24 June 2017

Encaenia UPDATED

Wednesday,21 June, was the  University's annual celebration, Encaenia. Honorary degrees are conferred, and the Oratio Creweiana celebrates the magnificentia and praecellentia of Alma Mater Oxonia. The speeches presenting the graduands are in Latin; and this year we had a new Public Orator, Jonathan Katz, displaying to his public his Latinity for the first time. (He also teaches Greek and Sanskrit; he did not spring upon us the surprise of addressing us in the second of those tongues.) The temperatures here were pretty Texan, and Sir Christopher Wren forgot to install air conditioning in the Theatrum Sheldonianum ... 

The Creweian Oration, nowadays, is in English. Last year, when Mr Orator Jenkyns was doing his last stint of duty, he asked the Chancellor for the customary permission to use the vernacular for this Oration: Honoratissime et Insignissime Cancellarie, licetne Anglice loqui? And the Chancellor, with feigned irritation, and no small delay, eventually murmured Hoc ultimo tempore, licet. This year, back to just licet.

An Englishwoman; a Scotswoman; four American males; one American female. Such were our honorands this year. I am fearful that, in the years to come, outside Europe, we shall become more and more of an American dependancy, in cultural, academic, political, economic, trading, terms. I was never blind to the failings of the European project; I just hoped it might protect us from ...  alternatives ...

Shirley, Baroness Williams, was one of the Gang of Four who split the British Labour Party a generation ago. Since her gender is unambiguous, I wondered how apt was the Latin Societas Quattuorvirorum. Quaterna cohors? Quaternum Latrocinium? 

One of the things I dislike about the Vatican's Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis is its preference for circumlocutions. Machina quae facit x y z ... that sort of thing. Cumbersome. So I did not much like Mr Orator Katz's librorum per aethera legendorum saeculum for "the e-book era". I prefer coinages: Mr Orator Griffin very wittily did e-mail by e-pistula. I am sure readers will be able to contrive neologisms for e-book.

Caeliscalpium for Sky-scraper, I did rather like.

23 June 2017

Printing and the Sacred Heart

Once when I was an Anglican, using the older of my two Latin Altar editions of Missale Romanum, I said the Mass of the Sacred Heart as it existed, firstly pro aliquibus locis and then for the Universal Church, before Pius XI provided a replacement in 1928. I rather liked the older mass. The psalmus in the Introit was Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo, a haunting verse which has stuck in the minds of many. You find it in Pius IX's Mass of the Precious Blood; it occupied the same place in the Sarum Mass of the Five Wounds; I remember deciphering it, highly abbreviated, on a choir pew put in Lifton church in the late fourteen hundreds by Parson Halyborton, an adventurous Scotch cleric who came to Devon, became an archdeacon, went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I recall seeing it on a portrait, 1582, of S Teresa of Avila, once in the Carmel at Lanherne ... Why did this old Mass of the Sacred Heart have to be abolished? Its collect was to be resurrected by the post-conciliar 'reform', so it can't have carried the marks of being too dated. Why couldn't the mass have been kept as an alternative, or even just as a votive, somewhere in the Missal?

I have written before about the significance, understood by too few liturgical writers, of printing. This made it possible for legislators with liturgical bees in their bonnets to enforce, in a flash, liturgical revolutions. Before printing, we had a situation - I am thinking of the early history of Corpus Christi - in which a pope could mandate a feast for the Universal Church and it wasn't even observed in the papal capella until nearly two generations later. But printing made it possible for a Cranmer to overturn an entire liturgical culture overnight, and to replace his own liturgical innovations with a substantially different and yet more radical version of them a couple of years later.

This particular technological mechanism of Rupture came to town, I mean ad almam Urbem, after Vatican II. But there were earlier signs. I have just mentioned Pius XI and the liturgy of the Sacred Heart. Then there was Pius XII and the Assumption. Out went the old Mass and Office and in came radically new replacements. There was nothing wrong with the old euchological formulae; they made the point which was at the heart of the theology of the Assumption in both East and West in the first millennium and a half: that Mary was assumed so that she could intercede, be the Mediatrix of all graces. Granted that Pius XII desired in 1950 to imprint upon the liturgy his new dogmatic definition, he could have behaved in the organic, evolutionary way of earlier pontiffs - he might, for example, have left the texts which he inherited untouched but embodied his new precisions in an added word (corporea) in the Preface; or even have asked that fertile Fr Genovese to write a Sequence, ordering it to be printed in liturgical books after that date and to be be brought into use as the newer books gradually spread. (Something like that is what Papa Barberini did when he classicised the texts of the Office Hymns.)

Printing is a very dangerous weapon in the hands of liturgists.

22 June 2017

When the Patriarch was returning ...

Today, the old Octave Day of Corpus Christi, I remind readers of the Hymn Hoste dum victo triumphans, a superb hymn about the Lord's priesthood and the ministerial priesthood rooted in Him. Fr E Caswall - after he left the Church of England for the Birmingham Oratory - translated it as When the Patriarch was returning; you will find this version in the English Catholic Hymn Book. I would regard it as a prime piece of Patrimony although Fr Caswall was a Roman Catholic when he did his translation, since it was long popular as the Office Hymn of the Votive Vespers ("Guild Office") of the old Anglican GSS ("Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary").

You will find much valuable and fascinating information in a comment which I have preserved from the thread originally attached to a 2010 blogpost on this hymn.

20 June 2017

Ordinations in the Ordinariate

What a superb occasion, last Saturday! As England enjoyed ... or endured ... a flow of very hot weather from Spain, the Ordinariate happily migrated to the cool spaces of the old Spanish Embassy Chapel: S James Spanish Place. The Sacrament of Order was solemnly administered by our dear friend Bishop Robert Byrne, who ordained Deacons for England, Scotland, and Wales (yes ... poor old Ireland is still inordinariate.). This seems to me a most welcome advance on the old practice of ordinands being 'done' by the geographical diocesan Bishop of their place of residence. That could appear to suggest that they are really clergy of the diocese and that the Ordinary is just a sort of Vicar General for iffy converts. The new arrangements make visible the fact that the Ordinariate is a totally separate jurisdiction, directly subject to the Holy See, distinct from and equal to the dioceses. The fact that Spanish Place as an old Embassy Chapel goes back to before the Restoration of the Hierarchy, makes the point even more crisply (the same is, of course, true of our Principal Church, the old Bavarian Embassy Chapel). And indeed, Bishop Robert's titular See, Cuncacestre, takes us right back to the glory days of the Anglo-Saxon Church. Proto-ordinariate! Memories of the sweet talent with which S Bede the Venerable married together Englishness and Romanita!

The S James's Choir and servers did splendidly by us. So did the blessed providers of the Repast which followed. But the biggest stars were our ten new clergy. As well as eight in Anglican Orders, two had discerned their priestly vocation as lay members of the Ordinariate ... the first such two.

I wonder how many dioceses in Northern Europe have ordained as many clerics this summer. Last Saturday offered the Catholic World a vivid picture of a Traditional jurisdiction which is really going places! Four cheers for Mgr Keith!!

All we need now is for diocesan bishops to 'think Ordinariate' when they wonder what to with their imminently redundant churches and presbyteries. And a relaxation of the rules confining membership of the Ordinariates to those with Anglican or Methodist connexions, would help us enormously. Is it really in accordance with the New Evangelisation for us to have to turn people away?

19 June 2017

Cardinals, Collegiality and Amoris Laetitia UPDATE.

This morning the Settimo cielo blog prints the text of the latest appeal by the Four Cardinals for an audience to discuss the Dubia which they raised earlier with the Sovereign Pontiff. I repeat, below, the piece I published yesterday, Monday.

Collegiality did not wait to be invented by Vatican II. In the 1950s, Papa Pacelli, Pius XII, wrote to each bishop of the Catholic Church to ask (1) whether he believed in the Corporal Assumption of the Mother of God; and (2) whether he considered it opportune for the dogma to be defined. The subsequent Solemn Definition followed upon the overwhelming consensus apparent in the replies of the world-wide episcopate.

More than a year has passed since the emergence of the divisive and poorly drafted document called Amoris laetitia. In this time, many Bishops and  episcopal conferences have issued guidelines making clear that nothing has changed since S John Paul II in Familiaris consortio, and Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis, reemphasised the Church's immemorial discipline: 'remarried' divorcees who will not repent of their adultery and undertake either to separate or at least to try, with the help of God's grace, to cohabit chastely, exclude themselves from the Sacraments during the time of their impenitence.

A few conferences and Bishops have issued statements understood as meaning that the thusly impenitent may, by virtue of Amoris laetitia, receive the Sacraments. Yet other conferences, such as that in England and Wales, have been manifestly unable to agree among themselves. It is clear that the Universal Episcopate is not united behind a 'German' interpretation of Amoris laetitia. Very far from it.

In the context of the Unity of the Una Catholica and of the collegial nature of the Universal Episcopate, cum et sub Petro, the time has surely come for this 'dialogue' to be moved to a new stage. Manifestly, if we are to persist with the embarrassing notion that we belong to one Church with one Teaching about the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, steps must be taken to move in the direction of coherence, harmony, and united witness. The idea that someone who is excluded from the Sacraments by his own impenitent rejection of the Gospel needs only to walk across the border between Poland and Germany, or from one American diocese to another, to be welcomed enthusiastically as a communicant in good standing, is obviously a profoundly unCatholic absurdity which needs speedily to be resolved. Indeed, if one of Bishop Lopes's Ordinariate parishes in America were geographically within a 'liberal', Cupichoid, diocese, the dissonance between the two in doctrine and discipline would be even more ludicrous.

The time has surely come for the Four Cardinals who intervened last year with their Dubia to revisit the question. And the time for Bishops, Successors of the Apostles according to the teaching of Leo XIII and of Vatican II and not mere vicars of the Roman Pontiff, to speak with courage, clarity and unanimity. And for clergy, laity, and academics to do the same. Remember that, at the height of the Arian Crisis, it was not among the Bishops or even in Rome that the Faith was most conspicuously preserved and defended. Remember the careful and lucid teaching of Blessed John Henry Newman, beloved Patron of our English Ordinariate, on the Suspense of the Magisterium.

Parrhesia, boldness in witnessing to the Truth, a virtue which was once (only a couple of years ago ... it seems like an eternity, doesn't it?) so very incessantly on the lips of the current occupant of the Roman See, is surely still an obligation for all faithful Catholics.

The more who speak boldly, the more difficult it will be for individuals to be put under unsympathetic pressure.

18 June 2017

A little elementary ... no; intermediate ... Latin

In his great hymn Pange lingua for Vespers at Corpus Christi, S Thomas writes:
Verbum caro panem verum
    verbo carnem efficit ...

We are going to translate it together. Are you sitting comfortably?

You will only be able to translate it by first asking and answering certain questions. Such as these.

Here we go.

What is the subject? That is, what is in the nominative? Verbum ... but caro as well. They are in what is often called 'apposition'. They stick together. Verbum means the Word in the sense of the Second Person of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity. Caro means flesh; so Verbum caro means the Word [who had become] flesh ... i.e. the Incarnate Word.

What is the verb? efficit, meaning makes.

What is the object? That is, what is in the accusative? panem, verum, and carnem. Let me persuade you to put carnem in the fridge for a moment and to deal first with panem verum. That means true bread.

So far, we have "The Word [made] flesh makes true bread ...."

Time to polish off carnem. Let's pause for a moment. Consider (1)"He beat the boy black and blue"; (2). "He beat the black and blue boy". In each of these English sentences, 'black and blue' is in grammatical agreement with (i.e. it tells us more about) the boy. But they are different. (2) means that the boy was black and blue before the beating. (1) means that the blackness and blueness was the result of the beating ... i.e. the end, purpose, result, of the verbal action.

Carnem is like (1). It is the result of the verbal action.

"The Word [made] flesh makes true bread [to be] flesh".

Oops ... we've left out verbo, which, incidentally, has a lower-case v. Its ending makes clear that it is either dative or ablative. I will tell you for free that it is ablative.

"The Word [made] flesh by a word makes true bread [to be] flesh".

You can't translate Latin, as you can a lot of modern languages, by attacking each word in the order in which it comes in the sentence. You have to work out grammatical things like what is the subject, what is the verb, what is the object etc. etc.. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time.

By 'wasting', I mean wasting.

Because the sense in Latin depends on the inflexions (i.e. the syllable at the end of a word which changes, as with verbum ... verbo; caro ... carnem), a poet is able to group the words in a beautiful or pointed way. The patterning of this couple of lines is, in my view, perfectly exquisite.

The great Anglican scholar John Mason Neale translated these lines, very simply, very finely,
Word made Flesh, by word he maketh
       Very bread his Flesh to be. 

Have you booked yet to attend the Latin Mass Society Latin course this summer in Pantasaph?


17 June 2017


A big Thank You to Pope John XXII for this great feast!

'Really?' you cry, 'surely everybody knows it was ordered to be observed by Urban IV in 1264, through the bull Transiturus'. Well, yes, up to a point, Lord Copper. But the strange thing is that this bull had no ... or very little ... actual effect. It even appears (a strange crowd, the medievals) that the observance was not even kept in the papal court itself!!!. It was not until John XXII sent to the entire Western hierarchy, in 1317, a collection of decretals called the Clementines that it began to be universally observed. And Transiturus had not mentioned such things as Exposition and Processions of the Sacrament. Although there may be a very few refences to such activities between 1264 and 1317, it was after that date that a great wave of enthusiasm for the cultus of the Blessed Sacrament swept the Church.

Corpus Christi as you know it and love it results from John XXII seizing the moment when the devotional mood of the faithful was exactly ready for it.

Through most of the first 1200 years of the Church's history, there was no 'devotion to the Blessed Sacrament' as we know it. The Sacrament was indeed known to be truly the Body if the Lord and was reserved so that it could be administered to the sick. But there was no sense that it also afforded a focus for adoration and for a direct relationship with our Lord verily present. That was a precious gift of which the faithful became aware in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. And it was the example of what John XXII did when he had the Host carried in glorious rite through the streets of the papal city, Avignon, that was emulated throughout the Catholic world and which provided the pattern for what you are doing this Corpus-Christi-tide.

Three cheers for the Avignon papacy and for the greatest of the Avignon popes, John XXII!

16 June 2017

Idolatry?? (2)

Sometimes one hears it suggested that pagan deities are simply the "God whom we all worship" in a different garb and cultural context. So that, however convinced we are that our inherited perception of God is divinely revealed to us, we might licitly respect other, albeit imperfect, manifestations of God. Perhaps all the "gods" are simply masks behind which lies "the same one God".

Such an attitude is not irrational. In fact, is was widely held in the early centuries of the Christian era. I am not an expert on Hinduism, but I think it is today the belief of educated Hindus. It deserves the respect we owe to all good people who hold to an erroneous religious faith.

The good people who held it 2,000 years ago were those who worshipped the goddess Isis; an ancient Egyptian deity hellenised and much promoted by the Ptolemaic (Macedonian Greek) rulers of Egypt in the centuries between Alexander the Great and the the absorption of Egypt into the Roman Empire. Cleopatra VII herself was, indeed, the father-loving goddess the new [i.e. Incarnate] Isis.

You can explore Isiacism in Book 11 of the Metamorphosis of Apuleius ... a work available in paperback translation. Or, if you have access to an academic library, in Plutarch; or in P. Oxy 1380 of the Oxyrrhynchus papyri (modern books about the cult are often unreliable and are not recommended).

Cult members believed that Isis was the proper name of the deity, and that the cult as propagated by the Ptolemies was her authentic cult. But they believed that she was in fact the same deity that was worshipped in every place under a variety of names and by different cults. So, if you woshipped her in one place as Hera, in another as Athene, in another as Diana, you were worshipping the same divinity. Behind all these different external formats, the deity was One. Accordingly, if you had been initiated into the Mysteries of Isis, there was no reason why you could not also be initiated into other cults, such as the associated cult of Osiris, or that of Mithras ... In Apuleius, indeed, the subject of the narrative seems to be rather keen on 'collecting' such initiations. Quite prbably, some of his Christian converts at Corinth whom S Paul warned against idolatry had been people of such a type ... which is why such vigilant pastoral care needed to be taken of them and their religious activities.

This is one form of a religious culture sometimes known as 'syncretism'.

In the time of S Paul, Isiacism was extremely popular (particularly among women, as Mithraism was among soldiers). Had you asked a contemporary of S Paul "What is the Future of Religion?", you would probably have been told 'Isis' or 'Mithras'. In a cosmopolitan and mobile world, these sophisticated and personal international 'mystery' cults from the Orient had an appeal which the old, rather distant classical tutelary gods of the polis did not have.

Christianity stood out against such syncretisms. Pagan gods, S Paul taught, were either non-existent; or were demons. In either case, they needed to be very firmly shunned. The advice available to us in Scripture affords no support for a policy of respecting Isiac or Mithraic or Hindu cult objects as a way of demonstrating polite respect for the persons of Partners in Interfaith Dialogue (otherwise known as Idolaters). And I can find nothing in the advice of Vatican II which in this matter contradicts Scripture. If I did, it might not be Scripture that I would downplay.

This is the historical background against which we have to understand the firm formulation in Acts: "There is no other name under heaven by which a man may be saved except that of Jesus".

One of the reasons why Christians have always spurned 'Freemasonry' is that its ritual, so it is reported, combine and mingle together the One True God with the names of heathen so-called divinities ... in other words, the very essence of syncretism.

Even very Eminent people need to be warned: "Shun Idolatry!"

15 June 2017

Salus, honor, virtus quoque sit ...

I've often wondered about these words in the Tantum ergo. Honour we can give to God, as is his due; Might we cannot give Him, because he possessses it, but we can and should doxologically ascribe it to him, acknowledging that it is his. But "Salus", Salvation, seems to me a different Kettle of Fish: it is in principle what he bestows upon us. In what sense can we 'give' it to him, or say "let it be" to him?

I wondered if Latin philology might help; given the root meaning, does it here mean 'perfection', which we could ascribe to God? Or, in view of the phrase "dat salutem", "gives greeting", is that the sense here? But it seems unlikely that S Thomas is delving into antiquated Indo-European philology; or that the phrase is simply a way of saying "Hello, God".

I suspect S Thomas got the phrase from the old hymn to S Martin, Iste Confessor, eighth century and probably Carolingian (they liked Sapphics), where the doxology begins "Sit salus illi, decus atque virtus ...". But there is a Biblical basis: Revelation 7:10 "Salus Deo nostro" (the Greek is "He Soteria toi theoi hemon" ... see also 12:10 and 19:1). R H Charles (still my favourite commentary on Revelation) comments that "They know and proclaim that the Deliverance is not their own achievement, but that of God and of the Lamb".

So are we really saying, in these doxologies, "We ascribe our Salvation to God's action"?.

I would be glad if anyone has spotted something textual, literary, or historical that I have missed.


By the way, Iste Confessor used to be the Office Hymn for all 'Confessors' (i.e. male Saints who were not martyrs) in the Old Rites. Dom Lentini's coetus commented "The very few metrical licenses led the Urbanian correctors to make so many and such grave changes that they gave pretty well a new appearance to the hymn. It ought to be totally restored; it is very well known and worthy and not to be restricted simply to the feast of S Martin".

But when Liturgia Horarum came out, Lentini had been overruled, the hymn confined to S Martin, and some very unmemorable compositions had been provided for every category of male non-martyr.

14 June 2017

Idolatry?? (1)

Apparently, the English Catholic Diocese of Hallam has on its website advice about how to behave in pagan places of worship ... which pagan cult objects to bow to, for example. This has caused some degree of negative interest.

The advice may very well have been set up without the knowledge of the Bishop. Since I can't find it on the website, it may very well have been taken down by now; quite probably in a proper exercise of the Bishop's episcopal diligence.

The phrase used in this advice was that these ritual gestures "show respect to the host community". This does, of course, provide a rationale for dissociating the gesture from its idolatrous implications by redirecting it away from idolatrous cultic objects themselves and towards the people  to whom we might wish, very naturally, to show proper human respect.

Whether ordinary Christian people ought to be troubled with such semiological incoherences seems to me debatable. Still, perhaps we should not get too hysterical about this. The Hallam situation is, it appears to me, a great deal less scandalous than the "Earth Mother" devotions in which, according to reports, Cardinal Ravasi has taken part. And one recalls the disturbing action, reported and uncorrected in his Wilkipedia entry, in which Vincent Nichols in 2009 is said to have offered flowers to Hindu deities in a Hindu temple in Neasden. (Yes! There really is such a place, even outside the pages of Private Eye!!)

But I do still feel a residual unease about the Hallam situation. Somebody ... probably a local 'Interfaith' clerical enthusiast with some titular dignity in the local curia ... must have been responsible. If so, I think it is fair to ask questions about the degree of appropriate Christian formation of such an individual.

Christianity, the lineal descendant and successor of the Judaic Covenant, is still committed to the principled and unrelenting monotheism of the Hebrew prophets. And, most particularly, the principle of refusing reverence to pagan cult objects was deeply branded into our Christian consciousness during the periods of violent persecution which our Martyrs endured in the centuries before the Peace of the Church.

An apparent assumption that the natural desire to be courteous to our partners in interfaith dialogue renders this monotheistic consciousness 'out of date', seems to me to demonstrate an extremely shallow degree of integration into our own Christian identity on the part of an individual concerned.
To be continued.

13 June 2017

Kneeling for Communion

In absolute terms, it is hard to condemn the practice of standing for Holy Communion, since this is the customary posture in Oriental rites validly and licitly and laudably used within the Catholic Church.

But there is a difference between standing for Communion in a Christian tradition in which it has always been thus, and doing so as an innovation in a tradition where kneeling has for centuries been the custom.

To forget this is, ultimately, to forget that ours is an Incarnational religion in which the transcendent Mysteries are expressed and inculturated in multiplicities of times and spaces, that is, within the immemorial traditions and lives of social entities embodied within history.

Cardinal Sarah has beautifully described the insistence with which S John Paul II, dying, weak, and in great pain, insisted on being helped to his knees in order to receive Holy Communion. Strangely, the description is closely paralleled by an account of Henry VIII being advised that, because of the immense agony which his stinking leg ulcers caused him, he need not kneel for Communion. The dying king, despite the schism which he had precipitated, had never lost his belief in the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist, and he insisted on kneeling, on the grounds that, could he even crawl beneath the earth, he would do insufficient honour to his Sacramental Lord and God.

12 June 2017

Hugh Curwen (3)

Old and ill, and perhaps panicking that Elizabeth Tudor's regime would discover the extent to which he had been frustrating its Protestant intentions, Hugh Curwen, English Archbishop of the 'English' see of Dublin, left Ireland in 1567 to become Bishop of Oxford.

So this year is the 450th anniversary of Curwen's brief occupancy of the See of Oxford. (His Election was confirmed by the Crown on the 8th of October.)

He came to a bishopric which had never been able to get itself properly organised since Henry VII established the See in the magnificent former abbey church at Oseney in the Western suburbs of modern Oxford. Within two or three years, Tudor had decided to save money by suppressing the cathedral at Oseney and transferring the See to the chaotic building site upon which Cardinal Wolsey had founded Cardinal College. The projected Chapel there, which Wolsey had intended to surpass King's College Chapel in Cambridge in its splendour*, had not risen above ground level (it never did) when the Cardinal fell from grace; and worship perforce continued to be held in the Priory Church of S Frideswide, which, marked for replacement, was already partially demolished. The question of whether the Bishop of Oxford was entitled to regard as his palace the buildings of the former monastic college of Gloucester Hall [Worcester College is now on this site] was to rumble on in litigation for generations (in fact, Gloucester Hall was already notorious, when Curwen arrived, as a full-blooded 'recusant' appendage of the 'Church papist' college of S John's). So Curwen settled into an episcopal residence near Burford in Oxfordshire, and died a few months later in the autumn of 1568.

Thomas Goldwell, the friend who anointed Pole on his death-bed and was in 1558 bishop-elect of Oxford, had been unable to take possession of his See because of the accession of Elizabeth Tudor**. So, when Curwen was appointed in 1567, the See had been vacant for nearly a decade. After Curwen's death, it remained vacant until John Underhill took possession in 1589, during what some historians call the "second reign" of Elizabeth: which began in 1584 when the monarch entered upon new extremes of savagery in the torture of Catholics***. Thus it was not until 1589 that Oxford, rife with recusancy and church popery, received a bishop who had been consecrated according to the Anglican Ordinal and had a mind to impose Protestantism. The actual day by day administration of the diocese (which in those days encompassed only the County of Oxfordshire) had presumably been in the hands of the Archdeacon and his Court, throughout this remarkable thirty-year episcopal hiatus ... longer even than the sede vacante which Bloody Bess notoriously contrived at Ely so that she could milk the revenues of that See.

Curwen is the English Marian Archbishop who 'conformed'; the man who wasn't a hero. But who are we to condemn an old man who used his extensive training in Canon Law to protect the Faith and to frustrate the heretics while he placed his own soul in danger? Especially if we spent so many decades ourselves as 'Church Papists'?

* Colvin, Unbuilt Oxford.
** He was the sole representative of the English episcopate at Trent.
*** John Guy Elizabeth The Forgotten Years.