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...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Caveat Emptor

I resolved some months ago to buy a hand-missal, having the new translation of the Ordinary Form Mass I perforce attend, as soon as possible.  Enquiries suggested that layfolk would have to wait till next year, but then I saw something advertised that seemed right – thus, having paid $80.10, plus postage and handling, I had delivered today... the U.S. edition of the Roman Missal, chapel edition!

While a handsome volume, but for the ugly cover illustration, at 24 by 19 cm (or about 9.5 by 7.5 inches) it is hardly portable, being intended for use by the priest himself at the altar, and I'd look a right mental if I dragged it to church with me.

(I seem to recall that Belloc used to port an altar missal to church with him, but that was odd even then.)

Best laid plans and all that...

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

The useless priest who said Mass this morning preached the most spectacularly inappropriate homily – it being the feast of All Carmelite Saints, what does he talk about?  The recent suicide (complete with all the gory details) of a sports journalist, and then the usual liberal put-downs of "mediæval" ideas of "mortal sin", an allusion to the grim "institutional Church", and so forth.  

(In charity, I suppose it is right to focus on "nothing can separate us from the love of Christ", but the implication that suicide is unfortunate, but not really a cause of anxiety about any self-murderer's salvation, is hardly uncontroversial.)

And this, I repeat, on the feast of All Carmelite Saints!

This is the same priest who found it too difficult to get up on Saturday morning to celebrate the 7.30 am Mass, meaning the Carmelites had to alter their monastic timetable and postpone it till 9 am, and get another priest to say it for them (he being otherwise engaged).  Now, having increased the workload for others, he has been reassigned to take the Monday early Mass (one wonders how long he'll stick at it).

At Carmel, a slow, meditative manner is encouraged: he belts through the Mass, and you hear the outside door bang when he leaves, having very quickly devested before even the final hymn is ended.

This priest obviously hasn't bothered to learn the new words for "Behold the Lamb of God" or any of the other bits of the new translation (he conspicuously didn't recite the Gloria with the congregation this morning).

I was so cross it was all I could do not to shout out "Lazy ignorant priest!" during the service.  I certainly muttered under my breath.

When I left after Mass, I was fortunate enough to have a chance to disburden myself to Sandra, one of the regulars - I confessed my fault to her: she told me not to worry, since this had actually been one of his better sermons!  Apparently his antics at the Saturday Masses (which I've hardly ever attended at Carmel) were appalling: once, he preached on how good Bishop Morris of Toowoomba was, and how nasty the Holy Father - and this to cloistered religious!

I now understand why other parishioners have told me they have stopped going to Mass in his parish, and go elsewhere on Sundays.

From shitten shepherds who lead astray and drive away the flock – Good Lord, deliver us.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hobart Missa Cantata: the Postcommunion

To-day I’ve been down to Hobart and back, for to M.C. at our monthly Traditional Latin Mass, the one and only permitted in the Archdiocese (whatever a certain Supreme Pontiff may have decreed).

(This began as a comment on David Schütz's blog, but I've decided to save time and cross-post it here on my own.)

In any case, not to belly-ache but to celebrate, I was indeed uniquely privileged to stand at the priest’s side throughout the Liturgy (but for the prayers at the foot of the altar, the Consecration and my own Communion, naturally), and doing so made me suddenly aware (as I pointed it out for Father in the Missal) that the Postcommunion of to-day, the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost in the Extraordinary Form is – that of this selfsame Sunday in the Ordinary Form, the 33rd Sunday per annum!

It is actually quite rare to find any prayer or chant occurring in both forms of the Roman Rite on the same day, so my curiosity was piqued.

The first thing to note is an important change of address made by the revisers: in the traditional Missal, the Postcommunion is as follows:

Súmpsimus, Dómine, sacri dona mystérii, humíliter deprecántes, ut, quæ in tui commemoratiónem nos * fácere præcépisti, in nostræ profíciant infirmitátis auxílium. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre…

I have highlighted the words subsequently changed, and inserted an asterisk where two new words were inserted in the reform – obviously, the prayer was redirected, so as to address God the Father rather than God the Son (and if I recall correctly that was itself a change made centuries earlier, from the initial almost total address of all such orations to the Father, to also addressing the Son if the prayer seemed to better suit it):

Súmpsimus, Dómine, sacri dona mystérii, humíliter deprecántes, ut, quæ in sui commemoratiónem nos *Fílius tuus* fácere praecépit, in nostræ profíciant caritátis augméntum. Per Christum…

The other interesting, and, I am afraid, all too predictable modification was that made to the intention of the prayer: no longer do we pray for aid for our weakness, but for an increase of charity. Now, both intentions are good and orthodox, but unfortunately the semi-Pelagian feel of “Gaudium et Spes” (to quote the current Pope when commenting when yet a priest on the Council documents!) has here made itself manifest: we do not confess our weakness, but perhaps too complacently ask for a boost to our lovingkindness.

In other news from today’s Mass, the choir was without its usual director, and the threat of having only a Low Mass was upon us – but, perhaps high-handedly and selfishly preferring a  Missa cantata (mea culpa), I reminded Simon, as locum tenens of the choir director, that as a bare minimum the Propers could simply be monotoned, advised him to sing the most familiar setting of the Ordinary (Missa VIII – de Angelis – and Credo III), and suggested that any other Latin ditties he knew could be sung to fill in the time at Offertory and Communion, so the good old Salve and Adoro te devote saved the day.

Before Mass and afterward, I reminded him that such was the practice over in Perth, W.A.,  whenever Fr Rowe wanted a sung Mass at the drop of a hat on a weekday (it brings back memories of a week's retreat, at which myself as the one chorister, and Aaron as the one server, had to provide him with a sung Mass between us daily).

We even sang “Faith of our Fathers” as a fitting recessional. Best of all (as we Catholics say) Mass was a bit faster than usual, taking just an hour.

Deo gratias et Mariæ!

Past, Present - and Future?

While reading a little from Dom Edmund Martene's De antiquis Ecclesiæ ritibus (Antwerp, 1763), I came across the following rather startling prayer (p. 216), part of the response to the Orate fratres, in a Mass Ordo he quotes as deriving from the monastery of St Gregory in the Gregorian Valley (?) in the Diocese of Basel (if I translate it aright):

Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimittat tibi omnia peccata tua præterita, præsentia et futura.

(Almighty God have mercy upon thee, and forgive thee all thy sins past, present and future.)

While it makes sense to pray that a person's past and present sins be forgivenen, it seems mighty presumptuous to pray that their sins of the future be forgiven!  How can what has not come to pass be already forgiven?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Missa Cantata in Hobart

To-morrow I drive down to Hobart, as our monthly Missa cantata is being held on the 2nd Sunday of November this year, our priest having been away last Sunday.

In other news, I've bought my airline tickets for my trip to Europe next year, so, God willing, I will most definitely be participating in the Paris to Chartres Pilgrimage.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Laudem gloriæ – that was the "new name" that Blessed Elizabeth believed the Lord to have vouchsafed her: to live unto God as "a praise of glory", living by grace to the praise of His glory (cf. Ephesians i, 6. 12. 14).  (In her simplicity, she didn't note that, while laudem is the word thrice repeated in the Latin Vulgate, as a name it should be in the nominative, not the accusative, and so really would be Laus gloriæ.  But everything is received according to the mode of the receiver.)

One delight amongst others of attending Mass at Carmel is to celebrate the feasts of their Order's saints, and thereby to be edified.  I was doubly delighted this morning, since a very good preacher indeed, Fr Gregory, a Dominican whom I knew when I lived in Melbourne, is down to visit the good nuns, and blessed us all with well-chosen words.  It was a special day also for Mother Elizabeth,  the Prioress, whose name-day it is: pray for her, that she have all needed graces.

Every saint is a gift of God to the Church, pointing us heavenward (to try and paraphrase somewhat of what he spoke); in Bl Elizabeth we see the mystery of Divine election in particular – the mystery whereby, for no merit of our own, God chose her, chooses you, chooses me, and invites us to respond to His inexpressible gift by living as we must if we are to fulfil this call, this vocation, and fulfil it evermore in eternity, in heaven.

As is most fitting, given her great devotion to these words of St Paul, the Epistle was taken from that of his to the Ephesians, the first chapter, verses 3 to 14, which I subjoin in the Douay version:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ: as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity. Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto himself: according to the purpose of his will: unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins, according to the riches of his grace, which hath superabounded in us in all wisdom and prudence, that he might make known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in him, in the dispensation of the fulness of times, to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in him. In whom we also are called by lot, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his will. That we may be unto the praise of his glory, we who before hoped Christ: in whom you also, after you had heard the word of truth, (the gospel of your salvation;) in whom also believing, you were signed with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance, unto the redemption of acquisition, unto the praise of his glory.
Meditate on these glorious words!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bring Back the Placeat

A gift much to be hoped for would be the extension of several rubrics in the modern Carthusian Missal of 1981 to the whole Roman Rite.

To repeat what I have blogged on before:

  • the Carthusian Mass retains the Introit, Gradual, Alleluia or Tract, and Communion – the chant Propers – just as the Roman Mass does (in scarce books such as the Graduale), but incorporates their texts into the Missal for greater convenience (alas, even the Carthusians only retain the chant of the Offertory for sung Masses, and do not include its text in their Missal);
  • the Carthusian Mass has but one Penitential Act, that using the Confiteor &c.;
  • the Carthusian Mass retains the Lavabo at the washing of the priest's hands (which could at least be given as an alternative text in the Roman Missal, alongside the modern choice of Lava me);
  • above all, the Carthusian Mass has the rule (Introduction, I, 6) Precem eucharisticam de more secreto proferimus, concelebratione aliisque circumstantiis particularibus exceptis – "The Eucharistic Prayer we customarily offer secretly, excepting at concelebrations and other particular circumstances" – and would that this rule be returned to use in the Roman Rite (where until the reform of the Liturgy, the Roman Canon was only prayed aloud at ordinations);
  • the Carthusian Mass has no Memorial Acclamations (which are foreign to the Roman Rite, after all, being derived from the Coptic if I recall correctly);
  • the Carthusian Mass appoints the Placeat (in their recension of that venerable prayer) to be said after the dismissal, as the priest bows before the altar before kissing it.

I would like to emphasise, not so much even the very desirable making Memorial Acclamations and the Eucharistic Prayer aloud optional, but the reinsertion of the Placeat into the modern, Ordinary Form of the Mass.

As Michael Davies pointed out somewhere in his writings, even the inclusion of the Placeat alone would safeguard the traditional understanding of the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice, offered by the priest, for the living and the dead, against modern tendencies to read it as but a Protestant commemorative service.

None other than the Sacred Congregation of Rites, in Tres Abhinc Annos, its Second Instruction “for the orderly implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council” (May 4, 1967), specified that:

It is recommended that the priest recite the Placeat silently as he is leaving the altar. (n. 16)

The Placeat also well-expresses the consensus of East and West (as confirmed by the Byzantines at the Synod of Constantinople in 1156) that the Divine Sacrifice of Christ is offered up to all Three Divine Persons, He receiving as God what He offers as Man: hence the prayer prays the Holy Trinity to receive the Holy Sacrifice.

My own reflection has made me realize how the Placeat well corresponds and answers to the Orate fratres and its response Suscipiat, and also how the Placeat well-summarizes and reflects the phrasing and theology of the Roman Canon.

Herewith, the texts of the Orate fratres &c. (in Latin and the new English version), and then the Placeat (with an unofficial translation):

Orate, fratres, ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem. R/. Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ.

Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. R/. May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church. 

Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitas, obsequium servitutis meæ, et præsta, ut sacrificium, quod oculis tuæ Majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique et omnibus, pro quibus illud obtuli, sit, te miserante, propitiabile. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

(May the homage of my service be pleasing to Thee, O holy Trinity; and grant, that the sacrifice, which I, though unworthy, have offered in the sight of Thy Majesty, may be acceptable to Thee: and through Thy mercy win forgiveness for me and for all those for whom I have offered it.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen. – Cabrol's translation)

It will be evident how the thoughts expressed in the Orate fratres &c. are resumed in the Placeat.

The parallels between the Placeat and the Roman Canon are very many; evidently, the sacramental theology of the latter suffused the composer of the former, who simply put into the singular what the Canon renders in the plural: 
  • Placeat… acceptabile… propitiabile – cf. accepta habeas… placatus accipias… acceptabilemque… accepta habere (Roman Canon, Te igitur, Hanc igitur, Quam oblationem, Supra quæ); 
  • obsequium servitutis meæ – cf. oblationem servitutis nostræ (Roman Canon, Hanc igitur); 
  • quod oculis tuæ Majestatis – cf. offerimus præclaræ Majestati tuæ… Supra quæ propitio ac sereno vulto respicere digneris… in conspectu divinæ Majestatis tuæ (Roman Canon, Unde et memores, Supra quæ, Supplices te rogamus); 
  • sacrificium… mihique et omnibus pro quibus illud obtuli – cf. pro quibus tibi offerimus, vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se, suisque omnibus (Roman Canon, Memento Dñe); 
  • indignus – cf. Nobis quoque peccatoribus (Roman Canon, Nobis quoque); 
  • te miserante – cf. de multitudine miserationum tuarum sperantibus... veniæ… largitor (Roman Canon, Nobis quoque).
It may be added that, by analogy with the what was done elsewhere to private prayers of the priest in the reform of the liturgy of Mass, the short ending Per Christum Dominum nostrum could be deleted; it does not occur in all recensions of this prayer (cf. Jungmann).

Priests: even for the moment as a private devotion, bring back your praying of the Placeat!

Mass in Hebrew, Greek, Latin – and English

The Roman Mass is of course always offered in the three sacred languages (cf. St John xix, 20) of Hebrew, Greek and Latin, at least in the Extraordinary Form thereof – for Amen, Alleluia, Sabaoth and Hosanna are of course Hebrew words, as Kyrie and Christe eleison are Greek, and the rest is Latin.

In my own parish, the weekday Mass, in the Ordinary Form, is offered in these tongues together with English: for daily the Kyrie is chanted in Greek, and the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin, while of course those four Hebrew words Amen, AlleluiaSabaoth and Hosanna occur during the liturgy, the latter two within the Sanctus, while the Alleluia is sung, and many times we say Amen.

Since to-day is a public holiday here in northern Tasmania ("Recreation Day", whatever that means), I attended the 9am parish Mass.  Our priest likes music, and, seeing as to-day is a feria, he offered a Mass for the dead in purple vestments: "The Lord's my shepherd" was the opening hymn, while a version of the commendation said at funerals, set to a hymn-tune, was used as the closing hymn.  As is done always, the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei were chanted, as was the Alleluia (bearing in mind that this is sung even at Requiems in the modern Mass, as is done in the Byzantine Rite also).  [I cannot now recall if he sang the doxology to the Eucharistic Prayer, but he usually does so.]

For this Requiem Mass, the 1st Preface of the Dead was used, together with Eucharistic Prayer III and its specially enlarged intercessions for  the departed as may be used at Masses for the dead; the orations were those "For Several Deceased Persons or for All the Dead", as follows:

O God, who willed that your only Begotten Son, 
having conquered death, 
should pass over into the realm of heaven, 
grant, we pray, to your departed servants (N. and N.) 
that, with the mortality of this life overcome, 
they may gaze eternally on you, 
their Creator and Redeemer. 
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.

Prayer over the Offerings 
Look with favour, we pray, O Lord, 
on the sacrificial offerings 
we present to you for the souls of your servants 
and, just as you bestowed on them 
the dignity of the Christian faith, 
grant them also its reward. 
Through Christ our Lord. 

Preface I for the Dead
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, 
through Christ our Lord. 
In him the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned, 
that those saddened by the certainty of dying 
might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come. 
Indeed for your faithful, Lord, 
life is changed not ended, 
and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, 
an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven. 
And so, with Angels and Archangels, 
with Thrones and Dominions, 
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, 
we sing the hymn of your glory, 
as without end we acclaim: 

Eucharistic Prayer III, in Masses for the Dead
Remember your servant[s] N. 
whom you have called (today) 
from this world to yourself. 
Grant that he (she) [they] who was [were] united with your Son in a death like his, 
may also be one with him in his Resurrection, 
when from the earth 
he will raise up in the flesh those who have died, 
and transform our lowly body 
after the pattern of his own glorious body. 
To our departed brothers and sisters, too, 
and to all who were pleasing to you 
at their passing from this life, 
give kind admittance to your kingdom. 
There we hope to enjoy for ever the fullness of your glory, 
when you will wipe away every tear from our eyes. 
For seeing you, our God, as you are, 
we shall be like you for all the ages 
through Christ our Lord, 
through whom you bestow on the world all that is good.
Through him...

Prayer after Communion 
Through these sacrificial gifts, 
which we have received, O Lord, 
bestow on your departed servants your great mercy, 
and, to those you have endowed with the grace of Baptism, 
grant also the fullness of eternal joy. 
Through Christ our Lord. 

Note especially the mention of offering the Sacrifice for the souls of the departed in the Prayer over the Offerings – reference to the "souls" of the departed was often dropped in the reform of the Missal, but survives in certain of the prayers for use at Masses for the Dead.

For the Prayer of the Faithful or General Intercessions, Father took the intercessions from Lauds in the Office for the Dead, as also may be done.

After Mass and thanksgiving, I had a chat with Fr Allan, and he mentioned something sad that several priests have told of: a parishioner, quite devout, has just died – but the children, doubtless unchurched, didn't even want a Mass for her funeral, just some inoffensive private ceremony not even at the church; thus their shame and embarrassment at not being churchgoers, their rejection through laziness or sin of the practice of the Faith, deprives their Catholic mother of a proper Requiem, a terrible injustice.  Father of course indicated that, like those other priests I've heard the like from, he would be offering a Mass for the repose of her soul, lest she be deprived of the suffrages of Holy Church through the fault of her children.

(I of course do not quote kindly Father in referring to the unchurched persons in such a manner, but I think it quite true to do so.  Even an unbeliever ought have respect to the wishes of the departed, methinks.  It reminds me of the dreadful crime of Simone de Beauvoir in not letting her dying mother be told of her terminal illness, and refusing to allow her a priest when her mother would have surely wanted one.)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Travel Advice, Please

Having resolved to attend next year's Paris to Chartres Pilgrimage, I am now casting about for ideas for places to visit in la belle France and environs.  (I do have cause to cross the border into southern Germany for a start.)

I think at least a few days in a good monastery will be high on my agenda.

Any and all suggestions may be left in the comments box.

First Sunday using the New Missal

This Sunday, at my parish of St Francis, the new translation of the Mass was at last used for all parts of the liturgy, with the arrival of the new Missal and our priest's usage of it, not just for all the Ordinary (as he had been doing since Pentecost) but for the Proper as well – in other words, to-day, the 32nd Sunday  in Ordinary Time, we heard the Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and the Prayer after Communion in the new translation for the first time.

Before Mass began, the very handsome "chapel edition" of the new Missal was on display, open to some of its beautiful illustrations – in Australia, the Missals are published by CTS, and are very fine.  Father told me after Mass that the large altar edition was even more grand, with gold-edged pages.  Name-plates listing all parishioners who donated funds towards the purchase of these volumes will be inserted soon as a memorial to their largesse.

My own copy of the new Missal is still in transit, but such are the wonders of the Internet that I have these texts to hand:

Almighty and merciful God, 
graciously keep from us all adversity, 
so that, unhindered in mind and body alike, 
we may pursue in freedom of heart 
the things that are yours. 
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.

Prayer over the Offerings 
Look with favour, we pray, O Lord, 
upon the sacrificial gifts offered here, 
that, celebrating in mystery the Passion of your Son, 
we may honour it with loving devotion. 
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion 
Nourished by this sacred gift, O Lord, 
we give you thanks and beseech your mercy, 
that, by the pouring forth of your Spirit, 
the grace of integrity may endure 
in those your heavenly power has entered. 
Through Christ our Lord.

Standing in the pews hearing these prayed, it was obvious that the priest read them with good diction and evident comprehension; likewise, as I listened and considered their words, it was easy to understand them – not that it is my ears for whom they are meant, seeing as it is God they address! – so that furphy about the new translation being impossible to understand is easily confuted as a most stupid claim.

It is interesting to compare and contrast my own parish's uneventful reception of the new texts, and easy adjustment to the new words, to what I hear of the difficulties and unwelcoming attitude (played up and encouraged, I suspect, by the priests) in our neighbouring parish...

Come Advent Sunday, out with the old and in with the new: willy-nilly, the new Missal will be the only one allowed to be used at the Mass in the Ordinary Form.  Those who have dragged their heels and belly-ached will have to stop whining eventually and move with the times!  I must say, it amuses me no end to say this; perhaps the experience that some liberals are having will give them compassion for those who have endured far more in order to get Mass in the Extraordinary Form, but I doubt it.  How amusing it will be, that those who love the 1970's, and all its works, and all its empty promises, will have the choice of the more-accurately-translated Mass, some first fruit of the Reform of the Reform (and, with the upsurge in musical settings of the Propers in English, not to mention a push for a more solemn liturgy, is not this movement bearing yet further fruit?), or of the Mass of the Ages.

I suppose if they don't like either option they can become refugees from the Roman Rite.