24 May 2015

Variis linguis loquebantur Apostoli

But among the many tongues the Church speaks nowadays, Latin, the proper language of the Latin Church, apparently is not to feature.

Getting back to the Internet after a short break, I noticed that an American bishop has cheerfully informed the world that not many clergy know Latin nowadays, so that it's hard to find any who can celebrate the Extraordinary Form. He is not the first bishop who has said something similar in public.

I am amazed by the nonchalant way that bishops make this point without any apparent awareness that Canon Law (249) requires the clergy to be proficient in Latin. If a diocesan bishop were rebuking a negligent pastor for ignoring Canon Law, what would be his reaction if the cleric concerned cheerfully and nonchalantly said "Come off it, Bish dear, nobody takes any notice of all that old Canon Law c**p any more nowadays! Crawl out from under your mitre and try to get real!" But apparently there are bishops who feel exactly thus with regard to Canon Law. Is chirpy insouciance any less reprehensible among bishops than it is among presbyters? 

I am moved to repeat an old post of my own on this very subject.

S JOHN XXIII and Latin.
 Roman Pontiffs do not commonly sign their Magisterial documents on the High Altar of S Peter's in the presence of the body of Cardinals. But S John XXIII thus promulgated his Apostolic Constitution Veterum sapientia, 1962, in which he insisted that the Latin language must remain central to the culture of Western Christianity. What on earth could the good old gentleman have done in order to make his point more emphatically?

That Letter was praised by B Paul VI (Studia Latinitatis, 1964, " ... principem obtinere locum dicenda sane est"), who was anxious that seminarians "magna cum cura et diligentia ad antiquas et humanas litteras informentur"; and S John Paul II (Sapientia Christiana) emphasised the requirement for knowlege of Latin "for the faculties of the Sacred Sciences, so that students can understand and use the sources and documents of the Church". More recently Benedict XVI (Latina lingua, 2012), praised Veterum sapientia as having been issued iure meritoque: it is to be taken seriously both because of its legal force and because of the intrinsic merit of its arguments; and in his Encyclical Sacramentum Caritatis wrote specifically about the need for seminarians to be taught Latin. We have, in other words, a coherent and continuous expectation in the teaching of popes S John XXIII, B Paul VI, S John Paul II, and Benedict XVI that all seminarians should become proficient in Latin, the language of the Church. [So let nobody argue that the provisions of Canon 249 have fallen into desuetude because the legislator has failed within living memory to continue to insist upon them.] And the attitude of the popes to the promotion of Latin studies in even broader contexts than that of the formation of the clergy is demonstrated in the establishment by B Paul VI of a Latin Academy; a foundation re-established and strengthened by Benedict XVI.

This papal teaching by no means relates solely to the language of worship; it desires Latin to remain a living vernacular for the clergy and not least for their formation; and it is explicitly based upon the belief that, by being latinate, a clerisy will have access to a continuity of culture. My post would have to be very long indeed if it quoted fully all the words of all four popes to this effect. Coming as I do from the Anglican Patrimony, I will instead share the witness of C S Lewis's Devil Screwtape, who confessed, "Since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another". And in his Pilgrim's Regress, Lewis suggests that the growing disuse of Classical languages is a Diabolical trick to isolate the educated classes from the wisdom of the Past. Both in secular culture and within the Church, there is a risk that the educated class will be cut off and imprisoned in the narrow confines of a particular culture - victims of its particular Zeitgeist. A literate clerisy is one that reads what other ages wrote, which means that it will at least be able to read Latin; and an obvious sign of such a clerisy, in practical terms, will be that it can with ease read its Divine Office in Latin.

VATICAN II and Latin.
It is in this context that we must see the requirement of Vatican II (Sacrosanctum Concilium 101): "In accordance with the centuries-old tradition (saecularis traditio) of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in reciting the Divine Office". And it is highly significant that it goes on to make any use of the vernacular an (apparently very rare) exception which bishops can grant "only on an individual basis". One might plausibly surmise that this exception may have been envisaged as useful in areas where resources for clerical formation were limited, like the remoter parts of the 1960s Third World. I wonder how the Council Fathers - or a significant proportion of them - might have reacted to the information that in less than a decade the bishops of Western, Old, Europe (whose culture both religious and secular had been based upon Latin for nearly two millennia, the continent of the great universities in which the civilisation of the Greek and Roman worlds had been transmitted) would regard both this conciliar mandate, reinforced by the directions of the Conciliar Decree Optatam totius on seminary training, as an irrelevant dead letter. As early as 1966, B Paul VI was deploring (Sacrificium laudis) the habit of requesting dispensations for a vernacular Office.

Readers of this blog are probably familiar* with the other prescriptions of Vatican II for the retention of Latin, particularly in the Liturgy, and I will not labour the point. I emphasise that I am not basing an argument for the retention of a living Latin culture simply and nakedly upon the words of the Council. The auctoritas for that retention is very much more broadly based, as the Council Fathers themselves emphasised by calling it and invoking it as a saecularis traditio. The conciliar mandate is merely a dutiful affirmation, proper to an Ecumenical Council of the Church, of the continuity and abiding prescriptiveness of the Church's Tradition; the guarantee making explicit that in an age of revolutions the old assumptions are still in place. Without these words of the Council, it might have been plausibly argued by ill-disposed persons that a radical cultural and intellectual shift had invalidated previous assumptions. In view of the plain language of the Council, such a thesis can only be advanced as a deliberate repudiation of the explicit words of an Ecumenical Council ... as well as of the centuries preceding it and of the teaching of subsequent popes. 

CANON LAW and Latin.
But not long ago I met a bright and recently ordained young priest who had been taught "a little Greek but not a word of Latin". So, despite Canon 249 (in the post-Conciliar Code of Canon Law), the clergy have not all learned, and are not now all being taught, Latin as part of their seminary formation?

Well, of course they all haven't so learnt, and are not all being so taught. Everybody knows that. A priest of my acquaintance once wrote to me "When I was a seminarian in the 1980s, the very fact of having done a course in Latin at University was considered tantamount to a declaration in favour of Archbishop Lefebvre. A priest who gave a retreat (a prominent moral theologian of those days) searched our places in choir and denounced those who possessed Latin Breviaries as certainly having no vocation". One can hardly blame the present generation of English bishops for a problem which looks as though it arose more than half a century ago (in any case, blame is not my purpose). Indeed, I have heard that matters may now be a little less bad. But not, I believe, everywhere, and certainly not for all seminarians. Surely Catholic Bishops have some say about the syllabuses taught in seminaries? Surely they have some responsibility for the formation of their own clergy? Are they happy that seminaries are run in a way which pays only very selective regard to the Magisterium of S John XXIII, so recently canonised? And to the Second Vatican Council, which (vide Optatam totius 13) laid emphasis on the role of Latin in seminary education: or is that particular Conciliar document now to be consigned to oblivion? B Paul VI, so recently beatified, as the first in his list of academic priorities for seminarians, wrote "The cultural formation of the young priest must certainly include an adequate knowledge of languages  and especially of Latin (particularly for those of the Latin Rite)." (Summi Dei verbum.) There has long been a tacit assumption among some that the Magisterium of the 'pre-Conciliar popes' is to be quietly forgotten. Pius IX? Pius XII? Who on earth were they? But now one might be forgiven for wondering whether the Magisterium of the Council itself, and the teaching of the 'post-Conciliar popes', are now also (when it suits) being treated with similar contempt. Are these more recent Pontiffs to be elaborately honoured with Beatifications and break-neck-speed Canonisations and facile rhetorical praise, while their actual teaching, emphatically and insistently given, is tossed aside as irrelevant or impractical?

"There just isn't room on the syllabus for any of that". Is there not? Since entering into Full Communion in 2011, I have met significant numbers of clergy who have deplored the fact that, at seminary, they were robbed of what the Catholic Church regards as the first building block of a priestly formation. They have seemed to have in mind quite a number of useless topics which could profitably have been omitted so as to liberate syllabus time.

Cardinal Basil Hume, back in the 1990s, reminded Anglican enquirers that "Catholicism is table d'hote, not a la carte". Surely that gives an ex-Anglican some right to wonder whether this principle also applies as much to those who run or who episcopally supervise seminaries as it does to Anglican enquirers?

A final quotation from S John XXIII. "The teachers ... in universities or seminaries are required to speak Latin (latine loqui tenentur) and to make use of textbooks written in Latin. Those whose ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for them to obey these instructions shall gradually be replaced by teachers who are suited to this task (in eorum locum doctores ad hoc idonei gradatim sufficiantur). Any difficulties that may be advanced by students or professors must be overcome (vincantur necesse est) either by the patient insistence of the bishops or religious superiors, or by the good will of the teachers."

And a final question: how many of those currently teaching in English seminaries are idonei?
*You sometimes find claims made to the effect that "Vatican II mandated more extensive use of vernacular languages in the liturgy". Sacrosanctum concilium para 54 says 'Linguae vernaculae in Missis cum populo celebratis congruus locus tribui possit'. Doesn't sound to me much like a 'mandate'. Not even 'potest'! It goes on to say 'praesertim' and mentions the readings. Then, much more cautiously, it raises the possibility of the vernacular 'even' (etiam) 'in partibus quae ad populum spectant' linking this with a specific requirement that the laity should also be able to sing and say those selfsame parts in Latin. Hardly a 'mandate' for the vernacular! Rather, a nervously tentative partial permission.

23 May 2015

Communion Procession in a new Dark Age? (2)

The thesis I am testing is that the moment when S Pius X started encouraging frequent communion is the moment at which the the mass cultural Catholicism of post-Constantinian Chritianity, in which mass conversions led to a situation in which most people and most societies were not radically 'converted', had been superseded. Some anecdotes from my own unsystematic reading of Irish Church History: a twelfth century Bishop of Ardfert (i.e. Kerry) was reputed to be "chaste". Just think what that implies for the most of the episcopate: they were presumably Caseys, Doyles, and Conrys to a man! I once amused byself by looking at the entries in episcopal registers of the late medieval parochial clergy of Kerry. Time and time again, the record revealed that a cleric was dispensed for illegitimacy. That might mean that most couples were not canonically married and that therefore most children were canonically illegitimate; or, more probably, that these clerics were the sons of priests who naturally planned to inherit their fathers' trade: in either case, it tells us something about society!

But the counter-Reformation implied a clericate different from the medieval priesthood in which a man who could read but had no training could turn up at the Embertide and be ordained (the old system which, like so many of the medieval abuses, survived in the Church of England long after the Catholic Church had moved on). The introduction of seminaries meant a much more professionalised priesthood with an expectation that they would have a more professional attitude to the formation of their laity.

By the time of S Pius X, things were ripe for a new Catholicism in which frequent Confession and frequent Communion could be encouraged. The Dark Ages had finally come to an end. Their ritual marks remained; Communion from the tabernacle rather than within Mass was still common in Oxford Anglo-Catholicism when I was an undergraduate in the 1960s; in both East and West the Body of Christ was not delivered into the hands of the laity; neither was the Chalice delivered into the hands of the laity. Both of these were practices which developed in the 'Dark Ages' out of fear profanation or sacrilege. But, with a more trained and 'sacramentalised' laity, the situation had become ripe for change.

Dv, to be continued.

22 May 2015

"Communion Procession" in a new Dark Age? (1)

In the CTS hand Missal for the Laity, where one might expect a heading "COMMUNION", there is instead the heading "COMMUNION PROCESSION"; "Communion" has, functionally, become adjectival. Syntactically, this rather teutonic agglutinisation of nouns is a phenomenon which has become very common, and is often found in newspaper headings. "Football Manager" "Rape Victim" "Crash Survivor". There is no justification in the Ordo Missae itself for this particular insertion. It seems to me strange that emphasis should thus be taken off the centrality of the act of Holy Communion and the weight made to rest upon the act of processing.

But there is reference to the Communion Procession in the IGMR. In its original 1969 version it read (56 (i) "... cantus ad Communionem, cuius est  ... processionem ad Corpus Christi suscipiendum magis fraternam reddere." In 2001, this became " ... cantus ad Communionem, cuius est ... indolem 'communitariam' processionis ad Eucharistiam suscipiendam magis in lucem ponere." This is undoubtedly a strengthening of the idea. As for the idea itself, I can't see much in Jungmann's Volume II to support it.

The propriety of this development seems to me to arise from the process of frequent communion encouraged by S Pius X, and so accentuated since the middle years of the last century that it became  what we Anglicans used to call a "A General Communion". I want to suggest that the impetus given to this by the Holy Pontiff needs to be seen in a particular historical context.

It was in the nineteenth century that Catholicism in many countries was reformed very radically in its social manifestations. Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, presided over a revolution which eliminated the centuries-old peasant Catholicism of Irish culture (elements of which I strongly suspect go back to the sixth century) and finally imposed the discipline ... I nearly wrote 'military discipline' ... of the Counter-Reformation. In particular, out went the 'patterns', the old Patronal Festivals, which although cultic were occasions of every known kind of debauchery. The old Catholicism, in which one went to confession before Easter so as to be in a state of Grace and 'fit' to receive at Easter the Holy Communion which most people did not receive during the rest of the year, was laudably replaced by a new Catholicism in which the clergy were encouraged to strive to ensure that their people were normally, and not just for a few days each spring, in a state of Grace.

I suspect that a connection could be found between this and the general increase in disapproval of adultery, and other sexual sins, in both Protestant and Catholic contexts. As late as the seventeenth century royal courts, nobody failed to believe that adultery was a mortal sin. But equally, it was a cultural assumption that Kings did commit that mortal sin of adultery and even had mistresses en titre, right down - in France - to the accession of the saintly Louis XVI; and acknowledged and ennobled their bastards. I read somewhere of an uxorious German prince who maintained mistresses he didn't sleep with because princely status required it! In England, that culture lasted until William IV in the 1830s; the eldest of his bastards by Dorothy Bland, of Parknasilla in Co Kerry (where Pam and her sons and sons-in-law played golf in just about the most scenic 12 hole hotel course there must be anywhere) was made Earl of Munster ... but nota bene ... only the eldest son and only an earl. By the end of the same century it had become unthinkable that Albert Edward Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, certainly one of the hundred most unedifying lechers known to history, should acknowledge and ennoble bastards.

Things had changed.

Dv, to continue.

21 May 2015

The Roman Church and Holy Order

Until the post-Conciliar 'reforms', the Roman Church had a very simple doctrine of Holy Order. She taught, by her Liturgy, that in Ordination men become the antitypes of the Jewish sacrificial orders of ministry as we find them in the Old Testament.

We first meet this approach in the Epistle of S Clement to the Church in Corinth (capp 40-44), a text so early that it speaks of the Jerusalem Temple as if still functioning. Its teaching about Christian Eucharistic presidency assimilates it closely (in fact, so closely that one can say indistinguishably) to the Temple High Priesthood. Thus this extremely Roman doctrine of the Ministry appears to go back to the very earliest days of the Roman Church.

It is found fully operative in the Prayer for Episcopal consecration used in the Roman Church until the aftermath of Vatican II. That Prayer asked that whatsoever it was that the vesture of the Aaronic priesthood signified in outward splendour might show forth in the conversation and deeds of the Christian Bishop. God was asked that the consecrandus should be so sanctified with the dew of heavenly unction that he might be filled inside and surrounded outside with faith, purity of love, sincerity of peace. The bias of the Prayer is the moral virtue which should be conspicuous in a bishop. And God has chosen the candidate ad summi sacerdotii ministerium, for the ministry of the High Priestood. I doubt if there is a syllable in this prayer with which the writer of I Clement would have been uncomfortable. It is so concerned to balance types, aenigmata figurarum, and antitypes, certiora experimenta, that it has barely a word which is indebted uniquely to the New Testament. It thus appears to go back essentially to that early period when the New Testament Canon was unfixed and the New Testament was not yet seen as a normative text which ought to colour theology and euchology.

A writer deeply involved in the post-Conciliar alterations, Dom Bernard Botte, analysed accurately the spirit of the old Roman Prayer. And he commented "The literary form of this section did not make up for its poor content. The typology insisted exclusively on the cultic role of the bishop and left aside his apostolic ministry... I didn't see how we could make a coherent whole ... Should we create a new prayer from start to finish?" Instead, Botte recommended to his colleagues the Prayer contained in a text of which "I had just finished a critical edition" - the Prayer for Episcopal Consecration in the Apostolic Tradition of an early Roman writer, Hippolytus. Half a century later, academic opinion seems united in the conclusion that this text is not in fact the Apostolic Tradition and is not by Hippolytus and has nothing to do with Rome. Talk about all our eggs in one basket ... talk about dangers ... talk about big badly broken eggs. The fad for Pseudo-Hippolytus in the 1960s might appropriately be termed the Humpty Dumpty era of Liturgiology.

"The first time I proposed this to my colleagues, they looked at me in disbelief ... they didnt believe it had the slightest chance of being accepted." But Botte had a trick up his sleeve. The pseudo-Hippolytan Prayer which he was sponsoring was widely used throughout what we now call Oriental Christendom but which our grandfathers more prosaically termed the Monophysites and the Nestorians. "The essential ideas of the the Apostolic Tradition can be found everywhere. Reusing the old text in the Roman Rite would affirm a unity of outlook between East and West on the Episcopacy. This was an ecumenical argument. It was decisive."

Two points. Firstly: what a confession! So Father Ted was right in our dear old eponymous television series. You will remember that, faced with an unwelcome visit from a bishop, and fearful that his outrageous retired colleague Father Jack would be an embarrassment, Ted trains the aged clerical drunk to reply to any episcopal query with the answer "Well, that would be an ecumenical question." The strategy worked ... just as it worked for Bernard Botte. In the atmosphere of the 1960s, you could get away with any crime or any deception if you chanted the mantra "Ecumenical".

Secondly: you get an "affirmation of unity of outlook" only if it is true that "Aptrad" is both of ancient Roman origin and is widely used in the East. If, however, the Prayer has no known connections with the Rome, then its adoption there would be ... in fact, was ... and still is ... the imposition of an Oriental formula of dubious origin upon the West.

And the baby that went out with the bathwater was the authentically Roman tradition which we found in I Clement and in the Roman Pontifical; a tradition dismissed by Botte in the phrase "The literary form ... did not make up for its poor content."

This revolution, unmandated by the Council, constitutes one of the major abiding scandals to result from the 'reforms' which followed Vatican II, but were never called for by the Conciliar texts.

20 May 2015

Our Lady in Eastertide

Down in Cornwall, during the Middle Ages, they had religious plays in the ancient Cornish language ... yes, the selfsame language that some enthusiasts are currently trying to revive. In fact, these dramas in Medieval Cornish are the main basis of the 'revived' language ... which I find oddish. Just suppose we spoke an English constructed upon the verses of Chaucer, without paying any attention to the fact that our Geoffrey had both chosen and arranged his words so as to fit his metrical scheme! After all (and I admit that this is an extreme parallel), Homer's Greek can never have been spoken as a vernacular by anyone. Something similar must go for the poetic diction of pretty well every language and age.

However ... I am wandering yet again. Back to the point. In the Resurrexio Domini [sic], the Lord (of course) appears first to his Immaculate Mother. It is a beautifully constructed scene, full of human interest; the Mother of God, for example, needs to be reassured that her Risen Son really has no pains, no permanent ill-effects, from the ordeals he has been through!

Medieval Cornish, like Modern English, was an omnivorous language heavy with vocabulary, quotations, phrases, technicalities, expletives from other languages ... English; Latin borrowings going back to the Roman Occupation; contemporary Latin borrowings; French (another thing which the inventors of 'Modern Cornish' can't stand; rather as Herr Hitler did for the German language, their dictionaries constantly enjoin us not to use loan-words amply attested in the literature, but to stick to pure 'Celtic' roots). And the Lord greets his Mother with the Latin phrase O salve Sancta Parens. This, of course, is the beginning of the Introit for Eastertide Masses of our Lady (and comes ultimately from Sedulius). The O needs to be in the Cornish text because the lines have to have seven syllables.

Now: here comes the puzzle. Throughout the manuscript, there are two scribal hands. Manus prima, is the slightly faded original. Rather darker, manus secunda adds some stage directions, changes some ts to ds, and, at one point, appears to have updated a joke by erasing three lines and writing some different Cornish placenames into the space thus made available ... making it, I suspect, topical to a different audience from that for which the manus prima had originally written out the play.

In the greeting O salve Sancta parens, it looks as if that erasing knife has again been at work underneath the first two words. Over that rasura, O salve is darkly inked in by manus secunda.

I cannot for the life of me guess what has gone on here. What might manus prima originally have written? Why? Might it be as simple as this: manus prima wrote Salve Sancta parens; manus secunda realised that a syllable extra was needed - made a botched job of supplying it - then scraped the area clean so as to make a neat fresh start?

You can look for yourselves at the manuscript without even travelling up to Oxford: search for Bodley 791 and scroll down to folio 61 verso.

19 May 2015

Oxford Terms

Many people will know that Oxford has three terms (Michaelmas; Hilary; Trinity); each of them contains eight weeks of "Full Term", in which undergraduates are expected to be resident. Each week is a Sunday-Saturday week, and is known as First week ... etc.. Increasingly, Colleges expect undergraduates to come back before First Week so as to get geared up and write Collection Papers to prove that they did their Vacation reading; and this week has come to be called Noughth Week (I apologise to mathematicians). Technically, the terms are rather longer than that, but Full Term is what matters for most practical purposes. So the Trinity Term this year began technically on Monday April 20 and ends Monday July 6; but, within that, Full Term is the eight weeks from Sunday April 26 until Saturday June 20.

But, historically, things were much more complicated (and what follows is actually a simplification). The old Latin Statutes knew of two summer terms. There was the Easter Term: Easter Wednesday until the Friday before Pentecost; and the Trinity or "Act" term, the Saturday before Pentecost until the Saturday following the first Tuesday in July. This year, April 8 until May 22; and then May 23 until Saturday 11 July. Hope I've got that right ...

"Act Term"? During the dark days of popish ecclesiastical tyranny, and even through the oppressions of the absolutist early Stuarts, the University Act was a celebration with many ingredients but, particularly, outrageously satirical attacks upon the Mighty in Academe, Church and State: presided over by an individual called Terrae Filius [the Son of the Earth]. But, following the liberties mercifully secured to us by the Glorious Revolution, enhanced in the fulness of time by the Splendid Enlightenment, it became an occasion increasingly dangerous to the Powers that Be (something similar happened in the Convocations of the clergy of Canterbury and York) with the result that it was tamed and made very respectable and now survives as Encaenia [Commencement], the annual Latin Ceremony (Wednesday after Eighth Week) when Honorary Degrees are conferred upon distinguished visitors such as Mrs Jefferts Schori ... No; don't say it. Just don't say it.

18 May 2015


People talk about 'comfort reading' (Decline and Fall, Have his Carcase, and Zuleika Dobson are some of mine) but there can also be Comfort Video-Watching. The other day I watched the full video of blessed Benedict XVI's Mass in Westminster Cathedral. It really is fun unexpectedly spotting Good Eggs on screen. Among the concelebrants, the great Mgr Andrew Wadsworth (Yes!! I hear everyone's cries of Vescovo subito!!! What a lot I owe to him!); and an Oxford friend, now much missed, Yakoub Banglash, nonchalantly poised in front of one of the cameras. And there is fun too in noticing the Bad Eggs ... not that I ever did spot the photogenic features of Kieran Conry.

The Mass was probably very close to being what most of the more moderately modernising Fathers of Vatican II imagined they were signing up to when they voted for Sacrosanctum concilium; Latin dominated, including the Roman Canon; but there were some Propers and Intercessions in English. In the Canon, it is always interesting to listen carefully to those senior concelebrants who have parts of the Great Prayer assigned to them to deliver individually. Cormac Murphy O'Connor, who had the good fortune of being ordained well before the Rupture and thus for more than a decade had experience of saying the Canon daily, was smooth and accurate. So, interestingly, was Cardinal Keith O'Brien (he had a couple of years of it). Archbishop Vincent Nichols (ordained in December 1969), on the other hand, gave the impression of not being quite within his comfort zone.

There was just one slight whiff of dissatisfaction; His Grace the Archbishop of Cardiff did not conceal that Welsh Catholics were rather disappointed that the Sovereign Pontiff's itinerary had not included the Principality. Hardly surprising. I didn't blame His Grace for giving everyone, in retaliation, an extensive experience of the Welsh Language! Served them right! And I had felt that Pope Benedict should have been allowed to go to Walsingham; I recall that his Predecessor had also wished to go there, and was irritated to be prohibited (you may remember that, as a consolation prize, S John Paul II was told that our Lady of Walsingham would be at his main Mass; he couldn't see her when he arrived to celebrate Mass, and gave peremptory instructions that she should at once be moved onto the Altar itself). A recent correspondent, a Catholic priest not of the Ordinariate, wrote to me: "English Catholic Bishops are more likely to be found in Lourdes than in Walsingham; and I think that the fact that the Catholic Shrine and associated plant in Walsingham is so shabby and underfunded in comparison with its Anglican counterpart is a reflection of the way in which Catholics tend to undervalue Walsingham". I'm not too certain about the individual details in that critical verdict, but the essential point is an interesting one. Are some Catholics still uneasy about the Anglican initiative at Walsingham, or irritated by the brilliantly conceived and truly Catholic spirit of Fr Hope Patten's elegant Holy House and Shrine Church, each so very much unlike a barn?

And Oxford. I wonder why he didn't come here? Could it have anything to do with the aggressive secularism of so many in the modern University? Or were the English bishops opposed? When preaching the University Sermon in Latin in the University Church (the sort of thing that still happens once a year in Oxford) soon after the papal visit to England, I lamented at some length on the sadness that so very erudite a Pontiff should not be able to visit this great shrine of all the scientiae, and to see Newman's Altar and Newman's Pulpit (which I was at that moment preaching from). I still think the same. And Benedict XVI would have been the first to understand that Blessed John Henry belongs to  Anglicans as well as to Catholics, and that Oxford is the symbol of that. Cardinal Manning might have agreed too ... you remember his criticism of Newman ... "the old Oxford literary Patristic tone" ... such crimes ...

A couple of attractive ecumenical opportunities went down the drain there!

17 May 2015

"The Dome": Communion for the divorced and remarried.

The Dome was still preoccupied withe the "South India Problem"; a part of the Anglican Communion had united with various Protestant sects in an amalgamation providing that 'non-conformist' ministers would officiate in South India without any sort of Anglican Ordination. The English Convocations, only three years previously, had put in place a system of partial intercommunion which maintained links between the the Church of England and those South Indian ministers whose ordination had been Anglican. Papalist Anglicans, not surprisingly, had vivid opinions about the illogicality of this uneasy compromise.

But other problems were beginning to appear. The March 1958 edition carried this story:

"The Rev. C.A.C. Hann, D.D., Principle of Lichfield Theological College, has stated that he has resigned on account of the betrayal of Catholic Faith and Practice by the Convocation of Canterbury in its recent Resolutions on the Pastoral Care of the Divorced ... he says:
'In May last the Lower House of the Canterbury Convocation passed Resolution 2A ... As a result of this, it will be possible, provided certain conditions are fulfilled, for a divorced person who has "re-married" during the lifetime of a former partner to receive the Holy Communion. I protested most strongly against this resolution as denying Catholic Faith and Practice. Then, in September last, it was announced that a Worcestershire incumbent had gone through a form of marriage with a divorced woman whose husband was still alive ... When I read this I came to the conclusion that the Church's attitude towards divorce was the result of the desire to be "comprehensive" and, on the principle of Anglicanism, to unchurch nobody if it was possible to keep him within the Church. To my mind this was an indication that the Church of England is prepared to maintain its characteristic principle and its comprehensiveness even at the cost of sacrificing its professed adherence to Catholic Faith and Practice.
" If I felt - as I did - that the Resolution in fact denies important elements in the Catholic doctrines of Matrimony, of Holy Communion, of Grace, and of the Sin of Adultery, my re-action to to the decision of the authorities of the Church in the case of the Worcestershire incumbent was one of complete and utter disgust. To be perfectly candid, it seems to me that such action could not be taken by a Church in which the Grace of God was allowed free course.
"There is only one way to fight to the death such betrayal of Catholic Faith and Practice, and that is to become exclusively Catholic. ..."

ANIMADVERTITE: (1) Things hit the Church of England about fifty years before they hit the Caholic Church; and
(2) it is important to continue to use technical terms such as "Adultery" and "had gone through a form of marriage". Talking about "remarried divorcees" just sells the pass.

16 May 2015

Bernard of Cluny and Bishop Grandisson of Exeter

In the Chapter Library at Exeter, there is an unpublished fragment which comes from a Mary Missal; a Missal containing only the Ordo Missae and the Masses of our Lady (analogous to the Requiem Missals we have nowadays). They were produced for use in the Lady Chapels of great churches which were able to provide an entire establishment ... clergy, books, vestments, plate, cantors ... for  use in such chapels. This fragment was corrected by the hand of Bishop John de Grandisson (pronounced Grahnsn; Bishop of Exeter in the fourteenth cenrury).

In this fragment, the Eastertide Mass of our Lady has a Sequence which neither the late Walter 'Patrimony' Frere nor I were able to find elsewhere. I print the remains below; [] indicates a hole in the manuscript. Fr James 'Patrimony' 'Ordinariate' Bradley kindly spotted that the first stanza came from the Mariale (III) of Bernard of Cluny; a long praise of our Lady in 15 Rhythmi; and the other stanzas are scattered around in V. I was accordingly able to fill up most holes in the text from Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi; Volume 50, pp 423 sqq...

This hymn is associated with the name of S Casimir, because a text of it was buried with him. We know it best in the form of the translation Daily, daily, sing to Mary, which only uses a small selection from the hundreds of stanzas.

The question remains, whether the centonisation was done by Bishop 'Patrimony' Grandisson of Exeter himself, a great client of our Lady, for the Mary Missal which he had made for his Cathedral or for his collegiate foundation at Ottery; or whether someone else had already done the work.

At the bottom, for my own satisfaction, I give, from AH, a brief account of textual variants it records.

III.15 [O beat]a
per quam data
nova mun[do gaudia]
et aperta
fide certa
regna sunt caelestia.

V.19 [Quot dolore]s
et angores
tua sensit anima
cum in cru[cem
summ]um ducem
gens levavit pessima!

21 Corde tris[ti
pa]ssionis gladium
cum irrisum
et occisum
as[pexisti filium.]

28 Sed quam laeta
es effecta
die statim tertia
[cum rex fortis
v]ictae mortis
protulit indicia!

30 Nec nar[rari
nec pensari]
tuum possit gaudium,
quando maestis
[rex caelestis
pacis dedit nuntium.]


mss=most of the manuscripts; ms=one or few of them.

III.15 ms quam beata

V.19 mss quot angores quot dolores; ms tot dolores; ms et dolores; ms quot languores quot dolores; ms quot dolores quot angores
mss cum; ms dum; ms levavit impia.

V.21 mss tuum cernis filium; ms cernens filium; ms tuum vides filium

V. 28 mss o quam; ms es completa; ms et repleta [haec cum assonantia]; mss die facta tertia; ms die virgo tertia; ms facta die tertia; ms dum rex; ms qua rex; ms dirae mortis; ms pertulit; ms iudicia.

V. 30 mss quis narrare quis pensare; ms quis pensare quis narrare; ms hinc narrare, quis pensare; ms unde maestis; ms quoniam maestis.

15 May 2015

"The Dome": a Proto-Ordinariate?

From January 1958 until June 1959, a monthly "Newspaper for Anglican Catholics" was produced and sold; it was called The Dome and had a bright, attractive format. Its agenda was what is sometimes called Anglo-Papalist; but, in line with the attitudes of Fr Fynes Clinton, it was also very sympathetic to Orthodox hierarchs and communities. I propose to give you extracts from it from time to time. But, today, an extract from the Daily Telegraph (foolishly, my scissors, which were only seventeen years old at the time, removed the heading and date: it must be June or July 1959) about its final demise.

"The Vatican has rejected a plan for a 'Transitional Church' to be be recognised by the Holy See, and which might have involved the secession to Rome of many Anglo-Catholic clergy and laity from the Church of England.
"The decision, though charitably made 'for the good of the Universal Church', has killed the hopes of Anglicans who have long worked for corporate, or even partial, reunion with the Roman Catholic Church. Rome has made clear that no 'concessions', such as the plan suggested, can be made.
"The plan, originally drawn up in the United States, was taken to Rome in January by Rev. Frederic Davis, curate at S Francis, Oxhey, Herts.
"There it was discussed with Fr Charles Boyer, the Jesuit scholar, president of the Unitas Association. He acted as an intermediary with the Vatican, which after six months has indicated it is unacceptable. The plan contemplated:
   Recognition or ratifification by Rome of Orders (hitherto declared invalid) of Anglican clergy who joined the 'Transitional Church'.
   In certain cases, a married priesthood.
   An 'English Rite' with at least part of the Mass in English.
   Evensong and Benediction in English.


"It was recognised that the difficulties were formidable. Those accepting the 'concessions' would have to 'go into the wilderness.' Clergy would be relinquishing their livings and, with their congregations, their churches.
"But the sponsors argued that the 'Transitional Church', recognised by Rome, would act as a bridge and would, in the long run, facilitate the conversion of Enland to the Roman Faith. It is likely that this view was not taken by the Roman hierarchy in Britain.
"Fr Davis has resigned his curacy and is joining the Roman Catholic church. The Anglo-Catholic monthly newspaper the Dome, which he founded in January last year, and which had a circulation of about 5,000, is being wound up."

There was an elegant ditty circulating at the time:
"The Dome
has gone to Rome
but Prism 
is still in schism."

(Prism being a lively but non-Papalist journal.)

14 May 2015

Shome Mishtake?

On the occasion of Pope Benedict's Birthday I was looking through ... sentimental old thing that I am ... some photographs in a glossy book which someone gave me very soon after his Inauguration. I was horrified to find a couple of photos of him, walking apparently unprotected, amid a crowd of exuberant young people. He was just about to kiss a baby, holding its cheeks between his hands; his face laughing in genuine pleasure and, in his eyes, that shy but warm and gentle look.

How can this be? We know that babykissing and such business was an innovation by Pope Francis because of all his humility ktl.. The Media have explained that it was how he showed how different he was to the stuffy pompous popes who went before him. These photographs must be forgeries!

Even more confusingly, I have seen a very recent videoclip showing Pope Francis going through the square in the popemobile on a day when it had been raining until a quarter of an hour before. The circumambient Security Men had obviously been given instructions that Babies And Cripples Is Off Today, because none was thrust up at the Pontiff. But ... stay!! the Popemobile has stopped! Somebody is carrying a white thing up to the Pope ... have the Bowels of Pontifical Mercy finally burst open? ...  could it be a baby? ... it would have to be a very small one ... Ah no! It's just someone bringing him a dry skull-cap ...

I suppose there must still have been some moisture in the air. And we old gentlemen do have to look after ourselves.

13 May 2015

"The English Orthodox"

I am glad that Fr Anthony Chadwick is keeping alive a lovely little booklet (I have a 1988 edition) by the late Raymond Winch, called The Canonical Mass of the English Orthodox. This attempts to establish that the form of the Eucharist known to Anglo-Saxon Christians is the canonical entitlement of modern "English Orthodox"; in other words, to be Orthodox you don't have to be Byzantine. (This would seem to be a necessary distinction to make in order to sustain a belief that the collection of Particular Churches collectively and popularly known as "the Orthodox" constitute the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.)

And that Anglo-Saxon Mass is, of course, substantially the Roman Rite as brought to this country by the Augustinian Mission. Winch attempted to establish how this rite should be done; which, of course, is a distinctly broader question than the mere establishment of texts. But you can't celebrate the Eucharist without texts; and Winch's attitude here is surefooted: you wo'n't find any nonsense in him about "correcting" the rite by inserting a Byzantine Epiclesis. But there is one detail where I'm not sure that Winch's conclusion can be sustained.

"... una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N ... communicantes ...". It is commonly held that this use of papa goes back to a time when it did not exclusively mean the Bishop of Rome (or Alexandria!). It refers to the local bishop (of course, in the local Church of Rome, from which this liturgy comes, the local bishop was the Bishop of Rome). So "English Orthodox" clergy should, at that point, just name their own bishop, and not the Bishop of Rome and (also) not their own "Patriarch" or autocephalous Archbishop. Just the one name! And this is ecclesiologically attractive in as far as the local "particular" Church is "The Church".

The problem is that in a very convincing paper by L. Eizenhofer (Sacris Erudiri VIII, 1 (1956), the writer argues that the Memento is originally diaconal and that the logic of the Canon brackets together una cum ... with communicantes ....  (I firmly believe this.) He then deploys texts from Tertullian, Cyprian, Optatus, Augustine, Leo, Felix, Simplicius and Gelasius, to build up the argument that this collocation is designed explicitly to assert the necessity for communion with the Petrine See of S Peter. I quote: "Communicare und communio sind die Worter, um die sich dann fast alles dreht in den Briefen und Traktaten, die die Papste, besonders Gelasius I  (492-496), der auch die Briefe seiner beiden Vorganger Simplicius (468-483) und Felix III (483-492) verfasst hat, gegen das Akacianische Schisma (484-519) schrieben. Da begegnen sie uns sozusagen auf jeder Seite und in jedem Kapitel, oft in vielfacher Wiederholung. Hie communio Acacii, hie communio Sancti Petri. Wer mit solchen Communio halt, die von der romischen Communio ausgeschlossen sind, der ist selbst excommuniziert". (No umlauts ... I dunno how to do them, or, for that matter, accents in French; and I leave it untranslated because I'm nervous about making a howler ... if some benevolent Germanist were to translate it on the thread, out of gratitude I will offer a Mass for his/her intentions.)

If, in the terminology of the Roman Church in those centuries, this passage of the Canon asserts or assumes the necessity of being in communion with Rome, or of Rome as a test of Catholic Communion, there would be a problem about using una cum papa nostro N to name the local bishop, as Winch and others suggest, unless they really are willing to assert that communio with their local bishop is ecclesiologically an essential marker of Catholic Communion.

But then, wouldn't you expect there to be some problem about using a a text crafted in Rome, in an ecclesial context out of communion with the Roman See?

(I would prefer any comments to engage with Eizenhofer's paper rather than with my summarising.)