6 July 2021

A Memorable Centenary ... let us keep the Faith

At the first Anglo-Catholic Priests' Convention in Oxford in July, 1921, the Principal of Chad's, Durham, delivered the lecture on the Ars celebrandi. His name was Stephen Moulsdale; a Sligo man, he was one of those Irish 'Anglican' Catholics who flit so marvellously across the pages of our history. 

He said:
Let us remind ourselves that the grand possession of Western Christendom, this great prayer, the Canon of the Mass, this noble Consecration prayer, for at least 1300 years, intact and immutable, formed the basis of the Western Rite. Without exaggeration we may describe it as the oldest liturgical prayer in Christendom. Through all the middle ages our English Rite followed it. It is free from anything that implies any mediaeval developments of eucharistic doctrine. It stands unaltered in the Roman Mass of today. It is our inalienable heritage as priests of the Church Catholic in the West.

A hundred years later, most ordinary  Latin Catholic churches have abandoned it. Those that use it in celebrations of the Ordinary Form use a version in which, at its most sacred heart, the text has been messed around with. And from Bergoglian Rome come rumours of new liturgy wars.

Surely, this is the time when all who see themsaelves as Catholic should be sure that they use the Canon and only the Canon; that they use it without the daft tinkerings of the 1960s.

If we desire to wave banners in the streets, perhaps those noble words




... words proclaimed by an Anglican a century ago ... are worthy to be adopted and waved around.


FrereRabit said...

Father Hunwicke,

You will probably not publish this comment. Like other people in the faction of the Catholic Church that is constantly attacking Pope Francis, and thereby weakening our witness, you only publish supportive comments. There is no dialogue here. But you will raed it, and that is good enough for me, because you need to hear how embarrassed I am by your antics.

You will know Father Brooke Kingsmill-Lunn, for he was in the early movement to secure the Ordinariate but he did not like the attitude of some of you, so he never joined it in the end. I was his sacristan at Holy Trinity, Stroud Green, North London (where we used the Roman missal as standard.) He taught me everything I knew, as an Anglican, but above all to respect the Pope.

I converted long before you did and I watched your dismal entry into the Catholic Church (moaning about the delay because people knew you were a risk.) When I saw your awful post about Pope Francis, in the week that we are praying for him while he is undergoing surgery, I could only mutter one word, and I'm sorry it is neither Greek nor Latin, but more Shakespearean. Bastard!

Sorry about that. You know, there's one question I always wanted to ask you. Somebody else asked that question today, and I thought it is time to put it to you: Why did you become a Catholic? To help you with the answer, I became a Catholic because we lacked authority in the C of E. I find it appalling to now have the same people destroying the unity of the Catholic Church who once destroyed the unity of the Anglican Church.

But, as I say, you won't publish this comment. Maybe I should have written it in Greek.

Gareth Thomas

tradgardmastare said...

“The Great Prayer” by Hugh Ross Williamson is a splendid book which talks about the prayer as common heritage of all. I think it is a good way into understanding the tradition for folk new to it. I am not sure if it is recently republished. A great book to recommend to people who are engaging with issues covered here recently.

Terry said...

I do think, Gareth Roberts/FrereRabit, that you are being quite unfair in your suggestion that Father Hunwicke "only post[s] supportive comments". Indeed the fact that your comment has been published rather proves my point.

I am frequently very critical of what is written both by Father Hunwicke and those who write the "supportive comments" to which you refer. But every single comment I have submitted has been enabled, even when I have been directly, but I hope fairly, critical of what has been written here.

Terry Loane

Prayerful said...

The Williamson book is on archive.org (https://archive.org/details/greatprayerconce012028mbp). While not ideal for reading, portions can be printed out. Also a paperback (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-Prayer-Hugh-Ross-Williamson/dp/0852442955/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+great+prayer&qid=1625653069&sr=8-1), if you don't find filling Jeff Bezos' wallet. He needs the money to get into space. Thanks for the recommendation.

Fr Hunwicke doesn't seem afraid of hostile comment, which probably isn't calling him illegitimate, but really disagreeing with him.

Greyman 82 said...


Well done for publishing Gareth Thomas's comment. I do not agree with him, but it's interesting to read a variety of views.

I'm pleased to belong to an Ordinariate group in the north of England where we never have anything but the full Roman Canon, either the Ordinariate Use version or, very occasionally, the Extraordinary Form. One of the reasons I joined the Ordinariate, having moved from the CofE to the Catholic Church over 30 years before, was to experience the wonderful historic Roman Canon. I had come to loathe the lazy habit of most Catholic priests of using Eucharistic Prayer 2 at virtually every mass. It wasn't the Anglican element of Ordinariate liturgical practice that attracted me, but the use of elements of Traditional Catholic liturgy.

FrereRabit said...

Sorry about that again. (I didn't think you would publish it.) Hey ho and I'm sure Fr Brooke Kingsmill-Lunn would agree with it all, but he is not on the internet and never has been, sensible priest. :-)

Shaun Davies said...

I came into the Catholic church in 1984 from old fashioned High Anglicanism and I converted because I believed that the Catholic church is the true church of Christ. It was not because of what one or more Popes said or wrote in encyclicals, allocutions or said in interviews.
The Catholic faith which has been passed down through the ages does not seem to be the one that Pope Francis defends. Two Wednesdays ago in his Wednesday audience on the Epistle to Galatians he castigated the rigid and those who went back to the past (funny when you are expounding a Pauline text) for their beliefs ----- I thought that's what Catholics did; the faith is rooted in the past. I came into the Catholic Church because (unlike the Church of England) it is rigid. God Bless those priests who defend and teach the Faith Once Delivered To The Saints; the Old Faith and Religion.

Mary Jane Ballou said...

If only my banner-making skills were higher, I would embroider something suitable for upcoming demonstrations. In my USA, even the N.O. traditional canon is rarely used. Priests all say that it takes too long. (Of course, they could cut a few minutes off the homilies.)

Tony Flavin said...

To be fair FrereRabit, 'Fr'Hunwicke, didn't become a Catholic, he joined the Catholic Church, but the evidence of his Catholicity would not have ruffled Elizabeth I's feathers, I feel.

Ryan Carey said...

Through this Bergoglian Captivity I've been searching for solutions and answers to the Bergoglian Question. I think that the excellent use of patristics by the Eastern Orthodox and the English Catholics / Anglicans has been very edifying. I have a tremendous respect for those like St. J.H. Newman and his spiritual children who spent much effort finding continuity and tradition from their time back to the first millennium. When we Catholics have a faith based on scripture, tradition, liturgy, the councils, and history, and not merely on papal whims from Pius IX onward, then we are on very solid ground. The problems in the Roman church likely won't be fixed until we come to grips with our entire 2000 year tradition. Thankfully certain parts of that tradition are well preserved and emphasized by the Eastern Orthodox and the Anglican Ordinariate Catholics.

Fr. Michael LaRue said...

Inalienable heritage, yes, indeed.

Latin prose composition was never my strong suit, and I am long out of practice, but I was thinking about these things today, and after failing to find a Latin version, I decided to try and put the words of our Holy Father, Benedict XVI into that language. I only hope that I am not too far off the mark.

« Id quod generationibus anterioribus sacrum tenetur, sacrum magnumque nobis manet, neque potest subito et omnino aboleri, neque noxium putari.»

Shaun Davies said...

Mr Tony Flavin claims that evidence of Fr Hunwicke's catholicity would not have ruffled Queen Elizabeth I's feathers ; anyone who was an ordained priest was fair game ------ a priest who uses the Traditional Roman Mass and professes the Catholic Faith.............definitely ruffling material.

John Patrick said...

I deduce from Mr. Thomas' post above, that allowing a Pachamama demon to be placed on the altar at St. Peters is not "weakening our witness" but criticizing a Pope who allows this is.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Tony Flavin,

Had Our Kind Host lived during the reign of Elizabeth, he would have experienced a one-way trip to Tyburn, on a hurdle.