And wonders why English adoption agencies did not go down the same route:

If you haven’t come across his blog before it is worth following.  He has also written the CTS booklet on ‘Religious Freedom and Law.’

Huddled over the tinny little speakers of my laptop, I was not expecting to get the full effectof the excellent Westminster cathedral choir on Saturday morning. But I was utterly blown away by whatever it was that was sung at the very beginning of Saturday’s pontifical Mass, a vast, mad, sweeping setting of Tu Es Petrus that must have used and benefitted from the enormous space of the Cathedral and still led perfectly into a boring old plainchant introit.  Only after it was over did I electronically scuttle off in search of the Cathedral’s music list, and find it was by the friendly organist of St Columba’s Glasgow.

For me, in any case, this piece perfectly performed a very difficult task.

There is a fantastic range of textures. The choir and the band are used antiphonally,  preserving a clarity of sound that is lost when the two are mixed. Instrumental passages move from unison brass to vast gothick madness of brass and full organ (is that 32′ bombarde goodness I heard?) with bells and tam-tam: three such passages tie the piece together between three very different choral passges. “Tu es Petrus” reflects the opening fanfare in its glorious declamatory breadth, turning perfectly smoothly, on its second appearance,  into a Palestrina-esque moment at “aedificabo” which does indeed build. “et portes inferni … ” is a jagged unison line over (if my crappy computer speakers do not deceive me) a bass drum rumble”. “et tibi dabo” is a homophonic setting of a beautiful melodic treble line with the tiniest faintest Gaelic lilt – anyone who knows the St Anne Mass will recognise the little risign scotch snap figure – coming to rest, after all that, on a perfectly respectable cadence. The genius (or part of the genius)  of this last part is that the chant introit follows on entirely naturally and suitably. Having woken you up and chased any distractions from your mind, the motet brings you to the beginning of Mass.

I’ve listened to this about twenty times now, and it is only growing on me. Here is a link for your aural thrills. And for those who want to try this at home (and if you can seriously contemplate it, all I can say is – jammy gits), the rental parts are here.

I suppose an advantage Mahler had was that films had not yet been invented; his contemporary audiences  did not find themselves thinking of soundtrack uses as a way of describing parts of his symphonies.  The wonderful ginormousness  of the beginning of this motet would make it a fantastic sound track for some fantasy/sci-fi film.  It would probably make the film, in fact.

Only after it was over did I electronically scuttle off in search of the Cathedral’s music list

[Not the world’s most thought-out piece of writing]

I may have said already that I am in love with the diocese of Frejus-Toulon (healthier for the spiritual life than being in love with the bishop :))  My experience being limited to the Wonderful Petites Soeurs de la Consolation du Sacre-Coeur et de la Sainte Face and the visitors to their guest refectory (passing or longterm), I may not have the full picture, but the more I read, the more enamoured am I. The author of the two passages below, which I have roughly englished, is mostly concerned with the re-integration of the old rite and the folk who had to meet in hotel rooms and so on for years, but what gladdens my heart is the confirmation of what I saw and heard this Christmas – a bishop who is not only prepared to put up with this or that movement if he has to, but who (while not ignoring the fact that many of them have faults, and sometimes serious ones) is mostly interested in spreading the Gospel, and for whom maintenance or transformation of the internal status quo is not a question in itself [edited to add a bit I forgot:], and who therefore actively welcomes these initiatives, works with them, and encourages them to work together.

Even if our interest in, e.g.,  spreading a return to the celebration of Mass ad orientem is entirely (or even mostly) motivated by a desire to bring people to Christ, or help them come closer to Him, the clouds of dust raised by the discussion, and the time taken up by it, can leave the Main Point of the Whole Business obscured and neglected. From what I’ve seen, the neocats have some extremely serious problems in their theory and in their practice. But if the bishop were to ban them, who would evangelise the people whom the neocats have reached? And so on for so many movements (in both sense of the word), including the frickin’ loony monarchist maniple-obsessed traddy fringe, the medj-heads, the charismatics. the liberal sisters whose community prayer involves Taize tapes, … who all share this problem, of their particular “thing” obscuring and deforming the understanding of the faith, particularly of the church. Yet for the most part they are all admirable in the ways in which they are faithful. Terrifying older Irish liberal religious sister who’s pulled more than one person out of alcoholism, the charismatic groups where broken people grow back into themselves, the medj-heads who fast and pray for the conversion of sinners, the people with no label because they “just”  serve Mass or pray the rosary in their parish every Sunday for 43 years.

But if a diocese is chiefly concerned with the salvation of souls and the glory of God, then while disagreements over liturgy will not lose their seriousness (as someone points out, “It’s all the same Mass” is exactly why every single thing about it is crucially important), and everyone in it is able to work together to that end, then the One Thing that Matters is made luminously clear by the very fact of being  held in perfect accord by the (sometimes violently) disagreeing.

“Exemples de Communion”, la Nef nr 183 (June 2007):

Two recent diocesan experiences lead me to some reflections concerning the liberalisation of the traditional liturgy and the question of communion. The first example: the Communion and Evangelisation weekend organised by the diocese of Toulon last 28th and 29th April, which saw the active participation of numerous communities representative of the diversity of the church in France today: charismatic (the Beatitudes, Emmanuel, Chemin Neuf …), “classical” (the Saint-Martin community, the Sisters of the Consolation), or traditionalists, and of lay people coming also from hugely differing backgrounds. Despite this diversity, despite the fac that the liturgical celebrations in the current rite, entirely dignified, did not correspond to that which is habitually celebrated in the “classical” or “traditionalist” communities, an awesome [foul Americanism that, slanginess apart, seems to be the best equivalent of “formidable” in this case] communion ruled during these two days consecrated to mission and to the affirmation of the faith. … Bishop Rey devoted the same energy to getting to meet the different participants, to form contacts in regard to concrete projects, going from one to the other without ever making any difference, neither from the speaker’s platform, nor in the individual contacts between “traddies”, “happy-clappies” [? – “chachas”] or other, obviously very simplistic, labels, which I employ here only for reasons of commodity.

Toulon encore“, la Nef nr 186, October 2007:

….This Saturdy 22nd September … a diocesan bishop, Monsignor Rey, ordained, in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, in his cathedral, in the presence of several dozen diocesan priests and seminarians, the first priest of a new traditionalist community, and subsequently named him curate of the personal parish already entrusted to that community, the Missionaries of Divine Mercy. [I’ve just discovered something else wonderful. More soon.]

In itself, this is a first in France in more than one way. But undoubtedly the most striking thing during the ceremony and afterwards was the profound communion and fraternity of these priests of greatly differing origins, around one shepherd, who was there truly as a father, a shepherd loving his flock, loving them with the love of Christ. The event itself aside, it was this that was most tangible, and made clearly visible the fruits which the motu proprio Summorum Pontificium can produce, that the “extraordinary” take its place in the “ordinary” life of the dioceses. The young minister of the extraordinary rite found himself naturally received by his diocesan peers without any reservation, with being required to proclaim that he is not an “enemy of the Council”, without his liturgical choice making him some kind of plague-carrier in regard to the current pastoral plan. “Vision idyllique” [not sure what the tone of that is in French] some say, “Monsignor Rey again” say others, as though his truly paternal attitude were some passing eccentricity. Nothing of the sort!

It does at first feel stern and authoritarian, but in the end I was humbled by Latin mass, and felt awed by its solemn simplicity. It forced me turn in on myself and to examine my conscience in a way that, for better or for worse, reminded me what being a Catholic is really all about. As soon as I returned home, I felt compelled to look out my childhood Catechism and to re-learn the fundamentals of my faith.

Yes, I could warm to it. If they turned up the heating a bit.

Sunday  Herald, 17th Jan 2010 (found on Fr Zed)

Here the blog of the website of the project Pray for Priests.

We are a group of Catholics who pray daily for the priests of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, reciting prayers for our Archbishop, our diocesan priests, and for more vocations.

Our priests work so hard for us. They have dedicated their lives to serving God by serving His faithful, providing the sacraments and ministering to the spiritual needs of the laity. They work unceasingly, often without thanks or recognition for what they do. They need our prayers, and they need the encouragement of knowing they are being prayed for.

A list of all the priests of the diocese, and you sign up to pray for one (or more, I suppose) of them.

I think this is sufficently dead brilliant not to need any commentary.