7 July 2008

S Thomas again

S Thomas's Sunday went very well; and this morning (the actual Solemnity of his Translation) I said a quiet missam sine populo secundum formam antiquiorem. I remembered, in addition to the obvious people to be remembered, the members of General Synod who have the opportunity today of making an ecclesial structure for us - or of refusing to do so - as they redecorate the new Church of England so as to be resplendent with what (recalling the medieval Christmas custom of dressing up little lay boys as boy-bishops so that they could preside over the brief and jolly period of misrule) we might call girl-bishops (I fear that phenomenon may less brief and might be attenuated in its jollity).

As I extinguished the candles before the statue of S Thomas, my eye lingered on the pallium that he is wearing. And, on an impulse, I went round the statues and windows of the church counting pallia. We have five of them.

Then I came home and reminded myself what the Holy Father said about the pallium just recently when delivering them to his new Archbishops. They symbolise ...the reality we indicate today by the word collegiality among bishops ... no-one is pastor by himself ... [the pallium] refers to communion with Peter and his successor as a guarantee of unity. Thus, the pallium speaks to us of the catholicity of the Church, of the universal communion between the pastor and his flock. And it refers us back to apostolicity: to communion with the faith of the Apostles on which the Church is founded.

Suddenly it struck me: that's what's wrong with the Church of England. Archbishop Rowan must have a pallium, because he flaunts it on his Coat of Arms, and presumably in doing so he is not transgressing our Trade Descriptions Act. But he keeps it in his wardrobe and never actually wears it.

6 comments:

William Tighe said...

From 1535 to 1553 (in the time of schism under Henry VIII and schism and heresy under Edward VI) pallia continued to be delivered to each new archbishop, both English and Irish, in accordance with provisions of the Acts of Supremacy enacted in those two realms. However, the Elizabethan Acts of 1559 (and of 1560 in Ireland) had no provisions regarding pallia, and so (and like mitres down to the episcopate of Edward King of Lincoln) they remain as mere heraldic and antiquarian conceits in the Church of England.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

I hope it was clear that I was speaking with ironic levity. In fact I did know of those Henrician dispositions; I've always wondered whether Cranmer really did consecrate and send a pallium to Robert Holgate in 1545.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

I hope it was clear that I was speaking with ironic levity. In fact I did know of those Henrician dispositions; I've always wondered whether Cranmer really did consecrate and send a pallium to Robert Holgate in 1545.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

I hope it was clear that I was speaking with ironic levity. In fact I did know of those Henrician dispositions; I've always wondered whether Cranmer really did consecrate and send a pallium to Robert Holgate in 1545.

Orielensis said...

For what it is worth, and actually it's not really anything, the nineteenth century statue of Holgate on the exterior of the chapel of his almshouses at Hemsworth in Yorkshire shows him, if my memory serves me aright, wearing a pallium. The legislation for the pallium is clear, and I would suspect that it was consecrated, as it would be expected as part of the archiepiscopal vesture. The retention of the pallium as the principal feature of the arms of the See of Canterbury and the design of the Faculty Office seal of the Archbishops of Canterbury, which indicates, Henry VIII's legislation regarding it notwithstanding, that the Archbishop is acting as a legatus natus of the Pope, are indicative of that essentially conservative legalistic mind which has so formed English ways of doing things.

nebuly said...

'indicative of that essentially conservative legalistic mind which has so formed English ways of doing things'

Until these latter days alas...............

Nebuly