Introit

Introit
Traditional Mass

Saturday, November 25, 2017

SAINT CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA, Virgin and Martyr (307 A.D.)

English: Parish church Irschen - Fourteen Holy...
English: Parish church Irschen - Fourteen Holy Helpers Deutsch: Pfarrkirche in Irschen - Vierzehn Nothelfer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


SAINT CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA
Virgin and Martyr

DOUBLE / RED
The saint of philosophers and wheelwrights and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Catherine of Alexandria was very popular in the Middle Ages. Her legend relates that in the early years of the fourth century, Catherine converted to Christianity a group of philosophers whom Emperor Maximinus had appointed to shake the maiden's own faith. The infuriated ruler had Catherine scourged and bound to wheels on which knives were fixed; but the wheels broke and the knives flew off, killing some of the onlookers. Then she was beheaded. Angels are said to have carried her body up to Mount Sinai in Arabia, as today's Prayer recalls.

Mass of a VIRGIN MARTYR, except: 

Introit
Ps 118:46-47
I will speak of Your decrees before the kings without being ashamed. And I will delight in Your commands, which I love exceedingly.
Ps 118:1
Happy are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
I will speak of Your decrees before the kings without being ashamed. And I will delight in Your commands, which I love exceedingly.


COLLECT
O God, You gave the law to Moses on Mount Sinai, and later had the body of the blessed virgin Martyr Catherine miraculously carried to the same spot by Your holy angels. Grant that we may reach the mountain which is Christ, through the merits and intercession of this saint; who lives and rules with You . . .


Lesson
Lesson from the book of Ecclesiasticus
Sir 51:1-8, 12
I will give You thanks, O Lord, O King; I will praise You, O God my Savior! I will make known Your name; for You have preserved my body from destruction, from the scourge of a slanderous tongue, and from lips that went over to falsehood; and in the sight of those who stood by, You have been my helper. And You have delivered me, according to the multitude of the mercy of Your name, from those who did roar, prepared to devour; from the power of those who sought my life, and from the gates of afflictions which compassed me about; from the oppression of the flames which hemmed me in on every side, and in the midst of the fire I was not burnt; from the deep belly of the nether world, and from an unclean tongue, and from lying words, from an unjust king, and from dishonest tongues. My soul shall praise the Lord even to death; because You, O Lord, our God, save those who take refuge in You, and rescue them out of the hands of the nations.


Gradual
Ps 44:8
You love justice and hate wickedness.
V. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps 44:15-16
V. Behind her the virgins of her train are brought to the King. They are borne in to You with gladness. Alleluia.


GOSPEL
Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
R. Glory be to Thee, O Lord.
Matt. 25:1-13
At that time Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: "Then will the kingdom of heaven be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom and the bride. Five of them were foolish and five wise. But the five foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, while the wise did take oil in their vessels with the lamps. Then as the bridegroom was long in coming, they all became drowsy and slept. And at midnight a cry arose, 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming, go forth to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' The wise answered, saying, 'Lest there may not be enough for us and for you, go rather to those who sell it, and buy some for yourselves.' Now while they were gone to buy it, the bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Finally there came also the other virgins, who said, 'Sir, sir, open the door for us!' But he answered and said, 'Amen I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
 


 SECRET
O Lord, accept the gifts we bring You on the feast of Your blessed virgin Catherine, through whose intercession we hope to set free. Through our Lord . . .


POSTCOMMUNION
O Lord, through the intercession of Your blessed virgin Martyr Catherine, may we be aided by the reception of the Blessed Sacrament and rejoice in Your everlasting protection. Through our Lord . . .
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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saint Clement I, Pope and Martyr; Saint Felicitas, Martyr, mother of the 7 Holy Brothers





SAINT CLEMENT I
Pope and Martyr




SAINT FELICITAS
Martyr

DOUBLE/RED


Pope Clement I, third successor of St. Peter, is believed to have ruled the See of Rome during the last ten years of the first century. He was the author of a beautiful and widely celebrated letter to the Corinthians. "They who are great," he wrote, "cannot yet subsist without those that are little, nor the little without the great. In our body, the head without the feet is nothing, neither the feet without the head. And the smallest members of our body are useful and necessary to the whole." He is said to have been exiled by Trajan to the Chersonese, where he converted so many pagans that the Emperor had him drowned in the sea.

English: The Martyrdom of Saint Clement
English: The Martyrdom of Saint Clement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


INTROIT Isa. 59:21; 56:7 
The Lord said, "My words which I have put into your mouth shall never be wanting to your lips. And your gifts shall be acceptable upon my altar." 

Ps. 111:1.
 Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments.V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT
O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Clement shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

Commemoration of
 SAINT FELICITAS, MARTYR 
According to ancient tradition, Felicitas, a Roman widow, was the mother of seven sons executed for the Faith. Felicitas herself was beheaded in the year 165 under Marcus Antoninus.

O Almighty God, may the merits and prayers of Your blessed Martyr Felicitas, whose feast we celebrate today, be our protection. Through Our Lord . . .

EPISTLE Philipp. 3:17; 4:1-3
Brethren: Be ye followers of me, brethren: and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping) that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction: whose God is their belly: and whose glory is in their shame: who mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself. Therefore my dearly beloved brethren and most desired, my joy and my crown: so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beg of Evodia and I beseech Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have labored with me in the gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.

GRADUAL Ps. 106:32, 31
Let them extol him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders. 
V.
 Let them praise the Lord for his merits and for his wondrous deeds to the children of men.

Alleluia, alleluia! Matt. 16:18
Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church. 
Alleluia!


GOSPEL Matt. 16:13-19
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: "Whom do men say that the Son of man is?" But they said: "Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets." Jesus saith to them:"But whom do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said: "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answering said to him: "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Jer. 1:9-10
Behold, I have placed my words in your mouth; lo, I have set you over the nations and over kingdoms, to root up and to pull down, to build and to plant.

SECRET 
We have offered our gifts to You, O Lord. Let Your light graciously shine upon Your Church, so that this flock may everywhere prosper, and it pastors, under Your guidance, may be truly pleasing to You. Through Our Lord . . . 

Commemoration of 
SAINT FELICITAS
Look with favor upon the offerings of Your people, O Lord. Let us rejoice in the protection of Your saints whose feast we are permitted to celebrate today. Through Our Lord . . .

COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matt. 16:18
Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church.

POSTCOMMUNION 
O Lord, govern the Church, which You have been pleased to nourish with Your Heavenly Food. Guide her by Your powerful direction, so that she may enjoy greater freedom and remain unshaken in the fullness of faith. Through Our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT FELICITAS
Increase Your Gifts within us, O Almighty God, and order our lives according to Your will through the intercession of Your saints. Through Our Lord . . .
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Saturday, November 18, 2017

DEDICATION OF THE BASILICAS OF THE HOLY APOSTLES PETER AND PAUL






DEDICATION OF THE BASILICAS OF THE HOLY APOSTLES PETER AND PAUL 


GREATER DOUBLE / WHITE
Today the Church goes on spiritual pilgrimage to the tombs of the two greatest apostles. To the famous basilica of St. Peter's, built over the tomb of the Vicar of Christ at Rome, have come Christians of every age, every race, and every nation, for Peter is the rock and foundation of their faith. while we are thus reminded of the unity of all the members of the Mystical Body, St. Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles, directs our thoughts toward those who have yet to be taught the message of Salvation.

Mass of the 
DEDICATION OF A CHURCH: 



Introit
Gen 28:17
How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven; and it shall be called the court of God.
Ps 83:2-3
How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven; and it shall be called the court of God.

 
COLLECT 

O God, by Your care we come safely each year to commemorate with these sacred rites the dedication of Your holy temple. Graciously hear the prayers of Your people and grant that all who implore Your blessings in this church may joyfully receive the favors they ask. Through Our Lord . . .


Lesson
Lesson from the book of Revelations
Apoc 21:2-5
In those days, I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold the dwelling of God with men, and He will dwell with them. And they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away. And He Who was sitting on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new!


Gradual

This place was made by God, a priceless mystery; it is without reproof.
V. O God, before Whom stands the choir of angels, give ear to the prayers of Your servants. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps 137:2
V. I will worship at Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name. Alleluia.


GOSPEL
Continuation  of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
R. Glory be to Thee, O Lord.
Luke 19:1-10
At that time, Jesus entered and was passing through Jericho. And behold there was a man named Zacchaeus; and he was a leading publican, and he was rich. And he was trying to see Jesus, Who He was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him and said to him, Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay in your house today. And he made haste and came down, and welcomed Him joyfully. And upon seeing it all began to murmur, saying, He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner. But Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, I give one-half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold. Jesus said to Him, Today salvation has come to this house, since he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
R. Praise be to Thee, O Christ.
S. By the words of the Gospel may our sins be blotted out.


SECRET
Graciously hear our prayers, O Lord. May the gifts we offer You help us to attain Your eternal rewards. Through our Lord . . .

POSTCOMMUNION
O God, by Your divine choosing, living stones are used to build an everlasting dwelling place for Your majesty. Hear the prayers of Your people who call upon You and grant that the material growth of Your Church may be accompanied by a deepening spiritual development in her. Through our Lord . . .


St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy
St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)







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Sunday, November 12, 2017

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST; SAINT MARTIN I, Pope and Martyr



TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER
PENTECOST






SAINT MARTIN I
Pope and Martyr




DOUBLE / GREEN
INTROIT Jer. 29:11, 12, 14
Said the Lord: "I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. You shall call upon Me and I will hear you, and I will bring you back from captivity from all places." Ps. 84:2. Lord, You have blessed Your land; You have restored Jacob from captivity.
V. Glory be . . .


COLLECT
Forgive the offenses of Your people, O Lord, so that through Your merciful goodness we may be freed from the bondage of sin into which we were led by our own weakness. Through Our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT MARTIN I 


Martin I, formerly papal ambassador at the court of Constantinople, was elected Pope in July, 649. In October of the same year he convoked the Lateran Council which condemned the heresy of the Monothelites (who denied that Christ had a human will). Emperor Constans II favored the heresy, and, after an unsuccessful attempt on the Pope's life, had him arrested, taken to Constantinople, and condemned to death. When the death sentence was commuted to exile, Pope Martin was banished to the Chersonese, where he died in 655, broken by his sufferings.
 
O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Martin shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

EPISTLE Philipp. 3:17-21; 4:1-3

Brethren: Be ye followers of me, and mark those who walk after the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping) that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction: whose God is their belly: and whose glory is in their shame: who mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself. Therefore my dearly beloved brethren and most desired, my joy and my crown: so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beg of Evodia and I beseech Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have labored with me in the gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.

GRADUAL Ps. 43:8-9
You have freed us from those who afflict us, O Lord, and You have put to shame those who hate us.
V. In God we will glory all the day, and praise Your name forever.


Alleluia, alleluia! Ps. 129:1-2
Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer!
Alleluia!

GOSPEL Matt. 9:18-26
At that time, as Jesus was speaking these things unto them, behold a certain ruler came up, and adored him, saying: "Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live." And Jesus rising up followed him, with his disciples.
And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For she said within herself: "If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed." But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: "Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole." And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a rout, He said: "Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth." And they laughed him to scorn.
And when the multitude was put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that country.

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 129:1-2
Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer, out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord.

SECRET 
We offer this sacrifice of praise, O Lord, to fulfill our debt of service to You. May Your blessings which we cannot merit, continue to reach us through Your boundless mercy. Through Our Lord . . .


Commemoration of SAINT MARTIN I 
We have offered our gifts to You, O Lord. Let Your light graciously shine upon Your Church, so that this flock may everywhere prosper, and its pastors, under Your guidance, may be truly pleasing to You. Through our Lord . . .
 
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Mark 11:24
Amen I say to you, all things whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come to you.

POSTCOMMUNION 
You have given us the happiness of participating in this Heavenly Banquet, O Almighty God. Let us not now fall victim to any human danger. Through Our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT MARTIN I
O Lord, govern the Church, which You have been pleased to nourish with Your heavenly Food. Guide her by Your powerful direction so that she may enjoy greater freedom and remain unshaken in the fullness of faith. Through our Lord . . .  
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Saturday, November 11, 2017

SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS (397 A.D.); SAINT MENNAS, MARTYR (295 A.D.)


Monument to Saint Martin of Tours in Odolanów,...
Monument to Saint Martin of Tours in Odolanów, Poland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS
Bishop and Confessor


 

SAINT MENNAS
Martyr


DOUBLE / WHITE
 
Son of an officer in the Roman army, martin of Tours (c. 316-397) was already a catechumen when he was conscripted into the imperial horse-guards at the age of 15. The famous incident in which Martin cut his cloak in two with his sword to clothe a beggar, took place while he was on garrison duty at Amiens. Soon after this, he was baptized, left the army, and went to serve Bishop Hilary of Poitiers as a cleric in minor orders. Later he founded a famous monastery at Liguge. When St. Hilary died, the people of Tours made Martin his successor, virtually by force. During his long episcopate, Martin not only organized parish life in his diocese, but journeyed throughout Gaul, evangelizing the French countryside, and earning the title, "Apostle of France."

INTROIT (Eccli. 45:30) 
The Lord established a covenant of peace with him, and made him a prince, that the dignity of priesthood should be his forever. Ps. 131:1. O Lord, remember David and all his meekness. V. Glory be . . .


COLLECT 
O God, You see that we cannot depend upon our own strength. Mercifully preserve us from all harm through the intercession of Your blessed confessor bishop Martin. Through Our Lord . . .


Commemoration of SAINT MENNAS 
Mennas was an Egyptian, martyred about 295 under Diocletian. He was one of the most popular saints in the early Eastern Church.

O Almighty God, grant that we who celebrate the birthday of Your blessed Martyr Mennas, may be made stronger in our love of You through his intercession. Through Our Lord . . .

LESSON (Eccli. 44:16-27; 45:3-20)
Behold, a great priest, who in his days pleased God and was found just; and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. There was none found the like to him, who kept the law of the Most High. Therefore by an oath the Lord made him increase among his people. He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed his covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in his blessings; he preserved for him his mercy; and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him a great priesthood; and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise in his name, and to offer him a worthy incense for an odor of sweetness.

GRADUAL (Eccli. 44:16, 20)
Behold a great priest, who pleased God in his life. V. There was none found the like to him, who kept the law of the Most High.

Alleluia! Alleluia!
That blessed man, Saint Martin, bishop of Tours, has entered into his rest. The Angels and Archangels, Thrones, Dominations and Powers have welcomed him.Alleluia!

GOSPEL (St. Luke 11:33-36)
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: "No man lighteth a candle and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel: but upon a candlestick, that they that come in may see the light. The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome: but if it be evil, thy body also will be darksome. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If then thy whole body be lightsome, having no part of darkness: the whole shall be lightsome and, as a bright lamp, shall enlighten thee."

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON (Ps. 88:25)
My truth and My mercy shall be with him; and in My Name shall his power be exalted. 

SECRET 

O Lord God, sanctify these gifts we offer on the feast of Your holy bishop Martin, and grant that they may guide our lives in prosperity as well as in adversity. Through Our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT MENNAS
Accept our offerings and prayers, O Lord. Cleanse us by this heavenly rite, and in Your mercy hear our petitions. Through Our Lord . . .

COMMUNION ANTIPHON (Matt. 24:46-47)
Blessed is that servant whom the master, when he comes, shall find watching. Amen I say to you, he will set him over all his goods. 

POSTCOMMUNION 

O Lord our God, grant that this sacrifice which we offer on the feast of Your saints may aid our salvation through their intercession. Through Our Lord . . . 

Commemoration of
 SAINT MENNAS
O Lord our God, may we who now joyfully commemorate Your saints on earth rejoice one day with them in heaven. Through Our Lord . . .

Tomb of Saint Martin of Tours in the crypt of ...Tomb of St. Martin of Tours. Image via Wikipedia

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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

WORSHIP IN THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS, YOUR ETERNAL LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.

WORSHIP IN THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS, YOUR ETERNAL LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. | ABYSSUS ABYSSUM INVOCAT / DEEP CALLS TO DEEP



Western Civilization Exists for the Mass


Many are stunned today at the speed in which western civilization is collapsing. Coinciding with this is the post-conciliar crisis within the Church, the fourth great crisis of Christendom as it has been described by that great defender of orthodoxy, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan. What may not be as clear too many is the connection between the destruction of the Mass and of the collapse of the Christian west.
One man who understood this connection was Dr. John Senior, professor of English, Literature, and Classics and co-founder of the very successful Integrated Humanities Program at the University of Kansas. Dr. Senior taught for decades at the university level. He was also a convert to the Catholic faith, devoted to the traditional Mass and an attendee of Immaculata Chapel (SSPX) in St. Mary’s, Kansas.
Senior has been credited with inspiring a generation of young men and women who, having studied under him at Kansas, converted to Catholicism. As Michael Matt of the Remnant has noted, “under his tutelage, (his students) had learned to love the old Faith as he did and thus desired to serve the Church as loyally as had their revered teacher.”
Early in his book The Restoration of Christian Culture, John Senior speaks to the inseparable nature of civilization and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
Whatever we do in the political or social order, the indispensable foundation is prayer, the heart of which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the perfect prayer of Christ Himself, Priest and Victim, recreating in an unbloody manner the bloody, selfsame Sacrifice of Calvary. What is Christian culture? It is essentially the Mass. That is not my or anyone’s opinion or theory or wish but the central fact of 2,000 years of history. Christendom, what secularists call Western Civilization, is the Mass and the paraphernalia which protect and facilitate it. All architecture, art, political and social forms, economics, the way people live and feel and think, music, literature ―all these things when they are right are ways of fostering and protecting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Understanding this, is it any wonder why a growing number of Catholics today (sometimes derisively dismissed as ‘radical traditionalists’) speak of the need for liturgical restoration? Is it any surprise that we are seeing a cultural collapse in the west considering the anthropocentric and profane Masses offered for much of the last fifty years?
Reading the above quote by Senior recently I was immediately reminded of another occasion when esteemed laity highlighted the inseparable connection between the Mass and civilization.
On the eve of the implementation of Pope Paul’s new Mass in the U.K. back in 1971, a group of learned English signatories wrote the Holy Father a letter, an appeal. Many of the distinguished signers were not even Catholic. They included such artists and thinkers as Agatha Christie, Graham Greene, Robert Graves, Ralph Richardson, Kenneth Clark, Malcolm Muggeridge, and Yehudi Menuhin to name just a few. In total nearly sixty people signed.
Their letter today, and the subsequent response of Rome, are referred to as the Agatha Christie indult, named after its most prominent signer. Put simply, the letter argued for the preservation of the Roman Rite as the jewel of western civilization. They began:
If some senseless decree were to order the total or partial destruction of basilicas or cathedrals, then obviously it would be the educated -whatever their personal beliefs- who would rise up in horror to oppose such a possibility.
Now the fact is that basilicas and cathedrals were built so as to celebrate a rite which, until a few months ago, constituted a living tradition. We are referring to the Roman Catholic Mass. Yet, according to the latest information in Rome, there is a plan to obliterate that Mass by the end of the current year.
Next, the signatories argued (as John Senior did) that the traditional Mass is foundational to, and inseparable from, western civilization:
We are not at this moment considering the religious or spiritual experience of millions of individuals. The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts -not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians.
The implication is clear. If the “rite in question” has inspired the culture and lifted the human spirit in such a manner “in all countries and epochs”, then what happens when it is distorted and diminished. If western civilization exists for the Mass, then what happens when the Mass is changed? Consistently profaned? Modernized?
The letter concludes with both an appeal, and a filial warning, to the Holy Father:
The signatories of this appeal, which is entirely ecumenical and nonpolitical, have been drawn from every branch of modern culture in Europe and elsewhere. They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive…
Cardinal Heenan delivered the letter to Pope Paul VI, resulting in the granting of the Latin Mass indult for England and Wales in November 1971.
What is sad today, nearly fifty years after the “reform” of the Roman Rite, is that many within the Church still do not see what John Senior and the signatories of the Agatha Christie letter so clearly recognized. History has proven them to be truly prophetic. We can view these last fifty years as our Babylonian exile. Our captivity, merited through pride and disobedience.
Surveying the ecclesial and cultural landscape near the end of his life, Senior held nothing back in his assessment:
The crisis is over; we have lost. This is no longer just a prediction, it is a simple observation: Rome has been desecrated. We are in the age of darkness. Triumphalist reactions are in vain. The modern world and the Church deserve the punishment that God is raining down on us.
Despite this current punishment we cannot despair. In the end, we know Who is victorious. We do not, however, participate in this victory if we fail to reassert the fundamental connection between the Mass and western civilization.
The Mass must first be the foundation of the family before it can be the foundation of the culture. All of life must flow from Our Eucharistic Lord, present in our churches, on the altars, in the hands of our priests. The Social Kingship of Christ must once again be proclaimed as well.
We must also reject the nonsensical notion of the Mass as an ecumenical experiment. As a laboratory for innovation. As an expression of the secular instead of an encounter with the eternal. This must all be rejected. It is offensive and it is not Catholic.
Western civilization, or more accurately Christendom, exists for the Mass. We have seen the fruits of secularism, of rejecting this fundamental truth. We have seen both the culture and the Church teeter (and in some places fall) due to the loss of understanding of this foundational truth. Even where the culture fails to grasp this notion, it is still true never the less.
In the end this is why so many fight for the liturgy, despite the scorn of some and the indifference of many. This truth compels us. Father John Zuhlsdorf (Fr. Z) likes to say, “Save the Liturgy, save the World.” Indeed.