22 February 2009

Dear Fr Finigan ...


Dear Father Tim

May I offer you congratulations for having acted with an almost Anglican cunning in planning the introduction of the EF at Blackfen. By situating it at 10.30, you ensure that it will appeal to those who like a bit of a Sunday lie-in and then Mass before the cooking of lunch or a midday visit to the pub. A fair number will thus become accustomed to the EF without even noticing. No wonder your malcontents are hopping mad. And you will have riled them all the more by your policy of careful explanation. I'm sure you didn't really expect them to listen; the last thing bigots want is a careful, painstaking, pastoral explanation of something which they have decided irrationally to hate. By affording such a catechesis, you have cruelly deprived them of the complaint that " he doesn't talk to people". You have stripped them of a favourite mantra! Crafty bugger! Incidentally, I would have liked to be a fly-on-the-wall when you replied to the suggestion your area bishop undoubtedly will have made, that you move your EF Mass to a less comfortable time-slot.

We Anglican Catholics have well over a century's experience of introducing what we used to call "the Western Rite". Quite often this was done overnight; as an interregnum ended the new incumbent sprang the EF on the parish on his very first Sunday. Fr Bernard Walke did this at S Hilary's in Cornwall; and so did Fr Sandys Wason at nearby Cury and Gunwalloe. You could, perhaps learn from their experiences. Fr Wason's bishop announced that he was coming to say Mass in the parish and to sort things out. Probably surmising that his Lordship did not intend to use a rite that included the Third Confiteor, Father contrived that he was already well into his Tridentine Missa Cantata by the time the prelate turned up. The latter announced to the gaping sightseers that he would await the end of the Vicar's Mass, and then celebrate his own. He underestimateed the Anglo-Catholic appetite for Marian devotion. Immediately after Mass, Fr Wason began Solemn Rosary ... not one of those Irish Rosaries with the laity starting the Sancta Maria before the priest has got to the fructus ventris tui, but a slow, meditative Anglican Rosary in which, at the end of each Mystery, Father preached extensively upon it. Eventually the Pontiff gave up and went home. When Fr Wason - after delivering what may have been the most exhaustive treatise on the Coronation of our Lady in the history of Christian homiletics - finally emerged into the setting sun, he dismissed the waiting Elena Curtis with the information that, since he was of course fasting, he was off to have his breakfast.

Wason's Cornish critics did score some points against him, most notably when they dumped the putrescent corpse of a donkey on the Presbytery doorstep.

Dear Father, your Anglican admirers pray fervently that the Blackfen tabletistas are not encumbered with a superfluity of donkeys.

Pax tibi.

Your affectionate brother priest

John Hunwicke


immaculataconceptio said...

I guess that means that this Jackass over at bloggingLOURDES is next. O.K.!

Father George bloggingLOURDES

rev'd up said...

The donkey is a spiritual creature. See here for details:



For the enemies of tradition (ie. Christ) to so degrade this noble beast is the epitome of what we call in these parts: "tailpipe-suckin', pot-lickin', Protestant trash," AKA "Novus ordo."

It seems of the utmost importance in cases such as this to ascertain, for obvious reasons, both the sex of the animal and the exact cause of death. "Tush, tush," they boast, "God does not see us," when, suddenly, their calamity is upon them.

veniteadoremus said...

Dear Father, I just arrived from Fr. Tim's blog and I want to thank you so much for writing this - not only because Fr. T deserves all the support he can get, but because I laughed so hard!

Should any other vicars have pontifical problems, I can always recommend the Stations of the Cross. I would be looking forward to your reflection on Station 37 (Simon of Cyrene marries St. Veronica).

pontesisto said...

Fabulous! I've heard some wonderful tales in my time of Anglican priests outwitting their Low Church Ordinaries. Some of my personal favourites involve the late Fr. Priest of S. Alban’s, Holborn. Nevertheless, I've heard it said that after 1992, the Anglo-Catholic sense of mischievous fun was lost. I'm glad to see a little still remain in Oxford. However, a supposed A-C priest (at S Michael and All Angels, Oxon) was featured on Channel 4 yesterday. While still wearing his chazzie, he claimed not to believe in the Resurrection, Virgin Birth, Divinity of Christ, etc. He did, however, think it likely that Christ may have existed. As with Fr. Tim, fight the good fight, Father.

Clare A said...

Came here from Fr Tim's blog and am very glad I did. I gave meaning to that limp acronym LOL by doing so while reading about the priest at Cury. I know that church as a relative lived in the parish. I think it must always have been quite 'high'.

Excellent blog, excellent writing - keep up the good work!

The Welsh Jacobite said...

"I've heard it said that after 1992, the Anglo-Catholic sense of mischievous fun was lost."

Au contraire. It has enjoyed something of a Renaissance (after a long period of decline).

vesper said...

RIP Canon David Diamond,St Paul's Deptford SE8 mate.