25 October 2010

Archbishop Longley

As we processed from Carfax to the Castle on Saturday (no Fr James Bradley to provide a photographic record ... eheu eheu ... ) singing the Litanies, I found myself wondering who the proficient and melodious Cantor was. Goodness gracious: it was the Archbishop of Birmingham himself. And he is not even - so he told me a few years ago in the National Liberal Club during his as-yet impalliate days - an ex-Anglican. When we got there, he blessed the new plaque (honouring Bl George Napier) with equal grace.

An irritating thing at Oxford is that the phrase "The Oxford Martyrs" always seems to refer to certain Protestants. There are honourable exceptions; the University Church has a tablet recording all those executed in the Reformation era. But ... take the ridiculous and unscholarly mishmash of whiggery that you will find in the revamped Ashmolean ... "Oxford Martyrs" is generally used strictly in accordance with the canons of historiography established by Fox.

The very competent booklet provided for Saturday's occasion by the Latin Mass Society has a picture of Bl George saying mass on the morning of his martyrdom (I think the accepted practice was to bribe the warders). It comes from Dr Challoner's work on the English Martyrs. But it shows a cleric disposed as no cleric could be in the celebration of Mass ... and not wearing a maniple (on either arm: I say that to preempt cleverclogs among you who are already wondering if the engraving has got accidentally reversed).

There is, apparently, nothing new about journalists getting liturgical details wrong.


Joseph Shaw said...

Dear Fr John,

Thanks for your support! I agree the engraving of Bl George Napier saying Mass is a little odd. I suppose the lack of vestments might be put down to the prison conditions.

The cantor for the Litany of the Saints was, in fact, John Tennant, who is based in St Bede's Clapham Park and came with a party from London. We did hear the Archbishop's excellent voice, however, when he *sang* (and did not merely *read*) both the blessing of the plaque and the pontifical blessing he gave us when we got back to Blackfriars. (The latter, I think, from memory!)

For photos of the occasion see my blog http://lmschairman.org

Unknown said...

I am reminded of when at Pusey House I had to sing the Latin collect following the Salve Regina. It was twilight (Immaculate Conception 2004)and the collect was in 8-point type. I could see neither the words nor the punctuation and my rendering was unsurprisingly somewhat approximate. Retelling my plight to the Pusey-ite M/C afterwards, I was discountenanced when he promptly sang the collect in Latin, from memory, properly inflected. He is now a Catholic seminarian.

Anonymous said...

Was not Archbshop Longley at one time a member of the choir in the New College of St Mary of Winchester?