18 October 2016

18 October: S Eadnoth of Dorchester

The 1,000 anniversary of the Heavenly Birthday, Natale, of S Eadnoth Bishop of Dorchester. He was killed while saying Mass during the Battle of Assandun.

The victorious Danes killed him; I expect I will be criticised for suggesting that it shows more respect ... indeed, fear ... for the power of the Sacrifice of the Mass, to kill the priest who is offering it for the victory of your enemies than it does just to dismiss the Eucharist as some irrelevance by which nobody need feel threatened. Might the recent killer of Fr Hamel be a millimetre closer to Truth than the Obama, with its campaign to replace the 'Freedom of Religion' which it so loathes with a 'Freedom of Worship' about which it couldn't care less?

S Eadnoth ended up being buried at Ely. His own Cathedral Church at Dorchester, just South of Oxford, was to lose that status half a century later under the Normans, when the sedes episcopalis was transferred to Winchester. S Eadnoth's church, or rather, the gothic Abbey Church built over its site, was once, but is no longer, a dynamic Anglo-Catholic centre with a Missionary College attached.

At the beginning of this millennium, the shrine of its founder S Birinus was reconstructed. That reconstruction is superbly emblematic of all that is pathetic about a faded and meaningless middle-of-the-road Anglicanism devoid of real content. On top of the now pointless masonry there is no feretory containing relics; attached to its west end there is no Altar for the August Sacrifice. The C of E is terribly good at milking 'heritage' and demonstrating a polite interest in the past, but has no real awareness of any interaction between the Now and the Supernatural. (The church is in the hands of a 'woman priest'.) In Kenneth Kirk's pontificate, the Anglican Bishop Suffragan of Dorchester was permitted, once a year on S Birinus' feast in December, to sing Pontifical High Mass in Dorchester with all the dignities of a Diocesan Bishop, including the presence of the famed and feared Staggers Serving Team commanded by Canon Couratin.  

Sic transit gloria mundi.

But you can find the supernatural a little way away, in the lovely little Victorian Catholic Church of S Birinus, beautifully restored by the admirable Fr Osman, who celebrates the Old Mass in it, and was one of the 45 assertores Veritatis who signed the recent Letter to the Cardinals.

Luci cedant tenebrae, et cedunt.

2 comments:

El Codo said...

Fr Osman is a veritable Stupor Mundi, not only liturgically literate but a great pastor. He is supported by the wonderful Fr Ken, one time Vicar of that glorious Tunbridge Wells God box of St Charles.

vetusta ecclesia said...


According to Anson (Bishops at Large p75)Dr Lee of Lambeth enthroned himself in Dorchester Abbey.