Saturday, June 30, 2012

Te ergo quæsumus

I will drive off in the early morning to Hobart to-morrow, for the feast of the Most Precious Blood – our Missa cantata will be Tasmanians' only opportunity to celebrate this devotion liturgically.

It is, of course, transparently obvious that the renaming Corpus Christi as the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ does not in fact somehow translate all devotion to the Precious Blood to that feast day: for the feast of the Precious Blood of Christ is not in fact a day of devotion to the Eucharistic Chalice (full of Real Blood as it is, as St Philip Neri in awe would say), but of a wider consideration of the saving power of that Blood streaming from Christ's side, that Blood in which we are laved, forgiving all sins (Christus dilexit nos et lavit nos a peccatis nostris in Sanguine suo); that Blood by which we are redeemed (Redemisti nos, Domine, in Sanguine tuo).  It is a soteriological feast.

As the sacred Liturgy teaches, let us kneel and pray:

V/. Te ergo quæsumus, tuis famulis subveni.
R/. Quos pretioso Sanguine redemisti.

(We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants, 
whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious Blood.)

Next Time, Chinese

I was rather looking forward to barbecued duck – however, the bird, once cooked and served, was a little underwhelming.  This is in fact almost my usual experience with duck: I rarely have it, look forward to it, finally get around to having it, and then feel disappointed.  A few restaurant meals of yester-year spring to mind also.

Sometimes, preparing a certain foodstuff yourself is not worth the effort.  Yes, home-baked bread is marvellous, home-made pasta divine; but who has the time?  I certainly don't, nor have the skills nor any great success in so doing.  Unlike a good straightforward lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, pork or ham roast, I think roast or other duck is a bit beyond me – I'm no master chef.

(Also, nearly twenty dollars for a 1.9 kg frozen duck – the only way it can be bought locally – is rather steep; just as I saw some wild rabbits for sale at the local providore, but they were just as dear.  I'd rather go and do as I do each Saturday for that money or a little more: enjoy coffee and a spot of breakfast while reading The Australian in a cafe.)

However, as all men know, two great nations and cuisines do duck well: those of the French and the Chinese.  The duck confit at the Cafe Serpente next to Chartres Cathedral was excellent; and so, always, is Chinese duck, BBQ or otherwise.  French-style duck cannot around here be bought as takeaway, whereas Chinese-style duck can.  Rather than prepare it myself, then, it will be a case of, next time, Chinese.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Congratulations Fr Hunwicke

I have been pleased to see the reports online (google them) of Fr Hunwicke's ordination in Oxford on Wednesday, and his first Mass in London on Thursday.  Ad multos annos!

Next time I'm in the UK, I will be very glad to receive the Eucharist at his hands.

Special thanks are due to all readers who joined in prayer for Fr Hunwicke in the lead-up to his ordination, whether by joining in the Novena to St Philip Neri that I posted, or in their own devout manner.

In Holy Church united, on this feast of the Princes of the Apostles, it is good indeed to feel and know that all things are being renewed, things cast down are being raised up, and those brought into true fellowship in Christ now offer His oblation for the salvation of all.

Devout Mass

Readers will know that I prefer the Traditional liturgy of the Church – "the old is better", as Our Lord put it – but I do try and attend daily Mass, which means an early Mass in the modern Roman Rite at the nearby Carmel on weekdays, and Sunday Mass in my own parish (where I read, sing and serve – usually not all at once!), unless – as this Sunday – I get to drive to Hobart, 200 km away, for to M.C. our State's one and only regular EF Mass.

On holidays, of course, I can usually manage to get to the EF more often, as detailed in earlier posts.  And from time to time I turn up at a Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy, sometimes without realizing it (as happened to me in Florence some years ago); hopefully soon I will attend an Anglican Use celebration.  I regret not visiting Toledo on my recent trip so as to assist at the Mozarabic Mass...

In other words, I enjoy liturgical diversity (let a hundred flowers bloom and all that, juxta rubricas) – did I mention that I use the Dominican Breviary for my private prayer?

But to this morning's Mass: the Vicar General was the celebrant, and a very devout and measured Mass he celebrated for our edification.  Of course, the Mass is holy by its very nature: but the comportment of the celebrant ought conform to the reverence demanded by such august mysteries, rather than (as sadly happened only on Monday at Carmel) be a source of distraction, scandal, and angry thoughts engendered by ill-behaved antics.

(As Trent teaches, irreverence can scarce be separated from impiety: let priests take heed; for as the ancient Malabarese Rite sings, "From everlasting to everlasting: the altar is fire in fire: fire surrounds it: let priests beware of the terrible and tremendous fire, lest they fall into it, and be burnt for ever.")

This morning, far from being irreverent, the Vicar General was notably pious – not in any forced or artificial manner, but in his un-self-regarding attention to careful and well-paced reading of the texts of the sacred liturgy.  And what a good translation do we have now! – of course, it is not perfect, but it is a vast improvement over the previous paraphrase (as I customarily read my own prayers in Latin, I of all people can recognize a faithful translation when I hear one).

The homily focussed on the themes of to-day: our unity in the Catholic and Apostolic faith taught by the Princes of the Apostles, and our unity around the Successor of St Peter.  And, best of all, the celebrant's meditative offering up of the Sacrifice by praying the Roman Canon on this of all days was most apposite.

Yes, the Canon is at the heart of the matter: for the Canon is, substantially, the Roman Mass.  The solemn, sober words aptly conveyed the holiness, the sacredness, the awe-inspiring blessedness of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

The nuns sang the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin, as they always do on Sundays and feasts; they also sang, not a processional hymn but a psalm with antiphon (this and the rest in English), as well as the Responsorial Psalm, Alleluia, Lord's Prayer, Communion Antiphon and a recessional hymn as usual.  Mass took fifty minutes – leaving me just time to get to work, stopping for my daily takeaway cappuccino on the way.

Let not the perfect be the enemy of the good: for the principle of progressive solemnity (sadly abused as it is by philistines) does have some merit.  Since this was an early morning Mass at a monastery of contemplative religious (we layfolk sit in the side chapel, while Mass is celebrated before the nuns' choir, itself behind the screen), while it would have been yet better if the celebrant had sung his parts of the liturgy, and yet more had been chanted, yea, and in Latin, it was certainly an edifying and moving Mass as it was.  Again, I suspect the nuns would have no great trouble about Mass ad orientem or Communion given out to kneeling communicants, but as it was the celebration was still devout, while not going beyond the accepted way the modern Mass is said in Australia.

Last week, too, weekday Mass at Carmel was a blessing, there being a visiting priest from Sydney come to give lectures to the nuns; and I am pleased to hear that my friend Fr Paul, a Dominican, is booked in to come down to celebrate the Masses of Christmas at Carmel this year.  It is a calm haven, and going to Mass ere I go to work has proven, I think, a source of stability and peace, one that I pray many may discover.


Please pray, by the way, for those local Anglicans wavering on Tiber's bank: I saw one such at Mass this morning, with his Catholic wife, and I hope he will decide to join the just-born Australian Ordinariate.  Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians, pray for him!

For a long time now I have added after the Angelus a like short prayer for all such persons, which I commend to all:

V/. Pray for them, O Holy Mother of God.
R/. That they may be one in the Church of thy Son.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Having some plain boiled rice left over from last night’s meal of lamb and eggplant curry, I recalled I had some tinned kippers – I have a weakness for such fish as sardines, mackerel, herrings and the like, smoked or not (catlike, I know) – and so decided to boil some eggs and put the whole lot together to make kedgeree.

Kedgeree, as all men know, is a wonderful example of how the English find a foreign dish and utterly change it to produce their own tame version of the same.  The Indian rice-and-lentil peasant stable on which it is based was first drest up with fish and eggs by men of the Raj, and then, brought back to Blighty, and disseminated throughout the Empire, including this Dominion, turned into a lightly curried mixture of smoked haddock, rice and hardboiled eggs.  (Some argue, apparently, that this dish also has remote origins in Scotland – as do I for that matter.  No wonder I like it.) 

First I boiled two eggs and shelled them, and left them to cool before chopping them up.  Having no haddock to hand, I used kippers, being smoked at least, which I flaked into some melted butter mixed with turmeric and cayenne pepper (here I followed some old recipes, including Mrs Beeton’s and one in my grandmother’s nineteen-thirties cookbook, the one with chapters on such topics as “How to make do with only one servant” and “Colonial Cookery”: I didn’t add cream or milk as some suggested). Once all was ready, I added the leftover rice, mixed it through, added the chopped up eggs, and heated it before serving into a nice large bowl and seasoning.  It was quite tasty, though I would next time spice it more highly, and leave it on the stove a little longer.

Grandma, God rest her, would, I’m sure, have used Keen’s curry powder, and added sultanas, just as she always did when making her “curries”, in the Australian country cook style of yesteryear – lightly spiced, sweet, soupy casseroles including meat, carrots and, of all things, pasta, cooked till all almost disintegrates, utterly foreign to any Indian palate, but very much in the old British tradition of transmogrifying foods taken from abroad into comforting, domesticated versions.  I now find, having searched a little more, that some recipes also include garlic, ginger and onion as a base (which was of course traditional to the Indian original), plus all manner of curry ingredients, including mustard seeds, coriander, chillies and the like.  More European flavourings suggested include bay leaves and parsley.


Since last night I served at the evening Vigil Mass, I had plenty of time for a sleep-in this morning and to prepare this culinary delight in honour of the Birth of St John the Baptist.  I don’t know if I quite approve of evening Vigil Masses, as it means that I attend daily Mass every day except Sunday…

In other liturgical news, a strange dream I had on Friday night compelled me to read the day Hours of the Vigil of the Baptist from my Monastic Breviary, and I have continued this Benedictine observance overnight, having now made my leisurely way through the Nocturns and Lauds of his feast, and, after a walk in the afternoon and preparing an early dinner (I didn't need lunch), I'm now finishing off the Day Hours a little late.  Doubtless the fact that the hymns of his feast are by St Peter Damian, that famous monastic, must have been at the back of my mind to persuade me in this direction.

Traditional Devotion is Liturgical

The mediævals loved to practice their piety according to liturgical forms – hence, the laity as well as the clergy attended Mass and the Hours in church and, moreover, recited additional devotions, such as the Penitential Psalms, the Gradual Psalms, the Office of the Dead, the "Little" Office of Our Lady (so-called only in contradistinction to the "great" or daily Office, for even the Little Office is longer than the modern Liturgy of the Hours!), the Litanies of the Saints, and prayers honouring the saints in liturgical form (each with antiphon, versicle and collect).

Such forms of prayer, centering on the psalms, are of course fundamentally Biblical and therefore evangelical in inspiration, as all true prayer ought be – just so, frequent recital of the Lord's Prayer and Angelical Salutation (to which was eventually added a petition) is but to lovingly repeat the inspired words of the Scriptures: and thus the Rosary, itself in origins a mediæval prayer, is of all these the one best still beloved of the faithful, while also being most focussed on Scripture.  Upon this sure foundation, "than which none other can be laid", for in Holy Writ we find the Eternal Word, our one Saviour, the trustworthy asseverations of Holy Church – inspired by the Holy Ghost, that Other Paraclete, Who Christ told us would lead us into all truth – were built up over succeeding ages, thus helping the faithful pray in "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs".

Unfortunately, this love of praying according to the liturgical spirit of the Church has declined in the West over recent centuries.  Compare and contrast this loss of sympathy and understanding, this failure of memory, with the still-maintained love of Eastern Christians for the Hours of the Office according to their rites, for the Akathist Hymn, for the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete, for the Paraclesis Service, and for many related paraliturgical devotions.  It is evident, or ought be, that if Byzantine worshippers still flock to church for such, or devoutly recite them from their prayerbooks, it is sad indeed that Catholics, even if well-instructed, no longer find delight in the Little Office, or in the Psalms themselves.  (It is customary at this point to criticise the Devotio moderna, but I will desist and proceed with my argument instead.)

Now, the last refuge, in most cases, of the older liturgical devotional spirit was in the Breviary itself – since the clergy and religious were bound to recite such forms, it stands to reason that those who found devotion in the Hours would also be glad to pray similar prayers when able.  It is, alas, nowadays notorious that many priests neglect even the simplified and accessible modern Divine Office: so much for liturgical piety, something praised (with little evident effect) by the last Ecumenical Council.  Similarly, the use of Our Lady's Hours, maintained by many female religious, utterly fell away after the Council – supposedly in favour of the full Divine Office or principal Hours thereof, but, one suspects, often being replaced with less liturgical devotions and even the suspect products of dissent (I recall seeing a strange self-made Breviary used by Australian religious sisters of one of the many dying congregations here).

However, to backtrack, even a century ago or so, while the Roman Breviary still contained the Little Office, the Gradual Psalms and so forth, these were no longer binding upon the secular clergy, except on certain occasions.  For Pope St Pius V had freed the secular clergy from the obligation of saying any such additional parts in private recitation, while retaining it in choir (hence the Gradual Psalms were to be said on Lenten Wednesdays, if I recall correctly); and Pope St Pius X abolished even that choral obligation.  Still, the Litanies of the Saints was still to be said on a few occasions (the Easter Vigil, the Rogation Days, and so forth) – further liturgical tampering has still further reduced the use thereof, however.

Regular clergy, being still then expected to maintain devotion over and above that of their secular brethren, were, a century ago or more, bound to keep up the praying of more of the age-old Western liturgical devotions.  At last, I reach the topic of this post! – for, having been inspecting the 1893 Dominican Breviary I acquired in Rome a fortnight ago, I find the following, having puzzled out the rubrics:
  • The brethren in choir (only) are bound to say the Penitential Psalms on Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday.
  • Whensoever the Office of Our Lady on Saturday is said, all friars, whether in choir or in private, are bound to say the Gradual Psalms before Matins (this, therefore, would be done fairly frequently).
  • Once a week, all brethren, whether in choir or not, must recite the Office of the Dead ("Vigils", comprising Vespers and full Matins of three nocturns, presumably including Lauds, which runs on from Matins without a break).
  • Every day, except on days of higher rank (from Christmas till after the Epiphany Octave, from Holy Wednesday until Monday after Low Sunday, on Sundays, Duplex and Totum Duplex feasts, solemn and most solemn Octaves and Octave days) and when Our Lady is celebrated in the Office of the day, is to be said by all the Office of Our Lady (not called "Little" by Dominicans), saying each Hour before the equivalent Hour of the main Office, except for Compline – when Compline of Our Lady is interpolated between the blessing at Compline and the following anthem of Our Lady, Salve Regina.
  • After Compline (which in Dominican piety was accorded great importance, and at the celebration of which all the brethren were to be present in choir), on every day except the Vigil of Christmas, Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the Litanies of the Saints were to be sung; while, as at the Easter Vigil, on the Rogation Days and at the Vigil of Pentecost the Litanies are said directly before Mass, on the Rogation Days and the Vigil of Pentecost only the prefatory Ps 69, and the following preces and collects of the Litany are to be said.
  • Furthermore, after Compline (and Litanies) – but only if the Office is of the feria! – there follows the administration of the discipline, during which the prostrate brethren say the Confiteor &c., together with Ps 50, Kyrie, Pater, Salvos fac servos, Dominus vobiscum, Oremus and collect Deus cui proprium.  To this penitential practice the saying in the Order applied: "Let us not be as those nuns of whom it was said, they did scourge themselves with foxes' tails!"  (How times change: as one Father remarked in recent years, nowadays all the penance is done in gyms, and none in priories...)
Further, and, some would argue, rather unfortunately, the late nineteenth century Dominican Breviary contains Votive Offices allotted to vacant weekdays, just as does the Roman Breviary of that day.  It is fashionable to criticize the wholesale omission of the ferial Office in favour of such Votives: but it must be recalled that there was a tradition going back several hundred years or more of repeating the Office of favourite saints once a month or even once a week – a pious habit behind the still-continued celebration of the Office and Mass of Our Lady on Saturdays – and, furthermore, the multiplication of saints' days had meant that the relative length of the ferial Office, on the few days it still was used, appeared all the more wearisome and unexpectedly taxing, hence the increased permission, and eventual Papal direction (under Leo XIII) to use Votive Offices of certain saints on all ordinary ferias.

For the record, on free Tuesdays, the Office of St Dominic was to be used (ferial psalms at 1st Vespers, festal psalms at Matins, with 3rd Lesson of the Saint after the first two occurring Lessons from Scripture, festal psalms at Lauds, the Office concluding with None); on free Wednesdays, if the convent was a place of study and learning, the Office of St Thomas Aquinas was appointed (the same rubrics applying); on free Thursdays – as in Austria-Hungary – the Office of Corpus Christi; on the first free Monday or, failing that, the first free Friday of the month, the Office of St Vincent Ferrer (thanks to a decree of Clement X in 1674); on all free Saturdays, of course, the Office of Our Lady; and, where the custom exists – note this glad recognition of traditional practices – on free Wednesdays or Fridays, the Office of some other saint of the Order.

As I recall a learned blogger commenting, the ferial psalms were oft retained at (first) Vespers in Roman use.  In Dominican terms – replaced in 1923 by the Roman ones! – only Totum Duplex feasts had proper psalms thereat, while those feasts ranked as Duplex and Simplex did not, and neither did feasts Trium Lectionum, which furthermore ended at None.  However, by contrast, feasts of all ranks used the Sunday psalms at Lauds, and the psalms of the relevant Common at Matins.  Especially the latter provision meant that two-thirds of the Psalter, being assigned to ferial Matins, was scarcely if ever read.  For example, a quick and rough calculation of how the Office would have been said in June this year, had the 1893 Breviary still been in force (neglecting the rules for transferring impeded feasts for up to fifteen days!), reveals that the festal Office would have been said almost every day, save on the two Vigils (when the ferial Office was kept) and on four days at Vespers, when the ferial psalms would have been retained.

It is therefore quite understandable that Pope St Pius X wished to curb the excessive use of the festal Office, since it meant that many psalms were hardly ever recited, thus making mockery of the distribution of the whole psalter over the course of the week.  He and his advisers therefore decided upon redistributing the psalms over all the Hours of each week, so that, with almost no exceptions, each psalm was to be said only once each week, thus lightening the burden by decreasing the length of the Office, and to change the rubrics to ensure that only saint's days of higher rank caused the psalms to be said to be changed, thus increasing the probability that all the psalms were regularly prayed.  Having used, with varying fidelity (owing to work and other reasons good and bad), the 1962 Roman and latterly the 1962 Dominican Breviaries for my own prayer, I can attest that the daily varying of the psalms at each Hour is conducive to prayer, whereas, say, the use of Ps 118 every day at the Little Hours (as still found on the highest feasts and on Sundays) is, shall we say, a little repetitive in comparison.

What is to be regretted is that this reform in some aspects detracted from traditional liturgical forms and pieties – above all, at Lauds, it may be argued, where for example the immemorial daily use of Pss 148-150, the Laudate psalms which gave Lauds its name, was given away.  A levelling spirit resulted in some foolish decisions: for example, there was no need to likewise modify the psalms at Lauds in the Little Office of Our Lady, yet there, too, Ps 66 and two of the Laudate psalms were removed, impoverishing prayer.  The same was done at Lauds in the Easter Triduum, where if anywhere the ancient forms should have been kept sacrosanct.

The ancient liturgical devotions of the Western Church – Little Office of Our Lady, Office of the Dead, the Gradual Psalms, the Penitential Psalms, the Litanies of the Saints, and all related devotions – contain a treasure of piety, built around the Psalms, composed by inspiration of the Holy Ghost Himself, and decorated by the words of Holy Mother Church, inflamed by that same Spirit.  Their words have been on the lips of countless devout souls down the centuries.  Yes, they are long and not short: ought we not take the time to pray as those who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith, have prayed?  May we have something of their piety, and their reward.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Romanized Antiphons

I bought an 1893 Dominican Breviary (Part I only, alas, being all that was available) for €10 when in Rome a few weeks ago.  One nice aspect of the pre-Pian Dominican Breviary - that is, prior to the Order's forced adoption of the new arrangement of the psalter as organized by Pope St Pius X for the Roman Breviary - is that the psalms are all set out in numerical order, with minimal rubrics attached specifying when and at which Hour each is to be said: you have to look to the Office of the first Sunday after the Octave of the Epiphany, and the following Monday, to find the rest of what would be styled the Ordinary of the Office.

Sadly, once the Dominicans were forced to adopt the new weekly distribution of the psalms in place of that dating from the first half of the first millennium, something the Order managed to delay until 1923, much more was lost than just the immemorial ferial arrangement of the psalms (which, as in the pre-Pian Roman Breviary, was to be honest nearly always replaced by those prescribed in the Commons of Saints).  Amongst many other changes made, the opportunity was taken by Romanizers to replace the traditional Dominican antiphons with those newly prescribed for the rearranged Roman Office - even though the Dominican antiphons were often the same as those found in the Benedictine Office, and thus had an impeccable pedigree.

For example, I looked at the thirty-five antiphons for the psalms at Vespers through the week in the 1893 Breviarium S.O.P., and then compared them with the antiphons in post-1923 Dominican books (a Diurnal from the fifties, and the 1962 Breviarium S.O.P.), as well as with those in the 1962 Roman Breviary, and in a 1953 Breviarium Monasticum in my possession.  The results were horrifying: 
  • only 13 antiphons were retained, all being the same as the Roman ones;
  • 22 were changed - including all those proper to the Order.
Of the 22 antiphons that were changed, 15 were the same as those used in the Benedictine Office (and if the Benedictines could keep them, why not Dominicans?), while six were for psalms not provided with their own individual antiphons according to the Monastic Breviary.  Most miserably, those six, and also another three antiphons for Vesper psalms that were proper to the Dominican Office, and not found in either the Roman or the Benedictine uses, were all deleted in favour of their Roman equivalents.

What harm had these texts done, that they (and their proper chant, according to which they had been sung in the Order for seven centuries) deserved suppression and replacement with alien words, unfamiliar music?  This is a sad instance of the maniacal suspicion with which, in the post-Tridentine period, all non-Roman liturgical uses and Rites were regarded by too many, both in the Curia and, worse, even among some Dominicans.

A true, properly conservative reform would have preserved these proper texts, not removed and replaced them - true, adopting a new arrangement of the psalms, in order that all the psalms be prayed far more often, was a reform that did require providing new antiphons for psalms previously without them (for at the old form of Matins, the psalms were said in pairs, with only one antiphon each), but that certainly did not require that antiphons already existing be deleted.

I recall from A. A. King's Liturgies of the Religious Orders that these, and the many other changes made to the Dominican Breviary in slavish imitation of the Roman Breviary, elicited outrage in the Order, to the extent that requests addressed to the Master General for indults to continue privately reciting the older editions poured in, even though that entailed saying a longer daily Office.  However, in choir these innovations had perforce to be adopted.  By the fifties and sixties, very few friars remained who remembered these changes, which must have been profoundly felt by those who lived through them.

In retrospect, these changes to the Breviary were but steps toward the ultimate abandonment by the Order of its own proper liturgy, effected at the 1968 General Chapter of River Forest (whose risible name well sums up its effects, especially as held in those days of madness directly after the Council, and in the same year as much secular nonsense).  The insatiable desire to do all as Rome does led to the abandonment of the older focus on the more monastic aspects of the Dominican patrimony, of which these changes to the Vesper psalm antiphons is a small but significant part.

For the record, here is the detailed breakdown for such as love liturgical minutiæ:

Vesper Antiphons in pre- and post-Pian reform Dominican Breviaries

Here, "same" means the same antiphon was retained (in all cases, these are the same as their Roman equivalents); "shorter" means that the old Dominican antiphon was shorter than the Roman, but was recognizably similar to it (every one of them was replaced by the corresponding Roman antiphon); and "different" means that the old Dominican was different to the Roman antiphon (many of these were the same as the antiphons used in the Benedictine Breviary - again, all of these antiphons were replaced with the corresponding antiphons in the new Roman Breviary).

Sunday (2 same, 1 shorter, 2 different):

Ps 109 – same antiphon
Ps 110 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Fidelia omnia mandata ejus, confirmata in sæculum sæculi.  (Same as the Benedictine.)
Ps 111 – shorter: old O.P. antiphon was In mandatis ejus cupit nimis(Same as the Benedictine.)
Ps 112 – same antiphon
Ps 113 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Nos qui vivimus, benedicimus Dño(Same as the Benedictine.)

Monday (2 same, 2 shorter, 1 different):

Ps 114 – same antiphon
Ps 115 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Credidi, propter quod locutus sum(Same as the Benedictine.)
Ps 116 – moved to Monday Lauds; same antiphon
Ps 119 – shorter: old O.P. antiphon was Clamavi, et exaudivit me (excl. Dñs). (Same as the Benedictine, but there used at None on weekdays.)
Ps 120 – shorter: old O.P. antiphon was Auxilium meum a Dño. (No Benedictine antiphon for this psalm.)

Tuesday (2 same, 3 different):

*Ps 121 – different: old O.P. antiphon was In domum Dñi lætantes ibimus. (No Benedictine antiphon for this psalm.)
Ps 122 – same antiphon (Same as Benedictine, but there used at Sext on weekdays.)
Ps 123 – same antiphon (No Benedictine antiphon for this psalm.)
Ps 124 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Benefac, Dñe, bonis, et rectis corde. (No Benedictine antiphon for this psalm.)
Ps 125 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Facti sumus sicut consolati. (No Benedictine antiphon for this psalm.)

Wednesday (2 same, 3 different):

*Ps 126 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Beatus vir, qui implevit desiderium suum. (No Benedictine antiphon for this psalm.)
Ps 127 – same antiphon (Same as Benedictine, but there used at None on weekdays)
Ps 128 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Benediximus vobis in nomine Dñi. (Not Benedictine.)
Ps 129 – same antiphon
Ps 130 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Speret Israël in Dño. (Same as Benedictine.)

Thursday (2 shorter, 3 different):

*Ps 131 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Et omnis mansuetudinis ejus(Same as the Benedictine.)
Ps 132 – shorter: old O.P. antiphon was Ecce quam bonum, et quam jucundum! (Not Benedictine)
Ps 134 – moved to Tuesday Lauds; different: old O.P. antiphon was Omnia quæcumque voluit, Dñs fecit. (Same as Benedictine.)
**Ps 135 – shorter: old O.P. antiphon was Quoniam in æternum misericordia ejus(Same as the Benedictine.)
Ps 136 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Hymnum cantate nobis de canticis Sion(Same as the Benedictine.)

Friday (2 same, 3 different):

*Ps 137 – different: old O.P. antiphon was In conspectu Angelorum psallam tibi Deus meus(Same as the Benedictine.)
**Ps 138 – same antiphon (as the first for this psalm when divided)
Ps 139 – different: old O.P. antiphon was A viro iniquo libera me Dñe(Same as the Benedictine.)
Ps 140 – same antiphon
Ps 141 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Portio mea, Dñe, sit in terra viventium(Same as the Benedictine.)

Saturday (3 same, 2 different):

**Ps 143 – different: old O.P. antiphon was Benedictus Dñs Deus meus(Same as the Benedictine.)
***Ps 144 – different: old O.P. antiphon was In æternum, et in sæculum sæculi. (Not Benedictine.)
Ps 145 – moved to Wednesday Lauds; same antiphon
Ps 146 – moved to Thursday Lauds; same antiphon
Ps 147 – moved to Friday Lauds; same antiphon

* This psalm was moved to the day before.
** This psalm was split into two parts.
*** This psalm was split into three parts.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Entwistle, First Ordinary of the Australian Ordinariate

Fresh from the Vatican's daily Bulletin, the first two paragraphs translated from the Italian, the rest being supplied in English:

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Father, according to the norms of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus, has erected* the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in the territory of the Australian Episcopal Conference.
At the same time, the Holy Father Benedict XVI has nominated as first Ordinary of Our Lady of the Southern Cross the Reverend Harry Entwistle.
[Reverend] Harry Entwistle
Reverend Harry Entwistle was born on May 31, 1940 at Chorley, Lancashire, England and baptised an Anglican in the Parish Church on July 7, 1940. After studies at St. Chad's Theological College in the University of Durham, he was ordained [an Anglican] priest [prete anglicano] on September 20, 1964 for the Anglican Diocese of Blackburn, Lancashire. After priestly service in Fleetwood, Hardwick, Weedon, Aston Abbotts and Cubligton, he was Chaplain in Her Majesty's Prison Service from 1974 to 1981 and from 1981 to 1988, Senior Chaplain at HM Prison Wansworth.
He migrated to Australia in 1988 where he was the Senior Chaplain for the Department of Corrective Services in the Anglican Diocese of Perth, Western Australia.
From 1992 to 1999 he was Archdeacon and Parish Priest of Northam; from 1999 to 2006 Parish Priest of Mt Lawley. In 2006 he joined the Traditional Anglican Communion and was appointed Western Regional Bishop and Parish Priest of Maylands in Perth.
After reception into the Church and ordination as a deacon [on June 10, 2012], he was† ordained to the priesthood in St. Mary's Cathedral, Perth on June 15, 2012.

*According to this Decree, most interestingly, the formerly Traditional Anglican church of SS Ninian and Chad in Maylands, Perth (a humble structure I visited some years ago) is to be the principal church of the Ordinariate.

†Actually, his Ordination has not yet begun, since it is not yet 7 pm in Perth!

For the record, his name is spelled without an "h" - his surname does not mean "the whistle of an Ent", whatever Tolkien fans may think!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mercy

Deus meus, misericordia mea – "My God, my mercy!" (Ps 58:18b).  For God is mercy.

Yes, in God, "Mercy and truth have met each other: justice and peace have kissed" (Ps 84:11); and, even more amazingly, in Christ, the Incarnate Son, "Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice hath looked down from heaven" (Ps 84:12): heaven has touched earth, God and man are reconciled. 

God's mercy is incarnate in Christ, and above all in His Sacred Heart, "Divine Love in a human heart", that human Heart of mercy and love that is inseparably united to the Divine Person of the Eternal Word.

For this reason, we ought have no fear; for God has done all things for us, has sent His Son to redeem us, and offers us in the Heart of His Son the refuge for all penitent sinners, for God is rich in mercy, dives in misericordia.

Pray, therefore, above all on this feast of mercy and love, for such love, such mercy; for he who prays is saved, as St Alphonsus says.

Remember, God does not love us because we are good and lovable, no; for God is Perfect Act, with Him lies the initiative, He does not act as if impelled by any exterior necessity - therefore, God's love makes us good, makes us lovable.  God loved us into existence, for to exist is to be good; God made us to be the rational creatures that we are, raising us above the rest of Creation by giving us such a likeness to Himself, a mind and heart to love; God sent His Son to save us, giving us salvation from our sins and what they justly deserve, out of His love alone; God graces us with all manner of good gifts natural and supernatural – not because we deserve anything, but because He wills it, His love effecting what it signifies: that we are good, we are lovable in His sight.  One creature would not be greater than another unless God loved it more: such the Scholastic axiom.

Even the very worst sinner (as we ought each conceive of ourselves), reflecting on all he has received from the Lord, must find in such thoughts a cause for hope in Divine mercy: for God having thus manifested such lovingkindness, there is great reason for trust in the Lord for salvation.

I recall the inscription in the church Monsignor Hawes built at Mullewa: Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi Jesus – "Jesu, Jesu, be to me Jesus", that is, a Saviour.  For the Holy Name means "God is [my] salvation".  Divine Mercy, the Sacred Heart, the Holy Name, the Five Wounds: these many foci of our worship and devotion all signify this one consoling truth, that God is the God of love and mercy, on Whom we may depend for salvation, whatsoever may trouble and confound us.


Two matters to confide to the burning love of Our Lord's Sacred Heart: first, in thanksgiving and supplication for its growth and success, the establishment of the Australian Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross for groups of Anglicans entering into full communion with the Vicar of Christ on this day so apt – for this evening in Perth, their former bishop, Harry Entwistle, will be ordained a Catholic priest (will he be the Ordinary, as seems probable?), and seventy others will be received into the Church; second, the hoped-for reconciliation of the Society of St Pius X with the Holy See, to the great benefit of the whole Catholic Church.  Both projects are dear to the heart of our own dear Pope; may the Sacred Heart grant such graces that both appear as signal triumphs of the Lord's merciful love.


I returned from my European holiday yester-day morning, having slept away my brief visit to Dubai (I took a taxi from the airport straight to my hotel, and didn't leave it till I took another taxi back to the airport).  Most of yester-day, last night and this morning I also spent sleeping: hopefully I'll be over any lingering jetlag soon.  I missed Mass for the Sacred Heart to-day, but will do as usual on Saturday mornings and visit the confessional to-morrow, in that way celebrating in a manner the Sacred Heart: for all the sacraments are fundamentally acts of worship, and confession is a special avowal of our trust in Divine mercy.  Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Corpus Christi Again

It's staggering the number of clerics you see at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini - but then Rome is crawling with bishops, priests, seminarians, religious and others of that ilk...

High Mass was of the external solemnity of Corpus Christi, but with no procession, just Exposition and Benediction to follow.  (In total, 90 minutes.)

Friends met me for lunch afterward at a rather good Argentinian steakhouse near the old Theatine church; having then had gelati on the way back to my hotel, it's almost time for a siesta.

Yester-day saw me return to Rome on the overnight train (thankfully, of a rather higher standard than the one I took to Paris from Milan a few weeks back), having had a very enjoyable visit to Bavaria, culminating in Corpus Christi on the proper day, Thursday, in a small town in the countryside (the procession took over an hour, complete with oom-pah band - the men in lederhosen, the women in dirndls - all the parishioners singing as they walked behind their priest and the Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament, forming a guard of honour for Our Lord, and four baroque altars mysteriously materialized along the route through the village, where four times Benediction was given), and then a visit to Munich on Friday, visiting - again - a vast number of huge baroque churches, as well as lunching in an excellent beerhall on pike and asparagus, having coffee at Dallmayr (coffee blenders to the Bavarian Kings), and staring in amazement at the vast collection of mediaeval, renaissance and baroque art in the Pinakothek (if I remember the correct word for it).  Embarrassingly, I set off an alarm by approaching too closely a painting to point out a detail!

It was also more than a little creepy to visit a certain other building in Munich, now a repository of statuary used for art classes, but once the official residence of a former Chancellor of ill-fame.  I had a number of such experiences - Germans seem to have a certain yen for confession: a dentist I fell into conversation with revealed that his surgery is in a former synagogue, which his family bought from a man in Munich after the War (the former owners no longer being around).  Imagine eating an icecream as one walks along, and then finding in front of one the local memorial to the Jews who used to live in the area!  I really liked Germany and even felt quite at home in all aspects but this: reading about historical tragedies is one thing, but standing where such things happened frankly chills my blood.

Having come back to Rome (whither all roads lead), I had a siesta (when in Rome...), then met up with a seminarian friend (one of several I've since caught up with): we had gelati, found a convenient church for confession, then ambled over to a local bar for a good meal and beer.

To-morrow will be my last day in Europe: I plan to catch an early Low Mass at St Peter's, then check out the local bookshops again (query: should I buy the old Dominican altar missal I found on sale for €20?), visit St Philip at the Chiesa Nuova, and waste some time until I have to go to the airport in the evening.

Next stop, Dubai.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Singing in German

David Schütz, be impressed: being in Bavaria visiting a priest friend, I´ve sung an incredible number of hymns, in German, at the three Masses I´ve so far attended!  (The very first, on Monday, had so much singing - as well, alas, as a very lengthy and to me incomprehensible sermon - that I asked if it were a special occasion: the reply being, this is normal for weekday Mass here!)

I find that singing in German is a good deal easier than speaking it, since the pacing is slower and I can read the words then strive to pronounce them, rather than falling behind (as I do in the spoken parts of the Mass).  Luckily, my friend (whom I met when he was studying in Australia years ago) speaks excellent English, else I would be all at sea.

Father is at present off celebrating the first Mass and Procession for Corpus Christi (still on Thursday here); to-morrow I´ll attend the morning Mass and Procession, then, poor priest, he has a third Mass and Procession in the afternoon!  He has several parishes in his care, albeit all very close together (two of them less than a kilometre apart); having seen all bar two of the churches and chapels, I can testify that the Baroque art in these alone far outshines anything I can recall back home.

(I can´t yet upload my holiday photos, but will when I get back to Australia and my own computer.)

Yester-day, I was lucky enough to visit several famous churches (one a World Heritage site) and, last but not least, Neuschwanstein Castle, built by poor Mad King Ludwig.  As I remarked to Fr, in the fulness of time Ludwig II´s extravagant expenditure of money on art both enriched the State and brought joy to millions, while the King of Prussia spent up big on the military instead, thus bringing decades of misery and slaughter to the world: so who was mad, and who sane? who deserved to be forced from the throne (and to die under suspicious circumstances) and who to reign?

King Ludwig died on the 13th of June; no doubt the Wittelsbachs will have a Requiem for him, as befits a Catholic royal family.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I am disappointed: Vespers at St Mary´s Cathedral, Sydney, are far better than Vespers at Cologne Cathedral.  The Office began promisingly enough, with a procession of thurifer, crucifer and cerifers, choristers and the celebrant in biretta and cope (the lot preceded by some sort of behatted and red-gowned beadle with a wand or mace) entering the choir where we layfolk had arranged ourselves not far from the high altar and the shrine of the Three Kings of Cologne, the relics of the Magi; but as soon as the chanting began, I was disappointed - the chanting seemed lifeless (though the organ accompaniment was grand).  I could easily sing louder than the sixteen in the schola (and almost did before I restrained myself), and choirs I´ve sung with in Australia could have done a better job.  How disappointing.

More seriously, the Office itself was not done properly.  While the booklet provided promised Vespers of Trinity Sunday, none of the antiphons so much as mentioned it - the Magnificat antiphon was, I am sure, taken from Lent!  And very annoyingly, this modern Office in Gregorian chant had been abbreviated - after the two psalms, there was no New Testament canticle at all, instead they skipped ahead to the short reading read in German (and a long homily).  It is not right to do that.  At least the high altar was censed at the Magnificat rather than the modern forward altar at the crossing.

As is allowable though regrettable, the expected short responsory was replaced by a fragment that sounded very much like Taize material (so much for Vespers in Gregorian chant!).  But most oddly of all, after the intercessions (read in German, from the correct Office at least, with response sung in Latin) and chanted Pater noster, before the Collect (in German), Dominus vobiscum, Benedicat vos and Benedicamus Domino, was interpolated a silent pause, that rather puerile round Da pacem Domine, another Taize-style antiphon, and the Nunc dimittis from Compline!  No wonder the English notice advertised the service as Evensong: Catholics aping Anglicans?  And really it is liturgical nonsense to insert all manner of membra disjecta between the Lord´s Prayer and the Collect: far better to add such devotions later (better still, to actually sing that which should have been included - the N.T. Canticle - and omit such irrelevant material).

At least, to conclude, something highly appropriate was added and in a most Catholic manner: the servers, choir, priest and congregation all processed to the miraculous image of Our Lady in the north transept whilst the organ played, and then we sang Salve Regina while it was censed.

Still, it disappoints me to find that the liturgy, while conducted most reverently, was so misunderstood as to have the wrong antiphons sung, one essential part removed, and several irrelevant elements inserted.  Compare it to Vespers at the Cathedral in Sydney (see what I wrote of it on this blog in July last year), where the chanting was perfect, the Magnificat sung in alternating chant and faux-bourdon, and, after Vespers, Benediction sung with several pieces of polyphony.  To be honest, I had expected polyphonic Vespers, of some magnificence, and didn´t get them.

It´s a hard life.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

60. Thronjubiläum

After this morning´s Missa cantata for the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, it would have been nice to sing the Domine salvum fac Reginam, but since I´m in Cologne to do so would no doubt have seemed odd to my fellow Catholics here: they sang that German version of the Te Deum hymnified instead.  In any case, "God save the Queen... long to reign over us," and all that.

I also see that a certain transitional deacon, Hunwicke by name, will be ordained a priest of the New Testament, in full union with the Vicar of Christ, in Oxford on the 27th of June: my congratulations to him, too; no doubt he will be enjoying this day´s celebrations as a loyal subject of Her Majesty.

Paris, Brussels, Cologne

Paris I found more than a bit daunting (having very little French, and being surrounded by so many!): my accommodation, a down-at-heel affair in the 10th arrondisement, was not to my taste, and I think I was having withdrawal symptoms after catching up with those with whom I could converse intelligibly.  But I must be clear, despite fears, the Parisians (and all the other French) weren´t rude or haughty, indeed quite the opposite of the stereotype, being friendly and helpful.  If I´d had the energy, I had planned to tour Versailles on the Wednesday, but I was overtired, still, from the pilgrimage, so I napped instead in a hot and airless hotel room.

Again, the early Mass (offered by a father of the Institute of the Good Shepherd) on the Thursday had its curiosities - certain usually-silent parts of the Canon said aloud, and, more pleasingly, the celebrant breaking into Gregorian chant to sing the Communion!  Yet, while a dialogue Mass, with the readings in French, there was still the 3rd Confiteor used; which doesn´t make so much sense if everyone said it together to begin with anyway (whereas, if the older practice of having the server alone say it had been followed, it would then make sense for him to say it at the start for himself and then, at Communion, on behalf of the communicants).  Which reminds me: the poor priest had no server anyway.

I found a little secondhand bookshop staffed by a grizzled fellow in a cassock who sold all manner of Catholic volumes of yesteryear - alas, I discovered too late that the Psalterium I bought contained that horrid Pian version of the Psalms, not God´s own Vulgate.

Paris being for me a bit of a write-off, I was gladdened to escape (travelling first-class, of course) on the highspeed train to Brussels, capital of Belgium and the whole E.U. (the French pretend that Strasbourg is, but they would, wouldn´t they).  Brussels I infinitely prefer to Paris: cleaner, helpfully multilingual, with good beer as well as good food (waffles for breakfast), a completely disfunctional government (I forget if they finally have a coalition agreed after their last general election several years ago or not), and best of all, a royal palace with a real Catholic king in it, not some nasty socialist President.  The palace looked quite decent; God save the King!

A quarter-hour walk from my hotel brought me conveniently to the Church of SS John and Stephen of the Minims, centre of the FSSP apostolate: hence, on Friday evening and Saturday morning, I heard Mass there.  Indeed, it also supplied my need of Friday penance (assuming I needed to do some, as in the EF it was a 1st class feast, but canonists will dispute whether that applies when in the OF it´s a feria), as I´d eaten saucisson avec stoemp for lunch (moules mariniere being out of season, alas): Mass was a quasi-Missa cantata (everything was sung by priest and people except for the chants of the Proper!), and thereafter came Exposition, with Adoro te devote, Litany of the Sacred Heart (chanted in Latin), Consecration to the Sacred Heart (in French: I just said Ainsi soit-il), and Benediction itself (ending stirringly with repeated Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat).

This being a primarily religious blog, I leave aside the details of my secular sightseeing (my, the Grand´ Place really is something though, imagine a Gothic town hall with a 96 metre tall spire just for fun!), but (as beer is Catholic, there being a blessing for it in the Rituale), I will say I delighted in the Tripel Karmeliet and Lindemans Gueuze that accompanied my simple lunch in Brussels.  The former, brewed to a 17th century recipe from wheat, hops and oats, is a fine beer; while the latter has a unique, sour but pleasing taste, since it ferments spontaneously, acquiring the necessary microorganisms from the Brussels air (the process doesn´t work elsewhere).

Oh, and the chocolate in Belgium really is the best (a nice 100g block proved this), and I had an excellent meal at a local Moroccan restaurant (as in Paris, it appears, how shall I put it, that much of Africa has moved north - with pleasing results in many instances, such as this culinary delight, I hasten to add).

To return to religious matters, the Church of Our Lady of Sablon was also magnificent - but I have suddenly realized I must have missed the Cathedral.

In any case, to-day, Whit Saturday, saw me cross the border into Germany; after dinner at a Persian restaurant here in Cologne (in Paris, did I mention, I ate Vietnamese), now I´m catching up on messages before turning in.  Cologne Cathedral is utterly magnificent, I must say; conveniently, I was able to go to Confession there.

Enough for now.  To-morrow, I´ll go to the local FSSP church for High Mass for Trinity Sunday.