Wednesday, December 28, 2005

In they go!

Every blessing to all during Christmastide. Deo gratias for all His benefits.

It seems as though a great number of young men here in Melbourne are entering into, or at least penciling themselves in for the seminary. It's wonderfully overwhelming! :)

A friend today said something jokingly serious like - 'It's cool to be orthodox - get down with tradition! I mean do you ever see any zealous young libs going round the place saying "Yeah man, the Real Presence is for losers!"'

I'm sure I saw a demon today. Please pray for the couple whom I saw going into the 'day procedure clinic'. Another baby deprived of life and the sacraments. Diabolical.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The grand silence

A friend e-mailed me about this fillum (another film!) due out soon in France and Germany (pray across the waters too). The Grand Silence is basically two hours of footage from La Grande Chartreuse. The bloke responsible waited almost twenty years to do this - he had permission provided there was no talk-over and no artificial lighting; needed to wait until cameras could cope with the natural light.

Just thought you might like to know ;-)

Hodie, Christus natus est...

Or, okay, yesterday. But I was busy then. Have just arrived home to Jersey, CI (NOT, I repeat NOT New Jersey, which was a vast tract of land given to some bloke called Sieur George de Carteret wot came from this Jersey. Isla Cesaria in provincia Augiae. Or something like that... can't do declensions...). Which means (Deo gratias!) I'll have regular web access for the next week. Yay!

Anyway, this little not is just to wish everyone a most enjoyable and, of course, blessed Christmastide; you know you're mad when you insist on assisting the Missa in aurora as well as the other two, but hey, we knew that anyway. Currently planning on an early night. The spirit is willing, but the flesh, at least in my case, is another matter entirely!

Hmm... you know you're a trad when you actually sign yourself when people shoot priests in fillums. Even if they're Jesuits. The ones being shot, not the ones shooting people (too easy... my fave all-time headline from the 'Catholic Herald' is 'Opus Dei cardinal denies murdering Jesuit predecessor'). This one was carrying (in the fillum...) the Blessed Sacrament too... (it was a fillum, not real...). The film in question was 'The Mission'. It's great except for the very last bit, which is kind of naff. I cried lots during it at various touching moments. The storyline is good (Jesuits die - ahem...), the acting is superb and it's generally speaking just a good film.

DISCLAIMER: If, by any chance, the reader is a sound, orthodox member of the Society of Jesus, I apologise for my cursory treatment of the Society. I'm currently reading S. Alphonsus Rodriguez, who, of course, was a good, sound Jesuit and whose counsels are worth reading. Of course, a decent Jesuit knows this, but there are probably slightly more normal people reading this.

Anyway, a merry and blessed Christmas to all, including Jesuits!

In caritate Xp,


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Merry Christmas / Joyeux Noel

The film, not the greeting. Though Merry Christmas to you all, as well.

You know you're a bit of a trad if... you decide to see 'Merry Christmas' rather
than 'Ninotchka' at the cinema because a review indicated that there might be a depiction of Midnight Mass in the former, which being set in 1914 could be interesting...

I must admit I was rather disappointed by the film. It seemed to me to cop out of asking (or answering) difficult questions about the nature of war, contenting itself with a too-easy pacifism (and the obligatory heavy-handed anti-clericalism). But never mind the analysis of the film as such - what of the liturgy?!

This was - odd, really. The lovable Scottish (yay!) priest celebrated Midnight Mass for the assembled troops; at least, apparently that's what happened, since he referred to it later. But what was seen and heard was a bit weird. First he belted out 'In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti', while facing the people with his arms outstretched. Eh? Then the next thing we heard was 'Sequentio Sancti Evangelii...' Then we heard the Preface and the Sanctus (said with the crowd joining in, in a very 'we just learned this and are reciting it like a class of schoolchildren' kind of a way, but I may be over-sensitive). Next thing we see is the priest getting some wifey (all right, the famous soprano come to comfort the German troops as she's married to the tenor who's among them) to sing Ave Maria. Then we hear the Ite Missa Est.

Now obviously I don't expect the director to show the whole Mass. You'd expect edited highlights, and picking on the audible parts is fair enough. What was strange was that they way the film was cut (or something - I know nothing of the technicalities, so don't know what was actually producing the effect) did not give the impression of time passing between the bits we heard and saw. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes in a film it is (somehow) made quite clear that several minutes have passed between one shot and another. Oddly, this was not the case here. This became particularly obvious while the lady was singing, when she appeared to jump straight from 'benedicta' to 'Sancta Maria', again with no apparent indication that we had (as it were) left and come back a few moments later. Most peculiar. Did the director just assume that no one would know or that no one was bothered? Or did he have to do a load of last-minute editing which left that scene making less sense than it had done?

There was also a weirdsville moment when the Evil Bishop said to a load of soldiers, in English, 'The Lord be with you', and they replied, 'And also with you'! Unless this was a customary usage already, surely (if such an exchange would have taken place in the vernacular at all) the response would have been, 'And with thy spirit'? I am quite ready to be corrected here. It seemed very odd, that's all.

Anyway. Not the point of the film. Sort of worth seeing, if you can avoid being distracted by this sort of thing!

Warmest Advent and Christmas greetings to you all!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Flight into Sydney

I am heading to Sydney today for a very quick trip to, among other things, begin some discussions regarding persons for 2008. Please pray for its success! You are with me in prayer :)

The Great O's

Very quickly, I have found the most beautiful reflection upon the Great O Advent antiphons and the readings for Sundays by Ian at Nobis Quoque Peccatoribus.

A short excerpt:
"The whole of the history of salvation grew as it approached the Nativity, now in a sense we've rounded the turn and are on the home stretch. All things came from God, and back to Him we are headed, so, in a sense the story is headed backward. Our Lord came, and now we are looking at a future Paradise with God, which is really no different from that first Paradise Our first parents enjoyed before the fall. Time heads forward, but the story goes backward."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Meeting in Rome

From Onofrio, who is making the arrangements:

There will be a meeting in Rome of the Italian Juventutem people, as well as anyone interested in the old rite and its appeal to the young.
The few Italians at WYD with juventutem, talking amongst themselves, were aware that often in Italy youth who appreciate the old rite and see it as the best means of sanctification are isolated and receive little information on the matter.

Thus a project is born, with the most happy collaboration with Juventutem France, to create an Italian association of traditionalist youth, which would be affiliated with the international Juventutem organisation but would retain its proper autonomy pertaining to administration and to programmes. The principal goal of the association would be the spread the knowledge of the old rite, called the Mass of Pius V, also offering means of spiritual growth by means of formation sessions, prayers, retreats, pilgrimages, and summer camps.
My translation.
The meeting will be next Saturday, the 17th of December, at the seat of Una Voce Italia, Via Giulia 167, 11 o'clock. It's located near the Ponte Sisto. You can take the infamous 64 bus from the Termini, get off at Sant'Andrea della Valle, walk south through the Campo dei Fiori and past the Palazzo Farnese. More information will be sent out by email within the next few days.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Signum magnum

I arrived at the Piazza Spagna at 3.30. I took out my Monastic Diurnal to say None, and found this antiphon: Signum magnum apparuit in coelo: mulier amicta sole, et luna sub pedibus ejus, et in capite ejus corona stellarum duodecim. I looked up. And there She was, at the top of the column, just as my Office says. The Roman firemen had already placed the wreath upon her right arm, and the crowd was saying a rosary and singing hymns in expectation of the Pope. The Spanish Embassy hung special drapery with the coat of arms of the new pope. The base of the column had been surrounded by copious flowers from the Roman people, to which people added their own as the night progressed.

My height prevented me seeing the Pope, even though I was only about five meters from him. I was nevertheless delighted to see the return of the magnificent winter mozzetta, lined in ermine. The sound system was poor and he spoke softly, so we couldn't understand him. The crowd joined in the Alma Redemptoris, and he gave his blessing. I did my best to kneel in the tight crowd.
Some very nice pictures from Mary, who apparently had a better position than I, and also got into the papal Mass in the morning.

After the happy event, I walked over by the Via Condotti to attend Vespers and Mass at San Gregorio. I never realised how good the acoustics in that place was, sounding full and rich with only ten men in choir. The glorious Ave maris stella was sung, with its soaring melismata. During the Magnificat, the antiphon was sung between several verses, and the image of Our Lady on the left side altar was incensed.

More wandering, and I found myself in vast church of SS Apostoli. In the Confession under the sanctuary are the relics of SS Phillip and James. It was the end of Mass, with Our Lord Cardinal Re celebranting. The choir there is actually very good (surprisingly for Rome). The church, home of the Conventual Franciscans, was magnificently decorated, as you see. The Vatican basilica had chandeliers of this sort and in this array up until the 60s. It was a glorious end to a happy day.
This is one of my very favourite feasts. If it is anything, it is about (at least to me) true beauty. We are reminded in the contemplation of Our Lady's beauty of the ideal of the human race. Eve was created pure, but we now live with her sins; Our Lady was created pure, but she retains this dazzling purity. Both were human, as we are. In the Immaculate Conception God calls us to return to that true nature which was meant for us, the greatest of his works. The human person is capable of such goodness and beauty. There is sin, as we all know, but the Lord has not forgotten us. With this unique event in the history of the world, the darkness of the past has been destroyed; utter goodness once more can found on this earth, the lily amongst the thorns. The earth in turn is shown capable of supporting the such goodness as it has forgotten, where now it too is recalled to its original purpose as the habitation of God and his people. Remembering our true nature, we are reminded of our closeness with our Creator, our nature which he did not spurn. With true beauty and goodness comes true joy. She is the Civitas Dei, where dwelt our Salvation; the Virga Iesse after centuries of waiting finally bearing fruit; the Cedrus exaltatus chosen for the Ark and the Temple; the Fons hortorum pouring forth living water for our wearied souls; the Stella maris leading our eyes to the promised land; and the Porta caeli, through which we enter, to enjoy eternity in beatific contemplation of our Lord and our God.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Collection of 'Judaic' Odes

I am happy to be able to share with you a collection of short verse composed by my dear friend, Jude Sebastian, who too attended this year's festivities. Topics include the suppression of prime, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Latin language. The last, 'The Shame of Them All', was composed in five minutes on the tram tonight after a glorious Mass in honour of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother. You see, a few of us decided to go and have a small ice-cream for the feast on Glenferrie Road, quite a popular strip. Anyway, being a Thursday night, we were confronted with every debauched profanity, vanity, and vulgarity. Look, I know that the Serpent hates Our Blessed Mother, but surely it realises by confronting us with such filth, Her glory is made that much more resplendent? That every soul we see in such a state just leads to more Aves being said for their sake? It must be the crushed head...! :)

Without further ado, here they are:

Ode to Prime
O Prime, where have you gone!
It seems almost like yesterday,
when I last recited you in the morn
as I prepared to go on my way.

When I had offered my sacrifice to God
I retired into my heart to give thanks
that laiden with the cross He trod
and now called me to His soldiers' ranks.

O what didst thou ever say or do
to merit such an unfortunate fate
to be given up to the winds that blew
within the Catholic Church of late.

O Prime, how wrong they were to efface
thy sweet chant of psalms so bright
which uttered in God's holy place
didst sanctify the morn and give us might,

That we might continue along the road
bearing witness in each and every deed
so that His Gospel message is sowed
and all who hear it may take heed.

O how I wish that you would return
that I might take you up once again
but alas I fear my hopes must burn
and I endure yet more grievous pain.

Another Ode - Ad Missam
It was only forty or so years ago to-day
the great Council held its mighty sway
declaring to us that the Mass should be
stripped off its roots in Christ and history
and in its place made a great celebration
adapted to the needs of each new nation.
Thus we have such a plethora of rites
more like a carnival with all its sights
filled with folk song and native dance
where guitars blare and virgins prance.
Yet what they clearly have forgotten
is that the Mass is by Christ begotten
as a sacrifice and sacrament to be
offered until the dawn of eternity
when He who is veiled from our sight
shall come with angels and great might.
And on the day when He does come
an account shall be asked of everyone
and those souls who've been celebrating
shall receive a just and sound berating,
while those who continued on the way
joining the Virgin and saints to pray
shall be admitted to His heavenly feast
where He presides as its Eternal Priest.

O why should we speak in a tongue never read,
a language of centurions and senators long dead
a language of clerics dressed in cloak and collar
a language of the old historical scholar
a language of conversion and much devastation
a language of sacrifice but not celebration
a language of grammarians who strive to excel
a language of books which just cannot sell?

I'll tell you why we should speak such a tongue
because it's the Church's, whose end has not come

it is the language of martyrs who have won their glory
it is the language of virgins and confessors most holy
it is the language of doctors and fathers most wise
it is the language of religious who early did rise
it is the language of bishops and popes of the past
it is the language of judgments that were made to last
it is the language which unites souls in every station
it is the language which goes beyond each nation
it is the language which conveys a sense of eternity
it is the language which belongs to our sacred paternity

So let us all hail this most beautiful speech
and place within every Catholic's reach.
O that Latin may once more take reign
in this wretched world where it was slain.

The Shame of Them All! (A five minute composition!)
I see them walk the streets and roads,
Young women dressed like poisonous toads.

With their short skirts and spaghetti straps,
They roam about looking to drain young saps,

Of every sense of what is good, beautiful, and true,
So they are defenseless against the perfumed dew,

Which they exude beneath their Clearasil skins,
Adorned with pagan charms and all sorts of rings.

O what an insult they do offer their God,
Who has redeemed and made holy their bod,

When will they learn to do just the contrary,
And imitate our Queen, the chaste Virgin Mary...

Copyright Jude S. Sebastian, 2005.

Tota pulchra es, Maria!

TOTA PULCHRA es, Maria. Et macula originalis non est in te. Tu Gloria Jerusalem. Tu laetitia Israel. Tu honorificentia populi nostri. Tu advocata peccatorum. O Maria, Virgo prudentissima, Mater clementissima, ora pro nobis. Intercede pro nobis ad Dominum Jesum Christum. Amen.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Article: Gregorian Chant is Returning from Exile. Maybe!

A wonderful article by Sandro Magister can be found here. Some excerpts:

We have undervalued the Christian people’s ability to learn; we have almost forced them to forget the Gregorian melodies that they knew, instead of expanding and deepening their knowledge, including through proper instruction on the meaning of the texts. And instead, we have stuffed them full of banalities.

What a serious mistake! I would go so far as to say that without Gregorian chant, the Church is mutilated, and that there cannot be Church music without Gregorian chant.

Gregorian chant must not remain in the preserve of academia, or the concert hall, or recordings; it must not be mummified like a museum exhibit, but must return as living song, sung also by the assembly, which will find that it satisfies their most profound spiritual tensions, and will feel itself to be truly the people of God.

Yes, Yes! I concur! :) Most importantly, we are doing something about it! :)

Have a most beautiful, prayerful feast today. May the prayers and merits of our most Pure Mother through the privilege of her Immaculate Conception, keep us protected from all snares and bonds of sin. May we always cleave close to her!

From the past... but it does have a point! :)

Hehe! Our own dear Joannes side by side with Archbishop Mannix - quite the popular fellow in Melbourne town! You know what? I like it! I hope that I can get the 'real life' shot one day. Love those birettas :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It has been decided...

...with almost certainty that Juventutem's entry point into the 2008 World Youth Day will be Melbourne and her community. Now that the easy part is out of the way, and we may have found a place for our clergy to rest their dear heads... Goodness me! Australia is so incredibly different than Europe, or even the States... You'll soon know what I'm talking about!

Anyway, and perhaps on that note, we have deduced that it would be much easier if the bulk of planning was done in and out of Australia, though of course with much input and advice from all our beloved friends.

We feel it is most important to launch a website as soon as possible not so much for information at this stage (the original is still good for that), but to make a fresh start so to ascertain interest and some indication of international groups/numbers so as to best cater for them. No more blank faces of bemused 'foreigners!' Detractor input would be good, too! :)

What do you prefer?
Something else? Please not 'Juventutem-DownUnder'! :)

Forgive me being so jumbled at this point... there are so many possibilities, and a whole different landscape to consider. I'm thrilled at the prospect at having you all over for a picnic in the park, though... I want to show off my domus! :)

Oh yes, I thought that I would share a paraphrased comment from my dear friend, and fellow pilgrim, Jude:
"Well, if they don't bring enough jumpers (being Winter in July), then one of our activities will have to be a solemn procession to K-Mart, or Myer, if they are more upmarket!"

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Hand of the Priest

Some time ago I believe Boeciana mentioned these pictures. They can be found on the web at:

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Advent fun for the chant-literate

Courtesy of Indult Bonn, here are the proper chants for the Sunday Masses of Advent (in pdf format).

- Dominica I Adventus
- Dominica II Adventus
- Dominica III Adventus
- Dominica IV Adventus

Particularly noteworthy are the verses to the Offertory chants, which are not found in the Liber Usualis or Graduale Romanum, but in the Offertoriale Triplex (Solesmes, 1985). Some of the most florid melodies found in the Gregorian repertoire adorn these verses. Alas, as I now lack a computer with sufficient audio capabilities, I cannot treat you to an MP3 recording of a full Offertory chant....