30 September 2014


Summing up the splendid Ordinariate Festival which left us all in such elevated moods, may I repeat my sense of enthusiasm with regard to what Mgr Newton said about the importance of the the Ordinariate Liturgy. And I recall that, at the end of the day, the Ordinary said that somebody had suggested we repeat the event next year: did we want to: to which he received a loud and enthusiastic response. One questioner had already asked about the possibility of having the Cathedral choir: Cardinal Nichols had replied that if we had our Mass at the time the Cathedral choir was scheduled to sing their Sung Mass, we could. Cardinal Nichols had also intimated that we were very welcome to enjoy again the facilities of the Cathedral Hall. This is all immensely generous.

Curiously, the morning Mass was not the Ordinariate Rite. It seems to me that the obvious thing to do next year is to have a celebration of the Ordinariate Rite at a time when the Cathedral choir can find it convenient to be functioning. And, given the great affection and wild enthusiasm which greeted the Cardinal's presence, to have him presiding from his throne while the Ordinary celebrates the Mass. As either speaker or preacher, how wonderful it would be again to greet Fr Aidan Nichols, who was consistently such a tower of strength to us before we entered into Full Communion. Might Cardinal Burke, or Cardinal Mueller, or Bishop Schneider, have gaps in their diaries? Members of the English hierarchy who are anxious to show affection for us? The Ukrainian eparch, another symbol of the glorious diversity within the Church? A special honoured place in choir for Bishop Lindsay Urwin and any of the PEVs who wanted to come ... after all, we are, are we not, intended to be a bridge and to have an ecumenical role?

A procession of our Lady with the Walsingham Hymn? Special indulgences from the Apostolic Penitentiary?

It could be an even greater event than this year's, and would have the additional merit of showcasing the Ordinariate Rite.

29 September 2014

ORDINARIATE FESTIVAL (4): More on our Rite

Quite apart from its sacral and hieratic style of English, the Ordinariate Order of Mass speaks very precisely to the problems of Liturgy in the modern Latin Church at this exact moment.

As you will remember, Pope Benedict XVI established that the 'Tridentine Rite' had, in fact, contrary to popular belief, never been canonically abolished. He clarified, authoritatively, that every single priest of the Latin Church had a right to use it without needing the permission either of the Holy See or any other ecclesiastical authority. So that there are two 'Forms' of the Roman Rite both lawfully in use.

But it is well-known that this great Pontiff looked ahead to a day when the two Forms would converge and eventually become again one single form of the Roman Rite. However, this is going to be a long job. There is so much irrational prejudice on both sides. Among some whose personal preference is for the Ordinary Form, the Extraordinary Form is seen as some sort of return to the Dark Ages of a pre-Conciliar, rigid, sin-obsessed, clericalist Catholicism which makes them wake up in the middle of the night in a feverish sweat. Among some whose own choice is the Extraordinary Form, their narrative of decades of ruthless persecution has made them resistant to the slightest change (in itself, an 'untraditional' attitude since Liturgy has always evolved, gradually and organically).

But the Ordinariate Rite constitutes a stage in that convergence for which Pope Benedict longed, and is thus of very profound significance not simply to members of the Ordinariate but to the whole of the Western Church. In many ways its basic structure is that of the Novus Ordo. But it includes ceremonial from the Vetus Ordo, perhaps most noticeably the double genuflexions at each Consecration. It includes optionally the Praeparatio at the foot of the altar, and the Last Gospel. Of doctrinal importance is its preference for the 'Tridentine' Offertory Prayers said by the priest, full as they are of the language of Sacrifice and Propitiation, and its restoration of the normativeness of the Roman Canon, the First Eucharistic Prayer, as a movement towards the longed-for and essential phasing-out of the alternative Eucharistic Prayers which Vatican II never envisaged and, indeed, by implication excluded.

These are all factors which contribute powerfully to the resacralisation of the Roman Rite, surely one of the most pressing needs of our time ... and I do not mean just liturgically.

28 September 2014

This and that

I did rather wonder why Cardinal Cormac had a private Audience of the Sovereign Pontiff last Tuesday, September 23.

Before we were admitted to the presbyterate of the Ordinariate, we were all given a very rigorous going-over at a place in Manchester. Are the same precautions taken with would-be bishops?


Here is a narrative which I think is often at least implicit:

In the Early Church, Worship was always in the same everyday language that common people used all the time. So, in Rome, as soon as Greek became less common as a language, Latin, the prevailing vernacular, replaced it. Sadly, as the centuries passed, Latin in turn became incomprehensible to most. So, happily, the Second Vatican Council decreed that all worship should be in the vernacular again. And in the simplest possible language so that the greatest number of people could understand it. Because this would serve the cause of Active Participation.

You are waiting impatiently to explain to me that the last three sentences represent a complete travesty of what Vatican II decreed. Well done. But I think it is important to understand that the whole of this narrative is completely erroneous, and constitutes a deception.

One of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century was a Dutch Classicist called Christine Mohrmann. In a long series of articles and books in all the main European languages, she demonstrated that Liturgical Latin (and, indeed, Liturgical Greek) were never intended to be be vernaculars; that, indeed, they were deliberately designed to be formal, archaic, and hieratic. I will let her speak to you in her own words:

"Liturgical Latin, as constituted towards the end of Christian Antiquity and preserved unchanged - in its main lines at least - is a deliberately sacral stylisation of Early Christian Latin as it gradually developed in the Christian communities of the West. The Latin Christians were comparatively late in creating a liturgical language. When they did so, the Christian idiom had already reached full maturity and circumstances rendered it possible to draw, for purposes of style, on the ancient sacral heritage of [pagan] Rome ... As regards the plea which we hear so often for vernacular versions of the prayer texts, I think ... that we are justified in asking whether, at the present time, the the introduction of the vernacular would be suitable for the composition of sacral prayer style. As I have pointed out, the early Christian West waited a long time before adopting the use of Latin. It waited until the Christian language possessed the resources necessary to create an official ecclesiastical prayer language. ... the modern, so-called Western languages ... are less suitable for sacred stylisation. And yet we must realise that sacral stylisation forms an essential element of every official prayer language and that this sacral, hieratic character cannot, and should never, be relinquished. From the point of view of the general development of the Western languages - to say nothing of the problems raised by other languages - the present time is certainly not propitious for the abandonment of Latin".

I don't want to say much more now because I'd rather you read and reread Christine Mohrmann than me. I simply desire to point out that Mohrmann failed here to notice one thing. This: that English does possess a sacral hieratic language ... that of the Book of Common Prayer and the King James Bible ... which was alive and well when she wrote and is not quite dead now. Crafted initially in 1548/9, this liturgical dialect does not suffer from the problems inherent in the liturgical use of modern vernaculars.

It is this extraordinarily valuable liturgical style which, when we were in the Church of England, we had in our English Missal. This volume combined the Prayer Book formulae supplemented with Scripture from the Authorised Version, and the remaining euchology of the so-called Tridentine Rite rendered into the same sacred dialect of English.

This is what "the Ordinariate Use" is restoring to us. This is one reason why it is so important. Later, I will describe other reasons.

27 September 2014

The Revd Prebendary Michael Joseph Moreton

A very great priest, a very great scholar, a very great man died on Thursday last, three years short of his century and in the 65th year of his Sacred Priesthood. He was a fine example of what Henry Manning disapprovingly called the old Oxford, Anglican, literary, Patristic tone. Others will write detailed and accurate obituaries; I warn you that I can only give a deplorably self-regarding sketch of what, in just one decade of his long life, Fr Michael Moreton meant to me.

I think of Michael as one of the Exeter mafia; priests who spent their entire priesthood with a sense that the Diocese of Exeter was their real home ... Bishop 'JR' (John Richards), Prebendary John Hooper were two such others who had an impact on my life. (The Church of England does not have a system of incardination, but clergy who have this sort of local identification seem to have a great capacity for enriching their priestly environment.) I did not become one of Michael's friends until Pam and I moved in retirement to the edges of Devon, and JR took me along to the Society of S Boniface. This priestly society, of which Michael was the dominant member, met monthly for Mass, for study of the Greek New Testament, lunch, and an academic paper. The Biblical exposition was always done by Michael, with immense and painstaking care; but it was in the old spirit of the sort of' 'modern biblical scholarship' which by that time I had realised I no longer believed in. So when we 'passed it round' after he had finished his exposition, we both knew that my contribution would be subversive. I suspect I might even have deployed the phrase 'Dead Germans'. Life was fun.

Michael was, I believe, the first modern liturgical scholar to explode the myth that versus populum was the 'primitive' custom; he did this in a crisp brief paper read at one of Betsy Livingstone's Oxford Patristic Conferences. He was indeed a link with an older generation of scholars in the last golden age of classical Anglican Divinity; he recalled buying a copy of a 'large book with a dark green cover' (Gregory Dix's Shape of the Liturgy) in the SPCK bookshop in Calcutta immediately after its publication. 'Boniface' had been founded by Canon Jasper, who used to report to it on the progress of Synodical liturgical revision in those heady days before it became clear that the Evangelicals would veto any viable Eucharistic Prayer. Michael had also known Dr Jalland, my erudite predecessor at S Thomas's in Oxford, and had said the Mass at his funeral. Ignoring the prejudices of some of those present on that occasion, he had used the Canon Romanus. "I decided that since he was a Patristic Scholar, he should have a Patristic Eucharistic Prayer".

Indeed, it was Michael who brought home to many thoughtful priests the importance of that great monument to Christian antiquity, to Catholicity, to Romanita. I remember JR, an old-style 'Prayer Book Catholic' and a former (very disciplinary) Archdeacon, sheepishly borrowing a copy of the Canon Romanus from me when he was due the say the Mass at 'Boniface' ("Michael likes it so much ... I'd better use it"). Michael used to explain that, far more important than mere legality, what mattered was the auctoritas which the Canon Romanus had in view of its origins in the same period in which the Canon of Scripture and the threefold Apostolic Ministry crystallised within the Church. I still vigorously assert his perception that this incomparable Prayer does have the same immoveable canonicity as Scripture, Creeds, Ministry. With some encouragement from another valued Exeter friend and fellow-member of 'Boniface', Fr Peter Morgan (who has the distinction of being the first priest ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre for his Society), I began to celebrate regularly the Latin 'Tridentine' Mass. What happy days they were. What precious memories to cherish.

Michael was an immensely kind and gentle man; with a great natural generosity. He was also an endearing example of conjugal devotion. How many of us remember and celebrate each year the Day upon which we first set eyes upon our wives? Few things meant more to Michael than his memories of long and happy years with Peggy; quorum animabus propitietur Deus.

26 September 2014

Hermeneutic of Continuity

I regard as extremely good news the report that the Holy Father has said that the Pope cannot change the Lord's doctrine with regard to the indissolubility of marriage.

This is a welcome reaffirmation of the teaching given by Cardinal Ratzinger. He criticised the idea which had got around in the 1960s, that a pope, especially if acting on the mandate of an Ecumenical Council, can "do anything". It was indeed an absurdity, the idea that the Council had in some way sanctioned a maximalising Papacy which could "do" anything, change anything. Especially as such a notion contradicted the teaching of Pastor aeternus, in which Vatican I made clear that the Holy Spirit is not entrusted to the pope to enable him to innovate doctrinally.

And, splendidly, S John Paul II dealt with the error of the sacerdotal ordination of women by simply saying that the Church facultatem nullatenus habet to innovate in this way. This is exactly the way to deal with 'liberals' who try to maximalise the Papacy by implying that a pope, if he has a Council, or a synod, or whatever, behind him, can change anything. They promote this approach, of course, because it makes the integrity of the Church's teaching into something which is vulnerable to political machinations within gatherings of talkative ecclesiastics. They need to be reminded what the Church, what the Pope, what episcopal gatherings, cannot do.

There have been worries in some quarters that Pope Francis might be returning to a maximalising Papacy such as that which Benedict XVI discerned in the culture of the 1960s, and so admirably reprobated. Those who entertained such anxieties should be greatly reassured by the Holy Father's words.

25 September 2014

Cardinal Burke

Of course, I have no idea whether there is any truth in the rumour that Raymond Cardinal Burke is to be 'demoted' into being 'merely' Patron of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta. If it has any basis in fact, perhaps it arises from a misunderstanding of an intention to add this role to other roles which the Cardinal has or may be given. Fr Zed has written, with his insider curial experience, about different ways of glossing such a possible move. Frankly, I do not understand why there is such unease in some quarters, such lack of trust in our beloved Holy Father. I would like to add a completely uninformed thought (what do I know about Vaticanology?).

Being Patron of the Knights would not be a full-time job. So would it not leave Cardinal Burke free to follow a world-wide role in the 'Traditionalist' movement? He would be able to go anywhere in the world by virtue of privileges he enjoys as a Cardinal; local Ordinaries would not be able to sneer at or exclude a pater purpuratus. He would be available, to an even greater extent than at present, to lend grandeur to liturgical events, and erudition to conferences. As he did after the publication of Evangelii gaudium, he would be able to give the Universal Church nuanced judgements upon the magisterial status of papal utterances. With his curial knowledge, he would be on hand to offer guidance and protection to groups, communities, and orders which were experiencing difficulties. Given his expertise in Canon Law, and being no longer silenced by judicial office, he would be there to give legal assistance to groups and individuals being unlawfully persecuted. Might he even become Cardinal Protector of the Ordinariates? Having the court status of a Prince of the Blood Royal, he could not be excluded from being admitted to the presence of the Sovereign Pontiff, either this one or the next one or two or three. To borrow two phrases popularly used of the globe-trotting Cardinal Pacelli in the 1930s, Cardinal Burke would be, for traditional, hermeneutic-of-continuity Catholics, the vice-papa, the Cardinale volante.

Could it be that the Holy Father has in mind for the Cardinal just such a role, for which he is so eminently well suited? If so, we should welcome with much enthusiasm such an assertion by the Sovereign Pontiff that the World of Tradition is an important, growing, permanent and influential part of the ecclesial life of the entire Latin Church.

Viva il Papa! Viva il Cardinale!

24 September 2014

Euripides and our Lady of Walsingham

I wish all readers much joy on this Solemnity of our Lady of Walsingham.

In the Anglican Pilgrims' Manual at Walsingham, the first edition of which was put together in the 1920s by Fr Hope Patten when the Shrine was still in the Parish Church, is given a somewhat mangled text of the Vow which Erasmus composed for his 1511 pilgrimage to our Blessed Lady. That Manual does not reveal that the original was a delightful exercise in perfect Attic Greek iambic trimetra. Here is a complete if wooden translation; I spotted the Greek text, by the way, while looking through the Merton Priory copy of Erasmus in Bodley.

Hail! Jesus' Mother, blessed,
Alone of women God-bearing and Virgin,
Others give to thee other gifts,
This man gold, that man again silver,
Yet another brings and offers freely precious stones
In return for which they ask in return, some, health of body,
Others, wealth, and some hope for their wives
To conceive, that they have the lovely name of Father.
Some of them hope to obtain lives as long as the Old Man of Pylos.
But I, a poet, devoted but poor,
Bringing verses - for I cannot bring anything else -
Beg as a return for my worthless gift,
The greatest prize, a devout heart
Free once for all of all sins.

This is a reworking of the Greek topos which Eduard Fraenkel, whom in a wondrous benefaction Adolf Hitler sent to Oxford to transform Classical studies here, taught us to call a priamel; "Some .... Some ... Some ... but I ... ". And here is the old convention of the Poor Poet.

Did Erasmus read his poem by the flickering lights in the Holy House at Walsingham? I like to imagine that he did; to think of the New Learning, the Renaissance world, there at our Lady's feet; to imagine that funny little Dutchman as he murmured verses that Euripides could have written ... if only Euripides had been a Christian.

23 September 2014

Ordinariate Festival (2)

Cardinal Nichols' very fine address took place immediately after lunch on Saturday. It constantly returned to the question: "those who have joined the Ordinariate will ask if they are being truly distinctive enough" (Absolutely! Our Ordinary dealt with exactly that question later in the afternoon: vide infra.). "The balance between distinctiveness and familiarity is still evolving". Things should "not be done as a matter of personal taste, of subjective likes and dislikes". We should strive "not to satisfy [our] own tastes, [our] own personal preferences". "... personal ... subjective taste ...". "Often the experience of many within the Church [is] that I am fashioned more deeply ... by what I do not particularly like ...". The Ordinariate should "not be shaped by the individual preferences of the members, by personal likes and dislikes which are so often contentious".

I think that is highly important advice to which we should pay close attention, and indeed be guided by. This is both because of the obvious importance of anything Cardinal Nichols says (Coetus Episcopalis totius Angliae et Cambriae Praeses perpetuus), and because it spoke accurately and precisely and helpfully to the liturgical situation we have inherited. Perhaps, for those not within our tradition, I might explain a little of our history in this matter.

One of the liturgical problems of the English Ordinariate (things were different in America and Australia) is that our movement, when it entered into Full Communion, had very little that distinguished it from worship within the Catholic Church. Before the Council, we had worshipped with what is now called the Tridentine Rite or the Extraordinary Form, usually in Tudor English and combined to a greater or lesser extent with the Prayer Book. But in the late 1960s, many of us adopted lock, stock, and barrel the new Catholic liturgical formulae which emerged in the post-conciliar period; even the 1970s ICEL translations. So, for more than forty years, most of our congregations worshipped in an almost exclusively Novus Ordo way and with the same flawed (and now most happily superseded) English translations as those used throughout the Anglophone Catholic Church. As our Ordinary said later on Saturday afternoon, "Some of us have tried so hard in the past to be like Roman Catholics that we have sometimes ignored or forgotten the good things from our own tradition that we are invited to bring with us". Exactly. Believing that being Roman was important, when we were told in the 1970s that Rome had abolished the pre-conciliar Tridentine Rite, we discontinued the use of our English Missal (containing the Tridentine Rite in Tudor English and combined with The Book of Common Prayer) and adopted the new rites. But in this we were, I think we should now admit, rather misled. As Benedict XVI was later forcefully to explain when he issued Summorum Pontificum, the old rite was not canonically abolished; indeed, he said that it could not be. With hindsight, we should have kept our nerve, and kept our English Missals working hard upon our altars. But, however that may be, most of our communities in England have, for more than a generation, been accustomed de facto to worship from the same texts as English Roman Catholics; that culture of worship, in the Cardinal's words, has become for many of us our 'personal taste'; our 'subjective like'; our own 'individual preference'.

But now the Ordinariate Rite offers us what we sadly lost in the late 1960s: Cranmer's exquisite liturgical English and many of his de novo compositions, together with the texts and much of the ceremonial of the Tridentine Rite, as in the old English Missal. In other words, something approximating to the way we worshipped from around the beginning of the twentieth century, during those triumphalist days when Corporate Unity seemed possible. So what we have here is not some individual taste but the embodiment of our own tradition evolved 'on the ground' through many decades in countless churches and congregations and now most happily authoritatively sanctioned by the Holy See.

So it is very appropriate that Mgr Newton should say, in his final address, "The liturgy and the way we celebrate it is one particular aspect of that distinctiveness. Mgr Burnham has spoken a little about the Rites which have been provided for us by the Holy See. I do ask those who have not yet done so to consider using them even if it is for an experimental period. If one thing is true about liturgy it is that it must be prayed for some time before one can make judgement about it. Many people who have experienced the Ordinariate liturgy have been moved by the beauty of its language and devotion".

Who am I to lay down the law to brother priests and their congregations? Absolutely nobody at all. But I have spent much of my life since I was about twelve studying liturgy, and I am deeply convinced that our Ordinary is thoroughly right in his call and his advice, and that his words deserve the most respectful consideration (in a day or two I will write succinctly about the Ordinariate Rite). We should be engaged in the active promotion of our Ordinariate Rite of Mass. If it seems initially a little strange or even alien, we should remember the Cardinal's wise and insightful words "Often the experience of many within the Church is that I am fashioned more deeply by what I do not particularly like".

22 September 2014

Ordinariate Festival (1)

Quite a remarkable event occupied some of us over the weekend of Friday September 19 to Sunday September 21: a great and happy Ordinariate Festival. We have not had too many of these. Clergy meet frequently; but this was the laity as well ... loads and loads of them. The meetings in Westminster Cathedral Hall were absolutely glorious ... you could tell it was all clicking superbly by the way that everybody laughed at even the slightest provocation. Highlights were the Mass in the Cathedral (there were some seats available at the back, but most of the Cathedral looked pretty jam-packed) and the final address by the Ordinary, which found him in his finest and most rousing form. There was also an extremely important address by Cardinal Nichols, who will have been left in no doubt from the response he received how enthusiastic the gathering was and how very warmly his most gracious visit was appreciated. On the Friday evening, those present had been able to hear a lecture in Warwick Street by Dr William Oddie, who had been invited by the Ordinary to be 'indiscreet'. He responded with a fascinating account of the unsuccessful attempt to set up an Ordinariate-style-organisation back in the 1990s and the negative response it had received in those faltering days before the great and glorious Pontificate of our very own Pope You-Know-Who XVI!  Enormous appreciation is also due to those who organised everything, and not least to Fr Ron Crane, responsive as ever to the mood of the occasion. How very much happier and more forward-looking we are now than we were when we used to meet as Forward in Faith in that strange cold evangelical hall near Church House! How very truly we have come home; and what a warm and welcoming home it is. Somebody whose name I cannot now quite remember used to keep saying, on those earlier occasions, "RITA! Rome Is The Answer!" How right he was. Or, I should say, is.

I hope soon to give some account of the addresses.

21 September 2014

Is this year a record?

On 24 August I  gave an account of the superiority of the rules in the pre-Pius XII liturgical books, which enabled a Double of the Second Class to supersede a Dominica post Pentecosten. Thereby those who are at Mass only on Sundays are exposed, something like every six years, to one of the Church's major festivals.

This year, as well as Doubles of the First Class (Ss Peter and Paul; Christ the King) and Second Class feasts of the Lord (Holy Cross; Dedication of the Lateran Basilica) which supersede Sundays even under the Novus Ordo, we have Ss Lawrence, Bartholomew, and Matthew (today) turning up on Sundays. And - in Oxford - S Frideswide, Double of the First Class, will occupy Sunday October 19. Annus vere aureus! This year's Sunday Letter is e.

I wonder if anyone has the leisure to find out whether this year is a record, or whether there are other Sunday Letters which, under the 1939 rubrics, are even more generous to the Sanctorale than is Year e?

19 September 2014

S Januarius and the Ordinariate

Oxford is a city of secrets; and one of its best kept secrets is its very personal relationship with the 1630s, an interesting decade when the Ordinariate very nearly happened ahead of its time. There appeared to be exciting ecumenical possibilities between England and Rome, partly helped by Charles I's laudably uxorious infatuation with his Queen Henrietta Maria.

First stop, if one wishes to do a pilgrimage to the 1630s, might be to contemplate the glass in Magdalen Chapel; 1632 and a baroque reinterpretation of the 'perpendicular' schemes in the windows of All Souls, New College, and elsewhere, each light being occupied by one saint. That in itself is interesting in a period commonly supposed to be 'Protestant'; and the selection of saints is even more so. They are not, as you might expect, a predominantly Biblical band; indeed, numerically they are less biblical than the saints in Oxford's medieval glass. Some of them, interestingly, are saints whose very existence plays a deft game of hide-and-seek with the canons of Enlightenment historicity, such as S Catherine with her wheel. There is S Anne 'Mater'; and S George; and S Januarius. S Januarius!! That admirable Saint who, this very day, has been celebrated in Naples, with supplications that, by the annual miracle of the liquefaction of his blood, he will guarantee the safety of that city! Many of the Saints in the window are so deliciously obscure that I cannot find them in my Dictionary of Saints. There is a strong cohort of Fathers: Ss Cornelius and Cyprian; Basil; a brace of Gregories; Dionysius; Polycarp; Hippolytus; Ignatius; Irenaeus; Clement. All this is faintly reminiscent of the Tractarian period: Fr Faber would have been happy writing biographies of Ss Eulalia and Theodosia; while Blessed John Henry Newman would have felt at home among the Fathers (one recalls that feature of his character which Dr Manning never stopped suspecting: 'the old patristic Anglican tone'). A most provocative curiosity: only one of the saints is wearing a halo. She is labelled 'Sancta Maria Deipara'.

A quiet saunter along the curve of the High brings one to the porch of the University Church, built in 1637, grandly and exuberantly baroque, its twisted columns identical with those supporting Bernini's canopy in S Peter's, Rome; a tantalising hint of the Catholic Baroque England that just might have been. Enshrined within a jolly ensemble of classicising details is a female Figure royally crowned and holding a Child ... the 'Sancta Maria Deipara' we met in Magdalen. The statue in this porch was listed on the indictment of Archbishop Laud when he was to be martyred for being Popish. Sancta Maria Oxoniensis, ora pro nobis! Et beate Gulielme Laud, sis memor nostri!

A third statio is much more private; no public thoroughfare. The back quadrangle at S John's was built by Archbishop Laud in an elegant Renaissance style; a statue of blessed Charles Stuart at one end looks across to a statue of Queen Henrietta Maria. An interesting suggestion of the workings of Providence: that it was a King who had no mistresses, and promoted a culture of Married Love, who received a crown of martyrdom ... am I right in thinking that the same may be true of Louis XVI?

If you want to have a better look at Queen Henrietta Maria, you could try the Old Common Room in Merton (the college in which the Queen resided during the Civil War), but they probably wouldn't let you in. But not to worry: there is another portrait of her in the Ashmolean, in the same excellent room in which you can admire the bust of Pope Benedict XIV, Papa Lambertini.

In the Cathedral, in the Lucy Chapel, you will find monuments of the royal servants who died (sometimes under arms) while the King and the Court were in Oxford, quorum animabus propitietur Deus (as well as the Shrine of S Frideswide and a bust of beatus ille Doctor Veritatis Edward Bouverie Pusey).

What more could a visitor want?