African Canvas Margaret Courtney-Clarke

The Art of Africa is a casualty
of colonial exploitation, surviving
principally in the museums of
other countries. ~ 
Nadine Gordimer

My objective in this work is to document an extraordinary art form - vernacular art and architecture in West Africa - that is not transportable and therefore not seen in museums around the world. It is an attempt to capture the unseen Africa, a glimpse into the homes and into the spirit of very proud and dignified peoples. In much the same way as I photographed the art of Ndebele women, I have drawn on my personal affinity for the art itself, for methods, design and form, rather than the socio-anthropological or political realities of a people or continent in dilemma. These images portray a unique tradition of Africa, a celebration of an indigenous rural culture in which the women are the artists and the home her canvas.”

Monday, 30 September 2013

Monday, 30 September 2013

A Paradigm Shift In The Catholic Church

Something very big is happening in the Catholic Church, and it’s going on behind the scenes and underneath the radar. It’s happening in America, France, Britain, and in other places around the globe. This trend seems to be most evident in industrialised Western nations, but we can see traces of it starting to develop in the rest of the world as well. What we are witnessing is nothing less than a massive paradigm shift. Traditional liturgy is coming back, and the Traditional Latin Mass (Vetus Ordo or “Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite”) is leading the way.

The United States of America, like France and Britain, is a microcosm of this worldwide trend. Everywhere we look in the Catholic Church today, the news coming out about the Vernacular Mass (Novus Ordo or “Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite”) is becoming downright depressing. Parish attendance is down. The number of people who believe what the Catholic Church teaches is at an all time low. Many Catholic laypeople (particularly politicians) are in open rebellion against Church teaching. The number of new priestly vocations remain at an all time low, and of those few young men who do want to be priests, fewer still want anything to do with the Vernacular Mass (Novus Ordo). Most of them openly prefer the Traditional Latin Mass (Vetus Ordo), and would prefer to celebrate mass that way. The trend holds true in religious orders as well. A few traditional orders are flourishing, while the greater number of modernised orders are fading away.

Let me tell you, this traditionalist trend isn’t going to stop. It’s only going to get bigger, and my generation is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m not telling you to go to a Traditional Latin Mass (Vetus Ordo) if you don’t want to.  No, what I’m telling you to do is get your priest to start celebrating the Regular Vernacular Mass (Novus Ordo) like a Traditional Latin Mass. Tell him to follow the rubrics of the Vetus Ordo as best as he can, and start using incense, bells and chant again. Tell him, to make the new mass look just as much like the old mass as possible, but keep it in our vernacular language. Ladies, start wearing veils to mass again. Gentlemen, dress up accordingly. If you do this, I have a prediction to make. Your parish will grow again. The percentage of young families will increase in the pews. Parish baptisms will increase, confirmations and first communions will increase. The number of Protestant converts to your parish will increase. (See why here and here.) Last but not least, the percentage of faithful Catholics in your parish will increase. How do I know this? I know this because it’s already happening in a handful of parishes across the nation. It can happen in your parish too.


Rant on the Mass

I’m jealous. I’ve always been jealous.

Ever since I was a kid I always thought it was super cool that all my Jewish friends got to learn Hebrew for their religion. 

I used to think to myself “I wish Christianity had a cool other language I could learn.”

Little did I know…

I remember when I was in CCD, a Priest was explaining to us why we use the bells at Mass during consecration. He was talking about how before (which sounded like it was ages ago) the Mass was in Latin and the impression that I got was that the Latin Mass was boring, people didn’t like it, and it was plain bad. So the bells were used to make people realize that the consecration was happening and the tradition stayed. 

What I don’t understand is why the people in the Church want to break the ties between the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form?

The Ordinary Form needs to be rooted in the Extraordinary Form. 

So why not incorporate Latin? Why not have Latin be part of the Catechesis for CCD, RCIA, and Catholic Schools? Why not have the Priest face ad orientem? Why not Chant the Mass? Why not Kneel before The God Almighty while receiving His Flesh? Why not use incense every Sunday?

I guess the point I’m trying to make is—Why not make the Mass what it’s suppose to be? The Church has never done away with anything mentioned above. We have replaced drawing people in with beauty to drawing people in with entertainment. Instead of having a congregation looking up towards Heaven in awe of its Majesty as it comes down to meet Earth, we have a congregation looking at each other asking themselves if they “feel” anything. 

Am I over generalizing? Maybe, but you won’t believe how many people I’ve talked to from my Catholic High School, who no longer go to Mass, or go sparingly, because they don’t “feel anything,” or see why it’s important. 

For the longest time I had no idea why Mass even existed. Even when I came to love the Eucharist, I didn’t understand why Mass was the way it was. “Oh Mass is just so Jesus becomes bread and we can eat Him.” I had no idea it was Christ being re-presented to the Father on the Cross. I had no idea the Priest was acting as Christ in the Sacrifice. I had no idea it was a Sacrifice to begin with. 

The Mass is suppose to be something mysterious, supernatural, and beautiful. If we include things that make us feel comfortable then it no longer becomes mysterious, supernatural, and beautiful. It just becomes casual. 

The Cathedral of South Saint Louis

In 2005, an important change took place in the effort to preserve this magnificent church. Under then-Archbishop Raymond Burke, Saint Francis de Sales was erected as an Oratory of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, serving Saint Louis as the premier center of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Since the architecture and the interior of Saint Francis de Sales were originally designed for this use of the Roman Rite, the church was perfectly suited for this new endeavor.

 With its new mission, the appeal of Saint Francis de Sales would be extended beyond the boundaries of the original parish, and beyond any singular demographic group. For the first time, there was hope that the deserted infrastructure would slowly regain active and purposeful use. The perfect balance between usage and preservation would be an effective means of safeguarding a cultural treasure of Saint Louis.

the full article: