31 May 2022

The ORDINARIATE and Malines, Mercier, and Mary

Our Lady, as Mediatrix of all Graces, used to have a big shop window in the Supplementum pro aliquibus locis; she possessed a festival granted for May 31 under Pius XI in 1921. It was granted largely at the instance of one of the great Prelates of the twentieth century, Desire-Joseph Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines 1906-1926.

Mercier, like Ratzinger, was one of those rare and admirable Catholic Prelates who were much attracted by the essential orthodoxy of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England and realised its enormous value to the Catholic Church, its true home. That is why, although he was a hammer of the Modernists (appointed, indeed, to Malines by S Pius X), Mercier was, with no inconsistency, the leading spirit in the Malines Conversations, in which Catholic and Anglo-Catholic theologians came to substantial agreements and espoused the idea of 'Corporate Reunion' expressed in the phrase "The Church of England United Not Absorbed". 'Malines' is, in fact, part of the pre-history of our  Ordinariate, and Cardinal Mercier one of its godfathers.

Pius XII is rumoured to have disliked our Lady's title Mediatrix of all Graces. That may be why he effectively sabotaged the feast in 1955 by submerging it beneath his own new festival of our Lady, Queen, on May 31. Nowadays, the fashion for treating Marian festivals as part of a game of Musical Chairs has required the Visitation being moved to May 31, except for adherents of the 1962 Missal who, today, celebrate Maria Regina, a more appropriate date for whom would be the old Octave Day of the Assumption, and ... Oh dear; is all this really respectful towards our blessed Lady?

The Mass and Office of our Lady, Mediatrix of all Graces, authorised before 'the Council' for many places (including Belgium; much of the North of England; and Wales where, back in the age of Octave Days, it was transferred to June 1) contained good things. Here is part of the fourth Reading at Mattins, from S Ephraim the Deacon. I have written before about the Latin and Byzantine testimonies to this doctrine; I hereby now, in honour of today's Marian Celebration, cheerfully mix in the Syrian, Semitic tradition.

My mistress, most holy Mother of God and Full of Grace, inexhaustible ocean of divine and secret bounties and gifts, the beseeching of all good things, Mistress of all after the Trinity, another consoler after the Paraclete, and, after the Mediator, Mediatrix of all the world ... thou hast filled creation with every kind of benefit, to the dwellers in heaven thou hast brought joy, thou hast brought salvation to earthly things. By thee we hold the most certain proof of our resurrection; by thee we believe that we shall obtain the kingdom of heaven; through thee all glory, honour and holiness, from the first Adam and unto the very end of the world, has flowed, is flowing, and will flow, to the Apostles, the Prophets, to those of righteous and humble heart; and in thee rejoices, O Full of Grace, the whole creation.

Supplex Omnipotentia, ora pro nobis.


DMG said...

Bravo! kind pastor!

PM said...

I don't know if you knew that fine Oxford historian Billy Pantin of Oriel, Father, but he was impressed by developments after the Council and once inquired 'Is it still the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin or is it now Mary the Home Help?'

frjustin said...

The small book, "Mother of the Light: Prayers to the Theotokos", contains 13 prayers to the Theotokos ascribed to the "Greek Ephraim", and dating from the ninth century or earlier. In the lengthy Prayer IV, there are two references to the Theotokos as "Mediator" (the translator apparently being unaware that the Latin "Mediatrix" has been adopted without change in English). I reproduce the translation without change:

"After the Holy Trinity, you are the Mistress of all creation; after the Intercessory Spirit, you are another Intercessor; and after Christ the Mediator, you are the Mediator for the whole world".

"You are my Salvation, my Consolation, my Life, my Light, my Hope, my Respite, my heart's Joy...Help, Glory, my Breath, Protector, Mediator, Peace, Visitation".

(Greek text in the edition compiled by Constantine Phrantzolas, vol. 6, at Thessaloniki: Perivoli tes Panagias, 1995)

Irenaeus said...

Thanks, Father. God bless you.

PM said...

Oops: that should have read that Pantin was UNimpressed.