30 September 2022


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

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

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

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

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

Fiat Pax ...

29 September 2022


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

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

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

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

28 September 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serbia? Croatia? The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ridete omnes quidquid est cachinorum.


27 September 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26 September 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 September 2022

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

24 September 2022

Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou

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

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

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

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

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

23 September 2022

Unblessed Trinities?

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


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




Central African Republic UNITY DIGNITY WORK













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

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

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


22 September 2022

A Christmas Game?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21 September 2022

Trad cust

 An erudite friend raises questions about Traditionis Custodes:

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

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

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

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

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

20 September 2022

Looking ahead to the Solemnity of our Lady of Walsingham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 September 2022

Reading the Daily Papers (Part 2)

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

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

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