Saturday, March 30, 2013

Descendit ad inferos

3 "Descended into hell"
One can try to deal with problems either by denying their existence or by facing up to them. The first method is the more comfortable one, but only the second leads anywhere. Instead of pushing the question aside, then, should we not learn to see that this article of faith, which liturgically is associated with Holy Saturday in the Church's year, is particularly close to our day and is to a particular degree the experience of our [twentieth] century? On Good Friday our gaze remains fixed on the crucified Christ, but Holy Saturday is the day of the "death of God", the day that expresses the unparalleled experience of our age, anticipating the fact that God is simply absent, that the grave hides him, that he no longer awakes, no longer speaks, so that one no longer needs to gainsay him but can simply overlook him. "God is dead and we have killed him." this saying of Nietzsche's belongs linguistically to the tradition of Christian Passiontide piety; it expresses the content of Holy Saturday, "descended into hell".
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Introduction to Christianity, Ignatius (2004).
Part Two: Jesus Christ, II The Development of Faith in Christ in the Christological Articles of the Creed, 3 "Descended into hell", (p. 294).

Friday, March 29, 2013

An Allegory

I have this brother. He's very overbearing. Our mother arranged for us to receive three delicious meals every day. They are delicious and nutritious. The balanced diet everyone is always talking about. Nevertheless, every day at every meal – EVERY DAY, EVERY MEAL, WITHOUT FAIL – when these meals arrive from the delivery service, he just throws them away and goes to get cheap, takeaway food. He never asks me. I don't think it even occurs to him that I – or for that matter our mother – might object. She hardly ever raises her voice in protest. She is worried she will drive him away. It is true that sometimes the food Mum has arranged is an acquired taste. You have to get used to it. Above all you have to take it all in, meal after meal, and then you begin to understand the subtlety of the flavours and you see the larger picture. In any case the food never tastes *nasty*, it is just not what we are used to. And it is always very nutritious and exactly what our mother planned for us.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Pride of Place

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,  General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2003).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Greek teaching in the Unided Stades

Rod Decker provides A Recommended Bibliography for Beginning Greek Students. He lists different kinds of books (texts, grammars, lexicons, concordances) etc. by year of study. For a third year student he recommends as a lexicon the following:

Liddell & Scott (the standard lexicon for classical Greek; it does include NT material). “Liddell,” BTW, is pronounced “little” (not “li-dell”).
The surname of the co-author of this lexicon, Henry George Liddell (the father of Alice in Wonderland, believe it or not), is given the pronunciation  /ˈlɪdəl/ by Wikipedia (at least it did when I wrote this) not /ˈlɪtl̩/. I was puzzled by this apparent typo before I realised Decker is relying on the voiced American T.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Remember Anamnesis


Behold the homepage of Anamnesis, the bulletin of the liturgical commission of the Polish Bishops' conference. ("Anamnsis" at the top of the page is simply a typo, it is of course simply the Greek word for the memorial sacrifice of Num 10:10, alluded to in Lk 22:19 and 1 Cor 11:25).

In 2004 I discovered that the editio typica tertia of Missale Romanum included some new saints in the calendar. This is the Universal Calendar, also called the General Calendar. Local churches at the diocesan or national level are expected to modify the calendar usually by adding local saints or sometimes by increasing the importance of the celebration.

This being the Missal – to be used at Mass – it does not have texts for the Liturgy of the Hours (the "Divine Office", often simply just the "Office"). Using as a search text the collect (which is the same as the concluding prayer in the Office) of one of the additions to the calendar, I discovered that the Polish Bishops had put the Latin texts of additions to the Divine Office online. Additions to the liturgical books are published in the journal of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Notitiae which was not, and is not, published online. However all the decrees from the Congregation pertaining to the Universal Church, including such additions to the calendar are, as a matter of course, published in Latin in Anamnesis.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Preaching and the Biblical Languages

The Rev. Gerald Ambulance discusses the problem of preaching.
Greek is another good time-killer. Try this kind of thing: "Now the word translated 'preaching' here is the Greek word kerygma. And that comes from the verb kerysso, meaning 'to preach'. So when St Paul says 'preaching', what that word really means is 'preaching'." (Stephen Tomkins, My Ministry Manual by Rev. Gerald Ambulance, p.31).
Rod Decker, Preaching and the Biblical Languages: Garnish or Entrée Mellon or Mantra? has a more serious approach.

Some extracts.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A really bad week

On Sunday 11th July 2010 the Archbishop of Buenos Aires attacked the Bill, then before the Argentine Senate, to create homosexual marriage. The Archbishop described it as a "destructive attack on God's plan." The President of Argentina hit back the following day.
Mrs. Kirchner harshly criticized church leaders on Monday, saying that their discourse on the issue resembled “the times of the Crusades” and that they failed to acknowledge how socially liberal Argentina had become.
Another theme of Cristina Kirchner's presidency has been demanding that the UK hand over the Falkland Islands to Argentina, regardless of the wishes of the inhabitants.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Breaking news from Australia: The Papacy Returns to Italy!

On Thursday morning I learnt that white smoke was appearing, from a text message sent from England. At first I flicked between television channels. Among Australian terrestrial channels there was a live broadcast from St Peter's Square on Channel 7 Sunrise and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). I could also get Sky News, Fox News and CNN. The ABC seemed to have the cleanest picture (fewer annoying graphics) so I settled in to that channel. Then they hauled on Paul Collins, Papal historian and ex-priest. Men leave the priesthood for different reasons but my general experience is they are damaged goods. They are not a likely source of balanced and informative comment.
In 2001 Collins resigned from priestly ministry because of a dispute with the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith over his book Papal Power. 
In other words he left in a fit of pique.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Jesuit Pope

Francis, Bishop of Rome, Servant of the Servants of God, is a member of the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits.

Let's watch Cardinal Tauran again (1:06:46), followed by the Pope (1:16:45). You should be able to drop the scrubber quite easily.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Qui sibi novum nomen imposuit


Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum; habemus Papam: Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Georgium Marium Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum.
With these words did Jean Louis Cardinal Tauran announce the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio SJ, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, about 8pm on 13th March 2013.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reigniting the momentum in my collection of mixed metaphors

In 1923 A. E. Housman published a review of F. A. Simpson's Louis Napoleon and the Recovery of France 1848-1856. In the course of the review (be it noted – of a book written by one of his colleagues at Trinity College, Cambridge) he criticises "the slang with which Mr Simpsons now and then defiles his pen".
Here too, as everywhere, are the daisies and dandelions of contemporary metaphor. Till I read p. 241 I did not know that a storm could have an aftermath nor that an aftermath could reach a throne; but I have since found the same blend of meteorology and agriculture in a novel of Mr Hugh Walpole's—though the aftermath is there a 'faint' on and so no throne is threatened.* 
Compared to that Housman might regard the following as (to defile my keyboard with slang) shooting fish in a barrel. A while ago I mentioned the bargain offer by the SMH of three metaphors for the price of one. Today you can add some unique (let us hope) pieces to your collection.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A self-depreciating smile

Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son (1846-1848), chapter xxxvii 'More warnings than one' (first published in number xii of the serial, September 1847), page 554 in the Oxford World's Classics edition.
Edith suffered him to proceed. She looked at him now. As he bent forward, to be nearer, with the utmost show of delicacy and respect, and with his teeth persuasively arrayed, in a self-depreciating smile, she felt as if she could have struck him dead. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mgr Richard Schuler: A chronicle of the reform

I had never heard of him but Mgr Richard Schuler is a big wheel among proponents of a traditional liturgy in the United States. Alexander Sample, the new Archbishop of Portland, specifically mentions him in an interview with the Catholic World Report.

In 1988 he published a long article on the history of the reform of sacred music, especially in the United States. It was reprinted as an appendix to a festschrift published in his honour in 1990: Cum Angelis Canere: Essays on Sacred Music and Pastoral Liturgy in Honour of Richard J. Schuler Robert A. Skeris, ed. A Chronicle of the Reform [pdf] can be found at the website of St Cecilia Schola Cantorum in Auburn, Alabama.

It does not have the satirical verve of Klaus Gamber or László Dobszay (scroll down), but it is a good read.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: the word for blessed!

[The actual sedes vacans, courtesy of Charles Cole].

At the time of writing, the Vatican website still has a separate page on the election of Pope Benedict XVI (if that link dies you can go here).
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum; habemus Papam: Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Josephum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Ratzinger qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedictum XVI.
Now that is not what Jorge Cardinal Medina Estévez actually said.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A reason to go to Canberra

Further to the story from two weeks ago last year about a beer from a massive internationa brewery (named after the state of Victoria) winning a prize at the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show the small brewers are striking back with the Small Brewer's Beer Festival.

"People have no idea how extremely competitive and ruthless the beer business can be, it really is war. And the big breweries don't take any prisoners. So instead of competing with them directly at other beer festivals we thought we would hold our own and just not invite them."
It's on 9th March. So plenty of notice then.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

To Mars, in an RV

Space exploration is going a little Heinleinian.

Tito Wants to send Married Couple on Mars flyby mission

Monday, March 4, 2013

An illuminated history of Ampleforth

The porch of the North Transept of Ampleforth Abbey is connected by a corridor which leads past the monks' refectory into the Central Building of the school. At the beginning of the corridor there is now displayed a history of Monasticism in general and Ampleforth in particular in an illuminated calligraphic manuscript.

Until I read it in 2006, I did not know that Dom Anselm Bolton was the last priest to be tried under the penal laws and had never heard of Dom Sigebert Buckley. So I typed it up for the ages.

It is a good read if stylistically clumsy. "The monks elected their own Abbot instead of the General Chapter, all monks even if they were not in Ampleforth or in the parishes took orders from their Abbot."

That sentence means the General Chapter of the English Benedictine Congregation no longer appointed Priors of Ampleforth, but instead the monks of Ampleforth elected an Abbot for themselves, and that all Ampleforth monks, wheresoever they might be (on the parishes, at St Benet's Hall), are under the Abbot's authority. It does not mean that Abbots ordain priests. "Took orders" is not, I think, a Catholic expression but Anglican.

"Benedictine monks played a major part in the conversion of England to Christianity and the formation of the Church of England". This means the Church in England, it does not mean the institution of which The Queen is Governor in which monks were far from welcome.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A nice loaf of whirlwind-flour bread

Lest you think I only pick on the silly things said by Australian journalists here is a paragraph by Dan Hodges (son of Glenda Jackson, no I can't quite believe it either) in the (London) Daily Telegraph. He is discussing the consequences of the Eastleigh by-election of 28th February at which the UK Independence Party (UKIP) candidate came second, beating the Conservative and Labour candidates. In American terms that is like beating the GOP and the Democrats, in Australian terms like beating the Liberals and the ALP. When these sorts of thing usually happen UKIP is seen to be the spoiler for the Conservatives, in this case it is fair to say it is the other way around.

It was expected, Hodges means to say, that another party would benefit from dissatisfaction with Conservative policy, but that UKIP would reap these benefits was not expected.

However, that is not what he actually says:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sede Vacante


Visit to the Pontifical Major Roman Seminary, on the occasion of the Feast of Our Lady of Trust, Lectio Divina of Pope Benedict XVI, Friday 8th February 2013.
The second term: inheritance. It is a very important word in the Old Testament, where Abraham is told that his seed will inherit the earth, and this was always the promise for his descendents. You will have the earth, you will be heirs of the earth. In the New Testament, this word becomes a word for us; we are heirs, not of a specific country, but of the land of God, of the future of God. Inheritance is something of the future, and thus this word tells us above all that as Christians we have a future, the future is ours, the future is God’s. Thus, being Christians, we know that the future is ours and the tree of the Church is not a tree that is dying but a tree that constantly puts out new shoots. Therefore we have a reason not to let ourselves be upset, as Pope John said, by the prophets of doom who say: well, the Church is a tree that grew from the mustard seed, grew for two thousand years, now she has time behind her, it is now time for her to die. No. The Church is ever renewed, she is always reborn. The future belongs to us. Of course, there is a false optimism and a false pessimism. A false pessimism tells us that the epoch of Christianity is over. No: it is beginning again! The false optimism was the post-Council optimism, when convents closed, seminaries closed and they said “but... nothing, everything is fine!”.... No! Everything is not fine. There are also serious, dangerous omissions and we have to recognize with healthy realism that in this way things are not all right, it is not all right when errors are made. However, we must also be certain at the same time that if, here and there, the Church is dying because of the sins of men and women, because of their non-belief, at the same time she is reborn. The future really belongs to God: this is the great certainty of our life, the great, true optimism that we know. The Church is the tree of God that lives for ever and bears within her eternity and the true inheritance: eternal life.