18 May 2022


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

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

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

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

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

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

Father concludes his narrative thus: 

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

The emphasis in the above quotation is my own. 


Marc in Eugene said...

You may have missed Matthew Hazell's photograph of the indult, posted on Twitter, featuring the signature of someone with the initials AB. The link is here: [https://twitter.com/M_P_Hazell/status/1525566435145170944?s=20&t=uRx06fVtUtvkp36bue7MOA].

ccc said...

People seem to forget that the Agatha Christi Indult really didn't preserve the "old rite" in much integrity, as it adopted the 1965 implementation of Inter Oecumenici and 1967 Tres Abhinc Annos emendations.

But my understanding is that the Priests, when offering in the old rite under that indult basically just ignored the restrictions and used the 1962 or 48.

E Civitate Vaticana, die 5 November 1971
Prot. N. 1897/71

Your Eminence,

His Holiness Pope Paul VI, by letter of 30 October 1971, has given special faculties to the undersigned Secretary of this Sacred Congregation to convey to Your Eminence, as Chairman of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, the following points regarding the Order of the Mass:

1. Considering the pastoral needs referred to by Your Eminence, it is permitted to the local Ordinaries of England and Wales to grant that certain groups of the faithful may on special occasions be allowed to participate in the Mass celebrated according to the Rites and texts of the former Roman Missal. The edition of the Missal to be used on these occasions should be that published again by the Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites (27 January 1965), and with the modifications indicated in the Instructio altera (4 May 1967).

This faculty may be granted provided that groups make the request for reasons of genuine devotion, and provided that the permission does not disturb or damage the general communion of the faithful. For this reason the permission is limited to certain groups on special occasions; at all regular parish and other community Masses, the Order of the Mass given in the new Roman Missal should be used. Since the Eucharist is the sacrament of unity, it is necessary that the use of the Order of Mass given in the former Missal should not become a sign or cause of disunity in the Catholic community. For this reason agreement among the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference as to how this faculty is to be exercised will be a further guarantee of unity of praxis in this area.

2. Priests who on occasion wish to celebrate Mass according to the above- mentioned edition of the Roman Missal may do so by consent of their Ordinary and in accordance with the norms given by the same. When these priests celebrate Mass with the people and wish to use the rites and texts of the former Missal, the conditions and limits mentioned above for celebration by certain groups on special occasions are to be applied.

With my highest respects, I am
Yours sincerely in Christ,
(Signed:) A. Bugnini
Sacra Congregatio
pro Cultu Divino

Evangeline said...

Very! As we see now, the emphasis is on that now precious "listening". The church is listening, in order to hear what they want to hear, and nothing else. We know the changes they want, the social issues they prefer, but even they realize it is harder to make that change on their own initiative, they need people to "ask" for it. Then they can act. This is a tired act that has been repeated by Rome since Francis was installed.
All this about listening is ludicrous since the church has worked so viciously to deprive the Catholic faithful of the Mass of Ages, the Latin Rite. On this topic, the church is suddenly completely deaf and will hear nothing except what it wants. The church is making herself a tail wagging the dog for all to see.

Unknown said...

You appear to be talking about the late Bishop Alan Clark of ARCIC fame
It may be of interest to realise that in October 1974 0r 1975 a solemn high Mass was celebrated at St John the Baptist Norwich with his full consent. Equally "old rite " Masses continued in one or two parishes of t he diocese such as Wisbech and St Mary Magdalene Ipswich. I redfrain from discussing the Downham Market imbroglio

Rubricarius said...

I have to echo 'CCC's comment above. Back in 1971 the LMS did not welcome this with open arms, quite the reverse in fact. The LMS chair, Geoffrey Houghton-Brown, writing to the editor of 'The Tablet' (letter p.1445, 18/12/1971) pointed out that the indult did not 'allow' the traditional liturgy and that the traditional liturgy was celebrated by immemorial custom. He went on: "This [what the indult specified] is clearly not the Tridentine Missal, which being an unalterable version of the customary Roman Missal, has not been in general use in the Church since Pope Pius XII made alterations to the Holy Week ceremonies…The Church, strictly speaking, has been using a reformed version of the customary Roman Missal since the alterations of Pius XII until the introduction of the New Rite."

A late friend was at the first Mass putatively 'allowed' by the indult celebrated by the then prior of the Carmelites in Kensington. My friend commented 'everything came back, the prescribed collects, the humeral veil, the Confiteor and the last Gospel.'

John Vasc said...

The date of September 1976 is interesting. By then, following the death of Cardinal Heenan in November 1975, the new Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster was Basil Hume (installed as Archbishop in March and as Cardinal in May 1976). I wonder if the ex-Abbot of Ampleforth (not a known refuge of traditionalism) was responsible for this unusually tolerant stance of the Bishop's Conference.
Btw, given the mass exodus of English Catholics in the early 1970s following the liturgical changes, one wonders why it never occurred to any E&W bishops to demand that the Novus Ordo 'should not disturb or damage the general communion of the faithful'.
Ah, but that's different.

JPG said...

St Jerome said the floor of Hell was paved with the skulls of Bishops.