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Bill Murray on Religion, Canonisation and the Liturgy

2 February, 2015 0 Comments

Like the new pope, he walks among us.

By Lyle Dunne

I’ve never been sure about Bill Murray. Ghostbusters was fun, Groundhog Day very clever, but Lost in Translation seem a more apt title than its makers intended, even on a re-watching after a visit to Japan. And I haven’t seen St Vincent.

And he’s a bit, well, weird. Even by Hollywood standards, ie even apart from what could best be described as a complicated moral life, and marital history.

Murray at Cannes in 2012. Photograph: Dominique Charriau/WireImage

Yet the truth can emerge from surprising places. In a free-ranging interview of Murray by Catherine Shoard of The Guardianthe question of religion came up:

His parents were Irish Catholics; one of his sisters is a nun. This conspicuous religion adds to his broad church appeal (there’s a citation from the Christian Science Monitor on his golfing memoirs). You don’t need to ask if his faith is important to him. He talks about how 19th-century candidates risk not getting canonised because the church is keen to push ahead with the likes of John Paul II and Mother Teresa. “I think they’re just trying to get current and hot,” he smiles.


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Stained Glass Windows for Churches May Make Comeback With Younger Generations

29 January, 2015 0 Comments

By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post

…67 percent chose the word “classic” to describe their ideal church. Only 33 percent preferred a trendy church as their ideal.


Churches fitted with ornate stained glass windows may not become a thing of the archaic past just yet, noted one church construction company.

Although presently the stained glass industry has been experiencing a decline in business, research among younger Americans indicates that stained glass could experience a comeback.

Derek DeGroot, architect with the Aspen Group, a company that specializes in building churches, explained to The Christian Post on Monday the current trend.

“Although certain denominations still use stained glass traditionally, many mainline protestant denominations that we designed & built for have seen an apparent decline in the use of stained glass in the recent past,” said DeGroot.

“However, there are new discussions that stained glass is seen more favorably by younger generations.”

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Liturgy: Means or End?

28 January, 2015 0 Comments

By Peter Kwasniewski, New Liturgical Movement, November 2014

Editor’s Comment: I received this some time ago (you’ll note it refers to events toward the end of 2014) and have been vacillating about whether to post it. (Happily the issues are not time-critical.) In the end I decided to, not because I believe the author sustains his thesis with absolute conviction – I have considerable sympathy with the commentators on the article, whom I strongly suggest you read – but because it raises some important points.

If you want my five cents’ worth, I think the problem lies in identifying liturgy as a means to a HUMAN end, such as creating unity among worshippers or bringing people into the Church. Worthy though these aims may be, they are not the point of liturgy.

The broader questions of whether the encounter with Christ Incarnate should best be seen as a means to the Glory of God, or whether the Sacrifice of Calvary, and hence that of the Mass, is primarily a means of securing our salvation, I am content to regard as above my pay grade.

Catholics today might sometimes be struck by the passionate conviction of the younger generation of Catholics who are fighting for the cause of the Sacred Liturgy. It is as if we are fighting for dear life, in a struggle to the bitter end, against our mortal enemies. The reason is simple: we are doing exactly that.

The Sacraments. Source: New Liturgical Movement

It is no exaggeration to say that there is a fundamentally false view out there, very popular nowadays, as captured in this paragraph from Whispers from the Loggia of November 24:

The office’s [i.e., Congregation for Divine Worship’s] new mission is likely to hew closer to Francis’ own liturgical approach—as one op summarized its principles: “Go by the book. Don’t make a fuss about it. And remember that liturgy’s always a means to an end—not an end in itself.”

That’s the error in a nutshell: the liturgy is a means, not an end.

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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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The Teen Genius Who Set the Faith to Music

8 November, 2014 0 Comments

by R. J. Stove, reprinted by kind permission of the UK Catholic Herald.

Mendelssohn’s extraordinary Catholic-inspired works

O for a beaker-full of the warm South – John Keats

Even the freakishly well-read Felix Mendelssohn (he used the double-barrel appellation ‘Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’ with reluctance, when he used it at all) seems not to have known Keats’s poems. But Italy exercised over the composer, as over the poet, an irresistible magnetic pull. During 1830, the year he turned 21, he ceased his efforts at defying it. To his father Abraham, without whom the trip would have remained financially impossible, Felix wrote from Venice in October:

This is Italy! And now has begun what I have always thought… to be the supreme joy in life. And I am loving it. Today was so rich that now, in the evening, I must collect myself a little, and so I am writing to you to thank you, dear parents, for having given me all this happiness.

No stranger to foreign parts (he had already made that voyage to Scotland which moved him to compose The Hebrides overture), the young Mendelssohn prepared himself for Italian climes with typically self-punitive thoroughness. By the time he ventured from home, he had acquired a knowledge of Catholicism’s sacred music – Palestrina’s, above all – which, even then, put many an actual Catholic to the blush. Still more striking is the hold which Catholic culture had already begun to exercise upon his creative imagination when he had not yet left his teens. (more…)

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