nov 122015
 

I ettermiddag besøkte vi kirkene St Maria Maggiore, St Prassede og St Pudenziana – i den rekkefølgen, de ligger like ved siden av hverandre. Under kan man se bildene jeg tok i dag av apsis i alle kirkene.

stmariamaggiore

stprassede

stpudenziana

Mosaikken i apsis i St Maria Maggiore er fra midt på 400-tallet, i St Prassede fra 820 og i St Pudenziana fra slutten av 300-tallet. Om den siste mosaikken kan vi lese:

The mosaics in the apse are late Roman art. They date from around the end of the 4th century; they are regarded by different groups of scholars as dating from either the reign of Pope Siricius (384-99) or the pontificate of Innocent I (401-17). They were heavily restored in the 16th century. They are among the oldest Christian mosaics in Rome and one of the most striking mosaics outside of Ravenna. They were deemed the most beautiful mosaics in Rome by the 19th century historian Ferdinand Gregorovius.

nov 122015
 

Vi kan lese mer om Josef Jungmanns synspunkter i en annen artikkel om alterets plassering, av U. M. Lang, bl.a.:

The reform of the Roman Rite of Mass that was carried out after the Second Vatican Council has significantly altered the shape of Catholic worship. One of the most evident changes was the construction of freestanding altars. The versus populum celebration was adopted throughout the Latin Church, and, with few exceptions, it has become the prevailing practice during Mass for the celebrant to stand behind the altar facing the congregation. This uniformity has led to the widespread misunderstanding that the priest’s “turning his back on the people” is characteristic of the rite of Mass according to the Missal of Pope Saint Pius V whereas the priest’s “turning towards the people” belongs to the Novus Ordo Mass of Pope Paul VI. It is also widely assumed by the general public that the celebration of Mass “facing the people” is required, indeed even imposed, by the liturgical reform that was inaugurated by Vatican II.

However, the relevant conciliar and post-conciliar documents present quite a different picture. The Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, speaks neither of a celebration versus populum nor of the setting up of new altars. In view of this fact it is all the more astonishing how rapidly “versus populum altars” appeared in Catholic churches all over the world. …

(In a document from the Vatican) it is said to be desirable to set up the main altar separate from the back wall, so that the priest can walk around it easily and a celebration facing the people is possible. Josef Andreas Jungmann asks us to consider this: “It is only the possibility that is emphasized. And this [separation of the altar from the wall] is not even prescribed, but is only recommended, as one will see if one looks at the Latin text of the directive…. In the new instruction the general permission of such an altar layout is stressed only with regard to possible obstacles or local restrictions.”

In a letter addressed to the heads of bishops’ conferences, dated January 25, 1966, Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro, the president of the Consilium, states that regarding the renewal of altars “prudence must be our guide”. He goes on to explain: “Above all because for a living and participated liturgy, it is not indispensable that the altar should be versus populum: in the Mass, the entire liturgy of the word is celebrated at the chair, ambo or lectern, and, therefore, facing the assembly; as to the eucharistic liturgy, loudspeaker systems make participation feasible enough. Secondly, hard thought should be given to the artistic and architectural question, this element in many places being protected by rigorous civil laws.”

With reference to Cardinal Lercaro’s exhortation to prudence, Jungmann warns us not to make the option granted by the instruction into “an absolute demand, and eventually a fashion, to which one succumbs without thinking”. Inter Oecumenici permits the Mass facing the people, but it does not prescribe it. As Louis Bouyer emphasized in 1967, that document does not at all suggest that Mass facing the people is always the preferable form of Eucharistic celebration.

I kommisjonen Consilium, som snekret sammen den nye messeliturgien i årene før 1969, hadde altså både lederen, kardinal Lercaro, og to sentrale medlemmer, Jungmann og Bouyer (jeg leser bøker av begge disse to akkurat nå) sterke reservasjoner mot å snu alterne. I artikkelen til Lang kan vi også lese under overskrifta Early Critics of “facing the people”:

Already in the sixties, theologians of international renown criticized the sweeping triumph of the celebration versus populum. In addition to Jungmann and Bouyer, Joseph Ratzinger, then professor of theology at Tübingen and peritus at the Council, delivered a lecture at the Katholikentag of 1966 in Bamberg that was received with much attention. His observations have lost nothing of their relevance: “We can no longer deny that exaggerations and aberrations have crept in which are both annoying and unbecoming. Must every Mass, for instance, be celebrated facing the people? Is it so absolutely important to be able to look the priest in the face, or might it not be often very salutary to reflect that he also is a Christian and that he has every reason to turn to God with all his fellow-Christians of the congregation and to say together with them ‘Our Father’?”

nov 112015
 

Jeg spurte for et par dager siden om Josef Jungmanns (jeg leser nå hans 1000 sider om messeliturgiens utvikling) synspunkter på at katolske altere ble “snudd” nesten over hele verden fra og med midten av 60-tallet. Svaret på spørsmålet er tydeligvis at han på 50- og tidlig 60-tall hadde arbeidet for en slik utvikling, men snudde mot slutten av 60-tallet og mente at en slik “snuing” var misforstått og uheldig. Slik åpner en artikkel som drøfter dette spørsmålet: “The claim that the altar of the early Church was always designed to celebrate facing the people, a claim made often and repeatedly, turns out to be nothing but a fairy tale.” —Josef Jungmann, S.J.

I samme artikkel kan vi lese videre:

Jungmann … had originally pressed hard for the implementation of the versus populum arrangement in the modern world. Shortly after the reforms began, he would come to question his presuppositions, and in time, admit their essential fantasy.

Jungmann’s pre-Conciliar support gave the practice a scholarly veneer. His historical works nonetheless do not treat the subject with great confidence: in his magisterial work The Mass of the Roman Rite, he touches on the issue of its historicity as a foregone conclusion, but fails to back his contentions with much in the way of solid documentation. In other works, he suggested that the proper rationale for present-day versus populum was principally pastoral rather than archaeological. Indeed, he even suggested the Early Christians were sloppy or even ambivalent to the whole issue of direction, apparently ignoring the vast corpus of early Christian hymnody, art and liturgy now known to be focused on Christ-as-rising sun and the East. …

… The long history of ad orientem liturgy is a matter of archaeological record. That being said, the question this paper answers might be said to be a moot point, if Pius XII’s advice in Mediator Dei is to be heeded. The worship of the primitive Christians is not the be-all and the end-all of liturgy:

Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table form …

The prevailing versus populum view of the liturgists of the 1960s was backed up by the latest in archaeological discoveries. This has in turn been disproved by even newer discoveries and scholarship which support the living tradition of ad orientem worship. Perhaps we would have done well to not be so skeptical in the first place of the customs that have been handed onto us. It is in this light that the deep wisdom of Pius XII’s words becomes apparent. The wisdom of what was once a continuous, living tradition, written off in the name of what was then the cutting-edge of a scientific approach to liturgy, has been found to be more trustworthy than we supposed, after all.

So what is the next step in our pilgrimage to the East? This question of orientation, underscoring the presence of the Living God in our sanctuaries, is one close to Benedict’s heart. Yet, having lived through the great trauma of the rapid and perhaps imprudent changes of the late sixties, he understands the dangers of radical, unexplained change. Ratzinger wrote in The Spirit of the Liturgy that it would be a mistake to “reject all the reforms of our century wholesale,” but that the face-to-face dialogue of the Liturgy of the Word must also be distinguished from the “common turning to the East during the Eucharistic prayer,” which remains “essential,” as“[l]ooking at the priest has no importance. […] It is not a question of dialogue but of common worship, of setting off towards the One who is to come. Ratzinger suggests the solution in places “when a direct common turning towards the East is not possible,” to create an “interior ‘east’ of faith,” in the form of a large standing crucifix on the center of the altar table-top for both priest and people to face, and to in part conceal the priest’s identity so that we might recall that he is not acting for his own sake at the altar. This, along with catechesis and education, will pave the way slowly towards a gradual re-orientation of the liturgy, and will prepare us in time to once again turn both physically and spiritually back to the East. Once we realize that we are meant to gaze upon the same Christ rather than on the talking head of the priest, the ancient custom of the eastward position will not seem so outré and alien. …

nov 102015
 

I ettermiddag besøkte vi to veldig berømte kirker i Trastevere i Roma, St Maria (øverste bilde) der vi har vært en del ganger tidligere år, bl.a. i søndagsmesser, og St Cecilia, der vi bare hadde vært én gang før, for 20 år siden. Begge kirkene har nydelige mosaikker i apsis, som man kan se på bildene jeg tok i dag. St Cecilia har også en krypt, der Cecilias levninger ligger rett under dagens alter.

stmaria_trastevere

stcecilia_trastevere

nov 092015
 

Før jeg begynte å studere messens utvikling (dvs før 2007, flere år etter min ordinasjon) hadde jeg bare hørt at man etter konsilet tok bort mange, lange og helt unødvendige deler av messen i den omfattende liturgireformen etter konsilet. Den påstanden er selvsagt helt feil, for den katolske messen hadde aldri vært særlig lang eller komplisert.
Etter mitt syn nå i dag hadde det vært passende om ca 1/3 av forandringene i messen etter konsilet hadde kommet, som en forholdsvis omfattende revisjon av messen man hadde – og ikke som en Novus ordo, en helt ny messe – for det var vel en revisjon, og ikke noe mer, biskopene hadde i tankene da de vedtok Sacrosanctum concilium.

Den nye messen fra 1969 gjorde altså dramatiske forandringer på messen man hadde kjent i rundt 1500 år, og oftest nevnes Josef A. Jungmann, SJ, som den forskeren som aller mest ledet Kirken i en slik radikal retning. Jeg har satt meg fore å se om dette er korrekt, og når jeg nå har lest gjennom over halvparten av Jungmanns The Mass of the Roman Rite – Its Origins and Development, har jeg lagt merke til tre ting:

1
Jungmann snakker hele tiden om messen som en offerhandling, et offer som bæres fram for Gud, og at dette er det viktigste som skjer i messen – og dette er aldri noe han kritiserer. Når flere av liturgi-reformatorene etter konsilet ønsket å dempe eller nesten helt da bort offeraspektet i messen, bygget de altså ikke på Jungmann. (Men hvem bygget de da på?)

2
Når Jungmann snakker om de troendes aktive deltakelse i messen, nevner han aldri praktiske/ ytre aktiviteter – men at de troende skal kunne følge med i det som skjer i messens gang. Han liker ikke utenpåklistrede fortolkninger av messen eller en allegorisk forståelse av den, eller at folk skal gjøre helt andre ting (som å be rosenkransen) under messen. Når man en del steder (ikke så mye i Norge) legger veldig stor vekt på at menigheten må aktiviseres med mange praktiske oppgaver under messen, bygger man altså heller ikke på Jungmann – han ville at de troende skulle kunne vie seg til de hellige handlinger som utspilte seg i messen.

3
Jungmann snakker riktignok (men er noe usikker på om det var slik andre steder) om at i de eldste kirkene i Roma var alteret vendt mot menigheten (fordi apsis lå mot vest, og man alltid skulle be mot øst) – samtidig som han er helt klar på at man tidlig (nesten alle steder) både i øst og i vest hadde alteret vendt mot apsis i kirken, som også var orientert mot øst.

Personlig syns jeg at de to største problemene med den nye messen (som det også er mye godt å si om) er at 1) den ofte ikke lenger oppfattes (av prester eller lekfolk) som en tydelig offer- og tilbedelseshandling (men det mye mer sekundære fellesskapsaspektet får nesten all vekt), og 2) at man ved å snu alteret (sik at presten ser folk i ansiktet når han ber til Gud) har forsterket dette mellommenneskelige aspektet, og ytterligere tonet ned at i messen rettes offeret, tilbedelsen og bønnen til Gud.

nov 082015
 

Denne søndag ettermiddagen reiste vi litt nordøst for Romas gamle bymurer for å besøke to gamle kirker vi ikke hadde sett før, St Constanza og St Agnes utenfor murene. St Constanza er bygget litt før år 350 og da ble også den første St Agnes-kirken bygget. Mausoleet til St Constanza står forsatt der (les om den kirken her), mens det ble bygget en ny (og en hel del mindre) kirke for St Agnes ca år 630 av pave Honorius I.

Bildene av denne kirken under tok jeg selv i dag (av alteret/baldakinen, av mosaikken i apsis og hl Agnes’ grav i krypten under alteret), og man kan lese mer om kirken her.

stagnes_baldakin

stagnes_mosaikk

stagnes_krypt

nov 082015
 

Bouyer var fra starten av med i den nye internasjonale teologiske kommisjonen, der problemene ser ut til å ha vært at de nok gjorde grundig og godt arbeid, men at det de hadde produsert så ble fullstendig ignorert. Slik skriver han:

Let’s now move on to my experience of the International Theological Commission. Early on, my impression was quite favorable. But it ended in an even worse disappointment. With few exceptions, the selection of members truly represented this field’s strongest minds and the best workers that the Church then had in her service.

From the outset, the organization of Mork was beyond comparison with that (if any) of the other commissions I had sat on until then.

The pope asked us to reflect upon certain current issues, such as priestly ministry or theological pluralism in the Church. We produced a few “digests,” at the very least, of the most serious contemporary research on such topics. Joseph Ratzinger’s clearness of views, his wide knowledge, and his intellectual courage as well as his penetrating judgment distinguished themselves especially—as well as his humor, which was so full of kindness; he was, however, nobody’s fool.

… Nevertheless, our commission—naturally a born object of resentment from the Holy Office’s entire staff—had no Secretariat but that of that Congregation. The result was soon made manifest: all the documents we ever produced were simply filed in padlocked cabinets, from which it was out of the question that they should ever be taken out.

For this situation to come to light, Balthasar had to have an audience with Paul VI on the eve of the Episcopal Synod that had been assembled to discuss the priesthood. The pope complained that our Commission hadn’t yet provided him with the slightest report on the question. “How so?” answered Balthasar; “I was entrusted with the final version of the text myself; once it was fine-tuned and adopted by a plenary meeting, it was entrusted to the Holy Office months ago!”

Paul VI, indignant, named Balthasar and his main collaborators as Synod secretaries. Still, the report was not, for all that, placed in the pope’s hands until it was the bishops’ turn to work on the issue. The same, or worse yet, applied to the report on the justification and limits of theological pluralism, which was so important in the post-conciliar situation and which was principally Ratzinger’s work with help notably from Balthasar, Sagi-Bunid (a congenial Yugoslavian Capuchin), and myself. It had involved considerable work on our part and had been unanimously approved by our colleagues after the final revisions. Yet, it would never have seen the light of day unless, years later, Cardinal Ratzinger had taken it upon himself to publish it under his personal responsibility.

When I realized the situation, I resigned and gave the pope the reasons why.

nov 082015
 

Da vi planla å være i Roma fra midten av oktober til midten av desember, var det bl.a. fordi Roma da vanligvis har ganske godt vær – mens januar og februar er i kaldeste laget. De første ukene her (i siste del av oktober) hadde vi riktignok en hel del skyer og noe regn (selv om det var mildt og godt), men så snart november kom, har det vært riktig så solrikt. I dag er det klart og strålende sol, så da vi satte oss i ut på vår terrasse etter messe ved Det engelske college, vår det de første par timene så varmt at jeg måtte ha litt skygge for solen, ikke før nærmere klokka tre på ettermiddagen klarte jeg å sette meg ut i det brennende solskinnet.

nov 072015
 

Her er litt mer av det Bouyer skriver om arbeidet med revideringen av messeliturgien rett etter konsilet – jeg har selv uthevet enkelte ord.

But what can I say, at a time when the talk was of simplifying the liturgy and of bringing it back to primitive models, about this actus poenitentialis inspired by Father Jungmann … The worst of it was an impossible offertory, in a Catholic Action, sentimental “workerist” style, the handiwork of Father Cellier, who with tailor-made arguments manipulated the despicable Bugnini in such a way that his production went through despite nearly unanimous opposition.

You’ll have some idea of the deplorable conditions in which this hasty reform was expedited when I recount how the second Eucharistic prayer was cobbled together. Between the indiscriminately archeologizing fanatics who wanted to banish the Sanctus and the intercessions from the Eucharistic prayer by taking Hippolytus’s Eucharist as is, and those others who couldn’t have cared less about his alleged Apostolic Tradition and wanted a slapdash Mass, Dom Botte and I were commissioned to patch up its text with a view to inserting these elements, which are certainly quite ancient—by the next morning! …

I prefer to say nothing, or little, about the new calendar, the handiwork of a trio of maniacs who suppressed, with no good reason, Septuagesima and the Octave of Pentecost and who scattered three quarters of the Saints higgledy-piggledy, all based on notions of their own devising! Because these three hotheads obstinately refused to change anything in their work and because the pope wanted to finish up quickly to avoid letting the chaos get out of hand, their project, however insane, was accepted!

… After all of this, it’s not much surprise if, because of its unbelievable weaknesses, the pathetic creature we produced was to provoke laughter or indignation—so much so that it makes one forget any number of excellent elements it nevertheless contains, and that it would be a shame not to salvage as so many scattered pearls in the revision that will inevitably be called for.

To finish with this sad tale, I shall point out what subterfuge Bugnini used to obtain what was closest to his heart, or, I should say, what the men who have to be called his handlers managed to pass through him.

On several occasions, whether the scuttling of the liturgy of the dead or even that incredible enterprise to expurgate the Psalms for use in the Divine Office, Bugnini ran into an opposition that was not only massive but also, one might say, close to unanimous. In such cases, he didn’t hesitate to say: “But the Pope wills it!” After that, of course, there was no question of discussing the matter any further.

… I would be given the answer, though weeks later, by Paul VI himself. As he was discussing our famous work with me, work which he had finally ratified without being much more satisfied with it than I was, he said to me: “Now why did you do [x] in the reform?” At this point, I must confess that I no longer recall specifically which of the details I have already mentioned was bothering him. Naturally, I answered: “Why, simply because Bugnini had assured us that you absolutely wished it.” His reaction was instantaneous: “Can this be? He told me himself that you were unanimous on this!” …

nov 072015
 

Ulf och Birgitta Ekman gir om noen få dager ut en bok som sin overgang til Den katolske Kirke, og i den forbindelse er de blitt intervjuet av svenske Dagen (som også har lagt ut en liten video (nederst), og de sier i intervjuet bl.a.:

… Nu möts vi hemma i paret Ekmans villa i Storvreta, strax norr om Uppsala. Chocktillståndet har släppt hos omgivningen, även om frågor finns kvar. Ulf och Birgitta lever nu med tillhörighet i S:t Lars katolska församling i Uppsala, och reser i katolska sammanhang internationellt för att predika eller ge sitt vittnesbörd. Senaste året har de varit i Israel, England (tre gånger), Kazakstan, Polen (två gånger), USA och Rom, berättar de.

Ja, vi har haft mycket mer att göra än vi hade trott, säger Ulf Ekman, som liksom hustrun numera formellt är pensionär.

Ulf och Birgitta Ekman menar sig ha en god vänskaplig relation till de flesta i Livets ord, trots att församlingen deklarerat tydligt att den är fortsatt evangelisk-karismatisk och inte ställer upp bakom de ”katolska dogmerna”. Ulf pratade senast dagen före intervjun med tre av sina tidigare medlemmar i mataffären, berättar han. … De stöter ändå på kristna som fortfarande är frågande eller upprörda över deras konvertering. Det är bland annat för att bemöta detta som de har skrivit boken ”Den stora upptäckten” som ges ut på bokförlaget Catholica. Där berättar de om den resa som pågått i cirka 15 år innan beslutet att konvertera togs. Det som började med nyfikenhet, och blev ett försök att bygga broar och bredda, övergick slutligen till en existentiell sanningsfråga, förklarar de.

Avgörande var åren de bodde i Jerusalem 2002–2005. Där kom de i nära kontakt med de historiska kyrkorna, och fick tid att reflektera. Många resor i Livets ords missionsarbete förde dem också i kontakt med katoliker på olika håll i världen. …

nov 062015
 

15okt_bouyer Boyer skriver dernest en hel del om sin deltagelse i kommisjonen som skulle revidere den katolske messen. Om dette skriver han slik:

What shall I say, after this, of my collaboration in the Consilium for the reform of liturgical books from which, after the publication of my Eucharistie and the call from Paul VI, I could not demur?

I should not like to be too harsh on this commission’s labors. It numbered a certain number of genuine scholars and more than one experienced and judicious pastor. Under different circumstances, they might have accomplished excellent work. Unfortunately, on the one hand, a deadly error in judgment placed the official leadership of this committee in the hands of a man who, though generous and brave, was not very knowledgeable: Cardinal Lercaro. He was utterly incapable of resisting the maneuvers of the mealy-mouthed scoundrel that the Neapolitan Vincentian, Bugnini, a man as bereft of culture as he was of basic honesty, soon revealed himself to be.

Even besides this, there was no hope of producing anything of greater value than what would actually come out of it, what with this claim of recasting from top to bottom and in a few months an entire liturgy it had taken twenty centuries to develop.

Having been expressly called to the sub-commission in charge of the Missal, I was petrified to discover a preparatory sub-commission’s projects when I arrived. It was inspired principally by Dom Cipriano Vagaggin from the Bruges Abbey and by the excellent Msgr. Wagner, from Trier. The idea was to obviate the Holland-born fashion of Eucharists being improvised in complete ignorance of the liturgical tradition going back to Christian origins. I still cannot understand by what aberration these excellent people, who were rather good historians and generally reasonable intellects, could suggest that the Roman Canon should be so disconcertingly carved up and put together again, as well as other projects claiming to be “inspired” by Hippolytus of Rome, but which were no less harebrained. …

For my part I was ready to resign on the spot and go home. But Dom Botte convinced me to stay on, if only to obtain some lesser evil.

At the end of the day, the Roman Canon was more or less respected and we managed to produce three Eucharistic Prayers which, despite rather wordy intercessions, reclaimed pieces of great antiquity and unequalled theological and euchological richness, long since out of use since the disappearance of the ancient Gallican rites. I have in mind the anamnesis of the third Eucharistic prayer, and also what we were able to salvage of a rather successful attempt to adapt a series of formulas from the ancient so-called “Saint James’s” prayer to the Roman scheme, thanks to Father Gelineau’s work, who was not always so well advised. …

Bouyer er som vi leser her lite imponert over kommisjonens leder, Annibale Bugnini – jeg har tidligere lest hans egen framstilling av reformarbeidet «The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-75». Og som Bouyer skriver er det utrolig at man i løpet av noen få måneder ønsket (og også gjennomførte!) en radikal reform av hele messeliturgien, en liturgi som hadde vokst fram i løpet av 2000 år – og konsilets biskoper ønsket jo bare en forsiktig reform av de meste nødvendige ting.

nov 062015
 

fortescue_nichols Jeg har nettopp lest ferdig Aidan Nichols’ bok The Latin Clerk – The Life, Work and Travels of Adrian Fortescue.

Og jeg opplevde det samme som en anmelder skriver:

“Aidan Nichols’ work rescues Fortescue from any suggestion of obsessive liturgical pedantry, and presents instead a compelling picture of an exemplary priest, a meticulous scholar and a lively, adventurous and humorous man. … Aidan Nichols’ work succeeds admirably in presenting a more rounded picture of Doctor Fortescue than the image that one has if one only knows him as the author of a ceremonial guide. Fortescue was the model of the priest scholar, comparatively uncommon then as now, and very much a man of his time, throwing himself into controversies and parish life with equal energy.”

Fortescue hadde studert ulike liturgiske tradisjoner gundig (bl.a. under en lang og dramatisk reise i Midt-Østen), var klar og presis i alt han tenkte og skrev, og hadde utviklet et eksemplarisk liturgisk liv i den lille kirken der han var sogneprest, men var ikke spesielt interessert i liturgiske spissfindigheter. Han skrev sin berømte bok “The ceremonies of the Roman rite described” mest for å få penger til menighetsarbeidet. (Jeg kjøpte og leste denne boka med stor interesse for tre år siden.)

Det overrasket meg også en hel del å lese at Fortescue hadde ganske store problemer med å underskrive Pave Pius Xs antimodernist-ed i 1910, noe en annen anmelder beskriver slik:

The biggest difficulty for Fortescue was to come: the taking of the anti-Modernist oath, required of priests in 1910. Modernism, as a hotch-potch of suspected heresy, had nothing to do with being modern. Indeed, as Fortescue mentioned in a letter to a friend, he’d have felt far more comfortable in the Dark Ages of the 10th century than in the modern Roman world of Pope Pius X (pictured).

Fortescue wrote to Herbert Thurston, a wise Jesuit priest, wondering what force the wording of the oath had. He might have balked at something about historical criticism of the Bible in the accompanying document Lamentabili. We don’t know. But, for all his tenderness of conscience, take the oath he did. …

nov 052015
 

15okt_bouyer Louis Bouyer var i mange år også involvert i økumenisk arbeid (han hadde jo selv konvertert fra den lutherske kirke), der han hadde noen gode og noen dårlige erfaringer. Har skriver slik om dette i sitt kapittel om Vatikankonsilet:

More comforting, though still a mixed bag, would be my experiences in ecumenical matters before, during, and after the Council.

As soon as I had come into the Catholic Church, and even before that, it had been easy for me to notice that as far as the Catholic pioneers of ecumenism were concerned (except for Dom Lambert Beauduin, Dom Clement Lialine, or Father Christophe Dumont, OP), and also as far as its most tenacious enemies were concerned, such as, at the time, the future Cardinals Bea, Journet,’ or Paul Philippe, simply being a convert disqualified one from being involved in these issues. For the former, this stemmed from the idea of ecumenism, creeping at the time, triumphant today, that Eric Masca has quite accurately dubbed “Alice in Wonderland Ecumenism”: “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes!” In other words: it is out of the question that anything should change on either side, the important thing being to agree that one may behave or believe as he pleases, as long as all end up thinking that the whole business is unimportant, “yes” and “no” being equivalent answers to every question.

As for the latter group, their suspicion obviously consisted in the possible temptation for converts that all was not false in their original Protestantism after all, and that it might be well to bring something of it into the Catholic Church.

… When the Council resumed after the death of John XXIII, his successor would have liked to call me to it as expert at the Secretariat for Unity. But I had broken with the Institut catholique de Paris too recently to run the risk of renewing the good Fathers’ bitterness; furthermore, the turn that some interventions were taking, on the part of certain personalities from among those who were hogging the limelight at that Council, did not make me wish to follow any more closely debates whose confusion was daily increasing. …

nov 052015
 

Det har vakt litt oppsikt at den kjente (liberale) avisa New York Times har publisert en ganske konservativ-vennlig tolkning av den katolske bispesynoden om familien. Det har til og med ført til at en del teologiprofessorer har protestert (bl.a. på at journalisten ikke har noen teologisk utdannelse). Slik skriver professorene 26/10:

On Sunday, October 18, the Times published Ross Douthat’s piece “The Plot to Change Catholicism.” Aside from the fact that Mr. Douthat has no professional qualifications for writing on the subject, the problem with his article and other recent statements is his view of Catholicism as unapologetically subject to a politically partisan narrative that has very little to do with what Catholicism really is. Moreover, accusing other members of the Catholic church of heresy, sometimes subtly, sometimes openly, is serious business that can have serious consequences for those so accused. This is not what we expect of the New York Times.

Og slik svarer journalisten, Ross Douthat, 31/10:

… A columnist has two tasks: To explain and to provoke. The first requires giving readers a sense of the stakes in a given controversy, and why it might deserve a moment of their fragmenting attention span. The second requires taking a clear position on that controversy, the better to induce the feelings (solidarity, stimulation, blinding rage) that persuade people to read, return, and re-subscribe.

I hope we can agree that current controversies in Roman Catholicism cry out for explanation. And not only for Catholics: The world is fascinated — as it should be — by Pope Francis’ efforts to reshape our church. But the main parties in the church’s controversies have incentives to downplay the stakes. Conservative Catholics don’t want to concede that disruptive change is even possible. Liberal Catholics don’t want to admit that the pope might be leading the church into a crisis.

So in my columns, I’ve tried to cut through those obfuscations toward what seems like basic truth. There really is a high-stakes division, at the highest levels of the church, over whether to admit divorced and remarried Catholics to communion and what that change would mean. In this division, the pope clearly inclines toward the liberalizing view and has consistently maneuvered to advance it. At the recent synod, he was dealt a modest but genuine setback by conservatives.

And then to this description, I’ve added my own provoking view: Within the framework of Catholic tradition, the conservatives have by far the better of the argument. …

nov 042015
 

15okt_bouyer Jeg leste ferdig selvbiografien til presten og teologen Louis Bouyer for noen uker siden (se her), og vil her ta med noen utdrag fra et av kapitlene i boka, som han kaller About a Council, der han skriver om sine ubehagelige opplevelser fra arbeidet han var involvert i (mest) før og etter Vatikankonsilet. Har starter kapittelet slik:

My nomination to a Council preparatory commission (for studies and seminaries) brought about the end of my teaching duties at the Institut catholique de Paris. This nomination would play an equally important role in determining a fundamental evolution in my very concept of the life of the Church. It is very much a characteristic of mine to be slow in drawing conclusions from experience.

… I have never stopped believing that the Church is, in her ultimate term, “unanimity in love.” The most recent Council, however, has cured me of my illusions that the royal path to achieve it might be this “conciliarity.” Although my full recovery was therefore quite slow in coming, there is no doubt that its seed was planted when I was first invited to participate in a farce that was indecent from start to finish: the labors of the first commission to which I was called.

Its presidency by Cardinal Pizzardo, whose well-advanced state of senility clearly couldn’t much worsen his radical unfitness for the job, was not the worst of it. In point of fact, the delicacy, tact, and superior feel for the issues that characterized its secretary, Msgr. Mayer, a Germanic Benedictine and since Cardinal, acted as a corrective to a situation which, without him, would have been grotesque. …

As for the rest of the commission, although it included a fair number of superior intellects and of deeply sensible and experienced men, they were submerged in a mass of worthless idiots and of those self-confident sorts who, in the Church as in government, so often show themselves to be mere blockheads obstinately clinging to their own limitations.

… Thank God the inept or incoherent proposals which were all that could emerge from our interminable palavers would not even be examined later on by the Fathers of the Holy Council!

Bouyer skriver her om en av de kommisjonene som hadde bli nedsatt (av pave Johannes 23) før konsilet, for å forberede dokumentene som mange hadde regnet med skulle vedtas ganske raskt – men det viste seg at nesten alle dokumentene ble forkastet av biskopene, og man måtte begynne arbeidet helt fra bunnen av. Bouyer var som vi leser her ikke særlig imponert over medlemmene av kommisjonene, eller dokumentene de produserte.

Bouyer var også medlem av Concilium (som arbeidet med å revidere liturgien etter konsilet, mer om det senere) og fra starten av medlem av the International Theological Commission, og negative erfaringer fra arbeidet der får ham til å avslutte kapittelet om konsilet slik:

… After these several experiences, it is understandable that I haven’t kept much of my youthful enthusiasm for “conciliarity” in general, and less yet for that pocketsize conciliarity now abusively dubbed “collegiality” where, in fact, a few clever devils regularly pull the strings behind the backs of simple gulls who after all that imagine they’ve taken decisions others took for them, though under their responsibility.

nov 032015
 

melbourne_payne

I dagens nyhetsbrev fra MERCATORNET leste jeg følgende gladnyhet (det er ellers sjelden jeg skriver om hester):

I couldn’t have made up a better story about the winning horse, Prince of Penzance. It was the first time that a female jockey had won The Cup and the first time in 75 years that a horse has won at 100 to 1. Not a bad outcome for Michelle Payne.

Michelle, 30, is the youngest of 11 children, of whom eight are or were jockeys. But her brother Steven could be the most remarkable of the family. He has Down Syndrome and works as a strapper with his sister.

“I think it’s great for other people with Down syndrome — to see how capable they can be in normal life,” Michelle told the media. “Stevie can pretty much do anything, and look after himself when he’s on his own. He can follow the work sheet, he can saddle them up, he can swim them, hose them, and he’s got a great rapport with horses. He’s really enjoyable to have around, and I think it’s important for those sorts of kids to get a go at something, and if they get a go they reward you. …”

Les mer om dette her.

nov 032015
 

OurLadyofSuccour-Maria
I dag feiret jeg messe ved alteret Nostra Madre del Soccorso (Vår Frue kommer oss til hjelp). I alterbildet er det satt inn et ikon fra 1200-tallet (se over) og under alteret ligger levningene til den hellige Gregor av Nazianz (den yngre) – som man her kan lese om på katolsk.no.

OurLadyofSuccour-altar

Om alteret kan man lese (se også oversikt over hele Peterskirken):

On the back wall is the Altar of Our Lady of Succor, embellished with the rarest alabaster, amethysts and other semi-precious stones, and four superb columns of African marble and green porphyry, the work of G. Muziano (1528-1592).

It is called after the 12th-century fresco framed above the altar, brought here by Gregory XIII in 1578.

The remains of St. Gregory of Nazianzus (d. 390), one of the great theologians from Cappadocia, are preserved in a porphyry urn beneath the altar. He is shown in the spandrels, together with St. Gregory the Great, St. Basil the Great and St. Jerome.

Jeg leste messen spesielt for avdøde diakon Gunnar Wicklund-Hansen, som døde i forgårs – og for hans kone Gerd og hans barn og barnebarn, slik biskopen i går ba alle prester om å gjøre.

nov 022015
 

gwhansen Jeg mottok i dag en trist e-post som forteller at diakon Gunnar Wicklund-Hansen døde i går, søndag 1. november.

Jeg kjente Gunnar godt fra mine 10 år i Bergen, samarbeidet mye med ham alle de årene og møtte ham sist i august i fjor – da hadde han begynt å bli forholdsvis skrøpelig. Gunnar var nesten blitt 82 år gammel, og var den aller første permanente diakon i Norge, ordinert i 1991. Gunnar var oppvokst i Horten, men kom til Bergen som ung student – på Handelshøyskolen, der han også jobbet i mange år – og levde mesteparten av sitt liv i Bergen.

Her er informasjonen om ham på katolsk.no.

nov 022015
 

2015nov_nytt_orgel_stpaul

St Paul menighets nettsider kan man lese følgende (og se flere bilder): Det nye orgelet velsignes av biskop Schwenzer under høymessen, søndag, 1. november

Jeg må si at jeg også likte det “gamle” orgelet godt, og kirkerommet har også en veldig god klang for sang og muiskk – men jeg har fått med meg at man en stund nå har arbeidet grundig for å få plass til et enda bedre og større orgel.

Her kan man se hva Bergens Tidende skriver om det nye orgelet: “Det nye orgelet fant Dahlen sammen med menighetens orgelkonsulent, Anders Johnsson, i en nedlagt kirke i Quebec. Det er et Casavant med 3000 piper, og blir det første i sitt slag i Europa. For å få plass det nye orgelet må kirken bygges om og betale en betydelig sum, men Dahlen mener det er nødvendig for å sikre rekrutteringen av nye organister. …”

Og her kan man se det demonstrert.

Her kan man også lese om en overraskende ekstra-regning på orgelet – et problem som ser ut til å la seg løse.

nov 012015
 

15nov_napoli_duomo

Vi har vært i Napoli et par dager; lørdag i Pompei (jeg hadde bare vært der én gang tidligere, for ca 15 år siden) og i dag i byens berømte arkeologiske museum. I dag var vi også i høymessen i byens Duomo, som er en fantastisk stor og flott kirke. Faktisk er det (vi så 6-7 stykker disse dagene) mange flotte og godt vedlikeholdte kirker i Napoli, midt i de eldgamle, trange og (oftest) skitne gatene finner man den ene store og flotte kirken etter den andre.

I dag var også messen fin (italienske menighetsmesser er ikke alltid så mye å skryte av), vi sang Missa de Angelis, orgelet var OK, tre prester, en diakon og en voksen ministrant assisterte biskopen, og alt foregikk ryddig og greit. Bildet øverst tok jeg i dag rett før messen, og stolen foran alteret viser at en biskop skulle feire messen – jeg kjente ham dessverre ikke igjen.