31 August 2015

Ecclesia eadem Westmonasteriensis

Fascinating to have read those comments on my earlier post of August 4: again, thank you, everybody. They establish that those 'Lists' in Westminster Cathedral, which assert the Communion between the Popes and the Chief Pastors of the Catholic Church in England, do this by getting thoroughly confused about whether Archbishops of Canterbury were appointed by, received the Pallium from, and maintained communion with, 'the genuine' pope; or a 'wicked antipope'. Similarly, they fail to understand that the Vicars Apostolic of the London District were not (as the Archbishops of Westminster were to be) Coetus Episcopalis totius Angliae et Cambriae Praesides perpetui. Next time I'm there, I'll have a look to see how the Lists negotiate the status of Stigand, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by the 'antipope' Benedict X; and check out whether (as I think I recall) the Lists imply that, throughout the Henrician and Edwardine schisms, Thomas Cranmer was in peace and communion with the Successors of S Peter. Incidentally, is it arguable that, from 1558-1579, Nicolas Heath, Primate of England, was Chief Pastor of the Catholic Church in this country? And how nice it would be to think of a reason for adding dear Cardinal Allen to the list. Surely, de facto ...

But the more interesting question, ladies and gentlemen, now surely becomes: who was responsible for this botched and even comical attempt to assert a tidy and problem-free rewriting of ecclesiastical history? I suspect (my suspicions are no more than hunches) Vaughan. If it was he, did he tell some  green young chaplain to draft it on a couple of sheets of paper ... "My dear boy, it's quite simple: you just stick the Popes down one side, and the Archbishops of Canterbury down the other side ... you can't go wrong ..."?

Or might these Lists be the most dramatic public and permanent examples of poor Abbot Gasquet's idiosyncratic, Alice-in-Wonderland, History-is-what-I-think-it-ought-to-have-been, style of Historiography?

1 comment:

Fr Ashley Beck said...

My recollection is that the list says Cranmer was 'deprived for heresy'; I can't remember the date (possibly late 1530s) but it was well before the accession of Queen Mary