11 February 2010


I felt honoured to be invited to contribute a small piece to the magazine of the Latin Mass Society ... an admirable organisation which I would advise all readers to join. So: there is my little contribution in print (it's not worth reading, unlike most of the rest of the articles): with a description at the top of me as "Father Hunwicke, an Anglican Minister".

How that takes me back. It must be some forty years since I was last described as a "minister". The family was on holiday in the South of Scotland, and we desired entry to a Church of Scotland church which contained one of those marvellous Anglian carved crosses. When the crone who kept the key had got my profession straight, "Och", she cried, "ye're a meenister". So there you go - presbies and papists, they're all much of a muchness.

A similar but more culturally nuanced crone in Ireland (on this occasion I was finding a boatman to take me across the straights to the ancient monastic settlement on the tiny island of Illaunloghan) referred to me as a Pareson. I'm distinctly fond of that nice old term. I came across it more recently in a Breton church when I was looking at a bilingual monument to a former Parish Priest. The French version called him the Cure; the Breton, Parsoun. It also has a whiff about it of Anthony "Patrimony" Trollope ... and of old well-worn much loved Edwardian jokes (What do Hell and the Smoking Room at the Athenaeum have in common? You can't see the fire for parsons.).


BTW, the LMS mag has a nice photograph of Pusey Chapel; except that it isn't. I
think the photo' they've printed might be of the sweet little Romanist church in Dorchester which the Revd Mr John Osman, a RC minister but a very worthy man, is admirably and successfully restoring so as to make it look as though Mr Pugin has just visited with his paint-brush. I instantly 'phoned up the LMS office so as to be sure to be the first to tell them of their mistake. "Pusey Chapel is MUCH more Catholic", I gleefully chortled.


Sir Watkin said...

Years ago the Rector of Llan***** received a visit from the local R.C. priest, an excitable gentleman who on this occasion was extremely angry.

The curate had been visiting in the hospital and happened to say hello to a patient who was one of the priest's flock. Shortly afterwards he was tackled by the priest who accused him of proselytising. As the accusation was quite unjust he gave a fairly short answer and departed.

The enraged priest demanded that the Rector discipline his curate, and whenever he met him afterwards pestered him to know what he had done. Eventually the Rector, a mild-mannered man, but weary of this constant badgering, turned to the priest and said, "I have spoken to my curate, and told him that in future he should be more polite, and should treat you with the respect with which he would treat any other nonconformist minister."

Little Black Sambo said...

I believe Breton parishes also have Rectors.

GOR said...

Well it could be worse, Father. Many years ago when walking down a street in Belfast with some companions - all of us in clericals - an old crone (presumably a Paisleyite Presbyterian) addressed us, loudly and repeatedly, as "Heathens!"

Nebuly said...

Reverend Jack and Reverend Smith are my pet horrors.
One is the ghastly matey form of current insincerity mingled with sloppy, sentimental familiarity; the other wrong.

Little Black Sambo said...

And how about the suddenly universal usage of "Bishop Bob" etc?
It keeps us in our place: I am plain Sambo to the Bishop, but he is always Bishop.

Sir Watkin said...

"My Lord" is best for bishops.

It shews respect for the office whilst (in this sorry age) simultaneously annoying the man.

Nebuly said...

My Lord and Your Grace are indeed always best.

When did this twaddle begin?

I heard on the wireless the other day someone say 'the successor to Cardinal Cormac, Archbishop Vincent , was close to the late Cardinal Hume"

We had Archbishops Ramsey, Coggan, Runcie and Carey but now Archbishop Rowan. The Northern Primate is not however Archbishop John ( is Sentamu a Christian Name as some suggest? - it is not used as such in the Court Circular ).

Was it like this before the Great City fell one wonders?

Et Expecto said...

To be serious for a minute, it would be helpful to have some guidence on correct and acceptable forms of address. Many people, including myself, are very confuesd

Adrian2010 said...

Some years ago I took the Universe for a while as I was, indeed still am, interested in the RC world. I don't know whether editorial policy has since changed or not, but in those far off days, when Anglican clergy were lucky enough to get a mention in that august publication, they were invariably referred to as ministers. I suppose given a lack of change in official RC position on Anglican orders since 1896, it was hardly at liberty to do otherwise.