30 January 2011

Free Cardiac MoT

We had an appointment at the fracture clinic, and, knowing that fracture clinics are under tremendous strain because of the number of fractures that happened in the week before Christmas, I decided to take something to read that I could concentrate on if there were to be delays.

I've read Clifford Longley's exploration of the papers left by Archbishop Worlock before, but I thought I'd reread them to see what sort of pointer they might give to how we have ended up where we have.

We arrived optimistically early and found that the clinic was already running an hour behind schedule, and that the delay was more likely to increase than decrease, so I settled down to read.

And there it all was: not just Archbishop Worlock himself as a super-trimmer - the Peter Mandelson of the Catholic Church, making the ecclesiatical equivalent of the journey from Kinnock to Blair a good mile ahead of everybody else - but the way the nascent Episcopal Conference was manipulated in the same way that the Council had been manipulated by its experts.  Indeed, the parallel has never struck me so forcibly before: the iconoclasts in England and Wales were led by those who had learned their trade hands-on in Rome.

One of the mistakes people make about the Index (of prohibited books) is to believe that Catholics were forbidden from reading them: it's not true.  Catholics had to seek permission to read them, and the person who gave permission had to assure himself that the person seeking permission was sufficiently intelligent and mature not to be taken in by the pernicious nonesense he would be reading, and that he had a good reason for doing so.  (If I remember correctly, there were four printing presses in Barcelona in 1527 which only printed books on the Index.)  That is the spirit in which I recommend this book.

I have recently taken to imitating Fr Hunwicke's comment of "small, white, bony, fish" when moved to say something rather worse than the word "pollacks" which the comment defines.  As my blood pressure rose, I went rather further, and, judging by the nudges in the ribs from a heavy cast, and the black looks flashed my way by my beloved, rather louder than I intended.

But no heart attack: a rough and ready confirmation that the old ticker is still doing its job.


Marc said...

And religious houses had a 'Purgatory' to house those libri prohibiti in.... Suppressing the Index was not a decision I would have taken.

Cf George Weigel at First Things http://bit.ly/glbpFW; an essay on Card. Joseph Bernardin, who was perhaps the the US equivalent of Abp W.

Rita said...

I'll stick to taking Mgr Ronald Knox to hospital waiting rooms, I value my failing sanity.

What always strikes me about those dark days is how the "reformers" relied on the blind obedience to the clerical caste of the laity to push ahead with their plan; a thing they claimed to despise. It is also one of the best examples of Marxist "hegemony" you can find.

Richard Collins said...

As a small altar boy on the sanctuary I once had the distinction of treading on the then Mgr Worlock's toes. He was not best pleased.
It was a moment i look back on with pride!

Anagnostis said...

I hope your wife's on the mend, Ttony.

Ttony said...

She's getting there, slowly, but will never get full use back, and will remember this winter every winter to come. Still, much better than all other alternatives bar one.

B flat said...

When he was consecrated bishop, for the See of Portsmouth, +Derek inherited the Virtue-Cahill Library, which contained more than precious books. I remember the ex libris of that collection read:

The Founders of this Library earnestly request their Successors in the See of Portsmouth to preserve intact.... It breaks my heart to think of this. Not for nothing was the latin form of his name (Theodericus) that of a barbarian king rather than a saint.

He sold it to pay for gutting the sanctuary and choir of the cathedral, and for a fibreglass illuminated "cloud" over his new altar in the transept.

Cold fish as he seemed to be, in fact he was very good at conveying warmth to individuals, with an apparent memory for faces. He had exemplary qualities as secretary to the Archbishop in Westminster. RIP.