31 August 2008

A Fruit Of Merton

This, with permission, from an e-mail.

"A fruit of Merton: not one of the stranger Dons, but the effusion of grace into a town where there is now a regular EF Mass. The Mass doesn't replace anything: it is an extra, and at a time when there has never been a Mass, so the town gets an extra Mass.

And even though this extra Mass doesn't get mentioned in bulletins and such like, it quietly attracts a hundred people, most of whom would not attend Mass other than on Sunday.

And somebody took it upon himself or herself to buy a large number of copies of a booklet Missal:

"This 68-page 5½" x 8" booklet missal provides a compact source for praying the old Mass in Latin, as well as other traditional prayers and meditations. Large clear print, classic illustrations and concise explanations make this edition easy to follow for those already familiar with the Traditional Rite, as well as helpful for younger Catholics and anyone unfamiliar with the rituals of the Tridentine Mass and other time-honoured prayers of the Catholic Faith."

without asking or being asked, so that nobody should feel other than at home.

And an SSPX supporting and attending family came and made peace with the priest and gave him the best boost to his confidence possible: "Do your very best, but don't worry about making mistakes"; and then telling him afterwards how grateful to him they were.

And odd little requests for permission to help and support, and to ask if those attending might constitute themselves as a stable group.

And a discovery that various items of church plate and vestments had been, well, um, hidden, from an earlier "enthusiastic for new ways" PP, and were therefore available again.

And a bunch of willing, ready and able people of all ages who just wanted to help.

With a result that the priest and his server rang the bell and came out of the sacristy into a wall of love and support that provided edification for all present, and confidence and a sense of authority to the priest."

This is being played out all over England and Wales this summer. There are 50 more churches where, whenever the priest feels able, Mass is no longer Ordinary, but Extraordinary.

How can we thank not just the LMS for sponsoring the course at Merton, not just the priests who gave so freely of their time to train the priests who were there to learn, but also the priests who have heard the call from those who waited and longed for so many years?

27 August 2008


One of the pleasures of following the blog of the Oxford Dominicans is the sheer intellectual quality of the stuff they post. "These lads will preach Heaven on a feria, and St Dominic every day." Their recent postings have followed their pilgrimage to Lourdes and have been as weighty as ever, but the veil parted for a split second at the Godzdogz blog, and we saw a vision of the iron behind the velvet.

Sister is on her second pint, while the lady trying to discuss her family tree is only half way down her second coke. The enigmatic smile reveals an understanding of the difference between cousins once- and cousins twice-removed which will shortly debunk the theory that Eric Gill actually left all of his property to the Jesuits. The mobile phone will soon be revealed as the Dominican equivalent of the sonic screwdriver.

"She is a Dominican nun, and, if it's OK with everybody else, I think we should surrender now."

26 August 2008

The Westminster Stakes - The End Is Nigh

A flurry of reports in the press told us that somebody had tried to put £40K on a priest of the Westminster Diocese, Mgr Curry, to succeed Cardinal MO'C. Paddy Power explained how he didn't take bets of that size on novelty books and said, to anyone who had eyes to see, that they would lose too much money if the bet came off! They added him at 40-1, but there are no other changes.

There was a whiff of a desperate bid to garner a last bit of momentum: everybody knows that the announcement will come soon; Paddy had his last chance of milking a few more pounds (and euros?) off a few latecomers, and the reports in the papers will have brought a few more bob in.

The list below is a hard-nosed bookmaker's guess at what might happen, and is informed by insiders, who are alongside, or at least near to, what Damian Thompson calls "The Magic Circle", and so reflects what they expect and what they hope. But there is also a dash of speculation, informed or otherwise: Abbot Gilbert and Cardinal Pell should not be on this list; and there is a mixture of deep affection, support from the blogosphere (and, to be truthful, wishful thinking) in Fr Finigan's appearance. This list isn't the Nuncio's: it's a qualified version of the Nuncio's; qualified by a punting faithful prepared to put its money where its heart is, but also by Paddy's understanding - presentiment? - that things might, just might, be about to change utterly.

Those preparing for the forthcoming ad limina visit of the Hierarchy of England and Wales in Rome will not be totally unaware of some of this, in spite of the fact that the Nuncio's report, accompanying the terna, will have had a very different take on where Catholics in E&W are in 2008, and what they want. The great unknown, the key unknown, is how far HH the Pope actually cares about us here: is it as much as he cares for everybody (and for which we give great thanks); or is it, as we dare hope, a care, indeed a love, that runs deeper? Time will tell, and soon.

Rt Rev Vincent Nichols 13-8 (5-4) (2-1) (7-4) (2-1) (7-2)
Fr Timothy Radcliffe 6-1 (10-1) (6-1)
Dom Hugh Gilbert 8-1 (6-1) (4-1)
Rt Rev Kevin McDonald 8-1 (6-1) (5-1) (7-2)
Bishop William Kenney 10-1 (9-1) (8-1) (15-2) (6-1)
Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon 10-1 (8-1)
Very Rev. Fr. Ignatius Harrison 10-1
Rt Rev Alan Hopes 12-1 (10-1) (8-1) (6-1) (11-2)
Rt Rev Arthur Roche 12-1 (10-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Fr T Finigan 16-1 (10-1)
Cardinal Pell 16-1 (12-1) (10-1)
Rt Rev Peter Smith 16-1 (12-1)
Fr Aidan Nichols 20-1 (14-1) (12-1) (11-1) (5-1) (6-1)
Bishop George Stack 20-1 (16-1)
Rt Rev Michael Evans 22-1 (20-1) (16-1)
Rt Rev Patrick Kelly 25-1 (16-1) (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Fr Christopher Jamison 25-1 (20-1)
Bishop John Rawsthorne 25-1 (20-1)
Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald 25-1 (16-1) (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue 33-1 (20-1) (16-1)
Rt Rev Bernard Longley 33-1 (20-1) (16-1) (14-1) (12-1)
Bishop John Patrick Crowley Non-runner (33-1)
Mgr Curry 40-1

24 August 2008

A Pretty Haul

I've done rather well for my birthday: a Baronius 1962 missal and a cut down 1962 Breviary for lay people; the complete Only Fools And Horses; Elgar's Coronation Ode; and the Hilliard Ensemble; the first series of Count Arthur Strong's radio show (in my mind, the Harry Worth de nos jours); Tommy Lascelles' Diaries (he was PS to George VI), Simon Winchester on Outposts of Empire, David Crystal on Language, and a selection of Boris Johnson's journalism; and Nixonland by Rick Perlstein; and Göran Söllscher's amazing take on Lennon and McCartney.
I may not be around so much for the next few days ...

23 August 2008

A Meme From Mac

"If you should pass from our presence, what picture of you shall we use for your saint's card, should you be so elevated, and of what do you want to be patron?"

No pictures of me, please: an injunction to pray will be fine. In the old days, when someone died, you had a card made up; all black and white, obviously, it would have a picture of (say) the Crucifixion on one side with a caption (say) "My Jesus, Mercy" and on the other something like: "Pray for the happy repose of the soul of John Smith who died in Manchester on 1 January 1975. Grant him, Lord, refreshment, light and peace." (Apart from the name and date, that's copied straight from a card in my Missal.)

Both of my parents are bookmarks (I blame my sister), with a photo, a long prayer, quotations from the Saints, and (this is one problem) a four week wait after the funeral for them and a cost which limits the number to hand out. Another problem is that people don't have missals nowadays.

Anyway: no photo for me; a card just as described above, and if anyone wants to ask me conditionally (if thou shalt have been saved) for help, then I will support anybody who needs the grace of longanimity when faced by people who do not believe in punctuality. You'll have to pray conditionally, because I won't be up there myself unless I choose to accept this gift. But that's another chapter ...

20 August 2008

Jumping On Eggs Without Breaking Them

When thinking about sports we might win at the 2012 Olympic Games, my mind naturally turned to the old Lancashire favourites, like Soot Throwing, Mud Juggling, Gravy Racing and Horse Blowing. I had recently averred to a fellow blogger that the day that we could reintroduce Women's Buttock Clenching would see a clean sweep of medals, when a team of three sixty-five year old women from Ramsbottom would be invited to watch a five minute video of Graham Norton in silence.

I had forgotten, until reminded by Catholic and Loving It of Jumping On Eggs Without Breaking Them. Here is a piece of historic video evidence of a sport at which Lancastrians excel. What Manchester does today, the world does tomorrow! But not before we have won the gold medal.

Anybody pining for the young Sue Lawley - Sue with Hair - will enjoy this all the more. And for aficionados of TV theme tunes: when was the last time that the theme of Nationwide sounded out in your house?

19 August 2008

A Time To Stand, A Time To Kneel ...

I found this at Rubrics and Ritual. It is from an 1852 edition of The Rambler. The last paragraph is pretty important.

It is of no use, we say, to urge these outward changes against us, as though our faith concerning the Sacrament itself had undergone any corresponding modification. Far from it. Outward acts of this kind take their meaning from the intention of those who use them; and daily experience shews us how frequently the same inward feeling may develop itself in apparently opposite outward manifestations.

In most Catholic countries the name of Mary is given to well-nigh every child that is born, out of love and reverence to the spotless Virgin, Mother of God; yet there have been some places where the people have abstained from giving the name to any child whatever for the very same reason.

Ordinarily the Church forbids the use of any but the most costly vessels of gold and silver about the holy Eucharist; yet, as we have seen, St. Exuperius is commended for using only a wicker-basket, having sold the gold and silver to give to the poor.

At one time the Church does not allow the laity to touch the sacred Host, nor even any of the vessels which belong to it, that so they may entertain the deepest reverence for it; at another she allows them to take it into their hands, to touch all their organs of sense with it, even to preserve it in their own houses, that they may thankfully avail themselves to the utmost of so precious a gift of God.

In one place she administers the life-giving Sacrament only under one kind, in order to avoid accidental irreverences which the use of the chalice entails; in another she administers it under both kinds, in order to set before our minds in a more lively manner the passion and death of Christ, and his own most sacred institution.

It is right that we should receive this holy Sacrament upon our knees, to express the humility and self-abasement with which we should always appear before the majesty of the Son of God; yet there have been times when it was deemed right that men should receive it standing, to shew forth the resurrection of Christ, and their own resurrection in and by Him.

Even so, in the very same way, it is fitting that this Sacrament should be withdrawn as far as possible from human gaze, that men should learn to appreciate its surpassing dignity, and to think and speak of it with becoming reverence; but it is no less fitting that it should be set up on high and exhibited in solemn procession, that it may be proposed to the people as the object of their adoration and worship.

It is right that the sight of it should be forbidden to unfaithful Christians and notorious sinners, to render them more fully aware of their unworthiness; and yet, again, the sight of it may well be permitted to them, in order to enkindle in them feelings of love and affection for so good and gracious a Redeemer.

Only it belongs to the rulers of the Church, and not to private individuals, to determine the time and place, and all the other circumstances, which require one of these manifestations rather than the other; it is these who are appointed over the Lord's family to give them meat in season

17 August 2008

The Roving Mediaevalist Uncovered

Jeffrey revealed rather more of himself than he meant to when he was interviewed for the Toledo Free Press here. (For anybody who doesn't know Jeffrey, that's the Toledo in the USA, not the one in Spain .)
Jeffrey is an incurable anglophile, an incurable romantic, and an inextinguishable Catholic. He can do curmudgeonly like nobody else in the Catholic blogosphere, but this article shows the pussy cat within.
This is the man who runs more blogs than anyone else I know, and their variety shows the variety of interests of the man himself: the mediaeval comes first, but also the Baroque, and anything modern that is worthwhile; anything British that illuminates what the UK has done for the world; royal portraits, as an insight into the soul of some of those who have led us; half-timbered buildings; cemeteries; here is a man who can find an interest in anything and communicate it to the rest of us.
Ad Multos Annos.

13 August 2008


I wondered earlier, when I saw a report in the Telegraph that Russia has annexed 20% of Georgia, and while they don't aim to overthrow the Georgian government, they wouldn't mind at all if it was replaced, if this is what the invasion of the Sudentenland and the Munich Agreement felt like in 1938.

Georgia is a "small far-away country of which we know nothing", as the British Prime Minister described Czechoslovakia at the time. There are all sort of historical reasons and pretexts for the Russians to occupy South Ossetia.

But it feels to me (myself, personally, on my own, not speaking for anybody else) deeply, deeply, shameful, that the UK has done nothing at all while Russia behaves like the world's bully and gets away with it.

12 August 2008

Ancient Fm

For those of us who have Internet radios, there is a piece of good news.

A new radio station, which announces itself as "Ancient FM - Online Streaming Renaissance and Mediaeval Music" is playing music which (to my ears) sounds like after 1000 and before 1600. There are no announcements, no adverts, no news breaks, no weather reports. Just continuous mediaeval and renaissance music.

My guess is that the station is in the process of being set up and that what I am getting is a test transmission: remember, 24 hours a day of rennaissance and mediaeval music with no announcemenets, no adverts, no news breaks and no weather reports.

They have a website, but no way of linking to the audio from it. But this feels like something worth bookmarking for the future. I wish I had shares in it!

11 August 2008

Some Saints

to the tune of the "Modern Major General". H/t to Sentire cum Ecclesia.

10 August 2008

Is It Me?

If you look here, you will find that the Salesian Order has donated a hostel for novices at a Buddhist Monastery in Sri Lanka.

"A brilliant example of Christian Charity came live with the donation of a 'Sangawasaya' - hostel by the Salesian Fathers of Don Bosco for the use of Novice Monks of the 'Buddha Sasana' studying at 'Sri Gnanissara Pirivena' at the 'Sri Priyadharshanaramaya' Temple, at 'Palugollagama, Megodawewa', a remote vil­lage in the Anuradhapura district in the North Central Province at a cost of Rs. 1.4 million.

Very Rev. Fr. Anthony H. Pinto, Provincial of the Sale­sian community in Sri Lanka said that it was a donation from his Congregation. This offering t the pinkama is not something purely personal but a donation from my Con­gregation. We are celebrat­ing the Golden Jubilee of the presence of Our Congrega­tion in Sri Lanka. This is one way of extending our frater­nal love towards the other religions. Converting the Buddhists does not motivate us but we are keen to see that they live a better life as Bud­dhists, he said."

Now, is it just cynicsm that makes me wonder where the 1.4 million rupees came from, and what the donors thought it was destined for?

07 August 2008

Love Of Music: A Fruit Of Mancunian Municipal Socialism

Tonight's Prom's main work has just started: Dvorak's 8th. I am remembering how and when I heard it first.

In 1973 the unifying forces of local government reorganisation produced, prior to the dismemberment of the county system, a unified bus system for what was still not the County of Greater Manchester. It was called Selnec (South East Lancashire and North East Cheshire), as that is what the County was originally intended to be called, though somebody without cloth ears realised eventually what was going on. (There is a "compare and contrast" lesson with the Bugnini reforms to be made here, but I have neither the time nor the inclination.)

We had socialist bus fares: under 16s paid 2p for any journey. That meant 4p return.

The Halle Orchestra held its Proms over what I remember as a three week season in May or June. Its promenading tickets (standing at the back of the stalls of the Free Trade Hall) cost 10p each. I had a Saturday job at Lewis's: it paid £2.08. That meant I could go to every concert during the season, and that year, I did.

It changed my musical tastes completely; it changed me completely. (Though unlike the Prommers tonight, I didn't applaud after the First Movement.)

(The percipient will wonder how the remaining £1.20 was spent: a lot of pubs were happy to serve people under age, or you could get a blob at Yates' for 10p; a couple of nights of abstinence meant a couple of blobs at Yates'!)

And Dvorak remains (however sentimentally) a favourite.

05 August 2008

New ICEL Translations

This might just be me.

The Offertory, and Eucharistic Prayers II and III are very similar to what we have now (allowing for the fact that the "translators" of what we use currently believed in a totally discredited theory of translation called "dynamic equivalence"). Eucharistic Prayer I, which had been dreadfully mangled by dynamic equivalence, looks far more like a version of what would have been in a 1962 bilingual Missal.

Eucharistic Prayer IV, however, looks weedy (weedier), impoverished (even more impoverished), and, dare I say it, (even more) unusable.

Whichever of the clergy and laity needs catechesis and whichever needs preparation, the choice of Eucharistic Prayer, which in the rubrics of the Ordinary Form is wishy-washy, needs to be sorted out.

You Know You're Old When ...

At the dinner table, I mentioned having read in the paper that ABBA were at the top of the Hit Parade. Blank looks from my 17 and 14 year olds. "It's in the paper: they're at Number One."

Son starts laughing uncontrollably: "You mean top of the charts - number one in the charts. I thought you were talking about one of those parades of wanted people."

And daughter added: "What does 'Hit Parade' mean?" As soon as they got down from the table, they, still laughing, began to text the story of the latest thing their fossil father had come out with.

I then mimed "grumpy old man" for a couple of hours.

03 August 2008

The Twelve Baskets Of Leftovers

The twelve baskets of leftovers after the feeding of the five thousand can be thought of as illustrating the abundance of good things that God freely offers to us, not least the Liturgy. And the Liturgy isn't just the Mass: it is the other six sacraments and the Divine Office as well. And the Mass isn't just the New Mass we've have known since 1973, but is also the 1962 Missal of Bl John XXIII. Thus the start of a sermon this morning by a priest who has spent the last week in Merton and is on fire with what he has discovered.

Whatever the fruits that the Church in England and Wales will enjoy, and which arise from the training sessions organised by the LMS at Merton College this year and last, we owe a tremendous debt is to those few heroes who understood what the Pope intended and worked out how to implement it. As Moretben wrote in my combox:

"It's mainstream, even establishment people like Fr Finigan who are the real radicals - who are prepared to go fearlessly to the roots of the crisis, unconstrained by a monocular, dualistic obsession with Modernism."

So as I heard the announcement of the return of the Extraordinary Form to a parish, to complement and enrich normal parish worship, I gave thanks for all those who have laboured to make it so, and who are seeing the fruits of their labour being gathered without great rancour, without great argument, without great fuss.

And I'll repeat them here.

Thank you.

01 August 2008

More From Gloria.Tv

On the site itself, each proposition of the Catechism is presented in a manner similar to this:

One match looks like the other But when it comes to Christ compared to those who came before him, than the situation is different.

A Guilty Secret ...

This summer I am rereading one by one all of the Dick Francis books I have. I think there are eighteen out on shelves, and a similar number in boxes in the garage.
The guilty secret is that I think he is a much, much, better writer of crime fiction than Agatha Christie. After the Doctor Who episode about her, I took down "Death in the Clouds" to reread it and found it to be not just dated, not just as poorly written as a Jeffrey Archer, but badly plotted as well.
Dick Francis has created a world in which he can be absolutely confident as he writes and in which I can happily suspend my disbelief. Sheer brilliance!