Sunday, November 10, 2019

Prayers for a Desecrated Church

A priest I know happily followed a suggestion to add these prayers at Mass today, and I trust many, many more did, all over the world – even at side altars in St Peter’s, one hopes; indeed, especially there.

For the Reconciliation of a Church or Cemetery 
Oratio 
Deus, qui dixísti: Domus mea domus oratiónis vocábitur: domum istam infidélium spurcítiis contaminátam mundáre et sanctificáre dignéris; et ómnium preces et vota hoc in loco ad te clamántium cleménter exáudias, et benígnus suscípias. Per Dóminum. 
(O God, who hast said: My house shall be called a house of prayer*: deign to cleanse and hallow that house contaminated by the filth of infidels; and both clemently hear and benignly receive the prayers and vows of all crying to thee in this place. Through our Lord…)  
 * Is. 56, 7; Matt. 21, 13; Marc. 11, 17; cf. Luc. 19, 46
Secreta 
Hæc hóstia, quǽsumus, Dómine, et locum istum ab ómnibus immundítiis expúrget: et supplicatiónes nostras semper et ubíque reddat tibi accéptas. Per Dóminum. 
(May this sacrifice, we beg, Lord, both purge that place from all uncleannesses, and render our supplications always and everywhere acceptable unto thee. Through our Lord…) 
Postcommunio 
Percipiéntes, Dómine, múnera salútis ætérnæ súpplices exorámus: ut templum hoc et cœmetérium, ab infidélium inquinaméntis emundátum, benedictióne tua máneat sanctificátum; et péctora nostra ab omni sorde vitiórum alienáta tibíque devóta semper exsístant. Per Dóminum. 
(Securing, Lord, the gifts of everlasting salvation, begging we pray thee: that this temple and cemetery†, cleansed from the filth of infidels, may remain sanctified by thy blessing, and may our hearts exist alienated from every filth of vices and ever devoted unto thee. Through our Lord…)
† St Peter’s Basilica is built over an early Christian cemetery – indeed, St Peter himself is buried directly below the high altar. 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Senatus Populusque Martialis

The Pope-of-Mars-elect (or should that be the Pope-elect-of-Mars?) has graciously vouchsafed to inform me as his unworthy servant and private secretary that, once his reign begins after touch-down, he will be assisted in his temporal duties by several officials and institutions sensibly based upon those used in the Eternal City down through the ages. After all, the Papal States on Earth were known for their good governance, weren’t they? 

Oh dear… anyway, the Empire worked well, till it declined and fell, and the same is true of the Republic before that, not to mention the present Italian Republic and former Italian Kingdoms and petty states too, as exemplified by many famous political theorists and statesmen such as Berlusconi, Mussolini and Machiavelli. Hmmm… But in any case, Mars will certainly be run better – it won’t be very difficult to surpass the current low level of governance on Earth!

Sancte Michaël Archangele, defende nos in prœlio!

By the way, another proposed decision of His future Holiness ought be mentioned, prior to its official promulgation: idle googling having revealed the embarrassing fact that the planet Mars is associated by some bad folk with Azazel (to whom the scapegoat was driven off into the desert), all such nasty nonsense is going to be quashed and replaced with St Michael Archangel as Patron and Guardian of Mars.

Phobos eclipsing Deimos in real time

But to return to what is the topic of this update: to advise His Holiness in matters political, and in honour of the two moons of the Red Planet, two Consuls, the Deimotic and the Phobic, will be appointed each year; suffect Consuls will be appointed as replacements as needed, taking the place of one or the other. Likewise, in the New City, or Fourth Rome (the first three* having been on the Third Planet, naturally the fourth must be on the Fourth), there will be established a Martian Senate of six hundred, the lists of its members to be wisely chosen and regularly revised by the diligence of the Holy Father, though all such need not attend sessions – it being understood that Senators, as in Old Rome during the Empire, should attend the House only when they have agreed to vote placet (“yes”), just as is expected in Roman synods today.

There’s always one who won’t vote how they’re expected to...

[* For the moment, let us not worry about including in this count either the multifarious localities named Rome in sixteen of the United States of America, or the Paris Métro station of the same name.]

In addition to this, it will now be clear why St Paul VI in a pathetic yet ultimately prophetic gesture all but abandoned the Papal Nobility, as that has left open a void (quod Natura abhorret) for the soon-to-be-elected Supreme Pontiff of Mars to fill by creating many new Princes and Princesses, Dukes and Duchesses, Marquises and Marquises, Counts and Countesses, and Barons and Baronesses of the Holy Martian Church – some titles to be hereditary, some to be granted ad personam (depending on the merits displayed and/or level of financial contribution provided). Similarly, various equestrian orders will be established (for knighthoods, only modest talents or fees will suffice).

A Martian in native dress

It goes without saying that all of these serried ranks will be merely nominal dignities and sinecures of the sort beloved by those Catholic laity most likely to seek a one-way ticket to Mars. Of course, all actual and meaningful power of governance, temporal as well as spiritual, will remain in the Martian Sovereign Pontiff: after all, the Church has long recognised that the only sure, safe and certain guarantee of orthodoxy and the tranquillity of order is to ensure that the First See is judged by none, no matter what. What could possibly go wrong?

For utterly the same reason, the right of electing the Sovereign Pontiff (so frivolously and so foolishly exercised on Earth, as history sadly teaches) will be taken away from the Cardinals, and each Pope of Mars will simply name his own successor in his last will and testament, to be read out to the Cardinals in Conclave assembled after the Pope’s demise, but kept meanwhile in pectore, so as to preserve the traditional surprise of the announcement Habemus Papam by the Dean of the College of Cardinals. Prior to this, the incineration of the late Pope’s will will supply the necessary very small puff of smoke, oxygen being at a premium on Mars.

A Prince-Bishop (of Andorra, not Mars)

Finally, as settlements spread across Mars, the principle of subsidiarity dictates that local forms of government be introduced: and for this reason, in due season ecclesiastical principalities large and small will be established under the rule of Prince-Archbishops, Prince-Bishops, Prince-Abbots and Princess-Abbesses.

Speaking of Princess-Abbesses, it is good to see that consecrated women will assert their lawful authority on one planet at least; indeed, what on Earth has for many centuries past been granted only to Carthusian nuns will be extended on Mars to all women in solemn vows and Papal enclosure – they will all be consecrated as deaconesses. Amazonis Planitia is one of the youngest and smoothest of the great northern plains of Mars, after all.

Votive Mass for Oxygen

Let every thing that hath breath : praise the Lord. 
— Ps, 150, 6 (Ordinariate Psalter)

We should always work as if all depends on us, whilst ever praying knowing that all depends on God – to this end, for the benefit of future Martian Catholics, I subjoin a proposed Votive Mass from the forthcoming editio princeps of the Missale Martianum, in its native Latin first, to which is appended an unofficial English translation. It will be noted that the orations are of the neo-Gallican type, being pastiches of Scriptural texts, which may betray a Baroque tendency in their compiler!

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Missa votiva pro oxygenio
ex Missali Martiano

Introitus Sap. 2, 1. 2. 3
Exiguum est tempus vitæ nostræ, quoniam fumus flatus est in naribus nostris: et transibit vita nostra tamquam vestigium nubis, et sicut nebula dissolvetur. (T.P. Alleluja, alleluja.)
Ps. 38, 14 Remitte mihi, ut refrigerer priusquam abeam et amplius non ero.
V. Gloria Patri.

Non dicitur Gloria in excelsis.

Oratio Cf. Dan. 5, 23 & 2 Mach. 7, 23
Deus, mundi Creator, qui habes flatum nostrum in manu tua, et omnes vias nostras: spiritum nostrum iterum cum misericordia redde et vitam. Per.

Lectio Danielis Prophetæ. 10, 2-19

In diebus illis ego Daniel lugebam trium hebdomadarum diebus: panem desiderabilem non comedi, et caro et vinum non introierunt in os meum, sed neque unguento unctus sum, donec complerentur trium hebdomadarum dies. Die autem vigesima et quarta mensis primi, eram juxta fluvium magnum, qui est Tigris. Et levavi oculos meos, et vidi: et ecce vir unus vestitus lineis, et renes ejus accincti auro obrizo: et corpus ejus quasi chrysolithus, et facies ejus velut species fulguris, et oculi ejus ut lampas ardens: et brachia ejus, et quæ deorsum sunt usque ad pedes, quasi species aëris candentis: et vox sermonum ejus ut vox multitudinis. Vidi autem ego Daniel solus visionem: porro viri qui erant mecum non viderunt, sed terror nimius irruit super eos, et fugerunt in absconditum. Ego autem relictus solus vidi visionem grandem hanc: et non remansit in me fortitudo, sed et species mea immutata est in me, et emarcui, nec habui quidquam virium. Et audivi vocem sermonum ejus: et audiens jacebam consternatus super faciem meam, et vultus meus hærebat terræ. Et ecce manus tetigit me, et erexit me super genua mea, et super articulos manuum mearum. Et dixit ad me: Daniel vir desideriorum, intellige verba quæ ego loquor ad te, et sta in gradu tuo: nunc enim sum missus ad te. Cumque dixisset mihi sermonem istum, steti tremens. Et ait ad me: Noli metuere, Daniel: quia ex die primo, quo posuisti cor tuum ad intelligendum ut te affligeres in conspectu Dei tui, exaudita sunt verba tua: et ego veni propter sermones tuos. Princeps autem regni Persarum restitit mihi viginti et uno diebus: et ecce Michaël, unus de principibus primis, venit in adjutorium meum, et ego remansi ibi juxta regem Persarum. Veni autem ut docerem te quæ ventura sunt populo tuo in novissimis diebus, quoniam adhuc visio in dies. Cumque loqueretur mihi hujuscemodi verbis, dejeci vultum meum ad terram, et tacui. Et ecce quasi similitudo filii hominis tetigit labia mea: et aperiens os meum locutus sum, et dixi ad eum, qui stabat contra me: Domine mi, in visione tua dissolutæ sunt compages meæ, et nihil in me remansit virium. Et quomodo poterit servus domini mei loqui cum domino meo? nihil enim in me remansit virium, sed et halitus meus intercluditur. Rursum ergo tetigit me quasi visio hominis, et confortavit me, et dixit: Noli timere, vir desideriorum: pax tibi confortare, et esto robustus. Cumque loqueretur mecum, convalui, et dixi: Loquere, domine mi, quia confortasti me.

Graduale Ps. 103, 29-30
Auferes spiritum eorum, et deficient, et in pulverem suum revertentur.
V. Emittes spiritum tuum, et creabuntur; et renovabis faciem terræ.

Alleluja, alleluja.
V. Job 32, 20 Aperiam labia mea, et loquar, et respirabo paululum.
Alleluja.

Post Septuagesimam, omissis Alleluja et versu sequenti, dicitur:

Tractus Job 33, 4; 27, 3; 32, 20
Spiritus Dei fecit me, et spiraculum Omnipotentis vivificavit me.
V. Quia donec superest halitus in me, et spiritus Dei in naribus meis.
V. Aperiam labia mea, et loquar, et respirabo paululum.

Tempore autem paschali omittitur graduale, et ejus loco dicitur:

Alleluja, alleluja.
V. Job 27, 3 Quia donec superest halitus in me, et spiritus Dei in naribus meis.
Alleluja.
V. Job 32, 20 Aperiam labia mea, et loquar, et respirabo paululum.
Alleluja.

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam. 7, 11-16

In illo tempore: Ibat Jesus in civitatem quæ vocatur Naim: et ibant cum eo discipuli ejus et turba copiosa. Cum autem appropinquaret portæ civitatis, ecce defunctus efferebatur filius unicus matris suæ: et hæc vidua erat: et turba civitatis multa cum illa. Quam cum vidisset Dominus, misericordia motus super eam, dixit illi: Noli flere. Et accessit, et tetigit loculum. (Hi autem qui portabant, steterunt.) Et ait: Adolescens, tibi dico, surge. Et resedit qui erat mortuus, et cœpit loqui. Et dedit illum matri suæ. Accepit autem omnes timor: et magnificabant Deum, dicentes: Quia propheta magnus surrexit in nobis: et quia Deus visitavit plebem suam.

Offertorium Is. 42, 5 & 8a
Hæc dicit Dominus Deus, creans cælos, et extendens eos; formans terram, et quæ germinant ex ea, dans flatum populo qui est super eam, et spiritum calcantibus eam: ego Dominus, hoc est nomen meum. (T.P. Alleluja.)

Secreta Cf. Dan. 10, 17-18 & Is. 42, 5 & Ps. 106, 22
Domine Deus, cujus angelus Danielem prophetiam, cum halitum ejus intercluderetur, confortavit: da, quæsumus, flatum et spiritum populo tuo, ut tibi sacrificent sacrificium laudis. Per.

Præfatio communis.

Communio Gen. 2, 7
Dominus Deus inspiravit in faciem hominis spiraculum vitæ, et factus est homo in animam viventem. (T.P. Alleluja.)

Postcommunio Cf. Act. 17, 24 & 25 & 28
Deus, qui fecisti mundum et omnia quæ in eo sunt: da omnibus, quæsumus, vitam et inspirationem et omnia; in quo vivimus et movemur et sumus. Per.

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Votive Mass for Oxygen
from the Martian Missal

Introit Wis. 2, 1. 2. 3
The time of our life is short, for the breath in our nostrils is smoke: and our life shall pass away as the trace of a cloud, and shall be dispersed as a mist. (P.T. Alleluia, Alleluia.)
Ps. 38, 14 O forgive me, that I may be refreshed, before I go hence, and be no more.
V. Glory be.

The Gloria in excelsis is not said.

Collect Cf. Dan. 5, 23 & 2 Mach. 7, 23
O God, Creator of the world, who hast our breath in thy hand, and all our ways: restore to us again in mercy both breath and life. Through.

A lesson from the Prophet Daniel. 10, 2-19

In those days: I Daniel mourned the days of three weeks. I ate no desirable bread, and neither flesh, nor wine entered into my mouth, neither was I anointed with ointment: till the days of three weeks were accomplished. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month I was by the great river which is the Tigris. And I lifted up my eyes, and I saw: and behold a man clothed in linen, and his loins were girded with the finest gold: and his body was like the chrysolite, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as a burning lamp: and his arms, and all downward even to the feet, like in appearance to glittering brass: and the voice of his word like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw it not: but an exceeding great terror fell upon them, and they fled away, and hid themselves. And I being left alone saw this great vision: and there remained no strength in me, and the appearance of my countenance was changed in me, and I fainted away, and retained no strength. And I heard the voice of his words: and when I heard, I lay in a consternation, upon my face, and my face was close to the ground. And behold a hand touched me, and lifted me up upon my knees, and upon the joints of my hands. And he said to me: Daniel, thou man of desires, understand the words that I speak to thee, and stand upright: for I am sent now to thee. And when he had said this word to me, I stood trembling. And he said to me: Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thy heart to understand, to afflict thyself in the sight of thy God, thy words have been heard: and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me one and twenty days: and behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I remained there by the king of the Persians. But I am come to teach thee what things shall befall thy people in the latter days, for as yet the vision is for days. And when he was speaking such words to me, I cast down my countenance to the ground, and held my peace. And behold, as it were the likeness of a son of man touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spoke, and said to him that stood before me: O my lord, at the sight of thee my joints are loosed, and no strength hath remained in me. And how can the servant of my lord speak with my lord? for no strength remaineth in me, moreover my breath is stopped. Therefore he that looked like a man touched me again, and strengthened me. And he said: Fear not, O man of desires, peace be to thee: take courage and be strong. And when he spoke to me, I grew strong: and I said: Speak, O my lord, for thou hast strengthened me.

Gradual Ps. 103, 29b-30
Thou shalt take away their breath, and they shall fail, and shall return to their dust.
V. Thou shalt send forth thy spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Alleluia, alleluia.
V. Job 32, 20 I will open my lips, and I will speak and take breath a little.
Alleluia.

After Septuagesima, omitting Alleluia and the verse following, is said:

Tract Job 33, 4; 27, 3; 32, 20
The spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gave me life.
V. For as long as breath remaineth in me, and the spirit of God in my nostrils.
V. I will open my lips, and I will speak and take breath a little.

In Paschal Time, however, the gradual is omitted, and in its place is said:

Alleluia, alleluia.
V. Job 27, 3 For as long as breath remaineth in me, and the spirit of God in my nostrils.
Alleluia.
V. Job 32, 20 I will open my lips, and I will speak and take breath a little.
Alleluia.

The continuation of the holy Gospel according to Luke. 7, 11-16

At that time: Jesus went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not. And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it, stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people.

Offertory Is. 42, 5 & 8a
Thus saith the Lord God, creating the heavens, and stretching them out: establishing the earth, and the things that spring out of it: giving breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that tread thereon: I the Lord, this is my name. (P.T. Alleluia.)

Secret Cf. Dan. 10, 17-18; Is. 42, 5; Ps. 106, 22
Lord God, whose angel didst strengthen the prophet Daniel when his breath was stopped: give, we beg, breath and spirit to thy people, that to thee they may sacrifice the sacrifice of praise. Through.

The Common Preface.

Communion Gen. 2, 7
The Lord God breathed into the face of man the breath of life, and man became a living soul. (P.T. Alleluia.)

Postcommunion Cf. Act. 17, 24 & 25 & 28
O God, who didst make the world and all things that are therein: give to all, we beg, life, and breath, and all things; in whom we live and move and are. Through. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Fly Idolatry - Fly to Mars

The subjoined satire is the sort of nonsense only present and former Dominicans (of whom it may be said, as was of certain Anglicans of old, such are “of the world, but not in it”) would dream up after watching too many reruns of Pachamamas being precipitated into the Tiber; I post it to amuse a friend...

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And it was night (John 13, 13)

“When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand: then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains” (Matt. 24, 15f) – mindful of these words, in the context of the impending presence of second-hand cheap tourist trinkets at a Mass in Rome tomorrow, the thoughts of more fanatical than usual Catholics (i.e., those who observe the last Sunday in October as the Feast of Christ the King) quickly turn from “that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children” (Gal. 4, 25) – that is, this unhappy planet, also referred to as Judea in the apocalyptic Gospel text above – to “that Jerusalem, which is above, is free: which is our mother” (Gal. 4, 26) which, as all men know, is evidently a reference to Mars.

Mars... “which is above, is free”

If the symbolic Judea, groaning under the unhappy yoke of idolatry, subjected to cruel bondage, is the Earth (totally polluted with idol-worship as it is), then the mountains to which the faithful ought flee must by simple logic be the planets, known in Scripture as “wandering stars” (Jude 13), and to which veiled allusion is made by the mention in the Apocalypse of “the mystery of the seven stars” (1, 20), evidently referring to the eight planets now known, omitting the Earth; and again, of all the planets the only one remotely habitable is surely the Red Planet, as all astronomers know – “for star differeth from star in glory” (1 Cor. 15, 41).

There was a wicked Protestant speculation to the effect that, assuming Lowell’s observations of canals on its surface to be correct, then these were dug by the damned at the instigation of devils, and Mars was Hell: but Catholics naturally reject such foolishness, as Hell is within the Earth (in dreadful caverns hot and fiery), as all men know, while the planets are in Heaven. Reason teaches: flee Hell, and seek to fly to Heaven.

Not what happened in the Vatican Gardens

Furthermore, St Paul commands us to “fly from the service of idols” (1 Cor. 10, 14), having already remarked earlier in his same first Epistle to those contentious Corinthians that not to keep company with “the servers of idols” would mean that “you must needs go out of this world” (1 Cor. 5, 10) –  and lo! what was in his day impossible, is now quite possible, so those intent on salvation now must literally fly out of this world, lest they by fellowship with idolatry perish in the general impending doom.

It is well known that Elon Musk is engaged at this very moment upon the great task of preparing rockets sufficient for the colonization of Mars; and the vast sums of monies secreted in Swiss bank accounts by all the corrupt officials of the Curia will, once purified by being spent on this worthy cause (one assumes a certain Cardinal will be very happy to pass on the password details he uncovered prior to his unexpected summons home, as after all he now has nothing to lose and every Roman enemy to repay), suffice to pay for passage to the Fourth Planet by the tiny remnant (self-styled) who seek to flee thence.

The moment all spacefarers become sede-vacantists?

It is a truth well-known to all that the Pope, or at least whatever passes for one, is the Vicar of Christ *on Earth*. Therefore, those who leave the Blue Planet for the Red will have, alas, no longer any Pope, and, as soon as they pass lunar orbit†, become ipso facto sede-vacantists (it is pathetic how many misinterpret such simple science to think that papal utterances on aircraft in Earth’s lower atmosphere supposedly have no validity); and moreover – since Nature abhors a vacuum, particularly in vacuo – those who are in deep space (especially if their minds are already void of thought) spontaneously acquire the right and duty to elect a new Pontiff for whichever planet they eventually alight upon (should they survive re-entry).

St James Cathedral, Orlando, Florida: 
the Mother Church of the Moon

[† It must be remembered that the Moon (whose phases show it to partake of Earthly changeability, and so is more Purgatory than Heaven) is within the dominions of the Earthly Vicar of Jesus Christ, as it is part of the diocese of Orlando, Florida, by reason of its first explorers having launched from that particular part of our globe, which meant that its territory was annexed automatically to that diocese under the then-current rules of Canon Law.]

A Pope

Lest any be scandalized, it must be remembered that the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics when they’re feeling feisty or remembering their lost independence) always refer to “the Pope of Rome”, insinuating that other Popes at least potentially exist; and both the Coptic and Greek Orthodox Patriarchs of Alexandria also style themselves Pope. Indeed, there are many higher-ranking priests styled “protopopes” in the Christian East, and in Greek any priest can be called papa. It is therefore hardly surprising that a future bishop of Mars should bear that fatherly title.

Christ Himself told St Peter, “Feed My sheep” (John 21, 17), yet also mysteriously remarked both that “Other sheep I have, that are not of this fold” (John 10, 16), and “In My Father’s house [that is, in Heaven], there are many mansions” (John 14, 2). Sheep of another fold, inhabitants of another mansion, will most surely be in need of a Vicar of the One Shepherd.

A pre-Copernican obscurantist

Given the large percentage of flat earthers, young-Earth creationists, raving loonies, geocentrists, and pre-Copernican obscurantists likely to be amongst those who will flee Earth in favour of life on Mars, they will be in need of curtains over the windows, lest their simple faith be shaken. (They will simply have to remember what silly old Luther said, Believe more strongly!)

At least one priest known to this writer has humbly offered his service to exiled earthlings as their chaplain and Pope-of-Mars-elect (he plans to reign as “Abel the Just”, presumably in contradistinction to some imagined Cain, I cannot imagine who). If he who desireth a bishopric “desireth a good work” (1 Tim. 3, 1), how brimming over with all goodness, according to the golden words contemplata aliis tradere, is he who purposeth to reign as Pope-King over a planet, and all out of disinterested love? As he has already deigned to indicate, his motto shall be “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18, 36).

The Martian Papal style and title shall be, mutatis mutandis, more or less that currently used on Earth:

His Holiness Pope N., Bishop of New Rome, Martian Vicar of Jesus Christ, Apostolic Lord, Supreme Pontiff of the Martian Church, Patriarch of the Red Planet, Primate of All Mars, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Fourth Planet, Sovereign of the Martian Papal States, Exarch of the exiles of God.

The sort of priest and layman likely to want to move planet are, fortuitously, precisely the sort of painful pious people the usual prelates, priests and layfolk would heartily desire to be well rid of (as they would opine, “they’re too good for this world”), so all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Receive the quadruple crown...

At last it becomes clear why St Paul VI’s papal tiara not only resembled the tip of a nuclear missile, but had four rings, not the expected three: his laying it aside (and sale to Americans) was a prophetic gesture intended to signify that it was to be worn by a future Pope on the Fourth Planet, to be delivered there (along with his followers and subjects) by US rocketry, paid for by Vatican cash.

Ezechiel’s vision of space travel (as von Däniken pointed out)

Lack of space (so to speak) forbids descriptions of the unimpeachable orthodoxy and unmatchable liturgy of the soon-to-be resettled Catholics of Mars (by contrast to those of this island Earth); suffice to say that Scripture (in, ahem, the Authorized Version) prophesies of them – bizarrely, in the past tense, but what can you expect of Anglican translators? – that “they were so high that they were dreadful” (Ezech. 1, 18).

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Happy Martian New Year

As readers will be aware, today, Saturday the 23rd of March 2019, the Northern Vernal Equinox occurs on Mars, which by definition marks the beginning of Mars Year 35 (such years being counted from the Martian year of the great dust storm that occurred during the year 1956 AD on Earth).

The moment at which this equinox will occur is about 11:18 UTC, or 10:18 pm Australian Eastern Daylight (Saving) Time: so ring in MY 35 then.

I do hope all will celebrate, at least by praying (if not actually working) for the success of all missions to Mars, and perhaps enjoying a Mars bar, watching a cartoon starring Marvin the Martian, reading Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, or partaking of a suitable Mars-themed cocktail.

One hopes that, if SpaceX's promises come to pass, not too many years will elapse before Martian New Year can be celebrated on the Red Planet by humans from Earth.

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A curiosity: while Martian days ("sols") and years are defined, it is as yet impossible to say what day of the week it is on Mars.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A Hymn for St Patrick's Day

From mediæval sources comes this hymn in honour of St Patrick:

1. Jesu, corona præsulum,
Conserva tuum populum,
Qui hodie Patricium
Vocas ad cæli solium. 
2. Vir sacer magni meriti
Affert lucrum dominici
Talenti sibi traditi
Auctum fructu multiplici. 
3. Sumpta Christi parabola
Propalat evangelica,
Per hunc facta christicola
Tota gaudet Hibernia. 
4. Hic est doctor benevolus,
Hibernorum apostolus,
Cui loca purgatoria
Ostendit Dei gratia. 
4A. Patricius episcopus
Oret pro nobis omnibus,
Ut deleantur protinus
Peccata quæ commisimus. 
4B. O Patrici, Præsul pie,
Nostræ custos familiæ,
Funde preces quotidie,
Pro nobis, Regi gloriæ. 
5. Præsta, beata Trinitas,
Concede, simplex Unitas,
Ut precibus Patricii
Hæredes simus gaudii. Amen.

And here is my bumbling attempt at a translation:

O Jesu thou the bishops’ crown,
Preserve thy people, (Lord, we pray,)
Who this day dost (holy) Patrick
Summon to the throne of heaven. 
(That) sacred man of great merit
Imparts the profit of the Lord's
Talents handed over to him
Enlarged by numerous fruit. 
He reveals evangelical
Selected parables of Christ,
By this made worshippers of Christ
All Ireland rejoices indeed. 
This doctor is benevolent,
The Apostle of the Irish,
To whom places of purgatory
By the grace of God he displays. 
May the (holy) bishop Patrick
Pray (and entreat) for all of us,
That destroyed immediately
Be the sins we have committed. 
O Patrick, thou pious Bishop,
Guardian of our family,
Pour forth thy prayers every day
For us, to the King of glory. 
Confer, O blessed Trinity,
Concede, O simple Unity,
That by the prayers of (Saint) Patrick
We may be the heirs of delight. Amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Azaria - "Sacrifice in the Wilderness" [sic]

Those old enough to remember the gross miscarriage of justice concerning the tragic death of baby Azaria Chamberlain, taken by a dingo – whose death was wrongly imputed to her poor mother, Lindy, who was vilified by all Australia, convicted on flimsy and ultimately erroneous evidence, and imprisoned for years, ere she was released and finally proven innocent – will recognise that another kangaroo court verdict has been delivered.

I predict that Cardinal Pell will be exonerated eventually, but, as in the case of the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain, many will continue to be duped by cruel myths – her name was said to mean, quite wrongly, "sacrifice in the wilderness", and ignorance meant that Seventh Day Adventists, such as her parents, were imagined to be addicted to evil rites; his name has been blackened for years in the press, and one suspects that the jurors imagined all Catholic priests to be perverts, so despite the evidence before them, they decided to convict.

I suppose we must now await sick Pell jokes, just as during my younger years dingo jokes did the rounds.

Monday, December 10, 2018

An End and a Beginning

Last night was our last Missa cantata in Launceston at St Francis, Riverside – Fr Suresh, chaplain to the Tasmanian Latin Mass Community, will no longer drive north each month to offer the Holy Sacrifice for us, as he has done for four years now. Instead, from February onwards, the new priest for Meander Valley Parish will offer an EF Mass each Sunday at 11 am at Holy Trinity, Westbury, only 40 km away. While on Saturday I drove 150 km south to Colebrook to attend the first profession of three young monks of Notre Dame Priory – who took their vows during a beautiful Solemn High Mass coram Archiepiscopo of the Immaculate Conception – and used to drive more than 200 km each way to attend the Latin Mass in Hobart, now it will be available much closer to home, for which I give thanks to God, who has graciously answered our prayers.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the EF Mass at Westbury was discontinued after only two months. From time to time, Fr Suresh will still come to Launceston to say Mass, however.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A New Use for the Office of the Dead

“Let my soul die the death of the just, and my last end be like to them.” (Numbers 23, 10.)

Those who recite the Office of the Dead (Officium Defunctorum) will have been struck by the fact that most of its antiphons and responsories are in the first person singular, as if one is preparing for one’s own death, fearing the ineluctable judgement of God and the uncertain fate of one’s soul.

For this reason, it may be appropriate as a private devotion to recite this Office, suitably modified in a few particulars, precisely as a meditation on and prayer for a merciful judgement, as follows:

1. Replace the Invitatory Antiphon Regem cui omnia vivunt with the following (once used in the churches of the Netherlands):

Invit. Aña. Circumdedérunt me gémitus mortis, * Dolóres inférni circumdedérunt me. 
(Ps. 17, 5a. 6a; cf. Ps. 114, 3; cf. 2 Reg. 22, 5a. 6a)

2. In every place, omit Requiem æternam… Et lux perpetua… (This better parallels the Office of the Paschal Triduum, upon whose model the Office of the Dead was drawn up in Carolingian times.)

3. Replace the versicle before the lessons of each Nocturn with those from the Carthusian Office of the Dead, which better match the other Matins antiphons and responsories, which are all in the first person singular, rather than the third person plural used in the corresponding versicles in the Roman Office of the Dead:

V. Convértere, Dómine, et éripe ánimam meam.
R. Salvum me fac propter misericórdiam tuam. (Ps 6, 5)

V. Custódi ánimam meam, et érue me.
R. Non erubéscam, quóniam sperávi in te. (Ps. 24, 20)

V. Ne perdas cum ímpiis, Deus, ánimam meam.
R. Et cum viris sánguinum vitam meam. (Ps. 25, 9)

4. Replace the 2nd Responsory Qui Lazarum resuscitasti (the only one explicitly praying for the dead) with the shorter 9th Responsory Libera me Domine de viis (which is appointed to be used when only one Nocturn is said).

5. In the 3rd and 6th Responsories, having omitted Requiem, repeat the whole of the response instead. (This is already the case for the longer 9th Responsory Libera me Domine de morte, appointed to be used when all three Nocturns are said, and better parallels the Office of the Paschal Triduum.)

6. Pro pia devotione, after the last Responsory at Matins, insert the Dies iræ as a further meditation on the last judgement, but omitting its last three verses from Lacrimosa onwards (which have a different metre and tune, and whose last verse, Pie Jesu, is a prayer for the dead), and replacing them with a doxology sometimes found in older sources that fits the metre of the piece, and appointed in the modern Divine Office (reading Nos not Me) for use with the Dies iræ, which is therein chopped into three parts for use at the Hours in the last week before Advent:

O tu, Deus majestátis,
Alme candor Trinitátis,
Me conjúnge cum beátis. Amen.

(The length of this is approximately the same as that of the Te Deum used at this same position in festal Matins.)

7. In the preces, replace the versicle A porta inferi (which is in the third person plural) with the following, using the exact text of the antiphon for the Canticle of Isaias (which is in the first person singular):

V. A porta ínferi.
R. Erue, Dómine, ánimam meam. (Cf. Is. 38, 10 & 17)

8. Replace the versicle Audivi vocem at Lauds and Vespers (which is in the third person plural) with the following (which is in the first person singular):

V. Non intres in judícium cum servo tuo, Dómine.
R. Quia non justificábitur in conspéctu tuo omnis vivens. (Ps. 142, 2)

9. At Vespers, instead of reciting Psalm 145, Lauda, anima mea, Dominum, as part of the preces, it seems more appropriate to use Psalm 141, Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi, which St Francis prayed with his dying breath, and which is used together with Psalm 129 at Lauds in the Carmelite Office of the Dead.

10. Simply omit the versicle Requiésca(n)t in pace (which is in the third person) in its position before the Collect, but replace it after the Collect with the following (which is in the first person singular, and has exactly twice as many syllables):

V. In te, Dómine, sperávi, non confúndar in ætérnum. (Ps. 30, 2)
R. Amen.

11. Replace the Collect(s) for the dead with the following Collect for a Good Death:

Omnípotens et miséricors Deus, qui humáno géneri et salútis remédia et vitæ ætérnæ múnera contulísti: réspice propítius nos fámulos tuos, et ánimas réfove, quas creásti; ut, in hora éxitus eárum, absque peccáti mácula tibi Creatóri suo per manus sanctórum Angelórum repræsentári mereántur. Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sǽcula sæculórum. R. Amen.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Dominican Rite Litany for the Dying


Kyrie, eleison.           
Christe, eleison.
Kyrie, eleison.           

Christe, audi nos.
Christe, exaudi nos.

Pater de cælis, Deus, miserere ei.
Fili, Redemptor mundi, Deus, miserere ei.
Spiritus Sancte, Deus, miserere ei.
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, miserere ei.

Sancta Maria, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Dei Genetrix, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Virgo virginum, ora pro eo (ea).

Sancte Michaël, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Gabriel, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Raphaël, ora pro eo (ea).
Omnes sancti Angeli et Archangeli, orate pro eo (ea).
Omnes sancti beatorum Spirituum ordines, orate pro eo (ea).

Sancte Joannes Baptista, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Joseph, ora pro eo (ea).
Omnes sancti Patriarchæ et Prophetæ, orate pro eo (ea).

Sancte Petre, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Paule, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Andrea, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Jacobe, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Joannes, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Thoma, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Jacobe, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Philippe, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Bartholomæe, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Matthæe, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Simon, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Thaddæe, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Matthia, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Barnaba, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Marce, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Luca, ora pro eo (ea).
Omnes sancti Discipuli Domini, orate pro eo (ea).

Omnes sancti Innocentes, orate pro eo (ea).
Sancte Stephane, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Clemens, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Corneli, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Cypriane, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Laurenti, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Vincenti, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Dionysi cum sociis tuis, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Mauriti cum sociis tuis, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Januari cum sociis tuis, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancti Fabiane et Sebastiane, orate pro eo (ea).
Sancti Cosma et Damiane, orate pro eo (ea).
Sancte Thoma, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Petre, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Joannes cum sociis tuis, ora pro eo (ea).
Omnes sancti Martyres, orate pro eo (ea).

Sancte Silvester, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Gregori, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Pie, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Ambrosi, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Augustine, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Hieronyme, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Hilari, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Martine, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Nicolaë, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Antonine, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Alberte, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Pater Dominice, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Pater Dominice, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Thoma, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Vincenti, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Hyacinthe, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Raymunde, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Ludovice, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Antoni, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Benedicte, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Bernarde, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancte Francisce, ora pro eo (ea).
Omnes sancti Confessores, orate pro eo (ea).

Sancta Anna, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Maria Magdalena, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Martha, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Felicitas, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Perpetua, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Agatha, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Lucia, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Agnes, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Cæcilia, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Catharina, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Margarita, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Ursula cum sodalibus tuis, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Catharina, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Rosa, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Agnes, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Catharina, ora pro eo (ea).
Sancta Margarita, ora pro eo (ea).
Omnes sanctæ Virgines et Viduæ, orate pro eo (ea).

Omnes Sancti, orate pro eo (ea).

Propitius esto, libera eum (eam), Domine.

A damnatione perpetua, libera eum (eam), Domine.
A subitanea et improvisa morte, libera eum (eam), Domine.
Ab imminentibus peccatorum suorum periculis, libera eum (eam), Domine.
Ab infestationibus dæmonum, libera eum (eam), Domine.

Per mysterium sanctæ Incarnationis tuæ, libera eum (eam), Domine.
Per passionem et crucem tuam, libera eum (eam), Domine.
Per gloriosam resurrectionem tuam, libera eum (eam), Domine.
Per admirabilem ascensionem tuam, libera eum (eam), Domine.
Per gratiam Spiritus Sancti Paracliti, libera eum (eam), Domine.
In die judicii, libera eum (eam), Domine.

Peccatores, te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut iracundiæ tuæ flagella ab eo (ea) amoveas, te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut ejus spiritum a loco angustiæ liberes, te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut eum (eam) in regione vivorum æternis gaudiis confoveri jubeas, te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut nos exaudire digneris, te rogamus, audi nos.
Fili Dei, te rogamus, audi nos.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, parce ei, Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, libera eum (eam), Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere ei, Domine.

Kyrie, eleison.
Christe, eleison.
Kyrie, eleison.

Pater noster (secreto usque ad)
V. Et nos nos inducas in tentationem.
R. Sed libera nos a malo.

V. Salvum (Salvam) fac servum tuum (ancillam tuam).
R. Deus meus sperantem in te.
V. Mitte ei, Domine, auxilium de sancto.
R. Et de Sion tuere eum (eam).
V. Nihil proficiat inimicus in eo (ea).
R. Et filius iniquitatis non apponat nocere ei.
V. Esto ei, Domine, turris fortitudinis.
R. A facie inimici.
V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
(V. Dominus vobiscum.
(R. Et cum spiritu tuo.)

Oremus.

Oratio.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, conservator animarum, qui quos diligis corripis, et quos recipis pie ad emendationem coërces: te invocamus, Domine, ut famulo tuo, qui (famulæ tuæ, quæ) in corpore patitur membrorum debilitatem, gratiam tuam conferre digneris; ut in hora exitus sui de corpore, absque mortalis peccati macula, tibi datori proprio per manus sanctorum Angelorum tuorum ejus anima repræsentari mereatur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.