31 October 2010

Credal Window

I had a look in Haddenham church, just across the county border in Buckinghamshire. As in so many English churches, there were clearly substantial survivals there of medieval glass; destruction by sixteenth century reformers, and Puritan vandalism, in my experience, undoubtedly happened, but affected quite a small part of England. Symonds' diaries, and Milles' notes, indicate how much medieval glass survived (respectively) in the 1640s and the 1740s. Most of what has since been lost simply fell victim to the decay of the centuries; in this area, for example, an 'Alderman Fletcher', who became interested in such survivals, was able to collect a vast amount of glass, much of it of fine quality, in the 1820s. Some superb panels of the martyrdom of S Thomas left his collection for the windows of Bodley; the residue he donated to Yarnton church just north of this City, where it can still be found.

What survived in many churches until the later nineteenth century tended to be gathered together by the church restorers into one or two windows, often consisting of unrelated quarries juxtaposed in patterns. At Haddenham, one window apparently contains a couple of figures of Apostles ... and a considerable amount of writing. The disjecta membra of the Apostles' Creed can easily be discerned.

Three or four years ago, in Brittany (I can't remember where; somewhere near Pontrieux), I came across a perfectly preserved late medieval window showing each of the Apostles with that clause of the Creed which, tradition held, he had contributed. Clearly, just such a window once existed at Haddenham. Does anyone know of other examples in England?

30 October 2010

Books

"Anglicans and Catholics in Communion: Patrimony, Unity, Mission" is a splendid book - it even contains a piece by me - put together by Fr Mark Woodruff and published as No 292 of the Messenger of the Catholic League (an organisation founded by the legendary Fr Fynes Clinton and always unambiguously papalist; I remember, in my teens during the mid-1950s, a feeling of satisfaction as I signed up to the decrees of Trent and of Vatican I on joining it). A fat book; papers by Bishop Peter Elliott, Cardinal Levada, Fr Aidan NIchols, Mgr Gianfranco Ghirlanda, Benedict XVI, and some thirty others. You can find the Catholic League at www.unitas.org.uk This is a must-read for anybody seriously interested in the concept of repatriating the Anglican Patrimony to the Roman Unity.

"Common Worship Times and Seasons: President's Edition for Holy Communion Order 1".
No, don't buy this one. Incredible, isn't it, that a liturgical tradition which began with Dr Cranmer cramming everything into one volume that was at once Missale and Portiforium and Manuale and Pontificale and Processionale, now expects you to buy two large volumes if you wish simply to have 'presidential' texts for just the Eucharist in just one of its sets of options. How these liturgical committeemen love dreaming up tarty bits of high churchery.

Divertingly, the flyer shows a page-spread with "The Dismissal Gospel". Yes! "This may be done either before or after the Blessing". John 1:1-14! I've stopped taking a serious interest in what fancy services the General Synod authorises; perhaps readers still embedded in the C of E can tell me whether "New Presidential Material" such as Last Gospels has any Synodical authority, or whether it is another example of the dodge of publishing things "commended by the House of Bishops" but which are in fact, on a tight reading of Canon Law, illegal.

28 October 2010

Cardinals

I think the Pastor in the Adur Valley writes one of the most sensitive and elegant blogs there are around, but I don't always agree with him. I'm not sure that I went along with a recent piece which seemed to suggest that the status of Voting Cardinal should be restricted to those with a pastoral care of souls.

My reason is this. Cardinals elect a Roman Pontiff by virtue of their technical status as parish priests of the City. If anything, I would prefer an argument that voting status be restricted to those who, as members of the Curia, are really and truly members of clerus Romanus.

I think a good case can be made from early writings (particularly ante-Nicene) for the essence of the Petrine Primacy as inherent in the Church of Rome and then in its Pontiff by virtue of his occupying the episcopal cathedra of that Church (which is why, according to Vatican I, his infallibility is restricted to ex cathedra pronouncements). It is widely claimed that the Roman Church did not have 'monoepiscopacy' until quite late; S Clement has been categorised as merely the presbyter whose particular duty it was to write letters. I believe that the evidence for this theory is pretty thin; but, were it to turn out to be true, I do not think that it would, even to a tiny degree, dent the truth and force of Pastor Aeternus.

Giving logical priority to the Roman Church is completely compatible with the decrees of Vatican I. And it is very far from being a 'liberal' attempt to water down papal authority. The problem with a very narrow emphasis upon papal pronouncements which are ex cathedra is that this enables liberals to treat with scant respect the decisions of the pope which are not ex cathedra, and to be positively contemptuous of the decisions of the Holy Father's curial collaborators, Cardinal Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons of the Holy Roman Church. The very words "The Curia" are sometimes turned into a cue for a massive sneer, as if these people are a repressive bureaucracy whose only purpose is to irritate the Universal Church with petty and illiberal restrictions. This liberal habit of thinking, helpful as it is to those who wish to take as little notice as possible of the Holy See, has the unfortunate logical result that the Roman Pontiff himself comes to look rather like a mysteriously empowered individual, capable of uttering magic oracles on the rarest occasions, who is nevertheless devoid of context within an actual ecclesia ... a papa vagans rather like those episcopi vagantes with 'valid orders' but no ecclesia of presbyterate, deacons, and laos surrounding them.

Of course we have to distinguish between different levels of the exercise of Magisterium. But the Curia is theologically part of the Petrine ministry of the Roman Church, not some unnecessary appendage with which History has deplorably encrusted it.

____________________________________________________________________

I do, however, share Pastor's view that curial cardinals do not need to be consecrated bishops, if they are not so already (unless of course they are being appointed to one of the suburbicarian bishoprics). It was, I believe, John XXIII who made this a rule, and it seems to me theologically inapposite; like a number of his decisions, well-meaning but misguided. The apparently underlying assumption (that any important person must be a bishop and that nobody listens to unimportant people who are not bishops) is not unknown elsewhere; a former Archbishop of Canterbury consecrated his 'Chief of Staff'' 'Bishop at Lambeth'. I think I am right in saying that Rowan has wisely discontinued this unfortunate practice.

My recollection is that Saxon Archbishops of Canterbury did have episcopal assistance; there was a gentleman called the Bishop at S Martin's. But he, although lacking diocesan authority, did have an episcopium with its corona of circumambient clerics and people; as, I suspect, the Roman suburbicarian bishops once did.

BTW, it was Eamon Duffy who, helping with the TV commentary on the Papal Inauguration, commented that Papa Ratzinger knew where the bodies were buried.

27 October 2010

I THINK I WAS RIGHT

In January, I posted the following, after the Superior of the SSPX had spoken, in my view most disrespectfully, about the present pope's intention to have a new 'Assisi Event' for peace:

I'm not sure that I agree - despite having some sympathy with him - with Bishop Fellay's views on the New Assisi which is planned.
Considering Papa Ratzinger's subtlety and his views on the necessarily coherent, non-self-contradictory, nature of the Tradition and of the Magisterium, I can't help feeling that his intention to have the meeting in that particular place may have, as one its purposes, a resolution of the worrying ambiguities in the original event.
Can't we wait and see what actually happens? If all is done with propriety, then presumably the Holy Father is saying 'This is what the true contextualised meaning of these occasions is; so let nobody in the future claim that the rough edges in the original format afford precedents for syncretism.'
It may be that Bishop Fellay has to keep his own constituency on board. I would respect that. But ...

In April I reposted the piece, with the following addition:

Having looked at the latest VIS communique, I see references only to addresses and to 'silent prayer'. I feel strongly inclined, as I did in January, to trust the Holy Father's disposition of this event. I suspect that he may intend to bring 'Assisi' under the umbrella of the Hermeneutic of Continuity.

Early in September, I again posted the same piece. I now give it a fourth airing, without feeling any need to comment!

Mark Pattison: some problems of Concelebration

In 1851, the Rectorship of Lincoln College in this University came up for election. Pattison inevitably felt that he was the obvious candidate. Here is his reaction to learning that another Fellow, John Calcott, also proposed to offer himself. (I should explain to those who are not of the Patrimony that in those days common Anglican Eucharistic practice was for the Celebrant to stand and kneel at the North End of the Altar, and, if there was another priest or deacon assisting, he was at the South End.)

"As I stood opposite Calcott at the altar-table on Sunday, I could not help a feeling, very untimely at that place, that I should be supposed to be engaged in competition with such a snubby, dirty, useless little dog."

You could do worse than read Pattison. I have not laughed so much on turning the pagers of a book since I read Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall for the first time.

26 October 2010

Patrimonial Moses and Aaron

Not long ago, we walked to Long Crendon church. I was fascinated by two eighteenth century paintings; one of Moses, holding the Tablets of the Law; the other of Aaron, wearing a mitre, the breast-plate, the bells, and holding a smoking thurible.

Before the church was regothicised under the Victorians, these pictures clearly stood at each end of the Ten Commandments, which in pre-Tractarian days stood behind and above the Altar. Moses was presumably on the South side, since he is pointing with his right hand to the (now missing) Commandments.

I was intrigued to imagine the scene: the priest, wearing voluminous surplice and (if he was a gentleman) a red silk MA hood and a neat powdered wig, kneeling at the North End of the Altar to celebrate the Prayer Book Communion Office, with, above his head, the mitred, bell-adorned, Aaron, waggling incense. I wondered what effect these juxtapositions had on the imaginations of eighteenth century farmworkers ...

Somehow, culturally, I feel instinctively closer to that cultic epiphany than I do to the Old ICEL Novus Ordo Mass which, accompanying a RC friend, I witnessed the other day. I suppose, at heart, I am a very old-fashioned Anglican. For heaven's sake don't tell Cardinal Levada I said that ...

Joking aside, however, it is interesting to recollect that this iconography suggests a notion of the Sacrifice of the Mass (aligning it with the Jewish sacrificial system) different from that of the Canon Romanus (which carefully alludes to pre-Mosaic sacrifice).

25 October 2010

Archbishop Longley

As we processed from Carfax to the Castle on Saturday (no Fr James Bradley to provide a photographic record ... eheu eheu ... ) singing the Litanies, I found myself wondering who the proficient and melodious Cantor was. Goodness gracious: it was the Archbishop of Birmingham himself. And he is not even - so he told me a few years ago in the National Liberal Club during his as-yet impalliate days - an ex-Anglican. When we got there, he blessed the new plaque (honouring Bl George Napier) with equal grace.

An irritating thing at Oxford is that the phrase "The Oxford Martyrs" always seems to refer to certain Protestants. There are honourable exceptions; the University Church has a tablet recording all those executed in the Reformation era. But ... take the ridiculous and unscholarly mishmash of whiggery that you will find in the revamped Ashmolean ... "Oxford Martyrs" is generally used strictly in accordance with the canons of historiography established by Fox.

The very competent booklet provided for Saturday's occasion by the Latin Mass Society has a picture of Bl George saying mass on the morning of his martyrdom (I think the accepted practice was to bribe the warders). It comes from Dr Challoner's work on the English Martyrs. But it shows a cleric disposed as no cleric could be in the celebration of Mass ... and not wearing a maniple (on either arm: I say that to preempt cleverclogs among you who are already wondering if the engraving has got accidentally reversed).

There is, apparently, nothing new about journalists getting liturgical details wrong.

24 October 2010

Blackfriars

Old Rite High Mass (but Westward-facing) at Blackfriars this morning, in honour of the Oxford Martyrs; and, in particular, of Bl George Napier, martyred 400 years ago next month.

The three sacred ministers were apparently all Preachers, but the Mass was not in the old Dominican rite, which I recall going to as an undergraduate in the early 1960s. What a pity; through its relationship with the rite of Paris, it had similarities with the Sarum rite. Seeing it, one realised what a revolution it must have been when the Seminary priests first brought the Mass of S Pius V across. Don't bother to remind me that, textually, the Sarum rite was merely a dialect of the Roman rite; the point is that it must, at first, have looked very strange ... all those genuflexions, for example. A real dash of discontinuity.

Another discontinuity is the style of some of these post-Summorum pontificum masses. Those with memories of the pre-Conciliar culture will recall the brisk naturalness with which liturgy was done in the fifties and sixties. Nowadays, the revived pre-Conciliar rite is often done in a very different manner. The Consecrations are sometimes terribly long; and not only the Consecrations. I do hope that, in getting rid of the ethos of "Look what a jolly compere I am as I leer at you across the Altar", we shan't be lumbered too permanently with an ethos of "Look how immensely slow and recollected I am as I take three minutes to get through the Qui pridie".

I certainly recall, from the 'fifties, clergy who said Mass with an almost sacrilegious rapidity; as if they felt that this would increase their popularity among the Sons of Erin gathered around their Patron Saint at the back of the church, all itching to hurry to the bookie's runner as soon as the last Gospel started. But that was an abusus qui non debet tollere usum; one of the characteristics of the Roman rite in all ages has been its unshowy matter-of-factness, and it would be a shame to lose this.

Do they use E Bishop in seminary teaching of Liturgy nowadays? Dix, no mean mystagogue himself, thought of Bishop as the Prince of all liturgists.

23 October 2010

The Voice of Evangelicalism

I find in the journal of the Prayer Book Society an article on the liturgical year by a well known (and much loved) Conservative Evangelical, Roger Beckwith. A critic might pick holes in the details; Roger is apparently unaware of the currently favoured theories about why March 25 is Lady Day; and he seems to think that some commemorations have acquired their dates as a result of careful calculation rather than by (what we would call) Chance (if John Paul II had not instructed us that there is no such thing as Chance). But going through a lot of stuff like that would be unfriendly pedantry. I think many of my readers will be interested that an evangelical cares about the liturgical year; and rather intrigued by some of his points. Ex. gr.:

The Common Worship calendar introduces many changes derived from the modern form of the Roman calendar. Thus it changes the titles of Sundays, so that the First Sunday after Easter becomes, confusingly, the Second Sunday of Easter, and the Sunday next before Advent (Stir up Sunday) becomes Christ the King, a recent Roman duplication of Advent [JWH interrupts: surely, of the Ascension?]. It moves the dates of festivals, so that St Thomas's Day is no longer on 21st December, nor St Matthias' Day on 24th February ... If one compares the Prayer Book calendar with its new rival, one cannot fail to see that the Prayer Book calendar is a reform and simplification of the old Roman calendar, which reflects a true understanding of the structure of the Christian calendar and brings it out with considerable clarity. It draws on the resources of the Bible to strengthen true teaching and to correct error, which are things a good calendar can do. By contrast, the new calendar shows a lack of understanding of the structure of the historic [JWH adds: Western] Christian calendar and a lack of appreciation of the Prayer Book form of it. It knows only the modern form of the Roman calendar, and makes rather pointless concessions to it. A church with two conflicting calendars is on the way to becoming two churches, and one of the aims which the Prayer Book Society could direct its present day efforts towards is to persuade the C of E to treat the Prayer Book calendar as normative for its life once more, and not the misguided modern substitute.

Well, Fr Roger, here at S Thomas's we are now in the Sundays after Trinity ...

22 October 2010

Sancta Maria Magdalena, ora pro nobis

Standing innocently at a 'bus stop in West Oxford the other day, I was approached by someone whom I knew, from the way he bore himself, to be a North American. (Why is it that, despite the infinite variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds from which, e pluribus unum, they all derive, so many Americans who visit Old Europe seem to have acquired the same style of body language?) In the confident and laudably audible tones with which some visiting members of the Imperial Race tend to address us, the gentleman enquired where "M'gdall'n" street was. I probably looked nonplussed for a moment or two, because he repeated, and with even more admirable clarity, "M'gdall'n". Then the penny dropped: I expect most readers know that in Oxford and, I wouldn't be in the least surprised, Cambridge, "Magdalen" (as in S Mary Magdalen) is pronounced "Maudlin". (Even among those English not given to such arcane eccentricities, I suspect Magdalen is commonly pronounced Magd'l'n.) "Ah", I said, deferential as ever towards the Fellow Americans of the Obama, "I think you may mean Maudlin Street. Now; if you go straight down there ...".

He was having none of this. With the patient tolerance of one accustomed to handling untermenschen, he interrupted me. "No; it is definitely M'gdall'n Street. Look, guy [I loath being addressed as Guy], if you don't know, I can ask someone else". And with the consummate courtesy of a Rumsfeldt, he turned round and shimmied off.

In retrospect, I wished I had simply directed him to hurry down the Botley Road.

21 October 2010

De Laszlo and friends

I took time off from a morning working in the Society of Antiquaries to look at the Pictures from Budapest in the Royal Academy. Rather strange; somewhat mechanistically selected so that you generally get just one and very rarely more than two pictures from each artist. The great advantage is that very few of these works are members of the Old Club of Important Pictures which one repeatedly sees in exhibitions year after year ... pictures which can rarely be visible in the galleries to which they belong.

The exception to this was a picture which did appear in a very jolly little exhibition put on by Christie's in 2004. Perhaps in honour of the papal beatification of Bl John Henry, there is a fine portrait by Philip de Laszlo of Leo XIII. I never forget a Laszlo, because right beside my classroom door in Great Schoool at Lancing hung a superb portrait by Laszlo of a former head master (he did it cheap because he had a couple of boys at the College). Laszlo did Dr Bowlby's eyes very well (haunted and disappointed; Evelyn Waugh commented that it was while he was at Lancing that Bowlby must have realised that he had been passed over for a bishopric ... he ended up sacked after a SCR coup); and he did as well for Leo XIII. Laszlo recorded that, during the four sittings, the Holy Father conversed about "a great variety of subjects; political, religious, social, artistic and scientific". The eyes are those of an old, kindly, highly intelligent, and intellectually lively man.

Another Newman connection is a Tiepolo which has S Philip Neri among the saints gathered around our Lady's feet. The Other University gets a nod in a charming picture by Giordano of the Flight Into Egypt, showing our Lady (wearing a very fetching straw hat) stepping on to a punt at the Cambridge end ("Girton, I presume, Miss McJoachim?").

Most people seem to be gathered round a drawing by Egon Schiele showing two Lesbians embracing. Nothing like a bit of kink to delay the middle-class English art-lover. I was detained longest by two utterly wonderful little limewood statues by someone called Straub; baroque in their movimento but elegant rather than florid. The arrows really look as if they have sunk into S Sebastian's flesh; and S Rocco has a wonderfully realistic ulcer.

20 October 2010

S Giles, Reading

Yes, I do tend to keep on about it. You only have to step inside and meet the people; and look at the building, adorned with love of generations of Anglican Catholics, a beacon of the Faith once delivered to the Saints ... to see why.

The parish needs a good, orthodox, priest; and the adverts are now buzzing around. Or at least they should have been ... but I gather there were technical problems on some websites. But full information can now be found on the Ebbsfleet and Oxford Diocese websites. The closing date for applications is October 29.

If you know (or yourself are) a good orthodox priest who might build on Fr Melrose's work (aided by the prayers of an earlier vicar, Blessed John Eynon, martyred under Henry Tudor) ... well, the congregation are hoping for their prayers to be answered.

S Thomas's, Raphael, and Leo X

Happening to find myself in London, I drifted into the V and A to see the Raphael tapestries which the Holy Father has lent on the occasion of his State Visit. There should, of course, have been lots more goodies from the Vatican collections; Dr Ratzinger, simple, cultured, soul, had thought that the people of England would welcome a great artistic bonanza. He didn't reckon with the determination of the Atheist Classes to prevent the Visit being an occasion of joyful exuberance for the community as a whole. But the V & A couldn't resist the opportunity to show four of the Sistine tapestries beside the original cartoons from which they were woven, housed in the V & A from the royal collection.

What tremendous fun (and what a shame the Enemies of Joy prevented so much more from coming across). And how at home members of my congregation will find themselves at the exhibition (which is free). Our High Altar has a good copy of Raphael's Madonna di Foligno - the first altarpiece he painted after his arrival in Rome, and showing as Donor the Secretary of Pope Julius II. As I beheld it, a penny dropped in my mind. One of the mysteries about the picture of which ours is a copy is a thunderbolt apparently about to hit a house in the background. This has elicited various traditional aetiologies - ex. gr. that the picture is an ex voto done after a thunderbolt failed to do significant damage to the donor's house. But the tapestry and cartoon of Christ's Charge To Peter show a burning house on the skyline in the background. Was this just the sort of tiny dramatic detail Raphael liked to include?

The twisted 'Salomonic' pillars in the Marian porch of the University Church here in Oxford are are presumably the result of the impact of the arrival of the cartoons in England in the reign of Bl Charles Stuart; they appear prominently in the Healing Of The Lame Man.

And the repetitions of the Medici arms everywhere reminded me of the familiar sight each morning, as I turn over the page from the Preface to Te igitur, of a reproduction of the corresponding page in a Medici Missal.

Among the Acknowledgements in the book accompanying the exhibition (good value, hardback, £10) is the name of Good Marini. His Office graciously lent a copy of the Diary of the Papal Master of Ceremonies covering S Stephen's Day 1516, when the tapestries were first put up in the Sistine Chapel. The book is displayed open at that day; the entry painstakingly records that thirty cardinals were at Mass with the Pope; that Cardinal de Valle "Missam cantavit, licet non satis bene"; and then goes on describe the massive impact the tapestries had upon all who saw them.

19 October 2010

Blessed John Eynon

Sunday morning, I took a day off from S Thomas's to go and sing the Mass and to preach at S Giles' Reading. A great joy; a vibrant congregation of all types, ages and races. They probably found some details of my Mass a little unfamiliar; I have not celebrated a Sung ICEL Novus Ordo since I left Lancing in 2001, and I am a bit rusty as far as the ICEL melodies for the sung bits go. Playing for safety, at the end of the Canon I sang "Throughout all ages, world without end" (note for RCs: this is the old Anglo-Catholic version of "Per omnia saecula saeculorum" ... it provides more syllables on which to load the Tridentine notes than "For ever and ever" ... try them both out, and you will see).

It was good to find the congregation in good spirits and recovering well from the sudden and most sad death of the saintly and learned Fr Melrose. The singing was lusty and the Organ a joy to hear; the serving was perfect and unobtrusive, even when it came to discretely reminding an incompetent visiting celebrant that he ought to have turned his radio-mike off! Sorry, folks, to be such a burden! Some time I really must make an effort to move into the twentieth century. I was privileged to find the Best Green Set laid out for me: quite superb. Am I right in assuming there might well be something French about vestments on which the crosses mimic the exact shape of the cross of the Saint Esprit? I realised why we have the custom of removing the maniple to preach: a properly massive and stiff spade-ended maniple would cramp the style of exuberant preachers. And S Giles is enough to bring out the Bossuet in anyone.

Afterwards I was able to relax with the congregation (is it a sign of advanced years that I seemed to discover some connection or other with everybody I spoke to?) before being whisked off to a soft, superb, and succulent lunch. An example of the sort of mental inferences I was able to pursue: the parish must be above the water-table of the Thames because such fine wines could not but be the result of a large, varied, well-judged, and intelligently maintained cellar. I wonder how that would go in syllogistic form. What an easy subject Geography is.

As the train bore me back to waterlogged fluviality of Oxford, I reflected with complacent pleasure that I have had the privilege of offering the most august Sacrifice of the Mass at the altars of two Beati: Bl John Eynon of Reading; and Bl John Henry Newman of Oxford.

18 October 2010

Forward in Faith

Our Autumn Gathering had its funny side. Two of the bishops whose names are attached to the Society of St 'Inge and Bracket had been booked to present the proceedings of the Northern Synod which, apparently, so warmly backed this initiative of Johnny Hind and Chums. But they both subsequently discovered that their diaries contained entries which, after all, precluded their attendance. Those inclined to give some support to the Society and who were physically present seemed strangely muted in their praise of it. It appeared to be a truth universally acknowledged that nobody knew what the rationale of the Society was, or what it is for. One much loved priest commended the bishops involved for being prepared - after all these years of sneering at action groups - to do something; he suggested that it might be called the Society of Awakened Episcopal Ostriches. Another felt that it was important to give the Society a fair wind, although if, as he clearly suspected, the sponsoring bishops were not prepared to act illegally, it would be worse than useless (his hilarious peroration included a stirring rallying cry to Stink). With friends like these, how can the Society need enemies?

It was suggested that the Northern Clergy are different in type from us Southerners; since we were also told that a thousand of them had signed up blindly to the Society without knowing what it would turn out to be, I felt that this was a rather ambiguous piece of praise for those sturdy, sensible, no-nonsense lemmings (Lemmus Borealis?) up beyond the Humber. All the Nigerian Widows who so regularly email us could have a field day among the clergy of the Northern Province. We were told that quite probably the legislation for women bishops would fail next time to secure its necessary Synodical majorities ... so that it would keep coming back at regular intervals to prevent us from getting slack and bored.

But the moment of supreme bathos came with the suggestion that all was actually rather well; the Calvinist Conservative Evangelicals would save every last bit of our bacon by deploying their financial clout. That the Catholic Revival, the Movement of Pusey and Newman and Keble, the spiritual descendants of the heroic Non-jurors and of the martyred Laud, should come to this ...

Don't get me wrong. There were plenty of speakers, particularly among the young, who realised that we have clutched at so many straws and for so long that there is no thatch left on the roof to keep the rain out. There was real enthusiasm for Dr Ratzinger's New Deal. I just thought you might like to hear ... yes, the funny bits.

Oh, and yes, Bishop Edwin did tell us that the game was up.

17 October 2010

Fr Melrose of Reading

Pray for the people of S Giles', Reading, that they may receive a priest, a good priest, soon, to succeed Fr Michael Melrose, who died more than a year ago now. And, for that matter, a worthy successor to Blessed John Eynon, Vicar of S Giles', martyred in the time of the second Henry Tudor.

Among the liturgical books left by Fr Melrose, which I am now fortunate enough to possess and use daily, is a very slender volume: Preces ante et post Missam. It consists of the prayers to be said "According to the opportunity of the priest", found in the old Missal and also included, for convenience, in old Breviaries. But this separate edition (Pustet, 1913) is interestingly augmented.

Firstly, it includes two lists, of the quick and of the dead, whom a priest should remember in the Mementos of the Canon. Among the rather chilling categories listed are "all to whom I have been a burden (gravamen), a scandal, and an occasion of sin". And, inter mortuos, "souls who, because of me, are suffering in Purgatory". I think it is a very good idea to be reminded, day by day, what a very great opportunity for doing evil, and provoking others into disbelief or sin, we priests have. I wonder when and why these lists disappeared. They appear in nineteenth century breviaries in my possession, and apparently survived until at least 1913. So ...?

The booklet also includes "Actus virtutum", from the writings of S Francis de Sales. I invite comments on a detail that made me pause for thought. The Act of Adoration begins: "O God in three persons ... and thou, Lord Jesus Christ, I adore from my whole heart ... And because my adoration is exceedingly slight and weak, I offer to thee those adorations which continually thy most holy Humanity offers to thee ... " What surprised me was the idea of praying to Our Lord Jesus Christ's Godhead separately and as divisible from his Sacred Humanity. Isn't this, I wondered, something a tadge more in the spirit of Nestorius than of S Cyril? What, I thought, becomes of akhoristos and all that?

But S Francis de Sales is a Doctor of the Church, and I am not ... er ...

16 October 2010

Assimilation

Both in the text of Second Vespers of Blessed John Henry, as done on the evening of the Beatification, and in the video of the Toronto Oratory's High Mass, we had the EF but with the Collect (etc.) from the newly authorised OF propers. I know it is the obvious combination to make, but is it strictly legal? Or should Fr Zed equip all the Oratories with his red and black mugs?

15 October 2010

Tradition

At the Forward in Faith Congress in Westminster ... a lugubrious occasion ... an old tradition may have been abandoned.

Hitherto, each year, Bishop Edwin Barnes, Protoclete of Richborough, has stood up, at some point in the proceedings, looked around with his beguiling air of False Naivety, and said "But the Game is Up!"

Perhaps he's planning to do it tomorrow.

Ordinariates: an important announcement

I think a name should soon be given to the Ordinariate of Great Britain. Because the word Ordinariate is a nasty unEnglish and canonical term; and common folk like me do better with something more personal and user-friendly. My preference would be: "Society of Ss Hilda and Wilfrid" (Ladies First is an important principle). Many people, I know, assume that Bl John Henry will come into it (if he does, I suggest that the Ordinary, for ordinations and appropriate Ordinariate events, should ask to borrow one of the three English Oratories). I would not object to "Ss George and Andrew and David". Then, just as the Monarch's arms vary in England and Scotland (in England the three lions passant guardant of the King of England are in the senior quarter; in Scotland, the lion rampant of the King of Scots), so it could be the Society of S George in England ... etc.. Our Blessed Lady, whose Dowry England is, would be always popular, perhaps in combination with Blessed John Henry. S Theodore ... a Greek speaking Syrian monk appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by a Pope of Rome ... always seems to me a wonderfully significant individual, but he would mystify the media.

I entertain a lingering hope, certain not to be realised, that the old names of Ebbsfleet and Richborough, bound up with the arrival of S Augustine here in the first days of English Christianity, might survive as names of a couple of the deaneries into which it will be divided. They are already names encrusted with sacred memories.

Whatever the Ordinariate is to be, it could do with being announced promptissimo.

I may delete unbecoming suggestions on the thread ...

14 October 2010

Eastern Catholics

Some interesting 'demands' have emerged from Eastern Catholic bishops at the Middle Eastern Synod. Two of them I find unexceptionable.

The first is that Rome should stop discouraging the ordination of married Orientals to the presbyterate. The current position is that married presbyterates should only exist in the original geographical homelands of Eastern Catholic Churches. I can understand why Latin ecclesiastics fear the undermining of the Western discipline of clerical celibacy; and I have some sympathy with them. But they ought to be cautious in their assertions. For example, a few months ago an English RC bishop publicly claimed that the provision for the admission of married men to the presbyterates of Ordinariates applied only to the 'first wave' of those signing up. He clearly had not read the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which allows ordinaries to seek dispensation for their ordinands from the rule of celibacy indefinitely: and does not restrict this to those who had been in the ministry of the Anglican Church. Ah ... and by the way ... symmetry would require that if Orientals within what used to be the Western Patriarchate have to obey the Western discipline concerning clerical marriage, then Occidentals within the territories of Eastern Churches should be subject to the Eastern discipline about clerical marriage.

Secondly, I sympathise with the call for greater speed in the granting of Roman consent to Eastern episcopal elections. Frankly, I cannot see why Roman consent should be necessary anyway. Its requirement is a fairly recent innovation in Oriental Canon Law.

The third request is rather interesting. I think I agree with it, on the grounds that jurisdiction should follow personalist and cultural norms rather than crudely geographical ones, but ... well, there is a But. I refer to the request that Eastern Churches should have jurisdiction, not only within their historical geographical boundaries, but - in this age of great migrations - over their communities anywhere in the world. Good idea. But ... In view of the fact that the patriarchates of the Pentarchy, sanctioned by the earliest Ecumenical Councils, are locked into the major geographical and political divisions of the late Roman Empire, should it not be the Orthodox position that such a radical change, from geographical jurisdictions to cultural ones, required the consent of an Ecumenical Council? Orthodox - and Eastern Catholics - are surely rather hoist here by their own petard, whatever a petard is. And, while we are in this area, it has to be said that, theologically and canonically, there is something distinctly iffy about the cheerful abandon with which Orthodox Churches set up hierarchies throughout the West.

The fourth suggestion is, in my view, flawed to the point of being ridiculous. It is that Eastern Patriarchs should ex officio take part in papal elections. Now; I have no complaint about individual Oriental patriarchs being made cardinals and thus papal electors. But the Pope is, essentially, simply the bishop of Rome. Because the Roman Church, where Peter's voice still authentically and infallibly speaks, is the norm of orthodoxy and the God-given centre of ecclesial communion and unity, the bishop of this see has a unique and most important position in the ecclesia catholica. But, when all is said and done, he is Bishop of Rome, and should be elected by the clergy of that city: which is what the cardinal bishops, presbyters and deacons essentially are.

And, curiously, this Eastern request has implications which should be resisted and which Easterners, of all people, should not be promoting. It implies that the Pope is a sort of superprelate, something raised far on high above all other bishops, patriarchs, and Churches. Only if he were such an almighty person could it be appropriate for him to be elected by the representatives of all the Churches of East and West. And if he were such a hyperepiskopos, paradoxically, the theological rationale of his position would give him an autocratic authority over the Church Universal even beyond the most extravagant dreams of the ultramontanes of Vatican I.

13 October 2010

Captions

In the Ashmolean Museum, before its expensive and unneccesary makeover, there was a bit of an old Greek pot, captioned "Man courting boy". After the makeover, this became "Paedophile and victim". Many of us complained about such culturally anachronistic language; either we got a brush-off or (in my case) not even the courtesy of a reply. Then Mr Orator Jenkyns, at the last Encaenia, had the entire University rolling in the aisles (aisles in the Sheldonian Theatre? Let it pass ...) after he made a joke about it in his Creweian Oration.

As I passed it by the other day, on my way to see the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition (not very memorable unless you have a passion for women who either are, or look exactly like, Janey Morris), I cast an eye at the now celebrated pot. The caption has changed: it now reads "Man and Boy making love. The nature of Greek homosexuality is the subject of current academic debate".

The power of rhetoric! But do go and look at the tiny Leland exhibition in the Proscholium at the entrance to Bodley. Unlike Jane MorrisX20, he won't cost you £8.

And more captions: the other day I had a quick squint at the new Medieval rooms at the V & A, where there are examples of the usual art-historian fashion for the past tense when describing what Christians "did". When they do use the present tense, it can be accompanied by a strange assimilation of Catholic practice to folk-Protestantism: as when a video of a Palm Sunday Procession in the Catholic high Alps refers to the priest as "the Vicar" and to the servers as "choir boys".

12 October 2010

Stinge but no Bracket

How fine dear S Wilfrid looks, down at Brompton, in his cope and mitre. I expected to find his altar there - genuine Netherlandish Baroque, I think I recall - thronged with bishops of Chichester, area bishops and archdeacons of that see, and canons of its Cathedral, all beseeching their patron for his prayer and blessing upon poor Johnny Hind's dotty 'Society'. But only the usual Filippino ladies there for the EF Mass, God bless them. I bet they aren't signed up to it. I know S Wilfrid isn't.

I wonder how many women 'clergy' Johnny has licensed and instituted to "my cure and yours" since he and his lackeys sprang the latest initiative of this "leading Catholic bishop" upon a waiting world. Heaven help any poor suckers who have fallen for it.

Daft lot.

1962

Fr Zed recently gave pictures of the Vatican Edition of the Miassale Romanum. What struck me about it is how much it owes to the SSPX.

For example; the fact that it is the 1962 Missal which is printed is itself the result of a decision made quite late in SSPX history by Archbishop Lefebvre. He originally used the modifications introduced in 1965; indeed, arguably, the last lawful version of the Old Rite would be the 1962 Missal with the 1965 Ordo Missae, together with two other rites authorised a little later, bound into it. I suggest this because the Decretum of 27 January 1965 orders "ut ... in novis Missalis Romani editionibus assumeretur". And the Decretum of 7 March 1965 (rites of Concelebration and of Communion in both kinds) orders that it be "in Pontificali et Missali Romano accurate exscribendum". This is the last time that such a provision was made; the Variationes of 4 May 1967 include no similar order.

I say "would be", because, of course, juridically, the words of Summorum pontificum tacitly suppress the alterations made in 1965. But for this, however, I suggest that the revelation made by Pope Benedict, that the old rite had never been lawfully abrogated, would have automatically brought back to life the rite of 1965 (or even conceivably 1967). And, of course, Lefebvre finally settled upon 1962 rather than 1965 for his society: in which Summorum pontificum follows him.

The Vatican reprint also includes S Joseph in the Canon. As was established last year in a thread on this blog by a couple of learned canonists and liturgists, S Joseph was added to the Missal some months after the promulgation of the 1962 Editio typica. But SSPX usage includes S Joseph; indeed, I have heard it suggested that they see this as an important mark of distinction between themselves and the sedevacantists.

Perhaps most interesting of all - erudite readers might like to comment on this - the Vatican reprint has, on the title page, the arms of Bl John XXIII: arms which also cheerfully appear on the cover of the SSPX ORDO. Why should the Missal not bear the arms of the Pontiff by whose authority it is now promoted?

Personally, I hope that prePius XII missals continue to be browsed through in sacristies and used on altars. Thereby priests of a new generation will become familiar with some of the riches lost in the 1950s ... even if they don't use them.

Some of the lost glories are things they might in fact be able to use: as commemorations ad lib, for example. It would be fun if someone created an ORDO technically totally 1962-compliant but which enabled the 1962 rite to be used, by selection of the appropriate options where options exist, in a form as close as possible to the pre-Pius XII rite.

11 October 2010

IRELAND

A characteristically perceptive and intelligent piece on Ireland by Pastor in Valle Adurni, about the plot to subvert the natural communities which still survive in many parts of Ireland. The secularising elite behind this need, above all, to destroy the Irish Church.

I find it difficult not to admire the Irish Church, despite all. Reasons are partly personal; the kindness I have always received from the Irish clergy; the willingness of Irish bishops to permit me formally and in writing to receive the Sacraments in their dioceses; gestures of friendship from, for example, the late bishop of Limerick, Jeremiah Newman (who wrote a book on the Recovery of the Sacred which I regard as one of the harbingers of the Benedictine Renaissance); and from Cardinal Desmond Connell, who sent me a hand-written letter of great warmth after reading something that I had written.

The disaster that has overtaken the Irish Church is, at least partly, the result of senior clergy refusing to be coldly legalistic when dealing with errant clergy. Failing to realise - as we all did - the true nature of paedophilia, they commonly tried a pastoral approach rather than subject a priest to the rigours of canonical process, deposition, disgrace, and despair. We now know that their assumption - give a man a bollocking, add some psychiatric treatment, move him on to a parish where an experienced priest would keep a draconian eye on him, and trust to Grace - was inadequate to deal with the perversion concerned. But were there any establishment cuties going around explaining all this in the 1970s?

How were the bishops of that generation to guess that, a generation later, a 'liberal' ascendancy would have suddenly discovered the overriding duty for those in authority of being coldly legalistic and inexorably unforgiving? The entire culture of the 1960s/1970s was personalist, anti-legalistic, and inclined to mercy.

10 October 2010

Communicatio in sacris

Sharing in the Sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance, and Unction is of course permitted in particular circumstances in Canon Law; and and this is repeated in the Ecumenical Directory (with necessary distinctions between those communities which have valid sacraments and those which don't).

I recently did a post on the dangers of an ultratraditionalism which manufactures its own (often fierce) shibboleths upon a slight or even non-existent basis in the actual Tradition. An example of this problem (in addition to those I gave there) is the antipathy of some ultratraddies to the least whiff of anything savouring of Ecumenism ... especially communicatio in sacris between those in full communion with the See of Peter, and those not. They see this as another piece of post conciliar liberalism, and to be reprobated by Traditionalist Catholics.

This is why I welcome so warmly the admirable blog of the Transalpine Redemptorists which has recently published papal permissions from over the last seven centuries. I was not surprised to read the teaching of Pope Benedict XIV; that most erudite of Pontiffs knew his history too well to believe that the Auctoritas of the Tradition completely excludes such sharing. But I was particularly interested in the Toleration which Pius X signed for the Ukrainians in 1904; I was unaware of that. I could back up the evidence provided by the Redemptorists with accounts about how the authorities on both the Catholic and Orthodox sides positively encouraged all manner of sharing in the eighteenth century Aegean.

As soon as the Ordinariates have settled down, I hope consideration will be given to the question of how those provisions about this matter which are contained in the current Code of Canon Law should be used in the Ordinariates, so to enable them best to fulfil their role as effective ecumenical bridges which promote the restoration of full communion between separated Christians and the See of Peter.

9 October 2010

Newman's Conversion

The poor, pompous egotist Mark Pattison, writing long after he had lost his own faith, gives this account of October 1845:
"On the 9th of October 1845 it was known that Newman had resigned his fellowship. On 10th October, Church showed me a note from Newman to him, announcing his coming reconciliation to the Catholic Church by Father Dominic [which had of course by that day already occurred]. It is impossible to describe the enormous effect produced in the academical and clerical world, I may say throughout England, by one man's changing his religion. But it was not consternation; it was a lull - a sense that the past agitation of twelve years was extinguished by this simple act; and perhaps a lull of expectation to see how many he would draw with him. Instead of a ferocious howl, Newman's proceeding was received in respectful silence, no one blaming. But as there must always be an advocatus diaboli, this part was sustained by the Vicar of St Thomas (!) [Pattison's own parenthetic exclamation mark] who went about inveighing against Newman's honesty in putting out the theory contained in his last sermon; 'He didn't believe it when he wrote it'".

It is not clear to me what, exactly, in Newman's Parting of Friends sermon, my predecessor Thomas Chamberlain deemed to be so dishonest.

There is an interesting episode in the life of George Bampfield, a Master at Lancing College (largely autobiographical though written in the third person): "He could no longer stay at Lancing, and went, as a last resource, to S Thomas', Oxford, then under Mr Chamberlain, the editor of the Church Times. One day his vicar came into his room, and noticing among his books a Totum [the entire Breviary in one volume instead of four] which belonged to one of Mr Bampfield's brothers, and which he himself had hardly opened, said: 'There is no use talking to you; you are gone'. The vicar was a true prophet; for after three Sundays Mr Bampfield left Oxford and determined to be reconciled to the Church of the Saints". He went to Brompton, where (13 August 1855) Fr Faber received him into Full Communion, more or less on the doorstep.

Perhaps the reason Bampfield went to Chamberlain was his perception of S Thomas's as by far the most 'advanced' church in England; Eucharistic Vestments in some shape or form* may have been in use since the early 1840s, and incense was established by the mid-1850s. In other words, Bampfield or his advisers felt that if S Thomas's, with all its Romish extremism, could not retain him in the Church of England, no parish church could. Possibly the meaning of Pattison's exclamation mark is: "And that from a dishonest extremist like Chamberlain of all people!!"

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*Initially, it seems, more than one Oxford red silk MA hood sewn together (by Chamberlain's cousin the religious foundress Marion Hughes) so as to make a 'chasuble' not too alarmingly different from the MA hood to which conservative worshippers were accustomed. At Pentecost 1854 a proper purpose-made chasuble (Roman shape) was taken into use.

8 October 2010

Why October 9?

A friend whom I respect has expressed a strong view about the tactlessness of selecting, for the liturgical commemoration of Blessed John Henry, the day of his conversion. I do see what he means ...

... but here is an alternative reading. October 9 was the only day in Newman's life upon which he was in communion both with the See of Canterbury and with the See of Rome. Neat, yes? I feel quite proud of that. I shall probably delete comments which rubbish my intuition. (Oh, and by the way - I have decided that in future I will probably delete comments on the thread which advertise church services of which I do not approve.)

Incidentally, the new Newman altar at Brompton is a very decent job; except that I did feel that the walls to left and right of the reredos looked a bit as if they had tiled by one of the high-class kitchen and bathroom purveyors who display their wares on the other side of the Brompton Road.

The centre of the reredos is a copy of Millais' famous fully frontal portrait of Blessed John Henry. Not bad, but not the original. A shame that a previous duke disposed of it to the Nation (it is back at Arundel with the status of a loan). The original would have been a distinguished addition to the other goodies which make the Oratory so superior to the little museum place next door.

It would be a nice altar to say Mass at ... and one would be facing (roughly) ad Orientem.

7 October 2010

Divinum Officium

I obediently obeyed Fr Zed's command to look at the above website for accurate EF ORDO-style information. Mysteriously, the Mass for October 7 gives a commemoration for Pope S Mark, with the collect/secret/postcommunion in Latin from the Roman Missal as it was before Pius XII invented the Common for Sovereign Pontiffs. But the English translation alongside are versions of the Pius XII formulae.

Oh dear. How difficult all this popish liturgy is. Clergy joining Ordinariates will obviously need enormous amounts of instruction before we get the hang of it.

Bishop Bob again

In a recent blogpost about Anglicanorum coetibus I described how a former Anglican bishop, now incardinated as a presbyter into an ordinariate, would be entitled (if he petitioned for and were granted the jus pntificalium) to celebrate Mass. There has been a suggestion - not backed up with details - that the ritual activities I described were mainly those proper to a Bishop with Ordinary Jurisdiction; not those proper to a man simply vi consecrationis episcopalis. I am not in fact particularly well-read in the modern Caeremoniale Episcoporum, and I apologise if I have purveyed misinformation. I thought I was just describing how Mass could be celebrated by a bishop without jurisdiction; for example, a retired bishop or a bishop celebrating outside his own diocese. I have no desire that my overblown rhetoric should ride on the back of factual inaccuracies, and if readers can point out to me specifically where I went wrong and I find the correction convincing, I will promptly amend the post.

It has also been pointed out to me that Law is very anxious that the use of pontificals should be confined to those with quasi-episcopal jurisdiction. I was aware of this; indeed, it was my precise point (which I clearly failed to make very clearly). I'll try again: it is very remarkable that this established principle should be reversed in AC; as I said, there is no suggestion that an Ordinary qua Ordinary can ask for the jus pontificalium; the right to make this petition is available to those with no jurisdiction (apart from the normal presbyteral faculties) but possessing a sealed document certifying that they have been consecrated Bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury (or whoever). This is so very singular ... and so very gracious ... that I cannot help wondering if came from the pen of the Church's Supreme Legislator himself.

It would be truly characteristic of this very great and immensely kind pontiff.

6 October 2010

Sacrosanctum Concilium, Auctoritas, and the Canon

I cannot see where, in SC [Sacrosanctum concilium, the decree on the Reform of the Liturgy passed by Vatican II], there is a mandate for introducing Eucharistic Prayers alternative to the Canon Romanus. Nor can I see where it mandates alterations in the text of that Canon; least of all in the Words of Institution, traditionally treated with much awe.

The postconciliar rites expanded the 'table of Scripture' available; and SC had manifestly mandated this. You are at liberty to debate whether they did it in the best possible way; but you can't deny that they do have some sort of plausible pretext, in what the Council ordered, for what they did.

They expanded the number of Hymns in the Office; and SC had manifestly mandated this.

They reduced the Confiteors in the Mass from three to one, and Domine non sum dignus from six to one; and chopped out some Dominus vobiscums; unwisely, you are free to argue, but SC had explicitly mandated the elimination of some repetitions.

They provided at least (at my last count) thirteen, new, alternative Eucharistic Prayers: and where, pray, is that mandated or even hinted at? And yet those other matters, where the postconciliar changes rested upon and had apparently required a conciliar mandate, were peripheral in comparison with the importance of the Canon.

I do not see what Auctoritas there can be for the innovation of providing alternative Eucharistic Prayers. I think Bad Marini claims somewhere in the book with his name that the earlier custom of the Roman Church was to have alternative Eucharistic Prayers. But the Council Fathers nowhere mandated the erection of a committee with a free hand to resurrect anything it liked from earlier ages. They explicitly ordered that no changes be made which were not necessary; and that necessary changes should relate organically to what went before. In any case, it is unclear to me what Marini (or his ghost writers) means by his claim, unless it is some sort of speculative assumption about that period in the liturgical history of the Roman Church before written evidence becomes available. If he has in mind Eucharistic Prayers in use in the non-Roman Latin West, well, I have never felt that what I have seen of them gives much encouragement to go down such a path. Dix writes very well about how pre-Carolingian formulae compare very poorly with the Roman Rite. "Regret [for the demise of the Gallican rites] will perhaps be tempered for the student by the Gallican documents themselves, which plainly indicate that the end was not very far off when Charlemagne so abruptly hastened it. The barbarous boisterous Merovingian Latin in which they were composed would never have suited the clerks of the Carolingian renaissance ...". As far as these islands are concerned, we have, since the date of the earliest evidence, always been Roman Rite. The Stowe Missal, evidencing a form of the Roman Rite older than the changes made by S Gregory the Great in the 590s, suggests that even the 'Celtic' areas used forms of the Roman Eucharistic Prayer.

Of course, the new EPs are perfectly valid (ultratraddies who claim otherwise are simply manifesting their own illiteracy in the field of traditional Sacramental Theology). So what?

The Canon, the whole Canon, and no substitute for the Canon.

5 October 2010

Apostolicae curae today

The previous posts on this subject (this is the end of the series) have deliberately avoided going over the old questions in all the old polemical books and pamphlets. I have tried to edge into greater prominence both forgotten details ("idem caput disciplinae") and bigger questions of context, as well as historic developments since Leo XIII. I hope to have written enough to give some background to what Fr Aidan Nichols said in a paper which, most appropriately, he read at Littlemore (in 1993):

" ... the state of the question has shifted from an outright determination of the invalidity of Anglican Orders, in the bull Apostolicae curae, to the tacit admission, in the open letter from Cardinal Willebrands to the Co-Chairmen of ARCIC II in 1985, of a doubt about the invalidity where more recent ordinations are concerned. Unlike a doubt about validity, which has the (positive) presumption of validity as its background, a doubt about invalidity has the contrary negative presumption behind it, and so it does not license conditional, as distinct from absolute, ordination. However, those Anglican clergymen who feel morally certain of the sacramental reality of their Orders can draw consolation from the fact that, whereas the practice authorised by Apostolicae curae still continues (since the teaching of that bull remains the thesis in possession), the applicability of its teaching to their own Orders today is not unconditionally proposed by the contemporary Roman church." [Italics of the author.]

I would also contend that the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus points in the same direction. As you know, it provides that the Ordinary, even if only in priest's orders, may ask the Holy See for the right to wear pontificals ... well, actually, it doesn't say anything of the sort. If the Ordinary was merely a presbyter in his Anglican days, there is not the hint of a suggestion that he can ask for the jus pontificalium. It is Ordinariate clergy who were Anglican bishops who can make this application, whether they are Ordinaries or not. In other words, the right to seek a grant of jus pontificalium is totally unrelated to the status of a man within the Catholic Church; the right arises solely from the fact of his Consecration as a bishop in the Church of England. It is blindingly irrelevant to point out that there are categories of presbyter in the RCC who have the jus pontificalium, such as Abbots or Monsignori. Because what Anglicanorum coetibus means is this. In the Ordinariate, Fr Bob, a married priest formerly a PEV but not now an Ordinary, has come (at the Ordinary's direction) to sing a Pontifical High Mass and to do a Confirmation. He is formally presented with Holy Water in the same way as on his last visit, and led to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for prayer. Having vested, he enters the church - while the choir sings Ecce sacerdos magnus - wearing the same zucchetto stuffed under the same mitre, the same dalmatic to make him sweaty under the same chasuble, the same ring and pectoral cross, as when he came to do the same jobs in the old pre-Ordinariate days. Quite possibly, his same daughter may be in the congregation wearing the same rather striking coat that is exactly the shade of Dad's zucchetto. "Thanks for coming to see us again, Bishop", say the same Churchwardens as the 'bishop' and his wife (same one) and daughter drive off afterwards in the same car.

If our Holy Father really does now continue to expect Ordinariate Anglicans to subscribe heart and soul to the complete applicability in current circumstances of the findings of Apostolicae curae, that Anglican Orders are completely null and utterly void, he has devised a most extraordinarily bizarre and counter-indicative way of manifesting this expectation. Come off it. Anglicanorum coetibus constitutes a deliberate and considered refusal to rub our noses in Apostolicae curae. If such an attitude is good enough for the most learned Sovereign Pontiff since Benedict XIV, why isn't it good enough for some Roman Catholics?

A completely different, and final, point. The old cry of Anglican Catholics, that Apostolicae curae ought formally to be declared of no effect, has now been completely overtaken by events, and it is the very height of folly to persist with it. We are now in a position of having profound doubts too about the Orders of many Anglican 'priests' ... well, doubts does not put it strongly enough. Given the percentage of women priests in the Anglican churches, and the growing numbers of men 'ordained' by women bishops, campaigns to vindicate the validity of Anglican Orders as a category: that is to say, the Orders of ALL who have received Anglican Ordination, are anachronistic to the point of complete folly. An increasingly large percentage of them are completely null and utterly void from our point of view too. As every year goes by, every decade in which the cancer of the new religion spreads it its lethal influence, the amount of clear blue water between us and Vatican praxis gets tinier. We are joining the ranks of those who demand "You must be ordained because your Anglican 'Orders' are invalid"! We will increasingly incur the same hurt anger that until recently was reserved for proponents of Apostolicae curae! Remember what an outraged uproar there was in General Synod when it was explained that if a priest ordained by a woman bishop wished to work in one of our parishes, he would have to be reordained!

The Roman Magisterium, the General Synod, and the March of History, have joined forces to make the question of the status of Apostolicae curae a piece of dead antiquarianism (rather like the question of whether Benedict V's election as pope was valid ... was it? Do you care?). Isn't that good enough for us? It is for me.

4 October 2010

Creaky Hinge, shakey Bracket; but Bourne Street is truly glorious

As I sat on the 'bus into London yesterday (trains are a problem on Sundays) in order to preach at S Mary's Bourne Street, I fell to musing upon Johnny Hind's Sodality of SS Wilfrid and Hilda. It occurs to me that names somehow achieve their own resonances, which are hard to shake out of one's mind. Is it just me, or is Wilfrid a rather 'wet' name with which few parents would now saddle their infant sons? And does Hilda have a decided old-fashioned sound, perhaps evoking visions of aged maiden aunts? I was planning, on that first Sunday in October, to preach on Our Lady of Victories ... I will not insult readers of this blog by explaining why ... and I found myself wondering if the Sodality would have a more virile sound to it if Johnny had called it the Legion of S Pius V, evoking memories of the resolute Pontiff who excommunicated Elizabeth Tudor and did a fair bit of no good to the navies of Ali Pasha.

What fun S Mary's Bourne Street is. For me it evokes the day after our Wedding, when we went to Mass there on Low Sunday 1967 ... and the learned, saintly figure of Eric Mascall, who lived in the presbytery during his retirement. The church is a glorious manifestation of triumphalist 1930s Anglo-Catholicism as expressed in the friendly and accessible baroque of Martin Travers. How good it was to hear the Asperges chant again; and, indeed, the music was truly superb (and varied) and the liturgy done with much love and care. Good, neat, correct, serving; and a large friendly congregation of all ages. As we sang the Angelus at the end, I wondered if this custom would be a distinctive piece of Patrimony and enrich other Christians. Incidentally, who was it that wrote that music which one hears so often in the C of E but never in popish churches? (Only the sermon was indifferent.)

Drinks afterwards with the congregation in the Library of the Presbytery (do RC presbyteries always have a large and well-stocked Library, or is this another piece of the Patrimony?). Then into the Dining Room; I can't remember when I last had such a Sunday lunch: fine fish, fantastic fowl, and fabulous pud. Or enjoyed such good conversation. I sat between two intelligent and distinctly fetching ladies; and there were a couple more across the table*. Intermittently two well-spoken and attractive young women relinquished the toys they had been left to play with in the Library and came to help eat chocolate. I disgraced myself thoroughly by failing to notice how time was flying; and was more than moderately horrified when finally I looked at my watch. I fled in replete and vinous embarrassment.

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*Oops ... how one can give oneself away! Truly, the male company was pretty top class - urbane, witty, informed - too!

3 October 2010

Euripides and the Canons of Glasney

One of the fascinating things about the plays of the great Athenian dramatists is found in the question of what the audience at the first production expected; and what would have surprised them. The Greek myths often had a given framework but were unfixed and fluid in detail; for example, Homer tells us that when Agamemnon returned from Troy he was killed by Clytemnestra's lover Aigisthos at a banquet; but Aeschylus cheerfully makes Clytemnestra herself entangle Agamenon in his bath with a net, and then slaughter him with her own hands. And the first audience of Euripides' Medea would have known that her and Jason's children ended up dead; but who killed them - Jason's relatives? - would have been unclear until it was revealed to them, in the play, that their own mother slaughtered them to spite her unfaithful husband. Euripides actually got away with a play that portrayed Helen as not even eloping to Troy; it was but a wraith of her which fled with Paris. Meanwhile, she visited Egypt ...

In the Middle Cornish dramas composed by the Canons of Glasney College, the outline is often Biblical and known. But ...

The Resurrexio Domini follows the main outline of the Gospel narratives. But at the end of it (curiously like the way in which the Athenian dramatists, after a dramatic trilogy, added a fourth play in a lighter and racier genre ... perhaps to relax the atmosphere) is added a much briefer Mors Pilati. What interests me here - perhaps some of you have the broad literary knowledge to give me an answer - is: to what extent is the narrative of this in accordance with well-known and iconographically familiar stories? To what extent not?

We begin with Tiberius sick of leprosy; he is cured by Veronica who deploys her vernicle. Now a fervent Christian, he desires to execute the Pontius Pilatus who killed the Lord. Some knock-about comedians called Tortores secure Pilate; but when he is brought before Tiberius, the emperor is unable to harm him. This turns out to be because Pilate is wearing the Seamless robe of Christ, which he declines to remove on the dual grounds that it is rather dirty by now; and that it would be disrepectful to appear naked before his sovereign ...

And so and so it goes on. Did the Glasney clerics invent it all; were the Cornish peasants on the edges of their seats to know what would happen next; or did they have a pretty sound knowledge of where the story was leading?

2 October 2010

Oxford Ordinariate

A friend has asked me whether I know of people in Oxford, or in the Oxford area, who would be interested in considering the Ordinariate possibility.

If there are any such, I would be very willing to pass on their names. Email pp@thomasthemartyr.org.uk

Una cum ...

When I read the Magnificat texts of the papal liturgies during the Sovereign Pontiff's visit to Britain, I was very worried by the text of the Westminster Te igitur. It omits the words una cum, and goes straight from "orbe terrarum" to "me indigno famulo tuo". By omitting una cum the text leaves itself open to the interpretation that the Pope is not named in terms of his ministry within the Church (remember Leo Eizenhoeffer's magisterial demonstration that the Te igitur expresses the nodal role of the Roman Pontiff as the centre and organ of the Church's unity) but as someone who is separate from and above the Church.

I concluded that there must be in Ecclestone Square some little knot of ultraultramontane Manningite conspirators; planning perhaps by such a monstrous magnification of the papal office to frighten off potential entrants into an Ordinariate.

But, apparently, Pope Benedict was having nothing to do with their seedy little plot. Watching, courtesy of a kind daughter, a video of the actual liturgical celebration, I was reassured to find that the Holy Father said the whole text.

1 October 2010

Pope Leo's Stole

I gather that the Holy Father wore a stole of Pope Leo XIII on his visit to England; and that some Clever People see this as a Cunning Sign of the Pope's devotion to that all-important document, for some papists the very heart and centre of their Catholic Faith, Apostolicae curae.

I find it very hard to believe that Dr Ratzinger shares the sort of sniggering adolescent nastiness exemplified in such a hermeneutic. I consider it much more likely that the nice old Bavarian gentleman had heard a rumour somewhere, which has evidently not reached his Subtle Interpreters, that it was Papa Pecci who raised Blessed John Henry to the dignity of Cardinal.

He, too, may be aware of Newman's fond sense that Leo's gesture was that of one Christian who had been out of favour during the previous pontificate towards another such. He may even have heard that Leo XIII, at his first consistory, honoured with the Cardinal's Hat two others who had been on the losing side at Vatican I: Haynald and Fuerstenberg (and later Meignan and Foulon). Indeed, at the Council Cardinal Pecci had himself at times taken a rather independent line.

Most striking was Pope Leo's strong and vigorously expressed admiration for Kenrick, Archbishop of S Louis, who at the Council had been not merely an inopportunist but had positively believed that the doctrine of Papal Infallibility was not part of the depositum fidei.

If I were impertinent enough to thrust upon an expectant world my own decoding of the current Sovereign Pontiff's Leonine gesture, I'd explain it as being an expression of all that.

It must be trying for some people that so many popes are insufficiently rabid in their papalism.