Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Water discovered to be wet, and other extraordinary news

Although Melancholicus has not posted in over a year and doubted he would do so again, he is just so exercised by the smug hypocrisy of Catholic Radio that he absolutely must vent or else burst a blood vessel.

Yesterday evening, en route to the adoration chapel at Holy Cross parish in Tacoma, Melancholicus amused himself by listening to EWTN on AM 1050, which he often finds both edifying and consoling. But occasionally this station strikes a jarring note: at the end of Patrick Madrid’s apologetics programme, there was a three-minute vignette in which the announcer instructed his listeners on how the Second Vatican Council promoted the use of the Latin language in the celebration of the sacred liturgy, liberally quoting from Sacrosanctum Concilium in support of his position.

Yes, really.

The reader might think Melancholicus ought to have been pleased with this promotion of the sacred language of the Church.

He was not. On the contrary, he was absolutely infuriated.

So, Mr. neo-catholic radio announcer, the Church encourages the use of Latin in the liturgy, does she? And your beloved Second Vatican Council actually endorses this position, does it?

This is what Traditionalists have been arguing FOR DECADES, you clueless twit. And for our pains we have been castigated, condemned, harangued, berated, dismissed as ‘schismatic’, ‘disobedient’ among other unflattering epithets—and this by neo-catholics of the same ilk as our smug EWTN radio announcer. So Melancholicus is not amused when these johnny-come-latelys have suddenly discovered, to their own satisfaction, what we have been saying all along. Has it really taken our neo-catholic brethren FORTY YEARS to find out what Sacrosanctum Concilium really teaches about the liturgy? Melancholicus is not impressed. Nor have Traditionalists been given the credit for this belated realization; the breezy confidence of the announcer suggests a different source for this amazing discovery.

So, which source?

Since the 2005 elevation of Benedict XVI to the Throne of Peter, the Holy See has been gently but persistently urging the celebration of the liturgy in a decidedly more traditional direction. The neo-catholics, given their overall whatever-proceeds-from-the-Vatican-is-necessarily-good-and-we-must-do-it attitude are simply following the lead of the hierarchy; nothing more.

We might be pleased that the neo-catholics are finally (and not before time) talking sense where the liturgy is concerned. But here is the cause of Melancholicus’ vexation: they are doing so not from a conviction of truth but because of a political position. Restoration is authority’s policy of the hour. As the attitude of the neo-catholics is essentially to blow along with the prevailing wind, they have obediently fallen into step and are obligingly pushing Latin and even—mirabile dictu—the Traditional Mass. A change of leadership in the Vatican (not beyond the bounds of possibility) could see the policy of restoration abandoned, new life breathed into the culture of conciliar novelties, and we would be back to the 1970s again. The response of the neo-catholics—ever predictable—would be to fall into line with the ‘renewalists’; gone would be the calls to re-examine the sources, gone would be the promotion of Latin, sacred chant and the eastward position, and Traditionalists would be fighting their lonely battles once again as we did in the dark days of the Tabletistas’ reign supreme.

Friday, February 05, 2010


The toy manufacturer Hasbro has launched a Ouija board, packaged in a cutesy pink box which serves to make the thing look innocent and harmless, and targeted at children (especially girls) ages 8 and up. There is also a glow-in-the-dark version available more likely to appeal to boys. How diabolical is that?

Ouija boards are not toys. They should not be used by children, or by anyone for that matter. One should not even have such things in one’s house. Ouija boards are nothing to fool with. The user is like a child tinkering with a telephone, dialling numbers at random, without knowing who will answer, except that in the case of the Ouija board the potential threats are much more severe, and the potential consequences that much more horrifying.

One does not expose oneself to such danger. It is possible that nothing may happen. It is equally possible that some form of demonic infestation may result. One does not want to invite a demon into one’s home, where the creature may then lodge and cause mayhem, requiring an exorcism to banish its baleful presence. One certainly does not wish to expose oneself to the danger of being taken over personally—of being possessed—by such a presence. Despite the scepticism of the moderns, evil spirits are as real as anything in the material world. Documented cases exist in which the unhappy user of the ouija board came to grief and had to be rescued—at great physical, psychological and spiritual cost—by the Catholic Church.

Here is a story related by one of the commentator’s on Fr. Z’s blog about his youthful encounter with a ouija board. It makes chilling reading. Of particular interest is the name that the spirit gave as its own:

I was cleaning out the attic in my parents’ house back in the mid eighties and came upon a box containing a Ouija board. As a child, I had absorbed all the devilish lore connected with these things though I had never actually seen one.

So it was with some trepidation that I lifted the cursed object from its cardboard coffin. It seemed to exude a sulphurous stench and a lambent glow emanated from it there in the dimly lit garret. A icy shiver of palpable terror paralyzed me for several minutes until my sense of rationality brought me back to reality. I resolved to test this oaken oracle and began by asking it simple questions.

Are you the devil? N-O, it spelled out. Well, that was a relief.

Do you know the devil? Y-E-S. The sense of terror crept back.

Do you have a name? Y-E-S. It always helps to find out a person’s name, both in the natural and supernatural realms. Just ask Moses.

Can you tell me your name? Y-E-S. Sociable little ghost, this. The pungent sulphurous reek intensified and a diaphanous vapor rose up from the board.

OK, what is it? Nothing. At least, at first. Then slowly the triangle began to move, seemingly aimlessly then with determination. One by one the letters were selected. B-U-A-N. What? That’s not a name. I asked for the name again. B-U-A-N. I could make no sense of it. I tried yet a third time. B-U-A-N. The stench suddenly became asphyxiating and I was aware of the sound of crackling flames and gnashing teeth. I knew I was in the presence of something malevolent and unholy and I fled from the attic in horror.

The next day I summoned my courage and ventured back into the devil’s aerie. I found the Ouija board completely charred and the floor partially scorched. Though it was a hot and humid day, the attic had a glacial almost unearthly chill. I buried the board in the back yard and put it out of my mind.

Several years later, after the death of my mother, I was walking in the old neighborhood and struck up a conversation with the new owner of the house. He had been mowing and raking and mentioned in passing that in one corner no grass would grow and flowers that his wife had planted immediately withered and died. Where? I asked. As he pointed to the spot I realized with horror that it was there that I had buried the hellish tablet.

I never learned the meaning of the demon’s name: BUAN. But I do believe that there is such a malignant spirit who wanders the world seeking the ruin of souls.

There is no demon that Melancholicus can find that goes by the name Buan, at least none that is known to the internet. There are numerous other occurrences of the name (it is not uncommon as a surname in certain parts of the world) in both private and commercial capacities. Preternaturally, a search for Buan returns just one hit; the moon goddess of Tagalog mythology carries this name. Melancholicus knows nothing of Philippine mythology, but to judge from the Wikipedia excursus wherein she is mentioned, this Buan has been cast in a benign role rather than anything menacing or threatening.


There is at least one instance of the name Buan being used in a demonic capacity, one not unconnected with the ‘reform’ of the Roman liturgy after Vatican II. The rumours of lodge membership which have attached themselves to the architect of the ‘reform’—Archbishop Annibale Bugnini—are well known, and can be found in print as well as on several websites. Bugnini’s name in freemasonry is supposed to have been Buan. Now while a Mason by the name of Buan was named in the dossiers found in Bugnini’s briefcase, it has not been proved conclusively that this Buan was in fact Bugnini himself, who to his dying day denied any association with freemasonry—but for which we have only his word, and nothing more. Dare we take him on trust? The devious cunning to which he resorted to bully and manipulate Paul VI during his years as liturgical commissar would seem to indicate a man neither entirely worthy of trust nor of great integrity.

For more in this regard, see this page on the website of Inside the Vatican, passim.

The above story describes an event which took place in the mid 1980s. Bugnini died in 1982. Could he possibly have been the Buan who spoke to Fr. Z’s commentator? Melancholicus does not believe that the spirits of the dead are at liberty to communicate with the living, even by such media as the ouija board, without special permission from almighty God. One should hope at least that Bugnini himself were not the Buan in question, as the phenomena of stench and burning which accompanied the communications would seem to indicate the great misfortune of a damned soul. Melancholicus is most vexed with Mgr. Bugnini over what he did to the liturgy, but he does not wish the fellow damned for it.

Or else it was a demon. Perhaps this demon is the very one whose name Mgr. Bugnini adopted in the lodge all those years ago. Co-incidence? Maybe so. But it’s a small world.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The motion for debate

That this house believes Vatican II was the Catholic Church’s Haiti.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Conciliar renewal a tremendous success in Holland


Because from where Melancholicus stands, he can see only devastation.

Perhaps the feverish apostles of aggiornamento will continue to claim that the renewal has been a great success, but that more time is needed for the good fruits to shine through.

To which Melancholicus replies that forty-five years is more than time enough, and that the fruits were incomparably better before the ‘renewal’ than after it.

Is it not a scandal, for instance, that the Mahometan holy month of Ramadan rings more bells among Dutch Catholics than does our own Christmas?

Or that the Dutch province of the Dominican Order promotes—in all seriousness—the celebration of ‘Masses’ by non-ordained persons of all genders and sexual orientations?

Adrianus Cardinal Simonis, Archbishop-Emeritus of Utrecht, has given an interview to the Italian newspaper Avvenire, which may be read here (scroll down).

The interview is titled Two generations have been lost, which itself is telling.

The whole may be summed up in the following quote: “It is a matter of starting over from the beginning, and within a culture that is indifferent to Christianity, among less than friendly media.

The comparison drawn by C. S. Lewis between the virgin and the divorcee comes to mind.

Was this what Vatican II intended?

How could they have got it all so horrendously wrong?

It is encouraging to hear that there are now 45 students at the seminary in Haarlem. But what are they being taught, and who is teaching them? Melancholicus cannot imagine that Dutch seminaries (perhaps Haarlem is the only one left functioning in the country, as Maynooth is the only seminary still open in Ireland) are in much better shape than similar institutions in the United States, Great Britain, and Ireland.

The Netherlands, which until the catastrophe was (with Ireland) one of the foremost sources of vocations and missionaries, is now itself mission territory.

Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How the election result went down in Berlin

Melancholicus is not normally given to much of an interest in American politics, but now that he lives in the U.S. he may as well bestir himself from his customary apathy and pass the occasional comment.

As most will know by now, the late Edward Kennedy’s seat in the Senate has gone to the Republican Scott Brown instead of the favourite, Democrat Martha Coakley.

Here’s how Herr Hitler took the news of the Democrats’ defeat. This is just too funny.

H/T to the St. Louis Catholic.

When the shepherd becomes a wolf...

...the flock has a right to defend itself.

Actually, according to Dom Prosper Gueranger, that right is more of a duty. Gueranger was referring to the protest registered by the layman Eusebius against the heresy of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who in his Christmas Day sermon in the year 428 denied the Divine Maternity of our Blessed Lady before the entire congregation.

In the recent brouhaha in the church of Saint-Taurin, Thiberville, in the French diocese of Evreux, we see the lay faithful doing just what Eusebius did nearly sixteen centuries ago by rising up in wrath against their perfidious bishop and ejecting him from their church.

The bishop of Evreux, Mgr. Christian Nourrichard, removed the orthodox and traditionally-minded pastor, Abbé Francis Michel, and re-assigned him to a ministry among liberals. The faithful of Saint-Taurin were doubly upset since not only did they lose their priest thereby, but his traditional sacerdotal ministry was to be replaced, in true modernist fashion, by that of a ‘team’.

It might be objected that Mgr. Nourrichard’s crime was not of the same order as that of Nestorius; it cannot be claimed, for instance, that he openly denied a defined doctrine of the Church, and he violated no law, either civil or ecclesiastical.

Nonetheless, what the bishop was doing amounted to taking away the people’s bread in order to feed them with stones instead, a move in which we cannot help but discern ideological partiality in the post-conciliar religious wars within the Church.

“Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent?”—Mt. 7:9-10.

Mgr. Nourrichard’s contempt for the faithful of Saint-Taurin is emblazoned forth on the silly chasuble he chose for the occasion—rainbow colours more suited to a children’s birthday party than to the most holy sacrifice of the Mass. Furthermore, he cannot have been ignorant of the significance of the rainbow to the homosexualist movement, and the consequent scandal to the faithful on that account. What kind of statement was he attempting to make with such provocative gestures? The faithful of Saint-Taurin seem to have been in no doubt as to their bishop’s intentions.

Happily, the flock would not meekly submit to this wolf in sheep’s clothing. Their resistance was offered immediately and with great heat, as may be seen in the remarkable video footage below:

And this:

And this, courtesy of the French network TFI:

After a meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio, we are informed that Mgr. Nourrichard has “changed his mind”, and that Abbé Francis Michel is to remain in charge of Saint-Taurin, at least for the foreseeable future.

Concern has been expressed in certain quarters of the blogosphere regarding the reaction of the congregation to Mgr. Nourrichard’s behaviour. Some commentators were unhappy that the bishop was booed and heckled in the sanctuary, and that voices were raised in anger before the very altar of God. Likewise, concerns have been raised regarding obedience to legitimate authority. It is a difficult question, and we must not lightly toss aside the obedience and filial respect we owe to our spiritual shepherds. Melancholicus has considered the matter carefully over several days but in the end must come down on the side of the congregation of Saint-Taurin. For Mgr. Nourrichard’s actions do not constitute the exercise of lawful authority so much as the abuse of it. Recalling Dom Gueranger, when the shepherd becomes a wolf, the flock has a right to defend itself. The flock likewise has a right to bread rather than stones, and fish rather than serpents. We have scriptural precedents for dramatic, even violent, resistance to attempts to weaken or destroy the sacredness of holy religion: Mattathias slaying the apostate Jew on the altar of sacrifice (I Macc. 2:23-4), and the Lord Jesus driving forth the moneychangers from the Temple (Mt. 21:12-13), to recall but two such.

What the faithful of Saint-Taurin did was necessary. It may indeed be regrettable; but what is most regrettable is that they had to do it in the first place—for which Mgr. Nourrichard, and he alone, bears the responsibility.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The ranks are thinning

Each passing year reduces the roll of notoriety still further, for which we give thanks unto almighty God.

We shall never be entirely free from the baleful influence of the partisans of error, for there shall never lack those whom the devil shall excite with evil rage against the servants of the Lord.

But lately we have been informed of the repose of three whose names were hateful to the saints:

  • Alfred Hrdlicka, pornographer, blasphemer, ‘artist’ and self-described Stalinist, who went to his reward on 5 December 2009. He received a Catholic funeral courtesy of his good friend Christoph Cardinal Schönborn;
  • Theologian and conciliar peritus Edward Schillebeeckx, the mastermind behind the confusion of Lumen Gentium and the heresies of the Dutch Catechism (among sundry other notorieties), who fell asleep on 23 December 2009; and
  • Mary Daly, the bitter and fanatical feminist ‘theologian’ whose anti-Christian and neo-pagan courses (at the Jesuit-run Boston college!) were off-limits to male students, and whom the Almighty mercifully took from our midst on 3 Jan 2010.

All three had an impact either upon the Church or upon contemporary culture (sometimes both), and this impact was less than beneficial to the health of the body politic.

Liberal blogs and websites are teeming with fulsome tributes to these purported ‘giants’ of theology; check out some of the obituaries here.

Fr. Schillebeeckx may have been more subtle and less stridently revolutionary than the other two, but his theology places him firmly in their camp. Furthermore, 95 years is far too long a time for such a dissident to be stuck in the craw of the Mystical Body; he certainly overstayed his welcome.

May God have mercy on their souls, but Melancholicus does not mourn their passing.

Step by step, people.

Step by step.


Someone (preferably a figure of authority in the Congregation for Divine Worship) should inform this man that yellow is not a liturgical colour, nor is blue; and that the use of kiddie balloons is not prescribed by the rubrics of any liturgical ceremony, past or present, known to the Catholic Church.

This is the same Schönborn who only a few weeks ago granted a Catholic funeral to the perverted artist and self-described Stalinist Alfred Hrdlicka, who undertook a visit to Medjugorje without taking the trouble to inform the local ordinary, Mgr. Ratko Peric, thereby lending that nest of racketeers a boost of credibility at precisely the time that the Holy See is preparing the Church to distance herself from what is undoubtedly a manifest hoax, and who at home has presided over some decidedly gruesome liturgical atrocities, at precisely the same time as our Holy Father is attempting to restore a modicum of dignity and solemnity to the post-conciliar Mass. Each step taken by the Holy See to repair the damage wrought by the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ is countered by a step in the opposite direction by Schönborn and that with the most remarkable if not coincidental timing. Perhaps the man is merely prone to making the most unfortunate gaffes, but it looks more as though his words and actions indicate an ideological agenda at variance with the Benedictine restoration of the Church. Astonishingly, not a few Catholics seem to think that this man is solidly on our side, God knoweth how. There is even a website devoted to him which, although not quite in the same league as the former Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club, is nonetheless a worrying testament to the esteem in which he is held. During the latter years of John Paul II, Schönborn was described as papabile by innumerable publications, and the aura of misplaced mystique surrounding this vastly overrated prelate has still not been extinguished.

Christoph Schönborn was born in 1945. As of this January 22, he is 65 years old—still young and vigorous enough, and popular enough, to be a threat at the conclave which shall choose the successor to Benedict XVI. Despite his chances having been talked up by both Catholic and secular sources in advance of the 2005 conclave, he seems never to have been in the running, and in the end the Church was blessed with Papa Ratzinger instead. But what of the future? A few years ago Milan’s Tettamanzi was touted by conservative sources as a great catch, and what wonders wouldn’t he do for the Church were he raised to the throne of Peter! He might not be a screaming liberal in the vein of his predecessor Carlo Maria Martini, but fortunately the man’s open ambition as well as his questionable views on homosexuality were sufficient to prevent the scandal of a Tettamanzi pontificate. We need the same thing to happen again in the case of Christoph Schönborn, because the election of a pope is as much about keeping the wrong man out as it is about getting the right man in.

If Schönborn were elected, we would have a John Paul III, even if this were not the name chosen by the new pope. Like his namesake he would be generally orthodox, especially on issues pertaining to life and the family. But he would be politically confused, and inclined for some ill-thought-out idealism to favour the Left. He might be given to making regrettable concessions on that account. He might be as ecumenically unfortunate as his namesake, and prone to making the most inopportune overtures to liberal protestants, to secular Jews, to Muslims and even to pagans. His liturgical sense would be non-existent, at least if his track record in the Archdiocese of Vienna is anything to go by. And since he is young (relatively speaking), we could expect his pontificate to be a long one. His rule over the Church would be lenient to the point of negligence. Time perhaps for the Benedictine reform of the Church and of the liturgy to be put on hold for a while; time for a new breath of life to be breathed into the ailing revolution. Holy God forfend.

The only difference Melancholicus can see between John Paul II and this putative ‘John Paul III’ is that in the pontificate of the former, the revolutionaries were both more vigorous and more numerous. As of this writing, death and retirement have—Deo gratias—removed a good many of them from the scene. But the Mystical Body must be built up by example, exhortation and action; while the house lies in ruins it is not sufficient to be content that the wreckers are fewer in number than hitherto.

Melancholicus does not wish to shove his oar in in electing the next pope, so he shall propose no ideal candidate. That is a matter for the Holy Ghost and for the Cardinal electors.

But we can do better than Christoph Schönborn.

A great deal better.

UPDATE: a much fuller and even more depressing summary of Cardinal Schönborn’s trespasses is provided here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Answered prayers

The Old Mass comes to Bremerton... sort of.

Recovering from his vexation at the awfulness of the ars celebrandi of this morning’s parish Mass, Melancholicus found the following nugget of good news in the St. Charles parish bulletin, dated 17 January 2010:

Traditional Latin Mass: Fr. Derek Lappe will offer a Tridentine or Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Rite) at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, in Bremerton, on Tuesday, January 19th at 7:00 PM. The Mass will use the 1962 Roman Missal; Missals with Latin and English, and Mass Propers, will be provided for use at the Mass. Everyone is invited to experience the meaning and spirituality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Church is located at 500 Veneta Ave in Bremerton. Street parking is available around the Church.

After January 19th, the Tridentine Latin Mass will be celebrated the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM.

Hurrah and hurrah! This is indeed a tender green shoot thrusting gingerly up through the frozen crust of the post-conciliar earth. Melancholicus will not be able to attend, alas. Bremerton is hardly any closer to Tacoma than Seattle, and as he does not yet have a Washington driver’s licence, he is confined to the immediate locality. But it is nonetheless a cause for great rejoicing that even in the God-forsaken hell-hole that is the Seattle Archdiocese, life seems to be returning by degrees. Let us give thanks to almighty God, and pray for Fr. Lappe and for Archbishop Brunett.

Melancholicus has no idea whose initiative this is, whether that of Fr. Lappe himself, or of his parishioners. Significantly, Fr. Lappe is the pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea, where the Mass is to be held. He was born in 1972, hence is the same age as Melancholicus. Through vigorous young priests like this, who have no investment in the ideological baggage of the 1960s, the Church will be restored in the twenty-first century to something of the shape she had before the catastrophe.

There is as yet no mention of the Mass on the website of Una Voce Western Washington (which does not seem to have been updated since 2008). Even though this is not a Sunday Mass and is to be celebrated only on the third Tuesday of each month (requiring careful time-keeping by those who wish to assist at it), it is a beginning; it is a step in the right direction. We note in passing that as a result of this celebration “Everyone is invited to experience the meaning and spirituality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”, which is tantamount to conceding that the meaning and spirituality of the Holy Sacrifice are obscured in the modern rite! As the late Michael Davies remarked on more than one occasion, “No one who attends a Mass celebrated in one of the traditional rites of the Catholic Church could doubt that he was present at a solemn sacrifice. But no one who attends Mass as it is said in a typical parish church today could know that he was at a solemn sacrifice unless he had been informed of the fact beforehand”.

Kudos to St. Charles Borromeo parish for publicizing this Mass. There is as yet no celebration of the old rite in Tacoma. Shortly after his arrival, Melancholicus was told of a Traditional Mass in St. Mary’s on 138th st, which caused him great excitement. Upon investigating further, he was disappointed to discover this is not a licit Mass offered by priests in communion with the Catholic Church, but the local base of CMRI, a sedevacantist outfit headed by a Thuc-line bishop (whose orders may or may not be valid). Bally heck, one may as well go worship with the Anglicans.

The Bug

The Bugnini died in 1982, and—happily for those of us who seek some measure of beauty and solemnity in public worship—is still dead.

Long may he remain so.

Now all we need do is wait for his disciples to join him.

How long, O Lord, how long?

An Ode

One would rather—à la Keats—expound on a Grecian urn, but the subject of the present composition is Bugnini’s liturgy.

So here goes:

[clears throat]

Bugnini’s Mass
Sucks ass!

Do not be scandalized, gentle reader; this wee couplet is a fitting tribute to its subject, for it is to poetry what Bugnini’s ordo is to liturgy. And the object of our opprobrium is not of course the Holy Sacrifice itself (that would be blasphemy), but the horizontal and inferior rite whereby that Sacrifice is manifested on our altars.

Ordinary Time

So, this is it.

The dreaded green season.

Ordinary TimeTM has returned to the parish of St. Charles Borromeo.

Christmastide and Epiphanytide have gone, and with them has gone the (reasonably) solemn or at least tolerable hymnody that OCP’s ‘heritage’ missal provides for those occasions.

The preening songstress seems to be delighted that such solemn festivals are now over, and that we are back into ‘ordinary’ time, which in turn calls for ‘ordinary’ music, for this morning she assaulted the ‘gathered assembly’ with a barrage of the hippest and most happenin’ dreck from the 1970s and 1980s.

Guess who held the copyright to the pieces of ‘music’ selected?

Yes, gentle reader, it was our good friends at OCP.

Not one of the selections was singable. Not one! Furthermore, all of them were about “us”.

Melancholicus declined to join in the singing, since not only does he abhor bad taste, but he does not go to church on Sunday morning to celebrate himself.

An heretical thought

...passed through Melancholicus’ mind this morning, him having been dragged from his bed to attend 8am Mass on a cold and rainy morning, and as he settled himself painfully into his pew among the wretched ‘heritage’ missals and ‘gather’ hymnals and listened aghast to the execrable plinkety-plonk of the church piano hammering out some happenin’ ditty courtesy of OCP, he suddenly thought

“I wish this was Episcopalian”.

Meaning not the presidency of a half-lesbian, half-Muslim bishoppess, but the traditional piety and decorum of the Book of Common Prayer (1928), for in the latter case, the liturgy would at least be decent.

There is a Continuing Anglican church within walking distance of Melancholicus’ house. He has not yet checked it out, and so far has resisted the temptation to do so.

But there is no Traditional Latin Mass within easy reach, and the Amchurch version of the Novus Ordo is a parody of itself and often beyond endurance. Melancholicus has never seen a religious rite as degraded and horizontal.

How long, O Lord, how long?

Monday, January 11, 2010

New year, new title, new look


The winter is past... sort of.

The dawn is chilly, with lingering traces of night, but it is dawn nonetheless. The LORD God is still in His heaven after all, and all things are in His hand.

There is much fighting to do before we take possession of the promised land. We cannot lay down our arms yet. Our foes are still numerous, and powerful. At this critical moment we must storm heaven with our prayers, and set to the combat with every means at our disposal. This is not the time for softness, or for the taking of prisoners.

But our battle-cry shall not be a self-pitying Infelix Ego, but instead a cry of confidence in the power of almighty God, and His power to save us from our enemies, and the hand of all that hate us.

Lux Fulgebit! as the introit from the dawn Mass of Christmas day has us sing: The Light shall shine upon us today, for unto us the Lord is born! And His Name shall be called Wonderful, Mighty God, the Prince of peace, Father of the world to come, of whose kingdom there shall be no end!

Deo gratias! Let us rejoice. God is with us. We shall go forward with faith, hope and confidence in Him who is all our hope. We shall fight always, and not grow weary; we shall renew our failing strength with unceasing prayer; we shall never tire or grow faint in the face of the enemy, but harry and pursue them, giving them no rest until we have overcome them at the last. Victory belongs to us at the last, for our Lord JESUS CHRIST has already overcome the world. There remains to us only the battle, which we wage in His name against the prince of this world and his minions. We shall fight them everywhere: in the schools, in the courts of law, in government departments, in senate and parliament, in the newspapers, in the broadcast media, and in the very sanctuary of the holy Catholic Church.

We shall not let them have the easy victory they desire, for we are servants of the LORD.

Lauda, Jerusalem, Dominum; lauda Deum tuum, Sion.
Quoniam confortavit seras portarum tuarum; benedixit filiis tuis in te.
Qui posuit fines tuos pacem, et adipe frumenti satiat te
— psalm 147:1-3

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What the people really, really want

Melancholicus was at Holy Cross parish, Tacoma, for Sunday Mass today.

The pastor, Fr. John Renggli, announced to the congregation that the questionnaires distributed to the parishioners in 2009 had been returned and the responses had been studied carefully.

The results were interesting and, from the perspective of one who seeks the authentic renewal of the Church as opposed to its continued post-conciliar deformation, a source of much-needed hope.

Those who submitted their views requested the setting up of a welcoming committee to help new members of the parish feel at home, which is a most wholesome work of charity. They also recommended the inauguration of home visits for the elderly and housebound. This is also a most worthy and wholesome work of mercy, very edifying and pleasing to almighty God. A particularly interesting request was that, since there are so many ‘women’s groups’ (of varying fidelity) in the Archdiocese, Holy Cross should establish such a group for Catholic men. In order to be successful, of course, this men’s group would have to be manly and orthodox, not liberal and limp-wristed; and there was no doubt as to which was wanted at Holy Cross parish.

Melancholicus was thrilled.

Now let us consider some demands, frequently voiced by the denizens of the conciliar church, that were conspicuous by their absence from the submissions made by the parishioners of Holy Cross:

They did not want celebrations of buggery and abortion, or the marriage of clergy, or ‘inclusive language’, or ‘inclusive liturgies’, or the ordination of wymynprysts, or the communion of the divorced and remarried, or lay ‘eucharistic presidency’, or even the tedious and predictable dissent from Humanae Vitae.

Absent also were calls for ‘relevance’, ‘meaningfulness’ and for holy Church to conform herself to the secular world.

Vox populi.

If the people had indeed made such demands, the result of the survey would have been blazed forth in every paper, in every bulletin and on every website available to the conciliar mafia ensconced in the chancery of this Archdiocese.

But because the survey yielded no ‘prophetic’ voices clamouring for ‘change’, the response of officialdom thereto shall be a discreet (if not actually sullen) silence.

One can hear a pin drop!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Striking suicide bombers

Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike on Monday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to in the afterlife. Emergency talks with Al Qaeda management have so far failed to produce an agreement.

The unrest began last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number of virgins a suicide bomber would receive after his death will be cut by 25% next January from 72 to only 60. The rationale for the cut was the increase in recent years of the number of suicide bombings and a subsequent shortage of virgins in the afterlife.

The suicide bombers’ union, the British Organisation of Occupational Martyrs (or B.O.O.M.) responded with a statement that this was unacceptable to its members and immediately balloted for strike action. General secretary Abdullah Amir told the press, “Our members are literally working themselves to death in the cause of jihad. We don’t ask for much in return but to be treated like this by management is a kick in the teeth.”

Mr Amir accepted the limited availability of virgins but pointed out that the cutbacks were expected to be borne entirely by the workforce and not by management. “Last Christmas Abu Hamza alone was awarded an annual bonus of 250,000 virgins,” complains Amir. “And you can be sure they’ll all be pretty ones too. How can Al Qaeda afford that for members of the management but not 72 for the people who do the real work?”

Speaking from the shed in the West Midlands where he currently resides, Al Qaeda chief executive Osama bin Laden explained,

“We sympathise with our workers' concerns but Al Qaeda is simply not in a position to meet their demands. They are simply not accepting the realities of modern-day jihad, in a competitive marketplace. Thanks to Western depravity, there is now a chronic shortage of virgins in the afterlife. It’s a straight choice between reducing expenditure and laying people off. I don’t like cutting wages but I’d hate to have to tell 3,000 of my staff that they won’t be able to blow themselves up.”

He defended management bonuses by claiming these were necessary to attract good fanatical clerics. “How am I supposed to attract the best people if I can’t compete with the private sector?” asked Mr. Bin-Laden.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Prayers for a departed soul

In your charity, gentle reader, please offer a prayer for the soul of my grandmother, Mrs. Kathleen (Mai) Brady, 19.v.1911—7.xii.1999.

She died ten years ago today.

Reflections on the feast of St. Ambrose

Today is the feast of this courageous and holy saint who withstood a bloodstained Roman Emperor (Theodosius) by barring the latter from his church until he had done penance for his sin; he had slaughtered 7,000 of the inhabitants of Thessalonica in retaliation for the assassination in that city of his governing appointee. To resist a fourth-century Roman Emperor was a different matter to resisting a pro-gay, pro-abortion politician in our own time, but with only a few honourable exceptions, our bishops show themselves more timorous in dealing with such pygmies than did Ambrose with the mighty Theodosius.

A bishop truly worthy of the name.

We have lately begun a new liturgical year, and stand almost on the cusp of a new civil year. Melancholicus does not know how many episcopal Sees will become vacant in 2010, but as the world is divided into two-thousand-odd dioceses, apostolic vicariates, prefectures and administrations containing three-thousand-odd bishops (including auxiliaries, titulars and retirees), there are bound to be more than a few vacancies in the coming year. Will many of those chosen to fill vacant Sees pattern themselves on St. Ambrose, or solicit his intercession for their episcopate? Melancholicus is not confident that they will; poor-to-middling prelates seem to be a perennial fact of ecclesiastical life. But if even one of the new appointees would take Ambrose as a model, what a difference it would make to the whole world!

Thursday, December 03, 2009


As Melancholicus has recommenced blogging, he kindly requests his brethren (and sustren) who have removed their links to Infelix Ego owing to inactivity, to reinstate them without delay!

Pretty please, with sugar on top?

Gratias vobis,

Melancholicus, peccator.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Expect further growth in the Church of Ireland

Melancholicus is sure that their Graces Harper and Neill (Church of Ireland archbishops of Armagh and Dublin respectively) are not given to schadenfreude, nor are they—however privately—enjoying the current discomfiture of their Roman Catholic opposite numbers in the wake of the horrors revealed by the Murphy Report. Both worthy prelates are undoubtedly saddened and ashamed that so many persons in sacred orders, consecrated to the service of the Lord, have stooped to such incomprehensible wickedness and that their overseers in the faith have conspired to keep such wickedness hidden from the light, with the result that its perpetrators remained at large to prey upon the innocent again and again and again.

The evil of sexual abuse is as old as humanity itself. As reprehensible as such evil is, what exercises the dismayed, disgusted and betrayed faithful most of all is not the abuse itself, but the conspiracy of silence wherein our fathers in God sought to conceal and enable it.

Melancholicus guesses that defections to the Church of Ireland—already at a level high enough to have attracted the attention of the secular press—will increase still further in this season, the Catholic hierarchy having nothing to offer their demoralized flock but politically-calculated apologies and a never-ending stream of horrendous revelations.

One might almost conclude the bishops think themselves the victims in the midst of this horror!

One wonders how Anita Henderson, wife of the Anglican bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, whose 2007 conversion to the Roman faith was treated as a cause célèbre by the media, is taking these ongoing storms. She must feel that she has been shat upon by our shepherds, and in that she would not be wrong.

This disillusioned report comes from Ireland online. Melancholicus has added a few half-hearted comments in red.

Mass-goers in the heart of the Dublin Archdiocese today claimed that the devastating clerical abuse scandals were wiping out trust in the Catholic Church [unsurprising. The hierarchy seems to have learned nothing since the first spate of scandals in the early 1990s].

As the daily afternoon service began at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral – the capital’s main parish – many people said the shocking revelations were turning away a once deeply devout nation.

Vincent McGuinness, 60, from Whitehall, said the hierarchy had been deliberately covering up the truth [this, sadly, is nothing less than the truth].

“Money won’t compensate them (the victims). What do you give someone who has been raped?” he asked.

“They’re hiding an awful lot.

“Where did they send the priests? Off to America, get them off-side.

“They’re not all bad. But... they’ve left a stain now that will never be lifted.” [Another incontrovertible truth. There are so many good priests, and a great many more mediocre ones, who are not guilty of these crimes. But the stain caused by the inaction of the bishops will not easily be erased]

Mr McGuinness said his own grown-up children refused to go to Mass because they did not trust priests [it is easy not to trust priests; Melancholicus does not trust too many of them himself. But there are probably a good many other reasons why Mr. McGuinness’ children do not practice the Catholic religion in which they were reared. At the same time as our fathers in God were enabling the deviants in their parishes, they themselves were busy destroying the faith of their flocks by implementing the conciliar revolution and then refusing to take action when it inevitably ran out of control].

“Half of this is not going to come out. What they’re doing is they’re actually censoring the damn thing before we see it,” he said [one wonders how much more there is to come... and how much more will never see the light].

A website – – has been set up for disaffected Catholics who have left the church.

To date 3,365 people have completed a Declaration of Defection [As of this writing, the number has risen to 4,204].

The 19th century cathedral [actually it’s a church, not a cathedral, but we won’t get too pedantic just now], in the heart of the city, was around half full for the service, mostly with elderly women [ah, the conciliar church at prayer! This picture is hardly different from Melancholicus’ memories of youth in the early 1980s. Mind you, half-full is quite impressive, bearing in mind that if this were on a weekday, the 12:45 Mass is unlikely to be full of younger persons since these would likely be engaged in employment].

Many declined to comment, waving off questions before shuffling [?] into the large chapel [we’ve gone from a cathedral to a chapel now].

But some of those at St Mary’s claimed not to be surprised by the scale of the abuse.

Margaret Gavin, from the north inner city, said she knew many people who attended Church-run schools and saw the effect that years of physical abuse had on them.

“Yeah, it was shocking. I don’t really trust them (priests) as much now,” she said.

“In other years we were pushed to go to church, but if my children want to go to church now it’s up to them really.”

The shocking report is the third devastating scandal to rock the Catholic Church in the last four years.

Mark O’Brien, 38, now living in London but born in Dublin, was waiting on the front steps of the church to speak with a priest about a recent death in the family.

He said people were being turned away from the Church because they were not supporting their communities [they’re also overworked, and have to waste a good deal of time on bullshit busywork dreamed up by the conciliar revolutionaries—workshops and that sort of nonsense—in the frenetic and ceaseless quest for ‘renewal’. Also, a lot of priests don’t go visiting any more owing to the hostility and intimidation they often encounter when they knock on people’s doors].

“You looked up to priests for most of your life,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It’s disgusting. It’s just a disaster when you think about it.”

Annette O’Brien, from north Dublin, said only the elderly in her neighbourhood went to Mass regularly [this is true everywhere, but once again the reasons for this are deeper and more far-reaching than the disgust over clerical turpitude].

“They’ve walked away scot-free from this, the majority of them,” she said.

“I only know two priests that have done time for it, and one of them died in prison. They should be treated like everyone else if they’ve done the crime.” [it should be added that a good deal more than two priests were jailed for this crime, but it is also true that many did indeed get away scot-free; their names may be mentioned in the Ryan/Murphy Report, etc., but as they are now deceased, no action can be taken] may be visited here. It makes illuminating if depressing reading. There are of course reasons other than sexual abuse why persons should wish to leave the Church; some of these will be apparent to anyone who takes the trouble to peruse their FAQs page. But the bishops have only themselves to blame that such a website exists.

Merely lapsing from the faith makes the return easy; a good confession and a firm purpose of amendment is all it takes to get back on an even keel again. But formal defection from the Church is quite another matter. Of course returning to the Church after formal defection is not difficult, but as defection is covered by canon law, the repentant defector may encounter certain difficulties as a result of having defected; he may not be permitted to receive sacred orders without a dispensation, for instance. As defection is a formal act, the defector must formally return to the Church before he may again receive the sacraments. While in the state of defection, such a one may be denied ecclesiastical burial, or encounter problems if he wishes to marry in church. At the same time, it is hard to imagine that any such defector would be interested in marrying in church or receiving a Catholic funeral anyway.

Expect the number of defections to rise in the coming weeks. Also expect at least some of the outgoing traffic to find its way into the Church of Ireland.

Litany for the Church

Melancholicus was browsing recently through Vercillo’s Catholic book and gift shop in Tacoma, and came away with a bunch of holy cards, one of which contains this most excellent litany for the Church. Catholic readers, please publicize this widely! If many were to recite this litany once daily, with the intention that the usurping pirate that is the conciliar church be overthrown and Catholicism restored to its rightful place once again, it would give the righteous the edge in the ongoing struggle against the darkness.

Litany for the Church

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, Divine Founder of the Church, hear us.
Christ, Who warned of false prophets, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.
St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.
St. Michael, defender in the day of battle, pray for us.
St. Peter, the rock upon which Christ built His Church, pray for us.
St. Francis of Assisi, re-builder of the Church, pray for us.
St. Anthony, pray for us.
St. Pius V, pray for us.
St. Pius X, foe of Modernism, pray for us.
All you holy Angels and Archangels, pray that we may resist the snares of the devil.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray that Christ’s Vicar may oppose the spirit of the world.
St. John Fisher, pray that bishops may have the courage to combat heresy and irreverence.
St. Francis Xavier, pray that zeal for souls may be rekindled in the clergy.
St. Charles Borromeo, pray that seminaries may be protected from false teachings.
St. Vincent de Paul, pray that seminarians may return to a life of prayer and meditation.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray that religious may rediscover their vocation of love and sacrifice.
St. Thomas More, pray that the laity may not succumb to the great apostasy.
St. Francis de Sales, pray that the Catholic press may again become a vehicle of Truth.
St. John Bosco, pray that our children may be protected from immoral and heretical instruction.
St. Pascal, pray that profound reverence for the most Blessed Sacrament may be restored.
St. Dominic, pray that we may ever treasure the holy Rosary.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Jesus our God, in these dark hours when Thy Mystical Body is undergoing its own crucifixion, and when it would seem almost to be abandoned by God the Father, have mercy, we beseech Thee, on Thy suffering Church. Send down upon us the Divine Consoler, to enlighten our minds and strengthen our wills. Thou, O Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived, hast promised to remain with Thy Church until the end of time. Give us a mighty faith that we may not falter; help us to do Thy holy will always, especially during these hours of grief and uncertainty. May Thy Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Thy holy Mother, be our sure refuge in time and in eternity. Amen.

The world's newest sovereign state

Melancholicus fled his Irish homeland just in time, for as from yesterday, 1 December 2009, the Republic of Ireland no longer exists—at least de jure if not quite de facto.

Other sovereign states which similiter no longer exist include the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Cyprus, and Malta. Current candidates for non-existence include Croatia, Macedonia (the Former Yugoslav Republic Of) and Turkey.

Hysterical exaggeration?

I wish that were so, but it is not. The Lisbon Treaty has been ratified by all 27 member states of the European Union, and it came into effect on Tuesday, 1 December. By means of the ratification of this treaty, the EU has been elevated to statehood; it now has its own Constitution, its own President, and its own Foreign Minister. Its already considerable powers to overrule the laws of its constituent nations have been amplified still further, and now that those constituent nations have been relegated to the status of constituent provinces, expect the emergence of a centralized European government which shall impose a uniform social and economic policy throughout its domain. The President and the Foreign Minister are only the beginning; other pan-European cabinet posts will not be long in coming. Let us recall that the Lisbon Treaty is self-emending which obviates the need for any future referenda in the process of ever-tighter integration.

What palpable difference is there in Ireland, or indeed in any of the other nations provinces? Did the world come to an end on 1 December? No indeed. The elevation to statehood of the EU will have silently passed many Irishmen by, as it will have done the citizens local inhabitants of the other provinces. Life goes on as normal. There is still an Uachtarán na hEireann, the houses of the Oireachtas are still functioning, there is still a government and there is still a Taoiseach (however unpopular he may be at present). But these have ceased to be instruments of national sovereignty, and have instead become organs of local government, for they are subject to the new Constitution of the European State. We may still choose our elected representatives on this local level; the central government, however, is composed of unelected and unaccountable officials chosen by the ensconced elites. This is the death of European democracy, as surely as it is the death of the sovereign states.

Melancholicus is not given to sentimentality, but he is grieved by the fate that has overtaken the nation which gave him birth.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Feast of St. Andrew

A day late perhaps, but better late than never.

With grateful thanks to St. Andrew for favours received. Melancholicus is certainly in much better fettle now than when he published this gloomy post two years ago.

This year Melancholicus wishes to present his readers with the collect from the 1928 American Prayer Book—we are in America now, so the American book shall be our source. Let there be no tut-tutting from pious papists; let us recall that for the most part the Prayer Book collects are of unimpeachable origin (Sarum) and that much of the traditional content of the Anglican Prayer Book has since received the approbation of the Holy See. Moreover, Melancholicus’ Roman Missal and breviary are still in transit and have not yet arrived at his new home; the only liturgical texts currently available to him are traditional Anglican or Novus Ordo—and we definitely don’t want to have to do with the latter now, do we?


ALMIGHTY GOD, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed Him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

My thanks to you, holy Andrew, your intercession has been powerful with God!

The Novus Ordo at 40

In ancient days, the Greeks considered the age of forty to be the pinnacle of a man’s prowess and achievement. During the Golden Age of Athenian civilization in the fifth century BC, the philosophers reckoned their predecessor Thales to have been born in 625 BC* — simply by counting back forty years from the date of his greatest achievement, namely the prediction of a total solar eclipse visible from his home city of Miletus (Asia Minor) in the year 585 BC. There is no evidence that Thales was in fact forty years old in 585 BC; but to the Greeks, this did not really matter. If he were not forty at that time, then at least he ought to have been.

As of this November 30th, Pope Paul VI’s Novus Ordo Missae is now forty years old. Is it, like Thales, at the pinnacle of its accomplishments?

If those accomplishments include the liturgical presentation Catholic eucharistic theology in an ambiguous fashion, the alienation of the majority of the Catholic faithful, the triumph of a spirit of experimental mediocrity, the apotheosis of the spirit of Modern ManTM, the replacement of stability with flux and chaos and the triumph of bad taste, then yes, the modern rite is indeed at its zenith. Or should that be nadir?

But if it was intended to deepen the faith of the Church, to promote greater comprehension of the liturgical action among the faithful, to increase devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to woo our separated brethren as well as the lapsed back into our churches... oh dear.

I know what you’re thinking. Typical tree-hugging hippie liturgy complete with goof-ballery and stealth priestesses. But take another look. It is not in fact a Novus Ordo Mass; it is a wiccan wedding, or “hand-fasting” as I believe the heathens call it. The reason I have chosen such an image to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the imposition of Bugnini’s liturgy is that there is not much to separate them, at least in terms of appearances; the mode of celebration of the now not-so-New Mass is not infrequently so casual, informal and horizontal in its ethos as to be superficially indistinguishable from protestant and even pagan ceremonies. Moreover, the spirit of liturgical experimentation which accompanied the imposition of the New Mass back in 1969 invited many flaky Aquarian celebrants readily to admit into the rite New Age elements and other ungodly words and ceremonies. Forty years on and Christ’s faithful are still waiting even for an adequate translation of the rite!

Can the Novus Ordo be fixed? Melancholicus rather doubts it. Well-meaning efforts are currently underway to patch the wretched thing up, but it was broken in its very inception, so there is in fact no optimal condition to which the rite may be restored. Melancholicus here prophesies that as time passes, those trying to repair what it beyond repair will recognize the futility of the task, and the New Mass instead will come, little by little, to resemble its Tridentine/Gregorian predecessor until the two become indistinguishable, and there is once again a single form of the Roman rite.

*For obvious reasons the ancient Greeks did not use the AD/BC dating system, much less the newfangled CE/BCE dates beloved of modern cultural revolutionaries. Melancholicus has simply taken the liberty of expressing the ancient chronology in a system familiar to his readers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Heritage Missal

Melancholicus satisfied his first Sunday obligation of the new liturgical year at the parish of St. Charles Borromeo in Tacoma, Washington. The church itself is nothing to write home about (it is an unbeautiful modern edifice dating from the late 1950s), but the resident clergy are orthodox, the liturgy is generally tasteful, and the preaching is good. One particular difference Melancholicus has noticed between churches over here and in Ireland is that there are generally no hymnals or liturgy-books in the pews of Irish churches, whereas in the United States these things abound. Whether such is a good thing is quite another matter; studying the printed materials provided in each pew (the “Gather” hymnal and suchlike), Melancholicus is less than impressed, and has often wished that American Catholics cared more for the modern equivalent of Low Mass (Irish style). This because the fare to be found in these books seldom rises above the level of tawdry mediocrity, and the pathetic little ditties often employed in American churches in lieu of sacred music serve only to make one cringe.

Since last week the pews have been filled with brand-spanking-new copies of a paperback volume called “Heritage Missal”. This is published afresh for each liturgical year, and contains the Mass ordinary and the propers, including readings, for each day. This in itself is a useful function, as it obviates the need for those wretched missalettes which litter the floors and porches of churches in Ireland. But because the propers are set out day by day according to the civil calendar, the missal is good for one year only, is out of date the following year, and must be replaced by the next current edition. Accordingly, there is an annual turnover of these cheap paperback missals, which no doubt generates tremendous revenue for the publisher. Hence the reason it is re-issued every year. One can only conclude that the American Church has too much money if it can afford to fritter it away on such disposable resources.

The “Heritage Missal”—which Melancholicus can only declare is a misnomer, since there’s precious little heritage in it—is published by an organisation named OCP, or Oregon Catholic Press. This organisation makes a tidy profit churning out these throwaway missals year after year; every church Melancholicus has visited in Tacoma has sported them. A visit to the OCP website reveals that this organisation is a vehicle of the liturgical revolution. OCP publishes the musical compositions of people such as Michael Joncas, Dan Schutte, David Haas, Paul Inwood, Marty Haugen et al—a veritable Who’s Who of songsters that Traditional Catholics love to hate (not without reason). Wikipedia gives us the sobering information that the products of OCP are used in two-thirds of all Catholic churches in the U.S. The result of this near monopoly is a tyranny of the mediocre, since the “Heritage Missal” contains not only the Mass propers, but all the music composed for those propers by third-rate artistes. Thus we get jolly little ditties pitched at grade school level; weak paraphrases of the psalms; jarring modern ‘hymns’ with a pop beat; anthropocentric ‘feel-good’ clap-trap, and other obscenities. There is the occasional kernel of wheat among the chaff; last Sunday’s Mass featured the traditional Advent hymn Creator Alme Siderum in a decent English translation, and to the same melody familiar to users of the Liber Usualis, but overall, the musical contents of the “Heritage Missal” must be judged inadequate for the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

This is tremendously frustrating for those faithful who abhor the triumph of bad taste, not only because of the poor quality of these compositions in themselves, but because of their perpetuity; by printing an annual missal in which such musical settings are included, OCP maintains a stranglehold on Catholic liturgy in the U.S. At present, there is small hope that the depressed state of the liturgy will be relieved; the domination of musical arrangements by the mafia of the mediocre is too firmly entrenched. The forthcoming revised translation of the Roman Missal may have some impact, but owing to the looseness of contemporary liturgical law, in which musical compositions need not follow the authorized text of the Mass verbatim, there is no reason why the same old ’seventies folk-songs (together with ’seventies ICEL) will not continue to irritate Mass-goers yearning for a little solemnity for a generation or more to come.

We might ask: who owns OCP? Is it a private concern? Is it answerable to the bishops? In either case, there must be some way of compelling it to forget about the spirit of Vatican II and conform instead to the principles of the Benedictine reform. If OCP is a private concern, perhaps the dioceses of the United States could cease purchasing its products, and turn instead to a more orthodox, Catholic-minded publisher who would be only too delighted to assist in the reform of the reform, and make a good living in the process. But if it is an organ of the conciliar church, it will doubtless continue to exercise its baleful influence long after Joncas, Haugen, Haas, Inwood et al are all dead.

Small wonder hardly anybody joins in the singing at Mass; most are probably as embarrassed by it as Melancholicus.

The spirit of Vatican II rages against the dying of the light. We might have landed the troops in Normandy (liturgically speaking), but there is a long and bitter fight ahead of us before we stand finally at the gates of Berlin. In the meantime, OCP will continue to churn out volume after volume of the so-called “Heritage Missal” until either legitimate authority or market forces compel them to stop. At present there is no indication that either source of relief will be forthcoming.

The prospects are gloomy.