20 July 2022

eis anatolas blepsate

In 2004, Prebendary Michael Moreton wrote to Professor Tighe (I am grateful to Dr Tighe for his permission to quote a personal letter) about Dr Uwe Michael Lang's book Turning towards the Lord

"I could not altogether suppress motions of pride in seeing my name in the bibliography; but it is gratifying to see that the critique of versus populum is steadily gaining strength. Oh to think of all the money wasted in defiance of the architectural context! -- not to say orientation."

Fr Moreton was indeed one of the first to prick the balloon of the Face the Folks Fad. He did this in a paper read at an Oxford Patristics Conference in the early eighties. Historians may wonder why Anglican scholarship was quicker than Roman Catholic academe in spotting that the fashion of leering at the laity across a reversed altar was devoid of any sound academic basis. And, indeed, despite the millions of lies or crafty examplesof suggestio falsi told by hundreds of thousands of Catholic Bishops and Priests, swinging the altars round is not so much as given a tiny hint in the Conciliar Decree of Vatican II which deals with the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. 

Why, indeed, were Anglicans faster off the mark than Catholics in spotting that the parishes were being taken for a duplicitous ride by bishops and bureaucrats who didn't really have the faintest idea what they were talking about? I suspect it might have something to do with the Anglican lack of interest in liturgical uniformity. Catholics, unhappily, may have had a working assumption that everybody should be doing more-or-less the same thing at the Altar. And, possibly, they may have had a notion that their bishop could make their life exceedingly unpleasant, if he chose. So when claims started to drift down from a diocesan office that "the Council" had ordered this or prescribed that, Catholic clergy tended to take the claims seriously. Gullible ... er ... simpletons?

Anglicans, on the other hand, have had a long plusquamhonorable community history of filing away carefully in their trashcans all sorts of very important pronunciamenti, especially if signed by the Bishop with all his full and august authority. 

We weren't born yesterday.

Or even in 1969.


1 comment:

Cherub said...

Could it also be something to do with Anglican history of moving altars in conformity with the Protestant Reformers of the day, finally resolved in the ancient tradition of the priest facing east? Just a thought.