28 May 2019

Calendars, calendars ...

You might have thought that today (old rite) was the festival of S Augustine of Canterbury ... and so it is throughout the whole round world except in England ...

... where he occurred on the 26th. But that was a Sunday; so this year, all he got was a commemoratio in the Sunday (low) Mass. Another complication, of course, is that the mighty S Philip Neri has a claim to the same day; there is a real problem here in view of the fact that, to the enormous benefit of the English Church, Oratories of the sons of S Philip are sprouting like mushrooms all over the country. Deo gratias for this difficulty!

Clergy whose liturgical instincts stretch daringly back into the period before the Novus Ordo have a problem when it comes to 'local' feasts; not so much as regards the Mass, since one can find hand-missals with the propers of the dioceses of England and Wales as they were before the ... er ... but where is one to find proper lections for Breviary Mattins??

In the old Calendars for Westminster, Birmingham, Brentwood, Clifton, and Portsmouth, today is the festival of Blessed Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. She was executed by 'Act of Attainder' under Henry VIII; her main offence was that she had rather more royal blood in her veins than Henry himself did, although her case was made more perilous by the fact that her exiled son, Reginald Pole, later Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury, had written a treatise on the Unity of the Church. Henry regarded this as, er, off-message. (Bodley has a ms biography by John Grandisson of S Thomas Becket, with the signature Reginald Pole, in a beautiful renaissance hand, at the front ... I digress ...  ). In an age in which it was customary for the aristocracy to accept decapitation with a ritual courtesy, the gallant old lady declared roundly that she was guilty of nothing, and made quite a fight of it.

So where on earth to find proper readings for Blessed Margaret?

Then I remembered!

In April, I was fortunate enough to receive a most agreeable and acceptable gift, from Fr Alexander Redman, of Our Lady of Lourdes in Weston sopra mare. Over the years, he had reconstructed, from various sources, the old Supplementum Cliftoniense. And he had published it in a most elegant form. So I was provided with the lawful text for Blessed Margaret! Together, of course, with much other material relevant to dioceses in addition to that of Clifton.

Thank God that erudition, scholarly instincts, and perseverance are still alive and well in the Clerus Anglicus. Every English diocese needs a Redman! How fortunate the Bishop of Clifton is to have such a jewel in his mitre! I anticipate that Father will soon be rewarded with a canonry or a prebend.

And thank you, Father, again!


Ben of the Bayou said...


Speaking of Propers, is there any of your bright and resourceful readership who knows where I might find a proper Mass of Our Lady, Star of the Sea? I know from the setting composed by Desprez and de Victoria that the Mass must be out there, but I have long searched to no avail. Anyone?

Anita Moore said...

If I can venture on a stream-of-consciousness comment: this puts me in mind of another saint, closely associated with St. Augustine of Canterbury, namely, King St. Æthelberht, whose feast was May 20th. I am attracted to St. Æthelberht because of the story of his meeting with St. Augustine under a spreading oak tree, and because, even as a worshipper of the gruesome Germanic gods, he accommodated his wife’s Christian faith, and seems to have possessed a lot of the natural goodness and decency that no doubt prepared him for the life of grace. Also, as a lawyer, I appreciate that he gave to the English people their first written code of laws.

And when I think of St. Æthelberht, I also think of another king, for whom Æthelberht must have interceded, namely, St. Vladimir of Kiev. I think of the contrast between Æthelberht and Vladimir before Baptism: Vladimir was also a thorough-going pagan, but lustful, bloodthirsty, bellicose and fratricidal — until his Baptism. He is a striking example of the power of Baptism, and a decisive answer to those who think it is a mere symbol.

E sapelion said...

There is a modern votive mass for the BVM Star of the Sea, which you can find here:- http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/pastoral-care-of-migrants-refugees-and-travelers/apostleship-of-the-sea/upload/Text-for-Mass-Liturgy-of-the-Hours-THE-BLESSED-VIRGIN-MARY-STAR-OF-THE-SEA.pdf . This has been authorised in England&Wales for the military, and for the Apostleship of the Sea, but apparently not for parishes like ours which have this title. It is approved in the USA for general use! Such are the trials of dealing with bureaucracies.

Christine said...

Thank you for this, Fr. Hunwicke. Margaret Pole is 3x my ancestor - 2x from Henry Pole and once from her daughter. In between Margaret Pole and me there were Puritans and other kinds of Protestants. We're Catholic again for the last 3 generations because one of her decendants married an Irish Catholic. I'm so glad you reminded me today is her feast day.

Rubricarius said...

In the old rite St. Augustine would have been celebrated - in England - on Sunday with a commemoration of the Sunday as 'The Muniment Room's latest post clearly shews. The feast had an Octave too so wonderful to have two Octaves simultaneously from tomorrow.

The forms of the newer rite just don't come up to the calibre of the vetus ordo!