Monday, December 30, 2019

Not, I Think, What the Founders Intended . . .

. . . but here we are now.

For most  modern European philosophers, especially German philosophers, the phrase "The State" has always meant the absolute supreme authority above all society.
The word "Federation", coming from the Latin word for "treaty",  generally means a free and rather loose agreement   between these supreme states.  But when the future Historian (poor brute) turns to the great topic of America, he will find just the opposite.  He will find the word "Federal" meaning the supreme authority that centralizes and overrules everything.  He will find the word "State" used for the subordinate thing; the sub-unit like the county or the city.

from GK Chesterton's A Hint About History from the New York American, March 12 1932 via the November/December 2019 number of Gilbert!.

Friday, December 27, 2019

St John the Evangelist -- 27 December

Not another reprint?  Yes, another one.  I like this one.  It's got the text for the blessing of wine in it, which may come in handy, given the season.

For today is the feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist.  Yes, the source is the Gospels, but the good old Catholic Encyclopædia will tell you something of St John in more condensed form here.

The Inn has copied this paragraph about St John's wine from the late Msgr Richard Schuler before.  And we do it again now:

St John the Evangelist was honored on December 27. His feast was a general holiday, being kept as the third day of Christmas. Special wine, called St John's Love, was blessed on St John's Day, the formula for the blessing being found in the Rituale Romanum. It was thought that St John had survived the drinking of poisoned wine. Those going on a long journey fortified themselves from harm by drinking St John's wine, and at weddings it was regularly drunk. Often those about to depart this life were given a sip to strengthen them for their departure from this world. In St John's Gospel, Christ is called the Light of the World, and so when lighting the Christmas tree, a child with the name of John is often given the privilege of lighting the tree.

That's from an old number - about 10 years ago - of The Wanderer.  The original link no longer links to the original story and I'm not finding it in the archive (which you'd probably have to subscribe to anyway).  But if you want to have a go  yourself you can start here.

Here's "The Blessing of Wine on the Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist" from the old Roman Ritual:

After the principal Mass on the feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist, after the last gospel, the priest, retaining all vestments except the maniple, blesses wine brought by the people.  This is done in  memory and honor of St John, who without detriment drank the poisoned wine proffered by  his enemies:

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made both heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R.  And with thy spirit.

     Let us pray.

Bless + and consecrate, + O Lord God, this chalice of wine (or any other beverage - et cujuslibet potus)through the merits of St John, Apostle and Evangelist.  Bestow benediction and protection upon all who drink of this cup.  For as the blessed John partook of the poisoned potion without any hurt, so may all who on this day drink of the blessed wine to the honor of St John, by him be freed from poisoning and similar harmful things.  And as they offer themselves soul and body to thee, O Lord God, give them absolution and pardon.  Through Christ our Lord.  R. Amen.

Bless, + O Lord, this draught that it be a helpful medicine to all who drink it; and grant by thy grace that all who taste thereof  may enjoy bodily and spiritual health in calling upon they holy name.  Through Christ our Lord,  R.  Amen.

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, + and Holy Ghost come upon this wine and remain constantly.  R.  Amen.
There are actually two blessings for St John's wine in the Ritual.  The second one is perhaps twice as long so we'll leave that one for next year, along with the Latin text which I'm running out of time to proof at the moment. (And, yes, of course I proof these things.  I even edit them.  Hard to believe I know, but what you see here is, indeed, the improved version.)

This year someone has posted to the web Dom Gueranger's article on St John from his monumental The Liturgical Year.  If you've got the time - it's quite a lengthy piece -- you can find it here.   It's worth a look.  There are liturgical texts from the Roman, Byzantine, Ambrosian, and Gallican rites.  Beautiful stuff.

The Third Day of Christmas

Stolen shamelessly from Charles Coulombe's FB page:

Well, my friends, the Yuletide amateurs are now tossing their trees; it is up to us professionals to keep the Twelve Days going - and not give up entirely until Candlemas - of course, then we'll be entering Carneval...!

And, should you have any doubts, The Inn will most heartily drink to that.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 26, 2019

St Stephan's Day

You've seen this before but it's worth a reprint in honour of the day that's in it.

There are old traditions that even the most traditionalist clergy are highly unlikely to ever want reinstated. Today, St Stephen's Day, used to have one called "stephening" in the parish of Drayton Beauchamp, Bucks. It is probably at the top of that "unwanted" list. From the 1869 edition of Chambers' "Book of Days, A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities in Connection with the Calendar, Including Anecdote, Biography, & History, Curiosities of Literature and Oddities of Human Life and Character":

In the parish of Drayton Beauchamp, Bucks, there existed long an ancient custom, called Stephening, from the day on which it took place. On St. Stephen's Day, all the inhabitants used to pay a visit to the rectory, and practically assert their right to partake of as much bread and cheese and ale as they chose at the rector's expense. On one of these occasions, according to local tradition, the then rector, being a penurious old bachelor, determined to put a stop, if possible, to this rather expensive and unceremonious visit from his parishioners. Accordingly, when St. Stephen's Day arrived, he ordered his housekeeper not to open the window-shutters, or unlock the doors of the house, and to remain perfectly silent and motionless whenever any person was heard approaching. At the usual time the parishioners began to cluster about the house. They knocked first at one door, then at the other, then tried to open them, and on finding them fastened, they called aloud for admittance. No voice replied. No movement was heard within. 'Surely the rector and his house-keeper must both be dead!' exclaimed several voices at once, and a general awe pervaded the whole group. Eyes were then applied to the key-holes, and to every crevice in the window-shutters, when the rector was seen beckoning his old terrified housekeeper to sit still and silent. A simultaneous shout convinced him that his design was under-stood. Still he consoled himself with the hope that his larder and his cellar were secure, as the house could not be entered. But his hope was speedily dissipated. Ladders were reared against the roof, tiles were hastily thrown off, half-a-dozen sturdy young men entered, rushed down the stairs, and threw open both the outer-doors. In a trice, a hundred or more unwelcome visitors rushed into the house, and began unceremoniously to help themselves to such fare as the larder and cellar afforded; for no special stores having been provided for the occasion, there was not half enough bread and cheese for such a multitude. To the rector and his housekeeper, that festival was converted into the most rigid fast-day they had ever observed. 
After this signal triumph, the parishioners of Drayton regularly exercised their 'privilege of Stephening' till the incumbency of the Rev. Basil Wood, who was presented to the living in 1808. Finding that the custom gave rise to much rioting and drunkenness, he discontinued it, and distributed instead an annual sum of money in proportion to the number of claimants. But as the population of the parish greatly increased, and as he did not consider himself bound to continue the practice, he was induced, about the year 1827, to withhold his annual payments; and so the custom became finally abolished. For some years, however, after its discontinuance, the people used to go to the rectory for the accustomed bounty, but were always refused. 
In the year 1834, the commissioners appointed to inquire concerning charities, made an investigation into this custom, and several of the inhabitants of Drayton gave evidence on the occasion, but nothing was elicited to shew its origin or duration, nor was any legal proof advanced showing that the rector was bound to comply with such a demand. Many of the present inhabitants of the parish remember the custom, and some of them have heard their parents say, that it had been observed:
'As long as the sun had shone,
And the waters had run.'
Chambers has even more oddments about St Stephan's Day here.

So . . . I hear you ask . . . what's all that stuff about burying the wren in the song?

Well, in a reprint from a different year, The Inn had this:

The 26th December is known as St Stephen's Day in Ireland. In Northern Ireland it's also known as Boxing Day. In most homes it is a sociable day, when visitors may call in to share some seasonal foods or liquid (usually alcoholic) refreshments. . . . . St Stephens is also the day when a purely Irish phenomenon can be witnessed: the tradition of Hunting the Wren. This is when the Wren Boys take to the streets in colourful costumes and masks, and noisily parade a dead wren on a decorated pole. It's a strange tradition and its origins are often debated. Some say it originated in Pagan times. Others from the Viking invasion. Most opt for a simplified religious reference: the betrayal by a wren of St Stephen who was hiding from the Romans who subsequently killed him for his Christian beliefs. Wren on tree branch This, then, gave the reason for hunting down the wren, and in olden days a bird was, indeed, captured and killed. The Wren Boys would then carry the dead bird on a pole from house to house and beg for money to bury the 'evil bird'. . . .
And that came from here.  And there's more at that link.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Christmas Martyrology

This is reprinted from a few years ago.  Mostly.  It's been tidied up a bit, a couple of dead links removed and one or two new items added.

At the old morning office of Prime on this day the Martyrology reading would be the solemn announcement of Christ’s birth. This is the description given by Pius Parsch:

In some European monasteries the chanter, vested in alb and violet cope, steps into the middle of the choir, accompanied by ministers with candles and censer. He incenses the Martyrology on the violet-covered lectern, and after announcing the date begins to sing. All stand with heads uncovered, as at the Gospel. At the phrase, ‘in Bethlehem,’ all kneel; and at the words, ‘the birth of our Lord,’ all prostrate for the first adoration of the Son of God become Man. The passage begins with the fixation of the date according to the ancient computation. 

Here Dom Mark Kirby, the [former] prior of Silverstream Priory in County Meath, chants the Martyrology:

[And here's another, more recent one, this time in English and somewhat embellished.  And, odd though it may seem, a bit harder to understand.  Still very lovely.]

The text in English:

In the year from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created Heaven and Earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine;
from the flood, two thousand, nine hundred and fifty-seven;
from the birth of Abraham, two thousand and fifteen;
from Moses and the coming of the Israelites out of Egypt, one thousand, five hundred and ten;
from the annointing of King David, one thousand and thirty-two;
in the sixty-fifth week, according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
in the year seven hundred and fifty-two from the founding of the city of Rome;
in the forty-second year of the empire of Octavian Augustus, when the whole earth was at peace;
in the sixth age of the world:
Jesus Christ, eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, havng been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months having elapsed since his conception, is born in Bethlehem of Juda, having become man of the Virgin Mary.  Alleluia.  Thanks be to God.
Original found  here. Edited a little; mostly punctuation.
The Latin original is reprinted here.

Fr Z has post this morning dedicated to the Christmas martyrology here.  He not only gives an audio version of the original Latin but adds a link to a pdf of the Gregorian dots should you want to try your hand at singing it.  Or your, um, vocal chords.

There also is a newer aggiornamentoized version available,  so they tell me.  One presumes that "1,599 years from the creation of the world" caused palpitations in the breast of Archbishop Gradgrind and Msgr Bounderby who instigated a revision forthwith.

(One wonders idly what the purpose of a new, improved, lemon-flavoured Martyrology might be.  Since the martyrology is to be read at the office of Prime and the office of Prime has been determined to be surplus to requirements what does one do with one's brand-new copy of the Roman Martyrology?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Der Herr is geboren!


Just back from Christmas Eve Mass.  Our schola did pretty well but we were very low on personnel.  All the women had other engagements and we men were down to only three.  So no polyphony but we did pretty well with the Gregorian propers and the congregation filled the chapel with the Healy Willan Mass.  So all-in-all, a beautiful Christmas Eve Mass.

A very merry and holy Christmas to all who stop by The Inn this season.  (And even to those who don't; they just won't know they've been wished it.)


Christmas and Washington Irving

Somebody posted this on FB this morning.  The title is "How Washington Irving Shaped Christmas in America" and that, indeed, is what it's all about.   Worth a read.

And it reminded me that Washington Irving on Christmas is himself worth a read.  Tom Fitzpatrick serialized it several years ago on his Recta Ratio blog, which is where I first encountered it.  I can't figure out how to post a link to his individual posts but you can find them but running a search for Washington Irving in the little box at the upper left-hand corner of this and most other blogspot hosted sites.

Or you could try the Gutenberg site for some Washington Irving Christmas.  Try here.


Is a Puzzlement -- every year

I understand about the department stores.  Christmas gifts come but once a year.  But why are the grocery stores so crowded just before Christmas?

Yes, I know people are buying the turkey and the fixin's for the 25th of December.  Buy where do all these extra people get their food on, say,  the 12 of April?  Or the 29th of September?  Do they fast the other 51 weeks of the year?  Or do they grow all their own food and raise their own cattle and pigs but have difficulty raising turkeys?

Is a puzzlement.


Emphasizing Sacrality

This restoration of a sense of the Holiness and otherness of the One Oblation of the Lord Once Offered is going to be the greatest task, the most laborious up-hill struggle, for all those Western clergy who desire to re-enter the historic, ecumenical liturgical consensus of the Latin West and the Byzantine Churches and the Semitic Christian East. Its destruction in the West more than a generation ago was one of the greatest successes of the Evil One. Its recovery is the calling of faithful clergy in this third millennium.

from Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment.  More at the link.

The Infallible Word from Corporate

A Charlie Brown Christmas, one of the most iconic children’s Christmas specials around, was originally rejected by CBS on the grounds that they didn’t like amateur child voice actors voicing the characters, the anti-consumerism message, and the musical score.

From the "How to Geek" site which arrived in my inbox this morning.


Friday, December 06, 2019

Why Sexual Morality May Be More Important Than You Thought

Well, actually I did think it was rather important.  Getting it wrong could result in an eternity in hell.  But it seems there are other social and cultural reasons of resounding importance.

Begin here.



Pilfered shamelessly from the Chesterton Society's FB page.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

1st Sunday of Advent

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead; we may rise to the life immortal; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

 Thus a collect for the 1st Sunday of Advent.  In the Ordinariate it's also the feast of St Edmund Campion who was martyred on this first day of December in 1581.  He doesn't get a look-in this year  since in falls on an Advent Sunday.   You can read more about him here.