8 October 2010

Why October 9?

A friend whom I respect has expressed a strong view about the tactlessness of selecting, for the liturgical commemoration of Blessed John Henry, the day of his conversion. I do see what he means ...

... but here is an alternative reading. October 9 was the only day in Newman's life upon which he was in communion both with the See of Canterbury and with the See of Rome. Neat, yes? I feel quite proud of that. I shall probably delete comments which rubbish my intuition. (Oh, and by the way - I have decided that in future I will probably delete comments on the thread which advertise church services of which I do not approve.)

Incidentally, the new Newman altar at Brompton is a very decent job; except that I did feel that the walls to left and right of the reredos looked a bit as if they had tiled by one of the high-class kitchen and bathroom purveyors who display their wares on the other side of the Brompton Road.

The centre of the reredos is a copy of Millais' famous fully frontal portrait of Blessed John Henry. Not bad, but not the original. A shame that a previous duke disposed of it to the Nation (it is back at Arundel with the status of a loan). The original would have been a distinguished addition to the other goodies which make the Oratory so superior to the little museum place next door.

It would be a nice altar to say Mass at ... and one would be facing (roughly) ad Orientem.


St said...

But dear father, surely JHN entered the one true Fold of the Redeemer because he had decided that Canterbury was not a See one could be in communion with? And surely his communion with that See was by then so diminished in his affections as to be non-existent anyway? I'm not trying to rubbish your intuition; but I do think you're engaging in a wee bit of denial.

Br. Stephen, O.Cist said...

I think far too much is being made of the date. August 11, the day of Newman's death, is already taken on the Universal Calendar by St. Clare, who's not moving. (After all, we couldn't have a mere theologian displacing the patron saint of television.) The date of his Catholic Ordination is St. Joan of Arc. The date of his birth is St. Robert Southwell. This leaves the date of his creation as cardinal, which is St. Pancras or the date of his conversion, which is St. Denis. Denis doesn't have a major train station named for him, so he had to scoot over a bit and make room.

Anthony Jordan said...


on a slightly tangential subject, if I were to wish to supplement tomorrow's EF office of St. John Leonard with a commemmoration of Blessed John Henry, would I do so by combining the versicle/response and antiphon from the Common of a Confessor not a Bishop with the new collect "O God, who bestowed on the Priest Blessed John Henry Newman..."? In that case, attempting to apply the rubrics, I assume that the versicle/response and antiphon should be taken from 1st Vespers of that Common, so as to avoid repeating the antiphon (St. John Leonard also being a Confessor not a Bishop)?

Fr Levi said...

Dear Fr Hunwicke,
Personally, I applaud your suggestion as to the date for celebrating JHN and I think it would appeal to the gentleman himself. He devoted a large part of his Anglican priesthood trying to guide the Church of England back to its Catholic roots. I see no reason to believe that following the path to where his conscience led him would have caused him to despise the place where his journey began.