Monday, November 25, 2013

Requiems last Saturday

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For the second year, we have had a Traditional Sung Requiem in the chapel of St Benet's Hall, Oxford's Benedictine house of studies and a Permanent Private Hall of the University, which is my own academic home (I am a Fellow).

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As last year, it was celebrated by Fr Edward van der Bergh, a priest of the London Oratory and a former President of the JCR at St Benet's. It was accompanied by the Schola Abelis (I was there, singing, so couldn't go to the London events.)

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All Catholic institutions should pray for their deceased members; many do, of course, but by no means all. It doesn't have to be in November, though of course that it appropriate. If you are part of a Catholic insitution of any kind, find out what is organised and if it is inadequate ask for something better.

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The Extraordinary Form is ideal in this respect. Although subject to the most extreme criticism by Bugnini (as I blogged here), it avoids a number of problems with the Novus Ordo Mass for the dead (see also here). It makes it completely clear that we are praying for the deceased, and it expresses our feelings in the most artistically and spiritually satisfying way. What the overwhelming majority of people want at a funeral, or an annual Mass for the dead, is something respectful, restrained, and beautiful. With the traditional Requiem Mass, that is what they get, whether in a little chapel like St Benet's, or in Westminster Cathedral, where the LMS' Annual Requiem took place on the same day.

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The same day was the Towards Advent conference, at which the LMS and the Guild of St Clare shared a stall. We certainly attracted a crowd!

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