How did the kindly Christian saint, good Bishop Nicholas, become a roly-poly red-suited American symbol for merry holiday festivity and commercial activity? History tells the tale.
The first Europeans to arrive in the New World brought St. Nicholas. Vikings dedicated their cathedral to him in Greenland. On his first voyage, Columbus named a Haitian port for St. Nicholas on December 6, 1492. In Florida, Spaniards named an early settlement St. Nicholas Ferry, now known as Jacksonville. However, St. Nicholas had a difficult time during the 16th century Protestant Reformation which took a dim view of saints. Even though both reformers and counter-reformers tried to stamp out St. Nicholas-related customs, they had very little long-term success; only in England were the religious folk traditions of Christmas permanently altered. (It is ironic that fervent Puritan Christians began what turned into a trend to a more secular Christmas observance.) Because the common people so loved St. Nicholas, he survived on the European continent as people continued to place nuts, apples, and sweets in shoes left beside beds, on windowsills, or before the hearth....
by Gregor Kollmorgen
The first 2008 issue of Liturgisches Jahrbuch ("Liturgical Yearbook") contains some very clear and sound notes from a canonist's perspective on the implications of Summorum Pontificum. This is all the more surprising and gratifying as Liturgisches Jahrbuch is a quarterly edited by the German Liturgical Institute (Deutsches Liturgisches Institut), the centre of German liturgical "officialdom" maintained by the German Bishops' Conference. The article (Liturgisches Jahrbuch 1/2008, p. 3 ff.) is written by Prof. Norbert Lüdecke who teaches Canon Law at the University of Bonn. A summary of the article is given in the current issue of Una Voce Korrespondenz, the quarterly of the German Una Voce association (4/2008, p. 371 ff.), of which a summary appeared, on December 1st, 2008, on the website kath-info.de, which we present to you here in an NLM translation:
1. The bishops may issue "annotations and instructions for the implementation" of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, but they may not add "new mandatory content" (cf. the analysis of the "guidelines" of the German Bishops' Conference by Prof. Georg Muschalek).
2. The "guidelines" of the German Bishops' Conference of 27 September 2007 are not binding upon the individual diocesan bishop.
3. The celebration of the Missa sine populo is, except in the case of insurmountable obstacles, to be allowed "at any legitimate place". "Restrictions of the usus antiquior to certain places or times by particular law are (...) inadmissible."
4. In a Missa sine populo (literally translated: "Mass without people") the faithful may participate sua sponte (i.e. without compulsion). They may also advert other faithful to this Holy Mass.
5. For a group, which according to the Motu proprio is a prerequisite for the celebration of a Holy Mass with the people, the number of three persons is sufficient. The diocesan bishop cannot establish a higher minimum number.
6. The parish priest must not discriminate against Masses according to the old use "by keeping them secret or scheduling them at times difficultly accessible".
7. "The Pope has not ordered that the parish priest could meet the request of interested faithful. He has mandated that the parish priest must do so"(Lüdecke).
8. Faithful whose right to Holy Mass in the older use is being denied by the parish priest do not only have the possibility, but the duty to inform the diocesan bishop about this.
9. "Applications" for the traditional liturgy are "not petitions of grace or favour." "Parish priests as well as diocesan bishops are legally held to meet this request" (Lüdecke).
10. The consent of the bishop to a Holy Mass according to the old use instituted by a parish priest according to the desire of faithful is not required.
11. Laypeople as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and women as altar servers are not allowed in the traditional liturgy.
Again, this is as excellent as it is unexpected, and its importance is not to be underestimated. The only caveat I would add refers to no. 5: I think it is an overly restrictive interpretation of Summorum Pontificum to say that a request by a group of faithful is "a prerequisite for the celebration of a Holy Mass with the people". It is a prerequisite for the faithful having a right to this Mass, not for a public celebration of the usus antiquior itself - or, as Fr Tim Finigan calls his apposite post on this question, If... but not "only if".
Taken from the Latin Mass Society's May 2004 Newsletter
When offering the traditional Mass for those who may be assisting for the first time, Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ distributes a short text which explains what the old rite expects of the laity.
However, I will try to show you that there is indeed something you can do, something indeed you are meant to do, and something which will make you very like Our Lady on Calvary.
On Calvary she also must have felt frustrated.
But the soldiers were there on crowd control duty.
And so our Blessed Lady could only stand there in silence.
She and her Divine Son were the only ones
She knew that He was the world’s Redeemer.
So she joined with Him
She offered herself in union with Him,
So in this Mass, try to be like Our Lady on Calvary.
In this Mass, look at Our Lady,
Words are not needed.
of Receiving Holy Communion
Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, whom Pope Benedict appointed last Tuesday as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has praised the traditional manner of receiving Holy Communion. The comments, which were made during a telephone interview, were published Sunday in a Madrid newspaper.
During the interview, in which Cardinal Canizares Llovera is characterized as a man who combines commitment to principle with “exquisite tact and gentleness,” the prefect said, “What does it mean to receive Communion in the mouth? What does it mean to kneel before the Most Holy Sacrament? What does it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him, and we feel speechless, dumbfounded, before the wondrousness, His goodness, and His mercy. That is why it is not the same to place the hand, and to receive Communion in any fashion, than doing it in a respectful way; it is not the same to receive Communion kneeling or standing up, because all these signs indicate a profound meaning. What we have to grasp is that profound attitude of the man who prostrates himself before God, and that is what the Pope wants.”