Monday, 30 August 2010

And you thought you were nitpicking?

Liturgical minutiae at its best!

ARCHBISHOP'S HOUSE, DUBLIN,
22nd November, 1906.

REV. DEAR SIR,

Allow me to answer a question that has occasionally been put to me, Why have I sanctioned the publication for use in this diocese of a version of the Prayers after Mass, containing a manifest error?

The 'manifest error' in question is the use of the form, 'Through Christ our Lord,' instead of 'Through the same Christ our Lord,' in the termination of the prayer beginning, 'God, our refuge and our strength.' For, in that prayer, as it has more than once been pointed out to me, our Lord, although not specifically named, is distinctly referred to and is indeed mentioned in the clause, 'through the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God.'

The form 'Through Christ our Lord,' as distinct from 'Through the same Christ our Lord,' should no doubt be at once ruled out as inadmissible if the liturgical rule on the subject is as clearly unqualified as writers on the liturgy generally assume it to be. I take, for instance, the latest edition of De Herdt (Louvain, 1902). There I find the rule stated thus: 'si oratio dirigatur ad Patrem, et . . fiat mentio Filii in principio aut medio orationis, sub nomine Filii, Salvatoris, . . Dei, cum addito Genitricis Mariae, . . concluditur . . Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.'

But the matter cannot be so easily disposed of. It so happens that it was through me, during the prolonged illness of the late Primate, Most Rev. Dr. M'Gettigan, that the order for the recital of the prayers prescribed to be said after Mass was sent to Ireland by the Holy See. And I have before me, as I write, the official copy that was thus forwarded to me from Rome. I may add indeed that there were forwarded two such copies, separately printed, one of them a particularly large one, apparently intended for use on the occasion of some special ceremonial. Now in both of these copies the ending of the prayer is printed simply: Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Was this the result of an oversight? To me it would seem very strange indeed if such a thing could occur by oversight. Surely a rule of the liturgy if, upon the point in question, such a rule existed, well-known and absolutely unqualified, is by no means likely to be overlooked at the Holy See, and not merely to be overlooked, but to be openly transgressed, and this in the official publication of a prayer prescribed for use throughout the Church.

Some publishers, indeed, apparently taking it for granted that a mistake had been made, whether by the Roman authorities or by some diocesan authority, seem to have taken it upon themselves to set matters right, by boldly printing the termination: Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.

I mention this point as to the publishers because there is connected with it a fact not without significance in the case.

During my last visit ad limina, in the spring of 1905, I happened to say Mass in a certain parish church, where, at the end of Mass, there was handed to me a card with the prayers printed in the form I have just now described. But the word 'eumdem' had been carefully and completely obliterated. It was clear, then, that the authorities of the church in question were not of opinion that the prayer, as issued with the termination 'Per Christum Dominum nostrum,' without the 'eumdem' had been issued in error.

On making some enquiries about the matter I was informed that, towards the end of the late Pontificate, the point in question had been brought under the notice of the S. Congregation of Rites, by some one who, from his knowledge of the definite rule formulated by the rubricists, took it for granted, as many have done, that there was really no question to be considered. But what was the result ? The S. Congregation declined to decide the point formally, and preferred to dispose of it informally, by intimating to the querist, through the Secretary to the Congregation, that in view of the general structure of the prayer in question, not, be it observed, in view of the absolute unqualified rule of the liturgical writers, the form 'Per eumdem' etc., was the correct one.

This, as far as it went, was satisfactory. But it could hardly be regarded as a sufficiently authoritative declaration to warrant the setting aside of a form of prayer officially issued by the Propaganda for public use in this country.

Furthermore I learned that subsequently, during the present Pontificate, another effort had been made to obtain from the S. Congregation a formal decision on the subject, but, as in the former instance, without success.

Ultimately, the following course was taken. The prayer, printed with the ending, 'Per eumdem,' etc., was sent in with the request that the Secretary of the S. Congregation would officially attach to it a certificate of correctness, in the recognized form: Concordat cum originali. This was acceded to, and the printed form, the accuracy of which is thus formally attested, is now in my possession.

I am, therefore, at length in a position to regard the amended form as sufficiently attested to justify me in setting aside the form of prayer originally sent to us from the Holy See, and I have accordingly instructed Messrs. Browne and Nolan to have the prayer, as now amended in accordance with the certificate of the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites, printed for use in this diocese.

The issuing of the card in its amended form affords a suitable opportunity of printing, after the prayers already prescribed, the short ejaculatory prayers, to the recital of which by the priest and the people, indulgences have been attached by our present Holy Father. As the card doubtless will come into use in dioceses other than this, it should be noted that the addition of those ejaculatory prayers, inasmuch as it is not prescribed by the Holy See, is a matter to be regulated by each Bishop for his own diocese.

I remain, Very Rev. and Dear Sir,
Faithfully yours,

+WILLIAM J. WALSH,
Archbishop of Dublin.

You may be wondering why such a, um... boring post. I intended to post the decree of patronage for St. Rose of Lima, this being her traditional feast day but I mislaid it. Then I was thinking of posting the liturgical vesture of bishops for an Ecumencial council but I mislaid that also. Then I thought about pre-Pian shortcuts to saying the breviary, but that was too long for me to type and look up. So I settled on this one after trying to decide whether I should post on the equally famous contention of whether the Leonine prayers had to be said iunctis manibus (with joined hands) or holding the chalice.

Published in August, 2007

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Visit to Emo Court


After Mass in St. Paul's Church, Emo, members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association visited Emo Court, a neo-classical mansion designed by James Gandon, best known for several major public buildings in Dublin.


Emo Court was the home of the Dawson Family, Earls of Portarlington, from 1790 to 1920. Given that the consort of the 3rd Earl, Aline, Countess Portarlington (1823-1874), converted to Catholicism in 1867 and was buried in St. Paul's Parish Church, Emo, the house has an early claim to be part of our Catholic heritage.


In 1914, the Portarlingtons left Emo Court, transferring ownership of the estate to the Irish Land Commission. In 1920, the house was abandoned. House and grounds were sold it ten years later to the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus, who used it as their noviciate for the next 49 years. During those 49 years, almost 500 Jesuit novices passed through 'St. Mary's, Emo.' Thus, Emo Court has a double claim to the title of Catholic heritage.


During their residence of Emo Court, the Jesuits made several severe alterations to accomodate the needs of the noviciate. The most radical were the opening of the rotunda salon into the library to create a chapel large enough for staff and novices, likewise the decorative pillars were removed from the ballroom or saloon to enlarge it as a refectory. All materials removed were stored in the basement and thus preserved for their restoration at a later date. The unfortunate reputation of the Jesuits as vandals of Emo Court is thus hardly deserved.







Major Cholmeley Harrison purchased Emo Court in 1969 and painstakingly restored the house over the next almost 35 years, when he handed it over to the Irish Nation. He continued to live in a part of the house until his death in 2008 at the age of 99 years.

The Emo Court Project website contains detailled account of Emo Court.

Mass for the Countess of Portarlington


Mass was celebrated in the Gregorian Rite according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) in the Church of St. Paul, Emo, Co. Laois, this morning at 11 a.m., with the kind permission of the Very Reverend Parish Priest of Emo and Portarlington. The Mass was offered for the repose of the soul of Aline, Countess of Portarlington.

Land for the church was given by the 3rd Earl of Portarlington, whose estate at Emo Court adjoined the site, in 1862. Five years later, his wife, Alexandrine or 'Aline,' Countess of Portarlington, converted to the Faith. A mere seven years later still, aged only 51, she died and was buried in the church.


The church was designed by J. S. Butler. Butler was the son of the architect William Deane Butler, more famous as a civil than an ecclesiastical architect, principally courthouses. However, he did design St. Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny, Ss. Peter and Paul's Church, Monasterevin, and St. Cronan's Church, Roscrea, which latter was completed under the direction of his son. The son's ecclesiastical works in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin include:

St. Patrick's Church, Raheen (1859)
Presentation Convent, Mountmellick (1860)
Parochial House, Portlaoise (1861)
St. Fintan's Church, Mountrath (1861)
St. Bridget’s Church, Clogherinkoe (1862)*
St. Mary's Church, Broadford (1865)*
Church of St Paul, Emo, Co. Laois (1866)
Church of the Holy Trinity, Allen (1869)
Old Ss. Peter and Paul's Church, Portlaoise - Facade and Tower (1872)
St. Joseph's Church, Baltinglass - Tower and High Altar (1872)
The College Building, Clongowes Wood College, Clane (1874)

*Both in Balyna Parish

His work in Kildare and Leighlin represents the greater part of his ecclesiastical work.


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John Sterling Butler, who was born in 1816, was apprenticed to his father. He was elected City Architect on 1 October 1866 and resigned the post in May 1878. Some mystery appears to enshroud the man. The date of his death is unknown to me and has not appeared in my researches. He disappears even from street directories about 1878, his last known address seems to have been 40, St. Stephen's Green, which is now part of the Bank of Ireland on the corner of Merrion Row.

The other mystery, at least in this context, is his membership of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Ireland since 1849. In the same year, from exile in Gaeta, Blessed Pius IX gave an allocution Quibus Quantisque:

"Those abominable sects of perdition which are as fatally destructive of the salvation of souls as of the welfare and peace of secular society have been condemned by Roman Pontiffs, Our predecessors; We have also personally condemned them Ourselves in Our Encyclical Letter of November 9, 1846, addressed to all the Bishops of the Catholic Church, yet today in virtue of Our Supreme Catholic Authority - We, once again, condemn, forbid and anathematize them."

The question then forces itself, why was a member of "those abominable sects of perdition" employed - and employed so frequently - on ecclesiastical projects in the Diocese?


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The Mass was that of the day, for the feast of St. Augustine of Hippo. In speaking of St. Augustine, Fr. Larkin recalled yesterday's feast of St. Monica, his mother, who wished him to be a Catholic Christian and who wished him to remember her before the Altar of God. After Mass, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was given. Afterwards, we went to Emo Court, the home of the Portarlington family and later the Noviciate for the Irish Jesuit Province, now in the care of the Office of Public Works.

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The Church contains the notable monument to Aline, Countess of Portarlington, for whom the Mass was offered. The monument is by Sir Joseph Boehm, a Viennese-born sculptor who worked in England. In 1873, he executed the funerary monument to Florence, Marchioness of Waterford, and that of the Countess of Portarlington the following year. He was to become sculptor in ordinary to Queen Victoria and was responsible for her image on the 1887 coinage issue. The recumbent effigy of Lady Portarlington in fine white Carrara marble is reputed to be among his finest works, the execution of the hands and arms is particularly notable. On the wall above the monument is a painting of the Resurrection.

Incidentally, the Anglican cemetery in Coolbanagher contains another monument to Lady Portarlington at the tombs of the family erected by her sister who was the Duchess of Marlborough.






A considerable number of other points of interest are to be found in and around the Church. Outside the Church in the graveyard are the Mission Cross and Statue of St. Paul, Patron of the Parish.




Inside the porch are two fine scenes in statuary, the Pieta to the left and the apparition of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque to the right.



In the organ loft are two paintings flanking the west window - which is in white opaque glass - one of St. Patrick (Gospel Side) and the other of St. Brigid (Epistle Side). St. Patrick passed through Laois a few miles south of Emo and St. Brigid is Patroness of the Diocese.



The stained glass windows are also very fine. Advancing from door to Sanctuary, they are: 'Suffer the Little Children' (Gospel Side) and 'The Nativity' (Epistle Side); Angels with scrolls 'Laudate Angeli' and 'Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus' (Gospel Side) and Angels with scrolls 'Angelus Dei' and 'Ora Pro Nobis' (Epistle Side); 'Magdalene washes the feet of Christ' (Gospel Side) with no corresponding window; 'Revelation of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary' (Gospel Side) and 'The Annunciation' (Epistle Side), each to correspond with the side Altars.








In the Sanctuary, one window on the Epistle Side represents the instruments of the Passion and the window on the gable shows Ss. Peter and Paul flanking Our Lady and St. Joseph, popular Saints on the Diocese.




The Church is one of the most beautifully furnished in the Diocese and, almost uniquely, retains all the traditional features in situ. The two side Altars, dedicated to the Sacred Heart (Gospel Side) and to Our Lady (Epistle Side) remain as does the full expanse of the Altar rail, with access at either side of the Sanctuary but no gates at the centre. The pulpit is mirabile dictu both intact and in situ as is the fine High Altar. Everything about the Church is redolent of reverence for the things of God. This is a Church well deserving of a pilgrimage built by a lady of Faith who is deserving of our prayers.





Reports of the previous Mass in St. Paul's are available here and here.

May the soul of Aline, Countess of Portarlington, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace!

St. Paul, Patron of Emo, pray for us!

Commodius Temples

That excellent blog New Liturgical Movement has once again scooped up a gem. This time, it is a lecture given in honour of Sir John Gilbert upon the Catholic Churches of nineteenth century Dublin. The lecturer is Dr. Brendan Grimes. The lecture was given on 21 January last.

View more webinars from dubcilib.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

St. Pius X - Part III


On this day one hundred years ago, St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Notre Charge Apostolique on the state of the Church in France.

Sancte Pie Decime, Gloriose Patrone, ora pro nobis!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Bishop Cornelius Lucey


Today is the thirtieth anniversary of the retirement of the Most Reverend Doctor Cornelius Lucey, Bishop of Cork and later of Cork and Ross from 1952-1980. He died in 1982.

In the June-July 81 issue of Africa, he wrote on "Why I left Cork for Turkana":

"Behind my decision to come here as a missionary was the desire to make reparation for my sins while I still had the time. Not that I have been all that bad a sinner at any time in my life, I think. But that I haven't been as good as I could be or even as I should be - far, far from it. And that despite the fact that success and promotion came so easily my way in school, in Maynooth, in the priesthood. Each time at Mass, I too have to confess, "that I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do". From him to whom much is given much is expected. What could be fairer? So if we fail to use our talents, or the position we hold and ever so much the more, if we use them wrongly - then we have much to answer for. What better way of escaping punishment in the next life than by punishing ourselves in this life, and doing so expressly to have that much less against us on the Day of Judgement. To do penance - that for me was another reason for not relaxing comfortably at home but opting instead for the Turkana Desert."

His last words were: "I love God; I love the priests; I love the people".

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus qui in diebus illis placuit Deo. Non est inventus similis illi qui conservaret legem Excelsi.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

From a Sermon on the Assumption Preached at Bobbio

“Celebrating today the Assumption of the Holy Mother Mary, dearest Brethern, it behoves you to rejoice in spirit, in that God has willed for your salvation to raise her from the earthly dwellings to the heavenly mansions. The Mother of Our Lord is assumed today by God, the Creator of all things, to the heavenly kingdom, and she who by her chaste child-bearing brought life to the human race, today ascends to Heaven to pray to God at all times for us. Let it be our prayer, whilst we keep the day of the Assumption, that she may assist us by her merits, and may protect us from the snares of Satan, that so through her we may deserve to attain the joys of Paradise.”

Source: The Queen of Ireland – An Historical Account of Ireland's Devotion to the Blessed Virgin by Mrs Helena Concannon (Dublin, 1938), 41-42.

Bobbio is the Italian monastery founded by the great Irish missionary and patron of Europe Saint Columbanus (feastday November 23). In a footnote to the above extract, Mrs Concannon says that it was discovered among fragments of Irish manuscripts in Turin and has been dated to a period not later than the ninth century. The Bobbio Missal also contains a special Mass for the Feast of the Assumption.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Twenty-Third Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin


In a triumphant reversal of fortune, sixteen people attended the twenty-third Monthly Mass offered by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, a full 60% increase upon the ten who attended in July and the ten who attended in June. This is the highest attendance since March and the third-highest attendance in more than a year.

August appears to be a fortunate month for the monthly Masses in that lower attendances in June and July of 2009 and 2010 are followed by higher attendances in August. However, last year's August high was followed by a slide for three successive months and the August 2009 peak was not be be exceeded until six months later.

After almost two years of opportunities to prove their own mettle, we can but hope that this Winter holds something different.

St. Pius X - Part II

On this day one hundred years ago, St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Quam Singulari on the admission of the young to First Holy Communion. It is reported that the holy Pope was inspired in this act by the young Ellen Organ, 'Little Nellie of Holy God,' of Cork.

Sancte Pie Decime, Gloriose Patrone, ora pro nobis!