31 January 2019

"Annibale Bugnini Reformer of the Liturgy" (1)

Thus, the title of a book by Yves Chiron; published by Angelico Press, 2018.
978-1-62138-
                      411-3  (Paperback)
                      412-0  (Cloth)
                      413-7  (ebook)
It is a translation of Annibale Bugnini (1912-1982): Reformateur de la Liturgie. (2016). The translator has made a few very useful explanations and additions.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We all know that Bugnini was a crook ... do we? ... but was he a scheming figure of diabolical and Masonic evil?

I think, having read this book, that he was a crook, but not exactly in the way we have, perhaps, in the past assumed. We have, perhaps, tended to to project what actually happened, liturgically, in the post-Concilar decades back onto Bugnini, and seen him as the villain of the piece. This careful book, well written and well translated, has the great merit of enabling one to see how things were at any given point in that period without the corruption of hindsight. As you turn the pages, you visit a world as it was at the time when it was.

The general theme of the book could be summed up as this: Bugnini was immensely hard-working and a skilled networker, and in large bureaucracies these are the people who leave their marks upon events.

Sometimes people draw our attention to the fact that only four of the Fathers voted against the Conciliar decree Sacrosanctum Concilium. Which is indeed an objective historical fact. But the leap is sometimes made of implying that everything which has happened since was directly and formally mandated by the Council, so that anybody who expresses a criticism is 'anti-Conciliar'. This is a very profound error.

Archbishop Lefebvre signed the Decree. He spent much of his distinguished life resisting the neo-Modernism of the post-Conciliar decades, but in 1965 these were the views he expressed:

"There was something to reform and to rediscover. Clearly, the first part of the Mass, which is intended to instruct the faithful and for them to expresss their faith, needed to reach these ends in a clearer and so to speak more intelligible manner. In my humble opinion,  two such reforms seemed useful: first [the reform of?] the rites of that first part and also a few translations into the vernacular.

"The priest coming nearer to the faithful; communicating with them; praying and singing with them and therefore standing in the pulpit; saying the Collect, the Epistle, and the Gospel in their language; the priest singing in the divine traditional melodies the Kyrie, the Gloria, the creed with the faithful: these are so many good reforms that give back to that part of the Mass its true finality."

I will conclude this piece tomorrow.




30 January 2019

Fromthecardinalsdesk

"The Pope is infallible in actu, not in habitu -- in his particular pronouncements ex cathedra, not in his state of illumination, as an Apostle might be."

Post Scriptum: I thank a friend for the information that Blessed John Henry's second miracle has been unanimously approved. Patent ianuae!!

I wonder if we shall hear more about plans for the Canonisation after the CBCEW post-Easter meetiing.

It would be jolly to get some fun this autumn.

Dottore subito ...

29 January 2019

Just checking ...

I was recently offered a comment which stated that the enumeration of years as BCE and CE (rather than BC and AD) is of Jewish origin. I was not aware of this narrative, and I have comment on hold.. I will return to consideration of it when readers have instructed me, giving references!

Mr Rees Mogg

I haven't bored you with opinions about Brexit, because, being totally illiterate in the field of Economics, I have not deemed my views to be worth anything to anybody. Unlike many of the Brexiteers, I don't have the advantage of having read PPE [Politics, Philosophy, and Economics] at this University!

But perhaps, as a humble Greatsman, I may, without being slaughtered, make a minor observation on a minor detail.

We have in English politics a personable, elegant, and engaging MP called Jacob Rees Mogg. He is also a Catholic with a sizeable family who practises his Faith and defends it in the public forum. He is even said to have a preference for the Old Mass. He is in every way a credit to his admirable Nanny, of whom he is not embarrassed to speak. What's not to like?

Yet, some time ago, he reportedly referred to Brexit as being "as worthy for celebration as victory at Waterloo or the Glorious Revolution".

Waterloo? Fair enough. I'd have no problems agreeeing with a favourable view of that encounter. The Allies of Waterloo represented a culture which did (although imperfectly) preserve ancien regime elements. The defeat of Bonaparte meant the fall of those nasty little statelets which had been invented to replace Old Europe; it meant the suppression for a time of the hegemonic intellectual legacy of the French Revolution. It led to the restoration of old monarchies in France and elsewhere. The Monarch of the Two Sicilies stood in triumph over the wreckage of the Parthenopaean Republic! Te Deum laudamus!!

But the Dutch Invasion of 1688 which put a foreign Dutch Calninist on the thrones of the Three Kingdoms ... how can that be laudable? Which meant the subjugation of the economic and military might of England to the quarrel of Protestant powers with Louis XIV? And meant the exile of a Catholic King, anointed and crowned according to the Roman Pontifical, yet who conscientiously advocated freedom of conscience? Under him, after all, in predominantly non-conformist English towns such as my own family borough of Colchester, Dissenters accepted James II's Toleration, ignored the Test Acts and took over the government of their Borough. The events of 1688-9, reinforced after 1715 under a new foreign dynasty, led to the humiliation, for half a century, of this University. Was it 'glorious' to eject from the Church of England its most learned and Catholic-minded bishops and clergy and laity, the "Non-Jurors"? What about those terrible decades of venal and rapacious Whig oligarchy?

Over the water, for nearly a century the de jure King James III (a nice 'Gallican' touch here) nominated to Roman Pontiffs (who included the great Prospero Lambertini, Benedict XIV) the priests who were appointed Vicars Apostolic in England. But here at home, Catholics had to lie low. Genocide was unleashed upon parts of Scotland.

This all seems to me a pretty rum inheritance for a 'traditionalist Catholic' to identify himself with.

Mr Rees Mogg has thus prodded me strongly in a Remoaner direction. If Brexit truly is, as he asserts, "as worthy of celebration as the Glorious Revolution", then Brexit, logically, obviously, stinks. I ought to be grateful to him for this clarification.

And Mr Rees Mogg did read Modern History at this University, while I am just an ignorant Classicist. So he must know best! And he has such nice manners! Even the rabid "let me tell you about my abortions" women on the Labour back benches seem to be charmed by him.

All the same, deep within me I still seem to hear the voice of Fielding's Squire Western baying through the lush coverts of the English countryside "Whiggery! Dam' Whiggery! Hannover Rats!"

28 January 2019

Those Blessed Kings

Today, January 28, in many places the Emperor Charles the Great is commemorated liturgically. His canonisation was performed by an antipope (Paschal III, a creature of Barbarossa), and he is not in the Roman Martyrology, so he is nowadays tactfully celebrated as a Beatus. I hope those with a devotion to him will forgive my cynicism when I remark that the article on him in Gueranger is rather amusing to read, as it attempts with angry indignation to rebut accusations that Charlemagne's matrimonial life was less than exemplary.

And, in two days time, there will be those who commemorate blessed (note my cunningly lower-case b) Charles Stuart, who has had the word blessed attached to him liturgically by Anglicans since 1662 (the authorised texts, to the best of my knowledge, have never called him Saint).

That was during an age when Kings had mistresses as a natural adjunct of Royal Majesty. (I believe there was even one German king, a laudably uxorious chappy, who maintained a number of titular 'Mistresses', although he never laid a finger, or anything else, on any of them.0

But blessed (note my cunningly lower-case b) Charles was notorious for marital chastity. The Court Masques of his reign exalted the theme of chaste marital love. There are worse themes than this to incorporate into royal ideologies.

I think this blessed (note my cunningly lower-case b) is quite a good candidate for imitation in this age of ritual and government-encouraged promiscuity.

May blessed Charles the Royal Martyr pray for us all.

And, of course, may the unmartyred and matrimonially debated Blessed Charlemagne do the same.

27 January 2019

Unknown Bones

I've never been atracted to the idea of the Unknown Warrior, buried in Westminster Abbey. His corpse was deliberately chosen after the First World War so that nobody should ever know who he was, or even from which theatre of war he came. It has seemed to me that this idea (although I understand its motivations) disregards the sacred reality and particularity of every individual human being. The airy subPlatonic notion of a representative unknown and depersonalised soldier, surely, is a lesser concept than the rich truth of whoever the real person buried in the Abbey actually and really was, made by God in all his uniqueness.

I feel rather like this about the recent burial, with Jewish rites, of bones from Auschwitz, in the Jewish cemetery at Bushey in Hertfordshire. The site is apparently destined to become a holocaust memorial.

We have been told very little about these bones. Presumably scientific examination was undertaken which did prove that they were Jewish? How so? Might not the results of the investigations have also shown where they originally came from? Were they members of the same family? - that would give a particular resonance to this sombre event. Popular archaeological programmes on TV create the impression that, given DNA and so many other modern wonders of Natural Philosophy, a very great deal can be discovered from the smallest fragments of human tissue.

I don't want to make a great fuss about this. I certainly do wish the Jewish community well as they honour these members of their race with the respectful burial they were denied in the fearful genocide of Hitlerite Europe. And I am very glad that Vincent Nichols was at the event.

I am just uneasy about the lack of information made public in our media. It is almost as if, as in the case of the Unknown Warrior, the real point of the operation is the elimination of the individuality of those buried.

26 January 2019

"Philip"

Recently, the spouse of our Head of State was involved in a minor traffic accident. Neither he nor anybody else was seriously hurt. He is 97 years old.

One of our newspapers ... oops ... perhaps I'd better break off here with terminological explanations.

We used to distinguish between 'broadsheet' newspapers and 'tabloids'. The former were reckoned to be more literate than the latter, and their pages were twice the size. However, The Times adopted the tabloid page-size, which confused the lucid antinomies of yesteryear. I think the more proletariate papers are now called 'red-tops' because it is in that colour that they print their names at the tops of their front pages. I think I have heard that the middle-class papers are are sometimes called 'Quality papers'. But I may have got all this wrong. (What I think people should call the Daly Mail is perhaps better left unexpressed.)

Anyway, back to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.

One of the Red Tops had a front page banner headline ordering him to give up driving, and addressing him as "Philip".

I have no particular sentimental rapport with the House of Battenberg. My own historical sympathies incline towards Jacobitism. And thus to the happy cities of Munich and Vaduz.

But the aged gentleman concerned did serve with distinction in the last World War. It seems to me moderately outrageous that some crass journalist or editor, probably some dim, sniggering adolescent, should take the liberty of addressing him with such impertinent familiarity.

I have been similarly outraged in hospitals, hearing silly little bits of junior nurses addressing working class men old enough to be their great grandfathers ... "Come along, Billy, take your pills like a good boy". Men who fought in wars and brought up large families and worked all their lives ...

I was rather glad to see that the Earl of Merioneth promptly acquired a car just like the one he had smashed, and made sure he was seen next day by the journalists, driving it around.

It's the only sort of language these people understand.


25 January 2019

Double Vision

When Vincent Nichols moved to Westminster, pretty well immediately a major change happened in the Cathedral Sanctuary. The 1970s mobile, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't, altar was taken out of use.

I have always given VN credit for this. Few traddies would be prepared to, because Traddidom is much preoccupied with the idea that the priest should be facing in the same direction as the Congregation; and, at Westminster, the original High Altar is far enough forward for Eucharistic Celebrants to get behind it and thus face the People. Which is what they do.

However, this post is not re-entering the old ad Orientem controversies. What I am looking at today is the principle that, in the Sanctuary, there should be one Altar. I believe that liturgists of all schools share this view.

It has a theological rationale. The One Altar bears witness to the fact that there is but the One Sacrifice of the One Lord.

I've recently seen ... I think it might have been in the Eponymous Flower blog ... a picture of a church in Ferrara where, just as used to happen back in the dear dead 1970s, what we have come to call a "coffee table" has recently been intruded between the old (baroque) High Altar; and the People.

Aesthetically, of course, this is perfectly horrible. But it is not aesthesis that I am mainly now discussing. My point is that the unicity of the Eucharistic Sacrificial action is here blurred. And blurred, in my view, diachronically as well as synchronically.

In a double-altared sanctuary, the clear implication is that what is now done at the new "coffee table" is not the same Thing that used to be done at the original, structurally authentic, High Altar. Contrary to Benedict XVI's 'Hermeneutic of Continuity', it is visibly taught by such arrangements that a Rupture has occurred; that something New has been intruded.

It is most deplorable that this sort of theological, liturgical, artistic vandalism is still occurring, half a century after the exhilarating catastrophes of the 1970s.  

It is further evidence of the illiteracy Cardinal Mueller has recently referred to among those currently being nominated to episcopacy. (NEVER MISS A MUELLER INTERVIEW. That's an order.)

There are few things more archaic and out-of-date, more clinging-to-the-past, than the fashions of the 1970s Trendy Mafia. Original authenticated surviving proponents of this base culture should be professionally stuffed and mounted and preserved in easily accessible museum collections so that crowds of keen young traddy home-schooled children could be taken along to look at them and have a good laugh.

This needs to be done urgently, while there are still some of the dear old things left unstuffed.

24 January 2019

Auberon Waugh ...

 ... was a son of Evelyn; and himself a very considerable satirist. C.A.P.D..

I gather from a book review that someone has published a selection of his output. The reviewer mentions 'Bron's' comment on the introduction of WCs (I think some dialects of English call them Restrooms or Washrooms) into rural Anglican churches ... observing tartly that such things had been unnecessary in earlier ages when the churches were full, but appeared to be required now that they were largely empty.

It is a neat point, but as so often the satirist sharpens his barbs by eliding contextualising nuance. A pedant might remind you that before the invention of what the Victorians called 'ecclesiology', churches mostly contained Georgian 'box' pews. The pews which were provided for Gentry families had higher walls than the plebeian pews, and contemporary critics sometimes alluded to what these walls could conceal. Ladies' maids, apparently, kept close at hand discreet ceramic receptacles which could conveniently be slipped under voluminous garments. Gentlemen, perhaps, just popped out and made use of the ... er ... environment. The Victorians not only restored decayed buildings but radically reformed the informalities which had accompanied preTractarian churchgoing habits. Canon Chamberlain, my own predecessor at S Thomas's in Oxford, pointedly alluded to the indelicacies perpetrated in box-pews as good reason for his own policy of eliminating them ("scenes were enacted that prevented females attending church"). I believe there is a Hogarth print making some of these points.

Even in my own experience, it has not been uncommon for binating or trinating country clerics arriving in a hurry from their previous church to seek the traditional hospitality of the spaces betwen the buttresses on the North Sides of churches. Might it be that the women clergy of today do not find the gracious customs of English rural life so much to their taste?

Travelling clergy do deserve some sympathy. I used to spend my College Summer Vacations serving a couple of Church of Ireland churches. Most years, on one of my summer Sundays, Ned Darling the Bishop of Limerick used to make the long journey from Limerick all the way (remember that he was Bishop of seven other dioceses too, including Ardfert and Aghadoe) to the Dromod Union in County Kerry. His wife and driver Patricia was accustomed to select apt roadside bushes outside townlands for his Lordship therein to find comfort.

Happy days, for which seminary had not entirely prepared me.

One Sunday morning I cadged a lift with the Darlings from Knightstown to Waterville ... as we drove through one village, we were passed by a large and unconstrained bovine animal, travelling, very hurriedly and not without an implication of menace, in the opposite direction. "I think", said Patricia, "that was a bull".

Her eyes had not deceived her.

Ireland was such fun before it decided to move into the twentieth century.

23 January 2019

C S Lewis and ... porn ..

There is a tiny exhibition in the atrium of the New Bod (you young things probably call it the Weston Library) devoted to the old Phi classification in Bodley. This denoted indecent books which undergraduates were not allowed to order up.

Not allowed, that is, unless their tutor wrote a note authorising them to do so. Among the exhibits is a note written by C S Lewis authorising one of his pupils to order up some Phi books.

Trouble is, I am growing some interesting things called cataracts, which means that my eyesight, formerly A1, is now poor.

Out of prurient curiosity, I would like to know what the books were which Lewis allowed his pupil to read. If anyone who habitually passes along Broad Street could pop in and find out for me, I would be grateful.

22 January 2019

A bit confused

Somewhere on the Internet there is a clip of a couple of homosexuals presenting their son for Baptism in one of those very liberal Catholic Churches that they seem to delight in over the water. One of these parents wittily said that Jesus had had two fathers, and He turned out all right.

Possibly like you, I was so irritated by the blasphemy that it was only later that it struck me how illogical the poor (if rather loud) fellow was.

Certainly over here, a big step in the campaign for 'ordaining' women to sacerdotal ministries in Old Mother Damnable came when many of the homosexual clergy cottoned onto a bright idea. If 'development' was the Magic Wand which sanctioned the ordination of women; then the same instrument of Circean enchantment could surely sanctify 'same-sex marriage'. All of a sudden, cohorts of the lace and silver-buckles gentry in the diocese of London allowed their subscriptions to organisations opposing Women's Ordination to lapse. Roger the Lodger could piggy-back into paradise on the backs of the ladies. (Now there's some rich imagery for you.)

But this dapper and jokey American homosexual, swaying back and forth as he clutched the baby, was implying that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ was ... a Father.

But that, duckie, is off-message. As some of the Anglican womenbishops over here feel it important to explain (my goodness me, how intellectual they are), God is not masculine.






21 January 2019

Fromthecardinalsdesk

"I am told that some wicked men, not content with their hitherto cruel conduct, are trying to bring in [the] doctrine of inherent infallibility, of which there is not a hint in the definition. Perhaps they would like to go on to call [the Pope] a Vice-God ...".

20 January 2019

The Tyranny of the Ignorant

Papa Ratzinger tried to establish a correct translation of the word pollon [many] in the Eucharistic Prayer. He was unable to secure compliance from some Episcopal Conferences.

In this reversed-mirror-image pontificate, PF desires a correct translation of me eisenengkes hemas eis peirasmon [lead us not into temptation] to be replaced by a false one. And the Italian Episcopal Conference was not allowed even to have an opinion about whether the old, accurate, translation could be one of the options upon which they voted. They were instructed, from above, as it were, that the only liberty to be allowed to them was between new and erroneous translations.

One crack of an Argentine whip and people, it appears, hardly dare breathe. So much for the proud notion of the 1960s that Bishops are successors of the Apostles rather than mere Vicars of the Roman Pontiff. What price now, Vatican II and all those brave words!

And whatever did happen to the policy of leaving matters to local decision? Only weeks ago, the American bishops were forbidden to discuss the Abuse Crisis ... because the February meeting in the Vatican (with PF sitting there to hear every word that is said and to mark every speaker) will be primed and programmed to decide that "Clericalism" is the real problem. It would have been so dangerous to risk any alternative analysis acquiring traction among those several hundred American bishops. Papa knows the answer already, because Papa knows everything.

Our Protestant brethren sometimes forsaw more clearly than Catholics did, where the dangerous papal personality cult could lead us if it ever got into the wrong hands. Fifty years ago, non-Catholics might say things like "Even if the pope were to change the Ten Commandments or the Lord's Prayer, you'd just do as you were told. When he says jump, the only question you people ask is 'Please Sir, how high do we have to jump?'".

"Dearie me No", we would confidently reply in honest innocence. "No pope could possibly dare to go as far as that!!".

No previous pope would have dared to "go as far as that". But, as one of PF's own circle has claimed, PF is free from the constraints of Scripture and Tradition. And it became clear in the debate about 'remarried' divorcees that we now have a Roman Bishop who has no problem whatsoever about setting aside the most explicit recorded words of the Incarnate Second Person of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity. Words sustained by two millennia of Holy Tradition. Truths still authoritatively taught by his immediate predecessor only a decade previously.

And we have a pope whose poor sight lacks the acuity to detect incontinent Sexual Lust when it is staring him right in the face. (Readers of C S Lewis may recollect Fernseed and Elephants.)

The problems of this pontificate have nothing whatsoever to do with Primacy or Infallibility, so wisely defined and so moderately taught by Vatican I. Bergoglianism, as promoted by PF's elite circle, is nothing less than a vulgar and preposterous claim to Divine Omniscience and Divine Omnipotence and Personal Inerrancy.

No wonder PF describes critics and whistle-blowers ... amid much other abuse ... as Judas Iscariot.




19 January 2019

"Where were you when ...?"

Charles Ryder remarks
"Since the days when, as a schoolboy, I used to bicycle round the neighbouring parishes, rubbing brasses and photographing fonts, I had nursed a love of architecture, but ... my sentiments at heart were insular and medieval. [Brideshead] was my conversion to the Baroque. Here, under that high and insolent dome, under those coffered ceilings; here, as I passed through those arches and broken pediments to the pillared shade beyond and sat [drawing], hour by hour, before the fountain, probing its shadows, tracing its lingering echoes, rejoicing in all its clustered feats of daring and invention, I felt a whole new system of nerves alive within me, as though the water that spurted and bubbled among its stones, was indeed a life-giving spring."

Where were you when you first were struck dumb and breathless at the wonder of the baroque? In my case, it was walking along the riverside at Greenwich, when we got to the water-steps and I turned to look through the gates and up the hill between the Hall and Chapel to the Queen's House. Mind you, I had met the rococo before I even entered my teens, in Bavaria and the Tyrol, where, to my childish eyes, every little village church was a magical wonderland.

Paradoxically, it was among the Gothic perfections of Lancing that I first really understood the baroque. A little of this was the experience of handling it: saying once a week a Latin Mass before a crucifix, Bavarian, 1620s, ebony and silver, using an early baroque portuguese chalice crawling with putti. But mostly, it was reading Ovid's Metamorphoses with the VI Form. That is how I first plunged into the spirit of the baroque; its never-failing inventiveness, its exuberant fun, its intriguing intertextualities, its antitheses and syntheses, its endless teases and surprises, the way it offers you a permanent ticket to a country of exquisite delight.

Above all, the baroque makes it easier, indeed very easy if not compulsory, to be an orthodox and Catholic Christian. Nobody who is formed by the baroque delight in paradox will have any difficulty believing that a Bethehem Bambino is God; or that the round white disk winking at us among the sunbeams of the monstrance is the Power that made the galaxies.


18 January 2019

Two cultures?

We have been having some diverting debates in the Lower House of our Legislature; a couple of days ago, the Opposition moved the grand old motion That This House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government. A rather bumptious young government backbencher, mindful that the best mode of defence is attack, was in the course of an onslaught upon the Right Honourable Gentleman the Member for Islington. He was interrupted on a Point of Order by an Opposition Member, who asked Mr Speaker for a ruling on whether the abusive term "Pillock" was Parliamentary.

Mr Speaker explained that what the bumptious youth had, in the heat of his intemperate rhetoric, actually accused the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition of being was not "a pillock" but "a palaeoMarxist".

Erskine May, apparently, expresses no views on the propriety of this latter term.

[Is it true that 'Pilosi' is a North American variant of 'Pillock'?]

17 January 2019

From Fraenkel to Finnis

When I was an undergraduate, the Faculty of Litterae Humaniores in this University was still enjoying the glorious aftermath of the arrival, in the 1930s, of the flower of European Classical scholarsip from the great German universities. Not least, of Edward Fraenkel, still occupying the Corpus Chair of Latin when I came up in 1960.

He, like most of his fellow refugees, was a Jew. Jews were not much welcomed in the universities of Hitlerite Germany. Oxford, to her credit, welcomed them with enthusiasm. (And how it benefitted!)

Forward to 2019. The young people ... correction: a few of them ... are now trying to get rid of one of modern Oxford's most distinguished scholars: John Finnis, Fellow of University College, one of modern Oxford's main claims to fame and respect throughout the world of academic Jurisprudence.

Professor Finnis is also a Catholic who is articulate in his expression of the Teaching of the Church.

Of course, these dim youths and youthesses will not be successful in their campaign of intimidation. (Although it might have been amusing to see the University being sued in the courts by one of her own best known jurists.)

But I think we all know, or have heard of, less well-known academics in less well-known institutions who have been deprived of their livelihoods because of their Catholicism or even, may God help us all, their unenlightened pronouns.

They came for the Jews, but I said nothing because I was not a Jew ... ... ... lastly, they came for me ...

They are indeed "coming for us" now.

[That, incidentally, is why I would defend the rights of Jews to eat according to inherited traditions. S Paul agrees with me.]

16 January 2019

Extraordinary Form ORDO, and Ordinariate directions, for the Chair of Unity Octave

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

                                              EXTRAORDINARY FORM

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

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

                                               CHURCH UNITY OCTAVE BEGINS

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

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

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

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

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

                                                    
                                                       ORDINARIATE MISSAL

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





15 January 2019

Episcopal Resignation (2)

In the current period of crisis within the Church Militant, bishops and religious superiors commonly explain that they are unwilling to put their heads above the parapet and to criticise the current management of the Latin Church because they have, they feel, a moral obligation to stay where they are so as to to protect their subjects. It would be mere self indulgence to let off their own steam when others would have to do the suffering.

It is easy for those of you who, like me, who have no such obligation, to be critical.

But what about the position when a bishop is just coming up to the age of seventy five?

How do things stand then? If he speaks out, then, before breakfast on the morning of his birthday his resignation will indeed have been accepted. But, well, his card was probably marked anyway, and his resignation would pretty certainly have been accepted without a great deal of delay. The delatores would have done their job!

So why should he not be frank?

Why should he not be frank and decline to submit his resignation? [vide the previous section of this piece, posted a couple of days ago.]

Think of the scenes of mayhem and panic from the top to the bottom of the marbled halls, in the crowded bars and jacuzzis, of the Domus Sanctae Marthae!

Of course, it will not be difficult for Roman functionaries to devise some canonical way of hoofing him out. That handsome, youthful Cardinal Coco will know exactly how to do it!

There's nothing worse, after all, than Naked Tyranny!!

But ... there is something worse: covert tyranny! Bullies fixing things behind the scenes.

My Lord, there are worse things to do than to go out in a cloud of glory ... your Lordship is in good health ... and in good voice ... and articulate ... your Lordship could hit the headlines with a Vigano-style Testimony!!!

My Lord ... you know it makes sense.

Go for it!

14 January 2019

Foundation of the Ordinariates!!

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

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

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

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

13 January 2019

Episcopal Resignation (1)

It is commonly thought, and asserted in the Meejah, that a Bishop is obliged to submit his resignation when he has completed his seventy fifth year of age.

This is not quite accurate.

What Canon 401 (1) requires is that the Bishop rogatur [is asked] ut renuntiationem ab officio exhibeat Summo Pontifici. This is based upon Christus Dominus [21] of Vatican II, which is vaguer; without mentioning any particular age, it merely says that when the bishop has become less capable of fulfilling his duties properly because of age or some other serious reason, he is asked to offer his resignation.

Christus Dominus does put an adverb before rogatur: enixe [earmestly].

Canon 401divides the requirement into two halves: (1) the Bishop who has reached his 75th birthday is asked to submit his resignation; (2) the bishop who is ill and weak or has another gravem causam is earnestly asked to submit his resignation.

You are probably wondering ... no; the 1917 Code has no comparable provisions.

                                                          OBSERVATIONS

Canon 401 makes the request stronger if the bishop is old, ill, or weak, than it is if he has merely reached a specific age. rogatur, without the enixe, is not a particularly powerful word. English translations of the Conciliar documents and of the Code of Canon Law usually translate it as requested.

Before the Council, most bishops, like the popes, died of old age in possesssion of their sees (having been given a coadjutor if they had become particularly frail). This would respond to the old conviction that a bishop was wedded to his Church and would be an adulterer if he were translated to another See. The twentieth century provisions forget all this and treat the post as if it were a matter of efficiency and competence, like being a supermarket manager. Having a spot of trouble doing the job? Out you go! Good sales returns? Excellent! Have a bigger shop or become regional manager!

In my view, this is untraditional and, I would go so far as to say, corrupt.

To be continued.
                                                                



12 January 2019

Not very Kosher

Surely, it is outrageous that the Belgian regime should outlaw the provision of Kosher and Hallal meat.

I seem to remember that the Polish Bishops' Conference opposed, successfully, the adoption of such a law in Poland. I wonder how long it will take for the generality of people to realise that secular liberalism as promoted by the Zeitgeist will give you tyranny; while a robust Catholicism is more likely to support freedom.

But then, we recall how sensitively the Belgians ran their Empire.

I wonder how aware they are that the claim of one of their ministers, that State law takes precedence over Religious law, aligns them with so many great historical figures, from Nero and Domitian down to Stalin and Hitler.

"Plucky little Belgium", indeed.

Boorish Bully-boy Belgium.

11 January 2019

A Novus Ordo moment

Yes; I'm feeling just slightly in favour of the Novus Ordo at this precise moment. Let me tell you why, as you sit comfortably and patiently at your computers ... because this is a tad complicated if you only give it half your attention ... or just scroll impatiently down ... as you sometimes do ... I wasn't born yesterday ...

Once upon a time, the Feast of the Epiphany had an Octave. This meant that the Day was continued liturgically for a week; so that if, as this year, Epiphany fell on a Sunday, the Liturgy kept on about the Epiphany for a week and then we observed the Eighth day ... 'the Octave Day' ... on the following Sunday. The Mass for the Octave Day was like the Mass of the Epiphany itself, but varied from it in a number of places so as to commemorate the Lord's Baptism (you will rember that the Western Feast of the Epiphany, historically, commemorates three mysteries: the Magi; the Baptism; the Wedding at Cana).

By the whimsy of the Calendar, that is what we would once have had, in the Extraordinary Form, this year. Epiphany, Sunday January 6; Octave Day (with the Lord's Baptism as its special theme) on Sunday January 13.

That is what the St Lawrence Press Ordo, giving the Roman Rite as it had evolved up to 1939, offers us. (It's had to go into a reprint this year ... 59 Sandscoft Avenue Broadway, WR12 7EJ ... there may be some of this second printing still in stock.)

However, in 1893 Pope Leo XIII instituted the Feast of the Holy Family, to be observed on the Sunday after the Epiphany.

So what do you do in a year like this one, when January 13 could be either the Sunday after Epiphany (=Holy Family), or the Octave Day of the Epiphany (=Baptism)? Which does one observe?

Under the 1939 rules, you would have observed the Octave Day on the Sunday, bur 'anticipated' the Holy Family on the Saturday the 12th. This idea of 'inclusion by anticipation' was later abolished by liturgical 'reformers'

We move on now to Venerable Pius XII. He abolished the Octave, but rebranded the Octave Day itself and its Mass as the Feast of the Lord's Baptism (he didn't change the actual texts; this was simply a change of name). The Novus Ordo revisers subsequently built on this with their bright idea of fixing the celebration of the Baptism onto the Sunday after Epiphany (they had found a place for the Holy Family on the Sunday after Christmas). (Thereafter, in the Novus Ordo, one ventures into the dangerous wilderness of Ordinary Time.)

So, just for this year, those who follow the 1939 rules (St Lawrence Press Ordo), and those who follow the Novus Ordo, will be thinking about the Lord's Baptism this coming Sunday, January 13. However, those who follow the 1962 Calendar recommended by Summorum Pontificum will be meditating upon the Holy Family.

That is why, this next Sunday, I am tempted to be Novus Ordo ... or do I mean, 1939?

There. Wasn't that interesting? Now you can relax again.

10 January 2019

Stigmaticus perfuga

Some readers are unfamiliar with this phrase. It was used by S Edmund Campion in his Rationes Decem, printed surreptitiously at Stonor House near here and as surreptitiously put on all the seats to be picked up by the University as it gathered for the Act in June 1581. See my paper in Luther and his progeny, Angelico Press, 2017.

It refers to the rumour that John Calvin had been branded after being convicted of homosexual acts. I have no idea whether this is true; I believe the contrary view is that the confusion arose because another inhabitant of Geneva with the same name was thus branded at around the same time. Perhaps an expert could sort this out.

In ancient Rome, runaway slaves, when captured, were branded HFE (Hic Fugitivus Est).

In this country, those convicted of (any) sexual offences against others are required to sign something called the Sex Offenders' Register. This sounds a truly fearful penalty.

But perhaps the branding system would be an even more effective deterrent.

It could be left to the judge or jury to determine whether or not this should be done under a general anaesthetic.

Not really. I'm joking. Who am I to judge?

9 January 2019

Fromthecardinalsdesk

"An ecumenical council has not infrequently created such divisions, and truth is ultimately promoted by what at the time is so very painful."

8 January 2019

Statistics, damned Statistics

I read recently on the Internet (yes, I know I should get out more) that by far the greatest cause of human death in 2018 was Abortion, at nearly 42 million.

And in another place, I read that the number of abortions in the State of Israel had gone down. This heading reminded me of the classic (but, I gather, apocryphal) headline Small earthquake in Peru Not many deaths.

I acknowledge that such news is good news, but I can't help feeling that, well, since Israel was founded as a safe refuge for members of a cruelly persecuted race, the idea that any Jew should be killed there, and by a fellow Jew, is rather horrible.

7 January 2019

Der Spiegel ...

... quotes an unnamed Vatican Cardinal as describing PF thus: an ice-cold, sly machiavellian and a liar.

A jolly interesting summary from someone with experience, I thought. His Eminence seems to know what he's talking about. But my wife suggests that a true Machiavellian would not need to tell lies.

I would have to concede that telling lies does expose the liar to perils. Take, for example, PF's lie to the effect that he knew nothing about the Dubia until he read about them in the Media. Easily falsified by those who took care to have the Dubia delivered personally to PF, and then waited some weeks before going public. Nasty, too, because in the course of his lie, PF effectively called the Dubia Cardinals liars.

But my own view would be that the essence of Machiavellianism is the subordination of all ethical considerations to realpolitik.

Quid Domini sentitis?

Happy Christmas ...

... to Traditionalists (real, S Pius V, Julian Calendar Traditionalists) who read this post as they come home from the Missa in Aurora to open their presents.


6 January 2019

Bishop Graham Leonard

I first published this in 2011, just as the Ordinariates were starting up. Bishop Leonard's portrait hangs in the study of Mgr Newton, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham.

Bishop Graham departed this world on the Feast of the Epiphany, 2010. It is as if, grieved that the Feast of His Epiphany should have been expunged from the calendars of great swathes of the Latin Church, the Lord decided to grant Bishop Graham the Beatific Vision upon this great day. We hope and trust that his prayers avail for those who now seek to follow his lead into regularised canonical union with the See of Peter, and for all those who seek to enter more fully into the Theophany.

It is not for me to attempt to say, about Bishop Graham, things that others who knew him better than I did have said already and said rather better than I could. I would like to make just one point.

Our ecclesiastical culture, in a mirror image of its secular counterparts, abhors loose cannons; that is to say, those who disregard the unspoken conventions of The Club. In particular, there is lofty disapproval of those who, having been granted admission to 'management' status, pay insufficient attention to the overriding imperative of keeping cosily snuggled up to all the other Great Men.

Bishop Leonard certainly achieved 'status': he was Bishop of London, the second see in his province, and Dean of the Chapels Royal. But despite this he acceded to the request of a persecuted American group to give them pastoral support, in disregard of diocesan boundaries. By so doing, he broke every rule of the Top Chaps' Club. In this he was very strikingly like the Cardinal Ratzinger who ignored all the niceties of the Ecumenical Establishment, not to mention the Vatican's own dicasterial structures, to send a telegram of support to 'dissident' Anglicans meeting in America; and who, after being elected Pope, set up his Ordinariates with a cheerful and engagingly stylish disregard for vested interests ... interests which had assumed he would never dare to break ranks. Unclubable, by God!, the pair of them. Great men, the pair of them.

There are more important things in life than easing one's companionable buttocks on to the red leather of the club fender in the Athenaeum. Perhaps this is one important message which we Anglican Catholics, with our long and immensely proud history of being troublesome counter-cultural Loose Cannons, can contribute to the joyous Benedictine vision of renewing the youthful vigour of the Wider Latin Church.

5 January 2019

My dear Wormwood

As an Epiphany Present, here is a reprint, with Thread, of a piece from 2010. I wonder how well it has worn ...

My dear Wormwood
 I must confess to being a little puzzled by your suggestion that the Unholy Office is in any way open to criticism. It is, after all, inappropriate for somebody as high up in the Lowerarchy as yourself to venture upon criticism of any of Our Father's Dicasteries; but least of all should you fail to cringe in terror before this particular organ for Bad. Indeed, in future, I must ask you to refer to it by its proper title as the Congregation for the Perversion of Prelates and Priests. Moreover, you describe it as "over-staffed". I think, nay rather, I long for you to come to regret such an excellently woeful term. True, the CPPP is by far the largest of all our departments, but it is undoubtedly the most spectacularly successful of all the groups who assist the Ministry of the Sovereign Tempter. The humans, on the walls of some of their older churches, have painted the Doom, the Final Judgement, with an amusing detail (how deplorable their capacity to derive the pleasure of laughter even from the notion of Damnation!): they show some of those who are rising from the grave to everlasting torment as marked with insignia of office. Several of these doomed figures are commonly depicted wearing a mitre or a cardinal's hat or a tiara. Believe me, if humans understood the half of it, they would have painted vast phalanxes of such mitred prelates waiting to be hauled, poked, or prodded by our worthy footsoldiers into that wide-open mouth which leads down to the Infernal Playgrounds. For all that - and for so very much more - we have the CPPP to thank. You forget this at your peril ... a delicious word, peril ... redolent of the most exquisite culinary expectations ... but I must curb my digression ...

In particular, your suggestion that they "should have shut Ratzinger up" demonstrates not only a degree of disrespect for workers who, believe me, are very much worse than you are, but also a quite woeful, not to say admirably punishable, misunderstanding of the broad lines of current strategy. Protocol 7/12/666, which was very adequately expounded at your seminary, explains clearly that Ratzinger appears to have a strong degree of protection. Accordingly, policy is - do you remember all this now? - to concentrate on the ready malevolence of those we have trained to report and comment on what he says or writes. The departmental bottoms at CPPP have successfully put in place a number of highly productive antinomies of the sort that the humans describe as "Heads I win, tails you lose". Thus, if Ratzinger is silent on some topic, he is "failing to speak clearly". But if he utters ... even just one sentence ... it is rich material for misrepresentation. Such misrepresentations will be what stick in the mind of most hearers. Not for nothing have we slaved for centuries to ensure that as few humans as possible are capable of even the simplest logical processes. But little is lost if a few humans remain who do perceive an inkling of the truth: we have multiple fall-backs in place. One of these is to suggest that Ratzinger, even if admittedly correct, is "accident-prone" and "should have realised how his words would be misinterpreted". This, of course, neatly diverts into renewed condemnation of the man a perception which, if left unmanipulated, might have opened some human minds to the accuracy of what he had actually said.

You are particularly concerned that Ratzinger recently "blew the gaffe" on our strategy (8/5/999) of promoting 'relativism' in the 1960s/1970s. It is true that there are thousands of clergy trained in those decades, tens of thousands of 'moral philosophers' who taught at that time in very low-down universities, who will remember systems such as 'Situation ethics' which were propounded and widely accepted. (This in itself was a spectacular success on the part of the CPPP.) But those humans whom we control in what they call their 'media' had no trouble providing a very satisfactory gloss upon Ratzinger's words. With our help, they picked on a couple of truths: that such systems were widely held; and that the implication of these systems is that paedophile actions were not intrinsece malum, that is, ex sese "wrong". And they ensured that two responses would be inevitable: firstly; when victims of paedophile priests were told Ratzinger believed "Everybody thought that sort of thing was All Right", they very naturally responded that, in their own communities, paedophilia was certainly not considered "All Right" by everyone. And, for them, this is perfectly true. At that time, common folk lagged sadly behind the sophisticated moral innovations of our friends in universities and seminaries and the Intelligentsia. Many of those dreary peasants would not even have understood the meaning of the phrase 'trahison des clercs'. So, for them, the claim, attributed to Ratzinger, that "Everybody in the 1960s believed paedophilia was All Right" simply sounds like a lie.

The second response calls in aid the policy embodied in 4/3/969. This - I presume you will again need to be reminded - concerned the inculcation of the idea that "What everybody does/thinks" is automatically "Right". You and I, of course, know that such a principle would, for example, have made the Jewish Holocaust and the practice of Slavery and the Burning of Widows into acceptable systems. Indeed, we successfully used this very idea to erode the consciences of those we wished to become involved in the Jewish Holocaust. But only a few off-message academics realise the logical absurdity of treating "Everybody thinks it is Right" as equivalent to "It is Right". Most of the common people cheerfully accept this equivalence. So, when our workers were able to simplify Ratzinger's words into a suggestion that "Everybody thought paedophilia was All Right", the minds of many humans automatically glossed this as meaning "Ratzinger thinks paedophilia is All Right".

He's clever, the little Bavarian, but we have him by the short and curlies. What we are best at is turning his cleverness against him. And this is not just CPPP policy; it was explicitly approved by Our Father Below in his weekly audience with the Prefect of the Congregation, and ordered to be published as a rescriptum ex audientia. You will find texts in AIL (Acta Infernorum Locorum). Indeed, rumours down here suggest that it may soon be incorporated into a Diabolic Constitution. You had better watch your words, and keep just a teensy weensy bit more up-to-date in your reading ... if you know what is bad for you ... as (given my own very great appetite for you) I profoundly hope you do not.

As loving, as hungry, as ravenous, as ever

Your doting, dribbling Uncle

Screwtape

4 January 2019

Are they really bishops? (3)

Continues
Sedevacantists have argued that the words in the post-Conciliar Form for consecrating Bishops, spiritus principalis, are insufficiently univocal (unambiguous) to denote the ordo episcopalis. I have pointed out that the same problem could be urged against the corresponding words which Pius XII declared to be the Form: ministerii tui summam. This phrase could perfectly well have applied to the Ministry of the Roman Pontiff himself; and, since the Rite we are speaking of was Roman, quite possibly this is what it originally did mean. And there is a manuscript variant mysterii tui summam ... what exactly would that 'unambiguously' refer to? Did your sedevacantist indoctrinators tell you how to explain that away?

In any case, before 1947, the communis sententia among approved manualists (this is summed up by Cardinal Gasparri, 1852-1934, Secretary of State under Benedict XV and Pius XI) saw the Form for episcopal Consecration as being three quite different words: Accipe Spiritum Sanctum. Bishops, when consecrating a new bishop before 1947, intended to consecrate him when they opened their mouths and said these words, not when they uttered the words which Pius XII subsequently selected and declared to be the Form. 

Are those three words sufficiently precise to indicate, univocally, the Episcopate? By your standards, O thou sedevacantist, surely not; they actually appeared also in presbyteral ordinations according to the pre-Conciliar rites (they were said over me in 1968) and they are found in the Tridentine rite of ordination to the Diaconate, and might even without  inappropriateness be used in Confirmation. If (like popes, bishops and theologians for hundreds of years) you are happy with these vague words Accipe Spiritum Sanctum as the Form for episcopal consecration, why do you have such a problem with the rather more explicit, distinctly less vague, words calling for the granting of the Spiritus principalis?

Cardinal Gasparri (this is a most compelling point) also raised the hypothetical question of whether a consecrand would be validly consecrated if the whole of the ancient consecratory prayer were omitted and so all the candidate had said over him were the three words Accipe Spiritum Sanctum. He concluded ("admittimus cum communi sententia") that this would be valid: "quia licet illa sola verba in se inspecta sint indeterminata, et non satis exprimant collationem ordinis episcopalis, tamen satis determinantur ... ipsamet caeremonia sine praefatione".

Is your competence in these matters, O sedevacantist, really so much greater than that of the towering scholarly figure who masterminded the production of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, Gasparri the Great? Are you so much more soaked in the writings of the Fathers, the Scholastics, the Manualists, than he was? Perhaps you write him off, together wih the popes he served, Benedict XV and Pius XI, as proto-post-conciliarists? As Crypto-Modernists?

Dear me, you really do live in a narrow little world of your own. No wonder you never sound happy.


The sedevacantist arguments so glibly urged against the validity of Consecrations performed with the post-Conciliar Pontifical do not hold a drop of water in them ... not a millionth of a molecule. These arguments are shown to be baseless, not by deploying what some might dismiss as modernist, specious, flabby post-Conciliar arguments, but by considering the standard texts and praxis of the pre-Conciliar Church, its popes, and its great teachers. The Magisterium of nearly two millennia.

I would have some sympathy with you, O sedevacantist, if the only argument you desired to press went something like this:
"It was in the highest degree deplorable for the 1960s revisers, without any Conciliar mandate, to eliminate the ancient Roman Prayer for making a bishop (the theology of which can be traced back to the Letter to Corinth of Pope S Clement I in the 90s of the first Christian century) and to replace it by a distinctly unfortunate Oriental prayer of unknown origin, which happened to be fashionable in the 1960s because of a now-exploded theory about its authorship and origins. Its adoption was proposed and carried by the chairman of the coetus concerned with the Pontifical, Dom Bernard Botte, who had himself produced an edition of it and thus may be thought to have had a vested interest. What a totally improper and irresponsible way to carry on in such an important matter!!!"

A Catholic is not forbidden to entertain such a highly critical view of what was done in the 1960s. In fact, I confess that I hold it myself. And I hold it strongly.

But that action, however deplorable, did not come within a million, million miles of rendering the Orders of the Catholic Church invalid. The Gates of Hell have not prevailed.

Concluded.

3 January 2019

Are they really bishops? (2)

Continues ...
It is argued that the words in the post-Conciliar Pontifical for Consecrating a Bishop are insufficiently precise.

But that prayer was used for centuries by Oriental communities in communion with Rome, and dissident communities whose orders the settled praxis of the Holy See for centuries was to accept. It was on this ground that Archbishop Lefebvre himself, upon receiving fuller information, changed his mind and accepted that this prayer was adequate to confer the episcopate.

It is argued that the phrase spiritus principalis is insufficiently precise because it is used in some dissident communities in the prayer which is said over a man who is already a bishop but is now being constituted a Patriarch. So ... are you, O ye sedevacantists, saying: "Originally this prayer, used for centuries to consecrate bishops, was adequate; but now, since some dissident communities began to use it for a different purpose, it has become insufficient, even in those communities where it is not used for blessing Patriarchs?" If so, I would regard this argument as absurdly and unconvincingly rococo.

Before going on to my next section, I think I had better point out out that it is very easy indeed to construct immensely attractive arguments for dismissing the Orders of people one doesn't like; the grief comes when the question is asked: "You deployed that argument to prove that X's Orders are invalid; but the same argument proves also the invalidity of the Orders of Y and of Z and, indeed, of you yourself and the clergy whose ministrations you depend upon." If you want to shoot off such arguments, my advice is: go to the middle of a large empty field with good lines of vision; discharge your arguments; then keep your eyes and ears wide open for the sound and sight of the returning boomerang. It has sharp edges.

Pius XII (1947) laid down that the Form in the (then) Roman Pontifical for consecrating a Bishop was Comple in sacerdote tuo ministerii tui summam etc..

(1) Are you quite sure, O thou sedevacantist, that this is explicit enough? If I have up my sleeve (I'm not saying I do) an example of a medieval pope who, already being a bishop, had this read over him when he was promoted to the See of Peter, would you conclude that it automatically became too vague to signify the Episcopate? If not, why not?

(2) And if I have up my sleeve early manuscripts of this prayer (I'm not saying I do) which read mysterii rather than ministerii, will this variant still be explicit enough for you? If not, will you admit that very many medieval bishops, consecrated with the use of this form, were not validly consecrated, including almost certainly many popes? If not, why not?

(3) And if I have up my sleeve (I'm not saying I do) a medieval rite of presbyteral ordination in which that same formula was used to ordain a mere priest, would you still be consistent enough to advance the argument that the words, since they were used in a context other than episcopal consecration, manifestly do not univocally signify the episcopate? And that therefore most, if not all, medieval and later Western bishops were not validly ordained? If not, why not?

Be careful how you answer those questions: I have capacious sleeves.

To be concluded. I will not enable comments until after the next and final installment.

2 January 2019

Pope Murdered. Poirot's Last Case.

For the details, you had better go across to the blog written by my dear Ordinariate friend, Dr Kirk. Don't delay. This is one of the best things he has written. If anyone ever asks you Num quid umquam boni ex Ordinariatu, Dr Kirk's blog is the answer. You can get there, today and every happy day, simply by googling GKIRKUK.

Perhaps, however, you should delay just a moment, long enough to absorb the following information.

In a wild part of Switzerland, full of brigands and assassins, there is a town, a sink of unwholesome clerical intrigue, called Sankt Gallen. Its Coat of Arms is Argent a bear rampant Sable langued and membered Gules armed and gorged Or.

Nuff said.

I know some of you really new readers really like information which is really obscure.

Now read on. Who strangled him?



1 January 2019

The Circumcision and Mrs Cranmer

Sometimes one reads traddy criticisms of the abolition of the title "The Circumcision" formerly attached to January 1. There may be a slight confusion here. But before I explain this, I would like to emphasise the importance of celebrating and teaching ... perhaps in Lent and Holy Week ... the profound significance of the Circumcision within the context of our Lord's complete Jewishness and his identification with the Jewish people. Perhaps I might be permitted a quick and waspish observation that the only picture I know of our Most Holy Redeemer where the artist has troubled to make him look unmistakably Hebrew is by Caravaggio.

The Mass texts of the Roman Church, for centuries, made no reference on January 1 to the Circumcision except in as far as the opening verses of S Luke Chapter 2 were an obvious choice for the Gospel. The whole Mass was about our Lady's Divine Maternity. The 1960s 'reformers' were guilty of many nastinesses, unmandated by the Council, often contrary to the Council; but all they did to January 1 was to give it the title which best fitted the immemorially ancient and exquisite texts of the Roman Church. If you don't trust me, here are the words of Gueranger.

"The holy Church of Rome used formerly to say two Masses on the first of January; one was for the Octave of Christmas Day, the other was in honour of Mary ... The Church celebrates today the august prerogative of this divine Maternity, which was conferred on a mere creature, and which made her the co-operatrix with Jesus in the great work of man's salvation ..."

And the great Benedictine writes another five superb pages on our Lady's Divine Maternity.

The sometimes rather mechanical biblicism of the Middle Ages led to the title of the Circumcision being given to this day. But, as a result of the admirable inertia in matters liturgical which has always been part of the Catholic instinct (some people nowadays invoke the phrase organic development), the actual Mass texts were left unchanged ...

 ... until Archbishop Cranmer got his hands on the Liturgy. As so often happened with the 'reformers', Cranmer behaved in impeccably 'late medieval' ways. So he borrowed from Mattins an Epistle from Romans 4, and composed this Collect:

Almyghtie God, whiche madest thy blessed sonne to be circumcised and obedyente to the law for man; Graunt us the true circumcision of thy spirite, that our hertes, and al our membres, being mortifyed from al worldly and carnal lustes, may in al thinges obey thy blessed wil; through etc..

Frankly, I am glad that the Ordinariate Missal sticks with the old Roman texts here, and ignores Cranmer. Since the poor old gentleman kept a wife secreted somewhere, I wonder how consistently he did mortifye al his membres. Or was Mrs C a merely titular wife whose purpose was to minister to Cranmer's self-understanding that he really was a world-class Reformer just like those enwifed Swiss and German chappies? (Calvin's sexuality has, of course, been a matter of debate, or do I mean gossip? Stigmaticus perfuga ...)

One good idea of the 1960s 'reformers': they introduced into the Divine Office for today the wonderful hymn of Prudentius Corde natus ex parentis ...