Sunday, November 11, 2007

Details Before Mass

“Try to imagine for one solid year of my life... I spent all day comparing Merati & Martinucci & Le Vavasseur, to find out where the thurifer ought to stand before the Magnificat, who takes off the bishop's left glove, what sort of bow you should make at the Asperges. I had to look serious, and discuss the arguments for a ductus duplex or the other thing, whatever it is called, at each candlestick, when you incense the altar. Conceive a man, said to be made in the image of God, spending his time over that kind of thing. Even now that the burden is over it fills me with rage to think of those days. I could have learned a new language easily in the time. I could have gone every day to the cinema. I could have read the complete works of Maria Corelli. My cat was spending his time in sane and reasonable pursuits, chasing birds in the garden, climbing trees, or sleeping in his basket, while I was describing the conduct of the second MC at pontifical Vespers not at the throne. And they affect to believe that we lead a nobler life than the beasts...”

-- From a 1918 typewritten letter of the Rev Dr Adrian Fortescue, author of Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, as provided by the St Edmund's College Archive. It gets better.

1 comment:

KJK said...

You say it gets better. So where is the rest of the letter?