Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards...

I was hoping to find these conclusions in my copy of Tolkien's A Middle English Reader & Vocabulary, but no such luck - it would have been nice to read them in the Middle English in which they were composed. At any rate it has been a while since I read Tolkien's first academic publication (to be fair it was a joint effort; he compiled the Vocabulary, whereas his tutor Kenneth Sisam supplied the texts). As you know, the Lollards, or mumblers, were proto-Protestant heretics suppressed (largely) by the Church of England, although many outwardly conforming Lollards survived well into the days of the Reformation. The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards (a kind of compendium of their beliefs, like to the Ninety-Five Theses of Martin Luther) were nailed to St Paul's Cross and submitted to Parliament (which took no action) in 1395. At any rate Wycliffe's Bible (pictured above), like the Coverdale Psalter used by the Catholic Church of this country in her daily offices, is a masterpiece of English literature.

Here is an interesting example of the Lollard ''conclusions.'' They seem to have confused veneration of Christ's Rood with the veneration of anything having had some connexion with Christ's person. The conclusion itself is vile and unreasonable, but I loved reading it.

The eighth conclusion needful to tell the people beguiled is the pilgrimage, prayers, and offerings made to blind roods and deaf images of tree and stone be near kin to idolatry and far from alms deeds. And though this forbidden imagery be a book of errors to the lewd people, yet the image used of Trinity is most abominable. This conclusion God openly sheweth, commanding to do almsdeeds to men that be needy, for they be the image of God in a more likeness than the stock of the stone, for God sayeth not Faciamus lignum ad ymaginem et similitudinem nostram aut lapidem, but faciamus hominem etc. For the high worship that clerks call latria longeth to the godhead alone and the lower worship that is called dulia longeth to man and to angel and to lower creatures. The corollary is that the service of the Rood, done twice every year in our church, is fulfilled of idolatry, for if the Rood tree, nails, and the spear, and the crown of God should be so holy worshipped, then were Judas' lips, whoso might them get, a wonder great relic. But we pray thee, pilgrim, us to tell when thou first offerest to saints' bones enshrined in any place, whether relieves thou the saint that is in bliss or the alms house that is so well endowed. For men be canonized, God knows how, and for to speak more in plain, true Christian men suppose that the points of that noble man that men call Saint Thomas, were no cause of martyrdom.

St Teilo's...

It was a while ago now, and I can't presently remember where or when I first saw it, but this struck me as very interesting. It was a modern reconstruction of the Reconciliation of Penitents. Details of the church can be obtained here. Enjoy!

Monday, 26 September 2011

If it ain't broke...

''Thank goodness,'' laughed Bilbo, and handed him the nicorette patch.

I think all great literature will read like this one day; just like on 15th August 1949 the proper prayers of the Mass ran Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, etc, and in 1951 they went Signum magnum apparuit in caelo. Testament to the fallacy that our godly forebears, who died fortified in Christ's Faith, were in error and that anyone, in their presumption and insolence, has any right whatsoever to change the Tradition of the Church on a whim, to adorn it or make it their own.

I don't smoke; I never saw the attraction, but the art of harvesting pipe-weed and smoking it from pipes was given us by the goodly folk of the Shire (Tobold the Old if I remember aright), as was the brewing of ales, and ornamental waistcoats (I am desperate to get one, but apparently I'm not fat enough to pull it off). It is to be remembered that all great men smoked; from C.S Lewis, who had the art of latinizing the Coverdale Psalter (I discovered this when I read his Latin Letters - he never once quoted the Vulgate, though he encouraged the reading of it); to Oscar Wilde - although he smoked cigarettes.

Just a thought. Oh and from now on Traddies will be known as the Sackville-Bagginses (or S.B's for convenience) on this 'blog. Very apposite if certain friends of mine familiar with Tolkien remember the worst of them!

FYI: I don't often make use of images from the film trilogy (the book is not in fact one), but I thought at the time (and still do) that Ian Holm made a fine Bilbo.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Please do as I say!

Our separated brethren the Roman Catholics are now expected to abstain from flesh meat on Fridays again. See here. Of course if you do eat meat, according to the clarification of the Bishops' Conference, you are not actually sinning - unless I am quite mistaken. Just seems a tad relativistic, inconsistent and ill-defined to me; and are we to take it all seriously? The discipline fell into abeyance because those who claim to possess apostolic authority did away with the obligation. It's like Liturgy, Canon Law...well any legislative matter in the Roman Communion. It doesn't matter which institutions have stood the test of time and have the backing of centuries of adherence (not to mention Divine Law); it's all about what the latest pope has said on a whim. How can modern day Roman Catholics reconcile the claims of Summorum Pontificum with previous liturgical legislation from the 1960s? To which authority does one ultimately render obeisance? Who decides? The pope? Didn't the pope wreck everything in the first place, or is it fitting to place the blame with his curial underlings who, by some art, did all the bad stuff under his nose?

This is evidence of that gross tendency in the contemporary Roman church to centralise everything. It's pathetic really, the last desperate power grab of a frail old queen who still clings to a fundamentally obsolete (and wrong) notion of Papal Supremacy. ''Ohhh, please do as I say! I'm the pope, and I hold the keys of the Kingdom!'' I rejoice that so few Romans take the modern Roman church seriously.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

I have followed...

...with enthusiasm the blog of the Liturgical Pimpernel for some time now, especially those not infrequent posts where I seem to be subject. I saw this in his next to latest post:

I was not referring to Patricius' statements on his sexuality, in which I have no interest at all. I was referring to everything he says about LITURGY, in which he demonstrates an ignorance which is as comprehensive as his lack of charity. He may be honest about that, but he knows nothing about anything else.

My personal life is naturally something I am not prepared to discuss in a public or semi public forum, such as a 'blog. I suppose this comment was related to my post about the article that that ignorant autodidact wrote a few weeks ago? I wrote then what I wrote purely to make my own argument more plausible. I can only humbly observe that perhaps it worked, since the conclusions reached by the American Traddie seemed nonsensical to me.

Even so, perhaps the individual who composed the aforementioned comment would care to come forward and justify his claims? I never said I was an expert in Liturgy, but I am by no means ignorant! I just said that I had something to say (when I can be bothered saying it) which seemed to be ignored by the Traditionalist world, where sycophancy, a lot of might-have-beens, and satisfaction with mediocre Liturgy tolerated (though in some cases, not even allowed!) by Rome seem to be the norm. If I have said anything worthwhile then perhaps my small, mean endeavour here can be said to have procured at least some good for the Catholic Church. As for my supposed ''lack of charity,'' how can I be charitably disposed towards people who care more for blind obedience where it serves us not when blind obedience got us all into this liturgical mess in the first place? If any Traddies still read this blog, it's nothing personal. You just make me sick.

The flowers have nothing to do with the post, but they are my personal favourite. They are purple saxifrage, a rare mountain flower, which oftentimes flowers among the snow. They are extraordinarily pretty. I first saw them as a boy in my grandmother's rock garden, that worshipful lady who fostered rather than tried to suppress my inclination toward beautiful, lofty things. When I went to the florist to engineer a bouquet to my own specifications for my mother's 50th birthday I asked the florist if she knew them (she didn't); I went away thinking that I must be among a handful of male clients who knows anything about flowers!

Monday, 12 September 2011

No Popery...

I used to think that such images as these encapsulated the liturgical ideal, but I am beginning to wonder. After all, what is this but the bishop of Rome, who claims to be Christ's one-and-only infallible vicegerent on earth and the dispenser of Grace, celebrating bastardised court liturgy in a pagan basilica?

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Bloggers have each their own particular skill; some don't seem to be skilled in the art of writing at all, but are perhaps better at other things; others repeat catchy phrases and quips over and over again (''say the black, do the red,'' or more annoyingly; ''the new, corrected translation'') to drum into their readers a sort of party-line, any deviation from which and one is in danger of heresy, or one's loyalty to the Magisterium is brought into question. Perhaps bloggers of this sort are skilled at manipulating their influence as instruments of the Magisterium, and that the repetition of those quips covers up their ignorance of Liturgy? Lord only knows. Patricius (and I don't often refer to myself in the third person) doesn't have catchy phrases, nor does he seek to enslave his readers even so; he seeks here merely to draw people out of the Ultramontane heresy by the insurmountable weight of reasoned (well, sometimes) argument. If Patricius has convinced anyone of the shortcomings of that anti-Traditional vice, then it seems that, to an extent, what he sought to accomplish has been fulfilled.

I said at the start of this post that bloggers have each their own particular skill - what would mine be? And it was not in idle fancy that I chose upon this woodcut of Hugh Latimer preaching. Can anyone guess why? Readers should know that I am not the least bit interested in Protestantism, or any of its detestable forms. It just irritates me that many seem to confuse Protestantism with rejection of Ultramontanism. Protestantism is a heresy which protests against the articles of Faith as they are found in the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils and the Sacred Liturgy, and distorts the meaning of Holy Writ. Therefore, methinks that those Ultramontane types who blindly follow the writ of the bishop of Rome are more Protestant when the aforesaid bishop overturns the Tradition of the Church by the invocation of trumped up ''apostolic authority.'' This vainglorious ''authority'' is nothing more than the pope's private interpretation of the Faith. In other words, there is no one on the face of this earth more full of shit than the Pope.

Friday, 9 September 2011


I find it strange that, considering so few bloggers actually condescend to link to me, that I get so many visitors a day - 300 on average. Why do they not link to me? Are they trying to shield their readers from what they might deem heterodox, or extreme, liturgical theology, like private popes ticking off their private Index of Forbidden Blogs, or a mother safeguarding her children from inappropriate reading material? Are adults not capable of making up their own minds? I did. Someone shewed to me the history of the Liturgy, and the dealings of the Papacy with it, and I made up my own mind, and found that the claims of Vatican I were disconsonant with the facts as they now are. Perhaps it's deeper than that, though. Perhaps the moderators of the Great Blogs (and I know they read little old me from time to time, that's what Sitemeter is for!) are scared by what I say, and want to keep their own readers in the dark; in the Romish fantasy land of Summorum-Pontificum-is-the-cure-of-centuries-of-liturgical-malaise, or Anglicanorum-coetibus-will-actually-work, etc.

Oh well, I shouldn't care really. The Romans who read this blog can get on with their new mistranslation and the rite of 1962 to their heart's content - it has nothing to do with me!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Bah, humbug...

I see the Pimpernel is at it again. Confessedly I laughed my socks off when I read that I am the ''prince of liturgical humbug,'' whatever that is. Who does he think he is? I must say I'm surprised that for someone so obedient to the Magisterium that he has seen The Life of Brian!

This painting depicts Nikita Pustosvyat, a poor Russian priest of the Old Ritualist tradition, challenging the authorities, even the Tsar, who had changed the Russian liturgical books to bring them into line with modern Greek praxis, by appeal to the traditional liturgical books. In other words, this is me 300 years ago.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Domine, refugiam...

Psalm XC is possibly my favourite psalm in the Psalter. I am currently listening to a fair rendering by Thomas Attwood, sung by the choir of Westminster Abbey. A sample of it can be heard here. The language of Liturgy is not something I readily discuss on Liturgiae Causa. I am not averse to liturgical English. This is something that distinguishes me from the RC Traditionalist. Where they see Latin as a liturgical form and expression, an extension of Romish truth (a rather nebulous formula), which outweighs well-nigh all other matters liturgical, they are blinded to most else of import measurable in the tradition of the Church (so much so that they see little fault with the liturgical books of 1962, or that lovely Offertory motet Colores Diei - it's in Latin, and ad orientem, what could one want more?). Wherefore does it matter whether you say Gloria in excelsis Deo or Glory be to God on high? For that matter, which is more Catholic? For one church to celebrate the mysteries of Holy Week according to the bastardised rites of Pius XII; or for another to celebrate them as they were until those rites suffered violence at the hands of the pope? What is a ''liturgical'' language? Is it a language raised to a certain eminence? Of a surety, but why must Liturgy remain obscure to them that would otherwise descry somewhat of the Divine Majesty by the understanding of liturgical texts? I am by no means propounding Bible-in-basic-English; nothing could be more inimical to ecclesiastical propriety! Perhaps I am undecided on this matter, which many readers may find strange! Verily the catholicity of Christ's Church is not determined by a universal language of Liturgy. The Coverdale Psalter has, at the head of each psalm, the Latin incipit, which can be seen as a mode of continuity with the past - nova et vetera, and all that. Perhaps I can see, in a unified Church, the traditional local rites restored (Sarum, Hereford, York for England, etc), the Rood Screens carved and painted anew, and parishes opting to follow either the Latin of our Catholic forebears or the English of the Prayerbook...And then the wind blew, and I woke up! I am going to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings again. (I haven't forgotten the issue of Sacred Music in the problem of liturgical language. It is a myth that English cannot be put to plainsong, but the notation in the Graduale is naturally set to Latin, not English. Hmmm, perhaps in the light of this post I shall write another with that in mind).

Anywho, Domine, refugiam from the Coverdale Psalter:

Lord, thou hast been our refuge: from one generation to another.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made: thou art God from everlasting, and world without end.

Thou turnest man to destruction: again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday: seeing that is past as a watch in the night.

As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep: and fade away suddenly like the grass.

In the morning it is green, and groweth up: but in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered.

For we consume away in thy displeasure: and are afraid at thy wrathful indignation.

Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee: and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

For when thou art angry all our days are gone: we bring our years to an end, as if it were a tale that is told.

The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years: yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone.

But who regardeth the power of thy wrath: for even thereafter as a man feareth, so is thy displeasure.

So teach us to number our days: that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Turn thee again, O Lord, at the last: and be gracious unto thy servants.

O satisfy us with thy mercy, and that soon: so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

Comfort us again now after the time that thou hast plagued us: and for the years wherein we have suffered adversity.

Shew thy servants thy work: and their children thy glory.

And the glorious Majesty of the Lord our God be upon us: prosper thou the work of our hands upon us, O prosper thou our handywork!

The above illuminated manuscript is from the St Florian Psalter. It is a veritable reason to be Catholic. Wasn't it Cardinal Ratzinger who once said that apart from the saints and her art, the Church really had nothing else going for her?

Some real Liturgy...

It has occurred to me that I have been writing this 'blog for well over a year now and haven't actually arranged any real Liturgy. This is a problem. If anybody is interested, you can email me at Please no Traddie riff raff. I want to do Sarum, not 1962 with yards of commonplace lace ornamentation and tabard-shaped chasubles. If I wanted that I could visit a host of churches in London. Perhaps some Office and High Mass...

Sunday, 4 September 2011

New Sunday...

Come unto me all that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. (St Matthew 11:28, from the Prayerbook of the Church of England). Intelligible, poetic, lofty and fitting for Divine Service. Let us compare such treasures to the shite that Rome has lately dispensed for us. If people find the tone of this post disagreeable, then I am sorry (though not surprised), but I fear that there is too little ''calling a spade a spade'' in the blogosphere, and it's up to poor old Patricius to do it. By the way, I have it on good authority that some prominent churches in London (and a local one) have decided not to implement the new ICEL. Good for them! The more who eschew the fallible Magisterium, the better; the better for all of us. And may those long accustomed to the old ICEL continue to respond And also with you - it's far more accurate than saying ''and with YOUR spirit.''

They err who think that all enemies of the new translation are tambourine-waving yokels and serviettes of the ''spirit of Vatican II'' generation. I despise the new translation with the uttermost fervour, and for very good reasons; yea and I look down my nose at such idiots who welcome it, whose views are inimical to the Gospel. In reality they're very much like the Modernists, two sides of the same Ultramontane coin; just as tasteless, ignorant and untraditional as the lacey tabard-wearing pope, whose idea of liturgical tradition is more lace, more candles, more Latin and dalmatics for Lententide. Dress up a pig in a lace cotta, give him a 1962 Missal, and you call that Tradition? Puleeeeeeeeez.

During my lunch break at work the other day I was perusing my copy of the Book of Common Prayer, and comparing the texts therein with the new ICEL ''equivalents.'' I am now more than ever convinced of the superiority of the Church of England to the Roman communion. Just look!

A general Confession (''meekly kneeling upon your knees'') from the Order of the Administration of the Lord's Supper (said by one of the Ministers of the Mass on behalf of those present who are duly disposed to receive the Sacrament, under both kinds naturally):

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; we acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, against thy Divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; for thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life, to the honour and glory of thy Name. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Compare this to the rather bald translation of the new, untraditional, version of the Confiteor in the New ICEL:

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters [is this an accurate rendering of ''et vobis fratres''?!], that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Or the Gloria:

Glory be to God on high, and in earth peace, good will towards men. We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God heavenly King, God the Father Almighty. O Lord, the only-begotten Son Jesu Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us. For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord, thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

New ICEL crap:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people [''people''!?! ffs, hominibus is a dative plural form which refers to MEN, not men and women - see the botched confession above] of good will. We praise you [thee], we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory [or better, we give thee thanks for the greatness of thy splendour?], Lord God, heavenly King, O [please] God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit [Ghost], in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

There is something inherently distasteful about addressing God in the plural. It is also dangerous theologically, which I believe I have explained elsewhere. I don't know what it is exactly, but could it could possibly be the combination of inclusive language and the ''O's'' that makes this translation ridiculous? Who wants inclusive language in the Liturgy? Since when was the Sacred Liturgy subject to the parameters set by ''political correctness''? My God, I've read better literature in the waiting area of the Maudsley Hospital, or that Watchtower magazine the Jehovah's Witnesses left with me yesterweek after I demanded they get off my land. At least Old ICEL was dynamic and was fit to compare to the Latin in cadence and rhythm.

I'm sorry but I don't think I have ever read such an awful translation. It conveys nothing but artificiality and pretence, and is not edifying in the slightest. It betrays the very principles of good translation in many respects. Why, for example, translate consubstantialem into ''consubstantial''? What is wrong with simply saying, as in the Prayerbook, being of one substance with? It isn't really a ''translation'' in the proper sense if you keep using latinate words is it? (This, I guess, is my chief objection to the translation Holy Spirit. It is more traditional to say Holy Ghost; why shy away from a goodly name used by our Catholic forebears?) The idiocy of the translators is shown most clearly in the inconsistency of the next part, referring to the Holy Ghost, where they say: who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified. What would Tolkien, or Fortescue say? Oh I know what Fortescue would say:

Frankly, I do not think I have ever read a book written in so atrocious a style. The only thing in its favour is that it is extremely funny. However, since the book is meant to be serious, it is a pity that someone did not apprize Dale to proceed to observe the customary use of language, in conjunction with people who write English.

Once again, shame on Mother Rome, and a goodly number of anathemas upon those who use this translation willingly, in the spirit of contempt for our godly English tongue. They do well who eschew it, for of a surety it is a ghastly affront to ecclesiastical propriety and taste.

Patricius locutus est.

Friday, 2 September 2011

The Great Patron of Liturgiae Causa...

The patron of this blog, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, died 38 years ago today. Verily a prominent literary Catholic, an upright, moral man and a genius of his time, I render hearty thanks unto the Lord for his life and writings. For the last three years I had in mind his liturgical musings throughout the month of September, but I thought I'd simply quote something from The Lord of the Rings this year, in reverent living memory (isn't that an apt definition of Tradition?) of the great man who has shaped and influenced the course of my life for so many years. I was, after all, just seven years old when I first read The Hobbit, and was so moved by literature even to tears when I read of the death of Thorin Oakenshield. Tolkien's writings are good, in the all-encompassing biblical sense, and wholesome; influenced by the Catholic faith, which pervades and dictates all great works of art. I wonder if readers can guess why I have, of all passages, chosen upon this one?

'''Then let us do first what we must do,'' said Legolas. ''We have not the time or the tools to bury our comrade fitly, or to raise a mound over him. A cairn we might build.''
''The labour would be hard and long: there are no stones that we could use nearer than the water-side,'' said Gimli.
''Then let us lay him in a boat with his weapons, and the weapons of his vanquished foes,'' said Aragorn. ''We will send him to the Falls of Rauros and give him to Anduin. The River of Gondor will take care at least that no evil creature dishonours his bones.''

'Quickly they searched the bodies of the Orcs, gathering their swords and cloven helms and shields into a heap.
''See!'' cried Aragorn. ''Here we find tokens!'' He picked out from the pile of grim weapons two knives, leaf-bladed, damasked in gold and red; and searching further he found also the sheaths, black, set with small red gems. ''No orc-tools are these!'' he said. ''They were borne by the hobbits. Doubtless the Orcs despoiled them, but feared to keep the knives, knowing them for what they were: work of Westernesse, wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor. Well, now, if they still live, our friends are weaponless. I will take these things, hoping against hope, to give them back.''
''And I,'' said Legolas, ''will take all the arrows that I can find, for my quiver is empty.'' He searched in the pile and on the ground about and found not a few that were undamaged and longer in the shaft than such arrows as the Orcs were accustomed to use. He looked at them closely.
And Aragorn looked on the slain, and he said: ''Here lie many that are not folk of Mordor. Some are from the North, from the Misty Mountains, if I know anything of Orcs and their kinds. And here are others strange to me. Their gear is not after the manner of Orcs at all!''
There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature, swart, slant-eyed, with thick legs and large hands. They were armed with short broad-bladed swords, not with the curved scimitars usual with Orcs; and they had bows of yew, in length and shape like the bows of Men. Upon their shields they bore a strange device: a small white hand in the centre of a black field; on the front of their iron helms was set an S-rune, wrought of some white metal.
''I have not seen these tokens before,'' said Aragorn. ''What do they mean?''
''S for Sauron,'' said Gimli. ''That is easy to read.''
''Nay!'' said Legolas. ''Sauron does not use the Elf-runes.''
''Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken,'' said Aragorn. ''And he does not use white. The Orcs in the service of Barad-dûr use the sign of the Red Eye.'' He stood for a moment in thought. ''S is for Saruman, I guess,'' he said at length. ''There is evil afoot in Isengard, and the West is no longer safe. It is as Gandalf feared: by some means the traitor Saruman has had news of our journey. It is likely too that he knows of Gandalf's fall. Pursuers from Moria may have escaped the vigilance of Lórien, or they may have avoided that land and come to Isengard by other paths. Orcs travel fast. But Saruman has many ways of learning news. Do you remember the birds?''
''Well, we have no time to ponder the riddles,'' said Gimli. ''Let us bear Boromir away!''
''But after that we must guess the riddles, if we are to choose our course rightly,'' answered Aragorn.
''Maybe there is no right choice,'' said Gimli.

'Taking his axe the Dwarf now cut several branches. These they lashed together with bowstrings, and spread their cloaks upon the frame. Upon this rough bier they carried the body of their companion to the shore, together with such trophies of his last battle as they chose to send forth with him. It was only a short way, yet they foun it no easy task, for Boromir was a man both tall and strong.
At the water-side Aragorn remained, watching the bier, while Legolas and Gimli hastened back on foot to Parth Galen. It was a mile or more, and it was some time before they came back, paddling two boats swiftly along the shore.
''There is a strange tale to tell!'' said Legolas. ''There are only two boats upon the bank. We could find no trace of the other.''
''Have Orcs been there?'' asked Aragorn.
''We saw no signs of them,'' answered Gimli. ''And Orcs would have taken or destroyed all the boats, and the baggage as well.''
''I will look at the ground when we come there,'' said Aragorn.

'Now they laid Boromir in the middle of the boat that was to bear him away. The grey hood and elven-cloak they folded and placed beneath his head. They combed his long dark hair and arrayed it upon his shoulders. The golden belt of Lórien gleamed about his waist. His helm they set beside him, and across his lap they laid the cloven horn and the hilts and shards of his sword; beneath his feet they put the swords of his enemies. Then fastening the prow to the stern of the other boat, they drew him out into the water. They rowed sadly along the shore, and turning into the swift-running channel they passed the green sward of Parth Galen. The steep sides of Tol Brandir were glowing: it was now mid-afternoon. As they went south the fume of Rauros rose and shimmered before them, a haze of gold. The rush and thunder of the falls shook the windless air.
Sorrowfully they cast loose the funeral boat: there Boromir lay, restful, peaceful, gliding upon the bosom of the flowing water. The stream took him while they held their own boat with their paddles. He floated by them, and slowly his boat departed, waning into a dark spot against the golden light; and then suddenly it vanished. Rauros roared on unchanging. The River had taken Boromir son of Denethor, and he was not seen again in Minas Tirith, standing as he used to stand upon the White Tower in the morning. But in Gondor in after-days it was long said that the elven-boat rode the falls and the foaming pool, and bore him down through Osgiliath, and past eh many mouths of Anduin, out into the Great Sea at night under the stars.

'For a while the three companions remained silent, gazing after him. Then Aragorn spoke. ''They will look for him from the White Tower,'' he said, ''but he will not return from mountain or from sea.'' Then slowly he began to sing:

'Through Rohan over fen and field where the long grass grows
The West Wind comes walking, and about the walls it goes.
''What news from the West, O wandering wind, do you bring to me tonight?
Have you seen Boromir the Tall by moon or by starlight?''
''I saw him ride over seven streams, over waters wide and grey;
I saw him walk in empty lands, until he passed away
Into the shadows of the North. I saw him then no more.
The North Wind may have heard the horn of the son of Denethor.''
''O Boromir! From the high walls westward I looked afar,
But you came not from the empty lands where no men are.''

'Then Legolas sang:

'From the mouths of the Sea the South Wind flies, from the sandhills and the stones;
The wailing of the gulls it bears, and at the gate it moans.
''What news from the South, O sighing wind, do you bring to me at eve?
Where now is Boromir the Fair? He tarries and I grieve.''
''Ask not of me where he doth dwell - so many bones there lie
On the white shores and the dark shores under the stormy sky;
So many have passed down Anduin to find the flowing Sea.
Ask of the North Wind news of them the North Wind sends to me!''
''O Boromir! Beyond the gate the seaward road runs south,
But you came not with the wailing gulls from the grey
sea's mouth.''

'Then Aragorn sang again:

'From the Gate of Kings the North Wind rides, and past the roaring falls;
And clear and cold about the tower its loud horn calls.
''What news from the North, O mighty wind, do you bring to me today?
What news of Boromir the Bold? For he is long away.''
''Beneath Amon Hen I heard his cry. There many foes he fought.
His cloven shield, his broken sword, they to the waters brought.
His head so proud, his face so fair, his limbs they laid to rest;
And Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, bore him upon its breast.''
''O Boromir! The Tower of Guard shall ever northward gaze
To Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, until the end of days.''

'So they ended. Then they turned their boat and drove it with all the speed they could against the stream back to Path Galen.
''You left the East Wind to me,'' said Gimli, ''but I will say naught of it.''
''That is as it should be,'' said Aragorn. ''In Minas Tirith they endure the East Wind, but they do not ask it for tidings. But now Boromir has taken his road, and we must make haste to choose our own.''' (The Lord of the Rings, Book III, Chapter I).

Tolkien's Requiem Mass was celebrated on 6th September in the church of St Anthony of Padua in Headington, Oxford, by his son John with the assistance of Fr Robert Murray, SJ (whom I met in 2006) and Mgr Doran, the rector. He is buried beside his wife Edith in the section of Wolvercote cemetery reserved for members of the Roman church. The modest headstone, of Cornish granite, is inscribed: ''Edith Mary Tolkien, Lúthien, 1889-1971. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Beren, 1892-1973.''

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Tridentine Rite...

Rubricarius of the St Lawrence Press has put up some fascinating photos of a Belgian Missal dated 1576, containing the texts and rubrics of the rite of the Mass as codified by the Council of Trent, prior to the Clementine revisions of 1604 - far removed from the bastardised rite devised by curial sycophants and approved by Pacelli in the mid-1950s, and used by so-called ''traditionalist'' groups who promote the Extraordinary Form of the ''Roman'' rite. The Tridentine Rite was a much-reformed and watered down form of the ancestral Roman Rite of the parish churches of the city of Rome (to which the venerable Use of Sarum was akin), used by the Papal Court, reformed by a succession of popes such as Innocent III, and adopted by the Friars Minor (a fact which Adrian Fortescue curiously passed over in his otherwise brilliant history of the Roman Mass). The Tridentine Rite was revised less than forty years after its codification in 1570, and eventually, in the wake of the innovations of the Counter Reformation period (which in my view signalled the death knell of Tradition in the Roman Church), this form replaced the local uses of the West. By the mid-20th century Liturgy in the Roman Church was, to put it mildly, dead - stifled by rubricism, Low Mass and the S.R.C. If Traditionalists seriously think that a 1962 celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in the foul spirit of Ultramontanism, is continuity with the Tradition of the Church they are, in the light of the countless reforms of the Liturgy since Trent, seriously mistaken.

The photos open a window into a lost world and reveal elements of the Tridentine Rite which were abolished in the Clementine and Urban reforms. It is not the Missal of Pius V that survived into the 20th century, the so-called Mass of Ages, redolent of that primeval liturgy celebrated by the Apostles, but the Missal of Urban VIII, the man who replaced the traditional hymnody of the Breviary with ones more to his liking. One rubric in the Tridentine Missal, revised in 1604, had even sacramental implications; a matter which surely indicates that liturgical reform, even for the good of the Church, is perhaps best when not left to demented old men who invoke Apostolic authority to justify abuse and the intoxication of raw power.

I encourage readers to study the photos in detail; it behoves you as Catholics to appreciate them for themselves, inherently valuable, and fundamentally as the way in which the Church prayed for a brief time.