Saturday, October 28, 2006

Father Fortescue

This is the first in the series of things I wanted to draw your attention to earlier but had no time.

It’s a piece from the Cornell Society for a Good Time and is Some Fun with Fortescue. It’s a long post but simply awesome and very very funny.

Fr. Adrian Fortescue was “the greatest authority on the liturgy of the Roman Rite the English speaking world has ever known” (Michael Davies). Born in 1874 and died in 1923.

He remarks in his famous The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite:
As a general rule, except in the case of processions and funerals (when an indefinite number of clergy, supposed to be the choir, stand around the hearse holding lighted candles), not more servers should attend than those really needed, who have some office to perform. It does not add to the dignity of a rite that a crowd of useless boys stand about the sanctuary doing nothing. Nor is it in accordance with the tradition of the Roman rite to add useless ornamental attendance. The servers needed for the ceremonies are sufficient to form the procession.
The Cornell Society points the reader to this photo of a Novus Ordo with excessive altar boys just kneeling
It also appears that Fr. Fortescue write his famous work (which every MC should own!) for a measly 300 pounds!

I’m a fan of one or two servers at Low Mass but not necessarily a minimalist for Missa Canata’s or Solemn High Mass. But I am practical. I’m not in favour of having boys vested on the sanctuary just to stand there but I do believe in six torches if you can over four, two or none. Every boy on the sanctuary should have a role to play, if not, he should be in the pews.

Besides The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite (I have only just retrieved my 1962 version from Daniel) I have also read Fr. Fortescue’s The Early Papacy. It too is great read and outlines the arguments for papal infallibility up to the Synod of Chalcedon in 451.


Acolytus said...

Aaron, I would have thought you a bigger fan of rites that don't have torches at all. Where, perhaps, for the consecration the Acolytes simple light Sanctus candles and kneel on the bottom altar step holding their processional candles.

aaron said...

well... you can't always get your choice of rite when you want it!!

Yes, I love that part of the Dominican Rite... and fewer little boys to worry about!!!

I nearly pulled my brother off the sanctuary on Sunday for figiting and mucking around!