31 July 2011

Succintly Put

This weekend I wasn't able to attend the Extraordinary Form Mass I usually go to, so I attended the local Novus Ordo. The priest himself is a good man, strongly pro-life, and--though he tends to ramble--I've never heard him preach heterodoxy. He's also a friend to tradition, opening up the parish chapel to a weekly EF Mass said by a visiting priest.

Still, that doesn't keep him from saying this sort of thing: "Just as Jesus broke the bread, distributed it to His Apostles, who then gave the loaves and fish to the multitude, so we repeat that ritual here: I, the priest, break the bread, I give it to the ministers of communion, who then distribute the Eucharist to the parishioners."


My Novus Ordo friends are surely saying, "What's the big deal?" My trad friends are groaning along with me.


I belong to a split parish, where equal time is given to the Novus Ordo and the Extraordinary Form Mass. It's been this way ever since the archdiocese invited the FSSP, over a decade ago, to make its home here. Since that time, both rites have coexisted harmoniously, the new rite even showing signs of the old rite's influence (e.g., implementing kneeling to receive communion, Latin responses, getting rid of altar girls, reducing the number of extraordinary ministers).

The pastor who said the N.O. was reassigned, so now the FSSP priest (since incardinated into the diocese, infiltrating the common ranks, the better to propagate his traditionalist schemes) is full-time pastor, and fully intends to maintain the harmony that's been a hallmark of this parish. Hoping to steer clear of extremism on either end and promote continued unity--as any good pastor ought--he made passing mention during the homily of "the intrinsic worth" of both rites. He's absolutely right, of course. The Novus Ordo Mass--when said properly, with the proper intention--truly confects the Eucharist and gives us the Body and Blood of Our Lord. In that sense, the new rite has the same intrinsic worth as the old.

But the very fact that one must add the caveat above is of concern.

Oh, that isn't to say the same caveat can't be applied to the old rite; if a priest lacks the proper intention when saying the EF Mass, the bread remains plain old bread.

But the thing is that it's well nigh impossible to do that in the old rite. The same can't be said of the new.

And therein lies the crux of traditionalist concerns. Contrary to popular opinion, we aren't consumed with worry over (a) Latin, (b) sacred music, (c) incense, (d) vestments, (e) statues, or (f) any of the other bells and whistles. These are helpful, but not central. A priest could mutter a low Mass in a prison cell with none of the trappings, and it wouldn't change the character of the Mass.

What's central is the Holy Sacrifice. Anyone who has ever read the prayers and canon of the "Old Mass" can see that the sacrificial nature of that rite cannot, cannot, cannot be in doubt. There are references everywhere deeply unpalatable to Protestants, references to the Divine Victim, the Sacrifice, the Oblation... It is steeped, soaked, positively saturated in distinctively Catholic theology; one cannot follow along with the EF Mass without knowing precisely what happens at the consecration.

It was this sacrificial nature that so disgusted the English reformers they eradicated all mention of it when creating their new worship service. Cranmer made sure to remove any reference to "Divine Victim" or "Oblation", stressing rather the "spiritual", communal nature of communion.

Going forward some centuries, it's fair to say ecumenism fever swept through the Consilium responsible for revision of the Mass in the 1960s. With the desire to make our liturgy more appealing to our Protestant brethren, prayers referring to the Sacrifice of Christ were cut out wholesale from the Mass, replaced with formulations more open to interpretation. The good news, at least, is that the revised Canon retains explicit mention of the Sacrifice; the bad news is that Canon II, ambiguous enough to satisfy a Protestant, is the recommended prayer for Sundays and ferias, and thus is the one most Catholics hear.

Can the Novus Ordo be said properly and reverently? Yes, and I know many a good priest who does. But the very fact that the opposite can easily be the case (and has indeed been the case too often) is a matter for any well-intentioned Catholic to take seriously: it has, after all, real-world implications. Those who continue to dismiss traditionalist concerns with a roll of the eyes need only look around: 75% of Catholics in America (and 90% of Catholics in Europe) don't attend Mass. And among those who do, 70% don't even believe in the Real Presence. That's right; next time you're at the new rite of Mass, look at the fellow to your right and the lady to your left. More likely than not, neither one believes the consecrated Host is the Body and Blood of Our Lord, worthy of veneration and worship, or of protection from sacrilege. And if one thinks that has nothing whatsoever to do with the revisions of the Mass, then I say most respectfully that one is deluding oneself.

Public Education & Dumbing Down

Entirely consistent with my post below, Sir Ken Robinson discusses the education of our youth:

(via The Crescat)
I've come to the uncomfortable conclusion that I make a rather bad piano teacher to my children. I have an abundance of patience when teaching other people's children, but when it comes to my own, I seem to transfer the same sort of perfectionism I expect from myself to them--which really isn't very fair when one is dealing with a six-year-old, but who ever let logic get in the way of impatience? This Chinese Tiger Mom has gotten a lot of criticism for her hair-raising methods of childrearing, but I couldn't help seeing a bit of myself (just a little bit) in her description.
Here's a story in favor of coercion, Chinese-style. Lulu was about 7...and working on a piano piece called "The Little White Donkey" by the French composer Jacques Ibert.
Lulu couldn't do it. We worked on it nonstop for a week, drilling each of her hands separately, over and over. But whenever we tried putting the hands together, one always morphed into the other, and everything fell apart. Finally, the day before her lesson, Lulu announced in exasperation that she was giving up and stomped off.

"Get back to the piano now," I ordered.

"You can't make me."

"Oh yes, I can."

Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She punched, thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu's dollhouse to the car and told her I'd donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn't have "The Little White Donkey" perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, "I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?" I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn't do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.
I used every weapon and tactic I could think of. We worked right through dinner into the night, and I wouldn't let Lulu get up, not for water, not even to go to the bathroom. The house became a war zone, and I lost my voice yelling, but still there seemed to be only negative progress, and even I began to have doubts.

Then, out of the blue, Lulu did it. Her hands suddenly came together—her right and left hands each doing their own imperturbable thing—just like that.

Lulu realized it the same time I did. I held my breath. She tried it tentatively again. Then she played it more confidently and faster, and still the rhythm held. A moment later, she was beaming.
No, I don't come close to that level of psychotic behavior. I'm too lazy, for one, and I don't want my children growing up detesting what should bring them joy. But neither do I sit with a sweet smile plastered on my face and dole out undeserved compliments. Children are often able to give much more than we expect, and we insult them when we dumb down expectations.

An example: I remember (back when I was Protestant) attending a Church get-together, and watching a performance of little children singing Christian songs. All the adults were enthralled and clapped wildly at the end. Personally, I thought it was an ungodly mess: out of tune, out of sync, distracted, restless. It wasn't the children's fault, of course, but their teacher's, who was evidently so satisfied with their level of skill she thought them ready to display it in public. Contrast that with my experience at Mass in a French cathedral some years later: a group of children of the same age, dressed in white choir robes with red velvet capes, singing Latin hymns with clarity and beauty and concentration. French children aren't any more innately intelligent than American kids. But the French--particularly Catholics--have a long history with choeur d'enfants, and it's not uncommon for them to enroll their children in such programs as part of their early training. Taking part isn't thought to be too difficult or out-of-reach for children that age, and children naturally rise to the task.

But where was I?

Once upon a time I studied classical piano under a concert pianist, back in my undergraduate days. I remember we spent an entire semester, among other things, playing Chopin's Harp Étude very slowly. If you know the piece, it's intricate and supposed to be played so fast that the thousand notes sound like, well, a harp. When I started the term, I thought I'd mastered the piece. Sure, I stumbled over a few notes here and there, but playing the piece at lightning speed made the notes run together, and I could hide my imperfections that way. And my previous teachers seemed satisfied with that.

Not so my new instructor, a kind little Hebrew man who happened to be a perfectionist. "Fast fingers," he said, "but not enough control." So he made me slow it down to a snail's pace and ensure Every. Single. Note was accurate--an excruciating task for someone as slack and impatient as I was.

If I made a single error--a single error--he made me start the entire piece over again. I hated it. People who've never studied music seriously don't understand the tedium involved. When Evgeny Kissin or Vladimir Ashkenazy sit down and give a gorgeous performance, the audience can be sure there are hours of frustration and monotony behind it. I remember reading an anecdote once of an opera singer who, after giving an electrifying performance, was approached by a woman who gushed, "I would give anything to sing like you!" The singer graciously thanked her, but thought to herself, "You have no idea what you're talking about--you wouldn't give yourself to practicing hours every day, for years on end, often fatigued, frustrated, angry..."

One develops a love-hate relationship with one's instrument--and as the semester wore on, the latter began to win out. I'm happy to say on the very last day of term, I was able to play the entire piece through without a single mistake--a feat I haven't been able to replicate since. But when my prof pressed me to continue with my studies the next term, I declined. An unfortunate decision, now that I look back on it, but there it is. And now it's been so many years since I've studied piano that my fingers are pitifully out of shape and will hardly do what I tell them. That won't keep me from trying to pass on this gift to my children, though (for that really is what music is, in spite of all its difficulty--a gift). We've been fortunate enough to find a wonderful piano teacher who specializes in the Russian Method, yet does so with the sort of exquisite gentleness and patience I lack--and my six-year-old is blossoming under her tutelage. She'll be trying out for the World Piano Competition next year. I don't particularly care whether or not she gains a place; what matters is that she tackles it with zeal and perseverance, with all the ability I know she has.

27 July 2011

One Example of Why Beauty Matters

Dr. William Oddie speaks of the beginnings of his conversion from atheism:
As I stood in the middle of that majestic nave, and looked upwards, my entire life changed. It was borne in on me very powerfully that I had to ask myself a question: was it really possible that that was based on a lie? The answer was unavoidable: this great anthem in stone to the power and majesty of God could only be based on the truth: there was indeed a God, and nothing could for me ever be the same again.
For some reason I highly doubt he would've had the same experience looking around most modern churches today...

First, Call to Disobedience; Now This...

More than 150 Roman Catholic priests in the United States have signed a statement in support of a fellow cleric who faces dismissal for participating in a ceremony that purported to ordain a woman as a priest, in defiance of church teaching.

The Rev. Roy Bourgeois has received letters from the Vatican threatening dismissal for his role in a ceremony that purported to ordain Janice Sevre-Duszynska...as a priest.

The American priests’ action follows closely on the heels of a “Call to Disobedience” issued in Austria last month by more than 300 priests and deacons. They stunned their bishops with a seven-point pledge that includes actively promoting priesthood for women and married men, and reciting a public prayer for “church reform” in every Mass.
Father Bourgeois, a member of the Maryknoll religious order, received a letter from the Vatican in 2008 warning that he would be excommunicated if he did not recant. He sent the Vatican a long letter saying that he was only following his conscience. The Vatican never wrote back, he said.

The statement from the 157 American priests says only that they support Father Bourgeois’s “right to speak his conscience” — cautious wording that probably enabled more to sign. The effort was organized by Call to Action, a Chicago-based group that has long advocated change in the church. It is intended to put pressure on the Maryknolls not to go through with dismissing Father Bourgeois.

Tempest in a Teapot

Michael Voris responds to WYD's unprecedented disavowal of his lectures in Madrid.

RealCatholicTV's official press release can be read here.

26 July 2011

How mistaken we are when we judge our neighbor by his natural qualities, considering the feelings of congeniality or antipathy which he arouses in us, rather than his supernatural worth.

--Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy

25 July 2011

Parishes Still Aren't Getting It

How many years will it take to get it through that the provisions of Ecclesia Dei adflicta were superseded by those of Summorum Pontificum?

If the priest is a) the pastor and b) people ask him for the older Mass on Sundays and c) he or another priest can cover it along with the other Sunday Masses, no permission is needed… no permission is needed… no permission is needed from the chancery or bishop.
As Fr. Z notes, the bishop might not like--but it is within the priest's rights to offer it, and if the chancery causes trouble, there's little doubt an appeal to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei would fix that.

24 July 2011

This Is What Happens

...when so-called institutions of higher learning cater to students.

A 20-something woman, who failed to submit a class paper, sent me an e-mail casually explaining that she'd been sick and would get her paper in a few days late. I responded with condolences, and explained that late points would have to be deducted, since I'd made clear at the start of term that any extension requests need to be made before the due date (and she had waited a ridiculously long time to contact me). She immediately shot back an e-mail expressing shock and wondering if deducting late points for a late paper was a "new policy" at the university.

I didn't even know how to respond to that.

She then proceeded to compare me to her other more lenient professors, whose compassion over the griefs and vexations suffered in student life extended to the eradication of deadlines altogether.

I explained, as calmly as I could, that deducting late points for late papers is standard policy at not only this, but every, educational institution since time immemorial, and that, since I'm preparing students to enter the legal field, and since all legal professionals live by deadlines, I am doing students a favor by making them take due dates seriously.

As I suspected, the following weeks revealed her to be a complete slacker. She ended up failing her last assignment because she didn't bother to submit half of it--and then proceeded to lecture me on how turning in the other half would have been redundant, while demanding that I accept her revised paper. Sorry, kid. She's got a tough road ahead with that attitude of entitlement, fostered, unfortunately, by instructors more concerned with high ratings and being liked than actually, I don't know, educating.

23 July 2011

The weatherman lied to me.

He promised rain yesterday, and it never came. Then he promised it this morning--and there is a bright, very hot sun gloating from a cloudless sky as I write.

I had underestimated the heat wave, until I made the wise decision to do errands during the hottest part of the day, running to and fro to this and that store. On the drive home I nearly passed out. Apparently, being six months pregnant causes one to overheat more quickly than the average duck.

So now the errands are done in the early morning hours before it roasts, after which I'm relegated to the confines of my house, waiting for the promised rain and cooler temperatures, which the weatherman assures me are coming... but are yet to make any hint of their arrival...
Mmmmmm, cheesecake.

21 July 2011

Mother and Child in the Vendée

Although a great number of children were sacrificed, the republicans seem to have made some attempts to save them. The entrepôt was a huge building, used before the revolution as a storehouse for merchandise. During the reign of terror it was turned into a prison, as its proximity to the river adapted it for the noyades [execution by drowning]. There, on one occasion, a vast number of Vendean women were confined, many of them with babes at the breast; and it was announced that any women of Nantes who wished to save the children of the Vendeans might be admitted to the entrepôt, and that each might rescue one of the little creatures. A great number of charitable women rushed to the prison; and the Christian mother can alone picture to herself the scene which ensued. On seeing them enter, the broken-hearted Vendeans fell upon their knees, and holding up their infants in their arms, appealed to the strangers to take them away and save them from a cruel death. But scarcely were their prayers heard, when they besought the strangers to restore them again; they begged to be allowed one last embrace, and then one more; and the little children, struggling to escape from the strangers, threw themselves into the arms of their mothers, and clung to their bosoms, and refused to be taken away; and then was the scene of heart-breaking misery to be enacted over again.

Massacre at Les-Lucs-sur-Boulogne; Église St-Pierre

The widow of an insurgent was among the prisoners who were to die the next day. She saw among the women who had come to the prison to save the children a person whose appearance denoted easy circumstances. The widow thought she could not do better than confide her child to her care. “Madame,” she said, “have pity on me, and adopt my child.” “Yes,” said the unknown, “I will, and will educate him.” “God bless you!” said the widow comforted. “Teach him to love God, and imitate his father, who died for the King.”

“Do not distress yourself,” said the stranger, embracing the child. “I am rich. He shall want for nothing. I will teach him to love and serve the Republic.”

“Give him back to me! Give me back my child!” cried the royalist widow, “you will destroy his soul. I had rather he should die with me than live to be perverted and forget God and the king.” And with a mother’s strength she snatched her child away, and together they were engulfed in the Loire the next day.

From George J. Hill, The Story of the War in La Vendée and the Little Chouannerie pp. 132-133 (via Nobility)

20 July 2011

Initiation of Canonization Process for Bd. Elizabeth of the Trinity

The vice-postulator for the cause of St. Thérèse's parents, recently beatified Louis and Zelie Martin, is the same for Bd. Eliz. of the Trinity. From this Italian article:

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 6 pm in the Chapel of the Archbishop in Dijon, in front of His Excellency Archbishop Roland Minnerath, Archbishop of the diocese, the opening of the Process "Super Miro" for the canonization of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Elizabeth Catez (1880-1906), took place.

After a short prayer in the presence of a relic of the Carmelite of Dijon the members of the court were sworn: Bishop Ennio APEC Archbishop of Milan as a Bankruptcy Judge to this case, the Canon Paul Chadeuf , Promoter of Justice and Don Yves Frot, Notary Actuary.

The Archbishop's Chancellor, Canon Marc Galen , read the libel Supplice Vice Postulator of the Cause, Father Anthony of the Mother of God OCD (Sangalli), with whom he had asked that the process started for the alleged miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. His Excellency the Archbishop, having read the Supplice libel, then served the oath ceremony.

After the first session the opening the second session took place where they interviewed three persons from the Discalced Carmelite Monastery at Flavignerot about an alleged miracle cure for Ms. Marie-Paul Stevens (Belgium).

A religion teacher at the Institute of the Marist Brothers of Malmedy (Belgium ), Marie-Paul during the month of May 1997 had difficulty in articulating words and saliva problems. A few weeks later, a friend advised her to undergo some medical tests. Marie-Paul then learned she had contracted the disease, Sjogren's, which gradually hits different areas of your body. The serious complications that followed led the government to ask Marie-Paul to take early retirement. During the illness, many people prayed the Novena of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity to ask for healing. On the advice of several specialists, Marie-Paul underwent chemotherapy and corticosteroid therapy, but the results were not satisfactory. The situation worsened and, as death seemed to approach, Marie-Paul expressed the desire to take a trip to Flavignerot to thank Elizabeth of the Trinity for sustaining her in the course of the disease. On 2 April 2002, after praying in the chapel of the Carmel and thanking Elizabeth , she sat on one of the rocks bordering the parking lot of the monastery. Suddenly, and before the astonished eyes of two friends who accompanied her, she stood up and with her hands to heaven, exclaimed, full of wonder and joy: "I have no more illness." From that day on, Marie-Paul resumed her normal life.

17 July 2011

Moving God, Moving History

No one jeered and hooted at the nuns as they went to the place of execution. Rather, an eerie silence surrounded the cortege as the nuns continued their song. Naught was heard but the “austere chant of high solemn joy” of those who, after some twenty months of consecrating themselves each day for this hour, God’s mercy allowed them to make this final act of holocaust. Each nun knelt before the prioress, renewed her vows, kissed a tiny terracotta statuette of Madonna and Child, and then mounted the scaffold high.

Ten days after their deaths, Robespierre fell and the Reign of Terror effectively ended.... Something in the very foundation of the edifice of the French Revolution was shaken by the nuns’ defiant and joyful gesture. The eerie silence around the scaffold presaged the regime’s fall from power.

Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne, pray for us

13 July 2011

I Wear Black on Bastille Day

Reposting an oldie but goodie:

Gerald Warner of The Telegraph shares his thoughts on Bastille Day:
Bastille Day or, as the comic singers who take it seriously prefer to call it, the Fête de la Federation, is the embarrassing event that exposes the cultural, moral and constitutional bankruptcy of what was once the greatest civilisation in Europe.

When you are reduced to celebrating the murder by the canaille of Paris in 1789 of the French equivalent of the Chelsea Pensioners, you are inadvertently advertising the sinister origins of the dysfunctional state you are trying to prop up with a mythology as grotesque as it is pathetic. The Umpteenth French Republic is the one entity whose absorption by the European Union is not to be regretted.

Pompous parades will today celebrate the event that triggered the French Revolution, that is to say, the most appalling bloodbath anterior to the Russian Revolution. Seven prisoners were released from the Bastille—four counterfeiters, an accomplice to murder and two lunatics—whose return to the community was hardly beneficial. The attack on the prison, reserved for the well-off, was orchestrated by the Marquis de Sade and Camille Desmoulins on behalf of the Nine Sisters masonic lodge.

There followed the September massacres, the marriages républicains in which people of opposite sexes were stripped naked and lashed together in obscene postures before being drowned, mothers forced to watch their children being guillotined and the massacre of 400,000 Catholic royalists—the majority of them women and children—in La Vendée. Sounds like the perfect excuse for a celebratory knees-up.

There are two countries called France. One is the sluttish Republic—"Marianne"—the other is the timeless, civilised doyen of Christendom, the nation of Clovis and St Louis, of the Valois and Bourbon kings, the Catholic and monarchic civilisation that fell with Charles X in 1830 but still defiantly survives in many enclaves. That pulse will beat quietly today while the heirs of the sans-culottes strut their stuff, proclaiming French nationalism under the figurehead of a Hungarian president and his Italian wife.

It is all hollow, even on their terms: the lodges and the heirs of the Jacobins have migrated to Brussels and are working on a more ambitious project, still aimed at the de-Christianisation of Europe and the elimination of freedom and tradition. France without its monarchy and the Church of which it was proudly termed the Eldest Daughter is a desert.

Today is when the posturing Pantaloons bedecked with tricolour sashes enjoy their 15 minutes of fame. God send, at some time in the future—however distant—the restoration of the glittering monarchy whose downfall in blood is so vulgarly celebrated today. Long live the present-day heir of the Bourbons, the Duc d'Anjou, rightful King of France. Vive Louis XX.
Well-said. (The coat of arms above is that of la Département de la Vendée.)

10 July 2011

Calumny in the Blogosphere

By Fr. Michael Orsi
[T]he power to reach a wide audience while remaining in the shadows has proven a source of great temptation. All too many online commentators have been dazzled by this technology that magnifies personal identity and stokes the ego while providing a shield from the consequences of their words. Whole new avenues of calumny have been the result.
Others recognize the evil in calumny, but see it as a compromise that must be made for the sake of a noble cause. They hope that by destroying an opponent’s reputation they will de-legitimize the position that opponent represents.
A recent occurrence in my own diocese serves as an example. Allegations of moral lapses on the part of a brother priest were circulated by interlinked blogs, magnifying the actual facts of the case being investigated, and layering on multiple rumors that featured a colorful variety of imagined illicit behaviors—all before anything was proven. While a ministry was seriously (perhaps fatally) compromised, no allowance was given for the political conflicts existing within the parish or the motives of those who spread the stories. What were little more than assumptions took on a life of their own when a chain of bloggers spread them within minutes throughout the diocese and well beyond.
-Responding to these calumnious blogs, even for defense of the individual or for clarification, only encourages the offender and prolongs the life of the calumny.

-Those who suffer calumny on anonymous blogs are, for the most part, better off enduring it. Seeking to correct misrepresentations usually has the effect of keeping controversy alive and adding to its interest value.

-While reading such blogs is damaging to its target (since it causes unwarranted negative speculation about another’s character), it also hurts the reader since it causes scandal, sowing pessimism and despondency.

-Calumnious blogging is a serious offense against God’s law. Those who engage in it are jeopardizing their immortal souls and the souls of others.

-For anyone to make a judgment concerning a person’s character based on what is read on a negative blog is to be a formal cooperator in the evil perpetrated by the blogger.

09 July 2011


Of Courtesy, it is much less
Than Courage of Heart or Holiness,
Yet in my Walks it seems to me
That the Grace of God is in Courtesy.

On Monks I did in Storrington fall,
They took me straight into their Hall;
I saw Three Pictures on a wall,
And Courtesy was in them all.

The first the Annunciation;
The second the Visitation;
The third the Consolation,
Of God that was Our Lady's Son.

The first was of St. Gabriel;
On Wings a-flame from Heaven he fell;
And as he went upon one knee
He shone with Heavenly Courtesy.

Our Lady out of Nazareth rode -
It was Her month of heavy load;
Yet was her face both great and kind,
For Courtesy was in Her Mind.

The third it was our Little Lord,
Whom all the Kings in arms adored;
He was so small you could not see
His large intent of Courtesy.

Our Lord, that was Our Lady's Son,
Go bless you, People, one by one;
My Rhyme is written, my work is done.

--Hilaire Belloc

08 July 2011

And now, from the Museum of Bad Art...

Mama & Baby, oil on canvas, artist unknown

Dramatic Changes in Music Rubrics for New Missal

Over at the Chant Café, Jeffrey Tucker analyzes differences between the 2003 and 2011 GIRM and discovers that
[t]he new translation of the General Instruction removes the discretion from the music team to sing pretty much whatever it wants. The new text, which pertains to the new translation of the Missal that comes into effect on Advent this year, makes it clear beyond any doubt: the music of the Mass is the chanted propers of the Mass.
That means the parish I left behind may no longer subject its parishioners to horrid post-communion renditions of the utterly horrid Breathe.

07 July 2011

Is it true, kind, necessary?

In this age of internet pundits and opinionated Catholic bloggers, A timely bit of wisdom:
In his classic, Spiritual Conferences, Father Frederick William Faber writes:

“Devout people are, as a class, the least kind of all classes. This is a scandalous thing to say; but the scandal of the fact is so much greater than the scandal of acknowledging it, that I will brave this for the sake of a greater good. Religious people are an unkindly lot.

“Poor human nature cannot do everything; and kindness is too often left uncultivated, because men do not sufficiently understand its value. Men may be charitable, yet not kind; merciful, yet not kind; self-denying, yet not kind. If they would add a little common kindness to their uncommon graces, they would convert 10 where they now only abate the prejudices of one. There is a sort of spiritual selfishness in devotion, which is rather to be regretted than condemned.

“I should not like to think it is unavoidable. Certainly its interfering with kindness is not unavoidable. It is only a little difficult, and calls for watchfulness. Kindness, as a grace, is certainly not sufficiently cultivated, while the self-gravitating, self-contemplating, self-inspecting parts of the spiritual life are cultivated too exclusively.”
Is it necessary? Does this need to be said? As our communications lurch forward at reckless speed and it becomes commonplace to tweet, share and blog every time we sneeze, children have to be intentionally taught the value of silence. Without quiet, we cannot hear. Without quiet, there is no white space; there are no boundaries. Does what I’m going to share contribute to the holiness and happiness of our community? In a big, busy family, quiet is a valuable thing.

05 July 2011

When will the madness end?