by Bernard Brandt
Through the kindness of Fr. Ivan Moody, who posted the above YouTube clip on Facebook this afternoon, I have been listening to and greatly enjoying the above album from Harmonia Mundi. Not only does it have the whole Missa Viri Galilaei of Palestrina, but also the chant propers of the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The album closes with a motet by Palestrina based on the chant Introit of the Feast, ‘Viri Galilaei’.
I suppose that I should be happy with this, and the fact that this evening I shall be helping to sing and to serve the Feast today, according to the Byzantine use of the Russian Orthodox service.
But I am saddened to consider that for most of my sixty-four years, and quite likely for the remainder of my life, most of us, myself included, have been and will continue to be deprived of the liturgical and spiritual treasures of the West.
Woe unto you, ye false bishops and priests of the West!
You have not only sold your birthright for a pot of message, for a false claim of ‘relevance’, but you have deprived three generations of the faithful of their rights, under canon law and the express orders of the Councils, even including those two of the Vatican, of the artistic, musical, and spiritual treasures of our faith!
You false clerics are worse than the Pharisees whom our Lord Christ condemned. You have prevented the faithful from entering into the Kingdom of Heaven through the worship of the Divine Liturgy, and you have excluded yourselves from it as well!
You have taken the most precious thing on this earth, the worship of the Lord God through the Divine Liturgy, and you have made of it a laughing stock!
By your foul and secret sins, you have desecrated the image of Christ that had been impressed upon you through ordination!
But worse, by every inattentive word that you have spoken, and every inattentive act that you have done, during the service of the Lord, you have desecrated that very service, and you have dis-served the people who came to you for spiritual food and spiritual drink!
You are worse than sons of Eli, or sons of Belial! For you have not simply made gain of your position as priest by robbing the people, you have not simply dressed in sacerdotal robes while you were befouled by your own sins, but you have abused and defiled the children of God, most especially those little ones whom the Lord particularly loves!
Therefore, if you do not repent of your sin and wickedness, it will not simply be your lot to be cast into Hell!
Since you priests were the ones to assist the people under your charge to leave Christ’s Church, and to lead them astray, it will be your lot that your very skulls will be the paving stones to Hell, upon which those whom you have led astray will walk in their path to perdition!
And you bishops! You whose charge it was to oversee your flock! You will be set as signposts on that path to perdition! And it will be your eternal duty to watch those whom you were supposed to lead into Heaven, to be led into Hell instead!