Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Liturgical blue

When we speak of liturgical blue, we fix in our mind that this particular shade of blue is either cerulean or, in other cases, celeste. To avoid confusion, we will stop using the word blue at this point, and use the word cerulean to refer to liturgical blue.

Historical use of cerulean in the liturgy of the Church
Cerulean, as a liturgical colour in Spain, is very ancient. The rite of Iberia placed under Muslim rule, what is now called the Mozarabic Rite, used such a colour. The Church of Toledo did not have the same liturgical colours as did the Church of Rome. The latter, as we now observe, accepts only five liturgical colours: white for great and exuberant feasts, black for death and mourning, red for martyrs and the Holy Ghost, purple for penitence, and green for the rest of the year. It allows gold (not yellow) to substitute for white, and rose (not pink) to tone down purple on the Third Sunday of Advent and the Fourth Sunday in Lent.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas A.D. 2014: Mass during the Day

The Day Mass of Christmas commemorates the spiritual birth of Christ in our hearts. It is also called the Mass of the Divine Word.

On 25 December 2014, feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Mass was celebrated during the day at the Parish of the Holy Family in the Diocese of Cubao. Assisting were members of the Societas Ecclesia Dei Sancti Ioseph – Una Voce Philippines.

At the beginning of the Mass.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas A.D. 2014: Mass at Midnight

The Midnight Mass of Christmas commemorates the eternal generation of the Son from the Father. It is also called the Mass of the Angels.

On 25 December 2014, feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Mass was celebrated at midnight at the Parish of the Holy Family in the Diocese of Cubao. Assisting were members of the Societas Ecclesia Dei Sancti Ioseph – Una Voce Philippines.

At the beginning of the Mass.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Are the misas de aguinaldo abolished?

An allegation that the misas de aguinaldo have been abrogated, by reason of the expiration of the original indult and the non-renewal of said indult, has been communicated to us.

Perpetual indulgence
First, let us examine the bull Licet is promulgated by Pope Sixtus V on 5 August 1586 at the request of the Augustinian Fray Diego de Soria (not to be confused with another Fray Diego de Soria who comes forward to us from our local history, this time a Dominican friar, who became first archbishop of Nueva Cáceres).

Principal cloister of the ex-Convent of Saint Augustine in Acolman,
where the first misas de aguinaldo in Mexico were celebrated.

The partial indulgence of twenty years and twenty quarantines to be gained by the natives when they assist in the misas de aguinaldo was granted in perpetuity. The exact wording of the bull is below:
[…] indulgentiam viginti annorum et totidem quadragenarum et insuper praedictis etiam utriusque sexus christifidelibus, qui in aliqua ex predictis ecclesiis celebrationibus missarum de aguinaldo nuncupatarum quae in honorem virginitatis eiusdem Beatae Mariae Virginis per novem dies continuos ante festum Nativitatis Domini nostri Iesu Christi in aurora in praedictis ecclesiis annis singulis celebrari solent devote interfuerint et, ut praefertur, oraverint similem omnium et singulorum peccatore praesentium in perpetuum concedimus et elargimur.
If the intent of Pope Sixtus V was to grant the indulgence in attending the misas de aguinaldo in perpetuity, then it was also his intent to grant the indult to celebrate the misas de aguinaldo in perpetuity. Indeed, in the latter part of the bull, Pope Sixtus V declares that only when another perpetual indulgence or a temporary indulgence with a fixed duration for the same act should supersede the perpetual indulgence that he granted, would his perpetual indulgence lose vigour and force. We quote from the bull:
Volumus autem quod si fidelibus praedictis pro praemissis peragendis aut alias aliqua alia indulgentia perpetuo vel ad tempus nondum elapsum durantura concessa fuerit praesentes litterae nullius sint roboris vel momenti.
What was the geographical extent of the bull, we should first ask. The rubric of the perpetual indulgence says: Pro ecclesiis Ordinis Fratrum Eremitarum Sancti Augustini in Indiis Occidentalibus. The ablative Indiis Occidentalibus refers to the West Indies according to Spanish cartography, and the West Indies include the Philippine Islands. One only needs to read the chronicles of Hernando Riquel of the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi, where the phrase Islas del Poniente, literally, Islands of the West, is used to refer to what then comprised the Philippine archipelago. The laws of the Indies, likewise, place the Philippines, together with Japan, in the West Indies, as well as the bull Onerosa pastoralis officii cura promulgated by Clement VIII on 12 Decembr 1600. Read here for a treatment of which side of the Indies the Philippines was included.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Myths about the misas de aguinaldo

Myth 1: The misas de aguinaldo were established in the 16th century in Mexico.
Fact: The misas de aguinaldo were imported in the 16th century to Mexico.

On 5 August 1586, Pope Sixtus V issued the bull Licet is from the Basilica of Saint Mark the Evangelist on the Capitoline Hill. We mention the place because some authors have claimed that the incipit of the bull was Apud Sanctum Marcum. In the standard composition of papal documents, the preposition apud usually appears towards the end of the document to mark the place where the bull was given. You may check Summorum Pontificum and you will see apud Sanctum Petrum towards the end.

The bull is not even about the misas de aguinaldo! It is about the missionary activity of the Augustinians, at this time organised as the Order of the Hermit Friars of Saint Augustine. In order to promote church attendance, Pope Sixtus V granted a partial indulgence of twenty years and twenty quarantines (approximately 22 years) in perpetuity to the natives who (1) visited the churches of the Augustinians on the feasts of the Blessed Virgin, or of Saint Augustine, or of other saints of the Order, or of Saint Lazarus, or of Saint Michael the Archangel; or (2) attended the misas de aguinaldo in honour of the virginity of the Blessed Virgin. To gain the indulgence, the natives must pray (1) for the exaltation of Holy Mother Church, (2) for the propagation of the Catholic faith, and (3) for the constancy of those newly converted to the faith in the aforesaid faith.

This indult was granted through the efforts of Fray Diego de Soria, at one time, procurator of the Augustinian provinces of Mexico, who is also credited to have introduced the custom of the posadas in Mexico.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Immaculate Conception A.D. 2014

We rejoice with the entire Philippine archipelago! We greet each other, perpetuating the manner of our ancestors ¡Ave, María Purísima! and ¡Sin pecado concebida!

On 8 December 2014, feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Principal and Universal Patroness of the Philippine Islands, a day of obligation in the entire archipelago, Mass was celebrated at the Parish of the Holy Family in the Diocese of Cubao. Assisting were members of the Societas Ecclesia Dei Sancti Ioseph – Una Voce Philippines.

At the beginning of the Mass.

[Note: The colour used here is called the liturgical blue. Actual colour used here is caerulean (RGB: 0, 63, 255), which coincides with the colour indicated in the indult (in Latin, caeruleus). Another colour commonly used is celeste (RGB: 178, 255, 255), much lighter than caerulean, which coincides with the Spanish usage (in Spanish, celeste or azul celeste).

Liturgical blue is never to be conflated with what most of us understand as blue (RGB: 0, 0, 255). Blue and its deeper relatives—for example, ultramarine (RGB: 63, 0, 255) or navy blue (RGB: 0, 0, 128)—should never be considered as substitutes to liturgical blue. These deeper shades of blue can only be used as substitutes to Advent purple (closer to blue) but not to Lenten purple (closer to red).

The different treatment of the liturgical purple in the Philippines probably came about with the transfer of power from Spanish to American. Spanish purple, morado, has always been closer to blue, which was not the purple followed throughout Christendom. Historically, the intensity of the colour purple depended on the available material for the pigment, and the Spaniards happened to have a source that produced purple close to blue. Spanish bishops actually resented when Pope Pius XII required them to abandon their purple and follow the Roman purple, just as Spanish priests resented the imposition of the fascia upon their clerical attire.

When the Americans came, they naturally brought their purple with them. So a compromise came about to accommodate both tinctures of purple. The darker, bluish purple was assigned to Advent (probably, to symbolise darkness before the Advent of Christ); while the lighter, reddish purple went to Lent (probably to symbolise the Blood of Christ spilt during His Passion).]