22 January 2020

Derek Allen, priest

Today, I think, is the Year's Mind (or "Anniversary", if you are a cradle Catholic) of Fr Derek Allen, Principal of St Stephen's House, the once great Anglican Catholic Seminary in Oxford.

Derek took over as princial in 1962, upon the retirement after three decades of the legendary Canon Arthur Couratin, who had himself spanned the peiod between the exuberant, triumphalist Anglican Catholicism of the 1930s, and the reduced but still cheerful Catholicism of the post-War period. Derek maintained the ultramontane traditions of "SSH".

A product of "the House" was guaranteed to prospective incumbents as having been taught strictly according to the liturgical books of O'Connell; a "Staggers Man", so people were wont to say, would know exactly how to extract a fly from a consecrated chalice. I think, incidentally, I was one of the last group to have been so trained before the dismal days which followed 1968. I remember being asked, at a Mass Practice, to say aloud the Offertory Prayers, which we had been required to learn by heart. Most seminarians learned them in English; I launched into Suscipe sancte Pater  ... "Oh, all right" said Derek. My Staggers training then has stood me in very good stead since Pope Benedict unloaded Summorum Pontificum ... and me ... upon the Universal Church.

Stalinist Commissars ("Inspectors") used to visit the House in order to catch it inculcating Extreme Illegalities. On one occasion, clutching their notebooks, they dropped eagerly in upon "Mass Practices". They found one young man being trained to offer the Holy Sacrifice according to the Usages of the UMCA dioceses in Africa ... in Swahili. Another student (I think he was a Hiberno-Catholic Chavasse) was learning the Eucharistic Order of the Church of Ireland, with the liturgical manners so precisely codified by O'Connell, but strictly within the Irish canons and rubrics.

The poor simple proddies had, of course, been set up. It's the only sort of language they understand ...

I recall hearing a story about Derek's own First Mass ... that he elevated the Chalice with such joyous enthusiasm that some of the Precious Blood spilled over the lip. I wonder if any reader is able to corroborate that.

Fr Allen resigned in 1974 and served as pp of S Saviour's Eastbourne until his sudden death in 1991.

May he rest in peace.

21 January 2020


Holy Scripture correctly records that there is nothing new under the sun. It currently seems to be a matter of considerable moment at the Court of St James's that a Harry and a Megan should no longer be styled 'Royal Highnesses'.

A very similar question caused great acrimony when 'Edward VIII' discovered that his American divorcee would be denied the title of Her Royal Highness. He never stopped nagging about this restriction. Happily, an admirable woman, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, saw to it that there was no weakening. Wallis Simpson died with all the shame of being a mere duchess.

But there is something odd here. In the Middle Ages, the upper crust of the political class ... Kings, Dukes, Archbishops ... all were addressed as "Your Grace". The sharp distinction between a Monarch ruling in Majesty, and the slightly inferior Mighty, was not so acutely felt; just as the word 'Prince' was employed differently.

And Ms Markle is still the Duchess of Sussex. If she and her husband, as we have been informed, will "not be using" the style HRH, well, that leaves them as "Their Graces". I am not sure how easy it is to suppress a dukedom ... Acts of Attainder have not been much heard of since Mr Churchill floated the jolly idea of hanging German War Criminals simply by virtue of a British Act of Attainder.

I have no doubt I shall be dead when ... if ever ... the archives of the 1930s are made fully public. I am pruriently curious to know how close we may have been in the 1940s to having 'King Edward VIII' and 'Queen Wallis' crowned in Westminster Abbey under the affectionate eye of Herr von (seventeen carnations) Ribbentrop, or whoever else might have been the Fuehrer's High Representative in a ruined Britain reduced to de facto vassal status by a dominant Nazi Germany. (I suppose another candidate for that role might have been His Royal Highness SS Gruppenfuehrer Prince Charles Edward of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha, but for the Titles Deprivation Act of 1917 Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence, and Baron Arklow.)

It really doesn't bear thinking about what might have happened if Pearl Harbour had never saved our bacon by bringing the US of A into the European War. But quite possibly it might have included 'Edward VIII's' constitutional experts taking a leaf out of Henry VI's book, and proclaiming his "readeption" of the Crown.

Now that we have an Etonian First Lord of the Treasury, when will Henry VI be canonised?

20 January 2020

Homo Vagans (corrected)

"'Unlike the Jews, the Irish, and the Germans, the English are pleased to be thought even more mongrel and exotic than they are. It appeals to the streak of romantic sensibility in the English temperament. Tell an Englishman that he is pure-bred Anglo-Saxon or a hundred per cent Aryan, and he will laugh in your face; tell him that his remote ancestry contains a blend of French, Russian, Chinese or even Arab or Hindu, and he will listen with polite gratification. The remoter, of course, the better; it is more picturesque, and less socially ambiguous.'

"'Socially ambiguous? Ah! you admit, then, that the Englishman in fact despises all other races but his own.'

"' Until he has had time to assimilate them. What he despises is not other races but other civilisations. He does not wish to be called a dago; but if he is born with dark eyes and an olive complexion, he is pleased to trace those features back to a Spanish hidalgo, cast away upon the English coast in the wreck of the Great Armada. Everything with us is a matter of sentiment and association'".
D L Sayers, circa 1936

In recent weeks, there have been allegations of racism in some comments about the Ms Markle who married, a couple of years ago, into the House of Battenberg. You have to be careful, nowadays, how you express racism; you might get away with more by using crafty periphrasis ... and rumour has it that somebody referred to Ms M as bringing some 'exotic DNA' into the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Some years ago, a paparazzo came up with a neat retort. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark had just advised this camera-wielding foreigner to "Go back home". Backing deftly away, the man, tugging his hellenic forelock, cried Efaristo! Efaristo!

Surely, racial miscegenation is the main activity of 'Royalty' and of the international upper classes. It always has been. Alliances have had to be cemented; heiresses have had to be hoovered up. For such people, racial intermarriage has always been an everyday reality. 'Prince Henry of Wales, Duke of Sussex', chose his bride in strict conformity with these ancient traditions of aristocratic life. The genealogists inevitably discovered that Ms M is in fact descended from the ancient family of the Earls of Northumberland, the Percies. No surprise to me! (On the other hand, I've not heard that anybody has made interesting discoveries about the antecedents of poor ordinary Ms Middleton. Black mark there.)

The hypothesis has been plausibly advanced that Queen Elizabeth is herself descended ... via the South of Spain ... from a grandchild of the Prophet Mohammed.

More than likely. Perhaps the Security Services should watch out for signs that she has been 'radicalised'.

19 January 2020

The Chair of Unity Octave

As we soldier on with the Ecumenical aspirations of the last millennium, wonderful news.

An American Wesleyan sect called the United Methodist Church is planning to ... divide!!

They are so riven between Progressives and Conservatives, on the gender and sexuality subjects, that they are arranging a divorce.

Or, as one of their 'bishops' said on our Meejah, they are going to be Differently Together!!

During the last century, we were constantly lectured on the theme that Unity matters more than doctrinal and liturgical differences. So Anglican Catholics were told that things like the necessity of Episcopacy were less important than Christian Unity!!

Now the Progressives have suddenly discovered that the necessity of gender equality is ... more important than Christian Unity!!

The one thing you can be sure of is that the 'liberals' will always be found chained to the wheels of the Zeitgeist.

Does anybody seriously doubt that, back in the 1930s, these 'United Methodist' jokers would, if Germanic, have been dutiful little German Christians, forever hectoring us on how Blood and Race and Land and Leader are more important than Christian Unity?

Heil Wesley!! Sequentia Evangelii secundum Marcionem ... In diebus illis, dixit Satanas discipulis suis ... No wonder these mindless and docile sheep are so enamoured of the Final Solution of the Foetus Problem.

The Enemy's 'liberal  evangelium is constantly updated so that the half-witted will always fall for it. And they do.

Hook, line, and sinker.

18 January 2020

Francis plans to convert Moslems

I plagiarise this piece from the most splendid and useful Wall Calendar of the Papa Stronsay Redemptorists, who draw attention to the fact that January 16 is the festival of these Holy Martyrs, whose Triumph was accomplished on January 18 800 years ago.

"The glorious martyrdom of STS BERARDUS, PETER, OTTO, ACCURSIUS AND ADJUTUS. Sent by St Francis to evangelise the Muslims of the West, these friars travelled from Italy to Aragon then to Coimbra in Portugal, to Seville and finally to Morocco, where they were beheaded. Berardus, Peter and Otto were priests, Adjutus and Accursius lay-brothers."

What a privilege it would have been to be invited to preach coram Romano Pontifice on this wonderful 800th anniversary!

It could also provide ideas for those giving addresses during this Octave of Prayer.

17 January 2020

Mascall and Vergil: only for Classicists

That most exquisitely Latin of Anglican theologians, E L Mascall, was haunted by a passage in Vergil's First Eclogue; the shepherd Tityrus says that Rome tantum alias inter caput extulit urbes/ quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi. His fellow Meliboeus asks Et quae tanta fuit Romam tibi causa videndi? to which he replies: Libertas ...

Libertas ... it evokes memories of how many of us felt, nine years ago, when we sought and found Liberty in the Rome of Benedict XVI; liberty from the attempts of the Church of England to impose heteropraxy upon us. That Pope himself seemed to me a cypressus towering above the viburna.

But now, apparently, viburna rule, OK. As we take up our breviaries for the Feast of the Cathedra Petri; can there ever have been a Chair of Unity Octave like this year's, overshadowed by Pachamama? In the second nocturn of Mattins, another great Latinist, S Leo, apostrophises another shepherd, S Peter, entering the City a couple of generations after Tityrus: Ad hanc ergo urbem tu, beatissime Petre Apostole, venire non metuis, et ... turbulentissimae profunditatis oceanum, constantior quam cum supra mare gradereris, ingrederis. That Ocean, now, is surely more than just turbulentissimus.

Here is a stanza probably by S Paulinus II Patriarch of Aquileia, which used once to be sung on the Feast of S Peter ad Vincula:

Petrus beatus catenarum laqueos
Christo iubente rupit mirabiliter:
custos ovilis et doctor Ecclesiae,
pastorque gregis, conservator ovium
arcet luporum truculentam rabiem.

It cannot be wrong to pray for a Shepherd today who will see his duty arcere rather than augere! Most certainly, the lupi whom Pope Benedict mentioned at his inauguration have not (as Gerry Adams once remarked about the IRA) 'gone away'.

And how, during these last few days, they have been howling ... just because of one little book! Urban Wolves, indeed! Menin aeide thea ...

Was it Barth who oberved that Santa Maria sopra Minerva accurately expressed the relationship between Catholicism and Paganism? I wonder if he would have wished, could he have but seen our own age, to call it Pachamama superposita Petro.

16 January 2020

Extraordinary Form ORDO, and Ordinariate directions, for the Chair of Unity Octave

The Chair of Unity Octave ("Unity Week") starts on Saturday January 18 and ends on Saturday January 25.

This observance was begun by Anglo-papalists in the early twentieth century specifically to pray for the Unity of all Christians in communuion with the See of S Peter and S Paul. It was encouraged by a succession of Roman Pontiffs and endowed with indulgences (see below).

                                              EXTRAORDINARY FORM

Before the 1960s, January 18 was the Feast of the Chair of S Peter at Rome (while February  22 celebrated his Chair, that is to say, his episcopate, in Antioch). The Feast of the Conversion of S Paul on January 25 still survives, even in the Novus Ordo.

In the Good Old Days, the Wantage Sisters ... who now comprise our Ordinariate Sisters in Birmingham, the praying heart of the Ordinariate, as our Ordinary puts it ... used to publish an annual ORDO  "... in strict accordance with the Use of the Western Church". This was widely used both in Anglo-Papalist churches and in Anglo-Catholic churches generally. The latest one was probably that of 1969. Before January 18, the following information is printed:

                                               CHURCH UNITY OCTAVE BEGINS

Ad lib, during the Octave: one 2cl Vot M For the Unity of the Church. Cr (on Sunday only), Common Pref (pref Trin on Sunday). P[urple]

This will undoubtedly have been lifted from what was authorised for Roman Catholics in England, Scotland, and Wales on the very eve of the liturgical alterations of the late 1960s. What it means is that it is lawful to say daily one Mass of the Votive for Christian Unity (Ad tollendum Schisma if your Missal, like mine, is pre-1962; but the texts are the same in the 1962 Missal) on the Sunday within the Octave (even if it be Septuagesima); and also on each of the weekdays, because they are all (even the Conversion of S Paul) days occupied by III class feasts and so admit Second Class Votives. No Gloria, of course. Only one Collect; Secret; Postcommunion; is said ... in other words, no commemorations.

My own practice is to start the Octave with a (perfectly legal) Votive Mass of the Chair of S Peter on January 18 (Mass as on February 22 except that the Alleluia is said; the colour is white) and to conclude with the Mass for S Paul on January 25. It was the idea of linking up the two Apostles which gave rise to the Octave.

Alleluia for the Chair of S Peter: Alleluia, alleluia. Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Alleluia.

I have thought it worth while providing this information because I do not think it is in the available Extraordinary Form ORDOs in Latin, English or French.


In the current Encheiridion: Plenary under the usual conditions for a Catholic who shall have taken part in any functions in the week; and shall have been present at the conclusion of this week (i.e. on 25 January). Partial for whosoever shall have devoutly recited an approved prayer for Unity.

                                                       ORDINARIATE MISSAL

The same Mass for Unity, of course, is provided for use in Liturgical English in the Ordinariates. The rubrics make clear that it can be said on any day except Solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, All Souls, Ash Wednesday, Ember Days, Rogation Days, weekdays of Holy Week and of the Easter and Pentecost Octaves. Such votives ARE allowed BUT ONLY FOR "a real necessity or pastoral advantage" on Obligatory Memorials and the weekdays of Advent, Christmastide, Lent, and Eastertide. Pretty permissive, eh?

15 January 2020

The Authentic Apostolic Patrimony. "Ego nenikeka ton kosmon".

January 15 is the (9th) anniversary of the Erection of our Ordinariate.

"Contemporary orthodox-minded Roman Catholics look with admiration at those Anglican divines who, in various historical periods, sought to restore the authentic portrait of the Church and the faith of the Church. One thinks, for example, of Thomas Ken and John Keble, as well as, closer to our own day, Gregory Dix and Eric Mascall. These are separated doctors in whom the Church of Rome can recognise the overwhelming preponderance of the apostolic patrimony she has received. Your task now is not only the negative one of defending their work but the positive one of completing it."
Father Aidan Nichols, O.P., 2002.

How do those immensely wise and characteristically generous words of a wise and generous man look to us now, in a pontificate so radically different from those joyful days when we were privileged to enter into Full Communion?

How do we now 'complete' our mission of bringing into Full Communion with the See of S Peter the authentic teaching of our orthodox Fathers, our 'separated Doctors'?

Are we being called to test and judge some of the propositions and ideologies which now emanate from the banks of the Tiber or of the Rhine, measuring them against truths rediscovered and taught in separation by Saint John Henry Newman and by Edward Bouverie Pusey? Perhaps we do have a God of Surprises!

Is this now the reason why Divine Providence, during those centuries of separation, taught us by the Holy Spirit, and led us into Catholic Truth through the Kens, Kebles, Dixes, Mascalls, so that we should be at hand, weak and tiny band that we are (I Corinthians 1: 17-29), in this current crisis, ready and willing to join with other witnesses to Catholic Truth whom God has raised up throughout the Church ... is raising up ... and will raise up?

We know that the Evil One strives with many temporary successes to bring Evil out of Good. But God is far more mighty to bring Good out of Evil.

Mary's Immaculate Heart will prevail.

"Be of good cheer: I have conquered the World".

Is this a kairos, a Divine Moment of choice and decision?

14 January 2020

Diaconia, briefly, again. And Married Priests. And Clerical Sex Abuse.

Dr David Lopez has kindly sent me a copy of an article on Diaconia which he published in 2014 (Antiphon 19.1, pp 51-78. He is very much on target, and I commend his piece to those who want to take the matter further.


The new book by Cardinal Sarah and Benedict XVI, on married priests, is inevitably stimulating comments on what it is the liberals are going for. As I said the other day, securing women deacons is just a step to the Real Prize. We ex-Anglicans have witnessed the whole shoddy corrupt process by which these people seek their ends.

Tonight there was the first part of a BBCTV programme ... second part tomorrow, Tuesday ... on the Anglican Bishop Peter Ball, whose career of abuse was of industrial proportions. I mention this because, yet again, one currently hears the silly claim that having married priests would solve the abuser-priest (and abuser-Cardinal) problem. It most emphatically would not. The English Independent Inquiry into clerical sex abuse demonstrated this in its case-study of the Anglican  Diocese of Chichester.

Ball preached a sermon in Lancing College Chapel telling the students that, if their bishop told them to take their clothes off, they needed to obey. He had become so relaxed and confident in his abuse that he brazenly thought he could get away with anything.

Rather McCarrick!!

And the C of E hasn't encouraged celibacy since 1559.

Diaconia in the Tradition of the Roman Church (5)

 The Diaconate did not feature particularly largely in the Decrees of Vatican II. A quick trawl has revealed to me only Lumen Gentium 29 etc.; 41; Ad Gentes 16; Sacrosanctum Concilium 35. SC says that deacons can preside at Services of the Word, to which I can think of no objection. AG advises that those unordained laymen who are de facto fulfilling diaconal roles shoud be ordained deacons so that they can be "altari arctius coniungi", which I think implies rather nicely the essentially cultic nature of the diaconate. LG 41 gives no suggestion that deacons are to be philanthropically inclined; there is just the tiniest hint of this in LG 29, where a sensible list of cultic activities is concluded by 'ministries of charity' (likewise, in AG the de facto deacons might have been charitably occupied). I am not concerned to argue that deacons should never have anything to do with any charitable exercises, so I don't strongly object; if it is true that here the idea of 'diaconate as service to the needy' is getting a bit of an objectionable foot in this door, well, I think this is satisfactorily outweighed by the essentially cultic job-description given for the diaconate, and by the repeated references to the performance of diaconal functions "in conjunction with the Bishop and Presbyterate". So, in this particular matter, Vatican II need cause no problems to those of us whose thought has been formed by the Tradition.

Neither does the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Paragraph 1569 very laudably draws upon the Tradition to remind us that the Deacon "speciatim annecti" to the Bishop, which is why only the Bishop (and not also the Presbyterium) lay hands on him. Even more satisfactorily, 1541 alludes to the Aaronic priesthood and the services of the Levites as prefiguring the ordained ministry of the New Testament, and the next two paragraphs appropriately quote the Prayers of Ordination in support of this; including a section (ancient and authentic) from the Prayer for the Diaconate.

I have discovered in these two major documents of the Magisterium of the last six decades no suggestion that the essence of Diaconate is found in service to the needy, or any determination to import S Stephen and the Seven into consideration of the Diaconate. Nothing in them contradicts the teaching of the old Roman Prayers of Ordination.

So, despite having no mandate from the Council to change the Church's teaching on Holy Order as expressed in her lex orandi, the activities of the post-Conciliar liturgical 'reformers' offered us, as they so often did, an unedifying example of illiterate mischief. As so often, they gave us a sound lesson on how to eliminate babies without losing a single drop of bathwater. They corrupted the Roman Ordination Rites, and did so contrary to both the oldest Roman Tradition and the consensus of 'modern non-Catholic New Testament Scholarship'. That is quite some achievement! To be wrong in the court of each of those two very different judges!

13 January 2020

Priere de la Vierge

A prayer said to have been dictated by our Lady 13 January 1863, and indulgenced by S Pius X in 1908.

August Queen of the Heavens and Mistress of the Angels; thou that hast received from God the power and mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech thee to send the heavenly legions that, under thy commands, they may pursue the demons, engaging them on every side, resisting their boldness, and driving them into the Abyss.

'Who is like God'?

O good and tender Mother, thou shalt ever be our Love and our Hope. 

O divine Mother, send the holy Angels to defend me and to send far from me the cruel Enemy. 

Holy Angels and Archangels, defend us and guard us.

12 January 2020

Diaconia in the Tradition of the Roman Church (4)

We have seen how the pre-conciliar Pontifical preserves the idea, found in the first-century Roman text known as I Clement, that the Diaconate is a primarily cultic institution, the purpose of which is to serve the High Priest, the Bishop, in the Eucharistic celebration, distributing the Sacrament and proclaiming the Gospel; that it is not seen in terms of lowly service to the needy. In the earliest formulae, elements taken from Acts 6 (such as 'serving at tables' and S Stephen) are not even mentioned. In the Middle Ages, occasional references to S Stephen gradually make their way into the rites, but without any great suggestion that deacons should follow his alleged example* of philanthropic endeavour towards the needy.

Recent Protestant responses to the conclusions established by Collins tend towards a disgruntled acceptance of his philological conclusions accompanied by a faintly ashamed assertion of a grim determination to ignore it in practice, on the grounds that 'we' have invested too much in the old mistake to be able to drop it now! So much for all that Reformation woffle about the supremacy of Sola Scriptura as the judge of merely human traditions in the Church!

Naturally, the post-Vatican II reformers, deeply infected by liberal Protestant notions of Diaconia-as-Service and of the Servant Church, found the rites they inherited profoundly unsatisfactory. When they had got their hands on the Rite for the Consecration of a Bishop, they had robbed it entirely of its ancient Roman Consecratory Prayer with its Clementine, first century, doctrine of the Bishop. Happily, the Rite of Diaconal Ordination fared a little better and was fortunate enough not to be deprived of its ancient Consecratory Prayer. But the text of this venerable formula was badly corrupted by the interpolation of phraseology expressing the novel Protestant dogma.

After the Diaconal Prayer has referred to the Levitical ministry at the Tabernacle, an entire paragaph was added in the post-Conciliar period, based on Acts 6 and ending - tediously, inevitably - with a reference to serving at tables. After the words which, according to Pius XII, are the 'form' of the sacrament, phrases are added about "love that is sincere ... concern for the sick and the poor". And, with equal inevitability, the Prayer is made to end "May they in this life imitate your Son, who came, not to be served but to serve"**. I will leave you to guess where the New Testament Reading is taken from. (Yes, you're right.) The Collect as rendered by ICEL refers to "serving their brothers and sisters" and "concern [what a very late-twentieth-century word that is!] for others". The super oblata reminds us of the Lord's foot-washing. I'm quite sure that's what S Stephen did to the widows after he'd given them their breakfast, only S Luke has forgotten to mention it.

Is this altered post-conciliar Western rite for diaconal ordination adequate validly to confer the Sacramental order of the Diaconate? Since it is authorised and used by Holy Mother Church, we are, of course, completely protected by our over-arching conviction of the indefectibility of the Church. So I would firmly discourage any scruples and would maintain that the question does not even need to be discussed. (If this were not so, strict application of the methodology in Apostolicae curae, which was specifically crafted to make it easy to bring in a 'Guilty' verdict against rites which had been tampered with, might very well raise awkward questions. Sedevacantists have not been blind to the polemical possibilities in this area. But I prefer the older and healthier Western notion that a rite which has been tampered with, denuded, or even corrupted with misguided insertions, provided that it still contains the barest minimum of what is essential in terms of 'form' and 'matter' and is accompanied by a minimal 'intention', is good enough, and cannot even be nullified by the erroneous views of a minister. S Robert Bellarmine rules, OK.)
One more post will conclude this series.

*S Stephen, after being ordained deacon, is martyred for his witness to the Gospel, and another of the seven deacons, S Philip, actually goes off to preach the Gospel, not to run welfare schemes. Austin 'Anglican Patrimony' Farrer pointed out that "The supposition that the Seven are regarded by St Luke as 'deacons' is a very old error", and remarked that, in Acts 19:22, Timothy and Erastus were among those who were diakonounton ... not to the needy but to Paul.
**The old prayer ended instead with petition that the neo-ordinati "having always the testimony of a good conscience, and continuing ever stable and strong in thy Son Jesus Christ, may so well behave themselves in this inferior office, that they may be found worthy to be called unto the higher ministries in thy Church". I give Cranmer's ... free but basically honest ... translation of Sarum; I find it rather diverting that the realism of the last two clauses seemed unexceptionable to a Reformation Zwinglian but impossibly politically incorrect to trendy liturgical tamperers in the 1960s.

Incidentally, those last clauses also raise difficult problems about deacons who are permanent in the sense that they are forbidden to be ordained beyond the diaconate. I think I regard that prohibition a a disorder.