30 September 2022


UPDATE:  The Mint has chickened, and illiterately decided that their monarch is Charles and not Carolus.


May she rest in peace and rise in glory. She has been one of the very few people in our public life who actually did what she had undertaken to do.

It seems a long time since, in 1952, our head master summoned the School to tell us that we had a new sovereign. I must confess that in my childish mind, my first thought was "New coins and new stamps!"

I wonder if the next issue of coins will read CAROLUS III or CHARLES III.

'Carolus' might possibly be deemed too puzzling for common folk. After all, for a fair number of decades the coinage has carried a version of the royal name (Elizabeth) which is the same in Latin and English. And what about the Prayers After Sunday Mass?

But giving the name of a Monarch in Latin goes back even to those Iron Age monarchs whose coins circulated in this land before the Roman Conquest. A tradition defended by quite a continuity!

Moi, I'd like to see BRITANNIA return ... last seen on the 50 pence pieces of a couple of decades ago. I think the Stuarts brought her in to grace the backs of their base-metal coinage - but the design goes ultimately back to the Romans.

Of course, nowadays practically no transactions involve actual coins ...


War is, indeed, a vile thing, as I wrote in my post of 18 April this year.  But medals can be beautiful things; witness the magnificent piece struck (I think, in the 1780s) by our late Sovereign Lord King Henry IX, Cardinal Bishop of the Holy Roman Church, King not by the will of men but ...

Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796) did a remarkable (modern journalists would reach for their current buzz-word incredible) line in commemorative medals; as, for example, after the defeat of the Turkish fleet at Cesme in 1770 when she secured the Black Sea against Islamic expansionism (we have all heard of Lepanto, but who has ever heard of Cesme?). But she rarely surpassed the medal she struck to commemorate her Annexation of the Crimea and of the surrounding parts of the Northern coast of the Black Sea in 1783. I bet Vladimir Vladimirovich won't do anything as spectacular in Moskow today as he follows, geopolitically, in her imperial footsteps! But in 1787, the medal she struck included a neat map of the subjugated area people nowadays call Ucraine.

Those were days marked by a cosmopolitan view of the World which I, as a purely personal fad, find attractive (how jolly that the Ordinariate's Principal Church in London did duty as, first, the Portuguese, then the Bavarian, embassy chapel!). One of Catherine's senior admirals was a Scot (he also was commemorated by a medal) ... the Emperor of Austria went incognito among a great army of ambassadors, to accompany her on a tour of her new possessions ... (I wonder if the British ambassador was among them) ...

Nearer than the Black Sea there is, hiding among the oak trees by a salmon-rich inlet of the Atlantic in the County Kerry, a miniature Stately Home, seat of the family of Daniel O'Connell, M.P., the Liberator. I recall a moment in the first of many most happy visits to this secluded and magical spot when I was admiring the family portraits of military members of the family.

Then my tardy penny dropped and I realised that these soldierly figures were in French and Austrian uniforms.

Fiat Pax ...

29 September 2022


 I return to the urgent canonical question of proceedings against popes whose orthodoxy has been called into doubt.

With regard to Pope Bergoglio, the Heavy Lifting has been done already. The Filial Correction which a small group of us put together (but which attracted considerable support) would do nicely as an indictment.

In suggesting this, I speak only for myself; not for the other members of our group. 

ACTION THIS DAY, as somebody used to scribble on proposals put to him. 

28 September 2022

Prince Philip was not an Englishman ... am I?

 I recently attempted to lighten your moods by offering you a selection of the verbal trinities ... Liberte Egalite Fraternite and the rest of them ... which the French Revolution bequeathed to the workoholic masses of Francophone Africa. 

Another such trinity, rather new to our ears, has, just now, hit our headlines: GOD FATHERLAND FAMILY.

This 'modern' trinity (although it is not exactly new) is popular amomg the political associates of the rather jolly-looking lady who has just done so well in the Italian General Election (I'd swap her for our grim Truss any day of the week). But is this trinity any more acceptable than the specimens I collected the other day?

I am particularly worried by the elevation of the PATRIE ... the Fatherland or the Vaterland or the Homeland. It is not on a level with GOD ... obviously ... and, in my view, it is not even fit to be bracketed with FAMILY. 

Where do these PATRIES come from?? Italy itself, for example, was invented by the associates of Garibaldi and of the ruling House of Piedmont. Our own 'Land of hope and glory' is such an unstable political construct that foreigners, poor chappies and chappesses, never quite know whether English means the same as British. Neither, indeed, do I. 

Serbia? Croatia? The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia?

Even Greece? - somebody recently wrote in The Times that the Elgin Marbles should be sent back to the Balkans because they are so uniquely emblematic of what the writer called "the Hellenic State". But there was no such thing as "the Hellenic State" when those Marbles were made; if they are symbols of anything, it is of the Polis, the City-State of Athens, the town and its little surrounding area of Attica with its countryside and villages. It was a city-state which was often at war with the other Hellenic city-states which existed in the area we now glibly call Greece.

The 'Athenians' often had somewhat murderous views of what should be done about misbehaving 'colonies'.

When much of Europe was a loose confederation called the Holy Roman Empire, what was the Patrie of its inhabitants?

I hope nobody will ask me to fall down and worship any modern Nation State. I share the views of the Man From Tarsus (Philippians 3:20).

Do they ever do any good? Even the "United States of America"? Or the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"? The tortured history of such phraseology, on its own, bears witness to its protean and disunited instability. If we weren't so accustomed to it, it would make us laugh until we cried.

The apotheosis of such artificially delimited and evanescent territorial arrangements as Fatherlands makes me shudder. I just hope that nobody mentions the Ucraine.

Four or more cheers for the following anecdote about Prince Philip, quondam Prince of Greece and Denmark:

He was in Canada; talking in French to an arrogant and condescending French-Canadian politician (was it a Trudeau?). This individual had the nerve to congratulate him on the grounds that his French was "very good for an Englishman".

Philip snapped back "I'm not an Englishman and I was speaking French before you were born."

Ridete omnes quidquid est cachinorum.


27 September 2022

Why is the post-Conciliar Catholic Church so ruthlessly antisemitic?

I don't blame the Council; there is nothing, as far as I am aware, in any of its documents to justify all the antisemitism which followed in the trail of the Council, and has received new emphasis in this corrupt pontificate..

The Council did not mandate the dreadful reduction in the amount of psalmody in the Divine Office. It did nothing to encourage the untraditional, unorganic revolution of inserting "New Testament Canticles" into the Vespers psalmody, thereby reducing its psalms from five to two! And the Council encouraged the community celebration of the Office ... yet how many Catholic Churches  have Vespers on Saturday or Sunday evening? (God bless the Oratorians!) How many even of regularly  practising Catholics have ever attended Vespers, with that moving offering of Incense in memory of ... no; I should have written  in continuation of ... the Evening Offering in God's Temple? Sicut incensum in conspectu tuo ... It is as if there has been a concerted plot to rob Christian clergy and laity of our consciousness of our essentially and gloriously Judaic identity.

The Council ordered that the Faithful should be given a richer diet of Scripture; and it is true that, in years following, an Old Testament reading was tacked on to the Sunday Epistle and Gospel. But the price that had to be paid for this somewhat external and artificial alteration was the eviction of the more integrated and ancient structural elements which were lost during the process of 'reform'.  The ecumenical twelve readings of the Easter Vigil had been reduced to a pitiful four (or fewer); the Pentecost Vigil, the Ember Days, the Lenten 'stational' weekday series of lections from the Hebrew Bible, all needed to disappear. The quiet, daily insistence of the Eucharistic celebrant, as he stood at the foot of the Altar, that he would, in a few moments, be going up to God's holy Hill of Sacrifice, treading in the footsteps of Abraham and Isaac and the Family from Nazareth and entering God's tabernacula ... was ruthlessly expunged.

The Council did not abolish the Roman Canon ... indeed, if the Conciliar movers and shakers had even hinted that this was the direction they were moving in, I bet enough of the Fathers would have risen in rebellion to prevent their plans. So, sixty years ago, every devout presbyter of the Latin Church, every morning, explicitly remembered and renewed and fulfilled the sacrifices of God's Righteous Boy Abel, and our Patriarch Abraham, and the High Priest Melchisedek; he offered the tamid lamb for God's People and looked for the Salvation which was to come from ... the East. Nowadays, only an eccentric minority of clergy ... left in no doubt that they are out of favour with the current spiteful regime ... take such words upon their lips. How many, indeed, of the clergy and laity out there in the 'Mainstream Church' are even aware that Holy Mass is a Sacrifice? How often does anyone remind them of it? How much awareness is there that the very heart of Man's commerce with the Divine, even before and outside the Mosaic dispensation, was and is and ever must be sacrificial?

Our great Anglican Benedictine mystagogue Dom Gregory Dix, who daily prayed the Canon of the Mass, memorably wrote of "that mighty and most necessary truth, the majestic tradition of the worshipping Church, the rich tradition of the liturgy unbroken since the Apostles, and beyond - beyond even Calvary and Sion and the Synagogues of Capernaum and Nazareth, back to the heights of Moriah and Sinai and the shadowy altar on Ararat - and beyond that again".

And now we are condescendingly informed that the Council is 'finally' being implemented ... by a pope who attacks the Torah, God's Holy Law! Who has spoken so insultingly about "the Torah with its quibbles [cavilli]". Indeed! Quibbles!! I will not repeat what I have written about such naive and offensive antisemitisms in my paper included in Luther and his Progeny, Angelico Press; I situated them in the context of the unbroken and deplorable tradition of Lutheran and Protestant antisemitism since the sixteenth century; which found its climax and full ritual expression in Nazism.

Traddiland is in many ways a strange country; persecution may indeed have driven us into eccentricity! Even me! But, at least, we have preserved, against all the odds, the basic DNA, the fundamentally Hebrew grammar, of the Christian Faith. Nobody, not even PF, will be able ever to take that boast from us.

26 September 2022

How wrong can it be to kill Catholics when so many people enjoy doing it?

So the chattering classes are full of grief about the death of their heroine Hilary Mantel. I'm not a historian: but I've not heard well of Mantel's imagined Tudor period. The thought occurs to me that the key to understanding her 'history' might be to see it as an expression of her own need to justify her own loss of the Catholic Faith. Why else should anybody hate S Thomas More ... and his religion?

I have been reading (and have commended recently to you) A Murderous Midsummer by Mark Stoyle. It was published by Yale University Press. And I now also mention and commend The Women are up to something, by Benjamin J. B. Lipscomb. This book was published by Oxford University Press.

Time was, when the universities of Yale and Oxford, and their presses, were regarded as really pretty decent. Yet these two books seem not to have been promoted at all along Oxford's Broad Street, where one expects to find ... er ... bookshops. (By the way, Waterstones, which bought Foyles not long ago, now own Blackwells.)

Go into Backwells, and you will see books galore, with books relating to Oxford itself exactly where nomadic tourists with bulging wallets are going to see them, massed just inside the entrances. But Lipscomb ... his book you will not find. Why? It tells the story of four most distinguished Oxford (women) philosophers, and their profound contributions to Moral Philosophy. The title of this book is taken from the reaction of a male don upon hearing that the brilliant (and profoundly Catholic) moral philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe intended to oppose a motion in Convocation to confer an honorary degree upon President Truman. 

Rightly, she deemed it an outrage for the University to honour a war criminal who sanctioned the obliteration of two Japanese cities (incidentally, with large civilian and Catholic populations).

Stoyle's book recounted the massacres, in what we apparently now call the Early Modern period, unleashed upon the Catholic populations of South West England because of their defence of their Faith. I do not get the impresson that Stoyle is a Catholic; but he writes sympathetically. Interestingly, he establishes that the the peasants of Devon and Cornwall rebelled because of their Faith. This is significant and important, because there has been a tendency among some historians to argue that the "real" reasons for the genocide in the South West were social and economic.

A couple, then, of rather 'unwoke' volumes ... for which even academic booksellers appear unwilling to put in a good word.

But I bet you'd have little difficulty filling a wheelbarrow with Mantel.

The difference is that Stoyle treats sympathetically of Catholic populations ruthlessly murdered. 

(BTW 1: only three dons supported Anscombe's motion; one of them was Margaret Hubbard, my and my wife's Mods tutor; possibly the cleverest person I have ever met.

BTW 2: I published a piece about the Truman episode as recently as March 18 this year)

25 September 2022

The cases of a couple of cases ... mainly for pedants ...

(1) From North America, a kind friend sends me Byzantine Rite parish newsletters the blank formats of which appear to be mass produced. The front covers feature ikons; these are nearly always in a uniform and recognisable style; and adjusted to the Gospel Reading.

But for the Twelfth Sunday of Matthew recently, the House Style was varied, as was the accompanying script. 'The Prophet Moses receives the Law apo ton Theon'.

Apo with the accusative case! Does one just write this off as being a symptom of the collapse of the case system in the later 'Byzantine' period?

(2) A new Right Reverend Lady Abbess of S Cecilia's Abbey on the Isle of Wight having been blessed and installed, a pleasing prayer card has been printed with the text:


I have indicated in red the words which puzzle me. They appear to be in the nominative case, and I can't for the life of me see why they are. MATER should, surely, be MATRIS; the other four words should also be genitive.

Additionally, the Laudes are expanded for the occasion; "Superni Pietati deservienti" appears with the 'translation' "serving the Divine Goodness".

Does one just write this off as being a symptom of the collapse of the case system in the later 'Bergoglian' period?

24 September 2022

Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou

In 2008, on the Jubilee of the Appearance at Lourdes, the medieval Arms of the Primatial See of Canterbury ... blue, with representations of the Pallium and the Primatial Cross ... proudly presided over the Concourse at Lourdes. It marked the presence, at the Jubilee Ecumenical Pilgrimage, of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. He was joined by Walter Kasper, who sang the International Mass on September 24, the Solemnity of OLW, at which Rowan preached. 

I can't recall what were the Propers of that Mass. I suspect they were not the Loretto-based propers, cunningly adapted to Walsingham by Fr Fynes Clinton, and now rightly accorded pride of place in the DW Missal.

Two queries: (1) does anybody remember? (The Pilgrimage booklet does not give this information.)

(2) Can anybody provide a link to the Paper which ... I think, subsequently ... Cardinal Kasper read to the English Anglican bishops, urging them to show their Catholicism by rejecting proposals to accept women 'bishops'.

I think, BTW, it is mistaken totally to write Kasper off, simply because there was a phase when PF kept saying what a fantastic theolgian K was. It is my understanding that K is not supporting the current heterodox movements within German "Catholicism".

23 September 2022

Unblessed Trinities?

Some readers may have heard that, out of the disorders of revolutionary France, eventually emerged the graciously unifying formula


A paper in the current number of The Coat of Arms enables us to survey the plethora of deft and subtle verbal trinities which proliferate(d) in the mottoes of (mainly) Francophone colonies in Liberated Africa.




Central African Republic UNITY DIGNITY WORK













[In the motto of Senegal, there is surely an enticing allusion to the particular genius of Herr Hitler and his spindoctors.]

 Locked away somewhere in the detritus of my passing decades, I think I still have some elegantly designed coins carrying the trinity WORK FAMILY FATHERLAND. Perhaps it was in this source ... I do wish I could remember where those rather dishy coins came from ... that the distinctively and single-mindedly African enthusiasm for WORK finds its origin.

Is this diverting genre now extinct beyond the possibility of any revival?


22 September 2022

A Christmas Game?

During the 1549 Western Rebellion, one of the complaints made by the Catholic rebels was that Cranmer's 1549 Protestant Eucharistic rite was "like a Christmas Game".

This has tended to puzzle liturgists. It was, I think, Diarmuid MacCulloch who suggested that the reference reflates to the 1549 rubric requiring communicants to leave their places in Church and form up in the Chancel, women and men separately. Having everybody charging round the Church changing places seemed ... like a Christmas Game. 

These rubrical provisions were eliminated by Thomas Cranmer from his next liturgical draft!

I ws reminded of all this by a mention in A Murderous Midsummer (Yale), by Mark Stoyle. This is a book which I can warmly recommend. 

But with just one or two hesitations. Quite a few of the most vivid details in the historical sources describing this rebellion are either not mentioned, or merely given in summary. This appears to be because this material has all been worked over so much in recent years that Stoyle thinks that everybody already knows it all. 

My view is that not every potential reader is inevitably going to be a professional Tudor historian. 

And Stoyle does not engage very closely with the attitudes of Hooker, the Protestant narrator who supplies a great deal of our first-hand evidence. Hooker, despite the unambiguous Protestantism of his vantage point, had a great deal of sympathy with some of the players in this tragedy. For example: with Fr Welsh, Vicar of S Thomas's Without the Walls; he had dissuaded the rebels who were besieging Exeter from setting fire to the city ... but this did not ave him from being sentenced by the Tudor commander to be hanged from his Church Tower with the implements of his priestcraft hanging around him. Hooker was clearly moved by the quiet dignity with which Welsh met his end. 

And he offers an entertainingly ironic account of the Welshmen who arrived when the fighting was already over; looted a great deal of stuff from the citizens; and then sold it back to those from whom they had stolen it. Hooker dryly oberves that their prices were quite reasonable. 

21 September 2022

Trad cust

 An erudite friend raises questions about Traditionis Custodes:

"What does it mean for a liturgical reform to be 'valid' [see TC 3:1] and what does it mean to deny it? If it is simply agreeing that the Sacraments are valid according to the NO formulae, I have no problem with that. But that is not what it appears to mean because it talks of the validity of the reform, not of the rites/Sacraments."

My friend goes on to point out what must be a significant differece between the "authoritative " Latin version, and the original Italian. According to the former, the bishop is to satisfy himself that the dodgy groups in his diocese do not exclude the auctoritatem of the reform; according to the Italian original, he is required to satisfy himself that the naughties do not exclude the validita of the reform.

These do not seem to me to be the same thing.

Discussing the validity of a juridical enactment requires canonical know-how. Where does that leave those of us who are not professional canonists?

Is PF offering us a loop-hole: "I'm not asking you positively to accept the reform; I merely desire you not to exclude it?"

20 September 2022

Looking ahead to the Solemnity of our Lady of Walsingham

In celebrating the Usus Authenticus, a cleric is supposed to follow the Universal Calendar as modified by the local Calendar granted by the Holy See for particular Dioceses or Religious Orders, and to use the appropriate accompanying liturgical texts.

But since 1967, the (now, of course, non-existent) Sacred Congregation of Rites has not made provision for changing local needs by granting new local calendars for the Extraordinary Form. The English LMS ORDO wisely explained "Four dioceses have been created since 1962 and for these exist no appropriate calendars. To provide calendars [for them] ... the calendars of [dioceses] ... from whose territory respectively the new dioceses were created have been adopted with changes where appropriate". I suggest that this wise procedure is precisely what is ordered by the provisions of Canon 19 (q.vide). So, for a jurisdiction - for a diocese or whatever - which did not exist in 1961, one should create a Calendar along precisely the same lines which the Sacred Congregation of Rites used in doing this in the decades before 1961. This obviously applies as much to the Ordinariates as it does to new Dioceses.

I have a particular suggestion to make with regard to the Solemnity of our Lady of Walsingham, who is given as "Title" to the English Ordinariate and is to be observed on September 24. It is that those who use Mass and/or Office from the Extraordinary Form use the propers once provided in the Appendix pro aliquibus locis for the Feast of the Translatio Almae Domus BMV [the Holy House of our Lady of Loretto*] on December 10. You should find, in the old thread attached to an earlier version of this post, links to that Proper in the Breviary. (One needs to omit the last section of Lection vi, which relates specifically to Loretto.)

An English translation of this Mass was regularly printed in the Pilgrims' Manual of the Anglican Shrine as the "Mass of our Lady of Walsingham" in the years after the reconstruction of the Holy House in 1931** until the shift in liturgical fashions after 1967. One very minor adjustment was made: the omission from the Collect of the words eamque in sinu Ecclesiae tuae mirabiliter collocasti [referring to the wondrous translation of the Loretto Holy House from Palestine to safer climes].

My proposal may seem to you the less radical when you have mulled over this fact: the English Mass of our Lady of Walsingham, which I first heard in Full Communion as a Votive at our Ordinariate Pontifical Mass on September 19 2015 (celebrated by Archbishop di Noia, adjunct Secretary of the CDF), and is provided in the Divine Worship Missal, uses the Collect and Secret*** from that December 10 Mass adjusted exactly as I described above (and the Post Communion appears to be a modified version of the one there provided). A powerful nod and an expressive wink.

Fr Hope Patten and Fr Fynes Clinton****, I am confident, beam down upon us with much approval as we use this liturgical provision. They know where it is that their Patrimony is now incarnated! Quorum animabus propitietur Deus! Qui Dominum pro nobis deprecentur!

EXTERNAL SOLEMNITY (Extraordinary Form)
On the Sunday before or after the Solemnity of OLW, two Masses (or one high/sung and one low) are allowed of OLW, with a commemoration of the Sunday. Those whose memories retain such things as octaves will probably find it more natural to do this on the Sunday after the Solemnity. (But Office is still of the Sunday.) The Mass may, of course, be used as a Votive on any day when the rubrics permit votives.

* This Mass and Office seem to date from the pontificate of Pope Innocent XII (1691-1700).
** Nearly 400 years after the destruction of the old Holy House.
*** Just think of those thousands of devout priests during those three and a half decades who stood in the smoky atmosphere of candles and lamps within the Holy House and, as it dawned outside, murmured those same words which Archbishop di Noia sang at the High Altar of Westminster Cathedral.
**** It will have been Fynes who sorted out the Mass of OLW; Patten was no latinist.

19 September 2022

Reading the Daily Papers (Part 2)

"He seated himself on his throne, on the right side of the great altar, and began to sing the office appointed by the church for the dead, assisted by his choir, which is numerous, and some of the best voices from Rome.

"The first verse was scarcely finished, when it was observed that his voice faultered, the tears trickled down his cheeks, so that it was feared he would not have been able to proceed - however, he soon recollected himself, and went through the functions in a very affecting manner - in which manly firmness, fraternal affection, and religious solemnity, were happily blended.

"The Magistrates of Frascati, and a numerous concourse of the neighbouring people, attended on this occasion; who were attracted, not so much by their curiosity, or the purpose of assisting at the masses which were celebrated at every altar of the church, as a desire of testifying their great respect for their Bishop; who constantly resides amongst them, and daily bestows upon them temporal as well as spiritual blessings, with a very liberal hand." 

Reading the Daily Papers (Part 1)

Here is an extract from the Daily Universal Register. April 23 1788 ...  

"The funeral obsequies of the late COUNT OF ALBANY were celebrated on the third of February, in the Cathedral Church at Frascati, of which See Cardinal Duke of York, his brother, is Bishop.

"The church was hung with black cloth (the seems covered with gold lace) drawn up between the pillars in the form of festoons, intermixed with gold and silver tissues, which had a very magnificent and solemn effect; especially as a profusion of wax tapers were [sic] continually burning during the whole of the ceremony in every part of the church.

"Over the great door, and the four principal side altars, there were written in the festoons (in large characters) the following texts of Scripture, which were chosen by the Cardinal, as allusive to the situation and fortunes of the deceased: Ecclesiasticus 47:17; Job 29:5; Tobit 2:18; Proverbs 5:17; II Maccabees 6:31.

"A large Catafalque was erected on a platform, raised three steps from the floor, in the Nave of the Church, on which the Coffin containing the Body was placed, covered with a superb pall, on which was embroidered, in several places, the royal arms of England; on each side stood three gentlemen servants of the deceased, in mourning cloaks, and holding a Royal Banner - and about it were placed a very considerable number of very large wax tapers, in the form of a square, guarded by the Militia of Frascati.

"About ten o'clock in the forenoon, the Cardinal was brought into the Church in a Sedan Chair, convered with black cloth, attended by a large suit of his officers and servants, in deep mourning ..."

18 September 2022

S Januarius and the Ordinariate

Oxford is a city of secrets; and one of its best kept secrets is its very personal relationship with the 1630s, an interesting decade when the Ordinariate very nearly happened ahead of its time. There appeared to be exciting ecumenical possibilities between England and Rome, partly helped by Charles I's laudably uxorious infatuation with his Queen Henrietta Maria.

First stop, if one wishes to do a pilgrimage to the 1630s, might be to contemplate the glass in Magdalen Chapel; 1632 and its baroque reinterpretation of the 'perpendicular' schemes in the windows of All Souls, New College, and elsewhere, each light being occupied by one saint. That in itself is interesting in a period commonly supposed to be 'Protestant'; and the selection of saints is even more so. They are not, as you might expect, a predominantly Biblical band; indeed, numerically they are less biblical than the saints in Oxford's medieval glass. Some of them are saints whose very existence plays a deft game of hide-and-seek with the canons of Enlightenment historicity, such as S Catherine with her wheel. There is S Anne 'Mater'; and S George; and S Januarius. Wow!!! S Januarius!! That admirable Saint who, tomorrow as ever was, will be celebrated in Naples, with supplications that, by the annual miracle of the liquefaction of his blood, he will guarantee the safety of that city! Will the news be propitious?

Many of the Saints in the window are so deliciously obscure that I cannot find them in my Dictionary of Saints. There is a strong cohort of Fathers: Ss Cornelius and Cyprian; Basil; a brace of Gregories; Dionysius; Polycarp; Hippolytus; Ignatius; Irenaeus; Clement. All this is faintly reminiscent of the Tractarian period: Fr Faber would have been happy writing biographies of Ss Eulalia and Theodosia; while Saint John Henry Newman would have felt at home among the Fathers (one recalls that feature of his character which Dr Manning never stopped suspecting: 'the old patristic Oxford Anglican tone'). A most provocative curiosity: only one of these saints is wearing a halo. She is labelled 'Sancta Maria Deipara'.

A quiet saunter along the curve of the High brings one to the porch of the University Church, built in 1637, grandly and exuberantly baroque, its twisted columns identical with those supporting Bernini's canopy in S Peter's, Rome; a tantalising hint of the Catholic Baroque England that just might have been. Enshrined within a jolly ensemble of classicising details is a female Figure royally crowned and holding a Child ... the 'Sancta Maria Deipara' we met in Magdalen. The statue in this porch was listed on the indictment of Archbishop Laud when he was to be martyred for being Popish. Some people claim to discern the traces of a Puritan bullet ... Czestochowa ...?

Sancta Maria Oxoniensis, ora pro nobis! Et beate Gulielme Laud, sis memor nostri!

A third statio is much more private; no public thoroughfare. The back quadrangle at S John's was built by Archbishop Laud in an elegant Renaissance style; a statue of blessed Charles Stuart at one end looks across to a statue of Queen Henrietta Maria. An interesting suggestion of the workings of Providence: that it was a King who had no mistresses, and promoted an ideology of Married Love, who was privileged with a crown of martyrdom (am I right in thinking that the same may be true of Louis XVI?).

If you want to have a better look at Queen Henrietta Maria, you could try the Old Common Room in Merton (the college in which the Queen resided during the Civil War), but they probably wouldn't let you in. I visited her once among the Roman Renaissance magnificences of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland; I suspect loyalist fervour demanded her mass-production.

In Oxford Cathedral, in the Lucy Chapel, you will find monuments of the royal servants who died (sometimes under arms) while the King's Majesty and his Court were in Oxford, quorum animabus propitietur Deus (as well as the Shrine of S Frideswide and a bust of beatus ille Doctor Veritatis Edward Bouverie Pusey).

What more could a devout visitor want?

For your delectation ... without comment ...

 The Speaker of the House of Commons has just spoken about "The most important event the World will ever see."

The Chief of the Imperial General Staff ... as we used to call him ... got to the rhetorical moment at which his obvious words would be "our sailors, soldiers, and airmen". But, for the last of those words, he substituted "aviators".

Prayer after Sunday Mass for the King

There are some slight inaccuracies in the information being circulated in some places.

Cantor: Domine, salvum fac Omnes: Regem nostrum Carolum.

In the Collect, the word is incrementa, and not incrementum. (Neuter plural, not neuter singular.)

17 September 2022

God's Permissive will ... again ...

 PF recently signed a pluralist declaration; then, apparently, the Vatican significantly changed that doctrinal statement which he had just signed.

The First Text affirmed: 

Pluralism, in religion, colour, gender, race, language, culture, "are expressions of the wisdom of God in creation".

This is unambiguously heretical. It is the error often called Indifferentism.

I wonder if Cardinal Ladaria pointed this out to PF. Or, perhaps, the hierarchy of Kazakhstan?

The Second, altered, text: removed religion from the list of things which are "expressions of the wisdom of God"; instead, the statement now simply asserted that Religious diversity is permitted by God.

This is less unambiguous in its heresy. It is, instead, a typical piece of intentional Bergoglian ambiguous doublespeak. I wonder if the ecumenical delegates who had assented to the first version were consulted before the changes were made, or whether, in a characteristic piece of arrogant Bergoglian superueberhyperpapalism, the agreed ecumenical text was simply changed papally and unilaterally. Are there no  limits to the almighty, cosmic, powers claimed by this man and his cronies?

But the Second text, even though now intentionally ambiguous, still won't do. 

Not in a thousand millennia.

It mirrors an explanation once offered by PF to Bishop Schneider, in which the concept of the permissive will of God got dragged in. The idea was: God may not positively will something evil, but he doesn't positively intervene in History to prevent it. He, er, permits it.

What is wrong ... hideously wrong ... with this is that there are thousands of things that happen in this world which God does not intervene to prevent; for example murder, war, torture, paedophilia, genocide, oppressions of women, paedophilia, oppressions of so many kinds. When God fails to prevent all these from happening, does this mean that they are therefore actually pleasing to God? That he has stamped his Nihil obstat on them?

Vatican II (Gaudium et Spes 27) and S John Paul II (Veritatis splendor 80) taught otherwise. And both did so without ambiguity.

Now ... could somebody remind me of the wording of those conciliar and papal condemnations of Pope Honorius I which somehow involved the word ANATHEMA?

16 September 2022

Auntie Beeb

The Beeb continues its undistinguished role as the Channel You Can Rely On To Make Howlers.

Unwisely, I had thought that they might make a bit of an effort on the present occasion. Naive fool ... me, I mean.

Last night, we were informed that Queen Elizabeth's youngest son was the Duke of Wessex.

That Queen Elizabeth was 'head' of the Church of England.

That she is to buried in Westminster Cathedral ... although, to be fair and honest, the newsreader immediately corrected himself.

Kai ta loipa ...

But boobs can happen higher even than the Beeb. At the beginning of the week, it was announced that only "Working Royals" would wear military uniforms (there are currently rumours that this ruling will be modified).

This would mean that the Dukes of York and Sussex would not be uniformed. The surreal result of this would be that wearing a military uniform would be forbidden to the two members of the 'Royal family' who have actually familiarised themselves with the unfriendly end of a bullet. They would have to march along in morning coats while most of the other members of their family enjoyed full Ruritanian splendour.

Atcherlee the idea of 'Working' and 'Non-working ' members of that family has, as far as I am aware, no legal basis. It was a mistake to invent the distinction.

There must be better ways of visibly indicating deep family rifts.

All Mankind?

 " O God, the maker and redeemer of all mankind: grant us, with thy servant Queen Elizabeth, and all the faithful departed, the sure benefits of thy Son's saving passion and and glorious resurrection".

This was read by Archbishop Welby at the Reception of the body of Queen Elizabeth.

Is it true that the same prayer was used at the obsequies of the Queen Mother? Is it based on the Catholic Fidelium Deus omnium conditor et redemptor? Is it deliberately altered so as to make its theology Universalist?

Are there any other theological points worth making?

15 September 2022



I return to the urgent question of investigating canonically the teaching of prima facie heretical popes ... as suggested by Fr Aidan Nichols, still, I think, resident in Jamaica.

May I refine the suggestion? 

Suppose the question were to be put in this way;

Did Honorius, Bishop of Rome, fail to sanctify this Apostolic Church with the teaching of Apostolic Tradition; or did he, by profane treachery, permit its purity to be polluted?

The advantage of this phraseology would be that it would rest upon Tradition and Precedent, because it would utilise the terms employed by an earlier Bishop of Rome when anathematising, in accordance with an Ecumenical Council, an earlier pope.


So the German episcopate appears to be moving inexorably towards Women 'Priests'. Memories arise of the time when we in the Provinces of Canterbury and York were facing a similar problem. I never thought that etc. etc.. Not even Cardinal Kasper's learned intervention could dissuade the Anglican bishops from confecting Women 'bishops'; perhaps the German bishops will also reject his advice.

If orthodox Catholics were to reject communion with German heterodox bishops who had gone down this path, and if, with whatever slippery jesuit ambiguities, PF were himself to remain in communion with such heresiarchs, we would face this problem: 

Canon 751 says "... Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with members of the Church subject to him."

What are the guidelines when it comes to mediate communion with such people? I bet there was a very messy lot of mediate communion going on during the Arian Crisis.

If we need to return to the drawing board, I wonder if the trustees of Gordon Square would allow us to use their cellars ... as they did last time ...

14 September 2022


 The "Non-Jurors" were those clerics and laics of the Church of England who, having sworn an oath of allegiance to (the still living) King James VII and II, refused to disregard it by swearing a new oath to the Calvinist intruder William Prince of Orange after he invaded this country in 1688. They were accordingly evicted from their livings but maintained that they remained the true, if persecuted, Church of England for much of the 18th century. Many of them were Jacobites.

Some of them stuck rigidly to the then current Book of Common Prayer; others, more Catholic minded, deemed themselves to have the right to catholicise (often from Eastern sources) their worship. These latter were known as the Usagers.The Usagers issued, in 1720 (NS), their own Prayer Book. Certain features of this (especially its Eucharistic Order) are known and publicly accessible; but I do not know that the whole book is. One copy I have examined is in the 'Sion College' Library, ARC A 35 1b N 73.

A problem arose, of course, with regard to the State Prayers, which could not be used as they stood by those who denied that "King George" was their true Sovereign.

Thus, after the end of the Divine Office, "A prayer for the King's Majesty" included the words " ... behold our most gracious Sovereign Lord King George ...". This, obviously, could not be used by those who regarded the exiled King James VIII and III as their lawful king.

They therefore, changed it to "behold our most gracious Sovereign Lord the King". 

In "A prayer for the Royal Family", the Non-Jurors were able simply to delete the entire list of members of the Hannoverian family, and to pray " ... bless all the Royal Family ... ".

In the 19th and 20th centuries, things were made more complicated by the fact that the de facto sovereign (e.g. Victoria) was often of a different gender than the King Over The Water.

For the minute group who still preserved this ancient loyalty, the same problem remained because the King de jure (Francis of Bavaria, direct heir of the exiled Stuarts) was of the opposite gender from the Queen de facto, Elizabeth, direct descendant of George I of Hannover.

There was faintest, imperceptible, batsqueak echo of this old history last Thursday when Mgr Newton, before Evensong in Warwick Street, announced the news that Queen Elizabeth had died; and that therefore, the officiant would be singing O Lord, save the King.

(After James III and VIII died in 1766, his de jure successor was, of course, the de jure King Charles III, who 'reigned' until his death in 1788. I haven't seen this little historical whimsy mentioned in recent newspapers.)

13 September 2022

Proud simplicity

 On Saturday, The Times published a letter from some retired Minister which seemed to imply that there is something inherently laudable in Scottish Presbyterian worship arising from its "simplicity."

This mystifies me. 

Last year, I had two cataracts removed from my eyes; and a heart "procedure". On none of these occasions was I preoccupied with whether the procedure was "simple". "Simplicity" seems not to be a prerequisite when it is a question of a legal matter or a space rocket or mending a computer or anything else.

Did the Aztecs concentrate on Simplicity when performing their human sacrifices? Was Simplicity the determinant consideration when Captain Cook floggrd his midshipmen for getting their calculations wrong? Do we praise an adulterer for his simplicity when he sends his wife and each of his eleven mistresses a Birthday Card on the same day of the year; or an adulteress when she books her admirer into the same slot as her husband?

The world of Presbyterian Ministers must be an immensely peculiar one. I would not encourage any grand-daughter of mine to marry, or even just have tea, with one.

12 September 2022

Proud Ignorance

Yesterday, I devoted a little time to watching the Beeb's presentation of the journey of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth from Balmoral to Edinburgh. My predominant reaction is one of amazement at the profound professional ignorance of the Commentariate.

They had among them a soi disant historian. But when the listeners were informed that the coffin was covered with the Royal Standard of Scotland, nobody was able to answer the inevitable and sensible question from Johnny Public, about how that Standard differed from the Standard for England. "I don't do Heraldry", the experts shamelessly mumbled.

The answer issimpler than simple. The royal shield is divided into four quarters. The three sauntering lions of England are in the first quarter; the single red jumping lion of Scotland is in the second quarter; the harp of Ireland is in the third; and ... oops ... because there is no fourth nation in this archipelago which has ever had royal status ... England appears again as a sort of filler in the fourth quarter.

But, in the version of the Standard used in Scotland, the red jumping lion of Scotland is promoted to the first and fourth quarters; the indolently perambulating three lions of England are relegated to the second quarter.

Surely, not rocket Science, except for Experts with IQs less that about 40.

I recall that, at the Queen Mother's funeral some years ago, there was one of the pompous Great High Priests of the Commentariate doing a voice-over in hushed tones ... and he had not the least information about the regiments in the procession. So he covered his ignorance by repeatedly saying "And still they come". This appeared to be the Commentariate-Pomposity-Equivalent for "Oh gosh here are some more of them but once again I don't have the faintest idea who they are or why they're here but who b***** cares?". (We should note the faux-literary word-order of the formula.)

Considering that these jokers actually have back-up staffs, and, I suspect, are paid fees, this is worse than a joke.

And pretending to be a professional with Information at his finger-tips, when you aren't, is dishonest and a disgrace.

I'm not joking when I remind you of the Veterum Sapientia  of S John XXIII, with its insistence that knowledge of (for example) Latin, at least on the part of the clerisy, is essential, if witless bog-ignorance is not to force a cultural divide between the generations.

Am I making too much of the Ignorance of the Commentariate? Perhaps what really gets me is the combination, with that ignorance, of condescending Pomposity.

11 September 2022


An erudite correspondent has made very interesting points. Having mulled over them, I am concluding that they mostly arise from statements in the current "Magisterium" which confuse (at least) two different things.

(1) The guidance explicitly given in Sacrosanctum Concilium about changes which the consensus patrum  required.

(2) The changes which in fact subsequently emerged from the post-conciliar deliberations.

Confusion beteween these two things is natural enough.

Human beings change their minds. Academic fashions do not remain immutable.

But those who compose "magisterial" documents ought to be at least minimally capable of distinguishing between the two.

Unless it suits them not to do so. 

And, at the moment, it clearly suits some quite important people not to make any such distinctions. Accordingly, they play up the status of the pronouncements of an Ecumenical Council (vide 1 supra) and then imply that the same sort of obsequium  applies to 2 supra.

This enables them to rubbish any criticisms made of (2) as  being 'rejections of the Council.'

Roche did this again just a few days ago.

Yet such folk, when it suits them, ignore the plain, explicit 'decrees' of 'the Council'.

Slippery folk with double standards.

But naughty fibs are always naughty fibs. 

One example of this will suffice.

The Council required that all clerics say their Office in Latin. (Where this would create real problems for clergy, the Ordinary could dispense from this requirement, but could only do so in individual cases.)

You all know as well as I do that this Conciliar Instruction  is completely ignored.

An additional, related, matter: Recent "legislation" also requires traddies not to exclude the "Magisterium of Roman Pontiffs". Well, what about the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia of S John XXIII? It requires all seminary teaching to be done in Latin, and the sacking of professors unable to teach in Latin

What price that in the lecture rooms of the Grilli and the Grilloids?

To be concluded.

10 September 2022


 There is a particular, particularly Anglican, liturgical posture; which I suspect may have originated in the practical arrangements of 'box pews'. The person ... probably lay ... exhibiting this posture must sit firmly in his or her place (buttocks, if the posture on show is to be authentic, may never under any circumstances leave the wooden seat) and must lean forward, burying face either in hands or head gear. This posture in not even varied when the celebrant rather pointedly invites the plebs sancta Dei to confess their sins, "meekly kneeling upon your knees".

Dom Gregory Dix, in a noted passage, alluded to this picturesque peculiarity. In 1933, deemed to be the centenary of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England, an entertaining old gentleman, Professor 'Nipper' Williams, had invented the notion of a 'restrained ' Catholicism, neither Roman nor Byzantine, but 'Northern or 'Nordic'.

After Dix published the following satirical paragraph mocking Nordic Catholicism, it is said that 'Nipper' never spoke to him again.

"One can almost see these mystical and polygamous freemen at thir simple devotions, and catch the rustle of their golden beards as they bend forward to breathe unsuperstitious prayers into their winged casques, seated on damp logs beneath the grey and weeping dome of heaven."

9 September 2022

Doubly crowned?

In case any readers are getting interested in Coronations, I repeat this from last year.

April 23 (1661) was the date of the Coronation of King Charles II; the return of Merry England marked by a Coronation on the Feast of S George, Patron of the Realm. After His Majesty's death, his brother James fixed his Coronation (1685) for the same date (and I am sure that a political point was being made when 'Queen Anne' did the same).

But the Coronation of King James VII & II offered a complication. The form of the English Coronation Service, laid out in a venerable liturgical book called the Liber Regalis, kept at Westminster Abbey, retained the old Catholic structure of a Coronation inserted into a non-communicating Pontifical High Mass. (Apart from the Celebrant, he only Communicant was the Sovereign, and, if he had one, his Consort.) The celebrant was, normally, the Archbishop of Canterbury; deacon ('Gospeller') and subdeacon ('Epistoler') were senior diocesan bishops.

All well and good. But since the Schism which Bloody Bess perpetrated (incidentally, after her Coronation by Catholic rites and lawful Catholic bishops), the Eucharistic Rite had been the new Anglican one. James VI & I; Charles I; Charles II had all thus been crowned. And the Celebrant, who also performed the Anointing and the Crowning. was a prelate not in communion with the See of Rome.

And, in 1685, the new King was a Catholic. 

They tried to persuade him that, since the Eucharist was an integral part of the ceremony, he should receive Holy Communion according to the Anglican Use. But he resisted; and, on April 23, for the only time in history, a King of England was crowned according to a rite which excluded the Eucharist.

You may or may not have have found all that interesting. But here comes the really intriguing bit.

There have been persistent rumours that King James had himself crowned privately according to Catholic rites, before his 'Anglican' Coronation.

Where? No problem there. Despite the Schism, most Queens Consort had been Catholics, and, just to the North of S James's Park, there is the Chapel Royal of the Queen (built by Inigo Jones). So there was a Royal Catholic Chapel fully equipped with clergy and other necessary persons and appurtenances.

By whom? This is the dodgy bit. At that time there was no Catholic Bishop in England.

Andrew Barclay's doctoral thesis on King James' Household alludes to notes by a Benedictine called Ralph Benet Weldon. He claimed that the King, and Queen Mary of Modena, were anointed and crowned in private by a Capuchin priest called Mansuet, using oil sent from Rheims by Louis XIV (British Library Additional Manuscript 10118, folio 93). 

A lovely idea. But it worries me. Kings should be crowned by Bishops, both in the traditions of the English Monarchy and according to the Post-Reformation Pontificale Romanum.

I find it hard to believe that a mere presbyter took it upon himself to do a full Coronation Service, according to either of those two rites.

Might he have simply anointed King James, on the grounds that the anointing in Westminster Abbey was going to be invalid? 

Or, possibly, the information is a garbled version of information to the effect that King James received Holy Communin from Fr Mansuet (of course, reception of Holy Communion by layfolk was not very common among Catholics at that time and might therefore have been noticed). 

It would be interesting to know if there is any other evidence which does not come ultimately from the Weldon-source. 


8 September 2022

Mighty Fathers in God

The early 1990s are not so long ago. I cannot be the only one to remember vividly how rudderless the Catholic Movement was in the Church of England. We believed that our episcopal leaders, such as Eric Kemp, must have some rabbit that they would spring from their mitres. It transpired that they did not.

It was in those gloomy days that John Broadhurst created structures for mutual collaboration, encouragement and assistance. Gradually, we found our sense of direction. We met every autumn in that big evangelical hall in Westminster, and laughed together, planned together, hoped together, prayed together. Locally (I was a diocesan clerical Chairman of FIF) we did the same. We were aware that some mainstream bishops thought that they would embarrass their relationships with their episcopal brethren who 'ordained' women, if they had anything to do with us; but apparently they saw great merit in refraining from physically ordaining women. So they delegated that distasteful little detail to others and then unhesitatingly appointed the ladies to benefices and curacies and treated them in every respect as if they were priests (let me be carefully fair: Eric Kemp did not do this; but his successor did).

So we were 'extreme'!! In the last few years of his life, I had the privilege of the close friendship of Bishop John Richards, one of the first brace of Flying Bishops, who lured me down to Devon to take a House for Duty just a few doors away from the retirement home he and Ruth had built in Lewdown. In those desolate years, his sacrificial labours had gathered a people to the Lord of some hundred parishes. How well I remember the anger ('JR's' anger was very memorable) with which he referred to delicate episcopal individuals who kept their hands untainted by female heads but deftly distanced themselves from FIF. After his retirement, the premature death of his first successor and the serious illness of the third Bishop of Ebbsfleet meant that he twice resumed the pastoral care of the district he had created; and, quite literally, he worked himself to death.

'JR' and 'Broadhurst' were men of immense stature; they were the last two truly great Anglo-Catholic bishops. Those who cannot see this do but condemn themselves.

7 September 2022

A grand week for Bible Readers

 What an admirable week ... no fewer than three days when we sling a green chasuble over our exultant shoulders and say an old mass from the ancient sacramentaries. (I do hope nobody gives way to the temptation to avoid Green by using Votives ... Green means Tradition; Green means Continuity.)

But there is another reason why this particular week is so gloriously noteworthy: today's Old Rite Epistle, from S Paul's superb Letter to the Galatians, has the immense dignity of being a reading which is entirely omitted in the bastard lectionry cobbled together 'after the Council'.  

"Throw me across the scissors, Mildred ... chop chop ..."

Yes; a lot of the old readings did get thrown out of the post-Conciliar Lectionary for Sundays (even with a three-year lectionary-scheme, room, apparently, could not be found for them). But, with a condescending sneer, some of them were given week-day outing in alternate years.

Galatians 3:16-21 appears in the corrupted rite neither on a weekday nor on a Sunday nor in a ritual Mass.






For years, we boring traddies have been alluding to the omission of a certain verse in I Corinthians 11. Quite right too. But have we done justice to the mangling of this week's Epistle from Galatians?

The mendacity-merchants criticise us for "denying Vatican II". According to them, truth-telling criticism of the post-Conciliar rite turns us into Vatican-II-deniers (as if these gentry could spot a lie even if it smacked them round the face).

So whereabouts ... aperte dicant ... in Vatican II are we given a Conciliar Warning never to read Galatians 3?

6 September 2022


This is probably even more ignorant than most of what I write, because I have no competence in Canon Law ... 

It is sparked off by the Quo primum tempore of S Pius V. Readers will recall what the Holy Pontiff lays down. Where a local rite is at least a couple of centuries old, nobody is allowed to intoduce the new, S Pius V, editions of liturgical books, unless there is agreement to this by the Bishop and the entire body of Canons.

Contemporary legislation reflects these modalities.

"When the Chapter of the Cathedral of Paris, in 1583. refused to its Bishop Peter de Gondy, the reception of the Breviary of Pius V--'Maxime quod recepta dudum tam illustris Ecclesiae consuetudo non facile suum immutari officium pateretur'--it was in accordance with the the conservative views expressed by the Holy See." [Batiffol]. The 1584 Paris Breviary was 'restitutum ac emendatum' by the 'authoritate' of the Bishop "ac eiusdem Ecclesiae Capituli consensu editum".

I want to float a suggestion that what we have here is the very ancient idea that the Chapter represents, and safeguards, the continuities and traditions of the Church. And that, in the small Mediterranean dioceses which preceded the gigantic 'tribal' dioceses of the North [in England, the Diocese of Lincoln stretched from the North Sea down to the Thames], the cathedral church was the church ... in which, for example, all babies born in the city would receive Baptism. And, probably, Confirmation/Chrismation at the same time.

The current Code of Canon Law strips all this back to a few ritual relics ... and even these, I am told, may not survive in the Americas. In their place, there are structures such as Colleges of Consultors. It is not my purpose to denigrate these rearrangements, which very probably suit modern conditions. I simply find myself wondering if we have lost something.

The older ways had financial implications. Canonries (and Prebends) had sources of income attached to them, which sustained the work and ministry of the holders of such 'beneficia'. Temptation might strike a canonicus to pay a vicarius to discharge his liturgical obligations in the Cathedral, and reforming bishops, such a Grandisson of Exeter, might respond to this problem by requiring canons to spend specified periods of time 'in Residence'.

Such 'unreformed medievalisms' (Dix) survived in the Church of England until the Victorian period. Anglican readers, especially in Barsetshire, will recall the ministry ... mainly to Italian butterflies ... of the Reverend Canon Dr Vesey Stanhope. Anglicanism has probably lost even more of the realities of 'canonries' than has the English Catholic Church. But I want to try to identify the theological points of the old system, however imperfectly these were expressed.

The Medieval set-up preserved a sense of corporate ministry. It sustained the continuities of structures. It prevented the structures of Church Life from being merely managerial, because, counterbalancing the bishop, there were bodies of men who had a canonical status setting them above the whimsies of the Bishop.

Just as the Pope would find it difficult to conduct himself tyrannically towards his Venerabilies Fratres, so a Bishop would himself be denied an entirely free hand within his jurisdiction by the concurrent authority of his Chapter.

This, in my view, is healthy.

I wonder if any light could be shed from Byzantine quarters.

5 September 2022

Sunday Fun

 You may very probably think the less well of me for this ... but after the new Sunday politics show on the Beeb, I clicked across to the competing show from S Peter's Square (Vatican TV).

Practically nobody there for the beatification of Pope John Paul I!!!

But PF was there, looking very grim. At one point, I wondered if he was on pain-killers; no, I am not joking; my own hospitalisations make me sympathetic towards anybody who has to suffer. I put up a prayer to OL of Walsingham for PF and whatever sufferings he may be going through.

But his adress was unfathomable. His face was ... as it commonly is ... grim ... even grumpy. And lumpy. Yet he expressed his dislike of people who don't 'do' Cheerful. 'Arcigno' was the word he used to describe them.

Even more remarkable: in what looked like a highly critical allusion to Cardinal Cupich, who once locked a church up during the Triduum, PF heaped praise upon "Una chiesa che non chiude mai le porte". Or was he implicitly criticising hierarchies which kept churches shut during the pandemic? Or where churches are being kept locked up even now rather than being open for the celebration of the Authentic Use of the Roman Rite?

Weird times. Let's hope that PF's brilliant, radiant, and inimitable smile soon returns.

4 September 2022


It is important that the recent paper by Gerhard, Cardinal Mueller, should be read and taken seriously. He wrote it to be read during the recent Consistory, but ...surprise, surprise ... guess what ... there just wasn't time for it.

Great credit to Lifesitenews for making it available; even greater credit is due to his Eminence for yet another distinguished gift to the Universal Church.


First ... a bit of background. At the start of this pontificate, PF thought that the bishops, for the most part, were behind him and his policies. They just needed to be set free to say what they thought, and then a great wave of joyous Bergoglianity would sweep throughout the Church. So PF made a lot of noise about Parrhesia - the right of free people, without fear, to express their views.

As one of his Argie fixers put it, "he means Mueller can't come after us."


But the bishops, as a body, were woefully unwilling to play the role mapped out for them by the Peronist Pope. Promptly, his strategy changed. The Bergoglian policy now became that of suppressing freedom of speech among the Cardinals and Bishops. Accordingly, PF saw to it that the Cardinals were no longer allowed the liberty, when they met, to discuss matters among themselves. Since they couldn't be relied on to come up with the 'right' answers ... Gag Them.


PF did get one thing straight ... women cannot validly receive the Sacrament of Holy Order. So he sought a way round this. And what he came up with was the opening out of certain important roles ... not least in the Roman Curia ... to lay people. That is what lies behind the Bergoglian 'reorganisation' of the Curia. Especially the clever idea of confusing the sacramental structure of the Church with the administrative authority of the Papacy.


As long ago as 1958, the great Anglican Catholic theologian the Reverend Professor Doctor Eric Mascall, Oratory of the Good Shepherd, of this University, had identified precisely this dodge as part of the temptation to corruption of a tyrannical papacy. In his The Recovery of Unity, he wrote at length about "the power of the Pope to overrule by his administrative authority the sacramental structure of the Church". He criticised this "tendency ... to submerge the sacramental aspect of the Catholic Church beneath the administrative and juridical, a tendency which is inevitable if the absolute dominion of the papacy  over the episcopate is to be maintained."


I wonder why, in the wise designs of Providence, we were invited to bring all our baggage into the Catholic Church, just a few short years before Bergoglianity. Any ideas?



3 September 2022

November 20 Anno Domini 2121: a family dialogue

A favourite of some appreciative readers, reprinted by request with one or two tinkerings. 

Literate and Latinate six-year-old: Papa, why, this morning, was the psalmody of the Mass in honour of St Pius X so odd? I mean, in the psalmus of the Introit, why did we have Gratias Domini in aeternum cantabo, rather than Misericordias ...? And why has ecclesia been replaced with coetus?
Papa: Well, my child, when that Mass was added to the Missal, the Holy See was rather keen on the Bea psalter.
Literate ...: What was the Bea, Papa?
Papa: It was an evil German Jesuit who ...
Literate ...: What, Papa, is 'Jesuit'?
Papa: I think you'd better ask your Mother ... not many people nowadays know the answer to that question ... I'm not sure I do ... but the Bea had acquired the confidence of Pius XII ...
Literate ... (fiercely): Ah, the pope who appointed Hasdrubal Bugnini who engineered the Great Liturgical Deformation of the twentieth century?
Papa: Exactly, best beloved, except that his name was Hannibal ... Hasdrubal was his brother ... sort of ... perhaps I have allowed you to read too much Livy ... and the Bea began its evil work by doing a new translation of the Psalter into Classical Latin and ...
Literate ...: But surely, Papa carissime, St Christine Mohrmann, the great Dutch Latinist and Doctrix of the Church, had just demonstrated that Liturgical Latin was an exquisite deeply Christian form of Latin expressly crafted to convey in all its transcendent beauty the Catholic Faith?
Papa: Indeed she had, but Pius XII, a weak and foolish pope, ignored her scholarship and allowed the Bea to do its worst. And ...
Literate ...: But, Papa, consider the rendering coetus. It is profoundly wrong. Because the Vulgate rendering ecclesia binds together the Church's appropriation of Scripture with the text of the Old Testament. Coetus elides that linkage. Be honest with me, pedantic Parent: Coetus also ruptures the link with the Septuagintal rendering ... ekklesia megale. Thus the harmony of the Hebrew, the Greek, and the Latin is rudely sundered! So why was today's Mass not subsequently corrected when St Benedict XVII completed the Great Liturgical and Doctrinal Restoration in 2031 by promulgating the Sixteen Definitive Anathemas against Bergoglianism?
Papa: Because the liturgy, learned offspring, bears within it marks of all the periods through which, in its triumphant march across the centuries, it has passed. These profoundly eccentric details provide a powerful incentive to historical research such as that upon which you, after your Seventh Birthday, will embark. Now run along and finish your doctoral thesis on the de Beatificatione et Canonizatione of St Benedict XIV. Then you can ask your Mother what 'Jesuit' means before I read you your bed-time story from the newly recovered papyrus text, Oxyrhynchus 26,091, of the Hecale of Callimachus.
Literate ...: Thank you, Papa. I warmly anticipate each of those three agenda.

2 September 2022


 In one of my parishes, I was shown by a parishioner a video Life of Christ, following closely the text of S Matthew's Gospel.

I enjoyed it and was grateful to him. But one detail jarred.

At the beginning of Chapter 5, the Sermon on the Mount, the Evangelist takes the trouble explicitly to make clear that the Lord taught sitting down (kathisantos autou). Yet the film-maker showed Him walking round and through the crowd, up and down, and expounding his teaching with immense and engaging vividness and interpersonal interaction.

Rather like ... er ... a very winsome and charismatic schoolmaster. 

I prefer the explanation of Professor Ratzinger:

"Jesus [is] the new Moses ... The opening verse is far more than a casual introduction: 'Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.' ... Jesus sits down--the expression of the plenary authority of the teacher. He takes his seat on the cathedra of the mountain. ... Jesus takes his seat on the cathedra as the teacher of Israel and as the teacher of people everywhere.   Hearing ... is the basis on which a more inclusive Israel is built--a renewed Israel, which does not exclude or revoke the old one, but steps beyond it into the domain of universality ... Jesus sits on the cathedra of Moses ... he sits there as the greater Moses, who broadens the Covenant to include all nations. ... the very fact that it is the scene of Jesus'preaching makes it simply 'the mountain'--the new Sinai. The 'mountain' is the place where Jesus prays--where he is face to face with the Father. And that is exactly why it is also the place of his teaching, since the teaching comes forth from this most intimate exchange with the Father. The 'mountain', then, is by the very nature of the case established as the new and definitive Sinai.  ..."

In Archdeacon Allen's old ICC commentary on  Matthew, the writer merely comments that kathisantos ktl is an unclassical misuse of the genitive 'absolute' construction, and offers a reference to Blass! I am reminded of the gentle irony of Dix's reference to "the Greek Play Bishops of [the 1870s]".


1 September 2022

Theologies of Posture (1)

Some time, I think in the 1980s, I recall being very struck and not a little horrified when on holiday in Cornwall I attended the Eucharist in a nearby evangelical church. Not, perhaps, as recollected as I should have been, I suddenly awoke to the fact that the celebrant had just told us that "Maureen" was going to read to us. And that Maureen was reading the Gospel Passage appointed for the day. And that she, and all the congregation, were sitting comfortably.

A forage into Jungmann affords the information that, for as far back as the data go, it has been the practice throughout the Ecumene for the Gospel to be proclaimed by a Minister, and proclaimed with as much solemnity as circumstances allowed.

Early liturgical texts tend to be erratic in the information they give about bodily posture among the laity. Sarum gave no guidance; and the Anglican Books of Common Prayer provided no information until 1662. 

But in that year, the occasion of a catholicising revision and under the influence of Bishop Cosin of Durham, "the people all standing up" was added to the rubrics.

Surely, this Standing represents an important sacramental of Catholic Worship. We stand because of our immense respect for the One whose Words are being proclaimed. But I incline to think that there is even more to it that that.

I think I would go so far as to speculate on the propriety of using here the word Transsubstantiation.

The Words which fly from the lips of His authorised Minister become, as they fly through the sound-waves to our ear drums, transsubstantiated into the very words of the Incarnate Lord Himslf.

I do not think that, at Holy Mass, we are listening to a historical account. I suspect I am hearing the living summons to obedience from my living Lord.

Or, as I write this, am I allowing myself to get over-excited?