Saturday, March 29, 2014

Have Pity on a Broken Man

"Who is speaking to you? A poor man, a phenomenon of smallness.
I tremble, my brethren and children. I tremble because I am feeling
things so to say that are immensely larger than I am.... But I am
the successor of St. Peter. Accept me. Do not despise me. I am
the Vicar of Christ."—November 11, 1973 at the Lateran Cathedral

Friday, March 28, 2014

Marian Lent IV

The last set of chants for the Akathist to the Mother of God sung during Compline for the first four Fridays of Great Lent in honor of the Annunciation.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Lyonese Missal Part II: Holy Week & Pascha

Cornelius Jansen was a bishop and faithful servant of the Christ who in his last days made his private writings vulnerable to the judgment of the Church. Indeed the Church found some of his ideas on grace and man's cooperation with it to be a deviation from her tradition, condemning them, but not the humble Jansen. Some of Jansen's intellectual followers could not heed his example and, if we are to believe certain French Ultramontanists, they peppered the local rites of the French church with their heterodox beliefs. As part of our on-going investigation into these claims, which resulted in the eventual suppression of many diocesan rites in France, we will now look into Holy Week and Pascha in the rite of Lyons.

Part I: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday in the Lyonese Missal is a relatively low key affair when compared to the Missa sicca, blessings, distribution of palms, procession, and dramatic entry into the church in the pre-Pius XII Roman rite. Still, it contributes, or rather maintains, to the Latin tradition a very Gallican understanding of time and space in the liturgy. The day begins with a procession in silence to St. Irenaeus "on the mount," shown to the right, where the shrine of the saint of Lyons once stood before it was destroyed by the Calvinists (already I see a disincentive for Catholics to adopt Jansenistic ideas in this diocese). The deacons and subdeacons wear violet folded chasubles, as in the Roman rite, and the "concelebrants" are fully vested. The lord Archbishop wears a violet cope and a mitre. From St. Irenaeus the procession heads to the cemetery of St. Just. Arriving at St. Just cemetery the choir sings psalm 50, the Miserere, for the dead and follow it with the standard collect. The procession then enters St. Just. Palms are arranged on the altar. The Archbishop blesses the palms from the epistle side using three collects; the first asks for a share in the triumph of the Cross, the second asks that the Lord "bless us with songs" as He did the people of Jerusalem and that we may sing to Him with palms and songs of glory at His second coming, and the third that the people receive the palms with faith. They are then sprinkled with lustral water, incensed, and distributed to the singing of Pueri Hebraeorum—as in the Roman rite. A procession follows immediately. The antiphons during the procession differ a bit from the Roman rite, emphasizing the plotting of the Sanhedrin against Christ rather than the wonder of the people of Jerusalem. There is no ceremony at the door of the cathedral nor the singing of Gloria, Laus, et Honor tibi sit as in the Roman Church, but an antiphon is sung upon entering Locuti sunt adversum me lingua dolosa. A collect ends the service and the lord Archbishop vests for Mass.

Interestingly this service, although in the whole far simpler than the unreformed Roman rite, it does preserve some interesting elements not apparent in the Tridentine liturgy, which is essentially a reduced version of the Roman rite made for bureaucratic use. For one consider the idea of procession. In the Roman rite one starts the service within the main church, makes a circle around the block, and returns. In this use the procession begins at a distant cemetery and nearby church and then arrives at the cathedral. The significance is not at first apparent. Our Lord had just raised Lazarus from the dead after the mourning and weeping of Martha. He then goes down from Bethany with His Apostles and disciples, then enters Jerusalem, the city of the Temple and of David. Here the procession begins in a cemetery with weeping and prayers for the dead who, like Lazarus, we expect to rise to a new life when Christ returns to judge the quick and the dead. The procession then continues downhill, arriving at the cathedral, the new temple and type of the new Jerusalem where Christ is king and which we touch now and will embrace in eternity. The Roman rite's Missa sicca is perhaps more beautiful and historic than the Lyonese blessing, but the Lyonese procession offers much insight into the Church's view of time, death, judgment, and the age to come.

The Introit and Collect are the same as in the Roman rite, but again the Gallican psalter replaces the pre-Vulgate Latin commonly used in antiphons in the Roman tradition. Psalm 21, the Roman gradual, is shortened to a few verses. Whereas in the Roman rite three deacons, not petitioning the celebrant for a blessing, sing the Passion according to St. Matthew, and then the deacon of the Mass sings the burial narrative as the Gospel, in the rite of Lyons one deacon, not petitioning a blessing, sings the entire Passion in the Gospel tone. When Christ "gives up the ghost" all prostrate and kiss the ground. The burial, the Gospel in the Roman rite, is not given distinctive ceremony, but is sung in a higher pitch, possibly an echo of the Roman use. The celebrating Archbishop does not kiss the book.

The propers for the rest of the Mass differ from Rome, but are unremarkable except that the Secret seems to be based on texts used in the Roman Office during the Triduum. At private Masses the account of Christ's entry into Jerusalem found in Matthew may be read in place of St. John's prologue at the end of Mass.

Part II: Mass of the Lord's Supper and Mandatum

At the Mass of the Lord's Supper the Gloria, Creed, and Ite missa est are only sung in the Mass is the conventual Mass in the cathedral at which the lord Archbishop will consecrate the holy oils for the year according to the Lyonese pontifical books. Otherwise neither the Gloria nor Creed are sung and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino. Two hosts are consecrated: one for the priest's communion today and the other for the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified tomorrow.

The Introit and Collect are entirely different from Rome. While the Roman texts focus on the impending Passion and the betrayal of Judas, the Lyonese Introit, borrowed from Hebrews 5:10, introduces Christ's priesthood this night, His bridging heaven and earth. The Collect begs God that "we may deserve to achieve rising to our justification" in Christ. Would not a Jansenist think justification a foregone conclusion?

The epistle and Gospel match the Roman rite. The gradual differs, but again focuses on the priesthood of the Lord. The Offertory verse does not match, but the secret does, a rarity in Gallican books. The changes to the Canon for the day are precisely the same as in the Roman rite. The Agnus Dei is omitted, as is the Kiss of Peace, but the pre-communion prayers are the same. The Communion antiphon is "I have wanted with great desire to eat this Passover meal with you all before I leave." The post-Communion oration differs, again giving special attention to priesthood.

Mass of the Lord's Supper in the
Lyonese rite, 1934.
After Mass the Blessed Sacrament is taken in procession, headed by a subdeacon carrying the cross between two torchbearers. Pange lingua is sung and the thurifer incenses the Blessed Sacrament throughout. A baldachin stands over the altar of repose. Assisting clergy surround the four corners of the baldachin according to rank. The collect Respice is sung. The choir then sings O Salutaris Hostia. The Archbishop gives benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and then reposes the Sacrament. The clergy return to the main choir, sing Vespers, strip the altars, and retire until the Mandatum in the afternoon.

The Mandatum takes place in the afternoon. The Archbishop vests in amice, alb, cincture, stole, and mitre. The rubrics envision that he washes the feet of twelve fellow priests, although a provision exists for the washing of the feet of twelve paupers. They sit at the ready, feet bare. The Archbishop washes their feet while the choir sings seven antiphons, many distinct from the Roman rite. These antiphons emphasize fraternity, Ecce quam bonum. After the footwashing the Archbishop sings a collect. Two barefoot torchbearers and a subdeacon wearing a violet tunicle wait for the Archbishop to bless incense and the deacon, who is vested in white dalmatic. The deacon and company then process to the pulpit where he sings St. John's Gospel beginning at 13:16, an abbreviation of the Gospel of the Mass. While this differs from the pre-Pius XII Roman rite, it is far closer to the Roman praxis than either the 1962 or 1970 Holy Weeks. At the words "Arise, let us go" in the Gospel all rise and go to the place in choir where the lord Archbishop will bless bread. The deacon turns to face eastward and continues to sing the Gospel until the end of chapter 15. The Archbishop sings a collect, sprinkles the bread with lustral water, it is distributed, with wine, to any who want it. Thursday in Holy Week thus ends.

Part III: Good Friday

Good Friday begins with a solemn celebration of the little hours, presumably in aggregation. The liturgical color for the little hours is violet and the clergy, lord Archbishop included, sing the Office barefoot. After None, the ministers vest as for Mass, but without the outer vestments, the chasubles—folded or unfolded. Could this be a relic of the medieval Missa sicca rather than an intended separation of the synaxis and the Eucharist as was the intention of Pius XII?

The Archbishop reverences the altar without a kiss and then proceeds to his throne. A subdeacon then sings the lesson Dixit Dominus ad Moysen as in the second reading of the Roman rite. The reading is followed by a tract then then Oremus without a genuflection. The ensuing collect gives thanks for the "mocking, beating, and crucifixion" suffered by Christ for us sinners. Then a second reading, the suffering servant prophecy from Isaiah 53, is read. Psalm 139 is then sung as a tract, Eripe me Domine ab homine malo.

The lord Archbishop is then given his pastoral staff. The deacon, not asking for a blessing, takes the Gospel book, goes to the pulpit, and without introduction sings the Passion according to St. John. As with the Palm Sunday reading the entire Passion is sung in the Gospel tone, when Christ "gives us the ghost" all prostrate and kiss the floor, and the deacon sings what was [likely] once the burial Gospel narrative in a higher tone of voice. The lord Archbishop does not kiss the book at the end.

The lord Archbishop then sings the solemn intercessions from the throne, intercession which match the Roman Missal and the Parisian Missal, particularly in the prayer for the king, although the king was long dead and not long living when the Lyonese rite was last in use. They are sung in the preface tone, with genuflections between the introduction and the actual prayer. No genuflection is made during the prayer for the Jews. During these collects the Treasurer of the diocese, presumably a canon of the cathedral, goes to the sacristy, dons an amice, alb, stole, cincture, violet cope, and a "hat." Four subdeacons, including the two who read prophecies earlier, assume violet folded chasubles. They receive the veiled Crucifix from the sacristan and escort it to the altar. The Treasurer takes the Crucifix, covered in red, and places it on the altar. He removes his hat, genuflects, and with the other ministers returns to his place in the choir.

The lord Archbishop then unveils the Crucifix with the familiar three part Ecce lignum crucis of the Roman rite. Two subdeacons hold the Crucifix up so the Archbishop may adore it. Then the other clergy adore according to rank. The precentor intones the reproaches, which lack the Pange lingua and the Trisagion of the Roman rite. While the congregation adores the Crucifix the choir sings psalm 68 with the antiphon Sicut Moyses exaltavit serpentem in deserto, ita exaltari oportet Filium hominis; ut omnis qui credit in ipsum non pereat, sed habeat vitam aeternam.

At the end of the adoration the Archbishop sings a collect from his throne (an inelegant amalgamation of Roman collects from my view). The Treasurer replaces the Crucifix at the center of the altar.

At this point the lord Archbishop finally dons the chasuble and approaches the altar with his six concelebrants, seven deacons, and seven subdeacons. The Archbishop prays the Confiteor and receives the absolution as normal at Mass. The assisting ministers do the same. The Archbishop ascends the altar and kisses it. A corporal is prepared on the altar and the subdeacon puts water and wine into the chalice while the Archbishop says nothing. The Archbishop washes his hands, again saying nothing. A deacon, accompanied by two torchbearers and the thurifer, brings the Blessed Sacrament to the altar, Which is then incensed by the celebrant. While all kneel the Archbishop is to rise, approach the Sacrament with reverence, meditate on the Passion of Christ for a moment in silence, then place the Eucharist on the corporal, uncovers the chalice, and says Per Ipsum et cum Ipso et in Ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et gloria concluding aloud with the usual per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen. He then sings the Pater Noster as usual, then the Libera nos, doing all the normal Mass-things with the paten, fracturing the Host, placing a particle in the chalice, and saying the Communion prayer Perceptio. The rest follows as in the Roman Mass of the Pre-Sanctified. The ministers return to the sacristy as the choir sings Vespers in a monotone.

Part IV: Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday begins with the little hours sung in choir. Unlit candles are on the altar. After the hours the lord Archbishop, at an unspecified location, strikes a flint to ignite a new fire over a small candle, a fire which he blesses with three collects, the first two exactly the same as in the old Roman rite and the third an elaboration of the third Roman collect. Similarly, the prayer to bless the five grains of incense is an elaboration of the relatively straight forward Roman oration. The Archbishop sprinkles the fire  and incense with lustral water. The sacred ministers then don white vestments, but do not assume the chasuble, dalmatic, or tunicle. All then sit in choir for the reading of four prophecies and collects (the first exactly from the Roman rite, the second is the Exodus from Egypt followed by a unique collect about liberation from sin, the third is the parting of the Red Sea followed by the collect from the fourth Roman prophecy, and the fourth is from Isaiah 55—also found in the Roman rite—followed by the collect Deus qui ecclesiam tuam also of the Roman rite).

After a tract the Archbishop sings the collect Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, sung in the Roman rite when the celebrant is to bless the baptismal font. Here is it a prelude to a litany. All kneel at the end of the collect and the cantors begin a litany of saints, rising after Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis and continuing to sing. The litany is comprised mainly of early to mid first millennium Roman and Gallican saints. At the end of the litany the foremost deacon dons the dalmatic, takes the book of chants, and proceeds to the pulpit, in front of which is the Paschal candle. He then sings the Exultet while the Archbishop listens with his pastoral staff. The deacon does everything he would do in the un-defiled Roman Holy Week. Of particular interest is that the grains of incense are to be dipped in Holy Chrism prior to their insertion into the Paschal candle. The deacon lights the Paschal candle from the new holy fire using a "triangular" candle, from which the torchbearers light their candles and all the other candles in the cathedral. The candle is to remain lit on Sundays, Double feasts, and Semi-Doubles of Paschaltide as well as during the Pentecost Vigil.

After the blessing of the Paschal candle a new litany is sung and all process to the baptistry. The words and actions are exactly as in the Roman rite except the prayers Infusio and Commixtio are not said. Instead an antiphon is sung as the procession heads to the sacristy. After the antiphon the choir begins the third and final litany of saints. The ministers finally put of the chasubles, dalmatics, tunicles, and copes according to their order, head to the altar, and begin Mass with the prayers at the foot of the altar as usual. The litany functions as the Introit. The synaxis is exactly the same as in the Roman rite except that the celebrant does not introduce the Alleluia, perhaps owing to too many Archbishops not blessed with singing talents.

There is no Offertory verse. The secret is not the Roman one, but it does make a very Eastern reference to those "renewed in Baptism." The preface is of Paschaltide. The adjustment to the Canon are the same as in Rome. The Kiss of Peace is given, but the Agnus Dei is not sung nor is a Communion antiphon. The post-Communion prayer is: "O God, Who through the Paschal mystery did teach to leave the old life and to walk in the new spirit, grant that by this sacrament Your Son may grant us His life, Who took and killed our death." Beautiful!

The dismissal is Ite missa est without the Roman double Alleluia. Rather than pray the last Gospel the lord Archbishop intones Vespers and goes to the sacristy to swap his chasuble for a cope. The Office continues as normal.

Part V: Pascha

"Christ is risen from the dead...." Byzantine? Lyonese too! The Lyonese Mass of the Resurrection begins not with the familiar Roman Resurrexi, but with "Christ is risen from the dead, Alleluia! Death is swallowed in victory, Alleluia! O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting? Alleluia! Alleluia!" This is also the Parisian Introit for Pascha. The Collect and readings are the same as in the Roman rite, but the gradual and sequence are entirely different. I have never heard the sequence set to music, but the text is more holistic than in the Roman rite and less vivid. Towards the end it parallels the deliverance from Egypt and petitions the same for our souls.

The Offertory verse is borrowed from 1 Corinthians 5, as is the Communion verse of the Roman rite. Staying consistent with the Egyptian themes of deliverance, the secret asks for a "leaven of honesty and truth." The Paschal preface is used. The changes to the Canon are the same as yesterday and the same as in the Roman rite. A length antiphon is sung between the first and second invocations of the Agnus Dei, telling people "Taste and eat" the "bread which is come down from heaven." The Communion antiphon comes from psalm 117. The post-Communion is the same as that stunning prayer from yesterday. The dismissal is Ite missa est and the Johannine prologue is said in the recession as normal.


I am open to correction, but I have yet to find a tinge of Jansenism, supposition of the state of the soul, an exclusive view of Christ's sacrifice, or an undermining of free will. Rather I find a dynamic liturgy with many heartfelt prayers, some very odd texts, a very Catholic understand of time and space, a very Byzantine view of the Resurrection, and a very strong Catholic culture.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Last Acceptable Error?

Ultramontanism just will not go away. I have found that since I stopped paying attention to Roman politics several years ago my temper is more even, my prayers are clearer, and my spirit calmer. Of course I am not perfect and not a saint, but for me Papal politics are an occasion for frustration. Since the elevation of Francis many "liberals" and "traditionalist" commentators have gone catatonic over whatever the Roman ordinary did or did not say. Personally I could care less if not for the cottage industry of defending every word of the Pope's, a very fecund and lucrative business run by scores of persons with "neo-conservative" politics who are dedicated to squaring every word and action of the Pope with his predecessors.

Why this bothers me—and many others, "rad trad" or otherwise—is because one cannot escape the banter of these Ultramontanists. In the above video Mr. Voris, VP of Ultramontanism in the McChurch, rightfully bifurcates the papacy with the person who sits on the Petrine chair at any given moment in time. Then he continues to condemn as either modernistic or outside "full communion" (still awaiting a definition on that one) those who dislike either the person or the official actions of the Pope. 

Ultramontanism. The last acceptable error, and by far the most profitable. One wonders how the above would react to St. Peter Damian's description of Benedict IX as "feasting on immorality" or Patriarch Gregory II's emendations to the Vatican I document Pastor Aeternus on papal jurisdiction or even Adrian Fortescue calling Pius X an "Italian lunatic." Ultramontanists are driven by a semi-neurotic compulsion to have everything perfect in the Church at every moment in time, an impulse that history shows to be misguided and wateful. The best of Popes lived in the most turbulent of times (Leo the Great, Gregory the Great, Gregory VII, Pius V) and rarely improved the condition of the Church immediately. Many good popes are forgotten because they do not rock the proverbial boat (Benedict XIV and Leo XIII come to mind). By magnifying the person of the Pope the Ultramontanists put the present and future of the Church at the whim of a papal sneeze. Move a pontifical whisker and expect the loyalist police to come with a warrant!

I say none of this out of disloyalty, but rather out of perspective. Many of the popes in history have been mediocre pastors and despicable men. Just as many have been saints. And the rest, like Benedict XIV, fall somewhere in the middle. The same men who voted on Papal Infallability at Vatican I knew this quite well and a minority party, including Newman, questioned not the veracity of the doctrine, but its wisdom. Would connecting the papacy with inerrancy lead to abuse? Surely it did. And let none say that adumbrating this abuse makes the Rad Trad a disloyal Catholic. The decrees and Creed of the first councils of Nicaea and Constantinople which emphasized the Divinity of Christ led in some circles to linguistic and theological abuse which undermined the humanity of Christ and birthed the monophysite heresy. And unlike with the decrees of Nicaea and Constantinople, which came at a time when the Divinity of Christ was in doubt, the "spirit of Vatican I" was driven by political support for the declining temporal authority of the papacy and not initially out of religious motives. Luther was not a heretic because he complained about the immorality and greed of the Renaissance popes. He was a heretic because he denied transubstantiation, changed the Scriptures, concocted new doctrines about the Scriptures, pushed a new view of sin and justification at odds with the Church's historical understanding, and because in principle he rejected the powers above him—all factors that differentiated him from St. Peter Damian, St. Catherine of Sienna, Dr. Fortescue, and Patriarch Gregory II.

The Church is a series of churches. Each diocese is in fact a church, church deriving from a Semitic word meaning "assembly," which pre-supposes some sort of leadership. A revival of Catholicism in the West will have to come from the ground level: devout and prayerful laity working with bishops who care deeply about the welfare and salvation of the flock. One day a Pope will wake up to find himself pastor of the Church and not its CEO, President, Chairman of the Board, and majority shareholder. Then Ultramontane middle management will have to start sending out résumés.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Happy Feast of the Annunciation to All!

"The Almighty and merciful God, Whose nature is goodness, Whose will is power, and Whose work is mercy, did, at the very beginning of the world, as soon as the devil's hatred had mortally poisoned us with the venom of his envy, foretell those remedies which His mercy had foreordained for our healing. He bade the serpent know that there was to be a Seed of the woman Who should yet bruise the swelling of his pestilential head; this Seed was none other than the Christ to come in the flesh, that God and Man in one Person, Who, being born of a Virgin, should, by His undefiled birth, damn the seducer of man.
"The devil rejoiced that by his fraud he had so deceived man as to make him lose the gifts of God, forfeit his privilege of eternal life, bring himself under the hard sentence of death, and find in his misery a certain comfort in the accomplice of his guilt; he rejoiced also that God, in His just anger, was changed towards man, whom He had made in such honour. But, dearly beloved brethren, that Unchangeable God, Whose Will cannot be divorced from His goodness, by His own secret counsel carried out in a mysterious way His original purpose of goodness, and man, who had been led into sin by the wicked craft of the devil, perished not to disappoint that gracious purpose of God.
"Then therefore, dearly beloved brethren, the fullness of that time came, which God had appointed for our Redemption, our Lord Jesus Christ entered this lower world, came down from His heavenly throne, and, while He left not that glory which He hath with the Father before the world was, was incarnate by a new order and a new birth new, in that He Who is Invisible among His own, was made visible among us; He Who is Incomprehensible, willed to be comprehended; He Who is before the ages, began to be in time; the Lord of all shadowed the glory of His Majesty, and took upon Him the form of a servant; the Impassible God vouchsafed to become a man subject to suffering; and the Immortal laid Himself under the laws of death." —Second Homily on the Nativity, St Leo the Great, Pope of Rome (second nocturn of Mattins)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yet Another Dallas Area Church

I have shared with readers images of two small, lovely Byzantine Catholics parishes as well as an interesting attempt at Romanesque in the area. Today's edifice is a departure from all those wonderful traits. Indeed, it is possibly the most grotesque looking structure I have ever seen in my life.

For reasons of anonymity, and to save the people of the parish from embarrassment, I will not name the innovative and progressive community that owns this tantalizing temple. The website has a fascinating explanation as to why there are no kneelers in the parish, something to the effect that because the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a chapel and because kneeling is for adoration, there is no point to kneeling during Mass.

Here is the initial vantage:

Gnarled branches form the candlesticks. Everything is this places smacks of
brutalism masquerading as noble simplicity. The nearest boulder is the infant
baptismal font. The altar itself is an enormous rock that was lowered in through
the ceiling during construction.

The Stations of the Cross look oriental, and I do not mean Coptic

What the heck?

The pastor explaining to his RCIA class from which side of the altar he
"presides" during the liturgy. An elderly catechumen asked worriedly if
girls serve at the altar. The priest comforted her and assured her that they do.
Before the baptismal boulder is a strange snake-like river flowing into
an absurd hole in the ground concrete which functions as a font
for adults.

Above was the baptismal boulder. Here is the christening chasm.
I have seen hot tubs smaller than this enormous aperture.

I have never been fond of the "Jesus is a prisoner in the tabernacle"
devotional view, but it rings true here.

The atrium where weekday Masses are held. The rest of the tree branches from
the first picture comprised the altar.

The rock upon which the Eucharistic prayer is said rests on
a wooden ramp. RCIA looks on.

And from the outside it looked so unassuming. Sure, nothing we have not
seen before, but I had never seen anything like this.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review: Worship as Revelation by Laurence Paul Hemming

Unfortunately I do not have the time to give this book a proper full length review, but I can provide some insight into the content and value of an excellent little volume by Dr Laurence Paul Hemming, a British academic and a deacon for the archdiocese of Westminster. 

Worship as Revelation begins with a commentary on the rites for the dedication of a new church, a new temple of God. The chapter, titled "I Saw the New Jerusalem," lays the groundwork for Hemming's concept of worship as an encounter with the Divine, a participation in the opus Dei. The central words to the rites often repeated, are "I saw." In the presence of the physical temple we see God and the holy things He has prepared for us. The prayers of the priest for the sins of the people make this place holy, as the prayers of the Aaronic priests sanctified the Temple of Jerusalem. The atoning offering within the church is not a new one, as were the offerings of calves in the old Temple, but a renewed one in a renewed world. The re-dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem following its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes was celebrated for eight days, a prefigurement of Christ's resurrection and renewal of creation on the eighth day of the week, the beginning of the last era of the world. For this reason the dedication of a church is, or rather was, observed for an octave every year, as were over a dozen other feasts. Secondly, the temple or church is the bride of Christ and where the Bridegroom Christ appears. In doing so He bridges the things of heaven and the things of earth, as one of the Mattins antiphons for the feast of a dedication indicates.

Hemming, a scholar of philosophy, traces the loss of this understanding to a pattern of intellectual decadence originating in René Descartes, who although he recovered his Catholic faith after a brief intellectual crisis, made himself the focal point of existence. All he could know initially was that he existed, and from that he could deduce that God exists. Indeed, for Descartes the existence of God was more certain than the rules of mathematics, but the relationship between God and man was still inverted in this schematic. Hemming hardly pins the burden of problems in liturgical theology on Descartes, but does indicate that the tendency to view God from one's own perspective rather than how He actually is might originate in his line of thought.

To the modern mind a man is what he does. To the Christian mind what a man is sets what he does. A Christian, by virtue of his Baptism, is a participant in the liturgy, in the opus Dei. The 19th century debate in philosophy and politics over the identity of modern man, his new needs, and his sense of judgment traced similar shapes of thought in the Liturgical Movement and its unhealthy obsession with the "pastoral." Lost in all of this was a concept of who the Christian is rather than what he supposedly needs.  In such an inverted order of perspective the liturgy is of man, for man, and about God rather of God, for God, and to the benefit of man.

For such a small book Worship as Revelation covers immense philosophical material related to the liturgy, particularly ideas about time and why the Papal stational churches of Lent paralleled Christ's own path to Jerusalem. Another interesting discussion concerning time is the proper translation of the Greek prologue of St. John's Gospel, which would read something to the effect of "Before all time was  and still is the Word...."

Near the end Hemming reflects on the consequence of privatizing the liturgy, of making mandatory spoken recitation of the breviary for example, often with the unintended consequence of making rarer celebrations of the Office in the temple of God, the church. Even more damaging is the constant change in the Roman rite, change which more often than not erased ancient meanings of gestures and prayers. Hemming finds that the violence against the Roman rite began not with Vatican II, but with Pius X's assault on the psalter and kalendar: "the alterations to the breviary exhibited.... an objectification of the liturgy as a whole—something subject to papal fiat" (143). And while grateful to an extent for Summorum Pontificum Hemming approaches the "hermeneutic of continuity" with a healthy skepticism based on scholarship of the liturgical language used in older and newer editions of the Roman Missal. Indeed, Hemming rightly argues for a wholesale return to the liturgy without any of the 20th century reforms (154). A recovery of proper worship and a more fundamentally liturgical outlook in the Catholic Church would mean discarding the Cartesian objectification of things sacred outside of the self and embracing the encounter and experience (in an orthodox sense) of God in time, of entering into God, from Whom we as Christians gain our identity, rather than going in and out of the Divine at our own wills.

Worship as Revelation concludes in a brief study of the liturgical cycle of Epiphany and Candlemas, the period during which Christ appeared to gentiles, took possession of the rule of the world, was worshipped in adoration by those to whom He had appeared, revealed the mystery of water and wine, confirmed His priesthood according to the line of Melchizedek, commemorated His heavenly birth by being baptized by the Forerunner in the Jordan, and took His place in the Temple before the illuminating figure of His Virgin mother—who would symbolize in her ritual action what Jerusalem could become in her Son. 

I strongly recommend this book for those who wish to approach liturgy from a philosophical perspective and would like to define in more specific terms the suppositions of men like Aidan Kavanagh. The gradual accretion of concepts means one must read this book in order of chapter rather than skipping around from chapter to chapter as one can do in some other more disparate books. It is written in a readable way, without long and turgid quotes. The author's perspective is not quite as fresh as Kavanagh's or Schmemann's, but Hemming's contribution is in giving a well defined Latin shape to their general liturgical views. Get a copy!

Marian Lent III

Here are this past Friday's chants from the Akathist hymn to the Mother of God:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Open Question: Where Do We Stand?

First a note to Marko, who asked for an exposé on the un-Romanized Cistercian Missal. I found a scan of a Missale Cisterciense from 1606, thirty-one years prior to the Romanization. The text is very legible and I could certainly do a series on it after I finish the Gallican rites and a short series of posts I have planned on a few early figures in the emerging traditionalist movement. 

Now, where do we stand with regard to private apparitions? The Rad Trad asks because these apparitions have proliferated in the last two centuries and, with very few exceptions, all seem to follow a particular pattern: the Blessed Virgin Mary comes to someone young, tells him or her that God wants something to happen, there is a word about the Pope, and, sometimes, instructions to institute some sort of devotion on a specific day of the week or month.

A common feature of these apparitions is that people use them as banners for their own political causes or theological opinions. Case in point, Fatima. Everyone who has spent time with traditionalist Roman Catholics knows that a significant portion of them have a strong penchant for Fatima and has realized that the message of Fatima is somewhat fungible. Everyone from the respectable "indult" Mass goer to the FSSPX "hardliner" to the sedevacantist can reasonably lay claim the general points of Fatima, that God is punishing the Church by taking away the Mass for the failure of Popes Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI etc. to compel the bishops of the world to do some sort of consecration regarding Russia. Traditionalists look to Fatima to explain bad bishops and the absence of 1962 Masses, but they are not alone in looking to Fatima. More mainstream Catholics occasionally countenance Fatima for violence in the world and the spread of Communism. Recently I was treated to an apocalyptic sermon by a Ukrainian deacon certain that Russia's theft of Crimea pointed to the immanence of the last days.

Another issue with these apparitions is that they can be coupled together to create new messages. Archbishop Lefebvre was fond of La Salette ("Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of anti-Christ") and his ordinand, Richard Williamson, favors Akita. To a baroque minded Roman Catholic the relationship between Fatima and La Salette would be self-evident: the Pope did not carry out the Russia request, so God has punished the Church by allowing Rome—and hence the Church, because in the baroque perspective there is little distinction on this matter—to lose the faith and the Mass. To a Ukrainian Catholic, or a Melkite, or someone with a medieval mindset this interpretation would not work. And to a mainstream Roman Catholic La Salette would be "approved," but also "far off" or "not happening now."

So which is it? Who is right? Are any of them right? Does it even matter to us? Opinions on the nature of apparitions even varies. The Church calls them "private" revelations because they are not part of the deposit of faith and because Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle, who according to tradition was St. John the Evangelist. I have heard one priest say that while Fatima is optional, it is not really optional. Another took a middle ground, almost to say "Whatever helps you." Recently I was told of a very medieval priest named Ronald Silk who absolutely refused these sorts of devotional apparitions.

Some readers might be aware of a lesser known approved apparition in Knock, Ireland. It is compelling both in what it is and what it is not. As the story goes, a dozen or so people witnessed several radiant white figures: a lamb on a table-like altar with a cross behind it, and to the left Ss. Mary, Joseph, and John; moved, the seers prayed the Rosary in the rain for hours. No end times messages, no popes, no new devotions. Just prayer. Does the Rad Trad believe it? No idea, but the circumstances and non-message were certainly counter-cultural at the time.

One last time: where do we stand on this?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review: On Liturgical Theology by Aidan Kavanagh

Liturgy. From 2007 until March of 2013 traditionalists talked of rite, form, liturgy, history, the people, the priest, and the deep inter-connectivity between all these elements of opus Dei. Reformers had the same conversation within their own circles in the early and mid-20th century. But what is rite or liturgy or the point of a priest? Why does liturgical tradition matter in the 21st century, a era in a faster and more rapid rate of motion than any previous period. Why care about liturgy? Aidan Kavanagh's On Liturgical Theology provides some answers.

On Liturgical Theology is a book version of two sets of lectures given by a Benedictine monk, Dom Aidan, in 1980 on "Liturgy and World" and in 1982 on "Liturgy and Theology." Those with even a passing knowledge of liturgy readily recall the now trite misquotation of St. Prosper of Aquitaine lex orandi lex credendi. The misquotation is not insignificant, in that the implied est creates a false equivalency between the two. The proper quotation, which Kavanagh applies at the opening epigraph of On Liturgical Theology, is ut legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi: " that the law of supplication might form the law of belief." This aphorism reflects the basis of a truly orthodox understanding of liturgy.

Orthodoxy, or orthodoxia, as a concept derives from the earliest Christian experiences with prayer. As one priest said succinctly, "the Christian is someone who prays." Orthodoxy is "true praise" or "straight worship." Worship for Kavanagh is the manifestation of God to His earthly people. God created the world and He saw that it was good, and the fall of Adam and Eve wounded the world rather than blacken it. "The world is charged with the grandeur of God" wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins. One could similarly say, and St. Athanasius did, that man is charged with being an icon, an image, a lesser but definitive reflection of God. In a like way human society, most perfectly manifest in a city and not in a rural setting, is an icon of the heavenly kingdom of God. There is the City of Man and the City of God, one an imperfect image of the other. The liturgy makes God manifest in Presence, in spirit, in Word, and in the Sacraments to the City of Man, sanctifying it and bringing it closer to the City of God.

In the liturgy, Kavanagh argues, God operates in a worldly manner, using the language, ceremonies, gestures, and ideas of human societies to make Himself know to mankind. St. Prosper's aphorism is "a civil and worldly statement if ever there was one." Through the gradual assimilation of a structured liturgical praxis the various churches came to know God in light of their own cultures, contributing to the Church as large and learning from the other local churches. Kavanagh does not adduce this particular example, but the Grecian concept of logos fits his thesis well. Liturgy is structured and formal because it is a human endeavor, but it should have a strong enough internal force to it such that it brings the Christian to the brink of spiritual violence. And the liturgy is something that happens always and everywhere. "Where there is the bishop there is the Catholic Church," wrote St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans. If the bishop's presence effects the Church's assembly then the bishop's presence effects Church liturgy. Those who formed the liturgical praxes of the Church understood the significance of the bishop and brought him throughout the various cities to celebrate the hours of prayer anywhere and everywhere on every day.

The celebration of the Eucharist was special, reserved to feasts and Sundays. The Mass, or Divine Liturgy, is both "Word and Liturgy" to Kavanagh. The "Word" is both Christ's Presence in His words and the actual words of scripture proclaimed to the City of Man in a powerful event. At one point in On Liturgical Theology Kavanagh laments the deleterious influence of printing on spirituality. The abecedarian experience of reading the Bible hardly matches the unique experience of a weekly proclamation of the Gospel or the use of the psalms throughout the Eucharistic celebration. In a twist of irony, the fundamentalist groups who insisted on sola scriptura devolved into oblivion while the more holistically minded descendants of the Apostles retained a moderate perspective on the place of Scripture in the Church.

Kavanagh, having established the purpose and use of the liturgy, then asks what is liturgical theology. It is not, contrariwise to instinct, a theological exposé on the various rites, usages, texts, and ceremonies celebrated abroad in the Church. It is theology done through the liturgy. It is theology done in motion, in worship, in the Presence of God. It is the primary theology of the Church. The more academic brand of theology—forming and testing proposition to create well worded doctrines—is a later and secondary kind of theology, import to say the least, but far from the center of the Christian's life. The primary theology forms the secondary theology, although the secondary theology can enrich the primary theology that is the liturgy.

Through the various forms of liturgy molded in the Holy Spirit and with human cooperation in art, in movement, in writing, and in rituals, people begin to understand and to know Who God is. In understanding God and standing in His Presence He sanctifies them, making people holier and raising them up and He rose on the third day, inaugurating the eighth day of creation, the "first and last day" in the last aeon of the earth. This is liturgical tradition. This is why the liturgy matters. The liturgy is not just a series of texts and movements about God, but rather it is of God. To change the liturgy is to change how people understand God, how they meet, Him, how they come to know Him, and how they relate to the previous inhabitants of the City of Man who have gone to their rest and moved on to the City of God (or the other place): "As Christians have traditionally understood it, their liturgy does not merely approach or reflect upon all this from without, nor does it merely circle this mystery from a distant orbit. Rather, Christians have traditionally understood their liturgical efforts to be somehow enacting the mystery itself, locking together its divine and human agents in a graced commerce, the effective symbol of which is that communion between God and our race rooted in the union of divine and human natures in Christ Jesus."

There is a very thinly dissimulated criticism of the Pope who began to change the Roman Church's liturgy by subverting it to secondary, academic theology and by unambiguously changing the Church's teaching on liturgy, and hence on everything else:
"To reverse [lex orandi lex credendi], subordinating the standard of worship to the standard of belief, makes a shambles of the dialectic of revelation. It was a Presence, not faith, which drew Moses to the burning bush, and what happened there was a revelation, not a seminar. It was a Presence, not faith, which drew the disciples to Jesus, and what happened was not an educational program but his revelation to them of himself as the long-promised Annointed One, the redeeming because reconciling Messiah-Christos. Their lives, like that of Moses, were changed radically by that encounter with a Presence which upended all their ordinary expectations. Their descendants in faith have been adjusting to that change ever since, drawn into assembly by that same Presence, finding there always the troublesome upset of change in their lives of faith to which they must adjust still. Here is where their lives are regularly being constituted and reconstituted under grace. Which is why lex supplicandi legem statuat credendi."
In his last chapter Kavanagh regards the Christian as an abnormally normal person, the person who is living a changed and restored life, a life renewed and put the way God wants it to be lived, coterminously the proper life and the life that most in the world do not want the Christian to life. Chastity is normal, but it is far from common. The grace to do this descends from the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit—and by the liturgy.

The only criticism I can levy against this book is that On Liturgical Theology is almost entirely theoretical, laying down principles of how the Church does its primary theology through the liturgy and experiences God's Presence. This is inevitably the result of the initial lecture format of the chapters. One could see each chapter lasting about one hour and plus time for questions. Yet some of concepts, particularly on the ubiquity of the bishop and his relationship to the liturgy, could have been fleshed out in the historical record. One thinks, pertinently, of the ancient practice of the Pope celebrating the full Divine Office and Mass at a different parish church in Rome every single day of Lent.

"Like poetry and art," Kavanagh concludes, "liturgy provides us a means of knowing the kind of thing that can only be known transrationally; that cannot be analyzed, taken apart, spelled out and reassembled." The liturgy is what the Church does, what makes the Church orthodox, what gives it its place in the City of Man and the City of God. The liturgy is the Church's "service and mission of the life of the world."

On Liturgical Theology can be summarized in one line sung during Orthros (Mattins) in the Byzantine rite: "The Lord is God and has appeared to us, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the world." The Lord, the Jewish substitute for the fearsome named of Yahweh, denotes an actual person. That person is God, not a god, but God Who created heaven and earth and Who loves both. And He has come to us and "dwelt among us and we beheld His glory.... full of grace and truth." 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Another Local Byzantine Parish UPDATE

St. Basil the Great in Irving. A parishioner was kind enough to give a tour. I missed the quality of heartfelt chant I heard at St. Basil's today, particularly the Communion antiphon "Receive the Body of Christ and taste the font of immortality."

Icon of the Theophany of the Lord over the Baptismal font.

Inside the Holy Place. The hanging dove was a gift and has no Byzantine connection (but it does have a Sarum one!)

In a larger parish this icon of Christ Pantocrator would be part of a dome over the nave
UPDATE: Here is the Communion hymn most often sung during the Byzantine
Divine Liturgy, usually interspersed with verses of psalm 148.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Lyonese Missal Part I: Ordinary of Mass & Prefaces

Archbishop Angelo Roncalli celebrates Mass in the Lyonese rite. As Papal nuncio,
much like Msgr Lefebvre as Apostolic delegate, he had certain privileges normally
reserved to cardinals, such as permission to pontificate from the throne outside of Rome.
In the second of two phases in our brief study of the alleged influences of Jansenism in the local rites of France we will examine the Missal used in 1846 by the France's primatial see, the venerable Church of Lyons. The date of the Missal, a century prior to its suppression by the cruel and heartless liturgical reformers of the 20th century, should be allow for any Jansenistic influences to shine from the pages, as Jansenism would have been thriving for two centuries and Dom Prosper Gueranger had only begun to demonstrate the defects of non-Roman liturgical rites.

As a quick refresher on Jansenism let us surmise that this heresy over-emphasizes human depravity after the ancestral sin of Adam, so alienating his nature that he could not even decide to accept God's grace, and that God's grace, when offered, cannot be resisted. It is a Calvinistic reading of St. Augustine of Hippo, a Church Father very popular in France during the Counter-Reformation.

Part I: Rubrics

The rubrics of the Missale Lugdunensis are far simpler than the loquacious rules surrounding the Missal of Paris. The rules themselves are very similar to those of the Roman rite, stating such obvious things like that the Mass of the day must correspond to the Divine Office of the day. The local ordinary had to give permission for votive Masses to be celebrated on Sundays, as is common during devotional events such as Forty Hours.

There are four gradations of feasts:
  • Ferial
  • Simple
  • Semi-Double
  • Double
All correspond in meaning to the Roman rite, but Semi-Double and Double differ in that they do not come in classes as in the classical Roman rite. The Palm Sunday in the Roman rite is a Semi-Double, but of such a rank that no feast could supersede it. Similarly, in the Roman rite a Double feast supersedes a Sunday Semi-Double and a Double I Class exceeds a regular Double or a Greater Double or a Double II Class. For example if one's parish was named for Ss. Fabian & Sebastian, the octave day would compete with and replace the feast of St. John Chrysostom, and both would replace the Sunday de tempore. The Lyonese rite has fewer distinctions, calling Doubles and Semi-Doubles "greater" and "lesser." Uniquely, Sundays are always of Double rank. Octaves, although un-ordered as in the Roman rite, are understood to be different from each other; the octaves of Pascha and Pentecost admit no feasts or votive Masses. The Mass of Sunday must be resumed on ferial days and, as in is common in French liturgies, readings for Wednesday and Friday are provided that are similar to those of the Sunday and clearly related to the rest of the Mass.

Votive Masses for the Dead may be celebrated for funerals and on anniversaries, but not as ad libitum replacements for the Mass of the day. Solemn votive Masses for the Dead may omit Dies irae—likely as a time saver—but private Masses must use it as well as commemorations for benefactors and all deceased.

On Solemnities (ex. Pascha, Ascension, Nativity) there are never commemorations of any feasts. Greater Doubles admit commemorations of Sundays, Octaves, other Doubles, Semi-Doubles, and superseded privileged feriae. For lesser feasts and Sundays the commemorations mirror the Roman praxis. Also, like the old Roman rite, should multiple Masses be sung in the same church over the course of a day with numerous possible Masses, all Masses are celebrated without commemorations. For instance the Vigil of the Ascension always overlaps with Rogation Wednesday. In a cathedral, collegiate church, or monastery both the Vigil and Rogation Mass are sung and with only the prescribed orations. General Rubrics II.91 demands that the prayer for the King is always sung under the same ending as any votive prayers or commemorations of the day, or under the normal oration, after Communion.

At Pontifical Mass the bishop gives the pontifical blessing in place of Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum, again as per the medieval French usage. In this case the celebrating bishop gives no blessing after praying the Placeat at the end of Mass, nor does he go to the Gospel corner and begin the prologue of St. John, but rather he recites it without introduction on his way back to the sacristy. Indeed, if the Mass be sung the Last Gospel is almost always recited without introduction as the celebrant returns to the sacristy. The exception is when the Last Gospel is proper to the day (ex. Trinity Sunday requires the Gospel for the first Sunday after Pentecost to be read at the end), in which case it is said at the altar with an introduction.

Mass is celebrated after Terce on Sundays and feasts, but after None on penitential days. Votive Masses for the Dead come after Prime and private Masses after Lauds.

The vestments for the ministers of Mass are the same as in the Roman rite and, unlike the Parisian use, do not indicate anti-Romanism. The Parisian use always utilizes dalmatics for the deacons, whereas Rome and Lyon use the folded chasuble during penitential times. There is mention of the ministers wearing collars around their necks as in the picture to the right. At pontifical Mass there are seven subdeacons (one of whom carries the two-bar archepiscopal crucifix), seven deacons (the senior most carries the pastoral staff), six "concelebrating" priests (implying that the bishop is the perfection of the priesthood and hence the seventh), two senior priests in copes who carry the gremial in front of the celebrant (a large blanket likely used for warmth once upon a time), any number of cantors in copes, and chaplains to manage the Missal, the candle, the mitres, and the maniple. Seven acolytes carry large candles—once affixed to an enormous balustrade in front of the altar—reminiscent of the the seven stars in the heavenly liturgy described in chapter 1 of St. John's Apocalypse (the Ordo Romanus Primus mentions the same practice in the first millennium Roman rite).

The colors used are more similar to the Roman rite than to Sarum, Paris, or any other medieval use. White is used for most all feasts. Red for martyrs, feasts and Masses of the Holy Spirit, for St John at the Latin Gate (white in Rome), the Mass of the Lord's Supper (again white in Rome), and for Masses per annum, including the Vigil of the Nativity. Green only appears for feasts of the translation of the relics of St. Just, of priests, abbots, and monks; oddly, it is also used for the fourth Sunday of Lent; white may substitute for green on any day. "Ash" colored vestments are utilized from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord's Supper exclusive. Where Ash is not available violet is used. And black comes out of the sacristy for Masses of the Dead and Good Friday. A parish could survive on only three or four sets of vestments.

The altar is vested according to the color of day. Upon it is a crucifix with six candles on Doubles, four on Semi-Doubles, and two on all other days as well as for private Masses. In the primatial cathedral on each side of the altar is an additional crucifix commemorating the attempted "Graecorum schismatis extinctum" that took place in that building in 1274 (see image below). In a nod to good taste, absolutely nothing not pertinent to the sacrifice of the Mass is permitted on the altar.

Three sets of notes and rules are given for celebration of Mass in the rite of Lyons: private Mass, solemn Mass, and Pontifical Mass. In examining the Ordo Missae we will consider only the norm, Pontifical Mass.

Part II: Ordo Missae

The cantor and precentor, wearing copes, receive the Lord Archbishop at the door of the cathedral and provide him with lustral water to sprinkle as he is making a formal episcopal visit. He proceeds with his assistants to the sacristy of St Stephen. The throne, behind the altar, is decorated for Mass and the Archbishop reads the vesting prayers in the sacristy. During this time the choir sings the hour of Terce.

Vested, the Archbishop leaves the sacristy with his ministers and approaches the altar. The precentor intones the Introit, which the choir continue it. The acolytes with their seven candles stand on either side of the Archbishop while he and his ministers line up parallel to the altar and pray the preparatory prayers, which differ from the Roman ones. There is no Iudica me psalm and there are more versicle prayers, including Confetimini Domino familiar to the Dominican rite. The Confiteor is the same. At the absolution he puts on his maniple and "kisses the text," likely meaning the Missal held by the chaplain. After the Aufer a nobis the celebrating archbishop continues to his throne. He does not kiss and incense the altar, upon which rests the book of Gospels, as in the Roman rite. 

Sitting at the throne between his two assistants, mitred and covered with the gremial, he reads the Introit and recites the Kyrie in alternation with them. He then rises un-mitred and intones the Gloria. Near the end of the Gloria the senior most subdeacon kisses the Archbishop's ring, takes the lectionary, and goes to the place where the epistle is sung. The Archbishop greets the congregation Pax vobis and sings the collect[s] of the day as in the Roman rite. Then everyone sits. The subdeacon reads the epistle sitting while a young subdeacon holds the lectionary for him. After the epistle the subdeacon returns to the Archbishop for a blessing while the choir sings the Gradual. During the Gradual five of the acolytes take up their candles and stand on either side of the altar, leaving two in front of it, again similar to the Norman liturgical rites.

At this point the acolytes take their candles and escort the senior subdeacon (carrying the chalice), the senior deacon (carrying a vial of wine), the sacristan, and a canon of the cathedral (carrying the burse) to the Lady Chapel on the epistle side. The canon opens the burse, spreads the corporal, and places the sacred vessels upon it. He prays one of the offertory orations over the host Dixit Iesus discipulis suis: ego sum panis vivus etc. Someone tastes the wine and if it is proper the deacon pours it into the chalice saying De latere Domini...., and rebuilds the assembly. He then gives it to the subdeacon and all return to the sanctuary. The subdeacon replaces the chalice with wine upon the altar of St. Speratus, which is behind the main altar and doubles as a credence table.

The deacon then asks the lord Archbishop for a blessing and receives it: "Corroboret Dominus sensum tuum et labia tua, ut recte pronunties nobis eloquia sua secundum Evangelium, et pax tecum sit, in nomine Patris...." The celebrant blesses incense and the deacon takes the Gospel book from the altar, kissing both and praying "Pax Christi, quam nobis per Evangelium suum tradidit, conservet et confirmet corda et corpora nostra in vitam aeternam. Amen." A processional cross precedes the Gospel book and is incensed by the deacon. The tone for both the epistle and Gospel are the same. While the music tones for Paris and Sarum differed from the Roman ones, they were still pleasant. I find the Lyonese tones remarkably banal.

After the Credo the Archbishop begins the Offertory much as in the Roman rite. At the altar the Archbishop offers the host and chalice with Quid retribuam Domino and then blesses both. He places the host directly on the corporal in front of the chalice and puts the paten to the side. The clergy gather around the altar according to dignity and the celebrant incenses the gifts and altar reciting the first verse of psalm 140. He then washes his hands saying the first verse of psalm 25, returns to the center of the altar, again prays over the oblation, says the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas and then turns to the people saying "Orate pro me fratres...." Then follows the secret[s] and preface.

The anaphora is the Roman Canon. In a twist the Libera nos after the Pater noster is sung aloud. The  deacon turns to the people and tells those gathered to bow their heads. The Archbishop receives the mitre and crook, turns to those gathered, the clergy kneel before the altar, and he blesses all present: "Et pax + eius sit + semper + vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo." He then continues Mass as normal. During the Agnus Dei the communicating priests, deacons, and subdeacons approach the altar through the doors on either side of the railing [once] surrounding the altar. After the first communion prayer the celebrant begins the kiss of peace.

The Missal, like Paris and unlike the Roman rite, contains instructions for the administration of Holy Communion during Mass, a severe blow to the accusations of Jansenism, a philosophy that discourages frequent Communion and would not likely approve of providing for lay communication at every Mass. All kneel and recite the Confiteor. The Archbishop gives the absolution prayers and Communion is given as in the Roman rite. Communicants kiss the Archbishop's ring before reception.

The ablutions are done in the normal way. After the post-Communion comes the dismissal: Ite, missa est on days when the Gloria is sung, Requiescat in pace for Requiem Masses, and Benedicamus Domino on all other days. The celebrant prays the Placeat and, should the Last Gospel be normal, he and the rest of the clergy process to the sacristy, Mass concluded.

Part III: Prefaces

The prefaces are again more or less those of the Roman rite, but with a few exceptions. There is the preface of Advent, popped into the Roman rite by Pope John XXIII in 1962. There is a unique preface for the Presentation and Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which vividly says that Our Lord is now offering Himself as a victim after so many victims were previously offered, and that the new mystery is now unfolding. There is a preface for the Mass of the Lord's Supper which is quite succinct and reflects the traditional theology of the Cross as a place of victory. There is a short preface of the Incarnation and Annunciation which differs from that of the Nativity and the content of which is rather unspectacular. There is the preface of the Blessed Sacrament, also in the 1962 Missal and also rather dullish in content. There is a unique local preface for Ss. Pothin and Irenaeus, ancient bishops of the Lyonese see. There is a very nice preface for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist which recounts his life and his distinction among the prophets. The Missal also contains the more recent preface for the dedication of churches.

There is an interesting preface of "the Saints" to be used on All Saints, for titular saints, and a few other days. It says that we rely on the "Communion of the consort" of saints and their intercessions and asks that we may join in their "unfading crown of glory."

A vivid preface for nuptial Masses teaches that an end of marriage is "the growth of the Church" (don't tell Cardinal Kasper!). 

Lastly, there is a preface for the Dead.


The sheer grandeur of this rite already causes one to doubt Gueranger's accusations of Jansenism, an ideology that alleges the irresponsibility of grace and the deep depravity of mankind. In such an ideology those with grace are certainly different from those without it, suggesting an exclusivity in the aesthetic of the movement not in conformity with the clear communitarianism of a rite like this. Some of the prefaces are dramatic in their language, but do not fall into the realm of Jansenism. The only defect thus far is the insipid tone for the readings.

Marian Lent II

Here are today's chants for the Akathist to the Mother of God, the hymn sung in Byzantine parishes on Fridays of Lent to celebrate the Annunciation.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Upcoming Book Review

"It would be foolish not to recognize that placing sacramental discourse prior to, above, and in a role which subordinates theology in the modern academic sense is a difficult if not incomprehensible move to many people. We generally think of the two sorts of discourse the other way around, theology coming first and sacramental discourse very much later as a possibly implied excursus off the former. Sacramental discourse in fact is often thought of as theological adiaphora best practiced by those with a taste for banners, ceremonial, and arts and crafts. It is regarded as an academically less than disciplined swamp in which Anglican high churchmen, Orthodox bishops, and many if not all Roman Catholics and other are hopelessly mired."
"The tradition has never seen the Church as having any purpose or work different from Christ's own. The Church's concerns have always been with the Gospel translated into act, matter, time, and space, with the various cultures the Church has touched being renovated as an inevitable result not directly stiven for. Not only is there little conscious reflection on culture as such in the pre-Renaissance Church, but there is surprisingly little ex professo writing about the Church itself distinct from World and City. Thomas Aquinas, certainly one of the greatest theologians of the Church East or West, wrote no self-contained tract on ecclesiology. Rather, what he does say about the Church is almost wholly contained in the third part of his Summa Theologiae, which is about the sacraments. It is as though until the modern era, the Church was considered simply as the city center of a restored World, occupied with doing the business of God by faith in Christ. It is now necessary to illustrate what this means in practice."
On Liturgical Theology, Fr. Aidan Kavanagh, OSB

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Another EF Mass from 1965


This one sends shivers down my newly Texan spine. An EF Mass from the 1965 film Change of Habit, featuring an offertory procession, local inculturation, and the sacred music of Elvis Presley. In a nod to modernity the stuffy old doubting priest at the end concludes his opposition to the renewal with the words: "He works in mysterious ways." One is tempted to thank God that this was not a real Mass, but the fact is that this sort of thing happened throughout the United States in the 1960s and beyond. In some places it still does. The relevant part begins at 2:23.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Modern Arians, the Fathers & the Trinity?

When first reading the Fathers of the Church one may be tempted to smile at the quaintness of those phenomenological writers of old and to congratulate more recent theologians for advancing from simplistic and obvious tenets of faith, like the Divinity of Jesus, to more complex and intellectually challenging fields like the mechanisms of justification and the temporal exchanges of merit concerning purgatory. Vatican I quoted St. Vincent of Lerins' Commonitory which gives a brief exposé on the development of doctrine, a concept which also influenced John Henry Newman in his conversion. 

However, intellectual fulfillment and spiritual piety will profit very little from advanced schools of theology in the modern day. Knowing the concept of a sacramental form and how to deduce it for Confirmation will not profit the soul of modern man, whose religious experience rarely extends beyond an occasional Christmas Mass and whose education is confined to the dullest and most monotonous of topics (specialized training, business courses, IT etc). What could appeal to these people?

The Church Fathers are the most obvious choice. The Fathers, particularly the Apostolic Fathers, did not rely as heavily on technical terms, particular philosophical traditions, and an established Christian culture as did the Scholastics, the casuists, the neo-Scholastics, and the manualists. Their own culture was marked by either persecution or confusion. A few of them came from neo-Platonist backgrounds (St. Augustine, Origen, and St. Dionysius), but even those writers' influence is inessential to accepting their claims. Another advantage of the Fathers is that they did not live in an orthodox Christian society. They were either persecuted by the Empire, fighting heresy, and persecuted by heretics. Their appeals were to laity in homilies and letters, and to other thinkers in tracts, although even their educated audiences were not "theologians" in the later sense of the word. Consequentially their language, framework, and approach is much more intuitive for modern readers, appealing to instinct rather than specialized traditions of logic. Also, their claims are easier to check. Every American home owns some sort of Bible and dozens of Bibles are available for free online in English alone. Finding a chapter of Mark is much easier for the lax modern man than finding and understanding the Common Doctor.

Perhaps the greatest strength of the Fathers is that the bulk of their tracts and polemics focus on the consubstantiality of the Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus Christ. The Church may have settled this matter in the year 325AD, but Arianism is far from gone. One might say that the error of Arius is as prevalent now as it was in the time of Diocletian, and Christianity is more hated now than it has been in any time since Diocletian. Why should Catholics focus their sights on the Fathers and the Trinity? Because sacramental forms, transubstantiation, indulgences, propitiation, and Papal infallibility are all quite useless without a proper understanding of Who God is and Who Jesus Christ is. Case in point a dear friend of mine.

My friend, let us pretend his name is George, grew up in a gay household, was nominally Catholic, never received any form of religious instruction whatsoever, served 15 years in the military, was stationed at Ground Zero for the two weeks following 9/11, received a very prized but specialized education, and now works in the political sphere to promote American imperialism. What he has kept from the Church is an understanding of guilt. George is a good man and a good friend, but his understanding of Christ and Christianity is quite troubled. Like most modern Americans he accepts the existence of God and calls Jesus the "Son of God," but cannot identify Him with God. "Jesus" is George's "buddy" while "God" is George's maker. I once shared with George that haunting Byzantine petition "That the end of our life may be painless, unashamed, Christian, and peaceful, and for a good answer before the awesome judgment seat of Christ, let us ask! Grant this, O Lord!" "God" will judge George, but "Jesus" will intervene and assure George of his salvation.

Unlike the Arians, whose theological malice existed among a world familiar with Scripture and the Sacraments, George has no religious education and has been trained by the world to have no familiarity with the humanities or with the religious imagination. George has been molded in ignorance, but ignorance will not split the Trinity into three separate creatures. When I shared with George that eternal sentence of Our Lord's "Before Abraham was I am" (John 8:58) and intimated that, with no material objects Jesus could not have been fashioned but rather was "begotten," the poor man was horrified. He has thought, and might still, that "Jesus" was a super-special "Son" made by "God" for our benefit. The concept of Three Divine Persons in One God nearly caused his mechanistic, rational mind to explode—quite an accomplishment considering George's high IQ. He pondered the matter for a short time and then, as the world trains modern men to do, he swept the matter under the rug and forgot about it.

I have attempted the rationalized explanation of the Trinity before with George and gotten no where with it. A mind trained in logic normally can only function according to the assumptions accepted in its era. Although right wing politically, the assumptions of Goerge's era descend from the materialism of Marx, Engels, and the Capitalists, and from the science of Darwin, and from the pseudo-scientific "social sciences" of economists such as Keynes and the neo-classicists. The best path in my experience is to appeal to more basic and human elements when discussing the Divine, elements shared by most people. My conversations with the un-churched and un-believing are the primary sources of my frustration with legalistic theology which I voice here so often. St. Gregory Nazianzen's concept of the Trinity based on the process of thinking—wherein the Father is the mind, the Son is speech and words, and the Holy Spirit the breath flowing from the mouth—has been far more successful with George than most methods of teaching the Trinity since then. Similarly, explaining the Incarnation to George became easier with that aphorism from St. Athanasius, "God became man so that man might become God." After assuring himself that God had not smited us for such a "disturbing" thought, he began to understand the Church's teaching on the two natures of Christ and on the Trinity. Is this obsession over the Trinity too harsh given George's upbringing? Perhaps, but we Catholics must not forget that the un-revised Creed of Nicaea ended with "But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable'—they are condemned by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."

As the world becomes increasingly secular few people will have the concerns of past times. In 1960 America, when Ike was cleaning out his desk draws to make room for Kennedy, most people asked whether the Catholics or the protestants were right about what Christianity is. These days the few curious people are asking if God even exists. Those who accept the existence of God construct a fitting God in their minds and a fitting Jesus, too. Lost in all this is the Trinity and the Jesus of the New Testament. Lost is God as He is. Before we can discuss the Immaculate Conception we must be able to communicate the most basic and absolutely fundamental parts of the faith, above all, Who God is. The Fathers can help.