Monday, August 31, 2015

The Divine Praises – II

Following some thought, it strikes me that the late lamented Fr Bouyer was correct in suggesting that further additions to the Divine Praises would be fitting. I make bold to suggest – for private devotion only – that the following four additions are desirable:

After mention of the Blessed Sacrament:
  • Blessed be Jesus Christ the King.
After mention of the Holy Ghost:
  • Blessed be the Most Holy Trinity.
After mention of St Joseph:
  • Blessed be the Holy Family.
  • Blessed be the Holy Catholic Church.
All these four are tied together: Christ ought reign as King, not merely over hearts but over societies, so every state acknowledge his social reign, as Pius XI taught; and the pre-existent community in unity that is the Trinity has, as reflections and images on earth, both the Holy Family, itself the model of all true families – including a father, a mother and a child – and also the Holy Catholic Church, that marvellous divine gathering back into one of all the scattered sheep.

In this age, when the Church in her immaculate holiness is mocked and despised for the sins, real and imagined, of her members, when the family is attacked under the guise of promoting a so-called love that is but a cloak for sinful lusts opposed alike to the natural order and to divine justice, when the Trinity is unacknowledged and unworshipped, and Christ, Second Person thereof, Redeemer and Lawgiver and Judge, is more and more flagrantly rejected, disobeyed and mocked, so much the more ought the faithful remnant praise, bless and honour these sacred mysteries of our holy religion.

The Divine Praises were originally composed in Italian, and are often recited in Latin, so here are the four proposed extra blessings in those tongues:

Benedetto Gesù Cristo Re.
Benedetta la santissima Trinità.
Benedetta la santa Famiglia.
Benedetta la santa Chiesa cattolica.

Benedictus Jesus Christus Rex.
Benedicta sanctissima Trinitas.
Benedicta sancta Familia.
Benedicta sancta Ecclesia Catholica.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Divine Praises

A quick internet search turns up the well-known text of the Divine Praises, along with a note attributing its origins to Fr Luigi (Louis? or Aloysius?) Felici, S.J. in 1797, as a form of reparation for blasphemy. (I found a copy on Google Books of the oration preached at his funeral, which indicates he died in 1818; and another search turned up the fact that he was born in 1736.) It was written in Italian, and the Latin is a later translation (as is the form in English, of course). The original form had but eight lines, to which successive additions have been made. Pius VII granted an indulgence for its recitation on 23 July 1801; I haven't found a copy of Felici's original, so I do not know if Pius VII changed or enlarged it, as some sources seem to suggest.

Succeeding Popes have added ever more indulgences and blessings to it (though those indulgences have since been watered down); but it turned out to be quite hard to discover exactly when. Recourse had to be had to the Acta Apostolicæ Sedis, and other sources, to find the official decrees adding each blessing, and I have found a puzzling reference to the date when Bl Pius IX made the first addition in honour of the Immaculate Conception, suggesting that it was added, not in the year 1856 as other sources claim, but on 27 April 1851, some years prior to the dogmatic definition of 1854. Herewith, the Divine Praises, with the dates of each addition noted:

Blessed be God.
Blessed be his Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be his Most Sacred Heart. (Leo XIII, 2 February 1897)
Blessed be his Most Precious Blood. (St John XXIII, 12 October 1960)
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit the Paraclete. (Bl Paul VI, 27 April 1964)
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception. (Bl Pius IX, 25 April 1851)
Blessed be her glorious Assumption. (Pius XII, 23 December 1952, 8 April 1953)
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St Joseph, her most chaste spouse. (Benedict XV, 23 February 1921)
Blessed be God in his Angels and in his Saints.

There are two dates given for the insertion of blessing of the Assumption, since by an embarrassing error it was first commanded to be illogically inserted before that of the Immaculate Conception, so a correction had to be published a few months later.

I recall reading somewhere, in a book on the Eucharist by Louis Bouyer I think, that two desirable additions to these praises would be "Blessed be the holy Apostles" (those pillars of the Church founded by their Master) and "Blessed be the holy Catholic Church" - the latter, being the Bride of Christ, oft reviled by the world's attacks (all too often deservedly attracted, sad to say, by the outrageous crimes of her sinful members), yet remaining holy and spotless in her essential nature despite every attempted besmirching: she is, after all, casta meretrix.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Prayer before Mass

Since this evening I will be assisting at the monthly Missa cantata in Launceston, here is a short prayer (dating from at least 1745), which I found in an eighteenth century book available online, and which I have rendered into English with the aid of online resources:

Prosterné au pied de votre saint Autel, je vous adore, Dieu tout-puissant: je crois fermement que la Messe à laquelle je vais assister, est le sacrifice du Corps et du Sang de Jésus-Christ votre Fils: faites que j’y assiste avec l’attention, le respect et la frayeur que demandent de si redoutables Mystères; et que par les mérites de la Victime qui s’immole pour moi, immolé moi-même avec elle, je ne vive plus que pour vous, qui vivez et régnez dans la suite de tous les siècles. Ainsi soit-il.


Prostrate at the foot of thy holy Altar, I adore thee, O God almighty: I firmly believe that the Mass, at which I am going to assist, is the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ thy Son: cause that I may assist thereat with the attention, the respect and the fear that such formidable Mysteries demand; and that by the merits of the Victim who sacrifices himself for me, I may sacrifice myself with him, and live no longer for myself but for thee, who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Launceston Latin Mass Update

Tonight, Fr Rowe – my former parish priest in Perth, W.A., who is visiting again, having been in Hobart for a conference – offered our monthly Missa cantata. The attendance was good, with several new faces present who promised to return, and afterward we shared a cuppa and a chinwag.

I have just learnt from Fr Suresh, who is chaplain to the Latin Mass community in this Archdiocese, that from our next Mass in August onwards, our monthly Latin Mass in Launceston will be held on the second Sunday, which will be more convenient for many.

Our next Missa cantata, therefore, will be held at 6 pm on Sunday the 9th of August, at St Francis Church, Riverside.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June and July EF Masses in Launceston

On Sunday evening the 7th of June, we had our latest Missa cantata in Launceston: it was a beautiful Mass. Fr Suresh preached powerfully on the Real Presence as the touchstone of Catholic faith and devotion; the choir acquitted themselves well, of course; and at least the server (yours truly) noticed during the Epistle that he had put the side altar cards on the wrong sides, and switched them over while moving the missal to the Gospel corner.

Our next EF Mass will be held at 6 pm on Sunday 5th July: Fr Michael Rowe, my former parish priest in Perth, W.A., will offer it, since he is coming to the ACCC Conference in Hobart that finishes on the Friday beforehand. Last night, our choir began learning the new music: we will sing the solemn Salve as the Offertory Motet, and Adoro te after Communion. While we will continue to use psalm-tone  settings of the propers otherwise, we will sing the Gregorian melody of the Communion antiphon.

Many thanks to all who support this new venture!

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Owing to the unavailability of choir members, etc., it has been decided to cancel the May Latin Mass in Launceston. The next Mass will be celebrated at 6 pm on the first Sunday of June, at St Francis' Church, thanks to the ongoing kindness of the parish and parish priest, who allow the use of the church by the Archdiocese of Hobart Latin Mass Community.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Launceston Easter Sunday EF Mass

Fr Suresh again came North to celebrate our second monthly Missa cantata. While some were absent (it being Easter, and holiday time; and also I forgot to advertise it in the parish bulletin, though it was mentioned in the diocesan paper), we still had an attendance of about twenty, which bodes well for the future once it becomes better known.

(Next month, by the way, the Mass will be held at 5 pm on the second Sunday, that is, on the 10th of May, owing to various reasons.)

Having rehearsed with the choir, I then got ready to serve Mass (and to sing along, when not otherwise occupied). Mass began at 6:05 pm and concluded at 7:05 pm. As always, Fr Suresh preached a stirring sermon. After the Mass, we all went through to the adjoining parish centre for a light supper, preceded by the blessing of eggs and bread (the texts of which luckily were appended to the main contents of the missal).

As before, we sang the Messe Royale, accompanied on the organ. Since the propers of Easter Sunday are beyond my competence (apart from the Sequence), I set their texts to psalm-tone 1, with alleluias set to the music of the Messe Royale Kyrie. At Offertory, a few verses of O filii et filiæ were sung, and after Mass, the simple Regina cæli, before concluding with the rousing hymn "By your kingly power, O risen Lord," by James McAuley.

Here are the simplified propers as sung; I seem to have left out the second-last letter in alleluja for some reason…

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

I was blessed to attend the Easter Vigil at the Launceston Carmel, ably celebrated by Fr Paul, a worthy and learned Dominican, and a long-standing friend of mine since Melbourne days; he was assisted by Brian, the usual server there, who looked after the thurible and incense also. The good nuns there believe in doing the Vigil properly: all the readings are read, and the Mass of the Resurrection begins in the middle of the night.

For the record, the liturgy began at 11:00 pm, with the blessing of the new fire (symbol of the Creation ex nihilo) and the lighting of the Paschal Candle (symbol of Christ, the Light who shineth in the darkness). Fr Paul chanted Lumen Christi thrice; thrice we replied, Deo gratias, and lit our small candles from the one source of light. He then sang the Exsultet, that marvellous homiletic canticle, one of the richest still-used pieces of mystagogical catechesis, fit to be compared with the Easter Sermon of St John Chrysostom, and the Carmen Paschale of Melito of Sardis.

At 11:20 pm, the nuns, from within the screen on their side of the chapel, then began the seven readings of the Vigil, interspersed with psalmody, and Father's chanting of the collects following each; this took 45 minutes all told.

Just after midnight, at 12:05 am, we all joined in singing the Gloria in excelsis (Mass I, Lux et origo, for Eastertide - how appropriate a title), and thus began the Mass, with chanted collect, reading of the Epistle, singing of the triple Alleluia with Psalm 117, and the Gospel of the Resurrection. Father's homily – a reflection on the mystery of Christ's descent to Sheol, and his triumph over death – began at 12:15 am. Aptly he compared the mystery whereby Christ is truly risen, but his triumph is still hidden, to the self-oblation of the Carmelite nuns, who live an enclosed life of prayer and penance, striving to indeed confess their lives hidden with Christ in God.

At 12:25 am, the Easter water was blessed, our baptismal vows were renewed, and then – a ceremony special to Carmel – the nuns all renewed their religious vows, before we were aspersed.

The offertory began at 12:35 am. Father chanted the Prayer over the Oblations and the Preface; after the Sanctus (Mass I), he began the Roman Canon, including all the saints and all the repetitions of "Through Christ our Lord. Amen." – a very important Christological confession, whose unwise omission reveals a basic incomprehension of that great prayer. He even chanted the central part, including the Consecration. Similarly, the doxology, the Lord's Prayer and following prayers were chanted, down to the Agnus Dei (Mass I). After the nuns, we were able to come forward to make our Easter Communion, uniting ourselves to the Lord who has conquered sin, Satan, death and hell. Mass concluded with the usual sung prayer, solemn blessing, and dismissal with double alleluia, before the final hymn at 1:10 am.

After Mass, it was great to wish a happy Easter to Fr Paul before I drove home; I extend the same Easter greeting to all readers.

Christ is risen: He is risen indeed.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Those Not Prayed for on Good Friday

The Solemn Intercessions on Good Friday, both OF and EF, pray for the following:

1. For Holy Church;
2. For the Pope;
3. For all orders and degrees of the faithful;
4. [EF 5.] For catechumens;
5. [EF 7.] For the unity of Christians [Previously, For Heretics and Schismatics];
6. [EF 8.] For the Jewish people [For the Conversion of the Jews];
7. [EF 9.] For those who do not believe in Christ [Previously, For the Conversion of Pagans];
8. For those who do not believe in God*;
9. [EF 4.] For those in public office [Previously, For the Roman Emperor†];
10. [EF 6.] For those in tribulation [For the necessities of the faithful].

* The growth of atheism has necessitated the addition of a prayer for atheists.
† There having been no Holy Roman Emperor since 1806, it was understandable that this prayer – long omitted (though I have seen it prayed for Queen Victoria, in a 19th C. Holy Week book, and I assume it was still used in Austria-Hungary until its collapse) – was replaced by a prayer for all those in civil office.

But who is not prayed for? The faithful departed, those who have died.

Furthermore, while even in the last pre-Conciliar order of service, the Libera nos still asked for the intercession of the Saints, that phrase was deleted in the Novus Ordo.

A petition could well be added, therefore, in private, somewhat after this fashion, using the Collect for the Living and the Dead, plus a modified form of the matching Secret, turned into an introductory petition, thus:

Oremus et pro vivis et defunctis: ut Deus, cui soli cognitus est numerus electorum in superna felicitate locandus, intercedentibus omnibus Sanctis suis, universorum, quos in oratione commendatos suscepimus, et omnium fidelium nomina, in beatæ prædestinationis libro adscripta retineat.
Flectamus genua.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vivorum dominaris simul et mortuorum, omniumque misereris, quos tuos fide et opere futuros esse prænoscis: te supplices exoramus; ut, pro quibus effundere preces decrevimus, quosque vel præsens sæculum adhuc in carne retinet, vel futurum jam exutos corpore suscepit, intercedentibus omnibus Sanctis tuis, pietatis tuæ clementia omnium delictorum suorum veniam consequantur. Per Dominum nostrum, Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivat et regnat in unitate Spiritu Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. R. Amen. 
(Let us pray for the living and the dead: that God, to whom alone is known the number of the elect to be placed in supernal happiness, through the intercession of all his Saints, may retain written in the book of blessed predestination the names of all who have been recommended to our prayers, and of all the faithful.
(Let us pray.
(Let us kneel down.
(Almighty and eternal God, who hast dominion over both the living and the dead, and hast mercy on all, whom thou foreknowest shall be thine by faith and good works: we humbly beseech thee, that those, for whom we have resolved to make supplication, whether the present world still holds them in the flesh, or the world to come has already received them out of the body, may, through the intercession of all thy Saints, obtain of the goodness of thy clemency pardon for all their sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.)

This is lengthier than the other intercessions, but does sum up them all, and prays, beseeching the prayers of the Saints, for all the dead, as well as all the living. Thus it seems to me we should pray on Good Friday, when Christ died to save all.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Thank you, St Patrick

It struck me on St Patrick's feast day that I really ought thank him, that truly noble Apostle of Ireland and Patron of Tasmania – since the prayers made to the Lord through his intercession (see side bar), that the Traditional Latin Mass, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, be available in Tasmania, at least on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, have been answered: His Grace Archbishop Porteous appointed Fr Suresh as Chaplain to the Archdiocese of Hobart Latin Mass Community earlier this year, and we have had weekly EF Masses ever since the end of January, thanks to him and Fr Quinn.

First Friday EF Masses have begun; this week, those in Hobart can attend a sung 6 pm Mass for the Annunciation; and again this year, we will have Fr Mannes visiting from Sydney in order to celebrate the sacred rites of the Paschal Triduum. As if that were not enough, since March, on the first Sunday of each month, there is a Missa cantata in Launceston – Truly, my cup runneth over!

I discovered an old posting of mine from December 2012: how much has changed in so little time! And to my surprise, the prayer to St Patrick asking for Latin Masses in this State I found I put together back in October 2008, before I moved back to Tasmania from Western Australia (together with some rather verbose additions unused for years). (I also again thank Fr Hunwicke for assisting me with Latinizing part of it – and for suggesting the addition of "at least".) So it took only 6 years and a quarter for this prayer to be answered: Deo gratias et Patricio.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Viva, viva Benedetto

An unremarked milestone was passed on the 16th of February: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI surpassed the lifespan of Pope Clement XII (who died aged 87 years 306 days), to become the second-longest-lived Pope, outranked only by Leo XIII (who died aged 93 years 140 days): since Georg Ratzinger is still alive, aged 91, God willing, Benedict may indeed live on to surpass that span too, come the 5th of September 2020. Benedict XVI would by now have reigned for over nine years, had he not unexpectedly resigned.

(But do note that Pope John XXII's age at death is uncertain: some sources claim he may have been as many as 89 years old.)

Meanwhile, as the joke has it, the priests of Rome pray at Mass "for Benedict our Pope and Francis our Bishop"! – today begins the third year of the pontificate of Papa Bergoglio, our Latin American leader (caudillo?) from the Silver Republic (that being the literal meaning of his homeland's name). I do hope his second Synod on the Family is less embarrassing and more fruitful than the first; at least he has his own right-hand-man in Cardinal Pell, with the skills (less common in southern Europe and similar places) necessary to reform the murky details of Vatican finances.

If, according to the ineluctable designs of Providence, our one-lunged Argentinian Supreme Pontiff should predecease our former German Shepherd (for after all, as St John Paul the Great opined, the Church ought breathe with both lungs), could a future conclave re-elect the Pope Emeritus, that the Church return to the Golden Age from its current Silver Age, so to speak? And, if so, would he be Benedict XVI & XVII? Or could he take an entirely new Papal name – Ignatius, perhaps? That would be most confusing.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tasmanian Pilgrimage

A small group of friends and I spent the weekend on a Lenten pilgrimage: on Saturday, we walked from St Joseph's Church in Hobart to St John's Church in Richmond (25 km); and on Sunday, another 28 km to St Patrick's Church, Colebrook. The three churches mentioned are all historic: St Joseph's, built 1841, was Hobart's original pro-cathedral; St John the Evangelist's, built 1837, is the oldest extant Catholic church in Australia; and St Patrick's, Colebrook, built 1857, is a perfect Pugin design.

Shelstone Saddle (our Saturday lunch stop) with Hobart in the distance

His Grace condescended to join us for the last hour of the walk into Richmond, and proceeded to celebrate Mass for us in the Ordinary Form; Hugh and Tony sang the Gregorian propers, just as they did the next day at Colebrook, where Fr Suresh sang a Missa cantata. En route, from time to time we said the Rosary (ten decades each day), sang hymns, conversed and enjoyed the pleasant weather and  scenery.

Simon and Lyle took turns in driving our support vehicle, which kept us supplied with water, plus food and drink for lunch, morning and afternoon tea. The pilgrimage could not have happened without the kind permission of the local parish priest, nor the support of other friends of mine who assisted us. David, who joined our band on the Sunday, lives locally, and helped plan the route.

A little before lunch on Sunday, with Gravelly Ridge to climb afterwards

It was a pity that a few others were unable to attend in the event, but c'est la vie. I must say that such a generous dose of unaccustomed fresh air, sunshine and exercise all agreed with me, and I cannot wait to strike out cross-country again. Being a Catholic affair, we quenched our hard-earned thirst and enjoyed a pleasant dinner together in a local pub each evening.

Colebrook was originally named Jerusalem, and so our little venture bore a somewhat grandiose title: a Lenten Pilgrimage to Tasmania's Jerusalem. All pilgrimages, large and small, are images of the progress of each Christian, and of the whole Church, through the desert of this world to the supernal City of God. As St Louis IX said as he lay dying, "We will go to Jerusalem".

St Patrick's Church, Colebrook