Liberty

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary holy card, Maison Bouasse-Lebel, 19th century.

I am quite unable to understand the fuss made by High Church people on this matter. To begin with, what have they got to do with it? No one asks them to use our devotions, although a great many do use them, expurgated, revised, and corrected. Our friends seem to be under the impression that every Catholic is supposed to know about, to possess, and to use, every book of prayers or meditations published by any other Catholic. One might as well assert that every Anglican is bound to buy, and use, all devotional books found in Masters’ shop in Bond-street. A great many Catholics get on very comfortably without any books at all, and this for the simple and sufficient reason that they cannot read. And a great many more cannot afford to purchase such books, and are content with one Prayer Book, such as the Garden of the Soul. I myself, outside Mass and Office, am content with it, and use the copy given to me by an Italian priest at Benares in 1861. Outsiders seem ignorant of our freedom in such matters. The late Canon Oakeley, in his reply to the Eirenicon (which was published before that of Newman), pointed this out. Dr. Pusey would stipulate, said Oakeley, exemption from the obligation of adopting certain expressions of devotion towards the Blessed Virgin, but, added the Canon, “were he [Pusey] one of ourselves, he would come to know” that “no such obligation rests upon” Catholics. “I do not think,” said Oakeley, “that those who are external to us, have any just idea of the room which is allowed us for the free play of personal preferences, which do not clash either in form or spirit with the faith of the Church. . .” And, again “. . . Nothing that I know of would involve in well-grounded suspicion of disloyalty to the Church a Catholic who, while placing no restriction on the liberty of others, should as a matter of taste prefer the more measured language of our Liturgy and Offices on the subject in question, to that in which more ardent temperaments . . . might find a more congenial expression of their devotion.” And Father Lockhart reminded Pusey that the Church tolerated any amount of bad taste. How, indeed, could an Universal Church made up of all nations, peoples, and tongues, do otherwise ? When Pusey complained of a well-known book, The Glories of Mary, Newman replied that he had never read it. I have never read, and have never seen it but once in my life. Others may derive great edification from it, hut what Catholic supposes that every Catholic is obliged to acquire it, or use it ? And with regard to a foreign writer named Oswald, from whom Pusey quoted, neither Newman nor Oakeley had ever heard his name, and it turned out that the book to which Pusey objected had been for some years on the Roman Index.

Oakeley, too, pointed out that the most customary and popular of all devotions connected with our Lady are the Angelus and the Rosary, and added: “It is on this type, rather than on that of the ‘Glories of Mary’ that the ideas of our people are formed.” Pusey found great fault with some of Faber’s writings, and, for myself; I have, possibly to my great loss, never been able to read Faber, although I know that his writings have afforded, and afford, great spiritual edification to countless numbers of Catholics. Not only so, but to many non-Catholics. One Anglican vicar, an intimate friend of my own, must by this time know all Faber’s books nearly by heart. And I recollect, many years ago, lending The Creator and the Creature to a staunch Presbyterian lady who, after a time, sent me a new copy of the book, saying she should keep the old one, as she derived so much spiritual profit from its perusal.

When I lived in Kensington, I met one day in the Cromwell-road an old Oxford friend, an Anglican clergyman. I invited him to accompany me to Benediction at the Oratory, but he declined, not because he objected to Benediction, but because he disliked the Litany of Loreto. I remarked that, if he were a Catholic, he would be quite free to say any prayers he pleased during Benediction, and if he should prefer other devotions to the Litany, when sung, he could substitute such, just as we often see people telling their beads, or clergymen saying office, while the Benediction service is going on. Once, in a country house in Yorkshire, I had as fellow-guest the late Father Jerome Vaughan, and one Sunday after Benediction someone asked him if he liked the music used? To which he replied that he had not paid attention to it, as he had been engaged in asking a particular favour from St. Joseph. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, and Catholics in Popular Devotions are not tied and bound to the frigid formalism of the excellent English of the Book of Common Prayer.

The Tablet, 1 January 1898, p. 9.

Into Thy Hands

In manus tuas. Lord, I bitake in to thine hondes, and in to thine hondis of thine halwen, in this nyght my soule and my bodi, myne bretheren and myne sustren, myne frendes, myne cosines, myne kynrede, my goode dedes doares, and alle cristen folk: kepe vs, lord, this nyght, bi the medes and the prayeres of the blessede mayde marie, and of alle halwen, fram vices and couertises, fram sinnes and fram the fendes fondinges, and fram the sodayn deth, and the peynes of helle. Alyghte myne herte of the holi gost, and of thin holi grace: and make me for to ben more bouxom to thi comaundemens, and let me neuere more ben be departed fro the: so be it.

From MS S.30, Somme le Roi and miscellaneous texts (English, c.1320-30), East Anglian.

The Great Action

Nuptial Mass, St. George’s, Sudbury (London), mid-20th century.

“These are such difficult questions,” answered Willis; “must I speak? Such difficult questions,” he continued, rising into a more animated manner, and kindling as he went on; “I mean, people view them so differently: it is so difficult to convey to one person the idea of another. The idea of worship is different in the Catholic Church from the idea of it in your Church; for, in truth, the religions are different. Don’t deceive yourself, my dear Bateman,” he said tenderly, “it is not that ours is your religion carried a little farther,—a little too far, as you would say. No, they differ in kind, not in degree; ours is one religion, yours another. And when the time comes, and come it will, for you, alien as you are now, to submit yourself to the gracious yoke of Christ, then, my dearest Bateman, it will be faith which will enable you to bear the ways and usages of Catholics, which else might perhaps startle you. Else, the habits of years, the associations in your mind of a certain outward behaviour with real inward acts of devotion, might embarrass you, when you had to conform yourself to other habits, and to create for yourself other associations. But this faith, of which I speak, the great gift of God, will enable you in that day to overcome yourself, and to submit, as your judgment, your will, your reason, your affections, so your tastes and likings, to the rule and usage of the Church. Ah, that faith should be necessary in such a matter, and that what is so natural and becoming under the circumstances, should have need of an explanation! I declare, to me,” he said, and he clasped his hands on his knees, and looked forward as if soliloquising,—”to me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses for ever and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words,—it is a great action, the greatest action that can be on earth. It is, not the invocation merely, but, if I dare use the word, the evocation of the Eternal. He becomes present on the altar in flesh and blood, before whom angels bow and devils tremble. This is that awful event which is the scope, and is the interpretation, of every part of the solemnity. Words are necessary, but as means, not as ends; they are not mere addresses to the throne of grace, they are instruments of what is far higher, of consecration, of sacrifice. They hurry on as if impatient to fulfil their mission. Quickly they go, the whole is quick; for they are all parts of one integral action. Quickly they go; for they are awful words of sacrifice, they are a work too great to delay upon; as when it was said in the beginning: ‘What thou doest, do quickly’. Quickly they pass; for the Lord Jesus goes with them, as He passed along the lake in the days of His flesh, quickly calling first one and then another. Quickly they pass; because as the lightning which shineth from one part of heaven unto the other, so is the coming of the Son of Man. Quickly they pass; for they are as the words of Moses, when the Lord came down in the cloud, calling on the Name of the Lord as He passed by, ‘the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth’. And as Moses on the mountain, so we too ‘make haste and bow our heads to the earth, and adore’. So we, all around, each in his place, look out for the great Advent, ‘waiting for the moving of the water’. Each in his place, with his own heart, with his own wants, with his own thoughts, with his own intention, with his own prayers, separate but concordant, watching what is going on, watching its progress, uniting in its consummation;—not painfully and hopelessly following a hard form of prayer from beginning to end, but, like a concert of musical instruments, each different, but concurring in a sweet harmony, we take our part with God’s priest, supporting him, yet guided by him. There are little children there, and old men, and simple labourers, and students in seminaries, priests preparing for Mass, priests making their thanksgiving; there are innocent maidens, and there are penitent sinners; but out of these many minds rises one eucharistic hymn, and the great Action is the measure and scope of it. And oh, my dear Bateman,” he added, turning to him, “you ask me whether this is not a formal, unreasonable service—it is wonderful!” he cried, rising up, “quite wonderful. When will these dear good people be enlightened? O Sapientia, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia, O Adonai, O Clavis David et Exspectatio gentium, veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.”

— John Henry Newman, Loss and Gain, Part II, Chapter 20.

Epiphany Proclamation a. D. 2017

NOVÉRITIS, fratres caríssimi, quod annuénte Dei misericórdia, sicut de Nativitáte Dómini nostri Jesu Christi gravísi sumus, ita et de Resurrectióne ejúsdem Salvatóris nostri gáudium vobis annuntiámus.

Die duodécima Februárii erit Domínica in Septuagésima.

Prima Mártii dies Cínerum, et initium jejúnii sacratíssimæ Quadragésimæ.

Sexta décima Aprílis sanctum Pascha Dómini nostri Jesu Christi cum gáudio celebrábitis.

Quinta vigésima Máii erit Ascénsio Dómini nostri Jesu Christi.

Die quarta Júnii Festum Pentecóstes.

Quinta décima ejúsdem Festum sacratíssimi Córporis Christi.

Die tertia Decémbris Domínica prima Advéntus Dómini nostri Jesu Christi, cui est honor et glória, in sæcula sæculórum. Amen.

XVIII Kalendas Septembres

XVIII KALENDAS SEPTEMBRES ID EST XIIII DIE MENSIS AUGUSTI UIGILIA ADSUMPTIONIS SANCTAE MARIAE

Deus qui uirginalem aulam beatae Mariae, in quam habitares eligere dignatus es, da quaesumus, ut sua nos defensione munitos iocundos faciat suae interesse festiuitati: per.

Super oblata. Magna est domine apud clementiam tuam dei genetricis oratio, quam idcirco de praesenti saeculo transtulisti, ut pro peccatis nostris apud te fiducialiter intercedat: per.

Ad complendum. Concede misericors deus fragilitati nostrae praesidium, ut qui sanctae dei genetricis requiem celebramus, intercessionis eius auxilio a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus: per.

XVIII KALENDAS SEPTEMBRES ID EST XV DIE MENSIS AUGUSTI ADSUMPTIO SANCTAE MARIAE

Ueneranda nobis domine huius est diei festiuitas, in qua sancta dei genetrix mortem subiit temporalem, nec tamen mortis nexibus deprimi potuit, quae filium tuum dominum nostrum de se genuit incarnatum: per.

ALIA AD MISSAM

Famulorum tuorum domine delictis ignosce, et qui placere de actibus nostris non ualemus, genetricis filii tui domini dei nostri intercessione saluemur: per.

Super oblata. Subueniat domine plebi tuae dei genetricis oratio, quam etsi pro conditione carnis migrasse cognoscimus, in caelesti gloria apud te pro nobis orare sentiamus: per.

Ad completa. Mensae caelestis participes effecti imploramus clementiam tuam domine deus noster, ut qui festa dei genetricis colimus, a malis inminentibus eius intercessione liberemur: per.

Sacramentarium Gregorianum.

Most Holy Mother of God, Save Us!

Icon of the enthroned Virgin and Child with SS. George, Theodore and angels, 6th century, Saint Catherine's Monastery.
Icon of the enthroned Virgin and Child with SS. George, Theodore and angels, 6th century, Saint Catherine’s Monastery.

O Mary, thou sacred dwelling of the Lord, raise us fallen into a bottomless pit of despair, wrongdoing and affliction; for thou art the salvation and succour and powerful advocate of those that have sinned, and thou dost save thy servants.

Matins, Tone 1, Sessional Hymn.

Dragon, Cross, and Banners

Quarundam Ecclesiarum consuetudinis est etiam Draconem deferre primis duobus diebus ante Crucem, & Vexillum, cum longa, & inflata cauda: tertio vero die post Crucem, & Vexilla, cum cauda depressa. Hic est Diabolus, qui nos per tria tempora, ante legem, sub lege, sub gratia fallit, aut fallere cupit. In primis duobus erat quasi Dominus Orbis, ideoque Princeps, vel Deus Mundi vocatur, inde est quod in primis duobus diebus, cum inflata cauda procedit, in tempore vero gratiæ per Christum victus fuit, nec audet regnare patenter, sed homines seducit latenter. Inde est quod in ultimo die sequitur cum cauda depressa.

Ordo Officiorum Ecclesiae Senensis, 222.

Blindness of the Ungodly

Oremus et pro perfidis Judæis: ut Deus et Dominus noster auferat velamen de cordibus eorum; ut et ipsi agnoscant Jesum Christum, Dominum nostrum. (Non respondetur ‘Amen’, nec dicitur ‘Oremus’, aut ‘Flectamus genua’, aut ‘Levate’, sed statim dicitur:) Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui etiam judaicam perfidiam a tua misericordia non repellis: exaudi preces nostras, quas pro illius populi obcæcatione deferimus; ut, agnita veritatis tuæ luce, quæ Christus est, a suis tenebris eruantur. Per eundem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus: per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Oratio pro Judæis, Missale Romanum (as the text and rubrics stood before 1955).

In view of the multitudes from all nations who have become zealous believers in these books, it is laughably absurd to tell us that it is impossible to persuade a Gentile to learn the Christian faith from Jewish books. Indeed, it is a great confirmation of our faith that such important testimony is borne by enemies. The believing Gentiles cannot suppose these testimonies to Christ to be recent forgeries; for they find them in books held sacred for so many ages by those who crucified Christ, and still regarded with the highest veneration by those who every day blaspheme Christ. If the prophecies of Christ were the production of the preachers of Christ, we might suspect their genuineness. But now the preacher expounds the text of the blasphemer. In this way the Most High God orders the blindness of the ungodly for the profit of the saint, in His righteous government bringing good out of evil, that those who by their own choice live wickedly may be, in His just judgment, made the instruments of His will. So, lest those that were to preach Christ to the world should be thought to have forged the prophecies which speak of Christ as to be born, to work miracles, to suffer unjustly, to die, to rise again, to ascend to heaven, to publish the gospel of eternal life among all nations, the unbelief of the Jews has been made of signal benefit to us; so that those who do not receive in their heart for their own good these truths, carry, in their hands for our benefit the writings in which these truths are contained. And the unbelief of the Jews increases rather than lessens the authority of the books, for this blindness is itself foretold. They testify to the truth by their not understanding it. By not understanding the books which predict that they would not understand, they prove these books to be true.

St. Augustine, Contra Faustum Manichæum, xvi. 21.

“I Learned It By Watching You!”

Yet, from letters which some of you have sent, and from many other sources, We learn that discordant practices have been introduced into the sacred liturgy by your communities or provinces (We speak of those only that belong to the Latin Rite). For while some are very faithful to the Latin language, others wish to use the vernacular within the choral office. Others, in various places, wish to exchange that chant which is called “Gregorian,” for newly-minted melodies. Indeed, some even insist that Latin should be wholly suppressed.

We must acknowledge that We have been somewhat disturbed and saddened by these requests. One may well wonder what the origin is of this new way of thinking and this sudden dislike for the past; one may well wonder why these things have been fostered.

Apostolic Letter, Sacrificium Laudis, of Pope Paul VI, 15 August 1966.

First Vespers of St. Ninian in Aberdeen Breviary

In Festo Sancti Patris nostri Niniani Episcopi et Confessoris.
Breviarium Aberdonense, pars. aestiv., fol. CVII.

I. In primis Vesperis.

Antiph. Ovans agat hæc concia | Niniani solemnia.
Trinæ vocis tripudio | laudum sonat obsequia,
Ut mens, lingua, et actio | pari concordent gloria;
Placebit sic laudatio | Deo, reddenti præmia.

Ps. Laudate pueri.

Ant. Ille Pictorum tenebras | fugat, dans vitæ monita,
Mundi contemnens blanditias, | dux plebis ad cœlestia.

Ps. Laudate Dominum omnes gentes.

Ant. Vita præcessit populum | sic sanctitate prævia:
Nunc haurit in te poculum | dux cum ductis in patria.

Ps. Lauda anima.

Ant. Tanto patrono plaudere | jure debes, Albania,
Secura salva sistere | dum vitas vitæ devia.

Ps. Laudate Dominum quoniam bonus.

Ant. Ad cœlos migrans hodie | locandus in deliciis,
Ad mores fac quotidie | migrare nos a vitiis.

Ps. Lauda Hierusalem.

Capitulum Unius Confes.

Respm. Quod cambuca vir Dei circueat,
Taurus custos armentum vigilat,
Qui latronis dum ventrem perforat,
Infelicem ultor exanimat;
Mox cadaver sanctus vivificat,
Saulum sternens Paulum resuscitat.

Versus. Insigne geritur signum certaminis:
Pes saxo jungitur bovis et hominis.
Mox. Gloria.

Hymnus.

Christe, qui rex es gloriæ,
Caput sanctorum omnium,
Tu Niniano gratiæ
Tuæ dedisti præmium.
Ortus regali semine,
Clare puer est indolis;
Vir veritatis lumine
Dat vitam pastor incolis,
Pictis junctis Britonibus,
Turmis duarum gentium.
Mercatur in cœlestibus
Regionem viventium.
Regem percussit ultio;
Vir Belial qui fuerat,
Sanatur, et devotio
Pia mitem reddiderat.
A mortis solvit vinculo
Quem taurus perforaverat;
A mortis et periculo
Vir undis raptum liberat.
Ægris se reddit habilem,
Multos curans miraculis,
Deum sibi placabilem
Beatis videns oculis.
Præsta Christe victoriam
Nobis, devictis hostibus,
Niniani memoriam
Vitam confer agentibus. Amen.

Versus. Amavit eum.

Ant. Stirps regalis quæ vita floruit,
Prolem profert, regem quem decuit;
Patrum pater patronum genuit
Ninianum, quo mundus claruit;
Hic ut sidus signis emicuit,
Dum Britannos fidem perdocuit.

Ps. Magnificat.

Oratio. Deus qui hodiernam diem beati Niniani confessoris tui atque pontificis festivitate honorabilem nobis dedicasti, concede propitius, ut, cujus eruditione veritatis tuæ luce perfundimur, ejus intercessione cœlestis vitæ gaudia consequamur. Per Dominum nostrum.

Memoria de oc. nativit. b. Mariæ solemniter, et de martyribus Eufemia cum sociis suis privatim.

Oratio. Præsta quæsimus Domine precibus nostris cum exultatione proventum, ut, quorum diem passionis annua devotione recolimus, etiam fidei constantia subsequamur. Per Dominum nostrum.

Epiphany Proclamation a. D. 2016

NOVÉRITIS, fratres caríssimi, quod annuénte Dei misericórdia, sicut de Nativitáte Dómini nostri Jesu Christi gravísi sumus, ita et de Resurrectióne ejúsdem Salvatóris nostri gáudium vobis annuntiámus.

Die vigésima quarta Januárii erit Domínica in Septuagésima.

Décima Februárii dies Cínerum, et initium jejúnii sacratíssimæ Quadra- gésimæ.

Vigésima séptima Mártii sanctum Pascha Dómini nostri Jesu Christi cum gáudio celebrábitis.

Die quinta Máii erit Ascénsio Dómini nostri Jesu Christi.

Décima quinta ejúsdem Festum Pentecóstes.

Die vigésima sexta ejúsdem Festum sacratíssimi Córporis Christi.

Vigésima séptima Novémbris Domínica prima Advéntus Dómini nostri Jesu Christi, cui est honor et glória, in sæcula sæculórum. Amen.

A Poison Harmful to the Faith

Arms of Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre, C.S.Sp.
Arms of Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre, C.S.Sp.

Furthermore it can be said without any exaggeration whatsoever, that the majority of Masses celebrated without altar stones, with common vessels, leavened bread, with the introduction of profane words into the very body of the Canon, etc., are sacrilegious, and they prevent faith by diminishing it. The desacralization is such that these Masses can come to lose their supernatural character, “the mystery of faith,” and become no more than acts of natural religion.

Your perplexity takes perhaps the following form: may I assist at a sacrilegious Mass which is nevertheless valid, in the absence of any other, in order to satisfy my Sunday obligation? The answer is simple: these Masses cannot be the object of an obligation; we must moreover apply to them the rules of moral theology and canon law as regards the participation or the attendance at an action which endangers the faith or may be sacrilegious.

The New Mass, even when said with piety and respect for the liturgical rules, is subject to the same reservations since it is impregnated with the spirit of Protestantism. It bears within it a poison harmful to the faith.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, An Open Letter to Confused Catholics.