Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Best I Could Do

I probably just could have bought those brown eggs they sell! They look quite similar. Oh well, it was fun to go through the process. And now we have a lot of skinned onions left...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Mandatum

By now, the crazy trads are going crazier over the fact that Pope Francis included two girls and two Muslims among those whose feet he washed this night.

I have my own grave reservations about Francis's liturgical style and flouting of tradition. But to be honest, this foot-washing question is one of the flashpoints of identity-politics in the Church which I've never understood at all. I'm much more concerned that he didn't do this major Triduum liturgy in a proper basilica than that women were included. I've never understood why, in the age of altar girls and readeresses, conservatives (including just your run-of-the-mill neocon Novus Ordo types) were always so concerned about women being included in the maundy of all things. (Perhaps it was a "hyper-investment of outrage" given that it was one of the last contested hold-outs when many of the other traditional gender boundaries had already collapsed?)

And it's not that I'm some sort of radical feminist when it comes to liturgy or symbolism. I strongly acknowledge that the gender duality, male and female, masculine and feminine, is one of the most (perhaps the most) fundamental symbolic elements of liturgy and Scriptural typology and even just the human psyche. By the sheer elegance of the logic of the nuance of the symbolism, I am a firm supporter of the all male priesthood (the diaconate, I think, is a slightly more complicated question; but a probably dangerous slippery slope at this point either way). I think that public roles in liturgy (like altar server and reader) should be limited to actually [minor] ordained acolytes and lectors (and thus men; though, I'll say, once you admit lay substitutes, concern with limiting it just to male lay substitutes seems sort of like too little too late). And I think it's unfortunate that after 1900 years, the symbolism of Corinthians is being lost because women stopped covering their heads.

But I've never really understood the limitation of the feet washing to men, because it seems to me that the symbolism of the rite of the mandatum in general is historically vague and shifting. Just consider the Catholic Encyclopedia's description of its evolution:
This tradition, we may believe, has never been interrupted, though the evidence in the early centuries is scattered and fitful. For example the Council of Elvira (A.D. 300) in canon xlviii directs that the feet of those about to be baptized are not to be washed by priests but presumably by clerics or at least lay persons. This practice of washing the feet at baptism was long maintained in Gaul, Milan, and Ireland, but it was not apparently known in Rome or in the East. In Africa the nexus between this ceremony and baptism became so close that there seemed danger of its being mistaken for an integral part of the rite of baptism itself (Augustine, Ep. LV, "Ad Jan.", n. 33). Hence the washing of the feet was in many places assigned to another day than that on which the baptism took place. In the religious orders the ceremony found favour as a practice of charity and humility. The Rule of St. Benedict directs that it should be performed every Saturday for all the community by him who exercised the office of cook for the week; while it was also enjoined that the abbot and the brethren were to wash the feet of those who were received as guests. The act was a religious one and was to be accompanied by prayers and psalmody, "for in our guests Christ Himself is honoured and receive". The liturgical washing of feet (if we can trust the negative evidence of our early records) seems only to have established itself in East and West at a comparatively late date. In 694 the Seventeenth Synod of Toledo commanded all bishops and priests in a position of superiority under pain of excommunication to wash the feet of those subject to them. The matter is also discussed by Amalarius and other liturgists of the ninth century. Whether the custom of holding this "maundy" (from "Mandatum novum do vobis", the first words of the initial Antiphon) on Maundy Thursday, developed out of the baptismal practice originally attached to that day does not seem quite clear, but it soon became an universal custom in cathedral and collegiate churches. In the latter half of the twelfth century the pope washed the feet of twelve sub-deacons after his Mass and of thirteen poor men after his dinner. The "Caeremoniale episcoporum" directs that the bishop is to wash the feet either of thirteen poor men or of thirteen of his canons. The prelate and his assistants are vested and the Gospel "Ante diem festum paschae" is ceremonially sung with incense and lights at the beginning of the function. Most of the sovereigns of Europe used also formerly to perform the maundy. The custom is still retained at the Austrian and Spanish courts.
So the symbolism here seems multivalent and thus inevitably confused if any sort of strict logic is imposed on it. The history of the rite raises serious questions about what it should be taken to signify, or whether any one "tradition" or significance can be nailed down

Is it a rite whose origins should be connected with the catechumens about to enter the Church (consider the custom in many cultures of washing the feet before one enters the house)? In this case, the inclusion of Muslims isn't so out of line. Admittedly, they weren't catechumens; still the notion of "guest" might be seen to apply in their case, invoking the symbolism of the hospitality among early monks. 

Is it a rite strictly to be associated with performance by a bishop or a priest? Or is it something even lay people might do for each other, as the traditional performance of the rite by lay monarchs might suggest?

Is it a rite whose origins in Christ washing the feet of the Twelve Apostles should see it remain somehow connected to the idea of ordination? Or is it just an act of humility and charity more generally, an example to all Christians without any particularly sacerdotal connotations?

The limitations might make sense if one chose to impose a strict logic on it in terms of whom was selected. If you are a bishop really limiting it to, say, a logically "complete unit" like your cathedral chapter of twelve canons, or the Pope's traditional washing of twelve subdeacons, etc...then maybe it makes sense. Though, even then, I have to wonder "Why twelve subdeacons?" If the symbolism is allegedly the Apostles, why not twelve priests or bishops? And which twelve subdeacons? Was there a logical unit there, a college associated with, say, the Lateran that contained twelve subdeacons?

But when (as must needs be the case on the parish level, or was the case when the Pope did the second washing, of the feet of thirteen paupers after his dinner) we are talking about lay people anyway...the importance of the sex distinctions seems even less clear. Yes, only men can be ordained priests. But the laymen whose feet are washed in the not thereby get ordained. It would seem, then, there would be a much more profound lay/clerical confusion (and has been traditionally) in the rite if the rite is in fact to signify some sort of connection to ordained ministry. Limiting it to men doesn't really mitigate this if those men are (and remain) lay.

On the other hand, if it's an act of humility...then whomever, anyone suffices. But at that point, one in turn wonders why the obsession with keeping the number at twelve (or thirteen) specifically? There seems to be much debate on this number point too! (Including one legend I heard that it used to be twelve paupers until one day a mysterious thirteenth showed up when Gregory the Great was preforming the maundy, a beggar who was revealed to be our Lord Himself):
This number is not prescribed in the rubrics of the Roman Missal, and many conjectures have been hazarded as to the origin of the number thirteen, some supposing that the thirteenth represented the Lord, whose feet were washed some days before by Mary Magdalene; some, that the thirteenth represents the master of the house where the Last Supper was taken. But the solution given by Cardinal Merati is, that in the earliest times the Pope was wont to wash the feet of twelve sub-deacons; and that from the time of St Gregory the Great it has been the practice to entertain thirteen paupers daily; and he is of opinion that the former practice having become obsolete, the Roman Church revived it, and kept in memory also the charity of St. Gregory, by combining both of these customs on Holy Thursday - namely, both by washing the feet of thirteen poor priests, and entertaining them at supper.
And again, if you're washing the feet of just anyone, of lay people or random becomes a real question of whom. Why these twelve (or thirteen) and not others? Do they represent some sort of logically complete unit? Or is it just an arbitrary "representative" sampling of the clergy or of the community or of the poor? (Such "representative sampling" usually not being a traditional liturgical concept in the West!) And, indeed, is twelve more traditional, or is thirteen??

I suppose my suggestion, then, for imposing some "order" on the tradition would be as follows; there would actually be three types of mandatum on Holy Thursday:

1) Bishops (including the Pope) would, during the Chrism Mass, wash the feet of their chapter of twelve (priest) canons of their cathedral. (This would require a regularization whereby every cathedral would have a chapter, and a chapter of twelve specifically; though perhaps there could be "supernumerary" canons, etc, but they would not affect the mandatum.)

2) Pastors would, during the Mass of the Lord's Supper, wash the feet of all that parish's catechumens (women and men; the number would be simply how many catechumens there were. Including the already-baptized "candidates for full communion" might be considered as well, especially if there were no full-fledged catechumens that year).

3) Monarchs, including the Pope, and any bishops who also felt so inclined, would (as a ceremony separate from any other liturgy) wash the feet of thirteen paupers (women and men, potentially; and possibly of any religious affiliation) chosen by some sort of lot. (Divergent traditions of various royal houses, however, would be encouraged to continue; in England, for example, many more than thirteen have traditionally received the royal maundy and it was at one point tracked to the monarch's age; when it comes to the gender question, I might add, in the joint reign of William and Mary the issue was addressed by the King giving to poor men and the Queen to poor women).

Additionally, abbots should wash the feet of all their monks (and abbesses their nuns) and the heads of households or families could be encouraged to (as a private devotion of the domestic church) wash the feet of their dependents.

This way, I think, the various divergent traditions on twelve versus thirteen, lay versus cleric, catechumens versus clergy versus paupers...could all be maintained and reconciled.

Saturday, March 23, 2013



 I have only two points to make today.

First, what is that box thing on the table? Other pics show it is not the box the gifted icon was in. So what is it?

Two: priests, bishops, and popes (active or emeritus) should always wear a fascia/sash with their cassock. It should not be interpreted as a sign of jurisdiction or anything. It should just be considered an essential part of the outfit, like a belt with pants. Cassocks (unless covered by a surplice or something) which are not cinched at the waist and broken visually by a horizontal feature...just look really bad and unfinished and unshapely. I think it looks really incomplete and even sort of effete, like it's some sort of weird mumu.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lectio(-nary?) Ideas (and a Chart!)

I have long wanted to make an experimental cycle for reading the whole Bible in a year. There are Catholic plans that exist for this, usually based around the idea of having a similar number of verses each day. But I really wanted to come up with something that tracked the traditional one year lectionary cycle, for the purpose of having a traditional liturgically-based lectio divina schedule (and also to hypothetically imagine what sort of lectionary reform could be implemented if we wanted to put the whole Scriptures into a traditional one-year cycle at Matins and Mass).

I'm not the only one who has contemplated such an idea. See this page, for example. However, the idea given there seems to be that you will only be reading one book at a time, whereas I wanted an "Old Testament/Epistle/Gospel" format (though Old/New would also have been workable, I think, given that there are simply a lot fewer total verses in the New Testament). I wasn't at all concerned about having the readings be of similar length (and indeed there is quite a bit of variation, from very small readings, to several chapters at a time from the longer Old Testament books).

So I came up with this chart. The readings in bold are the traditional readings of the temporal cycle. The readings in red were drawn from the "restored" lessons of the historic lectionary from the Lutheran Service Book (I used this just to fill in a few missing Epistle readings on special days). If a verse is in light blue, it indicates that I expanded the traditional reading slightly simply for the sake of completeness. The carats during the Pentecost octave indicate that the reading was taken from a day above; specifically, the Tuesday has basically two Acts sections, so I moved the second down to Friday which had none (traditionally the first reading is from Joel in the Old Testament). And since Trinity Sunday perpetually occludes the Sunday, I moved the Sunday's reading down to Monday (since traditionally the subsequent ferias were the only time the Mass for the First Sunday after Pentecost was used).

I'll explain the choices I made in this post.

I based the yearly cycle on the traditional liturgical calendar. As such, instead of fixed dates, it is based on the traditional weeks of the liturgical seasons, which are only truly fixed around Christmas time. So, for example, "Wednesday after the Second Sunday of Lent" or "Friday after the Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost." Because of the way that Easter is moveable, this traditionally means that four "flex weeks" may occur either after Epiphany, or be transferred to immediately before the end of the liturgical year. I had to keep this in mind. But, generally, all the liturgical weeks occur each year.

The only times they don't are the rare occasions when Easter occurs at the earliest possible dates and Christmas occurs on certain weekdays, which can lead to the Second Week of Epiphany being occluded (in which case the Sunday is anticipated, and everything from that week would have to be read anticipated). And also years when Christmas occurs on a Monday and so the the Fourth Sunday of Advent is Christmas Eve and there is no Fourth Week to speak of. In such a case, the Epiphany Octave (which usually has space for exactly as many days of its own lessons as were left out of the Fourth Week of Advent in a given year) also is cut short on space. Under the current system one just has to anticipate the lessons, I suppose, but a better system might be to reform the rubrics slightly so that if the Sunday Within the Octave of Epiphany occurs on January 7th, the readings for the First Week of Epiphany don't start until the next Sunday (which would also allow that Sunday to be actually used at some point instead of being perpetually occluded by either Holy Family or the Octave Day).

It should be noted that this is based only on the Temporal Cycle. The Sundays, Advent, Christmastide (though that actually is based on fixed dates) Septuagesima, and Lent, and Ember Days and Rogation Days, and holy days like Ascension, Corpus Christi, and Sacred Heart which are based on the Temporal Cycle (rather than the fixed dates of the Sanctoral Cycle). I did not (could not, really) take into account feasts or solemnities that would interrupt this cycle; it is not feasible to take these into account in terms of making sure that all Scripture occurs each year, and when they do interrupt the Temporal Cycle's lessons (I would be inclined to have proper readings only at the most important feasts), the lost ones would simply have to be anticipated by combining them with the nearest readings that are part of the lectio continua. (Of course, this would only be an issue for a theoretical lectionary; in personal lectio divina, one would not have to take the Sanctoral Cycle into account at all if one did not want). 

The only really moveable days the chart includes in that sense are the traditional readings for the Ember Days in September, which can occur at various weeks after Pentecost but which are still Temporal rather than Sanctoral really; when they fall, I just indicated to combine the occluded Gospels (and Epistle) with the the previous day.

For the Old Testament readings, the traditional cycle at Matins definitely has to be your starting point, as the suggestions in that article I linked makes clear. There are not many days at Mass that have Old Testament Scripture in the Old Rite; mainly just the days of Lent and Ember Days. Mass is never going to be a realistic place to attempt a full lectio continua of the Old Testament, even if you were to introduce daily/ferial Old Testament readings. That will always be the appropriate place only for the most important selections.

From this perspective, however, Matins leaves something to be desired in terms of a year-long Old Testament cycle, since the weeks after Epiphany are all Epistle readings at Matins (which seems wasteful of Matins lessons space: as those Epistle readings could be put at Mass) and likewise after Easter are New Testament too. And yet, there are books totally left out!

So I had to alter the Matins cycle to fit the whole Old Testament (while not including any New Testament) in a way that makes some major changes but which keeps the general spirit of the logic around whic the readings at Matins seem to be structured (as described in the suggestions in the article I linked). My basic logic for Matins/Old Testament lessons was this:

Isaias is very traditional at Advent.

The time right around Christmas is too "proper" and too variable to try to put any continuous reading of a single book there in the lectionary, so for my own lectio divina cycle I put the Psalms there which can be divided up easily as needed to fit the number of days needed during that time (but which would not ever be used in an actual Matins lectionary since the psalter occurs complete each week across the various hours of the Divine Office, and since I would be disinclined to meddle with the traditional fixed proper lessons from this period in the year). The psalms are songs of praise, mostly, so they are fitting for Christmas time (albeit some of have a more penitential tone that might be a sort of "call-back" to Advent).

For the first two weeks after epiphany (the first of which always occurs, and the second of which almost always does; if the second week did not occur, you'd simply do it all in one week) I put Job because it can stand alone, but could also be conceptually grouped with the other "Stories about One Main Character" books. This time of year is a sort of "limbo" liturgically. We've finished contemplating Eschatological themes from the end of the year and Advent up to Epiphany, but we haven't started yet with Creation at Septuagesima and the Old Law at Lent and all the History that takes up post-Pentecost time. In the dead of winter, the themes of Job seem appropriate for this awkward liturgical holding-space time that is after the end of the world, but before its beginning from the beginning of salvation history again.

For the remaining weeks after epiphany (where at Matins there were just Epistles, remember) I put the "Stories about One Main Character" books (Ruth, Tobias, Judith, Esther) because this is the part of the year that can occur in January/February, but which also can be moved or split-up with some or all of it put in November depending on how early Easter is. These books seem easiest to do that with in a cycle as they can stand alone as stories (with each other and with Job), but they also wouldn't be out of place occurring near the end of the "History" section of the year (albeit a bit out of "chronological" order), so they're rather "flexible" books in terms of placement, which is perfect for this "flexible" part of the calendar.

Then at Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima, and Lent I, II, and III...I put the Pentateuch. This makes sense and is vaguely traditional and what was recommended in that article I linked. Yes, the Matins lectionary itself focuses on Genesis (and a bit of Exodus) but expanding it to the whole Pentateuch make sense. To fit, the readings have to be quite long each day, which fits the penitential spirit of Lent, as does the "boring"/dry nature of all the Mosaic Law stuff in Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, etc. Indeed, Lent symbolically is about our "bondage to the Law" before Easter brings in "freedom in Grace" so concentrating on the Old Law during this part of the year is traditional (and besides, except for the Sundays, Lent had no proper scripture at Matins during this time anyway, only Gospel Homilies, so there's a good chunk of free space for putting the Pentateuch at the "beginning" of the salvation-history story of the liturgical year).

Passiontide remains, as traditional, Jeremias, and Holy Week remains Lamentations. So I also put Baruch (associated strongly with Jeremias, of course) at Lent VI so he would be near Jeremias (and his book also has penitential themes appropriate to Lent).

During Easter (where at Matins there were New Testament readings) I put the Wisdom books, as "Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." By putting them here at Easter instead of later, this also freed up space in the Fall for filling in the remaining History books that the Matins lectionary didn't originally include. Easter "interrupts history" as it were with more mystical/poetic tones, and I especially like putting the Canticle of Canticles during the Easter Octave (at Matins it has no Scripture, just Gospel Homilies) and Ecclesiastes during the Pentecost Octave (same thing) as these are very "special" and mystical books, in my mind.

Then the rest of the year is just the History, basically, in its chronological order, which is what Matins did traditionally. However, instead of doing the weird thing where Matins switches to Months (August, September, October, November) instead of Weeks After Pentecost in late Summer...I just kept it determined by Weeks After Pentecost. At the end of the year (as we start focusing on eschatological themes), as traditional, Ezechiel, the Minor Prophets, and finally Daniel make their appearance.

Between the minor prophets and Daniel during the last week some of the "story books" from Epiphany time might be inserted in a given year, as I discussed previously. That's a bit disruptive of the end of the year "prophecy" theme (though, perhaps more seamless considering I make Jonah the last Minor Prophet read that week...since he is both a Minor Prophet and a sort of "story book") but it's not terrible, and the last week of the year will still always be Daniel with his eschatological vision. (I might actually explore, if I were in charge of reforming the traditional liturgy, having these flex weeks be inserted after the 19th Week of Pentecost in the Fall, rather than interrupting in between the 23rd and 24th Weeks...)

For the Epistles, then, I started first by assuming that the traditional Mass Epistle readings on Sundays and other days of the Temporal Cycle would remain in place. There is actually more space in this regard, because the days of Lent have Old Testament readings at Mass instead of Epistles.

Then, layered over this traditional cycle, on the remaining free days, the ferias, looked to the Ferial Lectionary of 1967 to fill in a lectio continua of the Epistles. I did not bother to slavishly exclude the verses already covered by the traditional Sunday readings; I wasn't going to interrupt the continuous reading of Epistles merely to eliminate all redundancy in the lectionary.

In terms of the distribution, Romans takes up Advent. The first two weeks after Epiphany (which almost always occur, in January/February) have James and then for the four "flex weeks" that can be moved to the end of the year I put most of Revelations (except the very end which will always be the Last Week of the liturgical year in November before Advent starts).

I didn't exactly consider this ideal (and as I said above, it would actually make more sense to me, for a lot of reasons, to have the flex weeks inserted between the 19th and 20th weeks after Pentecost instead of the 23rd and 24th/Last weeks; in which case I would put the smaller Epistles at the Time After Epiphany and keep Revelations in its entirety at the end of the liturgical year; this may be one reason why Matins traditionally did that August/September/October/November thing instead of keeping the Weeks After Pentecost/Epiphany cycle), but the idea is that in years when all four weeks are moved to the end of the year, Revelations will all occur at the end of the year, but in years where fewer than four are moved to the end of the year...Revelations seemed one of the least controversial books to "split up" between two parts of the liturgical year (especially since the Time After Epiphany is an awkward time anyway).

At Septuagesima I put Galatians, at Lent Colossians and Hebrews, and then at Eastertide is Acts with its account of the history of the Apostolic Church immediately after the Resurrection, and then the rest of the year is filled out with the rest of the Epistles in basically the same order suggested by the Ferial Lectionary of 1967 except I rearranged some of the smaller Epistles at the very end of the cycle.

For the Gospels, I kept the traditional Gospel readings from the Temporal Cycle (Sundays, all the days of Lent, all the fixed days around Christmas, Ember Days, Octaves of Easter and Pentecost, etc) and then, as with the Epistles, layered in a sort of lectio continua. Though there was less space for Gospels than for Epistles, as all the days of Lent have their own proper Gospel.

As with the Epistles, I generally did not
bother to slavishly exclude the verses already covered by the traditional readings; I wasn't going to interrupt the continuous reading of Gospels merely to eliminate all redundancy in the lectionary. However, taking my cue from the 1967 Ferial Lectionary (and just from common sense), I did exclude the Infancy/introductory chapters (generally up to the Baptism/40 Days in the Desert) from the lectio continua (these occurred at their appropriate narrative time around Advent/Christmas/Epiphany instead) and I of course excluded the Passion Narratives, and the Resurrection chapters at the ends of the Gospels (which occur around Holy Week and Easter instead), and also the Palm Sunday story (which occurs right around Palm Sunday in the liturgical year anyway).

So basically, after putting the Christmas/Easter material at the appropriate corresponding time in the liturgical year, I took the remaining "Public Ministry" chapters of the Gospels and distributed them on the free ferias in a continuous reading. Taking my cue, again, from the 1967 Ferial Lectionary, the shortest Gospel, Mark, occurs after Epiphany (which means it could get split up, for better or worse), John occurs (rather naturally, I think) during Eastertide, and then Luke and Matthew fill out the time after Pentecost.

If one were to take my lectio reading chart and imagine making it an actual working lectionary for the Roman Rite, few changes would need to be made. As I mentioned above, the Psalms would not be read at Matins around Christmas (rather, the traditional proper readings would just be used) and I might be inclined to interrupt the lectio continua for the Sundays of Septuagesima and Lent (to keep their traditional Matins lessons, which it has been suggested are thematically "structural" to the liturgy), but the "Ordinary Time" Sundays do not have "special" readings and seem to just be part of the general partial lectio continua that the traditional Matins lectionary vaguely attempted. My system assumes that Scripture would occur each day at Matins (the selections I've chosen would have to be divided into the traditional three lessons), and that things would be restructured (perhaps by always having nine lessons every day, or at least on these days) so that days that currently have simply a Gospel Homily instead of any Scripture would, in fact, have Scripture too.

Old Testament readings at Mass would not be effected by this system as Matins, not Mass, is the basis for the "full Scripture" principle in this system. Mass, I assume, would keep the traditional readings (during Lent and on Ember Days) where the Old Testament would be used, Sundays could use the "restored Prophecy" readings that have been reconstructed from historical sources based on something like the Lutheran Service Book one-year lectionary, and then the rest of the free ferias could be filled in with the most important selections from whatever book is currently being read at Matins.

The Epistles and Gospels would not really require any changes to be adapted into the actual lectionary from my system. The only change this would really require to the traditional cycle would be that a few of the Resurrection accounts at Eastertide would be expanded so that the entirety of each Gospel is included rather than merely selections, and a few other readings (a couple of the Passion accounts, and few readings around Christmas) would likewise be expanded. Also, I included John 1:1-14 on the fifth day of Christmas, though traditionally it was the reading for the Mass of the Day on Christmas (since Christmas had three Masses). I needed to put it somewhere in my chart, but a real lectionary would probably replace it with something else as redundant.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Got My Hopes Up, but Nope.

Nope. It never happened. Got my hopes up, though. Back to despondency, eh?

Friday, March 15, 2013

If It's True, He's Won Me Over!!

I saw this article this morning. If it's true (and some are telling a different story), my feelings have totally turned from a sort of deep doubt and suspicion and cynicism, even dread, that began when I saw him come out without the mozzetta and then heard about all these showy, seemingly self-conscious, gestures of "humility" being touted...into something like elation. If this is true, then I am exuberant and love this guy now:

So when the appearance of a disgraced cardinal threatened to cast a shadow over his first engagement, Francis I made sure it couldn’t happen again – by banning him from his own church.

Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston in 2002, after being accused of actively covering up for a litany of paedophile priests.’

Despite the scandal which exploded to engulf the entire church, he was given an honorary position at the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, in Rome.

Though now retired, the cardinal still enjoys a grace and favour apartment in the cathedral complex.

So hearing that the new Pope was offering prayers at the very same church, it seems he couldn’t resist a discreet peek.

But when Pope Francis recognised him, he immediately ordered that Law be removed, according to Italian media reports. He went on to command: ‘He is not to come to this church any more.’

One of the new Pope’s first acts will be to arrange new ‘cloistered’ accommodation for the disgraced cardinal, the Italian daily, Il Fatto Quotidiano, reported.
I still have deep reservations and disagreements on the liturgical and aesthetic and "image" question, of course. But as Shawn Tribe said on New Liturgical Movement this morning, though the absolutely abrupt change in style apparent even just in his first public liturgy is disconcerting, the new liturgical movement does not have the Pope as its be-all and end-all. As strong public example from the Pope is nice, but maybe that needs to take a backseat at the highest levels to the questions of cleaning up the Church, administrative reform, personnel overall, spiritual purity, and salvaging things from the scandal and PR-nightmare. His won't be a terribly long pontificate, anyway, and maybe these things needs to be prioritized first (even if sacrificing liturgical excellence for a time).

As long as he doesn't revoke Summorum Pontificum or persecuted traditionalists on the ground, this doesn't change much for any of us personally in our Old Rite venues or private prayer lives (though reconciliation of the SSPX is out of the question now; unless, ironically, he "gets tough" with them and they actually respond to that sort of stern discipline).

But this act with Cardinal Law is really heartening, inspiring even. My heart literally leapt for joy and I got giddy. For so long this blog has expressed exasperation that the previous popes, even though they are absolute monarchs, seemed unwilling to institute real change though all it would take was a word from their mouths or a stroke of their pen, seemed to instead pussyfoot diplomatically around actually punishing anyone or sacking anyone or stepping on any toes, doing all this weird passive-aggressive back-room gradualist game playing. I mean, it's not like they're Presidents who need to worry about getting the support of Congressmen.

On the other hand, Pope Francis, just off the cuff, says, "Get him out of here, and he's not to come back!" and is ordering him into cloister after 10 years of getting away with his criminal negligence! Amazing! If it's true, I really really like him now, and he's totally converted me from my initial skepticism.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Regnal Numbers

In my last post I discussed the total count of popes. The question of regnal numbering is also interesting. (No, I'm not talking about the fact that we traditionally would not refer to "Pope Francis I" until there's a "Pope Francis II").

The existence of popes-elect who died before episcopal consecration, of antipopes, and even of fictitious popes in the historical records has left several sequences of popes confused. I will provide the following lists of confused sequences below with explanations. The number after their name is the number by which they were known during their reign officially, which is usually also the number by which history knows them today. A number in parantheses means "but really they were..." and a number in brackets means "but sometimes they've retrospectively been called..." (If a number is given in both brackets and parentheses, it means I think there is a dispute as to whether they really were a different number from their official regnal number or not depending on whether an earlier man was really pope or not):

St. Alexander I (105-115)
Alexander II (1061-73)
Alexander III (1159-81)
Alexander IV (1254-61)
Alexander VI (V) (1492-1503)
Alexander VII (VI) (1655-67)
Alexander VIII (VII) (1689-91)

Alexander V was an antipope during the Western Schism, the start of the "Pisan line," the attempt of the (unrecognized) Council of Pisa to depose the pope and Avignon antipope...which only ended up creating a third line of claimants. This was all finally clarified, of course, by the Council of Constance, the resignation of Gregory XII, and the election of Martin V unifying the Church once more. However, the next Alexander (the infamous Roderigo Borgia) took the name Alexander VI, rather than V, to avoid being confused with antipope Alexander V historically.

St. Stephen I (254-257)
Stephen II [III] (752-57)
Stephen III [IV] (767-72)
Stephen IV [V](816-17)
Stephen V [VI] (885-91)
Stephen VI [VII] (896-97)
Stephen VII [VIII] (929-31)
Stephen VIII [IX] (939-42)
Stephen IX [X] (1057-58)

The actual regnal numbers used by all the popes Stephen and on current lists is correct. However, at some point in history (centuries after the actual events), Pope-elect Stephen in 752 (who was never consecrated bishop and therefore was not Pope) was added back onto some lists, which then advanced all subsequent numbers by one. Even though it was recognized later, again, that he was not really a pope, this practice of advancing the numbers on earlier lists led later lists to include this "second number" in parentheses after the real number, similar to what is sometimes done with the number of Psalms Catholic versus Protestant.

St. Felix I (269-274)
St. Felix III (II) (483-92)
St. Felix IV (III) (526-30)

The numbers of the second and third popes Felix is advanced by one because an Antipope Felix II was installed after Liberius (for all his other cowardice) bravely refused to sign the condemnation of St. Athanasius. As Wikipedia explains: "Antipope Felix II was installed as Pope in 355 after the Emperor Constantius II banished the reigning Pope, Liberius, for refusing to subscribe the sentence of condemnation against Saint Athanasius. In May 357 the Roman laity, which had remained faithful to Liberius, demanded that Constantius, who was on a visit to Rome, should recall Liberius. The Emperor planned to have Felix and Liberius rule jointly, but when Liberius returned Felix was forced to retire to Porto, near Rome, where, after making an unsuccessful attempt to establish himself again in Rome, he died on 22 November 365." As you can read there, there is quite a lot of confusion after that, related more to the fact that Felix II got confused with St. Felix, even in the Roman Martyrology at one point.

St. Boniface I (418-22)
Boniface II (530-32)
Boniface III (607)
St. Boniface IV (608-15)
Boniface V (619-25)
Boniface VI (896)
[Antipope?] Boniface VII (984-985)
Boniface VIII [(VII)?] (1294-1303)
Boniface IX [(VIII)?] (1389-1404)

I explained about Boniface VII in my last post, which I linked at the beginning of this post. Suffice it to say, Boniface VII may not be an antipope, in which case the numbering as stands is correct. But if he was, then the seventh and eight popes Boniface obviously had their numbers advanced by one.

St. John I (523-26)
John II (533-35)
John III (561-74)
John IV (640-42)
John V (685-86)
John VI (701-05)
John VII (705-07)
John VIII (872-82)
John IX (898-900)
John X (914-28)
John XI (931-35)
John XII (955-64)
John XIII (965-72)
John XIV (983-84)
John XV [XVI] (985-96)
John XVII [XVIII] (XVI) (1003)
John XVIII [XIX] (XVII) (1003-09)
John XIX [XX] (XVIII) (1024-32)
John XXI [XX] (XIX) (1276-77)
John XXII (XX) (1316-34)
Blessed John XXIII (XXI) (1958-63)

Ah the poor sequence of popes John. Very very confused. Their official numbers were right up through XV. Then there was an Antipope John XVI from 997-998, but his number was not reused and so the next popes John took the numbers XVII, XVIII, and XIX. As we've seen, advancement by one due to an antipope is not so confusing or uncommon. 

However, then the real confusion begins. The Boniface VII situation (which included murdering and imprisoning John XIV, remember) had introduced some confusion into the historical records. Hundreds of years later, people thought that there had been another pope named John, briefly, between John XIV and Boniface VII's reign, who has been called "Pope John XIVb" or "John XIV Bis." In reality, this was due to confusion with a certain cardinal-deacon John, son of Robert, who was in the anti-Boniface faction, and the fact that a misunderstanding of the manuscripts caused some to think that John XIV's four month imprisonment before his murder had been a separate pontificate. So when John XXI became pope, he skipped a number after XIX (already advanced incorrectly by one, remember) in order to take the non-existent John XIVb into account, so there never was a John XX (though different sources at different times have referred to both John XIX and John XXI that way)!

Benedict I (575-79)
St. Benedict II (684-85)
Benedict III (855-58)
Benedict IV (900-03)
Benedict V (964)
Benedict VI (973-74)
Benedict VII (974-83)
Benedict VIII (1012-24)
Benedict IX (1032-45; 1045; 1047-1048)
Blessed Benedict XI (X) (1303-04)
Benedict XII (XI) (1334-42)
Benedict XIII (XII) (1724-30)
Benedict XIV (XIII) (1740-58)
Benedict XV (XIV) (1914-22)
Benedict XVI (XV) (2005-2013)

Benedict X was an Antipope elected in an irregular (and, it was decided, invalid) election, because the previous pope had decreed that the election of his successor was only to begin when Hildebrand (later Pope Gregory VII) had returned from a mission to Germany, but they held one before he returned illegally and elected Benedict.

St. Deusdeit [Adeodatus I] (615-18)
Adeodatus (II) (672-76)

St. Deusdeit is also known as Adeodatus I, meaning the second Adeodatus (who is rarely called Deusdeit) is known as Adeodatus II.

St. Martin I (649-55)
Martin IV (II) (1281-85)
Martin V (III) (1417-31)

When the second Pope to take the name Martin was elected, there was confusion over how many Popes had taken the name before. It was believed then that there were three, so the second Pope named Martin was named Martin IV. But, in reality, those believed to be Martin II and Martin III were actually named Marinus I and Marinus II, although they are sometimes still referred to as "Martin II" and "Martin III". This has advanced the numbering of all subsequent popes Martin by two.

Adrian I (772-95)
Adrian II (867-72)
St. Adrian III (884-85)
Adrian IV (1154-59)
[Pope-Elect?] Adrian V (1276)
Adrian VI [(V)?] (1522-23)

As I discussed in my last post, Pope-elect Adrian V was never consecrated bishop. He really shouldn't be counted as pope, therefore, though he's still on the Vatican's list.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Notes on the Count of Popes

EWTN's chatter before the emergence of a new pope today (or, as EWTN kept saying, "a new Holy Father"; as I've said before, the use of "a Holy Father" as a common noun that way is a huge pet peeve of mine) was discussing the count of popes. Is Francis number 265, 266, 267?

This raised the issue of counting popes in general, which is something I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about in my life, and one of the few things I've actually edited wikipedia to clarify. But, long story short, I'd count him as 266th pope, the 265th successor to St. Peter, and the 264th separate man to hold the office (the 263rd individual man to succeed St. Peter).

The Vatican's official list of popes in the Annuario Pontificio currently includes 265 popes from Peter to Benedict XVI. Francis will be the 266th on this list. (Though, it is to be noted, this list does not perfectly correspond to the portraits of popes in St. Paul's Outside the Walls, for example).

However, I would not accept the current Vatican list simply. There are many points of historical dispute over whom should be counted as a Pope during various points in the Middle Ages, especially the horrible saeculum obscurum in the 10th century. Who was a Pope and who was an antipope? Who was validly elected? Who acquiesced to their depositions (and thus can be considered valid resignations) and who refused to renounce their claims in spite of imprisonment or being chased out militarily?

Generally, the Vatican list seems pretty good and based on sound scholarship and principles. For example, in the early 20th century Christopher was identified as an antipope though he was previously included as legitimate on lists of popes. This exclusion makes sense. Christopher threw Leo V into prison in September 903, and it seems Leo did not acquiesce to this deposition, so Leo would still have been Pope in spite of Christopher's claim. Eventually, early the next year, both Leo and Christopher died in short order. It's possible they were both assassinated by the next claimant, Pope Sergius III who began his papacy late that January. Some argue that Christopher may have killed Leo shortly before Sergius had Christopher himself killed, and that Christopher can thus be considered valid pope between Leo's death and his own, but without any record of a new election this does not seem to follow given that his own election was originally invalid on account of Leo still being alive, and given that Sergius came in and was actually elected so soon after.

Furthermore, I'd generally agree with the idea that Benedict IX reigned and resigned three times. That he had at least two terms is indisputable; no one questions his second resignation in favor of his uncle (Gregory VI). Whether or not the brief reign of Sylvester III during Benedict's being driven out of Rome from September 1044 to April 1045 should be considered a trickier question. It's not clear Benedict acquiesced to this deposition, given that he fought to return so soon after. Nevertheless, Sylvester was not elected until January 1045, so his election and Benedict being driven out were not one in the same event (as one would expect in a true case of attempted usurpation) and the people of Rome must have had reason to believe that Benedict, being absent, was no longer Pope. Either way, the fact that Benedict had non-consecutive reigns (at least two, if not three) means that the count of individual men who were pope will always be lower than the number of papacies, the ordinal count (Grover Cleveland's two non-consecutive terms have a similar effect on the count of U.S. Presidents).

Another interesting case, in which I also agree with the Vatican's order, is that of John XII, Benedict V, and Leo VIII. Leo has the interesting distinction of having been both pope and antipope, seemingly. He was installed by force when John XII was still pope (having refused to relinquish his claim after Emperor Otto tried to depose him), and so was an antipope. And when John XII died, it seems clear Benedict V was his legitimate successor. But when Otto got Leo installed again, Benedict unambiguously acquiesced to his deposition, gave up his claims to the papacy, and it seems that from that point forward Leo VIII was accepted finally and can be considered valid pope.

There are two cases in which I disagree with the Vatican list, however. However, in one case I believe they include someone who shouldn't be, and in the other I believe they didn't include someone who should be, and so the total count remains the same.

Specifically, I believe that Pope-elect Adrian V should not be included on the list. He was elected pope, but never consecrated bishop, and it is now agreed that since the papacy derives first and foremost from being Bishop of Rome, a non-bishop is not pope until he is consecrated. Somewhat bafflingly, the Vatican recognizes this, and so for this same reason does not include Pope-elect Stephen [II], who likewise was never consecrated bishop (more on regnal numbering later). Actually, the debate on EWTN which started this post seemed to center their discussion about the numbering question around whether Pope-elect Stephen is included, but that's actually something of a red herring, I think; modern lists do not now include him, nor do the oldest lists contemporary to him. He was only included later (and incorrectly) before being removed again.

However, on the other hand, I believe that "antipope" Boniface VII was actually probably a valid pope during his second reign. Certainly, the next (valid) pope Boniface seemed to recognize this, as he took the name Pope Boniface VIII (though, the inclusion of antipopes has misleadingly advanced the regnal numbering of certain popes, so it would not be unprecedented). Boniface first tried to seize the papacy in June 974, imprisoning and then murdering Benedict VI. However, he was driven out of Rome less than six weeks later by imperial representative Count Sicco, and replaced by Benedict VII. It might be possible that Boniface VII was a valid pope during those six weeks after Benedict VI's death, but from what I can tell, any "election" happened when Benedict was still alive in prison (and thus invalidly), and Boniface only had him killed upon hearing of the approach of Sicco. Still, if he were Pope during those six weeks, then some might suggest he remained Pope during the entire next decade during his "exile" in Constantinople, but I think a ten-year absence makes that unlikely. However, when Boniface returned a second time, in 984, again seizing the papacy by murder (this time from John XIV), he remained in power eleven months, with no competing claimants, and another election was then held only after he died. To me, being in power eleven months without anyone questioning it and having a new election only at his death...suggests to me that Boniface VII was accepted as valid pope during this time, and should be counted as such.

So that's my historical opinion on the count of popes. In my next post I'll discuss regnal numbers.

Well. Let's See How This Goes.

V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco
R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. 

Pater Noster, Ave Maria
Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Francisco, quem pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quæsumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus præest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Kind of Thinking We Need!

Ok, a bit cynical, but I generally found myself very much in agreement with this article from The Economist about the Pope as CEO. We shoot ourselves in the foot (or, really, the head) if we scoff at administrative techniques in spite of the fact (and, it often seems, exactly because of the fact) that they are effective.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sensible Distinctions

I don't really like to focus on political questions like this anymore, but I found this fascinating. It was just pointed out to me that the legalization of gay marriage in the UK apparently makes certain distinctions still between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples. Specifically, gay marriages apparently have no "consummation test" (ie, non-consummation can't be pleaded as a grounds for dissolution) and also no same-sex "adultery" as a grounds for divorce (as adultery is defined only as the act which is of the procreative sort).

Now, this is really interesting to me. If gay marriage in the UK has (unlike straight marriage) no "consummation test," and homosexual sex acts are not considered as adultery...then one has to wonder how exactly this law is controversial to conservative Catholics, even if the official moral teachings are granted? I'd tend to think it's really not, and the opposition must mainly come, at this point, from homophobia.

Because as it stands, it would basically just seem to be like the civil partnerships the Scottish Christian Party proposed under this rationale: "We will seek to widen the scope of Civil Partnership to include all people who have committed to live together as a single household. This could include friends, sisters, brothers, and a parent with his or her adult child who chose to make this commitment. The Scottish Christian Party will take the criteria for Civil Partnership out of the bedroom and into the living room - sexuality should play no role because it discriminates against these other partnerships."

It sounds like gay marriage in the UK, while conceding the word "marriage"...indeed has absolutely no "bedroom criteria." And I think this makes sense. Consummation and full-fledged adultery (ie, intercourse of the potentially procreative sort) matter legally in straight marriage because they involve the commitment to the other person of one's procreative capacity, the commitment to the other person to not have (or risk having) children with anyone else, to be exclusively the parents of each others subsequent offspring (if any) for as long as you both shall live. On the other hand, purely recreational sex acts of the "masturbatory" sort, while they might matter in a subjective emotional way to the couple, have no such "objective" value to give them legal relevance.

But given that the UK law apparently agrees on this point (common sense really)...I really don't think it should be controversial even from the official Catholic moral standpoint.

The argument has been that this is the State recognizing sex acts that Church considers illicit, "licensing sodomy" and all this. Now, I'll point out: even if one is against such things morally, it's still not clear that State licensing is bad. The Church supported State licensing of brothels in the Middle Ages because "containing" lust and regulating it was seen as better than driving it underground or having it "run loose" in society. I've had friends make "the Catholic case for gay civil marriage" or unions on these grounds before, and I think it's valid.

But apparently the UK law is not even like that! Apparently the State in the UK is simply utterly neutral to the sex question when it comes to civil marital relationships, outside acts of the procreative sort. Except perhaps, I assume, inasmuch as other acts of infidelity might be contained more broadly under subjective "alienation of affection" grounds. But the law is apparently not, at this point, enshrining some sort of false or arbitrary essentialism about gay sexual relationships into law.

As such, it doesn't seem like gay marriage in the UK is legally licensing gay sex at all, but rather simply the partnerships completely abstracted from the sex question.

So shouldn't the Church be satisfied with this? It legally recognizes that straight couples are significantly different in the "[potential] breeding pair" aspect of their relationship, that only heterovaginal intercourse is "really" sex, and yet recognizes that as partnerships qua partnerships abstracted from that aspect, gay couples may be equivalent to straight. And even that, while they can't possibly be the biological children of each other's children, a gay household still involves the understanding to not become the parent of anyone else's (as heterosexual adultery still applies); it is the sort of commitment (like joining a monastery!) that excludes going off and founding a family with anyone else.

This recognizes that sex acts are really only specifically important to the State, to society as a public matter, inasmuch as they concern potential procreation, but also recognizes that domestic/life-partnership units have a public role and real value that is not dependent on sexual involvement one way or the other. God, I love the Brits! They're so sensible and level-headed about things!

The only controversial point would seem the semantics. The labeling question is admittedly tricky, because the question of how much of the historical and symbolic "weight" of the mantle of "Marriage," and the social understandings and value attached to it, belongs to the aspect of partnership qua partnership, and how much belongs to the aspect of procreation. The French bishops recently recognized the "social fecundity" of gay relationships, but it is hard to "split" the symbolic value of the institution between social and literal fecundity in any straightforward way given how the two things were simply constructed as part of one organic whole for so long; it's a bit like preforming brain surgery.

Now, one solution might be to concede "marriage" to all couples, but reserve "matrimony" for the mating sort. But even that may be unnecessary. As one would tend to think that, even if the same word is used, few people are going, merely on account of a label being extended by analogy, to give the portion of the symbolic weight that belongs properly to procreative a same-sex couple. I just don't think using the same word really represents any sort of threat of or potential cause of confusion there. People are able to use common sense in these things, after all! People already know a same-sex couple can't actually mate. Duh. People also know that the creation of new life is important. Duh. So using the same label is not going to cause any confusion on this point, I assume.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Burning Books

It was nearly one o'clock in the morning before the leaves, covers, and binding of Jeremy, Taylor, Butler, Doddridge, Paley, Pusey, Newman and the rest had gone to ashes, but the night was quiet, and as he turned and turned the paper shreds with the fork, the sense of being no longer a hypocrite to himself afforded his mind a relief which gave him calm. He might go on believing as before, but he professed nothing, and no longer owned and exhibited engines of faith which, as their proprietor, he might naturally be supposed to exercise on himself first of all. In his passion for Sue he could now stand as an ordinary sinner, and not as a whited sepulchre.
Jude the Obscure, IV-III, Thomas Hardy