Wednesday, October 30, 2013

So slack and lazy

Mea culpa: having, finally, taken the beam out of my eye, I see clearly how slack and lazy I've been about my spiritual life. For, while the Holy Mass and Divine Office are my two great devotions, I have been remiss about going to the former (except on Sundays of course!) and about reciting the latter.

Ever since moving back to Tasmania, I have found it difficult to get to daily Mass – firstly, because I'd become so used to going to the Extraordinary Form (my definite and settled preference, for so many clear and cogent reasons) that I found return to the Novus Ordo very trying; but, secondly, since the only daily Mass that fits my work schedule is the early Mass at Carmel, and I prefer sleeping in, quite frankly.

Now Mass is Mass, the same Christ our God is offered and received as our all-prevailing Sacrifice and lasting Peace; and the presence of the holy nuns at Carmel puts priests on their best behaviour (so one who slumps in a chair and confects the Eucharist on a coffee table in his own parish tries to celebrate properly, not sloppily, in the nuns' chapel), so, while ideally I'd prefer Introibo ad altare Dei, I can cope, and fondly imagine an ad orientem liturgy; and the new translation renders the Latin well, so I don't need to bring along Fr Z's translations any more, nor read along in the Latin of the Ordinary.

But how slumber makes one forgetful of one's higher calling! Yet, as an Old Believer Canon of Preparation for Holy Communion sings (in Ode 3, troparion 3), "The preacher crieth out and commandeth us always to come to the House of God; let us not be lazy, but let us hasten now, for the time is at hand." Yes, in the words of that golden book, The Imitation of Christ, I will confess myself "So wakeful for tales, so drowsy at the sacred vigils" (Book IV, chapter 7): over the past years, I have in the main risen for work at seven or later, too late to get to Mass; and thus I've become disengaged from what ought be my priority.

As I wrote in my missal in a first flush of piety when at University, "I will always be thankful for the Mass, and put the Mass first in my life". What a shame to repeat these words and consider how I have neglected them! From being a daily or near-daily Mass-goer, for the past five years I've rarely gone to daily Mass, except while on holiday, strangely enough, and for a period last year, I think, when I got back into the habit - and then gave it away.

Now I am fearful that, having just resumed getting up at six and going to daily Mass, I will soon slacken off and reject the offer of grace again. As St Philip Neri taught his followers to say, "Do not trust me, Lord, for this day I will betray thee". Judas has more followers.

How did I manage to make a sudden, and, I beg and pray, a lasting change (as time will tell)? - by going on the Christus Rex Pilgrimage, and returning to my senses. On pilgrimage, I got up at five thirty every morning, in order to be ready for our early start each day: and the mornings are beautiful. I resolved – God grant I keep it – to get up with the dawn and go to Mass. Nowadays, when I open my curtains just after six, the sky is bright and soon the sun rises to the south-east, casting a beautiful glow over all things.

The second item so needful to me and yet so neglected has been the Breviary. Again, I must accept the rebuke of Thomas à Kempis, upbraiding me from beyond the grave with being "So negligent in saying thy office" (Im. Christi, IV, 7). I said the modern Divine Office for years; when in Perth, I switched to the Breviary – and since moving back to godless Tasmania, I've slipped further and further away from both. At one stage, I used the Little Office; but even that I gave up.

Any more slackness and I wouldn't have remembered God at all. As it was, I have become disengaged from the liturgical year, the true Year of the Lord, the year of salvation, with feasts even of apostles and evangelists slipping by unnoticed, seeing a reference to sundry celebrations even of the Lord and His Mother only by reference to reading blogs online after they had passed, and the words of the Venite being proven all too true: "if to-day you should hear His voice, harden not your hearts".

Oh, so the Divine Office is too long? I said it daily for years, and it takes less than half an hour. Oh, so the Breviary is a burden insuperable? Yet I said the Hours thereof while working full-time when in Perth, I said it while on pilgrimage this weekend past, and now am again fitting it into my schedule (I said Matins and Lauds before Mass this morning and the morning before quite easily).

I am angry at myself for listening to the siren voice of laziness and slackness, which is really the flesh, not to mention the world and the Devil, luring one down to Hell: a most beguiling journey. And it is entirely unsurprising that, daily Mass and Breviary gone, even the Angelus unsaid, and my other prayers neglected, or haphazardly said sometimes but less and less frequently, I find myself more sinful, judgemental, selfish, slack, nastier, coarser, and worse off. The Devil laughs to lead us astray, promising nothing in return.

As St Augustine taught, if we do not make continual progress in the spiritual life, then we begin to go backwards. My backsliding has been most wretched. At least I have kept going to confession, else God knows how practically atheistic I would have become. But frankly my love of what is holy is so caught up with receiving our Divine Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and singing God's praises in the psalms, that if I but weekly (yes, weakly) partake of the one, and less and less (indeed, hardly ever) of the other, then I turn from the Divinity towards the wretchedness of secularity.

A wise Dominican, Fr Gregory, told me that the last thing to do if one loses one's faith is to stop praying and stop going to Mass, since that is when one needs most of all to say one's prayers and go to Mass! But all unawares I have been praying less and less, and going to Mass less and less – tempting me to live a less and less Catholic life, tempting God, in fact, by spurning the great helps He provides by prayer and the sacraments, rejecting His graces, and preparing my soul to lose the little it has.

Now, thanks be to God that I have always had a strong Faith, ever since I received the grace of a real conversion of heart while a young man at University, and I cannot but believe (though, Christ absolve me, sometimes I have dared wish I didn't) – but I tremble when I think of how throughout my adolescence I hardly went to church, never went to confession, and held many erroneous notions, issuing in despairing thoughts. It was God's grace that delivered me then, lead me into the goodness and truth of orthodoxy, and spurred me on; but the old man is not dead, and my spiritual life has not been in a good way for a long time.

Dear readers, please pray for me, a sinner, that these good resolutions I have made, and the baby steps I have taken, may please God form again the good habits I have lost, to my enduring benefit. I hope this public rebuke of myself may remain fresh in my mind, and force me not to shame myself by going back on my word.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A New Priest, Deo gratias

Excellent news just to hand: while, sadly, our esteemed parish priest, Fr Allan Hartcher, OFM, is about to retire to Sydney at the end of this year (he is now eighty), our new Archbishop has persuaded Cardinal Pell to release a Sydney priest, Fr Martin Aye Ngwe, to come south and become the new priest administrator of West Tamar parish – so the church won't close as we feared it would, Deo gratias!

Internet searches reveal that Fr Martin is a learned and orthodox priest, proof of which, if aught were needed, is the way the notoriously dreadful Bishop of Broken Bay, of whom I have heard so much that is unpleasant and uncatholic, treated him so badly as to drive him to transfer to Sydney, a part of the Church more happily united to Rome in one faith than the former. (In a better world, Walker would have been deposed just as Morris was, but his time is almost up in any case.)

I am indebted to Jadwiga, a stalwart of the parish, who suggested we make a novena to St Francis to obtain a new parish priest: it's certainly worked, all thanks to "Holy Uncle Frank"! I just said the Te Deum in thanksgiving, and invite all readers to do the same, and to offer up prayers that Fr Martin will prove an ornament to our parish, and a wise shepherd of souls, as I fully expect he will be. Priests who have suffered are always holier and kindlier than those who have not; and no good priest even gets ordained without enduring many crosses.

Pilgrimage Mementos

Three special blessings of this year's Christus Rex Pilgrimage: the first blessings of two new priests – that of Bendigo's Fr Ashley Caldow on Friday (who was ordained on the 14th of September) and that of Ballarat's Fr James Kerr on Saturday (ordained on the 6th of September) – and the chance to attend what must be a first for this pilgrimage, the wedding on the Monday morning after (that is, yester-day the 28th of October) of two pilgrims, Jacob and Esther.

I say ad multis annos to all of them, and wish for them what my old parish priest, Bp Jarrett, told me ages ago: that happily married couples are the best role models and supports to the vocation of priests, and holy priests happy in their vocation are likewise the best examples and helps to husband and wife.

The two new priests kindly distributed holy cards as mementos of their ordination, seeking prayers; it strikes me that perhaps married couples ought do the same thing, and not merely provide a booklet for the wedding – for prayer is the great underpinning of all.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Returning crowned with triumph from the fray

A pilgrimage is symbolic of life's journey, that hard march we pray may lead from earth to heaven by God's grace, won for us by Christ on Calvary, Who promises immarcescible crowns to those who, taking up their crosses and following Him, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, are proven faithful to Him Who is always faithful, persevering by grace until the end, and who shall be found in Him at the last.

In the scheme of things, the merely natural achievement of walking a certain distance is a minor matter; but, supernaturally speaking (for even to pick up a pin for the love of God is a great act), to join in prayer and penance, to rejoice in and to proclaim the Catholic Faith, to be instructed by sermons and sanctified by the sacraments – all of which blessings the Christus Rex Pilgrimage makes available – is beneficial indeed.

I stole the title of this post from an beautiful Eucharistic hymn, translated by Caswall from the 1686 Cluniac Breviary's Hoste dum victo triumphans: 'tis the Patriarch Abraham, our father in faith, who was returning after defeating kings in battle; and was met by the Priest-King Melchisedech, prefiguring the supreme and eternal High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ the King.

But I dare to apply the words to all the Christus Rex pilgrims, hopefully now nearly all back to their homes (as I am to mine, having returned a few hours ago): for, if not slaying enemy potentates, we certainly conquered the long miles from Ballarat to Bendigo, whether we walked every step or not, and shared in the triumphant celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ, Who lives and reigns world without end; and whatever hardships – lack of sleep, hard ground, blisters, the sun, the wind, the rain, long stretches of roadside to tread – we accepted in penance, we pray may avail somewhat for the remission of the punishment due to sins, and also avail as suffrages to help expiate the sins of others: and we met our Eucharistic Lord, in the Communion, in the Sacrifice, and in the person of His priests, the ministers of His that do His will.

This pilgrimage, I think I especially felt the importance of the support of the priests who supported us along the way (ten in all, plus the Bishops of Ballarat and Bendigo who blessed the beginning and completion of our way, and Bishop Elliot, who sang the Pontifical High Mass on Sunday). Fr Mannes, O.P., whom I've known for years, and of course Fr Rowe, my parish priest when I lived in Western Australia, not to mention all the others by name, from whose kindness and wise words I derived no little profit, were very good to see again – and I took the opportunity to serve Fr Rowe's Low Masses each day of the pilgrimage, as well as to have him hear my confession; on the Sunday, I even had the privilege of serving Fr Arthur's Low Mass as well. 

(As an aside, since I've M.C.'d Missæ cantatæ each month for ages, but haven't had the chance to serve at Low Mass for ages, for the first two such I unthinkingly knelt on the same side as the Missal, forgetting that at Low Mass the rule is always to be on the opposite side, while when M.C. at sung Mass one stands by the Missal in order to assist the priest. Ah well.)

Since I did spend more time than heretofore acting as a server, I didn't walk every stage of each day; which worked out well, since on Friday afternoon my good walking shoes, just repaired in order to employ them on the pilgrimage, were soaked by a downpour, which meant I had to switch to my too-tight reserve pair from then on (which made my little toes blister), and also I suffered the ill effects of a slightly upset stomach...

However, I increasingly recognize that everyone plays their part and rightly so: do not the volunteers who cook, clean, drive cars towing portaloos and do all else not merit quite as much as the walkers? and do not those who form the choir that sang so marvellously both chant and polyphony at our daily High Masses (the music was sublime: Palestrina's Sicut cervus featured both on Sunday and at this morning's Mass, and it was most moving), and those who practised, prepared and then served at those solemn rites, not likewise gain great reward for all their pains?

This has been my fifth pilgrimage; I spoke with two seasoned pilgrims who participated in the first, and I am committed to every year returning till I too have done twenty or more! It really is the spiritual (and also social) highlight of the year, I feel: a sort of retreat on the move; but also a time of good cheer (and beer: I did enjoy the usual refreshments at the Newstead pub on the Saturday night, chatting with Tony, Vicki, Lyle, Nicholas my very distant relative, and so on and so forth). So many good people I know come along, and who live scattered across Australia and beyond, whom I rarely see otherwise; catching up with them is great.

This pilgrimage, also, having not walked every step, I had the leftover energy to do what I fear I have too long neglected, and that is to return to the Roman Breviary, and read the full Office each day, including today (I must turn to Vespers soon), and I pray hereafter... I also have resolved to go to daily Mass again, something that, because of the need to arise and hear Mass at an early hour before work, I have fallen away from, yet which I know I need to sustain me. Do pray I may keep this year's Christus Rex resolutions!

A beautiful and unexpected coda to the pilgrimage was the revelation that Monday's High Mass at Bendigo Cathedral was to be a nuptial Mass – for two of the pilgrims, Jacob and Esther, having courted and become engaged beforehand, had arranged to celebrate their wedding on the day after the feast of Christ the King: and what a delight I felt, along with all the other pilgrims who attended, to join with their family and friends in celebrating their holy union.

As always, the five days (including travelling to Ballarat on Thursday, registering as a pilgrim, and then unexpectedly having dinner with my old friends Anna and Anthony, together with Simon and Anna and their girls) have passed too quickly, but as McAuley's hymn puts it, "to that world we must return, / sharing in its hope and labour, / bringing to it Christ's concern / for our neighbour".

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

To-morrow, free from work (Adam's curse), I head off to Ballarat to join those longing to go on pilgrimage: just after six o'clock on Friday morning, we will gather together, assemble in the Cathedral to be blessed, then march off, the Church militant in miniature... God willing, weary miles later, we will reach Bendigo, and its Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, mid-afternoon on Sunday, where His Lordship Bishop Elliot will sing Pontifical Mass at the faldstool in honour of Christ the King.

Please pray for all those participating, and join with our prayers and penances for the greater glory of God, the salvation of souls, the liberty and exaltation of our Holy Mother the Church and the extension to all hearts and lands of the reign of Christ the King, the Prince of Peace. In particular, pray for the curbing of the recent devastating bushfires, for those cruelly afflicted thereby, and for those fighting them; and for the effectual suppression of the wickedness of those dupes of Satan currently promoting immoral laws for unnatural unions, various forms of murder, and the like; and that those who would fain compass their own and society's destruction be brought to a better mind, converted and saved.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bushfires Scar New South Wales

Unseasonably early – some localities in the Blue Mountains had snow this time last year – the scourge of bushfire has struck New South Wales, with hundreds of homes already incinerated, and fears of still worse fire weather to come, as the bushfires rage on: of your charity, please pray:

Hear our prayers, O God, for the efforts to quench the fires that rage in our land; and, sustaining our spirits, keep us graciously from all harm and give success to the work of our hands. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Roman Missal, Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, 37/1 (in Australia)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Evolution of a Collect

On Thursday, I head off to join the Christus Rex Pilgrimage; Thursday, "Birthday of the Chalice", is the Day of the Institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood – and reminds us that Christ is Priest as well as King: the One Eternal High Priest, and the King of the Universe.

While it was Pius XI who had a Votive Mass of Christ the Priest drawn up and inserted into the Roman Missal in 1935, and in many places (mainly Hispanophone) a Feast of Christ the Priest on the Thursday after Pentecost has been inserted into the modern Roman Calendar, with a revised proper most recently confirmed under Benedict XVI in 2012, this celebration of the Priesthood of Christ has a prehistory – for it is found as far back as 1686 in France, and featured prominently in the many different Neo-Gallican Breviaries and Missals.

The French Feast of the Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ was, of course, not assigned to the Thursday after Pentecost, because in those happier days that was part of the Octave of Pentecost (though the Mass of Whit Thursday largely repeated that of Whitsunday, unlike the other days in the Octave): instead, it was assigned to the Octave Day of Corpus Christi, quite sensibly.  (In a few French dioceses, however, Christ the Priest was celebrated on the 2nd or 3rd Sunday of October – in one case, that of the diocese of Tréguier in Brittany, with an Octave.)

The Collect of the modern Feast of Christ the Priest (not that of the Votive in the Roman Missal, which is disfigured with a different and rather generic petition) is almost identical to the Collect of the 1935 Votive, but for the addition of three words (Spiritu Sancto largiente) and the omission of eumdem in the conclusion.

However, this Collect has its own prehistory: for it can be found in various stages of development in old French Breviaries – rather as fossils may tell a tale (please, no digs at evolutionary theories, that's so Protestant) – and it also illustrates the Neo-Gallican tendency to produce orations out of snippets of Holy Scripture (in this case, mainly from Hebrews, though the modern festal collect quotes instead from 1 Cor. iv, 1-2: "ministros Christi, et dispensatores mysteriorum Dei... ut fidelis quis inveniatur"). 

Here are a succession of collects demonstrating their development, with new phrases in each stage underlined; I supply a painfully literal translation of my own poor devising for each prayer:

Form 2D (2012 Feast (OF))
Collect [=EF, with one addition, and deletion of eumdem]
Deus, qui ad majestatis tuæ gloriam et generis humani salutem, Unigenitum tuum Summum atque Æternum constituisti Sacerdotem, præsta, ut, Spiritu Sancto largiente, quos ministros et mysteriorum surorum dispensatores elegit, in accepto ministerio adimplendo fideles inveniantur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

(O God, Who to the glory of Thy Majesty and for the salvation of the human race didst constitute Thine Only-Begotten supreme and eternal Priest: grant, by the bountiful Holy Spirit, that those whom He hath chosen as ministers and stewards of His mysteries be found faithful in fulfilling the ministry they have received. Through...)

Form 2C (1962 = 1935 Votive (EF))
Deus, qui ad majestatis tuæ gloriam et generis humani salutem, Unigenitum tuum summum atque æternum constituisti Sacerdotem: præsta; ut quos ministros et mysteriorum suorum dispensatores elegit in accepto ministerio adimplendo fideles inveniantur. Per eumdem...

(O God, Who to the glory of Thy Majesty and for the salvation of the human race didst constitute Thine Only-Begotten supreme and eternal Priest: grant; that those whom He hath chosen as ministers and stewards of His mysteries be found faithful in fulfilling the ministry they have received. Through the same...)

Form 2B (1770 Prop. Trecorensis)
Deus, qui ad majestatis tuæ gloriam et generis humani salutem unigenitum tuum summum constituisti sacerdotem: præsta ut quos mysteriorum suorum elegit cooperatores et dispensatores, ministerium quod acceperunt fideliter impleant. Per eumdem.

(O God, Who to the glory of Thy Majesty and for the salvation of the human race didst constitute Thine Only-Begotten the high Priest: grant; that those whom He hath chosen as co-workers and stewards of His mysteries, faithfully fulfil the ministry which they have received. Through the same...)

Form 2A (1784 Brev. Aniciense, but presumably earlier, as 2B derives from it)
Deus, qui ad majestatis tuæ gloriam, et generis humani salutem, Unigenitum tuum summum constituisti Sacerdotem: eique ad sacrificandum tibi hostiam mundam Sacerdotes ministros sociasti: præsta, ut omnes qui vocatione tam sancta dignati sunt, altari tuo devote ministrent, et seipsos hostiam vivam et sanctam offerre mereantur; Per eumdem.

(O God, Who to the glory of Thy Majesty and for the salvation of the human race didst constitute Thine Only-Begotten the high Priest: and didst associate with Him ministers, Priests to sacrifice unto Thee a pure victim; grant; that all who are worthy of such a holy calling, devoutly minister at Thine altar, and deserve to offer themselves as a living and holy victim. Through the same...)

Form 2 (1740 Diurnale Sagiense) [last phrase only derived from Form 1]
Deus, qui Unigenitum tuum dedisti summum Sacerdotem, eique ad sacrificandum tibi hostiam mundam sacerdotes ministros sociasti: quæsumus, ut omnes qui vocatione tam sancta dignati sunt, altari tuo devote ministrent, et seipsos hostiam vivam et sanctam offerre mereantur. Per eumdem.

(O God, Who didst constitute Thine Only-Begotten the high Priest: and didst associate with Him ministers, Priests to sacrifice unto Thee a pure victim; we beseech, that all who are worthy of such a holy calling, devoutly minister at Thine altar, and deserve to offer themselves as a living and holy victim. Through the same...)

Form 1 (1686 Cluniac Breviary)
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui “autorem [sic; lege auctorem] salutis” (Heb 2:10) Pontificem nostrum, “per passionem consummari” (Heb 2:10) voluisti; “conscientiam nostram” (Heb 9:14), quæsumus, “per” ejus “sanguinem” (Heb 9:13), “ab operibus mortuis” “emunda”, ut tibi “Deo viventi” digne “servire” (Heb 9:14), ac “nosmetipsos hostiam vivam ac sanctam” (cf. Rom 12:1) offerre mereamur; Per eumdem.

(Almighty everlasting God, Who didst will to perfect the author of salvation, our High Priest, by suffering: cleanse our conscience, we beseech, by his blood, from dead works, that we may deserve worthily to serve Thee, the living God, and to offer ourselves as a living and holy victim. Through the same...)


For comparison, here is the Collect for the 5th Sunday of Lent from the abortive 1689 Proposed BCP, shewing how liturgical developments on both sides of the Channel were so strangely moving in parallel:

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast sent thy Son Christ to be a high priest of good things to come (cf. Heb. 9:11), and by his own blood to enter once into the holy place, having obtained an eternal redemption for us (cf. Heb. 9:12); Mercifully look upon thy people; that by the same blood of our Saviour, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot unto thee, our consciences may be purged from dead works, to serve thee the living God (cf. Heb. 9:14), that we may receive the promise of eternal inheritance (cf. Heb. 9:15); through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Ordinariate Mass – Why Eucharistic Prayer II?

Having downloaded from the Church of England website The Order for the Celebration of Holy Communion also called The Eucharist and The Lord's Supper, according to its latest "Common Worship" formulæ, I now see where many of the elements of the new Ordinariate Mass come from.

For instance, the suggestion to use the 1662 version of the Veni Creator Spiritus as a preparatory prayer in the sacristy might have seemed a rather self-conscious throwback to the Sarum Rite – were it not that the same hymn in the same version is offered as the first text to be prayed in A Form of Preparation for private or public use before, or as part of, the Communion service.

Leaving aside the prayers at the foot of the altar – which (sans Confiteor) appeared in the 1928 Proposed BCP, and (including modified Confiteor) in the 1970 Scottish Episcopalian Liturgy – much of the Ordinariate Mass order of service, down to the prayers of intercession after the Creed, corresponds to the modern Church of England "Order One in Traditional Language" combined with "Order Two" (which is in traditional language also): Anglicans still allow the use of such hieratic diction without carping criticism thereof.

For example, I was interested to find that, as an alternative intercession, the 1662 Prayer for All Conditions of Men, slightly modified, was suggested for use in the Ordinariate Mass – but I am far less surprised to find it there, now I know that the same prayer, with the same modifications, is found in these "Common Worship" provisions.

What of provision for the use of the modern Roman Rite offertory prayers, as "Form II" in the Ordinariate Mass? Well, the two berakoth prescribed for use at the presentation of the hosts and mixed chalice are present, in a version minimally variant from the old ICEL paraphrase, in the "Common Worship" compendium; just as they were in the 1970 Scottish Episcopalian Liturgy.

But most notably – and to many, most strangely – the Ordinariate Mass does not take up a Catholicised Anglican Eucharistic Prayer; instead, alongside the Roman Canon, which may always be used, and must be used on Sundays and feasts (would that the like rule in the modern Roman Missal recommending either it or E.P. III for Sundays and feasts were obligatory, not merely a suggestion), one finds, in "traditional language", Eucharistic Prayer II.

The reason for this I have discovered: amongst the many Eucharistic Prayers appointed in the Church of England's "Common Worship", Prayer B is transparently a reediting of Eucharistic Prayer II, excluding its intercessions for the Church and the faithful departed. Hence, as Eucharistic Prayer II is both the most commonly used Eucharistic Prayer of the modern Roman Rite, and the one prayer present in recognizable form in both the Roman Missal and "Common Worship", it was adopted for use in the Ordinariate Mass as an option on weekdays, simply being put into traditional language so that it matched the style of the rest of it. 

Many of the monuments of Anglican devotion, such as the Prayer of Humble Access (before Communion) and the Prayer of Thanksgiving (after Holy Communion), are of course present in these "Common Worship" Orders; and have passed into Catholic use. Similarly, the Anglican forms include a modified form of Ecce Agnus Dei and Domine, non sum dignus.  That curious phrase appointed in the Ordinariate Mass for use at the fraction, "Alleluia. Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. – Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia." is found (as an alternative invitation to Holy Communion) in these Anglican forms.

The Ordinariate Mass is most distinguished from "Common Worship", and from the modern Roman Rite, by its inclusion of features specific to the traditional Roman Rite, as taken over into Anglo-Catholic use in the Anglican Missal tradition: the Tridentine prayers at the foot of the altar and Tridentine offertory prayers, the immemorial form of the embolism after the Lord's Prayer (a valuable text, including as it does explicit mention of the intercession of Our Lady and the Saints, even if the Eucharistic Prayer used does not), and the Last Gospel.

Features common to both forms of the one Roman Rite, such as the Orate fratres, the Secret or Prayer over the oblata, and above all the venerable Roman Canon, the Eucharistic Prayer of the Western Church for at least 1600 years, complete the Ordinariate Mass.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Ritual Reason Why

Why does the new Ordinariate Mass consist of a combination of BCP, traditional Roman Rite, and modern Roman Rite elements? I commented on Debra Gyapong's blog on all this, but the comment became as lengthy as a posting, so here is my essay...

At random (well, not really), I plucked from my bookshelf a 1952 copy of The Priest's Book of Private Devotion, a classic Anglo-Catholic manual first issued in the late 19th C., and turned to "Directions and Devotions for the Celebrant" (at the Holy Communion). This provides the following items:

1. The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, incl. the Confiteor - all this (except for the final collect Aufer a nobis) is now part of the Ordinariate Mass;
2. The 1662 BCP Communion service, from the start to the Gospel - the Ordinariate Mass omits the prefatory Lord's Prayer, gives the Decalogue and the Summary of the Law (a happy innovation of the Nonjurors) as options, inserts here the Kyrie and Gloria in excelsis (as the 1549 BCP appointed), puts the Dominus vobiscum before the Collect (omitting the 1662 Collect for the Queen), and uses the readings appointed in the modern Roman Lectionary according to the Revised Standard Version;
3. Short prayers before and after reading the Gospel - I have no information on this, but I imagine the Ordinariate Mass appoints such;
3. The 1662, from the Creed to the Offertory sentence;
4. The Tridentine offertory prayers (none for the censing, since this is all for Low Mass), excluding only the Orate fratres, Suscipe sancta Trinitas and Secret - the new Ordinariate Mass has all of these as "Form I" of its offertory;
5. The 1662 Prayer for the Church Militant - the Ordinariate Mass puts this, the intercessions, before the offertory, and has various forms for this, including (I believe) a suitably supplemented form of this prayer, including prayer for the departed and commemoration of the saints;
6. The 1662 'Penitential Act' ("Ye who do truly" to the Comfortable Words) - the Ordinariate Mass has all of this, with some slight modifications to the text (omitting "and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort" and putting the 'absolution' in the first person plural), but again putting it all before the offertory;
7. The 1662 Sursum corda, Preface, Sanctus and Benedictus (the last not being 1662) - again, this is all taken into the Ordinariate Mass;
8. The 1662 Prayer of Humble Access - put immediately before the reception of Holy Communion in the Ordinariate Mass;
9. The 1662 Prayer of Consecration, supplemented with the 1549 Anamnesis and the 1549/1662 Prayer of Oblation - all this is replaced in the Ordinariate Mass with the Roman Canon (which in The Priest's Book of Private Devotion is given in full, in Latin, including also all the prayers from the Lord's Prayer to the Communion prayers, directly after these "Directions and Devotions" - suggesting that some at least simply turned to it and used all those prayers instead);
10. While in the 1662 the Communion followed directly after the Consecration, these "Directions and Devotions" instead give, in English, all the prayers in the Roman Mass after the Canon, that is, "Let us pray. As our Saviour... Our Father... Deliver us, O Lord... The peace of the Lord... This commingling... O Lamb of God...", the three prayers before Communion, all the formulæ and psalm-verses of the priest's communion, and the two prayers at the ablutions - the Ordinariate Mass seems to have most of these (the Lord's Prayer, the Libera nos in its immemorial form, the prayer Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti and the Pax, the Agnus Dei, Ecce Agnus Dei and Domine non sum dignus, threefold) but also, transferred from above, the Prayer of Humble Access, and a special versicle at the Fraction, quoting the Apostle, but whose usage here is derived ultimately from 1549;
11. The 1662 resumes with the Lord's Prayer after Communion (a repetition wisely omitted in the Ordinariate Mass), the Prayer of Thanksgiving (included in the Ordinariate Mass, with some minor corrections to avoid the appearance of receptionism), the Gloria in excelsis (moved back to its Roman Rite position in the Ordinariate Mass) and the blessing (included in the Ordinariate Mass).
12. Then comes the Last Gospel - also included in the Ordinariate Mass.

So, as evidently various Anglo-Catholics in 1952 took up the 1662 BCP, and prefaced it with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, interlarded it with the Tridentine Offertory and Communion prayers, and tacked on the Last Gospel at the end, the ritual reason why the Ordinariate Mass now contains most of these features is easily understood.


I have seen, also, various Anglican Missals – none of them "official" publications, but used in Anglo-Catholic parishes all over the world; most were old, but I've seen modern reprints on sale at the Anglican bookshop next to St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne – which similarly consist of greater or lesser combinations of the BCP and Missale Romanum. My former parish priest, himself once an Anglican minister (and now a Catholic bishop; "I've been ordained five times!" he joked) once showed me his old English Missal, which had three Eucharistic Prayers: the BCP Prayer of Consecration and Prayer of Oblation back to back (the "interim rite"), the Roman Canon in English, and the Roman Canon in Latin.

Now that I think of it, I have a copy of The English Missal for the Laity (Knott, 1933), which the average Catholic would probably mistake for a hand-missal to bring along to Latin Mass; it certainly contains enough parallel Latin-English!  Looking to the texts provided for Advent Sunday, a Catholic would be puzzled as to why the Collect, Epistle and Gospel wouldn't match those at Mass (if they noticed), and perhaps suspicious as to why the third collect is for the "chief bishop", not Pope. (That said, among the Votive Masses are those for the Election of the Pope, and on the Day of his Election and Coronation.) As well, the Sundays after Pentecost are numbered after Trinity instead...

Looking to the Knott Missal's Ordinary of the Mass, all would seem alright, but why does the Lord's Prayer, in its Protestant wording,  and a Collect for the grace of the Holy Spirit, separated out by heavy lines, appear a little before the Introit? Could it be meant as a private devotion while the priest and ministers pray their prayers? And why likewise does a long prayer "for the... Church militant", and the Anglican penitential prayers (with rubric to the effect that the Confession shall be said in the name of all by one of the Ministers "either here, or after the Priest's communion"), appear likewise inserted after the Secret? Is the lay worshipper to pray at least the intercessory prayer – nice, but strangely omitting explicit reference to the Pope and the Saints – while the priest performs the offertory?

Why, too, are there two versions of several Prefaces? why again does "We do not presume" (the devout Prayer of Humble Access) and the 1662 Anglican Prayers of Consecration and Oblation (definitely heretical, as regards the defective epiclesis) appear before the Canon of the Mass? but otherwise, all is as in the Roman Missal – and from Te igitur to the end of Mass, all is given in parallel Latin and English, even the rubrics (and this in a missal for the use of the laity!): strangely, while the Latin says Papa, the English coyly says "Chief Bishop". Before the prayers for when Holy Communion is distributed at Mass, and then the Leonine Prayers, there are two further Anglican inserts (for the rubrics refer back to the main text): the Prayer of Thanksgiving is provided as one of the Postcommunions, and "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding..." is given as an alternative form of blessing.

To summarize, I think I could take along The English Missal for the Laity to an Extraordinary Form Mass quite happily, and if I gave it to a friend he might not even notice that it wasn't Catholic, but Anglo-Papalist. (Another now-Catholic friend in Hobart was brought up very High Church Anglican, and went to All Saints, Wickham Terrace, in Brisbane, where the services were so High they even used Latin, and worshippers were advised, should they be unable to come to All Saints, to go to R.C. Mass rather than slum it in any other Anglican parish. As she said, when she became a Catholic "All I had to change was the name of the bishop".)

In comparison to The English Missal for the Laity, that is, the Knott Missal (and others like it), the new Ordinariate Mass, with its larger retention of Anglican forms, and use of readings and prayers from the modern Roman Rite, is actually quite moderate!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Secret and the Canon and the Dominus Vobiscum

"We're strictly B.C.P.... except for the Secret and the Canon and the Dominus vobiscum" – words from an amusing poem about Anglo-Catholic liturgical peculiarities, now more than amply instantiated in the new Ordinariate Mass. 

There are various options which may be used: for instance, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar (a noble English version of the Extraordinary Form prayers, including the Confiteor, and excluding only the Aufer a nobis – a pity, for it is one of the oldest of the preparatory prayers – and the Oramus te); the Offertory prayers in Form I (those of the Extraordinary Form, omitting only the psalm-verses recited during the censing the altar); the Roman Canon (including the modern wording of the words of consecration, and the Memorial Acclamation); and the Last Gospel. Using all these, and recalling also that the first Dominus vobiscum immediately precedes the Collect, that the text of the Embolism, or Libera nos, after the Lord's Prayer, is according to the EF version, and that the Domine non sum dignus is thrice repeated, the Ordinariate Mass looks very much like Mass according to the immemorial Roman Rite.

However, specifically Anglican aspects are also present, so it is not merely the traditional Latin Mass in English: Mass begins with the Collect for Purity; next, especially for the benefit of North American congregations, wherein use thereof is more common, the Decalogue or the Summary of the Law may be recited; the texts of the Kyrie, Gloria in excelsis, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei follow traditional Anglican renderings (with very minor adjustments); the various forms of the general intercessions derive from Anglican forms, such as the Prayer for All Conditions of Men (already present in the English translation of the modern Roman Divine Office, by some bizarre quirk, as part of the intercessions at Evening Prayer of Wednesday, Week 4 of the Psalter); after those intercessions comes the penitential act, comprising the Invitation, general Confession, non-sacramental Absolution and the Comfortable Words (all 1662, lightly edited); so too, the Sursum corda dialogue and the Prefaces, the introduction to the Lord's Prayer, "Christ our Passover" at the fraction (a quotation from 1 Corinthians, but whose role here ultimately derives from a longer combined formula in the 1549 BCP), the Prayer of Humble Access, the words of administration of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion (with some minor modifications to safeguard Catholic doctrine), and "The Peace", the final blessing at Mass, all follow the Anglican forms.

Again, the modern Roman Rite is not shied away from: the Introit (Entrance Antiphon) requires neither versicle nor Gloria Patri; the readings are taken from the current Ordinary Form Roman Lectionary according to the Revised Standard Version; the Offertory may follow Form II, which is that of the modern Roman Missal, in suitably Cranmerian language; on ferias, the modern Eucharistic Prayer II, put into hieratic English, may be used (just as it is by far the most common Eucharistic Prayer in everyday use); as noted above, the Memorial Acclamation follows the Consecration; and the dismissal at Mass may follow the modern variety of forms, such as Ite in pace.

I am surprised at myself to say it – I had thought that the most Anglican form possible would be theoretically preferable – but this new form of Mass contains treasures new and old, and shows forth to much advantage the spoils of the Egyptians "through the Red Sea brought at last", as of old God advised Moses to have the Israelites bring out with them at the Exodus.

Most notably, the way lies open for what the Abbot of Le Barroux desired years ago, at the last revision of the latest edition of the Roman Missal: the insertion of the ordinary of the Extraordinary Form as an option in the Ordinary Form Mass – if all priests were able, prudently and wisely, to choose for the advantage of devotion to begin Mass with the prayers at the foot of the altar, to use the older offertory prayers, to use the older embolism, and to end with the Last Gospel, then the gulf between the older and newer forms of Mass would be greatly narrowed, and such cross-fertilization would be a real enrichment of precisely those aspects of Mass – the sacrificial, the cultic – that have been impoverished.

Thanks and praise are due, under God, to the wise counsel of those tasked with drawing together these threads to help weave rich adornments for the sacred mysteries of Christ our Priest, which are ever to be celebrated with dignity and love.


I see that Gippsland Ordinariate News has linked to this post of mine; I hope my comments may be of some slight interest. My aim has always been to encourage and support the great project of Anglicanorum cœtibus, and that includes what Benedict XVI referred to therein as the sharing of the precious gifts of the Anglican Patrimony with the wider Church – which extends to the re-propagation of treasures of devotion left aside for the most part within the modern Roman Rite, but providentially maintained by Anglo-Catholics and now brought back with them to full union with the Holy See.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monday Benediction and Mass

I stayed in Hobart till Monday; and thought to go to St Joseph's – the city church, run by the Passionist Fathers – for Benediction at noon, and then Mass. It was great to be there, and by a nice parallel good Fr Quinn was the celebrant: for yester-day I'd M.C.'d for him at the Latin Mass, and at lunch afterwards he'd told us some of the "good news" for which he is famous: in the past week or so, he has received five into the Church, as part of his ministry to the sick and dying.

I had forgotten what a blessing this church is: daily, from Monday to Friday, there is Mass at 8 am, then Exposition until Benediction at noon, followed by two lunchtime Masses, at 12:10 pm and 1:10 pm respectively; and Confession is available after both Masses (and also from 5 to 5:45 pm on Fridays).

Unsurprisingly, with this ministry to the good people of Hobart, many come to weekday Mass and avail themselves of confession also. And in how few parishes these days is there ever either Benediction or Exposition? When I was at University in Hobart, I would often catch the bus or walk into town to come to this church for all these blessings. Ite ad Joseph! and God bless the Passionists.

If only every city had such: my own, for example...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

First Sunday Again

Time to grab a few bits and pieces: altar Missal (set for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost) for Father; Fortescue-O'Connell-Reid, plus cassock and surplice, for me; some sacred music CD's (Bruckner, Biber, Schmelzer and Geoffroy) to play in the car in between listening to ABC News Radio; and a change of clothes, etc., as I'll be staying the night in Hobart to-morrow. Yes, time to get up early and drive to Hobart for to M.C. the State's one and only Missa cantata at 11:30 am on this, the first Sunday of the month. (Come to think of it, that means to-day is a first Saturday - no wonder there were more than usual at Confession...) I think I'll leave at about half seven, and stop as usual at Campbell Town for coffee and breakfast. What with the 700 km I drove earlier this week (I had two nights away near Nubeena, and visited the convict ruins at Port Arthur), I'll have done a thousand kilometres within seven days. No rest for the wicked; and I think it says in the Imitation that they who rove about seldom or never become holy.