22 April 2011

If it is not envisaged, it is forbidden.

At this time of the year a lot of liturgical “dialogue” takes place in rectories and sacristies, sometimes even in liturgy planning groups. Liturgically creative types often get excited at the prospect of doing something new (is the liturgy as given inadequate?) Liturgically formed types (who are interested in praying the liturgy, not re-creating it) often have to resort to the “negative” statement that what their creative sisters and brothers have proposed “is not allowed”.

“Where is it forbidden?” is the retort. If the liturgical books have not forbidden seven white-clad virgins dancing in thanksgiving around the baptismal font on Easter night in thanksgiving, how can it be inappropriate? Or so the manipulative logic of the liturgical bully goes.

Well, the liturgical books don’t forbid seven naked prostitutes from doing so either. But that is not the point. The point is that the liturgical books do not envisage or provide for it, or for a host of other creative proposals.

"You WILL dance around that font on Saturday night."
To put it very clearly: if the liturgical books (including the host of options the modern ones contain) don’t envisage it, it is forbidden. Try that in response to the creative bullies at your next liturgy committee meeting or sacristy confrontation and you will see them confounded. You see, they don’t understand that the liturgy is given by the Church for us to celebrate. Period. They think they can improve on it and change its details or leave some of them out.

Well, no. If it is not envisaged, it is forbidden. That’s worth remembering, especially at this time of the year.

20 April 2011

More than a Protonotary Apostolic

The man in pontificals in the picture above is Mgr Keith Newton. He is picutred at Southwark Cathedral after receiving former Anglicans into full communion with the Church on Tuesday. Note the crozier. He is not just a Protonotary Apostolic, but an Ordinary.

The Pimpernel wishes him and all his growing flock a fruitful Triduum and a joyous Eastertide.

19 April 2011

16 April 2011

Book alert

Benedict XVI and Beauty in Sacred Art and Architecture, the proceedings of the second Fota Conference are now available.

From the publisher's website:
Introduction: sacred space, D. Vincent Twomey SVD
The concept of beauty in the writings of Joseph Ratzinger. George Cardinal Pell
The fairest and the formless: the face of Christ as criterion for Christian beauty according to Joseph Ratzinger, Joseph Murphy
The ‘Triumph of Orthodoxy’ and the future of Western ecclesiastical art, Janet E. Rutherford
What has beauty to do with reason? The philosophical foundations of liturgical aesthetics, Daniel B. Gallagher
Noble simplicity revisited, Alcuin Reid
Benedict XVI and the theological foundations of church architecture, Uwe Michael Lang
The nuptial meaning of classic church architecture, Helen Ratner Dietz
The galilee chapel: a mediaeval notion come of age, Neil J. Roy
All the great works of art are a manifestation of God: Pope Benedict XVI and the architecture of beauty, Duncan Stroik
The third revival: new Gothic and Romanesque Catholic architecture in North America, Ethan Anthony
USA readers can order it here. UK readers can order it here. Enjoy. 

13 April 2011

Another pontifical Mass in France

Some commentators seem to have wondered whether the bishops in the previous post were behaving appropriately or not, especially if they were just having a private concelebration, whatever that might be. But some of them seem to get up to this sort of thing all the time. Here is the Archbishop of Clermont-Ferrand, Bishop Simon. His left hand man has just been appointed a bishop. You can see some of his liturgical antics here.

9 April 2011

Pontifical Mass

The Bishops of France, April 2011

4 April 2011

A rare sight

How many rose pontifical dalmatics are there in the world?

Bravo Cardinal Piacenza

3 April 2011

What is this?

It's modern French liturgy. To the Pimpernel it seems a little liturgically and theologically confused.

2 April 2011

It’s time to think outside the box, Monsignor

Mgr Mannion is one of the liturgical ‘good guys’. He cares about the sacred liturgy. Anyone who has been present when he celebrates can tell that. For decades he’s been campaigning for the better celebration of the modern liturgy and has been leading by example.

He had a “Pastoral answer” in the OSV Newsweekly recently that has the basic position that “History cannot be undone. The liturgical reforms that came after Vatican II were not perfect, but they are what we have. Starting liturgical reform all over again is as unrealistic as trying to put toothpaste back into the container.” He worries that “Much criticism of post-Vatican II liturgical reform is historically ill-informed, out of touch with the pastoral benefits and often ends up subtlety questioning the very legitimacy of the council itself.”

Constrained by an idolization of the modern liturgy?

Well, maybe Monsignor. Maybe not. You see, “what we have” now officially includes the 1962 liturgical books. Also, it is possible to think about, even argue for, a future that corrects the problems with the liturgical books of Paul VI or even those of 1962. Neither box is de fide.

Sure, Monsignor, be faithful to the modern rite and do it well. That helps. But please don’t pretend there is nothing else. Oh, and to think of correcting or setting aside the reforms that followed the Council isn’t “questioning the very legitimacy of the council itself” – it’s seeing the Council’s liturgical reform for what it was and is: some ideas that seemed good at the time, that were adopted by authority, and that may not be good or useful now or in the future. The same authority could drop them.

It’s time, Monsignor, with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, to think outside of the box.