On the Sixth Day of Christmas. . .
. . .they found him lying in . . .a public baseball field in Vista. Evil, stupid, or merely odd?
"[A] man . . .the other day pointed out that I was never bored. I hadn’t thought of that before, but it’s true: I’m never bored. I’m appalled, horrified, angered, but never bored. The world appears to me so infinite in its variety that many lifetimes could not exhaust its interest. So long as you can still be surprised, you have something to be thankful for." -Theodore Dalrymple
On the Sixth Day of Christmas. . .
A Report on the Carmel in the old French Quarter of New Orleans
St Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury & Martyr
Europe Celebrates the Empty Manger
Where This Blog Got Its Name
Christmas itself Fr. Doyle had the good luck of spending in billets. He got permission from General Hickie to have Midnight Mass for his men in the Convent. The chapel was a fine large one, as in pre-war times over three hundred boarders and orphans were resident in the Convent; and by opening folding-doors the refectory was added to the chapel and thus doubled the available room. An hour before Mass every inch of space was filled, even inside the altar rails and in the corridor, while numbers had to remain in the open. Word had in fact gone round about the Mass, and men from other battalions came to hear it, some having walked several miles from another village. Before the Mass there was strenuous Confession-work. " We were kept hard at work hearing Confessions all the evening till nine o'clock," writes Fr. Doyle, "the sort of Confessions you would like, the real serious business, no nonsense and no trimmings. As I was leaving the village church, a big soldier stopped me to know, like our Gardiner Street friend, ' if the Fathers would be sittin' any more that night.' He was soon polished off, poor chap, and then insisted on escorting me home. He was one of my old boys, and having had a couple of glasses of beer —'It wouldn't scratch the back of your throat, Father, that French stuff'— was in the mood to be complimentary. 'We miss you sorely, Father, in the battalion,' he said, ' we do be always talking about you.' Then in a tone of great confidence : 'Look, Father, there isn't a man who wouldn't give the whole world, if he had it, for your little toe ' That's the truth.' The poor fellow meant well, but 'the stuff that would not scratch his throat' certainly helped his imagination and eloquence. I reached the Convent a bit tired, intending to have a rest before Mass, but found a string of the boys awaiting my arrival, determined that they at least would not be left out in the cold. I was kept hard at it hearing Confessions till the stroke of twelve and seldom had a more fruitful or consoling couple of hours' work, the love of the little Babe of Bethlehem softening hearts which all the terrors of war had failed to touch." The Mass itself was a great success and brought consolation and spiritual peace to many a war-weary exile. This is what Fr. Doyle says :
"I sang the Mass, the girls' choir doing the needful. One of the Tommies, from Dolphin's Barn sang the Adeste beautifully with just a touch of the sweet Dublin accent to remind us of 'home, sweet home,' the whole congregation joining in the chorus. It was a curious contrast : the chapel packed with men and officers, almost strangely quiet and reverent (the nuns were particularly struck by this), praying and singing most devoutly, while the big tears ran down many a rough cheek : outside the cannon boomed and the machine-guns spat out a hail of lead : peace and good will -- hatred and blood-shed!"
"It was a Midnight Mass none of us will ever forget. A good 500 men came to Holy Communion, so that I was more than rewarded for my work."
On Christmas Day itself all was quiet up at the front line. The Germans hung white flags all along their barbed wire and did not fire a shot all day, neither did the English. For at least one day homage was paid to the Prince of Peace.
Piping Picture for Christmas Week
The road to Rionero snaked and twisted and always rose higher into the sea of peaks, but the sun shone and some of the marching troops had their jackets slung that warm and spring-like morning until the sky filled like a cistern, the day becme twilight, and the wind, the child of Heaven, came bellowing and cryng down from the now invisible hieghts. Snow we had never dreamed existed hit us, flakes that hissed on the engine covers, hissed, hit again, and choked exhausts and vents; snow that blotted out the carrier in front and drove the marching troops into the lee of any vehicle that could be seen in the white, grey, black bedlam of whistles and wind squalls.
Every carrier became its own little world, every man his own igloo as we struggled on to Rionero and hoped for cover and warmth. The Germans had denied us that by the simple means of attaching a Teller mine to every wall in the village and exploding them. To rub it in they had written up: 'Hope you like your winter billets, Tommy.", on the signpost outside the village. So it was, that when we did slither into the village it only resembled a white ruin with the odd wall or chimney sticking up out of the drifts. Those who got there scratched around like weasels for some hole to burrow in or simply slung a cover over the carriers and, running the engines until the petrol gave out, crouched in them all night.
. . . . .
It was homely when night fell and the great crests glistened in the moon and starlight to hear the old familiar banshee wail of the pipes as [Adjutant] Brian Clark ordered the duty piper to play 'Officer's Mess' outside their shored-up cowshed and let the world know that tempests may rage but the machine of the Regiment grinds on, and it was to this lamplit hovel that a written note bade me report for dinner.
Up to the time of Gregory VII (1073-85) the third Christmas station was held, as was usual in Rome on very solemn days, at St Peter's, as if to keep Christmas as a family feast around the mensa Petri - the table of the common father and shepherd. The shortness of the winter days, however, and the difficulty of going in procession to the Vatican in those troublous times when the Pope was actually torn from the altar ad præsepe at the midnight Mass, and was dragged off as the prisoner of a hostile faction, caused the Liberian Basilica to be preferred as being nearer to the Lateran, the more so as during the eleventh century St Peter's several times fell into the hands of schismatics and their anti-popes.
This custom, which was first made necessary by the difficulties of the times, ended by becoming permanent, and the station at St Mary Major was substituted for that at St Peter's , with this difference, however, that whereas the midnight Mass was celebrated in the oratory ad præsepe, which could accommodate only a limited number of persons, the third Mass took place in the vast aula of Sicininus, which had been restored by Liberius (352-66) and Sixtus III (432-40).
When the Pontiff entered the church – so the ancient Ordines Romani describe the ceremony – the cubicularii received him under a kind of baldachino, and the Pope, holding a taper affixed to the end of a rod, set the two alight which had been entwined in the capitals of the pillars.
This rite, which at the present day [i.e., early 20th century] takes place only on the occasion of the consecration of the Sovereign Pontiff, typified festive joy, as well as providing a figura finis mundi per ignem, but this secondary and symbolical meaning was not attached to it until much later. In more recent times the primitive meaning has undergone yet another modification. As the Pontiff, in all his glory, approaches the altar of St Peter in order to put on the triple crown, a master of ceremonies displays the burning tow before him, saying : Pater sancte, sic transit gloria mundi. The lesson is a deep one, but the Humanists of the Renaissance, to whom we owe it, did not seem in the least to comprehend the unsuitableness of reciting it before the Head of the Faith just as he was in the act of taking possession of the papal throne.
When the procession reached the presbyterium, the primicerius, having removed the Pope's mitre, kissed him on the shoulder, and the Pope, in his turn, having kissed the Codex of the Gospels, exchanged the Kiss of Peace with the senior cardinal-bishop, and surrounded by his seven deacons, began the liturgical action.
After the Collect, the lesser clergy, under the direction of the archdeacon, sang a series of acclamations in the form of a litany — as is always customary at the coronation of a Pope — in honour of the Pontiff, who repaid this compliment by presenting each of them with three pieces of silver. At the Offertory seven other ecclesiastics — bishops and cardinal-priests — went up to the altar and celebrated with the Pope; in fact, this rite of the eucharistic concelebration at a solemn papal Mass was maintained in Rome for a very long time.
At the conclusion of the holy sacrifice the Pontiff was crowned by the archdeacon with the regnum — the second and third crowns were added during the period of the papal exile at Avignon — and the splendid cortege set out on horseback to return to the Lateran, where they dined. Before getting off their horses the cardinals drew up in order in front of the little Basilica of Zacharias, where — like the Polichronion of the Byzantine Court at the Christmas festival — the archpriest of St Lawrence similarly intoned : Summo et egregio ac ter beatissimo papae N. vita. His fellow-priests answered three times : Deus conservet eum. Salvator mundi, or Sancta Maria, omnes sancti, replied the archpriest, and at each invocation the others answered in chorus : Tu ilium adjuva. The Pope gave thanks for these good wishes and distributed three pieces of silver money to each of the cardinals. The judges then came forward, and the primicerius intoned Hunc diem, upon which the rest repeatedly exclaimed: Multos annos. The archpriest then continued, Tempora bona habeas, and the others sang in conclusion : Tempora bona habeamus omnes.
Then at last the Pope dismounted, and, having entered one of the halls, made the customary distribution of money to his attendants, following, in so doing, an ancient tradition of the Caesars. It is very interesting to note how the papal court of the Middle Ages preserved so many traditions of the imperial era of Rome and Byzantium. In addition to the customary gratuities received by all alike, twenty pieces of money went to the Prefect of the city, four to the judges and to the bishops, three to the cardinal-priests and deacons, and two to the lesser clergy and to the singers. When everyone present had been gladdened by this largess, they sat down to the banquet which was spread in the great triclinium of Leo III (795-816), the mosaic apse of which is still to be seen on the piazza of the Lateran in a building of later date, completed in the time of Benedict XIV (1740-56). Near the Pope at table there sat — in their sacred vestments — on the right the cardinal-bishops and priests, on the left the archdeacon and the primicerius with the high officials of the Court. In the middle of the hall stood the lectern with the book of homilies, from which, halfway through the banquet, a deacon read a passage from one of the Fathers. The reading did not last long; the Pope sent an acolyte to invite the schola to perform some sequences from their collection in commemoration of Christmas, from which we learn the position allotted in Rome to the sequence as being a devout and popular but extra-liturgical chant. After the singers had given proof of their musical skill, they were admitted to kiss the Pope's foot, while he graciously offered to each one a cup of wine and a piece of money (bezant). What poetry lay in these ancient ceremonies of papal Rome, and, above all, what an influence the sacred Liturgy exercised over the whole religious life of the people !
Hodie Christus natus est pro nobis. . . .
Last Minute Preparations. . . .
Benedict XVI: Cake, Wine, and Rosaries for Christmas
Oh, dear this very late
St John of the Cross
Alive With Speculation
VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2005 (VIS)
On Saturday, December 10, it was made public that the Holy Father appointed:
. . . . . .
- Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, apostolic nuncio to Indonesia and East Timor, as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
An expert of Sacred Scripture, Ranjith was well known by Joseph Ratzinger: the new Secretary of the Vatican department for Liturgy was in fact one of the front-line Asian bishops affriming the salvific unicity of Christ in the diverse and difficult religious landscape of those countries, where even Catholic theologians seem to indulge in syncretistic conceptions at times. His return to the Curia is of particular meaning also for the perspectives of the liturgical reform and for the possible return of the Lefebvrists to the full communion with Rome.
As a matter of fact, Msgr Ranjith is an esteemed prelate among traditionalists and Lefebvre's followers, and in the april of 2004 he signed one of the first authoritative comments to thew Instruction Redemptionis sacramentum, the document against liturgical abuses. In that text, the new Secretary of CDW recognized that in some cases the conciliar reform didn't bring the results that were hoped, and denounced a "reductionist interpretation" of the Eucharistic sacrament and the many irregularities in its celebration.
The great liturgical reform does not seem to have given rise to the
desired reawakening and reinforcement of the faith, especially in the
ancient Christian Churches.
I think that the general problem was an erroneous idea of the purpose
of the Council. Indeed, speaking of the conciliar reforms, Cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger says: "The [Council] Fathers wanted to update the
faith, indeed, to present it with its full impact. Instead, people
gradually formed the idea that the reform consisted merely of throwing
out the ballast, in other words, of divesting it so that in the end
the reform did not appear to radicalize the faith but to dilute it"
(Il Sale della Terra, p. 86).
Another tiny light of hope is the appointment of a bishop from Sri Lanka to the Roman Curia. His name is Bishop Malcolm Ranjith [say: Ran'-jit]. I had
the opportunity to meet him last year in March (2001) in his diocese in the
bishop's house in Ratnapura, located in the middle of Sri Lanka. We had a
very good discussion for two hours. He told me, there is no doubt that there
is a profound link between the crisis of the priesthood, the crisis of the
identity of the priest, on the one side, and all that is going on in the
liturgy on the other side. He said if we want to restore the Church, if we
want to bring a true renewal to the Church, we must begin there, in the very
center. We understood each other very well.
At the very beginning of the month of October, we suddenly heard that Bishop
Ranjith was nominated an Archbishop, and that he was appointed Joint
Secretary to the Congregations for the Propaganda of the Faith and the
Evangelization of the People in Rome. Some days later, I again had the
opportunity to meet him, because he has a married sister in Germany. Once
again, we had a very deep and very healthy conversation, and he said, "I
agree 200% with you that there really is a problem in the Church with the
liturgy and the priesthood, and both go together. We must work on this, and
there is no doubt that the Pope has to set free the true Catholic Mass for
everyone-I am going now to Rome where I will have my private chapel. I have
just taken care to get a Missal of St. Pius V to celebrate Mass as it should
Europe Doesn't Like Us
"Partner with us. . ."
All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Mozetta
And the sun being over the yardarm. . .
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Francum Lippi, a Brother of Carmel, born in 1211, was a glorious penitent of Sienna. From the deeps of wickedness, he rose to sublime sanctity. His life cannot be read without tears. He had innumerable and exalted visions, but never for a moment did he forget his sins, hence his macerations, and the instruments of them, still preserved, are terrible to behold. Before entering Carmel he went barefooted on a pilgrimage to Rome and was absolved by Gregory X. His spirit was tested year upon year, and it was not until he was seventy that the doors of Carmel opened to admit him. There was nothing sufficiently poor, humble or repugnant to satisfy him and he became the admiration of the community and the entire city. His cell was often so flooded with light, that it was thought to be on fire. One day, while meditating upon the Passion, Our Lord appeared to him, nailed to the Cross, his Head bound with thorns, His body covered with wounds, saying: "See, Francum, what I have suffered for men, and how slight is the gratitude they show Me." At these words Francum burst into tears and with a discipline of iron scourged himself to blood. From that time he always held a crucifix in his hand.
His love for silence was so great he kept a leaden pellet in his mouth that he might be reminded never to speak without necessity, but his devotion to the crucifix was ever his distinguishing feature. He wished to die upon a cross like our Saviour, and his last words were, "Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit." Immediately after the air resounded with angelic voices leading his soul to Paradise, and such prodigies and miracles ensued, that in 1308, only sixteen years after his death, (December 11, 1291), Clement V beatified him at the supplication of Sienna and all Tuscany.
A traditionalist dinner by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, who received Lefebvrites in his Roman residence, in Piazza della Citta Leonina, a stone’s throw from the Vatican.
The influential Columbian Cardinal, appointed by the Pope to entertain relations with the traditionalists, has invited to dinner, with the utmost discretion, Monsignor Bernard Fellay, successor to Marcel Lefebvre at the head of the Society of St. Pius X (so the community is called that comprises the Lefebvrites), and Don Marc Nély, Superior of the Italian District of the Society. Witnesses report that it was much more than a simple lunch break: the Lefebvrists, in cassock, arrived in great secrecy at the residence of the Cardinal about 11:00 a.m. and departed after 4:00 p.m.
In Conceptione Immaculata Beatæ Mariæ Virginis
But I did forget St Nicholas Day
December 7, 1941 - A date that will live in infamy. . .
Usquequo oblivisceris in finem?
Illinois and Walgreens