15 July 2014

Lucky Clifton Diocese!

Imagine having too many priests in one diocese!

Look at Fr Bede Rowe's blog.

14 July 2014

Another Straw In The Wind

You know what it's like: no sooner do you see one odd thing but something just as odd pops up as if to confirm that the first wasn't something by itself.

Looking for something else in the third volume of George Orwell's Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters, I came across something really odd in an As I Please dated 3 March 1944.  A reviewer had made some disparaging comments about St Teresa of Ávila and St Joseph Cupertino; a Catholic reader complained.  Orwell defended the reviewer, and his Catholic correspondent responded even more indignantly.  What is odd for the time, and what Orwell notes as odd, though I will draw different conclusions from his, is that the correspondent says that the fact that the two saints were reputed to have flown is irrelevant: what mattered, in the case of St Teresa, was that

"her vision of the world changed the course of history". 


"The figure of Christ (myth, man, or god, it does not matter) so transcends all the rest that I only wish that everyone would look, before rejecting that vision of life".

Orwell cites Fathers Woodlock and Knox to point out the unorthodoxy of his correspondent's view, but goes on to say that

"what my correspondent says would be echoed by many Catholic intellectuals.  If you talk to a thoughtful Christian, catholic or Anglican, you often find yourself laughed at for being so ignorant as to suppose that anyone took the doctrines of the Church literally".

Orwell goes off in his own direction at this point, but I want simply to register surprise, not at the fact that this nonsense was being spouted by somebody calling herself a Catholic, but by the fact that she, and the others Orwell knew, were talking like this in 1944.  I had thought that this level of cynical heterodoxy—I want everybody to think I'm Catholic but you and I are far too intelligent to accept all the stuff that has to be peddled to the masses—is of much more recent appearance.

Two straws in the wind.  Two worms in the apple?

13 July 2014

Straw In The Wind

I managed to get hold of a first edition of O'Connell's Celebration of the Mass which he published in 1940.  It is interesting for all sorts of rubrical reasons but I must say that I was caught by the following (O'Connell is discussing Custom):

"On the other hand it is very difficult to establish a real custom contrary to liturgical law (as found in the rubrics and in general decrees of the SRC) because of the resistance of the Holy See, owing to its desire for uniformity in matters liturgical.  a) SRC in its decisions admits the force of custom only in minor matters and for particular cases (it seldom approves of a general usage contrary to the rubrics); b) each new typical edition of a liturgical book is prefaced by a decree approving its contents 'contrariis non obstantibus quibuscumque'; c) the volumes of the decrees of SRC are approved with a special decree containing the same clause; d) each new general, or equivalently general, decision of SRC has this clause also, and decrees of  special moment add the words 'etiam speciali mentione dignis'.

Decisions of SRC which oppose existing usages at once abolish these - and this even if they are immemorial - for they prevent the consent of the legislator which alone can change a usage into a custom."
Now, there is a lot about the SRC not worrying too much about minor things: the use of a wooden stand instead of a cushion to support the Missal during Mass, for example; but we can establish from this that in 1940 the author of the manual which would become the standard for priests in at least England and Wales took as read that Rome wanted uniformity in matters liturgical and felt that it had the power to abolish anything contrary to any decision it took in this regard, no matter that the custom might predate Pius V.

This is not Bugnini's fault: at the time O'Connell was writing this Fr Bugnini was a curate only four years ordained and still not marked out for liturgical study. 

This is yet another example of the fact that the worm had got into the apple before Pius XII became Pope.  It is saying that the Pope can make any change he likes to the liturgical books simply because he is the supreme legislator, and that an appeal to custom cannot bind his hands.

These are deep waters.

10 July 2014

Two More Post-Reformation English Chantries

Both in one Church!

It turns out there were two Chantries in St George's Cathedral in Southwark where, in 1863 at least, Mass was offered daily for the repose of the souls of the Hon Edward Petre and John Knill Esq respectively.

Knill Chantry
Petre Chantry

We've already had the Vaughan Chantry at Westminster Cathedral, for which Masses on at least 260 days per year had been funded before the First World War.

Are there any more?

08 July 2014

Something For The Tolkienites

If Pius XII was Théoden, then who was his Gríma?


04 July 2014

On Not Blogging

For the record, and in answer to Fr Ray's Where Have All The Bloggers Gone, the two reasons I have blogged but little lately are because of extensive travel for work, and a filling of my time with teaching myself how to become a rubrician, a rubrician of a stern and pre-Pius X variety.  It is much more fun than blogging.

I haven't blogged for quite a while on Pope Francis and frankly, I am unlikely to do so, because I really don't understand what he is trying to do to the Church.  I'm not naïve enough to say: I don't understand the Pope, but he's the Pope, and therefore it's my fault I don't understand him: it most certainly isn't.  But given that we have no, or at least little, context for most contentious decisions he is making (I hold the FFI very close to my heart and prayers), I have decided that insofar as he is involved in some of the bizarre things coming out of Rome, he is beating his own path, and nothing I say, frankly, will add or subtract an iota from the significance of what is going on, or on his responsibility for what transpires, especially in respect of where the path he beats leads us.

I tweet, of course, and while some tweeters seem to think that in 140 characters it is only possible to be rude, many of the rest of us have found that it is possible to be completely civil: we even use Twitter to recite the Angelus in (fairly limited but nevertheless existing) community.

We found that the Hierarchy in England and Wales have managed to put "Catholic Blogging" into a box marked "To be ignored", and I reckon most of us aren't too worried: we blog for each other.  I will just say, though, that the day the Hierarchy turns to us and asks us to open the tap on their behalf, they'll find out that they reset our relationship when they decided to ignore us.  If they say we don't matter now, we won't be turnable-on when they decide that we may well matter.

But, odd hiccoughs aside, we will all continue to blog as it pleases us: we are the people of England who are always speaking and worthy of being smiled at, passed and forgotten: "Nothing matters very much; very little matters at all" those who look at us will say.  But they are wrong, because at the heart of what we care about is the one thing that does matter, and the great calamity, it seems to me, is that we blog about the one thing that matters because we aren't getting our fill of it elsewhere, and nobody seems to care, except us.