Sunday, 22 April 2012

How Ultramontane was he again?

Not a bit of lace in sight!

20th September, A.D 1902.

To Canon Edwin H. Burton at St Edmund's College, Ware.

I have been missing you horridly at breakfast, though the salutary vision of you fully vested and waiting with lacerating meekness in my sacristy when I rolled out of bed has not yet lost its effect. The nuns (little pink daughters of the penitent thief) are here now; so I get up at 7 o'clock, like an early Christian martyr. Sister Joanna Baptista of the Pinnacle of the Temple L.P.D. of P.T. (the she-superior) is a Tartar and won’t stand no fooling, nor can I imagine her waiting meekly as you did, though she would wear vestments like a shot if I let her. This order is an entirely new idea of my Rector at the German Church (a Bohemian monomaniac): its originality consists in the fact that the members go to the Sacraments several times during the year, abstain from fleshmeat on all Fridays, and endeavour generally to cultivate a spirit of Christian virtue and untarnished morality. These proceedings are rightly supposed to be very gratifying to the better nature of the penitent thief – hence the order’s name.

Also they have 15 little boys, so that when you come at Christmass you shall have no lack of servers. They sing Vespers in the evening in what purports to be the Latin tongue, Sister Philipina Canaria (of the way to Jericho) wearing a cope and a Roman missal, from which she tells me that she always sings Vespers.

They have given me a picture of a gentleman whom I recognise as that illustrious prelate the present incumbent of the Roman bishoprick: I am informed that if I look at it in the proper spirit it will give the pontifical blessing – a striking sight which I am naturally anxious to enjoy. Hitherto I have not succeeded in convincing it of my spiritual propriety. I have told it all the things that I think it would like to hear – that I am dead nuts on encyclicals, that
ubi Petrus ibi the whole shew, that Roma locuta est (she never stops) nulla salus est (I hope I haven’t got this mixed); I have even said polite things about its fel. Rec. predecessors of the X and XV centuries; alas, in vain! It hasn’t once burst into: Sit nome Domini benedittumme [sic]. When you come I hope you will start it: it can’t doubt your propriety of spirit!

Adrian Fortescue, D.D.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

14th September A.D 2012...

Remember, my dears, that the festival of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross this year is also the 30th anniversary of the untimely death of Her Serene Highness, the Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. Put it into your diaries! I hope to make a personal pilgrimage to Monaco to pray by her tomb in the cathedral.

Monday, 9 April 2012

In Spirit and Truth...

May my words and our thoughts be in the Name of God.

Being in communion with no church is rather difficult when Holy Week comes around, although this does sometimes have some benefits. In my experience, being ''attached'' to a particular church often means that you have to put up with some rubbish, at the will of the celebrant, for ''political'' (or pastoral) reasons, or whatever. Although not being attached also means that I cannot order all things as I would. Signum Magnum and St Joseph (Stalin) the Working Class Blaggard of the Communist Party spring to mind, not to mention other mainstream churches cutting out huge chunks because the celebrant may feel they are too long. I am not a diplomatic person, and my only conceivable response to all this rubbish is to withdraw my support completely, and depart shaking the dust from my feet. Why should God-fearing Christians have to put up with inauthentic Divine Service, the structure thereof being decided beforehand by the priest in charge? It's just parish committee Liturgy, in the manner of the Roman reforms of the 20th century, except at local level. Sins against the Holy Ghost, I daresay.

The sanctuary prepared for Tenebrae in Parasceve. Don't panic! The rug was taken away before the service commenced.

I said in my previous post that I had a modest part in a quiet Triduum somewhere. On Spy Wednesday evening my friend and I monotoned the offices of Mattins & Lauds according to the special form for the Triduum (Tenebrae) in the house chapel. On the morning of Maundy Thursday my fellow churchmen and I celebrated Mass of the Lord's Supper and had prayers at the altar of repose before lunch. At five o'clock Tenebrae in Parasceve was sung. On Good Friday morning we monotoned the Hours of Prime, Terce, Sext and None before offering up to God the Mass of the Pre-Hallowed Gifts. I was privileged to offer a Rood of much personal sentimental value for use for veneration on Good Friday (pictured at the top of this post) - a Spanish crucifix saved by my grandmother from a Philistine about 40 years ago. It was solemnly ''blessed'' according to the old form in the Ritual by a man whose orders are null and utterly void three years ago, so I am going to have it blessed again. Anyway, I made sure to pray for the perfidious pope (I sat down for this), that the Lord would see it fitting to rain down fire from Heaven on this great pretender, and wielder of false apostolic authority. We were (thankfully) excused from ''stations of the Cross'' this year, but returned to sing Tenebrae at five o'clock. On Holy Saturday morning we sang the Hours of Prime, Terce, Sext and None before processing outside to bless the New Fire and celebrate the Paschal Vigil and celebrate Vesperal Liturgy. The deacon substituted devotissimum Imperatorem nostrum in the Exultet for devotissimam Reginam nostram Elizabeth, which was good. She is, after all, Defender of the Faith and our gracious Sovereign. Who was it that said that the ''Holy Roman Empire'' was in no wise ''holy,'' ''Roman,'' nor an ''empire'' in the proper sense?

This is me about to burn an insult to Catholic order; an insert from a 1925 Missale Romanum.

UPDATE: On the evening of Holy Saturday, that solemn and serious Day on which the Lord preached to the souls in prison, my friend and I said Paschal Mattins & Lauds, which, as Rubricarius has said, was, in Mediaeval times, the highlight of Paschaltide and the most important service of the Christian Year. I received a text message this morning from my friend who told me that I forgot to mention it, fortunately not after the manner of those who ''forgot'' to include it in their parish schedule for Holy Week services. It's really rather short, and I can't understand why people make the effort for Tenebrae and not Paschal Mattins & Lauds, which is more important. It's enough for me to admonish non-Christians to avoid going to church at all, since most Christians simply can't be bothered.

We had no real difficulties this year. At several points we were relying on the 1731 Memoriale Rituum, and therefore incensation proved difficult on Holy Saturday. At the Magnificat no incense was offered at all (this was my fault), but you understand the difficulty of dividing the jobs of about fifteen people between two servers, and the Memoriale does not conceive of incense at this point. We are only men, and the only perfect Liturgy is offered in the immediate presence of God in Heaven. It was, nonetheless, a worthy and memorable Triduum.

That the abomination may be burned out of the heart of Christ's Church!

Being so deeply involved in the ceremonies meant that few photos were taken. There's always next year. It will all be solemn next year as we will have two deacons, with me responsible for everything else. I can't wait!

My lemon, Paschal socks.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Just a quick post... wish you all a very holy and joyful Pascha. I was again very busy, and all mistakes made during the solemn and serious ceremonies of the Triduum were my own fault, but I account myself blessed to have had a small part in so great a mystery, even if I have fallen somewhat from the ''right,'' (if one could call it that) to serve at God's holy altar. It has been very humbling for me.

I'm sorry I had nothing scheduled to compensate for my absence (save on Goode Fryday), but I expect you all know how it is, even those of you unfortunate enough to be ''without Tradition,'' as I have heard it said. I was going to say something about the absolute necessity of Twelve Prophecies for the Paschal Vigil; how each in their turn narrates the history of Salvation, from Creation unto Redemption (in the Epistle and Gospel of the Vesperal Liturgy), but maybe next year. This itself puts us at a serious disadvantage, since one year my churchmen and I hope to do Sarum (which has only four prophecies for the Vigil). Anyway, enough rambling from me. Enjoy the Feast!

Haec dies quam fecit Dominus: exultemus et laetemur in ea, Alleluia!

Friday, 6 April 2012

In Goode Fryday...

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgement: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaias, Caput LIII.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Palm Sunday...

Holy Week is upon us once more, and again my diary is full. From Spy Wednesday even unto Easter Even my fellow churchmen and I shall be following the Old Roman Rite to the letter. I'd rather be doing Sarum, of course, but on the positive side - if we didn't do it, who the hell would?
I am at this very moment travelling many miles out of my way for a celebration of traditional Palm Sunday. I could, of course, walk the 17 minutes down hill to Blackfen for what purports to be a ''high Mass'' with folded chasubles, but since they claim to be implementing Summorum Pontificum (are folded chasubles allowed by Summorum Pontificum?), and that I was thrust from the sacristy like an unclean thing last year, I think I shall be staying away from that place. Oh well. I did remember to shake the dust from my feet as I departed, in token of the wrath to come.
On that thought, I wish you all the best for Holy Week!