31 March 2011

That's just so...

...? What do you think. Completing words or phrases in a comment please. The pictures of this priest celebrating Mass from his iPad come from here. Some of the other arrangements deserve a word or two also.

29 March 2011

The Dedication of the new Amarillo cathedral

It was one thing seeing pictures of it empty. But to watch the dedication ceremony is something else. There are lots of notable features, but for the Pimpernel the singing of the Gospel is stands out as truly exceptional . Enjoy.

28 March 2011

The "1882 line"

The Pimpernel rejoices with the petulant Patricius. Shortly after his recent 23rd birthday he found his pearl of great price and having sold all ecclesial and liturgical reality he has lovingly embraced a 1882 Diurnal as the consummation of all Truth and liturgy. What a difference 80 years makes. 1882 yesterday, today and forever!

Let the youth speak for himself:

Where to draw the line?
"I had good fun today reciting Vespers for the first time in my life before Noon, and it worked out quite well for me as I spent the afternoon with some girlfriends. You know I think I have found the pearl of great price? I have found liturgical orthodoxy and reckoned for myself a healthy equilibrium for the decent ordering of my life. I have known the bishop of Rome, and now safely reject and repudiate everything he says and does with the uttermost disdain. I've stopped reading most blogs, and even bothering overmuch with this one. I shall go to the grave with my liturgical convictions, but perhaps thinking less about them will make me happier, or a better person."

If you read this, God bless you and keep you, young sir. Enjoy your time with your girlfriends.

The truth be told, the Pimpernel would prefer a diurnal from 1482, but hey, to draw a line in 1482, 1882 or 1962 according to personal preference is artificial, arrogant and immature. Such cafeteria traditionalism is not Catholic. What matters is what the Church does, at least if you want to remain part of it.


26 March 2011

A new cathedral

The folks down there in Amarillo, West Texas, got a new cathedral yesterday. Its big, clean, modern and expensively furnished. Bishop Zurek can boast a real achievement.

Bishop Zurek must be a humble man, 'cause his cathedra is pretty simple. Looks like there's lots of musical folks about, given the size of the organ and the number of choir seats. Strange that in a cathedral the tabernacle is where it is, but it was built as a parish church and it's a nice traditional touch. Relics behind the tabernacle? Great lighting. It's got a baptismal pool too.

The Bishop of Amarillo
"Incorporating the past with the new and finally to put to rest the soul of Sacred Heart Cathedral within its’ daughter church: St. Mary’s Church", the diocese's website tells us. More details, photos and a history here.

For the modern liturgy as it's usually celebrated this arrangement works. It is a nice, comfortable religious auditorium with all the necessary equipment. The real question is, does it lead people to worship of God or the celebration of themselves?

24 March 2011

Hats off to Domus Birettarum

With a tip of the hat to Damian Thompson, the Pimpernel raises his hat to the new blog Domus Birettarum where you can learn many things, join in their competition to win a biretta, and read about the "mummy bear of religious hats". Enjoy.

For those with Spanish tastes

23 March 2011

Sustained, Stirred, Renewed

Sustained, Stirred, Renewed,
Sunday upon Sunday,

the Gathering,
the Entrance,
the Liturgy of the Word,
the Liturgy of the Eucharist,
Holy Communion 
to the Concluding Rites
Going Out to Give Christian Witness

Sunday's Eucharist....,
.... a Joyful, Festive Experience!

This vision, from the website of the Irish diocese of Cloyne's Commission for Liturgical Formation, is as striking as the cacophany of color that leaps off the pages of their site at unsuspecting browsers.

Their liturgical vision belongs to a certain period of history, not so long ago. Today it is oh-so-dated. It is hardly the vision of the Catholic Church of the twenty-first century, in the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, post-Sacramentum Caritatis and post-Summorum Pontificum. It looks backwards, not forwards.

There are lots of "coming soon's" on the site. The featured artist is yet to arrive (watch that space) and they seem to be having trouble finding explanations for what they call "Church vocabulary". Not much about the new English translation seems to have arrived, and the link to liturgical music seems to suggest that in Cloyne, that sort of thing is for the birds. Never mind, the Pimpernel is sure that the Cloyne Commission for Liturgical Formation could always manage a rousing rendition of "O Danny boy".

Truly sustained, stirred and renewed.
Perhaps the most telling feature of this site is the picture of Seattle's cathedral in its re-ordered form side by side with its vision. 

It's telling because it was Cloyne's former bishop and his liturgy director (who's still around peddling his tired ideas) who tried so long and hard to have much the same thing done to their own magnificient Pugin-style cathedral in Cobh a few years ago.

They achieved a spectacular and public failure thanks to the heroic efforts of the locals who organised themselves into the "Friends of Saint Colman's Cathedral". You can find all the details of the case here.

Saint Colman's Cathedral, Cobh, Co. Cork, stands tall today amongst the cathdrals of Ireland as the sole Irish survivor of the ideological iconnoclasm of the past forty years. 

Have a look at the pictures and compare them with the Seattle model promoted by Cloyne's Commission for Liturgical Formation. If that doesn't tell you more than enough about what they really hope is "coming soon" nothing will.

21 March 2011

Another bland new church in Rome

The Holy Father dedicated a new Roman church yesterday.  From this clip he seemed to do it very well. But it also seems that it is one more bland church building in the suburbs of Rome.

17 March 2011

A new Protonotary Apostolic

Last Sunday "Father" Keith Newton appeard at Westminster Cathedral for the Rite of Election dressed in purple. Today from the Ordinariate website we learn the reason.

"It was announced today that the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been honoured by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and has been elevated to the rank of Protonotary Apostolic. Fr John Broadhurst and Fr Andrew Burnham have also been honoured by being elevated to the rank of Prelate of Honour. As such, all three priests are now known as Monsignor."

Monsignor Keith Newton, P.A.
© Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk
The Pimpernel conratulates the new Monsignori. This step is another important sign of how seriously the Holy Father and the Holy See are taking the Ordinariates.

But what, the Pimpernel wonders, can the new Protonotary do liturgically? If you put together his pontifical priviledges under Anglicanorum Coetibus and his new prelatial dignity, it seems like he may be the first Protonotary Apostolic in modern times who can pontificate to his congregations' content, as much as could any bishop, miter, crosier and the works. Well he is an Ordinary and has more authority than any auxiliary bishop, so why not?

The Pimernel looks forward to the photos of the Protonotary in action, that is if he ever gets to use a church building that is suitable for pontifical liturgy.

16 March 2011

And now I burn Summorum Pontificum

How very sad. Patricius seems to have finally flipped. First there was his absurd 'oath against 1962' then there was his little fit about not being allowed to be a substitute subdeacon. Encouraged by the calmer Rubricarius, various rants followed including some that are amusing and others that are rather dark, about recent popes and their being akin to the anti-Christ for their liturgical reforms. The Pimpernel has challenged him before.

Now we are treated to his rant on the occasion of his burning of Summorum Pontifucm and are pompously told that "liturgical legislation in the Roman Church in the last century (especially in the last four years) indicates that Rome is in a state of de facto schism with her own Liturgy". How very, very sad.

The poor young man is consistent. That is he his consistent in travelling along his chosen trajectory of estrangement from the visible centre of unity of the Church of Christ. Sad. Serious.

He is also a warning. To the young - if you indulge in a riot of historico-liturgical fetishism and set yourself up as the sole arbiter of the Church's liturgy, and stamp your foot long enough waiting for the Church to recognise your supreme authority on these questions, it can lead you out of the Church, no matter how intelligent you are or how good some or all of your points may be. To the not so young - if you encourage or indulge this sort of thing you may well be partially responsible for the effect it produces. Beware of the sin of scandal.

For Catholics claiming to be traditional, even all Catholics, there is a little theological dictum that seems relevant to the Pimpernel, "Extra ecclesiam nulla salus" . The Church is our mother and we must stick with and within her, especially if she's having a tough time. Even then she gives us life. Even then she is the narrow door.

Let's pray for him. If burning Summorum Pontificum has helped him vent his Saturday afternoon frustrations, no big deal. But if, as he seems to say, it's an act of defiance and separation from the Church and her Visible Head on Earth, he needs our prayers.

Add Patricius to your prayer intentions for Lent. Whether he believes it or not, praying for him in the liturgy of the Church of Rome as it is celebrated today will help.

15 March 2011

What, this?

The Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham over there in England seems to be a measured, educated and polite man, a true gentleman. 

It is unlikely that he would ever speak publicly about the truly exceptional proposal of the English Bishops, or perhaps of just the Archbishop of Westminster, to give this building to the Ordinariate for its central church/cathedral or whatever it is to be called.

The Ordinary may not be saying anything in public, but the Pimpernel suspects that he's thinking a lot about how this and Anglican heritage sit together, or not. He may be even saying one or two things about it in private, and to his Council.

Any ideas on what he might be thinking or saying?

Suggestions in a comment please, or even on a postcard addressed to the Archbishop of Westminster.

The scandal of Thiberville, week three

The scandal continues. For the third week in a row the church in Thiberville, full of people of all ages for its Sunday Mass until just last month, saw the walkout of all but ten parishioners at the beginning of Sunday Mass. They had gathered before Mass, as usual, to pray the rosary.

A pointless demonstration? Perhaps not. The Bishop of Evreaux has a meeting with representatives of the parish this week. The parishoners want him to give the Cure emeritus, who remains in the old presbytery saying Mass privately, one of the many churches in the parish to use.

If anyone has any doubt about the Bishop Nourrichard's insight into the liturgical sensibilities involved in this situation, or of that of the priests he has sent to replace the Abbe Michel, take look at the video of the old rite Mass of Quinquagesima celebrated a week ago. The link is in the update to last week's post.

Go, the Mass is started.

13 March 2011

Flash Mob Appears at Ash Wednesday Mass

The Pimpernel owes a big debt of gratitude to a reader who sent in the link to this truly special Ash Wednesday celebration. If you have not done much penance yet, watching this clip may get ya credit for the whole of Lent.

If the picture is worth a thousand words and as many years off purgatory, here's another few hundred of both to boot. All courtesy of Keloland TV. Thanks folks!

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent . It a time for penance, reflection, fasting and apparently, dance for one group of catholic students. We attend one Ash Wednesday Service that was interrupted by an unexpected, but emotional flash mob.

Not long after receiving the ceremonial ashes and final blessing, a flash mob broke out during the Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in Sioux Falls. The name of the song was "Where you go I'll go" by Chris Tomlin. A timely tribute for the beginning of the lenten season.

"We had done it for our talent show and it had such a powerful message behind it/we had a lot of people asking could we transform it into church or mass," St. Mary Teacher Julie Kolbeck said.

St. Mary Artist-in-Resident Vicky Fuller helped with song selection and dance moves, originally designed for a small group of performers.

"Flash mobs have been really kind of becoming a You Tube phenomena and our principal thought you know this would be something that really gets the kids interested," Kolbeck said.

This dance is a way for these elementary school kids to celebrate their faith. And of course, the message behind the flash mob is much stronger.

"It's like how God tells us what to do, then we have to follow it," St. Mary 6th Grader Emily Olson said.

"Its one of those things as a parent to see their faith that your kids have and see these kids carry that message on themselves and to present it in such a beautiful way, its very powerful," Kolbeck said.

12 March 2011

They still can't tell the time

Well, dear Rubricarius is persistent, you can give him that. His riposte to the Pimpernel's post What time is vespers this morning? proudly announces that "Today, and for the rest of Lent with the exception of Sundays, Vespers are not sung at the usual time in the afternoon but are sung before lunch." You may read the rest of his admittedly erudite and utterly-out-of-touch-with-liturgical-or any-other-sort-of-reality post here.

The Pimpernel will be praying Sext before lunch in Lent, with the rest of the Church, and None and Vespers afterwards.

Not all twentieth century reforms were bad gentlemen. Some may even have been logical, sensible and good.

11 March 2011

So, what color is purple?

Concelebration is one of those fruits of the Second Vatican Council's liturgical reform. It lets more chasubles out of the cupboard for an airing at the same time. Here we see the Archbishop of Southwark, England, and the Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and two Monsignors on Ash Wednesday.

His Excellency is sporting a very festive miter. But the real question is, just what color is purple anyway? The Pimpernel bets the Ordinary knows, but was too polite to say.

10 March 2011

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

The Pimpernel wishes all a joyful and fruitful Season of Lent
(and hopes that wherever you are it commenced well,
with something like the dignity shown in the Holy Father's Ash Wednesday rites) .

8 March 2011

Thiberville two weeks on

Well, the Bishop of Evreaux has succeeded in driving lots people away from Mass in the parish of Thiberville. Whilst the former Pastor celebrates Mass daily and privately in the old rectory opposite the parish church, the Masses celebrated by the new priests are boycotted and practically empty. A photo essay on last Sunday's fiasco can be found on the blog set up to support the forcibly-retired Pastor here.

One photo in particular summs up the care for the people of Thiberville by their bishop and by the new priests sent there for Mass. It is this one of the Sunday evening Mass in the old rite which last Sunday was Quinqagessima Sunday.

Some readers will insist that the Pimpernel is being pharisaical or even an "arse" for seeing any problem here, or perhaps they will sob that everything had to be done in haste and that poor Father wasn't that used to celebrating these rites, and that that makes everything just swell.

Folks, the sacred liturgy and the good people of Thiberville deserve better. It also seems that, apart from the five people who actually attended this Mass, the people of Thiberville are prepared to insist on it.

UPDATE: A video of the start of this Mass has been posted here.

6 March 2011

It's too great. Too important.

Warning: read manufacturer's instructions before use.
The Pimpernel has touched a nerve. As the comments on this post show, people doing traditional liturgy get very touchy when it’s pointed out that they have gotten basics wrong. Some even go pretty close to saying that to celebrate the liturgy flawlessly doesn’t really matter, so long as it’s celebrated.

Well, there’s a point in that. Liturgical perfection rarely occurs in this life and we all make mistakes. Mistakes are mistakes. They happen. They can’t be prevented.
So long as the traditional liturgy is celebrated, that’s the main thing, even if it isn't perfect.

But there’s a fatal flaw in that type of thinking. The liturgy has its logic which is expressed in a whole tapestry of rites, customs and even rules. That’s the tradition we’ve received. Some of them are little. Some are seemingly unimportant.

But no thread in a tapestry is unimportant. That’s the Pimpernel’s point. The little things gotten wrong out of ignorance or haste to celebrate the traditional liturgy should in fact be gotten right because the ignorance or haste can be prevented, and because they damage and affect the whole. 

Those who love the traditional sacred liturgy and want to promote its celebration are duty and honour bound to know about what they’re doing. They have an obligation to do their homework first. The sacred liturgy can never be an amateur pastime. It's too great. Too important.

There’s really no excuse nowadays. Lots of books and DVDs and websites exist to help train clergy and other ministers.

The Pimpernel recommends two books as basic resouces. There are others, but these are in print, up to date and reliable.

The Celebration of Mass; a Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal is essential study for any seminarian or priest prepearing to offer the traditional Mass. 

Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described is the fundamental manual for celebrating or serving the Mass, the Sacraments, Vespers and other rites.

If you're a cleric celebrating traditional rites or a MC responsible for their planning or celebration and you don't have access to these, you should. They will tell you how to handle a biretta safely, what to wear at Vespers, how to incense an altar at Vespers, how to give Benediction or even how to assist, what to wear at a wedding before a nuptial Mass, and a whole lot more. They will help you continue the celebration of the rich tapestry of the Church's traditional rites as the Church intends even though you may not have much experience of this before. They will make sure the liturgy isn't shabby in its detail and prevent you from looking like an amateur. They will help you add to the honour of the sacred liturgy, not detract from it.

5 March 2011

Heavenly music. But the ceremonial!

With  a a tip of the biretta to the NLM the Pimpernel congratulates the cantors, choir and musicians responsible for this splendid rendition of solemn vespers. Perhaps the opening instrumental music might have been different, but wow, this is musically impressive.

But the ceremonial! Please, urgently, somebody, go over to the Amazon widget on the side and buy these clergy, including the one in choir, ceremonial manuals for Christmas (last Christmas). In the meantime there is a lot they could learn from even the Biretiquette post that appears from time to time on the blog of a famous priest cook. They’re good men for sure, but good men should know what they’re doing in the sacred liturgy or at least have someone near them who does. Perhaps whilst they are waiting for their Christmas presents readers might like to offer constructive and polite suggestions for these good clergy on the ceremonial of vespers and Benediction?

Praise where praise is due, it’s great this took place at all. But the sacred liturgy deserves our very best. It’s not that hard to read Fortescue; you know, read the black and then do it.

4 March 2011

Spiritual health warning - avoid liturgical abuse

Don Nicola Bux has published a new book in Italian "How to go to Mass and not loose the faith".

You migh think that the title says it all. Well, Cardinals Burke and Canizares don't. They said quite a lot at the book launch. Courtesy of CNS, enjoy.

-- A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass in many parts of the world can be traced to Masses that are not reverent and don't follow church rules, said two Vatican officials and a consultant.

"If we err by thinking we are the center of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith," said U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, head of the Vatican's supreme court.

Cardinal Burke and Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, spoke March 2 at a book launch in Rome.

The book, published only in Italian, was written by Father Nicola Bux, who serves as a consultant to the congregations for the doctrine of the faith and for saints' causes and to the office in charge of papal liturgies.

The English translation of Father Bux's book title would be, "How to Go to Mass and Not Lose Your Faith."

Cardinal Burke told those gathered for the book presentation that he agreed with Father Bux that "liturgical abuses lead to serious damage to the faith of Catholics."

Unfortunately, he said, too many priests and bishops treat violations of liturgical norms as something that is unimportant when, in fact, they are "serious abuses."

Cardinal Canizares said that while the book's title is provocative, it demonstrates a belief he shares: "Participating in the Eucharist can make us weaken or lose our faith if we do not enter into it properly" and if the liturgy is not celebrated according to the church's norms.

"This is true whether one is speaking of the ordinary or extraordinary form of the one Roman rite," the cardinal said, referring to Masses in the form established after the Second Vatican Council as well as the Mass often referred to as the Tridentine rite.

Cardinal Canizares said that at a time when so many people are living as if God did not exist, they need a true eucharistic celebration to remind them that only God is to be adored and that true meaning in human life comes only from the fact that Jesus gave his life to save the world.

Father Bux said that too many modern Catholics think the Mass is something that the priest and the congregation do together when, in fact, it is something that Jesus does.

"If you go to a Mass in one place and then go to Mass in another, you will not find the same Mass. This means that it is not the Mass of the Catholic Church, which people have a right to, but it is just the Mass of this parish or that priest," he said.

2 March 2011

The new church at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Lilas

Who said the Church in France was dying? This new Church in the suburbs of Paris was consecrated by the Bishop of Saint-Denis on January 30th. Many things could be said about it, but it certainly refelects a particular vision of Church.


The old church, next door, is to be deconsecrated and demolished. The entire project includes a brand-new presbytery and pastoral centre.

There are more photos here and for those with a strong stomach a full video here. Bishop Delannoy's crozier us well worth seeing.

After and Before

1 March 2011

Please do it rite

The NLM has a splendid report of a Wedding ceremony followed by Nuptial Mass, both in the traditional rite, over in Oxford, England, and a link to some good pictures by James Bradley. The Pimernel wishes the happy couple health, long life and many blessings.

It seems that the priest celebrant doesn't do this sort of thing very often. Why is he wearing a cope? Why aren't his deacon and subdeacon attending him for the rite of marriage?

Father, if you're going to to the traditional rites, please do them properly. Bishops wear copes to celebrate sacraments apart from Mass, not priests. Priests about to celebrate the nuptial Mass wear ..... (hint: not a cope). Your countryman Fr Fortescue's book on Ceremonies has the answer.

Ad multos annos!