Today is the Festival of the Titular of the Cathedral, Christ Church, of the Catholic Diocese of Oxford ... erected as such by Cardinal Pole by virtue of the Legatine Decree Cum supremum of December 24 1554 ... except that there isn't such a diocese ... well, there can't be ... wasn't it implicitly extinguished by the Restoration of the Hierarchy in 1850?
Or do those old dioceses still exist in some sort of canonical limbo presided over by Plato?
I do wonder what to make of those former dioceses and their cathedral churches; as S John Henry Newman put it, "It was sore to part with them. We clung to the vision of past greatness, and would not believe it could come to naught ..." His maturer judgement was more robust: " ... That old Church in its day became a corpse (a marvellous, an awful change!); and then it did but corrupt the air which once it refreshed, and cumber the ground which once it beautified." (Could anyone but JHN have got away with calling the C of E a rotting and stinking corpse, even in those pre-ecumenical days? But he says it so beautifully.)
Yet ... and yet ...
When all is said and done, I sometimes feel that there is in the air a shadow left by Catholic England; a footprint left in the ground by those ancient dioceses. I suppose the tourists won't think along those lines today, as they begin again to tramp unknowingly past the grave in Christ Church of the first and last Catholic Bishop of Oxford, Dr King.
Yet, when all is said and done, it would be a comfortable sentimental acknowledgement of what once was, if in the Old Rite, or the Ordinariate, we kept those old Feasts of the Titulars of the pre-1559 Cathedrals, as Doubles of the First Class (Solemnities)!
Then Oxford's old Catholic diocese, like Flaccus, could murmur Non omnis moriar.
In response to Fr. Hunwicke’s “Memories?” and mention of the “Restoration of the Hierarchy in 1850” may I offer a short article from “Harper's New Monthly Magazine” No. VII, December 1850, Vol. II.
“The event of the month which has excited most interest, has been the establishment by the Pope of Roman Catholic jurisdiction in England. The Pope has issued an Apostolic Letter, dated September 24th, which begins by reciting the steps taken hitherto for the promotion of the Catholic faith in England. Having before his eyes the efforts made by his predecessors, and desirous of imitating their zeal, and carrying forward to completion the work which they commenced, and considering that every day the obstacles are falling off which stood in the way of the extension of the Catholic religion, Pius IX. believes that the time has come when the form of government should be resumed in England such as it exists in other nations. He thinks it no longer necessary that England should be governed by Vicars Apostolic, but that she should be furnished with the ordinary episcopal form of government. Being confirmed in these thoughts by the desires expressed by the Vicars Apostolic, the clergy and laity, and the great body of English Catholics, and, also, by the advice of the Cardinals forming the Congregation for Propagating the Faith, the Pope decrees the re-establishment in England of a hierarchy of bishops, deriving their titles from their own Sees, which he constitutes in the various Apostolic districts. He then proceeds to erect England into one archiepiscopal province of the Romish church, and divides that province into thirteen bishoprics.
“The promulgation of this letter created throughout England a feeling of angry surprise, and nearly the whole of London has teemed with the most emphatic and earnest condemnation of the measure. In order somewhat to mitigate the alarm of startled Protestantism, Dr. Ullathorne, an eminent Catholic divine, has published a letter to show that the act is solely between the Pope and his spiritual subjects, who have been recognized as such by the English Emancipation Act, and that it does not in the slightest degree interfere with the laws of England, in all temporal matters. He shows that the jurisdiction which the Pope has asserted in England, is nothing more than has been exercised by every communion in the land, and that nothing can be more unfair than to confound this measure, which is really one of liberality to the Catholics of England, with ideas of aggression on the English government and people. In 1688, he says, England was divided into four vicariates. In 1840, the four were again divided into eight; and, in 1850, they are again divided and changed into thirteen. This has been done in consequence of efforts begun by the Catholics of England, in 1846, and continued until the present time. By changing the Vicars Apostolic into Bishops in ordinary, the Pope has given up the exercise of a portion of his power, and transferred it to the bishops. This letter, with other papers of a similar tenor, has somewhat modified the feeling of indignation with which the Pope's proceeding was at first received, and attention has been turned to the only fact of real importance connected with the matter, namely, the rapid and steady increase of the Roman Catholics, by conversions from the English Established Church. The Daily News, in a paper written with marked ability, charges this increase upon the secret Catholicism of many of the younger clergy, encouraged by ecclesiastical superiors, upon the negligent administration of other clergymen, and upon the exclusive character of the Universities. Very urgent demands are made by the press, and by the clergy of the Established Church, for the interference of the Government against the Pope's invasion of the rights of England; but no indications have yet been given of any intention on the part of ministers to take any action upon the subject.”
[Short continuation on the next post.]
In further response to Fr. Hunwicke’s “Memories?” and mention of the “Restoration of the Hierarchy in 1850,” I add the following in relation to Dr. Ullathorne that his father “was a descendant of Saint Thomas More through his great-grandmother, Mary More.”(1) In 1848 Dr. Ullathorne went to Rome to negotiate the restoration of the English hierarchy.(2) “His negotiations were successful, and after a delay of two years, due to the Revolution in Rome, the new English hierarchy was proclaimed by Pius IX on 29 September, 1850. Cardinal Wiseman became the first Archbishop of Westminster, Dr. Ullathorne being appointed Bishop of Birmingham. He ruled that diocese for thirty-seven years. On the death of Cardinal Wiseman, he was chosen by Propaganda to succeed him; but Pius IX overruled their choice and appointed Cardinal Manning, and Dr. Ullathorne remained at Birmingham. He took part in all the four provincial synods of Westminster, and in 1870 he attended the Vatican Council.”(3) Dr. Ullathorne established many new missions, “as well as new communities of men, the most famous of which was [Ven. John Henry] Newman's Congregation of Oratorians at Edgbaston.”(4) “During his nearly four decades of tenure at the see 67 new churches, 32 convents and nearly 200 mission schools were built.”(5) Dr. Ullathorne’s chief works, written during his last years, are: "Endowments of Man" (London, 1880); "Groundwork of Christian Virtues" (1882); "Christian Patience" (1886). He also published "Reply to Judge Burton on Religion in Australia" (Sydney, 1835); "La Salette" (1854); "The Immaculate Conception" (1855); "History of Restoration of English Hierarchy" (1871); "The Döllingerites" (1874); "Answer to Gladstone's 'Vatican Decrees'" (1875); and a large number of sermons, pastorals, pamphlets, etc. (6)
(1) William Bernard Ullathorne, wiki, http://www.thomasmorestudies.org/docs/Descendants_John.pdf
(2, 3, 4, 5, 6) William Bernard Ullathorne, “Catholic Encyclopedia” [New Advent]
Ah, the splendid Dr Ullathorne. A truly great man and a colourful character. He never lost his stout Yorkshire accent and, if I remember correctly, once pointed out that he had a mitre on his head when Dr Manning was still a bloomin 'eretic.
Could Oxford become a titular see for auxiliary bishops?
To whom it may concern,
My name is Fr. Stephen Arabadjis. I am a member of the Society of St. Pius X. But I am in my 7th year of Sabbatical.
Therefore I was hoping your group could do a 54 day rosary novena for my intentions. But any prayers and sacrifices would be greatly appreciated. I know Our Lady will reward you generously for this.
In Our Lady,
P.S. Thanking you in advance, since I don't always get all my communications.
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