25 July 2016

S Laurence of Brindisi (Only for those who do know Latin grammar)

Since my own (1950) Missal doesn't have (July 21) S Lawrence of Brindisi, I went into the on-line version of the 1962 Missal (Sanctamissa) and found a collect beginning
Deus qui ad ardua quaeque pro nominis tui gloriam et animarum salute beato Laurentio ... spiritum sapientiae et fortitudinis contulisti ...

Perhaps there is something I'm missing, but I can't understand this unless gloriam is a misprint for gloria.

If this is so ... (1) does this mistake appear in other recent reprints of the 1962 Missal? (2) Is it in the Missals of the later 1950s? (3) Have readers found other howlers in the 1962 Missal ... any publication of it ... (4) How about the 1961 Breviary?

24 July 2016


I am more than fully occupied for the whole of the coming week with the LMS Latin Summer School. Never, when I 'worked' full-time, did I work so hard! During this week, this Blog will be a NO-COMMENT Blog. In other words, comments arriving will be deleted unread. Comments sent after July 31 will be reviewed and moderated in the usual way.

C S Lewis, and S John XXIII

Since Papa Bergoglio does not believe in making a fetich of Law, I suppose I am Out of Fashion in referring to the questionable training of our Catholic clergy. I refer to the scandal that for more than a generation those being formed for the priesthood were - in flagrant disregard of CIC 249 - not made fluent in Latin (are things any better now?).

As long ago as 1933, C S ('Patrimony') Lewis advanced the suggestion that the attacks - even then - upon the position of Latin and Greek as the basis of education, might be part of a plot devised in Hell to subvert the Faith. In The Pilgrim's Regress he reminds the reader that "till recently" members of our society "had been made to learn" these languages "and that meant that at least they started no further from the light than the old Pagans themselves and had therefore the chance to come at last" to saving Faith. "But now they are cutting themselves off even from that roundabout route ... and suppressing every kind of knowledge except mechanical knowledge". He believed that this shift had much to do with the need of the educated classes to cope with the increasing disinclination of the lower orders to work in domestic service, and added "No doubt the great landowners in the background [scilicet devils] have their own reasons for encouraging this movement".

You will not be surprised to be reminded that one such 'landowner', His Abysmal Sublimity Under Secretary Screwtape, strongly advocated the policy of preventing each generation from learning from its predecessors: "Since we [devils] cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another." That is why the demise of sacred languages among the clergy and the clerisy is such a triumph for our Enemy. As we have seen recently, the problem becomes worse when Cardinals, Bishops, and/or their liturgical advisers, cannot parse accurately a simple piece of Latin.

Incidentally, we have here a fine argument for constantly rereading the older documents of the Magisterium ... not because they said every useful thing which would ever need to be said, or said everything in the best possible way, but so that "the characteristic errors of one generation may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another".

Older readers may remember the teaching given to the Universal Church by S John XXIII in Veterum sapientia. This was an Apostolic Constitution about the  necessity of Latin, which the good old man went to all the trouble of signing upon the High Altar of S Peter's itself. Frankly, I think his wisdom is all the more essential during this pontificate in which it appears to be held by people close to the Pontiff that there has been a sea-change which moves the Catholic Church on from the old paradigms.

Here I have a problem. I would love to share all the important bits of this Apostolic Constitution with you, but, after doing the two clicks necessary to bring it up on my screen, I realised that pretty well every word of this document is the purest gold. So ... here are just a very few words in order to stimulate your resolution to do those two clicks yourselves. "No-one is to be admitted to the study of Philosophy or Theology except he be thoroughly grounded in [Latin] and capable of using it ... wherever the study of Latin has suffered partial eclipse ... the traditional method of teaching the language is to be completely restored. Such is Our will ... the major sacred sciences shall be taught in Latin ... if ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for some [seminary professors] to obey these instructions, they shall gradually be replaced by professors who are suited to this task ..." NOTE that he could have left his encouragement of Latin in terms of vague and unthreatening general exhortations. There is, surely, something engagingly raw about his order for the wholesale sacking of seminary professors! Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? When I'm Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, there may have to be some changes at Allen Hall ... (but not including the removal of the admirable Fr John Hemer).

'Liberals', of course, might point out that this document is not ex cathedra (although the Altar of S Peter is not a million miles from the papal cathedra). I agree, because I think the adverb gradually is unnecessary.

As for sedevacantists who deny that the author of these wise words, S John XXIII, was truly pope, well, what I say is Burn the lot of them. It's the only sort of language these people understand!

23 July 2016

Another American bishop ...

Fr Zed reveals that another North American Bishop ... another bloke who needs to be sent an elementary booklet on Latin Grammar ... has decided to jump on the Down With The East bandwagon. But this chappy has upped the ante by actually adding the word obedience to the menaces he has employed against his clergy.

When, in 1968, I was ordained to the priesthood in the Church of England, the oath of canonical obedience included the phrase "all things lawful and honest". In other words, the undertaking was circumscribed by the limitation that a bishop must be acting within the law.

This limitation is not explicit in the Ordination rites of the Latin Church. But it is implicit in the canonical understanding of obedience; compare, for example, cum secundum proprias constitutiones praecipiunt (601); and legitime praecipienti vel prohibenti (1371#2). It is also implicit in the favour shown by the recent Magisterium towards the concept of subsidiarity. If a bishop praecepit vel prohibuit contrary to an explicit Responsum ad dubium of a Roman dicastery, this must raise a grave question about whether his actions are binding.

If a bishop's orders are not within his legal competence, and a scrupulous presbyter is in doubt what to do, he will find help in the repetition by Canon 14 of the ancient adage Leges ... in dubio iuris non urgent. Doubtful laws, including doubtful episcopal precepts, do not bind. And, while Cardinal Sarah's words were not legislative, a mere presbyter may surely feel that the publicly expressed opinions of a dicasterial Prefect about what is lawful within his own area of dicasterial competence are prima facie reliable guides.

Let's be human about this. I could understand a bishop pointing out in a kindly way that Facing The Other Way might cause hassle and dissension in a parish; and asking whether it was really worth the trouble. His judgement might very well be correct. He does have a responsibility in his diocese for Liturgy and for peace and harmony. I could understand it if he said "I would very much prefer that you didn't do it without having a chat with me". Or even "I'm the one who will have to pick up the pieces, and I've only got one secretary".

What grates is the lofty, totally unpastoral, lordly issuing of what are made to look like regulations or laws or prohibitions, especially when they grotesquely and misrepresent what the real Law really says. Surely, in this third Christian millennium, we have moved beyond such prelatical and tyrannous understandings of what it means to be a bishop.

I'm pretty sure that the overwhelming majority of Catholic Bishops is pastorally minded and that a couple of tin-pot Hitlers with chips on their shoulders are unrepresentative. And that is not irony.

22 July 2016


Further UPDATE: The admirable, erudite and hospitable Mgr Wadsworth has kindly copied to me the official text of the new OF Preface for S Mary Madalene ~~~ and the hortu has been corrected to horto. So no longer need we speculate about whether an amazingly sophisticated pun was intended between horto/(h)ortu (garden/dawn). But the Congregation's Typing Pool has not left us bereft of philological excitements: the heading now reads Variationes et addictiones (sic)

UPDATE: A most gratifying thread, establishing, I think, a strong probability that the Appendix attached to the Compendium of the Catechism is the source of the mistake hortu. Before writing my original text (following) I did check of course in OLD and L&S and found no evidence either early (Varro) or late for hortus in the Fourth Declension. The Compendium was published in 2005. Can anybody push hortu any further back?

So Rome has decreed that the noun hortus (a garden) shall henceforth be deemed to be of the fourth declension rather than of the second.

I wonder what the dogmatic consequences of this are. Does it offer revolutionary eisegetical possibilities for expounding Genesis 3? Lexicographically, of course, it means that faithful obedient Novus Ordo Catholics will be obliged, in the future, to refer not to horticulture but to hortuculture.

Traddies, needless to say, in their petty-minded, contrary, manner, will probably seize every opportunity to work horticulture into their conversations as a childish way of "getting at" Papa Bergoglio. Or should I write "Papa Bergugliu"? How should one decline Bergoglio? Will there be a Vatican ruling on this?

How terribly difficult it is to be a Catholic and/or a hortuculturalist in the Third Millennium.

NICHOLS versus SARAH (2)

Some readers may not be aware that our more-than superb Ordinariate Missal, while tolerating a variety of ritual uses, demonstrates a distinct and habitual preference for ad Orientem. I give just two rubrical examples: "The priest kisses the altar and, turning towards the People, extending and then joining his hands, says aloud: Pray brethren ..."; and "He kisses the altar and, turning to the People, making the Sign of the Cross over them, he says: And the blessing of God Almighty ...".

Cardinal Nichols reportedly wrote recently to his clergy that the Mass was not an occasion for a celebrant to "exercise personal preference or taste". This phraseology rang an instant bell in my mind. Haven't I heard him say that before? Readers may like to have a bit of context here.

In September 2014, addressing by invitation laity and clergy of the British Ordinariate, Nichols spoke in terms very closely similar to this. I will share with you a few of his 2014 phrases; the rather obvious feature which you will notice is the insistent repetition of the same theme in very much the same words.

"What you do, if it is done in the spirit of your Patron, will not be done as matter of personal taste, of subjective likes and dislikes. Whether in matters of liturgy ... what matters is ... striving not to satisfy your own taste, your own personal preferences ...
"the fashioning of this Ordinariate contribution is not a matter of personal taste ... I also suggest a criterion  by which that discernment between subjective taste and service of the truth may be made ... Does what you do, in pursuit of a proper distinctiveness, clearly lead to holiness?
" ... fashioning the patterns of the Ordinariate, be they liturgical ...
"We live in an age of deep individualism. The priority of personal satisfaction ...
"So I hope that as the Ordinariate develops, its parishes and groups will not be shaped by the individual personal preferences of its members, by personal likes and dislikes which are often so contentious.   
" ... whatever we may be doing, whether in liturgy ...
" ... no other preoccupation, whether aesthetical ..."

I just love that the word contentious. Clearly, ex contextu, it means "what I personally dislike". So much, surely, is obvious. But I would like to be permitted a few contingent observations.

Firstly, both of the Forms of the Roman Rite allow for either orientation. This is clear in each case from their Rubrics. I am on record as suggesting that those who celebrate the Extraordinary Form should not be closed to the possibility of celebrating it facing the people, in a church building which is orientated so that facing the people is the same as facing East. I have myself happily celebrated the EF versus populum.

Secondly; this whole sad episode vividly warns us of the broader potential dangers of transfering competences from Roman Dicasteries to Bishops' Conferences. Nichols' recent email to his clergy was, of course, addressed only to the clergy of his own diocese. It is of highly doubtful authority even within his own jurisdiction (readers may remember how the local ordinary of EWTN once tried to compel Mother Angelica's people to conform to his personal preference for versus populum but was compelled by Rome to withdraw his ultra vires 'regulation'). But Episcopal Conferences, if Papa Bergoglio gave them the sort of powers disallowed in the Apostolos suos of S John Paul II, could make things very bad for priests and parishes. I can imagine 'local regulations'. There are persistent hints that some pushy Conferences want more powers "in the interests of subsidiarity" ... and one suspects what that could mean in terms of wholesale local bullying and the attempted elimination of lawful liberties currently enjoyed.

We need to remind ourselves of that superb example of real subsidiarity, given when Summorum pontificum established the competence of celebrating the EF in the hands of the celebrating presbyter. Ecce Subsidiaritas vera et authentica! Here is another piece of subsidiarity: "Any priest of the Ordinariate may ... celebrate the Mass according to Divine Worship outside the parishes of the Ordinariate when celebrating Mass ... publicly with the permission of the rector/pastor of the corresponding church or parish." No need for episcopal approval! Vivat Benedictus papa! 

Thirdly: we in the Ordinariates should admit that we do ourselves have duties and important obligations towards the broader church. Perhaps we have been negligent. We owe it to the 'diocesan' Church to be much more proactive in explaining what it is about our own liturgical patrimony which makes it (in Pope Benedict's view) such an important gift to the entire Church. The importance of things like versus Orientem and Communion received kneeling are not understood by many in the Novus Ordo ethos; and how can the poor chaps and chappesses understand if nobody ever explains these matters to them? The Ordinariates are in the splendid position of being able to say "Here am I: send me"!

And perhaps we should be less reticent about explaining what is so contentious about the musical texts, the soggy and dodgy drivel, often sung among 'diocesan' congregations; and why (coming as we do, like Blessed John Henry, from an 'Anglican literary and patristic' background) we prefer scriptural, patristic, and doctrinally orthodox chants and hymnody. Another contentious matter is the unnecessary use of "Extraordinary (sic) Eucharistic Ministers" in the diocesan Churches. I once said a weekday Novus Ordo Mass in a diocesan church; the congregation consisted of two ladies ... one of whom duly came up to administer the chalice to the other! Not that I minded in the least ... a lifetime of ministry in the Church of England has left me with an almost endless capacity for amused tolerance of liturgical silliness ... but this sort of thing is, if we are to be pedantic, an abuse. Yet another contentious disregard of the mens of the Novus Ordo is the almost universal disuse of the First Eucharistic Prayer, and its replacement even on Sundays (against the advice of the GIRM) by the 'Trastevere Trattoria' Eucharistic Prayer. A final example of something contentious: in the early months of the British Ordinariate, there were accounts at our 'formation' sessions of Ordinariate clergy being angrily criticised by some of the older diocesan clergy for their unwillingness to disregard the canonical restrictions imposed by the Church on the giving of General Absolution.

Lastly: the See of Westminster is not Primatial. Nichols' own views and opinions on versus Orientem and his personal tastes and preferences with regard to Liturgy generally are of interest, if at all, only to his own diocesan subjects in his own half of Greater London. When he spoke to the Ordinariate, he was addressing the subjects of another Ordinary (of whom he is not even the Metropolitan). In fact, Mgr Newton has as much and as little power over Cardinal Nichols' subjects as Nichols has over Newton's. Our Ordinary is not some sort of Vicar General ad Anglicanos.

We should do more; we should be more frank. We in the Ordinariates have been too downbeat; too reticent; too shy; too inclined to keep our heads below some imaginary parapet. The Diocesan Church needs our input! Let us raise again the marvellous phrase of Benedict XVI: "Mutual Enrichment"!

21 July 2016

Why do they hate it? More on Sarahgate.

So those bishops around the world who resent liturgical renewal are getting ever nastier, and turning the screws on their unfortunate clergy ... especially the younger ones (you'd think they might be glad to have one or two younger clergy as they shut down their priestless churches by the dozen).

Why? I think they had their minds formed in an age when liturgical texts and habits preceding the 1970s were viewed by some with a deeply and viscerally personal detestation. There are some around who are still motivated by the same obsessive aversions.

Hence, the fuss caused by Sarahgate (am I first with this neologism?). It has close similarities with the fuss after Summorum Pontificum. Remember? The poor chaps in their terror complained that their declining dioceses would explode into liturgical chaos (did that ever happen?). When some curial officials came over to explain Anglicanorum coetibus to the English bishops, it transpired that some of them were still more angry about Summorum Pontificum (which had emerged two years earlier).

Sad, really, that some bishops had (have?) so little confidence in the good sense of their clergy.

Cardinal Sarah's admirable and timely advice has stirred up exactly the same widespread and uncontrolled panic; the same draconian attempts to devise intricate dodges to 'prohibit' clergy from doing things which the relevant dicasterial authorities have declared to be perfectly lawful. Apparently, ad Orientem is 100% legal and woe betide any priest in my diocese who employs it!

Why such silly tantrums? A wise priest trained in psychiatry has diagnosed the problem thus: They associate the Extraordinary Form with what they think of as a repressive and sin-obsessed form of Catholicism from which they were glad to be set free.

In other words, their liturgical passions are still tangled up in their adolescent struggles with their now aged hormones.

Makes sense to me.

20 July 2016


I began a six-part series on the Epiclesis and its admirable absence from the Roman Canon on 9 March 2015. I invite those interested to read that series. I don't feel vastly inclined to write replies to enquirers which would merely replicate hastily what I wrote with quite a lot of deliberation then.

Trained Liturgists I have met

Well, I am most certainly not a Trained Liturgist, although my priesthood was formed at the most 'liturgical' of the Church of England's seminaries, Staggers, and after the General Ordination Examination I was given the Liturgy Prize for that year. But I know my limitations; I am only too keenly aware that I have never kept up with the interrelated mutually-validating groups of 'experts' and contributed to their self-referencing Journals, Conferences, and what-not. My mental picture, however, of Trained Liturgists had always been of nice sweet-tempered rosy-faced white-haired old gentlemen dozily clinging to their two-generation-outdated shibboleths and exploded myths and frequently raising in a slightly tremulous hand a glass of whiskey to the memory of Saint Pseudo-Hippolytus; breaking off from the bottle only rarely when called upon for a Tablet article or to give "advice" to a Cardinal Archbishop.

Until, that is, three or four years ago. Then I realised how completely wrong I was and always had been. In an Oxford seminar I found myself listening to a man who, from his long list of degrees and academic appointments and publications, just had to be a Trained Liturgist. And he was not nice at all!! He tried to keep his hearers entertained by a rambling and spiteful account of the culture of Private Masses, described as if its details rendered it inherently and self-evidently contemptible and risible ("the junior curate had to get up early to say the first Mass ... ho ho ho ..."). You may well imagine that this rather tried my own very limited sense of humour; but I did derive some amusement from the false quantities in his Latinity. One, in particular ... as small things do ... still sticks in my mind, because it took me some seconds to work out what he was trying to say: the late Latin word nullatenus has its emphasis on the a, because the e is short so that the accent recedes to the antepenultimate, which is long (nullAHtenus). But the Trained Chappie pronounced it, with great decision, as if the e were long (NULLaTEYnus). Ha Ha. Pathetic of me? Well, give me a break. I needed something to laugh at.

Mired still in the enthusiasms of the post-Conciliar decade, these people have invested a lifetime of effort in the shoddy assumptions of their youthful years. Their own status depends on all that stuff still being taken seriously. So now they just cannot bear to let it all go.

You might have thought that those who most applaud the ruptures accomplished with so much violence in the 1970s would realise that they are the people least well-placed to defend the inviolability of a status quo.

That is not how they see things!

19 July 2016

The Tablet and Cardinal Sarah and Trained Liturgists

No; I don't read the Tablet, considering it dubiously moral to push one penny in that direction, but I noticed that its front cover is currently advertising an attack (inevitably) on Cardinal Sarah, by some "liturgist" called Mark Francis. This set bells ringing in my mind. I think he may be the same person as the writer who welcomed Summorum Pontificum with the condescending comment that Papa Ratzinger, poor chap, meant well but was "not a Trained Liturgist". On that occasion, so I recall, he described the Tridentine Rite as "Medieval", and complained at the same time that the Roman Canon was "pneumatologically anaemic" ... which (for those of you who prefer to speak English) means that, except at the end, it doesn't mention the Holy Ghost.

That, of course, is because the Roman Canon is still marked by its origins before the fourth century explosion of interest in the Holy Spirit which led, in the East, to the idea that the Transformation of the Eucharistic Elements is caused by the celebrant calling down upon them ("Epiclesis") the Holy Spirit. The Roman Canon, being of earlier origins, operates on the assumption that the Elements are transformed simply through their gracious acceptance by the Father. MF breezily informed us that everybody agrees on the importance of the Epiclesis, so that the classical Roman Rite is gravely defective because it lacks one.

MF, astute bloke, thus contrived to criticise the classical Roman Rite both for being too late ("medieval") and for being too early ("pneumatologically anaemic"), and to do so pretty well in the same breath. (Given this instinct for enthusiastic self-contradiction, it would not be surprising if he feels rather more happily at home in this pontificate than he did in the last.)

What a terrific shame it is that Time Travel is only a literary fiction. Otherwise, we could have shipped MF back to that hillside on which the Man from Nazareth was advising His disciples on how to pray. After hearing the text of the Our Father, MF could have put Him straight on a whole raft of highly important things. "Of course, my dear Fellow, you chaps from Nazareth don't have the advantage of being trained liturgists. If you did, you would have realised that the prayer you have just suggested (of course, it does have one or two good bits in it; not bad; not at all bad for a first attempt) is gravely flawed by its pneumatological anaemia. My fellow Experts and I will draft for you three Alternative Lord's Prayers which will include an essential clause about the Holy Spirit. We will make one of them very brief indeed, so that your followers over the millennia will be saved an awful lot of time ... ".

And the Lord's Prayer to His Father at the Last Supper (John 17) stands very badly in need of the revising pen of Trained Liturgists. How we all wince every time we hear that disgracefully Binitarian formula ("Thou, Father, art [one] in me and I in thee ...")! How much less defective it would have been if it had been revised or, indeed ... far, far better still ... created from scratch by the sanctis et venerabilibus manibus of Archbishop Bugnini himself.

(My Byzantine friends will understand that I am nothing if not deeply respectful of their own beautiful and venerable rite in its own full integrity. I deplore the Byzantinisation of the Roman Rite not one ounce more than I would condemn the Latinisation of the Byzantine Rite.)

18 July 2016

That Latin sentence, and why it bores me

The High Altar should be constructed separated from the wall so that there is the possibility for it to be easily walked round and celebration towards the people to be done at it, a thing which is convenient wherever it is possible.

A thing which in the neuter cannot refer in Latin grammar just to celebration towards the people, because celebration is feminine. So it has to refer to whole clauses.

It must refer either to the whole previous bit of the sentence The High Altar ...... at it, or to the ut-clause so that there is the possibility ...... at it.

possibility, not rigid uniformity, is in the mind of the legislator. Otherwise, he is commanding  that the the Altar be walked around ... presumably, so as to be censed ... at every Mass; i.e. he is prohibiting the celebration of Mass without incense. He's not. He's just asking that, where possible, walking round the Altar to cense it should not be excluded. (I believe the 1962 Missal, of which I do not possess a copy, explicitly envisages that a priest celebrating versus apsidem should, where this is possible, walk around the Atar to cense it on all four sides.)

The intention clearly is to ensure that in the construction of new churches, liturgical flexibilty is not impeded by the plan of the sanctuary. This passage is misused if it is treated as legislation with regard to the orientation of the celebrant. Or to a prescriptive and invariable use of incense.

I shall not enable any more comments on this detail to my Auctoritas post.

Because, frankly, I regard all this as totally boring and unfruitful. The whole point of my Auctoritas post was to point out that there are vastly broader and more important questions in play here, and that how we worship is not dependant upon how we might be able to extract obiter implications from a legislative text intended for a quite different purpose. For Vincent Nichols or his advisers to drag this into the discussion demonstrates a very silly petty legalism ... and, incidentally, shows the flimsiness of the basis for the onslaught upon Robert Sarah. If Nichols has any concern for his own reputation, he should withdraw his email and apologise to Sarah and sack his advisers.

17 July 2016

"Orientophobia: On Coming Out Of The Liturgical Closet

I commend a splendid article by a splendid young Byzantine Rite scholar, Professor Adam deVille, whom I have had the privilege and pleasure of talking with. It is in the NCR with the above title. (h/t to Professor Tighe.)

Tasters: " ... papal centralisation and personality cult" with regard to which D looks forward to "a necessary welcomed healthful decline back to earth"; "An undisciplined papacy that has done much damage with off-the-cuff comments and other utterances of dubious authority and tortuous prolixity"; "people huddling in the papal petticoats"; "shady operatives ..."

Professor deVille points out the enormously bad impression given to Orthodox and to Eastern Christians generally when badly advised Western prelates do disastrous and silly things like attacking the Ecumenical versus Orientem consensus.

I particularly like the phrase "people huddling in the papal petticoats". I only wish I had thought of it myself. Superb alliteration and assonance, worthy of Virgil and Ovid! Vividly striking imagery! Somebody commented to me only the other day how much broader the Holy Father's skirts had become since my birthday in 2013. The effect of the Santa Marta kitchens? Too much sitting in airliners? Too many cosy and sedentary chats with dodgy sycophants?