18 January 2017

Pope Francis and papal power (2)

Joking aside, His Excellency Bishop Fellay would be less than human if he were not watching with some apprehension the papal onslaught upon the Order of Malta. The Franciscans of the Immaculate were, after all, a recent and vulnerable order. But ... aggressive interference in the affairs of the ancient and venerable Sovereign Order of Malta ... fortified as it is by centuries of jurisprudence and an international juridical status ...

We do not know what sort of offer is on the table for the SSPX. If it is robust enough so that the Society, were Rome subsequently to act in bad faith, could suspend the accord and resume its present de facto autonomy, then I cannot see that acceptance is too risky. What would have been lost? Much, potentially, could be gained.

But if the draft deal could enable a subsequent Pope to take the Society over in such a way as to expel most of the bishops and clergy from their altars and homes and to leave them bereft of the endowments given by the Faithful during nearly half a century, without churches and chapels and seminaries, back to Square One and saying Mass in garages and Scout Huts ... who could deny that an emergency situation truly existed?

There have been real examples of Roman bad faith in the past; one's mind goes back to the large Ruthenian formerly "uniate" communities in America, savagely driven into schism in their tens of thousands by factional and cultural bigotry. Some might even recall the deliberate weakening of the English Church by Papa Caraffa, in the pursuance of his maniacally hispanophobic policies, which made the 'Elizabethan Settlement' so much easier to accomplish. Not every pope has always been a big enough personality to be able to rise above the petty narrow-mindedness of his own decade and culture. And that is without taking account of the deliberately fissiparous policies encouraged by some of those who surround Papa Bergoglio.

And if, like the admirable figure of Papa Ratzinger, a pope is able to stand above the flux of public affairs, he is likely to find himself opposed by the noisy malevolence of the Wolves.

We live in dangerous times.

17 January 2017

Pope Francis and the Temporal Powers of the Papacy (1): Bring Back DORA

Bishop 'Anglican Patrimony' Andrewes, sadly, found himself having to refute some accusations which S Robert Bellarmine had made against King James VI and I. The Saint had accused the King of denying the Primacy of S Peter: NO, said Andrewes, "immo asserit" ["nay rather, he asserts it"]. And he goes on to explain that what the King does deny is the idea that this involves an earthly monarchy by which the pope has the right [ius et potestas] to strip kings of their authority [imperium] over their subjects and to absolve subjects of their sworn allegiance to their king (it will be remembered that this is only a generation after Regnans in excelsis).

That Andrewes had consulted his Sovereign about his wording is suggested by King James' own use of similar language in his Praefatio Admonitoria of 1610: "Sit [Papa], per me licet, primus Episcopus inter omnes Episcopos; sed eo sensu Episcoporum Princeps quo Petrus Apostolorum Princeps fuit ... pernego terrestrem esse aliquem Ecclesiae Monarcham, cuius verba pro legibus esse debeant, quique infallibilitate spiritus nunquam in suis sententiis errare possit".

Gregory Dix commented: "This, with its nunquam, does not even formally contradict the carefully guarded Vatican definition of Infallibilty in faith and morals only". I would add that this is a passage which, a century and more before Vatican I, could have secured the assent of the Catholic French Bourbon monarchy; and that these possibly 'Gallican ' sentiments seem to have been shared by a monarch, King James VII and II, who lost his thrones because of his dogged adherence to the Catholic Faith.

The hypersuperueberpapalists of Pio Nono's time did, I believe, agitate for a 'dogmatic definition' of the Temporal Monarchy of the Pope; unsuccessfully, of course. But it has commonly been thought that all such notions (except as regards the minuscule Vatican City State) had long since disappeared from the consciousness both of Catholic people and of the Papacy itself.

Until, that is, the larger-than-life figure of our present Holy Father Pope Francis came bouncing on to the scene. Now, apparently, the notion that the Roman Pontiff has absolute monarchical, indeed, imperial, jurisdiction over Kings and Princes is alive again and well. Apparently, a pope can demand prompt obedience from the Order of Malta, a body which in law is an international Sovereign Entity. It looks as if the Most Eminent Prince, the Grand Master, is going to be dragged along to the Headmaster's study and bent over a chair. Journalists discuss whether the Pope has a Nuclear Option available in his dealings with the Knights!

Nuclear Options! Lor, luvaduck! Perhaps Mr Trump and Vladimir Vladimirovich ought to have their Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles retargetted onto the Real Threat, the Casa Santa Marta! Perhaps Elizabeth II had better check that her Crown Jewels have not been snaffled from the Tower of London (and given to 'the poor', i.e. Divorced Germans) by some perfervid Ultra-Bergoglian! At the very least, Mgr Rio Tinto and Cardinal 'Fenian' Farrell ought, under a new Defence of the Realm Act,  to be declared personae non gratae in these Three Kingdoms. Come back, Dr Ian Paisley! All is forgiven! No surrender! Not an inch! Not a nanometre!

16 January 2017

The Maltese bishops and their enthusiasm for papal footnotes

I wrote this at the beginning of December last year. The Maltese Bishops, all two of them, have just spectacularly confirmed the suspicion that led me to write it ... how I love being proved right!

What I suspected was this: that the more heterodox members of the episcopate, in their need to force an extreme hermeneutic onto the grey areas of Amoris laetitia, would have to rely exclusively upon the footnotes. I share, incidentally, what I understand to be Cardinal Mueller's view; that firmly established doctrine and praxis can hardly be overturned without a most explicit declaration that this is what is being done. And, what I suspect to be Cardinal Burke's opinion, that those parts of AL which do not simply affirm what is already clearly taught, cannot be Magisterial.

So this is what I wrote: --

I wonder if anybody has ever seen a theological consideration of the question whether Footnotes ... either in Conciliar documents or Papal ones ... are, or can be, or cannot be, Magisterial?

Furthermore, if anyone has Acta Apostolicae Sedis and Acta Sanctae Sedis sitting cheerfully beside their desks, it would be the work of a moment for them to spot when Roman documents started to appear with footnotes.

I see, in the front of my hand-missal, that Divino afflatu (1909) has footnotes, but only such as identify quotations. (These can hardly be Magisterial; either they provide mere bibliographical facts or, if erroneous, are simply proofs that curial clerks might possibly fail accurately to verify references.) So my query may fall into two parts:
(1) when did such formal documents start to have any footnotes; and
(2) when did they start to have footnotes of any greater significance than references to identify quotations?

The Codex Iuris Canonici, the Ritus Servandus, the de Defectibus, manage without footnotes ... I think ...

Extraordinary Form ORDO, and Ordinariate directions, for the Unity Week

Unity Week starts on Wednesday January 18 and ends on January 25.

                                              EXTRAORDINARY FORM

Before the 1960s, January 18 was the Feast of the Chair of S Peter at Rome (while February  22 celebrated his Chair, that is to say, his episcopate, in Antioch).

In the Good Old Days, the Wantage Sisters ... who now comprise our Ordinariate Sisters in Birmingham, the praying heart of the Ordinariate, as our Ordinary puts it ... used to publish an annual ORDO  "... in strict accordance with the Use of the Western Church". This was widely used both in Anglo-Papalist churches and in Anglo-Catholic churches generally. The latest one I possess is 1969. Before January 18, the following information is printed:

                                               CHURCH UNITY OCTAVE BEGINS

Ad lib, during the Octave: one 2cl Vot M For the Unity of the Church. Cr (on Sunday only), Common Pref (pref Trin on Sunday). P[urple]

This will undoubtedly have been lifted from what was authorised for Roman Catholics in England, Scotland, and Wales on the very eve of the liturgical alterations of the late 1960s. What it means is that it is lawful to say one Mass of the Votive for Christian Unity (Ad tollendum Schisma if your Missal, like mine, is pre-1962; but the texts are the same in the 1962 Missal) on the Sunday within the Octave (even if it be Septuagesima); and also on each of the weekdays, because they are all (even the Conversion of S Paul) days occupied by III class feasts and so admit Second Class Votives. No Gloria, of course.

My own suggestion would be to start the Octave with a (permitted) Votive Mass of the Chair of S Peter on January 18 (Mass as on February 22 except that the Alleluia is said) and to conclude with the Mass for S Paul on January 25. It was the idea of linking up the two Apostles which gave rise to the Octave.

Alleluia for the Chair of S Peter: Alleluia, alleluia. Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam. Alleluia.

I have thought it worth while providing this information because I do not think it is in the available Extraordinary Form ORDOs in English or French.

                                                       ORDINARIATE MISSAL

The same Mass for Unity, of course, is provided for use in Liturgical English in the Ordinariates. The rubrics make clear that it can be said on any day except Solemnities, the Sundays of Advent, Lent, and Easter, All Souls, Ash Wednesday, Ember Days, Rogation Days, weekdays of Holy Week and of the Easter and Pentecost Octaves. Such votives ARE allowed BUT ONLY FOR "a real necessity or pastoral advantage" on Obligatory Memorials and the weekdays of Advent, Christmastide, Lent, and Eastertide. Pretty permissive, eh?

15 January 2017

I was quite indignant. You see,

the Provost of the Piskie Cathedral in Glasgow had invited a Moslem to come to his Cathedral at Epiphany and to read some chapter of the Koran which denies the Divinity, or the Divine Sonship or perhaps both, of the Second Person of the Glorious and Undivided Trinity.

And Mr Plod had announced that he was investigating whether a Hate Crime had been committed.

Over the top, I thought. Since I am a Catholic, it would be ecumenical bad manners for me to say what canonical steps should be taken against the daft cleric responsible for the blasphemy. But for Inspector Knacker to prosecute him, and/or the well-meaning Moslem who read the text, for Hate Crime, is quite simply massively disproportionate.

But, as the news item (what journalists revealingly and naively call The Story) unfolded, I suddenly realised that I had got totally the wrong end of Mr Plod's big knobbly stick. The said Plod was not investigating the blasphemers, but ... get this ... the people who had strongly expressed their disapproval of the blasphemy!!! !!! !!!

How very, very, Plod. I am old enough to remember the days of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, when the "Security Forces", poor chaps, had to keep on explaining that dissidents had died in Police Custody because, in their silly Kaffir way, they kept on violently bashing their heads against the boots of their captors.

I don't think the Piskie "bishops" come very well out of it. I am tempted to give them my professional ritual advice on where to put their crosiers. The "Primus" issued one of those shifty hypocritical apologies which are not really an apology at all: he was sorry that people had been upset by the blasphemy. Perhaps, in accordance with Gospel guidelines, he should be renamed the "Ultimus". But that decision, of course, would have to be entirely up to our Partners in Ecumenical Dialogue.

Afterthought: equilibium could be re-established if the Ultimus went along to the Glasgow Central Mosque and chanted the Johannine Prologue in an authentically Scotch dialect of Urdu.

Cana and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Today wraps up - or it does in 'Traditional' lectionary terms - the Scriptural offerings of Epiphany. Hitherto, the Lucan picture of Mary has concentrated our attention upon how attuned her Immaculate Heart is the will of God: "Let it be unto me"; "He has done great things for me"; "Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her Heart"; "And his Mother kept all these things in her Heart". But in this the traditional Gospel reading of the Second Sunday after Epiphany, S John steps up to the podium to show her as also attuned to the needs of others ("They have no wine"). Even though the Hour of her Son's Glory has not yet come, the intercession of her Heart mediates through shared obedience ("Do whatever he tells you") the first great Sign which manifests his Glory.

Scripture** tells us that, because her Heart is Immaculate, Mary Sees God, and the intercession of the one who Saw led to the Johannine Theophany. However, although the divine doxa was manifested to his own, his own received him not. But to all who did receive him - to all who beheld and behold his glory, glory as of God-only-begotten - he gives power to become (like himself*, indeed, in himself) the Son of the Virgin, born not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of the male, but as the Only-begotten of the Father and the one Seed of Abraham who is the one Child of Mary aeiparthenos kai polupais.

Her Immaculate Heart will prevail!


*Whatever the origin of the 'Western' variant reading hos ... ouk egennethe, I feel sure that it accurately pinpoints the allusion intended by S John to the Lord's Virginal Conception and Birth.

**This paragraph draws on Luke 1:38,49; 2:19,51, John (and the apparatus criticus of) 1:13, Matthew 5:8, and Galatians 3:16.

A Bit More Perne

Rather strange, Perne's actions in that year of 1564. I wish I knew more about the day-to-day changes in the direction of the winds which bore upon that Weathercock. I am no historian.

My uninformed suspicion is that 1564 was a time when the future of English Christianity either still hung, or was thought by some still to hang, in the balance. A recent book by John Guy has emphasised that the more murderous part of Elizabeth's reign did not start until around 1584; and the Handlist of the English Martyrs does not resume, after Henry VIII, until the aftermaths of the Northern Rebellion of 1569 and the Bull of Excommunication in 1570. The Missionary priests did not start to arrive until 1574 and John Gerard's autobiography explains how little interest the government took in the activities of Marian priests. 1564 was, after all, only five years after 1559.

As the Royal Visitation of Cambridge drew close in 1564, Edmund Grindal (who had spent the previous reign as a refugee in Strasbourg) was somehow mysteriously outmanoeuvred so as to be unable to prevent the nomination of Perne to preach the sermon. Significantly, Grindal distinguished between "dissemblers and neutralls", and "the zealowse and syncere". Perne, he believed, manifestly and disgracefully fell into the former category, and ought not to be given any encouragement.

So Perne preached eloquently on the Royal Supremacy (Romans 13:1). Eloquently and acceptably. Might he have been planning so to melt the wax in the Royal Ears that they might more graciously incline to his speech at the Disputation, later in the week, in which he set the authority of the Church above that of Scripture? Or was it that the royal favour was made so explicit to him that Perne, as he later hinted, improvised a speech which he had not originally prepared or intended? Collinson points out that "all the old popish guard, the unreconstructed Marian heads of houses, were drawn into the lists ... Apparently in the perception of Cambridge this, rather than the abortive disputation at Westminster Hall in 1559, was the crucial occasion when Protestantism might yet meet its intellectual nemesis". And Perne was cast in the role of Master Doctor Nemesis. A sort of Proto-Pusey?

Perhaps we should revive Grindal's phrase "Dissemblers and Neutralls", or "D-and-Ns", as a 'churchmanship category' when we try to analyse the convictions of an Elizabethan clergyman. It would be jolly to know how broad a category it was! It might not even presuppose that a cleric had been ordained during the use of the Latin Pontificals, since quite a number of the Catholic Martyrs had been previously in Anglican Orders; beginning with the Protomartyr of the Seminaries S Cuthbert Mayne (of St John's College).

In conclusion: another jolly enquiry for some keen youff or youffess might be the publication and acquisition dates of Perne's Patristic texts, combined with a careful reading of his annotations. What about testing a thesis something like this: "While the invention of Anglicanism largely rested upon a dislike of Calvinism and of Calvinists, it also owed a great deal to the dissemination of newly printed Patristic texts".

14 January 2017

Foundation of the Ordinariates!!

January 15, 2011, the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham was erected and Mgr Keith Newton was appointed Ordinary. We invite all our friends to join in our thanksgivings and supplications!!

Suggested Extraordinary Form ORDO entry, providing for due commemoration on tomorrow's anniversary:
Cras in Ordinariatu: secunda oratio Deus omnium fidelium pastor et rector (cum orationibus Super Oblata et Post Communionem) additur sub una conclusione cum orationibus diei in omnibus Missis ob inaugurationem Reverendissimi Keith Newton Ordinarii Protonotarii Apostolici Episcopi emeriti Rutupiensis.

Within the Collect etc., perhaps the simplest text is ... pastorem ecclesiae huic praeesse voluisti ... . Or, if you must, ... pastorem Ordinariatui Beatae Mariae de Walsingham praeesse voluisti ... .

I have heard it suggested that Silvester is the Latin for Keith. Moi, in the Te igitur I always just say antistite nostro Keith.

13 January 2017


The rumour went around the ladies' tea-parties of donnish Oxford:"Have you heard? Dr Pusey sacrifices a lamb every morning in Christ Church".

Of course, what Dr Pusey did was not to slit the throat of a daily ungulate in the sedate surroundings of an Anglican Cathedral, but to offer the sacrifice of the Eucharist ... 'the adorable Sacrifice' as the inscription beside his altar at Ascot Prory puts it. Nevertheless, I have some sympathy for the perplexities of the bewildered ladies. Those who saw S John Baptist, in the ancient Gospel for today, the Octave Day of the Epiphany, pointing at his Nazarean Relative as 'God's Lamb', must have been at least equally perplexed, even without tea.

But - oops - what about the view of liberal protestants, commonly regarded by them as so obvious as not to require argument, that the Eucharist was in origin a simple fellowship meal later perverted, by S Paul or by 'Early Catholicism', into a complex sacrificial mystery? Happily, this widespread but evidence-free myth was exploded by a distinguished American Jewish rabbinical scholar, Jacob Neusner. When Jesus 'cleansed' the Temple by expelling the tradesmen who facilitated its worship, He was symbolising the replacement of that sacrificial system by His own new Eucharistic sacrifice, to be instituted a few days later. And the principal Jewish sacrifice to be replaced was the daily sacrifice of the Tamid Lamb, paid for by the Temple tax of Jewish males and offered for the whole of God's people. "The atonement for sin achieved by the daily whole offering is null, and ... atonement for sin is achieved by the Eucharist; one table overturned, another set up in place, and both for the same purpose of atonement and expiation of sin".

The Lamb of God, the Incarnate Word under the visible tokens He has ordained, is the perfect oblation held in his hands and offered by the Christian priest as he stands at his altar every morning. Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. 

But according to Common Worship (modern language Gloria, Agnus, and Invitation to Communion) He takes away the sin of the World. The Latin and Greek liturgical originals usually speak of sins, while CW has been influenced by John 1:29, which reads sin. This Johannine singular sees sin as a single corporate turning away from God by fallen humankind. And rightly. But in liturgy it may not be best to reflect comfortably on the corporate nature of sin, but instead to acknowledge its specific nature in my life. 

The daily Christian needs to be aware of his own daily and plural sins as he attends the daily pleading of the One Great Sacrifice.

12 January 2017

Latin Liturgy at Oxford UPDATE

UPDATE: Sadly, the Latin version used is not that found in Bright's and Medd's translation of the BCP, but a version confected ad hoc, by converting the English into Latin. (Bright and Medd, much more sensibly, used or tweaked pre-Reformation texts whenever it could be discerned that Cranmer's version was based on or influenced by a Latin original.)

I wonder how many people are aware that the University of Oxford begins each term with a celebration of a Holy Communion Service in the Latin Tongue? And that it did so this very morning? Is it the only university in the UK to do so? An hour spent browsing in Bodley through old University Calendars reveals the following about the history of the practice.

It is not, as one would have loved to believe, a survival from Medieval Oxford, but a piece of Tractarianism. By the start of the nineteenth century, each of Oxford's four terms [our modern Trinity term in the summer is historically a conflation of the old 'Easter Term' and the old 'Trinity, or Act, Term'] began with Latin Litany, Latin Commemoration of Benefactors, and Latin Sermon, apparently at about 10.00 in the morning in the University Church [the S Mary's where Mr Newman was Vicar, and with the baroque porch and statue of our Lady which became part of the indictment leading to the martyrdom of Archbishop William Laud]. In 1862 "and Holy Communion ... also in Latin", was added. I suspect this was a result of the Oxford Movement aka the Catholic Revival. So things continued until 1901, when the Holy Communion was separated from the Litany and Sermon and was now to be "Earlier in the day". I put this down to either or both of the following: the preference of Anglican Catholics to communicate fasting; and the growth in numbers of non-Anglican or non-communicant dons. In 1920, the Latin Litany and Sermon were reduced to once a year - on the first Sunday of the Hilary Term, when they still happen - but the Latin Communion was and still is three times a year. I rather relish the recollection of having both preached and celebrated in Mr Newman's Oxford patch ... but not so much as I relish having celebrated and preached in the Birmingham Oratory!

The Proctors, representing formally the body corporate of Chancellor Masters and Scholars, attended until 2008, when they decided that it was invidious for them thus to privilege [by getting out of bed for a 8.00 service!] one religion and a fortiori one sect of one religion.

11 January 2017

Andrew Perne a Papist? (3)

Perne's library survives; his copies of the Fathers were well-used and copiously annotated. Perhaps he might have merited the condemnation which Cardinal Manning passed upon our patron Blessed John Henry Newman: of being too patristic. If a less Protestant wind had brought the Armada, Cardinal Allen, and his pallium to England and then on to Cambridge in 1588, Perne would have been able to show him Allen's books upon his own library shelves. Patrick Collinson, author of the first essay in this collection, deems the evidence "not inconsistent with the covert Catholicism with which the Jesuit John Gerard credited Perne. Very possibly he was what might nowadays be called a closet papist. Alternatively, although nobody had yet thought of so defining it, his religion may be thought to have displayed many features of what would later be called Anglicanism, high Anglicanism".

A very fair point, if rather cumbersomely expressed. Dermot McCulloch (however he is spelt) has argued that "Anglicanism" did not really exist until the Stuart period; that the Elizabethan Church was just Bog Standard Prod. Maybe and, well, maybe; but Perne did exist and was once even nominated for an episcopal see. So, in distant Devon, Duffy's Parson Trichay clung on; and a circle of Church Papist clergy has been discerned and documented in Cornwall. Could it be that wherever one looks carefully enough ... ... For example, at Oxford, S John's College harboured just such individuals; and maintained an ill-defined but definite link with Gloucester Hall a couple of hundred yards away, where the popery was much more thorough-going. (St John's carefully maintained its splendid Marian vestments until today.) Archbishop William Laud emerged from this cultural context. Surely we may be justified in seeing in these manifestations the first glimmerings of what was to lead to our glorious Ordinariate!

Collinson writes: "Studying his Tertullian, Perne noted Christianus debet credere credita sive tradita; and also the principle of establishing true doctrine ab antiquitate et consensu et successione episcoporum." I wonder, incidentally, what the publication date of that Tertullian was.

These perceptions leave me reasonably confident that "AP" would have approved of those of us who have done our best, firstly, to spend decades asserting within the C of E the necessity of the Petrine Ministry; and, secondly, more recently, to call to account the misbegotten excesses of Ultrabergoglianism and Hypersuperueberpapalism.

Some afterthoughts about the events of 1564 in a few days' time.

10 January 2017

English Catholic clerical blogs

Sadly, our two premier English Catholic priestly bloggers had, in 2016, nasty experiences of a cardiac nature, and do not publish as often as their countless admirers would love. As we wish beloved Fr Tim and beloved Fr Ray well and look forward, with much prayer, to their completely restored health and return to frequent blogging, I venture to commend, for any who have not discovered them, two Ordinariate bloggers, formerly Anglican clergy, Fr Ed Tomlinson and Dr Geoffrey Kirk. You will find in them much sound teaching and a great deal of wit. It's the Anglican Patrimony. Who knows if it might be for precisely this that God and Pope Benedict sent us into the Catholic Church. And at the time they did.

Other recommendations? I emphasise that it is the Three Kingdoms that I have in mind rather than the entire Anglosphere, and clerical bloggers who publish reasonably often.