Sunday, February 28, 2010

Low Mass, O.P.

Mark tells me he hasn't yet been to a Dominican Rite Mass - well, I've only attended a Dominican High Mass once (think Sarum, with lots of processions to and from the altar, apparently checking to see if there is a chalice on the altar, and, if so, what's in it), and ditto for a Dominican Rite Missa cantata (bizarrely enough, I was the sole congregant, being the guest of honour; two brothers served and sang!) but I have often heard and even served Dominican Rite Low Mass, and I personally prefer it to the Use of Rome.

For a start, at the start, the service starts swiftly: the server carries in the Missal (as may be done, but is done rarely, in the Roman Rite), and lights the candles as part of the pre-Mass ritual while the priest readies things; immediately the chalice is mixed with a minimum of fuss, and then there is a quick and short mutual Confiteor, with a matching longer Misereatur – no Psalm 42 – that leads very soon to the Introit...

A number of rituals are simpler: for instance, the Dominican priest does not kiss the altar each time he says Dominus vobiscum – nor does he go to the centre of the altar to do so, but simply turns where he is. Yet other ceremonies are more ample: for instance, when the priest kisses the altar (for he does still do so at the start and end of Mass), he first makes the sign of the Cross on it with his thumb; and before and after the Gospel, all make a large sign of the Cross upon themselves, as well as the customary three small crosses beforehand.

Similarly, the Offertory rites are simple and direct: the mixed chalice, together with the host on the paten atop it, is elevated and offered up with a prayer to the Trinity that is identical to that used in the Rite of Hereford – while in the Roman Rite, a series of very devout but longwinded prayers are used, the Use of the Friars Preachers very quickly proceeds to the Secret and the Preface, leading into the Canon.  The Dominican Orate fratres is different to the Roman – and there is no response.

As for the Canon, the Blackfriars have some interesting differences of posture: at both Memento's, the priest joins his hands throughout; he bows deeply at the Hanc igitur (instead of extending his hands over the oblations, which is a much later innovation in the Roman Mass); after the Consecration, he recites the Unde et memores with arms partly extended in the form of a cross – which seems to be a derivation from the Ambrosian Rite that spread across Europe in the middle ages; and at the Supplices te, he bows low with arms crossed (cancellatis manibus), which again was the earlier Roman posture.

I particularly like the differences at the Per ipsum: after making a number of signs of the cross with the Host above, at the lip of, and within the chalice, before it, and at its base, the priest does not then elevate both Species – instead, replacing the Host on the corporal, he bows deeply before Them.  What gracious solemnity!

A nice little ceremony still remains in use in some Dominican provinces, including here in Australia: even at Low Mass, the Pax is offered – directly after the Agnus Dei, while the priest reads the longer commixture prayer, the server rises (genuflects), approaches the altar, uses the purificator to pick up the paten (which remains under the corporal, not being used to hold the Host, the remainder of Which the priest instead retains in his left hand after the commixture until he consumes It), and holds it up to the priest to kiss, which he does, saying, Pax tibi et Ecclesiæ sanctæ Dei – then the server replaces the paten, genuflects, and returns to his  place.

The private Communion prayers are again very short, and soon enough Mass concludes in the usual manner.

(Should I mention that I have once received under both species – much to my surprise! – at a Dominican Low Mass?  The priest turned to administer the chalice to me, and it seemed rude to refuse; he explained afterward that the Council had favoured a limited extension of Communion in both kinds, and that this was a Catholic sentiment he therefore followed upon occasion, when no possibility of scandal would arise.)

Finally, while the Last Gospel is read, the server snuffs the candles (a clever one managing to do so at apposite words about light and darkness!).

I do like this rite.

Dominican Rite Preces (1962)

In the Dominican Rite Breviary of 1962 – which (in the spirit and letter of Summorum Pontificum) is the right edition to use if the Extraordinary Form be preferred (whatever our personal preferences for the Ambrosian Rite before the reforms of St Charles Borromeo!) – the preces, consisting simply of a threefold Kyrie and a Pater noster, are read on all ferial days outside of Christmastide and Eastertide, at Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, and Vespers.

The relevant rubrick is clear:

S) De precibus 
240 (260).  Preces dicuntur in Officio feriali extra tempus natalicium et paschale, ad Laudes, Tertiam, Sextam, Nonam et Vesperas.

It goes without saying that, at all these Hours, the preces (when used) are read immediately before the Dominus vobiscum (or Domine exaudi) and Oremus that precede the Collect.

Furthermore, at all Hours – unlike the Roman and Benedictine practice at Lauds and Vespers – the Lord's Prayer is not wholly said aloud, but only the opening words Pater noster, and the last two phrases, as a versicle and response: Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.  R/.  Sed libera nos a malo.  The intervenient words are said "secretly", in a low voice.  Of old, rubricists used to delight in pointing to this and the silence of the Canon as remnants of the disciplina arcani, whereby the arcane mysteries of our Most Holy Faith were hid away from the straining ears of unbelievers...

One of the reasons, apart from the convenience of using a true pocketbook Diurnal, that I currently prefer the Dominican Office is that the preces are used far more often than in the Roman 1962 Breviary, which restricts them to ferial Wednesdays and Fridays of Advent and Lent, plus the odd Vigil or Ember Saturday.

After all, the preces are the older conclusion of the Hours: as a mediæval writer records, at the Lateran Basilica of old time the Hours ended simply with the Lord's Prayer, without even a Collect.  It seems that for a time, if a priest were present, he would give the salutation and a collect, but a layman, or a monk not in holy orders, would simply use the Pater noster as the prayer of prayers.  Similarly, the Kyrie is probably a relic of a longer, Eastern-style litany.

In the gradual disappearance of the Lord's Prayer in favour of a Collect may be seen one of Baumstark's laws of liturgical development in action: a simple ritual act or prayer A, next has added to it a new subsidiary ceremony or chant b; over time, this adjunct grows in complexity or importance, so from Ab the sum of both parts becomes AB, each now being of equal note; as time goes on, the first, the original element A decreases in importance to a, and may even vanish entirely save at certain times*: so the progression is from AB to aB and even to (a)B, or to B alone.  

(*Baumstark's second law comes into play here: older forms of rite are preserved at the most solemn and hallowed times of year - hence Tenebræ, being Matins and Lauds of the Paschal Triduum, preserved the sober and simple forms of the primitive Office, without hymns for instance.  This second law accounts for the preservation of preces on ferial days, which in a sense are older and more primitive than the later multiplication of saint's days and special feasts.)

Previously, the rules for when to use them had been more complicated, and also slightly longer preces (including a versicle or two and the Apostles' Creed) had been appointed for Prime and Compline, which were said daily except on Sundays, feasts of Double rank or higher, and within solemn Octaves; while I regret that those were suppressed, there is nothing to stop one reading them pro pia devotione, after the relevant Hour, if time permits...


For the record, at Prime the Dominican Rite preces were as follows: Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.  Pater noster... Et ne nos... Sed libera nos... then the last two verses of Psalm 118:

V/.  Vivet anima mea et laudabit te.
R/.  Et judicia tua adjuvabunt me.
V/.  Erravi sicut ovis quæ periit.
R/.  Quære servum tuum, Domine, quia mandata tua non sum oblitus.

Following this, Credo in Deum was said aloud, then the rest secretly until the end, done as versicle and response: Carnis resurrectionem.  R/.  Vitam æternam.  Amen.

Finally, the very ancient nonscriptural Dignare Domine die isto was employed as a concluding versicle.

At Dominican Rite Compline, all was done the same, except that there was only one versicle between the Lord's Prayer and the Creed – V/.  In pace in idipsum.  R/.  Dormiam et requiescam. – and of course the last versicle was modified appropriately to be Dignare Domine nocte ista.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 Ordo for the 1962 Dominican Breviary - March and April


1 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.; Memorial of St Albin, B. & C., at Lauds
2 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.
3 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.
4 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.; Memorial of St Casimir, C., at Lauds
5 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.
6 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.
7 - 3rd Sunday of Lent - 1st cl.
8 - St Thomas Aquinas, O.P., C. & D. - 1st cl. (transferred from the 7th)
9 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.; Memorial of St Frances of Rome, Widow, at Lauds
10 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.
11 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.
12 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.; Memorial of St Gregory the Great, P., C., D., at Lauds
13 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.
14 - 4th Sunday of Lent - 1st cl.
15 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.
16 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.; in Australia, first Vespers of St Patrick, B. & C. with Memorial of the Lenten Feria
17 - in Australia, St Patrick, B. & C. - 1st cl.; Memorial of the Lenten Feria at Lauds & Vespers
18 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.; Memorial of St Cyril of Jerusalem, C. & D., at Lauds; first Vespers of St Joseph with Memorial of the Lenten Feria
19 - St Joseph, Spouse of Our Lady, C. - 1st cl.; Memorial of the Lenten Feria at Lauds & Vespers
20 - Lenten Feria - 3rd cl.; Memorial of Bl Ambrose Sansedoni, O.P., C., at Lauds
21 - Passion Sunday - 1st cl.
22 - Passiontide Feria - 3rd cl.
23 - Passiontide Feria - 3rd cl.
24 - Passiontide Feria - 3rd cl.; Memorial of St Gabriel Archangel at Lauds; first Vespers of the Annunciation with Memorial of the Passiontide Feria
25 - Annunciation - 1st cl.; Memorial of the Passiontide Feria at Lauds & Vespers
26 - Passiontide Feria - 3rd cl.; Memorial of the Compassion of Our Lady at Lauds
27 - Passiontide Feria - 3rd cl.
28 - Palm Sunday - 1st cl.
29 - Monday of Holy Week - 1st cl.
30 - Tuesday of Holy Week - 1st cl.
31 - Wednesday of Holy Week - 1st cl.


1 - Holy Thursday - 1st cl.
2 - Good Friday - 1st cl.
3 - Holy Saturday - 1st cl.
4 - EASTER SUNDAY - 1st cl.
5 - Easter Monday - 1st cl.
6 - Easter Tuesday - 1st cl.
7 - Easter Wednesday - 1st cl.
8 - Easter Thursday - 1st cl.
9 - Easter Friday - 1st cl.
10 - Easter Saturday - 1st cl.
11 - Low Sunday - 1st cl.
12 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.
13 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.
14 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.; Memorial of SS Tiburtius, Valerian & Maximus, MM., at Lauds
15 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.
16 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.
17 - Our Lady on Saturday - 4th cl.
18 - 2nd Sunday after Easter - 2nd cl.
19 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.
20 - St Agnes of Montepulciano, O.P., V. - 3rd cl.
21 - St Anselm, B., C., D. - 3rd cl.
22 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.
23 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.; Memorial of St George, M., at Lauds
24 - Our Lord's Most Holy Crown of Thorns - 3rd cl.
25 - 3rd Sunday afer Easter - 2nd cl.; Memorial of St Mark Evangelist at Lauds; Greater Litanies
26 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.
27 - Paschal Feria - 4th cl.
28 - St Paul of the Cross, C. - 3rd cl.
29 - St Peter of Verona, O.P., M. - 2nd cl.
30 - St Catherine of Siena, O.P., V. - 2nd cl.; first Vespers of St Joseph the Worker

Friday, February 26, 2010


How bizarre! - when I clicked on my blogroll link to Coo-ees from the Cloister, the following message appeared:

This blog is open to invited readers only

It doesn't look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation.

O Coo-ees, how have I offended you?  Answer me!  (Was it because I decried your latest tasteless posting about poor Fr Withoos?  If so, get a life.)

NB — I googled Coo-ees, and by looking up the cached file was able to read the blog anyway, so something odd is going on...

Three Hymns for Christ the Priest

Here are three striking hymns in honour of Christ in His Priesthood:


— Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707-1709.  SM (

Jesus, in thee our eyes behold
A thousand glories more,
Than the rich gems and polished gold
The sons of Aaron wore.

They first their own burnt offerings brought,
To purge themselves from sin;
Thy life was pure without a spot,
And all thy nature clean.

Fresh blood as constant as the day
Was on their altar spilt;
But thy one offering takes away
For ever all our guilt.

Their priesthood ran through several hands,
For mortal was their race;
Thy never changing office stands
Eternal as thy days.

Once in the circuit of a year,
With blood, but not his own,
Aaron within the veil appears
Before the golden throne:

But Christ, by his own powerful blood,
Ascends above the skies,
And in the presence of our God
Shows his own sacrifice.

Jesus, the King of glory, reigns
On Zion’s heav’nly hill;
Looks like a lamb that has been slain,
And wears his priesthood still.

He ever lives to intercede
Before his Father’s face:
Give him, my soul, thy cause to plead,
Nor doubt the Father’s grace.


— Attr. Michael Bruce, c. 1764; Scottish Paraphrases, 1781.  LM (

Where high the heavenly temple stands,
The house of God not made with hands,
A great High Priest our nature wears,
The Guardian of mankind appears.

He Who for men their Surety stood,
And poured on earth his precious blood,
Pursues in Heaven his mighty plan,
The Saviour and the Friend of man.

Though now ascended up on high,
He bends on earth a brother’s eye;
Partaker of the human name,
He knows the frailty of our frame.

Our fellow Sufferer yet retains
A fellow feeling of our pains:
And still remembers in the skies
His tears, his agonies, and cries.

In every pang that rends the heart,
The Man of Sorrows had a part,
He sympathizes with our grief,
And to the sufferer sends relief.

With boldness, therefore, at the throne,
Let us make all our sorrows known;
And ask the aids of heavenly power
To help us in the evil hour.


— Charles Wesley (1707-1788), Hymns on the Lord’s Supper, 1745.

Victim Divine, thy grace we claim,
While thus thy precious death we show:
Once offered up a spotless Lamb,
In thy great temple here below,
Thou didst for all mankind atone,
And standest now before the throne.

Thou standest in the holy place,
As now for guilty sinners slain;
The blood of sprinkling speaks, and prays,
All prevalent for helpless man;
Thy blood is still our ransom found,
And speaks salvation all around.

The smoke of thy atonement here
Darkened the sun, and rent the veil,
Made the new way to Heaven appear,
And showed the great Invisible;
Well pleased in thee, our God looked down,
And calls his rebels to a crown.

He still respects thy sacrifice;
Its savour sweet doth always please:
The offering smokes through earth and skies,
Diffusing life, and joy, and peace;
To these, thy lower courts, it comes,
And fills them with divine perfumes.

 We need not now go up to Heaven,
To bring the long sought Saviour down;
Thou art to all already given,
Thou dost e’en now thy banquet crown:
To every faithful soul appear,
And show thy real presence here!

Christ the Priest

I'm delighted (as Archbishop Hart - now reigning over the Glorious See of Melbourne - would say) to read on the NLM that Cardinal Cañizares (the "little Ratzinger" - so called, no offence intended, because of his dwarfish stature) has petitioned His Holiness the Pope to extend the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest, to the entire world.

This I heartily endorse (if I'd ever assumed the purple - of course, purely for the benefit of the plebs sancta Dei; though, by a strange irony, precisely for their benefit God has preserved me from such a temptation! - I'd have asked for this myself), since the doctrine of the Priesthood of Christ is a vital one, one that in our own Pelagian, antisupernatural, and functionalist age is terribly neglected.

After all, saying nothing for the moment of the ministerial priesthood, it is only by virtue of our being a "royal priesthood" by being baptized into Christ our Lord, the One and Only Priest, that we can offer up prayer and petition and intercession and sacrifice and oblation to God: without being living members of the One Mediator, we would be cut off from this sacred commerce, whereby "prayer goeth up, pity cometh down" – though of course in His mercy, the Deity neglects not even the cry of heathens and sinners, yet as Christians we super-confidently approach the Throne of Mercy, because priests of God and of His Christ, endued with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, it goes without saying that by solemnizing this particular title of Our Redeemer, we pay especial honour to Him Who so blesses and saves us by the ministry of His priests, who - all unworthy - act in His Person, being Christ's Hands blessing, healing, absolving, baptizing, and feeding us with His Body and Blood.  This day would serve to remind priests of their most high calling, yet in such a way as to give all the glory to the Lord, as is right and just.

What a fitting conclusion to the Year of the Priest will it be, Deo volente, if, as 75 years ago Pius XI granted the Votive Mass of Christ the Priest, and Paul VI granted a feast with Mass and Office thereof to Spain, so now Benedict XVI - ever as a father in God giving unmerited gifts to his spiritual children - will extend this solemn celebration of Christ our Priest to the whole wide earth: to the glory of God the Father, Whose Priest His Incarnate Son is.

Here is (in Latin) the modern rite Office of Christ the Eternal High Priest; and over at Vultus Christi there is a useful comparison of the old and new Masses of Christ the Priest.

The Only Thing Wrong with Anglicanism...

"The only thing wrong with Anglicanism," observed Rob, "is that it's not true."

Well, that brought the house down some years ago now, when he, Justin and I were having a conspiratorial beer together one Friday night... those two have each made the journey from Anglican to Orthodox and now to Catholic, and of all people should know.

In an amazingly unexpected manner, Pope Benedict, most daringly exercising his Petrine power to bind and loose on earth as in heaven, has waved a wand and declared what was nice-yet-but-a-dream to be (potentially) true, once duly vetted for doctrinal accuracy.

Anglo-Catholicism reminds me of the opening lines of that classic film Picnic at Hanging Rock, misquoting Poe: "What we are and what we seem is but a dream, a dream within a dream."  (For its heady opening sequence and air of hopeless yearning for things lost, it - albeit in so feminine a way - conjures up something of the tragedy of Anglicanism, the desire for what is unattainable.)  Bp Anthony Fisher (just moved to Parramatta) once joked that the C. of E. believed in "Salvation by good taste alone" – well, now A-C's can have not just the form, but the substance as well.

For those awakening from a dream turned nightmare, as the much-vaunted Anglican patrimony of sober rectitude has dissolved into vile doctrinal and moral deviation combined with an intolerant, nay, doctrinaire, Robespierre liberalism, there is now, not the suburban light of a drear reality, but a hope of living in all truth what they had hoped and believed to be true.  Man's creative powers have now been blessed with supernatural life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

9th Anniversary

Congratulations as always to the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, my former parish priest, now Lord Bishop of Lismore in N.S.W., on his having reached the ninth anniversary of his episcopal consecration on the Feast of the Chair of St Peter (yesterday).  I well recall his words, quoting Newman, at the end of that ordination Mass: "Those who are on the side of the Apostles are on the winning side."  As Cardinal Pell said at the time, "Now the northern frontier is secure."  Ad multos annos!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sub umbra alarum Altissimi

I like Invocabit Sunday - the first Sunday of Lent, when "we solemnly immolate the sacrifice of the beginning of Lent" as the priest prays in the Secret.  I like it because all the chants of this day are from the same Psalm: Psalm 90, Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi – for we indeed can hope and trust in victory in our Christian combat against the unholy Trinity of our threefold enemy, since we abide in the shelter of the Most High.

Mass at St Canice went well, I thought - despite my singing in the choir!  There were seven of us, including a visitor from overseas; Fr Quinn at the altar was assisted by six servers; and in the nave there were about forty or more (perhaps in absolute terms not so very many, but considering that this Mass is only celebrated once a month, and very late in the morning - we began late, at a quarter to twelve - quite a good showing relatively speaking, especially given the set against the Latin Mass that this archdiocese persists in, the Archbishop having repeatedly made clear to clergy and laity that he will not tolerate any more Latin Masses nor any more celebrants thereof, whatever that silly old Pope may say).  Speaking of the Arch., I hear he's sick of trying to run the place, and may retire early... oh well.

We sang all the Propers to the full chant, even including the supremely long Tract, which took 12 minutes to execute.  Add to that Mass XVII, Credo I, and Attende Domine (twice through) at the Offertory, and we were all quite pleased: the Mass took just an hour and a quarter, which is quick for Fr (who doesn't get much practice of course).

I await now an unbiassed opinion of how our choir performed in our duties.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekend Away

To Hobart for the 1st Sunday of Lent in the Traditional Form...

Will return Sunday afternoon, Deo volente.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Memento homo

Mass this morning at Carmel was solemn and sombre, as is fitting for the opening of Lent.

While the words were said to me in English at the imposition of ashes, I had re-echoing in my mind the Latin: Memento, homo, quia cinis es, in in cinerem reverteris.

But of course, my memory was playing tricks on me: in the Dominican and other Uses (such as the Carmelite as late as 1733), homo is omitted, while cinis ("ashes") is the word used, but in the Use of Rome, it is instead Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.  (Pulvis means dust.)

I had unconsciously conflated the two versions.  (Oh, and the Carthusians apparently said Recognosce, homo...)

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...

These awful words remind us proud sinners, who even affect that declaration "I'm a sinner" as a shrug-of-the-shoulders way of avoiding coming closer to God (lest we leave our comfort zone), and likewise of shirking our strict responsibility to fight manfully against sin, that we are mortal men doomed to die, and that it is only by God's power that there is any hope.

Indeed, the Lord told Adam this horrifying truth, that his Fall entails the fearful dissolution that is death (Genesis iii, 19), only after His Divine Mercy first revealed the Protoëvangelium (Genesis iii, 15), lest Man despair: first He curst the serpent, signifying Christ's future victory over the Devil by being born of a Woman to redeem the subjects of the Law at the price of dying on the Cross; only then God gave the sentence of death to Man, that it might be seen as a just punishment, but not one without hope or end.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Friends of the Australian Ordinariate

Bp Robarts of the TAC, whom I know, would I am sure not mind me reposting these just-released resolutions of Forward in Faith Australia, of which he is the Chairman:

A Special General Meeting of Members of Forward in Faith Australia Inc. was held on Saturday 13 February at All Saints Kooyong in Melbourne to consider the following recommendations from the National Council regarding the future direction of the Association.
  1. That this Special General Meeting of FiFA receives with great gratitude the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus” of Pope Benedict XV1 and directs the National Council to foster by every means the establishing of an Ordinariate in Australia. And furthermore this Special General Meeting reaffirms its commitment to provide care and support for those who at this time feel unable to be received  into the Ordinariate.
  2. That we warmly welcome the appointment of Bishop Peter Elliott as delegate of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the project to establish a Personal  Ordinariate in this country.
  3. That we note the formation of a working group with Bishop Elliott comprising Members of Forward in Faith Australia, the Traditional Anglican Communion, and the Anglican Church of Australia, to set in train the processes necessary for establishing an Australian Ordinariate.
  4. That we give notice as to the establishing of Friends of the Australian Ordinariate and invite members of Forward in Faith Australia and other interested persons for expressions of interest by provision of names and addresses at this meeting, or by contacting the Chairman, noting that this does not commit interested persons to joining the Ordinariate.
The Meeting passed each of these Resolutions unanimously.
The Right Reverend David Robarts OAM. National Chairman.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Frank of Zanzibar

I continue to attend with gladness to the news on The Anglo-Catholic about the nearing approach of the first Ordinariates for incoming Anglicans under the provisions of Anglicanorum cœtibus.  The latest article, by Bp Mercer of the TAC in Canada, is heartening, and, as I commented there (and repost here), it is strange how synchronicity strikes – for just this afternoon I bought secondhand a first edition (1926) of H. Maynard Smith’s Frank, Bishop of Zanzibar, the biography of that great, saintly Anglo-Catholic apostle of East Africa (1871-1924). 

How his shade must rejoice to see this day!

Frank Weston is of course famous for chairing the second Anglo-Catholic Congress in 1923, particularly for the telegram he sent in the name of the same to Pope Pius XI:

“16,000 Anglo-Catholics, in congress assembled, offer respectful greetings to the Holy Father, humbly praying that the day of peace may quickly break.”

In his Defence of the English Catholic (quoted in this book) he wrote of this telegram:

“In 1920 we bishops at Lambeth publicly called upon all Christian people to pray and work for reunion. We declared that reunion with Rome was our Lord’s will. We pointed out how especially close were our ties with Rome and the Orthodox East. And we publicly expressed our determination to submit ourselves to the conscience of the Roman Church in the matter of orders should terms of reunion be in other respects settled. [So Hepworth's recent pastoral, whatever foolish folk elsewhere may say, but restates the policy of the Anglican bishops of 90 years ago!] I was, therefore, strictly within my rights in assuming that in all parishes, more especially in Anglo-Catholic parishes, the bishops’ words had been read, explained and emphasised; and that for the last three years English people had been stirred up to desire, and pray for, reunion with the Roman and Orthodox Churches. … It was only fitting, then, that we should pay such honour as was possible to the Pope of Rome. Hence my proposal that we should respectfully greet him, and call to his mind the fact that we are humbly praying for the day of peace. … the action of the bishops in the Lambeth Conference of 1920 is a sound precedent for the despatch of the telegram. And, if I am denied this precedent, I fall back confidently upon our Lord’s own teaching. …I humbly submit, as a member of the Lambeth Conference of 1920, that the priests were then given a glorious opportunity, by some 250 English Bishops, of accustoming their flocks to a vision of a reunited Christendom, with the Pope as the central figure… May I humbly suggest that before the telegram be quite forgotten, the Lambeth Appeal, in its relation to reunion with Rome, be explained to the people concerned?”

Back in 1920, he had written of “an undivided College of Bishops [including] Roman [and] Anglican… Each communion… would retain its own customs, methods, and ways of worship, as far as is compatible with life in a universal fellowship that professes one faith, possesses one episcopal ministry, and uses sacraments common to all. Between these groups there would be intercommunion and all such acts of mutual fellowship.”  Just as the Pope now proposes!

He maintained that Rome’s example of ‘Uniate’ Churches was the only system possible – is not this very much in the spirit of Anglicanorum cœtibus

He also added so presciently,

“If Anglo-Catholics spend their time picking holes in the language of the Appeal [or of the TAC's Petition, or of Anglicanorum cœtibus, I suspect he would now add], rather than in thanking God for what He has done for us, they will be, indeed, blind leaders of the blind.”

In his day, the Lambeth Appeal came to nothing… would that the same never be said of the Petition and the Apostolic Constitution now in process of being realized!

It ought be noted that and note that Bp Frank Weston, to quote his biography, “earnestly desired reunion with Rome, but [not] individual submission… fully convinced of his own priesthood… [but see his own words above]… hoping that the day would come when Rome would… give an authoritative interpretation of infallibility which would make it possible to [unfeignedly believe] that doctrine… [given] the facts of history and theological truth” – theologians commonly state that Vatican II quite correctly put Papal infallibility in its proper context of the teaching role of worldwide episcopate, completing the work of Vatican I in this area, neither taking away from the special role of Peter to confirm his brethren in the Faith, if necessary making the final ruling, nor making bishops mere puppets of the Pope, which would deny their own apostolic rights.

Bp Weston died on the 2nd of November, 1924; I quote what “the native [Roman] Catholic Christians, members of the congregation of the Vicariate Apostolic of Zanzibar” wrote of him in their open letter to Weston’s Archdeacon: “Also, because of his holy life, we are sure, through our Mighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ, his Lordship’s soul is at rest in peace before the Holy Trinity in heaven. ‘Exoramus pro [anima] famuli tui Frank Weston. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei; requiescat in pace.’”

Perhaps now, in God’s time, Anglo-Catholics at length have the fruition of the prayers of Frank of Zanzibar?


NB Many of his writings, together with the biography I quoted from above, are available at the page "Frank Weston" at Project Canterbury.

Lamb Roast

I had the whole family at table to-night for a celebratory dinner: a roasted leg of lamb (about 5 pounds' weight), slow-cooked till meltingly tender and falling off the bone, served with gravy, mint sauce, roast potatoes and pumpkin, cauliflower with cheese sauce, and zucchini with tomatoes (the latter fresh from the garden).  I had a beer while cooking...  And dessert was peaches poached in syrup with vanilla and whisky.

The simple things in life are often the best.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bishop Elliott's Wisdom for Anglicans

All kudos to Bp Elliott — I see he has again made a sagacious speech helpful to all who would further the great and good work of corporate reunion under the terms of Anglicanorum cœtibus.

Three Bears

There's a lot of wildlife around... just yesterday, as I drove out to go to confession, there was a wallaby standing in the driveway, which hopped away across the street towards one of the other houses...

To-day, I took my father out for a drive in the country, since he no longer drives and rarely gets out any more.  We drove up along the Tamar, past Brady's Lookout (where once that notorious bushranger espied likely targets, while keeping watch for the approach of any officers of the law), and stopt at Exeter for a pie for lunch at the excellent bakery there.  Next, we turned away from the river and proceeded west along the Frankford Road, then south to Westbury (where in colonial days one of the British regiments was garrisoned), and home via the old road through Hagley, Carrick and Hadspen.  The trip, including visiting my sister for a spell, took a couple of hours, and covered about 100 km.

A few kilometres to the west of Carrick lies what my parents have always assured me is the Three Bears' Forest (I see no reason to doubt them), where the events of that well-known incident took place that have long since been immortalized in print.  It's always pleasing to see it again, just as with wonderment my sister and I stared out at those dark trees all those years ago when we were young.

The forest is directly north of the Meander Valley Highway:

Shrovetide Musings

I've been blogging less lately, because of work pressures and lack of motivation... it seems stupid to blather on when one has nothing of import to report.

But, lest the all-important sitemeter start recording a huge drop in visitors (quelle horreur), I thought I should at least type something.


As all men know, to-day is Shrove Sunday, and therefore yester-day was Shrove-Saturday, or rather Egg-Saturday!  To celebrate in the approved manner, I had pancakes for breakfast (with bananas and walnuts and maple syrup).  Maple syrup – must be one of the few native North American contributions to world food (just as the macadamia nut is Australia's one and only domesticated native crop).

On a more serious note, I also went to confession, as is my practice on Saturday morning, and as is peculiarly apposite in Shrovetide – for the term means "the time for shrift", "shrift" being the old term for being absolved in the Sacrament of Penance.  So, having been shriven yester-day, this morning at Mass I was houselled (given Holy Communion).  

Shrift and Housel: the two quotidian sacraments for all Christians!  St Philip staunchly counselled that all frequently confess their sins, that thus worthily prepared they might partake of the blessings of receiving their Saviour in the most comfortable Sacrament of the altar.  As fallen men – who frequently fail, and who (in these evil latter days) scarce live as Christians should, not having the heroic strength of those who formed the Early Church of the saints and martyrs – we ever need forgiveness, and ghostly strength: hence, shrift and housel.

These things I shall think over in my heart, therefore will I hope:
The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed: because his commiserations have not failed.
They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, said my soul: therefore will I wait for him.
The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him.

— Lamentations iii, 21-24

I should also note that "housel" is cognate with Gothic hunsl, a sacrifice – just as "host" implies the notion of Christ as the Divine Victim, mystically offered up on the altar in propitation for all offences, pleading for all our needs, because His Sacrifice on the Cross is made truly present in all its power and might.  For Mass is no mere Communion Service – whether we receive or not, the greatest Prayer is offered up, the most prevailing petition, the most potent to obtain the Divine assistance.


Is it perverse of me to prefer Mass with a wise, devout, understanding priest, albeit in a parish setting where the music and some of the liturgy is not ideal, to Mass at Carmel, where, although the music and the good sisters' care of the celebration is commendable, one may encounter priests whose sermons can be less than orthodox, whom frankly one doesn't like, and who, one fears, reciprocate the sentiment?

Enough said!


When the liturgy is less than ideal (as when appalling songs are sung), I tend to retreat into myself, and turn to my handy Diurnal, so as to read some of the day's Office.  I recall that Fortescue reprobates the clergy catching up on the Hours at Mass, but as a layman I can do as I please.  (It will appear eccentric, but, as they say, "If the cap fits, wear it!"  I've never worried what others may say.)


To return to yester-day: it was good to do as I am accustomed on Our Lady's day, that is, to have a wander round town, to read the newspapers, to have a coffee, and to buy some books at last!

(I have had severe cashflow problems until now – paying off the debts incurred on my recent European holiday, y'know.)

I've bought a nice thick guidebook for Italy – since I most definitely will holiday there again come December and January, and spend even more time in la città bellissima - Firenze.  (Every time I see pictures of Florence my heart expands with emotion; it must be Stendhal Syndrome.)  Tentatively the plan arises of persuading some of my family to join me this time, such as my sister, who would love it!  And why not hire a car and drive around Tuscany?  Hence my purchase of a road atlas of Europe.

But, nearer in time, I feel like visiting Russia!  I've bought a guidebook about the Trans-Siberian Railway, which sounds like a very interesting trip to take: I'd like to see Outer Manchuria and Siberia.  Perhaps a flight to Seoul, then up to Vladivostok, and thence by train to Moscow, with some stops along the way?  Why not...  I can read Cyrillic, so perhaps I should next try and learn some basic Russian.


I've also been engrossed in Warlord, Carlo D'Este's biography of Churchill as a soldier and military leader: Sir Winston is a great hero of mine, as he ought be for all decent people.  One shudders to think what would have happened to the world had he not been there to take the helm in 1940, when Britain teetered on the edge of disaster...

And, in order to catch up on my understanding of the Dark Continent (no racist wickedness intended, but one can hardly call it the Happy Continent), I've bought Meredith's The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence.

I thoroughly concur with what was British thinking ere the U.S. and financial pressures caused independence to come to African possessions of The Queen and other European rulers: that Africa was not ready for independence – surely a thesis sadly proven true by subsequent events forming a miserable catalogue of coups, dictatorships, massacres and oppression.  Independence was granted too soon.  After all, the Australian colonies first had fifty-odd years of direct rule, then half a century of responsible government while still tied to the Imperial Government, before they gained their independence as States federated under the Crown, with a national Parliament.

A friend who'd been in the Colonial Police in Uganda told me that in his day, women could safely walk in the streets at night, "Because we hanged rapists".  Compare that to the genocidal atrocities of Idi Amin.  Uganda since independence has suffered terribly, and I daresay still has not returned to the good governance and modest prosperity brought by British rule.  Similarly, the income gap between North and South, between Europe and Africa, has widened, not lessened, since independence of the former came to the latter.  Without the rule of law, there is no security for anyone, and only the elite currently in power can prosper, and that at the expense of everyone else.

But perhaps I should now read the book, rather than just list my preconceptions!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

OF and EF

Thoughts for the day:
  • "The new the old conceals, the old the new reveals" — the Ordinary Form makes less explicit what the Extraordinary Form makes clear, plain and manifest; thankfully, the E.F., as its hermeneutical key, reveals the hidden significance and proper understanding of the O.F. (this applies to rubrics as well as to doctrine);
  • "The old is better" — Our Lord Jesus Christ (Gospel of St Luke v, 39).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Miniature Heat Wave

Last year we were hit by a real Tasmanian heatwave - including three days over 35 degrees Celsius, and a new record high for Launceston of 39: the candle in the candlestick in the hall drooped over in the sweating heat, it's a wonder folks weren't keeling over in the streets - which was the tail end of the South-eastern Australian heatwave of 2009 (Melbourne recording over 46 on that terrible Black Saturday).  

While not at all in the same league, we've had (let mainlanders not mock) a miniature heatwave these last few days - three in a row over 30 degrees, and very muggy withal, very unpleasant overnight: very uncomfortable at home and at work (only some parts being airconditioned, since in Tasmania it's not usually being too hot that we worry about).

Hence my lassitude...

Monday, February 8, 2010

In pietate tua

Good Friday's solemn liturgy concludes with what used to be called the Mass of the Presanctified.  In the traditional Carthusian Rite, before the celebrant sings the Pater noster, he first intercedes in secret for the whole Church – this is evidently intended as a sort of substitute for the Canon of the Mass, and is interesting to compare and contrast to the solemn prayers offered earlier in the Good Friday service.  

Here is the prayer (taken from my copy of A.A.King's Liturgies of the Religious Orders), with my own rough rendering:

Pietate tua, quæsumus, Domine, nostrorum solve vincula delictorum: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria cum omnibus sanctis tuis, domnum Apostolicum, pontifices, abbates et priores nostros, sed et omnes congregationes illis commissas, reges et principes nostros, et omnem populum Christianum, et nos famulos tuos, atque locum istum, et omnia loca nostra in omni sanctitate custodi, omnesque affinitate, societate ac familiaritate nobis conjunctos, et nos a vitiis purga, virtutibus illustra, pacem et salutem nobis tribue, hostes visibiles et invisibiles remove, carnalia desideria repelle, aërem salubrem indulge, amicis inimicis nostris et nobis veram caritatem largire, et omnibus fidelibus tuis vivis et defunctis in terra viventium vitam et requiem æternam concede.  Per eumdem Dominum...
(In thy pity, we beseech, Lord, dissolve the bonds of our sins: and the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary Mother of God with all Thy Saints interceding, the Apostolic See, our pontiffs, abbots and priors, and all congregations committed to them, our kings and princes, and all Christian people, and us Thy servants, and this place, and all our places guard in all sanctity, and all conjoined to us by affinity, society and familiarity; and us purge from vices, enlighten with virtues, grant unto us peace and health, remove our enemies seen and unseen, repel carnal desires, give healthy air, grant true charity to our friends and enemies and to us, and to all Thy faithful living and dead concede life to those living on earth and eternal rest.  Through the same our Lord...)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black Saturday: First Anniversary

Day turned to hellish night – the firestorm at Steels Creek, seen out the kitchen window by the homeowner (Mr Cleaveley), at 6:11 pm 

Of your charity, pray for the souls of the 173 Victorians killed – 38 at Kinglake, 34 at Marysville, 27 at Strathewen, to say nothing of many other fatalities – in the Black Saturday bushfires of the 7th of February 2009, and pray also for those who survived, who continue to struggle to rebuild their lives and homes, mindful of their relatives, friends and neighbours who perished.

Pray also for the 62 who died during the 1967 Black Tuesday bushfires in southern Tasmania, whose anniversary also falls this day.  Having lived in Hobart for some years, I recall how all around the city the story was still told of "Here the fire came" – down the forested hills and gullies, to the university campus, to my old university college, to the homes of friends and to those of the dead...  

(Some stories from 1967: Jane, at home while the fire bore down, in a house backing on to a cliff above the beach below, thought, "I must save my children," and, paying out the neighbours' garden hose over the steep slope, snatched up all four of them at once and abseiled to safety like an opossum!  Many others nearby also found safety on the beach.  But one old couple, fearing the flames, fled their home and made for the beach down along a creek – alas! they were unable to outrun the bushfire and were burnt to death in the open, while by cruel contrast their house was left untouched – on whose souls the Lord have mercy.)

Pray that the ongoing Royal Commission into last year's tragedy will fearlessly report the truth about that day, uncovering mistakes and failings, forcefully pointing out what must be done if deaths are to be avoided in the future.  Pray that lessons learnt at such a price will not be neglected.

Unfortunately, the typical twenty-year gap between particularly savage, deadly bushfires feeds a culture of complacency that gradually grows up after each disaster recedes in memory...

Dominus Vobiscum

Dominus vobiscum (note that strictly speaking the priest should have his eyes downcast)

The Council of Hippo, way back in 393, ruled that no lector could be permitted to say Dominus vobiscum, for the excellent reason that the people could not properly reply to him Et cum spiritu tuo – since only the ordained in what came to be called major orders (bishops, priests and deacons, but not subdeacons, who have been enumerated among the major orders only since the 13th century) "have the Spirit" given them by their ordination, as St John Chrysostom says (for thereby priests and pontiffs are empowered to offer the Holy Sacrifice); lesser ministers, not having been sealed with the indelible sacramental character imprinted by the Holy Ghost, cannot be said to have the Holy Spirit in the unique fashion of those in holy orders.

(Unfortunately, this vital distinction has been veiled by the current impoverished English version used in the modern liturgy these past forty years and more – but thankfully, the new translation about to be introduced next year will at last remedy this, so we will reply to our priests, "And with your spirit".)

What the significance of this salutation?  It is a deprecatory blessing, a jussive subjunctive, a commanded blessing authoritatively stated by the priest, who is ordained to bless: "The Lord be with you" is not a mere wish, but a strong prayer made in the name of the Church, a sacramental working not merely ex opere operantis, but ex opere Ecclesiæ, which will be effective if not impeded by sin.  It is as it were a prophetic conditional declaration: for all prophecy is conditional (as with Jonah's "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be destroyed" – the Ninevites did penance, and the threatened judgement was averted; in reverse, a prophecy of good will be frustrated by evil deeds).

The term "salutation" is suggestive: for to salute someone is to wish them good health (salus), or, in supernatural terms as should become Christians, to heartily desire and pray for that person's eternal salvation.

It is even more evident that this applies in the case of the Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum, which Luther – of all people – quite perspicaciously regarded as a prayer of blessing to prepare the people for making their communion, something in his age largely forgotten, but which is borne out by parallel, even more explicit pre-communion benedictions in related liturgies such as the Ambrosian and Mozarabic, to say nothing of the episcopal benedictions imparted at that point of the Mass, as survivals of the old Gallican rite or as embellishments of the phrase, during mediæval and later times.

"The Lord be with you", then, is a powerful prayer, not merely a conventional half-understood turn of phrase to be mumbled and ignored: the priest, standing in the place of Christ, blesses his flock, that the Risen Lord be with His people the Church, and His faithful then call down the same blessing upon their priest.  We recall the promise of Our Saviour, victorious over sin and death: Ecce Ego vobiscum omnibus diebus, "Behold, I shall be with you all days..." – "For when two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them."

The priest says Dominus vobiscum eight times during the traditional Mass (seven, at High Mass, since then the Deacon says this at the Gospel, instead of the priest), four times facing the altar, and four times turning to face the people, extending his hands in blessing.  (He turns also a fifth time when saying Orate fratres, and a sixth when imparting the concluding benediction.)

Jungmann explains that each time this salutation is issued, it marks an important stage in the celebration of the Mass: the summons to pray and to hearken at the Collect, the Gospel, the Offertory, the Preface, the Postcommunion, the dismissal (and, secondarily, since at High Mass this is not sung aloud, at the priest ascending the altar and at the Last Gospel).

As regards the Gospel and the dismissal, in both cases it precedes the deacon's part – indeed, it is thought that originally, as at the dismissal, Dominus vobiscum was sung by the priest, not the deacon, at the Gospel.  As regards the Collect, the Preface and the Postcommunion, it heralds the main sacerdotal prayers.  The Orate fratres likewise precedes the Secret, and the Pax Domini the reception of the Sacrament.  Why is it not sung at the Lord's Prayer, though Oremus is?  Because this is a continuation of the great prayer begun at the Preface and continued through the Canon.

Jungmann also notes that the Dominus vobiscum in a sense prefigures the Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum of the orations, and likewise the Et cum spiritu tuo the Amen.  We can only pray in Christ, and through Christ; and the good Christian people respond to the priest's greeting, as with a hearty "So be it" they express their agreement with the prayer.

I am indebted for what follows to St Peter Damian, most of whose Letter 28, to Leo the hermit, I've just read: it is a treatise on the use of "The Lord be with you", answering the query of certain solitaries, who wondered whether they should greet the stones and boards of their cells, or reply themselves to their own greeting...

That Doctor of the Church and Cardinal replied to such questions, "No, the priest is not alone.  When he says Mass or prays, he has before him the whole Church mysteriously present and she it is whom he salutes by saying Dominus vobiscum.  And since he represents the Church, she answers him through his own mouth, Et cum spiritu tuo."  (St Peter Damian, Dom. vob., c. 6, 10, etc.)

If a priest says a private Mass with only one server present, or only one member of the faithful, nonetheless he still says Dominus vobiscum, not tecum.  Similarly, if the priest be by himself, he himself gives the response, even saying Et cum spiritu tuo, being forbidden by the tradition of the Church from modifying these hallowed Scriptural words, thus prevented from perverse misused rationality tricking him into saying Et cum spiritu meo!  

One might as well be entirely ridiculous and say, "Let me pray", instead of the universal "Let us pray", which is used even if one is alone; likewise, as all the collects of the Office and Mass are couched in the plural, to be recited identically whether alone or with others, it would be insane madness to presume to change them into the singular.  The Psalms, likewise, indifferently use singular or plural, even within the same psalm – as St Peter Damian put it, "our solitude is communal and our community is [one, or] singular".

So, too, even if the priest be entirely alone, is he not, as St Augustine wrote, both a priest for the Christian people, and also himself a Christian? for he is at once by ordination a man set apart to act in the person of Christ the Head as priest and mediator, and by baptism a member of Christ's Body the Church.  Therefore, qua sacerdos, in persona Christi he says Dominus vobiscum, and qua Christianus, in persona Ecclesiæ replies to his own greeting with Et cum spiritu tuo.  For in himself he is the local instantiation of the entire Church, one member acting in the name of all – just as all Christians together form one Body: in pluribus una, in singulis tota.  For we all have received one Spirit to drink, as the Apostle recalls, and this Spirit dwells wholly in each as well as in all.

The priest all alone is still in a real, sacramental, mystical unity with the whole Church, with whom he shares and to whom he is joined by the unity of faith and charity.  Furthermore, even at the altar by himself, he sees by faith what his eyes cannot: the faithful throughout the world (yea, and those departed, the saints and the holy souls, and also the angels), truly, spiritually present at his solitary Mass: for every Mass is an action of Christ and His Church.

Mgr Klaus Gamber was once asked who it was he greeted each day at his Mass all alone (for, unwilling to use the modern Liturgy, he was condemned by the illiberal liberalism of those times to offer the Sacrifice behind closed doors, he being thought an embarrassment best sequestered).  He replied that it was all the forgotten, despised Christians whom he saluted in spirit.

In any case, it is an established principle of liturgy that one can supply the words of another – as at baptism, when the parents and godparents speak on behalf of the speechless infant.

Thus, even at the traditional rite of Mass when alone (I am constrained to mention that the Ordinary Form has a contrary rule), the priest still says Dominus vobiscum, and, for utterly the same reason, Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum; similarly, he blesses those unseen, but to whom he is present in Christ.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mass All Alone?

The altar within de Foucauld's hermitage

I recall that while Bl Charles de Foucauld was a hermit out in the wilds of the Sahara, for long years, though he was a priest, he couldn't say Mass – because there was no one to attend it.

The old rule always was that even at a private Low Mass, there must always be a server, or, in default of that, someone (even a laywoman) kneeling at the altar rail to give the responses.  In fact, even if he or she couldn't give the responses, that person's mere presence would minimally suffice: for at least someone had to be there as well.

Just as the priest acts in the person of Christ the Head, there must be a member of the Church present (the server, so to speak, acts in the name of the Church when he gives the responses - for at High Mass, the choir sings the responses, as ideally the whole congregation does).

After some years, Bl Charles obtained special permission from the Holy See to say Mass entirely alone – since there were no other Christians anywhere at all nearby, and the local Muslims were hardly to be expected to come and assist at Mass (seeing as he never converted any of them).

(In passing, the question may be asked, would the attendance of a pagan, an unbaptized person, suffice?  One suspects not...)

But, when Mass is said by a priest entirely alone, what special rubricks would he observe?

Some concerns are already provided for, as in the case of the absence of a server (so for instance the priest himself moves the missal, etc.).  Obviously, as in a private Mass anyway, there would be no ringing of bells; since the priest would have no one to pour the first ablution over his fingers, I suppose he would first dip them in the fingerbowl (the correct name for this escapes me) next to the tabernacle, and later consume the water therein [UPDATE – no, see 0. below for the right rule]: but there should be rubrickal directions for this, at least in the approved authors.

Five points come to mind:

1.  The priest would say everything the server normally would (as in the recitation of the Office, prior to the last preconciliar changes, he would himself respond to his own Dominus vobiscum), following any special rules (as for example the special form of the Suscipiat, already provided in the missal for the priest to say if the server fail to make the response);

2.  As there is no one to reply with the Misereatur, the priest would presumably follow the rule for when Compline is said by one alone, and say it himself (suitably modified) – the server's Confiteor and the priest's reply being utterly omitted, then at once would follow the Indulgentiam;

3.  Would the priest need to turn from the altar toward the non-existent congregation at the Dominus vobiscum and Orate fratres? it would seem superfluous and ridiculous to do so – but perhaps he ought, remembering that the Angels are present;

4.  At the end of Mass, it would seem again silly and pointless to give a blessing in the absence of any people present – the Carthusians never do, precisely since they have no layfolk at their Masses, though significantly their books note that if, for some strange reason, some such are present, then a blessing should be given as is the general custom.

I await some advice from rubrickal experts about all this...


UPDATE: I finally thought to open up Fortescue-O'Connell-Reid (the latest, 15th, Summorum Pontificum, 2009 edition), and behold!  My queries are answered.

Firstly, the strictures against Mass entirely alone have been much relaxed in the new Code of Canon Law, since the priest's desire of and devotion to saying Mass, even if no one be in attendance, are considered a solid reason for doing so.

0.  At the ablutions, either the priest first pours wine then water over the index finger and thumb of his left hand, and then does the same for his right hand (swapping the cruets from hand to hand as necessary), or he may thus cleanse the left hand digits in question, then dip those of his right into the chalice to purify them;

1.  O'Connell questioned the saying the Dominus vobiscum, but the other expert authors reject this – and as noted above, in the Suscipiat the priest makes the modification of saying de manibus meis;

2.  According to a response from the Sacred Congregation of Rites (no. 3975), the Confiteor is to be said only once, omitting entirely vobis fratres and vos fratres, and similarly the priest says at once Misereatur nostri;

3.  The question of whether to turn or not at the salutations and admonition is not dealt with – I suppose that silence betokens consent, and the priest should still turn ad populum (though no one be there!), since this signifies the truth that, even when the priest celebrates alone, Mass is an action of the whole Church, and he truly offers up the Saving Victim for all and on behalf of all;

4.  I had sided with O'Connell's minority opinion about omitting the blessing at Mass's end, but in a footnote the other authors contradict him on this, for the same reasons as noted immediately above.

Some other directions: when moving the missal, the priest does not genuflect (as a server would when doing so) but merely bows his head to the altar crucifix.  For convenience, the cruets and lavabo bowl are either arranged on a credence close to the altar, or even placed on the altar itself.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Prayer to St Blaise

Not having had the opportunity to receive the traditional Blessing of Throats on St Blaise's Day to-day, the 3rd of February, in lieu of having crossed candles held at my throat – isn't that a great picture?! – while the priest pronounces the proper benediction Per intercessionem sancti Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo ("By the intercession of St Blaise, God deliver thee from evil of the throat and from any other evil"), I pray him, the Martyr-Bishop of Sebaste in Lesser Armenia:

Shepherd after the heart of the Good Shepherd, High Priest as sacramental icon of the One Eternal High Priest, Witness unto death to the True and Faithful Witness, Thou excellent Bishop and Martyr, Saint Blaise: who by a prodigy of goodness art appointed by God's mysterious providence as mediator in the One Mediator for all needs spiritual and temporal, and intercessory averter in especial of all afflictions and diseases of the throat, obtain from the Lord such blessings as may conduce to our everlasting health and salvation; may thy glorious merits and suffrages avail to prevent, assuage, or cure sickness especially of the throat, enabling us to bear our mutual burdens manfully according to God's all-holy will; care for us, teach us by thine example most sacred to know that in pain we may both atone for our crimes and store up merit, being purified of earthly dross to be fitter for heaven, making up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church; plead for us, make excuses for our waywardness and faults, for we are sinful, fallen men; worship and bless and praise the Trinity on our behalf, thou who now livest in Christ evermore, and reignest with Him, having overcome the great tribulation of mortal life, and passed as purest gold through the fiery furnace of thy suffering and death — by His grace, Who endured all things for us, Who atoned for all sins by His Sacrifice,  offering perfect adoration, and won for us every grace and benediction, having taught us saving doctrine by His every word and work, the same Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we beseech, by thy pure prayers and those of His Holy Virgin Mother, to save our souls.
Ora pro nobis, beati Blasi.
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
Da, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui beati Blasii Martyris tui atque Pontificis solemnia colimus, ejus apud te intercessionibus adjuvemur.  Per...
(Pray for us, blessed Blaise, 
(That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
(Let us pray. 
(Give, we beg, almighty God; that we who honour the solemnities of blessed Blaise Thy Martyr and Pontiff, may be aided by his intercessions before Thee.  Through...)

Another Year Over

I kept Candlemas at Carmel yester-day morning, again - as last year - assembling with the priest and laity in the large parlour, with the nuns assembled in due order behind the screen: they processed out through their convent to their wing of the chapel, while we made our way - all alike with blest candles burning bright - through the outer passageway into the public part of the chapel, thus coming together for the celebration of the Mass.

The celebrant was a devout Irish Carmelite, who preached a very interesting sermon, putting forward the symbolism of this feast: it is illuminated by and lies between two candles — the Christmas light, and the Paschal candle — the former for the Incarnation, the latter for the Passion and Resurrection of Christ our Lord and God.  The Eternal Son took on our nature, that in His own Incarnate Person He might offer perfect worship to God His Father — and by His Passion and Cross, won for us the grace, as sons in the Son, to offer perfect worship to the Father, "in spirit and truth".  We do this, of course, above all when we offer the Sacrifice of the Mass...

Thus we begin on earth that office of adoration which shall be our eternal occupation in heaven.

(Some foretaste of this, I felt, was the gentle unhurried pace of the celebration – Mass took almost an hour – the slow reading of the lessons by the nuns and the Gospel by the priest, his meditative sermon, his focussed recitation of the prayers throughout, and our singing of the timeless Gregorian chant of the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.)

To shew in a lively fashion that ceaseless praise is our most high calling, Mass ended with the Blessed Sacrament being exposed in the monstrance for ongoing Adoration...

Blessed be God for ever!

Monday, February 1, 2010

First Vespers of Candlemas

In the 1962 Breviaries (incl. the Dominican), Candlemas only has first Vespers if it fall on a Sunday - but, pro pia devotione, it seems good to read Vespers of St Ignatius of Antioch, and then Vespers of Candlemas as well.  

In the Dominican Office, Candlemas Eve Vespers is decorated with a beautiful Responsory and even a Prose – a unique survival of the mediæval practice of not just troping Kyries, or adding a Sequence after the Alleluia at Mass, but of taking up the last part of the melody of a Responsory, and adding a new poetic text to it: in this case, the Responsory is Gaude Maria Virgo, and the Prose is the Inviolata.

The words of the respond should seem familiar – the Tract used at Masses of Our Lady after Septuagesima uses the same text.  However, the versicle following is only used in the Office.

R/.  Gaude, Maria Virgo, cunctas hæreses sola interemisti, quæ Gabrielis Archangeli dictis credidisti: * Dum Virgo Deum et hominem genuisti, et post partum, Virgo, inviolata permansisti.  V/.  Gabrielem Archangelum scimus divinitus te esse affatum: uterum tuum de Spiritu Sancto credimus imprægnatum: erubescat Judæus infelix, qui dicit Christum ex Joseph semine esse natum. * Dum Virgo Deum et hominem genuisti, et post partum, Virgo, inviolata permansisti. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui  Sancto.

(And immediately, without resuming the respond from the asterisk:)

Inviolata, intacta, et casta es Maria,
quae es effecta fulgida caeli porta.
O Mater alma Christi carissima,
suscipe pia laudum praeconia.
Nostra ut pura pectora sint et corpora,
te nunc flagitant devota corda et ora.
Tua per precata dulcisona,
nobis concedas veniam per saecula.
O benigna!
quae sola inviolata permansisti.

The Prose takes up inviolata, the second-last word of the Responsory, expands upon it, and concludes by repeating it and then at last singing the last word, permansisti.

This recension of the Inviolata is proper to the Order; the Roman version reads integra not intacta, reverses lines 5 and 6, and adds O Regina! O Maria! after benigna.

Candlemas, the Purification of Our Lady, the Presentation of Our Lord, the Meeting (Hypapante) of Our Lord in the Temple – a great feast, which some have argued to mystically represent the End of the Year of Grace: our entry, in Christ, into the Heavenly Temple, there to be hid forever with Christ in God.  We carry candles at the procession before Mass, calling to mind the Five Wise Virgins who husbanded their resources, equipped to go out and meet the Bridegroom with lamps burning bright when He came, and so worthy to enter into the Nuptial Feast before the doors were shut.