Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Full Use of the Rituale Romanum

While Father Ryan T. Ruiz in the July 2017 issue of Adoremus Bulletin rightly and briefly explains that the form of the Rituale Romanum approved by Summorum Pontificum is that which was approved by 1962, there is the broader issue regarding the legislation in the new book of blessings, De Benedictionibus (1984), and the relationship between the two rituals.

The 1984 ritual, which excludes the rituals for the administration of the sacraments, repeatedly emphasizes the adaptability of the blessing rituals to particular circumstances. So that the priest is free to invent it according to his wit and holy desire, maintaining the general structure of the ceremony. That being the case, there can be no restriction to the use of any or all elements of the blessing rituals of the Church from traditional rituals of the past in whatever language he sees fit and in the translation he might prefer, even making it up himself. The priest determines the particular adaptation of the blessings. For example, free use of the blessings in the 1964 English translation texts of the Collectio Rituum must certainly be allowed and even encouraged under that very broad 1984 ritual norm. Furthermore, there is no Spanish translation of the Collectio Rituum. The priest, under the liberal 1984 legislation, is encouraged to make his own faithful translations, even, when necessary, ad libitum, for the glory of God and the good of the Church. Pope Benedict's motu proprio regarding this simply reaffirmed this regarding the traditional Latin texts, what was already law from 1984.

N.B. I will often give a brief instruction explaining in the vernacular the wording of the blessing and then say it in Latin according to the 1962 dispensation, though the same blessings in the vernacular cannot be forbidden when priests are encouraged to even make up their own spontaneous prayers for every manner of blessing.

Cf. De benedictionibus, Caput XLI Ordo benedictionis pro variis circumstantiis, 1246. Ordo, qui hic præbetur, adhiberi potest tum a sacerdote, tum a diacono, tum a laico, ritibus et formulis pro ipso prævisis, qui omnes, ritus structura et potioribus elementis servatis, personarum et locorum adiunctis singulas partes aptabunt.

Episcopal Ring Ambiguity

It is commonly and academically said that the episcopal ring signifies the spiritual marriage of a bishop with his diocese. But bishops change dioceses today like men change their consorts, alas!, shuffled around like so many pieces on a chessboard, even often themselves vying for another post, all under the authority of the Roman Pontiff. So the ring surely cannot mean a permanent commitment to the diocese the way the wedding band signifies the vow of "until death do us part." There is no such vow on the part of the bishop to wed his diocese. Would that it were so! It would solve some major power issues of the Church today. That would also, incidentally, eliminate the retirement of the bishop.

Bishops move and leave their dioceses for a further appointment by the Pope, and bishops are required by law to retire at age 75. In both ways the bishop's commitment and relationship to his diocese is not like marriage, not at all permanent. The bishop's commitment to the diocese is a temporary contract, let's not confuse holy, indissoluble, marriage with that ephemeral bond.

We certainly need a better interpretation for the bishop ring.

Cf. "The ring is the symbol of the spiritual marriage of the Bishop with his Church. The pontifical ring, adorned with a large gem, must be loose enough to be worn over the gloved finger." A Synthetic Manual of Liturgy, Arian Vigourel, Baltimore: Murphy, 57.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Cologne Reform of the Reform: Meisner Requiem

Procession and Mass to
Cologne Cathedral

Edifying is the 26:00 minute of the men bearing the banners of Catholic societies of Cologne, heading the procession before the final ascent to the Cathedral portal.

Also noteworthy is that the clergy are in cassock and surplice, in choir, not a mass concelebration. Black vestments for all.
Numerous Roman chasubles among concelebrating prelates.

Not sure why there is no pall on the coffin. A black pall.

At minute 54:00 you can see the place where he will rest in the middle of the sanctuary floor.

Then 59:30 for the Fauré introit! Magnificence!

What about the dozens of torches at the Gospel! 1:26:00. All men.

The Agnus Dei was impressive, Mozart Coronation Mass.
The Adeste Fideles was a bit shocking until I remembered that the Cathedral of Cologne gloriously enshrines the relics of the Three Wise Men.

An ovation for the message of the Pope Emeritus.

The pall bearers even lowered the casket! Amidst the eerie background sound of the bell toll from the enormous bells of the cathedral.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Romanticism: "a Half Way House Between Nihilism and Catholicism"

H.G. Schenk, The Mind of the European Romantics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979, xviii, quoted in Tracey Rowland's Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed, New York: T&T Clark, 2010, 9.

Here is the full quote, a good definition of romanticism.

"...[The] 'Romantic movement' synonymous with rural beauty and pastoral contentment and sometimes aching sexual passions, mostly unrequited. The collective common factor is an aversion to the ugliness of the industrialized world and its highly rationalistic and materialistic culture, and a reverence for the natural order and its beauty. The movement had strong appeal for artists and intellectuals, that is, for those who wanted their lives to be something more than a contribution to the cold god of industry and capital. it emphasized such concepts as individuality or the personal uniqueness of each and every human being, the importance of memory and the motions of the human heart, the significance of cultures and traditions and the transcendental of beauty, especially as the latter is revealed in nature. H.G. Schenk described it as 'a half way house between nihilism and Catholicism'...Thus, Nietzsche and...Heidegger can be found at one end of the spectrum and Joseph Ratzinger and Hans Urs von Balthasar at the other. While the publication of Aeterni Patris in 1879 fostered a hyper-rationalist neo-scholasticism to out-reason the rationalists, in Baden-Wüttenberg and Lucerne and among English convert intellectuals and Anglo-Catholics, other currents of thought had been engaged with the concern of the Romantics. While they did not eschew the importance of truth or the work of the intellect, their starting point was the whole human person and the quest for self transcendence. They chose to enter the controversy about the relationship between faith and reason only after deepening their understanding of the relationship between faith and history. History in turn opens onto the terrain of memory and tradition and ultimately hermeneutics.

"In Germany the centre of this Catholic engagement with Romantic thought was to be found at the University of Tübingen. Its leading theologians were Johann Sebastian Drew (1777-1853); Johann Adam Möhler (1796-1838) and Johannes Evangelist von Kuhn (1806-1887). As Grant Kaplan has noted, they followed the lead of Schelling in rejecting Kant's project of stripping the positive and historical from Christianity, of proclaiming Christianity as a pure religion of reason. They also eschewed the post-Kantian tendency to reduce Christianity to the level of an ehtical framework. Drey emphasixze that the Catholci faith is a religion of 'sentiment' (Gemüth) as well as of reason (Verstand), and that revelation is itself an historical event. This in turn highlighted the importance of the individual in the reception of revelation. Following the logic of Lessing's Education of the Human Race, Drey concluded that what education is for the individual, revelation is for all of humanity. Similiarly, von Kuhn described the philosophy of Christian revelation as 'the presence of Christ revealed historically, not dialectically'. Meanwhile Möhler added to this accent on history by positing an organic unity between the Christian community and Christ. As Kaplan explained, for Möhler 'the chain of history from nineteenth-century Swabia to first-century Palestine is unbroken. In order to be salvific, the saving truth of Christianity must have been present, even in a truncated form, for ever generation of believers'. This is because access to the truth occurs by living the truth. In a work published in 1988, Joseph Ratzinger was to describe Möhler as 'the great reviver of Catholic theology after the ravages of the Enlightenment'." 9-10

Cf. Dawson on Romanticism

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Why Premarital Sex Is Wrong, Genetically

by Nathan Smith, The Witherspoon Institute
within Science, Sexuality

July 20th, 2017

In 1960, most Americans held the traditional Christian belief, shared by Muslims and Jews, that premarital sex is wrong. Since then, public opinion has changed, and most people now think that premarital sex is okay, even healthy and good.
Our grandparents were right, and we are wrong. To see this today, we can add to their accumulated wisdom arguments that draw some premises from evolutionary psychology, the school of thought that explains human instincts as a set of strategies for the survival and propagation of our “selfish genes.” It has often been noticed that evolutionary psychology confirms many gender stereotypes; it turns out that it can also, when combined with some commonsense ethics, support a new defense of traditional moral views on sex.

Evolutionary psychology shows why casual, no-strings-attached sex does not come naturally to people and why they can’t, ultimately, be satisfied with it. Men are eager for it and use women for pleasure when they can get away with it, but women are naturally choosy and coy. They prefer sex in the context of a committed relationship. Premarital sex is messy and troublesome because of inherent conflicts of interest between men’s and women’s selfish genes. In this respect, it contrasts sharply with marriage, which creates a harmony of genetic interests.

Instincts, Ethics, and the Selfish Genes

Richard Dawkins coined the phrase “selfish genes” to elucidate how evolution can explain altruistic behavior. Though the altruist may not serve his own interests, he serves the “interests” of his genes.

Humans often feel instinctive impulses to help others, but most of these arise from the strategies of our genes to help themselves. The simplest example of this is the instinctive altruism of parents toward their children. Parents make sacrifices, but their genes live on. Selfish genes influence us at a sub-rational level, feeding us desires, impulses, reflexes, and preoccupations—in a word, instincts.

Ethically, these instincts are not inherently either good or bad. C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, explained it best, when he compared instincts to keys on a piano, and ethics to the pianist. No piano key is, in itself, a right or a wrong note, but each is a right or wrong note at a given moment in a piece of music. Likewise, our instincts are all good at certain moments in life, bad at others. The task of ethics is not to obey or to suppress instincts indiscriminately, but to govern them reasonably. Reason—a faculty belonging to the soul and irreducible to genes, molecules, or material forces—discerns the ends for which we should make use of our instincts.

Evolutionary psychology elucidates not human nature as a whole, but the part of human nature that Paul called “the flesh.” As a result of the Fall, humans have lived for hundreds or thousands of generations in conditions of competition and scarcity, and genes had to be “selfish” to retain market share in the human gene pool all that time. That is why even those who doubt or deny that all life emerged from evolutionary processes should recognize the merit in arguments from the selfish genes.

To govern our instincts well, we need to understand them. We cannot forget that evolution operates slowly, so our selfish genes are stuck in a time warp. Human instincts seem to be designed to help us survive and reproduce not under modern conditions but in “the environment of evolutionary adaptation,” that is, in the Stone Age. We like salt, sugar, and fat too much, because these elements of our diet were especially scarce in the Stone Age. Similarly, to generalize broadly, men enjoy video games and sports, because they were hunters in the Stone Age, while women, genetically adapted to be Stone Age gatherers, enjoy shopping.

Above all, the selfish genes care about sex, since that is how they propagate themselves. Evolutionary psychology is a rich source of testable, successful hypotheses about men and women and sexual desire and behavior.

The Sexual Double Standard

Men and women are different. They have to be, because men and women, in the Stone Age, faced very different reproductive opportunities, and their strategies had to adapt. Men’s costs to beget offspring are low (sex doesn’t take long), but females’ costs (pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, etc.) are high. Men need not economize their abundant semen, so they seek quantity of women.

Women, whose wombs are a scarce resource, seek quality. Women are naturally choosy, preferring mates with good genes and abundant resources. They are coy, reluctant to have sex except in the context of a committed relationship. Both strategies address the severe risk of abandonment by men, in whom “dad” instincts to guard and guide their offspring compete with “cad” instincts to score with as many woman as they can. Before mating, women instinctively seek commitment and parental investment from their mates. Women look to the future, focusing on affection and attachment.

Men’s main worry, if they do settle down to be dads, is to make sure the kids they are raising are really their own. That depends heavily on the sexual history and propensities of their mates. Men focus on physical fidelity and look to the present and the past. In particular, they instinctively prefer to marry virgins. Virginity signals that a woman doesn’t easily yield to seduction, isn’t yet pregnant with another man’s child, and has no sexual loyalties to rival those she will feel towards him. This instinctive male preference for virgins is the basis for the old sexual double standard, which regards a woman—but not a man—as dishonored by fornication.

The double standard offends modern sensibilities, and Christian sensibilities as well. Christianity has always risen above the sexual double standard by insisting that a man’s body belongs to his wife as much as hers belongs to him. Contraception, moreover, seems to rob the double standard of its rationale, since it allows women to have promiscuous sex without much risk of pregnancy. Similarly, DNA tests can ensure paternity certainty better than the old male strategies of virgin preference and sexual jealousy ever could.

But the selfish genes don’t know about modern sensibilities, or Christianity, or contraceptives, or DNA tests. They are very subtle after their fashion but absurdly out of date. They can’t inspire or tempt us to propagate them optimally under modern conditions. They feed us instincts suitable for the Stone Age, and reason and religion cannot erase the influence of instinct on most people’s behavior. And so the double standard remains.

In light of the double standard, the reasons why men and women should be chaste are different. Women should be chaste primarily from prudence. Men should be chaste primarily for the sake of justice.

Female Chastity as Prudence

For a woman, to have premarital sex is, first of all, to risk pregnancy as an unwed mother, with great costs and risks to herself and her child. Contraception can greatly mitigate this risk, though it doesn’t eliminate it; in a typical year, almost 5% of American women ages fifteen to forty-four unintentionally get pregnant.

Feminine instincts and bonding hormones can make a woman feel deeply—and perhaps unexpectedly—attached to her sexual partner and her unintended progeny. If her partner leaves her, she may suffer emotionally. If he is a poor mate for the long run, she may still find it hard to leave him. If she is surprised to discover that she wants to be a mother, he may not want to be a father. If she does leave him, he may get possessive, abusive, and violent.

Chastity is a good marriage market strategy. Cultural changes have probably weakened male virgin preference, but it would be rash for a woman to assume that it has completely disappeared and won’t come back. If she does marry, her future husband will probably be grateful if she is a virgin. If she is not, he may secretly wish that she had been and suffer from jealousy.

With all these downsides, premarital sex is imprudent for women. A secondary reason for women to be chaste is to avoid disappointing parents and siblings, who instinctively value her chastity.

Male Chastity as Justice

A man should avoid premarital sex principally to avoid injustice to women. Justice is giving what is owed. The feeling that a man owes something to a woman he has had sex with, even if there was no explicit quid pro quo, is a stubborn one, of which Jackson Browne’s song “Call it a Loan” is one of many poignant expressions. It stands to reason that the nature of that debt varies, depending on what was said and left unsaid between them, what society’s expectations are, and so forth. But in general, we know from evolutionary psychology that sex makes women feel a sense of attachment and belonging. A man who causes this feeling in a woman becomes responsible for fulfilling it.

Men are tempted to exploit women for pleasure and prestige, and need to be on their guard against this temptation. Exploitation is worst when the woman is underage or drunk or emotionally unstable, or when the man uses a position of power to intimidate her, tells lies to impress her, promises to marry her, conceals his marriage to someone else, gets her pregnant, or exposes her to a sexually transmitted disease. But the bottom line is that if he serves his own pleasure at the expense of her welfare, that’s exploitation. If he knew, or could have known if he thought about it, that she’d regret it the morning after, that’s exploitation. And if he knew, or could have known, that she’d regret it one year, or five years, or fifteen years later, when she’s wasted some or most or all of her remaining reproductive years on a guy who wouldn’t marry her, that’s exploitation, too. “He used me” is a standard—and just, and accurate—complaint made by women against men they’ve had sex with.

“Consent” is the standard defense of the modern seducer, but it’s inadequate. What did she consent to? He can’t assume it was just sex, full stop. Women are instinctively forward-looking. She probably wanted more, even if she didn’t articulate it. Her instincts will want more even if she did not consciously want it at the time. It’s not fair to expect her to have kept track of all his words and to ask no more of him than he explicitly promised. To do so is to insist that pillow talk be treated as seriously as the language of lawyers negotiating a contract. A just man must recognize that lovers’ talk is a kind of verbal foreplay, a sublimation of sexual desire, often beautiful and well worth enjoying, but not capable of dissolving duties founded on the more permanent and objective facts of sexual instinct. The only ethically safe course is either to marry a woman or else to leave her chastity intact.

The Magic of Marriage

Humans are intensely ambivalent about sex, regarding it by turns as vulgar, gross, and unseemly, or as sublime and beautiful. We place rape among the worst of crimes, while romantic love is one of life’s crowning glories, the theme of half the novels and songs the human race has written. The deceit and damage involved in so much premarital sex—cool dude bangs insecure girl and turns her into a single mom on welfare for life—fully justifies the repugnance that is one side of this ambivalence.

On the other side is the glory of marriage, and while there’s more to that glory than the selfish genes can explain, they shed an important light on it. For when two people marry, “leaving father and mother” as the Bible says and committing to lifelong monogamy, their genetic interests are united, at least approximately, creating a harmony of instincts. Ordinarily, our instincts put us in competition with our fellow human beings. In marriage, instinct is on the side of love.

Children are the large, obvious reason why marriage is good for society and why premarital sex isn’t. Sexual relationships always absorb a lot of people’s energy and attention, so they impoverish society unless they give something back. Marriage makes the next generation, under the most favorable conditions. Premarital sex is usually not intended for procreation, and if it does result in children, they enter life at a disadvantage because they lack stable parental commitments to raising them.

But even compared to childless marriage, premarital sex has an unwholesome character because, by failing to address genetic conflicts of interest through marriage, it allows competition, exploitation, and fear of betrayal to penetrate into the heart of the most intimate human relationships, not stealthily, but openly and as if by right. There is no way to make premarital sex promote the good of society or of the individuals involved. The world would be a better place if it never happened at all.

Nathan Smith, PhD, is a writer living in Little Rock, Arkansas, author of Principles of a Free Society and The Verdict of Reason: Why Gay Marriage Cannot Be the Real Thing and Should Not Be Recognized in Law.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Moyses: Primus Salvus!

Today's OF first reading relates the saving of Moses, Exodus 2:1-15a.

The Navarra Bible commentary calls him "el primer salvado," the first one saved.

"Lo importante es que Moisés es 'el primer salvado', como lo es el pueblo hebreo, y que Dios lo cuida de modo extraordinario para la misión excepcional que le tiene reservada."
     Sagrada Biblia I, Pentateuco, Pamplona: Eunsa, 1997, 285.

Moyses, Primus Salvus!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Anti-Clericalism: The One Acceptable Prejudice/Intolerance

"The Patriotic Weight Loss Machine"

"...Voltaire [remarked] that Newton, Locke and Clarke would have been persecuted in France, imprisoned at Rome, burned at Lisbon. This zeal for toleration did not, however, prevent him from expressing lively satisfaction when in 1761 he heard it reported that three priests had been burned at Lisbon by the anti-clerical government."

A History of Philosophy Volume VI: Modern Philosophy, From the French Enlightenment to Kant, Frederick Copleston, SJ, New York: Doubleday, 1994. 18-19.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Defect Leads Most of the Time to Slavery: Plato Laws, 729 A

Andrei Rublev

Platone: breviario, Marcellino ed., Milan: Rusconi, 1995.

Here, the context, Plato, Laws 728d-730a

Wherefore the soul is put second (The first place belongs to the gods ([i.e. to Divine Reason]) in order of honor; as for the third, everyone would conceive that this place naturally belongs to the honor due to the body. But here again one has to investigate the various forms of honor,—which of them are genuine, which spurious; and this is the lawgiver's task. Now he, as I suppose, declares that the honors are these and of these kinds:—the honorable body is not the fair body nor the strong nor the swift nor the large, nor yet the body that is sound in health, although this is what many believe; neither is it a body of the opposite kind to any of these; rather those bodies which hold the mean position between all these opposite extremes are by far the most temperate and stable; for while the one extreme makes the souls puffed up and proud, the other makes them lowly and spiritless. The same holds good of the possession of goods and chattels, and they are to be valued on a similar scale. In each case, when they are in excess, they produce enmities and feuds both in States and privately, while if they are deficient they produce, as a rule, serfdom. And let no man love riches for the sake of his children, in order that he may leave them as wealthy as possible; for that is good neither for them nor for the State. For the young the means that attracts no flatterers, yet is not lacking in things necessary, is the most harmonious of all and the best; for it is in tune with us and in accord, and thus it renders our life in all respects painless. To his children it behooves a man to bequeath modesty, not money, in abundance. We imagine that chiding the young for their irreverence is the way to bequeath this; but no such result follows from the admonition commonly given nowadays to the young, when people tell them that “youth must reverence everyone.” Rather will the prudent lawgiver admonish the older folk to reverence the young, and above all to beware lest any of them be ever seen or heard by any of the young either doing or saying anything shameful; for where the old are shameless, there inevitably will also the young be very impudent. The most effective way of training the young—as well as the older people themselves—is not by admonition, but by plainly practicing throughout one's own life the admonitions which one gives to others. By paying honor and reverence to his kinsfolk, and all who share in the worship of the tribal gods and are sprung from the same blood, a man will, in proportion to his piety, secure the goodwill of the gods of Birth to bless his own begetting of children. Further, a man should regard contracts made with strangers as specially sacred; for practically all the sins against Strangers are—as compared with those against citizens—connected more closely with an avenging deity. For the stranger, inasmuch as he is without companions or kinsfolk, is the more to be pitied by men and gods; wherefore he that is most able to avenge succors them most readily, and the most able of all, in every case, is the Strangers' daemon and god, and these follow in the train of Zeus Xenios (The supreme Guardian of the rights of hospitality). Whoso, then, is possessed of but a particle of forethought will take the utmost care to go through life to the very end without committing any offence in respect of Strangers. Of offences against either Strangers or natives, that which touches suppliants is in every case the most grave; for when a suppliant, after invoking a god as witness, is cheated of his compact, that god becomes the special guardian of him who is wronged, so that he will never be wronged without vengeance being taken for his wrongs.

Friday, July 7, 2017

"The Most Beautiful and Most Profound Texts on the Eucharist and its Human Significance, with the New Understanding of the Christian Concept of Sacrifice in an Hitherto Unsurpassed Persuasiveness and Sublimity: City of God Book X" --Joseph Ratinger

Thus the 2011 prologue to his first doctoral thesis on Augustine: Gesammelte Schriften I: Volk und Haus Gottes in Augustins Lehre von der Kirche, Freiburg: Herder, 2011, 8-9.

Below is one of the chapters of that same book ten of The City of God so praised by Ratzinger.

Book x Chapter 6
Of the true and perfect sacrifice

A true every work done in order that we may draw near to God in holy fellowship: done, that is, with reference to that supreme good and end in which alone we can be truly blessed. Therefore, even the mercy which we extend to men is not a sacrifice if it is not given for God's sake. For, though performed or offered by man, a sacrifice is a divine thing, as the Latin authors of old showed when they used the word sacrificium. Thus, a man who is consecrated in the name of God and pledged to God is himself a sacrifice insofar as he dies to the world so that he may live to God. (Cf. Rom. 6,11) For this too pertains to mercy: to that mercy which each man shows to himself. And so it is written, 'Have mercy on thy soul by pleasing God.' (Ecclus. 30,24) Our body also is a sacrifice when we chasten it by temperance, if we do so, as we ought, for God's sake, so that we may not yield our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Cf. Rom. 6,16f.)  The apostle exhorts us to this when he says: 'I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.' (Rom. 12,1) The body, then, which, because it is inferior, the soul uses as a servant or instrument, is a sacrifice when it is used rightly and with reference to God. And, if this is so, how much more does the soul itself become a sacrifice when it directs itself to God so that, inflamed with the fire of His love, it may receive His beauty and be pleasing to Him, losing the form of worldly desire and being reformed immutably by its submission to Him! This, indeed, the apostle adds in what follows, when he says: 'And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed in the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.' (Rom. 12,2)

Since, therefore, true sacrifices are works of mercy shown to ourselves or to our neighbours, and done with reference to God; and since works of mercy have no object other than to set us free from misery and thereby make us blessed; and since this cannot be done other than through that good of which it is said, 'It is good for me to be very near to God': (Psalm 73,28) it surely follows that the whole of the redeemed City--that is, the congregation and fellowship of the saints--is offered to God as a universal sacrifice for us through the great High Priest Who, in His Passion, offered even Himself for us in the form of a servant, so that we might be the body of so great a head. (Cf. Phil. 2,7) For it was this form that he offered, and in it that he was offered, because it is according to it that he is a our Mediator. In this form He is our Priest; in it, He is our sacrifice. Thus, when the apostle has exhorted us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, our reasonable service, and not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed in the renewing of our mind, that we might prove what is that good, and acceptable , and perfect will of God, that is, the true sacrifice of ourselves, he says: 'For I say, through the grace of God which is given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to deal soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For, as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another, having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.' (Rom. 12,3) This is the sacrifice of Christians; 'We, being many, are one body in Christ.' And this also, as the faithful know, is the sacrifice which the Church continually celebrates in the sacrament of the altar, by which she demonstrates that she herself is offered in the offering that she makes to God.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Christian Humanism, Root of the Higher Culture of Modern Europe and America, Carried by Jesuit Ratio Studiorum

1586 re-erection of  Vatican obelisk, Domenico Fontana

"...[U]nder the influence of humanism, Catholic and Protestant Europe shared a common type of culture. The educated classes studied the same languages in the same way, read the same books and accepted the same ideal pattern of 'the scholar and the gentleman' which had been laid down in the standard courtesy books of the Italian Renaissance--above all in Baldassare Castiglione's book of The Courtier (1538), which was translated into almost every Western European language. In spite of the religious divisions of Europe, the world of learning and literature and art remained an international community, so that even during the Wars of Religion, scholars and scientists corresponded with one another, and Englishmen and Germans continued to visit Italy, like Milton, and to study at Padua, like William Harvey... 38-39

"...[In the new national literature] the men of that age were more conscious than those of any other time that they were heirs of a double tradition and that they all in greater or less degree were at home in two world--the world of classical antiquity and the Christian world. They had discovered a new world of knowledge without losing the old world of faith. From the time of Petrarch to that of Milton, the Christian humanists represent the main tradition of Western culture, and their influence still dominated education and literature and art. The secularization of Western culture dates not from the Renaissance or the Reformation but from the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century." 42

"[T]he Church used the new art and music and drama as the Church of the Middle Ages had done in the past. It was the permeation of Renaissance art and literature by the religious spirit of the Catholic revival which gave birth to the Baroque culture...

"The carriers of this culture were the new religious orders, above all the Society of Jesus, which played a similar part in European culture in the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to that which the Benedictines had played in the early Middle Ages or the Franciscans and Dominicans in the thirteenth century. Like them, the Jesuits owed their influence above all to their educational activities; and as the Benedictines had based their teaching on an adaptation of the classical education of the later Roman Empire to Christian aims, so now the Jesuits adapted the new classical education of the humanists of the Renaissance to the religious ideals of the Counter-Reformation. The Jesuit Ratio Studiorum belongs to the same tradition as [the other] humanist treatises on education... It was, however, more limited and more practical in its aims. Its originality lay in its technique and organization rather than in its subject matter. Nevertheless it did more than anything else to establish a common international standard of higher education, so that even in Protestant Europe the Jesuit schools met with the approval of such a revolutionary critic of education as Francis Bacon. ('As for the Pedagogical part, the shortest rule would be 'consult the schools of the Jesuits,' for nothing better has been put in practice.' Bacon de Augmentis Scientiarum, Bk. VI, ch. iv.)

Christopher Dawson, The Crisis of Western Education, London: Sheed and Ward, 1961.

Pope Benedict Corrects a Page in the Relativism Handbook, in his Defense of the Integral Holiness of the Roman Ritual

"What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful."
Pope Benedict XVI on the traditional Catholic rituals.

I was reminded of that statement when I read this categorically opposite statement by Herder, a pioneer of cultural relativism:

"Could it be that what a nation at one time considers good, fair, useful, pleasant, true, it considers at another time bad, ugly, useless, unpleasant, false? -- And yet this happens! observes...that ruling customs, that favorite concepts of honor, of merit, of what is useful can blind an age with a magical light, that a taste in these and those sciences can constitute the tone of a century, and yet all this dies with the century."
Johann Gottfried Herder, Philosophical Writings, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002, 256 (Referenced in Maria Baghramian, Relativism, New York: Routledge, 2004, 69).

What may be true of nations and centuries (albeit, of course, only in a limited sense, because there are a great many obvious and permanent truths regarding the world, man and God, e.g. all men are born and die within a relatively short span) it is certainly false regarding the Church and her Tradition. "The gates of Hell will not prevail against Her!" Matthew 16:18

The continuation of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is a exercise of that Divine permanence, at least as important as the preservation of the other ancient Rites of the Church, for us of the Greco-Roman Western heritage. The Catholic faith is not relative, it is universal and trans-historical. It's heritage is from Saint Peter, Christ, King David, Moses, Abraham, Adam, God!

If You Consent to Someone Else's Sin, You are Sinning

Pantocrator: Hagia Sophia

The Penny Catechism lists nine ways to cause or share the guilt of another's sin.

1. By counsel
2. By command
3. By consent
4. By provocation
5. By praise or flattery
6. By concealment
7. By being a partner in sin
8. By silence
9. By defending the ill done

Qui tacet consentit or qui tacet consentire videtur si loqui debuisset ac potuisset is a principle of jurisprudence: silence gives consent. If you should and could have said something, in the face of obstinate evil, it is not neutral to keep quiet. You are guilty too.

P.S. This thought comes in response to yesterday's gospel/post which distinguishes good peace and bad peace. Bad peace is actually war in disguise. It's a cover-up, and Christ comes to have it out! Christ does not tolerate sin in any form, nor do his followers. "I came to bring the sword, not peace," says the Lord. Matthew 10:34

Sunday, July 2, 2017

How Christ Brings Dissension to Family, to Oppose Bad Agreements Among Men

Today's OF gospel is from Matthew 10:37ff. But the omitted preceding verses are important to understand the cause of the dissension: false peace!

Saint Thomas' commentary on verse 34 ("I have come to bring a sword, not peace") distinguishes between two types of peace: good and bad. The name peace means concord. There is a bad peace (i.e. bad agreements among men). Wisdom 14:22 In Evangelium Matthaei, Caput X.

That is a passage about men serving either their affections or their kings to give up true worship for false worship, which resulted in total social disorder, all agreed upon by men! The parallel's with our democratic age are serious: killing the babies and confusing marriage and sexual morality, all agreed upon by men "in a great war of ignorance," such great evils, which they call "peace" and "independence."

Wisdom 14:22-26
And it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God, but whereas they lived in a great war of ignorance, they call so many and so great evils peace.
For either they sacrifice their own children, or use hidden sacrifices, or keep watches full of madness,
So that now they neither keep life, nor marriage undefiled, but one killeth another through envy, or grieveth him by adultery:
And all things are mingled together, blood, murder, theft and dissimulation, corruption and unfaithfulness, tumults and perjury, disquieting of the good,
Forgetfulness of God, defiling of souls, changing of nature, disorder in marriage, and the irregularity of adultery and uncleanness.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Freedom from "the Chains of Relativism" Especially Important for Youth Today

Academy of Sciences Induction, Paris, Nov. 7, 1992

...It is that man does not allow himself to be hampered by exterior chains such as relativism, the search for power and profit at any cost, drugs, disordered relationships, confusion in regard to matrimony and the non-recognition of the human person in all phases of his or her existence from conception to its natural end, which suggests that there can be periods when the human being would not really exist...

...In today's world it is more than ever urgent to invite our contemporaries to a renewed attention to...respect for each human being and the quest for the common good... In effect, the development of subjectivism, which makes each one tend to consider himself as the only point of reference and to hold that what he thinks has the character of truth, exhorts us to form consciences on fundamental values that cannot be mocked without putting man and society itself in danger, and upon the objective criteria of a decision that presupposes an act of reason.... ...[I]t is necessary, in private and public life, to have the courage to say the truth and to follow it, to be free with respect to the surrounding world that often tends to impose its viewpoint and the behaviour to adopt.

True freedom consists in proceeding along the way of truth according to one's vocation, knowing that each person must render an account of his own life to his Creator and Saviour.

It is important that we know how to propose [this path] to youth, reminding them that true development is not at whatever cost, and inviting them not to be content to follow every trend presented to them. Hence, they will be able to discern with courage and tenacity the way of freedom and happiness, which presupposes fulfilling a certain number of requirements made with effort, sacrifice and the necessary renunciation so as to act well...

...What gladdens man's heart is the recognition of being a son or daughter of God; it is a beautiful and good life under the gaze of God, as are also the victories obtained over evil and against deceit. By permitting each person to discover that life has a sense and that he or she is responsible for it, we open the way to a maturation of the person and to a reconciled humanity that seeks the common good...

...We must have the courage to remind our contemporaries what man is and what humanity is...

Cf. "Freedom Law, and the Good", Paris, November 7, 1992, in Values in a Time of Upheaval, Joseph Ratzinger, New York: Crossroads, 2006, 45-72.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Term "Fundamentalism" Confuses Religious Contents

Image result for marxist islam
[Regarding Islam] I should look critically at one of the catchwords in the present debate, which is often offered as a general key to understanding today's course of events: "fundamentalism". If we begin by ascertaining briefly the basis of the contemporary renaissance of the Islamic world, two causes strike us at once. First, there is the economic, and thereby also the political and military, strengthening of the Islamic countries through the importance that oil has attained in international politics. But whereas the economic advance in the West has led in general to a dilution of religious substance, in the Islamic world, the new economic strength is linked to a new religious self-awareness; it is of course true that religion, culture and politics stand together in Islam in an inseparable unity. This new religious self-awareness and the attitudes resulting from it are often termed "fundamentalism" in the West today. In my view, this is the inappropriate transfer of a concept from American Protestantism into a wholly different world, and this does not help us truly to understand what is going on. Fundamentalism, according to the word's original meaning, is a tendency that arose in  Protestant America in the nineteenth century as a protest against evolutionism and biblical criticism. It attempted to supply a firm Christian foundation against both of these through the defense of the absolute inerrancy of Scripture. There doubtless exist analogies to this attitude in other spiritual worlds too, but one falls victim to a false simplification if one changes analogies into an identification. This catchword has been made into an all-too-simple key that permits us to divide the world into two halves, a good half and a bad half. The series of supposed fundamentalisms has in the meantime passed from the Protestant over the Catholic to the Islamic and the Marxist fundamentalisms. The differences in content go utterly unheeded; one is a fundamentalism if one has firm convictions, for this is viewed as something that provokes conflicts and is opposed to progress. In contrast, the "good" is the doubt that takes up the battle against old certainties--that is, every modern undogmatic or antidogmatic movement.

But one cannot truly give an explanation of the world while bypassing the contents so simply, merely using a formal division into categories. In my view, one ought to abandon completely talk of Islamic fundamentalism, because it does more to conceal very different processes under a simplifying label that to shed light on them. It seems to me that one must make a distinction between the starting point of the new Islamic awakening and then the different forms that this takes. As for the starting point, it seems to me very significant that the first indications of the turning point in Iran were attacks on American movies. The Western way of life with its moral permissiveness was felt to be an attack on their own identity and on the dignity of their own way of life. At the height of its power, the Christian world had evoked a sense of underdevelopment and of doubt in the Islamic way, at least in the educated circles of the Islamic world; but now contempt grows at the sight of how morality and religion are relegated to the merely private sphere, at the sight of a public life that is shaped in such a way that only religious and moral agnosticism counts as acceptable. The power with which this way of life was officially forced upon them, above all through American cultural exportation, so that it should appear to be the only normal thing, was experienced more and more as an attack on the depths of their own being. The reason why it was the atheistic Soviet Union but rather the religiously tolerant America, which has indeed a strongly religious character, that was seen and combatted as the personification of evil is connected with this collision between a morally agnostic culture and a structure of life in which, nation, culture, morality and religion appear as an indivisible totality.

The concrete forms taken by this new self-awareness are varied. An obsession with the letter of religious traditions is often bound to a political and military fanaticism in which religion is seen directly as a path to earthly power. The Islamic tradition itself could easily suggest this instrumentalization of the religious energies for the political field. In connection with the phenomenon of Palestinian opposition, a revolutionary interpretation of Islam has developed that comes very close to Christian theologies of liberation and has facilitated the coalescence of Western European, Marxist-inspired terrorism and Islamic terrorism. What is superficially called Islamic fundamentalism found no difficulty in associating itself with socialist ideas of liberation: Islam is presented as the true bearer of the struggle of oppressed peoples for freedom. It is along this line that R. Baraudy, for example, found his way from Marxism to Islam, in which he sees the bearer of revolutionary forces against the dominant capitalism. In contrast, as deeply religious a ruler as King Hassan of Morocco has recently expressed his profound anxiety about the future of Islam: one understanding of Islam  that sees its essence in devotion to God struggles with a political-revolutionary interpretation in which the religious element becomes part of a cultural chauvinism and is thereby ultimately subordinated to the political. The confrontation with this many-faceted phenomenon should not be taken too lightly. The Islam that is sure of itself has to a large extent a greater fascination for the Third World than a Christianity that is in a state of inner decay.

Turning Point for Europe?, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1994, 166-170. (Plinthos emphasis)

Priests Must Determine the Role of Religion in the World Today, Which is Essential

When one looks back at the history of our century, it is very easy to discern three great turning points that have affected initially and immediately the structure of life in Europe, but all three have also affected and continue to affect the history of the world as a whole. First, we must mention the transformation of the external and internal map of Europe that resulted from the First World War. It brought with it the collapse of the monarchies in central Europe, the end of the Czarist Russia and the restructuring of the whole of Europe in keeping with the nationalist principle--which, of course, on closer inspection proved externally impracticable and inherently insufficient as the foundation of a new order of peace. The Second World War was followed by the partition of Europe and of the world into two mutually opposed power blocs: the Marxist and the liberal capitalist. Now, at the end of the century, we have experienced the internal disintegration of Marxist ideology together with the structure of power it had created. The special characteristic of this third turning point is that it took place without a war and almost without any bloodshed, simply through the internal collapse of a system and its intellectual foundations, that is, through the powers of the spirit and not through military or political force. Herein lie both the hope and the special responsibility of this event, and we are still very far from meeting the challenge it poses.

Liberalism and Marxism were in agreement in refusing religion both the right and the capacity to shape public affairs and the common future of mankind. In the maturation process of the second half of this century, religion has been discovered anew as an ineradicable force both of individual and of social living. It has become clear that one cannot plan and shape the future of mankind while prescinding from religion. This process gives comfort to faith, but faith will not fail to recognize at the same time the dangers inherent in it, for the temptation is obvious on all sides to take in religion as an instrument to serve political ideas. In this situation it is an absolute obligation for the theologian and for the pastor of the Church to enter the dispute about the correct understanding of the present time and about the path into the future, in order both to clarify faith's own proper sphere and at the same time to fulfill his own share of responsibility at this hour.

From the preface to the publication (German edition 1991) of Turning Point for Europe: The Church and Modernity in the Europe of Upheavals, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1994, 7-8. (Emphasis by Plinthos).

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum Tenth Anniversary Pilgrimage and Conference: 14 to 17 September 2017, Rome



Thursday, 14 September

9am-6pm: Congress 
   “The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI: A Renewed Youth for the Church”: Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Largo Angelicum, Rome (With full simultaneous translations)

   9:00 Registration (30 Euros, lunch included)

9:30 Greetings by Fr. Vincenzo M. Nuara, OP, Moderator of Amicizia Sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum and Chaplain of Giovani e Tradizione

10:00 Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei: Summorum Pontificum 10 years on: Review and Perspectives

10:30 His Eminence Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei: Dogma and Liturgy (11:15 Break)

11:30 Fr. Marino Neri, Secretary of Amicizia Sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum: Presentation of the Acts of the Fourth Colloquium on Summorum Pontificum from 2015

11:45 Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau, Abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Fontgombault: Fruits of the Grace of Summorum Pontificum for Monastic and Priestly Life

12:30 Martin Mosebach, writer and essayist: Holy Routine: on the Mystery of Repetition (13:30 Lunch)

15:30 His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments: Silence and the Primacy of God in the Sacred Liturgy

16:15 Monsignor Markus Graulich, Under Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. From the Indult to a Universal Law of the Church: a Canonical Reading of SP (16:45 Break)

17:15 Ettore Gotti Tedeschi (former President of IOR): The “Economy” of Sacred Liturgy (18:00 Conclusion)

6:30pm: Vespers for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrated by His Excellency, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Pontifical Household: Basilica di San Marco Evangelista al Campidoglio (Piazza Venezia)

Friday, September 15

4pm: Via Crucis (Colosseum area) led by the Institute of the Good Shepherd

7pm: Solemn High Mass celebrated by Mons. Gilles Wach, Superior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest: Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

Saturday, September 16

9am: Eucharistic Adoration celebrated by Fr. Jean-Cyrille Sow (FSSP), new parish priest of the Trinità dei Pellegrini: Chiesa Nuova (Santa Maria in Vallicella, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II)

9:45am: Solemn procession through the streets of Rome, guided by The Most Reverend Abp. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei

11am: Pontifical High Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter’s, celebrated by His Eminence Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, choir directed by Maestro Aurelio Porfiri

1pm: Buffet for the clergy (registration required) presided over by His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke and offered by Paix Liturgique and the FIUV (International Una Voce Federation)

Sunday, September 17

11am: Solemn High Mass in the Dominican Rite celebrated by Rev. Fr. Dominique-Marie de Saint-Laumer, General Prior of the Fraternity of St. Vincent Ferrer: Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Presence of God

There are two kinds of persons; those who seek their happiness in God, and those who look for it in themselves.

The first have the Spirit of the Lord within, the second are dwelling alone.

John Hardon, SJ, The Catholic Catechism, New York: Image, 1981, 187.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Critical Praise of The Tridentine Breviary, Blessed John Henry Newman

Tract No. 75 (Ad Clerum)

On the Roman Breviary as Embodying the Substance of the Devotional Services of the Church Catholic

And evermore,
As faith grows rare,
Unlock her heart, and offer all its store,
In holier love and humbler vows,
As suits a lost returning spouse. 

{1} THERE is so much of excellence and beauty in the services of the Breviary, that were it skilfully set before the Protestant by Roman controversialists as the book of devotions received in their communion, it would undoubtedly raise a prejudice in their favour, if he were ignorant of the circumstances of the case, and but ordinarily candid and unprejudiced. To meet this danger is one principal object of the following pages; in which, whatever is good and true in those Devotions will be claimed, and on reasonable grounds, for the Church Catholic in opposition to the Roman Church, whose only real claim above other Churches is that of having, on the one hand, preserved the Service with less of mutilation or abridgment, and, on the other, having adopted into it certain additions and novelties, ascertainable to be such in history, as well as being corruptions doctrinally. In a word, it will be attempted to wrest a weapon out of our adversaries’ hands; who have in this, as in many other instances, appropriated to themselves a treasure which was ours as much as theirs; and then, on our attempting to recover it, accuse us of borrowing what we have but lost through inadvertence. The publication then of the selections, which it is proposed presently to give from these Services, is, as it were, an act of re-appropriation. Were, however, the Breviary ever so much the property of the Romanists, by retaining it in its ancient Latin form, they have defrauded the Church of that benefit which, in the vernacular tongue, it might have afforded to the people at large. {2}

Another reason for the selections which are to follow, lies in the circumstance, that our own daily Service is confessedly formed upon the Breviary; so that an inspection of the latter will be found materially to illustrate and explain our own Prayer-Book.

It may suggest, moreover, character and matter for our private devotions, over and above what our Reformers have thought fit to adopt into our public Services; a use of it which will be but carrying out and completing what they have begun.

And there is a further benefit which, it is hoped, will result from an acquaintance with the Breviary Services, viz. that the adaptation and arrangement of the Psalms therein made, will impress many persons with a truer sense of the excellence and profitableness of those inspired compositions than it is the fashion of this age to entertain.

Lastly, if it can be shown, as was above intimated, that the corruptions, whatever they be, are of a late date, another fact will have been ascertained, in addition to those which are ordinarily insisted on, discriminating and separating off the Roman from the primitive Church.

With these views a sketch shall first be given of the history of the Breviary; then the selections from it shall follow.

On the history of the Breviary [Note 1]

The word Breviarium first occurs in the work of an author of the eleventh century, and is used to denote a compendium or systematic arrangement of the devotional offices of the Church. Till that time they were contained in several independent volumes according to the nature of each. Such, for instance, were the Psalteria, Homilaria, Hymnaria, and the like, to be used in the service in due course. But at this memorable era, and under the auspices of the Pontiff who makes it memorable, Gregory VII., an order was drawn up, for the use of the Roman Church, containing in one all these different collections, introducing the separate members of each in its proper place, and harmonizing them together by the use of rubrics. Indeed, some have been {3} led to conclude that in its first origin the word Breviary was appropriated to a mere collection of rubrics, not to the offices connected by them. But even taking it in its present sense, it will be obvious to any one who inspects the Breviary how well it answers to its name. Yet even thus digested, it occupies four thick volumes of duodecimo size.

Gregory VII. did but restore and harmonize these offices; which seem to have existed more or less the same in their constituent parts, though not in order and system, from Apostolic times. In their present shape they are appointed for seven distinct seasons in the twenty-four hours, and consist of prayers, praises, and thanksgivings of various forms; and, as regards both contents and hours, are the continuation of a system of worship observed by the Apostles and their converts. As to contents, the Breviary Services consist of the Psalms; of Hymns, and Canticles; of Lessons and Texts from inspired and ecclesiastical authors; of Antiphons, Verses and Responses, and Sentences; and of Collects. And analogous to this seems to have been the usage of the Corinthian Christians, whom St. Paul blames for refusing to agree in some common order of worship; when they came together, every one of them saying a Psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation [Note 2]. On the other hand, the Catholic seasons of devotions are certainly derived from Apostolic usage. The Jewish observance of the third, sixth, and ninth hours for prayer, was continued by the inspired founders of the Christian Church. What Daniel had practised, even when the decree was signed forbidding it, "kneeling on his knees three times a day, and praying, and giving thanks unto his GOD," St. Peter and the other Apostles were solicitous in preserving. It was when "they were all with one accord in one place," at "the third hour of the day," that the HOLY GHOST came down upon them at Pentecost. It was at the sixth hour, that St. Peter, "went up upon the house-top to pray," and saw the vision revealing to him the admission of the Gentiles into the Church. And it was at the ninth hour that "Peter and John went up together unto the temple." being "the hour of prayer." But though these were the more remarkable seasons {4} of devotion, there certainly were others besides them, in that first age of the Church. After our SAVIOUR'S departure, the Apostles, we are informed, "all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren:" and with this accords the repeated exhortation to pray together without ceasing, which occurs in St. Paul's Epistles. It will be observed that he insists in one passage on prayer to the abridgment of sleep [Note 3]; and one recorded passage of his life exemplifies his precept. "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto GOD, and the prisoners heard them." Surely it is more natural to suppose that this act of worship came in course, according to their wont, and was only not omitted because of their imprisonment, somewhat after Daniel's pattern, than that they should have gone aside to bear this sort of indirect testimony to the Gospel.

Such was the Apostolic worship as far as Scripture happens to have preserved it; that it was as systematic, and as apportioned to particular times of the day, as in the aftertimes of peace and prosperity, is not to be supposed; yet it seems to have been, under ordinary circumstances, as ample and extended, as then. If St. Paul thought a prison and a prison's inmates no impediment to vocal prayer, we may believe it was no common difficulty which ever kept him from it.

In subsequent times the Hours of prayer were gradually developed from the three, or (with midnight) the four seasons, above enumerated, to seven, viz. by the addition of Prime (the first-hour), Vespers, (the evening), and Compline (bed-time); according to the words of the Psalm, "Seven times a day do I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous judgments." Other pious and instructive reasons existed, or have since been perceived, for this number. It was a memorial of the seven days of creation; it was an honour done to the seven petitions given us by our LORD in His prayer; it was a mode of pleading for the influence of that Spirit who is revealed to us as sevenfold; on the other hand, it was a preservative against those seven evil spirits, which, are apt to return to the exorcised soul more {5} wicked than he who has been driven out of it; and it was a fit remedy of those seven successive falls, which the Scripture says happen to "the just man" daily.

And, as the particular number of their Services admitted of various pious meanings, so did each in its turn suggest separate events in our SAVIOUR'S history. He was born, and He rose again at midnight. At Prime, (or 7 A.M. according to our reckoning,) He was brought before Pilate. At the third, (or 9 A.M.) He was devoted to crucifixion by the Jews, and scourged. At the sixth, (or noon,) He was crucified. At the ninth, (or 3 P.M.) He expired. At Vespers, He was taken down from the cross; at which hour He had the day before eat the Passover, washed His Apostles' feet, and consecrated the Eucharist. At Completorium, or Compline, He endured the agony in the garden.

These separate Hours, however, require a more distinct notice. The night Service was intended for the end of the night, when it was still dark, but drawing towards day; and, considering that the hour for rest was placed soon after sunset, it did not infringe upon the time necessary for repose. Supposing the time of sleep to extend from 8 or 9 P.M. to 3 or 4 in the morning, the worshipper might then rise without inconvenience to perform the service which was called variously by the name of Nocturns, or Matins, as we still differently describe the hours in which it took place, as night or morning. It consists, when full, of three parts or Nocturns, each made up of Psalms and Lessons; and it ended in a Service, supposed to be used shortly before sunrise, and called Lauds or Praises. This termination of the Nocturn Service is sometimes considered distinct from it, so as to make eight instead of seven Hours in the day; as if in accordance with the text, "Give a portion to seven, and also to eight." Accordingly it is sometimes called by the name of Matins, instead of the Nocturns; and sometimes both together are so called.

This subdivision of the night service has the effect of dividing the course of worship into two distinct parts, of similar structure with each other; the three Nocturns, Lauds, and Prime, corresponding respectively to the three day hours (of the 3d, 6th, and 9th) Vespers and Compline. Of these the three day hours are made up of Psalms, Hymns, and Sentences. These are the {6} simplest of the Services, and differ very little from each other through the year. Lauds answer to Vespers, the sun being about to rise or about to set in the one or the other respectively. Each contains five Psalms, a Text, Hymn, Evangelical Canticle, Collect, and Commemoration of Saints. These hours are the most ornate of the Services, and are considered to answer to the morning and evening sacrifices of the Jews.

Prime and Compline were introduced at the same time (the fifth century), and are placed respectively at the beginning of day and the beginning of night. In each there is a Confession, four Psalms, a Hymn, Text, and Sentences.

The ecclesiastical day is considered to begin with the evening or Vesper service; according to the Jewish reckoning, as alluded to in the text, "In the evening, and morning, and at noon-day, will I pray, and that instantly." The ancient Vespers are regarded by some to be the most solemn hour of the day. They were sometimes called the Officium Lucernarum [Note 4]. Prayers were in some places offered while the lamps were lighting; and this rite was called lumen offerre [Note 5]. The Mozarabic service supplies an instance of this, in which the Office ran as follows:

"Kyrie eleyson, Christe eleyson, Kyrie eleyson. Pater noster, etc. In nomine Domini Jesu Christi, lumen cum pace. R. Amen. Hoc est lumen oblatum. R. Deo gratias."

On Festivals, the appropriate Services, beginning on the evening of the preceding day, are continued over the evening of the day itself; so that there are in such cases two Vespers, called the First and the Second, of which the First are the more solemn.

This is the stated succession of the sacred offices through the day, but the observance of the precise hours has not been generally insisted on at any time, but has varied with local usages or individual convenience. Thus the Matin and Laud Services may be celebrated on the preceding evening, as is done (for instance) in the Sistine Chapel at Rome during Passion week, {7} the celebrated Miserere being one of the Psalms in Lauds. Prime may be used just before or after sunrise; the Third soon after and soon after, the Sixth; the Ninth, near dinner; Vespers and Compline, after dinner. Or Prime, the Third, Sixth, and Ninth may come together two or three hours after sunrise. Noon, which in most ages has been the hour for the meal of the day, is made to divide the Services; there is a rule, for instance, against Compline coming before dinner.

Such is the present order and use of the Breviary Services, as derived more or less directly from Apostolic practice. Impressed with their antiquity, our Reformers did not venture to write a Prayer-Book of their own, but availed themselves of what was ready to their hands: in consequence, our Daily Service is a compound of portions of this primitive ritual, Matins being made up of the Catholic Matins, Lauds, and Prime, and Even-song of Vespers and Compline. The reason why these changes were brought about will be seen in the following sketch of the history of the Breviary from the time of Gregory VII.

The word has been already explained to mean something between a directory and an harmony of offices; but it is to be feared there was another, and not so satisfactory reason for the use of it. It implied an abridgment or curtailment of Services, and so in particular of the Scripture readings, whether Psalms, or Lessons, at least in practice. Of course there is no reason why the Church might not, in the use of her discretion, limit as well as select the portions of the inspired volume, which were to be introduced into her devotions; but there were serious reasons why she should not defraud her children of "their portion of meat in due season;" and it would seem, as if the eleventh or at least the twelfth century, a time fertile in other false steps in religion, must be charged also, as far as concerns Rome and its more intimate dependencies, with a partial removal of the light of the written Word from the Sanctuary. Whatsoever benefit attended the adjustment of the offices in other respects, so far as the reading of Scripture was omitted, it as productive of evil, at least in prospect. An impulse was given, however slight in itself, which was followed up in the Centuries which succeeded, and in all those churches which either then, or in the course of time, adopted the usage of Rome. {8}

Even now that usage is not universally received in the Latin Communion, and it was in no sense enjoined on the whole Communion till after the Council of Trent; but from the influence of the papal see and of the monastic orders, it seems to have affected other countries from a much earlier date. This influence would naturally be increased by the circumstance that the old Roman Breviary had long before Gregory's time been received in various parts of Europe: in England, since the time of Gregory the Great, who, after the pattern of Leo, and Gelasius before him, had been a Reformer of it; in Basle, since the ninth century; in France and Germany by means of Pepin and Charlemagne; while Gregory VII. himself effected its reception in Spain. Other Breviaries however still were in use, as they are at this day. The Ambrosian Breviary used in the Church of Milan, derives its name from the great St. Ambrose; and in the ninth century Charles the Bald, while sanctioning the use of the Roman, speaks also of the usage of Jerusalem, of Constantinople, of Gaul, of Italy, and Toledo.

In Gregory's Breviary there are no symptoms of a neglect of Scripture. It contains the offices for festival-days, Sundays, and week-days; Matins on festivals having nine Psalms and nine Lessons, and on Sundays eighteen Psalms and nine Lessons, as at present. The course of the Scripture Lessons was the same as it had been before his time; as it is preserved in a manuscript of the thirteenth century. It will be found to agree in great measure both with the order of the present Breviary and with our own. From Advent to Christmas were read portions of the prophet Isaiah; from the Octave of the Epiphany to Septuagesima, St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans; from Septuagesima to the third Sunday in Lent, the book of Genesis, the i., xii. and xxvii. on the Sundays to which they are allotted in our own offices; on the fourth in Lent to Wednesday in Passion week, Jeremiah; from Easter to the third Sunday after, the Apocalypse; from the third to the fifth, St. James; from the Octave of the Ascension to Pentecost, the Acts; after the Octave of Trinity to the last Sunday in July, the books of Kings; in August, Proverbs; in September, Job, Tobit, Judith, and Esther; in October, Maccabees; and in November, Ezekiel, Daniel, and other Prophets. {9}

Well would it have been if this laudable usage, received from the first ages, and confirmed by Pope Gregory VII., had been observed, according to his design, in the Roman Church; but his own successors were the first to depart from it. The example was set in the Pope's chapel of curtailing the sacred Services, and by the end of the twelfth century it had been followed in all the churches in Rome, except that of St. John Lateran. The Fratres Minores (Minorists or Franciscans) adopted the new usage, and their Breviaries were in consequence remarkable for the title "secundum consuetudinem Romanæ Curiæ," contrary to the usage of such countries as conformed to the Roman Ritual, which were guided by the custom of the churches in the city. Haymo, the chief of this order, had the sanction of Gregory X., in the middle of the thirteenth century, to correct and complete a change, which, as having begun in irregularity, was little likely to have fallen of itself into an orderly system; and his arrangements, which were conducted on the pattern of the Franciscan devotions, nearly correspond with the Breviary, as it at present stands.

Haymo's edition, which was introduced into the Roman Church by Nicholas III. A.D. 1278, is memorable for another and still more serious fault. Graver and sounder matter being excluded, apocryphal legends of Saints were used to stimulate and occupy the popular mind; and a way was made for the use of those Invocations to the Virgin and other Saints, which heretofore were unknown in public worship. The addresses to the Blessed Mary in the Breviary, as it is at present constituted, are such as the following: the Ave Mary, before commencing every office through the day and at the end of Compline; at the end of Lauds and Vespers, an Antiphon invocatory of the Virgin; the Officium B. Mariæ, on the Sabbath or Saturday, and sundry other offices, containing Hymns and Antiphons in her honour. These portions of the Breviary carry with them their own plain condemnation, in the judgment of an English Christian; no commendation of the general structure and matter of the Breviary itself will have any tendency to reconcile him to them; and it has been the strong feeling that this is really the case, that has led the writer of these pages fearlessly and securely to admit the real excellences, and to dwell upon the antiquity, of the Roman {10} Ritual. He has felt that, since the Romanists required an unqualified assent to the whole of the Breviary, and that there were passages which no Anglican ever could admit, praise the true Catholic portion of it as much as he might, he did not in the slightest degree approximate to a recommendation of Romanism. But to return;—these Invocations and Services to the Blessed Virgin have been above enumerated, with a view of observing that, on the very face of them, they do not enter into the structure of the Breviary; they are really, as they are placed, additions, and might easily have been added at some future period, as (e.g.) was the case with our own Thanksgiving, or the Prayer for the Parliament. This remark seems to apply to all the intrinsically-exceptionable Addresses in the Breviary; for as to the Confession at Prime and Compline, in which is introduced the name of the Blessed Virgin and other Saints, this practice stands on a different ground. It is not a simple gratuitous Invocation made to them, but it is an address to ALMIGHTY GOD in His heavenly court, as surrounded by His Saints and Angels, answering to St. Paul's charge to Timothy, "before GOD and the LORD JESUS CHRIST and the elect Angels," and to Daniel and St. John's address to the Angels who were sent to them. The same may even be said of the Invocation "Holy Mary and all Saints," [Note 6] etc. in the Prime Service, which Gavanti describes as being of very great antiquity. These usages certainly now do but sanction and encourage that direct worship of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints, which is the great practical offence of the Latin Church, and so are a serious evil; but it is worth pointing out, that, as on the one hand they have more claim to be considered an integral part of the service, so on the other, more can be said towards their justification than for those addresses which are now especially under our consideration.

This is what occurs to observe on the first sight of these Invocations; but we are not left to draw a conjectural judgment about them. Their history is actually known, and their recent introduction into the Church Services is distinctly confessed by Roman ritualists. {11}

The Ave Mary, for instance, is made up of the Angel's salutation, "Hail, thou," etc. Elizabeth's "Blessed art thou among women," etc. and the words, "Holy Mary, Mother of GOD, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death." The last clause "now and," etc. was confessedly added by the Franciscans in the beginning of the sixteenth century; and the words preceding it, "Holy Mary," etc. which Gavanti, after Baronius, wishes to attribute to the Council of' Ephesus (A.D. 431), are acknowledged by the later critics, Grancolas and Merari, to have had no place in any form of prayer till the year 1508. Even the Scripture portion of the Ave Mary, which, as Merari observes, is an Antiphon rather than Prayer, and which occurs as such in the lesser office of the Blessed Virgin, and in St. Gregory's Sacramentary in the Mass Service for the fourth Sunday in Advent, is not mentioned by any devotional writer, nor by Councils, nor Fathers, up to the eleventh century, though they do enjoin the universal and daily use of the Creed and LORD'S Prayer, which are in the present Breviary used with it. It first occurs among forms of prayer prescribed for the people in the statutes of Otho, Bishop of Paris, A.D. 1195, who was followed, after the interval of a hundred years, by the regulations of Councils at Oxford and elsewhere. Another space of at least fifty years intervenes before the introduction of rosaries and crowns in honour of the Virgin. As to the Roman Breviary, it did not contain any part of the Ave Mary, till the promulgation of it by Pope Pius V., after the Tridentine Council, A.D. 1550.

The four Antiphons to the Blessed Virgin, used at the termination of the offices, are known respectively by their first words: the Alma Redemptoris, the Ave Regina, the Regina cœli, and the Salve Regina. Gavanti and Merari plainly tell us that they are not to be found in ancient authors. The Alma Redemptoris is the composition of Hermannus Contractus, who died A.D. 1054. The author of the Ave Regina is unknown, as is that of the Regina cœli. The Salve Regina is to be attributed either to Hermannus, or to Peter of Compostella. Gavanti would ascribe the last words "O clemens, O pia, O dulcis," etc. to St. Bernard, but Merari corrects him, the work in which they are contained being supposititious. These Antiphons seem to have {12} been used by the Franciscans after Compline from the thirteenth century: but are found in no Breviary before A.D. 1520.

The Saturday or Sabbath office of the Blessed Virgin was introduced, according to Baronius, by the monks of the Western church, about A.D. 1056.

The Officium Parvum B. V. M. was instituted by the celebrated Peter Damiani at the same date. It is said indeed to have been the restoration of a practice three hundred years old, and observed by John Damascene; which it may well have been: but there is nothing to show the identity of the Service itself with the ancient one, and that is the only point on which evidence would be important. Thirty years after its introduction by Damiani, it was made part of the daily worship by decree of Urban II.

The Breviary then, as it is now received, is pretty nearly what the Services became in practice in Rome, and among the Franciscans by the middle of the thirteenth century; the two chief points of difference between it and the ancient Catholic Devotions, being on the one hand its diminished allowance of Scripture reading, on the other its adoption of uncertain legends, and of Hymns and Prayers to the Virgin. However, the more grievous of these changes were not finally made in the Breviary itself, till the Pontificate of Pius V., after the Tridentine Council; at which time also it was imposed in its new form upon all the Churches in communion with Rome, except such as had used some other Ritual for above two hundred years. Not even at the present day, however, is this Roman novelty, as it may be called, in universal reception; the Paris Breviary, as corrected by the Archbishop of that city, A.D. 1735, differs from it considerably in detail, though still disfigured by the Invocations.

Before concluding this account of the Roman Breviary, it is necessary to notice one attempt which was made in the first part of the sixteenth century to restore it to a more primitive form. In the year 1536, Quignonius, Cardinal of Santa Crux, compiled a Breviary under the sanction of Clement VII., and published it under his successor, Paul III. This Ritual, the use of which was permitted, but not formally enjoined by the Holy See, was extensively adopted for forty years, when it was superseded by {13} the Franciscan Breviary, as the now authorized one may be called, in consequence of a Bull of Pius V. The Cardinal's Breviary was drawn up on principles far more agreeable to those on which the Reformation was conducted, and apparently with the same mixture of right and wrong in the execution. With a desire of promoting the knowledge of Scripture, it showed somewhat of a rude dealing with received usages, and but a deficient sense of what is improperly called the imaginative part of religion. His object was to adapt the Devotions of the Church for private reading, rather than chanting in choir, and so to encourage something higher than that almost theatrical style of worship, which, when reverence is away, will prevail, alternately with a slovenly and hurried performance, in the performance of Church Music. Accordingly he left out the Versicles, Responses, and Texts, which, however suitable in Church, yet in private took more time, as he says, to find out in the existing formularies than to read when found. He speaks in his preface expressly of the "perplexus ordo," on which the offices were framed. But his great reform was as regards the reading of Scripture. He complains that, whereas it was the ancient rule that the Psalms should be read through weekly and the Bible yearly, both practices had been omitted. The Ferial or week-day service had been superseded by the service for feast-days, as being shorter: and for that reason every day, even through Lent, was turned into a festival. To obviate the temptation which led to this irregularity, he made the Ferial service about the length of that of the old feast day; and he found space in these contracted limits for the reading of the Psalms, and the whole Bible, except part of the Apocalypse, in the week and the year respectively, by omitting the popular legends of the Saints which had been substituted for them. He observes, that these compositions had been sometimes introduced without any public authority, or sanction of the Popes, merely at the will of individuals. Those which he retained, he selected from authors of weight, whether of the Greek or Latin Church. Besides, he omitted the Officium Parvum B. M. V., on the ground that there were sufficient services in her honour independently of it. In all his reforms he professes to be returning to the practice of antiquity; and he {14} made use of the assistance of men versed "in Latin and Greek, in divinity, and the jus pontificium."

This Breviary was published in Rome, A.D. 1536, under the sanction, as has been said, of Paul III. However, it was not of a nature to please the divines of an age which had been brought up in the practice of the depraved Catholicism then prevalent; and its real faults, as they would appear to be, even enabled them to oppose it with justice. The Doctors of the Sorbonne proceeded to censure it as running counter in its structure to antiquity and the Fathers; and though they seem at length to have got over their objections to it, and various editions at Venice, Antwerp, Lyons, and Paris, showed that it was not displeasing to numbers in the Roman Communion, it was at length superseded by the Bull of Pius V. establishing the Franciscan Breviary, which had more or less grown into use in the course of the preceding three hundred years.

This account of Cardinal Quignonius's Breviary, and the circumstances under which it was compiled, will remind the English reader of the introductory remarks concerning the Service of the Church, prefixed to our Ritual; which he may read more profitably than heretofore, after the above illustrations of their meaning. For this reason they shall be here cited

"There was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted; as, among other things, it may plainly appear by the Common Prayers, in the Church, commonly called Divine Service. The first original and ground whereof, if a man would search out by the Ancient Fathers, he shall find that the same was not ordained but of a good purpose, and for a great advancement of godliness. For they so ordered the matter, that all the whole Bible, (or the greatest part thereof,) should be read over once every year; intending thereby that the Clergy, and especially such as were Ministers in the Congregation, should (by often reading and meditating on GOD'S Word) be stirred up to godliness themselves, and be more able to exhort others by wholesome doctrine, not to confute them that were adversaries to the truth; and further, that the people (by daily hearing of Holy Scripture read in the Church,) might continually {15} profit more and more in the knowledge of GOD, and be the more inflamed with the love of His true religion.

"But these many years past, this godly and decent order of the ancient Fathers hath been so altered, broken, and neglected, by planting in uncertain Stories and Legends, with multitude of Responds, Verses, vain Repetitions, Commemorations, and Synodals; that commonly when any book of the Bible was begun, after three or four chapters were read out, all the rest were unread. And in this sort the book of Isaiah was begun in Advent, and the book of Genesis in Septuagesima; but they were only begun, and never read through. After like sort were other books of Holy Scripture used. And furthermore, not-withstanding that the ancient Fathers have divided the Psalms into seven portions, whereof every one was called a Nocturn, now of late time a few of them have been daily said, and the rest utterly omitted. Moreover, the number and hardness of the rules called the Pie, and the manifold changings of the service, was the cause, that, to turn the book only was so hard and intricate a matter, that many times there was more business to find out what should be read, than to read it when it was found out.

"These inconveniences therefore considered, here is set forth such an Order, whereby the same shall be redressed. And for a readiness in this matter, here is drawn out a Calendar for that purpose, which is plain and easy to be understood; wherein (so much as may be) the reading of holy Scripture is so set forth, that all things shall be done in order, without breaking one piece from another. For this cause be cut off Anthems, Responds, Invitatories, and such like things as did break the continual course of the reading of the Scripture."

It remains but to enumerate the selections from the Breviary which follow. First has been drawn out, an Analysis of the Weekly Service, as well for Sunday as other days. This is followed by an ordinary Sunday Service at length, as it runs when unaffected by the occurrence of special feast or season, in order to ground the reader, who chooses to pursue the subject, in the course of daily worship as a whole. With the same object a Week-day Service has also been drawn out. Two portions {16} of extraordinary Services are then added, one from the Service for the Transfiguration, the other for the Festival of St. Lawrence, with a view of supplying specimens of a more elevated and impressive character. Next follows a design for a Service for March 21st, the day on which Bishop Ken was taken from the Church below, and another for a Service of thanksgiving and commemoration for the anniversaries of the days of death of friends or relations. These have been added, to suggest to individual Christians a means of carrying out in private the principle and spirit of those inestimable forms of devotion which are contained in our authorized Prayer-Book. The series is closed with an abstract of the Services for every day in Advent, fitting on to sections 2 and 3, which contain respectively the types of the Sunday and Week-day Service. Except by means of some such extended portion, it is impossible for the reader to understand the general structure, and appreciate the harmony of the Breviary.

Lastly, the writer of these pages feels he shall have to ask indulgence for such chance mistakes, in the detail of the following Services, as are sure to occur when an intricate system is drawn out and set in order, with no other knowledge of it than is supplied by the necessarily insufficient directions of a Rubric.

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1. The authorities used in this account are Gavanti's Thesaurus Rituum, cum notis Merari; Zaccaria's Bibliotheca Ritualis; and Mr. Palmer's Origines Liturgicæ.
2. 1 Cor. xiv. 26.
3. Eph. vi. 18.

4. Vid. Socr. Hist. 22. Vide also Lyra Apostolica, xv.

5. This ceremony must not be confused with the Lucernarium, or prayers at lighting the lamps; which took place before the evening.

6. It is observable that the words "Holy Mary" do not occur in the ancient Monastic Breviaries. The Confession at Prime and Compline does not occur in the Paris Breviary, 1735.
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