Sunday, 24 April 2022

Quasimodo Sunday - "As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile..."

Dominica in Albis Deponendis

(Sunday when the newly baptised finally put off their white garments of Easter)

also called

Quasimodo Sunday


Low Sunday



the Feast of Divine Mercy

Mose Bianchi. Mother Breast-feeding. 1895.

"Quasimodo geniti infantes, alleluia, rationabile sine dolo lac concupiscite.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia."

"As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia" 
[1 Peter 2:2; Introit for the Mass of Low Sunday]

"Deinde dicit Thomae: infer digitum tuum huc et vide manus meas, et affer manum tuam et mitte in latus meum et noli esse incredulus sed fidelis.
Respondit Thomas et dixit ei: Dominus meus et Deus meus!"
"Then He said to Thomas 'Put in thy fingers hither and see my hands and bring hither thy hand and put it into my side and be not faithless but believing'. Thomas answered and said to him 'My Lord and my God!' " 
[John 20:27-28; Gospel of Low Sunday]

"Dearly beloved, laying away all malice and all guile and dissimulations and envies and all detractions as new-born babes desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation, if so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet...for you are a chosen race, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people that you may declare His virtues who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light."
[1 Peter 2:2-3, 9]

"Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God. Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed."
[John 20:19-29]

"In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. (1588)

It's a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them. (848)

Before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the doors of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the doors of My mercy must pass through the doors of My justice... (1146)"

[Diary of Divine Mercy, Revelation of our Lord to St Maria Faustina (Kowalska) of the Blessed Sacrament]

St Faustina Kowalska, messenger of Divine Mercy
"Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortalis, miserere nobis" [Latin]
"Hagios Theos, hagios ischyros, hagios athanatos, eleison imas" [Greek]
"Elohim hakadosh, Elohim hakol yakhol, rakhem aleinu, veal kol haolam" [Hebrew]

"Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us"

[The ancient prayer of the Trisagion from the Improperia or "Reproaches" of the Good Friday liturgy in Latin, Greek, Aramaic and English, dating back to at least the 5th century. They form part of the Divine Mercy prayers requested of St Faustina by our Lord.]

"Feed my sheep".
Rafaello Sanzio. The gift of the keys to Peter.
Buoninsegna. Christ appears to the Disciples. 1308-11.

Our Lord appeared first to St Mary Magdalene and then the women at the tomb (Luke 24:1-10).

Later on the Day of Resurrection, Sunday, the first day of the week, he appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) and then he appeared again to them in a closed room in Jerusalem and gave them the power, as priests, to forgive sins (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25).

8 (Jewish) days later (Jewish and Roman days start at sundown), on the following Sunday, he appeared to them again and cured the doubts of St Thomas the Doubter (John 20:26-29).

He then appeared to them a 3rd time, by the sea of Tiberias, when there was a miraculous draught of fish and he heard St Peter's confession for denying him 3 times (John 21:1-23).

Caravaggio. Doubting Thomas. 1602-1603.


Saturday, 16 April 2022

HAPPY EASTER - "I have seen the Lord!"

Happy Easter to all!

Christus surrexit,
sicut dixit,

Christ is risen
as he said!

Correggio. Noli me tangere. 1525

"When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices so that they might come and anoint Jesus...and on a sabbath morning they came to the sepulchre after sunrise...and looking up they saw that the stone was rolled back. Alleluia!"
[Taverner, Dum transisset sabbatum from Mark 16, sung at the Easter Vigil mass of Holy Saturday night]

"The Angels said to her 'Woman, why are you weeping?'. She said to them 'Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid Him'. Saying this she turned round and saw Jesus standing but she did not know that it was Jesus. Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him 'Sir, if you have carried Him away tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away'. And Jesus said to her 'Mary'. She turned and said to Him in Hebrew 'Rabboni!'".
[John 20]
"She went and said to the Disciples 'I have seen the Lord!' "[John 20.18]

John Taverner (1490-1545). Dum Transisset Sabbatum. Sung by the Tallis Scholars.

Dum transisset Sabbatum,
Maria Magdalene et Maria Jacobi et Salome
emerunt aromata ut venientes ungerent Jesum.
Et valde mane una sabbatorum veniunt ad monumentum orto iam sole ut venientes ungerent Jesum.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

And when the Sabbath was past,
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome
had brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
And very early in the morning, the first day of the week,
they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun that they might come and anoint him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
[Dum Transisset Sabbatum - taken from the Gospel of St Mark, Ch16]

Carl Heinrich Bloch. The Resurrection. 1881.

Victimae paschali laudes
immolent Christiani
Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
Reconciliavit peccatores.
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando,
Dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.
Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis:
Angelicos testes, sudarium et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea:
Praecedet vos in Galilaeam.
Credendum est magis soli
Mariae veraci
Quam Judaeorum
Turbae fallaci.
Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere:
Tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

[Wipo of Burgundy, Victimi Paschali Laudes. 1040. Sung on Easter Sunday]

Surrexit Christus hodie! Alleluia!

Christ is risen today! Alleluia!


HOLY SATURDAY - "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted unto the Lord thy God!"

When the Lord was buried...

"Remember, Lord, what is come upon us: consider and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned unto aliens, our houses to strangers. We are become orphans without a father, our mothers are as widows...our fathers have sinned and are no more and we have borne their iniquities.
[Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday, prayer of the prophet Jeremiah]

"I am counted among them that go down to the pit. I am become like a man without help free among the dead."
[Responsory, Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday]

"For when every commandment of the Law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of goats and calves and of goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people saying, this is the blood of the Testament which God hath enjoined upon you. The tabernacle also and all the vessels of the ministry in like manner he sprinkled with blood. And almost all things according to the Law are cleansed with blood and without shedding of blood there is no remission."
[Heb. ix.]

"When the Lord was buried they sealed the sepulchre rolling a stone before the mouth of the sepulchre and placed soldiers to guard Him."
[Responsory, Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday]

Friday, 15 April 2022

GOOD FRIDAY - "O my people! What have I done to thee? Wherein have I offended thee? Answer me!"

Good Friday

Quid ultra debui facere tibi, et non feci? Ego quidem plantavi te vineam meam speciosissimam: et tu facta es mihi nimis amara: aceto namque sitim meam potasti: et lancea perforasti latus Salvatori tuo.

Ego dedi tibi sceptrum regale: et tu dedisti capiti meo spineam coronam.

Popule meus, quid feci tibi? Aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi!

"What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, indeed, My most beautiful vineyard and thou hast become exceeding bitter to Me, for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drink and with a lance thou pierced the side of thy Saviour!

I gave thee a royal sceptre and thou didst give My head a crown of thorns…

O my people! What have I done to thee? Wherein have I offended thee? Answer me!"

Titian. Christ Crowned with Thorns. 1540.

"For he hath taken us and he will heal us: he will strike and he will cure us. He will revive after two days: on the third day he will raise us up and we shall live in his sight. We shall know and we shall follow on, that we know the Lord...for I desired mercy and not animal sacrifice and the knowledge of God more than holocausts."
[Hosea 6, First lesson sung at the Good Friday Service of the Mass of the Pre-sanctified]

"He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the whole chastisement that made us whole and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers, he opened not his mouth."
[Isaiah 53, Epistle for Wednesday in Holy Week]

Titian. Ecce Homo. 1560.

"Jesus answered: ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from hence’. Pilate therefore said to Him ‘Art Thou a King then?’ Jesus answered ‘Thou sayest that I am a King. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, that I should give testimony of the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice…

…Then therefore Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him and the soldiers plaiting a Crown of Thorns, put it upon His head and they put upon Him a purple mantle and they came to Him and said ‘Hail King of the Jews!’ and they gave Him blows."
[John 18]

CRUX fidelis,
inter omnes
arbor una nobilis;
nulla talem silva profert,
flore, fronde, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulci clavo,
dulce pondus sustinens!

"FAITHFUL Cross! Above all other,
one and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peers may be;
sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee!"

[From Crux Fidelis by St Thomas Aquinas, sung during the Good Friday Service of the Passion]

Regnavit a ligno Deus.
"God hath reigned from a tree."

[From Vexilla Regis, St Venantius Fortunatus, sung during the Good Friday Service of the Passion]

"What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, indeed, My most beautiful vineyard and thou hast become exceeding bitter to Me, for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drink and with a lance thou pierced the side of thy Saviour!
… For thy sake I scourged Egypt with its first-born and thou didst deliver Me up to be scourged…
… I gave thee a royal sceptre and thou didst give My head a crown of thorns…
… I exalted thee with great strength and thou didst hang Me on the gibbet of the Cross…
O my people! What have I done to thee? Wherein have I offended thee? Answer me!"

[Improperia or Reproaches of Christ to His people and to us all, from the Good Friday Service of the Passion]

O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
"O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow."

[Lamentations of Jeremiah, sung at Tenebrae (Matins and Lauds) on Maundy Thursday]

Diego Velázquez. Christ Crucified. c. 1632.

"And they took Jesus and led Him forth. And bearing His cross, He went forth to that place that is called Calvary but in Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified Him and with Him two others, one on each side and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also and he put it upon the Cross and the writing was ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’… and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin."
[John 18]
+ + +

MAUNDY THURSDAY - "A new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you...."

Maundy Thursday

Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus.

"A new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you, saith the Lord."

Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret. The Last Supper. 1896.
"And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 'This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first in the months of the year...on the tenth day of this month let every man take a lamb by their families and houses... and it shall be a lamb WITHOUT BLEMISH, a male, of one year...and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood thereof and put it upon both the side posts and on the upper door posts of the houses wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire and unleavened bread with wild lettuce... neither shall there remain any thing of it until morning. If there be anything left you shall burn it with fire. And thus shall you eat it: you shall gird your reins and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands and you shall eat in haste for it is the Phase (that is the Passage) of the Lord... And I shall see the blood and shall pass over you...and this day shall be for a memorial to you and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord in your generations with an everlasting observance'... And Moses said... 'Thou shalt keep this thing as a law for thee and thy children forever...and when your children shall say to you "What is the meaning of this service" you shall say to them "It is the victim of the passage of the Lord when He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, striking the Egyptians and saving our houses..."
[Exod 12]

The Paschal lamb without blemish is tied and led to slaughter
Scripture fittingly depicts the Christ as an innocent lamb led to the slaughter - the innocent "Lamb of God" sacrificed for the wicked sins of ungrateful and rebellious men, going dumb, innocent and in silence to torture and death at the hands of sinful men

"Now the feast of the unleavened bread which is called the Pasch was at hand...and when the hour was come He sat down and the twelve apostles with Him and He said to them 'With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer, for I say to you that from this time I will not eat it till it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God'... And taking bread He gave thanks, and brake and gave them saying 'This is my body which is given up for you. Do this for a commemoration of me'. In like manner the chalice also, after He had supped, saying 'This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you'.
[Luke 22]

"On the night of that last supper,
Seated with His chosen band,
He the paschal victim eating,
First fulfils the Law's command.
Then as food to all His brethren
Gives Himself with His own hand"
[Pange lingua gloriosi, sung at the Maundy Mass]

"Before the festival day of the Pasch, Jesus knowing that His hour was come...having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And when supper was ended... He riseth from supper and..having taken a towel, girded Himself. After that, He putteth water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded...Then after He had washed their feet and taken His garments, being set down again, He said to them 'Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord. And you say well; for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet."
[John 13]

Dirk van Baburen. Christ washing the Disciples' feet. 1616.

Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus.

"A new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you, saith the Lord."

[John 13:34, sung at the Maundy Mass]

Ubi caritas et amor ubi Deus est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exultemus et in ipso jucundemur. Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

"Where charity and love are there is God. The love of Christ has gathered us together. Let us rejoice in Him and be glad. Let us fear and love the living God and let us love one another with a sincere heart."
[John 2:3-4, sung at the Maundy Mass]

"And going out He went, according to His custom, to the Mount of Olives and His disciples also followed Him... and kneeling down He prayed saying 'Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from me but not yet my will but Thine be done'...And He being in agony, He prayed the longer and His sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground."
[Luke 22:39-44]

ALEPH: How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!

[Lamentations of Jeremiah 1:1, the beginning of Tenebrae (Matins & Lau) for Maundy Thursday]

"How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow!" Gustave Doré. Lamentations.1866.

Una hora non potuistis vigilare mecum, qui exhortabamini mori pro me?
Vel Judam non videtis quomodo non dormit, sed festinat tradere me Judaeis?
Quid dormitis? Surgite et orate, ne intretis in tentationem.
Vel Judam non videtis quomodo non dormit, sed festinat tradere me Judaeis

"Could you not watch one hour with me,
After exhorting one another to die for Me?
Or do you not see Judas?
He is not sleeping,
but is hurrying to betray me.
Why do you sleep?
Rise and pray,
that you may not enter into temptation!"

[Maundy Thursday Matins (Tenebrae), Lesson viii Response]

Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617-82). Christ in the Garden of Olives.


Wednesday, 13 April 2022

SPY WEDNESDAY: "thirty pieces of silver"

"Then went one of the twelve who was called Judas Iscariot to the chief priests and said to them 'what will you give me to deliver Him unto you?'. And they appointed him thirty pieces of silver..."

Caravaggio. The Taking of Christ. 1602.

Unus ex discipulis meus tradet ne hodie: Vae illi per quem tradar ego. Melius illi erat si natur non fuisset...Qui intingit mecum manum in paropside, hic me traditurus est in manus peccatorum.
"One of my disciples shall today betray me. Woe to him by whom I am betrayed. Better for him that he had not been born...whoever shall dip his hand with me into the dish, by him shall I be betrayed into the hands of sin."
[Matt 16:23-25, Responsory 6 at Tenebrae on Maundy Thursday]

"Then went one of the twelve who was called Judas Iscariot to the chief priests and said to them "what will you give me to deliver Him unto you?". And they appointed him thirty pieces of silver and from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray Him."
[Matt 26:14-16]

"Thus saith the Lord God 'tell the daughter of Sion, behold Thy Saviour cometh; behold His reward is with Him and His work before Him. Who is this that cometh from Edom with dyed garments from Bosra, this beautiful one in his robe, walking in greatness of strength?'"
[Isaias 62:63]
"There is no beauty in Him, nor comeliness; and we have seen Him and there was no sightliness that we should be desirous of Him; despised and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows and despised, whereupon we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows, and we have thought Him as it were a leper and as one struck by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, everyone hath turned aside into his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was His own will and he opened not His mouth: He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and He shall not open His mouth...He hath done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in His mouth...He hath delivered His soul unto death and was reputed with the wicked and hath borne the sins of many and hath prayed for the transgressors.
[Isaias 53:2]

PALM SUNDAY: Pueri Hebraeorum portantes ramos olivarum...

...Christ, the King of Kings, enters the Holy city of Jerusalem mounted on a donkey, on the first Palm Sunday

 ...and so begins HOLY WEEK, the holiest week of the year

The great and ancient service on Palm Sunday celebrates the entry of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST into the city of Jerusalem, riding on a donkey with its young colt or foal, signifying the Old and the New Testaments, to be welcomed by His people as a king, a priest, a prophet and a saviour and as the very Messias and King whom they had been awaiting for centuries but, in a few short days, were to reject.

This entry of the humble Christ into the city was foretold and prophesied by the prophet, Zechariah:

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the war-horses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth".
(Zechariah 9:9-10)

Pedro de Orrente. Christ's entry into Jerusalem. c.1620

The Palm Sunday service is a particularly fine one, albeit lengthy.

In the pre-1955 rite, which is far superior, more Biblical and very ancient, it takes 3 hours.

The palms are blessed with many hymns, psalms, chants and prayers, and the people receive them, the choir singing Pueri Hebraeorum, portantes ramos olivarum (the children of Israel carrying olive branches), and there is a short-form mass at the altar.

The antiphons recall Noah and the Flood and Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land.

After this comes the Procession out of the Church, singing psalms, and then back to the front portal of the Church where we sing Gloria, laus et honor, tibi sit, Rex Christe Redemptor - "Glory, praise and honour be to thee, King Christ Redeemer!".

At the door, two cantors have entered and the doors are shut. They sing in response to the Gloria laus and then the Subdeacon, outside, knocks on the door with the end of the processional cross. The doors open, to signify the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem and our entry into Heaven, and the procession moves back into the church, singing an ancient chant, Ingrediente Domino - "Going in to the Lord..."

Then the principal mass begins with many haunting and beautiful chants being sung, and then the Passion according to St Matthew in long form is sung, starting at the anointing of the feet of Jesus by St Mary Magdalene in the house of Simon the Leper.

This is a fitting way to recall the beginning of the Passion when our Lord was welcomed as a king and prophet into the holy city of Jerusalem by His people who, only days later, were to betray Him unto their Roman enemies to torture and death.

Soon many of those same Romans were to be converted whilst many of God's chosen rejected the very Messias whom they had been awaiting for so long.

In former times, the celebrating priest would, for the procession, sit upon a donkey to which is attached its colt, as our Lord Himself so sat on the original Palm Sunday.

It is a remarkable fact that every donkey, of the sort upon which our Lord rode, has, by nature, marked upon its back, a black cross to signify the fact that, one day, the Creator of heaven and earth would sit upon the back of this same animal for His entry into the Holy City of Jerusalem, but one week before he would be led, in that came city, to death upon the Cross.

The black cross is clearly visible upon the back of every donkey so that nature itself testifies to the role the donkey would play in carrying the Creator of heaven and earth into the Holy City of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

In former times, too, the Roman Emperor would lead the Patriarch of Jerusalem on a donkey up to the church door as part of the ceremonies and as a gesture of humility on his part. Sadly, the tradition later died out.

This tradition was continued by the Russian Tsars, also, until the custom was suppressed by the modernising, "enlightened" and very brutal dictator, Tsar Peter I, just as so much has been throughtlessly suppressed in our own liturgy in the Latin West.

It is a fitting imitation of the humility of JESUS CHRIST for the chief spiritual ruler to ride upon a donkey on this day, led by the chief temporal ruler.

Chesterton's poem captures the spirit admirably.

The Donkey

by G.K.Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

How admirable, too, for God Himself to have chosen to be received into the Holy City mounted upon a donkey, a stubborn, ill-featured, irrational creature, so like man when in sin, but one marked from the beginning of time to bear the Saviour Himself in solemn procession before the very sinners whom God has chosen to redeem with His own blood.

Here is a recording of the antiphon Pueri Hebraeorum, psalms and chants sung during the procession of the cross and palms (and, traditionally, with the priest sitting upon a donkey).

Ant. Pueri Hebraeorum, portantes ramos olivarum, obviaverunt Domino, clamantes, et dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis.
Ant. The Hebrew children bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out, and saying, Hosanna in the highest.

Psalm 23 (24)
Domini est terra, et plenitudo eius, * orbis terrarum et universi qui habitant in eo.

Quia ipse super maria fundavit eum, * et super flumina praeparavit eum.

[Repeat Antiphon]

Attolite portas, principes vestras: † et elevamini, portae aeternales: * et introibit rex gloriae.

Quis est iste rex gloriae? † Dominus fortis et potens: * Dominus potens in praelio

[Repeat Antiphon]

Attolite portas, principes vestras: † et elevamini, portae aeternales: * et introibit rex gloriae.

Quis est iste rex gloriae? * Dominus virtutum ipse est rex gloriae.

[Repeat Antiphon]

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Domini est terra et quae replent eam, * orbis terrarum et qui habitant in eo.

Nam ipse super maria fundavit eum, * et super flumina firmavit eum.

[Repeat Antiphon]

Attolite, portae, capita vestra, et attolite vos, fores antiquae, * ut ingrediatur rex gloriae!

Quis est iste rex gloriae? * Dominus fortis et potens, Dominus potens in praelio.

[Repeat Antiphon]

Attolite, portae, capita vestra, et attolite vos, fores antiquae, * ut ingrediatur rex gloriae!

Quis est iste rex gloriae? * Dominus exercituum: ipse est rex gloriae.

[Repeat Antiphon]

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: the world and all they that dwell therein.

For He hath founded it upon the seas: and hath prepared it upon the rivers.

The children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, Hosanna in the highest.

Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in.

Who is this King of Glory? The Lord who is strong and mighty: the Lord mighty in battle.

The children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, Hosanna in the highest.

Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in.

Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory.

The children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, Hosanna in the highest.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Ant. Pueri Hebraeorum, portantes ramos olivarum, obviaverunt Domino, clamantes, et dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis.
Ant. The children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out, and saying, Hosanna in the highest.


Holy Week Services in London, England

 Holy Week Services


London, England

in the traditional rite

St Bede's Clapham Park

Palm Sunday
10th April 10.45am
  • Mass XVII 
  • Victoria : St. Matthew Passion
  • Credo I
  • Offertory Motet: Magnum Salutis
  • Communion : Pater, si non potest, Isaac 
  • Domine salvam Tonus Regalis
  • Ave Regina Caelorum, De la Rue
Maundy Thursday - Maundy Mass
14th April  :  5.30pm
  • Byrd 3 part Mass
  • Christus Factus est, Anerio
  • Dextera Domini (Offertory)
  • Ave Verum, Byrd, 
  • Tantum ergo, Palestrina

Good Friday - Mass of the Pre-Sanctified
15th April  :  11.30am
  • Victoria: St. Matthew Passion
    • O caput cruentatum, Hassler / Bach
    • Sorrowful mysteries Hymn

    Holy Saturday - Vigil Mass
    16th April  :  3pm
    • Sicut Cervus
    • Missa Brevis, Palestrina
    • Offertory, Christus Resurgens
    • Regina Caeli, Witt or Lehmann

    Easter Sunday Mass 
    17th April  :  11am
    • O quam Gloriosum Mass
    • Domine salvam (2nd version)
    • Regina Caeli Witt or Lehman

    St Mary Moorfields, City of London

    Maundy Thursday - Maundy Mass
    14th April  :  7.30pm

    Good Friday - Mass of the Pre-Sanctified
    15th April  :  6.00am

    Holy Saturday - Vigil Mass
    16th April  :  6.00pm

    Monday, 21 February 2022

    "Professor" Empty Head pontificates on the Church...with quite extraordinary ignorance.

    A bizarre, empty-headed, Feminist "professor" of Sociology (I say "professor" since she seems to know very little about anything) has posted this long, ignorant rant about the Church and about changing its doctrine (which is, of course, impossible). It unfortunately shows what sort of ill-instructed person can nowadays attain the title and position of "professor" despite knowing so very little.

    "Professor" Melissa Wilde

    The Conversation - Professor Dimwit

    I have responded as follows.


    A few corrections to your article.

    “These include everything from reforming canon law to elevating nuns to the position of Cardinal”

    No-one has seriously suggested nuns should be cardinals.

     “Speaking infallibly is an incredible burden, in no small part because a pope must do it alone. It has only been done once since papal infallibility was officially declared by the First Vatican Council in 1898. That was in 1950, when Pius XII declared the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary, that she was bodily assumed into heaven upon her death.”

    Total nonsense.

    First, the bishops in communion with the Pope, whether gathered in General Council, or spread round the world, when they teach consistently on a matter of faith and morals, definitively, also teach infallibly as Vatican II taught (see Lumen Gentium 25). This is called “the Ordinary Magisterium”.

    Second, the First Vatican Council was held from 1869-1870, not 1898 (look it up on the internet, lazybones!).

    Third, papal infallibility has been taught since the very beginning of the Church (by the maxim “Papa non potest errare” – “the Pope cannot err” i.e. when teaching infallibly). All that Vatican I did was to re-affirm this solemnly.

    Pastor Aeturnus of Vatican I decreed that the Pope can teach infallibly in the following circumstances (again, look it up lazbones!):

    “9. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith…we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.”

    So, he teaches infallibly when:


    (1) in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,

    (2) in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority,

    (3) he defines,

    (4) a doctrine concerning faith or morals,

    (5) to be held by the whole Church.

    Who are you to say this has only happened once since Vatican I?

    You are simply nobody.
    In fact, the Popes have taught infallibly many times since Vatican I and in many encyclicals.

    Cardinal St John Henry Newman said that Bl Pope Pius IX had taught infallibly in his encyclical Quanta Cura. If a pope can teach in that encyclical infallibly then other popes can also do so in other encyclicals. So long as the criteria of Pastor Aeturnus are met, the Pope teaches infallibly.

    St John Henry, Cardinal Newman

    “In fact, only a pope can call a council, and he does not have to do so in concert with anyone else.”

    Utter rot.

    It was the prerogative of the Emperor to call a Council and, indeed, the first 8 Councils of the Church, for the first 1,000 years of the Church, were all called by the Emperor. Indeed, Nicea II was called by a woman, the Empress Irene.

    “An ecumenical council, by definition, means a gathering of all of the leaders of the world church.”

    No, it does not.

    It means a Council of all the Catholic bishops in communion with the Pope, called to advise the Pope on important matters usually of doctrine and discipline.

    “Prior to Vatican I, the church had not held a council since the Council of Trent in 1563”


    The Council of Trent was called in 1545. It only ended in 1563 (again, look it up!).

    The Council of Trent, 1545-1563

    “When Pope John XXIII called the council in 1958, the world was surprised as were, by all accounts, the Vatican bureaucracy. The council created a “political opportunity” in the church for those who wanted to bring change.”


    Councils are called to re-affirm Catholic doctrines, not to change them (see Lumen Gentium 25 of Vatican II which expressly teaches against changes in doctrine).

    “But when the opportunity came to change the church, they took it””

    Utter rot.

    The Fathers of Vatican II expressly said that they were re-affirming the Church’s doctrines, not changing them.

    Stop lying.

    “The initial drafts of statements about church doctrine that the Curia prepared before the council, did nothing other than enumerating errors and reiterating current church doctrine. These, however, were rejected in a dramatic confrontation during the first days of the council.”

    More nonsense.

    Current doctrines were not ever “rejected”. Not at the Council and not since. That is because they cannot be changed.

    “As I demonstrate in my book on Vatican II, such progressive victories were a result of the efforts of a group of bishops who believed in the ‘doctrine of collegiality’.”


    Attempting to change and subvert doctrine is not “progressive”, it is regressive, and is also the essence of heresy. Anyone attempting to do so is automatically excommunicate, according to both canon law and the Church’s teaching.

    That includes you, sunshine!

    “Approved at Vatican II, this doctrine states that the bishops convening together have the same authority to discuss, debate or change doctrine as the pope.”

    Utter rot.

    You will find no such teaching in the entire documents of Vatican II.

    It is a fantasy in your fevered and grossly egotistical imagination (and doubtless your book).

    “Thus, for example, bishops who carried historic animosities toward Protestant missionaries learned how important it was to improve those relationships.”

    That is not a change in doctrine. It was a change of diplomacy and one that the Church had begun to practice long before Vatican II. The Church’s teachings about the errors of Protestantism are totally unchanged.

    “Among the noteworthy ones were those that changed the way the church worshipped. The altar, for example, was turned around to face the people. Mass was changed to be in the vernacular, no longer in Latin. And women no longer had to cover their hair in church.”

    Total and utter rot.

    None of these changes were approved by Vatican II, still less mandated, as any fool can discover simply by reading Sacrosanctum Concilium, the decree on the liturgy.

    Go and read it, lazybones! It is on the internet.

    Indeed, that decree expressly states:


    “36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”


    And there is not a word about “turning the altar around”. Not a single word.

    Neither is there a word about veils or hair-covering for women.

    You are simply lying your head off again.

    “Many of the bigger doctrinal changes were those that most Catholics were oblivious to, or knew about only in passing. The biggest of these was the Declaration of Religious Liberty.”

    More total rot.

    First, DH is not taught infallibly, or even authoritatively. It is a statement of policy by the Council as to religious freedom in civil society in our times when most states are not Catholic.

    Paragraph 1 of DH teaches:


    “Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfil their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore, it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”


    Thus, the decree expressly states that there will be no change in doctrine.

    “By declaring that the only just form of government was one under which people were free to worship as they pleased, the church relinquished centuries-old preferential treatment for particular governments. Prior to the declaration, the church had benefited from governments that either repressed other religious organizations, or otherwise provided financial or legal support for the Catholic Church.”

    This is the most colossally dishonest and mendacious statement you have made so far.

    You simply lie through your teeth, barefacedly.

    DH teaches nothing of the sort but, on the contrary, sets out conditions that expressly allow for the restriction of religious freedom in certain circumstances (see DH para 7).

    DH does not at all prevent the government of a Catholic country giving special favour to the Catholic religion, as the true religion, nor does it prevent such a government restricting other, non-Catholic religions, in certain circumstances.

    Indeed, the Church has taught – infallibly – that the idea of complete freedom of religion is not permissible in a Catholic state and one pope went so far as to describe it as “deliramentum” – insanity (Pope Gregory XVI in Mirari Vos).

    His Holiness Pope Gregory XVI

    “But today, the Catholic Church is facing a crisis: In many places of the world, mass attendance is down and a growing number of young Catholics are leaving the church.”

    This is perhaps your first true statement. But you do not analyse why this is happening and yet, as a sociologist, this is right up your street and ought to be something you could provide a commentary upon.

    But you totally funk it! You fail in the very area you claim to be a professor! How useless!

    Instead, your stray into an area where you clearly have zero competence, namely theology, and, unsurprisingly, come up with ignorant, ill-conceived and ill-researched ideas that have nothing to do with Catholic doctrine and everything to do with your own over-inflated ego.

    “…fewer and fewer men are willing to enter the priesthood. This trend, which began long before the clergy sex abuse scandal, is raising questions around whether the church needs to reconsider its insistence on a male, celibate priesthood.”

    Utter rot.

    The Church has no power to change its infallibly taught doctrine that the “matter” of the Sacrament of Ordination is a “baptised male”.

    That has been infallibly taught by the Ordinary Magisterium since the very beginning of the Church and so cannot ever change.

    It was re-affirmed – infallibly – by Pope St John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis of 22 May 1994.

    It is no good you telling us that you “don’t agree”. Whether YOU agree or not is of zero consequence. You are not the Magisterium. You are but one person and a very ignorant person at that.

    If Christ had wanted to ordain women, He could have said so. After all, plenty of pagan religions had women priestesses in Christ’s time. But He did not.

    If you don’t like it, then you had better have your argument with God.

    As to clerical celibacy, that is a discipline and married clergy are not forbidden. There are married clergy in the Eastern Church and in the Ordinariate already.

    What is forbidden theologically is for major clergy to marry.

    They may have a wife and be ordained but, once ordained, may not marry. That is the discipline and teaching of the Church, East and West. Even the Eastern Orthodox also teach this.

    “And, of course, there are many other concerns that the church might want to engage with – for example, whether the 98 percent of practicing Catholics who use “artificial means” of contraception – meaning anything other than the rhythm method – are sinners.”

    More total bilge.

    You have no proof whatsoever that 98% of Catholics use artificial contraception but, if they do, then they are undoubtedly sinners.

    Not only has the Church taught since the very beginning that such artificial impeding of birth is gravely sinful but it was taught by the Old Testament Jews to be an “abomination”.

    It is also very unhealthy and damaging to women’s health.

    Moreover, it is wholly unnecessary. If, for serious reasons, births need to be spaced, then use of natural methods is not immoral since it is working with nature, and not against it. Such methods are, accordingly, entirely natural and healthy and do not damage women’s health by requiring them to take a potentially dangerous overdose of hormones or by requiring them to intrude pieces of metal or other objects into the womb with potentially serious consequences.

    “It seems possible to me that given the depth and breadth of the issues it is facing, the Church needs more than reflection. The Church, I would argue, needs change. It needs another council.”

    What you mean is that the Church should stop obeying and imitating Christ and become more like you and heretics and neo-heathens like you.

    Since the vocation of a Christian is to conform himself or herself to Christ, then you are embracing the very opposite – an anti-vocation – and thus are conforming yourself not to Christ but to Satan.

    Good luck with that. I hope you enjoy being with him eventually, for that is where you are heading.

    In fact, what is needed is for you to get over your pathological egotism and think about re-joining the human race.

    And you also need to stop lying.

    And how anyone who makes such colossal mistakes and blunders of fact could ever be a “professor of sociology” one can only guess at.

    But it will certainly have something to do with your being chosen for your political views and not for your knowledge (or abysmal lack of it).

    If you were chosen for your knowledge (or abysmal lack of it) you would fail miserably.

    Have a nice day, "professor".