17 February 2017

Fr Forrest: Stanza 4: Spirit of Vatican II

Oh, just the usual thing, you know, we trust that you'll be able
To mingle with the reredos and stand behind the Table;
(For clergymen who celebrate and face the congregation,
Must pass a stringent glamour-test before their Ordination!)
Patristic ceremonial; economy of gesture,
Though balanced by a certain superfluity of vesture;
With lots of flanking presbyters all gathered in a ring,
But, apart from these exceptions, just the ordinary thing.

1 comment:

Maureen Lash said...

Your descriptions of the clergy and their ritual preferences depicted in Fr Forrest's poem are very very mistaken.
Stanzas 1 and 2 depict two varieties of 'Catholic - 'Prayer Book' or otherwise - who differ in where they seek authority for their ceremonial observances. Number 2, if he were someone like Conrad Noel, could be very more 'advanced' than Number 1, reciting most of the mass including the canon in Latin, but choosing to meticulously follow the rubrics of the mediaeval missals. Number 1, if he were a Vicar like Maurice Child, would celebrate the Interim Rite, all in Cranmer's English, with the one or two additions mentioned, while leaving out the doctrinally embarrassing words "militant here on earth" before the Prayer for the Church.
Dr Dearmer had no known influence on the creation of the 1928 book and did not express a view on its worth or lack of it. The reviser of the Parson's Handbook, Cyril Pocknee and the Alcuin club were certainly more enthusiastic about 1928, but stanza 3 does not really describe their recommendations, but rather the typical 'sunny side of middle' Parish Communion Movement church of the immediate post war years.
Vatican II had not taken place when Fr Forrest wrote these words so stanza 4 could not possibly describe a 'Spirit of Vatican II' clown mass. This actually refers to the late 50s penchant for 'patristic' fundamentalism, to some extent encouraged by the likes of Pocknee, but mostly inspired by the writings of a monk named Dix.