7 May 2015

Lords Spiritual

Election day ... one recalls the old bewhiskered jokes: "Sunshine until 5.00 p.m., followed by torrential rain, would be worth 30 marginals to the Conservative Party." The Irish maxim: "Vote early, Vote often". More contributions?

A friend raises the question of Mitred Abbots in our House of Lords. The Abbey of Ampleforth convinced the College of Heralds that it was the lawful successor body of Westminster (the last survivor of the Marian community under Abbot Feckenham having formally conveyed the rights of his House to an exiled English Benedictine community) and therefore entitled to use its Arms. The House of Lords traditionally had much experience of calling titles which had been dormant for centuries out of their dormancy. Could it reinstate Westminster/Ampleforth? What is the difference between Dormancy and Abeyance? Were the mitred Abbots ever legislated out of Parliament, or was it simply assumed that, since after 1559 there weren't any, they need not be noticed in statutes? I bet somebody out there knows.

8 comments:

motuproprio said...

The Dean of Westminster has the right to sit on the steps of the throne during any session of the House of Lords.

vetusta ecclesia said...

The Abbey of St Benet in Norfolk was never dissolved and the Bishop of Norwich still claims the abbacy. As such, once a year, he officiates at a service in the Abbey ruins.

James C. said...

Alas a Labour/SNP Government would mean the end of the Lords Spiritual and perhaps the end of the Lords itself.

Remember 1910.

Woody said...

With respect to political jokes, one of my favorites is the story of a certain Billy Burge, a Boston pol who reportedly asked to be buried in Saint Augustine's cemetery (known for its large Democrat vote) so that, as he said, he could remain politically active.

the Savage said...

An oldie but goodie:

The rector, a confirmed Tory, was arranging hymns for the following Sunday with his organist on the day of a General Election. He said that if the Conservatives won, that the opening hymn would be “Now thank we all our God,” but that if Labour prevailed the hymn should be “O God, our help in ages past.” The organist, just to cover all eventualities, asked what to do should there be a Liberal victory. "In that case," said the rector, "it will have to be 'God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform'."

W.C. Hoag said...

What is necessary to reverse the whole tampering with the British constitution during 19th & 20th centuries, that is, to reset government to what is was in the reign of George III?

B flat said...

I will spoil your fun. There is a seminary in British Columbia, under the care of a Benedictine Community, which in 1953 was raised to abbatial status with the title: Westminster Abbey.
See here: http://www.sck.ca/pages/monks.htm
Were the Americans unaware of monastic realities in Europe? What about Rome, which granted the status and use of ancient title to different communities? I think the Procurator of the English Benedictine Congregation in Rome, must have faced searching questions after this.

the Savage said...

Woody's joke reminds me of something I heard a commentator (I think Tim Russert) say after Dan Rostenkowski lost his seat in the 1994 Congressional election. "Things were so bad for the Democrats tonight that in Chicago even the dead people were voting Republican."