28 February 2022

GREENERY

Being Ecological is all the rage. I sometimes feel tempted to put together a Traditionalist list of Things To Do To Save The Planet. Follows a ragbag of random thoughts ungrammatically dashed off in note form, and in no particular order, inviting comments and contributions.

Divorce/broken families mean that there are more households guzzling energy: Mrs Smith and the children in the house; Mr Smith in a flat somewhere. Outlaw divorce and tax punitively separation.

Fasting and Abstinence: much food is consumed today; much meat consumed (which means more cereals used growing meat). So: restore Pius V and Prayer Book rules on Lent, Fridays, Vigils.

The bathorshoweraday culture means the consumption of energy cleaning water and heating it. Chemicals used? Tax them; and also the chemicals produced to 'hydrate' the skin which the chemicals and the washing have dried out.

When I was in teaching I gathered that the women students washed their hair every morning ... and then again in the evening before setting out to socialise. Manufacture of chemicals? purifying water polluted by chemicals? Ecological consequences of the "You're worth it" culture? Tax the shampoos, and the chemicals which are advertised as repairing the damage the shampoos have caused, in the sort of punitive way nicotine is taxed? (What are 'conditioners'?)

Cut back the endless socialising of the urban young with its economic and ecological cost (and temptations to immodesty) by returning to a once-weekly outing with approved suitors ... and back by midnight.

Discontinue public funding and resources for unnatural medical and surgical interventions: plastic surgery; IVF; 'transgendering' ...

27 February 2022

Saint Abraham on Quinquagesima

S Abraham, of course, does appear in the Roman Martyrology. His Day is October 9 (just imagine him and S John Henry Newman fighting it out for that day). And, in the Latin Rite Patriarchate of Jerusalem ... and in the Old Carmelite Rite ... there is a proper (duplex maius) for him on that day. Unless, of course, PF suppressed it with a mighty stroke of his potent hand this morning before brekker.

The reason why this Saint is not on the Universal Calendar takes us back to the time when Saints commemorated were either local, or Saints whose relics were held by the local Church. But ... for those who would like it ... I offer at the end of this post the Collect for S Abraham.

However ... I hope nobody will be upset ... I doubt whether this October liturgical provision has the same antiquity and auctoritas as the ancient, probably Gregorian, Roman provision for S Abraham: which we find in the Breviary Office of Quinquagesima. Deft and subtle clergy might usefully seize the crafty opportunity on Quinquagesima to preach about S Abraham.

This office was, needless to say, eliminated by the vandals who, according to arthur roche, produced the "much richer" Usus Deterior of the Roman rite, which he and his Argentinian mentor now desire finally to establish as the unicus usus of the Roman Rite. Their policy, poor poppets, whether in the Bugnini Age or in that of Bergoglianity, seems to me to come perilously close to being anti-semitic.

Because, in the Bergoglian 'mainstream' church, S Abraham now gets next to no mention at Mass. True, he is in the 'First Eucharistic Prayer' ... but in what percentage of churches is that august prayer used?

Mention of S Abraham can be found elsewhere in the liturgical world, not least in the de Sacramentis, but I am going to stick out my neck and claim it as a distinctive part of the distinctively Roman Rite. Rather like the teaching that Transsubstantiation is performed in caelestibus by the Acceptance by the Father of the Sacrifice, rather than by an 'epiklesis' of the Holy Spirit. 

Eucharistic Prayers which fail to mention the Saint (and which attempt to consecrate by Epiklesis) should be carefully cut out of soi disant "Roman" missals and forwarded to Hannibal B, via whatever his present post-code is.

S Abraham is our Patriarch in a way that no other human being is. It is by our participation in  his Faith that we are redeemed. His offering of his son, as mosaics in Rome and Ravenna and early Christian iconography powerfully remind us, is the type of which the Sacrifice of the Mass is the antitype

But Stay!! You don't need to go to Great S Mary's in Rome or San Vitale in Ravenna ... you don't need to traipse around the Romanesque churches of Lombardy ... to experience this. Direct your gondola to the glorious Ordinariate basilica of S Agatha in Landport: that will do you nicely instead. At the High Altar, as the celebrant raises his patten and his eyes, and prays Suscipe Sancte Pater ..., what directly meets his eyes is the fine sgraffito painting by a disciple of William Morris, Heywood Sumner. S Abraham stands there; beside him, his son carrying over his shoulder the wood for the sacrifice, just as the antitypical Son carried His Wood up the Hill of Sacrifice.

"Deus, qui in praemium fidei Filium tuum Unigenitum ex semine Abrahae mundo nasci promisisti; concede propitius: ut fide, quam in baptismo suscepimus, in nobis usque ad mortem per caritatem operante, caelo nasci mereamur. Per."

 

26 February 2022

Egge Satterday, the Buck's Bottom, and the Obalisques

Regular readers will have seen versions of this seasonal offering, and its thread, before!

Careful readers will notice that this piece contains an Elephant Trap; in previous years, it has generally caught at least one unsuspecting victim, despite being accompanied by a very obvious Trigger Warning. Who'll be first this year?


 Festum Ovorum, the Feast Of Eggs, is how they describe today, the Saturday before Lent, year by year in the Oxford University Diary, despite the fact that for some centuries only the occasional Oxford eccentric has even thought of celebrating this entertainingly named day.

The origin and purpose of Festum Ovorum is pretty certainly exactly what each one of you will have guessed from first principles: as on Mardi Gras, to have a binge before Lent. It has stayed on the University Calendar since the Middle Ages ... just as, in this University, All Soul's Day and Corpus Christi and the Assumption survived the 'Reformation' (I bet they didn't in the Fens). We know that this was not just a custom in alma academia, but flourished throughout the neighbouring country areas, where, in their endearingly unlatinate way, the rude but worthy yokels just called it Egge Satterday. (There must be some poignantly laboured witticism about Yolks and Yokels. Or tongue-twisters? "The yokels liked yolks for lunch"?)

However, purely by coincidence, it became, in this University, linked with an academic deadline: the last day on which bachelors were allowed to 'determine'; that is, to complete the exercises for the degree of M.A.. And academics had a 'Determination Feast' to celebrate this, which goes back at least to the time of Lord Richard Holland (nephew of Richard II the monarch who dedicated this realm of England as the Dowry of our blessed Lady) who had his Determination Feast on the 21st and 22nd of February, 1395 (yes, I have checked that date in Cheney). As late as 1603, "all the bachelors that were presented to determine did after their presentation go to every college where they were determining and there make a feast for the senior bachelors, videlicet, of muscadine and eggs; figs; raisons; almonds; sack; and such like".

I suppose all this was quite an exotic spread in those days. Now we could buy most of it in Waitrose where, before Covid, we could pop in for our free Coffee and our free copy of The Times. Except for the muscadines, which are sweetmeats made from a pod near the fundament of an asiatic deer (its secretion may have been a sexual attractant) and regarded as an aphrodisiac since the days when the trade routes brought both it, and its Sanskrit name, from India to Byzantium. It is now vastly expensive since the poor things have been hunted almost into bio-undiversity ... ah, the compulsions of homo insipiens, the so-called animal rationale ... fortasse potius animal dicendum venereale. But I gather that chemists now produce a synthetic version of musk. (I wonder what their motives are.)


When I have published versions of this post in previous years at the corresponding time of year, the only interest it has attracted has been among North Americans who, in their very welcome billions, regularly offer me Comments in which they patiently explain to this poor ignorant European that, in all their own splendid (but transpontine) dictionaries, muscadine refers simply and only to grapes. But the old multi-volume Oxford English Dictionary gives entries of three separate words with this same spelling: (1) grapes; (2) animal musk; and (3) "a Parisian woman of fashion". This year (2022) I am going to enable absolutely NO Class (1) comments, but I would admit relevant academic comments on (3) Parisian Women of Fashion (whom I had always thought were known technically if crudely as les grandes horizontales or as obalisques [h/t there to Evelyn Waugh The Loved One]). I suspect that (3) is in fact secondary to (2) and derivative from it.

The English sweetmeats made with musk were called 'kissing cakes' or ... er ...  'rising cakes'. Odd names, don't you think? Now ... no offence ... many of my best friends are chemists ... but I bet muscadines made with synthetic musk would have much less potent characteristics than the Real Thing as extracted from the Buck's Bottom. As for Fashionable Parisiennes, I have no experience whatsoever of their potential characteristics or physiological effects, synthetic or otherwise. My wife comes from Leicestershire.

A series of controlled experiments, perhaps, in somebody's laboratory?

25 February 2022

TYROPHAGOS and GASTRIMARGIA

EATING

I think I am right in saying ... given, for the sake of argument, the Gregorian Calendar ... that, for much of the Church, next Sunday will be Cheesefare Sunday. 

Those who possess a set of Gueranger will probably have noticed all the Byzantine texts for Cheesefare which he reproduces in his Septuagesima volume. They concern Adam and the Fall. One of the the enormous strengths of Gueranger is his awareness that Catholicism does not simply mean the Latin Rite. 

And I feel that few things are more edifying than these happy occasions when the instincts of Rome and Byzantium converge, as with the agreement that we prepare for Lent by meditating on the Fall.

Since Septuagesima, we Latins as we celebrate the Divine Office have been thinking about those magnificent and stately first chapters of Genesis. Byzantines, apparently, are also animated by similar instincts about how to prepare for Lent ... i.e. by recalling the Fall.

Why? I wonder if, originally, it could be as simple as this: the Fall of our race resulted from an incontinent act of Eating. It is appropriate for us to expiate this by a season of attenuated Eating.

HYMNS

I subscribe to the Conciliar mandate regarding the Breviary Hymns, and so I applaud the decision to restore to use the tenth century Lenten Office Hymn Iesu Quadragenariae. Medieval English usage employed this hymn at Lauds from Lent III until Passion Sunday. 

But why ... on earth ... did Dom Lentini and his merry men excise the second stanza: 

Quo Paradiso redderes/ Servata parcimonia,/ Quos inde gastrimargiae/ Huc illecebra depulit.

... Gastrimargiae ... lovely word ... Perhaps that's what Lentini didn't like ... but the heirs of the Carolingian Renaissance simply adored a resonant grecism ... although I would have to admit that this fashion caused a fair bit of textual corruption as scribes copied out what they did not understand or recognise.

The English Hymnal renders that stanza: That he who fell from high delight/ Borne down by sensual appetite,/ By dint of stern control may rise/ To climb the hills of Paradise.

er ... no ... I agree with you ... this is not quite the sure-footed genius of John Mason Neale, is it? The translator here is Thomas Alexander Lacey (1853-1931; Fellow of Balliol, no fool, the principal Anglican theologian who spent time and effort in Rome resisting Cardinal Vaughan's frantic campaign to get Anglican Orders condemned).

Of course, our Lenten liturgies do inevitably cram in every biblical reference they can find to 'Forty Days'. Nevertheless, I feel that Protestant worshippers, accustomed to turning up in Church on the first Sunday of Lent, and hearing the organ thumping out the Victorian hymn For-tee days and for-tee nights ... and Cranmer's collect O Lord, whiche for oure sake dyddeste faste fortye days and fourtie nights ... might have been left with the mechanistic notion that Lent is nothing more than an imitatio of the Lord's Fast.

To us Latin Catholics and to Byzantines is left the headier pleasure of entering through an imposing portal into a vivid world of stimulating Typology and rich Intertextuality.

Personally, I feel diminished by the incessant post-Conciliar attempts, renewed under this lamentable pontificate, to eliminate the links between the worship of the 'Old' and 'New' Testaments; and to ignore genuine and instinctive convergences between Rome and Byzantium. Narrow-minded, uneducated lot ... anti-semites and anti-byzantines (even ... what is worse ... without knowing it!)

The Old, Authentic, Roman Rite is thoroughly worth fighting for.

Beware of pickpockets.


24 February 2022

The Five Wounds

What terrible news to wake up to this morning. I said Mass for peace; I will do the same tomorrow, making use of the Mass of the Five Wounds. 

Incidentally, recently I ran into Henry Bradshaw and one or two other friends, knowledgeable chaps, and thought I'd see if they knew anything about the dates of the entry of the Mass of the Five Wounds into medieval Missals. Apparently the Hereford Missal, which achieved a printed edition in 1502, lacked this Mass. But there is a manuscript version which has it copied in by a later hand at the end, together with the Sarum introduction about Pope Boniface. And, as in Sarum, it is associated with that other exemplar of late medieval Christological affection, the Mass of the Holy Name.

York was more interesting - my chum Surtees came up with the facts. It has the Mass of the Five Wounds in editions printed in 1509, 1516, 1517, 1530, 1533. However, it is not in the (earlier) manuscript versions of the Missal except ... get this ... that there's a nice ms at Stonyhurst, which Surtees says is from the second half of the fifteenth century, which has it written ... but left unfinished ... on an outside folio.

But it was Henry Bradshaw himself who knocked me for six. You see, I'd always assumed that the Mass of the Five Wounds was an adapted, augmented, version of an earlier Mass  de Passione Domini, still preserved in the Missal of S Pius V. Well, as Henry makes clear, neither the Mass of the Five Wounds nor the Mass de Passione Domini was in the (Milanese) 1474 editio princeps of the Missale Romanum. Nor in 1481, 1485, or 1493 editions. But the Mass of the Five Wounds appears in a 1505 edition from Venice and also in Venetian editions of 1508, 1509, 1543, 1558, 1560, and 1561, and Parisian editions of 1515, 1530, and 1540. (A Lyons edition of 1516; two Venetian editions of 1558 and 1560 from the same House; and a 1574 edition from Antwerp, do not have it.) And all these also do not contain de Passione Domini)

So, in a very crude, prima facie sort of way, might one tentatively wonder if de Passione Domini is a chopped down version of the Mass of the Five Wounds, rather than the original from which the latter was developed?

Please God, may Europe's Eastern border at least be spared the horrors of an infantry war, with all its terrible consequences.

23 February 2022

"NOW, UNCONDITIONALLY, and FOR EVERYONE" ... SSPX

 The Superior of the SSPX, Fr Pagliarani, has recently been to see PF. No report, I think, has appeared of this meeting. But on 15 January Father gave an address in Paris, provided by Dr Moynihan in translation.

The only criticism of his words that I now make is that he speaks as if the Tridentine Mass were the only Catholic Rite. This has never beeen true. There are the Oriental rites. And, even in the Latin West, there are the Dominicans ... the Mediolanese ...

But, in my view, the following section of his address is crucially important; and needs to be taken seriously. 

"There is one last thing that the Society must obtain, and this is crucial. We want the Mass, not only for ourselves, but we want it for the Universal Church. We do not want simply a side altar in the Church. Nor do we want the right to enter with our banner into an amphitheatre where everything else is permitted. Certainly not!

"We want this Mass for ourselves and at the same time for everyone. It is not a little privilege that we want. This Mass is a right for us and for all souls, without exception. This is how the SSPX is, and will continue to be, an active part of the Catholic Church. That is because it aims at the good of the Church. The Society does not aim at obtaining a particular privilege. Obviously, Divine Providence will choose the moment, the modalities, the graduality and the circumstances, but as far as we are concerned, we want this Mass and we want it now -- unconditionally and for everyone. 

"And this we want without entering into an overly human perspective that looks for a particular privilege. We do not want to enter into negotiations where we are conceded things bit by bit: to be given a church here, a time for Mass there, the possibility to use the maniple, or the biretta, or the Holy Week liturgy of S Pius X ... Definitely not! We do not want to enter into this scenario.

"Quite simply, we want two things: the Faith and the Mass. We want Catholic doctrine and the Cross that nourish the spiritual life and moral life of souls. We want them now, unconditionally, and for everyone ..."

22 February 2022

The Paedophile Question

HOMOSEXUALITY

The first thing I object to in the reported remarks of some foreign cleric called Hollerich is the imprecision in the use of terms such as "homosexual".

Does this refer to orientation? Or to a cohabiting relationship in which the probability is flaunted that unrepented genital activities are performed?

The respect I have ... and it is considerable ... for a person with homoerotic inclinations who, by God's grace, lives a celibate life, is in strong contrast to my convictions about the objective moral state of any human being who engages in sexual relationships with any person to whom they are not joined in Christian wedlock.

To elide this difference, especially in public debate, is to omit such a centrally important piece of the evidence that it is pretty well a lie.

So is this Hollerich, who "knows of" homosexual priests and laypreople in his diocese, refering to the one or the other? It seems to me to make a big difference. To say "No one is dismissed because they are homosexual" without defining terms is not so much just shifty as plain dishonest.

"I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct." (Hollerich.)

So many statements like this are bandied around. "God made me like this so it must be OK for m,e to play out my inclinations".

The test to be set against all such statements is: Does it also apply to paedophiles?

But this gets you into trouble. People who can't think straight allege that you are saying 

(a) all homosexuals are paedophiles; or/and

(b) homosexuals are "as bad as" paedophiles. 

Asking "Does it also apply to paedophiles?" involves neither of these beliefs, from each of which I firmly dissociate myself.

It does involve an argumentum ad hominem, "pressing a man with the consequences of his own concessions". 

If you claim that X is justified in acting on the basis of his innate inclination simply because he has that inclination, you must allow the same liberty to paedophiles. Or, if you don't, you must tell us why.

DOGMA

"The cardinal said it was time for a fundamental revision of church teaching, and suggested that the way Pope Francis had spoken about homosexuality in the past could lead to a change in doctrine".

I hope this is a misreport, because, if it is accurate, it reveals a thoroughly heterodox mindset. It implies fundamental  doctrinal change; it implies or suggests that the basis of such change could include obiter remarks uttered by a pope without having been checked through by ... for example ... the CDF.

I repudiate with all my heart, and execrate, such an account of how Dogma can or should evolve. And I similarly repudiate any purported exercise of the Petrine Office which might appear to confer legitimacy upon such accounts.

 

21 February 2022

Arthur Roche and Pope Francis at loggerheads

 In 2015, Arthur Roche cosigned a Decretum in English and Latin. It promulgated a big glossy book called Divine Worship: the Missal. (DWM in what follows; the other signatory was Cardinal Sarah.)

This was the "Ordinariate Missal", of course. 

Latinists with time to spare might spend a few amused minutes comparing the English and the Latin versions of this Decree. Schoolmasters, practising and retired, may find their fingers twitching for a Marking Pencil with which to strike through the schoolboy howlers. But this post today is not yet another part of my boring series How clever I am to be able to spot the elementary grammatical errors in Vatican 'Latin'.

Arthur's 2015 Decree asserted that his Dicastery knew that "authentic Catholic worship in Spirit and truth had always found expression in diverse forms" (verum cultum catholicum in Spiritu et veritate multimodis semper elocutum esse).

Arthur's admirable 2015 Decree also called the DWM "a legitimate adaptation of the Roman Rite".

But ... er ... um ... PF has recently (2021) declared that there is only an "unicus usus" of the Roman Rite ... and that this "single use" is to be deemed to be the tired and tatty, half-a-century-old, cobweb-festooned product of Hannibal and his committees ...  the poor seedy Usus Deterior of the Roman Rite.

Bit of a contradiction here, eh? 

In the left corner, wearing the red shorts, Arturo. In the right corner, wearing the blue shorts, Francesco. Which of them will land the knock-out blow?

Multimodis is just what the doctor ordered, as far as Arturo is concerned. But for Francesco, Diversity is Rigid and Divisive and needs to be extirpated. Bang bang bang. Gotcha! Why won't you lie down and just die quickly?

The Ordinariate Missal, of course, contains the Preparation at the foot of the Altar from the Tridentine Rite; its pre-Conciliar Offertory Prayers; and its Last Gospel.

Very broad-minded. Jolly jolly jolly good! Ecumenical!! Inclusive!!!

Why is it so super duper for the ex-Anglicans in the Ordinariates to enjoy these goodies in the DWM ... while Mainstream Catholic Clergy are to be given a thorough whipping if they want such things? Bend over again for another six ... especially on the First Sunday of the Month ... Cupich Day ...

There must be a moral here somewhere  ... 




20 February 2022

S Stephen's House, Vatican II, and the Cappa Magna

 Spare a prayer today for the Rt Revd (William) Gordon Wheeler, quondam Bishop of Theudalis in partibus infidelium and then of Leeds. Today, 20 February, is the obit of his death (aetatis 87) in 1998.

I feel comfortably disposed towards his Lordship. Like me, he had his priesthood 'formed' at "Staggers". Like me, he was at one point Assistant Chaplain at Lancing College. He was a product of the fine, robust, triumphalist Anglo-Catholicism of the 1930s; if you desire to verify that observation, go and look ... first, at the belle epoque glories of S Bartholomew's Church in Brighton not far from the Railway Station, where he served as a curate ... then at the high gothic glory of Lancing Chapel perched on its South Downs hilltop.

After entering into full communion, he was ordained by Cardinal Hinsley on 31 March 1940 in the Crypt of Westminster Cathedral "for fear of the bombs", as Fr Brian Houghton, one of the four other ordinands, recalls. [Have you acquired and read Unwanted Priest, the autobiography of Fr Bryan Houghton, a priest who refused to say the New Mass and led a diverting and diverse life ... just published by Angelico Press in its Catholic Traditionalist Classics series.]

[Fr Houghton records that, at the Beda, where he and the future Bishop Wheeler studied together, about a dozen of the seminarians had been Anglican clergymen, and "the Anglican clergy saw to it that the liturgy was performed precisely according to the rubrics ... it gave a very good training".]

Wheeler had "Anglican Previous" and a Staggers training: so it's not surprising that he was the last English Catholic Bishop to wear the cappa magna; and that throughout his life, his personal liturgical preference was for the 'Tridentine Rite'. [Fr Houghton summarised him as "a good bishop".] If vernacular had to be used, he favoured English of the "Thou/Thee" variety ... which must make him a sort of Forerunner of the Ordinariate Liturgy! 

Not all Catholic Bishops of Leeds have had such sound instincts! Wheeler was one of the Fathers of Vatican II; so he knew it from the inside ... from the inside of the Bar-Jonah as well as the inside of the Conciliar aula. He was in favour of the Council but strongly opposed to the misappropriation of the Council in later years.

Should you ever hear talk of any later Bishop of Leeds who was not a Father of the Council, but who blathers on about Vatican II, beware. As far as Liturgy is concerned, the conciliar decree Sacrosanctum Concilium did, indeed, allow some (mainly optional) modifications, but its cautious and sensible suggestions bore no connexion with the wholesale slaughter that followed when, after the Council, gangs of crooks got their hands on 'implementation' and treated this as a carte blanche to make whatever faddish liturgical alterations appealed to them.

Cardinal Heenan was to be terribly embarrassed by the fact that the reassurances he had given about the Council were made to seem untruthful. Archbishop McQuaid, Primas Hiberniae, was never more wrong than when he guaranteed to his people that "No change will worry the tranquillity of your Christian lives".

Decent men deceived. An episcopate manipulated.

"Only four bishops voted against Sacrosanctum Concilium". Dishonest commentators glibly use this fact to imply that all the changes which were introduced after the Council were enthusiastically mandated by the Council. Not in a million years. The point is that the vote for SC would not have been anything like so overwhelming if the Fathers had realised that, as far as the radicals were concerned, they were being dishonestly tricked into signing a blank cheque. 

Do you really, seriously, think that in any known world Marcel Lefebvre would have contentedly signed SC if he had known that, within a decade, the Canon Romanus would be almost entirely and universally discarded?

This is a good moment to remind you of Dom Hugh Knapman's edition of the limericks composed at the Council by the English Bishops, including a number by Wheeler himself, and comments about Wheeler by other bishops. Bishop Wall translated them into Latin. A Limerickal Commentary on the Second Vatican Council * (Arouca Press) provides an amusing sidelight on the Council. And a revealing one. When the Barbarians shouted Ottaviani down, it was not in the name of the Anglophone Bishops ... or, indeed, of many of the un-Rhineish prelates.

*"Of Rahner and Congar and Kung /The praises are everywhere sung; /But one bello domani /Lord Ottaviani /Will see the three of 'em hung."

O utinam ...

From Heenan downwards, the Anglophone hierarchies were generally dubious about the unscrupulous tricks being played upon them. But, like the rest of us, they did not foresee the half of it.

REMEMBER: IF SOME SUBSEQUENT BISHOP OF LEEDS OR OF ROME OR OF ANYWHERE ELSE TRIES TO PULL A FAST ONE BY IMPLYING THAT "THE COUNCIL" AUTHORISED THE NOVUS ORDO AS IT SUBSEQUENTLY EMERGED, HE SHOULD BE SHOUTED DOWN WITH CRIES OF "WOTTA NAUGHTIE PORKIE" AND PELTED WITH SCREWED-UP COPIES OF TRADITIONIS CUSTODES.

*"What John Carmel, Westminster's Archbish, /Dislikes most intensely is fish. /He's not slow in declaring /He can't stand red Haerring, /It just simply isn't his dish."

Fish, indeed! They come in so many shapes and sizes!! 153 or perhaps even more!!!

19 February 2022

"O, she comes!!" [SPEED! corrected; and with a QUERY]

I regard the locus classicus in Christian apologetic with regard to Speed, as being the introduction of Lord Feverstone in Lewis's Hideous Strength. Deftly, Lewis insinuates the suspicion that Feverstone, as well as being a very poor driver, was also a very bad man. Perhaps he was descended from Toad?

The craze for Speed, as an emblem of Progress and Modernity, was expressed as early as 1903 by W E Henley (1849-1903) in his last poem, A Song of Speed. Henley deified power and arrogance: he was also the author of that misguided ditty Invictus which concludes with the much-quoted phrase "I am the captain of my soul". 

In Speed, Henley concludes this long and tedious poem with what surely must strike us today as risible bathos. Here is a taste of just a tiny bit of it:

"Hence the Mercedes! Look at her. Shapeless? Unhandsome? Unpaintable? Yes; but the strength of some seventy-five horses: seventy-five puissant, superb fellow-creatures: is summed and contained in her pipes and her cylinders ... handle her valves, her essentials, her secrets ... this marvellous Mercedes, this triumphing contrivance, comes to make other Man's life than she found it: ... thus the Mercedes comes, O, she comes, this astonishing device, this astonishing Mercedes, with Speed -- Speed in the Fear of the Lord. So, in the Eye of the Lord, under the Feet of the Lord, out of the measureless goodness and grace in the Hand of the Lord. Speed! Speed on the Knees, Speed in the Laugh, Speed by the Gift, Speed in the Trust of the Lord --"

In his whodunnit The Body in the Silo (1933), Mgr R A Knox entertains himself and us with the absurdities of all this. One of his characters is a Phyllis Morel, who loves cars ... and, especially, their speed ... and has even worked up for herself a lucrative automobile business. Have you ever seen the 1930 dust/wrapper of Waugh's Vile Bodies? (BTW, there floats into my mind that self-portrait [1929] by Tamara de Lempicka ... sitting in her Bugatti, "cold as ice, and all the more provocative ... arrogance ... freedom, speed, mobility, power and riches" [Ingried Brugger])

Knox's characters are discussing Speed; "I don't want speed to brace my nerves," observed Miss Morel. "I want it for its own sake."

"Speed, speed, speed in the knees of the Lord?" suggested Worsley. "I never could quite understand how Henley managed to lug theology into it."  

Indeed. But, if one has to be biblical, isn't the Tower of Babel the most suitable allusion?

H/t to Joshua.

Query: having perused Wikipedia, I remain a bit vague about which Mercedes on the roads in 1903 was 75 horsepower.

18 February 2022

Bishop Ned Darling, and the Bugnini Lectionary

"You know, John, I think I'm getting a bit tired of the Bread of Life."

This was said to me by an Irish bishop ... a Church of Ireland bishop ... one Sunday morning in the church of S John Baptist on Valentia Island, off the beautiful West coast of Ireland. No; his words were not an example of old-style Church of Ireland Protestantism; bishop Ned is (he's still going strong in his late eighties) a civilised and well-read man with a catholic Sacramental theology. 

He had many different ways of signing his name; Edward Limerick; Edward Ardfert; Edward Killaloe; Edward Kilfenora; Edward Clonfert; Edward Kilmacduagh; and Edward Emly.

Yes; you will have guessed: he was not a confidence trickster with multiple aliases, but a very grand episcopal pluralist and the inheritor of seven originally separate dioceses. I would like to tell you that when, on a Sunday morning, he stepped off the ferry at Knightstown, he processed up the main street wearing seven cappae magnae ... but you might not believe me. It is so hard to pull the wool over your eyes.

It might interest some of you that a couple of his seven dioceses lost their independant existence around 1834, when the British government took a savage pair of scissors to the Church of Ireland. This, in turn; led to the Oxford Movement, the 'Catholic Revival', in the Church of England. You see, on grounds of Catholic principle, the Oxford clerical establishment objected to Erastian politicians interfering in the organisation of the Church, even when that involved suppressing Irish bishoprics.

Incidentally, Bishop Ned is the son of an archdeacon and the grandson of a Bishop of Cork. Even more incidentally, the local Ascendancy aristocrat is known as the Hereditary Knight of Kerry, and the present holder of that title is ... a Patron of the Latin Mass Society! It's a small world!

So: why was his Lordship Bishop Darling "getting a bit tired" of the Bread of Life?

The Church of Ireland was, I regret to say, using the very same Eucharistic Lectionary adopted after Vatican II by most of the Latin Church. This was constructed on the principle of a three-year Sunday Gospel cycle: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. (S John appeared on special occasions.) But S Mark's Gospel was a bit short ... and so it was padded out by having S John's 'Eucharistic Discourse' (John 6) divided up and interpolated into the Marcan sequence of readings. This meant that, every "Year B", one had no fewer than four successive Sundays (in high summer too, with the mackerel biting in the bay and the myrtles around Glanleam in full blossom) in which one ought to be preaching about the Bread of Life. Yes; I know; one can't say too much about that. But four Sundays in a row every third year seems a tadge unsophisticated as an arrangement.

I know this sort of thing does not worry many of the Mainstream clergy of the Catholic Church, who only fall back on preaching from the Readings on occasions when they can't think of anything really interesting to say; but Bishop Ned, being only an Anglican, was a conscientious homilist. 

We were recently told by arthur roche that the Usus Deterior is very "rich", and I can see a tiny something of what the poor fellow has in mind. Sunday worshippers do nowadays liturgically hear things which, in the days of the Usus Authenticus of the Roman Rite, were not set before them on Sundays or special days. In the UA, we get parts of John 6:25-to-end only on Corpus Christi and All Souls' Day.

But Bishop Darling's light-hearted throwaway witticism, cleverly concealing a very powerful point, made me wonder whether the methodology behind the 1960s creation of a new Eucharistic Lectionary de novo ... with no basis whatsoever in Tradition ... really was as clever as most people (including me) thought it was half a century ago.

Scissors-and-paste is not the only valid liturgical methodology. Scissors can be a very blunt instrument!

Fas est ab Anglicanis doceri!


17 February 2022

Promotions in the Army List

I have been reminded that Arthur Roche once served as factotum to the distinguished former Bishop of Leeds, Gordon Wheeler, of whom I intend to publish an appreciation upon the occasion of his Year's Mind in a few days' time.

I was, indeed, aware of that fact. But, as every military man knows, it is almost always a mistake to turn a passable sergeant into not a very good officer.

16 February 2022

Restructuring the CDF

My first reaction to the restructuring of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was ... relief! The Ordinariates will remain within its competences! This must surely mean that Arthur Roche, who shares PF's profoundly mistaken view that liturgical uniformity is essential to Unity of Faith, may not find it so easy to get his twitchy hands on the worship of the Ordinariates. (The other good news in this area is that the American Ordinary, the intelligent and affable Bishop Lopes, was elected boss of the liturgical department of the USA Episcopal Conference ... which must usefully enhance his standing in Rome.) Cardinal Ladaria, the current Prefect of the CDF, has shown himself a man of principle: when the question of blessing homosexual relationships came up, he resisted PF and uttered a negative. This meant that the CDF response was not (as is usual) "approved and ordered to be published" by the pope; and, soon after, PF preached another of his favourite rants about Rigid People.

My pleasure, however, was short-lived. I read the rumours that Ladaria, who is already well past the 'retirement age', might be replaced by Archbishop Scicluna. He is on record as having uttered one of the most stark, comprehensive, and pure articulations of the Bergoglianical error:

"Whoever wishes to discover what Jesus wants from him, he must ask the pope, this pope, not the one who came before him, or the one who came before that. This present pope."

I ... and you ... should never pass hasty judgments. But I find it hard to believe that such a person is fit to occupy such a sensitive post.

15 February 2022

Ever Nastier and Ever Fibbier

 Ed Pentin has publihed an interesting piece on what Canonists are saying about the present state of liturgical matters in the Latin Church.

I am going to republish some paragraphs which I drafted on December 16; and then updated and published on December 19.

I am pushing all this under your noses again because I believe it is important for Christians not to lie. 

The current regime resorts to lying whenever it suits. A particularly disgraceful example is PF's July insistence that his decree Traditionis custodes should come into effect the morning immediately after its publication, followed by Roche's December assertion that the Bishops should have been putting into effect a differing (Latin) version for the previous five months. 

Traditionis custodes is dated 16 July 2021. Roche's Responsa ad Dubia is dated 4 December 2021 but actually, I think, emerged on 18 December 2021.

I am not querying the right of a pope to change his mind and to issue a changed version of one of his own edicts. That would then constitute a new juridical act; a change in the law. What I regard as evil and scandalous is for Roche to rewrite history with the effect that any bishop who did put Traditionis cusodes into effect the morning after it emerged in July, is declared in December to be have been a Very Naughty Boy because he did not follow a Latin text which had not, at that time, yet been confected.

Or is it Roche's view that (whatever a pope may say) a papal edict is not legally effective until the Latin text is issued? That would be interesting!

SO HERE IS MY POST FROM DECEMBER 19 2021 ABOUT TRADITIONIS CUSTODES

Readers will recall that the nastiest and most spiteful Article was 4: which required that a priest ordained after the promulgation of the Motu proprio and who wishes to celebrate the Authentic Use of the Roman Rite must send a formal petition to his Bishop who, before granting it, "shall consult the Apostolic See".

Nastier and nastier: in the 'new' Latin version, consult is changed to "will ask for (rogabit) a licentia from the Holy See". I have checked the other Modern Language versions: they all, like the English, had consultiert; consultera; consultera. But 'consulting' implies a certain equality of standing between parties. That's not the Bergoglian ethos. Down on your knees! And be quick about it!

So, in the latest Responsa, the word CONSULT, present in all those vernacular versions, is changed. I should have written "eliminated." Indeed, CONSULTATION is now off the table. "This is not merely a consultative opinion, but a necessary authorisation given to the diocesan Bishop by the CDW." We are informed that "the Latin text ... is the official text to be referenced". 

Quite how bishops were supposed to "reference"a Latin text which, until a few days ago, had not appeared, readers may wonder.

There has clearly been a policy decision to tighten up. To stop up a loophole.

But Roche and his aides cannot admit this. In Bergoglian culture, the principle is "Lie whenever possible. Truth is only for fools." The generous mendacity of PF, carefully picked up and emulated by his Roches, is perhaps the most disgraceful feature of this pontificate.

We were told that the reestablishment of episcopal control over liturgy is one of the principles of Tc. A very senior curial official significantly remarked " ... not, of course, control by conservative bishops". With this new Latin text, now reinforced by the Responsa, a bishop cannot even give a liturgical permission to his most junior curate without grovelling to some curial pen-pusher. Mere 'consultation' has gone out of the window ... it is not strong enough. 

Who'd be a bishop during this imperious Byzantine dictatorship?

As far as clergy who already celebrate the real Roman Rite are concerned (Article 5), the previous texts talked about them seeking authorisation; autorizzatione; autorizacion; gennehmigung. This has now become licentiam rogabunt. It is not now good enough for a bishop to give one of his priests a pastoral intimation of his consent. He now needs to embody it in formal garb.

In Article 3: 1, a Bishop is now required to check that groups using the Authentic Use accept the auctoritatem of the novel post-conciliar rites. In the vernacular versions, this Article read validity; validita; validez; gueltigkeit. This is even true of a quotation of these words within the Responsa. In other words, when it suits the authors of the Responsa, they cheerfully quote the vernacular versions of the Motu proprio, forgetting that in their recently concocted Latin version they had changed the text to auctoritatem.  

Validity and Auctoritas are quite simply not the same thing. I have no trouble accepting that the Conciliar rites fulfil all the theological requirements for validity. Given the papal acts of promulgation, they probably even have liceity. But to claim that they possess auctoritas is sheer nonsense. A Roman Pontif may indeed proclaim, announce, and define twice a day for a year that the Moon is made of Gorgonzola cheese, but ...

So the new tinkered version of Tc, followed by the more recent Responsa, are full of nasty snivelling bits of dishonesty designed to make them, at every turn, an even nastier document. 

More lies: the Responsa assert that the old liturgical books have been abrogated. Since Benedict XVI said in 2007 that they had not been abrogated, Roche and his fellow conspirators need to explain to us when, and by whom (since Benedict XVI made that statement in 2007) the "abrogating"was done. Or he should withdraw this contrafactual assertion. It is not sufficient just to keep mouthing the same untruth, without giving any justification.

Roche now claims that the reformed liturgy is "the primary source of spirituality for the Christian life". It appears even to be "a condition for salvation." Dear me. Bad news for members of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches. Bad news for the Dominicans. Bad news for the Ordinariates (I wonder when the bullies will get round to us?).

Roche's advice to seminarians is that "It is ... absolutely essential that priests ordained after the publication of the Motu Proprio share this desire of the Holy Father". "Absolutely essential"?? Do these people have no sense of the meaning of words? Has it ever previously been asserted, with regard to any previous pope, that it "absolutely essential" for any Christian to share his desires?

But there is one point at which something different has happened ... something rather intriguing. Article 7 of the new Latin version of the decree.

The new Latin version talks about the two dicasteries which will exercise the authority of the Holy See observantiae harum dispositionum invigilantes ... watching over, keeping an eye on, the observance of Tc. And the other modern language versions also expressed the same idea of watching over (vigilando; wachen). But the English version eliminated the suggestion that the two dicasteries would be super-snoopers. It read  " ... exercise the authority of the Holy See with respect to  the observance of these provisions"

This is what I think happened. 

The Decree was drafted in Italian or Spanish. The Italophones and the Hispanophones, brought up on the purest milk of Peronist dogma and praxis, had of course no problem about the idea of two dicasteries acting like Stasi agents, snooping around in their battered trilbies jotting down incriminating information about bishops and clergy who are, in terms of rigid Bergoglian ideology, off- message.

But then Somebody Anglophone in the CDW looked at the texts, and remarked: "Er ... English people don't much like spies and sneaks and the Gestapo and informers and tell-tales and lickspittles. Um, er, we'd better tone the English version down a bit."

You're dead right, Sunshine. We don't. 


 


14 February 2022

Only for British readers

 From a review in The Times by Gerard DeGroot of a book about Lord Corwallis:

"Cornwallis is an exemplar of a type common in British history. He was an Old Etonian educated beyond his intelligence and promoted beyond his competence. We are familiar with that type today, but Cornwallis, at least, possessed a firm sense of what was morally right. He hated parties."

ECCLESIA DALECOPOLITANA

Exterminate! Exterminate! I think one of the cheapest and most spiteful examples of our current malaise ... and, probably, the most significant ... is the attempted prohibition against the Usus Authenticus of the Roman Rite being celebrated by the newly ordained.

Exterminate!!! I wonder if anyone has ever tried to suggest that PF should experiment with a policy of showing towards those Catholics whom (and whose liturgical preferences) he so viscerally detests, just one tenth of the friendly tolerance he demonstrates towards non-Catholics and non-Christians (not to mention those within the priesthood or the sisterhood who enthusiastically promote intrinsically disordered sexual activity). 

The question of the Ecclesia Dei societies is likely to come up this year. Exterminate! I suspect that he will not yet actually suppress them; but will do his best ... it will be an extremely fine best ... to treat them with imaginative cruelty. They may be required to symbolise their craven and total submission  by some use of the Usus Deterior. "The first Sunday of the month" as promoted by the Cupiches may come to be a widely hated expression.

The suggestion that the pre-Conciliar Pontificale is suppressed, a suggestion already heard from PF's lackies, will possibly result in a prohibition of the old Rite of the Ordination of Presbyters.

Wozzat you say? That the old Pontifical has already been abrogated beyond any possibility of its use? But ... what about the central Bergoglian principle that PF can "do anything" because his every daily word and action is the direct prompting of the Holy Spirit? And what about Canon 87?

It is one of the paradoxes of these counter-intuitive times that a great fuss was made about a "rebalancing" done by Vatican II to restore the just dignity and autonomous rights of the Episcopate ... yet a document like Traditionis custodes can emerge, more than half a century after the Council, festooned with micro-managing and enhanced by disdainful interferences with the autonomy of diocesan bishops. What price now Subsidiarity?

In this country at least, everybody knows that the bishops ... or the great majority of them ... even if they have no intention whatsoever themselves of ever celebrating the Usus Authenticus ... desire to foster good relationships ... real Communio ... within their jurisdictions. This has given real pleasure and hope to those in the Traddy peripheries.

Liturgy Wars were the very last Bergoglian dainties that most bishops were hoping and praying for when they answered the Lord's gracious call to Episkope.

13 February 2022

More on the Ambrosian Septuagesima

So here is a version, cleaned up, from the ms sources, of the Preface I discussed yesterday:

VD ... Ad cuius immensam pertinet gloriam ut non solum mortalibus tua deitate* succurreris; sed et de ipsa etiam mortalitate nostra nobis remedium provideris, et perditos quosque unde perierant, inde salvaris; Per.

[Crudely and literally: It is very meet and right ... to whose great glory it pertaineth that not only didst thou come to the aid of mortals with thy Godhead, but also, from our own very mortality didst provide for us a remedy, and didst save the lost whomsoever from that place whence they perished.]

It has all the terse elegance, all the avoidance of ostentatious verbosity, which we associate with the best formulae in the old Roman Sacramentaries; perhaps it ... even ... who knows ... has a whiff of S Leo about it. (Edmund Bishop neatly compared the concision of the Roman Pentecost Preface with a 'Gothic' Pentecost preface which rambled on for eighty lines.)

The erudite Marist Fr Anthony Ward (so badly treated under this pontificate) adduced S Ambrose De Sac 2:17; S Leo Sermo 22; 1; and Chromatius of Aquila Sermo 19:7, from the last of whom I offer a brief passage in translation.

Christ "sustained evil things, but gave good things in return; he received death, but gave life. Not without cause he was crucified in this place where the body of Adam is said to be buried. So, therefore, Christ is crucified where Adam had been buried, that thence life might work where first death had worked, so that from death life might rise again. Death through Adam, life through Christ."

You see how typologically suitable such material is to the Genesis themes which we revisit in the Divine Office at this time. You will remember the significance of the iconography, Eastern and Western, of the skull at the foot of the Cross of Calvary, and the figure of Christ rescuing Adam and Eve from Hell in the 'Anastasis' Ikon.

*Footnote: there is an intriguing textual variant which could be 'original': pietate for deitate. Majuscule P and D can easily be confused. But the (1712) Ambrosian Missal, and the English Leofric Missal, give the text I have printed, except that its verbs are imperfect subjunctives (and Leofric omits the et).

12 February 2022

SEPTUAGESIMA WITH THE AMBROSIAN RITE ... AND THE RITE BROUGHT TO CANTERBURY BY S AUGUSTINE

In 2020, the CDF took action. Interested readers will know that this dicastery then had the role of the nice old Sacred Congregation of Rites with regard to the Authentic Form of the Roman Rite. And there is a bonus: their intervention caused fury to some "liturgist" called Grillo. His view is that it is wrong  to make any alterations to the Authentic Form because it is already crystalised into immutable obsolescence. How do we know that it is so crystalised? Because it has not been changed ... a fine-rate example, yes, of a circular argument? 'Modern' liturgists are never happier than when whizzing endlessly round on a Victorian fairground roundabout.

The CDF changes (which were all optional) related to Prefaces (and, in a separate Decree, to the Calendar). Introduction of more prefaces had been encouraged by Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum. And, indeed, by indult certain additional prefaces of eighteenth century French origin ('Gallican') had already long been used within the SSPX and elsewhere. So what did the CDF do?

It consulted.

In one of its consultation documents, it had included a neo-'Gallican' preface for Advent. And also a preface for the Gesima Sundays. But in its final Decree, it omitted these two prefaces (but dropped a hint that this did not preclude the possible granting of other prefaces). The change, it explained, was because the spirit of the Authentic Use in the twentieth century had become inimical to additional  seasonal prefaces (All the new twentieth century prefaces had been for feasts, or requiems, not for seasons).

The rest of this post concerns the Septuagesima preface which the CDF had tentatively proposed but then abandoned.

This is an old preface tinkered with in the 1970s when it was included in the Novus Ordo. It is the Preface for Septuagesima Sunday in the Ambrosian Rite (I have before me the 1712 edition) and in the Bergamo Sacramentary; in the Leofric Missal, the old Pontifical Book of the Archbishops of Canterbury (which probably preserves readings in the books which S Augustine brought with him to Canterbury), it is provided for the last Sunday after Epiphany. It appears also in other early sacramentaries.

So it does belong to this season of the year. 

My only problem with it is that the Novus Ordo took liberties with the ancient texts. Same old story ...

Novus Ordo Praefatio III de Dominicis per Annum.

VD ... omnipotens aeterne Deus: Ad cuius immensam gloriam pertinere cognoscimus ut mortalibus tua Deitate succurreres; sed et nobis provideres de ipsa mortalitate nostra remedium, et perditos quosque unde perierant, inde salvares, per Xtm Dnm nostrum.

I first started thinking about this ... you know how it is  ... because I couldn't think of the answer to a rather obvious question which a III Former could probably spot: why are the subjunctive verbs put into Historic Sequence (i.e. Imperfect Subjunctives)? I still haven't shifted this log-jam in my mind ...

In despair, I ended up, as one does, looking at the Verona Sacramentary, also called the Leonine Sacramentary, which I suspect has the earliest known version of this preface (at the beginning of  October). Basic differences are these: for the "pertinere cognoscimus" VS simply had "pertinet"; and the subjunctive verbs were in the Perfect Subjunctive: "succurreris ... provideris ... salvaris".

Well, that solves my problems about Sequence of Tenses, doesn't it. These nice healthy perfect subjunctives seem already to have mutated into imperfects in the Sacramentarium Bergomense and the 'Gregorian' Missal. [Salvaris is by a common syncope for salvaveris. One source, incidentally, has its knickers in a real twist: it reads succurras.]

Are we to interpet the Verona Sacramentary version as "It pertains to your ginormous glory that you have succoured ... have provided ... have saved ...?" This seems to me to make better sense and grammar than the (I suspect) subsequent alterations. It is, indeed, roughly how current ICEL actually translates the formula.

I floated this question once before in a rather different form, and was blessed with very good comments, which I retain below this revised version.

11 February 2022

ONLY FOR BRITISH READERS

 "There is a certain kind and degree of intellect in which words take root, but into which things have no power to penetrate. A mediocrity of talent, with a certain slenderness of moral constitution, is the soil that produces the most brilliant specimens of successful prize-essayists and Greek epigrammatists. It should not be forgotten that the least respectable character among modern politicians was the cleverest boy at Eton."

William Hazlitt.

Heaven forbid than anybody remotely like Canning could ever again be PM of this country.

Adrian Fortescue ... after 99 years ...

"You know, we have stuck out for our position all our lives ... unity, authority. etc., Peter the Rock and so on. I have, too, and believe it. I am always preaching that sort of thing, and yet is it now getting to a reductio ad absurdum? Centralisation grows and goes madder every century. Even at Trent they hardly foresaw this kind of thing. Does it really mean that one cannot be a member of the Church of Christ without being, as we are, absolutely at the mercy of an Italian lunatic? ... 

"We must pull through even this beastliness somehow. After all, it is still the Church of the Fathers that we stand by and spend our lives defending. However bad as things are, nothing else is possible. I think that when I look at Rome, I see powerful arguments against us, but when I look at the Church of England ... I see still more powerful arguments for us. But of course, saving a total collapse, things are as bad as they can be. Give us back the tenth century Johns and Stephens, or a Borgia! 

"They were less disastrous than this deplorable person. ...

Today is the obit, the Year's Mind of Fr Adrian Fortescue, who died in 1923. Fr Aidan Nichols' book about him, The Latin Clerk, revealed him to be a great deal more than a precise rubricist. The quotations above are from letters Fortescue wrote to recipients including Fr Thurston.

Mgr Ronald Knox wrote about Fortescue "Perhaps he had too much sense of humour to be altogether a great man: he lacked pomposity." (And, of course, Knox has himself tucked away a sweet little barb in those few words.)

Perhaps one should not  be too hard on popes. The current crisis arising from their embarrassing overmagnification of their office (one has to exclude Benedict XVI from this stricture) is, surely, the product of faster media communications and the temptations which they can place in the way of natural windbags. 

Reading Opus Publicum, Dr DeVille, and Professor Tighe has reminded me of Fortescue.

10 February 2022

Pets and hermeneutical children

PF said something I agreed with!! He criticised a sterile culture in which people prefer to walk their pets rather than their children! I was reminded of the wise words of S John Paul II about "generous fertility". And then the episode grew yet more amusing as the pontiffesses of the Sisterhood moved in with their indignation that PF should try to 'tell them what they should do with their bodies'.

I shall not enable any comments which suggest what the Sisterhood could do with their bodies.

But then, sadly, I came down off my high. I admonished myself: "Remember the Hermeneutic".

There were happy days when Pope Benedict ... and not to mention Father Tim ... encouraged us to think about the Hermeneutic of Rupture and the Hermeneutic of Continuity. Excellent. But life moves on. In more recent times, I have been personally driven to adopt my own new Hermeneutical Principle. This is how it works.

Whenever Pope Francis says anything, about anything, my internal mechanism clicks into operation like a highly sophisticated Enigma Bombe. And the question pops automatically into my head: "So who is it that our Holy Father, with his sweet matutinal levity, is hating this morning?"

Accordingly, a couple of nanoseconds later, the penny dropped in my mind. 

Cats is the key.

I recalled the visit Pope Benedict the Great made to the Birmingham Oratory, when Cardinal Pushkin was still alive (although towards the end of his distinguished life there seemed to be little enough beneath his Eminence's fur other than his bones). 

I will venture categorically to assert that the Cardinal never once celebrated the Novus Ordo.

Never did I see Pushkin stalking through the streets of central Birmingham without his Cappa Magna

Nor did I ever hear him utter a single word in praise of arthur roche.

Yet how kindly, how gracious, were the previous Sovereign Pontiff's interactions with that great Birmingham ecclesicatstic!

Ahhhhh ... omnia patent in aperto ... odium felinum radix malorum omnium ...

Wozzat you say? This is unfair because it means that ... for me ... PF will never be able to say or to do anything right? That my whole logical universe is structured upon an invalidating circularity of argument?

Hrrrmmmphhhh ... I suppose you must be right .... er ... hang on ... there must be some way round this ... possibly a category error somewhere ...

9 February 2022

A Game you can all play!! The Roche Conundrum

 Facts: (A) In Summorum Pontificum, (7 July 2007), Benedict XVI, Pope (unless you are a sedevacantist: see below), wrote that the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by S John XXIII was "numquam abrogatam" [never abrogated].

(B)  On 4 August 2021, Archbishop Arthur Roche wrote, in English, about the Old Rite: "which, in fact, was abrogated by Pope Saint Paul VI." [In fairness, I should make clear that this letter was "an initial response" giving "our present understanding". It does, however, carry a Protocol Number.]

Your simple man on an uncomplicated Clapham omnibus might, in his simple South London way, see these two statements as contradictory. 

Many simple yet wholesome men from Clapham have never had the benefit of a Jesuit formation!!! (We Essex Men certainly haven't.)

The Game I am inviting readers to enjoy is to make suggestions about the import of Arthur's statement (B) supra. 

To get you going, I venture to throw out some feeble suggestions of my own.

(1) Arthur has never read Summorum Pontificum.

(2) Arthur did read it; and he strongly disagreed with Pope Benedict. But, during that pontificate, he concealed his secret dissent, fearing, as we all did, the Terrible Wrath of the Great Inquisitor.

(3) Arthur did accept the canonical judgement embodied in the Decree of Pope Benedict, but has since changed his mind; he now sets himself above all the decrees of mere popes. "I'm as good a pope as anybody! I'm from Yorkshire!"

(4) Arthur did at the time accept the judgement of Pope Benedict; but his Large Mentor has since taken him aside and said "Now look 'ere, Harfur me old cock, we're going to 'ave to change the records and put it about that the Old Rite really was habrogated by Paul VI. Let's 'ave no Rigid rubbish about telling the Truth! You'd better jump promptly into line or I may 'ave to 'urrrrt you. If you really want to 'ave that dicastery and be a Cardinal ... 'nuff said ..."

(5) Arthur is an Orwellian 1984-style Winston Smith in Minitruth who conscientiously "corrects" History every time Ingsoc, Big Brother, and the Party require him to do so. That is why History is always so totally right!

(6) Arthur is a secret sedevacantist determined to undermine the post-Conciliar popes by subtle subversion and ingenious mendacity.

(7) Arthur's mind is starting to fail and he can't always quite remember ... er ... um ... things ... um ...

Over to you!

8 February 2022

... to end all wars ...

In the preface to the 1940 edition of Liddell and Scott, there is a reference to "The Four Years War".

Has anybody else come across this way of describing World War One? Or is there something I have misunderstood? I suppose 1939/1940 would have been a moment at which "the Great War", and other familiar naming conventions, might call for reconsideration?

One of the baddies in Hideous Strength, Professor Frost, whose eugenic concerns incline him to favour a much reduced human population, explains that "the two last wars" were "simply the beginning of the programme--the first two of the sixteen major wars which are scheduled to take place in this century ..."

Lewis signed the book off on Christmas Eve 1943; after Stalingrad.

Pope Francis, Idolatry, Syncretism, and Pachamama (2)

The essential error in Syncretism is that it is a denial of the central principle of all the millennia of our Faith History: the truth that YHWH is our God and that he admits no other. How often do we clergy, as we say our Divine Office, use phrases like "DOMINUS deus noster"; our God is DOMINUS=YHWH

From his call to Our Patriarch Abraham, through his Revelation to Our Teacher Moses, he alone is our God. To have anything to do with other legomenoi theoi or legomenoi kyrioi (I Cor 8:5: so-called gods or so-called lords) is to go a-whoring after idols. It merits the sternest punishment of our Covenant God.

But in the Greek and Roman World, there were so many gods and 'lords' on offer. And 'ladies'! And there was a particular fashion for the deities of the 'Mystery Cults' ... which tended to move over from the East ... Isis ... Mithras ... Osiris ... Sabazios ... so many of them (and, to the syncretist, all of them available because they are all essentially the same). So many 'names', onomata. To many in a mobile and unstable society, these Oriental deities seemed more interesting that the ancestral civic deities worshipped in the older temples up the hill. They had traction. 

And they provided a real smorgasbord of Pick-n-mix!

I suspect that this is why, even in Jerusalem, the Apostle (Acts 4:12) felt he should emphasise that oude onoma estin heteron by which one can be saved. Every time we say the Gloria at Holy Mass, we make the same point: tu solus Dominus, tu solus altissimus ...  (thoughtful worshippers must often have stifled a puzzlement here: surely, the Father and the Spirit also merit the titles 'Lord'; 'Most High'? But, in the theic economy of the ancient world, the text does not mean "only the Son, but not the Father, is Lord"; it means "only Jesus Christ, and not the kyria Isis or the kyrios Mithras, is Lord").

I know, because of his actions, that Pio Nono, who had the Isiac imagery scraped off the magnificent pillars in the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Deipara Virgo trans Tiberim, was not a syncretist idolator. Deep in my heart, I work hard to feel confident that our Holy Father PF is also not a syncretist idolator.

But the Pachamama episodes ... what he allowed in his garden and what he did in S Peter's ... his Abu Dhabi document ... continue to put my confidence severely to the test.

Is this really the sort of peirasmos which a Roman Pontiff ought to put before souls for whom Christ died? 

The sort of skandalon he ought to place before their feet?

7 February 2022

Blesed Pius IX, Idolatry, Syncretism, and Pachamama (1)

 If you venture trans Tiberim to the Church of of our Lady ... possibly the oldest of Rome's churches ... you will see such fantastic mosaics (Cavallini) that you might miss the splendid rows of ancient pillars with Ionic capitals. It is not certain whence they were 'sourced' but one hypothesis is that they came from a nearby Temple of Isis. This is supported by the fact that, originally, they included little carvings of Isis and Osiris and Horus.

Originally ... because Blessed Pius IX employed a sculptor to remove the pagan imagery.

There were no flies on Pio Nono. What is holding up his canonisation?

Isis was an originally an Egyptian goddess, but in the three centuries of 'Ptolemaic', Greek, rule over Egypt, she had been transformed into an international Greek deity, and, in her hellenised form, was one of the favourite, most fashionable, objects of worship throughout the mediterranean world. The heart of her cult, which might make it seem right-on to some moderns, was that she excluded no other divinity. In fact, she was every other divinity. All people worship the same mighty Deity, so Isiac devotees explained, but they do so under varied names and with differing ceremonies. But we are all, they assured us, worshipping the same Ultimate Divine Reality. "Quoquo nomine, quoquo ritu, quaqua facie te fas est invocare", as one worshipper addressed her. In her reply, the Gracious One listed many of the names under which she was invoked ... Minerva; Venus; Diana; Proserpina; Ceres; Juno ... But the Egyptian do have a bit of an edge: "caeremoniis me propriis percolentes, appellant vero nomine Reginam Isidem".

Yes, followers of Isis taught; we all worship the same One, but under varied names and with different ceremonies ... but the Cult of Queen Isis is the truest and the best. There is nothing exclusive here; one ancient papyrus (P Oxy 1380) lists literally hundreds of her aliases. Adhere to any of them ... to as many as you like ... and you can do so simultaneously. One of her Greek titles was Polyonumos: She of Many Names. Pachamama can be added to the list of names without the tiniest problem!!

This is the religious system known as Syncretism. It is tolerant ... it is inclusive. It is, I understand, the essential dogma of Freemasonry. And when PF signed a document which applauded Diversity of Religion as being the will of God, I came the closest I have ever been to feeling that PF is a syncretist apostate and therefore manifestly cannot be pope. I quickly recovered! You'll find no sede-nonsense in my writings! Load of silly rubbish! That is why I do not allow it in Comments. But it remains true that his creation of such a blasphemous ambiguity was one of the most truly terrible moments in what has been a consistently terrible pontificate.

But why are Christianity and Syncretism so totally and radically incompatible? I hope to deal with that in the second part of this piece.

6 February 2022

Pinxit seu pinget Rubens? Vel probabilius Thornhill? Laguerre?

Some dimboid on the box talking about "The Queen's Ascension ..."

Pietas, Veritas, and Cranmer


Pius is an interesting word. It notoriously describes in Vergil's Aeneid the hero Aeneas, who is pius because he fulfils his duties to Country, Family, and Gods. So we think of it as a word that refers to humans and their duties. (Neatly and unsurprisingly, the renaissance pope, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, 'nomen sibi assumpsit Pii II'; a very renaissance way of alluding to his secular name. There hadn't been a Pius since 155; Piccolomini's action is almost as arrogant as calling oneself Linus II or Cletus II or even Francis I).

Three ancient Sunday Collects spring to my mind. Epiphany V (= 5 per annum) asks God to keep his family continua pietate; and Trinity XXII (= Pentecost 21) starts with exactly the same phrase. In the former case, Cranmer translated 'keep thy household continually in thy true religion'; in the latter case,'keep thy household in continual godliness'. In other words, he took pietas to mean the same quality, roughly, which Aeneas had; human dutifulness; our duty to (among other 'things') God. But I suspect he was wrong. I suspect it refers to God's benevolence to humankind. Our Covenant God is faithful ... we dare to say dutiful ... to his Covenant. So in this collect God is being asked to keep his household the Church with his continual love.

That, of course, fits in with the use of pius in Verdi's Requiem. We ask that God will grant light perpetual with his saints for evermore, because his merciful love ceases not through all eternity. And do you know the final eulogia of the Byzantine liturgy, in which the priest, by the prayers of the Theotokos and all the saints, invokes the mercy of Christ upon the people, hos agathos kai philanthropos kai eleemon Theos: 'since he is a good and humanloving and merciful God'. Philanthropos surely means the same as pius in our Latin liturgy; it speaks of the endless and unconditional mercy of God and, coming in the final phrase of the liturgical text just as pius does in the Requiem, leaves in our ears and minds a sweet and haunting yet theologically profound memory.

For the old English and Northern European use, represented by the Divine Worship (Ordinariate) Missal, Pietas also occurs in the Latin original of the collect for Trinity XII, (= Pentecost 11 = per annum 27). 'Almighty and everlasting God, who in the abundance of thy pietas exceedest what either we desire or deserve'. Cranmer, wrongly taking pietas to mean solely human religion, our response to God, naturally felt that it was outrageous to praise God for having a lot of religiosity, as if the Almighty can be praised for saying his Rosary regularly. So he cut out the phrase and replaced it with another which is both a lovely piece of English and an edifying thought, but has little to do with the Latin.

And on Trinity XXIII (the same collect used by S Pius V on Pentecost 22), God is described as 'auctor ipse pietatis' ('himself the author of pietas') and asked to 'be ready to hear'( Cranmer neatly gets the feel of adesto) the piis prayers of his Church. Cranmer fails to pick up the parallelism of the Latin, which is that our prayers are dutiful (in the Vergilian sense) only because God himself has taken the initiative in setting within our hearts both that sense of duty and the grace to respond in duty to him. A shame he missed it: the Latin fits so perfectly his own Protestant emphases on the Divine initiative.

There is no single undifferentiated 'Christian Latin'. I have so far been talking about a 'Roman Latin', based on the prayer-language of pagan Rome. This is why I have been able to refer to Vergil. But there is also a 'Hebrew Latin', found particularly in the psalms. Here you will not, I think, find Pietas, but the sense of Veritas, representing the Hebrew hMT, bears an almost identical sense of the covenantal fidelity between God and His People.

Platinum

 Well, I wish her well. She is a far better person than those who denigrate her or sneer at her.

But I cannot forget a day in 1967 when the Clerk of the Parliaments uttered the words La Reine le veult.

5 February 2022

Two Churches of S Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, both 'unique'!

Gaudeamus ... because it's S Agatha's Day! So congratulations to the people of S Agatha's Ordinariate Church in Portsmouth, with their admirable Parish Priest Fr John Maunder and Mgr Robert Mercer, the great missionary Bishop of Matabeleland, now in Ordinariate 'retirement'. And the warmest assurance of prayers and love.

S Agata dei Goti is a unique church in Rome: it was once an Arian church. Perhaps S Agatha should be the patroness of all those fine people who rescue churches from schism, for Catholic use! Most readers will not need me to tell them that this is the Titular Church of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. (It still is, because when recently he was promoted from Cardinal Deacon to Cardinal Presbyter, he was left in his deaconry church, elevated pro hac vice to the status of a presbyteral Title.)

Most Enthusiastic Thanks be to Almighty God and S Agatha for the recovery of Cardinal Burke from Covid; for his return both to the Altar and to his ecclesial ministry of Restoration.

Some years ago, when I badly broke my shoulder, I was in Rome and prevented by my accident from the pleasure of preaching in Cardinal Burke's titular Church. After my return to Blighty, I did preach in S Agatha's in Portsmouth: it was my first engagement after rising from my hospital bed. And one of our grandsons, a keen campanologist, was in the team ringing the bells. Yes!! Change-ringing from the Anglican Patrimony in a 'Venetian' basilica!!

S Agatha's in Portsmouth, of which the Ordinariate has the use, was sold off by the C of E as redundant. Like its sister church in Rome, it is unique; it is the only place in England ... I think ... where you can see a church built by the Anglo-Catholics in the palmy days of their high and optimistic glory, and full of the most exquisite artwork and shrines, now in Full Communion with the See of S Peter and offering worship in the finest tradition of triumphalist Anglican Catholicism.

Fr Maunder has added to the glories of his church by putting in place over the S Agatha Altar a Martin Travers reredos now containing a large representation of our Lady and S Agatha granting Anglicanorum coetibus to Pope Benedict (who is accompanied by the Triregnum). It includes the early Anglican incumbents looking on ... good and holy priests who had prayed daily for the unity of Christendom with the Successor of S Peter. Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis ...

Did anybody ever tell you that such prayer ... that all those Holy Masses ... can go unanswered? 

From the portals of Heaven, Fathers Linklater, Dolling, Tremenheere, and Coles look down and inform you otherwise.

Sancta Agatha, ora pro nobis.

4 February 2022

RUSSKIES GALORE

I posted this on 27 June 2018. I reprint it as a historical curiosity, enabling readers to conclude that I was just as much a fool in 2018 as I am now.

 At least three times people have been killed in our towns in circumstances in which it is very easy to suspect some elements somewhere in the Russian machine of awareness or even collusion (the Bulgarian Umbrella; the Polonium Tea; the Novichok). It is difficult not to feel aggrieved about what happened in Salisbury. Even if, in a crude way, the Russians might feel that they have a right to deal with their own people on our streets, they need to understand that when others, including one of our policeman, suffer, we can hardly smile and do nothing. Mutatis mutandis, they jolly well wouldn't.

You're right; there's a BUT coming. After the Fall of Communism, the first thought of many in the West was to move the borders of NATO and the EU right up to the borders of the Russian Federation. There was no recollection that Russia had been invaded by both Napoleon and Hitler, with disastrous cost to the Russian people. Russia, despite the phobias of the Cold War period, has never invaded the West.

In our Meejah and government circles, there appear no signs of proper respect for the Russian people. The best Russia can exspect, apparently, is lectures about 'Human Rights' and the iniquity of locking up the feminists who behaved blasphemously in a Cathedral; and the overwhelming importance of  "Gay Rights". (In my view, each day it becomes clearer that Western "Human Rights" are a facade for something diabolically nasty.)

There are arguments that Russian policy in Syria is at least less culpable than the behaviour of those Western powers including my own which aided and abetted the "Arab Spring", that radix malorum. The continuing disorders in Afghanistan remind us that the Taliban are still fighting with the weapons given them by the CIA in order to destabilise a legitimate Russian sphere of influence in that area.

I really do believe that the time has come for a new start, in which there will be recognition that Russia and we do have common interests. And that mutual respect might pay better dividends than disdain and 'sanctions'.

Curiously, I drafted this some time ago, and yesterday morning Nick Houghton said a lot of the same stuff in an interview on the Beeb. Nick used to be Chief of the Defence Staff (what we once called Chief of the Imperial General Staff before our cousins across the water explained to us that we were not allowed to have an Empire any more). Upon retirement he was given a life peerage, because over here we have a ridiculous and almost powerless institution called the House of Lords, which is really simply a very grand national debating chamber. The convention is that retired persons who have been eminent in different walks of life join it after retirement. Thus their experience is retained in the service of the Kingdom. It is a totally lunatic system which works remarkably well.

There are times when I wonder if we would have a more peaceful world if decisions concerning War and Peace were made by admirals and generals rather than by politicians.

The Sacrament of Confirmation (3): the Last Battle

I suspect that the first-millennium Fathers, had they been forced to express themselves in the terms of Scholastic categories, might have said that the Form of Confirmation was the Prayer for the Spirit which precedes the consignations, or, perhaps, the words within it Emitte Spiritum Sanctum etc.. Then the Pontiff, or his presbyters, did the Matter by consignating the candidates, saying nothing. Compare the pattern of the Roman Rite of Presbyteral Ordination.

It is around the end of the First Millennium that we encounter the Formula

SIGNO TE SIGNO CRUCIS ET CONFIRMO TE CHRISMATE SALUTIS.

It may, of course, have been used long before then. Liturgical books produced for the use of bishops may not always record customs which had grown up but which did not affect the pontiff himself. But this formula, whatever its age, seems to me to have a very great deal to be said for it. Not least because of the strength of the first four words. (Cranmer, incidentally, preserved them in his first, 1549, Book of Common Prayer; and they were restored by the ('usager') Non-Jurors in their Book of 1719.)

Marking ones possessions ... even ones human possessions ... was a convention in the Greco-Roman world. One branded cattle ... and one also tattooed slaves and soldiers who were enrolled under the princeps. A runaway slave was branded HFE (Hic fugitivus est) so that, if he ran away again, he would be cruelly identifiable. It was natural, therefore, for those who followed the Mystery Cults of the early centuries to set a marker of their religious allegiance upon their bodies. Circumcision, of course, is another example of similar thinking; and the Marking of the doorposts of the Jews to avert the Avenging Angel served a similar purpose. 

Jewish apocalyptic literature was very familiar with the idea that, in the perils and conflicts of the Last Times, the Righteous would be protected from destruction by having God's Mark upon them. We already find this in Ezekiel 9, where the Scribe is to go through Jerusalem and to mark with the letter Tau those who are still faithful to YHWH. In early Hebrew scripts, Tau was written like a chi (X); or as T or +. Margaret Barker tells us that the mark X is the ancient sign of the Name of YHWH and was marked on the forehead of a High Priest when he was anointed. 

 (The S Paul VI rite of Confirmation, like a number of post-Conciliar novelties, makes the SIGNUM CRUCIS verbally invisible. It seems almost to be designed to rupture the continuities which link and illuminate the 'Testaments'. Antisemitism at work??)  

The customary 'little slap' upon the cheek of the confirmand, by a historical chance, reinforces the valuable notion of Confirmation as the Sacrament of those about to go into battle.

In Antiquity, you might authenticate a letter by (licking your signet ring and then) pressing your Mark into the wax or clay. If you have purchased some merchandise and left it on the quay until you can have it moved into your warehouses, your seal marked all over it will secure it as your possession. 

The SIGNUM CRUCIS shows you as God's possession, under his protection, destined, at the eschaton, to be moved into his property.

CONFIRMO (bebaio) suggests not only the legal confirmation of a document but the strengthening necessary in the struggles of the Last Times. CHRISMATE reminds the hearer that we are all Christoi, sharing the Lord's status as we have been anointed with his Spirit. Its physical precision reminds both recipient and Congregation, in words, of what might not be visually accessible. And SALUTIS, triumphantly, indicates the redemptive finality of the rite: Ephesians 1:14 and 4:30 are strongly in evidence here. S Paul pictures the Holy Spirit deposited within us as a pledge given by God, who is faithful to his promises.

I hope nobody will think that I am in any way disparaging the Byzantine formula which the roches of this world desire us now exclusively to use. My sole motive is to make clear that the Western Rite of Confirmation which we have inherited is something of which we have no need ... no need whatsoever ... to be ashamed. 

ENDNOTE: the Roman Rite is worth preserving. In this particular matter, it is best preserved by the confirmandi receiving the Sacrament from their bishop, thus expressing and strengthening the communio between them. It will be a tragedy if Bishops and laics alike are deprived of this mark of communio. After all, Canon 87 does give bishops the right to dispense from Traditionis custodes

But, of course, in these strange and menacing times of clear Necessity, it may be necessary for unusual provisions to be made to secure the survival of this important part of our Latin patrimony ... until the black clouds have passed over.

Former Anglicans will remember Eric Mascall's "[the Bishop] will not come and visit me or take my confirmations/ Colonial prelates I employ from far-off mission-stations."


3 February 2022

The Sacrament of Confirmation (2)

S Paul VI removed the Roman Form of the Sacrament of Confirmation, as it was understood by Benedict XIV (Ex quo primum tempore 52). In its place, he put the Form used in Byzantine Christendom: Sphragis doreas Pneumatos Hagiou latinised as Accipe Signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti.

What general comments might be made about this? Vatican II laid down "Innovationes ... ne fiant nisi vera et certa utilitas Ecclesiae id exigat"

Exigat is a strong word. It is clearly intended as a remora against change: change can only be made if a true and certain usefulness of the Church enforces (cf OLD sub voce exigo) it. In other words, innovation is given, by the Conciliar text Sacrosanctum Concilium, a very high hurdle to jump. An arguable usefulness is no good. A merely plausible benefit will not be enough to commend it. Nor will a preference.

Sacrosanctum Concilium was signed by S Paul VI on December 4, 1963. His Apostolic Constitution changing the Form of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Latin Church was 'given' on August 15, 1971. In those eight years, clearly, the bulwark against change so wisely established by the Council had been seriously eroded. The Pope now wrote: "dignitatem venerabilis formulae, quae in Ecclesia Latina adhibetur, aequa aestimatione perpendimus quidem; ei tamen praeferendam censemus antiquissimam formulam ritus Byzantini ...". 

Did I imply that S Paul VI adopted the Byzantine way of doing things lock, stock, and barrel? Well, it is not quite as simple as that. In the Byzantine Rite, the priest, using Chrism, makes the sign of the Cross while saying the words Sphragis ktl, on the forehead of the candidate ... and also his eyes and nostrils and mouth and ears and chest and hands and feet. Incidentally, when a baptised person returns to Orthodoxy, even if already baptised/chrismated/confirmed, the same words are used and he is chrismated on the forehead, ears, beard, hands, chest and knees. The words are repeated each time.

This raised a number of questions, discussed at considerable length by Benedict XIV with his customarily profound erudition in Ex quo primum tempore. Sharp readers will have guessed them. Let us here cut straight to the ... er ... mustard and observe that the Byzantine ceremonies at Chrismation must be remarkably impressive: consecrating ... sealing ... the entire human organism. 

The Latin Rite, in its quite different way (which I hope to suggest in the third and final part of this series) has, because of its own very Roman directness, simplicity, and biblical intertextuality, a power which it is a crime to abandon.

In the additional Eucharistic Prayers stuffed into the 'Roman Missal' by the 'reformers' in the Sixties, the authentic Roman notion of Eucharistic Consecration is elided; but the substituted Byzantinisation is not given its own completeness of effect. The worshipper is deprived of the austere and suggestive simplicity of the ancient Roman tradition, and is not recompensed by a full-blooded Byzantine Consecration (have you ever watched a video of His All-Holiness the Patriarch of All the Russias consecrating by Epiclesis?).

This is precisely what is also done in the 1971 Vatican rite of Confirmation. The inherited Western Formula, with all its meaning, is stolen from us; but the full, massively impressive (and thought-provoking) Byzantine ceremonies are not offered in reparation.

We are left with a pallid hotch potch which is neither the one thing nor the other. A cockerel with cod's fins and its tail cut off. Play around in this sort of way and you get something which is neither Latin nor Byzantine.

Byzantine liturgy should not be latinised.

Latin liturgy should not be byzantinised.

Each should flourish proprio vigore.

QUERY: S Cyril's Catecheses record the anointing of forehead, ears, nostrils, breast. I wonder if the Byzantine formula Sphragis ktl was designed ... specifically ... to accompany with economic brevity these multiple anointings? In other words, perhaps that formula was not intended to accompany a single sealing, and thus to bear the weight of the meaning of the entire rite, as it is made to do in the rite of S Paul VI. Does any reader know?

2 February 2022

The Trattoria dei Pescatori, and the Sacrament of Confirmation (1)

 Younger readers may not be aware of this, but, back in the 1960s, there was a Golden Age in which London was the City of the Trattorie. These bright, white-tiled, cheerful restaurants introduced many of us to Italian food. Sadly, the fashion passed; most 'Italian Restaurants' nowadays just do pizza and pasta; and the physical sites on which the Trats stood are mostly occupied by Oriental fooderies. Try strolling through Soho ...

A little way up Charlotte Street (memories of Prinny's mummy?), not far from the White Tower and on the other side of the road from the Little Acropolis, Northish from Bertorelli's, stood the Trattoria dei Pescatori. It was not the best of the Trats; but its strong fish menu made it an interesting change. I was reminded of it an evening or two ago.

Why? Well, y'see, after Vin Nichols, exemplary Hellenophile, spread the joyful news that Confirmation, in his diocese, would not henceforth be available in the pure native rite of the Western Church but only in a Byzantinised form, I thought I'd better read the Constitutio Apostolica of S Paul VI, Divinae consortium Naturae (15 August 1971), which is cited as authoritative in this context. As one does, I got the text up on the Vatican website, printed it off, stapled the three pages together, and settled down to have a comfortable read. I can't read stuff on screens.

Sed frustra.

From its fifth word onwards, it is choc-a-bloc full of typographical errors. In the end, I counted twenty two; but I wasn't actually searching and I certainly didn't check through the Patristic references. (The gibberish that held me up longest was "iur positionis", until the penny dropped that this was a corruption of "impositionis".)

Have you ever tried to read Catullus from the Bodleian apograph of the Codex Veronensis deperditus? It was as bad as that.

I'm afraid I became cross. I still haven't quite defeated this temptation of the Evil One. Intemperate thoughts battled for my attention. If these mighty people, I angrily thought, with their grandiose titles and their airs of lofty consequence, can't be bothered to provide a clean, correct, readable text of the Oh-so-important documents of the much-lauded 'Magisterium' which they are so keen to stuff down my recalcitrant throat, why should I take at all seriously any of their daft but pompous games and their silly documents? Lazy, indolent, illiterate poseurs ... arrogant ignoramuses ... you know the sort of thoughts. We all have our battles.

But then, by the grace of God, I found the funny bit ... the Trat reference.

I find laughter the truest antidote to the wiles of Satan, as I hope you do.

"In Baptismo neophyti accipiunt remissionem pescatorum ..."

How entertaining! Of course, the typist was an Italophone, so that pescatorum instead of piscatorum was an easy slip to make ... one must try to be understanding ...

In my essentially pastoral way, I started to muse on how lucky those Neophytes were. Most people, whether neophytes or palaeophytes, are not offered the luxury of Remission of their Fishermen. I am not aware of ever having even been offered this spiritual benefit myself. When, some years ago, I used to hear quite a lot of Confessions, sadly ... mea culpa ... I messed up (I now realise) the Absolutions. Instead of saying, in the true Peronist Spirit of the Novus Ordo, "I absolve you from your sins and your fishermen", I only remitted their sins, leaving them mired up to their ears in fishermen galore.

When reassuring over-scrupulous penitents, I now realise I should have made much clearer that Absolution cleansed them from all their fishermen, however bad those fishermen were. 

"But Father: some of them were extremely serious fishermen ..."

"However serious, my dear, I assure you that the Sacrament has wiped them all away."

"They weren't all serious, Father. My most recent fisherman was quite a small one comparatively speaking ..."

The "Formation" we sat through at Allen Hall as a prelude to the seriously decent lunches we got there never reached as far as the distinction between Mortal and Venial Fishermen. Even Staggers (better formation, worse food), I have to admit, was a bit light on the piscatorial side of Priesthood, despite the proximity of Parsons' Pleasure..

Tomorrow, much more on Divinae Consortes Naturae, but no more on Trattorie.