Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

The great St Ignatius!

(Who, BTW, should actually be called Enecus or Innicus in Latin - that's what Íñigo means - but he chose Ignatius as but a seeming variant of his own name that was recognizable throughout Christendom and not strange-sounding.)

Everyone knows that Jesuits are like the proverbial "little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead..." - when they're good, they're very, very good, but when they're bad, they're horrid!

(One fine Jesuit here in Australia, for example, is the formidable Fr Gregory Jordan, S.J., who looks after the Brisbane Latin Mass community; it was good to see him at Juventutem. I won't bore readers with a partial list of the bad ones!)

His proper Mass is excellent, and moving, with its magnificent Introit and Communion, and Epistle borrowed from one of the Common Masses of a Martyr... the three orations even survive (somewhat emasculated) in the Novus Ordo:

Deus, qui ad majórem tui nóminis glóriam propagándam, *novo per* [NO omits] beátum Ignátium *subsídio militantem* [NO: in] *Ecclésiam roborásti* [NO: Ecclesia suscitasti]: concéde; ut, ejus auxílio et imitatióne certántes in terris, coronári cum ipso mereámur in cælis. Per...

Adsint [NO: Placeant], Dómine Deus, *oblatiónibus nostris sancti Ignátii benígna suffrágia* [NO: oblationes in celebratione beati Ignatii tibi delatæ, et præsta]: ut sacrosáncta mystéria, in quibus omnis sanctitátis fontem constituísti, nos quoque in veritáte sanctíficent. Per...

Laudis hóstia, Dómine, quam pro sancto [NO: beato] Ignátio grátias agéntes obtúlimus: ad perpétuam nos majestatis tuæ laudatiónem, *ejus intercessióne* [NO omits], perdúcat. Per ...

In the Collect, the changes made remove reference to strengthening the Church militant with new assistance, and replace it with God's raising up of St Ignatius in the Church - so completely devaluing his establishment of the Society of Jesus. At least the Latin retained mention of fighting (certantes). The modifications to the secret and postcommunion delete all mention of the Saint's intercession; how Jansenistic.

In case you're wondering, I attended Novus Ordo Mass and Confession - Mass was said devoutly, and I was made perfectly welcome when I knelt for Communion (the server even held a communion plate!) - but still I prefer the old ways.

St Martha - II

Perusing Guéranger, I came upon what I must reproduce here: his apt and arresting application of Holy Writ to the praiseworthy acts of St Martha, the Hostess of the Lord:

Our Lord said, Into whatever city or town you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide. (St Matt. x, 11)

But behold! [Our Lord] entered into a certain town, and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. (St Luke x, 38)

Therefore, He Who is Truth adjudged her worthy. Many, extending hospitality to strangers, have entertained angels unawares; but she was graced to give shelter to the Lord Himself. And whoso receives Him, receives also the Father Who sent Him: Martha, surely graced by the Holy Ghost, was hospitable to the whole Trinity. The peace of Christ came to rest on that blessed house in Bethany.

What her reward?

He that ministers to Me shall follow Me, and where I am, there shall also My minister be, and My Father will honour him.

For they that have ministered well shall purchase to themselves a good degree, and much confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. (I Tim. iii, 13)

God is not unjust, that He should forget your work and the love which you have shown in His name, you who have ministered and do minister to the saints [let alone to the Saint of Saints]. (I Tim. iii, 13)

Yet more - As many as received Him, He gave them power to be made the sons of God. (St John i, 12)

She now as it were sits at table with the Lord, He serving her, by giving her to drink of the abundance of the delights of the Beatific Vision, and the joyful company of all the saints in heaven.

Blessed is that servant whom when his Lord shall come, He shall find so doing. Amen, I say to you, He shall place him over all His goods. (I Tim. iii, 13)

From heaven her eternal home, she, as all the saints, is at perfect rest, and yet, in a manner purified from all earthly care, is ever sollicitous for us, interceding for man's salvation.

The epitaph upon her reputed burial place in Tarascon: Sollicita non turbatur - "Ever zealous, she is no longer troubled".

SS Abdon and Sennen

Rather late (their commemoration was yesterday), I feel I should blog on those holy Persian Martyrs of the Primitive Church, SS Abdon and Sennen. It is my contention that we should be careful to foster devotion to these and other first and greatest Christians, who truly served the Lord by their witness unto death: they exemplify, in their zeal for the fearless propagation of the Gospel, how all should live. Furthermore, these and other Persian saints remind us of what is almost forgotten: the voluntary holocaust, surely very pleasing to the Lord, of vast numbers of Persian Christians in the early centuries and since. Though on earth few now recall them, they live and reign forever in heaven; surely their prayers avail much.

It is related of them that, in the reign of the most impious Decius, they were arraigned on charges of burying the bodies of Christians - one of the corporal works of mercy, as exemplified for us by holy Tobias in Sacred Scripture - and, upon their stedfast refusal to offer incense to idols, were loaded down with chains, whipped, and thrown to the savage beasts: which refused to devour them. In the usual fashion, then, they were beheaded, by inhuman cruelty more savage than wild animals; yet thereby they defeated the enemies of their salvation by fearing not those who may slay the body but cannot kill the soul, and in triumph won eternal victory with, in, and through Christ. As befitted those who had shewn care for the bodies of the departed, their remains were privily recovered and given honourable repose. (The exact details of their sufferings is unclear, owing to the general loss of certain records over time, but they were certainly revered as saints as early as the third century.)

Their collect:

Deus, qui sanctis tuis Abdon et Sennen ad hanc glóriam veniéndi copiósum munus gratiæ contulísti: da fámulis tuis suórum véniam peccatórum; ut, Sanctórum tuórum intercedéntibus meritis, ab ómnibus mereántur adversitátibus liberari. Per...

O God, Who didst confer on Thy saints Abdon and Sennen the great gift of grace of coming to this glory: give to Thy servants forgiveness of their sins; that, by the inteceding merits of Thy Holy Ones, they may deserve to be delivered from all adversities. Through...

Through, with, and in Christ, as members of His Body, truly holy as He is Holy, the Saints plead their merits (which are His gift, which He has crowned), that by God's gift of grace we, His sin-stained servants, may be granted the Divine forgiveness, and ourselves come to merit liberation from all our foes, principally those that would attempt to drag down our immortal souls from the bliss promised those faithful to the end.

As a coda, there is a most curious manifestation at one of their locales of especial veneration, Arles-sur-Tech, Pyrenees-Orientales (Rousillon), France, concerning which I quote:

ARLES-SUR-TECH has a beautiful Romanesque Abbey, whose Carolingian origins in the ninth century are thought to account for its back-to-front alignment of altar at the west end and the entrance at the east. Against the wall outside the east front stands a very ancient (fourth- or fifth-century) sarcophagus, known as the Ste Tombe , which has the mysterious and scientifically inexplicable habit of slowly filling with very pure water. Every year, on 30 July, when Arles celebrates its fête dedicated to SS Abdon and Sennen, the water is siphoned out and distributed after Mass to the pilgrims who have come to worship.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

St Martha

While I didn't make it to Mass today, I did get to Confession; and, as the late Fr Peter Knowles, O.P., said, every sacrament is an act of worship: to Confess (one's sins) is to confess (one's Faith in God).

Consider St Martha, that dear friend of Our Blessed Lord (cf. St John xi, 5), and how she stands for the active life, which is for this world only, while her dear sister, St Mary, with whom she is united, stands for the contemplative life which begins now and shall never end; in the next world, contemplation will be all: so the contemplative is the image of the eschatological reality. In this life, action must be rightly ordered to contemplation, so as to fit us for the next world without foolishly neglecting the necessities of this vale of tears: the veil must be torn, as it were, to reveal the hidden mysteries, known only to us through Christ, Who Himself is the new and living Way.

St Luke x, 38-42

Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord's feet, heard his word. But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.

When Lazarus her brother sickened, St Martha sent word to Our Lord; He came, but in His due time, and in a manner comparable to His most gentle corrective words to her, she boldly as it were even reproaches Him for this; yet St Martha's Faith, enduring even in the face of fell death, elicits from the Lord one of His magnificent confessions: I Am the Resurrection and the Life...

St John xi, 20-29

Martha therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus had come, went to meet him: but Mary sat at home. Martha therefore said to Jesus: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But now also I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith to her: Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith to him: I know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this? She saith to him: Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world. And when she had said these things, she went, and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The master is come, and calleth for thee.

These last words, The Master is here, and calleth thee, are embroidered on the altarcover for the altar at St John's, Richmond, Tasmania, one of the oldest Catholic churches in the Commonwealth. What words of peace!

Let me quote the proper collect for this feast from the modern Divine Office:

Almighty, ever-living God, your Son graciously came as a guest to the home of Saint Martha. By her prayers give us grace to serve Christ faithfully in our brethren, and bring us to your home in heaven. Through...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

SS Nazarius, Celsus, Victor and Innocent

I may as well get in early with my comments about tomorrow's saints; after work, I will be able to attend Low Mass in their honour at 6:30pm.

Archdale Arthur King commented, in his Liturgies of the Primatial Sees, that one feature of the Ambrosian Rite is its propensity to feast several disparate saints together, commemorating them by one collect and one Office and one Mass on a given day. This Ambrosian custom, so-called*, may be seen at work in the feast of SS Nazarius, Celsus, Victor and Innocent: two faithful Christian witnesses martyred at Milan, one Pope-martyr, and another sainted Supreme Pontiff and Confessor, who was the hammer of the Pelagian heretics. It is due to St Ambrose that we have the relics of the first two, for it was he who found them.

(* I wonder whether it may not be Roman indeed: for there are like collects grouping the following sets of martyr-saints in the Roman Missal: SS Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor and Nazarius; SS Sergius, Bacchus, Marcellus and Apuleius; SS Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancratius; and SS Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum - the last four fascinate me, as a Christian Persian noble family who perhaps unwisely took a holiday in Rome during the persecutions and were nabbed when they went to visit and succour the Christians already languishing in prison!)

Even their proper Lesson at Matins consists of three separate potted biographies one after the other, almost in the manner of an entry in the Martyrology.

These holy four have proper orations for their Mass, and a proper Lesson for the Epistle, but otherwise the texts for the service come from the relevant common.

I think the Proper Lesson (Wisdom x, 17-20 - prefaced by Deus, and concluded with Domine Deus noster) noteworthy, in that at first its application to them does not seem so obvious, for on the face of it the reading but tells the tale of the Israelites delivered from Egypt - but, of course, this is the central type and foreshadowing of the delivery by Baptism of all Christians from the slavery of Satan. This true image was beloved of the early Church, and was applied furthermore to the martyrs, who by their apparent defeat in bloody death drowned in truth all machinations of unbelieving pagans, the Devil's dupes, and confounded accursed Lucifer himself, his intended prey being instead translated to heaven.

God rendered to the just the wages of their labours, and conducted them in a wonderful way: and he was to them for a covert by day, and for the light of stars by night: And he brought them through the Red Sea, and carried them over through a great water. But their enemies he drowned in the sea, and from the depth of hell he brought them out. Therefore the just took the spoils of the wicked. And they sung to thy holy name, O Lord, and they praised with one accord thy victorious hand, O Lord our God.

And here are the proper prayers of the Mass:

Sanctorum tuorum nos, Domine, Nazarii, Celsi, Victoris et Innocentii confessio beata communiat: et fragilitati nostrae subsidium dignanter exoret. Per...

Concede nobis, omnipotens Deus: ut his muneribus, quae in sanctorum tuorum Nazarii, Celsi, Victoris et Innocentii honore deferimus, et te placemus exhibitis, et nos vivificemur acceptis. Per...

Sanctorum Nazarii, Celsi, Victoris et Innocentii, Domine, intercessione placatus: praesta, quaesumus; ut, quae temporali celebramus actione, perpetua salvatione capiamus. Per...

(Lord, may the blessed confession of Thy saints Nazarius, Celsus, Victor and Innocent together defend us: and may it worthily implore support for our frailty. Through...

(Grant unto us, almighty God, that by these gifts, which we bring in honur of Thy saints Nazarius, Celsus, Victor and Innocent, both being shewn forth, we may please Thee, and being accepted, may quicken us. Through...

(Lord, being appeased by the intercession of Thy saints Nazarius, Celsus, Victor and Innocent, grant, we beseech Thee, that, what we celebrate by a work in time, we may grasp in perpetual salvation. Through...)

May their true and therefore blessed witness-unto-death be for us a defence and a support; may what we offer in their honour (being transsubstantiated into the one clean and perfect Oblation) obtain that we may be made God-pleasing, and give us supernatural life both in its being offered in sacrifice, and in its reception by us; and may the divine mystery we celebrate on earth, at their intercession, transpire to be what we lay hold of evermore in heaven. What prayers!

I think there is something very powerful in celebrating the feasts of the early martyrs. It touches at once the earliest days and the greatest witnesses-unto-Christ of the Roman Church, in and through the very raw power of its ancient Liturgy.

Emitte lucem tuam

Previously I blogged on the excellent Psalm 42, Judica me, but now wish to supplement my reflections thereon. The theme (which to be honest I hardly considered) for this WYD Juventutem pilgrimage just past was Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam - "Send forth Thy light and Thy truth" (Ps 42:3a): which may be considered as a plea, pleasing to the Father ipso facto because expressed by His adopted children using words inspired by the Holy Ghost, petitioning for the sending forth God's light and truth (his inspiration for our wills to do what is good, and his illumination for our intellect to grasp what is true), or again for Him to send us His Holy Spirit to sanctify and govern us by His grace, precisely to breath in us and enlighten us, or again for Him to send us Christ His Son, Who is the Light and the Truth, even in His Sacraments, to physically touch and heal and save us, or again to send us both Persons, and with Them, by the circumincession of the Trinity, for He Himself to come into our hearts. And does the theme remind us of the rest of the verse: "let them lead me and bring me unto Thy holy mountain, and into Thy tabernacles: and I will go in to the altar of God"? Here we see how such a Divine illapse must needs move us beyond ourselves, to come unto Mount Sion, that is the Church, both in heaven (ultimately, but for now in hope) and on earth, and within her, to come unto the Altar, the true Christian Altar, Christ, there to plead His Sacrifice and receive It, as sacrificants and communicants.

Further reflection on this profound psalm and this verse in particular can be drawn from the various psalm-collects that tradition has passed down to us, and that the modern Divine Office permits to be used:

Almighty Father, source of everlasting light, send forth your truth into our hearts and pour over us the brightness of your light.


Father, your Son was condemned by reason of our sins, but on Easter morning you glorified him with the glory he always had with you. Do not leave us, his members, in the enemy's hands, but bring us, through our joyful participation at your altar, to your eternal tabernacle on high to adore in spirit and in truth.

From a high church Lutheran source comes a 'third' apposite psalm-collect, which I suspect is probably a more literal translation from the Latin original of the first prayer above (though the long ending is non-standard, and reflects some of the Anglican BCP variations, as is common for Lutheran prayers in English):

Almighty God, fountain of perpetual light, we pray Thee that, sending out Thy truth into our hearts, Thou wouldst lighten us with the new brightness of Thine eternal light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end. Amen.

The Automobile Rosary

Why are simple things oft so hard to grasp?

I was happily saying a Rosary while driving home after visiting my aunt, when I suddenly realized that the answer to the question, How to fit in a daily Rosary, was there being acted out before me, by my own self!

It is perfectly lawful and moral to drive with due attention, and while so doing, to say one's Rosary and consider its Mysteries.

Note to self: do so in future!

Vonier: The Doctrinal Power of the Liturgy

I promised on founding this blog that it would contain rather more theology than it has turned out to present; let this reprint continue my irregular series of more properly doctrinal postings.

Ever since I first discovered his writings while on retreat at Galong, NSW, I've loved the work of Dom Anscar Vonier, Abbot of Buckfast (d. 1938). Having just obtained a copy of his Sketches and Studies in Theology (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne, 1940), I cannot forbear from quoting long extracts from one very important chapter (XIV, pp. 146-156), which originally appeared in the English Clergy Review earlier in the century:

(BTW, he begins with an amusing sideswipe at extreme manualists! Dom Anscar was a noted Thomist, FWIW.)


There does not exist an official syllabus of the doctrines of the Catholic Church with every revealed dogma expressed in exclusively technical language. The depositum fidei is not like a manual of higher mathematics, full of doctrinal formulas couched in terms that are absolutely immutable and could not be interchanged. The Church has never found it necessary to commission any body of learned theologians to compile such a syllabus, and even if it were possible to produce such a work its practical utility would not be as great as it might seem at first sight.

Let us take as an instance that dogma of supreme importance: the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. We have no official phrase for describing the event contained in that dogma; we just have the sentence of the Creed which does no more than state the fact that 'on the third day Christ rose from the dead according to the Scriptures.' Even then when a council defines a doctrine of the Faith it is surprising to find how broad and spacious are the expressions used; the Doctors of the Church are not mathematicians, but they are teachers, and it is their office to present to the Christian people their Faith in suh a way that they can understand it. The presentment of the revealed deposit of Faith to the Christian people is indeed a marvellous charisma possessed by the Catholic Church; there is, on the one hand, the Church's mission not to alter or diminish in any way the revealed dogma whose content is, by its very nature, abstruse and recondite; on the other hand the Church has to give the bread of doctrine to the little ones, to the vast masses of uneducated minds; the Church has to make an impression on their imagination, on their sentiment, without lowering the sublime spirituality of the revealed truth. She has to put on the lips of her children professions of faith which mean something to them, nay, which mean everything; and yet those professions by their very nature are concerned with mysteries and profound doctrines. Is there anything more difficult in the experience of mankind than the maintenance of a high standard of thought or behaviour where the masses are concerned? Art and literature, to quote those manifestations of human excellency, become debased the moment they become the property of the many. How then could we expect so high a standard of thought and feeling as is implied in the depositum fidei to remain constant in the multitude of Christians?

Yet we have to admit that the Catholic Church has achieved the impossible; that she has presented to all generations of Christians the mysteries of her Faith, not only with the greatest fidelity to the very text of the mystery, but with a skill in rendering the invisible visible, the intangible tangible, that is truly astonishing. The Catholic people, at least hitherto, have had a wonderful grasp of their Faith, and nowhere do we see any diminution of that gift of visualizing the unseen mysteries in a worthy way. How is it that in spite of its baffling abstruseness the doctrine of the Trinity has remained, even for the simple Catholic, a vivid and life-giving familiarity with God, without any intermingling of base anthropomorphism? How is it that the Catholic people can understand easily what is meant by the Incarnation? How is it that the Virgin Birth, about which learned men outside the Church blunder so grossly, is for Catholics a doctrine easily acceptable, a doctrine whose place in the economy of salvation they instinctively see? Evidently the Church has done more than just state those doctrines, she has made them acceptable and sweet, she has given them a charm, she has made them lovable. The Church, in other words, has made of all her main doctrines Feasts for her people.

It would be impossible to exaggerate the meaning of this act which clearly was the Church's first care from the very beginng, to make of her mysteries the Feasts of the Christian life. I take the word 'Feast' here in the most generic sense, I give it the meaning of an act performed either by the individual Christian or by the whole community to express, to commemorate, to celebrate what they believed in, what they knew in the light of their Faith. Now this was a peculiar characteristic which all Christian dogma was found to possess; it could be made by men a celebration, a solemnity, its memory could sanctify a given day, its proclamation could make the whole Christian community happy, it had a life-giving power which truth of the merely natural order could never possess. So before many years have passed after the Day of Pentecost what do we find? That the Christian Church not only believes, but symbolises her belief, making of it a Feast, has found many wonderful symbols and ceremonies to express almost adequately the hidden glories of Christ. The constancy of that celebration is, of course, its most overwhelming aspect. In all its essentials the Church celebrates to-day the mysteries of Christ and the hidden things of God as she has done for ages without number. The whole Christian language was coined by those celebrations. We can hardly realize the extent to which the Christian temperament is indebted to the Christian Feasts. In fact, which of us could understand Catholicism without its solemnities, without its Liturgy? In the Liturgy the faithful of all ages have found it possible to utter their faith nobly, purely, and amply. Through the Liturgy we have been saved from that decadence which lies in wait for all the noble movements of humanity, we have been preserved from the vulgarisation of what is holy.

It is, of course, well known how this desire to act a hidden truth ostensibly and externally has haunted every sect and every cult. In our own days it is possible for us to witness the renaissance of similar efforts with the neo-pagans of Nordic pretensions. The history of mankind reveals innumerable such attempts. It is certainly a testimony to that hidden law of the Spirit that no truth is of any value that cannot be acted by man in some religious ceremony or expressed in some solemnity. Catholicism is simply man at his best, man uplifted to the sphere of the Divine. Our acting and solemnising the hidden verities of God, instead of being a timid and awkward attempt, is the power of the Spirit Himself, of the Holy Ghost, who is the Unction of the Church, teaching her not only how to think but also how to sing.

No apology is required for putting these considerations before the reader; nothing less than an appeal to the ultimate laws of Catholic life is necessary in order to make us understand the position of the Liturgy in the progress of the kingdom of God. We all know, the matter is in no need of emphasis, that the problem of problems in our life is this: how to present our Faith to the people who look to us for guidance. We must be quite clear on this one matter; we are expected to give to the world a religion that will interest the believer, a religion that will satisfy his artistic cravings; the expression is not too strong. Our Faith must be beautiful if it is to hold souls. Far from us the illusion that it is sufficient to tell our people what to believe and what to do as one gives medicine to a sick person, tasteless or perhaps even unpalatable! Perhaps we priests too readily become the victims of certain well-worn phrases which seem to be the product of lazy shepherds, and which appear to make every dogma just a blow on the head which the believer should receive thankfully. Some piece of doctrine is given him, not as bread to eat and to enjoy, but as a stone to carry about. Far from us, I say, such facile belief in our people's readiness to be contented believers; they are hungering and thirsting for the beauties of their Faith, and unless we meet them in their legitimate desires our true contact with souls becomes less and less every year. Wherever we go, in whatever direction we turn our eyes, we find the marvellous ways the world has to present its wares to all the senses of man. Is it Christian doctrines alone that must be put before his eyes with crudeness and baldness? Is it Christian doctrines alone that are deprived of the power of charming? Is it not rather the truth that the enemy of Christ, the spirit of darkness, does all in his power to stop the solemnities of the Lord here on earth, to make Christ and His Church appear unattractive, nay, even repulsive.

...The liturgical movement is above all things a renovation among us of the art of celebrating the Christian Feasts and consequently of presenting to the people the mysteries of God in a splendid fashion. The parish priest who gives to his people a great Christmas, a glorious Easter, a splendid Corpus Christi festivity, is a first-class liturgist, though he may press into service methods old and new. The matter of supreme importance is this, that the faithful should know the meaning of each Feast as that Feast comes along in its turn; the theology of the celebration ought to enter their minds by every one of their senses; they ought to see the divine Babe, they ought to hear the Canticles of Bethlehem; the incense of the altar ought to remind them of the gifts of the Magi; the priest's words from the pulpit should contribute just enough intellectual element to give our good people the assurance that we priests know much about the mystery which, through a supernatural instinct, they love so intensely. It is truly easy for any pastor of souls to preach what is called a 'dogmatic sermon' appropriate to the Feast; our dear people understand much more than we give them credit for, and they are always happy when they are instructed in their Faith. It is indeed evident that nothing equals the words of the Missal in order to make both priest and people enter into the spirit of a Feast, but let us bear in mind that our great solemnities have a wonderful way of takng hold of our people of enveloping them, of making them feel festive. With the Confessions they make on these holy occasions, with the Communion which they receive in the early morning, their souls are wonderfully attuned to the whole Christian concept of things; they will believe the Incarnation, the Resurrection of the Body, the coming down of the Holy Ghost, the Real Presence, without a moment's hesitation; they will take from us the whole mystery of God, wholesale, and we need not hesitate to put before them the verities of the Faith in all their greatness, with all their implications. Through our Feasts we have truly a most marvellous power of spiritual propaganda, if one may make use of a word that is falling more and more into disrepute. It is to be admitted quite simply that nowhere, not even in our best schools, can we teach religion as we teach it in our churches when we keep the Feasts of the year to the best of our ability.

My words in this matter would be misunderstood if by solemnity I were to be taken to mean a great display of external splendour such as is possible only in the important centres of religion like the Cathedral churches or Abbeys. Those solemn functions are indeed a mighty asset to the Catholic Faith; in normal times they are quite indispensable if the Catholic cause is to prosper. Their dogmatic power is truly immense. But they are, by their very nature, exceptional at least in our days. It is, however, the splendid achievement of the Catholic people to give to their worship matchless dignity even there where the external resources are more restricted. Who among us has not witnessed truly superb festivities in many a village church all over Christendom? To keep up that spirit, to foster it in every way, to encourage it in every possible manner, ought to be the primary object of the liturgical movement. Far from us a false purism which is historically incorrect and psychologically wrong. One may safely assert that the dignity of Catholic worship is safe for all times through the simple fact of the mysteriousness of Mass. Catholic piety may become naïve but it will never be vulgar, because the sense of mystery is inborn in every Christian soul. There is no danger in the more popular presentments of faith and devotion; Cribs at Christmas, Easter Sepulchres on the Resurrection day, to mention only two manifestations of traditional piety, are an immense help to faith in the mysteries. The fact is simply indisputable that any Catholic man or woman who has taken part wholeheartedly in all the Feasts of one liturgical year has a store of religious knowledge, nay, even of dogmatic faith, that is truly enviable. There is nowhere in the whole world such an educational power in matters of religion as the great Catholic Liturgy.

St Thomas Aquinas, in his Quæstio disputata,* [* De Veritate, Q. xiv, art. 11.] gives it as his decision that it is enough for a Christian to know those mysteries of his Faith of which the Church keeps the solemnity. He thus solves for the ordinary Christian the disputed point what is to be held explicitly and what is to be held implicitly in Catholic belief.

The Catholic Liturgy thus understood will always be the final rallying-point of the people of God. long as Catholics celebrate together the Resurrection of the Lord, to mention the Festivity of festivities only, they are a mighty people with an independent life of their own.

One of the great advantages of the liturgical presentment of Catholic dogma is found in this, that it sets forth revealed truth in a non-combative and non-controversial way. It is truly the divine bread prepared for the use of the children. We forget the unbeliever, the heretic, the schismatic, when we are gathered together for the Feasts of the Lord; instead, we are made to remember the Angelic Choirs and the Saints of heaven. If evil and Satan are at all alluded to in the liturgy, such remembrances are songs of triumph, because in the Liturgy the powers of darkness are mentioned only in connexion with Christ's victory over all sin. It is indeed a supreme satisfaction to the Catholic soul to be thus left to enjoy the Faith for its own sake; it creates in the Church a spirit of confidence far more potent than any controversy, however well conducted, can do.

When He was on the point of celebrating for the first time the liturgical act par excellence, the Eucharistic mystery, Christ gave vent to the innermost feelings of His heart: 'With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you, before I suffer,' He said.* [* Luke xxii, 15.] We must think of Christ then as sitting down to the celebration of the first Mass, happy and radiant. From this spirit the Christian people have never departed; the divine mysteries in all their aspects are for them an occasion of spiritual joy; they know that they are the children of the Kingdom, eating and drinking at the Table of God. Our Christianity would indeed become a terrible power of exaggerated zeal and religious bitterness if it had not this supreme gift of being self-contained and happy in the celebration of its heaven-born truths. It would become the most relentless proselytism instead of being the Kingdom of God on earth.

May we not as a matter of history explain from this angle that strange hatred of Catholicism which is invariably to be found in the dissentient Christian bodies? Whenever they are in earnest about their religion their fervour takes the form of a terrific opposition to Catholicism, precisely because they are devoid of that internal enjoyment of Christianity which the Catholic possesses in his liturgical Feasts. Fanaticism of all kinds would certainly find healing in the corporate celebration of heavenly mysteries, where men are lifted above the sentiments and interests that carry away the unregenerate into every form of excess.

The Seer of Patmos, when beholding the divine drama of heavenly Liturgy, had the impression that there was a great silence in heaven. This divine silence of all that is earthly and passionate is truly a feature of the mighty Catholic Liturgy. There could be no better remedy for the humanism run riot that seems to engulf us on all sides than this taking up of man's mind to the disinterested and completely other-worldly praise of God and His Christ.

(I must admit, such is our distance it seems to me from this happy vision, I felt that Vonier's paean perhaps better described the intraliturgical doctrinal synthesis experienced and treasured so vividly by those of Eastern Rite, whether Catholic or Orthodox! Consider the doxastika of the Byzantine Rite, versus some dubious contemporary Western songs...)

I leave it to any readers to comment upon how far the good Abbot's arguments hold fast, especially considering the de facto deformation of the Liturgy over the past forty-odd years, but also, more positively, how all those striving to fight for the New (and True) Liturgical Movement may receive support for their cause, and even great comfort and solace in these confident insights from the great Dom Anscar. Mortuus adhuc loquitur.

The Portiuncula

Today at Mass, Fr Rowe strove to make us appreciate the great value of indulgences. "He hath done all things well": not only did Our Lord work many miracles, and preach His saving Gospel, but He even died for us on the bitter Rood, and won for us every grace necessary for our access to heaven; for the saving of souls is an infinitely greater accomplishment even than raising the dead. One part of Christ's bounty is His granting, through His Church exercising the power of the Keys in His Name and by His Will, the remission of all or part of the temporal punishment due to sin, over and above His forgiving us, through His priests' Absolution, the dreadful penalty of eternal loss due to our sins, upon our making a true and contrite Confession. Since nothing impure may enter heaven, and after Baptism we accrue many stains and spots upon our souls through sins whose due penalties have not yet been atoned for, it is of the greatest use to Christian people to obtain the many indulgences dispensed from the treasury of merit by Our Holy Mother the Church Catholic.

Now, the coming Saturday falls on the 2nd of August, when the great Portiuncula Indulgence is available. Fr Rowe represented to us its origin: St Francis was bewailing the fate of poor sinners in his cell, when an angel bade him remove to the tiny Church of Portiuncula, given to the nascent Order of Friars Minor by the Benedictines. There he beheld a celestial vision: Jesus and Mary and a great company of angels assembled therein. Throwing himself upon his face, he heard Our Lord ask him what favour he would implore; St Francis boldly replied, that he wished that all entering that church on the anniversary - having made a good Confession, being truly contrite for their sins - should be able to gain a plenary indulgence, to fit them for heaven. Our Lord granted this favour, but commanded Francis to go to His Vicar, Pope Honorius III, and to obtain confirmation of this from him. The vision faded; Francis indeed obtained this same indulgence from the Pope, once he had told him of the vision and evidence had been tendered for its veracity. All this has been testified to by witnesses who knew disciples of St Francis, that Seraphic Patriarch, and this valuable indulgence, valid for all centuries, has again and again been reconfirmed by the Church. Indeed, over the ages, this indulgence has been extended from just the little Portiuncula, first to all Franciscan churches, and finally to all parish churches the wide world over.

This Portiuncula indulgence, then, is most special, because of its supernatural origins. It is to be obtained on the usual conditions: having received Communion and been shriven within the octave, and visiting a church, praying within a Creed and Our Father, plus the usual Our Father and Hail Mary for the Pope's intentions. Having made our Confession, we must be free from all attachment to sin, even venial; else how could we be granted an entire remission of sin's temporal deserts? We should be filled with joy and solace at having set before us so easy a means to cleanse our souls of rust and filth, and rejoice in the mercy and generosity of Christ, Who wills to draw us so sweetly unto Him.

How well does this accord with today's Collect, for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui abundantia pietatis tuæ et merita supplicum excedis et vota: effunde super nos misericordiam tuam; ut dimittas quæ conscientia metuit, et adjicias quod oratio non præsumit. Per...

Almighty everlasting God, Who dost exceed by the abundance of Thy piety both the deserts and the desires of (Thy) supplicants: pour forth upon us Thy mercy; that Thou mayest dismiss what our conscience fears, and grant what our prayer does not presume (to ask). Through...

Despite many being sick, we were still able to have sung Mass this morning: I psalm-toned the Propers, and with the ladies of the St Cecilia choir and all the cogregation sang that old favourite, Missa de Angelis, while for Credo III we alternated the verses between men and women, quite pleasingly. We preceded the Asperges with Newman's fine hymn "Firmly I believe and truly", sang Jesu dulcis memoria at Offertory, sang Ave verum at Communion, and ended with "Now thank we all our God". There's no reason why even the smallest church can't have a sung Mass.

Good St Anne

St Anne, Grandmother of God - that is the arresting title the Easterners give to the mother of Our Lady. Her name, and that of her husband, St Joachim, are known to us through sacred Tradition; by obvious deduction, one chosen to immaculately conceive, to bring forth, to nourish, to educate and edify the Virgin chosen to be the Theotokos must herself have been graced and holy to a high degree. Leo XIII had great devotion to SS Anne and Joachim, for his own parents bore their names, and raised their feasts to the rank of the 2nd class. As we are in process of moving the Latin Mass chaplaincy in Perth from the Pro-Cathedral to St Anne's, Belmont, her feast is one to particularly commemorate. Here is the proper collect:

Deus, qui beatæ Annæ gratiam conferre dignatus es, ut Genitricis unigeniti Filii tui mater effici mereretur: concede propitius; ut, cujus solemnia celebramus, ejus apud te patrociniis adjuvemur. Per eumdem Dominum...

O God, Who didst deign to confer on blessed Anne the grace that she might deserve to be made the mother of the Birthgiver of Thine Onlybegotten Son, favourably grant, that we may be aided by her patronage with Thee, whose solemnities we celebrate. Through the same...


While we haven't yet moved to St Anne's - Justin will be coming over later in August to do more important work, assembling the altar, pulpit, rails, etc. - one of our parishioners, Rosemary, decided to fly over to Sydney for the sung Mass at St Anne's, Bondi, yesterday, and to venerate there the relic of Good St Anne: part of her wristbone. No doubt the prayers and sacrifices ascending to heaven draw down great blessings upon us, who must strive to form ourselves as devout clients of our patroness-elect:

V/. Pray for us, blessed Anne.
R/. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My WYD Memoirs

WYD Memoirs: Saturday, Sunday, Monday 19th-21st July 2008

Saturday bore a great surprise: Cardinal Zen, that pillar of orthodoxy and bulwark of the freedom of our Catholic Faith in China, deigned to attend the Solemn Mass at 9am, hearing Mass with evident prayerful attentiveness at his throne and prie-dieu, and receiving the Divine Communion in the most edifying manner.

I understand that the MC's and all were a bit flummoxed, not having practiced the rubrics for Mass coram Cardinale, but what was done was done with dignity and reverence. (I refer readers to the Juventutem report on WYD for details of the speeches and homily and whatnot.)

I served Fr Rowe's Low Mass next, and then got talking with Christoph, a German seminarian currently based in Austria. He proved to be excellent company, and joined Fr Rowe and I and others for the rest of the day. We all eventually headed into town, again failed to see the Pope (his rumoured appearance at St Mary's Cathedral didn't transpire, Fr Tattersall!), and had a good lunch with Francesca and Marguerite (and Melissa) from Adelaide, previous acquaintances of ours - their sister Emma is at the Traditional nunnery next to Le Barroux - as well as with another nice family, friends of Fr's.

In due course, we trained to North Sydney, and walked the Harbour Bridge, singing the Rosary as we went!

Time having got ahead of us, we bussed to Randwick, aka the Southern Cross precinct, for to attend the Papal Vigil - what stupendous numbers of people!

At this point, readers must refer back to my earlier posting, covering Saturday night and Sunday morning.

...To take up the tale on Sunday afternoon: I tried to get into the Cathedral to visit the sacred relics of Bl Pier Giorgio again, but time didn't permit, so I contented myself with visiting the merchandise emporium opposite to buy some mementos, clothes and presents.

I made it back to Maternal Heart, Lewisham, just in time for the collect of the Asperges, before the Missa Cantata (only Missa Cantata! I've had Solemn Mass if not Pontifical all week! LOL!). The chapel acoustic is excellent, and the chant sung superbly, much faster than I'm used to. Curiously, Fr Gresser FSSP, not otherwise present at the Mass, made three forays into the chapel: to sing the Epistle, to preach an ultra-long sermon on St Peter, Simon Magus and the Emperor Nero, and to assist with the distribution of Communion.

After Mass, having met up for the last time with many good people I know, we again dragged Christoph with us to have a very nice and rather expensive Italian meal. Good luck to him, as he heads off on a backpacking holiday around Australia: Auf Wiedersehen - Goodbye - God be with you.

I arrived back at my homestay about 11.30pm.

On Monday morning, I walked around a few blocks to St Mark's, Drummoyne, to hear a Novus Ordo Mass (strangely, all - but myself - stood for the Canon, yet all knelt after the Agnus Dei: how does that make sense?) and to say my prayers (Matins and Lauds, and Prime on the way back). The priest sensibly spoke of how WYD and the joy of unabashed public witness to our Catholic Faith should teach us all not to be embarrassed about openly living out our Christian witness.

With dear Maria, the nice widow who so kindly gave me and Daniel somewhere to stay for WYD, I watched the Holy Father's last appearances on Australian soil. As a small token and remembrance, I passed over to her a print of the WYD Icon of OurL Lady and Child, Salus Populi Romani. We prayed together before I had to depart: luckily, I got a lift to the airport.

Our flight was somewhat delayed, but was otherwise comfortable and uneventful.

Once back in Perth, George gave Fr and I a lift, and I had time to get organized and go to evening Mass with the prayers of thanksgiving for our safe return from pilgrimage.

Glory be to God for all things. Amen.

WYD Memoirs: Friday 18th July 2008

Bp Meeking catechised us this morning, and very well too, my Lord!

I was privileged to be a torchbearer at his Pontifical Mass, this time on the Gospel side.

(In the image, I am nearest the camera on the left.)

Fr Rowe was deacon of the Mass, and had been exercising himself running over all the minutiae of what he had to do... but his efforts were well-rewarded, all went extremely well, and Fr Terence said afterward that he had not seen such a perfect Pontifical Mass. Deo gratias!

(And for any sour souls who think all this smacks of a mere liking for bells and smells, the external splendour and correctness is meant to be a manifestation of the inner majesty and perfect order of the Sacrifice of the Lamb for our salvation. So there.)

Bp Meeking preached a real stonker of a sermon on the Holy Cross, since the Mass was a Votive thereof: unfortunately, without a transcript to hand I can't do it justice.

After Mass, Mass: Fr Rowe and two other priests again offered simultaneous Low Masses. I served Fr Rowe, and he said Mass of St Camillus de Lellis, a most worthy saint on whom I must blog later. It was very moving to hear Fr Rowe reading the Last Gospel, and to genuflect with him at "And the Word was made flesh", just as first one, then the other priest consecrated and elevated the Sacred Species - truly a marvellous insight into the unity of the Mass, revealed by the Holy Ghost.

We then had some quick lunch, and by car and train raced into town, trying to get to the Cathedral, since His Holiness was to appear there briefly at the First Station of the Cross. (Our tickets were for Barangaroo, but after the crush of yesterday I couldn't bear going there again.) Only Fr Rowe and one other managed to slip past security!

Since we didn't know how or where else to watch the Stations, we gave up - after 4 Masses, I think the Mystery of the Cross had been well-served already - and walked through Hyde Park from the Cathedral perimeter to Starbucks, where, lo and behold! we all met Andrew, my American acquaintance, and also his girlfriend Melissa.

After meeting and greeting, in due course Fr Rowe took us all to St Patrick's, Church Hill, a magnificent church (follow the link and see the splendid interior!), where we attended Exposition of the Bl Sacrament. (I read Sext, and had great delight in praying Psalm 83 before Our Lord in His Sacrament.) Fr had to leave, but Andrew, Melissa and I stayed on for Mass (since they hadn't been to one yet), and then visited the relics of St Peter Chanel and St Marcellin Champagnat in the crypt.

I stayed with my American friends for long enough to finally find some dinner to eat on the run, but then had to farewell that happy couple: I had to catch the bus to Sydney University.

Having reached St John's College at the University, I made it to their glorious Gothic chapel (embellished with several large icons for the occasion), and was able, finally, at the end of this very liturgical day, to attend Russian Catholic Great Vespers ("Imploring Divine Protection for the Natural Environment"), followed by my sixth Mass of the day, the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (commemorating SS Sergius of Radonezh and Athanasius of the Holy Mountain). Archpriest Lawrence Cross - who normally celebrates the Russian Rite in Mebourne - was the celebrant, in the presence of His Excellency John, emeritus Archbishop of the United States, from the Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch.

Truly heavenly: I crossed myself (the Eastern way) so very many times; I made the poklons prescribed (many knelt for the Anaphora, but when in Byzantium, do as the Byzantines do...); the music (all English BTW, but for two of the short Litanies, and the Trisagion in English, Greek, Latin and Slavonic) was uplifting; all was wondrous. It was a pity so few had come to so divine a service. (Fr Rowe was going to, but had to change his plans at the last minute.) The Archpriest preached on St Sisoes of Egypt, one of the Desert Fathers, whose feast it was the next day, and how his icon shews him in horror at finding the tomb of Alexander the Great, and seeing but the poor time-ravaged skeletal remains within - this teaches us the vanity of earthly cares. I normally only receive Communion once a day, but felt I should make a lawful exception, and received the Holy Gifts.

I was delighted to later tell my friend Justin of all this, since he is of Russian Rite, and has Sergius as a patron: he explained to me what I found unusual - Abp John anointing each of us with oil (not sacramentally!) after the Liturgy - for it turns out to be oil blessed at the Polyeleos at Byzantine Matins on feasts, being a holy pun, since Polyeleos means both "[God's] many mercies" and "much oil" in Greek.

Vespers having taken 50 minutes, and the Liturgy an hour and a half, I was glad to travel back to my homestay on buses that permitted me to return by 11pm, finishing my Rosary on the way as I walked the last few blocks.

Six Masses! Deo gratias!

WYD Memoirs: Thursday 17th July 2008

This morning Daniel and I bussed in to Balmain, rather than walking the last section.

His Lordship Bishop Elliott, titular Bishop of Manaccenser (aka Many Censers), gave an excellent, and quite witty address to us for our catechesis this morning. I particularly liked his words critical of one of the hymns at Pell's Tuesday Mass, his repudiation of the local Low Church Anglicans, and his jokes about his own pet cat! Having been taught theology by him when I studied at the JPII Institute, it was a very happy event to be listening to and learning from him again.

He dealt well with two questions: one about whether to avoid the Novus Ordo and only attend the Old Rite (short answer: don't be so scrupulous, a valid Mass is a valid Mass), and one about how to come at the Old when it is a new experience (answer: simply let its marvels and mystery wash over you).

There was enough time at the end to take up one of the good Bishop's suggestions, and make my Confession to a kindly French priest, who reminded me that God in Christ has loved us so much, and so we must in our own limited way show charity and love to others.

Because the bishops had to head off early to be in place for the Pope's arrival, Mass began 15 minutes early, at 10.45am - to the chagrin of the French, who hadn't been told. (Unfortunately, apart from the liturgical side, some of the Juventutem experience did seem a bit disorganized.)

Of course, Bp Elliott sang a beaut Pontifical Mass, as would be expected of a published liturgical and rubrical expert. The Mass was a Votive of the Holy Ghost.

After that, three Low Masses at once! I served Fr Rowe's - he said Mass of St Alexis, Confessor - and, as he started and finished first, I slipt back in and knelt to hear the end of the other two Masses. To see six elevations was sublime.

Fr Rowe and Aaron had secured one of those curious lunchboxes, so I ate quickly chocolates, tuna, cold baked beans and so forth in no particular order, then we piled into Fr's car (lent him by a friend) and headed off to Lewisham station, where we abandoned the car and caught the train in to Circular Quay.

Walking from C.Q. to Barangaroo was astonishing - I have NEVER seen such a press of people, and the nearer we came to our assigned spot the greater grew the crowds! Fr Rowe led us right to the front in section F, about half-a-dozen bodies from the barriers. We saw the Pope! It was amazing to see Benedict XVI in the flesh; he was so close I could see him on the dais with my own eyes, even without the binoculars I'd bought earlier. Truly inspiring!

Again I missed out on the pilgrim evening meal, because Fr Rowe then walked me all the way to the Opera House through great crowds, setting a cracking pace. Once there, he quickly got his priestly accreditation pass, and then we marched back to C.Q., caught the train to Town Hall, and headed over to the Vocations Expo at Darling Harbour. I met up with many old friends there, including my friends in the Dominicans, Br Paul and Rev Br Mannes.

By this stage, I was very hungry and thirsty.

Fr Rowe next led me to Central station, which was flooded, literally, with pilgrims, meeting Fr Casey, a friend of his, on the way, and we caught the train to Strathfield, where - thanks be - our mutual friend Fr Richard took us to a nice Chinese restaurant in Homebush for dinner. It was good to have a real meal after so much walking with no sustenance!

Afterward, we drove by the nearby Good Shepherd Seminary, and then made a visit at St Dominic's, Flemington, parish church of the redoubtable Fr Robbie, where we found Adoration in progress. The trains whizzing past outside were packed with pilgrims, and it was after 10.30pm!

So today I heard 4 Masses, again.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Juventutem Report

Here is a link to the Juventutem report on WYD 2008.

Santiago Matamoros

I'm feeling better, and was able to get to Confession and evening Mass today, and had the privilege of serving. Matins and Lauds of the Apostle are done, now for the rest of it!

Today we feast St James the Greater, Apostle & Martyr, Patron of Spain - Santiago Matamoros (St James the Moor-Slayer), so named from his apparition from heaven to aid the Christians in several battles against the Moors wickedly occupying Spain. Some may think his help is needed again...

(Fr Rowe rather likes the idea of a mechanical statue of St James Matamoros: pop a dollar in the slot, and it chops off the head of a cowering infidel... LOL)

Since the next WYD is slated for Madrid, I think a prayer or two to St James against the enemies, political and religious, of our Most Holy Faith wouldn't go astray.

St James was a son of Zebedee and brother of St John, from Bethsaida in Galilee; a fisherman, who was called away by the Lord to follow Him. Together with St Peter and St John, he came to the cure of St Peter’s mother-in-law, to the raising of the daughter of Jairus, to Christ’s Transfiguration and to Christ's Agony in the Garden. St James' (rather pushy) mother asked for him and his brother to have a high place in the kingdom, but having been gently turned toward the right path by the Divine response, St James accepted the chalice of martyrdom from the Lord, becoming the first of the apostolic band to die a martyr, being beheaded at Jerusalem in AD 42 (or 44) - see Acts 12:1-2. His relics are kept, according to tradition, at Santiago de Compostella: "St James of the field of stars" (since in a vision of such his presence was revealed).

Several friends of mine have made the pilgrimage along the camino de Santiago to the great shrine of St James at Compostella, walking all the way from Roncesvalles on the French border; one day I hope to make that pilgrimage too: maybe in 2011?

The Mozarabic Rite had a prayer said before Mass, petitioning Christ our Lord for aid, at the intercession of Our Lady, St James, and all saints:

Per gloriam nominis tui Christe Fili Dei vivi et per intercessionem sancte Marie Virginis et beati Jacobi et omnium sanctorum tuorum auxiliare et miserere indignis servis tuis et esto in medio nostri Deus noster qui vivis et regnas in secula seculorum. Deo gratias.

By the glory of Thy Name, O Christ, Son of the living God, and through the intercession of saint Mary the Virgin and of blessed James and of all Thy saints, help and have mercy on thine unworthy servants, and be in the midst of us, our God, who livest and reignest world without end. Thanks be to God.

This is a commemoration of St James, invoking him as patron of Spain:

Aña. Lux et decus Hispaniae, O Jacobe sanctissime, sublevator oppressorum, suffragium viatorum, qui inter apostles primus martyr laureatus obtines primatum, O singulare praesidium, tuorum benignus exaudi vota servorum, et intercedas pro nostra omniumque salute.
V/. Ora pro nobis, beate Jacobe.
R/. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
Esto, Domine, plebis tuae sanctificator et custos, ut, apostoli tui Jacobi munita praesidiis, et conversatione tibi placeat et secura deserviat. Per dominum nostrum Iesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia secula seculorum. R/. Amen.

Ant. Light and adornment of Spain, O most holy James, supporter of the oppressed, succour of travellers, crowned with laurel, who obtainest the first place of martyrdom among the apostles: O unique protection, kindly one, hear the prayers of thy servants, and mayest thou intercede for our salvation and the salvation of all.
V/. Pray for us, blessed James.
R/. That we be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
Be, O Lord, the sanctifier and guardian of Thy people, so that, fortified by the protection of Thine apostle James, they may be pleasing to Thee by their way of life and securely serve Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
R/. Amen.


I am very much committed to attending the next WYD, to be held in Madrid from the 15th to the 21st of August in 2011. Of course, my plan is to again join the Juventutem pilgrim group, and have spoken with Fr Rowe about setting up a W.A. Juventutem chapter.

In any case, the daily prayer recommended to all Juventutem members is the well-known Psalm 42, with antiphon Introibo, as said at the start of the Traditional Mass, and reproduced here:

Introibo ad altare Dei.
Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo, et doloso erue me.
Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: quare me reppulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?
Emitte lucem tuam, et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.
Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.
Confitebor tibi in cithara, Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es, anima mea, et quare conturbas me?
Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper: et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Introibo ad altare Dei.
Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

Now of course the interesting detail is that the Vulgate, or rather the Gallican Psalter (being Jerome's revision of the older Roman Psalter), follows the Septuagint (πρὸς τὸν θεὸν τὸν εὐφραίνοντα τὴν νεότητά μου) in speaking of the psalmist approaching "to God Who giveth joy to my youth"; whereas all other versions follow the Masoretic Text in speaking of God Who is one's joy of jubilation. Apparently - says the late lamented John Paul II - the Greek translators had recourse to Aramaic when rendering the phrase, and this explains the happy difference. St Augustine comments thus, alluding to how Scripture represents the old sinful Adam in us as transformed by Christ into the new man of grace:

Juventus novitatem significat: tamquam diceret: Ad Deum qui lætificat novitatem meam. Lætificat novitatem meam, qui contristavit vetustatem meam. Incedo enim modo tristis in vetustate, tunc autem stabo gaudens in novitate.

(Youth signifies newness: it is as if it were said: To God Who giveth joy to my newness. He giveth joy to my newness, Who hath made sad my oldness. For I go about sorrowful in oldness, but will stand rejoicing in newness.)

Dom Guéranger gives an apposite paraphrase of this psalm in his commentary on the Mass (as recapitalized):

I unite myself, O my God, with Thy holy Church, who thrills with joy at the approach of Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who is the true Altar.
Like her, I beseech Thee to defend me against the malice of the enemies of my salvation.
It is in Thee that I have put my hope, yet do I feel sad and troubled at being in the midst of the snares which are set for me.
Send me, then, Him Who is Light and Truth; it is He Who will open the way to Thy holy mount, to Thy heavenly tabernacle.
He is the Mediator, and the living Altar; I will draw nigh to Him, and be filled with joy.
When He shall have come, I will sing in my gladness. Be not sad, O my soul! why wouldst thou be longer troubled?
Hope in Him, Who will soon show Himself unto thee, as thy Saviour, and thy God.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
I am to go to the altar of God, and feel the presence of Him who desires to give me a new life!

The sacred liturgy also uses portions of this psalm:

Introit of Passion Sunday (Ps 42:1-2a, 3) [NB The Introit is from the Roman Psalter, while the Psalm Verse from the Gallican Psalter.]

Judica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso eripe me: quia tu es Deus meus, et fortitudo mea.
Emitte lucem tuam, et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.

Communion of Sexagesima Sunday (Ps 42:4ab)

Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

7th Antiphon of Corpus Christi Matins (cf. Ps 42:4ab)

Introibo ad altare Dei, sumam Christum, qui renovat juventutem meam. *

Tuesday Lauds I, Antiphon 2 (Ps 42:5d)

Salutare vultus mei, Deus meus.

Tuesday Lauds II, Antiphon 2 (Ps 42:1a)

Discerne, Deus, causam meam de gente non sancta.

(*Note the fine allusion in the Corpus Christi antiphon to another Psalm as well - Ps 102:5 qui... renovabitur... juventus tua.)

Finally, from those dreadful Protestants, comes this metrical version (C.M. - contained in the Scottish Psalter of 1650:

Judge me, O God, and plead my cause
against th’ ungodly nation;
From the unjust and crafty man,
O be thou my salvation.

For thou the God art of my strength;
why thrusts thou me thee fro’?
For th’ enemy’s oppression
why do I mourning go?

O send thy light forth and thy truth;
let them be guides to me,
And bring me to thine holy hill,
ev’n where thy dwellings be.

Then will I to God’s altar go,
to God my chiefest joy:
Yea, God, my God, thy name to praise
my harp I will employ.

Why art thou then cast down, my soul?
what should discourage thee?
And why with vexing thoughts art thou
disquieted in me?

Still trust in God; for him to praise
good cause I yet shall have:
He of my count’nance is the health,
my God that doth me save.

WYD Memoirs: Wednesday 16th July 2008

On Wednesday morning Daniel (the other pilgrim staying) and I got ready and headed off to catch the bus from Drummoyne to Balmain. At my suggestion, rather than change buses to get to the church, we walked - a good 20 minutes, in good sunny tho' cool weather! Balmain looks a nice place, and certainly one wouldn't starve if one could afford the prices at the many eateries we passed!

My old parish priest, now Bishop of Lismore, was our catechist and celebrant this morning: His Lordship Bishop Jarrett.

He spoke well, and after the catechesis we all prepared for Mass of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. It was a great privilege to be chosen as a torchbearer, since it gave me a seat with an excellent view of proceedings (on the Epistle side) without having to do much except kneel and hold a torch from the Sanctus until the Ablutions. His Lordship preached on the many interventions of Our Lady in history, whether to give the Scapular to St Simon Stock, or to otherwise manifest her maternal care for all God's children in more recent times.

(In this photograph I am the server sitting closest to the altar behind the clergy in choir. The sacred ministers are wearing the vestments made for Fr Rowe's first Mass.)

Communion took a long time, and I took the opportunity to say a very quiet Rosary, counting on my fingers. The chant at Mass was very good, and the polyphonic motets also - I recognized Victoria's Ave Maria at the Offertory.

After Pontifical Mass, Fr Rowe wanted to say a Low Mass, so I served his as well.

Then came a BBQ lunch (two sausages and sauce in a bread roll, plus some chips - 'crisps', not 'fries', for any international readers! - and a can of soft drink). That proved insufficient, the drink, I mean, so I joined my old pals John, Tony, &c. at the pub on the corner for two pints of some good beer.

The liquid lunch made me late for the Gregorian Chant workshop with the inestimable and very dapper Scott Turkington, but I got a lot out of it: it's great to be taught by someone who knows so much and is able to impart his knowledge kindly and effortlessly.

After that, more chant! We all had to practice for Vespers.

His Eminence George Cardinal Pell arrived, at 4pm, in choir dress (sans cappa, alas), and was met at the door by the clergy, who then escorted him to his throne, while the choir sang a magnificent Ecce sacerdos magnus. A large part of Pontifical Vespers involves dressing and redressing the celebrant: as the choir sang, H.E. was vested for the service. Vespers ensued: it was a Votive Vespers of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, and sung very well, IMHO. His Eminence preached after Vespers, congratulating us on the occasion, and promising to tell His Holiness, with whom he was to dine, about our love for the Traditional Liturgy and our loyalty to the Pope. After sermon, he gave Pontifical Benediction, which was sublime, and included at its end the roof-liftingly loud singing by one and all of the Laudes Regiæ. As the Cardinal departed the church, we all knelt in waves to receive his blessing as he passed, then we all filed out to genuflect on the left knee and kiss his ring. Magnificent! Two hours had passed sublimely.

After these proceedings, I ventured back into church at the sound of a bell, to find that the French pilgrims were about to have Low Mass. This I attended; and just after the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, a second priest and server came out to the Sacred Heart altar - it transpired that it was the Mass of a newly ordained American priest, celebrating a Novus Ordo 'without congregation', ad orientem (tho' in English, sotto voce so as not to disturb the other priest at the high altar).

Alas, the evening pilgrim meal was only available in the city, so we had to make do, after all the liturgical wonders, with a poor meal of cold leftover sausages and bread rolls.

I could not describe the look on the faces of the French pilgrims as they realized the full horror of what little food awaited them for dinner: it must have confirmed all their fears about cuisine des Anglo-Saxonnes.

One last event - 20 decades of the Rosary, kneeling, in Latin, with Cardinal George of Chicago... Now it was great, but rather tiring I must admit. Attendance was a good deal sparser, and I suspect many were put off by having to say 200 Hail Mary's instead of just the usual 50.

So today I heard 4 Masses and said 5 Rosaries.

I finally got back to my homestay at about half past ten.

WYD Memoirs: Tuesday 15th July 2008 (Continued)

I take up the tale of my WYD adventure from where I left off, some posts back, on Tuesday evening...

Andrew (my newfound American friend) and I finally left Starbucks and went off in search of food - we had missed the pilgrim meal, provided only at Barangaroo after the Cardinal's Mass. As we walked aimlessly, I spotted somewhere I'd once dined, so we went to the Indian restaurant next to it, and enjoyed a fairly good meal, but for the complimentary pappadams: butter chicken, lamb rogan josh (of course! - A. thought it a bit too spicy), rice, and naan bread. To introduce the local beverages, I bought us both a Cascade Premium beer, made not far from where I once lived in Hobart.

Anyhow, life is more than feasting...

We headed over to the Cathedral, and were very lucky to find it 'unguarded' and open, with plenty of people inside but not too many. (Later on I tried twice to return to the Cathedral, but found it impossible to gain entrance.) As so many, I too knelt before the painting of Our Lady of the Southern Cross and consecrated myself to the Blessed Virgin, using the prayer provided (which carries a special plenary indulgence under the usual conditions) - see previous post. I was moved to pray before the large and very lifelike Crucifix, as also before Our Lord, reposing in the Sacrament of His Love in the high altar tabernacle. Old friends - Dominicans Br Paul and Rev Br Mannes - appeared on the scene, and we tried to quietly meet and greet so as not to disrupt all those praying. Around the ambulatory there was a very tasteful and moving display about the life and death of Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati, and it was again wonderful to kneel before the casket containing his sacred relics, which shall rise triumphant on the last day, to join the redeemed flock on Our Saviour's right - see my earlier posting about him. I prayed very hard, as best I could, for certain intentions: deliverance from evil, perseverance in good...

Next we descended to the Crypt, where Adoration was in progress. I was curious to notice in front of one of the side altars an inscription in memory of Cardinal Kelly, describing him as a Count of the Holy Roman Empire - I recall that the Holy See bestowed this title as late as the mid-20th C. I expect that nasty Paul VI abolished it, like everything else fun.

We left the Cathedral after 10pm. Andrew had to travel to a different part of Sydney to meet up with his own pilgrim group, but helped me to get where I was going first. Even so, it was after midnight before I got to my lodgings.

BTW, here am I relaxing in the room so kindly provided for me!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Again, apologies to any readers - I'm unwell at the present, being off work, sick at home. Of your charity pray for me - and for the far greater number of people who suffer far more than I do!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Receive Your Lunch

As one of the French priests told me, the food in Australia has been very strange: this is my ode to the pilgrim lunches provided, to parody Guy Sebastian's little ditty "Receive the Power":

Ev’ry person ev’ry time
Come together, in groups of six:
In this lunchbox you delight,
Filled with tasty, tho’ curious choices!

I love tuna! And cold baked beans!
Receive your lunch, from all the volunteers!
I love tim-tams! And wagonwheels!
Receive them now, to be your lunch for World Youth Day!

Packed bread rolls and lamingtons;
Packs of Snow-White sugary cupcakes;
Cadbury chocolate bars supplied;
And cans of carbonated drinks.

I love tuna! And cold baked beans!
Receive them now, from all the volunteers!
I love tim-tams! And wagonwheels!
Receive them now, to be your lunch for World Youth Day!

Benedict we give you thanks,
Uncle George, we give you thanks,
Anthony, we give you thanks,
Volunteers, we give you thanks,

Uncle George, we give you thanks,
Anthony, we give you thanks,
O but while we give you thanks,
What on earth were you thinking of?

I love tuna! And cold baked beans!
Receive them now, from all the volunteers!
I love tim-tams! And wagonwheels!
Receive them now, to be your lunch for World Youth Day!

BTW, for non-Aussie non-pilgrims: Tim-Tams and Wagonwheels are chocolate biscuits; Lamingtons are cubes of sponge cake rolled in jam and desiccated coconut; Anthony is the inestimable Bp Fisher, O.P., WYD organizer; and Uncle George is of course His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney.

Which reminds me of the nickname for the WYD merchandise emporium next to the Cathedral:

Uncle George's Rip-Off Shop.

It even traded on Sunday (very conveniently for me).

*Only teasing, of course!*

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back Online - WYD Memoirs: Saturday evening and Sunday Morning 19th-20th July 2008

Apologies to any readers - I've not had internet access for some days!

By my calculations, since arriving in Sydney late on Monday night I've heard 19 Masses - six on Friday alone! (Solemn Mass coram Cardinale; three simultaneous Low Masses, one of which I served; a Novus Ordo that I attended so as to give good example to two American pilgrims with whom I'd been at Exposition; and a Russian Catholic Divine Liturgy - that was Friday: did I mention the Russian Great Vespers as well?)

I attended the Papal Vigil, and was most glad to receive Benediction at the hands of His Holiness; but decided, having lost my sleeping bag, to skip the holy sleep-out, and to not try to get up dreadfully early in order to return for the Papal Mass. Instead, I had a sleep-in, and came and served Fr Rowe's Low Mass at the home of a friendly family (since he likewise wasn't able to stay at Randwick, and couldn't organize to use a church, alas). We're off to Solemn Mass at Lewisham tonight...

I have taken copious notes throughout the WYD experience, and will post these ASAP. This is just a taste of what's been happening.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

In Sydney - WYD Memoirs: Monday evening, and Tuesday, 14th-15th July 2008

Having had coffee and said the Little Hours at Starbucks (!), corner of Castlereagh and Market, in the Sydney CBD, with my recent acquaintance Andrew, a Californian pilgrim and gatecrasher-of-Juventutem (who has kindly volunteered his freelance photographic services for Psallite Sapienter), we have wiled away the hours of Cardinal Pell's Mass by instead taking a quick ferry cruise from Balmain to Circular Quay, up past the Cathedral (not open till 7pm, alas) and into this cafe.

Andrew and I decided that, after having heard solemn high Mass at St Augustine's Balmain, and then Fr Rowe's Low Mass also, we had had sufficient liturgy for one day.

Herewith some images of High and Low Mass, plus the Sydney Harbour Bridge for good measure:

(Upon arriving at Sydney airport last night, I was struck by the hordes of pilgrims - it finally felt 'real'. I got dropped off by Fr's brother at Drummoyne at 11.30pm, to find the Juventutem pilgrims half-arrived - their baggage lost till this afternoon - and was very lucky to get driven to my homestay, at the home of a nice Italian grandmother, by midnight! Andrew, Daniel - from Queensland - and I shared accommodation there.

(We had a good sleep-in, then bussed to Balmain, and I had time for Lauds - having said Matins by anticipation on the plane - before High Mass. The ICKSP celebrant preached on the collect of St Henry, Emperor and Confessor; the vestments were gothic, the servers in apparelled albs, the chant extremely good - Mass Stelliferi Conditor orbis.

(After the second, Low, Mass, Andrew and I decided to sightsee the rest of the day rather than attend a theology of the body talk...)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Prayer Intentions, Please

I have been asked to pray for the son of a friend of mine, that he be converted. Of course, I shall endeavour to pray for my family, friends, superiors, inferiors, and so forth; but please, if you out there in cyberspace have any intentions you would like me to pray for, please submit them via the combox.

For this purpose, to my Breviary each day of pilgrimage I will add at least Ps 122 with the following preces:

Psalmus 122

Ad te levavi oculos meos, * qui habitas in cælis.
Ecce sicut oculi servorum, * in manibus dominorum suorum,
Sicut oculi ancillæ in manibus dominæ suæ: * ita oculi nostri ad Dominum Deum nostrum, donec misereatur nostri.
Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri: * quia multum repleti sumus despectione:
Quia multum repleta est anima nostra: * opprobrium abundantibus, et despectio superbis.
Gloria Patri...
Sicut erat...

Kyrie, eleison. Christe, eleison. Kyrie, eleison.
Pater noster .....
(secreto, usque ad)
V/.Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
R/. Sed libera nos a malo.
V/. Salvos fac servos tuos.
R/. Deus meus, sperantes in te.
V/. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R/. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.


Prætende, Domine, famulis et famulabus tuis dexteram cælestis auxilii: ut te toto corde perquirant, et quæ digne postulant, consequi mereantur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
R/. Amen.


Psalm 122

To thee have I lifted up my eyes, * who dwellest in heaven.
Behold as the eyes of the servants * are on the hands of their masters,
As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress: *so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us: * for we are greatly filled with contempt.
For our soul is greatly filled: * we are a reproach to the rich, and contempt to the proud.
Glory be...
As it was...

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Our Father .... (silently, as far as)
And lead us not into temptation.
R/. But deliver us from evil.
V/. Save Thy servants.
R/. Who hope in Thee, O my God.
V/. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R/. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

Reach forth, O Lord, to Thy servants and handmaids, the right hand of Thy heavenly help, that they may seek Thee with their whole heart, and what they worthily entreat, they may merit to obtain. Through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.


Oh, and I'm also praying for Mark, that he become a priest if such be God's Will.

Timeline for Tomorrow

My best-laid plans for tomorrow:

* Arise at 6am, but leave breakfast till after Mass; instead, get praying and get ready!

* Get to the Pro-Cathedral early, for the 7.45am Low Mass, which will be of St Bonventure, O.F.M., Bp, Conf. & Dr, with second collect &c. for pilgrims (with luck, I may serve), with the Blessing of Pilgrims (see this post, and this one) at the altar rails after Mass.

* Pray after Mass with the others, then join Fr and the usual suspects for a cooked breakfast at one of the nearby cafés (Shiraz, probably).

* Drive home via the Seminary, in order to buy from the secretary there some of the leftover WYD apparel.

* Spend the rest of the morning packing.

* Be ready and waiting to depart when George comes round to give me a lift to the airport at 2pm.

* Meet up with my fellow pilgrims at the airport, and board the plane for takeoff at 4.15pm.

* Spend the 4 hour flight reading something pious (e.g.the Breviary) as well as talking to fellow pilgrims, etc.

* Arrive at Sydney airport at 10.15pm, get my luggage, and get a lift to Drummoyne with Fr Rowe, whose brother is going to pick us up.

* Arrive at St Mark's, Drummoyne, sometime around 11pm, and hopefully find my host family waiting to take me in!

* Go with them to their home, thank them for their patience and kindness as best I can, and get to bed.

I'm planning to take only four† books with me: my Missal (an old and battered 1954 St Andrew Daily Missal, crammed full of holy cards, notes and devotions, that belonged to the mother of a old friend of mine), my Breviaries (Vol. I with the Vulgate Psalter, Vol. II with the Propers), and - to read pro pia devotione - Where the Spirit Breathes, by Fr Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, O.C.D., whose cause has been commenced, given me by Mother Stephanie of the Launceston Carmel in 2000, which I have never finished for some reason to do with spiritual sloth, and now wish to reread in toto.

†Oh, and I'll also bring my pocket Confraternity New Testament, which I have literally at my right elbow at my desk.

Some WYD Blogs to Follow

I have been looking for some blogs about pilgrims to WYD (seeing I'm about to become one myself), and these are what I've turned up and found congenial so far:

* The UK Catholic Herald's WYD08 Blog - I'm delighted (as Abp Hart would say) to read that the good pilgrims have spent their Days in the Dioceses in the great archdiocese of Melbourne, at the far-famed church of St Patrick and the Holy Angels, Mentone, with its fine parish priest, Fr John Walshe.

* The official WYD blog of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis - I loved the ingenue comments about how much they like our accent, and how Quarantine wouldn't allow their beef jerky into the Commonwealth of Australia!

* The WYD blog of the Archdiocese of San Antonio is also very interesting and positive in tone - again, I was delighted to read that their hosts in Melbourne have been two very good priests, Frs Charles Portelli and John O'Connor; also, it amuses me to read the constant comments about how cold Melbourne is (they should try Tasmania in July): remember, check the weather forecast when packing...

* The Southwark Vocations blog details their pilgrimage to Sydney - the comments about Newcastle are very perceptive, and repay careful reading.

* Vandy+Catholic, blog of the chaplain to Vanderbilt U. Catholics (not much said as yet).

* And, of course, the usual suspects: Sentire cum Ecclesia (covering the Melbourne Days in the Diocese), Australia Incognita (looking forward to meeting you, Terra!) and Juventutem - which last rather amazingly bills itself as "the online home of the English-speaking Juventutem pilgrims", when this English-speaking Juventutem pilgrim has his own online home here at Psallite Sapienter, thank you very much, not that he was asked about it!