6 August 2016

Memories?

Today is the Festival of the Titular of the Cathedral, Christ Church, of the Catholic Diocese of Oxford ... erected as such by Cardinal Pole by virtue of the Legatine Decree Cum supremum of December 24 1554 ... except that there isn't such a diocese ... well, I don't think there is ... wasn't it implicitly extinguished by the Restoration of the Hierarchy in 1850? ... or do those old dioceses still exist in some sort of canonical limbo presided over by Plato?

I do wonder what to make of those former dioceses and their cathedral churches; as Blessed John Henry put it, "It was sore to part with them. We clung to the vision of past greatness, and would not believe it could come to naught ..." His maturer judgement was more robust: " ... That old Church in its day became a corpse (a marvellous, an awful change!); and then it did but corrupt the air which once it refreshed, and cumber the ground which once it beautified." Could anyone but JHN have got away with calling the C of E a rotting and stinking corpse, even in those pre-ecumenical days? But he says it so beautifully.

When all is said and done, I sometimes feel that there is a shadow left in the air of Catholic England; a footprint left in the ground. I suppose the tourists won't think along those lines today, as they tramp unknowingly past the grave in Christ Church of the first and last Catholic Bishop of Oxford, Dr King. Yet, when all is said and done, it would be a comfortable sentimental acknowledgement of what once was, if in the Old Rite or the Ordinariate we kept those old Feasts of the Titulars of the pre-1559 Cathedrals as Doubles of the First Class!

7 comments:

Matthew Roth said...

Mmm, it would be a diocese to which an auxiliary bishop, curial official, or nuncio could be appointed titular bishop, but that would be frowned up given the situation in England.

Titus said...

Isn't this where the term "proto-cathedral" becomes useful? We have one here in the American South: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_St._Joseph_Proto-Cathedral

El Codo said...

Father ,one day Blessed John will be recognised as a Doctor of the Church and those who were nurtured in the Anglican seedbed, who loved their first Mother who fed and nurtured them, but who discovered that their real Mother was ready to receive them back home,who left their home with tears and pain, as Blessed John did all those years ago to Littlemore isolated, pilloried, ridiculed.....Father, we are free and the net is broken.We are with the Blessed ,our champion in the lists.

Fr. Marc said...

When I was a visitor to Oxford, thank God!, I did not tramp unknowingly past the grave in Christ Church of the first and last Catholic Bishop of Oxford, Dr King, due to the most excellent host and guide I had that jolly day!

Disciple said...

The lists of titular dioceses in the UK and of the dioceses in the Church of England do not overlap at all, so there is no danger of frowning per Mr Roth's suggestion. On the other hand, what is perhaps of equal risk would be to celebrate not the titles, but the dedications, of the old cathedrals...as the Cathedrals themselves — at least where they correspond to the present circumscriptions. Dedications are already of the highest order — that of a cathedral even more so – and, at least in the NO, a celebration is possible with Mass II (Outside the Church) of the proper Common. I nonetheless suppose that this would require a canonical overhaul of sorts where, pace Titus and as in Dublin, it is the current mother churches that would be termed "pro-cathedrals".

Unknown said...

Thank you, most illustrious Father, for making me laugh aloud with your comment concerning a canonical limbo presided over by Plato. As an Orthodox with much love for the ancient Roman Rite (having been among those Orthodox who use the Roman Rite [and I agree with you on every point about certain additions to the Canon] and served as subdeacon many a time), I do very much enjoy your blog.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"Could anyone but JHN have got away with calling the C of E a rotting and stinking corpse, even in those pre-ecumenical days?"

If Cobbett remained an Anglican, he didn't exactly call it a corpse, but he did call out a problem (in post-Ecumenical days transferred to certain Catholic dioceses too) of clerical pederasty. That would count as "rotten and stinking", if - in Cobbett's opinion - not a corpse. It was about 1830 that he wrote.

JHN was writing about as many decades after that (I suppose, without looking at which exact decade he wrote the lines in) as we are after 1970's scandals of recycled "pedophile" priests (wrong term, since the term pedophile is ambiguous and thus meaningless, but I mean the scandals of pederasts).