7 February 2009

Ebbsfleet Retreat

Away in company with the Administrator of the Ebbsfleet Apostolic District and his clergy to Ascot Priory for retreat. The Priory was founded by Dr Pusey, one of the great figures of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England. Among relics are the altar stone upon which he offered (as an inscription nearby puts it) 'the Adorable Sacrifice' while he was staying at Ascot. The main chapel very Victorian, "Ecce habitaculum Dei cum hominibus, et habitabit cum eis" written by the Tabernacle; "O salutaris Hostia" above the High Altar; and "Ecce Panis Angelorum" inscribed on its front. To the East, a rather more Art Deco Lady Chapel, with a lovely 1930s Altar, Exposition Throne above it. The Warden is a fellow seminarian of mine (in fact, in 1967 he was at Pam's and my Wedding) Canon Philip Ursell. Still as witty and incisive as ever.

If you get a chance to read the Pusey House Annual Report and Journal, don't fail to enjoy a very fine paper on Pusey and Newman by Fr William Davage. Very perceptive. Here is a paragraph for tasters:
Newman wrote to [T. W. Allies, a Tractarian convert to Rome] that " it is harsh to call any mistakes of [Pusey's] untruthfulness. I think they arise from the same slovenly habit which some people would recognise in his dress, his beard. He never answers letters ... which do not lie in the line of the direct work which he has on hand. And so, in composing a book, he takes uncommon pains about some points ...but he will combine this with extreme carelessness in respect to other statements". Both in his prose and in his appearance in portraiture Newman is fastidious in comparison with the invariably disheveled and prolix Pusey. But, as Professor Henry Chadwick once remarked [in conversation], " Pusey said everything Newman said before Newman said it, but Newman said it so much better".

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