7 April 2018

Yesterday, the great Feast of the Holy Apostles of Rome, I strolled down to Sandford lock. I took with me my battered "summer picnic" volume of the Pars Aestiva; and, since Blessed John Henry Newman, Patron of our Ordinariate, must often have walked there from nearby Littlemore, I took also his Apologia pro Vita sua.

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

And that same Mr Newman expressed the essence of the Petrine Ministry, of the munus of the Successor of Peter, in an epigrammatic passage: "It is one of the reproaches urged against the Church of Rome, that it has originated nothing, and has only served as a sort of remora or break in the development of doctrine. And it is an objection which I embrace as truth; for such I conceive to be the main purpose of its extraordinary gift". It is precisely along these lines that Cardinal Ratzinger in a passage of lapidary elegance criticised the bloated and corrupt hyperpapalism of the post-Vatican II period, with its disordered, disordering belief that a pope, especially if backed by a Council, could monkey around at will with Tradition. It is, Ratzinger asserted, the Pope's job to be the Guardian of the Tradition and the preserver of its integrity and authenticity. This is where the essence of our Holy Father's Ministry lies ... not (as some very foolish and dreadfully noisy people mistakenly think) in being a charismatic innovator, the herald of a God of Surprises.

Heaven forbid that any Pope should ever sink so low, should be so deaf to his true ecclesial vocation.

2 comments:

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Some men think the Hurdy Gurdy man playing the progressive tunes is entertainment and they laugh and clap at the behavior of his monkey while wiser souls understand that monkeying with Tradition stinks like the bottom of a monkey's cage.

Other than the approval and applause of the peanut gallery, what is to be be gained by prelates repeatedly retrieving and throwing their fistfuls of heretical feces at the faithful?

We Catholics were warned, long ago, about the dangers such actions involve. Are such timeless truths ever taught in seminaries anymore?

ST. GELASIUS I 492-496

Errors Once Condemned, not to be Discussed Again *

[From the epistle "Licet inter varias" to Honorius, Bishop of Dalmatia, July 28, 493 (?)]

“What pray permits us to abrogate what has been condemned by the venerable Fathers, and to reconsider the impious dogmas that have been demolished by them? Why is it, therefore, that we take such great precautions lest any dangerous heresy, once driven out, strive anew to come up for examination, if we argue that what has been known, discussed, and refuted of old by our elders ought to be restored? Are we not ourselves offering, which God forbid, to all the enemies of the truth an example of rising again against ourselves, which the Church will never permit….Or are we wiser than they, or shall we be able to stand constant with firm stability, if we should undermine those [dogmas] which have been established by them?”

Denzinger, 161

El Codo said...

Ah, this week I enjoyed two blissful nights at The College in Littlemore, guest of the delightful and angelic Sisters of The Work. The Blessed spent four years here after quitting Oxford and was received by Blessed Dominic in this very place. We must study his equitable temperament and measured approach in these times, and not fall into the pit of hysteria and despair.