13 July 2022
Mass Practices before the Council
Here is a piece of Oral Tradition which was swilling round the House* in my time (1964-1967).
Anglican seminaries had periodic Inspections; S Stephen's House*, England's senior seminary, was suspected of being very Extreme (rubbish! totally mainstreme!) and the Inspectors used to turn up looking for Evidence of Extremism and Illegality. During one such inspection, they had spotted "Mass Practices" scheduled on the Notice Board, and they naturally homed in like vultures on this event, pencils and notebooks in their claws.
Two seminarians were listed for training. The first was a young man destined for one of the (very Anglo-Catholic) dioceses in East Africa. The Inspectors were convinced, as they watched the tuition, that he was being taught to recite very wrong and wicked texts, probably dating from the time of that Evil Man Pope S Leo I. But they were hampered in their collection of hostile evidence by the fact that he was practising how to say Mass in Swahili.
The second youth was a rather rare phenomenon at Staggers*: an Irishman. He was being taught the full Catholic pre-Conciliar liturgical manners, the complete, formal Staggers Style: " ... then you walk to here ... no no; right foot first .... now raise your hands ... no no, two inches higher ... no no, bow from the neck ... ". But the Rite he was practising was totally compliant with the Canons, rubrics, and texts (1929) of the Church of Ireland .... North End, Black Scarf, and all.
The Inspectors shambled out, shaking their dim heads, dimly aware that they were being taken for a ride.
Ah, happy days in the Church of England, while that body still existed! But take heart: the fun and the merriment have survived into the Ordinariate, together with all the rest of our splendid Anglican inheritance ... even, volens nolens, Dr Cranmer! Mortua Ecclesia Anglicana, vivant Ordinariatus Anglicani!
Thanks be to God for our ever more-than-beloved, more-than-blessed Papa nunc emeritus Ratzinger; and for his Christ-like decision to send in the baskets to collect up the crumbs, so that nothing, not a crumb, be lost. Eis polla ete, Despota! Polla! Polla!
*S Stephen's House was known as 'the House' (to the irritation of some who had been at Cardinal Wolsey's little foundation down the road); or as 'Staggers' (cf. Breakfast and Brekker; Worcester College and Wuggins; Jesus College and Jaggers; the Proctor and Proggins, etc.).