2 June 2023

Poor Poppet Pollock

 There seems to be some sort of silly rumour that the Catholic bishop of East Anglia might have banned the celebration of the Authentic Form of the Roman Rite in the Catholic Shrine at Walsingham. I can't find what seems to me a reliable account of what, if anything, has happened. Probably absolutely nothing has! That is my hope! So, in what follows, I unreservedly withdraw a radice anything which seems critical of his Lordship and which does not accurately describe the current situation. Vivat Episcopus!

Frankly, I have never liked the 'Chapel of Reconciliation' outside Walsingham; and the attached Slipper Chapel was, after all, never intended to be a 'shrine'. If we who are devoted to the Authentic Use of the Roman Rite were to be (constructively) banned from using that complex, this would cause me, personally, vastly little distress.

We have ... in a community sense ... been here before. Nothing is ever exactly like anything else in History, but I can't help recalling that the Bishop of Norwich once required the Vicar, Fr Hope Patten, to remove the statue and shrine which Father had set up in his (Anglican) parish Church. Father did so ... although the style and manner of the 'removal' may not have been exactly what the bishop, poor poppet Pollock, had had in mind.

" ... a procession with over a thousand people walking, each bearing his or her lighted taper; many women in blue veils, little children in white casting their flowers; dark-habited religious, nuns and monks; over a hundred priests in cassock and cotta; the mitred Abbot of Pershore and Bishop O'Rorke. Behind streamed the many hundreds of other people, all singing the glories of Mary, and in the midst of this throng, high and lifted up upon the shoulders of four clergy in dalmatics, and under a blue and gold canopy fixed to the feretory, sat the venerated figure of our Lady, crowned with the silver Oxford Crown, and robed in a mantle of cloth of gold."

Hope Patten had constructed a replica of the Medieval Holy House in the village; and here the 'removed' statue "was enthroned in the niche prepared above the altar ... ". 

If any attempt were ever to be made to discourage the use of the Authentic Form in the Catholic Shrine, which God forbid, what would be the obvious remedy? The old Anglican Catholic solution which would have been urged by the Fynes Clinton generation would probably have been the provision of a Modest Private Facility in the village, containing perhaps a couple of altars, safe from the prohibitions of the bishop; clergy could book to celebrate the Authentic Form in the Modest Facility but use the Anglican Shrine, or the Priory ruins, or both, for ancillary devotions. 

But perhaps this is just that tadge too red-bloodedly Nineteen Thirties??

Deipara numquam exstirpanda, ritus Romanus non exstirpandus. 


Chris said...

I think it's fair to say that an Anglican vicar of the 1930s, with the freehold, had a safer platform from which to publicly defy his bishop than is currently enjoyed by RC parish clergy.

Matthew F Kluk said...

Not at all a tadge too red-bloodedly 1930s. It's a perfectly respectable theoretical response to today's theoretical crises. With extra prayers for any bishop involved, by name, with emphasis on conversion of heart.

william arthurs said...

I do hope the Patrimony could be considered to include playing cat and mouse with bishops.

Also an occasional reminder of the interesting theory that the original statue was hidden and preserved, and is now in the V&A in a 2019 article by Fr Michael Rear and Francis Young.

Albertus said...

In September 2021 upon Our Lady's feastday, I celebrated a Missa Cantata under a tent at the arch of the ruins of the Walsingham Abbey. Since it is privste properity, the organisers paid a small fee to the owner for an hour use of the the terrain. About 35 Catholics - mostly from the nearby village - showed up. The organisers could not get permission for us to hold the Mass at the official Catholic shrine, so they chose the ruins instead. And that worked fine, except that it was a windy day, and i did fear that the tent, which swayed, would fall down upon me during Mass. But thanks to Our Ladys gracious protection, all went well. The pious local Catholics knelt upon the grass, and a group of their men, unasked but quite welcome, sang the Ordinarium Missae. I sang the Proprium myself.

El Codo said...

Father, you are making me come over all sentimental with such happy memories of those bygone days with John Gummer as a Guardian, and my carrying the effigy to the shouts of “ No queers and beers” from the assembled Ulstermen. À la recherche…but then we awoke and the polar bear could never be summoned again however hard we squinted. O Felix Culpa.

Christophorus said...

Here's an interesting suggestion about the current state of Rome.


Take care

vetusta ecclesia said...

I thought Ulstermen were quite keen on beer

Fr Paul Lester said...

I asked permission to say the Traditional Mass in the Slipper Chapel two weeks ago whilst staying in Walsingham on pilgrimage and was told by the sacristan it was not possible as the new Bishop had sent word that it was no longer possible. We live in strange times. Church Unity indeed !!!