31 March 2019

Hermeneutic of Continuity (2)

An old post with its original thread.

Some years ago, while looking through the library of the late and learned and very lamented Fr Michael Melrose, Successor Martyris as Vicar of S Giles, Reading, I spotted an unusual little volume (well, there were plenty of those: what a Library!): very slender, published in 1912, it gave the Psalter as rearranged by S Pius X. In other words, when S Pius made his revolutionary changes to the distribution of the psalms, you didn't have to buy a new Breviary; you bought the Slender Volume and used it in conjunction with your old Breviary.

But you did have to make some such provision to say the psalms in the new arrangement. The Decree Divino afflatu makes clear that if, after a certain date, you fail to fall in with the new order of things, you are not fulfilling your obligation to say the Divine Office. Fierce!!

In this, it differs considerably from the decree Divinam Psalmodiam of Urban VIII (1631). Urban's decree is full of fire-breathing menaces for anybody who shall print unamended texts after the decree, but he permits books already printed to go to the booksellers ... and books in the bookshops to be sold ... and books in use to continue to be used. In other words, Urban was content to rely on a gradual process of books wearing out and being replaced.

Something like this human and common-sense approach can be found as late as 1902 in the Edition of the Ambrosian Missal promulgated that year by Andrew Cardinal Ferrari. He required his new edition to be used "in virtute sanctae obedientiae", but with this let-out clause: "Concedimus tamen, aequis de causis, ut donec a Nobis aliter disponatur, vetera approbata exemplaria adhuc adhiberi possint; ita tamen ut nullum eorum ex quocunque titulo abhinc acquiratur ad Sacram Liturgiam peragandam". In other words, if you've got a previous edition in your sacristy, you may continue to use it, but you mustn't "acquire" another copy of that old edition.

It is my view that a rough but good and healthy rule of thumb as to whether a 'reform' is or is not 'organic' [vide Sacrosanctum Concilium of Vatican II] is the consideration: Does it render all existing liturgical books totally obsolete after a certain date? When people defend the process of imposition under Blessed Paul VI of his new books by reminding us that changes had been made in earlier times, I don't think they realise the depth and rapidity of the Pauline rupture, compared with pre-1950 discontinuities. The same is true, of course, of the slash-and-burn approach adopted by Pius XII and his side-kick Bugnini to the ancient Roman rites of Holy Week.

Nobody is entitled to disagree with me about this if they have not compared, firstly, the Missal of S Pius V with the first printed edition of the Roman Missal a century earlier; and, secondly, the Missal of B Paul VI with that promulgated by his predecessor less than a decade earlier.

And there is no way that the printers could have confected a Slender Volume aided by which you could use an old Missal to say the Novus Ordo. The changes are vastly too massive.

And yet, curiously, although B Paul VI's decree Laudis Canticum was explicit in displacing and suppressing the Breviary hitherto in use, his decree Missale Romanum did not state that the Old Mass would be illegal after the New came into use. Was that an oversight? Did the canonists drafting it think that it was too obvious to need saying? I suspect that something like this may be the answer.

My theory is that this funny little lapse was the ground upon which a Commission of Cardinal canonists decided by a majority vote that the Old Missal was not abrogated - a verdict finally published and confirmed in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Time Off

From today for about a week I'm taking time off from moderating comments and answering emails. But, Deo volente, A blogpost from me will pop up each day.

I warmly commend to others the practice of shutting one's ears to incoming Electronic Communications. I plan to be doing it more and more often.

30 March 2019

The Hermeneutic of Continuity (1)

On S Luke's day, Sunday 18 October 1327, a great concourse of cardinals, bishops, and noblemen entered the Dominican priory church which, during the papal 'exile' in Avignon, often hosted major papal ceremonies, even coronations. The presiding bishop on this occasion was Pierre des Prez, Cardinal Bishop of Praeneste and one of the fellow-townsmen whom Pope John XXII had brought with him from Cahors. There, with due solemnity, the Cardinal consecrated to the episcopate a protege who was another member of the pontiff's inner circle and, like himself, a former papal chaplain. This 35-year old Burgundian nobleman had only recently returned from an international diplomatic mission on behalf of the papacy; and the see to which he was consecrated would not have been vacant if the pope had not made room for him by setting aside the capitular election and royal confirmation of a rival aspirant. The young bishop was Jean de Grandisson; the sumptuous set of matching vestments with which he provided himself for his consecration (all worked in white cloth of gold woven with gold and white birds and with needlework orphreys containing images inside circles, and pearl decorations) was an indication of his future career as one of Exeter Cathedral's major builders and benefactors. Even after the depredations of time and of the Tudors, he merited a section to himself in a 1987 exhibition at the Royal Academy.

The Catalogue which accompanied that exhibition contained a mistake - which is not a rare event in the world of Art History. But this mistake was interestingly symptomatic. It referred to the Ordinale Exoniense which Grandisson ... a painstaking and micromanaging control freak ... left behind him; it occupies in its modern printed edition four fat volumes in the Henry Bradshaw liturgical series. The mistake: it was alleged that Grandisson thereby regulated the liturgy of his diocese. But he most certainly did not. The Ordinale is specifically designed to regulate the services in the Cathedral, and to do so in a way that consults both good order and princely magnificence. Just in the Cathedral.

Why am I so concerned about this minor booboo? Because it reflects a general unawareness of how liturgical change and continuity both happened in an age before printing. Back in the era of manuscript liturgical books ... well, just imagine the practical impossibilities of making every parish in the Diocese of Exeter, from Land's End to the borders of Somerset, procure such a hefty work as Grandisson's Ordinale. In such an age, Missals and Breviaries did of course eventually wear out and have to be replaced; and inevitably a newly procured book would bear some marks of the changes in fashion since its predecessor had been produced; the insertion, perhaps, of S Anne or the Name of Jesus or the Transfiguration or the Visitation; but nothing more radical than the comparatively major disruptions caused when John XXII imposed Corpus Christi on the Universal Church. As manuscript service books aged, pages would be added to bring them up to date; marginal additions would bear the evidence of development (as two other HBS volumes relating to Exeter, The Leofric Missal, eloquently demonstrate; and, also in the HBS series, the Irish Stowe Missal). But the rupture of violent discontinuity would rarely be evident. The wholesale imposition overnight of massive liturgical novelties was technologically impossible, however attractive it would undoubtedly have been to a bossy man like Grandisson.

To be continued.

28 March 2019

KATA ANATOLAS; Eastwards is best

Are there 'Magisterial' explanations of why we should face East to celebrate the Most August Sacrifice of the Mass? I would like to know if there are. Curiously, the only such one that I know is ... YES! ... in the Post-Conciliar Liturgia Horarum!! Turn (if you possess a copy) to the Monday after Lent 4, id est next Monday. You will find Origen's passage on Christ our Propitiation, with its quotation of Leviticus 16:14 'and he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastwards', and Origen's comment 'the fact that he sprinkles eastwards is not something you should take lazily; it is from the East that Propitiation comes. For it is from there that the Man comes whose name is East (anatole), who is made mediator between God and Man'.

Back in my Anglican days, as I celebrated Cranmer's Liturgy in deepest Devon, I explained to the congregation that, having concluded the 'Comfies' with S John's phrase '... for He is the propitiation for our sins', I would turn to the East whence comes our propitiation and sprinkle the Blood of the New Covenant over the Heavenly Mercy Seat which in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is made one with the Altar of our earthly church building. Perhaps I should fish that homily out for use again, now that we have the Ordinariate Use of the Mass, with the 'Comfies' optionally available.

But if the wonderful people of Broadwood Widger (yes! English villages really do have names like that!) had picked up the Neo-Vulgate, they would have found that the word 'eastward' no longer appeared in the text of Leviticus - the translation I have given above is from the King James Version. You see, after the new breviary was authorised (1971), the new edition of the Vulgate appeared (1979), with 'eastward' omitted. Subsequent editions of the Liturgy of the Hours brought its biblical lections into line with the Neovulgate. So the Patristic Reading for that Lenten Monday, chosen to be a commentary on the Biblical Reading for the same day (Leviticus 16:2-28), now explicates a text different from the one which has just been read, with the crucial words missed out! Such is the wonderful world of endless liturgical Improvement by Experts!

Incidentally, modern translations go back to 'Eastward'! Such are the whimsical vagaries of "scholarship". In any case, I wonder if enough thought was given when the Neo-Vulgate was devised to the fact that it would create a hiatus between the Bible in people's hands and the Bible upon which the Fathers and the Schoolmen wrote their commentaries (a loss, one might say, in diachronic unities).

The Neo-Vulgate revisers evidently thought that basing their translation upon the consensus of modern ecumenical scholarship (for example, the Neovulgate New Testament is essentially based on the Aland/Martini text 'qui nostris temporibus, communi consensione, summam habet auctoritatem') would be good ecumenically (reinforcing, as it were, some synchronic unities). But it needs to be pointed out that the old Vulgate is very often in agreement with the Greek Septuagint, which is still the base text used by the Orthodox.

27 March 2019

Is PF a Sedevacantist?

A kind reader sent me a link to a bog called De omnibus dubitandum est. It provides a sweet little video showing a queue of Rigid and Pharisaical people, most of them almost certainly Pelagians or Gnostics, trying to kiss the Fisherman's Ring which, for some unaccountable reason, PF wears on his finger.

Each time, PF snatches his hand away before they can do this. It's the sort of mega-rapid snatch-away that you you might do if one of these new giant foreign hornets buzzed up to your hand and began to position its sting.

Then he uses the hand to shove each of these dodgy folk off to the side as fast as possible so that he can inflict the same boorish discourtesy upon the next in line.

Can it be that PF regards laypeople as Unclean! ... Unclean!! Surely not?

The only rationale I can think of for this is that, deep down, he has come to believe that he is not truly pope.

The blog then reminds us how keen PF was, not long ago, to have his hand kissed by a nearly naked young male circus performer. Joy wobbles in every pontifical jowl.

Ah, but that was before PF read Fr Cekada and realised the dreadful truth ...

So: who's been sending PF articles by Fr C ... c'mon, own up ...

Only joking ...

26 March 2019


PF has asked the Pontifical Council concerned with 'dialogue' to promote his grossly flawed document claiming that God wills diversity of religion. That council is doing so by commending it for study in Catholic universities.

The normal method of disseminating authentic teaching is by means of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the world-wide Catholic Episcopate, fellow-teachers with the Roman Pontiff of Catholic Truth.

It is a matter for joy that PF has not contaminated these means by making use of them. The status of the document can thus clearly not be claimed to be Magisterial, even by his most sycophantic cronies. Popes do not share their Magisterium with Islamic Scholars. The CDF has not been corrupted by being associated with such a disgraceful statement.

What I find interesting is: Why? Did some of PF's collaborators object to an association of such an objectionable statement with the Church's doctrinal mechanisms? Or did the CDF, perhaps, itself courageously explain the problems involved?

Incidentally, I invite readers to revisit the superb CDF document of 2000, Dominus Iesus. It provides a succinct, complete, and convincing answer to PF's most recent public error.

The distinction between God's Will and and his permissive will is irrelevant.  God's permissive will includes, for example, the Shoah. And the destruction of the Twin Towers. We are unlikely to find PF, with whatever daft verbal jiggery pokery, inviting justified world-wide opprobrium by suggesting that these events were God's will.  Indeed, were he to do so, it would be and be perceived to be a major scandal and not least by the gullible meejah who, until recently, have given him such a soft ride.

What this remarkably unCatholic man meant to say, and did say, is perfectly clear . I don't know if it counts formally and canonically as heresy ... some of the deepest things in the Faith are so fundamental and are so inscribed on every part of Catholicism that they may never have been explicitly defined ex cathedra or by a Council.

The fact that there is only one name given under heaven for Salvation, JESUS, might be one of these undefined basics.

If it is true that Islam and other religions enjoy the status of having been willed by God, then there never need have been one single Christian Martyr.

Omnes Sancti Martyres Dei, orate pro nobis.

25 March 2019

National Unity in the Post-Brexit world: Fr Hunwicke's Modest Proposal

Exciting days: we may soon Have Our Country Back Again, and be deploying our nearly-finished (but as yet aircraft-less) Aircraft Carrier to ward off all the foreign diplomatts and Trade Ministers and merchants who will be besieging us (I distinctly remember being assured that this is what would happen) in the hope of getting some of our splendiferous new Trade Deals. It will be a period in the History of our Great Nation when we shall have to re-emphasise our National Unity.

Perhaps one element here will be the need to ensure that anyone who tries to get in on our post-Brexit financial boom will be able to speak our National Language. Nothing of course cements a society as much as etc.etc. ad nauseam..

Which, of course, er, means, er ... y'kno' ...

English is not our only historic and native language in these Three Kingdoms. There is Welsh; there is Cornish, the language that Pam and I dip into together during our Cornish holidays as we return to the Catholic culture of medieval Europe by reading the mystery plays and sermons which survive in the old Cornish language. There are the two kinds of Gaelic; and, no, I haven't forgotten Manx. (In the disiecta membra of the old Duchy of Normandy, fragments of Norman French dialects survive.) Each of these is as properly, anciently, British, as is English ... the late Mr Chaucer's dialect ... or, possibly, even more so. And I haven't forgotten Old Norse, part of the heritage of the Orkneys. But there is also another inherently British tongue: Latin, the language of these islands from the Claudian invasion onwards; the language of S Bede the Venerable and Sir Isaac Newton; the language in which Law and Theology and Mathematics and Logic were taught in our ancient universities ... Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow, Aberdeen ... in the Middle Ages and thereafter; the language in which the inhabitants of the Three Kingdoms worshipped for more than a thousand years.

So here is Fr Hunwicke's Modest Proposal. We should have two levels of citizenship: full citizenship; and associate citizenship. Full citizenship, including the right to vote and to own property and to have social benefits, would be available to all who could speak at least two of the languages on the following list; associate citizenship would have much more restricted rights attached to it, including temporary residence and the right to pay taxes, but would be freely and generously available to lesser mortals who were only able to be fluent in one of these languages.

(In the Channel Isles: Norman French.)
(Within the Metropolitan Province of Westminster: Scouse, as an act of respectful deference to Cardinal Vin.)
(Esperanto would need to be excluded as being insufficently divisive.)

Gosh, the scope for fertile combinations: lessons in Cornish for native speakers of Urdu; Latin word lists for Polish Plumbers and Dentists ...

You know it makes sense.

24 March 2019

Eminent Training; but Pellucid Guilt ???

I'm rather terribly embarrassed about writing this ... it's not the sort of thing Nanny expected one to talk about in public ... after all, this is a Family Blog ... but, well, I was at Waitrose stocking up on smoked salmon (they sell a variety which is not cluttered up with all those daft little slithers of transparent plastic), when my Instinctive Responses suggested that, before catching the 'bus home, it might be comforting to, er, void my, er, bladder. So I went to, er, the PAC (Publicly Available Commode, Americane 'restroom').

Dear me. I was wearing trousers, pants, a capacious pullover, a long dangly scarf (my Wife's College), a waterproof. It was not a warm day. (This year, we got summer out of the way in February during Torpids.)

The good news is that I do have two hands. Using these with all the complex skills born of nearly eight decades, graduating in due course from elementary potty training, I was able to achieve my purposes without mishap, or whatever the American is for 'mishap'. I couldn't suppress a thought that a Wiser Providence ... I hope this isn't disrespectful ... let's say an Even Wiser Providence ... could helpfully have provided male humans with three hands, if not four. Perhaps, if Mr Darwin is right, we shall evolve an extra hand over the next few millennia. No; don't write in screaming about how I'm not really a Traditional Catholic or I wouldn't have mentioned Evolution. I'm just not in the mood for opening up warfare on yet another front.

Yes. Fronts. That's it. At this moment I thought about Cardinal Pell, whom I once had the pleasure of meeting at Knock when we both adressed the Irish Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. I think it might have been an occasion when I read my Paper on how a pope who tried to suppress the Vetus Ordo would be acting ultra vires. I particularly enjoy reading that Paper. I modestly feel that it goes with a zing.

Like me, Pell only has two hands; larger and more eminent ones than mine, I grant you, but still subject to all the same fundamental terrestrial limitations.

Assuming that, for solemn Mass in his Cathedral Church, the Cardinal Archbishop will have been wearing pants, trousers (do they favour zips or buttons in Oz?), soutane (with buttons), alb, girdle, stole, dalmatic, pectoral cross, chasuble, and pallium (praetereo Cappam Magnam), how, er, um, how on earth inguen ita suum a vestibus liberare potuisset ut minctum sine periculo tute perageret, non dicam stuprum?

Phew. Why didn't I write this whole piece in Latin? It's so much easier than English. I'm sure English must be the product only of God's permissive will.

Do you think newly created cardiinals attend specially designed Training Sessions praeside et magistro eminentissimo domino Cardinale Coccopalmerio?

23 March 2019

Liturgy and Vatican II: what did they think they were voting for?

Vaggagini says somewhere "Three tendencies were manifested: some wanted no concessions to the vernacular; some wanted permission to say everything in the vernacular for all who wanted it; some wanted to maintain the basic principle of Latin, but also to open the door noticeably to the vernacular tongue." (The text of Sacrosanctum Concilium at para 54 actually reflects this stage of understanding very closely.) The last group, he said, were by far the largest. So, if you put that together, you clearly find that the overwhelming majority of the Council Fathers wanted at least to preserve a basically Latin Liturgy. And thought they were voting for this!

All but four bishops voted finally for the draft text: and those four lonely dissenters did  not  include Archbishop Lefebvre. He and his friends were happy with what they had voted for; with what they imagined they would get.

So how did we end up with the practical disappearance of Latin in less than a decade? And a radical deformation of the Roman Rite?

A friend once left a comment advancing the hypothesis that the Council, if anything, attempted to put the brakes on the radical slide into innovation which had been begun, on his own initiative, by Venerable Pius XII. I think there could be something in that. How about this as a summary of a possible narrative:
Over the decades, an international network of professional Liturgical Experts had grown up who were mostly not particularly marked by precise or original scholarship but maintained a close network of meetings, conferences, and journals. After the Council, they soon came to dominate the Diocesan Liturgical Committees which the Bishops set up, and then the liturgical bureaucracies created by the Episcopal Conferences. Bishops felt that they themselves didn't really know about Liturgy and were glad to be able to leave it to The Experts.

You remember the hoohaa that started up when Joseph Ratzinger began to write about Liturgy: "But he's not an expert in Liturgy". They meant: he's not one of us and he hasn't participated in our conferences and our journals and our international common agendas.

22 March 2019

Ad Multos Annos!!!

I don't know whether there are any fissures at all in the heavy plate-armour surrounding PF's fortified self-certainties; if there are, he must several times have wondered whether it really was a smart move to dispense with the services of Gerhard Cardinal Mueller ... there is an edifying English proverb to the effect that it is better to keep one's "enemy" inside one's tent p***ing out than to have him outside p***ing in. But PF's repertoire of old English proverbs may be limited.

His Eminence's Statement of Faith was, I think, the first substantial act of Magisterial guidance during this arid pontificate. Catholics thank him for it.

But now there has appeared another such!

It became clear that Bishop Athanasius Schneider was being leaned on by the Congregation for Bullying to stay in Kazhakstan and support his local footie team against the Scots rather than gallivanting round the world. He did exactly this, and with great success ... the massed and woad-painted Clans were thoroughly humiliated ... and his Lordship, freed from the tyranny of airports, has been able to spend time on researching and writing.

I commend ... how could I not ... the fine treatise by Bishop Athanasius about heretical popes (and much else).

Readers of this blog will immediately discern that his arguments, evidence, exempla, and conclusions are exactly those which I have regularly deployed here. So you will not be surprised that I am feeling quite up-beat.

Bishop Athanasius has rightly emphasised the importance of the Honorius case (above those of other errant popes) in making clear beyond any question that (1) popes can err; (2) such popes can be formally and Magisterially condemned for heresy; and (3) such popes do not ipso facto by their heresy lose their position.

When something has happened, this proves it can happen. 

Do-it-yourself depose-a-pope may be emotionally satisfying but it is not an option for grown-ups in a real world.

21 March 2019

Only for those who possess Latin Monastic Breviaries: Hymns for S Benedict

In the Liturgia Horarum, you have Legifer prudens for Lauds. This was composed by Dom Anselmo Lentini and published (1954) in the periodical Latinitas. Lentini, a very considerable hymnographer, commented that it fitted the munus sociale of S Benedict, on account of which he was made principal Patron of all Europe by S Paul VI.

Also in LH, at Vespers, there is Inter aeternas, by Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, who died in 1156. It is shortened, partly by the omission of some miracles.

In the original draft of the Hymnarium for the Liturgia Horarum, Fratres alacri had been suggested for the Office of Readings. It was composed by Paul the Deacon, who died in 799.

In my Diurnale Monasticum, Inter aeternas is the hymn at Lauds; at Vespers there is Laudibus cives. I find this hymn very appealing because of the clues scattered around its text. For example, it tells us that the youth ful S Benedict left the penates of his fatherland; that he laid low both the nemus of Venus and the bronze statue of Clarius. The God of Clarus was, of course, Apollo ... I wonder if penates and Clarius would have featured in a hymn written before the classicising movement of the seventeenth century.  

But Urban VIII and his circle cannot claim the credit for Laudibus cives. It was written by Jean-Baptiste de Santeuil (1630-1697), who, in the style of the times referred to himself as Santolius Victorinus, because he was a Canon Regular of the Monastery of S Victor.

He made generous contributions to the hymnody of the Paris 'Neo-Gallican' breviaries of 1680 and 1736, but I have not discovered that Laudibus cives was one of them. My hypothesis is that he provided it for the Cistercian Breviary revised in that century by Claude Vaussin, Minister General, and that it thence made its way into the current Monastic Rite. Or perhaps the Cluniac Breviary of 1685 was the source. Erudite readers who know better are urged to correct or supplement this account.

'Santolinus', having been buried at Dijon, was moved later to his Abbey of S Victor. When that Abbey was destroyed during the Troubles of the 1790s, the body was transferred to the church of S Nicolas du Chardonnet, where, according to Wikipaedia, it is buried in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. I have not been able to discover in Wikipaedia the text of the Latin epitaph composed by the great (if Jansenist) Hellenist Rollin.

I don't know if current Roman Catholic hymnody is much influenced by the oeuvre of 'Santolinus'; he was quite popular in the Anglo-Catholic rediscovery of Latin hymnody, and he has three translations in the English Hymnal. They include the still popular Disposer supreme ...

20 March 2019

CENSORSHIP: Postscriptum

Some thoughts about points of reference in an atmosphere of intimidation.

(1) Cardinal Mueller continues to make lively and relevant comments. These include doctrinal matters (for example, his Profession of Faith)  but also frank comments on matters which are not doctrinal or are not solely doctrinal. For example: the poor quality and theological illiteracy of many who are currently being promoted in and to the Episcopate; the true status of Episcopal Conferences and their chairmen and their bureaucracies ...

His Eminence signed his Profession with the information about his tenure of the position of Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This implied a guarantee of the authenticity of his teaching.

I do not see how lesser people could be criticised, still less disciplined, if their remarks are in line with Mueller's and Mueller has himself not been condemned.

(2) Watch the CDF and its current prefect Cardinal Ladaria. Not long ago, after PF made some particularly silly remarks about Gnosticism and Pelagianism, the CDF put out a very sensible statement on those heresies. While not criticising PF by name, it was clearly a put-down ... er ... clarification. The situation, of course, may change, particularly when His Eminence retires and if he is replaced by someone like the Graf von Schoenborn or even 'Tucho' 'Kiss me quickly!' Fernandez.

(3) It appears that Blessed John Henry Newman will be canonised this year. It would hardly be elegant for anybody to be leaned on for subscribing to his views, or, indeed, to the example he set by how he referred to Pio Nono and Cardinal Manning and the other ultrasuperhyperueberpapalist extremists of his own time. I have found the 1870 volume of his letters to be endless fun!

(4) PF himself still calls for Parrhesia. While it is contextually clear that what he means by this is "If you agree with me, say so loudly and often!", it can be rhetorically amusing to turn his own repeated topos against him.

(5) Mgr Knox's preface to his own collected Essays in Satire is a fine account of the importance of demonstrating how naked Emperors commonly are.

(6) Do not forget Canon 212, especially the admirable sense and fine balance of its third paragraph.

Again ....

The reason why some submitted comments have not been enabled is that I do not enable comments which say or suggest that our Holy Father Pope Francis is not Pope.

19 March 2019

Te Ioseph ...

Naturally you want to know all about the hymn Te Ioseph celebrent agmina caelitum, found in the Breviary Office of S Joseph.

The lyric metre is (what Nisbett and Hubbard classified as) the "Second Asclepiad". It was used in Greek by the early Lesbian lyric poet Alcaeus, but the form we find in the Breviary is that standardised by Horace in Latin. Each stanza consists of three 'minor Asclepiads' followed by a 'Glyconic'.

Unlike the Sapphic metre (also of Lesbian origin), this metre did not attain the same enormous popularity among Christian hymnographers, although those of you who use the Liturgia Horarum will find, if you turn to S Jerome on the 30th of September, a modern hymn in this metre probably written by Dom Anselmo Lentini. He explained that this was the only metre in which S Jerome's name could be metrically included!! Whether you deem the name to be, with five syllables, Hi-er-on-ym-um, or with four syllables, Je-ro-ny-mum, you can fit it in after laude. Geddit?

What a lot of trouble Dom Anselmo and his coetus did go to in order to fulfil the Conciliar mandate with regard to the Hymnology of the Office ... little knowing that in half a decade the recitation of the Office in Latin would, to all intents and purposes, have disappeared ... disappeared despite the explicit mandate in Sacrosanctum Concilium that the use of Latin by clerics in the Office should be maintained. What a corrupt decade that was. Whenever I hear the mendacious sectaries, the lying herd, claim that the liturgical "reforms" did what the Council had ordered, it makes me want to kick people.

However, one should not go around kicking poor deceived deluded people who have been taught a pack of diabolical lies by others far wickeder than themselves. So back to S Joseph ...

Te Ioseph  was written by a Carmelite, John Escallar a Conceptione, about whom I only know that he died in 1700. In other words, this composition is the fruit of the classicising Counter-Reformation. An exquisitely elegant fruit.

One oddity. The line Post mortem reliquos sors pia consecrat. Lentini explained that the original text was Post mortem reliquos mors pia consecrat. Others deserve their rewards after their deaths, because of the sanctity of their deaths. But S Joseph got his goodies during his earthy life as he guarded the Holy Family. Dom Anselmo explains that the original line won't do, because it contains a certain word-play, mortem ... mors, acceptable in that century but unpopular (invisus) nowadays.

Oh dear ...

18 March 2019

Censorship ... Bergoglianity is at work on it ...

I here republish an old post with its original thread, from 29 October 2018. When one ventures upon prophecies, it is always interesting to know if they are fulfilled! So it would be kind if readers were to let me know of any signs that I was right in the apprehensions which I voiced! I will read and then delete comments which their authors preface with NOT FOR PUBLICATION. I quite appreciate that people have good reasons for not exposing themselves to persecution by the Ministers of Mercy who patrol the Bergoglian Church.

I will add a few further thoughts the day after tomorrow.

In the chaos of the 1960s, one notable casualty was the Church's system of the censorship of books. This disappearance was, I think, inevitable; in that febrile and aggressive atmosphere, it is inconceivable that the process of waiting for a diocesan Censor Librorum to read a book and make his comments, then for him to negotiate with an author about his/her ambiguities, and to agree a text ... then for the Ordinary or his VG to issue the imprimatur ... it is inconceivable that such a system could have survived. Then add Humanae Vitae and the spate of dissenting books and articles which would have needed to be refused the Nihil obstat ...

There was undoubtedly rejoicing at the disappearance of the pre-modern apparatus of censorship; predictably, especially among 'liberals'.

Clandestinely, this development led to a new and only semi-visible form of censorship. The dominance of certain 'schools' in Academe, especially in subjects such as Liturgy, Biblical Studies, and Moral Theology, made it increasingly difficult to secure publication of ideas which defended or explicated Tradition.

Although the boot was invisible ... it was now on the other foot.

But now comes the paradox. The disappearance of Censorship preceded, at a polite distance, the emergence of the Internet. And in our own age it has become very difficult for anybody to monitor, let alone to control, the myriad ideas and opinions which can flicker across the World's computers. And, among all this material, orthodox and traditional statements and ideas have as free an access as everything else to the many fora of discussion. I very much doubt if the examination and critical assessment of this pontificate would have been as open and free as it has been, had the Internet not existed.

But now ... Synod 2018 Paragraph 146.

"The Synod hopes that in the Church appropriate official bodies for digital culture and evangelisation are established at appropriate levels ... Among their functions ... [could be] certification systems of Catholic sites, to counter the spread of fake news ..."

I very much dislike the look of this. It is no secret that some members of the CBCEW were, for years, very nervous about bloggers and especially clerical bloggers. The disgraceful episcopal suppression of one famous diaconal blog became quite a cause celebre. Management had lost a significant control. It is only a year or two since my friend Fr Ray Blake bravely put on the public record that he had found tanks parked on his lawn: tanks in the shape of his Bishop passing on the cheerful news that "The Cardinal doesn't like ...".

We seem to have come a long way from those broad sunlit uplands when Benedict XVI (remember him? The 'Rat', the 'Inquisitor', the 'Panzer Cardinal'? Yes, that one) encouraged blogging, and especially clerical bloggers. Now, the era of the boors and the bullies.

Shall we, in a few years' time, discover that we have Diocesan, National, and Worldwide systems for closing down free discussion in the Church? After all, the Synod will have "called for it", won't it?

"Synodality" sounds so democratic, modern, open and free. What's not to like? And this Synod has concluded with the usual flurry of synthetic Bergoglian rhetoric about the Holy Spirit. In such liberated and happy times, don't you need to be paranoid to be suspicious?

Don't you believe it. Bullies are bullies are bullies.

17 March 2019

The Emerald Isle

Q What should the Irish do on S Patrick's Day?
A Wake up from their hiberniation.

The first S Patrick's Day since the Enemy promised to the Irish people, as he did to Tinidril on Perelandra, "I have come that you might have Death, and have it in abundance."

I think Cardinal Sarah should revoke the indult that allows the dioceses of Ireland to celebrate S Patrick even on a Sunday in Lent.

16 March 2019

"The worst pope ever"?

So a correspondent wrote on one of my threads. It set me thinking.

I am convinced that PF is most certainly not the worst man ever to have been pope. OK; he has a short temper; he turns easily to abuse; he has either a very bad memory or a tendency to lie. But even striking characteristics like his propensity to accuse people of shit-eating betoken, probably, nothing more than a cultural back-ground a trifle different from our own. We middle-class British are so much more circumlocutory in our put-downs of those we dislike. "My dear fellow, with the utmost respect I'm not entirely sure that I completely agree with you" may be every bit as aggressively focussed as "You coprophagist!". We must be humble enough to be open to semantic diversity.

Anybody who seriously thinks that PF is the worst man ever to have been pope should probably read rather more Church History. I do not only have in mind the 'Marozia' popes of the period called the Pornocracy; I would also nominate Urban VI, who precipitated the Western Schism by his 'harshness and violence'; and Paul IV Caraffa, 'of ferocious character', whose malevolent hostility towards the English Catholic Church during the reign of Queen Mary made it so much easier for Elizabeth Tudor to reintroduce the Reformation to my country.

What might, much more plausibly, be argued is that PF is the worst pope in the single sense that the papal office has drastically changed under the influence of modernity, in a world of instant communications and rapid reporting and the possibility of minute-by-minute micromanagement. So this Ministry, when exercised by an impatient shoot-from-the-hip-especially-when-you're-irritated individual like PF, is more dangerous now than any exercise of the Petrine office was in the past, even in the pontificates of very bad men, back in those happy days when the ordinary layman or cleric probably knew little about the current occupant of the Roman See, and had certainly not heard about the sillier things he said in his private chapel this morning or the proclivities of his nastier cronies.

What we need after PF's death or abdication or deposition is not a better or more holy or more prayerful man. What we need is the papal office itself stripped down and cleansed from the idolatrous accretions of recent pontificates, so that it is again a Petrine Ministry which can without daily disaster be exercised by an ordinary sinful human being with ordinary human failings tempered by the Grace of God ... just like the great majority of popes over two millennia, who were neither saints nor reprobates.

Above all, a new pope will need the self-discipline to ... you thought I was going to write "Talk very much less". But that does not quite get to the heart of the problem. Very soon after this pontificate began, I wrote in a blogpost that our new pope should not be allowed out without whatever he was to say having been carefully checked by those in the Curia whose responsibility it is to give a theological shape to a pontificate.

Papal authority is not personal in an individualistic or whimsical sort of way. The pope is supposed to say, not what he feels or wants, but what the judgement of the Roman Church is as a corporate and structured body mindful of its own Holy and immemorial Tradition. (When PF, after some off-the-cuff remarks about his own liturgical preferences, emphatically added "This is Magisterium!", he thereby exemplified the main error which he entertains with regard to his own job-description.)

The first major exercise of papal authority, the letter called I Clement, has the form of something written as if by one member of the Roman Presbyterate. S Clement is not himself actually mentioned. The writer was very clearly an individual who expected to be obeyed. But he writes and judges and instructs in a corporate manner. That is why the Curia Romana has a doctrinal status and purpose. It is not meant to be a tedious bureaucracy which so sadly gets in the way of everybody being able to see what a splendid chap a pope is once he is able to shake off his staff. It is an integral part of the exercise of the Ministry which the Redeemer instituted in his Church, because an episkopos is meaningless without his presbyterium, his diakonia, his laos.  And this goes for Rome as much as for any other particular Church. The earliest witnesses of the Roman Primacy, SS Ignatius and Irenaeus, do not explicitly mention the Roman Bishop; they talk about the Roman Church.

Finally: this Next Pope will need to remember the apercu of Blessed John Henry Newman, that the Ministry of the Roman Church within the Oikoumene is to be a barrier, a remora, against the intrusion of erroneous novelty.

It is: to hand on the Great Tradition unadulterated.

In an age when the adjective "negative" has unpopular vibes, we need a reappropriation at the very highest level within the Church of the central, fundamental importance of a negative and preservative, papacy. Tradidi quod et accepi implies Quod non accepi non tradam.

15 March 2019

Is PF "A Subtle Jesuit"?

Newman's Oxford undergraduate (Loss and Gain) "Charles Reding", about to be rusticated for  ... allegedly ... having a mind "perverted, debauched by sophistries and jesuitries", goes to say farewell to the Principal of his College. To whom he says "'I cannot conceive, sir, why I should be unfit company for the gentlemen of the College'. Dr Bluett's jaw dropped, and his eyes asumed a hollow aspect. 'You will corrupt their minds.' Then he added in a sepulchral tone, which seemed to come from the very depth of his inside, 'You will introduce them, sir, to some subtle Jesuit -- to some subtle Jesuit, Mr Reding'".

What a lovely reputation the Jesuits once had. What a shame we have no subtle Jesuits around today. But Stay!! Perhaps, after all, we do. Perhaps PF is a Subtle Jesuit!!! Had that occurred to you?

Here, again, is what PF said in his joint statement with his Islamic chum:
"The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race, and language are willed by God in his wisdom, through which he created human beings."

The inattentive might misread this as a typical piece of modern liberal 'affirmation', in which everybody is praised for and in their diversity. It is, surely, the dogma expressed by the 'diversity flag', in which all the colours of the rainbow are gloriously combined in one composition. All affirm all.

Well ... we have no way of knowing how PF's Islamic co-signatory glossed these words, But to many, this statement will seem nothing but a statement of the modern liberal blindingly obvious.

But PF introduced a new element into the rich mix when he gave Bishop Schneider permission to report a quite different interpretation: the idea that Diversity of Religion relates to the permissive will of God ... not to what he positively wills, but only to what he is willing to permit even though it is evil in itself.

Lovely Stuff. But PF goes on to bracket diversity of sex with the diversity of religion. And anybody who knows the least about the Judaeo-Christian tradition could have explained to PF that the division of Humanity into two sexes is given in Genesis, a section of the Pentateuch near the beginning of the Bible just after all the stuff about King James I, as part of the positive will of God for unfallen Humanity ... not just as something God tolerates because it is an unfortunate consequence of creating Man with the free will to choose the Good and the Bad. Creation of Mankind in two complementary sexes is not something that God permits; it is what he has himself freely done.

But ... hang on ... perhaps PF is not, as you were foolishly assuming, impetuous, judgmental readers that you are, a poor ignorant old man who has never read Genesis. Perhaps he is ... after all ... a Subtle Jesuit ... like all those Subtle Jesuits who lurked behind every lamp-post and hedgerow of the Victorian Protestant imagination!

So, on the one hand, to Moslems and Liberals, PF wishes to come across as praising religious diversity; it is a Good positively willed by God.  

But, on the other hand, to Bishop Schneider and his associates, PF tips the wink: "Don't be too noisy about this, old man, but of course I agree wholeheartedly with you that the existence of all false religions is one of the terrible evils resulting from the wilfulness and waywardness of Man, once he has been led by Satan into Sin, Disobedience, and Error. If you think it will help, do tell your troops that what I meant was: false religions are not positively but only permissively willed. And do anything else you can to get them to just Shut Up and stop analysing what I say. Analysis is just so ***********ly Rigid. As S Thomas Aquinas so rightly said, Logic is the Devil's Whore."

Amazingly Subtle. Devastatingly Jesuitical. What a man!!!!!

14 March 2019

Cassiciacum? Praeferendus Newman! (3)

Did Blessed John Henry Newman say  

"It was Oxford that made me a Catholic"? Or did he say

"It was the Fathers that made me a Catholic"? Or did he, as I rather think, say both?

It is certainly true that Henry Manning said, referencing Newman, that "it is the old Anglican, patristic, literary Oxford tone transplanted into the Church". And who durst say that an Archbishop of Westminster can err?

For Newman, what has actually happened in the history of the Church makes a good starting point.
This is one of the reasons why I have been so attracted by Newman's argument that the papal or episcopal teaching office may be seen as being in 'Suspense' if the pope or bishop stops using it, or gets into the habit of using it improperly. We do not, in my view, profit by discussing 'formaliter' and 'materialiter'. If we adopt Newman's modes of discourse, discussions of how or whether a Roman bishop can lose his office, or the exercise of it, become no less fascinating but quite a lot less necessary. We do not need to break or fracture the canonical unity of the Church Militant, the Church Visible.

Blessed John Henry came to his conclusions as the result of his long studies of the Arian Crisis, in which, for sixty years, a pope and most bishops taught error or at least subverted the Truth by their weakness. The Magisterium was indeed in suspense. It is an objective fact of History. Syllogisms be damned: Newman's accounts and interpretations describe reality. That is what makes them, and his methods, attractive.

I have written before about Pope Honorius. We might also consider the Great Schism of the West. If you believe that the 'Urbanist' popes were the true popes, then from 1378 until 1415, the papal Magisterium was in suspense in France, Scotland, Spain, and Naples. If, on the other hand, you are a 'Clementine', then, from 1378 until 1429, the papal teaching office was in suspense in the Empire, England, Ireland, North Italy, Poland, Hungary, and Northern Europe (editions of the Annuario pontificio have given fluctuating lists of 'true' popes, but there has never been a Magisterial decision ... the pompous list of popes on the walls of Westminster Cathedral gets its shambolic knickers into quite a self-contradictory twist).

The history of the Church is not a tidy phenomenon in which we can say: there has never been a dodgy pope because, as soon as a pope does become dodgy, he ... like magic!! ... 'Beam me up, Scotty!' ... automatically ceases to be pope (even if nobody is actually aware that this invisible cessation has occurred).

Church history is a messy business in which there really have been dodgy popes, and ... whatever all the syllogisms in all the universe might anxiously jostle to say about it ... they have not thereby ceased to be popes or ceased to be recognised as such.

So when Sedevacantists solemnly and under threat of Sin tell Christian people that they ought never go to Mass unless they can cadge a lift to their nearest sedevacantist Mass a thousand or three miles away, they ought to remember that for half a century during the Great Western Schism, half the Christians in Europe attended Masses in which an 'invalid' pope was mentioned in the una cum. They also ought to remember that, in cases where there is a genuine doubt, a stricter view should not be imposed on penitents even if that stricter view appears, to the mind of the Confessor himself, to be the very much more probable view (vide H Davies Vol I pp 91sqq). It is a grave responsibility to drive Christifideles laicos away from the Sacraments (I am not discussing here the question of Sacramental Validity).

During the Western Schism, were those who moved across the border between England and Scotland required to be absolved from Schism because they had been attending Masses in which the 'wrong' pope was named? When the Schism was over, did the Council of Constance require the clergy and laity of half Europe to go to confession to be absolved of the 'sin' of attending Masses in which a 'wrong' papal claimant was silently named? Go on, give me a Denzinger number!

13 March 2019

Benedict XIV, Clement XIV, and Clement XV.

Once again, as Britain rocks in the aftermath of the Brexit' votes, I sought solace from the bust of Pope Benedict XIV in Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There is a brief summary for non-Latinists at the bottom.
Res mira! Hodie ridentem inveni magnum et carum pontificem! Quem saepe lugentem, miserum inveneram, quinimmo paene flentem, tot miseriis adflictum propter vulnera in Ecclesiam Militantem his temporibus illata, hodie palam gaudentem aspexi. "Cur Domne laetaris?" rogavi. "Propter tuum Zuhlsdorfium" respondit "virum lepidum et ad cor meum, qui mirabiliter prae Mundi oculis exhibuit amicum meum Ganganelli, meum in Sede Petrina sub nomine Clementis XIV successorem. Tot poculis huius papae et imagine et armis adornatis per orbem terrarum missis, gloriam tanti historici valde promovit et promovet!"

"Poculis tam bonis cotidie utor. Sed amicus tuus, Sancte Pater, Ganganelli fuit? Historicum dixti?"

Parvum emisit suspirium. "Ignorasne quot et quanta pro Iudaeis defendendis hic gesserit?" Ignorare me demissis oculis confessus sum. Ille "Iudaei per saecula multa inter homines nefasti et scelesti habebantur. Hoc illis crimen scelestissimum adlatum est, eos sanguine Christianorum et praesertim parvulorum in suis panibus conficiendis uti et usos esse. Quam rem Ganganello meo commisi penitus inquirendam. Omnia perscrutatus omnia lucide monstravit: crimen omnino falsum esse; nil tale unquam factum. Et Poetae Tragici L. Annaei Senecae fautorem se doctum monstravit. Gavisus sum maxime illo in Sedem Apostolicam postea promoto. [Hic pausam aliquantulam fecit et venuste subrisit] Sed audi! Hoc quoque placet et placebit ... dies nunc appropinquat liberationis vestrae."

Attonitus tacui. Deinde "Qui dies quae" dixi "liberatio? Num Brexitum dicis? Num tu Brexientibus faves?"

Cladem istam Brexitialem nihil ad rem pronuntiavit; cumque circumspexisset ne quis prope esset auditor ne Iaponicus quidem, suo more cautius murmure parvo hoc mihi patefecit: fore ut pontifex Romanus ... e suo loco tolleretur! Quae secutura dixit, me prohibuit nuntiare; hoc tantum vobis dicere possum, tempora breviora. Idcirco annuntio vobis gaudium magnum!! Non habebimus papam!!!

Papam cachinnantem currens effugi et hoc benigne addentem "Natalem tibi hodiernum, pusille, quam faustissimum precor!".

If your Latin is a little rusty, all you actually need to know is: get your Ganganelli and your Lambertini mugs from Fr Zed fast because they may soon be valuable historical items. IMPORTANT!

12 March 2019

Cassiciacum? (2)

A "Scholastic" approach to theology might progress from apparently given fixed principles through apparently syllogistic logic to apparently obvious conclusions. Thus:-

"Popes do not Teach heresy;
Honorius taught heresy;
Therefore Honorius was not pope"


"Antipopes have no legitimate jurisdiction;
Honorius was an antipope;
Therefore Honorius had no jurisdiction."

and so on; thus the canonical framework Honorius imposed upon the Anglo-Saxon Church was of no effect. Et cetera; et cetera.

You could put a group of such thinkers on to a Desert Island, and by pure logic they could come up with a complete history of the Church, perfect in every respect, possibly even armoured by every protection of immaculate logic ... except that it bore no relationship to what actually did happen in the real History of the real Church.

Thus, although Pope Honorius was condemned by his successors and anathematised by an Ecumenical Council, nobody ever did claim that he at any point ceased to be pope; or that his acts of papal jurisdiction were "invalid", in England or anywhere else. Certainly, when S Bede the Venerable wrote his account of the Honorius years, there is no hint in the Saint's words that Honorius was an antipope or that his acts of jurisdiction were null. Nor did later popes or Ecumenical Councils decree this to be so.

More later ... perhaps after, tomorrow, I have lauded that faultless pontiff Prospero Lambertini..

11 March 2019

Cassiciacum? (1)

A brother priest very reasonably asked me whether my views on the present state of the papal office were not rather like those of the Cassiciacum Thesis. I am very shy about answering this. For more than one reason.

I do my best to confine myself to writing about subects in which I, perhaps over-boldly, consider myself to have some slight competence. I am not a canonist, and if I started trying to deal with the Cassiciacum, I would probably merely expose the degree of my own incompetence in that area. Which is enormous. Why should I make myself a laughing stock?

A second reason is that, in the present state of things, this thesis is ... so I believe ... espoused by a particular ecclesial group. I have no desire to attack them. They are very probably far better Catholics than I am. That wouldn't be difficult! But I would not want to create an assumption that I was one of them, or that I was in agreement with their own canonical separation (as I understand it) from the Church Militant. We all have enough problems of our own without letting ourselves get tarred with other people's brushes. [However, I will admit to having some human curiosity about one particularly diagnostic question: do they name our Holy Father Pope Francis, Successor of S Peter, in the Canon of the Mass?]

But my main reason is that I prefer to do theology, not in terms of what is sometimes called the (neo-)scholastic method, but in a way more rooted in historical actualite. I would like to describe this as "more English", but I won't, because, if I did, I know what would happen: you'd all start jumping up and down and screeching "But what about Doellinger?!" "What about Hefele!?

I will elucidate later.

10 March 2019

I am naturally shy ...

... about promoting myself, or appearing to do so. But I draw to your attention a nice little book from the Arouca Press, a new and traditional Catholic publishing house.

Arouca is, in any case, to be encouraged. But today I commend a reprint of a splendid little volume published in 1927, giving homilies upon the Sunday Epistles of the Old Missal. These homilies are by an Anglican convert to the Catholic Church, Fr Michael Chapman.

My reticence in commending the book arises from the fact that I have contributed to it a Preface. But you should not allow this to bias you against the book.

We are all asked by Holy Mother Church to study Holy Scripture; I can think of no better way of doing this than by starting with those passages which, Sunday by Sunday, the Church especially commends to us by selecting them to be publicly read at Mass.

Fr Chapman's sensible, elegant, and profound set of homilires affords a very good way of doing this.


9 March 2019

Vocation to the Priesthood?

I have received an email from a postulant who, before he can go further in seminary studies, will need to pay of a student debt, contracted in Canadian dollars.


God's [Permissive] Will

How clever of the Kazakhstan Episcopal Conference to use their ad limina to secure clarity from PF with regard to certain dubia which were troubling their minds. Especially about his recent statement that Religious Diversity is God's Will.

And what a relief it is that PF has given his explanation. Now we all understand. The existence of religious diversity may not be positively willed by God, but, since he permits it to happen, it is part of his permissive will.

What could be clearer? Thank God for PF.

And this supramagisterial clarification provides valuable ways forward by which the Vatican can improve its relationship with other groups on the periphery, with as much success as it has done with Islam.

I have long been very worried about the rather Rigid approach which old-fashioned people take towards the long-suffering National Socialist Community. The Shoah has often been treated as a great crime, a massive and bloodthirsty historical injustice. I may myself have unguardedly appeared to use such language without employing the more generous formulation exemplified by PF. Now, thanks to PF, I know better. Thanks to the inspired clarity and Mercy with which PF speaks, we are now encouraged to say that "The Holocaust was God's Will". If unsophisticated Rigidists are horrified by such a form of words, we jump in with the reserve explanation "Ah: I meant God's permissive will ... since he did not prevent it from occurring, we can say that it is his will without implying that in a positive sense he wanted it to happen. But you can't deny that he permitted it".

Similarly, with regard to the immense pain being even at this moment inflicted upon the Paedophile Priest Community. Although PF has Mercifully toned down the Rigid policy which his Rigid predecessor had put in place, it remains true that many Rigid and intolerant things are still being said and done, both with regard to such clergy themselves, and also those admirably Merciful Bishops and Cardinals who prevent nasty people like Police and Canonical Prosecutors (who have imperfect understandings of the Will of God) from getting involved. After all, paedophile clergy are (have I got this right?) nothing less than an inspired and exemplary Avant Garde, who are only doing their simple best to inculturate our Faith more thoroughly within highly sexualised post-modern Society. Hard work, heavy lifting, but somebody has to do it!

Now, happily, we have PF's own go-ahead for this new and far more Christian approach. Archbishops who are summoned to appear and to give evidence before secular tribunals investigating sexual abuse will in future not need to be mealy-mouthed. They can stand there in the witness Box, clutching their pectoral Crosses*, and with bold Parrhesia  proclaim: "The Clerical Abuse of Children is the Will of God".

People Traffickers too ... Drug Smugglers ...  Indian Fast Bowlers ... all of them purposive enactors of the (permissive, of course) will of God.

And PF's own example gives another valuable pointer and precedent: we need not actually mention this "permissive" stuff unless some Rigidists from Kazhakstan start bending our arms. It's a crafty caveat we keep up our sleeves. Normally, a simple statement (e.g. "Female Genital Mutilation is God's Will") is an adequate formula. Because that's how PF did it, God bless him. He knows better than to complicate matters beyond the understanding of simple folk. What a marvellous charism it is to smell so sweetly of the sheep!

And PF's approach will enable us to engage more sensitively and immediately with whatever concerns modern Society has. Over here, for example, we are currently very concerned about Knife Crime. It is apparently even worse in our big cities than it is (for example) in that notable abode of the Will of God, New York. All the Church needs to do, PF makes clear, is to get folk to understand that this epidemic is God's Will.

What a breath of Fresh Air PF is. This is the true Aggiornamento which S John XXIII expected of the Council. Throw the windows even wider open!!

*A neat phrase I have borrowed verbatim from Bishop Lopes. I mention this in case it occurs to some trouble-maker to suggest that by the Will of God I am part of the Plagiarist Community.

Footnote: I have in the past been advised to remember that "Americans don't understand Irony". This blogpost is, er, ironical. Every word of it, pretty well, except this footnote.

8 March 2019

PIUS XII and the Archives

Frankly, I am not as fervent an admirer of Ven Pius XII as many of my readers will be. Three of my reasons:

(1) He initiated the concept of deeply radical 'revision' and transformation of the Liturgy, which ended up we-know-where; and

(2) he developed significantly the disastrous and sick modern papal personality cult: I detect a direct line from him through S Paul VI to PF. Joseph Ratzinger wrote "After Vatican II the impression arose that the pope really could do anything ... "; it was a small jump from this to the major Bergoglianist error that PF, free from the constraints of Scripture and Tradition, is guided in his daily words and deeds by the Holy Ghost, by whose intervention he was indeed elected.

I do not subscribe to this perversion of Catholicism. So the idea that Pius XII's canonisation might be brought nearer by the opening of the remaining Vatican Archives of his pontificate leaves me, er, tepid.

(3) It is the role of the Roman Pontiff to repel error and to condemn heretical innovation. Nazism was a gross conceptual error; more precisely, it was a form of the Marcionite Heresy which the See of S Peter had put down in the Second Century. ("To Rome comes Marcion, already under censure in other Churches; but until Rome has condemned him he is still a Catholic Christian": Dix.) Between 1939 and 1945, this heresy was made even worse by the inclusion of anti-Christian twaddle such as Earth, Blood, and Volk. And it did not meekly remain in the lecture room: it was horribly embodied in an unjust war of aggression and in the planned mechanised slaughter of millions.

Yet, during this period, there was no papal condemnation of the error, or specifically of the consequent Judaeicide, at the formal, Magisterial, level. The fact that Pius XI had condemned it should have made it easier for Pius XII to repeat and to develop and to precision and to elevate (why not ex cathedra?) that condemnation both at the conceptual and at the genocidal levels. In the Newman terminology which I endlessly promote, the Teaching Office of the Church was, at least arguably, as much "in suspense" from 1939 to 1945 as it was during the Arian Crisis and has been during this pontificate. It is not that Pius XII taught nothing during those years (Mystici Corporis ...), so much as that he failed to teach with proportionate vigour and focus about the biggest single monstrous error that was staring Europe in the face. Just so, Vatican II was to leave Stalinism not, indeed, exactly uncondemned, but possibly not adequately condemned. The early Church Councils, on the other hand, identified errors by name, and flung precisely worded anathemata around with accurate addresses on the envelopes.

So there you have my own, provisional, personal,view.

I am a person of very imperfect judgement. I am usually wrong. My wife will confirm this.

So, if the opening of the Archives gives us a quite different picture of that pontificate, then, if I am still alive, I shall welcome it and do penance.

[I wonder if the Yad Vashem people and those neo-con meejah folks across the water would also welcome such a result. Or would they dream up some new means of evading the consequences of newly disclosed facts?]

(I know Pius XII secured the survival of nearly a milllion Jews who would otherwise probably not have survived, so please don't inform me of this. Let's take it as agreed between us.)

7 March 2019

Matthew Parris

One of our most entertaining columnists, called Matthew Parris, recently revealed that he will soon be seventy years old. It is his view that this relative antiquity now hands him on a plate the freedom no longer to be afraid to say what he really thinks. "There will be no more job interviews now, no more exams to sit, no more voters to please [he was once an MP], no more objects of desire to impress, no wagging tongues to fear ... This is freedom!"

Perhaps I should have added that Parris is an active homosexual who has long been out of the closet.

Among the freedoms he went on to mention, this rather struck me:

"The corollary ... of my view that many are on a sliding scale between gay and straight is that many can choose. I know they do. The corollary of that is that cognitive behavioural therapy may work in some cases. The corollary of that is that those silly Christians who say you can be 'cured' of being gay do have half an argument. I've certainly done my best in my time to cure a few men of being straight. But the right-on in the gay 'community' are horrified at any suggestion that sexuality can ever be a choice. I know it can, for some. I wouldn't have dared write this when young. Now? I don't give a damn."

If you just chop out a couple words which are inserted as a conventional act of deference to long-standing prejudices ("silly"; "half"), you do have, I think, a quite interesting admission.

6 March 2019

Another Triumph of Clericalism

The Beeb tells us that the Chinese Government has assured its Parliament that there will be "tighter control over Religion".

So that's all right, then. Coming immediately after Parolin's insistence on the Vatican/Peking Accord, it shows a reassuringly common mind between these two sets of benign and thoughtful apparatchiks.

Thank Goodness that Bergoglian Rome is so much more cunning than the Chinamen. Otherwise, wherever would we be?

Three cheers for the even-more-than-Ostpolitik.

5 March 2019

What went wrong when and why?

We hear no plans for any sort of investigation into the devilish disaster which, in the form of the clerical sex abuse of the vulnerable, has overtaken the Latin Church.

Rhetoric, yes; gallons of it. But no attempt to find out how we got here. No apparent interest in what went so wrong as to precipitate such a crisis.

It's as if the First Sea Lord ... er ... yes; we may have not nearly as many ships in our Navy as when our policy was to keep it at twice the size of its nearest rival, but we do still have lots of admirals and some beautifully Nelsonian titles ... it's as if the FSL had to admit that his ships were just mysteriously sinking all over the world like stones dropping down to the bottom of a village pond. And as if he refused to take any sort of interest in the reasons for this calamitous situation. Were the ships engineered efficiently? Who cares. Did systems synergy operate efficiently? Couldn't care less. Were Sea Trials comprehensively performed and adequately monitored? Time for a gin.

My recollection is that when my Father was a serving officer, if you so much as grazed your paintwork against a jetty, you were at risk of facing a court of enquiry.

Yet this is the problem in the Catholic Church. The idea of painstakingly trying to sort out the aetiology of the crisis is dismissed; or rather, is not even allowed to be mentioned. Top Brass is putting its trust in rhetoric.

Management's attitude is epitomised by a plausible narrative relating to the English Catholic Church. A girl made a complaint about Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor. The CDF was prepared to do its canonical duty and opened a case. But somebody told PF about it all, and he telephoned Mueller. His Eminence was actually in the course of offering the Most Holy Eucharist. But PF demanded that he be summoned to the telephone in the Sacristy to receive a peremptory instruction to take that case no further. Not long after, Mueller's tenure of his prefecture was not renewed.

Murphy O'Connor, of course, was a prominent S Gallen plotter who hurried to Rome as soon as Ratzinger's resignation happened to take a leading role in the plotting which preceded the Conclave.

If this narrative is true, it exemplifies exactly the sort of clericalism which needs to be rooted out at the very highest level in the Church.

If it is not true, it should by enquiry be shown to be false.

4 March 2019

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me ...

I'm not sure this is true, as I will make clear ...

Someone drew my attention to a sedevacantist/invalidist blog attacking me. It addresses me as "Vicar Hunwicke".

That I take as a compliment. 'Vicar' in Anglican parlance refers to a parish priest who has canonical freehold. I never attained that lofty status. It was always far, far above me. I was never trusted with such glory. So I am absolutely dead choughed to be addressed as Vicar by sede-invalidists. Go further ... call me Monsignore ... Eminence ... Beatitude ... Holiness ... you'll have me eating out of your hand. Like our dear Holy Father, I do so love it when people grovel.

But what really got under my skin was ... this blogger chappie went on to refer to me as a Novus ordo high church apologist!!

Novus Ordo !!! Moi!!! Apologist !!! !!! You can sense how apoplectic this has made me. I will pause for a moment while I take some more of the medicine.

There. Better now, although I think the grandchildren may have been at the gin.

What reminded me of this episode was reading in my Office for Sunday that homily of S Gregory I (commonly regarded, among the more moderate sedes, as a Probably Valid Pope) in which he deploys the word mysterion without apparently being aware that this word refers "univocally" to the episcopate.

The sede blogger chappie claimed the meaning is univocal..

I expect these sede types, on the sly, mumble the Liturgia Horrorum, or whatever it's called, so he probably won't have read S Gregory at Mattins. Someone should buy him a Kennedy's Latin Primer.

1 March 2019

S David

A great Saint, a great Feast, a great Nation. Last autumn, Pam and I went to visit his Shrine in his great Cathedral. It contains bones which a previous Dean convinced himself were those of S David ... but probably aren't. William Barlow, a nasty 'reforming' bishop (one of Matthew Parker's consecrators), confiscated the relics after the Dean disobeyed his order that they should not be exposed for veneration on his Festival. (S Caradog, however, is presumed still to be where the Reformers left him.)

But S David's day for me will always recall one particular March 1 at Lancing, when my colleague and brother priest lost - happily, only temporarily - the power of utterance.

We had at Lancing a daily Mass, attended on a voluntary basis by anything between half-a-dozen and thirty masters and students. We also had a Welsh Methodist Senior Master whose innate enthusiasm for everything that went on in Chapel was ... limited. One S David's Day, wearing his daffodil, he was loudly complaining in Common Room about the fact that, in his words, S David's Day had been totally ignored as far as Chapel was concerned. Of course, that 'fact' was no fact; the day hadn't been ignored at all; two chaplains and more than twenty laity had gathered for Mass, had honoured S David, and had prayed for the Principality.

My normally gentle and mild-mannered colleague was rendered wordless with fury. As he said to me when he had recovered the faculty of speech, "Whatever does the bl**dy man think we were doing in Chapel this morning before breakfast ... when he wasn't there?"

But I doubt if it had ever occured to 'Taffy', as the students used to call the poor old thing, that S David was not an anti-sacramental Welsh Methodist minister but a Catholic priest who offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Likewise, the current 'bishop' and 'dean' at S David's probably assume that S David was as female as they both are.

Happily, the proud flag ot the Redeemer's Five Wounds flies often over Newman Hall, the Catholic Chaplaincy at Cardiff University. Clergy and students there are a fantastic crowd!