The end is nigh?

As we enter into the last weeks of the liturgical year the readings get more eschatological. The preacher here today was of a mind that we should not ever be prone to thinking that we are in the last days. To be sure, there has been many a Protestant sect that has predicted even the very day of the parousia, with results we can all to easily guess. Yet the end has to come some time, and both our Lord and the apostle assure us that there will be signs of its impending arrival.

What a year it has been. IS/Daesh apocalyptic atrocities, the disaster in the Yemen, a new cold war between Russia and the West, renewed attempts at militant Muslim terrorism in the West (most of which we will not hear about for a long time to come), an even more fanatical North Korea, and the election of Donald Trump. Continue reading “The end is nigh?”

Purgatory Revisited

This morning I was down to celebrate the conventual Mass, and on this day every November we offer Mass for the deceased relatives and benefactors of the English Benedictine Congregation. It got me thinking on purgatory, and I was propelled a little further along by something I read in the latest (and last?) from the pope emeritus, Benedict XVI: Last Testament in his own words, translated by Dr Jacob Phillips (one of those bright young things at St Mary’s University, Twickenham) and hot off the press and into our mailboxes this past week. Continue reading “Purgatory Revisited”

Beyond Ad Orientem: Final Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016

In the home stretch now, with the last set of nuggets from Sacra Liturgia 2016. Continue reading “Beyond Ad Orientem: Final Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016”

Beyond Ad Orientem: Further Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016

Having, in the first gleanings, looked at Dr Bullivant’s small time bomb for the exegesis of the conciliar declaration on liturgy, it is time finally to extract the gems from the other talks at Sacra Liturgia 2016 in London a few weeks back.

This will be a light buffet not a banquet, a tasting menu not the full dishes. You can tell I am fasting today! Fuller details will be found in my series of posts from Sacra Liturgia in this blog. Continue reading “Beyond Ad Orientem: Further Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016”

Beyond Ad Orientem: First Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016

The controversy that has been stirred up over Cardinal Sarah’s encouragement to priests to return to the traditional orientation at the altar during Mass has been fascinating, alarming, and perhaps ultimately necessary. It has provoked people on various sides to play their hands: unswerving loyalty to the status quo of liturgical reform, and a willingness to use an iron fist in a velvet glove to defend it; a commitment to reforming this reform to bring it more in line with the explicit intentions of the Council on which the status quo bases its legitimacy;  a rejection even of a reform of the reform and an overriding commitment to the pre-conciliar liturgy as liberated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007; and, incredulity among a minority at this bickering over such a peripheral thing as liturgy —”people are starving”, etc. On the positive side, it has renewed a discussion into what Christian worship is all about, what is its focus and what are its essential principles. This has led some to make more concrete and definitive judgments on related issues on which they had not previously come to any firm and final decision.

However, Sacra Liturgia 2016 had three full days of talks beyond Cardinal Sarah’s controversial address. So to help further the effects and fruits of the conference, I propose to single out what struck me as particularly noteworthy and deserving of ongoing thought and application. These strike me as seeds that deserve the water of our attention, our study and prayer, and our action. Continue reading “Beyond Ad Orientem: First Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016”

A Quick Reply to Dr Shaw

Though I did not feel that he was obliged to, Dr Shaw has offered a timely reply to my previous post. In it he implies what I feel as well, that this is not personal but a discussion, a debate even, concerning the ways and means to a shared goal.

Dr Shaw does not address the whole of my post, just some issues he felt needed clarification. While I take on board what he says, I am not sure I find things much clearer.

I hypothesised that if the restoration of pre-conciliar worship is his goal, and wondering how this would be achieved, then one way that seemed to present itself would be imposing such a change much as the new Mass was imposed in 1969. We do not want a repeat of that. Cheeringly, Dr Shaw said that this was “obviously not” the way to proceed. He clarifies how he sees progress advancing: Continue reading “A Quick Reply to Dr Shaw”

Enemies on every side: the reform of the reform

Liturgy is a hot topic again. Cardinal Sarah’s opening address at the Sacra Liturgia 2016 conference in London in early July, with its advocacy of priestly orientation to the east rather than to the people when at the altar, has had the effect of bringing many to play their hands openly. However, that this reception can be neatly divided along the usual lines, into progressives as anti-Sarah facing off against conservatives—or “neo-Tridentinists” as they have inanely been called—has become impossible.

The “conservative” ranks might be conveniently, if not with absolute accuracy, divided into two columns when it comes to this liturgical debate: the reformers-of-the-reform and the traditionalists properly speaking (i.e. those who favour the 1962 Missal). The reformers-of-the-reform have embraced the cardinal’s appeal, because it accords with the rubrics of the new Mass even as it is, and because it is a feeling almost like liberation to hear such a senior pastor advocate the traditional orientation with equivocation. Continue reading “Enemies on every side: the reform of the reform”