Saturday, September 29, 2007

Waiting for the Barbarians

hat are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

C.P. Cavafy translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard


Oh, very well - I'm doing nothing else presently, so here's another broken resolution. I wasn't even tagged, explicitly, which makes it all the more reprehensible. If you're not interested in Me Me Me, you may return immediately to your menial pursuits. Run along, now...

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?
The former, exclusively, for most of the past 20 years. The tadpoles are unaquainted with anything else.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?
50 mile round trip, at present. One should seek some kind of attainder on the Montini estate for the fuel and the carbon footprint. Driving, on the other hand, is something of a passion with me, though some have ventured to suggest it might not be one's forte. Fools.

3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?
Apart from sophisticated, green and unfeasibly handsome? Missal-and-Breviary.

4. Are you a comment junkie?
I beg your pardon? A common what? How dare you...

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?
Ah - I see. Usually. Sometimes I forget where I've been.

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?
Once. Not saying.

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?
Burke's Peerage (Amphibian Supplement).

8. Which blog is the first one you check?
Varies according to the state of one's digestion. Rorate Caeli, probably, until quite recently. Pass the Andrews, there's a good chap.

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?
Fr Ray Blake and Pastor in Valle have had that privilege, as have the admirable Shawn Tribe (of New Liturgical Movement) and M. l'abbé Laguérie, at whose Mass I assisted when he was still SSPX, and afterwards when he wasn't. He won't remember me though. The place, on both occasions, was heaving with Frogs.

10. What are you reading?
Matins for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
HV Morton's In Search of Scotland
Giuseppe di Lampedusa's The Leopard (for about the 20th time)

Bonus Question!
Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?
I haven't the faintest idea. We don't get many of that sort down here, in the dark underbelly of the world...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nyet! - The Old Gang Not Getting It.

ONE OF THE MORE diverting phenomena of recent years is the consistent inability of the Church's liberal establishment, the '60's avant garde, to read the signs of the times. Wrapped up in their hermetic understanding of the past, the present and the future, which for them defines the limits of rational discourse, more and more they seem to inhabit a vanished world: a bureaucratic, technocratic, relentlessly ideological looking-glass world, its cold, hard edges quaintly draped for our benefit (or is it theirs?) in anodyne, Kennedy-era platitudes from Gaudium et Spes.

Father Z has been "fisking" episcopal reactions to Summorum Pontificum and has identified the emergence of a coherent, hostile Party Line which goes something like this:

1) It's a "step backwards" for the purpose of placating a tiny minority of hard liners (the Pope, on the other hand, insists that the older form retains its permanent value as a bearer of the Living Tradition - that it is therefore an indispensible treasure of the Church for all times and places).

2) It doesn't therefore apply in this diocese, where we don't have any of "these people" to placate.

3) We have in any case already made generous provision for Tridentine Masses (i.e. every fourth Saturday afternoon).

4) The situation viz-a-viz the Old Rites remains essentially proscriptive - i.e. exceptional permission is still required (the diametric opposite of the truth).

5) There must be a "stable group" minimum number X (false), which..

6) ...must have been consistently attached to the Old Rite over a number of years (a completely unwarranted assertion).

7) Adoption of "New Rite" practices, though (concelebration, communion in the hand etc) must not be refused where requested.

...and so on and so forth. What it all boils down to, though, is the strident irreconcileable assertion of No. 4, in spite of its bare-faced, manifest falsehood.

Here is Cardinal Castrillon, as reported by CWN:

Rome, Sep. 14, 2007 (

With the formal implementation of Summorum Pontificum, the Pope's motu proprio providing wider access to the 1962 Roman Missal, diocesan priests do not need permission to celebrate the Latin Mass, a top Vatican official has stated. Cardinal Dario Castrillon-Hoyos - the president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, which supervises Vatican outreach to traditionalist Catholics - says that "from this point, priests can decide to celebrate the Mass using the old rite, without permission from the Holy See or the bishop."

In an interview with Vatican Radio on September 13, broadcast just before the motu proprio officially took effect, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos explained that Pope Benedict's motu proprio affirms the right of any priest to use the "extraordinary form" of the Latin liturgy. "It is, therefore, unnecessary to ask for any other permission," he said.

Contrast with the following:

Some questions and answers on Benedict XVI's recent Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum

1. Why has the Pope seemingly taken a step backwards in allowing the former Tridentine rite of Mass alongside the one we have now?

Benedict XVI's main concern seems to be to make a gesture of reconciliation to those who have never been able to accept the rite of Mass we have now. He wants to try to integrate them more closely into the Church as a whole, so he is to a small extent relaxing the rules regarding when celebrations of the Tridentine rite can take place. In England and Wales we have already had an indult from Rome, obtained in 1971 by Cardinal Heenan, allowing celebrations of the Tridentine Mass with the permission of the local bishop. The latest document merely eases slightly the legislation that had already been relaxed for the universal Church in 1984 by Pope John Paul II...

You can read the whole of this egregious piece here. It gets better and better. It purports to issue from the Diocese of Portsmouth, in the person of its Director of Liturgy - presumably one of the lay commissariat who nowadays pretend to decide on behalf of the sheep just how much of the truth we're entitled to (under the old clericalism such were at least clerics in fact, but that's People-of-God "democracy" for you). Whether or not the piece is correctly attributed, it's nevertheless a convenient distillation, in tone and content, of Fr Z's "party line", as pioneered in these Isles by the Archbishop of Glasgow . This one contrives to evolve a couple of ingenious and imaginative refinements all of the author's own, such as the nonexistence (in the Novus Ordo - here is someone who simply doesn't, or is determined not to "get it": we're not talking about the Novus Ordo!) of the Subdiaconate and consequent inadmissibility of the Tunicle at High Mass. Give that man a coconut for superlative, nit-picking, pharisaical ingenuity.

What is hoped to be accomplished by these posturings? Have their authors still not cottoned-on to the fact that the Internet provides instant access to the authentic documentation and to authentic interpretations of it, unspiked by conniving editors, days and weeks in advance of retrospective efforts to "spin" them? - that the same medium will also expose instantaneously such mean and mendacious manoeuverings, for all the world to see? Do they think we're complete idiots, or is this simply a barefaced attempt at intimidation? Either way, the gloves are off. The Ecclesia Dei Commission will have its work cut out.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ad sanitatem revertens

Fr Ray Blake poses the following questions in a piece about celebration versus populo:

So, why do we do it?
Does anyone know why it became almost universal?

Easy! Most of us are by now aware of the ideological history and discredited rationale behind this aberrant fad, but its present ubiquity boils down to a single factor: we do it because the Pope does it.

In the Latin Church of the modern era, it’s what the Pope does today, rather than what the Church did yesterday, that establishes in practice the operative norm. "I am Tradition!". A single, televised Papal Mass can therefore consign to oblivion an Apostolic tradition, or a mountain of dead-in-the-water paper exhortations.

Summorum Pontificum
does two things with startling economy: it rescues the Liturgy (facta non verba), and it restates the permanent force of objective Tradition. That’s why it’s the most important document in 150 years. The most significant act will be that first public, Papal celebration ad orientem.