26 February 2008

Newman Society's Sarum Rite Masses

In 1997 and 1998 the Newman Society organised two celebrations of Mass according to the Sarum Rite. The Sarum Rite was the rite of Mass generally celebrated in England up until the Reformation. Fr. Sean Finnigan, who was celebrant of the Masses, has now posted a video of the Candlemass 1998 Mass on Youtube. He provides a full account of the ceremonial and links to the videos on his blog Valle Adurni.

Fr Finnigan writes - For a while I worked as a priest in Oxford, and there became involved in a couple of celebrations of the Use of Sarum. Both were videod, in an amateurish way, and I thought it worth posting at least some of this to YouTube.

A clip from the offertory of the second Sarum Mass (Candlemas 1997) was posted to YouTube a while ago, and much appreciated; now it seems time to put up some more.The Sarum Use is the mediƦval English rite of most mediƦval English dioceses, and by the close of Catholic England at the death of Queen Mary was the Use for the whole country (Henry VIII had made it compulsory for everyone, and I don't suppose Hereford, Bangor &c did much to revive their own Uses, unless anyone out there knows different).

20 February 2008

Vigil at the Chaplaimcy

From The New Liturgical Movement By Br. Lawrence Lew OP

On Friday 15 - Saturday 16 February, the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy held a Eucharistic Vigil that was jointly organised by the Catholic Society and the Newman Society with the Chaplains. Over 50 people gathered for the Vigil which opened with a votive Mass of the Eucharist in the Ordinary Form with Gregorian chant Propers and the Ordinary from Mass VIII and Byrd's Mass for three voices. Fr Benjamin Earl OP was the principal celebrant and preached at the Mass; the Liturgy of the Word was in English, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist was in Latin.

Mass was followed by a Eucharistic Procession during which the 'Pange lingua' was sung, followed by the Litany and a psalm. This was followed shortly afterwards with Compline sung by Dominican friars and then Latin Benediction given by Deacon David Rocks OP.
Vigil was kept until dawn, interspersed with the Divine Office and the public recitation of the Holy Rosary and the Vigil ended with Mass celebrated by the chaplain, Fr John Moffat SJ. A cooked breakfast welcomed all those who kept vigil before the Lord and recalled, in a small way, His fast in the desert.


From Liturgical Notes
Fr John Hunwicke SSC writes ...

The Oxford Newman Society's colloquium on blogging was great fun; indeed, what a splendid body that society is. How fortunate the Catholic Chaplaincy is to have such a strong, intelligent group with praiseworthy views on everything; one of two bright beacons (the Pusey House congregation is of course the other) in the University (or am I being unfair to leave out the Oratory and Blackfriars?). And how fortunate Oxford is to be so rich in Catholic blogs. I learn a lot from that highly literate and engaging blog, massinformation, run by three Catholic Anglican seminarians. And, of course, there is the New Liturgical Movement to keep us updated on everything truly progressive in liturgical matters; and that's not all. Those with an interest in Dominican liturgy and/or the Anglican Book of Common Prayer can this week hear the great chant Media Vita , sung during Lenten Compline in the Dominican and Sarum (medieval English) rites and incorporated by Dr Cranmer into the Anglican funeral service (it is to be sung by the clerks, or else said, while the body is made ready to be laid into the earth). It can be heard on another great blog, Godzdogz. I wonder if anybody has ever thought of using this Dominican version and melody at Anglican funerals? It would make a lovely change from that nonsense from Scott-Holland about how Death is Nothing, which so many of the bereaved have heard at other funerals that the officiating priest is repeatedly persuaded into allowing it again ... thereby compounding the problem.

It was good to hear Fr Zed; knowledgeable about the Inside liturgical history of the last couple of decades and with his fingers on many pulses internationally. He left us with a strong sense of the grip Pope Benedict has on the cultural life of the Church: in the last year we really have turned a corner. As an Anglican, I found myself thinking: in the late 1960s and thereafter, as the RC Church lurched in the wrong direction in so many areas but especially the liturgical, Anglicans, and not least Catholic Anglicans, deemed it the proper thing slavishly to adopt each newly minted absurdity. Now that things are getting back on the rails in Rome, will the Anglican faith-community follow healthy leadership as readily as then it did the unhealthy? Many of our younger Catholic Anglican clergy are already doing so; but what about the dominant gerontocracy?

A jolly good supper, too, cooked by Mr President Yaqoub himself.

19 February 2008

Blogging colloqium

Dr. Matthew Doyle writes ...

'Rubbing sholders with the great'

A couple of weeks ago I received an unexpected email from the President of the Oxford University Newman Society, inviting me to partake in a colloquium entitled "Blogging and the Church". I had heard very little about this Catholic Society before now, but learn it is the example for other universities to follow. It was established in 1878, and has only recently (1990) been challenged with a separate "University of Oxford Catholic Society" which sought to counteract the overt conservatism of the Newman. It is with pleasure I learn that these two societies cooperate a great deal, and had jointly arranged an all-night vigil of eucharistic adoration the same evening that the colloquium finished. It was a joy to see the standard of liturgy on offer; truly obedient to the current climate in the Church (ie. lots of Latin!)

The President made sure that I was aware of such distinguished speakers who have featured in their weekly meetings: "Archbishop Michael Ramsay, G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, the Patriarch of All Spain, Baroness Williams and the Duke of Norfolk." Amongst others I'm sure. And, failing to be able to provide such itinerant bloggers as Fr Tim Finigan, Damien Thompson, and Fr Nicholas Schofield, they evidently broadened their horizons to the simple 'little guys' such as myself. As a result, not only did they have the key-note appearance of Fr John Zuhlsdorf, but also a balanced account of the role of Blogging in the Church from other perspectives.
At this juncture I should note that it was only possible for me to attend such an event due to the kindness of my co-workers, who thoughtfully covered for me at the hospital so that I could leave a little early and race down the M40. Upon arrival in Oxford, I was filled with the unique atmosphere I am always pleased to encounter there: streets full of noble youngsters persuing their dream of learning and truth(?), and the general hustle and bustle that go with any university town. But coupled with the welcome life of the people, there is also the matchless and timeless beauty of the university buildings, transforming this little city into a fortress of academia. The Catholic Chaplaincy is located in The Old Palace on St Aldates, just opposite Christ Church. It is a quaint wooden Elizabethan building, which on this occasion was perishingly cold owing to a broken boiler.

I was warmly greeted on entering by the President, complete with apron, who ushered me upstairs to a holding room, where the other bloggers were gathered. It was an interesting room, clearly basking in the glory of its long history, being decorated with portraits of past chaplains. Little did we know, an eastern banquet awaited us (or certainly that is how I would class it in student terms!). An amusing touch when we sat down to dinner, was a tiny statue of St Peter (modelled on the great 'foot' in the Roman Basilica) placed in the middle of the table by the President's place. A good model for leadership, by any measure! After Fr John Zuhlsdorf's Latin table blessing a good three course curry was had by all.
The actual colloquium followed, which took place in the library around a large table. I was suddenly glad to have scribbled out a short biographic to prompt myself; looking at the other bloggers, and hearing their eloquent talks one by one, made mine an impossible act to follow. Firstly Fr John Zuhlsdorf gave an excellent history behind his courageous endeavour to engage with the potential for on-line catholic communications from the very beginning, leading to the foundation of his blog "What Does the Prayer Really Say?" in the new millennium, and its recent change of course in recent months following the publication of Summorum Pontificum. Fr Z is adamant that this is the single most important document issued in recent years, and crucial for understanding the will of the Holy Father for the direction of the Church. He described the Liturgy as the spearhead of the Faith, and something which obviously needs to be sharpened to the utmost for greatest influence in the world.
Next up was Fr John Hunwicke, who is the Anglican priest-in-charge of St Thomas the Martyr. He is also compiler of the Ordo, published by Tufton Books (a volume which he wielded, but which, alas, I have very little idea of). Amusingly, introducing himself as an Anglican in a "hotbed of Popery", he declared he felt entirely at home! He gave an interesting take on the whole liturgical discussion, since his Church is fortunate enough to have use of noble English translations by Cranmer ("heretic though he was!") He suggested that if a sad barrier to the Latin tongue is what prevents priests from using the 1962 missal, would not an entire vernacular translation be a bridge to it, and preferable to the current state of affairs?
Friar Lawrence brought a beautiful spiritual dimension to the discussion, having prepared a paper entitled "The Virtues and Vices of Blogging" which was interspersed with Thomist philosophy on our battle with the tendency to sin. This is a topic which I had hoped to pick up on, and was glad that Lawrence could do so with such precision and learning. I hope he will be able to publish his talk in its entirety. [17 April 2008 - A transcript can be found here]
In conclusion, I will quote one of the bystanders from massinformation:

What emerged, then, was a sense of renewed confidence in what the Church proposes to the World, and that that ought to be presented in as many ways as possible. The Church must beat the drum to which the World marches, because if the rhythm is handed over to the World, the Church suffers. It is the Church's experiences of engagement with the World which need to be reflected on, and assimilated or discarded as She deems appropriate, rather than the other way around. We need to balance Fr Zuhlsdorf's confidence in the rights of the laity with Br Lawrence's concern to respect the bishops and their pastoral and teaching office. We need, too, to balance this with the experiences of laymen like Matthew Doyle and parish priests like Fr Hunwicke.
The whole evening was a joy, and I was very pleased to be able to partake also in the overnight vigil afterwards. With slightly sore knees, I stumbled down the dark streets of St Aldates, grabbing a quick coffee-to-go from the "open till midnight" cafe of G & Ds, which was just enough to keep me awake on the dreaded M40 on the way back to Brum!