Monday, July 27, 2009

27 July -- Bl Titus Brandsma, O. Carm.

The Carmelite calendar keeps the memory of Bl Titus Brandsma today. He is a 20th century saint, a Dutch Carmelite, university professor, philosopher and pillar of the Dutch Catholic press back when it was a Catholic press. After the invasion of the Netherlands by the German forces in the second world war he continued to write and condemn the Nazi philosophy. He made sure that the Dutch bishops condemnation of the Nazi ideology was published. As a result he was arrested and died at Dachau. has a page on his life here.

There's a biography with many pictures here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

From the morning papers

From the bankrupt - in all senses of the word - L.A. Times:
The Cornish Language Making a Comeback.
There seems to be some debate as to whether that's from the dead or merely from, uh, suspended animation. But good luck to it in any case from one who has tried with only limited success to get a handle on both Irish gaelige and Scots gaidhlig.

Some Piping For the Weekend. . . .

The great Jim McGillivray on small pipes again. This time he starts with the D chanter (notice the tight spacing on the chanter; difficult to get the fingers to maneuver with so little room) and ends playing the A chanter.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And the sun shall fail to give her light. . . .


If you're in China.

Prophecies aside, there's to be a total eclipse tomorrow, which you won't see entirely unless you're in China.

But this website will help you catch something of it on the web.

. . .the blessed mutter of the Mass. . .

In the traditional Roman Rite, St Praxedes receives a commemoration today in the Mass and at Lauds. The primary celebration is for St Lawrence of Brindisi but in one of those inexplicable stream-of-consciousness sorts of things it is St Praxedes who delights today.

And all because of Robert Browning who wrote "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St Praxed's Church". St Praxed being Browning's English for St Praxedes. Browning was not, to say the least, in love with Catholicism. The bishop he wrote of is a crabbed old devil, unchaste, envious and grudge-bearing; one wonders if he is even a theist at some points in the poem. And yet as the old goat lays dying, imagining himself in his tomb by the altar, Browning puts a phrase in his mouth that I have always loved:

And then how I shall lie through centuries,
And hear the blessed mutter of the mass,
And see God made and eaten all day long,

Isn't that wonderful? I know it's not meant to be complimentary. "Mutter", says Mr Webster, means low, indistinct sounds or complaining noises. But if you've ever served a low Mass in the quiet of the early dawn, "the blessed mutter of the Mass" is almost onomatopoeic. The soft consonants of that phrase remind of the sound of the whispered canon. I can almost smell the wax candles and the flowers on the altar.

And all because it is St Praxedes' day today.

(Although, St Lawrence shouldn't be overlooked either. He was one of those Renaissance Franciscans, like St John of Capistrano, who not only wandered about Europe making converts and peace among Christian kings, but also recruited an army to fight the Mohametans.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

20 July -- St Elias the Prophet

Elias the Prophet is at least the inspiration of the Carmelite Order and in the stories popular in the middle ages he was well and truly the founder, the Dux et Pater of the Order. And today is his feast in the Carmelite calendar. He is also honoured today in many of the calendars of the Eastern Church. You can find him in several places in the Old Testament, principally the books of Kings.

Here is an English version of the hymn for first vespers:

The lofty peaks of Carmel
With tuneful praises ring,
The anthems of Elias
'Tis our delight to sing.

The glory of our Order,
Our leader, prop, and stay,
From east to west his offspring
Increaseth day by day.

When sorely pressed with famine,
A raven served him bread,
With meal and cruse unfailing,
The widowed hearth was fed.

The boy from death delivered
Is to his home restored,
And light so much desired,
In radiant flood is poured.

Behold the Heaven closeth,
To open at his voice,
And copious welcome showers
The thirsty lands rejoice.

To Father, Son, and Spirit,
Be equal power and praise,
All glory and dominion
Henceforth for endless days.

His collect:

Almighty God, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who believe that the Blessed Elias, Thy Prophet and our Father, hath been, in a wonderful manner, taken up in a fiery chariot, may, through his mediation, be borne upwards to Heaven, and that we may rejoice in the companionship of Thy saints. Through our Lord. Amen.

[from "The Saints of Carmel" (1896)]

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saving the Planet

Forced abortions, mass sterilizations, involuntary birth control through the food or water supply, taking babies from their mothers: Ho-hum, another day in Red China? No, that's how Mr Obama's new science czar plans on doing the planet-saving thing.

Saving the planet for what, one wonders.

In the Morning Papers

Long Beach Press Telegram
A pointed letter to the editor:

So Wal-Mart is going to demand that all of their suppliers "measure the environmental cost of making their products." How's that gonna work when practically everything they sell carries the label "Made in China"?

Shirley Mackie Brief
Friday 17 July 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Some Piping for the Weekend. . .

A touch of piobaireachd played in a very un-traditional style and accompanied by fiddles, flutes, guitar, harp, and heaven knows what else. Followed up by one of my favourite tunes, Marseail Rí Laoís, of The March or the King of Laois. The relationship between the two tunes is evident and brings up the which-came-first question: Cumha Dhonnchaidh Mhicrath or The King of Laois?
(Molly: the piper is Allan MacDonald.)

The Holy Martyrs of Compiegne

Today is the feast of the Carmelite martyrs of Compiegne. This post from a few years ago tells their story.

On this day in 1794 all the nuns of the Carmelite monastery of Compiegne were guillotined by the revolutionary French republicans. They offered their lives for France and her liberation from the terror. They were the last executed under that regime and the terror soon ended.

Their story has been retold in many forms. Dialogue des Carmélites, a Poulenc opera based on a film scenario by Georges Bernanos, is perhaps the most well-known treatment. That in turn was based upon Gertrude von le Fort's novel, "The Song at the Scaffold".
ICS has published an extensive history of the Carmelite martyrs, "To Quell the Terror."

The most complete recounting of their story on the web is probably here. That site contains the heart of a booklet written a few years ago by Terry Newkirk, herself a Carmelite Secular. A short excerpt:

"An ironic sidelight: the one nun of royal blood, Marie of the Incarnation, happened to be away at the time of the arrest and thus escaped execution; one of only three survivors of her community, she became the martyrs' first historian, collecting eyewitness accounts of the nuns deaths. Reverend Mother Émilienne, Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, wrote in a letter:

" 'I learned from a person who was a witness to their martyrdom that the youngest of these good Carmelites was called first and that she went to kneel before her venerable Superior, asked her blessing and permission to die. She then mounted the scaffold singing Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. She then went to place herself beneath the blade (not) allowing the executioner to touch her. All the others did the same. The Venerable Mother was the last sacrificed. During the whole time, there was not a single drum-roll; but there reigned a profound silence.'

"Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection, seventy-eight and an invalid, having been thrown roughly to the pavement from the tumbrel, was heard to speak words of forgiveness and encouragement to her tormentor. Sister Julie had an extreme horror of the guillotine; yet she refused to leave her sisters even when her family sent for her, saying, 'We are victims of the age, and we must sacrifice ourselves for its reconciliation with God.' Another witness said of the nuns, 'They looked like they were going to their weddings.'

"Throughout France a vaunted new age of spiritual maturity, free from the bonds of sectarian religion, was underway. On June 20, 1794, a Feast of the Supreme Being" was celebrated in Compiègne. In November of the previous year, the worship of Reason was officially proclaimed: the church of Saint-Jacques in Compiégne became the Temple of Reason. The church of Saint- Antoine became a public meeting hall and fodder storehouse. In December, the Mayor of Paris had announced in the Temple of Reason that the Declaration of the Rights of Man would henceforth be the catechism of the French, and that the Constitution would be their Gospel. The prevailing mood of the times is reflected in a letter of July 17, 1794, from municipal officials of Compiègne to the Comité du Sureté Nationale:

" 'The citizens of the Commune of Compiègne and of the District celebrated a civic festival on the 26 of this month (Messidor) in memory of the taking of the Bastille and in rejoicing for the recent victories of our armies. The minutes of the Municipalites attest that everywhere people were animated by the same spirit. The festival was concluded with dances and patriotic banquets.'

"Yet there must have been a growing public unease not evident in this letter. Something in the sight of the nuns being executed seems to have affected even the hardened Parisian crowd, accustomed to cheering loudly each fall of the guillotine blade. Within ten days, by July 27, 1794, Robespierre and the provisional revolutionary government were finished."

The Catholic Encyclopaedia lists the names of all of the 16 martyrs:

"Madeleine-Claudine Ledoine (Mother Teresa of St. Augustine), prioress, b. in Paris, 22 Sept., 1752, professed 16 or 17 May, 1775;

"Marie-Anne (or Antoinette) Brideau (Mother St. Louis), sub-prioress, b. at Belfort, 7 Dec., 1752, professed 3 Sept, 1771;

"Marie-Anne Piedcourt (Sister of Jesus Crucified), choir-nun, b. 1715, professed 1737; on mounting the scaffold she said "I forgive you as heartily as I wish God to forgive me";

"Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret (Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection), sacristan, b. at Mouy, 16 Sept., 1715, professed 19 Aug., 1740, twice sub-prioress in 1764 and 1778. Her portrait is reproduced opposite p. 2 of Miss Willson's work cited below;

"Marie-Antoniette or Anne Hanisset (Sister Teresa of the Holy Heart of Mary), b. at Rheims in 1740 or 1742, professed in 1764;

"Marie-Françoise Gabrielle de Croissy (Mother Henriette of Jesus), b. in Paris, 18 June, 1745, professed 22 Feb., 1764, prioress from 1779 to 1785;

"Marie-Gabrielle Trézel (Sister Teresa of St. Ignatius), choir-nun, b. at Compiègne, 4 April, 1743, professed 12 Dec., 1771;

"Rose-Chrétien de la Neuville, widow, choir-nun (Sister Julia Louisa of Jesus), b. at Loreau (or Evreux), in 1741, professed probably in 1777;

"Anne Petras (Sister Mary Henrietta of Providence), choir-nun, b. at Cajarc (Lot), 17 June, 1760, professed 22 Oct., 1786.

"Concerning Sister Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception accounts vary. Miss Willson says that her name was Marie Claude Cyprienne Brard, and that she was born 12 May, 1736; Pierre, that her name was Catherine Charlotte Brard, and that she was born 7 Sept., 1736. She was born at Bourth, and professed in 1757;

"Marie-Geneviève Meunier (Sister Constance), novice, b. 28 May, 1765, or 1766, at St. Denis, received the habit 16 Dec., 1788. She mounted the scaffold singing "Laudate Dominum". In addition to the above, three lay sisters suffered and two tourières.

"The lay sisters are:

"Angélique Roussel (Sister Mary of the Holy Ghost), lay sister, b. at Fresnes, 4 August, 1742, professed 14 May, 1769;

"Marie Dufour (Sister St. Martha), lay sister, b. at Beaune, 1 or 2 Oct., 1742, entered the community in 1772;

"Julie or Juliette Vérolot (Sister St. Francis Xavier), lay sister, b. at Laignes or Lignières, 11 Jan., 1764, professed 12 Jan., 1789.

"The two tourières, who were not Carmelites at all, but merely servants of the nunnery were: Catherine and Teresa Soiron, b. respectively on 2 Feb., 1742 and 23 Jan., 1748 at Compiègne, both of whom had been in the service of the community since 1772."

124 years later - to the day - the Russian spiritual descendants of the French thugs murdered the Russian Imperial family who had been imprisoned in the "house of special purpose" in Ekaterinburg. They then proceeded to impose a far worse regime than anything any Tsar had ever imagined. The Russian Orthodox have lately canonized the "Tsar martyr" and his family.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Distributism Pops Up in the Oddest Places

Like the Wall Street Journal, f'rinstance.

Joseph Epstein in praise of shopkeepers:

. . . .My friend Edward Shils, the Cambridge and University of Chicago sociologist, used to say that he judged a city by the number of blocks of interesting shops it contained. By this measure, he felt, London and New York surpassed all others. By the same measure some cities scarcely qualify as cities at all: Los Angeles, for example, and possibly San Francisco. I do not count as interesting those shops in parts of cities that I think of as Poloville, after the logo of Ralph Lauren. Ah, those gentle strolls through Poloville, its shops filled with goods only a person who no longer cares about money would buy: Prada, Dunhill, Chanel, Barney's, Gucci, Emilio Meshuganah, and the rest. . . .

. . . ."England is a nation of shopkeepers," remarked Napoleon, unconsciously quoting Adam Smith and suggesting that they, the English, as mere shopkeepers, were unfit to fight the French. Well, we know how the shopkeepers fared at a place called Waterloo. No great surprise, really. Considerable courage and perseverance are required to start and keep a good shop running. Especially is this so today, when real estate rental is expensive, taxes on profits high, and the prospect of being clobbered by a national chain store moving in discourage the initiative needed to open a useful shop.

Running a good shop is a service to one's community, of much greater value, in my view, than the work of two hundred social workers, five hundred psychotherapists, and a thousand second-rate poets -- and more honorable than the efforts of the vast majority of the members of Congress. A nation of shopkeepers, far from being the put-down Napoleon thought, sounds more and more like an ideal to which a healthy country ought to aspire. . . .

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Novena for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel - Day 9

Flos Carmeli, Vitis florigera, Splendor coeli,
Virgo puerpera. Singularis.
Mater mitis, sed virinescia,
Carmelitis esto propitia
Stella Maris.

Concluding Prayer

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

14 July - Bl Richard Langhorne

Richard Langhorne (b. about 1635, d. at Tyburn, 14 July, 1679) Layman, husband, lawyer, and martyr for the Faith. The Catholic Encyclopædia has a little more here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Novena for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel - Day 8

Mater et Regina, Decor Carmeli. . . .

13 July -- St Teresa of the Andes, O.C.D.

In the Carmelite calendar today is the feast of St Teresa of the Andes a 20th century Carmelite nun of deep spirituality who died at 19. There is a short essay on her life here. And thanks to Mrs Vidal of the Fountain of Elias for pointing it out.)

(St Teresa is counted as the first canonized Chilean saint. But she also had roots in the lowlands of Scotland; her grandmother was an Armstrong.)

Calendar Alert

Friday the 13th comes on a Monday this month.

In This Morning's Papers

The Long Beach city council discovers a way to help struggling small businesses in a recession: make them pay for insurance for "domestic partners".

Why, of course.

(If you read the linked article, note how courageous is the councilman who questions this requirement. And try not to gag.)

Novena for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel - Day 7

Today's novena prayers taken from a prayer book published in 1895.

O Glorious Queen of Angels. . . .

Sunday, July 12, 2009

". . .not even Solomon in all his glory. . . ."

Last Friday the new bag cover for my Irish warpipes arrived from England. The refurbishment is complete and she is now arrayed as she hasn't been since she was new 26 years ago.


You can click on that picture for a bigger and better view.

The bag cover is even nicer than it appears in the picture. The cover is a thick, green velvet. What the picture shows as white criss-crossing lines can be seen in person to actually be fine gold braid. (I tried taking the shot from a couple of angles to get a bit of glint to show up off the braid but couldn't quite manage it.) She's also been outfitted with new green and gold silk cords, a new kangaroo skin bag (hidden by her new raiment), Wygent duotone drone reeds and an old Hardie chanter from the '70s or possibly even the '60s, which sound at a lower, and in my opinion, richer tone than the modern higher pitched chanters.

If you have inferred from this that I am absolutely delighted with the way she is looking and sounding these days, you are correct.

I only hope the Highland pipes don't get envious.

Novena for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel - Days 5 & 6

I hope you found yesterday's novena prayers without too much trouble. Yesterday had too much in it and no room was left for The Inn. Should I miss posting on any day again, you can scroll up or down from any day's prayers to find the entire novena.

To catch up, yesterday's prayers are here and today's - Day 6 - are here.

St Oliver Plunkett

St Oliver's feast day was actually yesterday on the 11th but I had no time to devote to the blog until today. He was Irish and the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. His jurisdiction included the Hebrides and part of Scotland but he was never able to visit there. He became the last Catholic martyr to die in England. He was canonized in 1975 by Pope Paul VI, the first canonized Irish saint for almost 7 centuries.

The good old Catholic Encyclopædia has a longish biography of him here.

Wikipedia has a shorter one here, but with some pictures of his shrine in Drogheda.

The picture at the top was found in Vultus Christi, Fr Mark's beautiful and spiritually enriching blog at this post.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Novena for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel - Day 4

O Glorious Queen of Angels. . . .

Some Piping for the Weekend. . . .

The Arklow Pipe Band - the only Grade II pipe band in the Republic of Ireland - playing in Howth a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Novena for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel - Day 3

Mater, Decor Carmeli. . . .

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Novena for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a week from tomorrow, Thursday 16 July. The preparatory novena usually begins 9 days prior to the feast and ends on the day before the feast. So it should have begun yesterday.

But I forgot.

So if you want to do the whole 9 days, you - like me - will have to begin today and end on the feast itself. Each day Tea at Trianon is posting prayers for a suitable novena. And there's one at the "Novena" blog, too. Day 1 can be found here. And Day 2 here.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The New Encyclical

The new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate has been published. There are versions in several languages on the Vatican website. The English version is here.

If that link doesn't work for you*, you can find a pdf version put up by New Advent (the on-line Catholic Encyclopædia people) here.

*As it doesn't work for me. For some reason when I try to use the direct link it defaults to the Vatican's home page. As the Vatican's website has the least-helpful search engine on the planet, the New Advent posting is most helpful.

Thoughts from the morning papers


Completely incomprehensible. Don't understand the feverish hullabloo at all. The man was a freak. And from all accounts a child molester. God rest his poor soul.

Sarah Palin

One point really ought to be added to the character assassination, uh, discussion of her resignation speech. I know this is wildly speculative and rather rash of me, but perhaps, just perhaps, she meant what she said. Yes, yes, I know. A truth-speaking politician is a difficult concept for the country-club Republican and the Democrat in general (who haven't had one of those since Al Smith died) but you have to admit it's one of the logical possibilities. Barbara, celarent, darii, square of opposition and all that.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Full Marks for the Novus Ordo

St Maria Goretti never made it into the general calendar in the traditional Roman Rite. The Novus Ordo calendar got that one right and her feast day is on 6 July. In the sex-saturated 21st century hardly any saint could be more appropriate than the little martyr for courage and chastity.

Click here for a web-page in her honour, a biography and devotions. (Excellent texts. But the music and, well, decor IMHO are a bit twee for someone who was ripped apart with kitchen knife.).

Sta. Maria Goretti, ora pro nobis.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day

And here is the Middlesex County Volunteers Fife Drum Corps representing the Continental Army of 1779 playing a few tunes of the period (and at least one - Neil Dickie's "Clumsy Lover" - not of the period):

The performance was at the 2007 Edinburgh Tattoo. Why the German language voice-over? Your guess is as good as mine.

Saints for the 4th of July

The Chideock Martyrs, the blesseds John Cornelius (O'Mahoney), S.J., Patrick Salmon, John Carey, and Thomas Bosgrave were put to death for the Catholic faith in England in 1594. The first three were Irish, although living in England, and the fourth was an educated English gentleman.

Their story is briefly told here.

The picture shows a portion of the moat, all that remains of Chideock Castle.

More Canonization Potential

The cause for Fr Emil Kapaun, the U.S. Army chaplain who died at the hands of the North Koreans in 1951, was officially opened last Sunday, 29 June 2009.

There was a notice in this morning's Press Telegram but it didn't make it into the PT's webpage. In any event, The Servant of God Fr Kapaun's official website can be found here.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Man and Music

The 34,000 (sic) year-old flute.

The Almost Blessed Cardinal Newman

One more step on the way to the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman: the confirmed miracle.

Some Piping for the Weekend

Mick O'Brien and Caoimhin O Raghallaigh on union pipes and fiddle playing some Irish hornpipes. (Yes, I could wish it hadn't been performed in a church. Regardless of canon law, it's not appropriate. Don't look, I guess; just listen.)

What I was actually looking for. . . .

. . .was this video:

Embedding was disabled so you'll have to go to the website. It shows the Corryvrechan Scottish dance demo team and their winning display at the Newcastle festival.

It's a beautiful and inventive performance with great music. But is it really Scottish country dancing anymore? Well, it's stretching a point. It's pretty far from SCD social dancing with some non-traditional steps and unusual figures. But it's a gorgeous display and worth putting up for a look. Enjoy.

Found While Looking for Something Else

This is the Corryvrechan Whirpool off the coast of Scotland just north of Jura. A pretty dangerous thing these people did to film it. But a fascinating video resulted nonetheless.

Here's part of what the Bruidhladdich website had to say:
To the North of Jura is found the fearsome Corryvreckan whirlpool. A natural phenomenon which is visible from the shore. An evil place. Twice a day the ocean tidal surge of water is funnelled between the long coast of Kintyre and the equally long Isle of Jura; the bulge of water is squished through a shallow and narrow channel between the North Coast of Jura and the Island of Scarba at 9 knots. With the floor of the channel shallowing from 200 metres to 60 metres and at the same time a rock pinnacle, like a finger, rising up from the sea bed to 29 metres from the surface, there is no surprise that the whirlpool was once described as a 'conflux so dreadful that it spurns all description. At the distance of 12 miles a most dreadful noise, as if all the infernal powers had been let loose, is heard ... and an eddy is formed which would swallow up the largest ship of the line.' It is further amplified when the strong current flowing from the east meets very strong westerly winds.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The feast of the Visitation was originally kept in the Roman Rite on Ember Friday in Advent. The Gospel on that day is still that of the Visitation. Cardinal Schuster explains how it came to be kept on July 2d:

For many centuries the Byzantines had commemorated on July 2 the deposition in the year 469 of the robe of the Blessed Virgin in the Basilica of Blachernæ. We do not know how this feast came to be observed also by the Latins, but they, influenced by the Octave of St John the Baptist, changed its significance and turned it into a commemoration of the visit of Mary to the home of Zachary and Elizabeth, when the Precursor was sanctified in his mother's womb.

. . . . . . .

The Introit is taken from Sedulius, a contemporary of St Jerome, some of whose hymns the Church has incorporated in her Office.

Salve, sancta Parens, enixa puerpera Regem
Qui cælum terramque tenet per sæcula.

Hail, holy Mother, who didst bring for the King, who ruleth heaven and earth for ever.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

De mortuis nil nisi boum

Some of the old saws are still honoured even when no one remembers them.

In the past week not much about Whacko Jacko but there have been barrels of ink spilled referring to the cultural icon.

What a difference a death makes.

The Station at St Paul

Well, we never got to it did we. The funeral didn't take long at all and they only wanted three tunes but the rest of the day was nibbled to death by a host of inconsequentials and the feast of St Paul ended unblogged.

But the Blessed Cardinal Schuster does indeed say a great deal of interest about the feasts of Ss Peter and Paul. Far too much to put up entire. So here is his text about the Station at St Paul. There were in the ancient church three papal stations for this feast day and the third one in the evening was at the Basilica of St Paul. The good Cardinal does seem especially interested in this station: he was at one time Abbot of the attached monastery.

The Evening Synaxis
Station at St Paul's.

The ancient Roman rite knew nothing—properly speaking —of our modern Vespers, for, apart from the daily psalmodic cursus of the monastic choirs, the festival evening Office in its original conception was only the anticipation or extension of the vigiliary synaxis—an Office, that is, in preparation for the feast.

In Rome, Easter week and the solemnity of the two Princes of the Apostles formed exceptions to this. For the latter feast the so-called Gelasian Sacramentary contains at least eight alternative Collects.

According to the Ordo Romanus XI of Benedict the Canon, the Pope, with all his court, proceeded on the afternoon of June 29 to St Paul's, and after Vespers sat down there to supper with his attendant clergy. As at St Peter's, so also at St Paul's, the vigiliary rite was twofold.

The first Office began immediately after supper. Three psalms having been sung, the monks of the abbey read the first three Lessons from the Acts of the Apostles, which tell of the Conversion of Saul. Between each Lesson the soloists sang a responsorial chant whilst the Pope, assisted by the cardinals, incensed the tomb of the apostle. The fourth and fifth Lessons were read by two bishops, the sixth and seventh by the cardinals, the eighth by a subdeacon, and the ninth by the Pope himself.

During the singing of the fourth responsory the Pope, instead of incensing only the altar, opened the fenestella confessionis with a golden key and went into the empty space, which can still be seen between the tomb of the apostle and the altar.

On the sepulchral slab dating from the time of Constantine the following may be read:

The two square openings which divide the word Paulo were called cateracte by the early Christians, and through these it was customary to insert veils and other objects of devotion which it was desired to bring into contact with the apostolic tomb. One of these two openings is deeper than the other, for it was a favour granted only to persons of distinction to introduce their objects of piety (sanctuaria usque ad secundam cateractam.)

The central aperture, on the other hand, served for the performance of a touching ceremony. Every year on St Paul's day, while the soloist on the ambo sang the melodies of the fourth vigiliary responsory, the Pope, entering, as we have said, into the camera confessionis, withdrew the censer -which had been let down through the hole on to the tomb of the apostle at this same Office in the preceding year, and introduced another also full of burning incense. Benedict the Canon adds that the archdeacon distributed amongst the people the remains of the incense and of the charcoal which had stood for the space of twelve months in such close proximity to the bones of the apostle—hac ratione, ut quicumque febricitans devote in fide Apostoli ex his biberit, sanetur.

The second vigiliary Office began towards daybreak and ended with the solemn Mass which the Pope was to celebrate with all the splendour of the Roman rite, celeberrime, says Benedict the Canon, further adding that the oblations placed by the faithful on the altar of St Paul served to recompense the clergy who had been present at the ceremony. The arch­deacon received the customary eighteen denarii, out of which, however, he had to pay the soloists who sang the responsories; each of the other singers received a coin of the value of four denarii pro beneficio solemnitatis.

Until 1870 a last survival of this great solemnity existed in the cappella papale, which the Pope held each year on June 30 in the Basilica of the Doctor of the Gentiles. The Pontiff first celebrated the holy Sacrifice at the altar of the Confessio, then, when he had taken his seat on the throne, surrounded by his noble court, by the patriarchs and the bishops assisting at the pontifical throne, and by the monks in the choir, the solemn pontifical Mass began, accompanied by the classical music of the Sistine Chapel.

The ceremony being over, the usual frugal refrigerium of Rome followed in the neighbouring monastery—a last memorial of the agape of love—and at this the Pope, the cardinals, the prelates of the court, and the monastic com­munity all took part happily together, much as we have seen it described in the Ordines Romani by Benedict the Canon.

We will reproduce here in honour of the two Princes of the Apostles the simple and touching inscription which the early collectors of epigraphs copied from the gate which in the sixth century was known merely as the gate of St Peter.


Peter, the doorkeeper, has erected his own sanctuary outside
this gate :
Who can now deny that our city with its towers is like
heaven itself?
On the opposite side the sanctuary of St Paul encloses the
Between the two is Rome. Here, then, is God's own seat.