29 December 2014

Just A Thought ...

As "Midnight" Mass at Christmas  moves backwards to become earlier and earlier on Christmas Eve (6.00 pm is the earliest I know of this year: any advance ... err ... retreat?) why do we have to have the Easter Vigil so late?  Could we not start moving it backwards too?  Give it a few years and a bit of elastic thinking that seems to fit the current Vatican mood if the subject under discussion has to do with modern marriage habits, we could be back to pre-1955 in no time!

27 December 2014

Sunday in the Octave of the Nativity 1862

28 SUNDAY. (Vacant.) The HOLY INNOCENTS, Martyrs, double of the second class with an Octave, during which sixth prayers are of the Octave.  Red. At Vespers, second Vespers of Christmas to the little Chapter, thence of St Thomas of Canterbury, Bishop Martyr, commemoration of Holy Innocents and Octave of Christmas only.

29 Monday. (Feast of Devotion.) St THOMAS of Canterbury, Bishop Martyr, double of the first class with an Octave, during which third prayers are of the Octave and the Creed is said. Commemoration of Christmas only today. Red. [In the dioceses of Westminster, Hexham and Newcastle, Liverpool, and Southwark, Plenary Indulgence.  In the dioceses of the North, the Plenary Indulgence is available during the Octave.]

30 Tuesday. Mass of the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, semidouble, with Commemoration of the Octaves of Christmas, St Stephen, the Holy Innocents, and St Thomas. White.

31 Wednesday. St Sylvester, Bishop Confessor, double, with commemoration of the Octaves of Christmas, St Stephen, the Holy Innocents, and St Thomas. White.

1 Thursday. The CIRCUMCISION OF OUR LORD, double of the second class. The Creed is said today and every day until the Octave of the Epiphany. White. Second Vespers of the Feast, and with commemoration of St Stephen only. Plenary Indulgence from first Vespers until sunset.

2 Friday. Octave of St Stephen, Proto-martyr, double. Commemoration of the Octaves of St Thomas, St John and the Holy Innocents. Red. Abstinence.

3 Saturday. Octave of St John, Apostle and Evangelist, double. Commemoration of the Octaves of St Thomas and the Holy Innocents.  Preface of the Apostles.  White. [In the dioceses of Clifton, St David's and Newport, and of Plymouth, principal Mass of the BVM with Gloria, one prayer, and Creed. White.]

Perhaps the biggest change the twenty-first century Catholic following this series will have to get used to is the fact that Sundays do not usually take precedence over other feasts, but this Sunday and next are rarer yet!  The Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day is rarely celebrated on Sunday.  It is transferred to 30 December if any of 25-28 December falls on a Sunday, such as this year. (If 29 December is a Sunday, then Sunday's Mass is said and St Thomas is transferred to the thirtieth. If 30 December is a Saturday, the Mass of the Sunday is said and Mass on the Sunday is of St Sylvester with a commemoration of the Sunday (as well as all of the Octaves)).

Apart from the wandering Sunday, this week is relatively straightforward, though there are a lot of commemorations to keep up with.  Of note is the fact that Thursday, New Year's Day, the feast of the Circumcision, is a Holyday of Obligation, one of seven in the year (the Epiphany, the Ascension, Corpus Christi, SS Peter and Paul, The Assumption and Christmas Day are the others).

Most dioceses honour the feast of St Thomas of Canterbury with a Plenary Indulgence, available in the North throughout his Octave.  There is a plenary Indulgence on the feast of the Circumcision applicable to the Holy Souls (as there was on Christmas Day and will be on all feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady). In the diocese of Liverpool, a Plenary Indulgence is available every Sunday.

In the South West of England and in South Wales the first free Saturday of each quarter (January, April, July and October) is celebrated as Our Lady's Saturday, though if there is more than one Mass, the feast of the day will be celebrated:  this week  the Octave of St John.

The Pro-cathedral of the Westminster Archdiocese was St Mary's in Moorfields.  It opened in 1820, and had cost £26,000 to build and furnish.  It served as Pro-Cathedral until 1869, when the episcopal see moved, as the area had become denuded of parishioners.  The church was demolished in 1899, the site being sold for £200,000. (Another church with the same name was built nearby and stands to this day, the only Catholic church in the City of London.)

The church was served by the Revv Daniel Gilbert DD, J L Patterson, Thomas Cahill, Leo Pycke, and James Hussey.
Mass on Sundays and Holy Days was a 7.00, 8.00, 9.00 and 10.00, with High Mass at 11.00.  Catechism at 3.00 pm, accompanied on the Third Sunday of the month by Benediction.  Baptisms at 3.00 pm (and on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11.00 am).  Vespers, Sermon and Benediction at 7.00 pm. On weekdays, Mass at 7.30, 8.00 and 10.00. On Thursday, Rosary, Sermon and Benediction at 8.00, and on other weekdays Rosary and Night Prayers at 8.00.  First Friday of each month Sermon and Benediction in honour of the Sacred Heart.  Second Friday of each month the Way of the Cross.  Confessions daily except Monday and Tuesday from 8.00 to 11.00 am, and on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6.00 pm.  Confraternities of the Blessed Sacrament, Sacred Heart, Holy Angels for children, and Christian Doctrine.  Socieities: Holy Trinity Total Abstinence Society, Benevolent Society of the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor, and the Night refuge for Homeless Women of Good Character.
The priests also served Newgate Prison; the Old Bailey; the Debtors' Prison, Lower Whitecross St; St Bartholomew's Hospital, Smithfield; Metropolitan Free Hospital, Devonshire Sq, Bishopsgate; Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital, Blomfield St.
The Cardinal Archbishop, the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Nicholas Wiseman, had his residence at 8 York Place, Portman Square.  When in town he was at home every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 11.00 and 2.00, Tuesday being especially devoted to the clergy.  The Vicar-general, the Very Rev Dr Hearn would be in attendance at Archbishop's House on Tuesdays from 12.00 to 2.00.

20 December 2014

Fourth Sunday of Advent 1862

21 Sunday, 4th of Advent, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM, third prayers for the Church or Pope. Violet. First Vespers of St Thomas the Apostle with commemoration of Sunday. Antiphon O Oriens. Red.

22 Monday, St Thomas the Apostle, double of second class (transferred from yesterday). Red.

23 Tuesday, Feria. Violet.

24 Wednesday, Vigil of the Nativity. Violet. FAST.

The Indulgence begins.

25 Thursday, THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, double of the first class with an Octave, during which second prayers are of the Octave, the Creed is recited in each Mass and the Preface of Christmas is said.  Three Masses, in the second of which there is a commemoration of St Anastasia.  The third Mass has as the last Gospel the Gospel of the feast of the Epiphany.  Vespers are Second Vespers of the feast, with commemoration of St Stephen. Plenary Indulgence.

26 Friday, (Feast of Devotion) St STEPHEN, Proto-Martyr, double of second class with an Octave during which fourth prayers are of the Octave. Red. Abstinence.

27 Saturday, (Feast of Devotion) St JOHN, Apostle and Evangelist, double of second class with an Octave during which fifth prayers are of the Octave. White.

The preparation for Christmas is completed by the fourth Sunday, which displaces the feast of St Thomas the Apostle to Monday (which should be a feria). Tuesday is another feria (so priests will say a votive Mass), and on Wednesday, Christmas Eve, there is a mass for the Vigil of the Nativity.  This is a very simple Mass, with only one prayer.  The Nativity is a feast on whose Vigil we are obliged to fast, but as it is a Wednesday in Advent, it is a day of fasting, anyway.

The Indulgence begins: there are eight periods in the year during which plenary indulgences can be obtained as long as certain conditions are met.  This was a way of encouraging people to receive Holy Communion more than once a year.  The conditions always include Confession and Holy Communion, but the other conditions fall into three categories according to the grant of the Indulgence.  The Christmas indulgence, which lasts until the Epiphany is one of four granted by Pope Benedict XIV (Fr Hunwicke's ghostly counsellor): Christmas, Easter, the Assumption and St Michael: whose third condition is to visit a Church or Chapel in which Mass is celebrated to pray for the peace of God's Church; and fourth, to assist the poor with alms, or to attend catechism or sermons as often as possible, or to assist the sick or those who are near to their end. (The fourth condition doesn't have to be met on the same day as Communion is received, but Communion must be received by somebody disposed to fulfil the condition if the Indulgence is to be obtained.)

Christmas Day is the only day on which priests can say three Masses: there are three proper Masses, of midnight, of dawn and of daytime. (The concession for All Souls' Day dates from 1915.)  In a parish or foundation with many priests, they can be said by each priest one after the other, with special rubrics associated with eg purification of the chalice, or they can be said at the appropriate times.  St Anastasia, whose feast is today, is commemorated at the Dawn mass.  As the Gospel for the daytime Mass is the first part of the first chapter of St John's Gospel, which is the default Last Gospel, the Last Gospel at this Mass is the Gospel of the Epiphany.

Christmas has its own Octave, but unlike the Octaves of the Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost, which are (figuratively) weeks on which the principal feast is relived on each day, the Christmas Octave has various major feasts each of which carries its own Octave. These would all have been Holydays prior to the Reformation and are marked as Feasts of devotion so that those who are able should treat them as such.  As they are Octaves, they are commemorated each day: this means that the nativity will be commemorated every day until 1 January, St Stephen until 2 January, etc.  Already by Saturday this means that there are five sets of prayers, and next week will be busier still!

Separate from the period of indulgence, there is a plenary indulgence available on Christmas Day itself applicable to the Holy Souls to all who confess, receive Communion, and pray for the Pope's intentions.

Remember that Friday is still a day of Abstinence, and that means no eggs as well as no meat.  Next year we will see the only occasion on which the rule of Friday abstinence is abrogated: when Christmas Day fall on a Friday.  (Remember that I'm talking about the immemorial customs of the Church here, not about the Catholic Church in England and Wales in 2014.)

St Mary Magdalene, Mortlake is served by the Missionary Rector, Rev J G Wenham, and the Rev Sylvester Donnelly. Mass on Sundays is at 8.00 and 10.30, on weekdays at 7.30 and 8.00.  Vespers, Catechism and Benediction on Sundays at 6.30.  On Thursdays and Feasts of Devotion, Benediction at 7.30 pm.  Exposition on Sunday in the Octave of the Epiphany, on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, and the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.  There is a Catholic Boarding School for Young Gentlemen in the parish, as well as a cemetery. (Click on the image to view the school's prospectus if it isn't clear otherwise.)

Though there is no information about Mortlake Cemetery, the two public Catholic cemeteries in London, St Mary's Kensal-green and St Patrick's at Leyton, have chaplains in attendance for interments between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm every day.  Single interments, all fees included, are a guinea (£1.05) for adults, and 15/- (75p) for children under 10.
(I offered a few weeks ago to include such details as are available for any parish which was open in 1862 or 1863: let me know if there's one you are interested in.)

13 December 2014

Third Sunday of Advent 1862

14 SUNDAY, 3rd Sunday of Advent, semidouble. Violet. Vespers of the Octave of the Immaculate Conception (the First Vespers of the Feast are used) with commemoration of Sunday. White. [In diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence.]

15 Monday, The Octave of the Immaculate Conception, double. White.

16 Tuesday, St Eusebius, Bishop Martyr, semidouble. Second prayers of 3rd Sunday of Advent, third prayers of the BVM. Red.

17 Ember-Wednesday, feria. Second prayers for the dead (Fidelium), third prayers of the BVM. Violet. FAST.

18 Thursday, The Expectation of the BVM, greater double. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence.

19 Ember-Friday, feria. Second prayers for the dead (Fidelium), third prayers of the BVM. Violet. FAST.

20 Ember-Saturday, Vigil of St Thomas Apostle. Mass of Ember-day. Second prayers of Vigil, third prayers of the BVM. Violet. FAST.

It is instructive that as we go into the third Sunday of Lent there is no mention of rose coloured vestments, of flowers being allowed on the altar, or any other of the small signs which would be indicated rubrically a century later. This is because the ornate Italianate style is still a novelty, indeed a dangerous novelty in the eyes of many, and most priests would still be suspicious of it.

This is an Ember Week, one of four weeks in the year where the faithful fast and implore blessings of God in the new season.  Fasting should also prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained, because ordinations would normally take place on the Ember Days.  Our fasting will help us pray more reverently for good priests.

We celebrate the Octave of the Immaculate Conception from first Vespers on Sunday until the end of Monday: this means that there are liturgical prayers to Our Lady every day this week, and two feasts: the Octave, and, on Thursday, a week before the feast of Christ's birth, we celebrate the Expectation of the BVM. 

This is one of the most affecting and human feasts of the year.  It is hard to imagine a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, who cannot sympathise with the discomfort of a mother a week away from giving birth, especially a mother who is journeying and who has nothing to sustain her but the love of her husband and the promise made to her by an archangel nearly nine months previously. The Mass is Rorate, except for the last verse of the Gradual, which is "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, Jesus Christ, Alleluia".

This feast is celebrated pretty well everywhere, but an American visitor to England and Wales might have felt the lack of Wednesday's feast of St Lazarus Born Again to Life, which was particular (in the English-speaking world at least) to the United States.  I can't help feeling that the American dioceses are on to something here, much as the diocese of Salford's celebration of the feast of the Good Thief struck me as being particularly apposite.

Finally, on Saturday, we will celebrate the Vigil of St Thomas the Apostle (though for the third Sunday in a row the Sunday of Advent displaces the feast itself).  Because it is an Ember-day, the Vigil is only commemorated.  There are  five collects, lessons and graduals (and a hymn) which are proper to this Ember-Saturday, and precede the prayers listed above.

Ember Days are ancient: they date from the time of (if not personally from) Pope Callistus (217-223) and were probably instituted as Christian alternatives to the seasonal agricultural festivals celebrated by pagans. For some centuries they were observed only in Rome, but came to England with St Augustine, and were then taken by Anglo-Saxon missionaries to Germany and Gaul in the eighth and ninth centuries, from where they spread to Spain only in the tenth and eleventh centuries: they never were adopted in the East.  The celebration of all of the propers of Ember-Saturday seems to have become optional during the reforms of either Pius XII or John XXIII.

According to Bugnini: "The Ember Days are to be celebrated at times and on days to be determined by the episcopal conferences, provided that that they are in harmony with the seasons and thus truly correspond to the purposes for which they are established." Pope Paul VI insisted that prayers for vocations to the priesthood should be part of the replacement.  It is sad that 1750 years of tradition could have been tossed aside, unnoticed, such that few Catholics under the age of sixty will have any idea what the term "Ember Days" refers to.  I have no idea when the "not Ember Days" are celebrated in England and Wales: surely nobody was so cloth-earedly aliturgically illiterate as to offer us Family Fast Days in their place? That CAFOD rather than vocations should become their object? Surely, surely, not!

The Immaculate Conception, Hagley Road, Edgbaston, in Birmingham, is served by the Fathers of the Oratory of St Philip Neri.  The Very Rev John Henry Newman DD is Father Superior, and the Rev Fathers Ambrose St John, H Austin Mills, Henry Bittleston, Edward Caswall and William Payne Neville serve as priests.  Masses on Sunday are at 7.00, 8.00, 9.00, and 10.00, with High Mass at 11.00. Benediction is celebrated twice, at 4.00 and 8.00 pm. I imagine they used rose-coloured vestments on the Third Sunday.

07 December 2014

Bishops, Priests, Wigs, Powder

I came across a picture of Bishop Challoner with a full wig recently which I tweeted, never before having seen a picture of a Catholic bishop wearing a wig and a mitre.

A book on the practice of Catholicism in London in 1805 (written in 1905) gives a bit more information:

"The law of shaving was in force, but before the French Revolution the custom was so common that it was not particularly distinctive of the clergy; and when, later on, it became fashionable to let whiskers grow, the priests frequently wore what was called the "clerical inch", which equally prevented any distinctive appearance of their ecclesiastical state. This was in order to save them from being insulted in the streets-no doubt a useful precaution in the eighteenth century, but one which rapidly became unnecessary in the nineteenth. It is curious to note that Dr Milner always dressed in a brown coat and was not recognised as a priest, while the first to adopt a stricter attitude was Rev Joseph Berington, who was a well-known writer of doubtful orthodoxy: he began to dress regularly in black early in the nineteenth century, and was blamed by many for so doing. I need not say that the Roman collar was unknown till some thirty years later. Wigs were getting less common a century ago, though the older clergy still wore them. Dr Douglass is always represented with one of a close-fitting type, quite different from that which Dr Chailoner used to wear; but Dr Poynter never wore a wig, nor did Dr Milner. They would have powdered their hair instead, and this custom of powdering was strictly observed by all those who ministered at the altar almost till Wiseman's time. Dr Weathers, Bishop Auxiliary to Cardinal Manning, who was ordained priest in 1838, is reported to have been the first to discard the custom of powdering before singing Mass."

06 December 2014

Second Sunday Of Advent 1862

7 SUNDAY, Second of Advent, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM. Third prayers for the Church or Pope.  Violet. First Vespers of the Immaculate Conception with commemoration of the second Sunday of Advent.  White. [In diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence.] [In dioceses of Liverpool and Salford collection for Church-building Fund.]

8 Monday, (Festival of devotion) THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BVM Patron of the Diocese, double of the first class (except in Beverley, Plymouth, Salford  and Shrewsbury where not the Patron so double of the second class) with an Octave, during which commemoration of the Octave, Creed, and Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence [and in dioceses of Liverpool, St David's and Newport, and Southwark, throughout the Octave].

9 Tuesday, St Ambrose, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double (transferred from 7 December).  White.

10 Wednesday, Of the Octave, semidouble. Second prayer of the feria, third prayer of St Melchiades, Pope Martyr. White. FAST.

11 Thursday, St Damasus, Bishop Confessor, semidouble.  White.

12 Friday, Of the Octave, semidouble. Second prayer of the feria, third prayer of the Holy Ghost. White. FAST.

13 Saturday, St Lucy, Virgin Martyr. double. Red.

The second week of Advent begins in a straightforward enough way.  There are collections in Liverpool and Salford for new churches, and in Hexham and Newcastle there is a plenary indulgence.

(We will look at plenary indulgences in a separate posting soon: it shouldn't surprise anyone to learn that, as so often, things aren't as simple as they are today.)

Monday's feast of the Immaculate Conception begins at Sunday Vespers.  It is a feast of devotion, so Catholics are encouraged to treat it as though it were a Holyday, as it had been in England from the thirteenth century until the Reformation.  This is a major feast with an Octave throughout England and Wales and there is a plenary indulgence available everywhere today (and, in three of the dioceses who have the BVM as a patron, throughout the Octave).  In fact, there are only four dioceses of which Our Lady is not Patron, but it would be hard to tell the difference between observance of today's feast in those dioceses and elsewhere.

On Tuesday, St Ambrose is celebrated.  He has been displaced by the fact that Sunday was privileged (Sundays in Advent and Lent must be celebrated as Sundays), and as 8 December is the Immaculate Conception, he had to move to the next available day, luckily a feria, so he isn't displacing any other saint. Both the Advent prayers from Sunday and the prayers of the Octave will be said today: the same goes for Thursday's feast of St Damasus, and Saturday's of St Lucy: we will celebrate the feast, and we will celebrate the Octave, all the time remembering that this is Advent.

Even on the two ferias, both of which are fast days, we celebrate the Octave and keep Advent. 

This week's parish is St Augustine in Ramsgate.  It is served by the Revv FF Wilfrid Alcock, Cuthbert Downey, Bede Whiteside, Suithbert Palmer and Isidore Pattlé.  On Sundays and Holydays, Mass is celebrated at 8.00 and 10.30.  Vespers, with Catechism and Benediction, is at 3.00.  Weekday Masses are at 7.15, 8.00 and 8.30.  Benediction is at 4.00 on Thursdays.

Ramsgate also serves the church of Ss Augustine and Gregory in Margate where there is no resident priest.  There is only one Mass on Sundays at 11.00 for most of the year, with an additional Mass at 8.00 in the summer.  At 4.00 pm on Sundays and Holydays, there is Catechism and Benediction.  Mass on weekdays is at 8.00.

29 November 2014

First Sunday Of Advent 1862

Here is this week's calendar

30 SUNDAY. First Sunday of Advent. 2nd prayers of the BVM. 3rd prayers for the Church or Pope. Violet. Vespers: first of the feast of St Andrew with commemoration of the Sunday. Red. After Vespers Alma Redemptoris. [In dioceses of North of England, Collection.]

1 FEAST OF DEVOTION Monday. St ANDREW, Apostle, double of 2nd class (yesterday). Creed, Preface of the Apostles. Red.

2 Tuesday. St Bibiana, Virgin Martyr, semidouble. 3rd prayers of the BVM. Red.

3 Wednesday. St Francis Xavier, Confessor, double. White. FAST.

4 Thursday. St Peter Chrysologus, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double. Creed. White.

5 Friday. St Birinus, Bishop Confessor, double. 3rd prayers of St Sabbas, Apostle. White. Fast.

6 Saturday. St Nicholas, Bishop Confessor, double.  White.

The Sundays of Advent, like the Sundays of Lent, govern the season and give it its character.  They are privileged Sundays, and no other feast is commemorated on them: St Andrew is transferred to Monday.  The first prayers are proper to the first Sunday, but the second and third will be the second and third said on each of the Sundays of Advent: Deus qui, the second prayer is of the BVM; Ecclesiae tuae, the third, is said for the Pope or the universal Church.  (The second postcommunion is familiar to all of us: "Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by his passion and cross be brought to the glory of his resurrection." Everything is connected.)

There is a collection today in dioceses of the North of England, the object of which will be announced by each Bishop.  We will see this announcement at various points during the year, corresponding to today's second collections, though there are far fewer of them (at least fewer than in my parish). 

On ferias in Advent, the Mass of the preceding Sunday is said, and the second prayers will be of the BVM on feasts which do not have their own propers.  Advent is no longer a season in which Our Lady features particularly in the Church's devotional life, but 150 years ago she was a constant presence: we journeyed with her towards Bethlehem.

Vespers on Sunday is the first Vespers of the feast of St Andrew.  He has been separated from his Vigil by the Sunday, but his feast begins after dark on Sunday and continues through Monday.  This is a Feast of Devotion: one which would have been a Holyday if the unpleasantness of the sixteenth century hadn't irrevocably changed England and Wales.  The faithful are enjoined to celebrate it as though it were a Holyday if they can.

On Tuesday, we celebrate St Bibiana: the first prayer will be hers, the second, that of Sunday, the third, that of the BVM.

On Wednesday, apart from celebrating St Francis Xavier, we fast; we fast on all Wednesdays and Fridays of Advent: this means only one meal, and no more than two collations, the sum of which should not be as great as the one meal.  We abstain, of course, on Friday, as well.

On Thursday, apart from St Peter Chrysologus, as well as the BVM, we commemorate the feast of St Barbara.

On Friday, St Birinus has no propers of his own, so the second prayers will be of the BVM, with St Sabbas still being commemorated in third prayers. (Am I remembering correctly that a few years ago we decided that St Birinus might be a good fit as patron for anybody called Brian?)  By the end of the 1930s, St Birinus had been reduced to a commemoration (and only in the dioceses of Birmingham and Portsmouth where he still clings on).

Salford Cathedral can be the first Cathedral whose schedule we shall look at.  Apart from the Right Rev the Lord Bishop, the Very Rev Peter Canon Benoit, and the Revv Richard Brindle, Charles J Gadd and Henry Beswick serve the Cathedral and its parish.  Mass on Sundays is at 8.00, 9.00 and 10.00, with High Mass at 11.00.  Devotions of the Scapular are at 3.00.  Baptisms are at 4.00. Vespers, with a sermon and Benediction are at 6.30.  On Holydays, Mass is at 5.00, 7.30 and 8.30, with High Mass at 10.00.  (My guess is that 5.00 is probably as early as it is licit to say Mass in England and Wales.)  Vespers and Benediction are at 7.30.  On weekdays Mass is at 7.30 and 8.30. 

On Thursday evening at 7.45 there is Rosary, Benediction and Catechism.  On the morning of the first Wednesday Tierce and High Mass are sung by the Chapter at 10.30. On the first Friday each month, and on every Friday in Lent, Stations of the Cross and Benediction are at 8.00 pm. Confessions are daily from 7.30 to 9.00 in the morning, on Mondays from 5.00 pm, on Thursdays from 7.00 pm, and on Saturdays from 3.30pm until 10.00.  During the Indulgences (set periods during the year when plenary indulgences are available) Confessions take place each evening (except Tuesday and Friday) from 5.00 until 10.00 (this is, of course, in addition to normal morning confessions).

26 November 2014

Vespers And Diocesan Difference in 1863

One of the things shown up by the fact that Sunday Vespers was a commonplace of Catholic parish life in the 1860s is just how different from each other Catholic dioceses were.  I don't want to delve too deeply into the Office, partly because it is too big a subject for me, partly because I want to relate what parish life looked like to lay people, but one aspect of Sunday Vespers is worth noting.

Pre-Pius X, Sunday Vespers regularly included the Suffrages: special prayers of intercession, and these would be typically, of the Cross, the BVM, the Patron and for Peace.

You would have thought that "the Patron" was easy to identify: St George for England, St David for Wales.  But not so: as far as Hexham and Newcastle was concerned, St George was not the patron; St Cuthbert was, and the prayer to St George was not said.  In Northampton and Plymouth, their patrons-St Thomas of Canterbury and St Boniface respectively-were addressed before St George.

This is only a few years after the reestablishment of the Hierarchy: by 1890, a generation later, the diocese of Salford had established additional feasts (ie additional to those of its diocesan patrons and additional to those particular to England and Wales) as follows:

Sunday within the Octave of Epiphany: Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
13 February: St Kentigern
17 February: The Flight of OLJC into Egypt
26 March: The Good Thief
26 April: Our Lady of Good Counsel
12 May: The Humility of the BVM
15 May: Our Lady of Grace
29 June: Commemoration of all the Holy Apostles
15 July: The Division of the Apostles

Salford is the only diocese I've looked into for this purpose and 1890 is long after what I am aiming for in this series, but I'm sure other dioceses had developed their own calendars too (no doubt also celebrating some of the feasts in the Salford list) and that life in England and Wales was a mosaic of difference. 

22 November 2014

XXIV And Last Sunday After Pentecost 1862

Let's start our 1862/3 Catholic year today, with the coming week's Ordo for the dioceses of England and Wales, the last week of 1861/62.  (The Scottish hierarchy not yet having been restored, the supplements to the calendar used in the diocese of Rome are used there (as well as "in Australia and other places" as one missal puts it), and there are no particular diocesan feasts, as there are no dioceses, but simply districts administered by Vicars Apostolic.)

23 SUNDAY. 24th and last after Pentecost. St Clement, Pope Martyr, double.  2nd prayers and Last Gospel of Sunday.  3rd prayers of St Felicity, Martyr. Red. Vespers: 2nd of St Clement to the little Chapter, thence forward of tomorrow's feast of St John of the Cross (in the hymn Meruit supremos); commemoration of St Clement and of St Chyrsogonous, martyr. White.

24 Monday. St John of the Cross, Confessor, double. 2nd prayers of St Chrysogonous, Martyr. White.

25 Tuesday. St Catherine, Virgin Martyr, double. Red.

26 Wednesday. St Felix of Valois, Confessor, double. 2nd prayers of St Peter of Alexandria, Bishop, Martyr. White.

27 Thursday. St Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop, Confessor, double.  White.

28 Friday. Feria. 2nd prayers for the Dead (Fidelium). 3rd prayers A cunctis. Green. Abstinence. [In the diocese of Nottingham, St Wencelaus, Martyr, semidouble (transferred from 28 September). 2nd prayers A cunctis. 3rd prayers free choice of priest. Red.]

29 Saturday. Vigil of feast of St Andrew. 2nd prayers of St Saturninus, Martyr. 3rd prayers Concede. Violet. [In the diocese of Nottingham, add 4th prayers for the Dead (Fidelium) and 5th prayers free choice of priest.]

The last week of the year is relatively straightforward. The feast of St Clement outranks the last Sunday after Pentecost and the feast of St Felicity, so takes priority, though the prayers proper to all three are, of course, said.  Sunday Vespers, a normal part of life in most parishes, starts off as Vespers of the feast of St Clement but changes half way through to ensure that Monday's feast of St John of the Cross is suitably honoured, though St Clement, and Monday's secondary feast are also commemorated. The week progresses quietly except that on Friday, the diocese of Nottingham finally has a free day to celebrate St Wenceslaus, which should have been celebrated on 28 September. In fact 28 September fell on a Sunday and was the feast of the Seven Sorrows of the BVM, so St Wenceslaus had to be transferred to 7 October in most dioceses, but Nottingham celebrated the feast of the Finding of St Stephen Protomartyr, which had been transferred from 2 September, on which date in Nottingham the feast of St Aidan was celebrated, itself transferred from 31 August, and which was marked in Nottingham as the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Cathedral, a double of the first class with an Octave.

Friday being a feria, priests were at liberty to offer any votive Mass they might choose, but the second and third prayers (ie each of the Collect, Secret and Postcommunion) were to be taken from "Prayers of the Time": here we find A cunctis, to pray for the Church and the Pope, Fidelium, to pray for the dead.  At some point during the year we will explore the plan for their use. (Two of these are hidden in my post-Summorum Pontificum Baronius 1962 hand missal between the 24th Sunday after Pentecost and the Gallican Prefaces, while the rest are nowhere. Equally surprising (to me) is that the propers for Vespers for every Sunday is included.)

The prayers of free choice would be taken from the section of the Missal called "Various Prayers" which range from begging the prayers of the Saints, through prayers in time of famine, of earthquake or of storm, to prayers for our enemies, amongst many more (there are 30 in my 1895 missal, and 33 in 1939: we might at some point do an interesting compare and contrast on what 19th and 20th century missalists thought the intention associated with these prayers was).  Friday is also a day of abstinence from meat (and this includes eggs: meat's way of making more meat).

At St Mary Magdalene in Brighton, the Rev George Oldham said Low Mass at 8.30 on Sundays, and had High Mass at 11.  There was Catechism and Benediction at 3.00 pm, and Devotions, Sermon and Benediction at 7.00.  Mass was said at 8.00 am on weekdays, and there was Benediction at 7.00 pm on Thursdays.  Confessions were on Wednesdays from 12.00 to 1.00, and Thursdays and Saturdays from 7.00 to 9.00 pm.

(Please let me know if there is a parish whose schedule you would be interested in, though bear in mind that the amount of detail will be that which the contemporary PP could be bothered to supply to Messrs Burns and Lambert.)

12 November 2014

The Catholic Parish In 1863

So what was parish life like, a hundred and fifty years ago?  Closer, I guess, to the experience of the pre-Reformation parish than to today's.  Was it Professor Scarisbrick who reviewed The Stripping of the Altars in The Spectator when it first came out, and, in a rave review, decided that the religion of early modern Catholics was a long way away from ours, with their emphasis on the four last things, the sufferings of those in Purgatory, and the inevitability for many of us of Hell?

Whoever it was, it shows how Catholicism changed in the twentieth century more than demonstrating that the reigns of Henry VII and VIII as some sort of heterodox.  Certainly as we begin to get into the rhythm of parish life, we will see that the awareness of sin and the need for Confession; the need for education and evangelisation; and the place of devotion: are three pillars of the way we all should live.

Let's look at the parish of The Sacred Heart and St Helen in Brentwood.  there are two priests: the Rev John Kyne is the Missionary Rector, and he is supported by the Rev Remigius Debbaudt.  (I wonder sometimes whether J K Rowling had access to a list of priests.)  You will have noted that the priests are Reverend, rather than Father: this is part of the faultline I described last time between the way that English Catholicism had evolved before emancipation and the bold, expressive, Italianate, self-confidence which was beginning to displace it..

They had two Masses each Sunday morning, and had Vespers and Benediction (with a sermon) on Sunday afternoon.  Sunday Vespers is very commonplace in parishes in England and Wales, just as Evensong was for the Anglicans, but only on Sundays.  On Holydays, there would only be a Benediction service in the evening, as there also would be each Thursday evening (preceded in Lent and Advent by Stations of the Cross).  There could be no Mass in the evening, so Vespers and Benediction allowed for further Eucharistic adoration.

In Brentwood, there aren't any of the Confraternities (which have the same role in the parish as the pre-reformation Guilds) which we shall see in other parishes around the country but there are devotions of the Sacred Heart and Benediction after morning Mass on the first Friday, devotions of the Bona Mors on the first Thursday in the afternoon, and devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the conversion of sinners on the third Thursday.

Most importantly, there is Confession.  In Brentwood it is "only" available for an hour and a half each morning and for three hours on Saturday evening: we will see other parishes in which far more hours are devoted to this sacrament.

Although education was not yet compulsory in England and Wales, the vast majority - more than 90% - of children attended some form of schooling, and the imperative need for Catholic children to receive this schooling in a Catholic education system and not from the CofE was paramount in the mind of the Church. (I muse on what the result of a comparative study of a CofE RE syllabus in 1863 and a Catholic RE syllabus in 2014 might be, but somebody else can do that.)  Anywhere where there were enough Catholic children, schools were to be built and maintained, and teachers paid.  We will see special collection days instituted in each diocese for this noble purpose, and the upper- and middle-classes were expected to pay out serious contributions for this purpose.  In particular, parishes which contained non-Catholic residential institutions - workhouses, orphanages, prisons - were expected to look particularly after the religious lives of those who were inmates.

As important was the construction of new churches for the rising number of Catholics.  Perhaps the simple need to build was more important than the need to build well, or build tastefully; perhaps it was not an age in which taste was given much priority against the need to provide somewhere for Catholics to worship, but this was not a period of great architectural merit.

We will regularly see Sunday afternoon services including a lecture or discourse.  Education and evangelisation were not limited to schoolchildren, or to those who weren't churchgoers.  These are listed separately from Sermons, while some form of homily could be expected at Sunday Mass at least.

Finally, the calendar: the year had its own rhythm and Catholics continued to follow it.  Many of the mediaeval feasts which had been abolished during the Reformation were still marked as Days of Devotion, which those Catholics who could would treat as though they were still Holydays.  Fasting and abstinence were taken seriously at their due time, and national and diocesan feasts were marked by the people in whose territory the feasts were celebrated.  Some have disappeared without trace: this Friday, every parish in England and Wales should be celebrating the feast of the Translation of St Erconwald, a great English Bishop and Confessor who seems to have been completely set aside after the reforms of Pope St Pius X (I will be very happy to be corrected).

The parish wasn't yet a place in which Catholicism could be displayed totemically, and was far from being a place for like-minded people to congregate on a Sunday to enjoy each other's company in a warm haze of good intentions: it was a workshop in which priests toiled to make available to poor sinners the opportunities they needed to conform their lives to God's will.  The comparison doesn't necessarily flatter the typical way of things today.

09 November 2014

Translating Poetry

It may well come from the way in which we were taught Latin, and if memory serves, C S Lewis, on being sent to a tutor had a similar experience in being taught Greek, but both Ben Trovato and I are particularly comfortable with a method which starts teaching the student ab initio by immersing him (or her) into complex texts in the target language and using exegesis to allow her (or him) to draw out the meaning of serious writing immediately, instead of wasting time on "my aunt's pen" or "my postilion has been struck by lightning".

(As an aside, imagine how much easier it would have been to achieve a decent translation of the mass for use in the OF if this method had been chosen to educate the translators, who would never have needed to bother with "dynamic equivalence".)

He and I had both learned French through the medium of the standard text Mots d'Heures, Gousses, Rames and he was excited to learn some time ago that I had come across a German equivalent.  I'm afraid that I forgot completely his entreaty for some examples until he reminded me earlier.

Here then are three, from Mörder Guss Reims.  The only requirement for the learner is to read them aloud with an exaggerated German accent.  You will be amazed at how quickly you begin to pick up the deeper meanings hidden within the verses.  I have nevertheless included the basic critical apparatus normally available only to the teacher.

Jahn1 Kid Dudel kämmte tauen
Reih' Ding' ohne Bohni.2
Stuka Vetter inne satt3
Und Kohl Titt' mager roh nie.4


1 Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) better known as ''Turnvater" Jahn, the Grand Old Man of German gymnastics.
2 "By combing the goatskin on his bagpipes, he thawed out a row of things without an attic."
3”His cousin was inwardly tired of dive-bornbers."  c.f. Tennyson's ”Locksley Hall " :
“Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue.”
4 “And he never likes cabbage nipple raw.”


Myriade Lied - Alarm!
Itzt fliess' was weit1 Asen2 oh!
An Hefe-Revier dort mehre wend?
Alarm Warschauer3  …Tuck oh!4

1 In the middle of a song festival the alarm is sounded because something is flowing far away.
2 The collective name of the old German gods. Their leader was Odin, alias Wodan, Wotan or Wuotan, the god of the wind, the dead and of war, and the leader of the hunt, all of which must have kept him fairly busy.
3 The reference to the Warschauer Bridge locates this incident in Berlin. Perhaps the River Spree had flooded at this spot.
4 "Oh., what a spiteful trick!"

Der Wasserkrug, Erdmann, an die Winterkrug Erdmeil'1
Hie von der Krug hat sie-Gespenster, Ginsterkrug Erdsteil.2
Hieb Ortekrug, Erdkart’ — wisch Kotterkrug, Erdmaus;
Hansa Olaf tu' Gitter in ein Literkrug Erdhaus! 3

1 An earth-man is told to move the water jug one land-mile (1,609 metres, in contrast to one sea-mile or 1,852 metres) to the winter jug.
2 This part of the earth was given over to jugs filled with gorse.
3 Meanwhile a Norwegian from the Hanseatic League is urged to erect some bars in a litre jug, which the poet calls an earth-house. It is not clear whether the bars are meant to keep the earth-mouse in or out.

03 November 2014

Mass In 1863

An average 1962-rite Mass attender would see little different at an 1863 Mass if he attended one without a Missal.  He might note rather more collects, secrets and postcommunions; he might wonder at the Last Gospel often not being that of the beginning of St John's Gospel; he wouldn't actually hear St Joseph not being mentioned in the Canon of the Mass.  If he attended at Holy Week, he would see a radically different celebration to that offered by his 1962-rite parish, but between Paschaltides, there would be few clues to suggest that the difference was, in fact, massive.  Two things might surprise him: Holy Communion would not be routinely received by the faithful during Mass, and the beginning of Mass would not be earlier than an hour before first light (by the sun, not by an arbitrary rule) or later than 1.00 pm.  (If Mass is a re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Jesus, then the modern insistence on receiving hosts consecrated at the Mass one attends begins to look a bit odd.)

In fact, the thing that makes the Mass so different is the calendar, and the ranking of feasts in the calendar; the fact that Sundays do not necessarily take precedence over other feasts; and the fact that each diocese has its own version of the Roman Calendar.

Though what follows may seem complicated, it isn't: any - in fact every - literate Catholic was expected to be able to work out the correct readings for any day if he had a Missal.  There was no TV in those days, so there was plenty of time to work out the week's celebrations, and, anyway, ecclesiastical almanacs were cheap to buy.

Every day either had a feast or hadn't: a feast would be a Double, a Semi-double, or a simple; if there was no feast the day would be a feria.  There were five sorts of Doubles, in order: Doubles of the first class, Doubles of the second class, greater Doubles, Doubles and semi-Doubles.  Simples were, simply, simples. 

Sundays followed a different system: they might be privileged of the first class, or of the second class, which governed which Mass might be said on them.  In any case, however, the prayers (the collective term for the proper collect, secret and postcommunion) for the Sunday would be said, as would its Gospel.  If the Sunday's precedence was less than that of a feast which fell on Sunday, then the Gospel of the Sunday would be said as the Last Gospel.

The rules of precedence meant that some feasts would have to be transferred from their normal day to the next available, as All Souls this year has been transferred to 3 November because the Sunday in the Octave of All Saints has a higher precedence than All Souls. Over the year, this can mean significant movement of feasts, some being celebrated (at least in some dioceses) up to a couple of months after their due date.

In general, though, unless the feast is a very important one a number of prayers will be said to draw in all of the relevant commemorations due on the day.  And, if the feast isn't too important, the priest can add other prayers, from those listed in the Missal for special intentions.  There must be no more than five; well, there must be no more than seven.  If there are more than three, there must be either five or seven, unless there are four.  Yes, it's complicated, but remember those long winter evenings.

I will do all this for you for this year (except add the priest's own extras), but what looks like a mess is in fact a natural growth over the preceding centuries.  The modern idea of "St Sunday" - Sunday taking precedence over almost any calendar feast - is totally alien to the way the liturgy was celebrated for at least ten centuries before the twentieth.  The liturgical year has a rhythm which marks Sunday as the weekly day of precept, not as a sort of Sabbatarian dictator.

What I hope you will see is variety, a three dimensional calendar which marks how things are rather than how things should be according to some arbitrary rule. 

Next article: parish life.

02 November 2014

Catholic England And Wales In 1863: An Introduction

I intend to publish a weekly Calendar from the First Sunday of Advent showing what the ecclesiastical year would have looked like for Catholics in England and Wales in 1862/3.  I hope to illustrate my belief that although Abp Bugnini is often blamed for the current state of the Liturgy, because of the major changes he coordinated in the reigns of Pope Pius XII and Paul VI, in fact the changes to the calendar introduced by Pope Pius X had already severely weakened links to the immemorial calendar of the Roman Church.  I hope to show, week by week, what worship in a normal English parish would have looked like (and, I repeat, am looking from the layman's point of view, rather than, as the St Lawrence Press does, from that of priests and religious).  I will offer a couple of introductory articles first, however, to set the weekly calendar in context.

The Church had, of course, a very different look about it in 1863, only 13 years after the reestablishment of the Hierarchy.  The Province of Westminster covered the whole of England and Wales and there were thirteen dioceses: Westminster, Menevia and Newport, Birmingham, Hexham and Newcastle, Southwark, Salford, Shrewsbury, Nottingham, Liverpool, Plymouth, Clifton, Northampton and Beverley.  Bishops were appointed for life, and were supported by a Chapter.  The Canons in the Chapter were, in Canon Law, the Bishop's Senate.  They were beneficed to allow them financial independence and the ability to resist undue pressures, allowing, for example, the Westminster Chapter to rebel against Cardinal Wiseman in the 1850s.  There was, of course, no national Bishops Conference: each Bishop was Head of his local Church.  Nevertheless, Provincial Synods were held as necessary where it made sense to take a national view, for example on seminaries, education, or on the extent to which parts of England and Wales should be considered mission territory.  Three had been held since the Hierarchy's reestablishment, in 1852, 1855 and 1859.

Passions could be high: a dispute between Cardinal Wiseman and his Coadjutor Bishop, Thomas Errington, had ended up in Rome with the Coadjutor deprived of his office and stripped of his right to succeed the Archbishop.  At issue was a major fault line in the Church in England and Wales: should it keep the same low profile and unostentatiousness it had displayed since 1745, or, emancipated and with a re-established Hierarchy, should it display an Italianate exuberance in its life?

There were 22 Catholic Peers, and 32 Catholic MPs.  The latter all represented Irish constituencies, while only one of the peerages dated from after Catholic Emancipation.  The noble families since emancipation had built and endowed churches, chapels and chantries: these were days in which it was still possible for the person endowing a benefice to retain the right of presentation of a priest to it.

A higher proportion than today of parishes were in the hands of regular clergy rather than secular diocesan priests, and at the parish level this would have affected life as the orders had their own feasts.  But what is most different in the calendar from today is the autonomy of each diocese, each having its own feasts with its own Octaves, able to transfer feasts of the universal Church which clash with diocesan patrons, and where even St George, as Patron of England might be considered as inferior, for example in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, to St Cuthbert.

Next time: how different was the Mass from the 1962 Mass which is today thought of as "traditional"?

25 October 2014

Last Sunday In October 1862

In the days before Pius X's reordering of the calendar, and long before Pius XI's institution of the Feast of Christ the King in 1925, the last Sunday of October was the Feast of the Patronage of Our Lady.  There would have been three collects, secrets and postcommunions: the first, that of the feast; the second of the 20th Sunday after Pentecos; and the third of St Evaristus.  The Gospel of the Sunday would be the Last Gospel, the Preface that of the BVM.  Parish Vespers would have been of the feast, with a commemoration of the Sunday and of tomorrow's feast of St Peter of Alcantara. 

In the diocese of Beverley, however, the diocese would celebrate the feast of its principal patron as a double of the first class with an octave.  St Evaristus would miss out on his commemoration, but during the octave, the Patronage of Our Lady would be commemorated at each Mass in the diocese, and the Creed and the Preface of the BVM would be said.

The eighth period of Plenary Indulgence of the Year would begin on Sunday morning.  To obtain it, the faithful would have to confess to a priest approved by the Bishop; receive Holy Communion; give alms to the poor, if they could afford to, on the eve or the day of their Communion; and on the day of their Communion they should pray for the state of the Church in the whole world, for bringing back stray souls to the fold of Christ, for the peace of Christendom, and for the blessing of God upon this nation. This indulgence is obtainable until None on 8 November. 

If you found yourself in Spain or Portugal in 1863 and needed to confess in English, there were English Colleges in Lisbon and Valladolid, and a Scots College in the latter as well.  There was always an English-speaking Jesuit at their church in Seville,  Archdeacon Van Zeller was available in Oporto, just as in Cadiz Canon Lopez at the Oratory, and Fr Barron at the church of St Francis, were.  In Burgos, the Cardinal Archbishop, Mgr de la Puente had indicated his willingness to hear confessions in English.

20 October 2014

Another, Related, Quick Note

After the invasion of Italy, Guy Crouchback rejoiced at what looked like an immediate fall of the Savoy monarchy.  "What a mistake the Lateran Treaty was.  It seemed masterly at the time-how long? Fifteen years ago?  How much better if the Popes had sat it out and then emerged saying: 'What was all that?  Risorgimento? Garibaldi? Cavour? The House of Savoy? Mussolini? ... That's what the Pope ought to be saying today.'"

His father reproves him, of course, and writes him a letter the next day.

"Of course in the 1870s and 80s every decent Roman disliked the Piedmontese, just as the decent French now hate the Germans..  They had been invaded.  And, of course, most of the Romans we know kept it up, sulking.  But that isn't the Church.  The Mystical Body doesn't strike attitudes or stand and its dignity.  It accepts suffering and injustice.  It is ready to forgive at the first hint of compunction.

When you spoke of the Lateran Treaty did you consider how many souls may have been reconciled and have died at peace as a result of it?  How many children may have been brought up in the faith who might have lived in ignorance?  Quantitative judgements don't apply.  If only one soul was saved that is full compensation for any loss of 'face'."

While we remember that the Pope cannot change a word or phrase of Christian belief, he can, of course-in fact he should-make the Church attractive enough for sinners to find a place of welcome.  He cannot proclaim that remarried divorcees can remarry, but he can make it clear, as he has, that their children should be welcome to Baptism and the other sacraments.  He cannot tolerate "same sex relationships", but he equally cannot banish from the Church those whose temptation such relationships might be.

We are right to fight for the enduring truths taught by the Church, but we sinners have no right to judge other sinners: we simply have the right to pray that the conditions for sinners to repent should be available in a form that might actually encourage the sinner's repentance, rather than his contumacy.

19 October 2014

A Quick Note

I was thrown by Austen Ivereigh's piece in The Guardian, not by the fact that such odd views could be held, but that they were being proclaimed defiantly in The Guardian immediately after the Synod had managed to recognise and partially recover from the threat it was under from a group determined to impose an unmagisterial change on the Church; not just that they were being proclaimed, but that they were being proclaimed from within the CBCEW's Magic Circle.

The same happened this morning on Radio 4, where ++Nichols was less than totally inspiring in his defence of the permanent, axiomatic, dogmatic, truths of our Faith.

But I remembered and was comforted by the words of Guy Crouchback: he was abandoning Fascist Italy to return to his country which had declared war on Nazi Germany.  What was right, in a very muddled world, was very clear, and the truth was great and would prevail, even if those he trusted to defend it might prove to be fighting for a different cause.

"But now, splendidly, everything had become clear.  The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off.  It was the Modern Age in arms.  Whatever the outcome there was a place for him in that battle."

I think several of us have come to terms with an internalised Guy Crouchback today.

16 October 2014

How The Defeat Of Heresy At Synods Is Welcomed

The below, by St Cyril, recounts what happened at the Synod of Ephesus 17 centuries ago, when those who denied that Mary was the Mother of God were defeated:

"The whole town of Ephesus, from early morning until evening, remained anxious awaiting the result ... When it was learned that the author of the blasphemy had been deposed, all with one voice began to glorify God and acclaim the Synod, because the enemy of the Faith had fallen. No sooner had we come out of the church, we were escorted with torches to our homes. It was night but the entire city was merry and bright."

13 October 2014

Was Fr Bergoglio In Liverpool In 1980?


The response by the CBCEW to the Liverpool Pastoral Congress of 1980 was a document entitled The Easter People. Cardinal Nichols (Fr Vin) was there: was anybody else?

109. Marital breakdown throughout Britain has reached alarming proportions. We cannot shut our eyes to the pastoral problems this creates for parents and children. Parishes should try to be alert to the needs of single parents and their children and to offer sensitive practical help and support. There can be no doubt that our church in England and Wales faces here a growing and complex problem which it may not ignore. We admit that there is a need for us all to grow in our pastoral understanding of individuals whose marriages have broken down and whose family unity has been lost.  While the problem of divorce is daunting enough, the questions posed by Catholics who enter a second, irregular marriage are even more searching. Can they ever be admitted again to Holy Communion? May they ever have their second marriage blessed by the church?

110. We welcome this opportunity and we shall seek others to reaffirm the unchanging teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that a Christian marriage, freely and properly entered into and consummated, is for ever indissoluble. No human power can dissolve the bond so created between husband and wife, the commitment so total and irrevocable that it represents for us a symbol of that union of love and mutual giving which binds together Christ and his Church. We have to accept, however, that there is widespread confusion amongst many Catholics and in society at large about the Church's teaching and practice on marriages which have, from the time of the wedding, lacked one or more elements necessary to make them true Christian unions. We recognise the need to explain this teaching on nullity more clearly to the Catholic community and to the public who mistakenly regard it as 'Catholic divorce'. We also recognise the urgent need of showing understanding for divorced Catholics who have remarried. They should be encouraged to play as full a part as possible in the life of the local parish, and helped in their continuing baptismal responsibility to bring up their families in the Catholic faith. They should always seek from specially delegated or well-qualified priests individual help and advice about their present state; it could be that the Church's matrimonial courts would accept that the previous marriage was not valid, with the possibility of their sharing again in the full sacramental life of the Church.

111. There are, however, other situations in which there may be moral certainty that the previous marriage was not valid even although this cannot be adequately established in the matrimonial courts, or in which a first valid marriage has broken down irretrievably but a second union is stable. The question of reception of the sacraments in such cases is one which the Bishops' Conference has been considering for some time. We have a most serious responsibility to witness to the life-long and exclusive commitment of a Christian marriage. Yet as priests and loving servants of our brothers and sisters in the local Churches of England and Wales, we take to heart the sympathy and the compassion expressed by Congress delegates as we continue our deliberations on this very sensitive doctrinal and pastoral issue.

12 October 2014

Sunday 12 October 1862

The Sunday today is overtaken by the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  As a result the Sunday is commemorated by its prayers (Collect, Secret, Postcommunion) being said after those of the feast, and by Sunday's Gospel being read as the Last Gospel.  As tomorrow will be the feast of the Translation of the Relics of St Edward the Confessor, which has its own Octave and a Plenary Indulgence obtainable during the Octave by benefactors of the Poor-School Committee, Vespers this evening would be the First Vespers of that feast, with a commemoration of the Maternity of the BVM (but not of the Sunday).

In Hull, the schedule at the Church of St Charles Borromeo on Jarratt St, staffed by the Revv Michael Trappes (the Missionary Rector), John Motler and Arthur Riddell is as follows:

On Sundays, Mass at 8.30, at 9.30 for children, and at 11 High Mass and Sermon.  Catechism and and Benediction at 3.00 for children. Vespers, a Lecture and Benediction on Sunday at 6.30.  On Holydays, Mass at 8.30 and 10.30.  On weekdays, Mass at 7 and 8 in summer, and at 7.30 and 8.30 in winter. Instruction and Benediction on Holydays and Thursdays evenings at 7.45.  On Tuesday at 7.15 pm, there is a short service for the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament.


08 October 2014

Arundel And Brighton: Not The Only Good Place

Following Fr Ray Blake's comment on my last post, I decided to look at the accounts of each of the diocesan trusts in England and Wales to see if the earnings were as good elsewhere in Arundel and Brighton.
Here they are, but with a serious health warning:

  £60K-£69K £70K-£79K £80K-£89K £90K-£99K
Arundel and Brighton 1 4   1
Birmingham 1      
Brentwood  1      
Cardiff  0      
Clifton  0      
East Anglia  0      
Hallam  1      
Hexham and Newcastle      1  
Lancaster  0      
Leeds  0      
Liverpool  0      
Menevia  0      
Middlesbrough  0      
Northampton  2      
Nottingham  0    
Plymouth  2      
Portsmouth  1 1   1
Salford    2    
Shrewsbury  1   1  
Southwark  1   1  
Westminster  3 2    
Wrexham  0      

The health warning is that while these figures are accurate, they may not be complete.  The finances of the dioceses of England and Wales are not an area to venture into unless you are intrepid, and it is clear to me that several dioceses have their money in a number of different trusts which may not have appeared in my searches, which were pretty basic: maybe I haven't caught all the high paid staff.  Furthermore, hiring as diocesan Director of Education a not-yet-retired head teacher, versus hiring one with a pension who would love a 42 hour week might make a massive financial impact but still deliver the same result.

There were two in the £60K+ and one in the £70K+ category in the Catholic Trust for England and Wales, which supports the CBCEW.

My guess is that if you ignore the first column and accept that £60-70K is not a lot of money to pay for a first-rate administrator nowadays, the only questions (apart from Westminster's need for three when Southwark seems to manage with one) are about the dioceses in which people are earning more than £70K.

I don't know for whom "more than £70K" isn't a lot of money, but I bet it isn't many of the people who are actually paying their wages.

If anybody would like to do more digging (and if I never see another balance sheet again in my life I still count as wasted the minutes in which I have) then all the information and more is available at the Charity Commission website, but be warned, you'll have to work.