We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Close enough

Despite my earlier animadversions, and including the fact that I would have done it differently, it very well may be that the Ordinariate Missal is only the opening salvo in the restoration of the Roman rite.

As Southern Orders remarks, we have arrived at a moment of supreme irony, in all events:

But with the advent of the Anglican Ordinariate's new Divine Worship: the Missal, it is clear, very clear that Archbishop Annibale Bugnini and his ideologies are being stripped from the Mass beginning with Protestants in the Anglican Communion who have come into the Full Communion of their Church and have brought their Catholic ethos in Anglican form to our Mass! This is called Gospel "reversal of values!"

My only hope was for some form of English Catholicism -- never the perfect form. This is probably as close as we can get. Now, forward, to the Lectionary.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Responsorialia et antiphonaria Romanae ecclesiae

In this book

we find this manuscript (also in Tomasi).

One obvious curiosity is that the "antiphons" for the Sundays after Pentecost seem to reflect the same Gospel readings found in Sarum and the BCP. Very strange indeed.

(Perhaps easier to peruse here.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The great betrayal

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood."

That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the century.

Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now. Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know. All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The offerings of the dead

David Warren:

The refusal to deal with reality — and I mean hard-tack, material, worldly reality here — is paradoxically the consequence of refusing to deal with spiritual realities. It comes home to us again as the fatuous displays of an affected grief continue in Paris, and sympathetically all over the West, as also in the cells of secular Westernization, elsewhere. Of course, many in the Islamic world are not soi-disant “grieving” at all. They are quietly, and in some places noisily, exulting ...

... As I watch the great masses outpouring their fake grief in fits of populist emotion, I realize that they, much more than any Muslim fanatics, have determined what that future will be. They are, in the strictest sense, de-moralized. The fact that they indulge in the sacrilege of godless “candlelight vigils” is an indication of how far gone they are: to a mess no longer within the human capacity to repair. They are — and have been for some time — completely incapable of defending what remains of our civilization, against a quite straightforward threat. They no longer even belong to what is, for them, only a museum relic ...

“Sacrilege” was the word — I am trying once again to be “insensitive,” as I was doing in my last Idlepost — for these candlelight vigils, and this foolish little inverted-crucifix peace sign, overbrushed with an image of the Eiffel Tower. What the masses are proclaiming is their faith in the efficacy of human emotion. It is the faith of Peter Pan.

But it is worse than that. They are using a means long hallowed within the Church, and adapting it to the worship of some other God than Our Saviour. Their only defence is the bottomless, “invincible” ignorance in which they live, as a consequence of Europe’s abandonment of the Faith. They are not projecting, but rather exhibiting, the collapse of our Western, and once unambiguously Christian, civilization — into the hands of the very people who have been murdering them.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Ephesine hypothesis

According to received opinion, the following "picture," so prevalent, flagrant even, in the nineteenth century is now known to be bosh.

And yet we do not know much more and have scarcely gone much further than the researches of those persistent dilettantes and talented intuitives.

One question that probably will never be answered is why the Roman rite was held in such flagrant disregard by so many, especially the Roman pontiffs. But this much we do know: the liturgical changes wrought therein, in the previous century, were well under way before the Second Vatican Council. Just examine this peculiar tome and, in concert, the pertinent discussions here and also here.

Examine the pictures showing that the new Mass was to be ready for the Space Age and just as anodyne as GM's latest offering. In all events, certainly suited for a spectacular debut at a venue such as the World's Fair!

Presumably, 'mass' production, along the assembly-line model was also only a few, short steps away!

But what is the motive -- the rationale -- for the drastic and dramatic change? See if one can discover the loose logical linkage and the highly disputable facts in this following account:

Clearly the reforms instituted have not been adequate to the task of conveying to the people the true nature of liturgical worship and their role in it. Perhaps this is because the changes have been within the structure of the Roman liturgy as it was frozen in the sixteenth century.

To the man of the twentieth century, the Mass does not appear to be what it actually is: a formal proclamation of the Word of God, a sacrificial oblation re-presenting “in mystery” the redemptive work of Christ, and a community meal renewing the covenant — the pledge of eternal life and love — between the Father and His chosen sons. This threefold reality is not immediately and directly revealed by the words and actions of the Latin rite Mass, which fact has led to a growing realization of the need for further reform.

But why reform? Why not better education in the liturgy as it is? The answer lies in the very essence of what liturgy is. Let us define it here as that complex of rites or sacred signs which contain what they signify and through which God is glorified and man sanctified. No one questions the essential efficacy of the Latin liturgy in glorifying God and sanctifying man. What is in question is its efficacy as “sign,” for insofar as our Mass today fails to signify or communicate to the man of today what it actually is, it fails as “sign.” A sign which means little or nothing to me is not really a sign at all; it is an enigma.

What we may hope for, then, is that the fathers of the Second Vatican Council will provide us with a complexus of intelligible, meaningful signs (if the reader will forgive the redundant adjectives). Precisely what changes are called for are well known to anyone who has been observing or engaging in the liturgical movement. The innumerable details need not concern us here; those seeking them are earnestly referred to such recent works as H. A. Reinhold’s Bringing the Mass to the People (Helicon, 1960).

A sign which means little or nothing to me is not really a sign at all; it is an enigma.

Greetings from the Caspian Sea!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

And now ...

because good grooming comes first, it's off to the tonsorial parlour ....


The Iron Legion:

It’s clear now that Europe is now facing a series of converging crises: financial collapse, the struggle to meet energy demands, a corruption of morals, Islamic terrorism, a declining native population and a foreign invasion. These crises are now coming into focus so sharply as to be impossible to ignore. This is the shock of history that Dominique Venner predicted ...

Our young men drown in a sea of porn and video games and other worthless distractions while their nation is stolen from them. Europeans are not having enough children to replace themselves. Utterly reliant on technology and processed food, we’ve become the fattest, laziest people on earth. Our churches are empty. We let sodomites teach our children their perverted moral values. How exactly is European society strong? Because of love, hope, and democracy? Liberté, egalité, fraternité? The misguided values which have got us into this mess are not the tools we need to get out. Europe is not strong and it not worth fighting and dying for.

If freedom and democracy means the right for women to dress like sluts and kill their babies then I’m not dying for that. The European Tradition however is something entirely distinct from the states of modern Europe. Find that, and you find something worth defending ...

So pray for the souls of the recently departed in Paris. Cry if you must. But thank God we have been gifted this warning, the eyes to have seen it, and the hands with which to fight it.


Our iconostasis and royal doors.

Translatio imperii

Mark Steyn:

... I'm Islamed out. I'm tired of Islam 24/7, at Colorado colleges, Marseilles synagogues, Sydney coffee shops, day after day after day.

After all, as I see it, the real war is one to be waged against ourselves.

So, the only thought I have is The Great Escape.

The only question then becomes which Ultima Thule?


The farthest North continuously inhabited?

Mad world.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Ottaviani Intervention

The focus on the chiastic structure of the Roman Canon is to help zero in on the center point -- the fulcrum -- of the old actio.

"The Ottaviani Intervention" makes a number of points, some more compelling than others. Two which deserve our attention (IMHO) are as follows (as per usual: my emphases, with footnotes eliminated, and some material interpolated in brackets). It is the second which has, perhaps, theological (and not merely psychological) significance.

Motive: Yet this same Constitution, which would definitively end the use of the old Missal, claims that the present reform is necessary because "a deep interest in fostering the liturgy has become widespread and strong among the Christian people." It seems that the last claim contains a serious equivocation. If the Christian people expressed anything at all, it was the desire (thanks to the great St. Pius X) to discover the true and immortal treasures of the liturgy. They never, absolutely never, asked that the liturgy be changed or mutilated to make it easier to understand. What the faithful did want was a better understanding of a unique and unchangeable liturgy--a liturgy they had no desire to see changed. Catholics everywhere, priests and laymen alike, loved and venerated the Roman Missal of St. Pius V.

Performativity: The Roman Missal added the words "As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in memory of Me" [1 Corinthians 11:26] after the formula of Consecration. This formula referred not merely to remembering Christ or a past event, but to Christ acting in the here and now. It was an invitation to recall not merely His Person or the Last Supper, but "to do" what He did "in the way" that He did it. In the Novus Ordo, the words of St. Paul, "Do this in memory of Me," will now replace the old formula and be daily proclaimed in the vernacular everywhere. This will inevitably cause hearers to concentrate on the remembrance of Christ as the end of the Eucharistic action, rather than as its beginning. The idea of commemoration will thus soon replace the idea of the Mass as a sacramental action. [As the General Instruction describes it, the sacramental action originated at the moment Our Lord gave the Apostles His Body and Blood "to eat" under the appearances of bread and wine. The sacramental action thus no longer consists in the consecratory action and the mystical separation of the Body from the Blood--the very essence of Eucharistic Sacrifice.] The General Instruction emphasizes the narrative mode further when it describes the Consecration as the "Institution Narrative" and when it adds that, "in fulfillment of the command received from Christ...the Church keeps his memorial." All this, in short, changes the modus significandi of the words of Consecration--how they show forth the sacramental action taking place.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Notes to Myself

Another rendering of chiasmus in the Roman Canon.

The Roman Canon:

1. Initial praise (Preface dialogue, preface text, Sanctus): “The Lord be with you….” “It is truly right and just….” “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus”

2. Initial prayer through Christ: “To you, therefore [Te igitur], most merciful Father, we make humble prayer and petition, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.”

3A. First intercessions (for the Church, the Pope, Bishop, the living): “…which we offer firstly [In primis] for your Church.” “Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N. and all gathered here [Memento, Domine]….”

3B. First list of saints: “In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and blessed Joseph….”

4A. First formula of offering: “Therefore, Lord, we pray [Hanc igitur]: graciously accept this oblation or our service…”

4B. First (consecratory) epiclesis: “Be pleased, O God, we pray, to bless, acknowledge, and approve this offering [Quam oblationem] in every respect…”

5A. Double consecration: “On the day before [Qui pridie] he was to suffer, he took bread…” “In a similar way [Simili modo], when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice…”

5B. Anamnesis: “Therefore, O Lord, as we celebrate the memorial [Unde et memores] of the blessed Passion, the Resurrection from the dead, and the glorious Ascension into heaven…”

4A. Second formula of offering: “Be pleased to look upon these offerings [Supra quae] with a serene and kindly countenance…”

4B. Second (communion) epiclesis: “In humble prayer we ask you [Supplices te rogamus], almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high…so that all of us…may be filled with every grace and blessing.”

3A. Second intercessions (for the deceased and for the participants): “Remember also [Memento etiam], Lord, your servants N. and N., who have gone before us…” “To us, also, your servants, who, though sinners [Nobis quoque peccatoribus], hope in your abundant mercies…”

3B. Second list of saints: “…graciously grant some share and fellowship [et societatem donare digneris] with your holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John the Baptist, Stephen….”

2. Concluding prayer through Christ: “Through whom [Per quem] you continue to make all these good things, O Lord, you sanctify them, fill them with life, bless them, and bestow them upon us.”

1. Concluding praise (doxology): “Through him, and with him, and in him…all glory is yours forever and ever.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Modern Educayshun

This is higher ed’s time for choosing. If this is the new purpose of the universities—to nurture a crop of activists trained at whipping up angry mobs, and a generation of college graduates conditioned to submit to those mobs—then there is no longer any purpose served by these institutions. There is certainly no justification for the outrageous claim they are making on the economic resources of the average family, who sends their kids to schools whose tuition has been inflated by decades of government subsidies.

The universities have done this to themselves. They created the whole phenomenon of modern identity politics and Politically Correct rules to limit speech. They have fostered a totalitarian microculture in which conformity to those rules is considered natural and expected. Now that system is starting to eat them alive, from elite universities like Yale, all the way down to, er, less-than-elite ones like Mizzou.

They created this Frankenstein monster, and it’s up to them to kill it before it kills them.

To the ground.

I remember one time talking with another professor about the likely effects of the most recent round of budget cuts. His concern was that with declining state funds, a larger percentage of the university’s income was coming from tuition, and once tuition became a clear majority of the funding the dynamics of the university would be ruined: we would become employees of the students. This seemed like a strange worry to me at the time–shouldn’t we be at the service of our students?–but although the older professor was more liberal than me in the ordinary political ways, he had thought things through from a more properly reactionary perspective than I had. Society is not a social contract; the sovereign’s duty is to his subjects’ good, but he is not under their authority. His master is God. The university is not a business; the faculty’s duty is to our students’ good, but we are not their servants, and they are not our customers. Our master is truth.

America is doomed.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Neighbourhood

So, while we are nearby, some pictures I wanted to keep handy. They portray the steady evolution of human culture.

Kant's tomb, next to the Cathedral and near the old university.

Another view, this time from across the river.

From above.

1544–1945 -- more than 400 years.

Post-war -- can you feel the love? RIP.

On 10 July 1944, the university celebrated its 400th anniversary in presence of Reich Minister Walther Funk. A few weeks later, during the nights of 26/27 and 29/30 August, Königsberg was extensively bombed by the Royal Air Force. From January to April 1945 the city was further devastated by the East Prussian Offensive of the Red Army and the final Battle of Königsberg. When General Otto Lasch signed the capitulation on April 9, the historic inner city was destroyed by the attacks, and 80% of the university campus laid in ruins. The faculty had fled ....

Memories, may be beautiful and yet ...

Continued antagonism of Russia and Mr. Putin will undoubtedly lead to short-range ballistic missiles being neatly situated in the Oblast. Then we can all enjoy the fun.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

How Organizations Die

Being a lover of the odd, the discarded, and the truly off-beat, once I found out about this guy, and his work, I was completely intrigued. And then there was that title: "The Prophet." The man in question? Laurence Veysey.

I don't think much of author of the piece but I raced to get a copy of the book highlighted anyway. It came yesterday and I read through much of it today. I'll summarize the basic idea my way (which may diverge not only from the article but from the basic intentions of the original author himself).

The American University, at the time of writing, betrays the marks of four highly discordant ideas. By my lights, these are:

  1. The American I: the purpose of higher education is mental discipline or what I call "mental orthopedics." This is the Puritan idea that effort and the full exercise of our innate capacities is good in and of itself. (Notice that it scarcely matters what subject matter the mind is then exercised with.)
  2. The French: the purpose of higher education is social utility. The institution must serve and pay close heed to its master, the State, and its multifarious interests.
  3. The German: the purpose of higher education is pure research, unsullied by such mere instrumentalities as actual applicability. (Here the danger is that students themselves may become subordinated only to the institution's own goal of self-replicability.)
  4. The English: the purpose of higher education is the acquisition of that rarest of possessions, humane or liberal culture.

    To this must now be added a fifth:

  5. The American II: the purpose of higher education is to serve as the hothouse in which necessary social engineering first takes place, in light of the ultimate goal: social justice. This is the Progressive idea that all the wrongs of larger society must be overcome from within the institution itself. For example, the university must be completely color-blind, totally egalitarian, and utterly free of the race prejudice that infects the culture at large, etc., ad nauseum.

I think Veysey overestimates the disappearance of even the first ideology. Although Puritanism, as a social movement, is surely marginal, I keep encountering versions of this idea nonetheless (and sometimes in the strangest of places).

Veysey's main contribution is the realization that these discordant goals and aspirations may nonetheless coexist inside a social structure, without leading immediately to incoherence and dissolution. It may thrive, after a fashion, despite these odds, and so it has, until late. In one of the more lyrical passages (of which there are many), he writes:

The success of the American university, despite its internal incoherence, is best explained as the product of a working combination of interests, only one of which (the faculty’s) was inescapably linked to the values which the university could uniquely promise to realize. The combination of interests worked, it might be further hazarded, because the various participants were sufficiently unaware of the logic of the total situation in which they found themselves [my emphasis]. The fact that students were frequently pawns of their parents’ ambitions was meliorated by the romantically gregarious tone of undergraduate life. The fact that professors were rarely taken as seriously by others as they took themselves was hidden by their rationalistic belief in the power of intellectual persuasion, direct or eventual, and was further concealed by all the barriers to frank dialogue which are stylized into courtesy. Those at the top, in their turn, were shielded by a hypnotic mode of ritualistic idealism. … Tacitly obeying the need to fail to communicate, each academic group normally refrained from too rude or brutal an unmasking of the rest. And in this manner, without major economic incentives and without a genuine sharing of ideals, men labored together in what became a diverse but fundamentally stable institution.

The university throve, as it were, on ignorance. Or, if this way of stating it seems unnecessarily paradoxical, the university throve on the patterned isolation of its component parts, and this isolation required that people continually talk past each other, failing to listen to what others were actually saying. This lack of comprehension, which safeguards one’s privacy and one’s illusions, doubtless occurs in many groups, but it may be of special importance in explaining the otherwise unfathomable behavior of a society’s most intelligent members [my emphasis].

The real danger is not ideological pluralism but rather the subsequent imposition of an organized, bureaucratic structure. Not only will that bureaucracy seek to enforce coherence, rationality, and efficient economies, but it will ultimately subordinate the entire organism to its own, parasitic, self-interests. Then the whole thing unwinds, as we know, according to Hoyle.

This is the way the world ends:
Not with a bang but a whimper.


Teacher: Ever to the child in man, night neighbours the stars.

Scholar: She binds them together without seam or edge or thread.

Scientist: She neighbours; because she works only with nearness.

-- Heidegger, Gelassenheit

Me? I stitch various things together (even if they don't go together), here, in "the polar night of icy darkness and hardness" (Weber). So here's another attempt.

Sins? There are many. Too many to count. And, yes, sometimes the grievous sin of despair. For which, I believe, rightly or wrongly, the only medicine is foolishness.

By that logic, to be destroyed (utterly) is the necessary precursor to new life (resurrection). We must not regret but hasten the downfall of outmoded forms, so that new ones can come to light. But sometimes I do get rather caught up in the regret.

This is totally different from madness. Here is modern madness: In the name of human rights, both humans and rights must be abolished! With that pernicious project, I want no part.

A Silly Tale: I was once in a rickety book store in Riga, looking through some dusty German books. An old man said to me, in German, with some obvious disgust, pointing to one side of the store, "All these books are in German." Then, pointing to the other side of the store, "All those are in Russian." I mumbled something stupid like "Ja, natürlich" and I thought to myself: "How horrible: ravaged from the West; then raped from the East. Nothing else left." But then I thought, "Still here, nonetheless." On the way to the airport, in a taxi, the driver said to me, in broken English, "Look. The sun. How beautiful."

Old Town

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Holy Fool

Parsifal in der Gralsburg

'Despair, or folly?' said Gandalf. 'It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy!'

Meanwhile, on the religious front, ...

Into The Polar Night

Conscience be damned!

The Church of Iceland has scrapped its freedom of conscience clause, ending the right of clergy to refuse to solemnize same-sex marriages. The resolution introduced by the Rev. Guðrún Karls Helgudóttir overturned a 2007 statement by the annual Church Council, the Kirkjuþing, that held the “freedom of clergy in these matters must be respected”. However Ms. Helgudóttir argued that it was now time“take things the whole way and place no limits on human rights.” The conflict between religious freedom and human rights must always be decided in favor of human rights, she argued. As state employees Church of Iceland clergy should not be allowed to place their conscience above the law. On 28 Oct 2015 the 29-member Kirkjuþing endorsed the resolution.

Safety first!

Religion ... destroyed. Education ... destroyed.
Next stop: final destination. Everyone out!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I'm no liturgical scholar. But I have been teaching some old books that exhibit both strange parallelisms and numerical mysticism. I warned the students: Just because this idea won't occur to you does not mean that it did not occur, quite naturally, to others.

Other people seem to have noticed this too (before) in connection with the Roman Canon. From the comments:

... the Roman Canon ... has a very ancient two-part structure, in common with only a few other surviving anaphoræ. A quick look at its successive clauses will reveal that the whole exhibits a pleasing chiastic (or "onion-ring") structure, a format beloved of the Greco-Roman world and common in the New Testament.

So this is hardly an original idea. In any event, the real question is: could it be true?