31 October 2022


I rejoice in the facility of offering the Holy Sacrifice on an Altar sealed with Relics; it is a relief to be able to be ecumenical, to conform to the consensus of the Latin West and the Byzantine East, that one should sacrifice over, as it were, the tombs of the martyrs. If a custom was good enough for the shell-shocked Church which in the fourth century emerged, metaphorically, from the catacombs with an overwhelming sense of being surrounded and supported by a great crowd of witnesses, martyres, then that custom is good enough for me. Even if the post-conciliar Church has gone a bit soggy on relics. I commend to those whose breviaries contain the old Appendix pro aliquibus locis the fine collect and the superb reading from S John Damascene they will find on November 5.

Not that the veneration of relics is as late as the fourth century. The contemporary account of the martyrdom of S Polycarp, the disciple of S John, embodied in the Encyclical which his Church at Smyrna sent to the  Catholic world in the middle of the second century, links the desire of the faithful for his relics with the doctrine of the Communio Sanctorum, the Communion of Saints: "they hoped to koinonesai* with his holy flesh". So, although the hatred of the local Jewish community drove the Romans to burn his body, his people gathered up even the ashes and placed them where they could meet for Mass annually on the genethlion* of his martyrion*, for a mneme* of those who had proathlekoton* and the askesis* and preparation of those who were going to bear witness.

Most immediately pre-conciliar local calendars made November 5, the Feast of the Holy Relics; according to Sarum it was on the Sunday after the Translation of S Thomas, i.e. in July; at Exeter on the Monday after Ascension Day.

Greek key: *share fellowship with; *birthday; *act of witness=martyrdom; *monument; *previously competed as athletes [a regular term for martyrdom]; *training. [I cannot restrain myself from two catty comments: that the current post-conciliar Roman regulations do not permit the use within altars of such relics as the tiny fragments gathered up by those who loved S Polycarp; and that, for sola Scriptura people, Acts 19:12 appears to encourage the use of Secondary Relics; and II Kings 13:21 the use of Primary Relics.]

30 October 2022

Christ the KING: Tom Wright's view

Many readers of this blog will not have heard of Tom Wright. A former don in this University, he was made Bishop of (the prestigious see of ) Durham, because of his formidable academic reputation. After ... I think ... seven years he joined that distinguished number of heavyweight Anglican intellectuals who've either turned down episkope or else abandoned it after a short trial to return to academe. He is an Evangelical but has 'broadened' (when he was Chaplain of Worcester College in this University, he used to waggle incense around). He tries to understand the Catholic Faith, but, not having experienced it from the the inside, often gets things wrong. His books on S Paul and Pauline doctrine are very well worth reading. (Don't bother with For all the Saints, because he gets the Catholic/Orthodox cult of the Saints wrong.)

Tom is no fool. Writing about the adoption by the Church of England of the feast of Christ the King on the Sunday Next Before Advent, he objects because "this particular novelty ... gets it completely wrong. It presses all the wrong buttons. It completes the job of pulling the Church's year out of shape. Once again, more is less. This "feast" devalues other feasts and occasions ... by concluding the implicit story-line at the wrong point, thereby throwing out of kilter the narrative grammar of the whole story. It implies that Jesus Christ becomes King at the end of the sequence, the end of the story, as the result of a long process". So it devalues Ascension Day. It is, he opines, "like trying to eat the Christmas pudding first and stir it afterwards".

Archbishop Lefebvre wrote a very fine book pointing out the importance of the Social Kingship of Christ.

Incidentally, I wonder if the Feast of Christ the King may be up for review in more circles than one. Traddies very naturally prefer the intention manifested by Pius XI, that the Festival should be closely associated with the Feast of All Saints. I gather that all this stuff about Kingship appeals less and less to some Trendies, because they would rather think of the Lord as a Servant and all that sort of stuff. And people soaked in good old Anglican Patrimonial traditions miss Stir up Sunday. And people whose Patron Saint is S Andrew can't celebrate their Patron when he occurs on a Sunday and, of course, are prevented every year from celebrating his External Solemnity on the Sunday.

Does the current Novus Ordo treatment of Christ the King really make anybody happy? Pragmatically, you're more likely to have good enough weather for a procession of the Blessed Sacrament at the end of October. And the Pius XI date at the end of October would help to provide a bit of an antidote to the commercially-inspired 'Hallow'een' spookfest. Best of all, it provides a Christian alternative to Reformation Sunday.

Rather like Pius XII's clever idea of making May 1 the feast of S Joseph the workman, the November date for Christ the King has never really bedded down into the mentality and popular culture of ordinary Christians. Clever ideas quite often don't. Because Liturgy is, after being the property of the Almighty, the property really of the plebs sancta Dei, God's common ordinary folk, not of chaps with clever ideas who write learned papers about Inculturation but treat Liturgy like a gamesboard on which they and their chums are entitled to move the counters around.

Newliturgy has made such an appalling mess of liturgically proclaiming the Lord's kingship that it simply confuses and misdirects ... it does more harm than good.

29 October 2022

Patrons in the Ordinariates.

1. The titles of Our Lady of Walsingham, of the Chair of S Peter, of our Lady of the Southern Cross, do not function as titles of Patrons. (They can be described as Titulars.

2. The Patrons of the three Ordinariates are, according to the Decrees of Erection of the respective Ordinariates, Blessed (now Saint) John Henry Newman (UK); Our Lady of Walsingham (USA); Our Lady of the Southern Cross (Australia).

3. I make no remarks about the liturgical status of these obervances in the Novus Ordo.

4. But, as far as the 1962 rules are concerned ... i.e. in the Vetus Ordo or Authentic Form ... these festivals, being festivals of Patrons, are First Class.

5. This means that they have a First Vespers in the Old Rite;

6. and that, if they collide with a Sunday, their Mass and Office supplant those of the Sunday.

If I have got this wrong, I would be glad to have matters explained to me, with full references to the appropriate legal documents.

28 October 2022


The Church of Holy Trinity, Reading, was formerly the very Protestant proprietary chapel which owed its later adornment to Fr Brian Brindley. I am told by friends that the pulpit in 'Georgian' baroque was thrown out of the City Church of All Saints in Oxford when Old Mother Damnable flogged it to Lincoln College for a library. The screen, from Pugin's Cathedral in Birmingham, was thrown out when the papists depuginised that building. The retro-altar was the famous Belgian baroque altar with the reversible tabernacle from (a one-time daughter church of S Thomas's) S Paul's Walton Street in Oxford, thrown out when OMDamnable sold it to the entertainment industry. Also once in S Paul's was the monumental scagliola-like portico-style entrance into the church from the Sacristy. And in the North Chapel was the baroque altar inscribed 'PAX' from the ballroom at Nashdom, which, when that House was our principal Benedictine Abbey, will often have been used by our great scholar, wit, and mystagogue Dom Gregory Dix. The shell of the building now stands, lonely, surrounded by buildings with the names like The Blavatnik School of Government.

The service was mixed; a sermon in a very rasping voice by the then bishop of Dorchester, who, they tell me, was once one of us but, like so many of that generation lot of episcopabili, changed his mind on The Issue not so very long before he got the letter from Downing Street. He later scarpered to Chelmsford and now has an address in Bishops Auckland. He tried to ingratiate himself to his hearers by basing his homily upon the Pope Benedict's Year of the Priest. This provided a happy opportunity for thirty-or-so birettas to flutter above thirty-or-so heads at every use of the nomen sacrum 'Benedict'. His accent took me back to my childhood in Essex. Yes, I am an Essex Boy too, from those selfsame marshes, and proud of it, but I don't feel the need to flaunt it whenever I open my mouth. Bishop Andrew's face remained totally impassive when Reading referred to him as his "beloved brother".

The Mass was Novus Ordo, very much Reform-of-the-Reform (remember all that?) with the Canon Romanus covered, except for qui pridie, by the singing of Sanctus and Benedictus.

I don't think PF would have felt at home.

My memories are imperfect, but I think we may have had Drinks.

27 October 2022


I am unwilling to stop referring to the teaching of Cardinal Mueller.

He has recently spoken, for example, about the error of replacing the Cross with the rainbow flag; about how "one must not obey an obviously heretical bishop for formal reasons in matters of the deposit of the Faith. Faith comes above obedience." 

"The Holy Father has this obligation and this duty to put in good bishops with intellectual and spiritual competence who are faithful to the doctrine of God, because bishops are the successors of the Apostles. They are not masters, the bosses of our faith, but they are only ministers of Revelation".

The frequent return of His Eminence to these themes suggests strongly to me that, from his vantage point in the Church, he discerns that there is here a locus of depraved praxis. And I have no reason to suppose that his discernment is mistaken.

We must not give an impression that certain sexual themes are over-important, or are the only ethical consideration. They are not. And we should never forget the Christian obligation to accord to all people ... whatever their sexual 'orientations' ... both charity and courtesy. 

And, doctrinally, it behoves us to remember that those of us who might categorise ourselves (or be categorised) as 'straight' or 'normal' or 'heterosexual' are equally subject to the Church's teaching; and to the truth that nobody is entitled to use sexuality outside the bonds of lawful matrimony between one male and one female; or in ways that exclude the openness of each genital act to procreation. 

If we do so, we are open to the perfectly fair accusation that we are ourselves living a libertarian life-style which we unjustly and illogically attempt to forbid to others.

And ...

... were PF, or any other prelate, to appear to down-play or to undermine the immemorial teaching summarised in Humanae Vitae, we would need to recall His Eminence's important teaching (supra) about our strict duty of disobedience towards heretical bishops (popes are bishops).

Perhaps I should iterate the wise and learned suggestions offerred by S John Henry Newman, about the question of a Suspense in the Teaching Office of the Church?


26 October 2022

Much binding in the marsh ... (q.v. in Wikipaedia)

 The President of the American Confederacy, Mr "Biden", has just very wittily referred to our new British Prime Minister, Mr Sunak, as "Mr Sanook".


Shall we retaliate by referring to the President chappie as "Mr Binding"?

This Binding went on to talk about something or other as "a ground-breaking Milestone."

What a Fracker!

No wonder the poor old apostate has cognitive problems distinguishing a live baby from a dead one.

25 October 2022

Farewell to Neasden

Since the Ordinariates were erected, I have sometimes wondered if we should have made rather more of a Negotiation of it, rather than just gratefully accepting the crumbs that fell from Vatican tables. 

For example ... and this suggestion follows on from my two previous pieces about Cardinal Nichols and Neasden ... we could have sought, as our bit of the bargain, that the English Catholic Bishops should agree ... for, let me suggest, fifty years ... not to commit Idolatry. Instead, we took up a suppliant position. 

Well I remember the joy with which we individually welcomed the nulla osta which came so easily and generously from Cardinal Mueller's CDF. (Not, of course, that this was the only hurdle to get over. After my own nulla osta came hurtling back from Rome at break-neck speed, there was the attempt by a couple of English bishops to put a spoke in my own wheels because of my attitude to the Mass of S Pius V ... but that's another story.)

Not that Idolatry is the only thing we might usefully have negotiated about. We could have asked that, in each country destined to have an Ordinariate, the local hierarchy should undertake not to encourage Adultery or Sodomy. Again, the agreement could have been for fifty years. And the question of Ordination of Women to Major Orders could have been on our shopping list.

Who knows ... had we gone for such agenda in subtle, crafty ways, we might have been able eventually to get entire local hierarchies signed up to the entire decalogue!!!!

Seems incredible now, doesn't it?

Lost opportunities ...

24 October 2022

Nichols in Neasden

I do not think Cardinal Nichols is or was a bad man or a bad pastor. I strongly incline to the opposite judgement. And I felt that he was not given a fair hearing at the Paedophile Enquiry. So, rather than attacking or mocking him, I would rather approach the broader question of how such a man could behave in the way he did in Neasden.

Archbishop Vincent was admitted to Major Orders when the Roman Breviary was just about to be replaced by the Liturgy of the Hours. This means that, for more than three decades, his priestly and Christian identity had not been fed and sustained by the old Breviary readings.

So what?

The 'unreformed' Breviary had a calendar characterised by Martyrdom. Its earlier strata, stretching back to the Ages of Persecution, had not been completely obscured by the emphasis, in the Counter-Reformation centuries, on those 'Confessor Bishops' who were Founders of orders and whose well-resourced Congregations could secure canonisations. In this regard, the earlier Latin West was still in step with the Byzantine Calendar, where the profusion of Martyrs of the early centuries had been joined by the New Martyrs of the Ottoman oppression (S Chrysostom of Smyrna, pray for us).

I have just opened my Pars Autumnalis at random ...

... inanibus diis sacrificare jussus, constantissime renuit. Cumque variis artibus ad Christi fidem ejurandam fustra tentaretur, una cum uxore et liberis leonibus objicitur. Horum mansuetudine concitatus imperator, aeneum in taurum subjectis flammis candentem eos immitti jubet, ubi divinis in laudibus consummato martyrio ...

So, in the preconciliar Roman Office, day after day, there were gruesome accounts of the physical sufferings of our Christian martyrs. Sometimes the accounts are so similar that one suspects contamination. Sometimes there are serious grounds for suspecting the historicity of some details ... or even, of more than just details. Since the Enlightenment, the erudite had been calling for revisions of the Lections in the Sanctorale. Read all abaht it in Batiffol. But extensive revision seemed to elude savants and pontiffs alike ... even the august and erudite figure of Benedict XIV. Tradition assisted inertia.

And in England, the old Roman Calendar was augmented by the accounts of 'the English Martyrs'. English Catholic Clergy were given an extensive education, as they opened their Breviaries daily before God, of the consequences which can follow a refusal to commit idolatry.

After the Breviary was replaced by the Liturgy of the Hours, the 'viral load' of gruesome martyrological narratives was lightened; and the unwillingness of those who edited the new texts to lay  emphasis on details of physical tortures introduced a significant cultural shift.

Dom Anselmo Lentini, revising the old hymns after the Council, felt that the words of S Ambrose Nudata pendent viscera/ sanguis sacratus funditur ... would be too strong for a generation which had witnessed the Second World War.

Those nurtured by the post-conciliar texts are not likely to be anything like as instinctively horrified at the very thought of idolatry as their unenlightened predecessors were. Visceral revulsion at the apostasy of laying offerings (even just flowers!) upon or before the altars of pagan deities has, I suspect, become attenuated.

Hence, the gentle and kindly and dangerous elegance of the Age of Nichols.

Whatever might be said about the details or even the spirit of the old Breviary, its overwhelming, cumulative effect must have been powerful to fortify the clergy against the enticements and the cultural attractions of new and newly fashionable syncretisms. 

There may be more subtle methods of securing a tradition than by painstaking historical accuracy. Providence may know of more than one way of killing a cat.

Like Benedict XIV, I see no alternative to sticking with what we had in place before the "reform". That older culture may now seem flawed to some parts of our minds ... to those parts upon which 'Enlightenment' assumptions have most strongly encroached.

But ...

23 October 2022

Christ is King ... but not in Neasden

There is an Internet record (Independent Catholic News November 23 2009) recording a visit made by Archbishop Nichols to a Hindu Temple in Neasden on Saturday 21 November 2009, the Eve of the Novus Ordo celebration of Christ the King. Here is a paragraph.

"Yogvivek Swami guided the Archbishop around the Mandir complex, including the sanctum sanctorum where the Archbishop offered flowers at the altar to the deities. He then moved to the deity of Shri Nilkanth Varni (Bhagwan Swaminarayan) where he joined Yogvivek Swami in praying for world peace and harmony".

The account, which is long and detailed, reads like an official statement or communique. I don't know my way terribly well around the Internet ... can any reader clarify whether this is an official account which perhaps appeared on the Westminster or CBCEW websites before being, er, removed?

If it were accurate, it would interestingly illustrate the difference between the Christus Rex of Pius XI (Quas primas 1925), with its emphasis on the exclusive Lordship of Christ, and the Novus Ordo Christ the King of Bugnini, which would apparently be compatible with idolatrous/syncretistic cultic activity. If it is indeed true that Bugnini belonged to the syncretistic 'Masonic' cult, this would hardly be surprising..

Pius XI quoted the words of Leo XIII: "His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ."

22 October 2022


I have recently taken an interest in the willingness of Diocesan Bishops ... or Vicars Apostolic ... to make interesting liturgical interventions within their jurisdictions without, apparently, the consent of the Roman See. 

In 1441, I think, King Henry VI wrote to Pope Eugenius IV enquiring how the Cause for the Canonisation of King Alfred the Great was proceeding. Since then I have been daily on tenterhooks wondering whether the Holy See has responded, or, if it hasn't, when it will.

Throwing out some encumbrances from my library, I hit upon an old Northampton ORDO (2007, I think) in which October 26 shows "Feria; or St Alfred the Great, King and Confessor - op.mem. (white)".

Does this mean that the Court of S James's has received the much-delayed reply from Rome canonising ... I suppose, equipollently ... King Alfred? Or did the then Bishop of Northampton decide that since Alfred was a first millennium worthy, it would be licit for him as a diocesan bishop to canonise Alfred despite the legislation of Pope Urban VIII reserving such decrees to Rome? Is this eventuality covered by the treatise on the subject by Benedict XIV?

Oh! ... I've just noticed another odd thing ... Alfred is decribed in that ORDO as "King and Confessor". But since the post-conciliar reforms eliminated the title 'Confessor' from the descriptions of Saints in the Sanctorale and Calendar, this canonisation, whether it happened in Rome or in Northampton, must predate the 1960s. Turning the clock back here, aren't we?

Very mysterious. Can anyone help? Has anybody got a Northampton ORDO later than 2007? If so, can you let us know ... has that Daring Diocese continued to observe "S Alfred" on October 26? 

21 October 2022

Liturgical Vicars Apostolic: Bonventure Giffard

Fr Richard Whinder has very kindly provided the extremely interesting information that Bishop Richard Challoner, of whose liturgical interests I wrote recently, was not the first of our Vicars Apostolic to have a hand in the provision of a National Proper for this Kingdom of England. His predecessor, the great Bonaventure Joseph Giffard, Bishop of Madaura, sometime President of Magdalen College in this University, bombarded Rome with requests for a National Proper; his particular devotion was to S Augustine. He found that Rome lacked proper urgency in this matter. Angrily, he wrote:
"I shall trouble them no more on this account, but doe by my own authority, what they neglect. If this displeases the fault is theirs. If I have not their approbation by the end of October, I will order the keeping of this Feast, and signify the same in our Directory".

Clearly, a reply was not forthcoming; because in his 1733 ORDO S Augustine duly appears, as a Greater Double, with the defiant note "De Mandato Reverendissimi Madaurensis". (Incidentally, presumably in honour of his Patron Saint, he ordered S Joseph to be added to the Litanies after S John Baptist.) The Proper orationes and the Second Nocturn Readings are the same that, in the nineteenth century, we find given for S Augustine in the Propers for England.

(Fr Whinder found the Ordo in the Westminster archives; other information came from Dom Basil Hemphill's 'The Early Vicars Apostolic of England'.)

20 October 2022


I find it hard to express adequately the great debt I feel I owe to Cardinal Mueller for his unfailing and continuing defence of the Catholic Faith during these dark days of papal apostasy. It fills the need that many of us feel for the sort of sound, and intelligent, teaching we received in the last two pontificates.

May I, today, remind you of the Magisterial "Manifesto of Faith" which his Eminence issued on 8 February 2019.

Remarkable was the fact that in Section 2 of this Credo  ... "The Church." ... it did not mention the Petrine, Papal, ministry.

I venture to suggest that a reason for this may be as follows.

" ... the [Vatican I] definition of infallibility has a logical status quite different from that of any other definition; it is a second-order definition, a definition about definitions, whereas they are first-order definitions, definitions about the faith. Thus to be told that, under certain conditions, the Pope is infallible, is not to be told anything about the Christian faith at all; it is only to be told something about the conditions under which you may be told something about it."

I think that this is a valuable insight with regard to the exercise of the papal ministry as a whole, and not only those exercises of it which directly involve the question of formal Infallibility. 

It comes from The Recovery of Unity, 1958, by the Reverend Professor Doctor Eric Mascall, of this University. He was a logician, a mathematician, a theologian, whom Fr Aidan Nichols, O.P. praised in 1993 as a 'separated doctor' of the Catholic Church. 

Dr Nichols, by the way, before his most interesting relocation to Jamaica, very importantly drew to our attention the need, during the post-Bergoglian pontificate, for serious theological work on the exercise of the Petrine Ministry. 

Rather than centring embarrassingly upon the particular disasters of this unfortunate pontificate, it might be more useful (as well as more tactful) to concentrate on the identification of different types of papal intervention. Helped by a few miracles of taxonomical wizardry, we might identify ways of wriggling out of "the mess" in which PF will have left us, while still retaining a Petrine Ministry.

19 October 2022

A Royal Visit, which might have changed History.

 Very best wishes to all readers on this auspicious Festival of S Frideswide, Patron of the City and University of Oxford. Of course, I am observing the day as a Double of the First Class.

During the 1980s, some savants shewed quite a lot of interest in historical aspects of the Shrine of S Frideswide at Oxford (you will know such names as Biddle and Mayr Harting); articles which you could read, if you wanted to do so, by chasing up papers published in the periodical Oxoniensia which are listed in the footnotes accompanying S Frideswide's entry in Wikipaedia

Here is a little taster. 

Richard Pace, Secretary to King Henry VIII, reported to Cardinal Wolsey, that there was a rumour that "Queen Catherine of Aragon was with child". Pace, naturally, hoped fervently that the child might be a boy. The court from which he wrote was, on 16 April 1518, at Abingdon (melius Abendon); it moved to Woodstock by the 18th. 

"The Queen took the opportunity to visit Oxford en route, and to call upon the former royal almoner to Henry VIII who had preached at the funeral of ... the first of her three baby boys in 1511 ... Richard Rawlyns, Warden of Merton. He entertained her to a meal, and recorded his enthusiasm for her prestigious visit in his own hand in the College Register, where he compared her to Juno and Minerva. To this day a portrait of her (perhaps contemporary) hangs in the Warden's House ... but her visit to Oxford was much more than a social occasion. She also went to the Shrine of the Saint in the Priory and sought a miracle - a male heir for the Tudors.

"On the failure of the Anglo-Saxon princess to answer [the Queen's] prayers hung the fate of the English Reformation."

Sic J.R.L. Highfield. 

King James VII and II and his Queen Mary of Modena were to be luckier in their visit to Holywell a century and a half later... although a cynic might wonder what ultimate good that pilgrimage did.

18 October 2022

Anglicans, and the Confessional

I believe that a very serious situation is arising for ecumenical dialogue, and especially for the now-pointless (but still-expensive) organisation called ARCIC. 

ARCIC and its dialogue were set up on the explicit premise that the old disagreements would be sorted out, and that neither 'side' would put in place any new divergences

I wonder if the question of the Seal of the Confessional has ever been discussed at any level of 'ecumenical dialogue', nationally or internationally.

Whether or not it has, the subject is now about to become horribly relevant. This is because, in England, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is about to publish its Final Report, and this will be followed by heavy pressure for the (as yet unrepealed) canon maintaining the Seal of the Confessional in the C of E to be changed.

Some historical background.

This is how ARCIC has behaved from beginning to end. Hunwicke's First Law of Ecumenism is: ARCIC NEVER DISCUSSES ANYTHING RELEVANT. ARCIC began work in a decade when the chickens of Lambeth 1932 were coming home to roost: questions of sexual morality were the issue of the day.

These sexual concerns, in turn, bear upon the more basic question of the twentieth and twenty first centuries: whether Christians should resist, or follow, the Spirit and fashions of the Age. 

So what did the negotiators do?  

They buried their noses in Transubstantiation.

A little later, the Evangelicals wanted 'Justification' dealt with (Newman had disposed of it in a couple of hilarious pages in chapter XVII of Loss and Gain ... but no matter). At that time, in fact, the 'New Look' on S Paul had received broad adherence among Pauline scholars (Ed Sanders ... Covenantal Nomism ...) but the ARCIC wonderboys ignored all that and confined their discussions entirely within the cobwebby categories of three centuries of Prod scholasticism.

Of course, the ARCIC understanding, that neither side would introduce new divergences, had to be bull-dozed out of the way in order to allow for the 'ordination' of women to sacerdotal ministries within most Anglican provinces. 

But the new imminent divergence concering the Seal of the Confessional is, in some ways, even graver. You see, with the Anglicans going down that path, matters will be made much more difficult for Catholic clergy who may be prosecuted for failing to delate paedophile penitents. Catholic clergy will have been hung out to dry by their Anglican 'friends'.

The Anglicans will also have made it easier for Catholic priests to be sent to prison for contempt of court ... since, of course, a Catholic priest in the witness box is unable even to say "I never heard that in my Confessional", because one is not allowed to say anything about what transpires there. Or even to indicate it by a nod or a wink or a hint or an allusion.

Some moralists used to argue that one could deny having heard something in the confessional by assuming "I heard it while acting as a conduit to God; I did not hear it qua Father X". But this could have the unfortunate effect ... think about it ... of providing a court with evidence which could let a guilty defendant off the hook.

And it's even nastier than that. Anglican clergy probably hear very few confessions compared with the many that some Catholic clergy hear. So the Anglicans would be abandoning their Catholic 'partners in ecumenical dialogue' to be persecuted by the agents of the Zeitgeist with regard to a subject which really matters very little to the overwhelming majority of  Anglicans.

Well, so be it. It's a shame the Anglicans are so willing to kick Catholics in the teeth, especially after all those hypocritical decades of pious but wet nonsense about 'Ecumenism'. 

Perhaps it's just that they find it so terribly hard to get out of the habit of persecuting Catholics. But there is no need to worry, is there: in a century or two, with tears of emotion pouring from their  hypocritical eyes, their successors will formally and grandly apologise to our successors. 

Apology, of course, will make everything All Right, won't it?

In the mean time, we should stop wasting time and resources on dialogue, and tell the Anglicans what they can do with their ARCIC. 

The money thus saved could be spent dewreckovating sanctuaries.

17 October 2022

Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Mindful, as we presbyters dutifully are, of the approach at the end of this month of the Feast of Christ the King, I looked out the Form of Consecration ordered by the dear old Sacred Congregation of Rites (28 April 1926) to be made on that Day.

I discovered a curiosity. On the Internet I found an English translation one paragraph longer than the Latin form printed in the current (editio quarta 1999) Enchiridion Indulgentiarum.

That missing paragraph prays for those still involved in the darkness of Idolatry or Islamism, and concludes "Turn thine eyes of mercy towards the children of the race once called thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Saviour; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life".

I'm not sure that the word "once" is necessary, and I do think that this form of words, to a pedantic or already prejudiced mind, might obscure the facts that it was only some  Jews in one particular place at one particular time who "called down the Blood of the Saviour" ... and by no means all the Jews of every time and place. How could it have been? Our blessed Lady, surely, did not join in that cry, and she is a Jewess, the Daughter of Sion. Similarly, it was not all the Romans, or all the soldiers, of all the times and places, who drove in the nails, but one particular infantry platoon.

Yet some such prayer seems all the more appropriate as we approach the End Times, when all Israel will be brought in (Romans 11:13 to end, especially 26). We are all impoverished if we forget the eschatological dimensions of the Apostolic Preaching. (S Paul's teaching about the Faithful Remnant is also important.)

And our Faith risks being unbalanced if we forget the importance in Divine Providence of that remarkable People.

16 October 2022


 It's published ... but why is it so important?

Peter Kwasniewski's The Once and Future Roman Rite is hot off the 'Tan' presses. May I  concisely run through why this is such an important book.

Fashions change in all fields of thought. And, since the 1960s, lots of changes have happened in Liturgy.

But Liturgy, for the believer and her husband, is more important than practically everything else. Extremely important. Because it goes right to the heart of our lives as Christians.

And the changes made in the last half-century have not been gentle and slight. They have been massive and radical and ... yes, diabolical in origin. They have been accompanied by violent campaigns of disinformation ... a  lot of it concerned with what the Vatican Council did or didn't say, did or didn't command or forbid.

And this new and splendid book gathers up masses of the academic work done since the 1970s.

Now ... here's a weird thing. A very large percentage of this fine academic work has been done by laypeople, men and women. There is a very good reason for this ... the current F-word:


Priests and ordained theologians can be bullied into silence. There are, believe me, some very nasty (and dishonest) people out there.

That is why it has been left to laypeople to work out, and to publish, the Truth.

Please believe me ... you need to force the publishers to run off thousands of copies of Kwasniewski.

15 October 2022

They want Cardinal Koch to apologise . But will he grovel profoundly enough?

The scandal is this: Koch has dared to say that trends which are widespread in today's German Church resemble trends among certain German Christians during the Nazi Ascendancy. 

How offensive! 

For heaven's sake: the Nazis wore shiny jackboots and went around hurting people. They were unkind to Jews and homosexuals. But how different is your modern German Catholic ... all Kindness and Light. For example: he displays the Love of the God of Love to the remarried divorcees; to homosexuals and 'trans' people. 

Hadn't you noticed?

How plain wicked to compare two such totally antithetical groups! One lot so abominably nasty, the other lot so quintessentially the epitome of all that is Nice and Good.

Once upon a time, there was a day when the Gestapo raided diocesan offices and presbyteries all over Germany. The previous day, Palm Sunday, when the churches were packed, priests all over Germany had read publicly the Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge of the Holy Father Pope Pius XI.  It had been smuggled into Germany in the Nuncio's Diplomatic Bag and secretly printed (rather like when the secret press was thumping away in the attic of Stonor House to produce S Edmund Campion's Decem Rationes); secretly distributed by special couriers and proclaimed in every pulpit. And nobody leaked it; at least, not in time for the government to intervene. 

It burst upon the Fuehrer and his admirers as the most wonderful surprise. Not many people in the state apparatus will have had much sabbath rest that Sunday, as arrangements were frantically made to secure all copies for destruction. Rumour has it that in some places a copy was hidden in the Tabernacle. Unrubrical, as you will remind me; but, dare I say it, most wonderfully suitable. To Prepon!

It had been drafted by Cardinal Faulhaber, Fr Ratzinger's ordaining bishop, no 'leftie' but an old-style conservative German nationalist; and it was toughened up a little by Cardinal Pacelli. Sadly, since I am not a Germanist, I am reduced to reading it in an English translation. But it still strikes me as immensely moving: to hear the authentic voice of the Vicar of Christ roundly condemning the Zeitgeist of the 1930s in such ringing and unmistakable tones brings tears to my eyes. Those were the days! I commend it to you, if you have not read it recently, or at all. 

It condemns the then dominant ideology of Race and of Blood, and of a Superman who mystically incarnates in his own person those crazed and dangerous myths. But in its essence, it condemns an evil that is still very much with us today despite any and every legislative proscription of Nazism: the attempt, any and every attempt, to set up a rival to Christ the King.

That is what the Nazis did. Despite a very different cultural appearence, that is precisely what is being done today in 'Modern' and 'Western' countries ... including our own and including Germany. The slight difference is that, in Germany, the tyranny of the Zeitgeist appeasrs to have been adopted as the official and imposed dogma of the 'Catholic' Church.

The real object of the Letter of Pius XI was the habit of pandering to, of following, of tolerating the Spirit of the Age. At our present moment, the Zeitgeist summons us, both here and in Germany, to applaud Abortion; Fluid Gender; all Sexualities which dissociate the sexual act from the actions of a Man married to a Woman. Then, the Age commended to its craven victims and stooges the murderous ideology of Race and Blood. 

With thoroughly Petrine intolerant insensitivity, the Vicar of Christ condemned the error of his day, and did so boldly, even dramatically. This is the duty of every Roman Pontiff ... and of every minister of the Word of God ... of every Christian!! ... in every age.

Perhaps PF will get round to doing this before his pontificate ends. May the Almighty give him long enough to do so before it is too late.

Evil wears a different face and speaks a different patois in each different era. The smart thing is to be able to spot it despite its differing disguises. Jackboots in one age; soft music and a kindly affirming smile at the door of the abortion clinic in the next. 

But the dogma is the same, the same the murderous enormity.

Pius XI's Mit Brennender Sorge is a condemnation of all the fashionable dogmas of all the ages which challenge the Lordship of the Redeemer.

Long live Christ the King!

14 October 2022

Yarooh ... you rotters ...

In the corridors of power of our great imperial nation, I think there is, this evening, one fewer of the alumni of the large school near Slough.  

Is this a good thing?

13 October 2022

Sack them. Just clear the lot of them out. Dump them in the Tiber to worship Pachamama.

I recall the intelligent hope of Benedict XVI that the "two forms" of the Roman Rite (the poor thing never had a  Roche to correct his double vision) would coalesce. I'm a moderate and eirenic sort of chap, so I thought that (although this may not be not strictly legal) I would use the Novus Ordo proper texts this year in my (of course) Authentic Use Mass for S John Henry Newman. So I got them up on my computer screen, and had an open-minded look at them.

I try always to be positive.

Oh dear ... ... several times over ... ... dearie me ... off to the fridge for a White Lady ...

Here is the Latin of the (Roche?) Post communionem:

Domine, laetantes de Christo, Pane vita, nuper suscepto, in hac festivitate beati Ioannis Henrici, supplices deprecamur ut, numquam, cordibus intactis, animos moventes, testimonium nostrum magis magisque certum fier valeat.

I presume that Pane vita is a typo for Pane vitae.

I presume that fier is a typo for fieri. 

So you may care to correct those two sweet little howlers before I go on to make my main proposal.

Done that?


Now see if you can make any grammatical sense of the section from deprecamur to the end. 

I certainly can't. At least, not unless I adopt the usage so often used by eight year olds who have been poorly taught, the Nominative Absolute.  

Perhaps we should rename it the Roche Absolute?

[Here is the English crib: O Lord, as we rejoice to receive Christ, the living Bread, on this feast day of Saint John Henry Newman, so may our witness be made more real, never moving minds without touching hearts.] 

I'll never flirt again with any idea of ever going within a million miles of that gross "Unicus Usus" PF refers to, even with incendiary devices and armour-plated rosaries. I rigidly promise! And I beg readers to flog mercilessly pupils whose grammar falls as low as this.

We must stamp out this vile thing!



12 October 2022

... plurimosque annos ...

 Bishop Bernard Wall (1894-1976) of Brentwood (1955-1969) was a good latinist. 

At the end of an audience which the English Catholic bishops had of Pope S John XXIII, Wall intoned the chant Ad multos annos, often sung among Catholic clergy in this country on joyous occasions ... for example, when distinguished Dominican theologians are sent to salt mines in Jamaica.

The Holy Pontiff did not long survive this experience.

Could this sort of thing happen nowadays?

11 October 2022

The First and Last Gospel

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the Flesh, nor of the will of Man, but of God. So the Johannine prologue, the Christmas Gospel in the Missa in Die, the wonderful pericope which we read day after day at the end of Mass, describes those who have 'received' Him. By Baptism, we have that New Birth which is of God and not of human begetting.

But there is a very early variant reading in some witnesses to the text of S John: Who was born .... In other words, the sentence is made to refer to the Lord Himself and to His Virginal Conception. It fits rather well, doesn't it?

The scholarly consensus has always been that the text as usually translated is the correct one. Frankly, I've never been completely sure about that. (My old mentor in the science art of Textual Criticism, the immortal Professor G D Kilpatrick, was once prepared to accept the reading of a single Armenian ms contra mundum, so determined was his 'eclecticism'.) The old 'Westcott and Hort' Victorian certainty, the superstition of 'the best manuscript' -  the idea that if only we had sufficient evidence ('O God, please give us some fantastic First Century Papyri!') we would be able to reconstruct the authorial original that came hot from the pen of S John -  represents an attitude to Textual Criticism which among Classicists has either been abandoned or qualified.

But, assuming that the Textus Receptus is indeed to be followed, it nevertheless remains true that S John is here deftly alluding to the Lord's Virginal Conception; and that the Fathers and scribes who produced the variant reading accurately picked up and made explicit an implication which the Evangelist intended to be perceived. He is saying 'Nudge nudge, of course we know that the Lord was born of a Virgin; but I want you to realise that your own New Birth, in Him, is just as Virginal as his temporal Conception'. That's the sort of way the Fourth Evangelist works. (He doesn't, for example, describe the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, but he does give us his Chapter 6.) Could the Disciplina arcani have something to do with this? We remember the words of S Ignatius of Antioch that the Virginity of Mary and her Childbearing and the Death of the Lord  were Three Mysteries of a Cry [krauges] which were hidden from the Devil, wrought in the stillness of God (Ad Ephesios XIX 1 et vide egennethe in v. sup.).

Incorporated into Him, we are made sharers in His Divine, unfleshly, Birth "from above" (gennethentes anothen), just as we also share His Death and His Resurrection.

So we are Sons of the Father, Corde nati ex Parentis, and Enfants de Marie, just as the Lord himself was.

10 October 2022


What is "Textual Criticism,"?  I thought I'd offer a few words about what that term means ... because, in my bitter experience, even very well-informed people often misunderstand it. You can even find the term misunderstood in otherwise respectable books.

Textual Criticism does not mean commenting on a text; going deeply into its meaning; explaining to people who don't understand it what the author was getting at; still less does it mean criticising it in the sense of explaining why it's wrong! 


Textual Criticism means this: -

Pre-modern and early modern editions of an ancient text rarely give us that text as it sprang like Athene straight from the head of its author. Almost invariably, a text has been transmitted by scribal copying, during which changes will have been made. Sometimes these changes are mistakes (like leaving out a line in error); sometimes they are intentional (I can improve that; or He can't really have meant that; or I think I'll bring this verse of S Mark into line with the parallel passage in S Matthew; or This is in rather awful Greek ... I'd better correct it ...etc. ad infinitum). So you will find that no two manuscripts are entirely the same.

Textual Criticism means using very many different skills to try to get back, from the available copies, to what the author actually did write. Although ... many of us now doubt whether the 'original text' really is always (even in principle) ascertainable, because in the Ancient World at least some sorts of texts existed fluidly rather than statically (a bit like your favourite Cookery Book in your kitchen, where, over the passing years, you have entered in some of your own discoveries ... changed the quantities here ... extended the cooking times because of the idiosyncrasies of your own oven ... written in a new recipe there ...). 

Shakespearian scholars among you will know that, even after the invention of printing, Textual Criticism still cannot be avoided, because the questions of 'Actors' copies', modified within the actual process of dramatic production, and of 'pirated' editions, published from a shorthand copy, muddy the waters. 

And have you ever looked at the Oxford Edition of Wordsworth? Phew!!

Talk about "fluid texts"!!!

The Authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church has, for millennia, cheerfully accepted and employed Textual Criticism; perhaps most notably when S Jerome and, later, Roman Pontiffs were working on the Vulgate ... compare the 1590 Vulgate of pope Sixtus V; and the later Vulgate of pope Clement VIII ... which itself appeared in no fewer than three editions! Likewise, when S Pius V had the Missale Romanum revised ...

So it's Megauntraddy to be suspicious of Textual Criticism!

That doesn't mean that it's OK to behave like PF, and to monkey around with any bit of Scripture that doesn't fit ones own current personal fads.  

That is arrogant ultrahyperueberpapalist Bergoglianity.

9 October 2022

Newman's Conversion ... a different angle!

The poor, pompous egotist Mark Pattison, writing long after he had lost his own faith, gives this account of October 1845:
"On the 9th of October 1845 it was known that Newman had resigned his fellowship. On 10th October, Church showed me a note from Newman to him, announcing his coming reconciliation to the Catholic Church by Father Dominic [which had of course by that day already occurred]. It is impossible to describe the enormous effect produced in the academical and clerical world, I may say throughout England, by one man's changing his religion. But it was not consternation; it was a lull - a sense that the past agitation of twelve years was extinguished by this simple act; and perhaps a lull of expectation to see how many he would draw with him. Instead of a ferocious howl, Newman's proceeding was received in respectful silence, no one blaming. But as there must always be an advocatus diaboli, this part was sustained by the Vicar of St Thomas (!) [Pattison's own parenthetic exclamation mark] who went about inveighing against Newman's honesty in putting out the theory contained in his last sermon; 'He didn't believe it when he wrote it'".

It is not clear to me what, exactly, in Newman's Parting of Friends sermon, my Anglican predecessor Thomas Chamberlain might have deemed to be so dishonest.

There is an interesting episode in the life of George Bampfield, a Master at Lancing College (largely autobiographical though written in the third person): "He could no longer stay at Lancing, and went, as a last resource, to S Thomas', Oxford, then under Mr Chamberlain, the editor of the Church Times. One day his vicar came into his room, and noticing among his books a Totum [the entire Breviary in one volume instead of four] which belonged to one of Mr Bampfield's brothers, and which he himself had hardly opened, said: 'There is no use talking to you; you are gone'. The vicar was a true prophet; for after three Sundays Mr Bampfield left Oxford and determined to be reconciled to the Church of the Saints". He went to Brompton, where (13 August 1855) Fr Faber received him into Full Communion, more or less on the doorstep.

Perhaps the reason Bampfield went to Chamberlain was his perception of S Thomas's as by far the most 'advanced' church in England; Eucharistic Vestments in some shape or form* may have been in use since the early 1840s, and incense was established by the mid-1850s. In other words, Bampfield or his advisers felt that if S Thomas's, with all its Romish extremism, could not retain him in the Church of England, no parish church could. Possibly the meaning of Pattison's exclamation mark is: "And that from a dishonest extremist like Chamberlain of all people!!"


*Initially, it seems, more than one Oxford red silk MA hood sewn together (by Chamberlain's cousin the religious foundress Marion Hughes) so as to make a 'chasuble' not too alarmingly different from the MA hood to which conservative worshippers were accustomed. At Pentecost 1854 a proper purpose-made chasuble (Roman shape) was taken into use.

8 October 2022

The Preface of All Saints

Many readers will be aware of the 'Gallican' preface of All Saints (and of Patrons) included in the prefaces which were authorised for the 'Extraordinary Form' in 2020. They had, in fact, been widely used, especially in France, long before 1962 (ad libitum in successive SSPX ORDOs). These 'Gallican' prefaces derive ultimately from the Paris Missal of 1738. The CDF decree of 2020 also permitted the Preface of All Saints to be used in Masses of Patrons and of Titulars. So they are authorised for S John Henry Newman on October 9.

This will be why today, throughout the Traddisphere, there is the sound of keen clerics gumming this preface into their Altar Books.

In the Good Old Days, the proper preface of a major festival was used throughout its octave (even when the Mass was not of the octave). In the spirit of this tradition, I venture to suggest the propriety of using the All Saints preface on November 5 wherever the Mass pro aliquibus locis is said of the Holy Relics.

Wherever, in the week after All Hallows, the calendar of an area or religious order has a "Feast of All Saints of X", the All Saints preface can hardly be seen as inappropriate. November 6, of course, is the festival of All Saints of Ireland; and the old Octave Day, November 8, has been widely kept since 1928 as the Feast of All Saints of England (and Wales).

In confirmation of my instinct, the Ordinariate Missal admirably provides for the use of an All Saints preface on the Feast of All Saints of England or Wales (although the prefaces offered do not include the 'Gallican' preface).

7 October 2022

Free the Slaves

The most holy Theotokos protected Christendom from Islamic onslaughts so many times over two millennia; who would have thought that we would be calling on the hypermakhos strategos yet again in this third millennium? 

Has she got to do it all over again: pounding from the slaughter-painted poop, Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop, Scarlet running over on the silver and the golds, Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds ... 

In our own Western societies, our home-grown corruptions are, possibly, even more corrosively dangerous than the external threats because we have grown resigned to them. 

We need to arrange our own domestic problems for the Victrix of Lepanto to line up in her sights.

The Victory is already won. Her Son has said tharseite, ego nenikeka ton kosmon: where (John 16:33) the Greek perfect tense nenikeka indicates a present fact constituted by a decisive action in the past. The Victory is there; mopping up operations are all that is left.

That is why our Lady of Victory can confidently predict: My Immaculate Heart will prevail.

6 October 2022

Censing the Elements at the Offertory

Few liturgical ceremonies seem to me more appropriate than the way the Offering of the munera is immediately followed by the sight of smoke rising above the Altar ... just as smoke went up from the great Altar in the Temple at Jerusalem. It is, surely the the moment when it most obvious that we are the True Israel.

 Let this incense, blessed by Thee, ascend unto Thee, O Lord; and may Thy Mercy come down upon us. The priest says this as he swirls the incense all over and all round the munera which have been set upon the Altar of the Christian Oblation. The words come from Psalm 140/141.

"The incense was offered morning and evening on its own special golden altar in the Holy Place, in front of the veil, at first by the High Priest only, but under the Second Temple, by the inferior priests also, chosen daily by lot for the office, as was Zachariah the father of John Baptist. Besides this separate burning of incense as an independent offering, it was joined to all the other oblations "of a sweet savour", as something which gave them acceptance; and similarly in the Apocalypse the Angel who stands at the altar with a golden censer, offers the incense 'with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne'. To the Temple sacrifice is added the perpetual intercession of CHRIST, as the Great Angel of the Covenant (compare the prayer Supplices te rogamus), that is, Christ presents His petition amidst the smoke which rises from off the altar of gold."

From the writings of one of our Tractarian Fathers.

5 October 2022

How eternal are the liturgical enactments of Popes?

According to Betsy Livingstone ... I mean, according to The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church ... Cardinal Francisco Quinones, by order of the Pope, compiled a new Breviary, which Paul III published in 1535. It was highly revolutionary. Its use spread like wildfire. It met the needs of current fashion. More than 100 editions appeared between 1536 and 1566. It profoundly influenced the form of the Divine Office used in the Church of England in and after 1549.

It was eventually proscribed in 1558 by Paul IV, Papa Carafa.

You will find many differences between the history of the Quinones Breviary, and events within the Latin Church in the decades after Vatican II. But the parallels are, perhaps, quite as interesting.

As a result of the invention and spread of a new technology, it had sadly become possible to spread extremely untraditional forms of liturgical texts. Fashion had become more prescriptive than Tradition.

But, at the same time, it was not unthinkable for a Pope to suppress and forbid forms encouraged by his own predecessors.

It was not unthinkable for hierarchs and the hierarchy to admit to fallibility,

At the front of my 1946 Breviary, in the customary Summa Bullarum, is the usual sort of stuff about what various popes did ex Decreto Concilii Tridentini; the statement that S Pius V tollit et abolet the Quinones Breviary; some jolly words about Two Hundred Years; and the reassuring si Episcopus et universum Capitulum consentiant.

Was it really the wish of Vatican II that 'modern' popes should become so much more pompous and prescriptive than pontiffs of the Renaissance era were content to be?

Was it ... Hell ...

4 October 2022

Just Wars?

 The only occasion when I have taken part in a public demonstration was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was convinced, as I still am, of the Catholic Church's teaching with regard to the conditions to be satisfied if a War is to be deemed 'just'. It is clear to me that a fully nuclear war could never be 'just' because of the principles regarding proportionality. The millions of deaths during and following such a war would be as nothing compared with the damage which would caused to our planet by the thousands of generations of deep radio-active pollution which would ensue.

I was horrified by the nuclear sabre-rattling the other day by Vladimir Putin.

Mind you, his rhetoric was, as far as rhetoric inter arma can ever be, fair and just. It is true that America is the only state which has ever used nuclear weapons. I think it highy probable that Kennedy would have used nuclear weapons if Nikita Khruschev had not been prepared to lose face by ordering his bomb-carrying ships to turn back from Cuba.

We owe a lot to that vulgar little man, an active persecutor of Christianity, for averting the risk. Perhaps we ought also to remember the teenage girl with whom Kennedy was indulging his gross sexual incontinence during the hours of the crisis. 'Camelot', indeed!

Problems of irresponsible danger between nuclear powers raised their heads again in 1999. During the Balkans crisis, an American general called Wesley Clark ordered General Sir Mike Jackson, commander of the British component in the NATO forces, to engage militarily with Russian units. Sir Mike observed "I'm not going to start the Third World War for you." Instead of firing rockets, he drove across to the Russky general with whisky and cigars and established a general-to-general relationship. Some polemophiliac Americans suggested that Jackson's action in refusing a direct order on a battlefield from a superior officer had been illegal, but Queen Elizabeth gave him the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

The other day, Vladimir Vladimirovich could very fairly have shared with his hearers some historical facts. What I find profoundly disappointing is his claim that the history of American policy in this matter somehow gives Russia a "precedent".

It doesn't. 

Nothing can. 

Not in a million years.

Vladimir would have shown himself a statesman rather than merely a politician if he had been big enough to say that, despite more than half a century of provocative and immensely dodgy American policies, Russia would, under no circumstances, make first use of nuclear weapons in the Ucrainian theatre.

3 October 2022


T Custodes Article 1:

"The liturgical books promulgated by S Paul VI and S John Paul II, 

in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, 

are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite."

Nobody has yet explained how this strange edict can be fitted into the existence of the Zairean, or Anglican, versions of the Roman Rite. But, before leaving this squalid little document behind, I desire to ask how the middle clause of this fits in. Does it go with the first or with the third clause?

If it is to be taken with the first clause, then special status appears to be given to liturgical enactments which are in conformity with Vatican II, to the disadvantage of papal requirements which are absent from (or a fortiori contradict) Vatican II. 

If it is to be taken with the third clause, the meaning would seem to be that Vatican II gave some sort of Carte Blanche to the as-yet unwritten liturgies destined to emerge from the Roman Committees.

2 October 2022


The two exempla I offered in Part 1 of this were congruent and were both of major theological and cultural significance. The Apostolic Constitution which S John XXIII signed on the High Altar of S Peter's, and the Conciliar requirement of Vatican II that clergy say their Office in Latin, are highly important expressions of a determination, at the loftiest levels of the Magisterium, to retain, even, to strengthen, the links which bind together the life of the Church in a Hermeneutic of Continuity.

Every pope, down to but excluding PF, has reinforced this policy. 

There is something sick, or at least dysfunctional, about a pontificate which ignores this teaching.

At the human level, one could understand a traddy who said "I will take Traditionis Custodes seriously when those jokers in Rome take seriously those major examples of Magisterial teaching with which they themselves happen to disagree."

For tomorrow, TC Article 1, Libri liturgici a sanctis Pontificibus Paulo VI et Ioanne Paulo I promulgati, iuxta decreta Concilii Vatican II, unica expressio 'legis orandi' Ritus Romani sunt."

1 October 2022

So beautiful ... why do they hate it so much?

Perhaps a couple of years ago, in Western Ireland, I had the privilege to be in the company of a very great prelate just after he had offered a pontifical High Mass in the old rite.

Suddenly, quite out of the blue, he murmurred: "So beautiful, so beautiful. Why do they hate it so much?" 

Afterwards, I started to recall the events which followed our entry into Full Communion with the See of S Peter. A determined effort was made to prevent my own admission to the presbyterate of the Latin Church. During those long, difficult, and extraordinarily painful months, I had the advice and support of some very good and holy men. I shall eternally be grateful to them. I remember all of the things that were said to me.

One of them said, and repeated it a number of of times, "John, you simply must realise how strongly these people feel about the 'Extraordinary Form'".

Another said he would explain to me why there was such prejudice against the old Mass. "It's because they associate it with a form of Catholicism which they think of as rigid, sin-obsessed, oppressive, and, frankly, frightening. They are afraid that, with the old Mass, the entire moral and cultural complex which they think they remember will return. And the thought terrifies them."

As the Bergoglians attack the Faith, it seems to me that the most insidious detail is their attempt to keep the Old Mass entirely out of normal parish life. But we need priests in parochial ministry who share the mind and methods of the great Fr Tim, once, so gloriously, of Blackfen. God forbid that the old Mass should be, or even appear to be, a precious ghetto for precious and exclusive clergy and for laity anxious to hide away from their fellow Catholics. 

What is necessary is 'dual economy' parishes ... such as those often provided by the Oratories. An easy and gracious and unneurotic symbiosis ...

Joseph Ratzinger said in the 1990s when some English Catholic bishops were violently resisting a 'Corporate Solution' for Anglican Catholics: "What are they so afraid of?"

So ... To answer the question in my heading ... Fear. They hate the Old Rite because the Enemy has set fear in their hearts. 

And, as C S Lewis once put it, our Foes are "those who have no joy."

Fear is his weapon of choice.