25 March 2017

Different types of women priests

Opening one of the undergraduate freebies in this University and looking at the pictures in the 'Fashion' section, I found myself saying "I know her!!".

"Her" was the Chaplain of Lincoln College. I knew her because when I was at S Thomas's we went on pilgrimage to Walsingham accompanied by some members of the Mags congregation. She was one of them; she had not yet entered the Anglican Ministry. She was a very bright young woman, good company, who was reading for a doctorate in Tacitus; an obscurely opaque Roman who, I think (I can't be sure about such details), may have written about History. I think, on stylistic grounds, he must have been born in New Zealand.

Many Anglican womenpriests are natural Bergoglians; that is to say, they are not Rigid and Doctrinal and Liturgical. They very often have had no training except in 'Ministerial Training Courses' in which Anglican candidates for Holy Orders are prepared part-time together with aspirants for non-Conformist ministries. These ladies do provide eucharistic services when their deplorably old-fashioned laity expect them, but they really prefer a form of event known as Messy Church. I would love to give you a description of this style of activity, did anautopsia not prevent me. Readers will have fertile enough imaginations ...

But there is a very different type of womanpriest, of which there are several examples in Oxford ... sharp and academically considerable, who never wanted to be foolish folksy creatures like their 'messy' sisters. What they wanted to be was ... Priests.

Such is the lady of whom I speak. In her newspaper Interview, she gives a very sound explanation of the rationale of wearing cassocks (all the time) and vestments and refers always to "saying Mass". And the paper's Fashion Correspondent includes a picture of her vested in red.

Those of you with a sharp eye for liturgical detail would instantly spot that she is wearing ... unlike the Saint in Westminster Cathedral about whom I recently wrote ... a maniple! That is not always an easy thing to do nowadays, because back in the 1960s the then dominant tendenz realised that the obvious way to get the Huddled Masses back into Church was to have bonfires of maniples. This means that, even in churches where the vestments are of respectable material, cut, and design, a 'set' very often lacks its matching maniple. Archaising clergy have to make a real effort to find a spare maniple somewhence with which to 'make up' the sets in their charge. These spares are, naturally, very often not en suite with their stoles and chasubles.

The photographs do not show her wearing a biretta, but ...

I do hope you will not shout at me. In giving you this information, I advance no agenda and certainly not the Ordination of Women. I simply wish to impart anthropological enlightenment.


24 March 2017

Terrorists ... or Adrians?

What a difference it makes to learn that the terrorist who managed to cause such murderous and evil mayhem with just a hired car and a couple of kitchen knives was really a Man of Kent (or do I mean a Kentish Man?) called Adrian.

In other words, home-grown. The product of the errors and tensions and cultural alienations of our own society. Not a phenomenon we can blame on immigrant hordes.

I'm not sure I agree with my correspondent who is glad that Adrian ended up dead. If I were in Security, I would prefer to have such individuals alive and interrogable. Corpses are so often taciturn, even if water-boarded.

I've known a lot of chaps called Adrian, all of them ... as far as I can recall ... distinctly nice.  I wonder what our Mr Farago thinks of Adrians in particular and of immigrants from Kent in general.

My ancestors on my Mother's side migrated from Kent to Essex.

And I have, several times, visited friends along the Hagley Road in Birmingham. I may well be on CCTV.

And my wife has just revealed to me that we have knives in our kitchen.

Should I give myself up?

Adulterii laetitia multiplex ...

 ... or, in English, Adultery is a many splendoured thing. Let me focus on just two particular and contrasting modes of Adultery ... two among so many .... [I am not unaware of other models, or of the tragedies of innocent parties.]

(1) Covert Adultery. Jack (or it might be Jill) keeps his sinful activities secret from wife, children, friends, neighbours.

(2) Overt Adultery. Jill (or it might be Jack) obtains a civil divorce, and then goes through a ceremony of 'Marriage' with her partner in her sin. The couple thereafter conduct themselves as Mrs and Mr Overt and wear nice rings on their wedding fingers and function as 'Eucharistic Ministers' and School Governors.

Both cases, of course, according to the canons of traditional morality to which I adhere, equally involve Mortal Sin. But ... we all enjoy an entertaining diversion into an Alternative Universe, don't we? So let's examine the differences between Jack and Jill from the perspectives of classical Utilitarianism; and the 'situation ethics' of the 1950s and 1960s condemned in Veritatis splendor.

Jack Covert wants to have things both ways. He wishes to indulge his lust, but at the same time not to hurt or to risk losing his wife and family. Let us assume the best of him: he may promise himself that he will repent, but "not until tomorrow"; he may even prefer not to weaken Matrimony as a social, public, and Christian institution. Let us accept that he is ashamed at the idea of being yet one more person who troops through the courts publicly affirming (in the most solemn way possible) the lie that a valid and consummated Sacramental Marriage is soluble. He is a sad picture of incipient movements of Grace being stifled by his servile bondage to his sin. But there is one thing which, happily, he does still have: the knowledge that Sin is Sin.

Jill Overt, on the other hand, noisily demands that her incontinent lust be validated in each and every possible public forum. She would certainly not be prepared to leave open any possibility of her own repentance and reconciliation with her true spouse ("my Ex", as she now cheerfully and routinely calls him). Happy in her new "marriage", she might talk about "the importance of moving on". To describe her, the Victorians would have reached for the adjective 'brazen'.

[When I was in the Church of England, I once heard, at a clerical lunch, two women clergy, each of whom planned to "move on" from a "failed marriage" to a new union, complaining (not very quietly) about the Bishop's desire to "talk things through" with them: this, they warmly agreed, would be "Opening Up Old Wounds".]

You know what I'm going to say: it seems to me that Jack Covert, seedy little deceiver that he is, has the better of it in terms of the ethical systems at which I have nodded.

And it also seems to me that Jill Overt and such "remarried Divorcees" score lowest on the scale of "How Moral is your Adultery?".

The Award for Most Moral Adulterer ... the John Stuart Mill Gold Medal (in four-and-ahalf carat gold) ... would surely have to go to the adulterer who most covertly used the services only of prostitute women or men, having checked carefully that they had not been trafficked.

And yet ... and yet ... in our Bergoglianist Ethosphere, things seem to be exactly the other way round. Nobody seems to give a damn for poor Jack Covert endlessly tortured by his fear of being found out.  It seems that Herr und Frau Overt receive all the sympathetic attention; it is for them that we must all lean over backwards until our spines snap; for them the Verba Domini are to be curtly and irritably set aside; for them the constant Magisterial teaching of two millennia is endlessly vilified as Rigidity and Pharisaeism by an angry mouth which seems incapable of shutting except when confronted with Dubia.

Why don't we just give up trying to regulate Sex altogether? I'm sure that resourceful Archbishop Fernandez could easily draft for the Holy Father an Exhortation along the lines of Fay ce que voudras.

23 March 2017

Why do bishops resign?

It is commonly assumed that Catholic Bishops are bound to offer their resignations when they are seventy five years old. Many people find it odd that there should be an apparent fall-back assumption that a bishop will be past 'it' at an age at which, according to the current narrative of so many, the 'Holy Spirit' appoints so many popes to begin their Petrine Ministry. You'd have thought that a pope's job might be even more taxing than that of a Diocesan Bishop. Vincent Nicholls has spoken movingly about the heavy work-schedule to which our Holy Father subjects himself ... but, apparently, this is not really so. 'Poping', so the actualite of Church life appears to say, is really just a doddle, a light retirement hobby for someone who is well past his prime!

However (and I add this with trepidation since I am not a canonist) is the common assumption correct anyway? Canon 401 says that the Bishop rogatur [is asked] to offer his resignation. If a Bishop is ill, the same canon says that he enixe [strenuously] rogatur to offer his resignation. Apparently, then, the seventy five year old bishop is 'asked' less 'strenuously' than the ill bishop to offer resignation. There are degrees in the moral force of canonical 'asking'.

I am, as I said, most certainly not a canonist; but surely rogatur cannot mean that there is an obligation upon the Bishop to do this. The CIC seems generally quite lucid about things it regards as obligatory.

Vatican II, about which some people, when it suits them, claim to be very enthusiastic, makes clear that a Diocesan Bishop is not merely a Vicar of the Roman Pontiff, but a successor of the Apostles. The current praxis suggests, rather, that the Bishop is like the manager of a supermarket, removable at the judgement of Head Office in accordance with its published corporate guidelines. This represents a disordered understanding of Episcopacy.

Why don't some orthodox bishops just decline to accept this invitation (rogatur) of Canon Law, and see how much respect Head Office accords to their Apostolic Status?

It might prove quite a reality check.

22 March 2017

.... and so ...

... grateful thanks this morning to our Blessed Lady of the Atonement, the Mother of God of Walsingham and Fatima and Czestochowa! Kind Mother and Guardian of the Ordinariates! And may her blessings continue, particularly upon Fr Christopher Phillips and his wife JoAnn, the clergy and nuns and Faculty at the Academy of the Atonement, all the many members of the congregations; all the students.

(Wozzat? You wanna know how Fatima and Czestochowa come into this? Bishop Stephen's father is Portuguese and his mother Polish. With what joy the Canon of the Mass will have been said at the Atonement this morning una cum famulo tuo papa nostro Francisco et antistite nostro Stephano!)

21 March 2017

Our Lady of the Atonement and the future of the Ordinariates

Brilliant News!!! The Holy See has directed that the Texan parish of Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio is, with effect from today, part of the Ordinariate of the Chair of S Peter, the American Ordinariate.

'Atonement' was the first (in 1983) of the parishes set up to perpetuate within the Roman Unity groups adhering to their Anglican Liturgy, Spirituality, and theological tradition. It was spectacularly successful, under its dynamic and charismatic Pastor Fr Christopher Phillips.

When the Ordinariates were set up, the position of parishes adhering to the 'Anglican Use', but operating as units within ordinary dioceses, became anomalous. After all, the Holy See had set up the Ordinariates specifically to include such communities.

The Archbishop of San Antonio was understandably anxious to keep such a vibrant parish and its academy within his own diocese and jurisdiction. But he is an honourable man. So he made it very clear that he would ensure the continuation at the Atonement of the provisions made by the Holy See for Anglicans who had entered the Catholic Church upon a certain understanding.

But that proposed arrangement misses the point. It treats the Anglican Use as merely something provided as a condescending kindness for ex-Anglicans or their descendants. This would mean that the Use could die out when the original 'converts' had died, unless new converts from Anglicanism had continued to trickle in so as to keep the arrangement on a life-support machine.

That is quite simply not how things can be allowed to be in a Church which takes Mission in any way seriously. A flourishing and orthodox Christian community will inevitably attract others, particularly those from the peripheries of the Church, where people may have a residual association with Catholicism but have grown disillusioned or alienated within the 'mainstream' or 'diocesan' Church.

It is a natural suspicion that Gerhard Cardinal Mueller has been involved in this wise decision, which is good news not only for the Atonement but for all members of the three Ordinariates. It demonstrates that the See of S Peter is as committed to Pope Benedict's bold ecumenical experiment as ever it was. We were not 'taken up' just so that we could be 'dropped'!

Four cheers and more for his Eminence!

Hooray for the wise guidance Bishop Lopes has given to his Ordinariate!

Ut unum sint!! 

... has lost his maniple.

Devout persons who drop into Westminster Cathedral to pay their respects at the shrine of one of my favourite Saints, S John Southworth, will discover ... here's the good news first ... that there are some quite sweet little Prayer Cards now provided for use and for taking away. They contain a nice picture of the Saint vested for Mass. (I think the surname is or was pronounced Sutherth.)

The bad news is ... that, although the Saint is pictured on these cards as vested in alb, red stole, and red chasuble, he ... seems to have lost his maniple.

Medieval hagiographers would have undoubtedly had an account of how this happened; their stories would probably have ended with a spectacular miracle resulting in the supernatural restoration of the maniple. Inventive readers of this blog must surely be capable of some diverting inventions within the general conventions and dynamics of that genre. But what is to be done?

Traddies with large families might consider taking all their children into the Cathedral, equipped with red crayons or board-writers or loads of red paint, and settling them down with instructions to add maniples to all the cards. This would result in what Anglican Priestesses proudly call "Messy Church", and thus constitute an Ecumenical Gesture.

As an incorrigible classicist with an ungovernable imagination, I fear that what swept immediately into my mind was the demonstration by Aeschylus (apud Aristophanis Batrakhous, vv 1206 et sqq.) that pretty well all of Euripides' Prologues are susceptible to the conclusion lekuthion apolesen. Mutating the mutanda, it occurs to me that pretty well any statement about Papa Bergoglio or Cardinal Kasper or Cardinal Marx or the Rio Tinto, or any of the other Great Ones of the Bergoglian faction, could be reduced to bathos ... to even greater bathos ... by inserting the concluding phrase "... (has) lost his maniple". Oimoi peplegmetha!

'Terminal bathos' is surely the greatest gift made to mankind by satiric Aristophanic Old Comedy or, indeed, by classical Greek Civilisation as a whole, before it lost its oil-pot.

May that very great Saint and Priest and Martyr for Jesus, S John Southworth, pray for us and for the whole state of Christ's Church Militant here in earth, now in these years of her passion.

20 March 2017


I do not intend to explain what this is all about ab initio to those who do not already know the general outlines. Just to add some facts which some who do know may not be familiar with.

In 1995 the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity published a learned and interesting paper which suggested that a lack of correlation between the Greek (ekporeuesthai) and Latin (procedere) terms for "proceedeth" is part of the problem. ekporeuesthai refers to the origin of the Holy Spirit within the eternal and glorious economy of the Holy Trinity. And, since the Father is the Source (pege, aitia) of the being of the other two Persons, clearly the Spirit ekporeuetai from the Father alone. To suggest that he might ekporeuesthai from the Son as well is to risk positing two sources of Divinity and thus, in effect, to believe in two Gods.

Procedere, on the other hand, is a broader term. As well as sharing the meaning of ekporeuesthai, it also encompasses the Sending (proienai), wthin time, of the Spirit by the Son. And it includes the possibility of asserting that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son.When the Western Church was battling against Arianism, it seemed important to safeguard the full divinity of the Son by incorporating into the Creed His authentic Missio of the Spirit.

So you could argue that Filioque with ekporeuesthai is gravely erroneous because it is tantamount to polytheism, while procedere without the Filioque is dangerously suggestive of Arianism.

It is well known that Rome firmly forbids the addition of Filioque to the Creed when it is said in (or translated from) Greek - whether by 'uniate' Byzantines or in ecumenical contexts. But she has been slow to delete Filioque from the Creed when it is used in (or translated from) Latin.

However, in 2000 a very significant new development occurred. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger issued a document called Dominus Iesus, which was immediately made the object of hysterical abuse by illiterates who couldn't read it (including poor dopey George Carey) - you probably remember the hooha raised at that time by the ecumaniac industry both inside and outside the Roman Catholic Church. This furore still occasionally has echoes. This is and was unfortunate; the document represented some very interesting advances ecumenically in several respects. Not the least of these is that it began by giving, as 'the fundamental contents of the profession of the Christian faith', the 'Nicene' Creed in Latin and without the Filioque.

I would lose very little sleep if a Roman Pontiff eliminated Filioque from the Latin Creed. But it would leave some traces behind it. In, for example, the Quicumque vult. And I know an Anglican priest who, being very Orthodoxophile, presses his lips together at a certain point in the Creed. But, when he does duty in College chapels here in Oxford, he has to sing, in the Litany, " ... proceeding from the Father and the Son ..." because otherwise disastrous confusion would ensue when the choir came to repeat his words. The learned Dom Benedict of Silverstream once showed me a version of the Pange lingua in which a 'Western Orthodox' had rewritten S Thomas's Doxology ...

No; I would be very unwilling to go down such paths as those. The Latin West is as entitled to the integrity of its own Patrimony as is the Byzantine East. Probably best to leave the sleeping dogs ...

And we gallant presbyters of the Ordinariate are unlikely to forget that Filioque was introduced to the English Church by the Syrian Greek S Theodore whom Pope S Vitalian (657-672) sent to be Archbishop of Canterbury. I think we could catch the stuffier "English Orthodox" on the horns of a juicy dilemma by asking them whether the "Anglo-Saxon Church" of S Theodore was Orthodox ... or not ...

19 March 2017

I did it this very morning ...

Dom Gregory Dix on the importance of using given liturgy:
"[There is] a certain timelessness about the eucharistic action and an independence of its setting, in keeping with the stability in an ever-changing world of the forms of the liturgy themselves. At Constantinople they 'do this' yet with the identical words and gestures that they used while the silver trumpets of the Basileus still called across the Bosphorus, in what seems to us now the strange fairy-tale land of the Byzantine empire. In this twentieth century Charles de Foucauld in his hermitage in the Sahara 'did this' with the same rite as Cuthbert twelve centuries before in his hermitage on Lindisfarne in the Northern seas. This very morning I 'did this' with a set of texts which has not changed by more than a few syllables since Augustine used those very words at Canterbury on the third sunday of Easter in the summer after he landed."

18 March 2017

The Aetas Bugniniana

The most eagle eyed of my readers may have noticed me trying out a new piece of terminology a month or so ago.

The 'reforms' to the Liturgy with which so many Latin Catholics now have to live were not, as many traditionalists have been led to think, the result of "the Council". One could argue that they started with the changes to the Psalter under S Pius X or even with the Barberini corruption of the hymns; but, substantially, what I have in mind is the string of changes which began under Pius XII with the root-and-branch 'reform' of the Easter Vigil and continued through to the 'post-Conciliar' 'reforms'. One could make a case that, if the Council had never happened, but Pius XII had lived for another twenty years, the 'reforms' might have been even worse. But that's another question!

In my need for an uncumbersome phrase to describe concisely this period and this process, I had toyed with the phrase "the Pio-Pauline interferences". But this, of course, elides the role played by Papa Roncalli.

So I am now suggesting the interferences of the aetas Bugniniana vel brevius the Bugninian interferences; because, of course the late Hannibal was a Promoting Spirit of all this stuff pretty well from beginning to end.

And now ... the apparent prospect of a new liturgical Dark Age, with the participation of Bad Marini, Bugnini's spiritual son. The Aetas Bugniniana Altera?

17 March 2017


More than a month ago, a Bergoglian bishop reportedly said: "Whoever wants to discover what Jesus wants from him, he must ask the Pope, this Pope, not the one who came before him, or the one who came before that. This present Pope".

I had hoped to hear some retraction from this cleric ... after all, each of us can and often does misspeak, and we hope to be forgiven for it. Or some correction of those (perhaps just childishly impetuous) words, administered by the Roman Pontiff himself. But there has, I think, been nothing (if any reader is aware of a retraction, or a papal condemnation, of these words I would be very grateful to be pointed to it).

And this misguided man still occupies a See as a metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Church.

I think this is the most horrible misdescription of the Catholic Faith I have yet to hear, in this crisis, from a Catholic bishop. Horrible in its trashing of the concept of paradosis to which S Paul pointed when he said What I have received I have handed on. Horrible in its shameless, shameful denial of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church at Vatican I (The Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of Peter so that by His revelation they might publish new doctrine but so that by His assistance they might devoutly guard and faithfully set forth the revelation handed down through the Apostles, that is, the Deposit of the Faith). Horrible in its idolisation of one man, the incense it burns to one mere human; in other words, it breathes that same spirit of the Antichrist which inspired the devilish chant Ein volk ein reich ein fuehrer.

Horrible, above all, in that it blasphemously brings into its crippled parody of Christian Truth the sweet Name of our Most Holy Redeemer.

16 March 2017

Other Blogs

(1) On GKIRKUK the admirable and learned Dr Kirk raises the question of Vincent Cardinal Nichols'  interestingly sycophantic letter to the Holy Father, and asks ... why ... why now ...

My hypothesis is that Vin knows Bergoglio well enough to realise how deeply he resents dissent; and that he, Vin, wrote this letter at a time when he knows that our beleaguered Holy Father is coming under a lot of behind-the-scenes pressure and expressions of concern from mainstream Cardinals and Bishops. So the letter's message is: Hard times, but I'm behind you; I love you; and you can rely on me to see to it that the entire English Church is soundly bergoglianist! Franciscus papa et Vincentius contra mundum!

(2)  The SSPX USA website has a series of six good pieces by a professor at Econe explaining that Bergoglio is not a formal heretic, and has not lost the Petrine See. Recommend it to any panicky friends who are toying with the unmitigated nonsenses, the illiterate rubbish, of sedevacantism!

(3) Eponymous Flower has good videos of the Liturgical celebrations in S Petersburg last autumn. How splendid to see such vast crowds; such a public  and corporate exhibition of the Faith in the great City of our Lady of KAZAN ... who is the very same as the Mother of God of FATIMA!!! Her Immaculate Heart will prevail!! Most Holy Mother of God, save us!!

(4) Settimo Cielo blog has fine extracts from a piece by Rabbi Professor Giuseppe Laras, complaining about the "homilies of the Pontiff" which "on a daily basis" repeat and reinforce "the old inveterate structures" of ignorant misrepresentation of Judaism. A paper of my own on this very subject is due, God and the printers willing, to be published in two or three weeks. I wish Rabbi Laras and I had been able to synchronise our  ...