Friday, February 23, 2007

Feast of the Crown of Thorns


The first feast in honour of the Crown of Thorns (Festum susceptionis coronae Domini) was instituted at Paris in 1239, when St. Louis brought thither the relic of the Crown of Thorns, which was deposited later in the Royal Chapel, erected in 1241-8 to guard this and other relics of the Passion. The feast, observed on 11 August, though at first special to the Royal Chapel, was gradually observed throughout the north of France. In the following century another festival of the Holy Crown on 4 May was instituted and was celebrated along with the feast of the Invention of the Cross in parts of Spain, Germany, and Scandinavia. It is still kept in not a few Spanish dioceses and is observed by the Dominicans on 24 April. A special feast on the Monday after Passion Sunday was granted to the Diocese of Freising in Bavaria by Clement X (1676) and Innocent XI (1689) in honour of the Crown of Christ. It was celebrated at Venice in 1766 on the second Friday of March. In 1831 it was adopted at Rome as a double major and is observed on the Friday following Ash Wednesday. As it is not kept throughout the universal Church, the Mass and Office are placed in the appendices to the Breviary and the Missal. The hymns of the Office, which is taken from the seventeenth-century Gallican Breviary of Paris, were composed by Habert. The "Analecta hymnica" of Dreves and Blume contains a large number of rhythmical offices, hymns, and sequences for this feast.

Stations of the Cross

Veneration of Relic touched to the true Cross

Mass for the First Friday of Lent

Liturgical Rearguard fighting the Latin Mass Indult

Blind French loyalty to a lost cause
Napoleon and his Imperial Guard

This is a translation of an article from Rudolf Pacik appeared in the once-conservative Austrian Church magazine, Die Furche on the 8th February 2007.

Rudolf Pacik is the Professor of Liturgical Science and Sacramental Theology at the University of Salzburg. He has been on the Liturgical Commission for Austria since 1980 and on the Austrian Theological Commission since 2004.

Clerical Latin

What is hidden behind the demand to readmit the pre-Conciliar liturgy into the Catholic Church?

The title implies that the traditional movement in the Catholic Church is only clerical. As the question is not answered in the article, it is slur suggesting all sorts of dubious motives.

There has been a rumour for some time now that Rome will readmit the old form of the Mass generally in the near future and that the promulgation of the relevant Papal document is almost immediately due.

There is, however, already a limited permission that has been valid since October 3rd 1984. At that time local bishops were empowered to allow the celebration of the Mass according to the Tridentine Missal (in the edition of 1962) in certain circumstances. Since then conservative circles have tried to widen the use of the old Rite. They even use the argument that the old Rite still is valid.

Shock, horror. Quo Primum Tempore valid after all these years.

Even those in the higher echelons of the hierarchy, such as the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Hoyos maintained that with reference to article 4 of the Liturgy Constitution, “according to tradition the Holy Council that our Holy Mother the Church acknowledges the same rights and the same honour to all legally recognized Rites”. This text, however, refers to the relationship of the Roman Rite to the Eastern Rite and non-Roman Western liturgies: one is not above the other, but all rites are of equal value.

The Roman Rite clearly has some sort of primacy as it is the Pope's liturgy but at the same time the Council gives all rites, "equal right and dignity". The text does not overtly talk about specific rites and can clearly apply to the old Rite, providing rather ample protection, if anyone had bothered to read the text earlier.

"Lastly, in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way. The Council also desires that, where necessary, the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet the circumstances and needs of modern times. "

The beginning of liturgical chaos
Supposing the above rumour is correct. What would happen? Would the former legislation and the pre-conciliar liturgical books really be free to use? The Church would not be destroyed if this happens but there would be a chaos. There would be two differing Church years, two saints calendars, two books for the readings of Holy Scipture, two divergent regulations on the arrangement of the Churches, there would be ordinations into minor orders and sub-deacons with these “old believers” and the lay ecclesiastical officials would be done away with.

An unbelievable accusation. The guys that brought you the last forty years of liturgical chaos (see Cathcon passim) are worried about liturgical chaos. There would, of course, be a simple solution to the problems posed by two books. Go back to the 1962 Missal but I doubt that the good professor would agree to this. He uses “old believers” as a pejorative – it can either mean Old Catholic or Russian Old Believers- in neither case is the comparison meant to be flattering. The return of the true expression of hierarchy in the minor orders would indeed be most welcome as would the sweeping away of the pseudo-clerical elite that has developed since the Second Vatican Council. The Professor is a participant in the bureaucracy of this elite. When he talks of active participation below, he normally means not by the ordinary Catholic layman or woman but by the members of this elite.

The actual problem however is not the chaos that this creates but the running in parallel of two different theologies of the liturgy. The Second Vatican Council has defined in the Liturgy Constitution the liturgy as being celebrated by the whole parish. A form of Mass that concerns everybody in all parts and in which many are all actively participating and understand it and where many have been given different roles to perform. The faithful have through baptism been re-given these offices, which they have not been able to exercise since the Middle Ages.

Due to this, one had to revise the form of the liturgy in the Mass which is exactly what happened in the Missale Romanum of 1970. The so-called Tridentine Rite (which should in reality be called medieval) even in its small revision of 1962 is a totally priest bound Mass as the former Viennese liturgist Johannes Emminghaus pointed out.

Totally priest bound - is that a protestant talking? Well maybe he is getting near, he did write a Plea for Communion in Both Kinds. The Council of Trent on this matter, for contrast.

The Ritus Servandus which is the introductory chapter to the Missale describes its basis as the private celebration by one priest.

To compare the old and the new rubrics is not possible, as the new Mass was extensively derubricised. Both priests and people were given far too much liberty. It is surprising that the new Mass has retained the character of a Rite given the wide divergence in form and content throughout the Catholic world.

The priest has to see to everything. Only what he does is valid.

The last comment is not worthy of a serious academic.

And texts which others, such as lectors, deacons and choir use, he recites again soto-voce (for safety’s sake?).

What on earth does “for safety’s sake” mean? Is he insulting the laity or the priesthood?

The celebrant and people are acting independently of each other.

This serves his argument well but is totally inaccurate in theory (priest and people are distinct but related) as well as practice.

The Communion of the Faithful is the only exception to the lack of interaction and is therefore in the rubrics outside the Mass (!).

This was for historical reasons, given that frequent Communion was only promoted in the pontificate of Pope St Pius X. Is he saying that there was absolutely zero interaction before this Pope?

There was a liturgical movement from the 1920s onwards which instituted a “communal mass” in which the priest was responsible for the silent Mass and a vernacular layer was laid over this. However, the rites themselves were not changed (in the beginning, it was not even made clear whether the people would be allowed to reply to the priest).

Theological truth
The Second Vatican Council has initiated the liturgy as a parish celebration and active participation. This is not only a pedagogical imperative but rather has resurrected a long-forgotten theological truth. This truth is the core of all Eucharistic celebrations.

Outrageous. The truth at the core of all Masses is that the action is identical with the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus on Calvary.

As St John Chrysostom, perhaps the greatest preacher of the early Church, proclaimed:
When thou seest the Lord sacrificed and lying as an oblation [on the altar], and the priest standing by the sacrifice and praying; and all things reddened with that precious blood, dost thou think that thou art still among men and standing on earth? Nay, art thou not straightway translated to heaven, so as to cast every carnal thought out of thy soul, and with unimpeded soul and clean mind to behold the things that are in heaven?

Shot through the discussion is the idea that the congregation actively participating can in some sense achieve the benefits of the Mass.

Christ is the Sacrifice offered by the priest, standing in persona Christi.

To return to the pre-Conciliar era is not possible even if one is inclined to criticise some details of the reform. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who as is well known is a friend of the traditional liturgy has several times pointed out an example of his 1998 speech to the 10 year celebration of the Motu Propriu Ecclesia Dei when he said the following (Ecclesia Dei was Pope John Paul II’s reaction to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s willful consecration of bishops).

Willful! He has just been told that as part of the “peace deal” he had to hand over all the money and property.

“Above all, the Second Vatican Council has generated an understanding of the substance of the liturgy is shown in specific reforms but which, at the same time, expresses the constant standard of correct liturgical celebration”. Both the celebration of the liturgy according to the old, as well as the new books can be judged by this standard.”

He then quotes the relevant articles of the Liturgy Constitution which describes the liturgy as a communal celebration. He also said on his lecture at the 40th Anniversary of the Liturgy Constitution in 2003.

“It was an urgent desire to unite priests and faithful in a single communal liturgy, to reopen the glass shrine for a communal devotion in a “reasonable worship”, as one could translate the words of the Roman Canon “rationale obsequium”.”

He called participatio, one of the fundamental categories of the reform.

Pope Benedict XVI would contradict his earlier statement if he gave general freedom to the old Rite of the Mass. Above all he would negate the theological cognition of the Second Vatican Council.

Quoting the Pope’s own words against the Pope are the last acts of a desperate movement. He has not read the Pope’s writings extensively. This is what he had to say about the question at a conference at the Abbey of Fontgombault in France.

It is time the Pope acted and issued the new indult. He needs to put modern liturgists out of the agonies of anticipation.

The Future of the Missal of Saint Pius V - Cardinal Ratzinger 2001

Source The Times

I well know the sensibilities of those faithful who love this Liturgy — these are, to some extent, my own sensibilities. And in that sense, I can well understand what Professor Spaemann was saying when he asserted that if you do not know the aim of a reform, however small it may be, if you are left to suppose that this is just an intermediate step towards a complete revolution, then people feel sensitive about it. And in that sense we have to be very careful about any possible changes. However, he did also say—and I emphasise this — it would be fatal for the old Liturgy to be, as it were, placed in a deepfreeze, left like a national park, a park protected for the sake of a certain kind of people, for whom one leaves available these relics of the past. This would be — as Professor de Mattei said to us — a kind of inculturation: "There are also the conservationists, let that group have their own cultural version!" If it were to be reduced to the past in that way, we would not be preserving this treasure for the Church of today, and that of tomorrow. It seems to me that we should avoid, come what may, having this Liturgy frozen, as if in a deep-freeze, just for a certain type of people.

It must also be a Liturgy of the Church, and under the authority of the Church; and only within this ecclesial dimension, in a fundamental relationship with the authority of the Church, can it give all that it has to offer. Naturally, one can say, 'We no longer have any confidence in the authority of the Church, after all we have been through in the past thirty years.' It is nevertheless a basic Catholic principle to trust in the authority of the Church. I have always been much impressed by something Harnack said in a discussion with Peterson, a Protestant theologian who at that time was moving towards converting to Catholicism; Harnack answered the questions of his younger colleague by saying: it is obvious that the Catholic principle of Scripture and Tradition is better, and that it is the correct principle, and that it implies the existence of a given authority in the Church; but even if the principle in itself, the Catholic principle, is correct, we are better off living without an authority and without the actions such an authority might take. He had confidence that the free use of reason in studying the Scriptures would bring men to the truth, and that this was better than being subject to some authority which could equally make mistakes. That is true, authority can make mistakes, but being obedient to that authority is for us the guarantee of our being obedient to the Lord. That is certainly a very strong admonition to those people who are exercising authority, not to exercise it in the way you exercise power. Having authority in the Church is always an exercise in obedience. When the Holy Father decided that the Church does not have the power to ordain women, this was an exercise in obedience towards the great Tradition of the Church and towards the Holy Spirit. For me, it is always most interesting to see the keenest progressives and the fiercest opponents of the Church's Magisterium saying to us, "Why, no, of course the Church can perfectly well do that! You ought to make use of the powers you have available!" —No, the Church can not do everything, the Pope can not do everything. It seems to me that, towards an authority which in the present situation is becoming more than ever a conscious exercise in obedience, everyone can have, must have such confidence.

To speak more in concrete, practical terms, I am not going to do anything in this sphere for the moment—that is clear. But, for the future, we ought to think —it seems to me —in terms of enriching the Missal of 1962 by introducing some new saints; there are now some important figures amongst the saints —I am thinking, for example, of Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, the martyrs of Spain, the martyrs of Ukraine, and so many others —but also thinking of that little Bakita in the Sudan, who came from slavery and came to freedom in her faith in the Lord; there are many really lovely figures whom we all need. Thus, opening-up the calendar of the old Missal to new saints, making a well thought-out choice of these, that seems to me something which would be appropriate at present, and would not have any destructive effect on the fabric of the Liturgy. We might also think about the Prefaces, which also come from the storehouse of wealth in the Church Fathers, for Advent, for example, and then others; why not insert those Prefaces into the old Missal?

Thus, with great sensitivity, and by showing a great deal of understanding for people's fears and preoccupations, maintaining contact with their leaders, we should be able to understand that this Missal is also a Missal of the Church, and under the authority of the Church, that it is not an object preserved from the past, but a living reality within the Church, very much respected in its particular identity and for its historical stature, but equally considered as something which is living, and not as a dead thing, a relic of the past. All the Liturgy of the Church is always a living thing, a reality which is higher than us, and is not subject to our decisions and our arbitrary intentions. Those are the few remarks that I wanted to make.

Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist

is imminent and maybe also the universal indult for the Latin Mass?

Carnival Stealth Priestess

in the Church of St Francis in Wels "celebrates" Carnival last Tuesday with Communion from the tabernacle.

The Church were the servers wear tiaras
and the ministers funny hats

Later on, the server gets to wear the funny hat

There was an early walk-out.

The boy with the tambourine wearing the hat recycled from Halloween.

This is the Church where they no longer have the Cross but worship the twig

Let's celebrate

Altar becomes a hiding place

One day you will grow up and can be a priestess.

Just what, however, is she trying to prove?

Coming soon to a Church near you.

The Bishop of Linz is silent, so that you could hear a pin drop.

Also covered on the ever-excellent

Judges Won't Stop Closure of St. Brigid's Church

The Superior Court has ruled it has no jurisdiction to intervene in the closure of St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church.

Three judges say the Archdiocese of Ottawa was within its rights in ordering the parish closed.

Parishioners claim Archbishop Marcel Gervais broke an implied agreement to keep the Murray Street church open if enough funds were raised.

Liturgical research as a motor of reform

Fascinating article sorry its in German! Discusses the work of Father Josef Jungmann SJ- almost impossible to overestimate his influence of the Second Vatican Council.

Forgetting the salvation of your soul, Cardinal calls on us to save planet

Cardinal Lehmann calls on Germans to economise on car travel during Lent.

The Chaiman of the German Bishops Conference Karl Cardinal Lehmann has asked the Germans to forego car driving in view of the threatening climate change, according to the Bild Zeitung of yesterday. The Cardinal supports the Church’s action in Rheinland Pfalz and Saarland. He recommends that the faithful should leave their cars for four weeks and go either by bus, foot or bicycle.

Lehmann says to the Bild Zeitung.
“Lent running up to Easter invites us to think about our style of living. We should therefore use Lent so that we personally make a contribution to the improvement of the climate. The preservation of creation is a task that concerns us all”

Cardinal Lehmann
The Invention of Nature and Landscape

Here seen at an environment conference. Hasn't the world got enough environmentalists?

What a great life I've had.

Close friend of Pope John Paul II a communist spy? text and audio report. The title of his autobiography serves as the title to this post.

Modern Passionists meet


Although you would not know it from the way they dress.

Blessed Dominic Barberi said during his lifetime that he would not pray for his order in heaven if they substantially changed the Rule or the habit. They haven't actually scrapped the Rule but completely attentuated it by ludicrous "constitutions".

Some Passionists dress like the real thing,
even down to the sandals rather than shoes.