19 March 2020

Possibly, not the only way of introducing the Extraordinary Form!

The great Fr Bernard Walke describes his introduction a century ago of what we so happily used to call the Western Rite, sometimes known nowadays as the Extraordinary Form, to his Cornish Anglican parish:

"On that first Sunday after my induction the people of St Hilary flocked to church and found, in the place of a clergyman reading 'Dearly beloved', a strange figure in vestments at the altar with a little boy who knelt at his side. Many were watching for the first time the drama of the Mass. They were there as spectators who watch a play with a symbolism and language unknown to them. Man cries for redemption: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison. God answers man's despairing cry in the opening words of the Gloria in excelsis proclaiming the advent of the promised Saviour, but still they do not understand.

"'Whatever is he doing up there now?' they say. 'Can 'e make it out at all?' The summit of the drama is reached when, the whole company of heaven having been summoned to man's aid, the words of consecration are spoken and bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus who offered himself on the Cross at Calvary. They are aware of the silence, broken by the ringing of a bell. 'Did 'e hear the bell? what is that for, my dear?' they whisper. The bell rings again at the Domine non sum dignus. There are a few who kneel in wonder at what is being accomplished; it is for them a moment of prayer such as they have never experienced before."

Over the decades, Fr Walke built up a strong and devoted congregation in S Hilary's which stood by him even when proddy thugs arrived with pickaxes (I think they had been encouraged by the Privy Council rather than by the Tablet).

Courage, Fathers! Tharseite!

1 comment:

Ignatius, Cornwall said...

The Proddy Thugs back in the middle of the 19th century smashed-up St John the Baptist Catholic Church in Camborne, also in Cornwall, then recently- built, destroying the stained-glass windows!

Over a hundred years later the "Catholic (Cato-Proddy) Thugs" destroyed the High Altar and ripped-out the Communion Rails, all in the name of the erroneous "Spirit of Vatican Two"!

The Smoke of Satan . . . . . burgeoning splendidly yet again BUT WITHIN THE CHURCH!