12 January 2022

Saint John Henry's Altar

Tomorrow is the Thursday within "Noughth Week" ... in our Anglican days, back in 2009, I once kicked off the University 'Hilary' Term in the University Church by celebrating in Latin the 1662 rite. 

This was in the very same church in which Cranmer its author made his last academic appearance ... viva voce!! ... before his final public appointment outside the Master's Lodgings of Balliol College, in the City ditch we now call Broad Street. (You can still discover the North walls of the city behind and built into the shop fronts along the South side of Broad Street.)

And what strange Latin I used on that occasion.. 

I think the Altar Book placed in front of me was compiled in 1706; it attempts to translate Cranmer's English without much regard for Cranmer's Sarum originals. The 'Standard' Latin BCP as used since the 'Oxford Movement'  by latinate Anglo-Catholics has more than an eye on Sarum: Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare. But 'Oxford 1706' has Vere dignum et iustum est, quodque iure debemus. Standard has: Simili modo posteaquam coenatum est. 'Oxford 1706' offered: Similiter ... And Standard retains the enim which a Latin dislike of asyndeton inserts into the Words of Dominical Institution; 'Oxford 1706' omits it. Servet instead of custodiat in the Words of Administration seems just plain contrariness!

The stalls at which the congregation knelt had houselling cloths; I wonder if this is a Tractarian innovation, or a genuine medieval survival.

The Bedell of Medicine led in the Senior ProProctor and the ProViceChancellor; you might deem that to be a bit of a come-down since the days when the whole majesty of an Anglican University, led and represented by Proctors and Vice-Chancellor, was present, but I thought it was jolly nice of them to come.  

Gummed into the front of the service book was a typed sheet with the vestry prayers, and, as I read the one at the end of Mass, I realised: it was a Latin translation of the 1928 Prayer Book's Corpus Christi collect. Which, in turn, was an English translation of S Thomas Aquinas' Latin collect. (!!!!!)

Anglicanism does have its quaint side. But I venerated with a kiss before Mass the engravings in the vestry of Saint John Henry  ... and of blessed Charles Stuart.

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