Sunday, July 30, 2017

Silence During the Eucharist

I have read only parts of Cardinal Sarah's book on silence, so my thoughts this afternoon on this are tentative. I would also have to review Joseph Ratzinger's Spirit of the Liturgy.

Let us distinguish between interior silence, which is recollection or the result of recollection, from exterior silence. Interior silence is a necessary condition for "active participation"; another condition which is needed for the perfection of active participation would be charity.

Would it be correct to claim that it is the position of Ratzinger, Sarah, Latin traditionalists and those who would pursue a reform of the reform that moments of exterior silence are an essential feature of the Roman-rite Eucharist? But perhaps even Roman-rite "renovators" would not disagree. (Examples at Pray, Tell: Where has all the silence gone?, A Silent Reality, Seeking Sacred Silence, Cardinal Sarah on Silence, Read Cardinal Sarah Accurately)

Rather, the problem with the "renovators," besides their failure to preserve the integrity of the Roman rite and use of all of the propers and a "few" other issues, is their advocacy of contemporary worship music, as well as their acceptance of an erroneous sentimentalism in liturgical praxis, especially in its oral or verbal dimension (culminating in the casualness which some take to be a mark of the turn to the horizontal), which destroy interior recollection.

What then of the Byzantine rite? It may give the impression that the singing of the Divine Liturgy is almost continuous. There may be some pauses in the singing, or after the readings, occasions of exterior silence. But these are short and not as pronounced as they are in the Roman rite? The practice of keeping a silent temple for the purpose of recollection and preparation is generally observed in Byzantine communities, something that has been lost in many Latin parishes in the United States.

Does all that singing constitute a form of "busy-ness" which perturbs interior recollection? Does continuous singing fatigue the mind? I think preservation of interior silence can be aided by pauses or longer transitions between sung texts if necessary. But if we become trained in frequent vocal (not in a loud voice but in the manner that Fr. Gabriel Bunge claims is ancient) and sung prayer (something that tends to be neglected in the United States at least) may it be that we can slowly become used to the entirety of the Divine Liturgy as prayer as well? (It seems to me that at home, private prayer should often be vocal or spoken as well as being silent when necessary, but prayer in common should be sung as much as possible.)

Not that the more sophisticated lovers of the Roman liturgical tradition are saying this, but some populists may claim that silence is needed for "private prayer" or "thanksgiving" as if the Eucharist were not a prayer or THE act of Thanksgiving. I would even claim that the adaptations and changes that the "renovators" seek to spread vitiate the Eucharist as prayer.There may be an
existential or spiritual need for private prayer if the liturgy is unintelligible (being in a language with which one is not fluent) and thus not accessible in itself as prayer. But that should be an indication of a problem with liturgical praxis.

What of the use of silence in other rites of the Church? Are there any such native breaks of exterior silence which are not Latinizations or consequences of persecution and a minimization of the liturgy?

Psalm 134

Friday, July 28, 2017

Blessed Art Thou O Lord - Ευλογιτάρια (Byzantine Chant) Pl. 1st Tone

Psalm 118

Blessed is the Man

(St.) Photios on Icons

St. Photius: On the Essence of Icons by Fr. Ted Bobosh
Living in the literary culture of the 21st Century, and being shaped by the literary tradition of recent centuries, it is hard to imagine that at one time Christians, like Photius, thought the pictured icon to be “truer” than the written text – a more certain witness to the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Elder Ephraim

The Elder Ephraim of Arizona: His contribution to North America by Igumen Gregory (Zaiens)

I will introduce this topic with a question: What has Elder Ephraim done for monasticism in our land?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

St. James the Greater

Book-signing by Fr. Thomas Joseph White

Elder Paisios

Closer Than My Own Father: Elder Paisios and His Spiritual Children, Part 1 by Ekaterina Stepanova
The path to Athos is open to men only. But in Greece there is a women’s monastery where they live according to strict Athonite rules and serve without electricity, by candlelight. This monastery, in the village of Souroti, was founded by Elder Paisios the Athonite, whose books have been so popular in the past few years in America and Russia. A correspondent of “Neskuchnii Sad” headed to Souroti to meet with people who remember Elder Paisios.

Part 2

New church of St. Paisios the Athonite consecrated in Syria

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ivan Polverari

Ivan Polverari: Problematiche dell'iconografia oggi

ICONE OGGI - Ivan Polverari: Radix e Imago

2017 Hillenbrand Lecture by Bishop Steven Lopes

The Worship of God in the Beauty of Holiness by Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes

Bishop Lopes' June 21, 2017 Hillenbrand Lecture at the Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, where he offered a presentation on Divine Worship.

Marcel Pérès

The other 4 parts should be available on Youtube.

Fractured Chalcedonian Orthodoxy

‘Pan-Orthodox’ = Non-Orthodox? by Archpriest Andrew Phillips

Sadly, the phrase ‘Pan-Orthodox’ really means ‘only for selected Orthodox’. In fact, it means ‘for new calendarists only’ (thus, excluding 85% of Orthodox), and for ecumenists, modernists, freemasons and liberal intellectuals (thus, excluding 99.9% of the rest). How has this distortion of meaning come about?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Eastern Christian Books: Cyril Hovorun on the Church's Scaffolds

Eastern Christian Books: Cyril Hovorun on the Church's Scaffolds: At the end of May I noted some initial thoughts on Fr Cyril Hovorun's new book, Scaffolds of the Church , which I was then half-way thr...

Sins that Cry to Heaven for Vengeance? What are sins that cry to heaven for vengeance and sins against the Holy Spirit?

There is no mention of tyranny in the Old Testament -- were tyrants seen as a punishment deserved by the people in all instances? If the list is scriptural, one should be hesitant to add to it, but what seem to be other candidates? Social Justice Warriors may have their own choices; I think of tyranny and the imposition of a feminist legal and social order, which is contrary to Natural Law. (Catholics who have been indoctrinated in liberalism would disagree.)

Jordan Peterson with Jonathan Pageau

Michael Augros's Latest

New: The Immortal in You: How Human Nature is More than Science Can Say by Michael Augros

A Single Calendar and Lectionary for Both Forms of the Roman Rite?

Is it possible?

Rorate Caeli: A common calendar and lectionary for the Novus Ordo and TLM? A committee already tried to make one up, and failed.

The three-year cycle needs to be discarded; imposing it on the EF would be a disaster.

Fr. John Whitford on Head Coverings

Uncovering the Truth: Head Coverings and Revisionist Biblical Interpretation by Fr. John Whiteford

On what basis does Mark Arey present his novel interpretations as if they were the correct Orthodox understanding of this passage? Certainly not on the basis of the Fathers. Certainly not on the basis of how the Church has always understood this passage.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Story of Pierre Haab

Pravoslavie: “Every Human Life is a Gift From God”. The Long Journey of a Swiss Catholic To Orthodoxy

Ceaseless Prayer

Ceaseless Prayer, Through the Apostle Paul’s Personal Letter by Deacon Pavel Serzhantov

Then the service ends. The pilgrim leaves the church and heads to the feast in the refectory. But at the same time, he hears the Vespers hymns in his mind—“Lord I have cried unto Thee, hearken unto me.”

Return to the First Grace

Return to the First Grace by Protosingel Arsenie (Muscalu)

Protsingel Arsenie (Muscalu) is one of the most respected Romanian spiritual fathers of our days. In this interview we offer to our readers, an experienced father confessor talks about temptations, warnings to young people on the path to Christ, and about how Christians can lose God’s grace.

Transitioning to the Eucharist

Saturday, July 22, 2017


1P5: Cardinal Müller: Pope Benedict “Disappointed” About Müller’s Dismissal by Maike Hickson
1P5: Jesuit Website Refers to Fr. Sosa as the First Superior General to “Baptize Himself a Buddhist”

1P5 Review of The Political Pope: How Pope Francis Is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning Conservatives by George Neumayr

A Guest Book Review by Matt P. Gaspers*


New, but not improved... A Response to Public Orthodoxy, on the Creed by Fr. John Whiteford

John Fotopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou, in their recent article "Women and the Creed: Who For Us Humans and for Our Salvation," (published by "Public Orthodoxy") have expressed their unhappiness that the Greek Archdiocese has decided to use a translation of the Creed that is in line with pretty much every other translation that English speaking Orthodox Christians have been using for as long as we have had Orthodox Christians speaking English. They are offended by the use of the word "man".

The Translation of the Reclis of St. Theophan the Recluse

Translation of the Relics of St. Theophan, the Recluse of Vysha
The holy relics of St. Theophan the Recluse were secretly exhumed in 1973 on the territory of the Shatzk psychiatric hospital located in the buildings of Vysha Monastery, which had been desecrated by the godless authorities, and immediately taken to the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra. There they were interred in the basement of the Dormition Cathedral until 1988.

But Is There a Form of Depression That Has a Purely Physiological Cause?

A Priest’s Thoughts on Depression, Anxiety, the Soul, Your Body and Your Brain by Fr. Stephen Freeman

Somewhat problematic, I think, is the not infrequent distinction made between anxiety and depression as physical/medical problems and as so-called “spiritual” problems. There is no such distinction. We do not have “spiritual” problems that are not also physical problems, simply because we do not exist as some sort of divisible creatures.

The Spiritual Life in Depression and Anxiety by Fr. Stephen Freeman

A very poignant question was sent privately to me after my last post. It asked how I was able to go about my parish work when I was battling with depression and anxiety.

Orthodox Polemics Is Alive and Well?

The Orthodox Church and Non-Chalcedonians, Part One Christology/Ecclesiology by Igumen Gregory (Zaiens)

There are, however, many of both Chalcedonians and Non-Chalcedonians, who believe that all along through history, it was a language problem, a matter of semantics. However, St. John of Damascus knew their language, and he wrote against them. And if it was all along this language problem, then we would have to say that God made a mistake with the miracle He performed through the Great Martyr Euphemia at the Fourth Ecumenical council.

The Orthodox Church and the Non-Chalcedonians: Part 2 Deification: Pope Shenouda and Matthew the Poor by Igumen Gregory (Zaiens)

There is one more issue to consider which is central to the Orthodox concept of salvation, and that is deification. I will relate what I have learned from an Orthodox priest who is a university professor. This father is fluent in Arabic and has studied the Chalcedonian/Non-Chalcedonian positions.

An Appeal to Traditional Roman Catholics From an Orthodox Catholic Priest by
Fr. Victor E. Novak

New Book of Benedict XVI's Sermons on Priesthood


SVS Coptic Series

Mother Maria of Paris

Atonement Book Tour in Eastern PA

Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Paul Concelebrate at Glorification of St. Mardarije of Libertyville


The work of someone associated with the New Liturgical Movement is praised by a writer for Pray Tell.

The Beatitudes

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Does any prominent Father in the first millenium

apply the image of Spouse to the individual human person, and not just to the Church as a whole? Or is this more of a medieval Latin development, concomitant with shifts in Latin understandings of spirituality and the Eucharist?

Regarding the Bridegroom and the Bride, God the Son is the analogue of the male/man, and the Church (and perhaps the individual human person) is the analogue of the female. Just as the husband is the "active" principle and leads and imprints himself on his wife, and the wife is conformed to the husband, so Christ is the active principle, and the individual human person is conformed to Christ.

While the literal application of this imagery may be useful to female religious, I question its effectiveness for men. (As opposed to its being used as a theological metaphor to help our understanding of our communion with Christ and the Holy Trinity.)

And the individual human person has a filial relationship with God the Father by being sons in the Son. A logical consequence of the first, perhaps, our being conformed to Christ.

Would we say that the individual soul is the bride of the Holy Trinity as a whole? Or of the Father? I don't think so, even though it may be claimed that Israel is the bride of God the Father in the OT? It would be even more problematic if the human person were called to have a "conjugal" relationship with God the Father and a "filial" relationship as well. I believe the latter is literal, even if by analogy, while the former is only a metaphor or figurative language. So as I start reading through John Paul II's catechesis (and not the popularizations put forth by others) I will be keen to see how he parses this out.

Legitimate Development?

Fr. Z: Pope Francis Establishes a New Path to Beatification

Sunday, July 09, 2017

No More "Monkey Jesus"!

CWR: Eamon Duffy’s “Reformation Divided” revises assumptions, offers deep historical insights by Michael B. Kelly

Among the very significant contributions in Reformation Divided are the three chapters devoted to Thomas More, who has suffered from much hagiographical treatment, both good and ill.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

A Two-Tier Spirituality?

CWR: Spiritual direction and the role of the laity by Russell Shaw

In the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila we have a glimpse of the two-tier spirituality that has been taken for granted by most spiritual writers for a long time. It might be put like this: The goal for priests and religious is to be holy, the goal for lay people is to be good.

Comments on the Ravenna Document by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Monday, July 03, 2017

Sunday, July 02, 2017

CWR: Why did Robert Cardinal Sarah decide to devote a book to silence?

The Introduction to Cardinal Sarah’s The Power of Silence, by French journalist Nicolas Diat, reveals the book could never have existed without a young French monk who was paralyzed and unable to speak—and yet formed a deep and abiding friendship born in silence, that grew in silence, and continues to exist in silence.

"Saints and Orthodoxy"

Great Prokeimenon: "Who Is So Great a God?"

Tone 7

Tone 7

St. Vladimir's Seminary Press

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Blessed is the Man

A Jesuit Now in Charge of the CDF

A good Jesuit or a bad one? Will he be a Jesuit first and a Catholic second when advising the Jesuit Pope? What would Malachi Martin have to say about this latest development (and the newest superior general of the Society of Jesus)?

Pope names Archbishop Luis Ladaria as Müller’s successor to head CDF The Spanish Jesuit has served as second-in-command at the CDF since 2008.