29 December 2023

S Thomas of England

So, today is the Festival of a martyred Archbishop of Canterbury, Titular of my last pastoral charge in the C of E. A little while ago, we had a jolly period in which within a few days we celebrated S Edmund of Canterbury and S Hugh of Lincoln and S Edmund the Martyr King. For the Divine Office on such occasions, I sometimes dip into a nice old 1874 Breviarium Romanum which has at the back of it Officia propria Sanctorum Angliae. (This supplement clearly goes back to before the decree authorising a distinct Calendar and propers for each of the Flaminian Gate dioceses.)

In my old Breviary, before each of the collects we are told where it comes from: again and again, Ex Missali Sarisburiensi. The Roman liturgical authorities had no desire to sit down at a lordly table and compose new collects for our English Saints. The dear old Sarum Rite was good enough a source to satisfy this need. And those collects continued in use until the period after the Council.

I haven't done a precise survey of this, but I have a distinct impression that the Diocesan Propers for the Novus Ordo largely dispense with those silly old medieval collects. Bright new Woolworths ... or do I mean Poundland ... collects take their places. Commonly, they have that verbose floridity and crude appetite to be clever which are such marks of modern English middle-class drafting. Moreover, I have been told that there still do not exist official Latin versions of the new collects. In other words, the English Hierarchy and the Roman liturgical authorities apparently expect the English clergy regularly to disobey Sacrosanctum Concilium paragraph 101 (1), which directs that the clergy are to recite their Office in Latin unless they have permission from their bishop to do otherwise ... and that permission can only be given "singulis pro casibus" ... on a one by one basis ... not as a general permission.

(To be fair, I should add that the Welsh dioceses do make full provision for observing the Welsh Saints in the Novus Ordo Divine Office in Latin ... we should congratulate the Welsh on being trilingual!)

Incidentally ... 'Jacobites' might be interested to note that in my 1874 Breviary, S George is referred to as "Patronus Regni". S George is patently the Patron of England ... Yes ... but not of Scotland, and so he is in no way the Patron of "the United Kingdom", that ghastly abomination the "Yewkay". Thus, describing him as "Patronus Regni" implies the position which was maintained by James III, Charles III, and Henry IX, that the "Acts of Union" of 1707 and 1801, passed as they were by an intruded and merely de facto regime without the authority of the de jure Sovereign, did not, in the view of the Holy See, truly extinguish the three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.



Gregory said...

I just watched the scene from the film "Becket" where Becket declares a murderous noble "excommunicate and anathema." Chilling. I don't know how accurate all the details are in the scene, but oh how I wish we had more shepherds with backbones who would stand up for the liberty of the Church. (Good reading from Gueranger today.) Perhaps Cardinal Cupich and his fellow travelers should be required to attend a screening of this film.

PM said...

The Welsh, like the polyglot Dutch, have a headstart in acquiring other languages because nobody else speaks theirs. I heard that explanation of Dutch linguistic facility from a learned Dutch Jesuit who could work in six modern and five ancient languages and who once beat me at Scrabble in English.

Tom Charles-Edwards, father of the Oxford authority on things Celtic of the same name, was an early member of the Latin Mass Society. A Welshman, he pointed out the tricky political issues that surrounded the use of the vernacular in places like Wales: whose vernacular, the English or the Welsh? The use of Latin neatly sidestepped that question.