30 June 2015

Rainbow Houses and Fashions

How weird the North American Presidential Residence looked on our TV, in all those silly colours. Time some sensible person sent an army to burn it down. Have we still got an army?

Call me a Daft Limey, or anything else you like: I can't see why there's all this celebrating in honour of Gay Marriage. Everybody knows that the up-to-date and cutting-edge idea in homosexual circles is that homosexuality is inherently promiscuous; therefore, we are told, all the stuff about gay monogamy and fidelity is an attempt by heterosexual imperialism to impose alien concepts and restrictions upon homosexuals. Furthermore, in utilitarian terms it is easy to justify monogamous heterosexual fidelity for as long as there are children to be nurtured, but such considerations are not so obviously inherent in homosexual couplings.

It's a fad. By the time the novelty has worn off, say, in about twenty years, the number of gay 'marriages' will have slumped to something like zero. Betcha. When the new fad has become state-affirmed (simultaneous) polygamy or incest, the picture of two blokes or two gals getting 'exclusively' 'married' 'for life' will seem as deliciously retro as that of a Victorian spinster in crinolines riding a penny-farthing bicycle over cobblestones in a London smog.

29 June 2015

The English Missal (2)

After this, he would revert to Latin and use all the elements of the Roman Rite from the communion up to the end of the Last Gospel; the only compromise being that he would not say Placeat tibi and bless the people a second time. Despite Fr Kenrick's disavowals, this is clearly a rite compiled by a man anxious to say as much as possible of the Tridentine Mass, and to say it in Latin. And Fr Kenrick could justify all this by neatly claiming that its very language marked out his Latin materials as only "private devotions of the priest". Mass at Hoxton cannot have been brief.

Copies of the first printed edition apppear to be quite rare; it did not give the Latin texts of the Propers, but translated them into English. But it obviously supplied a need, because the second and subsequent editions abound in churches all over England and were still being purchased and used in the 1950s.

But, as the century progressed, Kenrick's nervous protestations of loyalty to the Prayer Book gave place to a new attitude among Anglo-Catholics, which was doctrinally and ecclesiologically based. An influential book The Truth about the Prayer Book was published in 1935 by Fathers Alban Baverstock and Donald Hole, in which they argued that the Prayer Book was in fact illegitimate and the Roman Rite the truly lawful liturgy of the Provinces of Canterbury and York (this was how many Anglo-Papalists preferred to refer to their Church; it was two lamentably separated provinces of the Western Church and not, as the phrase 'Church of England might suggest, an independant ecclesial body). "The Missal and Breviary formed the only 'prayer book' possessing canonical authority in the Church of England. Then, suddenly, an entirely new liturgy was forced upon the English provinces by the authority of Parliament. It possessed no spiritual or canonical authority whatever. Its introduction was in no sense the act of the Church of England, it was thrust upon an unwilling Church at the point of a sword." Even more significantly, they were inclined to argue that, anyway, "it would have been ultra vires for a provincial synod to abrogate a rite which had the prescriptive use of a thousand years behind it in the West".

This Altar book existed in many places in combination with the Missale Romanum. Depending on how 'instructed' his congregation was, a priest might use the English Missal  on Sundays, and the Missale Romanum on weekdays, and particularly at private Masses. The culture was: the Missale Romanum is the truly lawful book of the Western Latin Church of which we are (sadly, canonically separated) members members; the English Missal is a way of working towards that ideal.
To be continued.

28 June 2015

The English Missal (1)

Go into any Anglo-Catholic sacristy in England and, gathering dust on some top shelf, you will find The English Missal   Missale Anglicanum. And probably more than one copy in more than one edition.

Fr Henry William Gordon Kenrick, 1862-1943 was its only begetter. An evangelical in origin, he trained at the London Divinity School. Having discovered the Catholic Faith, he was, from 1905 until 1937, Vicar of Holy Trinity Hoxton; years in which Anglo-Catholicism flourished in the Church of England, in its most Tridentine form.

The genesis of his EM appears to be a Missal, hand-written for the most part between June 1904 and the beginning of 1907, which is now in Pusey House Library accompanied by a letter from the compiler and scribe. He claims that he used it at the Altar "for some time and then translated into English, made many additions then got it printed as 'The English Missal'". Published in 1912, throughout its history it bore the publisher's name of W Knott.

In his introduction to the original manuscript Missal, Fr Kenrick nervously states that its "idea" was "to group the great pictures of the world around the Altar ... There is here also an attempt to combine absolute loyalty to the English Church and Liturgy with the felt want of systematic aids to the private devotions of the priest". This device ... the provision of private devotions ... goes back to the beginning of the provision of Anglo-Catholic Altar Books; the erudite Rector of North Cerney, Fr P G Medd (compiler also of the Prayer Book in the original Latin of its Medieval and earlier sources), produced The Priest to the Altar in 1861 ("privately ... sold to subscribers) "after some consultation with Canon Liddon and other friends resident in Oxford" (Liddon himself was accustomed to say the Canon of the Mass in Latin sotto voce when celebrating the Communion). In this book, short passages coyly labelled "(Sarum)" provided, in English, extracts from the Roman Rite.

But Kenrick's manuscript goes much further than these earlier publications. It consists of nothing less than the entire Prayer Book eucharistic rite (homilies and all) in English, with almost the entire Roman Rite in Latin. Fr Kenrick writes "The Latin parts are sanctioned in principle by the Preface in the Book of Common Prayer 'Concerning the Service'. One who desires to use only the Prayer Book can do do by reading only the English parts of this book. Any exceptions need the sanction of the Bishop".

A priest using Fr Kenrick's Missal would say the Preparation at the foot of the altar, and the Introit, in Latin; followed by the introductory material from the prayer book (including the Commandments and the Collext for the King) in English, until he had read the Collect and Epistle for the day. He would then revert to Latin for the Gradual. Later in the service he would incorporate the Roman Canon before and after the Prayer Book Prayer of Consecration, and continue in Latin with the Lord's Prayer and all the other Roman material up to the Communion. After Communion he would say the Lord's Prayer - again, but this time in English. - and the rest of the Prayer Book material up to the end of the Gloria. Placeat tibi followed, and then the Prayer Book blessing (during which, since the Blessed Sacrament was still upon the Altar until the Ablutions, he had to genuflect before turning to bless the people).

To be continued. I shall not enable any comments until I have finished this article in its various parts (there are quite a lot).

27 June 2015

Note

I am taking another, I hope blissful, fortnight away from emails. I hope to post something every day but I shall not moderate and enable comments and I shall not reply to emails.

The Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

Very best wishes to the Papa Stronsay brethren, and their NZ brethren, on this wonderful solemnity. I said Mass this morning, from the Appendix pro aliquibus locis, for their Good Estate and for their Intentions. I have the most happy memories of this day, in 2012, when some of them made the journey down to Oxford, and accompanied me into London the following day for my First Mass in Full Communion with the See of S Peter, at that lovely Lady Altar in the Brompton Oratory, together with the admirable Fr Ray. And of my stay at the Monastery last year.

Right thinking people who don't already subscribe to Catholic, the Papa Stronsay newspaper, would be well advised to do so. Loads of news from all over the world; and loads and loads of absolutely magnificent pictures. In the most recent number, pictures of the S Agatha's Day celebrations in Catania; I think I'll send that page to our Ordinariate Shrine of S Agatha in Southport, where I had the privilege of preaching at their Patronal Festival a couple of years ago. Loads of decent religion down there! I enthusiastically commend their Sunday Mass to those within range who hunger for true Catholic Liturgy. Especially if you can't get to Catania ...

And pictures of His Excellency the Bishop of Copenhagen, Czeslaw Kozon, ordaining subdeacons in Gestratz. A truly pastoral bishop, who invited me to celebrate the Extraordinary Form in his Chapel (he served it himself) and breakfasted me afterwards. Kind, interested, humble, and gracious. He was glad to hear all about the Ordinariate. Indeed, all right thinking Catholics are!

Catholic is only £5 (UK);
"Catholic Subscriptions"
Golgotha Monastery Island
Papa Stronsay
KW 17 2AR
Orkney Islands
Scotland
United Kingdom
www.papastronsay.blogspot.com (has a 'Donate' button)
contact@the-sons.org

Catholic Ecumenism

Whooppee!!! A fascinating post on the Eponymous Flower about an attempt to reconstitute a united Church of the East, in communion with the See of S Peter, out of the three fragments into which it is currently broken. I hope and most devoutly pray that this may be true, and may lead to the desired goal. Rome has already prepared the way for this by its Christological agreement with the Assyrians; and its acceptance of the adequacy of the rite of Addai and Mari.

And the Society of S Pius X tells us that, after the June ordinations, it will have a priesthood of over 600.

My own view is that Separated Brethren should be viewed differently depending on whether they are officially set on a course of convergence towards, or divergence from, Catholic Unity. For example: the worldwide Anglican establishment increasingly distances itself from Catholic teaching on Holy Order and Sexual Morality. Since the latter is the main point currently at issue between the Church and the World, we must, surely, take seriously the plain fact that our 'partners in dialogue' are now increasingly committed to assisting the Devil's work, in opposition to the Body of Christ. Can anyone doubt that they are becoming more and more part of the Enemy's plan? Of course, we should not decline to talk to them; but that dialogue, as Walter Kasper made clear when he addressed the English Anglican bishops, must, realistically, be on the basis of a changed understanding of what they are and what they want.

Christians, however, who are on a course of convergence with Catholicism, should surely be treated differently. I hope that the authorities in Rome will not make an issue of details which, in a situation of restored unity and amity, would settle themselves. And, to put it crudely, our Christian brethren in the Arab world could do with a bit of a break from bad news and bloody death.

One final point. There are still some good Catholic folk in exsilio within the Anglican Communion. I think there should be a renewed openness towards Anglican clergy who are considering their position. I am far from being part of the inner counsels of the Church, but the rumours we all hear suggest that, somewhere deep in the machinery, there may be a more grudging spirit with regard to the integration of such excellent men into Catholic Unity and Catholic priesthood. We hear talk of age-limits; of delaying ordination until after a period of formation. I would be so very relieved to be proved wrong ...

Unity matters. We should actively discern the places where the Holy Spirit is actively and manifestly at work bringing schism to an end and we should actively and generously collaborate with Him.

26 June 2015

Mass in Greek at S Denys

My friend Joshua, an erudite contributor to this blog since the beginning, draws our attention to a fascinating example of the Roman Rite partially in Greek, as used in Bourbon France. Should we see this as an example of a marriage between Catholicism and the Renaissance of Greek language and literature in the educated classicising West? See the thread. Read it and be enthralled.

To Arms, to Arms

It is well known that this University has always regarded itself as immune from the jurisdiction of the Kings of Arms; both University and Colleges have ever devised and adopted into use their own Arms; often simply using the achievement of a Founder. My wife's College uses the Arms of the father of its founding principal, Dr Eleanor Plumer; he, as a distinguished Field Marshal and First World War general, had been granted a Coat of Arms including a sword surrounded by a laurel wreath ... a striking heraldic adornment for a Women's College!

When, in 1548, the University Press was finally firmly established (after two rather infirm earlier establishments going back to 1478) with Joseph Barnes as Architypographus, the first thing he did was to have a splendid block made of the University Arms. These were then, as they are now, three ducal coronets upon a field azure and, between them, an open book. But, whereas the words on the book now read Dominus Illuminatio Mea, from Barnes' time until at least 1658, the 'motto' was Sapientiae et Felicitatis. I expect some writer has explained all this; if a reader can point me in the direction of information, I would be grateful.

If I had anything to do with the (technically illegal) assumption of Arms by Catholic entities in England, I would behave rather differently from whoever currently does cook up such designs (it is my confident guess that the College of Arms has had little to do with these productions). The Ordinariate, for example, uses the Priory of Walsingham impaling Newman, which would normally imply either that the Prior of Walsingham had married a Miss Newman, or that a member of the Newman family held the office of Prior. The Anglican College of Guardians of the Shrine did distinctly better in 1945; I suspect Fr Fynes Clinton (who paid the fees) may have had a lot to do with the design. The  Kings of Arms granted Arms consisting of the Priory of Walsingham (Argent, upon a cross sable, five lilies of the first slipped and seeded proper) differenced with a canton (azure, charged with the Holy House or). A correspondingly elegant composition for the Ordinariate would have been the Priory of Walsingham differenced with a canton of Newman.

I think I rather like the use of cantons to do differencing. I can think of an example that goes back as far as the Roll associated with the Siege of Caerlaverock in 1300. It means that neither of the two coats concerned is deprived of its integrity. Allen Hall, for example, would look well if (given its origins) it were Oxford Ancient (i.e. with the words Sapientiae et Felicitatis!) differenced with a canton of Allen ... that is, his very jolly little conies!

Gumming a couple of coats together by means of impalement, which in heraldry most commonly implies the sort of temporary association that goes with a marriage (or the metaphorical marriage where an office-holder impales his arms of office with his own arms), seems unsophisticated if not down-right plain misleading!

25 June 2015

"Science says", does it?

The Irish Times is a very Grauniad sort of newspaper in its editorial biases, so it must be a pure coincidence that, on the very day when the Holy Father's Encyclical on the Environment was published, its long-time Science Correspondent, Professor Emeritus William Reville (a biochemist and a very accessible writer) of University College Cork (go there ... a lovely quadrangle worthy of Oxford ... fantastic Harry Clarke glass in the Chapel ... they do their academic ceremonies in Latin ...) dropped rather a bomb-shell. Half of the research work published in the Natural Sciences is, he says, so dubious as not to be fit for purpose. He cites writers including a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine ("It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published ...") and speakers at a meeting (Chatham House Rules) organised by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust.

The Editor-in-chief of the Lancet attended that meeting, and wrote: "The case against Science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, Science has taken a turn towards darkness ... The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few jornals. Our love of 'significance' pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairytale ... Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication ... and individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct."

It would be thoroughly puerile to try to use all this to mount some sort of gleeful attack upon the Natural Sciences. It would also leave one deservedly wide open to a gigantic Tu quoque. Only yesterday, I was reading a large book in the field of Papyrology, written by somebody who had needed to reexamine a large number of published papyri for his own research purposes. He repeatedly discovered that the published accounts were inaccurate. His realisation generated a large, originally unintended, part of his book, his Appendix 3, listing thousands of examples of error ... which he had discovered entirely obiter! I made a similar discovery a decade ago when working on late medieval records in Devon. You can't rely on published accounts; you just have to go back to the manuscript originals. And take them with a pinch of salt! Don't totally believe anybody! And as for what is laughably called "New Testament Studies", two thirds of it is rubbish written by people who are blithely unaware that, if you start with a theory which is, let us say, roughly .75 probable, and put on top of it another theory which is roughly .75 probable, you're already down to something like .56 probable, and one more similar stage takes you down to well under .5 probable; in other words, your brilliant cumulative theory in its three humanly highly plausible and attractive stages, accompanied by all your terribly persuasive rhetoric, is more likely to be false than it is to be true.

However, there is something slightly different about the Natural Sciences: (1) there are some poor, simple, credulous  souls out there who believe that 'scientists' are invariably austere and logical high-minded individuals, servants of a stern mistress, devoted to following the objective evidence wherever it may inexorably lead them; and: (2) a belief exists that 'Science' is very important and that 'Science' equals Truth and should be believed and followed by governments and individuals. "We should let ourselves be guided by the Science", cry the politicians. For as long as it suits them.

'Scientists' are, quite simply, human beings just like the rest of us. And 'Science' is one academic discipline, often imperfectly pursued, among many other such. That's all I'm saying. Nothing more.

Reville concludes: "That great cathedral of scientific progress, the peer-reviewed scientific literature, is beginning to crumble."

Join the club! Welcome back to the Human Race!

24 June 2015

ENCAENIA ... et alia ...

As we all set off in our moth-eaten red silk, on this great Feast of S John Baptist, my Name Day, to celebrate Encaenia, the minds of right-thinking people naturally turn to Jokes in the Latin Language.

I have no doubt that the funniest book ever written is Ovid's Metamorphoses. But I never go around commending it to the Reading Lists of others, because, if you don't know Latin, and Latin literature, pretty well, you can't read Ovid. His humour depends so profoundly upon slight points of Latin grammar and vocabulary and word-order, and the interplay of genres, and the use of wickedly impish intertextualities and pastiches, that, if you buy and read a translation, you won't be reading Ovid. Yes ... you will have in your hand a nicely written collection of Greek myths in the English (or whatever) language, immensely readable; indeed, better reading by far than most of the stuff in the bookshops ... but you won't have Ovid.

After the Metamorphoses, I would regard the next two Funniest Books Ever Written in any language (I suppose in my pompous way I really mean 'Which I have ever read') as The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh; and Zuleika Dobson  by Sir Maximilian Beerbohm. Here I have a question of terminology, of jargon, in which I ask help of Englit specialists.

The Loved One begins with a meeting of two Englishmen for whisky and soda at sundown in a distant and barbarous land; against a background of the dry sounds of summer, the frog-voices, the grating cicadas, and the ever-present pulse of music from the neighbouring native huts, they take their ease. In the days of Empire, they are the counterparts of numberless exiled fellow-countrymen.

Except ... that this isn't quite the whole picture.

Back to Oxford In Summer Time ... In Zuleika Dobson, the beautiful Zuleika drives the entire appassionato male undergraduate body of the University of Oxford to mass suicide by drowning in the River Thames. What more proper (and more literary) than that Keen Remorse should then drive her to join them in their Watery Fate? So ... "And Zuleika? She had done a wise thing and was where it was best that she should be. Her face lay upturned on the water's surface, and round it were masses of her dark hair, half floating, half submerged. Her eyes were closed, and her lips were parted ... what to her now the loves that she had inspired ...".

Except ... that this isn't quite the whole picture.

I say no more. My lips are sealed. I refuse to spoil these exquisite works of comic genius (in combination with Death) for those literary virgins among you, who, fortunate souls, are privileged still to have the opportunity of coming to them fresh and undefiled.

I suppose that this device is a rather baroque outworking of the topos which we Classicists in our dim prosaic way call the para prosdokian. But I feel sure that you Englit specialists, hot as ever from the perusal of Frank Kermode, will have a more spot-on technical term for it.

Yes?


23 June 2015

Instrumentum Laboris (VIS)

"Eventual introduction of a Penitential Way": suspicious.
Synod Fathers allowed to communicate at their discretion with the Media: good.

Blessed Paul VI

I wish to propose a theory about Blessed Paul VI for which, currently, I can adduce some evidence; I wonder if there is more.

HE WAS UN POCO AMLETICO

(1) He relied upon dishonest people for advice. (a) From the Memoires of Louis Bouyer: "At different stages, be it with regard to the dumping overboard (sabordage) of the Liturgy of the Departed, or again in that unbelievable enterprise of expurgating the psalms in view of their use in the Office, Bugnini came up against an opposition, not just massive, but one could say pretty well unanimous. In some such cases, he did not hesitate to tell us 'But the Pope wants it!'. After that, to be sure, there was no longer a question of discussing it." Bouyer recounts how he once met Bugnini in circumstances in which the latter, mistakenly, believed that he, Bouyer, had just been with Pope Paul ... whom Bugnini was on his way to see. "On seeing me, he not only turned completely white but, visibly, was knocked for six (non seulement il blemit, mais, visiblement, il fut atterre)". "The answer was to be presented to me, but some weeks later, by Paul VI himself. Nattering with me about our famous labours, which he had confirmed, he finally said to me 'But why, then, did you put into this reform ...' (Here, I have to admit that I don't recall any longer which of the details which I have mentioned particularly irritated him.) Naturally, I replied 'But purely and simply because Bugnini guaranteed to us that you were absolutely set on it (avait certifie que vous le vouliez absolument).' His reaction was immediate: 'Is it possible? He said to me personally that you were unanimous in this respect!'".
(b) Bishop Tissier's biography recounts that when Archbishop Lefebvre was received in audience by the Pope, Paul VI was hostile from the start. It transpired that he had been informed, probably by Cardinal Villot, that the Archbishop made the priests whom he formed "sign an oath against the Pope". Given such shameless mendacity, it is hardly surprising that the Holy Father's mind was poisoned against Lefebvre.

(2) Blessed Paul VI preferred to compromise with disorder rather than to face it down. It seems clear, from Dom Cassian Folsom's Adoremus series of articles, that the provision of alternative Eucharistic Prayers was a pathetic but well-meant attempt to rein in the chaos which existed particularly in the Low Countries, where home-made Eucharistic Prayers were proliferating in (literally) hundreds. He was assured that the Hierarchy, given this concession, were prepared to restore order. (Big of them ... Traditionalists would also do well to remember that it was the provision of these alternatives which saved the Canon itself from being mangled ... better, surely, to be unused for a few decades than permanently debased?)

As well as the human and historical tragedy, there is an ecclesiological point here. If you blend together in one saucepan an exaggerated notion of papal authority (as analysed by Joseph Ratzinger) with the activities (described in detail by Louis Bouyer) of unscrupulous and dishonest and ruthlessly determined manipulative individuals who have the pope's ear, you are gravely at risk of having a disaster the results of which it may well take generations to mitigate. Quod factum est.

22 June 2015

English Public Schools

I accidentally heard the 'Sunday Service' on the Home Service. It consisted of a paean of praise for some place called Wellington College (over here we are still wallowing in self-satisfaction at having just about managed not to lose the battle). Never have I heard such a brazen display of using religion (and, what is far worse, the BBC) in order to promote the fortunes of a fee-paying establishment. It included a cameo 'appearance' by Sir Anthony 'Shameless' Selden himself, reading the 'College Prayer'. Arthur Wellesley is now (equipollently?) canonised, and Welly Colly is his shrine.

Better news about Winchester College, or rather, about everyone's favourite Wyccamical bishop (is he the only one? I suspect so. How are the mighty fallen!). From him we now hear positive talk about Russian Orthodoxy; and even use of S John Paul's phrase about the Church "breathing with two lungs"! Ecumenism seems to be infiltrating 'the Resistance'!! Where will it all end!!! Three cheers for the Bishop of Broadstairs!!!! ... er ... up to a point, Lord Copper ...

Groins and minds since the Fall

The Elephant in the Room during all this endless talk about the Synod's Agenda, is, surely: Has Human Nature changed? Did humans never, before today, suffer from sexual temptation? Are Fornication, Adultery, Sodomy, problems only of our own unique and spectacularly sui generis age? What did the New Testament writers mean when they talked about porneia, moikheia, malakia? Is there something crashingly new about the capacity or incapacity of modern human beings (whether with or without Grace) to resist temptation? What is supposed to be so different about our groins and minds compared with the groins and minds of every other human generation since the Fall? What has so privileged us that we are (apparently) free to claim exemption from the Divine Commands, entolai, which were considered to bind former generations since the dawn of history?

What is different about our age; what does set it apart from all previous ages?

Not, surely, human sexual organs or the human minds which have to cope with them. The only change is the spread of the curse, the heresy, of thinking that humans have a Right to Autonomy, free from obligations to God or even to the age-old genetic and social inheritance of our long history as a species; "free", in S Paul's terrifying phrase, "from Righteousness". In other words, the amoral individualistic wickedness of the Enlightenment Chicken is at last come home to roost and to befoul its roosting place.

If you will allow me yet again to belabour you with the Anglican Patrimony, I will remind you of C S Lewis's fictional snapshot (1945) of an atheist 'freethinker', a Professor Churchwood, "an old dear. All his lectures were devoted to proving the impossibility of ethics, though in private life he'd walked ten miles rather than leave a penny debt unpaid. But all the same ... was there a single doctrine practised at Belbury* which hadn't been preached by some lecturer at Edgestow? Oh, of course, they never thought that anyone would act on their theories! No one was more astonished than they when what they'd been talking about for years suddenly took on reality. But it was their own child coming back to them: grown up and unrecognisable, but their own. ... Trahison des clercs. None of us is quite innocent." (This theme, surely, is what That Hideous Strength is all about.)

And try putting that together with blessed Edward Bouverie Pusey's perceptive and prophetic analysis in the 1830s (unpublished Papers in the archives of Pusey House): We must bend our minds and conform them to the teaching of Holy Scripture, or men will end in bending Holy Scripture to their own minds, and when it will not bend, will part with it. For a time a person or a generation may go on with this discrepancy unsettled; and a person of strong faith will go on to the end undisturbed, satisfied on this or any other point, that there is some way of settling it, though he knows not of it, yet ... for a Church, wherein men of every sort are gathered, it is a dangerous state to take a direction in any respect varying from Holy Scripture."

And finally, from Dorothy Leigh Sayers, an Anglican scholar whose genius is insufficiently recognised or remembered, in a paper she read at Oxford in 1947: "Right down to the nineteenth century, our public affairs were mostly managed, and our books and journals were for the most part written, by people brought up in homes, and trained in places, where [the Scholastic] tradition was still alive in the memory and almost in the blood. Just so, many people today who are atheist or agnostic in religion, are governed in their conduct by a code of Christian ethics which is so rooted that it never occurs to them to question it. But one cannot live on capital for ever. However firmly a tradition is rooted, if it is never watered, though it dies hard, yet in the end it dies."

That is precisely where we are now.

*The first syllable ('Bel' is, I presume, a LXX/Vg transcription of Ba'al) indicates the significance of this fictional placename.

21 June 2015

Respect for canonical superiors

Readers will know how punctilious I am in never criticising my canonical superiors, even by implication. Today, however, I shall break the rule of a lifetime.

Every year, on this day, the Summer Solstice, New Age and Neo-Druid and assorted nutters gather at Stonehenge to observe the rising of the Sun.

This year, it is reported, Providence intervened with a cloud cover preventing Sunrise from being visible.

This is good, but it is only one step in the right direction.

If I were Providence, I would ensure that this happened every year for a dozen or so centuries.

Eventually, they might get the point.

Am I the only person who reacts to all this "Stonehenge is a primitive astronomical observatory" stuff by murmuring "The port is with you, my lord"?*

*Vide the film Kind Hearts and Coronets.

POST TRINITATEM

Well, we are into the Season in Ordinary ... no, let us not go down that path. Neither let us call the next twenty-odd Sundays "after Pentecost", even though that was the old Anglo-Saxon custom and the habit of the Byzantines and of the Missal of S Pius V. We of God's own Ordinariate call them the Sundays after Trinity ... how evocative that phrase is of English summer Sundays, of the poppies red around the ripening cornfields, of the smell of baking hay, of putting ones cassock back on after a lazy and vinous afternoon and, as the ringers start up for Evensong, strolling back across to church to dive into a 'Sarum' surplice and flip the red silk of a MA hood over ones head and Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us ... down to Illumina quaesumus Domine tenebras nostras ... or whatever it is that dear Dr Cranmer translated that Sarum collect into.

Dear Dr Cranmer also preserved to us the old Sarum custom of calling these Sundays post Trinitatem. I have always felt that 'After Pentecost' has an activism subliminally within it; as if we are thinking all the time about what the Holy Ghost is inspiring us to do next. After Trinity, however, suggests adoration. Consider the logic of the preface of the Trinity, which tradition encourages us to use on all these Sundays . What we believe of the glory of Father, Son, and Spirit is the ground for our adoration of the majesty of the undivided Godhead; a majesty which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim praise; who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying Holy Holy Holy. The mystery of the true and everlasting Godhead and the distinction in persons and the unity in essence and the equality in majesty are the object of the worship which we are privileged to offer, in eternity but already here in time, with all the company of heaven.

And on Saturday evening we have prepared for Sunday in the words of the ancient Office Hymn which John Mason 'Patrimony' Neale translated as O Trinity of blessed light, O Unity of princely might, The fiery sun goes now his way; Shed thou within our hearts thy ray. To thee our morning song we praise, To thee our evening prayer we raise; Thy glory suppliant we adore For ever and for evermore. All laud to God the Father be; All praise, eternal Son, to thee; All glory, as is ever meet, To God the holy Paraclete.

20 June 2015

Encyclicals

I would be grateful if somebody who happens to notice when Laudato si is made available in its official Latin Text could let me know, so that I can read it.

I would like to make a preliminary comment. I think it becomes us all to read this Letter intending to be taught by it and by the one who sits in the Chair of Peter and wears the Fisherman's Ring. It is not infallible, but then, neither am I. We rightly condemn those who rubbished Humanae vitae when it was published; and those who do not accept the binding authority of Ordinatio sacerdotalis. We stand under our own condemnation if we treat this Encyclical with that same disrespect with which the Wolves malevolently treat the Church's Magisterium. (This is still true, even though it is obvious that this Encyclical does not intend to impose dogma or definitively to settle a particular and precise moral question, as each of those two documents did.)

If we find in this or in any other Encyclical some particular teaching which we genuinely have trouble understanding or appropriating, then, in my view, the most fitting response is simply not to talk about that particular aspect of its teaching until we do find that we can speak positively about it.

There is something else we should remember. This Encyclical, like all such documents, was not whimsically dreamed up in the middle of the night by some individual called Jorge Bergoglio. It is the formal teaching of the Mother and Mistress of all the Churches, and its text will, beyond any possible shadow of doubt, have been in and out of the competent dicasteries in a succession of different drafts. In particular, it will have been scrutinised under the care of Cardinal Mueller. And it is not just that Mueller has shown himself a very safe pair of doctrinal hands (he was, after all, entrusted by Pope Benedict with editing his opera), but he has spoken candidly about the enhanced role his dicastery inevitably, structurally, has when the Roman Bishop is himself not a professional theologian. Arrogant though I may be, I am not sure that I wish to back my own judgement against Gerhard Mueller's on any ordinary day of the week!

And, while I'm about it, another cognate point: I am not panicking about the appointment of Bishop Bonny to the Synod. Nobody will be able to say, later, that the heterodox were refused an opportunity to put their views across. This may very well be the reason also for that infamous lecture by Kasper. I am increasingly inclined to suspect that this Pope, while not a subtle sophisticate like his predecessor, does a rather good line in plain homely wiliness. Perhaps he has even heard the old Anglo-Saxon adage that it is best to have ones enemies inside the tent ****ing out than ...  And I rather think he might recently have suggested to Kasper that the latter should set the record straight on the degree of support the lecture had from Francis himself. Otherwise, why do you think Kasper made that embarrassing retraction? And don't you feel that the Enemy is rather more on the defensive, knowing that so many of his emissaries have been flushed out?

19 June 2015

Departed Worlds??? (3)

We turn to one of the prayers in this book, taking a (truly!) random example. For the First Sunday after Easter, Wallis composed the following:
Almighty and everlasting God, who for our salvation didst raise thy Son, Jesus Christ from death to life on the third day: grant that by faith in his resurrection we may believe beyond a doubt that the source of all life is in thee alone, and that the eternal meaning of our existence can be found only by the light of thy tender love for us; through the same
and here is Geary's translation:
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui propter nostram salutem die tertio Filium tuum Jesum Christum a morte ad vitam suscitavisti: praesta, quaesumus, ut nos, resurrectionis ejus fidem habentes, vitam omnem ex te solo gigni, et per affectum tuum solum posse intelligi pro certo habeamus; per eundem

Well, over to you. Here are one or two reactions on my part.

This was published in 1963 (although composed before Wallis's death in 1957). Also in 1963, John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich, published his Honest to God; a slight and rather silly book in which he explained that God was not an old man in the sky with a bear [UPDATE: Dr Cotton suggests Ursa Maior]; and coined such phrases as The Ground of Our Being; and The Man for Others. I cannot help thinking that the phrase "the eternal meaning of our existence" has about it just the slightest passing whiff (shades of Canon Wallis, forgive me for suggesting this!) of the same sort of "circa 1960" culture. You'd hardly notice it as part of a  prayer in a totally modern idiom; but, somehow, given the pastiche Tudor English (Almighty and Everlasting God ...), it stands out, for me, rather like an elegantly sore thumb.

Wallis has followed Cranmer's idiom in not being too terse. When providing translations of the old Roman Latin collects, Cranmer tended to expand their sparing economy. He will fill out (Collect for Trinity III) supplicandi affectum to an hearty desire to pray; defensionis auxilium to by thy mighty aid be defended (the 1662 BCP filled that out even more with and comforted in all dangers and adversities). The syllable-count is much the same; but more words seem to be called for in English. Otherwise (I suspect this is the sub-conscious assumption) the prayer would be over before most of the congregation were aware that it had started. 

So what is one to do if faced with this task the other way round; the task of rendering into Latin a formula constructed within this English instinct for prolixity? Geary has reduced the source of all life to vitam omnem; and the light of thy tender love to affectum tuum; and eternal meaning of our existence to intelligi. In other words, he has asked himself something like the question "If this prolix English prayer were a translation of a terser Latin original, what might that terse original have been?" I think he is dead right in choosing this method. My own instinct would be to go even further than he did. I might have ended the prayer with: et ex sola pietate tua intelligere valeamus; which would bring in a word very much at home in Christian euchology (pietas) and an auxiliary verb characteristic of liturgical Latin (valeamus). I would then have to work back and do some reconstruction on the earlier part of the sentence. Wouldn't I?

Come to think of it, the Collects for the Saints of England which are contained in the vernacular version of the Liturgy of the Hours designed for use in England, were composed in English for the Calendars of England and its dioceses; and still exist only in English. They are supposed to have an official Latin form (the Welsh very admirably did their Latin versions for S David and Co some years ago). Were this vacuum ever to be filled, something along the lines Wallis worked out would have to be attempted. But is anything like that ever likely to happen? Why should the English Bishops have any interest in getting this done when, increasingly, those not keen on the English Novus Ordo just row across to the busy harbour of the Latin books of S John XXIII rather than to the unvisited backwaters of B Paul VI's Latin books?

Or is that world also ... the world in which Catholic priests murmured their Breviaries in Latin ... the world of 1962, just months before Euchologium Anglicanum was published ... the year when more than 2,000 Catholic bishops gathered together to decree solemnly (in Sacrosanctum Concilium 101:1) that the clergy should continue to pray their Divine Office in Latin ... is that world yet another, a third, Departed World???

Dixi.

18 June 2015

The Battle of Waterloo

It will be splendid if some competent historian with a mens vere Catholica can inform us what the significance is of the Battle of Waterloo. It's beyond me. It appears to be a significant repudiation of that Enlightenment which had been embodied in the French Revolution; it restored Bourbon rule to France and Spain ... but in France the Restoration fell apart in a decade and a half. We can hardly call this a decisive re-establishment of ancien regime Europe. It put paid to the Tyranny of the Inspired Heroic Individual; but presaged the century of Stalin and Hitler, embodiments of Class Struggle or of Racial Identity. It was not exactly the War to end all Wars, and yet its scale foretold the wars of mass carnage in the following century.

Was this victory simply a massively impressive but ultimately empty attempt to prevent the onrush of an unstoppable tide? Was it the last whimper of a Europe of Tradition before the advent of the horrors ... still with us ... of a succession of ruthless ideologies; the Vendee genocide; the enormities of Hitler's hate-filled slaughter of the Jews and others; our own more polite and well-mannered slaughter of the Unborn?

17 June 2015

Mutual Enrichment

Another old post of mine, in support of Cardinal Sarah's enlightened views about the Enrichment od the Ordinary Form

The Abbot of Fontgombault, in an interview reported in the blog Rorate Caeli, said (among many interesting things) the following:

Many young priests ... want a liturgy that is richer in the level of rites, associating more strictly the body to the celebration. Would it not be possible to propose in the Ordinary Form the [EF] prayers of the Offertory; to enrich it with [the] genuflections, inclinations, signs of the cross, of the Extraordinary Form? A rapprochement would [thus] easily take place between the two Forms, giving an answer to a legitimate [desire] and, additionally, a longed-for desire of Benedict XVI.

What Father Abbot calls for is exactly what the Ordinariate Use leads the way towards.

Departed Worlds??? (2)

In the matter of composing Latin, Frederic Charles Geary, 1886-1974, Fellow of Corpus Christi College in this University 1928-1952, definitely had Form and Previous. He was one of an active group of Oxford dons who gathered fortnightly to share and discuss their versions and compositions in Latin and Greek. In 1940 he had published Pelican [remember: he was a Corpus Christi don] Pie: Verses and Versions. The group was to publish in 1949 Some Oxford Compositions, and in 1964 More Oxford Compositions. In writing prose and verse in the Classical languages, these men were  using skills they had acquired at their English public schools and continued to use all their lives. (A generation before, Mgr Ronald Knox had printed Signa Severa in 1906 while still at Eton; he composed Latin, and Greek, and English prose and verse for five more deades, most notably in publishing the Fifth Book of Horace's Odes in 1920.)

Pelican Pie and Euchologium Anglicanum were, I think, the only volumes (both slender!) which Geary published. The German/American PhD and two-papers-a-year culture had not yet forced a bridgehead upon the banks of the Isis. In those days, dons had better things to do ... such as honing their hendecasyllables and sharing a love of of Classical literature with undergraduates. (One of Geary's Corpus colleagues, William Phelps, when asked by a German visitor why as a man of vast erudition he had 'produced' nothing, replied that he wished to keep his amateur status ... this was still the cricketing age of Gentlemen and Players!). Pelican Pie contained poems in some of the less easy metres of Horace; the politics of the previous decade led Geary to incorporate the names of the Foreign Secretary (Halifax, you will be relieved to hear, is an anapaest) and of foreign tyrants (Mussolini? You're right: a double trochee). I like to think that, if Hitler's invasion had ever happened, there would have been enough friendly former Rhodes Scholars in the German Administration to ensure the protection of Geary and his associates, whatever snide remarks they had concealed in lyric metres ... such is the international respublica litterarum. You know the Vides ut alta stet nive candidum Soracte story?

But what ... what on earth ... is the point of composing prose and verse in dead languages? Surely, such wasted time and effort can be no more than the irrelevant playground of a decadent governing elite? One member of Geary's group, T F Higham (Trinity), mounted a spirited and revealingly Utilitarian defence against this suspicion. He explained that verse composition does indeed "make possible the reading of classical texts with ease and correct understanding". As an example, he took the play Dyscolus of Menander, long lost, but a single tattered copy of which had recently been recovered from the sands of Egypt. This papyrus codex was rather the worse for wear; some parts were difficult to read; there were some worm holes; there were scribal errors. Out of the hundreds of emendations or supplements needed, the great majority was supplied by British academics, who,  Higham reminds us, "had practised verse-competition"!!

Such skills are not entirely dead in this city of Dreams and Lost Causes. On June 24, Mr Orator Jenkyns will delight the University at its Encaenia with accomplished and witty Latin Orations celebrating the individuals, the good and the bad (including, last year, Jefferts Schori and this year, Hilary Mantel) selected to receive honorary degrees. And your humble servant once preached the formal University Sermon in Latin. But ... well, consider this: one day when Geary had missed a seminar on Aeschylus as the result of having a tummy bug, he promptly sent an apology written in Aeschylean iambics which were described by a more recent Oxford academic as "such as few if any of us could compose now" (I most certainly couldn't). Like the world of Wallis's Lichfield Close, the Oxford of More Oxford Compositions and of Pelican Pie is, must we not concede, very nearly a Departed World???

In a final instalment, we shall look at one of Wallis's prayers; and at Geary's Latin translation of it.

16 June 2015

Mutual Enrichment: it's happening!

(1) I know many readers will disagree; but I believe that an important way ahead in the direction of resacralising the Novus Ordo is through the sanctioning of alternatives derived from the Vetus Ordo. Happily, the Ordinariate Ordo Missae has led the way to a very significant and exemplary extent. Its authorisation deserves to be bracketed with Summorum Pontificum and the New English translation of the Missal, as one of the three major achievements of the last Pontificate in terms of Liturgy; and as a major contribution, from our beloved Anglican Catholic tradition, to the whole Western Church.

Mass may begin with the Tridentine Praeparatio at the foot of the Altar.
The Tridentine Offertory Prayers may be used; they are printed as Form 1 of two alternatives.
Mass may conclude with the Last Gospel.

(2) Moving in exactly the opposite direction: alternative Eucharistic Prayers should be ruthlessly cut back. Their introduction was a flagrant violation of Sacrosanctum Concilium 23; the defence of the innovation by Pietro Marini (p141: " ... consistent with the early Roman liturgy, which actually had used several anaphoras") seems to me ... until someone enlightens me ... a plain lie.

Here again, the Ordinariate Ordo Missae leads the way. It prints, in its main text, (an Anglo-Catholic translation of) the Canon Romanus, the First Eucharistic Prayer, used daily and universally in the Roman Rite until the disorders of the 1960s. (In an appendix, it does provide the pseudo-Hippolytan Prayer "not to be used on Sundays or Solemnities".)

I believe that the single most important liturgical reform which traditional clergy of whatever jurisdiction (if obliged to use the Novus Ordo) can effect, completely lawfully and without any permission from anyone, is to have a definite personal principle of exclusively using the Roman Canon, weekdays as well as Sundays. However much the Roman Rite varied in its various dialects and in different centuries, the Canon was the profoundly sacred moment of Consecration and of Uniformity, both synchronic and diachronic, binding together all who had ever celebrated, all who were at that moment celebrating, that Rite. I regard the introduction of alternative Eucharistic Prayers as by far the worst of the post-Conciliar corruptions. In an act of amazingly arbitrary Clericalism, the revisers placed the central Act of the Rite totally at the mercy of the daily whimsy of each celebrant.

(3) Rubrics should be redirected towards the holiness of the Great Sacrifice.

The most significant example of this is the the double genuflexion, i.e. before and after each Elevation, prescribed in the Ordinariate Rite.

Such things can be found among Novus Ordo celebrants ... both Benedict XVI and Francis have been noticed (thanks to the immediacy of Vatican Player) observing usages derived from the older form of the Roman Rite. And there is someone called Malcolm Ranjith ...

I conclude with a brief comment on today's post in Rorate Caeli. It is post which speaks negatively about the Reform of the Reform. Anglican Catholics for a century brought in the Tridentine rite gradually. While there were parishes where they went overnight from Mattins to the Missal, most clergy gradually added more of the Missal to the Prayer Book, both in terms of text and of ritual, until, perhaps decades later, they had got there. Should we undermine Catholic Clergy who feel they can take their people with them most easily by a gradual transformation of the OF ... until the day comes when the transition to the EF is totally painless?








Departed Worlds??? (1)

A Patrimonial friend has passed on to me a dear little volume called Euchologium Anglicanum; and, if that very title isn't an echo of an Anglican culture which has passed away, what is? It was printed in 1963. Could one imagine, in 2015, such a name being given to such a book anywhere in this solar system? But stay: let me tell you how it came into existence, and what it contains.

John Eyre Winstanley Wallis, sometime Scholar of Brasenose College in this University, and from 1945 Canon Chancellor of Lichfield Cathedral (d.1957), had begun to compose devotions for use after the Third Collect at Sunday Evensong in his Cathedral. "It seemed to me that the early Sacramentaries supplied the very models that I wanted, Christian but not technical. I set to work first to translate prayers from these, but I was driven in time to write prayers."

And at the beginning of 1957, Wallis proposed to a friend (and undergraduate contemporary), F C Geary, Fellow of Corpus 1928-1952, that he, Geary, provide Latin versions to accompany the English prayers Wallis had been "driven ... to write": "The Latin ... will be used mainly by the Vicar and his educated laity at their prayer desks, where the work of engaging the mind with the heart in its devotions is very greatly assisted by the use of Latin ...". In his Foreward, Geary remarks that Wallis's own English compositions were "based ... on the language and rhythms of the early Sacramentaries, which from long study were familiar to him".

If all that doesn't bring tears to your eyes, O ye hard of heart, nothing will. It conjures up a picture in which the parson knows the Roman Sacramentaries and his 'educated laity' understand how Latin would enrich their life of private prayer; a picture in which gentle and scholarly priests make their way across the Cathedral Close as formidably learned spinster ladies critically dissect last Sunday's sermons after collating manuscripts in the Chapter Library. Whatever happened to all that? Is it not a Departed World??? And, while that world had its lacunae, are we the better off or the worse off for its demise? For those of us with age and memories, it is perhaps suggestive ... and chilling ... to think how different the 1970s were from the 1950s. Yes ... you see what I mean! Just suppose the 1960s had never happened! And Euchologium Anglicanum wasn't the only little book to be published in 1963, was it ... ? But more of that later.

You want to know about F C Geary? You want to read examples of these prayers? And so you shall!

15 June 2015

ORDINARIATE FESTIVAL (4): More on our Rite

Another repeat of an old post, in honour of Cardinal Sarah's liturgical hopes.
 Quite apart from its sacral and hieratic style of English, the Ordinariate Order of Mass speaks very precisely to the problems of Liturgy in the modern Latin Church at this exact moment.

As you will remember, Pope Benedict XVI established that the 'Tridentine Rite' had, in fact, contrary to popular belief, never been canonically abolished. He clarified, authoritatively, that every single priest of the Latin Church had a right to use it without needing the permission either of the Holy See or any other ecclesiastical authority. So that there are two 'Forms' of the Roman Rite both lawfully in use.

But it is well-known that this great Pontiff looked ahead to a day when the two Forms would converge and eventually become again one single form of the Roman Rite. However, this is going to be a long job. There is so much irrational prejudice on both sides. Among some whose personal preference is for the Ordinary Form, the Extraordinary Form is seen as some sort of return to the Dark Ages of a pre-Conciliar, rigid, sin-obsessed, clericalist Catholicism which makes them wake up in the middle of the night in a feverish sweat. Among some whose own choice is the Extraordinary Form, their narrative of decades of ruthless persecution has made them resistant to the slightest change (in itself, an 'untraditional' attitude since Liturgy has always evolved, gradually and organically).

But the Ordinariate Rite constitutes a stage in that convergence for which Pope Benedict longed, and is thus of very profound significance not simply to members of the Ordinariate but to the whole of the Western Church. In many ways its basic structure is that of the Novus Ordo. But it includes ceremonial from the Vetus Ordo, perhaps most noticeably the double genuflexions at each Consecration. It includes optionally the Praeparatio at the foot of the altar, and the Last Gospel. Of doctrinal importance is its preference for the 'Tridentine' Offertory Prayers said by the priest, full as they are of the language of Sacrifice and Propitiation, and its restoration of the normativeness of the Roman Canon, the First Eucharistic Prayer, as a movement towards the longed-for and essential phasing-out of the alternative Eucharistic Prayers which Vatican II never envisaged and, indeed, by implication excluded.

These are all factors which contribute powerfully to the resacralisation of the Roman Rite, surely one of the most pressing needs of our time ... and I do not mean just liturgically.

Pope Francis to turn Tridentine?!? The Date of Easter.

 SEE NOW comment on the thread by Hierodeacon.
 According to Corriere della Sera, the Pope has again made the suggestion, which the British Press widely reported him as making more than a year ago in May 2014 when he met His All-Holiness the Patriarch Bartholomew, of a common date for Easter among all Christians. What reporters seem to be uncertain about is whether (1) he is suggesting to Orthodox Patriarchs the proposal discussed half a century ago at Vatican II, of fixing a particular Sunday to which we should all move, with both East and West abandoning their respective Julian and Gregorian Easters; or whether (2) he is going for the distinctly easier option of simply bringing the Latin Churches into line with the Julian Calendar ("adopting the Orthodox Easter"). He feels that it is embarrassing for Christians to say to each other "So when was your Jesus resurrected?"

Frankly, it would be easiest for the West to adopt (2) the Julian (Eastern) calculations. This is because it would be immensely difficult to persuade the Orthodox to change at all. The Orthodox have hitherto never been able to agree even amongst themselves about such changes (attempts in Orthodoxy to make alterations to Calendars have been known to lead to schisms termed 'Old Calendarist'). An obvious example: the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, although united in celebrating Easter and the other moveable feasts on the Julian dates, have never been able to agree amongst themselves about the celebration of the fixed festivals, such as Christmas/December 25. So the Greek Church (but not the Holy Mountain) is 'Gregorian' and keeps Christmas on the same day as we do in Latin Christendom; but for the Russian Church and some other Slavs who are 'Julian', "December 25" does not arrive until the day we call January 7. Put an Orthodox Greek and an Orthodox Russian into the same room and they might easily start fighting about "So when was your Jesus born?". Unless the Greek belongs to one of the three Old Calendarist sects! Or is a monk from Athos!

For the West to adopt, under the guidance of the Sovereign Pontiff, (2), the Julian ("Orthodox") Easter, would have the highly, the exquisitely amusing result of shifting the Latin Churches back to how things were when S Pius V promulgated his Missal and Breviary (until 1582, of course, all the world kept the Julian - "Orthodox" - Easter). Pope Francis would suddenly appear in the role of the man who moved the West back to the Tridentine dates! "All together now, back to S Pius V!" "Quo primum rules OK!" I bet neither his friends nor his foes have hitherto seen Francis in this ultra-traddy light! I rather like it!! His Excellency Bishop Fellay must be breaking open the champagne, if they have any in the cellars at Econe ... do you think they do? Pol Roger, perhaps? I once met a man who ... Oh dear, encroaching senility makes it so difficult for me to stick to the point ... these temptations to take trips down Memory Lane ...

But Western governments ... not to mention the tourist and 'leisure' trades ... are unlikely to view with much enthusiasm (2) the adoption of a Julian Easter which can sometimes be as much as six weeks later than our present Western Gregorian Easter. What secular interests have, since the 1920s, always wanted is (1) an Easter fixed on ... for example ... the second Sunday of April. If Pope Francis hopes to persuade all the separate Autocephalous Byzantine Churches, not to mention the non-Chalcedonian communions who now like to be known as 'Oriental Orthodox', to dump the Nicene calculations which they have insisted on sticking to for seventeen hundred years, and to agree to (1) a comfortable 'secular' date like the Second Sunday in April, I hope he's confident that he's going to be living for an enormously long time!

FOOTNOTE In fact, the rule of the Catholic Church at the moment is that, in countries (such as Greece) where the dominant Christian community observes the Julian ("Orthodox") Easter, even the Latin Rite Christians should do the same so that there will indeed only be one Easter. Orthodox Eastern communities domiciled in traditionally Catholic or Protestant lands are not, of course, prepared to make a symmetrical concession because "it would go against Nicea".

FOOTNOTE The December 25/January 7 business has nothing to do with the Theophany/Epiphany. And the Easter difficulty is in no way connected with the problems (related in S Bede) about 'Celtic' calculations of Easter. Or with the Quartodecimans. Comments which muddy the waters by implying that there are some connections here will not be accepted. Our present divergence only arose in 1582, when the West broke ranks with the East by changing to the Gregorian Calendar. We did so ... what pedants we Latins are ... on the specious grounds that the real, astronomical, Solstices and Equinoxes and the movements of the Sun through the zodiacal zones were no longer happening on the days on which the ecclesiastical calendars claimed they were! Nor will I accept comments which condescendingly inform me of something I've already said ... yes, people do that! Why bother, they feel, to read the whole article before putting the old gentleman right!

14 June 2015

Why the worship of the Ordinariate matters to everybody.

I reprint an old post of mine because Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has recently expressed a hope that the next edition of the (OF) Roman Missal will include, in the interests of Mutual Enrichment, the (EF) Praeparatio and Offertory Prayers. Just as I do in this piece. For the next few days, as well as my usual fresh post around 10.00 every morning, I shall reprint later in each day an old post on this same theme: Bring Back the Praeparatio and the Offertory Prayers as options in the OF!

Where now, I ask, are the sourpusses who were once so sure that our beloved Holy Father would appoint Piero Marini to CDW and thus usher in a new Dark Age of deteriorating Liturgy?

Tomorrow being the Anniversary of the Inauguration, by blessed Benedict XVI, of the British Ordinariate, I venture to repeat the warmest of invitations to Traditionalist Catholics to experience the Ordinariate Rite of Mass. You will know that this Use is authorised by the Holy See; and when we had our great Ordinariate celebration in Westminster last year, with Cardinal Nichols there to show his enthusiastic support, Mgr Keith Newton, our Ordinary, emphatically urged as many of his clergy as possible to use our own rite and thus to display our distinctiveness. 'Our' Mass can be accessed in London at the Assumption, Warwick Street; go there! But I invite you also, if you can get to Oxford, to visit this splendid Rite as celebrated by the Oxford Ordinariate group for the Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday evenings at 6.00.Why not come? Why not book your flights from Rio or from Tasmania or from Samarkand?

For a Vigil Mass, you cry? I know what you mean. A Vigil Mass can (prescinding from the fact that the most blessed and august and holy Sacrifice of the Mass is always inherently a matter of joy to the entire Cosmos and to the Angels and to ourselves) seem, in its ritual and social expression, a rather sad event in which people are "getting it over with" as painlessly as possible so that they can "enjoy" their Sunday. Fine music and a 'traddy' atmosphere are not commonly evoked by the phrase "Vigil Mass". But with us, the music is of the best, and the heart of Archbishop Lefebvre himself would have been melted by the entire liturgical effect. I will stick out my neck by saying that the Oxford Ordinariate Vigil Mass is, as Vigil Masses go, unique.

And, as I hope you know, the Ordinariate Ordo Missae breathes new life into a venerable liturgical tradition. Until the majority of Anglo-Catholic clergy most unwisely decided, in many cases with great reluctance, that it was their duty to adopt the Novus Ordo in the 1960s and 1970s, Catholic Anglican worship in the Church of England was a marvel. Ignorant people sometimes used to say that "If one Sunday Fr Murphy down at the Sacred Heart happened to flick a fly from his shoulder, the gesture would instantly be mimicked in the local Anglo-Papalist church". Nothing could be more ridiculous, or further from the truth. It was Rome itself that we Anglo-Papalists "aped", not the church-down-the-road. O'Connell-Fortescue was, for us, the last and greatest book of the Bible, and sat comfortably on the Sacristy bookshelf. Heaven (really!) forgive our arrogance, we rather prided ourselves on being different from, and a distinct cut above, Fr Murphy at the Sacred Heart! High Mass, largely unknown among English Roman Catholics, was our Sunday norm.

The Ordinariate Mass gives us back a great deal of our lost ancient glories. The language is the Tudor English which Archbishop Cranmer and King James's Bible translators created to be the superb sacral dialect in which our worship commonly took place. It is a mirror image of the artificial hieratic Latin in which the Old Rite is written.  And, in the Ordinariate Use, we have recovered a vast amount of 'Tridentine' material which the Western Church so sadly lost when the Novus Ordo came marching in: most particularly, the Tridentine emphasis on the Mass as a true propitiatory Sacrifice, to be offered with awe and reverence rather than with folksy chumminess. We can start off humbling ourselves with the Praeparatio at the foot of the altar; we honour the Altar each time with a kiss before we turn away from it; we are able to use the Tridentine Offertory Prayers with their unambiguously sacrificial language; we genuflect both before after each Elevation and after touching the Most Holy; we are encouraged always to use the Roman Canon, and the Libera nos as it was before Archbishop Bugnini 'improved' it; we can end on the magnificently triumphal note of the Last Gospel to bridge that gap between the Incarnate Word and World He was incarnated to redeem. We all truly face God's East, and are not bullied by a laity which demands its rights to watch Father's thoroughly repulsive face at every moment in the Mass. There is a magnificent schola and much of what it sings is, as Vatican II encouraged, in Latin. Patrimonial early Tudor English Church music is one of our specialities. The Ordinariate Rite is an example to the whole of the Latin Rite Church.

'Nuff Said. 6.00 on Saturdays, at the Church of the Holy Rood just South of Folly Bridge in Oxford (jokes about this will be deleted). Angelus before Mass; Anthem of our Lady and wine afterwards.

The thread contains comments offered to a previous edition of this piece, with which I celebrated my return to blogging after a silence which I had deemed prudent because of the attempts that had been made to prevent me from being admitted to the Ordinariate priesthood, on account of my liturgical preferences.

"Anglicanism united not absorbed"

I remember having an entirely good-natured running dispute with the late Dean of Studies at Allen Hall, the totally admirable and affable and hospitable Dr Stephen Wang (Vescovo subito!).

My view was that we of the Ordinariate are Anglicans in full Communion with the See of S Peter. His was that we are Catholics with Anglican Previous.

My instinct is based on a lifetime of longing for the realisation of the vision set before us by Dom Lambert Beauduin and taken up by Cardinal Mercier in the Malines Conversations, of an Anglicanism united but not absorbed.

There is nothing purely abstract here; this is not about how many angels can dance on the head of a needle: it is a practical matter bearing upon the subject of just how distinctive the Ordinariates should be. And even upon the question that nags at some Ordinariate clergy: Keith's Chrism Mass or the Diocesan one? It seems to me that the whole grammar of what blessed Benedict XVI set up, with its culture of rapid admission to the priestly life of the Catholic Church upon the presentation of ones Letters of Orders from ones Anglican Ordinations, points to the duty of consolidating a strong group identity, even in the case of clergy who may be out on loan, full or partial, to diocesan bishops (the synchronic side of things).

Moreover, being in the Ordinariate carries with it the duty of a strong sense of identity with, and continuity from, our past (the diachronic). This is why I keep hammering on about our great 'Patrimony' teachers; not only Blessed John Henry Newman but also Pusey and Keble and Neale; Dix and Farrer and Mascall ... Lewis and Sayers ... separated Doctors of Catholic Truth. Not to mention blessed Charles Stuart and William Laud. Oh, and let's not forget Ken and the Non-Jurors. They are who we are ... transplanted!! Transplanted in coetibus! Patrimony is not just Choral Evensong. Patrimony is Pusey .... and ...... and ........

13 June 2015

GOD'S FINAL WORD IS CALLED JESUS

                                        GOD'S FINAL WORD IS CALLED JESUS

 It seems that the Holy Father had Medjugorje and its so-called "seers" and their followers in mind when he said this, but what a wonderful and beautifully terse expression it is of Christian Orthodoxy. It puts down the errors of Islam; it is a rebuff to the neo-Gnostic convolutions of the Kaspers and Marxes. It is a superb expression of the function of the Roman Pontiff to act as a barrier, what Blessed John Henry Newman called a remora, against innovation, whether dogmatic or moral; and it could serve as a summary of the the decree Pastor aeternus of Vatican I. Four cheers for our beloved Holy Father!

To those who, like me, have sometimes rather missed the elegance and profundity of the teaching of Benedict XVI, I say: You can't wish for better than this!

11 June 2015

Encyclicals

One of my own anxieties about the current ecclesiastical climate is the tendency for 'Traditionalists' to invent contradictions between 'Tradition' and 'Newchurch'. I think we have an example of this in the report about the imminent Encyclical by Eponymous Flower (a blog for which I have great respect). It describes Lodato si (if I have remembered the Medieval Italian correctly) as "the first Encyclical of history also to have a subtitle". I have problems with this. I have by chance before me the Vatican Press Latin original of S John Paul II's Ecclesia de Eucharistia, in which it is given a subtitle ("de Eucharistia eiusque necessitudine cum Ecclesia"). On the handy revolving bookcase just to my right, I have a collection of the old CTS English translations of Papal Encyclicals according to which, at the very least as far back as Pius XI, encyclicals did have subtitles.

Let us not get so excited about ruptures in the Tradition that we spot them where they don't exist.

Personally, I propose to refrain from comments upon the text of this Encyclical until I have read it. And I sha'n't read it until it appears in the authoritative Latin. And here I do have a bit of a problem about ruptures. I was uneasy about the 'rupture' implied by Cardinal Bergoglio's choice of the nomen assumptum Francis, which seemed to set him aside from all popes since the ninth century, as it was a name which had never before been born by a Roman Pontiff. And I have problems about the publication of allegedly Magisterial documents which are formally "presented" in Rome, and read and widely discussed, in vernacular translations before the actual text which invites our obsequium is available. Shall we have, as has happened before during this pontificate, savants learnedly comparing different and dissonant vernacular editions in order to try to suss out what a particular passage is trying to say? Are there not better ways for academics and journalists to spend their time than in such ultimately pointless philological contortions? How many languages are the Faithful, whether lay or cleric, simple or learned, supposed to have at their fingertips, in order to be able to appropriate the Church's teaching?

10 June 2015

White Rose Day

Well, this side of the Ocean spring came early; and the white roses have long been out in the hedgerows. But that is no reason for failing to wish my readers a very Happy White Rose Day, on this Anniversary of the Birth Day of our late Sovereign liege Lord King James VIII and III ... our longest reigning monarch. And the last King of England to whom the Holy See accorded the right to nominate bishops ... so I suppose that all those admirable Vicars Apostolic, Petres and Talbots and Stonors, including Bishop Challoner, who were nominated before 1766 and look down at us from their portraits in their bands and wigs and 'Gallican' blue cassocks, were named by him. I am sure they all rejoice, and deem it mightily suitable, that the old Bavarian Embassy Chapel in Warwick Street is now in Ordinariate hands. And very appropriate that the Crowns of these Three Kingdoms are destined eventually to devolve de jure upon the princely House of Liechtenstein, where Vaduz Cathedral is reported to enjoy a very good level of Churchmanship under a quite Advanced Archbishop.

Then let us rejoice
With heart and voice
There doth one Stuart remain;
And all sing the tune
On the Tenth Day of June
That the King shall enjoy his own again.


A toast consueto more, this evening, to the Monarch? Go on! Unless there's a water shortage!



9 June 2015

The Primatial See of Malines

Not so very long ago, the Tradisphere was pulsating with appehension that Mgr Pietro Marini would be put in charge of the Congregation for Worship. The apprehensions were, to a degree, understandable; Marini, in that job, would have been a very gravely divisive figure; moreover, a book which was ghost-written for him calls his liturgical competence most seriously into question. He never was appointed. I never thought he would be, even if simply because of his age. Instead, the Holy Father made a fine and most appropriate appointment.

Now there are similar apprehensions about the See of Malines. The fear-figure, tradispherically, is now Bishop Bonny, who, like Marini, is also, to an extreme degree, a divisive figure who has adopted for himself a high profile. What seems to me most radically problematic about him is the letter he wrote before the last Synod in which he called into question the letter Humanae vitae of Blessed Paul VI on the grounds that it did not emerge in the way Bishop Bonny thinks it should have done, from a collegial collaboration between the Pope and the Bishops. This seems to me tantamount to attacking the two basic roles the Bishop of Rome has in the Universal Church: of obstructing innovation and preserving the Tradition; and of being the principle of Unity in the visible Church Militant.

My trust in the good sense of our beloved Holy Father inclines me to be as suspicious of this rumour as I was of the Marini rumour.

What has Malines to do with me? Bonds of affection. Memories of dear Cardinal Mercier, of the 'Malines Conversations' which he sponsored; Mercier, the saintly godfather of the great dream of an 'Anglican Church united but not absorbed'. This was the principle which so magnificently was given reality when Benedict XVI founded the Ordinariates.

I cannot convince myself that Bishop Bonny, with his clearly markered desire to be divisive, would be a proper person to wear the mitre of as great a man as Cardinal Mercier, who devoted so much effort to bringing divided Christians into unity.

8 June 2015

First Blessings

What lovelier and more joyful occasions are there than Weddings, Ordinations, Professions?!

And what more striking a sight is there than that at the end of the Ordination, when the Pontiff kneels to receive the blessing of the man he has just ordained.

When a newly ordained priest "gives New Blessings" during the first six months after his Ordination, I do not believe that any particular form of words is prescribed. But the following is by widespread custom often used.

Per impositionem manuum mearum sacerdotalium et per intercessionem beatae Mariae semper Virginis, Sancti N et omnium Sanctorum, omni benedictione caelesti atque terrestri benedicat te Omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus. Amen.

[By the imposition of my priestly hands and by the intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, S N and all the Saints, may God Almighty bless you with every blessing both heavenly and earthly, the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.]

Here, in English, are the words which the Bishop had said during the Ordination as he anointed the hands of the Newly Ordained:
"Be pleased, O Lord, to consecrate and to sanctify these hands through this Anointing and our benediction ... that whatsoever they shall have blessed may be blessed, and whatsoever they shall have consecrated, may be consecrated and sanctified, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Notice that this prayer is made in the Name of the Incarnate Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. It can be instructive to read the Gospels and to notice the many occasions when our Lord's hands are referred to, either explicitly or implicitly. They are, Holy Mass twice reminds us, sanctae et venerabiles manus. The enfleshed Word did not heal and bless with the Word alone of His tongue, but also with Words of His hands; and at the Table, and upon the Altar of the Cross, He stretched out His hands to suffer and to offer; and displayed them, shot through with Resurrection glory, to His doubting followers.

7 June 2015

A Penance for Frivolity

Rose Marie, wisely, corrected me recently for referring to the elect Vice-Chancellor of this University, a lady of Irish origin, as a "girl from the County Waterford". Would I have desribed a man as "a boy"?

What can I do but plead guilty and throw myself upon the mercy of the court? But convicts are, in some jurisdictions, allowed to make pleas in mitigation.

The vision that had floated before my mind was that of a wild Irish colleen, bare-footed, brought up in a smokey cabin somewhere on the backside of  the Knock-me-down Mountains, skilled in the cultivation of potatoes, adept at strumming the udders of a cow, striding suddenly into the pomposities of faux-sophisticated Oxford.

You see, my mind, in its very great weakness, does tend to dwell on visions of frivolous incongruity. When I wrote recently about the Master of Benets, who appears to have worked with immense distinction in pretty well every university in the known world, I had a picture of him sitting on the Hebdomadal Council in his native peasant lederhosen. (Or am I confusing Saarland with the Tyrol?). The other day, walking past the Salvation Army Citadel in Oxford, which is built on the site of the mediaeval Dominican house, I had a sudden fantasy of knocking on the door and advising them of the appropriateness of adopting the Dominican Rite in their Conventual Chapel. The temptation was so powerful that I very nearly did it. You are right: I am well past my sell-by date.

Sometimes, when I hear of the pontifications of self-obsessed prelates, I like to imagine them as married men, listening to their wives' accurately balloon-pricking assessments. I suffer from this sort of over-vivid and radically disordered imagination.

Megaweird, I know, but we all have our own mental eccentricities. I wonder, Rose Marie, if mine entitle me to any remission of sentence?

6 June 2015

Reminder

I remind readers that I do not accept gross abuse of the Sovereign Pontiff nor, indeed, of any other fellow-Catholic. With much regret, I have had to deline a particular Comment although it made a number of interesting points. But the words "What a foolish old man!" and, very much more so, the sentence which followed that, are beyond the boundaries which I feel compelled to enforce. I would be very happy to accept the Comment without those two sentences.

I was born in 1941 and am rather a "1968" sort of person, so my preference would naturally be to do without any censorship (except with regard to what may be libellous), as I did in the early years of this blog. But, as I have explained three times before, it has been represented to me that bloggers are deemed to be, to a degree, responsible for what they enable. Hence I decline that sort of remark. To maintain a symmetry of censorship, I also decline remarks from one or two sources at the other end of the spectrum, as well as those from a repetitively Feeneyite source.

Another point I have made before: I also occasionally decline comments which contain multiple typos and bad grammar. This is because I feel that, if somebody is too busy to check through the two or three lines they have dashed off, and to emend them, then they are too busy.

You may wonder why I do not exclude all comments, as numbers of other bloggers do on their blogs. That is because I do this blog partly as an extension of my own curiosity: in the hope of finding out things from those more knowledgeable in particular areas than I am. And sometimes, to test a hypothesis ..."Will this stand up to the examination and criticism of others?"

3 June 2015

The new Evangelisation

Some splendid photos on the Transalpine Redemptorist blog.

2 June 2015

AVANTI!

I don't know that I much liked Mgr Fisichella's reference to our Holy Father having a "programme". I rather approved of the somewhat unenthusiastic words about papal 'programmes' in Pope Benedict's Inauguration Homily. I don't actually think that a Bishop of Rome, who is not a secular politician, really needs much of a "programme", except the intention, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to guard piously and expound faithfully the Apostolic Tradition, the Deposit of Faith, handed down through the Apostles; and to act as what Blessed John Henry Newman called a 'remora' against innovation; which amounts to much the same thing. That's his job and, given a World, and a Church, not completely free of errors and corruptions, I'd have thought that it was quite a big enough job-description without curialists trying to make him add 'programmes' to it. Our beloved Holy Father only has 24 hours in his day, and only seven days in his week. Members of the Curia should try to remember this. They should keep their 'programmes' to themselves.

But I got keener when I read on: the second Sunday in October next year is to be dedicated to our Blessed Lady, the Mother of Mercy. (I could have done without the very slight hint, though, that this is only for the sort of people who like that sort of Marian stuff.) This is a most intriguing return to the high baroque Renaissance encrustation of the Sanctorale which lasted until S Pius X (a bit of a sourpuss?) motored like a combine harvester through the Calendar. Until then, 'Green Sundays' barely existed, especially in October, when Holy Rosary Sunday was followed by Maternity of our Lady Sunday, and then Patronage of our Lady Sunday. That admirable pope Benedict XIV was one of the practitioners of this liturgical goodyism: Progress! Moving on! Bring on Benedict XIV!! Tally Ho!!! Lambertini rules OK!

But then things got even better: I recalled that our Lady's title Mother of Mercy was very dear to my old friend, John De Grandisson (pronounced Grahns'n), Bishop of Exeter in the fourteenth century. Even more progress! Back to John XXII!! Vive d'Euse!

Yet stay! Was not this title of our Lady on the dying lips of the much loved S Richard of Chichester, Chancellor of this University, in the century before? Faster still!! Ahead to the thirteenth century!

[The Missae pro aliquibus locis include a Mass for our Lady of Mercy. I expect we shall all be using it a lot during the Jubilee year. Will the Ecclesia Dei people give it an enhanced status so that it trumps ordinary double ... I mean, III class ... feasts?]

1 June 2015

The Irish Referendum

When I was young, there was a lot of talk to the effect that Vatican I had defined the Papacy; but had left its teachings unbalanced by saying so little about the Episcopate. Vatican II was said to have done splendidly by correcting this balance.

So, at Vatican II, we had the status of bishops being given a puff ... by the bishops! And the bishops, additionally, claiming enormous moral credit for ... themselves giving themselves this puff!

I wonder what narrative History will give of the First World Episcopate in the decades since the Council.

I could go on about the collapse within the Church of the religious orders, of vocations to the priesthood. I could get rhetorical about the Liturgy. But I might simply be expressing my own prejudices. I have as many, if not more, human failings than most. And perhaps what has happened since the Council constituted in some cases (as it certainly did in the case of Liturgy) simply an extrapolation of what was already happening.

But ... the Paedophile Priest scandal! Here, considered objectively, we do have a massive dereliction of duty on the part of Bishops and of Episcopacy. In many cases, it seems, they disregarded juridical procedures and maintained 'the filth' in pastoral ministry.

And then there have been some high-profile episcopal adulterers; firstly in Ireland and then in Scotland and most recently in England (I wonder, incidentally, if there has been any enquiry into the circumstances of Kieran Conry's appointment; and why not).

I think it does the Irish laity enormous credit, in all the circumstances, that so many of them did vote in accordance with the teachings of the Church. (One constituency voted against SSM; two constituencies, knife-edge.)

It would be reassuring if some representative body of bishops ... perhaps, let's say, a Synod ... were to express some corporate regret about what their Order has done to the Church in the last disastrous half century. It has, in some parts of the world and in more than a few individuals, shown disturbing indications of a radical dysfunctionality.

Instead, we have suggestions of enhancing still further the powers of this Order by entrenching canonically and structurally and even dogmatically the Episcopal Conferences.

Holy Mother Church needs that like she needs a hole in the head.

All the way from Waterford

So this University's next Vice-Chancellor is a girl from the Co Waterford; a TCD MA.

I hope her installation will include a ceremony we see all to rarely in modern Oxford: Incorporation ad eundem.

As a seasoned hibernophile, I would view this appointment with enthusiasm but for the fact that she took a year out from Trinity to go to America and describes the experience as 'liberating'.

Oh dear.

She'll probably end up as president of her home country.