I've never taken this twinning business seriously: but I can think of a twinning which ought to be (but isn't) signed and sealed: Avignon and Exeter, the Anglican diocese where I served before we returned to Oxford.
The Avignon Papacy has had a bad press; Petrarch was only one of those who left behind him highly tendentious writings which have fastened upon the period when the Sovereign Pontiffs lived in Avignon a reputation for corruption and venality. But when Pam and I were there (while we were still Anglicans), it completely stole our hearts. I developed a soft spot especially for John XXII. It was he who in fact (forget Urban IV and Transiturus) launched upon the Western Church the cultus of the Blessed Sacrament: Exposition, Processions and all. He ordered the observance of Trinity Sunday; the bowing of the head at the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary; the ringing of what came to be regarded as the evening Angelus; the use of the prayer Anima Christi (of which he has been suspected of being the author). He promoted literati and encouraged the study of Greek and Latin grammar. He fostered the veneration of our Lady; the statue which he gave of our Lady 'All-powerful' still exists in the Cathedral at Avignon - of which he was bishop before he became Pope. You might well conclude, as I did, that he was one of the grandfathers of the Counter-Reformation.
But what's the Exeter connection? He 'provided' one of his close proteges and friends to be Bishop of Exeter -- John de Grandisson (pronounced 'Grahns'n'), a member of a noble and cosmopolitan Burgundian family, who thus became one of the great builders of Exeter Cathedral and a patron of the arts so powerful that in a 1988 London exhibition he still merited, despite the depredations of Time and of the Tudors, an entire section of his own. He possessed a Hebrew grammar; he codified and reformed the usages of his Cathedral Church; manifested a fierce and protective devotion to the Mater Misericordiae and attempted to lure his Cathedral clergy to bow their heads at the mention of her name. He bequeathed to his Cathedral and to his foundation at Ottery monstrances which must count as two of the most splendid pieces of medieval metalwork of which we have detailed records.
And there is a mystery about John XXII of which I can't help feeling that Grandisson just might be the key. The pope's tomb, in Avignon Cathedral, is a superb piece of ... yes, English workmanship.
If you find yourself there, you could do worse than to worship on Sunday morning in the Chapel of the Black Penitents: an exquisitely baroque masterpiece which is served by the Society of S Pius X. Although I made my Anglican clerical status very clear to them, they were extremely welcoming. In fact, a much friendlier lot than those at the 'mainstream' church which we had visited the evening before for a Vigil Mass. The Chapel of the Black Penitents, unlike so many French churches, had a predominantly young congregation and we weren't 'conducted' by a officious layperson or regaled with guitars.
26 December 2019
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And instead Exeter is twinned with Rennes
One of the most irritating annoyances in the French Church is the frightful waving around of arms by a person at the ambo, often a cantor, male or female, one supposes in an effort to either urge the congregation to further vocal participation in the usually unpleasant muzak or possibly regale them with their antics!!
I've seen on YouTube, that before the fire in Notre-Dame de Paris, one of these flailer-cantor chaps irritated all at a Tridentine Mass - which was oddly offered on the monstrously nasty and pinched little arty-thing masquerading as the Nave High Altar. This had, years ago after the Novus Ordo arrived, supplanted the perfectly splendidly proportioned High Altar, but now redundant due to its Eastward Location. Fortunately, this Modernist horror seems to have been destroyed by falling masonry during the fire - which was seen by traditional "real" Catholics as a divine statement!
And John XXII canonised both Thomas Cantilupe of Hereford and Thomas Aquinas. Hero.
Although it was originally (post 1918) twinned with Montdidier, a few miles south of Amiens; there is still a "Place Exeter" in the town. My father, Editor and Proprietor of the Devon County Journal whose registered office was at our house in Tiverton, was sent there on twinning business in the early 1950s.
Thank you for a good post. I am happy that a Pope prescribed the bowing of the head at the name of Jesus. It is in accord with scripture of course. But I never have seen a priest or bishop make this bow. What's wrong with them?
Tiverton of course is twinned with Chinon. This does not give it a half-share in Katherine Hepburn or Eleanor of Aquitaine.
The tomb of John XXII is in the trésor of the cathedral Notre Dame des Doms. The trésor is normally closed - try finding the curé to show it to you.
How I agree with Ignatius of Cornwall both with his description of the 'new' altar in Notre Dame and the infuriating antics at the ambo in French churches described once by a friend as 'demented windmills.' They are so unnecessary - either the members of the congregation know the hymns - or they don't. Waving their arms around will make no difference and just adds yet another distraction.
Incidentally I have heard a) that the small altar in Notre Dame was crushed and b) that the small altar survived. From various photos seen I cannot make out which was the case. Does anyone know for certain?
Paul Hellyer I know several priests most of them traditional but even a few that do the Paul VI Mass exclusively, who bow their heads at the name of Jesus. I always have, as taught by the sisters at Our Lady and St. Joseph Convent School, Canvey Island Essex many years ago.
The small altar was covered with debris and presumably crushed. The debris on the floor extended to the three steps to the High Altar -- and stopped. The High Altar was undisturbed, with six candlesticks and a vase of flowers.
Et mediam latinitatem Petrarca ille malignavit grave ... scribere ut parisius scribebant ei crimen erat.
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