30 June 2010

Tempus Thomasinum

A curious little 'Thomas' season is about to start.

On July 3, the Novus Ordo Calendar will observe S Thomas the Apostle. Bugnini moved him here so as to extricate him from the Major Advent Ferias just before Christmas. July 3 is truly, however, his date among Syrian and Malabar Christians who believe that he evangelised India. I think he is worth a votive, said for those ancient and venerable Christian communities.

July 5 is the memorial of Blessed Thomas Belson, a lay martyr executed in Oxford in the hysteria which followed the Armada (what a shame that very worthy enterprise was not successful). He and his group were arrested in the Inn called the Catherine Wheel, opposite S Mary Mag's church (and now built over by Balliol College, c'est magnifique mais ce n'est pas la gare).

July 7 is the Translation of the relics of S Thomas of Canterbury; observed in the Basilica of S Thomas the Martyr in Oxford and in the RC diocese of Portsmouth. At S Thomas's we also observe S Thomas's Sunday on the first Sunday of July, which this year is July 4. If you are within reach of S Thomas's, make sure you get across to the 10.00 Mass that Sunday; we have a visiting preacher so you will not be subjected to the homiletic meanderings of the pp.

Then, on July 6 (Common Worship; it is the day of his martyrdom) or July 9 (according to the old preconciliar RC calendar for the regions of England, which needed to find him a date which did not coincide with the Octave Day of SS Peter and Paul) we observe S Thomas More.

On the JP2 principle that "There are no such things as coincidences", I wonder what mystical rationale one might devise for this?

29 June 2010

Romanita

Yesterday I took a bus to Iffley, renewed acquaintance with that formidable yet exotic late Romanesque church - so unEnglish in its appearance and the detail of its mouldings - and then walked from Iffley lock down London River to Sandford lock. I took with me my battered "summer picnic" volume of the Pars Aestiva; and, since Mr Newman must often have done this walk from nearby Littlemore, his Apologia pro Vita sua.

I love the Mattins readings for the Second Nocturn, from S Leo's First Sermon In natali Apostolorum Petri et Pauli. It gets to the heart of the Romanita of the Western Church, and especially of the Church of England; S Leo, the finest Latin stylist since Cicero, explains to the plebs Romana (now the plebs sancta Dei) how all that is meant by being Roman has been transformed ... yet, in transformation, preserved and enhanced ... by the Gospel. "For although, glorified by many victories, you have advanced the jus of your imperium by land and by sea, yet, what the labour of war subdued to you, is less what the Pax Christiana subjected to you". The culture of classical Roman antiquity was baptised by S Leo; my view is that he is the one who finally recast the Roman Eucharistic Prayer in a Latinity moulded by the the prayer-style of the old, pre-Christian, prayer-style of early Rome. In S Leo, essentially, being a Christian ceased to be adherence to a faintly dodgy sect largely followed by Greeklings, and became the new majestic embodiment of all that it meant to be Roman in culture and law and liturgy. And, with S Augustine, that Romanita became the essence too of the Anglo-Saxon Church; the Church of Augustine and Justus and Mellitus; of Wilfrid and Bede and Alcuin. The Kentish king who had considered it beneath his dignity to follow his wife's Merovingian religion rejoiced in the opportunity to receive Christianity from its august and Roman fount.

And Mr Newman expressed the essence of the Petrine Ministry, of the infallibility of the Successor of Peter, in that epigrammatic passage: "It is one of the reproaches urged against the Church of Rome, that it has originated nothing, and has only served as a sort of remora or break in the development of doctrine. And it is an objection which I embrace as truth; for such I conceive to be the main purpose of its extraordinary gift". It is precisely along these lines that Cardinal Ratzinger criticised the bloated and corrupt hyperpapalism of the post-Vatican II period, with its belief that a pope, especially if backed by a Council, could monkey around at will with Tradition; it is, he asserted, the Pope's job to be the Guardian of the Tradition and the preserver of its integrity and authenticity.

Benedict XVI+Newman=hermeneutic of continuity.

Sadly the pub at Sandford lock had got the builders in. No Stout.

28 June 2010

Precision

I have previously recommended the St Lawrence Press ORDO; it is a can't-do-without for those interested in the Roman Rite at the point before Pius XII and a youthful Bugnini began the long journey to the Novus Ordo. In the Blogosphere, The St Lawrence Press Blog relates to that liturgical dispensation.

Like many people, I have often used the term 'Tridentine' in a loose way; although I have sometimes been careful! For an example of Hunwicke-being-careful, I would refer you to my statement that, on the Sundays after Trinity/Pentecost, we are encouraged by Tradition to use the Preface of the Trinity. I was perfectly aware that this was an eighteenth century modification of the Roman Rite, but I didn't want to overload the narrative I was pursuing. The tradition of thus using that Preface is some 250 years old, which is, for me, good enough reason to deploy the term 'Tradition'. I find it an edifying and attractive organic and evolutionary development. As well (I fear this is a trifle Enlightenment) very usefully didactic.

If 'Tridentine' is to refer to the liturgical books of S Pius V, as I think it probably should, then you can find out about the Tridentine Rite by looking at another blog by the same erudite author, called The Tridentine Rite. There you will discover that the Common Preface is used on these green Sundays! You will also, I suspect, be surprised by some of the rather Puritanical prunings of the Calendar: for example, the elimination of 'non-biblical' feasts such as S Anne and the Presentation of our Lady. They soon returned, by popular demand; but they had sunk without trace under Pius V.

And the Office Hymns, of course, will be not those with which users of the 1962 books are familiar. Those texts were produced in the 1620s by Urban VIII, aka Papa Barberini. The breviary of S Pius V had the ancient texts, sometimes totally different from the Barberini versions, which one will also find in the Sarum and Benedictine Breviaries.

If we all survive until 2012, you are set up for another shock as you peruse The Tridentine Rite Blog. The liturgical books of S Pius V presuppose ... of course ... the Julian calendar. And in 2012, the Julian Easter will be a week later than that of the Gregorian calendar! And in 2013, five weeks later! But, of course, the Eschaton ...

I once did a holiday locum for a bossy priest who officiously told me to use "1662 word for word". I was gravely tempted to do as he said, but, when it came to point of explaining to his congregation (which had celebrated Easter a couple of weeks earlier) that today was really the fourth ... or was it fifth ... Sunday of Lent, it was too much for me. I chickened.

27 June 2010

Printing and the Sacred Heart

During the Octave of the Sacred Heart, using the older of my two Latin Altar editions of Missale Romanum, I said the Mass of the Sacred Heart as it existed, firstly pro aliquibus locis and then for the Universal Church, before Pius XI provided a replacement in 1928. I rather liked the old mass. The psalmus in the Introit was Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo, a haunting verse which has stuck in the minds of many. You find it in Pius IX's Mass of the Precious Blood; it occupied the same place in the Sarum Mass of the Five Wounds; I remember deciphering it, highly abbreviated, on a choir pew put in Lifton church in the late fourteen hundreds by Parson Halyborton, an adventurous Scotch cleric who came to Devon, became an archdeacon, went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I recall seeing it on a portrait, 1582, of S Teresa of Avila, once in the Carmel at Lanherne ... Why did this old Mass of the Sacred Heart have to be abolished? Its collect was to be resurrected by Bugnini in the post-conciliar 'reform', so it can't have carried the marks of being too dated. Why couldn't the mass have been kept as an alternative, or even just as a votive, somewhere in the Missal?

I have written before about the significance, understood by too few liturgical writers, of printing. This made it possible for legislators with liturgical bees in their bonnets to enforce, in a flash, liturgical revolutions. Before printing, we had a situation - I am thinking of the early history of Corpus Christi - in which a pope could mandate a feast for the Universal Church and it wasn't even observed in the papal capella until nearly two generations later. But printing made it possible for a Cranmer to overturn an entire liturgical culture overnight, and to replace his own liturgical innovations with a substantially different and yet more radical version of them a couple of years later.

This nasty and corrupt mechanism of Rupture came to town, I mean ad almam Urbem, with a vengeance, after Vatican II, in the Bugnini deformation of the worship of the Latin Church. But there were earlier signs. I have mentioned Pius XI and the liturgy of the Sacred Heart. Then there was Pius XII and the Assumption. Out went the old Mass and Office and in came radically new replacements. There was nothing wrong with the old euchological formulae; they made the point which was at the heart of the theology of the Assumption in both East and West in the first millennium and a half: that Mary was assumed so that she could intercede, be the Mediatrix of all graces. Granted that Pius XII desired in 1950 to imprint upon the liturgy his new dogmatic definition, he could have behaved in the organic, evolutionary way of earlier pontiffs - he might, for example, have left the texts which he inherited untouched but embodied his new precisions in an added word (corporea) in the Preface; or even have asked that fertile Fr Genovese to write a Sequence, ordering it to be printed in liturgical books after that date and to be be brought into use as the newer books gradually spread. (Something like that is what Papa Barberini did when he classicised the texts of the Office Hymns.) I had better not start going on about what happened when the infant Bugnini got his toddler paws onto the Holy Week rites ...

You do not put nuclear weapons into the hands of rogue states and you do not equip crazed would-be mass-killers with sub-machine guns. Printing is a very dangerous weapon in the hands of opinionated liturgists.

26 June 2010

Pastor in valle ... again ...

... and, this time, I am going to be a mite critical. In the very impressive list that Pastor gives of topics which RC priests have to cover at seminary, I notice that Sacred Languages are not included. Among Anglicans, Greek at least is considered essential among those receiving a seminary formation. I rather thought that, last time I looked at the current CIC (not that we Anglicans, as everybody knows, know anything about Canon Law) it was prescribed that all ordinandi bene calleant in Latin. And in some dusty old box I have a CTS leaflet called Veterum Sapientia by one Roncalli on the importance of Sacred Languages ... especially Latin.

Yet, when our beloved Holy Father issued Summorum Pontificum, there were papish bishops all over the world who came up with bright little schemes whereby, despite the motu proprio, priests wishing to say the Mass of The Ages would have to pass some seedy little examination in Latin; bishops who are not known to be have been to the forefront hitherto in insisting that Canon Law requirements about the formation of clergy should be obeyed to the Latin and Greek letter. Shomething wrong here, shurely?

A couple of years ago Pam and I were being shown round the sacristy of a French Cathedral, in company with a couple of young French priests. That they were Traditionalist is suggested by the fact that, although they were on holiday, they were both going around in soutanes. Since my Latin is distinctly faster than my French, I enquired whether they could talk in Latin. They recoiled in embarrassment muttering some Froggy phrase that sounded like 'un peu'.

And, in Ireland, I have not always been impressed by the erudition of all the clergy. Some of the most abysmally dreadful sermons I have ever heard, infinitely worse than an Anglican NSM or Reader would preach, devoid of content, ill-informed, clearly unprepared, were delivered by a Canon who also rejoiced in the title of Vicar Forane ... which, since I am an Anglican ignorant of Canon Law, is a phrase I do not know the meaning of.

Is Pastor really sure that things are so hunkey dorey across the Tiber?

25 June 2010

Pastor in Valle Adurni ...

Pastor in Valle Adurni is invariably an excellent read. I commend his piece on the lack of any proper priestly formation among a very significant number of Anglican clergy.

It is not just that so many modern clergy do not know what you might call the 'Catholicky' bits of priesthood. The problem is that middle-of-the-road clergy do not generally know middle-of-the-road Anglicanism; and 'low' clergy do not know 'low' Anglicanism.The late Bishop John Richards, when he became in retirement an assistant priest (in the Devon group in which he then imperiously summoned me to join him) was horrified, as he got to know some of the local clergy, by the degree of their ignorance. "He doesn't even know the Bible!", he would cry, in tones of incomprehension. And it is true. The far-off days when the Anglican clergy knew the Bible but the problem was that some of them didn't have any understanding of the Catholic context in which it should be understood and used, are but a happy memory. Incidentally, the same is true of Methodist clergy (and the relevance of this is that on these Ministerial Training Courses, Anglican and Protestant clergy are commonly trained together). Bishop John and I had some formal discussions with a couple of local Methodist clergy; the problem was not that they and we disagreed, but the degree of their ignorance. Gone the blissful days when a Protestant minister knew the text of his Bible so intimately that he could 'win' arguments against 'Catholics' who didn't. Needless to say, an important factor here is that the virus of Modern Biblical Criticism has filleted out of the mentality of modern Protestants any sense of the normativeness of Scripture. A folk memory that the Reformation was about the Bible, combined with the new assurance that the Bible has no authority, has left such people quite bankrupt. Come to think of it, that's (quite literally) a diabolical con, isn't it? Well done, Screwtape.

And I could, if I went easy on the question of confidentiality, provide evidence that, sadly, you can't be sure it's much better among 'Catholic' Anglicans.

Money, of course, is the problem. The C of E can now afford neither to train clergy nor to pay full-time clergy. Ergo ...

I make no judgements on the clergy of the TAC, who have had to struggle for Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy in a martyr-like situation and with no resources. But in an English Anglican context, my view is that clergy with an NSM origin may not be adequately qualified to be licensed to preach and to hear confessions and to run a Catholic parish. This does not mean that they could not be 'ordained' as massing-priests, and then given a proper training while helping to service ordinariate communities and even to supply within RC parishes. I feel that we need radical thinking in the situation confronting us.

24 June 2010

Name Days

Ah, my name day. Perhaps readers would care to advise me about the appropriate way of celebrating such occasions. I had better not drink wine all day, as the warm weather would dehydrate me.

Yesterday's Encaenia was enjoyable, as ever. Unlike the dim incompetents in the Congregation for Divine Worship, Mr Orator Jenkyns did nothing but delight with his latinity. He began his Oration for Lord Sainsbury (a wealthy English grocer; it is said that when he was at Eton College, those fellow-pupils untainted by Trade used to claim that he had flour on his hands, and elaborately seek his views on the price of rice) by quoting G K Chesterton's

God made the wicked grocer
For a mystery and a sign
...
rendering it into Latin iambs as
Mercator escae semper a deo factus
Malus scelestus, omen atque portentum ...


Looking behind the wit and the dazzle, one cannot but notice that Honorary Doctorates in Divinity seem rarely nowadays to be conferred. I suspect that this is not so much because Oxford lacks either Christians or broadminded liberals, as it is the result of an implicit unspoken veto wielded by Dawkinsian fascism. Professor Ratzinger will not receive an Oxford honour; but when that secular saint Nelson Mandela was in England some years ago, my recollection is that so many universities - including Oxford - wanted to honour him that the Great Man was not even expected to favour them all with his physical presence ... they sent their Vice-Chancellors or whatever to queue up in a tent somewhere and doctor him (ut ita dicam) one after another.

Encaenia happens in the Shedonian Theatre, a building put up during those brief years between 1660 and the Dutch Invasion of 1688, when England was teetering on the brink of again being part of the European cultural mainstream. In 1716, after the Hannoverian Usurpation, the modern Encaenia was born; it was made clear that the Hannoverian government would exact a violent revenge if the University failed to put an end to its tradition of free speech, so the lengthy 'University Act' had to be controlled and cut down. Hitherto, a witty speaker called terrae filius had uttered frank comments on public affairs. A generation later, only three years after the Prince Regent had nearly succeeded in ending the Rebellion, the Sheldonian housed, in 1749, the last great public demonstration in favour of the Legitimist cause; the noble and gentry leaders of the Jacobite party gathered; the loyal University conferred honorary doctorates upon them; and Dr William King made his famous speech in which the final six paragraphs all began with a great cry of REDEAT (let him return).

If it weren't for the victory of Whig historicism, the Sheldonian would be explained to tourists as the home and shrine of free speech.

23 June 2010

It's that ****** Third Form again

The propers for John Henry Newman are available at Oratoriani. I have duly printed them off.

The collect seems to me an intriguing piece of Latinity. Does anyone know of other examples, either in profane or ecclesiastical Latin, of confero with this accusative infinitive? According to the Oxford Latin Dictionary, and Lewis and Short, the verb, used with this sense, can be followed by a dative; by ad +accusative; by in; and even by erga. I suppose I should go into Bodley and look in the TLL, but who wants to do that in this warm weather? Perhaps a careful trawl of the ancient Sacramentaries will reveal confero+accusative and infinitive. I would be interested to know, if anybody cares to do it.

The Office Reading is a very stilted and wooden translation into Latin of a famous passage in the Apologia. Frankly, I have gummed the English original into my Liturgia Horarum, rather than face irritating myself annually as long as I live with this insult to the memory of a man who was perhaps the greatest English stylist of the nineteenth century. So far, however, on a first quick reading through, I've only noticed one real, major, Third Form howler in the actual grammar ("Now look here, Berlusconi Minor, I really am going to have to ask you to write this correction out twenty times, so as fix it in your mind"). I am sure there must be more. Is anyone at leisure to identify them? (I don't count as official 'errors' things like professis used in a passive sense, since Ovid used it thus in his erotica; although I don't like it in this sort of formal prose).

I remember carrying on, in the early days of this blog, about the dim and illiterate hacks in the CDW who are given the task of crafting new Latin liturgical formulae (the Padre Pio propers were particularly horrendous); and suggesting that the job should in future be left to Anglicans and the SSPX. I am still waiting to be convinced that this was just one of my silly jokes.

Furthermore: I know that, given recent decisions of PCED, one is not allowed to enter new celebrations into the EF calendar, which is supposed to be set in stone in the autumn of 1962. But one can say votives, surely, on free days, of beati and sancti. Shouldn't the CDW - or do I mean the PCED section of CDF? - get itself into the habit of indicating which of the alternative Commons at the back of the Missal one uses in saying an EF votive of a newly beatified ... such as JHN? (I would suggest, in his case, either of the Commons for a Confessor-not-a-Bishop, but with the Epistle and Gospel from the Common of Doctors.)

Off now, Deo volente, to Encaenia. I shall be very surprised if we get any howlers from Mr Public Orator Jenkyns. I wonder if he'll mention Mr Newman of the College vulgarly called Oriel.

22 June 2010

Ratzinger's Ordinariate

What I think most starkly distinguishes the Holy Father's offer from the Archishops' (apart, of course, from obvious things like bringing us into communion with most of the world's Christians, and making available to us the full benefits of the Magisterium) is the trust which the papal scheme demonstrates. Ratzinger's Anglicanorum coetibus gives us an autonomy unknown since the centralisation of church life under the papacy in the nineteenth century - most strikingly in this: that the Ordinariates themselves, not the papal nuncio in consultation with the local hierarchy, will submit the terna of names to Rome when a new Ordinary is to be appointed. And witness the powers given to the Council of an Ordinariate.

Trust is also at the basis of the provisions that, while an Ordinary is often to consult with local RC bishops about areas of joint concern, it is usually left to the Ordinary to make decisions. And his line manager is the Cardinal Prefect of Rome's most powerful dicastery. Whoever wrote the Apostolic Constitution was determined not to leave us at the mercy of potentially unsympathetic diocesans and Episcopal Conferences.

Contrast this with the mean, resentful, and anally retentive provisions throughout the Rowan scheme. We are not to be trusted with the power to make our own decisions. At every point and at every turn we will be subjected to the control of diocesan bishops. Our very existence will be at the mercy of people who are profoundly out of sympathy with us. Assuming that the sees of Ebbsfleet, Richborough, and Beverley continue to be filled, their occupants will be chosen by a primate (who may not always be as gracious, intelligent, and sympathetic as Rowan) in consultation with the relevant diocesans. It is no secret that, when the See of Ebbsfleet was vacant some years ago, the then Bishop of Bristol vetoed the priest whom the Primate wished to appoint ... I spent several years in Devon listening to my friend and neighbour Bishop John Ecce sacerdos magnus Richards complaining about the iniquity of it all!

This dear old Bavarian gent apparently trusts us in a way that even Rowan, for all his personal affection and best intentions, is clearly not free to. The best he thinks he can squeeze out of the bigots in the House of Bishops and the General Synod is a mean little scheme which leaves our enemies with their hands around our throats.

Papa Ratzi is offering us the chance to get up off our knees.

21 June 2010

Rowan's Ordinariate

I regard the proposals which the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are promoting as profoundly disappointing. I had been led by rumours to believe that they would be offering something that would in effect be a Third province ... or an Ordinariate ... within the Church of England. They are not.

What is clever about their scheme is that it claims to give us "good news" while at the same time purporting to require only a couple of minor changes in the draft legislation. It ostentatiously claims not to diminish the jurisdiction of diocesan bishops. This, combined with the deference still felt by many towards the archbishops, is likely, in my view, to incline a substantial number of the less fundamentalist liberals to tolerate it; and there will be Catholics who, despite the rhetoric which they have adopted over the years, will be willing to clutch at any straw which can be disguised as a fig leaf enabling them to remain in the Church of England.

Furthermore, any criticisms of the archiepiscopal plan will be met by pointing out that it would in effect create a situation closely similar to what we have now. At the moment, a diocesan can decide to whom to hand on the care of 'petitioning' parishes - it doesn't have to be to one of the flying bishops. So, it will be argued, Catholics will be no worse off under the new system than they are at the moment. Indeed, because of the strong moral pressure on diocesans to follow a (not yet drafted) Code of Practice, we shall, they will say to us, be better off. And, above all, 'our' bishops will, for the first time, have genuine jurisdiction.

This sounds, and will sound, good. The problem about it is the unreality of it all. The plain fact is that it leaves the whip - in fact, all the whips - in the hands of the Establishment. Because diocesans will be able to craft and adjust both their diocesan schemes and the personel who will operate them, they will be able to call all the shots. Their appointees will be crucial. We have to envisage the probable use of a suffragan, a neighbouring diocesan, a retired bishop, who will say, with complete sincerity, that he opposes the ordination of women. But because we shall not have chosen him, he is likely to be a man chosen by the Establishment as a safe pair of hands, someone who can be relied on to bear in mind at all times the overall requirement of the entire system; a man more willing to tolerate a dodgy compromise rather than to rock the boat ... any boat ... too disastrously. In a word, One of Them rather than One of Us. If, of course, several of the current PEVs have by then accepted Papa Ratzinger's shilling, there will be a preference to select successors who can safely be relied on not to provide a new generation of departures in five years' time; men who have made a settled calculation about which side their bread is buttered.

At an even more basic level, what the scheme attempts to plaster over is the fact that the navigation department of the Anglican faith-community has set a firm course which is irretrievably in divergence from that of the Ancient Churches. As Walter Kasper ... a distinctly liberal practitioner as Cardinals go ... unsuccessfully attempted to get the House of Bishops to understand, what the C of E is faced with is a quite stark decision: whether to pursue the ARCIC dream of organic unity, or to opt to be one of the Protestant sects. This is the kairos of decision, both for Anglicanism corporately and for individuals. How long is it feasible, even for those among us of the most stay-and-stick-it-out tendency, to keep a foot on the decks of two ships which are heading in different directions?

If this scheme does go through, I hope that those who go and those who stay to live under it will retain all the old bonds of amity. There will be temptations on both sides to be nasty about the choices which others have made. It is very important that these temptations are resisted. If we end up with a bridge ... and, at one end of it, a bridgehead called Ordinariate, and at the other end, a bridgehead called Coordinated Jurisdiction ... then we could have a new and interesting ecumenical experiment. If, on the other hand, in ten years time, there are two groups of former friends taking potshots at each other across the floodplains, we shall all be the losers.

Come off it, father. You know perfectly well that when you've finished your time at St Whatsit's and qualified for your full pension, you'll want to saunter across that pontoon to a comfortable place where the shadow of Peter can fall upon you. You're going to want your chums the other side to have kept the Border-Crossing wide open for you, and no questions asked ... aren't you?

After Trinity: the mass formulae

This continues from the post on the Collects. You won't understand it on its own.

The mass for Pentecost 1 is almost the same as that for Trinity 1, since BCP/S pushed these masses a Sunday later than T. The one difference is that BCP/S has (instead of the T Gospel) Luke 16:19 as the Gospel; a Gospel which does not appear in the T post Pentecosten masses.

The mass for Pentecost 2 is the same as that for Trinity 2. In other words, since Trinity 2 is a Sunday later than Pentecost 2, BCP/S is using this mass one Sunday later than T is using it.

Pentecost 3 mass is the same as that of Trinity 3; in other words, BCP/S is again using this mass a Sunday later than T is using it. EXCEPT that, as explained in the last post, BCP/S retains today an ancient Roman collect which T somehow has mislaid; while T precipitately uses the next collect in the list, which BCP/S correctly defers until next Sunday. So on this Sunday (and hereafter) the collects in BCP/S will be two Sundays later than in T.

Pentecost 4 mass is the same as that of Trinity 4; in other words, BCP/S once more uses the mass one Sunday later than T uses it. EXCEPT that (a) as far as the collects are concerned, BCP/S is running two Sundays later than T; today it uses the T collect for Pentecost 3; and (b) BCP/S here uses the Gospel which T gave us on Pentecost 1 (Luke 6:36). The T Gospel for Pentecost 4 is therefore displaced onto next Sunday, Trinity 5.

After this, things settle down. Thus most of the mass on Pentecost 5 is the same as that of Trinity 5 (i.e. T is using it a Sunday earlier than BCP/S, since the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost is a Sunday earlier than the Fifth Sunday after Trinity); except that the collects and Gospels have T now running two Sundays earlier than BCP/S.

I have been talking about BCP/S; i.e. the Sarum Mass, the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel of which are reproduced in the Prayer Book while the psalmody is to be found in the English Gradual and the back of the English Hymnal and the Secrets and Postcommunions are in the English Missal. In a couple of cases the 1662 Book slightly rearranged the clauses of Cranmer's collects; from time to time Cranmer himself slightly lengthened or slightly shortened an Epistle or a Gospel; and there are one or two little problems in some graduals.

20 June 2010

After Trinity: Collects

The Sundays between Trinity Sunday and Advent are, in BCP (the Book of Common Prayer), 25. In the Tridentine Missal, they are 24. But in T, the first Collect of the series is assigned to Trinity Sunday itself, where it is used as a commemoration at the Mass of the Trinity and then in ferial masses during the week. In BCP (which throuighout this period represents S (the Sarum) arrangements), it is moved to the First Sunday after Trinity, which means that in effect the Trinity itself has an Octave (this disposition continues in CW (Common Worship); presumably, ferial masses in the following week are in white vestments). This also means that T is a Sunday ahead of BCP. But T also omits one of this ancient series of collects, the formula represented by BCP Trinity III (here is the original Latin of that prayer: Deprecationem nostram, qs, Dne, benignus exaudi: et quibus supplicandi praestas affectum, tribue defensionis auxilium). Because of this omission, for the rest of the year T is two Sundays ahead of BCP. (In what follows I shall exclude from consideration the Excita collect of the last Sunday before Advent, which, because of the imposition of Christ the King on this day, has its own problems).

CW restored, after the aberrations of the Alternative Service Book, the enumeration of the Sundays after Trinity (except that it terminates them before Advent so as to have a pre-Advent season concentrating on themes of the Kingdom and, optionally, in red vestments). CW also restores some of the old collects, and even allows them to occupy the same Sundays as in BCP/S. These collects are Trinity 1,4,6,7,10,11,12,19,21.

B (Bugnini) used some of the old series of collects; but, because of the invention of a novel 34-week tempus per annum, these survivors are all mixed up and only by very occasional coincidences will they fall upon their old Sundays. The collects thus preserved in B are the collects which, in BCP/S, are attached to the following Sundays after Trinity: 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,11,12,13,14,17,20. This is four more than CW. What I find interesting is that the taste of the CW committee and that of the B group did not always coincide. In six cases it did; but CW rather liked three which B despised; B liked seven which did not make the CW cut. (B did also incorporated into its new set a couple of collects which had originally lived After Easter but which were not 'paschal' enough in theme for the B peculiarity of treating all of the fifty days as the Easter Octave.)

Some people are making a fuss about the new ICEL translation of the Roman Rite for abandoning 'Common Texts'. There is not much evidence that, in this matter of collects, Anglican and RC committees ever bothered to seek a 'common' list. And the evidence supports the suspicion that these modern committes, in each communion, although working at around the same time and having many of the same presuppositions, did their picking and choosing and suppressing for the most part on the basis of pure whimsy.

19 June 2010

POST TRINITATEM

Well, having celebrated External Solemnities ... or do I means Sundays Within the Octaves? ... of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart, we have now put away our white High Mass set and got out the splendid green one which, a year or so ago, a kind benefactor procured for us from the prolific Mr Luzar. We are into the Season in Ord ... no, let us not go down that path. Neither let us call the next twenty-odd Sundays "after Pentecost", even though that was the old Anglo-Saxon custom and the habit of the Byzantines and of the Missal of S Pius V. Sundays after Trinity ... how evocative that phrase is of English summer Sundays, of the poppies red around the ripening cornfields, of the smell of baking hay, of putting ones cassock back on after a lazy and vinous afternoon and strolling back across to church to dive into a 'Sarum' surplice and flip the red silk of a MA hood over ones head and Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us ... down to Illumina quaesumus Domine tenebras nostras ... or whatever it is that dear Dr Cranmer translated that into.

Dear Dr Cranmer also preserved to us the old Sarum custom of calling these Sundays post Trinitatem. I have always felt that 'After Pentecost' has an activism subliminally within it; as if we are thinking all the time about what the Holy Ghost is inspiring us to do next. After Trinity , however, suggests adoration. Consider the logic of the preface of the Trinity, which tradition encourages us to use on all these Sundays (composed, I think, by the Englishman Alcuin on the basis of a more prolix formula surviving in our oldest surviving insular Massbook, the Stowe Missal). What we believe of the glory of Father, Son, and Spirit is the ground for our adoration of the majesty of the undivided Godhead; a majesty which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim praise; who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying Holy Holy Holy. The mystery of the true and everlasting Godhead and the distinction in persons and the unity in essence and the equality in majesty are the object of the worship which we are privileged to offer, in eternity but already here in time, with all the company of heaven.

And on Saturday evening we have prepared for Sunday in the words of the ancient Office Hymn which John Mason 'Patrimony' Neale translated as O Trinity of blessed light, O Unity of princely might, The fiery sun goes now his way; Shed thou within our hearts thy ray. To thee our morning song we praise, To thee our evening prayer we raise; Thy glory suppliant we adore For ever and for evermore. All laud to God the Father be; All praise, eternal Son, to thee; All glory, as is ever meet, To God the holy Paraclete.

18 June 2010

LAUREATUS

Jesse joins Sue as a Laureate of this blog (she, you recall, a few months ago offered a very fine, terse, elegant limerick). Jesse has solved with great aplomb all the conundrums (-a?) in the Summer Examination Paper. He was not the first to spot the authorship of the S Paschasius Radbertus passage - a certain erudite parson not a million miles from Lancing Coll did that. (Do RC priests mind being called parsons?). Motu proprio, Vincent de Paul, Fr Terry and Chris were also snapping at the fox's heels. But Jesse put pretty well everything together very nicely in elucidating the Cranmerian topos of the Lord's Body saving/cleansing our bodies, and his Blood our souls; and Cranmer's liturgical jiggery pokery.

Despite Dix's comment, the speculation is not necessarily medieval. 'Ambrosiaster', who wrote early enough to be a witness of the vetus Latina, made the speculation (PL 17:243 ... Caro enim Salvatoris pro salute corporis, sanguis vero pro anima nostra effusus est, sicut prius praefiguratum fuerat a Moyse), and explained that the reason is to be found in Leviticus 17:11, "the life [soul] of the flesh is in the Blood" [Vulg: anima carnis; MT: NPS HBSR].

I wonder if it has always been obvious to everybody what S Thomas meant by that stanza in Verbum supernum prodiens about Body+Blood being necessary to save the Whole Man. In my view he clearly is referring to the Ambrosiaster/Paschasius speculation; see S Th III art I 'tertio'.

Well done to all.

Pulped

Off this morning on Home Communions; to a very jolly clergy-widow. When the obama won its election, she bought his book ... the one I think, with that noble, visionary, face on the dust-cover. Now, she assured me as we chatted over coffee, she has sent it off in the recycling box to be pulped. "Quite right, Molly", said I. "It's the only sort of language people like that understand".

rejecting communicants

Monday during the Octave of Corpus Christi: the (EF) fifth reading at Mattins, had a passage from S John Chrysostom (I have a splendid stained glass window of him in S Thomas's, claerly done by someone who knew how Byzantine bishops dress ... and even how they join their fingers when blessing).

Let no inhumane, cruel, unmerciful, or unclean person come near [to the Altar]. I say these things to communicants, and to you, who administer. For it is necessary to turn my discourse to you also, so that with great care you may distribute these Gifts. Not a small punishment threatens you, if you grant anyone, while aware of his sin, to be a sharer in this table; his blood will be required at your hands. So if someone who is a military leader, or a Prefect, or an Emperor crowned with a diadem, should approach unworthily, forbid him: you have greater power than him. That is why God marked you with this honour, that you might discern such matters. This is your dignity, your safety, this is your entire crown; not that you should go around dressed in a white and shining tunic.

A few years ago, when I was writing a piece on the 'Apostle' Junia, I had occasion to read in detail the entire passage in his commentary on Romans 16 where Chrysostom speaks about the women there mentioned with such praise by S Paul. As I read about Prisc(ill)a, it became clear to me that Chrysostom is quite simply using her as an opportunity to have a bash at the Imperial House: he compares the humble tentmaker with imperial women who go around dressed like tarts (I believe the American slang term is hookers). I wonder if the passage above is also part of the same campaign ... which, of course, led to Chysostom being driven to a martyr's death.

More to the point, I wonder what will be said to me on Judgement Day about the matter Chrysostom here discusses. Will my barrister, on that occasion, be able to defend me by pointing out that my laxity in distributing the Sacramentis should be jotted down, not to my account, but to the account of the people who made the canonical dispositions which govern my conduct?

17 June 2010

Birettas

In the new picture of me which graces this blog (a message, by the way, to the reader who said it made me look rather schoolmasterly: "I know where you live ..."), I am not wearing a biretta. Readers have wondered why. This is part of STEP (the S Thomas's Ecumenical Policy). In admiration of the FSSP usage, I wear a biretta in and out of church. But out of admiration for the great Archbishop Lefebvre and for the SSPX, I do not preach in one. Additionally, my biretta has no bobble. That is because I am reserving the bobble-spot for a blue bobble ... or, indeed, a bobble of any ecumenically significant colour.

Question 4

Verbum supernum prodiens; how does the third stanza of S Thomas's great hymn fit in with the previous questions posed?

16 June 2010

ALTAR WINE

Does anyone know of a supplier in the UK of sweetish white Altar Wine guranteed in accordance with Canon Law?

Cordoba Cathedral: the Hunwicke solution

My first instinct, when reading of the proposal that Moslems be allowed to worship in Cordoba Cathedral, on the grounds that they built it (on the site of a church which they had demolished), was: how right the Bishop of Cordoba is to refuse it. Celebrating the Eucharist in a former mosque can be a joyous experience; I remember, in Crete, many years ago, going to the Liturgy in the Church of S Titus, which still retained all the glorious architectural and decorative features of the mosque it had been (built on the site of a church). Rambling still further, I recall a superb Orthodox church on the waterfront at Rhodes, which was built by the Italians and, after the war, "purified from the dogma of the Latins" and adorned with superb murals in mid-Byzantine style. Rambling yet more inconsequentially, I remember the Hospital Chapel in Exeter; the area directly in front of the Aumbry, where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved, did additional duty as the area set aside for Moslem prayer and equipped with prayer-mats.

But then I wondered about the possibility of a world-wide game of musical chairs. Cordoba Cathedral, the Bishop of Cordoba could promise, would be handed over to the Moslems on the very self-same day when Hagia Sophia and all other sites in Constantinople originally devoted to Byzantine worship are restored to the See of S Andrew. Because that leaves us Latins rather disadvantaged ... as we so commonly seem to be ... we could be comforted by having a handful of the monasteries on Athos (where there were indeed Latin monks during the first millennium) handed over to us.

You know it makes sense.

15 June 2010

Benedict XVI in Ipswich?

NLM has a nice picture of the Sovereign Pontiff blessing a statue of our Lady ... am I imagining things, or is it a statue of our Lady of Ipswich aka our Lady of Grace aka our Lady of Nettuno?
Summer Exam. Paper continues.

2. In the Sarum Mass, at no point did the celebrant kneel before the consecrated Sacrament. How was this changed by the Rite of 1549?

3. Which of Cranmer's fellow bishops used the words of this part of the 1549 book to advance an 'Anglican Catholic' interpretation of the rite, and what was Cranmer's reaction in terms of
(a) the arrangement of the rite; and
(b) the wording?
continues

14 June 2010

Sacred Heart Sermon

The blog Manager has printed a new picture of myself; I assure enquirers that I had removed my maniple before preaching and that I replaced it afterwards. You now contemplate me preaching at our Extraordinary Form Sung Latin Mass for the Sacred Heart; here is the sermon I was preaching.
As I read the prayer Iesu dulcissime, prescribed by Pius XI in 1928 to be said in all parish churches, I wondered if my neighbour at S Ebbe's was remembering to do so. It is an act of Reparation ordered to be offered to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for the insults and blasphemies against that Sacred Heart. Pius XI, you will remember, was the pope who revised the propers for Mass and Office and endowed the Feast of the Sacred Heart with a (short-lived) Octave. And, in this Act of Reparation, one of the offenses to be expiated is: immodest and unbecoming dress.

Immodest dress in 1928! I rather think that 1928 means we were moving towards the era of the Flappers; slinky dresses; jazz; cocktails; the Charleston. Pius XI was also the pope who ordered the feast of Christ the King to be observed, as a marker against the Age of the Great Dictators and of the overmighty state. What a combative pontiff Papa Ratti must have been, despite his dusty decades in the Vatican Libraries: that Pope of the Church Militant, with one hand swiping at the Dictators of Left and Right; with the other, administering a firm smack to the Flappers.

Is there really an equivalence between Stalin and the Flappers? The Flappers may have been a trifle naughty, but they surely weren't murderous? They didn't send you to gulags or contrive a genocidal famine in the Ukraine. Yet ... I wonder. This age of ours, an age of sexual license, of which the Thirties were perhaps the first care-free dawn, has led to a new Holocaust: of the unborn. I don't think you have to be over-imaginative to join up a line of dots between the flirty skirts of the Thirties and the era of the overmighty abortionists. Which may serve to remind us that it was Pius XI who also, in his Encyclical Casti connubii, defended the principles of Christian Marriage.

I suspect one could draw conclusions about the prophetic role of the Papacy from all this. But today, in conclusion, I want simply to underline Pius XI's promotion of the cult of the Sacred Heart. The Sacred Heart is an iconographical topos only too easy to ridicule. You remember how that acute liturgical commentator, Professor Richard Dawkins, not long ago, evoked a wonderful picture of the Church tumbling around Pope Benedict's ears "amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch Sacred Hearts": rhetoric almost worthy of the great Goebbels himself. Indeed. The World does not admire those who find refuge in the widely-opened Sacred Heart of Jesus; our idols, our 'celebrities', are only too often the shallow and the promiscuous and the foul-mouthed, not the quiet contemplative rapt in adoring and intercessory prayer before the pierced Heart of our Saviour. But God has chosen what the World calls Foolish to shame the Clevers; what the World calls weak, to confound the Strong; because in Christ crucified, what the World calls foolishness and weakness is made the strength and the wisdom of God.

13 June 2010

Decadence

As numbers of those visiting this blog continue to slump (in the last seven months, by an average of a thousand a month), so that in under two years we shall be in minus numbers, I have decided to abandon any attempt to inform or to please; and simply to frivol.

FR HUNWICKE'S SUMMER EXAMINATION PAPER 2010

1. Read the following; suggest the author; and indicate a portion of the Anglican Liturgical Patrimony upon which it throws light.
There are three who give witness that Christ is Truth: the spirit, the Blood, and the Water, since after he sent forth the Spirit from the fount of his chest, contrary to Nature there flowed the felix unda of Baptism, and the Blood of Redemption, by which the one work of salvation is consecrated, that the body and soul and spirit might be preserved whole unto life in Christ. So nobody doubts that our flesh is also restored (reparetur) by this unto life; since the entire Man is redeemed. Flesh is fed by flesh spiritually since the Word was made flesh; the soul however is restored by the Blood of Christ. So every soul, as Scripture witnesses, is in the blood, so that, as it has a seat in the body and through [the blood] itself (as they say) gives life to the body, thence [the soul] also might have eternal life from Christ abiding in it.

continues

12 June 2010

Bodging the Bishop around

Some nice pictures a few days ago on the Papa Stronsay blog of a young FSSP priest saying his first mass in the RC Cathedral in Edinburgh. I know of few lovelier events than First Masses. And how good to see Cardinal O'Brien greeting the Papa Stronsay Redemptorists. Let us pray that their canonical erection may be finalised soon. It sends out bad messages when people, who, on a wave of great euphoria, have accepted the Holy Father's invitation to full canonical union with the See of Peter, are, apparently by local RC establishments, subjected to slowcoaching.

Traddy RCs tend to be impatient about the unwillingness of their archbishops to celebrate the EF. Personally, I have some sympathy with the hierarchs concerned. I have watched, in S James's Spanish Place and in Merton Chapel, bishops who manifestly are unfamiliar with the EF, being dragged and pummelled through it ... "stand here, look that way, do this, read that". It is quite painful as well as being dreadfully lengthy; and undignified for the pontiffs concerned. If I were Vin, I wouldn't want to do it. What might be better, at this stage, would be for one bishop in a particular area to get genned up on how to do the EF, so that he can do it fluently and enjoy the doing of it. I understand the view of CMOC (who spead EF events around his various Area Bishops) that he didn't want an EF 'flying bishop', but it would be more comfortable for all concerned.

Some of us have learned a great deal about the true nature of pastoral episcopacy from 'flying bishops'. It would be good for RCs to get the experience.

E L Mascall

Have I got this right? That today we are commemorating the S John of San Fagondez who was Titular of the Servers' fraternity in Eric Mascall's wicked poem? The servers wouldn't come to weekday Mass at seven, But turned up looking wonderful on Sondez at eleven.

Since we moved, I haven't been able to discover which box my Mascall books are in, so I have to go by memory (the ultra-Catholic priest, as all his friends expected, would have gone last Thursday week had not his wife objected).

On a more devout note ... a lovely video via NLM of the Vigil in Rome for the Year of the Priesthood; Evensong and Benediction. Immensely moving. There was a time when we Anglican Catholics felt that we were the only people left doing such things, and our enemies derisively assured us "Even the Romans have given up all that sort of stuff nowadays". Viva il Papa Anglicano.

11 June 2010

The Feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary

You could google your way to a lot of facts about the very many different days on which this Feast has been kept, as 'Gallican' bishops, and, later, Popes, granted it to various places or orders. The earliest date appears to be October 20; a date which enjoyed the favour of S John Eudes as early as 1647. But there seems to be an increasing tendency to fix it on the Octave Day of the Assumption; or the Sunday within ... or the Sunday after ... that Octave. My 1874 Breviary has it then (among, of course, the observances For Various Places).

But liturgical books which I have, dated 1922 and 1957, assign it to the Saturday after the Feast of the Sacred Heart. My instinct is that this might be a result of the reforms of S Pius X or of the Message of Fatima. Perhaps readers may be able to pin this down.

In 1942, "gravissimas miseratus aerumnas quibus christiani populi ob ingruens immane bellum affliguntur" Pius XII consecrated the Human Race to the Immaculate Heart, and ordered its feast to be kept in the Universal Church on August 22 instead of the old Octave Mass of the Assumption. It will be seen that this represented, in calendar terms, a reversion to the nineteenth century date of the Feast of the Most Pure Heart. The Bugnini idea of using the Saturday after the Feast of the Sacred Heart was, you will have noticed, not a totally new idea. It was a reversion to the date employed in the first half of the twentieth century for the feast when our Lady's Heart was described as 'Most Pure' rather than as 'Immaculate' and was still pro aliquibus locis rather than universal.

If calendars are one day to be harmonised, it would seem to me appropriate to keep this lovely and Biblical feast on the date after the Sacred Heart, where it was until 1944 and then after 1970, not least because that would fit the 'First Saturday' devotion. The Octave Day of the Assumption, and Maria Regina, could then fight it out for August 22. My instinct would be to call the day by its proper name, the Octave Day of the Assumption, but to incorporate some features of Pius XII's Office or the Liturgia horarum, such as the hymn O quam glorifica, which dates from the ninth century and was originally proper to Assumption Day itself.

May 31 should revert to being the Feast of our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces, as it increasingly was in many places where granted by indult, until Pius XII parked Maria Regina on that date. (When Bugnini wickedly transferred the Visitation to May 31, Dom Lentini did make a feeble attempt to keep a memory of this earlier celebration of our lady of Grace by including, in a hymn he composed for the Visitation, the stanza Teque felicem populi per orbem/ semper, O Mater, recitant ovantes/ atque te credunt Domini favorum/ esse ministram.)

10 June 2010

Best wishes ...

... for White Rose Day. At Mass I spared a memento for our late Sovereign Lord King James III and VIII, whose Birthday of course it is. And also for the heroic souls who died in their loyal attempts to assert his Right. And this I can tell, that all things shall be well, when the King shall have his Own again.

POSTSCRIPTUM

I fear I shall not be able to reply to all the emails I have received, and hope that my friends will accept this Thank You for their kindness, prayers, and unmerited compliments. My email address and postal address should be the same until the end of June.

Cor Immaculatum

Our Holy Father, with deft irony, observed that "people from the Anglo-Saxon and German cultural world" tend to feel uneasy about devotion to the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Lady. He goes on to point out that "In Biblical language, the Heart [Leb] indicates the centre of human life, the point where reason, will, and temperamentand sensitivity converge, where the person finds his unity and his interior orientation. According to Matthew 5:8, the 'immaculate heart' is a heart which, with God's grace, has come to a perfect unity and therefore 'sees God'. To be 'devoted' to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart, which makes the fiat - 'your will be done' - the defining centre of one's whole life".

Curiously enough, this entire way of speaking, far from being a piece of sickly Southern- European sentimentality, is rooted from beginning to end in the Scriptures both of the Old and of the New Testaments. What I find a trifle diverting is that, as far as I am aware, this devotion did not arise as a deliberately perceived response to Biblical texts and themes, whether as appropriated in popular or in academic contexts. The mediterranean peasants among whom these usages flowered were simply, instinctively, naturally and healthily nurtured by the Christian and Biblical tradition; the fact of its Biblical congruity is a pretty obvious guarantee of the wholesomeness of their religion. This should incline us to be that bit more respectful if perchance we occasionally find their art not quite to our sophisticated ( ... er ... ) taste.

Psalm 180:80 speaks of a heart which is (MT; LXX; Vg) tamim; amomos; immaculatum. This word frequently applies to sacrificial animals (BDB says "Exodus 12:5 and 40 times; Ezekiel 43:22 and 10 times"). We are not to offer what is faulty to YHWH, any more than we would give a defective animal to the King. Sacrifice is not a system for disposing of imperfect members of the flock! BDB goes on to say "sound, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity: of God's way ... work ... Law ... etc.". So our Heart is to be good enough to offer to YHWH in sacrifice; as sound as His Torah and as His creative providence. It is because Mary's Heart is attuned to Him (Luke 1:38; 2:19; 2:51 ... how many more instances could Biblicists desire?) and to the needs of others (John 2:3), even before the Hour of the Lord's Glory (John 2:4), that the intercession of her heart mediates through shared obedience (John 2:5) the first Sign of the fullness of the Kingdom (John 2:11) - that Sign which is the arche, fount and source, of all his other signs (C K Barrett: a primary sign, because representative of the creative and transforming work of Jesus as a whole). Mediatrix, indeed, of All Graces.

The date of the Feast ... I think I'll complete this tomorrow.

8 June 2010

You heard about it first here ...

... in posts dated March 29 and April 5, 7, and 11. Brunero Gherardini: The Ecumenical Vatican Council II - A MUCH NEEDED DISCUSSION. Read the book that everyone is talking about. Get the English translation from
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You could also ask for a catalogue from this excellent small supplier of good Catholic books.

Cadging

S Thomas's could really do with another thurible stand. I could really do with a home communions case ... at the moment my twice-weekly sorties round West Oxford have me carrying the lights, corporal, prayer-cards etc. in a supermarket bag (Sainsbury's). If someone within the United Kigdom had spares to send us, we would be very grateful, and I would refund carriage.

SATURDAY JUNE 12

This coming Saturday, there is to be a Sung Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) at 6.00p.m., in S Thomas's. It will be a Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

S Thomas's is near the Railway Station in Oxford. Parking is available.

Info: pp@thomasthemartyr.org.uk

7 June 2010

More Mascall: Where should the Tabenacle be?

"There are a good many Anglicans ... who would prefer that the Sacrament was kept in some quiet and secluded corner of the church where it would not be exposed to the attention of the casual visitor and where the devout worshipper would be free from disturbance. It seems to me that this attitude, however well-meant, is fundamentally mistaken ...For the fundamental facts about the Blessed Sacrament are its publicity and its centrality. It is not a hidden treasure, hidden away in a corner to be the object of devotion of the abnormally pious; it is the gift of Christ to his body the Church. The method of reservation ... whereby the consecrated elements are placed in a safe in the church wall and removed from association with the altar, seems calculated to encourage almost wrong view of the reserved Sacrament that is conceivable. Could anything be more likely to detach the reserved Sacrament from its organic connection with the Church's liturgy ... ? It is therefore, I would suggest, most desireable that the Blessed Sacrament should normally be reserved in as central a place as possible, upon the high altar of the church, and that regularly some form of public devotion to the Eucharistic Presence should be held, if possible when the main body of the congregation is assembled ...

"In the full rite of Benediction ... the blessing of the people with the Sacred Host as the climax of the service reminds them inescapably of the fact that, in our relation with God, it is he, and not we, who is the primary agent and who takes rthe initiative."

6 June 2010

A great Day

June 6 is my wife's Birthday; and the anniversary of the Wedding last year of our younger Son, James Edward, and Anjalee. Gracious me, how splendid she looked as she walked up Chichester Cathedral! O diem laetum, notandumque mihi candidissimo calculo! Nunc est bibendum! ... and lots more bits from Pliny and Flaccus.

For those of you who are celebrating Corpus Christi today, a passage, for the Eve before that Feast, from Gueranger: The dawn of our Feast is upon us. Turning towards the East, the Church knows, through the twilight, that her Spouse is preparing to visit her. She is all joy at this hour, when the king of day is about to shine on our earth; she has her solemn Office of Lauds, full of gladness and praise, as its name indicates; and in this Office, she invites earth, and sea, and firmament, to sing canticles which are worthy of our Jesus, who is the true Sun, for he is rising upon us, and, as the Psalmist tells us (Psalm 18:6), is himself rejoicing, as a giant, to come to the Altar of Sacrifice.

5 June 2010

Its High Summer ...

...has at last hit the Oxford Trinity Term. Pam and I went to the Varsity Match in the Parks to see the University beat Cambridge in the 20/20. The trees were in their full glory, the Pimms tasted wonderful, there were some soaring sixes and some beautiful wickets. "The Sultan" led the University; goodness me, what would English and Oxford Cricket be if it weren't for the Honourable East India Company? The bumping races on the River ... a fortnight ago ... have been deftly infiltrated by the daughters of the New England plutocracy, delightful ever in the clarity of their diction; Cricket, on the other hand, seems impervious to the dollar. Vivat Imperium Britannicum.

And, it being high summer, I am wearing our best white chasuble and set. It is falling apart, but ... well, what is the point of just leaving it in some dark drawer? French eighteenth century; the crosses on stole and maniple just like the Cross of the Saint Esprit; flowers hand-emboidered on white silk; light as a feather. I once made a self-denying ordinance to wear it only four times a year, but I have broken that, and this year have the set out of the chest for the period between our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces and the Sacred Heart. How I wish it could tell its tale; of the artists who created it; of the priests who used it; of the people in whose churches it was worn.

Quorum animabus propitietur Cor Sacratissimum Iesu.

4 June 2010

Separated Doctors of the Catholic Church

A nice phrase by Fr Aidan Nichols ... and I offer you a piece today one one of those Anglican Catholic theologians of whom Fr Aidan thinks so well: Fr Eric Mascall of Oxford.

What makes the mass one and corporate is not the fact that a lot of people are together at the same service, but the fact that it is the act of the one Christ in his Body (corpus) the Church. And I can think of no better way of making anyone understand wherein the unity and corporateness of the mass really consists than to take him into a church in which a number of priests are simultaneously celebrating private masses and to say: "Look at those men at their various altars all round the church, each of them apparently muttering away on his own and having nothing to do with the others. In fact they are all of them doing the same thing - the same essentially, the same numerically - not just a lot of things of the same kind, but the very same identical thing; each of them is taking part as a priest in the one redemptive act which Christ, who died for our sins and rose again for our justification, perpetuates in the Church which is his Body through the sacrament of his body and blood."

Mascall used to say his own mass every morning (except when he was on the Cathedral rota for a public mass) in the church where I went for daily mass as an undergraduate. How wonderful it would be if the scene he describes returned to the life of our churches ... just imagine the basilica at Lourdes every morning with a constant coming and going of priests to the altars of the fifteen mysteries.

3 June 2010

Fr Faber, of course. God bless him.

"We think ... of all the thousands of masses which are being said or sung the whole world over, and all rising with one note of blissful acclamation, from grateful creatures, to the Majesty of our merciful Creator. How many glorious processions, with the sun upon their banners, are now winding their way round the squares of mighty cities, through the flower-strewn streets of Christian villages, through the antique cloisters of the glorious cathedral, or through the grounds of the seminary, where the various colours of the faces, and the different languages of the people are only so many fresh tokens of the unity of that faith which they are all exultingly professing in the single voice of the magnificent ritual of Rome! Upon how many altars of various architecture, amid sweet flowers and starry lights, amid clouds of humble incense, and the tumult of thrilling song, before thousands of prostrate worshippers, is the Blessed Sacrament raised for exposition, or taken down for benediction! And how many blessed acts of faith and love, of triumph and of reparation, do not each of these things surely represent! The world over, the summer air is filled with the voice of song. The gardens are shorn of their fairest blossoms, to be flung beneath the feet of the Sacramental God. The steeples are reeling with the clang of bells; the cannon are booming in the gorges of the Andes and the Appenines;the ships of the harbours are painting the bays of the sea with their show of gaudy flags; the pomp of royal or republican armies salutes the King of kings. The Pope on his throne, and the school-girl in her village, cloistered nuns, and sequestered hermits, bishops and dignitaries and preachers, emperors and kings and princes, all are engrossed to-day with the Blessed Sacrament ... "

Thank goodness the exclamation marks remind us that this wonderfully purple passage is formed of merely rhetorical questions. What, otherwise, would be the answer to a query about how many Corpus Christi processions they're having today around the mock-byzantine fatuities of Westminster 'Cathedral' ... or even about how many cannons there are booming today around the authentically baroque glories of the magnificent church Faber himself inspired, down there in Kensington opposite the Italian cafe?

Still, Viva il Fabbro.

2 June 2010

Secundum usum, rather strangely, Eboracensem

To First Vespers of Corpus Christi, in the rather gaudy chapel of Gloucester Hall within my parish. It was sung according to the Use of York; why, there appeared to be no explanation. Gloucester Hall was a house of studies for the subjects of some Benedictine abbeys before the Tudor Disorders, so the Benedictine rite might have been a more obvious choice. (After the Suppression it became a dependency of S John's; S John's was a very recusant college and Gloucester Hall seems to have been its even more recusant annexe.)

Vespers was very beautifully sung; but I don't think the young people can have known much Latin, because there was some strange phrasing. Perhaps, too, whoever transcribed the texts made slips; for example, in the third antiphon, they sang (each time) " ... in circuitu mensae Dominum", which can hardly make sense. The York use, apparently, had a responsory between the Capitulum and the Hymn; otherwise, there seemed no difference of text between it and the Tridentine Rite.

Pentecost in retrospect

I see that the Holy Father, on Pentecost Sunday, again enunciated the thesis which led to the very public row between himself and Walter Kasper, not long before the Conclave: that the Universal Church theologically 'precedes' the Local Church. I wonder if Professor Kasper will respond this time. I suppose Professor Ratzinger's thesis is now to be deemed to have formal support from the Magisterium.

And I see that they had a Marian festival at St John Cantius on Pentecost Sunday. I don't quite understand this. I don't think anybody who reads this blog is likely to suspect me of lacking devotion to our Lady; but I can't see the propriety of having a Marian theme overshadowing the celebration of the third great festival of the year, even though there is no doubt that she is Sponsa Spiritus Sancti. After all, she is a creature and the Holy Spirit is Almighty God. But quite apart from that ... well ... I don't think I would consider it quite liturgically appropriate, either, to have a fervorino about the Holy Spirit on August 15. What is the point of the Liturgical Year if it doesn't guide our devotion?

Oh: and by the way: can somebody tell me whether the CIEL Mass at the Brompton Oratory on the Saturday within the Octave of Pentecost was the marvellously austere and suggestively penitential old Mass for the Day, with its six lections? Or did they chicken? Restorationists do sometimes have a slightly candyfloss approach the Old Rite, but CIEL can be expected to know better.

1 June 2010

"Baptismal Ecclesiology"

An interesting article by one of our brightest theologians, Dr Colin Podmore, in Ecclesiology 6 (2010) 8-38. It traces the development in an organisation called The Episcopal Church (I think this is something to do with what most of us call PECUSA) of a 'theology' which is based upon taking Baptism to be the whole of Christian Initiation.

We all know what Gregory Dix would have thought of this abolition of the Seal of the Spirit (which we call Confirmation or Consignation) In his delightfully provocative way, realising what a cat it would put among the ecumaniac pigeons, he once opined that Confirmation as the gift of the Spirit was more important than the water-bit of Initiation; which inspired a liberal evangelical called Lampe to devote a whole book to trying, unsuccessfully, to demolish Dix.

This new Yankee heresy goes on see all Christian Ministry as simply a diversified set of applications of the Spirit bestowed on all alike at Baptism. Thus Lay, Diaconal, Presbyteral, and Episcoal ministries all sit together as outworkings of that one charisma. This, of course, has implications for the question of the presbyteral ordination of women; indeed, given their premises, it is easy to understand how Pecusans feel that 'denying' priesthood to women is a pretty radical error.

The whole question is very interesting and Colin deals with it in his usual lucid, and painstaking, way. I will mention only one aspect of the matter. As Colin points out, this new foundational dogma runs up against the agreement of ARCIC in 1973 that the ministry of the ordained "is not an extension of the common Christian priesthood but belongs to another realm of the gifts of the Spirit". I think I am right in saying that this ARCIC agreement received the approval of Lambeth Conference and of most Anglican provinces, including PECUSA. In other words, the new American heresy has been introduced and made structural within the canons, liturgy, and life of PECUSA in despite of an ecumenical agreement.

There is nothing particularly unnatural about such a thing happening. It is a plan fact that ecclesial bodies, and their thinking, move ever onward. As a community progresses to embrace what it sees an an exciting clarification of the Christian Faith, it doesn't very often stop to say "Oops! That would contradict such-and-such a dusty old Ecumenical Agreement! We can't go down that path! What a shame!"

But, in our present 'ecumenical winter' some people, including the Archbishops of Canterbury and (CMOC) Westminster, have argued that the ARCIC agrrements have not been rendered useless; they are there, in the bank, as it were, waiting for the time when they will be able to bear fruit.

I find it hard to believe that Archbishop Rowan is stupid enough actually to believe this. He knows perfectly well that Theology moves on, and very often does so quite radically (the ARCIC document on Justification, for example, had already been rendered obsolete when it was published by the 'New Look in Pauline Studies' associated with the name of E P Sanders). Even a very good book (or ecumenical document) is extremely lucky if it doesn't look quaintly dated thirty years after its composition. The idea that, when the 'winter' thaws, the ARCIC accords will look like anything other than old-fashioned period pieces, is so silly that Archbishop Rowan's attitude can only be a mark of the extent to which his hopes (and those of many good men like him) have been bankrupted by the divergent course taken by worldwide Anglicanism as it steers definitively away from the Great Tradition. How great his despair clearly is, that he can only think of something as dotty as that to say.