Friday 24 December 2021

In this Holy Season 2021

To all friends, customers and readers of this Blog, sincere wishes for a Blessed Christmas.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill be made low; the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places, plain; and the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
Isaiah 40:4-5.

Michael Sternbeck
The Saint Bede Studio
December 2021

Wednesday 22 December 2021

When the Shepherds Scatter the Sheep : continued

Mother of the Church
For almost five decades I have studied history and the related fields described as "heritage".  Over those many years, I have discovered that not many people are interested in either of these disciplines and - even if they are - it is often quite superficial or nostalgic.  Most people would be familiar with the situation where a building or site of historic importance - even a church - has been treated with disrespect by "developers".  In such moments, we observe an indifference to our heritage.

Something quite different, however, is a focussed contempt for our heritage, as opposed to a mere lack of interest.  What we have observed coming from the Vatican over the last several months is most certainly the former : contempt.

I wish to make a few points in this article, not demanding too much time of readers, since our focus should be on more beautiful moments in this Holy Season.

Within the Church, we do not perceive our heritage in quite the same way as secular society, instead of heritage we use the word Tradition from that definition of the Latin word which means a handing down or a handing on.  Our Catholic Tradition concerns the teachings of the Church, but it also applies to certain externals, such as our ritual worship.

The Church at present seems to be in the grip of an imperative for cultural revision, not unrelated to similar movements in the twentieth century in Russia, China and Germany (to name a few).  Part of the program of those atheistic regimes was the elimination and re-configuring of "heritage" into ideologies to which all persons must be subservient.  It sounds familiar, doesn't it?

After those 20th century tragedies, brought about by aggressive, godless ideologies and the obsessions of hate-filled dictators, and which caused the suffering of millions, who could believe that our Holy Mother the Church would find herself in the twenty-first century in the thrall of another populist leader bent on reconfiguring Her in his own image?  And yet ...

Every Catholic, no matter of what ecclesiological persuasion, age or race, ought to be concerned that the leaders of the Church are attempting to negate our Tradition and cast it as something to be sneered at and loathed.  For this is the message coming from the Vatican with none-too-much subtlety.

The old liturgies of the Roman Rite are not to everyone's taste; they don't encapsulate a form of perfection which can admit of no modification or improvement.  The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council recognised that, and sought to make some changes in the famous document Sacrosanctum Concilium.  But now this same document is used as a weapon by the Vatican in a manner never dreamed of by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council; whilst at the same time they attempt to convince the Faithful with their smooth words that restriction is exactly what the Fathers of the Council would really want for the sake of unity.

It must be admitted that there are some adherents of the Old Roman Rite who also have extreme views both political and ecclesiastical.  BUT the opponents of the Old Liturgy in Rome - without a great deal of discernment and an outright lack of charity - have used the extreme views of such a minority to persecute those who just wish to attend the form of Mass of their choice.  For those people, their religious heritage and personal sanctification are important.

There is something almost schizophrenic in these Roman regulations.  They are patently vindictive, undiscerning, lacking in charity (from churchmen?).  And they are most certainly motivated by ideology.  Ideology ... yes ... we remember what happened in the past when ideology prevailed.

Let us recognise these deformed acts for what they are and not be fooled that they are based in a charitable desire for unity.

Under God's Providence, may these aberrations be brought to a swift close and a new leader for our Holy Mother emerge whose declared determination is not "to make a mess", but rather to bind up the wounds of Christ's Faithful, a flock scattered by its shepherd.

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

Michael Sternbeck

22nd December 2021.

Image : Mary Mother of the Church

Sunday 19 December 2021

When the Shepherds scatter the sheep

O Heavenly Lord

We beseech you continually to inspire the universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: And grant, that all who confess your Name may agree in the truth of your Holy Word, and live in unity, and godly love.

We beseech you to give grace to the Bishop of Rome and to all bishops, priests and deacons, that they, by their integrity, piety and right-doctrine, may be faithful witnesses to your true and living Word and rightly and duly administer your holy Sacraments.

We beseech you to guide and prosper those who are labouring for the spread of your Gospel among the nations, and enlighten with your Spirit all places of education and learning; that the whole world may be filled with the knowledge of your truth.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Rose Vestments in the Gothic Style

Rose vestments
Twice a year, the Church breaks the tone of its penitential seasons by the use of rose-coloured vestments.  Rose-coloured vestments were never commonplace and they still are not.  Many different colours have been deemed by the Church as acceptable as liturgical rose.  Some of these are a salmon shade; some a silvery-pink, almost mushroom-colour; some close to what we would call Bishop's purple or fuchsia; and some red with overtones of gold.

The vestments were made from dupion silk in a quite lovely shade of rose and fully lined in a taup-coloured taffeta.  The vestments were ornamented with a braid from the range of the Studio's unique offerings, called Saint Dunstan.  The braid is in colours of platinum, violet and white upon a crimson background.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : At this page.

Rose vestments

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Vestments in Honour of the Blessed Virgin

Marian vestments
This set of vestments, in the Gothic Revival style, was prepared by the Studio for a Canadian ordinand in 2020.

This very popular range of vestments we call Ave Maris Stella. The vestments are made from an ecclesiastical brocade in the shade of ivory and lined in Royal blue taffeta.  The ornament is formed from one of the Saint Bede Studio's unique braids, named Stella.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : This page

The Saint Bede Studio

Marian vestments


Monday 13 December 2021

The Colours of Advent : An Annual Post

Often it is asserted by liturgical commentators and other internet experts, that there are "correct" colours for the vestments used during Lent and Advent. Curious as to the history of these colours in Liturgical use, some years ago we researched and posted an article  here and here, about use of penitential colours for the Seasons of Advent and Lent. If you have wondered what colour the Church recommends for these Seasons, you might find the article illuminating.

We include here an historic work of art to illustrate the practice of our forebears. This work (adjacent) was painted by an artist known as The Master of Osservanza in the year 1440 and depicts a Low Mass being offered at a side chapel in the Siena Cathedral (Italy).

Some observations. The chasuble being worn by the celebrant is violet: in other words, much the same colour as the flower "violets". It is a blue-ish colour, not purple and it is not too dark either. The chasuble is the full conical shape and is ornamented with a simple column-orphrey of dark fabric (possibly even black). Most likely, the front of the chasuble would have been decorated with the familiar "tau". The celebrant is wearing decorative apparels on his alb and amice, which match the colour of the chasuble's ornament. That is a very typical practice of the Mediaeval period. Note, too, the very full folds of the alb.

We see, also, that the young cleric assisting the celebrant is wearing a full-length surplice or rochet, according to the style typically found in Renaissance Italy. Those who claim that such surplices are a "Church of England", or a "Low Church Party" garment should note this well.

Lastly, the altar itself. It is clothed in a dark antependium or altar frontal, ornamented with scarlet red. On the altar is a Crucifix and a single candle. Although it may seem peculiar that there is but a single candle instead of a pair, it might be remarked that not until the 16th century was it a usual practice to have a pair of candlesticks on an altar.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Advent Vestments

Recently, the Saint Bede Studio provided this simple set of violet vestments to a Benedictine Monastery in the United States.  It is part of our economy range of vestments, called Saint Anselm.

The vestments were made from silk in a lighter shade of violet and ornamented with a column, front and back.  The ornament was formed from silver dupion silk and one of the Studio's unique braids Saint Edmund (based on a design of AWN Pugin).  

The chasuble was unlined, but faced at the neckline, helping it to sit well and not crumple.  Also provided with the set was an amice apparel, shewn in some of the images.

Click on the images for an enlarged view. 

Violet vestments

The chasuble shewn with the amice apparel.

Detail of the amice apparel.

The neckline of the chasuble shewn without the amice apparel.