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.


  1. Patricius,

    I am truly shocked. One refers to Her Majesty *T*he Queen, never Her Majesty the Queen.

  2. I am deeply sorry Rubricarius; I shall amend this serious blunder right now!

  3. Shame that the rest of the post were not "more in keeping" with Tolkien's spirit of charity.

  4. Patricius,

    I shall pass over the business of non-baptized persons dressing up in “vestments” of execrable taste, pretending to be clergy, and “celebrating” a blasphemous travesty of a liturgical rite in a church that occupies the site of a former Christian place of worship.

    Returning to an earlier subject of discussion, carried out elsewhere, are you sure that there is no connexion between Tolkien’s mythology and that of Der Ring des Nibelungen? I am thinking specifically of incest. Túrin and Nienor succumbed to this—unwittingly—; so did Siegmund and Sieglinde—rather more readily.

    I know that sibling incest was rather popular in nineteenth century literature, and—seemingly—in practice too (e.g. Lord Byron and, possibly, Wordsworth). Was Tolkien ‘tapping into’ something here?

  5. Christopher,

    First of all, I am delighted that you use (as did Tolkien, and his son Christopher) the correct spelling of connexion. I hope that you also render the verb ''to genuflect'' (in its intransitive form) in like manner.

    Regarding the Traddies and their recent act of blasphemy in an ancient church, I daresay they think they have simply claimed back what is their's and brought back an orthodox form of worship long since banished by the heretics, the King's Men (as it were). Either they are unaware that the kind of pseudo-liturgy they propound is offensive to all ecclesiastical propriety, or they are aware of this (with many of them this is the more likely) and they would have us believe that they are the champions of Tradition regardless. I think ''ignorant liar'' is an apt description of your average RC Traditionalist.

    Regarding Tolkien, I am afraid that Tolkien was adamant that there was no connexion between his work and Wagner. In a letter he wrote to his publisher Rayner Unwin dated 23rd February 1961 (gosh composed 50 years ago already!), he complained of the nonsensical conclusions drawn by Dr Ohlmark, who had been given the task of translating The Lord of the Rings into Swedish, in his (unauthorised) Introduction. Tolkien said:

    ''[Ohlmark]'The Ring is in a certain way 'der Nibelungen Ring'''...[Tolkien] Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases.
    [Ohlmark] ''...which was originally forged by Volund the master-smith, and then by way of Vittka-Andvare passed through the hands of the mighty asar [AEsir] into the possession of Hreidmar and the dragon, after the dragon's conspirators coming to the Burgundians, after their death in Atle's snake-pit coming to the Huns, then to the sons of Jonaker, to the Gothic Ermanrik, etc.''
    [Tolkien] Thank heaven for the etc. I began to fear that it would turn up in my pocket. Evidently Dr. O thinks that it is in his. But what is the point of all this? Those who know something about the Old Norse side of the ''Nibelung'' traditions (mainly referred to since the name-forms used are Norse) will think this a farrago of nonsense; those who do not, will hardly be interested. But perhaps they are also meant to conclude that Dr. O also has masterskap. It has nothing whatsoever to do with The Lord of the Rings...He is welcome to the rubbish, but I do not see that he, as a translator, has any right to unload it here.'' (The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien, no.229).

    As for Turin and the Dragon, there may well be similarities between Tolkien and Wagner. I am not sure that Tolkien even liked Wagner, but that is neither here nor there. My supposition is that the reason there are similarties between Tolkien and Wagner is because both men created works based on the same sources, rather than Wagner being an influence on Tolkien.

    I appreciate that this comment has become rather long already, but Tolkien wrote to Milton Waldman in 1950 (a letter which has roughly 10,000 words) about his legendarium, obviously making slight mention of Turin and the Dragon. He said that in Turin one could discern elements from the Finnish Kullervo, elements from Sigurd the Volsung and, of course, Oedipus (the incest). Having said this the work (which I have lately read) is an original and masterpiece and sheds light upon the tragic history of Middle-earth in a way which Hobbits and gollums do not.

    I hope this helps.