28 November 2014


Once a term (on the Saturday, I believe, in Seventh Week), and this term it is tomorrow, the authorities of S John's College in this University open their gates to those who wish to look at their unique collection of late Medieval vestments. These vestments date from the foundation of the college in the reign of Good Queen Mary as part of the reform movement which she, Cardinal Pole, and their bishops were sponsoring. After the dark days of Henry VIII and Edward VI, it must have seemed to right-thinking Christians that all was back to rights again; but Mary's reign was not just a restoration of the old. New standards of clerical professionalism were part of its nascent policy, together with schemes for instructing the laity in their Catholic Faith (Mary's collaborators were not afraid to use some of those precise methods which were used in the previous reign to disseminate heresy). This is England's aborted but briefly glorious Counter-Reformation. Duffy, of course ...

I wonder if there will ever be a national exhibition of what remains of this period - one of the most sparkling quinquennia in our history. If there were, S John's could provide some spectacular exhibits; and in my view the two banners which they possess would have the greatest interest. One is of their Patron, S John Baptist, and shows him in a distinctly baroque style. The other is of our Lady Assumpta; an idiosyncrasy is that the crescent moon on which she stands has, on top of it, a face - the Man-in-the-Moon (does he appear anywhere else? - another of the vestments on display also shows our Lady upon the crescent Moon; I wonder how early this Baroque commonplace is found in late Medieval English iconography? I have seen it circa 1450 ... can anyone push it earlier?).

But the most remarkable thing about this banner is the name, at the top, of its donor: Thomas Campion. This tells us that Thomas, the father of the future Jesuit martyr S Edmund Campion (martyred 1581), was a supporter of Sir Thomas White, the wealthy Founder of S John's (he had been Warden of the Merchant Taylours). We know, moreover, that S Edmund entered S John's upon its foundation and, being an able Latinist, very soon became a Fellow. In those brief, happy years before the Queen's death, S Edmund must have worshipped in Chapel and looked at the banner of our Lady which his father had given. At the bottom of it among other shields is a shield of the Five Wounds of our Redeemer (the other banner also bears this device). It is difficult not to feel the significance of this: the Tudor rebellions in defence of the old Faith had marched behind this banner; it represened the devotional heart of Catholic England. Even Cranmer knew the popular votive of the Five Wounds so well that in his 1549 Prayer Book he incorporated the text of most of its Collect into his Prayer for the Church and used it twice in his Burial Service. Less than a decade before S Edmund entered S John's, there had been executions in Oxford and throughout Oxfordshire (these Troubles are less well known that the West Country insurrection, possibly because they lacked a chronicler) at the conclusion of the 1549 Rising against Protestantism. The device of the Five Wounds was a mark of identity, of commitment to the historic Faith, and S Edmund must have felt this as he saw it carried.

Those banners, surely, represent the tipping point between a Catholicism that looked back to the old, and the Catholicism of the seminary priests; between the culture of Marian priests surreptitiously saying the old Sarum Rite and that of the young men who brought the Missal of S Pius V back with them to England (at Douay, the students were taught the Missal of S Pius V between December 1576 and April 1577; presumably the Protomartyr of the seminaries, S Cuthbert Mayne, another S John's College man, ordained in 1575, had used the Sarum Rite).

Campion and Mayne were not S John's only martyrs. If you penetrate to the back quadrangle, you will find baroque architecture as fine as any in England: even the dreadful Nikolaus 'Bauhaus' Pevsner saw it as of European significance and quality. The two entrances are framed by statues of blessed Charles Stuart, King and Martyr, and his Queen Henrietta Maria. This building was done in the 1630s*, the decade in which England and Rome were most nearly reunited; and the builder was our martyred archbishop William Laud ... he and his King both parts of the glorious baggage of the Anglican Patrimony. The St John's exhibition includes blessed William Laud's zucchetto, which he wore at his execution in 1645
*A pilgrimage to this fascinating decade would include this quadrangle, the glass in Magdalen Chapel, and the Porch of the University Church with its statue of our Lady. What else? The 1640's, of course, would bring in all the colleges used when Oxford was the administrative capital of Royalist England, and the monuments to dead royalists in the Lucy Chapel in the Cathedral.

27 November 2014

When did the "Vatican II" liturgical 'reforms' really begin?

Please allow me to commend a small but very important liturgical book. (I do not benefit from its sales!)

But firstly, three preliminaries.

(1) Some people think that the current Novus Ordo liturgical books are prescribed by Vatican II.

(2) Better informed people know that this is in many respects untrue. Many of the changes 'after the Council' were not in any way ordered by the Council. Some, indeed, went against what was ordered in the Conciliar Decree Sancrosanctum Concilium.

(3) But here is something which only the really mega-informed people know. The process of liturgical 'reform' began before the Council; indeed, before the Pontificate of B Paul VI. The Begetter of the 'reform' was in fact Pius XII. It was he who began the long employment of Annibale Bugnini; it was Pius XII who imposed some of the most deeply radical discontinuities in the Roman Rite.

The book I wish to commend today is an ORDO ... a small calendar giving the basic liturgical directions for each day in 2015 ... published by

The Saint Lawrence Press Ltd.
59, Sandscroft Avenue
WR 12 7EJ
United Kingdom


This little book will show you day by day a wonderland in which festivals have octaves and vigils; even humble festivals have a First Vespers in accordance with  a Tradition which goes back even behind the New Covenant to the Judaic system; commemorations enable you to remember festivals which are partly obscured by other observances; the Last Gospel is sometimes changed to enable a different Gospel to be read; Newman's favourite Canticle Quicumque vult (the 'Athanasian Creed') is said; et cetera and kai ta loipa*.

What you will get a glimpse of is the Roman Rite as it was in 1939, before the Pius XII changes got under way. Not many, of course, will feel able to observe this calendar in their Mass and Office. But you will understand the 'reformed' rites of 1962 and 1970 so very much better by seeing what they replaced. Rather like understanding a diverse landscape all the better by having the geological knowledge of what's underground so as to understand why the visible contours and strata are the way they are. You will see, give or take some details, the skeleton and structure of the daily prayer of B John Henry Newman, Bishop Challoner, the English Martyrs, all the Saints (and sinners and common ordinary Christians) of the Western Church in the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, centuries. You will get some surprises!

Go for it!!
*One thing I, personally, particularly love is a trio of now-lost feasts in early summer, at the start of May. The Invention (discovery) of the Holy Cross (an immensely beautiful feast celebrating the Cross suffused, as it were, with the glorious light of the Resurrection); S John at the Latin Gate (kept in the Ordinariate Calendar because it is the happy day of the first secret meeting when the really serious plotting for the Ordinariate began); and the Apparition of S Michael (I will not insult you by explaining why the Anglican Diocese of Truro [Cornwall] still keeps this most attractive feast). Then, at the start of August, is Lammas Day ... or Lughnasa if you insist ...

26 November 2014

Google it, Hunwicke it.

A reader offered recently a comment which suggested that he did not know the general outlines of the Ordinariate Mass (which has not been formally published, perhaps because there are thoughts of tidying up a few rubrical details).

I remind readers of the Search Mechanism attached to this blog. Many things can be discovered from this ... within the general limits of what I'm interested in ...

I was dealing with the Ordinariate rite fairly recently: one example ... 29 September.


I do sympathise with the instincts which have led a writer on Rorate to deplore the radical abbreviation of the Canonisation ceremony last Stir Up Sunday. Wielding scissors to save time is not an approach to liturgy that naturally appeals to me. But there is one feature of these changes which rather attracts me.

The rites of Canonisation have tended  ... this will not surprise you ... to vary in the last seventy years (details on Rorate). The last changes, which took place under Benedict XVI, seemed designed to impose on the rites a theological meaning which they previously had not so explicitly expressed. Before the singing of Veni Creator Spiritus the Pontiff asked for prayer that Christ the Lord would not permit His Church to err in so great a matter. And, in the Third Petition the Cardinal Prefect for the Causes of Saints informed the Pontiff that the Holy Spirit "in every time renders the supreme Magisterium immune from error (omni tempore supremum Magisterium erroris expertem reddit)". These phrases, added by Pope Benedict, have been cut out by Pope Francis.

It is not easy to avoid a suspicion that Pope Benedict's additions were intended to give support to the view, which has for centuries been a matter of debate, that acts of canonisation should be seen as infallible acts requiring to be accepted as de fide. I wrote about this earlier in the year: 24 February; 26 April; 8 July (I do not intend to repeat what I wrote there: if you are interested in my views, there they are). I simply wish now to point out that, if the formulae introduced by Benedict XVI did affect this theological question, then so does the action of this Pontificate in removing them. In the gradual accumulation of evidences and precedents which gradually build up an established judgement of the Magisterium, surely phrases which were introduced into rites by one Pontiff and, very soon afterwards, removed by the next, have less auctoritas than established and immemorial formulae which have been used by successive pontiffs for centuries.

These are questions which, for centuries, interested specialist students of Canon Law. They interested Pope Benedict XIV, Prospero Lambertini. But they were not things which concerned non-specialists. Ordinary Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, and laity naturally and very properly just accepted the judgements made by the Sovereign Pontiff in this as in so many other matters. But the situation is not the same now. There has been, in some quarters, an uneasy suspicion for some time that canonisations have turned into a way of setting a seal upon the 'policies' of some popes. If these 'policies' are themselves a matter of divisive discussion and debate, then the promotion of the idea that canonisations are infallible becomes itself an additional element in the conflict. Canonisation, you will remind me, does not, theologically, imply approval of everything a Saint has done or said. Not formally. But the suspicion among some is that, de facto and humanly, such can seem to be its aim. This is confirmed by a prevailing assumption that the canonisations of the 'Conciliar Popes' does bear some sort of message.

Personally, I feel just that little bit more confident in my earlier conclusion, that to dispute the judgement made in and by an act of canonisation would be temerarious and indisciplined and reprehensible rather than being a sin against Fides. I feel that Pope Francis' excisions from the rite ought to make the canonisations of S John XXIII and S John Paul II, and the eventual canonisation of B Paul VI, just that little bit less of a problem for particularly tender consciences.

And I still believe that, because of the temptations surrounding this matter, popes ought not to be canonised until a long period of time has elapsed since their deaths; fifty years, perhaps. And that the necessary miracles ought, in their cases, to be even more pedantically insisted upon ... indeed, perhaps the number required should be increased, just to be on the safe side. Perhaps the 'Devil's Advocate' should be restored to the process, and the proceedings held in public?

25 November 2014

" ... but what we REALLY mean ..."

On Sunday morning last, I happened to hear the start of the Sunday Worship on the Home Service. It was from the Chapel Royal at S James's Palace. The officiant introduced the service by saying that it was according to to the Book of Common Prayer which, he said, they always use there; and today, he said, was the Feast of Christ the King. (Readers without Anglican Previous need to know that the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England does not include that festival, either in October or in November.)

"What on earth", I thought, "does he mean?" Then my mind went back ... to curious things I recalled from my Anglican days. Celebrating Dr Cranmer's Eucharistic Order and inviting the good people to make their humble confession to Almighty God, "meekly Kneeling upon your Knees" in the sure and certain knowledge that they would totally ignore the peremptorily tautological assonance. Once, when we had a Bishop pontificating at Lancing, and it was deemed convenient to place the Blessed Sacrament Reserved upon the High Altar before Mass (the Tabernacle was down in the crypt at that time, a good five minutes' walk away), he gave the instruction "We shall not genuflect, because morally It is not there". A Miraculous Adverb! A Supra-Divine Adverb, in fact, because even God does not claim to be able to make "X" mean "Non-X". On another occasion, before the Carol Service (which needed to happen before Christmas so that the students and their parents could attend), a new chaplain announced that we would vest the altar in white and wear white copes (previously, we had used purple and called the event an Advent Carol Service) because "Spiritually, it's already Christmas". Of course what he really meant was ... ... YES!! That's exactly it!!! As an Anglican, you spend a lot of your time explaining "what he really meant". Fr Lombardi, I am sure, is a crypto-Anglican. Perhaps all Jesuits are.

Looking back, I rather think one can characterise Anglicanism as a religion of Miraculous Adverbs and of "Let's pretend"; of "We say X but, of course, we really mean Y"; of "I have eaten my cake, yet Lo, I still have it". That would explain why Anglican wedding rites are so very explicit about Marriage being "until death us do part", while divorced bishops have their 'marriages' to divorced ladies publicly blessed by bishops. And why Anglicans asserted so vigorously that their ecclesial body was Catholic and their priesthood identical with that of the Latin and Byzantine Churches, while simultaneously making 'ecumenical' plans (Porvoo; Anglican-Methodist Covenant) to treat Protestant ministers identically with their own priests.

To think that I spent seven decades in the Church of England without ever really having the faintest idea of what it was all about ...

24 November 2014


Perhaps someone could explain what the subtext is in the appointments to the CDW. Two erudite Secretaries were sent packing, and a new Secretary, said to be Bugninistior vel etiam Marinior, was appointed, before the appointment of Cardinal Sarah as Prefect. In the World, you might have thought that the new Departmental Manager would have been appointed first, and then his views taken into account in the appointment of his subordinates.

I know that the position of Cardinal Prefect is technically a promotion, but I wonder if, just conceivably, the Holy Father does not necessarily see it as much of a promotion in this case. This Pope is not someone fascinated by 'Liturgy as a subject'. Readers with Anglican Previous will remember the (true) story about 'Gloomy' Dean Inge, of S Paul's, who, being asked at a dinner party whether he was interested in Liturgy, replied "No, neither do I collect postage stamps". Has Cardinal Sarah, in effect, been put in a position where he can do neither harm nor good, and where his Secretary, who has been there just long enough to get his feet under the table, sets the tone?

Totally Spectacular

I can think of few Calendars ... yes, this is the season, is it not, when people give each other calendars ... which are more spectacular than that of the Papa Stronsay Redemptorists. Breath-taking photographs of intimate yet exquisite liturgy alternate with pictures of the breath-taking scenery as the Brethren go about their tasks on the island. In terms of vestments, I love the shots of the working habits: the habits worn during hard labour, with the leather hems worn and torn. July shows Fr Michael Mary and two brethren walking past a farm gate which I think may have been the one which they kindly and carefully opened for me ... and then cheerfully commented "Bishop Fellay just vaulted over that"!

Do you want to know the important centenaries which occur in 2015? Would you like an attractive iconic painting of the Divine Child, kilted and wearing the Crown of Scotland (a marvellously beautiful late medieval crown, quite unlike the rather boring English Crown which had to be remade after the Great Rebellion) accompanied by a poem by S Robert Southwell which can be sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne? This Calendar is truly and totally unique. Literally unique! And it has all the details needed for it to serve as a daily ORDO for the 1962 rite.

Golgotha Monastery Island
Papa Stronsay
KW 17 2AR
email: contact@the-sons.org

23 November 2014

Christ the KING: Tom Wright's view

Many readers of this blog will not have heard of Tom Wright. A former don in this University, he became Bishop of (the prestigious see of ) Durham, because of his formidable academic reputation. Within months he joined that distinguished number of heavyweight Anglican intellectuals who've either turned down episkope or else abandoned it after a short trial to return to academe. (Don't ask me to tell you why.) He is an Evangelical but has 'broadened'. He tries to understand the Catholic Faith, but, not having experienced it from the the inside, often gets things wrong. His books on S Paul are worth reading. Don't bother with For all the Saints, because he gets the Catholic cult of the Saints wrong.

But he's no fool. Writing about the adoption by the Church of England of the feast of Christ the King on the dear old Sunday Next Before Advent, he objects because "this particular novelty ... gets it completely wrong. It presses all the wrong buttons. It completes the job of pulling the Church's year out of shape. Once again, more is less. This "feast" devalues other feasts and occasions ... by concluding the implicit story-line at the wrong point, thereby throwing out of kilter the narrative grammar of the whole story. It implies that Jesus Christ becomes King at the end of the sequence, the end of the story, as the result of a long process". So it devalues Ascension Day. It is, he opines, "like trying to eat the Christmas pudding first and stir it afterwards".

I would simply say that it removes the idea that Christ is King now; replaces it with an eschatological picture of the final Glory when all Creation will be restored; and then expects us to pray Thy kingdom come throughout Advent.

22 November 2014


The document to which I referred (and which I owe to the researches of a dear friend who is also a dear friend of the beloved Ukrainian Greek Catholic tradition) is dated Rome 17.2.1908 and is headed 'Exemplar'. Below, it begins:
               BEATISSIME PATER!
In it, Metropolitan Andrew, including in his titles 'totius Russiae Administrator', asks for a "facultas etiam confessariis communicabilis dispensandi fideles saeculares a lege, qua vetita est communicatio in sacris cum orthodoxis, quoties opportunum esse in conscientia judicabunt" (i.e. a faculty, communicable also to confessors, of dispensing secular faithful from the law by which communicatio in sacris with orthodox is prohibited, as often as they shall judge it to be opportune in conscience).

This has thought-provoking features, not least of which is the term 'orthodoxi' to describe 'dissident Byzantines'. What follows is even more interesting. Printed at the bottom, in italic, is:
Documentum originale a me scriptum Sanctissimus Dominus Noster Pius Papa X, propria manu dignatus est signare verbis "Tollerari posse".
I presume that 'me' means the Metropolitan himself. To get ones bearings, it is revealing to compare this first document with a very similarly made out Faculty, for celebrating the Eucharist in times of necessity without portable altar or vestments or server, and in glass vessels. But this second document concludes thus:
Ex Audientia SSmi habita die 22, Februarii 1908. SSmus Dominus Noster Pius, Divina Providentia PP X., benigne adnuere dignatus est pro gratia iuxta preces. Contrariis quibuscumque non obstantibus. 
It is signed and sealed by Metropolitan Andrew and dated Datum Romae ex aedibus ad S. Sergium et Bacchum die et anno praedictis. 
But the first document, the one which we are now considering, concludes with none of these formalities.

I am not a canonist; and even if I were, I suspect that the date in 1908, before the completion of the magnificent Pietro Gasparri's codification of Canon Law, would throw up complexities even further beyond my competence. But to my completely untrained eye, it rather looks as though the Metropolitan presented to S Pius X, in his own handwriting, this request for such a faculty; and that the Sovereign Pontiff was unwilling to concede the gratia juridically, possibly in order not to set in place such a formal papal precedent. But, with his enormously pastoral heart, he was equally unwilling to send Metropolitan Andrew away empty handed, or to hinder his great mission; and so, with the authority of his own propria manus he intimated that the practice could be tolerated. I speculate that Metropolitan Andrew had these papers printed for circulation to members of his clergy.

Our conclusion? That S Pius X did not consider the very possibility of such communicatio in sacris with Russian Orthodox to be completely intolerable. I venture a further conclusion: that some who decry all of the provisions of the post-1950s Magisterium with regard to ecumenical relationships do not quite appear to have S Pius X 100% on their side. 'Tradition' is a broader concept than 'How I'm almost sure things were in grandma's time'; and Benedict XIV and S Pius X are big parts of that Tradition. Particularly Benedict XIV, but ... ah well, you must forgive me my little foibles ...

21 November 2014

Bishop Fellay

Bishop Fellay's latest letter, dated today, has interesting features.

I think that the impact of members of the SSPX upon the wider Traditionalist constituency in the Church has sometimes, in the past, been considerably diminished by a tendency to speak in tones which, whether rightly or wrongly, many ears perceive as sounding schismatic. This is particularly true when an impression is given that it is very important indeed to keep expressing a totally negative view of Vatican II. And when appeals are made to a Platonic idea of 'Catholic Rome' which seem designed to exclude all possibility of engagement with the actual Rome.

Today's letter takes two of Joseph Ratzinger's most remarkable passages and makes them the basis of an interesting analysis of the position of the Church in the modern world.

If, in the past, you have avoided reading anything that emerged from the Society, you might well feel that this letter merits breaking your rule! It seems to me an interesting contribution to a very topical debate. I can see only one half of a sentence which some might feel it would have been tactful not to include.

And, incidentally, instead of ranting indiscriminately against the Novus Ordo (as the SSPX sometimes has given the impression of doing), it acutely puts its finger on the centrally questionable feature of that rite: the provision of alternative Eucharistic Prayers. Exactly. I wonder if Bishop Fellay has seen the Ordinariate Ordo Missae?

November 21: Our Lady of Light, 1924, and Unitatis Redintegratio, 1964

Ninety years ago to this day, on the Feast of the Presentation of our Lady, November 21 1924, in the little Anglo-Catholic mining village of S Hilary in Cornwall, where Fr Bernard Walke so heroically worked and suffered to establish the Faith, one of his collaborators had a remarkable vision. Mother Theresa, Foundress of the Franciscan Servants of Jesus and Mary, describes it:
"We were preparing to go to church as usual just before 9 p.m.. It was a dark misty night, there was no moon and the stars were not showing at all. As I came down the stairs from my bedroom, I saw through a long window on the landing that there was a great glow of light shining all round the house and lighting up the fields beyond the house. My first thought was that there must be a fire somewhere, though the light was not red but white, and I called to Emma to come out with me to see from where it was coming. We went out of the front door, which opened straight on to a lane, and stood in the middle of the lane to see better.
"At the side of the house there was a gigantic figure, veiled and crowned in a dazzling, perfectly still light. The figure seemed to reach from the sky down to the ground. It was the figure of a woman but we saw no features, the face, as well as the rest of the figure, was veiled in the pure light. We could see the other's faces and the hedges in the lane, and the fields beyond the lane, quite clearly in this light. The figure did not move at all, though we stood silently watching it for nearly ten minutes, It was still there when we left and walked up to the church, but there was no sign of it when we returned in about three quarters of an hour. We did not speak, either that night or for a long time after, to one another about what we had seen.
"I think, while I was looking at the figure, I did not reflect at all on what I saw. I hardly even wondered at it, I watched with a great sense of quietness within myself and with no surprise. Afterwards, while we were praying in church, there came into my mind and soul a certainty that what we had seen concerned our Lady and must have been an apparition of her ... "

I think the most remarkable thing about this is that our Lady said nothing. There is Light: but there is nothing here of all the daily chatter and bustle reported from Medjugorje; instead, there is Silence! I am powerfully reminded of the Byzantine liturgical texts for our Lady's Presentation, with their incessant emphasis on the theme of Light. And we recall  another Byzantine perception, which links the sojourn of the Mother of God in the Temple with the hesychast ('silent') tradition of prayer. Yet I think it unlikely that the Cornish experience was a product of subconscious memories because I know of no evidence that Mother Foundress was a student of things Byzantine. Surely, it truly was Mary, Queen of Athos, the exemplar of hesychia, the prayer of Silence, who came to that Cornish lane in a great veil of Light, on this her Feast of Light and of Silence, and said nothing, and stood in silent prayer, and gave her Son's gift of Silence ('... perfectly still Light ... the figure did not move ... we stood silently ... I watched with a sense of great quietness ...'). The messages the Mother of God brings when her Son sends her among us do not always have to be verbal.

Oh dear ... I suppose this account raises the possibly contentious question of Appearances of our Lady to those not in full canonical communion with the See of Peter. The Catholic Church has never taught that such appearances are to be denied. Unitatis Redintegratio (3) teaches ...ex elementis seu bonis, quibus simul sumptis ipsa Ecclesia aedificatur et vivificatur, quaedam immo plura et eximia exstare possunt extra visibilia Ecclesiae catholicae saepta ... haec omnia, quae a Christo proveniunt et ad Ipsum conducunt, ad unicam Christi Ecclesiam iure pertinent (many of the good things by which the Church is built up can exist outside her visible boundaries, and they by right belong to her). This was far from an innovation in teaching; it expresses what had for centuries been Catholic praxis, as I tried to suggest yesterday in the enquiry which I hope to conclude tomorrow. As another proof of this I can cite the fact that Eastern Catholic calendars today include liturgical commemorations of graces bestowed through the hands of the Mediatrix of All Graces extra visibilia Ecclesiae catholicae saepta. Subject to correction, I see no reason not to accept, as a private opinion, the probable authenticity of such reported visions. The Church, of course, reserves to herself the authoritative judgement about such matters ... both within her visibilia saepta and outside them.

I will dare to go further. It seems to me that the powerful converging arguments for the authenticity of such an Apparition as this on a day such as this afford support to the teaching of Vatican II, about the authenticity of the Lord's gifts outside the visible boundaries of His Church; gifts which are graces truly belonging to the Church herself.

The Franciscan Servants of Jesus and Mary now have only one Sister still maintaining the Rule at Posbury St Francis. I wonder, with some sadness, what will happen in the next generation to the Altar and Statue of our Lady of Light in the Convent Chapel there.

20 November 2014


I think that's the phrase Father Zed Archiblogopoios uses for the sort of items I'm going to mention ....

Firstly: as well as some more superb pictures of the waterfront at Margate, Fr Tim has given us another picture of his immensely photogenic Lady Chapel. He really has fallen on his feet, lucky man!! (And he's a bit of a tease: the photograph is so angled that one cannot be sure whether there are three altar cards or only one ...)

And, a close second, there is the Gloria TV* (last summer, I met some of the splendid young people involved in Gloria) video of il Cardinale volante, il vice Papa (see my post of November 8) celebrating Pontifical High Mass in Vienna. Fantastic! Twenty minutes before you even get to the Iudica me Deus!!! I'm almost sure I spotted, in the congregation, the Professor Thomas Stark whom I also met in Italy last summer, and Fr Markus Doppelbauer, priest of the Diocese of Vaduz, a considerable ironist.

God appears to be in his heaven, and all to be right with the world! Trebles all round, as they say in Private Eye!

* And it's on Rorate.