Happy Christmas

christmas2012I convey my Christmas greeting to all those to whom I have not been able to write individually. May this feast of the Nativity renew the joy and hope of Christ in us all.

Christmas is often a sad occasion through human hypocrisy and grotesque gluttony, the glittering lights and decorations meaning but little to most people. May this feast be an occasion to pray for the poor in spirit, those who are poor, homeless, sick, loveless, estranged from their families, broken-hearted and suffering from every illness, disability and pain. We bring them and us all to the Infant Jesus in this silent night of the Sol Invictus.

I share with you the Sarum sequence of the Mass in gallicantu, translation by Canon Warren.

All hosts, above, beneath,

Sing the incarnate Lord,
With instruments and pious breath

Attune each measured word.
This is the hallow’d morn

When on our fallen race
In full effulgence rose the dawn

Of new-born joy and grace.
Glory to God on high,

On this renowned night
Was thundered forth in harmony

By angel legions bright.
Amazing splendours shone

A strange unwonted sight
Upon the shepherds biding lone

Under the veil of night.
Sudden, while peacefully

They watch’d their sheep-folds still.
Good tidings wafted from on high

Their ears attentive fill.
Who was before all time

Is born of purest Maid;
Glory to God in heights sublime,

Peace comes the world to aid.
E’en thus the choir on high

Sings praises jubilant,
From pole to pole their voices fly,

Heaven echoes to their chant.
Let all with thrilling voice

Give back the glorious lay,
Let the wide universe rejoice,

That God is born this day.
Burst are the iron chains

Which held the world in thrall;
The cruel foe no longer reigns,

Peace is restored to all.
For lo ! an order new

Doth the glad world adorn ;
Let all things render praises due

Unto the Virgin-born.
He all upholds alone,

He all alone did frame ;
May he who hath such pity shown

Blot out our sin and shame.

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10 Responses to Happy Christmas

  1. Merry Christmas, Father.

    I started reading Yelton’s Anglican Papalism today. Very interesting so far.

    • I have had this book for some time. It is very interesting and shows a very particular side of Anglicanism. I can understand how it can attract young men who have not experienced it before. It also reveals by contrast an aspect of non-papal Catholicism that emerged from the era of the Avignon antipopes and the Council of Constance, the emergence of “northern Catholicism” of which French Gallicanism was a part. Anglo-Catholicism in the Church of England was always something that shifted unpredictably and followed tendencies and fashions rather than the minds of the inspired. Anglo-Papalism was strongly symbolised by baroque and counter-reformation inspired churches, and one can be at something of a loss to follow it to its logical conclusion. The Ordinariate was really the realisation of that aspiration, but which really differs from standard Roman Catholicism by very little.

      It comes to the essential identity of Anglicanism, which is a point of dispute between many Anglican “traditionalists” and “continuers”. One side represents Anglicanism as a moderate form of Protestantism, hide bound to sixteenth and seventeenth century formularies. The Catholic (sacramental / liturgical / iconographical) kind of Anglicanism represents a spectrum between so-called Anglo-Papalism and a kind of “English Gallicanism” or Old Catholicism.

      You are welcome to share your reflections on Yelton’s book.

      • I shall certainly write a review when I’m finished; but you know what my book reviews are like; a little too perfunctory.

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        I’ve seen Dom Gregory Dix described as an ‘Anglo-Papalist’, but never yet tried to discover what it means (!). I’ve encountered Orthodox with different ideas of possible Papal primus inter pares status or Petrine office none of which coincided with the Roman idea – and wondered if ‘Anglo-Papalism’ might be something like one or another of those…

        Lately, I’ve been wondering how narrow the (formal) Henrican questioning of the scope of Papal dispensation was to begin with, and how (formally) crucial to what followed that might have been – but haven’t begun to try to find out… (Any online recommendations as to where to look are welcome!)

      • Here are some of my old posts touching upon Anglican Papalism. About fifteen years as a Roman Catholic gave me a vague idea of the reality (please excuse the sarcasm and understatement). Roman Catholicism means different things for different people, so who am I to judge (please excuse the cheesy rhetorical question)?

        Before asking what Anglican Papalism is, first ask what is Anglicanism in its whole “spectrum”. Roman Catholicism has become just as much a “spectrum” in spite of different historical circumstances.

        The fundamental idea was something like getting the entire Church of England back into communion with Rome by re-Catholicising it from within and dumbing down the differences with Roman Catholicism. There was even an “Order of Corporate Reunion” in the 1890’s to remedy Apostolicae Curae: get Anglican clergy reordained by eccentric characters with lines of succession from the Old Catholic and Orthodox Churches, sometimes a renegade Roman Catholic bishop. With the many scandals, that sort of thing quickly lost credibility. The leadership of the TAC (in 2007) and the Forward in Faith bishops in England were inspired by this principle. The latter were using the modern Roman rite of Paul VI instead of Sarum or any Anglican rite. That is basically what Anglican Papalism is all about: no errors on the Roman side and for the Church of England to lose the differences.

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        Many thanks! I look forward to reading them. I have been more and more struck that ‘Roman Catholicism has become just as much a “spectrum” in spite of different historical circumstances.’ If one’s conclusion or point of departure is “no errors on the Roman side”, then there seems a strong dynamic of ‘when – and how – to unite’ – complicated indeed if another element of one’s starting point is also “something like getting the entire Church of England back into communion with Rome”.

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Wishing you a Blessed Christmastide on this Feast of Stephen!

  3. William Tighe says:

    In response to David Llewellyn Dodds’ questions of Monday, 26 December, 2016 at 10:51 pm, the answers are pretty clear. On Dix’s Anglo-Papalism, read (1) his *Jurisdiction in the Early Church: Episcopal and Papal* (London, 1975: Church Literature Association), which was a posthumous publication in book form (Dix died in May 1952) of a quinquepartite book review of *The Roman Primacy to A.D. 461* by Berenson J. Kidd (London, 1936: SPCK), the Anglo-Catholic but non-papalist Warden of Keble College, which appeared originally in several successive issues of *Laudate,* the quarterly journal of the Anglican Benedictines of Nashdom Abbey, in 1937-39, and (2) these individual pieces by Dix in that same journal (a) “The Revealing Church,” March 1930 issue, a review of a “Liberal/Modernist Anglo-Catholic” anti-papalist work, *One God and Father of All* by E. Milner-White and Wilfred L. Knox (London, 1928: A. R. Mowbray and Co., Ltd.), (b) “Nordic Spirituality” (September 1933) and (c) “Northern Catholicism” (December 1933), both of them tackling *Northern Catholicism: Studies in the Oxford Centenary and Parallel Movements* ed. N. P. Williams and Charles Harris (London, 1933: SPCK). “Jurisdiction” is a full-throated defense of the “papal dogmas” of 1870; the other articles are assaults on the “Liberal Catholic” idea of a “divided church” and on the “Branch Theory” ecclesiology. (Eric Mascall once described “Nordic Spirituality” and “Northern Catholicism” to me as “the most effective and devastating work of satirical demolition” he had ever read.)

    As to “Henrican questioning of the scope of Papal dispensation,” the work to read is *The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII* by Henry Ansgar Kelly (1976: Stanford University Press; reprinted, 2002 by Wipf and Stock). From the beginning Henry was convinced that to marry the widow of a deceased brother (whether or not that previous marriage had been consummated) was “against the Law of God” and so could not be dispensed for by the papacy. This was an argument which, to put it bluntly, was never going to be accepted by Rome, which had been granting such dispensations for a couple of centuries by Henry’s time, and Henry was so taken with his darling notion on this subject that he refused to allow his advocates to search for technical flaws in the original papal dispensation (and Kelly thinks that there were some very technical minor “draughtsmanship” flaws in it which might just possibly have gained Henry his goal if he were dealing with a malleable pope) which, while accepting the legitimacy and validity of such papal dispensations generally, would have allowed an unscrupulous pope to grant Henry’s petition. (However, Clement VII, weak and vacillating though he was, and reluctant to offend either Henry VIII or Queen Catherine’s nephew, Charles V, seems to have come to the private conclusion early on that Henry’s petition was without merit.) By about 1530 Henry seems to have realised that Rome’s response to his petition would be its denial, and so from then onward Henry and Clement both did all in their power (albeit from different motives) to delay a resolution of the case in Rome (which did not, of course, prevent Henry from complaining publicly about the endless delays in resolving the case there), Clement in the hope that Henry might lose interest in Anne Boleyn, or that Queen Catherine might die, Henry due to his being at a perpetual non-plus about “the next step,” convinced he was in the right, but reluctant to take radical and disruptive measures (until Thomas Cromwell persuaded him to take the radical step of repudiating papal jurisdiction, on the grounds that it had been a “usurpation” of recent centuries, and drafted the successive parliamentary legislative acts that brought it about).

  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Dr. Tighe,

    Many thanks for such a stocking-full of additional Christmas-Octave presents!

    A wealth of Dix things unknown to me! (I wonder if anyone will be putting a lot online when he comes out of copyright in six years and four days?)

    I have encountered interesting references to and quotations from Henry Ansgar Kelly’s book, but never yet tried to get ahold of a copy – this is quite an encouragement! (And meanwhile a welcome exposition in such detail.)

    (I recently ran into a period recommendation of William Walker Rockwell, Die Doppelehe des Landgrafen Philipp von Hessen (Marburg, 1904) with reference to Henry’s ‘matrimonial trials’, and am happy to see it scanned in the Internet Archive, but my German is a bit slow at best, and I haven’t tried it, to speak of, yet…)

    • William Tighe says:

      The Kelly book is worth reading. The author treats not only the annulment processes (in Rome, but also under Cranmer) of the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, but the subsequent ones of Henry and Anne Boleyn and Henry and Anne of Cleves. The accounts of the latter two implicitly demonstrate (each annulment was followed by parliamentary legislation altering English marriage law) not that Henry VIII lacked a conscience, but that his conscience – a good job if you can get one! – required Henry to undertake whatever he believed at the moment to be in his interest.

      There are relatively inexpensive copies of the Kelly book available at Abebooks.co.uk, Amazon.co.uk, and analogous sites.

      As to Gregory Dix, I spent two days in 1979 in the University Library in Cambridge paging through the issues of *Laudate* from its beginning in 1923 until its end in ca. 1963. There are many articles and reviews by Dix (writing as “Br Gr” or “Fr Gr”) in it, especially in the 1930s. In addition to those I noted above, one might also mention (a) “The Primitive Church” (September 1929), an evisceration of B. H. Streeter’s *The Primitive Church: Studied with special reference to the origins of the Christian Ministry* (London, 1929), a book the thesis of which for decades thereafter underlay “Liberal Protestant” ecumenical endeavours, (b) “The Christian Passover” (March 1935) on the origins of the Good Friday liturgy, (c) “Gospels in the Second Century” (June 1935), an article which in a remarkable way anticipated the vogue of “gnostic gospels” in the matter of Elaine Pagels et hoc genus omne, and “debunked” them in advance, and (d) “The Blessing of the Holy Oils” (December 1936) on the Jewish intertestamental background to the Maundy Thursday Chrisom Mass.

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