More liturgical matters

Again, I go into a subject from which there is little to conclude definitively. I do so because there have been a few exchanges between one blog and another. The real issue I read in these various posts is one of rubricism. The articles in question are The Traditional Roman Liturgy Question and Eastern Liturgics and the heads-up I got from a surprising reaction from my old friend in Kent, Fred Phelps… The latter article gives a link to the former, which contains a considerable amount of finesse and a more theological view of the liturgy.

On this subject, I have always been fascinated by the work on the Christliche Kultmysterium notions of Dom Odo Casel, Louis Bouyer, Joseph Ratzinger, Klaus Gamber and a German priest I knew well as a student at Fribourg, Fr Martin Reinecke. There is a whole school, mostly Germans, that has influenced my way of thinking and make me sympathetic to an approach that compared the spirit of the liturgy in the post-Tridentine Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, not forgetting the Non-Chalcedonians. It is also a view of the liturgy formed by the spirit of Benedictine monasticism, of which I acquired a taste during my six months at Triors Abbey in 1997.

Gabriel Sanchez writes in a very interesting way. If I recall, I had occasional exchanges of e-mails with him in the early 2000’s, and then we lost contact. In his blog, he mentions being Greek Catholic, but there is no mention of his being a priest or not. In his first paragraphs, he comments on the issue of the process of liturgical reform from about 1950, which affected the Holy Week ceremonies in the Roman rite. I remember my days at Gricigliano and our MC, the late Fr Frank Quöex. Many of my fellow seminarians had been in the Society of St Pius X and sought a more liturgical than political view of Catholicism. Though we officially followed 1962, we did a lot of tweaking like the use of folded chasubles and the old Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday. I would agree, from the experience of more than two years in that seminary with lots of lace, pom-poms, buckled shoes and all the tat you could imagine, that most of the time, 1962 is hardly different from previous editions of the Roman missal since 1570. Many commemorations were dropped. We still had the “third Confiteor” after the priest’s Communion at Gricigliano. Nobody minded, whether in our community or in Rome. There is also the French spirit in contrast with Anglo-Saxon rubricism – a small amount of sloppiness isn’t such a bad thing!

I can understand a Roman Catholic point of view wanting to put aside unessential differences in order to make progress with a traditional liturgy rather than the Novus Ordo. One would have the impression that everyone following 1962 would bring about strength in unity, and then go about some careful twisting, just like our Anglo-Catholic clergy in London in the first years of the twentieth century. With the experience I have had, I understand the issue – but I am no longer a part of it. I am deeply alienated spiritually and emotionally, profoundly marked and this has had its effect on my priestly calling. The Anglicanism I now embody as a priest in the ACC is not quite the same as when I was a church organist in the 1970’s and a chorister before then. Nothing is quite right, but I have to live with imperfections and discrepancies, first of all within myself.

I joined the TAC directly under Archbishop Hepworth (Patrimony of the Primate was my canonical title) in 2005 and continued to use the Roman rite to which I had been fully accustomed for many years. I still have the small format altar missal I was given to me by the German priest I mentioned above, a missal dating from the early 1940’s. As the years went by, I was aware of an enormous discrepancy between using the post-Counter-Reformation Roman missal and being an Anglican of sorts. Yes, we officially used the English Missal and the Anglican Missal, two translations of the Tridentine missal adapted to absorb the content of the Prayer Book Communion Service and thus justify its existence. In the ACC, we have the Anglican Missal, and most of our praxis in England is very similar to the Roman Catholics in the Society of St Pius X and the Latin Mass Society. To this day, I still use my late baroque French chalice and the Latin vestments I made when I was a student on my old Bernina sewing machine. As we moved into 2008, I became quite restless and considered Sarum. I knew the arguments against it: that it was totally obsolete, no longer a part of “living tradition”, eccentric, you name it. I felt I had to break with the Roman rite to finish off the chapter in my life from about 1981 until the time when I left the Institute of Christ the King in the 1990’s. The chapter could have closed in one of many ways, but I continued to pursue the priesthood. I began by using the Warren translation of the Sarum Use, which I still do occasionally, but I usually use the nineteenth-century Latin edition by Dickinson. It makes no difference to my wife or anyone else, but it has made the difference for me.

I mention this because it colours my way of seeing the problems with the Roman rite. I turned my back to it, both in its pre-Pius XII form and 1962 and 1965. I had exposure to the 1965 liturgy at Triors, a daughter house of Fontgombault Abbey, itself a daughter of Solesmes. The looseness of the 1965 liturgy would suit the sobriety and asceticism of the monastic liturgy. The processions in the cloister and Salve Sancte Dies on Easter morning made me think of Sarum. Something now only done by monks used to be done also by cathedral canons and secular clergy. We were close at Gricigliano, but we were a seminary and had to curtail the liturgical routine to some extent for the sake of academic work and other aspects of our community life. We had Lauds, Sext, Vespers and Compline each day, of which the latter two were sung in full. I was the regular organist from 1990 until 1992.

During the dark months of early 1997 when I was at Triors, I went through a period of near-depression. I had long talks with the Abbot about acedia (a subject on which I have written). I experienced suffering from suffering from the liturgy! Matins went on and on and on… I knew I did not have a monastic vocation, for that reason and others. One thing that struck in particular me was the notion in Dom Delatte’s commentary on the Rule of St Benedict about the way of forming novices à vase clos, à l’étouffée, like food in a pressure cooker. The layers of the soul are peeled away as the novice relinquishes his own being to give himself entirely to God. The monastic commitment is total. You own nothing, not even your own mind. It is that radical! Is it wrong? I don’t think so, but the idea and the suffering from their liturgical asceticism pierced me to the core. I would never be a monk!

Is it possible to have liturgy without that level of asceticism? Parish liturgy for ordinary folk has always been “Catholicism Lite“. It had to be. The diocesan cathedral would have given a much fuller liturgy, but still, offices like Matins would be said in private except for major occasions like Holy Week and Christmas. This is the compromise we have all had to learn to make, some of us very painfully.

I have very little experience of the Byzantine tradition. I once went to Liturgy at the Greek cathedral in London, but I remember very little of the experience. The Russian cathedral at Ennismore Gardens made more of an impression. I heard Metropolitan Anthony preach a couple of times, and I discerned his profound monastic spirituality. I once attended a Coptic Liturgy, which I found thoroughly confusing.

What would have been done in medieval England? The late Dr Ray Winch conjectured a comparison between a fifteenth century country parish with Cyprus and Crete in our own day. Is this still so, or do those people also have television and smartphones? The emerging ideal would be what some trendy Anglicans would call “messy church”, being sloppy and making concessions to the “old religion” (pre-Christian paganism). I think old Fr Montgomery-Wright reproduced it fairly well in his parish in Normandy until his death in 1996. He had been an Anglo-Catholic priest in London, became a Roman Catholic and preferred French sloppiness to English priggishness and rubricism. My own life had its parallels with his, but we lived at different times and I had to be myself. Normandy was once quite “Sarum”, which is hardly surprising since Sarum is essentially the Use of Rouen with a few bits from the Mozarabic tradition. My priestly life is now one of a “Goliard”, essentially the secular life of an “ordinary guy” with the gift of the priesthood.

What do I make of “Pray as you can, not as you wish you could”, the question from an old Russian priest quoted in the article? We have no choice. I can only ever celebrate Low Mass – for the simple reason that I am alone. It is that or nothing. On feasts, I will make the effort to sing and incense the Oblata at the Offertory. It can be done with the thurible stand near the altar. Already, doing things like that would be taking big liberties in the Roman rite. Sarum is much less codified, though the canons of Salisbury were the most exacting and rigorous of England. I believe in following rules wherever possible. Today, I celebrated St Michael of Mount Tumba. The proper specifies that the Creed is said. I was tempted to omit it, but dutifully obeyed the rubric. At the same time, I was celebrating alone and playing fast and loose in many ways. The Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath. The French sloppiness has rubbed off on me, but not completely.

Finally, the problems in the RC Church are not mine. My Bishop lets me do what I do, something he and I have always understood. The different groups of Roman Catholics can do what they want, and I am unconcerned. At the same time, I relate something of my own experience. I do think it is unfair to be hard on boys in their twenties writing intemperately on their blogs. I didn’t even have a computer at his age, let alone internet or a blog, but I think I might have been worse. Thank heaven for small mercies… Lay people got “into” liturgy because they felt betrayed by their clergy. It is easy for clergy to be – – – clerical, and look down their noses at the “ignorant” laity. Many liturgical problems come from there.

We continuing Anglicans and the RC traditionalists have dreamt for many years about unity and strength coming from unity. I don’t think we are meant to be strong and bring about model and ideal parishes and cathedrals. It is another point I have discussed, the idea of “weak” Christianity that gives strength at a different and spiritual level. It is a point of view the right-wing reactionaries despise.

I see little point in liturgical discussions on the internet. In an anecdotal vein, I am subscribed to a couple of e-mail lists on dinghy sailing, also a couple of groups on Facebook. For me, sailing is something you do in your boat when it is floating on the water. Of course, we can learn from each other about navigation, safety, ways of dealing with different conditions at sea, also about the boat itself and the technical stuff – but there too, people get pedantic and out of proportion with their self-expression. I found the same thing with musicians – and indeed with all groupings based on interests in common. We can only share so much with other people.

In the end of the day, if we are priests, we can say Mass. If we are on our own, we can do pretty well what we want or believe to be best. If we are in a parish, we have to take notice of what the Bishop says and what the people are used to. That is simply pastoral common sense. When you’re at the ball, you are expected to dance. Whether or not we are priests, we can say the Office. It is good to sing the Office together – that’s what it is designed for – but we just do it alone when a common celebration isn’t possible. We need to be more interior, more detached, and more humble in the knowledge that our treasures are other people’s trash. The world is like that, and indeed what we have made it into.

Young people are keen and passionate. When we get older, our priorities change. I used to dream about the possibility of getting people together for celebrations of the Sarum liturgy. It has been done in Oxford and Toronto in Canada. There are young fellows in England who have staged liturgical reconstructions, and may have others planned for the future. We English have more contagious hobbies than in other countries where such eccentricities would fall flat on their faces. No attempt to found a stable community on the basis of a particular rite has ever been successful, only when some other theological or political ideology was the focal point. No attempt to set up a “Sarum parish” will ever succeed, nor even one based on the pre-1962 Roman liturgy. There are of course the sedevacantists who are something of a western equivalent of the Поповцы and Безпоповцы Old Believers in seventeenth-century Russia.

It is human nature to fix onto “things” because they give us security. Christian asceticism has always preached detachment from things that console and give security, like the Benedictine novice in the “cooking pot”. We will always live in this dilemma, since our religious practices, like the Jewish Sabbath, were made to help us on our way. One real problem is that the Churches talk of “inculturation”, but we are “exculturated”, a sacrificed generation. We have now to re-discover Christianity, but in a different way. The dream is broken, but we still try to salvage a few bits and pieces.

Have a look at the sites I mentioned. Try to get behind the façades and the kind of expression that can remind us of our own brash and youthful passion. I had to find my own way out of the morass, a little corner of Christianity to which I could hope to relate full-heartedly and with both faith and humanity. Our young friend has dabbled quite a lot in London Anglicanism, but it was not for him. Foxes have holes… but the Son of Man? Do we still have anywhere we can call home spiritually?

Our treasure is other people’s trash. That is just something we have to accept, and then we get on with life. I would like to recommend a wonderful book I read many years ago by the French author Pierre de Calan, Cosmas or the Love of God. Brief review. It is an excellent parable for us all.

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18 Responses to More liturgical matters

  1. Stephen K says:

    Dear Father Anthony, you are a wonderful, feeling, thinking, person who has experienced so much, and indeed, with whose experience I can so relate, notwithstanding that we each came to religious consciousness under different banners.

    You seem to be constantly striving to find that locus of wisdom that lies in a universal perspective, a middle which is not compromise but deep balance. I deeply respect you. You are one of the most priestly priests I have ever encountered, and I mean that in the best of every sense. I’m slightly older than you, so it seems strange to say that I wish I had known you, as priest, when I was growing up. Nevertheless, our contemporaneity and similar traditionalist RC experience is an advantage to the extent that it means I am literate enough to be able to understand you. Of course, it helps that, though we operate by different theological analyses, we are both at core Romantics.

    You are, to my way of thinking, an evolved person, someone who feels aesthetically drawn to tradition but who is not a “traditionalist” in the current political sense (whether AC or RC). You have what I would call an “evolved orthodoxy”, which might, by some, to be thought something of an oxymoron but which, in your case, I think represents something of a very mature, intelligent. modern sensibility.

    I won’t run the risk of appearing to have trivialised my understanding of your feelings that I sense accompanied your writing of this post by describing them, but let me say I was very moved by what I discerned in your comments.

    Don’t feel embarrassed: you’ve been honest and courageous in the way you write; this is just an honest response I’m not ashamed to share publicly. I want to encourage you never to lose hope or belief in the good that I think you do. You do good by your Christian forbearance, understanding, non-rancour, moderation, curiosity, openness, as well as your erudition, experience, patience in explaining, and the spiritual world is an element present in all your writings. The various Churches would have more pastoral (and creedal) credibility if they had more Anthony Chadwicks.

    • ed pacht says:

      Amen! Though I have less sympathy for “Liberalism” than does Stephen and less for “esoteric” approaches than Fr. Chadwick, I enthusiastically second what Stephen says about Fr. C. and have found this blog to be both refreshing and challenging.

      • I thank you also for your many pieces of imput into this blog. There is a lot of stuff on the internet, and there are quiet academic blogs that I admire and some work by the more challenged among us. That is the beauty of life and the internet. You also have your background in Evangelical Christianity, evangelical meaning fidelity to the Gospel but also a stricter monotheistic way of seeing things. That is also a prophetic voice to check excessive tendencies to gnosticism, paganism and humanism. There have to be checks and balances. Let’s carry on the good work! 🙂

    • Many thanks for your kind words. I have simply written what I think, and that article on Opus Publicum set it off. The reaction from my friend Patrick in England reminded me of Cosmas. Sometimes people seem to be objectionable, but holiness is found in the most unexpected places. Sebastian Flyte in Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited is another example of the fools for Christ. We are all broken vessels, and God somehow makes sense of the chaos in us all.

  2. James says:

    Father, with all respect, it does no good to treat Patrick pitiably like a child. I too am fond of him, but I will make no excuses for his authoritarian and angry outbursts. He is a grown man, deserving of respect as such, and can take criticism of his violent and uncharitable language without people patronising him because of his youth or Asperger’s.

  3. A very thoughtful post, father. Would you say that I am keen and passionate? I wouldn’t. I don’t think about liturgy anymore. I have been burned out completely. These days I spend most of my spare time reading Tolkien or playing video games. Even looking at certain books in my modest library just reminds me of the grief and heartache I experienced when trying to rehabilitate “them.” They (the traditionalists) are incorrigible, precisely because they are bound to the logic, theology and general worldview that makes Tradition impossible. Theirs is an ideology that, I would say, has almost no legitimacy.

    You mention unity as a strengthening principle. That goes without saying. All pious Christians would naturally echo our Lord’s wish ut omnes unum sint. But there is a world of difference between unity based upon unanimous consent and the kind of partisan, bullying tendency of the traditionalists (itself a side effect of a tyrannical ecclesiology) who fly to 1962 as their mark of difference from other Roman Catholics. It is their shibboleth and it is schismatic and causes nothing but hatred, to say nothing of betraying an underlying problem in their view of the allegedly subordinate relationship of liturgy to Papacy. And the Papacy is, I would say, about 70% of the problem. Until the pontificate of Pius IX the Roman church was a venerable institution, if somewhat backward and not without its store of problems. But with the rise in Ultramontanism came the visible decline of liturgy, and the standard of liturgy, until the nadir years of 1911 and 1962. The FACT that there is an obvious parallel between the increasingly centralized regulation of the liturgy and the present wasteland we see to-day either doesn’t occur to the traditionalists, or it does and they don’t like it. So what they do is they try to make the facts fit their theory, or make recourse to scapegoats and conspiracy theories, largely to do with Mgr Bugnini and the Second Vatican Council which, I would argue, had almost no influence on the liturgical developments of the 1960’s whatever. As for the other 30% of the liturgical problem, what can I say? They reject all my arguments singly anyway so the low Mass tendency, bad theology, the rigid maintenance of Latin, among many other problems are modernist, Jansenist criticisms that can be jettisoned without complaint. No, everything was pristine and wonderful until 1964.

    So what about 1962? Why do you suppose I am so vehemently against that (incomplete) set of liturgical books? Well, I agree fully with the blogger Rubricarius when he said that they represent the nadir of the Roman Rite. I don’t have the time or space to give an exhaustive list of reasons for that but I’ll do my best. Soren Kierkegaard said (although I believe the original quotation is longer and more complex): “A passionate tumultuous age will overthrow everything, pull everything down; but a revolutionary age which is, at the same time, reflective and passionless, leaves everything standing but cunningly empties it of significance.” I think that quote, at least the latter part, is vindicated in the liturgical books of 1962. Why? Well, I concede the point that in most respects the rite of Mass (of Mass, mind you) looks substantially the same as the rite of a pre-1962 Mass but what significance has it with a ruined Kalendar? You may maintain the rite in its purity but what is that if you celebrate a feast on the wrong day, or omit it entirely, in defiance of centuries of tradition? Is it a Catholic thing to leave out commemorations? If so, why? What about the proper of the Mass? Is it a Catholic thing to cast aside, for example, the proper Iuravit for St Gregory the Great (unique to his feast) in favour of Si diligis me? If so, why? What about octaves? Is it a Catholic thing to reject all but three octaves in the Roman Rite? If so, why? And nobody ever seems to mention the Office! Is the Divine Office unimportant? Or irrelevant? “Oh, we don’t do evensong. That’s Church of England! We have low Mass!” I’ve heard before. The celebration of Mass is the principle form of the Church’s prayer but the significance and importance of the Mass interpenetrate with the Office. The Office of the Day decides the order of Mass, not the other way around. Is there a Te Deum at Mattins? Then there is a Gloria at Mass; and so on. But the general apathy of the traditionalists for the Office (except Tenebrae, restricted to Spy Wednesday evening, and the occasional Vespers (with Benediction)) is demonstrated most clearly by their fondness for evening Mass, which is quite simply an abomination. And people fuss about a third Confiteor? That’s a meaningless token! There are weightier matters. Even more ludicrous is the fuss they make about Septuagesima. Exactly what difference does it make whether they observe that tide or not? Following 1962, it’s just three more weeks of violet. At least under pre-1962 praxis there was the difference in vestments for high Mass.

    As for the general traditionalist movement, as I intimated in my own brief post, it has largely been hijacked by the neo-conservatives (such as the chairman of the Latin Mass Society and lay bloggers like Dr Kwasniewski of the New Liturgical Movement blog). People who, twenty years ago, couldn’t have cared less about “Tridentine” liturgy or traditional forms of piety. Along comes Benedict XVI and suddenly it becomes fashionable to make reticent critiques of the Novus Ordo, and to make nonsensical statements like: “just say no to 1965.” Marcel Lefebvre, the traditionalist par excellence, purged the ranks of his society in the 1980’s of actual traditionalists, the so-called “naughty nine;” priests with a more liturgical, as opposed to an Ultramontane, sympathy. This was done under pressure from Rome (by which I mean Ratzinger) in order to make them more “respectable,” in other words Ultramontane, and less principled. A similar thing happened in the once-militant Latin Mass Society, with the expulsion of several members in the 1990’s, and their wholesale adoption of the 1962 Missal as their liturgical standard, copying the Lefebvrists. Since then, traditionalism has lost its way and has largely betrayed the sentiments of the founding members of the movement; men like Evelyn Waugh who died cursing the 1962 missal.

    So, you tell me why I should enter into a discussion with these sanctimonious people. I will not compromise on 1962. If that’s not fair then, to paraphrase the Lord Bannside, “I’d rather be traditional than fair.”

    • Thank you, Patrick. I think the real issue is putting over a credible message. Blogging and commenting makes it possible for us to express ourselves freely, which is usually our right outside absolutist and totalitarian regimes. We enter a market place of ideas, and our contribution can do something positive in that nebulous community – or it can create discord or draw ridicule on ourselves. The responsibility is ours. I have tended to see in you various mitigating factors, but I run a big risk of being patronizing or condescending in your regard. You are an adult, and thus fully responsible for your writings. They alone will establish you as a credible adult or something else.

      Personally, I try to adopt an educational approach, but also find myself becoming introspective and faced with the possibility that I have little to offer. If the latter, the only response is silence. If you are burned out, it may be time for a change in your life, a new approach to religion and spirituality, an exploration of the western “supermarket” of spiritualities or in other parts of the world or periods of history. For the entire time I was a convert to Roman Catholicism, I couldn’t make everything fit, so I don’t blame you for not being able to either. The best thing for someone who is burned out is a change. You don’t need to be concerned about the 1962 Roman missal or any other Roman missal. You explored Anglicanism, and that could only be something positive even if you never found your place in it.

      I too left the traditionalist Roman Catholic world, and found a different niche. I keep an observant eye open, but it is not my war. As far as I am concerned, they can do what they want, and they will succeed or fail independently of me – or you.

      We have to face the possibility of an ultimate failure of western liturgical Christianity. I am unqualified to make a judgement on Eastern Orthodoxy because I don’t have enough experience of it, nor am I drawn to it as a spiritual home. The painting on the wall suggests that the future of the western world is a kind of Orwellian dystopia with Islam as the state religion and ideological catalyst. I hope such a pessimistic view is mistaken. Whatever, in our lifetimes, our future as liturgical Christians is in the catacombs, in our homes and little chapels, in discretion and prudence.

      I don’t support the “1962” traditionalist world either, and nor would they support me. The last contact I had with them here in France was in November 2009 as a TAC priest being invited to talk on the ordinariate plan as it was conveyed by Archbishop Hepworth at the time. Since that construct failed, I ceased to exist for them. It was quite dramatic and made a big impression on me. I have no problem being a nobody. We are all judged by our own achievements or lack of them. I just go on, and I keep this blog going, since it still occupies its little place created by my erstwhile higher profile in my previous incarnation as “The English Catholic” and before then as a co-author on The Anglo-Catholic.

      It is not an issue of 1962 against anything else. I entirely agree with Rubricarius from my many conversations with him. I also learnt many things from Fr Quöex at seminary, and he had studied Barbier de Montault, Mabillon, Cardinal Schuster and many of the lights of liturgical history of the twentieth century. It’s damned hard work, and that little priest died in his 30’s. That is what has to be done – real liturgical scholarship. I only scratched the surface myself when studying the Pius V missal of 1570 and the late medieval background (the Franciscans, John Burchard – MC of Alexander VI), etc. If we want to be credible in our liturgical criticism, it has to start at the library and our desks – also the solitude of the scholar in his ora and labora.

      It is for you to find your niche in life as an adult with the culture and education you have – and still intend to pursue. You can compete with them at an intellectual level, or you can make a break (as I did) and pursue life in a different way. That is advice I offer as someone with a little experience of life and has never done very well. It’s not good to go into too many personal vulnerabilities on blogs, unless you wish to pass for a Sebastian Flyte or Brother Cosmas (cf. Pierre de Calan, Cosmas or the Love of God), the holy fool for Christ. Perhaps that is your vocation which we must respect.

      You seem to be making a move towards the Orthodox Church. Perhaps you could concentrate more energy into writing about spirituality and theology, perhaps about the artistic and cultural aspects. Try it.

  4. Rubricarius says:

    I must say Fr. Anthony I was a little surprised by some your comments on this. To say that ‘…1962 is hardly different from previous editions of the Roman missal since 1570.’ is surely like someone saying that your Sarum Mass is no different to a Brompton Latin NO versus apsidem? To refer to such considerations as ‘Anglo-Saxon rubricism’ is insulting to both Anglo-Saxons and to great Gallican rubrical experts such as the brilliant Leon Le Vavasseur.

    The entire Ritus Servandus of the Missal was re-written for the 1962 revision and there are scores of differences in every celebration: no bows to the Cross at the mention of the Holy Name, the omission of one of the ‘tones of voice’, differences in the bows, the position of the celebrant’s hands, whether the celebrant at High Mass sit to listen to the pericopes, the tones of chant etc, etc.

    Of course the comment that the ‘average’ person cannot tell the difference works both ways. I recall many years ago in the early 1980s being told by a devout lady that Brompton’s 11:00 was ‘the Old Mass’ and that was in the days when they had a sung anaphora and never EP1 on a Sunday! However, are we really being asked to believe that the average punter cannot tell the difference between, say as last Sunday, the Mass of St. Luke in red vestments or the Mass of the Sunday in green? Can the notional average person not tell the difference between a folded chasuble and a dalmatic?

    As to credible messages our politicians put those out all the time but I for one wouldn’t take them seriously. ‘Patricius’ may be blunt but at least he is 100% honest and if his direct approach ruffles feather I confess that I far prefer that to the constant re-inventions and dishonesties of 1962 Traddieland.

    Credible or not the bottom line is this: 1962 Traddieland is constantly re-writing its script and raison d’etre. When you were received into the Roman Church by our mutual friend Fr. PJM the $$PX were using the ‘pre-Pius XII’ rite in England, Germany, Australia etc. The LMS at the time was very different from what it is today exemplified by the reaction of the then Chairman, Geoffrey Houghton-Brown, to the ‘Heenan Indult’. Mr. Houghton-Brown wrote to ‘The Tablet’ basically saying all well and good but nothing to do with us as we use the traditional rite by virtue of custom. The proto-Trads all thought Pius XII’s changes were the ‘cut-off date’ but that changed as Traddieland grew and the difficulties of recognising a ‘true pope’ with his changes became acknowledged. Those were the days when the two Paul VIs and non-promulgation of the NOM were found on the lips of Traddies. As the movement developed, and crafted its script, there was a need to defend a ‘high’ view of the papacy and so the blame focussed on the Council.

    The real issue why 1962 is unacceptable is that it was never meant, from an historical perspective, to be around for more than the two years it was. Has no one read Siegfried Scmidtt’s ‘Die internationalen liturgischen Studientressne 1051 -1960’ and considered, for instance, Jungmann’s call for anaphora reform in 1951? Likewise it is more than probable that if John XXIII had not picked up Pacelli’s abandoned plans for a Council that the reform of the liturgy would have been more radical than was actually effected.

    • I do understand your surprise, but I actually meant the day to day outward appearance. The Pius XII and John XXIII changes were subtle to the ordinary churchgoer, but they were far-reaching in terms of the knowledge you and I have.

      I too have no sympathy of the “1962 Traddieland” of which I was once a member. I too celebrated last Sunday in red as St Luke, and today as Saints Crispin and Crispinian with the commemoration of the 21st Sunday after Trinity.

      When I used the Roman Rite, I followed the Ordo you publish and not 1962. Since having adopted Sarum, I have somewhat detached myself from the questions concerning the Roman rite. Yes things changed a lot over the time I was an RC and over the years since then. I no longer have anything to do with the RC traditionalist world, and have no reason to defend them.

      I have read quite a lot of things written about projects of liturgical reform from about 1948 (the ascendency of Bugnini, Jungmann and others). I hope you and others will continue the good work in promoting the Roman rite as it stood until about 1940. There needs to be a movement entirely independent of the present traditionalist movement that is trying to tell us to put aside our differences, suck up 1962 and go along with the ultramontanist line.

      My own position as a priest is, I admit, weak. I belong to a small Church that claims Anglican traditions and goes on with a fairly “Anglo-Papalist” line, at least as far as liturgy is concerned. I live in the wrong country to be of much use to anybody. I try to weigh things up, but know that I am every bit as eccentric as those whose tone is often shriller than mine. It really is best for me to keep out of matters which are simply not my war.

    • Dale says:

      Rubricarius, thank you for this. I, like Fr Anthony, stay out of this fight. But I have more than simply a few problems with 1962, and the mentality that goes with it; the top one being its bizarre use of a completely ridiculous Kalendar, and the truly strange ranking of feasts (which is why I also use only your Kalendar). But you are quite correct about the 1962 lot as well (keep away) and their rewriting of history, the majority actually think that they are attending the Old Rite, they are not.

      But worse than all of this, is the fixation on Latin. They are often so ignorant of the Old Rite, that they did not even know that it was in some places celebrated in several vernaculars before Vatican II; but they do not even realise that by making everything revolve around Latin they are committing a type of suicide. Latin has no real future; other than as a well-loved antique. Also, many of them would be quite happy with the novus ordo (whose validity they must accept, again I have serious reservations) if it is celebrated in Latin.

      But, before we get to carried away with our high horses, where can most of them, or us, go? Byzantium has proven to be only a property-grab (Antioch), or a bait-and-switch (the Russians). My own hope is perhaps for a revival of truly traditional Old Catholicism. We shall see.

  5. Rubricarius says:

    Thank you Fr. Anthony. Of course there is a massive difference between the elderly lady who informed me that Brompton’s 11:00 was ‘Old Rite’ and some of the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ types making their apologetics for 1962 today. The elderly lady was quite genuine in her belief and completely without malice. That cannot be said of some of the current generation of pundits for 1962ism who seem to have particular invective for those of us who don’t agree with their assertion of ‘no difference’ etc. I recall back in 1988 going along to the $$PX church in North London being very excited as I had come across a copy of Gerard Ellard’s ‘The Mass of the Future’ at Catholic Central Library with its photographs of versus populum celebrations from the late 1940s. I thought people would be interested but quite the opposite in fact. I could not understand the attitude at the time but I can now!

    Thank you too Dale. Indeed what is wrong with the English Missal? Years ago I saw several $$PX clergy reading rubrics as liturgical texts – the classic was the rubric about not genuflecting on Ember Saturday in Pentecost and the celebrant then doing just that. A very learned man, and someone I only met once but that meeting was precious to me was Mgr. Bartlett, one time Administrator of Westminster Cathedral. He expressed the view that said Masses should be in a decent vernacular and the sung liturgy remain in Latin. That shocked me in my innocence thirty-odd years ago but now I think it a very sensible view.

    • Thank you, dear friend. Like Dale, I would see the traditional Roman liturgy (pre-World War II) in an Old Catholic or Old Roman Catholic kind of setting rather than under the Papacy with the possibility of using the kind of English contained in the English Missal and the Anglican Missal (the translation in the latter is finer) for said Masses and Latin for sung Mass. I usually celebrate the Sarum Use in Latin but sometimes in the very beautiful Canon Warren translation into classical English.

      Archbishop Jerome Lloyd seems to have something good going in Brighton, but I last saw him in about 2006. I have seen texts and photos, but have not been to any of his Masses. I don’t know which editions of the liturgical books he uses.

      What a pity the Church of Utrecht went off the rails when it got together with the Swiss and Germans in 1889 and introduced bad reforms in the early 20th century against which Archbishop Mathew revolted. Indeed, people are not interested in the liturgy for its own sake.

      We do what we can in the ACC (Anglican Missal and Sarum tolerated).

      • Dale says:

        Doellinger also had problems in the direction that he felt that Old Catholicism was taking in his own life-time. He was bitterly opposed to the liturgical changes being introduced in especially the Swiss Old Catholic parishes and felt that it would lead to a form of Protestantism and would be in opposition to his position, that the Old Catholic Church was simply a pre-Vatican I Roman Catholicism without the introduction of novel theological opinions concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Pope’s personal infallibility.

        And although many nasty things have been said about Bishop Mathew, he too recognised that the drift of continental Old Catholicism was towards modernism and away from the traditional position taken by people such as Doellinger. In the end, he could no longer stay, and he was correct.

      • About Döllinger, this is something I can believe. Do you have something written by him to this effect? Perhaps this is why he did not support the creation of Old Catholic Churches with episcopal orders from Utrecht (descending from Bishop Dominique Varlet).

        I have always had a lot of sympathy for the plight of Archbishop Mathew: disillusionment with Rome and its way of dealing with Tyrrell, (modernised apologetics but traditional spiritual life and liturgy), his inability to fix himself institutionally with the Anglicans and finally being deceived by Liberal Catholic adherents to Theosophy (sort of “New Age” movement in the late 19th century). He had a hard life and lacked leadership skills. His foundational intuition was, as you say, Roman Catholicism without the theological opinions stemming from the medieval Papacy, scholasticism, the Counter-Reformation and the reaction against the French Revolution.

        Mathew was a sensitive soul and deeply regretted the shifting foundations of his episcopate and having been deceived by the unscrupulous. His “instability” has to be understood in the historical context. Also, unfortunately, independent bishops have also blighted the ideal with more or less legitimate titles of nobility and status in some kind of continuity of the old sovereign military orders. The archetype of this tendency is simply the habit of churchmen of having the support of the state in some kind of ideal Christian society. Can the Church manage without the “Throne”? It did before Constantine. To do so again means a complete adaptation of mentality. What of traditional Christianity can survive being in the catacombs?

        This is why I was hopeful about a strand of independent bishops giving up all the pretensions. Unfortunately, most of them embrace the modern feminist and LGBT agendas. There is a lot of rubbish out there, but doubtlessly a few genuinely living out the original Old (Roman) Catholic ideal.

  6. Fr. Benjamin says:

    Despite its tasteful website, this ORC Church – – has a homosexual agenda. Its bishop, William Myers was consecrated by Boniface Grosvold, a notorious homosexual in Ontario and the consecrator of Jerome Lloyd. The only legitimate and canonical ORC Churches in the US are the North American Old roman Catholic Church (Edward Ford) and the Old Roman Catholic Church – See of Caer Glow (John Humphreys).

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