Monday, 28 March 2011

Three things...

...before I return to reading The Wanderings of Húrin and the Tale of Túrin and the Foalókë.

The photos from the LMS travesty in Yorkminster can be seen here. Notice the Roman cut vestments, the presence of clergy in choir (why could they not have High Mass?! It's utterly ridiculous to have a ''sung Mass'' without Ministers if there are clergy in choir), and all the lace etc. How very expressive of Medieval English liturgical life! I am sure the Dean and Chapter were distinctly underwhelmed, but then I almost forgot - the standard of Liturgy provided by the Church of England is nearly always superior to that of Rome (I recall the notorious Papal Visit back in September, particularly the visit of the Pope to Westminster Abbey - the watered-down ''evensong'' was far better than the Mass in Westminster Cathedral the next day!). I daresay the Roman Church is not worthy of her own liturgical patrimony.

I was amused to see in my sidebar a post on Ad Orientem entitled: ''Church of England Cathedral opens its doors to sorcery;'' but disappointed to read that this was unconnected to the LMS incident. It's interesting all the same - the Church of England has simply gone the way of the Devil, like so much of the modern world, but then so has the Roman Church - at least our Sovereign Lady Her Majesty The Queen is not puffed up with arrogance and hauteur like the bishop of Rome, and I daresay knows more about Liturgy!

Our esteemed ''liturgical'' (Patricius usque ad lacrimas risit!...though since I am not an arrogant git, I don't usually refer to myself in the third person) cousin in America, the so-called ''liturgical pimpernel,'' has been writing about me again, and my newfound pre-Peasant (that is to say, pre-Sovereign Lord blessed Pius X) Diurnal, specifically about the date 1882. He repeats the now oft-heard argument about what he likes to call ''cafeteria catholicism.'' I don't claim to know all the answers, and I never once said that such-and-such a year is the year of liturgical sublimity in the tragic history of Roman liturgy, but would certainly not wish to sacrifice my knowledge of Liturgy upon the altar of Ultramontanism as so many traditionalists have done. You know, commit intellectual suicide by saying ''what do I know? Let Mother Rome look to it! We have the 1962 Mass of Ages!'' My new Diurnal is, as it were, a window into a lost world. It is by no means the 1568 Office, whole and in tact, and I would personally rather pray using the Sarum legenda, Psalterium and Breviary, but, as the saying goes, beggars can't be choosers. My 1882 Diurnal is more a link to the Fathers than the 1961 Breviary, which is a pathetic and shadowy hodgepodge of half-remembered traditions and mutilated Psalmody, authorized by modern Rome, and used by so-called traditionalists. How much Office does the Pimpernel say, I wonder? And if at all, what would he use? Knowing the likes of him, I daresay the 1961 Breviary (Roma locuta est, and all that). So before you judge me and the Tradition to which I adhere (and to which modern Rome does not), why don't you bugger off and say some real Office of your own (assuming you know how) and stop this sickening fawning over modern Rome. If I cared about the fate of your church I would say that it would do you no good whatever; the next pope, or the one after that, would simply fail to meet with your hopes, and you would return to the days of the Ecclesia Dei commission, or something less to your liking than even then.

But as the saying went in Beleriand in the days of the War, ''malice that wakes in the morning is the mirth of Morgoth ere night.'' And so, I'm awfully sorry if the tone of this post was not to your liking, O Pimpernel! Personally I relish being treated so, especially in America. I do not, after all, breathe an air of undiluted incense, and perhaps it is all some indication that my beliefs about RC traditionalists (that they are a bunch of conceited, decidedly untraditional, Ultramontane types) are correct!

The above painting is by the Tolkien illustrator John Howe, and depicts Glaurung, sire of Dragons - much more in keeping with Tolkien's description of the Urulóki.

Saturday, 26 March 2011


''We're Roman Catholic traditionalists; we don't recognise your Sacraments or your claim to be an actual church, but we've brought our lace cottas and a 1962 Missal and we'd like to celebrate the Tridentine Mass in your cathedral for the first time since the Reformation.''

Is this what the Latin Mass Society rep in Yorkshire said to the Dean of Yorkminster a few months ago when they decided to organise this travesty? seems that young Patricius must remonstrate, once again, with these Traddies about the history of Liturgy. Let's see. First of all the liturgical books of 1962 are as far removed from the ''Tridentine'' Mass, understood as the rite of the Roman Eucharistic liturgy as following the rubrics of the 1570 Missal (which was subsequently reformed by the Popes), as peas are from melons. Secondly, even if this were irrelevant to the argument, York did not follow the so-called ''Tridentine'' Rite anyway, which was much reformed and not like unto the Old Roman Rite of the parish churches of Rome, but followed a local ''Use'' of the Roman Rite akin to the Uses of Salisbury, Bangor, Hereford and Aberdeen. So, the misnamed ''Tridentine Rite in its 1962 form'' was never celebrated in Yorkminster, before during or after the Reformation, until today. Also, it was a ''sung Mass'' without Deacon and Subdeacon. This was alien to the pre-Reformation English church and is a late compromise devised for Mission countries. Are Traddies aware of this at all (their profound ignorance of Liturgy is now well-established) or are they just trying to snare our Anglican brethren with falsehood? It is certainly not a good witness to the Roman faith is it?

To add insult to injury, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was part of the order of the day (what Sacrament? did they consecrate two hosts during the Mass I wonder?) Now I don't claim that Benediction was never part of the life of Yorkminster ere the Reformation, but surely sung Office was? Would it not have been more authentic to have organised a day of Medieval English liturgy rather than ill-informed pieties and a '62 Rite Mass? At least that way you could claim that what you did was traditional and people might take you seriously. Of course, who would turn up? The vast majority of Catholics (largely through no fault of their own) are wholly ignorant of real Liturgy, and don't care for it if it is provided at all.

Would St Margaret Clitherow really appreciate (or even recognise) the liturgical books of 1962? I hope the Dean and Chapter thrust them out...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

For those...

...who clutch at their Fortescues, blissfully unaware that this great man had little to nothing in common with Ultramontane Traddies, who represent the basest form of Christianity (akin to extreme homophobe Baptists in America) and revel in the triumph of pietism and Popery over Tradition (this includes those who see nothing wrong with the pseudo-festival of Joe Worker supplanting the traditional feast of Sts Philip and James, which even in the Prayerbook Kalendar of Saints is on May 1st - may such people be excommunicated and anathema):

A Letter to Canon Edwin H. Burton at St Edmund's College, Ware (20 September 1902)

I have been missing you horridly at breakfast, though the salutary vision of you fully vested and waiting with lacerating meekness in my sacristy when I rolled out of bed has not yet lost its effect. The nuns (little pink daughters of the penitent thief) are here now; so I get up at 7am, like an early Christian martyr. Sister Joanna Baptista of the Pinnacle of the Temple L.P.D. of P.T. (the she-superior) is a Tartar & won’t stand no fooling, nor can I imagine her waiting meekly as you did, though she would wear vestments like a shot if I let her. This order is an entirely new idea of my Rector at the German Church (a Bohemian monomaniac): its originality consists in the fact that the members go to the Sacraments several times during the year, abstain from fleshmeat on all Fridays, & endeavour generally to cultivate a spirit of Christian virtue & untarnished morality. These proceedings are rightly supposed to be very gratifying to the better nature of the penitent thief – hence the order’s name.

Also they have 15 little boys, so that when you come at Christmas you shall have no lack of servers. They sing Vespers in the evening in what purports to be the Latin tongue, Sister Philipina Canaria (of the way to Jericho) wearing a cope & a Roman missal, from which she tells me that she always sings Vespers.

They have given me a picture of a gentleman whom I recognise as that illustrious prelate the present incumbent of the Roman bishoprick: I am informed that if I look at it in the proper spirit it will give the pontifical blessing – a striking sight which I am naturally anxious to enjoy. Hitherto I have not succeeded in convincing it of my spiritual propriety. I have told it all the things that I think it would like to hear – that I am dead nuts on Encyclicals, that ubi Petrus ibi the whole show, that Roma locuta est (she never stops) nulla salus est (I hope I haven’t got this mixed); I have even said polite things about its fel. Rec. predecessors of the X & XV centuries; alas, in vain! It hasn’t once burst into: Sit nome Domini benedittumme [sic]. When you come I hope you will start it: it can’t doubt your propriety of spirit!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


...I beleue in Jhesu Cryste
Which suffred deth and harrowed hell
As I have herde myne olders tell.

It was my 23rd birthday on Wednesday last, and apart from indulging some worldly pleasures, I came into possession of a Diurnal on Sunday - a real one too, so I can finally recite the Divine Office according to the Roman Rite without making deference to the authority of Pius X to turn 1500 years of Tradition on its head by tearing the Psalter apart. I was too busy on Sunday to properly go through it, but spent a good deal of time studying it yesterday. It is from 1882, and therefore has Leo XIII's Votive Offices, but suffice to say, unlike lazy Roman clergy, I won't be bothering with any of that. I must say that I had good fun today reciting Vespers for the first time in my life before Noon, and it worked out quite well for me as I spent the afternoon with some girlfriends.

You know I think I have found the pearl of great price? I have found liturgical orthodoxy and reckoned for myself a healthy equilibrium for the decent ordering of my life. I have known the bishop of Rome, and now safely reject and repudiate everything he says and does with the uttermost disdain. I've stopped reading most blogs, and even bothering overmuch with this one. I shall go to the grave with my liturgical convictions, but perhaps thinking less about them will make me happier, or a better person. At any rate I shall devote the rest of Lententide to the reciting of Divine Office, reading Tolkien and trying to perfect my Latin. These things seem worthier than ranting on the Internet.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Fiery Dragons...

I'm afraid that I am as susceptible to flattery as a Dragon - this reminds me of the time that my Store Manager told me that I ''think about things in a way which is beyond most people who work here.''

Art: Ted Nasmith. It depicts the sack of Nargothrond, and the capture of the Elven women, among them Finduilas. Turambar stands motionless under the spell of Glaurung, father of Dragons, as Finduilas cries out to him.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Na na na na, heeey, goodbye!

Sorry, I just can't get that Bananarama song out of my head (thanks to a makeup advert by Boots)...

As little as two years ago I could not conceive of ever leaving the Roman Church, for all her demonstrable want of Liturgy, the tacky culture and ill-informed pieties and all that. But I thought that all this lived alongside the hallowed, the ancient, the venerable and the lofty; that as Sam looked up out of the shadows of Mordor and descried a lonely star, I imagined that the darkness was only a passing thing, and that the Sacred Liturgy was high and beautiful forever beyond the reach of ''Bugninis'' - Bugnini was but a servant or emissary - that for the long defeat of the Traditionalist cause, salvation lay at the end, however dim this hope might be. Of course I was bewildered and deluded. In the six years or so that I have experienced RC ''Traditionalism'' I have come irrevocably to the conclusion that Tradition (understood as something independant of the reigning Pope) be blunt...stone dead in the Roman Church, and that traditionalists are part of this problem. I have given up trying. I am going now to try and live life to the full as a Catholic without having to perpetually sacrifice my catholicity (and fundamentally, my conscience) upon the altar of obedience to the Papal system.

I always believed that communion with the Apostolic See, and the bishops thereof, was a necessary mark of one's catholicity; that the bishop of Rome guaranteed Catholicism, orthodoxy and godliness, and that this was a universal given in the history of the Church, but rejected by the Orthodox and the Protestant Reformers. This may have had at least the semblance of truth at some point in the deeps of Time, but I fail to see how this works nowadays. How can you look to Mother Rome when Mother Rome continually eschews her own Tradition? My personal understanding of Tradition is that the older a particular tradition, custom, law or whatever can be proved to be, the greater auctoritas it carries - and subsequent laws are less. So which is more catholic in the universal sense of obedience to the Tradition of the holy fathers? For Ministers in an Anglican church to use folded chasubles during Lent? Or for Roman Ministers to wear Dalmatics and Tunicles? Again, which is more catholic? For the Celebrant of Mass in an Anglican church to administer the Sacrament under both kinds? Or a Roman Celebrant to do so under one kind only? Christ's ordinance is quite clear on this matter. These are two simple examples, and I could have chosen from a host of others, not just from the Church of England. There are many ways that churches in schism with Rome are more catholic than the Roman Communion. Several friends of mine, at variance with Rome, pray the pre-1911 Roman Office with the pre-Urban VIII hymns. This is more than can be said of RC Traditionalists! As for me, on Sundays and feasts I have taken to reciting Mattins and Evensong according to the Book of Common Prayer (until I can locate and afford a pre-Peasant Breviary that is, and this is much better than bothering with the 1961 Breviary as it is!).

It just seems to me that if I am to remain Catholic, I cannot do so in conscience anymore in the Roman Church. My connexion to the Roman Church has, of late, been little more than a cultural attachment to the city of Rome (as a classicist); her ancientry, and the memory of her ancient orthodoxy. Even as a Traditionalist I didn't take modern(ist) Rome that seriously anyway. St Bede, the father of English history, had a natural affection for the Roman Church and followed the Roman Liturgy of an ancient kind not because it was imposed upon him by the Pope as Pius V, Pius X and Pius XII had done, but because the ancient Roman Liturgy expressed the orthodox Catholic faith of the Church. The Liturgy celebrated in Rome, as the photos in Grey as ash demonstrate, is neither orthodox nor catholic in any meaningful sense, and liturgical legislation in the Roman Church in the last century (especially in the last four years) indicates that Rome is in a state of de facto schism with her own Liturgy; and the fact that Traditionalists welcome this legislation worries me considerably.

In token of this, on Saturday afternoon I prayed the Gradual Psalms (the obligation to recite them privately having been removed by Pius V, in Quire by Pius X) and then burned my copy of Summorum Pontificum. This is a new start for me, and the eschewing of ecclesiastical despotism for a more authentic attachment to the Catholic Church. I do not plan on joining either this or that church any time soon. This is a time of searching for me, and intensive prayer. Pray for me that I may come into that Church which is most pleasing to Almighty God.

Laus Deo semper.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Grey as ash...

I am getting worried about Ash Wednesday. Since I took my ''Oath against '62,'' I have kept away from such liturgical abuses as Mass facing the people, evening Mass etc, which means that I have nowhere to go on Ash Wednesday. I shall be working in the morning, and even were I not working my guess is that only a ''private'' Mass at some ungodly hour would be on offer within 20 miles of my house. I wonder...since the liturgical day starts at sunset with the Evensong of the Church, does this mean that Traditionalists will be providing Liturgy after Vespers on Tuesday evening? Technically the evening of Ash Wednesday is the next liturgical day...

What do I do? I believe that the imposition of Ashes is a necessary part of one's preparation for the great Lenten fast (as the Hobbits Merry and Pippin believed that eating was a necessary part of breakfast). Do I burn my own Palms (which I kept from last year) and mark my own forehead before work (I wonder if my father keeps the necessary stuff in his shed?), reciting a paraphrase of the formula changing the verb forms? Surely before 1953 the Church got by without evening Mass? Or are we stuck with this liturgical abuse for ever and ever and ever until Tradition has been beaten down so low that none can foresee it's getting up again while this world lasts? The absolute worst thing you can do liturgically is face the wrong way...right next to this is to celebrate at a canonically inappropriate hour. Or does the Pope now have the authority to manipulate the lights of the firmament so that the Eucharistic Sacrifice is now sundered from the liturgical order of the day?

Evening Mass is an abomination. Anyone who disagrees with me is mentally sick and should be shot.

The above photo shows Papal Ash Wednesday last year, praised by certain people of unsound liturgical disposition (you know the sort - dress a pig up in a Roman cut chasuble and a lace alb, and behold! you have mutual enrichment, or reform of the reform, or the Benedictine Altar arrangement or some shite in evidence) as a return to the Traditional Liturgy, or something similar. Boob. If you look, not even very closely, you'll see that the Cardinals are wearing scarlet choir dress, and the assistant Deacons are wearing Dalmatics. Hmmmm...I was under the impression that the traditional choir dress of a Cardinal between Septuagesima and the Paschal Vigil was not scarlet, but penitential violet, and perhaps more fundamentally that the Ministers of the Mass wore Folded Chasubles on Ash Wednesday. Call me dim-witted, but...where does Tradition come into all of this? The short answer is, it doesn't. It just boils down to a bunch of idiots dressing up.