11 January 2017

Andrew Perne a Papist? (3)

Perne's library survives; his copies of the Fathers were well-used and copiously annotated. Perhaps he might have merited the condemnation which Cardinal Manning passed upon our patron Blessed John Henry Newman: of being too patristic. If a less Protestant wind had brought the Armada, Cardinal Allen, and his pallium to England and then on to Cambridge in 1588, Perne would have been able to show him Allen's books upon his own library shelves. Patrick Collinson, author of the first essay in this collection, deems the evidence "not inconsistent with the covert Catholicism with which the Jesuit John Gerard credited Perne. Very possibly he was what might nowadays be called a closet papist. Alternatively, although nobody had yet thought of so defining it, his religion may be thought to have displayed many features of what would later be called Anglicanism, high Anglicanism".

A very fair point, if rather cumbersomely expressed. Dermot McCulloch (however he is spelt) has argued that "Anglicanism" did not really exist until the Stuart period; that the Elizabethan Church was just Bog Standard Prod. Maybe and, well, maybe; but Perne did exist and was once even nominated for an episcopal see. So, in distant Devon, Duffy's Parson Trichay clung on; and a circle of Church Papist clergy has been discerned and documented in Cornwall. Could it be that wherever one looks carefully enough ... ... For example, at Oxford, S John's College harboured just such individuals; and maintained an ill-defined but definite link with Gloucester Hall a couple of hundred yards away, where the popery was much more thorough-going. (St John's carefully maintained its splendid Marian vestments until today.) Archbishop William Laud emerged from this cultural context. Surely we may be justified in seeing in these manifestations the first glimmerings of what was to lead to our glorious Ordinariate!

Collinson writes: "Studying his Tertullian, Perne noted Christianus debet credere credita sive tradita; and also the principle of establishing true doctrine ab antiquitate et consensu et successione episcoporum." I wonder, incidentally, what the publication date of that Tertullian was.

These perceptions leave me reasonably confident that "AP" would have approved of those of us who have done our best, firstly, to spend decades asserting within the C of E the necessity of the Petrine Ministry; and, secondly, more recently, to call to account the misbegotten excesses of Ultrabergoglianism and Hypersuperueberpapalism.

Some afterthoughts about the events of 1564 in a few days' time.


Sir Watkin said...

One might also point to Gabriel Goodman, Dean of Westminster from 1561 until his death in 1601. Some of Goodman's library also survives, but it (and his annotations within it) have not yet been studied.

Goodman might be a shade less Catholic than Perne (it would be a stretch to consider him a "closet papist", even as a possibility), but he is recognisably what would come to be considered (High) Anglican (as I think even McCulloch acknowledges) - patristic, a ceremonialist, anti-Puritan, etc.

His successor at Westminster was Launcelot Andrewes.

As you observe, even if Anglicanism did not exist until the Stuart period, it emerged from a cultural context.

Sir Watkin said...

It is worth adding that Goodman's protege, Jasper Gryffyth, appointed Warden of Goodman's foundation at Ruthin in 1599 refers in his commonplace book approvingly to "the auctority of the fathers ... [and] the conference & agreement of the scriptures".

Goodman's nephew, Godfrey, was Bishop of Gloucester, and famously declared in his will that "no other Church hath any Salvation in it but only as far as it concurs with the Church of Rome".