"They wish to call 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 highly 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 among the signatories! Hence ... "the Agatha Christie Indult."
But among the other names were Maurice Bowra; Colin Hardie; Max Mallowan (Christie's husband); Robert Mortimer; Iris Murdoch (my wife's Philosophy tutor); R C Zaehner (or did he transfer to Oriental Languages immediately after Classical Mods?); the Second Earl of Oxford and Asquith. These were all nationally famous Oxford Classicists: that is, they had "read Greats", the four-year prestigious Oxford course which included not only Latin and Greek Language and Literature and Ancient History, but also both Ancient and Modern Philosophy. Its official name is Litterae Humaniores. In aeternum floreat.
The 1971 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.
Henceforth, I suggest an alternative title: THE GREATS INDULT.
Incidentally, I thought it was immensely jolly that Arthur Roche, careless chappy, has lost his copy of the Indult. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke, could it?
A Traditional Catholic Aristophanes would probably rejoice to subvert Euripides' prologues with the phrase "... lost his Indult."
[In Operation Pax, is Mark Bultitude based on Bowra?]