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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

All is calm, all is bright - 'it don't matter what they say!'

All was calm, all was bright for Christmas in Orkney this year.
The sea was still, and mirrored the sky above.
The storms of the previous weeks,
one of which had reached 80 mph,
had run their course.
Nature was holding its breath in holy expectation.

Angels and Archangels
may have gathered there
Cheribum and Seraphim
Thronged the air.
The Holy Gospel of Midnight Mass is sung.
Christ is Born in Bethlehem.
The Stronsay Christmas crib
High Mass of the Day
Et Verbum caro factum est.
Venite, adoremus,
Venite, adoremus,
Venite, adoremus Dominum.
God of God,
Light of Light,
Lo! He abhors not the Virgin's womb.
Very God,
Begotten, not created.
Flos de radice Jesse
Hath blossomed forth today;
Rejoice ye Christian people
In song and tuneful lay;
Sweet Mary is the stem,
And Jesus is the Rose-bud,
The Babe of Bethlehem.
The Holy Mass was especially offered for
our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI
our Parents, Brothers and Sisters and relations
Our faithful friends and
those who during the year have stopped walking with us;
for our critics and enemies too....
May the sweet Babe of Bethlehem
give to each and to all
His grace and friendship in this world
and eternal happiness in the next.
New Year's Eve
all still calm, all still bright:
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

F.SS.R. Students at Rorate Mass

Early on Saturday morning, 13 December 2008, the seminarians of the Priestly Society of St. Peter, along with our five Student confreres and two Carmelite Monks, all of whom are studying at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, Denton, Nebraska, sang a Rorate Mass.
The Rorate Mass is sung in candlelight only.
The church looks splendid for the offering of the holy Sacrifice.
The name, Rorate Mass is taken from the first word of
the Introit:
Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant Justum -
Drop down Dew, ye heavens from above,
and let the clouds rain down the Just One...
aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem -
let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.
"The whole of the Mass for this day
is one deep sigh of the most heartfelt desire
for the Messiah who is to come.
Isaias is the great prophet of Advent,
hence the Church reads at this season
the finest passages from his writings,
so that the faithful, too,
may hasten by their prayers
the coming of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
"The Introit
is from Isaias XLV:8,
in which the meek and peaceful character
of this first coming of the Word of God
(our Lord and God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ)
upon earth
is wonderfully expressed
in two brilliant figures of speech
- namely,
the heavens distilling refreshing dew upon Gideon's fleece,
the earth producing the little flower of the fields
upon the mystic stem of Jesse."
(The Liber Sacramentorum, Blessed Ildefonso Schuster, I, 331)
For the first time our blog offers you an audio link to hear one of the beautiful hymns sung during this Mass in which we also recognise the voices of our Students.
Click HERE to receive the audio link.
The words of the Latin hymn the Brothers are singing:
Flos de Radíce Jesse
Est natus hódie;
Quem nobis jam adésse,
Laetámur únice.
Flos ille Jesus est,
María virgo radix,
De qua flos ortus est.

Hunc Isaías florem
Praeságus cécinit;
Ad ejus nos amórem,
Nascéntes állicit.
Flos virgam súperat,
Caéli terraéque cives,
Flos Ille récreat.

Hic suo flos odóre
Fidélis áttrahit;
Divíno mox amóre,
Attráctos ímbuit.
O flos, O grátia!
Ad te, ad te suspíro:
De te me sátia.
An adapted English version:
Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jese's lineage coming,
As men of old have sung.
It came a flow'ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind,
With Mary we behold it,
The Virgin mother kind.
To show God's love aright,
She bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

This Flow'r, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness ev'rywhere.
True man yet very God;
From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens ev'ry load.
The Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Van Vliet.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Reply to Fr. Morgan

In the December Letter from the District Superior of the SSPX in Great Britain, Fr Paul Morgan, (opposite) criticises the community of Papa Stronsay. I make a reply.

1. Father speaks against our 'practical agreement' with the Holy See.

He insists on “a solution to the doctrinal issues before there can be any practical agreement with the Roman authorities.” He says: “The Superior General alludes to the unacceptable situation of those communities who have sought a practical agreement prior to the major issues being addressed. In this regard we cannot but think of the community of Papa Stronsay here in Britain.”

Rather than make his own submission to the Holy See, what Fr. Morgan advocates is to play a waiting game with the Pope, the Church and ultimately with God. This is a dangerous idea full of dangerous possibilities for his own soul and for the souls of those he is leading.

The ambiguities of the Second Vatican Council remain to be clarified, this is certain. But far from denying the bi-millennial tradition of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI is acutely aware of the need to reconcile the Second Vatican Council with tradition. How exactly to do so remains the poignant question of our day. It is a question that will not be solved easily nor soon – this we can gather from the manner in which the Church has dealt with problematic declarations of councils in the past.

We are thinking specifically of the Council of Constance (1414 - 1417) and some of the texts of this council that Pope Martin V could not confirm. Nor did he feel the authority to condemn them. Specifically, these were declarations that a General Council is superior to the Pope, that periodically a General Council should assemble and check on the Pope, etc. The three Popes who followed the Council of Constance had quite a lot just to try to undo this mischief, and the full effect was only felt at the next General Council of Basel / Ferrara / Florence... Only part of the theological problem was addressed at the Council of Florence (25 years later), but the issue was really completely solved only at the First Vatican Council in 1870 - more than 400 years later!

Imagine for a moment that you were a traditional Catholic living in 1418; you disagreed with the teachings of the Council of Constance; and Pope Martin and his successors were not resolving matters...

Taking the SSPX approach you would have to wait 400 years before joining the structures of the Church.

Is that God's will? Does that sound like the Catholic approach?

This idea is a soft introduction to schism.

2. Fr Morgan also reports that I openly claim “that the SSPX and its supporters are outside the Catholic Church and in danger of losing their souls.” This is false.

a. I believe that the SSPX as a group of priests are outside the structures of the Church. This is clear. SSPX priests are not submitted to the Holy See, nor to Local Ordinaries or Ordinaries. Objectively this is dangerous to salvation. Subjectively it is another matter.

b. I do not hold any opinion about SSPX supporters (as a group or as individuals) being inside or outside the Church. I have no set opinion about their salvation.

c. I hold that a person may attend Mass in a SSPX chapel in good conscience if he does it without adhering to any schismatic mentality.

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.

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