12 September 2010

Jalland continues

"I direct and appoint ... that the eight Divinity Lecture Sermons shall be preached ... to confute all heretics and schismatics ... upon the authority of the writings of the primitive fathers ...". So directed the Revd John Bampton, sometime Canon of Salisbury, when he founded his series of lectures to be given in every alternate year. Jalland, in the Preface to his 1942 Bampton lectures, expresses "his very deep gratitude" to the friends who have helped him: Nipper Williams (who served at S Thomas's); Leslie Cross; Tom Parker; Eric Kemp; Gregory Dix ... all of them names to conjure with.

On the morning of Monday, July 18, 1870, as the early glow of dawn was slowly spreading across the sky of North Italy, an express train which had left Rome at half past seven o'clock the previous evening, was clanking on its way across the plains of Lombardy. For some weeks past the stifling heat of summer in the papal capital had been quite unbearable, and as the train neared the frontier of Piedmont, the fresh wind blowing down from the mountains must have reached the weary travellers like a breath of new life. Awakened by the glimmering daylight and the cool of dawn, Monsignor Felix Dupanloup, bishop of Orleans, felt in the pocket of his douillette and drew out his breviary. As he turned over its pages to find his places for the current feast of St Camillus of Lellis, his companion, Monsignor Louis Haynald, archbishop of the metropolitan see of Kalocsa, in Hungary, who was occupying the opposite corner of the compartment, leaned forward in the direction of his fellow-bishop. 'Monseigneur', he said, 'nous avons fait une grande faute'. The bishop of Orleans looked up, paused for a moment, and then, gently raising his hand, showed that he had already begun the recitation of his Office.

In my view, that is one of the all-time great beginnings to a book, fit to stand beside anything in the corpus of the divine Jane, and more striking than the haunted Cornish house at Mandalay. How Jalland completed his Bampton lectures, I may reveal another day.

5 comments:

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

"nous avons fait une grande faute" personally I find this the most intriguing part of the story...

IanW said...

The opening sentence of Earthly Powers is another great beginning with religious significance. And it was written by a good Catholic boy, too.

AndrewWS said...

So is the opening sentence of A.N.Wilson's "Unguarded Hours", now sadly out of print. "If the Dean's daughter had been wearing a bra that morning, Norman Shotover might never have learned about the Church of England, still less how to fly." (I quote from memory and hence inaccurately.

A pity it's out of print; I used to buy it regularly for my ordinand friends when they went off to theological college.

IanW, I dare you to quote that opening sentence in a respectable and Godly blog like this one.

William Tighe said...

Alas, I lost my copy of *Unguarded Hours* years ago. And to adapt the reputed words of Bad Queen Bess to the Earl of Oxford, it was so long ago lost that I had almost quite forgot the bra.

orthocath said...

Of possible interest to some here:

Fr. Jalland's book "The Church and the Papacy" can now be read online at the Internet Archive:

http://www.archive.org/details/TheChurchAndThePapacyByJalland