23 January 2017

Dixit et Loquitur: the Elizabethan episcopate (1)

Courtesy of my friend Mrs Jill Pinnock, here is an extract from a letter written by the great Mystagogue and spiritual guide, Dom Gregory Dix, OSB, who dominated the Papalist movement in the Church of England in the middle years of the twentieth century. Dix was one of the great English prose stylists; this letter of 1948 is less polished than what he was willing to put in print, but it conveys his vivacious dash and spirit. I repeat this piece from 2009, with its original thread, for its possible historical interest to newer readers. Dix's argument is dated, and datable. But I think it a superb example of Dix manipulating history to his own ends, more concerned really with the 1940s than with the 1560s.

One must remember the extraordinary muddle of the whole pre-Tridentine Western Church. What did 'consecrating a Bishop' mean theologically to a man brought up on a work like the Pupilla Oculi - the 'Bicknell' of the period. The whole of medieval theology denied that Bishophood was a separate 'order' or 'sacrament'. Bonaventure is quite representative when, in his Comment on the Sentences, he says that a bishop only ordains in virtue of the sacerdotium given in ordination to the priesthood! The episcopate as such is an 'administrative office', not a sacrament. Apostolicity has been concentrated in the 'Apostolic See'. The 'Apostolic Succession' had, in the sixteenth century, no meaning in connection with the Episcopate (it has, so far as I can see, very little meaning in current Roman theology). Deny the sine qua non nature of the 'Apostolic See', and away goes any idea of 'Apostolic succession' as such. Bishops had been the administrative vicars of the Pope. They became the administrative vicars of the Crown, as the new 'Supreme Head'. The 'Protestant ' position is a quite logical development of the late medieval outlook. When Calvin said Presbyters could ordain, he was talking good medieval theology.

What rather staggers me is that Elizabeth bothered to get Parker consecrated at all! She might very well have simply nominated him - as Lutheran princes were doing. Wasn't it the fact that the first Convocation of the reign took the line it did; and that Parker took the line he did; i.e. the fact that the Church in England was obviously going to insist on having 'bishops' of some sort, which forced the hand of the government? BUT what sort? The only legal, as well as canonical, rite, was 'the' Pontifical. But which Pontifical? There was no standard edition in England before the Reformation. Every bishop had his own manuscript - and even the sixteenth century ones differ surprisingly about the rite of Consecration of bishops. They fell back on a rite which was both uncanonical and illegal (and I'll bet the consecrators were more nervous about the latter than the former) but which was the rite by which three of them had been consecrated. They could hardly doubt its sufficiency. And in fact there is no need to do so, or ground for doing so - in itself.

I know all the song and dance which has been put up about what happened in Mary's reign. The fact remained that the Papacy had (at great inconvenience all round) refused to condemn it clearly and plainly. (I agree with Fr J B Scannell - one of the Commissioners on Anglican Orders in 1896 - that all through Mary's reign the English Catholics were trying to get an unequivocal condemnation out of Rome - and failed. How could the Holy See condemn it without prejudging the exceedingly difficult and delicate discussions on Orders due to come off some time at Trent?) What the Holy See all through Mary's reign was trying to do was to satisfy the English Hierarchy without upsetting the apple-cart of Trent. The result is all those curious briefs which must have tried Pole's patience severely.

To continue.

22 January 2017

Married Clergy

I am willing to accept contributions on the following topic: the maintenance within the Ordinariates of the tradition of a married clergy.

I shall not enable anything scary or paranoid or uncharitably stated.

21 January 2017

Cats, skinning of, different ways of.

UPDATE: On 22 November 2016, I published the post I repeat below. Recently, Cardinal Mueller has again been the victim of criticism in some Traddy circles. This, in my view, is totally unjustified. His stance on Amoris laetitia is perfectly rational and it doesn't need me to guarantee its perfect orthodoxy. His is one way to skin a cat. The other skinning method is that of the Four Cardinals; to seek a clarification which will put its orthodoxy beyond the doubt which they judge some prelates and some hierarchies have created. Each Feline Modality is directly aimed at the affirmation of the same orthodoxy. Whether as a matter of fact there is 'doubt' about what AL teaches, is for individuals to assess. And an  assessment might change, obviously. If enough prelates and hierarchies were to claim that AL affirms their own personal unorthodoxy, then it is obvious that Cardinal Mueller's present judgement, that AL does not require any resolution of doubts, might need reconsideration. If, on the other hand, the Conferences and bishops of the world conclamantly and unambiguously assert the Mueller view, then I imagine the Four Cardinals might wonder whether they need spend their time composing Fraternal Corrections.

What is important is that the cat gets skinned. Not whether journalists can get some good copy about Rifts in the Vatican.

Soon after this document was published, Cardinal Mueller, addressing seminarians, explained that nothing has changed; that the teaching of Familiaris consortio and Sacramentum caritatis is still fully in place. He concluded his assertion with the cheeful "it's-obvious-isn't-it" observation that, if a Roman Pontiff wanted to change such important teaching, he would so explicitly and with full explanations.

The widespread opinion of others, which seems to me plausible, is that Bergoglio in fact is trying to create ambiguity and confusion and grey areas so that, in the fulness of time, heterodox conclusions will emerge from the mess ... while he, Bergoglio, will be immune to any accusation of teaching explicit heresy. OK; if that's right, do you really expect Mueller to say it? Do you in effect expect the Muellers of this world to resign noisily and thus vacate areas of power for dodgy Bergoglians to be put into? Do you think Bergoglio is happy with Mueller? Why do you suppose he sent von Schoenborn, instead of Mueller, to do the Amoris laetitia News Conference? UPDATE: Why do you think he has proclaimed the Graf von Schoenborn as the Official Interpreter of AL? Why do you think he has personally weeded out some good men from the CDF and shouted at them down the phone?

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia is another very skilled skinner of cats. He worked hard and fast and got his diocesan guidelines out. No grass grew under his feet or those of his cats. Kevin "Bergoglio-is-the-voice-of-the-Holy-Spirit" Farrell then criticised Chaput and yet again dragged the Holy Spirit into his expression of his own divisively factional opinions*. Chaput neatly replied that Farrell had not in fact been a witness of the first synod and had clearly not read the Philadelphia regulations. He then very defly dealt with the idea that Episcopal Conferences should get themselves behind Amoris laetitia, by pointing out that diocesan bishops, not conferences, were responsible for their dioceses ... and that each bishop individually really loves the Holy Father simply to bits! This man is no fool and no coward. The first American pope? The first pope with genuinely Native American blood?

I, personally, rejoice in the initative of the Four. I suspect that other prelates may have whispered in Pope Francis' ear that they agree with the Four; but out of affection and loyalty were not yet saying so publicly. Why else do you think Bergoglio cancelled the talking-shop before the Consistory? Perhaps he, unlike the amnesiac Kev, remembers that there were some quite amusingly noisy and uncontrolled outbreaks of Parrhesia during the synods.

And according to the commentators, it rather looks as though, in the pleasant anonymity of their polling booths, the American bishops were contentedly unwilling to vote in any great numbers for Bergoglio's cronies and favourites.

MiaOW! Or, to approach the question from quite a different angle, MiaOW!

*"Each bishop in his diocese has to set certain rules and parameters, but at the same time, I think that they need to be open to listening to the Holy Spirit ..."  Ah, the naive, the child-like arrogance of this so-transparent individual!

20 January 2017

Bishop Stephen Lopes and Remarried Divorcees

Bishop Lopes, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of S Peter in North America, has issued a very fine instruction on the question of the "remarried" divorced.

In this document, printed in its entirety in the National Catholic Register, he binds together formulae from our Anglican (Patrimony) Marriage Service; from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which Benedict XVI's Anglicanorum coetibus formally declared to be the official doctrinal statement of the Ordinariates); from S John Paul's Familiaris consortio; and from Amoris laetitia. Drawing sensitively upon our corporate experience when we were still separated from the Unity of the See of S Peter, he shows how the whole Biblical doctrine of the use of sexuality handed down by Tradition unravels, with increasing rapidity and violence, once an ecclesial body starts 'making exceptions' which the Incarnate Word Himself explicitly excluded.

Bishop Stephen's Letter demonstrates exactly how immensely valuable it is for the Catholic Church to have a separated tradition such as ours, with its own liturgical inheritance, its own centuries-old experience of the Christian life, entering, enriching, and strengthening the Tradition which is from the Apostles. It is, surely, for fine teaching such as this that God called us into unity.

As it happens, our liturgical inheritance in this matter is not in its origins Protestant at all. Of all the Sacramental rites in our Prayer Book tradition, the service of Holy Matrimony is the one which Archbishop Thomas Cranmer messed around with least. This is because, despite Henry ("It was null just like the last time!") Tudor, the Church of England substantially preserved Catholic Truth in the matter of the indissolubility of Marriage. Accordingly, much of the traditional Anglican Marriage service stays word for word in line with that of the Medieval Catholic Sarum Manuale (i.e Rituale). There, of course, much of the Wedding Service had to be in English ... so that bride and groom understood to what they were assenting. And perhaps also because the congregations knew the words so well.

After the Reformation, English Recusant Catholics continued to use Sarum, so that for centuries Catholics and Anglicans in England got married with (almost) the same words; words already sanctified by centuries of use.

Cranmer's main change was to introduce a text for the priest to read at the beginning of the Service ... which was very orthodox!

19 January 2017

S Markos Eugenikos ... a political canonisation?

A colleague of mine at Lancing, a very learned Presbyterian Classicist, was chrismated into Orthodoxy around this time of the year, and took the name Markos in honour of S Markos Eugenikos, the leading opponent of Unity at the Council of Florence (1438-1439). (My friend later tested his vocation on the Holy Mountain, where they made him repeat his Baptism!)

I was reminded of S Mark when Professor Tighe told me about a very positive article on Palamism by a Greek Catholic scholar Fr Christiaan Kappes (afkimel wordpress 27 June 2016) which contextualises S Mark. Perhaps he is rather an interesting Saint to think about on this his Feast Day, on the Second Day within the Chair of Unity Octave!

S Mark was not immediately canonised by the Byzantine Churches. Perhaps, in those decades, they had more pressing things to worry about! Finally, in 1734, Seraphim Patriarch of Constantinople did canonise him; I wonder if this action can possibly have had anything to do with the decision of the Patriarch of Antioch and his Synod, the previous decade, to enter into Full Communion with the (other) See of S  Peter. Was Patriarch Seraphim making a point in his own contemporary church politics by canonising this figure from a controversial past? Some Latin Catholics might be able to think of modern examples of this very same phenomenon of Political Canonisation!

Wikipedia says that S Mark is on the Calendar of the Melkite Church. I haven't found him on the copy of that Calendar (1960s) which I possess, although many of the saints who were canonised by the separated Byzantine churches are there. Can anybody throw any light upon this?

18 January 2017

Pope Francis and papal power (2)

Joking aside, His Excellency Bishop Fellay would be less than human if he were not watching with some apprehension the papal onslaught upon the Order of Malta. The Franciscans of the Immaculate were, after all, a recent and vulnerable order. But ... aggressive interference in the affairs of the ancient and venerable Sovereign Order of Malta ... fortified as it is by centuries of jurisprudence and an international juridical status ...

We do not know what sort of offer is on the table for the SSPX. If it is robust enough so that the Society, were Rome subsequently to act in bad faith, could suspend the accord and resume its present de facto autonomy, then I cannot see that acceptance is too risky. What would have been lost? Much, potentially, could be gained.

But if the draft deal could enable a subsequent Pope to take the Society over in such a way as to expel most of the bishops and clergy from their altars and homes and to leave them bereft of the endowments given by the Faithful during nearly half a century, without churches and chapels and seminaries, back to Square One and saying Mass in garages and Scout Huts ... who could deny that an emergency situation truly existed?

There have been real examples of Roman bad faith in the past; one's mind goes back to the large Ruthenian formerly "uniate" communities in America, savagely driven into schism in their tens of thousands by factional and cultural bigotry. Some might even recall the deliberate weakening of the English Church by Papa Caraffa, in the pursuance of his maniacally hispanophobic policies, which made the 'Elizabethan Settlement' so much easier to accomplish. Not every pope has always been a big enough personality to be able to rise above the petty narrow-mindedness of his own decade and culture. And that is without taking account of the deliberately fissiparous policies encouraged by some of those who surround Papa Bergoglio.

And if, like the admirable figure of Papa Ratzinger, a pope is able to stand above the flux of public affairs, he is likely to find himself opposed by the noisy malevolence of the Wolves.

We live in dangerous times.

17 January 2017

Pope Francis and the Temporal Powers of the Papacy (1): Bring Back DORA

Bishop 'Anglican Patrimony' Andrewes, sadly, found himself having to refute some accusations which S Robert Bellarmine had made against King James VI and I. The Saint had accused the King of denying the Primacy of S Peter: NO, said Andrewes, "immo asserit" ["nay rather, he asserts it"]. And he goes on to explain that what the King does deny is the idea that this involves an earthly monarchy by which the pope has the right [ius et potestas] to strip kings of their authority [imperium] over their subjects and to absolve subjects of their sworn allegiance to their king (it will be remembered that this is only a generation after Regnans in excelsis).

That Andrewes had consulted his Sovereign about his wording is suggested by King James' own use of similar language in his Praefatio Admonitoria of 1610: "Sit [Papa], per me licet, primus Episcopus inter omnes Episcopos; sed eo sensu Episcoporum Princeps quo Petrus Apostolorum Princeps fuit ... pernego terrestrem esse aliquem Ecclesiae Monarcham, cuius verba pro legibus esse debeant, quique infallibilitate spiritus nunquam in suis sententiis errare possit".

Gregory Dix commented: "This, with its nunquam, does not even formally contradict the carefully guarded Vatican definition of Infallibilty in faith and morals only". I would add that this is a passage which, a century and more before Vatican I, could have secured the assent of the Catholic French Bourbon monarchy; and that these possibly 'Gallican ' sentiments seem to have been shared by a monarch, King James VII and II, who lost his thrones because of his dogged adherence to the Catholic Faith.

The hypersuperueberpapalists of Pio Nono's time did, I believe, agitate for a 'dogmatic definition' of the Temporal Monarchy of the Pope; unsuccessfully, of course. But it has commonly been thought that all such notions (except as regards the minuscule Vatican City State) had long since disappeared from the consciousness both of Catholic people and of the Papacy itself.

Until, that is, the larger-than-life figure of our present Holy Father Pope Francis came bouncing on to the scene. Now, apparently, the notion that the Roman Pontiff has absolute monarchical, indeed, imperial, jurisdiction over Kings and Princes is alive again and well. Apparently, a pope can demand prompt obedience from the Order of Malta, a body which in law is an international Sovereign Entity. It looks as if the Most Eminent Prince, the Grand Master, is going to be dragged along to the Headmaster's study and bent over a chair. Journalists discuss whether the Pope has a Nuclear Option available in his dealings with the Knights!

Nuclear Options! Lor, luvaduck! Perhaps Mr Trump and Vladimir Vladimirovich ought to have their Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles retargetted onto the Real Threat, the Casa Santa Marta! Perhaps Elizabeth II had better check that her Crown Jewels have not been snaffled from the Tower of London (and given to 'the poor', i.e. Divorced Germans) by some perfervid Ultra-Bergoglian! At the very least, Mgr Rio Tinto and Cardinal 'Fenian' Farrell ought, under a new Defence of the Realm Act,  to be declared personae non gratae in these Three Kingdoms. Come back, Dr Ian Paisley! All is forgiven! No surrender! Not an inch! Not a nanometre!

16 January 2017

The Maltese bishops and their enthusiasm for papal footnotes

I wrote this at the beginning of December last year. The Maltese Bishops, all two of them, have just spectacularly confirmed the suspicion that led me to write it ... how I love being proved right!

What I suspected was this: that the more heterodox members of the episcopate, in their need to force an extreme hermeneutic onto the grey areas of Amoris laetitia, would have to rely exclusively upon the footnotes. I share, incidentally, what I understand to be Cardinal Mueller's view; that firmly established doctrine and praxis can hardly be overturned without a most explicit declaration that this is what is being done. And, what I suspect to be Cardinal Burke's opinion, that those parts of AL which do not simply affirm what is already clearly taught, cannot be Magisterial.

So this is what I wrote: --

I wonder if anybody has ever seen a theological consideration of the question whether Footnotes ... either in Conciliar documents or Papal ones ... are, or can be, or cannot be, Magisterial?

Furthermore, if anyone has Acta Apostolicae Sedis and Acta Sanctae Sedis sitting cheerfully beside their desks, it would be the work of a moment for them to spot when Roman documents started to appear with footnotes.

I see, in the front of my hand-missal, that Divino afflatu (1909) has footnotes, but only such as identify quotations. (These can hardly be Magisterial; either they provide mere bibliographical facts or, if erroneous, are simply proofs that curial clerks might possibly fail accurately to verify references.) So my query may fall into two parts:
(1) when did such formal documents start to have any footnotes; and
(2) when did they start to have footnotes of any greater significance than references to identify quotations?

The Codex Iuris Canonici, the Ritus Servandus, the de Defectibus, manage without footnotes ... I think ...

Extraordinary Form ORDO, and Ordinariate directions, for the Unity Week

Unity Week starts on Wednesday January 18 and ends on January 25.

                                              EXTRAORDINARY FORM

Before the 1960s, January 18 was the Feast of the Chair of S Peter at Rome (while February  22 celebrated his Chair, that is to say, his episcopate, in Antioch).

In the Good Old Days, the Wantage Sisters ... who now comprise our Ordinariate Sisters in Birmingham, the praying heart of the Ordinariate, as our Ordinary puts it ... used to publish an annual ORDO  "... in strict accordance with the Use of the Western Church". This was widely used both in Anglo-Papalist churches and in Anglo-Catholic churches generally. The latest one I possess is 1969. Before January 18, the following information is printed:

                                               CHURCH UNITY OCTAVE BEGINS

Ad lib, during the Octave: one 2cl Vot M For the Unity of the Church. Cr (on Sunday only), Common Pref (pref Trin on Sunday). P[urple]

This will undoubtedly have been lifted from what was authorised for Roman Catholics in England, Scotland, and Wales on the very eve of the liturgical alterations of the late 1960s. What it means is that it is lawful to say one Mass of the Votive for Christian Unity (Ad tollendum Schisma if your Missal, like mine, is pre-1962; but the texts are the same in the 1962 Missal) on the Sunday within the Octave (even if it be Septuagesima); and also on each of the weekdays, because they are all (even the Conversion of S Paul) days occupied by III class feasts and so admit Second Class Votives. No Gloria, of course.

My own suggestion would be to start the Octave with a (permitted) Votive Mass of the Chair of S Peter on January 18 (Mass as on February 22 except that the Alleluia is said) and to conclude with the Mass for S Paul on January 25. It was the idea of linking up the two Apostles which gave rise to the Octave.

Alleluia for the Chair of S Peter: Alleluia, alleluia. Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Alleluia.

I have thought it worth while providing this information because I do not think it is in the available Extraordinary Form ORDOs in English or French.

                                                       ORDINARIATE MISSAL

The same Mass for Unity, of course, is provided for use in Liturgical English in the Ordinariates. The rubrics make clear that it can be said on any day except Solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, All Souls, Ash Wednesday, Ember Days, Rogation Days, weekdays of Holy Week and of the Easter and Pentecost Octaves. Such votives ARE allowed BUT ONLY FOR "a real necessity or pastoral advantage" on Obligatory Memorials and the weekdays of Advent, Christmastide, Lent, and Eastertide. Pretty permissive, eh?

15 January 2017

I was quite indignant. You see,

the Provost of the Piskie Cathedral in Glasgow had invited a Moslem to come to his Cathedral at Epiphany and to read some chapter of the Koran which denies the Divinity, or the Divine Sonship or perhaps both, of the Second Person of the Glorious and Undivided Trinity.

And Mr Plod had announced that he was investigating whether a Hate Crime had been committed.

Over the top, I thought. Since I am a Catholic, it would be ecumenical bad manners for me to say what canonical steps should be taken against the daft cleric responsible for the blasphemy. But for Inspector Knacker to prosecute him, and/or the well-meaning Moslem who read the text, for Hate Crime, is quite simply massively disproportionate.

But, as the news item (what journalists revealingly and naively call The Story) unfolded, I suddenly realised that I had got totally the wrong end of Mr Plod's big knobbly stick. The said Plod was not investigating the blasphemers, but ... get this ... the people who had strongly expressed their disapproval of the blasphemy!!! !!! !!!

How very, very, Plod. I am old enough to remember the days of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, when the "Security Forces", poor chaps, had to keep on explaining that dissidents had died in Police Custody because, in their silly Kaffir way, they kept on violently bashing their heads against the boots of their captors.

I don't think the Piskie "bishops" come very well out of it. I am tempted to give them my professional ritual advice on where to put their crosiers. The "Primus" issued one of those shifty hypocritical apologies which are not really an apology at all: he was sorry that people had been upset by the blasphemy. Perhaps, in accordance with Gospel guidelines, he should be renamed the "Ultimus". But that decision, of course, would have to be entirely up to our Partners in Ecumenical Dialogue.

Afterthought: equilibium could be re-established if the Ultimus went along to the Glasgow Central Mosque and chanted the Johannine Prologue in an authentically Scotch dialect of Urdu.

Cana and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Today wraps up - or it does in 'Traditional' lectionary terms - the Scriptural offerings of Epiphany. Hitherto, the Lucan picture of Mary has concentrated our attention upon how attuned her Immaculate Heart is the will of God: "Let it be unto me"; "He has done great things for me"; "Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her Heart"; "And his Mother kept all these things in her Heart". But in this the traditional Gospel reading of the Second Sunday after Epiphany, S John steps up to the podium to show her as also attuned to the needs of others ("They have no wine"). Even though the Hour of her Son's Glory has not yet come, the intercession of her Heart mediates through shared obedience ("Do whatever he tells you") the first great Sign which manifests his Glory.

Scripture** tells us that, because her Heart is Immaculate, Mary Sees God, and the intercession of the one who Saw led to the Johannine Theophany. However, although the divine doxa was manifested to his own, his own received him not. But to all who did receive him - to all who beheld and behold his glory, glory as of God-only-begotten - he gives power to become (like himself*, indeed, in himself) the Son of the Virgin, born not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of the male, but as the Only-begotten of the Father and the one Seed of Abraham who is the one Child of Mary aeiparthenos kai polupais.

Her Immaculate Heart will prevail!


*Whatever the origin of the 'Western' variant reading hos ... ouk egennethe, I feel sure that it accurately pinpoints the allusion intended by S John to the Lord's Virginal Conception and Birth.

**This paragraph draws on Luke 1:38,49; 2:19,51, John (and the apparatus criticus of) 1:13, Matthew 5:8, and Galatians 3:16.

A Bit More Perne

Rather strange, Perne's actions in that year of 1564. I wish I knew more about the day-to-day changes in the direction of the winds which bore upon that Weathercock. I am no historian.

My uninformed suspicion is that 1564 was a time when the future of English Christianity either still hung, or was thought by some still to hang, in the balance. A recent book by John Guy has emphasised that the more murderous part of Elizabeth's reign did not start until around 1584; and the Handlist of the English Martyrs does not resume, after Henry VIII, until the aftermaths of the Northern Rebellion of 1569 and the Bull of Excommunication in 1570. The Missionary priests did not start to arrive until 1574 and John Gerard's autobiography explains how little interest the government took in the activities of Marian priests. 1564 was, after all, only five years after 1559.

As the Royal Visitation of Cambridge drew close in 1564, Edmund Grindal (who had spent the previous reign as a refugee in Strasbourg) was somehow mysteriously outmanoeuvred so as to be unable to prevent the nomination of Perne to preach the sermon. Significantly, Grindal distinguished between "dissemblers and neutralls", and "the zealowse and syncere". Perne, he believed, manifestly and disgracefully fell into the former category, and ought not to be given any encouragement.

So Perne preached eloquently on the Royal Supremacy (Romans 13:1). Eloquently and acceptably. Might he have been planning so to melt the wax in the Royal Ears that they might more graciously incline to his speech at the Disputation, later in the week, in which he set the authority of the Church above that of Scripture? Or was it that the royal favour was made so explicit to him that Perne, as he later hinted, improvised a speech which he had not originally prepared or intended? Collinson points out that "all the old popish guard, the unreconstructed Marian heads of houses, were drawn into the lists ... Apparently in the perception of Cambridge this, rather than the abortive disputation at Westminster Hall in 1559, was the crucial occasion when Protestantism might yet meet its intellectual nemesis". And Perne was cast in the role of Master Doctor Nemesis. A sort of Proto-Pusey?

Perhaps we should revive Grindal's phrase "Dissemblers and Neutralls", or "D-and-Ns", as a 'churchmanship category' when we try to analyse the convictions of an Elizabethan clergyman. It would be jolly to know how broad a category it was! It might not even presuppose that a cleric had been ordained during the use of the Latin Pontificals, since quite a number of the Catholic Martyrs had been previously in Anglican Orders; beginning with the Protomartyr of the Seminaries S Cuthbert Mayne (of St John's College).

In conclusion: another jolly enquiry for some keen youff or youffess might be the publication and acquisition dates of Perne's Patristic texts, combined with a careful reading of his annotations. What about testing a thesis something like this: "While the invention of Anglicanism largely rested upon a dislike of Calvinism and of Calvinists, it also owed a great deal to the dissemination of newly printed Patristic texts".

14 January 2017

Foundation of the Ordinariates!!

January 15, 2011, the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham was erected and Mgr Keith Newton was appointed Ordinary. We invite all our friends to join in our thanksgivings and supplications!!

Suggested Extraordinary Form ORDO entry, providing for due commemoration on tomorrow's anniversary:
Cras in Ordinariatu: secunda oratio Deus omnium fidelium pastor et rector (cum orationibus Super Oblata et Post Communionem) additur sub una conclusione cum orationibus diei in omnibus Missis ob inaugurationem Reverendissimi Keith Newton Ordinarii Protonotarii Apostolici Episcopi emeriti Rutupiensis.

Within the Collect etc., perhaps the simplest text is ... pastorem ecclesiae huic praeesse voluisti ... . Or, if you must, ... pastorem Ordinariatui Beatae Mariae de Walsingham praeesse voluisti ... .

I have heard it suggested that Silvester is the Latin for Keith. Moi, in the Te igitur I always just say antistite nostro Keith.

13 January 2017


The rumour went around the ladies' tea-parties of donnish Oxford:"Have you heard? Dr Pusey sacrifices a lamb every morning in Christ Church".

Of course, what Dr Pusey did was not to slit the throat of a daily ungulate in the sedate surroundings of an Anglican Cathedral, but to offer the sacrifice of the Eucharist ... 'the adorable Sacrifice' as the inscription beside his altar at Ascot Prory puts it. Nevertheless, I have some sympathy for the perplexities of the bewildered ladies. Those who saw S John Baptist, in the ancient Gospel for today, the Octave Day of the Epiphany, pointing at his Nazarean Relative as 'God's Lamb', must have been at least equally perplexed, even without tea.

But - oops - what about the view of liberal protestants, commonly regarded by them as so obvious as not to require argument, that the Eucharist was in origin a simple fellowship meal later perverted, by S Paul or by 'Early Catholicism', into a complex sacrificial mystery? Happily, this widespread but evidence-free myth was exploded by a distinguished American Jewish rabbinical scholar, Jacob Neusner. When Jesus 'cleansed' the Temple by expelling the tradesmen who facilitated its worship, He was symbolising the replacement of that sacrificial system by His own new Eucharistic sacrifice, to be instituted a few days later. And the principal Jewish sacrifice to be replaced was the daily sacrifice of the Tamid Lamb, paid for by the Temple tax of Jewish males and offered for the whole of God's people. "The atonement for sin achieved by the daily whole offering is null, and ... atonement for sin is achieved by the Eucharist; one table overturned, another set up in place, and both for the same purpose of atonement and expiation of sin".

The Lamb of God, the Incarnate Word under the visible tokens He has ordained, is the perfect oblation held in his hands and offered by the Christian priest as he stands at his altar every morning. Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. 

But according to Common Worship (modern language Gloria, Agnus, and Invitation to Communion) He takes away the sin of the World. The Latin and Greek liturgical originals usually speak of sins, while CW has been influenced by John 1:29, which reads sin. This Johannine singular sees sin as a single corporate turning away from God by fallen humankind. And rightly. But in liturgy it may not be best to reflect comfortably on the corporate nature of sin, but instead to acknowledge its specific nature in my life. 

The daily Christian needs to be aware of his own daily and plural sins as he attends the daily pleading of the One Great Sacrifice.

12 January 2017

Latin Liturgy at Oxford UPDATE

UPDATE: Sadly, the Latin version used is not that found in Bright's and Medd's translation of the BCP, but a version confected ad hoc, by converting the English into Latin. (Bright and Medd, much more sensibly, used or tweaked pre-Reformation texts whenever it could be discerned that Cranmer's version was based on or influenced by a Latin original.)

I wonder how many people are aware that the University of Oxford begins each term with a celebration of a Holy Communion Service in the Latin Tongue? And that it did so this very morning? Is it the only university in the UK to do so? An hour spent browsing in Bodley through old University Calendars reveals the following about the history of the practice.

It is not, as one would have loved to believe, a survival from Medieval Oxford, but a piece of Tractarianism. By the start of the nineteenth century, each of Oxford's four terms [our modern Trinity term in the summer is historically a conflation of the old 'Easter Term' and the old 'Trinity, or Act, Term'] began with Latin Litany, Latin Commemoration of Benefactors, and Latin Sermon, apparently at about 10.00 in the morning in the University Church [the S Mary's where Mr Newman was Vicar, and with the baroque porch and statue of our Lady which became part of the indictment leading to the martyrdom of Archbishop William Laud]. In 1862 "and Holy Communion ... also in Latin", was added. I suspect this was a result of the Oxford Movement aka the Catholic Revival. So things continued until 1901, when the Holy Communion was separated from the Litany and Sermon and was now to be "Earlier in the day". I put this down to either or both of the following: the preference of Anglican Catholics to communicate fasting; and the growth in numbers of non-Anglican or non-communicant dons. In 1920, the Latin Litany and Sermon were reduced to once a year - on the first Sunday of the Hilary Term, when they still happen - but the Latin Communion was and still is three times a year. I rather relish the recollection of having both preached and celebrated in Mr Newman's Oxford patch ... but not so much as I relish having celebrated and preached in the Birmingham Oratory!

The Proctors, representing formally the body corporate of Chancellor Masters and Scholars, attended until 2008, when they decided that it was invidious for them thus to privilege [by getting out of bed for a 8.00 service!] one religion and a fortiori one sect of one religion.

11 January 2017

Andrew Perne a Papist? (3)

Perne's library survives; his copies of the Fathers were well-used and copiously annotated. Perhaps he might have merited the condemnation which Cardinal Manning passed upon our patron Blessed John Henry Newman: of being too patristic. If a less Protestant wind had brought the Armada, Cardinal Allen, and his pallium to England and then on to Cambridge in 1588, Perne would have been able to show him Allen's books upon his own library shelves. Patrick Collinson, author of the first essay in this collection, deems the evidence "not inconsistent with the covert Catholicism with which the Jesuit John Gerard credited Perne. Very possibly he was what might nowadays be called a closet papist. Alternatively, although nobody had yet thought of so defining it, his religion may be thought to have displayed many features of what would later be called Anglicanism, high Anglicanism".

A very fair point, if rather cumbersomely expressed. Dermot McCulloch (however he is spelt) has argued that "Anglicanism" did not really exist until the Stuart period; that the Elizabethan Church was just Bog Standard Prod. Maybe and, well, maybe; but Perne did exist and was once even nominated for an episcopal see. So, in distant Devon, Duffy's Parson Trichay clung on; and a circle of Church Papist clergy has been discerned and documented in Cornwall. Could it be that wherever one looks carefully enough ... ... For example, at Oxford, S John's College harboured just such individuals; and maintained an ill-defined but definite link with Gloucester Hall a couple of hundred yards away, where the popery was much more thorough-going. (St John's carefully maintained its splendid Marian vestments until today.) Archbishop William Laud emerged from this cultural context. Surely we may be justified in seeing in these manifestations the first glimmerings of what was to lead to our glorious Ordinariate!

Collinson writes: "Studying his Tertullian, Perne noted Christianus debet credere credita sive tradita; and also the principle of establishing true doctrine ab antiquitate et consensu et successione episcoporum." I wonder, incidentally, what the publication date of that Tertullian was.

These perceptions leave me reasonably confident that "AP" would have approved of those of us who have done our best, firstly, to spend decades asserting within the C of E the necessity of the Petrine Ministry; and, secondly, more recently, to call to account the misbegotten excesses of Ultrabergoglianism and Hypersuperueberpapalism.

Some afterthoughts about the events of 1564 in a few days' time.

10 January 2017

English Catholic clerical blogs

Sadly, our two premier English Catholic priestly bloggers had, in 2016, nasty experiences of a cardiac nature, and do not publish as often as their countless admirers would love. As we wish beloved Fr Tim and beloved Fr Ray well and look forward, with much prayer, to their completely restored health and return to frequent blogging, I venture to commend, for any who have not discovered them, two Ordinariate bloggers, formerly Anglican clergy, Fr Ed Tomlinson and Dr Geoffrey Kirk. You will find in them much sound teaching and a great deal of wit. It's the Anglican Patrimony. Who knows if it might be for precisely this that God and Pope Benedict sent us into the Catholic Church. And at the time they did.

Other recommendations? I emphasise that it is the Three Kingdoms that I have in mind rather than the entire Anglosphere, and clerical bloggers who publish reasonably often.

Andrew Perne a Papist? (2)

Martin Bucer, a failed Dominican from Strasbourg whom Cranmer had invited to England and eased into the Regius Chair at Cambrdidge, died there in 1551, while the Godly were still in power, and was buried in the University Church. When the Marian Commissioners made their Visitation of the Daughter University in 1557, they were offended, as any right-thinking person would be, to find his remains still interred there. The Vice-Chancellor presided over the highly fitting ritual proceedings which concluded with the incineration of Bucer's remains, those of another Strasbourg 'reformer' called Phagius, and the available books of the said 'reformers'. The country folk who flocked in to watch were apparently vastly amused to see the dramatically decaying corpses chained as if out of a fear that they might do a runner ... what happily unsqueamish days! According to a Protestant woodcut in Foxe, round the conflagration went a procession which looks like a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament ... you will find it on the dust-cover of Duffy's Fires of Faith. (Several of the clergy who go in front, singing Salve Festa Dies, appear to be wearing spectacles.) I wonder how probable such liturgical riches would have been on the Tuesday after Septuagesima. Perhaps Foxe has naughtily let his imagination run away with him.

That presiding Vice-Chancellor was Perne; and he spoke very strongly, and with real animus, against Bucer. Let us now resume our account of his career seven years later, when the political and theological situation had become rather different.

In 1564, when Henry Tudor's bastard daughter was on a state visit to the University, Perne preached so well that "the Queen made her pleasure manifest". But in a later disputation on the question Maior est scripturae quam ecclesiae authoritas, Perne got his head well above a dangerous parapet. He maintained that the Church was the final court of appeal, since it was anterior to Scripture and thus the basis of the authority of Scripture. He quoted S Cyprian ("principalis ecclesia") on the Roman Primacy, and argued that the Roman Church, so far from being (what his opponent had called it) a meretricious whore, was the "apostolica et matrix ecclesia". Anticipating the Tractarians, he drew attention to the fact that many of the texts in the Prayer Book were drawn from Roman Sources. He gave advice that the Queen's religion was a comfortable one in which to live but not a safe faith in which to die ... the Jesuit missionary Fr John Gerard recorded hearing this from an ex-Calvinist convert who had herself consulted Perne.

To be continued. (An earlier version of this post contained, at the end, an error which I have corrected.)

9 January 2017

Infantilising the laity

I'm afraid this is really just an update of my recent post (SEE BELOW) about the enthusiam of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity for silly games with empty shoe boxes.

Readers, of course, intelligently diagnosed (see thread) what was going on here. This is a quality blog!! The whole spirit of the PCCU enterprise resembled ... to a quite uncanny degree ... an English TV programme called Blue Peter in which children are encouraged to be creative with string and boxes. Good for children ... our five children had more fun with string and boxes than they ever did with expensive toys. But ... adults ...?

Much of what is wrong goes back to a wrong turning taken by the Liturgical Movement. The realisation of the immense riches in the Roman Rite led to a very laudable desire to open those riches more fully to the laity. This led in turn to the desire for (some??) vernacular. But the Enemy can pervert any good endeavour. So the ancient Roman Eucharistic Prayer, within a decade, was effectively displaced by a spurious confection which attracted employment by nothing except its brevity. And the seasonal Sunday Collects were eliminated en bloc. Then came Stage 2: the already mangled Roman Rite was corrupted still further in Anglophone regions by being 'translated' into the most cretinous, the most vacuous dialect of English imaginable. And, believe it or not, liturgical translators without Latin (!!) used the English version as the basis of their own renderings into minority languages. You just couldn't make it up.

Unsurprisingly, this has all fed through into the present crisis, in which God's People are treated with contempt; or, to be more precise, treated like very little children. Although the old corrupt translation has now been replaced (despite the fury of Tablet readers) by something markedly less unworthy, the damage had been done. The liturgical texts, in my experience, are still very rarely explained or expounded. Some clergy illegally but regularly paraphrase the authorised texts (even the Consecration), and do so in a way which reveals their own broad and deep incompetences. Nor are the Scriptures expounded, despite the explicit desire of Vatican II. Much preaching is pitiful. To cap it all, we now have a Roman Pontiff who talks about s**t-loving and s**t-eating and clearly feels he is a very fine fellow for doing so. Some clergy, presumably getting the message, break the rules by avoiding preaching whenever they can. Not surprisingly, they hate the Creed, especially if it's Nicene. But time can always be found for daft and soppy music.

The solution is really immensely simple. From Roman Pontifical Councils downwards [or do I mean upwards?], the clergy need to start treating the laity as grown-up Christians who do not need anybody's condescension. Who deserve respect rather than verbal cuddling. And seminarians need to be taught the essentially and unavoidably masculine character of the Roman Rite; they could well start by studying the work of those superb lay Catholic liturgists Edmund Bishop [The Genius of the Roman Rite] and Christine Mohrmann [The Origins of Liturgical Latin].

 The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, invented by Anglican Papalists and originally, admirably, known as the Chair of Unity Octave, starts on Wednesday January 18; which, in the Old Calendar, was the Feast of the Chair, the Cathedra, of S Peter. This year the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in collaboration with some Ecumenical Partners, has set out quasi-liturgical formulae for use. These forms constitute successful attempts to scale heights of risibilty which have not to my knowledge previously been attempted. This is your real hard-core Guinness-book-of-records rubbish.

The central ritual involves the moving of stones. But, because carrying real stones might be a bit like hard work for the aged biddies of each sex who are likely to be symbolising their second childhoods by taking part in these rituals, the "stones" will in fact be shoe boxes covered with packing paper. No, I'm not making this up. Twelve of them. With labels. Labels naming 'things that divide'. The 'stones' will be built up to make a 'Wall of Division' which will then be dismantled and formed into a Cross. (What happens if the officiants disagree about the neatest way in which twelve empty shoe-boxes can be arranged into a Cross, and end up in a melee of fisticuffs, is a rubrical detail which these curial nut-cases have not catered for.)

At least two things worry me here.
(1) Some of the names on the stones involve non-statement, since they imply a tautology. How helpful is it, for example, to say that Division Divides?
(2) The Divisive Factors selected by the PCCU, of course, imply a specific (and distinctly narrow) mindset. I can best illustrate this by telling you some of the things which will not be written on any of the shoe boxes. 'Heresy' is not included. Nor is 'Disobedience to the Commandments of God'. No mention of  'Divergence from Holy Tradition'. Or of 'Failure to Worship God as He has commanded'. Try guessing what, in the Spirit of the Zeitgeist, these Ecumenists have come up with, then turn to the Vatican Website and discover how close you have got to analysing accurately the Spirit of the Age. And, No: 'Following the Spirit of this Passing Age' does not claim the dignity of a shoebox.

Nor does 'Encouraging grown men and women to play daft games with shoe boxes'. 

Andrew Perne A Papist? (1)

High above the fenland landscape of the Daughter University may be descried a weathercock bearing the letters AP. It was placed there by the Master of Peterhouse for thirty five years, Andrew Perne. Wags - for there are such things in Cambridge - opined that it stood for "A Papist, A Protestant [which at that time meant an Anglican], A Puritan". In other words, A Perne was seen as a man who shifted with the various and shifting winds of the Tudor Regimes.

It is easy to see Perne as a Vicar of Bray, because his successful career at Cambridge began in the reign of Henry 'Gestapo' VIII; continued through even the most overtly Zwinglian phase of Cranmer's ascendancy under the Sickly Boy King; gathered impetus and benefices under Good Queen Mary; and continued triumphantly well into the reign of Bloody Bess. But the notion that Perne had any overt or covert sympathy for Puritanism is ... as the essays in this book demonstrate ... a calumny!

Which book? Perne is in my mind because a most kind friend, whom I ask to accept this as a warm thank-you, has had sent to me a thoroughly diverting volume (Cambridge Bibliographical Society Monograph No. 11 Andrew Perne  Quatercentenary Studies CUP 1991; posted to me from Bennett and Kerr Books). It has set me thinking about a number of things.

Weathercock or not, Perne was a man of greater courage ... Parrhesia, indeed ... than he has normally been credited with having. In the first Convocation of Queen Mary, he "spoke against transubstantiation, and with exceptional boldness".  But he soon conformed and was commended by Stephen Gardiner for the Mastership. And he served on the Commission to put down heresy in Cambridge ... a Commission which seemed loath to set alight many of what Eamonn Duffy has called the Fires of Faith (much more satisfactory blazes were lit and fanned here in Oxford).

But when it came to the Reformer Martin Bucer, the treatment dished out by Perne was gruesome in the extreme ... you would never guess what he did so I will have to tell you tomorrow ... get ready to hold your noses ...
To be continued.

7 January 2017

Fr Z and Professor Finnis

I commend to readers a careful reading of Fr Zed's important and scholarly piece dated January 6, in which he brilliantly and painstakingly exposes the unscholarly piffle and twaddle of some cleric called Cameli who has set himself (in some Jesuit magazine) to defend Papa Bergofglio's Amoris laetitia.

Father does not mention that the cleric concerned, in using a faulty translation of a text by S John XXIII, simply repeats claims already erroneously made, decades ago, by a failed Jesuit called Hebblethwaite.

This whole controversy has, in other words, been run before! And the truth was exposed, back in 1991, a quarter of a century ago, by Professor John Finnis, a distinguished scholar of International Law in this University. And he exposed it in the Tablet !!!

I have myself explained this matter several times before, and I repeat, with this, two of my earlier pieces.

The promoters of error hope, by repeating themselves and each other endlessly and ad infinitum, to bamboozle us into swallowing their slanted narratives.

See underneath!
Right-thinking people do not commonly recommend reading of the Tablet, but today I wish to commend to you a letter printed there on December 14 1991, and written by John Finnis, Professor of International Law in this University. Or, rather, this post will extensively plagiarise his letter, so you may feel you need not bother to search it out.

CONTEXTCardinal Hume had quoted the words of B John XIII at the opening of Vatican II:  "The substance of the ancient deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another". The cardinal went on to claim that this "was considered at the time to be quite controversial"; and the [2012] Bishop of Guildford had, quite separately, claimed that these words caused "nervousness" in Rome and that by the time the pope's words were published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis six weeks later, they had been substantially changed, to something reactionary, 'curial', and objectionable. The Tablet, as you might expect, had weighed in with an editorial.

PROFESSOR FINNIS' LETTERFinnis with waspish elegance suggested that "A form critic would ... opine that behind both of these statements stand" words published by Peter Hebblethwaite in his biography of the beatus, and went on "The facts discoverable by anyone with access to a library are quite inconsistent with the grave allegation".

Professor Finnis pointed out that Osservatore Romano had printed, the very day after the Pontiff had spoken, his (Latin) words in the form in which AAS subsequently printed them, and my - perhaps imperfect - recollection is that John Finnis later secured clinching evidence from a radio recording that B John XXIII did indeed utter these words.

Which words? eodem sensu eademque sententia. Finnis translated the Latin text of the passage concerned as "This certain and unchangeable teaching, to which faith assent [or: submission] should be given, needs to be explored and expounded in the way our times call for. For the deposit of Faith, i.e. the truths which are contained in our venerable teaching, is one thing; another thing is the manner in which those truths are enunciated, keeping the same meaning and the same judgement [or: opinion]".

HEBBLETHWAITE, I should explain to younger readers, was a former Jesuit who had cornered the narrative of that period and whose account continues even today to go the rounds, fuelling a hermeneutic of rupture with regard to Vatican II. You may have seen his widow being filmed by the TV cameras as the crowd outside S Peter's watched the white smoke rise from the chimney during the [2005] conclave. She yelped in anguish as she realised that such a speedy end to the papal election could only mean that "Ratzinger has been elected".

Win some, lose some.

Four words of S Vincent of Lerins: 'Development' in the Christian Church and in her Doctrine: Development must take place eodem sensu eademque sententia [keeping the same meaning and the same judgment/opinion]. (In the Liturgy of the Hours the whole passage can be found in Vol IV.)

This phrase has a big place in the Conciliar Magisterium. It appeared (para 62) in Gaudium et Spes, and even before that it lay at the heart of the address by B John XXIII at the start of the Council. But here it is necessary to avoid a dangerous tripwire. In the popular English paperback collection of Conciliar documents (Chapman) edited by W M Abbott, a misleading paraphrase of this speech is given in which the phrase is totally omitted. This became the occasion of an important correspondence in the Tablet in December 1991, in the course of which Professor John Finnis of this University demonstrated conclusively that Peter Hebblethwaite's Pope John XXIII (p 432) is guilty of gross errors. Hebblethwaite, a failed Jesuit, fabricated a story about how some 'brave' and liberal words of John XXIII in his adddress to the Council were distorted, in a curial plot, by the later addition, in publication, of the words I quote. The papal address did not, according to Hebblethwaite, originally contain them. This gross distortion of events promptly became part of the mythology of the 'liberals', being cited as fact by Basil Hume and [the present Bishop of Guildford] Christopher Hill.

This passage by S Vincent lies at the heart of Newman's Essay on Development, which straddles his life as an Anglican and as a Roman Catholic (Chapter 5 Section 1). Its presence in the post-Conciliar Liturgia Horarum marks it as a part of the Conciliar documents which remains the everyday Magisterium of the modern Chuch. Some members of SSPX sometimes disparagingly call that Church the 'Conciliar Church'. But a rebuttal of such sneers is best achieved by disseminating the facts about what John XXIII and Gaudium et Spes actually said; and how the Liberals have got away with distorting it.

A Happy Christmas ...

... to all readers who follow the Calendar of Caius Iulius Caesar; to all Byzantines, all Orthodox, all Old Believers and old Calendarists; to all 'Oriental' Christians.

And, of course, to all consistently fundamentalist enthusiasts for the liturgical books authorised by Pope S Pius V. (vide the Tridentine Rite Blog)

Happy Christ Mass!

6 January 2017

A ghostly Triple Triumph

Dom Prosper Gueranger suggests that the wonderful Epiphany antiphons Tribus miraculis and Hodie caelesti are designed to trump a commemoration, in the pagan Roman Calendar, of a triple Triumph by Augustus, aka il Duce, on January 6.

I this is rather intriguing; except that I can't find back-up for the assertion. Not in the obvious Internet resources; not in the Res gestae; not in Ovid's Fasti. (Perhaps you would have considered me more scholarly if I had listed those in the reverse order. Think of it as an ascending tricolon.)

But then, Ancient History is not really my professionalism. And Bodley has been closed for its winter break. Can anybody help?

UPDATE I thank learned contributors, both those whom you will find on the thread and those who were in touch with me more privately.

You will see that Orosius is pretty clearly the chappy from whom Dom Gueranger got his information. The thread contains the relevant passage, and a English crib is easily found on the Internet. I suspect that Orosius made up this Triple Triumph in order to provide an aition or, more correctly, a typos, for the Epiphany. The author of the Res Gestae is not, in my judgement, the sort of bloke who hid his Triple Triumphs under either a bush or a bushel.

Here are translations of these two Antiphons:
"We worshipfully keep (colimus) a Holy Day adorned with three miracles; today the Star led the Magi to the manger; today wine was made from water for the wedding; today in the Jordan Christ willed to be baptized by John, that he might save us: ALLELUIA!!"

"Today the Church is joined to her heavenly Bridegroom, since in the Jordan Christ washed away her sins; the Magi run with gifts to the Royal Wedding; and the wedding guests rejoice at the wine made from water [ex aqua facto vino]: ALLELUIA!!"

Textual Note:
In 1972 and 1984 editions of the Liturgia Horarum, the second antiphon ends "... et ex aqua facta vino laetantur convivae". You could easily make an argument that this odd phrase would most naturally mean "and the wedding guests rejoice as a result of water made by/from/with wine". All Breviary editions I possess give the reading and meaning I give above.

UPDATE The textual evidence is all but unanimous that facta is a blunder.

Mgr Graham Leonard

Today is the Year's Mind (as we say in the Patrimony) of the Right Reverend the Father in God the Lord Bishop Emeritus of London, Mgr Graham Leonard.

Having considered the extensive documentary evidence he provided about the participation of Dutch schismatics in Anglican episcopal consecrations since the the 1930s, Joseph Ratzinger's CDF decreed that there was a doubt about the invalidity of his presbyteral ordination, and ordered its repetition to be private and sub conditione. The monsignor was convinced that the CDF declined to consider the validity of his episcopal consecration out of an apprehension that they might have to declare it valid and find themselves stuck with a married bishop!

It our Ordinary's study on Golden Square in London, there is a fine portrait of Bishop Leonard. He is most truly the Forerunner of our Ordinariate.

Ecce sacerdos magnus qui in diebus suis placuit Domino et inventus est iustus. C A P D.

When did the Church of England finally come to an end?

A dodgy question ... which I only revisit because Rowan Williams (for whom, to the surprise of many of my friends, I still retain a very friendly respect), in effect, raised it recently. These were his words:
"The Anglican Church no longer shows so clearly the same combination of rootedness in the early Christian tradition and unfussy, prayerful pragmatism".

This is is very much the conclusion to which Gary Bennett came in his Preface to the 1987 Crockfords (for which the Great and the Good, the Liberal Men of Mercy, hounded him to suicide). He wrote of the demise of "the usual Anglican assumptions about the authority of Scripture and the normative character of patristic usage".

Yes, I know that many of you, with justice, might assign the demise of the Ecclesia Anglicana to the year 1559. But you know what I mean ... or, if you don't, don't bother further with this.

For what it's worth, I think I might pick on the date 2008, the year Henry Chadwick died. Readers who know anything about him will understand why I do this.

4 January 2017

Bishop Philip North of Burnley

Some readers might welcome a little information about an Anglican suffragan (i.e. assistant) Bishop who has been in the news recently.

Philip North was 'one of us'; and when the C of E resolved to have Women Bishops and Pope Benedict offered us an Ordinariate, we each had to decide whether to accept the offer. It became clear from what he said at public meetings that Fr North was not going to accept; his reason being that he wished to discharge a ministry which stretched out to the whole of society in a way that the non-Established ecclesial bodies, in his view, could not. He was subsequently nominated to the see of Whitby, because the Whitby area contained many of the parishes in the North who would need alternative episcopal oversight. Bigotry, however, raised its ugly head, and Father withdrew. Upon his appointment to Burnley, a novel system was put in place ... allegedly, because the powers that be were anxious to save as many people as possible from the clutches of the Ordinariate. The consecration was not performed by the Primatial Archbishop of York, but by a senior bishop who does not ordain women and two coconsecrators who also do not. Thus those dissenting from the ordination of women to sacerdotal ministies secured a sort of ecclesiola in ecclesia. This stimulated some disquiet, and in one parish the toddlers in the Church Primary School, sweet little ecclesiologists, were helped to write letters of protest.

So I am not surprised that Bishop Philip has written a most thought-provoking article in the Church Times, in which he defends ordinary working class people from the contempt of chattering classes. The context, of course, is the aftermath of the Brexit vote, which is thought by many to have been swung by the votes of xenophobic working class people. Bishop Philip names three matters of affection and/or concern which the working classes have: Family, Nation, Work (it has not been revealed whether he is aware of the rather 'Vichy' nature of this triad!). He thinks they deserve to have their concerns taken more seriously.

Broadly, I am in agreement with him. I would only have some hesitations in the matter of country. In Britain, our armed forces have been disgracefully used in immoral (and unsuccessful) military adventures. From the Gulf Wars onwards. We cheered on the fatuous Arab Spring and bombed Libya into a chaos from which it shows no signs of recovering. We bear the main responsibility for the horrors, for the millions of the killed and wounded and dispossessed, in Iraq and Syria. Affection for ones country and respect for her Armed Forces must not be extended to cover unquestioning acceptance of such government decisions.

Where the bishop is arguably right is in suggesting that there are more important things for Christians to be endlessly concerned with than gender and sexual matters. Everybody claims to agree with this. But, in the C of E, those endlessly demanding 'reforms' phrased the matter thus: "The Church should devote its energies towards the needs of the poor, so immediately give us what we demand with regard to the Ordination of Women and Marriage equality".

Poor dim things, they never spotted that there might be an equally logical alternative second half to that quaint proposition. Or did they?

3 January 2017

Newman and the Prayer Book

In his semi-autobiographical 1848 novel Loss and Gain, Blessed John Henry Newman mercilessly satirises all non-conformity, Evangelicalism, and vacuous ritualism. He does not criticise solid old-style Anglicanism (although one can easily discern a hermeneutic of its inadequacy).

In Chapter 8, the Misses Bolton, "very Catholic girls", have just been discussing the religious vocation with two rather handsome young ritualists; the discussion has manifestly been little other than a cover for flirtation. When they get home, their mother bursts out "Catholic, Catholic? give me good old George the Third and the Protestant religion. Those were the times! ... I value the Prayer Book as you cannot do, for I have known what it is to one in deep affliction. May it be long, dearest girls, before you know it in a similar way; but if affliction comes on you, depend on it, all these new fancies and fashions will vanish from you like the wind, and the good old Prayer Book alone will stand you in any stead. Come my dears; I have spoken too seriously. Go and take your things off, and come and let us have some quiet work before luncheon time".

One old Anglican custom was to learn the week's collect each week. Since nearly all of these are, of course, translated from the ancient Roman sacramentaries, this was a way of tapping into and being fed by an ancient and deeply orthodox euchological tradition.

Those, of course, who are in the Ordinariate can quite simply learn the collects in the old Prayer Book, which our Rite reproduces verbatim. I am not so sure what we should be commending to other Catholics.

No sane Catholic, of course, would have learned the old ICEL translations of the Sunday collects off by heart. But, given the current translation, Catholics may have a set of texts which could indeed be so treated. I wonder what readers think. Indeed, Liturgiam authenticam sees the provision of sound translations, and a period of stability, as being an important cultural opportunity for liturgical formulae to become a nutrient part of the spirituality of the Catholic worshipper.

2 January 2017


I have no intention, this morning, of laying down the law about something! I wish, instead, to raise a question. And to ask you to regard most of what follows as a question.

They have got me thinking. By "they" I mean the Hypersuperueberpapalists who seem to me to constitute one of the most problematic heretical groupings currently at work in the Church Militant. The keep on about the Holy Spirit; how He desires us to accept constant surprises; how He speaks to us through the very lips of the Roman Pontiff ... particularly the present one. Kai ta loipa.

But, like Edgar Alan Poe's nocturnally silent dog, the Holy Spirit seems absent from places one might expect Him to be. Vatican I tells us that the Holy Spirit does not inspire the Roman Pontiff with new teaching but simply helps him to plug the old stuff. Ecumenical Councils do not routinely suggest that the Spirit is guiding them in their new articulations of doctrine. Anti-Gnostic polemicists such as Irenaeus find guarantees of pure Teaching in the historical succession of orthodox bishops from the time of the Apostles, not in the activity of the Spirit. Pius popes defining Marian doctrines do not claim the inspiration of the Spirit. The "Nicene" Creed refrains from claiming the Holy Spirit as the church's guide; locutus est per prophetas (contra Marcionem) is the role it appears to highlight (I know of no credal document which offers loquitur in Ecclesia). Yet that Symbolum Fidei was promulgated by Fathers who had everything to gain from claiming the Holy Spirit as witness to their own very decisive doctrinal interventions. And if, while on holiday near Pepuza, we find groups getting excited about the Spirit, we are inclined to be very cautious about their orthodoxy.

In S John's Gospel, the Lord says, indeed, that the Holy Spirit will lead his disciples into all truth: but I discern no evidence that this refers to anything beyond the ambit of the Gospel Narratives themselves. When the Council of Jerusalem writes edoxen gar toi Pneumati toi Hagioi kai hemin, they are surely not so much claiming the inevitable concurrence of the Spirit with their own conciliar decision-making as referring to the Outpourings of the Spirit as narrated in the earlier chapters of Acts.

So; I have offered you something of a clearing of the ground done from what you might loosely call an apophatic stance. Now we come on to the more positive exploration: what is the ecclesiological role of the Holy Spirit? Over to you.

1 January 2017

The Feast of the Circumcision

Why, people ask, was January 1 deprived of its old name of the Feast of the Circumcision? Since it manifestly is eight days after the Nativity, and eight days after His birth was when the Lord was circumcised.

The question is a mere detail. In the Gregorian Sacramentary, today was called simply the Octave of the Lord, and its Collect (as today) concerned the Mother of God (Deus qui salutis aeternae). (The Byzantine Rite also has a natural inclination to concentrate on an aspect of a great feast on a nearby day). During the Middle Ages, today came to have the title of the Circumcision, but the propers were not changed. So even while it was called the Feast of the Circumcision, most of the Mass and Office (except for the Gospel and some readings at Mattins), did not have any reference to the Circumcision. They were about the Incarnation, our Lady's part in it, and her perpetual Virginity.

At Lauds, the first Antiphon (O admirabile commercium) is a superb reminder that the Incarnation of God makes us, the baptised, into Gods (or, to be pedantic, sharers in the Godhead of the one into whom we have been baptised). What a wonderful Swap (commercium)! The Creator of the human race, taking an animated body, has deigned to be born of a Virgin, and, going forth as a human without seed, has granted to us his Divinity. The second antiphon typologically uses the dew that fell upon Gideon's flece; the third sees the bush that was burned but not consumed as a type of Mary's virginity, undiminished by her childbearing.

Personally, I feel that the simplest and best title is that of Octave of the Nativity; surely we could call it that and then leave the unchanged ancient texts to make their own different but interrelated points. I suspect the post-Conciliar tamperers changed it to Mary Mother of God simply to give themselves an excuse for suppressing Pius XI's feast on October 11. (And it would be jolly to start rescuing the term Octave from practical oblivion.)

Mutual Enrichment ... Dom Anselmo Lentini, in the Liturgia Horarum, mandated by the Council to increase the use of ancient hymnody drawn from the vast treasury of the Latin Church, introduced the fine Prudentian hymn Corde natus ex Parentis [Of the Father's Heart begotten] as an Office Hymn for today. A marvellous idea. I love so much of its phraseology ... Corde natus ... ipse fons et clausula ...  as well as those great striding trochaic tetrameters catalectic. A mature and glorious moment in the evolution of Christian Latin. (What a Diabolical scandal that, within a decade of Sacrosanctum Concilium, its provisions [especially paras 93 and 101] were so brazenly suppressed in order to eliminate a latinate and literate clergy connected to their roots ... as part of a wider conspiracy frankly revealed by Screwtape at the end of Chapter XXVII.)

Hymns are a weak point in the 1961 Breviary; their texts still stand as they were corrupted by Urban VIII, and more variety is surely needed. Is there any cleric who really enjoys saying Iste Confessor day after day? It will be a great day when, on both 'sides', we have a sufficiently balanced, relaxed, and distanced  view of Vatican II and its aftermath to be able to incorporate some of their worthier elements into our incomparable ancient rites.

Fr H's Vaticinia for 2017

Our Holy Father will open his mouth when it would become him to keep it shut, and keep it shut when it would become him to open it. Thus he will maintain and continue, by the exercise of that sovereign will with  which he is always free to act, the suspense of his Petrine Magisterium (I use this term in the sense made clear by Blessed John Henry Newman and not otherwise).

Our Holy Father will provide further proofs of the truth of an observation made in 1944 by the late, great Anglican Benedictine mystagogue, Dom Gregory Dix (1901-1952).
"Old men in a hurry to realise their dearest dreams can be very short-sighted."

Mary's Immaculate Heart will prevail. Never forget that this is Fatima Year