In conclusion.... one might wonder whether, in the middle of this rich pot-pourri of hanky panky, a valid Marriage did manage to take place at all. The Oilby Event 'three days before' cannot have been canonically valid, although it does not appear that Oilby made this 'pastorally' clear to the couple. And if, three days after it, in S George's Chapel Windsor, the couple witheld their intention to contract Matrimony ...
One of the advantages of being Long in the Tooth is that ones capacity for remembering Ancient History seems to be enhanced. So my pererrant mind has, just this moment, wandered back to the first Wedding I solemnised well over fifty years ago. I recollect that, after the Service, the Reception was most enjoyable. In particular ... the Bride's Grandmother seemed a lady of precise and accurate discernment. At one point, her dissatisfied voice ... refreshed, perhaps, by a glass or two ... rose querulous above the circumambient hubbub. "Bl**dy Vicar's the only good-looking man here." she cried.
In ones seedy senility, one remembers such things.
Not that I was a 'Vicar'. I was not even a 'Curate' in the precise sense of that term.
Poor simple folk sometimes think that 'Vicar' is the correct term for any Clerk in Holy Orders ... or, indeed, for any Minister of Religion. Definitely not. In the Middle Ages, the instituted Incumbent of a parish was, usually, the 'Rector'. But if the 'Rector' was a Religious Community, that community appointed a cleric to perform its duties in the parish. That cleric was known as 'the Vicar' because his job was vicariously to discharge the functions of the absent corporate Rector. (Lots of Anglican Parish priests nowadays are neither Rectors nor Vicars but simply priests-in-charge, acting by virtue of a Licence. This arrangement was cunningly designed to make them sackable without full canonical process.)
Dom Gregory Dix loved to point out that the Church of England retained far more unreformed medievalisms than the post-Tridentine Latin Church.
'Parson', from the Latin Persona, covered both Vicars and Rectors. I once read a bilingual monument to a former pp in a Breton Church, on which the French language version referred to him as 'Cure'; the Breton language side as 'Parson'. And there is an elderly English joke:
Question Why are Hell and the Smoking Room at the Athenaeum so similar?
Answer In each of them, you can't see the fire because all those parsons get in the way.
I am not, and never for one moment of my life have I been, a Vicar.
Accordingly, I was most terribly wounded when some schismatic American clergyman called Ceckada (not to be confused with Cupich) referred to me on the Internet as 'Vicar Hunwicke'.
I was on the verge of suing him for Libel when, sadly, he fled the jurisdiction of all earthly courts by dying.
Legal loopholes ...
Whatever happened to those Victorian 'Perpetual Curates'?
Question: What’s the difference between a Cekada and a Cupich?
Answer: If the Cekada was charged with being a Catholic there would at least be sufficient evidence to prosecute!
'....one might wonder whether....a valid marriage did manage to take place at all.'
With regard to Her Grace's previous union, has there been a Declaration of Nullity? Back in the day, Welby's predecessor was quite obliging to Prince Henry's Tudor namesake.
I think we should be told.
The Victorian Perpetual Curate.
I wonder Father if any of your readers recall the wonderful 'All Gas and Gaiters' and, in particular, the episode 'The Bishop Gets a Letter', in which the great Fred Emney played the Rev. Ernest Raggatt, perpetual curate of Stagmarsh?
Alas obliterated by the BBC in its Great Wiping Frenzy, but still available as a radio episode, albeit not with Fred Emney in the star role.
The priests in charge thing sounds like how Diarmuit Martin Emeritus Abp of Dublin appointed administrators instead of parish priests. They have the responsibilities, duties of a PP, but none of the rights in canon law.
With all due respect for the dead (some less deserving of this genteel superstition than others, I think), if all that you, Father Hunwicke, received by way of insult from the late Father Cekada was the misuse of the title "vicar," then consider yourself most fortunate. From personal experience long ago (before Father Cekada and others betrayed their ordaining father, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, by splitting into their own group which, just a few years later, split again into the more hard-line sedevacantist group which included Cekada), I can assure you it could have gone much nastier for you. Others were, for non-doctrinal and non-moral but totally capricious issues, denied access to the Mass by some of these priests. Charity was not---despite what some now claim after his departure---one of his defining qualities. I hope he died in the friendship and grace of the Sweet Savior into Whose priesthood he was ordained. I trust anyone reading this will say an Ave for his dearly purchased soul. May Father Cekada rest in peace.
Poor Father Cekada. I know him only through Youtube, and by his literary reputation, and have never been a sede-vacantist myself. Some of his sermons were beautiful, and he seems to have been sincere.
I am reminded what my good friend yelled at a lady who was attacking the parish traditionalists. "Yes- we ARE crazy- and YOU made us this way. Attacked us, our altars, our churches and our images, forbid us to pray the way we had always prayed. You- YOU MADE US CRAZY!
He was in the seminary since he was a boy, and he witnessed the orgy of destruction that took place in Milwaukee, and the scandals, and the perverts, and the collapse of the entire city, largely because of political reasons, but very largely through the destruction of the Catholic culture that held the neighborhoods together.
If it were not for the changes wrought through VII, we might know of him as the pastor of some vast urban parish, with its cathedral like church, or as a noted professor, author, or composer of music (which he was.)
But, they made him crazy.
Still kind, eloquent, talented, pious, a dedicated priest. But, crazy over what he could not rationally accept.
Since Christians follow and worship as God Someone Who said He was the Truth, I still believe truth matters---even in smallish, perhaps trivial things. Yes, Father Anthony Cekada was a dedicated priest in various ways, a serious composer of sacred music, a reverent officiant of the Church's rites (I attended his masses in Florida in the late seventies and early eighties over a period of time), a respectable and witty scholar. But, he decidedly was not crazy (quite rational, in fact), nor was he gentle or kind, I lament to say. A priest who disrespects his own parishioners (as he did me when I picked him up at the Miami airport and invited him to an Italian dinner) and dislikes people (some in his pastoral care) based on their ethnicity (this related to me by a most worthy and truly kind priest in Father Cekada's priestly organization, a venerable old man who was also a former Anglican dean of the Johannesburg cathedral)---such a man cannot credibly be described as kind. I remember the eloquence of his sermons, his keen intelligence, as well as his arrogance quite vividly; it gives me no joy to say this and will decidedly say no more on this subject, which is best left in peace, even if this priest was a rather public figure not immune from legitimate criticism and the exigencies of truth. May Father Anthony Cekada enjoy the bliss of his Father's House, his faults while in this vale of tears where we are all wounded by original sin notwithstanding. I hope all who read this blog will say a prayer for his soul.
They became 'Vicars' automatically on a date in the nineteenth- century, a date that escapes me momentarily.
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