Sunday, January 10, 2010

Farewell, Florence; Hello, Rome

Hang the expense, I thought: I'm tired.  So I bought a first class train ticket to Rome, and had a taxi take me right to my hotel.  (Total cost for all this, €89.)  I left my lodgings in Florence just after noon, and booked in here at about three o'clock.  Very good.


I am tired, having not slept all that well, and having arisen to walk to 7.30 am Mass at Santa Trinità.  I must say, I find Mass in Italian much more bearable than in English!  Italian is close enough to Latin; I give all the responses in Latin (I know the new Confiteor, and can just about say Quia tuum est regnum et potestas et gloria, but am still unsure - in more ways than one - about the Latin of the Memorial Acclamations), and kneel to receive communion, as seems unremarkable here (most receive, standing, on the tongue, some, kneeling, on the tongue).

Wierdly, no one seems to have heard about the latest Roman decree (already in force back in Australia) that all must stand at the Orate fratres; nor was this in play in Scotland either (though it was in England).

In Italy, there seems quite some free diversity of posture: some kneel just for the Consecration, but many (including myself) kneel for the whole Eucharistic Prayer.  I know and can recognize the words of the important bits of the Mass; as for the readings, well, I know something of the New Testament!  To-day there was something about God's love from the First Epistle of St John, and Our Lord walking on the water in the Gospel...

Best of all, the sensible Benedictines at Santa Trinità have no stupid new forward altars, so Mass was said facing East.

I do wish Pope Benedict will turn the altars round, so we all face Christ again, not the passing world!  (He's only a few hundred metres away, strange to think...)

After a hearty breakfast, I went and prayed at Santa Croce (the guards at the door seemed mildly surprised that a tourist would really want to do so, but I produced my Diurnal and explained in pidgin Italian that Mi Cattolico), then made a brisk and hasty march south across one of the bridges to Oltrarno, which I found disappointing overall (though certainly Santo Spirito is a very large church).  I found in a bookshop such gems as a complete four-volume 1896 Roman Breviary, but as even a smaller more recent one-volume set was €120 I decided to demurr from making a purchase.

Very annoyingly, despite promising the good nuns at Carmel back home, I didn't find either of the twin sainted Carmelite mystics of Florence, neither Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart, nor Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi (one or both of whom being incorrupt, too).  You'd think they'd be better advertised.  Nor did I make it up the hill to San Miniato al Monte.

In any case, I resolve to return often to Florence, my salary permitting!


This afternoon, I may potter over to St Peter's, grabbing a coffee en route, and at least visit a certain bookshop (Leonine Books or somesuch) that I didn't have time in last time here.  I meet up with the usual suspects for dinner this evening; then to-morrow it's Mass at the N.A.C. (well. two: Fr wants me to serve his private Low Mass while the seminary have their solemn one) and so forth.


Schutz said...

Are you catch
up with any of the Australian clergy who were there for the priests conference?

as for standing at the O.f. that might be a bishops conference matter.

Mark M said...

How far is it from Firenze to Rome? €89 sounds cheap for First Class anywhere!

Are you sure about that Roman Decree? Maybe it's just an Australian invention!? ;-P Schutz has a good point.

Anthony Bidgood said...

Dear Joshua,

Re. your previous Florentine post: so pleased to read about Venerable Margaret Sinclair. Sir Jimmy Saville, familiar to older generations of British people, is/was a 'champion' of her cause. I've found the story of her life truly inspiring, for me up there with Saint Benedict Joseph Labre.

I think Mark is correct about the standing at the Orate Fratres, it is an Australian amendment to the congregation's stance during the OF of the Mass.


Joshua said...

Such learned commenters, yet strangely unaware! I now talk about the OF Mass:

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, in the current edition published in the year 2000, mandates - worldwide - that the people should stand “from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below” (n. 43).

Therefore, in Australia, where this instruction of ten years ago (!) has already been implemented - unlike in Scotland or indeed in Italy, as it appears from my recent experience - it has been patiently explained to all that at Mass we must stand when the priest says "Pray, brethren...", and all now happily do this on cue.

(I have heard it said that some in Germany, etc., were entirely omitting the Orate fratres, seeking to deny the Sacrifice of the Mass which it emphasises, and this is the reason why this change has been brought in, so that on the contrary the Sacrifice of the Mass is emphasised by this declaration: "May the Lord receive the Sacrifice at your hands...")

In Australia, the people kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer (from after the Sanctus), as mandated by our bishops since the introduction of the Novus Ordo, in continuity with older practice, which the GIRM says is a custom that may be laudably retained: otherwise, one is to kneel for the Epiclesis and Consecration only.

Similarly, the rule in Australia is that we kneel from after the Agnus Dei until communion.

These two latter rules are local adaptations, whereas to stand at the Orate fratres is what is universally prescribed.