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.