Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Making out like a bandit

Yesterday I took in the Trinity College book sale, and managed to pick up half a dozen books for 16 dollars. My favourite is a copy of "the Rule, Constitutions, and Custumal of the Order of the Holy Cross" from the 40s, before they went all soft during the Vatican II era, and before they entered their current Benedictine Lite phase in the 80s. I think my director of associates at the Priory, who was instrumental in the reforms of the 1960s, will be bemused. This document is still clearly Anglo-Catholic (Benediction is to be held every Sunday!).

Other finds

*Man, Woman, & Priesthood, edited by Peter Moore (not the same as this book)
*Galley's Ceremonies of the Eucharist (purely for reference, you understand; Ritual Notes is my bible)
*Reconciliation: Preparing for Confession in the Episcopal Church by Fr Martin L. Smith, bound with Sex Money & Power: an Essay in Christian Social Ethics by Fr Philip Turner
*The Ceremonies of Holy Week: Solemn Rite and Simple Rite, a Commentary by J.B. O' Connell (1957)
*Holy Communion: Preparation and Companion by Bishop Walsham How, from 1901

All very cool, especially for sixteen dollars!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Solemn Evensong and Benediction to end all Solemn Evensongs and Benedictions

I told you I wouldn't forget...

The Sunday before last was the feast of Dedication for the Church of St Mary Magdalene, transferred from October 13, the actual day the church was consecrated. Since they're nearing the end of their renovations, it seemed to good to the Holy Spirit and to them to re-dedicate the church at Solemn Evensong and Benediction. Your faithful correspondent was there, among many others - the church was packed, unusual for Evensong there.

The liturgy began with the Service of Light. I tend to make fun of SMM for this, since the BAS rubrics assume the lighting of a candle, whereas at SMM they simply switch on the electrical lights to "O gladsome light, O grace" (Nunc Dimittis). The psalms were 84 (tone I.2) and 122 (IV.6). Office hymn was "Blessed city, heavenly Salem" (Urbs beata).

The Magnificat was sung to tone I.5 and the Nunc Dimittis to tone II.1, in both cases with fauxbourdons by Willan. The motet was "Locus iste" by Brückner, which sounded to me suspiciously like the theme song from Mr Bean. I personally would have liked to hear Howells's "O pray for the peace of Jerusalem" per the second psalm. Bishop Philip Poole preached in his usual lively way before "Christ is made the sure foundation" (Westminster Abbey). As with the first hymn, I defiantly sang "consubstantial, co-eternal" during the last verse. To my dismay, the congregation did not join the singing of the Salve Regina (in Latin) and I didn't wish to be too contrary. After the Antiphon of Our Lady and its collect, we sang the Litany of the Saints, the first time I have done so in an Anglican church. Bishop Poole led a prayer of re-dedication which was followed by a Solemn Te Deum (again, to my chagrin, choir-only) in procession with Asperges. I caught a drop on the elbow. We followed with "Thou art the way, by thee alone" (St James).

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed as usual. The O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo were sung to their plainsong tunes, sandwiched around the motet "At thy great name" (Martin). The Divine Praises at SMM irritate me by leaving out the Assumption. Psalm 117 was sung with its antiphon, to tone VI.

There was a delightful reception afterward at which I got to catch up with a few people. Fr Theo sported his biretta; unfortunately the lighting did not allow me to capture him on my phone for posterity. (He appeared rather relieved by this, despite initially giving his consent). I did, of course, get to kiss the bishop's ring.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Proustian madeleine


Rev. Brian Clough was hurriedly fired as Rector of St. Augustine’s [Seminary] because of his “soft” attitude to homosexuality at the seminary just before the Pope’s arrival... [in Canada in 1984].

I find this fascinating. Fr Clough was my last parish priest as a Roman Catholic and though he obviously ultimately failed to reconcile me to the Roman Catholic Church, he was pastorally sensitive. I hardly think he was a dissident on the gay issue, though he didn't seem inclined to refuse the Sacrament to homosexuals. He acknowledged that Dignity, while "not the most Catholic organization," was made up of people "trying hard to be Catholics, and the Church doesn't turn away people who try." I'm not sure whether he was more nonplussed by my membership in Dignity or in Una Voce. (I sometimes wonder if I was the only Roman Catholic ever to belong to both).

Fr Clough is still at the sleepy residential parish where I grew up, and still Judicial Vicar (chief disciplinarian) of the Archdiocese of Toronto. He did bar a retired priest of the Scarborough Missions from celebrating Mass publicly or preaching when he spoke in favour of same-sex marriage as a private citizen. (His order did not similarly discipline him, so he was able to function within it as before). I would not have thought that he was "soft" on homosexuality - indeed he spoke plainly that as rector he had had to dismiss seminarians for "acting out" with members of both sexes. But he wasn't an asshole, and I wonder if that was enough to be characterized as "soft" in the hype building up to the first papal visit to our country.

Fr Bill is famous

Did he call him "reverend"?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Requiems and homosexuals

Since I attended Mattins last Sunday and will be attending Evensong tomorrow, I thought that I had better go to Mass at some point during the week, lest I go three weeks without communicating. For High Mass today, the only game in town was a Requiem at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, my parochial home-away-from-home. A long-time member recently died, and the requiem was the first Mass held in the church proper after the recent renovations. So I went, despite feeling rather like the woman in The Twilight Zone who hits up the funerals of strangers.

Since SMM is much enamoured of the spirit of Vatican II, there was no black in evidence, I regret to say. But it was a very moving funeral - indeed I teared up at a couple of points, and I did not know the deceased. Afterwards I took my sister to brunch at a local breakfast food place. Since my parents' separation each of us has resided with the parent of the opposite sex, so I don't see her as often, especially since both of us now have part-time jobs. Every couple of weeks I make a point of taking her to brunch at this particular restaurant. For forty dollars, I can spend an hour with her and delight in her company and conversation. She has a very sharp wit and is much more pragmatic than I am - indeed we are opposites in so many respects that I often wonder how we could have sprung from the same parents.

On the subway ride home from brunch, a somewhat disheveled (but apparently sober) man with a gash on his face struck up a conversation with another man nearby on how vexing he found "homosexuals," who he said wanted rights but didn't seem to want to respect the rights of others - such as to protect their children from sexual exploitation. The climax was when he whipped an adult magazine out of his rear pocket and remarked "That's what life is about." And I thought, really? Because I find that very sad. If this man's "life" (or his sex life) is indeed merely "about" the consumption of pornography (which in and of itself I can tolerate) then he will, it seems, never know the meaningful intimacy in body and mind that thousands of same-sex couples live out every day. I couldn't help but thinking that this man was wrong in his estimation that he had gotten the better deal in life. That may be self-righteous of me, but I can only be honest about it.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Sorry about being slow to update (and abounding in steadfast love). I am, you see, a working man now. I will, however, be sure to report back on the re-dedication of the newly renovated Church of St Mary Magdalene this Sunday, which will take place during the afternoon service of Solemn Evensong, Te Deum, and Benediction.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

The best postlude ever

Skip to about 1:30 to hear the music.