26 June 2010

Pastor in valle ... again ...

... and, this time, I am going to be a mite critical. In the very impressive list that Pastor gives of topics which RC priests have to cover at seminary, I notice that Sacred Languages are not included. Among Anglicans, Greek at least is considered essential among those receiving a seminary formation. I rather thought that, last time I looked at the current CIC (not that we Anglicans, as everybody knows, know anything about Canon Law) it was prescribed that all ordinandi bene calleant in Latin. And in some dusty old box I have a CTS leaflet called Veterum Sapientia by one Roncalli on the importance of Sacred Languages ... especially Latin.

Yet, when our beloved Holy Father issued Summorum Pontificum, there were papish bishops all over the world who came up with bright little schemes whereby, despite the motu proprio, priests wishing to say the Mass of The Ages would have to pass some seedy little examination in Latin; bishops who are not known to be have been to the forefront hitherto in insisting that Canon Law requirements about the formation of clergy should be obeyed to the Latin and Greek letter. Shomething wrong here, shurely?

A couple of years ago Pam and I were being shown round the sacristy of a French Cathedral, in company with a couple of young French priests. That they were Traditionalist is suggested by the fact that, although they were on holiday, they were both going around in soutanes. Since my Latin is distinctly faster than my French, I enquired whether they could talk in Latin. They recoiled in embarrassment muttering some Froggy phrase that sounded like 'un peu'.

And, in Ireland, I have not always been impressed by the erudition of all the clergy. Some of the most abysmally dreadful sermons I have ever heard, infinitely worse than an Anglican NSM or Reader would preach, devoid of content, ill-informed, clearly unprepared, were delivered by a Canon who also rejoiced in the title of Vicar Forane ... which, since I am an Anglican ignorant of Canon Law, is a phrase I do not know the meaning of.

Is Pastor really sure that things are so hunkey dorey across the Tiber?

25 June 2010

Pastor in Valle Adurni ...

Pastor in Valle Adurni is invariably an excellent read. I commend his piece on the lack of any proper priestly formation among a very significant number of Anglican clergy.

It is not just that so many modern clergy do not know what you might call the 'Catholicky' bits of priesthood. The problem is that middle-of-the-road clergy do not generally know middle-of-the-road Anglicanism; and 'low' clergy do not know 'low' Anglicanism.The late Bishop John Richards, when he became in retirement an assistant priest (in the Devon group in which he then imperiously summoned me to join him) was horrified, as he got to know some of the local clergy, by the degree of their ignorance. "He doesn't even know the Bible!", he would cry, in tones of incomprehension. And it is true. The far-off days when the Anglican clergy knew the Bible but the problem was that some of them didn't have any understanding of the Catholic context in which it should be understood and used, are but a happy memory. Incidentally, the same is true of Methodist clergy (and the relevance of this is that on these Ministerial Training Courses, Anglican and Protestant clergy are commonly trained together). Bishop John and I had some formal discussions with a couple of local Methodist clergy; the problem was not that they and we disagreed, but the degree of their ignorance. Gone the blissful days when a Protestant minister knew the text of his Bible so intimately that he could 'win' arguments against 'Catholics' who didn't. Needless to say, an important factor here is that the virus of Modern Biblical Criticism has filleted out of the mentality of modern Protestants any sense of the normativeness of Scripture. A folk memory that the Reformation was about the Bible, combined with the new assurance that the Bible has no authority, has left such people quite bankrupt. Come to think of it, that's (quite literally) a diabolical con, isn't it? Well done, Screwtape.

And I could, if I went easy on the question of confidentiality, provide evidence that, sadly, you can't be sure it's much better among 'Catholic' Anglicans.

Money, of course, is the problem. The C of E can now afford neither to train clergy nor to pay full-time clergy. Ergo ...

I make no judgements on the clergy of the TAC, who have had to struggle for Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy in a martyr-like situation and with no resources. But in an English Anglican context, my view is that clergy with an NSM origin may not be adequately qualified to be licensed to preach and to hear confessions and to run a Catholic parish. This does not mean that they could not be 'ordained' as massing-priests, and then given a proper training while helping to service ordinariate communities and even to supply within RC parishes. I feel that we need radical thinking in the situation confronting us.

24 June 2010

Name Days

Ah, my name day. Perhaps readers would care to advise me about the appropriate way of celebrating such occasions. I had better not drink wine all day, as the warm weather would dehydrate me.

Yesterday's Encaenia was enjoyable, as ever. Unlike the dim incompetents in the Congregation for Divine Worship, Mr Orator Jenkyns did nothing but delight with his latinity. He began his Oration for Lord Sainsbury (a wealthy English grocer; it is said that when he was at Eton College, those fellow-pupils untainted by Trade used to claim that he had flour on his hands, and elaborately seek his views on the price of rice) by quoting G K Chesterton's

God made the wicked grocer
For a mystery and a sign
rendering it into Latin iambs as
Mercator escae semper a deo factus
Malus scelestus, omen atque portentum ...

Looking behind the wit and the dazzle, one cannot but notice that Honorary Doctorates in Divinity seem rarely nowadays to be conferred. I suspect that this is not so much because Oxford lacks either Christians or broadminded liberals, as it is the result of an implicit unspoken veto wielded by Dawkinsian fascism. Professor Ratzinger will not receive an Oxford honour; but when that secular saint Nelson Mandela was in England some years ago, my recollection is that so many universities - including Oxford - wanted to honour him that the Great Man was not even expected to favour them all with his physical presence ... they sent their Vice-Chancellors or whatever to queue up in a tent somewhere and doctor him (ut ita dicam) one after another.

Encaenia happens in the Shedonian Theatre, a building put up during those brief years between 1660 and the Dutch Invasion of 1688, when England was teetering on the brink of again being part of the European cultural mainstream. In 1716, after the Hannoverian Usurpation, the modern Encaenia was born; it was made clear that the Hannoverian government would exact a violent revenge if the University failed to put an end to its tradition of free speech, so the lengthy 'University Act' had to be controlled and cut down. Hitherto, a witty speaker called terrae filius had uttered frank comments on public affairs. A generation later, only three years after the Prince Regent had nearly succeeded in ending the Rebellion, the Sheldonian housed, in 1749, the last great public demonstration in favour of the Legitimist cause; the noble and gentry leaders of the Jacobite party gathered; the loyal University conferred honorary doctorates upon them; and Dr William King made his famous speech in which the final six paragraphs all began with a great cry of REDEAT (let him return).

If it weren't for the victory of Whig historicism, the Sheldonian would be explained to tourists as the home and shrine of free speech.

23 June 2010

It's that ****** Third Form again

The propers for John Henry Newman are available at Oratoriani. I have duly printed them off.

The collect seems to me an intriguing piece of Latinity. Does anyone know of other examples, either in profane or ecclesiastical Latin, of confero with this accusative infinitive? According to the Oxford Latin Dictionary, and Lewis and Short, the verb, used with this sense, can be followed by a dative; by ad +accusative; by in; and even by erga. I suppose I should go into Bodley and look in the TLL, but who wants to do that in this warm weather? Perhaps a careful trawl of the ancient Sacramentaries will reveal confero+accusative and infinitive. I would be interested to know, if anybody cares to do it.

The Office Reading is a very stilted and wooden translation into Latin of a famous passage in the Apologia. Frankly, I have gummed the English original into my Liturgia Horarum, rather than face irritating myself annually as long as I live with this insult to the memory of a man who was perhaps the greatest English stylist of the nineteenth century. So far, however, on a first quick reading through, I've only noticed one real, major, Third Form howler in the actual grammar ("Now look here, Berlusconi Minor, I really am going to have to ask you to write this correction out twenty times, so as fix it in your mind"). I am sure there must be more. Is anyone at leisure to identify them? (I don't count as official 'errors' things like professis used in a passive sense, since Ovid used it thus in his erotica; although I don't like it in this sort of formal prose).

I remember carrying on, in the early days of this blog, about the dim and illiterate hacks in the CDW who are given the task of crafting new Latin liturgical formulae (the Padre Pio propers were particularly horrendous); and suggesting that the job should in future be left to Anglicans and the SSPX. I am still waiting to be convinced that this was just one of my silly jokes.

Furthermore: I know that, given recent decisions of PCED, one is not allowed to enter new celebrations into the EF calendar, which is supposed to be set in stone in the autumn of 1962. But one can say votives, surely, on free days, of beati and sancti. Shouldn't the CDW - or do I mean the PCED section of CDF? - get itself into the habit of indicating which of the alternative Commons at the back of the Missal one uses in saying an EF votive of a newly beatified ... such as JHN? (I would suggest, in his case, either of the Commons for a Confessor-not-a-Bishop, but with the Epistle and Gospel from the Common of Doctors.)

Off now, Deo volente, to Encaenia. I shall be very surprised if we get any howlers from Mr Public Orator Jenkyns. I wonder if he'll mention Mr Newman of the College vulgarly called Oriel.

22 June 2010

Ratzinger's Ordinariate

What I think most starkly distinguishes the Holy Father's offer from the Archishops' (apart, of course, from obvious things like bringing us into communion with most of the world's Christians, and making available to us the full benefits of the Magisterium) is the trust which the papal scheme demonstrates. Ratzinger's Anglicanorum coetibus gives us an autonomy unknown since the centralisation of church life under the papacy in the nineteenth century - most strikingly in this: that the Ordinariates themselves, not the papal nuncio in consultation with the local hierarchy, will submit the terna of names to Rome when a new Ordinary is to be appointed. And witness the powers given to the Council of an Ordinariate.

Trust is also at the basis of the provisions that, while an Ordinary is often to consult with local RC bishops about areas of joint concern, it is usually left to the Ordinary to make decisions. And his line manager is the Cardinal Prefect of Rome's most powerful dicastery. Whoever wrote the Apostolic Constitution was determined not to leave us at the mercy of potentially unsympathetic diocesans and Episcopal Conferences.

Contrast this with the mean, resentful, and anally retentive provisions throughout the Rowan scheme. We are not to be trusted with the power to make our own decisions. At every point and at every turn we will be subjected to the control of diocesan bishops. Our very existence will be at the mercy of people who are profoundly out of sympathy with us. Assuming that the sees of Ebbsfleet, Richborough, and Beverley continue to be filled, their occupants will be chosen by a primate (who may not always be as gracious, intelligent, and sympathetic as Rowan) in consultation with the relevant diocesans. It is no secret that, when the See of Ebbsfleet was vacant some years ago, the then Bishop of Bristol vetoed the priest whom the Primate wished to appoint ... I spent several years in Devon listening to my friend and neighbour Bishop John Ecce sacerdos magnus Richards complaining about the iniquity of it all!

This dear old Bavarian gent apparently trusts us in a way that even Rowan, for all his personal affection and best intentions, is clearly not free to. The best he thinks he can squeeze out of the bigots in the House of Bishops and the General Synod is a mean little scheme which leaves our enemies with their hands around our throats.

Papa Ratzi is offering us the chance to get up off our knees.

21 June 2010

Rowan's Ordinariate

I regard the proposals which the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are promoting as profoundly disappointing. I had been led by rumours to believe that they would be offering something that would in effect be a Third province ... or an Ordinariate ... within the Church of England. They are not.

What is clever about their scheme is that it claims to give us "good news" while at the same time purporting to require only a couple of minor changes in the draft legislation. It ostentatiously claims not to diminish the jurisdiction of diocesan bishops. This, combined with the deference still felt by many towards the archbishops, is likely, in my view, to incline a substantial number of the less fundamentalist liberals to tolerate it; and there will be Catholics who, despite the rhetoric which they have adopted over the years, will be willing to clutch at any straw which can be disguised as a fig leaf enabling them to remain in the Church of England.

Furthermore, any criticisms of the archiepiscopal plan will be met by pointing out that it would in effect create a situation closely similar to what we have now. At the moment, a diocesan can decide to whom to hand on the care of 'petitioning' parishes - it doesn't have to be to one of the flying bishops. So, it will be argued, Catholics will be no worse off under the new system than they are at the moment. Indeed, because of the strong moral pressure on diocesans to follow a (not yet drafted) Code of Practice, we shall, they will say to us, be better off. And, above all, 'our' bishops will, for the first time, have genuine jurisdiction.

This sounds, and will sound, good. The problem about it is the unreality of it all. The plain fact is that it leaves the whip - in fact, all the whips - in the hands of the Establishment. Because diocesans will be able to craft and adjust both their diocesan schemes and the personel who will operate them, they will be able to call all the shots. Their appointees will be crucial. We have to envisage the probable use of a suffragan, a neighbouring diocesan, a retired bishop, who will say, with complete sincerity, that he opposes the ordination of women. But because we shall not have chosen him, he is likely to be a man chosen by the Establishment as a safe pair of hands, someone who can be relied on to bear in mind at all times the overall requirement of the entire system; a man more willing to tolerate a dodgy compromise rather than to rock the boat ... any boat ... too disastrously. In a word, One of Them rather than One of Us. If, of course, several of the current PEVs have by then accepted Papa Ratzinger's shilling, there will be a preference to select successors who can safely be relied on not to provide a new generation of departures in five years' time; men who have made a settled calculation about which side their bread is buttered.

At an even more basic level, what the scheme attempts to plaster over is the fact that the navigation department of the Anglican faith-community has set a firm course which is irretrievably in divergence from that of the Ancient Churches. As Walter Kasper ... a distinctly liberal practitioner as Cardinals go ... unsuccessfully attempted to get the House of Bishops to understand, what the C of E is faced with is a quite stark decision: whether to pursue the ARCIC dream of organic unity, or to opt to be one of the Protestant sects. This is the kairos of decision, both for Anglicanism corporately and for individuals. How long is it feasible, even for those among us of the most stay-and-stick-it-out tendency, to keep a foot on the decks of two ships which are heading in different directions?

If this scheme does go through, I hope that those who go and those who stay to live under it will retain all the old bonds of amity. There will be temptations on both sides to be nasty about the choices which others have made. It is very important that these temptations are resisted. If we end up with a bridge ... and, at one end of it, a bridgehead called Ordinariate, and at the other end, a bridgehead called Coordinated Jurisdiction ... then we could have a new and interesting ecumenical experiment. If, on the other hand, in ten years time, there are two groups of former friends taking potshots at each other across the floodplains, we shall all be the losers.

Come off it, father. You know perfectly well that when you've finished your time at St Whatsit's and qualified for your full pension, you'll want to saunter across that pontoon to a comfortable place where the shadow of Peter can fall upon you. You're going to want your chums the other side to have kept the Border-Crossing wide open for you, and no questions asked ... aren't you?

After Trinity: the mass formulae

This continues from the post on the Collects. You won't understand it on its own.

The mass for Pentecost 1 is almost the same as that for Trinity 1, since BCP/S pushed these masses a Sunday later than T. The one difference is that BCP/S has (instead of the T Gospel) Luke 16:19 as the Gospel; a Gospel which does not appear in the T post Pentecosten masses.

The mass for Pentecost 2 is the same as that for Trinity 2. In other words, since Trinity 2 is a Sunday later than Pentecost 2, BCP/S is using this mass one Sunday later than T is using it.

Pentecost 3 mass is the same as that of Trinity 3; in other words, BCP/S is again using this mass a Sunday later than T is using it. EXCEPT that, as explained in the last post, BCP/S retains today an ancient Roman collect which T somehow has mislaid; while T precipitately uses the next collect in the list, which BCP/S correctly defers until next Sunday. So on this Sunday (and hereafter) the collects in BCP/S will be two Sundays later than in T.

Pentecost 4 mass is the same as that of Trinity 4; in other words, BCP/S once more uses the mass one Sunday later than T uses it. EXCEPT that (a) as far as the collects are concerned, BCP/S is running two Sundays later than T; today it uses the T collect for Pentecost 3; and (b) BCP/S here uses the Gospel which T gave us on Pentecost 1 (Luke 6:36). The T Gospel for Pentecost 4 is therefore displaced onto next Sunday, Trinity 5.

After this, things settle down. Thus most of the mass on Pentecost 5 is the same as that of Trinity 5 (i.e. T is using it a Sunday earlier than BCP/S, since the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost is a Sunday earlier than the Fifth Sunday after Trinity); except that the collects and Gospels have T now running two Sundays earlier than BCP/S.

I have been talking about BCP/S; i.e. the Sarum Mass, the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel of which are reproduced in the Prayer Book while the psalmody is to be found in the English Gradual and the back of the English Hymnal and the Secrets and Postcommunions are in the English Missal. In a couple of cases the 1662 Book slightly rearranged the clauses of Cranmer's collects; from time to time Cranmer himself slightly lengthened or slightly shortened an Epistle or a Gospel; and there are one or two little problems in some graduals.

18 June 2010


Jesse joins Sue as a Laureate of this blog (she, you recall, a few months ago offered a very fine, terse, elegant limerick). Jesse has solved with great aplomb all the conundrums (-a?) in the Summer Examination Paper. He was not the first to spot the authorship of the S Paschasius Radbertus passage - a certain erudite parson not a million miles from Lancing Coll did that. (Do RC priests mind being called parsons?). Motu proprio, Vincent de Paul, Fr Terry and Chris were also snapping at the fox's heels. But Jesse put pretty well everything together very nicely in elucidating the Cranmerian topos of the Lord's Body saving/cleansing our bodies, and his Blood our souls; and Cranmer's liturgical jiggery pokery.

Despite Dix's comment, the speculation is not necessarily medieval. 'Ambrosiaster', who wrote early enough to be a witness of the vetus Latina, made the speculation (PL 17:243 ... Caro enim Salvatoris pro salute corporis, sanguis vero pro anima nostra effusus est, sicut prius praefiguratum fuerat a Moyse), and explained that the reason is to be found in Leviticus 17:11, "the life [soul] of the flesh is in the Blood" [Vulg: anima carnis; MT: NPS HBSR].

I wonder if it has always been obvious to everybody what S Thomas meant by that stanza in Verbum supernum prodiens about Body+Blood being necessary to save the Whole Man. In my view he clearly is referring to the Ambrosiaster/Paschasius speculation; see S Th III art I 'tertio'.

Well done to all.


Off this morning on Home Communions; to a very jolly clergy-widow. When the obama won its election, she bought his book ... the one I think, with that noble, visionary, face on the dust-cover. Now, she assured me as we chatted over coffee, she has sent it off in the recycling box to be pulped. "Quite right, Molly", said I. "It's the only sort of language people like that understand".

rejecting communicants

Monday during the Octave of Corpus Christi: the (EF) fifth reading at Mattins, had a passage from S John Chrysostom (I have a splendid stained glass window of him in S Thomas's, claerly done by someone who knew how Byzantine bishops dress ... and even how they join their fingers when blessing).

Let no inhumane, cruel, unmerciful, or unclean person come near [to the Altar]. I say these things to communicants, and to you, who administer. For it is necessary to turn my discourse to you also, so that with great care you may distribute these Gifts. Not a small punishment threatens you, if you grant anyone, while aware of his sin, to be a sharer in this table; his blood will be required at your hands. So if someone who is a military leader, or a Prefect, or an Emperor crowned with a diadem, should approach unworthily, forbid him: you have greater power than him. That is why God marked you with this honour, that you might discern such matters. This is your dignity, your safety, this is your entire crown; not that you should go around dressed in a white and shining tunic.

A few years ago, when I was writing a piece on the 'Apostle' Junia, I had occasion to read in detail the entire passage in his commentary on Romans 16 where Chrysostom speaks about the women there mentioned with such praise by S Paul. As I read about Prisc(ill)a, it became clear to me that Chrysostom is quite simply using her as an opportunity to have a bash at the Imperial House: he compares the humble tentmaker with imperial women who go around dressed like tarts (I believe the American slang term is hookers). I wonder if the passage above is also part of the same campaign ... which, of course, led to Chysostom being driven to a martyr's death.

More to the point, I wonder what will be said to me on Judgement Day about the matter Chrysostom here discusses. Will my barrister, on that occasion, be able to defend me by pointing out that my laxity in distributing the Sacramentis should be jotted down, not to my account, but to the account of the people who made the canonical dispositions which govern my conduct?

17 June 2010


In the new picture of me which graces this blog (a message, by the way, to the reader who said it made me look rather schoolmasterly: "I know where you live ..."), I am not wearing a biretta. Readers have wondered why. This is part of STEP (the S Thomas's Ecumenical Policy). In admiration of the FSSP usage, I wear a biretta in and out of church. But out of admiration for the great Archbishop Lefebvre and for the SSPX, I do not preach in one. Additionally, my biretta has no bobble. That is because I am reserving the bobble-spot for a blue bobble ... or, indeed, a bobble of any ecumenically significant colour.

Question 4

Verbum supernum prodiens; how does the third stanza of S Thomas's great hymn fit in with the previous questions posed?

16 June 2010


Does anyone know of a supplier in the UK of sweetish white Altar Wine guranteed in accordance with Canon Law?

15 June 2010

Benedict XVI in Ipswich?

NLM has a nice picture of the Sovereign Pontiff blessing a statue of our Lady ... am I imagining things, or is it a statue of our Lady of Ipswich aka our Lady of Grace aka our Lady of Nettuno?
Summer Exam. Paper continues.

2. In the Sarum Mass, at no point did the celebrant kneel before the consecrated Sacrament. How was this changed by the Rite of 1549?

3. Which of Cranmer's fellow bishops used the words of this part of the 1549 book to advance an 'Anglican Catholic' interpretation of the rite, and what was Cranmer's reaction in terms of
(a) the arrangement of the rite; and
(b) the wording?

13 June 2010


As numbers of those visiting this blog continue to slump (in the last seven months, by an average of a thousand a month), so that in under two years we shall be in minus numbers, I have decided to abandon any attempt to inform or to please; and simply to frivol.


1. Read the following; suggest the author; and indicate a portion of the Anglican Liturgical Patrimony upon which it throws light.
There are three who give witness that Christ is Truth: the spirit, the Blood, and the Water, since after he sent forth the Spirit from the fount of his chest, contrary to Nature there flowed the felix unda of Baptism, and the Blood of Redemption, by which the one work of salvation is consecrated, that the body and soul and spirit might be preserved whole unto life in Christ. So nobody doubts that our flesh is also restored (reparetur) by this unto life; since the entire Man is redeemed. Flesh is fed by flesh spiritually since the Word was made flesh; the soul however is restored by the Blood of Christ. So every soul, as Scripture witnesses, is in the blood, so that, as it has a seat in the body and through [the blood] itself (as they say) gives life to the body, thence [the soul] also might have eternal life from Christ abiding in it.

12 June 2010

Bodging the Bishop around

Some nice pictures a few days ago on the Papa Stronsay blog of a young FSSP priest saying his first mass in the RC Cathedral in Edinburgh. I know of few lovelier events than First Masses. And how good to see Cardinal O'Brien greeting the Papa Stronsay Redemptorists. Let us pray that their canonical erection may be finalised soon. It sends out bad messages when people, who, on a wave of great euphoria, have accepted the Holy Father's invitation to full canonical union with the See of Peter, are, apparently by local RC establishments, subjected to slowcoaching.

Traddy RCs tend to be impatient about the unwillingness of their archbishops to celebrate the EF. Personally, I have some sympathy with the hierarchs concerned. I have watched, in S James's Spanish Place and in Merton Chapel, bishops who manifestly are unfamiliar with the EF, being dragged and pummelled through it ... "stand here, look that way, do this, read that". It is quite painful as well as being dreadfully lengthy; and undignified for the pontiffs concerned. If I were Vin, I wouldn't want to do it. What might be better, at this stage, would be for one bishop in a particular area to get genned up on how to do the EF, so that he can do it fluently and enjoy the doing of it. I understand the view of CMOC (who spead EF events around his various Area Bishops) that he didn't want an EF 'flying bishop', but it would be more comfortable for all concerned.

Some of us have learned a great deal about the true nature of pastoral episcopacy from 'flying bishops'. It would be good for RCs to get the experience.

E L Mascall

Have I got this right? That today we are commemorating the S John of San Fagondez who was Titular of the Servers' fraternity in Eric Mascall's wicked poem? The servers wouldn't come to weekday Mass at seven, But turned up looking wonderful on Sondez at eleven.

Since we moved, I haven't been able to discover which box my Mascall books are in, so I have to go by memory (the ultra-Catholic priest, as all his friends expected, would have gone last Thursday week had not his wife objected).

On a more devout note ... a lovely video via NLM of the Vigil in Rome for the Year of the Priesthood; Evensong and Benediction. Immensely moving. There was a time when we Anglican Catholics felt that we were the only people left doing such things, and our enemies derisively assured us "Even the Romans have given up all that sort of stuff nowadays". Viva il Papa Anglicano.

10 June 2010

Best wishes ...

... for White Rose Day. At Mass I spared a memento for our late Sovereign Lord King James III and VIII, whose Birthday of course it is. And also for the heroic souls who died in their loyal attempts to assert his Right. And this I can tell, that all things shall be well, when the King shall have his Own again.


I fear I shall not be able to reply to all the emails I have received, and hope that my friends will accept this Thank You for their kindness, prayers, and unmerited compliments. My email address and postal address should be the same until the end of June.

8 June 2010

You heard about it first here ...

... in posts dated March 29 and April 5, 7, and 11. Brunero Gherardini: The Ecumenical Vatican Council II - A MUCH NEEDED DISCUSSION. Read the book that everyone is talking about. Get the English translation from
Carmel Books
45 Base Point
Yeoford Way
01392 824255 (Fax 762092)
300 pages. £14.25 including UK P and P.

You could also ask for a catalogue from this excellent small supplier of good Catholic books.


S Thomas's could really do with another thurible stand. I could really do with a home communions case ... at the moment my twice-weekly sorties round West Oxford have me carrying the lights, corporal, prayer-cards etc. in a supermarket bag (Sainsbury's). If someone within the United Kigdom had spares to send us, we would be very grateful, and I would refund carriage.


This coming Saturday, there is to be a Sung Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) at 6.00p.m., in S Thomas's. It will be a Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

S Thomas's is near the Railway Station in Oxford. Parking is available.

Info: pp@thomasthemartyr.org.uk

6 June 2010

A great Day

June 6 is my wife's Birthday; and the anniversary of the Wedding last year of our younger Son, James Edward, and Anjalee. Gracious me, how splendid she looked as she walked up Chichester Cathedral! O diem laetum, notandumque mihi candidissimo calculo! Nunc est bibendum! ... and lots more bits from Pliny and Flaccus.

For those of you who are celebrating Corpus Christi today, a passage, for the Eve before that Feast, from Gueranger: The dawn of our Feast is upon us. Turning towards the East, the Church knows, through the twilight, that her Spouse is preparing to visit her. She is all joy at this hour, when the king of day is about to shine on our earth; she has her solemn Office of Lauds, full of gladness and praise, as its name indicates; and in this Office, she invites earth, and sea, and firmament, to sing canticles which are worthy of our Jesus, who is the true Sun, for he is rising upon us, and, as the Psalmist tells us (Psalm 18:6), is himself rejoicing, as a giant, to come to the Altar of Sacrifice.

5 June 2010

Its High Summer ...

...has at last hit the Oxford Trinity Term. Pam and I went to the Varsity Match in the Parks to see the University beat Cambridge in the 20/20. The trees were in their full glory, the Pimms tasted wonderful, there were some soaring sixes and some beautiful wickets. "The Sultan" led the University; goodness me, what would English and Oxford Cricket be if it weren't for the Honourable East India Company? The bumping races on the River ... a fortnight ago ... have been deftly infiltrated by the daughters of the New England plutocracy, delightful ever in the clarity of their diction; Cricket, on the other hand, seems impervious to the dollar. Vivat Imperium Britannicum.

And, it being high summer, I am wearing our best white chasuble and set. It is falling apart, but ... well, what is the point of just leaving it in some dark drawer? French eighteenth century; the crosses on stole and maniple just like the Cross of the Saint Esprit; flowers hand-emboidered on white silk; light as a feather. I once made a self-denying ordinance to wear it only four times a year, but I have broken that, and this year have the set out of the chest for the period between our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces and the Sacred Heart. How I wish it could tell its tale; of the artists who created it; of the priests who used it; of the people in whose churches it was worn.

Quorum animabus propitietur Cor Sacratissimum Iesu.

2 June 2010

Secundum usum, rather strangely, Eboracensem

To First Vespers of Corpus Christi, in the rather gaudy chapel of Gloucester Hall within my parish. It was sung according to the Use of York; why, there appeared to be no explanation. Gloucester Hall was a house of studies for the subjects of some Benedictine abbeys before the Tudor Disorders, so the Benedictine rite might have been a more obvious choice. (After the Suppression it became a dependency of S John's; S John's was a very recusant college and Gloucester Hall seems to have been its even more recusant annexe.)

Vespers was very beautifully sung; but I don't think the young people can have known much Latin, because there was some strange phrasing. Perhaps, too, whoever transcribed the texts made slips; for example, in the third antiphon, they sang (each time) " ... in circuitu mensae Dominum", which can hardly make sense. The York use, apparently, had a responsory between the Capitulum and the Hymn; otherwise, there seemed no difference of text between it and the Tridentine Rite.