Thursday 17 July 2014

Priestly Ordinations 2014 : 4

Conical chasuble
Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception : indeed the number of requests for such vestments has been more than double previous years.

This post concerns Father Richard Hinkley, of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (Texas, USA), who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on 7th June.

Father Hinkley commissioned vestments made in an early mediaeval style for his First Holy Mass. The chasuble (shewn adjacent), fully in the conical form, was sewn from handmade dupion silk of a cream colour and was ornamented very simply with braids in the colours of royal blue, red, straw and ivory. The vestments were lined in taffeta of a muted yellow colour. A matching cope was also made for Father Hinkley.

Please pray for Father Hinkley and for all newly-ordained priests.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.


Cope made for Father Hinkley.

Father Hinkley ordained by Cardinal DiNardio.

The noble interior of the Houston Co-Cathedral, looking towards the west window.

The Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, built only very recently, against the Houston skyline.

Saturday 12 July 2014

Too Many Words

One of the characteristics of the Roman Rite until the Introduction of the Pauline Missal in 1970, was the balance it achieved between silence, singing, the spoken word and ritual action. Even the so-called Interim Rite, which had various iterations between 1964 and 1968, still preserved much of this balance.  The Roman Rite "spoke" to people on a number of levels, not just the cerebral level. Its silences spoke, its aesthetics spoke, its unique and unworldly music spoke.

On the other hand, one of the great flaws of the Pauline Missal is that it is far too cerebral. Everything has to be comprehensible intellectually. The Council Fathers decreed that the Church's Rites had to be "intelligible", but unhappily, the Pauline Missal took this injunction too far.

The typical celebration of the New Mass, Ordinary Form - call it what you will - is very wordy. If the texts in the Missal itself weren't more than enough, we are also subjected to little commentaries, entertainments, even ferverini during the Mass. Words, words, words. Too many words.

At the same time, ritual action in the New Mass has been reduced to a minimum. Silence is imposed by the celebrant, rather than being organic to the Rite. One strange example of this, which we experience too often, is the celebrant - having preached his homily - goes and sits down and a period of silence is endured. Presumably we are to meditate on his spoken wisdom: but does anyone remember more than two sentences that he said?

Let us be very careful to avoid an overly-cerebral approach to the Sacred Liturgy (New or Old).  Might we not aim, rather, to recapture and preserve that old balance of the Roman Rite: silence and song supporting the Ritual actions?

Thursday 3 July 2014

The Papal Pallium : A Return to Tradition

Pope Francis holding one of the pallia
to be imposed on a new Metropolitan.
It differs very little from the pallium
he himself is wearing.
A welcome return on the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul was the traditional form of the pallium, used by Pope Francis. This form of the pallium, which has been used for centuries by the Popes, was relegated to disuse in unfortunate decisions taken by the Papal Masters of Ceremonies in 2005 and again in 2008.

Those determined to view every act of this Pontificate as a demonstration of the humility of Pope Francis, have heralded this change as further evidence of his simple approach. If anything, it is evidence of his desire to return to that form of pallium worn by his predecessors.

Until 2005, the pallium worn by the Roman Pontiff differed not at all from any other Latin Metropolitan Archbishop. The argument that the Pope should have a pallium distinctive from other bishops was never compelling and is not based in tradition.

We are pleased to post here images of some of Pope Francis' predecessors, wearing pallia in most respects identical with the form commonly seen today.

A study from Jacques-Louis David's famous painting
of the Coronation of Napoleon Buonaparte (1804).
Pope Pius VII is shewn wearing the traditional form of the pallium.

Although the ancient form of the pallium differed considerably from the present, both in its design and form, the insignia in its present form is recognisable from the mediaeval period. It consists of a strip of white wool approximately 6 centimetres wide and joined to form a circle. Attached to this circlet are two pendants, also of wool, approximately 30 centimetres in length and terminating in segment of black wool, rounded at its termination. These pendants hang upon the breast and the back of the wearer. The pallium is adorned with six crosses embroidered in BLACK silk, four crosses on the band and one on each pendant. Into the crosses that rest on the shoulder and in the front pendant are inserted three ornamental pins. These obviously were originally intended to keep the pallium in place, but they have long since been purely ornamental.

Pope Francis during the Mass in S' Peter's Basilica
shewn wearing again the traditional form of the pallium.

Saint Pius X wearing the pallium over the Papal fanon.
During the consecration of bishops in the Sistine Chapel circa 1910.

Pope Pius XI wearing the pallium over the Papal fanon.
The Pope is consecrating Archbishop Schuster of Milan.

Pope Pius XII shewn wearing the pallium.

Saint John XXIII wearing the pallium.

Pope Paul VI shewn wearing the pallium.

Pope John Paul I shewn wearing the pallium.

Saint John Paul II wearing the pallium.