Not to be missed:
The complete plainsong office of Matins & Lauds for Holy Thursday
Lamentationes Jeremiæ (Lassus)
Tenebræ responsories (Victoria)
Featuring the St. Mary’s Schola Cantorum and Children’s Schola Cantorum
In this beautiful and ancient service, as the choir sings the psalms which mark the beginning of the Triduum, the candles are extinguished one by one, until the church is left in total darkness.
In case you haven’t heard – a “final” decision was reached last month to close the “Our Lady of Good Counsel Academy.” It has resided at its quaint White Plains campus since 1896. An elementary school also run by the Sisters of Divine Compassion was able to relocate to a closed Catholic parochial school in the nearby town of Valhalla. The announced reasons for the closing are the obvious ones; the Sisters of Divine Compassion has a dwindling number of aging sisters requiring care and almost no new members.
I should mention my daughter graduated from this school five years ago. At that time, only a few sisters still remained involved with the school and their average age was not unsurprisingly high. The philosophy of Good Counsel Academy was that of your standard middle-of-the-road to progressive Catholic educational institution. At my daughter’s graduation I recall there was much said regarding empowering women; almost nothing on “God” or “Christ.” Thus, the fate of this school seems to me entirely predictable. It is a shame, though, for all the faculty, parents and students involved – many of the latter coming from poorer circumstances. It is also a tragedy for White Plains to lose a landmarked site like this campus.
The attitude of these sisters was somewhat different only 20 years ago. Pace had acquired in the 1970’s a college that the sisters also previously conducted on another part of their campus and now wanted to close it because of lack of enrollment. The sisters challenged that change of purpose. At the time, The New York Times reported, Pace university used reasoning much like that of the Catholic Church today:
What is more, officials at the university have questioned why the sisters — who are close neighbors of Pace on property off one of the main thoroughfares in this city — are holding fast to values that may no longer be relevant.
”You can’t freeze time,” ”and you can’t live in the past,” said Stephen Brodsky, a lawyer for the university. ”There are changing patterns of enrollment to consider now and monetary concerns to factor in.”
And Pace made this nasty but true point:
Defending its position to decide policy on the basis of financial needs, the university also argues in its legal papers that the sisters were motivated by similar concerns when they transformed the Catholic College for Women, in a series of steps from 1955 to 1971, into a nonsectarian, co-educational institution. Pace has claimed that the nuns did so in part because they wanted to be eligible for state educational funds.
So wee see that the fate of the high school and the loss of the White Plains campus were, in a sense, already foreshadowed and preprogrammed by the policies adopted in the first years after the Council. And the representative of the sisters herself told the New York Times that the sisters were part of ”a vanishing breed” — there were only 124 nuns in the order (in 1997) compared with 224 in the peak days. Things have not improved in the last 20 years.
And the Archdiocese? Catholic New York reported on the closing, referencing statements of Cardinal Dolan and the Sisters of Divine Compassion. The whole reads more like a lawyer’s brief than the words of a religious organization. It is reiterated that the high school is totally separate from the Archdiocese and the decision to close was taken solely by the sisters. But then the Archdiocese magnanimously tried to find an alternative locations, none of which worked out (obviously because only six to nine months were available to find a solution, given the actions by taken the sisters).
“At this point the archdiocese has done all that has been asked to assist this private school in remaining open.” (Cardinal Dolan)
Naturally the committee of parents and others which had been desperately fighting to save the school has a somewhat different view of the matter….
We should conclude by noting that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, has recently specifically endorsed the orders of American sisters – like the Sisters of Divine Compassion – with only a verbal slap on the wrist.
Amazing words on Pope Francis from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. While John Allen, on the occasion of the second anniversary of Bergoglio’s election, still writes of the “Miracle Francis” and expounds on the latter’s “mystical experiences,” the leading German language newspaper suddenly takes a decidedly more critical view. Author Markus Günter writes, for example:
It’s the Last Straw
… The unprecedented wave of sympathy which the Pope triggered immediately upon taking office two years ago is now slowly receding. Some experienced a rude awakening when he admonished Catholics not to behave like “rabbits.” For others a border was crossed when he said he would answer anyone who would insult his mother with a “punch in the nose.”…. The spokesman of the Vatican and bishops throughout the world made a genuine effort to explain that which was hardly explainable, that the Pope had not meant it ‘thus’ but in a totally different way…. But, on the side, even the faithful apologists of the Pope lost for the first time their patience: does this have to be so? Does he think at all about the effect of his words? ….For the first time a new opinion took hold: it’s the last straw…. Among the American bishops the expression “loose cannon” has been circulating for a long time when the subject of Francis came up.
Those who should know (the causes of Francis’ behaviour), have appeared for a long time now extremely discouraged. To be sure, a certain learning curve is visible, but the essence of the problem cannot be changed: Francis does not allow anyone to tell him what he has to do or not do. The free, spontaneous, often unreflected word – which he has not carefully tested on the scales – simply corresponds to his character. He is most content when he can simply speak out loud without the need to respect liturgical rubrics or diplomatic practices. Every external constraint – the papal vestments, the apartments of the Apostolic palace, prepared speeches, or the strict ritual of the Vatican – is basically distasteful to him.
Between the Pope and his subordinates the final rupture came on this day ( that of the Pope’s Christmas address to the Curia). Even today it is a mystery why nobody had explained to the Pope the obvious fact: after a Christmas address of this kind no boss could count on the full support of his subordinates.
And much much more.
Of course all this has been obvious for many months now, but for the first time that I am aware one of the major media of the world has pointed out that the emperor has no clothes. Lovers of conspiracy theories will undoubtedly speculate what has led the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to break the code of omertà. The “FAZ” has shown in recent years willingness to work hand in glove with the German bishops’ conference. Could this extraordinarily frank article be the journalistic equivalent of Cardinal Marx’s address a few weeks ago which talked of the German church going its own path? Could it represent a second shot across the bow of team Francis, given them a foretaste of what will come if the Bishop of Rome can’t deliver what the German church expects at the upcoming synod?
A New York Times article on the reaction to Cardinal Egan’s death by some members of this chapel’s congregation.
Not a word in the article regarding the fact that the monstrously ugly “chapel” was recently constructed by Cardinal Egan himself on the site of a parish he eliminated.
A church in Milan- with 16th century frescoes, a high altar and crypt – converted into architectural offices! An in-depth article by Tom Vanderbilt with photos by Francois Halard in the March 2015 WSJ. Magazine.
And of course: Locatelli built a steel structural element that obscures the crucifix in the nun’s choir. The cross was “too strong,” he says. “Not because I mind, but in case someone from another religion comes in. This is not a religious place anymore.”
Application for a beer and wine license.
1b.* Apps. to the SLA for New beer and/or wine License:
JP Street, Inc., 52 E. 8th St. 10003
Tea and Sympathy Inc., 108 Greenwich Ave. 10011
Dumpling 516 Hudson NY Inc., 516 Hudson St. 10014
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center, Inc., d/b/a Sheen Center, 18 Bleecker St. 10012
DomoDomo LLC, 138 West Houston St. 10012
Doshermanos LLC, 95 MacDougal St. Store B 10012
(Thanks to Samuel Howard for the tip)
And the Jesuits are in there of course:
Pope Francis and the Culture of the Internet Symposium
$10 suggested donation…
Both stained glass windows appear in All Saints Church, Manhattan
The following churches will offer Traditional Masses for the Feast of St. Joseph, Thursday, March 19
St. Mary Church, Greenwich, CT, 7:30 pm. The traditional blessing of pastries will follow the mass.
St. Mary Church, Norwalk, CT, Vespers, 5:30 pm; Solemn Mass at 7 pm.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, 400 Maywood Ave., Maywood, NJ, 7:30pm, Missa Cantata.