Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Yes, it was me...

I shall be at the church of St Magnus the Martyr near London Bridge tomorrow evening, at 6:30pm, for Solemn Vespers of the Dead and Funeral Sentences - an opportunity to sample something other than the Roman Eucharistic Liturgy, and some grand music. Now that I think about it, I don't think I have ever experienced the Office of the Dead - private recitation doesn't count. I have been to countless Requiem Masses in the Old Rite (and sadly, also, the '62 Rite) since I was 15, but nothing else. Alas, alas for the Roman Church. I must say that the modern Requiem Mass is crap, for want of a better expression, and hardly fitting to send any of our loved ones off with. The reformers' zeal to do away with every Medieval accretion (some of it worked, Mass coram Sanctissimo is quite ridiculous, and was rightly abolished in 1967 - see Eucharisticum Mysterium) went too far in this instance, and like everything else, was rather selective. What needed to happen, in my opinion (sed haudquaquam sum peritus), was a change in attitude rather than text- and have the Prayers sung standing or something, a way of orienting the attitude of prayer upwards in hope of the Resurrection (although the texts themselves imply this hope anyway). Simply abolishing prayers, or relegating them to the Office of Readings or whatever, achieves nothing but violence.

Anyway, I hope to see some of you at St Magnus tomorrow.


  1. Please do report back once you have been. I'm sorry that I'm not around for another couple of weeks.

  2. I too have never actually heard a dirge sung, but I suppose if it is only Vespers for you tomorrow, you will be missing out again as well.

  3. Han,

    The Brompton Oratory used to always have a Dirge at 10:00am on All Soul's Day. Mattins was monotoned, readings in (quite good) English and Lauds sung. It was a sombre and rather moving service.

    Sadly they abolished it a decade or so ago and replaced it with Vespers on All Soul's Day evening which seemed a very retrograde step.

  4. Rubricarius,

    It is too bad that the Brompton Oratory changed their custom. The fact that the word "dirge" has entered the English vocabulary suggests that the sung Matins of the Dead must have been close to the hearts of the English people at one time. Is there even an Office of the Dead anymore? Is Psalm 5 part of it?