Sunday 31 March 2013

The Papal Mass of Easter Day

We are pleased to conclude our coverage of the Holy Week Liturgies with these images of the celebration by Pope Francis of the Easter Day Mass in S' Peter's Square.

During this Mass, the Pope was assisted by the Cardinal-deacons, but as is customary for the Papal Mass of Easter Day, there were no concelebrants.

Once again, Pope Francis gave Holy Communion to all the deacons of the Mass (including the Cardinal deacons) under both Species.  The deacons received Communion on the tongue, whilst kneeling.

It seems that Pope Francis prefers not to distribute Holy Communion to representatives of the Faithful during the Solemn Papal Masses.

These are the copyright of Getty Images.

A sea of flowers surrounded the altar in S' Peter's Square.

The Papal Procession approaches the Altar.

The Proclamation of the Resurrection which preceded the Papal Mass.

Ascending to the Altar, vested in a splendid antependium.

Kissing the Altar with the Cardinal-deacons.

Incensing the Altar.

Incensing the Holy Icon of Christ.

The Paschal Vigil at Saint Peter's

To all readers of this blog, may God bless you abundantly on this Easter Day. Alleluia.

We are pleased to present these images of the celebration by Pope Francis of the Paschal Vigil in S' Peter's Basilica.

These are the copyright of Getty Images.

During the Lumen Christi Procession. 

During the Chanting of the Exsultet.

During the Chanting of the Gospel.

The 18th century wooden statue of the Madonna and Child which
was presented to Pope Paul VI in 1963 by Brazil,
has now become a usual feature of the Liturgies of Pope Francis.

Kissing the Evangelarium at the end of the Gospel.

The Pope baptising a catechumen.

Chrismation of a catechumen.

The Pope greeting the newly-baptised in their white robes.

Incensation of the Gifts at the Offertory.

The Pope incenses the Offering according to the circular movements
set down in the 1570 Missale Romanum.

The Communion of the newly-baptised.

The Papal Blessing concludes the Mass of the Paschal Vigil.

Pope Francis leaves the Basilica.

Saturday 30 March 2013

The Lord's Passion at Saint Peter's

We are pleased to present these few images of Pope Francis celebrating the Solemn Liturgy of of the Lord's Suffering and Death in Saint Peter's Basilica on Sunday.  Noteworthy from these photographs is the minimal use of artificial lighting in the Basilica, enhancing the sobriety of the Commemoration.

Please click on the images for an enlarged views.

These photographs are the copyright of Getty Images.

The Prostration of the Pope.

Seated at the Papal Throne during the Lessons.

Ecce Lignum Crucis.

The Pope Creeping to the Cross.

Members of the Sacred College creep to the Cross.
In former times, the use of lace albes and rochets was forbidden on Good Friday.

The Papal Simplex mitre.

The Mandatum

A 19th century engraving depicting the Pope, surrounded
by the Papal Court washing the feet of thirteen
poor men of Rome.
This rite took place in the Sistine Chapel on the
morning of Maundy Thursday.
On Maundy Thursday, the Pope's celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper in a Roman Juvenile Detention Centre has caught the attention of the world. The Pope's act and with it his decision to wash the feet of girls (as well as boys) and non-Christians during the Mandatum has attracted an enormous amount of criticism on the one hand and rapture on the other.

Many other blogs have a coverage of this matter from a polemical perspective, but it is not our intention here to add to this. Rather, we wish to give an outline of the history of the Mandatum in order to present reasons why the significance of the Rite is open to different interpretations and philosophies.

The Catholic Encyclop√¶dia (1907-1914) has an article on the history of the Mandatum, written by Herbert Thurston SJ, of which the following is an extract.  Father Thurston had written previously about the Mandatum in his monograph Lent and Holy Week (1904):

This tradition, we may believe, has never been interrupted, though the evidence in the early centuries is scattered and fitful. For example the Council of Elvira (A.D. 300) in Canon 48 directs that the feet of those about to be baptized are not to be washed by priests but presumably by clerics or at least lay persons. This practice of washing the feet at baptism was long maintained in Gaul, Milan, and Ireland, but it was not apparently known in Rome or in the East. In Africa the nexus between this ceremony and baptism became so close that there seemed danger of its being mistaken for an integral part of the rite of baptism itself (Augustine, Ep. LV, Ad Jan., n. 33). Hence the washing of the feet was in many places assigned to another day than that on which the baptism took place. In the religious orders the ceremony found favour as a practice of charity and humility. The Rule of St. Benedict directs that it should be performed every Saturday for all the community by him who exercised the office of cook for the week; while it was also enjoined that the abbot and the brethren were to wash the feet of those who were received as guests. The act was a religious one and was to be accompanied by prayers and psalmody, "for in our guests Christ Himself is honoured and received". The liturgical washing of feet (if we can trust the negative evidence of our early records) seems only to have established itself in East and West at a comparatively late date. In 694 the Seventeenth Synod of Toledo commanded all bishops and priests in a position of superiority under pain of excommunication to wash the feet of those subject to them. The matter is also discussed by Amalarius and other liturgists of the ninth century. Whether the custom of holding this Maundy (from Mandatum novum do vobis, the first words of the initial Antiphon) on Maundy Thursday, developed out of the baptismal practice originally attached to that day does not seem quite clear, but it soon became a universal custom in cathedral and collegiate churches. In the latter half of the twelfth century the pope washed the feet of twelve sub-deacons after his Mass and of thirteen poor men after his dinner. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum (1600) directs that the bishop is to wash the feet either of thirteen poor men or of thirteen of his canons. The bishop and his assistants are vested and the Gospel Ante diem festum paschae is ceremonially sung with incense and lights at the beginning of the function. Most of the sovereigns of Europe used also formerly to perform the Maundy. The custom is still retained at the Austrian and Spanish courts.
A number of points may be made here.  Although the origin of the Mandatum is a Divine Precept, which the Church has since earliest times considered binding, its expression and its symbolism are by no means clear in liturgical history. On the one hand, it is associated with the Catechumenate, on the other hand with the poor; yet again, a demonstration of the attitude of service which a bishop or religious superior ought to have towards his community.

The question of the Mandatum being linked to Ordination to the ministerial priesthood is somewhat less clear, although it is often spoken about.

What is quite clear, amongst various uncertainties, is that throughout its history, the Mandatum had no relationship with ordinary parish life: it was a rite which pertained to the Diocesan Cathedral or  Church of a Religious Community. Only since 1955, with the revisions of the Holy Week Liturgy approved by Pope Pius XII, has the Mandatum been included in the ceremonies of the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday and consequently, celebrated ordinarily in parishes. Perhaps this revision was not as laudable as was thought at the time.

In the last two decades, we have witnessed the spectacle of all sorts of curious and frightful additions to the Mandatum, advocated by tinpot liturgists.  We will refrain from describing any of these accretions.  And so, the symbolism of this ancient rite has become obscured again.  An unfortunate by-product of this trajectory is that the real focus of the Evening Mass of Maundy Thursday - the Institution of the Blessed Eucharist and Ministerial Priesthood - becomes obscured.

Happily, we note that in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite, the Mandatum is optional. Its being observed at a time other than during the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday is something, we might suggest, which might be given serious consideration. Were that to happen, perhaps it would be of lesser consequence if the feet of woman were also washed. 

Friday 29 March 2013

Chrism Mass of Pope Francis

Blessing with the Evangelarium.
We are pleased to present these images taken at this morning's Mass of the Holy Oils in Saint Peter's Basilica.

Again we find a continuity in the externals of the Papal Liturgies between Benedict XVI and Francis, even though the personal style of each is quite different. The altar was beautifully vested and upon it a magnificent silver Crucifix and set of seven candlesticks. A small throne, upholstered in red velvet, belonging to one of his predecessors, was used by Pope Francis and it is a relief that the ugly white chair used not so long ago has not made a reappearance.

It was very pleasing to see, also, that the Deacons of the Mass received Holy Communion from the Pope kneeling and on the tongue.

The music of the Mass was largely unimaginative.  The use of the Missa d'Angelis has really become quite tiresome. Other Blogs deal with such matters more ably.

These photographs are from Getty Images.

At the Altar of the Confession in S' Peter's.

One of the large vessels of Holy Oil which
bears the Coat of Arms of John Paul II.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Passiontide Vestments

Borromeon vestments red Passiontide
Chasuble in the Borromeon form.
The Saint Bede Studio recently completed an order for a young American priest for a set of red vestments in the Borromeon form.

These vestments were made from a silk damask ruby red in colour and ornamented with a rich Renaissance-style damask in colours of burgundy and gold.

The lining of bronze-coloured silk completes the effect of richness without gaudiness.


Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Palm Sunday at Saint Peter's

Before the great Obelisk in Saint Peter's Square.
We are pleased to present these few images of Pope Francis celebrating the Sacred Liturgy of Palm Sunday in Saint Peter's Square.  The Pope was assisted by the Cardinal deacons, who were vested in dalmatics.

Please click on the images for an enlarged views.

These photographs are the copyright of Getty Images.

The Aspersing of the Palm Branches.

The vested Cardinal-deacons escorting Pope Francis through S' Peter's Square
in the Procession of Palms.

Incensing the Altar at the beginning of Mass.

At the Commemoration of the Lord's Death during the Passion Gospel.

Another very simple chasuble worn by Pope Francis.
This is a new mitre whose ornaments match those on the chasuble.

Holiness Has Met

In the Papal Chapel at Castelgandolfo.
Note the Crucifix veiled in Passiontide.
An historic and joyful occasion, the meeting of two of Christ's Vicars upon Earth.

These two photographs are the copyright of L'Osservatore Romano.

God bless Pope Francis.  God bless Benedict XVI, once Pope.

Saturday 23 March 2013

The Borromeon Chasuble in Works of Art

La Messe ou la mort de Saint-Benoit, Paris 17th century.
We continue our occasional series of works of art which illustrate traditional forms of the Latin chasuble. The painting above was produced by Philippe de Champaigne (1602 - 1674), probably during his years of work in Paris, and is a depiction of the death of Saint Benedict during the celebration of Mass.

Champaigne's painting possibly historicises the celebration of Mass, but it is also likely that it represents the aesthetics of Liturgical celebrations in Religious Houses in France in the middle of the seventeenth century.

We see the celebrant clad in a linen albe with close fitting sleeves, and merely a border of lace along its lower edge.  His amice is tucked into the Benedictine monastic hood.  The chasuble is fully in the Borromeon form, reaching down the entire length of the albe and almost to the wrist.  The chasuble is folded back at the wrist revealing a beautiful lining of peacock blue.

This golden chasuble is ornamented with an embroidered Cross on the back, with what appears to be a representation of the Madonna and Child at the intersection of the Cross's arms.

The ministers at the altar are also wearing linen albs.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Friday 22 March 2013

The San Francesco Chasuble

Red chasuble vestments
In tribute to our new Pope, the Saint Bede Studio is pleased to present this simple new style of chasuble.  This is the San Francesco chasuble.

The chasuble is made from silk, but may be made from a plainweave.  It is ornamented with braids in a contemporary manner, but reminiscent of more traditional forms.  This particular chasuble is scarlet red with black and gold ornament, but other liturgical colours are also available.  The chasuble shewn is unlined, but it also may be lined, if preferred.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


Red chasuble vestments

Mutual Enrichment : reposted

Fr Tim Finigan, at his well-known blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity posted an article in 2011 about mutual enrichment between the two forms - Ordinary and Extraordinary - of the Roman Rite.  It is a well thought-out article, prompted by the point made by Pope Benedict in Summorum Pontificum.  I would recommend your reading Father's article.

Perhaps I may be allowed my two-pence worth about this subject?  I choose to do so, briefly, by taking the angle of 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, I am considering 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.

Le Barroux: Contemporary vestments intended for the EF.
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 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.  Sometimes, we even see Extraordinary Form Masses being celebrated with brand new Baroque vestments.  Well, 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 that, nor is the Hermeneutic of Continuity, which we hear so much about these days.  This 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 is fashionable to do this now, adopting what people are referring 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?  It is an ancient practice and it reinforces the distinction between the threefold Orders of deacon, priest and bishop.  Give it a try.