5 February 2022

Two Churches of S Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, both 'unique'!

Gaudeamus ... because it's S Agatha's Day! So congratulations to the people of S Agatha's Ordinariate Church in Portsmouth, with their admirable Parish Priest Fr John Maunder and Mgr Robert Mercer, the great missionary Bishop of Matabeleland, now in Ordinariate 'retirement'. And the warmest assurance of prayers and love.

S Agata dei Goti is a unique church in Rome: it was once an Arian church. Perhaps S Agatha should be the patroness of all those fine people who rescue churches from schism, for Catholic use! Most readers will not need me to tell them that this is the Titular Church of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. (It still is, because when recently he was promoted from Cardinal Deacon to Cardinal Presbyter, he was left in his deaconry church, elevated pro hac vice to the status of a presbyteral Title.)

Most Enthusiastic Thanks be to Almighty God and S Agatha for the recovery of Cardinal Burke from Covid; for his return both to the Altar and to his ecclesial ministry of Restoration.

Some years ago, when I badly broke my shoulder, I was in Rome and prevented by my accident from the pleasure of preaching in Cardinal Burke's titular Church. After my return to Blighty, I did preach in S Agatha's in Portsmouth: it was my first engagement after rising from my hospital bed. And one of our grandsons, a keen campanologist, was in the team ringing the bells. Yes!! Change-ringing from the Anglican Patrimony in a 'Venetian' basilica!!

S Agatha's in Portsmouth, of which the Ordinariate has the use, was sold off by the C of E as redundant. Like its sister church in Rome, it is unique; it is the only place in England ... I think ... where you can see a church built by the Anglo-Catholics in the palmy days of their high and optimistic glory, and full of the most exquisite artwork and shrines, now in Full Communion with the See of S Peter and offering worship in the finest tradition of triumphalist Anglican Catholicism.

Fr Maunder has added to the glories of his church by putting in place over the S Agatha Altar a Martin Travers reredos now containing a large representation of our Lady and S Agatha granting Anglicanorum coetibus to Pope Benedict (who is accompanied by the Triregnum). It includes the early Anglican incumbents looking on ... good and holy priests who had prayed daily for the unity of Christendom with the Successor of S Peter. Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis ...

Did anybody ever tell you that such prayer ... that all those Holy Masses ... can go unanswered? 

From the portals of Heaven, Fathers Linklater, Dolling, Tremenheere, and Coles look down and inform you otherwise.

Sancta Agatha, ora pro nobis.


Joshua said...

You remind me of some doggerel I wrote years ago in celebration:

On Tiber’s bank T.A.C.’s cry
Announces that Reunion’s nigh:
Come Anglicans for Hepworth brings
Glad tidings of new Roman things!

Forward in faith run one and all
To answer Vaticana’s call;
Fly Rowan’s C. of E. so frayed
That withers like a flower decayed.

Retain your fair Patrimony
And gain your own new Ordin’ry
Chosen from out the reordain’d
From all fell Articles unchain’d.

Who asked a refuge of the Lord
His Vicar proffers such reward!
Your Latin brush up to peruse
Anglicanorum cœtibus.

All praise, Pope Benedict, to thee,
Restoring Christian Unity;
Ut unum sint we God implore
In Holy Church for evermore.

Banshee said...

You made me cry....

For all the horrible things that are happening around the world, for all the terrible little triumphs of evil, I can remember giant helpings of unexpected goodness by humans and graces from God. Eucatastrophe is not the end of the story in this world, yet, but even tiny footholds of good can be surprising persistent in showing their good effects.

I remember that day, and how gobsmackingly simple and elegant the provisions seemed. A big problem, solved! And of course it didn't all turn out to be as simple as that, but it's still been pretty darned effective.

The Ordinariates are a good thing, and I wish those in them to continue from strength to strength.

Texpatriate said...

We are grateful that Fr Maunder gave us not a minimum, but a maximum of meaning --long live the gracious climate of the Maunder Maximum!

--R. Wenner, Manchester