Yesterday was a full day - 9am Novus Ordo, 10.30am Missa Cantata, two Baptisms, then on to Vespers and Benediction at the London Oratory, followed by the launch of the journal Usus Antiquior (and then on to Wonersh to be ready to lecture this morning).
Above you can see Fr Z's photo from the sanctuary during the preparation for Benediction. the Liturgy of the Oratory is still, in Faber's words describing the Traditional High Mass of the Roman Rite, "The most beautiful thing this side of heaven" and I never fail to be moved by it. When I was young, I used to attend occasionally. In those days, I did not know the Fathers of the Oratory. Now I know many of them and count them as good friends - but in the Liturgy, their personality is subsumed into the sacred action and it scarcely matters which of the Fathers are acting as Sacred Ministers. It is so emphatically not about "me the celebrant" but the humble and awe-filled worship of Almighty God.
After Vespers, we repaired to the beautiful St Wilfrid's Hall for the launch of the new journal dedicated to the study of the ancient Roman Rite. Susan Parsons (right) introduced the proceedings, also conveying apologies from various people. She left the most significant letter to be read by Alcuin Reid - from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, offering a generous and warm-hearted appreciation of the venture. Fr Ignatius Harrison, the Provost of the London Oratory (left) gave a generous welcome on behalf of the Fathers, and then Drs Reid and Hemming (centre) gave their addresses.
Dr Reid spoke of the newly found freedom of the classical liturgy:
The classical Roman liturgy, that powerful and rich deposit of the Church’s tradition, now unfettered, is increasingly available throughout the world. This treasury from which today more and more Catholics regularly draw nourishment, not by way of the satisfaction that one obtains in visiting the splendid yet safely encased medieval collections in the [Victoria and Albert] Museum next door, but by way of being in tangible, fruitful and unedited contact with all that nourished the faith of our fathers, and their fathers before them that treasury, is now free from the putative “abrogation” visited upon it in less happy times.Dr Hemming's address was superbly well crafted: witty, challenging and inspiring. He spoke of the initial encouragement that had been received:
We have no publisher as yet. No department’s ranking depends on our efforts. There is no staff beyond the voluntary, there is no money. This venture should be still-born. And so I am delighted to say that of the nine academics in seven countries we approached to form our editorial board, not one so much as demurred, let alone declined: all enthusiastically accepted. Each is, in his or her own right, an academic of outstanding international significance. Far from colleagues or former teachers, our Board were until now, with only one or two exceptions, not well, or even at all, personally known to us. We have had indications of genuine excitement from across the Anglophone world, and beyond it. We have had over 350 of potential subscribers – including seminaries – even in the United Kingdom.Fr John Boyle has posted all the full texts: see 'Usus Antiquior' launched. The Usus Antiquior website has the list of members of The Editorial Board.
As always at these occasions, it was good to meet with a variety of friends. Here you can see (left to right) Julian Chadwick, chairman of the Latin Mass Society, Fr Andrew Wadsworth, the Chaplain to the Society of St Catherine of Siena, and Marigold Turner, the indefatigable LMS rep for the Kent area of the Southwark Diocese.
Fr Zuhlsdorf has been staying at St Bede's, Clapham Park and so this was the first chance I had to catch up with him on his visit to England.
He will be coming to stay at Blackfen so I had better get a man in to blow out the internet tubes to make sure there are no blockages to prevent hyper-traffic blogging.
Fr Charles Briggs came up with me to the launch and we were delighted to meet Fr Guy Nicholls from the Birmingham Oratory with whom we shared some happy times at the English College in Rome in the early 1980s.
Frs Briggs and Nicholls are non-blogging priests who appear on other people's blogs (Fr Guy usually on his bicycle at Jackie Parkes's blog, the Catholic Mom of 10). Conversely, there was a lady who blogs but does not appear in photos on other people's blogs. But you can tell from the state-of-the-art mobile and the mantilla that it is the Mulier Fortis.