18 August 2018

Racially aggravated offences ...

In this country, we have a system whereby certain crimes, usually involving violence or disorder, are held to be more serious offences if there is a manifest element of religious or racial bigotry involved in their commission.

I am uneasy about this. If someone were to injure or kill me simply because he didn't like pompous old gits, I really don't see why this should be regarded as vastly less serious than a similar offence perpetrated out of racial or religious hatred.

When I worked in  London, I had the privilege of taking part, vested, in Orthodox Liturgies at the Cypriot Orthodox Church along the Camberwell New Road (Proprietor: the Bishop of Telmissos), and  I became very fond of the Church and its congregation. One Monday, the Church was broken into and the resident monk was kicked to death because he wouldn't tell the thugs where the money was. I'm obviously missing something, because that still seems to me every bit as horrific as kicking somebody to death because you don't like their race or religion.

Similarly -- when (to give an example) someone drives a van into pedestrians on a pavement and kills them, the only thing the Meejah seem to want to know is: was this "terrorist-related"? When it becomes clear that a particular example cannot be assigned to this category, you can hear the relief in the news-reader's voice as he/she says "It is not thought that the incident was terrorist-related". Oh good. Thank goodness for that. So that's OK, then. Well, not actually OK, of course, but nothing like as serious and newsworthy as if it were done by somebody with a dark skin who shouted Allahu Akbar.

I think I dislike the dragging of ideological preoccupations into criminal law.


17 August 2018

Lay Communion in the Middle Ages

How/where did the laity receive communion before the revolution in frequent communion initiated by S Pius X?

As far as Medieval England is concerned, I have never come across any examples of pre-Reformation Communion rails: the earliest all seem to be Laudian.

Did the pp simply come out of the Rood Screen and administer Communion to his kneeling laity?

Is there any definite prescription that the Laity receive kneeling in current (EF) legislation? In the Ordo Communionis, I see only the prescription that Clerics receive kneeling on an Altar Step.

Jungman says that kneeling Communon in Parish Churches came in comparatively late: in 1602, in Paderborn, the custom was ordered to be introduced only "where it will be convenient for it to be done".

And he appears to suggest that the use of the Communion Paten dates from 1929 (although there are earlier examples); was this also one of the consequences of the S Pius X revolution?

Houselling cloths still survive from the Middle Ages in some Anglican Churches; in others, I suspect they were Ritualist restorations from the 1860s. Were they common on the Continent?

The 1549 rebels complained that Dr Cranmer's first Communion Service was like a Christmas Game. This suggests that medieval worshippers did not come in a great crowd within the Chancel ... doesn't it?

16 August 2018

Dodi al Fayed and Diana Spencer

If you were to tear yourself away from Bicester Village and visit a shop in Knightsbridge called Harrods, at the top of an escalator you would until recently have found a statue showing a dancing couple: Dodi al Fayed, son of the once proprietor of the store, and Diana Spencer, the estranged wife of the heir to the throne of Canada.

The dancers both died in a Paris underpass as their car attempted to evade the Media. The assumption was that they had been what my students used to call "an item".

But you are probably now too late.

Because now the statue has been removed by the current shopkeeper and sent back to Mr Al Fayed.

I understand this. But it seems to me that this statue, its style, its purpose, its historical context, is a unique expression of one bizarre moment in the cultural history of our times; when the throne of the House of Windsor seemed to be at risk; when the people of this country seemed consumed by an irrational inexplicable frenzy located somewhere at the strange, fearful, fascinating interface between Sex and Death.

Mr Al Fayed naturally wanted to write his beloved son into the narrative, and so commissioned the group. The governing house and the current regime equally naturally now wish to write Dodi out of the narrative, and a statue of the former Miss Spencer ... all on her own ... is to be erected in a London park.

I believe that this statue group of Dodi and Diana should enter the archival collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Whether, when, how it is eventually displayed would in the hands of the curatorial staff. But if this is not done, I am convinced that a future generation will blame our negligence.

Is Dodi Arabic for Beloved? I seem to recall a Hebrew phrase from the Song of Solomon ... Qol Dodi Dode, the Voice of my beloved at the door ...

15 August 2018

The Abbe Perdrau and our Lady

"The thought of Mary and of the Eucharist easily unite; they are connected with each other, so to speak, and are convertible terms. It is Mary who offers us the Divine Infant of Bethlehem; at the foot of the cross she presents us with the dead body of Jesus swathed in its shroud; at the Altar she gives it to us again enveloped in the Eucharistic linens.

"Is this not what the Church of God is thinking when it authorises us to chant before the Blessed Sacrament the beautiful sequence AVE VERUM: I salute thee, O Body, truly born of the Virgin Mary! Thus, at the moment when Jesus emerges from his tabernacle, the memory of Mary is revived in our souls, Mary appears to us like the monstrance in which the Saviour's Body shines. In fact, the Sacred Host is a present from the Blessed Virgin. S Augustine says so in four oft-quoted words: CARO IESU, CARO MARIAE ... The flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary. This Body, this Blood of Christ which upon the Altar becomes our food and drink, derive their origin from Mary. It is the substance of Mary which has become the substance of Jesus. Mary is one of the principal constituents of the Blessed Sacrament; she contributes thereto as the grain of wheat that is sown produces the ear of corn which itself forms the harvest."


A learned reader instructs me that the Abbe wrote a devotional account of our Lady's last days at Ephesus; and that his sister Pauline was a nun who painted a picture of the Mater admirabilis which was much admired by Pio Nono. It shows our Lady, unusually, with a distaff.

14 August 2018

450 years

On Michaelmas Day this autumn, it will be 450 years since William Cardinal Allen founded a College at Douai in the Flanders, staffed by refugee scholars from Oxford and dedicated to the training of priests for the English Mission. I imagine there will be celebrations to commemorate this signifant occasion; we who were the "First Wave" of former Anglican clergy destined to the Ordinariate met for fellowship, fine food, and lectures in the London seminary called Allen Hall, and remember our meetings there with immense pleasure. I hope this means that we count in some little way as part of the Family of Cardinal Allen, because the professors and students of the College he established at Douai were compelled, at the time of the French Revolution, to flee the Continent and, after vicissitudes, some of them ended up on the site of S Thomas More's Chelsea house ... fittingly now called Allen Hall. And I, for one, deemed and deem it an enormous privilege to be grafted into Cardinal Allen's heritage and to honour the Martyrs who are proudly  named on the walls of the refectory.

However, some of the students from the Douai foundation, whose families were Northerners, ended up not near London but near Durham and founded a great seminary there called Ushaw. I expect many readers will have watched the black-and-white video of High Mass in the Chapel there in 1960. There were only 400 students in the congregation for that Mass, a couple of years before the Council. 400 is not much to write home about, is it? Just 400! What a mercy the great renewal promised by the Council was only just around the corner ...

Sixty or so years after that High Mass was filmed, Ushaw finally closed down, needless to say, for lack of vocations. And, within a decade of 1960, that Extraordinary Form of worship was forbidden (not legally but de facto; we had to wait for the pontificate of Benedict XVI to be told that, legally, the Rite had not been and, theologically, could not be abolished and that the violent discontinuities of the post-Conciliar period were illegal; 'Establishment' violence; vis sine lege; ambitious episcopal bully-boys roaming the world pillaging and destroying).

1960: by 1970 many of those 400 students had, probably, lost their sense of vocation; those who remained were seduced or cajoled or forced to celebrate a deformed form of the Rite. How many of them, I wonder, abandoned the Sacred Priesthood in the decades that followed. The Smoke of Satan entered into Ushaw to such powerful effect that it smoked the seminarians out of the place.


12 August 2018

"The Genius of Woman"

That is a phrase from PF's Gaudete et Exsultate. I expect we shall be hearing quite a lot about it in the next few years, unless Providence brings this pontificate to a cruelly premature end. And I had better be careful what I say ...

... because, you see, I have one Wife, three Daughters, and two Grand-daughters. I wouldn't like them to hear that I had written slightingly about such an important subject. So ... Mum's the word ... er ....

I will simply, therefore, observe that it goes without saying that there most definitely is a Genius of Woman, and that it is completely different from the equally real Genius of Man. My consequent question is:

As we quite properly, if belatedly, celebrate the Genius of Woman, what plans are PF and his associates making to follow it up with a special, balancing, celebration of the Genius of Man? Will there be a special new Roman dicastery (jobs for the girls?) to raise awareness of the Genius of Man? A 'Year of the Man', perhaps? A 'Synod on Men'? Vatican Postage Stamps exclusively celebrating Men? Special Vatican Press Presentations of Men, hosted by a winsomely smiling Graf? Supplements on Men in Osservatore Romano? An Apostolic Exhortation on Men (Dignitas virilis)? The admission of Men to exclusive, secretive and powerful organisations like the American Leadership Conference of Women Religious? Special mechanisms to fast-track more Men into Parish Flower Guilds? A quota system to ensure that men are more proportionately represented in teams of Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers? Successions of seminars so that everyone can listen sensitively to the Voice of Men: their needs, fears, and hopes; after all, men simply want to be heard ... to have their narratives, their own particular Truth, respected; why should they not be allowed to be as visible and audible in the public forum as normal humans are? Possibly even a special Men's Column in the Tablet?

Perhaps we need a major enquiry into why, since 1973, Men have been totally denied ordination to the Subdiaconate in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite?

There's a lot of catching-up to do.

11 August 2018

"Humble Crumble"

In the Ordinariate Ordo Missae authorised by the Holy See, there is a very interesting Prayer taken from the Book of Common Prayer: called the 'Prayer of Humble Access' (Often frivolously called the humble crumble. We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies.). It begins with a paraphrase of the 'Ambrosian Prayer' given in your S Pius V Missals for use by the celebrant before Mass: Ad mensam dulcissimi convivii tui, pie Domine Iesu Christe, ego peccator de propriis meis meritis nihil praesumens, sed de tua confidens misericordia et bonitate, accedere vereor et contremisco.

Just before its end, the Anglican Prayer reads as follows: Grant us therefore gracious Lord, so to eat the Flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his Blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his Body, and our souls washed through his most precious Blood, and that we may ever more dwell in him, and he in us.

This association of the Lord's Body with the needs of our bodies, and of his Blood with the needs of our souls, is a medieval idea going back to an unknown writer whose works were mixed up with those of S Ambrose, so that he is for convenience known as Ambrosiaster. S Thomas Aquinas, who in the Summa (III, lxxiv, 1) teaches this distinction (as had that enthusiastic Carolingian upholder of the Real Presence, S Paschasius Radbertus), quotes it as from S Ambrose; and I think it is clearly what the Angelic Doctor had in mind when he wrote the third stanza of his Verbum supernum prodiens; I give a literal translation: To whom [i.e.the disciples] He gave flesh and blood under twofold appearance that He might feed the whole Man of double substance. That is to say, He gave himself in the two species so that He might feed the entirety of Man who is composed, doubly, of both body and soul.

In his first (1548) liturgical experiment in the Eucharistic Liturgy, Cranmer carried this Thomistic distinction even into the formulae for Communion: The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ .... preserve thy body ... and The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ ... preserve thy soul .... After a year he gave this distinction up.

Successive generations of Anglican liturgists have been nervous about the conclusion of the Prayer of Humble Access with its Thomist, non-Biblical distinction between the effect of the Body upon our bodies and of the Blood upon our souls; Dix cattily remarked "there is no particular reason why people should be made to pray medieval speculations in a Reformed church"*. The Puritans asked for its removal in the abortive negotiations which followed 1660 on the ground that it appeared to accord more efficacy to the Blood than to the Body... which seems to me potentially Manichaean. It has been eliminated from many modern Anglican rites including the American Prayer Book upon which the old (Anglican Use) Book of Divine Worship was based. So its happy re-appearance in the Ordinariate Ordo Missae is a significant bit of Magisterium. Delightfully distinctive! To paraphrase the catch-phrase of GloriaTV, The more distinctive the better!

Our erudite correspondent Joshua once told me ... I never got round to verifying it ... that Garrigou Lagrange argued for the Blood being more eficacious than the Body, because the reception of the Body ipso facto remitted all venial sins repented of, thus leaving the soul the more cleansed and ready to profit from the Chalice (medieval monarchs at their coronations were given the Chalice "ad augmentum gratiae"). GL also held that a desire thus to profit was a sufficient motive for desiring the Holy Order of priesthood!

Lex orandi lex credendi. Yes? The Ordinariates even have distinctive doctrine!


*One of his favourite themes - it never ceased to amuse him - was that sixteenth century Protestant liturgical compositions, far from being (as their authors had fondly supposed) 'Biblical' or 'Primitive', were in fact Late Medieval in both thought and expression. Indeed, the whole Prayer of Humble Access exemplifies a very Dixian point: it takes inspiration from a medieval private priest's prayer and makes it part of the public Liturgy. The great classical Western liturgical texts would be very unlikely to have the priest, saying publicly and 'in the name of the people,' a prayer with phrases like "We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy".

10 August 2018

Archidiaconissa de Silverbridge in comitatu Barnensi

I invite a brief Trollopean account of what Mr Archdeacon Grantley said when he heard that Dr Proudie had preferred Miss Slope to the Archdeaconry of Silverbridge.

9 August 2018

Fay ce que voudras

... and call your House Thelema. I can't for the life of me recall who said and did this, but I was reminded of him some time ago now, when I saw in the window of a Quakers' Meeting House: "THOU SHALT" in big gothic capitals followed by "decide for yourself" in smaller modern cursive.

I was fairly horrified. Time was when the Quakers were thought of as a gentle folk, egalitarian and pacifist by inclination, who were regarded with affection even by those who disagreed with their distinctive dogmas. When their sect originally began, their sweet simplistic biblicism led them to talk to each other in a comic dialect, that of the Authorised Version of the Bible viewed through eyes innocent of syntax (they used thee as both Nominative and Oblique). Now, apparently, they not only treat quasi-biblical English with contempt, but have descended into the extremest form of anomia.
Even the likes of Richard Dawkins are not amoral antinomians. As far as I can understand them, 'Humanists' do adhere to the rather flabby form of the "Utilitarianism" which we were taught to discuss in General Studies essays when we were bright little Sixth Formers working for our Oxford Scholarships. But Humanist Utilitarianism is something. The Quakers, however, apparently now believe that not only are codes such as the Decalogue to be viewed with contempt; but that anybody can do whatever he decides. Murder, apparently; genocide; pedophilia; snuff movies; suicide bombing; sex slavery; the grossest forms of economic exploitation - if you decide to do them, you'll have Brother Quaker patting you on the head with kindly approval. "At least you didn't just blindly follow some rules invented by someone else", he will gently murmur.

I wonder if some sort of enquiry should be launched into what is in principle clearly a very dangerous little cult. At least Islamic and other terrorists have some sort of notion that there is right and that there is wrong, however corrupted their moral perceptions may be. Quakers, so they assure us, don't ... except for their one mighty dogma ignore rule-books and make your own decisions.

Don't  get me wrong; I'm sure many Quakers live to as high a moral standard as many Catholics or Humanists or Marxists or Moslems. I condemn nobody. It's their publicly proclaimed dogmas that terrify me.

8 August 2018

Ad Litus Neronianum

I am off for a few days, leaving other members of my family in our Oxford house, to a daughter's house near the Sussex Coast. As usual, I hope to post every day but will not deal with incoming traffic until my return to the apices somniantes.

I think of Sussex as the Costa Neroniana because, at Fishbourne Palace, there is what has been identified as a statue of the infant Nero, smashed after his damnatio; at Bosham a detached head from a large monumental statue has been suspected of being Nero's, dislodged post-damnatio; and, by chance, a statue in the Egremont Collection at Petworth is thought to be, again, the infant emperor.

Sussex, as a client kingdom, was 'Romanised' very early. The Palace at Fishbourne was not just another of England's numerous rather standard-issue second-century 'Roman Villas', but a lavish first-century sea-side palace "of a great King", in the style which the Roman aristocracy (and King Herod) borrowed from the culture of Royal Macedonia.

I suppose it could be contrasted with Prinny's preposterous erection at Brighton.

7 August 2018

The Eucharist as a societal paradigm (2)

Dom Gregory Dix continues: " But the eucharist is not a mere symbolic mystery representing the right ordering of earthly life, though it is that incidentally and as a consequence. It is the representative act of a fully redeemed human life. This perfected society is not an end in itself, but is consciously and wholly directed to the only end which can give meaning and dignity to human life - the eternal God and the loving and conscious obedience of man in time to His known will. There the eternal and absolute value of each individual is affirmed by setting him in the most direct of all earthly relations with the eternal and absolute Being of God; though it is thus affirmed and established only through his membership of the perfect society. There the only means to that end is proclaimed and accepted and employed - man's redemption through the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ at a particular time and place in human history, communicated to us at other times and places through the church which is the 'fulfilment' of Him. That is the eucharist. Over against the dissatisfied 'Acquisitive Man' and his no less avid successor the dehumanised 'Mass-Man' of our economically focussed societies insecurely organised for time, christianity sets the type of 'Eucharistic Man' - man giving thanks with the product of his labours upon the gifts of God, and daily rejoicing with his fellows in the worshipping society which is grounded in eternity. This is man to whom it was promised on the night before Calvary that he should henceforth eat and drink at the table of God and be a king. That is not only a more joyful and more humane ideal. It is the divine and only authentic conception of the the meaning of all human life, and its realisation is in the eucharist."

6 August 2018

The Eucharist as a societal paradigm (1)

"In this period of the disintegration and attempted reconstruction of thought about our secular society [1943], the individual's relation to society and his need for and securing of material things are the haunting problems of the age. There is a christian pattern of a solution which is expressed for us and by us at the eucharist. There the individual is perfectly integrated in society, for there the individual christian only exists as a christian individual inasmuch as he is fully exercising his own function in the christian society. There his need of and utter dependence upon material things even for 'the good life' in this world is not denied or even ascetically repressed, but emphasised and met. Yet his needs are met from the resources of the whole society, not by his own self-regarding provision. But there the resources of the society are nothing else but the total substance freely offered by each of its members for all. There, too, is displayed a true hierarchy of functions within a society organically adapted to a single end, together with a complete equality of recompense."

Dom Gregory Dix's words may remind others of my generation of the trajectory explored, under titles like "The Eucharist as a paradigm of a Socialist Society", by Terry Eagleton and his associates back in the 1960s in the Catholic-Marxist periodical Slant.

Dix, however, began his next paragraph with the word BUT. I will print it tomorrow.

5 August 2018

More on Deathgate

The Latin text has now been published; and there is indeed no suggestion that the death penalty is intrinsece malum. That would have been overt heresy.

On the contrary: the accompanying letter to bishops makes clear that the death penalty is not intrinsece malum. "The new formulation ... desire to give energy to a movement towards a decisive commitment to favour a mentality  ... in respectful dialogue with civil authorities ...  encourage the creation of conditions ..."

Suppose this were a matter of abortion or trafficking women for sex or paedophilia or genocide. The Magisterium would demand that the practice at once stop, not rabbit on about Favouring Mentalities and Encouraging Conditions. This is not how the Catholic Church talks about grave moral offences.

In the prudential sphere, I think, as I explained yesterday, that aspects of this move are profoundly unfortunate. Not least, the impression given through manipulation of the media that doctrine has been changed. This morning, the BBC account explicitly situated the item in these terms. As in the case of Amoris laetitia, heresy is being promulgated but carefully packaged so that it is not formally expressed. It is this mind-set and methodology which led some of us, last year, to issue the Filial Correction. I fear that PF remains every bit as badly in need of being filially corrected!

And I am as uneasy as I was yesterday about the confection of a new, undefined moral category of "inadmissible". The fact that the French version expresses things quite differently ("inhumaine") suggests that the authors were simply groping helplessly around for terms which sound incredibly stern but have no discernible meaning. People such as head masters, poor poppets, do that sort of thing when they are losing their grip, as they so often are. But have a heart. Don't be too sententious. It can't be all fun working for someone like PF, can it?

If you're feeling anxious, remember that, if doctrine' could be "developed" so easily and so soon as the result of changes in anthropological fads, it could be as easily "developed" again, or even "developed" back again.

If that were to happen ... in a few decades, under Pope Francis IV, we might once again (of course, with papal encouragement) be back to hanging difficult members of our underclass on multiple gallows for stealing thruppence. Or perhaps we shall be employing the picturesque Argentine practice of hurling them into the sea out of aeroplanes. Must move with the times.

Come on, chaps, don't get too het-up. Life's too short.

Just think: the Holy Father's initiative will mean that it will now be dear Cardinal Parolin's happy duty to explain to Mr Netanyahu that he and his political associates have got to drop their naughty campaign to reintroduce the infliction of the death pealty in Israel for terrorist-related murders. Just wait for the accusations of 'Anti-semitism' to start flying around the Eminent head. And next on his list there will be the Chinamen ... It couldn't all happen to a nicer chap.

Instead of panicking, toddle off and have a drink and a laugh. You know you deserve it. And there would be no harm in saying a decade or two ...

4 August 2018


I can't see much point in making substantive comments on the "changes made to the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on the death penalty" until the new text is published. All I can so far find on the Internet are some vernacular versions. .

This, in itself, I object to. The world has been given the impression that the Catholic Church has changed its teaching when nobody has the wherewithal to judge whether or not this is true. I can only call this sort of behaviour in  matters of faith and morals disgracefully frivolous. Can it be that PF wants to make an immediate impression on world opinion without giving theological professionals the prior opportunity to weaken by their analyses that impact?

More importantly: the English version says that the death penalty is "inadmissible". I have not the faintest idea what this curious term means theologically or canonically. If the actual text, when published, turns out to contain the phrase "intrinsece malum" then, frankly, we do have quite a problem on our hands. But Cardinal Ladaria is no fool. I shall be very surprised if those words are used. I'd put money on this!

Personally, like PF, I view the death penalty with considerable personal abhorrence ... anywhere, for any reason, at any time. I applaud attempts to discourage its use. I am less certain that the pages of a theological compendium such as the CCC are the right place to wage such a (very worthy) political campaign.

Furthermore, this move appears to take no account of  'advances' in Moral theology since and consequent upon Amoris laetitia. That document appeared to leave it to local hierarchies to make decisions for their own countries. But in the case of Deathgate, it appears that PF's wishes are of peremptory universal application. Perhaps the genial Graf von Schoenborn, or the sinister and brooding Fr Rosica, could explain to us, carefully and precisely, what the difference is. At the same time, it would be good to have an answer to the following: Adultery, while (yes?) generally wrong, may apparently, according to Amoris Laetitia, be Fair Enough in some circumstances. But PF's initiative concerning the death penalty apparently admits no exceptions. Why? And if it does tacitly admit exceptions, are we not left in the same poition as we were in with the earlier formula S John Paul had put into the CCC?

Then there is the problem of the Marx which did not bark during the night. Two or three years ago, with regard to Communion for divorcees, Cardinal Marx asserted the autonomy of the 'German Church' with the fearless and ringing words "We are not subsidiaries of Rome". I have not yet seen a similarly brave assertion that, also in this matter of the death penalty, Germany is Not a Subsidiary of Rome.


May I also be personal?

The CCC was made the doctrinal standard of the Ordinariates. I know I will be reminded that any Catholic, in an Ordinariate or anywhere else, is bound to what the Magisterium will authentically teach as well as to what it has taught and is teaching. I agree, absolutely. But, nevertheless, such an arbitrary change in a documentary henotikon, in which X has metamorphosed into not-X in a very few years, and without (as far as we know) a detailed collegial consultation with the whole College of Bishops (such as Pius XII conducted before defining the Assumption), leaves a very nasty taste in my mouth. It is because I have been driven to the unhappy conclusion that the present pontificate is manipulative and dishonest, that I wonder if this change in the CCC may be preparing the way for some of Senor Bergoglio's other private opinions and personal convictions to be given spurious Magisterial colouring.

Such apprehensions are, regrettably, difficult not to entertain at a time when the ultrapapalist perversion of the Petrine Ministry which Cardinal Ratzinger once so vigorously refuted, and which was condemned in advance by the lapidary phraseology in Pastor aeternus of Vatican I (and see Denziger paras 3114-3117), appears to be the currently dominant ideology within the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

3 August 2018

The Roman Canon as the Rule

OK, there are risks in Liturgical Restoration. Introduce a prime-time Vetus Ordo on Sunday morning, and it's always possible that a misguided group will get in touch with the Tablet and, before you know where you are, the local auxiliary bishop will be knocking on your door. Or even celebrate the Mysteries facing in the same direction as the People of God, as commended by the considerable authority of Cardinal Sarah, and some people may react as if the End of the world is imminent.

But there is one thing that a priest can do with relative impunity. Use the Roman Canon. Use it invariably. Say Good Bye to all the other, phony, 'Eucharistic Prayers' and stick to the only authentic Roman EP, EP1.

The IGRM says that this is the only EP which 'may always be used'.

If anybody does want to know why you have adopted this practice, the explanation is simple.

(1) This is the only ancient Roman Eucharistic Prayer.

(2) It is much more ancient in its theology than any other EP.

(3) For example: it displays the ancient idea that the Bread and Wine are transubstantiated into the Lord's Body and Blood simply by being accepted by the Father (see the prayer Quam oblationem). All the later prayers appear to operate on the unRoman assumption that the Father, in response to the prayer of the Priest, sends the Holy Spirit down from heaven onto the bread and wine so as to change them. Thus, even if they appear in a volume labelled ROMAN MISSAL, they are not 'Roman' prayers.

2 August 2018

YHWH God of hosts

The current English translation of the Sanctus is a fine example of why the new English Mass was necessary; and of how translation should be done.

The original Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus Domine Deus Sabaoth comes from Isaiah 6. Readers will not need to be reminded that Domine translates YHWH, the unutterable Name of the Jewish God ... that is to say, our God, for we ought never to forget that (as Pius XI said in the era of Hitler) we are all spiritually Semites. Before the Preface, the priest has invited us to Make Eucharist (give thanks) to YHWH our God; now we join the angels in shouting his holiness.

He is YHWH God SBAOTH; an ancient cult title which the Vulgate properly translates as 'God of armies'; he is the God who went to war before David and the people of Israel, his chosen, throughout their ... oops, I think I should have written 'our' ... history. But how to translate SBAOTH?

Old Bad ICEL rendered 'Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might'. Characteristically nasty, because it makes LORD a final monosyllable that in saying and singing gets psychologically and physically (we are just coming to the end of our puff) lost. It puts a heavy break before the phrase 'God of power and might' and thereby breaks up the integrity of the Hebrew original.

But there would be something awkward in a literal rendering 'God of Armies'. If that had been proposed, the furore would have been understandable. New ICEL has done a very wise thing. It has gone back to the archaic English phrase 'God of hosts'. where 'hosts' is old English for 'armies' (cf Wycliff and the Authorised Version and Cranmer's Prayer Book). 'Sabaoth' is an archaism; what more fitting than an archaism to render it; an archaism which reminds us of our Hebrew roots and of the long history of Biblical and liturgical English. This is precisely how translation should be done.

The admirable document Liturgiam authenticam advised the evolution of Sacred Vernaculars; Christine Mohrmann foresaw their possibility.

The alternative, of course, would have been to retain in the English the old Hebraic Sabaoth. As inflammable Dr Cranmer did in his fine rendering of the Te Deum, now to be found in the Ordinariate Missal (Appendix at the back). I wonder whether he translated Mattins first; or 'the Masse'. I think one can detect an evolution is his instincts for translation: One day he might use 'immarcescible'; the next would find him convinced that a Wreath was 'unfading'.

1 August 2018

Teaching Sin

Governments throughout the Unfree World continue to urge the corruption of the young by the inculcation of anti-Judaeo-Christian ethical assumptions. A few weeks ago I heard on the wireless the suggestion that our own admirably resolute Haredi community should be prevented from educating their own children because of an apprehension, I'm sure, correct, that they might not be teaching them the evil, unethical claptrap urged nowadays by evil people. More recently, there has been governmental and Media 'concern' about 'ultra-Orthodox' Jewish and Islamic 'schools'.

But who (I hear you say) bothers about an eccentric Jewish group like the Haredi? To which I reply: They came for the Haredi, but I did nothing because I am not Haredi ... etc.. You know, I am sure, the rest of the incantation.

I shall be surprised if there is not a focussed onslaught, even during my lifetime, on Home Education in this already cruelly illiberal country.

When I was teaching the young, there was already a de facto expectation that one must bow to the zeitgeist in the cases of abortion and gender and suchlike shibboleths. I came to feel that there were advantages in it. I used to tell the pupils: "Some people think ...", and then give them as passionate an advocacy as I could manage of the 'liberal' line - cliches, false logic, spurious rhetoric, factual misrepresntation, you name it, I threw myself into it all with relish. Then I said: "But other people think ...", and gave them the Christian view. When they said "But what do you think, Father?", I allowed them to pester me into revealing to them why the 'liberal' view I had so convincingly put forward was, in my own view, such rubbish. This, I hoped, might have the advantage that when they later heard (as they were undoubtedly destined to) the 'liberal' orthodoxies, they might already, even if only to a tiny degree, be inoculated against them.

I also obeyed to the letter the fashion for teaching ethics in a "balanced and non-judgemental" way by giving the arguments both for and against Racial Discrimination, Gender Prejudice, Bullying, etc.. Liberal colleagues used to find it strikingly difficult to explain to me why I was wrong to do this ... without conceding that they themselves were up to their totalitarian ears in brainwashing the young; giving them unbalanced and judgmental teaching in moral and social matters. "But Racial Discrimination [or Bullying or whatever] is just wrong" they would naively bleat. I found the fun of it all really rather exhilarating.

I don't suppose I'd get away with it now.

31 July 2018

Taking a breath

We are told that a certain sort of Novus Ordo cleric complains that the current 2010 English translation of the Roman Rite is difficult for him to read. He certainly (judging by two OF Masses I attended last summer) does sometimes have difficulties: taking breath at the right times; pausing; emphasising ... all those little tricks by which a crafty hierophant conveys the impression that he understands what he is saying.

The poor dear poppets. They, impoverished souls, may have no ministerial background in delivering liturgically the rolling Tudor periods in Dr Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer. I pity them. Of course they are going to have trouble with any text that goes on for more than a dozen words without a full stop or colon.

OK; fair enough. But one thing really does puzzle me. There are four words which they seem so often incapable of saying ... three of them monosyllabic ... "The Mystery of Faith".

So one gets all sorts of irrelevant nonsense: "Let us proclaim the beauty of our wonderful Catholic Faith". That sort of thing. My memory is imperfect about details, because, being what PF would call a Rigid Pharisee, my mind tends to be distracted from the interesting and unrigid things the inventive presbyter is saying. Ever a victim to distraction, I am instead caught up in the wonder of the Theophany which he has just brought about upon the Altar. I can't help that; I'm too old to change now. But take it from me ...

Those four words, of course, are intended to refer to the Mystery of the Great Presence. That is why they were originally within the Verba Domini. I once wrote a piece about this, which I imagine would be accessible via the Search Engine attached to this blog.

Ah, well. Perhaps things are better in seminaries nowadays. Perhaps the chaps do now get some input, both about the meaning of the Liturgy and how to celebrate it. How to breathe, for example. But what those older clerical chaps do demonstrate, by their endless propensity to change the words, to ad lib their own interminable clevernesses, is this: they obviously find the Novus Ordo (both as composed and as translated) very deeply unsatisfactory; inadequate to meet their own needs and what they assume to be the needs of their people.

Well ... 'traddies' find it unsatisfactory ... this other 'trendy' lot does too ... so there seem to be an awful lot of clergy who dislike the OF, once you add both those opposing groups together.

Is there anybody out there who really does like the OF, as opposed to merely tolerating it for pastoral reasons, or using it as the springboard for personal inventiveness? 

30 July 2018

Fictive Narratives

It is a now familiar picture: the Pope who shifts the blame on to others ("I was poorly informed"); the Pope who contradicts himself; who says different things to different people. The recent account of PF's dealings with the Argentine military dictatorship is unsubstantiated but terrifyingly circumstantial and unnervingly fits in with many compelling reconstructions of his character.

We have a Pope who, in any sort of Mess, takes easy and facile refuge in Fictive Narratives.

Many of us have felt driven to differ from PF's views on basically important matters of Faith and Morals. Nevertheless, he and we are fellow-Christians with all that this implies about our common life together in Christ's Body the Church.

But how easy is it to do any sort of meaningful business with a Roman Pontiff the integrity of whose word looks increasingly implausible? Or with his public apologists?

Any sort of business other than waiting for these terrible days to pass.

29 July 2018


I have read through the comments submitted while I was incommunicado; most I have enabled.

Until next Friday, I shall be doing the LMS Latin course; again, without reading incoming traffic.

But there should be a post from me every day on the blog.

Hemming again (2)

Continues from the last post.
Hemming sees the fly in the ointment as being actuosa participatio, as the phrase is understood in 'Enlightenment' liturgical fashions ... that is, by the liturgical apparatchiks who still act as the guardians of what they see as the Pure Spirit of Vatican II; the same jokers who for decades sneered so nastily at Joseph Ratzinger's contributions to liturgical rethinking on the grounds that 'he is not an expert'.

The idea (writes Hemming) that a single self can consummate in itself the entire meaning of every particular liturgical act as it is enacted ... is foreign and indeed corrosive to the interior character of a complex and centuries-long symbolic language which uses the differentiatedness of place, of time, and of the different vocations and stations of all humanity, to mediate the full range of the drama of our salvation. ... The idea - well known in the East* - that the entire liturgy must be fulfilled, but that it is impossible for any one person to fulfil it alone - was superseded in the West by the idea that every priest must complete the Office and Mass daily and in full ... (he concludes by describing liturgy as:) something which the whole local church - monastic house, convent, diocese, and so forth - has to distribute across its membership and life for the sake of the distributed body of Christ as it manifests itself in particular places.

You see his point. Frantically determined that every priest should say the whole Office, the West has repeatedly slashed and reduced that Office to make the aim attainable ... and, by so doing, has lamentably ravaged its traditional Office. The alternative would be to keep (or to restore) the great integrity of the historical Office while limiting the amount of it that each individual is required to fulfill.
Hemming's principle represents exactly what happened in the medieval cathedrals of England, such as (the one I have studied in most detail) Exeter, codified by its great reforming bishop John Grandisson in his Ordinale. The Lady Chapel, for example, had its own complete and distinct establishment to ensure the fulfilment each day of an entire round of Office and Mass in honour of our Lady, which duplicated the worship at the High Altar. There survives in the Chapter library just one sheet of a Marian Missal, corrected in Grandisson's own hand, for use either in the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral or in that of his Collegiate establishment at Ottery. The weekly Mass and Office of our Lady in Sabbato, as we have them in the Tridentine books, are but a pale remnant of all that. Our massive cathedrals, which now so embarrassingly struggle to demonstrate to the tourists (and to the parishes) their 'relevance', were built quite simply to house those majestic structures of worship; a massive round of daily sacrifice and praise performed in full, not necessarily by each individual, but by a large differentiated community.

In this context, I would also commend the writings of Laszlo Dobszay.

28 July 2018

Hemming and "the distributed body of Christ" (1)

Ten years ago, in 2008, Laurence Hemming published his Worship as a Revelation. It has now lost its status as a 'new' book and will have a few decades to go before it becomes a Revived Classic. In this betweentime I thought I would remind you of this (uneven but) extremely important book. Not least of its importance is the fact that it reminds us of how close many of the instincts of the 'unreformed' Roman Rite - that is, the rite as it was before S Pius X got his hands on it - are to the ritual instincts which (apologies if as an ignorant Latin I have got this side of things wrong) animate Byzantine worship.

I have recently revisited Chapter 11, "Temporal Liturgy"; because I recalled that it gave me a 'line' on some thoughts that have been nagging at my mind recently. I have been comparing the distribution of the Psalter in the Roman Rite
before Pius X;
and after Pius X;
and post-Vatican II.
And what you find here is an ever more intense application, as time goes on, of the associated principles of brevity (the clergy must not be given too great a burden to recite in their Office) and of avoiding repetition. An example of what I mean: before Pius X, you said psalms 148, 149, 150, every day at Lauds (all lumped together with one antiphon and just one final Gloria) . They were the 'Praise' psalms (ainoi) that gave 'Laudes' its name. But such incessant repetition means that there isn't room for a vastly extensive use of the rest of the Psalter ... unless you pile on the 'burden'. So under S Pius X they were removed from daily repetition, split up from each other, and, together with other psalms beginning Laudate, spread lightly around. That great Dr 'Patrimony' Wickham-Legg wrote: "In the estimation of the devout Roman Catholic, the Canon of the Mass and the distribution of the Psalter in the Breviary were almost on a footing as regards the impossibility of either being changed, amended, or re-arranged. They were the sacred Ark of the Liturgy, which no man might touch ... the Curia ... has already accomplished what can only be described as an astounding liturgical revolution, a thorough-going redistribution of the Psalter, in place of the old distribution, which can claim the most venerable antiquity; which Benedict XIV and his consultors in their proposed reform of the Breviary had not dared to touch, for they could not find that the Church of Rome had ever used any other"*.

Liturgical scholars (at that time, many of them were still Men of the Tradition rather than innovatory tinkerers) were horrified at the disappearance under Pius X* from daily use of the ainoi, which at least arguably go back to the Jewish usage of the first century. The recent 'spreading more thinly' of Miserere, which used to mark each day in Lent, can also be deplored as a sad dilution of the spirit of that season. But ... if we were still to recite these splendid things ... and all the other splendid things ... preces and suffragia and goodness knows what ... and with recollection! ... our Office would take all day! Hemming cuts this Gordian Knot by arguing that not everybody always needs to say everything.


*Those dodgy liturgists Quignon and Cranmer, followed by the equally dodgy 'Gallican' (Jansenist?) bishops who confected the eighteenth century French breviaries, had led the way in mistreating the
laudate psalms. Incidentally, I won't get too dewy eyed about Wickham Legg's rhetoric because, I fear, his argument was that if Pius X could do such things, what harm was there in Cranmer having done them 350 years earlier?

27 July 2018

The Sunday Obligation

The great Anglican Benedictine and mystagogue Dom Gregory Dix explains why every Christian is obliged to be at Mass every Sunday:
"To secure [the Sunday Corporate Eucharist] a whole congregation of obscure provincials at Abilinitina in Africa took the risk of almost certain detection by assembling at the height of the Diocletian persecution in their own town, where the authorities were on the watch for them, because, as they said in court, the eucharist had been lacking a long while through the apostasy of their bishop Fundanus, and they could no longer bear the lack of it. And so they called on a presbyter to celebrate - and paid the penalty of their faith to a man. ... 

"The christian came to the eucharist, not indeed 'to learn something', for faith was presupposed, but certainly not to seek a psychological thrill. He came simply to do something, which he conceived he had an overwhelming personal duty to do, come what may. 

"What brought him to the eucharist week by week, despite all dangers and inconveniences, was no thrill provoked by the service itself, which was bare and unimpressive to the point of dullness, and would soon lose any attraction of novelty. Nor yet was it a longing for personal communion with God, which he could and did fulfil otherwise in his his daily communion from the reserved sacrament at home. What brought him was an intense belief that in the eucharistic action of the Body of Christ, as in no other way, he himself took part in that act of sacrificial obedience to the will of God which was consummated on Calvary and which had redeemed the world, including himself. What brought him was the conviction that there rested on each of the redeemed an absolute necessity to take his own part in the self-offering of Christ, a necessity more binding even than the instinct of self-preservation.

"Simply as members of Christ's body, the church, all christians must do this, and they can do it in no other way than that which was the last command of Jesus to his own. That rule of the absolute obligation upon each of the faithful of presence at Sunday mass under pain of mortal sin,which seems so mechanical and formal to the protestant, is something which was burned into the corporate mind of historic christendom in the centuries between Nero and Diocletian, but it rests upon something more evangelical and more profound than historical memories. It expresses as nothing else can the whole new testament doctrine of redemption; of Jesus, God and Man, as the only saviour of mankind, who intends to draw all men to him by his sacrificial and atoning death; and of the church as the communion of redeemed sinnners, the body of Christ, corporately invested with his own mission of salvation to the world."

26 July 2018

Historical Evidence?

It is recorded that on one occasion when speaking to an off-message questioner about the Bishop Barros problem, PF referred to those making trouble as 'left-wingers'.

I do not know Spanish, nor a fortiori do I know what whichever word he used would mean in the context of Latin American politics, or of specifically Argentinian politics, or more particularly still in terms of the former Argentine military dictatorship. So, out of the bottomless pit of my ignorance I can only articulate questions.

There is, I sense, a feeling among many that we do not yet know quite everything about PF's motives and actions during that particularly unpleasant dictatorship.

But there is often a revealing significance in what a man blurts out when he has lost his temper.

And, on that occasion, PF had very understandably lost his temper with somebody who kept badgering him with questions he had no intention of answering.

So I ignorantly wonder if this (in itself insignificant and unimportant) little outburst does reveal anything about a murkier pontifical past than most of us have hidden away in our memories?

25 July 2018

Christ the King (2)

"in the eucharist we christians concentrate our motive and act out our theory of human living. Mankind are not to be 'as Gods', a competing horde of dying rvivals to the Living God. We are his creatures, fallen and redeemed, His dear recovered sons, who by His free love are 'made partakers of the Divine nature'. But our obedience and our salvation are not of ourselves, even while we are mysteriously free to disobey and damn ourselves. We are dependent on Him even for our own dependence. We are accepted sons in the Son, by the real sacrifice and acceptance of His Body and Blood, Who 'though he were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; called of God an high-priest after the order of Melchisedech.'"

24 July 2018

Christ the King uncrowned (1)

"'There is one human race in which the mysteries of God are fulfilled' [Irenaeus]. It has been said that the problem of our generation [1944] will be the motive of civilisation. But in fact that is the problem in one form or another of all generations, the theory of human living. It has only been made more acute for us by the progressive apostasy of the liberal tradition in Europe for the last three centuries. The dream of the self-sufficiency of human power has haunted the hearts of all men since it was first whispered that by slipping from under the trammels of the law of God 'ye shall be as gods' choosing your own good and evil. The shadows of that dream renew themselves continually in fresh shapes even in the minds and wills of those who serve God's kingship. Where that kingship is unknown or consciously denied that dream rules men, who are in the apostle's terrible phrase  'free from righteousness'. In its crudest form, in the politics of our day, the pagan dream of human power has turned one more into a nightmare oppressing men's outward lives. That will pass, because it is too violent a disorder to be endured. But elsewhere and less vulgarly, as a mystique of technical and scientific mastery of man's environment, it is swiftly replacing the old materialism as the prevalent anti-christianity of the twentieth century. In this subtler form it will more secretly but even more terribly oppress the human spirit".

Dom Gregory Dix. To be continued.

23 July 2018


A very senior prelate is reported recently to have said
"X, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like that and loves you like this and I don't care. [I] love you like this. You have to be happy with who you are."

I find it logically helpful to substitute other things for gay (Paedophile? Psychopath?) and to see how the propositions look then.

Of course, this is a dangerous line to take. Those with an enfeebled grasp of logic are likely to blurt out "So you're saying that all homosexuals are paedophiles!" or "So you think homosexuals are as bad as psychopaths?"

(In fact, I think that Christian homosexuals are, almost by definition, likely to be more admirable than heterosexuals. Because, denied the sexual outlets which are available to heterosexuals, they lead a grace-filled and continent life. I condemn those heterosexuals, often fundamentalist Evangelicals, who are very 'strong' against homosexuality, but don't seem to have noticed what the Lord said about remarriage after divorce.)

Questions abound, some of them in the field known as theodicy. Does God make people gay, or are there (sometimes?) cultural factors involved? If gaydom is to be deemed a matter of divine creation, why is paedophilia (or bipolarity or spina bifida) not to be so considered? If gaydom is a matter of divine creation, does this imply that those so born should be permitted/encouraged to live along their instincts?

These are difficult questions. But Holy Mother Church has always taken the line that, whatever one is born with, one is still subject to the same divine laws (although psychological compulsion may well diminish the subjective culpability of particular breaches of the laws in individual cases).

If this is, according to the High Prelate concerned, no longer true, then it is not only 'gays' who are affected. There are other categories who need to be reassured that they are made the way they are by God, loved like that by him, and expected by him to be happy with the way they are; others who, perhaps, must be allowed to express the sexual inclinations God is said to have put within them.

22 July 2018

Allen Hall (3)

"All the students hear mass together every day at five o' clock, after having first said the litanies for the Church and the conversion of our country. Every Sunday and on the greater feasts they confess and communicate, and almost all of them say the canonical hours every day. The priests celebrate daily. On the feasts of S Gregory, S Augustine, apostle of England, and S Thomas of Canterbury, martyr, we all meet together for high mass ..... and pray for the conversion of our country and the peace of the whole Church and of that place in which By God's providence we live in exile. We fast twice a week for the same intention, and we commend much to the Lord the cause of all who are in bondage or affliction for religion's sake."

This is Cardinal Allen's account of life in the Seminary he founded in Douai.

It occurs to me that it would be a becoming tribute to him if, from this 450th anniversary year onwards, the feasts of those three Saints were observed as he describes ...

21 July 2018


There is a committee in Rome, we are told, researching the genesis of ... the events and processes leading up to ... Humanae Vitae. I wonder what is going on. If anybody actually knows I would be glad to be informed. But I suspect that we all have little to go on except for inferences to be drawn from the composition of the committee.

So ... a hypothesis ...

The committee's task is to construct a claim like this: "HV says ... apparently and on the surface ... X. But if you examine HV carefully in the context of the evolution of its text, it becomes obvious that HV really means non-X (or not-quite-X or not-always-X)."

Other hypotheses?

Less hypothetically: B Paul VI  is going to be canonised, unless the  Eschaton prevents it. Rather than letting the organisers make headway out of it as a celebration for the Bergoglian view of 'the Council', would it not be rather jolly if something could be done to present the positive aspects of that pontificate?

Seminars on the biblical typology of the concept of the Smoke of Satan ... that sort of thing, perhaps?

On the magisterial teaching of Paul VI on the Latin Language?

20 July 2018

Cardinal Allen (2)

Did I say that there remains, apart from Allen Hall, no memorial to Allen?  I erred! In Oxford, the wing of Oriel College which looks onto the High Street stands on the site of S Mary's Hall, of which, in his Oxford days, Allen had been Principal. His effigy stands there, with Cardinal Newman for company, looking devoutly across at the 1637 crowned Anglican statue of our Lady of Oxford above the porch of the University Church.

I think that if William Allen visited London now, he would be well pleased with Allen Hall; I suspect the only fault he would find with it is that it uses the Motto Vivamus in spe, which, on the website of the Hall, is translated as "We live in Hope". He would wonder, as I have often done, how it comes about that a Catholic Seminary does not possess a single member with enough Latin to know that  Vivamus does not mean "We live".

But if the admirable Cardinal were to visit the Cathedral near Victoria Station, only a short omnibus ride from Allen Hall, I think he might be puzzled and, I fear, saddened. He would see on the left as he entered some big brass tablets which claim to list the popes together with the chief pastors of the Catholic Church in England. But ...

His name is missing!!! His biographer tells us that, in the Diocesan archives, it is recorded that "Per eundem Pium V ... Alanus omnibus his missionibus praeficitur cum omni potestate spirituali ac ministrali in tali causa necessaria." If that didn't make Allen Chief Shepherd, why on earth not?

Surely, the good old man would shake a sorrowful head. (Would it cheer him up to browse through the rest of the tablets and realise that they give a list of popes which in some details differs from the 'true popes' [as opposed to antipopes] which the rest of the Catholic Church accepts? No, I share your view. I don't think it would.)

Was William Cardinal Allen left out through carelessness? Or because Cardinal Vaughan felt nervous about listing a predecessor who was so intimately bound up with the glorious enterprise called 'the Armada'?

I think it would gracious if, in the 450th year of the Foundation of his seminary, this mean injustice could be remedied.

Connoisseurs of illiterate translations of Latin could spend an enjoyable few minutes upstairs in the Cathedral Treasury where (unless matters have been corrected since I was last there) the errors include the translation of Cardinal Manning's motto. You may wonder, as I have often done, how it comes about that a major Catholic Cathedral Church does not employ a single cleric with enough Latin to know that the verb foedo does not mean "I agree".

A little more to follow.

19 July 2018

Impartial scholarship

Sometimes we are told that committed and "Christian" scholarship must be partial and biased because, well, to paraphrase Ms Mandy Rice Davies, we would say that, wouldn't we. Some years ago, in her inaugural lecture as a Professor in this University, Sarah Foot put this notion down.

She was not keen on the idea that, in order to be 'academic', the 'profession' in a modern university of a subject like ecclesiastical history has to be left to those who have a reductionist view, and who see the subject from a hostile and secularising standpoint in which Faith simply has to be considered a facade for more mundane and untheological historical processes. It is the duty of the ecclesiastical historian to restore 'their present' to earlier communities by taking them seriously. While the student does not have to be a believer, (s)he should have an empathetic (my word) understanding of the faithed humans (s)he describes.

I find it a remarkable example of diabolical skill, this idea that only those hostile to Christianity really count as impartial; as if Christians must be disqualified for having a biasing agenda but atheists are dispassionate students of their subject. I recall the passage in The Pilgrim's Regress in which C S Lewis portrays the minions of the Zeitgeist indoctrinating their prisoners:
What is the proper answer to an argument proving the existence of the Landlord [God]?
You say that because you are a Steward [priest].
Good boy ... what is the answer to an argument that two and two make four?
You say that because you are a mathematician ...

Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith of the Daughter University spent some decades restoring a genuine theological conviction to the Crusaders. And I remember particularly the words of M Schneiders in 1996, discussing early Irish liturgy: for a proper understanding of the past an affinity with the material is useful, at least if one wishes to go beyond the recovery of mere facts, if one tries to understand the people who used these texts, who celebrated Mass with these ancient prayers.

But 'useful' is too timorous a word; and Dom Gregory 'Patrimony' Dix put it so much more memorably ... well, he would, wouldn't he? ... when, writing about the Canon Romanus, he said: This very morning I 'did this' with a set of texts which has not changed by more than a few syllables since Augustine used those very words at Canterbury on the Third Sunday of Easter in the summer after he landed. Yet 'this' can still take hold of a man's life and work with it.

18 July 2018

Lake Garda

In response to a recent correspondent: No, while at this year's fantastic Gardone Conference, I did not visit the Vittoriale. This is because I had looked round it five years ago and decided that D'Annunzio was a rather nasty little man, teeth or no teeth, whom I felt no need to revisit.

But I did go this year and look at an exquisite little octagonal Church , the Inviolata, at Riva. Four altars in addition to the High Altar; each a different design but harmoniously integrated. Stucco by David Reti; even the woodwork (doors, confessionals) within that same bracket of 1600ish to 1650.

Only one horrible incongruity: a plain wooden table stuck in front of the High Altar.

Yes yes yes yes yes. I know this sort of monstrosity is pretty common. You will tell me that what I am describing to you is hardly News. But many old churches do not aggressively flaunt their homogeneity. Indeed, it can be an agreeable experience to walk round a corner and find that you have travelled from the fifteenth to the seventeeth century. In principle, why should rounding the next corner not bring us into the twenty first century, and be praised for doing so?

But the Inviolata is so intimately of a piece; it is so very much of just one period. Even if that wooden table had been constructed to be, in the terms of the aesthetic of its own peiod, a thing of beauty, it would have stuck out like a sore thumb.

OK: Sir John Ninian 'Patrimony' Comper, having begun his oeuvre in the Gothic, spread his wings and evolved his theory and praxis of Unity by Inclusion; as, indeed Henry VII had done when he put an Italian Renaissance altar beneath the fan-vaulting of his Lady Chapel at Westminster. Martin Travers ... All this I cannot help but concede.

But ... in that little church at Riva ... this plain little table seemed to me almost diabolical in its loud narcissistic self-assertion; its hubristic mockery of the other five altars in the church.

17 July 2018

"Separated Doctors of the Catholic Church"

That is a nice phrase by Fr Aidan Nichols ... and I offer you a piece today by one of those Anglican Catholic theologians of whom Fr Aidan thinks so well: Fr Eric Mascall of Oxford.

What makes the mass one and corporate is not the fact that a lot of people are together at the same service, but the fact that it is the act of the one Christ in his Body (corpus) the Church. And I can think of no better way of making anyone understand wherein the unity and corporateness of the mass really consists than to take him into a church in which a number of priests are simultaneously celebrating private masses and to say: "Look at those men at their various altars all round the church, each of them apparently muttering away on his own and having nothing to do with the others. In fact they are all of them doing the same thing - the same essentially, the same numerically - not just a lot of things of the same kind, but the very same identical thing; each of them is taking part as a priest in the one redemptive act which Christ, who died for our sins and rose again for our justification, perpetuates in the Church which is his Body through the sacrament of his body and blood."

Mascall used to say his own mass every morning (except when he was on the Cathedral rota for a public mass) in the church where I went for daily mass as an undergraduate. How wonderful it would be if the scene he describes returned to the life of our churches ... just imagine the basilica at Lourdes every morning with a constant coming and going of priests to the altars of the fifteen mysteries.

Those fifteen altars, like so many in the thousands of churches of Latin Christendom, are now left unused ... in the Byzantine phrase, they are left "fasting". Thus is an apostasy which grew up after Vatican II perpetuated.

A little more about this subject tomorrow.

16 July 2018

Sorry ...

 ... but I'm taking another break from incoming messages ... perhaps for some ten days. Then I'll look at what has been sent.

Deo volente, my posts will still pop up daily.

PF and the Ordinariates

There was a circumstantial account, when the Ordinariates were set up, that Archbishop Bergoglio invited to breakfast the [Anglican] Archbishop of the Southern Cone ... or something ... and cheered him up by telling him that he disapproved of the action.

Some weeks ago, PF spoke to a delegation from the Moskow Patriarchate and assured them, very categorically, of his most profound disapproval, and prohibition, of 'Uniatism' [to be fair, there was one brief clause asserting the rights of the existing sui iuris Churches].

I think this more or less confirms the old story.

PF also reiterated on this occasion his belief in the practical irrelevance of doctrine.

The text was immensely characteristic.

15 July 2018

Personally ...

Brother Yankie Doodle, who has not always been averse to Changing Regimes throughout the World, is all of a sudden getting enormously indignant about Brother Russkie interfering in his politics. I find this richly hilarious.

But, a fortiori, if it is true that American political structures really are so risibly fragile, so vulnerable to a sharp little fixer like Vladimir Vladimirovich, you'd think Yankie Doodle would want to conceal such a humiliating fact rather than boasting about having been made such a laughing stock.

I shall never understand the Yankie national mindset (I am not assisted by the fact that most Americans I know tell me that they also fail to understand it). But if DT and VV really were to establish a fruitful relationship, I think it could be very good for all of us.

Perhaps all those Nasty Neocons might be dressed up in orange jumpsuits and then Specially Renditioned to Siberia or to a waterboarding facility on a rapidly melting Arctic ice floe somewhere to the North of Murmansk.

14 July 2018

Consecration in the Roman Mass 6 [Conclusio]

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded, for with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand.
This lovely text is a translation by G Moultie of a formula (Sigesato pasa sarx broteia) in the Liturgy of S James; which may be the oldest rite still used in Christendom except, of course, for our immemorially ancient Roman Rite. I have recently been discussing the contrast between the theology of Consecration in that Rite, and that in our own Roman rite.

It is indeed a splendid hymn, and the concept of the Lord's eucharistic epiphaneia is beautifully expressed. Generations of Anglican worshippers have been moved by the picture of the host of heaven spreading its vanguard before the Lord as he descends from the realms of endless day to stand on earth upon the altars of our churches. Long may its use continue.

But it it is instructive to look back at the Greek original. Moultrie has done a bit of a naughty in his translation, because, instead of speaking of Christ our God to earth descending, what the Greek actually says is: 'Christ our God is going forth to be slain in sacrifice' (proerchetai sphagiasthenai). And that is language which causes problems for some people - unnecessarily. Christ did die but once for all upon the cross, as the Reformers never ceased to declare, but his one sacrifice is beyond time in God's everlasting Now. God's 'Once' is not locked into one moment in one place in History ... it is not imprisoned in 33AD.

Think of it like this: God could have chosen to create nothing, but to exist in his own social, Trinal, simplicity. If He did choose to create, He could have elected to create just one moment. He could have created, for that one moment, just one place. We never think about it; but, surely, that is the most obvious, sensible, 'clean-cut', unmessy, thing to do. Yet that isn't what He did. In that tremendous eccentricity which is rooted in the very nature of the Divine Act of Creation, He created a multiplicity of times and a multiplicity of places. Within those multiplicities, He could have created just one, monic, being to exist and to be loved; but He chose instead to create a multiplicity of beings. And so it is into that complexity of times, places, beings, that His 'Once for all' is graciously communicated. The sacrifice of the Eternal Son is, in the Mass, made 'sacramentally' present on earth, in and to that plurality of the times and places which the Creator God in his fluent generosity has given to the innumerable multitudes He has created in which to worship Him and to work out their salvation. And whenever it is so made present, Christ our God does "go forth to be slain in sacrifice". Furthermore, each Eucharist, bestowed from Eternity into Time, is not merely the offering of a monic being, but of Christ in his social body the Church, associating with him and in him those who are partaking in that new Mass in that new moment, so that the sacrifice of the Mass is ever one and unchanging and rooted in Eternity, and yet for ever here and for ever new.

So I've never had any problems with that offertory prayer in the Sarum Mass, in which the priest referred to hoc sacrificium novum. But, of course, the 'Reformers' did object, and the idea of a nova mactatio has come to be regarded as one of the worst corruptions of medieval Catholicism. It is good to have the Rite of S James to remind us that this way of employing language is not only sound and wholesome but is guaranteed by the witness of East as well as of West.

Throughout the Church, and throughout its history, different notions of the relation of Christ's One Sacrifice to the actual text and movement of the Liturgy have, quite harmlessly, been held. In the Greek version of the  Liturgy of S James, this (Sigesato) text is used to accompany the Great Entrance; as if the Bread already is the Lord, making his way to Calvary and to Sacrifice (both Great Entrance and Sigesato are absent from the Syriac version of the rite). Theodore of Mopsuestia clearly believed that the Elements processed in by the deacons were already the dead Body of Christ, "a Body which will very shortly rise to an immortal being". As one writer has put it, "Theodore's idea is that the elements, by the mere fact that they are the offering of the church, are already the Body and Blood from the moment of the offertory". Some Oriental epicletic formulae accordingly ask that the Holy Spirit may show (not make) the Bread to be the Lord's Body. The idea that the offertory pre-consecrates can also be found among the Assyrians and the Armenians, and would appear to be implied by the custom, which I first witnessed in Oxford in the 1960s, of aged Russian Grand Duchesses, in their black dresses and weighed down with jewelry, prostrate on the ground during the Great Entrance. These Eastern instincts, in a curious sort of roundabout way, witness to the convention we have discerned in the classical Roman rite, that it is essentially the Father's acceptance of the Church's Offering which is consecratory, not the Divine Response to a Petition for the Descent of the Spirit.
This series is now complete. I will now consider any comments submitted. Please attach any such comments to this final instalment.

13 July 2018

Hey Ho ...

 ... desptite my dissuasives, there will probably be some  Comments offered during my period sequestered from incoming traffic. I am about to go through them ...

Christine Mohrmann, 1 August 1903 - 13 July 1988

Today is the (30th) obit of one of the greatest intellectual figures of the last century. Mohrmann it was who demonstrated that Liturgical Latin, like Liturgical Greek (and one thinks of Church Slavonic and Church Coptic), was an artificial construct deliberately invented so as to be as worthy as possible for the August Sacrifice (forget the creaky old Protestant and 1960s superstition that 'the Primitive Church' was dead set on 'vernacular' liturgies designed to be 'understanded of the people').

One of the tragedies of the 1960s was that a particular version of a 'Liturgical Movement' got its grip upon the minds of superficial 'professional liturgists' who had their sticky hands upon the levers of power. Men (yes, I think they were all men) who were deaf to Mohrmann's scholarship and her immense erudition. Men (well, let us say half-men) who knew what was best for little Johnny and insisted on little Johnny's jaws being clamped open while they force-fed him with their revolting gruel.

In those middle years of that century there were other very competent women liturgists. I wonder if the "Liturgical Reform" would have been less disastrous if it had not been forced through by an insensitive illiterate narrow-minded fascist androcracy.

Curious, isn't it, that our male culture went pretty well straight from a crass and arrogant assumption that the little woman had little capacity for intelligent thought, all the way to a servile and creepy subordination to every whimsy of femino-fascism.

Men are such odd creatures.

12 July 2018

Consecration in the Roman Mass 5

(As regards comments, see the first part of this.)
But ... quam oblationem ... the prayer in which the Church beseeches the Father that her Oblation may be given-the-OK (benedictam) and written-on-the-list (adscriptam) so that, being accepted, it may become the Body and Blood of the Incarnate Word ... is not yet a completed sentence, because it carries on qui pridie quam pateretur ... Thus, the Church goes on to recall, in a subordinated relative clause, the Episode, the Last Supper, on the grounds of which she asks that the consequences of acceptance will indeed be transformation.

Qui is an important word in the Church's life of prayer. A common pattern, which goes back to pre-Christian prayer in the Roman and Greek worlds, is (1) to address a deity, then (2) to recall some attribute or undertaking of that deity, and finally (3) to make the intended request. The logic (going back perhaps to a sense that a deity needs to be convinced or cajoled, even threatened or bribed, or that it will consider itself bound by legal precedent) is that (2) gives the reason why it reasonable to ask for (3) with an expectation of success. Latin has a handy little verb impetrare, which cannot be translated by one single English verb because it means to-ask-and-to-get. Impetratio is at the heart of successful prayer in the ancient world ... I don't think a Roman would waste his time praying if he had no grounds to hope that he was in fact impetrating. So the qui, who, which links up (2) with (3) in effect means something very much like forasmuch as. Almost legally, rather as in the preamble to a British Parliamentary statute*, we tell God why our prayer deserves to be an impetratio. And the qui which links the 'Institution Narrative' to the Prayer for Acceptance which preceded it, has very much this character. So, surely, the logic of this entire passage we have been looking at is: Accept our Offering so that it may become the Lord's Body and Blood forasmuch as the Lord himself guaranteed that Bread and Wine, being thus accepted, would become His Body and Blood.

In our Latin shorthand, we think of this as constituting the Verba Domini as 'consecratory', and this is a very sensible way of thinking and talking (the Church of England adopted the same principle in 1662). It is an extremely ancient view, quite possibly going back to when Christians first started to think logically about such matters. Notoriously, it is given vivid expression in the Byzantine East by S John Chrysostom (c347-407); in Syria, Severus (should I call him Saint?) 'monophysite' Patriarch of Antioch (c465-538), shared it (Dom Gregory Dix was dead chuffed to discover this fact in one of Severus's Letters); and it is found in the Slavic East as late as the first edition of the Orthodox Confession (1638) of Peter Mogila, Metropolitan (should I say Patriarch?) of Kiev (1596-1646). 

It is true that 'the Great Church of Constantinople', replying in 1896 to overtures of unity from Leo XIII, alleged that "The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils used to receive [the teaching that] the precious gifts are hallowed after the Epiclesis of the Holy Spirit by the blessing of the priest", apparently thereby implying that the Church and Rite of Rome did not exist in the centuries between Nicaea I and Nicaea II in 787. But this only proves that we Latins are not the only ones who quite often say and do extremely foolish things. Happily, a few years ago a writer in the theological journal of the Moscow Patriarchate declared himself content with the Roman Canon.

It is a shame that the dominant school among the fashionable intellectuals of the Western Church in the 1960s did not share this contentedness.
*I think the English 'Reformers', with their Tudor legalese, would have used the term 'warrant'.

11 July 2018


The Society's General Chapter, so I believe, begins today.

We live in times when faithful Catholics, whenever they meet, exchange views about the present situation in the Whole State of Christ's Church Militant Here in Earth. This must inevitably also be true of the SSPX. And, all the more so, since the Society cannot avoid being compelled to make prudential judgements about its own relationships with the Holy See.

One can only feel immense compassion for those involved in such decisions. On the one hand, the Society's bishops are now thirty years older than when they were consecrated. If they were to be supplemented sine mandato Apostolico, that would incur new excommunications latae sententiae; so there would have been a real step backwards in de facto relationships.

On the other hand, nobody needs to be reminded of the way Rome is capable of treating those whom it has at its mercy. And, despite the rhetoric, Mercy is not a hallmark of the present regime.

Being a cynic, I tend to think that any agreement ought to secure the independant financial state of this dear and admirable Society, so that, if subsequently there were Roman bad faith, the Society could resume its former course undamaged. 'Hands off the Cash and the Property' seems to me a most important consideration. Collaring the Kaboodle appeared to be one of the main motives of the savage Visitatorial regime imposed upon the Franciscans of the Immaculate. But what can I know about the intricacies of the present situation?

What I am sure of is that the members of the Society are our beloved brethren in the Lord for whom at this time we have a considerable obligation to pray. And, in doing so, also to give thanks for all that the SSPX has done for the maintenance of the Faith.

As one of those who generated the Filial Correction, I cannot forget that H E Bishop Fellay was the only Successor of the Apostles who gave it his signature.

10 July 2018

Consecration in the Roman Mass 4 (is the Novus Ordo the "Roman Rite"?

(As regards comments, see the first part of this)
If you go to a Novus Ordo Mass, the spine of the Altar Book will make a claim that it is the "Roman Missal". But is it? Does it ... I quote a British Television commercial ... do what it says on the tin? I do not think that anybody who has carefully thought these things through could answer Yes. Fr Joseph Gelineau, described by Bugnini himself as "one of the great masters of the international liturgical world", a liturgical radical who wholeheartedly applauded what happened after Vatican II, did not make that claim. He wrote "We must say it plainly: the Roman rite as we knew it exists no more. It has gone." He did not share the ignorant view sometimes put forward, that the post-Conciliar 'reform' was analogous to the edition of the Roman Missal published by the orders of S Pius V ... ("If it was alright," people say to us, "for Pius V to bring out his own Missal, why couldn't B Paul VI do the same?") You will all have heard and read that sort of thing; but you won't have heard it from Gelineau. Gelineau was not 'one of us', but he was neither ignorant or stupid. He wrote "We must not weep over ruins or dream of a historical reconstruction .... we must open new ways to the sources of life, or we shall be condemned as Jesus condemned the Pharisees. But it would not be right to identify this liturgical renewal with the reform of rites decided on by Vatican II. This reform goes back much further, and forward beyond the conciliar prescriptions".

Klaus Gamber viewed the 1965 form of the Roman Rite as effectively the last form of that Rite. Archbishop Lefebvre used 1965 until, in the mid 1970s, he decided to revert to 1962 (during the 1960s he had allowed his Holy Ghost Fathers only two 'vernacular Masses' a week).

At the opposite end of the academic spectrum from Gelineau, Fr Aidan Nichols points out that "the Rite of Paul VI contains more features of Oriental provenance than the Roman Rite has ever known historically, and notably in the new anaphoras, for these are central to the definition of any eucharistic style". (He goes on to suggest how the Novus Ordo could be used, and that it could be renamed as the ritus communis). A very distinguished Anglican liturgical scholar, Dr G G Willis, wrote that "Rome has invented in its recent rites a hybrid form ... The Roman rite has hitherto kept out the epiclesis, as being inconsistent with its theory of consecration, and the introduction of Oriental elements (seen also in the acclamations of the people, which the new Roman revisions have introduced) would be better eschewed". Another mighty Anglican scholar, the late Fr Michael Moreton, was very firm and resolute about the need for the exclusive use of the Roman Canon. So should we Latins all be. The chaps that know, know.

The Novus Ordo rite as commonly presented is not the Roman rite.** I would grant it to be arguable that if one used only its First Eucharistic Prayer, the Roman Canon, what one celebrated might still ... just about ... yes, I know there were outrageous tamperings with the Verba Domini ... be fairly called the Roman rite, without infringing the Trade Descriptions Act too badly. But not a Mass celebrated using one of the new, Orientalised, epicletified, Eucharistic Prayers. And the pseudo-Hippolytan ultra-short Prayer is the one in almost universal and invariable use throughout the 'mainstream Church' ... despite the hopes expressed in the GIRM that the Roman Canon be used on Sundays and Festivals. Accordingly, the Roman rite proprie dictus, it has to be admitted, has now almost entirely died out in most of the Latin Church, except in such places as Oratories and Ordinariates and the FSSP and Christ the King parishes. And, of course, the SSPX.

It seems to me a cause worth taking seriously, to restore the Roman Rite to use by using exclusively the Roman Canon. The GIRM itself has pointed to this by saying, in each edition it has been through, that "This Prayer may be always used" (Editio tertia para 365 semper adhiberi potest); a comment it makes about none of the other anaphoras.

Such a reform could be introduced gradually in three stages:
(1) Weaning a congregation off Prayer 2 by using Prayer 3 and taking it slowly;
(2) Using Prayer 1 shortened by leaving out all the sections within brackets;
(3) Using Prayer 1 in its full integrity. 
One might add:
(4) Using the Extraordinary Form with the Readings in the vernacular, as permitted by Summorum Pontificum. 

 Furthermore, the Ordinary Form may be celebrated versus apsidem, and the Extraordinary Form may be celebrated versus populum. We have the same dilemma that faced old-style Anglo-Catholic clergy: to make all ones reforms at once; or to try to keep everyone on side by making them gradually!

**BUT IT IS A VALID MASS. Anybody who even hints otherwise is not teaching you the Catholic Faith, and may even be running the risk of leading you into sacrilege. I have to explain all this stuff quite frequently: I have lodged three of my earlier posts at 4 September 2014. The Novus Ordo may not be the "Roman Rite", but it IS still a VALID CATHOLIC MASS. In the Novus Ordo the Body and Blood of Christ ARE truly made present and ARE truly offered. That is as CERTAIN as anything in this life.  

9 July 2018

Consecration in the Roman Mass 3

(As regards comments, see the first part of this.)
The great Christine Mohrman pointed out the juridical nature of Christian liturgical Latin, and showed that it was in direct descent from the pagan cultic Latin used in the centuries ante Christum; for example, in the Prayer asking the Gods of a city under siege to leave it ... to leave the city and its homes and temples and streets and ... The principle is to cover everything and leave nothing out. So, in our Quam oblationem Prayer, the priest asks that our offering may be "on the list"(adscriptam)!! For a Mass to be valid, one realises, it must be on God's official list, just as there is no point in turning up at Heathrow and asking for a Boarding Pass unless your booking is in the computer. God must have said the OK to it (benedictam). Bene-dicere (literally, "to say well") is a verb closely linked in Biblical Latin to the idea of God "looking with favour" on an offering  ... that is, accepting it. Consider Genesis 4:4-5 ... Respexit Dominus ad Abel et ad munera eius. Abel, not surprisingly, is cited in our Canon as a precedent for divine acceptance. And so the Secret for Dominica VII post Pentecosten says: Accipe sacrificium a devotis tibi famulis, et pari benedictione, sicut munera Abel, sanctifica. In other words, while the Epiclesis I quoted at the beginning from the liturgy of S James made itself rather lengthy by citing divine precedents for the sending down of the Spirit to work mighty change, the Roman Canon is content simply to mention the Biblical 'typological' precedents for divine acceptance of human Offering. Ratam ... acceptabilem make the same point about divine acceptance and ratification ... just as when you enter the USA and the Homeland Warrior asks penetrating questions about your motives for trying to do so ... this even happened to a son-in-law of mine who has American citizenship ... and then reluctantly stamps your passport making you ratus and  acceptus. Rationabilem relates to the Sacrifice as logiken rather than cruentatam but, none the less, acceptable.

It is not my purpose to discuss which of these attitudes is preferable, although I will admit to a strong preference for the theology of the Roman Canon, just as I would expect an Oriental Christian to feel most at home with the Eastern approach. There is a sense in which I would even agree with the idea that Diversity is essential to Catholicity! What I do wish to highlight is, quite simply, that they are different. And that they can't just be taken into the kitchen and shoved into the blender and mixed up. One of the very few things I object to very strongly about Orthodoxy is that it sanctions 'Western Rites' in which an Oriental Epiclesis has been violently shoved into the Roman Canon. I would complain with no less vigour if some daft Latinising imperialist tried to mangle or eviscerate an Eastern Anaphora. Each of our rites has its own integrity, its own logic, its own grammar. Neither should be bullied into conformity with the other. To do so ... I would go so far as to call it sacrilege.

8 July 2018

Consecration in the Roman Mass 2

(As regards comments, see the first part of this)
 Why this Gadarene preoccupation, in the 1960s, with epicleses asking the Spirit to be sent to change Bread into Body? The answer is embarrassingly simple. Pretty well all rites except the Roman had an epiclesis. Therefore it must be 'Primitive'. Therefore it was desireable. The alternative possibility, that Rome lacked an epiclesis because it was older than those other rites, occurred to very few. So, for a hundred years or more, the question had been (not why did the other rites add an epiclesis, but) Whatever Happened to the Roman Epiclesis ... deemed to have existed originally but, for some mysterious reason, to have gone missing. Readers who still have on their shelves The Mass by Adrian Fortescue can still find page after page describing the ingenious pursuits, by entire generations of clever and erudite men, of this particular invisible (well, to be frank, mythical) fox. The conviction was bolstered by an inclination to believe that all the existing rites of Christendom must have descended from an Original Liturgy which, at least in its dominant features, was fairly uniform, and could therefore, in principle, be reconstructed from a comparison of existing liturgies. This assumption, as the pendulum swings, is currently highly unfashionable; an Anglican liturgist called Paul Bradshaw has spent most of his life rebutting it.

But why should we not just add the epiclesis to the Roman Rite anyway? Would it not be an Enrichment? There is surely no real harm ...

I began the first part of this enquiry by printing an Eastern epiclesis of the Spirit; and the nearest equivalent which the Roman Rite possesses. Put simply, the East says Send the Spirit so that He may change bread into Christ's Body. While Rome says Accept our Offering so that it may become Christ's Body. In other words, awed by the great mystery of this Change, the East is convinced that the most powerful Force that there is - God the Holy Spirit - must be responsible, and needs to be invoked. Rome, in her humdrum way, has carried on with the earlier Christian belief that the simple acceptance by the Father of the Church's Oblation will mean that bread will be changed (in accordance with the definitive and prescriptive Word of the Lord at His Supper) into His Body. Accordingly, Rome has felt the need to be confident that the Father really has accepted the Oblation, while the East has been concerned to ensure that the Father really has sent the Holy Spirit ... at least, that is the conclusion I draw from the emphases within each respective Petition, the one Occidental and the other Oriental. So, in the West, as the sentence ends in which this Prayer for Acceptance is made, the bell is rung and the Priest is lifting up the Lord's Body for Adoration. In the East, solemnity attends the Prayer for the Spirit.