Friday, 18 June 2010

Roman prejudice...

J.R.R Tolkien as an Undergraduate in 1911 - at the time of Pius X's reform of the Breviary.

When I was at Heythrop studying Divinity, my tutor (in my opinion, the most intelligent priest in the land) recommended various books on Church History which I initially turned my nose up at. Among them were several books by Henry Chadwick, who was probably one of the greatest Church historians of the 20th century. My reasons for disapproval were simply that Henry Chadwick was an Anglican. As an 18 year old student, and a ''traditionalist'' at the time, I thought (with a typically trad sense of triumphalist arrogance): ''What could an Anglican possibly know about Church history!'' Eventually this naive and totally unintelligent disposition caved in (inevitably) when I was obliged to actually read some of his work (he was on the compulsory reading list for one or two essays I had to write, for which I got Firsts by the way), which I found very lucid and intelligent, although I found his assessment of St Leo's Tome to be rather untoward (he claimed that some parts were ''plagiarised'' from Augustine). I think that men like Henry Chadwick and John Hunwicke - men who have a clear grasp of Church history and the Sacred Liturgy - are among the few surviving truly ''catholic'' men in the West, and are among the sole hopes of Western Christendom. Unfortunately, all too many ''conservative'' or ''orthodox'' Catholics that I have met couldn't give two hoots about Liturgy, seeing it as merely an affectation or something we have to put up with for the sake of obligation - don't worry, we can pray the Rosary when we get in dear...

I received a comment today from an intelligent and respected reader telling me that people are simply not interested in Liturgy, and seldom in the (modern) history of the Catholic Church have they been. Of course this is nothing new to me, but it brought home a horrible truth. Are we liturgically-minded Catholics doomed to forever look around us in utter despair at the desolation wrought by elitism, Low Mass, politics, minimalism, Ultramontanism and other such unfortunate and aliturgical heresies?

Back to ''Roman prejudice'' - some of you might bring up Tolkien's contempt of the Anglican church. Unfortunately Tolkien, great man though he was, was a product of his time - a young man (my age) under Pius X, old man under Paul VI. As a boy he suffered persecution from his Anglican, Unitarian and Baptist family because of his mother's ''defection'' (or apostasy they might call it) to Rome. His father Arthur having died in 1896, his mother was immediately cut off from any financial support when brought the boys into the Faith in 1900. It was not respectable or becoming of a Suffield to join the Popish church, and this sneering contempt was something Tolkien had to put up with well into his adulthood. In 1944, as the German army advanced upon Rome, Tolkien complained of the tactless atmosphere of his own College. At high table one evening, when the Rectorship of Lincoln had just been announced, the Master (sat right next to Tolkien) stood up and shouted at the top of his voice: ''Thank heaven they did not elect a Roman Catholic to the Rectorship anyway: disastrous, disastrous for the college'' to which was echoed ''disastrous.''

On account of occasions such as these, it is not surprising that Tolkien looked down his nose at the ''pathetic and shadowy medley of half-remembered traditions and mutilated beliefs'' which he thought the Anglican church to be. Of course I could think of many other things to which I could affix this description! And in the 1960s Tolkien complained of being patted on the back by his fellow Anglicans, as being the representative of a church which had (because of the Council) abandoned its arrogance and hauteur. I think, with the gift of hindsight, that this is a good thing (although Tolkien's complaint was more personal - considering his history of persecution) - I mean, what cause has Rome to be so arrogant about? Can Rome really say that Anglican orders are invalid, considering that since Apostolicae Curae she has revised her own Orders? Can Rome really claim to have all four marks of the Church when the New Rite has none of these four marks?

Maybe it is just as well that Tolkien died when he did, although I regret (on behalf of my friend - I consider him to be a friend, although he died 15 years before I was born, since we have much in common) that he saw the very last days of the Sacred Roman Liturgy, and that those days were marked by such a negligence and aliturgical heresy. Tolkien's experience of Liturgy was mostly Low Mass (he went to Mass early each morning before work, and took his children with him), and I suppose that in the churches where he went to Mass, Low Mass (such as it is) was celebrated reverently by the priest, although I wonder sometimes. In 1963 Tolkien said that he had been ''grievously afflicted'' in his life by stupid, tired, dimmed and even bad priests, and how else can he mean this than in the celebration of the Liturgy? When I went to Westminster Cathedral some years ago I complained to one of the priests there (a very old man, I can't remember his name, but he has died since then) of the aliturgical heresy, and in my ignorance at the time, supposed that everything pre-Vatican II was pristine and perfect. He told me that in his experience he had seen priests celebrate Low Mass in 15 minutes. Tolkien probably had similar experiences, and certainly in the early 1970s (as an old man nearly 80) saw some of the worst things. As the vernacular was introduced, Tolkien (who could read Latin remarkably well, and so at an intellectual level had no difficulty ''understanding'' the Liturgy) would make the responses very loudly in Latin, as everyone else parroted them in English. One Mass was so bad that the elderly Tolkien limped to the end of the pew, took three profound bows (very in keeping with the Roman custom of genuflexion!) and departed in wrath.

Men like Tolkien didn't deserve to end their lives in an atmosphere of antiliturgism. He did once say that he'd give a bit for a time machine. So would I - Tolkien would go back to old Mercia in the 9th century. Where and when would I go?

J.R.R Tolkien in August of 1973 (the last known photo taken of him) next to his favourite tree in the Oxford botanical gardens. I wonder what he was thinking then.

As for Roman prejudice - I think that it behoves traditional-minded Catholics to look around at their own Church before they attempt to criticize others, and to concede that not all the answers can be found in Rome. Many of the traditions of the Latin Rite can be found in the Book of Common Prayer, and much that was once common to West as well as East can be found in the Byzantine liturgical books. In an age of Ecumenism, the greatest possible ecumenical gesture on the part of Rome would be the cultivation of its own Traditional Liturgy and the abandonment of old triumphalist prejudices.


  1. Patricius,
    Careful my friend. You are asking dangerous questions and thinking even more dangerous thoughts, especially for a Roman Catholic. Some cans, once opened, can't be closed up again. I have some personal knowledge of a one time "traddy" who started asking similar questions, though mostly on subjects related to doctrinal development and innovation. It took 25 years but he wound up swimming the Bosporus after concluding that the Christian West had gone off the tracks.

    As I have noted in conversations with trad Catholics, we Orthodox don't disagree with their alarm over modernism in the Western Church. We just date the problem a bit differently. They see the problem as beginning sometime after the death of Pius XII in the last half of the 20th century. We tend to date the problem to the latter part of the First Millennium.

    Either way, modernism... thy home is Rome.

    Under the mercy,

  2. Patrick: the Catholic church (of which Pope Benedict is the visible head of - Christ being the overall invisible head) is the only church that can claim with all honesty to be founded by Jesus Christ. This is a historical and scriptural fact - which cannot be disputed. She has that divine guarantee from Christ himself, that she will last until the end of time. Anglicans or the Eastern Orthodox cannot claim this title at all. So while they retain all the nice liturgical traditions, they have cut themselves off from the living mystical body of Christ.

    I sometimes wonder why God permitted the modern crisis and the fallout after the council to happen. But then our ways are not his ways (Isaias 55:8). Perhaps Catholics were too complacent and needed to be taught a lesson? Perhaps this is the final assault from the devil? Who knows? But we should be more bothered about perfecting ourselves and those around us by example.

    The grandest Pontifical liturgy could not convert a sinner, if she/he were surrounded by those who have no love or charity.

  3. John, thanks for your comment.

    Dangerous is not the word I would use - perhaps out of the ''comfort zone'' of most Catholics. It just seems clearer to me to see the history of antiliturgism (and ''anti-Traditionism'') in the West as arising not from Vatican II, or even the 19th-20th century, but as a malaise going back much deeper. Indeed I would see the greater problem in terms of the heresies of Ultramontanism, Low Mass and the loss of liturgical consciousness in the Latin Church - this together with a tradition mudded by ''doctrinal development'' (which is a concept wholly alien to my personal understanding of Tradition) have contributed to what we now have in the Catholic Church - despot Popes, the New Rite, and a fundamentally defective worship. To put it bluntly, and in the words of none other than Denethor the Steward of Gondor: ''The West has failed.''

  4. Sorry I forgot to mention, it is the late Henry Chadwick. He died in 2008; I remember reading about it and sending condolences to my tutor, who was a personal friend. I never met him more's the pity.

  5. That wouldn't happen to be me, would it John? ;o) Greetings in the Lord in any case - I hope you're well. I am advancing by baby steps to the diaconate, God willing, having received the tonsure last year from His Eminence +GREGORIOS of Thyateira and Great Britain.


  6. I posted the following quote by the French philosopher Pierre Hadot. I don't know if you have come across it yet:

    "For a time I would sometimes attend religious ceremonies, but they always seemed rather artificial because, following the council of Vatican II, there were recited or sung in French. I was not opposed to the translation in principle, but it always seemed to reveal the immense distance between the world of the twentieth century and the mythical and stereotypical formulas of Christian liturgy – a distance that was sensed less when people did not understand what was being said. I believe that Henri-Charles Puech had the same impression I did when he told me with a big smile, 'Jesus, God’s sheep', alluding to the translation of the Agnus Dei. It was not the Latin that was incomprehensible, but the concepts and the images hidden behind Latin for centuries."

    Pace the scholarship of such figures as Dom Odo Casel, Louis Boyer, or Alexander Schmemann, I think Hadot is right. We can play dress up and sign Gregorian chant until we are blue in the face, but that doesn't make us anymore traditional. The crisis of modern liturgy is a crisis of primordial symbolism. In other words, it only superficially has to do with church order, culture, or even piety, and more to do with metaphysics. When the world that formed the liturgy has become completely alien, all we can do is play dress-up.

    Playing a more elaborate bit of dress-up doesn't really help, either. Eastern Orthdoxy has been just as plagued and just as formed by modernity as the Catholic Church. The only difference is that they have kept more of the externals. So have the Hindus and Taoists for that matter. But read a few pages of the Paris School, or even the most reactionary Orthodox "theologian", and you will find the same presuppositions at work in any other liberalism, fundamentalism, nationalism, etc. In other words, playing fancier dress-up is not going to solve your problems.

    Personally, I think a more radical solution is needed, one that goes to the "radix" of what the malaise of modernity is. And that means turning a lot of things on their head. But I have gone on for too long here...

  7. Arturo, thanks for your comment.

    I think, however, that the externals of Liturgy are just as important as the things you can't see - why else would they exist in the first place? I appreciate that not everyone can (like Tolkien) understand the Liturgy on an intellectual level (for those who cannot read or understand Latin, even if they parrot the responses, they are doing just that - parroting them), so there must be some scope for the simple among the Laity (I don't mean that in a condescending way either). But I think it wholly strange to see people sitting or kneeling in a pew and counting beads - this is a very devotional/personal approach to Liturgy, whereas Liturgy is a communal celebration.

  8. The proper milieu of the Liturgy is scripture, not metaphysics. Modern loss of ability to engage with its symbolism is the consequence of the almost complete loss of a "scriptural mind". Symbolism is, precisely, the "bringing together" of things - in this case the whole of scripture, which the Liturgy recapitulates. Lose that, together with the essentially eschatological perspective it pre-supposes, and it's bound to degenerate into dressing up and doing a decorous rigmarole around the "magic words".

  9. Patricius,
    Thank you for you response. "The West has failed." Indeed.

    Actually I was making an autobiographical allusion. I find it very interesting that there seem to be so many ex traddies floating around.

    Patrick: the Catholic church (of which Pope Benedict is the visible head of - Christ being the overall invisible head) is the only church that can claim with all honesty to be founded by Jesus Christ. This is a historical and scriptural fact - which cannot be disputed.

    Rubbish. The Orthodox Church makes an identical and quite plausible claim. From the historical and doctrinal perspective Rome has been in a state of Heresy since at least the Western Council of Lyons when it unlawfully and without the consent of the universal Church adopted the Creed of the Council of Toledo. In doing so the Pope's of Old Rome incurred the anathemas explicitly imposed by the canons of the OEcumenical Councils on any who dared tamper with the Symbol of Faith. Further Rome had been in an off and on state of schism from many of the other Patriarchates for some centuries before taking this grave step. (Though in fairness many of these schisms were local and the product of hot headed and stubborn men on both sides.)


  10. ...and then there's the virtue of eating what you're given instead of pushing it round your plate, obsessively interrogating everything with your fork; that, however pre-supposes that you're being served in the first place something hot, rich, organic and delicious, enclosing the best ingredients and the whole "recession of skills" - as opposed to a sterile plastic platter topped with "essential nutrients".

    The Gospel IS “Jesus Christ, crucified raised and glorified in accordance with the scriptures” - i.e. the Law the Psalms and the Prophets . In my experience, all post-Reformation liturgy seems to suffer from a kind of practical Marcionism, dangerously drained of essential typology which cannot be remedied simply by slapping an OT reading arbitrarily into the Liturgy of the Word. If practically all one gets of the OT in its proper context is the Suffering Servant once a year, well naturally metaphysical distractions will rush into the breach.


  11. Moretben,
    Actually I was making an autobiographical allusion.
    I got that, John. It wuz irony!

  12. We should be asking questions. At least I do and I don't mind saying that I quite often have great difficulty answering them. I know now that TradWorld (as a friend calls it) isn't the answer, because when it comes to the pre-consiliar magisterium they just fall into the same errors as modern "conservatives" do whe it comes to the post-consiliar magisterium. I just pray that God will put me on the right path, whatever that be.

  13. This type of talk inevitably degenerates into the worst forms of modern subjectivism. The liturgy is supposed to “feed me”. If it doesn’t “feed me”, if it’s not spiritually nutritious, I need to move on. And then we degenerate into the classical “Christianity is above metaphysics” thought that Hadot criticized. It turns into Protestant fundamentalism with a liturgy: it’s Jesus that matters, it’s the Gospel that matters, etc.

    Liturgy, even in the castle in the cloud of the “convert” Orthodox church, is a product of the printing press. The expectation that there will only be one liturgy, erudite, impenetrable, and obfuscating, is not that old at all. There were various ordos in Orthodoxy, just as there were various ordos in the West, various practices that liturgical snobs will think heretical or irreverent. They may not be as bad as the variations we have now, but maybe we should look at it as a return to the localism of liturgy prior to the Counter-Reformation.

    Of course, I am stating much of this just to be a contrarian. I tend to go to the old Latin Mass most Sundays, and when not in the pews mumbling to my beads, I am singing reconstructed Gregorian chant in the choir. I find many of the ideas close to what the Jansenists wanted for the liturgy in the eighteenth century, and I find them equally misguided (right down to the criticism of the Sacred Heart. Coincidence?). Laymen playing liturgical dress-up is harmful to the general sanity of the Church. You are better off studying spells to conjure up the location of lost cattle.

  14. Ad Orientem - if the so-called Orthodox have a "plausible claim" as the Roman church, why have they not convened an ecumenical council since II Nicaea? Surely they would have the authority to do so?

    I'll tell why the Orthodox have had no ecumenical councils since Nicaea: because they are unable to agree on which councils are ecumenical. They would say that an ecumenical council to truly so, it would have to be accepted by the church. But you Orthodox can never agree by that logic, because if anyone is unhappy with a council’s result, they can point to their own disagreement as evidence that the church has not accepted it as ecumenical and it therefore has no authority.

  15. Arturo - the liturgy is supposed to form you, isn't it? There is nothing "subjectivist" in anything i've written here. I believe I've stated something true. I don't think you'd have jumped on it if i was still a Catholic. The only place I have conversations about liturgy nowadays are with Catholics. There is no "Orthodox convert culture" in the UK equivalent to what one sees in the States.

    Paul - what I think, for what it's worth, is this: everything shrill, glib, neat, tidy, legal, mechanical, magical, ideological - is wrong. If something requires a whole load of apparatus to keep it up and running, the basic premise is probably faulty. If you have to spend a significant amount of time and energy entropically maintaining the apparatus, you're in danger of forgetting what you meant by it all in the first place. follow your instincts to where the least amount of apparatus is apparent, where even (especially) the faulty and problematic things form a coherent part of the whole.

    Don't be put off those whose trade is in maintaining apparatus.

    Sirian - it's called "synergia" - St Paul's word. "Co-operation". Orthodoxy doesn't do magical determinism, and it doesn't believe Christianity consists of asking for the right piece of paper and saying "yes" to it. The tired assertion that no dogmatic statements have been made in the second millenium is simply false, that's all.

  16. P.S. - My point about "scriptural intelligence" is not remotely connected with Protestant, or any other kind of "fundamentalism".

  17. Moretben - your reason for no definite statements from the Eastern Orthodox on things pertaining to faith, is a neat way of avoiding my original question. There is nothing "magical" or "determinism" about convening a council, so why have the Orthodox conveniently stopped at II Nicaea? Perhaps it may have something to do with that word that confounds the Protestants time and time again - "authority"?

    Anyone who does a bit of research on Eastern Orthodoxy, will find that it really dates from the 1450s (after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire) making it a mere six decades older than the Protestant Reformation.

  18. Sirian,
    Ad Orientem - if the so-called Orthodox have a "plausible claim" as the Roman church, why have they not convened an ecumenical council since II Nicaea? Surely they would have the authority to do so?

    I would offer a couple of points in response to your rather conclusion oriented explanation.

    First, we do have the authority and there have in fact been two councils since Nicea II. While the term “Oecumenical” has not been universally applied to them for various reasons, their conclusions have been accepted by the entire Church, including in the case of the VIII Council, Rome, which signed off on the Council until its decision to embrace the Creed of the Synod of Toledo over that of Nicea rendered the Eighth Council rather inconvenient. Thus Rome's move to retroactively repudiate a council it had accepted for nigh on two centuries. Both the VIII and IX Oecumenical Councils are universally accepted within the Orthodox Church even if not everyone calls them Oecumenical.

    Thus I would propose to you that we have in fact had two Great Councils sans Rome and the Pope.

    Secondly, and somewhat more mundanely there has been little need for any councils since Rome left the Church. True, we have had our share of schisms. But most were minor and generally over matters of discipline, not doctrine. In fact, I would have to say that since the fall of the West things have been remarkably quiet. There has really only been one major controversy (that between Barlaam of Calabria and St. Gregory Palamas) which was resolved by the IX Council. One might also add to that the tragic schism in Russia over the Nikonian Reforms which caused much unjust pain and suffering. But broadly speaking the Church has suffered little in the form of doctrinal crisis since Rome moved on. And we don't convene Great Councils without reason or for the purpose of promulgating new doctrines.

    That said preparations are now underway for what is expected to be the X Great Council of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church. The main items on the agenda at present are issues which have become highly controversial in recent years and have in some cases caused schisms. Among those most prominent are resolving the jurisdictional mess in those countries not culturally Orthodox, resolving the calendar problem, relations with the heterodox, and a review of the fasting discipline which seen in the light of modern medical science is widely regarded as unhealthy.

    Thirdly, since the fall of the Roman Empire in 1453 (greatly advanced by the sack of 1204 and the subsequent Latin occupation) most of the Orthodox Christian world outside of Russia was forced to exist under the rule of the Islamic Empire. This rule, though occasionally tolerant, was more often than not oppressive and often veered into outright persecution. It was only in the XIX Century that parts of the Balkans were able to throw off the Muslim yoke. And then in the XX Century Russia and most of Eastern Europe fell under the malicious reign of the Communists and the Church endured the worst persecution in the history of Christendom. Convening a council under such conditions would have been near to impossible.

    The rhetorical question you posed is pretty standard fare among Roman Catholics anxious to dismiss Orthodoxy. It is also quite shallow.


  19. Moretben and John, many thanks for your contributions here.

    Sirian, please stop using my blog as a forum to attack the Orthodox. The contributions that Moretben and John make here are welcome and conducive to my posts, your's just seem bitter and unwarranted attacks on the Orthodox Church which, as no doubt Moretben and John will agree with me for thinking, no doubt arise from your (understandable) frustration about the doctrinal and liturgical crisis in Rome.

  20. Tis a sad day when another Catholic berates his fellow man for defending the faith but praises the contributions of those who call it into question.

  21. Sirian, although I understand your indignation, you weren't "berated" for "defending the faith", but for launching into a gratuitous, hackneyed and uninformed attack on the Orthodox. Learn the difference. In the course of doing so, you also reversed the sense of my first reply to you: Orthodoxy, as John has pointed out explicitly, recognises nine Councils at the same level of authority, including the seven it shares with you.

    I've always been entertained and stimulated by Arturo's bravura provocations. On my own nervous entry into the blogosphere, several years ago now, he was Simon Cowell to my Susan Boyle. He has fallen, however, in the habit of regarding everything apart from his own philosophical fads and recondite enthusiasms as mired in self-conscious imposture. To be fair, this is often a justifiable reaction to Californian religious consumer-culture, and the irritating behavior of a certain type of convert (ex-Evangelicals in particular) which gives the impression of having switched “party-line” merely, without leaving behind a characteristic mentality and approach (one sees this also within the various strands of TradCon Catholicism - fundamentalist absurdities gaining an enhanced vigour and range of operation when newly married to “Traditional Catholic” magisterial-positivist absurdities). As a strategy for maintaining one’s Roman Catholic identity while simultaneously acknowledging Roman Catholicism’s basic unrealisability, sophisticated and disdainful counsels of despair differ from more conventional strands of Tradism only insofar as they entail a superior level of wit and intelligence.

    Of course the Liturgical rights are supposed to feed and form you.
    Of course metaphysics is posterior and subordinate to Revelation.
    Of course the Gospel – Christ’s victory over hell, death and the Devil , and the means by which we avail ourselves of it – is “what it’s all about”.

    If asserting these things “feels” uncomfortablty suggestive of “Protestantism” it can mean only that we have ourselves adopted priorities disconcertingly remote from anything recognizable as historic, normative Catholic Christianity.

  22. Moretben,

    Pure brilliance if I may say so.

  23. If "Rome" is prejudiced, then some Orthodox are positively bigoted, wouldn't you say? I mean, they are more likely to consider another church's sacraments and belief defective than western theologians are.

    I am also curious about your positive view of Anglo-Catholics and Anglo-Papalists. Aren't their positions similar to those of the S.S.P.X., one of your "bad things"? I.e., claiming to be a part of the same Church as the Patriarch of the West, but not in communion with him. (Meanwhile, they are in communion with the likes of Katherine Jefferts Schori of the PECUSA.) The validity of orders and liturgy are non-issues; even the theosophist Liberal Catholic Church does (or did at one time, at least) have validly ordained clergy following recognizable rites.

  24. S. Novius,
    If "Rome" is prejudiced, then some Orthodox are positively bigoted, wouldn't you say? I mean, they are more likely to consider another church's sacraments and belief defective than western theologians are.

    The historic teaching of the Church is that there are no Mysteries (sacraments) outside of it. The Orthodox still hold to that position. While one may legitimately point out that the boundaries of the Church are not always crystal clear (see Fr. G. Florovsky's excellent essay on this subject), that in no way nullifies the position that those outside the Church lack the grace of the Holy Mysteries. Much of this confusion in the West can be laid at the feet of Blessed Augustine who set the groundwork for the dualistic approach to the nature of the Church now commonly accepted in the West. That is to say that one can be outside the canonical boundaries of the Church but still in the Church. This is a position that is alien to the Fathers and rejected by Orthodoxy.

    The validity of orders and liturgy are non-issues; even the theosophist Liberal Catholic Church does (or did at one time, at least) have validly ordained clergy following recognizable rites.

    The sacraments are not magic. Right formula + right matter, does not = sacrament. Or to paraphrase St. John Maximovitch; your house can have all the wiring correct, but if your not connected to the central power station you will be living in the dark.

    All of these so called "Old Catholic" (they really are neither) sects have no orders or mysteries because they are heretics and clearly outside the Church.

    In ICXC

  25. John,

    Thank you for your reply, and for developing the first point I was trying to make: that the western teaching on sacramental validity, though no doubt considered to be prejudiced by some people, is very generous compared to other positions. My comment was in response to the original post, not the very interesting discussion that's developed below.

    Regarding your comments on the second quote, to a small degree, I think that we are in agreement. Though a valid Church requires legitimate orders, it does not follow that any sect with valid orders constitutes a legitimate Church. (Of course you would say that the two are inseparable.) I was thinking here of a comment in T.A. Lacey's "Roman Diary". In the introduction he writes: "It was useless, we said again and again, to talk to the English Church about reconciliation with Rome until the question of the Ordinations was settled in a favourable sense. That might be a very short step towards reconciliation, but it was the indispensable first step." The question of orders (brought up by Patricius in his fourth paragraph), Rome vs. Canterbury, is a relatively minor one.

    Your mention of the Old Catholics reminds me of a certain irony. Arnold Harris Mathew, after reconciliation with the Church of England, was refused a clerical position and was buried as a layman. Prince Rudolph de Landas Berghes, one of the bishops consecrated by Mathew, was reconciled to the Roman Catholic Church, admitted to the Augustinian novitiate (only a few months after the reconciliation), and buried with episcopal honors. So much for the idea of prejudiced Rome versus the liberal English church!

  26. Hmm Patrick.
    Very good post. I wonder - have you ever read about the Catholic Apostolic Church? They had a large Cathedral on Gordon Square (now the Church of England Church of Christ the King).
    The Catholic Apostolics brought together priests from many denominations and created a liturgy based upon the similar traditions of all the denominations plus a few additions.
    John Betjeman (one of my personal heros) wrote a fantastic report on the Liturgy stylings and architecture of Gordon Square... it's somewhere on the net.