24 September 2016

The ORDINARIATE and Malines, Mercier, and Mary

A great day! Our Patronal Festival! We accept your respectful felicitations!!

September 24 is the Ordinariate Solemnity of our Lady of Walsingham. Our admirable Ordinariate Missal provides for use today the beautiful Mass which Fr Hope Patten and Fr Fynes Clinton ingeniously created by making one very minor adaptation in the Mass granted pro aliquibus locis by Innocent XII (1691-1700) in honour of the Holy House at Loretto. (The Breviary Office which complements this Loretto Mass is also extremely beautiful and I assume that application of the principles of Canon 19 enables Ordinariate clergy who say the Breviarium Romanum to use it.)

It is a very fine Mass. Unfortunately, management at the Anglican Shrine later abandoned it in favour of some new Mass formulae confected by themselves in the Spirits of Hannibal Bugnini and Old ICEL; my copy of the 1979 (fourteenth) edition of their pilgrims' Manual informs us that "considerable revision was both necessary and appropriate, and this [a committee] proceeded to provide". (That presumably happened around the time when, so I was shamelessly informed, they made a bonfire of their maniples, burses, and veils.) Happily, in the Ordinariate we remain true to the vision and genius of Hope Patten and Fynes Clinton. Both that vision and that genius were and are of a very high order. "Considerable revision" is neither "necessary" nor "appropriate".

After all that, I hope it will not seem eccentric for me to write today about another Marian Mass; one which, it seems to me, also has interesting links with the long process which eventually, in Good Pope Benedict's Golden Days, led to the erection of the Ordinariates.

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 by Pius XI in 1922. 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 glorious Ordinariate, and Cardinal Mercier one of its godfathers.

Pius XII is said 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.

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 great Marian Solemnity, 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.


Anonymous said...

(St. Ephraim) "By thee we hold the most certain proof of our resurrection". Is that an affirmation of the glorious Assumption of Our Lady?

Mike Cliffson said...


Sadie Vacantist said...

One interpretation of Malines was the sleight delivered to Cardinal Bourne by Mercier during negotiations. As in he completely bypassed the local Catholic Church whose numbers had already been swelled by a first and by the twenties a second wave of Anglican Patrimony.

I seem to recall it was Lord Halifax who was an agent of reconciliation offended as he was by the flagrant displays of vulgarity by Anglican prelates when accompanied by their wives in public!

Malines was as much about an Empire nation, still expanding after Versailles, acquiring not illogically some "Roman Patrimony".