30 November 2010


I notice that whenever (ex.gr.) NLM gives a photogaph of a Missal, it always seems to be pre-1962. I have myself never, I believe, actually seen a Missal or Breviary from the 1960s 'reform'. Is there anywhere on-line that I can browse them in their entirety?

28 November 2010

Some good stuff ...

... in the thread appended to my November 26 post.

New Directions: November 2010

A sad number, the November issue (which didn't reach me till nearly the end of the month). Because it looks like the swan song of the brilliant and witty Dr Geoffrey Kirk. He provides three characteristically elegant and forceful articles, all three of which put an exact finger on what has been wrong with Old Mother Damnable for two decades, and still is. But what a marvellous run he has had for his money. When Sara Lowe edited the mag - ah, those were the days; what a girl she is - there was his superb series of satires which so frequently provoked the Great and the Good to complain about our 'tone'. Well, what did the b*****s expect? They had stolen everything else from us; our tone was all we had left. To this day, the memory of Geoffrey's account of the doings of Archdeacon Armitage Shanks sometimes induces in me irregularities in urinary fluency. And a week I spent with Fr Geoffrey in Lewisham was just about the culinary high point of my life. Ad multos annos.

This number of ND also includes a synopsis of an article about Divorce among (American) Evangelicals. It strikes a chord with me; I've had this bee in my biretta for a long time. It puzzles me that some Evangelicals make such a fuss about homosexuality when so many of them have disregarded the plain Dominical Words about remarriage after divorce. My views on all sexual matters are precisely those of the Church and of the Tradition. But I think homosexuals get rough justice when they are paraded as the moral problem of our age. Surely, more marriages are destroyed by disordered heterosexual lust than by homosexual appetites. And, moving on from homosexuality, let's consider the Abuse of Minors. I am second to nobody in my disgust at 'filth' who abuse children sexually. But 28 years working in a boarding school provided me with very few examples of 'filth' at work and such examples as I did see were at what Mr Plod classifies as the lowest end of the spectrum. What I did see repeatedly was the damage done to adolescents by divorce. Time and time again, I would be at a meeting to hear about the disciplinary problems suddenly, unaccountably, being provided by some boy ... and after a few minutes, the House Master would intervene to say "I think you should all know that there is currently a very messy divorce going on ...".

The Divorce Culture is the principal sexual disorder of our age; and it is also the main way in which the young are horribly abused by their elders.

27 November 2010

However did he get away with it?

Bishop Andrew Burnham knew from the beginning what he wanted to do; and he did it. The mystery is that the Great and the Good showed no signs of realisung what was going on.

He saw priests and people in his allotted third of England as being, not a fully-fledged Particular Church, but as an ecclesial gathering on the way to that status. He saw it, in fact, as rather like the recusant community in England before Blessed Pius IX restored the hierarchy - divided into their respective Districts. So he called his bailiwick a District. And, alluding to styles such as 'Vicar Apostolic' or 'Apostolic Administrator' in the RC Church, he called it the Ebbsfleet Apostolic District. There was something not a little proleptic about this; in the RCC 'Apostolic' means something like 'pertaining directly to the Apostolic See of Rome'. So Bishop Andrew, while not in full communion with the See of Peter, proclaimed in effect exactly what his intentions were and whwere it was all, in logic, destined to lead. And lest anyone should be in any doubt, he set up structures in the District which were decidedly reminiscent of RC terminology ... there were, for example, episcopal vicars. Nobody could claim that he was thereby 'pretending' to be a diocesan bishop (" I know I'm not a diocesan bishop; when the vestry roof is leaking, nobody gets in touch with me") as they could have done if, for example, he had named 'archdeacons' and 'canons', because he was using titles which had no meaning in Anglican canonical and statutory usage. The whole thing worked very well and, to boot, it all had meaning.

So few people appeared to noticed this meaning. I can only presume that most were too ignorant of the byways of history and of the nuances of words.

I am sure Rowan will do the honourable thing in making the next appointment. But, almost by definition, the next Bishop of Ebbsfleet can only be someone who has decided that he is not heading Burnhamwise in a direction ultra montes. Rome has made its offer; it is there on the table to be taken or left. As various people have observed, this has called some bluffs. Essentially, one either takes it or one leaves it; there is no third alternative. So the next occupant of the See will by the very logic of the situation be a priest who, with whatever degree of good intention, is content to be meshed into a structure, the Church of England, which has set out on a course of definitive divergence from the Ancient Churches, and turned its back irrevocably on its former ecumenical partners.

That is why, when the offer comes to me from Lambeth Palace, I shall not accept the See. Accepting it would seem to me like a form of constructive apostasy - a turning in a direction diametrically opposed to the one we were moving in before.

25 November 2010

Sanctus angelus tuus

A very interesting piece on Fr Ray Blake's blog about Christ described as the Angel in the Supplices te rogamus.

I share the view of many that the archaic Christology of that phrase in the Canon is one indication of its extreme antiquity. It is interesting that the version in the de Sacramentis indicates that, even by S Ambrose's time, it was already misunderstood. And that some clever-clogs at Milan had 'corrected' it.

People shouldn't 'correct' the Canon Romanus. Not even if they are Doctors of the Church.


Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, deserves the sympathy of all right-thinking people. To lose the services of one suffragan bishop could be just bad fortune. To lose, in the same month, two such prelates , can only be ... I'm not quite sure what. Incidentally, I gather that the Bishop of London is proposing a Society for those parishes in his jurisdiction which disdain the ministry of women priests.

I wonder what the august prelates who mastermind SWISH think of this deft irruption into their own little private game. Won't it put a bit of a spanner in their works as every inventive diocesan with a dash of control-freakery invents societies to which named categories in their dioceses will be deemed to belong? Perhaps the Roman Pontiff will get on board and found a Society to which he will assign the von Trautmenn, the Lofti, the .... I wonder what that society would have to be called?

I am holding back as to whether to offer my moral support to Chartres' plan. If he names his Society after the great Edmund Bonner, the last Bishop of London to suffer as a Confessor for the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Universal Church has received it, I might be tempted to do so.

BTW, I have heard from two different and equally impeachable sources that Fr David Houlding is to be the next Bishop of Fulham. I thought that in his interview with Ruthie he was a bit unfriendly about John Broadhurst, the Bonner of our own days. I hope the kindly old gents of SWISH aren't suddenly going to turn nasty with everyone who doesn't play things exactly so as to suit their own book, especially since it has not yet been revealed what that book may turn out to be.


As we know, the 'wings' on the modern biretta are a formalisation of the way one bunched up the material between ones fingers in donning and doffing the rather floppier medieval clerical hat. That is why one has a 'wing' towards the right and not the left; one drew up the material towards the right, drawing it away from the left, so as to get a good grip.

On the photographs from the recent consistory, one can see that the Bishop of Rome placed the birettas on the heads of his new cardinal presbyters in such a way that the 'wingless' corner was to the back. Is this (which would be totally logical) because, if the biretta were still in the old floppy state, the one bestowing it would bunch the material between his fingers in bestowing the hat ... so that what is normally the grippable 'wing on the right' becomes, temporarily in the act of bestowal, the grippable 'wing at the front'?

Or did Good Marini just hand them to him the wrong way round?

We should be told.

24 November 2010


The statistics on this blog seem currently to be going up.

Is this an Ordinariate Bounce or a Condom Bounce?

23 November 2010


If there is a bounce in the numbers of English seminarians, it would be interesting to know how many of the Bouncers are ex-Anglicans. Mind you, they would still justly be included in the statistics of the Benedict Bounce. We love him.

Condoms and the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews

Fr Zed has made available that section of the popeinterviewbook ... whatever that is in agglutinative German ... which deals with Judaism and the new EF Good Friday Prayer.

By a happy coincidence, if there are such things under Providence as coincidences, I touched upon this precise question of Jewish Salvation a day or two ago in a post about the Mass for the Sunday Next before Advent. The post is titled 'Stir up Sunday'.

I am extremely gratified to find that Professor Ratzinger's views and mine are precisely coincident. As they are about the condoms business.

Some usually commendable blogs have been less than totally supportive of the Holy Father recently. I am not quite sure whether the last bit of Fr Zed's piece about the Good Friday Prayer is or is not supposed to be supportive.

If you want to understand what the Sovereign Pontiff is getting at, try Anglican Patrimonial sources.

Irish financial and political crisis

Terrible news! The floozie in the Jacuzzi has been shifted out of O'Connell Street ... because po-faced administrators disapprove of this centre of popular fun. Old Ireland must be coming finally to its end when city workers are to be deprived of the simple pleasure of ducking each other on Dublin summer days or putting multicoloured dyes into the fountain. Ah well. Bring back Nelson, that's what I say. I'm sure my buddy Alan Ryan Hall of Valencia Island would be only too willing to cast a replacement statue.

We shall know whether Ireland is still Ireland after the elections in January. Will Mr Healey-Rae (father or son) again be returned by the electors of Kerry, and again hold the balance of power in a precarious Dail so that a dedicated minister has to be deputed to liaise with him to retain his support for the governing party and to secure unlimited funds for the Kingdom of the West? If so, it will be clear that all is still for the best in that best of all possible worlds.

Incidentally, I wonder if 'Bill our Bishop' would be interested in the loan of a batch of Ordinariate clergy ...

22 November 2010

.... BUT ....: the Pope and the condoms

I'm not in the habit of attacking the Sovereign Pontiff. Moreover, I don't usually criticise his advisers and assistants, because so often his critics attack them simply as a craven and cowardly way attacking the pope himself but doing it by proxy. For similar reasons, I haven't even ever attacked his Press and PR people.

But ... as a humble and simple pastor, I really would prefer that items which are going to hit the headlines were not sprung on us late on Saturday, so that we're short of time in getting things straight ready for enquirers after Sunday Mass. As with this condoms business.

Having contemplated the BBC translation of the German texts, I see what the Holy Father's words mean. He is saying that if a rent-boy has unprotected sex, he is committing two sins: the mortal sin of homosexual genital intercourse; and the mortal sin of risking communicating a lethal infection. If, however, he uses a condom, while he is still committing the first of those mortal sins, he has to a degree excluded the second. By so doing he has, as we might say, taken a step in the right direction. But he has still committed a mortal sin and is still, objectively speaking, not in a state of grace. There is a sense in which it is not as bad to commit one sin as it is to commit two; but the commission of one mortal sin still means that one is objectively in that state of alienation from God which we Christians call Not Being In a State of Grace.

Our enemies, of course, do not understand (and have no interest in understanding) about Being In a State of Grace. Secularists are, even when they hold Oxford professorships, a generally dim lot ... dim because of a bigoted determination not to understand. They just want to ask blunt and unnuanced questions about "Is it All Right to use condoms?". Within this toddler-level mode of moral discourse, our Holy Father's simple statement of the moderately obvious is bound to seem to them like a "change in his implacable opposition to the use of condoms". So we have to listen to these dreary half-wits condescending to a rather abler mind than theirs by saying that "the pope has at least learned a little from experience". Thank God, he has done nothing of the sort.

Behind all this there is the determination of secularists to spread, by hook or by crook, fornication, adultery, and most other sexual disorders (not at the moment paedophilia, of course, because that is at the moment a handy stick with which to belabour the Church). They bleat incessantly about the plight of AIDS victims in Africa, but only a fool would believe that these well-heeled and malevolent chatterers lose a moment's sleep worrying about such problems. Often sexually incontinent themselves, their relentless desire is to remake humankind in their own corrupt image. The Devil has blinded these intellectual giants to the fact, obvious to any simpleton reading the papers, that the sexual licence which they so successfully promoted in the second half of the twentieth century has led to an explosion of lethal bodily ailments such that even a classical utilitarian in the dear simplistic old John Stuart Mill tradition would be able to discern their immorality in promoting the vices which are so dear to them and so deadly to the multitudes whom they are successful in corrupting.

This business may have several outcomes. The lying classes may be successful in their attempt to create an impression that the Catholic Church is now gradually "seeing sense" on condoms, and thus to reinforce those who have been deceived by the Spirit of the Age into their wrongdoing. On the other hand, it is so obvious that what the pope has said has a nil bearing on questions of morality of contraception and of homosexuality that they may soon return to pointing this out and attacking him on all their old familiar grounds. Given Screwtape's skill in getting the best of two contradictory worlds, they may very well go for both these mutually exclusive conclusions simultaneously.

Perhaps some of the Pope's 'friends' (with 'friends' like his, who needs enemies?) will say that he has expressed himself in a way that lays him open to being misunderstood. But think about it. He has very carefully done exactly the opposite. Had he taken, for his exemplum, a heterosexual couple one of whom was infected with AIDS, he would have indeed left himself wide open to the superficially plausible accusation of a U-turn opening the door to the liceity of contraception within marriage. By using the exemplum of a rent boy, he has made this impossible. Nobody could seriously think that, overnight, a pope had so far moved from the Church's previous moral teaching as now to uphold the liceity of homosexual intercourse and of prostitution ... simultaneously.

Nobody, that is, except journalists verging on imbecillity or mired in habitual mendacity.

21 November 2010


The commonest practical question, by far, which I am being asked is: Is it possible for a former Anglican, baptised as an Anglican, who has entered into full communion with the Holy See, but has not done this through the Ordinariate process, formally to adhere to an Ordinariate once it is erected?

Having carefully perused, several times, both the Latin and English texts of the Apostolic Constitution and its accompanying norms, it seems to me that the answer is clearly Yes. And not least because of the hermeneutical principle in canon law that if a possibility has not been explicitly excluded, the liberty to take advantage of it cannot be denied.

Am I right?

20 November 2010


How good it is to see movement. I wonder what liturgical formulae ... Votive Masses, Novenas, Pilgrimages ... are appropriate at just this moment?

Tacto ligno

I appear now again to be able to send emails.

19 November 2010


I would be grateful if people refrained from sending me emails which call for a reply.


Currently, whenever I try to send an email, I get trold that an error has occurred.

18 November 2010

Local Calendars in an Ordinariate

Bishop Peter Elliot, who is, I suspect ... nobody ever tells me anything ... the man mainly concerned with liturgical questions concerning Ordinariates, may not have given much thought to the question of Local Calendars. This is because he is an Oz and down in Oz the Local Calendars have very few entries.

In England, on the other hand, the Calendars are crowded with Romans and Saxons and medievals and counter-Reformation martyrs; and accordingly they differ quite a lot from diocese to diocese. This week I keep S Edmund Rich (of Abingdon, a few miles to the South) on Tuesday; S Hugh of Lincoln (before the Diocese of Oxford was canonically erected in the reign of Good Queen Mary we were in the great sprawling diocese of Lincoln); and on Saturday, the other S Edmund, the King and Martyr*. But in an Ordinariate ... will people be keeping the Calendar of the Roman Catholic diocese in which they are situate; or will there be a special Ordinariate Calendar? Or both?

In practical terms - and to prevent some poor person from having to do a lot of complicated work at a time which is busy enough anyway - it would probably be neatest (at least temporarily) to put all the observances from all the Local Calendars into a single mainly optional list and leave it to local decision what got observed.


*For the curious: in both the OF and EF masses here I use a calendar extracted from the calendars of the three RC dioceses parts of which are within the Diocese of Oxford; I based it on the canons of Local Relevance which respectively the Sacred Congregation of Rites used to employ for the EF and the Congregation for Divine Worship and etc. etc. operates now for the OF.

Oxford provides an example of why simply imposing the Calendars of a geographical RC diocese would be problematic. The boundary between the RC dioceses of Birmingham and Portsmouth runs through the middle of the Oxford conurbation. South of the Isis one would find oneself using a Calendar which included entries put on it with an eye to the Channnel Isles; North of the river, where the calendar of Birmingham is weighted towards the historical traditions of the far Northern see of Lichfield, one would be cut off from observances relevant to nearby Abingdon ... where my Head Server lives and where Pam and I are just off to do our shopping in the Waitrose.

16 November 2010

Ordinariates: canonical questions

Is there still a canonist somewhere out there? If one joins an Ordinariate, I presume that, like all priests of the Latin Rite, one would not be allowed, without special biritual faculties, to celebrate the Byzantine Rite. But would one be allowed to concelebrate a Melkite or Ukrainian Liturgy?

Somehow that would help me to feel a great deal closer to a very dear friend of many years ago, Christopher Commodatos, the late Bishop of Telmissos, in whose flat at the back of the former Irvingite church in the Camberwell New Road I spent more time than I probably should have done gossiping with him and his Cypriot parishioners and drinking Greek coffee. And to his monk, the little brother Lazarus, who died what I have always believed to be a martyr's death.

And, going back even further in my life, it would somehow seem a fulfilment of a large factor of my undergraduate days in the 1960s: Sunday mornings at 1, Canterbury Road, when Oxford's Orthodox used to gather in a chapel constructed out of the sitting room of the Victorian house and there seemed to be endless ancient Russian ladies in black with gigantic diamonds in their jewelry, prostrate at the Greater Entrance; and the benign figure of Nicolas Zernov presiding over everything.

Not to mention holiday Sundays in Greece; the priest helping hs wife to feed the chickens before putting on his best cassock to serve the Liturgy in a village church.

I see myself as a Latin to my fingertips and I would never wish, not for a moment, to be of the Byzantine rather than of the Roman Rite ... which, in its authentic form, I love to distraction. But there would be pleasures galore in being out of ... a rather narrow ghetto. All part, perhaps you will remind me, of being in a fuller communion with the church where the Voice of Peter is still alive.

Doubts: further thoughts

Ah ... perhaps I am groping my way to a solution ... in an Ordinariate one would also, of course, be in the same Church as Adolf Hitler, Myra Hindley, and Hannibal Bugnini.

Context always helps.

Phew ... I'm glad I've got that sorted out.

Ordinariate doubts

I've had a dreadful thought: if one joins an Ordinariate, will one find oneself in Full Communion with Mgr Loftus? Help! There must be a canonist somewhere out there who can find a way round this problem.

15 November 2010

SWISH again

While arranging a meeting in my parish to discuss the future, I asked a brother priest who said he favoured the SWISH proposals devised by friends of Johnny Hind, Bishop of Chichester, if he would care to provide a paper explaining and defending those proposals. He declined because he could not find anything to say about the scheme except what was on its website. Which said precisely nothing that was in the least illuminating.

We still have no evidence what the proponents of SWISH have in mind. I have a suspicion which rests upon no evidence whatsoever but upon my own intuition. Here goes.

SWISH is manifestly simply an attempt to wreck the Ordinariate scheme. It was devised ... to the extent to which it was devised ... in a tearing hurry before the "Sacred Synods" of clergy in the Northern and Southern provinces. The bishop who defended it in Westminster meeting of Forward in Faith had to confess that he still had no real idea what it was all about.

There is prima facie evidence that it is essentially an attempt to keep several very divergent groups of people together under one umbrella. There are those who warmly desire the Roman Option, but are not quite ready to join the Ordinariate's "First Wave". There are those who are not straining at the leash to leave the C of E but could conceivably take a Roman Option if they had no alternative. And there are those who will never touch Rome with a bargepole either because of their ambitions in the Mainstream or visceral prejudice or because their domestic arrangements make them unacceptable to Rome (of course, in some these last two categories coincide). My theory is that by keeping silent ... and thus remaining united and impressive ... until the First Wave enter the Ordinariate, they hope to queer Dr Ratzinger's pitch without needing to answer difficult questions which would create divisions in their ranks and expose SWISH as a vacuous and cynical attempt at unprincipled realpolitik.

One example. The Master General of SSC, Fr David Holding (by the way, a fellow brother said to me the other day "I can't wait to send my badge back") said at the October F in F meeting that he was provisionally supporting SWISH but that it would be useless if it did not decide to be prepared to break the law. One presumes he had in mind things like "taking for ourselves what they refuse to give us"; the 'illegal' consecration of bishops; and putting priests into churches and clergy houses and defying the Mainstream to send the bailiffs in to evict them. If SWISH declares that it will not take such action, it will promptly lose those who agree with Holding that such a preparedness is essential. If it declares that it is prepared to go down such a path, it will lose those who would never, in a month of Sundays, break a law.

Ergo ...

13 November 2010


Good S Wilfrid is not someone I regard as inherently infallible; for example, I do not share the view (which he shared with S Theodore) that 'Celtic' Orders are, or rather were, invalid. But I was more than happy to have him as a Patron during the 28 years I spent in the county which he converted, not least because of his strong belief in in the exercise of papal primacy, and his enthusiasm for Roman liturgy. I also approve of his skills in teaching people how to fish: I wonder if that rather nice and inexpensive fish-restaurant is still open on Shoreham Beach.

In 2001 I left the Diocese of Chichester just after Johnny Hind became its bishop upon the retirement of Eric Kemp. For the weeks in which we overlapped I did not, I fear, name him in the Te igitur; because of what I had heard about his policies.

Eric not only did not ordain women; he declined to license them and to institute them. Nor would he allow them to be ordained, licensed or instituted by his commission; because, as he said to me, quoting an ancient adage, what a man facit per alium, facit per se (in English: if you tell someone to go and murder Mrs Blogs, then, quite rightly, Mr Plod will come and arrest you too). But Johnny made it clear that he would do all these things; although he would refrain from ordaining them with his own actual hands. I heard the rumour, which swept the diocese, that he had said he was going to license and institute them because otherwise he wouldn't have control over them (if true, what evidence this is of a towering theological intellect!). I can't verify this account; I didn't with my own ears hear him say it with his own lips. But it was widely reported and believed. In any case, I had my own suspicions, which rest upon no direct and watertight factual evidence but upon my own intuition, that the real reason for his conduct was a deal which he did to get the See.

Chichester was at that time packed with clergy who had moved there in the 'safe' years provided by Eric. Even the proponents of womenpriests agreed that it would be explosive to impose upon such a diocese a bishop who ordained women. But those charged with the appointment are said to have had an explicit policy of "bringing Chichester back into the Church of England". Spies were going round enquiring about the prevalence of "illegal liturgical practices" in the diocese. My hypothesis is that the deal was struck that Johnny would keep himself ... just ... tolerable to the more gullible 'Traditionalists' by not tainting his own fastidious hands with the actual touch of female hair, but would provide for their ordination by his own commission and would likewise institute and license them. And that he would persecute parishes which used the Roman Rite. (Indeed, rumour had it that, directly upon his appointment, he announced that "if you haven't passed Resolutions A and B you haven't got a leg to stand on"; and that he began his episcopate with the persecution of a delightful little Roman Rite parish in Brighton, the Annunciation, Washington Street).

It is a source of mystery to me that a man who transformed the diocese of Chichester by the provision of so many women 'priests' "to the cure of souls which was his and theirs" (and, incidentally, by persecuting the Catholic liturgical rites which were so dear to S Wilfrid), and has hitherto disdained joining the organisations which were actually upholding the Faith, should have been accepted by so many people at his own estimation of himself as the "leading Catholic Bishop". But I am not in the least surprised by the fact that so many episcopuli, bishoplets, whose CVs have crossed his, should be so prominent in the recent crude attempt (SWISH) to sabotage the Holy Father's Ordinariate scheme.


10 November 2010


I am asked to publicise the fact that the Bishop John is celebrating his last Mass qua Bishop of Fulham on Saturday 20 November at noon (Gordon Square) and that the Sevenoaks Ordinariate event (full briefings by top speakers) has been shifted to 3.30 on the same day.

Rumour has it that the last Mass by an orthodox Bishop of Ebbsfleet will be on the 27th, noon, at New Hinksey.


From Edward Siecienski's new book on the Filioque.

"Among the seventh century councils that taught the double procession, the Council of Hatfield (680) is perhaps the most interesting, especially as its president was a Greek, Theodore of Tarsus (602-90).

"According to Bede, when Pope Vitalian (657-72) appointed Theodore to Canterbury, he sent the monk Hadrian with him 'to prevent Theodore from introducing into the Church over which he presided any Greek customs'. Despite these misgivings, Theodore was a sound choice who antimonothelite credentials were impeccable (he had probably been at the Lateran Synod with Maximus the Confessor in 649). AlthoughBede claimed that Theodore convoked the Council of Hatfield 'to preserve the churches from the heresy of Eutyches', there is some evidence that he also used the gathering to respond to Bishop Wilfrid of York, who had been in Rome complainingabout Theodore's governance of the English Church. The Council's statement of faith, which apparently assured Pope Agatho of Theodore's orthodoxy, affirmed the faith of Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon, Constantinople II, and the Lateran Suynod of 649, and included belief in 'the Holy Spirit, ineffably proceeding from the Father and the Son, as proclaimed by all whom we have mentioned above, holy apostles, and prophets, and doctors.

"The two questions raised by this confession of faith were how Theodore would have interpreted this teaching, and how long the filioque had been part of the creed in England. While it is possible that Augustine of Canterbury (d609) might have taught the filioque during his mission to England (given his connection with Pope Gregory I), there is also a chance that it was introduced by Theodore's companion Hadrian, an African by birth whose study of Augustine and Fulgentius would likely have included their teaching on the procession. As for Theodore himself, it is possible that he understood the filioque in accordance with the principles Maximus had enunciated years earlier in the Letter to Marinus, especially if (as is likely) the two knew each other in Rome. What is clear is that Pope Agatho, although busy preparing his own statement of faith for the Constantinopolitans (without the filioque), happily received the proceedings of Hatfield, including its confession in the procession of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son."

I wonder how those 'English Orthodox' and 'British Orthodox' who tell us that the Anglo-Saxon Church was "Orthodox", deal with the little matter of Hatfield.

7 November 2010

The Preparation Before Mass ... again ...

Every morning we say to our Lady: " ... et mihi, misero peccatori, et sacerdotibus omnibus, hic et in tota sancta Ecclesia hodie offerentibus, clementer assistere digneris ...".

I presume the hic takes us back to the happy days of busy altars; when priests queued up to say their Masses; when all around a church was the Missarum sacra murmuratio and the occasional sound of bells. Happily, the current Code of Canon Law made the saying of Mass without the presence of a lay person to answer rather easier; hitherto you needed a gravis causa; now a iusta causa will do, and Bishop Peter Elliott (who did his seminary training at the same place, S Stephen's House, as I did) explains in his Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, that a priest's desire to maintain the discipline of the daily Mass is a thoroughly iusta causa. Our Holy Father has continually emphasised the importance, in the Latin Church, of this discipline. Yet so few clergy seem to celebrate except when there is a pastoral need for them to do so. How depressing.

O'Connell gives in detail the decrees of the SRC about how you celebrate without a person to serve or answer, in the EF; it's all very common sense. And the Novus Ordo rubrics also provide for this possibility. Is the spirituality and discipline of the daily Mass in the life of a priest properly inculcated in modern seminaries?

5 November 2010


Since Fr Zed has a rather meandering post about these words, I here repeat my own piece from last January. The phrase is not diaconal and the fashion in some places of getting the Deacion to sing it is misguided as well as contrary to the rubrics.
'The Mystery of Faith'. Why does the PP of S Thomas's not say 'Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith' when that is what ASB ordered ... and it's what the present RC version of the Mass in English has? Why won't he even say what Common Worship prescribes: 'Great is the Mystery of Faith'?

The history of the phrase begins with I Timothy 3:9 - 'deacons ... holding ... the mystery of faith'. Since, already in the Third Century, it was the convention that the Deacon at Mass held the Chalice, it looks as though 'Mystery of Faith' was considered to mean the Chalice of the Lord's Blood, and was consequently incorporated into the Roman Institution Narrative: 'For this is the Chalice of My Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant, the Mystery of Faith'. After Vatican II, 'Mystery of Faith' was removed from the Lord's words, because it is not in the biblical record, but was left for the priest to say immediately after them. ICEL (the RC translation organisation) invented the words 'Let us proclaim', which are not in the official Latin. Then they offered four alternative 'acclamations'; three of them translated from the Latin and one ('Christ has died' etc.) invented by themselves.

Unfortunately, this gives the impression that 'let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith' is there simply to invite the congregation to respond with an 'acclamation'. Rome has now very wisely decided to emphasise 'the Latin tradition which closely links Mystery of Faith' with the Words of Institution; i. e. 'Mystery of Faith' points to the consecrated Chalice, the Saving Blood now present en mysterio (in a sacrament) upon the Altar, not to a congregational acclamation.

While Common Worship was in the making, ICEL made two brilliantly clever decisions: (1) to change the phrase to 'Great is the Mystery of Faith'; and (2) to produce alternative introductory phrases before each of the four acclamations, so that whichever one Father said would give the congregation the clue to which acclamation he wanted them to answer him with. The C of E Liturgical Commission saw these draft proposals and incorporated them into CW.

Rashly, because Rome decided soon after to sack the whole gang of heterodox and feminist jokers that comprised Old ICEL, and to set up a New ICEL. This New ICEL, in the drafts which are now in the final phases of approval, has dumped both those decisions. So Common Worship enthusiasts look like being left saddled with a mistake Rome toyed with but then wisely abandoned.

To summarise: 'The Mystery of Faith' is what the Church's praying life made of S Paul's words to S Timothy; the Blood which is for ever poured out before the Father is the Blood we worship by faith in the mystery of the Sacrament.

4 November 2010

Bishop Williamson ...

... of the SSPX reveals a new step in his divergence from his Confratres in the SSPX.

The blessed springtime of orthodoxy is not now, it seems, to be found in the witness of the admirable Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. It is to be found in the guidance Bishop Williamson can give us about what Lefebvre would have done if he had known better ... if, for example, he had known as much better as Bishop Wiliamson does now. He would have refused to sign all the documents of Vatican II; not just the two he did decline to sign (yes, I know there are some historical uncertainties here).

It reminds me of an Anglican phenomenon. Anglican Evangelicals used to regard the Church of England as a Confessional Church, whose documents were the Prayer Book and the Articles. They prided themselves upon being the true and pure exponents of this Anglicanism.

But there is a new form of Evangelicalism which finds those formularies themseves rather iffy. The call now is for the Reformation to be "completed". Bishop Williamson has a lot in common with the Australian Anglican diocese of Sidney.

It's not so much funny as sad. It is always upsetting when Christians of whatever tradition consider it better to discover or invent new grounds of inexorable principle for being even more divided from their fellows.

What colour?

Can anybody supply authority as to whether the Feast of the Holy Relics, tomorrow, is in white or red? I have found authorities for each ... as well as inherent reasons for each.

3 November 2010

Ss Crispin and Crispinian

On October 25, I took a brief holiday from the S Lawrence Press Ordo (rite of 1939) and into the Bugninified calendar of 1961/2. Deeming Ss Chrysanthus and Daria to have been reduced to a Commemoration; and the day being therefore free to say a Mass of Saints marked in the Martyrology for the day concerned: in this case, Ss Crispin and Crispinian: I did just that (the English Missal provided information about which of the Commons to use).

If the various forms of the Old Rite are eventually reduced to what Cornish philologists would call a Unified Form, I would put in a plea for the following.

The Bugnini reduction of Simples to Commemorations should not be followed. But it should be permitted, on Semidoubles and Simples, to say the old Sunday Mass, or the Mass of a Saint in the Martyrology, or a Votive, or a Requiem (some of these options are, of course, available under the 1939 rubrics, but not, I think, all).

Having read the excellent point made by Rubricarius, I add: the same liberties should be extended to most Doubles, and those doubles which it is considered should be undisplaceable, should be recategorised as Greater Doubles.

2 November 2010

Last Sunday evening ...

... I went, as I commonly do, to the Oratory for Vespers. Naturally, I wondered whether it would be SEcond Vespers of Christ the King; First Vespers of All Saints; or Second Vespers of All Saints.

Amusingly, it oscillated between First and Second Vespers of All Saints, just as the elegant whimsy of the Cantors took them. Clergy in choir were rolling in the aisles. (Don't bother to ...)

What should it have been? According to the admirable S Lawrence Press Ordo (rite of 1939), Vespers of All Saints with with commemorations of Christ the King and of the Sunday. According to my SSPX Ordo (2004; but the Littera Dominicalis is the same in 2010), it should have been Second Vespers of Christus Rex with a commemoration of All Saints. (I presume La Toussaint is some sort of frenchy term for All Hallows; why on earth can't SSPX do its Ordo in Latin like properly educated people?)

I should have added that the 1939 Ordo provides an Octave for All Saints. Somewhere here lies a key to the difference between the two versions of the Roman Calendar. 1939 is informed by an instinct that an older feast - and Toussaint is immeasurably older than Christus Rex - is more culturally embedded; has been around, has innumerable churches dedicated to its titularis; is part of an immemorial landscape. The Bugninified usage to which SSPX relates is based on simplistic logic: that a Feast of Christ takes precedence over a Feast of Saints.

I think the usage provided in the admirable and learned S Lawrence Press Ordo is profoundly right. We worship in a Tradition in which evolution and a respect for Old Custom is immeasurably more important than mathematical logic. That is why the dignity of All Hallows is immeasurably greater than that of Christus Rex.

The Oratorians, of course, had transferred All Hallows to the Sunday in accordance with modern English RC custom.

1 November 2010


The news that 37 Christians have killed in church in Baghdad is way down the news items here in Blighty. Had they been Jews in a synagogue in, ex. gr., New York, the level of outrage and publicity would, I suspect, have been closer to what such an atrocity merits.

Not surprising that Al Qaeda should take them hostage. Not surprising that the Shiite gangsters whom Uncle Sam left in control as "Security forces" in Iraq should be indifferent to whether they lived or died.

I wonder what chance Tariq Aziz stands in the "Appeals Process" in the "Courts" which the Yankee puppets operate in Iraq.

What a tragedy that we too got involved in that disastrous and immoral adventure. Nobody can say that John Paul II failed to warn precisely what would happen.

Ordinariate News

A fine article by Bishop Peter Elliott, ex-S Stephen's House, Delegate in Australia for the Ordinariate.

It was published ten days ago in a TAC periodical down in Oz, The Messenger Journal.

"To establish the Ordinariates, two stages are envisaged next year: 1. the reconciliation and reordination of clergy who have applied for Orders in the Ordinariate and been accepted, then 2. at a later date, the first reconciliations of the lay faithful. The clergy will therefore be in place to welcome and minister to former Anglicans ... "

Let's hope he's got it right. The process he describes is so totally logical and pastoral. It would be a shame if something confused, illogical, and unpastoral were substituted for it. But of course, whatever Cardinal Levada says ...

This Elliott chappie seems a Good Egg.