30 April 2021

WONDER WEEK!!! CAECUBUM DEPROMITE!!!

Here is something which has probably lurked at least in the the subconscious mind of each reader who is daily concerned to live the daily liturgy of our Latin Church.

The imminent week has a unique and glorious characteristic. It is, for those following the Gregorian Calendar, always part of Eastertide. However late Easter is (April 25?), it is never so late that the Abstinences of Lent and Passiontide can thrust their austere requirements forward into May. However early Easter is (March 22?), it is never so early that Red (or even dreader thought, Green) vestments can claw their way back into early May. Simplifying a bit (details of course in Cheney): this one week of the year is always clear of pre-Eastertide, always clear of post-Eastertide, and generally clear even of the pressures of the Easter and Pentecost Octaves.

The Week that is never unEaster!

So you might expect that the special Providence which looks after ecclesiastical calendars would have made this unique week very distinctly special.

It did! It did!

Whooppee!

Tomorrow, for example, May 1, is in many diverse cultures special. I don't know that I believe all the stuff so beloved of anti-Christians ("old pagan festivals Christianised ... Beltane ... "), but May Day is a happy celebration of Spring (apologies to the Antipodes) and not least here in Oxford (Covid permitting). For us, it is the glorious English Festival of Ss Philip and James. 

Then, at least this year, Sunday brings us the Julian Easter with its own special joy, followed by Bright Week. Christos anesti! Alethos anesti! Don't forget the Zoodochos Pege!

And Monday, May 3, is pure genius. The festival of the Finding of the Holy Cross ... a Double of the Second Class ... shows us the Cross of Salvation suffused now with the light of the Resurrection. Eng-lit enthusiasts will recall the splendid old English poem about the Glorious Rood, but for all of us, important as is the Cross of the Dolours, the Cross of Pathos, our crucial focus should be on the Cross of Triumph. Qualiter Redemptor Orbis/ immolatus vicerit! Io Triumphe!

May 4, for the English, brings another Triumph, that of our beloved English Martyrs. A 'Festum' in the Novus Ordo and the Ordinariate; in a revised Trad Calendar for England, it must surely be made at least a Greater Double ... or a Double of the Second Class.

Wednesday commemorates the great pontiff S Pius V, whose statue is so reassuringly at our Lady's side in the Brompton Oratory. Regnans in excelsis!

Thursday, May 6, S John at the Latin Gate, celebrates in our Ordinariate the beginning of the secret, underground meetings by which we responded to the gracious call to Unity of Pope Benedict XVI. 

And May 8, the Apparition of S Michael, the Protector of Cornwall, calls to our minds the Cornish S Michael's Mount and the story of the Wedged Bull between the theves (see blogpost of this time last year); the old Cornish Language Mystery plays with their cheerful peasant Catholic humour; the splendour of the late Medieval Churches with their iconography of the Five Wound; and the ever-present memory of those Catholics, gentry and peasantry, who were slaughtered in the proddy genocide of 1549. Not to mention Fr Bernard Walke and Fr Sandys Wason and Athelstan Riley and all the heroes, laic and cleric, Confessores Domini, of the distant but glorious days when Truro was the most Catholic Diocese in the C of E. Sed transivit gloria istius mundi.

This is not a week to be sniffed at! Not a Week for stuffy sobriety!!

Nothing and nobody can take these glories from us!! Well, Pius XII and Bugnini tried to, but Christendom in its long memory knows, with Benedict XVI, that what has been sacred cannot be trashed for ever. 

So Fathers, Mothers, Sister, Brothers ... untrash it! Grab it all! Take it back! Or, if you wish to plan ahead circumspectly, why not work out this week how you will celebrate WONDER WEEK next year!

29 April 2021

The "Appeal to Antiquity"

Everybody appeals to Antiquity: whether S Pius V (bull  Quod a nobis " ... ad pristinam orandi regulam conformata revocaretur ...")  or Archbishop Cranmer ("these many years passed, this godly and decent order of the ancient fathers hath been so altered, broken, and neglected ..."). And Vatican II, quoted by S Paul VI ("restituuntur ad pristinam sanctorum Patrum  normam nonnulla quae temporum iniuria deciderunt ...").

Smart chaps sometimes point out the problems here: Dom Gregory Dix loved to explain how little the 'reformers' actually knew about the worship of the 'Primitive Church' because relevant texts had not been published, but earlier (1904) Wickam Legg acknowledged that "Appeal to Antiquity may from imperfect knowledge of antiquity fail here and there". He comforted himself, however, with the thought that Antiquity "is a better principle than that which approves every abuse that has grown up in the Church ...". Legg footnotes the contrary opinion of Henry Manning: "But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine".

But the problem tends to be "Which Antiquity?" In Manning's time, the 'Antiquity' to which men appealed might often be the medieval usages of English Catholicism. Legg quotes a 'remarkable letter written to Cardinal Manning in 1866 by Mgr Talbot, who was in the household of Pius IX' "Your rule ought to be the Bullariun Romanum, and not the opinions of Dr Rock". 

But Rock (and Pugin and the Medievalist Anglican Ritualists) are not the only people whose mirage of a normative Antiquity is open to question. In the 1960s, the authentic early Roman liturgical Apostolic Tradition of Pope S Hippolytus was immensely influential. It supplied the Eucharistic Prayer which, in our post-Conciliar Church, is used in the overwhelming number of Eucharistic celebrations. And the Consecratory Prayer by which Latin Rite bishops are consecrated. Magnificent stuff.

But ... oops-a-daisy ... unfortunately, the document concerned is now universally realised to be neither authentically early Roman nor to have anything whatsoever to do with anybody called Hippolytus or, indeed, with any pope. The tectonic plates in Academe can shift a frightfully long way in a generation or two. Doesn't that make life fun?

And dodgy operatives may use the siren call of "Antiquity" in less than honest ways. S Paul VI (Missale Romanum) tried to palm off on us the idea that the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass was one of the Patristic features which had sadly slipped out of the Liturgy and ought to be restored. (Even more slippery was his attempt to attribute this opinion to the Conciliar Fathers of Vatican II: whatever you my think of the decree Sacrosanctum concilium, it did not make this claim.)

I am immensely grateful to the Archibibliopola of Oxford, the erudite Mr Christopher Zealley, MA., for sending me Legg's monograph on Cardinal Tommasi, from which I have plagiarised much of the first part of the above. Learned strangers visiting Oxford may need to be told that "St Philip's Books Ltd." is down St Aldates, more or less opposite the entrance to the Meadow. It is full of Catholic things and all fine literature, and has a rather good plaster ?Stuart ceiling.


28 April 2021

S Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort

Chaps who possess a copy of the 1962 Missal inform me that it contains de Montfort in its Appendix pro aliquibus locis; and the SSPX ORDO (the Francophone one) lists him for April 28 "en certes lieux". Chaps who use the Novus Ordo tell me that he has now entered (optionally) the Novus Ordo  Calendar! We aged chaps do try to keep-up-to-date, and depend so much upon you Bright Young Things to keep us informed. In return I can tell you that he is in the Ordinariate Calendar. How could he not be?

I have long had a high regard for this Breton priest; hence he is gummed into my (1955) Altar Missal, available always when the rubrics allow a Votive. This regard was shared by S John Paul II, who took his motto, totus tuus, from the Saint's writings. 

I first met S Louis Marie in the 1950s when I was a little boy, in the Catholic Church in Clacton-on-Sea, where, most suitably, a fine statue, very movimento as the Saint strides forward, stands right beside the culturally very Breton shrine of our Lady of Light. There's not much else that's Breton about Clacton! I wonder if the Confraternity of our Lady of Light still survives in that parish; if the Rosary is still said daily at that Shrine. (Regular readers will recall my series on the history of this superb devotion, involving the eccentic Cornish convert baronet the Reverend Sir Harry Trelawny, which I published in January 2020. Stuff you just couldn't make up! I beg readers who are new to this blog to go back to it.)

De Montfort comes from a Baroque devotional milieu which has been an object of criticism. Particularly out of favour has been the wholehearted style of his devotion to our Lady, which involves a consecration of servitus [slavery] to Mary. In fact, it wasn't too popular in his own time: there were unwholesome people around called "Jansenists" who sniffed at such things. 

Promise me that you will run a mile if you ever meet one.

Grounds for snooty disdain are obvious: granted that the word doulos [slave] occurs frequently in Scripture, surely, so the condescending will remark, it is Jesus whose doulos, slave, S Paul so often proclaims himself to be. So is the douleia of Mary just another example of popery putting the Mother of God into the place reserved for her divine Son?

But no reader will have forgotten the biblical verb hypotassesthai: to submit oneself, to order, to arrange, to subject oneself hypo, beneath, another, be that 'other' a master, a spouse, a ruler, or whatever. New Testament religion is a million miles from the individualistic Protestantism which knows only a relationship between the one and the One. S Paul in fact calls upon us to submit ourselves in this way one to another: not just to Jesus (although all must be en Christoi). And since Mary alone is unflawed by Original Sin, she is the one to whom a Christian can be hypotassesthai without that relationship being flawed (as all other hypotaxeis except that to her Divine Son can run the risk of being) by unchristlike traits in the other.

S Louis Marie is far from being the first Christian to have practised and promoted this Slavery of Mary. In his True Devotion to Mary he lists many predecessors in both East and West; to whom I would add my own favourite Bishop of Exeter, John de Grandisson. He concluded a life of servitus to Mary by having himself described on his lead coffin as Matris Misericordiae miserrimus servus. So clearly this devotion is authentic Anglican Patrimony! Since the terms kyrios(a) and doulos(e) are correlative, the terms domina and kuria [Lady], common in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity (not to mention the more archaic Greek despoina and the English phrase our Lady in the Book of Common Prayer), imply a Montfortian devotional attitude.

I think you should make the Montfortian consecration today.

27 April 2021

Essay Questions and Austro-Hungarian Bankers

C S Lewis describes Mark Studdock as "a glib examinee in subjects that require no exact knowledge" who "always does well in Essays and General Papers". 

As I have observed before, there must have been times when Lewis was a less than comfortable college tutor.

I will dangerously generalise: in writing 'general' essays, women are often businesslike, hate to waste time, and are incisive without being flashy. They get to the point. Substance means more to them than stylish woffle. We chaps, on the other hand, are adept at concealing our chronic idleness behind a facade of mannered, or even dilettante, glibness. Readers may feel that this is a temptation from which I have not yet entirely, er, struggled free.

Back in those sun-lit days of Harold Macmillan and General Papers, the Spoof Quotation figured large. It was followed by the peremptory instruction Discuss. You could tell that the quotations were mostly Spoof, because no amount of detergent can entirely wash away an aroma of donnishness. 

But I have recently spotted, in a Times obituary, a genuine quotation ... I'm sure of it ... which could give candidates, all sorts of them, scope galore to spread themselves in innumerable different ways. And how revealing their answers might be! Perhaps every girl to whom Marriage has been proposed should require of her suitor(s) a response to this question (write only on one side of the paper and use only alternate lines).

The subject of the obituary was a wealthy bachelor, of Jewish, Austro-Hungarian, background but whose forebears on becoming Catholics had sacrificed the euphonious name of 'Guttmann' for the bathos of 'de Gelsey'. He was extremely generous to the Brompton Oratory (indeed, one of the most deserving causes in all the Three Kingdoms). Like me, he enriched his own life with Caviare and White Lady cocktails. He led an agreeable social life ... surrounded, often, so reports have it, by glamorous women. He evidently enjoyed their company, and they his. 

Somebody once enquired of him (a disgustingly impertinent question but that's Third Millennium degeneracy for you) why he had never got married. Here is his (unspoof) reply:

"Why buy a book when you can go to the library?"

Orate pro anima Gulielmi de Gelsey, 1921-2021, qui obiit die 28 Februarii. C A P D.

26 April 2021

Hell Mell in Clubland (3)

Screwtape summoned a Club servant to fill his glass. He shifted in his chair, animated by the recollection of his own triumphs. "The master stroke was my brilliant idea for an entire Papacy in which "teaching" would be structured around ambiguity ... the beauty of this was that it introduced into the teaching of the Church just that primacy of imprecision, of self-contradiction, of deliberately cultivated vagueness, of programmed disintegration and fissiparous confusion, which is the essence of our own rules and traditions down here in the Pandaemonium Club. It also has the strategic advantage of making it very hard for mortals to pinpoint explicit error in a text which eschews the heresy of explicitness." He waited as the glass was filled, and raised it to his nose. The dogmatisms, perhaps, of Savonarola and of Bertrand Russell excitingly blended? With deeper hints of Martin Luther and Bishop Baetzing?

"At the next War Cabinet meeting Sodgrope, iniquitous careerist, claimed as his own a brilliant cultural transformation which was in fact a construct of mine ... I cannot wait to welcome, to embrace him ... to draw him in ... to make make him one with myself ... ouroborinda ... ... ... You see, in the bad old days, Roman Pontiffs passed on to their successors what they had themselves received. This rendered most difficult all our hopes for reconstructing their religion upon lines which reflect the luminous realism of Hell. The human means by which such continuity was achieved included often the successive elections of men who had been closely associated with a previous Pope. This used to be done by, for example, the election of senior deacons in those days when the deacons were the pope's first ministers. Or by the election of a Ratzinger after a Wojtila ... and what a tragedy that was ... the waste of nearly three decades when we could only achieve our ends by oblique means ... My new policy (and, whatever Sodgrope may claim, it was mine) helped the Cardinal Electors to understand the need for Fresh Blood and a Wind of Change and a Radically New Approach ... and for the election of a man from the most distant place on earth ..."

Wormwood interjected: "And a narcissist of limited intelligence"; Screwtape gave a weary sigh. Would this simpleton of a supposed tempter never grasp the objective realism of Hell? "Well, there may be those who consider him somewhat self-obsessed, but, my dear nephew, as I have grown tired of explaining to you, what the Infernal Actuaries demand of us is not abuse of the Enemy and his associates, however satisfying, but concrete results. Remind me to send you a leaflet about the new Correctional Training Techniques being developed for unsuccessful tempters ... it is most copiously illustrated ... What is truly to our purpose is that Bergoglio is certainly a man with a contempt for what he inherited and found in Rome, and that this gives us rich opportunities to contrive rupture ... opportunities which have already yielded results ... fine piece of work ... crucial consolidation of my own position in the current power structure ... decanter ... Sodgrope ... Daemoniorum laetitia ... Me ... ambiguities ... Snodgrove ... Ted McCarrick ... drink ... peripheries ... Kasper ... want ..."

The effort of his exposition had clearly been tiring work for the aging Spirit. Ignoring his nephew, Screwtape drained the decanter into his glass, grasped it with crackling  knuckles, and buried his nose in the fumes. What was this? H G Wells matured in barrels impregnated with Lloyd George? Or Simone de Beauvoir with an aftertaste of Major Hardcastle? John Wither blended with ... with ... After a minute or two, the glass slipped from his fingers, unloading its ambiguous contents over the dreaming tempter.

On tiptoe, still fearing the wrath of the mendacious old bore, Wormwood crept away.
Ended.

25 April 2021

The Pandaemonium Club (2)

"You must understand the brilliance of our strategy with Bergoglio. When he was elected, there was a real danger that he might do a great deal of what the Enemy calls 'good'". Screwtape's fine old eyes moved meditatively along the bound leather volumes of The Wisdom of Aleister Crowley in the Club Library. " He had a Latin American background; the risk was that he would develop the concepts of Liberation Theology and devote his Pontificate to the poor: both to the state of those economically poor and to those our Enemy calls the Anawim; the righteous Poor whose poverty results from their adherence to the Enemy's Law. The very moment after Bergoglio was elected Pope, his friend Cardinal Hummes ..."

Wormwood has gone so far as to open his mouth in order to share a tired witticism about Cardinals Hummous, Tzatziki, and Taramasalata. He saw the red gleam of hungry malevolence in his uncle's eye, and shut his mouth again.

" ... said to him 'Do not forget the poor.' That was the moment at which our Father Below summoned his War Cabinet to crisis session. You see, Gerhardt Mueller is, most unfortunately, an expert on Liberation Theology ... Bergoglio and Mueller in collaboration might have done immense damage to our cause ... Bergoglio providing the the enthusiasm, the boldness, and Mueller the theological control ... some, indeed, quite deep among the Lowerarchy showed signs of panic.

"But Our Father Below simply and calmly asked each Cabinet Member in turn how we might avert this threatened catastrophe. Happily, I suggested that we should work on Bergoglio's liking for empty ritual. And it worked! Bergoglio was childishly keen on making a great parade of Favouring the Poor while actually taking no action whatsoever on their behalf. It suited him to a ... whatsoever ...

"I also suggested backing this policy up by contriving a personal breach between the two of them. Here again, Bergoglio's love for ritual without content provided us with a winner. The tactic I adumbrated involved letting him prose on endlessly about dealing with paedophile priests ... in the land of Airliner Rhetoric, while actually protecting them ... in the real world. So we lured Bergoglio into sacking some of the experts on paedophilia who were working under Mueller. And, again, my plan worked to our Father's great satisfaction. Two ends were served: quite a number of very fine paedophiles were preserved, unmolested, in the full-time, full-hearted, ministerial service of Our Father Below. And Mueller himself was personally affronted by the radical realism (or 'manifest injustice', as humans call it) of Bergoglio's actions. 

"Just to make matters the more sure, we contrived that the the breach was sealed by another dramatic public humiliation of Mueller by Bergoglio. He demanded that Mueller be summoned to trot from the altar to the telephone while he was actually celebrating Mass in order to be instructed ... with peremptory discourtesy ... to drop a particular canonical investigation ... "

A long pause followed. Wormwood, whose curiosity had been fostered, eventually broke the silence by enquiring what that investigation had involved. Screwtape glared at him, but could not resist the temptation to boast. about his own master-stroke. "It involved one particular Anglo-Saxon Cardinal ... indeed, a leading member of the group of Cardinals which, under close infernal control, had organised Bergoglio's election to the Roman See. Mueller had to drop that Investigation ... naturally, this rankled.

"With Mueller out of the way, we put into place the brilliant strategy whereby Bergoglio's sympathies were transferred to the monied classes of libertine North European and North American societies, instead of dangerously engaging with the Righteous Poor, faithful servants of the Enemy. Absolutely any disaster could have occurred if we had allowed him to continue fantasising about the really poor.

"Bergoglio's imaginative identification was secured to those who had formally and decisively rejected the Enemy's call to sexual continence by remarrying after divorce. He never even noticed the substitution! In addition, Gropepope, Bergoglio's own personal tempter, put in some good work by reminding him of the immense and tempting wealth of the German Church. We soon had the poor old peronist safely in our bag."

To continue.

24 April 2021

Clubland in Pell Mell (1)

Mr Under-Secretary Screwtape felt confused. He savoured the liqueur in his glass ... was it Annibale Bugnini blended with Jimmy Saville? Or Augustin Bea with fine aftertastes of Freddy Ayer? The concoction was, in either case, superb; but he had an uneasy feeling that the failure of his palate to make those really precise distinctions ... a malady he felt all too often nowadays ... might be the first sign of that disintegration, that dissolution, which he had always known he would ultimately experience. But so soon? After so few millennia? When he felt still at the height of his powers?

He was woken from his reveries by the grating voice of his most detested nephew, Wormwood. "Uncle! Wake up! Uncle! Isn't it marvellous news? Uncle!! Wake up!".

It had been a great mistake to allow this callow junior tempter to be elected to Club membership; he should have been whiteballed. Too late, however to complain about that now. Screwtape opened one eye. "And what, precisely, is this news?"

"Germany!! yelped the whippersnapper. "It looks as though the German Church is going to split from the other churches so as to advocate Adultery, more Sodomy, more and better dodgy financial dealings! It's all actually happening!" 

Again, the old gentledevil winced. Such obvious, such adolescent light-headedness. No style. No finesse. A put-down had become necessary. "If you stop shouting silly jargon and jolting my arm and spilling my drink and demonstrating your total incapacity for strategic forward thinking, I will tell you precisely how the trick was worked. And I strongly advise you to avoid a tendency to anthropomorphic analyses ... you have been in trouble about that before ... Our Father Below regards the adoption of human pseudo-rationalism as a sign that a Tempter is going native ... we must always remember to put and to maintain a proper distance between ourselves and our patients."

To continue.

23 April 2021

Doubly crowned?

April 23 (1661) was the date of the Coronation of King Charles II; the return of Merry England marked by a Coronation on the Feast of S George, Patron of the Realm. After His Majesty's death, his brother James fixed his Coronation (1685) for the same date (and I am sure that a political point was being made when 'Queen Anne' did the same).

But the Coronation of King James VII & II offered a complication. The form of the English Coronation Service, laid out in a venerable liturgical book called the Liber Regalis, kept at Westminster Abbey, retained the old Catholic structure of a Coronation inserted into a non-communicating Pontifical High Mass. (Apart from the Celebrant, he only Communicant was the Sovereign, and, if he had one, his Consort.) The celebrant was, normally, the Archbishop of Canterbury; deacon ('Gospeller') and subdeacon ('Epistoler') were senior diocesan bishops.

All well and good. But since the Schism which Bloody Bess perpetrated (incidentally, after her Coronation by Catholic rites and lawful Catholic bishops), the Eucharistic Rite had been the new Anglican one. James VI & I; Charles I; Charles II had all thus been crowned. And the Celebrant, who also performed the Anointing and the Crowning. was a prelate not in communion with the See of Rome.

And, in 1685, the new King was a Catholic. 

They tried to persuade him that, since the Eucharist was an integral part of the ceremony, he should receive Holy Communion according to the Anglican Use. But he resisted; and, on April 23, for the only time in history, a King of England was crowned according to a rite which excluded the Eucharist.

You may or may not have have found all that interesting. But here comes the really intriguing bit.

There have been persistent rumours that King James had himself crowned privately according to Catholic rites, before his 'Anglican' Coronation.

Where? No problem there. Despite the Schism, most Queens Consort had been Catholics, and, just to the North of S James's Park, there is the Chapel Royal of the Queen (built by Inigo Jones). So there was a Royal Catholic Chapel fully equipped with clergy and other necessary persons and appurtenances.

By whom? This is the dodgy bit. At that time there was no Catholic Bishop in England.

Andrew Barclay's doctoral thesis on King James' Household alludes to notes by a Benedictine called Ralph Benet Weldon. He claimed that the King, and Queen Mary of Modena, were anointed and crowned in private by a Capuchin priest called Mansuet, using oil sent from Rheims by Louis XIV (British Library Additional Manuscript 10118, folio 93). 

A lovely idea. But it worries me. Kings should be crowned by Bishops, both in the traditions of the English Monarchy and according to the Post-Reformation Pontificale Romanum.

I find it hard to believe that a mere presbyter took it upon himself to do a full Coronation Service, according to either of those two rites.

Might he have simply anointed King James, on the grounds that the anointing in Westminster Abbey was going to be invalid? 

Or, possibly, the information is a garbled version of information to the effect that King James received Holy Communin from Fr Mansuet (of course, reception of Holy Communion by layfolk was not very common among Catholics at that time and might therefore have been noticed). 

It would be interesting to know if there is any other evidence which does not come ultimately from the Weldon-source. 

 


22 April 2021

NOTICE

I may need some eye treatment. This may mean that I might not read comments, let alone enable them. I cannot say when the status quo ante might return. I would be very grateful for prayers.

I have set up some posts which should, Deo volente, pop up automatically every day without my further agency.

I thought I had answered the Benedicentist position in my recent piece about how to behave when one is offerred two alternative popes. Or three. Or even four. Or, indeed, as many as Providence sends you.

If people want to practise DIY popemaking, let them take into Westminster Cathedral a reliable checklist of popes and antipopes. And a pencil. And lots of paper. Work through the lists on the left-hand wall. Pay special attention to amusing little details like which archbishops apparently received a pallium from which papal claimant, and whether that claimant was, er, indeed alive at the relevant time. And which papal claimant inherits his claim from which predecessor and why not. 

Hours of fun! Try not to get infuriated. If you do get infuriated, avoid (1) shouting; (2) attempting to correct the lists with your chisel.

In fact, probably best not to take the chisel after all.

Amusing additional questions: Why is the mighty Cardinal Allen not on the list? Who sez that the Vicars Apostolic of the London District were chief pastors of the Catholic Church in England?

Not I.

Post Scriptum: Why is Mr Biden wearing a British Brigade of Guards tie today? Was he a MI5 agent during the Troubles?

An Answer to ********, *******, ****, and *********.

Dear ****************************************

I was deeply moved by the tone and content of the comments you offered me. I did not feel able to publish them, but I offer you, in return, the following.

During the Great Schism of the Western Church, there were, at one time, as many as three competing 'popes'! (Even nowadays, there has been no watertight magisterial defintion about which of those ancient claimants were authentic, and which were "antipopes". The big bronze list of popes in Westminster Cathedral contradicts itself and is a pompous nonsense mainly designed to humiliate Anglicans.) Which 'pope' you were in communion with depended on your monarch. In effect, he chose, within the context of international politics. For example, an Englishman would be in communion with the 'Urbanist' 'pope' in Rome; a Scotsman would be in communion with the 'Clementine' 'pope' in Avignon. (When you walked across the border ... ...!)

There were no doctrinal differences between these different competing lines of 'popes'; but it remains true that, if your king did choose the wrong one, he would be dragging you into schism together with himself because he would be dragging you into communion with a spurious anti-pope. The fact that everybody thought they were doing the right thing does not change the fact that you would find yourself not in communion with the true pope if your king had got things wrong. Only God, of course, would know who was right! No wonder the Devil laughed!

So now ...

If you act in communion with "Pope Francis" because your bishop, and the other bishops of your land, accept him as pope and you are in communion with them, then I cannot believe that you are in some way separated from God our loving Father. He accepts you, whatever nonsenses your bishops get up to. That will have to be on their consciences. Medieval Christians were convinced that lots and lots both of bishops and of popes (and kings) went to Hell!! Whether these inferences were based upon sound data, God has not revealed to me.

Even if it transpires subsequently that your bishop has got things wrong, and  PF is not really pope, I do not think that your allegiance to him will be regarded by God as having been grounds for sending you to Hell. In fact, people who were on both opposing sides during the Great Schism were subsequently canonised.

So ... in practical terms ... find out whether your own bishop names PF in the Te igitur and ... bob's your uncle! ... if he does so, it will be safe for you to regard him as pope too. Let His Lordship take the rap! He has broad shoulders! It will do him good!

Even if it turns out that you are right in your suspicions that PF may not be pope!

21 April 2021

THE YEAR OF S JOESPH! S Joseph should have his proper, pre-Pius XII, respect.

(1) S Joseph's Feast on March 19 got under way in the 15th century and gradually spread. It celebrated S Joseph, Spouse of the Theotokos.
(2) Then his Feast as Guardian of the Universal Church was added (universal in the Latin Church from 1847), fixed on the Second Sunday (EF) after Easter (='Third Sunday of Eastertide' in the OF).
(3) Then, when S Pius X liberated Sundays from feasts which perpetually occurred upon them, this feast moved from the Sunday to the subsequent Wednesday. But for some decades clergy were allowed to celebrate External Solemnities of S Joseph on the Sunday, in places where their people had become attached to the custom.
(4) During the Cold War, Pius XII had the clever-clever idea (1955; in the decade when his minions had already set to work to vandalise the Easter Vigil) of making the Workers' Day, May 1, the Feast of S Joseph the Worker as a witness against Marxism. Ss Philip and James, who hasd been the ancient (570) celebration on May 1, were ... er ... kicked unceremoniously into the long grass.
(5) For a variety of reasons, S Joseph the Worker (happily!) never caught on and is now, in the OF, merely an optional memoria. (In the official EF it is still, sadly, in situ as a top-class festival on May 1, though I find it hard to imagine that traddidom really wants it.)

(6) But S Joseph the Guardian (see 2) had been abolished in order to make space for this new substantial Josephine celebration within Eastertide (see 4). His title of Guardian of the Universal Church had been amalgamated with his March 19 festival.
(7) But the old Mass texts of S Joseph the Guardian survived and survive still as the Votive of S Joseph in the Weekday Votives of the pre-Conciliar Missal.
(8) S Joseph's Guardianship of the Universal Church is, in this pontificate, a theme just begging for revival.
(9) Episcopal Conferences (did you know this?) have the faculty (in the OF) of moving S Joseph out of Lent.

Although some traddies get nervous about ideas like the following, I believe that a judicious, careful, gentle realignment of the EF and the OF is a good idea, as long as it is not made a cheap excuse for rubbishing the EF. The relegation of S Joseph the Workman to being merely an Optional Memorial in the OF sets a general example which the EF should follow, restoring S Joseph the Patron to his S Pius X date as described in (3) supra. 

Indeed, where a date in the OF coincides with a date in the Missal of S Pius V, or in a pre-Pacelli edition of the Roman Missal, I think that, prima facie, the earlier date witnessed by both the Missal of S Pius V and the OF should be preferred. (Have a look, for example, at S Irenaeus, where the OF restores him to the date he had before Pius XII+Bugnini.)

I think the relevant department in the CDF should relegate S Joseph the Workman to Pro aliquibus locis (and among the Votives) and restore SS Pip and Jim to May 1. If they made clear that they were doing this as a mark of respect for the Anglican Communion, how could critics possibly complain?!

Quite apart from anything else, it would be nice again to see the churches and the Sacred Ministers garbed in deepest red on May Day ... for the martyred Apostles, of course, rather than for Karl Marx. And in some places ... such as Oxford ... May Day still has a historic memory.


NOTICE

(1) I do not enable comments which suggest that Jorge Bergoglio is not pope. Having examined, over and over again, historical analogies and reliable  authors, I have no doubt that the correct analysis is that this disordered and uncharitable individual is pope. I know no evidence of it being suggested, in the past, that any pope had "lost" his office through heresy or any other crime. Tradition makes it clear that subsequent magisterial anathematisation is the correct procedure.

Being a Traditionalist means taking Tradition seriously, not making it up as one goes along to suit one's own fads and passions.

S John Henry Newman spoke of unworthy shepherds having voluntarily placed their authority in SUSPENSE. Precisely. That fits the facts, the precedents, and the realities of the situation. And, given the status of JHN, makes it difficult for anybody to be taken to task for employing this analysis.

And it also means ... since none of us is infallible ... that, if I am wrong, when I go to my account I shall not have to face charges of having seduced Christ's people from Communion with the Successor of S Peter. But, believe me, I am not wrong!

(2) Because bloggers do, apparently, bear some responsibility for what occurs on their threads, I do not, I very much regret, enable comments in languages of which I have not an adequate knowledge. Sorry!

God save New Zealand!! And the Pays Basque! And Kurdistan!

God bless and keep you all in the 'One Fold of the Redeemer'.

20 April 2021

Flower power: our Holy Father and his Aspidistra

I wrote not long ago about the CDF prohibition of the 'blessing' of 'gay marriages'; I pointed out that PF, instead of "approving it and ordering its publication", was simply informed of it and permitted its publication. I can't help feeling that the way is being left open for Cardinal Ladaria ... when the time is right ... to be hung out to dry. Or "thrown under a 'bus"? Which phrase would be preferable?

But this timorous approach of PF is not matched by that of the Patriarchate of Moskow. Metropolitan Hilarion, of this University, 'Foreign Minister of the Russian Church', made clear that the Third Rome backs the prohibition. He even went so far as to explain the prohibition rather more neatly than Rome has done, emphasising the difference between blessing someone who comes for a blessing; and blessing a sinful relationship. 

As PF continues nervously to maintain the SUSPENSE of his Petrine Ministry, perhaps we should be thankful that the "true but wounded Sister Churches" [confer Communionis notio and Dominus Iesus] of the Moskow Patriarchate are prepared to open their mouths.

Strange, though, isn't it? PF is the Successor of S Peter, yet he prefers to be mute. He is the current occupant of the See made, if possible, yet more glorious by S Leo and S Gregory; by Papa Hildebrand (he knew how to deal with Germans!!) and Papa Lambertini and Papa Pecci. But this present ritual-mad pontiff prefers to wallow in his beloved but empty outward gestures ... meeting Orientals ... hugging them ... rather than to join them in robust affirmation of what we and they hold in common as we confront together the Spirit of the Age.

PF feels happiest ... safest ... hiding behind his Aspidistra. God bless it.

19 April 2021

Latin

A valued reader, who has made this point before, disapproves of my choice occasionally ... quite rarely ... to write in Latin without providing him with a a crib.

(1) Frankly, this is my blog, and I will write in any language I know and choose. This is still a free country ... er ... up to a point ...

There are things one can more easily say in one language than one could in another. There are devices that sit easily in the rhetoric of language A which will look gawky or de trop or even, possibly, dangerous, in language B. Perhaps the use of rhetorical questions is one example. Traduttore traditore? as the Latin poet put it.

Dr William King, of this University, made a magnificent oration in Latin  in 1748, at the Dedication of the Radcliffe Library. He forbade his fellow-docti to translate it. Had one of them done so, and had he made a poor judgement in regard to a single nuance, King could have ended up with a rope around his neck. Those were years when the cultured and cultivated Whig Oligarchy was still killing people in public with gruesome cruelty, and perpetrating genocide in parts of Scotland. Come to think of it, England, then, was rather like present-day Burma ... treasonous crooks, not financially unmotivated, had illegally seized power, and imposed a tyranny, and were still murdering whom they chose in order to sustain it. Within quite recent memory, undergraduates had been hanged at the entrances to Oxford.

(2) I am ideologically suspicious of the 'Crib' culture. Try engaging ... exempli gratia ... with any pre-modern work via your computer or your local bookshop, and you will find that 'Homer' means 'a translation of Homer'. It is a laboured business to get to an actual copy of Homer, probably involving explanations such as "I mean, what I want is the original Greek text of Homer ... er well ... not necessarily of course, um, the original, because, as we all know, the textual tradition seems to get more unstable the earlier the papyri, and the great Alexandian scholars did not always make clear exactly why they athetised certain lines, and the concept of an 'original text is indeed discounted by many modern practicioners of textcrit, but, er, ... ..."

The person who wants the Latin original of a Magisterial Document will probably find his search long and wearisome.

Declining to submit to the 'crib' culture seems to me one way of sticking up for authenticity and for cultural continuity.

So ... No; I am not going to be pushed around and bullied into writing in languages I choose not to employ.

If this is objectionable to anybody, there are possible solutions available. But I do appreciate the implied compliment paid to me by my reader's plaint, so I will refrain from jokes and arcasms. I do very much value him as a reader.

Translations are  not Pretty Much the Same Thing. I admit: they may be not without uses. When I was about twelve, I came to love what I thought was Homer through Dr Rieu's Penguin translations. (But when I came to man's estate, I realised that what I had been missing was ... er, Homer.) And when, around Christmas, I read to our infant children at bed-time about Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight, I will confess that I did read it in a translation. And Harvard University publishes handy texts, conveniently using Green covers for the Greek, red for the Latin, and blue for the Renaissance Latin, with the original on the left hand page and a crib on the right. Like the Rosetta Stone but not so heavy as you drag them through Security.

Mind you, there are times when, to paraphrase Mgr Ronald Knox*, the left hand page seems a useful crib for understanding the right hand page.

So, in conclusion, I leave all my kind and valued readers with these immortal words of C S Lewis (The Pilgrim's Regress lib 5 cap 5 iuxta finem): 

"pellite cras ingens tum-tum nomoi hos diakeitai."

* I believe Knox once described the Greek NT as a useful crib for understanding the Douai-Rheims Bible.


18 April 2021

The German Synodal Way: Metropolitan Hilarion and Saint John Henry Newman

Metropolitan Hilarion, the 'Foreign Minister' of the Russian Patriarchate delivered on 8 November 2014 an important paper on Primacy and Synodality to the great American, Orthodox, seminary of S Vladimir.

Of course, a Catholic ecclesiologist might have had different things to say. I will simply pick out two of his points which bear upon matters which are relevant to our Catholic Church life at this particular profoundly dangerous moment.

(1) We sometimes read about 'intermediate primacies' and about the importance of local gatherings of bishops in particular regions. Metropolitan Hilarion makes absolutely clear that the local particular church, in communion with its bishop, is theologically fundamental; while regional primacies are merely a matter of convenience, without being rooted in an essential doctrine of the Church. "The primacy of the diocesan bishop is clearly based on fundamental theological principles, such as the one famously emphasised by S Cyprian: 'The bishop is in the church and the church is in the bishop and ... if somebody is not with the bishop, he is not in the church.' Primacy at the regional level, a matter of canonical convenience, is based on church canons ...".

Absolutely. This is why the Holy See, during the ascendancy of S John Paul II and Benedict XVI, was concerned that Episcopal Conferences should not usurp the primacy of the Bishop in his Particular Church, either theologically or practically.

What His Excellency said must surely apply a fortiori to newly-invented 'Synodal ways'.

These words are also important because it is sometimes suggested that we should 'learn' from the East about 'imtermediate primacies'. Well, that is what the 'foreign minister' of the Russian Church had to 'teach' us about the subject.

(2) Synodality implies consensus, not majority voting. Indeed, Hilarion goes further: Conciliar decisions are to be agreed "by consensus, not by vote; they will be approved by the entire assembly of bishops".


This is highly important; it is one reason for deploring Bergoglian proceedings at Synods in Rome, after which paragraphs which have failed even to reach a two-thirds majority have, nevertheless, been circulated with an indication of the number of votes cast for and against. In this, PF has shown characteristically bad judgement. His actions, as so often, have an unfortunate appearance of the arbitrary. 

Catholics have always expected that Ecumenical Councils should 'morally unanimous'. It is well known that, after Vatican I, Saint John Henry Newman was concerned that "an aggressive insolent faction" might have "so practised on" the Fathers that "there will be the gravest reasons for determining that the Definition is not valid". That Newman had such large fears about an Ecumenical Council gives us sound guidance about our duty to test a 'Synodal Way' by equally sound priniples.

This is a good time, too, to let that superb phrase of Saint John Henry ring loudly through our minds. Here it is for you again: "AN AGGRESSIVE INSOLENT FACTION". He did so have a way with words! He is a very fine Patron to have!! And so up-to-date!!! What a blogger he would have made!!!!

Discussing similar matters in 2017, I myself wrote the following words, the truth of which still seems to me self-evident.

If, at some future time, there were to be Synodical or even Conciliar proceedings dominated by a particular will or faction determined to impose heterodoxy or heteropraxy, and if that faction secured a majority vote for their aims without securing the consensus of moral unanimity, and if they were to attempt forcefully to impose their 'majority decisions' upon the Church; such 'imposition' would be vis sine iure.

17 April 2021

Instant canonisation

Probably I have missed relevant material; but I have heard the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York (ex-Staggers) and the former Bishop of London, and others, and I have not noticed any suggestion that we should pray for Prince Philip that, although  mortal and fallen, he may be given rest among the Saints.

Praying for the departed has an interesting history in Separated Anglicanism. The government suppressed and looted the chantries in 1548 (the first really big intrusion of the Tudor Regime into parochial life). But in the 1549 Prayer Book the Memento etiam of the Canon was actually made longer. However, the 1552 Book cut out Prayer for the Departed (except in as far as it might be implied in phrases such as "all thy whole Church"). And every time liturgical revision has occurred in the Church of England, the Evangelicals have struggled to make sure that (1) Eucharistic Sacrifice; and (2) Prayer for the Dead, are kept well out.

It has been suggested that the Saints crept back into the C of E through stained glass windows; Prayer for the Departed certainy made its reentry through Church Music, 

W J Birkbeck (1869-1916), Fellow of Magdalen College in this University and a great admirer of Slavic Orthodoxy, did a translation of "The Russian Contakion for the Depparted", which appeared in the 1903 English Hymnal. It has achieved great popularity in elite and educated Anglicanism because of its haunting Kievian melodies. It is in the Service of Burial which is due to be used at Windsor today.

Parts of it are used also in Greek Orthodoxy in the order for Nekrosimos. In my (Athens) Mikron Euchologion, the following rubric occurs before the text  Meta ton hagion  anapauson ... "It is the custom in the autocephalous Church of Greece that the following Kontakion be sung by the right hand choir."

I wonder what lies behind this way of putting things ...

 

16 April 2021

One coin, two sides ... two important books, one crisis

I have commended Defending the Faith Against Present Heresies (Arouca Press) already on this blog: I would like to emphasise again what I think are the strengths of this book.

Fundamentally, it brings together texts which were all painstakingly worked over by a lot of people (except, of course, the Dubia, which, as far as I know, were simply the work of the four Cardinals). We were a diverse lot; we came from a variety of national, academic and ecclesial backgrounds (even including me from the Ordinariate!). Day after day during the drafting periods, ones Email would be full of suggestions and additions. Someone would intervene with "X would like to sign but he's a little concerned about the wording of Y". Then there were those who made contributions, often substantial, but whose signatures and names were not included because of the ruthless processes of intimidation which were employed. Goodness me, what bullies those sensitive lovey-dovey liberals are!

You can rely on Defending for the real McCoy on what the Church's teaching ... authentic teaching ... really is. And you can access, via its index, the information it makes available, topic by topic. It can be thought of as a ready work of reference.

A Voice in the Wilderness Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano on the Church, America, and the World (Angelico Press) is quite a different piece of work. It is not the collaborative work of a number of people; these are the words of one man. But: what a man!! And what powerful words! And how well informed!

If you wanted to sneer at Defending, I suppose you could say that it was produced by men and women with the dust of the libraries heavy upon them. But A Voice comes from the lived experience of an active man who was right at the centre of things, both in Rome and in America. A Man well-read and with an acute theological mind, but, as well, an Archbishop over whose desk  a lot of interesting material has passed! In our delightful Anglo-Saxon phrase, Archbishop Vigano knew (knows!!) "where the bodies are buried"! And there really are bodies galore! In addition to having this pivotal position, he is a highly intelligent man and it is a privilege to be able to read his incisive interventions with regard to the words and actions of current Vatican management. He has been on his own journey; this book affords the materials for watching his gradual realisation of how the problems in today's Church all hang together. And, as a man brought up "within the system", he is well able to assess and to analyse the significance of words and events.

All the world knows that today's crisis in the Catholic Church relates to sex, to money, and to a deeply flawed personality. But this does not mean that the crisis is a fortuitous amalgam of disparate items. It would not be right to think that Defending might tell us about dogma while A Voice can prime us on 'practical' matters. The crisis of the Bergoglian pontificate is a seamless and terrifyingly coherent whole.

We are all frail, sinful, fallen. But I do not believe that anybody takes up arms against the Light unless the darkness has already burrowed deep into his heart. That is the crux of the matter. That is what these two books, together, so powerfully demonstrate.

These two books should stand together on your bookshelves.

And ... to Archbishop Vigano ... Thank You, your Grace! Ad multos annos!



15 April 2021

A Prayer against the German Schism

Deus, qui diversitatem gentium in confessione tui nominis adunasti: da, ut renatis fonte baptismatis una sit fides mentium, et pietas actionum. Per ... 

O God, who hast united the diversity of nations in the confession of thy Name: grant that they who are born again in the font of Baptism, may be of one mind in faith and in godliness of life; through ...

This is one of the Collects, in all three forms of the Roman Rite, from the Masses of Easter Week, the Paschal Octave, with its Divine Worship (Ordinariate) translation.

The German plan for schism is ruthless and shameless. Here are the stages which have led us to where we now are.

The regulations in the Universal Catholic Church concerning Episcopal Conferences require unanimity on the part of all the bishops before their decisions can be obligatory for each bishop in the Conference (otherwise only papal approval can render those decisions binding). This is because of the ancient and patristic sense that a Bishop is essentially autonomous in his diocese, subject only to the discipline of the Church Universal. That is how matters were left, and most correctly so, by the stewardship of S John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

So, to get round that requirement of unanimity, somebody ultra Rhenum has dreamed up the clever idea of a "German Synodal Way", the decisions of which, it is declared, are to be obligatory for every bishop and diocese, and which is to circumvent the Episcopal Conference.

The dicastery in Rome which interprets legislative texts has made clear that these dispositions are not canonically sound. It is, indeed, both in Canon and in Civil Law, most unusual for a body to constitute itself and to confer upon the self thus constituted a jurisdiction over others seu volentes seu nolentes.

But, we gather, they are going to carry on.

Rather like those Burmese generals .

So there you are.

The ancient ('Gregorian') collect at the head of this post reminds us that all the baptised have one faith, and are united in the one code of morality to which their baptismal covenant commits them. 

There is no doubt that this world-wide unity of Catholicism is precisely what the Germans want to destroy. They don't even bother to pretend otherwise.

In the Anglican Communion, the destruction of unity in the fields of doctrine and of morals was spearheaded by the American provinces and their money. 

Today's plotters intend to use the German Church, lush with tax-payers' money, to achieve precisely the same diabolical end. 

With Germany thus secured as a sure base, the Evil One will then spread his venom throughout the world.

Some of us have spent most of our lives, in another ecclesial body, seeing how this game is played. We know how the trick is worked. We know who is giving the orders.

The Catholic Church has a divine, copper-bottomed guarantee. The gates of Hell, and all that. But what is not in any way guaranteed is the indefectability of Catholicism in any one particular geographical area. After all, quite a lot of the German Church did defect once before ... they're good at it. And you might ask me what happened to the See of Canterbury. Or even that of Hippo?

At the heart of the purpose of the Pope's Petrine Ministry is his duty of securing and preserving the Unity of the Church Militant. Our Anglican Papalist Dom Gregory Dix demonstrated from a close analysis of the letters of S Ignatius of Antioch, written at the beginning of the second century, that the unifying principle of the Bishop in his Diocese is mirrored and replicated in the Church Universal by the unifying ministry of the Roman Church.

As the Papal ministry, under PF, languishes in Suspense, and God's People impatiently await a new pontificate, our all-too-natural human anxieties incline us to wonder if that might be too late. Must the Church Universal suffer yet more so that PF has yet more opportunities to pack with yet more clones the body which will elect his successor?

To cling to the title, powers, dignities ... to the facades, outward rituals, and empty public show of the Papacy while refusing to discharge the essential duties of the job, is extreme Clericalism; it is Baroque Ritualistic Corruption of the very wickedest order. May God have mercy on him. I doubt if the historians will.

13 April 2021

Lyrical innovation

I have just read of a chant which, I gather, is sweeping or has swept through the Insurrectionary Colonies. And, in my characteristically broad-minded way, I have even watched and listened to the video clip!!

We shall fight! We shall win!

Put the foetus in the bin!

I suppose we should analyse this metrically as a double cretic followed by ... what? A septenarius? A trochaic dimeter catalectic? And the two lines are neatly linked by a rhyme which seals the conceptual unity of the entire chant-text.

We must never resist innovation; and I think that this metrical novelty has a really elegant force to it. I know you will not disagree with me.

But incessantly repeated, without any variatio, the chant might just possibly ... d'you think? ... come to seem just the teensy weensiest bit unsophisticated, except to very simple and very young female minds*. One could experiment; perhaps following Assertion with Question, by treating it as part of a responsive on-going dialogue. For example, the next couplet could be: 

Shall you win? Who can tell? 

Will Pelosi go to Hell? 

In a classical Greek Orchestra the chorus, well rehearsed, would sway this way and then that, as antistrophe followed strophe. Divided into two responsive halves, one half of the chorus could wear Pelosimasks, the other Trumpmasks. I'm not sure what the comedy would be called.

I think we did lose a little something when the Spirit of Menander displaced the Spirit of Aristophanes. Two millennia from now, who will still be watching old episodes of Cheers?

================================================================

* Here, I firmly praetereo, as Tully and I always invariably do, the temptation to repeat a phrase of C S Lewis, "Feminine to the point of imbecillity". Even Lewis cautiously distanced himself from these words ... perhaps politically incorrect even in the 1940s ... by assigning them to the voice of Lord Feverstone (commenting on Major Hardcastle's professional assistants), rather than to the vox propria narrantis. I look to readers to keep this secret. We wouldn't want the vibrant young ladies of Cancel Culture to attack CSL.

12 April 2021

COREDEMPTRIX and the ANNOTINE EASTER

On this Annotine Easter, my prayers and good wishes to readers who received the Sacraments of Initiation last year.

Have you ... has any of us ... thought much about the way by which Salvation has, seen historically, come to each one of us?

Perhaps we could situate this enquiry within a new look at the Dogma of our Lady as Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces, since a very high authority in the Church has recently emcouraged us to give this beautiful dogma a lot of thought.

Of course, I will need an Aunt Sally, a straw figure conveniently constructed by myself,  for me to direct my blows at.

So I will set before you an imaginary English Reformation-style Calvinist, whom I will call Calvinianus. You may, if you like, abbreviate that name.

Calvinianus might tell you that he does not believe in Human Mediation and Human Mediators. All he needs is what he finds within the Bible which he has resting there upon his knee. He has no need for 'human intermediaries'. Sola Scriptura!!

But how did he get that Bible? His Calvinist God is (surely) powerful enough to have sent it down to him, directly from the clouds of Heaven. But his God ... even if He is a Calvinist ... chose not to do that. What He chose to do was to send it down through the will and agency of vast numbers of human intermediaries. Who gave you that Bible? Who printed it? Who transmitted the text through the Dark Days of Monkish Error? Who translated it? Who gave employment to your benefactor so that he could afford to buy it for you?  Who is responsible for the Christian Faith of your Benefactor, which moved him to give you that Bible? Who maintains the bookshop from which he procured it? Who led the shop-assistant (who sold that Bible over the counter) to get a job there? Who built the shop? Yes; I know that, if that assistant had not been on duty, another one could have sold the Bible ... but then I would be asking the self-same question about her.

The plain fact is that we live in a world which God has created to be almost unbelievably complex and interrelated, with innumerable interlocking causalities. A recent scientific populariser has explained that, in modern physics, Reality is relational; that nothing exists except in relation to something else. "A mother is a mother because she has a child; a planet is a planet because it orbits a star; a predator is such because it hunts prey; a position in space is there only in relation to something else."

So, to summarise:

(1) The Creator might not have created.

(2) When He did create, He might just have created one single monadic Time and Place and Being.

(3) Instead, it was His Will and Nature to create an immense and interlocking complexity of times and places and beings.

(4) He situated in this Creation endless chains of causes and effects. He thus placed Causality in His creation as its most striking and most important feature. (That is why intercessory and expiatory prayer is not an attempt to twist God's arm or hubristically to achieve a result outside His will; instead, it is His wonderful gift of the opportunity of entering into His will; of sharing His own causality.)

Think about it: what more could a loving Creator give?

This is why S Paul (I Cor 3:9) can call us sunergoi (fellow-workers) of God, and can so blithely, so naturally claim that he himself in his flesh completes what is lacking (antanaplero ta husteremata ton thlipseon tou Christou en tei sarki mou huper tou somatos autou, ho estin he ekklesia, hes egenomen ego diakonos kata ten oikonomian tou Theou ktl!!!) in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His Body, that is, the Church (Col 1; 24).

S Paul must stand in the sequences of causality of the Faith of millions of Christians down the ages, and today. But there is one person from whom every single such chain of causality inevitably takes its fontal start (arkhe; principium).

Because Mary, by an act of free will, brought into the World the Coequal Son, to be the Redeemer of anyone who is redeemed, every chain of causality which has brought any person to Saving Faith is inevitably traced back to her Fiat. That is why she is the unique Co-operatrix in Redemption; the Mediatrix of every grace which has ever come, and still does come, to humankind.

This all seems to me so blindingly obvious that my first instinct has usually been to say how unnecessary it is for it to be defined as dogma. But Jorge Bergoglio, apparently, so he has recently admitted to us, has problems with it. So, obviously, it does need to be defined. Dogmatic definitions, S John Henry Newman argued, should be necessary responses to doctrinal error. And, if this truth is not defined, Salvation is going to look rather like one of those gnostic 'truths' which drift majestically down unmediated from Heaven ...

... just like a Calvinist Bible! King James Version, of course, and bound in black leather!! Like the one Bill Clinton, that doughty old Calvinist Prod, used to take to Church with him!

11 April 2021

Philip Mountbatten Prince of Greece and Denmark

I heard a condescending French Canadian admit on the Wireless that he had once complimented Prince Philip on how well ... for an Englishman ... he spoke French. 

In the sweetest and most richly deserved put-down one can possibly imagine, the Prince replied "I'm not an Englishman and I was speaking French before you were born".

I wonder what the Canadian-French is for Pipsqueak. What in Latin? Parviloquax? What might Aristophanes have coined? At least something twice as long as mikropompsologos. For that matter, does anybody know what the Court Language was in the House of Gluecksburg? (Or -borg.)

I am not a 'Royal Watcher', but I think HRH's response is the most splendid bon mot  to emerge from the great blether of fatuous verbiage which is floating around like 'untreated' sewage in our dreadful Meejah as unmemorable people compete to think of appropriate platitudes for a man they did not like and who most certainly did not like them.

His death really is the end of an era; of an age when a member of a royal or aristocratic family could be stateless ... a Greek prince without a drop of Greek blood, negotiating border controls with a Danish passport in his school holidays; whose address was No Fixed Abode; whose sisters married Germans and who was addressed as Uncle by the King's Majesty of Spain..

I am reminded of Waugh's Dr Antonic: 

"'I have seven children ... all without nationality. If we are sent back to my unhappy country they would hang us all without doubt.'

"'Jugoslavia?'

"'I am a Croat, born under the Habsburg Empire. That was a true League of Nations. As a young man I studied in Zagreb, Budapest, Prague, Vienna -- one was free, one moved where one would; one was a citizen of Europe. Then we were liberated and put under the Serbs. Now we are liberated again and put under the Russians.  And always more police, more prisons, more hanging ...'"

Damn the Modern Nation State. And damn the lies of the tricksters who primed little old ladies to repeat like parrots "We want our country back".

"One was free, one moved where one would, one was a citizen of Europe".

"I'm not an Englishman." 

May God rest his soul and give him a place in the Byzantine section of Paradise.

10 April 2021

Explain

I know this is boring because I've made this point before, and not just once. But ...

In a letter recently made public, PF appears to favour the availability of vaccines against Covid to poorer countries, But in the same letter, he also speaks favourably about biodiversity. (As he has previously.)

Covid must be the most spectacular example of biodiversity in our time. Its capacity to mutate seems endless. The facility with which it spreads is awesome. Every patient choking to death in a Covid ward is a witness to its amazing powers and versatility; and to the might and majesty of Nature.

Can somebody explain to me how the same person in the same document can favour attacking Covid with vaccines, and pay lipservice to biodiversity.

(No; please, not your opinions about 'tainted' vaccines, or about blaming the Chinese. Could you just say something which will help me to understand, simply in his own terms, what is going on in PF's strange mind as he perpetrates what seem to me obvious and radical self-contradictions. And why is there so little evidence that anybody apart from me is in the least puzzled?) 

9 April 2021

Hans Kueng, Priest

Kueng was a precisely defined Icon of heterodox and aggressive Liberalism. He described himself as a victim of the Inquisition because Rome deprived him of the right to claim that his words and writings were authentic Catholic Teaching. But Rome left intact all his canonical faculties as a Catholic Priest. Although he had flouted formally the anathemas of Vatican I, he was, unlike poor Doellinger, never excommunicated. He accepted a secular professorship. Of course, the liberal media described this, in their quaintly perverse way, as the 'silencing' of Kueng! 

Yet he protested, of course, when the 'excommunications' against the Bishops of the SSPX were withdrawn! Well, he would, would'n' he? ... as a celebrated courtesan once said.

Even one of his own admirers was moved to describe Kueng as conducting himself like a second Magisterium ... and commented that just one Magisterium was enough for him! When it is suggested that Kueng might have become pope, people forget that the limits and restrictions implicit in the Petrine Office would never have been acceptable to such an incorrigibly arrogant individual.

But Kueng was a man whose armoured lack of self-doubt meant that he  never forgot and never forgave. God grant him that he may now be able, finally, to forgive, even as the Father's full forgiveness is offered unconditionally to him. And to you, dear Reader.

He was, like me, a man whose hands had been anointed with oil and who had stood before the Altar of the LORD offering up the Sacrifice of the Immaculate Lamb. His first Holy Mass was offered in the Crypt of S Peter's on 11 October 1954, the Feast of the Divine Maternity of the Theotokos. At one time, day by day he drained the Chalice of the Great Victim, as I am privileged to do. May God forgive him his sins, as I pray that God will forgive mine, which are so many, pretty well many beyond number. As we celebrate hic in via the Light of Christ's Resurrection, I pray that Kueng may know, and, knowing, may not hate, the glorious Face of the Beatific Vision.

Among his many honorary doctorates are listed honours from the Universities of Cambridge and Dublin. Happily, I do not recall that Oxford ever sank so low! Among the bodies thus honouring him was an American Jewish institution which was so fanatical in its hatred of its fellow Jews ... that is, of Orthodox Judaism ... that it once organised a banquet in which course after course was pointedly devised so as to humiliate adherents of the Torah.

Liberalism's spiteful malevolence, you see, is not confined to any one religion. And, apparently, it unites its votaries across 'denominational' boundaries in a satanic ecumenism.

But the closer one is to another person or group, the more virulent, it seems, may be one's hatred of them.

I pray that the Lord may never again allow me to forget this.

8 April 2021

SUSPENSE OF THE MAGISTERIUM and THE MEANING OF BERGOGLIAN "ECUMENISM"

Readers will recall my own adoption of the methodology of S John Henry Newman in analysing this pontificate. The Roman Pontiff, while not in any way losing his God-given authority or any part of it, has, of his own free volition, ceased to use it. It seemed, and seems to me now, that the moment this act of self-denial happened was when PF ignored the cry of four Cardinals, the cry PETER, TEACH US! ... the moment when he decided not to answer the formal Dubia they put to him.

Now another four cardinals have spoken out!. This time, their subject is the scandalous prohibition of Private Masses in the Large Basilica near the Santa Marta. If no (satisfactory) reply is forthcoming to their appeals, I shall personally regard this as confirmation that PF is still keeping his Magisterium in Suspense. If, on the other hand, he does something to resolve this crisis, I shall regard that as a Good Sign, and look out for further indications that he is possibly toying with the idea of resuming the exercise of the Ministry and munera committed to him as Successor of S Peter.  I see all this as a sort of litmus test!

The Letter of Cardinal Sarah raises a question I have raised on this blog, concerning those who have certain canonical rights in the area of liturgical usage secured to them, which the Prohibition violates. 

The right to use the Divine Worship Missal is secured to me by the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. (Apostolic Constitutions are among the highest Magisterial documents a pope can issue.) And now, a bit of paper, without signature* or protocol number, pinned onto the Sacristy door in S Peter's, now purports, unlawfully, to strip me of some use of that right. (Members of the FSSP may, for all I know, be in an analogous situation.)

And Anglicanorum coetibus is in fact an Ecumenical document, a henotikon, marking and codifying the occasion when some groups entered into Full Communion and were given the formal canonical right to use rites which previously they had used de facto while in separation. By a typical piece of slippery Bergoglian Ultrapapalism, this liberty is now, apparently, partially abrogated. And such unilateral abrogation, apparently, does not need a formal document ... any office-worker equipped with a typewriter can do it! 

This gives specificity to the real meaning of Bergoglian "Ecumenism". A group not in full Communion with the See of S Peter can spend decades in discussion with Rome ... can negotiate, agree, sign and seal agreements with 'Rome' ... and 'Rome', if the whimsy takes her, can, less than a decade later, simply say "Forget about it all! Run away and be good boys and don't waste the Holy Father's time".

Frankly, I cannot see how any of Rome's "Ecumenical Partners in Dialogue" could possibly want to continue any sort of discussions, however low-level, with such shifty, dishonest, unreliable and capricious folk. (Perhaps the pandemic-generated shortage of money will help to kill off daft but expensive circuses such as ARCIC.) And I do fully understand the attitude of Moskow towards Constantinople: its condemation and excommunication of the Ecumenical Patriarch for 'the heresy of Papism'.

Ecumaniacs would be much better occupied doing the Latin Crossword in the Saturday editions of The Times or actually reading Sacrosanctum Concilium.**

 

* The bittapaper does have the impression of a rubber stamp, and within that impression are concealed manu scripta the initials of Edgar Pena Parra, Parolin's sidekick in Stato,who has recently been in the news because of the Vatican Financial Corruption Scandal. You can readallabahtit in places like Catholic Culture. Last week, an English Judge of Assize made some delightfully fruitty remarks about Vatican goingson. His lordship was particularly incensed by the Vatican request that the whole business should be kept quiet and well out of public view.

** PS ... and now Cardinal Zen ...  five Purpled Fathers ...

7 April 2021

IUSSU BENEDICTI PAPAE XIV EDITUM

A very grateful Thank You to the most generous benefactor to whom I owe the gift of a big Benedict XIV coffee mug ... and of a Benedict XIV hip flask! Although I have had no connection with the Hunting Fraternity since we moved from Devon, the hip flask will keep me in mind of England's prime sport, the pursuit of Man's wiliest adversary ... and, of course, of the greatest Pontiff of the Second Millennium. Tally Ho! Redeant dies laetabundi!

                                                            A MYSTERY

Dunno what it was ... Second Sight? Vision? Double Vision? Dream? Ecstasy? Hallucination? ... but I have somehow seen the following document, crudely pinned to the great main doors of S Peter's Basilica in Rome. It bears no Protocol Number, so, whichever it is, and despite the curious scribbled initials at the bottom, it can't be authentic.

In hoc tam lamentabili SUSPENSO ministerii Petrini Romani Pontificis quo et Nos quondam functi sumus, cur miramini omnes Sacrificium Novae Legis ab altaribus huius Ecclesiae recessisse? Si ipsa Magna Mater quae dicitur Deorum cultum nefandum in proximis Vaticani montis hortis habuit, si initia prava, detestabilia Cybeles mysteria, per istam Ecclesiam sollemniter delata sunt et in altare horribile dictu deposita, quid mirum si ipse pontifex deseruit altare Piscatoris? Si arae vacuae et desertae inveniuntur; si sancti et sanctae quorum hic reliquiae depositae et cultae sunt (ut ita dicam) refugerunt; si locum hic habent pseudoprophetae et pseudochristi; profecto Abominatio Desolationis hic aptissime cernitur. 

Quid enim in tantis calamitatibus inauditum seu improvisum est? Patent fores, Dominici gregis portae apertae sunt, unum ovile Domini incustoditum relictum est, luporum rapacum rabies ingressa est, mercenarii fugerunt quia mercenarii sunt et non pertinet ad eos de ovibus. Haec autem omnia iampridem bene nota.

Sed confidite, Rex noster vicit mundum.

Fugerunt et Fideles; sed regredientur. Agni Sacrificium nunc silet; sed frequentabitur. Tacet nunc Successor Petri? Vocem nihilominus rursus attollet. Non tamen etiamnunc Vox Petri omnino tacet si, tacente Pontifice, presbyteri eius purpurati necnon et diaconi vera loquentes inveniuntur. Si ea quae hucusque tradita sunt nunc non traduntur nisi a duobus vel saltem tribus Sancti Collegii viris, Os Petri non est mutum. Si quis ex illis theologus loquitur, si legisperitus, si historicus, si rerum liturgicarum peritus, si martyrum testis, quid deest muneribus Petri? Si vel unus episcopus ausus est veritatem profari, unus est Mundus.

Tacente Papa, audiendi sunt qui audiri possunt. 

Fidem tenete. Depositum servate. Dominus prope est.

B XIV pp

6 April 2021

Is this intervention 'Magisterial'?

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth recently gave an account of matters in which, he claimed, PF was currently not doing his 'Petrine' job by giving clear and orthodox Catholic teaching. He called upon PF to do this. 

Bishop Philip wrote: "As a Bishop, I have a responsibility not just for the Church in my diocese, but for the Universal Church." .

Does he?

The Vatican II document Christus Dominus (para 6) clearly teaches this collegial responsibility of the Episcopate. 'Collegiality', of course, and 'Vatican II' are  dodgy words to use in the hearing of some cosiddetto 'Traditionalists' (how they must hate it each February when the Collect of S Matthias comes round!). They suspect both that concept and that source. Are they right?

Readers will be aware of my own conviction that Vatican II and all the Councils except those which made strictly dogmatic pronouncements with accompanying anathemata, gradually fade into the background-noise of the Catholic Church. Does the Governorate of the Vatican City State insist that all Jewish visitors must wear the star of David? How many bishops still maintain a strict rule that all their clergy should say the Divine Office in Latin except for those who have sought and received individual permission to use a vernacular?

But Vatican II was an Ecumenical Council and may therefore be cited as such. However, for traddies who prefer the pre-Vatican II Magisterium, I will point them to the paragraph Procul dubio ... of Fidei donum: "... unusquisque Episcopus portionis tantum gregis sibi commissae sacer pastor est, tamen qua legitimus Apostolorum successor ex Dei institutione et praecepto apostolici muneris Ecclesiae una cum ceteris Episcopis sponsor fit etc..".

So it's good enough for me that Bishop Egan used the same words as Pius XII (and earlier Roman Pontiffs). The Bishop of Portsmouth does have a responsibility for the entire Church Militant, as well as for his own Diocese! He deserves all credit for recognising and using this Magisterial function.

In Easter week 2019, nineteen of us (later joined by a number of others) sent an Open Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church. In it, we called upon the world-wide episcopate to use its authority in regard to some features of this pontificate. Of course, you will find this document in (pages 127sqq of) Defending the Faith ... Arouca Press. The number of signatories was smaller than the numbers who had signed our earlier documents, but there was one bonus: Fr Aidan Nichols O.P. joined in. Nichols, one of the most learned Anglophone theologians, teacher at both Oxford and Cambrudge, author of many books, had not been much in the public forum since he read a fine paper a few years previously which had led to him being gagged. 

It was good to see his head again above the parapet!

So what is the status of his lordship's intervention?

Since he explicitly mentions his responsibilities with regard to the entire Church Militant, it is clear that these words are not the sort of light-hearted unofficial remark a person might dash off on personal media. So, yes, the words of Bishop Philip Egan are guaranteed (by his own allusion to his role as a member of the Universal collegial Episcopate) to be Magisterial! 

Not many Diocesan Bishops under the age of resigation have taken such a courageous step! Just one bishop among the the legions of the silent, you think?

No! Wrong attitude!! Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus!!

 

 

5 April 2021

Easter Sunday Evening in the Novus Ordo

In 2008, Benedict XVI promulgated a new Prayer for the Jews to be used at the Good Friday Liturgy in the Extraordinary Form.  He did not commission the prayer and then promulgate it; he composed it himself and allowed this to be known. He was hoping to settle, for good, a nagging controversy.

Only seven years after this, at their November Plenary Meeting, the CBCEW passed a resolution asking Ecclesia Dei to 'review' this prayer.

They did not mention that the Prayer came from the pen of the Sovereign Pontiff himself.

They claimed that the Prayer failed to accord with the Vatican II Decree Nostra Aetate ... as if they were more reliable experts on the Conciliar texts than Joseph Ratzinger.

They claimed that "upset and confusion" had been caused among Jews.

I wonder how many of the Right Reverend Fathers round the table quite understood what was really going on when this item on the agenda came up.

They failed to mention that one eminent Jewish scholar, Rabbi Jacob Neusner, had praised the prayer and had made the point that it was in the very same spirit as a prayer used among Jews for the conversion of Gentiles ... a prayer used daily: indeed, he asserted, used three times a day.

Even more disgracefully, the CBCEW made no reference to the fact that the Novus Ordo Liturgia Horarum, at Vespers on Easter Day, and on other Sundays in Eastertide, prays explicitly for the conversion of the Jews. 

We are apparently to conclude that Jews feel no "upset and confusion"at their conversion being prayed for by a lots and lots of people who use the post-Conciliar texts in English on more than one day. Yet, strangely, these same Jews are "upset and confused" by one prayer used on just one day in the year by very minute numbers of traddy people, and in a dead language.  

We were not told whether Archbishop McDonald had been frank with his Jewish interlocutors about how many hundreds of Catholic priests in England, canonically obliged to the Office, pray annually in Eastertide the Novus Ordo Divine Office Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews ... or whether he simply judged that it would be easier to keep them in the dark ... unupset and unconfused. His Grace, I am sure, is a Dab Hand and a Real Dude when it comes to the matter of handling Sleeping Dogs without getting bitten.

Perhaps the CBCEW should issue a teaching document about the morality of such suggestio falsi and suppressio veri. Or are they themselves, poor poppets, a trifle "upset and confused" about this area of Moral Theology?

But the CBCEW were truthful enough to admit that they were following the lead of ... guess who ... the German hierarchy!!!

I expect they will soon follow the German Bishops in their current agitation for wyminpriests. And why aren't they campaigning for more and better 'licensed concubinage' [Fr Aidan Nichols' divertingly phrase]?

Who will serve orthodox English Catholics as Flying Bishops? The Ordinariate contains Monsignori who have years of experience of this very specialised form of Episcopal Ministry. Should they set up a Training School? It could bring in much-needed revenue.

4 April 2021

RISUS PASCHALIS (2); Fr H's Spring Competition

Either (1) Compose Gilbertian verses in the style and metre of the Three little Maids, and featuring Hwirl, Toe-Bin, and Soup-Itch.

Or (2) Compose a speech for PF to utter in the persona of Oscar Wilde's Lady Bracknell.

RISUS PASCHALIS (1) Marcury and his swan

Once upon a time, long ago in the Urzeit, Christ Church ... or, if you prefer it, Cardinal College ... awoke to find a swan flapping noisily around in the small ornamental pond in Tom Quad which is known as Marcury because it contains a statue of Harmes.

It was in a thoroughly bad temper, which was strange, because, round its neck, it was wearing a neat and perfectly-tied white dress tie. 

None of the porters could do anything to persuade it to consider alternative arrangements. The Proctors, of course, could not be called upon for help, because they have no locus standi within colleges and, in any case, there is no Statutum de Cycnis in the University Statutes. 

So they had to call in an expert: one of the Swan Uppers who, every July, Up the Swans in the name of the Monarch along nearby stretches of the Isis. 

He thought he knew what must have happened. "Your stoodents been messing around then?" he asked the Head Porter. 

He got a very frosty answer. "None of our Stoodents 'ad anything wotsoever to do with this 'ere swan". "Wottt! cried the Upper. "You knows wot every one of your stoodents was doing every 'our of the night? Must be 'undreds of 'em. Pull the uvver one!"

The Head Porter, as upper sarvants sometimes do, got angrier and angrier. "You think I don't know where each one of the Stoodents was all through the night?" he thundered. "Don't I know where they woz all sleeping, and who wiv?"

(The English sarvant classes imbibe with their Mothers' milk the realisation that to employ a grammatically structured subordinate clause would constitute an inappropriate claim to gentle status. Wodehouse got Jeeves all wrong.)

The Upper realised that he had to change tack. "Wew" he said "Ow did it get in 'ere, then?" 

"Flew in, did'n'it?" replied the Head Porter. (The English warking classes, you will already have noticed, love to disguise assertions as questions.)

"Wottt!" expostulated the Upper. "Wiv that round its neck?"

By this time, the veins in the Head Porter's temples just south of his bowler hat were pulsating dangerously. "You think we admit improperly dressed swans into this college?" he raged.

============================================================

(There exists an indelicate limerick which appears to suggest that, in at least one Tab college, "the swans are reserved for the dons." I don't know if any illustrative pictures exist ... by Tiziano, perhaps ... of Lord Dacre exacting condign vengeance from Leda's 'partner' ...)

2 April 2021

How to pray Holy Saturday

For reasons of propriety, I shall not publish a post tomorrow. In Magno Sabbato quiescimus. My next effusion will be my Risus Paschalis on Sunday.

A fine way to meditate and to pray on Holy Saturday, before the Vigil, would be to watch the video of the SSPX Chrism Mass, celebrant HE Bishop Fellay, to which Fr Zed most usefully provides a link. Since the Mysteries of Christian Initiation are at the heart of our wonderful Latin Catholic celebration of the Easter Vigil, the Consecration of Chrism (done on Thurday so as to provide what is necessary for the Great Vigil) is a most suitable way of getting into the right frame of mind!

NOTICE, however, that this video does not provide the ancient Roman form. The Liturgy shown dates from the Bugnini reforms of 1955. Previously, the Oils were consecrated during the main Maundy Thursday Mass. What Bugnini did was to extract the 'Oil' elements from that Mass, to fit them up with the necessary propers (Introit, Collect, etc.etc.), and to present them as a separate Eucharistic celebration. But, otherwise, the Consecrations and Blessings are (I think) almost entirely uncorrupted, except that a paragraph in the Consecration of the Chrism has been filletted out and restored to its historically original job as a Preface.

The earlier rites can be read ... for example ... in the edition of the Roman Pontifical published by the authority of Papa Lambertini. (Happily, I acquired a copy of this in Thornton's when I was an undergraduate ... verily, a ktema es aei!) I wonder if this pre-1955, pre-Bugnini, pre-Pacelli, Mass of Maundy Thursday, including the Consecrations and Blessings of the Oils, nowadays happens anywhere in Christendom. 

I'm sure they would love to do it in Sede-land, but I doubt if, poor poppets, they would have enough clergy!

PANGE LINGUA GLORIOSI

Let me remind you of an interesting Graeco-Latin metre: the trochaic tetrameter catalectic. You should be equipped with this information, because it is the metre of the two great Pange lingua hymns used in the Holy Week Liturgy: the one about the Cross, written by Venantius Fortunatus for a royal Mother Superior who had succeeded in begging a Relic of the True Cross from the Emperor in Constantinople; we sing that on Good Friday at the Liturgy of the Cross (and in the Divine Office). The other, written by S Thomas Aquinas for Corpus Christi, is sung as the Most Holy is taken to Altar of Repose on Maundy Thursday. But this metre got its first recorded Christian use in the hymn Corde natus ex Parentis, often used at Christmas, centonised from (i.e. made up of extracts from) the Cathemerinon of Prudentius (348-c410).

Tumpty is a trochee; two of them, tumpty tumpty, make up a 'trochaic metron'; four of these are described as a trochaic tetrameter; and if you chop off the very last syllable of the sixteen, what's left is a trochaic tetrameter catalectic. (Some people call it a trochaic septenarius, but then, they would, wouldn't they.) The line is very long, and, since there is a regular word-break after the eighth syllable, printers commonly split it up into two lines respectively of eight and of seven syllables.

What is surprising about this metre is that it was seen and used by the ancients as comic and vulgar (and so described, kordakikoteron, by Aristotle ... the kordax was a very obscene dance). It is used by the great writer of New Comedy, Menander (you could go and see a nice bust of him among the Howard marbles in the Ashmolean; he more or less invented the 'situation comedy' and perfected the eternally fertile formula 'Boy loves Girl: there is an Obstacle: the help of a Clever Slave solves it so that all live Happily Ever After'). In one of his 'latest' plays ('latest' in the sense that lost plays keep turning up on papyri preserved in the dry sand of the Egyptian desert), the Girl from Samos, it is used in a hilarious slapstick scene featuring Girl's comically nasty Father, Niceratus. Menander's Roman imitators adapted it into Latin, and so Plautus uses this metre in his Mostellaria for the scene where Boy, drunk, comes across Girl while she is putting her make-up on and goes for an inopportune contact.

So how did this frivolous, indeed indecent, metre come to be used for what we might think of as the stateliest and most dogma-laden hymns of our Latin tradition? One possibility: Think Roman Squaddies. Think Roman Squaddies in a happy mood, particularly after a great victory; they have returned to Rome; the Senate has voted a Triumph; and so the troops, heavy with gold and alcohol, are singing in the Triumph Procession as they process behind their general. You may be surprised by this; but they are singing obscene songs insulting the general, probably to avert from him divine jealousy. And Suetonius preserves for us three lines in just this metre which were sung during C Iulius Caesar's Gallic triumph (interesting that, just as with the Christian hymnographers, three lines seem to make up a stanza):
Gallias Caesar subegit, Nicomedes Caesarem:
Ecce Caesar nunc triumphat qui subegit Gallias;
Nicomedes non triumphat qui subegit Caesarem.

Which is best left untranslated; well, anyway, I am going to leave it untranslated. And so, turning now to the Christian hymnwriters, we find the sense of military triumph already vividly present in one of Prudentius' stanzas:
Solve vocem mens sonoram, solve linguam mobilem,
Dic tropaeum passionis, dic triumphalem crucem,
Pange vexillum, notatis quod refulget frontibus*.

This, of course, is the inspiration of Venantius Fortunatus' first stanza (and, indeed, of his hymn Vexilla Regis):
Pange lingua gloriosi proelium certaminis,
Et super crucis tropaeo dic triumphum nobilem,
Qualiter redemptor orbis immolatus vicerit.

The idea is of the Tree of the Cross as the tropaion [trophy], i.e. the battlefield Tree upon which the rejoicing soldiery hung the spoils (mainly armour) looted from their defeated enemies. It is both clever and appropriate; compare S Paul (Colossians 2:14-15) proselosas auto toi stauroi; apekdusamenos tas archas ... thriambeusas autous en autoi. No wonder Venantius Fortunatus thought the idea, and the metre, appropriate to express the exuberant joy of processing into Poitiers with a Relic of the Redeeming Tree.

And is there not a whiff of a Triumph Procession as the priest bends the ends of the Humeral Veil over the ciborium containing God's Body and then carries It through the adoring People of God?
__________________________________________________________________________
*Literally: Loose, O mind, the sonorous voice, loose the mobile tongue, speak the trophy of the Passion, speak the triumphal Cross, sing the banner which shines on marked foreheads [referring to the Cross marked on the foreheads with Chrism at Confirmation/Consignation].