Thursday, 29 May 2014
I read most of this epistle of two Greek prelates to pope Francis with interest. It makes many cogent points but they tend to be lost amid the intemperate language and arrogance. I am disappointed, though not surprised, that the epistle says virtually nothing about Liturgy or about the Gregorian Kalendar, instead going to great lengths to prove that St Peter never founded a See at Rome and pointing out the relativism so implicit in the writings of Joseph Ratzinger...ironically the same who preached against the "dictatorship of relativism!"
It was an heroic idea but I fear that the bishops wasted their time. They will have received no reply because Rome is not interested. The Papacy will never dismantle itself; the pope will never renounce the manifold heresies and sins of his "Frankish parasynagogue," and even if he did, what difference would it make? He might himself convert to Orthodoxy but the bulk of the Papal Communion would not follow him (there'd be more conclavist popes than you could shake a stick at!) and what a mess that would be! A pope of Rome, in modern times, about to anathematize the past 800 or so years of his own tradition and alienating most of his communion! Not to mention all the developments, so dear to many, since the days of schism! Transubstantiation, Matriolatry, and what of the Liturgy and Canon Law? What about Pastor Aeternus? What about...well, everything! Every book would have to be re-written, every piece of musick scrapped, churches gutted, every "new" saint removed from the Martyrology etc. The whole system would need rebooting and what would be left? Those attached to the system would be forever traumatised and lose faith. Nobody would gain anything but sorrow and confusion; old friends would become new enemies in the division of loyalties. It's just as well that it won't happen! I can, however, see Uniatism, the ecclesiastical Trojan Horse, increasing in the coming years.
Who knows what state Christianity will be in 50 years from now? I would be content, in my dotage, to read the psalter underground with the bishop of a small persecuted church, driven into new catacombs by modern, secular man. Nothing more.
A dove looked in
through the lattice windows,
where, before its face,
from bright Maximinus.
The warmth of the sun kindled
and in the shadows shone brightly,
whence a jewel arose
in the building of the temple,
a heart of the purest rich devotion.
He, the lofty tower,
of Lebanon's wood and cypress wrought,
with jacinth and carnelian was adorned,
the city surpassing the arts
of other artists.
The swift hart himself hastened
to the fountain of the purest water,
flowing from the strongest stone
which has diffused the sweet spices.
ye which be in the sweetest green
of the gardens of the king,
ascending to the height,
when ye have finished the holy sacrifice
with the rams.
This artist shines among you
the wall of the temple
he who desired the wings of an eagle
by kissing the nurse Wisdom,
in the glorious fecundity of the Church.
thou art a mountain and a valley,
and in both thou appearest a high edifice,
where the he-goat with the elephant went out
and Wisdom has been in sweetness.
Thou art strong
and sweet in the ceremonies
and in the gleaming* of the altar
ascending as an aromatic smoke
to the column of praise.
Where thou intercedest for the people
who reach out to the mirror of light
to whom there is praise on high.
This is a translation of bl. Hildegard of Bingen's famous Sequence Columba Aspexit I made five years ago. It might read like gibberish to you but the Latin itself is hardly of the stuff of Catullus, even if the musick is exquisite. It seems that Emma Kirkby's superb rendering has disappeared from YouTube, never mind. I must say I bewail the loss of so many Sequences from the Roman Rite. I always admired the "florid imprecision" (to borrow from Fr Hunwicke) of the divers uses of that once glorious rite.
*Painters is used here to denote "pigmentarii."
*Coruscatione denotes tremulous light, as of light seen through the leaves of trees.
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
I never much liked Bartholomew. Constantinople needs another Photius, in my opinion.
They have since moved to the coast but years ago an elderly couple, Tony and Irene, lived two doors away at number 60. My parents called them "the Baptists" because they believed, rightly, in full baptismal immersion and, wrongly, in the sole efficacy of the Bible for Salvation. I work with a Baptist from Nigeria. The other day we were discussing Antichrist and I asked him whether he believed everything the Westminster Confession said about him, relative to the Papacy. He nodded but had some reservations. I enquired after these and he conceded that pope Francis is not the Man of Sin but that his successor will most likely match that description, coming with pride to mingle the Muslim and Jewish faiths into one false religion. I found this interpretation interesting, especially considering all the things the $$PX have said over the last 40 years about ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.
We live in a heavily multi-cultural society, for good or ill...not personally subscribing to the modern notion of the equality of cultures, I should say ill. To illustrate the point, I believe the secularisation of supermarkets has its uttermost origins in non-Christian small shops opening their doors on Sundays. My mother told me that a Pakistani gentleman opened a shop in Londonderry in the 1970's and was eventually forced out because the locals didn't much care for his disregard for Christian values and boycotted his shop. On an ecclesiastical level, the influence of modern times is seen most clearly in the new stance of the Papal communion to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. If they believed that the Jews were faithless before, why do they not believe so now? If the Jews are Christ's enemies and a fallen religion, why does the Sacred Liturgy not reflect this? It seems to me that openness to other religions is a dangerous heresy. Who knows, it maybe that the next pope or some future pope not far away may be at the head of an endeavour to so water down the Christian faith as to make it indistinguishable from falsehood. Have they not done enough damage? On that note, I saw on BBC news that pope Francis has had his feet in both the Israeli and Palestinian camps on his tour of the Holy Land. And so the abominable symbiosis of these three faiths continues. It won't be long before the popes recognise Muhammad as a legitimate prophet! Already, Cardinal Ratzinger has said that Jews no longer need to convert to be saved! They just need to await the second coming of Christ, unlike the rest of us!
When I am old I doubt anyone will be at liberty to say black is black, the spade is a spade, the grass is green, etc without being tortured in some way. God, how I hate these times! Are modern technologies and conveniences the marks of civilised man? A society governed on true principles, however primitive, would seem far more civilised in my opinion. And so the True Church would preach against the faith and society of other religions as contrary to the Gospel! Sin is sin, truth is true, Christ is One. As I have said, there are no grey areas.
Monday, 26 May 2014
As I am too lazy to look it up does anyone know whether Pope Francis will be attending a Mosque or Synagogue? I hope we don’t see a replay of the Koran kissing incident.
Thus quoth "Ita Scripta Est" on Opus Publicum. I am afraid that the comment has thrown me into some confusion. Does the anonymous writer mean that the pope cannot do as he pleases? Is his holiness not a rational (yea more!), infallible man? Does he not represent, in virtue of his mastery of the Keys, every Christian in this world? If so, how could you dare express embarrassment at the pope's actions? How could you dare presume the inscrutable counsels of this most excellent and antient office?
What does the pope represent, to Traddies? He is the supreme authority. But in the last fifty years this authority has come with a big "but." It just seems that they all drool at the mouth and fawn, unashamedly, before him whenever he would do something like publish a Syllabus of Modernist Errors or a motu proprio liberating a bastardised rite from oblivion. Otherwise he is just an embarrassment. And he is an embarrassment precisely because he is in the publick view. His every action, his every opinion is scrutinised and set in stone until the End of Time because the pope represents their communion in the eyes of this world, and the supreme authority thereof...again, in virtue of his "mastery of the Keys." The fact that the pope's every idle word is not (said to be) an infallible teaching is irrelevant. The pope only has to do something like kiss the Qu'ran and the world rejoices, the Traddies all wince. Contrary to the minimalist interpretation of Pastor Aeternus by those among the more learned of the Papal theologians, there are no limitations on the Papacy. Supreme, immediate jurisdiction cannot mean anything else! And so, when one pope, in idle fancy, adds "world travel" to the pope's job description, the successors all follow. The pope, on account of his exalted office, has set a precedent for all time. And this precedent proceeds from the claim of universal jurisdiction.
I have digressed. This is just to say that, to the Traddies, the pope is a rallying figure and an instrument of their worldview. Whenever he is, seemingly, on their side, they can't get enough of him. Whenever he bats for the other, worldly side, they resent him and turn then to the shadow of Sedevacantism. I wonder sometimes whether this is because deep down, though they would never admit it, the Traddies all think that the pope has outlived his usefulness? That the pope, not scapegoats and underlings, has single-handedly brought down their communion, simply because of the fault of existing? (In any organisation, the blame rests solely with the man in charge. Why should the Roman communion be any different?) A bit like embarrassing furniture in an old house; you can't get rid of it without violating some heritage law and so it is with the Papacy. To some, the "strong women" of this world perhaps, the Papacy has become a necessity. They cannot live without this central human authority because this authority has replaced God's Grace in their lives. How sad.
For a frank study in Popery, I encourage you to watch the film adaptation of the "two minutes hate" from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Just replace the names "Goldstein" with "Annibale Bugnini" and "Big Brother" with "Pope" and it all makes sense. As I have said, scapegoats like Goldstein and Bugnini don't hold with rational people.
Sunday, 25 May 2014
Fr Hunwicke has been defending the Papacy a lot lately.It seems to be characteristic of Romanists to do their utmost to defend that institution, seemingly at the expense of Our Lord. And the general thrust of Fr Hunwicke's arguments are the various limitations supposedly set in place by Pastor Aeternus around the office of pope. In other words, popes can't do such and such without deviating from their vocation, under God, which is to say that they go about a field riddled with holes steering the barque of Peter so that she doesn't get sucked down into a mire. How did the popes become "infallible"? Is that the will of God? If there are so many limitations on the pope, the guarantor of "Tradition," then why can he do so much violence to Tradition in the name of his master? It's almost as if the great enemies in Rome, the apologists of popery, have enacted these so-called limitations at the time that their lord pope is wantonly destroying and usurping the very things he claims to uphold. The pope styles himself "supreme bridge-builder" and the point of unity in Christendom and then authorises the establishment of a rival Patriarchate in Constantinople. The pope thinks of himself as supreme liturgist, and then dismantles the antient structure of the Psalter. The pope names unto himself all tides and seasons and imposes a novel kalendar on the princes of Europe.
I fear that the history and tendency of the Papacy contradict the conclusions drawn by Fr Hunwicke. If such a man as Fr Hunwicke describes ever existed I'll shew you a green dog.
Thursday, 22 May 2014
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
"No ecclesiastical canon has instituted and no imperial law has enacted that the Bishop of Rome is autocrat over the whole world. The arrogance of the Romans has been manifested in our own days, in the council that met at Constantinople for the examination of the Three Chapters...Vigilius of Rome had been in Constantinople for a long time and was invited to the council, but did not go to it. His predecessors as Bishops of Rome had not attended the councils because of distance; but for this one, who was present, the motive was pride, hateful to God." John Philoponus, a Miaphysite prelate writing after the Council of Constantinople (553).
Monday, 19 May 2014
Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut nullis nos permittas perturbationibus concuti, quos in apostolicae confessionis petra solidasti. Per Dominum.
Collects in the Liturgy say quite a bit about doctrine. I don't mean those modern, verbose and artificial ones drawn up in recent times to facilitate monstrous innovations (which could all be scrapped); I mean the oldest of the old, those succinct, sublime collects found in the antient sacramentaries and bethought them of the sentiment and piety of the Fathers. The example quoted above is of these latter, taken from the vigil Mass in honour of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. It can be rendered into English even so: Almighty God, we beseech thee humbly that as thou hast strengthened us on the rock of the apostolick confession so thou wouldest, in our trials, preserve us stedfastly in the same. Here, petra is understood to be the apostolick confession of faith by St Peter, not St Peter himself. This becomes more interesting when we remember that the collect deliberately calls to mind that very misunderstood verse in St Matthew's Gospel, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Petra (the Greek for "rock") and Petros (the same word turned into a masculine proper name) both translate the masculine Aramaic word for "rock," namely Kepha, or Cephas in a Greek form. If the Fathers of the Church took the reference of Matthew 16:18 to be St Peter’s faith, it was because the notion that the verse bestows unique authority on St Peter, a personal charism to distinguish him from the other apostles and perpetuated in a long series of "successors" in Rome, was foreign to their thought. St Cyprian of Carthage, for example, took the verse to refer to the authority possessed in each see by the bishop of that see. It seems, therefore, to my mind that the vigil collect is expressive of a doctrine of Roman primacy far older and more holistic than Ultramontanism. It is not inconceivable that a bishop of Rome himself was the author! Of course, it would sound rather different were it written to-day, wouldn't it? I imagine it would say something like, Almighty God, which didst vouchsafe to stablish blessed Peter as thy holy Vicegerent on Earth and the sole ruler of kings; we beseech thee humbly that by the merits of his apostolick confession thou mayest extend thy mercy only to them which be subject to the infallible Vicar of Christ, damning them that spurn that communion. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, which livest and reignest with thee in the Unity of the Holy Father, ever One God, world without end.
Sunday, 18 May 2014
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).
The other day I was chatting quite gaily with a Muslim girl about the Bible and Holy Orders. Another girl at the table said that she didn't know that I was Christian and raised her hand so as to "high five" me. I proceeded to give this other girl my "sod off" look and carried on talking to the Muslim. You see, the other girl styles herself "Christian." No, I don't think she is a Papist but she is clearly one of those wishy-washy liberal types who would sell her soul to Starbucks rather than even consider covering her head on Sunday morning. I would gladly talk to the Muslim about the Christian faith; not because I exemplify Christian moral principles (does anyone?) but because I'd rather talk to someone ignorant of our faith, from outside, than to someone who dares to call themselves Christian and yet violates the heart of Christianity. There are no grey areas. Truth is not relative. And liberalism is not synonymous with compassion and understanding.
On the subject of being lukewarm...to those of you who do not set a very high store by the Petrine ministry as it is exercised to-day, I have some questions. What do you think the pope really is? What does he represent?, if not Christ Himself? Who is the pope? Whom does he really serve? If you are in schism with him, why do you not remove his name from the Canon? Do you suppose that he is a harmless old man, dressed in white and leaning on a staff? If so, what is this harmless old man capable of? Can he not be compared with a pendulum within the Roman communion? Have not successive pontificates shewn that the incumbent of the Roman see can affect, in a profound way, the life of the Roman communion to the remotest parish? John Paul II liked travelling, and so popes travel everywhere now, attracting huge crowds so as to seem even as Christ among the thousands. Benedict XVI liked pseudo-Baroque tat and liturgy, though he can have had no sure knowledge of it, and so his lasting monument will be Summorum Pontificum. (I don't doubt there will be cries of santo subito from Traddieland when he finally kicks the bucket...most other recent popes have been canonized, why break with "tradition?").
Who would thus exalt themselves in Christ's Church? Why would you not despise such a man? Are you afraid of looking ridiculous in the eyes of the world? Perhaps you've already burnt the bridge leading to respectability and you think that by condemning monstrous tyranny in Romanism, you might lose even more? Well, banish your respectability; I have! Except a man declares the Bishop of Rome to be Antichrist and of Satan, he shall be in peril of Hell Fire. You cannot be indifferent about the pope. Either he is Vicar of Christ, or he is Antichrist. History has shewn that he is by no means of Christ, having been the continual sower of schism and destructive of tradition, and so, logically, he must be of Antichrist. If you do not see this in these terms then you are lukewarm. I will spue thee from my mouth, forsooth!
Saturday, 17 May 2014
Friday, 16 May 2014
My alma mater Heythrop College is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year. I think I'll go to the garden party on Saturday 31st May and to the wine reception on 21st June but there are, of course, celebratory services too; one celebrated at the Jesuit church at Farm Street by the Vicar Apostolick Vincent Nichols himself (I shouldn't bother with that). The College has also organised a conference of lectures dedicated to the Jesuit tradition of scholarship. Much of these will take place at Senate House. I haven't heard of most of the lecturers but the one on John Donne looks good, as well as the lecture on the Jesuits and Classical literature. The Lord Williams of Oystermouth will conclude the conference. You can see the details here.
I enjoyed my time at Heythrop immensely. Though I am not a Bachelor of Divinity as I had intended 8 years ago the experience was an invaluable part of my life and I would not have exchanged it for anything. I was privileged to have met many of the country's finest theologians there. I met many friends there too. Some have, regrettably, become estranged from me for various reasons but the time of our communion remains dear to me. My allegiance has changed since those days but my affection has not and I pray God that my old friends come to that Faith most pleasing to God though I have not arrived there myself yet.
I did not graduate. I wasted time and money and I was lazy. Was it all in vain? No. I spent many happy hours in the Theology Library and I would say that I learned more in the three years that I was a student there than at any other time of my life. I wish I could return and take up full-time study again!
Sunday, 4 May 2014
Hideous beyond belief...
Some friends and I agreed yesterday that if the Church of England had remained 1662 Prayer Book then she would be in a far stronger, more credible position to-day than she is forsooth. Instead, she is far removed from Christ's ordinances, so much so that we may safely say that the Anglican Communion, and all the members thereof (except One), are apostate from the Faith.
Saturday, 3 May 2014
Thursday, 1 May 2014
"Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered." 1Cor 11:4-6.
Priests ought to keep an electric razor at the pulpit so that in the event of a fallen woman entering the church on Sunday morning she should be so shamed, according to the express words of Scripture. Is that too much to ask? I don't like those flimsy net curtain things (mantillas), through which you can still see the woman's head. I have always admired the conical hennin, popular at court in the 15th century. I think it looks very dignified indeed. Dare I hope for a revival of this, at the expense of the net curtain?