Thursday, 25 August 2016

Priestly Ordinations 2016 : 6

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

In this post, we are pleased to draw attention to the ordination of Father Gabriel Greer of the Diocese of Wichita (Kansas) USA.  Father Greer was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on 28th May by the Most Rev'd Carl Kemme.

A videogram on YouTube of Father Greer's First Holy Mass may be seen here.

Father Greer commissioned a set of festal vestments from the Studio in the Gothic style.

The chasuble was made from an ecclesiastical brocade, gold in colour, and was ornamented with a braid of red and gold, especially designed and made for the Saint Bede Studio. The vestments were lined in red taffeta.

Please pray for Father Greer and for all newly-ordained priests.

Figure 2.
Father Greer during the celebration of his
First Holy Mass.

Image courtesy of Father Greer.

Figure 3.
Father Greer at the Imposition of Hands during
the Mass of Ordination. 

Image from the Diocese of Wichita Facebook page.


Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Lord to whom shall we turn?

Follow the links below to previous articles in this series.

We began this short series of posts by making some observations about a fierce debate that had arisen worldwide concerning the celebration of the Ordinary Form (the New Mass) of the Roman Rite ad orientem. Many bloggers were decidedly up-in-arms and quite grumpy.*  Some prominent bloggers developed a case that ad orientem was normative for the Roman Rite, a view we cannot share since it manifestly contradicts the reality of the past fifty years.

In our second post, we wished to observe that the focus of any church building was not the ambo or the chair, but the ALTAR and that this is in accordance with Tradition.

The High altar of the Italian Cathedral of
Saint Nicolas, Bari rests beneath a twelfth century civory
or canopy. Behind the altar is the eleventh century cathedra
of the bishop : centrally located,
but completely invisible to the faithful.
A bishop, as chief shepherd, in the early centuries of the Church frequently had his cathedra positioned directly behind the free-standing altar, but this was a manifestation of his jurisdiction and was particular to bishops. Most examples of cathedra which have survived in such a position reveal that the chair of the bishop was not significantly elevated above the position of the altar and consequently would not have been completely visible to the faithful. The point of this is that the chair of the bishop was not positioned centrally to facilitate communication with the Faithful, but to express his headship of the presbyters gathered around him.

Following from this, our third post investigated the tradition of the chair in the Roman Rite, drawing the conclusion that prior to 1965, it was the normative practice for any priest-celebrant to offer the fore-Mass, or Mass of the Catechumens at or near the altar and facing ad orientem. The subsequent practice (found in the New Missale Romanum of 1970) for the priest to celebrate parts of the Mass at the chair and facing the congregation as a presider, is an innovation unknown to Catholic tradition.

Recitation of the Creed during the
celebration of Mass according to
The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite.
Our fourth post, developing this theme suggested that consideration of ad orientem celebrations of the New Mass need not be primarily focussed on the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In some instances, the construction of a sanctuary or the steps leading up to the altar do not readily facilitate ad orientem celebrations of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Such constraints, however, do not obtain when considering ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Word, and in particular the Penitential Rite, Kyrie, Gloria, Collect and Credo : any or all of which might be celebrated at the altar, or at its foot, ad orientem.  Whilst it is probable that many priests and congregations might not welcome ad orientem celebrations of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, surely fewer would object to parts of the Liturgy of the Word being celebrated ad orientem, particularly if such a practice were introduced slowly and in stages.

of the five preceding posts
  1. It has been the practice for the Mass according to the 1970 Missale Romanum (and the intention of its devisers) that the Liturgy of the Eucharist be celebrated versum populum. This is (at present) normative but not obligatory.
  2. The celebration of the fore-Mass or Liturgy of the Word versus populum has only a limited expression in Catholic liturgical tradition and was particular to bishops (only) as a sign of their jurisdiction.
  3. The altar is the focus of the Mass of the Roman Rite - Ordinary or Extraordinary uses - not the chair or ambo. The priest is the celebrant of the Mass, not a presider.
  4. Prayers addressed to God during the Liturgy of the Word according to the 1970 Missale Romanum ought be offered ad orientem and preferably at the altar or its foot, in order to make clear that such prayers are not a dialogue between the celebrant and the faithful present.
  5. A gradual introduction of this principle could subsequently (over a period of years) lead to the celebration of the Ordinary Form of Mass being entirely (or mostly) ad orientem.
Already a variant of the Roman Rite exists which puts into effect the points made above (3) and (4); this is the newly-published Altar Missal for the Personal Ordinariates Anglicanorum Coetibus. Some have described it as the Anglican Use of the Roman RiteA forthcoming series of posts will discuss this new Missal in detail.

* Undoubtedly a manifestation of the "Francis effect".

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Vestments for Masses of the Dead

Recently completed by the Saint Bede Studio is this simple set of vestments, made of a blend of linen and silk. It is not intended as a Festal vestment because it has been designed for use in Masses for the Dead.

Unhappily, in many Dioceses, a strict policy exists requiring white vestments for Funerals, contrary to the general liturgical law of the Church. There is no requirement, however, about the shade of white or how such vestments are to be ornamented.

With this in mind, the Studio designed this set which is ornamented in a traditional manner - but subtly - with a braid of black and gold. A slight enrichment occurs within the lines of the braid in the form of a cream-coloured silk damask. The vestment is unlined and deliberately very plain, almost rustic.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Priestly Ordinations 2016 : 5

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

In this post, we are pleased to draw attention to the ordination of Father Joseph Rampino of the Diocese of Arlington (Virginia) USA.  Father Rampino was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More on 11th June, together with another candidate.

Father Rampino commissioned a Puginesque set of vestments from the Studio in honour of the Blessed Virgin. The set has become known as Ave Maris Stella.

The chasuble was made from an ecclesiastical brocade, ivory in colour and lined in blue taffeta. The decorative focus of this chasuble is an orphrey braid which is based on the work of AWN Pugin.

This braid is produced in two shades of blue (lighter and darker) with figured ornament in gold. This braid was designed by the Studio and is only available through it. The braid can be used on fabrics either brighter white in colour, or ivory and can also be used to decorate dalmatics and copes.

Please pray for Father Rampino and for all newly-ordained priests.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Father Rampino during the Laying-on of Hands at his Ordination
in the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More, Arlington (Virginia).
The ordaining prelate was the the Most Rev'd Timothy Broglio
of the United States Military Services Ordinariate.
Image courtesy of Father Rampino.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Deaconesses? Yet Again ...

In May we heard that the tired subject of a "female diaconate" has been raised again, but this time - most disappointingly - by the Bishop of Rome who, in an "impromptu" remark during a meeting with Religious gathered in Rome, claimed that the history of deaconesses in the Early Church is "obscure".  Now, the Vatican Bulletin has announced the formation of a Commission to study this, which the Pope has decided upon "after intense prayer and mature reflection". *

As noted in a previous post, the history of deaconesses in the Early Church is only obscure to those who either have not studied the issue, or to those who are determined to force such an innovation upon the Church.

Giotto's 13th century depiction
of Saint Stephen the protomartyr
and deacon.
The history of deaconesses in the early Church was the focus of a definitive study published in 1982 by the distinguished French liturgiologist, Monsignor Aime-Georges Martimort.  Ignatius Press published a translation of this wonderful work in 1986 Deaconesses : An Historical Study, which is still in print. I urge you to obtain this book and read it (it assumes a working knowledge of Greek and Latin). It also appears to be available to be read online.

But, above all is to be noted the deliberations of a previous Commission of the Holy See into this very subject, published only 14 years ago and which may be read in full here.

Deaconesses DID exist in the Early Church but they WERE NOT female deacons. Their ministry was narrowly defined, completely distinct from the ministry of the deacon and DID NOT include any liturgical role at the altar, where traditionally no woman set foot. This is not what present-day advocates of deaconesses are seeking. They are seeking the feminisation of the Church's Orders and a ministry at the altar. This is not Tradition, it is innovation.

* These are the actual words of the Vatican Bulletin and presumably are not intended to be ironic.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Lord to whom shall we turn?
Part Five : of Postures and Prayers

Figure 1
Benedictine Abbey-Church of Brugges.
The principle of the intelligibility of the Church's rites is the liturgical philosophy which underpins the 1970 Missale Romanum and was enunciated in the Vatican II constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium.  But one of the great mistakes made by the Reformers in the 1960's was their conviction that the most important way during Mass for us to communicate with God and for God to communicate with us is by the spoken word.  Happily, this presupposition is being challenged more and more.

The New Mass or Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is very wordy. This is not to say that the Extraordinary Form has fewer words, but it certainly has fewer words which are to be prayed aloud and intended as a form of communication. Whatever about more recent developments in the manner of celebrating the Ordinary Form, it was devised with the intention that it be for the most part and usually spoken, not sung.

Nowhere is the principle of communication more prominent in the Ordinary Form than in what is termed The Liturgy of the Word, in which the predominance of dialogue between the "presider" and the "community" lays. It is for this reason precisely that the incorporation of ad orientem posture is desirable from the very beginning of the Order and not simply during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as some have suggested. It is desirable because it would have the effect of lessening the prevailing tendency that the Mass is a dialogue (which in degrees of formality, varies from place to place) between those physically present in a particular church, rather than being the worship of the entire Church, visible and invisible.

Figure 2
Benedictine Abbey-Church of Fontgombault.
The mistakes made during the late 1960's and early 1970's should act as a lesson for the new generation : the Reformers of the Reform.  The ecclesiastical explosion which was the whole impetus for this series of posts (and very much more elsewhere) indicates that the spiritual sons of the 1960's reformers are not going to abandon their prized achievements so readily.  For this reason, we wonder about the prudence of a suggestion to introduce the practice of ad orientem celebrations of the Ordinary Form by the First Sunday of Advent.  But perhaps for those who have not been frightened off by the reproof of Father Lombardi SJ* or for those who even have been emboldened by it, a subtle introduction of ad orientem celebrations might be possible.

Already, some pastors through the catechesis of their flocks, have introduced the celebration of the Ordinary Form ad orientem and have been doing so for some time. But not every pastor of souls is in a position to do this. Leaving aside the issue of prudence, the sanctuaries of some churches are not readily suited to this arrangement, namely that the celebrant offer the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the altar facing towards the apse. But for these two reasons, suppose we focus not on the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but a partly ad orientem Liturgy of the Word?

Figure 3
Benedictine Abbey-Church
of Le Barroux
What might be done, to recapture the Church's tradition at this point in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite Mass? In many places, this has begun already to happen, where priests have felt uncomfortable with the prominence of their (often elevated) chairs, and have opted to place the chair at the side of the sanctuary in front of the altar, in the manner of sedilia. We have also read where some priests with chairs in the position just described, have turned slightly toward the altar (rather than toward the congregation) for the Penitential riteGloria and Collect. All of this would seem to be able to take place within the current framework of the Ordinary Form. It also does not exclude the celebrant giving a brief introduction to the Mass, but it might be hoped that this is quite distinct from the prayers of the Rite itself.

Perhaps, under the far-sighted guidance of Cardinal Sarah, a reform to re-instate the tradition might be introduced initially as an option for celebrants. Might it be something like the following? 

The celebrant might conduct the Penitential Rite ad orientem "at the foot of the altar", then go up to stand at the altar for the KyrieGloria and Collect

Then he could go to the sedilia and sit down for the reading of the Scripture. He would bless the deacon (and incense, if it used) at the altar, not the sedilia. 

After the Gospel, he might return to the altar for the Creed and General Intercessions (both ad orientem). 

Note that these ceremonial adjustments might be used even if the Liturgy of the Eucharist continued to be celebrated versus populum (especially if the arrangement of central altar Cross and flanking candlesticks is observed). Might this be a gradual and pastorally-considerate way of re-introducing ad orientem to the entire Ordinary Form Roman Mass?

But the suggestions above might be too radical for some and not desirable for practical or political reasons at present.  Perhaps the time is not yet here for such modifications. Suppose, then, JUST ONE moment ad orientem were considered now as opportune for the Liturgy of the Word.  Just one, which doesn't cause much consternation or uncertainty. Just one ...

If the CREED were sung or recited by the celebrant and the congregation together, the celebrant standing ad orientem at the centre of the altar or at the base of the steps leading to the altar : suppose that were to be introduced? It would surely not be so very controversial, in addition to being a powerful symbol.

There will be an Epilogue to these considerations, summarising the posts and discussing the newly-published Order of Mass for the Personal Ordinariates Anglicanorum Coetibus.

Figure 4
A Conventual Mass according to the New Missal
in the Abbey-Church of Sant'Antimo, Tuscany.

* The retirement of Father Lombardi SJ on 31st July has been noted with satisfaction.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Priestly Ordinations 2016 : 4

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

In this post, we are pleased to draw attention to the ordination of Father Paul Clark of the Archdiocese of New Orleans USA.  Father Clark was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of Saint Louis on 4th June by the Most Rev'd Gregory Aymond, together with five other candidates (including another customer of the Saint Bede Studio).

Father Clark commissioned a Borromeon set of vestments from the Studio in honour of the Blessed Virgin.

The chasuble was made from an ecclesiastical brocade, white in colour. The chasuble was ornamented in the Roman manner in colours of blue and silver and was lined in an attractive shade of blue dupion silk.

Please pray for Father Clark and for all newly-ordained priests.

Figure 2.
The six ordinands giving their Blessing with the Archbishop
of New Orleans during the Mass of Ordination.
Father Clark is second from the right;
Father Ducote, third from the right.

Figure 3.
The Cathedral of Saint Louis, New Orleans.


Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Lord to whom shall we turn?
Part Four

When the New Order of Mass was introduced on the First Sunday of Advent in November 1969, the experience was not one of massive disruption and radical change, but of continuity with what had been experienced over the five years previous (1964-69). Most celebrants at that time had been ordained to offer what is now referred to as The Extraordinary Form and the manner in which they celebrated this New Order gave evidence of continuity. This was not the experience everywhere, of course. During the later 1970's and 1980's gradually the manner of celebrating the New Mass came less and less to resemble the Old. The invasion of the sanctuary by various lay ministers in that period further made those differences stark.

The divide is so profound today that to celebrate the New Order of Mass with any trace of Extraordinary Form rituals often raises opprobrium. Entire ecclesiastical careers and ecclesiological thinking have been based on the rejection of what was celebrated before 1969, as so many learned authors have observed. One wonders whether this is in large measure the reason for the knee-jerk reaction to Cardinal Sarah's recent remarks. For a comprehensive discussion of such issues, this post on the blog Foolishness to the World may be read with profit.

The Sacred Liturgy celebrated at the
Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham
Houston Texas.
Younger priests, however, who never knew the 1960s and 1970s, are much more interested in recapturing a reverent and transcendent atmosphere during Mass by the manner in which they celebrate it. Those who have sneered at such priests as "neo-Tridentinists" (an absurd and hysterical remark) haven't grasped that these are tomorrow's leaders of the Church, who will not be constrained by the various Liturgical Gurus and agents of Political Correctness who presently hold sway. Instead, they will be increasingly focussed on Tradition.

Tradition does not equate with the universal restoration of the Extraordinary Form as the normative Mass of the Roman Rite, nor does it concern re-creating the 1950's (or 1750's). Tradition turns away from facile novelty and the search for contemporary "relevance" and looks instead to continuity with the Church's ancient practices - both Eastern and Western Christendom.

In addition to these young men, who are both secular priests and those in Religious Life, there is another charism now enriching the Church, namely the Ordinariates which were established by Pope Benedict's Anglicanorum Coetibus as an outstretched hand to those Anglicans who wished to embrace the fullness of Catholicism. The celebration of Mass ad orientem is normative for the Liturgy of these Ordinariates.

The final part of this series of posts will include some practical suggestions as to how the celebration of the New Mass can – gradually – reintegrate ad orientem.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 3

The vestments shewn in the adjacent photograph were prepared by the Saint Bede Studio for a returning customer in the Archdiocese of Salzburg, Austria.

This chasuble, in the Saint Bede Studio's Saint Austin design, is made from an English ecclesiastical brocade and is lined in taffeta. The vestments are ornamented with an orphrey braid of the Studio's own design in colours of green and gold upon red. The braid is directly based on a design by AWN Pugin.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Monday, 18 July 2016

Lord to whom shall we turn?
Part Three :
Some thoughts on “presidency” and posture for prayer

Although there is a great deal of discussion now and a body of scholarship concerning the revival of the celebration of the Roman Rite Mass ad orientem, it is found that this discussion is almost entirely limited to the Liturgy of the Eucharist in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Yet, the principle concerns the orientation of Liturgical prayer throughout the entirety of the Mass. Amongst the many innovations introduced after the Council was a provision (Ritus Servandus 1965, no. 23) for the celebrant to pray the Kyrie, Gloria, Collect and Creed at a sedilia, rather than at the altar (as had previously obtained). This provision, of course, is derived from the practice where a bishop celebrates Mass solemnly, either at the faldstool or at the throne. The 1965 provision was taken a step further with the introduction of the new Missal in 1970.

The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Sarah spoke about this very matter in a 2015 interview reproduced in the L'Osservatore Romano and translated here. He has said :

Contrary to what has at times been sustained, and in conformity with the Conciliar Constitution , it is absolutely fitting that during the Penitential Rite, the singing of the Gloria, the orations and Eucharistic Prayer, for everyone – the priest and the congregation alike – to face ad orientem together, expressing their will to participate in the work of worship and redemption accomplished by Christ. This way of doing things could be fittingly carried out in the cathedrals where the liturgical life must be exemplary (n. 4).

As is well known, the Cardinal has recently raised this matter again, offering a suggestion to priests attending a Liturgical Conference in London. The pitiful reaction to His Eminence's remarks has been written about extensively elsewhere and is a cause for concern on many levels.  Consequently, it is timely to republish here this article (with one or two modifications) which appeared on the blog The New Liturgical Movement in 2009, as follows.

Dom Emmanuel of the Benedictine Abbey of Le Barroux gave a paper to the 1997 CIEL Conference about this topic. In a comprehensive analysis, which discusses firstly the position of the celebrant during the Kyrie, Gloria, Collect and Creed and secondly, the celebrant during the readings from the Scripture, he reached this conclusion:
Do we find that the law in force until 1962 is universally attested in the history of the Roman Mass, or do we find that there are exceptions? Having finished our enquiry we may now answer this question: as far we can judge from the texts currently available, the Roman Mass, both according to the use of the [Roman] Curia and those of the dioceses and religious orders, show us that the simple priest is at the altar for the Gloria, the Collect and the Creed, and that this is the case until 1962. So the Ordo Missae of 1965 departs from the common (and almost universal) practice up to that point when it prescribes that the simple priest may carry out these functions at his seat. For the readings the celebrant goes to his chair near the altar. By having the celebrant positioned at the sedilia for the readings, the Ordo Missae of 1965 (and then that of 1970) do depart from what we know of Roman usage (taken as a whole) through the centuries.
Dom Emmanuel's study and of course many other works on liturgical history, reveal that in the early church (and we know that from archaeological evidence as well the ancient churches which still exist) the Cathedra of the bishop was mostly placed in the apse, behind the altar, with benches for the presbyters on either side. This was a position, as Dom Emmanuel concludes, which emphasised the jurisdiction of the Bishop. He argues, however, that it never was customary in the Western liturgy for the priest-celebrant to occupy such a position, because he did not have jurisdiction.

Instead, as Dom Emmanuel discusses, the priest celebrant recited the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect at or near to the altar ad orientem. Similarly, a bishop who did not have jurisdiction occupied a seat on the right of the altar, but read those prayers from that position ad orientem (for example, the rites of Pontifical Mass at the faldstool according to the Extraordinary Form).

Leaving aside the issue of the priest-celebrant facing the people at the altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist (for which there is some precedent in liturgical history which was used as the basis for the introduction of "Mass facing the people"), what we would like to identify is that an entirely new concept has been introduced into the 1970 Mass, namely, the priest-celebrant as Presider. 

This seems nowhere more prominent in the New Order of Mass than in the Introductory Rite: the structure of which is an innovation in the history of the Western liturgy. Furthermore, this role of Presider is codified by the instruction on where the chair of the celebrant is to be placed within the sanctuary: namely at the head of the sanctuary in an apse; in short behind the altar (GIRM 271):
The chair of the celebrant should indicate his role of presiding over the assembly and of leading the prayers. Hence the most suitable position is at the head of the sanctuary facing the people, unless the construction of the building or other circumstances prevents this; for instance, if communication between the priest and the assembly of the faithful is made difficult because of too great a distance.
Both the position of the chair of the priest-celebrant (which emphasises "presidence") and the offering of prayers (facing the congregation) from that chair, instead of before the altar, represent a break with Liturgical Tradition. We would like to suggest that this particular break with Tradition has largely facilitated the widespread distortion where right from the beginning of the Liturgy the priest becomes more of a compere or emcee, rather than a celebrant.  

Ongoing discussions that the celebration of the Ordinary Form of Mass may be divided into being partly ad orientem (the Liturgy of the Eucharist) and partly versus populum (the Liturgy of the Word) are not an adequate solution or compromise.

Part Four follows, continuing these observations.