Friday, 7 May 2021

Priestly Ordinations 2022

A notice to readers of this blog who may be considering approaching the Studio for Ordination vestments in 2022.  Please contact us without delay to commence discussions.

stbede62@gmail.com

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Concerning Reform in the Roman Rite

One of the many casualties within the Church over the last eight years has been the care of the Sacred Liturgy. This lack of care has been detailed often and in many places; but reiterating disedifying instances is not the purpose of this post.  Perhaps the key word is dis-edification : to injure piety or morals; to shock higher sensibilities or religious feelings.

When ambiguous or false teaching, bad example, insensitivity to religious sentiment and routine derision of those holding different (and Catholic) views comes from the See of Peter itself, it is not to be wondered at that there will be Reaction.

Not surprisingly, an acute understanding and perspective of such situations was given in July 2007 by Pope Benedict when he wrote to the Bishops of the World about his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum :

Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!” (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows. (1)

What was described by Pope Benedict in 2007 has subsequently occurred again: the abdication of that care required of the Holy See for the Sacred Liturgy. Furthermore, the ecclesiastical culture of the present is tainted with a desire to use the Liturgy for particular ideological ends. In the vacuum of wholesome Liturgical teaching, those movements which are more Conservative and those which are more Progressive are becoming increasingly dominated by imprudent radicals who do not accept reasonable limits in the pursuit of having their views prevail. It should be clear that radicalism is not for the Greater Good of Holy Mother Church, although it may be disguised as such. What is "old" is not necessarily good and helpful, whilst what is "new" is not necessarily bad and unhelpful ... and vice versa.

Perhaps it is time again to study carefully the philosophy which underpins Pope Benedict's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. We can but touch upon it in this discussion. He refers again and again to the two forms or usages of the Roman Rite and expresses a desire that one may enrich the other. Some have interpreted this as being a one-way street : the New Mass must be reformed to conform more closely to the earlier liturgical Traditions. It could equally be argued that Pope Benedict wished to convince adherents of both distinct usages that there is no perfect form of the Roman Rite and that enrichment of both forms was desirable. 

Such an aspiration seems like a fantasy in the realities of the Church's present state. The spirit of moderation, teaching through charity and mutual respect - keynotes of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict - have been thrown aside. New Prophets have arisen whose hallmark is self-righteousness and didacticism rather than moderation. They are found amongst the "Progressives" and they are found amongst the "Traditionalists", even if defining those two terms is no simple matter. 


Need what has been described in former years as "the reform of the Reform" be a dead issue? Officially, it seems to be; but in parishes all over the world, "enrichment" continues to take place based on Tradition and not least so, through the Church's musical traditions. Would there be an agreement amongst Catholics of good will that it is desirable that the Church's Liturgy, as expressed in its Ordinary Form, needs to be slowly reformed in the light of Tradition? Some years ago, it was widely thought that such an agreement existed. Now, it is less clear.

In recent years, a new direction in the movement of Catholic liturgical Tradition has been taken. At its most extreme, it demands that 20th century revisions of the Extraordinary Form be rejected as inconsonant with Tradition and tainted with modernism. With such an approach, however, is there a danger that a particular Rite is venerated as an end in itself, rather than a means to end, namely a pure act of the worship of Almighty God?

Will the unhappy by-product of this new direction within the Traditional Mass movement be that, in the pursuit of "purified" Liturgical forms, common ground will be lost with the majority of Catholics who have little concept of or interest in Liturgical Tradition and common ground with those Catholics who do?

For the present, the reform of the Ordinary books of the Roman Rite seems more in the realm of notions, ideals and articles such as this one, rather than a particular program or movement. Or is it? Something may be waiting in the wings ...

To be continued. 

END-NOTE

(1) Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Bishops on the occasion of the publication of the Apostolic Letter "motu proprio data" Summorum Pontificum on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the reform of 1970, given at Saint Peter's 7th July 2007.

Friday, 30 April 2021

Festal dalmatic

Dalmatic
Last year, the Saint Bede Studio completed a set of dalmatics to match a chasuble set prepared for a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Columbus (Ohio USA). 

These dalmatics, in the Gothic Revival style, were made from an English brocade, lined in pale green taffeta and ornamented with one of the Studio's unique braids.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Saint Anselm vestments

Saint Anselm
In this post, we are pleased to show one of our " economy " vestments made recently for a valued customer in the United States.  This style is called Saint Anselm.  

The chasuble is made from moirĂ© taffeta and is unlined, but well-faced around the neckline to make it sit well.  The ornament, in the manner of a column, front and back, is formed from one of the Studio's unique braids Saint Edmund, based on the work of AWN Pugin.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : This page. 

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Mutual Enrichment?

Remember some years ago, we used frequently to hear in print-based and online liturgical discussion about mutual enrichment between the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite?  Pope Benedict advocated this in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.  Perhaps you have noticed that this has not been discussed so much for a few years.  One might go so far that there is now hostility to the concept.  Such a Reaction seems unnecessary and unhelpful.  We will try to explore this phenomenon in subsequent posts on this blog of the Saint Bede Studio.

Let us begin with this re-post of an article discussing mutually enriching the aesthetics of the two Forms; for, although the external appearances are of a lesser degree of importance than the prayers and rituals of the Mass, these external forms do, nevertheless, make a strong impression upon those who look at them, namely the congregation.

For the purposes of this discussion, let us consider the scenario where both Forms of the Roman Rite are offered in the same Church or Parish, using the same sanctuary or altar and by the same priest and community.

The Benedictine Abbey of Le Barroux: 
Contemporary vestments intended 
for the Extraordinary Form.
Whilst it is true that there are in use worldwide tasteful vestments and tasteless vestments, there is no stipulation that a particular style of vestments is appropriate to one Form of the Roman Rite more than another.  Readers of liturgical blogs might be excused for thinking this is not the case: they might be forgiven for thinking that the only appropriate style of vestments for the Extraordinary Form is the Baroque chasuble (sometimes mistakenly referred to as the "Roman" chasuble, or, more derisively, the fiddleback).  They might be forgiven this, because every day we see photographs appear on numerous Blogs of celebrations of the Extraordinary Form with Baroque vestments.  Just as frequently, we see Extraordinary Form Masses being celebrated with brand new Baroque vestmentsWell, the equation of Baroque vestments with Catholic Tradition simply is a non-sequitur

When the approach is taken that Baroque vestments must be used for the Extraordinary Form, we risk moving away from Tradition into the Re-Creation of bygone eras.  Tradition isn't about Reaction or Re-Creation; that is a very shallow interpretation of Tradition and Continuity.  Read more about that here.

In short, one obvious sort of mutual enrichment of the two Forms of the Roman Rite is when people observe that the same styles of vestments are appropriate for both and there is no required disjunct between the two.

Another is the manner in which altars are set up.  Leaving aside the question of the Orientation of the Extraordinary Form, an altar may be set up for Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form simply with two candlesticks and a Crucifix, resting on the mensa of the altar.  Tragically, some have now implemented the practice that, for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form, a timber shelf is placed on an altar, sometimes with a faux-tabernacle built into it, in order to make the altar seem more like "a Traditional High altar".  This frightful practice is not only nonsense, it is also unliturgical.  Is it not disrespectful of the dignity of a consecrated altar to place portable shelves on it?

Processional Cross as the altar Cross.
Vest the altar in worthy antependia (altar frontals) and with cloths of white linen.  If you find altar cloths (the cloths that cover the mensa of the altar) in your church which are made in the liturgical colours (another frightful practice) instead of pure white, dispose of these with a just penalty.

You don't have to place six candlesticks on your altar for the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form.  It became fashionable to do this, adopting what people referred to as the Benedictine Arrangement.  Two good-sized, worthy candlesticks will do, particularly if the altar is a small one.  If you do use a set of six candlesticks, make sure they are a matching set and proportionate to the altar.

Here is another suggestion: if you have a free-standing altar, locate the Processional Cross in the very centre of the altar (at the front of the altar for the Ordinary Form and at the back of the altar for the Extraordinary Form).  Anciently, the Processional Cross was used this way before there was ever a thought of placing a Cross on the altar.  A processional Cross so located can serve for both the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms.

Secondly, then, ornament the altar for both Forms of the Roman Rite in much the same manner, even if the Orientation of the celebration is different.

Priestly crossing of the stole.
Thirdly, for priest readers: start crossing your stole when you vest for Mass in the Ordinary Form.  It might be immediately objected that this is forbidden by the GIRM (a debatable point),  but if you crossed your stole, would anyone mind that much?  If they do, they don't have enough to do with their time. It is an ancient practice to cross the stole and it reinforces the distinction between the threefold Orders of deacon, priest and bishop.  Give it a try.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh


The solemn rites, military and liturgical, which comprised the funeral of His late Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh were the antithesis of modern culture.

We were allowed to observe the coffin being placed on the hearse and the drama of that slow procession to Saint George's Chapel without television commentary, without any mobile phones etc.  All those present were silent.  A funeral march was played by the military bands to the steady beat of a drum and the occasional explosion of cannon.  It was dignified, respectful, solemn, fitting.  No one taking part felt the need to express individuality : all were part of a tradition, where the focus was on the deceased, not the living. 

Prince Philip was baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church.  In his own words, he became an Anglican, but he remained Orthodox.  Let us pray for the repose of his soul and for the comfort of his widow, Her Majesty the Queen.

Friday, 9 April 2021

The Duke of Edinburgh

Of your charity, please pray for the soul of His late Royal Highness, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who departed this life peacefully at Windsor 9th April 2021, aged 99.  Euge serve bone.



 

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Paschal Greetings 2021

To all readers of this blog and to customers and friends of the Saint Bede Studio, may many Graces be yours on the Day of our Lord's Resurrection.

On Easter Day 2021, the Shadow of the Cross looms large across a world still stricken with plague.  But in these fearful moments, we look again to the optimistic Christian message that God has overcome Death - and all the awfulness, frailties, discord and disappointments of this earthly life - and loves each and every poor sinner. 

Christ is Risen !

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Holy Saturday

Black vestments
On this Holy Saturday, as the Church mourns the Death of our Redeemer, we are pleased to present this set of black vestments, completed recently for a returning customer.

These vestments - in the Gothic Revival style - were made from a black brocade, lined in red taffeta and ornamented with two of the Saint Bede Studio's unique braids.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Black vestments

The Saint Bede Studio

The Saint Bede Studio


Friday, 2 April 2021

An Australian Bishop's Letter for Good Friday

Archbishop Polding

If there is one thing more obvious than another in the vocation to which the Almighty has called us Christians, it is its absolute claim over all that man has and is - the entireness of the change by which the Christian has become a new creature, and which old things are passed away, and all things are become new.  Hence, indifference is amongst its deadliest enemies or, rather, it is a foe which bears within itself the concentrated mischief of all others.  Open sin degrades and makes miserable the sinner, but it leaves his with his eyes in some degree open, if it be only to see his own nakedness. ...

The first and the greatest of all commandments – the first of the two on which hang all the law and Prophets, runs thus: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind.”  Recall to memory the terms which are used by the inspired writers of the New Testament, in order to describe true nature of the life which is to be led by the disciples of Christ : it is a pilgrimage, a race, warfare demanding watchfulness, and endurance, and stout heartedness.  The merchant of our blessed Lord’s parable, having found the one pearl of great price, went his way and sold all that he had, bought it.  If Christian men would be indeed followers of Him whose name they bear, they are warned of the cost as earnestly as they are lovingly invited; they are to take their Cross daily; they are to stand prepared to give up all that is dearest in human life, and that life itself also, when their Master’s call is heard.  The same voice which is ever crying throughout the world “Come to me all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you,” utters also the warning exhortation “You cannot serve God and Mammon” : the same Good Shepherd who gathers the lambs in his arms, and seeks out with so loving a perseverance the wandering sheep, has Himself told us of the day when He will say to those who - at the appointed hour, shall have no oil in their lamps -  “I know you not.”

There is a fearful error, Dearly Beloved, against which no warnings of mine can be too solemn and importunate.  It is the error of supposing the Christian life to be a thing of negatives, as if all you had to hope and strive for were the avoiding of flagrant transgression of the penal laws of God.  What an unworthy distortion of Christian thought, and yet how many seem to adopt and live in this distortion !  You are “to cease to do evil” certainly, but it is that you may “learn to do well” and these two things are as inseparable in practice as they are in precept.  What is the main character of the spirit taught by the Church and by the Holy Scriptures?  Is it not the filial temper of love and self-sacrifice, and devout imitation of our Lord, in very contra-distinction to the grudging, reluctant, sluggish, lukewarm temper of the slave who fulfils an unloved service under constraint and fear of punishment? Think too, again, of that revelation which our Saviour has graciously made to us of the manner in which the last judgement will be conducted.  How much it declares, and how much it implies…. The blessed are blessed for what they have done; the cursed are cursed for what they have left undone.  Most merciful and dread lesson!  Let us take it to heart.

What we have said, Dearly Beloved, and what we have suggested, is enough to guide your thoughts in the direction in which we would in this season have you employ your self-examination.  What is the remedy … if you discover that practical indifference has fastened upon yourselves, or upon any you love and care for?  This one thing; recurrence to one of the first statements of your catechism - man was created in order to know God and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him in the next.  Enter into the depths of this truth and when you are in some tolerable measure permeated by a sense of what it implies, then look at this world, at its utmost good and evil in such a light.  Or listen to these words of eternal wisdom: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul?”  

Better still to go to the foot of the Cross; spend these few days of the penitential season in the slight self-denial that is required of you, strengthen your heart and purge your soul by the spiritual exercises of the Church, and then look up into the face of the Crucified, and see whether you can find any excuse for indifference.  Never did Christian man, as he stood upon Calvary and contemplated its spectacle, think of half measures.  Truly and wholly, in the church and in the world, in prosperity and adversity, “I am yours and yours only, My Lord and my God.”  May this be in all your hearts; and make the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen.


Excerpts from the Lenten Pastoral Letter for 1860 of Archbishop John Bede Polding OSB, as contained in the anthology The Eye of Faith.  Archbishop Polding was Australia's first Catholic bishop and his holy life has long been considered to be saintly.

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NOTES

The Eye of Faith was printed by the Lowden Publishing Co., Kilmore Victoria in 1977.  The editors were Gregory Haines, Sister Mary Gregory Foster and Frank Brophy.  Special contribution to the volume were made by Professor Timothy Suttor and James Cardinal Freeman.

AMDG