4 November 2015

WARE (1): S Edmund of Abingdon and Canterbury; and Bishop Challoner

Fr Ray, Fr Tim, and Fr Ed have written so well about the splendid Colloquium the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy had recently at S Edmund's College, Ware. It would be superfluous for me to repeat what they write, but I can't refrain from saying that the Confraternity provides a finer experience of priestly solidarity than ever I experienced in the Church of England. I think others may have the same feeling: the Confraternity, happily, and with the warm encouragement of our Ordinary, contains a  healthy percentage of Ordinariate clergy and other ex-Anglicans. I find very humbling the warm welcome we receive; and the sense we have been allowed of having a role to play in the English Catholic Church. I hope we, as individuals and as an Ordinariate, may prove worthy of this confidence.

Together with the Birmingham and Brompton Oratories, the Chapel at Ware is one of the candidates I would put forth if I were asked to nominate three Catholic churches to survive a holocaust. It was built before the English Church had cathedrals, and so it in many ways has the feel of a Cathedral, particularly of the London District. This is partly because of the numbers of Vicars Apostolic buried there, or remembered by chantries; and, aesthetically, it is the product of A W Pugin's successful realisation of the spirit of late Gothic Christianity. I think he would have been pleased to see it in heavy use around dawn on the Wednesday morning of the Colloquium: the murmur, the tinkling of bells, as priests and their servers took turns saying their private Masses at the (is it six?) altars. There are also many relics, and a beautiful Shrine Chapel of S Edmund, containing a femur of the Saint brought from his shrine at Pontigny. He also features prominently in the glass.

The College also has fascinating museum items. I have an interest in Bishop Challoner, V.A. of the London District, partly because I have been able to say Mass from his Missal in the recusant Chapel at Milton Manor near Oxford, where Challoner liked to stay and where he was buried in the Squire's vault inside the Anglican Parish Church. (The prayer for his beatification is said after each Mass at Milton.) Ware has the lead crucifix which was on his original coffin (before he was exhumed and carted off to Westminster Cathedral). It has his splendid tall baroque mitre, exhibited beside a Puginesque Gothic mitre about a tenth of its height! And various other memorabilia.  
The most interesting of these I will describe in a second post.


vetusta ecclesia said...

Am I right in my impression that the welcome given to the Ordinariate is warmest in "traddy" milieux? And, if I am right, can you explain this? My only thought is that those in more "modern" circles would deplore any initiative of Benedict XVI, who, incidentally, to this septuagenarian cradle Catholic, is the greatest pope of my lifetime.

Kathleen1031 said...

Fr. Hunwicke, If I understand you correctly, you came to the Catholic Church from the Church of England. While one shouldn't perhaps rejoice over the loss of another, what a benefit and joy for Catholics that we can count you as one of our own!

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

ABS assisted at the Saturday Night (English) Mass at the Brompton Oratory a fortnight or so ago (had to leave early sunday for Paris) and the nine Oratorians sang beautifully and the Lil' Licit Liturgy was actualised with reverence, solemnity, and decorum (especially after ABS left his seat to walk 20 feet or so to sush two teens acting like nitwits) but it can not be denied that it would have been far superior to have been able to assist there at the Real Mass.

Sorry for being so truculent but ABS remains surly about his heritage having been stolen from him.

Edwin said...

Our local Pastoral Area clergy Chapter is certainly not "traddy" (though a couple of its members might be so described.) Yet as an Ordinariate priest I have always been made to feel most welcome, and treated in all respects as one of the brethren - despite my often rather traditionalist outpourings.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

I have not experienced any negativity from priests or people in the Catholic Church, only cheerful good will, and my words were not meant to hint that I had! But there is something especially warm about the Confraternity.

Banshee said...

Interesting to find out that there's a cause for Challoner!