Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Guild of St Stephen at Westminster...

1910.
I think they look rather dignified even if the surplices could be longer. In those days of liturgical orthopraxis there was also an appointed Mace Bearer at the Cathedral to lead liturgical processions. Notice the buckled shoes.

2010.
I think it suffices to just shake your head in disgust. Is that a girl or a boy, the second from the front, picking his or her nose? Polyester cassock-albs, all the lace. Absolutely no dignity whatever and God alone knows to what kind of service they are processing. A Mass celebrated in saccharine English facing the wrong way with lay readers. What rubbish.

A plague upon Cardinal Heenan! The man, totally unsuited to be Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, who single-handedly brought down a tradition of liturgical excellence at Westminster Cathedral established by his worthy predecessors. And yet the Latin Mass Society, "dedicated to the promotion of the traditional Latin liturgy," lays a wreath at his tomb every year in thanksgiving for the "Heenan Indult!"

Go to Westminster Cathedral to-day and be ashamed to be Roman Catholic!

Friday, 27 February 2015

A good idea...

"This is the window from which, on a clear day, you can see normality."

I am suffering from a bout of writer's block. Years ago I promised myself that I would write the definitive book on Tolkien with a thesis. I have the perfect idea in mind; nobody has ever written about it before, possibly because it has never occurred to them. But I'm just stuck. I'd promised myself that I would go to Heythrop to-day to undertake some research but, as you can imagine, I'm still at home. That's all I ever do these days. I just stay at home and resist any attempt to try and wrest me from the sanctuary of home. I don't like travelling and I have come to strongly dislike being outside. I don't like to exert myself anymore either. Reading a new book now requires an effort of will sometimes beyond my capability.

I am staying exactly where I am and I expect that the world will eventually form itself around me. My mother habitually says, "if you carry on like this life will pass you by." Well, good! I never asked for it, did I!

I won't divulge the Tolkien thesis in case somebody steals it...just in case I get some energy and will to life back and endeavour to make a start on it.

Waybread...


It's years since I communicated at Mass. So long that I cannot actually remember the last time, but it was probably in 2010 that I last took the Sacrament; or half of it, to be precise, from the hands of a Roman priest. Friends of mine have continually besought me to make my communion at Easter. I fully understand their concern but it would be profoundly against my conscience to take the Sacrament from a Roman priest, and also against the law of that communion. At any rate I don't believe in transubstantiation. I would not take the Sacrament from an Anglican priest for reasons too complex to explain. And I will not communicate with renegades and home-aloners. That leaves the Orthodox Church, into which I am not yet formally received. It is not likely that I will be received before Easter but God grant me the strength in my weakness to persevere in my search for His Truth and guide me into His True Church.

In Tolkien's legendarium lembas, the waybread of the Elves, was invariably made by royal women. Yavanna, Lady of the Earth, devised the stuff whereof it was made, who gave it to Melian, Queen of Doriath, who in turn tutored Galadriel, Lady of the Golden Wood, in its making. In nothing did Galadriel shew her favour more than in the giving of lembas to the Fellowship. Even the Númenóreans never ate of this bread; at least it is nowhere recorded, and they were, in antient times, the kings of men. This has nothing to do with my pilgrimage to the Celestial City but I am reminded of Tolkien's description of how the waybread fed the will rather than the body, and worked better when not mingled with other foods.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A sermon for Lent...


"But there are three things which most belong to religious actions, namely prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, in the exercising of which while every time is accepted, yet that ought to be more zealously observed, which we have received as hallowed by tradition from the apostles: even as this month brings round again to us the opportunity when according to the antient practice we may give more diligent heed to those three things of which I have spoken. For by prayer we seek to propitiate God, by fasting we extinguish the lusts of the flesh, by alms we redeem our sins: and at the same time God's image is throughout renewed in us, if we are always ready to praise Him, unfailingly intent on our purification and unceasingly active in cherishing our neighbour. This threefold round of duty, dearly beloved, brings all other virtues into action: it attains to God's image and likeness and unites us inseparably with the Holy Ghost. Because in prayer faith remains steadfast, in fastings life remains innocent, in almsgiving the mind remains kind. On Wednesday and Friday therefore let us fast: and on Saturday let us keep vigil with the most blessed Apostle Peter, who will deign to aid our supplications and fast and alms with his own prayers through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen." St Leo the Great, Pope of Rome.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

We excommunicate him...


The Catholic Church, having long known of the monstrous deeds and heresies of John Zuhlsdorf, has endeavoured by divers exhortations, commands and canonical warnings to turn him from his evil ways. This man, this crass Sybarite, having miserably abandoned the promises he made at baptism, has not ceased to oppress the poor Church of God; he has grown fat on the pretence of apostolic travail; his blog is less an apostolate in a just cause as a business for gratuitous self-aggrandisement; he begs without shame; he habitually fails to adhere to clerical discipline in respect of the holy Sacrifice, divine offices and fasting; he treats the holy father, pope Francis gloriously reigning, with open and shameful contempt; he promotes the liturgical books of 1962; he compulsively manipulates the populist fears, prejudices and ignorance of his cult following; he has ostensibly committed himself to various causes of questionable propriety, schismatic groups and extremists, and he has demonstrated hubris and denial of clerical sex abuse cases.

Having failed to make Zuhlsdorf do penance and publicly abjure his iniquitous celebrity status by fatherly admonition, the which he despised and, on the contrary, daily receiving more and more serious information about his abominable and impious works, and seeing that, with a heart hardened by the Devil, he perseveres in his evil; we are resolved, in fear of the LORD, that the said John Zuhlsdorf should be excommunicated and expelled from Christ's Church. Let him be wiped out of the book of the living and not be written among the righteous, Ps.69:28.

Therefore, with the fullness of apostolic authority committed to us and with the consent of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, and by solemn undertaking to the whole Catholic Church, we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn John Zuhlsdorf to the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. We excommunicate him with the judgement with which Joshua threw down Jericho; we declare him ANATHEMA and deprived henceforth of all the Sacraments. We declare him expelled from the society of all Christians and from the bosom and protection of Christ's Church. Cursed be he at the rising of the Sun and cursed be he at the going down. Cursed be he at his waking and cursed be he at his repose. Cursed be he at his going out and cursed be he at his coming in. The LORD will not spare him and His Judgement shall pursue him to the ends of the earth. For as long as he will not burst the fetters of the Devil, amend himself and do penance, we deliver him to the Devil for the perdition of his flesh that God might deliver his soul on the Day of Judgement. But you, faithful members of Christ, we order not to communicate with him, in writing or in person; we order that you shew him no mercy or favour, or stay with him under the same roof, or eat with him; and we order that you do not read anything written by him, lest his pestilential and pestiferous disease corrupt you and make you children of hell, even as he. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God, Ps. 9:17.

Let it be so, in the Name of God.

Ah, and as the canons cast down their candles to cries of Anathema, Anathema, let him be Anathema, God's wrath and indignation comes swiftly.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Ascetic Mr Zuhlsdorf!


The beam in my own eye notwithstanding I couldn't help noticing the rigorous fast to which the eminent, worthy-to-be-followed Mr Zed is adhering this Lent. Cold showers and dry toast all round! If modern Papist fasting rules were not so conspicuously...non-existent, I'd suggest he had a papal dispensation for it. But we all know Zed is an authority unto himself.

Zed is one reason I could never, ever believe in universal salvation. My own sense of justice tells me that this man is hell-bound, along with all his miserable benefactors. More on him later...

I have a song to sing, O!


I did have the whole opera in my "favourites" but it was taken down for copyright reasons. But this was the very same that I grew up with on visits to nanny's house. She had a collection of BBC productions of Gilbert & Sullivan on VHS tape. They are of superb quality but I have tried in vain to obtain them on DVD. Apart from the colossally high standard of the singers I think the best thing about them is that they adhere in most respects to the original libretto. But go to the English National Opera and be appalled.

Point: I have a song to sing, O!
Elsie: Sing me your song, O!
Point: It is sung to the knell
Of a churchyard bell,
And a doleful dirge, ding dong, O!
It's a song of a popinjay, bravely born,
Who turned up his noble nose with scorn
At the humble merrymaid, peerly proud,
Who loved a lord, and who laughed aloud
At the moan of the merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

Both: Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me, lackadaydee!
He sipped no sup, etc.

If I'd paid more attention to poetry at school I'd know the name of the poetic device used here...but I don't recall doing much poetry at school.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Satisfaction...


Initially published on 28th January 2011, I thought I'd publish this again apropos a comment left by reader in another recent post about the tribulations latterly faced by the subject. It's often embarrassing to read old posts back to myself; the question I ask myself is invariably: "do I really sound like that?" Be that as it may, I though this post was rather amusing.

An American Traditionalist - probably someone who comments on the Fisheaters forum - styling himself ''Liturgical Pimpernel'' (well you can't get more pretentious than that, can you?), has set up a blog, clearly in defiance of my own, ad honorem sacrae liturgiae. Go over and look for yourselves, dear readers, to be underwhelmed! Pimpernel is a vain man, as I have discovered from the pompous and condescending diction of his blog, and comments on other blogs, preferring his own fancy to facts (such as, in one of his posts attacking me, accusing Mr Gordon Dimon, a very good man he has never met, of being ''notoriously not a minute before '62'' - I have known Mr Dimon for some years now and this is a scandalous falsehood - if it should come to the attention of Mr Dimon, fortunately unlikely, I should make him apologize), seems very hasty in attributing to me sentiments and beliefs which I repudiate, and even habitually makes ad hominem attacks on my own person.

Far be it from me to suggest that there are any homosexual Traddies, but I think he's in love with me; why else would he be so vitriolic? You can tell me, good sir! I am open-minded! In fact, I am of the opinion that homosexuality renders a man more traditional - in the same way that it gives him more personal taste and aesthetic sense. If, of course, this is wholly unfounded, then I am sorry - the Pimpernel is free to demand satisfaction, or challenge me to a duel or something.

Since Pimpernel seems so willing to correct my own human errors of fact, perhaps I might venture to correct his Latin. He has suggested that since my blog consists mainly of sad essays in exaltation of the will in spite of Holy Mother Church, I might consider changing the name to Causam Meam instead - evidently I render no honour to the Sacred Liturgy by wanton display of knavish contempt for the gross ineptitude of the clergy and making simple mistakes. But what does Causam Meam mean exactly? Is Pimpernel aware that these are Accusative cases? Now, a ''case'' is the form of a noun, adjective or pronoun which denotes the particular relationship of words unto words in a sentence. To put it simply, ''the cat sat on the mat.'' I'm sure Pimpernel is smart enough to circle the subject and object of this sentence? The subject (or Nominative) is the cat, because the cat does the sitting; whereas the object (or Accusative) is the mat, because it gets sat upon. In Liturgiae Causa, ''causa'' is an Ablative form which, together with the Genitive form ''liturgiae,'' serves to express ''for the sake of the Liturgy,'' or more literally in the cause of the Liturgy. ''Causam meam'' has no meaning in itself, though I'm sure Pimpernel is aware that it could do if read in a context that provided a rationale for the use of the Accusative case. Maybe if Pimpernel had included the preposition ad, which denotes direction towards an object, his new blog name, given in manifest scorn, might at least have made sense? Or is Pimpernel another one of these Traddies, completely ignorant of Latin, who seems content to parrot the responses during Liturgy in an alien tongue, whether it be elevated to the dignity of ''liturgical use'' or not? Reminds me of the time a simple server presented a friend of mine with the Pax Brede during Mass and said Pax Vobiscum...

He has been quite prolific since December. See here, here, here, here and here for posts about me, and my friend the erudite Rubricarius. The demned impudence of it all!

Oneness...


"It is to the credit of the age that unity and harmony were so largely maintained, not by the trim and stupid method of the utter subordination of the national churches to the one great central jurisdiction, but upon terms consistent with honour and liberty, with loyalty, on the one hand, to the Regnum Angliae, its Church and King, and, on the other, to the noble earthly Regnum Dei whose reverend metropolis was Rome." Arthur Ogle, The Canon Law in Mediaeval England.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Orate pro nobis...


H/T: Opus Publicum. Please share this.

Wells...


Last night I had a dream I went into Wells Cathedral. I entered through the south trancept doors and walking toward me, dressed in traditional Anglican episcopal choir dress, was Justin Welby. He nodded to me as if he knew me. A service was going on so I sat down in a pew. As is common with dreams I can't quite remember what happened next but I was in somebody's kitchen, again with Justin Welby. He said something which I thought was significant and original. I don't remember what was said because a family (presumably his own) asked me to leave.

Then I woke up.

Dreams fascinate me not only because they are so strange but because our experiences of them are often so real but conscious recollection leaves only small fragments that don't make sense. I don't believe in the interpretation of dreams by witches or psychologists but it was certainly strange to dream about a cathedral I have never visited and a prelate I consider neither significant nor original.

I promised myself that I would go to church to-day. I overslept.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Domine refugiam...


This is my favourite setting for Psalm 90 (my favourite psalm) sung by my favourite choir, the choir of Westminster Abbey. It's one of a handful of psalms I know by rote in English. In times past when it was my wont to say some pre-Pius X office on Sundays I came to know many of the most common psalms in Latin, but I long since gave up. I gave up for two reasons, 1, my own indolence, and 2, on account of the nature of liturgy. You can't go about criticizing the decadence, decay and deterioration of liturgy as corporate prayer in the West if you have actually succumbed to the very problem. Liturgy is common prayer, not private prayer, and it's for the whole Church, not just the clergy. If everybody did liturgy there'd be no need of miraculous medals or novena prayers.