A splendid evening a day or two ago at Holy Trinity on the occasion of the Inauguration of the Presbyteral Ministry in Reading of Fr David Elliott. Ad multos annos, father.
That church, of course, is the the former very Protestant proprietary chapel which owes its present adornment to Fr Brian Brindley. I am told by friends that the pulpit in 'Georgian' baroque was thrown out of the City Church of All Saints in Oxford when Old Mother Damnable flogged it to Lincoln College for a library. The screen, from Pugin's Cathedral in Birmingham, was thrown out when the papists vandalised it. The retro-altar is the famous Belgian baroque altar with the reversible tabernacle from a one-time daughter church of S Thomas's, S Paul's Walton Street in Oxford, thrown out when OMD sold it to the entertainment industry. Also once in S Paul's the monumental scagliola portico-style entrance into the church from the Sacristy. And in the North Chapel the baroque altar inscribed 'PAX' from the ballroom at Nashdom, which, when that House was our principal Benedictine Abbey, will often have been used by our great scholar, wit, and mystagogue Dom Gregory Dix.
The service was mixed; a sermon in a very rasping voice by the bishop of Dorchester, who, they tell me, was once one of us and, like so many of them, changed his mind on the Issue not so very long before he got the letter from Downing Street. He tried to ingratiate himself to his hearers by basing his homily upon the Holy Father's Year of the Priest. This provided a happy opportunity for thirty-or-so birettas to flutter above thirty-or-so heads at the nomen sacrum Benedict. His accent took me back to my childhood in Essex. Yes, I am an Essex Boy too, and proud of it, but I don't feel the need to flaunt it whenever I open my mouth. Bishop Andrew's face remained totally impassive when Reading referred to him as his beloved brother.
The Mass was what seems to be Ebbsfleet Use A; videlicet Novus Ordo very much Reform-of-the-Reform with the Canon Romanus covered, except for qui pridie, by the singing of Sanctus and Benedictus.
And very Ebbsfleet the laughter and the wonderful combination of a relaxed and enormously happy family atmosphere with music, maniples, and the majesty of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.