Saturday, January 14, 2006

It doesn't seem right. . .

. . .to just start posting again after a two week hiatus without giving some sort of explanation. It's just that there isn't one. I haven't moved house, had triplets, died, or won the lottery. No one has sensed my innate brilliance and hired me for several hundred thousand dollars to, uh, do something terribly complex in finance. Instead, a lot of little things came up. Think very, very small plague of locusts. A nuclear family of locusts. Say, mother, father, children, perhaps some grandparents and a dotty uncle or two. Something suitable for devouring that portion of the day used for blogging.

Other parts of the day were mercifully untouched. The section devoted to finishing all my back issues of The Spectator stayed fresh and green and allowed me to do just that. And so I did. And delivered all of the said back issues to the library where the overseer of the periodicals section was touchingly grateful. I made some notes of some items to refer you to but they seem to have vanished. If you got a list of citations to The Spectator in your Christmas card it was inadvertant. It wasn't an assignment and there won't be a quiz. But if you do look them up, you should be highly entertained and much better informed. For the rest of you who didn't get a list, at some point before the end of the year, Paul Johnson had an excellent essay on hats and the wearing thereof as a sign of a civilised person. And, no, a baseball cap is not a hat, properly so called, and is not an indicator of civilisation. In fact, wearng one backwards - unless you are a catcher - is a precursor of the Apocalypse. I don't remember any of the other citations I had for you. As noted elsewhere, things do get in something of a muddle here.

I also found time to get deep into one of my Christmas presents, all five volumes of the Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster's "The Sacramentary (Liber Sacramentorum)", an outstanding work on the history of the Roman liturgy, with great emphasis on the liturgical celebrations at the papal court. A sample from his essay on The "Ordinarium Missæ", discussing the antiquity of the Roman canon:

Let us now sum up that of which we have been speaking. A Roman tradition, which we find already fully established in the fifth century, unquestioned, nay, reverently accepted by the whole papal Patriarchate, assigns an apostolic origin to the Canon. In harmony with this belief, the Roman historians considered that in the Liber Pontificalis they had succeeded in noting even the smallest modifications introduced by the early Pontiffs into the text of this traditional Eucharistia. Moreover, the Popes and the writers who treat of the Canon regard it as a prayer unaltered and unalterable, the acceptance of which is incumbent upon all the churches. The documentary evidence of the various parts of our Canon goes back at least to the fifth century, and obliges us to identify it in its main outline with that which the early Christians held to be of apostolic tradition. A closer examination of this evidence, far from weakening our contention, only reinforces it, giving to our Roman Eucharistia the glory of such great age that when, to-day, after the lapse of so many centuries, we repeat the consecratory prayer of the Mass, we can be sure of praying, not only with the faith of Damasus, of Innocent and of Leo the Great, but in the very same words which they uttered at the altar before our day, and which thus sanctified that pristine age of doctors, confessors and martyrs.

Well, first day back, you know. Had to work in some sort of traditionalist business.