Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Two New Papal Documents

It has come to my tired attention (I am currently on nights) that the Pope has released two important documents this last couple of weeks. The first, is his third Encyclical Caritas in Veritate which I think has a really nice catchy title. Charity in Truth. I have been interested in the deterioration of modern society's definition of Love, so am particularly pleased that the Holy Father has reiterated the reasons for this:
Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence. (Paragraph 2)

I am still only on chapter 2, but wanted to link to it now so that people can be drawn into the document's riches.

The second document I have come across is a shorter Motu Proprio called Ecclesiae Unitatem, which concerns the reorganisation of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The reasons for this centre around the desire of the Holy Father to bring back into full communion with the Church, the Priestly Fraternity SSPX. It seems to emphasise the fact that negotiations are purely doctrinal and little to do with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, which has since been released from special indults described by Ecclesia Dei.

Obviously the Holy Father is very busy. The Encyclical obviously has most relevance to the Church as a whole, but we must not underestimate the importance of trying to discuss Vatican II in light of increased rootedness in Tradition: I could not possibly say whether the talks with SSPX will be successful, but at least it shows a readiness on the part of the Church to debate the whole context of Vatican II as a pastoral council, and since liberals within the Church seem so determined to turn it into a super-dogma council, it is useful to have another perspective which challenges the status quo.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Te Deum

In thanksgiving for the coming beatification of Cardinal Newman:

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur. Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi caeli et universae Potestates; Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.
Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.
All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!

Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae. Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus, Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus, Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus. Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles,
The wonderful company of Prophets,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:

Patrem immensae maiestatis: Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium; Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum. Tu Rex gloriae, Christe. Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.

Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum. Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum. Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris. Iudex crederis esse venturus.
When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,
Thou didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sitest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.

Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti. Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood. Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.

V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.

V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance! R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.

V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te.

R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.

V. Every day we thank Thee. R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.

V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.

V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day. R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.

R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee. R. O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

St John Fisher

This is eternal life: That they may know Thee, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.
St John 17:3

A wonderful feast for England and Wales is that which commemorates the two great martyrs of the Protestant revolution under King Henry VIII: St John Fisher, who was Cardinal and Bishop of Rochester for 33 years; and St Thomas More, who was a layman, father, and High Chancellor of England.

The above quote was spoken by St John Fisher as his final words before being beheaded. It deserves particular meditation, and has pride of place in this feast's liturgy as the Alleluia. Both these saints were imprisoned in the Tower of London by the King when they refused to approve of his illegitimate marriage to Anne Boleyn. They were surely both a fine example for the many people who subsequently died for the Catholic faith in this country. Furthermore, they are a shining beacon for us too, in a time when speaking out in defence of our Faith is considered imprudent or downright dangerous.

In the new Calender of the Church, this feast has been moved to June 22nd to coincide with the date St John Fisher was martyred in 1535. But when the pre-1965 liturgy is used, an older calender is employed which places the date for the feast as July 9th (closer to St Thomas More's execution of July 6th the same year). Therefore this year, to mark the occasion in the most solemn way, I have helped organise a High Mass in the parish church of St John Fisher in West Heath. (Pictured on this post)

The interesting thing about this church is the modern architecture. It was built in 1962 - 1964 and was thus designed for the 1962 missal! There features a sanctuary with marble altar rails, an eastward facing altar, a pulpit, a baldachino and 'big six' candlesticks. The building is in a hexagonal shape with stained glass windows depicting Jesus as Good Shephard, Teacher, King and Redeemer. It also features several side chapels, a grand organ loft above the west entrance, and a double sacristy to accomodate servers and priests.

By the time the church was consecrated in 1972 the liturgy had changed a great deal, and I suppose the sanctuary no longer seems 'fit for purpose' in that regard. However, over the years the church has never suffered the unfortunate reorderings that many have, with only a moveable free-standing altar to give the game away, which means it is a perfect venue for the Traditional Latin Mass.

For more on this event on Thursday, see my LMS Blog.