Agnus Dei set to Barber’s Adagio for Strings

While preparing to record the latest episode of The Break, Father Roderick was playing some music. Among the songs he played was Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, a work I love. I know I’m not the only one in that, and in the chatroom at SQPNconnect I learned that Barber also used the Adagio as a setting for the Agnus Dei. It’s hauntingly beautiful.

Tu es Petrus…

Christs handing the keys to St. Peter, by Pietro Perugino

[Y]ou are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

Mt. 16, 18-19

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the cathedra Petri, the Chair of St. Peter, and looks back at her creation, her establishment by Jesus Christ upon the rock that is St. Peter. The promise recounted in the Gospel of Matthew, which I quote above, continues to be a backbone of the Church’s identity. It shows that she is not a human construct, although she consists of humans – after all, Christ Himself established the Church. It conveys a unity upon the Church which literally no one or nothing outside her can disrupt. That is why any splits can never lead to two separate Churches. There is and always has been the one Church that Christ established for us Himself.

The papacy, the long line of successors to St. Peter as leader of the Church in Rome, also finds part of its origin in these verses (the other is Christ’s command to Peter to shepherd His flock). The rock that was St. Peter did not suddenly vanish when he died. It continues as the foundation of Christ’s Church on Earth, and we can see it every day in the person of the pope. As my priest said before Mass began today: the Holy Father is the sign of our unity.

Further developments around Reusel

The case in Reusel of the local priest denying communion to the openly homosexual carnival prince of the village continues to stir up the blogosphere. In Dutch, both Frank Meijneke and Father Cor Mennen comment on it. The original news item was even picked up internationally by LifeSiteNews and commented upon by the iPadre, Father Jay Finelli. In local news media, sadly, various dissident Catholics, such as former abbot Ton Baeten, criticise Father Buyens for his actions. But that was not unexpected. In orthodox circles, developments are sometimes reconsidered good because these people are against them.

The announced protests by homosexual organisations at the church in Reusel on Sunday did not fully materialise, luckily. Some people did show up, and others attended the Mass in protest. They handed out pink triangles to parishioners. Some politely returned them, others enthusiastically accepted.

Fearing a demonstrative refusal of the communion by people who attended Mass in protest (something for which the Body of Christ may never be used), Father Buyens decided to not distribute Communion at all. A sad but necessary decision to protect the Blessed Sacrament against possible profanation.

Translating from Frank Meijneke’s article linked to above:

“Receiving Holy Communion is seen as a right, which has led to the humble realisation of the gift of grace falling out of sight. […] [H]e who consciously denies God’s approach in an act of ‘protest’ does not deny the priest and not even the Church, but God Himself. With such an attitude it is of course not proper to receive the Body of the Lord as long as the relationship with God has not been repaired.”

And Father Mennen:

“It is disgusting to have to read in the newspaper how people speak about communion as “giving a host”, as if it is a piece of candy that everyone in the building has a right to receive.”

The latest news is now that the protesters, or possible a handful of instigators, plans to go to the cathedral of St. John the Baptist in ‘s-Hertogenbosch next Sunday. Why there? Because the next televised Mass will be broadcast from there…