30 June 2019

The worst evil of Uniatism?

I find it encouraging that PF has canonised a group of "uniate" martyrs in Romania. I am less enthusiatic about his concomitant statement that "Uniatism is not licit today". If Uniatism means the acceptance of groups into full communion, with their own rites ad spiritualities, then PF is setting himself against many previous popes and not least his immediate predecessor, who erected the Ordinariates. Is PF, in a characteristic confusion, saying that people may only enter into full communion as individuals, and without bringing any patrimony? "If you want unity, then all I
offer you is the Novus Ordo (with, of course, my own on-going corrections of the Lord's Prayer)". Is his message really so narrow-minded, so bitter, so divisive, so destructive, so illiterate? If so, it needs to be vigorously repudiated and corrected. Absolute nonsense, Holy Father!! Here's yet another thing you've got wrong!!

I think that the saddest part in the video of Pope Ratzinger's Inauguration ... I watch it for comfort viewing when feeling depressed ... is the proclamation of the Holy Gospel by the Greek Deacon. The camera swivels to where the Byzantine and Oriental delegations are standing. And some of them have actually turned away, even turned their backs.

It is well known that many Separated Byzantines have a particular dislike of "Uniates". That, of course, is why PF feels he has to keep kicking Uniatism. But I wonder what their view is of the "Western Rite Orthodox" which some Separated Byzantine jurisdictions either encourage or at least tolerate. Why is this phenomenon tolerable while "Uniatism" is the ultimate sin?

Moreover, in (I am open to correction) most of these WRO groups the venerable Roman Canon is corrupted by having a Byzantine-style epiclesis interpolated after the Institution Narrative. This is a  gross disruption which makes a disrupted nonsense of the Roman liturgical Tradition (older, of course, than the Byzantine). For the Roman Canon, Consecration means that we offer bread and wine to the Omnipotent Father so that he, by accepting them, makes them the Body and Blood of His Son in accordance with the Words uttered by the Incarbnate Word. In Byzantium, the Priest, bidden by the Deacon, invokes the Holy Ghost to descend upon the elements so that by His Transformation, they may be the Lord's Body and Blood.

Each tradition is entitled to its own integrity. If some aggressive latiniser were to remove the Epiclesis from the form of the Byzantine Rite used by "Uniates", this would be outrageous,

It is no less outrageously unecumenical that some Byzantines treat the Roman Rite with exactly the same sort of contempt.

For such Byzantines to attack Uniatism is hypocrisy in its most primevally authentic form.

Nor is this behaviour in accordance with the praxis of the Byzantine Churches over two millennia. Many criticisms were, during parts of this period, hurled in each direction across the Adriatic Sea; but, to my knowledge, the lack of an epiclesis in the Roman Canon has not often been one of the criticisms levelled by the Eastern side.

One of our Oxford eccentrics, an Orthodox layman called Raymond Winch, published in 1988 The Canonical Mass of the English Orthodox. This contained what Winch claimed English (not, he emphasised, British) Orthodox were entitled to call their authentic liturgical usage. It consisted of the Roman Rite as used in Anglo-Saxon England.

Winch knew better than to Byzantinise. He wrote in his Preface:
I appreciate that liturgy is inevitably subject to development, but we ought to do our best to ensure that this development is of the gentle organic sort. I emphasise that it would be most unwise to permit any changes in our rite until it is once again firmly established  and in general use among us. In particular the anaphora of the Roman Mass is of great antiquity and provides a vital witness to the abiding tradition of the universal Church. Apart from the proper names, it is essential that the text of the canon be retained without addition or omission. To make any changes in the canon in order to "improve" its theology would be more reprehensible than to alter texts of the fathers on the presumption of superior spiritual insight.

29 June 2019


Continued from yesterday.
There was a time when Satan took up bodily the King of Saints, and carried Him whither he would. Then was our most Holy Saviour and Lord clasped in the arms of ambition, avarice, and impurity; -- and in like manner His Church also after Him, though full of divine gifts, the Immaculate Spouse, the Oracle of Truth, the Voice of the Holy Ghost, infallible in matters of faith and morals, whether in the chair of her Supreme Pontiff, or in the unity of her Episcopate, nevertheless was at this time so environed, so implicated, with sin and lawlessness, as to appear in the eyes of the world to be what she was not. Never, as then, were her rulers, some in higher, some in lower degree, so near compromising what can never be compromised; never so near denying in private what they taught in public, and undoing by their lives what they professed with their mouths; never were they so mixed up with vanity, so tempted by pride, so haunted by concupiscence; never breathed they so tainted an atmosphere, or were kissed by such traitorous friends, or were subjected to such sights of shame, or were clad in such blood-stained garments, as in the centuries upon and in which St Philip [Neri] came into the world.

28 June 2019


[S Philip Neri's] times were such as the Church has never seen before nor since, and such as the world must last long for her to see again; nor peculiar only in themselves, but involving a singular and most severe trial of the faith and love of her children. It was a time of sifting and peril and of the fall and resurrection of many in Israel. Our gracious Lord, we well know, never will forsake her; He will sustain her in all dangers, and she will last while the world lasts; but, if ever there was a time when He seemed preparing to forsake her, it was not the time of persecution, when thousands upon thousands of her choicest were cut off, and her flock decimated; it was not in the middle age, when the ferocity of the soldier and subtlety of the sophist beleagurered her, -- but it was in that dreary time, at the close and in the the fulness of which St Philip entered upon his work. A great author, one of his own sons, Cardinal Baronius, has said of the dark age, that it was a time when our Lord seemed to be asleep in Peter's boat; but there is another passage of the Gospel still more wonderful than the record of that sleep, and one which had a still more marvellous accomplishment in the period of which I have to speak. 
To be continued, Dv, tomorrow.

27 June 2019

"Free Alcohol" in Wales

I do not despise people who happen not to know some particular language. There are enough languages I don't know to keep me fairly humble! Even if the language is Latin ... it's not your fault if you were not taught Latin in the general education system. Even if you are a cleric, it's not your fault if the mitred lawbreakers who supervised your seminary cheerfully took the view that "There's too much on the syllabus to find time for Latin! Forget Canon 249! Forget S John XXIII!! Forget Vatican II!!!"

But there are people whom I ... not so much despise as find arrogant and enormously stupid. They are the people who think that they can translate from X into English, or even from English into X, when they know not word of X, simply by looking in a dictionary or using a mechanical 'translator'.

Sadly, languages are not as simple as that!

In the Treasury of Westminster Cathedral, there is (or was; could somebody check?) a cope of Cardinal Manning's, accompanied by a "translation" into English of his motto.


This is Latin for "I prefer to die rather than to be disgraced". Foedari is the passive present infinitive of FOEDO, a verb meaning 'I disgrace'.

Apparently, some arrogant ignoramus looked in a dictionary (or a Google Translation machine?) and found a word Foedus, meaning 'an agreement'. So he rendered the motto "I would rather die than compromise"!!! (Believe me, there is no way Foedus could be inflected so that it offered a form Foedari.)

An Asda supermarket in Wales recently needed to put up a bilingual sign indicating that the supermarket was "Alcohol Free". So a fool with the "I've-got-a-dictionary" mentality put up "ALCOHOL AM DDIM". This actually means, in Welsh, "FREE ALCOHOL"! Or so I have been told. Because I don't know Welsh.

The fact that you don't know a language doesn't mean that you are entitled to treat it with disdainful contempt.

A language embodies the precious life and culture, over many centuries, of a human community. It is entitled to respect.

Whether it's Latin or Welsh, Mandarin or Hottentot, either respect it enough to learn it or keep your mucky hands off it!

26 June 2019

Sexual Abuse and celibacy.

The news got out, over the weekend, that Bishop Peter Ball, formerly Bishop of Lewes (a suffragan see of the diocese of Chichester) and then of Gloucester, has died. Apparently, his death occurred last Friday, 21 June.

I knew him fairly well; I remember him as one of the most sinister people I have ever had dealings with. Eventually he did time for his career of sadistic sexual abuse of young men (one of whom he drove to suicide). He was the protected darling of the British Establishment; Prince Charles, an Archbishop of Canterbury, Judges, Public School heads ... they were all taken in by his 'charismatic' manner and his skilfully crafted persona of ascetic sanctity.

I have, of course, said Mass for the repose of his soul. I pray that, before his death, he was able to attain the clarity and humility of contrition for the evil he did. Please God, may I, and every reader of these words, die penitent and absolved.

Only a little while ago, the Independent Inquiry into the Sexual Abuse of Children published its report into the Anglican diocese of Chichester; just last week, the RC Archdiocese of Birmingham had its turn. Neither 'case study' makes pleasant reading, but it seems to me that things were by far the worse in the diocese of Chichester and in the Church of England.

Sometimes, foolish people suggest that the Catholic Church would not have had its Paedophile Priest scandal, were it not for the law of clerical celibacy.

The Church of England has never, since 1559, had a law of clerical celibacy. This lack did not preserve the diocese of Chichester from the vileness of Bishop Ball and its other clerical paedophiles, some whom ... I know you are wondering this ... were married.

25 June 2019

Adding Water to the Chalice

Is it essential for a priest to add a drop of water to the Chalice at the Offertory?

Well, it all depends on what one means by 'essential'. It is not essential to validity. If a priest fails to do this, bread and wine are still transsubstantiated into the Lord's Body and Blood; the Holy Sacrifice is still validly offered. In general terms, it is very difficult for a priest to render a sacrament invalid.

Sometimes anxious Catholics wonder whether a Mass is invalid if the celebrant (for example) does not actually believe in the Mass. "How can he intend to offer Mass if he does not believe in the Mass?". It sounds like plain common sense, but in fact  it is contrary to the teaching of the Church. This is why an atheist or a Moslem can, in emergency, baptise a weak newly born baby, even though he/she does not believe in Christianity, still less, in Baptism. The basic intention to 'do the thing that Christians do', is sufficient. (And, of course, the use of water and the basic words.)

The Holy Office once had to decide on the validity of Baptisms performed by a nut-case priest who believed that by baptising a baby he was consigning it to the Devil!! The answer was that his Baptisms were valid. However misguided his views, as long as he was intending to do the thing called Baptism, it was valid. On another occasion, it came to light that Methodist missionaries in Oceania were actually saying in the course of the Baptism Service that it was merely a symbol and did not confer Regeneration. The Holy Office declared that even this public declaration of blasphemous heresy did not invalidate the baptisms.

The basic reason for this is that the Sacraments are the Sacraments of the Lord, and He is faithful to His promises.

The only way a priest could invalidate the Mass would be to use substances other than wheaten bread and wine of the grape; or to omit the crucial words of Consecration; or to form an intention deliberately not to consecrate ... out of hatred, perhaps, for the congregation or for the Lord ....

The apprehension among some Traddies that Novus Ordo Masses may often be invalid, because of a defect in the priest's 'Intention', is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. S Robert Bellarmine explained carefully that if a validly ordained priest became a Calvinist, and, believing that the Church of Geneva was Christ's True Church, intended to celebrate the Lord's Supper as the Calvinists had received it, his (dreadful and sacrilegious) service would still be a valid Mass.

Heresy, or even complete unbelief, on the part of a Minister does NOT invalidate his sacraments. Not ever.

I shall not enable comments which contradict this explanation. The matter needs to be understood. It is not up for discussion. It is what the Church teaches, and has taught for centuries, and has embedded in her praxis.

So omitting the drop of water in the Chalice would not invalidate a Mass. But it would be highly unbecoming and unpriestly. The ancients generally mixed water with wine; our Lord will undoubtedly have done this; and Bishops and Priests have faithfully continued to do this ever since. For nearly two millennia!! But it is not required for validity.

A priest who fails to do this is probably just being absent-minded. This is something that can happen to any of us! Especially as we plumb the ever-more-profound depths of senility!

It might be kind, very respectfully and deferentially, after giving him a whiskey or three, to tell such a priest that his omission is something that some members of his congregation find distracting.

23 June 2019

Liturgical law: The Ordinariate Rite

With the practical use of the Ordinariate Rite in mind, and entirely for my own guidance, I have jotted down some notes about rubrics ... how rigid they really are ...  drawn from the older (pre-Conciliar) Manualists. A 1940s O'Connell is my main source. I begin with Law, its obligations, in general; then move on to Liturgical Law; and end up with a frivolously bold speculation.

LAW. We are not in conscience obliged to obey a law the authority of which is uncertain. Lex dubia non obligat; non potest lex incerta certam obligationem inducere; nemo ad aliquam legem servandam tenetur, nisi illa ut certa ei manifestetur. How are we to know whether in a particular matter a law is certain? Of the systems proposed in the old manuals, Probabilism seems to many of us the most persuasive. If in doubt between two or more moral possibilities each of which can be characterised as Probable, we may follow even that possibility which is the less or least probable, provided that it is genuinely still probable.

LITURGICAL LAW. Rubrics are either substantial, because they prescribe the form or matter of a Sacrament; or accidental when they do not prescribe form or matter. They also fall into these categories: Preceptive and directive. [There are also facultative rubrics which explicitly permit a choice; I shall not trouble with them further.] Substantial rubrics are preceptive and bind in conscience. The question to interest us is whether accidental rubrics are all, necessarily, preceptive; or whether some among them are only directive. If some are merely directive, this means that they do not in themselves bind in conscience, but simply provide the approved way of carrying out a liturgical action.

Most moral theologians, and many of the old rubrical experts, hold, with varying degrees of emphasis, that at least some rubrics are only directive. They feel that the Church does not intend that small details should oblige sub gravi. They tend not to be very generous in suggesting actual examples: it is, perhaps, easy to guess why! Even among those who incline to believe that all rubrics are preceptive, there is sometimes an inclination to feel that some wiggle-room is necessary. A distinguished example of this is Benedict XIV writing as a private theologian; having reported his own agreement with the idea that they are preceptive, he adds that one can be immune from mortal sin when breaking a rubric "propter parvitatem materiae".

CONCLUSIONS. The question whether each and every rubric binds in conscience or not, is an open question. Since the question is open, one is in conscience free to choose and follow even a less probable judgement, provided always that one has a good reason and that it still does have a degree of probability.

CUSTOM. The old writers also devote some energy to the question of custom acquiring the force of Law even when the custom is contrary to the letter of the law (contra legem). They are able to show that the SRC operated itself upon this principle. I omit a detailed discussion of this point because the necessary time has not yet have elapsed since the promulgation of the Ordinariate Ordo Missae for this to be relevant, i.e. for immemorial and unreprobated custom to have become established.

But it would be amusing to propose an argument that approved immemorial customs which accompanied these liturgical formulae when they were used, by ourselves, in the century or so before we entered into Full Communion. Ecclesiologically, this would posit a continuity within our community before and after the act of reunion, a Hermeneutic of Continuity of our very own. Similar logic would enable us to continue to apply the provision in the Canon Law of Canterbury and York that "the minister who is to conduct the service may in his discretion make and use variations which are not of substantial importance": a principle which de facto has been observed anyway within the Catholic Church by most users of the Novus Ordo for nearly half a century.

22 June 2019

S Alban

So what is the correct day to celebrate the Protomartyr of this Island?

The Book of Common Prayer made a curious mistake. When its Calendar was revised in 1662, S Alban, previously omitted, was included, but on June 17. This is an error probably due (sic Procter and Frere) to a misreading of xxii as xvii. The error was corrected in 1928.

So the original and correct date for S Alban is June 22, today. Thus it remains in the Church of England, in Common Worship. And, happily, the Traditional Calendars for the RC dioceses of England continue to give the correct date. So this morning I said the Mass of S Alban.

So far, so good. Admirably ecumenical.

However, complications were ultimately to arise from the canonisation of S Thomas More and S John Fisher. More was martyred on July 6; but this was the Octave Day of SS Peter and Paul. So the combined commemoration of these two great Saints was settled onto July 9.

So far, still so good!

But the Novus Ordo Universal Calendar, crudely ignoring our Protomartyr, stuck SS John and Thomas onto June 22, the anniversary of the martyrdom of S John Fisher. 

And English Catholics were arrogantly forced to adhere to the Universal Calendar. So they had to find a different date for S Alban. Thus, in the Novus Ordo Calendar for England, S Alban got manhandled back to June 20. (Unhappily, the Ordinariate Calendar does the same.)

I know what conclusions I draw from all this ...

20 June 2019

C S Lewis and the errors of German Christianity

Because it is so topical to the debates going on at the moment in the Catholic Church, we have been considering the Truth that the Universal Catholic Church is ontologically prior (see earlier posts for that weirdo expression) to the local Church; and understanding how wrong the Kasperites are in putting the local Church first and concluding that it's OK for Northern European local Churches to abandon the received Tradition of the Universal Church on matters like Communion for Remarried Divorcees; and those in genital homosexual relationships.

C S 'Anglican Patrimony' Lewis's Devil Screwtape wrote like this about the Church:
"One of our [Devils'] great allies at the present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans."

Lewis here brilliantly reminds us of the synchronic as well as diachronic aspects of the Church; i.e. that it is not only spread throughout the world at this present time but throughout all of time. It is more than just what you see around you.

19 June 2019


Not long ago, we had a Swedish schoolgirl explaining to us, in very stylish English, about Climate Change.

Stylish ... but one word grabbed my attention. She said the dangers were "existential".

That word has been around quite a time now; at first, it frightened me. When a new term becomes all the rage, and one doesn't know what it means, one somehow ... at least I do ... feels excluded from a national discourse in which everybody else is apparently comfortable. I was young when Existentialism was a philosophical fad of a French gentleman called Sartre. His theories seemed not to take the doctrine of Original Sin very seriously. But I don't think that's relevant to this new use of the word 'existential'.

Suddenly the penny dropped as to what the term means. I think (e contextu) that it means "It really is real". "It really does exist". "If you don't take this seriously I shall spit on you from my loftier moral higher ground."

So now I no longer feel excluded. I've got it sussed. It is just another example of the modern dodge of choosing a fancy, upmarket-sounding, word to say something that was previously said rather more simply and prosaically, so that the speaker sounds either more like an Intellectual or more like a member of Society's elite. It's like 'locate'. The other morning I heard on the Home Service a pompous rambling old bore called John Humphries asking somebody whom he "had on the line" what his location was. Not "Where are you?" That would not have been consequential enough for the PROB. A year or two ago, I heard an announcement on a train to the effect that the safety information was "located adjacent to the door". Gosh, what an important person the announcer must have been. Only inferior individuals like that seedy old clergyman snuffling inexplicably in the corner of the carriage would say something as downmarket as "by the door". One has to maintain standards. Or do I mean status?

"Issue" is another case which, I think, illustrates several things. We used to have 'problems'. But if I admit that I have a problem, that puts me in the moral low ground. Aggessive people say things like "I'm a practising werewolf. Do you have a problem with that?" To which the only permitted reply is "Er ... um ... no; of course not".

So, instead, we have 'issues'. 'Issues' enable me to be lofty and disdainful, without admitting that something really has got to me .

18 June 2019

Dr Eric Mascall and the errors of Walter Kasper

One of our greatest Anglican Catholic theologians was the late Fr Mascall. When I was an undergraduate, he said his private (Tridentine) Mass daily at the Altar next to the Altar in S Mary Mags where I was hearing the public (Tridentine) Mass. He was as kind a man as he was a fine Thomist and a scholar of immense erudition. I cite below some passages in which he repeatedly emphasises that we err if we use the phrase "the Church" to mean "Christians now on earth". It really incorporates all those who have ever been incorporated by Baptism into Christ's Body and have not been lost. We must conclude from this that questions such as those about Marriage and sexuality are therefore not matters for individual local Churches to make decisions upon, nor even just for the whole state of Christ's Church now militant here in earth. 'Tradition' is the expression of this understanding. A shame Kasper and his like have never read Mascall. They would have understood, poor things, how obvious it is that the Church Universal, the Body of Christ throughout Space and Time, is ontologically [in the order of Being] prior to individual Particular Churches.

The Church is not merely "a society formed by the voluntary association of those individual Christians who are now on earth"; it is "rooted in the concrete historical events of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ ... we who are now on earth are only the last of sixty or so generations of Christians who have each in its turn made up the earthly Church ... There is a fine phrase in which tradition has been described as 'the democracy of the dead' ... But, since Christ has overcome death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life, the Church which was once militant here upon earth in the past is the Church which is now triumphant and expectant beyond the grave. This is therefore not just the democracy of the dead but of the living, as God himself is not of the dead but of the living. "
" ... the Church  ... is not just the empirically manifested Church now militant on earth, but the archetypal Church which is nothing less than Christ's own manhood into which generations of Christians have been incorporated ..."
" ... at any particular epoch the Church militant is only a minute fraction of the Church Catholic... in the great living and growing organism which is the Body of Christ, we who are now on earth are not the successors of those who are now at rest and sleep in the sleep of peace or of the saints who now enjoy the beatific vision; we are their contemporaries, united with them by incorporation into the ascended Lord who is the Body's Head ..."
"If we identify the Church of God simply with the Church Militant, we shall look upon it as a society with membership that is constantly changing as new members enter it by baptism and old ones leave it by death, after the pattern of any other earthly society. If, however, we remember that the Church militant is only the lower fringe of the whole Church, we shall see the Church as an organism, a body which is constantly growing, which is being built up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ".

VIVAT the Anglican Patrimony!

17 June 2019

The Antidote to Pride

No; this is not a tirade against 'Pride' parades ....

At the Daughter University, there is a Classics don called Mary Beard. I dislike her. Apart from the fact that she is not My Sort of Woman, one reason for this is that, when lecturing, she likes to sound demotic. Not for her the elegantly crafted sentence. She wants to sound Immediate and Spontaneous. So her diction is larded with fillers, not least "y'know".

And now she has had the temerity to attack PF! Loyal Catholics will be horrified. Why should anybody, even a Cambridge don, do such a wicked thing? Answer: she is very angry because he is trying to change the ending of the Oratio Dominica. He is attempting to eliminate the suggestion that the Father might if undissuaded "lead us into temptation". And he is encouraging the more spineless and illiterate Episcopal Conferences to adopt a "superior translation". The Italians, disgraceful apostates from Renaissance Scholarship, have bent the knee to Ba'al.

The Beard points out that the PF-preferred version is not in fact a 'translation'. And this isn't just a question of traduttore traditore. She explains the Greek line word by word, very much as one might explain it to a bright little boy in the top class of his prep school, who is doing a year of Greek in an attempt to make him a more attractive scholarship candidate at the Public School of his choice.

What makes this particularly irritating is that she is dead right. The PF-sponsored 'correction' has nothing whatsoever to do with the original Greek. It has everything to do with the unbelievable over-confidence of a pope who is convinced that his own silly little whimsies take authoritative precedence over the express words of the Incarnate Word himself, and the abiding liturgical tradition of the Church, in all her rites, over nearly two millennia. There can be no doubt that Fr Rosica was giving his Master's authentic views when he described PF as being free from the burdensome chains of Scripture and Tradition.

Of course, PF has every right to be pleased with his own crack-pot twaddle. He is an old man; I m a decade younger and I already claim this same privilege for myself. Readers of my blog will have noticed this.

But does he have the right to make the rest of us into a laughing stock in the eyes of literate people everywhere?

Perhaps he does. Perhaps this humiliation is bestowed upon us by a wise Providence to give us an opportunity to fight our besetting sin of Pride?

16 June 2019

Sundays after Trinity

In a decree (1759), Clement XIII ordered the Trinity Preface to used on Green Sundays. This supports a strong case for the naming of these Sundays per annum in the old English (and North European) way as Sundays after Trinity.

I draw attention to several points.

The use of the Trinity Preface, or some form of it, is found in the little collection of Masses put together by Alcuin for clergy who could not possess a full Missal; and it is found in the earliesr (preGregorian) version of the Roman Rite, that in the Stowe Missal

The modern emphasis on Sunday as a weekly minipascha is not so much untrue as too narrow. As Clement XIII's document points out, Sunday is also the day of the Creation of Light; indeed, of the beginning of Creation. And also of the Resurrection; and also of the Pentecostal gift of the Spirit. And thus of all three persons of the Holy Trinity.

The same Magisterial document refers to the traditional use on these Sundays of the Quicunque vult. I believe, and have written before on this blog, that the disuse of this Canticle (since the corruption of the Roman Rite really got under way under Pius XII) is one reason why even some clergy don't really seem to have any sense of the Trinity, as defined by Mother Church, any longer - they are, it sometimes appears from their homilies, modalists.

It also reminds us of the antiphon which usually came towards the end of Sunday Mattins: "Two Seraphim cried one to the other *Holy Holy Holy Lord God of Hosts, *All the earth is full of his glory. V Three there are who bear witness in heaven, Father, Word, and Holy Spirit: And these three are one. Holy ... Glory be ... All ...". This lovely text, of course, draws upon the verse in the Vulgate and the Authorised Version (Patrimony Patrimony) in I John; commonly omitted in modern Bibles including the Neovulgate because of its extremely weak attestation in Greek mss..

We need to become very much more robust in embracing the Scriptures as the Church has handed them down to us rather than making an idol of the methodology (with its underlying conceptual assumptions) of Westcott and Hort. (Even in WH terms, I think one could make a case for this verse having been omitted so widely because of parablepsis due to homoeoteleuton.)

We need a reacceptance of a more holistic sense of Tradition ... and a recommitment to the noble crusade of rolling back the 'Enlightenment'.

And finally: Clement XIII, in the actual words of the Decree itself, refers to the use of the Trinity preface on Green Sundays and says "inde a [not 'in'] vetustissimis temporibus in usu fuisse dignoscitur". 

In other words, the Holy Father does not say: I've had a perfectly spiffing idea; let's do so-and-so. He bases what he decrees on Ancient Tradition and Precedent. That is very significant. It is the immemorial Roman instinct for preservation and continuity. We need more of it. Especially in Rome. Not least in the Casa Santa Marta. I wonder if the Quicumque vult has ever been chanted in the chapel there.

15 June 2019


A Fr James Martin, an Ultrapontine as I believe, has made a comment on the recent Vatican document about gender.

He welcomes the Vatican's expressed willingness to 'dialogue'. But the whole bent of his piece is that, before the dialogue, it should be accepted that traditional teaching is wrong. So an appearance of tolerance is paraded, but his call is the same old 'liberal' call for submission. We in the Ordinariates know all about these dodges because, while we still in the House of Bondage, this was the method employed by those advocating the ordination of women to sacerdotal ministries. 'Hear our experience' was the call. 'Meet us and dialogue'. (Their actual unwillingness to dialogue became clear: with much labour, a committee, chaired by Bishop Ali and containing adherents of every tendency, put together a lucid exposition of the different arguments. Archbishop Williams made it clear that he expected this 'Rochester Report' to be the basis of deep theologial discussion within the Church Of England. But the feminazis made it brutally clear that time for discussion was now over: their demands needed to be granted instantissime.)

But I want to concentrate this morning on another aspect of Father's comments.

He refers to "the now commonly held understanding that sexuality is not chosen by a person but is rather part of the way they are created".

I don't think it is unfair to suggest that in some minds there is attached to this an implication that, because a sexuality is not chosen but is part of how one is created, it is in some way validated.

I now offer a question which I have offered on a number of occasions before.

Does this apply to paedophiles? And if not, why not?

I am aware that this is a dangerous question to ask, because there are people out there whose grasp on logic is so frail and their passions so intense that they start shouting
(1) "So you're saying that all homosexuals are paedophiles"; or
(2) "So you're saying that homosexuals are as bad as paedophiles". Of course, my question implies neither of these propositions. (In fact, I personally repudiate them both.) It simply enquires whether paedophilia might be "not chosen by a person but [be] rather part of the way they are created", and, if so, what conclusions ought to be drawn from this dogmatic proposition.

And I go on to wonder why it is that in a society where Fr Martin's assertion is "the now commonly held understanding", paedophilia is still surrounded by popular hysteria.

If Fr Martin were to concede that there are sexualities which are indeed not chosen but are indeed part of the way a particular human is created, but which, for whatever reasons, still have to be classified as immoral or even illegal, we could start dialoguing about the criteria to be employed in distinguishing between acceptable and unacceptable sexualities ... without getting cross with each other.

14 June 2019

Bergoglian proselytisers attack the Oriental Churches, the Ordinariates, and the Dominicans

The management which was set in place within the formerly 'Sovereign' Military Order of Malta by Bergoglianist circles gave us, a few days ago, an example of something we all happily thought was dead.

I refer to the old 'latinising' arrogance which used to characterise the attitude of the more ignorant Latin Catholics towards those 'inferior' Catholics who have their own sui iuris liturgical traditions.

I believed the document on the internet to be Fake News, largely because of its improbability but also because of its remarkable illiteracy. So I did not furiously rush to my keyboard. It now transpires that this preposterous document is actually genuine. I am outraged.

For centuries, Roman Pontiffs admirably reprimanded narrow-minded latinising proselytisers who went East and tried to persuade Eastern Rite Catholics to abandon their own ancient traditions. Many of us assumed that Vatican II had finally seen off such tawdry and illegal aggression; and when S John Paul talked about the Catholic Church having two lungs, I for one assumed that this mindless bigotry was dead for good ... dead and buried deep.

It is apparently S John Paul who, at the heart of Bergoglian Rome, is now buried very deep. Hardly a day passes without further heavy loads of Bergoglian rubble being dumped upon his memory and his teaching.

In my foolish innocence, I had not adequately reckoned with the very cruel and monocultural tyranny which currently mars the Eternal City, and the extent of its brutal and disdainful contempt for the protections given and confirmed by previous popes to lawful diversity within the Catholic Church..

The de facto present authority in the SMOM has, albeit implicitly, banned the use within the Order of Oriental Catholic Rites. 

He has also banned, again implicitly but equally categorically, the Anglican Use. I profoundly resent this attack on my own ecclesial body and its august and beautiful liturgical tradition. This gives me the right to express an opinion about a matter which might otherwise be deemed 'not my business'.

This deplorable individual, whether off his own bat or on orders from on high, has, in fact, gone further even than the ignorant latinising bully-boys of the nineteenth century. He is even narrower than they were. He not only requires the use only of the Roman Rite, but (very explicitly) he allows only one of the two lawful forms of the Roman Rite itself ... the so-called 'Ordinary Form'. He explicitly forbids the 'Extraordinary Form', and, by implication (although he does not explicitly name them) all other forms of Catholic worship. The Dominican Rite would thus also come under his intemperate condemnation.

In fact, his degree of ignorance is such that he refers to the 'ordinary rite of the Church', meaning by those words the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, without any apparent awareness that Holy Mother Church has many rites, all of equal dignity. This is totally within the spirit of the old pre-Vatican II latinisers who ignored and despised the lawful existence of the Oriental and other rites.

Previous popes considered it a point of honour to defend these rites.

PF has previously taken a close interest in the SMOM. Can he really be ignorant of these present goings on?

Or perhaps he has already 'forgotten' about them?

12 June 2019


The document to which I referred (and which I owe to the researches of a dear friend who is also a dear friend of the beloved Ukrainian Greek Catholic tradition) is dated Rome 17.2.1908 and is headed 'Exemplar'. Below, it begins:
               BEATISSIME PATER!
In it, Metropolitan Andrew, including in his titles 'totius Russiae Administrator', asks for a "facultas etiam confessariis communicabilis dispensandi fideles saeculares a lege, qua vetita est communicatio in sacris cum orthodoxis, quoties opportunum esse in conscientia judicabunt" (i.e. a faculty, communicable also to confessors, of dispensing secular faithful from the law by which communicatio in sacris with orthodox is prohibited, as often as they shall judge it to be opportune in conscience).

This has thought-provoking features, not least of which is the term 'orthodoxi' to describe 'dissident Byzantines'. What follows is even more interesting. Printed at the bottom, in italic, is:
Documentum originale a me scriptum Sanctissimus Dominus Noster Pius Papa X, propria manu dignatus est signare verbis "Tollerari posse".

I presume that 'me' means the Metropolitan himself. To get ones bearings, it is revealing to compare this first document with a very similarly made out Faculty, for celebrating the Eucharist in times of necessity without portable altar or vestments or server, and in glass vessels. But this second document concludes thus:
Ex Audientia SSmi habita die 22, Februarii 1908. SSmus Dominus Noster Pius, Divina Providentia PP X., benigne adnuere dignatus est pro gratia iuxta preces. Contrariis quibuscumque non obstantibus. 
It is signed and sealed by Metropolitan Andrew and dated Datum Romae ex aedibus ad S. Sergium et Bacchum die et anno praedictis. 

But the first document, the one which we are now considering, concludes with none of these formalities.

I am not a canonist; and even if I were, I suspect that the date in 1908, before the completion of  Pietro Gasparri's codification of Canon Law, would throw up complexities even further beyond my competence. But to my untrained eye, it rather looks as though the Metropolitan presented to S Pius X, in his own handwriting, this request for such a faculty; and that the Sovereign Pontiff was unwilling to concede the gratia juridically. But, with his enormously pastoral heart, he was equally unwilling to send Metropolitan Andrew away empty handed, or to hinder his great mission; and so, with the authority of his own propria manus he intimated that the practice could be tolerated. I speculate that Metropolitan Andrew had these papers printed for circulation to members of his clergy.

Our conclusion? That S Pius X did not consider the very possibility of such communicatio in sacris with Russian Orthodox to be intolerable.

I venture a further conclusion: there are some who greatly admire the witness of S Pius X against Modernism. They are right to do so. But if they also condemn all the provisions of the post-1958 Magisterium with regard to ecumenical relationships, they do not, on the evidence, appear to have S Pius X wholeheartedly on their side.

'Tradition' is a broader concept than 'How I'm almost sure things must surely have been in grandma's time'.

Benedict XIV and S Pius X, great pontiffs, are significant witnesses to Tradition.

11 June 2019


I share the view that we should look at a broader background than Unitatis Redintegratio of Vatican II, considered in isolation, if we desire a Catholic and 'Traditional' account of "Ecumenism". The following roughs out some lines of thought which I have been considering, based upon evidence. (I am not really interested in opinions which are evidentially unbased.) Please regard it as inchoate; please understand that it is intended less to assert than to ask. But please do not answer if all you have to offer are your own strong views about what the situation ought to be.

The Roman See has not always treated Oriental groups seeking Full Communion as if they were merely groups of individual schismatics some of whom happened to possess technically 'valid' Orders. The Oriental bishops at Florence were, surely, treated as having real status as Patriarchs and Bishops. As late as Vatican I, dissident Oriental bishops were sent invitations to the Council*. When the Melkite Patriarchate of Antioch regularised its position with Rome in the early 18th century, I know no evidence that its hierarchy was granted jurisdiction. Benedict XIV (Demandatam caelitus) assured Cyril VI and his bishops: "We have no other intention ... but that the due obedience of your people and your authority and jurisdiction over them shall be kept whole and entire ... We wish all the rights, privileges, and free jurisdiction of Your Fraternities to remain intact". Indeed, there is evidence that, in the period before the definitive restoration  of Full Communion, Jesuits working within the Patriarchate of Antioch had treated all Melkite bishops as the local Ordinaries.

Perhaps surprisingly, even the 1917 Code of Canon Law ... yes, I did say 1917 ... permitted the faithful to seek the Sacraments from an excommunicate minister "ex qualibet iusta causa" (i.e. not necessarily even "ex gravi causa"; vide 2261 para 2). In the first part of the twentieth century, Latin theologians advanced differing interpretations of the de facto acceptance by Rome of jurisdiction (for example, to absolve) within Orthodox communities (at the end of Lumen Gentium, among the Notificationes appended by the Docrinal Commission, we find an admission that "variae exstant sententiae" among theologians "quod attinet ad potestatem quae de facto apud Orientales seiunctos exercetur".) It would be difficult to sustain a claim that, according to Catholic Tradition, ecclesiastical jurisdiction only authentically exists in full canonical unity with the See of Rome.

With regard to the Churches of Kiev and Moskow, the fabulously erudite Benedictine Orientalist Jean-Baptiste-Francois Pitra, Cardinal Bishop of Frascati and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church, took the view that the separation between Rome and Moskow was neither juridical nor formal; a view shared not only by the maverick Russian Orthodox lay theologian Vladimir Soloviev but also, significantly, by the great Ukrainian Greek Catholic Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky. Metropolitan Andrew was what the early Latin Christians called a Confessor: one who witnessed to Christ with the offer of his life but was never called to shed his blood. During the course of his heroic life, in which he saw the insides of many prisons, he was an indefatigable worker, not only for his own flock, but also for the unity of all Christians of the Byzantine Rite with the See of S Peter. He dealt with Russian Orthodox in ways that accorded ill with the views of some tidy-minded Latins. There survives a printed document copies of which he presumably handed out to Ukrainian Confessors ...

I shall deal with it, Deo volente, in a day or two's time.
*Bishop C Butler wrote "It is possible to argue, and has been argued from the Roman Catholic side, that 'schism' was never formally consummated between these two great communions".

Benedict XIV reminded us, in general terms, that we cannot definitively deny the propriety of any sacramental sharing, because the Catholic Church grants dispensations for mixed marriages ... in which, according to Western theology, the two ministers of the Sacrament belong to different communions.

10 June 2019

Are the Institution Narratives of the Roman Rite legalistic? (3)

To the explanations of the great but unregarded Christine Mohrmann, I will add the careful elucidations of another brilliant but  unregarded liturgist of the mid-century, Craddock Ratcliff, an Anglican.

Ratcliff demonstrates the great antiquity of  the Roman Institution Narratives by remarking that they antedate the Vulgate. " ... it is not unreasonable to infer that the Institution Narrative of the Roman Canon belongs to a liturgical tradition for which the careful preservation of the scriptural form and character of the narrative was held to be vital ... for the sacrificium novum to be right, valid, acceptable and effectual, it must be celebrated, as was the sacrificium vetus, in the correct manner prescribed by the Lord ... Any deviation from the procedure here enjoined vitiates the rite, so that there can be no assurance that the sacrifice of the Passion is offered." Ratcliff quotes S Cyprian: "[non] sacrificium dominicum legitima sanctificatione celebrari, nisi oblatio et sacrificium nostrum responderit passioni ... quia ... passio est ... domini sacrificium quod offerimus, nihil aliud quam quod ille fecit facere debemus". Hence the function of the Narrative in the Canon is not merely to revive the memory of a significant historical event, or to provide a rationale for the celebration of the Eucharist, as the Greek Narratives do; its function is rather to make the significant historic event continuously present and operative. By means of the Narrative, theefore, the Church's actio in the Eucharist is identifierd with, and becomes, the actio of Christ at the Institution".

9 June 2019

Are the Institution Narratives of the Roman Rite legalistic? (2)

The mindset which led to the distinctive composition of the Institution Narratives in the Roman Rite could easily be dismissed as one preoccupied by overloaded rhetoric or flowery diction. Indeed, such glib judgements were common in the 1960s. This is a profound mistake ... a misunderstanding combining fragments of 'Enlightenment' superstitions with 'Romantic' follies in which subjective feelings, especially if they are warm and fuzzy and "sincere" and seem "authentic to me", are prioritised above formality and precision and legality.

The key to a balanced understanding here is the assumption integral to the Pentateuch, that the Sacrifices of Israel needed to be done exactly as the inspired texts directed. And that itself goes back to the very meaning of Covenant. This, quite simply, links the Faithfulness of our Covenant God (what we Latins call his pietas) with our obedience to His Law (what we Latins call our pietas).

As Christine Mohrmann established, the legalistic character of Liturgical Latin goes back way beyond the Fourth century Latin which we find in the early Roman Sacramentaries. She discussed "rhe almost juridical precision" of the Canon in terms of the surviving fragments of preChristian, preclassical Roman prayer texts used in agriculture as much as in warfare. She was not afraid to talk about "this monumental verbosity coupled with juridical precision, which is so well suited to the gravitas Romana but which also betrays a certain scrupulosity with regard to higher powers". " A sacral style has been created which links up with the old Roman prayer of the official Roman cult ..."

Incidentally, it is tragic that Mohrmann's researches fell upon ears determined to be deaf: the fashionable assumptions among the liturgical intelligentsia were, by the 1960s, wedged securely onto tramlines leading in exactly the opposite direction to hers. The hands which firmly controlled the levers of power would undoubtedly have exclaimed of her, as they so notoriously did of Joseph Ratzinger: "Ah, but (s)he's not a liturgist."

To be concluded.

7 June 2019


"I cannot abide [Exeter College Chapel], not simply as being new, but as being out of character  with Oxford."

6 June 2019

More on the Swedish Schoolgirl

I believe she is the inventrix of the Friday Climate Change Strike, which means that Woke adolescents go on 'strike' from school on Fridays and protest in city centres.

Admirable though this is, I can suggest a nuancing tweak which would make it even better.

The Government should fund a lengthening of the School Week to include Saturdays. Saturday teaching would be exclusively devoted to a detailed study of the 'Climate' problem ... I mean, issue. It would be studied in terms of weather patterns, economic structures, demographics ... you name it. The course would be subject to intensive examination. So as to avoid accusations of 'brainwashing', different teachers would take different positions on these subjects, and, in the Examinations, the willing young people would be expected to discuss with discrimination contrasting attitudes. The good old discipline of the Three Hour Essay Paper could thus be restored, to the advantage of all. Prose Composition in Latin, Greek, French .... could also enjoy a miraculous revival. "Cicero attacks Verres for polluting the beaches of Sicily". "Demosthenes excoriates the ecological policies of the Macedonian government". "Bossuet preaches to the Court about the Ozone Layer". But why only Prose Compo? The young could imitate the ferocious hexametres of Juvenal, the nasty snarling Epodes of Archilochus and Horace with all their dirty malevolence, Semonides' intemperate  tirade against women. After being let out of school, they could be allowed a relaxing half hour smashing shop windows to chants of "Indignatio facit like versum".

A spin-off advantage would be that the town centres would do practically no trade on Saturdays. This would be noticed ... and, of course, one of the main purposes of 'Industrial Action' is to be noticed. In particular, the stores where little girls endlessly purchase new garments made in foreign factories with dubious conditions of work, would be brought to their knees. That in turn would etc. etc..

This sort of stuff more or less writes itself, doesn't it? I could go rabbiting on for ever.

P.S.: We don't seem to hear nearly as much about the Ozone Layer as once we did. However would Bossuet explain that to the Most Christian Monarch?

5 June 2019

The Holy Spirit

I was very glad to read the recent text delivered by PF in which he encouraged the disregarding of ancient traditions, as the Holy Spirit leads us on. I will not criticise his words, because, as you would expect, Father Zed has already done one of his own very thorough demolition jobs.

I welcomed PF's words because they provided yet more material for my thesis that this sort of talk, and these sorts of claims, are at the very heart of the Error of Begoglianism; already condemned as it is in the decrees about the Roman Pontificate in the documents of the First Vatican Council. And I am afraid that I might be betrayed into letting my weakness for satirical rhetoric so run away with me that I might make a joke which counted as Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit. Absit.

But I would like to remind readers of one little matter, in which I am at one with the expressed views of Cardinal Kasper.

It is customary for curial officials, including Nuncios, to be made Archbishops ... archbishops of non-existent churches. For them to be made bishops would be bad enough.

In Anglicanism, Archbishops are rather rare and very elevated phenomena. I know that in the Catholic Church, Archbishops are two-a-penny; but this is still an ecclesiological corruption.

A Bishop is the nodal centre of a particular Church, made up of his presbyterium, his diaconia, and his laos.

To use sacramental consecration as a means of giving status to pen-pushers is ... I would go so far as to characterise it as a corruption. It is certainly a very extreme sort of clericalism.

I wonder why PF doesn't pay any attention to Kasper's views on this.

4 June 2019

Cardinal Burke on Ristgate

"We seem in the Church to have fallen into a kind of totalitarian mentality."

This is hardly surprising, considering the papolatrous uebersuperhyperultrapapalism of the ideological cronies who support the Bergoglianist errors.

Indeed, we do so 'seem'! Possibly, we not only 'seem', but we actually have so 'fallen'!!

Totalitarianism has often (do I mean always?) in so many cultures been accompanied by the unhealthy, unmanly adulation of the Dear Leader.

However, totalitarianism eventually cracks. Readers will remember those jolly videoclips of the late Ceaucescu suddenly realising that the crowd spread out beneath his balcony are shouting against him rather than, as they had previously been drilled to do, in mindless adoration.

This one will crack, too. Her Immaculate Heart will prevail. Her calx immaculata will squidge cunctas haereses in universo mundo. She is gloriously ruthless.

One detail intrigues me. After the fall of totalitarianisms, the custom is that all of a sudden everybody turns out to have been a secret member of the Resistance! In 1945, this proved, miraculously, to be true of every single Frenchman/woman.

Will even dear little Cupich turn out in the next pontificate to have been (behind the scenes, of course) a relentless and indefatigable opponent of Bergoglianism?

3 June 2019

The limitations of Anglican Scholarship (2)

In the characteristically Anglican series of books called the Alcuin Club Collections, an Anglican Scholar (American, I assume, because his degree is given as "Th.D") called Lionel L. Mitchell once wrote a volume called "Baptismal Anointing". In it he treats of the Baptismal rites in the Irish Stowe Missal, and comments that in "the Celtic Church ... olive oil of any form must have been exceedingly scarce" [I leave unexamined for now the deservedly long-discredited notion of a "Celtic Church"].

Splendid. What a good example of Anglican Common Sense. Anglicans set much store upon Common Sense. It's obvious, isn't it? No olive plantations in Ireland. The stuff must have been, for all intents and purposes, unobtainable. A sound basis for further scholarly conjecture.

But ... how about the use of wine in the Eucharist?

Where did those "Celtic" monks get that?

From the lush sub-Alpine vineyards of the County Tipperary, perhaps?

"Common Sense" can so easily forget that merchandise used once to travel so much more conveniently by sea than in lorries disgorged at ferry terminals.

2 June 2019

The limitations of Anglican Scholarship (1)

I mean no disrespect to the great Belgian and Benedictine liturgists of the twentieth century ... nor, of course, to our own dear Gregory Dix. But, surely, the greatest liturgist of the modern period is Edmund Bishop, the English Catholic layman whose instincts were as sound as his profound knowledge. And ... trigger warning of National Arrogance about to appear ... he had that gentle, elegant, allusive sense of humour which we think of as distinctively English, because we are English and we've all got it.

Once upon a time, there was an English clergyman of antiquarian instincts called Dean Stanley. Of Stanley, Bishop wrote that

"Many years ago ... he wrote a short series of articles for Good Words, mainly designed for the use of our northern neighbours, on Rome, modern Rome, as a living witness to the simplicity of early Christianity. They were written with his usual persuasive ingenuity and charm; it all read so easily. There was the Pope, for instance, in his simple white habit: the dean had much that was effective to say on this. 

"But it was a disconcerting thought if one happened  to remember that the first time a colour is mentioned as specifically the Pope's own for his dress, it was red; and red it continued for centuries."

Did I say "gentle, elegant, allusive"? Perhaps I should have added "feline".