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The bees are back!-- for the Easter Vigil

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 29, 2012

As a hobbyist beekeeper I am elated to learn that my favorite insects have been restored to their proper place in the liturgy.

Shawn Tribe of the New Liturgical Movement brings the welcome news that the new translation of the Exsultet, sung at the Easter Vigil, will once again pay tribute to the bees who furnished the wax for the Easter candle. Even if it is scientifically inaccurate, the statement that the wax was “drawn out by mother bees” strengthens the imagery of the Exsultet and thus enhances to its great poetic beauty.

As a bonus, Tribe’s post includes an address by Pope Pius XII to a group of beekeepers, recounting—this time, quite accurately—the lessons that mankind can learn from honey bees.

 

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  • Posted by: Jeff Mirus - Mar. 30, 2012 12:48 PM ET USA

    I don't know what it is about bees. When our original Catholic Resource Network provided its documentary resources to EWTN and helped EWTN develop its website back in 1995, Mother Angelica had me on her Live show to discuss the new resources. She specifically asked whether we had Pius XII's allocution on the bees. We soon located it. I didn't get the connection, but I think I remember meeting Phil Lawler in a stairwell at EWTN around the same time, early in his quest to establish Catholic World News. As they say, the rest is history.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Mar. 29, 2012 4:46 PM ET USA

    Phil uses a jocular tone in reporting this, but for some of us it a very serious matter. Omitting the bees from this---arguably outside of Consecration and the Pater Noster the most beautiful prayer of the Catholic Church---was one of the worst desacralizations committed by the old ICEL in the name of modernization. As much as I missed the bees in the 40 years they were gone, just that much joy they will give me (a non-apiarist) on their return.

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