13 August 2023

Bless me Father for I have sinned.

I invite readers with sharp critical noses to consider the following hypothesis.

"Much of the humour of Dom Gregory Dix was an expression of lateral thinking accompanied by an affectation of innocence."

An example:

Dix was in argument with an archdeacon who was trying to get confessional boxes removed from a church.

Dix argued that such furnishings were required by the XXXIX Articles.

Videte Article XXV, final paragraph, first eleven words.

13 comments:

Matthew said...

In my copy the final paragraph consists of the last two sentences ("The Sacraments were not ordained..."; "And in such only..."). Do you mean the penultimate paragraph, whose eleventh word is "Penance"?

PCS said...

I must confess to being confused by the reference too. Do people gaze on confessional boxes?

Fr. Yousuf said...

It seems to me that the booths prevented confession, commonly called a sacrament, from being gazed at.

Wynn said...

Matthew: No, I think Father is correct. It is the last paragraph that is being referred to. (The point being, that the Sacrament [sc. of Penance] is not to be administered in a setting open to public gaze, and therefore by implication it should be in the confessional box.)

Fr. David Evans said...

In fact the whole sentence, not open for the vulgar gaze to see who goes, fixed so that the pentitent may oft have recourse to the same spot and maintained clean for the regular use thereof

William Tighe said...

"The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon ..."

Fr Edward said...

I think perhaps a 3 pronged approach:

a. If the archdeacon was High Church:
“The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon” (art. 25)
And so a confessional box is of necessity

b. If the archdeacon was Broad Church
‘The Visitation of the Sick’ and discreet minister, etc.
And so the confessional box are useful

c. If the archdeacon was Low Church
Then it’s nothing to do with public worship
Ands so the confessional box is private furniture, perhaps considered the same as the Children’s Corner.

√Čamonn said...

"The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon..."

Robert said...

"The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon." Dix presumably took this to mean that you need an enclosed confessional, rather than the Anglican custom of kneeling at the side of the priest at a chair near the Sanctuary, where you may be observed, or "gazed upon" while you make your confession.

frjustin said...

Father's hypothesis is itself an example of lateral thinking because, of course, confessional boxes are (or were) generally on the side....

Chris said...

No, he means that paragraph, as requiring priest and penitent to be concealed from general view.

PM said...

As an aside, Father's heading reminded me of a joke form the 1970s, which is sadly topical again today: 'Bless me Father for I have sinned. I attended a Traditional Latin Mass yesterday - and TOOK PLEASURE in it!'

Arthur Gallagher said...

This post reminds me of the many Anglicans who could argue anything to achieve an orthodox Catholic result, and still remain CofE. Even Newman started that way, until he argued himself into a corner, and had to confront the truth. I do understand the pull of the ancient churches, the whole community of your neighbors and family, the surviving popular customs and all the rest. But it seems that, when it comes to confronting the truth, much like St. Paul, an Anglican requires a good shove.