Thursday 31 May 2012

Chartres 2012 - Part Two

...In which our intrepid pilgrims march out of Paris, and brave the hottest day of the year...

The Mass at Notre Dame started at 7.00, and it was about 8.30 by the time the procession had left the Cathedral.

The walking started at about 8.45 for the first Chapters.  As you would expect, a statue of Our Lady leads the whole pilgrimage, and is carried the entire distance on the shoulders of a succession of volunteers.

This year, the Rhone-Alpes region led the pilgrimage for the first day, and the first chapter was the parish of St André, from Grenoble.  The 12 chapters from Rhone-Alpes were followed by another 12 from Provence/Languedoc (led by the chapter of Sainte Madeleine of Le Barroux), and then 20 chapters from the Nord region.  After them were the Normandy chapters, which included us and the Australians as guests.  So we left Notre Dame at about 9.00.  There were another 9 regions behind us (as well as the Family and Children groups of chapters, which had a different itinerary). In total there were nearly 200 chapters, with about 50 pilgrims in most chapters, so I think that makes it nearly 10,000 people marching.  The last pilgrims were due to leave Notre Dame at 9.30, though I didn't stay around to check that they did.  So it took about 45 minutes for the procession to pass any one point.

The first march took us through the streets of Paris: down the Boulevard St Michel, past the Sorbonne and the Luxembourg gardens, and then through various suburban parks.  In our chapter, we started with a Morning Offering, as we did every day, and then sang Faith of Our Fathers and other hymns and then some marching songs as we walked through the bright Parisian sunshine. Once we were out of the traffic, we sang our first rosary of the day: the Joyful Mysteries.  These were sung in Latin, and took the best part of an hour.  For all of that time, our priests were available in the spaces between the chapters to hear confessions, and we were frequently reminded of the importance of confession as part of the pilgrimage.  This first march of the day was long: about 2 hours and 45 minutes (12.5 kilometres).  So we were grateful to reach the first rest point, and collapse on the grass, having been handed fresh bottles of water and apples as we arrived.

But the brutal organisers only allow 15 minutes for a break, so all too soon we were on our feet again, putting our boots back on, shouldering our packs, raising our banners,hearts and spirits as best we could for the second leg.  It was getting much hotter now, and we were grateful that some of our way, at least, was through woodland paths.  We listened to a meditation, sang more marching songs, and then sang a second rosary. As we approached the lunch field, some 90 minutes and 6 km later, we were asked to stop singing, as the Children's Mass might not be finished.  It transpired the family and childrens' chapters (some 20 of them) had not been made to get up for the early sung Mass.  Instead a magnificent altar had been set up in the field and they had heard Mass there just prior to our arrival.

For lunch, you are issued with bread rolls and water.  Anything else you want, you bring with you - or scrounge from friends.  We had some wonderful cheeses and cold meats which Mrs T had thoughtfully put in a cool bag - and they had indeed stayed cool.  The lunch break was alleged to be 60 minutes, but it passed all too soon.

Then came the toughest march of the day.  In the bright, hot sunshine, from around 2.30 to 5.00, we marched another 10 km. Again, we spent the time singing the rosary, listening to meditations, chatting convivially, singing rounds and marching songs, and simply keeping each other going. The spring in the step was noticeably less than a few hours earlier, and the only relief was the fact that packs were lighter after lunches had been eaten.  However, this is also the time when friendships are being forged: not the easy conviviality of the morning, but friendships forged in the heat of the day, when it is easy for the mask to slip...

And so it went on. We had another break, another march, another break and a final march.  All the way along, there were regular first aid posts, doing a brisk trade in treating people for sprains, heat stroke and so on.  Likewise there was ample water, and we were constantly reminded to drink plenty and keep our heads covered. There were also buses at each stop to pick up anyone who could not walk any more. Nonetheless, it was hard walking: so much so that my eldest, Antonia, who has done the pilgrimage many times in its entirety, was overcome by the heat and was brought into camp in an ambulance...

It was soon after 8.00 pm that we arrived at the Camp Site, and we marched in singing, to show the French we were undaunted by a stroll like that.  It was about 11 hours since we had started walking and we had covered 41 km on a blisteringly hot day.

One of the nice features of the Pilgrimage is that the children's chapters, who walk only part of the distance and are then bused ahead, are encouraged to wait at various points and cheer us on to encourage failing limbs...  So we were frequently greeted by hoards of small French Scouts and Guides singing 'Allez, les anglais!' with great gusto.

I have to admit that I was pretty tired by this stage, so Dominique and I collected our luggage and Ant's from the Etrangers lorry, and found a spot in the Normandie enclosure to pitch our tent.  I then lay down (just for a moment, you understand) and next thing I knew, Dom had pitched the tent, and Ant had turned up, feeling ready for bed.  So she crawled into her sleeping bag, while Dom and I got some of the communal soup which is served up by the vast makeshift catering facility.  Then after a quick splash in the cattle troughs that pass for basins, we too, gratefully, crept into the tent.  Sleep was instant.

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Chartres 2012 - The Photos

The Official Chartres Pilgrimage site has now uploaded the photos of the pilgrimage.  If you are wondering what I am on about, take a look at these.  Note particularly the age-range of both pilgrims and participating clergy and religious: the Church of tomorrow...

Participation?  This is participation!

Chartres 2012 - Part One

... In which our intrepid pilgrims leave home and comfort for foreign climes in search of Grace... 

So Dom and I have just put Ant on her train back to University, and are sat on ours back to Cumbria. Dom is texting all her friends, and then proposing to settle down with a book for some quiet reading (and a sleep I dare guess) which gives me the opportunity to reflect - and blog on - the pilgrimage.

 It has been a rich and eventful few days. The eventful aspect started after we'd met Ant in London, and were on the Underground to a friend's house, where we were staying the night before the start of the pilgrimage. I was entertaining Ant by telling her how we had nearly left our passports at home when she went uncharactistically quiet and turned somewhat pale.

 She had just realised that she had unpacked her passport, as she needed the details for her trip to Greece soon after our return, and had failed to re-pack it. It was in her bedroom back at University several hundred miles away.

So I texted Mrs T. from the tube, to get her on the case immediately. She managed to find a courier firm who would collect it from Ant's flatmates an d deliver it to our friends' house in London by 6 am - for a modest cost of just over £1,000 (!). We declined their kind offer and decided our best bet was for us to try and persuade the French that photo ID was all they really needed (if indeed they bothered to check the passports of everyone on the coach.)

 We spent a pleasant evening with our friends (in between all the phone calls about passports etc...) and got up early next morning to go to the Cathedral. There we met the rest of the British pilgrims for Mass in the crypt. It was good to meet all the others. Some were old friends from the North West and North East, others old friends from previous Chartres pilgrimages, and some were new acquaintances - rapidly to become friends.

The Mass (EF as were all the Masses on this pilgrimage) was beautiful.

 The Cathedral always has a special place in my heart and our family history as it is where Mrs T and I got married some 28 years ago.

 Then we got on the coach and set off for France. Driving through London, we passed the Tower, which I can never see without thinking of Sts John Fisher and Thomas More. Then out through the suburbs and through Kent towards Dover. I explained to Dom about Oast Houses as they are such a typical feature of the Kent countryside (incorrectly, initially, and having to correct myself as my memory caught up with my mouth...)

Meanwhile Ant was getting progressively more concerned as we approached the border control, and many prayers were going up for her. The contingency was simply her having to leave the coach and return to London to stay with friends for a few days... As ever on such occasions her emotions were exacerbated by that feeling of having done something truly idiotic.

As it happened, the French police had no interest in our passports at all, so next thing we knew we were on the ferry in the blazing sun, with the worry left behind with the white cliffs. In the meantime we had arranged for a courier to deliver the passport to Chartres in time for our departure on Tuesday, for the rather more modest fee of £54. Given the slackness of the French police, I was particularly gratified not to have taken out a second mortgage to pay the £1000 for the overnight delivery!

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, and we arrived at our hotel outside Paris in time for a trip to the supermarket for any forgotten provisions followed by a pizza outdoors at a local Italian Restaurant.

And then it started to get serious: alarms were set for 4.30 am, breakfast was at 5.00 and we were on the coach to travel into Paris by 5.30. That was because we had to be at Notre Dame de Paris in time to put our heavy bags and tents on the baggage lorries for transportation to the campsite, before going into the Cathedral for High Mass. As with all logistical aspects of the pilgrimage, this has been developed over 30 years into a system that works pretty well: transporting kit for c.10,000 people so that they can find it reasonably easily at the end of the day requires some organisation.

The pilgrimage is organised by the regions of France, each allocated a colour. We march with Normandy, who are orange. However, we are also Etrangers (foreigners) which is black. So all our luggage was identified by two ribbons attached to each piece, one orange, and on black. It was then placed on the Etrangers lorry, and unloaded in a long line of Etrangers luggage at the other end, where we could seek it out. Needless to say, some people don't understand the system, or have the ribbons, or know where the lorries are and so on, so there is always a lot of explaining and sorting out required on the Parvis (square) outside Notre Dame.

 We also were delighted to meet our chaplain for our Chapter, Fr Mark Withoos, an Australian priest, currently working in the Vatican, and an old friend, both from previous pilgrimages and elsewhere. Eventually all was sorted and we marched into Notre Dame for Mass, behind the various flags and banners of the British Chapters: The Union Flag, St Andrew's Saltire, Our Lady of Walsingham, St Alban and so on.

 The High Mass was magnificent, and the sermon was on the theme of the Pilgrimage: The Family as the Cradle of Christianity. Joseph Shaw has already posted pictures of this and others from the pilgrimage over at his blog. And that feels like enough for the first instalment - in the next we will hear how our intrepid pilgrims coped (or failed to do so) with the first day's march.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Off to Chartres!

The time has come, the bags are packed, the horses are hitched up in the stable yard (well not really, but the train to London is in a couple of hours...) and we are off to Chartres.

Antonia, Dominique and I are the lucky ones this year.  Bernie and Charlie are both snagged by exams (University and GCSE respectively) but are bravely wishing us well.  Anna is not coming - never has and probably never will (though I keep praying...)

So we stay with some friends in London tonight, then meet the other english Pilgrims for Mass at Westminster Cathedral (in the crypt, EF)  tomorrow morning at 7.00 am.  Then it's on to the bus to Paris.

The full pilgrimage of some 8,000 (I think) meets at Notre Dame de Paris at 6.00 am, and this year, for only the second time in the history of the (modern) pilgrimage, we start with Mass in ND de Paris (EF again -  you get the picture).

And then we walk - and sing and pray and talk and listen to meditations and have our confessions heard - and walk and walk.  Some 30 miles later, we arrive at a huge makeshift campsite, collect our hot soup and bread from the catering teams, and bivvy down for the night.

Along the way I will remember all those who visit this blog in my prayers.

On Pentecost Sunday, we rise with the larks (typically woken at 5.30 by the Hallelujah Chorus blasted through the campsite PA system), and repeat the exercise - stopping in the middle of the day for a magnificent Pentecost Mass on a temporary but resplendent altar set up in the French countryside.

Finally, on the Monday, we march into Chartres, for the final Mass in Chartres Cathedral.

Then we tend our sore feet, soothe our aching limbs, and resolve to do it again next year.

Finally there's a convivial dinner for the English Chapters, the first bed for what seems like an age, and the bus back to London the next day.

So pencil it in your diary for next year: it's always Pentecost weekend, so boo early to avoid disappointment.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

A pro-life answer to pro-abortion propaganda

I was sent this, and asked to post it on my blog, which I am delighted to do.

One that got away - A Baby Whose Mum Chose Life after Visiting an Abortuary 

You will probably have heard by now about this programme at 10am today on BBC Radio 5 Live; "Victoria [Derbyshire] speaks to doctors, nurses and patients live from an abortion clinic [sic]

It is hard to believe that this will be anything other than a bit of pro-death propaganda. No doubt some of the tragedy of abortion may come through, but it will be presented as a necessary evil, and a better option than raising a child in difficult circumstances - ultimately a good thing for society, but hard. That's our bet anyway. If you are listening-in, please don't hesitate to give some feedback to provide balance. 

The details are: Call 0500 909693 [free from most landlines; other networks may vary]. Text: 85058 [standard message rate]. Email: Twitter: @vicderbyshire. 

If you would like to hear the other side of the story, the real help that women need, and what it is like for a woman who changes her mind at the abortuary doorstep, or what it is like for those who go through the abortion because they have no other choice, or if you want to hear from someone who spends her life providing real help to women in crisis pregnancies, read on.

Robert Colquhoun of 40 Days for Life, has interviewed 4 such women at the Good Counsel Centre. Here are interviews with two women who turned around on the doorsteps of the abortuary, because Catholics were there to offer them help, when both felt had that they had no choice. 

This third women has had an abortion and needs her voice to be heard. Please send this link to everyone you know; (20 minutes) 

Finally here is Ronni a volunteer with Good Counsel; (11 minutes) 

To give Mums-to-be a real chioce involves a lot of time, money and prayer, - we don't have enough of any of these to help all the turnarounds currently needing our help - if we all do our bit to help, even more lives will be saved. Please spread the word.

Let us end our prayer...

Someone commented on Twitter the other day that they thought prayers after the dismissal at Mass were somewhat illogical.

He had the wisdom, or at least foresight, to add "tho' I am sure Ben will be able to say why not."

I was reminded of a monk at my Benedictine school who used to introduce the Post-Communion Prayer with the words: 'And now, let us end our prayer.'

You can see what he was getting at: the Mass is drawing to an end.

But I think this is quite wrong.

It is why I hate it when, at the end of Mass, everyone breaks into noisy chatter.  It is as though the mentality is; 'Good, we've done with praying, now let's get on with our real lives.'

But I think the more Catholic approach is surely: 'Good, we've done with praying the Mass, the formal liturgy of the Church - now let's get on with praying the rest of our lives.'

But then, I was brought up by parents who would always stay to make their thanksgiving after Mass, for at least 10 minutes, while the Real Presence was still within them.

They even told me the story (probably apocryphal, I don't remember) of a priest in the good old days, who had preached one Sunday about the importance of thanksgiving after Mass, and of not just walking out into the street like a tabernacle on legs immediately after receiving Our Lord.

He was dismayed when most of the congregation did just the same as always.  So the next Sunday, he got all the boys in the parish into the sacristy after Mass, and each person who left straight away, was accompanied by a vested altar boy with a candle, in honour of the Real Presence.

The following week, all stayed to make their thanksgiving.

So with parents telling me stories like that, it's not surprising I'm a liturgist's nightmare...

And what's more...

At the Mass, we are standing once more at the foot of the cross, as the Son offers the Perfect Sacrifice to the Father.  We are with St John - and Our Lady.  Not only that, but Christ, in the midst of his suffering, says: 'Behold your Mother.'  Surely it cannot be that inappropriate to acknowledge her, and ask her to join her prayers with ours, in union with her Son, to the Father...

Or one can look at it another way: we are at the throne of Grace, where the Father reigns, and wehre the Son is eternally offering the Sacrifice for the living and the dead.  And the Queen Mother is also there, enthroned as Queen of Heaven.  Surely it cannot be that inappropriate to acknowledge her, and ask her to join her prayers with ours, in union with her Son, to the Father...

I am, of course, no liturgist, so these are personal and private musings; the Church has the right and the responsibility to regulate liturgy: but I pray that it may be done with a broader perspective than some liturgical experts would bring to the discussion...

Tuesday 22 May 2012

A much better idea...

Marriage is about love and commitment, isn't it.  And love is a good thing: indeed most people of any faith or none would say we should love each other.  And we should commit to that.  And that would be good for society.

So let's just say that everyone is married to everyone else.

There: problem solved.  That wasn't hard, was it?...

What do you mean, it would make the word 'marriage' meaningless?

That was rather my point.

Monday 21 May 2012

Good News for Gays

In all the noise about the campaign for and against Same Sex Marriage, it is very easy for orthodox Christian belief to be seen as anti-homosexual.

This is clearly gravely wrong.  Orthodox Christianity is pro-humanity.  Man is made in the image and likeness of God, was considered worth Our Redeemer giving His life for (each and every one of us), and is willed and destined by God for eternal happiness in heaven, if we accept His offer.

True, man is also broken by original sin and further damaged by personal sin; but none of these, nor any power or principality, can stand between God and man - unless man chooses to refuse God’s grace.

The Gospel of Christ is Good News, not only for mankind as a whole, but for each individual, in his or her own circumstances.

God loves us even as we are now.  But for us to return that love, we must be open to it, and not reject it.  ‘If you love me, keep my commandments...’

So part of the good news for gays must be that they are not trapped or defined by their sexuality, but that in Christ they can find the freedom to love truly, madly, deeply, with integrity - and chastely.

We need to find ways to articulate that good news in a way that will have some chance of being heard and understood, rather than be seen as gay-bashing...

Part of that means upholding the whole of Catholic teaching about human sexuality: including teaching on chastity in marriage and in the single state, openness to life, and so on.  We mustn't be seen to be picking on one type of sexual sin (to which I, for example, I am not tempted) more than all the others (to which I and many of us are tempted).

But we need to do more than that, to help people see the radical love and joy available to them in the Gospel.

I’m not sure how to do that, but am sure it is a vital task.  Any ideas, examples or resources would be of great interest.

Sunday 20 May 2012

London's New Catholic University...

I have been sent this flyer for an open meeting about the proposed new Catholic University in London, which I thought would be of interest.

I wish I'd known about it sooner, as am travelling to London that day for the Chartres Pilgrimage which departs early the following morning, but we have already booked train tickets for various trains (we are converging from different parts of the country) which will arrive in London too late for the meeting.

If anyone does go, I would be interested in any report of the meeting.

Saturday 19 May 2012

Twitterangelus site goes live

Thanks to Marc Puckett (@marcpuck) the new dedicated Twitterangelus site is now live.

You can visit it at

It has the prayers for the Angelus and Regina Caeli in many languages, ready for twitter: in segments of less than 140 characters, with the correct hashtags (including language hash tags, so if several languages are being prayed simultaneously it is not too confusing.)

Do go and have a look, bookmark the site, and let us have your suggestions in the comms box there for its development.

Latin Lesson: Regina Caeli and nouns...

For your test this week, have a look at the Regina Caeli (below), and identify all the verbs.  Work out why they have the endings they have (infinitive, imperative, 1st, 2nd or 3rd person etc). 
The ending you haven’t met previously is -xit. You should be able to work out the person and tense of that from the context. 

Oh, and notice the subjunctives!

 Leave questions in the comms box.   

Then learn the Regina Caeli and its collect by heart (in Latin) if you don’t already know them.

Regina Caeli

Regina caeli, laetare, Alleluia,
O Queen of heaven, rejoice, Alleluia,

Quia quem meruisti portare, Alleluia,
For He whom thou didst merit to bear, Alleluia,

Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia,  
Has risen as He said, Alleluia,

Ora pro nobis Deum, Alleluia. 
Pray for us to God, Alleluia.

Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, Alleluia, 
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, Alleluia,

Quia surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.  
For He is risen, the Lord, truly, Alleluia.

Oremus:  Deus qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi,  
Let us pray: O God, who by the resurrection of thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ

mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus, 
to the world to rejoice has granted: grant, we ask,

ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae.  
that by his Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may be led to the joys of eternal life.

Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.   
By the same Christ our Lord,


Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum.
May the divine assistance remain always with us.

Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen. 
May the souls of the faithful, by the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

A few vocabulary notes:  

Regina - queen (hence regal, etc)
Gaudia - joy (hence gaudy, especially in its meaning of a joyful evening (Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night for example)
Perpetuae - perpetual, eternal

The rest you should recognise, or should be easy to deduce from context.

So let’s look at nouns.
We have seen several different endings,  and that relates to the fact that nouns in Latin decline: that is, their endings change to indicate the part they are playing in a sentence.

We have some remnants of this in English, most obviously in our personal pronouns:  consider I, me, my, mine; and he, him, his, or she, her, hers, for example.

In Latin there are 6 cases (as they are called), in each of the singular and the plural.

Now wrap a wet towel around your head.  You may need to read through this a couple of times, but once you have grasped this (and the bit about verbs from last week’s lesson) you have got the basics that will help you have a good crack at de-coding Liturgical Latin.

There is a convention that the six cases in Latin are always listed in this order:

1 The Nominative: This is used for the subject of the verb: the thing or person who undertakes the action. 
eg: The man kicks the dog. The man is the subject of the verb, and in Latin that would be expressed by putting the noun ‘man’ in the nominative case. (In English we indicate that mainly by word order: but notice that pronouns like I and he decline. Thus we know to say I kick the dog and He kicks the dog not * Me kick the dog or *Mine kick the dog etc nor *Him kick the dog or *His kick the dog.)
NB where I use an example that is deliberately incorrect, I will preface it with an asterisk *

2 The Vocative: This is used when someone or something is being addressed.
eg Oh Moon, how beautiful you are. The moon is being addressed: in Latin, that is expressed by putting the noun ‘moon’ in the vocative case. (In English we generally express that by prefacing the noun with ‘O’ or simply by context and word order.)

3 The Accusative: This is used for the direct object of the verb: the thing or person to whom something is done. 
eg: The man kicks the dog. The dog is the object of the verb, and in Latin that would be expressed by putting the noun ‘dog’ in the accusative case. (In English we indicate that mainly by word order: but again, note that pronouns like I and he decline. Thus we know to say The dog bites me and The dog bites him, not * The dog bites I or *The dog bites he.)

4 The Genitive: This is used to indicate possession.
eg The woman’s husband was hen-pecked (which could equally be expressed: The husband of the woman was hen-pecked).
Here the woman is the possessor of the hen-pecked husband.  In Latin, that would be expressed by putting the noun ‘woman’ in the genitive case. (You may have realised that the -’s in English is often a genitive declension: the woman’s husband, the boy’s dog, the girl’s stiletto.  We also have a plural genitive, often expressed as -s’ the womens’ husbands; the boys’ dog; the girls’ stiletto)

5 The Dative: This is used to indicate the indirect object of transitive verbs of giving, showing or speaking.  (eg someone to whom something is given, shown or said)
eg: The boy gave the stiletto to the girl.
Here the girl is the receiver, and in Latin this would be expressed by putting the noun ‘girl’ in the dative case.  (In English we often indicate this by use of the word ‘to’ before the noun).

6 The Ablative: This is the most complex case to explain.  I learned it as ‘by, with or from.’ 
Eg I was given this by the man; I went there with the man; I parted from the man.
In each of these examples, Latin would put the noun for man in the ablative case to express the concepts of by, with, or from respectively.

This is a somewhat simplified introduction to cases, but I think will do for now.  We may comment further as we come across other examples of how cases are used.

So let us now consider some examples we have already come across:

1 Nominative: Dominus tecum - The Lord (is) with you; Quia surrexit Dominus vere - for the Lord is risen indeed.

2 Vocative:  Regina caeli - O Queen of heaven; Deus, qui per... O God, who by...

3 Accusative: Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie - Give us this day our daily bread (nb ‘us’ is the indirect object and is thus in the dative case - nobis)

4 Genitive: Regina caeli - O Queen of heaven

5 Dative: Ora pro nobis Deum - pray for us to God

(UPDATE: See Adrian Furse's comment in the comms box!)

6 Ablative: libera nos a malo - deliver us from evil; sicut in caelo et in terra - on earth as it is in heaven

Now this is where it gets complicated... (as if it wasn’t already).

There are five groups (or ‘declensions’) of noun in Latin, with their own patterns of endings.

When citing a noun (eg for the purposes of learning to decline it) it is usual to give both the nominative singular and the genitive singular.  That is sufficient to show anyone (who knows their Latin) how the noun will decline.

Thus one would talk about the noun regina, reginae (f).  The (f) indicates that it is a feminine noun.

So let us take that as an example, and look at how it declines.  For the record, this is a regular first declension noun (and first declension nouns are nearly all feminine, with a few exceptions: nouns of occupation, such as agricola, (farmer) and poeta (poet))

First declension

              Singular      Plural
Nom:    regina         reginae
Voc:     regina         reginae              
Acc:     reginam      reginas
Gen:     reginae       reginarum
Dat:     reginae        reginis
Abl:     regina         reginis

Second declension

A regular second declension noun we have come across is dominus, domini (m) lord, or master
              Singular     Plural
Nom:    dominus     domini
Voc:     domine       domini
Acc:     dominum    dominos
Gen:     domini       dominorum
Dat:      domino      dominis
Abl:      domino     dominis

Third declension

A regular third declension noun we have come across is debitor, debitoris (m) a debtor
                Singular       Plural
Nom :      debitor        debitores
Voc :      debitor         debitores
Acc :      debitorem    debitores
Gen :      debitoris      debitorum
Dat :      debitori        debitoribus
Abl :      debitore       debitoribus

That feels like plenty for today.  We will look at more nouns later, if anyone is interested.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Ascension Day Treat

Ignoring the silliness that would try to persuade me that the Ascension has been postponed (and which denies me access to a Mass today!) I thought I would post an Ascension Day treat for my loyal reader.

Ascendit Deus by Peter Phillips

Ascendit Deus in iubilatione, et Dominus in voce tubae.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

God ascends in jubilation, and the Lord to the sound of trumpets.  Alleluia! Alleluia!

Exciting #twitterangelus developments

Marc has got a new site which he is lining up to be a dedicated home for twitterangelus, with an appropriate domain name.

I really want twitterangelus to be an oasis of prayer and calm.

To that end, I think we need to avoid controversy, and may need some agreed rules for the site.

So I would propose:

a) we acknowledge the value of Latin and vernacular languages (as does the Church); we do not allow discussion or debate of the merits or demerits or either.

b) we do not allow any contributions about or promoting or attacking unauthorised Marian apparitions.  There are plenty of sites out there for these: twitterangeuls will not become one, as that is clearly highly-contested territory.

c) we are loyal to the magisterium of the Church. We welcome any and all who wish to pray with us, and who wish to learn more about Marian devotion, but we will not be a site for debating, still less attacking, the teaching of the Church.  Again there are plenty of other sites available for such discussions.

I hope you agree with these broad principles as I think they are important for the apostolate of Twitterangelus.

There may be others we need to consider, so I would welcome feedback on these and any other issues that regular Twitterangelus crew would like to contribute.

Sancta Dei Genitrix:
Ora pro nobis.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Liturgical Latin Pronunciation

Idle Rambler recently asked if I was going to include a note on Latin pronunciation. I hadn't planned to, but it is a self-evidently good idea, so here goes.  This is what my Liber Usualis has to say about it.

Vowels and Diphthongs

Each vowel has one sound; a mixture or sequence of sounds would be fatal to good Latin pronunciation; this is far more important than their exact length.

It is of course difficult to find in English the exact equivalent of the Latin vowels. The examples given here will serve as an indication; the real values can best be learned by ear.

A is pronounced as in the word Father, never as in the word can. We must be careful to get this open, warm sound, especially when A is followed by M or N as in Sanctus, Nam, etc.

E is pronounced as in Red, men, met; never with the suspicion of a second sound as in Ray.
I is pronounced as ee in Feet, never as i in milk or tin.
O is pronounced as in For, never as in go.
U is pronounced as oo in Moon, never as u in custom.
Y is pronounced and treated as the Latin I.

The pronunciation given for i, o, u, gives the approximate quality of the
sounds, which may be long or short; care must be taken to bring out the accent of the word.  e. g . mártyr = márteer.

As a general rule when two vowels come together each keeps its own sound and constitutes a separate syllable.  e. g . diei is di-e-i; filii is fi-li-i; eórum is e-ó-rum.

This applies to OU and AI : e.g. prout is pro-oot; coutuntur = co-oo-toon-toor; ait is ah-eet.

But notice that AE and OE are pronounced as one sound, like E above, e.g. caelum.

In Au, Eu, Ay the two vowels form one syllable but both vowels must be distinctly heard. The principle emphasis and interest belongs to the first which must be sounded purely.

El is similarly treated only when it occurs in the interjection : Hei = Hei, otherwise Mei = Me-i, etc.

U preceded by Q or NG and followed by another vowel as in words like qui and sanguis, keeps its normal sound and is uttered as one syllable with the vowel which follows : qui, quae, quod, quam, sanguis. But notice that cui forms two syllables, and is pronounced as koo-ee.


The consonants must be articulated with a certain crispness; otherwise the reading becomes unintelligible, weak and nerveless.

C coming before e,ae,oe,i,y is pronounced like ch in Church. e. g . caelum = che-loom; Cecilia = che-chee-lee-a.

CC before the same vowels is pronounced T-ch.  e. g . ecce => et-che; siccitas = seet-chee-tas.

SC before the same vowels is pronounced like Sh in shed. e. g . Descendit = de-shen-deet.
Except for these cases C is always pronounced like the English K. e. g . caritas = kah-ree-tas.

CH is always like K (even before E or I).  e. g. Cham Kam, machina = ma-kee-na. 

G before e, ae, oe, i, y, is soft as in generous.  e. g. magi, genitor, Regina. Otherwise G is hard as in Government.e. g. Gubernator, Vigor, Ego.

GN has the softened sound given to these letters in French and Italian. e. g. agneau, Signor, Monsignor. The nearest English equivalent would be N followed by y. e. g. Ah-nyoh, Regnum = Reh-nyoom; Magnificat = Mah-nyee-fee-caht.

H is pronounced K in the two words nihil (nee-keel) and mihi, (mee-kee) and their compounds. In ancient books these words are often written nichil and michi. In all other cases H is mute.

J often written as I, is treated as Y, forming one sound with the following vowel. Jam — yam; alleluia = allelooya; major = ma-yor.

R: when with another consonant, care must be taken not to omit this sound. It must be slightly rolled on the tongue v. g. Carnis. Care must be taken not to modify the quality of the vowel in the syllable
preceding the R: e. g. Kyrie: Do not say Kear-ee-e but Kee-ree-e; Sapere: Do not say Sah-per-e but Sah-pe-re; Diligere: Do not say Dee-lee-ger-e but Dee-lee-ge-re

S is hard as in the English word sea but is slightly softened when coming between two vowels.
e. g. misericordia.

TI standing before a vowel and following any letter (except S. X. T.) is pronounced tsee.
e. g. Patientia — Pa-t-see-en-t-see-a. Gratia = Gra-t-see-a. Constitutio = Con-stee-tii-t-see-o. Laetitia = Lae-tee-t-see-a.

Otherwise the T is like the English T.

TH always simply T . Thomas, catholicam.

X is pronounced ks, slightly softened when coming between two vowels, e. g. exercitus.

XC before e, ae, oe, i, y - KSHe. g. Excelsis = ek-shel-sees.

Before others vowels XC has the ordinary hard sound of the letters composing it. e. g. K S C excussorum = eks-coos-so-room.

Y in Latin is reckoned among the vowels and is sounded like I.

Z is pronounced dz. zizania = dzee-dza-nee-a

All the rest of the consonants B, D, F, K, L, M, N, P, Q, V are pronounced as in English.

Double Consonants must be clearly sounded e. g . Bello = bel-lo, not the English bellow
Examples : Abbas, Joannem, Innocens, piissime, terra.

From lies to clarity? From false love to charity?

Many who campaign for Same Sex Marriage are rightly pointing to the inconsistency of those Christians who take an absolute stand on this issue, based on the Bible, and yet have come to tolerate divorce and remarriage, and in some cases pre-marital and extra-marital sex.  Our Lord could not have been clearer than He was about divorce, and yet many Christian denominations permit divorced people to 're-marry.'

I use the inverted commas advisedly, because there can be no re-marriage of someone who is already married and whose spouse is still alive: What God has joined together...

So we have a delicious irony here: those who are preaching the lie of same sex marriage (for objectively it is a lie, even though I do not believe those who preach it are necessarily lying - they may believe it to be true) are giving the lie to those who preach the acceptability of re-marriage of divorcees; and all of this is pointing towards the truth, the one Christian body, the Church, that teaches clearly and consistently the whole Gospel message about human love and sexuality.

Of course, that is not their intention, but we know God's mastery at drawing good from strange sources.

The SSM advocates, who entirely misunderstand the nature and purpose of human love, tend to dislike the Church even more than all the Christian denominations which have fallen away from her over the centuries, precisely because of that clarity of moral teaching, and the clarity of vision about what human love really is.

They point, and understandably, at the many and terrible failings of members of the Church, and scarcely need to exaggerate them (though many do) to make a telling point.

So how can a Church which has undergone the trauma of discovering a small but significant number of its priests, and a smaller but still terrible number of bishops, have been actively involved with, or passively colluding with the terrible evil of child abuse... how can such a Church have the confidence to teach so high a doctrine of love and sexuality?

Firstly, because it is a true doctrine, and the Church has no choice.

But secondly, because we see it differently.  While it is scandalous and abhorrent to discover such evil in our midst, it is not surprising, and that for a number of reasons.

One is that each and every one of us knows himself to be a sinner: that's what God makes His Church on earth out of.

The second is that in His providence, He chose Judas as one of the twelve.  He told us about the cockle.  We know to expect this.

And the third is that if the Church is, as we believe, His continuing work on earth, His mystical body, then it, and especially individual priests, bishops and popes, will be under attack from Satan and all the Devils of Hell with greater ferocity than any other part of humanity.  We have Our Lord's promise that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church as a Church, but the example of Judas shows that we have no such guarantee for each individual.  So the Church not only boasts the greatest saints, but also some of the greatest sinners: and we should not be surprised that it is so, for it was so right from the time of Our Lord Himself.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Requiem Mass Offertory

Here is the hauntingly beautiful Offertory of the Requiem Mass.

Please remember the late Phyllis Bowman, whose Requiem was today, in your prayers as you listen to it.


Domine Iesu Christe, Rex gloriæ,
libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
de pœnis inferni et de profundo lacu.
Libera eas de ore leonis,
ne absorbeat eas tartarus,
ne cadant in obscurum;
sed signifer sanctus Michael
repræsentet eas in lucem sanctam,
quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini eius.
Hostias et preces tibi, Domine,
laudis offerimus;
tu suscipe pro animabus illis,
quarum hodie memoriam facimus.
Fac eas, Domine, de morte transire ad vitam.
Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini eius.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory,
free the souls of all the faithful departed
from infernal punishment and the deep pit.
Free them from the mouth of the lion;
do not let Tartarus swallow them,
nor let them fall into darkness;
but may the standard-bearer Saint Michael,
lead them into the holy light
which you once promised to Abraham and his seed.
O Lord, we offer You
sacrifices and prayers of praise;
accept them on behalf of those souls
whom we remember today.
Let them, O Lord, pass over from death to life,
as you once promised to Abraham and his seed.

Monday 14 May 2012

His Grace responds

Further to my recent post, His Grace has now posted a fuller response to the ludicrous interference of the Advertising Standards Agency in his right to free expression.

Given that the allegedly 'offending' advertisement is in favour of the (current) law of the land, it would be quite extraordinary were this to be pursued any further.  But that doesn't mean it won't be.  In these days of austerity, there is still plenty of resource behind various branches of the unofficial thought-police whose job it is to make sure we think the way our political and social masters think we should think.

It is perhaps comforting to realise that the only real impact of the ASA's intervention - apart from causing undue stress on Cranmer, which is of course lamentable - has been to get the advertisement spread all over the web, by those like me who take an I am Spartacus approach to such bullying.  Stuart at eChurch blog carries a list of many such sites, though it is not comprehensive, and there are more being added daily.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Fr Finigan interviewed

I have just made time to sit down with my new edition of Mass of Ages, the LMS magazine, and find a very interesting interview with Fr Tim Finigan, of the Hermeneutic of Continuity.

It is all worth reading, so if you're not a member already, join the LMS now, and ask for a copy!

I was particularly struck by this: following the unpleasantness in the parish which spilled over into the national Catholic press, Fr Finigan was asked by his archdiocesan superiors to undertake some research to identify trends and opinions about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
The insights were very revealing. Those strongly in favour of the EF were from mixed ages.  However, those who were strongly against it were markedly in an older age group, those who were young in the 1960s.   I don't agree with their opposition, but you get some understanding by reflecting on their reasons.  For they've invested so much in the reformed Church.  They were caught up in the 60s euphoria.
That resonates with my experience, too, and not least when it comes to priests (and, dare I say it, bisops).

It is understandable, it may be annoying, but it is also a passing phenomenon...

I also note that Fr Finigan explains that he can find the time to blog as he has no television.  So there's one thing we have in common.

Gratias ago

I wish to thank Marc Puckett for pointing out an error in last night's Latin lesson - and for doing it tactfully and privately!  I had copied a previous paragraph to use the structure (1st, 2nd person etc)  and forgotten to change the translation, giving the impression that ago means I praise (etc)   It has now been corrected.  If you printed off last night's lesson, please note the amendment!

Saturday 12 May 2012

Liturgical Latin 3 - Gloria and getting started with verbs

So, first things first, here's this week's test.  Translate the following:

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.  Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus.  Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Good!  You're really getting the hang of this.

Today we are going to look at the Gloria.

Glória in excélsis Deo
Glory in the highest to God
et in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis.
and on earth peace to men of good will
Laudámus te,
We praise thee,
benedícimus te,
we bless thee,
adorámus te,
we adore thee,
glorificámus te,
we glorify thee
grátias ágimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam,
Thanks we give to thee on account of the great glory of thine,
Dómine Deus, Rex cæléstis,
O Lord God, King of Heaven
Deus Pater omnípotens.
God the Father almighty.
Dómine Fili Unigénite, Iesu Christe,
O Lord, Son, Only-begotten, Jesus Christ,
Dómine Deus, Agnus Dei, Fílius Patris,
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father
qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserére nobis;
Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
qui tollis peccáta mundi, súscipe deprecatiónem nostram.
Who takest away the sins of the world, hear the prayers of us.
Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris, miserére nobis.
Who sittest at the right of the Father, have mercy on us.
Quóniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dóminus, tu solus Altíssimus,
For thou only art Holy, thou only art Lord, thou only are the Most High,
Iesu Christe, cum Sancto Spíritu: in glória Dei Patris. Amen.
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit: in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

This time we are not going to go through it word by word:  instead I have put a very literal translation, practically word for word (and hence the strange word order in the English) under each line, so you can see what each word means - I hope.

I have chosen the Gloria as it gives us some good verb endings to look at, and I want to focus on verbs as our first real dive into Latin Grammar.

So we shall collect together all the verbs we have encountered over the three lessons so far and have a look at them.  Before we do that, however, it is worth noticing that the Ave Maria only has one verb, and the Gloria has none in the first two lines.  In Liturgical Latin the verb is often understood, rather than expressed: Glória in excélsis Deo et in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis has no verb. I have made that clear in my pigeon translation.  But a better English translation might be Glory be to God...  Likewise Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.  Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus, has no verb at all; but we understand the verb 'to be' implied where necessary; thus Dominus tecum is literally The Lord with you, but we know it means The Lord is with you.  

This is not too hard when one knows what a text means in advance, but when one is translating, it can be puzzling, because a good rule of thumb for translating is to start by identifying the main verb - so if there isn't one...  However, that is not our problem, or at least not today.

So let's look at the verbs we have come across so far.  I have grouped them according to their form, and immediately some patterns become clear:

Present tense, second person singular: end in -s

es  - thou art, you (singular) are
inducas  - you lead
tollis - thou takest, you (singular) take
sedes - thou sittest, you are sitting

Present tense, first person plural: end in -mus

dimittimus  - we forgive
Laudámus - we praise
benedícimus - we bless
adorámus - we adore
glorificámus - we glorify
ágimus - we give


da - give
dimitte - forgive
libera - free
ora - pray
súscipe  -  hear

Infinitive, used as imperative: ends in -ere (other infinitives may end in -are or -ire)

miserére  - have mercy

Subjunctive, third person singular: end in -at


I suspect that some of my readers will understand all those terms, and others won't, so I will give a brief explanation (if you know this already, there are all sorts of things you can do whilst I enlighten those who don't -  feed the cats, empty the teapot, that kind of thing.  Come back in a minute,though,because I am going on a bit further...)

When we talk about verbs that change their endings (conjugate is the technical term) , we use the terms first, second and third person to indicate who is doing the action of the verb.

The first person means the person who is speaking is doing the action;  if on his own, it is first person singular (I sing), if with others, it is first person plural (we sing).]

The second person means the person (singular) or people (plural) being addressed: (you sing).

The third person means anyone or anything else: he, she or it sings (singular)  or they sing (plural).

Thus the verb 'to be' in English is conjugated as follows, in the present tense:

1st person singular:  I am
2nd person singular: You are (or thou art)
3rd person singular: He/she/it is

1st person plural: we are
2nd person plural: you are
3rd person plural: they are

The infinitive is the unconjugated form of the verb. In English it takes the form 'to' + verb (to be, to sing etc).  In Latin, regular verbs end in -are, -ere,  or -ire. 

The imperative is the form used to give an order or make a request: (Sing!)

The Subjunctive 
The Subjunctive is a mood of a verb, that expresses what may be, rather than what is. Adveniat regnum tuum: May thy kingdom come! Fiat voluntas tua: May thy will be done!

So let us look at some regular verbs in the present tense, and how they conjugate (and relax: you don't need to memorise these as you are not going to have to compose Latin. but recognising them will help you to make sense of Latin texts...)

Infinitive: Laudare: to praise

1st person singular:  laudo  (I praise, I am praising)
2nd person singular: laudas  (you praise, you are praising)
3rd person singular: laudat (he, she or it praises or is praising)
1st person plural: laudamus (we praise, or we are praising)
2nd person plural: laudatis (you praise, or you are praising)
3rd person plural: laudant (they praise, or they are praising)

Infinitive: Sedere: to sit

1st person singular:  sedo  (I sit, I am sitting)
2nd person singular: sedes  (you sit, you are sitting)
3rd person singular: sedet (he, she or it sits or is sitting)
1st person plural: sedemus (we sit, or we are sitting)
2nd person plural: sedetis (you sit, or you are sitting)
3rd person plural: sedent (they sit, or they are sitting)

If that first person singular ending looks familiar, go to the top of the class.  You are clearly thinking of Credo - I believe.

Infinitive: Agere: to give or grant (agere is one of those words which can mean many things according to the context and the noun that is the object of the sentence.  Gratias agere means to give thanks, so I will translate it as to give for now.)

1st person singular:  ago  (I give, I am giving)
2nd person singular: agis  (you give, you are giving)
3rd person singular: agit (he, she or it gives or is giving
1st person plural: agimus (we give, or we are giving)
2nd person plural: agitis (you give, or you are giving)
3rd person plural: agunt (they give, or they are giving)

(so note that some verbs in -ere take an -i-  or -u- rather than an -e- in some endings)

That feels like enough to be going on with.  As ever, questions can be left in the Comms box.