16 November 2019

S Edmund of Abendon: let's be exuberant!

Deus qui largifluae bonitatis consilio ...

"God, who by the counsel of thy generously-flowing goodness hast adorned thy Church with the merits of blessed Edmund thy Confessor and bishop ... "

And indeed, what a great Pontiff S Edmund was. I shall pop into his Church in Abendon before diving into Waitrose this morning. It is his feast day. And what you've just read was the beginning of his Collect in the old Supplementum for England. Borrowed, of course, from Sarum.

'largifluae' is a compound word. According to OLD and LS, it only occurs in Lucretius. LS, in its schoolmasterly way, comments "ante-classical". Handy to have that spelt out in case cheeky little Johnny tries to incorporate it into his Latin Prose Compo. As well he might. It's an exotic word that raises your spirits and cheers you exuberating on your way. Because Greek enjoys creating compound adjectives, while Latin is much more shy about doing this. But in the preclassical period, avant-garde young men, neoteroi,  started imitating this Greek practice in their Latin in order to sound ... and be ... exotic. You haven't been reading Catullus 64 for long before you are introduced to Ariadne, poor deceived and deserted dimwit, "fluentisono prospectans litore Diae". Let's hope Professor Obbink comes across a copy of Calvus' lost epyllion. I bet it will be moofully full of this sort of stuff.

Carolingian and later writers enjoyed these games, too. S Peter Damian addressed S John the Divine brilliantly, exquisitely, as "magnus aeterni logotheta verbi" ... expurgated by Dom Lentini, spoil-sport, "propter graecismum nunc insolitum". I hardly need to tell you that the Novus Ordo collect for S Edmund [composed in English and possessing no Latin original] dumps the entire Sarum collect and instead informs the attentive Almighty that "by [his] grace the Bishop Saint Edmund of Abingdon was vigilant over integrity in public office". (I'm not making this up.)

One question remains. Who, in the Sarum liturgical workshop, had been spending his spare time reading that naughty hedonistic atheistical Lucretius?

15 November 2019

The Death of Sarum

According to Quo primum, S Pius V mandated that rites more than 200 years old should continue to be used unless the Bishop and the unanimous Chapter agreed to their replacement. In England, of course, these canonical measures were never able to be taken. Arguably, the Sarum Missal is still licit.

I wonder if, in Recusant Literature, there is any evidence of how the Catholic Squirearchy reacted to the replacement of the 'Sarum rite' by the Missal of S Pius V.

Here follows a repetition of a 2014 blogpost, with much of the extremely interesting thread which it elicited. Perhaps, five years later, there may be things to add. So off we go ...

Of course, we all know that the difference between those two 'rites' is very slight. But that is the judgement of bookish people like us, considering principally text. As Adrian Fortescue put it, Sarum and the rest "are merely the Roman rite with quite unimportant local variations. They can indeed hardly be called derived rites; if one may take a parallel from philology one may describe them best as dialects of the Roman rite ... To distinguish the Roman, Sarum, and Mozarabic liturgies on the same plane is like classifying English, Yorkshire dialect, and French as three languages." Thoroughly true. But they do look rather different.

One has to admit that we cannot be absolutely sure what the Sarum use did look like in, say, 1570 or 1580. Sometimes usage may leave rubric somewhat behind. But, taking the texts as printed, I give one example:

When the priest had consecrated the Host, he did not genuflect. He 'inclined himself' ... one edition says that he adored It by bowing his head ... then elevated It by lifting It for the people to see. He did not 'adore' or 'incline' again, but went on to consecrate the Chalice. After that, he did not make any act of reverence, but lifted the Chalice 'as far as his chest OR over his head'. He then stretched out his arms 'in modum crucis' for the first part of the Unde et memores.

I would have thought that the Tridentine ceremonial, familiar to us, would have seemed rather strange to those brought up on Sarum. And one could make the same point from the beginning of Mass to the end.

Fortescue (pp 202-3 fn 4) tells how Dr Lawrence Webb arrived from Rome at Douay in December 1576 and taught the young men how to do the new rite. He cites Records of the English Catholics under the Penal Laws, London, 1878, p118. Does anybody have that to hand? Are then any suggestive details?

Anybody have any actual evidence about how the laity reacted? Is there any bibliographical evidence about the survival of Sarum or the introduction of S Pius V? And Fortescue had been told, but had been unable to verify the claim, that some priests brought Sarum back into use in the happy reign of our late Sovereign Lord King James II. Anybody know anything?

14 November 2019

It's smart. Can you really do without it?

Although I don't quite understand those awkward moods and tenses,
My Ordo Recitandi's strict Westmonasteriensis.

Those of Anglican Patrimony will remember Eric Mascall's exquisite poem The Ultra-Catholic. But I bet there aren't many clergy around now who remember actually handling the old Westminster Ordo.  It was the smartest of the lot ... a sort of Rolls Royce among Ordos. Its elegant white and black livery is echoed by the admirable Ordo produced by the thoroughly admirable Saint Lawrence Press.

Mgr Ronald Knox once did a spoof 'review' of an Ordo ... writing about its author's "terse nervous Latinity"... and if you really want to get the feel of what priestcraft was like before Pacelli and Bugnini got to work wrecking the labours of centuries, this is the Ordo you need. Everything else on the market (LMS; SSPX ...) is 1962ish; and it is in English.  But the (Latin) Saint Lawrence Ordo is very easy to understand because its Latin abbreviations are all so pretty obvious.

You may not be in a position to order your own liturgy according to the rich 1939 prescriptions. But there is a degree to which, however obediently you follow 1962, you need to understand what it was that 1962 is an abbreviation of before you really cotton on to what 1962 itself means. 

It's a journey back in time to a healthier liturgical culture.


13 November 2019

"The temporary suspense of the function of the Ecclesia Docens" in the teaching of S John Henry Newman

Cardinal Burke, God bless him, has talked about "a breakdown of the central teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff." This strongly reminds me of the phrase of S John Henry Newman at the top of this blogpost.

I originally published this in DECEMBER 2017. I think it is even more relevant now, because of the recent Statement Contra Recentia Sacrilegia by a number of us about the Vatican Garden Event (see Lifesitenews). And because of the additional authority which his canonisation has given to the wise teaching of S John Henry. And because of his Eminence's wise words.

SO HERE IS MY 2017 TEXT, unadapted, and with old comments on the thread.

A world-wide group of laymen and laywomen have just issued a defence of Catholic doctrine concerning Family and Life matters. The crucial paragraph, in my view, is this:

We pledge our full obedience to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the legitimate exercise of is authority. However, nothing will ever persuade us, or compel us, to abandon or contradict any article of the Catholic faith or any truth definitively established. If there is any conflict between the words and acts of any member of the hierarchy, even the pope, and the doctrine that the Church has always taught, we will remain faithful to the perennial teaching of the Church. If we were to depart from the Catholic faith, we would depart from Jesus Christ, to whom we wish to be united for all eternity."

This seems to me exactly right and exactly proportionate to the present situation in the Catholic Church. By a happy disposition of Providence, this Statement hit the media at the same time as Walter Kasper's gleeful conviction that Amoris laetitia has now become irreformable and that the 'controversy' is now over. Gracious me, what ultrahyperueberpapalist views of the Petrine Ministry these Liberals do have when they get a foul wind in their sails.

And the Statement reminds me of the phrase which Blessed John Henry Newman used in the context of the Arian controversy, in which the great majority of the Bishops, the Ecclesia docens, and including the Successor of S Peter, were either heretics, or were cowed into silence or compromise by the heretics. It is the phrase I have put at the head of this post, which I take in the sense in which Newman subsequently clarified his use of it, and not otherwise.

I suppose we had a good example of this phenomenon of 'suspense' in the pontificate of Blessed Paul VI, in the period between his setting up of a Commission to consider the question of Contraception, and his very courageous subsequent reaffirmation of the Church's Magisterial Teaching with the publication of Humanae vitae.

Surely, we are in another such period of suspense now. The question of  the admission of adulterers to Holy Communion was magisterially dealt with as recently as 2007, only ten years ago, in Sacramentum Caritatis para 29; it had  received synodical and papal clarification in each of the last two pontificates; and is embedded in the Catechism. But a 'suspense' began when it was opened up to synodal debate; and that 'suspense' grew wider when PF issued a document which has been interpreted in diametrically opposed ways. The Suspense will end when this or a subsequent Roman Pontiff or an Ecumenical Council reasserts with unmistakeable clarity the teaching of the Magisterium (or possibly when the error, having run its course, happily dies a natural death).

The learned Patron of the Ordinariate, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, made clear that he in no way implied the cessation of the Magisterial teaching or office during a 'suspense'. The Dogma of Nicea remained de jure fully in force; but was simply not treated as such by many bishops and so did not 'function'. The bishops remained ex officio guardians and teachers of the Faith; not a microgram of their God-given authority to teach the Faith was lost to them; but de facto they failed to guard and to teach that Faith. The concept of suspense is not so much theological as historical; an observation that anybody can make if they just look around.

Things now are very similar. The teaching of the Magisterium is, obviously, formally still vigore pleno; but numbers of unfaithful or negligent bishops behave as though it were not. In many cases, they appear and/or claim to do so with the connivance of the Successor of S Peter.


During a 'suspense', does the episcopal ministry of those bishops who are heterodox on just one point still call for religiosum obsequium on other matters? Or is one obliged to consider their entire episcope vitiated by just one point of heterodoxy?

Looking back into the great Anglican Patrimony which Pope Benedict invited us to bring with us into Catholic Unity, I recall a phrase dear to a distinguished and erudite Bishop of Oxford, Charles Gore [1853-1932; a doughty asserter of the doctrine which was re-asserted by Casti Connubii]: "the wonderful coherence of Christian doctrine". A later, even more erudite occupant of the same See, Kenneth Kirk, [1886-1954] commented: "Gore saw Christian doctrine as a unified whole ... It was his conviction, shared of course with the great Scholastic tradition in theology, that if any single article in this totality was attacked, varied, or distorted, the attack, variation, or distortion would be seen on inspection to affect every other article to a greater or lesser degree. ... if two systems each of which can claim some real degree of logical principle are in conflict on any one point, investigation will ultimately prove that they differ on every point, though at first sight this may be anything but apparent. For each system is, by hypothesis, self-consistent, and therefore all its members are interlocked, and whatever affects one of them must affect them all."

This is still one of my own working hermeneutical tools. Accordingly, I feel a tentative hesitation, during this lamentable suspense, about taking seriously any teaching statement of an apparently less that orthodox member of the hierarchy.

I throw open the above position to discussion, totally aware of my own fallibility, and anxious to be in all things a docile subject of the authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

And I applaud the statement of Fidelity to Catholic Teaching issued by these eminent and admirable laypeople.

12 November 2019

Church Dedications

People often assume that when the Anglicans describe an ancient parish church as 'dedicated to Saint X', they are giving accurate information. Sadly, this is very often not the case.

I draw attention to English Church Dedications by Nicholas Orme (Exeter, 1996). Orme regretfully pointed out that the work of Frances Arnold-Foster, on whose reliability many (including Bishop Kirk) had based their conclusions, was to all intents and purposes useless as far as medieval evidence is concerned, since she provided what, in 1899, were then regarded as the dedications of English churches and did little or no research. Later writers were hardly better. In fact, Orme's research in medieval sources demonstrated that a very high percentage of such dedications were invented by Georgian antiquaries or Victorian High Churchmen. Earlier writers were unaware of this, and equally unaware that so great were the discontinuities of the English Reformation that pretty well everywhere the dedications were forgotten very soon after the sixteenth century ruptures. Exceptions occurred in towns, where a plurality of churches meant that people had to retain some way of distinguishing each one from the others; and where, in the countryside, two villages needed to distinguish themselves (Snoring S Cosmas; Snoring S Damian).

Thus, in Devon, I had seven village churches. Of these seven, one retained the dedication it can be shown to have had in the Middle Ages. One is now known to have been dedicated to S Andrew, but was attributed in 1742 to S Mary, probably on the ground that the parish fair happened close to February 2. The other five churches have completely lost their original dedications, and the ones they now enjoy are post-medieval conjectures.

That Andrew dedication is interesting. Saxon and Norman bishops, when they went round consecrating unconsecrated churches (a lot of this happened in the twelfth century), worked from books descended lineally from those brought here in the Saxon period, and were marked with a preference for the Saint to whom S Gregory and the Augustinian Mission had been so devoted. (It was of course Pope Gregory who added S Andrew to the Libera nos.)

So the comparative popularity of S Andrew is yet another indication of the profound Romanita of Saxon England.


Anybody with an academic interest in the assertions I make in my penultimate paragraph will find the evidence in the (fairly) new HBS edition of Leofric.

11 November 2019

Life in the Lower Fourth

At least Four Genuine Cheers are due to PF for putting our Lady of Loreto onto the Novus Ordo Universal Calendar (albeit optionally; December 10). I like to think of him spending his leisure hours, as so many of us have, browsing through the dear old pre-1962 Appendix pro Aliquibus Locis. It makes him seem more human.

We of the Anglican Patrimony have a soft spot for this observance because of our devotion to OL of Walsingham and her Holy House. Less than a couple of months ago I pointed out that the September 24 Mass for OLW in our Ordinariate Missal is an English translation of the old Mass (temp. Innocent XII, ob 1700)  for  the Holy House at Loreto. It is therefore just a tadge sad-making that the new PF Mass for this day is a new composition. (Or is it? They must have been using some propers in Loreto since 1969 ... are these they? Or have these just recently been confected de novo? I suspect the latter, because in the early 1970s there would still have been enough people around in Rome who knew enough Latin to avoid the monstrous, the appalling, grammatical mistake in the Collect ... de quo plura inferius.)

Earlier in this pontificate, Cardinal Sarah had to endure the sacking of a number of competent scholars from his dicastery, and their replacement by staff rumoured to be ... er ... This can harrdly have helped the maintenance of standards in that dicastery. (I have been unable to find an account of this coup on the Internet. Can anybody help?)

But, out of respect for fact, I would have to admit that the problem of illiterate Latin at the CDWgoes back to well before the appointment of Cardinal Sarah.

Things ... I am sorry to have to announce to you ... haven't got any better.

As if to make this point very powerfully and programmatically, near the top of the new Proper is the phrase Ad Calendarium Romanum Generalem. When I was teaching Latin to the young, that was the sort of howler I might have expected of the Lower Fourth. Not that I actually ever taught Lower Fourth Latin. Perhaps I am doing them an injustice.

And there are the usual minor typos ... 'Dei' rather than 'Die' ... a missing full stop ... Why doesn't anybody ever check though these things?

But on the other hand, I do like the use in the Homily of the Plautine verb minito (not its deponent form). I take this as top level Magisterial encouragement for the greater use of slapstick humour in our Latin Catholic culture. Three cheers for Mgr Laurel and Canon Hardie.

But ... Oh dear ... I can procrastinate no longer ... the new Collect ... and the Collect is of course the most prominent text of any Proper. It is used in the Divine Office and sets the tone and the themes at the start of Mass.

Here is the authorised and published text. I have highlighted the clausulae for discussion later.

Deus, qui promissa Patribus adimplens beatam Virginem Mariam elegisti, ut matrem fieret Salvatoris, concede nobis illius exempla sectari, cuius humilitas tibi placuit, et oboedientia nobis profuit.

To begin with ... I will not insult you by implying that you might not have noticed the really massive grammatical howler in the first half of this composition. Even kindergarten classics teachers would have a right to expect to be spared  things like that. What a 'clericalist' insult to the Holy People of God that they should have this sort of thing disrespectfully thrust upon them by disdainful ecclesiastics. Very unsynodal.

Instead, having shuddered, let us move hurriedly on to look at the clausulae as highlighted.

The first is a trispondaicus (or a planus if you insist on elision); the second a velox; the third a planus. So far, so good. But I find it hard to fit the last two into the main options found in the old sacramentaries (Planus, Tardus, Velox, Trispondaicus). Probably you could could find them in Cicero; but there, of course, the game is a somewhat different one.

Not that I'm denying that there is some elegant patterning in those two concluding clauses!

These curial documents tend to be signed or countersigned by some chappy called Arturo Roche (pronounced 'Rockay'??).  I don't know how good Arturo's English is, but as far as his Latin is concerned, he might benefit from attending the Latin Mass Society's Latin Summer School. He could earn his passage by doubling as our Drinks Steward ("Hey, Arturo, mine's a G and T").

I would be gentle with the poor fellow. Everybody has to start somewhere. I have always been a patient teacher.

10 November 2019

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. On the other hand, the customary rituals of Cenotaph observance do have - surely, even now - a nationalism built into them, while Holy Mass subverts every nationalism. It was, after all, offered on both sides in the European wars.

The great Fr Bernard Walke, who made St Hilary's in Cornwall into an Anglo-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 that War and was beaten up in the street for refusing to accept the disgusting rhetoric of the war-time hysteria.

He used to go to Dartmoor Prison to offer Mass for the 'conchies' there; denied use of the Anglican Chapel, he accepted the offer of the Methodist place of worship. I find it a moving picture ... the cold moorland mists and 'Ber' offering the Tridentine Mass in the meanest of proddy surroundings with a congregation largely consisting of persecuted and emaciated Quakers.

There, surely, was a true Ecumenism, so unlike the cosy twaddle we are expected to go along with nowadays. I am not so impressed by the popularity of a Cardinal Hinsley during WW2, who was praised as being "an Englishman first and a Christian second".

I wonder if it was a conscious echo of Walke's words about reparation to the Sacred Heart which led the congregation at my own old Anglican church of S Thomas's to put up a German-carved statue of the Sacred Heart as their War Memorial, beside tablets inscribed with the names of the departed.

As far as WW2 is concerned, I often think about the contrast between two great fictional literary products of that war, both written by combatants; both overtly semi-autobiographical. Monsarrat's The Cruel Sea is written by an ideologically and morally rudderless lapsed Marxist; as 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 bullying Australians; against the Irish who denied Cork Harbour and Bantry Bay to the Royal Navy. 

Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy is quite different. At its beginning, Waugh's character, a traditionalist Catholic gentleman burdened with ethical Rights and Wrongs, 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 in triumph 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 symbols on its scabbard upside down. Waugh's hero sees, as Waugh himself had seen, the vicious post-War 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 joyously 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, everybody manufacturing their own god and their own good. As a ritual which looks beyond itself, it subverts the assumptions of human self-sufficiency. And it speaks of Judgement; Judgement passed by a Court of No Appeal far beyond any Court of Human Rights.

Indeed, the rights which the Mass enthrones are the sovereign rights of a Creator and the vested interests of a Redeemer. Vivat Christus Rex.

9 November 2019

Saint John Henry Newman on the Stinking Corpse

When S Augustine came to Canterbury, he built a cathedral church In honorem 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, the festival of whose dedication we keep today. 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 those of us whose religious formation was as Anglicans. 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 S 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.

As James Joyce pointed out, S John Henry was a superb prose stylist ... you might say, the Stylists' Stylist.

Only he could have got away with calling the Church of England a Stinking Corpse, because he said it so very elegantly.

8 November 2019

Ancestors and Combustibility

In some Amazon Synod document, I read the following, which I find puzzling:

"The wisdom of ancestral peoples affirms that Mother Earth has a female face."

There's plenty there to scratch one's head about. What particularly puzzles me is the phrase "ancestral peoples".

Don't we all have ancestors? Why am I not an Ancestral Person? Talking about Ancestral Peoples implies that other, lesser, hominid groupings may not be 'ancestral'. But how can this be? Even the mighty PF, when all is said and done, surely has ancestors? Or is he, according to the Nouvelle Theologie, some sort of extra-terrestrial creation, fatherless and motherless, who emerged from a flying saucer in some American desert?

(If this were so, would he be capax Sacramenti Ordinis?)

Should we all reassert our biblical Ancestrality by reviving the Narnian expressions Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve?

Changing the subject ... I liked the video of that splendid clergyman burning a Pachamama. But we need help here, which perhaps could be supplied by some of our traddy communities of nuns. They could manufacture Pachamama statues, perhaps of papier-mache impregnated with parafin or other combustible substances, which would be very easy even for the clumsiest priest to burn ceremonially ... and, er, frequently.

For the sisters, it would be a probably welcome change from baking Altar Breads. 

We need more imagination in the Church ...

You know I'm right.

7 November 2019

Is Newman a Saint?

Someone put to me this query: Suppose, in the future, it were to be decided by Authority that PF committed a formal act of Apostasy at the Vatican Gardens Event and thereby ceased to be pope. Would his act of canonising John Henry Newman still be valid?

Frankly, I regard this scenario as being in the very highest degree improbable. But ... what if ...

I would argue that, basically, it is what we Westerners nowadays call Beatification that really matters. (In the 'Orthodox' Churches, there has never been a two-stage ascent to Sainthood; just one stage.) In our Western Church, Beatification is the point at which the Church definitively permits a Catholic to be venerated by being given a Mass and Office in his honour; together with cultus. No longer are Masses to be offered for the repose of his soul. This change of status occurred when Pope Benedict beatified Newman at Birmingham. Canonisation simply extends the cultus from the restricted localities or communities specified in the decree of Beatification, to the Universal Church.

But even then things are not totally clear-cut. Not every newly canonised Saint is put on all the Universal Calendars as a memoria to be observed everywhere. (This is despite a hint in the writings of Pope Benedict XIV that a canonisation is not fully definitive unless acceptance of it is universally required.)

A little while ago, I accidentally came across a video made by Ann Widdecombe before Newman's Beatification. As a result of her enquiries and interviews, she expressed an opinion about why Benedict XVI was so keen for JHN to be beatified, and why, contrary to present practice, he wished to perform the rite himself rather than by delegation.

Absolutely correctly, Widdecombe focussed on the biglietto speech made by S John Henry upon receiving notification of his elevation to the Sacred College. In this, he asserted that throughout his life, both as an Anglican and as a Catholic, he had fought against what was for him the great error of the day: Liberalism. By this he meant what Benedict XVI called indifferentism and relativism: the idea that there is no absolute Truth.

Benedict beatified JHN by his own personal and direct act as a witness to the priority and certainty of the deposit of Faith handed down through the Apostles.

This theme has not been so much to the forefront of this pontificate ... before the canonisation, I did once make a jocular remark to the effect that people should pray that PF might not find out what Newman really stood for, before the scheduled date of the canonisation, lest the event be cancelled.

It is because S John Henry is not a witness to the predominant and abnormal themes of this present pontificate, but to an exactly opposite analysis, and because, unlike other modern canonizati, his elevation to the Altars of the Church is by the authority of two pontiffs, that I have confidence in the propriety of his cultus.

And, of course, God gave a very impresssive miracle as the witness to this great Saint's Sainthood.

6 November 2019

... cuius animae propitietur Deus

This morning, to the funeral Mass of Father Jerome Bertram, Congregation of the Oratory, Master of Arts, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was ... is ... a priest of unusual erudition, worn very lightly. He wrote Latin with great skill and elegance.

He had been giving me help and advice in my study of a mutilated Brass in St Mawgan Church in Cornwall, commemorating a recusant lady called Catherine Tregian (nata Arundell; Mother of Francis Tregian). Now I shall have to finish it on my own.

The Church was packed out with both clergy and laity. The Extraordinary Form Solemn Mass of Requiem was beautifully done and accompanied by properly Oratorian music ... as if the Bandit Decades of the 60s and 70s had never happened; as if 2013 and the Triumph of the Wolves were just a bad dream.

5 November 2019

Dom Gregory Dix and the Papacy

Anglicans have commonly complained about the definition of Papal jurisdiction in Vatican I as an Ordinary, Episcopal, and Immediate jurisdiction over every Christian. It apparently subverts a doctrine of Episcopacy (sometimes called 'Cyprianic') which has often attracted Anglicans. "It makes the Pope a parallel and superior diocesan bishop in every diocese of Christendom", is the criticism.

Dom Gregory Dix dealt with this by referring to an incident in Anglican history in which, a diocesan having refused to institute a parish priest, the institution was therefore performed, after the legal processes ended with the diocesan losing the case, by or by commission from the Archbishop of Canterbury as Primate. As Dix pointed out, this is Ordinary (in accordance with norms of canon law) Episcopal (conferring the Cura animarum) and Immediate. If Anglicans can accept this, they need have no problems with Pastor Aeternus.

I assumed that this referred to the Gorham judgement of the 1840s, when a High Church bishop, Philpott of Exeter, refused to institute an Evangelical incumbent who denied Baptismal Regeneration. But Fr Alan Cooke of S Mark's Chadderton wrote to me in 2009: " In the early days of Archbishop Lang's primacy, as related on page 379 of Lockhart's biography, Bishop Barnes [the ultra-Modernist bishop] of Birmingham refused to institute a priest of whose views he disapproved. After proceedings in the High Court of Chancery, the Bishop remained intransigent, and the priest was instituted by the Archbishop. I wonder if it might be this incident that was in Dix's mind. He would certainly have had more sympathy with the view of that priest in Birmingham (the Revd Doyle Simmonds) than with those of Mr Gorham."

This may very well be right. But - if I may play Devil's Advocate:
(1) the Gorham case was much more high-profile; and contributed to Archdeacon Manning's departure from the C of E; and
(2) if Dix had 'Gorham' in mind, he really is taking the war into the enemies' territory by arguing that even the most anti-papal factions within Anglicanism are delighted to have a Pio Nono on tap when it suits them and their proddy cause. This is the sort of cheeky ad hominem argument that Dix, like Newman, loved to employ.

I use ad hominem in the Lockean sense of pressing a man with the implications of his own assertions.