15 April 2019

1549? Or 1971?

A correspondent whom I greatly respect as a Confessor of the Faith in these troubled times, asks for more information about my statement that the Jesuits burned the relics in the Reliquary Chapel in Oxford's Catholic Parish Church, Alyoggers. Information is provided in an excellent, erudite, and readable little book called St Aloysius Parish Oxford The Third English Oratory A Brief History and Guide 1793-2000 New Edition by Fr Jerome Bertram, MA, FSA, of the Oratory. I will lift some bits from Father's narrative.

"In 1954 the Jesuits decided to 'modernise' the church. Nearly all the statues and pictures disappeared, as did several memorial brasses to priests and parishioners, and the whole building was painted battleship grey, obliterating all the brilliant colouring of the internal decorations ... In the 1960s came the major changes in the Catholic Church following the second Vatican Council ...The parish registers tell their story: whereas in 1959 there were forty one converts received, in 1969 there were but two. The Corpus Christi and other processions were suppressed  ... The Relic chapel had long been neglected ... Now the collection was dispersed. Most of the actual relics were burnt, the containers thrown away, vestments, including some mitres that had belonged to Pope Pius IX, given away to amateur actors, and the books appropriated away from the parish. By the end of the 1970s hardly anything remained, and the chapel screen had been scrapped ... The cupboards on each side were intended to display the relics and antiquities, and the body of Saint Pacificus, an early Christian martyr, was enshrined beneath the altar.  ... There were thirty three relics of St Philip Neri, mostly fragments of his clothing, five of St Teresa including her signature, many English martyrs such as part of St Thomas More's cap, relics of popular modern saints like the Cure d'Ars, mementoes of the three Jesuit boy saints ... many souvenirs of Pope Pius IX, including the pen with which he signed the bull defining the Immaculate Conception in 1854, and a great collection of letters, several from early Oratorian Fathers such as Cardinal Baronius. In addition the collection included vestments, candlesticks, chalices and the like as well as a number of oil paintings and several crystal and marble urns from the Catacombs All these relics and treasures were destroyed or dispersed in 1971 ... "

10 comments:

Steve said...

The year zero. What an act of pure vandalism. In the very act of destruction is the drawing of a line. "We want nothing to do with the people of the past."
Orwell described the use of a memory hole, we need to remember that The Church does not just belong to those of us alive at the present moment in time.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Vandals! If I was Pope Francis the first thing I would do would be to suppress the Jesuits.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Father. The destruction a second time is always easier.

Here is the then Dean of American Journalists writing about the new left which was after Richard Nixon's scalp:

The men and the movement that broke Lyndon Johnson’s authority in 1968 are out to break Richard M. Nixon in 1969. The likelihood is great that they will succeed again, for breaking a President is, like most feats, easier to accomplish the second time
around. . . .

First, the breakers arrogate to themselves a position of moral superiority.


The radical religious were not unlike the radical new leftists but few are aware that Pope Saint Paul VI identified his own self, and all the fathers of the council, as the best Catholics ever and so what needed to be done was done by them.

Prolly the Jebbies had arrogated to themselves an idea of moral superiority which entitled them to rid the church of superstitious accretions.

Gillineau said...

I've long wanted someone to do try an add up the financial value of all the stuff our marvellous clerics threw away in that period. Must be worth billions. We could then sue all of those responsible in the civil courts for expropriating our property and for distress too. Because I feel that the time for their foot to slip is about now. (Deut 32:35)

IanW said...

It's interesting that the "modernisation" began in 1954. Perhaps this is another example of iconoclasm and modernism before the Council, and in which the post-Conciliar reformers found fertile ground. I wonder if there is primary material to go with the report, such as explanations of the changes in parish newsletters.

The Saint Bede Studio said...

All these relics and treasures were destroyed or dispersed in 1971 ...

" A date that will live in infamy. "

coradcorloquitur said...

The fury of Modernist iconoclasm knows no limits. But for the question remains: were there not at the time a few worthy, still Catholic Jesuits in the oratory ready to defend the Faith and its sacred symbols and artifacts? Where is manliness in so many Catholic "men" in this hellish fury that has ravaged Holy Mother Church for the past half century? I know the answer to my own question: they are cowering and congratulating themselves on how "obedient" and "charitable" they have been. The Church was indeed sick before Vatican Council II and now for decades we have witnessed the horror of that illness.

Dan Hayes said...

These Jesuit iconoclastic actions were motivated either by unadulterated malevolence or crass stupidity - I'll take the former!

E sapelion said...

I see from Wikipedia that those relics were left in trust to the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, by Hartwell de la Garde Grissell, who sounds like an interesting Oxford Character.

Mark said...

Wow. The Puritans got nothing on those Jesuits!