25 September 2019

Today is the Year's Mind of Prebendary Michael Moreton

So how did I come to know Michael Moreton? When I retired from teaching, I succumbed to the entreaties of 'JR', Bishop John Richards, to accept a part-time post ('House for Duty') in the Anglican Diocese of Exeter, in the same village to which he had himself retired. John had been an Archdeacon in that same diocese, before being consecrated first Bishop of Ebbsfleet with a remit to look after 'Traditionalist' parishes; that is, parishes which "were as yet unable to accept the ministry" of "women priests". With characteristic missionary energy, JR soon put together a collection of nearly a hundred parishes.

Having moved into the Rectory a hundred yards from JR's retirement home, I found myself soon being taken along to a learned clerical group called the Society of S Boniface. After lunch, we listened to one of our number reading a paper, and then discussed it. But the leading light was Prebendary [in the diocese of Exeter, honorary canons were known as Prebendaries] Michael Moreton. He, before lunch, led us in study of a passage in the Greek New Testament.

This came at a time when I myself had completely lost my faith ... my faith, that is, in the whole ridiculous creaky irrational superstitious pseudo-subect calling itself Modern New Testament Studies. But Michael still accepted many of its quaint old dogmas, such as Q, and regaled us with the opinions of 'scholars' to whom, I am sorry to confess, I sometimes referred with dismissive irreverence as "Dead Germans".

But in Liturgy, Father Michael was as sound as it is possible to be. He regarded the Canon of the Mass, the 'Roman Canon', as part of the Apostolic inheritance committed to which the Church had emerged from the Apostolic period: an inheritance including, of course the Scriptures and their Canon; the Creeds; the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. Michael refused to use any other 'Eucharistic Prayer'.

He was dead right about this. His strong conviction, which I imbibed from him, is a truth which the whole Latin Church sorely needs today. Happily, the the liturgy of the Ordinariates bears firm witness to the centrality, the normativeness, of that Great Prayer.

Michael was perhaps the last survivor of a notable and erudite group of Anglican liturgists who bore strong witness to the Roman Canon. Dom Gregory Dix concluded his monumental mystagogia, The Shape of the Liturgy, with the words "This very morning I did this with a set of texts which has not changed by more than a few syllables since Augustine used those very words at Canterbury on the third Sunday of Easter in the summer after he landed  Yet 'this' can still take hold of a man's life and work with it." At the popularising level, there was Hugh Ross Williamson, whose commentary on the Canon was reprinted not long ago by Gracewing. And there was the meticulous schoarship of Craddock Radcliffe ... and Dr G G Willis, who kept up a murderously acerbic commentary on the crass new 'Eucharistic Prayers' which began to emerge in the 1960s from nasty little committee rooms in Rome and Lambeth.

May all these great men, with Michael, rest in peace. The Ordinariates render incarnate their learning and their devotion to the Great Prayer of the Western Church.

The Roman Canon is right at the heart of our Patrimony.


scotchlil said...

I had the great privilege of meeting the Prebendary some years ago whilst organising an essay competition to commemorate D. Gregory Dix. It was interesting, if disquieting, to compare his liturgical scholarship with that of some of the younger academics involved. They were largely the type who espoused the liturgical equivalent of the 'Q' hypothesis, etc. I seem to remember being told that his study had his desk at one end, and his domestic altar at the other. Do you happen to know if that was the case? I know how devoted he was to 'his' daily Mass. If only we had more scholar-priests of his calibre today, immersed in the liturgy about which they pontificate....

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. It used to be a difficult thing for ABS to accept that the vast majority of the celebrants (they are never called priests because offering a sacrifice is what priests do) freely chose to shun the Roman Canon in the worship hack, The Lil' Licit Liturgy, and substituted one of the six thousand options instead.

However, it is not a difficult thing to accept anymore as the men who celebrate the Lil' Licit Liturgy are not men.

They are epicene ecclesiastics who serve us the slimmest superficilaity of truth when it costs them nothing to give us the fullness of truth that is The Roman Canon and that is prolly because they were taught that the Worship Hack is a meal.

Of course, they violate our rights every single Sunday and Holy Day by denying us what is rightfully ours but, infinitely more important, they do not render under God the worship He deserves.

The Catholic Church is a shadow of its former self- and shadows have no substance.

Years ago ABS won a bet with a teacher at a local Jebbie High School in in Portland, Maine because he wagered his senior class students would know the Ten Commandments -and, predictably, they didn't.

How many of those officiating at the Lil' Licit Liturgy could tell you the four sacrificial aspects of The Real Mass?

ABS says it would be less than 5% because such is the state of knowledge - and lack of love for Jesus - in the new pentecost in the springtime of the civilisation of love.

Yes, lack of love for Jesus.

If a man has the option of giving one he loves a priceless treasure or a cheap modern plastic version of that priceless treasure and the man does not have to purchase either gift, what does it say about the love possessed by the giver if he chooses the modern plastic version rather than the priceless treasure?

Few man are willing to look at the reality that the lack of love for Jesus is institutionalised, puissant, and soul-killing on a grand scale.

Fr Dirk van Dissel said...

Fr Dirk van Dissel.
I corresponded with Fr Moreton on a number of occasions 1980-1995. On the last occasion he trenchantly criticised the Eucharistic Prayer Bishop David Silk,then Bishop of Ballarat, had devised as a "Catholic" alternative for Australian Anglo Catholics-- he convincingly showed it wasn't adequate. I visited him in Exeter in 1989. His son was at one time secretary of the Henry Bradshaw Society. I wish I could put my hands on those letters. Fr Dirk