25 June 2016

Roma liberanda Papa Rex (1)

The college, founded in 1848, in which I taught for so long was, unaccountably, accused in its early days of being popish; possibly because the Founder Nathaniel Woodard insisted on Confession before the reception of Holy Communion. To be fair, it is true that some of his younger collaborators did go off and become Catholics ... especially a young man called George Bampfield. And he was very popish.

As a Catholic priest, Fr Bampfield founded a number of Catholic schools in which his inculcation of the Faith was mingled with an inculcation of deep personal affection for Blessed Pio Nono. As a young priest Bampfield had been to Rome "to drink of Catholicity at its fountain head" and "had the happiness of kneeling at the feet of Pio Nono". After enlarging his church at Barnet he reopened it on the day of the Sovereign Pontiff's Episcopal Jubilee, and commemorated the occasion in stained glass. His autobiography [written in the third person] relates that "Not only once, but throughout the history of the schools, affection and reverence for the Holy Father had been inculcated and practised continually. So when the death [of B Pius IX] was announced, there was a solemn Requiem in the Church, to which the boys marched in sad procession, headed by the band playing the Dead March in Saul. Even the youngest must have felt that he had lost a friend, and, indeed, this was the truth".

One of the Prize Poems written by a pupil was entitled 'The Prisoner of the Vatican'; and a significant day came in 1874 with "a presentation of colours, worked by the Ladies Howard, sisters of the Duke of Norfolk, to St Andrew's Regiment of Papal Zouaves, for be it known that the boys were devoted to the Pope; that they marched, with band playing and colours flying, to church every Sunday, and that their drum bore the Papal arms and the regimental motto, Roma liberanda, Papa Rex".

You will not need me to tell you that Fr Bampfield had been under the influence of Fr Faber; and how the accounts of his doings bring to life the perfervid papalism of that era. How difficult it is to empathise with it now! To think that there were people who went around advocating that the Temporal Power of the Papacy be defined as a dogma of the Faith! Thank goodness we have moved on to a more balanced papalism!

But I wonder if this is quite the whole story. Perhaps there might be a rather more nuanced interpretation of the narrative.
Bampfield was the model for Fr Barham in Trollope's The Way We Live Now. To be continued.

24 June 2016


For a fortnight from June 25 until July 9 I shall not be looking at a computer or moderating Comments. If you feel strongly about the posts which I plan to publish daily during this period, send Comments after July 9; but you might find it simplest just to regard this blog as a NO COMMENT BLOG during this fortnight.

A splendid day for PARRHESIA

Here is a post I published in April last year, just after the Holy Father had hosted an 'Armenian' Liturgy in Rome and had referred to the Armenian Genocide. I reproduce it here because, according to Chiesa, the Pope has just decided to stop using the word Genocide, out of fear of the Turkish authorities. Is the Chiesa report accurate? If not, justice towards the Roman Pontiff demands that this be known. If it is accurate, perhaps Bergoglio would have to be renamed Pope Unfrank.

The Holy Father's decision to validate with his authority the memory of the Armenian Church and People, despite knowing the rage this would stir up, is heroic. Perhaps it is a new kind of Papal Parrhesia. Pius XII has been unfairly criticised because, although he very clearly condemned the murder of people by reason of their race, and did what he could in Rome to save large numbers of Jews, he did not speak with undiplomatic clarity about who exactly was doing exactly what to precisely whom. Francis has. His action may have repercussions on Catholics in Turkey; I think I recall that S Edith Stein was arrested by the Germans when they decided to collect and exterminate the Dutch baptised Jews after the Dutch episcopate had issued an unambiguous Pastoral Letter condemning the rounding up and deportation of the Dutch unbaptised Jews. And so now, it may be some time before the Holy See, or Turkish Catholics, are in a position to ask a favour of the Turkish government. But if Francis has decided that Parrhesia is more important than Diplomacy, I think his judgement is to be respected. It certainly fits my own feelings.

And his action negates the spirit of the Ostpolitik of an earlier pontificate: delicate and deferential treatment of unfriendly regimes in the hope of securing concessions. Not that modern Turkey is an enemy to Christianity in anything remotely like the way that the Stalinist puppet regimes in Europe were; but it remains true that there is something seedy about refraining from speaking the truth out of prudence. What advantage did we ever gain from being so careful in what we said about the Katyn massacre?

This is a time when atrocities very much like the Armenian Genocide are again happening in the Middle East. It is a time when Western 'Enlightenment' governments are shy with regard to talking about the extermination of Christians, even when it is Christian who are being exterminated. The mobs who roamed through Paris chanting Je suis Charlie have not been moved by the most horrendous videos to march with the cry Je suis Chretien or Je suis Copte. There was a time when the Yazidis were being destroyed ... and journalists very properly reported those horrors with explicit naming of names. The shameful and cowardly mass murder by jihadis of Shia prisoners of war is properly reported. Those same journalists, however, having spent their professional lives deriding and attacking Christianity, feel very reticent about headlining with equal explicitness the fate of the Middle Eastern Christian communities. The Holy Father's frankness is a splendid rebuff to this whole, sick, 'liberal' mentality of airbrushing the Christ word out of the News. It gives a new meaning to the phrase 'Pope Frank'!

Moreover, it shows the Pope as the Father of the entire Christian world, and his Church of Rome as the Mother Church of all the Particular Churches. As well as the hierarchies of the Armenian Christian Communions, the President of Armenia was there. The proclamation of S Gregory of Narek as Universalis Ecclesiae Doctor highlights, in a particular way, the solidarity between the whole Catholic world of Particular Churches in Communion with S Peter, and those other bodies which, having preserved Hierarchy and Sacraments, are true, but wounded, Particular Churches in which the Universal Church is herself manifested (Communionis notio 17).

I think, for the first time in this pontificate, I felt my spirits rise and had a real sense of pride in the present Pope!

Viva il Papa!

RITUAL FOOTNOTE: I thought the liturgy was appropriate. The use of the Third Eucharistic Prayer, with its Orientalising elements, reminded me of Aidan Nichols' valuable suggestion that the Novus Ordo should be renamed as the Ritus Communis. It is not, indeed, authentically the Roman Rite but, as Fr Aidan suggests, could function as a common rite for use among Christians of different rites and traditions. On Sunday, it very fittingly had Armenian elements, particularly musical, worked into it; the Gospel Procession, with two clerics walking backwards in front of the Gospel Book so as continually to cense it, was very memorable (did I hear one of the deacons chant Proskhomen before the Gospel?). On such an occasion as last Sunday, this Ritus Communis might even, surely, include an actual Eucharistic Prayer from an Eastern Rite. The formal proclamation of the status of S Gregory was in Latin, reminding us that enactments which bind all Catholics need to be shown as such by being in the Language of the Church.

You never know ...

 ... how the bad, the poor, and the indifferent may result in the good, even the very good.

Let's take the monstrously and hideously bad.

~ Adolf Hitler's National Socialism. You may not find this easy to believe, but until the 1930s, Oxford Classics was pretty run down. But the persecution of German Jewry meant that, before long, Oxford was crammed with the cream of the Classics Faculties of German Universities. Since then, it has never lost its hegemony among the World's Classics Faculties. When I came up in 1960, it was still possible to benefit from the brilliance of Edward Frankel ... who ran a seminar on Catullus LXIV and who commented on one of his predecessors in the Corpus Chair of Latin " ... a man viz a remarkable instinct for ze improbable" (Robinson Ellis; the analysis/condemnation is absolutely bang on).

~ Now let's move on to ... the monstrously and hideously bad: the Enlightenment and its apotheosis in the French Revolution and the imitators it spawned. In 1797, a revolutionary government, the 'Cisalpine Republic', was set up in a Brescia 'liberated' from la Serenissima Reppublica. As one does, it suppressed the Religious Houses and did a Henry VIII on religious endowments. One of the communities to suffer was the Brixian House of the Order of Preachers. Unused and derelict for a century, it contained a superb Lady Altar piece in pietra dura by Francis Corbarelli and his sons, paid for by the Rosary Confraternity. When its contents were finally dispersed, Fr Keogh of the Brompton Oratory bought the Altar piece and re-erected it in all its splendour, just across the road from the Racine Restaurant.

It was the altar at which, by the very kind permission of the Provost, I said my first Mass after being received into Full Communion with the See of S Peter. I could never have afforded to go to Brescia ...

~ Pope John XXII was, one has to admit, sadly unorthodox on aspects of the Beatific Vision. But he was responsible for the cult of the Blessed Sacrament in the Latin Church ... for the ringing of the Angelus ... the Anima Christi ... and other goodies which make him a strong candidate for the title Godfather of Counter-Reformation Catholicism. When we make a tally of the fruits of the Avignon Papacy, who knows ...

~ So: your great grandchildren may look back in wonder at the pontificate of Francis I and all the good things that came out of it. Take the long view!

23 June 2016

Europhilia or Dr Carey?

What a tease this Referendum is. On the one hand, surely it is good to repudiate Henry Tudor's assertion that the Kingdom of England is an Empire; videlicet exempt from external jurisdiction of any kind. And I've always liked the European Flag, with its overt Marian allusions. Surely, much nicer than the Union Flag which has so many echoes of our imperialist past, before we wisely handed over to the US of A the burden of maintaining a world-wide empire.

But on the other hand, does not the current European Union somewhat promote the secularist agenda of the Enlightenment? Surely, Napoleon is its Godfather? Is this not the Union which declined to allow mention of the Christian centuries in a preamble to its Constitution? Is it really through the machinations of Frau Merkel and the small but perfectly formed Monsieur Hollande that our Lady's Immaculate Heart is to prevail?

To speculate further: on the one hand: could it be that Poland and Hungary represent the first dawn of a newer yet older Europe, a Europe which remembers its 'Christendom' past? Surely, this would be a Europe worth cosying up to?

But on the other hand, might the participation in the counsels of Europe of our own, British, relativist and violently anti-Catholic political and cultural classes hinder rather than help such a welcome reditus ad fontes?

On the one hand, one Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and an emeritus ditto, and one Archbishop of Canterbury and an emeritus ditto, are unanimously Europhile. These are all, of course, immensely wise men whose lead I would, needless to say, follow on absolutely anything whatsoever except, I rather think, for Doctrine, Liturgy, Sex, Money, or other such-like trivia.

On the other hand, an Archbishop emeritus of Canterbury and Primate of All England (who was once, back in the 1980s, rude about me personally in the correspondence columns of the Tablet) is Europhobe.

I just don't know what to think. Do you?

22 June 2016


O magnam concordiam mentium magnarum! In Encaeniis (quibus hodie interfuimus)  Oxoniensibus Orator Publicus, ducens ad Cancellarium Musicum quendam Estoniensem ARVO PART 'tininnabulorum magistrum', haec locutus est: "Callimachus [videte inferius] integros fontes e quibus olige libas fluit lutoso flumini Assyriae anteponit; ita multi sonis chromaticis exsatiati, limpidos huius viri numeros gratis auribus hauriunt."

I found recently at the bottom of a drawer a piece of advertising, infra, which must have struck me a few decades ago as worth cutting out and keeping ... and certainly still so strikes me now ... as being a superb example of a particular literary genre. This genre I met as a youth when, for the first but not the last time, I read Evelyn Waugh's diverting send-up, not simply of the American Funeral Industry, but of what Europeans naughtily imagine to be the entire North American way of life and death ... and way of speech. (Some readers may also be reminded of Max Beerbohm's Rhodes Scholar Oover.)

Waugh is especially cruel about American advertising. I suppose among the characteristics of what he satirises is an aspiration to literary diction which succeeds in achieving pretentious pomposity. I wonder, too, if it is influenced by a hankering among post-moderns for an imagined Arcadia. This would bracket efforts like the following with the idylls and eclogues of Theocritus and Vergil, peering out from the crowded, violent and dirty megalopoleis of the Greco-Roman world and seeing melodious shepherds wooing uncomplicated shepherdesses with a penchant for speaking Doric in a never-never countryside devoid of thistles.

This is what I found at the bottom of the drawer:

                                   THE BEE ON THE BARLEY

In the ancient Lordship of Badenoch, at the wild heart of the Scottish Highlands, Stag's Breath Liqueur is created with dedicated care, inspired in its baptism by the epic Whisky Galore.

Here is the outcome of the mystical alchemy of distillation that transforms the grain of the bearded barley and cloud-pure burn water into the golden liquid of life of the Gaels.

Husbanded to mellow maturity in the cool aisles of glenside bonds it has been married to another fermentation - no less magical - the crop of the honey bees working their quiet purpose across the slopes of the heather-clad Highland hills.

It is the lightness of summer sun entwined with the limpid depths of Northern lochs. Sip and savour it. It is an essence of Scotland.

Other such 'essences' 'of the Gaels' might, I suppose, include the effluvia in Sauchiehall Street after a  Saturday evening.

Come to think of it, "cloud-pure burn water" suggests a topos favoured by Callimachus and his imitators. I wonder if this piece was composed by an American Classicist with his/her tongue in his/her cheek? I honestly don't think that Dorothy Sayers and her colleagues at Pym's Publicity would have run to anything as extravagant as Stag's Breath or mystical alchemy. I assume that "inspired in its baptism by" is High American for "we got the name from"? 

21 June 2016

Prelatical unemployment??

You won't catch me agreeing with all those dreadful traddies on blogs like Rorate in criticising our Holy Father's splendidly crisp new system for getting rid of "bishops" he doesn't like.

Since the Roman Pontiff is in the strict sense the only true Bishop in the Church, it follows that other "bishops" are Romani Pontificis vicarii tantum et legati. Since the Spirit, who is always waiting to surprise the Church with new truth, reveals His New Things through the Pope, and since all "bishops" are under an obligation to follow this "Spirit who speaks through Francis" [Mgr Pinto], it follows that the Pope must have the inalienable right to mould and fashion the universal "Episcopate" so that, both corporately and individually, it expresses precisely the style and policy and culture which, guided by the Spirit, he wishes all the "bishops" to have.*

Having listened to ones "Bishop", one ought to be able confidently and joyously to proclaim [ex. gr.] Verba Vincentii, Vox Francisci!

Pope Francis' new motu proprio about getting rid of unsuitable "bishops", the title of which might be loosely but happily englished as Mummy loves you, truly and most admirably fills a gap in the Church's Law. Don't listen to Rorate; this legislation is to be warmly welcomed.

This also is the moment, I feel, to plug yet another lacuna in the Church's canonical armoury: the lack of a section in Canon Law headed De Pontifice Romano semovendo [Provisions for the Removal of the Roman Pontiff].

As we all know, reputable authors have for centuries been in disagreement as to whether
(1) a heretic pope ipso facto loses his Office -  but then needs the Church authoritatively to declare that this has happened; or whether
(2) a heretic pope needs to be removed actu Ecclesiae before the Apostolic See is vacant.

This detail can easily be sorted out, and Bergoglio is just the man to do it.

I suggest that when a Pope is accused of doctrinal error or Narcissism or other grave misbehaviour, he should be tried by a Jury of 201 of his Venerable Brethren in the "Episcopate": fifty nominated by the Pope himself; fifty nominated by his accusers; and 101 selected (as in Ancient Athens) purely by lot. That's fair, surely?

In the text of a motu proprio which I have already carefully drafted laying out the appropriate procedures, my final section reads like this:
Qualora ritenga opportuna la rimozione del Papa, la Giuria stabilira, in base alle circonstanze del caso, se:
(1) dare, nel piu breve tempo possibile, il decreto di rimozione;
(2) esortare fraternamente il Papa a presentare la sua rinuncia in un termine di 2 giorni. Se il Papa non da la sua risposta nel termine previsto, la Giuria potra emettere il decreto di rimozione.

Anybody see any flaws in that? Italian grammar OK? Rather nicely drafted and crafted, don't'ya think? Or is potra a bit weak? Isn't fraternamente a lovely adverb? And esortare a beautiful verb?

*POST SCRIPTUM To avoid scandal, I ought to make clear that every single statement in my second paragraph is completely contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church. I think I must have just been carried away by a Whimsical Spirit of Irony.

20 June 2016

20 June 1916

A century ago today, Viscount Halifax delivered an address to an Anglo-Catholic Society; it seems to me that the remarks he made then to his fellow Anglicans apply now in so many parishes of the Catholic Church.

"How many feel when they are assisting at Mass that they are kneeling at our Lord's feet, beneath His Cross? That here is the offering which pleads for the whole world, for the sins of all, living and departed, the one offering of infinite worth we can make to "Our Father", the one offering which enables us to say with a sure confidence: "Look on the Face of thy Son, and only look on us as found in Him". Look on us who plead for the living and the dead that one Sacrifice offered by Him for all the sins of the world, past, present, and to come, that Offering by which Christ our Lord set Himself apart as the Victim for our salvation on the night of His Passion, that Offering completed on Calvary which is offered in all the plenitude of its power and efficacy wherever there is a priest to make the oblation of Christ's Body and Blood, and which has constituted the one great and abiding  Sacrifice of the Christian Church since the Day of Pentecost. When this is not realized, no wonder that the altars of the Church are deserted. "I, if I am lifted up, will draw all men unto Me". How, if there is no consciousnes of that lifting up, no horror of the sins that necessitated so great an expiation, no sense of the need of the application of that expiation to ourselves, no perception that here and now the Lamb as it had been slain on Calvary is the one Offering that satisfies human needs and the cry of human souls? Surely, if there is any lack here, this is the point which most demands attention; surely here is the supreme object towards which all our efforts at improvement should be directed."

19 June 2016

Ecclesiology and our current problems

I suspect that if you were to use the word Ecclesiology in any gathering of clergy or laity, eyes might glaze over. Yet in Ecclesiology is the major internal crisis afflicting the Christian world.

Perhaps the Anglicans started it ... with their notion of Provincial Autonomy; their belief that Scripture, the Law of God, the Sacraments, Holy Order, Gender are all interminably mutable at the say-so of a Parliament or a quasi-Parliamentary "Synod" in each local ecclesial community. Of the once proud Anglican Patrimony, the only authentic fragments surviving its inevitable and total collapse are the Ordinariates.

But things ecclesiological are not too well in the Catholic Church. After Vatican II, the idea arose that a pope could do anything; that he is an absolute monarch. The Vatican I linkage of the Papacy with Tradition was found to be an obstacle to the urgent need felt by powerful influences to utilise the Papacy in order to make a completely new start, and to do so within months rather than within decades.

That dangerous culture of rupture is now reaping its harvest during this calamitously dysfunctional pontificate, in which (not to stray beyond the immediately topical) the Roman Pontiff can apparently declare one day that the great majority of sacramental marriages is invalid, and a day later order the record of his words to be changed. I, as a married man with married children, have found this episode both cruel and unFatherly and deeply offensive. More importantly, it is but another example of Bergoglio's disturbing disregard of the Magisterium of his predecessors. Compare, if you will, his views with the considered and nuanced words of Pope S John Paul II on the same subject, expressed in his Address to the Roman Rota of Friday 21 January 2000.

Might some minds turn Eastwards? They would be ill-advised to do so. Whatever the official theoretical ecclesiology of the Separated Byzantine Churches is, whatever their practical ecclesiology, it seems to be unravelling before our very eyes. The Conciliarism promoted by some Orthodox apologists has often appeared to us Latins to be a convenient ad hoc paper polemic against Papism rather than something which vitally sustains Orthodoxy itself. And as the 'Holy and Great Council' of the Orthodox Churches meets this morning, we are told that it lacks the largest of those Churches; as of yesterday, the oldest of its Patriarchates, and a couple of other national churches, were not intending to be present and the Greek Church had needed to revise its list of representatives after (according to the Greek media) a dozen or so hierarchs declined to participate. So the Council is unable to provide, as was previously promised, unanimity of consensus even among the 'officially recognised' Orthodox Churches. How will it not instead merely precipitate a distinction within Orthodoxy between 'Conciliar Orthodox' and 'Anti-Conciliar Orthodox', to add to the existing division between 'Recognised Churches' and 'Unrecognised Churches'?

An able Orthodox writer, Protopresbyter Dr Peter Heers, in a persuasive book (The Ecclesiological Renovation of Vatican II), has argued in effect that Pope S Stephen was wrong and S Cyprian was right; that outside Orthodoxy there is no authentic ecclesial life. I am unconvinced that such 'back to the third century' radicalism can even be found consistent with large portions of Orthodox history. Did S Markos Eugenikos and his brethren really arrive at Florence loudly proclaiming that the Latins were all unbaptised pagans? But this is a book [my grateful thanks to the friend who sent me a copy] which intelligently and eruditely interrogates our assumptions and is impossible to ignore.

Perhaps out of the wreckage of our different crises we might be able to start to work our faltering way laboriously across the ruins to a new and vivifying integration of Ecclesiology. The writings of Joseph Ratzinger might provide some hand-rails through the trickier places. And we of the Anglican Patrimony could do worse than to blow the dust off the writings of Dix and Mascall and Jalland.

17 June 2016

Wise Words from Willis

"To me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses for ever, and not be tired." Words of "Willis" ... a character - a sympathetic character - in Newman's semi-autobiographical novel Loss and Gain. My judgement is that Newman used this persona to speak with a personal passion that might have seemed excessive if he had spoken in propria persona. (There is often something very English about our beloved Beatus.)

Many of you will not have heard of Richard Holloway, Anglican former Bishop of Edinburgh, and later a "Christian agnostic". He was once Vicar of S Mary Mag's Church in Oxford; "Western Rite", as we used to say; baroque; the altar cluttered with reliquaries; everything of the best. Holloway, post-lapsation, continued to say Mass, despite being an agnostic, and wrote "The Eucharist ... is the way you express your identity and membership of that body. I happen to believe that it is a beautiful art form as well."

Professor Dawkins once expressed his puzzlement that Dr Antony Kenny, a lapsed RC priest who was a fine Warden of Balliol, seemed unable to get religion out of his system despite the years that have rolled by since he left the Catholic priesthood. And Terry Eagleton, Catholic Marxist of the 1960s ("the Eucharist is a paradigm of a socialist society"), whose precise credal identity some now find elusive, wrote an angry book attacking the playground bullies of the current atheistic intellectual establishment.

What people find hard to get out of their system, whatever their intellectual doubts, is the haunting, absorbing, unforgettable magic of the Mass. We understand this, don't we?

16 June 2016


This won't mean anything at all to you unless you've read the first two parts.

In 1570, S Pius V promulgated the Missal with which his name is associated. In it, as we have seen, he continued the use of the Versio Romana for the snippets of psalm which occur (Introit, Gradual, etc.) in the Mass propers. Despite the fact that they were a text which differed from the standard Vulgate text of the Bible which was used in the Breviary, S Pius, as a good conservative Pontiff, perpetuated the use of the 'obsolete' psalter. With collaudate in that psalm.

But 1570 was followed by a period in which the Church was consolidating against heresy, and part of this process was the establishment of the Vulgate Latin Bible as the standard version of reference for Catholic theologians (Popes Sixtus V and Clement VIII through the 1590s). Printers are clever and energetic men. So, without encouragement from the Holy See, they began to print editions of the Missal in which they replaced the Versio Romana texts by the equivalent translation in the recently affirmed official Vulgate. With laudate in that psalm.

In 1604, Pope Clement VIII reacted to this. He issued his own edition of the Missal of S Pius V. In it he wrote:

"... errors have crept in, by which that most ancient translation of the Holy Bible, which even before S Jerome's times was held to be well-known (celebris) within the Church, and from which almost all the introits of Masses, and what are called graduals and offertories, have been taken, was totally taken away ... we, having noticed this, by virtue of our pastoral solicitude, by which in all matters, and especially in the sacred rites of the Church, we are anxious to keep and preserve the best and ancient norm ...

and he went on to prohibit absolutely these Improved and Modernised Missals with which the printers were filling the bookshops. Back to collaudate!

Here we see two Roman Pontiffs performing their age-old duty of being a breakwater, a defence (remora was Newman's term) against unnecessary innovation and trendy Improvements.

We see Clement VIII doing this even though those printers had only been guilty of prioritising that very text of Scripture which he himself had just published and had ordered to be deemed authentic.

That is what Roman Pontiffs are for.

To sum up this three-part dissertation:
PIUS XII ... ... er ...

Isn't that a lovely phrase ..."the best and ancient norm ..."?

15 June 2016


This is only comprehensible to those who have read part (1).
Notice the word in the psalm which I put in italics I am going to use it as a 'litmus paper'.

When the Pian psalter appeared, it changed that second laudate to praedicate. Why? the meaning in each case is "praise". I am not a Hebraist, but I suspect that the reason was that, in the original Hebrew, two different words were used for "praise" ("O praise the Lord, all ye heathen: praise him all ye nations"). I have of course my trusty Brown Driver & Briggs beside me, but I can't see any difference in meaning between these two words. The first was the usual Hebrew verb for praising: HLL (which gives us Halleluia, and Hallel and is the first word of the 'Laudate' psalms). The second was a rare word, an Aramaic importation: SBH. So Bea and his merry men decided to reproduce this difference by using two different Latin words.

As I said, the Wicked Bea translation was so hated by the Good and True that, when under Bl John Paul II a revision of the entire Vulgate was taken in hand, it was unceremoniously dumped and replaced by a translation which paid proper respect to traditional Christian Latin. Hooray.

So did praedicate disappear to be replaced by the 'original'  laudate?  Er ... no. It was replaced by collaudate ...

Bear with me; we're nearly finished. Let's go back to the time when the Latin Bible first appeared, translating Scripture from the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. We need to know that two versions (at least) emerged. The first, commonly called the Versio Romana, was probably constructed by S Jerome using the even earlier Latin translation called the Vetus Latina. The Versio Romana survives to this day in the snippets of psalms which we get in the Mass propers of the Missale Romanum of S Pius V. So check - if you feel inclined -  the Mass of the Pentecost Ember Saturday. It has collaudate in the text of this psalm ... because that is what the Versio Romana had. But a later version by S Jerome, commonly called the Versio Gallicana, is used in the Breviary. It gives us laudate at this point; which is why this word is familiar to those of you who say the Breviary ... from which it was borrowed for the nice, snappy, happy psalm which we sing at the end of Benediction as Father manipulates the lunette back into the standing pyx and returns our Blessed Lord to the Tabernacle.

So you see: those responsible for the Neovulgate of Bl John Paul II sadly, in my own view, did not give us back the words which many of us were familiar with from the Breviary or from Benediction. But by looking back at the Versio Romana they did at least conduct themselves within the boundaries of the authentic Latin Christian tradition.


Pius XII, in 1945, two decades before the Council, behaved himself in a way exemplifying the Hermeneutic of Rupture. He may be the favourite Pope of the Sedevacantist Tendency, but, in this respect ... BAD

S John Paul II, in 1987, two decades after the Council, behaved himself in a way rooted in the Hermeneutic of Continuity; his change was 'organic'. Despite the fact that this pontiff is a bete noire among some traddies ... GOOD

Well, there you go. But I do have one more, very tasty, detail, relating to Good Popes and Bad Popes, to share with you.