Young People, TLM, the Dowry of Mary, and America’s Patron Saint

Long ago, the people at Catholicism Pure and Simple became friends and allies of mine. We each recognize that our essentials and druthers may be a bit different, but that our roads meet at the foot of the Cross. Sunday they posted an article on how the traditional Latin Mass is gaining much support amongst young people I’m not surprised but I am pleased.

The loss of young people is a problem for all of our churches, not just the Catholic Church, It’s true in my Lutheran Church, it’s true in the Anglican churches. But for us too, the more traditional the service (and historic Lutheran Services reach back to the Rev Dr Luther himself, while traditional Anglican services are based on Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer, both of which are contemporaries of the Tridentine Mass) the better young people receive them. CP&S has a video of some of what young people are saying.

 

Adding weight to that, a young London based female Journalist, Enza Ferrari, whom I have been reading for a long time, adds weight to what those young people are saying, when she says…

During the Easter Triduum I repeated that experience several times, always choosing the Ancient Rite, except once, when by mistake I watched a video of the New Mass. The close sequence of the two with a distance of a few hours between them gave me an opportunity to compare the two liturgical experiences in a way that I’d never come across before.
And I saw differences that had previously escaped me.
It’s two entirely diverse experiences.
They were both from churches in Italy, the Latin Mass from the Church of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, Rome (pictured above).
One, the Tridentine Mass, worships God and the other celebrates man, reflecting the analogous change in outlook brought by Vatican II Council.
The former brings you closer to the spiritual realm.
I’m not the only one to have noticed this peculiar gift that, in all the mayhem and panic, the Covid-19 quarantine has given us. I’ve discovered that Catholic writer and philosopher Peter Kwasniewski has also published two articles about it.
The celebrant’s ad populum orientation towards the people, which may seem a way to bring everyone together as a community and increase the participation of the faithful, is not the right thing for a Mass, where priest and congregation should not look at each other and focus on one another as if it were an assembly or meeting, but instead both should look at and focus on God.
Keep reading, there is quite a lot more, and if you are a traditional Christian (not only the Catholics among us) I think you’ll find it making a lot of sense.
In related news, The Catholic Herald tells us that The Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham reports that it is probably having the largest Pilgrimage season ever, since the government forced it to close its doors during the (still continuing) lockdown.

But rather than seeing this as a disaster, shrine rector Mgr John Armitage regarded it as an opportunity. England’s national Marian shrine had already built up a following with its livestreamed Masses. Armitage decided that it would now livestream 24 hours a day, with the help of a sturdy internet connection provided by EWTN.

He devised a programme that begins with morning prayer, followed by Mass, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a talk on faith, the rosary, the Angelus and another Mass. And that’s just the morning.

In the afternoon, there’s the Divine Mercy chaplet, the rosary, more Exposition, Benediction, the Angelus and Vespers, followed by all-night adoration.

“We’ve probably had the biggest pilgrimage season so far in the history of Walsingham because we’ve had thousands upon thousands of people every day joining us for our program,” Armitage told CNA.

Saying that he now felt like “the abbot of a monastery rather than the rector of a shrine,” Armitage explained that people from 135 countries had taken part in the program and that he had been inundated with letters of gratitude.

“Last week I had a lovely letter from a family of farmers in Wisconsin, just saying how much they appreciated it. They watched as a family,” he noted. “So it’s made that connection.”

He said the letters came from two types of people:

“There are those who have been in lockdown, like the rest of the world. They’re grateful that it’s given them a spiritual framework during this time.”

“But much, much more important, it’s given a spiritual framework for those who’ve been in lockdown for years. The elderly, the disabled, those who are never going to come out again.”

“And I don’t say we forgot them, but what’s happened is that we’ve discovered a way to connect that we kind of missed.”

The pandemic also forced a major change to Walsingham’s biggest event for decades: the rededication of England to Our Lady on March 29.

Armitage had spent three years planning the rededication, which was preceded by a two-year tour of England with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Catholics were due to gather at cathedrals across the country as the rededication ceremony took place at Walsingham. But when churches were ordered to close due to the pandemic, Catholics were asked to follow the ceremony live from their homes on the shrine’s website instead. So many logged on that the site crashed.

“The rededication of England was phenomenal,” Armitage said. “It overwhelmed our server. We had to transfer to YouTube. That rather took us by surprise.”

In his homily at the rededication, Armitage said: “We have long pondered and treasured the words of Pope Leo XIII to an earlier generation of bishops: ‘When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England.’ In the hour of our need, Our Blessed Mother has indeed returned to England.”

Many of you know that I feel an affinity to Our Lady of Walsingham and have for years (albeit more the Anglican Shrine). This shrine known as England’s Nazareth was visited by every English King from William the Conquerer to Henry VIII, who destroyed it in The Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was revived in the early 20th century. Interestingly, the first Catholic Mass in Walsingham since the Reformation was held amongst the ruins of the monastery by the United States Army Air Forces shortly after VE Day.

A most pleasing report indeed, from the country known since the 14th century, at least, as Mary’s Dowry, because of England’s deep devotion to Our Lady. Perhaps it carries down to us in some measure, since Mary is also the Patron Saint of the United States.

As we have always known:

Puritans, Constantinople, and Oak Apple Day

My close friend Chalcedon has a post up at All along the Watchtower on Oak Apple day. Before we get to that, I must say how much it pleases me to see posts there again. Last winter in his absence it became unmanageable, without administration and with an influx of that mostly British phenomenon of hatefully aggressive atheists. Many here will know that for years, AATW was my second internet home, where I am a contributor and both Jessica who founded it and Chalcedon himself are contributors here, as well. Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah. In any case here is part of what he says about Oak Apple Day, which I suspect many Americans have never heard of.

Until 1859, the Church of England marked 29 May as “Oak Apple Day,” marking the day that the Monarchy, and with it, the Church of England, was restored after the interlude of the Commonwealth under Cromwell. As Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary:

Parliament had ordered the 29th of May, the King’s birthday, to be forever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he returning to London that day.

The “oak tree” commemorated the fact that after the Royalist defeat at Worcester in 1651, the young Prince of Wales (later Charles II) had hidden in one whilst the Rounheads sought him. The English like a good story, and a good party, and Restoration Day provided both.

The Church of England had good reason to commemorate the day, and the decision to abolish its official memorial in 1859 was, along with the decision to drop the service for Guy Fawkes’ day, a sign that parliament wanted to take a less censorious line towards Nonconformists and Catholics, which whilst welcome in itself, should not lead us not to celebrate the day on which the Monarchy was restored.

History and identity are important to a nation, and as one commentator has shrewdly suggested:

“Against a joyless Puritan commerical republic, the Restoration symbolised the renewal of convivality, balance, memory, locality, a deeper, more joyful vision of communal flourishing than the Puritan republic could envisage or allow.”

That’s something we see with our new puritans too, isn’t it? A reduction of people to politically correct economic unit automatons. Well, Americans love a party perhaps even more than the English, and a good story always works as well, so I think we need a similar story and reason for a party.

But yesterday is also the anniversary of a calamity of the first order for Christianity, for as Raymond Ibrahim tells us in American Thinker, in 1453 Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmet. And thus the last living link with the Roman Empire itself was sundered. Here’s some of what he writes.

Today in history, on May 29, 1453, the sword of Islam conquered Constantinople.  Of all Islam’s conquests of Christian territory, this was by far the most symbolically significant.  Not only was Constantinople a living and direct extension of the old Roman Empire and contemporary capital of the Christian Roman Empire (or Byzantium), but its cyclopean walls had prevented Islam from entering Europe through its eastern doorway for the previous seven centuries, beginning with the First Arab Siege of Constantinople (674–678).  Indeed, as Byzantine historian John Julius Norwich puts it, “[h]ad the Saracens captured Constantinople in the seventh century rather than the fifteenth, all Europe — and America — might be Muslim today.”

When Muslim forces failed again in the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople (717–718), conquering the ancient Christian capital became something of an obsession for a succession of caliphates and sultanates.  However, it was only with the rise of the Ottoman sultanate — so named after its eponymous Turkic founder, Osman (b. 1258) — that conquering the city, which was arguably better fortified than any other in the world, became a possibility, not least thanks to the concomitant spread of gunpowder and cannons from China to Eurasia.  By 1400, his descendants had managed to invade and conquer a significant portion of the southern Balkans — thereby isolating and essentially turning Constantinople into a Christian island in an Islamic sea.

Thus an end to a 2000 year history, since Romulus and Remus burst forth onto the stage of history. And so soon came King John  Sobieski and the siege of Vienna and the naval battle of Lepanto, as Christendom again stopped the advance of Islam for another 500 years. But now I’m reminded as the psalmist had it:

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

It’s also my oldest nieces birthday, and I can remember when she got a birthday card from the President of the United States, John Kennedy, who shared it.

 

It can be so delicate; so fragile.

I have a friend whose religious background is vaguely Anglican. When a child, she was brought – and sometimes not – to church for the special holidays of the church year. But there was no real commitment in her home growing up; nothing much in the way of Bible study or learning the Canons of the Church. No real catechesis, no Jesus stories for children. Her understanding, at now 60 plus years, is that of a small child. Maybe.

My friend discovered Anglican TV on YouTube and enjoyed the conversations when there were three panelists – one has since left the Anglican Church and has joined the Church of Rome. But that’s not important; what’s important is that she started to take an adult’s interest in her religious tradition. Always political, she grasped first at the things that had political overtones that were Anglican and sort of got comfortable with talking and light reading about Anglicanism. I was very careful to let her find her own way. If she had questions, I answered. If I didn’t know the answer, I knew where to look to get her answers.

I was tooling about YouTube one morning and something caught my eye. I always think of YouTube as this great, huge, domed place with rooms and corridors and dark places and sunlit windows – a treasure trove for wanderers; sometimes a black hole for those who prefer the dark over the light but by and large, a wonderful place to mine for previously unknown gems. What I had discovered was the books of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, read by Alexander Scourby. I listened to the Book of Mark and thoroughly enjoyed the actor’s subtle reading – acting without acting. Very much a big fan now, I had sent my friend the link to St. Mark. She had only read a little bit of the Bible in her life but something about the reading by Scourby touched her in a special way; she is reading the Bible now, while listening to the video version of whatever book she is reading. She says it helps her to process what she’s reading.

A sudden personal tragedy has just recently happened in her life and she was looking for verses that would be comforting. I took my 1928 Book of Common Prayer from the shelf, opened it to the Burial service and found one that I thought would be a salve for her. The Holy Spirit does wonderful things if you step aside and let Him. It did, indeed, bring her comfort and she was grateful. I never take credit for things like this; who could? But I told her how happy I was that it brought her some peace. Just for my own peace of mind, I contacted my priest and he thought what I had given her was a good choice so I was greatly relieved.

She loves to bake and found a recipe for Bible Cake. All the ingredients are from passages in the Bible. How clever is that? It’s in an air-tight tin under her bed right now. I know that sounds funny but my Mom used to do that with her Christmas fruit cake – kept in a cool place for a couple of weeks for all the ingredients to ‘marry’ and become one delicious flavor. Then she found a recipe for Bible Stew which she is looking forward to producing in the days ahead. She mentioned today that she likes to sit outside on a bench near a church close by and thought about having the priest bless her Bible Cake; I said she should take Sweetie, her beloved feline companion of twelve years, and have her blessed as well. Not knowing about the area in which she lives, I suggested she should do some research and see if there’s a church that does the ‘blessing of the animals’ and she did. It made her happy as she has a fear of losing Sweetie and what her life will be like without her.

I am so humbled, and blessed, by her sharing her faith journey with me. I am so aware that I’m being given the chance to watch a Christian grow, like a little green shoot. I pray for her continuing steps along the path. I am sensitive to her searching and reaching for the Lord. There’s no more fulfilling journey than the one she on – delicate and fragile. May all her steps be on level ground.

Adsit Anglis Sanctus Georgius

Today is St George’s Day, he’s a busy saint with much to attend to, but it has always seemed that he had a soft spot for the English, whose patron saint he is.

On St Crispin’s Day I nearly always recount three battles of the English speaking world, Agincourt, The Light Brigade, and The Philippine Sea. But, in fact, there is a fourth, and just as important. The 1915 Battle of Loos. And it is appropriate to remember it on St George’s Day. At least according to Arthur Machen, who wrote the following.

You know how something you read when you are young haunts you later? I read this short story probably when I was in junior High School, and lost track of it, and it would flit through my mind occasionally, especially when discussing the Great War. For me, it was one of those pieces that taught me how history builds upon itself. Frankly, it’s one of my very favorites, and I was very excited when I found it, finally, online. So, I thought I’d share it with you, as a different takeaway on the original ‘Band of Brothers’.

It was during the Retreat of the Eighty Thousand, and the authority of the Censorship is sufficient excuse for not being more explicit. But it was on the most awful day of that awful time, on the day when ruin and disaster came so near that their shadow fell over London far away; and, without any certain news, the hearts of men failed within them and grew faint; as if the agony of the army in the battlefield had entered into their souls.

     On this dreadful day, then, when three hundred thousand men in arms with all their artillery swelled like a flood against the little English company, there was one point above all other points in our battle line that was for a time in awful danger, not merely of defeat, but of utter annihilation. With the permission of the Censorship and of the military expert, this corner may, perhaps, be described as a salient, and if this angle were crushed and broken, then the English force as a whole would be shattered, the Allied left would be turned, and Sedan would inevitably follow.

     All the morning the German guns had thundered and shrieked against this corner, and against the thousand or so of men who held it. The men joked at the shells, and found funny names for them, and had bets about them, and greeted them with scraps of music-hall songs. But the shells came on and burst, and tore good Englishmen limb from limb, and tore brother from brother, and as the heat of the day increased so did the fury of that terrific cannonade. There was no help, it seemed. The English artillery was good, but there was not nearly enough of it; it was being steadily battered into scrap iron.

     There comes a moment in a storm at sea when people say to one another, “It is at its worst; it can blow no harder,” and then there is a blast ten times more fierce than any before it. So it was in these British trenches.

There were no stouter hearts in the whole world than the hearts of these men; but even they were appalled as this seven-times-heated hell of the German cannonade fell upon them and overwhelmed them and destroyed them. And at this very moment they saw from their trenches that a tremendous host was moving against their lines. Five hundred of the thousand remained, and as far as they could see the German infantry was pressing on against them, column upon column, a gray world of men, ten thousand of them, as it appeared afterwards.

There was no hope at all. They shook hands, some of them. One man improvised a new version of the battle-song, “Good-by, good-by to Tipperary,” ending with “And we shan’t get there.” And they all went on firing steadily. The officer pointed out that such an opportunity for high-class fancy shooting might never occur again; the Tipperary humorist asked, “What price Sidney Street?” And the few machine guns did their best. But everybody knew it was of no use. The dead gray bodies lay in companies and battalions, as others came on and on and on, and they swarmed and stirred, and advanced from beyond and beyond.

“World without end. Amen,” said one of the British soldiers with some irrelevance as he took aim and fired. And then he remembered—he says he cannot think why or wherefore—a queer vegetarian restaurant in London where he had once or twice eaten eccentric dishes of cutlets made of lentils and nuts that pretended to be steak. On all the plates in this restaurant there was printed a figure of St. George in blue, with the motto, “Adsit Anglis Sanctus Georgius“—”May St. George be a present help to the English.” This soldier happened to know Latin and other useless things, and now, as he fired at his man in the gray advancing mass—three hundred yards away—he uttered the pious vegetarian motto. He went on firing to the end, and at last Bill on his right had to clout him cheerfully over the head to make him stop, pointing out as he did so that the King’s ammunition cost money and was not lightly to be wasted in drilling funny patterns into dead Germans.

     For as the Latin scholar uttered his invocation he felt something between a shudder and an electric shock pass through his body. The roar of the battle died down in his ears to a gentle murmur; instead of it, he says, he heard a great voice and a shout louder than a thunder-peal crying, “Array, array, array!”

His heart grew hot as a burning coal, it grew cold as ice within him, as it seemed to him that a tumult of voices answered to his summons. He heard, or seemed to hear, thousands shouting: “St. George! St. George!”

“Ha! Messire, ha! sweet Saint, grant us good deliverance!”

“St. George for merry England!”

“Harow! Harow! Monseigneur St. George, succor us!”

“Ha! St. George! Ha! St. George! a long bow and a strong bow.”

“Heaven’s Knight, aid us!”

And as the soldier heard these voices he saw before him, beyond the trench, a long line of shapes, with a shining about them. They were like men who drew the bow, and with another shout, their cloud of arrows flew singing and tingling through the air towards the German hosts.

The other men in the trench were firing all the while. They had no hope; but they aimed just as if they had been shooting at Bisley.

Suddenly one of them lifted up his voice in the plainest English.

“Gawd help us!” he bellowed to the man next to him, “but we’re blooming marvels! Look at those gray … gentlemen, look at them! D’ye see them? They’re not going down in dozens nor in ‘undreds; it’s thousands, it is. Look! look! there’s a regiment gone while I’m talking to ye.”

     “Shut it!” the other soldier bellowed, taking aim, “what are ye gassing about?”

     But he gulped with astonishment even as he spoke, for, indeed, the gray men were falling by the thousands. The English could hear the guttural scream of the German officers, the crackle of their revolvers as they shot the reluctant; and still line after line crashed to the earth.

     All the while the Latin-bred soldier heard the cry:

     “Harow! Harow! Monseigneur, dear Saint, quick to our aid! St. George help us!”

     “High Chevalier, defend us!”

     The singing arrows fled so swift and thick that they darkened the air, the heathen horde melted from before them.

     “More machine guns!” Bill yelled to Tom.

     “Don’t hear them,” Tom yelled back.

     “But, thank God, anyway; they’ve got it in the neck.”

     In fact, there were ten thousand dead German soldiers left before that salient of the English army, and consequently there was no Sedan. In Germany, a country ruled by scientific principles, the Great General Staff decided that the contemptible English must have employed shells containing an unknown gas of a poisonous nature, as no wounds were discernible on the bodies of the dead German soldiers. But the man who knew what nuts tasted like when they called themselves steak knew also that St. George had brought his Agincourt Bowmen to help the English.

Source: Short Stories: The Bowmen by Arthur Machen

There is still another reason to remember Loos though,  it was the cause for this to be written

For indeed, Rudyard Kipling’s only son, John, was killed at Loos on 27 September 1915.

Car Park Easter

I sincerely hope that your Easter was filled with peace, love, and joy. If we had to have ‘you know what’ at a particular time of year, I’m actually glad it was at Easter. Holy week reminded us that as bad as things can get (Good Friday), joy cometh in the morning – Easter morning. Death and the grave have been overcome. And God, once again, has fulfilled His promise.

For more reasons than I care to go into, I wasn’t able to go to my church’s car park Easter Mass (Anglicans, in case you didn’t know, refer to Sunday ‘service’ as Mass). I was greatly disappointed, having to imagine what it would like but was delighted and heartened that our priest saw to it that it was live streamed. It was recorded on a cell phone and while that is not optimum, it certainly far surpassed nothing at all.

Our priest set up a ‘mini altar’ and had brought out of the church the lectern. Moment of comedy – after the readings (O.T, N.T, Psalm), he had to go get the lectern and bring it over to the imaginary “Gospel” side of the area. Much amusement among the faithful.

The faithful. They arrived and either stayed in their vehicles as previously arranged, or sat on deck chairs in front of their cars – with plenty of distance between. Some wore masks, others didn’t. But they arrived. That’s why they’re called the faithful. It was a beautiful day in our area of Florida – sunshine, warm, and quite breezy. A perfect day for a Perfect Day.

I developed a great appreciation for the ‘muffler’ professionals use when recording outside; oftentimes the sound of the wind made hearing the Mass a challenge as the sensitive microphone was sometimes overwhelmed by the sound of the wind blowing. But our good Christian soldiers soldiered on. No one is a professional recording artist and with the challenges of wind and outside sounds (some traffic passing, etc), it was easy to excuse the fact that often the headset microphone was under the priest’s chin rather than at his mouth.

The thurible’s incense wafted on the breeze and no one coughed. That must have been a first! It was too windy to light the Remembrance candle but it was there and supported the thurible. Papers didn’t blow around and the faithful were enriched and encouraged – some things may change but God’s word never does and that was very much apparent during the Mass. Today, tomorrow, and always – God is unchanging. He’s not ‘sheltering in place’. He is not dead nor doth He sleep. We always know where to find Him.

I was gratified – I think the priest and faithful did a wonderful, inspiring effort to reach all the people they could. Those of us at home or far away were uplifted and heartened. God will be made known. Nothing hinders the word of the Lord.

Car park Easter. It was a revelation.

To sip or dip … that is the question.

There are many denominations under the umbrella of ‘Christian’ – including ‘non-denominational’. The different denominations have a different view of The Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, The Family Table; for those who are not Christian, those phrases represent our receiving of the sacrament (bing definition-“(in the Christian Church) a religious ceremony or ritual regarded as imparting divine grace, such as baptism, the Eucharist and (in the Roman Catholic and many Orthodox Churches) penance and the anointing of the sick”. For many of us, a sacrament is an ‘outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace’. To Christians who receive Holy Communion, it’s a big deal. A really big deal.

Here we are in the clutches of an illness that may – or may not – be the end of the world as we know it (remember that old song?). Depending on how deeply you traverse the canyons and underground tunnels of YouTube, this could be start of the Zombie Apocalypse. If you listen to the whispers, you may hear that Covid-19 was deliberately ‘released’ from its cage to wipe out the elderly of every nation in order to rid the planet of old folks who would stand (on a cane, a walker, or with orderlies on both sides) in the way of globalization. Take your pick of ‘conspiracy theories – you’ll find one that suits you no doubt.

But for Christians, death holds no fear (1 Corinthians 15:55 55“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” In 2011, Stephen Hawking, probably the greatest mind of our age, said heaven is a ” … “fairy story for people afraid of the dark”“. Poor man; on this he was completely wrong. Christians don’t fear the dark because they live in the light of Christ. For us, there is no darkness.

Which brings me to the title of this essay – to sip or dip? One school of thought, from our Suffragan Bishop, Chad Jones, is that as we are receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, sipping from the Common Cup can in no way sicken us. That is my understanding as well. Just as an aside, during the ‘outbreak’ of Aids, I was attending a little mission church in a local store front. We received Communion and went back to foldable metal chairs and said our ‘after Communion’ prayer. At that point, a gentleman felt moved to stand up and announce that he had Aids. Guess who was right after him on the Common Cup? Here I am, all these many years later and completely disease free.

The second school of thought maintains that for the safety of the communicants, they have the option of ‘intincture’, that’s when the priest slightly submerges the Body of Christ (what some call the wafer or bread) into the Blood of Christ (the wine, for folks who are new to this) and then places the Bread on the tongue of the communicant (you often see this on televised religious programing). What some priests have decided to do, since there’s a fear of ‘hands’ and their cleanliness, some priests are opting for wearing gloves for intincture. Then, of course, there’s the issue of, “Well, what if the priest happens to touch the inside of the communicant’s mouth and then does another intincture right after?” You can see how this starts to go down a long road.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made a wonderful, thoughtful statement, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. And that’s where we are right now. Fear. Dread. The unknown. Each Christian must decide for themselves – sip or dip.

(For a wonderful discussion on this matter, and the matter of church closings, I recommend watching this You Tube video. Just a little background, Gavin Ashenden (once a bishop) was a Chaplain to the Queen of England – when the Church of England strayed from the Gospel, he resigned his position. He has since felt led to become Roman Catholic. George Conger is a priest and a writer of some significance. He’s Episcopalian, as is Kevin Kollson. They are three very strong Christians. Here is the link

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