4 September 2009

HETEROGENEITY

A splendid evening a day or two ago at Holy Trinity on the occasion of the Inauguration of the Presbyteral Ministry in Reading of Fr David Elliott. Ad multos annos, father.

That church, of course, is the the former very Protestant proprietary chapel which owes its present adornment to Fr Brian Brindley. I am told by friends that the pulpit in 'Georgian' baroque was thrown out of the City Church of All Saints in Oxford when Old Mother Damnable flogged it to Lincoln College for a library. The screen, from Pugin's Cathedral in Birmingham, was thrown out when the papists vandalised it. The retro-altar is the famous Belgian baroque altar with the reversible tabernacle from a one-time daughter church of S Thomas's, S Paul's Walton Street in Oxford, thrown out when OMD sold it to the entertainment industry. Also once in S Paul's the monumental scagliola portico-style entrance into the church from the Sacristy. And in the North Chapel the baroque altar inscribed 'PAX' from the ballroom at Nashdom, which, when that House was our principal Benedictine Abbey, will often have been used by our great scholar, wit, and mystagogue Dom Gregory Dix.

The service was mixed; a sermon in a very rasping voice by the bishop of Dorchester, who, they tell me, was once one of us and, like so many of them, changed his mind on the Issue not so very long before he got the letter from Downing Street. He tried to ingratiate himself to his hearers by basing his homily upon the Holy Father's Year of the Priest. This provided a happy opportunity for thirty-or-so birettas to flutter above thirty-or-so heads at the nomen sacrum Benedict. His accent took me back to my childhood in Essex. Yes, I am an Essex Boy too, and proud of it, but I don't feel the need to flaunt it whenever I open my mouth. Bishop Andrew's face remained totally impassive when Reading referred to him as his beloved brother.

The Mass was what seems to be Ebbsfleet Use A; videlicet Novus Ordo very much Reform-of-the-Reform with the Canon Romanus covered, except for qui pridie, by the singing of Sanctus and Benedictus.

And very Ebbsfleet the laughter and the wonderful combination of a relaxed and enormously happy family atmosphere with music, maniples, and the majesty of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

7 comments:

austin said...

How very pleasant. For someone, such as I, living in the USA, your embattled remnant seems to be living in the Promised Land. Yes, it is that bad here.

David said...

It is bad in Canada too! Don't give an inch of ground! We still look to you.

Have you any pictures of that church? It sounds fascinating. I have read Brian Brindly's clerical obituary.

rev'd up said...

I suppose my beloved "Hooded Menace" celebrated the Tridentine Mass (in Latin) from that altar while at Nashdom as well.

What a beautiful thing!

Independent said...

It sounds a bit like an ecclesiastical junk shop and so very sub-Tractarian. Compare for example with somewhere like St Cyprian Clarence Gate where everything matches.

Arthur Couratin, the great Principal of St Stepehen's House, used to say that the Victorian altar matched the Victorian dresser. What does this place match - an Oxfam shop?

Nebuly said...

' Compare for example with somewhere like St Cyprian Clarence Gate where everything matches'

Perhaps it follows in some degree the principle of 'Beauty by inclusion' annunciated by Sir Ninian Comper

Pax Britannica said...

"monumental scagliola portico-style entrance"

Alas, no. Merely pine and paint. All fake.

Father Seraphim said...

Having had the privilege of being present at this function, I can echo Father's praise. It demonstrates that we can celebrate the start of a ministry with both humour and majesty, praising the Lord in a most fitting manner.