24 September 2021

Prayer on the Feast of our Lady of Walsingham

(1) Here is the text of the Prayer to our Lady of Walsingham, in use since at least the first edition of the Pilgrims' Manual in 1928 (in more recent decades this prayer was detudorised ... such childishness ...).

Perhaps nostalgic but infirm old persons like myself would like to make a virtual pilgrimage to the Holy House, back in time to, say, Whit Monday 1960. 

Or would it be schismatic to travel back in time to before Anglicanorum coetibus?

O Mary, recall the solemn moment when Jesus, thy divine Son, dying upon the cross, confided us to thy maternal care. Thou art our Mother, we desire ever to remain thy devout children. Let us therefore feel the effects of thy powerful intercession with Jesus Christ. Make thy Name again glorious in this place once renowned throughout our land by thy visits, favours, and many miracles.
    Pray, O holy Mother of God, for the conversion of England, restoration of the sick, consolation for the afflicted, repentance of sinners, peace to the departed.
    O blessed Mary, Mother of God, our Lady of Walsingham, intercede for us. Amen. 

(2) I think it would be gracious to pray to our Lady of Candelaria, Patron of the Canary Islands, during this time of volcanic eruption.

I remember with pleasure my visit to her splendid Shrine in San Antonio, Texas; a copy of her Shrine in the Canaries. Oret ...

23 September 2021

The Holy House

A great benefactor of the restored Shrine at Walsingham was Sir William Milner; who, in 1926, composed the first version of the Pilgrimage Hymn, designed to utilise the melodies of the Lourdes hymn.

In the 1960s, the then Administrator replaced Sir William's wording. One can see why it was felt that some of the expressions offered problems of vocabulary or rhythm; but, well, not everybody is happy with his replacement text!

Here are some stanzas of Sir William's hymn, relating to the legend of Richeldis:

To Richeldis, a matron full blameless of life,
Who sought for the Star that leads safe through our strife
(Ave ...)
Our Lady, all clement, was pleased to appear,
And her voice sweetly sounding, Richeldis did hear:
(Ave ...)
"I come now to ask you, dear daughter of mine,
On the lands of your fathers to build me a shrine:
(Ave ... )
"See build from this model my arms now enfold --
'Tis Nazareth's homestead, more precious than gold,
(Ave ...)
"Where Jesus, my Lord, on my bosom once laid;
Thrice holy the house where His baby feet played.
(Ave ...)
. . . .
"And the spot that I choose where the House shall arise,
By a sign shall be plainly revealed to your eyes."
(Ave ...)
Next morn when Richeldis went abroad in the meads
With her chaplain conversing, and saying her bedes,
(Ave ...)
Lo! springs bright as crystal burst forth from the plain
Where but now the green pastures unbroken had lain.
(Ave ...)
"The sign that was promised see, father, revealed!
O God, for thy goodness our thanks now we yield,"
(Ave ...)
Thus in joy quoth the matron. Forthwith goodly store
Of oak trees was hewn, and of rushes galore.
(Ave ...)
Right soon the good timbers in order were laid,
And the walls, newly rising, stood forth in the glade.
(Ave ... )
When lo! in the night came a bright angel-band,
And the work was completed by Mary's own hand.

Et cetera !

22 September 2021


 Among bodies asking for my vote is the National Trust

Despite its name, this is an entirely non-governmental British charitable body which acquires and most laudably protects significant buildings and threatened countryside (I think there is an American affiliate, perhaps called the Royal Oak Foundation). The room-stewards in its properties are all unpaid volunteers.

Some time ago, the NT was in the news. As I remember the reports, in one property the volunteers had been asked to wear the 'Rainbow' diversity insignia. Some, who refused, were (if my memory is not deceiving me) told that they would be allocated to roles where they would not come into contact with members of the public.

I, and all other members, have now been sent our voting papers for the Members' Annual General Meeting in October. 

One Members' Resolution "calls on the Trust never to require its volunteers to wear badges, symbols or other items that reflect a political or social viewpoint".

The "Board of Trustees' Position" asserts that "The purpose of this resolution is not clear".

Well, it seemed abundantly clear to me. 

Offering context, the Board says that "we do not ask volunteers to wear badges or symbols, or other items that reflect a political viewpoint".

As between the text I have printed in red and the one I have printed in blue, do readers happen to notice any interesting differences?

I hope I am not the only person to notice this detail in the bumf  which I and other members have received.

21 September 2021

Wolves, Lambs, and Wykehamists

Readers will be familiar with the deep disagreements I have on historical matters with positions taken by His Excellency Bishop Richard Williamson. Furthermore, we are warned by Dom Gregory Dix, that the heraldic symbol of a bishop is a Crook. And, of course, every Englishman remembers the solemn injunctions placed upon him by his Father on the momentous occasion when we were, each of us, sent out upon the dangers of this naughty world: "My dear boy ... one last thing ... I beg you always to remember ... whatever else you forget ... I adjure you by your grandmother's grave ... never trust a Wykehamist."

But ...

His Excellency does sometimes have a jolly point upon his Blog. The other day he was commenting on the very humble ... the very very humble ... the very very very humble ... statement issued by the Superiors of the erstwhile Ecclesia Dei communities who, for some unaccountable reason, sound scared.

Bishop Richard reminded us of a Fable by Aesop. Allow me to retell it.

A Lamb was drinking from a stream one morning when its friendly neighbourhood Wolf approached the stream higher up the channel. The Wolf, who was feeling hungry, complained ferociously that the Lamb was stirring up his drinking water and making it muddy.

The Lamb very deferentially pointed out that, since it was downstream from the Wolf, this could not be factual.

"But you told lies about me last year", raged the Wolf.

Ever a pedant, the Lamb pointed out very deferentially that, last year, it was as yet unborn.

"Well, it was your brother!"

"Your highness, I don't have brother!"

"Well, I'm going to have you for breakfast anyway", concluded the Wolf.

Finis fabulae.

Didn't that Pope Benedict once talk about wolves?

Is it speciesist to be preoccupied with wolves?


20 September 2021

Looking ahead to the Solemnity of our Lady of Walsingham

In celebrating the Usus Authenticus, a cleric is supposed to follow the Universal Calendar as modified by the local Calendar granted by the Holy See for particular Dioceses or Religious Orders, and to use the appropriate accompanying liturgical texts.

But since 1967, the (now, of course, non-existent) Sacred Congregation of Rites has not made provision for changing local needs by granting new local calendars for the Extraordinary Form. The English LMS ORDO wisely explains "Four dioceses have been created since 1962 and for these exist no appropriate calendars. To provide calendars [for them] ... the calendars of [dioceses] ... from whose territory respectively the new dioceses were created have been adopted with changes where appropriate". I suggest that this wise procedure is precisely what is ordered by the provisions of Canon 19 (q.vide). So, for a jurisdiction - for a diocese or whatever - which did not exist in 1961, one should create a Calendar along precisely the same lines which the Sacred Congregation of Rites used in doing this in the decades before 1961. This obviously applies as much to the Ordinariates as it does to new Dioceses.

I have a particular suggestion to make with regard to the Solemnity of our Lady of Walsingham, who is given as "Title" to the English Ordinariate and is to be observed on September 24. It is that those who use Mass and/or Office from the Extraordinary Form use the propers once provided in the Appendix pro aliquibus locis for the Feast of the Translatio Almae Domus BMV [the Holy House of our Lady of Loretto*] on December 10. You should find, in the old thread attached to an earlier version of this post, links to that Proper in the Breviary. (One needs to omit the last section of Lection vi, which relates specifically to Loretto.)

An English translation of this Mass was regularly printed in the Pilgrims' Manual of the Anglican Shrine as the "Mass of our Lady of Walsingham" in the years after the reconstruction of the Holy House in 1931** until the shift in liturgical fashions after 1967. One very minor adjustment was made: the omission from the Collect of the words eamque in sinu Ecclesiae tuae mirabiliter collocasti [referring to the wondrous translation of the Loretto Holy House from Palestine to safer climes].

My proposal may seem to you the less radical when you have mulled over this fact: the English Mass of our Lady of Walsingham, which I first heard in Full Communion as a Votive at our Ordinariate Pontifical Mass on September 19 2015 (celebrated by Archbishop di Noia, adjunct Secretary of the CDF), and is provided in the Divine Worship Missal, uses the Collect and Secret*** from that December 10 Mass adjusted exactly as I described above (and the Post Communion appears to be a modified version of the one there provided). A powerful nod and an expressive wink.

Fr Hope Patten and Fr Fynes Clinton****, I am confident, beam down upon us with much approval as we use this liturgical provision. They know where it is that their Patrimony is now incarnated! Quorum animabus propitietur Deus! Qui Dominum pro nobis deprecentur!

EXTERNAL SOLEMNITY (Extraordinary Form)
On the Sunday before or after the Solemnity of OLW, two Masses (or one high/sung and one low) are allowed of OLW, with a commemoration of the Sunday. Those whose memories retain such things as octaves will probably find it more natural to do this on the Sunday after the Solemnity. (But Office is still of the Sunday.) The Mass may, of course, be used as a Votive on any day when the rubrics permit votives.

* This Mass and Office seem to date from the pontificate of Pope Innocent XII (1691-1700).
** Nearly 400 years after the destruction of the old Holy House.
*** Just think of those thousands of devout priests during those three and a half decades who stood in the smoky atmosphere of candles and lamps within the Holy House and, as it dawned outside, murmured those same words which Archbishop di Noia sang at the High Altar of Westminster Cathedral.
**** It will have been Fynes who sorted out the Mass of OLW; Patten was no latinist.

19 September 2021

Only for creative philologists

Some years ago, I heard, on the wireless, a young woman with an exotically, positively rococo, East End ('Estuary') accent say that 'Mel C' was her "me:er". I'm fairly sure that this is Estuary English for "Mentor". Not very Hellenic ...

P S (1) I think 'Mel C' may have been one of the "Spice Girls". I was still in teaching when these phenomena were live, so I had them explained to me. No? ... ah, well ...

P S (2) Mentor has now (2021) spawned a lovely derivative: 'Mentee' (as 'tutor' once spawned 'tutee'). Does anybody know how far this usage, reminiscent of the old Latin Gerundive, goes back?

P S (3) How about 'Mentrix' for the feminine of Mentor? When my wife taught at Roedean, she was addressed as Ma'am. Would Mentrix have done instead?

P S (4) When a neo-Fowler is produced, I wonder if the complex rules governing the glottal stop will make it clear that a consonant preceding the eliminable T must itself also be eliminated? 

P S (5) Or should I say "elimina:ed"? Indeed, should I school myself henceforth to refer to the "Glo::al ::op"?

P S (6) The -ee suffix would seem to have endless possibilities. Murderer on death row: hangee. Candidate for gender reassignment: choppee. Potential victim of spontaneous street aggression: muggee. 

Traddy Catholic in a Franciscan pontificate: eliminatee.

18 September 2021


A happy occasion, last night [2008], as I celebrated the 40th anniversary of my Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood. [Last night's celebration] was a Votive of the Holy and Undivided Trinity (in my day, most seminarians were ordained after the Whitsuntide Ember Days on Trinity Sunday) in Latin and according to the Usus Authenticus of the Roman Rite; it was a very family occasion as our Bishop, Andrew, preached a sermon which was too kind about me and inadequately catalogued my failings. 

It also, as one would expect, combined a witty exposition of the mass texts (dealing with the creative mendacity with which they appear to attribute explicit Trinitarian orthodoxy to the Book of Tobit), a treatment of the glory due to the Trinity (as he observed, people are rather more respectful of the Trinity now than was true in the Year of Revolutions, when I was ordained), and a learned and pastoral discussion of the Hermeneutic of Continuity as it applies both to the use of traditional rites and the Reform of the Reform. He could do worse than to make those parts of the homily available to a wider readership. 

I was nervous beforehand; I have said low masses many times according to the 1950s Altar Missal kindly given to me by a generous friend, the pp of Knightstown on Valentia Island in the Kingdom of County Kerry. Indeed, I used it even before the Holy Father issued his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (I hope this was not too daring an infringement of my ordination undertaking only to use rites allowed by canon). But never before have I attempted a Missa Cantata. I need not have worried. Led by Barry, one of our senior and long-faithful servers, resplendent in our festal tunicle, a superbly competent group of seminarians from S Stephen's House swept me through it with aplomb enough to give the impression that they polished off this sort of thing every day of their lives. 

There is, of course, a history to this. 'Staggers', my own seminary, has long had a reputation for liturgical scholarship and practical accuracy in ritual matters. In the days when that great pontiff Bishop Kirk ruled the See of Oxford, the Principal, Canon Couratin (of whom many anecdotes survive, not all of them suitable for a family blog) used to turn up with his 'circus' to put on all the major Diocesan events. Even during the bleak years after the Council when so many lost their liturgical nerve, the Staggers tradition maintained standards and preserved a high understanding of the ars celebrandi

You might say that the advent of Pope Benedict is a vindication of all that Staggers has stood for and does still maintain under Fr Robin (who was present last night to see the triumphs of his students). The biggest of thankyous to Daniel Lloyd, who officiated as MC, and to his colleagues, a crew faultless not only in matters ritual. The choir was the Byrd Consortium, who descend from the choir at S Mary Mag's Church back in the happy days when it was Oxford's bastion of orthodoxy. I used to attend on Sundays and weekdays when I was an undergraduate living in College, so there was a comfortable appropriateness in having them there. I am no musician, so I feel shy about ever commenting on the activities of those who are; I can only say that their memorable and haunting performance made me immensely grateful. I know how much work they put in. 

It may seem an absurd paradox, but somehow the event, a Latin Tridentine Mass, seemed the very epitome of the Anglican tradition as we have appropriated and preserved it since the Catholic Revival.

17 September 2021


 Foreign readers may need to "bone up" upon what is meant by "Cockney Rhyming Slang". It is our demotic equivalent of that propensity to slip into Latin which used to be common among our educated classes in the time when ... goodness, how I do woffle.

The first and fundamental Porkie in Traditionis custodes is that Benedict XVI permitted the Usus Authenticus as a kindly concession to those who felt the need for it.

This is untrue. Benedict revealed the verdict of a canonical commission which had found that the 1570 Rite had never been properly abolished in proper canonical form. 

The Old Rite was never abolished! 

Any reworking of Summorum Pontificum clearly needs to begin conceptually from that remarkable revelation.

In addition to that canonical fact, Papa Ratzinger added a dogmatic assertion. He did not say that his successors ought not to abolish the Old Rite: he asserted that it cannot be abolished or forbidden. In other words, that an attempt to abolish it would be ultra vires. 

"CANNOT".  Pope Benedict really did mean what he said. When he was Cardinal Ratzinger, he had launched a scathing attack on the impression "that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council." And, before that, he had reminded us "that the Church, throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the Spirit of the Church."

I suppose it is hardly surprising that PF fails to understand the simple proposition that the pope cannot do anything.

But, surely, even he must see that, if he can so disdain the doctrinal teaching of his predecessor, he is sawing off the branch upon which he is himself so precariously balancing.


16 September 2021

S Paul VI

I wish to propose a theory about S Paul VI for which, currently, I can adduce evidence; I wonder if there is more.


(1) He relied upon dishonest people for advice. (a) From the Memoires of Louis Bouyer: "At different stages, be it with regard to the dumping overboard (sabordage) of the Liturgy of the Departed, or again in that unbelievable enterprise of expurgating the psalms in view of their use in the Office, Bugnini came up against an opposition, not just massive, but one could say pretty well unanimous. In some such cases, he did not hesitate to tell us 'But the Pope wants it!'. After that, to be sure, there was no longer a question of discussing it." Bouyer recounts how he once met Bugnini in circumstances in which the latter, mistakenly, believed that he, Bouyer, had just been with Pope Paul ... whom Bugnini was on his way to see. "On seeing me, he not only turned completely white but, visibly, was knocked for six (non seulement il blemit, mais, visiblement, il fut atterre)". "The answer was to be presented to me, but some weeks later, by Paul VI himself. Nattering with me about our famous labours, which he had confirmed, he finally said to me 'But why, then, did you put into this reform ...' (Here, I have to admit that I don't recall any longer which of the details which I have mentioned particularly irritated him.) Naturally, I replied 'But purely and simply because Bugnini guaranteed to us that you were absolutely set on it (avait certifie que vous le vouliez absolument).' His reaction was immediate: 'Is it possible? He said to me personally that you were unanimous in this respect!'".
(b) Bishop Tissier's biography recounts that when Archbishop Lefebvre was received in audience by the Pope, S Paul VI was hostile from the start. It transpired that he had been informed, probably by Cardinal Villot, that the Archbishop made the priests whom he formed "sign an oath against the Pope". Given such shameless mendacity, it is hardly surprising that the Holy Father's mind was poisoned against Lefebvre.

(2) S Paul VI preferred to compromise with disorder rather than to face it down. It seems clear, from Dom Cassian Folsom's Adoremus series of masterly articles, that the provision of alternative Eucharistic Prayers was a pathetic but well-meant attempt to rein in the chaos which existed particularly in the Low Countries, where home-made Eucharistic Prayers were proliferating in (literally) hundreds. S Paul was assured that the Hierarchy, given this concession, were prepared to restore order. (Big of them ... Traditionalists would also do well to remember that it was the provision of these alternatives which saved the Canon itself from being really badly mangled ... better, surely, to be unused for a few decades than permanently debased?)

As well as the human and historical tragedy, there is an ecclesiological point here. If you blend together in one saucepan an exaggerated notion of papal authority (as analysed by Joseph Ratzinger) with the activities (described in detail by Louis Bouyer) of unscrupulous and dishonest and ruthlessly determined manipulative individuals who have the pope's ear, you are gravely at risk of having a disaster the results of which it may well take generations to mitigate.  

Quod factum est.

15 September 2021

Some old friends ... Newman ... Dix ...

Near the beginning of the Preparatory Document on PF's planned 'Synod', we read " ... what steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow as a synodal Church? Addressing this question together requires listening to the Holy Spirit, who like the wind 'blows where it wills; you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes"(Jn 3:8), remaining open to the surprises that the Spirit will certainly prepare for us along the way."

Whoever drafted this ... presumably neither a Greats Man nor a Greats Woman ... appears not to have noticed that a Surprise is just that little bit less of a Surprise if we know that it is 'certainly' coming. Except, of course, within the rather mannered ritual logic of kiddies' pantomimes, the bright eternal homeland of Widow Twankey.

However, it would be unfair to suggest that PF has in any way changed his tune. He hasn't. In the template which he offered to his earlier synods which preceded Amoris laetitia, he wrote "The Synod is a protected space where the Church experiences the action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks in the Synod through the language of all persons that allow themselves to be guided by the God that always surprises ..." 

Remarkable teaching. In formal and grammatical terms, it may resemble the Definition that the Successor of S Peter, speaking ex cathedra, is protected from teaching error. The big difference is that the Definition is embodied in the dogmatic and infallible teaching of a doctrinal Ecumenical Council, Vatican I. The novel and unconciliar claim now proposed by PF, that a papally convoked "Synod" which is not even claimed to be an Ecumenical Council enjoys the privilege of being preserved from error, is a claim which I, personally, totally repudiate. The very making of it arouses, moreover, the greatest suspicions in my mind (of course, I speak only for myself).

A century and a half ago, S John Henry Newman was prepared to consider the pressures which the ultrapapalist bullies of his own time ("an aggressive insolent faction") had brought to bear upon the Fathers of Vatican I; and, if necessary, he was even prepared to "determine that the [1870] Definition is not valid". (The measured good sense of the actual Definition spared our great Saint from having to take any such step; presciently, he suggested that the result of the 1870 definition might actually be to "limit the Pope's power".)

S John Henry was no fool, nor was he a coward.

A fortiori, I, merely a poor ignorant presbyter, living my Christian life under Newman's Patronage but speaking only for myself, am not going to be corralled into accepting whatever teaching PF claims to be able to extract from his 'synod'. It is quite simply not true that, in Catholic teaching, all Councils are deemed infallible. "Only some General Councils [a]re admitted as infallible ... Bellarmine gave a list of General Councils which had erred" (S John Henry Newman). The Latrocinium, and certain rather conciliarist sessions of Constance, will spring to mind. How much more fallible are these Bergoglian 'synods', which come upon us as thick and fast as the Number 12 buses over Westminster Bridge! 

I recall Dom Gregory Dix's remarks about Old Men in a Hurry. He was no fool, either.

Again to be personal ... I speak only for myself ... I deplore the endless and unscrupulous employment of phrases like "the Holy Spirit" and "the God of Surprises" as cheap pieces of Bergoglian stage machinery deployed to evade all and any obstacles to the pursuit of the Bergoglian programme of innovation.

I discern ... speaking again only for myself ... once more in the current documents, and I as deeply resent, the use of Bergoglian gobbledy gook to privilege innovation. If "the Spirit" is to Surprise us, why are PF's apparatchiks so sure that these Surprises will have to be new things? The possibility that the Surprises might involve or imply a faithful return to Tradition ... say, to liturgical Tradition ... does not feature in the published documents and appears to have been deftly excluded in advance by the crudities of Traditionis custodes. Yet ... surely ... that would be a very real Surprise. Imagine the expression on Andrea Grillo's face!

The Swiss Guard will undoubtedly be given strict orders as they take up their positions in their fortified machine-gun posts around the Santa Marta. Admission Tickets will need to be carefully scrutinised. Only very 'safe' voices can be trusted to enter PF's "Protected Spaces".

14 September 2021


I drafted this piece before PF's hospitalisation and Traditionis custodes.

There are all those able Vaticanologists who know people ... what can you and I add in this poor little blog?

But here goes a putting together of two and two.

(1) The CDF received questions about the giving of Blessings to homosexual couples. CDF drafted their response.

(2) Cardinal Ladaria showed it to PF. The usual procedure is that the Pope signifies his approval of a document and orders it to be published. BUT, this time, he simply said that he had been informed, and gave his assent to its publication. 

(3) At a subsequent Public Audience, he berated Rigid People. 

(4) An American priest devoted to a certain brand of ministry got in touch with PF: who replied in a very personal, positive, and hand-written way.

(5) Meanwhile, rumours had been circulating that PF was planning an intervention regarding the the Authentic Use of the Roman Rite.

Perhaps this simply leaves these questions: exactly how cross is PF? Cross enough to over-rule the criticisms already made by his curial advisers?

13 September 2021


A Times book review by Andrew Taylor (on Simon Thurley's Palaces of Revolution) observes

"It is difficult to forget Sir John Denham, Charles II's first Surveyor of the King's Works, when you know that that, increasingly incapacitated physically and mentally by tertiary syphilis, he informed his royal master that he was the Holy Ghost."

Golly, that must have been quite a Surprise.

12 September 2021

Lost indulgences

In the first decade of the sixteenth century, the first monarch of the House of Tudor demolished the old Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey so that it might be replaced by a new spectacular perpendicular chapel, where he and his family were to be buried, but which was technically to be the shrine of a great royal saint matching that of S Edward the Confessor nearby. Pope Julius II issued bulls authorising the introduction of the cause for the canonisation of Henry VI and the translation of his body from Windsor to this new chapel. The steps leading up to it were endowed with the same Indulgence that was attached to the Sancta Scala (the steps of Pilate's praetorium, transferred by Constantine from Jerusalem to Rome).

Henry VII was seeking to cloak himself in the aura of the saintly Lancastrian, 'our uncle of blessed memory', whose name, and whose descent from Catherine de Valois, he shared. So he saw to it that his chapel was adorned with all that was most sumptuous in the decorative arts of medieval England and renaissance Italy.

Hindsight, cruelest of the daughters of Clio, informs us that there never was to be either a Tudor King Arthur I (and II and III) or a canonised Saint Henry VI to swell the pilgrim numbers in the Abbey; that the England of popes, Indulgences, and chantries had less than forty years to run.

But that chapel, in much of its original magnificence and splendour, still remains.

One thing, however, has been ruthlessly stripped away from it in our own time.

When S Paul VI 'reformed' the system of Indulgences, he suppressed (in 1967) all the old Indulgences which had hitherto been available to God's people but had not been confirmed by his own Curia. Throughout the territories of the Latin Churches, Indulgences, multiplied over the centuries by popes and bishops, lay on the ground in greater profusion than the conkers do this autumn. They were popular: even after the Henrician schism, John Veysey Bishop of Exeter continued to grant them, and I doubt if he was the only Bishop to do so. 

But with Papa Montini, they were cleared away.

So no longer can pilgrims to Westminster acquire the Indulgence of the Sancta Scala as they ascend Henry Tudor's steps. No longer do the graces granted by that frightening old war-monger Papa della Rovere allure the faithful.

They were not expunged by Protestants or schismatics, but by a Roman Pontiff.

Even Luther, the Fraterculus, might have been amused.

11 September 2021

Wow! Whoopee!! (CORRECTED)

Today, Saturday, the London Eucharistic Octave begins, with His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop celebrating a Votive of the Most Blessed Sacrament at noon (hurry!) in the church of Corpus Christi  in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden. Then, throughout the week, there is Mass in various Uses at 6.30 in the evening in the same church: Monday, in the Usus Authenticus of the Roman Rite; Tuesday, in the Divine Worship form of the Roman Rite (i.e. the Ordinariate Rite ... basically the Usus Authenticus in Tudor English with some additions from the Anglican Tradition); Wednesday, in the Usus Novus of the Roman Rite; Thursday, in the Ukrainian form of the Byzantine Rite; and, on Friday, a Solemn Requiem for those who have died of Covid.

On SUNDAY (NOTICE THIS CORRECTION OF MY EARLIER CULPABLE ERROR) 19 September, at 3.30, there is planned a Blessed Sacrament Procession from the Assumption and S Gregory in Warwick Street: which was originally the Portuguese embassy Chapel in the 'penal' days when the only Catholic Worship legally offered in England was in the extra-territorial embassies of the Catholic powers. The Marquis of Pombal ... a sinister figure if ever there was one ... will have worshipped there!

Later, it became the Bavarian embassy Chapel, and so it has housed a number of Jacobite liturgical celebrations while the House of Wittelsbach has been de jure the Royal House of the Three Kingdoms. It then fell upon hard times, as the home of "Gay Masses"; these caused some disquiet in Rome, with the result that the church was, instead, handed over to the Ordinariate, where it houses our splendid liturgical heritage. 

The Procession will make Stations at the Jesuit church in Farm Street and at the Ukrainian Cathedral in Duke Street ... before ending up at S James, Spanish Place for Pontifical Benediction. This is yet another former embassy Chapel; I understand that it still possesses a Spanish flag so that, if the Rector suddenly hears of an imminent visit by the King's Majesty of Spain, he can sprint into his church and instantly haul up the Spanish flag in honour of His Most Catholic Majesty. The Rector, incidentally, is the same Father Christopher Colvin whom many readers will remember as Administrator of the (Anglican) Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham. Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!!!

The Procession will be led by the Ukrainian Eparch, and by Mgr Keith Newton, Episcopus quondam Rutupiensis, Ordinary of the Ordinariate.

What a potent symbol ... what a magnificent  prolepsis of Unity ... all this is! Together with Catholics who worship according to the Missal of S Pius V, there will be Byzantines in Full Communion with the See of S Peter; (former) Anglicans now in Full Communion with the See of S Peter; and even Bergoglians in Full Communion with the See of S Peter.

And the unity implied by these celebrations will be diachronic as well as synchronic: the churches hosting the beginning and the end of the Eucharistic Procession are churches dating from Recusant days ... before there was any such See as that of Westminster, founded in 1850. Farm Street, also, dates (just) from the era of the Vicars Apostolic. Bishop Challoner, pray for us all! Maiden Lane, on the other hand, was built after the Restoration of the Hierarchy, and so could be seen as a splendid representative of Flaminian Gate Catholicism. Cardinal Manning, pray for us all!

The Procession will be led by the two hierarchs who represent within the glorious unity of our English Catholic Church the liturgical inheritances of Byzantine and Anglican Christianity. 

At a time when it has quaintly been suggested that there is only 'unicus usus' of the Roman Rite' and that liturgical diversity implies disunity, or even a schismatic mentality, it is good to have such a public demonstration that the Church's Unity, in fact, is expressed by her great diversity and by the manifold variety of her rites.

As the authentic Magisterium of Roman Pontiffs has repeatedly and consistently proclaimed.

10 September 2021

Cassandra?? ??

The Times includes, among its Book Reviews on Saturdays, a suggestion about a book which is no longer hot-off-the-Press but is well worth a reread.

In this spirit, I offer  a book by the learned former Official Historian of the Knights of Malta, the acute and lucid Henry Sire [pronounced Seer].

'Former' because, under this Parrhesia pontificate, he was, unaccountably, expelled from the Order.

The Dictator Pope The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy. Regnery Publishing.

A taster: 

"Since Father Bergoglio, as a Jesuit, would need a dispensation to be appointed [bishop], it was necessary to obtain a report from his order, for which Cardinal Quarracino applied in 1991. It was provided by the Jesuit general, and it represents the most damning character study of Jorge Bergoglio composed by anyone before his election as pope. The text of the report has never been made public, but the following account is given by a priest who had access to it before it disappeared from the Jesuit archive: Father Kolvenbach accused Bergoglio of a series of defects, ranging from habitual use of vulgar language to deviousness, disobedience concealed under a mask of humility, and lack of psychological balance; with a view to his suitability as a future bishop, the report pointed out that he had been a divisive figure as provincial of his own order. ..."

9 September 2021

"BUT ..." Vivat Voltaire!!

 Fr David Palmer, a brother priest within the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham, has, as we say nowadays, been "cancelled" after being appointed Catholic Chaplain of the University of Nottingham. This is because he has been found guilty of having a Twitter Account in which he has unambiguously asserted Catholic Doctrine with regard to Abortion and Euthanasia.


Perhaps I should provide some background here for readers who do not have 'Anglican Previous'.

We in the Ordinariate come from the Church of England, where we belonged (in many cases) to an organisation called Forward in Faith. This group ran a very splendid monthly called New Directions. It was edited by a witty and highly intelligent woman called Sara Lowe (now a Catholic); and much of the content was supplied by the Revd Dr Geoffrey Kirk. He was one of the most effective satirists of the century; he continued to write sparkling satire after joining the Ordinariate (sadly, he is now dead; his Catholic blog was called Ignatius his Conclave and it contains beautiful, still relevant, demolitions of Bergoglianity).

Back in those Anglican days, we were subjected to much criticism. Establishments, Anglican or Secularist, tend ... in the memorable words of Corporal Jones in Dad's Army ... "not to like it up 'em". (They particularly dislike satire ... not least because they simply cannot stand, poor proud poppets, being laughed at.)

Much of the criticism came in the form of "You are of course entitled to express your views ... but it is your tone and manner that are unacceptable".

(Notice in 'unacceptable' the management trick of using grammatical forms which elide admissions of agency.)

Sometimes, it was a matter of "We atcherlee agree with the substance of your opinions, but the tone and manner with which you express them bring us all into disrepute".

So we of the Ordinariate know all about the disdainful modes of attempted censorship which come so easily to the lips and pens of the lordly clerisy of the Zeitgeist.


Back to Fr David Palmer.

Nottingham University has asserted: "Our concern was not in relation to Father David's views themselves, or the tenets of the Catholic faith which we fully respect, but the manner in which these views have been expressed in the context of our diverse community of people of many faiths."

Loverlee!! (You won't have failed to notice the word manner. And another 'management' term is concern. Management People are never so endearingly human as to be hopping mad; as Very Superior Persons, they feel only the more lofty and Whig emotion of concern.)

Of course  they're not trying to censor Fr Palmer's (and the Catholic Church's) beliefs. Oh dearie me No; of course not. Stupid they may be ... undoubtedly are ... but they are bright enough to be aware that overtly doing that would put them in the wrong.

We live in an imperfect world and we clerics partake of that imperfection. In every situation, possibly, something could have been said or done ... given hindsight ... in a better way. But perfection and omniscience are characteristics of the Godhead. They are not conveyed by the Sacrament of Holy Order.

We are bidden to preach the Gospel eukairos akairos. And to do so meta parrhesias. Palmer did just that.

In my view, it is essential to support Fr David Palmer in every possible, conceivable, way. And not to have any truck with equivocating formulae smuggled in by the conjunctive BUT.

I don't know if Voltaire, entertaining old gent, ever really did say "I totally disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".

If he didn't, he should have done.

8 September 2021

How should we English "KAI TA LOIPA"?

So (aspicitis omnes modum hodiernum loquendi!) what is the Modern English for et cetera (or et caetera)?

D L Sayers, who had a deliciously careful ear for individuals and their idiolects, records a lower-middle-class woman undergradute who (1935) employed for this purpose the word "things" (would the Cockney equivalent have been "fings"?). 

" My mother's one of those people who work to get things open to women -- you know -- professions and things ... And they've made lots of sacrifices and things." 

But tempora mutantur

Nowadays, quite a few modish people say "earn stuff".

Exempli gratia: "I went shopping to get the foie gras* earn stuff." Or "I loathe Boris Johnson earn stuff."


Footnote 1: I suspect that I am not the only teacher who has occasionally snarled at a student "etc. means and all the other things I am supposed to know but don't." 

*Footnote 2: We are told that now, "having got Brexit done", we are fortunate enough to "have got our country back"; and so, naturally, the importation of foie gras will ... so rumour has it ... soon be made illegal. And the supplier in County Kerry from whom we have in the past bought our (wild Atlantic) smoked salmon tells us that, because of Brexit, he can no longer oblige. 

Seems like rank tyranny to me.

Is all this true? If so, I am tempted to return to the Sussex Coast and organise a massive smuggling business importing necessary foods (disguised as illegal immigrants so as to fool the Home Secretary and her Border Force). 

Rudyard Kipling's splendid Smugglers' Song will need another stanza, in (of course) the authentic old Sussex dialect as still spoken on Commuter Trains. It could be adopted as the anthem of the Free Britain guerilla force I am thinking of founding. Is there a tune that would fit?

7 September 2021

The Tridentine Rite and the Anglican Patrimony (5)

In conclusion, I would like to make a few remarks about principle.

I have heard it argued ... I think, by Cardinal Wuerl ... that the Extraordinary Form is not part of the Anglican Patrimony. I find this difficult to understand, and, if you have read the first four parts of this piece, so will you. Of course, the Extraordinary Form was never officially authorised in the Church of England or the American and Australian branches of the Anglican Communion. But, then, neither was the Ordinary Form. Certainly, in England, the Anglo-Papalist movement which is our own much loved ecclesial background did use the Tridentine Rite, used it and loved it, and suffered persecution for that use and for that love. The Missale Romanum was the gold standard, with the English Missal providing, over half a century, an intermediate stage in the journey towards its full adoption. That is the place we have come from.

In any case, the Magisterium has solved the matter.  Anglicanorum coetibus makes clear (Paragraph III) that Ordinariate clergy may use the Roman Rite as well as using their own liturgical books, and the Apostolic Constitution makes no distinction here between the two forms of the Roman Rite which exist by law in the Latin Church. And Summorum Pontificum established that, in principle, every Catholic priest of the Latin rite may use the Extraordinary Form without permission either from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary. To put the seal on it, the Ordinariate Order of Mass promulgated by Rome incorporates the Preparation, the Offertory Prayers, the Libera nos, the Last Gospel, from the Tridentine Rite. Thus these things have been formally accepted by Rome as part of the Anglican Patrimony. Roma locuta est.

This series is now complete. I include a Comment from an old thread which is of great interest ... it shows how the Anglo-Papalist clergy in one of our great churches reacted to the 1960s.

6 September 2021

The Tridentine Rite and the Anglican Patrimony (4)

The 1960s came as a nasty shock to Anglo-Catholicism. They were expecting reform from Rome, but not the sort of radical rupture which was to occur. Thus, writing in 1962, a Fr Bertram Jones, Vicar of Wrawby (New Rites ... Right or Wrong?) acknowledged that "the desirability of revising the Roman Mass ... is evident, though haste should be, and probably will be, avoided. Eventually, it is almost certain, a revised Roman Mass will emerge, with the Latin Canon inviolate but much, if not all, of the audible part in the vernacular". He urged, for use within the Church of England, "the interim policy of treating the Roman Mass in Latin as the norm to be used whenever and wherever, all things relevant carefully considered, it is practicable to use it; the rite of 1662 and the vernacular for the audible parts as the only permissible deviations from it; and the Gregorian Canon, silent and in Latin (with the 1662 Prayer of Consecration permissibly interpolated), as of strict obligation in every Mass".

Fr Jones was, as most Anglo-Catholic clergy still were, very attached to the Roman Canon. He cited "a former Regius Professor of Divinity and certainly no uncritical admirer of all things Roman, Dr Alexander Nairne" as calling it "the best of prayers (if not the best of all Latin compositions) in its direct, unadorned prayerfulness". He strongly prefered that it be used in Latin, reminding readers that "'to be learned in the Latin tongue' was a requirement laid down no less for Anglican ordinands than for Roman". As for the silent recitation, he had "no doubt that the Holy Spirit has not only inspired the words of the Canon, but led the Western Church to the practice of quiet at that part of the Holy Mysteries and that it is unlikely ever to be abandoned".

Within five years, a raw policy of naked aggression against Tradition had put paid to everything which Anglo-Papalists such as Jones thought to be obvious. Since they had always believed in Roman Authority over Liturgy, reluctantly, and most unfortunately, they buckled down to the new rites, simply because they believed that Rome had abolished the old rites. We now know that this is not so. Summorum Pontificum clarified the matter (which had remained uncertain ever since a Committee of Cardinal Canonists in the 1980s had come to the conclusion that ythe old Roman Missal had never canonically been abolished, their report being left unpublished out of fear for its possible consequences).

A few churches continued to use the English Missal, but they were regarded as eccentric. It was the authorisation of the Ordinariate Rite which restored the substance of the English Missal.

To be concluded.

5 September 2021

"Ebbsfleet has poped"

 What a joy it is that these dear old Anglo-Catholic verbs still survive. A famous poem by Sir John Betjeman asked "And has Sam Gurney poped?" (Sam Gurney never did.) Time was, when so many Anglican Catholics, cleric and laic, seemed to be hanging on in the House of Bondage (S J H Newman's turn of phrase) by their finger-tips, keeping all in suspense. Dr Mascall's Ultra Catholic, in that exquisitely snide final line, revealed that he "would have gone last thursday week, had not my wife objected". 

But when Pope Benedict issued his Great Invitation, the Ultra priests who had always said that, if Certain Things happened, they would be off, mysteriously seemed all to be still in place. It was the more solidly Anglican clerics who sheepishly turned up with Dossiers to be sent to Rome.

And now the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathan Goodall, has joined that noble procession of poping clerics. He deserves genuine admiration: it is no secret that the numbers of poping clerics has slumped since PF gave a new twist or two to the Petrine Ministry. Bishop Jonathan has demonstrated that the divine imperative to be in communion with the See of S Peter remains as strong as ever, whether in the times of a good pope or of, er, a Pope Francis.

Ebbsfleet has a striking history. When the C of E made 'pastoral' provision for the irreconcileables, the See of Ebbsfleet (a suffragan see of Canterbury, named not after the Railway Station or the Sandbank but after the spot where S Augustine landed) was invented, and its first 'Flying Bishop' was John Richards. He had been a solid member of the Exeter Mafia ... clerics identified with that distinctly Catholic diocese ... and had become one of Exeter's Archdeacons. This meant that he was in charge of clergy discipline and ensuring that the parishes paid their "quota". It was assumed that he would keep his iffy clergy in order; in fact, his gifts and energies were immediately refocussed on defending Catholicism against the liberal bullies. He was a very great pontiff; 'flying bishops' had little canonical authority, but 'JR' had immense auctoritas. His District contained more than a hundred parishes. When, on my retirement from teaching, I came on the market, he very wisely snapped me up.

His successor, Michael Houghton, soon died of heroic over-work. The next Bishop, Andrew Burnham, was also dogged by health problems (and so, for some years, JR continued to 'look after' the South West). But when he got going, Bishop Andrew focussed his attention on RITA (Rome is the answer). He knew that our movement needed a teleology; he reorganised the District as 'The Ebbsfleet Apostolic District' with Romish structures and terminology, and did an enormous amount to organise the movement which resulted in the 'appeal' to Pope Benedict and ... what happily followed.

Let us hope that there will be a long succession of "Bishops of Ebbsfleet", after whose names one will append in brackets the proud information "(poped)".

4 September 2021

The Tridentine Mass and the Anglican Patrimony (3)

Thus it is recorded of one of our more eccentric clergy, Fr Sandys Wason, of Cury and Gunwalloe, that as he approached to Altar on dark weekday mornings, he would murmur to his server "Anyone here?", and if the answer were negative, would reply "Good. Latin Mass". Mr Kensit's inventory of the enormities he found in Cury church concluded "But yet more, the Vicar dares to use A ROMAN MISSAL"! In the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham, no longer in the Sacristy but since the 1960s preserved among the archives, are large numbers of the Missale Romanum, showing many evidences of long and continuous use. And there were churches in which everything, even on Sundays, was Tridentine and in Latin (details in M Yelton Anglican Papalism).

Since the revival of 'ritual' in the Church of England, there had been a tendency for the Advanced, Extreme behaviour of one generation to have become 'mainstream' in the next. Thus, as the twentieth century progressed, there was much less bother about the perceived enormities of the previous century, such as candles, Eastward Position, the Mixed Chalice, Mass vestments, even incense and sacring bells. Many of the bishops were now doing these things or some of them themselves. The new controversies centred round the Presence and the Sacrifice: the extra-liturgical cultus of the Blessed Sacrament (Benediction, Exposition, Corpus Christi Processions); and the Canon of the Mass. In other words, bishops did their best to ban Benediction and to stop the interpolation of the Canon of the Mass, said silently, before and after Cranmer's Consecration Prayer.

This made the bishops very unpopular. Just imagine. A group of disaffected Protestant laity would go to a bishop with their list of complaints about their 'High Church' Vicar; the Bishop would promise to do something about it when he came to appoint the next Vicar (the present one enjoying Parson's Freehold, and hence being unsackable). But what Protestant laity very often wanted was the return of Morning Prayer instead of the Eucharist as the main service on a Sunday morning; if not that, they desired at least the removal of incense, chanting, servers, candles, bells. Their list of desired 'reforms' would almost certainly not include the removal of the Canon of the Mass, for the very simple reason that the Vicar said it silently during the singing of the Sanctus and Benedictus. They had never heard it and so they didn't even realise that they ought to be violently against it! 

The bishop would promise to see that the next Vicar was less Extreme. When the time came, he extracted from candidates for the job an undertaking that they would abandon the Canon and, in its place, use the "Interim Rite" (which meant that two of Cranmer's prayers, gummed together, replaced the Canon).

The Low Church Laity were furious. They knew nothing about the importance of the Canon, and gave the Bishop no credit for its elimination. All they saw was that the Bells and Smells continued. They were convinced that the Bishop had done the dirty on them. Bishops became, in their eyes, devious and deceitful men who broke their promises; shifty individuals, hand in glove with 'extreme' clergy, who never looked you in eye. Catholic clergy and laity were as damning; when the living had become vacant, the bishop had assured them with his nicest pastoral smile that he would "maintain the Catholic Tradition" at S Luke's; instead, he appointed a member of the group which was coming to be called "Protestants in Chasubles". 

To outsiders, the worship in S Luke's remained completely 'Romish'; little did they understand the subtleties of whether the "Western Rite" or the "Interim Rite" was in use. All they saw was complex ritual. One old Anglo-Catholic shrine church, All Saints Margaret Street, fell into the hands of such a priest; he banned from the hospitality of his altars clergy who used the Canon. Wagging a forefinger, he would say "You know the rule here, my dear; choreography according to Fortescue but libretto by Cranmer".

For some half a century, the Anglo-Papalist clergy were persecuted for using the Canon Romanus. This resulted in an awareness of its enormous importance being branded deeply into their (our) memories. Even today such persecution continues in the Church of England; Anglican diocesans intimate that they will not make a fuss about any liturgical practice however technically illegal as long as an Anglican Eucharistic prayer is used. The Canon Romanus is something we have fought and suffered for.

To be continued.

3 September 2021

The Tridentine Rite and the Anglican Patrimony (2)

After this, he would revert to Latin and use all the elements of the Roman Rite from the communion up to the end of the Last Gospel; the only compromise being that he would not say Placeat tibi and bless the people a second time. Despite Fr Kenrick's disavowals, this is clearly a rite compiled by a man anxious to say as much as possible of the Tridentine Mass, and to say it in Latin. And Fr Kenrick could justify all this by neatly claiming that its very language marked out his Latin materials as only "private devotions of the priest". Mass at Hoxton cannot have been brief.

Copies of the first printed edition apppear to be quite rare; it did not give the Latin texts of the Propers, but translated them into English. But it obviously supplied a need, because the second and subsequent editions abound in churches all over England and were still being purchased and used in the 1950s.

But, as the century progressed, Kenrick's nervous protestations of loyalty to the Prayer Book gave place to a new attitude among Anglo-Catholics, which was doctrinally and ecclesiologically based. An influential book The Truth about the Prayer Book was published in 1935 by Fathers Alban Baverstock and Donald Hole, in which they argued that the Prayer Book was in fact illegitimate and the Roman Rite the truly lawful liturgy of the Provinces of Canterbury and York (this was how many Anglo-Papalists preferred to refer to their Church; it was two lamentably separated provinces of the Western Church and not, as the phrase 'Church of England might suggest, an independant ecclesial body). "The Missal and Breviary formed the only 'prayer book' possessing canonical authority in the Church of England. Then, suddenly, an entirely new liturgy was forced upon the English provinces by the authority of Parliament. It possessed no spiritual or canonical authority whatever. Its introduction was in no sense the act of the Church of England, it was thrust upon an unwilling Church at the point of a sword." Even more significantly, they were inclined to argue that, anyway, "it would have been ultra vires for a provincial synod to abrogate a rite which had the prescriptive use of a thousand years behind it in the West".

This Altar book existed in many places in combination with the Missale Romanum. Depending on how 'instructed' his congregation was, a priest might use the English Missal  on Sundays, and the Missale Romanum on weekdays, and particularly at private Masses. The culture was: the Missale Romanum was the truly lawful book of the Western Latin Church of which we were (sadly, canonically separated) members members; the English Missal was a way of working towards that ideal.
To be continued.

2 September 2021

An Imminent Centenary

 "A summer's evening: On the evening of July 6th, 1922, the bells in the quiet old Norfolk village of Walsingham rang out in a merry peal as a small procession carrying an image of ancient design moved into the church from the south porch, where it had just been hallowed by that much loved priest of the Catholic revival [in the Church of England] Father Alban Baverstock.

"A halt was made at the famous Seven Sacrament [sic] font, and the then Vicar of Holy Trinity, Reading, standing on the steps, delivered a stirring sermon on the significance of the event then taking place. At its conclusion the procession re-formed; girls carrying boughs of sweet-smelling syringa preceded the image and a small company of nine priests, followed by people of the village all singing happily in Our Lady's honour, accompanied by the still clashing bells and the pealing organ, proceeded to the Guilds' Chapel in the same church. And there, on a pillar, the statue was set up, looking towards the ruins of the old Augustinian Priory, to the north of which the original shrine of the Holy House once stood. The Rosary was said, and Devotions to the Blessed Sacrament concluded the simple yet moving ceremony.

"Our Lady of Walsingham had come back.

" --- [thereafter, prayer was offered daily] for the return of the Ecclesia Anglicana to union with the Holy See -- the ultimate aim of the Catholic revival in this land." (Father Hope Patten, 1954)

So, in a few months time, we shall have the centenary of the restoration in the village of Little Walsingham, under the auspices of leading members of the Anglican Papalist movement, of one of Europe's greatest pilgrimages.

I hope something will happen!

This coming Saturday, the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham will be on pilgrimage to England's Nazareth. Devout readers might wish to pray for them: here is part of a prayer used since the early days of the restoration.

Most holy Virgin! I prostrate myself in spirit before thy Shrine at Walsingham, that Sanctuary favoured by thy visits, favours, and many miracles. I unite myself with all those who have ever sought thee, and do now seek thee, in that holy place, and join my prayers with theirs. But especially I unite my intentions with the intentions of the Priests who offer the Holy Sacrifice upon thy Altar there. ...

Dear Mother, Our Lady of Walsingham, remember me.



1 September 2021

The Tridentine Rite and the Anglican Patrimony (1)

The point of this piece and one or two which will probably follow it is to give chapter and verse for my conviction that what, until recently, we called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is an integral, historical part of the liturgical inheritance which we brought with us into full communion when we accepted Benedict XVI's offer of an Ordinariate. Quite apart from wider considerations involving the entire Latin Church, it is clear to me that any attempt to deprive Ordinariate clergy of the use of the Ancient and Authentic Form of the Roman Rite is ultra vires and a breach of an implicit undertaking. It is an attack on what I signed up for when I entered the Ordinariate. I regard this as a relevant subject at a time when the Authentic Use of the Roman Rite is under attack..

Go into any Anglo-Catholic sacristy in England and, gathering dust on some top shelf, you will find The English Missal  Missale Anglicanum. And probably more than one copy in more than one edition.

Fr Henry William Gordon Kenrick, 1862-1943 was its only begetter. An evangelical in origin, he trained at the London Divinity School. Having discovered the Catholic Faith, he was, from 1905 until 1937, Vicar of Holy Trinity Hoxton; years in which Anglo-Catholicism flourished in the Church of England, in its most Tridentine form.

The genesis of his EM appears to be a Missal, hand-written for the most part between June 1904 and the beginning of 1907, which is now in Pusey House Library accompanied by a letter from the compiler and scribe. He claims that he used it at the Altar "for some time and then translated into English, made many additions then got it printed as 'The English Missal'". Published in 1912, throughout its history it bore the publisher's name of W Knott.

In his introduction to the original manuscript Missal, Fr Kenrick nervously states that its "idea" was "to group the great pictures of the world around the Altar ... There is here also an attempt to combine absolute loyalty to the English Church and Liturgy with the felt want of systematic aids to the private devotions of the priest". This device ... the provision of private devotions ... goes back to the beginning of the provision of Anglo-Catholic Altar Books; the erudite Rector of North Cerney, Fr P G Medd (compiler also of the Prayer Book in the original Latin of its Medieval and earlier sources), produced The Priest to the Altar in 1861 ("privately ... sold to subscribers) "after some consultation with Canon Liddon and other friends resident in Oxford" (Liddon himself was accustomed to say the Canon of the Mass in Latin sotto voce when celebrating the Communion). In this book, short passages coyly labelled "(Sarum)" provided, in English, extracts from the Roman Rite.

But Kenrick's manuscript goes much further than these earlier publications. It consists of nothing less than the entire Prayer Book eucharistic rite (homilies and all) in English, with almost the entire Roman Rite in Latin. Fr Kenrick writes "The Latin parts are sanctioned in principle by the Preface in the Book of Common Prayer 'Concerning the Service'. One who desires to use only the Prayer Book can do do by reading only the English parts of this book. Any exceptions need the sanction of the Bishop".

A priest using Fr Kenrick's Missal would say the Preparation at the foot of the altar, and the Introit, in Latin; followed by the introductory material from the prayer book (including the Commandments and the Collext for the King) in English, until he had read the Collect and Epistle for the day. He would then revert to Latin for the Gradual. Later in the service he would incorporate the Roman Canon before and after the Prayer Book Prayer of Consecration, and continue in Latin with the Lord's Prayer and all the other Roman material up to the Communion. After Communion he would say the Lord's Prayer - again, but this time in English. - and the rest of the Prayer Book material up to the end of the Gloria. Placeat tibi followed, and then the Prayer Book blessing (during which, since the Blessed Sacrament was still upon the Altar until the Ablutions, he had to genuflect before turning to bless the people).

To be continued.

31 August 2021

John Haycroft.

John Haycroft lived and worshipped within my former Anglican parish of S Thomas the Martyr. He was a college servant - what in Oxford we call a scout. He was the scout of Sanctus Ioannes Henricus Newman. You see, my poor working-class parish was the behind-the-green-baize-door part of gentlemanly, academic Oxford. 

Haycroft never followed his master into full communion with the Holy See. But he also never forgot the lessons he had learned from ... whom? from Newman or from Canon Thomas Chamberlain (my distinguished predecessor who brought Catholicism out of the Common-rooms of Victorian Oxford into the ordinary parish church of a slum district)? Or from both? 

As an old man, when Communion had to be brought to him in his own home (a Victorian terrace house which, mercifully, survived the slum clearances of the last two decades), he insisted on observing the Eucharistic Fast, and on having his little table arranged so the the priest who brought him God's Body was ... facing East! 

I shan't forget the little manservant who felt so privileged to be able to listen to the discussions of Newman and his august friends.

30 August 2021


I am now resuming normal service with regard to the reading and enabling of proffered comments; and personal emails. I have been through all the comments which had arrived before last night; and enabled most of them. I just began going through the hundred or so personal emails; for some reason, my computer won't operate normally. I may have to abandon all those the emails.

Autumn, and Mortality (NOT FOR ANTIPODEANS)

Oh dear! The ORDO says "INCIPIT PARS AUTUMNALIS BREVIARII". (I recall that back in the fifties, when as a schoolboy I took up the use of a diurnale Romanum, some ORDOs were a bit more chatty about it: "Seposita parte aestiva Breviarii Romani, sumitur pars Autumnalis")***. Will this last summer prove indeed to have been the last summer of my life? Four times a year, one is reminded of one's mortality in the dry, deadpan, matter-of-fact, sort of way that rubricians do have. I find it far more chilling than revivalist sermons or even warnings about imminent asteroids.

Mind you, things could have been worse. Summer could have been even shorter. The great John Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter in the fourteenth century, notes on August 21 **Estas finitur. Autumpnus oritur. Incidentally, he also reminds us on September 5 that Dies caniculares finiuntur. How interesting. This is just the sort of information last-year seminarians should be given when they are being prepared to hear confessions. For you will remember the sage warning of Hesiod, that during the Dog Days women are at their most lustful (makhlotatai) while men are at their most feak and weeble (aphaurotatoi) because Sirius parches the head and knees.

Thinking along very much the same lines, the Use of Sarum has an interesting piece of doggerel advice for August. Quisque sub augusto vivat medicamine iusto. Raro dormitet **estum coitum quoque* vitet. Balnea non curet nec multa comestio duret. Nemo laxari debet vel phlebotomari. Quite uncanny, isn't it, in its proleptic description, and condemnation, of the modern popular package holiday: going somewhere hot; sunbathing; hopping in and out of the pool; overeating and overdrinking; pursuing venerem et scortilla. Hesiod, likewise, goes on for several lines about hezomenos en skiei and eating boos hulophagoio kreas.
* I assume this should be punctuated estum, coitum quoque, vitet.
** In medieval Latin, ae is pronounced and written e.
*** Reminders to clerics to put aside the Summer Volume of the Breviary and to get out the Autumn Volume.

29 August 2021


I reprint this piece from 2014 because of its relevance to the Feast today of my Patron S John Baptist. The 2020 CDF Decree on Prefaces renders this slightly out of date.

I am moved by the great fear that many traddies have of the slightest change to the Missal of 1962. 

Truly, people have been wounded.

(1) S John Baptist, whom we celebrate today, is at least as great a Saint as S Joseph. One could even argue that, in popular devotion, recent centuries have seen S John Baptist overshadowed in the Western Church by S Joseph. Now ... if it was OK to give S Joseph a preface in 1919, why would it be completely beyond the pale for S John Baptist to be given a Preface in 2019?
(2) In fact, this has been done already. There already is a "Gallican" preface for S John Baptist, authorised before 1962. In the SSPX French language ORDO, it is marked as ad libitum. Are those who oppose any change to '1962' arguing that somebody should go round and tear this preface out of all the SSPX missals in France?
(3) Why, in any case, is '1962' so sacrosanct? It is at least arguable that the 'Conciliar period' began with the election of Pius XII, who commissioned Annibale Bugnini and others to effect the extremely radical 'reforms' which came on stream in the 1950s. And feasts galore of our Lady were added in that Pontificate on impulse, rather as if a child were randomly playing with a rubix cube. Before Pius XII, for example, May 31 was in very many places the Feast of our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces; a fine and edifying Mass which would benefit us all by being brought back and made universal. This feast was displaced by our Lady, Queen ... which would be very suitably observed on the Octave of the Assumption ... etc etc..
(4) After S Pius V promulgated his recension of the Roman Missal, in every generation the feasts of 'new' Saints were added to the Calendar and the Sanctorale. Every pontiff did it. Just have a look at any pre-1962 Altar Missal preserved in any Sacristy throughout the world: you'll discover the 'new' masses glued in by the parish priest as they arrived hot off the press from Rome. Glue was an essential liturgical accessory in the pre-Conciliar period. The fact that no addition has been made since 1962 is thus, in itself, paradoxically, very profoundly untraditional. This does not mean, by the way, that every saint canonised was promptly added to the Universal Calendar. Quite the contrary. Accretions were gradual and cautious.

I feel that informed traddies do have a duty gently and sensitively to educate the more fearful. Complete, rigid, preservation of the very unsatisfactory Missal of 1962 is far from ideal. It would be best for a representative commission to take the status quo of 1939 as its starting point and then, very very gently, discern the sort of extremely light and gradual and organic developments which could have occurred if Pius XII had not ushered in an era of violent 'reform'.

28 August 2021

Waddesdon and Publius Ovidius Naso

Readers who are still wondering how to celebrate the re-opening of the country's old stately homes could do worse than to visit Waddesdon; a 'French chateau' built by Ferdinand de Rothschild to house his immense collection of Bourbon French goodies. Surely, Publius Ovidius Naso, with his love of the intricate joke, his frivolity, his sensuality, was the presiding numen of the arts and crafts of Bourbon France.

So what fun Waddesdon is; as good as the Wallace Collection or the Burrell (my favourite venue in my favourite Scottish city). Better than those, if you include the fountains, reconstructed after being bought from the duke of Parma [was it a Duke of Parma who congratulated Archbishop Lefebvre after the Econe Consecrations?]. What superb taste Baron Ferdinand had. The Spirit of Ovid lives; long live the Spirit of Ovid.

I feel so much more at home there than among the heavy splendours of nearby Blenheim, a monument to the career Johnny Churchill secured by his treachery to James II, and now cluttered up with memorabilia of some Brit politician who allied himself with Uncle Joe Stalin during some war we fought in the last century. If I have to choose between Jewish bankers and the traitorous clique that kept the Head of the House of Stuart off the throne, then give me the Jewish bankers any day of the week.

The only feature of a genuine French chateau of the seventeenth century which is missing at Waddesdon may be ... er ... a chapel ... Curiously, Baron Ferdinand did collect quite a bit of 'Christian' stuff, but he never provided it with a proper setting; so most of it is propped up on window sills in the Bachelors' Wing. Were Edwardian bachelors invariably Christians?

There is a 'chapel' at Blenheim, but it is never clear to me who or what is supposed to be worshipped there. Most of it is cluttered up with some great thing Rysbrack cobbled together in honour of ... Johnny Churchill. Sometimes they have exhibitions there which show scant respect for its nominal status as a Christian place of worship.

Typical of the Spirit of Blenheim.

27 August 2021

If it's beautiful, kill it

My generous friend, Professor William Tighe, once sent me a fascinating little book (Roman and uncondemned) published in 1959 (remember the date!) by one Canon Dudley Symon. Symon was, in fact, a predecessor of mine at Lancing College, a papalist writer but not an unreflecting admirer of the Roman Catholicism of his day. A snippet: "A Pontifical High Mass, as it is celebrated today, with all the adjuncts of light, colour, scent, movement and music, is one of greatest artistic achievements of the human mind, worthy to be set beside a Symphony by Beethoven, or the Parthenon in Athens, or the frescoes of Michael Angelo. The Liturgical Reformers, like all other Reformers, will need watching lest their zeal leads them 'to root up the wheat also'."

How right he was. And these words seem almost uncanny in their prescience: "... since the Church [of England] makes a special appeal to primitive antiquity, since its reference is to the ancient Fathers and the age of the Great Councils, since its own ethos is in many ways so akin to the Roman, it needs also the Mass which is the purest expression of the faith and worship of that whole period ... the Mass restored to us would not only be the deepening of our knowledge and appreciation of the Divine Mysteries but a proclamation of our unity with the true source of our being, the rock whence we were hewed."

My motive for presenting Dudley's thinking is, of course, PF's new initiative with regard to Catholic Worship. I can see no harm in  reminding one and all of the conviction reached by so many thoughtful and informed Anglicans about the Roman Rite as it was before the wreckers got to it. There is instruction for all of us in this. Ab Anglicanis fas est doceri.

I never fail to be moved as I say those words Te igitur ... by which in the classical Roman Rite one seems to enter silently as through a secret gate into the very heart of the divine mystery of the self-oblation of the Eternal Son.

26 August 2021

Cardinal Hume

People criticise Cardinal Basil Hume. They tell me that he was responsible for a collapse in English Catholicism. To which I would reply that post hoc ergo propter hoc is a flawed logical assumption. As well as a massively simplistic way of doing history.

I rather admired him and certainly found him easy to respect, as well as downright lovable. But I do think it can be argued that, faced with bullies, he lacked gumption. Two examples of which I had knowledge.

One Thursday, in Archbishop's House in the 1990s (how many readers remember those Irish Country Dancing Classes?), vested in his elderly black cardigan, he revealed to the assembled Anglican clergy that the Anglican episcopate had requested that, when Anglican clergy had entered the priesthood of the English Catholic Church, they should renounce their Church of England pension entitlements. A noisy rumble of anger echoed round the room. Basil looked awkward. "You would not be prepared to do this?", he nervously enquired. There was an even louder, even angrier, rumble. "Very well", he said. He did not look to me like a man who relished carrying this negative answer back to his Ecumenical Partners in Dialogue.

Not only his Anglican episcopal 'friends', but also his fellow Catholic bishops, were prepared to bully him. His first reaction to the attempt in the mid-1990s to find a corporate solution for Anglican Catholics was to say "Perhaps this is the Conversion of England for which we have always prayed". First thoughts are so very often the best thoughts! But it wasn't long before this grace-filled openness to a movement of the Spirit was knocked out of him by some of his colleagues, and replaced by their cautious and hostile negativity. This, of course, is why Benedict XVI, when the same question arrived on his desk fifteen years later, decided to play his cards rather close to his chest. Cuius laus in aeternum manebit!

Basil Hume was kind and gentle and holy, a true Father Abbot. There must be thousands whom he helped to find their way to the Lord Jesus. May he rest in peace.

25 August 2021

Bad Taste.

So was it bad taste for me to write the other day with insouciance about the burning of Archbishop Cranmer? Very probably. I have never had much good taste. But I recall Dix's imagination of Cranmer's last musings ... 

" ... for this [the Royal Supremacy] he had shed blood, or consented to its shedding, in case after case where, rightly or wrongly, he believed the victims innocent  ... Zwinglian and papist, he had burned them both at different times, along with miscellaneous Arians and Eutychians and Anabaptists, for their creeds -- reluctantly (for he was by nature gentle) but persistently enough -- right down to Van Morey, not long before King Edward died. And now he was coming to join them himself. One wonders if the thought of them all passed through the old man's mind as he hurried of his own accord out of S Mary's along the Turl to where the stake stood in the Broad outside Balliol -- Lambert the Zwinglian and Friar Forrest -- and the gentle Fisher, and More the witty chancellor, and old abbot Whiting -- but they were in King Henry's time, and for a matter of treason, like the Carthusians -- whether the Boleyn girl were a lawful queen or a whore -- Both! -- That would have ruined him if he had not condemned her, though he had almost thought her innocent -- and Seymour the Admiral, and his brother and murderer Seymour the Protector -- he had abandoned them both in turn, though he had thought them innocent too -- but their cases were desperate, and his own mission could not be compromised in fighting lost battles -- and those hundreds of yokels strung up in 1549 -- and little Jane Grey and that ruffianly Northumberland -- the cur professed himself a papist on the the scaffold, that had been the ravingest protestant in England!-- A safer religion for a bad man to die in? -- ..."

24 August 2021

Jobs (Officia)

In the Treasury of Canterbury Cathedral are a Chalice and Paten which were buried with Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury 1193-1205. The paten bears an inscription which perfectly exemplifies the attitude Latin Christians had towards the Blessed Sacramnent before the Eucharistic Enlightenment for which Pope John XXII was responsible: they believed that the Sacrament is the Body and Blood of Christ ... the dead Body and blood of Christ.

Ara crucis, tumulique calix, lapidisque patena,

     Sindonis officium candida byssus habet.

As your knowledge of Latin grows, you will find it helpful to try to translate Latin which you may come across. People who think they can get a 'sort of general sense', perhaps by looking up a word or two in a dictionary, are ... let me be brutally frank ... complete fools. Latin word-order and grammar mean that the words will be in a word-order totally different from English. If you don't know grammar, you will be unable to work out  whether the cat bit the dog, or the dog bit the cat. 

And word order is even more (to the Anglophone eye) problematic in verse than it is in prose.

What I have printed above is an elegiac couplet, which is a verse form. One way of suspecting this is: if the even-numbered lines are shorter and end in the rhythm tumtitty tumtitty tum. 

First you need to spot the verb. Here it is habet. Next, what is the subject? When you have got your declensions learned off by heart, you will probably cotton on to the fact that Ara, calix, patena, byssus, are all subjects, in what is called the Nominative Case. Crucis, tumuli, lapidis, sindonis, are genitives (meaning "of").

Next ... if the verb has an object, what is it?


So, with English-style word-order, we can rearrange the two lines into 

Ara habet officium crucis, calix habet officium tumuli, patena habet officium lapidis, candida byssus habet officium sindonis. 

Which is, in English

The Altar has the job of the Cross, and the Chalice has the job of the Tomb, and the Paten has the job of the Stone, and white linen has the job of the Shroud.

Alluding, all of it, to the dead and buried Jesus. And to the Altar, Chalice, Paten, and Purificator at Mass.

Hey, er, presto ...

23 August 2021

Bishop Grandisson and his heretic

Ralph de Tremur, a Cornish-speaking heretic with a distinguished academic record and a fluent tongue, was unimpressed by the newly burnished devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, encouraged by Pope John XXII and brought to Exeter by Bishop Grandisson. Tremur was so off-message as to argue that bread and wine did not turn substantialiter by virtue of the words of consecration into the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. And he spread his heresies among common, simple folk. Rather vividly, he observed "You are worshipping the work of your own hands! How absurd! What else does a priest do apart from gaping and breathing over a bit of bread!" He was reported to have dramatised his views by secretly carrying off from a church the pyx containing Christ's Body, taking out the Sacrament, and throwing it into the fire. .

Perhaps Tremur should be considered less a precursor of bibliolatrous Reformation Protestantism than of modern Liberalism: he took the view that S Peter was a bad hollow rustic ...

... or did he? I feel tempted, in my wild Enlightenment way, to emend the word (in Grandisson's Register) cavus to calvus ... in which case he was calling the Prince of the Apostles "a nasty old bald peasant"....

He also called S John a lying perjurer. Why? I suspect he had the Eucharistic teaching of John chapter  6 in mind. Grandisson certainly referred to this passage in his own explanation of why Tremur's heresy "undoubtedly and obviously subverts the whole Catholic Faith, empties each of the sacraments individually, and completely destroys the truth of the gospels". 

Did everything end happily for the Bishop, with Grandisson burning Tremur. Sadly, we have no evidence of this. But it is worth noting that in 1549 the Western peasantry were prepared to risk their own deaths for the practice of worshipping the Blessed Sacrament, and demanded that those who opposed this worship should "dye like heretykes against the holy Catholyque fayth". And it is likely that their laudable rebellion was sparked off by Protestant interference during an illegal Corpus Christi celebration at Clyst St Mary in Devon. 

In the two centuries between Grandisson and Cranmer, it was Grandisson's orthodoxy and piety that had entered the devout souls of the people of the English West, God bless and rest them.

And, if Tremur didn't burn, Cranmer did.

22 August 2021

Taking leave

As we conclude the old Octave of the Assumption - I like the old Byzantine habit of "taking leave" of great festivals - I invite readers to engage with the question of what we are celebrating today ... and to begin by tracing the history of one particular hymn.

The post-conciliar revisers, in their first draft of the Hymnarium, proposed to offer a ninth century hymn, O quam glorifica, on Assumption day. It did not make it to the final cut, but it does appear in the new Office Book on August 22, the old Octave day, to which the 'reformers' transferred the Feast of Mary, Queen (at the same time ejecting the Immaculate Heart from that day onto the Saturday after the Sacred Heart). Interestingly, that hymn was, in the first millennium, a Proper hymn for the Assumption.

I can see that combining the Queenship of Mary with her Octave day does have a lot to be said for it. Long before gentlemen in liturgy offices in Rome started shifting Marian feasts around like counters on a Ludo board, Dom Gueranger saw the Octave day of the Assumption in terms of our Lady's Queenship. I hope I am not too puritanical about the Marian frenzy of the pontificate of Pius XII - that sort of thing is rather fun from time to time - but his liturgists never had an over-all, holistic look at the arrangement of the new feasts he showered upon the calendar. Even if Vatican II had never happened, a bit of sorting and sifting would have been in order in the next pontificate. 

They might have decided to make the old feast pro [multis] aliquibus locis of our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces, on May 31, a Feast of the Universal Church. And to have left the Visitation where they found it. And to have adopted a neat eighteenth century idea of putting the Most Pure [aka Immaculate] Heart of Mary onto the Saturday after the Sacred Heart. 

And, come to think of it, they might have encouraged Octave Days to survive.

That would have been an organic and gradual evolution of the data emerging from the 'baroque' period of the history of the Calendar.

21 August 2021

A Model Diocesan Bishop

It would be interesting to know exactly what the Dean and Chapter of Exeter had heard about their new bishop in August 1327. They certainly knew that he had been 'supplied' by the Holy See in place of the man they had themselves elected and whom the King had already confirmed. Presumably they knew he was a favourite of Pope John XXII. I suspect they had also heard that he was a micromanager, because they immediately put in hand the creation of a new Cathedral inventory.

John de Grandisson (pronounced Grahns'n), member of a top-flight international family, certainly turned out to be a man who devoted scrupulous attention, and considerable funds, to worship. A decade or two ago, more than six centuries and one 'reformation' after his death, he still merited an entire section on himself in a major London exhibition of Gothic art ... and some vestments with his arms embroidered on them still repose in a sacristy in ... the Azores! After his enthronement (which as a devotee of the Mater Misericordiae he fixed for the Octave Day of the Assumption in 1328; he decreed that the day should be a top-ranking feast for ever) his first decree endeavoured to raise the level of devotion among the unreformed rabble of Cathedral clergy by granting ample indulgences to those who devoutly attended choir and bowed their heads at the Names of Jesus and Mary. (It didn't work; hearing a few weeks later that the junior clergy were still behaving like naughty third-formers, he sent the Dean a stinker: 'Someone has failed to take measures ...').

As the first of his many benefactions, he gave a sumptuous monstrance to the Cathedral so that Corpus Christi, recently (yes; don't believe all that Transiturus stuff) instituted by John XXII, could be properly observed with a procession. He began his great masterpiece, the Ordinale Exoniense, codifying and modernising the usages of his Cathedral (not, as some Art Historian nutter has written, of the Diocese; in a time of manuscript altar-books the concept of Diocesan Regulations is anachronistic). It was probably he who suppressed some dreadful old lyrics which had previously been sung in the Exeter Procession of Relics: Grandisson preferred the new cult of the Blessed Sacrament (and devotion to our Lady) to tall tales about dubious miracles performed by obscure relics. He dealt expeditiously with a false claim of a miracle, and suppressed a phony shrine of our Lady which enabled fortune-tellers to exploit the gullible. 

We have a couple of pages from a Mary Missal, for daily use in the Lady Chapel either at Exeter or at his collegiate foundation at Ottery, in which the bishop in his own handwriting has painstakingly corrected scribal errors. He completed the building of his Cathedral in great splendour. He went after a Cornish heretic who, as heretics sometimes do, had stolen a Host specifically in order to commit sacrilege ... more on him in a day or two. Grandisson sent his own private army to prevent the Primate of All England, his own metropolitan Archbishop and Legatus natus Apostolicae Sedis, from entering Exeter on Visitation. He complained to his Patron in Avignon about the Cornish weather. But he did his duty even in the wind-swept extremities of the Dumnonian peninsula, consecrating altars and composing conflicts and seeing to it that in Cornubiphone parishes the clergy could preach in Cornish.

Even though he did not die at this time of the year, he ordered that his obit be kept on the day after the Octave of the Assumption; that is, today. I can't think of a more suitable day.

He was a devout old bully and a most magnificently cosmopolitan pontiff and a gigantic credit to the much-maligned, unjustly maligned, Avignon papacy. What a mercy that a wise Providence in its eternal decrees did not call upon him to exercise his episcopal ministry in the Age of Bishops' Conferences; I can't imagine him ... er ... sitting quietly at a table ... and ... er ... just ... er ...

I said Mass for him this morning. They don't make them like him nowadays. Or do they?

Cuius animae intercedente Matre Misericordiae propitietur Deus.

20 August 2021

Totius Sacrae Liturgiae Instaurator

In 1956, Hannibal Bugnini made the prediction that Pius XII would be given by History the title I have used as the heading above. Notice the totius !! We woz warned!!

My point today is going to be that the Second Vatican Council was not the cause of the liturgical disasters which followed it. (In fact, I strongly suspect that the Conciliar Decree on Liturgy represented, not an encouragement to irresponsible 'reforms', so much as a modest attempt to rein things back.) I will illustrate my point by quoting what the Reverend Professor Canon Doctor Eric Mascall wrote in 1958. By then things were already pretty clearly well out of hand!

"[T]he [Roman] authorities have set on foot nothing less than a liturgical revolution. No longer can it be said that 'Rome never changes'. Partly the changes have consisted in the introduction of totally new practices in order to meet the alleged special needs of the present day; such are, for example, the progressively extended permission for the celebration of Mass in the evening and the drastic modification of the rules governing the eucharistic fast. Partly they have consisted in the restoration of features of the rite that had been abandoned, or in the removal of medieval and modern accretions which were considered  to have obscured the true meaning of the liturgy; such are the complete revision of the rite of Holy Week ... Furthermore, it is well known that a much more radical reform is in preparation, which, if the statements made at the International Congress of Pastoral Liturgy held at Assisi in Septemberr 1956 can be taken as pointers, is likely among other things to include a vastly extended use of the vernacular. Some of these changes may be of doubtful advantage ..."

19 August 2021

FILIOQUE; and incense

There are Roman Catholics for whom the central dogma of their Faith is that Anglican Orders, invariably and in any conceivable circumstances, must be invalid.

Similarly, there are Orthodox for whom the fearful iniquity of Filioque is the central dogma of all Orthodoxy.

Both of these questions rather bore me. I'm unwilling to spend time on them.

But, as far as Filioque is concerned, I follow the lines of the Roman document The Greek and Latin traditions about the procession of the Holy Spirit, 1995. I see the heart of the 'problem' as the imperfect match between Greek terminology (proienai ... ekporeuesthai) and Latin (procedere). If I were to press things further, I would suggest that putting Filioque into the Greek Creed would be heretical or nearly heretical, as implying two pegai, two arkhai, of the theotes. I would be uneasy about leaving Filioque out of the Latin Creed, lest this conveyed a hint of Arianism.

Our Byzantine brethren need to remember that, in our heterodox West, Arianism is still alive and mightily flourishing. Orthodox worshippers are given no opportunity to forget that Christ is indeed our true God. In the West, however, we have Bergoglianite heretics, not all of them Jesuits, asserting that we do not know what the Man from Nazareth really taught ... there was nobody present with a tape-recorder ... an attitude which betrays a powerful underlying Arian mindset. 

Readers will be aware that the simple and obvious Hunwicke solution to this phenomenon would be to have the 'Athanasian Creed' chanted at least once a month in every parish church before the Most Holy Sacrament solemnly exposed, with incense offered at those points in the text which most forcefully assert the Godhead of the Son. Plenary Indulgences toties quoties. This ceremony, so latreutic, so didactic, could also profitably take the place of those preposterous 'papal public audiences'. His all-holiness the Patriarch of Moskow and All the Russias prostrates himself for quite some time before the Blessed Sacrament after the Epiclesis; it would be very decently Ecumenical for the Bishop of Rome to be seen doing something analogous.

I have said that I would be uneasy about leaving the Filioque out of the Latin Creed. But I sha'n't express this sentiment too intemperately, because in the admirable papal/CDF document Dominus Iesus of 2000, the text begins with the Creed in Latin but ... ... ... without the Filioque!!

I am not happy, in future, to entertain on my blog arguments or rhetoric about Filioque which do not engage soberly and politely with the 1995 paper; or fail to show decent respect for our Latin traditions.

18 August 2021


From Eric Mascall:

"It has often been pointed out  ... that the idea of a liturgy as something composed by a committee and then imposed by authority is a very novel one. Its first appearance seems to be in England in 1549, though it was followed soon after in the Roman Church with the issuing of the Pian Missal in 1570. In all the great periods of liturgical development the governing factor was the liturgical consciousness of the worshipping Church, though synods and even secular rulers might exert a more or less wholesome influence upon it, as, for example, Charlemagne and the Byzantine emperors."

I would add a couple of qualifications to this:

(1) The Pian Missal of 1570 had very few differences from what went before ... you could have continued to use your old books ... while Cranmer's 1549 Prayer Book was an overnight radical change ... you could not have used your Sarum Missal from yesterday without breaking  the Act of Parliament enjoining the Prayer Book. 

(2) The technological advance of Printing was/is necessary to put a new committee-liturgy into immediate, enforced, country-wide effect.