Thursday 31 October 2019

Deaconesses ? Yet again (reposted)

In May of 2016 we heard that the tired subject of a "female diaconate" has been raised again, but this time - most disappointingly - by the Bishop of Rome who, in an "impromptu" remark during a meeting with Religious gathered in Rome, claimed that the history of deaconesses in the Early Church is "obscure".  In August 2016, the Vatican Bulletin announced the formation of a Commission to study this, which the Pope has decided upon "after intense prayer and mature reflection". *

The history of deaconesses in the Early Church is only obscure to those who either have not studied the issue, or to those who are determined to force such an innovation upon the Church.  The Commission did meet and did not support the introduction of a female diaconate based upon the practice of the Early Church.  That was in 2018.  But now, the Innovators are at it again and as has become notoriously obvious, the promoters of this innovation will not accept "no" as the answer.

Giotto's 13th century depiction
of Saint Stephen the protomartyr
and deacon.
The history of deaconesses in the early Church was the focus of a definitive study published in 1982 by the distinguished French liturgiologist, Monsignor Aime-Georges Martimort.  Ignatius Press published a translation of this wonderful work in 1986 Deaconesses : An Historical Study, which is still in print. I urge you to obtain this book and read it (it assumes a working knowledge of Greek and Latin). It also appears to be available to be read online.

But, above all is to be noted the deliberations of a previous Commission of the Holy See into this very subject, published only 14 years ago and which may be read in full here.

Deaconesses DID exist in the Early Church but they WERE NOT female deacons. Their ministry was narrowly defined, completely distinct from the ministry of the deacon and DID NOT include any liturgical role at the altar, where traditionally no woman set foot. This is not what present-day advocates of deaconesses are seeking. They are seeking the feminisation of the Church's Orders and a ministry at the altar. This is not Tradition, it is innovation.

What separates the Orders of the Roman and the Eastern Churches from the ministries of Protestant denominations is Apostolic Tradition.  We compromise that link to our great peril.

* These are the actual words of the Vatican Bulletin and presumably are not intended to be ironic.

Monday 28 October 2019

Liturgical Art in Troubling Times

The Church is not doing so well at present and many worldwide are greatly troubled.  It is not the business of the Saint Bede Studio to assess the problems in the Church (many others do that!), still less to provide solutions, except in so far as we have always done : and that is by the creation of liturgical art. This is often called The Way of Beauty.  By means of the Studio blog, we also try to help our readers understand more fully the breadth of our Catholic Tradition.

In its day-to-day work, the Studio has also noticed the effects of the Church’s tribulations both by the decline in new orders received over the last year, and by the daily interactions between us and our customers.   Confidence is shaken. 

The vestments made by the Studio are - we hope - distinctive and beautiful. But they are also made to last (provided they are well cared for) a very long time ... even decades. Consequently they may be seen as a form of long-term asset.  The cost of living and the cost of fabrics determine our prices; if we charged less for our vestments, we could not afford to continue in business. It is as simple as that. But we try to ensure that our prices are on a par with other prominent vestment-makers and, wherever it is possible, we offer a discount.

One customer wrote to us recently : 

Your vestments are not inexpensive, but they do represent good value for money. 

Since our prices have changed little over the course of the past few years, something else is happening. There are economic factors, of course, but what seems to have changed markedly is the atmosphere in the Church over the last year.  A lack of optimism, confidence and enthusiasm is very obvious, even to those removed from the coal face of parish life.

What may not be known to readers is that this phenomenon is affecting Ecclesiastical suppliers, liturgical artists and artisans worldwide.   Most everyone seems to be "doing it tough". The entire craft of Catholic liturgical arts is in trouble at present and there is little money to be made in making vestments.

The work of the Saint Bede Studio is not just the sewing of finer-quality vestments.  Even a basic set of vestments is to us a minor work of liturgical art.  Much consideration goes into the design and making of our vestments and no two are ever quite the same.  Other businesses have available vestments “off-the-rack”, in online stores; but we do not.  There are several reasons for this, but perhaps the most important to us is that we have thought it best to make vestments for those in Communion with the Roman Church.  Our vestments are for Catholic priests and they are made by Catholics, in an environment which is modest, hard-working, dedicated and prayerful.

Another aspect of the Studio’s work is our ongoing research into the history of the Church generally, but in particular, the history of the Sacred Liturgy, vestments and paraments and ecclesiastical architecture.  This research, which we have undertaken over a period of almost forty years, informs all our liturgical art.  This scholarship distinguishes the Saint Bede Studio from those businesses which simply supply vestments.  The results of our research will frequently be found in articles on the three blogs which we maintain, intended to be simple presentations to inform our readers.

Reading over this post, we ask you to give some consideration to supporting our work for God by placing a commission for vestments with us.  We express our heartfelt thanks to loyal customers who have continued to support the Studio in difficult times.  Please pray for God’s continued Blessing of our endeavours.

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Thursday 24 October 2019

Priestly Ordinations 2019 : 6

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, 2019 has been no exception.

This post features a set of vestments made for an ordinand from the Archdiocese of Denver (Colorado USA), who commissioned a set of vestments from the Studio in the Borromeon form.

The Borromeon-style chasubles are frequently requested by our customers, because they combine an ample form with a traditional ornament.

These vestments were made from an English ecclesiastical brocade in an attractive shade of cream-white.  The ornament, in the Roman manner, was formed from a damask in brick-red and gold, outlined with golden galloons.  The vestments were lined in a red-coloured taffeta.

Please pray for for all newly-ordained priests.

Enquiries : Visit this page

Thursday 17 October 2019

REMINDER : New Commissions

A reminder to readers of the Saint Bede Studio blog.  If you are considering placing a commission with us for new vestments, NOW would be an opportune time to begin a discussion.

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Saturday 12 October 2019

Vestments in honour of the Blessed Virgin

The Studio was pleased to prepare for an English customer a variation on our well-known Maria Regina vestments.  Our customer is a priest of the Diocese of Shrewsbury (UK).

The vestments were made from a jacquard in a brighter shade of white and lined in a rich shade of blue taffeta.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : Visit this page

Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Shrewsbury.

Monday 7 October 2019

On the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary

The Saint Bede Studio
Recently, the Studio had the pleasure of completing a set of Marian vestments for a returning customer in the United States.

Our customer requested a set of vestments in the Ave Maris Stella style.  A brocade in a muted shade of gold was used,  ornamented in the Gothic style with one of the Studio's unique braids.  The lining was made from taffeta in a lovely shade of blue.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : Visit this page

The Saint Bede Studio

Marian vestments