Martin Mosebach will be familiar to a number of readers as a trenchant traditionalist, and the author of The Heresy of Formlessness. The talk below is the best thing I’ve read on liturgy and tradition for a long time. Any traditionalist who can should read it – Ed.
It’s tricky with contemporaneity: when you try to grab and hold onto it, you end up holding the dead tail of a lizard in your hand. Arrested contemporaneity is necessarily always about to go out of date. The radical form of the liturgy, by contrast, cannot go out of date because it does not belong to time, but moves outside of time.
by Martin Mosebach, Roarate Caeli: address Given at Holy Innocents Parish, New York, May 12, 2015 – translation of a talk Mosebach was asked to give by the Bishop of Limburg/Lahn on Ash Wednesday 2013.
When it became apparent in the early 1950s that television sets would soon be in many households, German bishops deliberated about whether it would be wise to allow or even promote television broadcasts of the Holy Mass. Indeed, people thought about such questions sixty years ago and they asked the great philosopher Josef Pieper for an expert opinion. In his opinion, Pieper rejected such television broadcasts on principle, saying they were irreconcilable with the nature of the Holy Mass. In its origins, the Holy Mass is a discipline of the arcane, a sacred celebration of mysteries by the christened. He mentioned the lowest level in the order of priests – done away with following the Second Vatican Council – the ostiary, or doorkeeper, who once had to ensure that the non-baptized and those temporarily excluded leave the church and move to the narthex following the liturgy of the Word. The Orthodox still do so in some places; the call of the deacon, “Guard the doors” is heard in every Orthodox liturgy before the Eucharist. While in Georgia I once experienced this demand, often merely a ceremony of a recollected past, being taken literally. A monk approached me, fell to his knees and apologetically asked me to leave the church since I, as a Roman Catholic, was not in full agreement with the Orthodox Church. I gladly acquiesced as I think not everyone has to be permitted everywhere all the time. Sacred places and holy acts are first declared quite plainly by the drawing of boundaries and such boundaries must somehow be visible and palpable. Still, anyone who has not given any thought to the dubiousness of filming the Mass has perhaps on occasion felt uncomfortably moved when they saw believers receiving communion on television or as the camera rested on the face of a celebrant chewing the host. Are such feelings truly only atavistic, produced by ancient magical fears? Other cultures are also acquainted with an aversion to photography. It is as if it would disturb a spiritual sphere.
So it is all the more surprising that a photograph of a Mass has become very valuable to me.
I don’t really think that there are Vatican officials who get together over an espresso and say to one another “Let’s come up with a totally obscure document, and a questionnaire full of incomprehensible purple sentimentality, to discourage ordinary people from filling it out, and ensure that any answers we do get will be impossible to analyse, so that we can control the agenda. Mwahaha”. But I do think there’s an agenda here, which is to subvert the church’s traditional teaching on marriage.
by Lyle Dunne
After pleading with you all to complete the Synod questionnaire – thanks, to anyone who did; you deserve years off Purgatory – I completed it myself; there’s a copy below.
Before doing so, however, I began to have grave doubts (even graver than the ones I previously expressed) about the whole exercise.
Was it in fact an attempt to stifle public comment, or failing that, turn it into an incomprehensible welter of verbiage? Was it the result of a misunderstanding, whereby a document sent out to bishops as a basis for consultation was cut-and-pasted into an unanswerable questionnaire?
There certainly seems to have been a bit of the latter going on. As Patrick Kenny argues in the National Catholic Register, “the questions themselves were not designed for ordinary laypeople”.
(In fact many seem to be impossible for anyone to answer, as I think examples below show.)
He goes on to explain how this arose:
The idea of surveying laypeople seems to have arisen from a letter by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the synod, asking that the entire document be distributed to deaneries and parishes so that feedback could be gathered from local sources. Somehow or other, this normal consultation process transformed into a rather haphazard series of diocesan “opinion polls” accompanied by potentially unreliable statistical analysis.
(Here he’s speaking of the first Synod document and questionnaire; it seems the second is a perpetuation of the same error.)
Alas, it’s a joke – as the last para makes clear. Otherwise I could think of a few Canberra Churches that would benefit from a visit by Fr Ash – Ed.
From the Blog “Faith in Our Families”.
“Forensics traced the source of this fire back to the sacristy. That didn’t surprise me at all. There was just so much polyester in there. At night you could hear crackling and literally see sparks as the low quality vestments brushed against each other. The levels of static electricity in that place were OFF THE CHART. Vanpoulles has got a lot to answer for.”
Police are questioning a 38 year old Catholic priest on charges of arson after 17 out of 18 churches he was stationed at burned to the ground over a 13 year period. Polish born Fr. Pileov Ash denies the charges saying that the events are an “unexplainable co-incidence”. (more…)
Hundreds of Priests in the UK gather in the city of Bath to learn how to say the Traditional Latin Mass
By Christine Niles, Church Militant
A group of priests in the United Kingdom gathered in the city of Bath in England last week to learn how to say the Traditional Latin Mass. Hundreds have attended over the course of years since the conference was first organized eight years ago.
We who love French organ music must adapt, in dealing with those outside our circle, the insinuating advice once given to Augustine: Tolle, aude.
by R. J. STOVE
“To create a little of that beauty against which the foe rages!”
– Debussy, debarred from active military service, during World War I
Herewith, some disordered thoughts offered – some “notes on the present discontents” – for anyone who might be interested in the concept of French organ music. Which concept, granted, is scarcely likelier to goad most readers into qualitative assessments than was a long-ago vow by Time magazine to solve the enigma of “the Wittiest Man in Belgium.”
That these thoughts will be incoherent is assured. That they will evoke boredom is probable. But authors should remember, if no-one else does, the advice that Esquire editor Arnold Gingrich gave the increasingly unproductive, indeed dipsomaniacal, Scott Fitzgerald:
I [Gingrich] suggested that he [Fitzgerald] put down anything that came into his head, as automatic writing in the Gertrude Stein manner, or that, if even that were beyond his powers of concentration, he simply copy out the same couple of sentences over and over … if only to say I can’t write stories about young love for The Saturday Evening Post.
From which guidance, Gingrich, and the world, derived several more Fitzgerald classics, including “The Crack-Up” and “Three Acts of Music.” Perhaps it was the Gertrude Stein allusion by which Gingrich secured Fitzgerald’s last fine careless rapture. After all, Gertrude Stein spent years as what a subsequent Esquire staffer called “Our Man In Paris.”