30 November 2019

Mindgames Spot the Latin Howler (3)

Here, as authorised by CDW decree published in Notitiae, is the Collect for S Augustine Zhao Rong.

Deus, qui per sanctoum martyrum Augustini et sociorum confessionem Ecclesiam tuam mirabili dispensatione roborasti, ut populus tuus, missioni sibi creditae fidelis, et incrementa libertatis accipiat et veritatem coram mundo testificetur.

29 November 2019

Religious bigotry in British Political Parties

A couple of years ago, Tim Farron was hounded out of the leadership of the Liberal Democrat Party because of his Evangelical Christian beliefs. A couple of weeks ago, Rob Flello was deselected as parliamentary candidate for the same party because he expressed his Catholic beliefs.

Why isn't there a great surge of indignation about this naked bigotry?

28 November 2019

DILEMMA

I need your help with this ... A little while ago, a kind friend gave me a full-size Sarum Missal. I'd better not tell you who it was because you might all start banging on his door demanding a copy for your greedy selves.

I have now embellished it with tabs and ribbons extracted ('harvested' is the term the Organ Transplant Community would use) from a quaint old 1970s volume called "The Sacramentary". So it is now (what that strange and really rather sinister Mr Johnson, our equivalent of Trump, would call) "oven-ready".

But is it OK for me to use it? I would like to do so this week because it would give me a chance to say those ancient Propers for the Sunday Next Before Advent which I explained to you last Saturday and Sunday. (You must remember, Austin Ivereigh, that I am only a convert, so I am a bit vague about all this sort of stuff.)

Accordingly, I turned to the Missal I currently normally use each morning, because in the front it has a perfectly splendid Bull of S Pius V, the Hero of Lepanto. It is called Quo primum and dated 1570. I read it carefully and discovered that the Pontiff strictly ordered that those possessing a Use more than two centuries old should, must, continue to use that. The only exception he allowed was if a Bishop, with the consent of his entire Chapter, desired to convert to the 1570 book.

Now, this is where I need your assistance.
(1) Which English diocesan bishops, who canonically held their sees in January 1559, were still alive in 1570 and had not formally resigned those sees?
(2) Which of those bishops did summon their entire Chapters and secure from them a unanimous vote to abandon Sarum (or York or Hereford ...) and to change over to the 1570 book?
(3) Since 1850, have any bishops of the Pio Nono hierarchy, cum universo Capitulo, performed these necessary formalities?
[(4) Purely out of curiosity, I wonder if the Old Chapter of the English Secular Clergy ever had this on its Agenda.]

Of course, I need to have this large body of information back from you (as I once heard one of our delightful Oxford Pakistani taxi-drivers say) "pretty damn' quick" (very Huree Jamset, don't you think?).

27 November 2019

The Miraculous medal and the Anglican Patrimony

I first wrote this in 2010; I reprint it, together with its admirable thread.

 On Saturday 27 November 1830, a young French nun, (S) Catherine Laboure, beheld her second and third visions of the Mother of God in the Sanctuary of her Convent Chapel in the Rue du Bac in Paris. Our Lady appeared to her, radiant, standing on a globe, and with her arms stretched out in a compassionate gesture. From her fingers rays of light fell upon the globe at her feet. An oval frame then formed around her with gold lettering that read: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Our Lady promised great graces to those who wore this design with confidence; she showed the Saint the design which now appears on the back of the Miraculous Medal: a large M surmounted by a bar and cross, with two hearts beneath it, one crowned with thorns, the other pierced with a sword, all encircled by twelve stars.

In 1836, Abbe Desgenettes, who had taken over the Church of Our Lady of Victories (a church degraded and desecrated during the Revolution and with a minute congregation), dedicated his parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and founded a Confraternity of Prayer, which had the Miraculous Medal as its badge. In the days before S John Henry Newman's conversion, intense prayer was offered for him in this Church by the members of that very same Fraternity. Back in Blighty, it was on the Octave Day of the Assumption in 1845 (a very patrimonial day: it was also the birthday of blessed Edward Bouverie Pusey) that our great saint first began to wear the Miraculous Medal.

Yes! The greatest intellect of the nineteenth century! Like any Irish washerwoman, he wore a miraculous medal! Is there a sobering message here for our supercilious cultural pride? Should we each be a little more thorough in rooting out of our own minds the sordid dregs of Enlightenment superstitions? I stand by my mixed metaphor!!

Now back two or three years, to January 20, 1842. On this day, a wealthy Jewish banker called Alphonse Ratisbonne had, in the Church of S Andrea delle Fratte in Rome, a vision of our Lady just as she appeared on the Miraculous Medal. Shunt forward ... please ... to 1847: S John Henry and St John (who, after their reception, had visited the shrine in Notre Dame des Victoires in thanksgiving for the prayers offered for him there) found themselves now awaiting admission to the presbyterate of the Latin Church, lodged in the Collegio di Propaganda in Rome. Newman makes clear in a number of letters that their windows looked down on the Church of S Andrea delle Fratte; it clearly made some considerable impression upon him. On June 9 1847, his long-time intimate woman friend, Maria Giberne, painted a picture of Newman and St John in a room at Propaganda, with our Lady, as she appears on the Miraculous Medal, between the two of them.

In the Old Missal, in the Appendix pro aliquibus locis, November 27 is the feast of Our Lady Immaculate of the the Miraculous Medal. Let us hope that this commemoration will one day make its way into the Calendar of the Patrimony!

Chief Rabbi Mirvis

See yesterday's post.

The C of E Report on Christian-Jewish relations rightly condemns the anti-semitic trope that "Jews always seek to control others".

Chief Rabbi Mirvis contributed an Afterword to that Report. In it, he strongly criticised poor old Mother Damnable for failing to exclude certain theological notions from the spectrum of beliefs deemed to be acceptable within Anglicanism. His criticisms have been as strongly repeated by other  representatives of synagogic Judaism.

I find it strange that representatives of another Faith should so peremptorily lay down what may or may not be believed in religious bodies other than their own.

Perhaps the best way to kill off the idea that "Jews always seek to control others" would be for senior representatives of Rabbinic Judaism to stop seeking to control others.

26 November 2019

The Church of England and Judaism

BEFORE I heard the news that Chief Rabbi Mirvis had intervened in our General Election Campaign, I had written the following piece, and scheduled it to appear on Thursday. And also a piece on Chief Rabbi Mirvis, scheduled to appear on December 4, which will now appear tomorrow. Again, it will  have no changes from my original draft. 

I have brought these two pieces forward, unchanged.

The Church of England has recently published a report upon relations between Christians and Jews, with the title God's Unfailing Word. I do not intend to say a lot about this book; since I am no longer in Full Communon with the See of Canterbury, it might not be appropriate for me to do so. Later, I will criticise the reaction to it of Chief Rabbi Mirvis. For the time being, I express a general opinion that this Report is measured, intelligent, and scholarly. Indeed, far more so than the corresponding Vatican document (The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable, Decemer 2015).

For today, I draw attention to the following paragraph, with which I totally agree.
"Pharisees continue to be invoked in Christian teaching and preaching as characterised by a devotion to the detail of human religious tradition at odds with true reverence for the word of God and love of one's human neighbour. Not only is this a caricature that would be questioned by contemporary historical scholarship, it is also deeply hurtful to many Jews who number the Pharisaic teachers among those who maintained the tradition of the Torah by which they live today.".

Indeed. Well said. And a prime example of this attitude is Pope Francis, who rants against "Pharisees". He has also written,  and has spoken, with gross discourtesy as well as painful inaccuracy, in contempt of the Torah. I give chapter and verse for these observations in Luther and his Progeny (Angelico Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-62138-254-6, pages 247 and following). As well as in off-the-cuff remarks, PF has done this in a "Magisterial" document, his "Bull of Indiction" for his "Year of Mercy".

I wonder if the writers of this Anglican Report realised that they were criticising PF!

25 November 2019

Mindgames (2)

Here is a very easy Spot the Latin Howler. It is in the Collect authorised for the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

I will, from today onwards, enable comments in the Howler series which are correct some time the following evening. Offerings which seem to me not right, I will delete so that nobody feels awkward!

Deus, qui salutem humani generis in Verbi tui incarnatione fundasti, da pooulis tuis misericordiam quam deposcunt, ut sciant omnes non esse, quam Unigeniti tui, nomen aliud invocandum.

"Really just a typo", I hear you say. But there's a sermon here. There is somebody in the CDW who is so importantly busy that he doesn't have time to check through his typing, even when it contains a legislative text affecting most of Latin Christendom. Somebody should tell Arturo.

Or am I being sexist when I imply that Vatican typists are all male?

I think I may be implying that women, generally, are less likely than men to be carelessly slapdash.

The next howler will not be an obvious typo.

24 November 2019

Jasper Griffin

Last Friday, Professor Jasper Griffin, Fellow of Balliol, died, aged 82. His wife Miriam nata Dressler, who taught Pam, died last year.

Griffin was of the generation which mediated to a new generation the Classicism of the great Jewish refugee scholars who escaped to Oxford in the 1930s. He enabled many people to enjoy Classical Literature as he enjoyed it himself. Not least among his achievements was his vindication of Homer by putting the skhizontes to flight.

He was Public Orator, a successor of S Edmund Campion. Please God, they will be able to converse together in "Heaven's own native Latin".

Anti-semitism in the Middle Ages and the twentieth century

During the Middle Ages, there were undoubtedly atrocities committed against Jewish people ... just as there were rather greater ones during the Century of the Triumph of the Enlightenment, between 1939 and 1945. But medieval intellectuals were usually aware of a healthier narrative than that of the anti-semitic bullies. This was because of their instinctive confidence in Holy Scripture. I reprint, with a couple of comments, an earlier piece of mine relating to this.

Most Sundays' Sarum/PrayerBook lections are basically the same as those in the Missal of S Pius V, although with dislocations which put Epistles and Gospels onto different Sundays.

But sometimes, there is a real difference from the Pian lectionary. This happens on the Sunday Next Before Advent, when Sarum (followed by the Prayer Book) and many other Northern European uses has a quite different provision. In these uses we find an Epistle (well, actually, a Lesson from Jeremiah) and a Gospel (from S John) which both moved around a bit in the Middle Ages but pretty well always came just before or just at the start of Advent, as a taster and a preliminary for that season. Their loss is an impoverishment in the Missal of S Pius V and, a fortiori, in the Novus Ordo.

I will explain the importance of these readings in the words of Abbot Rupert of Deutz (1075- 1129) - a considerable mystagogue. I believe that we can learn from his words about what Scripture and the Tradition teach concerning the redemption of our Jewish brethren, in greater detail than we can learn it from the fumbling (but not unorthodox) Nostra aetate or silly (non-Magisterial) documents from Rome.

"Holy Church is so intent on paying her debt of supplication, and prayer, and thanksgiving, for all men, as the Apostle demands, that we find her giving thanks also for the salvation of the children of Israel, who, she knows, are one day to be united with her. And, as their remnants are to be saved at the end of the world, so, on this last Sunday of the Year, she delights at having them, just as though they were already her members! In the Introit, calling to mind the prophecies concerning them, she sings each year: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. Verily, his thoughts are those of peace, for he promises to admit to the banquet of his grace, the Jews, who are his brethren according to the flesh; thus realising what had been prefigured in the history of the patriarch Joseph. The brethren of Joseph, having sold him, came to him, when they were tormented by hunger; for then he ruled over the whole land of Egypt; he recognised them, he received them, and made, together with them, a great feast; so too, our Lord who is reigning over the whole earth, and is giving the bread of life, in abundance, to the Egyptians, (that is, to the gentiles), will see coming to him the remnants of the children of Israel. He, whom they had denied and put to death, will admit them to his favour, will give them a place at his table, and the true Joseph will feast delightedly with his brethren.

"The benefit of this divine table is signified, in the office of this Sunday, by the Gospel, which tells us of the Lord's feeding the multitude with five loaves. For it will be then that Jesus will open to the Jews the five books of Moses, which are now being carried whole and not yet broken - yea, carried by a child, that is to say, this people itself, who, up to that time, will have been cramped up in the narrowness of a childish spirit.

"Then will be fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremias, which is so aptly placed before this gospel: They shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but, The Lord liveth, which brought up, and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north-country,and from all countries whither I have driven them.

"Thus delivered from the spiritual bondage which still holds them, they will sing with their heart, the words of thanksgiving as we have them in the Gradual: It is thou, O Lord, that savest us from our enemies!

"The words we use in the Offertory: Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord, clearly allude to the same events; for, on that day, his brethren will say to the great and true Joseph: We beseech thee to forget the wickedness of thy brethren! The Communion: Verily I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and it shall be done unto you, is the answer made by that same Joseph, as it was by the first: Fear not! Ye thought evil against me: but God turned it into good, that he might exalt me, as at present ye see, and might save many people. Fear not, therefore, I will feed you, and your children.
" (The Reading is Jeremiah 23:5 ff; the Gospel, John 6: 5 ff, is the Feeding of the Five Thousand. My translations of the propers are taken from the Book of Common Prayer and the good old English Missal.)

This is a superb exposition, in the biblical and patristic 'typological' idiom, of an important theme in Pauline eschatology - see Romans 9-11. The crucial passage, Romans 11:25-28, is omitted from the new Sunday lectionaries. There is significance, I suspect, in the fact that modern lectionaries delicately step around this theme: the Eschatological Submission of the Jews to the Call of Christ. 

Sometimes I feel that, despite the call for a "richer table of Scripture" in Sacrosanctum concilium, the Scriptures read to the People of God have in some respects, paradoxically, been made conceptually narrower in the post-conciliar books. I commend (yet again) to the reader the fine Index Lectionum by Matthew Hazell ... a must-have for anybody seriously concerned with Liturgy. ISBN 978-1-5302-3072-3 (paperback).

23 November 2019

Jewry, and Eschatology

As Dom Gueranger explains, the instinct of the Latin Church, in these last glorious Sundays before Advent, was to think about the Salvation of the Jews in the End Time (vide Romans 11:25sqq.). He draws our attention to the Introit (from Jeremiah 29) which we keep repeating in November:
Thus saith the Lord: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction; ye shall call upon me, and I will hearken unto you: and will bring again your captivity from all places. Psalmus 85 Lord, thou art become gracious unto thy land: thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.

And those of you with Anglican Previous could blow the dust off your Prayer Books and read the passage from Jeremiah 28 which BCP provides for the 'Epistle' on Stir up Sunday. Like the accompanying Gospel, it is a passage which, in the Middle Ages, different parts of the Latin Church used on different Sundays, but always just before or just at the start of Advent. It goes back to our earliest lectionaries, the Comes of Wuerzburg and the Comes of Murbach, and is common to the Medieval rites of Sarum, York, and Hereford. (This venerable and ancient Proper does not feature in the Dominican and Carmelite rites: others more learned than I am may know whether it now survives anywhere in the Catholic Church.)

And then  ... how are we to understand the majestic words in the Gospel which follows: Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

I gave you the exegesis of Abbot Rupert a previous year. I'll reprint it tomorrow. And I will include parts of the original thread to that blogpost, which included some exceedingly powerful points.

How on earth will the Incoming of Jewry, their eschatological acceptance by Faith of their Messiah and their Entry with him into His kingdom, take place? Will all Jews be saved? But S Paul has just talked about "the Fullness of the Gentiles". Are we to believe that all the Gentiles will be saved? I put these questions, not because I propose to offer answers, but because they will occur to intelligent readers. I am not going to offer answers because, throughout the Church's history, no good has ever come out of eschatological speculations. But good does come out of our humble acceptance of the Promises in Holy Scripture that the One who has promised is faithful to His Promises.

As we think about the Jews, there are two pernicious and totally erroneous dead ends. One is to say that they do not need Christ and are best remaining in their own religion, so we must never ever allow any hint that we have any idea of their conversion. The other is to say that they killed the Messiah, and lie under an everlasting condemnation. Each of these is equally anti-semitic and equally contrary to the immemorial teaching of Scripture. And to the teaching of the Liturgy.

Lex orandi legem statuat credendi.

22 November 2019

Christ the King

Readers will not be surprised to read that my own preference is for the October celebration of Christ the King. Although I would, if celebrating the Ordinariate Rite, obediently do what our Ordinariate books prescribe, that is, to keep this feast on the Sunday Next Before Advent, my own desire would have been that the Ordinariates had been allowed to return to the dispositions of Pius XI. (My blogposts the next couple of days will explain what the Ordinariate Rite could have uniquely restored for this last great Sunday of the year: a celebration which, I suspect, may now nowhere exist among Christians in full communion with the See of S Peter.)

But I can joyfully reveal one success of the Ordinariate. Its liturgical provision for Christ the King may be on the 'wrong' Sunday, but it does restore the Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion which Pius XI gave to the Universal Church, rather than the poor mangled things which emerged from the postConciliar mess.

The difference? Pius XI and the Ordinariates pray for a real kingship of Christ in a real world, and are prepared even to use military language. Followers of Bugnini shy away from this full-blooded Christian hope.

Snowflakes!!

Archbishop Vigano and the King of East Anglia

Comes the hour, comes the man: Archbishop Vigano has published a fine piece on the Abrahamic House; a projected building in Abu Dhabi which is to be the great exemplar and universal shrine of Syncretism. This site will embrace places of worship of post-Jamnian Judaism, of Islam, and of the True Faith. I think there should also be a statue there of the great English promotor of Syncretism, King Anna of East Anglia, who, S Bede tells us, maintained a sacral enclosure in which a Christian Altar shared space with the altars of the devils. Clearly, a man with vision, possibly even double vision.

It is interesting that this should be happening in the year of S John Henry Newman's canonisation, which is also Pachamama year. Never was a document more timely now than Newman's biglietto speech, in which he revealed that, since the time of his ordination to the priesthood in the Church of England, he had consistently fought against Liberalism ... that is to say, Relativism. He regarded this error as nothing less than a meretricious trick of the Devil. Yet, in this same year, Vatican connivance apparently surrounds a scandalous project which Newman would have denounced even more fiercely than he denounced the Jerusalem bishopric.

Within this 'Abrahamic' umbrella, the 'Christian Church' will, apparently (news to me) be dedicated to S Francis. Since that Saint is not on the Calendars of the separated Byzantine and non-Chalcedonian Churches, it is interesting to note that this initiative is not designed to treat with respect the diversity within the Christian 'house' itself. Of course, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to suspect that the naming is a gesture towards the current occupant of the Roman See, whose name for the moment eludes me.

Back to Newman ... he referred to the Great Presence of God Himself in the Blessed Sacrament as the Thing 'which makes a Catholic Church unlike any other building on Earth'. I wonder if the Abu Dhabi edifice will include a Tabernacle. If not, it will be a building which the Poverello himself would not have recognised.

Will it include an unambiguous affirmation of the Divinity of the Second Person of the Holy and Undivided Trinity? The Athanasian Creed which Newman so loved, perhaps, carved in massive letters?

In conclusion, I will make a serious and theological point.

People constantly ask me whether ... how ... God could or would prevent the formal and unambiguous imposition ex cathedra of heresy by a Roman Pontiff.

Saint John Henry, who fought against Bergoglianism with vigour and erudition throughout his life, has just been canonised by a pope who ... detests Newman's Faith!

In other words, God has (because he can do this) worked through even this pope to proclaim Newman's Faith.

Geddit?

21 November 2019

Boring oneself

If I were non-I reading this blog, I would wonder why its writer spent all his time scrutinising the words of PF and then laboriously dreaming up arguments wherewith to contradict them.

In fact, this writer does precisely the opposite. I get in before PF has said his stuff and I explain why he will be wrong. If you want to know what errors or mistakes PF will make at some time in the future, and the reasons he will be wrong, you need only read and mark this blog daily.

The current pope is reported in Vatican News thus:
"Setting aside his prepared text, pope francis warned against the danger of what he termed as 'clericalising the laity'. Sometimes, he said, permanent deacons, who are to be the custodians of service in dioceses, soon find themselves 'looking at the altar' and end up as 'wannaby [sic] priests'. Work with the laity but don't clericalise them, the pope said. 'Move the deacons away from the altar ... they are the custodians of service, not first-class altar boys or second-class priests' he added".

PF's concept of the diaconate is exactly and precisely wrong. Diakonia is basically and essentially cultic and relates to service performed towards the Eucharistic celebrant.

I would explain this in detail were it not for the fact that I did so in May, 2017.

See my blogposts of 2017, May 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, and 12.

This pope daily gives further evidence of his distance from, and deep-rooted antipathy towards, the Great and Holy Tradition of the Roman Church, the Mother and Mistress of all Churches. He just cannot bring himself to stop rubbishing the Depositum Fidei, the revelation handed down through the Apostles, which Vatican I said it is his duty sancte custodire et fideliter exponere [devoutly to guard and faithfully to expound].

If he contented himself simply and merely with not teaching the Faith, that would be less dangerous than what he actually does.

20 November 2019

Solemn

Father Zed is, as always, right. Having looked at that lovely video of the Mass of the Americas, I share his observations that
(1) 'solemn' doesn't have to mean 'It needs to take a long time'; and
(2) liturgical things can happen simultaneously, in a very natural sort of way.

I would myself tentatively add
(3) Processions do not have to happen slowly.

It would certainly be dreadful if everybody, as in Dryden's comment on Ovid's hexameters, went "at the hand-gallop". But processions should go at the normal relaxed but business-like human pace in which people move who are not in a tearing hurry but simply need to get from point A to point B.

Slow processions are so pompously Anglican, so embarrassingly clericalist; so terribly "look at me".

I mean this next bit seriously:

Liturgical organisers should have experience of the Byzantine Rite. Not ... Heaven forbid ... so that they will 'byzantinise', but to help them to understand the distinctions between Solemnity and Pomposity.

19 November 2019

Connections, connections; Patrimony, Patrimony!!

Shoreham by Sea in Sussex is one of the under-stated gems of England. From the bungalow-town across the water it looks uncannily like (albeit in miniature) the views of London before it was savaged by Capitalism: the solid dignfied skyline of the town clustering round, but never over-topping, its ancient Church. It was from this little port that Charles II escaped, in a collier, after the Battle of Worcester. Hither, from nearby Brightelmeston, came the fourth of the Georges in 1792, in company with his lawful wife Mrs Fitzherbert. She was a Catholic and the builder of Brighton's Catholic Church. She was also godmother to one of the Benedictine nuns of our Lady of the Angels at Montargis. You will not have forgotten that this was the decade when the Carmelites of Compiegne were guillotined by the Enlightenment; when the English Carmelite sisters of Antwerp avoided a similar fate, ending up at Lanherne in Cornwall ... where a courageous young community are currently engaged in restoring the ancient Carmelite Charism.

As the Queen's Gallery puts on its new Exhibition illustrating 'Prinny' as a patron of the arts, it is diverting to consider him also as a patron of English Catholicism!

The erudiite Dr Simon Cotton ... erudite both in research Chemistry and as an antiquary ... acquired, about seven years ago, a copy of Thomas a Kempis' Imitatio Christi in a French (1704) translation. A violet stamp revealed that the book had once belonged to these refugee Sisters. It also contained the bookplate of a Georgian Antiquary, the Reverend Francis Blomefield (1705-1752), Rector of Fersfield in Norfolk. As Dr Cotton points out, this is a salutary reminder that the intellectual and spiritual torpor of Georgian Anglicanism is an over-simplified assumption. Dom Gregory Dix referred with justified distaste to the 'rapacious torpor' ... or was it 'torpid rapacity' ... of the Whig episcopate; but there is evidence of sound and sober Catholic belief and spirituality among the (often Tory) lower clergy and the Squirearchy. Jane Austen was schooled by this devout sobriety when she made her distinction between Sense and Sensibility ... a distinction not always familiar to the swooning heroines in Ann Radcliff's novels.

Dr Cotton neatly recalls Pusey's words "The doctrine of the Real Presence I learnt from my mother's explanation of the Catechism,which she had learnt to understand from older clergy ... All that I knew about religious truth I learnt, at least in principle, from my dear mother ... But then behind my mother, though of course I did not know it at the time, was the Catholic Church".

Nathaniel Woodard emphasised the availability of auricular Confession in the 1820s; it was to that same decade, in which he was ordained, that S John Henry looked back as the the starting point of his own half-century of unbroken continuity of opposition to Liberalism, as he replied to the biglietto of Pope Leo XIII.

Cdertainly, there were discontinuities within the period between the imposition of the Elizabethan settlement in 1559 and the death of classical Anglicanism around the end of the second millennium. But are we sure that discontinuity is the most important factor in the Mind of Providence?

Perhaps there is a thread, even if sometimes tenuous, stretching from Parson Trichay through blessed William Laud and the Non-jurors and the Tractarians and the Anglo-Papalists to the three English bishops who led us into Full Communion with the See of S Peter in the early months of 2011.

18 November 2019

Mindgames: Spot The Latin Howler (1)

After my recent piece about grammatical howlers in Collects and other texts issued by the CDW, it has occurred to me that Spot The Latin Howler would be a very acceptable addition to the sections of our newspapers which contain crosswords, chess puzzles, sudokus, etc. etc.. (The Times, incidentally, has a Latin crossword ... I'm sure this sort of delight is also commonplace in North America.)

For those who like this type of puzzle, I think I will offer occasional puzzles with the Spot The Latin Howler  format, drawing upon the rich treasure of illiteracies contained in CDW decrees.

So here is the Collect authorised a few years ago for our Lady of Guadalupe. Spot the howler!

Deus, Pater misericordiarum, qui sub sanctissimae Matris Filii tui singulari patrocinio plebem tuam constituisti, tribue cunctis, qui beatam Virginem Guadalupensem invocant, ut, alacri fide, populorum progressionem in viis iustitiae quaereant et pacis.

Remember: it's grammatical  howlers you're after, so the 'answer' is not "I object to any allusion to a left-wing encyclical of S Paul VI".

17 November 2019

The Temporary Suspense of the function of the Papal Magisterium

A further practical question may arise from the points I made recently about the teaching of S John Henry about the Magisterium in times of crisis and apostasy.

Should our pastoral homilies include the phrase "As our Holy Father Pope Francis has said ..."?

Personally, I was never a great addict of this sort of thing. We of the Patrimony are surely more comfortable expounding Scripture or the Fathers. How often did S John Henry Newman let drop some allusion to Pio Nono's latest bon mot? I can't even recollect one example. But times do move on and, in the last pontificate, it did seem to me that so much of what Papa Ratzinger said did sound jolly Patristic.

Is there any harm in quoting some bit of what PF says which, in itself, is quite orthodox?

I am not infallible in handling these tricky prudential questions. But it does seem to me that there are dangers in quoting even the best and most orthodox-sounding bits of PF. The risk is that one may be unwittingly spreading the notion that he is a reliable exponent of the Catholic Faith.

And, of course, it is now clear that, sadly, this is very far from being the truth. (Should we take to refering to him as Pope Liberius II?!)

Perhaps we should model ourselves on JHN's pulpit manner?? Plain and Parochial rather than Papal and Problematical!

But not on Dr Pusey. That might be Patristic Overkill!

16 November 2019

S Edmund of Abendon: let's be exuberant!

Deus qui largifluae bonitatis consilio ...

"God, who by the counsel of thy generously-flowing goodness hast adorned thy Church with the merits of blessed Edmund thy Confessor and bishop ... "

And indeed, what a great Pontiff S Edmund was. I shall pop into his Church in Abendon before diving into Waitrose this morning. It is his feast day. And what you've just read was the beginning of his Collect in the old Supplementum for England. Borrowed, of course, from Sarum.

'largifluae' is a compound word. According to OLD and LS, it only occurs in Lucretius. LS, in its schoolmasterly way, comments "ante-classical". Handy to have that spelt out in case cheeky little Johnny tries to incorporate it into his Latin Prose Compo. As well he might. It's an exotic word that raises your spirits and cheers you exuberating on your way. Because Greek enjoys creating compound adjectives, while Latin is much more shy about doing this. But in the preclassical period, avant-garde young men, neoteroi,  started imitating this Greek practice in their Latin in order to sound ... and be ... exotic. You haven't been reading Catullus 64 for long before you are introduced to Ariadne, poor deceived and deserted dimwit, "fluentisono prospectans litore Diae". Let's hope Professor Obbink comes across a copy of Calvus' lost epyllion. I bet it will be moofully full of this sort of stuff.

Carolingian and later writers enjoyed these games, too. S Peter Damian addressed S John the Divine brilliantly, exquisitely, as "magnus aeterni logotheta verbi" ... expurgated by Dom Lentini, spoil-sport, "propter graecismum nunc insolitum". I hardly need to tell you that the Novus Ordo collect for S Edmund [composed in English and possessing no Latin original] dumps the entire Sarum collect and instead informs the attentive Almighty that "by [his] grace the Bishop Saint Edmund of Abingdon was vigilant over integrity in public office". (I'm not making this up.)

One question remains. Who, in the Sarum liturgical workshop, had been spending his spare time reading that naughty hedonistic atheistical Lucretius?

15 November 2019

The Death of Sarum

According to Quo primum, S Pius V mandated that rites more than 200 years old should continue to be used unless the Bishop and the unanimous Chapter agreed to their replacement. In England, of course, these canonical measures were never able to be taken. Arguably, the Sarum Missal is still licit.

I wonder if, in Recusant Literature, there is any evidence of how the Catholic Squirearchy reacted to the replacement of the 'Sarum rite' by the Missal of S Pius V.

Here follows a repetition of a 2014 blogpost, with much of the extremely interesting thread which it elicited. Perhaps, five years later, there may be things to add. So off we go ...

Of course, we all know that the difference between those two 'rites' is very slight. But that is the judgement of bookish people like us, considering principally text. As Adrian Fortescue put it, Sarum and the rest "are merely the Roman rite with quite unimportant local variations. They can indeed hardly be called derived rites; if one may take a parallel from philology one may describe them best as dialects of the Roman rite ... To distinguish the Roman, Sarum, and Mozarabic liturgies on the same plane is like classifying English, Yorkshire dialect, and French as three languages." Thoroughly true. But they do look rather different.

One has to admit that we cannot be absolutely sure what the Sarum use did look like in, say, 1570 or 1580. Sometimes usage may leave rubric somewhat behind. But, taking the texts as printed, I give one example:

When the priest had consecrated the Host, he did not genuflect. He 'inclined himself' ... one edition says that he adored It by bowing his head ... then elevated It by lifting It for the people to see. He did not 'adore' or 'incline' again, but went on to consecrate the Chalice. After that, he did not make any act of reverence, but lifted the Chalice 'as far as his chest OR over his head'. He then stretched out his arms 'in modum crucis' for the first part of the Unde et memores.

I would have thought that the Tridentine ceremonial, familiar to us, would have seemed rather strange to those brought up on Sarum. And one could make the same point from the beginning of Mass to the end.

Fortescue (pp 202-3 fn 4) tells how Dr Lawrence Webb arrived from Rome at Douay in December 1576 and taught the young men how to do the new rite. He cites Records of the English Catholics under the Penal Laws, London, 1878, p118. Does anybody have that to hand? Are then any suggestive details?

Anybody have any actual evidence about how the laity reacted? Is there any bibliographical evidence about the survival of Sarum or the introduction of S Pius V? And Fortescue had been told, but had been unable to verify the claim, that some priests brought Sarum back into use in the happy reign of our late Sovereign Lord King James II. Anybody know anything?

14 November 2019

It's smart. Can you really do without it?

Although I don't quite understand those awkward moods and tenses,
My Ordo Recitandi's strict Westmonasteriensis.

Those of Anglican Patrimony will remember Eric Mascall's exquisite poem The Ultra-Catholic. But I bet there aren't many clergy around now who remember actually handling the old Westminster Ordo.  It was the smartest of the lot ... a sort of Rolls Royce among Ordos. Its elegant white and black livery is echoed by the admirable Ordo produced by the thoroughly admirable Saint Lawrence Press.

Mgr Ronald Knox once did a spoof 'review' of an Ordo ... writing about its author's "terse nervous Latinity"... and if you really want to get the feel of what priestcraft was like before Pacelli and Bugnini got to work wrecking the labours of centuries, this is the Ordo you need. Everything else on the market (LMS; SSPX ...) is 1962ish; and it is in English.  But the (Latin) Saint Lawrence Ordo is very easy to understand because its Latin abbreviations are all so pretty obvious.

You may not be in a position to order your own liturgy according to the rich 1939 prescriptions. But there is a degree to which, however obediently you follow 1962, you need to understand what it was that 1962 is an abbreviation of before you really cotton on to what 1962 itself means. 

It's a journey back in time to a healthier liturgical culture.

ordorecitandi@gmail.com 

13 November 2019

"The temporary suspense of the function of the Ecclesia Docens" in the teaching of S John Henry Newman

Cardinal Burke, God bless him, has talked about "a breakdown of the central teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff." This strongly reminds me of the phrase of S John Henry Newman at the top of this blogpost.

I originally published this in DECEMBER 2017. I think it is even more relevant now, because of the recent Statement Contra Recentia Sacrilegia by a number of us about the Vatican Garden Event (see Lifesitenews). And because of the additional authority which his canonisation has given to the wise teaching of S John Henry. And because of his Eminence's wise words.

SO HERE IS MY 2017 TEXT, unadapted, and with old comments on the thread.

A world-wide group of laymen and laywomen have just issued a defence of Catholic doctrine concerning Family and Life matters. The crucial paragraph, in my view, is this:

We pledge our full obedience to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the legitimate exercise of is authority. However, nothing will ever persuade us, or compel us, to abandon or contradict any article of the Catholic faith or any truth definitively established. If there is any conflict between the words and acts of any member of the hierarchy, even the pope, and the doctrine that the Church has always taught, we will remain faithful to the perennial teaching of the Church. If we were to depart from the Catholic faith, we would depart from Jesus Christ, to whom we wish to be united for all eternity."

This seems to me exactly right and exactly proportionate to the present situation in the Catholic Church. By a happy disposition of Providence, this Statement hit the media at the same time as Walter Kasper's gleeful conviction that Amoris laetitia has now become irreformable and that the 'controversy' is now over. Gracious me, what ultrahyperueberpapalist views of the Petrine Ministry these Liberals do have when they get a foul wind in their sails.


And the Statement reminds me of the phrase which Blessed John Henry Newman used in the context of the Arian controversy, in which the great majority of the Bishops, the Ecclesia docens, and including the Successor of S Peter, were either heretics, or were cowed into silence or compromise by the heretics. It is the phrase I have put at the head of this post, which I take in the sense in which Newman subsequently clarified his use of it, and not otherwise.

I suppose we had a good example of this phenomenon of 'suspense' in the pontificate of Blessed Paul VI, in the period between his setting up of a Commission to consider the question of Contraception, and his very courageous subsequent reaffirmation of the Church's Magisterial Teaching with the publication of Humanae vitae.

Surely, we are in another such period of suspense now. The question of  the admission of adulterers to Holy Communion was magisterially dealt with as recently as 2007, only ten years ago, in Sacramentum Caritatis para 29; it had  received synodical and papal clarification in each of the last two pontificates; and is embedded in the Catechism. But a 'suspense' began when it was opened up to synodal debate; and that 'suspense' grew wider when PF issued a document which has been interpreted in diametrically opposed ways. The Suspense will end when this or a subsequent Roman Pontiff or an Ecumenical Council reasserts with unmistakeable clarity the teaching of the Magisterium (or possibly when the error, having run its course, happily dies a natural death).

The learned Patron of the Ordinariate, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, made clear that he in no way implied the cessation of the Magisterial teaching or office during a 'suspense'. The Dogma of Nicea remained de jure fully in force; but was simply not treated as such by many bishops and so did not 'function'. The bishops remained ex officio guardians and teachers of the Faith; not a microgram of their God-given authority to teach the Faith was lost to them; but de facto they failed to guard and to teach that Faith. The concept of suspense is not so much theological as historical; an observation that anybody can make if they just look around.

Things now are very similar. The teaching of the Magisterium is, obviously, formally still vigore pleno; but numbers of unfaithful or negligent bishops behave as though it were not. In many cases, they appear and/or claim to do so with the connivance of the Successor of S Peter.

A QUESTION

During a 'suspense', does the episcopal ministry of those bishops who are heterodox on just one point still call for religiosum obsequium on other matters? Or is one obliged to consider their entire episcope vitiated by just one point of heterodoxy?

Looking back into the great Anglican Patrimony which Pope Benedict invited us to bring with us into Catholic Unity, I recall a phrase dear to a distinguished and erudite Bishop of Oxford, Charles Gore [1853-1932; a doughty asserter of the doctrine which was re-asserted by Casti Connubii]: "the wonderful coherence of Christian doctrine". A later, even more erudite occupant of the same See, Kenneth Kirk, [1886-1954] commented: "Gore saw Christian doctrine as a unified whole ... It was his conviction, shared of course with the great Scholastic tradition in theology, that if any single article in this totality was attacked, varied, or distorted, the attack, variation, or distortion would be seen on inspection to affect every other article to a greater or lesser degree. ... if two systems each of which can claim some real degree of logical principle are in conflict on any one point, investigation will ultimately prove that they differ on every point, though at first sight this may be anything but apparent. For each system is, by hypothesis, self-consistent, and therefore all its members are interlocked, and whatever affects one of them must affect them all."

This is still one of my own working hermeneutical tools. Accordingly, I feel a tentative hesitation, during this lamentable suspense, about taking seriously any teaching statement of an apparently less that orthodox member of the hierarchy.

I throw open the above position to discussion, totally aware of my own fallibility, and anxious to be in all things a docile subject of the authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church.


And I applaud the statement of Fidelity to Catholic Teaching issued by these eminent and admirable laypeople.

12 November 2019

Church Dedications

People often assume that when the Anglicans describe an ancient parish church as 'dedicated to Saint X', they are giving accurate information. Sadly, this is very often not the case.

I draw attention to English Church Dedications by Nicholas Orme (Exeter, 1996). Orme regretfully pointed out that the work of Frances Arnold-Foster, on whose reliability many (including Bishop Kirk) had based their conclusions, was to all intents and purposes useless as far as medieval evidence is concerned, since she provided what, in 1899, were then regarded as the dedications of English churches and did little or no research. Later writers were hardly better. In fact, Orme's research in medieval sources demonstrated that a very high percentage of such dedications were invented by Georgian antiquaries or Victorian High Churchmen. Earlier writers were unaware of this, and equally unaware that so great were the discontinuities of the English Reformation that pretty well everywhere the dedications were forgotten very soon after the sixteenth century ruptures. Exceptions occurred in towns, where a plurality of churches meant that people had to retain some way of distinguishing each one from the others; and where, in the countryside, two villages needed to distinguish themselves (Snoring S Cosmas; Snoring S Damian).

Thus, in Devon, I had seven village churches. Of these seven, one retained the dedication it can be shown to have had in the Middle Ages. One is now known to have been dedicated to S Andrew, but was attributed in 1742 to S Mary, probably on the ground that the parish fair happened close to February 2. The other five churches have completely lost their original dedications, and the ones they now enjoy are post-medieval conjectures.

That Andrew dedication is interesting. Saxon and Norman bishops, when they went round consecrating unconsecrated churches (a lot of this happened in the twelfth century), worked from books descended lineally from those brought here in the Saxon period, and were marked with a preference for the Saint to whom S Gregory and the Augustinian Mission had been so devoted. (It was of course Pope Gregory who added S Andrew to the Libera nos.)

So the comparative popularity of S Andrew is yet another indication of the profound Romanita of Saxon England.

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

Anybody with an academic interest in the assertions I make in my penultimate paragraph will find the evidence in the (fairly) new HBS edition of Leofric.

11 November 2019

Life in the Lower Fourth

At least Four Genuine Cheers are due to PF for putting our Lady of Loreto onto the Novus Ordo Universal Calendar (albeit optionally; December 10). I like to think of him spending his leisure hours, as so many of us have, browsing through the dear old pre-1962 Appendix pro Aliquibus Locis. It makes him seem more human.

We of the Anglican Patrimony have a soft spot for this observance because of our devotion to OL of Walsingham and her Holy House. Less than a couple of months ago I pointed out that the September 24 Mass for OLW in our Ordinariate Missal is an English translation of the old Mass (temp. Innocent XII, ob 1700)  for  the Holy House at Loreto. It is therefore just a tadge sad-making that the new PF Mass for this day is a new composition. (Or is it? They must have been using some propers in Loreto since 1969 ... are these they? Or have these just recently been confected de novo? I suspect the latter, because in the early 1970s there would still have been enough people around in Rome who knew enough Latin to avoid the monstrous, the appalling, grammatical mistake in the Collect ... de quo plura inferius.)

Earlier in this pontificate, Cardinal Sarah had to endure the sacking of a number of competent scholars from his dicastery, and their replacement by staff rumoured to be ... er ... This can harrdly have helped the maintenance of standards in that dicastery. (I have been unable to find an account of this coup on the Internet. Can anybody help?)

But, out of respect for fact, I would have to admit that the problem of illiterate Latin at the CDWgoes back to well before the appointment of Cardinal Sarah.

Things ... I am sorry to have to announce to you ... haven't got any better.

As if to make this point very powerfully and programmatically, near the top of the new Proper is the phrase Ad Calendarium Romanum Generalem. When I was teaching Latin to the young, that was the sort of howler I might have expected of the Lower Fourth. Not that I actually ever taught Lower Fourth Latin. Perhaps I am doing them an injustice.

And there are the usual minor typos ... 'Dei' rather than 'Die' ... a missing full stop ... Why doesn't anybody ever check though these things?

But on the other hand, I do like the use in the Homily of the Plautine verb minito (not its deponent form). I take this as top level Magisterial encouragement for the greater use of slapstick humour in our Latin Catholic culture. Three cheers for Mgr Laurel and Canon Hardie.

But ... Oh dear ... I can procrastinate no longer ... the new Collect ... and the Collect is of course the most prominent text of any Proper. It is used in the Divine Office and sets the tone and the themes at the start of Mass.

Here is the authorised and published text. I have highlighted the clausulae for discussion later.

Deus, qui promissa Patribus adimplens beatam Virginem Mariam elegisti, ut matrem fieret Salvatoris, concede nobis illius exempla sectari, cuius humilitas tibi placuit, et oboedientia nobis profuit.

To begin with ... I will not insult you by implying that you might not have noticed the really massive grammatical howler in the first half of this composition. Even kindergarten classics teachers would have a right to expect to be spared  things like that. What a 'clericalist' insult to the Holy People of God that they should have this sort of thing disrespectfully thrust upon them by disdainful ecclesiastics. Very unsynodal.

Instead, having shuddered, let us move hurriedly on to look at the clausulae as highlighted.

The first is a trispondaicus (or a planus if you insist on elision); the second a velox; the third a planus. So far, so good. But I find it hard to fit the last two into the main options found in the old sacramentaries (Planus, Tardus, Velox, Trispondaicus). Probably you could could find them in Cicero; but there, of course, the game is a somewhat different one.

Not that I'm denying that there is some elegant patterning in those two concluding clauses!

These curial documents tend to be signed or countersigned by some chappy called Arturo Roche (pronounced 'Rockay'??).  I don't know how good Arturo's English is, but as far as his Latin is concerned, he might benefit from attending the Latin Mass Society's Latin Summer School. He could earn his passage by doubling as our Drinks Steward ("Hey, Arturo, mine's a G and T").

I would be gentle with the poor fellow. Everybody has to start somewhere. I have always been a patient teacher.

10 November 2019

Remembrance Sunday

The Requiem Mass for the War dead prays for men and women who, like all of us, stand in need of merciful forgiveness. We plead the sacrifice of Christ, offering His Body and Blood, for them, not as heroes but as sinners. On the other hand, the customary rituals of Cenotaph observance do have - surely, even now - a nationalism built into them, while Holy Mass subverts every nationalism. It was, after all, offered on both sides in the European wars.

The great Fr Bernard Walke, who made St Hilary's in Cornwall into an Anglo-Catholic village, instituted the service of Benediction during WW1 "as an act of reparation to the Sacred Heart for the wrongs of war, and as a means of uniting ourselves with our enemies in that Sacrament which knows no frontiers". Walke, a papalist, wholeheartedly supported the attitude of Benedict XV to that War and was beaten up in the street for refusing to accept the disgusting rhetoric of the war-time hysteria.

He used to go to Dartmoor Prison to offer Mass for the 'conchies' there; denied use of the Anglican Chapel, he accepted the offer of the Methodist place of worship. I find it a moving picture ... the cold moorland mists and 'Ber' offering the Tridentine Mass in the meanest of proddy surroundings with a congregation largely consisting of persecuted and emaciated Quakers.

There, surely, was a true Ecumenism, so unlike the cosy twaddle we are expected to go along with nowadays. I am not so impressed by the popularity of a Cardinal Hinsley during WW2, who was praised as being "an Englishman first and a Christian second".

I wonder if it was a conscious echo of Walke's words about reparation to the Sacred Heart which led the congregation at my own old Anglican church of S Thomas's to put up a German-carved statue of the Sacred Heart as their War Memorial, beside tablets inscribed with the names of the departed.

As far as WW2 is concerned, I often think about the contrast between two great fictional literary products of that war, both written by combatants; both overtly semi-autobiographical. Monsarrat's The Cruel Sea is written by an ideologically and morally rudderless lapsed Marxist; as a memorial to the men who fought the war of the Atlantic convoys. I find it full of venom; venom against adulterous wives back home; against tall blond German submarine captains; against bullying Australians; against the Irish who denied Cork Harbour and Bantry Bay to the Royal Navy. 

Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy is quite different. At its beginning, Waugh's character, a traditionalist Catholic gentleman burdened with ethical Rights and Wrongs, saw the conflict as a chivalrous crusade on behalf of Christian civilisation against Nazi barbarism and its atheist allies in Moskow. When the war was ending, with Uncle Jo a genial ally and sitting in triumph on half of Europe, Waugh had come to perceive it as a sweaty tug of war between two teams of scarcely distinguishable louts. Waugh discerns the ironies and hypocrisies as embodied in the Sword of Stalingrad - a gift from the Christian King of England; a symbol of chivalry to congratulate Marshal Stalin; a triumph of craftsmanship ... and with the symbols on its scabbard upside down. Waugh's hero sees, as Waugh himself had seen, the vicious post-War savaging of Christian Europe in Tito's Jugoslavia.

The Mass is just as subversive of our modern tyrannies as it was of the horrible nationalisms of the twentieth century. It joyously subverts now-fashionable assumptions of roles and genders. As a communal and hierarchical act with a formal and inherited structure, it subverts the cultures of choice, of spontaneity, of individual autonomy, of each man constructing her own identity, everybody manufacturing their own god and their own good. As a ritual which looks beyond itself, it subverts the assumptions of human self-sufficiency. And it speaks of Judgement; Judgement passed by a Court of No Appeal far beyond any Court of Human Rights.

Indeed, the rights which the Mass enthrones are the sovereign rights of a Creator and the vested interests of a Redeemer. Vivat Christus Rex.

9 November 2019

Saint John Henry Newman on the Stinking Corpse

When S Augustine came to Canterbury, he built a cathedral church In honorem Sancti Salvatoris. In other words, he gave it the same dedication as that of the papal cathedral church in Rome, the Lateran basilica, the Mother Church of the world, the festival of whose dedication we keep today. Later, just as Rome had the basilicas of Ss Peter and Paul, outside the walls because they were built on the sites of the cemeteries where the Apostles were buried (Roman burials were always outside city walls), so Canterbury was to have the great monastery of Ss Peter and Paul (vulgo S Augustine's), outside the city walls, where burials took place. And, to represent Great S Mary's in Rome, to the East of Ss Peter and Paul was the church of our Lady.

Nostalgia, nostalgia. Today's commemoration of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica is marked surely with tears for those of us whose religious formation was as Anglicans. We lament the ruin of the great Ecclesia Anglicana which, from her beginning, was a beacon and monument of Romanitas in these damp and misty islands of the North, at a time when distinctively Roman Christianity had not yet spread much further that Rome herself. As S John Henry put it, Canterbury has gone its way, and York is gone, and Durham is gone, and Winchester is gone. It was sore to part with them. We clung to the vision of past greatness, and would not believe it could come to nought ... but the vivifying principle of truth, the shadow of S Peter, the grace of the Redeemer has left it. That old Church in its day became a corpse (a marvellous change!) and then it did but corrupt the air it once refreshed and cumber the ground which once it beautified.

As James Joyce pointed out, S John Henry was a superb prose stylist ... you might say, the Stylists' Stylist.

Only he could have got away with calling the Church of England a Stinking Corpse, because he said it so very elegantly.

8 November 2019

Ancestors and Combustibility

In some Amazon Synod document, I read the following, which I find puzzling:

"The wisdom of ancestral peoples affirms that Mother Earth has a female face."

There's plenty there to scratch one's head about. What particularly puzzles me is the phrase "ancestral peoples".

Don't we all have ancestors? Why am I not an Ancestral Person? Talking about Ancestral Peoples implies that other, lesser, hominid groupings may not be 'ancestral'. But how can this be? Even the mighty PF, when all is said and done, surely has ancestors? Or is he, according to the Nouvelle Theologie, some sort of extra-terrestrial creation, fatherless and motherless, who emerged from a flying saucer in some American desert?

(If this were so, would he be capax Sacramenti Ordinis?)

Should we all reassert our biblical Ancestrality by reviving the Narnian expressions Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve?

Changing the subject ... I liked the video of that splendid clergyman burning a Pachamama. But we need help here, which perhaps could be supplied by some of our traddy communities of nuns. They could manufacture Pachamama statues, perhaps of papier-mache impregnated with parafin or other combustible substances, which would be very easy even for the clumsiest priest to burn ceremonially ... and, er, frequently.

For the sisters, it would be a probably welcome change from baking Altar Breads. 

We need more imagination in the Church ...

You know I'm right.

7 November 2019

Is Newman a Saint?

Someone put to me this query: Suppose, in the future, it were to be decided by Authority that PF committed a formal act of Apostasy at the Vatican Gardens Event and thereby ceased to be pope. Would his act of canonising John Henry Newman still be valid?

Frankly, I regard this scenario as being in the very highest degree improbable. But ... what if ...

I would argue that, basically, it is what we Westerners nowadays call Beatification that really matters. (In the 'Orthodox' Churches, there has never been a two-stage ascent to Sainthood; just one stage.) In our Western Church, Beatification is the point at which the Church definitively permits a Catholic to be venerated by being given a Mass and Office in his honour; together with cultus. No longer are Masses to be offered for the repose of his soul. This change of status occurred when Pope Benedict beatified Newman at Birmingham. Canonisation simply extends the cultus from the restricted localities or communities specified in the decree of Beatification, to the Universal Church.

But even then things are not totally clear-cut. Not every newly canonised Saint is put on all the Universal Calendars as a memoria to be observed everywhere. (This is despite a hint in the writings of Pope Benedict XIV that a canonisation is not fully definitive unless acceptance of it is universally required.)

A little while ago, I accidentally came across a video made by Ann Widdecombe before Newman's Beatification. As a result of her enquiries and interviews, she expressed an opinion about why Benedict XVI was so keen for JHN to be beatified, and why, contrary to present practice, he wished to perform the rite himself rather than by delegation.

Absolutely correctly, Widdecombe focussed on the biglietto speech made by S John Henry upon receiving notification of his elevation to the Sacred College. In this, he asserted that throughout his life, both as an Anglican and as a Catholic, he had fought against what was for him the great error of the day: Liberalism. By this he meant what Benedict XVI called indifferentism and relativism: the idea that there is no absolute Truth.

Benedict beatified JHN by his own personal and direct act as a witness to the priority and certainty of the deposit of Faith handed down through the Apostles.

This theme has not been so much to the forefront of this pontificate ... before the canonisation, I did once make a jocular remark to the effect that people should pray that PF might not find out what Newman really stood for, before the scheduled date of the canonisation, lest the event be cancelled.

It is because S John Henry is not a witness to the predominant and abnormal themes of this present pontificate, but to an exactly opposite analysis, and because, unlike other modern canonizati, his elevation to the Altars of the Church is by the authority of two pontiffs, that I have confidence in the propriety of his cultus.

And, of course, God gave a very impresssive miracle as the witness to this great Saint's Sainthood.

6 November 2019

... cuius animae propitietur Deus

This morning, to the funeral Mass of Father Jerome Bertram, Congregation of the Oratory, Master of Arts, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was ... is ... a priest of unusual erudition, worn very lightly. He wrote Latin with great skill and elegance.

He had been giving me help and advice in my study of a mutilated Brass in St Mawgan Church in Cornwall, commemorating a recusant lady called Catherine Tregian (nata Arundell; Mother of Francis Tregian). Now I shall have to finish it on my own.

The Church was packed out with both clergy and laity. The Extraordinary Form Solemn Mass of Requiem was beautifully done and accompanied by properly Oratorian music ... as if the Bandit Decades of the 60s and 70s had never happened; as if 2013 and the Triumph of the Wolves were just a bad dream.

5 November 2019

Dom Gregory Dix and the Papacy

Anglicans have commonly complained about the definition of Papal jurisdiction in Vatican I as an Ordinary, Episcopal, and Immediate jurisdiction over every Christian. It apparently subverts a doctrine of Episcopacy (sometimes called 'Cyprianic') which has often attracted Anglicans. "It makes the Pope a parallel and superior diocesan bishop in every diocese of Christendom", is the criticism.

Dom Gregory Dix dealt with this by referring to an incident in Anglican history in which, a diocesan having refused to institute a parish priest, the institution was therefore performed, after the legal processes ended with the diocesan losing the case, by or by commission from the Archbishop of Canterbury as Primate. As Dix pointed out, this is Ordinary (in accordance with norms of canon law) Episcopal (conferring the Cura animarum) and Immediate. If Anglicans can accept this, they need have no problems with Pastor Aeternus.

I assumed that this referred to the Gorham judgement of the 1840s, when a High Church bishop, Philpott of Exeter, refused to institute an Evangelical incumbent who denied Baptismal Regeneration. But Fr Alan Cooke of S Mark's Chadderton wrote to me in 2009: " In the early days of Archbishop Lang's primacy, as related on page 379 of Lockhart's biography, Bishop Barnes [the ultra-Modernist bishop] of Birmingham refused to institute a priest of whose views he disapproved. After proceedings in the High Court of Chancery, the Bishop remained intransigent, and the priest was instituted by the Archbishop. I wonder if it might be this incident that was in Dix's mind. He would certainly have had more sympathy with the view of that priest in Birmingham (the Revd Doyle Simmonds) than with those of Mr Gorham."

This may very well be right. But - if I may play Devil's Advocate:
(1) the Gorham case was much more high-profile; and contributed to Archdeacon Manning's departure from the C of E; and
(2) if Dix had 'Gorham' in mind, he really is taking the war into the enemies' territory by arguing that even the most anti-papal factions within Anglicanism are delighted to have a Pio Nono on tap when it suits them and their proddy cause. This is the sort of cheeky ad hominem argument that Dix, like Newman, loved to employ.

I use ad hominem in the Lockean sense of pressing a man with the implications of his own assertions.


4 November 2019

The Preface of All Saints

Alert readers will be aware of the 'Gallican' preface of All Saints (and of Patrons) included, I believe, in the 1962 Missal (I don't possess a copy of that rite), and widely used, especially in France, long before 1962 (it still appears in the SSPX ORDO). These 'Gallican' prefaces derive ultimately from the Paris Missal of 1738.

In the Good Old Days, the proper preface of a major festival was used throughout its octave (even when the Mass was not of the octave). In the spirit of this tradition, I venture to suggest the propriety of using the All Saints preface tomorrow in the Mass of the Holy Relics; and whenever this week the calendar of an area or religious order has a "Feast of All Saints of X". November 6, of course, is the festival of All Saints of Ireland; and the old Octave Day, November 8, has been widely kept since 1928 as the Feast of All Saints of England (and Wales).

In confirmation of my instinct, the Ordinariate Missal admirably provides for the use of an All Saints preface on the Feast of All Saints of England (although the prefaces offered do not include the 'Gallican' preface).

November 5, is the Feast of the Holy Relics


What a wholesome liturgical instinct this festival represents. In the medieval English rites, it tried out various dates; May 22 or the Monday after the Ascension at Exeter; the Sunday after the Translation of S Thomas (July 7) at Hereford and Sarum - although Sarum notes that 'nuper' it occupied the Octave Day of our Lady's Nativity, with an appropriate Collect "Grant we beseech thee Almighty God, that the merits may protect us of the holy Mother of God and Ever Virgin Mary and of thy Saints whose relics are kept in this church ...". The traditional Benedictine rite keeps this festival on May 13, presumably a learned allusion to the Dedication of the Pantheon in Rome, upon this day, as the Church of Sancta Maria ad Martyres. Before the reforms of S Pius X, this festival was to be found among the Masses For Some Places on October 26, or on the Last Sunday of October.

After S Pius X, the Feast of the Relics settled, most appropriately, onto a day within the Octave of All Saints, November 5, where it was observed by papal indult in certain places (often as a Greater Double). The colour to be used is red. This is consistent with the fact that the Office is the Common of Many Martyrs, despite the fact that not all the Saints whose relics we this day venerate were martyred. Perhaps we may relate this usage to the primitive notion that the Martyrs are the prototypical saints; that the unmartyred sancti et sanctae in a sense just piggy-back along upon the martyrs.

The Sacred Congregation of Rites sometimes felt tempted to turn to Byzantine sources to get a richer mixture than one always finds in formal Western texts (Sessio xxv of Trent is sound enough on the relics but a trifle sober). So the proper lections at Mattins for this feast are taken from that always-reliable Doctor of the Church S John of Damascus (Fr Eric Mascall once observed the propensity of Roman liturgists to resort to Eastern sources whenever they felt moved to say something 'extreme'). "For since Life itself and the Author of Life was numbered among the dead, we do not call those who finished their last day in the hope of Resurrection and of faith in Him 'Dead'. For how can a dead body utter miracles? Through relics the devils are cast out, diseases sent fleeing, the sick healed, the blind see ..." etc. etc.. The Collect is a fine composition which likewise sees the miracles performed through the relics of Saints as pledges of the Resurrection: Increase in us O Lord our faith in the Resurrection, who in the relics of thy Saints dost perform marvellous works: and make us partakers of the immortal glory of which our veneration of their ashes [cineres] is a pledge.

In the Leofric Missal, copied from texts brought to England in S Augustine's rucksack, there is a Votive for use in a Church or Oratory where relics are held. Its Collect lists all those categories of Saints of whom we might possess relics ... including our Lady and the Angelic Powers! A couple of its texts use the word patrocinium apparently to mean "our hoard of relics", and one phrase reminds God that we have gone to the trouble to collect them (colligere curavimus)!

This celebration disappeared from Church life in the post-Conciliar period, for presumably the same reasons that at the same time caused the Jesuits, who then occupied the Church of S Aloysius in this City, to have a massive bonfire of all the relics and reliquaries in their splendid Relics Chapel (Fr Bertram's elegant booklet about those events reminds one uncannily of the similar things which happened throughout England in the late 1540s ... mercifully, the gracious spirit of S Philip Neri has now restored lost glories by filling the Alyoggers Relics Chapel with a grand new collection).

This feast is, in my view, rich in themes for evangelical preaching and teaching, and ripe for wider revival. It teaches the goodness of material things against a false 'spiritualism'; it preaches the ultimately indissoluble link between Body and Soul against the sub-Christian notion that only the soul really matters; it proclaims the transforming eschatological glory which will clothe this perishable with what is imperishable, and this mortal with what is immortal, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

3 November 2019

Bungled again

According to a TV reviewer in the Times newspaper, "Depicting a fascist rally in Manchester in 1939, the opening scene had the leaders dressed in Blackshirt uniform". But, under the 1936 Public Order Act, this had been banned.

How carefully accurate does a historical film have to be? Of course, there is no objective answer to this. It depends on what you want. I am going to tell you what I want.

Personally, I want to understand  historical periods; to feel, to the tiny degree to which such a thing is possible, how things were. I instinctively treat such productions as Evidence; sources; data which, added to data I already have, can fill in details within a picture of a historical reality.

In the old 1960s film of Tom Jones, an Anglican clergyman, so I recall, wore a stole. If somebody really had done that, it would have been a very interesting fact indeed. In a clip of a Jane Austen which I once saw, a girl was wearing a cross on a chain round her neck. Did Georgian Anglican girls do this? It would be interesting to be told that they did ... this detail would go to building up a revisionist picture of Georgian Anglicanism. Otherwise, I think I would assume that the girl must have been a recusant. In which case, I would wonder which clever literary researcher had discovered such an interesting subtext.

But ... we all know it's probably just an unbelievably ignorant props manager ... and that we can only enjoy such productions if we suspend completely any instinct to look for clues and just doze through it all. Or if we are prepared to work so hard as to treat each piece as if it really operates at two levels: this is how a stupid person in the 1990s misunderstood the 1830s.

But isn't that very hard work? And potentially unrewarding?

In a 1990s dramatisation of Stendahl's Le rouge et le noir, a French monarch of the Bourbon Restoration is about to drive through a township. Those waiting to cheer him are waving sweet little tricolour flags on sweet little sticks. How interesting that this custom existed in France as early as the first third of the nineteenth century. If it did! But, forgetting about that comparatively minor detail, my own reading of such a scene would lead me to assume that the town was very provocatively anti-Bourbon ... indeed, to wonder whether the imminent monarch (Charles X?) would perpetrate an angry massacre when he beheld such breath-taking defiance with his very own royal eyes. After all, much later in the century King Henri V sacrificed an opportunity of restoration because he refused to sanction the Emblem of the Revolution.

British readers will admire my restraint in saying nothing about some 'Austens' currently on our TV.
I simply can't watch silly costume dramas by dirty-minded illiterates purporting to offer us the divine Jane. 

In fact, my only surviving weaknesses in this area are the Beeb's Brideshead and David Suchet's Poirot (the other night, I think I saw a genuine Tamara Lempicka hanging on an Art Deco wall ...). 

2 November 2019

Pontificale Romanum: the Second Meddler

(This post presupposes that you read about the previous Meddler a few weeks ago.)

Thomas Cranmer faced, four hundred years before Bernard Botte, the prolixity of the late Medieval Rite for the Consecration of a Bishop. As Dom Gregory Dix enjoyed pointing out, the problem with the sixteenth century 'Reformers' was that they both knew very little about early Christian worship and were very determined to throw out all the Medieval bathwater. But in their profound ignorance, what they generally managed to throw out was the 'primitive' Baby, and the late medieval bathwater is what they sedulously preserved, enthroning it for veneration with all the gleeful fervour of a medieval monastic relic-hunter. Cranmer's revision of the Rite of Episcopal Consecration falls exactly into this pattern. The late medieval Imperative Formula Take the Holy Ghost becomes the centre-piece of his rite [later Anglicans were to make it more explicit: Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and work of a Bishop in the Church of God].

The ancient and venerable Roman Consecratory Prayer got as short shrift from Cranmer in the 1550s as it was later to receive from Botte in the 1960s. It emphasised the significance of the vesture of the Aaronic priesthood, and both of our Meddlers undoubtedly will have felt very little enthusiasm for the typological significance of a lot of Hebrew needlework. In its place, Cranmer provided a prayer of his own composition. He was not lacking in self-confidence!

But Cranmer concluded his confection with a slightly abbreviated translation of the Missale Francorum interpolation into the Roman Prayer.

Neither of these two Meddlers, in my opinion, comes at all well out of all this. But, if you were to ask me which of the two of them preserved more of the traditions of the Western Church as they had received them, and moved the more 'organically' within a Hermeneutic of Continuity, I think I might plead that Cranmer wins by a rather dodgy microwhisker.

1 November 2019

Noah ... or Noe ...

I wonder why Noe does not appear, together with Abel, Abraham, and Melkizedek, in the Supra quae of the Canon Romanus. This is all the more pertinent a question since Noe does appear, with the others, in the Apostolic Constitutions and in the Liturgies of S Basil and of S James.

I don't have a cut-and-dried answer to this - perhaps correspondents will have contributions - but my suspicion is as follows. The other three have a very much stronger symbolic or typological relationship with Christ and with his Sacrifice. Abel, dikaios like Christ, was a Shepherd and offered, let us say, a Lamb. Abraham, our Father by virtue of his and our Faith, offered on Mount Moriah (which was to be the Temple mount and the place of Christ's Sacrifice) a sacrifice which was in a sense the offering of his Son but was offered per modum of a ... grown-up lamb. Melkizedek offered Bread and Wine, suggestive of the Eucharist ... and the Writer ad Hebraeos gives further reasons for linking Melkizedek typologically with Christ.

I expect there is some important factor which I have missed ...??