30 November 2010

1962

I notice that whenever (ex.gr.) NLM gives a photogaph of a Missal, it always seems to be pre-1962. I have myself never, I believe, actually seen a Missal or Breviary from the 1960s 'reform'. Is there anywhere on-line that I can browse them in their entirety?

S Andrew's Day ...

... is not only the Patronal Festival of Scotland and of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but also the felicitous and significant day upon which Cardinal Pole absolved this realm from schism in 1554. If you missed it, look back at the contemporary account of the occasion kindly supplied by Mgr Wadsworth in yesterday's thread. Moreover, a correspondent ("1569": is (s)he a new contributor? Lovely stuff! We could do with more of the same!) gave, also in yesterday's thread, an account of S Andrew's Day in 1569: the Absolution of the Diocese of Durham from Heresy and schism on S Andrew's Day. (Also a day, as I recently observed, to reread Eamon Duffy's Fires of Faith. Do it now before you forget.)

It is, moreover, as I keep telling you, the anniversary of the Consecration, ten years ago, of Andrew Burnham as Bishop of Ebbsfleet. In those days, the old system persisted in the Province of Canterbury of consecrating all bishops in London, and Andrew was 'done' in S Paul's Cathedral. My three main memories (apart from George Carey's dismal liturgical instincts) are of someone trying to die in the pew behind me in the South transept; of a remarkably inapposite sermon in which the preacher appeared to be making fun of the Orthodox (which is also the Catholic) doctrine of the Veneration of Relics; and of the scene, afterwards, on the steps outside.

As the custom used to be, the Consecration had been of two pontiffs for the price of one. The other consecrand was being provided to be a new suffragan for that illiberal liberal bishop, Selby of Worcester. Afterwards, at one end of the steps, a large queue formed up to kiss Bishop Andrew's ring and to receive his episcopal blessing. At the other end, the Worcester consecrand seemed to be doing a strange little ritual dance amid a small group of friends and family, intermittently yanking up his trousers to show off his Socks Of Many Colours. Perhaps he was a Mason.

I hope Rubricarius will not reveal to me that I am Rubrically Disordered because I said, after the Collect of the Day, the annual collect Deus omnium fidelium ( ... Andream ... ecclesiae Ebbesfletensi* ...) 'for the Bishop on the Anniversary of his Consecration or Translation'. These have been fun years.

______________________________________________________________________

All right, then, if you're so clever, how would you latinise Ebbsfleet? Bishop Keith of Richborough was much more fortunate ... or was he ... in getting a See with a genuine Latin name, Rutupia. I wonder if he ever signs '+Keith Rutup:'. Perhaps not ... for reasons not unlike those which persuaded the Bishop of Barchester to cease signing 'Bob Barnum:' once the famous Victorian circus of that name had achieved national notoriety.

28 November 2010

Some good stuff ...

... in the thread appended to my November 26 post.

New Directions: November 2010

A sad number, the November issue (which didn't reach me till nearly the end of the month). Because it looks like the swan song of the brilliant and witty Dr Geoffrey Kirk. He provides three characteristically elegant and forceful articles, all three of which put an exact finger on what has been wrong with Old Mother Damnable for two decades, and still is. But what a marvellous run he has had for his money. When Sara Lowe edited the mag - ah, those were the days; what a girl she is - there was his superb series of satires which so frequently provoked the Great and the Good to complain about our 'tone'. Well, what did the b*****s expect? They had stolen everything else from us; our tone was all we had left. To this day, the memory of Geoffrey's account of the doings of Archdeacon Armitage Shanks sometimes induces in me irregularities in urinary fluency. And a week I spent with Fr Geoffrey in Lewisham was just about the culinary high point of my life. Ad multos annos.

This number of ND also includes a synopsis of an article about Divorce among (American) Evangelicals. It strikes a chord with me; I've had this bee in my biretta for a long time. It puzzles me that some Evangelicals make such a fuss about homosexuality when so many of them have disregarded the plain Dominical Words about remarriage after divorce. My views on all sexual matters are precisely those of the Church and of the Tradition. But I think homosexuals get rough justice when they are paraded as the moral problem of our age. Surely, more marriages are destroyed by disordered heterosexual lust than by homosexual appetites. And, moving on from homosexuality, let's consider the Abuse of Minors. I am second to nobody in my disgust at 'filth' who abuse children sexually. But 28 years working in a boarding school provided me with very few examples of 'filth' at work and such examples as I did see were at what Mr Plod classifies as the lowest end of the spectrum. What I did see repeatedly was the damage done to adolescents by divorce. Time and time again, I would be at a meeting to hear about the disciplinary problems suddenly, unaccountably, being provided by some boy ... and after a few minutes, the House Master would intervene to say "I think you should all know that there is currently a very messy divorce going on ...".

The Divorce Culture is the principal sexual disorder of our age; and it is also the main way in which the young are horribly abused by their elders.

27 November 2010

Best foot forward

What a very moving occasion Bishop Andrew's Mass was this morning. What a lot of people full of enthusiasm for the journey ahead. Especially the young people.

Perhaps most moving, at the end, when Bishop Andrew left his mitre and crosier at our Lady's feet.

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix: nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.

However did he get away with it?

Bishop Andrew Burnham knew from the beginning what he wanted to do; and he did it. The mystery is that the Great and the Good showed no signs of realisung what was going on.

He saw priests and people in his allotted third of England as being, not a fully-fledged Particular Church, but as an ecclesial gathering on the way to that status. He saw it, in fact, as rather like the recusant community in England before Blessed Pius IX restored the hierarchy - divided into their respective Districts. So he called his bailiwick a District. And, alluding to styles such as 'Vicar Apostolic' or 'Apostolic Administrator' in the RC Church, he called it the Ebbsfleet Apostolic District. There was something not a little proleptic about this; in the RCC 'Apostolic' means something like 'pertaining directly to the Apostolic See of Rome'. So Bishop Andrew, while not in full communion with the See of Peter, proclaimed in effect exactly what his intentions were and whwere it was all, in logic, destined to lead. And lest anyone should be in any doubt, he set up structures in the District which were decidedly reminiscent of RC terminology ... there were, for example, episcopal vicars. Nobody could claim that he was thereby 'pretending' to be a diocesan bishop (" I know I'm not a diocesan bishop; when the vestry roof is leaking, nobody gets in touch with me") as they could have done if, for example, he had named 'archdeacons' and 'canons', because he was using titles which had no meaning in Anglican canonical and statutory usage. The whole thing worked very well and, to boot, it all had meaning.

So few people appeared to noticed this meaning. I can only presume that most were too ignorant of the byways of history and of the nuances of words.

I am sure Rowan will do the honourable thing in making the next appointment. But, almost by definition, the next Bishop of Ebbsfleet can only be someone who has decided that he is not heading Burnhamwise in a direction ultra montes. Rome has made its offer; it is there on the table to be taken or left. As various people have observed, this has called some bluffs. Essentially, one either takes it or one leaves it; there is no third alternative. So the next occupant of the See will by the very logic of the situation be a priest who, with whatever degree of good intention, is content to be meshed into a structure, the Church of England, which has set out on a course of definitive divergence from the Ancient Churches, and turned its back irrevocably on its former ecumenical partners.

That is why, when the offer comes to me from Lambeth Palace, I shall not accept the See. Accepting it would seem to me like a form of constructive apostasy - a turning in a direction diametrically opposed to the one we were moving in before.

25 November 2010

Sanctus angelus tuus

A very interesting piece on Fr Ray Blake's blog about Christ described as the Angel in the Supplices te rogamus.

I share the view of many that the archaic Christology of that phrase in the Canon is one indication of its extreme antiquity. It is interesting that the version in the de Sacramentis indicates that, even by S Ambrose's time, it was already misunderstood. And that some clever-clogs at Milan had 'corrected' it.

People shouldn't 'correct' the Canon Romanus. Not even if they are Doctors of the Church.

MiniSWISH

Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, deserves the sympathy of all right-thinking people. To lose the services of one suffragan bishop could be just bad fortune. To lose, in the same month, two such prelates , can only be ... I'm not quite sure what. Incidentally, I gather that the Bishop of London is proposing a Society for those parishes in his jurisdiction which disdain the ministry of women priests.

I wonder what the august prelates who mastermind SWISH think of this deft irruption into their own little private game. Won't it put a bit of a spanner in their works as every inventive diocesan with a dash of control-freakery invents societies to which named categories in their dioceses will be deemed to belong? Perhaps the Roman Pontiff will get on board and found a Society to which he will assign the von Trautmenn, the Lofti, the .... I wonder what that society would have to be called?

I am holding back as to whether to offer my moral support to Chartres' plan. If he names his Society after the great Edmund Bonner, the last Bishop of London to suffer as a Confessor for the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Universal Church has received it, I might be tempted to do so.

BTW, I have heard from two different and equally impeachable sources that Fr David Houlding is to be the next Bishop of Fulham. I thought that in his interview with Ruthie he was a bit unfriendly about John Broadhurst, the Bonner of our own days. I hope the kindly old gents of SWISH aren't suddenly going to turn nasty with everyone who doesn't play things exactly so as to suit their own book, especially since it has not yet been revealed what that book may turn out to be.

Birettas

As we know, the 'wings' on the modern biretta are a formalisation of the way one bunched up the material between ones fingers in donning and doffing the rather floppier medieval clerical hat. That is why one has a 'wing' towards the right and not the left; one drew up the material towards the right, drawing it away from the left, so as to get a good grip.

On the photographs from the recent consistory, one can see that the Bishop of Rome placed the birettas on the heads of his new cardinal presbyters in such a way that the 'wingless' corner was to the back. Is this (which would be totally logical) because, if the biretta were still in the old floppy state, the one bestowing it would bunch the material between his fingers in bestowing the hat ... so that what is normally the grippable 'wing on the right' becomes, temporarily in the act of bestowal, the grippable 'wing at the front'?

Or did Good Marini just hand them to him the wrong way round?

We should be told.

24 November 2010

Bonair and Buxom

Some friends and I were chatting recently about the relationship between Dr Cranmer's Wedding Service and its antecedents. I said that there was more continuity in this area than in most of his compositions; I here append the Sarum form of the wife's Plighting of the Troth, which of course is technically part of the Espousals which took place at the church door and were followed by the Nuptiae as everyone moved to the choir.

I N take thee N to my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to be bonair and buxum in bed and at the board; till death us depart, if Holy Church it will ordain, and thereto I plight thee my troth.

According to the OED, bonair derives from the French debonnair, id est, de bonne aire, 'of good disposition, gentle, kind, complaisant, mild, gracious'. Buxum means 'bowsome, flexible, obedient, pliant, compliant', and has a parallel form in German (biegsam). The meaning moved on to 'blithe, jolly'; but only in the sixteenth century did the sense 'plump' become clear.

In Middle English, I gather, 'depart' was a transitive verb meaning 'part, separate'. I think it was in 1662 that it was deftly changed to 'do part' to keep up with the changes in the language.

I have other friends who do not live million miles from the first friends I mentioned, who were married according to the 1549 Prayer Book!

I seem to remember that Recusant usage continued to use the Manuale Sarisburiense for Marriage.

Statistics

The statistics on this blog seem currently to be going up.

Is this an Ordinariate Bounce or a Condom Bounce?

23 November 2010

Bounce

If there is a bounce in the numbers of English seminarians, it would be interesting to know how many of the Bouncers are ex-Anglicans. Mind you, they would still justly be included in the statistics of the Benedict Bounce. We love him.

Condoms and the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews

Fr Zed has made available that section of the popeinterviewbook ... whatever that is in agglutinative German ... which deals with Judaism and the new EF Good Friday Prayer.

By a happy coincidence, if there are such things under Providence as coincidences, I touched upon this precise question of Jewish Salvation a day or two ago in a post about the Mass for the Sunday Next before Advent. The post is titled 'Stir up Sunday'.

I am extremely gratified to find that Professor Ratzinger's views and mine are precisely coincident. As they are about the condoms business.

Some usually commendable blogs have been less than totally supportive of the Holy Father recently. I am not quite sure whether the last bit of Fr Zed's piece about the Good Friday Prayer is or is not supposed to be supportive.

If you want to understand what the Sovereign Pontiff is getting at, try Anglican Patrimonial sources.

Irish financial and political crisis

Terrible news! The floozie in the Jacuzzi has been shifted out of O'Connell Street ... because po-faced administrators disapprove of this centre of popular fun. Old Ireland must be coming finally to its end when city workers are to be deprived of the simple pleasure of ducking each other on Dublin summer days or putting multicoloured dyes into the fountain. Ah well. Bring back Nelson, that's what I say. I'm sure my buddy Alan Ryan Hall of Valencia Island would be only too willing to cast a replacement statue.

We shall know whether Ireland is still Ireland after the elections in January. Will Mr Healey-Rae (father or son) again be returned by the electors of Kerry, and again hold the balance of power in a precarious Dail so that a dedicated minister has to be deputed to liaise with him to retain his support for the governing party and to secure unlimited funds for the Kingdom of the West? If so, it will be clear that all is still for the best in that best of all possible worlds.

Incidentally, I wonder if 'Bill our Bishop' would be interested in the loan of a batch of Ordinariate clergy ...

22 November 2010

.... BUT ....: the Pope and the condoms

I'm not in the habit of attacking the Sovereign Pontiff. Moreover, I don't usually criticise his advisers and assistants, because so often his critics attack them simply as a craven and cowardly way attacking the pope himself but doing it by proxy. For similar reasons, I haven't even ever attacked his Press and PR people.

But ... as a humble and simple pastor, I really would prefer that items which are going to hit the headlines were not sprung on us late on Saturday, so that we're short of time in getting things straight ready for enquirers after Sunday Mass. As with this condoms business.

Having contemplated the BBC translation of the German texts, I see what the Holy Father's words mean. He is saying that if a rent-boy has unprotected sex, he is committing two sins: the mortal sin of homosexual genital intercourse; and the mortal sin of risking communicating a lethal infection. If, however, he uses a condom, while he is still committing the first of those mortal sins, he has to a degree excluded the second. By so doing he has, as we might say, taken a step in the right direction. But he has still committed a mortal sin and is still, objectively speaking, not in a state of grace. There is a sense in which it is not as bad to commit one sin as it is to commit two; but the commission of one mortal sin still means that one is objectively in that state of alienation from God which we Christians call Not Being In a State of Grace.

Our enemies, of course, do not understand (and have no interest in understanding) about Being In a State of Grace. Secularists are, even when they hold Oxford professorships, a generally dim lot ... dim because of a bigoted determination not to understand. They just want to ask blunt and unnuanced questions about "Is it All Right to use condoms?". Within this toddler-level mode of moral discourse, our Holy Father's simple statement of the moderately obvious is bound to seem to them like a "change in his implacable opposition to the use of condoms". So we have to listen to these dreary half-wits condescending to a rather abler mind than theirs by saying that "the pope has at least learned a little from experience". Thank God, he has done nothing of the sort.

Behind all this there is the determination of secularists to spread, by hook or by crook, fornication, adultery, and most other sexual disorders (not at the moment paedophilia, of course, because that is at the moment a handy stick with which to belabour the Church). They bleat incessantly about the plight of AIDS victims in Africa, but only a fool would believe that these well-heeled and malevolent chatterers lose a moment's sleep worrying about such problems. Often sexually incontinent themselves, their relentless desire is to remake humankind in their own corrupt image. The Devil has blinded these intellectual giants to the fact, obvious to any simpleton reading the papers, that the sexual licence which they so successfully promoted in the second half of the twentieth century has led to an explosion of lethal bodily ailments such that even a classical utilitarian in the dear simplistic old John Stuart Mill tradition would be able to discern their immorality in promoting the vices which are so dear to them and so deadly to the multitudes whom they are successful in corrupting.

This business may have several outcomes. The lying classes may be successful in their attempt to create an impression that the Catholic Church is now gradually "seeing sense" on condoms, and thus to reinforce those who have been deceived by the Spirit of the Age into their wrongdoing. On the other hand, it is so obvious that what the pope has said has a nil bearing on questions of morality of contraception and of homosexuality that they may soon return to pointing this out and attacking him on all their old familiar grounds. Given Screwtape's skill in getting the best of two contradictory worlds, they may very well go for both these mutually exclusive conclusions simultaneously.

Perhaps some of the Pope's 'friends' (with 'friends' like his, who needs enemies?) will say that he has expressed himself in a way that lays him open to being misunderstood. But think about it. He has very carefully done exactly the opposite. Had he taken, for his exemplum, a heterosexual couple one of whom was infected with AIDS, he would have indeed left himself wide open to the superficially plausible accusation of a U-turn opening the door to the liceity of contraception within marriage. By using the exemplum of a rent boy, he has made this impossible. Nobody could seriously think that, overnight, a pope had so far moved from the Church's previous moral teaching as now to uphold the liceity of homosexual intercourse and of prostitution ... simultaneously.

Nobody, that is, except journalists verging on imbecillity or mired in habitual mendacity.

21 November 2010

ORDINARIATES: QUERIES

The commonest practical question, by far, which I am being asked is: Is it possible for a former Anglican, baptised as an Anglican, who has entered into full communion with the Holy See, but has not done this through the Ordinariate process, formally to adhere to an Ordinariate once it is erected?

Having carefully perused, several times, both the Latin and English texts of the Apostolic Constitution and its accompanying norms, it seems to me that the answer is clearly Yes. And not least because of the hermeneutical principle in canon law that if a possibility has not been explicitly excluded, the liberty to take advantage of it cannot be denied.

Am I right?

Our Lady of Light (RECYCLED FROM 2010)

On the Feast of the Presentation of our Lady, November 21 1924, in the little Anglo-Catholic village of S Hilary in Cornwall, where Fr Bernard Walke so heroically worked and suffered to establish the Faith, one of his collaborators had a remarkable vision. Mother Theresa, Foundress of the Franciscan Servants of Jesus and Mary (the community now at Posbury S Francis in Devon), describes it:
"We were preparing to go to church as usual just before 9 p.m.. It was a dark misty night, there was no moon and the stars were not showing at all. As I came down the stairs from my bedroom, I saw through a long window on the landing that there was a great glow of light shining all round the house and lighting up the fields beyond the house. My first thought was that there must be a fire somewhere, though the light was not red but white, and I called to Emma to come out with me to see from where it was coming. We went out of the front door, which opened straight on to a lane, and stood in the middle of the lane to see better.
"At the side of the house there was a gigantic figure, veiled and crowned in a dazzling, perfectly still light. The figure seemed to reach from the sky down to the ground. It was the figure of a woman but we saw no features, the face, as well as the rest of the figure, was veiled in the pure light. We could see the other's faces and the hedges in the lane, and the fields beyond the lane, quite clearly in this light. The figure did not move at all, though we stood silently watching it for nearly ten minutes, It was still there when we left and walked up to the church, but there was no sign of it when we returned in about three quarters of an hour. We did not speak, either that night or for a long time after, to one another about what we had seen.
"I think, while I was looking at the figure, I did not reflect at all on what I saw. I hardly even wondered at it, I watched with a great sense of quietness within myself and with no surprise. Afterwards, while we were praying in church, there came into my mind and soul a certainty that what we had seen concerned our Lady and must have been an apparition of her ... "

I doubt whether Mother Foundress was familiar with the Byzantine texts for our Lady's Presentation, with their incessant emphasis on the theme of light. And it would be remarkable if she had been aware of the Orthodox perception that links the sojourn of the Mother of God in the Temple with the hesychast ('silent') tradition of prayer. So it is unlikely that this experience was a product of subconscious memories. Surely, it truly was Mary, Queen of Athos, the exemplar of hesychia, the prayer of Silence, who came to that Cornish lane, and said nothing, and stood in silent prayer, and gave her Son's gift of Silence ('... perfectly still light ... the figure did not move ... we stood silently ... I watched with a sense of great quietness ...').

The messages the Mother of God brings when her Son sends her among us do not always have to be verbal.

20 November 2010

Flying prelates

In an idle moment, I browsed through some grainy old black-and-white video clips of the life of Pius XII. I had not realised how much he travelled in the 1930s, when he was Secretary of State. It all looked uncannily like the culture mainly set in place by John Paul II, of the travelling papal circus going from country to country, doing big things (Eucharistic congresses ...) at big services in a thoroughly big way. Not surprisingly, he was called the cardinale volante (remember that air travel was by no means as every-day at that time), and described as a sort of vice-papa.

I am slightly torn as whether I agree with that sort of thing. On the one hand, the role of Peter is to strengthen his brethren, and a visit can be very strengthening. On the other hand, it does rather suggest that a pope is a sort of superbishop, which he isn't. He is simply the Bishop of that Church with which all Christians are supposed to be in communion; of the Church where Peter's voice speaks - so that he articulates the Infallibility of the whole Church and has a Primacy, when and where it is needed, of ensuring that the norma fidei is everywhere the norm. In a healthy Particular Church, surely the local Successor of the Apostles should be capable of fulfilling the munus apostolicum? But perhaps the current ruptures and disorders do call for a papa volante. Perhaps the global village does require, in the modern pope, an instant global pastor such as most other Christian generations, before the technologies of instant travel and instant communication, did not need. Anglican Catholics have certainly often felt the advantage of a Papacy which can protect the persecuted Christian from bully-boys closer home.

My goodness me, papal events in the days of Pius XII had a style and a grandeur. But, beneath the grandeur, I was struck by how vulnerable the Pontiff was, perched on the Gestatorial Chair. Not only could he surely have been assassinated with ease; even an attack upon those carrying him could have sent him crashing praecipitem to the ground. Indeed, as I watched, my heart was several times in my mouth as the chair careered up and down steps and hurtled round corners. I found that combination of pomp and vulnerability rather touching and Christ-like. On Palm Sunday, the Lord felt no need for bullet-proof glass, although the palm branches of Victory proclaimed him the superior of any Imperator, and the donkey proclaimed him the Messiah.

In the thread, Joshua has provided a most apposite poem from dear Oscar's Rosa Mystica. An undervalued collection of beautiful verse.

Ordinariate

How good it is to see movement. I wonder what liturgical formulae ... Votive Masses, Novenas, Pilgrimages ... are appropriate at just this moment?

Tacto ligno

I appear now again to be able to send emails.

19 November 2010

emails

I would be grateful if people refrained from sending me emails which call for a reply.

Stir up Sunday

As all right-thinking people will know, next Sunday is really Excita Sunday and ought to be a Green Mass and Office. And, of course, there should be a Commemoration of the Feast of our Lady's Presentation, such an important day in the Byzantine Rite. And don't forget that the Last Gospel should really be of our Lady.

Just to be even more provocative, I will go further and explain that the really traditional way of celebrating this day is with the Book of Common Prayer (which here reproduces the medieval English 'uses'). In this rite, we use an Epistle (well, actually, a Lesson from Jeremiah) and a Gospel (from S John) which both swilled around a bit in the Middle Ages but pretty well always came just before or just at the start of Advent, as a taster and a preliminary for that season. Their loss is an impoverishment in the Missal of S Pius V. I will explain the importance of these readings in the words of Abbot Rupert of Deutz (1075- 1129) - a considerable mystagogue (of whose unorthodoxy with regard to the Eucharistic presence I have never been completely convinced). I believe that we can learn from his words about what Scripture and the Tradition teach concerning the redemption of our Jewish brethren; rather better, dare I suggest, than we can learn it from Nostra aetate.

Holy Church is so intent on paying her debt of supplication, and prayer, and thanksgiving, for all men, as the Apostle demands, that we find her giving thanks also for the salvation of the children of Israel, who, she knows, are one day to be united with her. And, as their remnants are to be saved at the end of the world, so, on this last Sunday of the Year, she delights at having them, just as though they were already her members! In the Introit, calling to mind the prophecies concerning them, she sings each year: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. Verily, his thoughts are those of peace, for he promises to admit to the banquet of his grace, the Jews, who are his brethren according to the flesh; thus realising what had been prefigured in the history of the patriarch Joseph. The brethren of Joseph, having sold him, came to him, when they were tormented by hunger; for then he ruled over the whole land of Egypt; he recognised them, he received them, and made, together with them, a great feast; so too, our Lord who is reigning over the whole earth, and is giving the bread of life, in abundance, to the Egyptians, (that is, to the gentiles), will see coming to him the remnants of the children of Israel. He, whom they had denied and put to death, will admit them to his favour, will give them a place at his table, and the true Joseph will feast delightedly with his brethren.

The benefit of this divine table is signified, in the office of this Sunday, by the Gospel, which tells us of the Lord's feeding the multitude with five loaves. For it will be then that Jesus will open to the Jews the five books of Moses, which are now being carried whole and not yet broken - yea, carried by a child, that is to say, this people itself, who, up to that time, will have been cramped up in the narrowness of a childish spirit.

Then will be fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremias, which is so aptly placed before this gospel: They shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but, The Lord liveth, which brought up, and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north-country,and from all countries whither I have driven them.

Thus delivered from the spiritual bondage which still holds them, they will sing with their heart, the words of thanksgiving as we have them in the Gradual: It is thou, O Lord, that savest us from our enemies!

The words we use in the Offertory: Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord, clearly allude to the same events; for, on that day, his brethren will say to the great and true Joseph: We beseech thee to forget the wickedness of thy brethren! The Communion: Verily I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and it shall be done unto you, is the answer made by that same Joseph, as it was by the first: Fear not! Ye thought evil against me: but God turned it into good, that he might exalt me, as at present ye see, and might save many people. Fear not, therefore, I will feed you, and your children.
(The Reading is Jeremiah 23:5 ff, in which, prescient of the Bugnini dating of Christ the King, we learn that "A king shall reign"; the Gospel, John 6: 5 ff, is the Feeding of the Five Thousand. My translations of the propers are taken from the Book of Common Prayer and the good old English Missal.)

This is a superb exposition, in the patristic 'typological' idiom, of an important theme in Pauline eschatology - see Romans 9-11. There is significance, I suspect, in the fact that modern lectionary-manufacturers exclude this theme, the Eschatological Submission of the Jews to the Call of Christ, from their confections. Sometimes I feel that, despite the call for a "richer table of Scripture" in Sacrosanctum concilium, the Scriptures read to the People of God have in some respects, paradoxically, been made conceptually narrower in the post-conciliar books. I venture suggest that this question could benefit from a broad enquiry.

You might call this a contribution from the Patrimony.

emails

Currently, whenever I try to send an email, I get trold that an error has occurred.

18 November 2010

Local Calendars in an Ordinariate

Bishop Peter Elliot, who is, I suspect ... nobody ever tells me anything ... the man mainly concerned with liturgical questions concerning Ordinariates, may not have given much thought to the question of Local Calendars. This is because he is an Oz and down in Oz the Local Calendars have very few entries.

In England, on the other hand, the Calendars are crowded with Romans and Saxons and medievals and counter-Reformation martyrs; and accordingly they differ quite a lot from diocese to diocese. This week I keep S Edmund Rich (of Abingdon, a few miles to the South) on Tuesday; S Hugh of Lincoln (before the Diocese of Oxford was canonically erected in the reign of Good Queen Mary we were in the great sprawling diocese of Lincoln); and on Saturday, the other S Edmund, the King and Martyr*. But in an Ordinariate ... will people be keeping the Calendar of the Roman Catholic diocese in which they are situate; or will there be a special Ordinariate Calendar? Or both?

In practical terms - and to prevent some poor person from having to do a lot of complicated work at a time which is busy enough anyway - it would probably be neatest (at least temporarily) to put all the observances from all the Local Calendars into a single mainly optional list and leave it to local decision what got observed.

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*For the curious: in both the OF and EF masses here I use a calendar extracted from the calendars of the three RC dioceses parts of which are within the Diocese of Oxford; I based it on the canons of Local Relevance which respectively the Sacred Congregation of Rites used to employ for the EF and the Congregation for Divine Worship and etc. etc. operates now for the OF.

Oxford provides an example of why simply imposing the Calendars of a geographical RC diocese would be problematic. The boundary between the RC dioceses of Birmingham and Portsmouth runs through the middle of the Oxford conurbation. South of the Isis one would find oneself using a Calendar which included entries put on it with an eye to the Channnel Isles; North of the river, where the calendar of Birmingham is weighted towards the historical traditions of the far Northern see of Lichfield, one would be cut off from observances relevant to nearby Abingdon ... where my Head Server lives and where Pam and I are just off to do our shopping in the Waitrose.

17 November 2010

The local Calendar

This week we really are at home, here at Oxford, in the Divine Office. Yesterday, S Edmund of Abingdon, here both as an undergraduate and as a don; whose feast, incidentally, afforded an opportunity, all the more welcome for being so rare, to read, at Mattins in the old breviary, a passage by that admirable example of the Anglican Patrimony, Nicolas Harpsfield. Harpsfield's Historia Ecclesiastica was written while he was imprisoned by Henry Tudor's bastard daughter Elizabeth. A (Wyccamical) member of this University, and a protege of S Thomas More who spent the bad days at Louvain, he had flourished (and was very effective) as Cardinal Pole's Archdeacon of Canterbury. He was elected Prolocutor of the "Great Convocation" of 1559, which, in the very days when Elizabeth Tudor's Parliament in Westminster was 'abolishing' the Mass and the Pope, met down the river in London and courageously upheld in its Five Articles the Mass and Petrine Ministry. In a typical final stroke of heroic witness, Harpsfield held a last Corpus Christi procession through Canterbury in 1559, surrounded by vast crowds of the devout. He was not a part-time Catholic. He might not have been prominent in the upper echelons of SWISH. Ah ... happy, happy days.

Today, S Hugh of Lincoln; who certainly consecrated the church of S Giles in this city in 1200, and very probably also the rather smaller chapel here at Oseney of S Thomas the Martyr (medieval episcopal registers show reforming bishops of this era going on progress through their dioceses, accompanied by waggon trains of chaplains, altar stones, relics, and oil stocks, consecrating churches which had been accumulating for generations unconsecrated). On the occasion of this visit to Oxford, he instituted the Giler*, still the largest fair in England, which at the beginning of September occupies the whole of the broad thoroughfare called S Giles' Street, North of the North Gate.

S Hugh is best known among the narrators of 'romantic' tales because he ordered that the body of Henry II's paelex [the word used in today's old rite Mattins readings] Rosamund Clifford, which had been buried in the sanctuary of Godstow priory and had become something of a popular shrine, should be removed and reburied outside. In those days, ecclesiastics were not afraid to mark their disapproval of the public adultery of kings and magnates. Nowadays, nobody would be much surprised if a king or a Prince of Wales actually went through a form of marriage with his paelex. The Archbishop of Canterbury might even grace such an event with his presence. And who could blame him if he did so, given precedents set by Dr Cranmer?

The 'romantic' can still visit the ruins of Godstow Priory, opposite the Trout, a favourite undergraduate pub in my days but now unhappily devoid of 'character'. Ah ... sad, sad days.

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*Giles>Giler; traditional Oxford slang. Cf. Proctor>Progger; Breakfast>Brekker; Queen>Quagger; etc.. University slang isn't what it was; the days when this academic institution was the "'Varsity" have now given way to a culture in which 'students' who would never recognise a respublica litterarum if it hit them in the face, talk about "going to Yewnnee".

Perhaps there is a Platonic idea of Yewnnee-varsity from which both usages derive?

16 November 2010

Ordinariates: canonical questions

Is there still a canonist somewhere out there? If one joins an Ordinariate, I presume that, like all priests of the Latin Rite, one would not be allowed, without special biritual faculties, to celebrate the Byzantine Rite. But would one be allowed to concelebrate a Melkite or Ukrainian Liturgy?

Somehow that would help me to feel a great deal closer to a very dear friend of many years ago, Christopher Commodatos, the late Bishop of Telmissos, in whose flat at the back of the former Irvingite church in the Camberwell New Road I spent more time than I probably should have done gossiping with him and his Cypriot parishioners and drinking Greek coffee. And to his monk, the little brother Lazarus, who died what I have always believed to be a martyr's death.

And, going back even further in my life, it would somehow seem a fulfilment of a large factor of my undergraduate days in the 1960s: Sunday mornings at 1, Canterbury Road, when Oxford's Orthodox used to gather in a chapel constructed out of the sitting room of the Victorian house and there seemed to be endless ancient Russian ladies in black with gigantic diamonds in their jewelry, prostrate at the Greater Entrance; and the benign figure of Nicolas Zernov presiding over everything.

Not to mention holiday Sundays in Greece; the priest helping hs wife to feed the chickens before putting on his best cassock to serve the Liturgy in a village church.

I see myself as a Latin to my fingertips and I would never wish, not for a moment, to be of the Byzantine rather than of the Roman Rite ... which, in its authentic form, I love to distraction. But there would be pleasures galore in being out of ... a rather narrow ghetto. All part, perhaps you will remind me, of being in a fuller communion with the church where the Voice of Peter is still alive.

Doubts: further thoughts

Ah ... perhaps I am groping my way to a solution ... in an Ordinariate one would also, of course, be in the same Church as Adolf Hitler, Myra Hindley, and Hannibal Bugnini.

Context always helps.

Phew ... I'm glad I've got that sorted out.

Ordinariate doubts

I've had a dreadful thought: if one joins an Ordinariate, will one find oneself in Full Communion with Mgr Loftus? Help! There must be a canonist somewhere out there who can find a way round this problem.

15 November 2010

SWISH again

While arranging a meeting in my parish to discuss the future, I asked a brother priest who said he favoured the SWISH proposals devised by friends of Johnny Hind, Bishop of Chichester, if he would care to provide a paper explaining and defending those proposals. He declined because he could not find anything to say about the scheme except what was on its website. Which said precisely nothing that was in the least illuminating.

We still have no evidence what the proponents of SWISH have in mind. I have a suspicion which rests upon no evidence whatsoever but upon my own intuition. Here goes.

SWISH is manifestly simply an attempt to wreck the Ordinariate scheme. It was devised ... to the extent to which it was devised ... in a tearing hurry before the "Sacred Synods" of clergy in the Northern and Southern provinces. The bishop who defended it in Westminster meeting of Forward in Faith had to confess that he still had no real idea what it was all about.

There is prima facie evidence that it is essentially an attempt to keep several very divergent groups of people together under one umbrella. There are those who warmly desire the Roman Option, but are not quite ready to join the Ordinariate's "First Wave". There are those who are not straining at the leash to leave the C of E but could conceivably take a Roman Option if they had no alternative. And there are those who will never touch Rome with a bargepole either because of their ambitions in the Mainstream or visceral prejudice or because their domestic arrangements make them unacceptable to Rome (of course, in some these last two categories coincide). My theory is that by keeping silent ... and thus remaining united and impressive ... until the First Wave enter the Ordinariate, they hope to queer Dr Ratzinger's pitch without needing to answer difficult questions which would create divisions in their ranks and expose SWISH as a vacuous and cynical attempt at unprincipled realpolitik.

One example. The Master General of SSC, Fr David Holding (by the way, a fellow brother said to me the other day "I can't wait to send my badge back") said at the October F in F meeting that he was provisionally supporting SWISH but that it would be useless if it did not decide to be prepared to break the law. One presumes he had in mind things like "taking for ourselves what they refuse to give us"; the 'illegal' consecration of bishops; and putting priests into churches and clergy houses and defying the Mainstream to send the bailiffs in to evict them. If SWISH declares that it will not take such action, it will promptly lose those who agree with Holding that such a preparedness is essential. If it declares that it is prepared to go down such a path, it will lose those who would never, in a month of Sundays, break a law.

Ergo ...

14 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday

The Requiem Mass for the War dead prays for men and women who, like all of us, stand in need of merciful forgiveness. We plead the sacrifice of Christ, offering His Body and Blood, for them, not as heroes but as sinners. The customary rituals of Cenotaph observance have - surely, even now - a nationalism built into them, while the Mass subverts all nationalisms. It was, after all offered on both sides in the European wars. The great Fr Bernard Walke, who made St Hilary in Cornwall into a Catholic village, instituted the service of Benediction during WW1 "as an act of reparation to the Sacred Heart for the wrongs of war, and as a means of uniting ourselves with our enemies in that Sacrament which knows no frontiers". Walke, a papalist, wholeheartedly supported the attitude of Benedict XV to the War and was beaten up in street for refusing to accept the rhetoric of war-time hysteria. I wonder if it was a conscious echo of his words about reparation to the Sacred Heart which led the congregation here at S Thomas's to put up a (German-carved) statue of the Sacred Heart as our War Memorial, beside the tablets with the names of the departed inscribed upon them.

As far as WW2 is concerned, I often think about the contrast between two great fictional products of that war, both written by combatants; both overtly semi-autobiographical. Monsarrat's The Cruel Sea is written without ideological baggage; a memorial to the men who fought the war of the Atlantic convoys. I find it full of venom; venom against adulterous wives back home; against tall blond German submarine captains; against the Irishwho denied Cork Harbour and Bantry Bay to the Royal Navy. Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy is quite different. At its beginning, Waugh saw the conflict as a chivalrous crusade on behalf of Christian civilisation against Nazi barbarism and its atheist allies in Moskow. When the war was ending, with Uncle Jo a genial ally and sitting on half of Europe, Waugh had come to perceive it as a sweaty tug of war between two teams of scarcely distinguishable louts. Waugh discerns the ironies and hypocrisies as embodied in the Sword of Stalingrad - a gift from the Christian King of England; a symbol of chivalry to congratulate Marshal Stalin; a triumph of craftsmanship ... and with the symols on its scabbard upside down. Waugh's hero sees, as Waugh himself had seen, the savaging of Christian Europe in Tito's Jugoslavia.

The Mass is just as subversive of our modern tyrannies as it was of the horrible nationalisms of the twentieth century. It subverts now- fashionable assumptions of roles and genders. As a communal and hierarchical act with a formal and inherited structure, it subverts the cultures of choice, of spontaneity, of individual autonomy, of each man constructing her own identity. As a ritual which looks beyond itself it subverts the assumptions of human self-sufficiency. And it speaks of Judgement; of a Court of Appeal beyond any Court of Human Rights. Indeed, the rights the Mass enthrones are the rights of a Creator and the vested interests of a Redeemer.

13 November 2010

SWISH

Good S Wilfrid is not someone I regard as inherently infallible; for example, I do not share the view (which he shared with S Theodore) that 'Celtic' Orders are, or rather were, invalid. But I was more than happy to have him as a Patron during the 28 years I spent in the county which he converted, not least because of his strong belief in in the exercise of papal primacy, and his enthusiasm for Roman liturgy. I also approve of his skills in teaching people how to fish: I wonder if that rather nice and inexpensive fish-restaurant is still open on Shoreham Beach.

In 2001 I left the Diocese of Chichester just after Johnny Hind became its bishop upon the retirement of Eric Kemp. For the weeks in which we overlapped I did not, I fear, name him in the Te igitur; because of what I had heard about his policies.

Eric not only did not ordain women; he declined to license them and to institute them. Nor would he allow them to be ordained, licensed or instituted by his commission; because, as he said to me, quoting an ancient adage, what a man facit per alium, facit per se (in English: if you tell someone to go and murder Mrs Blogs, then, quite rightly, Mr Plod will come and arrest you too). But Johnny made it clear that he would do all these things; although he would refrain from ordaining them with his own actual hands. I heard the rumour, which swept the diocese, that he had said he was going to license and institute them because otherwise he wouldn't have control over them (if true, what evidence this is of a towering theological intellect!). I can't verify this account; I didn't with my own ears hear him say it with his own lips. But it was widely reported and believed. In any case, I had my own suspicions, which rest upon no direct and watertight factual evidence but upon my own intuition, that the real reason for his conduct was a deal which he did to get the See.

Chichester was at that time packed with clergy who had moved there in the 'safe' years provided by Eric. Even the proponents of womenpriests agreed that it would be explosive to impose upon such a diocese a bishop who ordained women. But those charged with the appointment are said to have had an explicit policy of "bringing Chichester back into the Church of England". Spies were going round enquiring about the prevalence of "illegal liturgical practices" in the diocese. My hypothesis is that the deal was struck that Johnny would keep himself ... just ... tolerable to the more gullible 'Traditionalists' by not tainting his own fastidious hands with the actual touch of female hair, but would provide for their ordination by his own commission and would likewise institute and license them. And that he would persecute parishes which used the Roman Rite. (Indeed, rumour had it that, directly upon his appointment, he announced that "if you haven't passed Resolutions A and B you haven't got a leg to stand on"; and that he began his episcopate with the persecution of a delightful little Roman Rite parish in Brighton, the Annunciation, Washington Street).

It is a source of mystery to me that a man who transformed the diocese of Chichester by the provision of so many women 'priests' "to the cure of souls which was his and theirs" (and, incidentally, by persecuting the Catholic liturgical rites which were so dear to S Wilfrid), and has hitherto disdained joining the organisations which were actually upholding the Faith, should have been accepted by so many people at his own estimation of himself as the "leading Catholic Bishop". But I am not in the least surprised by the fact that so many episcopuli, bishoplets, whose CVs have crossed his, should be so prominent in the recent crude attempt (SWISH) to sabotage the Holy Father's Ordinariate scheme.

Continues.

12 November 2010

A medlee of bloodsports metaphors

Surely, there are few pleasures more acute, more delightful to savour, or with a more superb after-taste, than that of watching another human impaled, wriggling, writhing, on the horns of a dilemma.

In a recent post I relished the fact that the Anglo-Saxon Council of Hatfield, which promulgated filioque, was presided over by a Syrian monk of Byzantine culture, S Theodore. I wondered how those rather precious 'Orthodox' for whom it really matters to prove that the Saxon Church was "Orthodox" would get around that amusing little quirk of history.

Happily, my fishing hook did not lie upon the water long without making a catch. The suggestion duly appeared that the filioque in Hatfield represents a deliberate Filioquist perversion of the authentic text of Hatfield. Oh frabjous day!

To make that hare run, it will need the attachment of at least four bionic legs. Our account of Hatfield rests upon a text of Bede which is commonly constituted on the basis of four manuscripts all of which are eighth century. And there is, at this point, no variant reading in their texts. Their hypothetically "corrupted" archetype cannot therefore be much later than the time of Bede himself. Whether the alleged filioquist perverter of the text of Hatfield is ipsissimus Baeda or someone very soon after Bede wrote his Historia Ecclesiastica, we would still be left with a very embarrassing piece of evidence for the filioquist enthusiasm of the Anglo-Saxon Church (is S Bede, BTW, regarded as a Saint by "Saxon Orthodoxy"?).

But more. It is a slight simplification to say that Hatfield sanctioned filioque. The text actually reads "et filio". In other words, the Council, using a minutely different lexic for saying precisely the same thing, sanctioned the substance of filioque before the advocates of that formula had even decided to promote it in exactly that verbal form.

Tally Ho! The bloodlust of the hunt! I feel an immense surge of adrenalin! Whom shall I go out and kick next? Yes! You're right! It has to be SWISH! Tomorrow, then, I shall ride out as an avenging knight to vindicate the wounded honour of that most Romanist of all proto-Ordinariate Romanisers, papalist S Wilfrid the Good and the Great.

11 November 2010

Ordinariates: the latest news

Those who use the Liturgia horarum found themselves today saying the very jolly hymn by S Odo, abbot of Cluny (d 943), 'Martine par apostolis', which notoriously moved Peter Abelard to call the opening hyperbole a 'praesumptio'.

S Odo's fourth stanza originally concluded:

monastico nunc ordini
iam paene lapso subveni.

The 1968 revising coetus (good word, that; it comes in all the classiest papal documents), aka Dom Anselmo Lentini & Co. Ltd., commented that the first of these lines needed to be broadened and, as far as the second is concerned, 'evidenter mutandum' (Oh yeah?). So they came up with:

pontificum nunc ordini
pio favore subveni.

Isn't all this fun? I began by feeling that, given the collapse of the Religious life in the First World, perhaps the original would again now be apposite. Then my very dear friend Fr Joseph M Taylor told me all about the wonderful goings-on at Lanherne. So I started toying instead with the idea of adopting just one of Lentini's proposed changes, so that the text would read:

pontificum nunc ordini
iam paene lapso subveni.

But, given the latest news from those watching from the pontes across into the Trastevere, perhaps the following would, if you will forgive an uncharacteristic lapse into modish jargon, tick all the boxes:

pontificum nunc ordini
En! paene merso subvenis.

10 November 2010

Diary

I am asked to publicise the fact that the Bishop John is celebrating his last Mass qua Bishop of Fulham on Saturday 20 November at noon (Gordon Square) and that the Sevenoaks Ordinariate event (full briefings by top speakers) has been shifted to 3.30 on the same day.

Rumour has it that the last Mass by an orthodox Bishop of Ebbsfleet will be on the 27th, noon, at New Hinksey.

Filioque

From Edward Siecienski's new book on the Filioque.

"Among the seventh century councils that taught the double procession, the Council of Hatfield (680) is perhaps the most interesting, especially as its president was a Greek, Theodore of Tarsus (602-90).

"According to Bede, when Pope Vitalian (657-72) appointed Theodore to Canterbury, he sent the monk Hadrian with him 'to prevent Theodore from introducing into the Church over which he presided any Greek customs'. Despite these misgivings, Theodore was a sound choice who antimonothelite credentials were impeccable (he had probably been at the Lateran Synod with Maximus the Confessor in 649). AlthoughBede claimed that Theodore convoked the Council of Hatfield 'to preserve the churches from the heresy of Eutyches', there is some evidence that he also used the gathering to respond to Bishop Wilfrid of York, who had been in Rome complainingabout Theodore's governance of the English Church. The Council's statement of faith, which apparently assured Pope Agatho of Theodore's orthodoxy, affirmed the faith of Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon, Constantinople II, and the Lateran Suynod of 649, and included belief in 'the Holy Spirit, ineffably proceeding from the Father and the Son, as proclaimed by all whom we have mentioned above, holy apostles, and prophets, and doctors.

"The two questions raised by this confession of faith were how Theodore would have interpreted this teaching, and how long the filioque had been part of the creed in England. While it is possible that Augustine of Canterbury (d609) might have taught the filioque during his mission to England (given his connection with Pope Gregory I), there is also a chance that it was introduced by Theodore's companion Hadrian, an African by birth whose study of Augustine and Fulgentius would likely have included their teaching on the procession. As for Theodore himself, it is possible that he understood the filioque in accordance with the principles Maximus had enunciated years earlier in the Letter to Marinus, especially if (as is likely) the two knew each other in Rome. What is clear is that Pope Agatho, although busy preparing his own statement of faith for the Constantinopolitans (without the filioque), happily received the proceedings of Hatfield, including its confession in the procession of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son."

I wonder how those 'English Orthodox' and 'British Orthodox' who tell us that the Anglo-Saxon Church was "Orthodox", deal with the little matter of Hatfield.

9 November 2010

Nova Roma: sunt lacrimae rerum

When S Augustine came to Canterbury, he built a cathedral church In honore Sancti Salvatoris. In other words, he gave it the same dedication as that of the papal cathedral church in Rome, the Lateran basilica, the Mother Church of the world. Later, just as Rome had the basilicas of Ss Peter and Paul, outside the walls because they were built on the sites of the cemeteries where the Apostles were buried (Roman burials were always outside city walls), so Canterbury was to have the great monastery of Ss Peter and Paul (vulgo S Augustine's), outside the city walls, where burials took place. And, to represent Great S Mary's in Rome, to the East of Ss Peter and Paul was the church of our Lady.

Nostalgia, nostalgia. Today's commemoration of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica is marked surely with tears for Anglican Catholics as we lament the ruin of the great Ecclesia Anglicana which, from her beginning, was a beacon and monument of Romanitas in these damp and misty islands of the North, at a time when distinctively Roman Christianity had not yet spread much further that Rome herself. As Blessed John Henry put it, Canterbury has gone its way, and York is gone, and Durham is gone, and Winchester is gone. It was sore to part with them. We clung to the vision of past greatness, and would not believe it could come to nought ... but the vivifying principle of truth, the shadow of S Peter, the grace of the Redeemer has left it. That old Church in its day became a corpse (a marvellous change!) and then it did but corrupt the air it once refreshed and cumber the ground which once it beautified.

Romanitas is, of course, still in the news. The Ordinariate will be directly under the Bishop of Rome himself; the Ordinary will be a Vicar of the Sovereign Pontiff. There may be those who see this as a sign of the Romanitas of Augustinian Canterbury in the centuries of its greatness and of its now departed glory, when the Primate was Legatus natus Sanctae Sedis. Another sentence of Newman's springs to mind: "A pledge to us from Rome of Rome's unwearied love".

8 November 2010

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus

In 2003, Remembrance Sunday fell on November 9 (which, this year, is tomorrow, Tuesday). I was the house-for-duty Curate of seven Devon country churches, under a full-time stipendiary Rector - except that he had taken early retirement nine days before on account of health problems caused by those who hated him for his opposition to the sacerdotal ordination of women. But I still had the help of a retired bishop, who lived a few doors away and who, in two years, had become a very dear friend. So, that Sunday, at one end of the United benefice I said Mass and did the village Act of Remembrance; at the other end, Bishop John Richards did the same. After brunch, he went for a walk with his family; a couple of hours later, after a sudden stroke brought on by his years of selfless service, he was dead.

John Richards was a former Archdeacon and a very establishment man who was made one of the first two flying bishops, and in those days after 1993, days heavy with the danger of despair, built up and strengthened a people faithful to the Lord within the body that still called itself the Church of England. The skills which he had used as Archdeacon (and he was a Church Commissioner) to bully parishes who were late with their quota were now brought into play to defend the Remnant against the bullying and cruelty of the liberal establishment.

Going around with John Richards, I soon realised that he had created a new style of episcopal ministry, free from pomposity and prelacy and animated only by the love of God and a perceived calling to strengthen his brethren. PEVs, like ante-Nicene bishops, had no jurisdiction in the modern sense. I think it was Edwin Barnes who once said to his clergy 'Fathers, remember that the only jurisdiction we have is what you give us'.

Today the resignation is announced of the two distinguished and popular pastors who have occupied these sees for some years. We are clearly now in the end game as far as the the old system of flying bishops is concerned. But I pray that one part of the patrimony which will be carried into the Ordinariates will be the vision of pastoral and unprelatical episkope which God has taught both priests and people in the Ebbsfleet and Richborough jurisdictions.

John Richards was an Anglican to his fingertips. As we settled down together in the train for the long haul back to Devon after some meeting in London, and I started on the Liturgia horarum, he would be fishing out a battered Prayer Book and Bible. But he was far too busy to waste his time on anti-Romanism and I cannot conceive that he would have wasted a moment on Johnny Hind's SWISH farce, with its self-evidently unconstructive and negative anti-popery. He was, I think, too Christian - and too big a man - to be anti-anything. Whatever he was or did, it was positive and Christ-driven. I think that, in our present kairos, he would have no doubts about the Ordinariate. But he would have done things in a distinctively Anglican way and in his own inimitatively combative way. He would probably be already enthusiastically devising ways of showing those bloody papists how much better we can do things in the Ordinariate. "Now look here, boy, when we get into the Ordinariate ..." I can almost hear his voice saying it.

Cuius animae propitietur Deus.

7 November 2010

The Preparation Before Mass ... again ...

Every morning we say to our Lady: " ... et mihi, misero peccatori, et sacerdotibus omnibus, hic et in tota sancta Ecclesia hodie offerentibus, clementer assistere digneris ...".

I presume the hic takes us back to the happy days of busy altars; when priests queued up to say their Masses; when all around a church was the Missarum sacra murmuratio and the occasional sound of bells. Happily, the current Code of Canon Law made the saying of Mass without the presence of a lay person to answer rather easier; hitherto you needed a gravis causa; now a iusta causa will do, and Bishop Peter Elliott (who did his seminary training at the same place, S Stephen's House, as I did) explains in his Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, that a priest's desire to maintain the discipline of the daily Mass is a thoroughly iusta causa. Our Holy Father has continually emphasised the importance, in the Latin Church, of this discipline. Yet so few clergy seem to celebrate except when there is a pastoral need for them to do so. How depressing.

O'Connell gives in detail the decrees of the SRC about how you celebrate without a person to serve or answer, in the EF; it's all very common sense. And the Novus Ordo rubrics also provide for this possibility. Is the spirituality and discipline of the daily Mass in the life of a priest properly inculcated in modern seminaries?

6 November 2010

The Preparation before Mass: Cenodoxia

Do you know the feeling of having said a prayer any number of times, and then, all of a sudden, a word in it - previously passed quickly over - suddenly brings you to an abrupt halt? I had that experience the other Sunday, saying the 'Sunday' portion of the 'prayer of S Ambrose' before Mass.

"Repelle a me ... spiritum superbiae et cenodoxiae". "Send far from me the spirit of ... pride and", er, what? Keno- is the Greek root for empty. -doxia suggests 'thinking' or 'glorying'. Does it mean letting the mind dwell on empty, vacuous things? It occurs in the writings of my favourite Greek philosopher, Epicurus, and in Wisdom 14:14, where we are told that Idolatry, whoring after false gods, is not part of God's eternal creation but came into the world through the kenodoxia of men. Glorying in what has no basis in fact leads men astray. The Devil, unable himself to create anything, likes nothing better than to get us chasing after what doesn't exist. Glorying without proper matter for glorying leads to the dictionary translation of kenodoxia as 'Vainglorying'; and the Vulgate at Philippians 3: 2 translates kenodoxia as 'inanis gloria' .

Preoccupation with what has no reality: Idolatry is a kenodoxia. When that Idolatry is a preoccupation with excellences which I complacently think I possess, when I don't, kenodoxia is a distinctly dangerous sort of flaw in my character.

Printers shouldn't print it 'coeno-' or caeno-', because that makes it look as though it comes from koino-, meaning 'common', which, as far as I can see, it doesn't.

Or have I got all this completely wrong?

5 November 2010

November 5, the Feast of the Holy Relics

What a wholesome liturgical instinct this festival represents. In the medieval English rites, it tried out various dates; May 22 or the Monday after the Ascension at Exeter; the Sunday after the Translation of S Thomas (July 7) at Hereford and Sarum - although Sarum notes that 'nuper' it occupied the Octave Day of our Lady's Nativity, with an appropriate Collect "Grant we beseech thee Almighty God, that the merits may protect us of the holy Mother of God and Ever Virgin Mary and of thy Saints whose relics are kept in this church ...". The traditional Benedictine rite keeps this festival on May 13, presumably a learned allusion to the Dedication of the Pantheon in Rome, upon this day, as the Church of Sancta Maria ad Martyres.

Before the reforms of S Pius X, this festival occurred among the Masses For Some Places on October 26, or on the Last Sunday of October (October was a good month for avoiding Sunday masses; by indult the English RC dioceses observed the Motherhood, the Purity, and the Patronage of our Lady respectively on the second, third, and fourth Sundays). After Pius X, the Feast of the Relics settled onto a day suitably within the Octave of All Saints, November 5, where it was observed by papal indult in certain places, often as a Greater Double; for example, in the diocese of Oxford within the Archdeaconries of Oxford and Berkshire but not in that of Buckinghamshire. As the learned and ever gracious Rubricarius kindly established yesterday, the colour to be used is red. This is consistent with the fact that the Office is the Common of Many Martyrs, despite the fact that not all the Saints whose relics we this day venerate were martyred. Perhaps we may relate this usage to the primitive notion that the Martyrs are the prototypical saints; that the unmartyred sancti et sanctae in a sense just piggy-back along upon the martyrs.

Frankly, one does sometimes feel tempted to turn to Byzantine sources to get a richer mixture than one always finds in formal Western texts (Sessio xxv of Trent is sound enough on the relics but a trifle sober). So the proper lections at Mattins for this feast are from that splendid Doctor who was probably not Dr Bugnini's bedside reading: S John of Damascus (Eric Mascall once observed the propensity of Roman liturgists to resort to Eastern sources whenever they needed to say something 'extreme'). "For since Life itself and the Author of Life was numbered among the dead, we do not call those who finished their last day in the hope of Resurrection and of faith in Him 'Dead'. For how can a dead body utter miracles? Through relics the devils are cast out, diseases sent fleeing, the sick healed, the blind see ..." etc. etc.. The Collect is a fine composition which likewise sees the miracles performed through the relics of Saints as pledges of the Resurrection: Increase in us O Lord our faith in the Resurrection, who in the relics of thy Saints dost perform marvellous works: and make us partakers of the immortal glory of which our veneration of their ashes [cineres] is a pledge.

This celebration disappeared during the Bugninireich for presumably the same reasons that at the same time caused the Jesuits, who then occupied the Church of S Alyoggers in this city, to have a massive bonfire of all the relics and reliquaries in their splendid Relics Chapel. Mercifully, the gracious spirit of S Philip Neri has now restored the lost glories. Today's feast is, in my view, rich in themes for evangelical preaching and teaching, and ripe for revival. It teaches the goodness of material things against a false 'spiritualism'; it preaches the ultimately indissoluble link between Body and Soul against the sub-Christian notion that only the soul really matters; it proclaims the transforming eschatological glory which will clothe this perishable with what is imperishable, and this mortal with what is immortal, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

MYSTERY OF FAITH

Since Fr Zed has a rather meandering post about these words, I here repeat my own piece from last January. The phrase is not diaconal and the fashion in some places of getting the Deacion to sing it is misguided as well as contrary to the rubrics.
'The Mystery of Faith'. Why does the PP of S Thomas's not say 'Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith' when that is what ASB ordered ... and it's what the present RC version of the Mass in English has? Why won't he even say what Common Worship prescribes: 'Great is the Mystery of Faith'?

The history of the phrase begins with I Timothy 3:9 - 'deacons ... holding ... the mystery of faith'. Since, already in the Third Century, it was the convention that the Deacon at Mass held the Chalice, it looks as though 'Mystery of Faith' was considered to mean the Chalice of the Lord's Blood, and was consequently incorporated into the Roman Institution Narrative: 'For this is the Chalice of My Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant, the Mystery of Faith'. After Vatican II, 'Mystery of Faith' was removed from the Lord's words, because it is not in the biblical record, but was left for the priest to say immediately after them. ICEL (the RC translation organisation) invented the words 'Let us proclaim', which are not in the official Latin. Then they offered four alternative 'acclamations'; three of them translated from the Latin and one ('Christ has died' etc.) invented by themselves.

Unfortunately, this gives the impression that 'let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith' is there simply to invite the congregation to respond with an 'acclamation'. Rome has now very wisely decided to emphasise 'the Latin tradition which closely links Mystery of Faith' with the Words of Institution; i. e. 'Mystery of Faith' points to the consecrated Chalice, the Saving Blood now present en mysterio (in a sacrament) upon the Altar, not to a congregational acclamation.

While Common Worship was in the making, ICEL made two brilliantly clever decisions: (1) to change the phrase to 'Great is the Mystery of Faith'; and (2) to produce alternative introductory phrases before each of the four acclamations, so that whichever one Father said would give the congregation the clue to which acclamation he wanted them to answer him with. The C of E Liturgical Commission saw these draft proposals and incorporated them into CW.

Rashly, because Rome decided soon after to sack the whole gang of heterodox and feminist jokers that comprised Old ICEL, and to set up a New ICEL. This New ICEL, in the drafts which are now in the final phases of approval, has dumped both those decisions. So Common Worship enthusiasts look like being left saddled with a mistake Rome toyed with but then wisely abandoned.

To summarise: 'The Mystery of Faith' is what the Church's praying life made of S Paul's words to S Timothy; the Blood which is for ever poured out before the Father is the Blood we worship by faith in the mystery of the Sacrament.

4 November 2010

Women Scientists (revised)

Listening to Lord Bragg's In our time on the Steam Wireless this morning (the subject: women scientists during the Enlightenment) I happened to notice, tucked away almost as an aside, the information that in the eighteenth century women were not only allowed to study the Natural Sciences in Italian universities (particularly at Bologna), but could and did take degrees and become university teachers. And that this happened with Church - and even papal - sponsorship and encouragement; long before English universities had any public teaching of Sciences or allowed women anywhere near the doors of lecture rooms. Not surprisingly, that erudite pontiff whom I have often referred to in this blog, Papa Lambertini aka Bendict XIV, was the pope involved (see a characteristically valuable comment by Joshua on the thread). His true enlightenment compares favourably with the spurious Enlightenment of some person called Rousseau - quoted by Bragg - who believed that the education of women should only be directed to the end of training them to massage the male ego.

A detail of history which does not very often get publicity. It shoots down the barmy views of Bishop Williamson, who seems to side with Rousseau against Benedict XIV, and the contrafactual bigotries of Dawkins the Daft and his groupies.

Bishop Williamson ...

... of the SSPX reveals a new step in his divergence from his Confratres in the SSPX.

The blessed springtime of orthodoxy is not now, it seems, to be found in the witness of the admirable Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. It is to be found in the guidance Bishop Williamson can give us about what Lefebvre would have done if he had known better ... if, for example, he had known as much better as Bishop Wiliamson does now. He would have refused to sign all the documents of Vatican II; not just the two he did decline to sign (yes, I know there are some historical uncertainties here).

It reminds me of an Anglican phenomenon. Anglican Evangelicals used to regard the Church of England as a Confessional Church, whose documents were the Prayer Book and the Articles. They prided themselves upon being the true and pure exponents of this Anglicanism.

But there is a new form of Evangelicalism which finds those formularies themseves rather iffy. The call now is for the Reformation to be "completed". Bishop Williamson has a lot in common with the Australian Anglican diocese of Sidney.

It's not so much funny as sad. It is always upsetting when Christians of whatever tradition consider it better to discover or invent new grounds of inexorable principle for being even more divided from their fellows.

What colour?

Can anybody supply authority as to whether the Feast of the Holy Relics, tomorrow, is in white or red? I have found authorities for each ... as well as inherent reasons for each.

3 November 2010

Ss Crispin and Crispinian

On October 25, I took a brief holiday from the S Lawrence Press Ordo (rite of 1939) and into the Bugninified calendar of 1961/2. Deeming Ss Chrysanthus and Daria to have been reduced to a Commemoration; and the day being therefore free to say a Mass of Saints marked in the Martyrology for the day concerned: in this case, Ss Crispin and Crispinian: I did just that (the English Missal provided information about which of the Commons to use).

If the various forms of the Old Rite are eventually reduced to what Cornish philologists would call a Unified Form, I would put in a plea for the following.

The Bugnini reduction of Simples to Commemorations should not be followed. But it should be permitted, on Semidoubles and Simples, to say the old Sunday Mass, or the Mass of a Saint in the Martyrology, or a Votive, or a Requiem (some of these optoions are, of course, available under the 1939 rubrics, but not, I think, all).

Having read the excellent point made by Rubricarius, I add: the same liberties should be extended to most Doubles, and those doubles which it is considered should be undisplaceable, should be recategorised as Greater Doubles.

2 November 2010

Last Sunday evening ...

... I went, as I commonly do, to the Oratory for Vespers. Naturally, I wondered whether it would be SEcond Vespers of Christ the King; First Vespers of All Saints; or Second Vespers of All Saints.

Amusingly, it oscillated between First and Second Vespers of All Saints, just as the elegant whimsy of the Cantors took them. Clergy in choir were rolling in the aisles. (Don't bother to ...)

What should it have been? According to the admirable S Lawrence Press Ordo (rite of 1939), Vespers of All Saints with with commemorations of Christ the King and of the Sunday. According to my SSPX Ordo (2004; but the Littera Dominicalis is the same in 2010), it should have been Second Vespers of Christus Rex with a commemoration of All Saints. (I presume La Toussaint is some sort of frenchy term for All Hallows; why on earth can't SSPX do its Ordo in Latin like properly educated people?)

I should have added that the 1939 Ordo provides an Octave for All Saints. Somewhere here lies a key to the difference between the two versions of the Roman Calendar. 1939 is informed by an instinct that an older feast - and Toussaint is immeasurably older than Christus Rex - is more culturally embedded; has been around, has innumerable churches dedicated to its titularis; is part of an immemorial landscape. The Bugninified usage to which SSPX relates is based on simplistic logic: that a Feast of Christ takes precedence over a Feast of Saints.

I think the usage provided in the admirable and learned S Lawrence Press Ordo is profoundly right. We worship in a Tradition in which evolution and a respect for Old Custom is immeasurably more important than mathematical logic. That is why the dignity of All Hallows is immeasurably greater than that of Christus Rex.

The Oratorians, of course, had transferred All Hallows to the Sunday in accordance with modern English RC custom.

1 November 2010

Baghdad

The news that 37 Christians have killed in church in Baghdad is way down the news items here in Blighty. Had they been Jews in a synagogue in, ex. gr., New York, the level of outrage and publicity would, I suspect, have been closer to what such an atrocity merits.

Not surprising that Al Qaeda should take them hostage. Not surprising that the Shiite gangsters whom Uncle Sam left in control as "Security forces" in Iraq should be indifferent to whether they lived or died.

I wonder what chance Tariq Aziz stands in the "Appeals Process" in the "Courts" which the Yankee puppets operate in Iraq.

What a tragedy that we too got involved in that disastrous and immoral adventure. Nobody can say that John Paul II failed to warn precisely what would happen.

Ordinariate News

A fine article by Bishop Peter Elliott, ex-S Stephen's House, Delegate in Australia for the Ordinariate.

It was published ten days ago in a TAC periodical down in Oz, The Messenger Journal.

"To establish the Ordinariates, two stages are envisaged next year: 1. the reconciliation and reordination of clergy who have applied for Orders in the Ordinariate and been accepted, then 2. at a later date, the first reconciliations of the lay faithful. The clergy will therefore be in place to welcome and minister to former Anglicans ... "

Let's hope he's got it right. The process he describes is so totally logical and pastoral. It would be a shame if something confused, illogical, and unpastoral were substituted for it. But of course, whatever Cardinal Levada says ...

This Elliott chappie seems a Good Egg.

Things to do in church

In Ickford church in Buckinghamshire, where Pam and I went for a walk a little while ago (see earlier posts), one of the window sills is marked with a design for the ancient game of Nine Men's Morris [according to OED, a corruption for merrells]. In fact it is marked twice; one design neatly cut, another rather crudely.

Who played this game there, and when? I know we mustn't assume that medieval worshippers were always devout and well-behaved, but the sill concerned is rather near the site (indicated by an adjacent piscina) of an ancient altar ... and accordingly probably within the confines of a parclose screen and perhaps within a chantry. Were the merrells players active in the age of box pews ... my predecessor at S Thomas's, Canon Chamberlain, when he was evicting the box pews from S Thomas's, claimed that such things went on within them as were an offence to female modesty. Or should we deem the perpetrators to have been parishioners at leisure, amusing themselves in church when worship was not occurring?

Romantic Anglicans sometimes forget that before the unjustly reviled Victorians got down to their sometimes admittedly heavy restorations, some of our churches were almost derelict and many were in a state of near collapse.

Any thoughts?