28 August 2015

Lavington again; and some questions.

Lavington Church (vide antea) was rather harshly treated by Street ... although I do feel the need to remind myself that the much-criticised Victorians had to make something of church buildings which had often received at best little more than patchwork ad hocery since the Reformation. You will find within it Soapy Sam's crosier ... I wonder when Anglican bishops resumed the use of the crosier? And the little church has early Victorian widows in which, bestriding the gulf between the later ideologies of Zionism and Nazism, the Star of David and the Swastika alternate as decorative motifs. And, unmentioned by Nairn [Pevsner], there is what looks to me like a Georgian pulpit with a rather worn brass plate recording that it was given to the Church of ... S Mark's, Kennington! Does anybody know where it had been originally; how it got to S Mark's Kennington (the 'Waterloo' church opposite the Oval Underground Station, on the spot where they killed the officers of the Manchester Regiment after the '45); and how it migrated thence to Lavington?

As I turned away from Caroline's grave, I found myself wondering how often the Cardinal Archbishop quietly murmured, as the Ministers turned away from him at the Altar so as not to overhear the Names, "... qui nos praecesserunt cum signo fidei et dormiunt in somno pacis: et praesertim coniugis meae carissimae Carolinae ..." [the manuals of that age suggested that one could offer Mass for departed schismatics but only privately]. The former Rectory, later renamed Beechwood, does not seem to have a blue disk recording his residence.

Newman is sometimes, and naturally, thought of as the more 'Anglican' of our two greatest modern English  Cardinals; but Lavington can suggest a new approach to Blessed John Henry's confrater in purpura. His background in England's Squirearchy; his own years as a country parson; above all, his affection through so many decades for a wife, surely give him a dash of 'Anglicanism' or at least of Englishness in fields where the mighty Beatus lacked it. Should the historians reclassify him as an outlier jure conjugis of the great Wilberforce clan? Could we thus insert Manning, and his role in settling the London Dock Strike, into a continuum linking the Anti-Slavery Movement and Rerum Novarum?

27 August 2015

Excellent ...

... pieces at Father Zed (on pews); and at Rorate, by Professor de Mattei, on a first-millennium Adulterous Synod.

The Divine Office in Anglo-Saxon England 597-c.1000 (1)

Ecce the title of a book recently published in the Subsidia series of the magnificent Henry Bradshaw Society. The author is Professor Jesse Billett, of Trinity College Toronto.

It is not often realised, either by Anglicans or by Roman Catholics, what a remarkable phenomenon it was, that little mission which Pope S Gregory the Great planted in Canterbury in 597. It happened a couple of centuries before the Carolingian Renaissance, before an imperious Frankish dynast embarked upon his project of replacing 'Gallican' liturgy with books copied directly from exemplars of the City. S Augustine's 'Church Plant' in Kent resulted in a little island of Romanitas being planted in the furthest North; and was, in political terms, magnificently timely. The King of Kent was clearly aware that Christianity was the cult of the Big World; he so valued his links with that world that he had accepted a Christian Frankish princess as his queen, with a Frankish bishop as her chaplain. Yet, to adopt her religion ... his Father-in-law's religion ... would have made him appear an appendage of her apron-strings, if not a vassal of her father. But the offer of a direct relationship with the Papa Romanus; to have a dialect of Christianity more august than theirs parachuted in; enabled him to trump the dignities of his in-laws. To be addressed as Rex Anglorum and as gloriosissimus, praecellentissimus by a Pope who compared him to Constantinus piissimus imperator ... to be instructed that the dedications and the liturgical dispositions and the choral arrangements of the churches being constructed in Canterbury precisely paralleled those of the great City itself, making Canterbury a new, Northern Rome ...

If there was one single over-riding characteristic of Anglo-Saxon Christianity, it was its Romanitas. Professor Billett's concern is to examine the surviving evidence for how the Divine Office, the round of daily prayer, was performed in the monasteria, 'minsters', of Anglo-Saxon England; and to demonstrate that it is inaccurate and anachronistic to speak of this as 'Benedictine'. Although there is plenty of evidence for the respectful study of the Benedictine Regula in the English Church, an assumption that this must have included a careful replication of S Benedict's directions with regard to worship contradicts the hints given in the evidence of the period concerned. I say 'hints' because writers naturally fail to describe in detail what they assume their readers will take for granted (throughout my blog posts you will not find any evidence that I use a knife and a fork while eating ... because we all do that ... and the remarkable thing would be if I did not do so ... and in that case I would explain to you my aberrant behaviour). Nevertheless the evidence is sufficient to fill some 500 pages and to build up a formidable case.
So how did they worship? To be continued.

26 August 2015

Lavington Churchyard

A few days in Sussex gave us the opportunity of walking to Lavington Church to visit Caroline (nee) Sargent's grave. I hadn't been there since the mid-1950s, and we had trouble rediscovering it ... you know how hard inscriptions can be to read when lichen has superimposed its own arabesques upon the lettering. Eventually we found it, under a shady wall, right under the steep and sunless wooded North incline of the Downs. I had to kneel down to trace the inscription with my fingers, my knees crunching in the beechmast. Her husband is not buried beside her.

They were married in 1833 in the nearby church by her brother-in-law Soapy Sam, later bishop of Oxford and then of Winchester, who was to earn eternal detestation among prim and humourless people by getting a cheap laugh at Darwin's expense. Four years later, childless, she died of consumption. Had she lived, might she have been the wife of an Archbishop of Canterbury? I have lost count of the number of bishops, not to mention the mere parsons, in her family connections.

Her husband succeeded her father, whose curate he had been, as Rector of Lavington and Graffham. He left behind him diverting accounts of his peasant parishioners, in which the summaries, if critical, ex. gr. 'addictus inebrietati', 'familia malo et ignaviae addicta', are in Latin or Greek. "The morning and evening prayers and the music of the English Bible for 17 years became part of my soul. If there were no eternal world, I could have made it my home".

A friend described his deathbed, nearly sixty years after the marriage: "I was by his bedside; he looked around to see that we were alone: he fumbled under his pillow for something; he drew out a battered little pocket-book full of a woman's fine handwriting. He said 'For years you have been a son to me, Henry; I know not to whom else to leave this - I leave it to you. In this little book my dearest wife wrote her prayers and meditations. Not a day has passed since her death, on which I have not prayed and meditated from this book. All the good I may have done, all the good I may have been, I owe to her. Take precious care of it'. He ceased speaking and soon afterwards unconsciousness came on".

You will remember the edifying accounts of how, when the body of S Thomas More was prepared for burial, under his outer finery was discovered a hair shirt. But on this occasion what they found on this corpse was a small locket, containing the portrait of his 'dearest wife' Caroline.

I hope they had the decency to leave that locket where they found it, round his neck, beneath the pallium. I like to feel, as I approach the Byzantine edifice to which they moved his body, that, under all the haughty marble assertion, beneath the dangling red hat, there lies a tiny picture of the very devout and pretty girl who was the daughter of a squarson and the wife of his curate and who lies in spe beatae resurrectionis under the beechmast in Lavington churchyard.

25 August 2015

Appeal for help!

Since B Dominic Barberi was beatified in 1963, there must exist a Mass for him according to the conventions of the Missal of 1962. Can someone tell me where to find it, or email it to me? His feast is tomorrow, and I would prefer to use the authorised form rather than Os iusti.

24 August 2015

S Bartholomew's Day

The Day of the Great Ejection, in 1662, of those two or three thousand Protestant Ministers who would not accept sacerdotal Ordination by a Bishop in the Church of England; a day also to remember because of the concomitant 'sacerdotalising' changes to her rites of Ordination. This initiated an era only ended by the unhappy 'Porvoo Agreement' in which the Church of England herself formally declared, as Leo XIII had declared a century earlier, that her Orders were identical with those of Continental Protestantism (1995).

Granting the views expressed by Dermot MacCulloch about the Protestant character of the Elizabethan Reformation, should we see S Bartholomew's Day as the moment when the Church of England definitively and formally set out upon a course distinguishing herself from Common Protestantism? A course upon which she remained until the events of last two decades concluded it (Women priests, Porvoo, Anglican-Methodist Covenant, Women Bishops).

August 24 1662: just one small step on the happy road towards the Ordinariate, but, nonetheless, a step?

Dies calculo notandus?

23 August 2015

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus! (5)

If you browse through the Pontificale Romanum as it so admirably was before the post-Conciliar alterations, you will discover that the most solemn liturgical blessings and consecrations both of persons and of things had one constant feature. They began like the Preface of the Mass, with Dominus vobiscum; Sursum corda; Gratias agamus; Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare .... This is how Major Orders were conferred; how Chrism and the Paschal Candle were blessed; how Abbots, Abbesses, Virgins and Queens, Churches and Altars, were solemnly blessed. The custom was not 'primitive'; but fitted very beautifully the 'primitive' understanding that it is by Thanksgiving, Eucharistia, that things are blessed and made over to God. Nowadays, apart from the Mass, the Paschal Candle appears to be the only survival of this noble custom (apparently, in modern liturgical theology, candles are more sacral objects than Bishops or even Virgins!). Couratin provides the Prayer for the Ordination of Priests remodelled in this way. Here we have something more than just an elegant literary embellishment; it is in itself a theological statement. Priests are something more than the merely functional.

The Rite of Ordination which I have described was only used in one diocese (as far as I know) and possibly only during two episcopates. I must emphatically disclaim any intention of investing my narrative with any broader theological significance. But that Diocese was a rather special star in our Anglican firmament (fuit Troia, fuimus Troiani ...), and Kirk was a profoundly significant figure in the now vanished Anglo-Catholic world of Dix and Mascall and their associates. Surely, it cannot fail to be a matter of interest precisely how just such a bishop solemnly administered the Sacrament of Holy Order in his Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford?

Does anybody know how Robert Mortimer, another Good Egg, did things down in Exeter?


22 August 2015

Docuit Ecclesia Westmonasteriensis ...

I've just returned from a period away from my computer and have endeavoured to deal with emails (400ish) and comments. I have, I think, enabled all the comments except for one (which tried to discuss at length the errors of the C of E rather than engaging with the actual subject of my post); and another which asked whether it was S Pius X or Pius XII who changed the collect for Assumption Day ... believe me, it was the latter!

A very good haul of comments on the piece I wrote on August 4 (Docet Ecclesia Westmonasteriensis) about the grandiose brass plates inside Westminster Cathedral. They seem to clarify that it was the antipope John XXIII who provided Chichele to Canterbury and sent him the Pallium ... and that the London Vicars Apostolic were, as I suspected, not senior to the other Vicars Apostolic. I thank all my erudite contributors and earnestly enjoin you to read their contributions.

I keep getting stuff about Facebook. I do not do Facebook. If you are being informed that I have rejected you as a Facebook Friend, this is why! 

21 August 2015

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus! (4)

Continues ...
Couratin made further additions from the Pontifical; before the Ordination Prayer he included a translation of the formula Oremus fratres carissimi ...; and, during the administration of Holy Communion, the Choir were to sing the Jam non dicam vos servos .... He introduced the Offering by the Newly-ordained to the Bishop, and provided a formula: the Pontiff said "I will offer in his dwelling an oblation with great gladness: I will sing and speak praises unto the Lord"; and the choir sang "Ye have not chosen me ...". Then, during "The offering of the Bread and Wine" the choir sang "Tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech". It is not difficult to detect here a determination to restore that sense of Sacrifice and Priesthood which Apostolicae curae had complained that Cranmer had eliminated.

Apostolicae curae did, however, have a point. By eliminating the part of the Roman Canon which followed the Consecration, the Prayer Book Rite presented Anglo-Catholics with a problem. Having successfully taught the laity that the bread and wine truly became the Lord's Body and Blood, they found they had a rite in which the Consecration now appeared merely to be a way of securing the Presence so that it could be adored. This was accentuated by the growing practice of singing the Agnus Dei after the Consecration. My learned predecessor at S Thomas's, Trevor Jalland, observed "Thus the whole attention of the worshippers is concentrated on the Presence at the very time when there should be thought of sacrificial offering" (This our Sacrifice, 1933, 146sqq.). He went on to suggest that "a partial remedy lies ready to hand". He recommended the use of hymns "expressive of the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist", mentioning in particular one of a number of hymns composed by W W H Jervois designed to paraphrase parts of the Unde et memores and to teach the doctrine of the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice for the departed as well as for the living. This hymn was duly introduced into the Oxford rite of Ordination between the Consecration and the Agnus Dei.

It appears with the title "Hymn at the Consecration", and reads: Wherefore, O Father, we thy humble servants/ Here set before thee Christ thy well-beloved,/ All-perfect Offering, Sacrifice immortal,/ Spotless Oblation.// See now thy children, making intercession/ Through him our Saviour, Son of God incarnate,/ For all thy people, living and departed,/ Pleading before thee. It was often sung in Anglo-Catholic churches (as late as the 1960s in Pusey Chapel in Oxford) after the Consecration, while the Celebrant said various things secreto. I would be interested if anyone had evidence bearing on how widespread this usage was.

This little booklet produced for the guidance of the congregation does not mention the Latin Church's custom of Concelebration by the newly ordained. But at the rehearsal, the Precentor, Fr Michael Watts, a product of St Stephen's House in the era of Canon Couratin, explained about Concelebration to the ordinands, and instructed them what to do. I remember this clearly!

Perhaps the most striking changes made by Couratin concerned the central Prayer of the Rite. As left by Cranmer, this failed to ask the Almighty to do anything whatsoever to the Ordinands. Couratin made three changes. He printed the heading "The Prayer for the Holy Spirit". Following the draft Prayer Book of 1928, which Parliament had rejected, he inserted into the Prayer a request that God would "endue them with all grace needful for their calling". And (again following 1928) he significantly changed the opening of the Prayer ...  as I plan to explain next time.

19 August 2015

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus! (3)

Continues ...
The Prayer Book forms of Ordination, unlike those in the Pontifical, provide Proper Collects and Epistles and Gospels. For the highly  'Romanising' form of the Anglican Rite which we are examining, it was necessary to supply what the Prayer Book lacked: such as an Introit, a Gradual, and an Alleluia (in English and in plainchant). Couratin [if my identification of the hand at work here is correct] secured them from a very interesting source. The Introit Hic accipiet benedictionem is from Psalm 23/24; Hic ... Jacob; Domini est terra; Gloria; Hic. It comes from a form disused in the Catholic Church herself since the Conciliar ruptures, the Rite De Clerico faciendo or Tonsure. It is what the Choir sings immediately after the Pontiff has cut the hair of the candidates. In other words, Couratin begins the service by supplying what would have been experienced by the ordinands if they had been taken through the Tonsure and Minor Orders as prescribed in the Pontifical.

The Gradual and Alleluia are from Psalm 14/15 and 15/16 and represent the following: Domine, quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo, aut quis requiescit in monte sancto tuo? V Qui ingreditur sine macula et operatur justitiam; qui loquitur veritatem in corde suo. Alleluia. Alleluia. V Dominus pars haereditatis meae et calicis mei: tu es qui restitues haereditatem meam mihi. Alleluia. This Alleluia incorporates the words which the ordinand was required to say while the Bishop was actually cutting his hair. Pope Benedict XVI took it to heart and remmembered it all his life, quoting it in his Christmas Address to the Roman Curia in 2007. "This is marvellously expressed in a verse of a  priestly Psalm that we - the older generation - spoke during our admittance to the clerical state: "The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup, you hold my lot". The priest praying in this psalm interprets his life on the basis of the distribution of territory as established in Deuteronomy. After taking possession of the land, every tribe obtained by drawing of lots its portion of the Holy Land and, with this, took part in the gift promised to the people of God. The tribe of Levi alone received no land: its land was God himself. This affirmation certainly had an entirely practical significamce. Priests did not live like the other tribes by cultivating the earth, but on offerings. However, the affirmation goes deeper. The true foundation of the priestly life, the ground of his existence, the ground of his life, is God himself. The Church in this Old Testament interpretation of the priestly life ... has rightly seen in the following of the Apostles in communion with Jesus  himself, as the explanation of what the priestly mission means. The priest can and must say today with the Levite Dominus pars haereditatis meae et calicis mei. God himself is my portion of land, the external and internal foundation of my existence. ..."
To be continued.

17 August 2015

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus! (2)

I suspect Couratin of having the large hand in producing this booklet, because when I was a seminarian at Staggers under Fr Derek Allen, the liturgical dispositions put in place by Canon Couratin were still in place. There was a particular style about them; that of accommodating Anglican formulae to a Tridentine Roman mindset. I can't express it better than thus, and with the following examples, which those of you with a certain sort of background will understand: at the Divine Office, we used to say the Collect of the Day with the standard longer conclusion, then the last two of the three final collects sub una conclusione with the longer ending after the last one (instead of Cranmer's varied conclusions after each one). At the start of Lent, a notice went up signed by the Bishop of the Diocese formally dispensing members of the House from the strict observance of the Lenten Fast. Mass Practice sessions inculcated the Tridentine ceremonial even in the case of seminarians who would, in their title parishes, be marrying up that ceremonial to Cranmer's libretto. So Couratin's my hunch; but, out of honesty, I'd better give you evidence for different conclusions.

When Kirk became Bishop of Oxford, certain changes were made which are described in the biography of Kirk written by his son-in-law, Eric Kemp, long-time Bishop of Chichester. These were masterminded by his friend Canon Dr N P Williams [who also used to help out at S Thomas's]. Christmas, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost were henceforth marked by a Pontifical High Mass. Kirk was given a full set of pontifical vestments, which he used on these and other occasions (they may the ones which he bequeathed to his episcopal son-in-law). "The ceremonial of the ordination was carefully worked out by Williams and E C Ratcliff, and later on was under the direction of A H Couratin ...". Ratcliff was a most distinguished liturgist with a passion for the Roman Canon; he did a great deal in collaboration with Couratin, who had an instinctive understanding of his mind. If the little booklet I am examining was the product of Ratcliff and Couratin working together, this would fit the data. It's just that I am a trifle doubtful about evidence for Williams' hand in it. (He was dead by the time of the publication of the booklet; but, of course, there could have been an earlier version of the booklet.)

So, when in the next instalments, I refer to "Couratin", what I really mean is ... whichever of these three, severally or in which combinations, did it.


16 August 2015

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus! (1)

The Choir.
Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, qui ...

is how the little book begins; it was among my late Mother's effects. On the cover it reads: "This book is the property of the Diocese of Oxford and must not be taken away." But my Mother, God rest her soul, was rather inclined to keep little mementos of memorable occasions; and this was "The Form and Manner of Making and Ordaining of Deacons and Priests"; and she preserved it as a memento of my Deaconing in 1967 and my Priesting in 1968 in the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford. It has some interesting features.

It bears no date; but bibliographical considerations narrow its printing down to the period 1945-1947; and thus to the episcopate (1937-1955) of Kenneth Escott Kirk, predecessor of the Bishop Harry Carpenter who ordained me. I look upon both of these as sacerdotes magni; incidentally, for those Catholics to whom the papal condemnation of Anglican Orders in Apostolicae curae is a very important part of their Faith, I will in passing point out that each of those two bishops received the episcopate from coconsecrators including Bishop Bertram Fitzgerald Simpson, who was himself raised to the 'Old Catholic', i.e. Dutch Schismatic, episcopate in 1932 by Henry Theodore John Vlijmen, Bishop of Haarlem (utpote per consecratorem aequiprincipalem). Rome has never issued an Apostolicae curae to condemn 'Old Catholic' Orders, and, indeed, accepts them as valid (although I have been told that she does, wisely, proceed with immense caution with regard to people from the tiny and proliferating 'Liberal Catholic' and other sects which claim 'Old Catholic' Orders). Simpson left it on record that when he took part in Anglican consecrations, he carefully intended always to pass on the Dutch, as well as the Anglican, episcopal succession.

Ecce sacerdos magnus is a significant starter to a service; it is what is sung in Catholic churches when a Bishop enters solemnly for a great liturgical occasion. Bishops Kirk and Carpenter certainly regarded themselves as Catholic Bishops in the fullest Catholic sense; both were distinguished Anglo-Catholic scholars and Oxford academics and it was Kirk who masterminded the collection The Apostolic Ministry (1946) which defended Catholic doctrines of priesthood and episcopacy. Among his close friends (and an Honorary Chaplain from 1946) was Canon Arthur Hubert Couratin, Principal of St Stephen's House (1936-1962; died 1988) and a considerable liturgist both theoretical and practical. He used to bring his 'circus', a gang of seminarian servers, to the Cathedral in order to 'do' Kirk's ordinations. I believe, from internal evidence, that the little book I am considering is a collaboration between Kirk and Couratin; and it exhibits ... as I have said ... some very interesting features, of which Ecce sacerdos magnus is the first.
To be continued. This is in five parts, and I shall not enable any comments until all five have appeared.