In the past 36 hours, the solemnity of Our Lady’s Assumption, the Summer School here at La Garde-Freinet has celebrated 3 solemn liturgies, each involving at least one greater prelate. Others took the photos and can offer a better review in detail. What follows is more by way of reaction and reflection from one who is something of an outsider.
Two particular and abiding resonances stand out for me. One is from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2010) #16 which, drawing abundantly from the documents of Vatican II, describes the Mass this:
The celebration of Mass, as the action of Christ and of the People of God arrayed hierarchically, is the centre of the whole of Christian life for the Church both universal and local, as well as for each of the faithful individually.
The second resonance is of our Lord’s prophetic promise to Peter in John 21:18:
Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.
Let me explain before you come to any precipitate conclusions about these resonances. (more…)
It was a little embarrassing to tell some brethren that I was off to a liturgical summer school at the monastery of St Benedict in La Garde-Freinet. Inevitably the question would come, where is that? Offering "the south of France" was never satisfying. So one had to make the admission that it is near St Tropez, between that resort town and Antibes and Nice. The southern region of Provence, on the outskirts of the French Riviera. Not convincing as a destination for work rather than play with Europe's rich and infamous. (more…)
When one gets a little down in the dumps about the state of the Church today’s gospel (well one part of this long and crowded gospel reading) is both consoling and perturbing. To really apprehend the full significance of this parable we must pay attention from the very first phrase: (more…)
The Tablet is not my favourite read. For me to read it is to experience something similar to those who listen to “shock jocks” on radio, listening precisely in order to be whipped up to a frenzy of outrage at this or that inadequate representation of the topic of the day. The problem for me is that I am of an age where one is getting sick of outrage; and sick also of having to fight for things one holds dear against those who should also be holding them dear. In the words of Browning’s bishop, “Peace, peace seems all.”
Things at The Tablet took a potentially irenic turn with the recent appointment of Brendan Walsh as editor. (more…)
Today is traditionally the feast of Corpus Christi, and in many countries the Church keeps to the traditional reckoning of the feast. In England it is transferred to Sunday, unless one attends an Extraordinary Form parish or chapel.
The post-conciliar decline in the liturgy, especially the liturgy of the Mass, is attended by a decline in the general understanding of the Eucharist and the Sacrifice at the heart of the Mass. Catechesis has been inextricably bound to liturgical reform as it has happened on the ground (as opposed to the lofty ideals of the reformers who seemed often to have little idea of real parishes and the faithful’s needs). The decline of one at the grassroots has been attended by a congruent decline in the other. One of the reformers’ great mantras, that rubber-stamps all sorts of distortions of the Mass, is active participation. Put bluntly, for many parochial reformers this means getting as many people to do things and make noise as possible, a concept wholly novel to the liturgy and reflecting late 20th-century obsession with uniform egalitarianism.
It seemed an interesting idea to look back through the old hand missals—missals intended for the laity and to foster their intelligent participation in the Mass—to see if we can catch glimpses of what we have lost, what avenues we might have more fruitfully walked, and whether the decline can be discerned in the production of these missals over the years. What follows is graphic-heavy and probably should be viewed via a broadband or wifi connection! The covers and descriptions of almost all the missals can be found in recent posts. (more…)
Recently someone left us a scrapbook. It is an amazing collection of religious trivia, and some of it is not so trivial in some respects. Herewith, in keeping with the recent archival theme, some samples (which, when clicked, will show the full size photo).
First is a photograph of Maurus Caruana (†1943), monk of Fort Augustus and Archbishop-Bishop of Malta. I suspect this photo is of him back at Fort Augustus, wearing a very monastic mitre.
Sorry – another mega missal post, but the last, so—courage. [As usual, if you click the photos they will open in full size.]
First from the cloister haul is this example of a missal I had not come across before: a Missal-Vesperal. Many of the 20th-century people’s missals began to include vespers and even compline, as a way of bringing the life of Christian worship out beyond the confines of Mass and to imbue daily life with the spirit of the liturgy.
This will verge on a megapost. There was quite the variety of missals in the cupboard. As a great lover of the old hand missals I found these of special interest. If the old missals do nothing for your adrenalin levels then this post may not be of interest to you. There is no particular rationale to the following sequence.
The first is a representative of the high-water mark of the hand missals for the laity that were one of the great fruits of the authentic liturgical movement.
It has an intrguing inscription. Either Christopher is something of an indian giver, or Judie is very possessive.
London has been hit by terrorists again, with all the hallmarks of those inspired by the Islamic jihadists of Daesh. The details are gradually becoming clearer now but it seems prudent to withhold comment until we know quite certainly the full nature of the attacks. Of course for now we pray: for the seven dead and commend them to Christ’s mercy; for the injured and commend them to the Spirit of Consolation; for those who mourn or who are afrighted and commend them to the Father’s paternal care.
So as we worship this Pentecost day we might remember the victims, pray also for the conversion of terrorists, and offer ourselves to the Father with Christ in solidarity with the persecuted Church in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and in parts of Africa and Asia.
But this is not what the title of the blog post refers to. If I may, a brief pause from the worries of terror.
In yesterday’s post, one of the items covered was a two-volume set of choir breviaries. A reader, papamac71, spotted what I had not: (more…)
Some people actually seem interested in this, so herewith the penultimate post about the cloister hoard.
**NB In this series, any picture is able to be clicked to reveal the full-sized version.**
Today, office books. First is this diurnal, ie the day hours off the office as found in the monastic breviary.
Since it is a Friday, it seems fitting to supply some opportunity for penance. Thus, here follows some more discoveries from a cupboard in the monastery’s long cloister.
Last time we left off with a taster of a book that you will not have seen in bookshops before.
This little book was published by no less than Douai Abbey. I had never heard of it.
If you do not like books, you are bound to be bored here. If you are indifferent to liturgical books, you are likely to yawn a little. If books and liturgical history fascinate you, even if presented in a fairly superficial and fleeting way—then read on Macduff.
A monastic friend has asked if we have copies of an old liturgical book. I endeavoured to track down our stash of them, seen years ago in a now-reformed part of the monastery. They must have been moved somewhere else, right?
As yet there is no sign of them. Perhaps they were moved without not within the monastery. However, along the way I discovered a small (St) Aladdin’s cave of liturgical and monastic incunabula (I use the term loosely of course 👨🏻🎓). Some of you may be interested to see some of the things that cupboard held. (more…)
Recently I borrowed a book from our library. If it had been read, it had not been read often. It dated from 1976, an edition under the imprint of Catholic Book Clubs.
A couple of bits of paper fell out as I opened it. Someone’s jottings? A letter or postcard? No; rather they were two flyers inserted by the Catholic Book Club—the sort of stuff that comes by forest-load in the weekend papers.
However, they fascinated me. What a marvellous little slice of social history they comprise. (more…)
I think the title counts as what is called in the cyber world, clickbait. Anyway…
Frank Sheed (1897–1981), the great Australian Catholic publisher, apologist and missionary to England and America, manages the feat of being orthodox without being pious, and of being comprehensive without being complex. He was also, and often, remarkably prescient.
His ecclesial autobiography, The Church and I (Sheed and Ward, 1974), charts his life in relation to the Church, its heroes and villains, its triumphs, and its crises. So what he writes about “The Church and Sex” (chapter 16) still reads as fresh and relevant as it must have back in 1974. I will cobble together some sections below, much as the lectionary often does with its scripture. But whereas the lectionary often does that to pull some punches, my purpose here will be to allow no breathing time between each punch: (more…)