27 August 2014

Professor Beattie Rides Again

It's hard to say just how much we miss Deacon Nick's  Protect The Pope blog.  He left it in obedience to his Ordinary and it has been easy to infer that it had been causing disquiet and discomfort among what Damian Thompson, were he still blogging in the Telegraph, would have called the Magic Circle.  (Is there a pattern here?)

How important a loss Deacon Nick's blog is has become clear today.  Professor Tina Beattie, Professor of Catholic Studies at Roehampton University, a Catholic teacher licensed (surely, for some sense of the word "licensed") as an approved transmitter of Catholic teaching to young people, has published in The Guardian a piece dismissive of both the Pope and Catholic teaching on contraception and abortion.

Were Deacon Nick blogging, his reach would have ensured that the news of such an article was the main focus of Catholic online discussion, not just in England and Wales, but across the English speaking world.

But he isn't, so it's up to everybody reading this to give it the widest possible dissemination.  Let's make sure our Hierarchy knows what Professor Beattie thinks!

09 August 2014

Saturday 9 August 1862

9. Sat. Vigil. The Finding of St Stephen, Proto-Martyr, semidouble (3d); commemoration of Vigil and St Romanus, Martyr; last Gospel of Vigil. Red.

The Indulgence begins.

What does this mean? It's Saturday, and it is the Vigil of the Feast of St Laurence.  Today is the Feast of the Finding of St Stephen the Proto-Martyr, a semidouble, which is the last but one ranking of feasts: it has been transferred to today from last Sunday as it was outranked.  It is also the feast of St Romanus.  This means that there will be three collects, three secrets and three postcommunions.  As it the Vigil of a feast with an Octave occurring on the same day a a semidouble feast, the priest, instead of saying the Mass of the feast, with its collect, secret and postcommunion first, those of the Vigil second and those of St Romanus third, may be able to say the Mass of the Vigil, in which case the order will be the Vigil, St Romanus, and the Finding of St Stephen.  If he says the Mass of St Stephen, the last Gospel will be the Gospel of the Mass of the Vigil.  Whichever Mass is said, the priest wears red. 

The Indulgence of the Feast of the Assumption which will be celebrated on Friday begins after None today and lasts until None on 23 August: this means that at any time in this period, a plenary indulgence may be obtained by somebody who confesses to a priest appointed by their Ordinary; worthily receives Holy Communion; attends Mass and prays for the peace of God's Church: and assist the poor with alms, or assist the sick or those nearing their end, or to attend catechism or sermons as often as is reasonably possible during the period.  The works of corporal or spiritual mercy or the attendance at catechism or sermons do not need to take place on the same day as reception of Communion or assistance at Mass.  These conditions are the same for the Indulgences of Christmas, Easter and Michaelmas but are slightly different for the two Lenten Indulgences, or those of Whit, SS Peter and Paul, and All Saints.

The feast of St Laurence is a Day of Devotion: a day which was observed as a Holyday of Obligation before the Reformation.  The faithful are encouraged (but not obliged) to fast: this means only one meal, and two collations the sum of which cannot amount to as much as the meal.

Next year the calendar will be the same as that of 1863, including the same date for Easter and the other movable feasts.  Starting with the First Sunday in Advent this year, I aim to publish a weekly calendar showing what parish life was like in England and Wales, and including a parish entry from the Almanack showing what its week looked like.

GATESHEAD St Joseph. Rev Henry Wrennal. Sunday: Mass at 8 and 11; Baptisms and Churchings at 2¼ ; catechism at 3; evening service at 6½. On Holydays Mass at 8; evening service at 7½.  On WDs Mass at 7¾ and 8½.  Benediction on Sunday and Thursday evenings.  Stations on Friday at 7½ PM.  Baptisms and Churchings on Wednesday at 10.  Confessions every morning at 8, on Friday from 6 to 10 PM, and on Saturday from 5 to 10 PM.  Confraternity of St Vincent de Paul and Immaculate Heart of Mary for Conversion of Sinners, Living Rosary, Temperance Guild of Our Lady and St John the Baptist, Altar Society.

Two points: this is not in competition with the St Lawrence Press blog which imagines an Ordo for the current year as though the liturgical norms of the era of Pius XI were still in force, and looks at the whole of the Office, rather than my aim which is to look at the liturgical year from the point of view of a parishioner 150 years ago (so Vespers is the only office which will be noted separate from Mass).  As different as 1938 is from today is 1863 from 1939.

This leads to my second point: I hope and expect that as the year progresses my contention that the changes which separated the Church's calendar from its traditional resources aren't just the result of Vatican II, or Pius XII's restructuring of Holy Week, but arise from the ultramontanism which took root after Vatican I will be illustrated.  For example, the Second Sunday of Lent will fall on 1 March: this means that St David will be transferred to 3 March in England, though in Wales he will outrank the Sunday and will be celebrated on his day.  there is a baroque complexity which has grown over the centuries: cutting away any part of it inevitably led to more and more parts becoming cut or changed.

Finally, my aim is that this will be illustrative: I don't want to set up an SSPIX or a Wiseman Society (though I approve of the fact that His Eminence is "at home" to his clergy from 10.00 to 1.00 on Tuesdays for his clergy and from 10.00 to 1.00 on Thursdays and Saturdays for lay people, at least when he is in town); I just want to offer a flavour of what it was like to be a Catholic in England and Wales in 1863.