Friday, 30 December 2011

De-sexing the Carols

One of the things I'd forgotten being in France for the past three months (it seems so much longer) is the wicked evil nonsense of changing the words to hymns. I know all that stuff about not using 'man' and all that, and I suppose that if you were writing a hymn nowadays then it would be anachronistic to say the least to keep shoving man in if you could write something in a different way. By this of course I mean something that would not draw your attention to the lyrics in the first place. The only reason I can think of for writing the new stuff is so that people do not stop in the middle of a hymn and say 'gosh Marjory, you couldn't say that today!'. At that moment, the mind has stopped being elevated and is embroiled in a mundane battle of language.

So far so obvious (though don't get me started, no really don't, I become incandescent with rage, over trying to STOP  people using the Name of the Lord - Y**H - willy nilly. If for no other reason than Our Lord when He went to the Synagogue would not have used it, so where do we get off thinking that we can be more chummy with the Almighty than Our Saviour Himself. I told you - don't get me started).

But oh, the crossness, the annoyedness, the sadly furiousness of it all.

This book has de-sexed the carols. (It has also kept in the Name of the LORD  in song songs - I said don't get me started). I can't really go on. It is just too awful.

While shepherds watched: "goodwill henceforth from heaven to men (now "all")".

O Little Town: "and praises sing to God the King, and peace to men (now "upon") the earth".

On Christmas night all Christians sing: "Then why should men (now "all") on earth be so sad".

We three kings: "prayer and praising all men (now "gladly") raising".

Hark the herald-angels: "pleased as man with man (now "us") to dwell".

...and others. I just got too depressed looking them up.

I know that it goes on. I know that it is defended by people saying that such use of man and men is now old-fashioned and offensive, but really. These are carols which we have sung for generations. It's like leaving great aunt Mabel, always the soul of propriety and sober dignity, with the neighbour for the day, only to find when you get back that they have tarted her up in cheap lipstick and put her in a low cut dress.

"There's no harm done", they cry, "she likes it, its much better than her looking washed out in that dour black cardigan."

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish. How do they get off changing our carols? And its fine saying that you don't have to buy the flaming book, but you just try to find one where the hymns have not been destroyed. And once they've been bought, they're so terribly expensive that you can't just change them.

It doesn't stop it including a song that refers to God the Holy Spirit, as a bleeding female bird!

Anyway... got that off my chest... feeling much better.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Shields of God

When we go into war, we are disguised, melting into the background. In previous days it was not so, as we went into battle with coats of arms blazoned on shields, telling everything who we were, and who they were to be afraid of...

"Gosh, here comes Bede the Invincible - can't see him because of all that armour, but that's his shield - better run away and be scared."

The Shields of God are different. They are the shields which similarly show His victory, and show us how we recognise Him. They are the shields of His suffering and passion. In the eyes of the world, they are the Shield of failure, but under eternity, they show the way to final and true victory. The Church at Nympsfield has these shields on the altar reredos.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Rest of the World Catches up

The Boy Bishop of Chavagne - shrouded in mystery (and bad lighting)
While we at Chavagnes rejoice in the Boy Bishop (see many and varied links within this blog), others now clamour for a return to it. See 'A Reluctant Sinner' here. Good luck to them all in reviving these traditions. I do not see why those who usurped our Churches, position, and titles should get away with our heritage as well...

Monday, 26 December 2011

My Christmas Church

St Joseph's Nympsfield at Advent
I said Mass at Christmas in Fr Redman's other Church, St Joseph's Nympsfield.

St Joseph's from the Altar

Here is some info stolen from the Parish website (link here).

William Leigh purchased an estate at Woodchester in 1845. The Mansion remains incomplete, but is well worth a visit. Leigh was keen to have a religious community nearby, and invited the Passionists. He met with Blessed Dominic Barberi in 1846 at the George Inn, Frocester. Blessed Dominic ministered for a time in Nympsfield. In 1847 he said Mass in a house that is now known as Barberi Cottage. From 1852 Mass was celebrated in the Red Lion, which is now called Chapel House. St Joseph’s Church was built in 1923. It is a wonderful spiritual inheritance that Blessed Dominic helped build the foundations of the Catholic community in Nympsfield. Blessed Dominic Barberi is the priest who received Blessed John Henry Newman into the Church. We continue to ask for Blessed Dominic’s intercession for our community.

The Dominicans replaced the Passionists and serve the area until 1932, when the diocese took over responsibility for the parish. Well-known Dominicans, such as Fr Bede Jarrett, were associated with Nympsfield. There was a Dominican presence in more recent times as well, in the person of Fr Edwin Essex. St Joseph’s church contains a 15th century font, and a 12thcentury niche in the Lady chapel. Adjacent to the church is the parish school: St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School. Beyond that is the Marist convent. Nympsfield and Dursley have had a long association. Originally priests would travel from Nympsfield to Dursley. Now it is the other way round. It is a flourishing community, and many families attend the Saturday evening Mass.

Stations of the Cross and consecration candles

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Friday, 23 December 2011

St Dominic's Dursley

The Altar of St Dominic's Dursley
I am staying as a guest of Fr Alexander Redman, Parish Priest of St Dominic's Dursley and St Joseph's Nympsfield over Christmas. I thought I would show some pictures of both churches. I will be saying the Masses in Nympsfield, but here is St Dominic's. The Parish Website is here.

On the Gospel side there is a rather nice Lady Altar.

Lady Altar in St Dominic's
And a statue of the Sacred Heart.

You may notice that this church is at the forefront of the New Liturgical Movement. In obedience to the liturgical documents and the norms laid down by Holy Mother Church, the nave altar has been recently removed, leaving the high altar as the integral altar in the church.

St Dominic's

The Invasion of the Rouge Gorge

St Dominic's Dursley - Stuffed Robin
I fear that over mention of Robins at Christmas time has meant that they now follow me where ever I go. You will remember the trauma of trying to find a robin for the Advent Wreath (link here, and here) so imagine my surprise when I come to sunny England and go to the parish where I am staying over the Christmas holidays and I see an identical robin!

I'm not one for coincidences, so an invasion of the rouge gorges is the only possible explanation.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

And they worshipped the Golden Calf

In school we have been working through various Old Testament bits with the smaller boys, and we settled for quite a long time on the Golden Calf. It also has the added fun of being an opportunity to learn the 10 commandments - so fun tests all the way!

When teaching them, I was reminded of the saying (I think it was the Cure of Ars) that if men stop believing in God, they do not believe in nothing, but they believe in anything. We can see this by all this new age nonsense which became fashionable for a while, or, I would be so bold as to say, the modern liberal catholic ( 'c' - atholic ) rubbish, which might as well be pick'n'mix new age nonsense... if you just believe what you want, then it's not going to get you to heaven. There are loads of people out there how willingly believe that their illness is not going to kill them, right up to the last breath, or that they can live a life of dodgy morality without consequences. If God has bothered to set up a Church to get us into Heaven, it seems just a little rude to say - "No, stuff you Almighty, I think I've got a much better way."

Well, rude and dangerous.

So, with the Golden Calf in the back of my mind, imagine my horror at finding blatant veneration of the Owl of Chavagnes by person or persons unknown!

The Worship of the Owl?
How can this be? What can be going on? And why is there a book in front of it?

I was pleased on closer inspection to find that it was a history of Charlemagne, and not some trashy Maeve Binchy... but still.

I fear that as it is now the holidays, the trail will have gone cold by the time I get back to Chavagnes, but I have my suspects. Oh, yes, I have my suspects.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

End of Term

We have just had the end of term festivities, which I'll mention later. Unfortunately the internet was down here, so I missed lots of the run up. But I'll try to remember what has happened and put some posts about it.

Until then, the boys have gone, and I'm whacked.

Gaudete Rose/Pink

Gaudete Vestments
Gaudete Sunday saw my new rose/pink vestment. I am not hung up on the term for the colour, and I think that we can safely assume that this veers on the pink rather than the rose side. I tried to get some photos of the Mass,  to see the back of the chasuble, but the lighting at the moment is so terrible... new bulbs coming soon! So these are of the front.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Tabarro

Fr Bede Rowe in a Tabarro
Never since the questions about the flags have I been so inundated with requests about a subject... this time it was about the cloak shown in the post about Priests and Rugby, here.

It was cold, and I wanted to wear a cloak. I have a number of course, but when I came to Chavagnes in September, I could only bring the minimum. Of course I brought a ferriola, and I made the decision to bring my rather smart tabarro. And that is what it was... a tabarro.

A quick look at the internet shows a couple of good pictures of bishops and the like in tabarros.

H.T. Orbus Catholicus Secundus
The Tabarro
It is a very full garment, a perfect circle with a front cut in and a hole for the head, with a velvet collar, or similar. Mine does not have a shoulder cape.

They are quite fine, wonderfully warm and terribly practical.

Fr Bede Rowe in the Tabarro
And they look the business.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Walking a Bishop to an Altar

The last decent photos of the Boy Bishop are taking him to the Altar.

I never knew how complicated it was going to be get a boy two yards. It went like this (if any of you are liturgical experts out there then I'd be deeply grateful if you could help me, and keep your opinions to yourself!)

The Bishop standing and sings the Magnificat antiphon. He sits down and gets his mitre (what self respecting Bishop would sit down without a hat on?). Incense comes to him, and he puts it in, blessing in the usual manner. The he stands up. He needs his crozier... how could a Bishop walk without a crozier.

So now he is ready to go. I go before him, then on either side, his chaplains. Then he is followed by his crozier bearer, and mitre bearer and bugia bearer and book bearer. He gets to the altar, bows and then his assistant takes his crozier and gives it to the crozier bearer, the other takes off his mitre, and gives it to the mitre bearer. The thurifer gives the incense to the MC who gives it to the assistant who gives it to the Bishop.

The altar is incensed.

But Father, Father, (I hear your cry - sorry this is France - but Fazer, Fazer) what about the crozier bearer, the mitre bearer the bugia bearer and the book bearer? Where are they all this long time?

Well they move to the Epistle side of the altar, so that when the Bishop has finished incensing the altar, the mitre bearer gives the mitre to the assistant who puts it on his head, and the crozier bearer gives the crozier to the other assistant to give it to the Bishop... BECAUSE THE BISHOP IS GOING TO WALK.

The bugia bearer and book bearer? Well they just follow, not doing much.

And then they all walk back to the Bishop's throne.

I am not even going to begin telling you what happens if the Magnificat is still being sung!!!


Monday, 12 December 2011

Priests and Rugby

Fr Bede Rowe
One of our mothers was at the rugby match and took some wonderful photos. I am going to be terribly vain and put up some of we priests!

Priest in a wonderful 'rugby cassock' from the host school, Fr Bede Rowe, M. L'Abbe Lodde from Esperance
The Men of Chavagnes, erstwhile headmaster Mr McDermott in the middle
left to right, Fr Rowe, Mr Crawford, Mr McDermott, Mr Usher, Mr Leach
Blessing the boys before the match... 
Moments of tension in the game

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Rugby at "La Croix des Vents"

Continuing with the Rugby theme (which seems to be interminable!), see here and here, we went to Sees to an FSSP school to play in a rugby tournament. Now don't get me on the increadibly bad organisation of French rugby tournaments, or the strange practice of claiming that HUGE boys are actually 12 years old, but we had a good day. We lost to Esperance (curses) in the juniors but beat everyone else. The Seniors won the Tournament so that is a good thing.

The school in Sees is quite fine, see website here, built in the 1930, it has the feel of the equivalent of the Arts and Crafts movement, and looks a bit Lutyens to me.

And there was a priest in a Rugby Cassock.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Boy Bishop and the Bugia

The Boy Bishop of Chavagnes singing the Capitulum.
Note the Episcopal Ring.
At last! You can see the Bishop! You see that he is only little, and was surrounded by many other servers. I quite like this. It emphasizes function over personality. The Bishop must be there, but it what he does that is important, and not who he is. Even though you could not see him for most of the time, it is enough to know that he is there and that he is 'pontificating'.

Plethora of servers - note the bugia.
You can see here that the Bishop is reading. To read he needs light, and light is provided by a candle which is held near to his book whenever he reads it. This candle is called a bugia. This is of course for use in dark Churches when it would have been tricky to read. Now we have electric light, but that is still no excuse for getting rid of something. The bugia is a candle stick held on a handle. It should be silver for a Bishop and can be gold for a Cardinal (a rule more ignored than kept I believe).

Now I have lots of bits and bobs, but to my shame, I do not have a bugia. So what to do?!?

Rather smart Bishop's bugia
Well, there is always something around, and if you look carefully at the 'Chavagnes Bugia' you will see that it is just a little bit shoved together, but it does look quite the job, n'est pas?

The Chavagnes bugia

The Boy Bishop - During the Psalms

Boy Bishop seated
You still can't see him
Indication to the Boy Bishop to bow during the Psalms
As you can see the angle of the photographer does not aid sight of the Boy Bishop! But he is there. Also you can tell this is Catholic, because the other servers are completely ignoring what I am telling them to do!
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