23 December 2015

The Cretinous Doctor

As ever, the Cigoña blog got it right here.  Whether Bishop Sanchez Sorondo should be described as a cretin, whether his comments should be described as rubbish, whether he is more of an imbecile than Fisichella, are questions of vocabulary and register, but the sentiment is right.

The Bishop is Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, so might be presumed to know a thing or two.  He especially might be expected to know a thing or two about global warming, and, as a fellow Argentine might have had a chat with the Pope before the latter made his recent comments about the sky falling in man-made global warming in Laudato Sii.  This isn't my argument.  What is, is the amazing comment he made, to a critic who said that the Pope's opinion was purely personal, and that the Church could not have a distinct point of view:

"Once the Pope has taken a position, it becomes part of the Magisterium of the Church, whether we like it or not. It is part of the Magisterium just as the fact that abortion is a grave sin is part of the Magisterium."

How very wrong this is: Steinbeck says somewhere something like: "you have to be very clever to be that stupid".  What happens when the Pope decides that diesel cars put far more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than petrol ones: does that become part of the Magisterium? Does my Mondeo Estate become a mortal sin?

One effect of this very Latin American papacy is that the sort of carefully described and nuanced differences between the value and importance of papal statements has been thrown away, to be replaced by a sense in which they are simply what the Boss said, and therefore to be enforced by his enforcers. 

Either the Pope knows this sort of thing is going on and doesn't care, which would be scandalous; or he doesn't know, which would be scandalous.

God Help Rome, and all of us.

19 December 2015

BBC Nearly Manages A Catholic Message - But Along Comes Clifford Longley

One of the reasons there was such a lot of news about the Pope's acceptance of the second miracle meaning that Mother Teresa can be canonised next year is that so many people, including BBC presenters and executives, remember who she was: a tiny little Albanian nun who did really good work in India.  They might not remember anything religious about her, but she was somebody good.  The fact that she was attacked by a Hitchens, probably translated as a plus: he was attacking her because of her religion, but that shone a highlight on how good her religion had made her.

Now this is a load of tosh, but a tosh that opened a tiny gap for a sensible discussion on what being a Saint mans, and what a miracle is.  So yesterday evening The World Tonight had a piece (available here) about 30 minutes in, in which a Humanist lady debated what it meant to be a Saint with a Catholic author and broadcaster: except it was Clifford Longley.

He believes that miracles are out of date, a part of the Church that it has to leave behind, as belief in them makes the Church look mediaeval and superstitious: the Church is moving in another direction and miracles are not crucial.  The fact that Mother Teresa was so far beyond the average do-gooder is what makes her a saint.

Do listen while you still can: surely the Catholic Communications Network, the media arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, will already have been on to the BBC demanding that they take down such an outrageous false statement of Catholic belief, and will be warning all print and broadcast media that Clifford Longley is not authorised to speak for the Catholic Church.

They won't of course, and it hasn't hard to imagine that Longley's beliefs are shared by more than one of the denizens of Eccleston Square: a real shame when, for once, the Church had the opportunity to talk to a receptive audience about the supernatural in our religion, but allowed somebody who appears not to believe in the supernatural to represent her views.

17 December 2015

The Incarnation: Islam And Arianism

Jonathan Miller, I think, once spoke as an atheist about the power, the richness, of the metaphor of a God who enters His own creation to experience it as one of the created.  It is, of course, much more than a metaphor for us, but understanding how powerful a metaphor God-made-man might be to an atheist should help us understand a primary difference between those who believe in the Incarnation and those who don't.

A God who has never been Man is impossibly distant from us. He is everything we believe the omnipotent Deity to be, but infinitely remote.  The Creator-created relationship is akin to that of us making an animated plasticene model: the created has no existence except that the will and whim of the Creator has desired it and the created has no means of influencing the Creator. Submission to the will of the Creator becomes proper religion, and acceptance of the Creator's inscrutable will becomes the only response to whatever the world throws at the created.

This may well sound like Islam, but it is also Arianism, the heretical version of Christianity which seems to have so influenced Mohammed. All of Christianity might have ended up like this, were it not for the fact that the gates of Hell will never prevail against God's Church.

The cosmological impact of God becoming part of His creation must have been something like the Big Bang, but it was at Christ's death, not His birth, that the dead were raised and the veil of the Temple was rent.  When Christ was born, it was in an inn, and the only people who realised were shepherds and foreigners. There was a chosen people before, but now all of Humanity was let in on the secret. 

There are still Arians: Jehovah's Witnesses for example.  Arianism also allows other fanciful beliefs to propagate: that of particular human prophets sent as messengers of God: Joseph Smith, for example, who founded Mormonism. (And what about people, clerics even, who believe that they can change the Church's teachings?)

It isn't hard to see Islam in this context: a misunderstanding of the nature of God leading to a catastrophically poor misunderstanding of the relationship between God and His creation.  If God was Man, the distance between Creator and created disappears; if God was Man, we can appeal to Him in his Omnipotence as an equal; if God was Man, we can want what He wants, and He can understand how and why our wants have been perverted from what they should be, and He can nudge us back towards his path.  If God was Man, we can relate to Him, and He can relate to us; and that means that we can have a dialogue: not a dialogue of equals, because God-made-man is still God, but a dialogue, because God-made-man is man.

That link, and the existence of the Church God-made-man founded when he physically left us, is what makes our religion so different.  We can touch God because he gave Himself to us. He will forgive us when we confess our failings because He understands us as individuals.  He is in all of us and our reward, if we merit it, will not be simply to have the best of what is human, but to become part of what He is.

29 November 2015

The Ordonist Entertains ...

Courtesy of Marc Puckett, I read at the New Liturgical Movement about Usuarium, an online database which catalogues over 800 liturgical books from the last thousand years or so which are available to download online and, more importantly are tagged and searchable by Use, by liturgical ceremony, by country of origin.  It is, simply, as complete a resource as anyone interested in liturgical history could possible need.

What were the prayers at the foot of the altar like in the Use of St Andrews?  How similar is a Roman Missal of the early sixteenth century to the post-Trent version?  Get an account, log in and all will be revealed.

26 November 2015

The CBCEW's Request To Reword The Good Friday Prayer For The Jews: Worse Than It Looks

If the Bishops' Conference has indeed petitioned the Vatican for a rewriting of the Good Friday prayer for the Jews in the Extraordinary Form, it means that all those new Bishops, who, we were told, were turning back years of Spirit of Vatican II, and were inaugurating a new period of respect for the Tradition of the Church, didn't think that a bit of Supersessionism and disrespect for Benedict XVI was problematic enough to rock the boat for. 

How much should we therefore put on them standing up for Marriage?


21 November 2015

Twenty-sixth and last Sunday after Pentecost 1863

22 SUNDAY Twenty-sixth and last after Pentecost, St Cecilia, Virgin Martyr, double. Second Prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. Red.  Second Vespers of St Cecilia until the little Chapter thence of St Clement, with commemorations of St Cecilia, the Sunday, and St Felicity, Martyr.

23 Monday. St Clement, Pope Martyr, double. Second prayers of St Felicity, Martyr. Red

24 Tuesday. St John of the Cross, Confessor, double. Second prayers of St Chrysogonus, Martyr. White

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

26 Thursday. St Felix of Valois, Confessor, double. Second prayers of St Peter of Alexandria, Pope Martyr. White.

27 Friday.  St Gregory Thaumaturges, Bishop Confessor, double. White. Abstinence.

28 Saturday. Vigil. Second prayers for the Dead. Third prayers Concede. Violet. [In Diocese of Beverley, St Francis of Borgia, Confessor, semidouble (transferred from 11 October). Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Vigil. Third prayers ConcedeWhite.]

We have had two Sundays filling in with readings for Sundays after Epiphany, but this is the last Sunday of the year and so the readings are, as they always are on the last Sunday of the year, of the twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost. The Collect is "Stir up, we beseech thee", which will launch goodness knows how many Christmas Puddings; in the Epistle St Paul invites us to establish within us, here, the kingdom of God, and in the Gospel Our Lord prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world.

On Saturday we celebrate the Vigil of the feast of St Andrew as a Vigil can't be celebrated on a Sunday.  I'm pleased, though, that right at the very, very end, the Diocese of Beverley should be different, catching up with a Feast it missed through celebrating the Octave of the Patronage of the BVM, its diocesan patron. In this calendar everything adds up in the end, but it adds up at the diocesan, not the national, level.  To steal a quote (and to annoy any Falangists who care) each diocese is a unit of destiny in the Universe.

Seven years after this Sunday, the first Vatican Council would define the limits of Papal authority, never imagining for a minute that, within a generation, a successor of Peter would consign nineteen centuries of tradition into a dustbin, establishing a pattern which, during the twentieth century, would lead to the demolition of the structure of worship and its replacement with something else.  The calendar, just like the rest of the Liturgy, isn't a delicate rose, to be pruned: it is (or was, and should be) a mighty sequoia standing outside, indeed dwarfing human limitations, and lifting every man's eyes upwards (and how far upwards!) towards God. Or at least I, who am not a Pope, think so.

The last parish we shall look at is that of The Immaculate Mother and St Anselm in Whitworth, which is served by the Rev John Millward.  Masses on Sunday are at 8.30 and 10.30. Baptisms are at 2.00. Instruction is at 3.30, and Vespers at 6.30. On Holydays Masses are at 5.00 and 8.00, and there is an evening service at 7.30. Weekday Mass is at 8.00. Churching is on Mondays after Mass. On Thursdays, Rosary, Instruction and Benediction is at 7.30. Confessions are on Saturday at 3.30, and for children on Friday evening. The Holy Sacrifice is offered once a week in this Church for its benefactors.

May this parish stand as a type of all the parishes we have looked at during the last year.  Its priest will fast from midnight on Saturday until nearly 12.00 on Sunday because he says Masses for his parishioners. He offers them Vespers on Sunday so that they can join in at least part of the Office beyond Mass.  He instructs potential converts; he baptises the children of parishioners, and churches their mothers. He offers non-liturgical services, and, perhaps most importantly of all, he makes arrangements to hear their confessions, with particular emphasis on the confessions of children, and remembers the benefactors who make all of this possible by offering Mass for them every week.  Here is the outward extension of the local Church which is the Diocese, far from Rome in distance, but teaching and confirming the faithful in their religion, exactly the same religion as was taken from their forefathers four hundred years previously, and using, with a small number of variations, the calendar which had governed the life of that Church throughout the period of the great persecutions of those four centuries. God Bless all good priests, as they are blessed by those whose faith they confirm, and God Bless them for increasing the number of those who have such faith!

I will leave this series with two thoughts: first, the old calendar, the old concept of the calendar, in which the rampant sabbatarianism of the worship of Sundays in the abstract is totally missing, is a better integrated, more human, less didactic, unclericalised, popular way of linking the Church's year to the seasons and to the lives of the faithful.

The second is how much the life of the Church depends on priests in parishes, and on those in religious life who support them, rather than on Bishops, Cardinals, or Popes.  If we pray a lot, have lots of children, bring them up in the Faith, and are prepared to give them all to God if they have a call from Him that they will answer positively, we will be able to recreate a Church in England and Wales as holy and fruitful as it was in 1863.

14 November 2015

Twenty-fifth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

15 SUNDAY Twenty-fifth after Pentecost, St Gertrude, Virgin, double. Second Prayers and Last Gospel of the sixth Sunday after Epiphany. White.  Second Vespers of St Gertrude until the little Chapter thence of St Edmund, with commemorations of St Gertrude, and the sixth Sunday after the Epiphany.

16 Monday. St Edmund, Bishop Confessor, double. White.

17 Tuesday. St Hugh, Bishop Confessor, double. White. [In Diocese of Nottingham, greater double.]

18 Wednesday.  The Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts Peter and Paul, double. Creed. White.

19 Thursday. St Elizabeth, Widow, double. Second prayers of St Pontian, Pope Martyr. White.

20 Friday.  St Edmund, King Martyr, greater double. Red. Abstinence.

21 Saturday. The Presentation of the BVM, greater double. Creed. White. Preface of the BVM. Plenary Indulgence.

The Calendar is very different this week, even from the post-Pius X pre-Pius XII one.  (By the way, it's good news that the 2016 Ordo provided by Rubricarius, and which gives a flavour of the way the Church would worship if we still followed the way things were done around 1939, will be available soon.) The reason is that St Gertrude was moved in the 20th Century, as was St Albert the Great, but also because this week there are three feasts specific to England and Wales which displace their Roman date-sharers: Bishop St Edmund, St Hugh and King St Edmund.  In Portsmouth the Mass for Bishop St Edmund is different from that in the rest of England and Wales, with its Introit adapted from that of St Josaphat, the Gradual of an Abbot, its own Epistle, and a Secret and Communion from a different Mass for a Bishop and Confessor from the rest of England and Wales. It seems to have gone west during the reign of Pius XII. But how was that for localism!

King St Edmund has been kicked off the national Calendar in England and Wales in modern times, but the two Bishops stay optionally on. (In the same 2015 calendar, St Elizabeth of Hungary is described as a "married woman" rather than as a widow: what point are they trying to make? Why?)

The parish of St Mary, Beaufort House in Ham, is served by the Very Reverend James Canon Holdstock, Dean of St Thomas of Canterbury Deanery in the Diocese of Southwark. Mass on Sundays and Holydays is at 11.00 preceded by English prayers at 10.30. Vespers and Benediction are at 4.00.  Evening Devotions, Catechism and Benediction are at 7.00. On weekdays Mass is at 8.00. On Thursday, Rosary and Benediction is at 7.30 pm. Exposition on the second Sunday of Lent (40 Hours), Corpus Christi (for the day, the thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM.

This was a mission church and no longer exists: its story is told briefly here: the parish of St Thomas Aquinas is now responsible for Catholics in the area. It is a reminder of how fluid the period of Catholic expansion was. It is also the only example I have noted of pre-Mass prayers in English.

07 November 2015

Twenty-fouth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

8 SUNDAY Twenty-fourth after Pentecost, the Octave of All Saints, double. Second Prayers and Last Gospel of the fifth Sunday after Epiphany. Third prayers of the IV Holy Crowned Martyrs. White.  Second Vespers of the Octave Day until the little Chapter thence of the Dedication of the Basilica of St Saviour, with commemorations of the Octave Day, the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany and of St Theodore, Martyr. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence.]

Monday. The Dedication of the Basilica of St Saviour, double. Second prayers of St Theodore Martyr. CreedWhite.

10 Tuesday. St Andrew Avellino, Confessor, semidouble. Second prayers of St Trypho and Companions, Martyrs. Third prayers A CunctisWhite. [In Diocese of Beverley, fourth prayers for the Bishop.]

11 Wednesday.  St Martin, Bishop Confessor, double. Second prayers of St Mennas, Martyr. White.

12 Thursday. St Martin, Pope Martyr, semidouble. Second prayers A cunctis. Third prayers free. Red.

13 Friday.  St Didacus, Confessor, semidouble. Second prayers A cunctis. Third prayers free. White. Abstinence.

14 Saturday. The Translation of St Erconwald, Bishop Confessor double. White.

Only two more Sundays left.  As I said last week, the Catholic Directory is on line and if you want to have a go yourselves after my series has been completed, Advent 1863 begins on this page, and January 1864 here. Easter 2016 is on the same day as Easter 1864 as are all the other moveable feasts, so you can do what I've done for 1863/2015.

We are into the phase of balancing Epiphany Sundays against Pentecost Sundays to make sure we get all of the year's readings in, so Sunday needs a bit of work with the ribbons for the keen chap with the Missal, not that he would be a common sight at Mass in 1863.  My contemporary layman's hand missal would be useful as a preparation for Mass, but would be difficult to use during Mass itself, if you wanted to follow the bizarrely mid-twentieth century idea that you should be reading the words the priest was saying, rather than praying the Mass. And if you attended High Mass, a major feature of Catholic life which would disappear from most parish churches by the end of the century, or Sunday Vespers, which clung on a little longer than High Mass, then your Missal would be next to no use at all.  The age of literacy has been used by the Devil to tempt us into trying to understand Mass on our own terms, instead of praying it on God's.

St Erconwald was, of course, a major Bishop of London in the early Modern period.  His shrine was despoiled at the Reformation but he was honoured throughout Catholic England and Wales after the Restoration of the Hierarchy, but such cultus as he may have had had disappeared before the Second World War.

I bet Bugnini hated having the feasts of two different Martins on successive days: Pope St Martin no longer appears in the Calendar.

Even on the Sunday which marks the Octave of all Saints, the Sunday itself, and the Four Crowned Martyrs, the brothers Sts Severus, Severinus, Carpophorus and Victorinus, are remembered.  As I have mentioned before, I don't have a problem with new saints being brought in to reflect the age we live in (though I find the Roman martyrs still remembered in 1863 surprisingly relevant to the 21st Century), but wouldn't it be wonderful to have a calendar which listed them all, reducing to the simplest of feasts those which didn't speak as loudly today as in the past, but not banishing them?  That might be the way to bring all of John Paul II's creations in as well.  Go back to the original feast dates, put a sensible limit on commemorations - five should be enough, I think - and all of a sudden we can celebrate the richness of the Calendar again.

This is my sort of parish:

The Priory of the Annunciation at Woodchester, near Stroud in Gloucestershire is served by the Dominicans.  The Very Rev Fr H L Gonin is Prior; the Rev Fr Vincent Henry Ferreri is Sub-Prior and Lector; the Rev Fr Vincent King BD is Lector; and the community is completed by the Rev Frs Joseph Henry Bartlett, Raymund Palmer and Austin Mary Rooke.  Masses on Sundays and Holydays at 6.30 and 8.00. High Mass at 10.30. Catechism, Vespers and Benediction at 3.00. Compline and Rosary at 6.00. Evening Prayers, Sermon and Benediction at 7.00 (except the first Sunday of the month). Mass daily at 6.30 and 8.00. Compline with Salve and Rosary every evening at 6.00. On Thursdays, Benediction. On Fridays, Stations of the Cross. On Saturdays, Litany of the BVM. Procession of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary on the first Sunday of every month with Sermon at 3.00. Procession of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament on the third Sunday of every month after High Mass.  There is a cemetery attached to this church.  The friars serve Woodchester Park, the Franciscan Convent of the Immaculate Conception, and the Catholic Orphanage attached to the Convent.

31 October 2015

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost 1863

1 SUNDAY Twenty-third after Pentecost, ALL SAINTS, double of the First Class with an Octave during which commemoration of the Octave and Creed. White.  Second Vespers of the feast, commemorations of the Sunday. White. After Bendicamus Domino Vespers of the Dead. Black. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence.]

Monday. All Souls. Black.

3 Tuesday. St Winifred, Virgin Martyr, double. Red. [In Diocese of Shrewsbury Double of the First Class. Plenary Indulgence.]

Wednesday.  St Charles, Bishop Confessor, double. Third prayers of Sts Vitalis and Agricola, Martyrs. White.

Thursday. Of the Octave, semidouble. Second prayers Deus qui corda. Third prayers for the Church or the Pope. White.

6 Friday.  Of the Octave, semidouble. Second prayers Deus qui corda. Third prayers for the Church or the Pope. White. Abstinence.

Saturday. Of the Octave, semidouble. Second prayers Deus qui corda. Third prayers for the Church or the Pope. White.

With the exception of one feast, displaced in one diocese, in November the calendar begins to run down like clockwork towards the end of the year, and with odd minor differences like the diocesan distribution of plenary indulgences the whole of the Church begins to face up as one to the end of its year and the beginning of Advent.  All Saints is a blinding flash of light which is extinguished at dusk as before, in white vestments, he finishes Vespers of All Saints, the priest vests in Black for Vespers of the Dead, the first Vespers of All Souls. Priests outside Spain and Portugal will not have the right to say three Masses on All Souls Day until 1915.

Octaves, too: Octaves have given us another dimension of richness this year.  In our impoverished Church we have only two, both showing what the year used to be like.  Easter's Octave obliterates its week, Christmas's crowns its. 

All Saints: this is the theme of this series, the Sanctoral taking precedence over the Temporal, as it were, until the reign of Pope Pius X just over 100 years ago. An ordinal number is nothing to celebrate: any Saint is. The Sabbatarianism implicit in raising any Sunday above any (or, 1910-1970, almost any) saint is more shocking, the more one thinks about it.  With a wave of the papal wand, Pope St Pius X abolished organic tradition and replaced it with an invented idea of what clever people assumed had been the rule at some remote point in the past, and began a century of liturgical vandalism. Remember that, the next time you want to criticise, for example, Pope Francis.

It has all gone, just as the Europe it had built would disappear utterly in 1918: destroy the Liturgy, destroy civilisation.

The Rev J B Colomb CB is the priest at St Edward the Confessor, Romford. On Sundays Holy Communion is distributed at 9.00, and High Mass with Sermon is at 11.00. Vespers, Instruction, and Benediction at 6.30. On Holydays, Mass is at 10.00, Rosary and Benediction at 4.00. On Days of Devotion and weekdays Mas is at 8.30. There are Confraternities of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of the Living Rosary.  The parish is responsible for the Romford Union Workhouse.

And here is the Rev Colomb, courtesy of the parish website, and here is a short biography of him. Pray for the repose of his soul, and ask for your prayers, if he is already in Heaven, to be applied to his successors in this parish.

℣. Eternal rest, grant unto him, O LORD,
℟. And let perpetual light shine upon him.
℣. May he rest in peace.
℟. Amen.

(For the 40-odd of you who follow this, there are just three more Sundays to go.  I bought copies of the Catholic Directory for the appropriate years before discovering that they are on line (though the online version misses out a lot of the adverts). If you want to have a go yourselves after my series has been completed, Advent 1863 begins on this page, and January 1864 here.)

24 October 2015

Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost 1863

25 SUNDAY Twenty-second after Pentecost, The Patronage of the BVM, greater double. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. Third prayers of Sts Crysanthus and Daria, Martyrs. Preface of the BVM. White. Second Vespers of the feast, commemorations of the Sunday and of St Evaristus. Plenary Indulgence. [In Diocese of Beverley, Patron of the Diocese, double of the First Class, with an octave, commemoration of which, Creed, and Preface of the BVM during the Octave. Commemoration of the Sunday only.]

26 Monday. The Purity of the BVM, greater double (transferred from 18 October). Second prayers of St Evaristus, Pope Martyr. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White.

27 Tuesday. Vigil of Sts Simon and Jude. The Translation of St John of Beverley, Bishop Confessor, double (transferred from 25 October. Commemoration and Last Gospel of the Vigil. White. [In Diocese of Beverley greater double.]

28 Wednesday.  (Feast of Devotion) Sts SIMON and JUDE, Apostles, double of the second class. Creed. Preface of the Apostles. Red. [In Diocese of St David's and Newport Second Prayers for the Bishop.]

29 Thursday. Venerable Bede, Confessor, greater double. White. Plenary Indulgence.

30 Friday.  St Francis Borgia, Confessor, semidouble (transferred from 11 October). Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers at the choice of the priest. White. Abstinence. [In Diocese of Beverley, of the Octave, semidouble. Second prayers Deus qui corda. Third prayers for the Church or the Pope. White. In Diocese of St David's and Newport Sts Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs, semidouble (transferred from 27 September). Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers at the choice of the priest. Red.]

31 SaturdayVigil. All-Hallows Eve. Second Prayers for the Dead. Third prayers Deus qui corda. Violet. FAST. [In Diocese of Beverley, of the Octave, semidouble. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Vigil. Third prayers Deus qui corda. White. In Diocese of St David's and Newport, St Francis Borgia, Confessor, semidouble (transferred from 11 October). Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Vigil. Third prayers Deus qui corda. White.]

The Patronage of Our Lady celebrates all those defeats of Saracens, pagans and heretics achieved by Catholic forces under Her Patronage, from Covadonga through to Belgrade.  Like the feast of Our Lady Of Victories it was originally instituted for Spain.  By 1863 the focus of the latter feast was on the Rosary, while today's feast focuses on the victories which an appeal for Our Lady's protection and guidance can achieve.

As we approach the end of the Church's year, and the end of this series showing what the pre-Pius X Calendar looked like, it is worth reflecting on how sophisticated the pre-1910 calendar was, how flexibly it could cope with the needs of the Sanctoral as well as the Dominical, and how important the local Church was, its particular celebrations taking precedence over all but the major feasts of the Universal Church.  Yet in the same way as the Sundays of Epiphany which are missed if Septuagesima comes early fill in for the Sundays after Pentecost which have no propers, so the Calendar copes with local feasts displacing universal feasts, fitting them back in even a couple of months late. 

And I have been particularly struck by the importance to the Diocese of its Principal Patron.  Apart from having to explain the concept of there being more than two (or three for 1962ists) Octaves, imagine trying to point out the punctiliousness that means that while the whole Diocese celebrates the Patronal Feast and commemorates it for a week, only the Cathedral Church and those parishes which fall within the city in which the Cathedral is situated celebrate the Octave Day similarly. We talk about lex orandi lex credendi,  forgetting that the lex orandi is a lot more than the Order of Mass.

More on all of this as I conclude my weekly offerings.

I write this while away from the Muniment Room and its bookcases, unsorted manuscripts, unindexed documents and cabinets of curiosities, so I cannot explain why the feast of St Bede should merit a Plenary Indulgence, or rather, why St Bede's should merit one while other saints whose feasts might rightly be thought to be equally significant to life in England and Wales, don't.

The parish of St Mary of the Angels in Bayswater is served by the Oblates of St Charles Borromeo. The Right Reverend Henry Edward Manning DD, Pronotary-Apostolic and Provost of Westminster is Superior. The Community comprises the Rev Frs Herbert Vaughan DD, Thomas Dillon, Thomas Macdonnell, Henry O'Callaghan, Robert Butler DD, William H Manning, Walter John Bruce Richards, Charles Denny, Henry Bayley and David C Nicols. Masses on Sunday are at 7.00, 8.00 and 9.00, with High Mass at 11.00. Vespers and Benediction at 3.30. Sermon and Benediction at 7.00pm. Mass on weekdays at 7.00, 8.00 and 9.00. The Way of the Cross is on Thursdays at 7.30pm. At 8.00pm on Wednesdays there is a Sermon and Benediction for the Confraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The intentions of members are read out after the Sermon. On Fridays the same for the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart. On all feasts of the BVM, the Apostles, and on Feasts of Devotion Benediction.  The Third Order of St Francis is established in this church and all Franciscan indulgences can be obtained in it.  It possesses also all of the indulgences associated with the Holy Basilica of St John Lateran, to which it is affiliated; and the side altars have the Indulgences of the Seven Churches of Rome.  The parish serves the hospital of St Mary's Paddington and the Paddington Workhouse.

Two future (and great) Cardinals in one community!

I can't find an online hymn for the Patronage of Mary so here's a hymn to Our Lady of Walsingham, though sung, unfortunately, as a dirge.

17 October 2015

Twenty-first Sunday After Pentecost 1863

18 SUNDAY Twenty-first after Pentecost, St LUKE the Evangelist, double of the second class. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. Preface of the Apostles. Red. Second Vespers of the feast, commemorations of St Peter of Alcantara and of the Sunday. Plenary Indulgence for the Purity of the BVM.

19 Monday. St Peter of Alcantara, Confessor, double. White.

20 Tuesday. The Octave of St Edward, King Confessor, double. White.

21 Wednesday.  St Ursula and her Companions, Virgins Martyrs, greater double. Second prayers of St Hilarion, Abbott. Red.

22 Thursday. St John Cantius, Confessor, double. White.

23 Friday.  Our Most HOLY REDEEMER, greater double. Creed. Preface of the Cross. White. Abstinence. Plenary Indulgence.

24 Saturday. St Raphael, Archangel, greater double. CreedWhite.

Every Sunday in October is a feast of Our Lady, but the feast of her Purity is outranked by the feast of St Luke the Evangelist.  Although celebration of the feast is put back by just over a week, the Plenary Indulgence associated with the feast, and the processions and guild activities associated with it may still be celebrated today.

On 21 October we celebrate St Ursula and her Companions.  Already in 1863 the feast of St Ursula and her 11,000 Companions had been discreetly renamed, as though talking about senseless slaughter of large numbers of people were an embarrassment.

There is no feast of Christ the King yet, but the feast of Our Most Holy Redeemer is celebrated this week.

The parish of St Ninian in Wooler is served by the Rev John Carlile. Mass on Sunday is celebrated on alternate Sundays at 10.30. On Holydays Mass is at 10.00. On summer weekdays, Mass is at 8.00, and at 8.30 in winter. Catechism is at 3.00 pm followed by Baptisms at 3,30. Benediction with a sermon is at 7.00 pm. During the week, Prayers and Instruction are each evening at 7.00 pm. Confessions are attended every evening after Prayers. Stations of the Cross are on Fridays at 7.00 pm. Rosary and Litany of the BVM on Saturdays at 7.00 pm.

For the feast of the Purity of the BVM.

10 October 2015

Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

11 SUNDAY Twentieth after Pentecost, The Maternity of the BVM, greater double. Commemoration and Last Gospel of the Sunday. Preface of the BVM. White. Second Vespers of the feast, commemorations of the Sunday and of St Wilfrid. Plenary Indulgence.

12 Monday. St Wilfrid, Confessor, double (transferred from 4 October). Second prayers of St Placid and Companions, Martyrs. White.

13 Tuesday. The Translation of St Edward, King Confessor, double of the second class with an Octave, during which a Commemoration. White.  Plenary Indulgence during the Octave for all benefactors of the Poor Schools Committee.

14 Wednesday.  St Callistus, Pope Martyr, double. Red.

15 Thursday. St Theresa, Virgin, double. White.

16 Friday.  Of the Octave of King St Edward, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis.  Third prayers at the choice of the priest. White. Abstinence.

17 Saturday. St Hedwiges, Widow, semidouble. Third prayers ConcedeWhite.

This is an English week.  The feast of St Wilfrid is only celebrated in England and Wales, and the feast of the Translation of St Edward only enjoys an Octave here, and in the absence of any other feast on Friday, the Mass will be of the Octave. The feast of St Hedwig should intrigue any children who think that an owl's name was invented by a writer.

The Rev Francis Verhagen is the Vicar of the parish of Our Lady of Light in Sclerder, Liskeard in Cornwall. He is supported by the Revs Bruno de Grave, Martin Verhagen and Amandus Mers OSF. Masses on Sunday are at 7.00 and 7.30, with High Mass and Sermon at 10.00. Catechism is at 2.30. Vespers, Sermon and Benediction is at 3.00. On weekdays there are Masses from 5.30 to 7.00. On Thursdays there is Benediction and Rosary at 5.00 pm. The feast of the Portiuncula (2 August), of St Francis (4 October), and of all the great feasts of the Order are kept with great solemnity. The Franciscan Recollect Fathers, besides giving Missions or Retreats, also receive in their Convent those of the clergy or laity who desire to make the spiritual exercises.

This parish has been blessed by the presence of evangelists from overseas in several different guises: see here. I wonder whether Martin and Francis Verhagen were brothers.  And what did Belgian Franciscans made of mid-nineteenth century Cornwall?

I'll sing a hymn to Mary, the Mother of my God. Will you?

05 October 2015

Correction Of An Earlier Synod

On 28 August 1794, Pius VI condemned eighty-five of those propositions of the Synod of Pistoia which Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany had caused to be printed and issued as authoritative to clergy in areas under his temporal rule. 

The section on The Previous Disposition Necessary for Admitting Penitents to Reconciliation is remarkably apposite today.

Section 36 of the Pope's Constitution Auctorem Fidei reads as follows:

The doctrine of the synod in which, after it stated that "when there are unmistakeable signs of the love of God dominating the heart of a man, he can be deservedly be considered worthy of being admitted to participation in the Blood of Jesus Christ which takes place in the sacraments", it further adds "that false conversions, which take place through attrition [[incomplete sorrow for sins]], are not usually efficacious or durable", consequently "the shepherd of souls must insist on unmistakeable signs of the dominating charity before he admits his penitents to the sacraments"; which signs as it [[the decree]] then teaches " a pastor can deduce from a stable abstention from sin, and from fervour in good works"; and this "fervour of charity", moreover, it prescribes, as the disposition that "should precede absolution";

if understood in the sense that for a man to be admitted to the sacraments, and, in particular, for penitents to be admitted to the benefit of absolution, there is generally and absolutely required not only imperfect contrition, which is sometimes called "attrition", even when it is united to the love by which man begins to love God as the source of all justice, nd not only contrition formed by charity, but also the fervour of dominating charity that has proved itself through long experience by fervour in good works;

[[is]] false, rash, disturbing to the peace of souls, contrary to the secure and approved practice of the Church, detracting from the efficacy of the sacrament and injurious to it.

(Denzinger Enchiridion 2636)

You can't mess about with the doctrine of Absolution to allow people to receive Holy Communion, and you can't mess the Eucharist up to allow people to play fast and loose with the Sacrament of Matrimony. If you start tugging at one of the threads, then the whole thing has to unravel. 

03 October 2015

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

4 SUNDAY Nineteenth after Pentecost, The Most Holy Rosary of the BVM, greater double. Commemoration and Last Gospel of the Sunday. Preface of the BVM. White. Second Vespers of the feast, commemorations of the Sunday and of Sts Placid and Companions, Martyrs. Plenary Indulgence. [In Diocese of Southwark, Collection.]

Monday. St Francis, Confessor, double (transferred from 4 October). Second prayers of St Placid and Companions, Martyrs. White.

6 Tuesday. St Bruno, Confessor, double. White. [In Diocese of St David's and Newport, the Octave of St Michael, double. Creed. White.]

Wednesday.  Sts Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs, semidouble (transferred from 27 September). Second prayers of St Mark, Pope Confessor. Third prayers of St Sergius and Companions, Martyrs. Red. [In Diocese of St David's and Newport, St Bruno, Confessor, double. Second prayers of St Mark, Pope Confessor. Third prayers of St Sergius and Companions, Martyrs. White.]

Thursday. St Bridget, Widow, double. White.

9 Friday.  St Denys and Companions, Martyrs, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis.  Third prayers at the choice of the priest. Abstinence.

10 Saturday. St Paulinus, Bishop Confessor, double. White. [In Dioceses of Beverley, Plenary Indulgence.]

October is Mary's month: three Sundays are dedicated to a Marian festival. Not all of these even survived Pius X. More on this as the month progresses.

The feast of the Most Holy Rosary displaces St Francis of Assisi this year: I can't believe that there were any Franciscans who were worried.

St Paul's, on Queen Elizabeth-square in Dover, is served by the Revs Joseph Savage and Richard G Davis.  (Their residence is at 22 Castle-street.) Masses on Sunday are at 9.00 and 10.00, with High Mass at 11.00. Catechism is at 2.00, and Vespers and Benediction is at 3.00, and Prayers, Sermon and Benediction is at 6.00.  On Holydays Mass is at 9.00, and High Mass at 10.00. Benediction is at 6.00.  On weekdays, Mass is at 9.00. Rosary is every evening at 6.00. On Wednesday there is Benediction for schoolchildren at 4.00 pm. On Thursday there is Benediction after Rosary. Confessions in English and French every evening after Rosary, and on Saturday evenings from 6.00 until 8.00. The parish serves Dover Barracks, the Military Hospital and the Workhouse.

Click on the link to hear O Queen of the Holy Rosary.

26 September 2015

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

27 SUNDAY Seventeenth after Pentecost, semidouble. Green. Vespers of the Sunday, commemoration of St Wenceslaus. Suffrages.

28 Monday. St Wenceslaus, Martyr, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers at the choice of the priest. Red.

29 Tuesday. (Feastday of Devotion) St MICHAEL, Archangel, double of the second class. CreedWhite. [In Dioceses of Westminster, Birmingham, and Hexham and Newcastle, second prayers for the Bishop. In Diocese of Liverpool, plenary indulgence. In Diocese of St David's and Newport, Titular of the Pro-Cathedral, double of the First Class with Octave, during which commemoration of the Octave and Creed.]

30 Wednesday.  St Jerome, Confessor Doctor, double. Creed. White.

Thursday. St Remigius, Bishop Confessor, semidouble.  Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers at the choice of the priest. White.

2 Friday.  The Guardian Angels, double. CreedWhite. Abstinence.

Saturday. St Thomas of Hereford, Bishop Confessor, double. White. [In dioceses of Clifton, St David's and Newport, and Plymouth, principal Mass of the BVM, with Gloria, one Prayer, and Creed. White.]

That's the Green vestments put away until next year, when six of the Sundays after Pentecost will be green: wrap them well. If we were Victorians we would probably miss them: we're not; we won't.

It is Michaelmas on Tuesday, and only a Feast of Devotion instead of the Holyday it once was.  (It is ironic that its status as Quarter Day, like the status of Lady Day, St John's Eve and Christmas Day, survived even Cromwell's reformation: money matters.) If you aren't praying a Novena to St Michael, please pray to him on his feast day to guard the Church during the forthcoming Synod.

Saturday's rubric concerning the feast of St Thomas Cantilupe is odd, in that at this time the Benedictine Monastery at Belmont in Herefordshire was the Pro-Cathedral for the Diocese of St David's and Newport, yet did not make anything of the local saint. Once the Diocese of Newport (more or less today's Archdiocese of Cardiff) had been split away from the rest of South Wales, St Thomas's feast was raised in status in that diocese, but it is odd, to me at least, that the Church in England and Wales would not want to make more of an English saint whose canonisation in 1320 (he had only died in 1282) made him one of the few English saints of the modern era.

The parish of St Thomas of Hereford, at Weobley in Herefordshire is served by the Rev C B Quinn.  Mas is said on Sundays at 10.30, and on Holydays at 10.00. There is an afternoon service sat 3,00 pm.

St Thomas's shrine in Hereford Cathedral has been restored, or at least repainted in the sort of polychromatic colours experts believe is an accurate rendering of how mediaeval stone would have been painted.  It offers the tiniest of glimpses into a past which is a foreign country.  There is, of course, no chantry; no altar; no Mass; no place to hang ex votos; no place to light candles; no pilgrims' hostel; indeed, no pilgrims. 

One of the small but important miracles in the depressing years after the failure of the Counter-Reformation in England is that those who kept the Faith managed in the main, not to turn to despair, but instead to resign themselves to the will of God.

19 September 2015

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost 1863

20 SUNDAY Seventeenth after Pentecost. The Seven Sorrows of the BVM, greater double. Second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. Preface of the BVM. White. First Vespers of St Matthew, commemoration only of the Seven Sorrows. Red.  Plenary Indulgence.

21 Monday. (Feast of Devotion) St MATTHEW Apostle and Evangelist, double of the second class. Creed. Preface of the Apostles. Red. [In Diocese of Nottingham second prayers for the Bishop.]

22 Tuesday. St Thomas of Villanova, Bishop Confessor, double. Second prayers of St Maurice and Companions, Martyrs. White.

23 Wednesday.  St Linus, Pope Martyr, semidouble. Second prayers of St Thecla, Virgin Martyr. Third prayers A Cunctis. Red.

24 Thursday. Our Lady of Mercy, greater double. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White.

25 Friday.  Sts Eustace and Companions, Martyrs, double (transferred from 20 September). Red. Abstinence.  [In Diocese of Liverpool second prayers for the Bishop.]

26 Saturday. Of the Immaculate Conception, semidouble. Second prayers of Sts Cyprian and Justina, Martyrs. Third prayers Deus qui corda. White.

I regularly list parishes which include "Instruction" as one of their Sunday services  This is when the clergy fulfilled their duty to educate their parishioners on what the Church taught.  (The bizarre, late twentieth century, idea that the Mass itself was for instruction would have been laughed out of court.) Imagine what the priest will teach about this week's feasts: there are three of Our Lady: her seven sorrows, her mercy, and her immaculate conception.  (We haven't heard much about Our Lady of Mercy as we await the Synod, have we?  Can anybody guess why?)  We have St Linus, a Pope Martyr who is mentioned in the Creed and who, we can (fairly safely) believe is buried close to St Peter beneath the high altar of St Peter's Basilica. We have St Eustace, one of the fourteen Holy Helpers, scandalously removed from the calendar in 1970 simply because the inadequates working for Bugnini couldn't "prove" that he wasn't mythological (hold me down).  And we have a Spanish Bishop whose care for the Moors in Spain and the Indians in Mexico was such that he was excused attendance at the Council of Trent, as his works of mercy were too important to be allowed to lapse. And we have St Matthew, the miserable sinner whose conversion led to his becoming an Apostle and, literate man that he was among the Galilean fishermen, an Evangelist as well.

During my primary education in the 1960s, we knew what each feast day in the week represented, as well as what the readings for the Sunday were going to be.  This probably represented the best part of an hour in school each day.  We were instructed.

St Vincent of Paul in Liverpool is served by the Very Rev Canon Bernard O'Reily, assisted by the Revs Michael Donelly and Francis Bartley.  Sunday Masses are at 7.30, 8.30 and 9.45, with High Mass and Sermon at 11.00.  Catechism and Instruction are at 2.00, and Benediction for children is at 3.00. Baptisms 3.30 pm (and on weekdays at 8.30am). Rosary, Sermon and Benediction at 6.30. On Holydays Mass at 5.00, 7.30, and 8.30. High Mass at 10.00 Devotions and Benediction at 7.30. On weekdays, Masses at 7.00, 8.00 and 9.00. On Thursday evenings, Benediction at 7.30pm. On Friday evenings Stations of the Cross at 7.30pm.

What an edifying service Benediction for children must have been when their Anglican neighbours were being sent to Sunday School!

The influence of the Catholic families who had managed to hold on to land and other property, and to whom the Church in England and Wales owed its continued existence from 1650 to the time of Emancipation in 1829 waned rapidly.  There is still a Lord Stourton, the 27th Baron, though his subsidiary titles have moved about a bit.  The 18th Baron was a son of Stourton and Weld, and married to a Clifford. These families had maintained their Faith by marrying each other and hoping and trusting that theirs would not be the last Catholic generation. 

18 September 2015

Martyrologium For 19 September

Pray to the martyrs, that they might pray for us.

At Puzzuoli, in Campania, the holy martyrs Januarius, Bishop of Benevento, Festus his Deacon, and Desiderius his Reader, Sosius, a Deacon of the Church of Miseno, Proculus, a Deacon of Puzzuoli, (and two laymen named respectively) Eutyches and Acutius, who were chained and imprisoned, and at length beheaded, under the Emperor Diocletian. The body of the holy Januarius was carried to Naples, and honourably buried in the church there, where also is still kept in a glass phial some of the blood of this most blessed martyr, which is seen to melt and bubble, as though it were fresh, when it is put in sight of his head. 

At Nocera, the holy martyrs Felix and Constance, who suffered under Nero. 

In Palestine, the holy martyrs Peleus, Nilus, and Elias, Bishops of Egypt, who, in the time of the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian, were, along with many other clerks, consumed with fire for Christ's sake. 

On the same day, under the Emperor Probus, the holy martyrs Trophimus, Sabbatius, and Dorymedon. 

Sabbatius was flogged to death at Antioch, by command of Atticus the President; Trophimus was sent to Synnada to the President Perennius, and there, after being put to many torments, he was beheaded along with the Senator Dorymedon. 

At Cordova, in the persecution under the Arabs, (in the ninth century,) the holy Virgin and martyr Pomposa. 

At Canterbury, holy Theodore, Archbishop of that city, who was sent into England by Pope Vitalian, and was a burning and a shining light for teaching and holiness. (We keep his feast upon the 26th day of this present month of September.) At Tours, (in the fifth century,) the holy Confessor Eustochius, Bishop (of that see), a man of many graces. 

In the country of Langres, (in the sixth century,) the holy Priest and Confessor Sequanus. 

At Barcelona, in Spain, the blessed Virgin Mary de Cervelhon, of the Order of St Mary of Ransom, who, because of her ready help to them that call upon her, is commonly called Helpful Mary