22 February 2015

A Question For Liturgical Historians

Finding myself reading Abbot Gasquet to chase down something he wrote about the state of Catholics in England in the eighteenth century (paying double taxes, at the mercy of non-Catholic neighbours who could demand their property etc) which reminded me of the place of Christians under Islamic rule, forced to pay the jizya, and forever second-class citizens at the whim of their neighbours,  I came across something odd; that following the 1778 Relief Act, the Vicars Apostolic had inserted the name of the King into the Canon of the Mass (he is precise enough to cite a document signed on 4 June 1778).

Before Pius V's Tridentine Missal, a prayer for the Monarch had been part of the Canon since at least the fourth century, coming immediately after the prayers for the Pope and the Bishop.  This was removed from the 1572 Missal, though it was retained as a privilege in countries with Catholic monarchs, and at the time the Catholic Encyclopaedia was published in 1911, Franz Josef was prayed for as Emperor in Austria, and as King in Hungary (and of course all rites and uses other than the Roman Rite remained unchanged).

But assuming Abbot Gasquet has got this right, the addition of George III to the Canon seems to imply three things that I would not have imagined possible: that such a change might be made so late in the eighteenth century without any perceived need for the sanction of Rome even though the Monarch was far from Catholic; that the Vicars Apostolic, who were administrators of districts, not Bishops in their own sees, felt they had the authority to do this; and that it should have lapsed before the restoration of the Hierarchy without any significant discussion which might have left an obvious trace to this day.

Does anybody have any further information on this?


Agellus said...

There is mention of the aberrant practice in Ward's Sequel to Catholic Emancipation on page 201, as well as Wiseman's opposition to it.

Ttony said...

Agellus: many thanks. I have downloaded the book to read it all. It explains how the custom had decayed into an extra postcommunion, but not what impelled the Vicars Apostolic. but guess that I'm going to have to get hold of "The Eve" and "The Dawn" as well, at some point.

I wish somebody would write a straightforward history of the Catholic Church in England and Wales 1780 to 1903, the death of Bourne, the last of the Archbishops of Westminster to have known pre-Restoration Catholic life.

Anonymous said...

The Leeds Diocesan archives contain a report of 1823 by the Vicar Apostolic of the Northern
District on the state of Catholicism
in his district at that time. Prepared for Propaganda Fide. I always thought that the Prayer for the King/Queen after the main Mass on Sundays (Domine salvam fac.) sung until Vatican 2, was required by the Government as a
condition of granting some freedom
of practice to Catholics by the Relief Act. Was the addition to the canon a similar requirement?

Ttony said...

Anon: the insertion in the Canon was decided by the Vicars Apostolic themselves. The Government came up with an Oath for Catholics to swear to prove their loyalty.

The Salvum fac is a prayer for the Monarch, said outside the Mass itself, as was the custom for non-Catholic princes. That prayer, or a similar one, would, I believe, be said by Catholics in any non-Catholic kingdom.

Rubricarius said...

A friend of mine has a layman's Missal of the period with the oration for HM King George, Queen Charlotte and the Royal Issue. I wonder if there was an element of gratitude as the King had given some of his own money to support Maynooth?

Ttony said...

I'm pretty confident that the prayers for the Royal family were introduced simply as a token of recognition for the fact that Catholicism had been decriminalised, as it were. Catholics worshiping legally were bound to pray for their sovereigns. The surprise is that the prayers should be inserted in the Mass. Rubricarius: is the prayer you refer to a postcommunion or a prayer after Mass?

What becomes more and more clear is that the Catholic Church in England and Wales after the Catholic Relief Act and up to the Restoration of the Hierarchy was fairly Gallican in its relationship with Rome. Wiseman's triumph (Discuss) was to reintegrate England and Wales with Rome.

Rubricarius said...

Ttony, IIRC it was a post-communion.

Ttony said...

Rubricarius, was it this?

Oratio Postcommunioni Addenda

Et famulos tuos N. Papam, N. Antistitem nostry, N. regem nostrum, cum domo regia, cum populo et exercitu ipsi commissis, ab omni adversitate custodi; pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus, et an Ecclesia tua cunctam repelle nequitiam. Per Dominum.

This was the prayer Pope Gregory XVI was so scandalised by. He asked Wiseman in 1847 to have it stopped. Bishop Baines (VA Western District) agreed to stop it; Bishop Milner (VA Midland District (though earlier)) had never allowed it to be said, thinking it an abuse; while Bishop Griffiths (VA London District) had it said in his District every day until his death in 1847.