Tuesday, January 13, 2009

These are a few of my favourite things

I was tagged quite a while back by the former blogger Madame Evangelista whose blogging is much missed. From what I recall the object was to list your five favourite things. I have been thinking about this for a very long time. Where to start? Does life count? However here are a few of my favourite things but this is not in any real order of preference nor complete.

1) Being a priest, although it has its ups and downs.

2) The traditional Roman Rite now known as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Yes there are problems. I can see what the liturgical reformers of the 1960`s were trying to do but I`m not sure it works. And as for the breviary I am with Fr Hunwicke on this one. I say the modern breviary in Latin. The 1962 version seems unsatisfactory for the reason the good father outlines. On the other hand the pre-Pius X breviary would be difficult nowadays. Rather than oblige secular clergy to say the whole of the Roman breviary I think it would have been more useful if someone had decreed that secular clergy did not need to say the whole thing but only salient parts.
However all this is rather off the point. I meant to talk about the Mass. I love Low Mass and Sung Mass. I enjoy attending Mass almost as much as saying it and am more than happy to be subdeacon or deacon rather than celebrant if it means a Mass will be said with full ceremony. However while the EF Mass is an important reason I remain a Catholic and resist any urge to move East, I am firmly committed to visible and unambiguous unity with the Holy See and am not attracted to other bodies which have bishops of varying degrees of validity.
3) Music. Ok that is rather broad but I have quite broad tastes. If I was only allowed one composer out of all of them I`d have to say Mozart but there`s quite a lot of his earlier music which is not so exciting: from about the age of fifteen it becomes interesting. However my recent forays have been into the music of Landi and Pizzetti although one can`t walk into HMV and hope to find their stuff on the shelves. I also love Purcell and Monteverdi and wish there was more of it. I keep hoping someone will find the rest of Monteverdi`s L`Arriana or some of his lost operas. (Cavalli I have tried extensively as a Monteverdi substitute but he`s just not the same.) I wish James II had employed Purcell and Blow for his Catholic chapel. French baroque also appeals. Debussy and Delius too. I like twentieth century English composers especially. Britten is high on my list but also Walton`s Facade and Warlock`s The Curlew are long-time favourites.
Apart from that pop music especially from about 1977-82 is important as it formed the background of my youth. I particularly enjoy the fairly early Elvis Costello although Brutal Youth I thought was oustanding. While not within this time-frame I have also enjoyed Bob Dylan`s stuff up to Blood on the Tracks. Dance band music of about 1925-1935 I`ve always enjoyed and I am revisiting it at the minute.
There`s lots of other things too but generally I`m not that excited by the 19th century and least of all by its operas although I watched and enjoyed half of the 2004 production of Offenbach`s Grand Duchess of Gerolstein last night with Sandrine Piau and Felicity Lott.

4) Parish Pilgrimages especially if abroad. In my last parish I tried to have one of these about every two years. I particularly enjoy taking groups to Rome. The English College villa at Palazzola is a very special place. Pilgrimages, as well as broadening and deepening an understanding of the faith bring people together socially and help build up the community in the parish. We went last year to Rome from St Mary`s. Previous to that I had taken a group to Santiago de Compostella in about 2004 which was a great success. I`m planning a pilgrimage to Santiago again for this year.

5) My two cats are two of my favourite things.
Will this do Madame E? I have missed out quite a lot such as Latin and books but I was tagged somewhere ages back about books everyone should read.


Anonymous said...

Now that would be more difficult to sing a la Julie Andrews than 'brown paper packages tied up with string'!

Augustine said...

"However while the EF Mass is an important reason I remain a Catholic and resist any urge to move East, I am firmly committed to visible and unambiguous unity with the Holy See and am not attracted to other bodies which have bishops of varying degrees of validity."

If this isn't too personal question, Father, what do you mean by "moving East"?

Fr Michael Brown said...

`When the dog bites, when the bee stings,when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don't feel so bad.`

It`s true! I enjoyed writing the post and thinking about it.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Augustine, there is much I find attractive about the Eastern Churches and their liturgy doesn`t have the problems we have, but I am a Catholic by conviction and could never be out of communion with the Holy See.

PeterHWright said...

Great minds !

My own list of favourite things includes the "old" Mass, Greek, Latin, ancient history, medieval architecture, early Renaissance art, books, travel (especially Italy) music, cricket, wine, cigars and conversation.

But I also wonder : would my favourite things remain so if I were fed an unrelenting diet of them ? Or would they pall, become an irritation, or even a torment ?

How would I feel, say, about hearing my favourite music endlessly played over and over again ? Would I always love Chartres if I could visit it two or three times a week, every week, for years to come ? Would I retain my love for the "old" Mass if I attended it twice a day for the rest of my life ? I find there's a different answer in each case.

On the other hand, I do know that now I can no longer experience all my favourite things, they still remain my favourite things.

Would I ever be content simply to remember my favourite things ? I honestly don't know.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Peter, the answer is to have a lot of favourite things! Your response reminds me of that bit of Patience:

Duke. Yes, and toffee in moderation is a capital thing. But to live on toffee - toffee for breakfast, toffee for dinner, toffee for tea - to have it supposed that you care for nothing but toffee, and that you would consider yourself insulted if anything but toffee were offered to you - how would you like that?

Colonel. I can quite believe that, under those circumstances, even toffee would become monotonous.

Fr Michael Brown said...

On the other hand, Peter, I did spend most of 1995 listening to Purcell`s Fairy Queen.

Augustine said...

Don't get me started on music! At Christmas I would have killed for Duruflé's "Ubi Caritas" or... well, anything that didn't need a guitar!

I don't think there are any Orthodox churches in Newcastle other than a tiny greek group that meet once a month at St. Andrews. I was surprised to find, however, that there's a Coptic Cathedral somewhere in the Heaton area!

Still, as you said, communion with the Holy See is worth some of the troubles sent our way...

Anonymous said...

As someone once (maybe twice?) said: "If you enjoy lots of things, you haven't got time for any of them to get out of control"

Anonymous said...

Siegbert Tarrasch 1862 – 1934 was one of the strongest chess players and most influential chess teachers of the late 19th century. He said: "Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy". Try it!

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks Canny Lad. I have tried chess and while it`s great fun I usually lose. Not sure if that makes me so happy.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you give pleasure to your opponents!

Anonymous said...

If you could choose another five things, would food be one of them?

Fr Michael Brown said...


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that anyone who likes cats must be seen as being a little suspect. How anyone can like such loathsome, creepy and selfish creatures is beyond me. I see this this as being a real weakness with our present Holy Father.