Friday, 31 December 2010
Thursday, 30 December 2010
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
I was tagged in this photo on Facebook the other day. It shows us all lined during the singing of Adeste Fidelis after Midnight Mass. Note all the lace and the surplus children (also the '62 Missal on the Altar - used purely because it contained the notation for the Tonus Solemnior of the Preface). Two hours before Mass started I was informed that one of the Ministers couldn't make it, so I offered my services as either Subdeacon, or if not as Tunicled Crucifer. Both were rejected and I, with two others, formed the liturgical choir - alongside a Deacon. Everyone except me seemed to think that the Mass was ''beautiful.'' That's not exactly the word I'd pick. ''Sweet'', perhaps, if you come to Liturgy at Christmas expecting a child's Nativity play, where they all get to dress up in their lace cottas, look pretty and each hold a candle. I don't. I come expecting something solemn and decorous, not puerile.
Those of who have read The Lord of the Rings will remember The Shadow of the Past (Chapter II), in which Gandalf told Frodo his account of Gollum's life, as near the mark as he could guess. Gollum (or Sméagol as he was then) was akin to the distant fathers of the Stoors who still dwelt by the banks of the Anduin near the Gladden Fields, and by a great ''accident'' in the tides of the Ring's fortune he discovered the Ring (no pedantry in the combox please - this is not an exhaustive account of every detail), murdered his friend, was driven from his home into the mountains and gnawed bones in bitterness, cursing both the light and the dark. The Ring galled him and he ''lived'' (although he did not obtain more life) for many times the natural span of his years. When Bilbo came and took the Ring Gollum left the mountains, went in search of Bilbo but was drawn southwards to Mordor, where he was captured, tortured, and commanded to search for the Ring (although Gollum had purposes of his own in spite of Sauron). Eventually the Ranger Aragorn captured him by the Dead Marshes and took him to the Wood Elves of Mirkwood but his escape was contrived by the Orcs and he went off again in search of the Shire. He got lost and being then starved gave up at the West Gate of Moria, where he picked up the trail of the Fellowship and so came upon Frodo and Sam in the Emyn Muil. When he heard Gandalf's tale of Gollum's life in the quiet of the Shire Frodo felt no pity for Gollum, desiring only the creature's death, but upon their eventual meeting in the desolate hills he heard from far off the voice of Gandalf and did pity Gollum (''and that it is my fate to receive help from you, where I least looked for it, and your fate to help me whom you long pursued with evil purpose'' were Frodo's words before the Black Gate). Thus is the tale of the Ring made more meaningful.
Any rational person reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time would know that Gollum would almost certainly have betrayed Frodo, sooner or later. Later because Gollum desired (in so far as he had one single ''purpose'' with Frodo) to keep the Ring safe in spite of Sauron for as long as humanly possible. Sauron was his greatest enemy. I say certainly but perhaps not, but for the clumsiness in fidelity of Sam unto Frodo, which served only to push Gollum over the edge. As I write this I recall that moment in Chapter X of Book IV where Gollum came down from the heights ot Cirith Ungol and beheld Frodo and Sam lying together:
The Lord of the Rings moves me in so many ways. Tolkien can be as familiar and almost rustic as an apple, and you laugh at his jokes, but it is a work which also rends the very will, and tugs at the heart. When I first read this masterpiece of religious literature it was like the very hand of God had entered into my soul and stirred there, even to the very bottom [change that], and I was moved by unaccustomed [something] - and significantly this is a feeling I get only from the Sacred Liturgy...
Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Sunday, 26 December 2010
Friday, 24 December 2010
Monday, 20 December 2010
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
''I entirely accept the general principle. We must realise, as Williams would say, that we live in each other. But in purely practical terms, were we meant to know so much about the sufferings of the rest of the world? It seems to me that modern communications are so fast - with the wireless and newspapers and so on [or these days, of course, the Internet] - that there's a burden imposed on our sympathy for which that sympathy just wasn't designed.''
''Give an example,'' says Tolkien.
''That's easy. Now, supposing the poor Joneses family in your own street are having terrible troubles - sickness and so on - well then, obviously it's your duty to sympathise with them. But what about the morning paper and the evening news broadcasts on the wireless, in which you hear all about the Chinese and the Russians and the Finns and the Poles and the Turks? Are you expected to sympathise with them in the same way? I really don't think it's possible, and I don't think it's your duty to try''
''You certainly can't do them any good by being miserable about them,'' says Warnie.
''Ah, but while that's perfectly true it's not the point. In the case of the Jones family next door, you'd think pretty poorly of the man who felt nothing in the way of sympathy for them because that feeling 'wouldn't do them any good.'''
''Are you saying,'' asks Harvard, ''that when we read the newspapers we shouldn't try to sympathise with the sufferings of people we don't know?''
''Jack is probably saying,'' remarks Warnie, ''that we shouldn't read the newspapers at all. You know he never bothers to look at anything other than the crossword.''
''Perfectly true,'' answers his brother. ''And I have two very good reasons for it. First of all I deplore journalism - I can't abide the journalist's air of being a specialist in everything, and of taking in all points of view and always being on the side of the angels. And I hate the triviality of journalism, you know, the sort of fluttering mentality that fills up the page with one little bit about how an actress has been divorced in California, and another little bit about how a train was derailed in France, and another little bit about the birth of quadruplets in New Zealand.''
Well there you are. I agree with Lewis. While we may rightly deplore moral evils, does it really do to be constantly reminded of suffering? By the way this conversation is conjectural, made up (from sources - I recognise a lot of the stuff Tolkien says from his works) by Carpenter. Does anybody find this reminiscent of Lewis' works? Is it to be found, say, in his apologetics?
Friday, 10 December 2010
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
'Then Ulmo answered: ''Truly, Water is become now fairer than my heart imagined, neither had my secret thought conceived the snowflake, nor in all my music was contained the falling of the rain. I will seek Manwë, that he and I may make melodies for ever to thy delight!'' And Manwë and Ulmo have from the beginning been allied, and in all things have served most faithfully the purpose of Ilúvatar.' (J.R.R Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë).
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Joe the Communist strikes again! Of course, as the title page above shows, the Latin Mass Society promotes the ''Traditional Latin Rite'' - erm, what is their yardstick of liturgical orthopraxis though? Pius XII, the last true pope - yea more, the pope of the liturgy? No they're not that insane...could it be that this was what Marcel Lefebvre had chosen nearly 30 years ago, and that the only reason ''62'' is such a big deal is because of his obvious liturgical erudition? I'm sorry but if there is to exist a ''Latin Mass Society'' the least they could do is promote something authentic, and for the good of the Church, and not provide people with the pernicious tosh that they do.
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Perhaps my time as a Traditionalist can be compared to waiting in an ante-room leading to something greater. A lot of Anglicans of my acquaintance feel this way about their church, which has clearly departed from even their own wholesome tradition in a very serious way. This is a matter of conscience. Trad Catholics may sneer at conscience if it is at variance with the Magisterium, though I do not understand why. In conversation with a friend some weeks ago (sadly steeped in a Trad milieu) he had said that he would watch with growing concern the path to canonization of Pius XII, whom he described as an arrogant old queen. An apt description if you're being reticent I suppose. I was rather pleased by this, though disappointed when he added that the day Old Pius is canonized he would accept with filial piety his canonization, as coming from the infallible Magisterium of the Church.
Conscience versus Obedience. Where do you draw the line? I cannot, in conscience, accept or approve of what Pius XII did to the Sacred Liturgy. I just cannot. I am supremely confident that those reforms were both deeply pernicious and wrought great evil in the Church (you can see the signs today). So why must I sacrifice my conscience in this matter in order to appear orthodox to other Trad Catholics? I care not for such pretence of ''orthodoxy.'' Indeed I would fain question the whole ''traditionalist'' position if their end to ''turn back the clock'' runs contrary to Papal and Curial decree. There has to be a point where you can look with an objective eye at the dealings of the Papacy with the Sacred Liturgy, step aside from starry-eyed filial piety (just as Fortescue, a man very misunderstood, did during the course of his life), and just admit that the abolition (say) of the Midnight Eucharistic Fast was wrong, utterly wrong, and that there was a ricochet effect - do away with the Eucharistic Fast and you clearly encourage complacency about preparation for the Lord's Day and receiving the Eucharistic Lord into ourselves. Similarly I cannot understand sacrificing one's conscience for the sake of obedience to the Magisterium in terms of the canonization of Pius XII, a man who clearly did great violence to the Church's Tradition. Why would you accept this? Are the marks of a saintly man, dutiful son of the Church, ''Second Sunday of the Passion'' post-'56 fashion, or evening Mass?
My hero J.R.R Tolkien, at Oxford in the 1960s.
Though I am in great doubt. Christ plainly did not intend His faithful to only partly-adhere to the Tradition of that Church He founded, to believe some of her teachings but not others, to sneer at most of her liturgy. I always imagined that putting on Christ entailed steeping oneself fully in the Tradition of the Church, which was upright, worthy to be followed and thoroughly orthodox; with the Sacred Liturgy, the traditional prayer of the Church, being offered by all the Church, by all Christian men everywhere, according to the same received ethos and praxis, and rising up to God as an evening sacrifice, as sweet incense to perfume the heavenly court. This is not so romantic as you might think, and this was indeed the case once upon a time, with wholesome Liturgy radiating from all the churches of this world. Now what do you find? Banal 1970s hymnody, ICEL mistranslations of an impoverished Missal, a plethora of untraditional Eucharistic prayers, the Propers being left out - not to mention the countless aliturgical abuses such as Mass facing the people. Tradworld is hardly better - with Low Mass, Rosary Crusades and Benediction being the order of the day. Where am I to go in the Roman Church for decent Liturgy? The answer is, of course, that I would look in vain...
''A shadow passed over Saruman's face; then it went deathly white. Before he could conceal it, they saw through his mask the anguish of a mind in doubt, loathing to stay and dreading to leave its refuge.''
I am sick to death of cheating myself, of trying to employ Orwellian Doublethink in terms of my faith, only half-listening to my own conscience. ''The Church is infallible, the Church is never wrong'' I kept assuring myself as I felt sick to my stomach (and trying against hope to suppress a fast-rising wrath) to witness recently a celebration of a pseudo-feast in a Traditionalist parish. Years ago I tried to conceive of my reaction if I became aware beyond all doubt that the Church was wrong, that the Roman Church was not the true church of Jesus Christ as I have always believed. I could not, as I could not conceive of it. Though I was (really) sick recently and wept, having come to the irreversible conclusion that the Roman Church is evidence of a gigantic fraud, and that I was led astray by her, my conscience and right thinking lulled to sleep by false hopes and want of religion. How do you think it feels when the magnitude of your own folly and ignorance is revealed, though you were long aware of it, but too scared to actually admit the truth? I am tired and bitter now, finding little consolation in that which of old gave me comfort. Even Tolkien, that kindly intercessor who has kept me in the Roman Church beyond all hope, said that the Church more often felt like a trap than a refuge in the 1960s. Though where could he go? Where can I go? I feel homeless, orphaned and utterly bereft.
I hope that readers continue to enjoy this blog. God bless you all.
Friday, 26 November 2010
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Monday, 22 November 2010
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Monday, 15 November 2010
Let it be known that I have sworn an oath before Almighty God, before St Mary and all the Saints, the Apostles, the Prophets, the Martyrs and all the Faithful Departed, who rest from their labours in the bosom of our father Abraham, never to partake actively, support, endorse, ratify or otherwise any celebration of the Sacred Liturgy according to the much-reformed, erroneously designated, ''Tridentine'' Rite of 1962, also known as the ''Extraordinary Form'' or the ''Usus Antiquior.'' I reject any and all liturgical innovations of Pius XII, including the celebration of Mass after the liturgically appropriate time according to the Rubrics and kalendar day, the abolition of the Midnight Eucharistic Fast, the devastating Holy Week reforms, the structural changes to the Divine Office and the Kalendar, the false-festival of Joe the Worker, the new Signum Magnum propers for the Feast of the Assumption etc as representing an irreversible departure from the ancient Tradition of the Church. Likewise I repudiate the errors of those who claim that the ''liturgical'' books of 1962 in some way represent, though imperfectly, the constant liturgical traditions of the Church, and therefore, according to this logic, make recourse to the said ''liturgical'' books of 1962 in order to redress the shortcomings of the Missal of Paul VI. I reject also the disposition of those who, under the pretence of ''obedience'' to the Magisterium of the Church, blindly accept the ''liturgical'' books of 1962 as just another legitimate expression of the Roman Rite, as valid as (and equal to) the ancient Uses of Sarum, Hereford, Milan, Toledo and the various Eastern liturgies. It is a fact that the ''liturgical'' books of 1962 are an aberration, and have no intrinsic value, whether in terms of Liturgy or even aesthetics - they will be an example, in the eyes of posterity, of the dangers of magisterial reform of the Sacred Liturgy. So swear I, Patricius, before God the Almighty Father. Amen, and Amen.
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Saturday, 13 November 2010
Obedience in all things except sin...or good taste?
Friday, 12 November 2010
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Other than shopping (which I can no longer afford this month) another favourite pastime of mine is complaining. A few questions here: Mass coram Sanctissimo was abolished in May 1967 (rightly - it's modern and quite ridiculous), see Eucharisticum Mysterium for the general gist of it. So what authority do Traditionalist parishes look to for having Quarant 'Ore? My guess would be Summorum Pontificum...yet Summorum Pontificum specifically designates the ''liturgical'' books of 1962 to be in force, that is, the only canonical ''Extraordinary Form'' of the Roman Rite. So I would hope (though I wouldn't hold my breath, knowing the parish I have in mind) that Traditionalist parishes would, if they looked to the Motu Proprio as their raison d'être, that they would stick rigidly to the liturgical books of 1962 in the liturgy of the Quarant 'Ore -I have such things as no Last Gospel, Benedicamus Domino, no Credo in the Missa pro Pace etc in mind here. Of course if they followed pre-'62 rubrics they would be just as disobedient as the avant-garde liberals they look down their noses at...for being dissonant...
Of course this opens up a floodgate of other questions pertaining to Canon Law and Liturgy here...if Eucharisticum Mysterium abolished Mass coram Sanctissimo, why would Benedict XVI want to render that previous legislation void by promulgating Summorum Pontificum? It is too reminiscent of Big Brother for me, you know O'Brian's discourse about Doublethink and pulling out truth and lies out of oblivion just so long as they are necessary, or convenient, for the Party. If it suited the S.R.C to abolish Mass coram Sanctissimo 40 years ago it must have suited Benedict XVI's purposes to bring it back from oblivion. And which legislation do we follow? It just seems to me that legislation from on high in the Catholic Church is rather tenuous and not worth really taking seriously. Clearly Trads don't bother - but like to think that they do because it suits their purposes, that is, feeling all smug and superior to the Modernists. I'm just me, and I enjoy ridiculing both their tastes - because I think that neither does anybody any favours. The revival of a more holistic and traditional liturgical theology and Tradition in the Roman Church cannot be achieved by recourse to six altar candles and a crucifix, or gradines, or polyester lace cottas anymore than it can be achieved by recourse to the liturgical books of 1962. It ought to be a grass-roots endeavour; drink the health of the Roman Pontiff, the great Patriarch of the West, but don't take any notice of him - he has clearly failed. But be honest about it...
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Anyway, I hope to see some of you at St Magnus tomorrow.
Monday, 8 November 2010
Friday, 5 November 2010
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Sunday, 31 October 2010
Why do some people think it's ''effeminate'' for men to like clothes so much? Some people relieve stress by walking (works for me sometimes), some by getting massages - I go shopping. As for owning too much, I think there is something very Christian about owning things - about being at once aware, and appreciative, of what one has and aware of those who have not. I work for my money (and my God don't I put up with some crap at work for my money), and therefore for my things, so I appreciate my things that much more. I hate spoiled children though - you know the sort who say ''mum jump for me'', and mum says, ''how high?'' - it annoys me, for instance, when I spend £65 (a day's wages for me) on a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt (I utterly agreed with a friend of mine who once said that polo shirts are the most civilised form of clothing) only for a boy half my years to turn up the very next week wearing one, just because he wanted one too. Three of my younger cousins are like that.
I am rambling now. Payday is Friday, and I aim to have spent about half of it by Saturday. I want Yves Saint Laurent, (don't think I can stretch Prada - the last time I was at Westfield they had a lovely burgundy colour shirt but I'd spent all my money in other shops; I should have gone in the Prada shop first), Ralph Lauren, Lacoste...whatever. Quite apart from the joy of shopping it's nice to have something to show for the hours of toil I've spent in my dead end job...