31 December 2021

DE RE PISCARIA: Only for Classicists. A discussion in the Ashmolean. A Yorkshire Nanny and an infallible Pontiff.

cum beato papa benedicto xiv in museo ashmoleano colloquens haec hodie rogavi:

"sancte pater: omnes dum boni anhelitu cotidiano exspectamus elevationem arturi nostri in cardinalem, oritur quaestio quomodo eum paucis et parvis verbis nominemus. 'reverendissimus ac eminentissimus dominus arturus sanctae romanae ecclesiae cardinalis diaconus roche' bellissime sonat, necnon et almae nutrici eius summopere placebit; sed mihi admodum longius videtur, praesertim in bloggo meo tam laconico, tam presso, tam conciso, in quo verbum superfluum numquam inveniri potest.

"multa temptavi qualia sunt pisciculus eboracellus; pisciculus roseus; leuciscus  subrubens ... frustra: nam in catalogis linnaeanis et libellis aliorum doctorum de re piscaria scriptis nil certum inveni de hoc pisce quomodo exacte dignosceretur.

"sed fortasse hoc sufficiet: pisciculus purpuratus.

"hoc brevius etiam fiet si ita id breviare licebit: pp

"quid autem dicent docti? suetonianum illud fortasse iactabunt purissimum penem? si vero his verbis caesar divi filius octavianus quintum horatium flaccum quondam appellavit, quid ad rem? quid elegantius flacco; quid pisciculo nitidius?"

et pontifex doctissimus subridens benignissime annuit suoque magisterio infallibili suffultus dixit: 

"pp placet!"

30 December 2021

Ovidius in Luca ludit ... for classicists only

I suggest that the writer of the Corpus Lucanum in the New Testament was at least familiar with the Metamorphoses. Yes; you're right; I have in mind Luke 2:7sqq, and the pericope at Acts 14: 8-18. Surely, if one met these passages in profane literature of the same period, one would cheerfully analyse them as witty, even frivolous, expressions or inversions of the topos of the Theoxeny of the Unrecognised Gods, as at Metamorphoses VIII: 611-724 (there are, of course, famous Callimachean exemplaria ... Hecale ... Molorchus ... Hollis remarks that "between them, the two stories clearly set a vogue in Hellenistic poetry"; he points out that elements in such accounts go back to the visit of Odysseus to the hut of Eumaeus). 

An inversion and a frivolity almost worthy of Naso himself, you would tell me.

Indeed so. I would agree with you. I generally do. But I want to pitch the hypothesis a tadge more broadly.

Perhaps the theme most central to the Metamorphoses is the stylistic metamorphoses within the work itself*, as it swings gaily from genre to genre pastiching wildly as it goes ... Homer and Ennius and Accius and Vergil and Theocritus and the 'neoterics' and the elegists and Euripides and Lucretius and Callimachus ... you never know where you are; or, if you do, you enjoy every moment of it.

Surely, the writer who composed the first two chapters of the Ad Theophilum I in such a convincing Septuagintal pastiche could, if he had wished, have claimed elegiacally if naughtily Naso magister erat.

But S Luke has pressed his lusus into the service of God, rather than drawing his gods into the service of his lusus.

He has bequeathed a very jolly Christmass prezzy for us all! 

Finally: would it be wildly excessive ... is it totally mad ... to ascribe to a wise and whimsical Providence the notion that the enthusiasm in Greek and Latin Literature for Allusion, Imitatio cum variatione and Intertextuality provided a fertile cultural praeparatio for the 'Typological' approach to Holy Scripture?

I go for it!! Even poor Milton might have agreed!

*Surely we must, with Tarrant's OCT, emend the mss reading of the last word  of  Metamorphoses I:2.

29 December 2021


In a patristic reading offered (remarkably) both by the Roman Breviary and by the Liturgy of the Hours, S Ambrose reminds us that the first thing our blessed Lady did after the Annunciation was to hurry into the hill country to visit Elizabeth; and asks, rhetorically, 'For whither, now Full of God [plena Deo], should she hurry if not to higher places?'

The greatest of the Roman poets was Publius Ovidius Naso, whose rococo imagination and baroque syntax would have made him a most wonderfully Counter Reformation Catholic, had he lived a millennium and a half later. It is purely and simply the Spirit of Ovid that animates the exuberant baroque statuary in the fountains and squares of renaissance Rome. In his youth, the dear old boy appears to have written a tragedy, the Medea, of which only two fragments remain as citations in later rhetorical treatises ... yes ... a sad fate ...

One of these fragments gives a few words of Medea, the Colchian Witch, a liberated feminist girl who engagingly terminated her children in order to irritate her husband; a wench quite worthy to be adopted as their tutelary deity by the crazed half-naked demonstrators plenae Diabolo [full of Satan] who riot for Abortion; the Choroi whose spondaic-dactylic-spondaic-dactylic incantation orders us "keep your rosaries off our ovaries". Apparently, in her frenzy, Medea cried out in Ovid's play feror huc illuc, ut plena deo [I am carried this way, that way, as full of (a) God].

In Roman literature, it is not unnatural for one in the grip of madness or, indeed, merely alcohol, to be called 'Full of (a) God', because Roman deities were so often personifications of dangerous or even disastrous things. So, after your Christmas celebrations, you might be (but I trust you will not be) said to be full of Bacchus. Medea was, I'm afraid, merely demented, poor thing.

I wonder whether S Ambrose, as an exercise in what we Classicists call Creative Intertextuality or imitatio cum variatione [copying something but with a significant change] but which lesser mortals mistake for Plagiarism, has consciously transposed this witty topos from the demented, noisy and bloody mythological figure of Medea, to the reality and hesychia [quietness] of a particular Jewish Girl who, quite literally, carried God Eternal and Incarnate an inch or two south of her fallopian tubes and is now Queen of Heaven. If so, he certainly put his finger on the Culture War, the essential enmity, between the Theotokos and today's maddened Satanic perversions of her icon.

But her heel will tread down the Serpent's head; and the Immaculate Heart of our Lady of Fatima will prevail.

28 December 2021

A penitential day?

Those of you who, very sensibly, keep at least one eye on the illuminating St Lawrence Press ORDO will know that, before the liturgical tinkerings initiated by Pius XII, today, Holy Innocents' Day, the Mass was penitential: Violet colour; no Gloria; no Alleluia; Benedicamus Domino.

How very, totally, immensely, completely, indisputably, brilliantly suitable for a Day which has justly come to be an occasion of penance for our present politically-correct and on-going daily Holocaust: that of the pre-born. 

I wonder how many have already been finished off this morning in Oxford, in the great white hillside 'Teaching Hospital' with its high chimney looming over the city ... so very Dachau. I bet the distinguished physician after whom it is named ... John Radcliffe, temp Queen Anne ... didn't wear a gown ever freshly red with the blood of babies.

There has been quite a lot of publicity recently about the Mother and Baby homes in which unmarried women who became pregnant, were once, four or more decades ago, taken to give birth ... and then to have their babies taken from them for adoption. I have no heart to mount some great defence of that or, indeed, of everything else that was done during the first half of my own life-span. Sunt lacrumae rerum.  

But I do think it as well to remember that, today, a very large percentage of those stolen babies would have had their lives extinguished before birth. 

"Better Dead than Stolen" seems to be the maxim..

I've heard a fair bit of sentimentality on our media about the way the babies were taken from their mothers, particularly when they had both already 'bonded'. Sentimentality, of course, can so easily be the mother of hate. So we are corralled into hating the nuns, or whoever, who took the babies away ... babies who were at least still alive.

"Better to kill it before she sees it." Our cultural masters get very hostile towards any suggestion that women considering an abortion might to be shown a picture of the baby in their womb. And when pro-life campaigners show photographs of aborted foetuses.

Our age is characterised by so much profound and noisy moralising. So many people have an insatiable need for Moral High Ground from which they can sneer down on anybody who doesn't keep up to date with their slogans. Ecology ... Trans Rights ...  

And that noise is accompanied by the 'no-platforming' of anyone who is hesitant to chant whatever is the prescribed slick and up-to-the-minute perpetually updated Horst Wessel Song.

27 December 2021

Egeneto de en tais hemerais ekeinais ...

... exelthen dogma para Arthourou Leuciscou that nobody henceforth should use the old Roman Pontifical ...

 I regard this watery edict as being, in principle, the most perverse of the Decrees which keep blowing off the desks of PF and his Roche. True, for clerics and laics, what they have to perform or endure daily or weekly is bound to seem the most perverse. But ...

But hear me out.

The rites of Ordination are that area of liturgy currently most badly in need of reform. Corrupt? That's far too good a word.

As concerns the Diaconate: the euchology there has kept getting worse since the Council. Paragraphs have got added which express a view fashionable in the Sixties, that a deacon is a sort of minister to the poor, the needy, the disadvantaged. This is nonsence. (Vide a book published in 1990, Diakonia, by John N Collins (OUP)). The Ordination Prayer currently in use urgently needs to be cut back down to what it was before the Improvers got to work and glued onto it all manner of rubbish.

The rites for ordination to the Priesthood have suffered least ... 

But the Consecration of Bishops suffered very badly in the actions taken (entirely without Conciliar mandate) subsequent to the Council.

The entire, ancient Roman Prayer of Consecration was ... yes; entirely!! ... thrown out.

It has been replaced by a Prayer which, in the 1960s, was erroneously thought to be by an ancient Roman cleric called Hippolytus. It has survived in use in some Eastern churches, sometimes for the Consecration of a Bishop, sometimes for the Elevation of a Patriarch. It involves the use of a phrase (from the psalms) pneuma hegemonikon ['Spirit of Leadership'] to mean 'Episcopacy'.

Now: if our Holy Mother the Church takes a phrase ABC and solemnly proclaims that it shall mean XYZ, then her authority is sufficient: XYZ is what it will mean. So I don't think there is any doubt about the validity of the Consecrations of our current bishops. This sort of deft verbal conjuring gets them (and us) safely across the nervous boundary between Invalid and Valid.

That's a relief!

But the whole procedure seems to me rather seedy ... not really quite Kosher ... it's the sort of thing at which Maiden Aunts would purse their lips ...

The Bergoglio/Roche view, that the ancient Roman formulae must finally be given a lethal clobbering ... dealt an effective death-blow in the Vatican abattoir ... is precisely the opposite of what is needed.

It is the (now discredited) fashions of the 1960s that we now need to bash around the head. And from which we need finally to move on.

We need a lightly revised version of the pre-Conciliar Pontifical.


26 December 2021

Sancte Stephane ...

... Ora pro nobis.

May he also pray for the great number of Catholic priests and bishops now happily in full communion with the See of S Peter whose priesthood was formed at S Stephen's House ["Staggers" or "The House"]; when it was on the site of what we are now supposed to call the Weston Library alias the New Bod here in Oxford; and later in Norham Gardens sandwiched between S Anne's and LMH; and, most recently, along the Iffley Road. If the influx of former Anglican clergy both before and after the vote of 1992 has brought things of value into the Catholic Church, to a large degree that must represent the sound liturgical spirit and the traditions of focussed clerical professionalism inculcated at Staggers ... not for us the cheerful, undoctrinal, disordered amateurism which Anglican seminarians imbibed in other places!

I intend by that no sneers at some of the dear old English 'Cathedral Close' seminaries. They had their charm back in the days when the more erudite inhabitants of Cathedral Closes possessed 'Tractarian' strengths. But Staggers' independence of that ethos enabled its thoroughly ultramontane Romanita. Nowadays, of course, many ... most? ... Anglican clergy pick up what little they do pick up at multi-denominational non-residential 'Ministerial Training Courses' which are far from what Cardinal Pole devised and the Council of Trent put in place, and which S Charles Borromeo established in Milan and Charles Marriot established at Chichester. (Most of the Anglican colleges are now closed.)

Incidentally, the John Moorman who, as Bishop of Ripon, signed the Letter which led to the"Agatha Christie Indult", was at one point Principal of Chichester. It produced fine priests.

There are repeated demands that, in the Catholic Church, seminary formation should be radically changed so as to eliminate "Clericalism". As with so many disastrous current ideas, that one has already been tried out in the Church of England. It is guaranteed to lead more or less efficiently and directly to infidelity.

Pretty well everything the Evil One is now up to in the Catholic Church, he has tried out in the Anglican Communion already. He is a convinced and principled empiricist. He has been content with the results. How could he not be?

Please pray for the repose of the souls of departed students and teachers at 'the House': not least for Arthur Couratin, priest; Derek Allen, priest; Dai Thomas, bishop; Principals, quorum animabus propitietur Deus.

25 December 2021

Light from Exeter

Some words of Edmund Lacy, Bishop of Exeter 1420-1458.
"There is truly nothing, after God, more useful than making memorial of his most holy Mother, for if the name of God's Mother has been invoked, even if the merits of the one calling upon her do not deserve it, yet the merits of God's Mother intercede so that he might in mercy be heard; for she is the Palace of Universal Propitiation, the Cause of General Reconciliation, the Vessel of Grace and Temple of Life Eternal and of the salvation of all who are to be saved, she, the dear Mother of God and Ever Virgin Mary; who, the only one to guard unimpaired the likeness of the Heavenly Craftsman, gave birth under the seal of holiness to the Splendour of the Father's Glory, the only begotten Son, indeed, of God, who knows not the Fault of Adam, that he might, by the merit of His own holiness and righteousness, restore to Paradise those whom our first Parent exiled by his fault of disobedience; for this woman, most blessed among and above all blessed women, through the blessing of her childbearing abolished for ever the curse of our first Mother Eve and trod with the foot of virtue the poisonous head of the ancient serpent ..."

I break off here because the sentence goes on for ever. I doubt whether, even now, this great Exonian Pontiff has completed it. He even chose, as a venue for a dissertation on the Immaculate Conception, a General Chapter of the Order of Preachers in his See City ... I know I need not remind you that the Dominicans were still distinctly negative about the doctrine at this point.

Lacy was a considerable intellectual whom his people deemed also to be a Saint. His shrine was dismantled at the 'Reformation' (by the 'Protestant Dean', Simon Haynes, who so got up the noses of his Anglican Catholic fellow chapter-members that they were able - even in the reign of Edward VI - to contrive to get him imprisoned); but when the Cathedral was bombed during the War the wax votive offerings from it were found concealed behind a nearby stone. He had a definite cultus as a beatus.

Thank you!

 It was splendid to get so many Christmass Greetings ... both electronic and through the letter box. And such kind greetings!

Very many Thank-yous, and even more reciprocated good wishes. 

And best wishes to all who read this humble blog, even when they don't always agree with what I write.

John Hunwicke sacerdos indignus.

24 December 2021

A memorable day ...

Amid all the busyness of Advent and Christmas ... here is (yet) another event to which you might care to raise a glass.

The Diocese of Oxford, erected de facto by Tudor Minor, was erected de iure by Reginald Cardinal Pole on December 24, 1554, by virtue of his Legatine powers, in his Legatine Constitution Cum supremum. (So, indeed, were the other Henrician de facto diocesan creations.)

Roman Catholic writers love to inform us that, apart from a Welshman called Kitchen, no 'Marian' bishop conformed to the 'Settlement' of Elizabeth Tudor the-once-Virgin Queen. Not so. Hugh Curwen, who had been consecrated Archbishop of Dublin by Edmund 'Patrimony' Bonner, Bishop of London, in 1555, was later translated to Oxford. 

I often wonder how this poor old bishop-of-bray got on with the grim gang of Calvinists who were his confratres in episcopatu. Not to mention the Puritan bullies who by this time had been intruded into Oxford professorial chairs after their occupants fled to Douay. 

"Serve the old b****r right", I hear you say. 

You are a heartless lot.

I append two very interesting comments attached to a much older post on this subject.by Professor Tighe.


 What a day! 

A day to read the Rorate  blog, which has an important piece by a Fr Ferguson. His point, amusingly and cogently made, is that "Pomposity cannot abide ridicule". This is what my blog has always practised! We have inherited this perception from figures like the Revd Dr Geoffrey Kirk, RIP, whose writings, first in our Anglican context and later in the Bergoglian context, operated precisely on the principle of laughing at the bullies and the heretics. Rideat nunc cum Angelis in caelis.

Don't let them worry you! Laugh at them! If you want a good example of pompous and risible fatuity, read yesterday's "Address to the Curia". He's still going on about 'Clericalism'! He still thinks he's humble! He is providing you with your Big Christmass Laugh!!

Also in today's Rorate, a fine letter, fizzing with righteous anger, from the Founding Prior of the Traditionalist Dominicans. He points out that, back in the era of Ecclesia Dei, the Holy See gave its word to certain communities about the preservation of their rites and their spiritualitiues. PF has no right to play fast and loose with solemnly given undertakings. "Obedience" does not oblige the sort of craven obsequiousness which PF thinks he has the right to demand. He's only the pope.

Fr de Blignieres is dead right. I also entered into full communion via a scheme which guaranteed me the use of the Roman Rite (which at that moment had received the watertight papal clarification that it [already] existed in two licit Forms) and, additionally, (what was to be) the Divine Worship Missal. No-one on earth has the right to deprive me of the use of the Old Mass, and I require no permission ("in principle", as Benedict XVI put it) from anybody to use it. Furthermore, the logic deployed by PF and his Roche to attack the Old Mass ("Unity and Communion require Uniformity") excludes also the Divine Worship Missal (not to mention the "Uniate" rites). This has not yet been spelled out by the Bergoglianicals, but I do not see how, logically, they can avoid this conclusion (even though the DWM was issued by PF's own authority). No edicts from the Vatican will alter my attitude to the DWM.

PF is only the pope. He should read the teaching of Joseph Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy

Finally ... still with Rorate ... they have published a superb article by a senior and experienced parish priest in the English 'Mainstream' Church, Fr Puginopolitanus.

Please!! Don't let all this essential reading get lost in the Christmas rush!!

23 December 2021

George V, Casti Connubii, and Bishop Gore

A recent book about George V (GeorgeV Never a Dull Moment, Jane Ridley) suggests that he was "fighting a one-man war against the twentieth century". Some readers might join me in considering that this was a fairly laudable thing to be doing. Not because that century was the only epoch in which horrible things happened (although the two World Wars and the genocides against the Armenians and the Jews take a bit of beating), but because his reign ... particularly the last part of it ... exhibited the seeds of corruptions which were to become explicit ... and disastrous  ... in our own time. I have recently written a few words on the Cult of Sterility which is discussed in some Christian literature from those years.

But it was hardly a "one-man war". There were teachers, even in Anglicanism, who stood out against the perversions of Christian morality which took hold in the 1920s and 1930s. Permit me to remind you of Bishop Charles Gore.

Gore was founding Principal of Pusey House in this University, where I worshiped as an undergraduate and had the honour of a Senior Research Fellowship when I returned to Oxford; later he was Vicar of Radley, a few hundred yards from where I now live; then Bishop of Oxford; also Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, of which our much-loved Mgr Robert Mercer of the Ordinariate is a member. You can find ... I admit it ... in his writings attacks upon what he saw as the failings of the Catholic Church, and teaching upon Biblical Inspiration which might have been unpopular in the pontificate of S Pius X.

But it is my strong conviction that blessed Benedict XVI intended us to bring into the unity of the Catholic Church all that was good in our inheritance; setting it when necessary within a Catholic context so that it may be corrected and completed.

The Lambeth Conference, a gathering with no canonical status but considerable 'moral' authority, used to gather together, every ten years, all the bishops in peace and communion with the See of Canterbury. Its meeting in 1920 spoke very sternly about the immorality of Contraception. By 1930, on the other hand, this teaching had radically changed. Gore spoke about this change, with no holds barred! I urge you to read his arguments at anglicanhistory.org/gore/contra1930.html. He was, like Pius XI (Casti connubii) and S Paul VI (the Pope of Humanae vitae) a prophet who foresaw the complete overthrow of Christian sexual morality in the final third of the twentieth century. The 1930 Lambeth Conference was indeed the thin end of Satan's wedge; the dirty work was to be finished off by the 1968 Lambeth. Gore admired the Catholic Church for bearing a witness to Truth and Purity which his own Communion had, to his distress, abandoned. He also wrote well about the High Priests who served before the 1930s Altar of Modernity, the HG Wellses, the Bertrand Russells, the Margaret Sangers, the Eugenicists, Racial Hygienists and  Euthanasiacs, worthy Precursors of Adolf Hitler's Gestapo and of the Thought Police of our own time. Gore has a lovely tone of righteous and faintly surprised indignation.

At this when the wolves are knocking at the door of the Catholic Church as they once did at the door of the Three Little Piggies, Gore is a Christian Teacher with a message directly for us. A 'Patrimonial' gift to the whole Church Catholic? Why not read him?

22 December 2021


Arthur Roche has recently decreed that the Old Pontifical cannot be used for Confirmation. 

The facts are totally beyond dispute. As Roche explains, in his best school-masterly tones, "it should be remembered that the formula for the Sacrament of Confirmation was changed for the entire Latin Chrch by Saint Paul VI with the Apostolic Constitution Divinae consortium naturase (15 August 1971)". (I can just imagine Roche giving Bloggs minor a cuff around the ear, like the Chaplain in the film If ....)

Indeed; it should be remembered. That's quite simple, then. No room for controversy there. Fancy ... Papa Ratzinger not knowing that!!

How silly, perverse, and ignorant he was to decree (7 July 2007) that "Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it".

Daft, ignorant old man! All those stupid - if innumerable - books and articles he wrote! Incredible, that he hadn't read and couldn't even find copies of the Acta of S Paul VI! Just imagine the poor chap hobbling round all those libraries in Rome looking for them and, everywhere, the same brush-off: "Sorry, Old Man, we don't have room on our shelves for that sort of stuff!". 

And how absolutely wet he was to allow bishops to take account of "the good of souls"! What on earth do bishops know about the good of souls?

Clearly, we now need stronger hands upon the tiller! Thank Goodness we now have men of the intellectual and moral calibre of Jorje Bergoglio and Arthur Roche to set us on the right track!

Outrageously, the English Bishops were prepared to act on Ratzinger's flawed "decree" and go around doing Traddy Confirmations!!! However can they have been so misguided! They need to be strictly disciplined for conniving in Ratzinger's apostasy!

Joking and irony aside: I think a pastoral need has opened out here like a great big gaping hole. I don't know if Cardinal Burke will be willing to traverse the continents administering Confirmation according to the Usus Authenticus of the Roman Rite ... but, if he isn't, will the aging bishops of the SSPX be able to hear God's call to go round doing so? The world is a big place.

How much longer can the Church avoid the necessity for more Episcopal Consecrations, even if they do have to take place sine Mandato Apostolico?

The time, surely, has passed for Rigidity and Legalism. The God of Surprises wonders if we shall step up to the plate.

21 December 2021

Two Churches?

 Fr Tom Weinandy, sometime Head of House in this University (Greyfriars) and an internationally distinguished theologian, wrote (October 8 2019):

" ... One must also likewise take int account the many theologically dubious cardinals, bishops, priests, and theologians whom Francis supports and promotes to high ecclesial positions.

"With this in mind, we perceive a situation, ever growing in intensity, in which on the one hand, a majority of the world's faithful - clergy and laity alike - are loyal and faithful to the pope, for he is their pontiff, while critical of his pontificate, and, on the other hand, a large contingent of the world's faithful - clergy and laity alike - enthusiastically support Francis precisely because he allows and fosters their ambiguous teaching and ecclesial practice.

" What the Church will end up with, then, is a pope who is the pope of the Catholic Church and, simultaneously, the de facto leader, for all practical purposes, of a schismatic church. Because he is head of both, the appearance of one church remains, while in fact there are two.

"The only phrase that I can find to describe this situation is 'internal papal schism', for the pope, even as pope, will effectively be the leader of a segment of the Church that through its doctrine, moral teaching, and ecclesial structure, is for all practical purposes schismatic. This is the real schism that is in our midst and must be faced, but I do not believe Pope Francis is in any way afraid of this schism. As long as he is control, he will, I fear, welcome it, for he sees the schismatic element as the new 'paradigm' for the future Church."

20 December 2021


Interesting. Fr Zed writes that a Responsum ad Dubium binds only those who have submitted the dubium.

We need to know such things.

Anglican Orders

  Since there have been some meetings in Rome in which a call has been made for 'Rome' to reconsider the matter of Anglican Orders, perhaps I might offer one or two remarks.

Firstly: I suspect the motives of those involved. Possibly, some of them hope to set aside the negative judgement of S John Paul about the 'ordination' of women. Because, believe me, if Rome were suddenly to say "OK; we accept male Anglican priests" the discrimination involved in this would cause a great wave of anti-Roman animus in Anglicanism which would trump even the anti-Romanism of the 1500s. 

So this iniative is probably an oblique move to subvert the Church's teaching on the impossibility of women validly receiving the Sacrament of Order.

Secondly: since Anglicans officially (see below) accept the equivalence of their ministries with those of the Protestant ecclesial bodies, it would be illogical for the Catholic Church to accept Anglican Orders while continuing to reject the ministries of Protestant ecclesial bodies.

So this initiative is probably an oblique way of subverting the entire teaching of the Catholic Tradition on the Sacrament of Holy Order.

Thirdly: We need to recall exactly where we currently are in regard to Anglican Orders.

(1) It was the view of pope Leo XIII that Anglican Orders were null and void, in the sense that they were not identical with the sacerdotal Orders which the Church considers herself to inherit from the Apostles. That is still the official juridical view of the Catholic Church.

(2) What is often not noticed is that this is also now the view of the Church of England.  Since the 1990s, the Church of England has entered into formal relationships with ecclesial bodies which undoubtedly lack Catholic Orders. The 'Porvoo' arrangement inserts her into the Porvoo Communion in which, even where there is a quasi-episcopal structure, that 'episcopate', in Norway and Denmark, can make no claim to Apostolic Succession (as Professor Tighe has demonstrated, the same is almost certainly true even of the Swedish Church, of which more optimistic judgements had previously been officially made by the Church of England). And ordinations in Scandinavia are not exclusively performed by Bishops (but sometimes by cathedral deans). (It is also worth looking at the published text of the Anglican-Methodist Covenant, in which, instead of even a perfunctory attempt to show that the Methodists believe the same as Anglicans about Holy Order, there is ... believe it or not!! ... a cheerful assurance for Methodists that Anglicans don't believe anything different from what Methodist legal documents teach in their careful repudiation of a sacerdotal priesthood!)

(3) Faced with a very similar threat in the 1940s (at that time, the threat was posed by the 'CSI', a proposed pan-Protestant body called the Church of South India), Dom Gregory Dix, a robust defender of the validity of Anglican Orders, wrote: "As regards the question of Orders, what these proposals amount to is an official Anglican admission that Pope Leo XIII was right after all in his fundamental contention in Apostolicae Curae. In spite of face-saving phrases about 'the Apostolic Ministry' and the future confining of the act of Ordaining to men styled 'Bishops' [in fact, the Porvoo Scandinavians did not even undertake this], we would be committed to a formal declaration that by 'Bishops, Priests, and Deacons' could be meant only the new sixteenth-century conception of the Ministry disguised under the old titles ... And, whether we like it or not, that would be to justify Leo XIII in the teeth of all our own past history. Thus, if these proposals were to be put into practice, the whole ground for believing in the the Church of England which I have outlined would have ceased to exist ... "

(4) The other major Anglican theologian who mounted a persuasive defence of Anglican Orders was Dr Eric Mascall. He wrote: "When the preface to the Anglican ordinal declared that its purpose was the continuation of the threefold ministry which had existed 'from the Apostles' time', it was pointing to a concrete recognisable entity ... there was a lot to be said for avoiding theoretical statements ... and for pointing instead to the concrete reality which it was intended to perpetuate ... To the question 'what does ordination effect?' the fundamental answer is given ... by pointing to priests. ... defining it by telling you where it is and inviting you to go and look at it."

Well, the Church of England has, since the 1990s, certainly made quite a business of pointing to concrete realities and defining her views on priesthood by telling us where it is and inviting us to go and look at it. And where her formal, synodical pointing finger points to is to Denmark and Norway and Sweden.

(5) But Scandinavia is a long, long, long way ... well, perhaps not so very far away. But Scotland is undoubtedly even closer. And the "Columba agreement" ...  We all know how "Columba" will end: another of these concordats the essential meaning of which will be that Anglican priests are identical to Protestant ministers; that an ecclesial body without an episcopal polity is no less "Church" than a body that thinks it has one. The Church of England has been saying this, ever more often, with greater force, and with regard to geographically closer or more significant bodies, ever since the poor little Jerusalem Bishopric so upset S John Henry Newman ... through South India in the 1950s ... and Scandinavia in the 1990s. How many times does the C of E have to say the same thing before those of its members who call themselves "Catholics" realise that it really does mean what it keeps on and on saying?


Porvoo, not the ordination of women, was the point at which I realised that the Church of England was not a body in which I could have a permanent home; after that, the practical question was simply how to get out, acting corporately rather than as an individual; a question so graciously answered by Benedict XVI.  

The Church of England officially agrees with the judgment that Leo XIII made, that its orders are no different from the orders of all the Protestant bodies. Those who retain a Catholic doctrine of Holy Order, and still remain in the Church of England, can only do so by saying that the Church of England, and Leo XIII, were both wrong; and that "I understand Catholic teaching about Sacramental validity better than did Leo XIII; and, although the C of E says that its ministry is equivalent to Protestant ministries, I know better."

Logically tenable ... but what a very uncomfortably ego contra mundum position to hold! I know, because I've been there!

18 December 2021


As I leaped out of bed this morning to say Lauds, my hand just happened accidentally to take up my 1874 Breviarium Romanum, so of course I found myself saying the Office of our Lady's Expectation. Dom Prosper Gueranger reveals that today was the original, first millennium, date in Spain for the Annunciation, which, after being superseded by the Roman date of March 25, survived there under the guise of the Expectation. It was granted by indult to very many dioceses throughout the world; and to England as a Greater Double.

 Question: when the old Calendare for England was replaced by a separate Calendare for each of its new Pio Nono dioceses, why did the Expectation disappear? 

The office consisted of bits of the Annunciation office with Advent Office Hymns. Incidentally, the gentlemen who put together the post-Conciliar Collectio Missarum recommended an Annunciation Mass today, December 18.

But I shall say the glorious old Ember Mass, even if it gives me back-ache. 

It always does ...

17 December 2021

A Novus Ordo Postcommunion and Rosa Krebb

Here is the original text of the Postcommunion appointed for December 17 in the Novus Ordo. It served in the Sarum Missal for the Last Sunday After Trinity, and is found there in many early Western rites.  I take the text below from 'the Gelasianum'.

The Bugnini 'reformers' rearranged the clauses; and made changes in the words I have highlighted in red.

Animae nostrae, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, hoc potiantur* desiderio, ut a tuo Spiritu inflammentur; ut sicut lampades divino munere satiati, ante conspectum venientis Christi Filii tui velut clara lumina fulgeamus. Per.

(* Sarum reads pascantur)

 I think the removal of animae nostrae tightens the structure and, until better advised, I advance no criticism (Sarum had done some rearranging too). inflammentur is replaced in the modern rite by accensi; and sicut lampades is omitted. I think the elimination of inflammentur ('go up in in flames') and the omission of sicut lampades ('like torches') snatch away from us a very vivid piece of pictorial imagination.

The original provides a striking picture of a gang of enthusiasts with torches charging through the dark, unilluminated streets of a city, lighting their way with torches, to meet Someone who is Coming. Remember that Roman houses faced inwards to their courtyards, so that in the narrow streets there would not even be such faint illumination as could be provided by the light of oil lamps flickering through windows.

Changed, the prayer becomes Sixties and platitudinous. Indeed, one does rather wonder why Novus Ordo runners would now need any lights at all; surely, the massive electrical illumination from the Car Show Rooms opposite would be enough to keep them from stumbling over into the sterquilinium.

Poor antique Arthur Roche recently claimed that the Novus Ordo contained most of the euchology of the Usus Authenticus; and was more 'rich'.  I do understand what the dear old gentleman has in mind. The Bugninioids did rescue a fair bit of material from early liturgical sources, especially in their (self-imposed) mission to provide different propers for weekdays in Advent and Easter.


(1) the motives controlling the selections they made, and their editorial alterations, have a consistent mens, videlicet, to enforce a levelling-down: we end up with a liturgical culture squeezed everywhere into the straight-jacket (adjusted to the dimensions of a Procrustean Bed!) of one decade. On the other hand, the Authentic Use, having evolved organically over two millennia, picking up like a glacier diverse materials from every age it passed through, contains within it so much more cultural diversity. (C S Lewis's point in The Reading of  Old Books applies here.)

(2) the really ginormous elephant in the NO room is the following thought-provoking fact: 

Most modern Christians who are not lapsed go to Mass on Sundays; very few go day-by-day on every weekday. So they gain no advantage from the fact that the old Sunday prayers for Advent, Lent, and Eastertide have sometimes ... if they've been fortunate ... been relocated to weekdays or to 'Ordinary Time'.

Yes; not a single Advent, Lent, Easter, Sunday collect in the old rite survived into the Novus Ordo as a collect for a Sunday within that season.

Not one. 

Did you hear me?

Every single one of the Sunday Collects for the Three Great Seasons, prayers which had served Latin Christendom for a millennium and a half, was deemed by the self-important, ipseinfallibilist 'scholarship' of one single decade to be totally unfit for Sunday use in those seasons.

In particular, the fine series of Excita collects disappeared from the Sundays of Advent.

This intolerance towards the ancient Sunday collects, this act of arrogant censorship and violent cultural vandalism and shameless ecclesial rupture, in itself alone, is more than enough to render the NO suspect ... for me personally, quite unusable (although, of course, both valid and licit).

PF threatens Chinese-style 're-education' for anybody dim enough to have problems with the Novus Ordo (" ... to provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration and need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Ss Paul VI and John Paul II ..."). We 'need' to have kindly sensitive people to assist us 'to return' to the 1970s; "to help them understand the essential principles of renewal called for in the Second Vatican Council", as PF's sad-eyed little friend Cupich put it. It is so important to boldly stride ahead from 2021 to 1970! But it would take a a terrible amount of the Maoist re-education threatened by Bergoglianity to drag me back to the flawed and tatty (though fully valid and totally licit) aging liturgical compilations of the Sanguinary Seventies. 

Been there. Done that. Now I know better. 

Thanks be to God that He did not leave me floundering in that old quagmire.

Anybody trying to 'accompany' me on such a prescribed Bergoglian journey 'back to Bugnini' (... hus lousamene eis kulismon borborou, as Scripture puts it ...) is likely to get a very special kicking at every step along the way.

I have some Rosa Krebb boots and, even in my enfeebled ninth decade, I think I could still swing a finely honed toecap. 

Does that allusion verify my 1960s credentials?

16 December 2021

Eusebii, Eusebii ...

I think I've got the Eusebii sorted out ... but it'll be no skin off my nose if somebody better informed can correct me.

Today we commemorate S Eusebius.

S Eusebius, that is to say, of Vercelli. He was a resolute anti-Arian who galumphed around promoting orthodoxy, refuting heresy, back in the dark days when (in S John Henry Newman's neat analysis) the Teaching Authority of the Church was In Suspense, because so few bishops were prepared to stand up against the Arian Heresy. That heresy was so terribly popular ... backed by intellectuals ... supported in very high places, even the then equivalent of the White House ... 100% side by side with the Zeitgeist ....  

You might call S Eusebius of Vercelli a sort of proto-Schneider.

But this Eusebius is not to be confused with another Eusebius, S Eusebius of Samosata. The possibility of confusion is made even stronger by the fact that this Eusebius was also a doughty warrior in the struggle against Arianity.

In fact, he went even further than the Vercelli Eusebius. In his extensive travels encouraging orthodoxy, he actually consecrated bishops for churches which either lacked a bishop or whose bishop was an Arian. This was uncanonical, even before later canonists invented the importance of the Mandatum Apostolicum; and the latae sententiae threats nowadays aimed at Bishops who take it upon themselves to consecrate other bishops without that all-important letter from Rome.

You might call S Eusebius of Samosata a sort of proto-Lefebvre.

That must be why he is not in the current edition of the Roman Martyrology ... Oops; he is there, splendidly sharing June 22 with Ss John and Thomas of England. Silly me. I should have checked before ranting ...

A big temptation to which bishops, poor poppets, can fall victim is the temptation to see themselves as a managerial elite, and to deem their main priority to be fostering harmony with members of other managerial elites. Not least, elites outside the Catholic Church. There was feeling both in the 1990s and in the 2000s that the English Catholic bishops considered snuggling up to Anglican bishops to be more important than welcoming Anglican fellow-Catholics into corporate unity. Cardinal Ratzinger mused "What are the English [Catholic] bishops so afraid of?

But that Ratzinger never made a fetich of the 'ecumenical' idea of all-of-us-manager-chappies-sticking-together.

Back in 2003, when dissident American Anglicans were meeting and plotting in Dallas in the lone-star-state, they were extremely surprised to get a telegram from Cardinal Ratzinger warmly offering them support and friendship.

The "Panzer Cardinal", indeed. "The CDF used to be called the Inquisition", the Media helpfully, pompously, and incessantly reminded us.

The old Bavarian gentleman was ... is ... a very great Churchman and Christian. As were the Eusebii, both of them ... as well as certain more modern ecclesiastics I could list.

Orent pro nobis.

Vide The Church and its Divine Constitution by Dom Adrien Grea, Chapter 21.

15 December 2021


 High on this morning's list of News items here in Blighty is "the problem of male violence against women". 

Just yesterday, the lead story was the murder of a female toddler by the Lesbian 'partner' of the child's mother. The murderer is a keen amateur boxer. When family and neighbours expressed anxieties about the treatment of the child, social workers were fobbed off with a claim that the complainants were prejudiced against a Lesbian relationship.

Last week, our main story was the murder of Baby Arthur by the woman with whom his father was living.

I am not saying that there is no male violence against women. I am not saying that 'stepmothers' are necessarily vicious. I am not saying that Lesbians are all, or even often, murderous psychopaths.

Indeed, I strongly and completely repudiate all and any such wicked generalisations because what I am urging is the discontinuance of all stereotyping.

Even the stereotyping of males.

14 December 2021

Liturgical Inventions (2)

Yes; I did say Tenth month, because December was still seen as the Tenth Month. In the 'Leonine'/'Verona' Sacramentary. the Masses for this week have the heading "In the Fast of the Tenth Month". January and February are interlopers: the early Romans, simple agriculturalists, did not bother to give names or numbers to the first eight or so weeks of the year, because that was a time when nothing much happened in their fields!

And that Sacramentary, I think, enables us to push back to a time before Advent was invented as a preparation for Christmas ... and to a time when Christmas was still new ... and, even further back than that, to a time when Christmas had not been invented.

The Ember Masses in our present Roman Missal, as edited by S Pius V, have been heavily marked by the proximity of Christmas. They have been Adventified! To say this is not to belittle them; on the contrary. I would urge anybody who worships in places where the heavy hand of PF has not yet fallen, to take every opportunity to attend (especially) the exquisite Rorate Masses of Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday this week. They may very possibly be daring innovations of Pope S Gregory I, brought to England, hot from the Scriptorium, by S Augustine in 597.

But I do think it can be fun to take a naughty peep behind the curtains at the Verona Sacramentary Masses for the December Ember Days. I hope you will not think the worse of me for doing this.

Some of these earlier formulae bear no marks whatsoever of Christmas-fever or of the themes of 'Advent'. The first of these Masses, with a naive agricultural emphasis, asks God to make our days fecundos. And, in the Proper Preface we find the following ... here is a crude literal translation:

" ... because by those things which are seen, we are instructed as to by which methods we ought to move ahead to unseen things. Finally, we are advised, the advance of the year being our teacher, to move over into future things and to newness of life, away from oldness, so that, hurried along by earthly supports, we may seize with greater desire the fruitfulness of the heavenly gift and, through that food which is asked for first, by its alternating benefits we may arrive at the food which will last for ever."

I think the mind of the pope who composed this is fixed upon the idea that, at this turning point in the natural annual cycle, his people may be reminded by the lengthening of the days and the ripening of the crops, that an eternal and unchanging Food lies in God's promise. As he puts it in the Super populum, transeuntium rerum necessaria consolatione foveatur et fiducialius ad aeterna [plebs] contendat.

He ... or another Pontiff ... does show some awareness of Christmas in another Mass within this section. As we are becoming grateful for the gifts we have received, he believes, we should be all the more grateful, so that we may not only rejoice in earthly fertility but may receive with purified minds the Nativity, worthy of honour, of the Eternal Bread. (ut non solum terrena fertilitate laetemur sed nativitatem panis aeterni purificatis suscipiamus mentibus honorandam).

Dunno about you; but that strikes me as composition by a pastor who is relying on the accepted, inherited instincts of his flock who observe the change in the year which follows the solstice, to encourage them to take more seriously a liturgical celebration of the Nativity of Christ. 

Christmas, in other words, is for him what needs encouragement. The lengthening days and sprouting crops are platitudes he can take for granted. 

Christmas, for him and his flock, is still a bit new!

We, the select few who observe the Embertides, can wallow in the elevating thought that we are harking back to a time before the invention of Christmas! The simple pleasure of being part of a liturgical tradition linking us to the seasonal rhythms of Israel, as well as to those of the Italian countryside! Vatican II never abolished them; indeed, Pope S Paul VI, in the Normae he approved in 1969, expected Episcopal Conferences to fix the times for Embertide (and Rogation) observances (He had the Farmers of Tasmania and the Falklands in mind when he did this). 

I imagine Arthur Roche will soon take this little detail in hand. It's never too late to do what's right.

13 December 2021

Liturgical Inventions (1)

 I will be frank with you: I do not know when Christmas was invented. I accept provisionally the theory that, the Lord's Passion having been dated to March 25, His Conception was assumed to be on that same date, so that December 25 appears as His Day of Birth. I certainly don't believe that Christmas is a Christianisation of the pagan festival of the Unconquered Sun. When, in a day or two's time, some pompous journalist or other informs us of that, remember that historical consensus is now that Sol Invictus is a late paganisation of Christmas, rather than the other way round.

This week we observe in the Roman Rite the Advent Ember Days. Originally, there were only three Ember periods ... the Lent Ember is a later confection. So we have the Embers now fixed on Whit Week, which many of us think perpetuates the Pagan Roman Wheat Harvest; the September Ember week, occupying the same slot as the Roman Vintage celebrations; and this week's Ember, which comes at the same time as the feriae sementinae (or sementivae): "Sowing Time". (For the Hebrew background, vide Zech. 8:19.)

And these splendid Traditional seasons are, in their origins, Fasts. Just so, the pagan festivals were periods when the Romans begged the gods to stay away from the crops. Forget the rich pantheon of anthropomorphic Greek divinities: the Romans, until they became Hellenised, trafficked with gods such as Mildew (Robigo); they sacrificed to him (or her?)  to stay away from their fields and crops. It has been wittily and justly observed that, if the Romans had had bicycles, they would have sacrificed to Punctura to get her (or him?) to stay away from their tyres. 

Perhaps this is at least one contributory reason why, historically, the Embers were fasts rather than festive Victorian Anglican occasions for parish merriment and great heavy plonking metrical hymns (... the Good seed in the land ...). Those who say the Breviary Office will recall that, yesterday in the second nocturn, S Leo reminded his hearers decimi mensis celebrandum esse ieiunium, quo pro consummata perceptione omnium fructuum, dignissime largitori eorum Deo continentiae libamen offertur.)

There is evidence that this week's Ember, the Ember of the tenth month, was originally the senior Ember, only occasion when Ordinations happened in Rome.

Did I say "Tenth"?

To be concluded.

12 December 2021

Interfaith Dialogue, Multiculturalism, and Women

Turmoil! A cricketer "of Pakistani Cultural Heritage" has caused mayhem at Yorkshire County Cricket Club ... for whom he once played ... by revealing how upset he had been, some years ago, when his cricketing associates "used the P-word". 

Little does he appear to understand the Culture of Yorkshire: until quite recently they would not allow anyone to play cricket for the County who had not been born therein. Yorkshire men and women have since time immemorial, if we are to believe the reputation they have among their fellow Brits, felt the need to prop up their self-esteem by adopting an attitude of rough hostility towards all outsiders, whether we be from Essex or from Waziristan. Personally, I only risk travelling through that county if I am in a heavily armed convoy.

Amusingly, it transpired that the player concerned had himself once used on "personal media" some extremely derogatory tropes about Jews. 

Er ... 'greenhouses', you murmur to me ... indeed ... but he did such a rapid formulaic grovel that now everybody seems completely happy about him. Except me.

The "P-word" is, I presume, not "pope" but "Paki", which, like "Nigger", is not supposed to be uttered or written nowadays, even in academic papers or discussions condemning the usage. So it is written "P***". (How would that look in Egyptian hieroglyphs or Linear B ideograms?)

Doing that makes it perfectly All Right. Yes, Mr Man From Mars, that is how mad this planet has become!!

But demeaning expressions about other distinct groups, cultural or racial, are part of our rich heritage in this sceptred isle; "weaved into it", as the Beeb bimbos would say. Some of the earliest texts to survive in our country come from the Roman military establishments along Hadrian's Wall. Excavation of the CO's archive at Vindolanda yielded a new word (in Vindolanda tablet 164) for the Latin lexicon: Brittunculi. " ... gladis non utuntur equites nec residunt Brittunculi ut iaculos mittant ..." [their cavalry do not use swords nor do the B********** mount in order to throw javelins ...".] 'Brittunculus' is, of course, a diminutive. (Just possibly, an indelicacy may lurk in its two final syllables.)

Latin uses diminutives to express endearment or, more usually, disdain. The Officer who wrote that memorandum had clearly not received adequate Staff College training about cultural sensitivity (or Latin grammar). Perhaps, even now, it is not too late for him to be posthumously named, held up to ridicule, and cashiered.

Yeah ... lets go for it!

Another early English example of this phenomenon comes in the Historia Ecclesiastica of S Bede the Venerable. He records an 'Anglo-Saxon' King of East Anglia who had received Christian initiation in Kent but who, after his return home, was persuaded by his wife to set up an inter-faith complex ("fanum") containing "altare ad sacrificium Christi" combined with an "arula ad victimas daemoniorum". "Arula" is a contemptuous diminutive of "ara", altar. 

YES!!!!! S Bede, sadly, was very Rigid ... he would not have gone far in a Bergoglian Church. But King Reduald (and a fortiori his wife) was a fully paid-up protoBergoglian, convinced that God willed ('permissively', of course) a diversity of religions.

Homunculus ... latrunculus ... tirunculus ... muliercula ... Latin abounds in such jolly and demeaning diminutives, although I anticipate that someone may soon issue a Latin Dictionary excluding all such invidious and unprintable terms. Or sanitising them by the Wokeish magic of asteriscification.

Occasionally, a Latin Contemptuous Diminutive has crept from Latin across into the English Language. Beerbohm wrote of Oxford that "There are the virguncules of Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall, but beauty and the lust for learning have yet to be allied".

Oh yeah??

Personally, I have an invariable rule, that the certainly Incomparable and probably Divine Max is, like a member of the Junta (the Myrmidons?), never wrong. Were I not in the grip of this inflexible certainty, I would say that in this passage he has strayed much too far into the a priori; even, possibly, that he, as his enormous American Rhodes Scholar Oover would put it, "is not a white man".

Moi, I am, like you, dear reader, an empiricist.

Post Scriptum: Would EBORACELLI be a suitable Latin diminutive for Yorkshiremen?

11 December 2021


I am a philhellene; to boot, I am philorthodox, and have been since, in 1961, I first went to Oxford's Orthodox Church (then in the sitting room of 1 Canterbury Road); met there Nicolas Zernov - him of the Theological tea-parties - and was introduced to a bespectacled young man called Timothy Ware. 

In my second curacy, in south London, I was privileged by the close friendship of Christophoros (the future) Bishop of Telmissos, who, lacking a deacon, used me as a sort of mute but vested diaconal dummy during his Holy Week services. When Lancing was celebrating its 150th anniversary, we secured a long and very gracious Message from His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, which I directed to be solemnly processed up the Church at the Offertory, preceded by candles and incense. I have never lost my conviction that Byzantine Orthodoxy has great riches which it is our duty humbly and submissively to assimilate. For example, I share the view of Joseph Ratzinger that the West has never properly assimilated the iconological inheritance of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and his view that we Westerners should take on board the entire development of that tradition as laid out in a succession of councils which took place in an East separated from Rome down to a midsixteenth century Council of Moskow. And I am glad that S Gregory Palamas is on the calendars of Byzantine-rite Churches in full communion with the Holy See. 

You will have sensed that there is a but coming. There is. In my Anglican days I was once criticised at Walsingham, in a public forum by a well-known Orthodox for having, in a Mass advertised as 'Anglican', said the filioque. I am afraid it made me feel combative. All the more so because it was the only negative uttered by any participant, in a conference including Presbyterian, Methodist, Reform, Anglican, 'Uniate', Orthodox, during the entire four days. My initial reaction was to think "I don't lecture the Orthodox on what they should omit from their Liturgy". My second reaction: "English Christianity has explicitly proclaimed filioque since at least the Council of Hatfield (680) recorded in Bede; an event more than a century earlier than the day when an Irish monk inserted it supra lineam in the 'Stowe Missal'; Hatfield was a Council presided over by an Eastern monk whom 'English Orthodox' claim as one of their own." (What price here the claims made by these Orthodox that "the Anglo-Saxon Church was Orthodox"?) And my final thought: " filioque is in our Articles, our Liturgy, and our Quicunque vult; if they want us to drop it they can jolly well ask us extremely nicely".

Intriguing (and characteristic) that Cardinal Ratzinger, in his Dominus Iesus, began with the Nicene Creed in Latin but without the filioque. It makes me all the sadder that the Orthodox national churches, as, I think, their recent Council demonstrated, seem to have very little interest in anything outside their own internal squabbles.

But, however abruptly they disown or disdain us (and even each other), we should stick firmly to the fine teaching in Ratzinger's Communionis notio that each of the dioceses of the separated Byzantine Churches is a true, if wounded, particular Church of Christ. 

Gently sticking to this, even if it elicits no response, is true and Catholic 'Ecumenism'; so very much more so than the impulsive Gestepolitik of the current pontificate.

10 December 2021

Unfair ...

 It is unfair, but there seems to be a convention that bloggers bear some responsibilty for Comments they allow.

That is why, very reluctantly, I have suppressed a comment which could have given a handle to people who dislike this blog and would be very glad to use any weapon to get it banned.

Factually: I do not think the anti-Benedict XVI bishops who gave him such a bad time were actually "excommunicants".

SSPX: Status.

It seems hardly respectful, with regard to a body as admirable as the SSPX, for an outsider to discuss its 'status'. I write what follows aware that it may seem arrogant to the point of being infuriating; and with very real apologies to readers who find that I am simply making them angry.

The status of the SSPX has, in my reading, always or usually been treated in canonical terms. Thus, 'states of necessity' become points of discussion. I cannot help wondering whether it might be more realistic to discuss it in terms of Ecclesiology.

In the CDF document Communionis notio of 1992, there is a chapter "De Communione Ecclesiali et OEcumenismo". It affirms the existence of a "Communio quaedam etsi non perfecta"  with separated Christians. It then goes on to discuss the status of "Ecclesiae orientales orthodoxae", explaining that, although seiunctae a Sede Petri, they "cum Ecclesia Catholica coniunctae esse pergunt"

The reason for this is that they possess "successio apostolica et valida Eucharistia", and, because of this, deserve (merentur) the 'titulus Ecclesiarum particularium'. Quoting Vatican II, the CDF assures us that "per celebrationem Eucharistiae Domini in his singulis Ecclesiis, Ecclesia Dei aedificatur et crescit"; and then adds to the conciliar wording this interesting and thought-provoking phrase "quia in quacumque valida Eucharistiae celebratione vero praesens fit Ecclesia una, sancta, catholica, et apostolica."

I am not suggesting a precise identity between Separated Byzantines, and the SSPX. But the principles which apply in the favour of one can hardly be denied to the other.

The defences often advanced for the position of the SSPX state or imply that it is has the same status as organisations such as, for example, Opus Dei or the Dominican Order. It seems to me that, given the decades which have followed the Econne consecrations,this description no longer ticks the necessary boxes. Indeed, at a human level, one might wonder whether it is appropriate for Roman Pontiffs to fawn upon Separated Byzantines (and even Separated non-Chalcedonians), sometimes (literally!!!)  grovelling before them, while maintaining a disdainful distance from a community which is theologically closer to the full Magisterium of the Catholic Church than are the Separated 'Orientals'.

The curious action of PF in not granting formal faculties to absolve to SSPX clergy, while 'giving permission' to the laity to go to them for Confession, seems to me to express perfectly (if unintentionally!) the ecclesiological analysis which, I argue, is offered by Communionis notio.

How 'ecclesial' is the SSPX? I suggest that one litmus-paper here might reside in the Chrism Mass and the use of the Oils of Chrism and of the Catechumens.

If a bishop ... say, Bishop Fellay ... makes available to a presbyter  the oils which he has consecrated, and if that presbyter receives and uses them, then the Episcopal Ministry of that bishop becomes most intimately internal to all the rites of Christian Initiation performed by that presbyter. 

This, it seems to me, is ecclesial and sacramental.


9 December 2021

Bergoglianity and Scripture (3)

Never before has a Roman Pontiff claimed the right to bowdlerise the text of Holy Scripture so as to make it fit his own ideas.

The game is made even nastier when the monstrously mendacious claim is advanced that this is just a matter of 'correcting the translation'. 

And there are, surely, ecumenical considerations. PF has recently been to Greece and Cyprus; at least in the latter of these two countries, he once again spoke about "complete Unity". But what on earth can he mean by this? If he has in mind such a unity as will enable a Pope to change Scripture ... not to mention trying to sweep away (simply by a signature) ... entire ancient liturgical traditions ... I find it hard to believe that many Orthodox would be prepared to swallow such a toxic pill. Indeed, I pray that they would not. If, on the other hand, his hopes are that union would leave the Byzantine Churches free from hyperpapalist agressions, while the worst excesses of that disorder would continue to be visited upon Western Christians, one can only ask why unfortunate Westerners should continue to be the subjects and victims of this tyranny.

For me, matters are even closer to home.

When I was an Anglican, keen to do whatever I could to bring about the healing of the schism of 1559/1560, I kept a close eye on the proceedings of ARCIC and its successive reports. 

I cannot remember any point at which any ARCIC document ever claimed for the Roman Pontiff the right to change the texts of what Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel record, actually said, in order to make them prop up what an all-wise Pope now thinks He ought to have said.

Had ARCIC proposed any such ultrahyperpapalist notion .... or do I mean superueberpapalist ... I suspect that Partners In Dialogue, not least the Evangelical ones, would very quickly have made clear that this was not a sort of Papacy on board which they had any desire whatsoever to clamber. I suspect I might even have joined them.

Indeed, it's not the sort of papacy I have ever advocated. I have spent a lot energy over the decades of my life as an Anglican Papalist in explaining that this is very precisely not how the papacy was defined by Vatican I. It is not the Papacy which S John Henry was so relieved to recognise in the Vatican I definition.

I feel let down

I feel that we who entered into Full Communion under Benedict XVI have, under his self-aggrandising successor, been made fools of.

I wonder what S John Henry Newman would have made of this unscrupulous perversion of Catholic Doctrine; this gross over-magnification of the munus Petrinum.

8 December 2021


"Incarnation/Redemption too, although it took place at a specific historical moment, the period of Jesus' time on earth, nonetheless extends its range of action to all time that preceded and followed. And, in their turn, the Second Coming and Final Judgement, decisively anticipated in the Cross of Christ, exercise their influence on the behaviour of mankind in all ages."

These words of Pope Benedict, set me meditating on three things: (1) The Immaculate Conception. It seems to me that one reason why that dogma really matters - and is not mariological excess mascarading as dogma - is that it makes rather powerfully the point that the Redemption 'extends its range of action to the time that preceded'. 

(2) The Harrowing of Hell. Perhaps the Pope gave us an interesting basis for a more sophisticated understanding of what it means to say that redemptive grace is at work in the men and women of the Old Testament. 

(3) Dom Odo Casel's ideas about how the commemorations of the liturgical year make present mystice the 'past' events which they commemorate. What Benedict XVI said about the interpenetration of times fits nicely.

7 December 2021

Horace and the Vigil of Mary Immaculate: mainly for classicists

December 8 will be the birthday of one of the greatest Roman poets, Quintus Horatius Flaccus. It would be beautifully appropriate if, during these days which precede the celebration of the Immaculate Conception, I could share with you his words on that Immaculate Conception of our Lady. But ... I can do something very much like it.

Readers of my posts on the Hymns of the Roman Breviary will remember my strong preference for the versions of the old hymns which appeared in all the Medieval Breviaries (including Sarum); and in the present Benedictine Breviary; and in the post-Conciliar Liturgia Horarum. Those texts were not in 'pure' Clasical Latin, but in Christian, Liturgical, Patristic, Latin. But this was all changed in the 1620s at the order of a superb classicist, Urban VIII, who wanted them to be in the grammar and metres of Augustan Latin. I believe that this change should not have been made, and I applaud the resolution of Vatican II to reverse it. But there can be no doubt about the brilliance of the enterprise, in itself and in its own terms, and about the sparkling, classical erudition and inventiveness of Papa Barberini and his helpers.

One of his collaborators was a Polish Jesuit Matthias Sarbiewski. He was an enthusiastic admirer of Horace, and wrote poetry himself in the Horatian style and often with allusions to Horace's text. The following has its origins in Horace's Odes, III 28.

Quid muti trahimus diu
Segnes excubias? Suggere postibus
Dereptum, ROSA, barbiton.
Nos arguta manu fila docebimus:
Tu buxum digitis move,
Et mutis animam suffice tibiis.
Nos cantabimus aureos
Stellarum vigiles sistere lubricam
Mundi sollicitos fugam, et
Palantum choreas ducere syderum.
Tu rerum dominam canes,
Et sparsam Zephyrorum arbitrio comam
Nudis ludere bracchiis,
Et nimbos volucrum fundere crinium.
Addes et teretes pedum
Suras non humilem lambere Cynthiam;
Et sutas chlamydum faces,
Indutique togam Solis amabili
Emirabere fistula:
Donec virgineis laudibus, et suis
Placatus, resecet moras,
Et currum madidis flectat ab Indiis.

I could not begin to translate this; Horatian Latin is not only a different language; it is also a radically different sort of way of using words to convey meaning. Translations are either distant paraphrases or else they sound like gibberish.

But lines I have emphasised above, it seems to me, are a superb piece of classicising Latin describing the baroque iconographical conventions of Maria Immaculata. Horace advises his friend Rosa, as they meet in the twilight of a Vigil of our Lady, to sing of the Mistress of Things; of her locks, scattered by the will of the Zephyrs, playing upon her bare arms and pouring forth clouds of flying hairs; with unhumble Cynthia licking the smooth ankles of her feet.

Horace, just like his Polish imitator, rejoiced in a Callimachean allusive intricacy accessible only to his fellow-erudite. Indeed, oderunt profanum vulgus et arcebant.

Her Immaculate Heart will prevail!

6 December 2021

Bergoglianity and Scripture (2)

Looked at from the point of view of somebody not terribly literate, these alterations in the inspired texts are easy to understand. Why should we imply that the Almighty himself actually leads us into temptation? The answer (in my view the correct one) is that temptation, peirasmos, does not here mean that nasty little voice within us which tempts us to eat the last chocolate in the box while nobody is watching, but means Persecution; the 'testing' to which we are subjected when we are being persecuted ... when our Faith is being put to the test. 

But, be that as it may, I prefer the advice given in Liturgiam authenticam, that admirable and scholarly document on the methodology of liturgical translation put out in the pontificate of S John Paul. It is now sneered at by the sort of people who have filled up the offices of the Congregation for Worship after the ejection of scholars and academics. It points out that, when there is doubt about which of more than one interpretation of a Latin text is preferable, it is best to go for a fairly literal rendering of the original which leaves each option open and available. 

This is, of course, exactly the sort of open-minded preference for liberty which so runs against the grain of Bergoglianity.

And the rendering of "for many" as "for all" illustrates this. 'Many' can mean 'for a lot' or it can mean 'not for all'. My own view is that the Lord is proclaiming the availability of the Salvation he brings is for absolutely everybody. All they need to do is to 'receive' him and to 'believe on his name'. I do not believe that the Lord has removed from any human heart the faculty of rejecting him.

The problem here for many traddies is that "for all" appears to select and impose the notion that every human will ultimately be saved ... you might call this "Universalism". I rather sympathise with their suspicion in this regard.

There is a very amusing whimsicality here. In one of its Offertory prayers, the Authentic Use of the Roman Rite does indeed pray that the Chalice may be accepted "pro nostra et totius mundi salute". But the Vandals ... or was it the Visigoths ... of the 1960s chopped that out! 

In other words, the Modernists of the 1960s were convinced that the vera et certa utilitas Ecclesiae demanded (exigat) that this prayer be excised (Sacrosanctum Concilium 23). Half a century later, the Bergoglianists, the Modernists of our own time, are convinced that the idea be shoved back in ... so strongly convinced that they cheerfully mutilitate the Lord's words in order to do so!

To be concluded.

5 December 2021


 Our political class seems to be making much use of the formula ramping up the roll-out.

Can anyone analyse this neatly trochaic formula for me?

Bergoglianity and Scripture (1)

For many generations of Anglicans, the Second Sunday in Advent was 'Bible Sunday'. This is because of a rather over-wrought Proddy interpretation of the Epistle; which is shared by the book of Common Prayer, and the edition of the Roman Rite issued by S Pius V; Romans 15:4sqq. But it is as good a Sunday as any to consider the relationship of PF with Holy Scripture.

[Preliminary Note for those who need to know what "textual criticism" is: contrary to popular assumptions, textual criticism is the science ... or art ... of reconstructing what an ancient text "originally" said. Before the invention of printing, when manuscripts were copied by hand, changes crept in. Scribal mistakes ... scribal improvements ... scribal harmonisations (when S Mark's text differed from S Matthew's, scribes very often brought  S Mark into line with S Matthew, which they probably knew better). The textual critic assembles the evidence: the different 'readings' in the different manuscripts or early translations or quotations in early Christian writers. Then s/he uses a variety of (mainly linguistic) tools to work out which 'reading' s/he deems "original".]

Popes have long intervened in making decisions which touch upon the text and Canon of Scripture. A distinguished codicologist has argued that the "Four Gospel Canon" was set in place circa 100 ... in Rome. When the Vulgate was authorised, implicit approval was thereby given to the the readings preferred by S Jerome. During the Counter-Reformation, Pope Sixtus V in 1590, then Pope Clement VIII in 1592, officially established (unidentical) texts of the Vulgate. This meant that, where different manuscripts had different ('variant') readings, an official decision was made about which should be used. The popes were not claiming to know what the 'original writers' 'originally' wrote; they were claiming only to provide a usable and safe and orthodox text for private ... and, more importantly ... public use.

During the current supremacy of Bergoglianity, two constructive changes have been made in Scripture. They involve changes in words ascribed to the Lord in the Gospels, in places where there are no textual variants in the manuscripts. Moreover, these are texts used daily by millions of Catholics.

 (1) In the accounts of the Last Supper, the Lord offered the Chalice of His Blood which had been poured out "for many" (peri pollon). In a number of European languages, including the Italian, which the arrogant current boss-class in the Vatican seems to regard as normative, we are offered "per tutti" ("for all": in Latin it would be pro omnibus; in Greek, peri panton).

(2) In both the Matthaean and Lucan texts of the Our Father, et ne nos inducas in tentationem is is now to be rendered e non abbandonarci alla tentazione. I presume that in Latin that would be et ne nos derelinquas tentationi; in Greek, perhaps, Kai me katalipe hemas toi peirasmoi..

I repeat: there is no evidence in the Manuscripts ... all the thousands of them ... or in the Versions ... or in the Patristic citations ... for these tinkerings. 

Textual Criticism can do nothing to back up PF.

To be continued.

4 December 2021


George V and Mary (May) of Teck did not live in a flat. I gather that, at a time when married couples of the English upper classes habitually slept apart, they shared the same bed all their married lives, and produced six children.

I have ventured to consider 'the Flat' as emblematic of the Sterile Marriages of the Thirties. It also excluded whole swathes of corporate  life; if it was kitchenless and gardenless, it excluded servants, from butlers down to under-dairymaids, they were all were redundant. Unwanted family members of the earlier generation, such as Rosamund's father, could be relegated, with a modest pension, to South Coast watering-places. Surely, this is the seed-bed of the atomised social life which we have inherited.

But, if George's recent biographer is correct, and he 'spent his life fighting against the twentieth century', it is a cruel irony that, at the end, he was defeated by it. He was murdered by the eugenicist medical profession of the 1930s, in the person of his doctor Lord Dawson. And he was succeeded by a young man who, like Adolf Hitler, deemed it 'Modern' to arrive hatless and in an aeroplane. 

And whose 'marriage' was sterile.

In conclusion, and purely for your fun, here are two passages, about two contrasting marriages, from Lewis and Sayers. Each of them calls upon the haunting liturgical diction of Archbishop Cranmer.

Lewis: "'Matrimony was ordained, thirdly,' said Jane Studdock bitterly to herself ... 'for the mutual society, help, and comfort that the one ought to have of the other'. In reality, marriage had proved to be the door out of a world of work and comradeship and laughter and innumerable things to do, into something like solitary confinement. For some years before their marriage she had never seen so little of Mark as she had done in the last six months. Even when he was at home he hardly ever talked. He was always either sleepy or intellectually preoccupied ... only one thing ever seemed able to keep him awake after he had gone to bed, and even that did not keep him awake for long ..."

Sayers: "At the end of a week's work, [Harriet] found herself in need of a little technical information, and, going into the library in search of it, discovered Peter, laboriously collating a black-letter folio ... 

"'Glad to be of use,' said his lordship. 'Now as to the effects on a corpse of intermittent submersion in dirty water ...'

"Thirdly', murmured Harriet, with a rich thrill of emotion, 'marriage was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other.' She sat down on the opposite side of the table, and they plunged eagerly together into the statistics of putrefaction."

In making use of the published edition of Thrones, Dominations, I have, possibly rashly, assumed that chapters 1-6 are by Sayers. Because I think I detect solecisms in chapter 7, I incline to attribute it and the rest of the book to Paton Walsh. But in chapter 3, there is the phrase "the forensic people", meaning practitioners in Forensic Medicine. The OED gives an 1845 reference for 'forensic medicine', but I am a trifle suspicious of this modern use of 'forensic' on its own to mean scientific ... as it does today in English English. Has Paton Walsh tampered? or is Sayers ahead of he time?

I believe that Sayers was a significant enough writer for what she actually wrote to be safely on the record. Did Paton Walsh take liberties with Sayers' drafts?

I wonder where Paton Walsh's own papers ended up after her death.


3 December 2021

Cardinals and an Emperor

What fun it always is to walk through Cardinal College and to see the Founder's Arms flying in a gigantic banner; so typically Tudor and so nouveau in their elaboration and detail. Whereas most Oxford colleges assumed their Arms, Cardinal College got a grant, in 1525, from Garter and Clarenceux. An assertion of particular dignity?

I presume that the Cornish choughs indicate that Wolsey's Patron was S Thomas a Becket. (I think Thomas Cromwell included choughs on his arms.) And the butcher's son adopted Suffolk noble motifs: a silver cross from the Ufford earls; blue leopards from the de la Pole Earls. And a lion rouge nodded cheerfully towards Pope Leo X. There is no blood connection between Wolsey and all these; sometimes the words 'of affection ' are used to describe this sort of heraldry.

 Among Bodley's treasures is a spectacular little volume - the earliest English gold-tooled binding - presented to Wolsey c1519, containing prose and verse encomia addressed to him, and with S George on the cover ... and roses ... and pomegranates! A real evocation of the Renaissance, humanist days before all went to pot. And what a European axis that would have been, England with Spain and the Empire! It reminded me of an occasion three decades ago when the then Subdean of the Chapels Royal, the admirable Fr Anthony Caesar, smuggled me past the security guards to show me the Tudor chapel in S James's Palace with all the pomegranates in the ceiling decoration. I wondered, and wonder still, what the syphilitic old tyrant thought when his eye lighted accidentally upon them in his latter days after he had repudiated his wife and betaken himself to whores. 

From the same period, Bodley has a book, also with gold tooling, which was probably given to the humanist Cuthbert Tunstall, later Bishop of Durham, during the bonanza which accompanied the Peace of Cambrai in 1529. And the next King Henry - the opposite in most conceivable ways to the Eighth - was the source of an Italian book, the red silk binding embroidered with the arms of our late Sovereign Lord King Henry IX, Cardinal Bishop of Frascati. Crown underneath the ecclesiastical hat (which only has six tassels each side: why?). 

But what really transports you back to the early centuries of English Christianity is an Evangelarium of c800, Court School of Charlemagne at Aachen, with an ivory inset of Christus Victor. It was made for the Abbey at Chelles, where Charlemagne's sister Gisela was Abbess. 

It evokes for me that earlier Renaissance, the age of Alcuin the Englishman, which was so instrumental in conveying Romanita to the Middle Ages.

I do not imply that the random visitor will find these books on display in Bodley.

2 December 2021

Anglican Orders

The Ordinary of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham has recently adopted a shield of arms, designed for him by "a Spanish Expert in Heraldry". (The Archbishop of Birmingham acquired a Grant from the College of Arms in Queen Victoria Street; the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham, at the instance of Fr Fynes Clinton, got a grant, with a very fine design, from the College. They do a good job.)

 What interested me most was the fact that the Ordinary's shield is surrounded by a hat with tassels ... indications that a prelate is a Bishop.

Prima facie, hostile pedants might argue, this sits uneasily with the 1896 bull Apostolicae curae, which declared Anglican Orders null and void.  Anglo-Catholics nevertheless claimed that, despite the endless misbehaviour of official Anglicanism, Anglican Orders were technically valid on Catholic grounds which had been ignored in Apostolicae curae

This Anglo-Catholic claim received oblique support from an unusual and entertaining quarter when sedevacantists took to pointing out that the arguments deployed in Apostolicae curae also render doubtful or worse the Orders of the 'post-Conciliar Church'! (Efforts to refute this thesis are hampered by the different interpretations which different Catholic writers have, over the years, put upon the logic and argument of the bull.)

Can there possibly be anything new to say?

There is.

Since the bull Apostolicae curae was issued, there has occurred what I named as "the Dutch Touch": the participation in Anglican episcopal Consecrations during and since the 1930s of Dutch schismatics with irreproachably valid orders and using a formula from the pre-Conciliar Roman Pontifical, the adequacy of which for validity ... even on its own ... was strongly urged by as gigantic an authority as Cardinal Gasparri, the great Begetter of modern Catholic Canon Law. 

Those with acute historical minds will have noticed that the Dutch Touch occurred nearly half a century after Apostolicae curae, so that Bull can hardly be claimed to address the new elements in the situation created by the Dutch Touch.

The formal decision of S John Paul II, upon the advice of the CDF in the case of Graham Leonard, formerly Bishop of London, was to proceed on the basis that the 'Dutch Touch' rendered it no longer certain that Apostolicae curae still applied to the dutchified situation.

This papal precedent cannot easily be treated as non-existent. A very distinguished  and traditionalist Catholic theologian wrote to me, even before the Leonard decision, that the "applicability of its [Apostolicae curae] teaching to [Anglican] orders today is not itself unconditionally proposed by the contemporary Roman church" (emphasis original).

Another factor of which few people seem to be aware is that the bull Apostolicae curae, in the text published in Acta Sanctae Sedis 29 (1896-7), explicitly limited its scope to 'discipline', not doctrine. A distinguished Catholic theologian wrote to me that the ASS "is the official version of the text. ... However, in the [later] collected edition of the Acta Leonis XIII the word is omitted ..." Dr E C Messenger wrote "The omission would seem to have been deliberate". It would be interesting to know who it was that contrived this deft and significant excision; my nominated suspect is Merry del Val, operating in the interests of Cardinal Vaughan, who realised that this limitation could provide an opportunity to question the doctrinal force of the bull. 

There is something which is not quite kosher about these proceedings!!

Furthermore, just the other day I checked via my computer the text of Apostolicae curae on the official Vatican website. The text there does include the limiting term disciplinae!! Stone the crows!

Some writers, both those ferociously arguing against Anglican Orders and sedevacantists ferociously denying the Orders of 'the Conciliar Church' as if their very lives depended upon it, give the impression that God has an eagle eye which he constantly has open to the possibility that there might be a technical detail rendering a sacrament invalid. There are stories of pre-Pius XII bishops reordaining all their ordinands sub conditione in the Sacristy immediately after their ordination, so as to be on the safe side! I must confess to having quite the opposite suspicion. Sacramental grace, I think, is, by the Divine Will, much more like water ... perhaps like the flood water which, so ably assisted by Anthropogenic Climate Change,  just keeps getting into the homes of  poor people all over the world. It so often seems to find ways of seeping through or getting in round the side, even despite the best attempts of human wilfulness to block it out. I am an Essex Man; I know about all this! Memories of 1956!

That, surely, is the basic and untechnical meaning of S Bellarmine's famous teaching on Intention, in which he demonstrates that even a heretic who explicitly believed that the [Calvinist] Church of Geneva was Christ's True Church, could (given adequate Matter, Form, and Minister) validly confect the Sacraments, despite all his personal heresies.

I accept, as the C of E now implicitly does, Leo XIII's general proposition that Anglican Orders have now to be categorised, at least and certainly juridically, as not identical to Catholic Orders. Official Anglicanism has made its bed, and individual Anglicans can hardly whinge if they are required to lie upon it. This does not, in my view, necessarily entail the proposition that no individual in the Anglican Ministry is truly a Catholic priest. The very evident signs of Sacramental Grace within Anglicanism might suggest otherwise. They might even indicate (another suggestion I have heard from a distinguished and traditionalist Catholic theologian) that Deus supplevit per desiderium.

But there can be no question that sacramental certainty does need to be secured and assured. The whole Anglican business has now become far too messy and mired in sacramental disorder for this need to be fudged. 

After all, it is not exactly the fault of the Catholic Church that there is any confusion about the status of Anglican clergy. Rome never invited the Church of England to change the rites of ordination unilaterally in the sixteenth century; nor, in twentieth, to introduce women into the transmission of orders. Rome can hardly be blamed for all those endless Anglican public statements and agreements about the interchangeability of Anglican and Protestant ministries. Anglicans have a long and immensely slippery history of wanting to have things both ways. With Catholics, they sound amazingly Catholic; engaging with Orthodox ... Miracle! ... they are Orthodox; doing business with Methodists or Scandinavian Lutherans ... er ...

We are not the first to meet these problems. After his conversion, Newman "could not say that Anglican orders were invalid", and "I was surprised, when I got to Rome in 1846 to find various persons there in the belief that they were valid and none, I think, clear that they were not" (and this despite the assertion to be made in 1896 by Apostolicae curae that the matter had "iam pridem ab Apostolica Sede plene fuisse et cognitam et iudicatam"). The "difficulty" which S John Henry had about being reordained was removed by the assurance that, although ordination would not be explicitly conditional, the 'condition' would be "implied ... in the Church's intention". 

 Conditional Ordination does indeed seem to me by far the most traditionally Catholic solution to this matter; Fr Aidan Nichols' original suggestion was the tactfully private rectification of the Orders of English Anglican priests seeking Full Communion. Since the diaconate does not impinge upon sacramental validity, diaconal ordination need not be part of the procedure; readers will recall that S John Paul II with his own hand struck out Diaconal Ordination from the draft documentation put before him for dealing with the case of Bishop Graham Leonard. 

It is still my view that by far the best process would have been exactly what Basil Hume, on instructions from Joseph Ratzinger's CDF in Rome, did for Graham Leonard: Conditional Ordination to the Presbyterate well away from the public eye; and in his private chapel

This arrangement was the result of the CDF receiving copies of the entire Dutch Tutch archive from Pusey House here in Oxford, plus evidence about the theological views of the Anglican hierarchs involved in the processes leading from the Douch Touch up to Bishop Graham's presbyteral ordination. CDF sent all this material to consultors whose vota formed the basis of the decision. Cardinal Hume subsequently said that other Anglican clergy who could provide identical documentation could expect to receive the same treatment ... but that the process would take very much longer than the abbreviated processes which were within the competences of the English Bishops. Anglican enquirers took this very broad, if somewhat corrupt, hint!

Bishop Graham emphasised to me that Rome had been very careful not to consider, nor to pass judgement on, his episcopal orders ... because, he was convinced, Rome did not wish to find itself saddled with a validly ordained married bishop! (Professor Tighe, by the way, has uncovered other Latin examples of episcopal wives.)

My suspicion is that, in Mgr Newton, a Married Bishop is exactly what Rome does now have! Three cheers for his green galero with its twelve tassels!