UPDATE Yup!! I was right ... having a Nuncio with a Language-and-literature background does make a difference!! We had an elegant homily using 2 Corinthians 2:15 "Christou euodia" to link up the Chrism and our mission as Christ's sweet fragrance to attract the world to Him. This is a man worth listening to because he thinks, and he speaks memorably, and he does not condescend.
He was not a disgrace to the memory of Caius Valerius Catullus! I bet he sails his phaselus on Benacus and cooks his supper in oil pressed from the olives on Sirmio!
Lady Day, 1991, thirty years ago, was marked by the death of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. My warmest greetings and most sincere good wishes go to my friends, brother priests of his admirable Society.
And, ten years ago this year, Pope Benedict XVI (ad multos annos, plurimosque annos) erected the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham.
And, today, the Apostolic Nuncio is visiting our Principal Church in London to consecrate the Oils.
We are told that he has asked to preach. That's exactly what I would have done. On such a day as this, the sermon more-or-less writes itself! What would you, dear reader, given such an opportunity, have said in your homily? Moi, I would have congratulated the Ordinariate on the years ... decades, rather, if not centuries ... in which its future members fought against Liberalism and Indifferentism and Syncretism and all the other Modernist heresies in the Church of England; I would have spoken warmly about the good sense of Pope Benedict in so graciously and enthusiastically inviting such sound Catholics into the Full Communion of the See of Peter; and I would have urged my hearers to make their distinctive contribution to the life of English Catholicism by continuing to fight the same 'battle glorious' against ... essentially ... the same enemies.
Vatican Diplomats, IMHO, are very good things. At our last Chrism Mass before the Pestilence, the then Nuncio, in the Te igitur, tactfully named our Ordinary as "Keith our Bishop" ... a very acceptable captatio benevolentiae. Before him, there was Tony Mennini, whose colourful earlier life in the Diplomatic Service had been that of a sort of Mgr James Bond (but without the sex or the beretta). Mennini nominated two sound bishops to the English Bench of Bishops; rather splendidly, a rumour then buzzed round that some of the creakier English bishops had complained to Rome that an 'unbalanced' episcopate was being created! Goodness, what a wicked thing that would have been!!
Even if that story was untrue, it was ben trovato. Mind you, Archbishop Tony's liturgical instincts were not very Staggers. One felt that the Oils had really been consecrated by Fr Lloyd ... and were none the worse for that. Vivat Spiritus Couratinianus.
The 'new' Nuncio is called Claudio Gugerotti. I suspect him of being third cousin twice (at least) removed of dear Cardinal G'rotti who, as older readers will remember, featured weekly in the cartoons which John ('Pugwash') Ryan drew for the old Catholic Herald. Gugerotti has an intriguing background ... a man with liturgical and patristic and ecumenical and literary skills ... he once taught Armenian Language and Literature. So he might be interesting. He comes from Verona, but I don't recall ever having noticed him at the opera or tucking into vitello tonnato in the Casino beside Lake Garda. Perhaps he goes around incognito.
Next year, who knows if God might send us another North Italian papal diplomat, Archbishop Vigano, to 'do' our Chrism Mass. Rumour has it that His Excellency has spent Lockdown in Lombardy teaching himself how to celebrate the Authentic Form of the Roman (or Ambrosian?) Rite
, so he would have no trouble adapting himself to our Ordinariate Rite. It could provide him with a new Retirement Interest. A chap needs to keep spry after he retires from full-time Ministry.
Happy Days! Broad, sun-lit, uplands!