ADVENT: 1st Vespers in St. Peter’s Basilica

The Holy Father celebrated 1st Vespers in the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter this evening. The Holy Father’s cope was weird, at first.  It suggests the medieval.

The ceremony took place at the main altar. The Holy Father’s throne was placed not in front of the altar as they usually do for Mass, but rather over to the side next to St. Longinus. There were two young deacons vested in dalmatics. The basilica was quite full, though not entirely jammed. Large crucifix and six rather modern and unattractive candles were on the altar. There were many members of the curia and apostolic household, including almost 30 Cardinals, all in choir dress, with their birettas properly in place. I think only one Cardinal didn’t have his biretta on when seated. These, you know, are the important things. Among the usual Roman suspects, I saw Cardinal Egan of New York and, I believe, Archbishop Burke of St. Louis.

The Holy Father intoned Deus in adiutorium meum intende. He made a brief reflection after the introduction. The Sistine choir was present, with the pueri cantores whose polyphonic parts alternated with the congregation. The hymn was, of course, Cónditor alme siderum.

Unfortunately, the Antiphons and psalms were sung by the choir, horribile auditu, in Italian. The antiphons were extremely annoying new compositions. The psalms were in Italian with an even more annoying and unfamiliar new melody. The psalms were sung alternately by cantors with the usual effeminate voices and the congregation. The canticle from Philippians was sung mainly by two cantors, alternating, interspersed with the congregation occasionally inserting the antiphon. That was annoying too. It is as if they can’t just let the congregation listen. The congregation also sang the concluding antiphons. Each psalm was followed by a short pause and then a prayer in Italian recited by the Holy Father. The prayers have no parallel in the Latin Liturgia horarum. As usual a Italian woman religious read the reading from 1 Thessalonians.

The Holy Father spoke his sermon. I made notes on it, but haven’t digested them yet. He did have a nice reflection on the meaning of the verb "to come" when applied to God.

The Short Responsorial was in Latin. They used the Magnifcat antiphon for Year B. It was polyphonic with the choir alternating with the congregation who sang in the usual Gregorian tone. The Holy Father incensed the altar during the Magnificat.

The intercessions were in vernacular languages but the little response was in Latin: Veni, Domine, et noli tardare.

Pater Noster was in Latin, but they inexplicably and irritatingly added the Protestant Quia tuum est regnum… which amused the Holy Father who, having been interrupted, seemed not to have been expecting it. He was about to start the prayer. The concluding Collect was in Latin. A three-fold solemn blessing in Latin finished it off and the deacon sang Ite in pace. Finally, Alma Redemptoris Mater was sung, appropriately for Advent.

His Excellency, the Master of Ceremonies, Archbishop Piero Marini looked at his watch on the way down the nave. Yes, Your Excellency, the clock is ticking.

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51 Responses to ADVENT: 1st Vespers in St. Peter’s Basilica

  1. Here’s hoping the Holy Father has come out of sheer beauty in the Orthodox setting and falls by default into our horrible mess with a big ear jolt. Maybe this will push him to do something about it. It’s long overdue. Heck, it’s 40 years overdue!

    Too bad they didn’t sing, “The King of Glory’s Coming and Don’t You Forget It.” But I digress. It sounds like they sounded bad enough to do the trick.

  2. Christopher says:

    Mittenda est Marini!

    (I’m sure that is incorrect; my high school Latin in rusty.)

  3. Khaled says:

    I thought Archbishop Marini would have a different
    Assignment by now.

  4. Siobhan says:

    In the photo, the Holy Father looks to be wearing an Anglican-style mitre.

  5. Tim Ferguson says:

    The cope almost looks red…is that the famous “Roman purple”?

  6. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    I thought the vestments were beautiful.Another website had other picture of the cope which seemed to me to be modern medieval,a form I try to get vestment makers to make.As for the mitre,medieval mitres are usually short.I am surprised the psalms were in Latin.When the Pope went to Germany they were in Latin and everyone including the Protestants (it was an ecumenical service of vespers)chanted them.Recently the Pontifical organist,the organist to the Pope,visited my parish and performed a concert.While at dinner he told of a recent incident about these vespers.He said the Pope had mandated that the vespers were to be sung in latin and then when he celebrated them they were sung in Italian.After the ceremony he gathered all who were responsible and said,”I said that I wanted vespers in Latin…..LATIN!”,the latter word was said emphataically his fist pounding whatever was near.If the Popes wish is everyones command (as some or many Catholics naively stll think)there would be no problem.And Marini isn’t even French.

  7. Argent says:

    Yes, the choir was annoying. I had to turn the sound down. The Bavarian choirs that we heard during Papa’s German trip were so much more pleasant to the ear. Can you explain why the Sistine choir is always this nail-on-the-chalkboard irritating?

  8. Argent: Good question. Maybe because they all want “Mamma” to hear them on TV?

  9. Adam van der Meer says:

    Father:

    You may like to know that with the photos from Yahoo that you post, there is a way that you can get a slightly larger, non-pixellated (from having been resized down) version.

    Just take the URL, for example,
    http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/rids/20061202/i/r967132815.jpg?x=230&y=345&sig=1reZS2a2nb7ZJVrNyeqAxg–

    – and delete everything after “.jpg” (i.e. delete the question mark and forward). Then you get the largest possible version of the photo that is available through Yahoo.

    So in your code the URL for the above photo of the Holy Father holding the thurible would be
    http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/rids/20061202/i/r967132815.jpg

    God Bless.

  10. Adam van der Meer says:

    The cope that the Holy Father wore for the opening of the Great Jubilee takes the award for the all-time worst, I think:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/575000/images/_578051_door150.jpg

    I tend to agree with Fr. McAfee that this one that Pope Benedict wore wasn’t so bad, although I have to say that I don’t understand the strange red and gold “window pane” trim.

  11. Alexei Michaelenko says:

    Thank you, Father Z. for this post. I’m glad I didn’t tape this Vespers broadcasr by EWTN like I sometimes do.

    The Papal cope I’ve seen before. It’s rather beautiful when you look at it long enough…and indeed very much in a Medieval style.

    The unattractive candlesticks etc. is typical Marini doing, as is the horrible music, women lectors, and the Protestant part of the Pater Noster. The inclusion of the Protestant version of the Pater Noster was the biggest disgrace.

    I am beginning to think that Pope Benedict XVI isn’t in charge of anything after all. The Papal Mass in Turkey (after the magnificent Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy at the Phanar) was an embarassing example of minimalism at its worst.
    It might as well have been a Protestant service.
    I think Patriarch Bartholomew with His rich liturgical heritage of the Orthodox Church must think we Catholics are truely pathetic to have thrown out our own 1,500 year liturgical tradition in favor of the garbage of the Novus Ordo.

    Where is the Pope’s directives/instructions/observations after the Synod on the Holy Eucharist LAST year?! Where is the Papal “Moto Proprio” allowing a return to the Tridentine Mass? Where is any direction of any kind from Pope Benedict XVI?

    I remember Benedict XVI saying at the very beginning of His Pontificate that His reign would be short, and that He wasn’t going to do much except see that the teachings of John Paul II were absorbed by the Church.
    Truely He hasn’t done much, and if this is His stated preoccupation rather than making His own decisions, and guiding the Church along a liturgical renewal then I have to state that it is a really misguided and sick priority.

  12. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Maybe the sound of the Sistine choir is because they are Italian.My father who was an organist and voice teacher was solidly of the Italian school (although he was Irish).He used to tell me that there was a great difference between the sound of the Italian school of singing and the English.Come to think of it I cant recall any records (CDs)of an Italian choir-even the Sistine-but the number of English choirs,Anglican and Catholic,are many.Even the Americans can boast of great choirs-the national cathedral’s men and boys,numerous Anglican choirs,the Boystown choir and the children’s choir of Harlem.Then there is the Vienna Boys choir.But great Italian choirs? And I am a great lover of Italian opera. On the other matter of the reform of the liturgy, I agree with Alexei.Certainly the writings of Pope JP had to be put into practice but he could do no greater honor to his predecessor thatn to pick up the universal indult which he wanted to issue but was hassled by the French (among others).Benedict must know that this is his moment.With the predicted disaster of the Turkey visit turned miraculously into a papal triumph he should take the opportunity to issue the motu proprio and that Exhortation which he curiously keeps referring to but never issues.Also the visit with the Patriarch gives him insight into the woes of the present liturgy.But he must ACT.Or else all his writings look like complaints instead of a program for authentic renewal.

  13. I loved that cope, although it did look more red than purple. Not sure why a purple colour would be worn during Advent, since purple is more usually associated with Lent.

    On the question of the vestments, and following on from Fr McAfee comments above, I design and make modern mediaeval vestments: well, I try to. The mediaeval period encompassed some very diverse styles of vestments.

    Thanks be to God for the safe return of our beloved Benedict from Turkey.

    Michael of the Saint Bede Studio.

  14. I agree with Adam van der Meer that this cope is not nearly as bad as Pope JPII’s which he wore to open the Holy Doors.

    Is it a mortal sin to just simply do the liturgy the way the books say to do it? Why do liturgists have to make up so many things? I read this account of the 1st Vespers of of Advent and then looking at the outward actions of the Orthodox Mass and then the next day’s Novus Ordo Catholic Mass and keep thinking what is it going to take to get the liturgical situation cleaned up. I mean, the Patriarch pretty much handed us our liturgical posterior on a plate, if I may use the saying.
    Does the Holy Father not look things over before a liturgy is put into motion to make sure some of this goofy stuff doesn’t happen? I know he shouldn’t have to, but with Marini …

  15. Father Bartoloma says:

    Sounds characteristically safe. “How long, Oh Lord?! How Long!?”

  16. Alexei Michaelenko says:

    Marini will be in office as Papal Master of Ceremonies a full 20 years in March, 2007. TWENTY YEARS!!!! I don’t think any Papal Master of ceremonies has had such a long run. And what a disaster He has been. I don’t know if everyone realizes it…but Marini’s mentor was the infamous Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the very man who with the help of 5 Protestant ministers and other liturgical quacks after Vatican II created the “Novus Ordo” out of nothing in 1969 and presented it to the Church as the “New Mass of Paul VI”. Marini was then in His late 20’s, but was still on Bugnini’s team and is a 100% supporter of the liturgical garbage that came in after Vatican II, and is 100% against Catholic tradition and the Tridentine Latin Mass. It was He, who with John Paul II’s blessing sacked the aged but revered Maestro of the Sistine Choir Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci. The Sistine Choir sounded much better under the aged Bartolucci, but He was removed unceremoniously in a disgraceful coup in 1998 when Marini maneuvered a new man into the post who was like himself a 100% modernist and against Catholic tradition. Hence, since 1998-99 we’ve had the awful liturgies and horrible music. With regards to the liturgy and Catholic tradition, John Paul II should absolutely be criticized in the strongest terms, for He approved of this coup, and during His entire reign did absolutely nothing about correcting/restoring the liturgy and preserving Catholic liturgical traditions. INdeed, the cope He wore, and the horrible opening ceremonies for the opening of the Holy Doors for the 2000 Holy Year Jubilee were the biggest liturgical betrayal of Catholicism under John Paul II. Remember the elephant tusk horn and the Japanese koto playing woman in kimono during the opening ceremonies, Dec. 24th 1999? John Paul II came limping in wearing His “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” cope with Marini, pushed the Holy Door open, and then sat on a plastic chair inside the door and smiled as people passed thru. Then of course we can’t forget the disaster of John Paul II the next day opening St. John Lateran’s doors. He stood there flanked by a Greek Orthodox Archbishop (which was fine), but also with the Protestant so-called “Archbishop of Canturbury” and the three of them gave St. John’s Holy Door a big push. What a betrayal of Catholic Faith and tradition. Even the Italian people were stunned..and not in a good way. And we can’t forget all the circus Masses and bizarre innovations a la Archbishop Piero Marini over the last 20 years.
    But His term expires Mary 17th, 2007. St. Patrick’s Day. Let us hope He gets His walking papers, and is replaced by a traditionalist Catholic….and not by just another Monsignorial hack who is already a member of the Vatican Liturgy crew. That would be just like replacing Marini…with another Marini. New blood is needed.
    Let us hope that all the hopes many of us have in Pope Benedict XVI with regards to the liturgy are well counded by then. Let us hope that by then, the instructions from the “Syond on the Holy Eucharist” will have been published
    and will have been as traditional and as stern as we
    hoped…and also the Moto Proprio allowing a full return of
    the Tridentine Latin Mass will be published…much to the
    wailing and knashing of teeth, beating of breasts and hissy
    fits from Marini and company.

  17. Az says:

    Mr Michaelenko,
    There is no reason to be upset or outraged that the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury opened the Holy Door at the Lateran with the Pope. It never happened as you suggest, unless Dr Carey had the power of bi-location, since he was at Canterbury Cathedral on Christmas Day, 1999. And the night before, at no point in the liturgy was Pope Wojtyla seated on a plastic chair.

    Of course, there is much to be desired in the liturgies “choreographed” by Mgr Marini, but I think too often unsubstantiated hearsay has been told and retold, perhaps in good faith, but this does not help the cause of reform.

  18. I think that Mr Michaekenko is talking about the Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian Unity at St Paul’s Outside the Walls in January 18th 2000.

  19. He should simply announce verbally his wishes on a network like EWTN who will publicize them without changes. What can they do to him?

    He is brave enough to face the Turks. He needs to be brave enough to face the wolves.
    Perhaps they are telling him he will not be listened to by us. They are wrong. 100% wrong.
    We already love him and will obey him.

    Marini should be sent off to Calcutta to do social work and brought back in his casket.

  20. By the tone of my previous post, you can see also that like Alexei, I have my doubts about what the Pope can get through his machinery to us. I think this has been the case for some time, perhaps starting before PJP2. It is a travesty.

    I am a convert. Much about the Church is very beautiful, but there are some devastatingly nasty things like this that still occur. I’ve been Catholic for over 20 years but I’m still often appalled at some of the things that go on.

    There is something terribly dark and creepy that has occurred in the Church–I don’t know what, but there is and I don’t think it’s just the human failings of those in the Church.

  21. Alexei Michaelenko says:

    Often times, I have been accused of being too harsh, and to verbal in my criticism of Vatican II, and most especially of John Paul II, whom I personally think fooled everyone. He was, in my opinion and in the opinion of many other Catholics…(alright even many so called “sedevacantists”) not a good Pope in that He did not in any forceful or concrete way address any of the problems in the Church.
    Certainly not in the liturgy, religious life, priestly formation, disipline etc.
    Unfortunatly, His priorities were ecumenism with Protestant groups, inter-religious dialog with all sorts of religions whatever, and socio-political justice and peace issues. And lastly, trying to endlessly appologize for the supposed wrongs, errors, and sins of the Catholic Church.
    The liturgical mess we are in today is first and foremost the fault of Paul VI, who was influenced by people who basically were not even Catholic anymore (Bugnini was actually a Freemason, as were many Cardinals and Bishops from the time of Vatican II and all thru the reign of JP II). Paul VI was much like Benedict XVI….a super intellectual who thought things thru very slowly (but often listening to the wrong people).
    It is this group of “wrong people” who unfortunatly still rule in the Vatican today. The issue of the possibility of an allowance for the use of condoms in the Catholic Church (GOD FORBID!!!) They are a collection of (to be honest), very weak or even lapsed Catholics who don’t really believe in the Catholic Church but are there for the power and influence, Freemasons, dissident liberals with an agenda to push etc., and even (yes even in the Vatican as in many USA diosecean chancellory buildings) a clique of priests, monsignori and higher ups who are sympathetic to the agenda

  22. Alexei Michaelenko says:

    I made a mistake in my above comment alittle. After the sentence ” It is this group of “wrong people” who unfortunatly still rule in the Vatican today. The issue of the possibility of an allowance for the use of condoms in the Catholic Church ( FOR ANY REASON GOD FORBID !!!) IS AN EXAMPLE OF THEIR CONTINUING INFLUENCE AND PRESENCE).

    And at the end it should read—- ” and even (yes even in the Vatican as in many USA diosecean chancellory buildings) a clique of priests, monsignori and higher ups who are sympathetic to the agenda which is supportive of homosexuals

    What the Church needs is a Pope a la Pius IX or Pius X to “clean house” without fear of any backlash ( such as the French Bishops and the upcoming Moto Proprio on the return of the true Mass (Tridentine Mass).
    Unfortunatly (and not only because of His age), I don’t think Benedict XVI is that Pope. He could be, but after almost 2 years and no action I doubt it.

  23. Alexei Michaelenko: You wrote: “I have been accused of being too harsh, and to verbal in my criticism of Vatican II, and most especially of John Paul II,…”

    Yes, and I am starting to be of that same opinion. That is not, however, what this blog is for. Kindly keep that in check, please.

  24. Joshua Martin says:

    BTW, those Italian collects after each psalm (and the canticle) could be the same as the psalm-prayers in the US edition of the Divine Office, no? I have a little booklet from Veritas publishers (Dublin) that contains them, but have been unsuccessful in tracking down the original Latin. I understand these were to be included in the never-published 5th volume of the Liturgia Horarum, along with the two-year cycle of readings and a large supplement of patristic readings.

    Fr Z., do you have any information as to why the 5th vol. was never issued? I must say I would rather like to have the psalm-prayers in the Latin original, not so much to use them at Office, but because some of them even in English are rather good prayers (e.g. one for Ps 44(45), I think). Also, I’d love a supplement of Patristic texts, so whenever the Breviary throws up some boring passage from Vat. II about love, peace, etc. (when the 1st reading is from Maccabees!!) I could read something worthwhile instead.

    I take it that the Holy Father’s homily for Vespers in some measure compensated for all the Marini rubbish. Now a collection of Benedict’s homilies could well compare to the great sermons of Leo, Gregory, et al.

  25. Greg Smisek says:

    I watched last year’s First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent, but I missed this year’s. From the description, it appears to be very much the same as last year.

    His Holiness wore the same cope last year, but it had a matching violet and gold orphrey with an Agnus Dei morse, rather than the seemingly ill-matched red and gold orphrey on the cope this year. (See pictures from last year’s Vespers at http://www.catholicpressphoto.com/servizi/2005-11-26-vespri-web/default.htm).

    The very fact that Pope Benedict began the worldwide broadcast of this Vespers liturgy was an important initiative on his part. (Did John Paul even celebrate this Vesperal office solemnly?) Would that more bishops and priests would follow His Holiness’ lead, which is manifestly according the mind of the Church.

    Sacrosanctum Concilium:
    100. Pastors of souls should see to it that the chief hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts. And the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually.

    General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours:
    20. The liturgy of the hours, like other liturgical services, is not a private matter but belongs to the whole Body of the Church, whose life it both expresses and affects. This liturgy stands out most strikingly as an ecclesial celebration when, through the bishop surrounded by his priests and ministers, the local Church celebrates it. For “in the local Church the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church is truly present and at work.” Such a celebration is therefore most earnestly recommended. When, in the absence of the bishop, a chapter of canons or other priests celebrate the liturgy of the hours, they should always respect the true time of day and, as far as possible, the people should take part. The same is to be said of collegiate chapters.

    21. Wherever possible, other groups of the faithful should celebrate the liturgy of the hours communally in church. This especially applies to parishes—the cells of the diocese, established under their pastors, taking the place of the bishop; they “represent in some degree the visible Church established throughout the world.”

    22. Hence, when the people are invited to the liturgy of the hours and come together in unity of heart and voice, they show forth the Church in its celebration of the mystery of Christ.

  26. RBrown says:

    Often times, I have been accused of being too harsh, and to verbal in my criticism of Vatican II, and most especially of John Paul II, whom I personally think fooled everyone. He was, in my opinion and in the opinion of many other Catholics…(alright even many so called “sedevacantists”) not a good Pope in that He did not in any forceful or concrete way address any of the problems in the Church.
    Certainly not in the liturgy, religious life, priestly formation, disipline etc.
    Unfortunatly, His priorities were ecumenism with Protestant groups, inter-religious dialog with all sorts of religions whatever, and socio-political justice and peace issues. And lastly, trying to endlessly appologize for the supposed wrongs, errors, and sins of the Catholic Church.
    The liturgical mess we are in today is first and foremost the fault of Paul VI, who was influenced by people who basically were not even Catholic anymore (Bugnini was actually a Freemason, as were many Cardinals and Bishops from the time of Vatican II and all thru the reign of JP II). Paul VI was much like Benedict XVI….a super intellectual who thought things thru very slowly (but often listening to the wrong people).
    It is this group of “wrong people” who unfortunatly still rule in the Vatican today. The issue of the possibility of an allowance for the use of condoms in the Catholic Church (GOD FORBID) They are a collection of (to be honest), very weak or even lapsed Catholics who don’t really believe in the Catholic Church but are there for the power and influence, Freemasons, dissident liberals with an agenda to push etc., and even (yes even in the Vatican as in many USA diosecean chancellory buildings) a clique of priests, monsignori and higher ups who are sympathetic to the agenda

    My problem is not that what you say is harsh–but rather that much of it is just dumb. You do more harm than good when you shoot off your mouth yet about things you do not understand. I understand your frustration. Mine is tenfold for very concrete reasons–not just holding my nose every Sunday at mass).

    Some comments:

    1. Modernism is a precise theological term that denies Revelation. Those who mangled the liturgy were more influenced by Protestantism’s denial of the Eucharistic sacrifice than by Modernism.

    2. BXVI has almost nothing in common with PVI. BXVI was a professional intellectual as a University Professor. As a Cardinal he was well known for understanding the mentality of those who opposed the Church (some of whom were priests, bishops, and Cardinals) and speaking his mind.

    PVI was a Vatican careerist and diplomat who thought he was a professional intellectual. His intelligence doesn’t even approach that of Ratzinger. Montini also was your garden variety Ecclesiastical liberal, i.e., someone more interested in going after the lost sheep than in tending the flock. IMHO, he was someone who was sadly out of touch.

    3. Marini, like other careerists, has shown himself not to be a liberal leopard but rather a chameleon. Probably, his favorite Church feast now is Oktoberfest, insisting that he has always preferred Paulaner bier to i vini Albani.

    4. I would have like JPII to have done more, but he made a huge difference, especially in the first 10 years of his papacy. During the Montini years there were many seminaries in the US that forced out candidates just because they opposed the “ordination” of women.
    During the 90’s I used to tell people that JPII named men Cardinals who were in many ways more conservative than he.

  27. CDB says:

    “Montini also was your garden variety Ecclesiastical liberal, i.e., someone more interested in going after the lost sheep than in tending the flock…”
    Yeah, I don’t know why these popes get the idea that the shepherd should go after the lost sheep ;)

  28. D says:

    I happened upon this site for the first time, and I am surprised with what I am reading here. I am a recently baptized Catholic. A “child” called to Our Lord in my autumn years of life.

    Can someone explain to me what is the big deal of what is worn by our Pope, the color, etc? Jesus’ wardrobe was the simplest of the simple. Surely, all of you must know that a man is not the clothes he wears. What applies to Jesus, applies to Our Holy Father, who leads us in His Place. Every depiction I’ve seen of Jesus, he’s wearing the simplest of garb, almost always off white, and if there is a “robe” it is a red, simple shawl-like apparel. What did I miss in RCIA and the Catechism?

    (Truth be told, I’d be more impressed if Our Father wore the humble garb of Our Lord while He was on Earth)

    What’s with all the fancy-schmancy garb (and the inordinate attention being placed on it here)? The elaborate embroidery? Quibbles about miters — kind, design, color; choirs; and what seems in a simple believer’s eyes, very unimportant in the big scheme of things, i.e., aspiring to be saints and getting ourselves to Heaven to be with Our Lord?

    Seriously, can those who have replied above take the time to explain to me the “why” of your replies? Help this new Cathoic understand.

    Peace be with you,
    D

  29. RBrown says:

    “Montini also was your garden variety Ecclesiastical liberal, i.e., someone more interested in going after the lost sheep than in tending the flock…”
    Yeah, I don’t know why these popes get the idea that the shepherd should go after the lost sheep ;)

    Try reading the sentence again, but this time try engaging your brain. My point is that you cannot go after the lost sheep while ignoring the flock.

  30. dcs says:

    Marini should be sent off to Calcutta to do social work

    I always find these comments interesting. Suppose X is a bad prelate, and Y is a city in some Third World country in which the Church is not strong. What did the people of Y do to deserve X? If X is a bad prelate, then he ought to be retired to a monastery or something, not foisted on the suffering Catholics of Y. We might laugh about Abp. Bugnini being shuffled off to Tehran, but I wonder if Iranian Latin-rite Catholics found it funny.

  31. RBrown says:

    .I happened upon this site for the first time, and I am surprised with what I am reading here. I am a recently baptized Catholic. A “child” called to Our Lord in my autumn years of life.

    Can someone explain to me what is the big deal of what is worn by our Pope, the color, etc? Jesus’ wardrobe was the simplest of the simple. Surely, all of you must know that a man is not the clothes he wears. What applies to Jesus, applies to Our Holy Father, who leads us in His Place. Every depiction I’ve seen of Jesus, he’s wearing the simplest of garb, almost always off white, and if there is a “robe” it is a red, simple shawl-like apparel. What did I miss in RCIA and the Catechism?

    What little clothes worn by Christ on the Cross were no doubt bloody. The red vestiments symbolize that. White vestiments (or religious habits) symbolize virginity. Black symbolize penance.


    (Truth be told, I’d be more impressed if Our Father wore the humble garb of Our Lord while He was on Earth)

    What’s with all the fancy-schmancy garb (and the inordinate attention being placed on it here)? The elaborate embroidery? Quibbles about miters—kind, design, color; choirs; and what seems in a simple believer’s eyes, very unimportant in the big scheme of things, i.e., aspiring to be saints and getting ourselves to Heaven to be with Our Lord?

    Although I’m not big on various mitres and embroidery, the beauty of various aspects of the Church (liturgy, music, vestiments, are intended to elevate us to the beauty that transcends the daily grind.

    If you have the money and time, I recommend that you visit Chartres Cathedral in France.

  32. CDB says:

    To RBrown:
    “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” (Mt 18: 12-13).
    Despite all of Papa Montini’s mistakes, God may yet use this metric to judge his intentions.

  33. RBrown says:

    Where is the Pope’s directives/instructions/observations after the Synod on the Holy Eucharist LAST year?! Where is the Papal “Moto Proprio” allowing a return to the Tridentine Mass? Where is any direction of any kind from Pope Benedict XVI?

    Generally, Syndal exhortation come out at least a year after the Synod itself.

    BXVI probably has at least another good 4 years. There is no need for everything to be rushed.

  34. RBrown says:

    To RBrown:
    “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” (Mt 18: 12-13).
    Despite all of Papa Montini’s mistakes, God may yet use this metric to judge his intentions.

    NB: The reference to the 99 that did not wander off. The point about PVI is that while he was out pursuing the lost sheep, at least half of the 99 also wandered off.

    BTW, I don’t pretend to judge PVI’s intentions, and neither should you. That is for God. On the other hand, I can judge the results–and they were not good.

    Further, as a Roman-trained theologican I think I might have an inkling why certain changes were made, especially to the theology of both the Priesthood and the Eucharist (and thus the liturgy).

  35. dcs says:

    There is no need for everything to be rushed.

    No need except the good of souls.

    I’m not criticizing the Pope, mind you — just noting that there are other reasons to “rush” to act other than the Pope’s health.

  36. CDB says:

    At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, I dare say that more than half of his flock had wandered off as well.

  37. RBrown says:

    At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, I dare say that more than half of his flock had wandered off as well.

    But of course that was a Divine Mystery, which of course is the foundation of the Church–the Blood of Martyrs is the Seed of the Church.

    Abandoning the flock for some dreamy pursuit of lost sheep was in no way suggested by Christ.

  38. dcs says:

    Jesus’ wardrobe was the simplest of the simple.

    He wore a robe so fine that his executioners cast lots over it.

    What’s with all the fancy-schmancy garb (and the inordinate attention being placed on it here)? The elaborate embroidery? Quibbles about miters—kind, design, color; choirs; and what seems in a simple believer’s eyes, very unimportant in the big scheme of things, i.e., aspiring to be saints and getting ourselves to Heaven to be with Our Lord?

    As a matter of fact, I think even a “simple believer” can tell from the sort of vestments worn by a priest how seriously the priest regards his service before the Lord. What kind of message do you think is sent by the typical Novus Ordo nightgown worn by many priests at the altar these days?

    The cope almost looks red…is that the famous “Roman purple”?

    I loved that cope, although it did look more red than purple. Not sure why a purple colour would be worn during Advent, since purple is more usually associated with Lent.

    Purple is worn during both Lent and Advent. Rose is permitted on Laetare Sunday (the 4th Sunday of Lent) and Gaudete Sunday (the 3rd Sunday of Advent).

    As far as the color of the Pope’s cope is concerned, I have heard that the Pope has only two liturgical colors: white and red. Wrong? He wears white when the rest of the Latin Rite is wearing white or green, and red instead of purple or black. Consider: have you ever seen the Pope wearing green or purple vestments? I haven’t.

    At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, I dare say that more than half of his flock had wandered off as well.

    What does this mean?

  39. RBrown says:

    There is no need for everything to be rushed.

    No need except the good of souls.

    Nope–never rush. The good of souls requires that things be done properly–not hurriedly. We don’t want quick and dirty.

    Example: The catechism was rushed out, and what happened? JPII, who says in the Apostolic Constitution that it is a sure norm for teaching the faith then wrote an encyclical that required the aforesaid sure norm to be changed.


    I’m not criticizing the Pope, mind you—just noting that there are other reasons to “rush” to act other than the Pope’s health.

    In the words of the Wizard of Westwood, Quick but don’t hurry.

  40. CDB says:

    “Abandoning the flock for some dreamy pursuit of lost sheep was in no way suggested by Christ.”

    I think you are back to judging intentions. Whether such a pursuit was “dreamy” (based on an illusion) is not for us to judge, even though we may think that hindsight and internet access make us wiser than the late PVI.

  41. dcs says:

    Example: The catechism was rushed out, and what happened? JPII, who says in the Apostolic Constitution that it is a sure norm for teaching the faith then wrote an encyclical that required the aforesaid sure norm to be changed.

    I guess you’re referring to the stuff in the Catechism on the death penalty? I’m not sure that gaffe was because the Catechism was rushed (although there are some other gaffes, like the one about lying in the section on the Eighth Commandment, that could have been caused by rushing it).

    If rushing causes errors and whatnot, then yes, it should be avoided. But if rushing, instead of causing errors, prevents certain national episcopal conferences to have their say and raise objections and obfuscate, then I’m all for it. ;-)

  42. Dennis says:

    These ‘lost sheep’ were the Protestants, right? A Pope’s job
    is to guard and teach the Catholic Faith i.e. shepherd his
    flock. If he fails to do his job we have a right, as
    Catholics to judge him (as Pope not as a private individual)

  43. Séamas says:

    “(although there are some other gaffes, like the one about lying in the section on the Eighth Commandment, that could have been caused by rushing it)”

    Which part is wrong?

  44. Tim Ferguson says:

    I’ve seen the pope in green vestments, as well as pictures of him in a deep violet, as well as rose, and gold – so the notion that he only wears white and red is clearly false.

  45. dcs says:

    Which part is wrong?

    The 1st Edition seems to imply that it is all right to lie to “those who have no right to the truth.” This was cleared up in the 2nd Edition. And it is the 2nd Edition that is in line with prior catechisms.

  46. Az says:

    “Victories quickly obtained are also quickly lost… Don’t worry. Lasting things grow slowly, quietly, and patiently, and even under various torments.” Words of Cardinal Ratzinger, albeit from a different context (the preface to the Chinese edition of ‘Salt of the Earth’). This preface is well worth reading in itself.

    Source:
    http://www.hsstudyc.org.hk/Webpage/Tripod/T138/T138_E02.htm

  47. D,

    You must have just come into the church. I am a convert too. You will develop an understanding as you watch over the years. It’s all good. ;)

    Keep watching and learning!

  48. RBrown says:

    “Abandoning the flock for some dreamy pursuit of lost sheep was in no way suggested by Christ.”

    I think you are back to judging intentions. Whether such a pursuit was “dreamy” (based on an illusion) is not for us to judge, even though we may think that hindsight and internet access make us wiser than the late PVI.

    You’re about 5% correct . . . at best.

    1. It is true that no man can judge the relation of another to God because that is by definition secret.

    2. But we can judge the intentions of another when those intentions are known.

    3. It is well known that the changes in the Church during the pontificate of Paul VI have their foundation in Protestantism. These include (1) the attempt to inject the Protestant concept of Eucharist as Meal into the Catholic understanding; (2) the introduction of vernacular liturgy; and (3) the exaggeration of pastoral responsibilities in the essence of the priesthood.

    4. Those changes were made because of Ecumenism with the Protestants. This is not just my opinion but rather that of others, including Cardinal Ratzinger and Jean Guitton, a philosopher who was a close friend of Paul VI.

    5. Were they dreamy? In so far as I spent the first 23 years of my life as an American Episcopalian and have some acquaintance with their beliefs, I say yes, they were dreamy. Keep in mind that Episcopalians are considered closer to Catholics than any other Protestant sect, including Methodists and Presbyterians.

    6. Is this 20/20 hindsight? Hardly. John XXIII promulgated Veterum Sapentia, an Apostolic Constitution (the highest papal authority) that insisted on Latin as the liturgical language. Further, even the most superficial understanding of the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist knows that the Eucharist as Meal Concept was promoted by the Protestant Reformers to undermine the Sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist.

    BTW, In so far as you are someone who is hungry for knowledge, I recommend that you read Veterum Sapentia.

  49. RBrown says:

    Here is the text of VS:

    Veterum Sapientia

    The wisdom of the ancient world, enshrined in Greek and Roman literature, and the truly memorable teaching of ancient peoples, served, surely, to herald the dawn of the Gospel which Gods Son, “the judge and teacher of grace and truth, the light and guide of the human race,”1 proclaimed on earth.

    Such was the view of the Church Fathers and Doctors. In these outstanding literary monuments of antiquity, they recognized man’s spiritual preparation for the supernatural riches which Jesus Christ communicated to mankind “to give history its fulfilment.”2

    Thus the inauguration of Christianity did not mean the obliteration of man’s past achievements. Nothing was lost that was in any way true, just, noble and beautiful.

    Venerable languages

    The Church has ever held the literary evidences of this wisdom in the highest esteem. She values especially the Greek and Latin languages in which wisdom itself is cloaked, as it were, in a vesture of gold. She has likewise welcomed the use of other venerable languages, which flourished in the East. For these too have had no little influence on the progress of humanity and civilization. By their use in sacred liturgies and in versions of Holy Scripture, they have remained in force in certain regions even to the present day, bearing constant witness to the living voice of antiquity.

    A primary place

    But amid this variety of languages a primary place must surely be given to that language which had its origins in Latium, and later proved so admirable a means for the spreading of Christianity throughout the West.

    And since in God’s special Providence this language united so many nations together under the authority of the Roman Empire — and that for so many centuries — it also became the rightful language of the Apostolic See.3 Preserved for posterity, it proved to be a bond of unity for the Christian peoples of Europe.

    The nature of Latin

    Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.

    Nor must we overlook the characteristic nobility of Latin for mal structure. Its “concise, varied and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity”4 makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression.

    Preservation of Latin by the Holy See

    For these reasons the Apostolic See has always been at pains to preserve Latin, deeming it worthy of being used in the exercise of her teaching authority “as the splendid vesture of her heavenly doctrine and sacred laws.”5 She further requires her sacred ministers to use it, for by so doing they are the better able, wherever they may be, to acquaint themselves with the mind of the Holy See on any matter, and communicate the more easily with Rome and with one another.

    Thus the “knowledge and use of this language,” so intimately bound up with the Church’s life, “is important not so much on cultural or literary grounds, as for religious reasons.”6 These are the words of Our Predecessor Pius XI, who conducted a scientific inquiry into this whole subject, and indicated three qualities of the Latin language which harmonize to a remarkable degree with the Church’s nature. “For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure to the end of time … of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.”7

    Universal

    Since “every Church must assemble round the Roman Church,”8 and since the Supreme Pontiffs have “true episcopal power, ordinary and immediate, over each and every Church and each and every Pastor, as well as over the faithful”9 of every rite and language, it seems particularly desirable that the instrument of mutual communication be uniform and universal, especially between the Apostolic See and the Churches which use the same Latin rite.

    When, therefore, the Roman Pontiffs wish to instruct the Catholic world, or when the Congregations of the Roman Curia handle matters or draw up decrees which concern the whole body of the faithful, they invariably make use of Latin, for this is a maternal voice acceptable to countless nations.

    Immutable

    Furthermore, the Church’s language must be not only universal but also immutable. Modern languages are liable to change, and no single one of them is superior to the others in authority. Thus if the truths of the Catholic Church were entrusted to an unspecified number of them, the meaning of these truths, varied as they are, would not be manifested to everyone with sufficient clarity and precision. There would, moreover, be no language which could serve as a common and constant norm by which to gauge the exact meaning of other renderings.

    But Latin is indeed such a language. It is set and unchanging. it has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use. Certain Latin words, it is true, acquired new meanings as Christian teaching developed and needed to be explained and defended, but these new meanings have long since become accepted and firmly established.

    Non-vernacular

    Finally, the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular.

    In addition, the Latin language “can be called truly catholic.”10 It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed “a treasure … of incomparable worth.”11. It is a general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity and the documents of the Church’s teaching.12 It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity.

    Educational value of Latin

    There can be no doubt as to the formative and educational value either of the language of the Romans or of great literature generally. It is a most effective training for the pliant minds of youth. It exercises, matures and perfects the principal faculties of mind and spirit. It sharpens the wits and gives keenness of judgment. It helps the young mind to grasp things accurately and develop a true sense of values. It is also a means for teaching highly intelligent thought and speech.

    A natural result

    It will be quite clear from these considerations why the Roman Pontiffs have so often extolled the excellence and importance of Latin, and why they have prescribed its study and use by the secular and regular clergy, forecasting the dangers that would result from its neglect.

    A resolve to uphold Latin

    And We also, impelled by the weightiest of reasons — the same as those which prompted Our Predecessors and provincial synods 13 — are fully determined to restore this language to its position of honor, and to do all We can to promote its study and use. The employment of Latin has recently been contested in many quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored.

    We believe that We made Our own views on this subject sufficiently clear when We said to a number of eminent Latin scholars:

    “It is a matter of regret that so many people, unaccountably dazzled by the marvelous progress of science, are taking it upon themselves to oust or restrict the study of Latin and other kindred subjects…. Yet, in spite of the urgent need for science, Our own view is that the very contrary policy should be followed. The greatest impression is made on the mind by those things which correspond more closely to man’s nature and dignity. And therefore the greatest zeal should be shown in the acquisition of whatever educates and ennobles the mind. Otherwise poor mortal creatures may well become like the machines they build — cold, hard, and devoid of love.”14

    Provisions for the Promotion of Latin Studies

    With the foregoing considerations in mind, to which We have given careful thought, We now, in the full consciousness of Our Office and in virtue of Our authority, decree and command the following:

    Responsibility for enforcement

    1. Bishops and superiors-general of religious orders shall take pains to ensure that in their seminaries and in their schools where adolescents are trained for the priesthood, all shall studiously observe the Apostolic See’s decision in this matter and obey these Our prescriptions most carefully.

    2. In the exercise of their paternal care they shall be on their guard lest anyone under their jurisdiction, eager for revolutionary changes, writes against the use of Latin in the teaching of the higher sacred studies or in the Liturgy, or through prejudice makes light of the Holy See’s will in this regard or interprets it falsely.

    Study of Latin as a prerequisite

    3. As is laid down in Canon Law (can. 1364) or commanded by Our Predecessors, before Church students begin their ecclesiastical studies proper they shall be given a sufficiently lengthy course of instruction in Latin by highly competent masters, following a method designed to teach them the language with the utmost accuracy. “And that too for this reason: lest later on, when they begin their major studies . . . they are unable by reason of their ignorance of the language to gain a full understanding of the doctrines or take part in those scholastic disputations which constitute so excellent an intellectual training for young men in the defense of the faith.” 15

    We wish the same rule to apply to those whom God calls to the priesthood at a more advanced age, and whose classical studies have either been neglected or conducted too superficially. No one is to be admitted to the study of philosophy or theology except he be thoroughly grounded in this language and capable of using it.

    Traditional curriculum to be restored

    4. Wherever the study of Latin has suffered partial eclipse through the assimilation of the academic program to that which obtains in State public schools, with the result that the instruction given is no longer so thorough and well-grounded as formerly, there the traditional method of teaching this language shall be completely restored. Such is Our will, and there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind about the necessity of keeping a strict watch over the course of studies followed by Church students; and that not only as regards the number and kinds of subjects they study, but also as regards the length of time devoted to the teaching of these subjects.

    Should circumstances of time and place demand the addition of other subjects to the curriculum besides the usual ones, then either the course of studies must be lengthened, or these additional subjects must be condensed or their study relegated to another time.

    Sacred sciences to be taught in Latin

    5. In accordance with numerous previous instructions, the major sacred sciences shall be taught in Latin, which, as we know from many centuries of use, “must be considered most suitable for explaining with the utmost facility and clarity the most difficult and profound ideas and concepts.”16 For apart from the fact that it has long since been enriched with a vocabulary of appropriate and unequivocal terms, best calculated to safeguard the integrity of the Catholic faith, it also serves in no slight measure to prune away useless verbiage.

    Hence professors of these sciences in universities or seminaries are required to speak Latin and to make use of textbooks written in Latin. If ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for some to obey these instructions, they shall gradually be replaced by professors who are suited to this task. Any difficulties that may be advanced by students or professors must be overcome by the patient insistence of the bishops or religious superiors, and the good will of the professors.

    A Latin Academy

    6. Since Latin is the Church’s living language, it must be adequate to daily increasing linguistic requirements. It must be furnished with new words that are apt and suitable for expressing modern things, words that will be uniform and universal in their application. and constructed in conformity with the genius of the ancient Latin tongue. Such was the method followed by the sacred Fathers and the best writers among the scholastics.

    To this end, therefore, We commission the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities to set up a Latin Academy staffed by an international body of Latin and Greek professors. The principal aim of this Academy — like the national academies founded to promote their respective languages — will be to superintend the proper development of Latin, augmenting the Latin lexicon where necessary with words which conform to the particular character and color of the language.

    It will also conduct schools for the study of Latin of every era, particularly the Christian one. The aim of these schools will be to impart a fuller understanding of Latin and the ability to use it and to write it with proper elegance. They will exist for those who are destined to teach Latin in seminaries and ecclesiastical colleges, or to write decrees and judgments or conduct correspondence in the ministries of the Holy See, diocesan curias, and the offices of religious orders.

    The teaching of Greek

    7. Latin is closely allied to Greek both in formal structure and in the importance of its extant writings. Hence — as Our Predecessors have frequently ordained — future ministers of the altar must be instructed in Greek in the lower and middle schools. Thus when they come to study the higher sciences — and especially if they are aiming for a degree in Sacred Scripture or theology — they will be enabled to follow the Greek sources of scholastic philosophy and understand them correctly; and not only these, but also the original texts of Sacred Scripture, the Liturgy, and the sacred Fathers.17

    A syllabus for the teaching of Latin

    8. We further commission the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities to prepare a syllabus for the teaching of Latin which all shall faithfully observe. The syllabus will be designed to give those who follow it an adequate understanding of the language and its use. Episcopal boards may indeed rearrange this syllabus if circumstances warrant, but they must never curtail it or alter its nature. Ordinaries may not take it upon themselves to put their own proposals into effect until these have been examined and approved by the Sacred Congregation.

    Finally, in virtue of Our apostolic authority, We will and command that all the decisions, decrees, proclamations and recommendations of this Our Constitution remain firmly established and ratified, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, however worthy of special note.

    Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on the feast of Saint Peter’s Throne on the 22nd day of February in the year 1962, the fourth of Our pontificate.

  50. A significant part of this whole picture is that Catholics, most of them, know very little about Protestantism–what Protestants think, what they like, what they’d be interested in. And on the basis of some “supposing” on the part of ignorant catholics, some awful mistakes were made. And you see, the changes they made did not put an end to the Reformation. They absolutely could not have–they had zero change, in fact.

  51. zero change = zero chance