Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Enriching Your Advent

Himself has been attending a suburban church within walking distance of the theater where he is working, and came home last week almost laughing that despite the unwontedly appropriate hymns, (Christ the King is a pretty difficult holy day to mess up...) Mass was like a funeral, the priest spoke and acted as if he were in mourning at the coming new translation.

Most of the parishioners, he hastened to add, seemed utterly unconcerned...
I say, not for the first time, that most problems in the pew will be the heads of obstructionists and whiners in the sanctuary.

I shall have a very different experience of the First Sunday of Advent, 2012, I'm going to a bit of trouble to attend the first Mass in the new translation to be celebrated at the American flagship parish for the Rof theR.

The great Msgr. Wadsworth has this to say:
Advent is a time for new beginnings. It is the start of the Church’s liturgical year, and this Advent also marks the implementation of a new English translation of the Roman Missal throughout the world. Exactly 38 years ago, the first-ever edition of the Roman Missal, entirely in English, rolled off the printing presses and on to the altars of the English-speaking Catholic world. Its advent signalled the resolution of almost 10 years of flux, during which the liturgy of the Mass had made a transition from a Latin text established by the universal practice of centuries to vernacular translations of a newly assembled missal prepared by scholars following the Second Vatican Council.

The missal contains a wealth of liturgical treasures with many orations dating from the first millennium, together with prayers of more recent composition. The texts of the Advent season are particularly rich and are predominantly taken from ancient sources. A striking theme which emerges in the first days of Advent sets the tone for the whole season. It is the notion that we are hastening to meet Christ. The liturgy makes frequent reference to the three comings of Christ: first, in time, in the Incarnation which we recall during the Advent/Christmas cycle; secondly, at his Second Coming and for each person at the moment of their death; and thirdly, for us all continually by his grace.

The collect which begins Advent expresses this well:

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom.
– Collect of the First Sunday of Advent

(Go read the rest, get your Advent off to a good start)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Extraordinary timing...

I learn that registration is open, and moment later, that our house has finally sold and I will be able to afford to go, (and mayhaps shall drag Himself along...)
God is good!

Seven Days of Musical Heaven

Sacred Music Colloquium XXII will be the most exciting and largest in history. It will be held at the remarkable Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City, Utah; Dates are June 25-July 1, 2012.

You are invited to sing with and experience the Sacred Music Colloquium, the largest and most in-depth teaching conference and retreat on sacred music in the world.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Liturgical Institute Explains It All For You

This has probably been around awhile, but I just noticed it - a place to find answers to your liturgical queries from the good folks in Mundelein.

While driving this week, (the only time I seem to be near a radio,) I heard a really interesting conversation on sacred architecture, and finally recognized Denis McNamara's voice -- wonderful stuff.
One of my greatest regrets in moving away from the area where I formerly lived is not to be able to attend events at the Liturgical Institute.
What fantastic work Dr McNamara, Father Martis, Linda, Cerabona, et al are doing.

Where fidelity and joy meet in prayer and study

Isn't that well put? isn't that lovely?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Of Synchronicity and the Sax

Okay, so Himself is in the throes of rehearsal so we are woefully behind on our... ahem, TV watching.
On last weeks Sunday Morning the host, (Charles Osgood? not sure...) repeated the oft-misquoted, (I believe... I can't find any reliable source that any pope ever mentioned officially the saxophone by name, pejoratively or otherwise, but of course one cannot prove a negative,) notion that Pope St Pius X decried the use of M. Sax's baby in liturgical settings, lest it lead to "disgust and scandal."

What the saintly musician did say, in Tra le Solicantspelltherest, is, generally, that:
Nothing should have place, therefore, in the temple calculated to disturb or even merely to diminish the piety and devotion of the faithful, nothing that may give reasonable cause for disgust or scandal, nothing, above all, which directly offends the decorum and sanctity of the sacred functions and is thus unworthy of the House of Prayer and of the Majesty of God. ....[and among the specifics]
It is strictly forbidden to have bands play in church, and only in special cases with the consent of the Ordinary will it be permissible to admit wind instruments

So what greets us at Mass, (not a parish I customarily attend,) for the Gathering, do you suppose?

Yes, that's right, the most cacophonous ensemble, heavily saxed and tambourined, playing the worst piece of cheese I've heard in Church in many a day....

The scandal is that people could be misled that that music was acceptable; the disgust, although I may have felt it, might have been mitigated by better music competently played.

Or perhaps not.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Overheard in a sports bar

If only football coaches were permitted to marry...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

"The Challenge of November 27"

As the day approaches, I thought I would bring you some interesting commentary from a issue of the newsletter (from earlier this year,) of the Cincinnati Province of the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood, by Fr. Robert Conway. he discusses the coming changes in the English language celebration of the Mass, along the way connecting the dots between liturgical abuse, the culture of dissent and the culture of death.
"How many Catholics have read General Instruction of the Roman Missal? Yet GIRM is the first part of the Roman Missal. It contains regulations for the celebration of Mass. [I have heard and read people insist the GIRM is descriptive not prescriptive.]...
In his 1986 Letter to my Priests, Pope John Paul wrote , "The Liturgy must favor and make shine brightly the SENSE OF THE SACRED. [emphasis supplied] It must be imbued with reverence, adoration and glorification of God."...
By now every Catholic in the United States who attends the Sunday liturgy should be, [yeah, should be... should be... oh well,] aware that on the first Sunday of Advent the newly approved Roman Missal must be used for all English Masses...
How smooth will be the transition [interesting sentence structure] depends on [and here we have the meat of his piece,] the attitude of the priest celebrants. Their track record is not all that great. How did talking in church become the accepted norm, how did Catholics get the idea that dressing up for mass meant only for weddings and funerals, how did the sign of peace become a waving event, and on and on.

Often the celebrant himself maybe seen celebrating mass without wearing the chasuble, using glass or crockery for the sacred vessels, ... changing or omitting words of the Mass such as skipping the Gloria or Creed or the washing of the hands,...accepting music that in no way has a place at Mass.. having done weekend fundraising at Mass in 107 dioceses in 44 states, I have seen it all and then some. [a little kvetching. As someone who on account of work has found myself in nearly as many states, though not dioceses, of a Sunday and criticized liturgies of which I therefore had first-hand knowledge, progger-bloggers who had previously taken the tack that reports of abysmal liturgy were hearsay/exaggerated/apocryphal changed their tune and essentially said if you didn't like the way other parishes celebrated Mass you should stay home. Okay. End of off-topic winge]

How did such abuses get started? Is it a case of the priest knowing what is best? If so, he is imposing his liturgical will on the people of God. He is guilty of clericalism. Catholics have a right to a mass celebrated according to the Roman rite [even out-of-towners?]
There is a Spanish phrase, poca casa, a little thing. Some will no doubt think,... Why bother. But.. abuses are symptoms of.... the failure of authority in the Church.
[In 1968] Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae... The dissent in the American Church was made known by the open defiance of a number of priests.... of the Archdiocese of Washington. According to papal biographer George Weigel, the Vatican was fearful of a schism within the American Church. So rather than enforcing discipline in doctrine, the Holy See preferred to do nothing. Cardinal O'Boyle of Washington was left isolated in his attempt to promote orthodoxy.
Years later Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. summed up the situation this way: “By reacting different ways to Humanae Vitae, the national and regional conferences of bishops undermined the teaching authority that had been attributed to them since Vatican II. Their diverse opinions could not all be right."
The phrase "faithful dissent" became the guiding principle for many in the hierarchy. To keep peace with his diocese, a bishop could condone such a policy. At the same time, how could he really effect reform in catechesis, in liturgy, in priestly discipline when those involved knew that the bishop did not wish to make waves?
The fallout from this lack of courage to do difficult things is noted regularly in the funerals of pro-choice or pro-abortion Catholic people...
I return to November 27, 2011. Will the hard-working pastors of the American Church take up the challenge of the new Roman Missal? Will they look upon this as the golden moment to once again imbue the Mass "with reverence, adoration and glorification of God?" Or will they choose the beguiling path of faithful dissent?

(Full disclosure, I believe I had some measure of responsibility for at least one of those Masses, "in 107 dioceses in 44 states," which formed in Father Conway so jaundiced a view of the general state of the liturgy in these United States.)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Odd experience at Mass yesterday, little music except Entrance hymn and closing, and the priest sang the Preface although he had NOT sung the Preface Dialogue.

When we spoke the Gloria we were instructed to "pick up the green card in your pews," so as to use the new translation.
Good idea!
Except the cards, furnished by the deanery, didn't actually contain the text of the new Gloria, but the text of most of it, coupled with a refrain which repeats some words, so there was plenty of stumbling over the initial iteration of the refrain and then at every point where we would have repeated the refrain except we didn't since we weren't singing.

What clever boots came up with that, do you suppose?

But then for the Credo, as led by the celebrant we reverted to the current translation, except those who didn't because they had these green cards in their hands.
Well, better all this kerfuffle now than on Christmas.

At the Mystery of Faith we proclaimed that one which will presumably no longer be said in any "translation" come the new liturgical year, and I thought, not for the first time. "Proposition- Dynamic equivalence as represented by the old translation is neither dynamic nor equivalent.... discuss."


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Eucharistic Fast, and other thoughts...

My prayer life has become weird and disjointed.
My liturgical and sacramental life, even more so.
(This is only to be expected, as my life in general is so in spades -- as Himself puts it, he has been living along the edges of a house, two houses, now.)

Saturday morning I received the Precious Blood for, IIRC, the first time in more than half a year. (Okay, I know that's not precisely true, when I communicate under one species I do receive Christ entire, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity -- but you know what I mean....)
I'm not sure how I "feel" about this, (not that my feelings are germane...)
But I've been thinking about it, since there's been so much to-ing and fro-ing in periodicals and the blogosphere about some American bishops who are re-ordering liturgical practice in their dioceses.
(I HATE that plural -- when I was about 22 I was only mildly buzzed at a party, and could not pronounce it to save my life, and was horribly embarrassed. I digress.... )

I don't actually care about the juridical basis of either side's position, and moreover, do not care to learn more, I accept whatever is the licit custom wherever I find myself.

I think I remember Bishop Trautman saying, on another matter, "this is not the liturgical ditch I choose to die in," and that about sums up my stance on communion under both species.

My new bishop, or at least his diocesan Office of Worship seems to neither promote nor encourage it.
(Yeah. I did it. I split that infinitive...)

The parish where I go most often never offers it, another does occasionally, but with, frankly, incompetent or untrained EMs. The cathedral itself, I think I may have complained of this before, had an EM who proffered the cup thusly, "The Blood of Christ, and Merry Christmas!" so I leave my opinion of the preparation of lay people there to your imagination.
(Oh, and whatever Himself may remember, I did not reply, "Amen, and bah, humbug")
All that said, I have missed It, longed for It, thirsted for It.

But here's the thing - maybe that's good.

For my entire sentient life, it has been a given that every Catholic over the age of six, at every Mass, receives.
Everyone. Every Mass.

Yet I know Catholics who routinely and casually miss Mass, and then routinely and casually receive. I know Catholics who claim there is no obligation to fast anymore, snack immediately before or even during Mass, and then receive. I know Catholics who have not made a confession in years, but receive.
As an adult I've learned that it's none of my business, but as a kid it bothered me immensely.

A few weeks ago I chose not to receive at a weekday Mass, and everyone in my immediate area began acting like a basket of puppies, turning in circles and seemingly unable to walk past me when I stepped aside and gestured to go on.
(And then of course staring at me to see if they needed to do CPR or something.... I mean, why else would that woman not take her obligatory place in the communion line?)

Do we, no, do I take receiving Communion, being privileged to receive Communion, too much for granted?
Do I presume on God's gracious gift?

Should the axiomatic "hunger is the best relish" apply to spiritual food as well as cheeseburgers?

Tangentially, I considered not receiving Sunday, (although freshly shriven,) because I am in the early, presumably contagious stages of an ugly cold.
But then I remembered that the chances of one of the priests accidentally making actually physical contact with my germy self were exactly nil. (PTL for the Canons Regular of St John Cantius.... oh, and for Mass celebrated by a priest whose writings interest me a great deal, and whom I never thought to see.)

I have always remembered reading in War and Peace, (I was young enough to have found both Pierre and Prince Andrei equally dreamy ;0P) of a penitent Natasha preparing, for a WEEK, to receive Communion.

It stuck with me, I found the Orthodox practice somewhat quaint -- yet compelling.
Should one fast not just for the Eucharist, but occasionally from?

Should I?

I don't know.

I believe, I HOPE, I will be back at my "homebase" a day or so before the much anticipated First Sunday of Advent -- before implementation.

I am sanguine... will priests who do not say the words of the Mass as now prescribed make the effort to get it right with the new translation?
One alters all the pronouns of the EP so that it is addressed to the assembly, and the Father is spoken of only in the third person.
Another freely sprinkles in "thees" and "thous", and adds all kinds of devotional prayers, ("Angel of God, my guardian dear...."? ) during Mass. Still another can't seem to say "The Lord be with you."

I'd like to think they will all do their best.
I am encouraged by something said quite a while ago by one noted blogger even though he might seem to be counted among the Resistance:

There is a place also to do our very best with a missal which isn’t perfect, but is, after all, what the Church is giving us. In fact, whenever I explain and sing the new chants in front of a group of people, I’m pulled into a real enthusiasm for sung liturgy.[emphasis supplied] I even start to get excited about the new missal.
Didn't there used to be an ad campaign, (I can't remember for what,) that went "Try it, you'll LIKE it"?