Sunday 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas

From Glorificamus, we wish all a very blessed, happy and holy Christmas on the day of the birth of Our Saviour, the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Friday 2 September 2011

Pope Benedict XVI: The Way of Beauty - Via Pulchritudinis - "Sacred music that makes the chords of our heart resound"

From Zenit:


Wednesday's Audience


On Beauty as a Way to God

Art "Is Like a Door Opened to the Infinite"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 31, 2011 (

( Here is a translation of the Italian-language catechesis Benedict XVI gave today during the general audience.

* * *
Dear brothers and sisters,

On several occasions in recent months, I have recalled the need for every Christian to find time for God, for prayer, amidst our many daily activities.The Lord himself offers us many opportunities to remember Him.

Today, I would like to consider briefly one of these channels that can lead us to God and also be helpful in our encounter with Him: It is the way of artistic expression, part of that "via pulchritudinis" -- "way of beauty" -- which I have spoken about on many occasions, and which modern man should recover in its most profound meaning.

Perhaps it has happened to you at one time or another -- before a sculpture, a painting, a few verses of poetry or a piece of music -- to have experienced deep emotion, a sense of joy, to have perceived clearly, that is, that before you there stood not only matter -- a piece of marble or bronze, a painted canvas, an ensemble of letters or a combination of sounds -- but something far greater, something that "speaks," something capable of touching the heart, of communicating a message, of elevating the soul.

A work of art is the fruit of the creative capacity of the human person who stands in wonder before the visible reality, who seeks to discover the depths of its meaning and to communicate it through the language of forms, colors and sounds. Art is capable of expressing, and of making visible, man's need to go beyond what he sees; it reveals his thirst and his search for the infinite. Indeed, it is like a door opened to the infinite, [opened] to a beauty and a truth beyond the every day. And a work of art can open the eyes of the mind and heart, urging us upward.

But there are artistic expressions that are true roads to God, the supreme Beauty -- indeed, they are a help [to us] in growing in our relationship with Him in prayer. We are referring to works of art that are born of faith, and that express the faith. We see an example of this whenever we visit a Gothic cathedral: We are ravished by the vertical lines that reach heavenward and draw our gaze and our spirit upward, while at the same time, we feel small and yet yearn to be filled. Or when we enter a Romanesque church: We are invited quite naturally to recollection and prayer. We perceive that hidden within these splendid edifices is the faith of generations. Or again, when we listen to a piece of sacred music that makes the chords of our heart resound, our soul expands and is helped in turning to God. I remember a concert performance of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach -- in Munich in Bavaria -- conducted by Leonard Bernstein. At the conclusion of the final selection, one of the Cantate, I felt -- not through reasoning, but in the depths of my heart -- that what I had just heard had spoken truth to me, truth about the supreme composer, and it moved me to give thanks to God. Seated next to me was the Lutheran bishop of Munich. I spontaneously said to him: "Whoever has listened to this understands that faith is true" -- and the beauty that irresistibly expresses the presence of God's truth.

But how many times, paintings or frescos also, which are the fruit of the artist's faith -- in their forms, in their colors, and in their light -- move us to turn our thoughts to God, and increase our desire to draw from the Fount of all beauty. The words of the great artist, Marc Chagall, remain profoundly true -- that for centuries, painters dipped their brushes in that colored alphabet, which is the Bible.

How many times, then, can artistic expression be for us an occasion that reminds us of God, that assists us in our prayer or even in the conversion of our heart! In 1886, the famous French poet, playwright and diplomat Paul Claudel entered the Basilica of Notre Dame in Paris and there felt the presence of God precisely in listening to the singing of the Magnificat during the Christmas Mass. He had not entered the church for reasons of faith; indeed, he entered looking for arguments against Christianity, but instead the grace of God changed his heart.

Dear friends, I invite you to rediscover the importance of this way for prayer, for our living relationship with God. Cities and countries throughout the world house treasures of art that express the faith and call us to a relationship with God. Therefore, may our visits to places of art be not only an occasion for cultural enrichment -- also this -- but may they become, above all, a moment of grace that moves us to strengthen our bond and our conversation with the Lord, [that moves us] to stop and contemplate -- in passing from the simple external reality to the deeper reality expressed -- the ray of beauty that strikes us, that "wounds" us in the intimate recesses of our heart and invites us to ascend to God.

I will end with a prayer from one of the Psalms, Psalm 27: "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple" (Verse 4). Let us hope that the Lord will help us to contemplate His beauty, both in nature as well as in works of art, so that we might be touched by the light of His face, and so also be light for our neighbor. Thank you.

[Translation by Diane Montagna]

[The Holy Father then greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today, especially those from Scotland and Malta. Today we reflect on the need to draw near to God through the experience and appreciation of artistic beauty. Art is capable of making visible our need to go beyond what we see and it reveals our thirst for infinite beauty, for God. Dear friends, I invite you to be open to beauty and to allow it to move you to prayer and praise of the Lord. May Almighty God bless all of you!

© Copyright 2011 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

[In Italian, he said:]

Lastly, I address a word of cordial welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the bishops who are friends of the Community of Sant'Edigio, the faithful of the various parishes, who are accompanied by their parish priests, and newlyweds. I hope that this meeting strengthens each of you in a renewed adherence to God, fount of light, of hope and of peace.

[After the prayer:]

Thank you, a good day to you all. Thank you!

[Translation by Diane Montagna]

Thursday 11 August 2011

Weekly Traditional Latin Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral Melbourne

Yesterday evening, Wednesday 10 August 2011, the Feast of St Lawrence, saw the commencement of the regular weekly celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass at St Patrick's Cathderal Melbourne, following successful petition of the faithful (led by Mr Chris Glendenning and Ms Claire Lindorff).

Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated each Wednesday at 5.30pm in the beautiful Sacred Heart Chapel on the right of the Sanctuary (picture opposite courtesy of the Newman Community).

The Bulletin of the Newman Community noted the kind provision by the Dean of the Cathedral, Fr John Salvano, and that attendees are welcome to park in the Cathedral car park off Lansdowne Street after 5.00pm. Entrance to the Cathedral for all attendees is via the Diocesan Centre car park gate, and through the south transept door.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

The Dictatorship of Reasonableness

Here at this blog, we don’t often stray into non-liturgical matters.

But we had cause to reflect recently on the stated policies and ideals of the Australian Greens.

Comparing the language of "What do the Greens stand for?" below, with the reality of how this translates to policy initiatives of some of the Greens' people (and others of like mind), we are struck (yet again) by the Dictatorship of Reasonableness. The words generally sound so, well, reasonable. How could you not agree? And if you don’t, something is wrong with you. At which point you should be prepared to be subject to the time honoured technique of the illberal liberal: your arguments will be spun and you be labelled and called names to be discredited as, well, take your pick.

But, de-spining the spin, of course, and one sees what some of these policies really are and would be if they see the light of day: an attempt to legislate the “values system” (i.e. religion) and “moral” dictates of the religion of radical secularism and/or atheism (including its attack on the sanctity of human life) into the statute books of this country, where failure to comply would be punished by the State.
So much for The Greens opposing “discrimination in all forms, whether it be based on religion, race, age, political affiliation or sexual identity...[and not supporting] vilification of any kind.”

Taken from the Member for Melbourne’s website:

What do the Greens stand for?

We strive to work collaboratively and respectfully with those who care and are struggling with disadvantage, inequality and despair … whether it is in Aboriginal communities, shelters for the homeless or refugee camps.

We believe that protecting our planet for future generations is fundamental to a values system that looks beyond the individual and the present … to imagine and bring into being a healthy, safe and just future for all, in which the common wealth is distributed for the common good.

This is also reflected in our policies on climate change … which include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy sources and ensuring that every Australian household has solar hot water and insulation.

The Greens oppose discrimination in all forms, whether it be based on religion, race, age, political affiliation or sexual identity. We do not support vilification of any kind.

We stand up for the principles of honesty, accountability and inclusion in government and we regard all issues and legislation as having a moral and ethical dimension.

We believe access to quality health care is a basic human right. An effective health system must be based on primary health care and preventive health care, such as health promotion, disease prevention and early intervention, in order to reduce avoidable admissions and pressure on hospitals.

We firmly believe that all Australians have a right to independence, self-determination and choice in their lives and that people who experience disability, and their families and carers, should have the opportunity to actively participate in policy development, in service planning and delivery.

The Australian Greens have a vision of a smart and caring society which is committed to the long-term well-being of all its citizens and works to build a brighter future. We see nurturing and educating our children as a critical means of ensuring the future well-being of our society and our environment.

We believe in equal rights for all human beings. Nowhere is this more critical than in education. A sound, comprehensive, well-funded education will help present and future generations thrive and overcome countless hardships.

However, our responsibilities to human rights do not end at Australia’s borders. We live in a wealthy, prosperous country, and our humanistic responsibilities extend to people of all nations.

We also stand up for the right of the community to participate in making the decisions that impact upon their lives … and support an independent and sustainable community sector that both delivers services to those in need and speaks up loudly, without fear or favour, on their behalf.