19 November 2022

Temps Perdu

I wrote the following piece in 2010, just after I had preached in S Mary's, Bourne street (olim Graham Street). 

"What fun S Mary's Bourne Street is. For me it evokes the day after our Wedding, when we went to Mass there on Low Sunday 1967 ... and the learned, saintly figure of Eric Mascall, who lived in the presbytery during his retirement. The church is a glorious manifestation of triumphalist 1930s Anglo-Catholicism as expressed in the friendly and accessible baroque of Martin Travers. How good it was to hear the Asperges chant again; indeed, the music was truly superb (and varied); and the liturgy done with much love and care. Good, neat, correct, serving; and a large friendly congregation of all ages. As we sang the Angelus at the end, I wondered if this custom would be a distinctive piece of Patrimony and enrich other Christians. Incidentally, who was it that wrote that music which one hears so often in the C of E but never in popish churches? (Only the sermon was indifferent.)

"Drinks afterwards with the congregation in the Library of the Presbytery (do RC presbyteries always have a large and well-stocked Library, or is this another piece of the Patrimony?). Then into the Dining Room; I can't remember when I last had such a Sunday lunch: fine fish, fantastic fowl, and fabulous pud. Or enjoyed such good conversation. I sat between two intelligent and distinctly fetching ladies; and there were a couple more across the table. Intermittently two well-spoken and attractive young women relinquished the toys they had been left to play with in the Library and came to help eat chocolate. I disgraced myself thoroughly by failing to notice how time was flying; and was more than moderately horrified when finally I looked at my watch. I fled in replete and vinous embarrassment."

Happy days! What a shame the poor old C of E had to come to an end ... "the House of Bondage" as Newman called it ... was it Ward who coined the monikker "Old Mother Damnable"?

However, non omnis mortua est. I recollect that the congregation metamorphosed into the Marylebone Ordinariate Group, who sometimes met in the old Spanish Embassy Chapel tucked away behind the Wallace Collection and its 50,000 Bouchers.

I hope they still do.


Ben Whitworth said...

I have heard it said that the Patrimonial setting of the Angelus was composed by an organist at Pusey House. I recall it from my Anglican days, and have sung it most often at Ordinariate services, but it is also used at the Manchester Oratory.

armyarty said...

I used to go into the former CFR Friary next to Saint Anne's Church (Also "former") in the Bronx, and they had a very formidable library, left behind for the friars by the departing nuns. Among their treasures was a complete set of The Liturgical Year, in purple morocco covers, watered silk endpapers, and ribbon markers.

How I wish that I got ahold of them. At this point, I suspect that they were flogged off by the pound to some bookseller when the parish was closed.

Banshee said...

Could you write something about the Classical pagan writers who became considered as part of the Preparation for the Gospel?

I knew about Virgil, but I just found out that the Akathist Hymn's line "O bride unwedded" is a reference to Euripides' Hecuba.

And somebody had a fun old print on the Catholicism subreddit,showing Jesus and the Virgin Mary welcoming Gaius Valerius Flaccus, the Latin Argonautica poet, to the "land of cloud."


Link provided, because it would be hard to find.