30 April 2023


 Well, having used the Propers for S Joseph on the Wednesday after the Second Sunday after Easter, I can only say how Scriptural, how inspired by the spirit of Typology, I found them. And Genesis 49, with its Benedictions ... Wow! No wonder the confectors of the Post-Conciliar Lectionary ... charged with their Conciliar Mission of expanding the amount of Holy Scripture to be shared with the laity ... decided, er, entirely, um, to (Yes!!) miss it out! God bless them wherever they are. No prizes for suggestions!

Yet, curiously, the Novus Ordo can sometimes be just that weeny bit more welcoming to some healthy liturgical instincts than the 1962 Rite was. Here is what the post-Vatican-II revisers of the Calendar wrote in their (1969) Commentarius:

"The Feast of Ss Philip and James is connected with the dedication of the Roman Basilica of the XII Apostles, performed on May 1 around the year 570. This incredibly ancient [perantiquum] feast of the Apostles was transferred, after the introduction of the feast of S Joseph the Workman in 1955, to the first free day, i.e. to May 11. In the [Novus Ordo] reformed Calendar, May 3 becomes the first free day after the Memoria of S Joseph."

Notice here the tug, the magnetic attraction, of the concept of Auctoritas ... respect for antiquity and for long-sanctioned and far-respected praxis ... a respect which survives even the lately-arrived assumption that positive legal enactment, the whimsy of the latest pontiff, can somehow trump every other consideration. "The Three Maniacs" (sic Bouyer) knew that May 1 was the real day for Pip and Jim ... they instinctively wanted to get the pair of them ... at least ... as close as possible ... to Their Correct Day, May 1. Poor confused poppets.

And please also notice this. In the Novus Ordo S Joseph the Workman is made Optional. Practically, this means that on May 1 you can "lawfully" say a Votive Mass of Ss P and J (as, indeed, of anybody). And, in many years, you might very possibly also be free to say a votive of S Joseph on the Wednesday after the Second Sunday after Easter. 

But, in 1962, the liturgical observation of the Workman (like a dying whale marooned high up a sluggish river) retained the rank of a heavily armoured First Class Sollemnity on May 1.


Wise people who keep an eye on the wise St Lawrence Press ORDO will have noticed that, today, Sunday April 30, "all Masses except the Conventual may be of the Solemnity of S Joseph", i.e. as last Wednesday. This is an agreeable relic of the earlier period when S Joseph was fixed onto the Sunday rather than onto the Wednesday. It is also a relic of an incredibly important instinct that, if clergy spend generations encouraging the People of God to follow some or other pious practice, it really isn't quite decent, all of a sudden, overnight, before breakfast (see the final words of Traditionis custodes), to start sticking up great big unfriendly notices saying VERBOTEN or ACHTUNG MINEN

What a shame nobody ever explained Auctoritas to the Clevers of the 1960s or to Argentinian Altar-Boys.

(Last Gospel, of course, of the Sunday. You realised that was coming, didn't you?)

29 April 2023

"Occasionally" Cantalamessa

In his remarkable homily on the "forth" [sic] Sunday of Lent, Cardinal Cantalamessa said: "I have great respect for the venerable Eucharistic Prayer of the Roman Canon, and love to use it occasionally, being the one with which I was ordained a priest.".

"Occasionally". What the General Instruction says is that this Prayer, Prayer I, is: "semper adhiberi potest". It does not say that about any other Eucharistic Prayer. It goes on to recommend it (opportunius dicitur) in Masses where there is a proper Hanc igitur provided; on festivals of Saints and and Apostles which get a mention in this Prayer; and on Sundays.

[It recommends that Prayer II, the ultra-brief pseudo-Hippolytan prayer, be used (opportunius sumitur) on weekdays.] 

I don't know what the total number of days when Prayer I, the Roman Canon, would be used if these recommendations of the Instructio were followed ... but I think it comes to something rather more than "occasionally".

In any case, it rather looks as though the Roman Canon is the 'fall-back' canon to be used unless there are pressing reasons for using another one.

So that is what the Novus Ordo itself actually recommends.

"Occasionally", indeed. [The three languages in which this homily was published offer these versions: of the English "occasionally": ancora qualche volta; a veces; encore parfois.]

It is noticeable that friends of the Novus Ordo, such as Cantalamessa, are very shy about playing their own favoured game according to its own recommended rules. 

28 April 2023

Ecclesiae Doctor?

 Although not yet so declared, S Louis Grignion de Montfort must surely be a Doctor of the Church. As well as founding religious congregations, he was a New Apostle of Britanny. His name and his ministry came before a greater number of Catholics more recently when S John Paul II took for his own motto the words of S Louis Totus Tuus, relating to our blessed Lady.

Today is his Festival, his memoria. (Appendix pro aliquibus locis.)

I wrote about him on this blog a couple of years ago; about how he came one quiet evening into the little Breton village of La Cheze; found the people people kneeling around a statue of our Lady, in the porch of the Church of La Trinite. Much moved, he gave the statue the title of Our Lady of Light. This devotion he spread (Notre Dame de Clarte; Itron Varia ar Sklerder). A year or so ago a friend of mine, who likes to explore Britanny, discovered (and she kindly photographed it for me) a little chapel of our Lady under this title, associated with the ... incredibly unusual ... figure of Father Sir Harry Trelawney, Baronet, who brought the cult to Cornwall (the shrine is now at Clacton on sea in Essex, together with a fine statue of Grignion.)

Father Faber translated S Grignion's masterpiece Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin:  in his Preface he wrote about how the Saint died at the age of forty three in 1716, after only sixteen years in the sacred priesthood. Faber himself died, exhausted by his labours, at the age of forty-nine. 

Is there, perhaps, a particular and wonderful charism in the Church, of great missionary priests, opponents of Jansenism, who drive themselves to an early death by their Gospel labours?

27 April 2023

Mainly for Lexicographers

 (1) Anglophone readers will be familiar with a ?newish sense of the verb to see.

"I suppose I had better admit that that I've been seeing someone else."

 I interpret this to mean that the speaker probably has been doing something more 'hands on' than mere visual contemplation, however intense.

And I wonder how far back such a quaint, nervous, circumlocution might go.

Back in the nineteen twenties, Mrs Miles (Angela) Bredon declines to agree to taking part in a meeting with the Catholic Bishop of Pullford. 

"I don't think I shall come and see the Bishop. It doesn't sound quite proper, somehow. ..."

(2) "To date". I presume this originally referred to a female "co-ed" looking through her diary and offering an importunate youth a 'date' within its pages. 

But I become more and more suspicion that, nowadays, it means "to meet for purposes of sexual intercourse". As in a recent newspaper heading about a woman claiming to have remained friendly with all four of the men she has married; and with all whom she has "dated".

25 April 2023


 How barbarous, that the present Turkish State continues even now to behave aggressively towards those who continue to remember the Armenian Genocide.

I wonder how many of those who suffered in the recent earthquake were descended from those who murdered and raped and robbed the Armenian populations of the area.

God bless Pope Francis for having, early in his pontificate, spoken openly and frankly about one of the most terrible events of the last century; an event still unrepented. 

Yes; it wasn't only Armenians who suffered: I remember with much respect the horribly martyred hierarch S Chrysostom of Smyrna, the shepherd who did not desert his flock.

But Armenians are entitled, surely, to at least one day in 365. I wonder what the Starmers of this world will have to say about them today.

24 April 2023

Whither S George?

(1) Could  a medievalist explain the thirteen hundreds to me?

In the middle of the century, we find much play with S George and the symbolism of the Garter. 

But when we get to the end of the century, not a whisker.

As I look at the Wilton Diptych, S George ... and the ideology of the Garter ... are dogs that just don't bark in the night. 

Is it a matter of regime-change? Is there any evidence in the Garter archives?

The liturgical dispositions at Exeter by Bishop Grandisson, fourteenth century, include S George with a very low liturgical rank. When the Sarum Rite, in the Tudor period, attains the dignity of lots of printed editions, S George is still on a low liturgical rank.

I'm glad Benedict XIV felt he had to proclaim S George "Protector" [not "Patron", apparently] of the Kingdom ... but I feel there's somehow something missing in my understanding of the development of the cultus.

Does Shakespeare come into the story? Don't tell me that George is partly a fabrication of the Tudor lie-machine ... that would be just too much to swallow ...

(2) I trust that (English) clerical readers used the Proper (i.e. Sunday's) Last Gospel yesterday, at the end of their Masses of S George.

Before the Vile Disruptions, when a Day with its own Proper Gospel was reduced to a Commemoration by another supplanting celebration (as Sunday II post Pascha was yesterday by S George), the Reduced Day was commemorated by having its Collect, Secret, and Post-Communion read after those of the Supplanting Day ... and its Proper Gospel replaced the Johannine Prologue at the end of Mass.

This is in the Spirit of Vatican II (Some of you people seem never to have heard of the Spirit, the vital all-important SPIRIT, of Vatican II) which requires more Bible to be shared with the People (Sacrosanctum Concilium 51). 

When, after the Great Restoration, I am Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, I shall send the most ruthless members of my dicasterial Gestapo round banging on the doors of clergy who don't read Proper Last Gospels.

23 April 2023

Our National Patron?

As the Feast of S George is upon us, I venture to remind English Reverend Brethren in the Sacred Priesthood of the Proper Preface for Patrons authorised in 2020 by the CDF. It came originally from the Patis Missal of 1738, having been composed by Dr Laurent-Francois Boursier [I think he's buried somewhere called, er, Chardonnet). The SSPX used it in France, to which it had been granted by long-standing indult. It has been thought to have a whiff of Jansenism about it: I can't see why ... it seems to me intelligently biblical.

Some time ago, there was a proposal that there should be a Patron Saint of the United Kingdom. I found it strange that such an ephemeral institution as "the Yew Kay" should have a Patron.

All political arrangements are transient and flawed. And the Yew Kay more so than most. It had its genesis in the unwholesome imperatives of the whig agenda after the Dutch Invasion; it subsumed Ireland only in 1800; it then lost most of that island after little more than a century of bungled misrule; and this same Yew Kay retains only a questionable and fiercely debated hold over that part of our own island which Whiggery tried to rename North Britain. 

It seems to me that a much more useful sense of identity is urged by the suggestion in Fr Aidan Nichols' The Realm that Christians should think of having a bipolar existence. We belong to a cultural construct which is 'at once internationalist as the Church of all nations, and yet patriotic'. And surely our priority must be S Paul's striking metaphor that our politeuma is from above: our real passports are issued neither by England nor by the Yew Kay, but in heaven. 

That is why S George is such an totally ideal Patron for England. He's all the more 'ours' because he never even came here! Indeed, Provincia Brittannia had not even become Angleland when S George bore witness. He reminds us that faith in Christ, even unto death, is what takes priority ... by several thousand miles ... over all narrower loyalties.  

According to lectio iv for the dioceses of England at Mattins today, S George was declared Protector of the Kingdom of England by that admirable Pontiff, Benedict XIV, at a time when, according to the constitutional assertion of the intruding Hannoverian Regime, there was no such thing as a kingdom either of England or of Scotland, because they had both been abolished in 1707 by the Act of Union!

This does rather set me wondering. The pontificate of Prospero Lambertini, 1740-1758, was a time when the Holy See recognised the exiled Stuart king de jure, James III, to be King of England. King James it was who formally nominated our Vicars Apostolic. 

And King James (like his successor in 1766, King Charles III) had adopted, for his incognito title, Chevalier de S Georges.

Was that Holy Father deftly seeking heavenly assistance for our de jure liege lord Charles III?

If the Yew Kay were to have its own patron Saint, S Theodore would be my nominee: a Greek-speaking Syrian monk sent by a Pope of Rome to be Archbishop of Canterbury.


22 April 2023

Mags, Martyrs, and Memorials (1)

It's just to the North of Mags churchyard in Oxford; indeed, to be precise, it was built on land which had previously been part of Mags churchyard. It commemorated three clerical gentlemen executed just a few yards round the corner, in the Broad Street. But by the 1830s, with the growth of traffic, you couldn't agitate for building memorials in thoroughfares. Indeed, an earlier projected Martyrs' Memorial bestriding the Broad Street (Edward Tatham 1777), was never built. It would have been a rather fey, Adamsish, confection, including statues of the two bishops (mitred!!) and the words CHRISTUS TRIUMPHAT SANGUINE SUORUM.

So when, in the late 1830s, a movement erupted in Oxford for a memorial to be built to those three, the Northerrn tip of Mags churchyard looking up the wide expanse of S Giles Street to the church of S Giles, was the best available spot.

But this was more than just the erection of any memorial. The building of this memorial was right at the heart of the fierce ecclesiastical politics which were tearing Anglican Oxford apart. 

Oxford had been the centre of Anglican life and doctrine for ceturies. But, recently, a new movement had arisen which seemed set ... and was set ... to destroy Anglican Oxford. That movement appeared to call in question many of the settled assumptions of Anglican Oxford.

Hence there developed a brilliant polemical strategy among the party of those who most admired both Reformers and Reformation. If, so hey thought, we build, by public subscription, a memorial to Archbishop Cranmer and bishops Latimer and Ridley, then, they thought, we shall be able to smoke these Tractarian traitors out of their burrows. Either they will speak up and pay up for this monument to the Reformation martyyrs and heroes ... or, if they don't, they will have been exposed as traitors to the Reformation; as enemiesof Protestant Truth and perverts to the errors and tyrannies of Romanism. 

Gotcha, they believed, both ways.

But they didn't know [S John Henry] Newman. He sensed that Cranmer, in particular, would not stand up to scrutiny as a candidate for proposed public honours. "Cranmer will not stand examination--they are worst friends to him who put him up to be criticised--they are best friends who keep silence ...  Men are for him now--they will be less and less so. The more he is talked of, the less he will be borne." 

 But would refusal to subscribe to this partisan project rouse a clamour againt himself and those associated with him? To his life-long woman friend and confidante Maria Giberne, he wrote "Clamour makes our principles known--and then tires, and leaves us to prove them."

The  Memorial was indeed erected, in the first couple of years of the 1840s. 

It was not at all like Tatham's project.

To be continued.

21 April 2023

O Frabjous Day! Callooh, Callay!

Some big rocket in America has blown up on take-off; the sponsoring organisation, I think I heard, referred to this as an "Erratic unscheduled disassembly".


When some other rocket exploded, some years ago, I recall that the then president (Reagan?) referred to the crew as "having touched the face of God".

I am aware that many people think that I have become too pro-American in my old age. To show that we brits are just as capable as Americans of writing totally and serenely incomprehensible gibberish, allow me to quote some words from the Looking Glass of Lewis Caroll.

"He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought-- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought.

"And as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood. And burbled as it came!

"One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back.

" ' And hast thou slain the Jabberwock! Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy ..."

This poetic masterpiece was rendered into equally sublime Attic Greek iambics by Mgr Ronald Knox, Protonotary Apostolic and Master of Arts of this University.  'burbling' became borbolismos; 'went snicker-snack', esnixen exesnaxen; galumphing', gaukhoumenos; O frabjous day became O trisbakarton emar ...

BRILLIG!! Even, perhaps, UFFISH!


20 April 2023

Knock; Biden; babies.

I do not believe that a priest , bishop, or deacon, should always preach against Abortion. Doing so, risks creating a sense that the homilist has only one message; and lacks balance.

Nor is it always a good thing to speak publicly about this or any other great evil. Doing so, might cause some people to claim or to feel that the homilist is using the pulpit to advantage one particular political interest. "A quiet word" might, indeed, sometimes be most appropriate.

So I was not too disturbed about the welcome given to Mr Biden at the Shrine of our Lady of Knock. Perhaps the Shrine Administrator ... or the Diocesan Bishop ... did take the opportunity gently and pastorally to commend to him the Church's teaching, but did it well away from the ears of the media.

But the Biden/Knock event does still worry me. There was once, I think I remember, a time when some American Politicians approached the question of Abortion by claiming that they were (personally!) opposed to it; but, they suggested, they were approaching the question by grappling with social problems, such as poverty, in order to eliminate the motives which impelled women to seek such a horrific 'remedy'. I was far from easy about this approach; but I do feel that Biden (in any case) has moved on from such formulae  to what sounds to me like an unqualified support of Abortion.

There have been rumours that the entire liturgical programme at Knock was put on hold for the presidential visit. If true, this, apart from any other consideration, disquiets me.

All of this feeds a distinct sense of uneasiness in my mind about the public stance of the Irish Catholic Church regarding Biden's overt complicity in this mass-murder of the unborn.

I am not either American or Irish or both, and am therefore (wide) open to the accusation of putting my foot in and pontificating about matters wherein I have no competence; and which are none of my business anyway. But the Catholic Church claims universality, and this makes grave moral issues a matter of concern to any and every Catholic in every and any land at any and every time.

Can anybody set my anxieties at rest?

19 April 2023

RATZINGER 1961 (2)

"Early Catholic theology  ... uses the word 'apostolic' in a very precise and and strictly limited sense. It is used to designate only that very limited number of sees standing in a special, verifiable, historic relation to the apostles, a relation other sees do not enjoy ... Thus, the catholicity of a see was not measured simply by its size, but by its 'weight', or importance; that importance, however, depended on apostolicity. ...

"... when the Church thus first undertook consciously to define her own nature, i.e., to formulate the 'canon' of her being, was neither an episcopal theology nor indeed a papal theology. It was dual ... the duality  ... has nothing to do with later patriarchal theory. ... The more New Rome  ... obscured the old idea of the apostolic see in favour of the patriarchal concept, the more Old Rome emphasised the completely different origin and nature of its authority ...

" The majority of the bishops has, from time immemorial in the Chuch, been determined not simply by the externally greater number, but by the 'weight' of the sees."


18 April 2023

A revised list ...

 ... of sentiments banned from the Comments thread of this blog.

(1) Expressions of what is commonly categorised as Sede-vacantism.

(2) Expressions of what is commonly categorised as Anti-semitism.

(3) Assertions that the Roman Canon once contained what is commonly regarded as an Epiclesis, i.e. a prayer asking the Father to send down the Holy Spirit upon the elements in order to change them into the Body and Blood of the Lord.

Number 3 is now added because I got tired of being offered comments like the one, not enabled, which (condescendingly, I felt) informed me that Adrian Fortescue wrote that the Roman Canon once had an Epiclesis. I commend to the writer of that comment, my piece of April 10. (I first purchased and read Fortescue when I was a schoolboy, back in the 1950s.)

RATZINGER 1961 (1)

 The corruption of the Petrine Ministry which has characterised the last decade creates, in my view, an obligation to attempt to discern and to recover sources of uncorrupted teaching. I wish to draw attention to a piece written by Joseph Ratzinger on the eve of the Council (1961), published in The Episcopate and the Primacy. It is an early expression of the fine account of the concepts of Apostolic Tradition which we received later in part 4 of his The Spirit of the Liturgy (2000); in particular, his reference therein to "forms of the apostolic tradition and of its unfolding  in the great places of the Tradition.".

Already in 1961, Ratzinger understood that "according to the [first] Vatican Council, not only episcopalism but also papalism in the narrower sense must be regarded as a condemned doctrine." I offer some extracts.

"Before the idea of New Testament Scripture, as a 'canon', was formulated the Church had already worked out another notion of canon. She had her Scripture indeed in the Old Testament, but this Scripture needed a canon, that is, a rule of interpretation, in accordance with the New Christian Covenant. This the Church found in tradition, guaranteed by succession. 'Canon', as von Harnack once drastically formulated it, was 'originally the rule of faith; actually, Scripture entered into it only afterwards' ... there is in the Church, according to the early anti-gnostic theologians, a 'tradition' insofar as the primary seat of the auctoritas apostolica is the Church preaching the livng word ... to accord priority to the living word of preaching over Scripture alone is genuinely in keeping with the New Testament ...

" ...  In proof of their error the Gnostics were not referred to the episcopal office as such in the Church, but to the apostolic sees, i.e., those sees where apostles had once worked or which had received apostolic letters. In other words not every episcopal see was apostolic, but only that limited number which stood in a unique and special relationship to the apostles. 

"Tertullian ... Proxima est tibi Achaia, habes Corinthum. Si non longe es a Macedonia, habes Ephesum. Si autem Italiae adiaces, habes Romam, unde nobis quoque [Africanis] auctoritas praesto est."

To be continued

17 April 2023


Points arising from recent comments or questions:

(1) The private Offertory prayer of the Celebrant, Veni Sanctificator ... is not an epiclesis. It does not ask for God to do anything except bless; it was not in the Roman Mass until the late Middle Ages; it is absent from ... for example ... the Dominican Rite and the Sarum Rite.

(2) The ICEL phrase "Make it spiritual" does not involve the Holy Spirit. Rationabilem, repesenting the Greek logiken, was used in the Patristic period to make clear that, in the Christian Sacrifice, there is no qestion of a farmyard ... or other ... animal having its life terminated. logike was sometimes coupled with "unbloody", for this same reason.

(3) The Prayer formerly known as 'Hippolytus' does not exhibit in all its versions an epiclesis. When Dix wrote in 1944 he believed that the Prayer was 'hippolytan' but not that the original text had had an epiclesis. He footnoted "This clause is more likely (on the textual evidence) to be a fourth century addition than Hippolytus' third century text". 

As far as I am aware, everybody agrees that the Roman Canon does not have an epiclesis, whether they find this satisfactory or not.

In Oriental contexts, I see no reason to interfere. They have developed their own holy and venerable rites, and for me to start lecturing them would be a plain impertinence. But why should the holy and venerable Roman Rite be marched into line with the later Oriental Rites?

The Roman process of consecration is, as I have explained before, perfectly simple. The Father is asked ... quite a number of times ... to accept the Offering. He asked to accept it so that it may be the Lord's Body and Blood because that is what he promised. Because he accepts it, it is the Body and Blood. We do not need, nor does the Father need this, for us to give him procedural advice: "Ah, Father, and by the way: we do not think it is adequate for you simply to accept; things won't, y'know, work unless you also send down your transmuting Spirit in order to effect the transformation."

In my view, the Roman Canon has a conceptual clarity which makes it unnecessary for us to interfere.

16 April 2023


As I understand it, the Saturday of Easter Week, in the ancient Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries, is the 'Close of Easter'. The Gregorian collect of that day talks about us having celebrated the Paschal Feasts (paschalia festa egimus), and Gelasianum numbers the following Sundays as 'after the close of Easter'.

The post-Conciliar reforms
made much of Easter being 50 days long and being one single Great Day of Festival. They renamed the Sundays as 'of Easter' rather than 'after Easter, and chucked out the old collects for the Sundays after Easter (their best hope for any sort of survival was to be assigned to the season per Annum) because they didn't consider them 'Paschal' enough. To replace them, they cobbled together a set of collects which was substantially new. They gave their game away by transferring the Collect for the Sunday after Easter (with its talk about now having finished the festa Paschalia) to the Saturday before Pentecost.

The Church of England, with its Liturgical Commission dominated by 'Bubbles' Stancliff and passionate as ever for any passing popish bandwagon, drove the tendency even further. The addition of Alleluias to Dismissals (which even Bugnini's collaborators had confined to the Octave of Easter) was extended to the whole Fifty Days. A number of variations in the liturgy, to mark and enhance the unitary nature of the Fifty Days, was confected and embodied in the C of E's new "Common Worship".

I wonder just how securely founded in both the Bible and the patristic traditions, of West as well as East, this newly minted view of Eastertide is. It certainly seems to be true that the reforms of the 1970s represented a new divergence between the customs of West and of East: by levelling out Eastertide we lost the ecumenical convention, which we shared with Orthodoxy, of marking the unique character of this one very special week by allowing it to retain a whole lot of unique (mostly archaic) liturgical features. The Byzantines delightfully call it 'Bright Week' (I resist the temptation to repeat all the information in the Wikipedia entry sub hac voce) and they make the service each day to be completely unlike that of any other week of the year. One example in our Western idiom of thus making Easter week 'strange' was the traditional Western disuse of Office Hymns during this week; in place of them and of other elements in the Office, we used simply to sing the anthem Haec dies. Considering the enthusiasm with which the 'reformers' orientalised so much of the Roman Rite, it seems extraordinary that in other respects, such as this one, their concern was to drag the West out of a usage common to both of the Church's 'lungs'. But then, they always did what suited their own immediate whimsies.

There is an even profounder 'ecumenical' aspect to this question. S Paul assumes the familiarity of his largely Gentile Corinthian congregation with the Jewish usages of a seven-day Passover Festival celebration in unleavened bread (Exodus 12; Deuteronomy 16; I Corinthians 5). This suggests that the Paschalia festa, that is, of Easter Sunday until Easter Saturday, represent not only Apostolic practice but are part of the immemorial continuities linking the Old Israel with the New. Which would make the post-Conciliar alterations seem even more irresponsibly capricious and 'anti-ecumenical'.

One final point. As in Judaism and in Byzantine usage, so in the pre-Conciliar West, this very special week ended on the Saturday. We then gave up the Alleluias in dismissals, and the proper Communicantes and Hanc igitur. But in the Novus Ordo we are supposed to continue them on the Sunday, Low Sunday, before saying farewell to them.

As I understand it, since the Saturday in Easter Week was the Clausum Paschae, the Sunday after it, the English Low Sunday, was the First Sunday After the Close of Easter. So when Traditionalist Catholics and Prayer Book Anglicans call the following Sundays 'After Easter' they do not quite mean 'After Easter Sunday', but, technically and pedantically, 'After the Great Seven-day Festa Paschalia which stretch from the Easter Vigil until they "close" before the First Evensong of Low Sunday'.

I am not, of course, suggesting that the remaining six weeks before Pentecost should completely lose an 'Eastertide' status. As Dix puts it, "After the Pascha the 'great 50 days' ... were already recognised [at the end of the second century] as a continuous festival, during which all penitential observances such as fasting and kneeling at corporate prayer were forbidden, as they were on ordinary Sundays also. ... just as for the Jews the fifty days of harvest between Passover and Pentecost symbolised the joyful fact of their possession of the Promised Land, so these fifty days symbolised for the Christian the fact that 'in Christ' he had already entered into the Kingdom of God. Like the weekly Sunday with which this period was associated both in thought and in the manner of its observance, the 'fifty days' manifested the 'world to come'."

15 April 2023

Mary Month in Ireland

Mr Biden has visited, I gather, the Shrine of our Blessed Lady at Knock. Let me explain why I have a very soft spot for that Shrine.

Well-informed readers will be aware of the celebrated 'Eucharistic Window' in my old Anglican church of S Thomas the Martyr in Oxford. Above the Blessed Sacrament Altar, the window has, in its lower register, a priest vested for Mass and standing versus Orientem at an altar vested with lighted candles. The priest is in the act of elevating the Chalice. Above, so that His Blood could flow into that Chalice, is the Lamb slain in Sacrifice. Canon Chamberlain inserted that window soon after he had restored the use of Mass vestments. It was controversial. They stoned him in the streets. (Nowadays, I imagine, some Roman Catholics would have fits about the ad Orientem. Amazing, the skills and versatility of the Evil One.)

For two happy mornings in 2015, while at the Shrine at Knock with the Brethren of the Irish branch of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and Cardinal Pell, I had the immense privilege of celebrating at the Altar of the Apparitions. I had heard rumours that the Shrine authorities were ill-disposed to the Old Mass, but such was certainly not my experience. The very courteous young sacristan rearranged the altar furnishings so that I could celebrate the Aunthentic Form of the ancient Mass facing the fine carving of "an altar and the figure of a lamb with a cross reclining on his back" (as one of the visionaries described what she saw). That same typology which, in sober Anglican Oxford, Canon Chamberlain had put into S Thomas's a generation previously!! 

I felt an acute sense of being at one with that long line of cohanim who for centuries stood in the Jerusalem Temple and, morning after faithful morning, sacrificed the Tamid lamb for God's People, until the Lamb Himself came, the New Isaac, and shadows gave way to Reality. And I think I even felt a hint of the Vision at the end of The Dawntreader, of the Lamb that stands at the Uttermost East, with His sweet invitation Come and have Breakfast. Marana tha.

Readers will not suspect me of any indifference to shrines in which the Glorious and Immaculate Theotokos is placed centrally. Yet there is tremendous power in the nakedly, almost bluntly, Christocentric Apparition at Knock. And there is much didactic potential in the Typology of the Lamb, as a little book on sale in the Shrine Bookshop makes clear. Interestingly, particularly given the polylogia of the Irish, our Lady spoke not a word at Knock; as the supreme Hesychast, she "kept all these things in her heart", just as she did as Our Lady of Light in her Appearance at S Hilary in Cornwall.

Knock is as splendidly Irish as Walsingham is wonderfully English and Lourdes superbly French. The tower of the old Catholic Parish Church dates from 1828, the year of Catholic Emancipation, and reminds me of what, in Co Kerry, I expected a Church of Ireland church tower to resemble ... Gothic rather than Gothick but in the plain ungrammatical style of Gothic before the Pugins and the Carpenters took it in bookish hand. I suppose the similarity must indicate that many Church of Ireland churches were built around that same time. (Did the Emancipation lead to a lot of church-building among Catholics?) By the way: pilgrims should not miss three small but fine Harry Clarke windows in the three East windows of the Church. (Like other Clarke windows I have noticed, they are not in Nicola Bowe's list, even if signed. The other windows in the church may be 'Studio of' and from the 1950s, but, although a cut above the generality of 1950s church windows, they merely echo the work of the Great Man).

From the Akathist Hymn: The Shepherds heard the Angels extolling the Christ coming in the flesh; and running as to a shepherd they see him as a Lamb unspotted being fed on Mary's breast, to whom they sang, saying: Hail! Mother of both Lamb and Shepherd; Hail! fold of rational sheep!

14 April 2023

Come back soon, Mr Biden!!

 Before leaving the Three Kingdoms, Mr Biden referred to a still-living relative of his, who, he said, "beat the hell out of the Blacks and Tans".

"American Presidents" are such unalloyed joys!

Are Spares available? Could we have one to keep?

Or ... even better ... a breeding pair?

12 April 2023

Information about Easter Sunday's Liturgies?

I know how to find the libretti on the Vatican News Service. What puzzles me is the small amount of information they ... or the tv commentators ... give.

I would have liked information about the two vernacular hymns. 

I would have appreciated information about which community supplied the Greek Deacon, and who he was. From one of the Roman colleges? From Grottaferrata?

The Greek Gospel on Sunday morning struck me as just about the only part of the service, where I felt quite at home! I recall that at the Inauguration of Benedict XVI, it looked as though some of the Separated Byzantine Representatives turned their backs on, or looked away at a 90 degree angle, at his point. But, as ever on these occasions, the pious Commentariate Voice droned condescendingly on imparting obvious 'information'. It would be nice, just occasionally, to be told something not-so-obvious. But I get the impression that Vatican TV are terrified of anything unscripted.

Last Sunday's Commentatrix just kept saying that the Greek Gospel happened because that was the original language ... actually, I partly agreed with her. It's about forty years now since I stopped believing in all the rubbish about the Lord habitually using Aramaic!

The Roman Pontiff was awkwardly fitted into an angle on the altar-platform. I seem to recall that, in the first millennium, he sat on his throne and the Most Blessed Sacrament was solemnly brought to him there for him to receive sitting. I wonder how intelligently they're coping with having an infirm pope.

The poor old celebrating bishop seemed to have no idea ... for example ... what to do with his hands. I think we have now moved beyond and outside the period in which such stand-ins know vaguely what they're supposed to be doing because in their green youth they experienced the Authentic Roman Mass.

According to the libretti, the Eucharistic Prayer at both the Liturgy in nocte, and the Liturgy in die, avoided the use of the Roman Canon. Is this now usual?

11 April 2023

Choleric ... or ... Penalties for Heresy?

There has been some conversation recently about some foreign prelate called something like Holerich ... I think he is possibly a nether lander ... wasn't there once a cartoon character called Brother Choleric ... I wonder if they are related ... or even, identical ...

He is portrayed as emphasising our duties of unquestioning obedience to whoever, or whatever, is currently Bishop of Rome. He obeys them, he has explained, as long as they live, but is At The Ready ... waiting for the Starting Gun ... the moment they die. For example, S JP2 took a firm line against the Ordination of Women, and PF has confirmed that stand, but as soon the poor fellow is dead, it will be Open Season for Brother to "expand" that teaching.

Obeying the present pope but dumping those in the past is, however, not a new idea. Some prelate called Scicluna had it some years ago.

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

The only new element added by Br H E Choleric is that he looks boldly to the future. A sign, presumably, that he is expecting some imminent change. (In England, we have sort of feeling that it's Bad Form to speculate on "When the Queen is dead", but, as I wrote, Choleric is a Not One Of Us.)

My only contribution to this debate is to point out that, according to the First Vatican Council, such teaching is heretical. As the Council taught:   

"The Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter, not so that by his revelation they might publish new teaching, but so that by his assistance they might devoutly guard and faithfully expound the revelation handed down through the Apostles: the Deposit of Faith." 

Pretty clear, yeah?

Perhaps our Eminent Brother Cholerich will one day feature in an Auto da Fe in the Piazza in front of S Peter's? 

10 April 2023

Cantalamessa admits to the horrible truth. And he agrees with me!!

Last Friday (Good Friday), and Saturday (Holy Saturday), I published a couple of pieces which I had in fact drafted a couple of weeks beforehand. 

I never thought that my thesis ... that the post-Conciliar "reforms" were constructively anti-semitic ... would so soon receive such very high-level support.

Because I now read that my thesis is also held by none other than a man called Cantalamessa, who has been preaching before PF and the Curia this Lent. I would not have believed it!

[Incidentally, I do find it upsetting that, during Lent or Easter, Cantalamessa should pursue polemical attacks on the Authentic Form of the Roman Rite. Clearly, for him and his like, there is no truce or surcease in their attacks on their fellow Catholics and upon Holy Tradition, even at the holiest times. But so be it.]

Cantalamessa, soon after the start of his 'Forth [sic] Lenten Sermon 2023', refers "the Traditio Apostolica of St Hippolytus". "We obtain a vision of the Mass that is certainly closer to the reformed one of today than to that of the centuries behind us. What happened? The answer is an awkward one which, however, we cannot avoid: clericalisation! In no other sphere was it more conspicuous than in the Liturgy."

(1) Readers of this blog ... or even just of my last Friday's post ... will have spotted the Giant Historical Howler. The document which was so influential in the period 1930-1970, and was then thought to be the Apostolic Tradition of S Hippolytus of Rome, is now regarded, in the scholarly consensus, as having nothing to do with Rome and nothing to do with Hippolytus.

(2) Readers of this blog will also have learned last Saturday, if they did not already know this, that a rigid definition of clerical liturgical roles is insisted upon in the First Epistle to Corinth of S Clement, commonly dated to the ... apparently already heavily clericalised ... nineties of the First Century. 

Cantalamessa goes on to say this about the Patristic Form (i.e. the form we traddies know today) of the Roman Mass: "There is an evident return to to what was going on in the worship of the First Covenant. The High Priest entered the Sancta sanctorum, with incense and the blood of the victims, and the people stood outside trembling, overwhelmed by the sense of God's tremendous holiness and majesty."

There! D'you geddit? Just what I explained to readers last week!

Except that I regard these Hebraic features with favour: Cantalamessa is horrified by them.

Towards the end of his homily the speaker tells us how marvellous the Epiclesis is. "It is a gift that the liturgical reform of Vatican II placed the epiclesis, that is, the invocation of the Holy Spirit, at the heart of the Mass ... I cannot, however, fail to notice with regret the total absence of the Holy Spirit in [the traditional Mass]. Instead of the present [i.e. post 1970] consecratory epiclesis over the bread and wine, we find in it the the generic formula 'Sanctify, O God, this offering with the power of your blessing.'" [Where exactly is this in the Canon Romanus?? And where exactly does "Vatican II" talk about the epiclesis and the need "to place it at the heart of the Mass"?]

Most of us tend now to feel pretty sure that there never was an epiclesis of the Holy Spirit in the Roman Mass, because, being so very 'primitive', it was put together long before the eruption of excitement about the Holy Spirit which happened, centuries later, in the East. That is why our Old Roman Rite can accurately be called 'binitarian'.

More than a century ago, Adrian Fortescue (The Mass, 1912) summarised no fewer than eight different theories, from the Clevers of the previous century, about how the epiclesis in the original Roman Canon must have been worded. All of them nonsense ... there never was an epiclesis in the Roman Rite until the 1960s 'reformers' started bunging them in right, left and centre. 

As they did so, the eminent Anglican liturgist G G Willis repeatedly explained to them how misguided they were. The greatest Anglican liturgist of that century, Dom Gregory Dix ... although like the rest of us then he subscribed to the Hippolytosmythos ... consistently refused to believe that the original text could have contained an epiclesis. It is chilling to imagine what ... had he lived into the 1960s ...  he, with his waspish satirical wit, would have written about all those horrid 'Eucharistic Prayers' that flooded out of Rome, each with its horrid little epiclesis.

Cantalamessa speaks like a man who has read little in his last half century. He chatters on in glib ignorance about the "Apostolic Tradition of St Hippolytus". He runs off chasing a "missing epiclesis". He praises "the linearity and simplicity" of the Novus Ordo, unaware of the writings of Catherine Pickstock and of other Anglicans, and of (e.g.) Fr Aidan Nichols, who recognise 'linearity' and 'simplicity' as "Enlightenment" superstitions which deface the "oral" structures of the Roman Mass, with its 'stutterings' and its 'recommencements' [Pickstock After Writing 1998; Nichols Looking at the Liturgy 1996.].

Clearly, 'Catholic' Liturgy is currently in the most truly terrible hands. There is the horrible, unCatholic view of PF and Roche, that Liturgy is not a great received and given Holy Tradition, but a matter of daily legal positivism. 'Authorities' intrude, prescribe, impose, forbid, tinker, reclarify, and, perhaps, graciously permit it, otherwise it is not "licit"; and those who use it will need to have their ignorances corrected in a Maoist-style 're-education' programme. If they ... we ... persist in recalcitrance, they ... we ...  will need to be thoroughly whacked with a great big stick.

That is appalling enough. May God forgive them.

But what is even worse than that, is the picture I now have in my mind after reading Cantalamessa: two octogenarian clergymen, both profoundly allergic to the scholarship of the last three decades, who sit nodding their agreement at each other, antiphonally reinforcing the rigid adherence they share to the moth-eaten certainties of circa 1950.



9 April 2023

Salve Sancta Parens!

 From Fr Colin Stephenson's Merrily on High, about the [now deconsecrated]Church of S Paul's, Walton Street, in Oxford; which was originally a daughter church of my own only parochial charge, S Thomas's.

"Having heard about St. Paul's ... I made my way there to find out what it was like. To open the great doors under the classical portico was to be transported into a church in the middle of Paris, for it was French Catholicism which
[Fr] Roger Wodehouse, the vicar, loved above all things. The great towering image of Our Lady of Victories (which Roger always said the P.C.C. had chosen from an illustrated catalogue) wearing a silver crown at a jaunty angle, the great baroque tabernacle which revolved and turned itself into a throne for Benediction and which had been brought from a bombed church in Belgium, the altar of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, all these things seemed more authentic than anything I had seen this side of the Channel ...

"Roger had a very aristocratic background ... yet he was a fervent socialist, although his background often came out in surprising ways as when he said to one of his curates who had overslept: 'You should have more and better servants.' ... As an undergraduate he had seen this classical church which looked Parisian outside, and  thought it should be the same inside ...

" ... just before he was appointed ... there had been a great fuss ... about a stained glass window which depicted a crusifix. Within twelve months of Roger's incumbency they were having Benediction  with a monstrance and not making a murmur ...

"Religion was such fun at St. Paul's with very dressed-up processions in May and October carrying a Black Madonna, and the Host enthroned upon an outside altar under the classical portico at Corpus Christi. Everything was lightened by Roger's sense of fun ... A favourite [story] was that during a procession  of the Virgin, Roger was enjoying it so much that he said 'Round the church once again' and an ethereal female voice from the region of the image said: 'Damn!' loudly and clearly. This was claimed as the one authentic miracle of St.Paul's."


8 April 2023

How Aaronic is a Catholic Bishop?

In one of the earliest documents of the Roman Magisterium, important teaching is imparted regarding Episcopal (and other) Ministry. The basis of this teaching is an intimately close parallel drawn between the Christian Ministry; and that of the 'Old Covenant'. The High Priest, the priests, the deacons all have their own ministries (archiereus; hiereis; diakonoi; leitourgiai). Each has the appointed rule of his leitourgia. The point is forced home so rigorously that 'Jerusalem' is rather awkwardly drawn into the argument; and the, er, death penalty is mentioned in regard to those who disregard the rules.

When the earliest surviving liturgical formulae of that same Roman Church are reviewed, we find precisely the same fierce determination to see the Christian summi sacerdotii ministerium in Judaic terms. Typological methodology lends a hand in supporting the argument (aenigmata figurarum); and careful symbolic meaning is given to the Mosaic "radiance of gold, sparkling of jewels".

When Vatican II put together its mandates on the Rites of Ordination, very little change was clearly envisaged. In what seems to me one of the most remarkable and significant sections of Sacrosanctum Concilium, a couple of massively unrevolutionary suggestions are offered (76): the allocutiones  of the presiding bishop might be done (fieri possunt) in the vernacular; in Episcopal Consecration, the imposition of hands may lawfully be done (fieri licet) by all the bishops present.

Wow, with pardonable irony, you all exclaim. How very very underwhelming.

You're right.

Those two little possibilities give us a clear indication of how limited an agenda the bishops who subscribed to this document (including Lefebvre and his chums) thought they were signing up to. Even a ridiculus mus could hardly describe this shopping list as revolutionary.

Unsurprisingly, when the post-Conciliar coetus got to work, some of its members appear to have been less than happy. All the stuff about the spiritual meanings of the external vestiary splendours of the Aaronic priesthood seems to have, er, grated upon some readers. Not very 1960s!

But Dom Bernard Botte was at hand. He pointed out that there was ... happily available ... a very ancient Prayer of Episcopal Consecration which was of indisputably Roman origin; and which steered well clear of Hebrew Needlework. It was the answer to every and to everybody's need. It was, with acclamation, adopted by the Coetus and by Higher Authority; and, since then, has been used in all the episcopal consecrations of the Latin mainstream Churches. 

This is just the sort of combination of brilliant and wide-ranging scholarship, and of imaginative ressourcement, that the circumstances called for. Here we see the Council at its fantastic best.

However ...

Or, if you prefer it, But ...

That old Prayer, according to the academic consensus of this millennium, is ... not of Roman origin at all. The certainty of the 1960s, that the document containing it was by a Roman cleric called Hippolytus ... that it was, in fact, the Apostolic Tradition Hippolytus is known to have written ... is now accepted by, I think, nobody.


But Dom Botte was fascinated by it. In fact, a big part of his own academic reputation rested on the fact that he had produced a (fine) scholarly edition of the work.

Academic consensuses come ... and, my goodness gracious me, they so often go ... and so fast. Classicists, as well as Liturgists, have enormous experience of this. Sometimes, as in this case, departing certainties leave behind them in the landscape massive structural evidences of the glorious, glamorous days when they ruled the roost.

Botte was a superb scholar. But the more a scholar enjoys an incredible reputation, possibly the less he should be given a free hand.

Mind you, this prayer is certainly both valid and licit. But it is not Roman and it does not embody the genius or the characteristic style and spirit of the Roman Rite. As with the disappearance of Abraham from thepost-Conciliar Canon, we have here another significant piece of constructive Anti-semitism.

On this day when, very probably, many of the Bishops recorded as having received Consecration at the hands of the Roman Pontiff himself may have received their charisma, this is a proper matter of consideration.

[It had been used for centuries in Eastern communities whose ministries Rome had for centuries accepted: and, for Rome, quite rightly, when it comes to strict and formal questions of validity, it is precedent that counts.]

7 April 2023

Kidnapping Abraham

 After Pope Benedict rewrote the Prayer for the Jews to be used on Good Friday in the More Authentic Form of the Roman Rite, a nasty uproar was raised by the German episcopate with which, unfortunately, the CBCEW gullibly associated itself. 

We were told about the multitudes of Jews who were 'distressed' by Papa Ratzinger's formula. 

I never believed any of that. A prayer written to be used by mere handfuls of people one day a year in a dead language would not have such an electrifying effect ... unless ... it were being deliberately misused by malevolent people to stir up trouble. If there were distressed Jews, my suspicion is that they were the victims, the stooges, of 'Catholics' who had an anti-Ratzingerian agenda. In other words, such Jews were the collateral damage in an intra-Catholic war.

But if representatives of Rabbinic Judaism had really wanted an occasio belli against traddy Catholics, there is a much more plausible one they could have used.

Until the post-Conciliar disorders, every Latin-Rite priest, every morning, mentioned in his Eucharistic Prayer "our Patriarch Abraham". Notice, recollect, the ease with which one slips into these familiar words ... our Patriarch ... can there be anything more natural to say ...

Rabbinic Judaist polemicists could have raised a great cry against us ... that of kidnapping Abraham. Abraham, they might have said, was their Patriarch.

It is, surely, our contention that we are God's Holy People; that the great and wonderful continuity which runs from the beginning of the 'Old' Testament to the end of the 'New', is the Unity of one single People of God.

There are not two 'religions', Judaism and Christianity. There is one Holy People. We are it.

After the fall of the Temple, some congregations adhered to a compromised and reconstructed Judaism, centred on Synagogue, Rabbi, and Family. Perforce, they abandoned the great swathes of the Torah which dealt with sacrificial legislation involving the Temple. 

We, on the other hand, with our rich experience and inheritance of the great Truth of the offering of Abraham's Son, the Messiah, upon Mount Moriah, continued with our sacrifice-based model of religion.

In the post-Conciliar period, I believe a total of a dozen or more 'Eucharistic Prayers' were eventually authorised ... although I don't believe that have all suervived in on-going editiones typicae of the Missale Romanum.

Not one of those new Prayers retained 'Abraham' ... let alone the easy, companionable, 'our'.

I am not going to suggest a conspiracy theory. But Abraham's disappearance happened, and, as with all Stuff that Happened, one can interrogate it.

The elision of Abraham happened.

It looks to me de facto Anti-Semitic. And the disappearance ... whatever the mechanisms and the motives ... happened.

Tomorrow, more on the constructive anti-semitism of some important forms of 'Catholicism'.



6 April 2023

The inviolabity of the Institution Narrative in the Roman Canon (3)

A striking characteristic of the Roman Eucharistic Institution Narrative is its determination to gather in whatever appropriate material can be found in Scripture ... and, by that, we mean the Hebrew Scriptures as well as what we call the New Testament. Too often even Catholics, who should know better, fail to comprehend the Scriptures holistically as a single narrative of Salvation History in which everything relates to everything. In earlier times, Christian writers are as likely to have regarded  passages in the Old Testament as historical sources as good as passages in one of the Gospels.

The distinguished Anglican liturgical scholar E C Ratcliff had a convincing line on this. He associated it with North African themes associating the precision of what we do liturgically with the validity of that liturgical action (cf the word "adscriptam"). (This in fact fits in neatly with Christine Mohrmann's demonstration of the legalism of Roman Christianity, and its relationship with the traditional ancient pre-Christian religious legalism of the Roman state.)

(1) So we say that the Lord took hunc praeclarum calicem ["this excellent chalice"]. This phrase is gathered into the Last Supper Narrative from Psalm 22:5 [The Lord is my shepherd...]. A dreary 'Enlightenment' approach might tediously discuss the date and authorship of the psalm, and would implicitly ignore the Eucharistic reference, obvious to any Catholic or Orthodox, of calix meus quam praeclarus est. But we are Catholics.

(2) The words about the Lord lifting his eyes to heaven ... you will have noticed that these are gathered into the Institution Narrative from the Feedings of the 5,000 and the 4,000 recorded in Scripture, which we recognise as Eucharistic anticipations.

(3) Our Covenant is not only the  Covenant [Testament] which lies at the heart of the 'Old Testament'; it is also 'New' (I Corinthians 11:25), and additionally 'Eternal' (Psalm 110:9; Ecclus.17:12; 45: 15: etc.).So "New" and "Eternal" are gathered into the story of the Last Supper.

(4) The most puzzlement is caused by the words Mysterium Fidei. Jungmann rightly dismisses as "poetry, not history" the theory that these were words originally spoken by the Deacon. Baseless myths, however, die hard and after Vatican II it became yet another silly (and illegal) fad to give these words to the Deacon.

I am quite sure that the phrase was gathered into the Consecration of the Chalice from I Timothy 3:9, which talks about the deacons "holding the Mystery of Faith". Since the Deacon was commonly regarded as having a special liturgical responsibility for the Chalice (at High Mass he still joins the Priest in offering the Chalice), "holding the Mystery of Faith" was taken to be equivalent to "holding the Chalice".

(Ratcliff makes the intriguing suggestion that the frequency with which S Cyprian uses this sort of language may derive from the Deacon saying "Calix Domini" or "Calix Dominici Sanguinis" as he administered the Precious Blood.)

I am not suggesting that this association of the Chalice with the Deacon was in the mind of S Paul when he wrote this letter (although perhaps it was!!); my point is that this was how S Paul's words were understood at the time when the text of the Canon achieved some stability).

So "Mystery of Faith" in the Roman rite means the Chalice of the Lord's Blood.

So, just as "this excellent chalice" and "lifting up His eyes to heaven" and "New" Covenant and "Eternal' were gathered into the Institution Narrative from elsewhere in Holy Scripture, so also the Apostle's words about the Deacons "holding" [ekhontas] the "Mystery of Faith" were understood as referring to the Chalice and gathered into the account of the Last Supper. 

You can guess what I'm going to say next: I'm going to condemn the "experts"of the 1960s who considered themselves to have the right to fiddle with venerable texts! So


5 April 2023

The Lord's Words in instituting the Eucharist (2)

 The first section of my enquiry will have made you wonder why the Academic Establishment were all so sure that the Roman Institution Narrative "must" originally have contained a Which was ...  clause following on from Hoc est enim Corpus meum

If you're sitting comfortably, I'll begin. 

Jungmann, no fool, explained that the Which ... clause already had appeared "in both of the older texts of the Roman Tradition". 

What exactly will these two forms have been?

Hippolytus and the De Sacramentis.

Oh dear.

Seven decades after Jungmann wrote what he did, "Hippolytus" is no longer believed ... to be Hippolytus! Or to have anything to do with the early worship of the Roman Church!

And how close the de Sacramentis really was to the worship at Rome is very much an open question. 

So much for "Evidence"!! As Tommy Cooper used to say, Now you see it now you don't.

In the years after the appearance of the Novus Ordo, Roman Catholic liturgical writers expected that Anglicans would be enthusiastic about what might look like a converging of modern Anglican and Roman liturgical work.

They were to be very disappointed. Here is one example.

Fr G G Willis, Vicar of the Anglo-Saxon church at Wing, was always happy to share his negative views on (particularly) "the New Eucharistic Prayers". A good example is his piece in the January 1971 number of The Heythrop Journal. Again and again he makes the point that the orientalising EPs II, III, and IV are, quite simply, not Roman. The Roman rite "is a noble and intelligible rite, well able to maintain its own against any competition from the East ... The three new canons make a fundamental doctrinal change ... imitation of an ancient Oriental custom which is new to the Roman rite ... new canons abandoned the original connexion of Preface to Canon, and substituted a new connexion ... a device which has fairly wide Eastern precedent ... It may be doubted whether this verbal connexion is as profound as the theological and logical connexion which it replaces ... all three new canons have followed Eastern precedent ... of course the ["Hippolytus"] rite does not express the Roman view ... It is often assumed, though less frequently demonstrated, by commentators on the new Canons of the Mass, that the Roman Canon is defective or disorderly ... The Roman Mass ought not to be treated as if it were the debased descendant of some Eastern rite. There is absolutely no warrant whatever for assuming that the ideal form of a liturgy is to be seen in any of the surviving Eastern rites ... this [Roman] pattern is very different from the oriental pattern, but it is hardly possible to deny that it is logical and satisfying ... more subtle, less materialistic, and much more primitive ... [some] theory may be justifiable, but it is not Roman. In all respects the new canons present an aspect very different from the classical Roman pattern ... in the new canons [we have] a hybrid form ... These novel doctrines are importations into the Roman rite, but it seems that many have welcomed them, perhaps on the principle, so popular in the twentieth century, of taking omne ignotum pro magnifico."

Professor T C Skeat (1907-2003), a codicologist, made a very good case for believing that it was the Church in Rome, around or not long after 100 A.D., which established the principle of an exclusive Gospel Canon containing our four Gospels, no more and no fewer. He argued that the preservation of S Mark (despite the fact that S Matthew includes nearly all the material in S Mark) results from the likelihood that S Mark was the distinctively Roman Gospel. This makes it particularly interesting that the Roman Institution Narrative common to both Matthew and Mark represents the Lord saying simply This is my Body, without any elaboration or addition whatsoever.

What a breach in our gracious Roman Tradition! A tradition of around 1870 years, fractured in 1970 by the confection of new and very dodgy  'canons', and the orientalising of the Verba Domini in the Eucharistic Prayer! Pure robbery!

The Novus Ordo is not the Roman Rite.

I want the Roman Rite back!

I don't want the corrupted and profoundly unRoman mishmash found in the Novus Ordo.

I have a little more to say later: Whatever happened to the Mystery of Faith?

4 April 2023

Mucking Around with the Institution Narrative of the Roman Canon (1)

 I hope nobody will be disquieted by a post which might seem to challenge the inerrancy of biblical passages. I had better begin by pointing out that, not only are there five different accounts in the New Testament of the Last Supper; but S Luke, when he described the Conversion of S Paul, himself offered his readers Acts 9; Acts 22; Acts 26. And he showed no evidence of believing that he had to make the details consistent. (Some modern literary scholars would bring in here the functions of literacy in a basically 'oral' society.)

I wish to offer a few words about the words ascribed to the Lord in the accounts we have of what he said at "The Supper"; and to criticise the arrogant ease with which 'experts' in the 1960s interfered with them.

I first address the change made during that troubled period by the addition made to the Words Hoc est enim Corpus meum of the phrase Quod pro vobis tradetur.

The original datum comes from the appearance of Hoc est enim Corpus meum  in the Gospels of S Mark and S Matthew. 

In those two Gospels, the sentence Hoc est enim Corpus meum is not followed by any other words. 

In an important paper written by Fr E C Ratcliff (an Anglican; although when he died he was making arrangements to move over to Orthodoxy), he dealt with the vocabulary of the Institution Narrative, and proved that the basis of the Roman Narrative is the Gospel of S Matthew; but not the Vulgate text of that Gospel. The text used was that of the Vetus Itala, a Latin translation made well before the Vulgate of S Jerome. I make this point in case any keen chaps or chappesses check the Canon against the Vulgate and wonder if I've got this all wrong!

But Ratcliff's demonstration also draws attention to the venerable antiquity and stability of the text of the Canon. It truly has AUCTORITAS! Pope Pius XII, I'm afraid, was willing to change biblical passages in the Liturgy to make them fit a new translation he had commissioned: I'm not sure Pope S Damasus I had such grandiose intentions when he commissioned S Jerome to get  to work on a new, 'Vulgate' translation! 

The idea of adding something to Hoc est enim Corpus Meum appears to have arisen from words recorded by S Paul and S Luke. But here we have a problem: the textual evidence suggests that, for them, the original words of the Lord were simply to huper humon [which is for you]. But this phrase seemed to some people inadequate; so various later scribes padded it out (didomenon; klomenon; thruptomenon).

Twentieth century scholars were worried by the brevity of the text provided by SS Matthew and Mark and adopted in the Canon. The great Jungmann was puzzled; he wrote about "an amazingly significant omission". He wondered why it had been "expunged", feeling that it must have been "for some reason unknown to us." Dom Botte wondered if the suppression was connected with the simplification of the rite of the Fraction (improbable; because the Stowe Missal gives us a form of the Roman Rite as it was before S Gregory fiddled with the Fraction ... and there is in Stowe no addition to Hoc est enim Corpus meum.)

Time for a conclusion to the confusion!

When the 1960s 'reformers' added "quod pro vobis tradetur" (found in a vetus Latina ms listed as f and in the Vulgate), they were answering a question which Ss Mark and Matthew, and none of the early popes who used the Roman Canon, had thought needed asking or answering. 

In my view, given the uncertainties and the confusions, and the AUCTORITAS of the transmitted and received text, the correct procedure would have been to leave matters as they were in the 1960s.

But some people find it hard to be humble.

To be continued.

3 April 2023

Rejoice, Rejoice! And would you prefer to be accompanied or to be escorted?

D'ye know, there are things to celebrate on April 3?

Today is the Anniversary of the Day when S Paul VI, in promulgating the Novus Ordo, forgot to abrogate the Authentic Form of the Roman Rite. An extremely important inaction of the Roman Pontiff; after all, this was the canonical basis of the canonical decision that the 1962 Missal was "Never abrogated". (Nor, indeed, was the even more authentic 1939 Use. Or Sarum ...)

O felix Immemoria, as we liturgical pedants tend to say.

Happy Day! Frabjous Day!! 3 April, 1969, when the Roman Pontiff forgot to Cancel two millennia of worship!!! If it weren't Holy Week, I'd advise readers to fetch up a bottle of Cava!

Strange, incidentally, that Arthur Roche is unaware that the 1962 Missal was "Never Abrogated" by Papa Montini. When those Liturgical Catechists, who have been promised to visit us to "accompany" us, start going on their rounds, perhaps the lacunose state of his Eminence's memory could be one of the subjects that they can spend some time on. It's the sort of topic that particularly interests very many of us.

Another little detail these erudite ladies will be able to explain concerns the Penitential Rite. Y'see, the 1969 Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, by which the Holy Pontiff authorised the Forma Nimis Mutila et Valde Deterior, included the 'information' that the 'Penitential Rite' was among those elements which needed to be restored to the ancient norm of the Holy Fathers. Strange that Jungmann in his two heavy volumes provides no information about the existence of a ritus paenitentialis in the Patristic Period. Is it hiding in the deep dark archives of the DDW?

And I most especially long to be brought up to speed on the progress of the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia (of Good Pope John XXIII, in 1962) mandating the compulsory sacking of all seminary professors who can't teach in Latin. Is an Interim Report about this incredibly important matter perhaps now at last imminent?

Will it be valid and licit for us to pre-book a time-slot in which to be "accompanied" by a Liturgical Catechist? Will they have big expense accounts?

Would "Escorts" be a briefer and handier and more vernacularly accessible slang term for them?

1 April 2023

The Daily Mail reveals all

A BIBLE has recently passed through the sale rooms. It was used by Fr Huddlestone, who concealed Charles II after the Battle of Culloden and later received him into Full Communion just before he died in 1649.

Like most Recusant Bibles, it has, so the Daily Mail informed its readers, MISSALE printed very large on its title page. This is Recusant code for 'Bible'.

Lord Salisbury once described the Daily Mail as "A newspaper written by the Gentry to be read by the Gentry." It became famous in the Interbellum period for its relentless campaigns against Hitler, Mosley, and Mussolini.

Perhaps its best-known banner headlines were  SHAME ON YOU HORRIBLE HERR HITLER and FREE DANZIG FROM NAZI TYRANNY.

Nowadays, it is daily breakfast-time reading for Her Grace the Duchess of Sussex.