14 March 2015

Possibly, not the only way of introducing the Extraordinary Form!

The great Fr Bernard Walke describes his introduction of the Western Rite, otherwise known nowadays as the Extraordinary Form, to his Cornish Anglican parish, nearly a century ago:

On that first Sunday after my induction the people of St Hilary flocked to church and found, in the place of a clergyman reading 'Dearly beloved', a strange figure in vestments at the altar with a little boy who knelt at his side. Many were watching for the first time the drama of the Mass. They were there as spectators who watch a play with a symbolism and language unknown to them. Man cries for redemption: kyrie eleison, christe eleison, kyrie eleison. God answers man's despairing cry in the opening words of the Gloria in excelsis proclaiming the advent of the promised Saviour, but still they do not understand.

'Whatever is he doing up there now?' they say. 'Can 'e make it out at all?' The summit of the drama is reached when, the whole company of heaven having been summoned to man's aid, the words of consecration are spoken and bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus who offered himself on the Cross at Calvary. They are aware of the silence, broken by the ringing of a bell. 'Did 'e hear the bell? what is that for, my dear?' they whisper. The bell rings again at the Domine non sum dignus. There are a few who kneel in wonder at what is being accomplished; it is for them a moment of prayer such as they have never experienced before.

Over the decades, Fr Walke built up a strong and devoted congregation in S Hilary's which stood by him even when the thugs arrived with the pickaxes.


Thomas Carrott said...

Sorry, but whilst I agree with the sentiment of the article, and do not doubt Bernard Walke may have been a good man, he was not a validly ordained priest (as the Church of England does not have apostolic succession) but an Anglican vicar (or priest if you will), and so could not affect the change of bread and wine to the Blessed Sacrament by transubstantiation. Whilst he may have converted to the Catholic Church if the Ordinariate had existed then, and so would have been able to be actually ordained a priest validly, as an Anglican (within the Church of England, not the Catholic Church's new and praiseworthy Anglican Usage) he did could not either be a priest and did not validly offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Sorry, but that is true.

Matthew Roth said...

Thomas, we all know Fr. Hunwicke has raised doubts about Apostolicae curae applying in every case... The archives are worth a perusal.

Titus said...

Whether the man discussed in the excerpt was or was not a priest is entirely beside said excerpt's point. The point being made is one about ritual, not one about sacramental efficacy. Observing that the man in question (quite likely) was not able actually to offer the Mass adds nothing to the actual discussion.

Michael Gormally said...

Father, were the "thugs with pickaxes" Kensitites?

Little Black Sambo said...

"Sorry, but that is true."
The apologies notwithstanding, I thought that, at least on this particular blog, we had got beyond this sort of 50s CTS argument.

Little Black Sambo said...

Bernard Walke: we once had a parish pilgrimage to St Hilary from our Devon parish. The Vicar at the time was Fr Desmond Curson, who welcolmed us warmly and said mass for us (not a real mass of course, as I understand now from one of your commenters, because he wasn't a real priest).
A monk at Buckfast, Bro. Joseph, had been one of Fr Walke's altar boys, and we used to talk about St Hilary (I can't remember under whose auspices we Anglicans used to meet at Buckfast, which we did quite often - it may have been FCP) and now I wish I had got him to talk more, & that I had taken notes of what he told me. He was a dear gentle soul.
In our parish we had an old couple from Cornwall: the husband was a native of Protestant Fowey; the wife came from Catholic Polruan, where B. Walke was the asst. curate. She remembered him very well, and his leaving for St Hilary, his furniture being picked up by boat.