Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Piping Picture of the Week

The picture is a little small, but this is one of the two pipe bands in the Royal Air Force of Oman. A click here will reward you with a photo of the other RAFO pipe band and one of an indigenous Arabic bagpipe. It looks to me something like an Italian zampogna.

Monday, April 24, 2006

In the Market for a "Hat"?

The Village Hat Shop will be delighted to sell you this one:

But wait: there's more. It's on sale. Marked down from $23.95 to only $16.95. All you need to order is right here.

I didn't see a biretta. I suppose you'll still have to go to Gamarelli's for that.

A New Old Church for the Old Mass

Recently someone referred me here to the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter's new website for their mission in the U.K. In giving it a look I found that one of the Fraternity's Sunday Masses is being celebrated at 3:00 in the afternoon in the beautiful 14th century Anglican church of St Mary in the Diocese of St Albans (and with the permission of the Catholic Diocese of Northampton). That's a picture of it at the top of this post. How wonderful to learn that the old Latin Mass is once again being chanted in this lovely old church for which it was built. Well, perhaps built for one of the old English rites but the builders would recognize the same Mass. Many thanks to the local vicar for his hospitality - thanks from ten thousand miles away, I suppose, but thanks in any event as I'm delighted to know of it.


I missed remarking on Low Sunday, i.e., Dominica in Albis, which was yesterday. And Mercy Sunday, also yesterday, didn't get a mention. (But it did get observed. Mary and I went down to St Peter Chanel at 3 p.m. for the ceremony -- but it had been held earlier. So we prayed it by ourselves - at which point confessions began. So we got confession on the day itself. The Lord can be so unexpectedly generous.)

But I am not too late for Hocktide, which is today and tomorrow:

For in a hard-working society, it is rare and even subversive to celebrate too much, to revel and keep on reveling: to stop whatever you’re doing and rave, pray, throw things, go into trances, jump over bonfires, drape yourself in flowers, stay up all night, and scoop the froth from the sea.

. . . .

In the English tradition, Hocktide is the Monday and Tuesday following the second Sunday after Easter (Low Sunday), though the Tuesday is considered the main day.

. . . .

Long before the Industrial Revolution when people became ensnared in the long working week that still prevails for the benefit of our idle masters, work was hard but feast days were plenty. Weekends, as yet uninvented, would never have been enough for our forebears. As one sees each day in the Almy, scarcely a week – scarcely three days – went by in medieval Europe without a holiday with feasting and frolicking. (There are still societies today clinging to such lifestyles in defiance of globalization’s juggernaut, but they are labelled ‘primitive’.)

Hocktide was for our Western ancestors such a day of high festivity and pranks. The best known of these was ‘ransoming’.

On the Monday, men would go out and about and capture women, binding them with cords and holding them for small ransoms, which was usually given to church restoration funds or charity (though a kiss was often accepted). There was equality in these fun and games, however – on the Tuesday the women could take their revenge on the men in the same way. The meaning of the word is unknown, but the custom can be traced back to the 13th century. In 1450 a bishop of Worcester inhibited these "Hoctyde" practices. It prevailed in all parts of England, but pretty much died out early in the 1700s.

Lots more here.

And now, having spread that link around the internet, we sit back and await the "Hocktide Defense" to the federal crime of kidnapping, with what success we can only imagine. We would laugh at the absurdity of it but we live in the 9th circuit.

"Spring Break"

I hate that phrase. The Lenten season ends at the appropriate time with Holy Week which is followed immediately by Easter Week. Or Bright Week in the Eastern Church. So I wasn't on "spring break" last week. Or even observing a pious and solemn high Easter week. If only. No, just feeling a little green around the gills. The tummy was not going about its appointed digestive rounds in its usual calm and uncomplaining fashion. So blogging got the short end of the stick.

But Jeff returned to the electronic fold so there should have been plenty to read.

It must have been a very impressive SAT score

Fourth grade graduate and former Taliban official Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi's, I mean. The one who's now attending Yale. That one. This is probably old news for you but as The Times didn't find it newsworthy, I only read about it last week in the April New Criterion. Apparently some of the press did give it a mention, the WSJ for instance, and some storm clouds gathered in the blogosphere. But your servant, two months late and a dollar short, missed it entirely. Until now. So let it be recorded that I am now, nunc pro tunc, officially astonished. (If not outraged; it is, well, Yale, after all. Cf. WFB's treatise of fifty some years ago.)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday 2006

Dic nobis, Maria,
quid vidisti in via?

Sepulcrum Christi viventis:
et gloriam vidi resurgentis.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere:
tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

We had the great joy of attending the traditional Good Friday services this afternoon. But even in the traditional rite, since as the rubric has it "the Holy Roman Empire being vacant", there was no prayer for the Emperor in the Great Litany. As none of my old Missals contain that prayer, yours probably doesn't either. For those who, like me, wondered how it went, here it is:

Oremus pro Christianissimo imperatore nostro N., ut Deus et Dominus noster subditas illi faciat omnes barbaras nationes, ad nostram perpetuam pacem.


Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, in cuius manu sunt omnium iura regnorum: respice ad Romanum benignus Imperium; ut gentes quæ in sua feritate confidunt, potentiæ tuæ dextera comprimantur. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum. Amen.

Let us pray for our most Christian emperor N., that God and our Lord may render all barbarous nations subject to him, for our perpetual peace.

Let us pray

Almighty and everlasting God in whose hand are the powers and the rights of all governments; look favourably on the Roman empire; that the nations which trust in their own fierce might may be overcome by the hand of Thy power. Through our Lord. Amen.

The commentator explains that this prayer is one of the indicators of the antiquity of the Great Litany. The whole paragraph which includes some of the other prayers is worth quoting:
"We find in it the term ostiarius, whose office was later filled by the mansionarius; monks, as in the Leonine Sacramentary, are called confessores; nuns, virgines and not sanctimoniales; prayer is made that the Roman Emperor may subdue all the barbarians, and the Roman Empire is considered as the only legitimately constituted temporal power, exactly as St Leo deemed it to be. The disciplinary rule of the catechumens is still in force, the world is torn by heresies, ravaged by pestilence, straitened by famine; innocent men are wrongfully detained in prison, slavery still disgraces the ancient civilization of Rome. All these circumstances at once recall the fifth century, therefore we attribute to the golden period of the Roman Liturgy the final and definite form of this majestic prayer which we may undoubtedly look upon as having originated in the time of the Apostles."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Maundy Thursday

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's Holy Week. . .

. . .and here I sit beavering away at my taxes. And what a wonderfully illustrative picture. The devil is, indeed, at my shoulder and the Lord awaits at the door, taking second place to form 1040. Although, the fella in the picture seems to have a somewhat thicker form than I do. And he seems to be enjoying himself rather more than I am. But neither one of us is doing any blogging for a little while.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Whose Triclinium?

Mike Fieschko of In Illo Tempore dropped me a note this morning pointing out that it's probably Leo III that is meant in the post below and not Leo IV. The book does indeed say Leo IV, but after rummaging around a bit on the web, I think Mike is right. He even found a picture: it's here.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Palm Sunday

St Clement's Church in Philadelphia

The great ceremonies of the "paschal" week – as this solemn period of seven days on which we are now entering was originally called – took place, as a rule, during the Middle Ages, in the pontifical residence in the classical palace of the Lateran. For this reason the procession of the palms or olive branches and the stational Mass are celebrated today in the venerable Basilica of the Saviour; that lasting monument of the victories of the Roman Pontiffs over idolatry, heresy, and the gates of hell, which for more than nineteen centuries have conspired against the Church, but which have ever been repulsed and defeated. Non prævalebunt adversus eam; Christ has said, and before one word of His lips shall be made void, both heaven and earth shall pass away.

In the late Middle Ages, today's station was sometimes, at the desire of the Pope, celebrated at the Vatican, and the blessing of the palms then took place in the Church of Sta Maria "in Turri," which stood in the atrium of the basilica.

We find preserved, in the blessing of the palms, the ancient type of the liturgical synaxes, of those assemblies, that is, for the recitation of the Divine Office, the instruction of the faithful, and so on, which were not followed by the celebration of Mass. This type of synaxis was taken from the Jewish rite used in the Synagogues of the Diaspora and formed part of the Christian ritual from the time of the Apostles.

The procession of the olive branches is derived from the ceremony witnessed by the pilgrim Etheria in Jerusalem at the end of the fourth century. In the West it was customary from the first to hold olive twigs in the hand during the reading of the Gospel; in Gaul a special blessing was first given, not indeed to the branches, but to the people who rendered this act of reverence to the Word of God. Later, there was added the procession before the Mass, which gave a greater show and importance to the olive twigs, and these finally, in their turn, received the sacerdotal blessing.

According the Ordines Romani of the fourteenth century the palms were first blessed by the Cardinal of St Lawrence, and were then carried by the clergy into the patriarchal basilica to the oratory of St Silvester, where the acolytes of the Vatican Basilica proceeded to distribute them to the people. The Pope himself performed the distribution among the clergy in the Triclinium of Leo IV, whence the stational procession moved towards the Basilica of the Saviour.

The Pope, having reached the porch, seated himself on a throne, and whilst the doors of the sacred building still remained closed, the primicerius of the cantors and the prior of the basilica at the head of their assistants intoned the hymn Gloria, laus, etc., which is still retained in the Missal. Then, at last, the doors were opened, and the procession made its triumphal entrance into the church and the great drama of the redemption of mankind began with the celebration of Mass. The Pope put on sacred vestments in the secretarium, but as a sign of mourning, in keeping with the sadness which pervades the whole Liturgy of this week, the basilicari did not on this day extend over his head the traditional mappula or baldachino, which was one of the marks of veneration and respect among the ancient peoples.

-from volume II of Bl Cardinal Schuster's Liber Sacramentorum He has several more pages on the Palm Sunday liturgy but most of it consists of the liturgical texts which you can find in your own Missal.

Audio clips of the proper chants from today's Mass can be found here.

Conundrum of the Day

Serge says this is just your basic liberal double standard. And it's that too. But an odd one nevertheless. Is the great and powerful homosexualist establishment in San Francisco afraid of Scientology? (And, anyway, didn't Mr Monaghan sell Domino's years ago?)

And if you're seriously following news about the Traditional Roman Rite. . .

. . .you must be look at Rorate Cæli on a regular basis. There's nothing else like it on the web. Not in English, at any rate. For instance: new members of the Ecclesia Dei Commission were announced today. Rorate Cæli mentioned it here. Most recognizeable name: William Cardinal Levada.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Traditional Sacred Triduum in Rome

The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter will be celebrating the Sacred Triduum this Holy Week in the Church of "Santissima Trinità dei Monti". One of the Fraternity's websites gives the schedule here. There has been much comment on the web about this as Santissima Trinità dei Monti is one of the principal Roman churches, quite a change from the little round-the-corner-and-down-an-alley location of the Fraternity's usual church, San Gregorio dei Muratori, "one of Rome's most obscure and unknown treasures". Santissima Trinità dei Monti, on the other hand, is this beautiful landmark at the top of the Spanish steps. And this means. . .what? I don't know. But as one of the commentators said "It must mean SOMETHING!"

Crisis of Conscience?

Did they think better of it? Are they ashamed of what they did at what one presumes was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? (It might not have been, you know; substitution of more "relevant" substances than bread and wine, for instance, are not unknown amongst the more advanced clergy.) Because the Website Guy for the Archdiocese of Hollywood Religious Education Congress has moved all the pictures. All the links at this post will come up empty.

A little research can find them again so shame probably doesn't enter into it. If you go to the main page, which you can find here, you'll see the links at the top for the various pages of photos. Yes, the fly casting demonstration, the human sacrifice manque, the Gene Krupa wannabe, and, yes, the hot cantor babes are all still there. Just not where I said they would be. You'll have to search them out. And you'll have to make up your own snarky comments.

{Even this little one is still there. And I still don't know what she's supposed to be or what that's all about. And she's still too innocent looking for a comment any worse than "Uuhhh". But her parents do need a smack up the side of the head and a citation for Contributing to the Religious Ignorance of a Minor.]

Once More Lost Amongst the Back Issues

. . .this time The Wanderer's. Having fast-forwarded a post or two ago all the way up to today, if you would now rewind all the way back to March 16, you'll find Fr Zuhlsdorf's WDTPRS Wanderer column for that day, in which he reprints some of Bishop Slattery's astonishing liturgical requirements for the Diocese of Tulsa. We have seen nothing like this here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood, nor in our neighbouring Diocese of Disneyland. Why, you could get excommunicated for this kind of stuff around here. Or at least "invited to leave". Herewith, Fr Zuhlsdorf presents the best of Bishop Slattery:

Bishop Edward J. Slattery has been calling for a serious retooling of the liturgy in the Diocese of Tulsa (USA), where he has been bishop since 1994. He is writing a series of columns in his diocesan paper, the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic. After the last Synod of Bishops His Excellency has asked clergy, liturgists and musicians to review Sacrosanctum Concilium. Here is a sample (my emphasis added): “I ask them to pay special attention to the sections devoted to Sacred Music (Chapter 6, 112 – 121) that those who share responsibility in a parish for the implementation of the Council’s liturgical norms might reacquaint themselves with what the Council Fathers actually wrote concerning the requirements of proper liturgical music, and in particular the principle which places the text in importance over the melody, thus acknowledging the primacy of Gregorian Chant among the Church’s musical traditions, not merely from the position of its great venerability and beauty, but also because chant, having no rhythm, never forces the text to be rewritten to fit a specific meter. Chant allows us a certain sacred space within which that Word which God spoke in ancient times can be heard today with greater clarity and fidelity. I understand that this review of music must lead to changes and that changes will often be irksome and problematic. For this reason I would caution that this gradual, but definite, reintroduction of Gregorian chant into our parishes and communities be done with careful study, deliberate consultation and much prayer. However, as a sign of the seriousness with which I approach this topic, I am asking that pastors move with some dispatch to introduce their congregations to the simpler chants of the Kyriale, including the Gloria, Sanctus, Pater Noster and the Agnus Dei.” (Eastern Oklahoma Catholic March 6, 2006).

Bishop Slattery gives his flock a whole lot more beside. For example: “I am also asking our people to recover their sense of the sacredness of the sanctuary by refraining from idle conversation in Church before and after Mass.” Or, how about this: “If… our attention is repeatedly pulled away from the altar to the presence of the cantor or the choir, then our participation at Mass can become a kind of tennis match, and our response in prayer remains shallow and disjointed. … (W)e should be honest enough to acknowledge that the placement of the choir, cantor and the musicians (in the front of the church) has proven to be a terrible distraction in many parishes.”

The rest of Father's column, from which I have just stolen with joyous abandon, can be found here. The full text of Bishop Slattery's articles are on the web, too. Start with the Eastern Oklahoma Catholic page here. You can then click on the various back issues which will appear complete in pdf format. The Bishop's music article, for instance, is on page 3 of the March 6 issue.

One can't help wondering how much of this insistence on the value of Gregorian Chant is due to the presence of Clear Creek in Bishop Slattery's diocese. Any pastor seriously interested in implementing the bishop's directives doesn't have to travel outside of his own diocese to see how it's done.

More from The Times

This one's all about a bee-keeper in Iraq whose business is making a comeback. Chesterton would have approved of Abdal Razzaq and his bees. The story's about a quarter of a page on The Times's broadsheet sized page and it's a good-hearted tale, worthy of The Reader's Digest in its heyday. It's unlikely to offend your politics, whatever they might be. Do have a look.

Fast-forwarding to the 8th of April

Well, this lawsuit went nowhere in a hurry. If you recall, Dan Brown, the only man who knows less about Opus Dei than I do, was sued for plagiarism by a couple of fellows who claimed he stole their "architecture" for his Da Vinci Code. (Don't ask me; I'm just repeating what the complaint said.) This morning's Times reports that Dan prevailed. You can read it here. Dan didn't steal all that stuff about St Mary Magdalene's marriage and the Holy Grail and whatnot. He made it up himself. So there. Vindication. Uh, I guess.

Deferred Gratification

Sometimes I don't know how much gratification I'm actually deferring. I grabbed a copy of "Gilbert" magazine, the vademecum of the 21st century Chestertonian, this afternoon to take along with me to a funeral. (It's not as disrespectful as it sounds. I try to arrive a half hour or so early to tune-up and get last minute instructions. And they often don't need me until the end at the gravesite. It can be a long wait.) And what should I find on page 28 but an article of Eric Scheske's, he of The Daily Eudemon and Chesterton and Friends, on blogging. And right there pretty much smack dab in the middle of it is a very gracious mention of The Inn, "a wonderful site" so it says. Your servant is well and truly chuffed. Thanks, Eric.

Uh, it's deferred gratification because the article appeared way back in the July/August 2005 issue. Did I mention I was a little behind in the periodical reading area?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Architecture Counts

Our church is so ugly. . . .

How ugly is it?

Our church is so ugly that every bride for six years has refused to be married in it.

The Telegraph says it's Good Shepherd with St John in West Bromwich.

[Noticed this one at Zadok the Roman.]

An English Rood Screen

Why? Because it looks less like a Religious Education Congress than anything else in my file of images. "Cleansing the memory" as some of the spiritual writers might say.

Tuesday in Passion Week

If you've been following WDTPRS as you should, you know that Fr Zuhlsdorf has been analyzing the various Lenten collects each day and explaining what the Latin actually says as opposed to what the ICEL would like it to have said. The Blessed Cardinal Schuster unfolds the daily collects also in his Liber Sacramentorum, although some 100 years ago he didn't have an ICEL to contend with so he doesn't explicate the Latin grammar except occasionally. With or without a grammar lesson, I found today's meditation very affecting:

The Collect for Tuesday in Passion Week

Nostra tibi, Domine, quæsumus, sint accepta ieiunia: quæ nos et expiando gratia tua dignos efficiant; et ad remedia perducant æterna. Per Dominum nostrum.

May our fasting be acceptable to Thee, Lord; may it atone for our sins, make us worthy of Thy grace, and bring us never-failing health: through our Lord.

In the Collect we pray that God will accept our fasts, so that through their efficacy we may obtain such an abundance of grace that the final æterna remedia may be assured to us after the sorrows of our earthly pilgrimage.

We should note the order followed in the prayer. In the first place comes the expiation, for qui non placet, non placat and God may refuse special graces to him who has still a heavy debt to pay to divine justice. When satisfaction has been made, and the friendship of the soul with God fully re-established, we can then confidently ask of Him those particular favours which friendship alone can embolden us to ask, for they are vouchsafed to friends alone: Et adjicias quod oratio non præsumit. As, however, every grace which we receive here is but the prelude to the final grace, that of eternal glory in heaven, we must pray without ceasing that the favours granted to us on earth may be crowned by that which is their proper end and fruition – viz., the beatific vision in paradise.

". . .qui non placet, non placat." Ouch. Back to the fasting.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Los Angeles Archdiocesan Religious Education Congress

[ADDENDUM as of 7/8/06: Yes, the Archdiocesan Web Guy moved all the pictures, didn't he. So, now all my snarky comments have no referent. It's a hard life. Maybe Someone down at 555 has a guilty conscience. D'ya think?]

Sorry, it was last week. All three days of it. And you missed it. Haugen and Haas, Rollheiser and Reese, and the other seven thousand speakers, they've all folded their tents and stolen away until next year. If it's any consolation, I missed it, too. I had a prior engagement. (And a very nice nap it was, too.)

At least the pictures are up. See what you missed:

Inspiring hymns, psalms, sacred canticles, flams, paradiddles, and rimshots.

Hot cantor babes.

Visual aids for those unsure which direction is "up".

A re-enactment of that wonderful scene in "The Music Man" in which the ladies of River City interpret "Ode to a Grecian Urn" in dance. It doesn't say which one took Hermione Gingold's role.

Just a few of the monstrous regiment of girl altar boys.

Alas, Miss Manners was not on the list of featured speakers this year.

And more than a few imponderables:

Not, one hopes, a political salute. But. . .what?

Fly casting demonstration? Dusting the ceiling? Surely, she's not preparing to swing that thing around and belt the. . .no, surely not. But whatever is she up to?

Uuhhhh. . . .

I'm going to assume this had nothing to do with human sacrifice. I mean, seriously. Not even in the most rubric-free environment. Yes, the other chorines do look pretty upset. But no, she's probably just had a long, hard day of doing liturgy. That takes it out of anyone.

If you'd kept up your subscription to The Tidings you would've known all about this in advance and you wouldn't now be sitting there lamenting a wasted weekend.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Diocese of Arlington II

Ask and ye shall receive. I have it right from the source, i.e., a subject of His Excellency of Arlington: It's "Luh-VAIR-dee."

Thanks, Jeff.