Vale Vatican II: Moving On

Two documents, both episcopal but both quite different, have captured my attention these last few weeks. The first was the motu proprio of Pope Francis, Magnum principium, devolving primary responsibility for the liturgical translations to bishops’ conferences. It has already been dealt with on this site here and here and here, but one thing from it lingers in the mind: that “great principle” of the title, which is really something of a great misrepresentation:

The great principle, established by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, according to which liturgical prayer be accommodated to the comprehension of the people so that it might be understood, required the weighty task of introducing the vernacular language into the liturgy and of preparing and approving the versions of the liturgical books, a charge that was entrusted to the Bishops.

One searches in vain through the conciliar decree on the liturgy for anything that adequately justifies this bold assertion. Whoever drafted this for the pope got away with quite the deception. Continue reading “Vale Vatican II: Moving On”

In defence of bishops

The recent flurry of words and concern over the motu proprio has involved reflection on the curia, bishops’ conferences and collegiality. To no one’s surprise, I have some strong views about them all. So, in order that the wrong impression is not gleaned by the uninitiated reader, a word of clarification is timely.

No bishops, no Church. No Eucharist. No priesthood. No absolution. You get the idea. The Vatican Council reiterated the essential truth that, Continue reading “In defence of bishops”

A Winter’s Burke

A Winter’s Burke

The summer school has wound down and the participants have been wending their way, at various speeds, back to home. My return was direct. The change from a sunny but sweaty CĂ´te d’Azur summer to a grey and cool English summer was not entirely unpleasant. The English climate is far friendlier to those of us who wear a habit.

My liturgical impressions of the summer school have already been explored in some detail. To round them off, and to balance them, a few quick remarks are needed.

First, for all the impressiveness, beauty, authenticity and utter tradition of the ancient rites, and their placing of the worshipper into the unbroken, organic stream of Catholic worship over century upon century, there can be no easy waving away of the post-conciliar catechesis and liturgical formation those such as me have received. This is a reality that must be faced if the middle aged are to be engaged in liturgical renewal. For all that I sympathise with those who feel that, liturgically, it is “1962 or bust” for the future, nevertheless this cannot be imposed en masse and immediately without some serious, and counterproductive, collateral damage, to use the modern euphemism. Continue reading “A Winter’s Burke”

The Church and the Darnel

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: Continue reading “The Church and the Darnel”

The Tablet’s New Editor and Fr Baldovin’s Doctrinaire Assertion

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. Continue reading “The Tablet’s New Editor and Fr Baldovin’s Doctrinaire Assertion”

Corpus Christi—Following Liturgical Change in Hand Missals

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. Continue reading “Corpus Christi—Following Liturgical Change in Hand Missals”

Scraps from a Scrapbook

Recently someone left us a scrapbook. It is an amazing collection of religious trivia, and some of its 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.

Bishop of Malta

Continue reading “Scraps from a Scrapbook”