14 June 2018

S Dunstan ... a problem

On the Vigil of Pentecost this year, prevented by the rubrics from celebrating a great Pontiff, S Dunstan, I found myself wondering: is he part of the Patrimony?

He was, as I am sure you know, a 'Reformer', and, as such, very unenthusiastic about Married Priests (or concubinarii, as we used once so succinctly to be called). But Bishop Edwin, with whom I agree about all things, has identified a married clergy as an essential part of our Anglican Patrimony. I once asked him how we are to get round this knotty little problem. He replied by reminding me that Alcuin was the son, and grandson, of priests. So that's all right, then.

Incidentally, it is not only presbyters who, in those far off days, manifested an attenuated awareness of being called to celibacy. I remember reading about one of the early occupants of the See of Ardfert in the County Kerry, whom annalists distinguished from both his predecessors and his successors as having been 'chaste'. Think about the unspoken implications of that! And, Yes, Bishop Eamonn Casey was a later bishop of this same see. Perhaps there's something in the water ...

My suspicion is that once the Latin Church has decided (in two years' time?) to admit married viri probati to the presbyterate, the regulations about what we can do in the Ordinariates may seem a little less set in stone.

Mind you, I would resist any suggestion that Priests should be able to get married, or that married men should made bishops. I do not see Mrs Proudie as an essential part of the Patrimony. The instinctive conviction of both Catholicism and Orthodoxy that there is a congruity between priesthood and celibacy can properly and decently be upheld by restricting the summum sacerdotium to celibates.

This would also discourage careerists ...

10 comments:

Rose Marie said...

Has the celibacy required of priests in the Latin Rite and bishops generally protected us from careerists?

John Nolan said...

Viri probati to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments, but not to be burdened with parish duties - sounds like a good idea. I'm thinking of a retired cove with few family ties and a proper university education which would mean he is Latin-literate, but with a good fifteen years in front of him (Deo volente).

I might even consider it myself ...

Ann said...

Ah yes, Mrs Proudie. She brings to mind the wonderfully oily Obadiah Slope. Could he have been anything other than an Anglican priest?

Dr. Eric said...

I know of one viri probati (former Anglican, studied at Oxford, not in The Ordinariate) who is the pastor of a Catholic Church, on his own, that he raised the funds to build. His children are finally on their own, but he did all of this while raising them with his wife.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Ann, in the traditionalist movement, I can assure you there has been more than the odd "oily" cleric. And they were celibate (but extremely ambitious).

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Don't forget, Magister Johannes (to give you the sort of title you would have been known by before the bad custom of addressing secular clerics by the essentially religious title of "father" obtained) that even as late as the 13C the canons of Old St Paul's were still married. If I remember rightly, earlier than that, there was an Italian priest as Dean, Ralph of Deceto, who was married. And don't forget that this enthusiasm for a compulsorily celibate secular clergy has normally been a function of an outbreak of neo-Platonism. Now, didn't St Dunstan govern the English Church (or at keast the southern province thereof) during such a period?? But thanks to Ss Albert and Thomad, we have the advantage of a more Aristotelian and realistic (and realist) approach.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Addendum et correctio: I had always understood Ralph to be Italian, but it seems no-one is actually sure of his nationality.

Colin Spinks said...

In answer to your question, I would say that St Dunstan is one of England's great contributions to the Western (and indeed the worldwide) Church, whereas the Rectory/Vicarage complete with Rector's/Vicar's wife and family, as an exemplum of family life is a uniquely "Anglican" model (and of course not limited to Anglo-Catholic clergy) Where married priests with families have joined the Roman Catholic Church, I would certainly regard their way of life as part of the "Anglican Patrimony" which can enrich the life of the Roman Catholic Church.

Banshee said...

Irish sees were kind of an afterthought, because the habits of the big monasteries ran everything for hundreds of years, and every big abbot had several bishops as underlings living in the place.

I really liked the abbot of a small monastery who got elected bishop and then tribal king (after several other kings in a row got offed by the Vikings, and pretty much every royal family/derbhfine male was too young, too old, or dead). He only accepted kingship if everybody swore not to make him get married or otherwise break his monk vows. He then led the tribe to victory, so it worked out.

(There was also another guy who was bishop and king, but without as much story.)

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Breaking news re Dean Ralph: I now understand that he possibly came from Diss. In that case, one of the later incumbents of that parish was no e other than John Skelton, another married priest (and famous poet).