Tom Browne’s nuggets

As to the works of nature, “God is like a skilful Geometrician” who devises “according to the constituted and forelaid principles of his art.” He has in mind God the Artist, operating not in a capricious manner.

So to give all credit to Nature as if it were acting alone is to do it for a hammer or pen for a building or poem. It is to “let our Hammers rise up and boast they have built our houses, and our pens receive the honors of our writings.”

Blithe Spirit

Sir Thomas Browne offered advice for the thinking Christian believer in his Religio Medici (1642), along the way dropping memorable observations:

* The wisedom [sic] of God receives small honour from those vulgar heads that rudely stare about, and with a grosse simplicity admire his workes; those highly magnify him whose judicious enquiry into his acts, and deliberate research of his creatures, returne the duty of a devout and learned admiration. (Part I, Section 13)

I like that ?devout and learned admiration.? He is describing a 1950s Jesuit approach to learning and religion and I suppose one of 2000s too.

Speaking of us, our persons:

[We] are that bold and adventurous piece of nature, which he that studies wisely learnes in a compendium what others labour at in a divided piece and endlesse volume. (I,16)

It?s the ?bold and adventurous piece of nature? I have in mind here.

He looks…

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Readings at mass: Old vs. new

5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony 2 with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus.

[5] Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind one towards another, according to Jesus Christ:
“Thinking in harmony” vs. being “of one mind”? One is abstract, the other is a good everyday image.

Blithe Spirit

It’s a duel here between New American Bible (NAB), what we hear read at mass these days, and the Douay-Rheims version (D-R), what we heard before the liturgical revolu — I mean reform — shook up Catholic worship.

Here is tomorrow’s 2nd reading, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Romans 15.4-9, NAB vs. D-R, verse by verse, each time NAB first, then D-R:

4 For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
[4] For what things soever were written, were written for our learning: that through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope.

“Previously” is redundant.  “Instruction” not “learning”?  Why?  “Patience and the comfort” of the scriptures beats “endurance and by the encouragement of” the scriptures.  Patience is a virtue, for one thing, and encouragement “of” the scriptures?  “By”?

5 May the…

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Catch me later about this

[T]he sentence rendered by King James [Douai-Rheims] as But John forbad [stayed] him, saying: I ought to be baptised by thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now, appears in the Jerusalem Bible as John tried to dissuade him. It is I who need baptism from you, he said, and yet you come to me! But Jesus replied, Leave it like this for the time being.

I am not making this up: Leave it like this for the time being is how this wretched travesty renders what ought to be memorable words, as though our Lord were a car salesman with a special offer, or a politician suggesting some murky compromise.

Blithe Spirit

Challoner's 1749 revision of the Rheims New Te...

Man in the U.K. Catholic Herald, William Oddie, contrasts the going version of Scripture read at mass in the U.K. (Jerusalem Bible) and it’s “ghastly, tone-deaf, flat-footed mediocrity” with the 400-year-old King James and yet older, later revised, Douay-Rheims versions.

As in last Sunday’s “This is my beloved son” passage, where Jesus asks John the Baptist to baptize him, John hesitates, and Jesus says go ahead, do it:

[T]he sentence rendered by King James [Douai-Rheims] as But John forbad [stayed] him, saying: I ought to be baptised by thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so now, appears in the Jerusalem Bible as John tried to dissuade him. It is I who need baptism from you, he said, and yet you come to me! But Jesus replied, Leave it like this for the time being.

I am not…

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Scripture at mass — punchy or not?

The Vatican 2 liturgy is to make every day a Scripture lesson, so as to make us more scripturally literate. But the same people are going to church for consolation, self-improvement, encouragement, and the like as before. Which is where soundbites come in. Why do newspapers have headlines? To get people to read the stories.

Blithe Spirit

"Saint John the Baptist" (c.1560) by...

Slim pickin’s today offered by the liturgy monkeys at the bishops’ conference, I don ‘t know why.  The Isaiah passage

The LORD said to me: You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

— is pretty generic.  I mean, admirable sentiments and at the heart of belief, but nothing to inspire most of us…

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Young Catholics sound off about today’s mass

Bad music — and bad singers leading the singing — was a frequent young Catholic complaint. One complainer, understanding how superficial that sounds, told me that bad music for him turns what’s supposed to be a sacred time into a cringing endurance test. It’s downright embarrassing when the cringeworthiness takes place at a Catholic funeral and he’s surrounded by non-Catholic friends. [italics mine]

Blithe Spirit

And guess what some find offers them bread not a stone:

One Catholic, who did not want to trash his parish, says he finds more sustenance these days sneaking off to the old Latin Mass. This isn’t because he’s a traditionalist, but because of its quiet and almost mystical aesthetic: lots of bells, lots of incense, no “awful” hymns badly sung but gorgeous Latin chants instead.

Bad music — and bad singers leading the singing — was a frequent young Catholic complaint. One complainer, understanding how superficial that sounds, told me that bad music for him turns what’s supposed to be a sacred time into a cringing endurance test. It’s downright embarrassing when the cringeworthiness takes place at a Catholic funeral and he’s surrounded by non-Catholic friends. [italics mine]

My position is, in addition to the almost guaranteed mediocrity as above, substituting “Amazing Grace” and “An Irish Lullaby”…

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Tradition-oriented African cardinal to head Vatican Office of Divine Worship

Cardinal Sarah is being moved away from where he was most crucially effective – in ensuring the Church’s missions, initiatives, proposals and teachings on social justice – remained Catholic.
This is NOT a good day for Holy Mother Church.

Blithe Spirit

Being African means never or almost never starting mass with “good morning”:

The Church in Africa has a clear and sharp understanding of the division between immanent and transcendent, sacred and profane.

Having been to many liturgies in Africa, I have never had the experience I have had in some European countries of attending a Mass that seemed more like a school assembly.

This sense of the transcendent and sacred, which permeates the whole of life in Africa, is also seen in an attention to ceremonial that never seems out of place. [italics added]

It’s good to be friendly, but public signs of being so are not always what you want, eh?

Later: But if you scroll down to comments, you find a different kettle of fish, much of which is inside Vatican baseball which is fascinating to some, including me:

paulpriest • 2 hours ago
Unfortunately this…

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Today’s Catholic liturgy “is sick,” says cardinal in charge

All in all, in this passage as throughout the book, he strikes a spiritual note. He is, I have concluded, of the spiritual wing of the church, as opposed to the social action wing led by (whom else?) Pope Francis, with whom he is on a collision course, to judge by several well publicized incidents and several major controverted issues.

Blithe Spirit

He is Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, appointed in 2014 by Pope Francis. His book is

From which I quote:

[C]elebrations [of the mass] become tiring because they unfold in noisy chattering. The liturgy is sick. The most striking symptom . . .  is perhaps the omnipresence of the microphone. It has become so indispensable that one wonders how priests were able to celebrate before it was invented. . . . I sometimes have the impression that celebrants fear the free, personal interior prayer of the faithful so much that they talk from one end of the ceremony to the other so as not to lose control of them.

They certainly are loathe to let the air go dead. It’s as if they were on radio, rather than TV, though for that matter, TV announcers do jabber away. But you don’t…

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