22 December 2019


It must have been a couple of decades ago that Anglican Catholics in England met in their thousands for a Mass in London town to greet the new Millennium, Christ our Future the celebration was called, with the Most Reverend and Right Honourable the Archbishop of York as the presiding Celebrant. It was a trifle glitzy, with Archbishop David raised up to a very High Place and brightly illumined with arc lamps, almost as if he were the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year.

It was very moving  ... but I remember leaving with a disquieted feeling that there was something or other awry about his accoutrements. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.

David Hope was the first Primate of England to be a Staggers Man. He also had the distinction of belonging to the same Domestic Duties Group at the House to which I belonged. He was Head Boy and got the House Liturgy Prize a couple of years before I did.

Recently announced, there is another Staggers nominee to the See of York: Stephen Cottrell, for whom I have never dried dishes. (We are both Essex Men.) The pictures show him duly wearing a Staggers soutane, with its traditional 39 buttons. The photographs also suggest that he has not allowed the Homilies of S Leo on Fasting to interfere unduly with the steady pace of his conviviality. But then, neither, I fear, have I.

David never apostatised ('ratted' was +Christopher Luxmoore's term for it) on the question of the admission of women to sacerdotal ministries. Stephen, sensible fellow, long ago made the necessary accommodations and, Amen Amen lego humin, he hath his reward. Nevertheless, he still likes to imagine himself a 'Catholic'. Unlike David, he never wrote a doctoral thesis on the Veronensian ('Leonine') Sacramentary. But on the sole occasion when I  heard him preaching, he named Pope Benedict a great deal, giving clergy in choir innumerable occasions to raise enthusiastic birettas. In other words, he likes to please.

It had been thought that the next occupant of the See of York would probably have been one of the Fast Ladies who, in contravention of this country's Sex Discrimination principles, have been fast-tracked at break-neck speed onto the Lords' Spiritual benches of our Upper House. My theory is that Stephen is being promoted from his natal Essex to Northern glories so as to make it decent for Dame Mullarkey to go straight to Canterbury when Wozname resumes his sadly interrupted career in British Petroleum.

Ah!! It has suddenly come to me what was so disappointing about David Hope's millennial garb.

He was not wearing a Pallium.


Fr. David Evans said...

Alas, Father, methinks you fall into the trap that being at ‘ Staggers’ as you call it and being ‘ catholic-esque’ is almost as good as being in communion with Peter. Alas, it is not.

Mary Kay said...

Dear Fr. Hunwicke, It was wonderful to see you in Gardone this past July. I am writing to tell you that in my uncivilized part of the world (West coast, USA), I am currently listening to one of my city's few redeeming features: four days of classic Christmas music, which you can hear on allclassical.org through Christmas day. You would certainly enjoy it because it has many very old carols in English as well as lots of all around beautiful Christmas music. Even plenty of Latin. You can just turn it on and let it play as you read or visit or celebrate.

It made me think of you. I wish you and yours a blessed and joyous Christmas! Mary K. Jones

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Father David

Oh dear! I spent most of my life teaching, and like to think of myself as a communicator. You have shown me that I am totally incapable of making with clarity even the simplest point! How very chastening!

The whole point of this blogpost was to make clear the necessity of the Communio Petri, symbolised by the Pallium.

And you took me to be saying the opposite!

Oh dear dear dear!

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Mary

Thank you!

Hope to see you at Gardone this year again I gather John Rao is getting very booked up already ...

Christophorus said...

A very Happy ChristMass from across the pond.

I'm wondering if an archbishop is supposed to wear his pallium in another's province.

I don't know.

Pengono said...

Christophorus, that is indeed a question for Catholic archbishops. Perhaps one day - anything is possible these days - we will find that even ladies in a sort of Archbishop's apparel will be invited to Rome to receive a pallium...