31 July 2010

Apostolicae curae: context

This piece is first of a long series which I have already written and set to pop up one after another. If you comment, the likelihood is that you will be addressing some point which I deal with in a later section. And, while I normally dislike censorship, I will delete contributions the tone of which I dislike.

Pope Stephen VII dug up his predecessor's corpse and tried it; he annulled all his ordinations. In less than a year, he was strangled in prison. Well, there you go. But he was Sovereign Pontiff; and whatever Magisterium Popes have, he had it in full ... didn't he? His annulling of his predecessor's ordinations is a particularly dramatic example of a recurrent phenomenon in Church History: the conviction that the Orders of someone of whom one very strongly disapproves - either personally or theologically - are invalid. We don't know why S Theodore thought S Chad was invalidly consecrated; we know that he did. There were recurrent claims in the Middle Ages that the orders of someone who had committed simony were invalid ... one can understand why. And I wouldn't be in the least surprised to learn that the Orthodox reordain convert Latin priests ... and even less surprised to learn that different Orthodox jurisdictions have different praxeis in this matter, and that some of them even reordain other Orthodox. And, a few years ago, the Vatican Press Office declared that Orders conferred by a schismatic African bishop would not be treated as valid. Again, one can see why: lots of unpleasant schismatical nutters proliferating Orders ... a nightmare (The Vatican Press Office, however, has not usually been seen as the principal dicastery charged with passing judgement on such matters). I will call this attitude towards those of whom we strongly disapprove, because I can't think of anything better, Gut Instinct Invalidation.

But over there, in the other corner of the ring, is a different attitude: that valid orders can and do exist in the most unattractive and improbable places. And that the minimum rquirements in terms of Matter, Form and Intention are extremely low. This is the dominant and official doctrinal tendency within Catholic theology, even if the Vatican Press Office hasn't heard of it.

I am not in the least surprised that Cardinal Vaughan worked so relentlessly to have Anglican Orders declared invalid, out of Gut Instinct Invalidation. There were those Anglicans, he thought, now pretending to be 'Catholic priests' when their Anglican predecessors had murdered, taunted, tortured the martyrs from the seminaries. And this is, in itself, a pretty good reason for Anglicans to show some humility when seeking to exercise their priesthood in communion with Rome. Above all, let us recall how S Chad behaved when confronted with Gut Instinct Invalidation in the person of S Theodore. He submitted gracefully and humbly, and thus ecclesial communion was restored and made perfect in his graceful submission.

But this is not quite all there is to say.

29 July 2010

Meddling Benedictines at it again today?

Correspondents, erudite ones, point out that the conjunction of Ss Anna and Joachim was filched by Bugnini from the Benedictine Calendar, which had the bright idea back in the time of Pius X, when it was thought good to liberate the Sunday Masses from being obscured by festivals which had previously been permanently lodged on to Sundays (S Joachim previously occupied the Sunday in the Octave of the Assumption). Incidentally, the main point I wished to make was the unfortunate placing of S Anna, who has a considerable and ancient cultus, second to S Joachim, who doesn't. Common Worship put S Anna first; whether out of deference to tradition, feminism, or both, one might wonder!

I also wonder what happens in Brittany (and in other places and churches where S Anna is Patron). Under the Novus regime are they allowed to have a special Mass and Office just of S Anna, or do they have to use the conflate Mass? Incidentally, the Benedictine Office, although forcing S Joachim to muck in with his wife, does keep some fetching old Office Hymns of S Anna. (At an early stage of the conciliar revision, Dom Lentini did propose the adoption, also from the Benedictines, of a 16th century hymn to S Anna, rather a nice one, in the style and metre of Ave Maris Stella.)

Today we have S Martha. Common Worship conjoins her with Ss Mary and Lazarus ... which I think I noticed (I can't check) is an idea from the current Benedictine Calendar. Since S Mary Magdalen has her feast; and so among Anglicans and Benedictines does S Mary the sister of Lazarus; this means that, out of the three biblical characters from which the traditional liturgical picture of S Mary Magdalen was confected, only Saint Sinful Woman is now liturgically frozen out. Unfair to Working Women (Latine meretrices), sez I.

27 July 2010

Liturgical liceity in the Church of England

I invite those interested to read the Introduction to my ORDO. I show how pretty well anything can be squared with the canons of the Church of England and their actual deployment by bishops both individually and collectively. In addition ...

1. Anglican Catholics have long taken the view that since the provinces of Canterbury and York are provinces of the Western Latin Church, detached by historical accident from the rest of the Western Latin Church, the Liturgy de jure of those provinces is what we used to call the Western Rite. I wrote about this in last year's Pusey House Journal.

2. I am asked about the English Missal. I subdivide.
2a. Quoad textum Latinum of the Roman Missal, which lies behind the rite in the English Missal, that is licit by virtue of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. In principle, the celebrant does not need any authorisation, whether from the pope or his bishop or anyone else. Mind you, I would have thought that a newly priested curate might want to carry his incumbent with him in this matter.
2b. Quoad versionem Anglicam of those Latin originals in the English Missal, this has the sanction of immemorial usage and has never been reprobated by the competent authority, viz the Sacred Congregation of Rites and its successor body. O'Connell writes about usages of this sort becoming licit even if they are contra legem or praeter legem. The praxis in the 'Anglican Use' parishes, and the expectation expressed in Anglicanorum coetibus that liturgical elements of the Anglican Patrimony will be lawful in Ordinariates, indicates that the Church's supreme legislative authority currently intends, not to reprobate this liturgical inheritance, but to formalise it.
2c. Quoad formulas a Thoma Cranmer confectas, I would apply again the principles in 2b, accompanied by an appeal to the principle of Necessitas.

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A correspondent sneers at liturgical practices in churches like mine. I think the above pretty well covers that, too. I use, on Sundays, the Novus Ordo Order of Mass employing Prayer Book/Common Worship translations into 'Tudor' English when available, the ICEL formulae (with you changed to thou etc.) when necessary, and the Canon from the Book of Divine Worship. I am impenitent.

26 July 2010

Bishop Edwin, I feel you should know ...

... that, despite your recent remarks about another church, we at S Thomas's reckon our worship is closest to what Ordinariates are likely to be granted; for example, we use on most Sundays the 'Tudor' translation of the Roman Canon authorised for use in the 'Anglican Use' parishes.

25 July 2010

Lay Communion in the Middle Ages

A learned correspondent asks how/where the laity received communion in the Middle Ages.

I have often wondered. I have never come across any examples of pre-Reformation Communion rails: the earliest all seem to be Laudian.

Did the pp simply come out of the Rood Screen and administer Communion to his kneeling laity?

The 1549 rebels complained that Dr Cranmer's first Communion Service was like a Christmas Game. This suggests that medieval worshippers did not come in a great crowd within the Chancel ... doesn't it?

24 July 2010

Consortes regno

This phrase occurs in the new Novus Collect for today, in honour of S Sharbel Makhluf. I see examples of consors with an ablative (or even a dative) in OLD, but my instinct is that these are abnormal in comparison with consors with a genitive (as in divinitatis eius esse consortes). Do those qualified to have a view, have a view?

Country walking ends

Dutiful and devoted readers will recall that Ickford was only a couple of miles along the River Thame from the recusant centre at Waterperry. Ickford church has a number of monuments to the Phillips family, who seem to have oscillated between being Recusants and Church Papists. Fr Thomas Phillips, in the first part of the eighteenth century, joined the Society of Jesus; I feel he was a man after my own heart, because he developed a great love for teaching the Humanities. When his superiors refused his plea to be allowed to teach a course in that subject, in a fit of pique he left the Society and acquired the patronage of King Charles III. The King secured him a canonry at Tongres and a dispensation to apply its income to his work in the English Mission. He ended his life chaplaining in great Catholic houses, such as that of the Earls of Shrewsbury; among his works was a lengthy biography of Cardinal Pole. Perhaps we could see him as a link between the dangerous recusancy of the seventeenth century and the first glimmerings of the catholic revival which was to happen in the nineteenth; and as a precursor of learned gentleman clergy such as Lingard and Tierney and Oliver.

Well, it was a very jolly walk that Pam and I had, despite the bulls; I wonder what those celibate clergy over there get up to on their days off. A friend of mine in the clergy of Kerry tells me that when his confreres meet, cards, nicotine, and whiskey feature large. Doesn't seem to me as much fun as matrimony.

23 July 2010

Country walking (3)

The last church on the walk was Ickford. Its Rector, 1911-1933, was Canon Vernon Staley, author of The Catholic Religion. This was a standard manual for Anglo-Catholics in the first part of the twentieth century, and went into a number of editions. Staley was pre-papalist; for example, he believed that our Lady was purified before her birth rather than conceived Immaculate. I suppose he would have been at home, dogmatically, in the forteenth century. Not good enough, I agree. But then, I gather that one Hans Kueng, despite his noisy heresies, still holds an unrevoked celebret. Is it really so very much better to devote a long life to subverting the Faith from within the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church than to work unremittingly outside those boundaries to teach the common people of England a version of the Faith with which S Thomas Aquinas might not have had much of a problem? I expect there will be hard-line readers who will be quick to offer a formulaic response to that rhetorical question.

Staley was apparently not untouched by the more developed Catholicism of the later twentieth century; he secured Sir Ninian 'Patrimony' Comper to work on the glass at Ickford. A window depicting S Bede the Venerable is said to have Staley's own face. But Fr and Mrs Staley had a great grief. Their only son, aged 19, was killed in the last six weeks of the First World War. A candelabrum (with adjacent Latin inscription) hangs as a memorial; a Comper window of S John Baptist commemorates him (was the Baptist's face based on that of young Staley?); and a three-light Comper window, our Lady between two sainted soldier princes, is in his honour. Before he went back to the front for the last time, the young man coloured a representation of the royal arms which his father had carved (Canon Staley also himself carved the font cover and the tester over the altar).

Ickford retained Comper's services after Staley's death; a good window of S Thomas More, 1947. Perhaps Thomas Batterbury was responsible; a brass tablet commemorating him (1959) offers two Sapphic stanzas in honour of the Saint:

Te Pater, Thomas tuus adiuvante
pertulit duras hilaris catenas,
pertulit mortis faciem imminentis
martyriumque.

Cuius exemplum doceat fideles
ut petant laetis animis coronam;
sic in aeternae veniamus omnes
gaudia vitae.

Not great poetry; but unusually late for Latin verse in a monument; and an uncommon metre for this purpose. I wonder what the old school-marm of Lesbos would have made of it. And, most satisfying, these two stanzas and the window above them would have had Henry Tudor spitting nails ...

Beta double plus.

Oops ... I forgot the Recusant aspects of Ickford church. I'll polish that off a little later.

22 July 2010

S Mary of Magdala

What a rich and varied life S Mary Magdalen had, according to writers recent and ancient. An associate of the Apostle Junia in the kipper trade, she met our Lord while he was working as a healer, during his Year Out, in the spa at Tiberias. These things are certainties. And let us not question her well-documented presence leaning upon the Lord's breast at his Last Supper. Nor be doubting spoilsports if some latter-day equivalent of Chaucer's Pardoner announces that she possesses, enclosed in a rich reliquary, the genuine Wedding Certificate of Mary of Magdala and Jesus of Nazareth. All this, in addition to the longer established claims of Sant Maissemin de la Bauma. Rarely can a figure have attracted so rich a mythopoeia: the needs of medieval Provence for a Patron; of modern feminists for a female hyperapostolos; of conspiracy theorists for a Mrs Christ; all fulfilled in the Magdalen. Whoever was it who said that imaginative and fertile hagiography came to an end with the demise of the Middle Ages! It continues to fulfil our every need, however bizarre. What a jocose lady Clio must be.

The Magdalen provides new certainties in Biblical Sudies, too. Back in the boring old days of Modern Scientific Biblical Criticism, when S John's Gospel was Late and Unhistorical, nobody would have bet a bent farthing on the veracity of the story about her meeting with Christ in Garden on Easter Morning. But now .... it would be more than anyone's life was worth to question the truth ... nay more, its centrality to the whole resurrection story ... of that pericope*. Just imagine the shrilling.

Personally, I feel we've lost a lot since the Western Church, guided by Bugnini, followed Byzantium in distinguishing between Mary of Magdala - who is now as pure as the driven snow of August 5 - and the Sinful Woman. We now no longer have access to the attractive typology of Gueranger, who sees in the Sinner of Magala a type of fallen humanity and of adulterous Israel, destined to become glorious in her repentance.

Feet feature large in Dom Gueranger's entry for today; naturally he makes much of S Mary Magdalen's attachment to the feet of Jesus (he quotes S Paulinus of Nola "I would rather be bound up in her hair at the feet of Christ ..."). And he seems to suggest that S Cyril of Alexandria admired the beauty of her own apostolic feet. There is no doubt that the image of the reformed but still entrancing courtesan stirred up sensuous images in the minds of many. And is there very much harm in that?

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*Similarly, the conviction of many Experts, based upon negligible evidence, that the last two chapters of Romans are inauthentic, is rarely aired nowadays. The Apostle Junia has guaranteed the centrality of Romans 16 to the entire Gospel message.

21 July 2010

Country walking (2)

And so, across the fields to Worminghall church. It shows very early evidence of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England. The East window dates from 1847, and shows Sanctus Petrus, Salvator Mundi, and Sanctus Paulus, with angels holding instruments of the Passion in the tracery. And a 1862 window had its inscription in Latin with the phrase Requiescat in pace.

But most diverting was a brass memorial to one Philip Kinge who died in 1592. From an early age he was brought up in the house of his uncle Robert Kinge, Abbot of Thame and Oseney, a creature of Cromwell, first Bishop of the See of Oxford when the Cathedra was in the suppressed and magnificent former Abbey of Oseney (in my parish) before Henry Tudor decided to suppress it again qua Cathedral and replace it with the rather humbler chapel of Cardinal College in Oxford. Philip was also educated, after his uncle's death, by Lord Williams of Thame (splendidly buried in Thame church). This Lord Williams, one of those who did well out of the Tudor regime, presided at the the burning of Latymer and Ridley in Oxford during the reign of Good Queen Mary; on which occasion he rather crudely made fun of Latymer's dying commendation of his soul to God. I have very little doubt that, if he had not died at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, he would as cheerfully have disposed on Government orders of the seminary priests.

Philip's son John became Bishop of London and a descendant called Henry, Bishop of Chichester. Such are the continuities of the Church of England ...

Concludes later.

20 July 2010

Newman

I gather the Oxford Oratory plans to celebrate Newman on Sunday October 10, the day after his (first) feast day. I wonder what the rubrical basis is of such a celebration on a Sunday. Also: does anybody know how extensively the memoria of JHN may be kept? Throughout Engalnd? And has anybody heard whether the CDW has issued a corrected version of its ungrammatical liturgical propers?

I imagine many people, like myself, are preparing for the beatification by rereading Fr Ker's biography of Newman, which deserves all the praise which Henry 'Patrimony' Chadwick heaped upon it in his review.

But many might find it a trifle long and daunting to read ab initio usque ad finem. The answer is: to dip and delve. I have recently reread the section on Newman, Infallibility, and Vatican I. As so often with Newman, it is striking how frequently his instincts coincide with those of the Holy Father. It has become a bit of a yawn-making commonplace to say that Newman's comments on Vatican I (how it needed to be 'balanced') prepare the way for Vatican II. Rather more interesting is the way in which his experience of living through the conciliar years of Vatican I increasingly reminded him of the embarassing historical fact that Councils - although a merciful God may protect them from the formal teaching of error - are commonly nasty, messy, and unpleasant phenomena. Joseph Ratzinger came to a very similar conclusion as a result of living through the conciliar years of Vatican II.

Infallibilty is on the agenda for some Anglicans at the moment. There are those who claim to feel unable to seek full communion with the See of Peter because they have trouble with papal infallibility. God forgive me for being judgemental, but I cannot help wondering whether some of these are grasping at this consideration as an excuse for not doing the obvious. Many more Anglican Catholics have been enabled to discern the God-given quality of the Petrine Ministry by living through the self-arrogated exercises of infallibility by tin-pot synods and liberal caucuses.

But if there are are people who genuinely would seek full communion but for this dogmatic problem, I would advise them to read Ker's account of Newman's attitude to the question (and perhaps also Dom Gregory Dix's masterly vindication of the decrees of Vatican I). Newman's quiet faith that the Holy Spirit would prevent the rabid ultramontanes from writing their absurdities into a conciliar decree; his satisfaction when he read the final text ("nothing has been passed of consequence") and realised that the ultras had been as comprehensively beaten as the Gallicans; his profound historical perspective: should reassure any open-minded enquirer. I was interested to be reminded of an often forgotten anxiety of Newman; that the Gallicans would succeed in extending the concept of the infallibility of the Church to matters far beyond Faith and Morals; and that the Ultramontanes would then attempt to secure a decree attributing such an inflated infallibility to the pope. Part of Newman's greatness was this: his unease at the activities of the Wards and the Mannings did not blind him to the even greater dangers looming on the Gallican side. I am tempted to argue that the inflated Magisterium which the Gallicans hoped to secure for themselves and then to set against that of the See of Peter, was a precursor of that inflated Magisterium which Episcopal Conferences tried to grab in the aftermath of Vatican II. (An unease about inflated versions of papal power is another feature common to Newman and Ratzinger.)

Off at a bit of a tangent here ... Not much is known this side of the water about a close Irish friend of Newman's: David Moriarty, Bishop of Kerry. A fascinating man; the British Government's favourite Irish bishop because of his fiece opposition to republican violence. He was, I believe, the only bishop who never actually formally subscribed the conciliar decrees on infallibility and primacy. He was responsible for Killarney Cathedral, one of Ireland's loveliest until an adulterous liberal bishop gutted it in the 1960s.

19 July 2010

Country walking

The other day we went on a walk around the River Thame, sic, which is one of our little English jokes for confusing foreigners. Waterstock; Waterperry; Worminghall; Ickford. This is one of the pleasures of the English countryside - to walk a couple of miles along Rights of Way, across fields, enjoying rivers, dodging bulls (we dodged two), looking at flowers and butterflies ... until one next gets to a village or hamlet with an ancient church. Co Kerry, for all its wonders, lacks this particular pleasure. So: Waterstock: late fifteenth century glass, of donors. Originally associated with figures of Ss Mary, Ignatius, and Swithun. Here, as so commonly, it was not the Reformation that led to the disappearance of so much glass; it was not even the Puritans; it was weather and the decay of centuries.

A brief look at Pevsner had made me, schoolmaster to my fingertips, classify Waterstock church as Beta Triple Minus. Waterperry I had down as Alpha triple minus; but two of those minuses were undeserved. It goes from Saxon chancel arch to Georgian monument in Francis Chantrey's best style (the Chantrey who worked for Lord Egremont at Petworth). Three-decker pulpit and box pews survive; spectacular brasses (one palimpsest); well preserved medieval glass, including the gorgeous arms of Saunders (per chevron sable and argent, three elephants' heads counterchanged, armed ... or should I blazon tusked? ... or). The palimpsest brass encapsulated the history of the looting of the Church of England by the Tudors: the original brass was early fifteenth century and was in the Austin friary of Christ Church in London - sold, upon the suppression in 1532, as scrap - recut for Sir Walter Curson (who had died in 1527) for his grave in the Austin Friary in Oxford (of which he was a benefactor; Wadham College now stands on the site) - transferred to Waterperry upon its dissolution in 1539.

But most poignant was some Georgian Gothick panelling at the back of the church. Waterperry was one of the great Recusant centres in the Oxfordshire countryside, and this panelling was ejected from the manor house when the Recusant Curson family expired and their domestic chapel in the house was closed down.

Continues

18 July 2010

Cheese, newspapers, and shirts: three queries

I would love to be able to say, that, as my reaction to the cynical and unpleasant violence, the Teutonic barbarism, of the Dutch footie team in the Final of the World Cup, I had given up Dutch wine. But I never have been quite able to afford those superb Shirazes and Viogniers that grow on the sun-drenched foothills of the Orange Alps. So no grand gesture possible there. But, shopping for cheese, I was able to pass by the shelf of Dutch cheeses where previously I might have delved. Instead, I bought a couple of Spanish cheeses; one has to have principles. But I don't know much about Spanish cheese: can some knowledgeable person give me some advice? - I would describe myself as a Hard Cheese Man with a preference for strong tastes.

My second problem: passing through Victoria the other day, I went in search of the newspaper stall just outside the station where, on Thursdays and Fridays, one could buy Irish local newspapers. One of life's most satisfying minor pleasures is reading the news from the local courts in a paper like The Kerryman (Southern Edition). But the stall is no longer there. Does anyone know a convenient place in central London where this harmless vice can still be indulged?

Finally: I find that clerical shirts have black collarbandss which tend to fray ... perhaps it's something to do with my beard ... And when they do, invariably the stiffener inside the the collarband turns out be be of the purest and most gleaming white; just as if the maker is anxious that the slightest wear should be manifest at the earliest possible opportunity. Does anybody know of clerical shirts less absurdly made?

17 July 2010

Sex: yet more of Fr Hunwicke's views ...

... and then I'll shut up.

France is not the only country apparently moving towards punishing or disadvantaging women ... presumed to be Moslem ... who cover their faces in public.

As an old-style Voltairean libertarian, my first instinct was to be horrified that penal codes should be invoked against women whose own culture inclines them to a degree of modesty uncommon in secularised post-Christian Europe. But now I have hit upon a compromise.

Let such a regulation be enforced in tandem with a rule restraining immodesty in other females; a decree, perhaps, that skirts and shorts should be a minimum of two inches below the knee. This would be enforced by Mr Plod* who, on a randomly selected day each week, would leave his truncheon in the copshop and sally forth armed only with a tape measure.

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*mutatis mutandis, Mr God the Garda, M Jean the Gendarme, etc. etc..

16 July 2010

Logic and lexicography

The other morning, I heard a 'gay activist' on the wireless explaining how the Church of England should stop its endless discussion on sexual matters such as gay bishops and women bishops and instead discuss problems like World Hunger.

Prescinding from the rather obvious question of how far a General Synod debate would go towards filling one single empty mouth, I want briefly to analyse the presuppositions of this argument. The aim of discussing world hunger instead of sexual matters could be attained if one or both of the following options were taken:
(1) 'Gay activists' stopped demanding 'gay rights'; or
(2) 'homophobes' stopped denying 'gay rights'.

The radio speaker seemed not to be aware of the possibility of the first option. It was his assumption that only the second existed. In other words, the apparent reasonableness of his call rested on a logical ellipse and in fact constituted simply a totalitarian demand for the unconditional surrender of his opponents.

Frankly, I am not without some sympathy for people such as that speaker. I am appalled by the homophobic frenzy of those Evangelicals who take a very stern line on homosexuality but who have themselves 'remarried' after divorce or who have taken no very shrill line against others who have done so. And, looking at the abysmal quality of the Church of England's Bench of Bishops, I would find it difficult to be too certain that Dr Johns would not have very considerably improved it had he been preferred to the See of Southwark; he would certainly have been an immense improvement on the buffoon who has just vacated that see, a Mirfield apostate with a nasty manner towards those with whom he disagreed. But I dislike the dishonesty often implicit or explicit in most activisms, and that includes the 'gay' one.

Even in tiny details. Some years ago they kidnapped the adjective 'gay' for their own exclusive use. Ah well ... languages do move on. And so, here in Oxford, we had an annual Gay Pride March. Fair enough.

But not now; not this year. Now we have just a Pride March. In other words, the noun 'pride' is now deemed automatically to imply homosexuality. So those of us who have to live our lives under the curse of heterosexuality were robbed, a decade ago, of the right to be gay; now, it seems, we are to be robbed of the right to be proud. How much more of the English Dictionary does this aggressive movement wish first to colonise and then to appropriate for its own exclusive use?

15 July 2010

London, Brighton and South Coast Religion

In happy days of yore, when one of the Southern Railway Company's predecessor companies served the South Coast, its initials were borowed to stand for the sparkling Anglicanism of triumphalist pre-War Anglo-Catholicism. The RC Church seems to be developing a similar biretta-belt ... what with a Fin(n)e/igan at Shoreham and a Blake at Brighton. It is the latter who has won the race to break the news that the Novus Ordo Calendar for England and Wales has been augmented with four commemorations raised to the dignity of Festa. The English Martyrs (May4), S Augustine of Canterbury (May 27), S Gregory the Great (September 3), S Thomas Becket (December 29). I don't know whether I will win the race to point out that this is a welcome return to pre-Conciliar custom; the English Martyrs and S Gregory (March 12) were Greater Doubles; S Augustine (May 26) and S Thomas Becket were Doubles of the Second Class.

The Ebbsfleet Apostolic District, of course, is still one ahead. The feast of its Patron S Gregory is a Sollemnitas, or as we say at S Thomas's, a Double of the First Class.

The pope of Christian Unity

Have you seen that elaborately careful piece on the Vatican News Service about the consecration of a new Chinese bishop, in communion with the Holy See and approved by the Chinese government, performed by prelates in communion with the Holy See and approved by the Chinese government; which neatly avoids saying who has appointed him?

Does this mean that the Holy See has come to an agreement with the Chinese government about the appointment of new bishops?

There have been three main groups of Latin Christians in imperfect communion with the Holy See: SSPX; Anglican Catholics; and the Chinese churches sponsored by state authorities in defiance of the Holy See. Cautiously, one wonders whether there is real movement in the case of the last two. With regard to SSPX, recent words by Bishop Galaretta make me wonder about the good faith of some concerned in the process of dialogue. Of course, one appreciates that the leadership of SSPX has to keep its whole constituency on board, rather as Sinn Fein had to in Northern Ireland during the peace process. And I have myself expressed the hope that the dialogue going on between SSPX and the Holy See will result in a real contribution to the difficult questions about relating some elements in the conciliar documents to the Magisterium of the ages. This would be for the benefit of us all and a ktema es aei.

But if there isn't a real longing for reconciliation ... well, reconciliation is unlikely to happen.

The Divine is in the Detail

I have been musing on a detail which the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus does not make explicit. Are you sitting comfortably?

Ordinariates will be immediately subject to the Sovereign Pontiff; and the jurisdiction of the Ordinary will be that of the Roman Pontiff himself per modum vicarium. This surely means that clergy of Ordinariates should dress in the old Roman clerical style. That is to say, in summary, with those white fold-over collars worn by Redemptorists and Oratorians; and with bobble-free birettas.

Come to think of it, that would make us look distinctly more like the clergy in portraits from the Laudian period. And - for that matter - would be a useful reminder of the pride which the Anglo-Saxon Church took in the accuracy, even in details, of its Romanitas. And, if we are to be called the Newman Ordinariate, well, it's what Newman wore.

When Anglo-Catholics start talking about the tat and the millinery, you know we're serious.

14 July 2010

A blessed Springtime?

We keep July 14 in memory of Mr Keble's Sermon on National Apostasy. Perhaps in future years we could keep July 13, when Mr Newman preached, in 1852, his Sermon on The Second Spring: I think it the most devastating and moving exercise in rhetoric that I know in any language I know. In the aftermath of the General Synod vote on How To Drive The Catholics Out, I found myself haunted by one passage in particular in which he talks about what happened to the Church of England at the Reformation:

The vivifying principle of truth, the shadow of St Peter, the grace of the Redeemer, left it. That old Church in its day became a corpse (a marvellous, an awful change!); and then it did but corrupt the air which once it beautified. So all seemed to be lost; and there was a struggle for a time, and then its priests were cast out or martyred. There were sacrileges innumerable. Its temples were profaned or destroyed; its revenues seized by covetous nobles, or squandered upon the ministers of a new faith ... It took a long time to do this thoroughly; much time, much thought, much labour, much expense; but at last it was done ... the fair form of Truth, moral and material, hacked piecemeal, and every limb and organ carried off, and burned in the fire, or cast into the deep! But at last the work was done. Truth was disposed of, and shovelled away, and there was a calm, a silence, a sort of peace ...

Now they are doing it again, but - no problem - we have a ver Benedictinum vere novum (neat, yes?) on offer.

12 July 2010

Lacrimae rerum

Listening to Saturday's General Synod debate, and the tearful reaction of some to its rejection of Archbishop Rowan's proposal, I feel very strange. That apparently intelligent men could think that such a proposition, offering so little in terms of a guaranteed discrete ecclesial life, was some sort of Cup of Salvation, bewilders me. Talk about clutching at fig leaves and hiding ones shame with a straw ...

No prie-Dieu

In the Westminster Cathedral exhibition of items from its treasury, I wondered if an opportunity was missed of making a point. For, just as might happen in any exhibition in any secular museum, there is a display of reliquaries; primary and secondary of S Edward the Confessor the Patron of Westminster, and of other Saints down to S Charles Lwanga (incidentally, someone should check whether the the numbers by the items are consistent with list given). But, just as in a secular context, there is no suggestion (such as a prie-Dieu) that that these might, for the Christian, be objects of veneration and means of communion with the whole company of heaven. This could have been a lesson to the Art History industry.

Which suburbicarian bishopric has been occupied by two great English cardinals? Frascati, of course, See of our late Sovereign Lord King Henry IX .... and, later in the nineteenth century, of Cardinal Howard (1829-1892). I suppose he was one of the last great Prince Cardinals; he was also Cardinal Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica; someone should do an exhibition on him as patron of the arts. From his private chapel you can, if you go down to Brompton, see some delightful putti waggling candles; in the Westminster exhibition is a fine chasuble with his arms embroidered; a chalice; and a pair of cruets. I think they have some stuff at Arundel too.

Ah, those were the days.

11 July 2010

AND ANOTHER

Further to my comments earlier on the illiteracy of "Art Historians" who speak with immense confidence and total innacuracy: another example during the "Sunday" programme on the Home Service this morning. An "expert" from the V & A, talking about Christening Robes, told us that babies were baptised soon after birth in the Middle Ages because it was believed that "otherwise they would go to Purgatory".

If these pompous ignoramuses so often get it wrong in matters where I do have some knowledge, have I any reason to believe that what they say is any less crass when they talking about things where I do not have the competence to be spot their misinformation?

How silly of me

In my last post, I expressed appreciation for one of the captions in the Westminster Cathedral exhibition of objects from its treasury. Malo mori quam foedari is translated as "I prefer to die rather than to compromise". I assumed this was a humorous allusion to the die-hard uncompromising Ultramontanism which Manning, upon whose cope this motto is embroidered, demonstrated at the First Vatican Council.

The penny has finally dropped in my mind. This is not a piece of humour; the illiterate fool who wrote it was under the impression that foedari had something to do with Foedus/foederis!

Is this just another example of what you may consider my most tedious preoccupation: the illiteracy of the post-conciliar RC Church? It occurs to me that there is another possibility. Perhaps the Cathedral authorities made the mistake of asking some passing "Art Historian" do do their exhibition for them. And most "Art Historians" are every bit as ignorant of Latin as some RC clergy. This is unfortunate; an "Art Historian" can hardly do his job if he does not know Latin. I suspect that this is what makes them so secretive about their ignorance; if they asked for help with Latin, it would be rather like admitting to a habit of compulsive self-abuse. So they hide their dirty and shameful little secret and believe that, if only they spend long enough huddled over a furtive Latin Dictionary, they will be able to work out what a bit of Latin means on their own; like the Ultra Catholic Priest in Eric Mascall's poem, they aren't too sure about those awkward moods and tenses (although his ORDO Recitandi's strict Westmonasteriensis), nor, commonly, about the case structure of the Latin language.

I'll give you a random brace of examples so that you can't accuse me of just blustering. In the book of the RA exhibition The Printed Page, some joke called Alexander, describing himself as "Professor of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University", translates (p138) "Vis concilii expers mole sua corruit" as "lacking the strength of counsel she falls through her own size". He does not appear, either, to recognise where the quotation comes from or even that it is a quotation; and "concilii" is his own misreading of "consilii", as the photograph on the previous page makes clear. Secondly, in the book of the Tate exhibition "Dynasties" (p128), describing the Lockey picture of S Thomas More with his family, a woman called Thackray makes two obvious mistakes in simply copying the words "Scaccarii primum tum AD 1529 totius Angliae Cancellarius est factus", and then 'translates' them as "[...] first [made] Chancellor of all England in 1529 AD" (the square brackets and dots are her admission of her own incomprehension).

These 'scholars' can't even translate things that the member of every Public School Common Room who teaches mainly Sport but fills up his timetable with III Form bottom set Divinity, Maths, and Latin, could have translated for them*. But it's not surprising. The book of the V&A exhibition on the Baroque contained endless howlers in the area of Christian Worship; the writers were simply too proud to go next door and ask the Oratorians a few elementary questions.

Arrogant charlatans.

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*I presume that most College Libraries would contain a copy of the handy Latham (Medieval Latin Wordlist) to reveal that Scaccarium is Medieval Latin for Exchequer.

9 July 2010

Sport

Happily, all right-thinking people will be at one about which side to support in the Final on Sunday. Who could possibly not support the House of Bourbon ... even if the present Spanish Head of State has shown moral infirmities ... even if the Carlist question is still real for some ... against the House of Orange? One wonders whether the South African spectators can possibly blow trumpets for the cousins of the Boers.

By the way, the University scored 611 against the Visitors in their first innings. Apparently this is a record for the ground; not even in the majestic days when the university was captained by the Nawab of Pataudi was there such a score.

8 July 2010

An Orthodox Ordinariate?

There are one or two suggestions around that discontented Anglican clergy should avoid the Papal Initiative and consider the Orthodox option ... including an article in the July New Directions. There seems even to be a hint that this would easier for us than the dreadful burdens which the Papacy imposes.

I expect I've got this wrong, but I remember reading somewhere, sometime, that married Orthodox clergy are expected to refrain from sexual intercourse on the day before and on the day of a Eucharistic celebration, and on fast days ... Wednesdays, Fridays, Lent, Little Lents of the Apostles and of the Koimesis ... have I got that right?

The invitations being dangled before unhappy Anglicans don't mention this.

I also recall being told that Orthodox laity are expected to make a sacramental confession before every act of Holy Communion. This also doesn't feature large in the go-to-Orthodoxy propaganda.

Perhaps I shall be told that, of course, Orthodoxy is not monolithic and uniform and that Modern Orthodoxy has quietly and sensibly forgotten about such troublesome little traditional details. In which case I shall want to take a critical new look at the claims sometimes rather self-righteously made by some Orthodox about the uniquely unbroken traditions of Orthodoxy and all that sort of ... er ... stuff.

I am not anti-Orthodox. Three of the happiest years of my life were when, in south London, I enjoyed the friendship of Archimandrite Commodatos (later Bishop of Telmissos) and of the to-be-martyred Little Brother Lazarus. The archimandrite honoured me by using me as a sort of pseudo-deacon (he didn't have a deacon) during Holy Week, and by asking me to sing an ectene during the funeral of Brother Lazarus. It was in his flat behind his church in Camberwell that I became aware of the easy yet respectful intimacy which the Orthodox clergy enjoy with their people, and came love Orthodoxy as being still a Christianity for all the people, not just for a pious and po-faced minority. But ...

A final point: we are being asked to consider "Western Orthodoxy". This is a set-up which uses, for example, the Roman Canon "corrected" by having a 'Byzantine' epiclesis interpolated. I resent very profoundly such contemptuous insults to the venerable Western Tradition which the East was happy to live in communion with for more than a millennium. The Roman Rite should no more be polluted with Byzantinisms than the Byzantine Rite should be corrupted by being Latinised.

Orthodoxy, Yes. An a la carte Orthodoxy manufactured, adapted, and tailored to proselytise shamelessly among troubled members of the Western Tradition: No.

7 July 2010

Calleva Atrebatum and the Irish

The other day, down to Silchester, to see how the Reading University Archaeology Department are getting on with their annual excavation of Insula IX. Silchester is of interest as almost the only Roman City in Brittania which became a green field site, rather than having a medieval and modern city built over it. The Society of Antiquaries excavated it more than a hundred years ago, in the rather ruthless way people did before the advent of modern Archaeology.

Professor Fulford, more than a decade ago, chose Insula IX because the SA excavators had found ... there in the middle of England! ... an Ogham stone stuffed down a disused well. It is so remarkable to find such a piece of distinctively Irish culture in a late Roman context that for quite a time the Silchester Ogham was regarded as a forgery; a sort of epigraphical equivalent of Piltdown Person. But Tebicatos - the named individual - is now vindicated and respectable. It is his context that now remains beguilingly intriguing. Looking down at the hole in the ground where this Ogham was found, there in the middle of Roman urban culture, I felt quite disoriented. Peering at Ogham stones is something that I expect to do in the cityless Kingdom of the West, God's own blessed country the County of Kerry, with the fuchsias luxuriating in the hedgerows and the choughs complaining overhead ... or at least in the "Celtic" extremities of Cornwall. Of course, there were Irish Kingdoms in Wales - Dyfed, I believe - and one of the factors that intrigues historians is that while the Latin and Irish languages were dignified with stone inscriptions, Welsh and Cornish were apparently despised. Irishness implied, it seems, status. And so Tebicatos would not have been a peasant or a tramp. Indeed, it seems a priori unlikely that one would erect a stone inscription which could only be read by the the person who erected it ... so it appears unlikely he was the only Irishman around.

As far as I can make out, the scholarly establishment has not made any connection between Tebicatos and his stone, and the discovery by the SA excavators of a building in Silchester which, on the basis of its plan, they and subsequent writers have considered likely to have been a Christian church. And let us also take in here one of the controversies within the Irish archaeological community: was Ogham script specifically, culturally, Christian? Many think it was (I would adduce an Ogham stone in my old Irish parish of Dromod in the Diocese of Ardfert: in an ecclesiastical site on Church Island just off Beginnish Island just off Valentia Island just off the coast of Kerry, where the Ogham inscription is superimposed upon a good quality carved cross).

You see where I am going. Is Tebicatos the first named member of a Christian congregation to be identifiable from Roman Britain?

The English, God forgive our boorish arrogance, used to deride the English RC Church as the Italian Mission; until Dom Gregory Dix neatly pointed out that since the C of E claims to have been founded by Agostino and Mellito and various other Eyeties, we ought to keep that insult for ourselves. So now we sneer at it as the Irish Church. How diverting it would be if the Romano-British Church in Silchester also proved to have filled its pews (don't bother to write in and point out that they wouldn't have had pews) with Irish! I wonder if they had a statue of S Patrick near the door at the back (hoary old funny coming up) on the grounds that this was the part of the church which that Saint's Sons occupied so that they could exit fast during the Last Gospel (don't bother to write in with tendentious suggestions that the last Gospel may not be quite as early as the fifth century). Was the first pp of Silchester yet another member of the ubiquitous and admirable Fin(n)e/igan clan?

What fun, the cutting edge of History.

6 July 2010

Archidiaconissa de Silverbridge in comitatu Barnensi

Apropos the posts on Deaconing, I invite a brief Trollopean account of what Mr Archdeacon Grantley said when he heard that Dr Proudie had preferred Miss Slope to the Archdeaconry of Silverbridge.

To the Parks ...

...well, I am retired and unpaid ... for the first day of the Varsity match. The University batted and made nearly five hundred for two; the first three batsmen making centuries. But, in the Spirit of Vatican II, let us eschew triumphalism ... although I will mention that, at one point, a red kite did circle rather ominously over the Cambridge bowler.

Most of the spectators were surnamed Sharma.

Tergiversations

When, about a decade ago, I discontinued saying the Novus Ordo in Latin and resumed the Tridentine Mass, I deemed it dignified and logical to keep what I did in line with the calendar of the Devon churches which I served, and, not least, with the admirable Broadwood Widger, where the PCC had retained the Prayer Book. So what I generally did was this. When resuming the mass of a Sunday after Trinity on a weekday, I hopped about a bit in my Missal and, for example, in the week after Trinity 10, I said the mass of Pentecost 10, except that I used the Collect (etc.) and Gospel from Pentecost 9. I carelessly used the Novus rules about commemorations and when to use the Gloria. Some Prefaces from the Conciliar rite got gummed in. I also used the Tridentine Sanctorale propers on the days indicated in the Novus Ordo calendar (as, I believe, some RC clergy did, particularly on the South Coast).

Currently, I am using the St Lawrence Press ORDO, the Calendar being that of 1939. This means that I rarely have to face the problem of which Sunday mass to say on a weekday, because nearly every feria has something on it which must or might supersede it!

But, at our Sunday High Mass, Novus Ordo but avoiding ICEL translations of the Latin in favour of the renderings by Cranmer and the English Missal, I use the Prayer Book Sunday collects on the Prayer Book Sundays.

Of course, you will say that this is just the old Anglican weakness for picking and mixing to suit ones own whimsies. But as for the question of using the OF calendar when saying the EF in a basically OF church (and vice versa), this is something that PCED should sort out. There are real questions here of what is decent and edifying pastorally.

5 July 2010

More Deaconing

I need your moral advice, Did I, on the occasion of my own deaconing, sin?

Let me explain. In the days of the old rites, a man was ordained to an order at that point of the rite that enabled him to go on to exercise his new ministry, immediately, for the first time. So one was deaconed before the Gospel, which was then sung by one of the newly ordained deacons. The man selected to do this was the one whom the Examining Chaplain certified had written the best Deacon's Papers.

I thought it would be rather nice for my Mummy if I were assigned that role. I knew that the Examining Chaplain that time round was a clergyman with evangelical leanings who was also completely sold on a rather strange movement called Moral Rearmament - MRA ("You can always tell a homosexual because they wear green"). So, in my Deacon's Papers I wrote with elaborate respect of the XXXIX Articles (without actually saying anything that I could not assert with a good conscience) and dropped, deftly, some of the catch-phrases beloved by that daft movement (rather like giving a masonic handshake).

As I knew I would, I was duly given the honour of singing the Gospel. Was this suggestio falsi? If so, was the motive of Pleasing the Parent a sufficiently just cause for using this trick?

It has been on my conscience for 43 years.

4 July 2010

Deaconing

To the little town of Stoney Stratford, for the deaconing of Fr Daniel Lloyd. An immensely happy occasion in a happy place, which faintly reminded me of my own title parish, Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire. It was a typically Ebbsfleet family occasion, with the Apostolic Administrator in highly exuberant form. Just as, when solemnising a wedding, it is difficult to repress an emotional recollection of ones own nuptials, so an ordination brings its own moving memories. Fr Daniel is the best of all good eggs (nothing curateish about him ovally) who has subdeaconed at S Thomas's and has formed and rehearsed a serving team for me on the occasion of Extraordinary Form Sung Masses. You will probably get to see some pictures of his ordination on the blogosphere, because Mr James 'Ubiquitous Camera' Bradley was there. Diaconal grace is due to strike him a little later in the year.

A couple of bits of ad-hoccery in the text of the service. When the Archdeacon presented Daniel, and the text of the rite read "Reverend Father in God ... ", she, instead, said "Bishop Andrew ... ". Not a light matter, I think. The prescribed phrase goes back in the C of E to the Sarum Pontifical, and, of course, the dogma it implies, fundamental to the understanding of episcopacy, is that expressed by S Ignatius of Antioch when he described the Bishop as Tupos tou Patros. Whatever the future may hold and whatever the personal views of Mrs Archdeacon, the present doctrine embedded in the rites of the Church of England is that a bishop is Father in God.

The other modification was by Bishop Andrew. Unless my aging ears and senile, faltering, thought processes deceive me, in the phrase " ... the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it", he omitted "has". Thus a perfect tense became an aorist.

Although philologists now advance more subtle accounts of the functions of tenses, I think there is a lot to be said for the old notion that the Perfect represents a past action with abiding consequences in the present, while the aorist refers to a single punctiliar past action. ("X and Y have got married" implies that they are still married. "X married Y" is compatible with the additional assertion "but the marriage was short-lived".) So the official text implies that the C of E still adheres to that Christian faith which it has received; change the perfect to aorist and you are opening the text to the implication that the C of E did receive it but has now abandoned it.

There were some exotic birettas on display, and 'Patrimony' clerical gossip about which hatshops on the Continent one could buy them in. But I had eyes only for the hat worn by the ordinand's wife Alexandra. Happy the days when every English High Street had a busy milliner's shop.

3 July 2010

S Irenaeus

S Irenaeus, God bless him, neatly divides the calendars of the Roman Rite. Those excellent people who follow the 1962 books, whether in the mainstream or in the SSPX, keep S Irenaeus today, July 3. Novus enthusiasts kept it on June 28. But there is a third group; eccentrics like myself, who use the St Lawrence ORDO. In this ORDO, often commended on my blog, the calendar employed is the Roman Calendar as it was before the Pontificate of Pius XII, in 1939. And that calendar has S Irenaeus on ... the Novus Ordo date, of June 28 (where you can say Mass of the Vigil of Ss Peter and Paul with commemoration of S Irenaeus, or of of S Irenaeus with commemoration of the Vigil, and Last Gospel of the Vigil; happily, the Octave of S John Baptist also gets a look in).

Because the 1962 date of S Irenaeus is a very ephemeral phenomenon, designed to get him off the Vigil of the Apostles. Earlier usage had no problem with combining celebrations; but in the early 1960s we were already going down the path of the Enlightenment/Bugnini rigidities, which disallow any sort of combinations and austerely insist that one Mass has one theme - and no more. So Saint and Vigil had to be disentangled. But when the whole old system of vigils was itself abolished, the mandarins in charge of the calendar after the Council had nothing to prevent them from cheerfully bunging S Irenaeus back onto his original date.

So S Irenaeus was on July 3 for less than a decade.

I suspect you discern the direction I am going. The 1962 calendar is neither unchangeable nor, in fact, ideal. Would it be disastrous to revise it gently, so that, at least, where the Novus Ordo calendar is in line with an earlier form of the Roman Calendar, 1962 came into line with the pair of them?

There is, I think, an increasing tendency to realise that 1962 is a problem; rather betwixt and between as a liturgical dispensation. There is greater interest in forms of the post-Tridentine Rite which were unmarked by the fashions of the mid-twentieth century. A year or two ago, speaking at Brompton, Mgr Schmidt cautiously expressed some thoughts like these. Books have been written ... and I know of one very distinguished 'traditionalist' liturgical writer who himself uses a 1620s Breviary. The English Latin Mass Society is - have you noticed? - itself very craftily careful in how it defines the vintage of the liturgy which it supports ... check it out!