25 May 2022

Marx and Sparx

... or, as they like nowadays to be known, Emmandess, are a well-known English Departmental Store, founded in the Dawn of History by Mr Marks and Mr Spencer. If you visit their Oxford outlet in Queen Street, you might find ... I can't remember whether it's in Ladies' Fashions or Food ... a large stone rather shamefacedly displayed behind glass. It is one of the Boundary Stones of one of the Oxford parishes ... might it have been the parish of the now-demolished City Corporation Church at Carfax (Sancti Martini in Quadrifurcu)? 

The Rogation processions survived in some places the attempts of the 'Reformers' to abolish them. An important surviving element was their role in sustaining memory of the parish boundaries; at each stone, the procession stopped and a boy (boys?) was flogged. And a boy (boys?) was inverted and had his head bashed against the stone (these were pre-feminist days). It appears to have been thought that, if the lad (lads?) survived these educational procedures, he would be less likely to forget the exact positions of the Bounds. 

The Medieval Latin Christian Rogation Processions which I have been describing performed important diachronic purposes, bringing the community of 'today' into focussed identity with that of yesteryear. The banners carried will have included those celebrating the Patron Saints of the guilds: 'trade' guilds ... 'The Wives' Guild'; the Girls; the Young Men ... the innumerable associations which made distinctions and combinations in a Catholic society. Each guild had its own Wardens under the Parish's High Wardens (after the 'Reformation', when all the guilds had been destroyed, the High Wardens needed only to be termed 'The Wardens' or 'The Church Wardens'). And each guild had its own Patron Saints.

In the Rogation Procession, the 'Chest' of the parish's relics was carried and the Litanies of the Saints chanted. Thus synchronic communio with the heavenly patrons was expressed; and thus the Saints were kept in mind as vivid participants in the communal celebration.

Essentially, these Rogation celebrations were what we now classify as 'sacramentals'. They functioned to bring together Heaven and Earth; united the Universal with the topical; combined the different classes in the community; sanctified both the rural and the urban environments. 

They were a fine example of Inculturation. Indeed, it is a sobering thought that the concept of Inculturation had clumsily to be invented by academics once the actual, living, instances of it had been persecuted out of existence; and it is not surprising that the natural human instinct for the sacrality of the Earth has had to be reinvented by post-Christian intellectuals ... in awkward and unnatural ways ... once the reality of it has faded from memory.

The old Roman Lustral rites involved the use of a bronze ploughshare. 

Which takes this cultic tradition back at least to the time before the novelty of Iron had transformed human culture.

Three millennia!



24 May 2022

Drinking the Evil Spirits away

Earlier this week, I showed how the 747 Anglo-Saxon Council of Cloveshoe attempted to purify the Rogations from Vanitatibus and maioribus epulis. But a reading of Duffy [Stripping; hereinunder plundered by this post] makes one wonder whether the English peasantry ever  ... er ... quite internalised Cloveshoe canon 16! 

Some quotations: "and then they had there some ale or drinkings". "they [went] about the bounds of the town in Rogation Week, on the Monday one way; on the Tuesday another way, on the Wednesday another way, praying for rain or fair weather as the time required; having a drinking and a dinner there upon Monday, being fast day: and Tuesday being a fish day they had a breakfast with butter and cheese, &c, at the parsonage, and a drinking at Mr Clopton's  ...". " ... [funds] to fynde a drinkenge upon Ascention Even everlastinge ...". "[They had] good chere after".

The Rogation processions were designed to drive out of the community the evil spirits who created division and sickness. They were to bring good weather and blessing and fertility to the fields. But, like the old Lustrations, they also reinforced the boundaries (if the Procession from one community accidentally met its neighbour, there could be fisticuffs; not least, because each might suspect the other of driving its demons across the common boundary). Again, like the old Lustrations, they reformalised and resolemnised the distinction between the purified space within and the profane space beyond the bounds.

In order to sanctify as well as to mark the 'bounds' of the community, the chest of the relics was carried; and the community's banners. The litanies of the Saints were sung and bells were rung in order to put to flight the spirits "that flye above in the eyer as thyke as motes in the sonne". The Cross was carried because "wher soo ever the devyll ... doo see the syne of the crosse, he flees, he byddes  not, he strykys not, he cannot hurte". At Stations marked by crosses, Gospels were read: William Tyndale ridiculed this "saying of the gospels to the corn in the field in the procession week, that it should the better grow". 

One last query, stimulated by the admirable Ceremonies of the Sarum Missal by the admirable R J Urquhart (T and T Clark; a most invaluable volume). Among the banners carried were ... the Dragon and the Lion.

Exactly!

But was the draconis vexillum just a banner? "[T]he woodcuts [in the Processional] suggest something more three-dimensional. In some places the Draco was made of leather and was inflatable or filled with chaff". 

Sounds very jolly, yes? My initial instinct was to wonder whether Draco and his friend Leo had an apotropaic function. Duffy, per contra, tells us the the Dragon had a long cloth tail as he went before the procession on Monday and Tuesday, but was carried shorn of his tail on the third day, "as a symbol of the Devil's overthrow".

Hmmmmm


Fidei Christianae Confessor

May our blessed Lady the Great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, Help of Christians, our Lady of Sheshan [Shanghai], pray for us all.

Cardinal Bo has renewed his call for prayer this day for Christians in Hong Kong, and especially now for Joseph Cardinal Zen. 

In Christian Greek, martys, 'witness', means one who bears witness to Christ even unto death. The Latin confessor seems originally to have had the same meaning; the sense shifted so that it now refers to a Christian who was prepared to die for his or her witness, but has not been called upon to do so.

 

23 May 2022

My 'Rogations' problem

 This week's Rogation processions ... the recorded facts appear to be that they were invented by S Mamertus Bishop (primate) of Vienne (near the confluence of the Gere and the Rhone) in 470; extended to all Gaul in 511, but not introduced to Rome until the time of S Leo III (795-816).

My problem?

In 747, before the pontificate of S Leo III, the English Council of Cloveshoe ordered, in its Canon 16, the observance of the Greater Rogation on April 25; and of the Lesser Rogations on these three days before the Ascension. The Greater Rogation it calls "iuxta ritum Romanae Ecclesiae"; the Lesser Rogations"secundum morem priorem nostrorum".

So far, so good. Or is it? 

The same Canon informs us that at that moment the April 25 Rogation "laetania maior apud eam [sc Romanam Ecclesiam] vocatur".  

But why should the Roman Church call April 25 the Great Rogation unless there were Lesser Rogations from which it needed to be distinguished?

I am not convinced that, in 747, the Lesser Rogations had no place in Rome. Indeed, there is evidence that, even in Vienne, before the time of S Mamertus, there had been rogations for fine weather ... but only vagae, tepentes, infrequentes ... oscitabundae supplicationes, and that it was the Saint who made them a more serious (i.e. clericalised) business of Fasting, Prayer, Psalmody, and Tears. 

Back to that English Council of 747. It orders that the pre-Ascension Rogations should be observed "non admixtis vanitatibus, ut mos est plurimis, vel negligentibus vel imperitis, id est in ludis et equorum cursibus et epulis maioribus; sed magis cum timore". The Cross  and the Relics of the Saints are to be carried in the processions; the people are to kneel and humbly beg forgiveness for their sins.

My conclusion: I believe that a probably raucous, popular series of three processions (like the Lustrum which I described yesterday) used to happen all over the Latin World; originally pagan and designed to seek divine favour in the form of the sort of weather the crops needed. By this time, they had become unhitched from pagan cult ... but not from its comcomitant festive excesses. Hypothesising further, I wonder if the April 25 Rogation was originally a papal initiative designed to put in place a more 'proper' way of seeking divine favour ... but that the old paganish Rogations nevertheless survived (in Rome and throughout the West) until a 'Reform movement' starting with S Mamertus, taking in Cloveshoe, and ending with Pope Leo III (Charlemagne's pope), 'sorted them out'. [Rather as that spoilsport Cardinal Cullen, twelve hundred years later, 'sorted out' the old Irish pattern celebrations.]

My feeling is that the Rogations pretty certainly take us back into the intriguing world of popular Latin religion centuries before the advent of Christianity; to a time when human beings lived much closer to the Earth and its rhythms without needing to invent Gaia or Our Common Home or Pachamama, or to repackage themselves as neoDruids or Wicca rediviva

The loss of these ancient, inculturated rites, in the form that Christianity reshaped them and handed them on, is just yet another of the impoverishments left behind by those who grabbed the executive reins after the end of the Council ... in the period which poor ignorant arthur roche has explained to us was the Great Enrichment.

22 May 2022

DE PONTIFICE ANATHEMATIZATO, and Rogation Week!

 It is a sound Catholic instinct to take seriously the formal doctrinal teaching of the Roman Pontiff, even when that teaching is not given ex cathedra and, accordingly, is not guaranteed to be infallible. I have been hauling Mansi up onto my computer screen so as to reread the formal letter whereby our former Holy Father confirmed the Council. It is good stuff: felicitously written with a great many happy turns of speech. His Holiness (or his Man of Letters) was one wotsit of a Latin stylist!

I am intrigued by the paragraph in which he (I am, of course, writing about Pope S Leo II) confirmed the Conciliar Anathema decreed by the Council (Constantinople III is, naturally, the Council about which I am writing) against the First Heretic Pope, Honorius I. In its Latin text, it explains the condemnation as being decreed because hanc apostolicam ecclesiam non apostolicae traditionis doctrina lustravit, sed profana proditione immaculatam fidem subvertere conatus est. [he did not sanctify this apostolic Church (Rome) with the teaching of apostolic Tradition, but by profane betrayal tried to subvert her spotless Faith.]

{Mansi reads 'persana', a mistake, surely, for 'profana' via a ms 'p'fana'. He gives a variant in the margin 'immaculatam maculari permisit', which, in accordance with the principle difficilior lectio potior, looks to me like an attempt slightly to soften the condemnation.}

The word lustravit intrigues me. It echoes the cultic terminology of pre-Christian Rome; the conventions and terminology of which remained in the consciousness of the Roman curia and the aristocratic Intelligentsia for long after the pagan ritual expression had disappeared. 

W Warde Fowler, Fellow of Lincoln College, described Lustratio thus: "to go round in procession, driving away or keeping out evil from farm, city, or army ..." In his lecture (Edinburgh, 1911) The Religious Experience of the Roman People he went into more detail: "to make a margin of separation between the sacred and the profane, within which the sacred processes of domestic life and husbandry might go forward, undisturbed by dangers--human, spiritual, or what not--coming from the profane world without. The boundary was marked out in some material way ... This boundary line was made sacred itself by the passage round it (lustratio) at some fixed time of the year, usually in May, when crops were ripening and especially liable to be attacked by hostile influences, of a procession occupied with sacrifice and prayer. The two main features of the rite, as formulated by Cato ... are--1, the procession of the victim, ox, sheep, and pig (suovetaurilia), the farmer's most valuable property; 2, the prayer to Mars pater, after libations to Janus and Jupiter, asking for his kindly protection of the whole familia of the farm, together with the crops of all kinds and the cattle within the boundary-line ... the farmer's object is ward off disease, calamity, dearth and infertility ... it is of a rite of this kind that Virgil must have been thinking when he wrote the beautiful pasage in the first Georgic ... terque novas circum felix eat hostia fruges, / omnis quam chorus et socii comitentur ovantes., etc.[ G I 345-6], ... as it was necessary to protect the homestead and its land by a sacred boundary, so the city had to be clearly marked off from all that was outside it."

Readers belonging to the Latin Rite will have made a jolly association here with the Litany processions which go round the boundaries of communities at this time of the year: last month on S Mark's Day and, on the first three ferias of this week, on the days before the Feast of the Ascension. They will even have noticed that, for Vergil, so for us, the event is a threefold one! It all makes you think, doesn't it! But more on this later in the week. For the moment, my point, of course, is to throw light on the Holy Father's sophisticated and forceful rhetorical use of this cultic framework distinguishing between the sacred within the boundary and the profane outside it. Honorius, the First Heretic Pope, whose duty it was to lustrare, to maintain the boundaries, to secure the wholesome unspotted life of the community within from the profane without, had scandalously and grossly neglected his sacred, cultic, obligations by promoting Heresy.

Incidentally, the Greek version of His Holiness's Letter does not attempt to put hellenophone readers straight on the mysteries of Italian pagan cultus. Instead, he uses the Greek concept of Pollution, miasma, which is remedied by the process of hagnisai. (For example, at HF 1324, Hercules' bloodied hands need to be cleansed (hagnisai) from miasma.) And that verb hagnisai appears very frequently in the LXX. You might enjoy Numbers Chapter 19.

Whether considered from the point of view of the Roman, Greek, or Hebrew religious tradition, the First Heretic Pope does not come out of things terribly well! 

Anathema! 

Three times!

21 May 2022

Extinguishing the Paschal Candle

 There is a particular problem here for church building where the Usus Authenticus and the Usus Deterior of the Roman Rite are both in frequent use. It is distracting and unseemly to have the Candle standing in the Sanctuary ... and unlit.

Historically, there have been many different local usages with regard to the removal of the Candle. During the Gospel of the Ascension; after the Gospel on Ascension Day; after Mass, or after None, or after Compline, or at the eleventh hour on Ascension Day; the Friday after Ascension Day; the Wednesday after Ascension Day. But, in some places, we find: the Vigil of Pentecost; 'at Pentecost'; at Compline of Pentecost; or (at Worcester) on Trinity Sunday! Bishop Grandisson's rules at Exeter are not consistent: but in one rule the Candle remains until Pentecost. 

And the Usus Authenticus itself has an ambiguity. If one celebrates the Vigil of Pentecost, one is supposed to bring the Candle back into use for that liturgical event.

Messy? A bit, surely. 

Many will disagree with me; but I rather feel that the neatest solution in churches frequented by followers of both Uses would be to keep the Candle in use either until the Compline of Pentecost, or (so as to draw laudable attention to the Octave of Pentecost) until after None on the Saturday before Trinity Sunday. 

20 May 2022

Dom Gueranger ... exultant!! (2) Three Cheers for that Flaminian Gate!!!

 Pope Pius VII began his Pontificate in 1800 at Venice, where the Conclave met after the death in captivity of Pope Pius VI (they crowned their new pope with a papier mache tiara ... it would, surely, show both style and wit if that piece of gear were yanked out of the Papal Treasury and used at the next "Inauguration of the Petrine Ministry"). Pius VII tried to coexist with the Enlightened Corsican; but in 1809 he was arrested and imprisoned. As Gueranger puts it with Gallic melodrama, he was "dragged [away], during the night, by the soldiers of an ambitious tyrant". 

Regular and sympathetic readers of this blog will be intrigued by the word I have marked in red in my next quotation from Gueranger: "He had been a captive for five years, during which the spiritual government of the Christian world had suffered a total suspension." Ahaa! (arcta custodia ... viis omnibus penitus interclusis, ne Dei Ecclesiam regere posset ...)

Towards the end of 1813, Napoleon had agreed to the return of the Pope to Rome. Pius VII took his time; indeed, he turned the event into a triumphant progress, moving in short stages to receive the plaudits of armies and potentates. 

Did I write "triumphant"?

Indeed: "As the triumphal chariot, on which he had been placed, came near the Flaminian Gate, the horses were unyoked, and the Pontiff was conveyed by the people to the Vatican Basilica, where a solemn thanksgiving was made, over the Tomb of the Prince of the Apostles." How the Grilli of that time must have enjoyed fixing all the tiniest liturgical details! I wonder if they made this triumphator paint his face red!

So Papa Chiaramonti goes down in History ... I like to think ... as the last person to enter the Eternal City as a Triumphator. "Io Io Triumphe!!!" This happened on 24 May 1814.

To celebrate it, and to mark such a happy day, the Feast of our Lady Help of Christians was instituted. Gueranger is a little irritated to have to admit that the Feast is not of universal observance; it is in aliquibus locis. But I guarantee you that his pages covering May 24 are among the most gloriously triumphant and triumphalist in all the sheets that ever the learned Benedictine penned.

(In the old Calendar for England [granted when?], the Feast appears as a duplex maius. In the differentiated Calendars for each individual diocese which came later [when?], only Shrewsbury and Menevia retained it.

The Office Hymns, in the Sapphic metre, reveal that the SRE Hymnographi [who?] did not resist the temptation afforded by the adonius Urbis et Orbis; and, like the Augustan poets of ancient Rome, were not averse to making pius square up against scelestus. 

I wonder exactly what French term Gueranger used for Suspension.)

19 May 2022

Dom Gueranger ... puzzled ... (1)

 "The Holy Ghost, who guides the spirit of the Church, has gradually led the Faithful to devote to honouring Mary, in an especial manner, the entire month of May, the whole of which comes, almost every year, under the glad season of Easter."

Sic Gueranger. But it evidently puzzles him that May and June "pass without any special solemnity in honour of the Mother of God. It would seem as though Holy Church wished to honour, by a respectful silence, the forty days during which Mary enjoyed the company of her Jesus, after his Resurrection. ... During these forty days, Jesus frequently visits his Disciples, weak men and sinners as they are: can he, then, keep away from his Mother, now that he is so soon to ascend into heaven, and leave her for several long years here on earth? Our hearts forbid us to entertain the thought. We feel sure that he frequently visits her ..."

I just love the felicitous way in which Gueranger lays bare the inner designs of Providence, especially when they seem so counter-intuitive ...

But, hey, here come the cavalry of the Sacred Dicastery of Rites galloping over the hill to the rescue! A splendiferous Feast of the Mother of God is now provided  ... on 24 May!!

To be concluded.

18 May 2022

MORE ON THE "AGATHA CHRISTIE INDULT"

Not long ago, I suggested that the indult by which the Authentic Roman Mass could be continued in England after 1970 should really be called (because of the distinguished and ecumenical signatories of the petition seeking it) "The Anglican Bishops' Indult"; or "The Greatsmen's Indult". This, by the way, is the Indult which the roche dicastery claims to know nothing about.

There is now a little more information available in print which, I think, was not previously very widely known. I refer to Unwanted Priest, by Fr Bryan Houghton, Angelico Press.

In 1977, a traddy group wished to make a pilgrimage to a shrine (which I suspect might have been Walsingham). They asked the Diocesan Bishop for permission, under the Indult, to use the Usus Authenticus. He refused, on the grounds that this would be ... I leave it to readers to guess his Lordship's exact word. It begins with a d; is eight letters long; has i three times; and v twice.

You will not find more than a single s. Phonetically, you can disregard the e.

I suggest that you read the full story in Houghton. In maintaining his refusal, the Bishop wrote: "As to the indult, it has become highly ambiguous, and many doubt whether it should ever have been obtained. Be that as it may, the Conference has decided to phase it out--and it falls to each bishop to implement this decision as he sees pastorally right."

Fr Bryan was an ex-Anglican, and so, of course, he peremptorily demanded precise information about when and where this 'momentous decision' was officially published, and also the exact wording. This is the sort of thing which makes us ex-Anglicans so widely loved.

Father concludes his narrative thus: 

"I learned from Rome in mid-April 1977 that my bishop had not been perfectly honest with me. In September 1976 it was the Vatican authorities who deemed it possible to require of the English hierarchy that they themselves should ask for the withdrawal of the indult. To the perpetual honour of the English hierarchy, this was refused. But some compromisers, among them my bishop, suggested that the indult be phased out. How devious can one be?" 

The emphasis in the above quotation is my own. 

17 May 2022

S Petroc

The great Patron of Cornubia seu potius Dumnonia, Cornwall, Britannia Maior: S Petroc the Abbot: is listed on the Ordinariate Calendar for May 23. I find this is a trifle odd. In Catholic Cornwall and Devon, he was listed on 4 June (at Tavistock Abbey, Launceston, and St Michael's Mount). The Exeter Martyrology has the same date; and so does the Sarum Breviary of 1531. Not to mention a couple of North French liturgical books.

And, following the erudite Canon Doble, the Anglicans keep him on that day.

There are three English Calendars which do observe the Patron of Cornwall on May 23; one is from Croyland and another is the Bosworth psalter. But ...

Why should the Ordinariate want to go off on this limb? 

The Roman Martyrology gives S Petroc his pretty universal date of June 4. I don't see any pressing reason to ignore this ruling.

Tell you what I'll do: In the Ordinariate, S Petroc is optional on May 23, so I'll lawfully miss him out on that day. But, in accordance with overwhelming precedent and the 'new' CDF rules and permissions of 2020, I'll observe him on June 4. 

He was also observed, in some places, on Holy Cross Day; with his 'Translatio' [to Bodmin; to get his relics away from coastal raiders] on October 1. His Collect: Gloriosi famuli tui Petroci, Domine, precibus pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus: et Ecclesiae tuae hanc largire misericordiam; ut nullus tuis privetur beneficiis qui huius Confessoris expetit opitulari suffragiis."

16 May 2022

Thank You ...

... to Almighty God for giving me the possibility ...even if only for a few more moments  ... to serve Him within the Love which He so generously shares with me.

And Thank You to everybody who, over the last two or three weeks, has prayed for me. I am grateful, immensely, to all of you.

I was yanked off to hospital very suddenly; hence, I has no opportunity to revise, reconsider, or correct the pieces I had drafted. Apologies for my many inaccuracies and incoherences!

God  bless you all.

I have looked through your comments, and enabled most of them!.

 

15 May 2022

Holy Subdeacons

I possess a small relic of S Theodore, Martyr, Abbot of Croyland.

Your gratifying surprise and admiration at hearing this interesting piece of information may be slightly tempered by the fact that you have not the faintest idea who S Theodore is; and where Crowland (or Croyland) is.

Croyland is ... or, until the days of Tudor Minor, was ... a large Abbey in a disart; that is, in inaccessible lands remote from humankind. It founder is considered to be S Guthlac, but this morning's brief narrative takes us back to 870. An army of devout believers in Odin is, by the Permissive Will of God, approaching Crowland. So, "putting on their sacred vestments, the abbat and all the others assembled in the choir, and there performed the regular hours of the holy office; after which, commencing it, they went through the whole of the Psalter of David. The lord abbat himself then celebrated high mass, being assisted therein by brother Elfget, the deacon; brother Salvin, the subdeacon; and the brothers Egelred and Wulric, youths who acted as taper-bearers.

"The mass being now finished, just as the abbat and his assistants before-named had partaken of the mystery of the holy communion, the Pagans bursting into the church, the venerable abbat was slain upon the holy altar, as a true martyr and sacrifice of Christ, by the hand of the most blood-thirsty king Osketul. His assistants, standing around him, were all beheaded by the barbarians ...."

 

I am sure that the Calendar is chokka with martyred presbyters and deacons. But martyred subdeacons?

I feel particularly sorry for subdeacons because the post-conciliar nasties have tried to eliminate the very notion of of Hypodiakonia from our collective memory. Almost a damnatio memoriae.

When I am pope, I shall institute a new festival of "S Salvin and all holy martyred subdeacons."


14 May 2022

Pope Francis attacks the Copts

 Proclaiming the Scriptures in a non-vernacular language is, according to our Holy Father, "like laughing at the Word of God".

I find this a remarkable insult to hurl at the 21 Coptic Martyrs of Egypt. It is a good thing that, some years ago now, after reading S John Henry Newman on the Suspense of the function of the Ecclesia docens, I concluded that we must now be in precisely just such a period of Suspense. I cannot see how else one can fit PF into any sort of Catholic ecclesiology.

Readers will remember that, on 15 February 2015, "Islamic militants" beheaded, on the shore of Libya, twenty Coptic Christians and an Egyptian who identified with them. I expect the video is still somewhere on the Internet. A week later, they were canonised by the Pope of Alexandria. The liturgical language of the Copts is, of course, Coptic, which is no longer a spoken vernacular.

The strange thing is, at the time, PF wrote with sympathetic feeling to the Patriarch. Clearly, he has changed his mind now, having convinced himself that these twenty one peasant construction workers, who confessed Christ with their last breaths, were really "laughing at the Word of God."

Perhaps those more expert than me in the arcane mysteries of Bergoglian hyperultrapapalism can explain: does that cult require that, if one day PF says X, and the next day he says Anti-X, the faithful believer is required to give equal and equally absolute assent to each conflicting proposition as it emerges from the Sacred Mouth?

 

13 May 2022

The Good Urinals Guide

When I first taught at Lancing, the urinals were still called 'The Groves', because it was in groves, in the College's earlier and primitive days, that such functions were ... er ... discharged. The groves behind Field's House were built in the indigenous vernacular architecture of the Sussex chalk downlands: worked masonry framing knapped flint. The building was so superbly done that there was not a millimetre between the beautifully knapped and fitted flints. Sir John Betjeman, on one of his visits, referred to it [fact! ... but, I think, unpublished] as the finest Gothic Revival Urinal in England. It may well have been. In fact, far too fine a building, in the minds of provosts and bursars, for its designated functions. Naturally, it is now a Pottery. 

A decade or two after we finally closed down our last coal-mines and steel-refineries, there is very little now left of England that is not either a pottery or a craft-shoppe or a merchant bank.

Near enough actually to be seen from that despoiled urinary masterpiece there is another similar tragedy of Spirit of Vatican II-style 'reordering'. On the coastal plain below the great heaped Gothic mass of Lancing College on its hill-top, lies Shoreham Airport, London's first international airport in the days when you took the train from Victoria and hopped off at the very edge of the Channel waves and got onto a plane which could, just about, on a good day, get you across to the French coast. Here, in the 1930s, was built a fine Art Deco airport building ... which is still there. And, inside it, is was a superb, pure, Art Deco loo (or bath room or rest room or WC or whatever ...). As you stood in your 'standing', a little below the level of your nose was a small cigarette-shaped ledge on which the sophisticated air-traveller who self-identified as male could rest his cigarette so as to have both hands free for enabling his necessary function. 

I am not a smoker ... but I surmise that this provision may also have been a prudently necessary safeguard against dangerous avalanches of glowing ash. The philoprogenitive male can never be too careful.

Now the whole dam' shootin'-match is no more. Eheu, you are so right to say, fugaces.

12 May 2022

DIX and the Jesuit

 Today is the obit of our great Anglican Catholic liturgist and mystagogue and wit, Dom Gregory Dix.

Dr Eric Mascall criticised the common Anglican assumption that everyone will "to the end of our earthly days ... perform discursive meditations on the Ignatian model, with all the multiplicity of acts that are peculiar to its many variants", and gives this anecdote about Dix: "Some years before Vatican II he was, rather daringly, invited by Cardinal Gerlier of Lyon to give a lecture on Anglican spirituality. In the discussion he was asked by an unidentified priest whether the Anglican clergy were taught Ignatian spirituality. Dix replied that it was the only kind that most of them were taught, and that this was very unfortunate, as it was a type that was very unsuitable to English people, so that most of them, having tried it without success, abandoned prayer altogether.

"There was a burst of laughter and the questioner, somewhat disconcerted, sat down with the remark, 'Father, that is a truly Benedictine sentiment'. 

"The chairman whispered to Dom Gregory, 'That was the Father Provincial of the Society of Jesus'"

His book The Shape of the Liturgy, amusing and stimulating and immensely influential in the days immediately after the War, gave rise to a set of verses [written by Mascall???] including this stanza:

"Gloom in the Athenaeum,/ Darkness and dirty looks!/ Bishops huddled in corners,/ Reading their Contact Books,/ Flickers the flame of Fisher,/ Waver the words of Woods,/ Faint and vague is he voice of Haigh,/ Garbett's not the goods,/ The glory that was Pollock,/ The grandeur that was Hicks,/ Gone to a monk at Nashdom,/ Gone to Gregory Dix."

Dix would not have been favoured in this dark Age of Bergoglianity and of the poor arthur roches. He liked to be able to say that "This very morning I [said Mass] with a set of texts which has not changed by more than a few syllables since Augustine used those very words at Canterbury on the third Sunday of Easter in the summer after he landed."

CAPD

11 May 2022

Pope Francis attacks Sant Francis. (How high do ostriches fly?)

 PF took the name 'Francis' as a way of implying "I'm not like any other pope there has ever been". After this memorable if unsubtle piece of arrogance, you may think that is is strange for our Holy Father now to attack the Poverello.

Yet he has by implication done exactly that.

Fact is so often stranger than Fiction!!!

He has told us that proclaiming the Scriptures in a non-vernacular language is "like laughing at the Word of God".

It is a good thing that, some years ago now, after reading S John Henry Newman on the Suspense of the function of the Ecclesia docens, I concluded that we now must be in precisely just such a period of Suspense. I cannot see how else one can analyse PF in terms of any sort of Catholic ecclesiology.

You see, S Francis was a deacon. This means that his own particular liturgical ministry at Mass was to sing the Gospel. In PF's world of rich fantasy, whenever S Francis sang Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum ... he (presumably) felt the laughter welling up inside him. After singing In illo tempore ..., his mirth (we conjecture) was just too much for him. He must have sunk helpless to the ground with great sobs of tearful laughter. I hope there was a doctor in the house.

You find this scenario "improbable"? You may say that, Maddy; I couldn't possibly comment. But my aged memory does recall hearing, some six decades ago, Eduard Frankel (one of Adolph Hitler's greatest benefactions to the Oxford Honour School of Litterae Humaniores) referring to Robinson Ellis as "A man viz a remarkable instinct for ze improbable." I think he may have been referring to Ellis's words about Queen Arsinoe II's Flying Ostriches.

(I wonder if we should discern a connexion with an address PF once gave to servers, in which he recalled that, as a boy, back in the time of the Usus Authenticus of the Roman Rite, he himself loved to make a mockery of the Most Holy Eucharist by changing the words and ceremonies in order to render them risible. By implication, PF apparently urged his youthful hearers to perform similar amusing sacrileges.)

10 May 2022

Gaia, Natura, and all the Earth Mothers

"The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism, and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition: that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a step-mother. The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our siater. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshippers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved."

9 May 2022

Sophie Scholl

 Today was the Birth Day of Sophie Scholl, executed under the German National Socialist Regime for High Treason. She hobbled to the guillotine on crutches, because her leg had been broken during interrogation.

I pray that I and every reader of this blog may be a whole-hearted and courageous High Traitor to the Zeitgeist of our own time.

When such High Traitors are brought before the equally distinguished jurists who, in every age, uphold the dark precepts of the eternal Zeitgeist, I pray that they may speak as boldly as Sophie did to Roland Freisler.

Now there's a real example of Parrhesia.

SOME OXFORD MARTYRS

Recycled from a previous year.
Once a term (on the Saturday, I believe, in Seventh Week, which is this week), the authorities of S John's College in this University open their gates to those who wish to look at their unique collection of late Medieval vestments. These vestments date from the foundation of the college in the reign of Good Queen Mary as part of the reform movement which she, Cardinal Pole, and their bishops were sponsoring. After the dark days of Henry VIII and Edward VI, it must have seemed to right-thinking Christians that all was back to rights again; but Mary's reign was not just a restoration of the old. New standards of clerical professionalism were part of its nascent policy, together with new schemes for instructing the laity in their Catholic Faith (Mary's collaborators were not afraid to use some of those precise methods which were used in the previous reign to disseminate heresy). This is England's aborted but briefly glorious Counter-Reformation. Duffy, of course ...

I wonder if there will ever be a national exhibition of what remains of this period - one of the most sparkling quinquennia in our history. If there were, S John's could provide some spectacular exhibits; and in my view the two banners which they possess would have the greatest interest. One is of their Patron, S John Baptist, and shows him in a distinctly baroque style. The other is of our Lady Assumpta; an idiosyncrasy is that the crescent moon on which she stands has, on top of it, a face - the Man-in-the-Moon (another of the vestments on display also shows our Lady upon the crescent Moon; I wonder how early this Baroque commonplace is found in late Medieval English iconography? I have seen it circa 1450 ... can anyone push it earlier?).

But the most remarkable thing about this banner is the name, at the top, of its donor: Thomas Campion. Was this Thomas a relative of the future Jesuit martyr S Edmund Campion (martyred 1581)? A supporter of Sir Thomas White, the wealthy Founder of S John's (he had been Warden of the Merchant Taylours)? We know that S Edmund entered S John's upon its foundation and, being an able Latinist, very soon became a Fellow. In those brief, happy years before the Queen's death, S Edmund must have worshipped in Chapel and looked at the banner of our Lady which his kinsman had given. At the bottom of it among other shields is a shield of the Five Wounds of our Redeemer (the other banner also bears this device). It is difficult not to feel the significance of this: the Tudor rebellions in defence of the old Faith had marched behind this banner; it represened the devotional heart of Catholic England. Even Cranmer knew the popular votive of the Five Wounds so well that in his 1549 Prayer Book he incorporated the text of most of its Collect into his Prayer for the Church and used it twice in his Burial Service. Less than a decade before S Edmund entered S John's, there had been executions in Oxford and throughout Oxfordshire (these Troubles are less well known that the West Country insurrection, possibly because they lacked a chronicler) at the conclusion of the 1549 Rising against Protestantism. The device of the Five Wounds was a mark of identity, of commitment to the historic Faith, and S Edmund must have felt this as he saw it carried.

Readers of this blog will know that the banner of the Five Wounds can sometmes be seen flying over the Catholic Chaplaincy in Cardiff!

Those banners, surely, represent the tipping point between a Catholicism that looked back to the old, and the 'new' Catholicism of the seminary priests; between the culture of Marian priests surreptitiously saying the old Sarum Rite and that of the young men who brought the Missal of S Pius V back with them to England (at Douay, the students were taught the Missal of S Pius V between December 1576 and April 1577; presumably the Protomartyr of the seminaries, S Cuthbert Mayne, another S John's College man, ordained in 1575, had used the Sarum Rite).

Campion and Mayne were not S John's only martyrs. If you penetrate to the back quadrangle, you will find baroque architecture as fine as any in England: even the dreadful Nikolaus 'Bauhaus' Pevsner saw it as of European significance and quality. The two entrances are framed by statues of blessed Charles Stuart, King and Martyr, and his Queen Henrietta Maria. This building was done in the 1630s*, the decade in which England and Rome were most nearly reunited; and the builder was our martyred archbishop William Laud ... he and his King both parts of the glorious baggage of the Anglican Patrimony. The St John's exhibition includes blessed William Laud's zucchetto, and a dark satin cope linked with his name (he was President of the College).
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*A pilgrimage to this fascinating decade would include this quadrangle, the glass in Magdalen Chapel, and the Porch of the University Church with its statue of our Lady. What else? The 1640's, of course, would bring in all the colleges used when Oxford was the administrative capital of Royalist England, and the monuments to dead royalists in the Lucy Chapel in the Cathedral.

8 May 2022

Victory in Europe?

 One of our best-loved Catholic novelists, Evelyn Waugh, once wrote about 1945 as "the drab and sour period of victory".

In his partially autobiographical World War Two trilogy, the final volume is entitled Unconditional Surrender.

Why?

Waugh himself (and his creation Guy Crouchback) at first saw that war as a Crusade; with Hitlerite Germany in alliance with Stalinist Russia, how could the battle against the pair of them be other than romantically heroic? We were up against the combined Modern World in all its horror.

In his 1946 Scott-King's Modern Europe, the experience of a dim, passed-over schoolmaster is: "[A]s the face of Europe coarsened  and the war, as it appeared in the common-room newspapers and the common-room wireless, cast its heoic and chivalrous disguise and became a sweaty tug-of-war between teams of indistinguishable louts ...".

Waugh was not a pacifist. Indeed, the degree of his personal courage under fire was sometimes regarded as inappropriate by colleagues who did not share it. After the War, his military duties obliged him to be complicit in the decidedly non-Catholic policies of Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia, as it persecuted Catholic clergy and mistreated Jews. His own profound disillusionment became the basis of his post-war fictional writing. 

When I was very small, I somehow got my hands on a romantic account of the Finnish war with the Soviet Union. Heroic, courageous Finns, ski-born, descended through the soundless snows upon the Russian aggressor. How could one not be moved by their exploits? How I hungered to read more about their successes ... about their inevitable and deserved triumph, elegant Davids against such a monstrous Goliath ...

It was quite a few years before I discovered what really happened.

When we found ourselves allied with Uncle Jo Stalin, we (I mean, this 'United Kingdom') ... yes ... we declared war on plucky little Finland.

I think one of Waugh's finest pieces of oblique and symbolist writing concerns the Sword of Stalingrad, a piece of metalwork given by George VI to Stalin to commemorate his military prowess, and exhibited like a sacred relic in Westminster Abbey before it made its journey Eastwards.

The heraldry on the scabbard was upside down. 

7 May 2022

Married priests

When ... happy, far-off days ... I used to spend my Anglican summers in the Kingdom of the West, County Kerry, chaplaining a couple of Church of Ireland churches ... kindly Roman Catholics in Ireland, anxious to sound friendly, often sought to show their soundness by telling me why they were in favour of allowing married clergy in the Catholic Church. 

"It will solve the problem of paedophile priests", they confidently asserted. They tended to be surprised when I explained that allowing married clergy does not achieve this end. I could tell them so much about Anglican priests - and bishops - who have laboured vigorously to disprove this assumption. The English Independent Inquiry into sexual abuse recently described mercilessly the situation in one specimen Anglican diocese. My own Anglican ministry was overshadowed by the proximity of a bishop whose sadistic abuse of epheboi was at an industrial level.

And I could go on to tell jolly tales galore about Anglican priests - and bishops - who have been sacked for adultery. And to point out that clergy wives can create their own scandals by running off with the Curate or the Rector or the chairman ... or chairwoman ... of the Parish Council. A priest who is trying to look after three young children singlehanded after his missus has done a bunk with a deft and friendly organist is not best placed to devote himself singlemindedly to the care of his people. 

 "And a married priest will understand marriage ... and women ... so much better", the Irish cheerfully added. There's a great load of nonsense in this. An unmarried priest has, does he not, experience of the marriage in which he was nurtured? And does he not have a mother, sisters, nieces? And yet ... there is a tiny something in this argument. But not, necessarily, quite what the speaker might confidently assume. Take this example: "Father, I can't get to Mass regularly; I've got young children". A celibate, hearing this, might feel intimidated. If he replies "Rubbish; pull the other one", there is a risk that he might get an abusive earful about how he has no personal experience of being up all night with sickly or cantankerous children, and of being stared at by censorious worshippers when the kiddies start screaming in church. 

If, however, someone has tried that nonsense on me, I have always been able to say "I remember when my wife had four small children and the latest in the carry-cot and I never heard a squeak out of any of them all through Mass. And you have your husband sitting beside you to help, so that you're not - as my wife was - coping singlehanded while your husband liturgised and preached. And you've only got two. I wonder why that is." (No; I don't think I ever really did say that last bit.)

But, strangely, Pope Francis has slightly mitigated my views on this matter of married priests.

If he had a wife, his equal who could Frankly point out to him his failings and misjudgements and unfairnesses and inconsistencies and hypocrisies ... that marvellous officium with which wives are so richly endowed ... would he be so cruel, spiteful, and hate-filled? 

Do we need to rethink this matter? Perhaps, by confining the Apostolic See to ordained widowers?

Henry Manning might have been Pope!

You know it makes sense. 

6 May 2022

Wokery upon wokery upon wokery

 It was a newspaper quiz that first got my mind going ... I have never been to Accra, or the Gold Coast, but a picture of a simple neo-Classical Triumphal Arch, with the date "AD 1957" and the words "Freedom and Justice", gave me an obvious answer. I recognised the black star on top ... the symbolic 'lode star' of black African liberation which Kwame Nkrumah took as the symbol that Ghana was the first British colony to become an independant nation. I'm glad it's still there: Colonel Wozname and Brigadier Thingummy did follow up on the Brit tyranny with a succession of coups designed to nuance both the Freedom and the Justice with the help of the never niggardly operatives of the CIA, yet they've never pulled down the black star.

But then I found myself wondering: A[nno] D[omini] ... isn't that a bit Christocentric? And those three English words: aren't they a little Anglocentric

I remember the Sixties when anti-Apartheid demonstrators used to march through my parish chanting "One Man One Vote". How totally fashions do change.

So statues, plaques, go up; and then, as certainly as night follows day, statues, plaques, will have to come down. What seems depressingly permanent is the human appetite for moral posturing and the lack of even the dimmest suspicion  that today's fashions may themselves ever come to be objects of stern condemnation. When did you last hear a suggestion that all new monuments now being erected ought to be so constructed that their removal will, when the moment comes, be cheap and easy?

S Teresa of Calcutta went from being a secular international saint  ... almost overnight ... to being a figure of hate when the chattering classes discovered that she opposed abortion. Now, some UN committee has awarded David Attenborough a florid title ... was it 'Saviour of the Solar System'? ... or 'Champion of the Planet'? ... or 'Glorious Gauleiter of the Galumphing Galaxies'? ... I can't remember which it was. But, if the man has any significance whatsoever, his fashion will, surely, pass.

Wozzat? Transpontine readers have never heard of him? He is a Brit "Environmentalist", one of our Great and Good, with an immensely oily and condescending I-know-best style of speaking; after hearing his voice I tend to feel like a gamma-minus sewer rat into whose subterranean paradise a rabid restauranteur has just poured a load of poor-quality past-its-use-by-date cooking oil.

I don't suppose I shall live long enough to see his statues being angrily pulled down by the ethically-certain cult-followers of the next fatuous piece of neo-wokery but two. 

But you can't stop me imagining it, can you?

5 May 2022

S Pius V and the liars

Today, his Feast Day, is the 450th anniversary of the Heavenly Birthday of Papa Ghislieri, Saint Pius V, Bishop of Rome.

Two BIG UNTRUTHS in particular are told about him, poor fellow.

Lie Number 1: he issued a radically revised version of the Roman Missal, just as S Paul VI was to do after Vatican II.

Fact: S Pius's edition of the Missal was so light a revision that it was still possible, after its promulgation, to continue to use your old Missal.

Lie Number 2: although permitting some exceptions, S Pius ordered his edition to be used by everybody.

Fact: he ORDERED all rites older than 200 years to be kept in use. (He only permitted churches with 200-year-old-or-more rites to change over to his own new edition if the Diocesan Bishop and the unanimous chapter agreed).

I hope that is clear enough. But ... so many people ... Popes ... Cardinals ... Bishops  ... have such trouble with all this ... so ... here's another simple way of explaining the difference between S Pius V and Pope Francis:

(a) Pope Pius V ORDERED Rites older than 200 years to be RETAINED

(b) Pope Francis is TRYING TO EXTERMINATE a Rite which is centuries more than 500 years old. 

If people you are talking to really are so thick that they can't understand the difference when you've tried both these ways of explaining things, give up.  

4 May 2022

"PORNOGRAPHY" and the FORTY ENGLISH MARTYRS

Fr Bryan Houghton writes about his tastes when he was ten years old: "Now, I hated hymns. I do not know why. It is just a fact.When grown-ups talked about 'pornography' I thought they were talking about 'hymn-singing."

But, in later life, he was converted. " ... when Paul VI canonised the forty English Martyrs ... I wrote a beautiful poem for the occasion. Unfortunately it was not sung, as I had intended, in Saint Peter's--but it was in many churches in England, including Saint James's, Spanish Place, in London."

To be sung to the tune of 'The Church's One Foundation' or 'I'll Sing a Hymn to Mary'.

The Church's transformation/ By Paul the Sixth our Pope/ Has left for contemplation/ A void deprived of Hope,/ Where Charity is wanting/ And Faith is fled as well./ One hears above the chanting/ A little hiss from Hell.

Four more stanzas to be found in Unwanted Priest.

   

3 May 2022

BENEDICT XIV

Yes; wise readers will have remembered, from their frequent use of their glorious and capacious Fr Zed mug, that May 3 is the obitus of the greatest pontiff of the Second Millennium, Benedict XIV, Prospero Lambertini. But what is it that makes him such a great figure, and one so relevant to our own degenerate days?

In my opinion, it is his combination of the virtues of Enlightenment scholarship with his understanding of the normativeness of Tradition; and a hefty dollop of fine judgement.

As a Enlightenment man, respected as such even by English Whig intellectuals (ex. gr. Horace Walpole), he was aware that 'Tradition' does not mean "How I'm almost sure things probably were in Grandmother's time". His immense erudition ensured his profound awareness that the Past is a country of very considerable complexity. He combined with this understanding an extremely sound sense of judgement, enabling him to discern what really matters in 'the Past'.

The story of his (ultimately unsuccessful) attempts to reform the Breviary exemplifies this. He was aware that things needed to be changed ... not least, in some of the 'historical' lections. But did this mean that the whole shooting-match had to go into the melting pot?

He gathered a group of 'consultators'. They, also, were discerning and adept historians. Their report reminded the Pontiff that some of these questions had arisen under Clement VIII (1592-1605), when that pope's advisers had concluded that the distribution of the psalms in the Divine Office should not be changed. The reasons they adduced were those advanced by S Gregory VII ('Hildebrand'; 1073-1085). "Is igitur  qui nunc in Ecclesia Romana viget divinae psalmodiae ritus vetustissima antiquitate utitur, a qua sine aliqua novitatis nota ac sine periculo recedi vix possit." The central words here are, of course, vetustissima antiquitate ... 'the very oldest ancientness'! 

The Pope's experts surveyed the views of the learned men of the medieval and renaisasance periods; and ended up with a quotation from Radulphus de Rivo: "Stick with (it is far safer) what foresighted antiquitas et auctoritas teach, rather than what reckless novitas et infirmitas have dreamed up."

Readers will have no difficulty understanding the Latin words I have left in Red!

This was the sound and well-judged liturgical culture over which Papa Lambertini presided. It is a shame that S Pius X, and his successors, poor poppets, did not have rather more of those instincts!

2 May 2022

NATIONALITY

 As I write, the TV journalists are busily discovering nice old ladies and gentlemen in Central Europe who have brothers and sisters the other side of the border which divides Ukrainia from the Russian Federation and/or Belorus. The old dears can't understand why their siblings don't understand the current war in the way they do. Manifestly, they themselves don't see things as their estranged siblings do.

At the North end of Lake Garda, there was, until the aftermath of WWI, an international border. To the North, called 'South Tyrol', was a province of substantially German culture and language, part of the Austrian Empire. As Italy's reward for selecting the right side in the War, the entire kaboodle, lock stock, and barrel, was transferred to Italy. It still is part of Italy, although German-language newspapers are on sale. 

Josef Mayr-Nusser was born in the 'South Tyrol' in 1910 as an Austrian citizen. He declined the possibility of leaving for Germany in 1939. 

After the collapse of Italian Fascism, the Germans occupied the South Tyrol. Josef, now an Italian citizen but considered an Ethnic German, was drafted into the Waffen-SS. But, being a devout Catholic Christian, he declined to take the oath of allegiance to the Fuehrer and Kanzler of the German Reich. Accordingly, he was sentenced to death. Loaded onto a cattle wagon, he was sent off to Dachau. But damaged railway lines at Erlangen meant that his wagon could go no further. He died there on February 24, 1945, of pneumonia and hunger.

He was beatified on March 18, 2017; his liturgical commemoration is on October 3. 

There was much about the "European Union" which merited criticism; for me, its lowest point came with the Brussels proposal to adopt a constitution which glorified Antiquity and the 'Enlightenment' and made not the slightest reference to the common Christian centuries which came in between.

But there was and is one saving grace in the EU ... enormously saving and very much a Divine Grace.

National borders slowly but surely started to ... melt; those borders which were so bound up with the Passion and Martyrion of Blessed Josef.

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

When I hear politicians glorifying Nationalism and British Values and all the rest of that stuff, I ask myself Cui bono?


1 May 2022

The happy birds ... Mary's Month of May

The happy birds Te Deum sing,/'Tis Mary's month of May;/Her smile turns winter into spring,/And darkness into day;/And there's a fragrance in the air./The bells their music make,/And O the world is bright and fair,/ And all for Mary's sake. 

Number 936 in the English Catholic Hymn Book! The hymn was written by Father Alfred Gurney, 1843-1898, Vicar of S Barnabas Pimlico. Anglican Patrimony!

Those were the days!

I am, of course, using today to urge readers both laic and cleric to realise in the worship of their churches the exuberant joy of pre-Conciliar Catholicism ... especially during Mary Month. The thought of the processions, the flowers, the Crowning of the statue of our dear Mother ... What a loss it has been; of a culture well worth the effort of restoration. Especially in days such as these.

And those Victorian hymns carry a lot with them. A later stanza of Fr Gurney's hymn goes:

How many are the thoughts that throng/On faithful souls today;!/All year we sing our Lady's song,/'Tis still the song of May:/Magnificat! O may we feel/ That rapture more and more;/And chiefly, Lord, what time we kneel/Thine altar throne before.

Thine altar throne!! When did you last hear that wonderful phrase, either in a homily or in the music of of a 'main-stream' Catholic church? The centre of our Faith! Here is another piece of Anglican Patrimony, a stanza from a hymn in use a century and a half ago in (what is now) our great Ordinariate Basilica of S Agatha in Landport  

Thou, God and Man, art in our midst,/The Altar is Thy throne;/We bow before Thy Mercy Seat,/And Thee, our Maker, own./My soul, fall prostrate to adore,/In lowliest worship bent;/Each day I live I love Thee more,/Sweet Sacrament! Sweet Sacrament! 

Who, even in these dark days of lofty oppression and pontifical disapproval, could try to exclude such devotion? Great Heavens, these hymns are even in the vernacular! And, lest anybody damn them with the faint praise of being 'rather Father Faberish', here is a stanza of a hymn by a rather different Victorian cleric (Westminster Hymnal 118):

They tell us of that Paradise/Of everlasting rest,/And that high Tree, all flowers and fruit,/The sweetest, yet the best./O Mary, pure and beautiful,/Thou art the Queen of May:/Our garlands wear about thy hair,/And they will ne'er decay. 

And that is by the greatest, most precise, theologian of the 19th century, S John Henry Newman. How characteristic, his deft insertion of patristic themes into popular devotion.

Hymns! Flowers! Processions! Homilies! Love! You know it makes sense!

The Mary Month of May!  

30 April 2022

A Week of Liturgical Goodies (2)

(Continues) The problem is that the day fixed for S Joseph Patron of the Universal Church moves about because it is tied to the date of Easter. Such Feasts do tend to behave like rabid icebergs, galumphing around and crashing into festivals which were humbly prepared to stick to Days of Months.

Thus, this year, and just in England and Wales, S Joseph collides with the May 4 festival of the English Martyrs. This is fixed on May 4 because that was the day during the Tudor Regime when the primitiae of our English Martyrs were offered up in 1535 on the gallows at Tyburn. Does anyone know the date when this festival was granted? I have a feeling, based on the Collect of the Mass, that it might have been after the Beatification in 1886 of SS John Fisher and Thomas More and sixty one other Martyrs.

The festival has survived the carnage of the post-Conciliar years and even, in a slightly different form, features in the current Anglican calendar. 

All this gives it what I think of as auctoritas for us English Catholics. So, this year, I do rather think that I will keep this Festival rather than that of S Joseph. Whimsical? Unprincipled of me? I cannot deny the charge.

(May 2) S Athanasius. Perhaps a good day to remember the conclusions of S John Henry's study of the Arian heresy, which S Athanasius combatted by whizzing round the world irritating the Great and the Good through being orthodox. (In the words of Corporal Jones, they don't like it ...) I did a thing on Newman's 'Suspense', dealing with this subject, on March 16.

(May 3) Perhaps the most upsetting loss which the Pacelli/Bugnini alliance inflicted upon the Roman Calendar. The Festival of the Invention [Finding] of the Holy Cross is so valuable, not, principally, because of a particular episode in the history of the Relics of the True Cross, but because it is a festival of the Lord's Passion in Eastertide. We see His glorious Sufferings and Triumphant Wounds in the light of His glorious Resurrection. It is true that, in Holy Week and on the September Festival of the Exaltation of the Cross, we are indeed fully aware of the fact that He Who suffered is the One Who rose again. But the perspective is different on May 3. In this day's Easter celebration we look upon the Cross from an unambiguously joyous and (Yes! Yes!) triumphalist viewpoint. An important Festival to celebrate!

(May 5) S Pius V ... think Lepanto (and read G K Chesterto's poem) ... think 'Tridentine' Rite ... Don't forget that there is a magnificent statue of this great pontiff in the Brompton Oratory, just to the right of the Lady Altar. Is this the only one in England? Shame on us!

 (May 6) S John before the Latin Gate ... this festival, like the Invention of the Holy Cross, is still on the Calendar of the statutory Church of England Rite! As I have explained before (on this blog, May 5, 2021), we keep it in the Ordinariate because it marked the beginning of the secret plotting and scheming which led to the formation of the English Ordinariate. A most jolly celebration of the magnificent ecumenical initiative of the Unity Pope, Benedict XVI!

(May 8) On May 8 2020, I did a post which I was able interestingly to update and correct with the help of learned friends. The Apparition of S Michael at Gargano, unhappily, is not popular with post-Vatican II 'liturgists'; a shame, I think. All those hill-tops all over Latin Europe with their risk of lightning and their association with the military prowess of the great Archangel! The elimination of this festival is yet another example of a perverse determination to rupture the narrative continuities of Christerndom. 

This year, the Festival is superseded by a Sunday. 

I wonder if S Michael was as active on Byzantine hill-tops as he was in Western Europe?

29 April 2022

A Week of liturgical goodies (1)

Goodies ... but, sometimes, competing and confusing goodies. We shall see this next week.

Take S Joseph. The Cultus of Saints in earlier days had a lot to do wth the possession of Relics and ... a little later ... the Dedications of Churches. S Joseph lost out there. The later fashion for a Universal Calendar based upon rational principles was to serve him rather better.

By the tenth century, he was observed in some places in the East on March 19. As such things do, this feast moved West and was accepted in Rome in 1479 ... and extended to the Universal (Latin) Church in 1621. My own unproved suspicion is that the medieval enthusiasm for S John Baptist had proved a bit of a blocker to S Joseph. Certainly, since the growth of the cultus of S Joseph, that of my own Patron the Baptist has tended to suffer something of an eclipse. 

In 1870, that inventive pontiff Pio Nono introduced a feast of S Joseph in Eastertide; newly declared to be Patron of the Universal Church, his (double of the First Class) Festival was fixed for the Wednesday in the second week after the Octave of Easter. The propers are biblical and attractive and 'typological'.

If Blessed Pius IX was inventive, Venerable Pius XII was ... let us say no more! in 1955, at the height of the Cold War, he had the brilliantly clever idea of stealing May Day from the lefties by restyling it as S Joseph the Worker. Like many brilliant ideas, it never made good. Right from the beginning, it was undermined by the American Bishops nagging for the right to observe it, instead, on their 'Labor Day'. It was such a flop that after the Council the coetus revising the calendar reduced it to an optional memoria. In other words, on May Day you could now find yourself in green vestments just celebrating the feria!

Now back a bit. In order to clear the way for S Joseph the Worker, Pius XII had to shift SS Philip and James off May 1 (observed in Rome after the Dedication in 570 of the Basilica of the XII Apostles).  They slipped down to May 11 before clawing their way after the Council back to May 3.

It seems to me perfectly clear what we need to do in order to follow Tradition and Auctoritas is to put SS Philip and James back onto May 1. 

I do not favour a fetichising of the Missal of 1962; and we have here a good example of why such fetichising is misguided. How can a Feast which was prescribed with high rank for May 1 but only existed thus for some fifteen years, be regarded as more sacrosanct than a Feast a millennium and a half old? 

I am not opposed to organic evolution. So I also favour going back to observing Pio Nono's Feast on Wednesday next. But ...

Yes; there is a knock-on-effect problem. To be continued.

28 April 2022

Next Sunday: Pip'n'jim on May Morning? Go on ... ... be daring ...

That is how Ss Philip and S James used irreverently to be referred to in Oxford. One of our most majestic Victorian Anglo-Catholic churches, also known as Pip'n'jim, raised its great spire into the sky above North Oxford; Parish Church for the redbrick suburbs that grew up in the later nineteenth century after dons were allowed to marry. Spire and building are still there, but the building now houses offices for some Evangelical organisation. A symbol of what has happened to this place. So swiftly, as Waugh put it, have the waters come flooding in; Newman's aquatint Oxford, Anthony Trollope's Oxford, hot-house of Anglican Theology ... and of Anglican scheming and quarrelling and gossipping ... the grey-stone town where and whence the black-backed parsons ruled ... even Zuleika's playground ... these Oxfords are no more, unless Plato has their idea wisely and safely tucked away in his heaven and allows tour-operators to arrange excursions.

May Morning still exists; but it consists of little more than Mr Plod doing his best to quell disorder (more among the Town than among the Gown). The Proctor, of course, comes not within a million miles of Carfax and neither do his minions in their bowler hats. Frankly, if anyone wants to listen to madrigals sung, without any alcoholic disorders, they might be happier visiting the front quad at S John's (usually, at 7). For such gentle souls, that is distinctly more attractive than pretending to enjoy the 'traditional' crowded goings-on at Magdalene bridge (at six o'clock).

Rather a sad fate, this, isn't it, for the lovely old English celebration of May Morning? And it gets sadder: Pius XII, silly fellow, followed by the Usus Deterior of the Roman Rite, trashed Tradition by abolishing the celebration of Ss Philip and James on May Morning, and shoving the pair of them around, like suspicious vagrants Of No Fixed Abode, endlessly moved on by the police. Yet this had been one of the thirty-odd Days of Obligation when the community met together for Mass, until encroachments of the Enlightenment (I particularly blame Napoleon) and an appetitive Capitalist desire to keep the workers' noses to the grindstone reduced most of those days to Days of Devotion; when the Faithful were merely urged to go to Mass (and, of course, next to nobody nowadays even urges).

Dispossessing Ss Philip and James of May 1 so that S Joseph Opifex could occupy it and so reclaim for the Church the Socialist Workers' Festival is ... let's be fair ... not a bad idea. 

Theoretically.

But it never caught on. 

You can't, simply by decree, create a deeply known and inculturated traditional celebration. Imaginative liturgical reformers never realise that. They favour the idea of inculturation, but, when shown a living example, they scarper off and take cover in their self-invented rigidities.

And this year, of course, yet another problem raises its ugly head. Pip'n'jim is on Sunday May 1 and therefore collides with a Sunday in Eastertide; a fact which, since the time of Pius XII, has required their suppression. Mgr Burnham, emeritus Bishop of Ebbsfleet, and Dr Lawrence Hemming, have deplored these modern rules which mean that most of the feasts of the Apostles never get exposed liturgically to the contemplation of Sunday worshippers. 

I can offer a nicely pedantic dodge which might enable readers to circumvent this absurdity.

H Davis Moral and Pastoral Theology (1934) Vol iii p 145 writes "To substitute for the Mass prescribed in the Calendar another Mass at choice would normally be a venial sin, but if great scandal arose or there was contempt or serious negligence, the sin would be a grave one. It would be no sin if the celebrant had a reasonable excuse for the change and if there were no scandal. But to make such substitutions frequently would connote contempt of the Rubrics, and would be a grievous sin unless, as stated, there was a serious reason for thus acting."  

Would a devotional desire, or the pastoral need for catechesis, be a iusta causa? Even a gravis causa?

Davis, of course, was writing in those bad old Rigid times which PF has taught us to suspect. If Davis could write as permissively as that then, how much more forgivable must it be nowadays to give oneself just a little leeway in such matters? Occasionally?

Is a fortiori in your dictionary?

So who feels daring enough to tell their sacristan to put out red vestments for Sunday?

27 April 2022

An interesting little old document (1)

More than half a century ago, there emerged an Anglican document called Alternative Services Second Series. It was a significant moment in liturgical reform within the Church of England. I want to share a few words about its (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to provide a Eucharistic Prayer which would rescue the Church of England from the Reformation dichotomies.

What is the relevance of all this to today's problems? That only the Canon Romanus can without mendacity be seen as the Roman Eucharistic Prayer. Unless our ingenious friend Archbishop Roche can explain what continuity he can discern between The Roman Canon and the prayer erroneously attributed to 'Hippolytus'.

My argument: those Anglicans produced a very clever immensely brief summary of the Roman Canon which, on the (certainly questionable) assumption that such a brief summary was actually needed, was in every possible way better than the Pseudo-Hippolytan Trattoria-in-the-Trastevere Prayer which is now all but universal in the Latin Church. I will print this Prayer, indicating which of the paragraphs in the Canon each line summarises. I have put within {curly brackets} those words which do not relate to the central part of the Canon Romanus.

Hear us, O Father, through Christ thy Son our Lord;        Te igitur
through him accept                                                                 Te igitur
our sacrifice of praise;                                                            Memento
{and grant} that these gifts                                                    Te igitur
of bread and wine may be unto us his body and blood    Quam oblationem
Who ...                                                                                       Qui ...
Wherefore, O Lord, having in remembrance his saving passion, his resurrection from the dead, and his glorious ascension into heaven, {and looking for the coming of his kingdom,} we offer unto thee this bread and this cup;                                                                  Unde et memores
and we pray thee to accept                                                     Supra quae
this our duty and service                                                        Hanc igitur
in the presence of thy divine majesty,                                  Supplices
through the same Christ our Lord;                                         Per quem
By whom and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty,                                                                                   Per Ipsum
from the whole company of earth and heaven,                    Communicantes and Nobis quoque
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.                   Per omnia saecula ...

In the discussion which will occupy the second half of this piece, I do not intend to go over the (ultimately successful) Evangelical campaign to eliminate we offer ... this bread and this cup. I am more interested in the fact that there is here no Invocation of the Holy Spirit to consecrate the Eucharistic Elements. What we do have here is best understood as an intelligent (and amazingly terse!) expression of the old Roman (and rather 'binitarian') idea, preceding the sudden fourth century explosion of interest in the Holy Spirit, that the elements are 'consecrated' by their acceptance by the Father. It is a shame that the compilers of the Ordinariate Missal, feeling obliged to allow something shorter than the Canon for optional use on weekdays, did not select this rather than Pseudo-Hippolytus. 

{and looking for the coming of his kingdom} I attribute to the enthusiasm of the 1960s for seeing everything Eschatologically. As Fr Jack Hegarty explained to Bishop Brennan during the Visitation of Craggy Island, most 'questions' are Eschatological ... at least to the extent that this magical word has a extraordinary capacity to silence bores.

To be continued.

26 April 2022

Names of Blogs

 I never considered calling this blog after some hero of mine ... mainly because I don't much do heroes. (Had I done so, perhaps you might now be reading "Prospero Lambertini").

There is on the Internet a blog named after Archbishop Cranmer. Iffy, I would have thought. Is this the same Cranmer who helped to send so many men and women to their deaths in the service of corrupt and murderous Tudor regimes? The Cranmer who colluded with the Great Genocide of the South West in 1549? 

That 'blog' is currently very angry indeed. It describes Patriarch Cyril of Moskow as "a wolf in sheep's clothing, a false prophet, and a whited sepulchre. He sits in Christ's seat with his flowing tassels and silken robes ... He just blessed everyone and splashed a bit of holy water around and crossed his chest and waved his flames ..."

Just the sort of crazed, rabid protestantism as that of the real Cranmer, at whose instigation the parish churches of England were looted and vandalised. So reminiscent also of the Kensitite mobs which wrecked Anglo-Catholic churches a century ago; which beat up Fr Bernard Walke because he went to Dartmoor and said Mass among the 'Conchie' prisoners, including the Quakers.

How some proddies do so viscerally hate and detest the accompaniments of Traditional worship ... "tassels ... silken ... robes ... holy water ... 'waved' ..."

And how absolute is their determination to refuse to understand what makes other Christians tick; in this case, the association of Land and Faith in 'Holy Rus', and the consequent insistence upon "the canonical territory of the Moskow Patriarchate".

I am a Roman Catholic. I don't buy the full package of the self-understanding of the Moskow Patriarchate. But I am 'ecumenical' enough to respect Christians from whom I differ.

And to want to understand them better.

After something like a century of the "Ecumenical Movement", there are apparently still people around who turn instantly to abuse, and to demands that the Moskow Patriarchate be expelled from the WCC.

Not in my name.

 


25 April 2022

"Organic"?

 In 1927 and 1928, Parliament twice rejected a revised Anglican Book of Common Prayer. One reason for this was a weird campaign which saw two groups fighting for the rejection, which were at daggers drrawn with each other. The hard-line Calvinists thought that the revised book was too popish. The Anglo-Catholics, many of whom were papalists, opposed it because it was part of a plan by the Bishops to suppress the Tridentine Rite, which by then was spreading in the Church of England like wildfire. 

(Why do bad and/or misguided men so hate the "Tridentine Rite"?)

You see, the 'old' book of 1662 (essentially 1552) was by then obeyed by nobody in the C of E. This made it hard for a bishop to persecute the papalists, because if he attacked a priest for disobeying 1662 pages 11, 21, and 31, the attacked cleric could retort "But you disobey pages 15, 25, and 35". But if 1928 had been passed, the Establishment could then have persecuted the papalists for any infringement of 'the Book' without thereby manifesting themselves as hypocrites.

The failure of 1928 meant that the Anglo-papalists continued to use the Tridentine Rite, either in English or in Latin, until, around 1970, the silly, silly fellows gave it up in favour of the new 'Bugnini' Roman Rite: what on this blog we will call the Usus Deterior.

The C of E licked its wounds for decades after 1928. But eventually, on 1 May 1966, it secured powers to adopt "alternative services for experimental use". A schedule of such permissions was published and called "Series 1".

This was at a time when, in Rome, the post-Conciliar destruction of the Usus Authenticus of the Roman Rite was at a fairly early stage: Sacrosanctum Concilium had been passed by the Council but the changes to be inflicted upon parishes were as yet comparatively minimal. No-one then knew that the 'reforms' would end up going so very far beyond what the Council had mandated ... PF and his roche conceal this dirty little secret by continually refering to the Usus Deterior as if it were just what the Council had called for. They appear to be motivated by the wise perception of Dr Goebbels that, if you tell a lie often enough and loudly enough, people will believe it.

Series 1 enables us to see a stage of Anglican reform which was modest and organic. 

 After Rome really got going with her vandalisation, the C of E slavishly imitated her. But that stage had in 1966 as yet not quite been reached. For example: the post-Conciliar Vatican revisers were to convince themselves of the necessity of a Eucharistic Epiclesis (calling upon the Holy Ghost to transsubstantiate the bread and wine). But the disastrous 'Additional Eucharistic Prayers' exemplifying this unfortunate innovation were not authorised by Rome until 23 May 1968.

Accordingly, the eucharistic provisions of Series 1 in 1966 show no signs whatsoever of interpolating the Holy Spirit into the Anglican Order of the Eucharist.

But the Conciliar Decree Sacrosanctum Concilium had indeed referred to "enriching" the "table of Scripture" offered to the laity. And this did affect Series 1. 

Readers will know that, eventually, the Roman post-Conciliar 'revisers' were to abolish totally the inherited Epistles and Gospels which went back in the Roman Rite for a millennium and a half. But they had not yet issued a new lectionary. So the C of E authorised its own "Table of Old Testament lessons for the Holy Communion." 

And this was done by retaining the ancient Western Epistles and Gospels which the C of E had kept from the medieval rites ... and simply adding to it OT readings which matched one or other of the Epistle or Gospel. A couple of random examples: on Trinity 4, the Epistle, Romans 8:18sqq, refers to the Creation itself groaning and travailing as it awaits redemption. So the matching OT reading provided was Genesis 3:17-19, describing the state of fallen Creation. On Trinity 5, where the Gospel describes (Luke 5:1sqq) how S Peter and his associates "forsook all and followed him", I Kings 19:19-21 describes Elisha forsaking all and following Elijah. 

You get the point.

Sometimes people say that they do not understand the concept of "organic" liturgical evolution. I think that this neat little detail of Anglican evolution is a good example of a method alternative to (and so very much better than) Year A Year B and Year C and all the stuff so well listed and exposed by Matthew P Hazell in his indispensable Index Lectionum.

I write this not in order to recommend that particular Anglican set of readings; but to illustrate that things can be made to evolve organically ... which is exactly what Sacrosanctum Concilium explicitly, actually, mandated.

The post-conciliar revisers could simply have obeyed Vatican II. Instead, they decided on their Scorch and Burn, Rape and Pllage, approach to "Reform".


24 April 2022

The Pascha; and Martyrion (12)

My warmest good wishes to Fathers and their Faithful who observe the Pascha today. And the assurance of my prayers for them throughout Bright Week.

I think East and West are united in perceiving the importance of this ancient Easter Reading. Here is the last of Canon Couratin's expositions of the Vigil Lections.

 Lesson XII. The Three Children. (Daniel 3:1-24) 

What a ridiculous ending to an otherwise edifying series of lessons, -- three men with absurd names, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, -- and the harp, sackbut, psaltery and dulcimer, and the funny story about the band as before -- and their being cast into the burning fiery furnace completely dressed in their coats, their hosen and their hats.

But it didn't seem so funny to the Jews in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, when it encouraged men who were waiting to be burned to death to hope that they would meet one like unto the Son of Man in the midst of the fire.

And it didn't seem so funny to the Christians of the second and third centuries who painted the three children, -- coats, hosen, hats and all, -- on the sides of the catacombs, after burying the charred remains of their fellows in the tombs along the walls.

This text presumably entered the liturgy before the Christisn religion was permitted by the Roman Government. It was a final warning to those who were about to be baptised that it might cost them their lives. And many of those who heard the lesson, but neglected its warning and went on to Baptism, must never have heard it again. For by the next celebration of  the Vigil they had gone the way of the martyrs, and were reigning with Christ in the brightness of the eternal Easter. 

Alethos anesti! ... thanatoi thanaton patesas, kai tois en tois mnemasin zoen kharisamenos ...

23 April 2022

Canon Couratin (11)

Lesson XI. The Last Words of Moses. (Deuteronomy 31:22-30)

1. Moses before his death makes a last appeal to the Old Israel to be faithful to the Law of God. He has led them through the wilderness forty years and they have come to the waters of Jordan, and he knows their weakness and their instability. He is about to leave them, and he warns them that if they fall away, they will bring the divine judgement upon them.

2. The Church makes this warning its own in addressing the catechumens now that the three years' catechumenate and the forty days of immediate preparation are over, and they have come to the waters of Baptism. And she addresses the warning with equal appropriateness to all the baptised as well.

3. In every age all Christians have always needed reminding that not every one that saith unto Christ: Lord, Lord, (whether in the baptismal confession, or in the ordinary services of the Church) shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but only he that doeth the the will of Christ's father which is in Heaven. It is not those who make a good beginning in Baptism, or who make an annual effort in the Holy Week Retreat, that will be saved, but only those who endure unto the end. 

When is this year's 'Celtic' Easter

 Can anyone tell me when the 'Celtic', or Irish, Easter is this year? And, of course, why?

If an answer depends on the 1987 Peritia article, I would be glad to have a link.


22 April 2022

Canon Couratin (10)

Lesson X. Jonah's Mission to Nineveh. (Jonah 3:1-10)

1. Jonah is the Old Testament prophet who is sent by God to preach repentance to the Gentiles. In spite of his initial unwillingness and his subsequent impatience, he succeeds in securing the repentance of the people of Nineveh, and so saves the city and its inhabitants from the destruction that hangs over them.

2. It is therefore a suitable example to put before the people of the New Testament, especially at the time of their entrance into the Church in Baptism. For the Israel to which they are admitted is an Apostolic Church, charged with the duty of converting, or reconverting, all the nations of the world to repentance and faith.

3. But Jonah is also connected more cosely with the Passion and Resurrection, bercause our Lord uses the story of Jonah and the whale as a parable of his own dying and rising. The story had originally been told to illustrate the resurrection of Israel as a nation after being carried away into captivity and apparently destroyed. Our Lord uses the story to illustrate the resurrection of Israel in his own Messianic person, after the whole nation had destroyed itself by rejecting God's Messiah. 

Ratzinger

 The NLM blog, last Tuesday, had a set of quotations from Cardinal Ratzinger. They go back over his long years and his many decades. They demonstrate that the Usus Deterior (or Novus Ordo, or Unicus Usus, or Ordinary Form ... whatever you want to call it) is not what Vatican II wanted and mandated; and that it is contrary to the nearly two Christian millennia that preceded it ...  in terms both of Law and of Liturgical Custom.

Then there is the question of the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XVI when he issued his own Summorum Pontificum.

Lots and lots of VERY BIG LIES are currently being told (and acted upon) BY VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE, about all these related matters

We need facts.

We are in Peter Kwasniewski's debt (as so very often) for ensuring that these highly important quotations are right at our finger tips.

 

21 April 2022

Canon Couratin (9)

Lesson IX. The Paschal Lamb. (Exodus 12:1-11) 

1. It was by means of the Flesh and Blood of the Paschal Lamb that the Old Israel escaped from the bondage of Egypt. The blood was smeared upon the door-posts, and turned away the destroying angel of God's wrath, and the flesh was eaten by the People of God in accordance with his command.

2. It is by means of the Flesh and Blood of Christ that the New Israel escapes from the bondage of sin and death. The Passion and Resurrection of the Lord is the Christian Passover. Christ is the Paschal Lamb, who dies to put his life-giving Flesh and Blood at the disposal of his People. But Christ is also the New Israel who in his death and resurrection passes over from the bondage of this evil world into the freedom of the world to come.

3. Each Christian shares in the Christian Passover by means of the Paschal Sacraments. In Baptism the Christian is washed in the Blood of Christ, which turns away the destroying angel from his soul and makes him accepted in the beloved Son. In Baptism the Christian passes over from the bondage of this evil world into the glorious liberty of the children of God. And in the Eucharist he enters into the heavenly places and tastes the powers of the world to come and feeds on the Flesh and Blood of the Lamb of God.