Friday, October 17, 2008

From the Mailbag: Occidentalis Misleads About Dom James Deschene's Office

Q: On the Occidentalis Yahoo Group, the moderator wrote (on October 2, 2008) that Dom James Deschene uses the modern Benedictine office. He wrote that ROCOR approves the:
Tridentine mass. An edition of this service is used at Christminster (Christ the Saviour Monastery) in Hamilton, Ontario, and at the Western rite services done in Oklahoma City. I think the accompanying divine office is the modern Benedictine one, at least in the case of Christminster. (I'm not sure what form of WR divine office Fr. Anthony uses in conjunction with mass).
He contrasted this with "the pre-Reformation Benedictine Office." Does Christminster Monastery really use the modern, post-Novus Ordo Benedictine office?

A: Dom James M. Deschene, hieromonk, certainly does not use the "modern Benedictine" Office, as this individual falsely claims. The Order of St. Benedict in the Roman Catholic Church updated its Liturgy of the Hours following Vatican II and Novus Ordoized them. Neither Hieromonk James Deschene nor anyone else at Christminster Monastery, nor at its attached chapel, has anything whatsoever to do with the "modern Benedictine" office.

This is hardly unknown. I posted on this blog more than two years ago that "in addition to being the unbroken observance of the AWRV, Fr. James Deschene of Christminster Monastery in RI prays these hours." Nor has anyone associated with Christminster been other-than-forthcoming about this fact. Christminster's website notes, "the Hours of the Divine Office - the Work of God as St. Benedict calls it - are sung in chant according to the arrangement he himself set forth in his Holy Rule in the fifth century, and thus the monastic Office is one of the oldest forms of the Hours still in use."

The Breviarium Monasticum is the ancient form of the Benedictine Office, and its structure could be reconstructed by reading St. Benedict's Rule. Somehow, the moderator of the Occidentalis Yahoo Group transformed the most ancient office into "the modern" office and pinned it on Dom James. As noted, the same individual has fibbed on the same group that "Fr. James Deschene of the ROCOR in the U.S. inserts the Litany of Peace (from the Byzantine rite; "In peace let us pray to the Lord," etc.) straight into the middle of his Tridentine Liturgy." (This, too, has been pointed out as false, both here and several times on that group. If this has ever been specifcially retracted, please let me know.)

I also know Dom James does not like the label Tridentine for the simple reason that, for most people, it suggests a late usage, and that is not an accurate view, either of his use or of the Tridentine use. (He is, as usual, correct. See these two posts about attacks on the so-called "Tridentine" Mass's history and liturgics from the same source.) In fact, I know Dom James is a fine traditional Orthodox priest, who has served many long years in ROCOR, and he disdains any form of liturgical modernism or tinkering by self-appointed "scholars."

I am uncertain of the Hours Fr. Anthony Nelson of St. Benedict Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Oklahoma City celebrates, but we wish him every success, and pray he too is not further maligned or misrepresented by members of this group. (One of its members has implied not so long ago that, due to his bi-ritual church's setup, his Eucharist was invalid and "would seem to make certain implications about the validity of Western Rite Masses in ROCOR." The moderator responded that he was "not so certain anything is implied by this placement of the altar," that Fr. Anthony thought his masses were valid, and this was an "analogue to this placement of the altar (i.e., 'altare' or holy table) in late mediaeval practice on the eve of the R/Deformation" that reflected "the context of the post-mediaeval Roman church.")

Thank you for bringing this misinformation to light. That individual's post displays either ignorance or malice toward canonical Western Rite Orthodox — in this case a long-serving hieromonk — which has long been a hallmark of many of that group's posters (except when it temporarily suits their purposes to tone things down or clam up for awhile). In general, that group is a terrific place to stay away from. As Dom James has written about these provocations, "God save us from 'liturgical wars'!"

This continued misinformation about ROCOR Western Rite monks shows, the "negative campaigning" against other Western Rite Orthodox continues. For shame.

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A ROCOR WRITE Ordination

I have received word that Metropolitan HILARION received Hiermonk Cuthbert (Pierce) of Holy Cross Hermitage in Jacksonville, Florida, into the into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia by the rite of cheirothesia. The reception took place at the parish in Palm Coast, Florida, on September 29.

Fr. David (as he will now be known) is also charged with caring for Hieromonk Augustine Whitfield, who is in retirement in the area.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Verified: Six New Sermons from St. Augustine

Remember those new sermons from St. Augustine I mentioned a few months ago? They have been verified as authentic. It seems that Dorothea Weber and Clemens Weidmann:

were able to prove that six of these [26 sermon] texts are by Augustine: a sermon on the martyrdom in Carthage of Perpetua and Felicity, one on the resurrection of the dead. another on Cyprian, the Carthaginian Bishop-Martyr, and three on various aspects of almsgiving.

The parchment manuscript's 264 pages are no bigger than 115 x 95 millimetres and contain about 60 sermons, most of which are already known. They are sermons by Caesarius and the Pseudo John Chrysostom, written for the Lenten Season and for several celebrations in the month of September, and an extraordinary collection of 28 sermons which can be attributed to Augustine. In addition to the abundantly documented texts, there are others that are rare and some until now completely unknown.

...Since the sermons on the Saints concern especially the martyrs venerated in Africa in Augustine's time, one may conclude that the collection was assembled in the fifth century precisely in Roman Africa and from there was moved to safety in Southern Italy, as was Augustine's entire library.

In all likelihood — following the missionary activity started by Gregory the Great — the corpus was taken to England, where it was transcribed in the 12th century. The Erfurt Code derives from this or from another similar copy. Not only is the handwriting in British style but the parallel production of certain texts and textual sequences, such as the famous Worcester Homily, also seem to be of direct or indirect English provenance.

...Three of the six new texts are to be published in the coming weeks...[and three homilies on charity] will be studied and published by the Viennese group in 2009.

St. Augustine of Hippo, ora pro nobis!

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Off-Topic: Well, Here's an Irony

Prominent Catholic-Hater Tony Alamo Arrested for Child Sex.

According to Alamo (pronounced "uh-LAW-mo"), once convicted for tax evasion for his money-grubbingmaking practices, the Vatican runs the Illuminati and forged the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion to pin its worldwide conspiracy on the Jews....

It's sick to know that while participation in, apology for, or ignoring of child molestation should forever put someone beyond the pale, this won't. Alas, such con men abound. Regardless of how pervasive their misbehavior is and how many times it has been exposed by others, or even if they have been punished for their misbehavior by others before, they may find some way to fool others into letting them persist in the ministry. They're never guilty. They speak constantly of "conspirators" who are "persecuting" them (usually by quoting their own words or drawing attention to their deeds). As noted above, these are usually themselves the biggest liars and persecutors of others. This ploy often allows them to hoodwink people into letting them go on with their sins (and sometimes crimes).

It's nice to see justice wins out, here as at Blanco "Monastery." Even the best liar can't fool all the people all the time.

BTW, is it just me or does it look like these two men were separated at birth?

Roscoe P. Coltrane

Tony Alamo

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Ancient Scottish-Norse Connection?

Here's an interesting companion to this story about ancient Scotland: archeologists wonder if Norsemen evangelized Scotland before the time of St. Columba? Norsemen?? That's what they're investigating. According to the BBC:

A group of archaeologists are trying to establish if Norsemen brought Christianity to Caithness before St Columba arrived on Iona.

The question has arisen after a dig at an ancient church site at the coastal village of Dunbeath.

Pottery dating back to the 6th Century has recently been found in the area.

A University of Nottingham team is to carry out further exploration which they hope could show evidence of an even earlier Christian church.

Used continuously

The dig site is on croft land held by archaeologist Nan Bethune and her husband George.

Mrs Bethune said she was confident further investigation would show remains of a wall will be shown to be those of an early church.

St Columba left Ireland for Scotland in AD 563 and went on to found Manachain monastery on Iona, in Argyll.

Archeology is never dull, at any rate.