28 February 2010

A friend asks ...

... about the OF Offertory Prayers.

The Ordo Missae of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal (23 ff) says that the two "Blessed are you ..." formulae are to be said "submissa voce" - with lowered voice (the earlier edition had said "secreto"). It adds that if there is no singing at the Offertory, the priest may (not must) utter them with a raised voice. If he does that, the Congregation may (not should) reply "Blessed be God ... ". In other words, there is NEVER an obligation to say these words loudly and there is never an obligation for the people to make a response..

The other formulae are to be said "secreto"; in other words they may never be said to be heard by the congregation whether or not there is singing. The fact that some clergy say them aloud is either out of ignorance or a well-meaning feeling that the people should not be deprived of these important words. In fact, they are not important words but merely designed to keep the celebrant recollected.

Deep down, the problem is that for very many Western clergy the idea that the Liturgy is an objective sacrificial action has been totally lost and replaced by the idea - fostered by Mass versus populum - that it is a performance for the edification of the people.

In the General Instruction of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal (141 ff) the "Blessed are you" formulae are ordered to be said "secreto"; which is not precisely the same as the "submissa voce" of the Ordo Missae. This is all the more striking in that the corresponding paragraph of the previous edition of the GI says neither. And the Third Edition of the GI adds that they are not to be said aloud if there is organ playing. There are here slight and curious inconsistencies.

However this may be, it is true that in each edition and in both the Ordo Missae and the General Instruction, the priest is NEVER obliged to say these prayers loudly and is NOT ALLOWED to do so when there is any sort of music. He certainly is not allowed - as some clergy do - to wait until the music is over so that he can then deliver them audibly!

The prayers at the Commixture and before the Priest's Communion are also ordered to be said "secreto".

Bishop Peter Elliot's Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite comments: "When there is no singing, the celebrant may still choose to say these prayers quietly. The 'silent' option is mentioned first in the missal".

27 February 2010

Christi Sacerdotis: a hymn

John FHH reminds us of the Hymn Hoste dum victo triumphans, a superb hymn about the Lord's priesthood and the ministerial priesthood rooted in Him. Fr E Caswall - after he left the Church of England for the Birmingham Oratory - translated it as When the Patriarch was returning; you will find this version in the English Catholic Hymn Book. I would regard it as a prime piece of Patrimony although Fr Caswall was a Roman Catholic when he did his translation, since it has for long been popular as the Office Hymn of the Votive Vespers ("Guild Office") of the Anglican "Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary".

The admirable NLM blog printed the English version with a video of it being sung in an Anglican church, on 24 May 2008.

Does anyone know what its medieval source is? And any bibliog about author?

If this Festival really does enter the Roman Calendar, I shall have to provide in my ORDO readings for Anglican clergy who desire to observe it and who say the Prayer Book Office. That is to say: at both Mattins and Evensong an Old Testament and a New Testament Reading. If it is made a Solemnity (or if someone is going to observe it as of a Title or Patron), we shall need an OT+NT reading for First Evensong too. So six readings in all. It is elegant but not compulsory that the two readings in each office in some way relate to each other. One of the readings, of course, would be the Biblical Lection from the Roman Office. Would readers like to make suggestions?

I presume this Festival will be a delight to the Blue Biretta boys ... unless it is situated in the Octave of Pentecost!

A reader asks ...

... for whom/what are we praying when we say the Leonine Prayers nowadays?

26 February 2010

Post Scriptum

Some jolly contributions in the Iocositas Episcopalis thread. And Joshua is still unloading good stuff in re Christi Sacerdotis.

MISPRINTS
You may have noticed that I gave another run to one of my most boring hobby-horses, errors and misprints in Latin liturgical texts, with a prophesy that new texts for Christus Sacerdos would be full of them. Joshua then provided the already current Spanish texts. I have not been through them with a fine toothcomb, but I did look at the Collect. Where (see earlier post) I was mystified by ex eius memoriale participatione. I have now peeped into the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, where the same collect is the collect of the Votive. It is clear that the Spanish text is a howler: it should read ex eius memorialis participatione.

I'm unsure whether to be gleeful after being proved right so expeditiously, or saddened that the Holy See can't bring itself to employ competent Latinists. What on earth do they think the Faithful pay their Peter's Pence for?

I wonder if those who are keenest on saying the black precisely and doing the red exactly take the view that one is obliged to pray ungrammatical and incomprehensible gibberish when it 'imposed' by 'authority'.

S JOSEPH IN THE CANON
Those interested should read the thread attached to my post of November 13 2009. The Editio Typica of the 1962 Missal was dated June; S Joseph entered the Canon in December. So "Authentic 1962" has no S Joseph.

There seems to be quite a lot of disobedience of the strict rule of the Church here. All the more distressing because the Canon is so sacrosanct.

Despite the points made by Pastor in Valle, I am not completely convinced that it really matters ...

Recently, the Shepherd in the Adur Valley, ...

... one of the most elegant and kindly operators in Blogland, explained that Anglicans in an Ordinariate would have to be more liturgically disciplined. He has a point; but I think he is being less than fair to the great majority of English Anglican Catholic Clergy. It is simply because they have felt that they should, as good Catholics, obey the edicts of the Holy See precisely and to the letter that nearly all of them use the dreadful Old ICEL version of Dr Bugnini's grotesque rite. And that is why snide papists are now making unpleasant cracks about how we don't actually have a Patrimony. A 'can't win' situation: obey the rules and you haven't got a Patrimony; disregard them, and you are accused of individualistic anarchy.

I am unlike most such Anglo-Catholics. The reason for this is that, although a Papalist, I never desired to to be in an ecclesial ghetto. My first parish was Prayer Book and surplice and stole, with Mattins for the brigadiers and stockbrokers at 11.00. My succeeding ministries were all in fairly mainstream C of E churches where I could not have got away with just dumping on them the rite imposed by Rome. In every case the only option was a gradual and organic evolution into something better. This is an approach which has a very respectable history among Catholic Anglicans from the 1840s down to 1970. And even when I came to S Thomas's a couple of years ago, I found that the priest who had cared for it during the long interregnum had, very shortly before I arrived, had splendid little books printed giving the rather peculiar combination of Cranmer, Common Worship, and Old ICEL which he had evolved to suit his own taste. The congregation was minute, and I did not want to scare away the few I had, so I proceeded gently. We have now moved on to something a little less idiosyncratic - at least I always use the Canon Romanus - although the rite remains rather sui generis; not least because, at first, I did not want to revise it without taking account of the then imminent New ICEL texts; and secondly, because I now wish to take account of what the Ordinariate comes up with.

In this rather betwixt and between time, it is true that I have also naughtily indulged myself the use of the 1939 EF Roman Rite. This does not mean that, should I happily find my position canonically regularised, I would decline to use the 1962 rite. But I confess that I will rather miss some of the things that disappeared during the protoBugnini period late in the Pontificate of Papa Pacelli.

Some practical points:
(1) The question of Calendar must be sorted out. Utraquism is bound to be a long term phenomenon, and sensible provision must be made for Utraquist churches. Anecdotally ... there are RC clergy who do use the EF with the OF calendar. I know Pastor wouldn't do something so wicked ... any more than you would catch him toying with the Sarum Rite ...
(2) Perhaps Pastor, given the connections that he has, could find out for me definitively whether I should be naming S Joseph in the EF 1962 Canon; and whether the Third Confiteor is still mandatory, abolished, or optional. Then I shall be at least better placed to know exactly what it is that I doing right or wrong.
(3) On the 25th of February Fr Zed did a post, full of gung-ho zest, in which he criticised the OF rubrics which prescribe that, at the OF Mass, servers and clergy genuflect towards the Tabernacle only at the start and the end of Mass. He said that, of course, it was his inflexible rule that people should Do the Red ... and then added "but ...". He also asserted his belief that ignoring these rubrics was not even a venial sin. Did Pastor whack Fr Zed for this? And ... gracious me ... Fr Zed is the Great High Priest of complete rubrical obedience!

Isn't that concept in its absolute form getting just a tiny bit frayed round the edges as both the EF movement and the Reform of the Reform gain in confidence? When Fr Schmidt was in London a year or two ago, he spoke in a way that made me rather wonder if he was quite squeaky clean when it came to not using the old and abolished Commemorationes de Tempore. And I believe that Lawrence Hemming uses an Urban VIII Breviary for his Office. Does this, in Pastor's view, fulfill the obligation? Papa Sarto, in promulgating his new distribution of the Psalter, categorically stated that it did not.

O'Connell, writing in the early 1940s, is fairly relaxed about some usages praeter and even contra legem, and cites SRC decrees in his support ("In some cases, the SRC has even ordered usages contra legem to be followed"). Some people ... like Fr Zed ... have been hammering home the concept of total obedience to the rubrics; and understandably so, because this is the only way in which the liberals can be restrained in the dark aftermath of Bugnini. But anybody who has studied the matter knows that rubrics have never really been accorded quite such a status: certainly not in the centuries before the invention of printing; and not even entirely in the more centralising times since.

Oh, and do SSPX clergy wear birettas on the way to the altar?

25 February 2010

Christus Sacerdos

Joshua has very kindly put into the New Solemnities thread an Office of Christus Sacerdos. Perhaps someone could indicate where it comes from; I don't think it comes from a Liturgia Horarum which I possess. One wonders who composed the hymns; I invite comments on their quality.

In the Collect, I wonder if periti would like to comment on the meaning of the phrase ex eius memoriale participatione; and on whether the final phrase has a valid cursus.

Iocositas Episcopalis. Forged passports

(1) I don't know why there is all this glee about a German Protestant Bishopess having a noggin or two. Leave the poor thing alone, that's what I say. How is it funny?

Now the little episode of Tom Butler "Bishop of Southwark", the Irish Embassy party, the toys in the car, and the episcopal amnesia ... that had real style and quality to it. You get a better class of buffoon among Mirfield apostates.

(2) This matter of Mossad cloning British, Irish and French passports in their perfectly spiffing Dubai murder plot ... why didn't they forge US passports? Surely there are many more American passport-holders domiciled in Israel than there are Old Europeans? Will Hammas keep the fun going by cloning Yankie passports in a plot to assassinate a "war criminal" or two in Israel? Fingers crossed.

Thank goodness there are still some people around in the world who don't take this boring old Rule-of-Law business too seriously.

New Solemnities?

Well, I dunno. Cardinal Canizares, we are told, is to petition the Holy Father to extend the Feast Of Our Lord, Priest, from the Dominions of His Most Catholic Majesty to the Universal Church. Thursday after Pentecost, where it will interfere with the Octave (why couldn't it precede Pentecost? On the Octave day of the Ascension it would rather elegantly take up the Biblical theme of Christ, Ascended, sending down his charismata upon his Church. I rather like Pentecost Thursday with its jolly and exuberant propers on the Holy Spirit and his power in the Church's mission). And it will be represent a bit more silting up of the Calendar.

My own feeling is that we could do, first, with the recovery of things lost in the Bugninizeit. Such as the Precious Blood. And such as our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces (which was really on a roll to take over May 31 in the Universal Church until Pius XII meddled). And the old Easter feasts of the Holy Cross and S Joseph. And, for that matter, the Octave of Pentecost! But perhaps we do need a reassertion of the importance of the Sacred Priesthood. Which makes me hope that the current post-Bugnini votive won't be the basis of the new propers, because it doesn't do that terribly well. If this has to happen, I would prefer that some literate chappie went through the early Roman Sacramentaries ... where there are appropriate euchological materials.

I presume the Cardinal knows that the Holy Father will agree ... if he didn't, that in itself would be interesting! And it will be diverting to see whether propers are issued in both the EF and OF. Irritating, of course, that Rome always come up with initiatives just when the ORDO is nearly ready for the printers.

If I were a Bookie, I would now open a Book on how many misprints and grammatical errors there will be in the Notitae publication of the new CDW Latin texts. If anyone wants an informed guess, based upon my years of experience, ... six.

24 February 2010

NOSTALGIA

A few days ago, I heard some delightfully old-fashioned language on the Home Service. A gentleman describing himself as "the Bishop of Leicester" was talking about Unity!!! Just as people like him used to back in the 1960s!! It was all there: the importance of Unity for Mission; the Prayer of the Lord for Unity (Anglican bishops get quite fundamentalist about the Gospels containing the Lord's ipsissima verba when it suits them ... less so when it doesn't) ...

"Gracious!" I thought, putting down my piece of toast laden with melitzanosalata from that nice Greek Deli up Walton Street (it was a little after 8.30 and I was tucking into brekker after my 7.45 EF Mass). "The buggers have changed their minds! They want Unity after all! They're going to call Walter Kasper back and tell him, in floods of tears, that, despite everything, they long for his kisses and are heeding his call not to go further down the path of wilful and heretical divergence!"

Er ... No. "Leicester" was in conversation with a Methodist gentleman, and his rhetoric was just part of the longstanding campaign - really, when you think about it, rather like the activity of Somali pirates - of the Anglican Establishment to kidnap the Methodists' buoyant and smartly painted property portfolio and Pension Fund before HMS Ecclesia Anglicana sinks finally beneath its burdens of debt and bureaucratic overspending. (Someone should warn the Methodists that Anglican bishops may sound like gentle and respectful wooers, but it's important for a girl to watch where they put their hands.)

How could I have been so naive?

23 February 2010

Utraquism once more

Calendars continue to trouble me in this little utraquist church iuxta ferriviam Oxoniensium. I know that PCED has said we have to use the EF calendar with the EF and the OF calendar withthe OF. So this morning I included in my EF Mass commem and Last Gospel of the Vigil of S Matthias. But tomorrow, when the Mass is OF (in our own S Thomas's version of the OF in Cranmer's English and with unreformed ritual), I shall not be keeping S Matthias.

Perhaps I should in clarification add that I follow the St Lawrence Press ORDO.

Teaching Sin

Debate goes on about the UK Government's requirement that even in schools built by the Churches children should be taught the arguments in favour of abortion, various types of 'Diversity', kai ta loipa. Well, I'm not sure this is the end of the world. It depends on who does it and how (s)he does it.

When I was in teaching, there was already a de facto expectation that one bow to the zeitgeist in this sort of way. I came to feel that there were advantages in it. I used to tell the pupils: "Some people think ...", and then give them as passionate an advocacy as I could manage of the 'liberal' line - cliches, false logic, spurious rhetoric, factual misrepresntation, you name it, I threw myself into it all with relish. Then I said: "But other people think ...", and gave them the Christian view. When they said "But what do you think, Father?", I allowed them to pester me into revealing to them why the 'liberal' view I had so convincingly put forward was, in my own view, such rubbish. This had the advantage that when they later heard (as they were undoubtedly destined to) the 'liberal' orthodoxies, they were already to a degree innoculated; they found them rather less persuasive than than they were when Fr H had so convincingly expounded those same views ... "and he didn't even believe it!"

I also obeyed to the letter the fashion for teaching ethics in a "balanced and non-judgemental" way by giving the arguments both for and against Racial Discrimination, Gender Prejudice, etc.. Liberal colleagues used to find it incredibly difficult to explain to me why I was wrong to do this without conceding that they themselves were up to their ears in unbalanced and and judgemental teaching of moral and social matters. "But X is just wrong" they would naively bleat. I found the fun of it all really rather exhilarating.

22 February 2010

Anglicanorum coetibus in Springtime

A lovely spring day, yesterday, with everybody cheerfully confident that the crocuses in the Churchyard presage Spring. Today, snow again. I was reminded of a passage in some sermon or other of one or other of the Tractarians - more learned readers will have no difficulty identifying homilist and context.

"Could we be surprised if the winter even now should not be quite over? Have we any right to take it strange, if, in this English land, the springtime of the Church should turn out to be an English spring, an uncertain, anxious time of hope and fear and joy and suffering - of bright promise and budding hopes, yet withal, of keen blasts, and cold showers, and sudden storms?"

Pusey House
Exposition until 12 and then 2.30-4.00 (Solemn Evensong and Benediction).
The Oxford Oratory Holy Hour 8-9.

Pray for for more sun and less snow during this Third Spring. You know it makes sense.

The Celestial ORDO

I have had occasion before to commend the Sublime Compiler of the Heavenly ORDO for some of His very jolly 'coincidences' this year. I suspect that there is reason: like all right-thinking people, He is particularly rejoiced by those years in which the Julian and Gregorian Easters coincide. He is in favour of Unity. Hence the sense of light-hearted whimsy about this year.

Today is the Feast of the Cathedra Petri. And the Stational Church in Rome, prescribed by the statio of the Ferial Mass, is by a happy 'chance' sancti Petri ad Vincula. Before going there, however, Pontiff and People met for the Collecta at the church of Ss Cosmas and Damian: which was right in the heart of (what Donald Rumsfeldt would sneer at as) Old Rome. Strange - I know you are thinking - because really old churches are built over martyria, "Tropaia", in cemeteries, which (because Roman law forbad interments within the walls) are outside the City gates.

So, if you're all sitting comfortably, I will begin.

Pope Felix IV (526-530) founded the church of Ss Cosmas and Damian at a time when some of the old public buildings were no longer used and were falling into disrepair. Near the Forum Romanum, in the Via Sacra, was the hall in which the City Archives had been kept. Felix added an apse and ... hey presto.

After the Collecta, Pontiff and Clerus and Plebs walked (under the porticoes which, in those days, provided cover from February weather along most of the thoroughfares of Rome) to the slope of the Esquiline Hill, where Mass was celebrated in the more sumptuous surroundings of a church built by the Empress Eudoxia [not the showy whore who persecuted S John Chrysostom to death, but a later Eudoxia].

So Lenten days are very properly Walking days. I began at S Thomas's with an EF Mass of the day, noticing how the ferial Mass, which I commemorated with its orationes and by reading its Gospel as the Last Gospel, relates closely to the theme of shepherding the sheep of God's Flock. I look forward (after a memorial service and a wake) to visiting our Blessed Lord in the Comper splendour of Pusey House before concluding with the Holy Hour in Hansom's [Yes! the Cab man!] Oratory Church. We are praying for Unity, and we particularly have in mind the context and situation created by the Holy Father's Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.

Even if you don't feel like walking, you could say a prayer or two.

21 February 2010

Ecumenical bridges

I had a quick look recently at a blog which I don't often contemplate - because its long-winded silliness just makes me cross. And this occasion was no exception. I found the suggestion that Anglicanism - whatever that is - is an ecumenical Bridge between East and West.

Oh dear. Many Orthodox, over the last two or three generations, have been carefully explaining that the problem about the West is that its own antinomies are usually two sides of one and the same erroneous coin; that Westerners, despite their own conviction that they disagree with each other, are really much of a muchness and mired in identical presuppositions: from which Orthodoxy is free and can liberate them.

You could find holes to pick in that. Orthodoxy is not, in fact, as uniform itself as the proposition implies. And one sometimes wonders if there are Eastern problems to which the West can help with an answer. And some Orthodox - like many Westerners - can be a trifle self-congratulatory. And we Latins certainly should not accept them lock, stock, and barrel, at their own self-estimation.

But there is a very great deal of truth left in the proposition. I myself, proud to be a Latin to my fingertips, have felt that Oriental ways of talking about theosis, from the Greek Fathers through S Symeon the New Theologian to S Gregory Palamas, can provide a breath of fresh air which blows away the cobwebs of sixteenth century (and earlier) Western debates about Justification and Grace.

The idea that 'Anglicanism', with all its own baggage, and its dearth at the moment of theologians who work within the Great Tradition, is needed as a bridge between Benedict and Cyril and Bartholomew ... you may feel that this is a unique situation in that it has left me speechless. When at a loss, my wont is to reach for alliteration. "Bearded Buffoons" springs to mind ... er ... but I recall that my own elaborately pogoniate state ... wherever did I put those scissors ...

And now - goodness gracious, to quote the Nabob of Bhanipur! - I descry the claim that Dom Gregory Dix was anti-papal ... hang on ... somewhere here I have some more amplodomine ... yes ... better now ... are these poor ignorant nincompoops [good word, yes? etymology??] unaware that he devoted an entire series of papers in Laudate to establishing that the Decree of Vatican I Pastor Aeternus is "on a careful analysis very closely in line with what we have found in the second century ... there has been development in both cases [Nicaea and Vatican I]. But it is a true development, as I see it, bringing out only what was implicit and in germ in the original conception, and guarding it from misunderstanding and error."

These **** *** ********** ******** appear to be claiming to be the defenders of authentic Anglicanism! I am far from sure what 'Anglicanism' is - I have never subscribed any canonical formula that included it. Some superficial people, of course, might absurdly define it in terms of being in communion with some See in Kent ... But if I ever find out what this lot means by the word, it will be my first duty to ensure that I put as much distance as possible between It and Me.

20 February 2010

LENT IS DIFFERENT

Lent, I suppose, shouldn't be fun, but liturgically it can provide novelties, and change is always fun. And Lent does provide us with novelties, or rather, with whatever the opposite is of novelty ... antiquelties, perhaps. Take the Prayer over the People which concludes the Lenten Masses ... Oops ... you didn't realise that in Lent Mass did end with an Oratio super Populum? That's because the postconciliar 'reform' abolished them. The Editio Tertia Missalis Romani of 2002 brought them back; but the new ICEL English translation which will restore them to anglophone worship is not yet authorised. Here at S Thomas's, of couse, we use them on weekdays and take them from the good old English Missal.

Before the final blessing of the Mass was introduced, first by Dr Cranmer and then by his imitator Pope S Pius V, there had been no sacerdotal dismissal of the people for centuries in the Roman Liturgy. But, anciently, the Pontiff dismissed the people with a prayer said 'over' them. When, in 538, Pope Vigilius was arrested just before the end of Mass by the Imperial Byzantine Special Branch and dragged off to the East (have the Orthodox apologised yet for all those Popes who were arrested and dragged off to Constantinople to be tortured, imprisoned, or starved to death?), the pious Roman mob followed him to the boat yelling that they wanted 'the prayer'. He chanted it; the mob yelled Amen; and the boat moved off. The Prayer over the People was a blessing, in the sense that blessing means the priest prays a group from which he implicitly excludes himself by praying, not for 'us', but for 'you' or 'them' (that is how it differs from the post communionem prayer). In the preconciliar rite, it was preceded by Let us Pray; and a diaconal Humble your heads before God. The modern rite discontinues that, and orders the prayer to be said versus populum rather than, as anciently, versus orientem.

Archaisms tend to survive in seasons like Lent. One reason why this is particularly true of the Roman Rite is that only in Lent was there an unbroken sequence of daily masses, stational masses presided over by the pontiff himself rather than by parish priests. Daily through the streets of the City there were the busy processions of the Pontifical plate and of the curial clergy and the pope himself journeying first to the Church of Meeting for the Collecta and thence to the church appointed for the Statio. The entire Christian people of Rome witnessed this great annual exercise and the deeply sanctified memories thus created tended to make Lent a time more than usually resistant to innovation.

And of course, there are the different vestments in Lent. We must remember that the chasuble was not always exclusively worn by bishops and priests. As the normal out-of-home garment of middle-class citizens of the Empire (the toga being by now as rarely worn as top hat and tails are among us), the chasuble was worn, if not by everybody, at least by the clergy of all ranks. The practice of tarting up deacons and subdeacons in dalmatics or tunicles invaded Rome rather later; in the period of the classical sacramentaries they wore just chasubles. In the archaising season of Lent, Mass began with the deacon and subdeacon wearing chasubles rolled up in front (or chasubles made to look as if they're rolled up in front); when we got to the parts of Mass where deacons and subdeacons have to be physically quite busy, they took it off and rolled it lengthways, slung it over the left shoulder and tied a knot in it under the right armpit (that's the theory; in fact they wore a piece of cloth made to look like a chasuble rolled lengthways; it is popularly known as a broad stole because that is rather what it looks like).

We sometimes use these at S Thomas's. The problem is that in the years since Rome abolished these garments, somebody has vandalised them in the interests of cannibalisation ...

19 February 2010

So when does Lent start for mathematicians?

No problem about this in the Bugnini Liturgy. Lent began on Ash Wednesday. But for obscurantist fuddy-duddies who stick with the Old Rite (and for Ambrosians), matters are far less simple. The First Sunday in Lent is called in capite Quadragesimae. Lenten Office Hymns don't begin until First Vespers of Sunday. You stick with Pars hiemalis Breviarii Romani until then. And, as Gueranger puts it, "Although the law of Fasting began [on Ash Wednesday], yet, Lent [Careme], properly so called, does not begin till the Vespers of Saturday next. In order to distinguish the rest of Lent from these four days which have been added to it, the Church continues to chant Vespers at the usual hour, and allows her Ministers to break their fast before having said that office. But, beginning with Saturday, the Vespers will be anticipated; every day (Sundays excepted) they will be said at such an early hour that when the Faithful take their full meal, the Evening Office will be over. It is a remnant of the discipline of the primitive Church, which forbade the Faithful to break their fast before sun-set, in other words, before Vespers or Even-song".

The mathematics and history of Lent were sorted out by Canon Callewaert, of Bruges, and Dr 'Patrimony' Willis, of Wing. In case anybody is interested, I give a summary of the facts.

(1) Originally, the only Fast around was the very primitive Paschal Fast, on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Lent hadn't been invented.
(2) For reasons connected with the instruction of the catechumens and the discipline of penitents, a forty-day preparation for this was added to the already existing Paschal Fast. Forty days back from Maundy Thursday gets you back precisely to the First Sunday in Lent.
(3) A later age forgot the distinction between Lent and the Paschal Fast and considered them both just "Lent". It also wished to take account of the fact that, in the Roman Rite, one does not fast on Sundays. To get forty days of fast in before Easter Day, you need 6 X a week of 6 fasting days: = 36 days; + four extra days: = 40; which gets you back to .... Ash Wednesday.
(4) But the Liturgy never caught up with these latest mathematics ... until the Age of Bugnini.

Hence the anomalous status of the four days this week "After the Ashes". A whimsy, surely, in that it took an age which had pretty well given up even the memory of fasting to add four extra days to the full Lenten status.

One can see the point of Bugnini's abolition of the Gesimas and his elimination of the anomaly of the days post cineres. Taste-wise, I suppose it's ultimately a question of whether you like your Calendar neat and clean with no little puzzles to worry you or intrigue; or whether you prefer it interesting.

Incidentally, S Gregory the Great, taking Lent as beginning on Sunday and ending on the early morning of Easter Sunday, calculated that it consisted of 6X7=42 days; from which you subtract the unfasting Sundays (42-6=36) and then add half a day for the fasting part of Easter Sunday (=36.5 days): which is a tithe of the year!

Sometimes one feels glad that the Fathers lacked computers. Otherwise, they would undoubtedly have spent their entire time on ever more arcane mathematics, and never written any Theology.

18 February 2010

Pro Iudaeis

This concludes the subject raised in two previous posts.
It is not so very long to Good Friday; when we shall probably be reminded of the controversy last year about the Prayer for the Jews. Incidentally, nobody ever replied then to my request for information about whether SSPX did obey the Holy Father's imposition of a rewritten Collect.

It would be easy to enter a technical defence of those original references in the Orationes Sollemnes to Jewish perfidia; since the Jews were those to whom the Messiah was long promised and then finally sent, it seemed particularly terrible to the early Christian centuries that so very many of the Jewish people abandoned their Faith in their ancient Covenant God by refusing to accept his Messiah. But there can be no doubt that the phrase sounds very nasty nowadays and I believe it was completely right to eliminate any causes that any reasonable person might have for taking offence. Undoubtedly, the original phraseology bears a considerable risk of sounding as though it is suggesting that Judaica perfidia, taken as meaning dishonesty and perjury, is some sort of congenital failing of all those who are racially Jewish (despite the fact that it really means something like "those of the Jews who have remained unbelieving"). And that would be a nasty and improper slur. It is essential unconditionally to repudiate it.

But even after the Sovereign Pontiff had composed a new prayer, solidly based upon the theology of the last part in the Letter to the Romans of the Rabbi from Tarsus, this replacememt prayer was heavily criticised. I think we must be quite clear about why this was. The guilt of the Holocaust is felt to hang heavily over all of Western society and seems to be felt most strongly by the liberal elements in it. It has become an orthodoxy among these people and in the Interfaith Dialogue industry to raise one's hands in horror at any suggestion that the Christian Gospel might have a claim on people of Jewish origin*. And this instinctive modern orthodoxy has been given conceptual expression in the the assertion that their original covenant and promise remain valid for the Jews in such a way that the New Covenant is not for them. Readers of the posts leading up to this one will have read my explanation of why this is a flawed piece of logic. Or you could reread Romans, helped, perhaps, by E P Sanders' exegesis.

Frankly - and this is to put my head upon a very uncomfortable block - I do sometimes wonder for how many more generations people are to be disciplined with the whip of the Holocaust for any word or deed with which some admirers of Zionism choose to disagree.

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*In fact, I suspect that these people are really opposed to any idea that the Gospel has a claim on anybody; but the Jewish question is the most plausible area in which to establish their bridgehead of repudiating the universal explicit claim of Christ.
I would be grateful if readers would refrain from comments which are, or could be misrepresented as being, anti-semitic or anti-judaic; or as constituting 'Holocaust denial'.

17 February 2010

Jews and Christians

S Luke's Gospel sometimes puzzles people. On the one hand, not least in the Infancy Narratives, it repeatedly emphasises the the Torah-rootedness of everything our Lady and S Joseph do; on the other, it seems to have the Mission to the Gentiles as one of its main themes. I will not attempt a long lesson on this point, upon which commentators advance different opinions, but simply share what seems to me S Luke's thrust: the Jewish people were and continue to be God's People; but some of them do reject the Messiah. To the Faithful Remnant - those Jews who do receive their Messiah - God adds Gentile converts. And that is what the Christian Church is; God's ancient Hebrew people (minus the unbelieving) with associate Gentiles.

This means, incidentally, that Jewish Christians, far from being an oddity or an anomaly, are witnesses to the age-old identity of the Church. It means that the Church did not begin in the first century AD, but when God first Called a People in the dimmest antiquity of Semitic history: a point emphasised by the Roman Canon when it calls Abraham our Patriarch. S Gregory the Great calls it, "The Universal Church, which from righteous Abel right down to the the last to be chosen who shall be born in the end of the world". This means that Christianity is not a religion which grew out of Judaism, but - in historical terms - one of the two successor bodies resulting from a split in first century Judaism; at a time when, in any case, the literal fulfilment of the religion of the the Hebrew Scripures became technically obsolete with the destruction of the Temple and the end of the Temple cult. We, and Rabbinic Judaism, both claim to be the Real McKoy. And we both, to an outsider looking in, inevitably appear different not only from each other but also from the Temple-centred religion which ended in AD 70.

My understanding is that when Rabbinic Judaism remoulded itself as a religion without the Temple sacrificial system, it became radically different (there are scholars who have queried whether synagogues actually existed before AD 70; I think this is an overstatement, but there can be no doubt that the significance of the synagogue was transformed after AD 70). Christianity retained the inherent sacrificial structure and grammar of Hebrew religion, fulfilled in the Eucharistic Sacrifice instituted on the first Maundy Thursday.

As the distinguished American rabbinic scholar Jacob Neusner has pointed out, what Jesus ejected from the Temple were those selling animals to enable the Temple's sacrificial worship to be carried out, and the moneychangers who enabled pilgrims to bring the shekel-tax which paid for the great daily morning and evening Tamid sacrifice of a lamb, offered for the whole People. Our Lord thereby enacted the replacement of the Temple cult by the Sacrifice which He Himself was to institute the following Thursday; Lamb superseding lamb, Altar superseding altar, Table superseding table; when Antitype (as we Christians put it) superseded type.

Sunday by Sunday, perhaps day by day, we go up to Jerusalem and enter into the courts and tabernacles of YHWH in great joy to offer there the Thanksgiving oblation of the Lamb, and to share YHWH's Communion Sacrifice, our feet upon the hill-top where Abraham stood with Isaac and where the Seed of Abraham was immolated.

16 February 2010

The Cup of Salvation

Having received the Most Sacred Body, and meditated for a few moments, one genuflects and rises, saying:
What reward shall I give unto YHWH for all the benefits that he hath done unto me? I will receive the Cup of Salvation and call upon the Name of YHWH.
At a very early point in Christian history, these words were appropriated to the Cup of the Lord's Blood; in the 'Anamnesis' of the Roman Canon the priest offers Calicem salutis perpetuae (I am by no means convinced of the correctness of the assumption that the form given by S Ambrose - Calicem vitae aeternae - is earlier). Perhaps the author of the psalm had in mind the (fourth) Cup "of Blessing" in the Passover Meal; a rabbinic commentary on the psalm says: "I will elevate the chalice of salvation; that is, when I keep festival and rejoicings, I will lift up a cup of wine, I will give thanks to Him over it in the presence of many, and will make mention of the salvation wherewith He has saved me." And the probability is that this psalm (116:10ff/115) was part of the Hallel said by the Lord and His disciples on Maundy Thursday Night; in the Western Rite it is part of Vespers on Maundy Thursdsay and Good Friday.

I will offer unto thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the Name of YHWH; I will pay my vows unto YHWH in the sight of all His people; in the courts of the House of YHWH, even in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.
Anglican committees, when composing Eucharistic Prayers that Protestants will not object to, get a lot of headway out of phrases like "Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving", which Protestants probably consider means "Sacrifice consisting of no more than praise and thanksgiving". The phrase in the Hebrew Bible, of course, means a sacrifice, consisting, like all sacrifice, of material oblata, which are offfered for a thanksgiving. One presumably thinks here of the Levitical thank-offering of fine flour; which means that this psalm, having mentioned the Chalice, has now alluded to the two Eucharistic Elements.

The same psalm was running through the mind of whoever composed the prayer Memento, probably originally said by the Deacon and referring to the elements which the offerentes had brought up to the Altar: "who offer unto thee this sacrifice of Praise ... who render their vows ...". These phrases have been integral to Eucharistic discourse from the Night before the Lord's Death until now.

I do not know if I have irritated anyone by introducing a reminder of the Tetragrammaton into Coverdale's translation. My purpose is to emphasise that we are Jews who ...

I think this post has gone on long enough. I hope to finish it tomorrow.

15 February 2010

Puzzled

I have had a look at the site metre map. Whichever visitor I hit, I was given a lot of info about him/her. What puzzles me is that in each case it assured me that the length of the visit was nil seconds.

I shall never understand this computer business.

No More Adam

I don't know how useful my posts on Genesis, as we made our way through Adam and the Fall; and Noah; and Abram; have been to anybody else; like a lot of things, I did it to clarify the matter in my own mind; and because, as far as I have been able to detect, nobody else has done it. To summarise: in Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima, we prepare for Lent; we read in the Divine Office of the Old Rite the story of Man's first Disobedience; in the propers of Holy Mass we abase ourselves in penitence as we are reminded of the punishment due to our corporate human sinfulness and seek the mercy of God's forgiveness.

Just a couple of footnotes. (1) My Byzantine Synekdemos reminds me that, on the Sunday of Cheesefast - the Sunday before Lent begins - Orthodoxy reads, at Evensong (i.e. on the preceding Saturday evening) about the creation of Adam; his Fall when he ate of the forbidden Fruit; and his expulsion from Paradise. We in the Patrimony, however Papalist we may be, have a deep-rooted affection for Orthodoxy, a profound desire for unity with our Orthodox brethren, and a bit of a feeling that when something is common to both Eastern and Western traditions, its status in some funny sort of way is even more enhanced. So it is, to folks like me, very significant that Byzantium prepares for Lent, as the West did until the 1960s, with a solemn liturgical recollection of the Fall. And even sadder that in those same 1960s Rome and Canterbury both discarded, as valueless, this Ancient Common Tradition.

(2) Almost next to my Synekdemos on my bookshelf is my 1845 (Hanicq) Pontificale Romanum. Idly wasting the lazy moment, I just happen to notice that, on Ash Wednesday, the Pontiff expels the Penitents from Church and warns them not to darken its doors again until Maundy Thursday. Watch the Ebbsfleet website for details of when and where Bishop Andrew is due to perform this Rite; when he does so, the (barefoot) penitents will be garbed in sackcloth and ashes; the penitential psalms and the Litany will be sung (Ah yes! I've just remembered! the service will happen this year at my friend Fr Wilkinson's church at South Hinksey) and then Bishop Andrew will say: "Look! You are chucked out today from the thresholds of Holy Mother Church on account of your sins and worse, just as [YES! HERE IT COMES!] ADAM THE FIRST MAN WAS EJECTED FROM PARADISE ON ACCOUNT OF HIS TRANSGRESSION." Then the choir will sing a couple of very moving anthems: "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat thy bread ... etc. etc.."

'Nuff said.

12 February 2010

Two professors of Hebrew; is it the End?

A cold day; but we went to look at Cassington church. A brass memorial to Thomas Neal, Regius Professor of Hebrew in this University. Neal was one of those distinguished followers of the New Learning who so adorned the Church of England in the days of Good Queen Mary and of that exquisite humanist Reginald Cardinal Pole .... the last occasion when our dear C of E was in truly congenial hands. He had enjoyed the patronage of Sir Thomas White, founder of the Marian Counter-Reformation Catholic stronghold of S John's College; and had kept safely abroad during the dark days of Edward Tudor, perfecting his skills in Greek and Hebrew. When the good times returned, so did Neal, by now an ambitious intellectual in his 30s, to be made Chaplain to Bishop Bonner (the Broadhurst of the decade). In the confusions of 1558-9, he is said to have conveyed to the vacillating Bishop of Llandaff (who appears to have negotiated a fudge with the regime enabling him to remain in office without too much swearing) Dr Bonner's threat of excommunication should he participate in episcopal consecrations sine mandato Apostolico.

Like so many of us, Neal had trouble discerning whether the End really had come. He stayed in post at Oxford, and even took part in the official welcome on the occasion of Elizabeth Tudor's visit. In those days it was none too difficult to practise the Faith in Oxford, to keep one's fingers crossed, and to hope for better times. Henry's Bastard might die; or she might marry a Catholic ... Above all, the persecution was, in Tudor terms, quite moderate.

But by 1569 the Catholics of the North had had enough. In the bloody and dangerous aftermath of the Northern Rebellion, Neal timorously packed his books and fled to this rural backwater four or five miles from Oxford, where he spent the years until his death in 1590 producing Latin translations of rabbinic commentaries on the Prophets. By the time he died, the Puritans were riding high. But he composed his own epitaph which asked, in the tactful obscurity of Latin Elegiacs, for the prayers of his coreligionists: "Vos ergo Thomae Neli quos* lingua iuvabat/ Elinguem lingua (quaeso) iuvate pia." [You therefore whom TN's tongue helped, now that he is tongueless, please, help him with a dutiful tongue.] I've marked a day to say a Requiem for him. He's Patrimony. It's what he asked for. We don't forget our own.

The other Professor of Hebrew? In the choir at Cassington are some fine Jacobean stalls ejected from the Cathedral in Oxford when Gothicism became the rage. On one of them a little brass inscription reveals that, from 1828 to 1870, it was Dr Pusey's stall. He's Patrimony too, and one of the very greatest Catholic teachers and spiritual directors of the modern period. Oret pro nobis.

Will it be within the competence of an Ordinariate to initiate the Cause of Pusey's Beatification?

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Note the heavy succession of spondees. I think Neal is saying: "Seriously, I mean this".

11 February 2010

Lent

As the weeks of deprivation approach, I observe in a newly opened supermarket lobsters for only £4.99. They come frozen all the way from British North America.

Even observant Byzantines, I gather, are allowed to eat such food, categorised as marine rubbish, during Lent.

Roll on the happy season.

Is it philologically correct to speak of the "carbon footprint" of a lobster?

Nomenclature

I felt honoured to be invited to contribute a small piece to the magazine of the Latin Mass Society ... an admirable organisation which I would advise all readers to join. So: there is my little contribution in print (it's not worth reading, unlike most of the rest of the articles): with a description at the top of me as "Father Hunwicke, an Anglican Minister".

How that takes me back. It must be some forty years since I was last described as a "minister". The family was on holiday in the South of Scotland, and we desired entry to a Church of Scotland church which contained one of those marvellous Anglian carved crosses. When the crone who kept the key had got my profession straight, "Och", she cried, "ye're a meenister". So there you go - presbies and papists, they're all much of a muchness.

A similar but more culturally nuanced crone in Ireland (on this occasion I was finding a boatman to take me across the straights to the ancient monastic settlement on the tiny island of Illaunloghan) referred to me as a Pareson. I'm distinctly fond of that nice old term. I came across it more recently in a Breton church when I was looking at a bilingual monument to a former Parish Priest. The French version called him the Cure; the Breton, Parsoun. It also has a whiff about it of Anthony "Patrimony" Trollope ... and of old well-worn much loved Edwardian jokes (What do Hell and the Smoking Room at the Athenaeum have in common? You can't see the fire for parsons.).

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BTW, the LMS mag has a nice photograph of Pusey Chapel; except that it isn't. I
think the photo' they've printed might be of the sweet little Romanist church in Dorchester which the Revd Mr John Osman, a RC minister but a very worthy man, is admirably and successfully restoring so as to make it look as though Mr Pugin has just visited with his paint-brush. I instantly 'phoned up the LMS office so as to be sure to be the first to tell them of their mistake. "Pusey Chapel is MUCH more Catholic", I gleefully chortled.

10 February 2010

Rainbows

Tomorrow, Feast of our Blessed Lady of Lourdes, affords one of those liturgical coincidences with which the Compiler of the Celestial ORDO delights to delight us. If the day had been a feria, the Mattins reading from Genesis would have been about YHWH setting his Bow in the heavens as a sign to Noah of His Covenant. But it isn't. Yet in the Mattins which the Old Rite gives us of our Lady's Appearance, we find this elegant piece of typology: "R Like a bow shining among the clouds, and like the blossom of roses in days of spring, and like lilies in the places that water passes through,* Thus shines the Virgin Immaculate. V I shall set my bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of my Covenant with you. Thus ..."

Did Leo XIII's liturgists dream this up, or is the typology from one of the Fathers? Anyway, a pretty 'organic' piece of liturgical development, sez I . (Perhaps you gather from this that I have just started reading for review Laszlo Dobszay's The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite.)

I like the feast, and texts, of our Lady of Lourdes, anyway. They suggest that spring might come soon.

Unless, of course, you're Oz.

9 February 2010

Censing the Altar at High Mass

Let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice: words said by the Priest as he censes the Altar at the Offertory at High Mass.

The evening sacrifice:
That is, the Minchah, or 'meat-offering', of fine flour, mixed with oil and frankincense, and salted, which was added to the daily burnt-offering of a lamb, both morning and evening; but, for a typical reason, a greater stress was laid on the evening rite. The Minchah was, first of all, made of corn, the chief food of man, but not until it had been made, by bruising and grinding, into flour; thus typifying the sufferings of CHRIST, the Bread of Life, which fitted Him to be the offering for the sins of the world. Wheaten flour so ground is pure white, marking CHRIST'S perfect holiness. It had to be fine flour for the Minchah, boulted more than once, to make it free from husks and other foreign matter; as in CHRIST there was no unevenness nor inequality, no changefulness nor uncertainty. Oil was poured upon it, to denote His anointing by the Holy Ghost; frankincense because of His acceptance, sweetness, and Ascension; salt because of His incorruptibility and preserving power. His prayer for man's salvation ascended with Himself into Heaven in perpetual mediation as the incense at the golden altar. His lifting up His hands upon the Cross where they were nailed was the evening sacrifice, at the close of the Mosaic day of legal ceremonies, for the sins of the whole world; wherefore too it was on the night before His Passion, He constituted that new Minchah of the Gospel which Malachi foretold, offered now in all places amongst the Gentiles, and made the food of his royal priesthood.

And therefore, O Lord, as my trust is in that all-sufficing oblation upon the Cross, let the lifting up of my hands in final penitence, in the evening of my days, when the shadows of the night are coming fast around me, be like that evening sacrifice, and in union with it, be acceptable unto Thee, that as I have abided by Thy Cross in the sorrows of the Passion, so I may offer Thee the morning sacrifice too, in the bright dawn of the Resurrection!

A typical piece of Patrimony; exegeting Liturgy and Scripture with an erudition that extends with moving devotion to the Old Testament, as well as to the New and to the great Tradition of the Worship of the Universal Church. I feel that if our beloved Jewish brethren
understood how it is their Temple Faith which still lives and is practised among us, they would desert the Synod of Jamnia and ascend the Temple Mount with us to offer daily the Tamid lamb.

Pusey, who was Regius Professor of Hebrew, could have written this. But he didn't. Who did?

8 February 2010

Is this the End?

Like those nice old London Routemasters, all of a sudden juicy bits of news arrive in convoys. That pert Ms Gledhill (did the naughty girl disregard an embargo?) prematurely blew the gaff on the refusal of the Manchester Group to envisage an honourable place in the Church of England for Catholics. In the world of secular politics, that obnoxious Blair redivivus David Cameron is advising the ABC to reform the C of E along the lines of his own 'transformation' of the Conservative Party: what a hoot! And how clear now is his New Liberal agenda to bully Political Correctness through with just as much determined brutality as any old-style Lefty. You won't catch me rooting for that tacky little crook-on-the-make. Under Cameron, the old idea that at least there were a few shreds of Toryism left in the 'Conservative' party has finally expired.

And poor Sentamu is getting a battering for his claim that Ordinariate members would not be 'real Catholics'. I think people should lay off him. The plain and obvious fact is that he is not very bright. Dissecting his utterances is just cruelty to dumb animals. The last time Canterbury was vacant, they had to bring a Welshman in to fill it ... and another name mentioned was that of an Irish bishop ... because the quality of the English bench of bishops (with extremely few exceptions) can hardly ever have been lower. (Possibly this is because the job is such a lousy one nowadays that very few men of any distinction are likely to want it: remember the Chadwicks?). As long ago as 1944, Gregory Dix wrote "Even when the stately summer of the Carolines was over, the 'Whig grandee' bishops of the eighteenth century and the 'Greek Play' bishops of [the 1860s] still had something for which the genial energy of a business man in gaiters does not quite compensate. It was a dignified tradition, with much of solid good about it in spite of its gaps. But the growing poverty of the clergy and the growth of great industrial dioceses have today made it permanently impossible to maintain something which was more a consequence of the social 'set-up' based on landed property in the aristocratic rural England of the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries than a product of Anglicanism in itself. And the loss of the old otium cum dig. has brought with it a lowering of the general level of clerical scholarship, which counted for a good deal in building up that particular tradition ... Nor could I personally cling to the C of E only or chiefly because of the singular graciousness and goodness of some aspects of its past ... these things are now in the past, you know!"

Canon Gary Bennett made some of the same points in his 1987 Crockford's preface, for which he was hounded to suicide ("The vultures are already circling round this man", one of those kindly episcopal liberals observed the day before his death). More than two decades later, the situation is even more stark. We are emerging into a new, hard-faced, savage world in which even the velvet glove around the iron fist is being discarded as an outmoded civility. 'Conservatives' are determined to hack away any remnants of the idea that human beings exist within a tradition. 'Liberals' are notorious for their illiberal determination to root out any who question their own dogmatic rigidities. And the Church of England is substantially in the hands of very little men whose lack of any idea where they are going is surpassed only by their determination to go there as fast as possible. Facilis ... and, indeed praeceps ...

This is the basic reason - far beyond such mere symptoms as womenbishops - why the Ordinariate scheme is essential. Newman, notoriously, did not want the Church of England (even after he had left it) to be damaged while it still functioned as a bastion against infidelity. But he forsaw a day when sects like the Church of England would have been so infiltrated and taken over by the Enemy that, instead of being fortresses contributing to the defence of Christendom, they would themselves have become part of the military strength of the advancing Enemy.

I am not completely sure that we have quite reached that point; there are still small groups of embattled Christians precariously surviving within the Established Church. I am certain that it is against the background of such an analysis that we must try to discern our future. Heaven knows, there is enough Satanic Smoke, as Paul VI put it, in the current RC Church. But we are being offered a position in one of the last strongpoints during what may, in terms at least of this present civilisation, be the Last Battle.

Censing the Elements at the Offertory

Let this incense, blessed by Thee, ascend unto Thee, O Lord; and may Thy Mercy come down upon us. The priest says this as he swirls the incense all over and all round the munera which have been set upon the Altar of the Christian Oblation. The words come from Psalm 140/141.

The incense was offered morning and evening on its own special golden altar in the Holy Place, infront of the veil, at first by the High Priest only, but under the Second Temple, by the inferior priests also, chosen daily by lot for the office, as was Zachariah the father of John Baptist. Besides this separate burning of incense as an independent offering, it was joined to all the other oblations "of a sweet savour", as something which gave them acceptance; and similarly in the Apocalypse the Angel who stands at the altar with a golden censer, offers the incense "with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne". To the Temple sacrifice is added the perpetual intercession of CHRIST, as the Great Angel of the Covenant (compare the prayer Supplices te rogamus), that is, Christ, presents His petition amidst the smoke which rises from off the altar of gold.

I have edited this from the writings of one of our Tractarian Fathers. Another piece follows tomorrow, when I shall invite guesses as to the authorship.

7 February 2010

Patrologia Graeca

Very many thanks to kind colleagues for their help with Migne .

As far as I can make out, having tried out the help offered, PG 151 (with S Gregory Palamas' homilies, or rather, some of them) is not available free online. If anybody discovers that it is, I'd be grateful...

PURGATORY

It seems to me that the (old) question of Purgatory raises some interesting questions of dogmatic authority. I seek the help (this is not irony!) of readers in clarifying some problems.

(1) The Councils of Florence and Trent defined nothing beyond the fact that a Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there are assisted by the suffrages of the faithful, and especially by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar; and that the souls of the truly penitent are cleansed after death by purgatorial punishments.

(2) The Catechism of the Catholic Church apparently adds to this minimalism. It says that the purification after death of those who have died in the grace and friendship of God but imperfectly purified, is what the Church calls Purgatory: "the final purification of the of the Elect, which is totally different from the punishment of the damned". The inhabitants of Purgatory are "aeternae salutis certi".

Is this now proposed as de fide to all Catholics? Or, in view of Anglicanorum coetibus, is it only obligatory for members of Ordinariates to accept it?

The minimalist definition (1) would not exclude the possibility that some of those in Purgatory misuse free will and fall from grace, so that not every inhabitant of Purgatory is "sure of eternal salvation". But CCC does appear to exclude that. And (1) would not, I think, exclude the thesis advanced (I believe) by S Mark of Ephesus, that the souls of whom we write might be cleansed by a temporary sojourn in Hell. But (2) would.

I doubt if I am the only person to have wondered how some sections of the EF Missal are to be reconciled with the tighter definition in (2). " ...mereantur evadere judicium ultionis ... ne tradas eam in manus inimici ... " But especially the words of the Offertorium: " ... deliver their souls from the punishments of Hell (inferni) and from the deep lake, lest they sink into obscurity: deliver them from the mouth of the lion, lest Hell (Tartarus) absorb them ...".

Needless to say, such phrases disappeared from the Novus Ordo; it is not difficult to see why. But they are part of the Tradition, aren't they? The Church is not a "1984" style body in which these ancient Western texts have been expunged, as if they had never existed, by some Mgr Winston Smith?

6 February 2010

Uterque Calix

Can anyone explain to me why, on videos from EWTN of EF Masses, the celebrant (?always) appears to prepare, consecrate (and subsequently ablute) two chalices?

Are they crypto-Anglicans?

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No, it's not a matter of one chalice being used as a ciborium. Look for yourself.

5 February 2010

Nomina Sacra

Recently I was at a RC OF Mass; and, as so often, was struck by the fact that not even the clergy (there were about fifty concelebrants) bow their heads at the Name of Jesus, let alone at the names of the Great Mother of God, the Saint of the Day, or the Sovereign Pontiff. Is this the result of the demise of the Biretta culture? In the Patrimony, we are so used to keeping our ears pricked for those blessed Names at which we twitch our hats that, even when we are hatless, these Names don't just sweep over us unnoticed as we loll comatose.

Each of the RC OF Masses I have been to in the last three or four months has been deeply moving because of the personal reasons that drew me to attend ... persons of whom I am deeply fond. But, liturgically, I have obcurely felt that the experience had an alien dimension. Even though each of them was, I was informed, at the "good end" of the spectrum of 'performance'. Indeed, I found myself wondering if Newman's point had not, by some strange paradox, been turned on its head. He, you remember, explained to an Anglican that: "The idea of worship is different in the Catholic Church from the idea of it in your Church". Faith, he went on to argue, is needed to take the convert over the gap so that he can understand the Catholic idea of worship. How different things are today. Nowadays, Charles Reding would not get the liturgical flash of enlightenment which he has in the last pages of Loss and Gain by going to a RC church. Nowadays, in effect, an Anglican Catholic convert to the RCC is invited to transfer from liturgy which does express the "Catholic idea" to a culture in which, it seems to me, that "idea" has sometimes to be read into the rite rather than being read out of it. In saying this, I reveal, perhaps, personal inadequacies, and I have no desire to be combative or cause offence.

But I can't rid myself of a feeling that in our time, Reding's sort of transformative experience would be much more likely to be had in an Anglican Catholic church. It is there, and in but a very small handful of RC 'show' churches, and in Oriental rites, that worship which is manifestly transcendent, objective, and an irruption of the Divine, can be encountered. In very many RC churches, where the worship is not strongly distinct from what you find among devout high church Methodists, it can require a real act of will, logic, and of Faith to remind oneself that the minimum technical requirements for validity are being fulfilled and that therefore This really is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I am not surprised that Evelyn Waugh's felt as he did after the post-conciliar 'reforms'.

In our time, Newman's RC Willis would be very unlikely to say: "To me, nothing is so consoling, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses for ever, and not be tired."

Who was it who called the Mass the most beautiful thing this side of heaven? Was it the Novus Ordo that he had in mind?

3 February 2010

The Brandsma Review

Somebody kindly sent me a copy of this Irish bimonthly; which is full of good stuff. An article on the Hiberno-Catholic priest (Anglo-Catholic seems an inept term) Fr Basil Maturin; on Dr Johnson's sympathy for Catholicism; and many sound opinions well argued. Oestrogen pollution in our waterways ... Filippo Lippi's La Madonna dell' umilita with a discussion about whether the Infant Lord is portrayed as a Down 's syndrome baby. ...

Interesting, that last. Artists have portrayed Christ, so as to make a point, as negroid or Asiatic; no harm there, since he was Jewish and yet we have often portrayed him as Caucasian. But offensively female Christs have appeared, as avant garde artists and ultraliberal clerics conspire to make their silly point. We could play this game too. Christ with Down's Syndrome would be a telling way of making a good point about the holocaust to which those thus formed are subjected in our thanatophiliac culture. And about the equal worth of all humans. Yes?

brandsmabooks@eircom.net

Papal Visit

Well, the news that the Pope is to visit Britain is hardly news, is it, and we still know absolutely nothing about the itinerary. A month or two ago, I speculated on what might happen if the Holy Father comes - as rumour had it he would to Oxford. Let me be more explicit. When Heads of State come here, the custom is for them to be given Honorary Degrees "by Diploma". This means that, instead of an Oration which might be, in parts, light-hearted, Mr Orator reads out a dignified legal document (most sections start with "Cum ...") on the excellences of the distinguished visitor. Clearly, this is even more appropriate when the visitor is himself of considerable academic standing. If it does not happen with regard to the Holy Father, I think I will be interested to know why.

More speculations from me: the media are distinctly more overtly hostile now than they were during the last papal visit in 1982. For one thing, John Paul's lifetime opposition to varying forms of totalitarianism tended to restrain the secularists a little at a time when memories of Stalinism were a trifle fresher. No such considerations apply now. And they've got a real head of steam going. I don't suppose the Hitlerjugend question will be much good except for a few sneers and cartoons; unless the "investigative journalists" who are undoubtedly even now burrowing away can come up with something really new and dramatic in this field, to make very much of it would just cause yawns. But one possibility is that they will attempt to smear the Sovereign Pontiff by suggesting that he was involved in paedophile cover-ups. They might use their familiar weapons of suggestio falsi and suppressio veri by examining all the cases that might have passed over his desk, and then testing whether any of the characters involved might have crossed the pontiff's path in other contexts: so as to suggest that he protected a vast network of iffy cronies.

When Benedict became Pope, he restored some items of pontifical garb which had become obsolete: red shoes, and so on. And journalists noticed that he wore sunglasses; and such things were combined into a narrative of campness, which was then linked with the claim that his middle-aged secretary was not totally ugly, so as to create a suggestion of homosexuality. He and Mgr G were alleged to have spent nights together - sinister, that - in Dr Ratzinger's flat. This is all totally risible, but the papers might try it on if they can't come up with something better.

And, talking about sexuality, there is the question of Newman's 'orientation'. I would be surprised and disappointed if the Grauniad did not do an article on that which would appeal to the credulous dogmatists who read that once great newspaper. Possibly, too, there may be pickings for Top Names in Academe, especially in the History Faculty. Diarmuid McCullough and David Starkey might be able to pocket some fees for various pieces of 'background'. However that may be, I have very little doubt that dissident 'Catholics' will be wheeled out to repeat their tired claptrap.

One thing you can be sure of: the Devil will not spend his entire summer sunbathing on some beach in Florida. Not a lot will happen while we have other things on our minds with a British General Election pending, nor while a new government is having its First Hundred Days. But a fortnight or so before the Holy Father's arrival ...

2 February 2010

LENT Carni "vale" dicamus

Meat during Lent? Some good comments from readers about the ecology of cows and the importance of eating woodcock and rabbits. I used to when we lived in the Sussex and Devon countrysides. Indeed, I was Master in charge of the Shoot ...

Rhythm

No, I don't have any problem about renaming the "Purification of the BVM" the "Presentation of the Lord"; because that is what it is. But I do feel a little uneasy ... without having any cut-and-dried solutions to offer ... about some of the cultural trends behind the change in name.

To talk of "Purification", whether of our Lady or of Women after Childbed ("Churching"), would, undeniably, carry with it in our culture a sense that either the person or the process was Dirty. And most certainly neither is. So there is no doubt that the old language would impose upon us the burden of difficult explanations to a world instinctively disinclined to listen to explanations about anything from Christians. So we are best without such language. But ...

I take it that what lies behind such traditional language, and also behind the provisions of the Torah about menstrual women, is, deep down, a wholesome human instinct for rhythm, for one time not being identical with another time, which has existed in most human cultures (I would say "all" if I had not spent an entire working life bullying students into the importance, in essays, of leaving a loophole when making assertions). The woman "purifying" herself from her period, or from childbirth, is not submitting to cultic rituals implying that she is sinful or dirty or unfit for decent society. She is ritually emerging from a period of seclusion. I have heard Orthodox Jewish women referring to menstrual seclusion as safeguarding and enhancing the respect in which they are held as women.

In our society you are likely to switch on your television and see an advert for a product which, if you are a woman, will enable you to go into the circus and do acrobatics on the high trapeze any and every day of the month. Well ... I know that we have all made fun of feminist dafties who are said to devise quaint and messy rituals to honour menstrual blood. But is it really wrong to institutionalise in a society any respect for the mysteries of life and for the role which Woman, the Sacerdos Vitae, enacts within those mysteries? There is an enormous logical disjunction when our culture strips woman, as far as it can, of the the physical distinctions resulting from her procreative role ... and still wants to sleep with her.

Only Religions retain a sense of rhythm; of Fast and Feast; of recurrent cycles. And Latin and Protestant Christianity have more or less dumped all that by giving up the notion of fasting. I think many clergy (who do to some degree live the liturgical calendar by saying the Office) would be fairly staggered if they found out how little their laypeople - even the more regular members of their congregations - were aware of the passing of the Church's seasons. If we imagine they really think "Aha! White vestments! Goodie!! I wonder what festival we are so joyfully keeping today?", we are living in a fools' paradise. And, Fathers, what are your memories of negotiating with a couple who want to book their wedding for Holy Saturday?

In the world, you can eat out-of-season food any day of the year ... I know because, I shamefully admit, the other day I had some rather good Moroccan raspberries. That culture has invaded the Church. So, of course, there can be no such thing as an out-of-season woman. Raspberries ... sex ... modern Western Man (and Woman) cries: "I want it now!".

BTW, we are approaching Lent. Does any kind reader have at their finger-tips the facts about how much cereal goes into producing one pound (or khilo) of meat, and what the effect is on Global Warming of all those f**ting cows?

AUCTORITAS VERSUS ORIENTEM REPRINTED FROM SEPTEMBER 2010

I reprint this old article simply as a reaction to the curious announcement that the Oratorian Fathers in Oxford are going to adopt the [their words] Ad Orientem position ... when what their announcement really means is that they will henceforth be facing WEST!!!

How can one apply the the principle of auctoritas to the question of whether or not the eucharistic celebrant should face the people ... or deliberately not do so? I feel there are particular principles which have to be taken together.

The celebrant should face the East. This has enormous auctoritas, both in the archaeological evidence for the 'Orientation' [Eastfacingness] of church buildings and in early Christian writings. I will refrain from mentioning the enormous amount of learned 'Patrimony' literature establishing this, from the time when our 'Ritualists' were arguing for the 'Eastward Position' as against the then fashionable 'North End' custom. More recently, liturgists such as Michael 'Patrimony' Moreton re-established this truth, followed by Roman Catholics such as Cardinal Ratzinger and Fr Lang.

What I find very weakly evidenced - if it is at all - is the idea that it is important for priest and people to face in the same direction. 'Traddies' often overlook the fact that facing in the same direction is is not necessarily the same as facing East. Because ...
(1) some buildings, notably but not only the Roman basilicas, are specifically designed so that, by facing East, the celebrant thereby faces where the congregation has gathered. The rules of the Missal of S Pius V explicitly provide for what the priest does in such circumstances. The immemorial usage of the Urbs itself has great auctoritas, and so does the traditional praxis to which the Missal of S Pius V bears witness.
(2) some churches, particularly when built in confined urban spaces, are not built along an East-West axis.
Some 'traddies' try to get round the problem by cheerfully referring to something they are pleased to term 'the ritual East', as though it is at our disposal to pretend that East is wherever it is convenient for us to pretend that it is. I regard this as wholly frivolous. More important: early writers who emphasise the need to face East write about the need to face the Lord who comes to us from the East, and about the rising sun as his great ikon. I do not think they would be impressed by a notion that East is wherever my whimsy takes me. The notion subverts any possibility of words meaning anything. Was it the Red Queen in Alice who said that she could make words mean whatever she wished them to mean? Just as many 'trendies' have what seems to me a sad fetich for always facing the people, some 'traddies' seem to me to have an equally unfortunate fetich for invariably having their backs to the people. I suspect that neither fetich would have been comprehensible, either to Easterners or Westerners, in the first Christian millennium.

Another principle with great auctoritas is the idea of the One Altar. Byzantine churches by prescriptive custom only have one altar (although they can consult practicality by adding parekklesiai; I regard the side altars in the side chapels of Latin churches as in effect parekklesiai too). This principle is bound up with important concepts such as the unity of God's people round his one altar celebrating his one sacrifice. To have an (unused) old altar up against the East wall, and another for actual use in front of it for the priest to stand behind, I regard as profoundly wrong, for theological as well as aesthetic reasons.

Where a church is Eastward facing and has an altar at the East end, the matter is perfectly clear. It is quite improper to move it or stand behind it. If the old altar has been shifted forward, it should be moved back. If an altar for versus populum has been placed in front of it, it should be got rid of.

Where a church is designed so that the sanctuary is at the West end, and the architect has structured the sanctuary so that the priest can thereby face East only by facing the people, my own view, which is not going to make me universally popular, is that he should do just that. I think not only of the Roman basilicas but, for example, of the Oratory Church in Oxford. Laudably, the Oratory Fathers plan some High Masses in their church. I would put money on them organising these versus apsidem. But there is no need for them to do so. As I mentioned, the ritus servandus in the Missal of S Pius V provides very explicitly for the celebration of Mass versus populum, and in my view ... not that anyone is likely to ask for it! ... this is what auctoritas suggests should be done. Versus Orientem rules OK.

I am less happy to be categorical about the Blackfriars' Church in Oxford (which, like the Oratory, also faces the West), because there the principle of One Altar is disastrously vitiated; a small modern table stands in front of the old majestic High Altar. Dunno. What do you think? My own gut feeling is ... go with the flow of the building as it is actually built; remove the little modern table, celebrate facing West, with the congregation facing West too ... although I would have to admit that the ancient Fathers would have had paroxysms if they could have seen both priest and people with their backs all turned in unison away from the East, away from the direction from which the Lord promises his Epiphany.

As regards churches built to face neither East nor West ... such as the Brompton Orsatory and Westminster Cathedral ... again, dunno. I am sure that the principle of One Altar should apply, so dump any coffee tables. Thank the Lord that the Brompton Fathers never messed around with their sanctuary and that Vin has restored the One Altar at Westminster. Again, my own, purely personal but quite strong, gut instinct is to go with the flow of the building as it was actually designed, and to celebrate with ones back to the people. But this is not facing East and does not have a great weight of auctoritas behind it.

1 February 2010

Declining numbers

Since last November, visitor numbers have been declining by about a thousand a month. Perhaps readers who enjoy this blog could promote it by providing links to it from other blogs? At this rate, numbers will be down to nil in a couple of years.

A friend says that many people hit a blog by accident when they are seeking some particular word or idea through a search engine; and that on (or just before?) the feast that comes on February 14 I should include words that resonate with those hungry for lerve. Ideas?

Keep it clean.

Feminine Priesthood

At Lauds tomorrow, if you use the Buggles Rite and use it, as the Council mandated, in Latin, you will be saying a hymn confected out of three of those which the henpecked and painfully attenuated Abelard composed for the Monastery of the Paraclete (Abelard via Wiki' if you need background). I find interesting the sacrificial language Abelard uses of our Lady. "The parents of Christ ... offer the Temple in the temple ... Offer, Blessed Mary, the weeny one (parvulum) ... offer the one by whom we are offered ... bring forward your Son with a Victim ...".

There has been intermittently a tendency to find priestly significance in our Lady; and I would be sorry if this had to be airbrushed completely out of existence just because the heretics have decided that women should be ordained to public priestly ministries. In fact, it seems to me that this is a subject which can help to bring out the inherent differences between men and women and throw light on why the latter are as incapaces of Ministerial Priesthood as the former are of Motherhood.

Mary brought Jesus in offering out of the the family; out of her womb; offered him from the inner recesses of her body where his Incarnate Being had been crafted and nurtured. Woman is the matrix and shrine of Life; whose whole structure is devised for that purpose. In more than one sense, sexual generation is as external to the male as it is profoundly internalised within the female. It is from within herself and from the family of which she is the heart and hearth that Mary brings her Son as her sacrifice to the threshold of the Temple. But it is from this point that, in the public forum of the people and of their cultus, the priesthood makes offering to YHWH.

Mary is the Priest of the conception, birth, and nurture of her Son, which is itself an act of offering to God; she is the one who brings Him out of the hidden places to the gates of public life and there offers Him as the ripe fruit of her womb. Israel's priesthood, standing before the Altar of YHWH, is a male priesthood because male Man stands outside the intimacies of family so as to and act for the People before their God, just as Woman is the private and interior Mystery of Life and of its continuance.

I know how risible and contemptible - even how outrageous - the implications of such distinctions are for the Zeitgeist. I am comforted by the recollection that every human society before our own has been structured in accordance with this or some similar anthropology. It is not some narrow religious archaism that we are defending, but Humanity and the nature written upon us by its Designer.