13 November 2021


 "They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive, even though this survival took place side by side with other liturgical forms."

This is the conclusion of the 1971 letter to Pope S Paul VI, which led him to grant the 'Agatha Christie Indult' allowing a survival of the Authentic Use of the Roman Rite in England. The letter was signed by a number of distinguished people in British public life. Agatha Christie was one of them; there is a legend that S Paul VI recognised and was impressed by the sight of her name! Hence ... "the Agatha Christie Indult."

But among the other signatories were  "+Robert Exeter" and "+John Ripon" ... the then Anglican bishops of Exeter and Ripon, Robert Mortimer and John Moorman.

Anglican bishops! (No Catholic bishops signed.)

Cradle Catholics often fail to understand Anglicanism! I mentioned Robert Mortimer on this blog early last November, offering a link to a Canadian video which showed Bishop Mortimer offering Pontifical High Mass in his Cathedral Church in the 1970s ... gloves and all! ... and solemnly administering the Sacrament of Holy Order. He was a distinguished scholar who had held an Oxford chair before condescending to episcopacy.

Bishop Moorman was another man of significance and considerable erudition. He played a leading role in ARCIC, the ecumenical talking shop in the dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans ... but this should not be held against him! That was a time of convergence; the understanding was that neither side would add new causes of division while both sides worked to remove the old problems. Things radically changed, however, when the Anglicans unilaterally decided in the 1990s that admitting women to sacerdotal ministry was such a first-rank question of fundamental Christian obedience that it took precedence over Christian Unity.

This indult, and the reasons for which it was sought, are as relevant now, in this bleak and rigid and merciless pontificate, as ever they were in the gentler and more literate times of S Paul VI and Cardinal Heenan.

Scrub my words "as relevant": I should have written even more relevant.

Hence, I suggest an alternative title: THE ANGLICAN BISHOPS'INDULT.

Tomorrow, I hope to offer you yet another possible title! You can't have enough of them!! 


1 comment:

PM said...

Dr Moorman was also the most distinguished English-speaking historian of the Franciscans of his generation - his general history of the Order remains unsurpassed - and made valuable contributions in other areas of medieval history.