Friday, January 30, 2015

Chant meeting in London, 14th March

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A previous meeting of the GCN, addressed by the composer James MacMillan and
Fr Guy Nichols, Director of the Newman Institute of Sacred Music
The next meeting of the Gregorian Chant Network will take place on Saturday 14th March. For the first time it will be open to all. Directors of chant groups registered with the GCN will get a discount.

We will be addressed by Daniel Saulnier, former choirmaster at Solesmes, and Giovanni Varelli, Cambridge researcher who discovered the manuscript of the earliest written polyphonic music, which will be performed at the meeting.

The meeting includes lunch, for those who want it, and concludes with Vespers, followed by tea.

Programme (Subject to minor changes)
10.30 Registration
11.00 Talk by Daniel Saulnier
12noon Angelus and talk by Giovanni Varelli
1pm Lunch
2.30 Joseph Shaw on the GCN
2.45-4pm Rehearsal for Vespers with Daniel Saulnier
4.15 Vespers in the Little Oratory
5pm Tea

Prices: Directors of scholas and chant choirs which are members of the Gregorian Chant Network: £10 including lunch. Others: £10 without lunch; £25 including lunch.

The Latin Mass Society is hosting a booking page here.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Loftus attacks Bishop Doyle over funerals

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Requiem for Michael Davies, St Mary Moorfields, last October.
In the unlikely case that Bishop Doyle of Northampton thought that the female pastoral administrator in Milton Keynes would make liberals pleased with him, he would have been disapointed by the insatiable bitterness of Mgr Basil Loftus. He spreads his bile far beyond the people we might think of as standard-bearers of conservatism.

Mgr Loftus, 23rd Jan 2015
Why in England is there in one diocese a re-iteration of Holy See instructions whereby a grieving mother is forbidden from placing her infant child's teddy-bear on the coffin?

To hold back the tide of liturgical anarchy which could end up turning the Rite of Christian burial into a neo-pagan ceremony, Mgr? Or something more sinister?

The Vine, January 2015, on new guidelines for funerals issued by Northampton diocese.
Christian symbols alone are allowed on the coffin. Other items, such as personal mementos and Mass cards should be places on a table nearby.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mass in London for Ebola victims: Maiden Lane 16th Feb

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A recent Sung Mass in the historic Corpus Christi Maidan Lane, where Sung Mass is celebrated every Monday evening.

The Feoderatio Internationalis Una Voce (International Una Voce Federation, FIUV) has had an appeal from Una Voce South Africa, on behalf of all our African friends, that where possible Processions, Litanies, and Votive Masses be said for the victims of the Ebola epidemic which is ravaging many parts of Africa.

In response, the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales is arranging Litanies of the Saints and a Sung Votive Mass 'in Time of Pestilence' at 6.30pm on Monday 16th February 2015 (feria before Shrove Tuesday) at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, London (click for a map) to be celebrated by Fr Patrick Hayward.

The FIUV calls on all its members and supporters to take up this example, at this time of suffering.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On men taking back the Church

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Solemnity, discipline, beauty, awe. The Dominican Rite in Oxford.

Further to the debate about masculinity and the liturgy, and an article about Cardinal Burke's remarks on related issues (which quotes me) by Tim Stanley in the Catholic Herald, Madeleine Teahan asks a pertinent question:

An implicit difference in expectation is the glaring irony at the heart of Cardinal Burke’s argument: namely, that men are passive victims of radical feminism, bad liturgy and poor catechesis. It’s as if they are a sex who are done unto; totally enfeebled and powerless to fight back. Doesn’t this portrayal undermine the typically masculine capacity for chivalry and strength that Cardinal Burke also refers to?

It's not that Miss Teahan denies that men are absent from our churches, it is just that she thinks the blame should be assigned squarely to the victims of poor catechesis and bad liturgy, and not to those who create those things. Perhaps she has in mind that passage in the Gospel where Jesus says that anyone who causes scandal to (i.e., causes to sin), one of these 'little ones' puts a millstone round the little ones' necks and gets away scot free.

No, wait...!

Monday, January 26, 2015

A warning about them rabbits.

Profanity warning, but an illustration of what rabbits can do when roused.



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Sung Requiem for the Air Asia tragedy


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A High Mass of Requiem for Prince Rupert Loewenstein,
President and Patron of the Latin Mass Society, last year.
At the initiative of the Latin Mass Society, a Sung Requiem Mass will be celebrated for all those who perished in the recent Air Asia disaster. 

This will take place at St James' Church, Spanish Place, 

at 7pm on 

Wednesday 4th February, 

the celebrant being Fr David Irwin.

The regular EF Sunday congregation at St James' includes relatives of some of the victims.

An airliner, Air Asia flight QZ8501, crashed into the sea on 29th December 2014; all 162 people on board were killed. This Requiem is conceived as a 'month's mind', arranged as close as possible to the month's anniversary of the crash.

Please unite yourselves to these prayers for the souls of those lost, and for their loved ones left behind. And may God preserve us all from an unprovided death.

To make a contribution to the cost of this Mass, which will be accompanied by a professional choir, please make a donation using the button on the LMS homepage; you will be able to specify the purpose.

The address of the church is 22 George Street, London W1U 3QY; click for a map.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Traditional Mass and China: thoughts about Confucius

Our Lady of China
Today I am publishing a paper about the Traditional Mass in China on Rorate Caeli: go over there to read it. I want to use this post for some more reflections on this topic.

One of the issues relevant to the Church's evangelisation in any part of the world is the nature of the indigenous culture and religion. The Jesuits who brought the Gospel to China in the 16th and 17th centuries were very aware of this (and they thought very carefully about it in India as well). They didn't go for mindless, superficial inculturation; they wanted to get to the heart of the matter and explore the deep connections, or barriers, between what they found in China and what they were bringing with them. The servant of God Matteo Ricci SJ and his successors took the view that Taoism and Buddhism, the two other influential schools of thought present in China, were radically incompatible with the Faith, but that things were different with Confucianism, the officially endorsed philosophico-religious system of Imperial China.

After decades of hostility from the Communists, Confucianism today is undergoing something of a revival in China, with schoolchildren once more studying Confucian texts. It is far from being an official ideology, and its role in modern Chinese culture is limited, but it still represents classical, authentic, Chinese culture, and it is also viewed as a potential source of social stability and bulwark against self indulgence and corruption. This is a first reason why the connections the Jesuits found are once more relevant to the progress of the Church in China.

A second reason is this. The attitude of the Chinese state towards the Church today turns in large part on the question of foreign influence, which is seen (in light of modern Chinese history) in the context of foreign political influence and domination. This throws a spotlight onto the relationship between the Faith, and Catholic practice, and classical Chinese culture. To what extent is the Church in China a vector for distinctively European, and therefore questionable, ideas and culture?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Patrick Arnold on masculine liturgy

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A liturgy with gravitas. Bishop Schneider in West Grinstead.
Leon Podles, who inspired a series of posts in this blog about the loss of men from the Church, doesn't have much to say about the liturgy, but he quotes the Jesuit theologian Patrick Arnold on the subject. I've tracked down the source and here below is the passage at length.

Arnold's book Wildmen, Warriors and Kings is surprising because he is a theological liberal. He thinks that the ordination of woman is obviously right and that clerical celibacy is bad. He thinks that feminism is good but that men need to have their own, parallel, 'men's movement' and 'men's spirituality'. He is a disciple of Robert Bly, who even contributes a preface to the book. Bly has some interesting things to say (for example in his Sibling Society) but is on occasion extremely negative about the Church. Bly and Arnold owe a lot to Jung, something which - without going into details - should set off a lot of alarm bells. (A good introduction is this MP3 talk.)

I give Arnold credit, nonetheless, for thinking about an issue most people then, and now, don't want to think about. Particularly impressive is his confrontation of the misandry, the hatred of men, which is found in the liberal theological environment he himself inhabited. Here are his reflections about modern liturgy: it is clear that the traditional Mass is not on his radar at all, but is nevertheless the answer to the problem he identifies.

Patrick Arnold: Wildmen, Warriors, and Kings (1992), p77-78
For many years liturgists felt that highly formalized worship services bored people and turned them off; "creative" liturgies were proposed as the solution. Unfortunately, the resulting Butterfly, Banner, and Balloon Extravaganzas severely alienated many men. The most saccharine outbreaks of forced liturgical excitement featured fluttering dancers floating down the aisles like wood-nymphs, goofy pseudo-rites forced on the congregation with almost fascist authoritarianism, and a host of silly schticks usually accompanied by inane music. It was exciting all right; any men felt exciting enough to rise from their pews and walk right out the door. What was their problem? It seems that most men are instantly turned off by surprise spontaneity in ritual circumstances; moreover, ceremonies that are entirely nice, sweet, and happy usually strike men as phoney and completely unconnected with the harsh world they experience every day.