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Author Archive: Gary Scarrabelotti

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10 January, 2015 0 Comments

By Lyle Dunne

The Vatican is seeking your view on the Synod on the Family.

I received this today:

Following the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in October, Pope Francis and the Synod of Bishops are once again seeking responses to questions as part of their preparation for the 2015 Synod on the Family.

The theme for the Second Synod on the Family is “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World”.??Engaging in this questionnaire is a way to take an active role in shaping how we share the Gospel and respond to the needs of those around us.

A series of 30 questions on this theme has been made available by the Australian Bishops for the further consideration of the faithful. It will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

Submissions close COB 9th February. Please feel free to share!

So I’m sharing.


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Looking to the East

10 January, 2015 0 Comments

By Lyle Dunne.

There has been extensive debate about which of the liturgical “reforms” was the most significant: that abandonment of Latin; new and multiple Eucharistic prayers; the abandonment of aids to focus on the significance of the Eucharist like altar rails, Communion on the tongue and kneeling; the new cycle of readings…

Personally I’ve always thought the idea of orientation was crucial: abandoning the symbolism of a congregation praying together, through the priest, to go, in favour of a symbolism of a closed conversation among the human participants.

Ad Orientem (Photo:

I’ve just received a link to the website of the Church of the Resurrection in Lansing, Michigan, wherein it is disclosed that they have decided to say the (Novus Ordo) Mass ad orientam. I’ve pinched a couple of paras from their website, because I have a feeling that it won’t be on the front page indefinitely:

Praying Ad Orientem

Why We Are Praying Toward The (Liturgical) East At Mass – Read more here

On the First Sunday of Advent 2014, the Church of the Resurrection began celebrating the (Novus Ordo) Mass ad orientem. What that means is that at times during the Mass, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest and the people face in the same direction, toward the “Liturgical East.” This change followed a period of catechesis and preparation that began two years earlier, when we reflected together on the powerful symbolism of praying toward the  East. Inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, we began using what is often called the “Benedictine Altar Arrangement.” We placed six candles on the altar, with a crucifix in the center, to help remind us by the very manner of our prayer that we are not praying to each other but rather to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. The recent change to celebrating ad orientem is helping us accomplish this goal even more fully.


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Buying Back the Farm: the TLM in Limerick

12 December, 2014 1 Comment

By Lyle Dunne

Traditionalists in Limerick must be beginning to think of the GFC as an ill wind that has certainly blown them good.

When I was in Ireland a few years ago, I was thrilled to discover the interior of the Church in the town of my ancestors had been preserved from modernisers – pulpit, altar rails and all! But it was not through the actions of parishioners motivated by a respect for beauty or tradition, but the secular authorities – specifically the government guardians of architectural heritage. The pulpit, it seemed, was of particular historical significance because of a relief portrait on the front of the priest who raised the funds to erect the Church! (One tends to forget how recent most Catholic churches in Ireland are: neither of the two ancient cathedrals of Dublin is now in the hands of the Catholic Church.)

A narrow squeak, I thought. You can never go back, they say. It’s no use bemoaning the past. In the words of the Irish song The Town I Loved So Well:

For what’s done is done and what’s won is won
and what’s lost is lost and gone forever
I can only pray for a bright, brand new day
in the town I loved so well

Well, not always forever.


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Review of Exodus: Gods and Kings

12 December, 2014 0 Comments

Reviewed by: Lyle Dunne

Christian Bale’s Moses… takes a 21st-century view of plagues and smiting, and thus his relationship with God doesn’t really develop, though they do seem later to agree that Commandments might be useful.

Spoiler alert: the Jews get away.

With a story like this, the director is at a disadvantage: everyone knows the ending.

Dark Days (Photo:

Moreover, people come to it with a variety of expectations; the film has been controversial in a couple of respects.

Most of the fuss was about casting well-known actors (who tend ipso facto to be Americans, though English actors are included, and even Australians like Joel Edgerton as the Pharaoh Rameses) in the major roles. Dark make-up worn by Caucasian actors playing non-Caucasians is particularly politically incorrect (except in the case of Chris Lilley in Jonah from Tonga – but that’s on the ABC).  Yet it’s hard to argue with Director Ridley Scott’s defence that it would be impossible to finance a film of this magnitude with unknown but ethnically-appropriate actors. (One might also query what sort of audience it would attract.)

Downplaying the miraculous?

There was also a concern that Scott, variously self-described as an atheist or (more recently) an agnostic, would downplay the miraculous, providing natural explanations for the plagues of Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. Watching the movie, I had the sense that Scott was not only aware of this concern, but had milked it for advance publicity, and was using it for dramatic effect, to counter the fact that everyone knows the story. Thus God (or rather, a messenger from God, disembodied voices being a bit too Cecil B De Mille) speaks from, or at least appears near, the burning bush – but as Moses has just suffered a blow to the head, we’re not sure if he’s imagining it. (more…)

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Review of The Vatican Museums

14 November, 2014 0 Comments

by Lyle Dunne

The Zeitgeist was always going to intrude. But the good news is that the reality of unfashionable but undeniable naked beauty blows it out of the water, and in the process knocks the Whig theory of history  into a cocked hat.

If I see that shot of that door opening one more time...(photo: Rymill films)

The Vatican Museums in 3D is a welcome extension of the welcome development of using the cinema to provide broader access to “high” culture such as opera productions from London or New York.

It is entirely fitting that the Vatican Museum should be at the forefront of this trend – and not altogether surprising, given that Church’s interests are perhaps less commercial than other major museums’.

(One should mention The Russian Ark, made in 2002, filmed in the Hermitage in a single amazing 87-minute shot; this however was not a documentary in the same sense, there was more focus on the palace and its history and less on the works themselves – and it did not use the same extraordinary ultra-high-definition 3D technology.)

The technical skills employed in bringing this work to the screen are literally astonishing. So astonishing, alas, that the film-makers, in my view, got a little carried away.


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