,/ Quos inde gastrimargiae/ Huc illecebra depulit.

... Gastrimargiae ... lovely word ... Perhaps that's what Lentini didn't like ... but the heirs of the Carolingian Renaissance simply adored a resonant grecism ... although I would have to admit that this fashion caused a fair bit of textual corruption as scribes copied out what they did not understand or recognise.

The English Hymnal renders that stanza: That he who fell from high delight/ Borne down by sensual appetite,/ By dint of stern control may rise/ To climb the hills of Paradise.

er ... no ... I agree with you ... this is not quite the sure-footed genius of John Mason Neale, is it? The translator here is Thomas Alexander Lacey (1853-1931; Fellow of Balliol, no fool, the principal Anglican theologian who spent time and effort in Rome resisting Cardinal Vaughan's frantic campaign to get Anglican Orders condemned).

Of course, our Lenten liturgies do inevitably cram in every biblical reference they can find to 'Forty Days'. Nevertheless, I feel that Protestant worshippers, accustomed to turning up in Church on the first Sunday of Lent, and hearing the organ thumping out the Victorian hymn For-tee days and for-tee nights ... and Cranmer's collect O Lord, whiche for oure sake dyddeste faste fortye days and fourtie nights ... might have been left with the mechanistic notion that Lent is nothing more than an imitatio of the Lord's Fast.

To us Latin Catholics and to Byzantines is left the headier pleasure of entering through an imposing portal into a vivid world of stimulating Typology and rich Intertextuality.

Personally, I feel diminished by the incessant post-Conciliar attempts, renewed under this lamentable pontificate, to eliminate the links between the worship of the 'Old' and 'New' Testaments; and to ignore genuine and instinctive convergences between Rome and Byzantium. Narrow-minded, uneducated lot ... anti-semites and anti-byzantines (even ... what is worse ... without knowing it!)

The Old, Authentic, Roman Rite is thoroughly worth fighting for.

Beware of pickpockets.


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. St. Pogo observed, "We have met the enemy and he is us"

Why has the Church descended into effeminacy and lust?

The great Gueranger tells us:

Pope Benedict the Fourteenth, alarmed at the excessive facility wherewith dispensation were then obtained, renewed, by a solemn Constitution, (dated June 10, 1745,) the prohibition of eating fish and meat, at the same meal, on fasting days.

The same Pope, whose spirit of moderation has never been called in question, had no sooner ascended the Papal Throne, than he addressed an Encyclical Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic world, expressing his heartfelt grief at seeing the great relaxation that was introduced among the Faithful by indiscreet and unnecessary dispensations. The Letter is dated May 30th, 1741. We extract from it the following passage: “The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it, we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the Cross of Christ. By it, we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it, we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted, but that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.” [Constitution: Non ambigimus.]

More than a hundred years have elapsed since this solemn warning of the Vicar of Christ was given to the world; and during that time, the relaxation, he inveighed against, has gone on gradually increasing. How few Christians do we meet, who are strict observers of Lent, even in its present mild form! The long list of general Dispensations granted, each year, by the Bishops to their flocks, would lead us to suppose that the immense majority of the Faithful would be scrupulously exact in the fulfilment of the Fasting and Abstinence still remaining; but is such the case? And must there not result from this ever-growing spirit of immortification, a general effeminacy of character, which will lead, at last, to frightful social disorders? The sad predictions of Pope Benedict the Fourteenth are but too truly verified. Those nations, among whose people the spirit and practice of penance are extinct, are heaping against themselves the wrath of God, and provoking his justice to destroy them by one or other of these scourges, – civil discord, or conquest. In our own country, there is an inconsistency, which must strike every thinking mind:- the observance of the Lord’s Day, on the one side; the national inobservance of days of penance and fasting, on the other. – The first is admirable, and, (if we except puritanical extravagances,) be speaks a deep-rooted sense of religion: but the second is one of the worst presages for the future. No:- the word of God is too plain: unless we do penance, we shall perish [St. Luke, xiii. 3]. But, if our ease-loving and sensual generation were to return, like the Ninivites, to the long-neglected way of penance and expiation, – who knows, but that the arm of God which is already raised to strike us, may give us blessing, and not chastisement?

How do we break the teeth of the Sodomitic Serpent that is in control of our Church?

With humility and fasting.

frjustin said...

"The Fall of our race resulted from an incontinent act of Eating. It is appropriate for us to expiate this by a season of attenuated Eating".

This is precisely the association made by Theoleptos, the 13th-century Metropolitan of Philadelpheia. The 12th of his Monastic Discourses is entitled Περί νηστείας, "On Fasting". It concludes:

"By its nature fasting preserves in the one who observes it the gifts received from God. This is the lesson you should learn from our forefather Adam. As long as he kept the fast as his guide and avoided eating from the forbidden tree, the table of all the trees in paradise was set before him by the fast. But when he spurned the fast, he ate of the proscribed tree and lost the enjoyment of all those others.

"In this way, the fast strips those who choose to live by it of desire for the things that perish, clothes them with the garment of divine love and fills them with eternal joy in Christ Jesus our Lord, to him be glory forever. Amen."

Simple Simon said...

Sign at the seaside (Blackrock, Dublin if I remember correctly): Beware Pickpockets, Pickpockets Beware.
May those good Catholics souls who have had the deposit of faith stolen from them and despoiled by the shameless evil spirits of Vatican Two rise up wielding the jaw bones of asses and issue very severe beatings to said thieves. Amen.

Fr Herman said...

Precisely, Fr. John. As it says in one of the hymns on the Lauds at Matins of Cheesefare Sunday: “Adam was driven out of Paradise, because in disobedience he had eaten food; but Moses was granted the vision of God, because he had cleansed the eyes of his soul by fasting. If then we long to dwell in Paradise, let us abstain from all needless food; and if we desire to see God, let us like Moses fast for forty days. With sincerity let us persevere in prayer and intercession; let us still the passions of our soul; let us subdue the rebellious instincts of the flesh. With light step let us set out upon the path to heaven, where the choirs of angels with never-silent voice sing the praises of the undivided Trinity; and there we shall behold the surpassing beauty of the Master. O Son of God, Giver of Life, in Thee we set our hope: count us worthy of a place there with the angelic hosts, at the intercessions of the Mother who bore Thee, O Christ, of the apostles and the martyrs and of all the saints.” —Lenten Triodion, p. 179

Matthew F Kluk said...


Fr PJM said...

"O God, who promised to the world, as a reward for his faith, that Your only-begotten Son, would be born of ABRAHAM'S seed, mercifully grant that, by the faith which we received in baptism, we may, by faith working through charity until death, merit to be born in Heaven, through Our Lord Jesus Christ..."