ASK FATHER: After the final blessing, Father says….

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

After the Final Blessing (and normally some announcements), our Pastor says ” Remember God loves you and so do I.”

Many in the Parish have begun to reply ” We love you too Father”.

I have been told by some in my that I am being “a doctor of the law” and that since the Final Blessing has been given, Father is not adding anything to the Mass. I take the view that Father is creating a new ending for the Mass and this touchy-feely sediment needs to cease.

Looking for some guidance.

Awwwww. Fadda wuvs you vewy vewy much. How sweet.

I recommend that everyone rush up into the sanctuary to give him a big hug, and maybe a wet kiss, too. Sediment or sentiment… grist for bottom-feeding boors.

This cloying stuff is contrary to the sacred dignity of the actions just performed.

I don’t impute malice to the priest.  That said, this sort of “announcement” smacks of narcissism. He’s calling undue attention to himself.

That said, it is true, that since it is after the final blessing it isn’t the sort of liturgical abuse that demands some discipline. Although … there is still the recessional, which seems to be a “part” of Mass in a way.

Your best response is probably to say nothing or do nothing beyond roll your eyes.

Pray for the priest. Offer up your annoyance for the sake of the Poor Souls.

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 15 Comments

WDTPRS Ascension – Our humanity, “raised beyond the heights of archangels”

On my planet, this coming Sunday is the 7th Sunday after Easter, Ascension Thursday having fallen on Thursday.

In most places Ascension Thursday has been transferred to Sunday, but not with malice.  I’m sure the notion the bishops had was to expose more people to the mystery of the Lord’s Ascension.  That may indeed occur. In my opinion the transfer reinforces the impression that these great feasts, important for our Catholic identity, aren’t compelling enough to inspire the planning and sacrifices required to go to Mass during the week.

Meanwhile, the Ascension of Our Lord, one of the great mysteries of the life of Christ, has been celebrated on the fortieth day after Easter (i.e., a Thursday) since the 4th century.

Enough said.

For Ascension Thursday Sunday – in the Novus Ordo – there are two Collects from which the priest celebrant may freely choose. The first prayer is a new composition for the Novus Ordo, and thus it is not found in pre-Conciliar editions of the Missale Romanum.  The second option, added in the 2002, 3rd edition is fairly ancient, but is less interesting.  We will look at the first Collect:

Fac nos, omnipotens Deus, sanctis exsultare gaudiis, et pia gratiarum actione laetari, quia Christi Filii tui ascensio est nostra provectio, et quo processit gloria capitis, eo spes vocatur et corporis.

The main source for this prayer is undoubtedly St Leo the Great’s (d 461) Sermon 73, 4:

Quia igitur Christi ascensio, nostra provectio est, et quo praecessit gloria capitis, eo spes uocatur et corporis, dignis, dilectissimi, exultemus gaudiis et pia gratiarum actione laetemur.

The phrase gratias agere means “to give thanks”.  In Latin, “Thank you!” is “Grátias tibi ágo!, literally, “I give thanks to you.”  The link with Greek eucharistia (“thanksgiving”) is apparent.  In liturgical contexts actio is often the liturgical “action” itself, the act of liturgical worship, even the core of the Mass, the Eucharistic Prayer.  Provectio is “an advancement, promotion”.

LITERAL RENDERING:

Cause us, Almighty God, to exult in holy joys, and to be glad in devout thanksgiving, because the ascension of Christ Your Son is our advancement, and the hope of the Body is being called to that place from whence comes forth the glory of the Head.

I capitalize Body and Head, because Leo is working with the ecclesiological image of Christ as Head of us, His Body the Church.  I defend “from whence” – which some think a redundant tautology).

CURRENT ICEL (2011):

Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving, for the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation, and, where the Head has gone before in glory, the Body is called to follow in hope.

Since our Collect is basically St. Leo let’s quote him some more.  On 1 June 444, in that same Sermon 73, 4, he preached to his Roman flock:

“Truly it was a great and indescribable source of rejoicing when, in the sight of the heavenly multitudes, the nature of our human race ascended over the dignity of all heavenly creatures, to pass the angelic orders and to be raised beyond the heights of archangels. In its ascension it did not stop at any other height until this same nature was received at the seat of the eternal Father, to be associated on the throne of the glory of that One to whose nature it was joined in the Son.”

The same Pope Leo (channeling his inner St. Augustine – s. 325, 1) says in Sermon 74, 3, preached on 17 May 445:

“[Our Catholic] Faith, reinforced by the Ascension of the Lord and strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit, has not been terrified by chains, by prison, by exile, by hunger, by fire, by the mangling of wild beasts, nor by sharp suffering from the cruelty of persecutors.  Throughout the world, not only men but also women, not just immature boys but also tender virgins, have struggled on behalf of this Faith even to the shedding of their blood.  This Faith has cast out demons, driven away sicknesses, and raised the dead.”

We know with holy and Catholic Faith that what was not assumed, was not redeemed (St Gregory of Nazianzus d 389/90).

Our humanity, body and soul, was taken by the Son into an unbreakable bond with His divinity. When Christ rose from the tomb, our humanity rose.  When Christ ascended to heaven, so also did we ascend.  In Christ Jesus, our humanity now sits at the Father’s right hand.  His Ascension then is our great hope now.  Our hope is already fulfilled, but not yet in its fullness.

This hope informs our trials in this life.

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Pontifical Masses

The crowning jewel of the Roman Rite is the Pontifical Mass, particularly when the diocesan bishop celebrates in his own diocese.  It is as if the whole diocese is present in the moment.

In Madison, WI, the local bishop, His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, the “Extraordinary Ordinary”, has been very generous with his time also to those who desire celebrations of Holy Mass in the traditional form.  For the last year he has pontificated every couple  months or so.  This has given a corps of servers and of priests the chance to get familiar with the rites to the point where they can pull off a Pontifical Mass at the Throne with relative ease.

Last night for the Feast of the Ascension – because yesterday – Thursday – was the feast of the Ascension – His Excellency graciously celebrated a Mass at the Throne.

Here are a few photos to give a taste.

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Rome Day 1: The Stacks

I am in Rome for some research.  Happily I’ll meet with friends too.

Last night we went for some supper… as one does.


A view during the stroll home.


This morning I walked by two of the famous “Talking Statues”.

  

A bit of atmosphere.

I didn’t, if you are wondering.  I only use the Veyron near San Pietro.

Up the ramp to my old school.

The research begineth.   I’ve written up a bunch of slips for books from the stacks. Now I am exploring the dictionaries, etc., for more bibliography.

UPDATE:

It was a great day at the library.  On the way to supper, I saw a great display of miniature military figures.

 

Something very like Sardine in saor.

Tagliolini al’astice.

Orata.

 

 

This was great.

On the way home.
  

Posted in On the road, SESSIUNCULA, What Fr. Z is up to | 10 Comments

ASK FATHER: Is a chasuble really necessary for Mass?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

I’ve been to Mass (Novus Ordo) in my college chapel where the priest did not wear the chasuble, but just an alb and a stole. Is that permissible? Are there guidelines for the priest on how to properly vest for Mass and which vestments he can and cannot use? I’ve seen cases were the priest does not even wear the cincture around his waste. And of course, the priest not wearing the amice (and very rarely, the maniple in the N.O.).

The rubrics are clear. A chasuble is required for the celebration of Mass. A cincture can be omitted if the alb is constructed in such a way that it is not needed (such as an alb with a sewn-in belt – I hate those), and the amice can be omitted if the alb clearly covers the priest’s street clothes entirely (I hate those).  That means that the shirt collar should NOT be visible.

If (when), however, Father is offering Mass in a prison camp, as priests may be doing in the near future, he must make do with what he has.

If the parish he is at is so poor it cannot afford a chasuble, perhaps a gift from a wealthier parish can be arranged.

Meanwhile, Father should be urged not to go out half naked to say Mass.  It’s embarrassing for everyone.

Posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | 44 Comments

My View For Awhile: Cisalpine Edition

I’m on my way to FCO from ORY.


This afternoon, Mass at SS. Trinità and then a serious Roman supper.

Then the work begins.

UPDATE:

Arrived.

 

Traffic was chaos at the Porta Capena and there is a demonstration at P.za Santi Apostoli… situation normal.   Now to Ss. Trinità and Mass.

  

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2nd Glorious Mystery: The Ascension

Some years ago I posted a “Patristic Rosary Project”.  Here is the post for the…

2nd Glorious Mystery: The Ascension

Everything about the life of the Lord is a blessing for us.  After His resurrection the Lord blessed the Apostles with His presence, gloriously risen.  When His earthly work with them was completed, He very explicitly blessed them.  “Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.” (Luke 24:50-51).  Even the Lord’s departure from us was a blessing and it occurred in the midst of Christ’s explicit blessing of His apostles.  Venerable Bede (+735) speaks of the Lord’s blessing:

Our Redeemer appeared in the flesh to take away sins, remove what humans deserved because of the first curse, and grant believers an inheritance of everlasting blessing.  He rightly concluded all that He did in the world with words of blessing.  He showed that He was the very one of whom it was said, “For indeed He who gave the law will give a blessing.”  (Ps 83:8 Vulgate)  It is appropriate that He led those who He blessed out to Bethany, which is interpreted “house of obedience”.  Contempt and pride deserved a curse, but obedience deserved a blessing.  The Lord Himself was made obedient to His Father even unto death, so that He might restore the lost grace of blessing to the world.  He gives the blessing of heavenly life only to those who strive in the holy Church to comply with the divine commands. [Homilies on the Gospels 11.15]

Remember that for Bede, like most of the Fathers, the details have spiritual meanings.  Even the place to which the Lord led the Apostles meant something:

We must not pass over the fact that Bethany is on the slope of the Mount of Olives.  Just as Bethany represents a Church obedient to the commands of the Lord, so the Mount of Olives quite fittingly represents the very Person of our Lord.  Appearing in the flesh, he excels all the saints, who are simply human beings, by the loftiness of His dignity and the grace of His spiritual power.

St. Cyril of Alexandria (+444) speaks of the blessing the Lord confers:

Having blessed them and gone ahead a little, he was carried up into heaven so that He might share the Father’s throne even with the flesh that was united to Him.  The Word made this new pathway for us when He appeared in human form.  After this, and in due time, He will come again in the glory of His Father with the angels and will take us up to be with Him.  Let is glorify Him.

We may not at all times remember that even at this very instant our human nature is, in the divine Person of Our Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father.  We are therefore in a state of “already but not yet”: humanity is enthroned in heaven sharing something of God’s glory, and yet we are still here, awaiting the final realization of all Christ accomplished.  St. Leo the Great (+461) pries this open:

Dearly beloved, through all this time between the resurrection of the Lord and His ascension, the providence of God thought of this, taught this and penetrated their eyes and hearts.  He wanted them to recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as truly risen, who was truly born, truly suffered  and truly died.  The manifest truth strengthened the blessed apostles and all the disciples who were frightened by His death on the

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The Ascension and Lordly Feet

There are many images of the Lord’s Ascension to heaven.

The one’s I like the most are the medieval depictions which show the Apostles and Mary looking up and all you see above are a pair of lordly Feet.

There is a good reflection at the site Ignatius Insight, which provides an excerpt from “The Ascension: The Beginning of a New Nearness,” from Joseph Ratzinger’s Images of Hope: Meditations on Major Feasts (Ignatius Press, 2006). My emphases and comments:

You are surely familiar with all those precious, naïve images in which only the feet of Jesus are visible, sticking out of the cloud, at the heads of the apostles. The cloud, for its part, is a dark circle on the perimeter; on the inside, however, blazing light. It occurs to me that precisely in the apparent naïveté of this representation something very deep comes into view. All we see of Christ in the time of history are his feet and the cloud. His feet—what are they?

We are reminded, first of all, of a peculiar sentence from the Resurrection account in Matthew’s Gospel, where it is said that the women held onto the feet of the Risen Lord and worshipped him. As the Risen One, he towers over earthly proportions. We can still only touch his feet; and we touch them in adoration. Here we could reflect that we come as worshippers, following his trail, close to his footsteps. Praying, we go to him; praying, we touch him, even if in this world, so to speak, always only from below, only from afar, always only on the trail of his earthly steps. At the same time it becomes clear that we do not find the footprints of Christ when we look only below, when we measure only footprints and want to subsume faith in the obvious. The Lord is movement toward above, and only in moving ourselves, in looking up and ascending, do we recognize him.

When we read the Church Fathers something important is added. The correct ascent of man occurs precisely where he learns, in humbly turning toward his neighbor, to bow very deeply, down to his feet, down to the gesture of the washing of feet. It is precisely humility, which can bow low, that carries man upward. This is the dynamic of ascent that the feast of the Ascension wants to teach us.

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Pope Francis and U.S. style capitalism

From Deseret News:

NEW YORK — The Rev. Martin Schlag is a trained economist as well as a Catholic moral theologian, and when he first read some of Pope Francis’ powerful critiques of the current free market system he had the same thought a lot of Americans did: “Just horrible.”

But at a meeting on Monday at the Harvard Club, Schlag, an Austrian-born priest who teaches economics at an Opus Dei-run university in Rome, reassured a group of Catholics, many from the world of business and finance, that Francis’ views on capitalism aren’t actually as bad as he feared.

“You can get the impression that the pope is against capitalism,” said Schlag, who heads the Markets, Culture and Ethics Research Centre at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, located near the Vatican.

But he explained that what Francis — the first Latin American pope — understands as capitalism is in fact the “crony capitalism” that is found in the pontiff’s native Argentina and much of Latin America. Schlag defined “crony capitalism” as “a form of capitalism where people get rich not because of their work but because of their friendships and political connections and the privileges they have.”

That is quite different from the American system, he said.

“Does the pope understand the United States? I think he doesn’t know the United States,” said Schlag, who is also an adviser to the Vatican department that deals with social and economic issues.

Schlag’s view that Francis is conditioned by his Argentine experience is shared by many who seek to contextualize the pope’s criticisms, but it is not shared by all those who know the pope.

“Of course he knows” the U.S. because he has been meeting with U.S. bishops for years, and even more frequently since he became pope, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, a senior adviser to Francis, said during a visit to Washington last month. [So… His Holiness knows about economics in these USA because he has been meeting with US bishops?]

“He knows the Americans and he knows the culture as well,” said Rodriguez Maradiaga, who is also an outspoken critic of U.S.-style capitalism. [I am eager to see this knowledge of (USA) Americans made manifest!]

Still, Schlag said he believes that the pontiff’s Sept. 22-27 visit to the U.S., his first to the country, will be an opportunity for Francis to learn more about America and to appreciate the positive aspects of what Schlag said is the most successful economy in history.

[…]

Read the rest over there.

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Fr. Z’s annual rant about Ascension Thursday Sunday

We know with holy and Catholic Faith that what was not assumed, was not redeemed (St. Gregory of Nazianzus – +389/90).

Our humanity, both body and soul, was assumed by the Son into an unbreakable bond with His divinity.

When Christ rose from the tomb, our humanity rose in Him.

When He ascended to heaven, so also did we ascend.

In Christ, our humanity now sits at the Father’s right hand.  His presence, there, is our great promise and hope, here.  It is already fulfilled, but not yet in its fullness.  That hope informs our trials in this life.

The liturgical celebration of Ascension by the Latin Church has become a little confused in recent years.

In the post-Conciliar calendar used with the Novus Ordo editions of the Missale Romanum for this coming Sunday we ought – in my opinion – to be observing the 7th Sunday of Easter. Ascension Thursday should fall, appropriately, on Thursday.   However, by the same logical that dislocated Epiphany (“Twelfth Night”) from its proper place twelve days, appropriately, after Christmas, some years ago the Holy See allowed bishops to transfer the celebration of Ascension Thursday to the following Sunday.

I call this liturgical caper “Ascension Thursday Sunday”.

Those who are participating at Holy Mass with the 1962MR avoid all this.  Ascension Thursday is, logically, on Thursday.

Since we should, when examining issues, pay attention to cult, code and creed, and since we have looked at the theological point of the liturgical observance of the Ascension (creed and cult) let’s look also at some law (code).

In the 1983 Code of Canon Law, can. 1246, Ascension Thursday is indicated as one of the few Holy Days of Obligation.

Nota bene: There are some dioceses where Ascension Thursday has not been transferred.

Among them are – I believe – Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia. To be sure, look at your parish bulletin from last Sunday, check your diocese’s newspaper, call your local diocesan chancery, etc. In other words, do some homework if you are not sure.

You fulfill your obligation by going to Mass either Ascension Thursday or the Vigil of Ascension.

I have a separate post about fulfilling one’s obligation for Ascension Thursday when travelling, which may involve being in a place or being from a place where the Thursday obligation remains because Ascension wasn’t, in that place, transferred.  Go HERE.

The bishops who did transfer the feast to Sunday were, I am sure, hoping to expose more people to the mystery of the Ascension of the Lord.  Probably included in that calculation was also the notion that it is tooo haaard for people to go to Mass also on Thursday.  “Mass twice in a week?  Tooo haaard!”

I am no doubt under the the influence of having read so much St. Augustine.  My present view of humanity suggests that when Holy Mother Church lowers expectations regarding the liturgy, people get the hint and lower their own personal expectations of themselves.  They get the hint that the feast just isn’t that important.  As a matter of fact, maybe none of this Catholic stuff, with all these rules, is that important.  This is what happened with lowering expectations about Friday abstinence (hardly anyone pays attention to it anymore), going to confession regularly and confession all mortal sins, the Eucharistic fast, dressing appropriately for Mass, etc. etc. etc.  If you change how people pray (or tell them they don’t have to) you change the way people believe.  There is a reciprocal relationship between our prayer and our belief.  Lex ordandi – Lex credendi.

I am left with the opinion that the option to dislocate such an important and ancient feast falls into the category of a Really Bad Idea™.  As a matter of fact, it isn’t a Really Bad Idea™ just because it could undermine our Catholic identity, it is also a Really Bad Idea™ because it smacks of arrogant novelty.

The celebration of Ascension on a particular Thursday is rooted in Scripture.  Celebration on Thursday reflects the ancient practice of the Churches of the East and West alike. We read in Holy Scripture that nine days, not six, intervened between the Lord’s physical ascent to the Father’s right hand and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  If Pentecost was the 50th day, seven weeks – as the ancients counted the starting day itself is included so you get 50 rather than 49), then Ascension Thursday was fixed at the 40th day after Easter.

The observance of Ascension Thursday was fixed from about the end of the 4th century. In the Latin West, St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) called it Quadragesima  (“fortieth”) Ascensionis. In the Greek East, St. Gregory of Nyssa spoke of it in 388.  That’s only a 16 century tradition.

And how, I ask you, is transferring Ascension Thursday to Sunday in conformity with the “spirit of Vatican II” as actually printed in the documents of Vatican II?

Didn’t the Council Fathers in Sacrosanctum Concilium require that in the reform of the liturgy?  Check our SC 23.

23. That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress Careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised. This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral. Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.

As far as possible, notable d

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