5 February 2018

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino ...

... because it's S Agatha's Day! So congratulations to the people of S Agatha's Ordinariate Church in Portsmouth, with their admirable Parish Priest Fr John Maunder and Mgr Robert Mercer, the great missionary Bishop of Matabeleland, now in Ordinariate 'retirement'.

S Agata dei Goti is a unique church in Rome: it was once an Arian church. Perhaps S Agatha should be the patroness of those who rescue churches from schism for Catholic use! Most readers will not need me to tell them that this is the Titular Church of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, who is very unlikely to give it back to the Goths, whether or not they are still Arian.

S Agatha's in Portsmouth, of which the Ordinariate has the use, was sold off by the C of E as redundant. It, also unique, is the only place in England ... I think ... where you can see a church built by the Anglo-Catholics in the days of their high glory, full of the most exquisite artwork and shrines, now in Full Communion with the See of S Peter and offering worship in the finest tradition of Anglican Catholicism. Fr Maunder has added to the glories of his church by commissioning a baroque over-altar of our Lady and S Agatha, granting Anglicanorum coetibus to Pope Benedict, as the early Anglican parish priests look on ... men who had prayed daily for the unity of Christendom with the Successor of S Peter. Could someone provide a link to the picture?

The good news is that if you live within range of Portsmouth, you haven't missed the boat with regard to this year's festival. S Agatha will be celebrated this coming Saturday at 11.00. The Solemn Mass will be Haydn's great Nelson Mass. That's a good idea, isn't it, in a great Naval Base such as Portsmouth. The Mass was composed in 1798, the year of the Battle of the Nile, when His Grace Admiral the Duke of Bronte in the Kingdom of Sicily held up for a few more decades the spread of the Enlightenment. I seem to recall that at Greenwich they have a painting of the napoleonic flagship L'Oreole exploding. It would be jolly to have a link to that picture, too. Viva Horatio! Viva Nelson!

WHY GO TO ROME ... OR SICILY ... WHEN YOU CAN GET THE REAL S AGATHA SO MUCH CLOSER HOME?

11 comments:

Alan said...

Pedantic note: HN wasn't Duke of Bronte at the time of the Battle of the Nile. It was awarded a year later for his part in suppressing the Parthenopean Republic. This is, to put it mildly, a controversial period in Nelson's career, with his behaviour regarded by many of his contemporaries, including some of his subordinate officers, as reprehensible. Those executed after the fall of the Republic - notably Francesco Caracciolo, for whose death Nelson and his cuckold Hamilton bore direct responsibility - are regarded as Italian national heroes.

Kenneth said...


This link will provide a reproduction of the explosion:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_ship_Orient_(1791)
Thank you for your blog. You always provide stimulating and often humorous information!
Happy St. Agatha's Feast.
Kenneth

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Alan
I know, I know, I do know; I just couldn't resist the grandiosity of the title.

The vindictiveness of the Queen of Naples was, I agree, distinctly ugly. But I find intriguing the social politics of C18 Naples: the poorest class, the Lazzari, fanatically devoted to the House of Bourbon; the flashy unreal pseudo-classicising Parthenopaean Republic created by 'revolutionary' 'enlightened' upper classes sustained by the bayonets of napoleonic soldiery. Your information that the present Garibaldian, Savoyard, Italy sees the Parthenopaeans as heroes, just about says it all.

I wonder if the lowest classes in North America all suported 'the American Revolution'?

Alan said...

You're certainly right about the poorest classes in Naples supporting the Bourbons, while the particular form which the courage of the Parthenopeans took might strike modern eyes as bizarre - Eleanora Pimentel de Fonseca, denied beheading because she was not specifically a NEAPOLITAN noblewoman, citing a Latin author when about to be hanged, Caracciolo likewise requesting to be shot -and discussing the technicalities of a nearby vessel before being strung up from the yardarm, Carafa allegedly sticking the back of his neck on the block and more or less challenging the bloke with the chopper to look him in the eye......

I think much of Italian identity is tied up - with some inconsistency in this case - with resistance to foreign rule and the construction of Italy as a single state - hence the more recent reverence for irredentist martyrs/heroes like Battisti, Filzi and Sauro, hanged by the Austrians in the First World War and Borg Pisani, hanged by the British in the second.

Savonarola said...

Do you remember a fictional bishop of Matabeleland, Septimus Wilkinson in 'King Hearts and Coronets' and his visit to the rector Lord Henry d'Ascoyne, a priceless impersonation by Alec Guinness? The "bishop" repays the boredom occasioned by the rector's interminable nonsense at a previous funeral by poisoning his port. The d'Ascoynes, he says, have accorded, with the custom of the landed gentry by sending the fool of the family into the Church, but for an aristocratic country parson he sports an amazingly lacey Roman cotta!
Showing the supposed bishop around his church the rector comments on the west window which has "all the exuberance of the period of Chaucer without, happily, any of the concomitant crudities." They don't write them like that any more. If your taste runs to black humour the whole film is a wickedly amusing classic from the Ealing studios.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Father, Accord. to POTUS John Adams, The middle third, composed principally of the yeomanry, the soundest part of the nation, and always averse to war, were rather lukewarm both to England and France....

ABS thinks today the percentage is, sadly, smaller as we keep electing as POTUS men who strive to continue what blogger, The Saker, calls the Anglo/Zionist Empire.

Timothy Graham said...

See the 10th photo down in the series on this page:

https://portsmouthmission.wordpress.com/tag/st-agatha-portsmouth/

Jesse said...

@Fr John Hunwicke: "I wonder if the lowest classes in North America all supported 'the American Revolution'?"

I am informed by a learned friend of mine that the dividing line in the American Revolution was rather ethnic than economic (though that may have amounted to much the same thing). The proponents of the Revolution were overwhelmingly "English," and were instinctively opposed as such by Scottish and Irish residents of the Colonies. The rolls of the Loyalist regiments were, I gather, dominated by Mc's and Mac's who saw the Crown as a bulwark against Sassenach oppression.

But I have this only at second hand, so I may be wrong.

portsmouthmission said...

Photos are available at www.portsmouthmission.wordpress.com

A video is available of the High Mass of Our Lady of Walsingham held at St Agatha' in 2017. Search for 'Solemn High Mass (Ordinariate Use).

Michael LaRue said...

As for the American Revolution, in the South the planter class in the fertile coastal regions, who were mostly of English descent, generally supported the Revolution (i.e, were "Patriots"), with notable exceptions. The poorer upland farmers, mostly of Scotch-Irish descent, generally supported the King ("Tories"). As near as I can tell, my LaRue ancestors, who were Huguenots and upland farmers in Virginia, were obliged to decamp to Kentucky by the "Patriots" — mostly due to the repeated seizure of their goods by the Continental Army.

If memory serves, the division was more complicated in the North, with the "Tories" tending to be more upper class farmers, as opposed to merchants, and the lower classes tending to be "Patriots" except in strongly Loyalist centers like New York. Religion also played a greater role in the North, with Anglicans tending to support the King.

Unknown said...

Dear Father, I think the attached will amuse you as much as it dismays me. The author shows some grudging respect for Father Dolling but can only dismiss the Movement as mere deviance from the law of England. http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/3641/