Friday, December 30, 2011

Frs Bob Maguire & Bill Uren - Say the Trad Mass!

I hear on the grapevine that Fr Bob Maguire, that lovable independent thinker, has taken to saying the Trad. Mass on Sunday evenings, and has even spoken in praise of it on the radio.  Extraordinary!

More amazing still, Fr Bill Uren, S.J., not normally thought of as a traditionalist, has promised to say such Masses at Newman College, given that many young people there have asked for it.

I think to-day I really have believed three impossible things.

All I want for Christmas... er, New Year...

Please may I have:
1. A new Archbishop (a strong Catholic);
2. A Traditional Mass each Sunday (at least in Hobart);
3. The Australian Ordinariate up and running - including a local congregation.
Of your charity, pray for these intentions – and for the many other dioceses and archdioceses around Australia where similar needs are felt.

Dear readers, feel free to add your own wants and needs to this list!

Missæ Bifaciatæ et Trifaciatæ

I have already at length discoursed upon that liturgical curiosity, the triple Mass, when discussing the Missa trifaciata offered at Christmas in the Dormitionist Order; for lesser but still prominent feasts, those Canons maintain the antique custom of offering up a twofold Mass, a Missa bifaciata.

Passion Friday, as all men know, is the last Lenten Friday before Good Friday; while in past centuries, throughout the worldwide Church, on this day both a ferial Mass of Lent and a festal Mass of Our Lady of Sorrows would normally be celebrated, the Canons of Our Lady’s Dormition unite these two observances into one.  Having begun Mass with the usual prayers, the Mass Stabant juxta Crucem is begun, and continued down to the end of its Offertory Recordare Virgo Mater; then comes the famed liturgical stutter so named by the learnèd Pickstock – the Introit of the ferial Mass, Miserere mihi Domine, is read, and so the rest of that formulary down to its Offertory, Benedictus es Domine.  Only then, after this twofold Mass of the Catechumens (first one for devout children of Mary Sorrowing, the other for clients of Santa Feria), is the one Mass of the Faithful begun.  The details of this need not detain us, further than to note that a Secret is read from each formulary, and likewise two Communions and two Postcommunions are read, followed by the Lenten Oratio super populum peculiar to the feria.  The Preface, of course, is that of the Holy Cross, ’neath which the Dolorous Virgin took her stand.

Similarly, at the Greater and Lesser Litanies, Missæ bifaciatæ are celebrated – that is, on St Mark’s day (Mass of the Apostle, united with the Mass of Rogation), and, if saint’s feasts occur, on each of the days of Rogationtide.  Moreover, if a saint’s day fall on Rogation Wednesday, Ascension Eve, a Missa trifaciata is celebrated: thrice the Mass of Catechumens is prayed, once for the saint, once for the Vigil of the Ascension, and once for the Rogation.  (While according to the Roman Missal those three Masses would, even down to the 1950's in collegiate churches, have been said after Terce, Sext and None respectively on Rogation Wednesday, the Dormitionist practice of saying all three by aggregation before Compline is plus simple et plus uni.)

Again, ancient Missals of the Roman Church contain multiple Masses for the feasts of St John the Baptist and of St Lawrence: as well as the day Mass of each, there was a matutinal or early morning Mass.  The Dormitionists have conserved the texts of both of these, but unite them with the Mass of the respective day as two more Missæ bifaciatæ.  (After all, how could these religious, devoted as they are to even now pursuing a foretaste of eternal rest, celebrate early morning Masses when their Rule obliges them to evening Masses only?)

As with Christmas, so with Maundy Thursday: just as the Holy Roman Church of old time celebrated three Masses on that day – for the Reconcilation of Penitents, for the Consecration of Chrism, and of the Lord’s Supper (in Cæna Domini) – so the Dormitionists unite all three formularies into one (though of course no chrism is blessed, nor penitents reconciled for that matter).  There is no procession afterward, nor use of an altar of repose (just as the Carthusians refrain from such*); rather, the priest having consecrated a second Host, It is reserved in the usual manner and, Mass ended, the Discourse of Our Lord is read (St John, chapters xiii to xvii) as a most fit introduction to Compline, which follows directly.

* In a similar way (excuse this strange expression), the Dormitionists and Carthusians imitate each other in simply and soberly celebrating Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Candlemas: for on none of these days is there any procession held in either Order; rather, the ashes, palms and candles respectively are blessed with a suitable prayer and distributed, whereupon Mass begins at once.  The Dormitionists have but one variant ceremony: for more expedition, the ashes and palms respectively are immediately thrown over the prostrate brethren, themselves resembling mere scattered ashes and bestrewn palms (as those humble religious delight to confess).  The candles, however, are not distributed until after Mass, for they are too large to throw without danger – since it is intended that the brethren carry them as night-lights back to their cells after Compline, and it would be ridiculous and unseemly to carry broken candles, especially if injured by them.  (The two Orders also diverge in their observance of Corpus Christi; while Carthusians hold a Eucharistic procession, Dormitionists – imitating Belgian practices, and what I remember of that feast at the Pro-Cathedral in Perth, W.A. – content themselves with celebrating Mass and Compline of that feast coram Sanctissimo, the Host exposed in a monstrance above the High Altar throughout.)


How odd, I reflect, it is, that dear Archdale Arthur King, in his Liturgies of the Religious Orders (which I have in facsimile before me) wasted paper on an account of the extinct Gilbertines and their fragmentary remains, and so for want of space neglected to give any decent account of the still-extant and far more intriguing liturgies of the Dormitionists!  At least in my own online musings I have almost covered all the topics he discussed when explicitating the practices of the Carthusians, Cistercians, Premonstratensians, Carmelites, Dominicans, and those unfortunate Gilbertines.  Deo gratias.

Altar Card for the New Mass on Sale!

Simply amazing!  Everything old is new again; or, back to the future...

St Pauls Publications are offering an altar card, 297 by 210 mm (produced by C.T.S. in the U.K., unsurprisingly), to assist priests in saying the new Mass – in both English and Latin! – and which is described as follows:
This encapsulated card reproduces the text of the prayers of consecration in both the new English translation and the ordinary form Latin equivalent (Latin on one side, English on the other). It sits on the altar and will assist priests in saying Mass in the new translation and in the original Latin.
I wonder if it will be laid flat on the mensa, or if more enterprising priests prop it up against the altar crucifix?

I do hope a matching side card with the prayers for the mixing of wine and water in the chalice will soon be available.  A priest friend is already busy designing it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Papal Liturgy, or, As they do it at the Oratory

I didn't watch the Papal Midnight Mass, being busy with Christmas present-opening and then lunch with family and friends (after myself attending Midnight Mass at Carmel, then serving the Dawn Mass in my parish), but heard from my parish priest that it was splendid, and that the music was much, much improved over the usual proverbially bad standard of the Sistine Choir.  Having been thus alerted, I've just looked at the pdf file of the booklet of the Mass, and find it to be a very sumptuous celebration indeed – if I didn't know that His Holiness and the good Marini weren't quite capable of planning it themselves, I'd have sworn some English Oratorians had choreographed the liturgy!

The Mass was preceded, as ought everywhere to be done (as the modern Divine Office itself recommends), with the Office of Readings (formerly known as Matins): and this was wholly chanted in Latin, except for the two readings, which were done in Italian and English respectively.  Then came the chanting in Latin of the solemn proclamation of the Lord's birth (lifted from the Martyrology), the singing of Tu es Petrus for some reason, and then the Mass itself – which, but for four parts, was wholly in Latin.  What parts?  The first and second readings were in vernacular languages (English for the first, Spanish for the second); the homily, strange to say, was in Italian; the Prayer of the Faithful was in a combination of Latin and several modern languages (of which I will say more anon); and the final hymn, after the Ite missa est, was that one great favourite Italian Christmas carol, Tu scendi dalle stelle.

The Prayer of the Faithful was introduced by His Holiness in Italian, and concluded by him with a prayer also in that language (the sole prayer Benedict prayed in Italian, not Latin, in the entire ceremony); but a cantor sang Dominum oremus, to which all responded Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris; and when the petitions were then made, a deacon introduced each in Latin, before a longer vernacular intercession was read (the first in Polish, the second in French, the third in Korean, the fourth in Portuguese, the fifth in German), concluded by the cantor and people singing in Latin as before.  It appears progress is being made toward having the deacon lead the intercessions, as by rights he should.

What I found especially noteworthy was that there was no nasty responsorial psalm – instead, musicians take note with glad hearts, the Gradual was chanted!  This, while perfectly permissible according to the rubrics, is extremely rarely done in the modern Mass.

It appears liturgy at the Vatican is just about restored to the most traditional interpretation of the Novus Ordo consonant with its rubrics – hence my reference to the sacred liturgy as solemnized in the Oratories in England.

Already the Holy Father sets the Catholic world a good example by communing the faithful as they kneel devoutly, placing the Sacred Host on their tongues; already (as all men know) he stands at the high altar of St Peter's and in so doing celebrates the Holy Sacrifice ad orientem.

This was definitely a Reform of the Reform liturgy.

Much, much Gregorian chant, and sacred polyphony; the Roman Canon... a dazzlingly impressive modern liturgy.  Long forgotten be the ghost of bad Marini and of his influence upon the, ahem, unfortunately not very liturgically-minded Blessed J. P. II!

(If one wished to quibble, some points could be noted: it would be better still to sing the full Gregorian setting of the Alleluia rather than that simpler melody actually used, and, before the Motet, it would be more correct to chant the actual Offertory.  Further, given that in Rome there must be many seminarians who are instituted lectors, let such, vested, read or sing the first and second readings; and the polylingual intercessions, tiresome in their prolixy, would be best omitted – as it is, evidently a compromise was made between having the deacon take his rightful place and maintaining the modern custom, if it can be described as such, of having several layfolk read long-winded petitions one after the other.) 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Missa Trifaciata

Our friends the Dormitionists, that most retiring of religious Orders, whose charism is to live here and now eternal rest in Christ, awake somewhat rested from the Great Slumber they undertake, from Our Lord's Annunciation until the very Eve of His Nativity, imitating therein the pattern of the Divine Master; and thereupon celebrate the three Masses of Christmas as one.  This, of course, images forth the Trinity, our God Who Is, both Three and One; and also that Christ is born in threefold wise: according to His Godhead, of His Father before all ages; according to His Manhood, of His Mother in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the King; and according to His grace, every day and moment in hearts devoted to Him.  The Order of the Dormition, in other words, alone of all hidden corners of the Church conserves the ancient practice of the Missa trifaciata – understandably condemned as an abuse when undertaken for pecunary gain, for such is wicked simony; but, as with other their liturgical peculiarities, entirely licit and praiseworthy when permitted by Papal indult, omitting any reception of stipends under false pretences.  (After all, recent history both sacred and profane demonstrates how almost anything can be forbidden one minute and obligatory the next.)

Gavantus, in any case, relates that Maurice, Archbishop of Paris, and Rotrodus, Archbishop of Rouen, gave their seal of approval to the concession by the Abbot of license to use a Missa bifaciata composed by the Prior of the main monastery, and his friend the priest of SS Gervase and Protase, at Gisors, in the year 1181 (licentiam celebrandi duas Missas sub uno Canone concessit); and, by Divine command, a holy hermit of the diocese of Beauvais celebrated a Missa quadrifaciata in 1191. Here we see the hierarchical and the charismatic aspects in fundamental agreement: moreover, if a four- or two-faced liturgy be acceptable to the Church and to God, respectively, certainly the mean between the two must be pleasing to both, surely?  Later Synods modified this early approbation, it is true, but the Dormitionists, ever arch-conservatives or at least archly conservative, maintained this usage for the night of Christmas – since otherwise, by their Rule only celebrating Mass in the evening, they would be deprived of the merit of the Dawn and Day Masses thereof.

But what a Missa trifaciata?  To use the somewhat barbarous Latin expression of an enemy thereof, one Peter Cantor, it is a three-faced Mass: the priest going to the altar, first celebrates Mass down to the Offertory; then begins forthwith a second Mass, again continuing down to the Offertory; and a third time does the same. O liturgical stutter, beloved of the mystic Catherine Pickstock!  How we see thee thus instantiated!  Only then, whenas out of humility he has hesistated thrice at the anteroom of the Mystic and Divine Liturgy, does he continue with the offertory prayers or Canon Minor, proceeding to read a Secret for each Mass formulary, and then one Preface, with the holy Canon of the Mass and all else until, having received the Sacrament, he reads three Communions, then three Postcommunions, and so ends in the usual manner.  So say the words of Durandus (not exactly a friend to this devotion): Quidam incipiunt Missam de die, celebrantes illam suo ordine, usque ad offerendam postea incipiunt aliam Missam, et eam cantant usque ad eumdem locum: et idem faciunt plures, si volunt:... et exinde procedentes, dicunt tot secretas quot Missas incœperunt, semel tantum canonem dicentes, et consecrantes, et in fine tot orationes dicunt, quot officia Missæ incœperunt.

By so doing, the Dormitionist celebrating the Mass of Christmas for the assembled Canons spares them the tiresome weariness of three back-to-back Masses, with all the fuss of conserved ablutions kept back to consume after the last and whatnot.  First, having mixed the chalice and said the usual apologia as prescribed in the form of Mass proper to the Order, he begins Dominus dixit, the first Introit; and continues with that Mass down to the words of its Offertory, Lætentur cæli.  Immediately, however, he then takes up the second Introit, Lux fulgebit, and proceeds to read the second Mass down to the end of its Offertory, Deus firmavit; and yet a third time (mystically figuring forth the Trinity) begins again with the Day Mass's Introit Puer natus est, continuing with its prayers and readings until he has finished its Offertory, Viderunt omnes.  Only then does the sacrificant proceed to the Sacrifice, the hierophant to the Sacred Oblation.

As the ancients aver, God loves an odd number; and the Church never permitted an even number of orations at Mass, unless joined under one conclusion; for this reason, the commemoration of St Anastasia usually made at the second Mass is omitted, for else there would be an intolerable and unbearable four Secrets and four Postcommunions, a monstrosity indeed that the Canons of Our Lady's Dormition utterly despise and reject.  Similarly, while in mediæval days generally many Sequences were found in the Masses of Christmas, the Dormitionists do not admit their use to their Use, just as the Carthusians entirely spurn them.  For this reason, while the Dormitionists otherwise so closely resemble certain Dominicans in their forms and customs, their Missal contains no Lætabundus.  However, just as in the Dominican and other Missals there are Lessons appointed for use at the three Christmas Masses, so in the Dormitionist do three pericopes from Isaias feature (a curiosity revived in the lectionary of the Novus Ordo).

All this does of course still entail three Kyries, three Glorias, and three Creeds; but then sometimes, as a wise commentator said, "Too much liturgy is barely enough".

The three Lessons, Epistles and Gospels, to the total of nine, of course signify the nine choirs of Angels who sang at Christ's Birth in the flesh.


A Happy Christmas to all readers!  

Do at least imitate the Dormitionists and their holy charism by enjoying an afternoon slumber or stupor once the wassailing and feasting of Christmas dinner has filled you brim-full of good cheer and soporific meats and drinks...

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Snowball's Chance in Hell

Comet Lovejoy – what a nice name! – has evidently taken Churchill's advice to heart: "If you're going through hell, keep going."  It rounded the Sun on the 16th of December, only a few weeks after its discovery, in what was thought to have been a suicidal plunge to within 150,000 km of the torrid, roiling surface of our star, passing through the very corona, the superheated atmosphere thereof – and survived perihelion passage.  Now, having proven that a snowball does indeed have a chance in hell, it is manifesting a beautiful pre-dawn tail as seen from earth.  I've arisen before the morning to try and sight it, but clouds have blocked my view so far...

Comet Lovejoy is a member of that class of icy bodies known as Kreutz sungrazers; many are spotted yearly by space-based observatories, but nearly all evaporate when they follow in the way of Icarus of old.  The few, larger, sungrazers instead blossom and brighten into the greatest of the comets: while Comet Lovejoy is not perhaps of that magnitude, it is still a beautiful sight.  Southern hemisphere readers, set your alarm clocks for 4 am and try and see the comet rising ahead of the sun - apparently, it looks rather like the beam of a car headlight shining straight up from the horizon.

Don't miss it - it won't be back for another apparition until the 24th century.

Good Priest, Bad Priest, Poor Crazed Layman

No, the poor crazed layman is not in fact me (though close enough), but Vincent - pray for him - who became disturbed when he heard voices after Mass the other day (my voice and Father's! - I had popped into the sacristy to drop off his Christmas present), and started praying out loud such choice orations as "Send their demons back to hell"; which made me worry for his sanity.  Father told me this morning that he calmed him down by reading Vespers and Compline with him.  Do pray for Vincent, a well-known Mass-goer in these parts, who seems to have become stranger and stranger lately.

The good priest is of course my parish priest, at whose weekday Mass I was privileged to serve this morning; how good to sing Kyrie in Greek, Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin; how good to hear the new translation prayed with devotion in its entirety.  The Mass was prayerful.  Alas, not all Masses I've attended this Advent have been thus...

The bad priest?  One who couldn't be bothered even to don a chasuble for Mass.  One whose Mass was badly hacked about: no Penitential Act; the bread and wine offered up together using a made-up prayer mish-mashed together from the two actually provided; the Orate fratres utterly omitted; as much as possible of the Mass recited from memory using the old translation, including the Eucharistic Prayer and the words of consecration (doubtlessly forgetting for the moment that only the new translation - the one in the Missal before him - is the only one permitted now); and us poor layfolk incited to use the old responses!  

I made sure I said the right ones loudly.  By the end of that wretched liturgy, I was furious (to the extent, I regret to say, I swore under my breath).

Does this make me as mad as poor Vincent?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fr Blake on Our Lady as Model Communicant

Fr Ray Blake has a most devout and thought-provoking post about Our Lady, the perfect model of all communicants, truly a Spiritual Vessel uniquely fit for the Lord.  Indeed, were we not commanded to communicate, who could imagine himself worthy to receive Christ?  But Truth Himself saith, Take, eat.  With the Centurion, Holy Church bids us pray, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."  And thus we too are graced, healed, hallowed by His Presence.  "Come to my heart, Lord Jesus: there is room there enough for Thee."

Santa Loves Jesus This Much

A famous fresco depicting St Nicholas striking Arius for his blasphemy against Christ (sent me by a Dominican father).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Feast of St Lazarus

To-day, as well as being the day whereon the O Antiphons begin to be employed at Vespers, while, at Lauds, special antiphons for the psalms are supplied, is the feast of St Lazarus, whom Our Lord raised from the dead.  The Dormitionists keep this day with a special Mass...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Advent Prose

At Benediction after Compline on Tuesday, we sang the Advent Prose, Rorate cæli desuper; I was minded to look up something about it, and found - an old post of mine on this very chant. What plaintive notes, what expectant thrill...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!  I blogged about the Mass of her feast some years back, but the links to the EF texts thereof don't work any more, so (after some digging) here is the Proper, ne prorsus interiret.

INTROIT Sedulius; Ps. 44:2 
Salve, sancta Parens, enixa puerpera Regem: qui cælum, terramque regit in sæcula sæculorum. Ps. Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea regi. Gloria Patri. Salve…

Deus, qui sub beatissimæ Virginis Mariæ singulari patrocinio constitutos, perpetuis beneficiis nos cumulari voluisti: præsta supplicibus tuis: ut cujus hodie commemoratione lætamur in terris, ejus conspectu perfruamur in cælis. Per.

EPISTLE Ecclus. 24. 23-31
Ego quasi vitis fructificavi suavitatem odoris, et flores mei, fructus honoris et honestatis. Ego mater pulchræ dilectionis, et timoris et agnitionis, et sanctæ spei. In me gratia omnis vitæ et veritatis: in me omnis spes vitæ et virtutis. Transite ad me omnes qui concupiscitis me, et a generationibus meis implemini. Spiritus enim meus super mel dulcis, et hereditas mea super mel et favum. Memoria mea in generationes sæculorum. Qui edunt me, adhuc esurient: et qui bibunt me, adhuc sitient. Qui audit me, non confundetur: et qui operantur in me, non peccabunt. Qui elucidant me vitam æternam habebunt.

GRADUAL Cant. 6:9; Ecclus. 50:8
Quæ est ista, quæ progreditur quasi aurora consurgens, pulchra ut luna, electa ut sol? V/. Quasi arcus refulgens inter nebulas gloriæ, et quasi flos rosarum in diebus vernis.

ALLELUIA Cant. 2:12
Alleluia, alleluia. V. Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra, tempus putationis advenit. Alleluia. 

GOSPEL Lk. 1:39-47
In illo tempore: Exsurgens Maria abiit in montana cum festinatione in civititem Juda: et intravit in domum Zachariæ, et salutavit Elisabeth. Et factum est, ut audivit salutationem Mariæ Elisabeth, exsultivit infans in utero ejus: et repleta est Spiritu Sancto Elisabeth: et exclamavit voce magna, et dixit: Benedicta tu inter mulieres, et benedictus fructus ventris tui. Et unde hoc mihi, ut veniat Mater Domini mei ad me? Ecce enim ut facta est vox salutationis tuæ in auribus meis, exsultavit in gaudio infans in utero meo. Et beata, quæ credidisti, quoniam perficientur ea, quæ dicta sunt tibi a Domino. Et ait Maria: Magnificat anima mea Dominum: et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo. 

Elegi, et sanctificavi locum istum, ut sit ibi nomen meum, et permaneant oculi mei, et cor meum ibi cunctis diebus. 

Tua, Domine, propitiatione, et beatæ Maria: semper Virginis intercessione, ad perpetuam atque præsentem hæc oblatio nobis proficiat prosperitatem et pacem. Per. 

COMMUNION Psalm 147:20
Non fecit toliter omni nationi: et judicia sua non manifestivit eis.

Sumptis, Domine, salutis nostræ subsidiis: da, quæsumus, beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis patrociniis nos ubique protegi; in cujus veneratione hæc tuæ obtulimus majestati. Per. 

As for the proper Office, Matins and Lauds at least can be seen over at Nova et Vetera...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Faith and Faithfulness

We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful, for he cannot disown his own self.
— II Tim. ii, 13 (Jerusalem Bible)

I always give thanks for the unmerited gift of faith; I always wish I were a good deal more faithful!  I often reflect that "the devils believe, and tremble"(James ii, 19); for "faith without works is dead", as the next verse of that Epistle reminds me.  It always seems a mystery to me that "the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do." (Rom. vii, 19)  Indeed, with the Apostle, I say "Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"(Rom. vii, 24) But with him I do go on at once proclaim that my deliverance is "The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. vii, 25)

Thanks be to God, God is so good as not only to give us the gift of divine faith by the Holy Ghost, but forgives us when we fail to be faithful – He always remains faithful, for He is God.

At this Advent season, I do turn in trust and faith to Christ, begging Him come into my life and rule: Veni, Domine Jesu.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross

It seems that we await word from the Vatican on the official starting date for the Australian Personal Ordinariate* for former Anglicans – early next year? – but at least we know it has been placed under the patronage of Our Lady of the Southern Cross: a busy Lady, seeing as she is patroness of the troubled diocese of Toowoomba, indeed chosen as such by none other than the notorious last Ordinary of that see (though officially approved by the Holy See, unlike the disapproval voiced by Rome of most of his other acts); then again, it certainly seems she gets things done when she is invoked!  As a devout elderly Chinese Catholic of my acquaintance would say in words that brook no dissent, "Our Lady of Southern Cross – very powerful."

Whatever of this title – curiously, the feast of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, fixed in Toowoomba on the 1st of September, is not included in the Calendar for Australia in the new Missal! – it appears very much as if the precedent of the English Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will be followed: at least the first wave of clerical converts will be ordained quickly, and the laity will soon thereafter follow, to keep together these various "groups of Anglicans".  It appears that this process, as employed in England, was quite successful.  I do know that each Anglican minister has been asked to choose a wise and experienced Catholic priest as a mentor, to help bridge the gap between the very different clerical cultures of each, which is a most practical and charitable measure.

Of course, the English Ordinariate, while under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham, has also Bl John Henry Newman as its patron; no doubt, officially or not, he will play a similar role in respect of the Australian (and indeed of the American) Ordinariate.  May Our Lady, spiritual Mother of all Christians, intercede powerfully with her Divine Son, ut unum sint – may Bl John Henry supplicate the Lord in union with her, and with him all the Saints.  Forward the Australian Ordinariate!

*There is no word yet on whether the Church of the Torres Strait, which has voted en bloc to come into union with Rome, will be part of this or not.  The Torres Strait Islands are not very populous...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

St Hubert's Hospice

Suzie still recovering from her operation for a benign adenoma of the parathyroid, and now Gracie recuperating from the removal of two lipomas, I have decided that my home has become St Hubert's Hospice for Sick Hounds.  Of your charity, dear reader, pray for all sick animals, particularly my sorry pair!

SS Dominic and Francis, SS Roch and Hubert, pray for them.

Semi-Pelagian Sermon

An unusual sermon at Carmel this morning: referring to the parable of the lost sheep, the preacher most unfortunately said "Well, none of us have gone astray, so how does this apply to us?"  What pride, what hubris!  Surely every Christian feels himself a lost sheep.

He went on to surmise that perhaps this parable could mean for us "good sheep" that we might have hidden talents or gifts we need to discover for ourselves and celebrate - what dreadful self-satisfied feel-good humanism!  This struck me as Semi-Pelagian at best.

I bet a Lutheran would have been horrified at such smug self-righteousness, and rightly so.

Why are Catholics in particular so addicted to congratulating themselves on their own mediocrity?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Back from Hobart

All went well for our monthly Missa cantata: the liturgical proceedings took just over an hour, as usual, and I felt that I'm settling into the role of M.C. with somewhat more assurance (though I did have our poor priest read the Communion and Postcommunion of the 1st Sunday before I realized my error and redirected him!).

While our choir was depleted in numbers, as well as chanting the Ordinary and Proper, they also sang two most appropriate Advent pieces: the Rorate cæli at Offertory, and Veni, veni Emmanuel (all seven verses) at Communion.  As we processed out, I couldn't help but think it would have been nice to end with the Alma Redemptoris Mater, so I prayed it inwardly at least.

I still think numbers at our Mass are a bit low (roughly forty souls if not more), but given that the Mass occurs but once a month, and at a very late morning hour, that is only to be expected: if we had a weekly Mass at an earlier time (and a Low Mass before that, for such as prefer it), numbers would certainly increase markedly.  But that must wait for a new bishop more accepting of Summorum pontificum!  I hear that the new appointment should prove more Catholic and aware.

A later conversation about this turned to that vexed issue of why the Faith has been eroded.  A mystery indeed: why is it that people, even those allegedly Catholic, have next to no sense of sin or of their need for a Saviour?  Why has faith evaporated?  I wish I knew.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

En route to the South

An experiment, this - while I wait for a second coffee, I'm blogging from my iPhone at Zeps in Campbell Town. Brunch done, I'll amble along to the bookshop in the convict-built cellar of the Fox and Hounds [sorry: the Foxhunters Return - an odd name either way, considering there were no foxes in Tasmania], and visit the local church and the three priests' graves behind it, before motoring on.

By sheer dumb luck, I decided to-day to take the scenic route alongside the Great Western Tiers, driving down to Hobart, not along the highway, but via Longford, Cressy and the country road through to Campbell Town - which proved most providential, for this Saturday the annual motorcyclists' Christmas toy run to Hobart is on, with thousands and thousands of leather-clad persons thronging the highway, and I would have had roadrage in a bad way if I'd taken the same route as these well-meaning riders!

My plan is to spend as long as feasible here (in the hopes most of the two wheelers will have preceded me) before driving on along the highway to Oatlands, and then again detouring through Parattah and on to Colebrook and Richmond, so as to approach Hobart from the east.

To-night, I will stay with friends in Hobart, before our Missa cantata to-morrow.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Nice Little Poem

What thou doest at Christ’s table,
Presbyter, think well;
Life eternal is preparèd
There for thee, or hell.

As the sacred taper burning
Dwindles in its size,
So the presbyter, if guilty,
Celebrating, dies.

Think of these — the death of Jesus,
Thine own death as well,
Earth’s deceptions, heaven’s glories,
And the pains of hell.

The Sarum missal in English, F. E. Warren, trans.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not a Pervert Priest, Deo gratias

Investigations having determined there is no substance to the allegations raised by Abp Hepworth of the T.A.C. against Monsignor Dempsey of the Archdiocese of Adelaide, I wish to make it plain that the latter has been cleared of all imputation of criminal acts.  I have corrected my earlier post about this sad story accordingly.

The only good to be drawn out of this mess is that, Deo gratias! no filthy crime was committed, according to the result of this investigation, and instead the memory of one man (troubled by other sufferings inflicted by perverts) proved inaccurate, the actions of another intemperate, and the trials of a third issued in a declaration of innocence.  I suppose that is something for which to be grateful.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mass Began So Late

The celebrant of Monday Masses at Carmel spared us a dodgy homily this morning – as he was more than 20 minutes late to Mass.

At least I had my wish of managing to finish Lauds before Mass began!

Previous to his belated arrival, owing to some mix-up with his alarm clock, apparently, I had been wondering whether he would manage to use the new Mass translations without some grimacing: as matters transpired, he read Mass more or less alright, though he still hasn't learned the up-to-date wording of those two "Blessed are you" offertory prayers, nor the newer versions of the Orate fratres, Per ipsum and Ecce Agnus Dei.  In charity, given that he was rushed he may have said these from memory rather than waste time finding them in the new Missal before him.  Then again, my own parish priest, aged in his late seventies, has had no trouble getting used to the new translation...

Moreover, this fellow also has that most irritating and stupid habit of saying "May almighty God bless us" at the end of Mass, thus denying his own liturgical office.  He is a priest, for all his faults, and ought say the Mass the way it's laid down, as we laity – not to mention the Carmelite nuns – have a right to.

Yet another fellow Mass-goer confirmed after the service that she, too, finds his antics intolerable.

What was that prayer about "Who will free me from this troublesome priest?"  I entrust him to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose maternal intercession for errant priests is most potent.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Canine Prayer Request

Suzie the dog is having an operation to-morrow, to remove a parathyroid tumour.  As may be imagined, I am nervous about this; but to avoid the risk of the procedure would condemn her soon enough as it would continue to grow.

If readers would pray an Our Father that she live yet longer as a good and faithful pet, I would be very grateful.

SS Dominic and Francis, SS Roch and Hubert, pray for her.

Maria, quæ mortalium

The good nuns at Carmel sang this hymn as a recessional after Mass on Saturday, last day of the Christian year, the Mass having been a Votive of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  What a good prayer it is! "When all other succour faileth, Our Lady's grace helpeth." (The Mirror of Our Lady.)

O Mary, you are swift to hear
Whoever calls on you in pray'r
And lovingly you answer all:
Keep us forever in your care.

Be near us if the fearful bonds
Of sin's allurements snare us here.
Break quickly the entangling chains
And free our hearts of guilt and fear.

Come to our aid if worldly dreams
Dazzle our sight, our wills betray,
Let not our minds, forgetting God,
From saving pathways turn away.

Come with your aid when troubles come,
Misfortunes threaten, dangers near, 
Bring peace to all our earthly days
Until eternal day is here.

To us your children ever be
A stronghold at that final hour
That with your aid we may attain
The joys of heaven, by your power.

To Father, Son and Spirit be
All glory, honour, praises given
Who clothed you with his wondrous grace
And crowned you Queen of earth and heaven.

Maria, quæ mortalium: translated by Sr Mary Paula OCD of Long Beach Carmel.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hepworth's Return as a Layman - Only

Since the news is out, it is but honest to note that Abp Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion, as he himself said he would accept some years back (I recall his statement that if so, he would enjoy spending his retirement doing some fishing), has had reiterated to him by the Holy See that he, as a former Catholic priest, cannot be received into any Ordinariate for "groups of Anglicans" as a clergyman, but only as a layman.  This was of course known from the publication of the Complementary Norms accompanying Anglicanorum cœtibus, but at the least wishful thinking on the part of unprejudiced observers and at the most some suggestion of special consideration for his case had given rise to the idea that he would be received back as a priest in good standing, even as head of an Ordinariate – which cannot happen now.

Of course, this whole issue is a great stumbling block and source of ongoing pain and confusion on a number of levels: on the one hand, given his marriages, the regularization of his marital situation according to Canon Law would only further complicate the restoration of his faculties as a priest; and given his leaving the Church, albeit because of his sufferings now well-known, Catholics, whether priests or laymen, may well have found any exception made for him somewhat hard to understand, to be frank; yet, given his awful subjection to sexual abuse as a seminarian and young priest, the investigation of which is still continuing, this news of a block to his return to active ministry as a Catholic priest must seem very cruel; further, given his strong advocacy for the reunion of the T.A.C. with Rome, it must seem very hard that, if not like Moses he may still enter the Promised Land, he can only do so not as leader but as a layman; worst, it appears that the Australian bishops have prematurely made this news public, which if true is an injustice on the face of it, though I read the news had leaked from another source (let him bear his fault) and so official release of the details was but a formality in any case.

It is a most unpleasant business all round.  Whatever his faults, Hepworth has given great impetus to the great and good work of the reunion of Anglicans with the Holy See, and for that he deserves thanks and sympathy in his troubles.  Please pray for him.  Pray too that all this does not dissuade souls from taking the path of Unity.

Friday, November 25, 2011

New Speaker is TAC Priest

Not without some controversy, a new Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia has just been elected – and he, Peter Slipper, or rather The Hon Fr Peter Slipper MP, is not only Speaker, but also Chancellor of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, part of the Traditional Anglican Communion, and (since 2008) a priest thereof.  (Consult an interview with him from a few years back wherein he declares his fulsome support for Anglicanorum cœtibus.)

No doubt, when the projected Australian Ordinariate is set up, he will have to reconsider his political career  if he desire to be accepted for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church, given what the Code of Canon Law has to say about the incompatibility of those two callings...

Pray Against Bushfires

Bushfires are burning in Western Australia and elsewhere, and around Margaret River many homes have been consumed in the blaze; the new Missal provides, for use in Australia, a Collect "in times of bushfires" (alongside prayers in time of drought, floods and cyclones):

Hear our prayers, O God, for the efforts 
to quench the fires that rage in our land; 
and, sustaining our spirits, 
keep us graciously from all harm 
and give success to the work of our hands. 
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever.

Australia Day: New Mass Texts

Having had a chance to examine the Australian edition of the new Missal, I note that the prayers for Australia Day, the 26th of January, have been changed, and in particular the proper Preface.  Herewith, a short comparison of the old and the new orations – the latter from the new Missal itself, the former from a hand-missal published in 1998:

1. Collect

Father ever generous, enlighten us with new vision to see your shaping hand at work in all the gifts to our country with which your providence frames our lives.  

Grant, we pray, O Lord our God, that as the Cross shines in our southern skies, so may Christ bring light to our nation, to its peoples old and new, and by saving grace, transform our lives.  Through our Lord...

It may be seen that the old prayer is almost Deist, addressed to the Father indeed, but with an emphasis on Providence sounding rather eighteenth century, whereas the new prayer is splendidly Christocentric, alluding to the all the varied peoples who dwell in Australia, and asking that the one Saviour grace and transform all.

2. Prayer over the Offerings

God of all power, accept the gifts we offer with ourselves to become the pure bread of Christ and the new wine of the kingdom.

As we come before you with the fruits of the earth, tended by our hands, O Lord, we pray that these offerings may bring a blessing on our land and peace to all who dwell here.  Through Christ our Lord.

Unfortunately, while Jesuit hands (or those of their wage slaves) tended the vines at Sevenhill in South Australia from which our altar wine comes, so far as I know the hosts used in parishes throughout this Great South Land are imported from a factory in the U.S. before being sold on by the good monks at Tarrawarra Abbey, so it is not exactly true that we present unto the Divine Majesty the fruits of the earth tended by "our", that is, Australian, hands; the wheat is North American.

I must say, I actually prefer the former prayer!  That said, the latter prayer does have a more sacrificial orientation, given that it prays "that these offerings may bring a blessing".

3. Preface

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.
Out of your infinite glory you have given us the power through your Spirit for our hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in our hearts through faith. [Cf. Eph. iii, 16f.]
Through him you have blessed our land.  The fierce flood of your grace sweeps away all barriers, and soaks deep into our being, so that the desert blooms with the life that lies in wait.
You will give us the strength to grasp the breadth and the length and the height and the depth of the utter fulness of your love which surpasses all knowledge. [Cf. Eph. iii, 18f]
With all the hosts of heaven, we give you glory from generation to generation in our song of praise:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, and to praise, bless and glorify your name through Christ our Lord.
For from ancient times you made this land a home for many peoples, and became their rock of strength; when they were hungry, you gave them food, and when thirsty, water even in the desert. To all, your providence has proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ, your Son, sent by you to be the Saviour of all the world, who has brought peace by his sacrifice on the Cross.
And so, we lift our voices to you this day and with the people you have made your own, from every race and tongue, every place and time, we join in the song of the Angels in heaven, as in exultant praise we acclaim:

The somewhat embarrassingly "Aussie" faux-bush-poet tenor of part of the old Preface, sounding like a clumsy rehash of "I love a sunburnt country" with its reference to deserts blooming after flooding rains, has mercifully been replaced with more appropriately Scriptural allusions, while the rest of the old Preface, being but a nice but not immediately relevant quotation from Ephesians iii, 16-19, has been cut out, in favour of another robust reference to Christ our Sacrifice and Saviour, Whose Holy Gospel has been preached even here, at the very end of the earth.

4. Prayer after Communion

All-provident God, through these sacraments of your love grant us always to live in this land united in purpose and freed in the Spirit until the final feast at heaven's table.

May our partaking of this sacrificial meal, O Lord, grant us strength to walk together in the ways of justice, and behold one day the new heavens and new earth you prepare for us in Christ your Son. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Both prayers, to be fair, are quite decent; both have a good eschatological focus.  Having had far too much social justice guff rammed down my throat as a lad, I get instantly offput when I see any reference to justice in prayers, but I try not to react too much.

Overall, the new prayers are an improvement.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

First Profession of Sr Anna Maria of the Passion, OCD

I was privileged to have some time off work to-day in order to attend the First Profession of Sister Anna Maria of the Passion at Carmel.  I was delighted with the incense used, as, by a happy trick of the light, the sanctuary was filled with a bright shining cloud thereof, almost too thick to see the clergy – which instantly reminded me of the glory of the Lord filling the Temple of old.  Sister took her vows, and then the priests proceeded to offer up the Sacrifice, uniting hers to His.  (A certain reader residing up north would have recognized his re-wording of the Rangueil Offertory by André Gouzes, OP, that most elevating chant.)

Because of commitments back at work, I had to leave at the "Our Father", but united myself to the remainder of the liturgy as I drove away.

God grant her perseverance, and every grace!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Compline and Benediction for Christian Unity

To-night, our parish Compline and Benediction was graced by the attendance of Bp Robarts of the TAC, together with his wife and one of his parishioners.  My parish priest had very kindly invited him to attend, in the cause of promoting Christian Unity and more particularly the success in Australia of Anglicanorum cœtibus.

After Compline (sung in Gregorian chant), Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed, while we sang Ave verum, and Gaudeamus omnes in honour of St Cecilia, patroness of music, whose feast it is this day.  Bp Robarts then led us all in prayer before Our Lord truly present in the Eucharist, concluding very feelingly with the Prayer for Christian Unity.  Benediction was given by our priest with the usual Tantum ergo &c., then the Sacrament was reposed in the tabernacle while we chanted Jesu Redemptor omnium.  Our worship concluded with that most ecumenical hymn "Let all mortal flesh keep silence" – translated by an Anglican from an Eastern liturgy, set to a French tune.

After our foretaste of the joys of full communion in Eucharistic worship, we had a little agape - wine, savouries, cake...

It was a very blessed occasion in every respect.  Forward the Australian Ordinariate!

Aspirations for the Year of Faith

Recently, the Pope decreed that a Year of Faith be held, to begin on the 11th of October 2012, and to end on the last Sunday before Advent 2013.  This is excellent and most necessary: for "the just man liveth by faith" (Rom. i, 17).  Christ commands us "Have ye faith in God" (St Mark xi, 22) – and He bids us have a salutary fear lest we lose hold of our Most Holy Faith, by posing to each of us the question, "When the Son of Man cometh, thinkest thou that He will find faith on earth?" (St Luke xviii, 8)

"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Heb. xi, 1) Divine and supernatural faith is an intellectual virtue infused into our souls at baptism, enabling us to believe in truths beyond the unaided mind of man, such as the Triune nature of God.  As we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews a little further on, "without faith it is impossible to please God" and indeed "he that cometh to God must believe that He exists, and is a Rewarder to them that seek Him" (xi, 6).  For this reason, the truths necessary to salvation are summarized as belief in God (frequently extended to include belief in God as Trinity and in the Incarnation of the Second Person thereof, not to mention His Resurrection) and as belief in a future state wherein God will reward the good and punish the bad; as the Apostles' Creed puts it, Credo in Deum... venturus est judicare ("I believe in God... He shall come to judge...").  Faith in these two points may be declared in aspirations taken from Holy Writ:

Credo Filium Dei esse Jesum Christum. (Acts viii, 37b)
(I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.)

Credo videre bona Domini in terra viventium. (Ps 26, 13)
(I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.)

Of course, the latter point – belief in God as the Rewarder of each according to his just deserts – implies acceptance of moral responsibility for one's actions: as the Beloved Disciple teaches, "this is His commandment: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ; and that we love each other, as He has commanded us." (I John iii, 23)  To believe in Christ is to acknowledge Him as the Incarnate Son of God, implying adhesion to Trinitarian belief; to love as He commanded is to keep the Commandments, the Ten summed up in the Two and the New.

But, without neglecting the greatest of the theological virtues, the focus of the Year of Faith is upon faith, faith believing in hope, working through love.  The temptation of a doubting disbelieving age, a proud Pelagian age, is to discard faith and speak only of a sentimentalized love far removed from supernatural charity; this is to be roundly opposed, as Our Lord Himself reminded us, as quoted above, lest being without faith we be lost forever.  Whatever people may wish to believe, we are not told by Truth, "Love will save you" but "He who believes and is baptized, the same shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be condemned" (St Mark xvi, 16).

The Sacred Liturgy places before us each year (EF: 13th Sunday after Pentecost; OF: 30th Sunday per annum) this prayer for all three theological virtues, and the grace to obey the commandments and so obtain what God promises:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, da nobis fidei, spei et caritatis augmentum, et ut mereamur assequi quod promittis, fac nos amare quod præcipis. Per...

Almighty ever-living God, increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what you command, so that we may merit what you promise. Through...

It is a precious thing to make an Act of Faith, a declaration of one's belief, in whatsoever words answer to its object and content, as Benedict XIV long ago encouraged all the faithful to do, that they strengthen their grasp of and persevere in the Faith once delivered to the Saints.  I learnt, and still repeat, the short Act "O my God, I believe in Thee, and in all that Thy Holy Church teacheth, for Thou hast said it, and Thy word is true." — for God, being all-perfect, can neither deceive nor be deceived; and He has disseminated knowledge of His saving truth through all the world.  Longer, more explicit declarations of one's faith in the Trinity and in Christ our Redeemer become more and more Creed-like; while, after Communion, the Adoro te devote is a most appropriate Act of Faith, as consideration of its words will demonstrate.

Of course, to recite and to pray with attention, devotion and care the words of one of the very Creeds themselves is to make such an Act indeed: at Mass, we sing or say Credo in unum Deum, praying the Nicene (well, strictly speaking the Nicæno-Constantinopolitan) or "Mass" Creed, and would that we confidently know the words and meaning thereof in Latin and English at the least; in one's devotions, and in older forms of the Office, the Apostles' Creed, Credo in Deum, the ancient Baptismal Creed of the Roman Church, is customarily used, and again, to meditate on and turn over its words in the heart is to make a good act of faith.  On Trinity Sunday at Prime, and more often according to one's piety, the Athanasian Creed, Quicumque vult, is right and proper to be prayed.  And the Tridentine Profession of Faith, or Paul VI's Credo of the People of God, are more extensive declarations of belief worthy of meditation.

Especially when undergoing trials and temptations, to keep hold on the anchor of faith is vital, just as St Thérèse of Lisieux endured a terrible temptation toward atheism and self-murder during her descent through illness toward death.  As a wise Dominican said, if we lose our faith, so to speak, the last thing we should do is stop saying our prayers and going to Mass – that is when we most need to lay hold of things divine, to cry mercy, acknowledging our utter destitution, when all seems black.

But to end with some suitable aspirations for the coming Year of Faith, and indeed for all our lives as we, please God, "walk by faith and not by sight", one can raise heart and mind to the Lord, crying out:

Credo, Domine! (St John ix, 38a)
(I believe, Lord!)

[Domine,] Adauge nobis fidem! (St Luke xvii, 5b)
([Lord,] increase our faith!)

Credo, Domine; adjuva incredulitatem meam. (St Mark ix, 23b)
(Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.)

Credo Domine, sed credam firmius. (Pope Clement XI)
(I believe, Lord, but may I believe more firmly.)

O Lord, preserve to us the Faith.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Dominican Offertory

A quick Mass is a good Mass – by which I mean, not a rushed Roman Low Mass, old or new, but that noble form of the pluriform Roman Rite, the Dominican Low Mass.  (I have only attended a Dominican High Mass once, back in the nineties, so I can't really comment on it too knowledgeably.  It is certainly more ceremonially complex than the Roman High Mass.)

One of the best features of the Dominican Mass is that the prayers at the foot of the altar, the offertory prayers, and the communion prayers are all shorter and less complicated than the Roman.  However, I will focus on the excellently arranged offertory prayers for the moment, and comment only on the Low Mass.

(To see the minutiæ of the rubrics, please refer to the handy online tutorial provided by the Dominican Province of St Joseph; as for the translations of the texts below, I took them from my copy of The Saint Dominic Missal, published 1959.)

Of course, the Dominican Offertory begins and ends as in all forms of the traditional Roman Rite: firstly Dominus vobiscum and Oremus, followed by the Offertory antiphon; lastly, the Secret.  It is the wisely devised set of prayers emplaced between these age-old parts of the Mass that testify to the genius of the Dominican Order, whose rite was fixed and stabilized in the 13th century.

Most surprisingly, the chalice in the Dominican Mass is already prepared before the Offertory!  This was in fact a common mediæval practice, surviving alone in the Dominican form of the Liturgy.  At a Low Mass, it is mixed at the very start; at a High Mass, during the Epistle.  In either case, the minister presenting the water says Benedicite (Bless), and the celebrant does so, saying In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti (In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost), to which the minister responds Amen.  There is no long prayer equivalent to the Roman Per hujus vini et aquæ mysterium.

Therefore, having prepared the chalice previously, the Dominican priest, standing at the altar, having read the Offertory antiphon, next says in a low voice, Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quæ retribuit mihi? (What shall I render to the Lord for all that He has rendered to me?)  If it were High Mass, the deacon would then say Immola Deo sacrificium laudis et redde Altissimo vota tua. (Immolate to God the sacrifice of praise, and render to the Most High your vows.)

In both cases, these selected psalm texts succinctly express the reason the priest stands at the altar – to render the perfect sacrifice of praise to God for all His blessings poured out upon him and all creation.  The Holy Eucharist is after all the perfect sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Taking up the chalice, already containing wine mixed with water, with the host resting on the paten atop it, the priest then answers his own question by saying Calicem salutaris accipiam et nomen Domini invocabo. (I will take the chalice of salvation and will call upon the name of the Lord.)  Only by taking up the chalice and invoking the Lord's name can the priest proceed to return a perfect sacrifice of thanks to God.

It is interesting to note how Quid retribuam and Calicem salutaris are the words on the priest's lips at the very start of the offertory, whereas in the traditional Roman Mass they are said directly before the celebrant drinks Christ's Blood from the chalice.

The friar celebrant continues to elevate the chalice with the paten atop, elevating the bread and watered wine contained therein, as he offers up the sacrifice to the Holy Trinity, using a short formula, shorter than the Roman, which very curiously is identical to that used in the diocese of Hereford in the Middle Ages:

Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offero in memoriam passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi: et præsta, ut in conspectu tuo tibi placens ascendat, et meam et omnium fidelium salutem operetur æternam.

(Receive, O holy Trinity, this offering, which I present to You in memory of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ: and grant, that it may ascend to You worthily in Your sight, and may bring about my eternal salvation and that of all the faithful.)

Therefore, there is no separate oblation of each element, as in the Roman Rite with its prayers Suscipe sancte Pater and Offerimus tibi Domine; and the particular Dominican recension of the Suscipe sancta Trinitas – of which dozens of variants existed in mediæval times – focusses admirably, as might be expected from so scholastic an Order, on the Mass as making present the saving Passion of Christ, that the salvation of priest and all believers be wrought by this application of the power of His Sacrifice.

As is expected, next the priest goes to the epistle side of the altar and washes his fingers, praying the usual Lavabo, but only two verses (originally, only one), rather than the whole remainder of the psalm, as in the Roman Mass:

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas, et circumdabo altare tuum Domine: ut audiam vocem laudis, et enarrem universa mirabilia tua. Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuæ, et locum habitationis gloriæ tuæ. 

(I will wash my hands among the innocent, and will compass Your altar, O Lord: that I may hear the voice of Your praise, and tell of all Your wondrous works. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells.)

Returning to the middle, he bows down and prays the In spiritu humilitatis, which, however, has a slightly divergent text from that of the general Roman Rite:

In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito, suscipiamur, Domine, a te: et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum, ut a te suscipiatur hodie, et placeat tibi, Domine Deus.

(In a humble spirit, and with a contrite heart, may we be received by You, O Lord: and may our sacrifice be so [performed], that it be received by You this day, and be pleasing to You, O Lord God.)

Several other religious orders having their own proper rite of Mass were forced by Roman pressure to reword this text, but the Dominicans never did. Unlike the Roman practice, this prayer is not followed by the Veni sanctificator.

The Dominican priest then turns to the faithful present and says Orate, fratres, ut meum ac vestrum pariter in conspectu Domini sit acceptum sacrificium.  (Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be pleasing in the sight of the Lord.)  There is no response to this – the brethren pray in their hearts in response, no doubt.

The only part of the Dominican offertory rite that seems an unnecessary duplication is that interposed between the Orate fratres and the Secret, albeit a common mediæval addition: the priest, after he has turned back to the altar, prays quietly Domine, exaudi orationem meam: et clamor meus ad te veniat. Oremus. (O Lord, hear my prayer: and let my cry come to You. Let us pray.)  This corresponds to the usual practice when Dominus vobiscum is not used in the Office, which suggests its origin was the transfer of such from Office to Mass; and this helps justify this apparently curious Dominican usage.

In sum, the Dominican Mass – and in particular, the offertory thereof – is to my mind plus simple et plus uni than the Roman.  Unlike Dom Claude de Vert, that early eighteenth century liturgist to whom I owe that phrase, my liturgy of predilection is not the Carthusian, but the Dominican.

If only I lived somewhat closer to a tradition-minded Blackfriar!  It's been weeks since I was at Fr Mannes' Low Mass...

Stir Up Sunday

The Last Sunday of the Church's Year of Grace gives evidence of Advent having five weeks at a much earlier period – since its collect, Excita q͠ms Dñe, is so manifestly similar to those of that season (as four of the traditional Advent collects begin with the same word).  It is in a way both alpha et omega (should that be alpha kai omega?), both the Last and the First Sunday.

The collect of this Sunday, with the new literal translation thereof for use at the Ordinary Form Mass during the last week of Ordinary Time, is as follows:

Excita, quæsumus, Domine, tuorum fidelium voluntates: ut divini operis fructum propensius exsequentes, pietatis tuæ remedia majora percipiant. Per...

Stir up the will of your faithful, we pray, O Lord, that, striving more eagerly to bring your divine work to fruitful completion, they may receive in greater measure the healing remedies your kindness bestows. Through...

Having again celebrated Christus Rex last night at the parish OF Vigil Mass, it was a great way to mark the end of the long green season after Pentecost by praying this collect at the end of Lauds this morning.

Interestingly, this prayer was reasonably well-rendered by that heresiarch Cranmer:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

However, it is curious that he refocussed the prayer on the reward owing to good works, since that, surely, is not a very Protestant thing to focus on at all!

Referring to this prayer, playing on words, this Sunday cooks were traditionally meant to "stir up" the Christmas pudding mixture, and get it bagged, ready to be boiled up on Christmas morn once the delectable contents had matured.

(Myself, I enjoyed a family picnic, albeit overtaken by a thunderstorm! at which my birthday yester-day was celebrated.  My aunt makes a most delicious pavlova.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Everyone: Pray Lauds, Vespers and Compline

“I would like to renew my call to everyone to pray the Psalms, to become accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. Our relationship with God can only be enriched by our journeying towards Him day after day”.

— Benedict XVI, Wednesday General Audience, 16th November 2011

I must step up my prayer life to meet this pontifical encouragement: for too long, while I pray Lauds in the Carmelite chapel since I attend an early Mass there daily, I've let pressure of work distract me from the rest, although I make time for Compline.  Hence, I resolve to return to Vespers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Temptation of Donatism

After enduring a most pestilent priest as Mass-sayer on Monday, to-day a most pleasant surprise: a visiting priest from Melbourne (he told me afterward his name is Fr Ian Waters) who, by his devotion and tone of voice at Mass gave ample testimony that he was truly believing and praying the words thereof, rather than just going through the motions at maximum speed.

This making of comparisons between "nice Father and his devout Mass" and "nasty Father and his crap preaching and worse", of course, is a temptation toward Donatism – the heresy that the validity of the sacraments depends on the holiness of the minister.  Undoubtedly it is less disturbing to the faithful to depend on the ministrations of a priest who not only "does the red and says the black" but exemplifies devotion and belief, rather than endure some fellow who seems to think a quick Mass is a good Mass (he being partially correct, in that the faithful have the consolation of "Thank God that's over" all the sooner), and preaches in a manner offensive to pious ears – but of course Our Lord nonetheless becomes present in the Sacrament and Sacrifice of His love in both cases.

The crime here is that the unworthy celebrant, whether secretly (if in occult mortal sin) or openly (if irreverent, for – as Trent teaches – such is inseparable from impiety), fails to handle the holy and the sacred with due worship, and commits sacrilege; naturally, such sacrilege is either revolting to the faithful, or, worse still, perverts the belief of the faithful, corrupting them and sundering them from true piety, even from our holy religion: as was done by that unhappy apostate priest, the renegade Kennedy, who has dragged so many souls from the Faith.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Pleasing news from Rome: the Holy Father has given the nod to His Lordship Geoffrey Jarrett, Bishop of Lismore, to pop over the border and take the reins as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.  Behind the Banana Curtain, in partibus infidelium (or at least hæreticorum) he will find Augean Stables to purge and cleanse – God strengthen him for this great labour, so necessary for the salvation of souls.

Oremus pro Antistite Godefrido.

Stet et pascat in fortitudine tua, Domine, in sublimitate nominis tui.

(Let us pray for Bishop Geoffrey.

May he stand and feed [them] in Thy strength, O Lord, in the sublimity of Thy Name.)

— cf. Micheas v, 4a.

The verse alluded to goes on "and they shall be converted"; indeed may those who were as sheep going all astray turn back to the shepherd and bishop of their souls (cf. I Peter ii, 25).  God knows Brisbane has a reputation for being a city full of errant Catholics!

Further details available from Australia Incognita and Vexilla Regis, not to mention English Catholic...