28 May 2022

The Blood Royal of England ... how blessed we are!

 What a glorious time of rejoicing this is, when loyal Englishmen can enjoy celebrating a Sainted Lady of truly ancient and splendid lineage, and great personal sanctity!

And One who was the mother of the Most Eminent Father in God the last Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury! I refer, of course, to Blessed Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, last of the House of Plantagenet, martyred under Henry VIII in 1541. When news of her glorious martyrdom reached Reginald Pole, he rejoiced that he was now the Son of a Martyr.

Today, in dioceses including Clifton and Portsmouth, is her Feast Day.

She was the daughter and heiress of George, Duke of Clarence, Brother of Edward IV. The usurping Welsh house of Tudor naturally regarded her with envious hatred.

And not unnaturally. When the people of Cornwall and Devon rose in rebellion against the imposition of heresy in 1549, they issued Articles ... political demands ... which grew more and more ... definite ... as the months went by. In the Third such set of Articles, they demanded that "because the lord Cardinal Pole is of the Kynges bloode, should not only have hys pardon, but also sent for to Rome and promoted to be of the kinges counsayl."

But, in the Fourth set of Articles, there was more precision. " ... hys free pardon ... to be first or second of the kinges counsayl".

How that gang of heretics, crooks, and murderers round the Council Table must have trembled ...

Beata Margareta, ora pro nobis!!

27 May 2022

Rogations; and the Last Gospel

 Readers may recall that, during the Rogation processions, 'stations' were made at crosses. My own suspicion is that the stone crosses which stand along the paths leading to churches, especially in the Penwith peninsular at the very end ... the loveliest part ... of Cornwall, were where such stations were made. And (even before the endowed drinking started) passages from the Holy Gospels were read.

Because there are North and South and East and West, four points on the compass, and there are four canonical Gospels, the readings were arranged accordingly. The Annunciation Gospel (Luke 1:26-38) ... the Epiphany Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12) ... the Ascension Gospel (Mark 16:14-20) ... the Christmas Day Gospel (John 1:1-14). 

Rumour has it that, in the Usus Deterior, the people are only allowed to hear S Mark's Ascension Gospel once every three years ... I couldn't possibly comment ... and that modern vernacular Bibles drop heavy hints that it is not 'authentic' ... I couldn't possibly comment ... (but I think W Farmer had some views on this). Certainly, as an adjunct of the Rogation processions, its daemonifugic and thaumaturgic references (verses 17-18) will have had a considerable resonance. A shame most modern worshippers are, er, protected from all this.

Acute eyes will have noticed that that all four of these Gospel Readings are Incarnational rather than Soteriological. It would be wrong to over-emphasise this fact: after all, the Devotion to the Five Wounds, which will have been heavily emphasised in the Parish and Guild banners, is radically soteriological. But emphases do bear their own messages. The practice of the the Rogations was essentially incarnational in as far as it related Divine action and benevolence to the created and material world. Medieval Christians, unlike their modern successors, would not have needed self-conscious homilies to instruct them that the Gospel is not confined to what goes on inside church buildings.

There are actions which carry their own inherent meaning. The 'Enlightenment' notion that only what is verbally understood has any status, needs to be rebutted. The most 'Novus' worshipper does not, I am sure, grimly and rigidly focus every fibre of his intelligence on every vernacular formula he hears or utters in Church. Things are internalised and made part of a holy routine. Lift up your hearts is full of meaning ... but you don't need to be Craddock Ratcliff, or to think rapidly through loads of theologoumena, every time you respond to this invitation. Liturgy is not meant to be like a kindergarten learning by rote its Three Times Table.

The Johannine Prologue has, for ceturies, been a favourite among Christians. It might be read at an Extreme Unction or a Baptism; it has been a blessing for the weather, the crops, and the fields. When Jungmann wrote just after the War, he recorded that in Salzburg and Carinthia, it was 'still' used as a daily blessing for weather. There were places where the Reading of this Gospel was associated with the Blessing of the pain benit, distributed after Mass. 

And so we are fortunate enough to have this sanctifying lection at the end of nearly every Mass in the Usus Authenticus!

Objectively, irrespective of any enlightenment, the words of this august Reading have their own logic and meaning; subjectively, it establishes the individual and her community in the diachronic and synchronic unities which structure our existence in this world.

 



26 May 2022

Word Play on Ascension Day

The chairman of the coetus charged in the 1960s with revising the Breviary Hymns, Dom Anselmo Lentini, was convinced that 'word-play' ["nimius lusus verborum", as he put it] was out of place in texts for modern use. So he disliked two superb lines in an Ascension Day fifth century Office Hymn

culpat caro, purgat Caro,
regnat Deus Dei Caro. 

First he deleted them; then he re-admitted them but bowdlerised them.

[literal crib: flesh sins, Flesh cleanses, God rules, the Flesh of God. The Anglican Fr John Mason Neale produced a fine rendering into English verse: that flesh hath purged what flesh had stained / and God, the Flesh of God, hath reigned.]

Unbowdlerised, these seem to me two of the most sublime lines in Latin poetry, whether sacred or profane, during the last two and a half thousand years.

Visitors to the Cathedral at Cefalu in Sicily will have seen the same sort of word-play pressed into the service of the same shattering, profound truth. In this Norman church, built by King Roger II and adorned with a purely Hellenic mosaic Pantocrator of about 1141, a Latin elegiac couplet [hexameter + pentameter] goes round the arch of the apse and reads:

Factus Homo Factor hominis factique Redemptor
     iudico Corporeus corpora corda Deus.

[Made Man, I, the Maker of man and the Redeemer of what I have made, judge, as God Embodied,  bodies and hearts.]

Lentini was a learned and able and civilised man. It is telling, in my view, that even the very best of those who hacked away at the Liturgy during that most terrible decade could have been so blinded and limited by the fashions of their age. Proof, indeed, that Liturgy should only ever evolve organically and without ineluctable ideologies.

Praise to that redeeming and triumphant Flesh!

25 May 2022

Marx and Sparx

... or, as they like nowadays to be known, Emmandess, are a well-known English Departmental Store, founded in the Dawn of History by Mr Marks and Mr Spencer. If you visit their Oxford outlet in Queen Street, you might find ... I can't remember whether it's in Ladies' Fashions or Food ... a large stone rather shamefacedly displayed behind glass. It is one of the Boundary Stones of one of the Oxford parishes ... might it have been the parish of the now-demolished City Corporation Church at Carfax (Sancti Martini in Quadrifurcu)? 

The Rogation processions survived in some places the attempts of the 'Reformers' to abolish them. An important surviving element was their role in sustaining memory of the parish boundaries; at each stone, the procession stopped and a boy (boys?) was flogged. And a boy (boys?) was inverted and had his head bashed against the stone (these were pre-feminist days). It appears to have been thought that, if the lad (lads?) survived these educational procedures, he would be less likely to forget the exact positions of the Bounds. 

The Medieval Latin Christian Rogation Processions which I have been describing performed important diachronic purposes, bringing the community of 'today' into focussed identity with that of yesteryear. The banners carried will have included those celebrating the Patron Saints of the guilds: 'trade' guilds ... 'The Wives' Guild'; the Girls; the Young Men ... the innumerable associations which made distinctions and combinations in a Catholic society. Each guild had its own Wardens under the Parish's High Wardens (after the 'Reformation', when all the guilds had been destroyed, the High Wardens needed only to be termed 'The Wardens' or 'The Church Wardens'). And each guild had its own Patron Saints.

In the Rogation Procession, the 'Chest' of the parish's relics was carried and the Litanies of the Saints chanted. Thus synchronic communio with the heavenly patrons was expressed; and thus the Saints were kept in mind as vivid participants in the communal celebration.

Essentially, these Rogation celebrations were what we now classify as 'sacramentals'. They functioned to bring together Heaven and Earth; united the Universal with the topical; combined the different classes in the community; sanctified both the rural and the urban environments. 

They were a fine example of Inculturation. Indeed, it is a sobering thought that the concept of Inculturation had clumsily to be invented by academics once the actual, living, instances of it had been persecuted out of existence; and it is not surprising that the natural human instinct for the sacrality of the Earth has had to be reinvented by post-Christian intellectuals ... in awkward and unnatural ways ... once the reality of it has faded from memory.

The old Roman Lustral rites involved the use of a bronze ploughshare. 

Which takes this cultic tradition back at least to the time before the novelty of Iron had transformed human culture.

Three millennia!



24 May 2022

Drinking the Evil Spirits away

Earlier this week, I showed how the 747 Anglo-Saxon Council of Cloveshoe attempted to purify the Rogations from Vanitatibus and maioribus epulis. But a reading of Duffy [Stripping; hereinunder plundered by this post] makes one wonder whether the English peasantry ever  ... er ... quite internalised Cloveshoe canon 16! 

Some quotations: "and then they had there some ale or drinkings". "they [went] about the bounds of the town in Rogation Week, on the Monday one way; on the Tuesday another way, on the Wednesday another way, praying for rain or fair weather as the time required; having a drinking and a dinner there upon Monday, being fast day: and Tuesday being a fish day they had a breakfast with butter and cheese, &c, at the parsonage, and a drinking at Mr Clopton's  ...". " ... [funds] to fynde a drinkenge upon Ascention Even everlastinge ...". "[They had] good chere after".

The Rogation processions were designed to drive out of the community the evil spirits who created division and sickness. They were to bring good weather and blessing and fertility to the fields. But, like the old Lustrations, they also reinforced the boundaries (if the Procession from one community accidentally met its neighbour, there could be fisticuffs; not least, because each might suspect the other of driving its demons across the common boundary). Again, like the old Lustrations, they reformalised and resolemnised the distinction between the purified space within and the profane space beyond the bounds.

In order to sanctify as well as to mark the 'bounds' of the community, the chest of the relics was carried; and the community's banners. The litanies of the Saints were sung and bells were rung in order to put to flight the spirits "that flye above in the eyer as thyke as motes in the sonne". The Cross was carried because "wher soo ever the devyll ... doo see the syne of the crosse, he flees, he byddes  not, he strykys not, he cannot hurte". At Stations marked by crosses, Gospels were read: William Tyndale ridiculed this "saying of the gospels to the corn in the field in the procession week, that it should the better grow". 

One last query, stimulated by the admirable Ceremonies of the Sarum Missal by the admirable R J Urquhart (T and T Clark; a most invaluable volume). Among the banners carried were ... the Dragon and the Lion.

Exactly!

But was the draconis vexillum just a banner? "[T]he woodcuts [in the Processional] suggest something more three-dimensional. In some places the Draco was made of leather and was inflatable or filled with chaff". 

Sounds very jolly, yes? My initial instinct was to wonder whether Draco and his friend Leo had an apotropaic function. Duffy, per contra, tells us the the Dragon had a long cloth tail as he went before the procession on Monday and Tuesday, but was carried shorn of his tail on the third day, "as a symbol of the Devil's overthrow".

Hmmmmm


Fidei Christianae Confessor

May our blessed Lady the Great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, Help of Christians, our Lady of Sheshan [Shanghai], pray for us all.

Cardinal Bo has renewed his call for prayer this day for Christians in Hong Kong, and especially now for Joseph Cardinal Zen. 

In Christian Greek, martys, 'witness', means one who bears witness to Christ even unto death. The Latin confessor seems originally to have had the same meaning; the sense shifted so that it now refers to a Christian who was prepared to die for his or her witness, but has not been called upon to do so.

 

23 May 2022

My 'Rogations' problem

 This week's Rogation processions ... the recorded facts appear to be that they were invented by S Mamertus Bishop (primate) of Vienne (near the confluence of the Gere and the Rhone) in 470; extended to all Gaul in 511, but not introduced to Rome until the time of S Leo III (795-816).

My problem?

In 747, before the pontificate of S Leo III, the English Council of Cloveshoe ordered, in its Canon 16, the observance of the Greater Rogation on April 25; and of the Lesser Rogations on these three days before the Ascension. The Greater Rogation it calls "iuxta ritum Romanae Ecclesiae"; the Lesser Rogations"secundum morem priorem nostrorum".

So far, so good. Or is it? 

The same Canon informs us that at that moment the April 25 Rogation "laetania maior apud eam [sc Romanam Ecclesiam] vocatur".  

But why should the Roman Church call April 25 the Great Rogation unless there were Lesser Rogations from which it needed to be distinguished?

I am not convinced that, in 747, the Lesser Rogations had no place in Rome. Indeed, there is evidence that, even in Vienne, before the time of S Mamertus, there had been rogations for fine weather ... but only vagae, tepentes, infrequentes ... oscitabundae supplicationes, and that it was the Saint who made them a more serious (i.e. clericalised) business of Fasting, Prayer, Psalmody, and Tears. 

Back to that English Council of 747. It orders that the pre-Ascension Rogations should be observed "non admixtis vanitatibus, ut mos est plurimis, vel negligentibus vel imperitis, id est in ludis et equorum cursibus et epulis maioribus; sed magis cum timore". The Cross  and the Relics of the Saints are to be carried in the processions; the people are to kneel and humbly beg forgiveness for their sins.

My conclusion: I believe that a probably raucous, popular series of three processions (like the Lustrum which I described yesterday) used to happen all over the Latin World; originally pagan and designed to seek divine favour in the form of the sort of weather the crops needed. By this time, they had become unhitched from pagan cult ... but not from its comcomitant festive excesses. Hypothesising further, I wonder if the April 25 Rogation was originally a papal initiative designed to put in place a more 'proper' way of seeking divine favour ... but that the old paganish Rogations nevertheless survived (in Rome and throughout the West) until a 'Reform movement' starting with S Mamertus, taking in Cloveshoe, and ending with Pope Leo III (Charlemagne's pope), 'sorted them out'. [Rather as that spoilsport Cardinal Cullen, twelve hundred years later, 'sorted out' the old Irish pattern celebrations.]

My feeling is that the Rogations pretty certainly take us back into the intriguing world of popular Latin religion centuries before the advent of Christianity; to a time when human beings lived much closer to the Earth and its rhythms without needing to invent Gaia or Our Common Home or Pachamama, or to repackage themselves as neoDruids or Wicca rediviva

The loss of these ancient, inculturated rites, in the form that Christianity reshaped them and handed them on, is just yet another of the impoverishments left behind by those who grabbed the executive reins after the end of the Council ... in the period which poor ignorant arthur roche has explained to us was the Great Enrichment.

22 May 2022

DE PONTIFICE ANATHEMATIZATO, and Rogation Week!

 It is a sound Catholic instinct to take seriously the formal doctrinal teaching of the Roman Pontiff, even when that teaching is not given ex cathedra and, accordingly, is not guaranteed to be infallible. I have been hauling Mansi up onto my computer screen so as to reread the formal letter whereby our former Holy Father confirmed the Council. It is good stuff: felicitously written with a great many happy turns of speech. His Holiness (or his Man of Letters) was one wotsit of a Latin stylist!

I am intrigued by the paragraph in which he (I am, of course, writing about Pope S Leo II) confirmed the Conciliar Anathema decreed by the Council (Constantinople III is, naturally, the Council about which I am writing) against the First Heretic Pope, Honorius I. In its Latin text, it explains the condemnation as being decreed because hanc apostolicam ecclesiam non apostolicae traditionis doctrina lustravit, sed profana proditione immaculatam fidem subvertere conatus est. [he did not sanctify this apostolic Church (Rome) with the teaching of apostolic Tradition, but by profane betrayal tried to subvert her spotless Faith.]

{Mansi reads 'persana', a mistake, surely, for 'profana' via a ms 'p'fana'. He gives a variant in the margin 'immaculatam maculari permisit', which, in accordance with the principle difficilior lectio potior, looks to me like an attempt slightly to soften the condemnation.}

The word lustravit intrigues me. It echoes the cultic terminology of pre-Christian Rome; the conventions and terminology of which remained in the consciousness of the Roman curia and the aristocratic Intelligentsia for long after the pagan ritual expression had disappeared. 

W Warde Fowler, Fellow of Lincoln College, described Lustratio thus: "to go round in procession, driving away or keeping out evil from farm, city, or army ..." In his lecture (Edinburgh, 1911) The Religious Experience of the Roman People he went into more detail: "to make a margin of separation between the sacred and the profane, within which the sacred processes of domestic life and husbandry might go forward, undisturbed by dangers--human, spiritual, or what not--coming from the profane world without. The boundary was marked out in some material way ... This boundary line was made sacred itself by the passage round it (lustratio) at some fixed time of the year, usually in May, when crops were ripening and especially liable to be attacked by hostile influences, of a procession occupied with sacrifice and prayer. The two main features of the rite, as formulated by Cato ... are--1, the procession of the victim, ox, sheep, and pig (suovetaurilia), the farmer's most valuable property; 2, the prayer to Mars pater, after libations to Janus and Jupiter, asking for his kindly protection of the whole familia of the farm, together with the crops of all kinds and the cattle within the boundary-line ... the farmer's object is ward off disease, calamity, dearth and infertility ... it is of a rite of this kind that Virgil must have been thinking when he wrote the beautiful pasage in the first Georgic ... terque novas circum felix eat hostia fruges, / omnis quam chorus et socii comitentur ovantes., etc.[ G I 345-6], ... as it was necessary to protect the homestead and its land by a sacred boundary, so the city had to be clearly marked off from all that was outside it."

Readers belonging to the Latin Rite will have made a jolly association here with the Litany processions which go round the boundaries of communities at this time of the year: last month on S Mark's Day and, on the first three ferias of this week, on the days before the Feast of the Ascension. They will even have noticed that, for Vergil, so for us, the event is a threefold one! It all makes you think, doesn't it! But more on this later in the week. For the moment, my point, of course, is to throw light on the Holy Father's sophisticated and forceful rhetorical use of this cultic framework distinguishing between the sacred within the boundary and the profane outside it. Honorius, the First Heretic Pope, whose duty it was to lustrare, to maintain the boundaries, to secure the wholesome unspotted life of the community within from the profane without, had scandalously and grossly neglected his sacred, cultic, obligations by promoting Heresy.

Incidentally, the Greek version of His Holiness's Letter does not attempt to put hellenophone readers straight on the mysteries of Italian pagan cultus. Instead, he uses the Greek concept of Pollution, miasma, which is remedied by the process of hagnisai. (For example, at HF 1324, Hercules' bloodied hands need to be cleansed (hagnisai) from miasma.) And that verb hagnisai appears very frequently in the LXX. You might enjoy Numbers Chapter 19.

Whether considered from the point of view of the Roman, Greek, or Hebrew religious tradition, the First Heretic Pope does not come out of things terribly well! 

Anathema! 

Three times!

21 May 2022

Extinguishing the Paschal Candle

 There is a particular problem here for church building where the Usus Authenticus and the Usus Deterior of the Roman Rite are both in frequent use. It is distracting and unseemly to have the Candle standing in the Sanctuary ... and unlit.

Historically, there have been many different local usages with regard to the removal of the Candle. During the Gospel of the Ascension; after the Gospel on Ascension Day; after Mass, or after None, or after Compline, or at the eleventh hour on Ascension Day; the Friday after Ascension Day; the Wednesday after Ascension Day. But, in some places, we find: the Vigil of Pentecost; 'at Pentecost'; at Compline of Pentecost; or (at Worcester) on Trinity Sunday! Bishop Grandisson's rules at Exeter are not consistent: but in one rule the Candle remains until Pentecost. 

And the Usus Authenticus itself has an ambiguity. If one celebrates the Vigil of Pentecost, one is supposed to bring the Candle back into use for that liturgical event.

Messy? A bit, surely. 

Many will disagree with me; but I rather feel that the neatest solution in churches frequented by followers of both Uses would be to keep the Candle in use either until the Compline of Pentecost, or (so as to draw laudable attention to the Octave of Pentecost) until after None on the Saturday before Trinity Sunday. 

20 May 2022

Dom Gueranger ... exultant!! (2) Three Cheers for that Flaminian Gate!!!

 Pope Pius VII began his Pontificate in 1800 at Venice, where the Conclave met after the death in captivity of Pope Pius VI (they crowned their new pope with a papier mache tiara ... it would, surely, show both style and wit if that piece of gear were yanked out of the Papal Treasury and used at the next "Inauguration of the Petrine Ministry"). Pius VII tried to coexist with the Enlightened Corsican; but in 1809 he was arrested and imprisoned. As Gueranger puts it with Gallic melodrama, he was "dragged [away], during the night, by the soldiers of an ambitious tyrant". 

Regular and sympathetic readers of this blog will be intrigued by the word I have marked in red in my next quotation from Gueranger: "He had been a captive for five years, during which the spiritual government of the Christian world had suffered a total suspension." Ahaa! (arcta custodia ... viis omnibus penitus interclusis, ne Dei Ecclesiam regere posset ...)

Towards the end of 1813, Napoleon had agreed to the return of the Pope to Rome. Pius VII took his time; indeed, he turned the event into a triumphant progress, moving in short stages to receive the plaudits of armies and potentates. 

Did I write "triumphant"?

Indeed: "As the triumphal chariot, on which he had been placed, came near the Flaminian Gate, the horses were unyoked, and the Pontiff was conveyed by the people to the Vatican Basilica, where a solemn thanksgiving was made, over the Tomb of the Prince of the Apostles." How the Grilli of that time must have enjoyed fixing all the tiniest liturgical details! I wonder if they made this triumphator paint his face red!

So Papa Chiaramonti goes down in History ... I like to think ... as the last person to enter the Eternal City as a Triumphator. "Io Io Triumphe!!!" This happened on 24 May 1814.

To celebrate it, and to mark such a happy day, the Feast of our Lady Help of Christians was instituted. Gueranger is a little irritated to have to admit that the Feast is not of universal observance; it is in aliquibus locis. But I guarantee you that his pages covering May 24 are among the most gloriously triumphant and triumphalist in all the sheets that ever the learned Benedictine penned.

(In the old Calendar for England [granted when?], the Feast appears as a duplex maius. In the differentiated Calendars for each individual diocese which came later [when?], only Shrewsbury and Menevia retained it.

The Office Hymns, in the Sapphic metre, reveal that the SRE Hymnographi [who?] did not resist the temptation afforded by the adonius Urbis et Orbis; and, like the Augustan poets of ancient Rome, were not averse to making pius square up against scelestus. 

I wonder exactly what French term Gueranger used for Suspension.)

19 May 2022

Dom Gueranger ... puzzled ... (1)

 "The Holy Ghost, who guides the spirit of the Church, has gradually led the Faithful to devote to honouring Mary, in an especial manner, the entire month of May, the whole of which comes, almost every year, under the glad season of Easter."

Sic Gueranger. But it evidently puzzles him that May and June "pass without any special solemnity in honour of the Mother of God. It would seem as though Holy Church wished to honour, by a respectful silence, the forty days during which Mary enjoyed the company of her Jesus, after his Resurrection. ... During these forty days, Jesus frequently visits his Disciples, weak men and sinners as they are: can he, then, keep away from his Mother, now that he is so soon to ascend into heaven, and leave her for several long years here on earth? Our hearts forbid us to entertain the thought. We feel sure that he frequently visits her ..."

I just love the felicitous way in which Gueranger lays bare the inner designs of Providence, especially when they seem so counter-intuitive ...

But, hey, here come the cavalry of the Sacred Dicastery of Rites galloping over the hill to the rescue! A splendiferous Feast of the Mother of God is now provided  ... on 24 May!!

To be concluded.

18 May 2022

MORE ON THE "AGATHA CHRISTIE INDULT"

Not long ago, I suggested that the indult by which the Authentic Roman Mass could be continued in England after 1970 should really be called (because of the distinguished and ecumenical signatories of the petition seeking it) "The Anglican Bishops' Indult"; or "The Greatsmen's Indult". This, by the way, is the Indult which the roche dicastery claims to know nothing about.

There is now a little more information available in print which, I think, was not previously very widely known. I refer to Unwanted Priest, by Fr Bryan Houghton, Angelico Press.

In 1977, a traddy group wished to make a pilgrimage to a shrine (which I suspect might have been Walsingham). They asked the Diocesan Bishop for permission, under the Indult, to use the Usus Authenticus. He refused, on the grounds that this would be ... I leave it to readers to guess his Lordship's exact word. It begins with a d; is eight letters long; has i three times; and v twice.

You will not find more than a single s. Phonetically, you can disregard the e.

I suggest that you read the full story in Houghton. In maintaining his refusal, the Bishop wrote: "As to the indult, it has become highly ambiguous, and many doubt whether it should ever have been obtained. Be that as it may, the Conference has decided to phase it out--and it falls to each bishop to implement this decision as he sees pastorally right."

Fr Bryan was an ex-Anglican, and so, of course, he peremptorily demanded precise information about when and where this 'momentous decision' was officially published, and also the exact wording. This is the sort of thing which makes us ex-Anglicans so widely loved.

Father concludes his narrative thus: 

"I learned from Rome in mid-April 1977 that my bishop had not been perfectly honest with me. In September 1976 it was the Vatican authorities who deemed it possible to require of the English hierarchy that they themselves should ask for the withdrawal of the indult. To the perpetual honour of the English hierarchy, this was refused. But some compromisers, among them my bishop, suggested that the indult be phased out. How devious can one be?" 

The emphasis in the above quotation is my own.