1 March 2015

The Five Articles of Unity and the Ordinariate

(1) That in the Sacrament of the Altar, by virtue of the words of Christ duly spoken by the priest, is present realiter, under the kinds of bread and wine, the natural Body of Christ, conceived of the Virgin Mary, and also his natural Blood.
(2) That after the consecration there remains not the substance of bread and wine, nor any other substance, but the substance of God and Man.
(3) That in the Mass is offered the true Body of Christ, and his true Blood, a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead.
(4) That to Peter the Apostle, and his lawful successors in the Apostolic See, as Christ's Vicars, is given the supreme power of feeding and ruling the Church of Christ Militant, and confirming their brethren.
(5) That the authority of handling and defining concerning the things belonging to faith, sacraments, and discipline ecclesiastical, hath hitherto ever belonged, and ought to belong, only to the pastors of the Church; whom the Holy Ghost for this purpose hath set in the Church; and not to laymen.

A beautifully sinewy piece of prose! And very much the property of the Ordinariate. These Articles date from the start of Elizabeth Tudor's reign; it seems to me that they express the continuity which exists between the Canterbury Convocation of 1559 (which enacted these Articles), and the Ordinariate; the Gathering of those who, from within the Provinces of Canterbury and York, finally shook off the burden and impedimentum of the centuries of schism.

On Saturday February 25, as the House of Commons in Westminster completed its treatment of a combined Bill for the restoration of a Book of Common Prayer and of the Royal Supremacy, a little way down the river, in Old S Paul's Cathedral, the Convocation of Canterbury (York could not meet because its bishops were in London for Parliament) met under the presidency of Bishop Bonner and passed these Articles. The first three were, with minor variations, the same articles that had been put together by Queen Mary's first Convocation in 1553 as the basis of the Disputation being planned in Oxford between Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, and some Catholic divines. The first two Articles related directly to the 1552 Book with, between its covers, the Black Rubric denying "anye reall and essencial presence ... of Christ's naturall fleshe and bloude". As Parliament hurried towards the re-enactment of the 1552 rite, Convocation in the most specific terms ('natural'; 'natural') renewed its condemnation of the eucharistic doctrine which the Black Rubric expressed.

And on the very day that the Commons finished their work on the Royal Supremacy, Convocation defined unambiguously in its fourth Article the Church of England's commitment to the Primacy of S Peter. It is hard to think of a more pointed declaration on a more significant day. But the fifth Article is perhaps the most bold and fearless of all (the Universities, when they subscribed the first four Articles, were apparently too nervous to pass this one). The first four Articles, on Eucharist and Primacy, undoubtedly nailed some very dangerous colours to the mast but they were not, when they were passed, actually contrary to Statute law as it stood at that moment. But to deny the competence of the Crown in Parliament to order ecclesiastical matters ran contrary to all the assumptions of all the years since 1533 - assumptions as real in the Marian statutes restoring the Old Religion as they had been in the Henrician and Edwardine statutes varying or abolishing it.

Our forefathers showed their courage at the moment when the regime enacted schism; and courage won the day when Benedict XVI enacted the Ordinariate at the request of three Anglican bishops, two of whom bore the titles of the places of S Augustine's landfalls in 597 after his journey from Rome.

25 February 1559 - 15 January 2011. What a long and wearisome separation. 

28 February 2015

ARCIC and the October Synod

This piece, which I reproduce unchanged, first appeared 22/12/2009. I can't help feeling that it has a curious relevance to the situation in Pope Francis' Catholic Church in this period 'between the Synods'. ARCIC is the ecumenical talking-shop maintained by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

New ARCIC is to discuss: "fundamental questions concerning the Church - local Church and universal Church - understood as Communion, and on the way in which the local and the universal Church can, in communion, discern just moral teaching".

How very admirable. It facilitates a discussion on the very topical question of the relationship between local and universal, which is not only relevant to the problems of the Anglican Communion and the problems between the Anglican Communion and the RC Church, but was also the subject of that rather acrimonious spat between Ratzinger and Kasper not long before the Conclave. Although there is something a trifle surreal about using ARCIC to get involved in a difference of opinion between a reigning pontiff and one of his senior Cardinals!

And it enables frank discussion to take place about ethical questions which some Anglican provinces have deemed to be within the power of their provincial Autonomy to decide.

I recall, perhaps as long ago as the 1980s, writing an article arguing that, if Rome had any sense, she would require ARCIC, instead of picking over sixteenth century disagreements that comparatively few people care about, to engage with the newly emerging areas of disagreement, particularly 'life' issues and sexual matters.

27 February 2015

Job Sharing?

Why don't people swap roles occasionally? Fr Lombardi could go riding around in airliners making remarks to journalists; then the Holy Father could do the News Conferences explaining what the remarks had really meant.

This year's Vatican Liturgical Schedule doesn't include the Holy Father presiding at the Mass of the Last Supper. Is Cardinal Burke, il Cardinale volante, still free to step into this breach? If, by then, the Swiss Guard has been abolished, he could bring his Knights of Malta to the Lateran to provide Security. Juventutem could waggle flabella over the sedia gestatoria.

I wonder if the Bishop of Rome will be the only able-bodied Latin Rite diocesan bishop in the world not to celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper openly with his priests, deacons, and people? There will of course be sound precedents galore from the much more flexible age of the Renaissance papacy ... it's praxis within the rather more rigid post-Vatican II dispensation that I'm curious about.

26 February 2015

Were Classical statues and buildings pure white marble? Go to the Ashmolean!

Really devoted readers will recall some posts, last October, about a travelling Exhibition I had seen in Copenhagen, when I was again welcomed by the Latin Mass Group to visit their fabulous city. The exhibition, at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, showed plaster casts of Classical sculpture coloured as the originals have been shown to have been coloured by modern research. Pathologically devoted readers will recall how I lamented that this Exhibition, which has been going around the major galleries of Europe and America since 2003, had never visited Britain. Now some parts of it are over here; it is in the Ashmolean Museum, free of charge, until June.

The Copenhagen showing was accompanied by a book-of-the-exhibition which I commented upon (Transformations Classical Sculpture in Colour published by the Gallery; 249DKK; ISBN 978-87-7452-337-6; 351pp; much colour). I repeat here some comments I made in October.

This book must be a fascination for all with an interest in the Classical world (and perhaps also for those curious about the scientific methodologies upon which the conclusions are based). The covers tell you what you're going to get: the Divine Caligula ... always dead scary ... on the front, with his colour partially restored; on the back, the Grave Monument of Phrasikleia, in full colour. And there is more than a gesture towards other ancient analogues, and twentieth century art-history parallels. The only thing a rational person could miss is an index.

Let me, with my little thumb, pick out a plum: a seriously good article by Oliver Primavesi, Professor of Greek in the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich, on two passages from Euripides and one from Chaeremon's Alphesiboea, referring to the painting of statues. Primavesi is a convincing textual critic, and Englishmen/Englishwomen will be reassured to know that he vindicates Richard (Oude tode[toddy] oude tallo[tallow]) Porson against the Graf Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf (if I've spelt that wrong I just don't care). The Chaeremon passage, after emendation of the text as given in the Deipnosophists, is translated

He studied the views of her body,
resplendent (stilbonta) in her white (leukoi) skin and radiant.
Yet modesty accompanied this with a most gentle blush (eruthema)
thus modifying the brightness (lamproi) of her complexion.
But her tresses, in red blonde colour as of a statue
sculpted with even the details of its curls,
were tossed about luxuriantly in the humming (xouthoisin) breezes.

This interested me because a great deal of the evidence in this volume suggests the normativeness of painting the stone in skin tones. But Chaeremon, with images in his mind of statuary, suggests that only a blush varied the whiteness of her skin ... not pink paint.
My mind, of course, immediately turned to Ovid X, to the account of Pygmalion and his  ... er ... adventures. Here, also, one finds the emphasis on the whiteness (niveum ebur) of the girl-statue. And, here again, the whiteness is changed only when she blushes (erubuit). At no point is Pygmalion's sculpting or its aftermath described as being interrupted to allow the artists to come trotting in with their pigments and to paint the skin-tones. (And cf Lavinia's blush at Vergil XII 64-69.)

At this point, readers will be wondering if there is any evidence that the chryselephantine statues of Athene Promakhos and Zeus Olympios had their ivory bits delicately tinted ... so am I ...

But stay! A later paper by Clarissa Blume (Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum) tells us that "There is moreover diverse evidence that the areas of skin could have been left marble white and simply given a coating of wax ... there are individual statues the painting of which in its entirety is so well preserved (i.e. there are traces of colour on every detail) that the absence of colour traces on the skin areas is striking. ... The group of statues known, or believed with good reason, to have had marble white skin is still relatively small. One can therefore only speculate what purpose was associated with such a rendering of the skin. Based upon comparanda as well as upon ancient literary sources, it may be assumed that marble white and thus an extremely white skin was meant to emphasise the beauty of the subject." Indeed.

An interesting example, all this, of how texts and artefacts can throw light upon each other (as Zanker showed in his work on the Image of Augustus). You will remember the seduction of Venus by her husband Vulcanus in Vergil VIII "dixerat et niveis hinc atque hinc diva lacertis/ cunctantem amplexu molli fovet. Ille repente/ accepit solitam flammam ..." (worthy of Callimachus, isn't it, that witticism about catching fire from snow). Browsing through niveus/candidus/lacteus/albus in the TLL is informative. In rather bathetic terms, one might observe that in a society which saw the house as the proper zone of the female, very pale skin would be a sexual distinguisher, and that, the higher the social class of the female, the more true this would be. So that in the case of Goddesses ...
ADDENDUM Timothy Mowl in his William Kent (p242) says, regarding the multitudinous pieces of naked statuary in the gardens at Rousham, "It should be remembered with dismay that in its naughty heyday virtually every statue at Rousham was painted in natural flesh colours. The effect would have been of a Madame Tussaud's gone nudist ...". Mowl's discussion of Rousham acknowledges debts to a thesis by Professor Susan Gordon, The Iconography and Mythology of the Eighteenth Century English Landscape Garden, unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Bristol, 1999, a version of which may be on the Internet. If it is, I'd be grateful for a link.

25 February 2015


I am not going to apologise for using, untranslated, the term Parrhesia because in doing so I am simply following our beloved Holy Father, who, in his fearless way, uses it, untranslated, quite often. If an apology is called for, I'm sure he would be happy to apologise on behalf of both of us.

It is a Greek term signifying a willingness to speak openly, boldly, fearlessly, epecially in contexts where it might be apprehended that some powerful person could turn nasty. Thus, when the Holy Father told the Synod Fathers to speak with parrhesia, his friend Archbishop Fernandez [see my post of 14 October 2014] interpreted this for the edification of common ordinary bishops as meaning "Mueller [Cardinal Prefect of the CDF] won't come after us".

Quite common in the NT. S Mark 8:32; S John 7:4,13,26; 10:24; 11:14,54; 16:25,29; 18:20; Acts 2:29; 4:13,29,31; 28:31; etc. etc.. For the verb parrhesiazomai, mainly in Acts, see 9:27,28; 13:46; 14:3; 18:26; 19:8; 26:26 ...

In Italian, I suppose it might be written without the h.

24 February 2015

The Preparation before Mass: Cenodoxia

Do you know the feeling of having said a prayer any number of times, and then, all of a sudden, a word in it - previously passed quickly over - suddenly brings you to an abrupt halt? I had that experience the other Sunday, saying the 'Sunday' portion of the 'prayer of S Ambrose' before Mass.

"Repelle a me ... spiritum superbiae et cenodoxiae". "Send far from me the spirit of ... pride and", er, what? Keno- is the Greek root for empty. -doxia suggests 'thinking' or 'glorying'. Does it mean letting the mind dwell on empty, vacuous things? It occurs in the writings of my favourite Greek philosopher, Epicurus, and in Wisdom 14:14, where we are told that Idolatry, whoring after false gods, is not part of God's eternal creation but came into the world through the kenodoxia of men. Glorying in what has no basis in fact leads men astray. The Devil, unable himself to create anything, likes nothing better than to get us chasing after what doesn't exist. Glorying without proper matter for glorying leads to the dictionary translation of kenodoxia as 'Vainglorying'; and the Vulgate at Philippians 3: 2 translates kenodoxia as 'inanis gloria' .

Preoccupation with what has no reality: Idolatry is a kenodoxia. When that Idolatry is a preoccupation with excellences which I complacently think I possess, when I don't, kenodoxia is a distinctly dangerous sort of flaw in my character.

Printers shouldn't print it 'coeno-' or caeno-', because that makes it look as though it comes from koino-, meaning 'common', which, as far as I can see, it doesn't.

Or have I got all this completely wrong?

I have preserved two interesting comments attached to an earlier version of this post.

23 February 2015

Is the Patrimony Red or White?

As many readers will know, Anglican churches used to have a white light burning before the Blessed Sacrament ... as we do in the Church of the Holy Rood in Oxford, and as described in Betjeman's Lincolnshire Church and in his moving poem Felixstowe about the old nun, sole survivor of her Order,

... And all the world goes home to tea and toast.
I hurry past a cakeshop's tempting scones
Bound for the red brick twilight of St John's.
"Thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising".
Here where the white light burns with steady glow,
Safe from the vain world's silly sympathising,
Safe in the Love that I was born to know,
Safe from the surging of the lonely sea,
My heart finds rest, my heart finds rest in Thee.

I remember hearing it once asserted that a white light before the Most Blessed Sacrament was what the Tridentine rules prescribed, and that red lights* were a Franco-Anglo-Irish RC corruption ... one example among so many of how we kept the rules so much better than they did (no, we weren't very nice people, were we?). Is there any truth in any of this?
*In heavily Gothic Victorian churches, we had (sometimes as many as) seven (vide Revelation cap 5 et alibi) red lights burning before the High Altar, but not as an indication of the Sacramental Presence which might have been on a side altar and which, wherever It was, had Its own white light. A red light would probably also burn before the image of the Sacred Heart, and a blue one before the Great Mother of God.

22 February 2015

Galloping Morality

I was a Sixth Former when homosexual genital activity was decriminalised; I remember (and was impressed by) the distinction made by the politicians between what was wrong and what should be penalised as criminal. I'm sure they were sincere; I'm equally sure that many of those who had a cruel burden of fear lifted from them would themselves have been less than joyful if they could have known of an age, our age, in which boarding-house keepers and wedding-cake makers and flower-sellers could have their lives made a misery, could even be ruined, for refusing to bow before a newly minted 'Morality'.

Well, that battle, the Gay Rights one, is deemed to have been substantially 'won' now (except within the Catholic Church). The new battle (since we always need a new one) is 'Transgender Rights'. We are told we have to pretend that a man who has been castrated and filled by medics with female homones is a woman. To emphasise that being such a 'trans' is every bit as normal as being unmodified, the Devil's Philogical Department has come up with a new prescribed set of lexical conventions. Humanity is now divided between the 'cis' (that is, a human in its birth gender: I am a 'cisman'), and the 'trans' (the castrated male is a 'transwoman').

English readers as old as I am will remember the heady feminist days when Professor Germaine Greer was the heady feminist icon. She is no fool; she wrote some acute books. Yet the other day there were demonstrations because she had been invited to speak at the Cambridge Union. Why demonstrations? She was once a Fellow of Newnham College in the Younger University, the Statutes of which limit its Fellowship to women. And the Governing Body was intent on electing a 'transwoman'. Greer protested that, whatever this person was, it was not a woman. She resigned her fellowship. So now she is not only persona non grata with the leaders of the Galloping Morality; her views have become so evil that she merits even to be "denied a platform".

It doesn't end there. A hundred or so people, many of them academics, proceeded to put their names to a letter to the Grauniad [the most 'liberal' English daily newspaper] calling for universities again to become places which allowed free speech. Among those who signed, to give him credit, was Peter Tatchell. I write "to give him credit" because, as English readers will know, Tatchell has long been a noisy and determined advocate of 'Gay Rights' and a scourge of 'homophobia'. He is not someone I have often been in the habit of admiring. But he was big enough to be prepared to stand up for Free Speech, and so the Galloping Morality now feels that it would very much rather not have any more support from him, thank you very much.

Hot News: a report flickers up on to my screen that Kings London is not to be outdone by Cambridge: poor silly George Carey is in trouble. He was recently spotted chasing down the road after the Gallopers, shouting "Wait! A horse! Let me ride with you! I adore Euthanasia!". But, nevertheless, his image and likeness is now to be removed from a window commemorating distinguished alumni, after a campaign against him by  ... no, forget it, this is becoming repetitive.

You have to get up extremely early in the morning to keep up with the Galloping Moralists. Wherever will they have got to by tomorrow morning? Spare a thought for their poor overworked horses.

21 February 2015

It's a gun culture down there in the Wild West of Rome ...

Having discharged his kalashnikov at the curial cardinals and their staffs just before Christmas, our beloved Holy Father has now loosed off his twelve-bore into traddy seminarians! From Most Eminent Suburbicarian Cardinal Bishops, primores inter patres purpuratos, right down to the very humblest aspirant for the tonsure, he's got you all in his sights! Bang bang!

Both the Urbs and the Orbis must be seething with clerics whose keyboards are positively itching to deliver an extensive response in kind to the Sovereign Pontiff's own practised and laudable parrhesia!

Canonisation: a topical footnote

Some sources have queried whether the term 'martyr' is appropriate for Catholics to use of the Twenty One murdered Copts. There is, of course, an implied criticism here of the Holy Father.

Any theological response to this query would have to take account of the fact that the calendars of "uniate" churches include commemorations of Saints who died without being in a state of full visible canonical unity with the See of Rome. These bodies include the (Melkite) Patriarchate of Antioch, the See of S Peter, whose Patriarch is, surely, the senior hierarch of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church after his Brother the occupant of the (other) Petrine See of Rome.

And any such response would need carefully to avoid any suggestion that Catholics not of the Latin churches are somehow not 'real' Catholics; or that the link between the lex orandi and the lex credendi does not apply to their liturgical rites to precisely the same extent as it does to the rites of the Latin churches.

Novi Martyres Coptici, orate pro nobis.

A Walk with Newman and Challoner

On an idle spring day, one can take a bus down to Steventon, walk down that magnificent (and unique?) 'Causeway' with its Medieval houses and the church, then round to the site of the old Railway Station. Why? Not mainly because it is the spot halfway between Bristol and London, where the Directors of the Great Western had their Board Meetings, those from each town coming in their respective trains to convene in the solid early Victorian buildings which still survive. No; the better reason is that, in the days when the University was strong enough to maintain its veto on the railways coming right into Oxford (for obvious reasons; in my time the last train back to Oxford on Sunday evenings was still called the Flying Fornicator) Steventon is where one got off and took horse transport back to the University. It is through Steventon that Newman's semi-autobiographical hero Charles Reding made his emotional last visit to Oxford before his reception into full communion. The site of the actual station ... oh dear ... is now occupied by a bathetic building called Kingdom Hall of J******'s Witnesses.

Then, Ordnance Survey in hand, one can walk along country bridleways to Milton Manor, a recusant house with an evocative chapel in 'Strawberry-Hill Gothick' and with good medieval glass from Steventon's medieval Parish Church and elsewhere. This is a reminder to me of something I discovered in my Devon researches: that England's medieval stained glass was not, for the most part, vandalised by Protestants or Puritans; it just hung on in there until the dilapidation of time dealt with it, or until Georgian antiquaries (read, here, 'Catholic squires') carried it off in the earliest dawn of the Gothic[k] Revival. Just north of Oxford, on the way to Woodstock, in the windows of Yarnton Church, one can see just a part of the vast collection put together in the first two decades of the nineteenth century by an Alderman Fletcher (his most spectacular pieces ended up in the windows of Selden End).

Bishop Challoner often stayed at Milton with his friend Squire Barret, whose hospitable descendant still owns the house and maintains the worship in its chapel. I have had the privilege of offering the Holy Sacrifice there using Challoner's Altar, Chalice, and Missal, and, after Mass, saying the Prayer for his Beatification. He was buried in the Squire's vault in the Anglican Village Church at the manor gate, until 'they' hoiked him out and reinterred him amid the unconvincing 'Byzantine' of Westminster Cathedral. I wonder if that very splendid old gentleman might have preferred to remain among his friends the Barrets until the General Resurrection overtakes the gentle Berkshire countryside.

Happily, it never occurred to 'them' to kidnap Mrs Archdeacon Manning from her peaceful grave in the quiet shadow of the everlasting hills, by the South Downs in Sussex, and to transfer her to beside her husband where he now lies under his suspended Cardinal's Hat at Westminster. I wonder why ... you see, 'they' could have had an effigy carved of her as well as of her hubby, and her favourite Easter Bonnet could have been suspended above her, there to remain until, with the passing of the centuries, the English Spring flowers had shrivelled and the moths had gnawed through the cord, and it dropped. Perhaps her devotional notebook, which the Cardinal read daily and said was the basis of everything good he had ever done, could have been buried between them.

The spot could have become a place of resort for Ordinariate people praying for the perpetuation of that admirable Patrimonial tradition: the Christian family in the Rectory as the social heart of parish daily life.