Yesterday, to Reading with the brethren of the local chapter of the SSC. Mass at S Giles, celebrated by the learned and right-thinking Fr Melrose; Novus Ordo but with the Canon Romanus in Latin, said with the practised ease and accuracy that comes from regular use. We did the Pax with a relic of the True Cross; and afterwards I took the oportunity of saying a prayer at the shrine of Frather's predecessor as Vicar of S Giles', Blessed John Eynon OSB , martyred (or as Father, who gives no hostages, put it, 'murdered') by Henry VIII (not to be confused with our more recent Sovereign Lord Henry IX). An all too brief homily on S Pius V, who, as Father explained, was a great lover of the Church of England. How nice it is to be among people who see History the right way round. But then, Fr Melrose can be expected to be accurate, because he has just about the most covetable clerical library I have ever seen ... surpassing even that of my friend Fr John Shanahan, pp of Knightstown on Valentia Island in the blissful Kingdom of the West.
Then to lunch in the Rectory; where we ... but No; I won't describe the simple and humble repast which Father had prepared for us. We doin't want a lot of heterodox riff-raff trying to join the SSC just for the carnal goodies. For the same reason I won't go into the arrangements for the Chapter's mid-summer Henley River Devotion. You never know; we do have a detailed system for discerning applicants and a very amusing 'black ball' arrangement, but one can never be too careful. The SSC ...
... but, Roman Cathoilcs among you are clamouring to know, what is the SSC? The Societas Sanctae Crucis is a priestly society (I think you would call it a secular institute in the RC Church) founded in 1854 and with about a thousand members. It is dedicated to sancyifying the priestly lives and pastoral ministries of its members, who have to be orthodox catholics in belief and practice. It supports individual priests by meetings for prayer, study, and fellowship, and by a Regula Vitae drawn up by Dr Pusey.
Do you have such a fellowship in the RC Church? Something to bring together orthodox clergy so that they can support each other as they struggle to survive the sulphorous atmosphere of circumambient liberalism? (Don't pretend: you have much the same problems as we do.)