Saturday, 2 October 2010

This Thursday...

As some of you may already know, I am the rather eccentric (''cracked'', like old Bilbo) parishioner and Server of Our Lady of the Rosary at Blackfen. Well it just so happens that this Thursday 7th October is the titular festival of the parish, as Romish a feast as ever one could hope for. To celebrate we're having a High Mass in the Old Roman Rite (not the so-called ''Extraordinary Form'' - since I shall be the Master of Ceremonies I shall safeguard the celebration of Mass from such things as the Celebrant and Deacon going to sit for the Epistle, the Subdeacon transferring the Missal to no purpose etc - arbitrary and pointless changes to the the Liturgy which make the '62 Rite, aka the ''extraordinary form'', so abominable) at 8:00pm. All are welcome. The Cantores Missae will sing Victoria's Ave Maris Stella with Credo I (I wanted Credo V, which I think is much nicer, and seldom heard, but was out-voted) and Fra Lawrence Lew shall preach. I'm looking forward to it!

Does not the above picture make you cringe? It is a strange and unwholesome tendency in modern Marian art to depict St Mary without her Son - from Whom she can never be sundered. St Mary points the way to Christ, whereas her appearance at Lourdes was all about her, strangely (unless I have missed the point - I would in all humility accept the kindly remonstrance from one who knows more). This is one reason I am suspicious of Lourdes - that, and the fact that the place is no older than 150 years a point of devotion. It behoves English Catholics to stop aping the styles and customs of foreign countries (lace cottas, everything Romish - we're not in Rome) and to cultivate a more English, yea Sarum, Catholicism - go to Walsingham instead of Lourdes, pray to St Bede rather than St Thérèse of Lisieux...

If you're coming to Blackfen for the first time (and gosh wouldn't you love to meet me!) directions can be found on the parish website.


  1. "her appearance at Lourdes was all about her, strangely (unless I have missed the point"

    Yes, you have missed the point.

    Our Lady's appearance at Lourdes was all about the call to penance for sinners.

    One of the highlights of each day at Lourdes is the Blessed Sacrament Procession. It is after this Procession, more than after bathing in the waters, that most of the miracles at Lourdes have occurred...

  2. Thank you Mac, your comment is welcome.

    Now please accept my remonstrance about the difference between the Old Roman Rite and the Extraordinary Form as it is designated in Summorum Pontificum. The Mass on Thursday will not be in the Extraordinary Form, as are few Masses at Blackfen (for which I, and I am sure most, are grateful), but in the Old Roman Rite - of a rather late vintage. Your own point about commemorations at Vespers today indicates this much.

  3. The saints are usually portrayed w/o Christ in the picture, but this isn't meant to imply they have anything of their own without Him. Same can apply to the BVM.

    As to "Roman" practices, Rome is the Mother Church after all. There is nothing wrong with the adoption of certain "Roman" practices. After all, you are doing the "Old" Roman Rite at your parish, no? The whole anti-Roman thing would sound a whole lot more convincing if you were doing a Sarum (or other local use) Mass instead.

    There is something to be said against certain stifling Romanizing practices based in ignorance or a misplaced sense of loyalty that have lead to the destruction of venerable local customs (Romanizing the Lyonese Canon's dress comes to mind among others) but that attitude can turn Gallican rather easily if it is taken too far.

  4. Happy feast, Patricius. Naturally I agree about those vapid and insipid representations of the Mother of God in which modern Catholicism evidently rejoices, and the neglect of British saints.

  5. At least there's something we agree about . . . I have to say that I can't really see the point of the English going off to the very recent establishment at Lourdes when we have Walsingham, one of the very first places which Mother ever visited, in Norfolk : nearer, and nicer !

  6. Moretben, thank you - glad to see you still read me. I am particularly fond of old British and Irish saints, particularly, as you know, St Bede. I am sad to say that I had the opportunity some years ago of visiting his shrine at Jarrow with my Latin class but had to work the said weekend. Amongst my other favourites are Sts Edward the Confessor, Thomas of Canterbury, Ethelwold of Winchester, Kevin of Wicklow, Columcille and of course my own patron, Patrick. These saints seem more ''real'' to me than modern ones...I hope my betters in the spiritual life will forgive me if I neglect to attend Liturgy on the feast of Pius X though.

    Dominic Mary it pains me that the saints of this Isle (and they are many - I mean pre-Reformation ones) are so neglected. Don't get me wrong though! I am not against pilgrimage by any means! Go to the Holy Land, and to Rome, and to Ephesus - places that have some connexion to Christ and the saints, but don't let us forget Walsingham.

  7. Why does any liturgy need a 'Master of Ceremonies'? Isn't this a modern innovation ? Growing up I never saw one in any Catholic Church. Any announcements were done at the appropriate time by the Priest or Deacon NOT a mumbling, stumbling layperson! Are you sure you're not N.O.?

  8. Our Lady of Lourdes rocks! The Virgin of Guadalupe is five hundred years old, and she appears without the Christ Child. For that matter, all over Spain and Latin America, the various Virgins of the Immaculate Conception (San Juan de los Lagos, Lujan, Itati) do not appear with the Christ Child, and so do the Virgin of Compunction and the Mother of All who Sorrow in the Russian Orthodox tradition.

    And if you were REALLY traditional, you wouldn't be having Mass at night, would you? Sounds like an innovation from that horrid Pius XII. And what of the traditional Eucharistic fast? Are you all fasting from midnight to 8 p.m.? What do your Orthodox readers think of having an EVENING liturgy?

    Sounds pretty Novus Ordo to me.

  9. Perhaps Moretben would like to explain why this Romanian Orthodox icon of Our Lady is different and doesn't fit Patricius romanticised view of Orthodox Marian iconography?

  10. Matthew, I do not know the history of Masters of Ceremonies but I would guess that the office (an important one) probably goes back to the early days of the Papal court. Fortescue's description of early Pontifical Liturgy is complex enough. Although I agree that if everyone knew what they were doing there'd be no need of one. Perhaps it's because the Roman Liturgy is more changeable day after day than the Eastern liturgies that the office of MC exists - who knows?

    Arturo, I thought someone would bring that up. The most obvious reason is that nobody is available on a schoolday at the Third Hour of the day and that an evening Mass (innovation though it is) would be better somehow. Fewer people would come if Vespers were advertised I expect too.

    Auricularis, I don't have a ''romantic'' view of Iconography. I just think that there is a danger of one of two things in modern Marian art: either it serves to elevate Our Lady to the status of a goddess, in herself worshipful and divine, or it separates her from Christ - which can easily degrade her to the level of the rest of the saints...

    Just a thought.

  11. Auricularius

    Did you perhaps forget to include a link to an image? I'm not sure what it is you want me to comment on. If something's "vapid and insipid" it's vapid and insipid. Like this:

    I haven't the slightest doubt that vapid and insipid images of the Mother of God sometimes appear also in an Orthodox setting. I can think of at least one in my own parish church (a copy of a copy of a 19th century Greek lithograph). Orthodox iconography has certainly had its ups and downs - especially, perhaps, in the Russian tradition. Netvertheless established conventions exist, on the basis of which objective judgements can be ventured on things that appear not to ring true, theologically, liturgically, aesthetically. Appealing to these certainly isn't "romanticism".

  12. Ps. 140:2 "Dirigatur oratio mea sicut incensum in conspectu tuo;
    elevatio manuum mearum sacrificium vespertinum."

    Ludolphus de Saxonia's comment on this in his Ennaratio in Psalmos speaks of the evening sacrifice of the lamb in the Temple as a "figura veri sacrificii" the Passion of Christ and then says:

    "Ipse etiam declinante jam die in vesperum, in Cruce manus expandens, sacrificium obtulit; quia tunc animam deposuit. Illud sacrificum vespertinum fecit in Resurrectione munus matutinum"


    Perhaps the innovation you should have mentioned was the idea that at a Solemn High Mass anyone apart from the Celebrant would communicate! that dates from when the 1980's??

  13. Patrick,,

    Wonder if you could sign, and publicise this petition:

    "European Appeal

    Save the right to conscientious objection

    On 7th October 2010; the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will put to vote a resolution to "regulate the right to conscientious objection" in the field of health care.

    An official list of objectors will be established, opening the door widely to vexations and professional discriminations.

    Even more serious, healthcare providers will find themselves constrained to collaborate "in case of emergency" in acts that their conscience condemns. abortion, sterilisation, euthanasia...

    Let us defend freedom of conscience! The vote on 7th October depends on our mobilisation."

    Thanks to: