Not in Cornwall; although in the weeks following Corpus Christi in 1549, the rebels carried it before them until the Tudor regime's genocidal German mercenaries drenched the countryside in blood. Nor in Oxfordshire, where, the same year, Lord Russell ordered the priests to be hanged from their Church towers. Nor will you see it in the North, not since the suppression by Bloody Bess of the the last Catholic insurrection in 1569.
But you can see it, newly made and newly flying in triumph above the Catholic Chaplaincy and its Hall of Residence in Cardiff. Vivat Cambria!
The banner of the Five Wounds, or the Flag of the "Arms of Christ", was the great battle-standard of the Catholic culture of late Medieval England. You can still see these arms carved in the bench ends of many old churches in Cornwall and Devon. I think there is a surviving ancient banner kept in the archives at Arundel. Blessed Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, the Cardinal's martyred Mother, had it enbroidered on the back of her shift.
Easter is surely the great celebration of the Five Wounds, when the risen Christ comes hurrying to meet each one of us in our Easter Communion, His outstretched arms and feet marked with the now glorified signs of His love, His open Heart both a fount of Mercy and a safe refuge. At the Day of Judgement the same Lord will bear the same signs, more dazzling than all the suns in Creation, as He comes from the East to call His blessed ones into His Father's Kingdom.
Happily, the old Sarum Votive Mass of the Five Wounds is found in our Ordinariate Missal, with the Paschal Alleluia: "To thee be glory, hosanna: to thee the crown of highest praise and honour. Alleluia"!
UPDATE: those with queries about the Mass of the Five Wounds will find a dozen or so posts by tapping FIVE WOUNDS into the search engine at the top left hand corner of the blog. If you can't find it, you may need to turn off your adblocker.
15 April 2017
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